Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Thank You Heart

I mentioned in my last post that Shaun's father has recently passed away. We've been off work the past couple weeks on bereavement leave, but our bosses at work (we work at the same place) sent us flowers on the second day we were gone, so of course I wanted to make a Thank You card for their kindness.

This is what I made:
This was a card that was available in the "Make it Now" projects from Cricut called "Thank you from the many colors of my heart". (I believe it is user submitted because I could not find a link to the image, but here is the card on Pinterest.) I changed it somewhat but it has the same feel. And you can't see it, but the heart does have texture.

Had I known that we would have taken the full two weeks' leave, I would have mailed it. Oh well, we'll just hand deliver it when we return. At least I am getting it shared sooner rather than (six months) later...

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Beers to You, Dad

Considering Shaun's Father just passed away on July 13, this post is bittersweet to share. But I did say I would be sharing a lot of different things, working backwards and somewhat randomly. What better place to start than with something that was made for someone we've both been thinking about?

This is the Father's Day card I made for Shaun's dad this year. Unlike in previous years (where we weren't sure if he did or didn't get it), this year we know he got it because he called us when he did and thanked us for it. So at least he got to enjoy at least one of my creations we've sent...

This card is a Cricut image that was available.  I made some changes to it, to make it look more like Paul's favorite beer, Pabst Blue Ribbon. (For Comparison, here is what the original card looks like.) Since I couldn't make it exact (obviously), I made what changes I could. And the card is can-shaped, which is perfect.

Here's the inside of the card:

And the card next to the inspiration source:

Overall, I am really pleased with it and Shaun loved it. And Paul seemed to have liked it, so that makes me happy.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Sewing Desk Makeover (A tutorial, too!)

My Goodness, I have been a bad little crafty girl. I have been making things, but not sharing them here. Naughty, Naughty! I would like to be better at that but it's hard because I often get sucked into the internet and do not do what I even came to do. I'll probably start sharing things, working backwards or somewhat randomly. But for now, I really wanted to share my most recent project, and my first real DIY....

My Lovely New Desk:

Isn't she pretty?!  She certainly is now, but definitely didn't look like this when I got it.


Pretty beat up, right? The desk was missing some hardware (one drawer pull, as you can see), was missing some of the trim, and was pretty scratched up. But I saw potential. And for $10, I was willing to try.

When I went to Goodwill a few weeks ago, I wasn't even looking (much) for furniture--I was actually there to drop off clothes we had sitting around--but I figured I may as well look to see if there were any good deals on any storage items I could use. I saw this and thought: "That would make a good sewing desk."  So I brought it home (which was an ADVENTURE in itself, let me tell ya), and pondered the possibilities and what I wanted to do with it.

I knew I wanted it Pink, but my friend Samantha suggested Black drawers, and I thought that sounded interesting but couldn't picture it. So I  drew a general desk shape and colored it on my computer and tested a few ideas, and decided that the black drawers WOULD be nice. I originally drew it with black hardware on the bottom drawers (I had already bought the pink knobs for the top so had included them in drawings), but Shaun asked about white. So I changed the design and it looked nice. So I guess you could say that even though I did all the work, this project was a collaboration. :)

Here is the process, if you were curious or wanted to do something similar.

Step 1: I Removed the Hardware. (Not Pictured, but it is as easy as taking a screwdriver and unscrewing it.) I also removed the trim from the inside since it was missing it on one side. I contemplated getting something like some molding medallions to replace it/even out the  space, but after I took off the other trim, I decided it didn't really NEED it, so let it be.

Step 2: I Gave it a sanding. How much you need to sand it depends on a few factors such as how beat up it is, what you're going to be doing with it (paint/stain, etc).  I sanded the surface scratches away, and decided that some of the gouges gave it charm so didn't worry about those other than to sand the sharp edges. (If your piece has gouges and it bothers you, you can always use wood putty before sanding to fill it. I chose not to take extra steps.) And the spray paint I used was Paint + Primer in one (I used Krylon's ColorMaster), so I didn't need to prime--so I only sanded enough to smooth surface scratches and to remove the shiny varnish top layer.

Step 3: Next, I painted the Drawers. 
Step 4: Now it's time to paint the desk! Once you have drop cloth/painting station set up, don a mask--highly recommended-it's one thing to paint small drawers without one where you can escape the fumes a few minutes later, but not a whole piece of furniture. Now, shake that paint like a Polaroid Picture and follow directions on the can to paint your piece. This part look a long time over a couple days.

Step 5: Relax on the couch after a hard day's painting. You earned it.
[Hubby wanted a picture because he thought I looked cute, but hey, now that my lounging is a documented step, may as well include it. ;)]

Step 6: I cleaned and pained my hardware. Originally, I wanted to replace ALL the hardware and make it more modern, but I could not find hardware that fit the mount screw holes since this desk used non-standard mount distance of 2.5" and standard is 3"--which I learned from spending way too much time looking in Home Depot and online and only coming up with 3"--and since I didn't want to have to extra steps of wood putty, etc., AND I had already painted my drawers, I said "FIIINE, I'll use the existing..." But not without cleaning it first. It was NASTY.
To clean it, I soaked it in Apple Cider Vinegar (but white vinegar would work too,  I just didn't have any on hand) for a couple hours and then took an old toothbrush to it to scrub off the remaining tarnish/dirt. This picture shows before-ish (but still after soaking) and after cleaning. That alone made a huge difference, but it still needed a face-lift. Enter white spray paint.

Step 7: Replace Hardware and put drawers back, and TADA! New Desk is complete.

Before and After:

What a huge difference! It's not perfect (but you have to look for the imperfections), but I am really pleased with the result-a great new sewing desk for me. For my VERY First DIY like this, I am very proud of myself and the result. Now... to rearrange things so I have a place to put said desk...

And just in case you were wondering, this does NOT have to be too expensive. Here's a break down of what I spent, not counting sand paper since that can be used for other projects:

-6 cans of Pink Spray Paint: $27.44 (One can was bought at Michaels a week or so before the project, $5.99 after 40% off coupon, all the rest were bought from Fred Meyer for $4.29 each.)
-1 can Black spray paint: $3.99 (On sale at Fred Meyer, normally $4.29)
-1 can White spray paint: $3.99 (On sale at Fred Meyer, normally $4.29)
-3 Pink "Crystal" knobs on top drawers: $1.50 (on clearance at Michaels for $0.50/each--this actually worked out well because I had seen them for several months at $1.50 each and never bought them because I didn't have a use for them, but the day I was there, they had EXACTLY 3 left. FATE!)
-Desk itself: $10
Total Project Cost: $46.92  Not bad for a total revamp and for something that I love and suits me well!

Hopefully you're feeling inspired! I'd love to hear if you're taking on any DIY projects, too. Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Some BLUE-tiful Shoes! (Glitter shoes tutorial.)

I have been really slacking on sharing projects I have made lately (which maybe I will get caught up again soon), but this one has me so excited I just could NOT wait to show it off.

Guess what I made?

That's right! Glitter shoes! I am in love...

Here are the before:

Some really old, used-to-be cute shoes that are now really scuffed and...well, let's face it...ugly! Which made them the PERFECT specimen to experiment on the first time.

Would you like to make a pair of glitter shoes for yourself? Lucky for you, I took pictures of my process. Here's How:

You will need:
-Shoes of your choice
-Glitter of your choice (superfine seems to work best, but you could probably use other.)
-Glue (I used a Micheals-brand Mod Podge type glue.)
-Embellishments (optional)
-Hot Glue (if you use embellishments)
-Sealer (I use a spray paint Acrylic sealer. I believe it's called Crystal Clear, but any brand will work as long as it's clear.)

(Click on pictures for larger images.)

Step 1 (Not Shown): Give your shoes a good scrub down. I took a wash cloth and hot water and washed all the dirt and gunk off.

Step 2: Remove any existing embellishments if your shoes have them. I used a craft knife to cut off the bow.

Step 3:Put something inside the shoe to protect it from getting sticky or glittery. I used plastic grocery bags, but really, anything lying around would work.  You may want to tape off the bottoms of the shoes or parts you don't want to be glittered, but for this pair, I didn't bother since the soles are so small anyway.

Step 4: Use the paintbrush to coat the shoe in glue. I learned after the first one, it's better to do it in sections so you still have somewhere to hold on the shoe.

Step 5: GLITTER!!! Generously apply glitter all over the glued section, and shake/tap off the excess. (Put the excess back in the container when ready.)

Step 6 (Not Shown): If you choose to use some,  Secure your embellishments into place where you'd like. I used hot glue because I just had a few small things, but you may need to use other adhesive, depending on your embellishments.

Step 7 (Not Shown): Spray your sealer on your shoes according to directions, and wait for them to dry/set. (Mine took 2 hours.)

And.... Voila:

These pictures don't even do them justice. They are seriously sparkly and just beautiful!

I love that I took some old, dead shoes and not only breathed new life into them, but that they have been reincarnated to be BETTER than before.  I can't wait to wear them.  I could hardly tear myself away from them to come post this!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

A Squirrellytines Day Card

Happy Valentine's Day! I hope you are enjoying the day and sharing the love,  and of course getting prepared for my favorite day in February: Half-Priced Chocolate Day! (TM)

Here's the card I made for my Very Special Somepony this year:

I recently found some woodland themed stamps with cutesy love sayings associated with them and I just HAD to have them. And of course, I had to use at least one right away.  I think it's a super cute card!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

(How to Make) Yarn Wrapped Valentine's Wreath

It's almost Valentine's Day! You know what that means?! An excuse to put hearts everywhere (not that that I needed one) and a chance to make some fun crafts!

For me, that fun craft was a wreath. I decided a while ago that I wanted to make a Valentine's wreath, but did not know what. I am very into wreaths lately all of a sudden-which is actually pretty random because I never use to care either way for them before. (And I still need to share both my Halloween Wreath and my [second] Holiday Wreath from last year.)

After trying for a while, and failing, to find a heart-shaped wreath form for the project, I finally decided that I would just go ahead and make a round one. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do, so bought some hearts and flowers stuff, and decided I really liked the idea of a yarn wrapped wreath, so that's what I went with. I made this in about 2-3 hours a couple weeks ago.

I am really pleased with how this turned out. I just love how it's so simple, but at the same time, so charmingly perfect.  We joked that it looks like a little life preserver, and Shaun called it a "LOVE Preserver". So now that is its official name in our house.

If you would like to make one, too, here's how I did it. I am sure most of it is self-explanatory, but just in case:

1. Gather up your supplies.
You'll need:
-A Styrofoam wreath form (I found this small one at the dollar store back when I made this wreath, and just grabbed a few-it's about 9 inches across)
-Yarn in color(s) of your choice
-Things to decorate the wreath if you choose (not pictured)
-Hot Glue Gun and Hot Glue

2.  Decide on a pattern for your yarn.

You don't have to mark on the Styrofoam like I did, but I did find that it helped me keep it (mostly) even sectioned and to make it easier to remember what I was working on. I actually made the yarn balls because one of my colors was tangled and after I got it sorted out, I made this size ball, and it turned out to be just about perfect for my project, but this is not necessary if you don't want to-you can just cut long lengths of yarn to work with at a time.

3. Hot Glue the edge of the yarn to the back of the wreath, and then wrap the yarn around the section for that color.  Make sure to keep the yarn tautly wrapped around the wreath so it stays in place.  Remember to hot glue the end down once you get to the end of that section.

4. Do this a few hundred (or thousand?) times... Seriously, it looks nice, but does take a while. Your wreath  will start to look like this:

5. And then this...Yay, you're getting so close! You could even stop here if you like just the yarn-wrapped look.

6. Hot Glue any decorations you'd like to use onto the wreath where you like. (No Pictures for this step.) For mine, I used hearts that came in a roses stem that I found at the dollar store-one from each of my red and pink-and for the leaves and the curly-cues, I took off of some of my Christmas floral picks. (The nice thing about those types of things, they weren't specifically Christmas related so YOU can decide what you do with them.)

And.... Voila! You have an adorable yarn wrapped wreath to enjoy!

Mine is currently on my cubicle wall at work so it can bring me joy and be showed off. It does its job well, and everyone who walks by has told me it is really cute or that it turned out well. So I am pleased.

Here it is on our wall with a cute sign I got from Michaels about a year ago:

What Valentine's Crafts are you working on? (Or probably have finished by now...)

Friday, February 5, 2016

Monochrome Hearts and Flowers Thank You Card

When exploring some images in my Cricut's Design Space, I found a cute Thank You overlay with these hearts and flowers on it. Since I have occasion to use Thank You Cards somewhat frequently at work because of a recognition program we have,  and it's good to have them on hand just in case, I went ahead and made one with this image that I liked.

I just used whatever card layer scrap I had in my stash just to test it out, but once I cut it out with the Cricut, I really liked it, and decided to make a card with it right away.

Here's what I came up with:

A monochrome blue card. (The top layer looks white, but it is blue, I promise.) I really like how monochrome color schemes look for certain things, and this is no exception. I really liked it as soon as I made it.  One thing the picture doesn't show very well is that I took a file to the edges of the dark blue base, which gave it a very subtly soft-worn look that I really liked.

I ended up giving this to a coworker just a few days after I made it, and she really liked it.  (I think I am actually getting a reputation for my cards at work, too!)

I am really loving that having my Cricut is making it easy for me to be creative. That was one of my goals for 2016, to be even more creative, and it certainly seems like I am doing that. It's nice to be able to be inspired when I may otherwise not have ideas, but to also have something that is there but builds on my creativity. I love seeing what I come up with for it. :)

A Musical Birthday Card

I meant to share this last week on his birthday, but like always, forgot...

Here is the card I made for Shaun's birthday:

The top (white) layer was made using the Cricut and an image that was part if the subscription that I had a free trial to. (I haven't yet decided if I will actually subscribe.) I thought it was a fun image and I like the simplicity of it. 

I then used a blue layer under it and attached it to a black card base that I used decorative scissors on. I thought it looked good, but that it needed something more, so I did one of my favorite things and Inked the edges of the blue layer to add a bit more interest. Better, but still needed...something.

I thought it could use some highlighting  didn't want it to look overly perfect. (I have a thing about my cards looking perfect, and almost always want to much them up-in a nice way-at least a little bit.) So I took a black Sharpie and traced the words and music notes. Aha, perfect!

I also made a hand made envelope, but for some reason didn't get a picture of that. When he opened the card with his presents, he seemed to really enjoy the card, so that's all that matters to me!

Memory Jars to Bring Happiness

By now, I am sure you have seen the Happiness Jars or Memory Jars all over the internet. Myself, I have shared the idea on Facebook several times and have forgotten to actually create one. Lather, rinse, repeat for a few years.

Well, this year, my friend Susan and I committed to doing it. So we each got our perspective jars (and then I ended up giving her one because I had so many) and she came over and we decorated our jars.

Now, it doesn't have to be decorated, but we figured something that looks pretty would inspire us a bit to use them. 

Here are our jars:


I love Susan's glitter gradient look and her tiny heart on her lid. So cute!

The best part of finishing our jars was that as soon as were done, we each already had a memory to toss in the jars-spending time making crafty things with a friend. (Technically, I had already had one in my blank jar of the day my Cricut arrived, but still.)

I really like the concept of these jars because it is a reminder to remember the happy things, big and small, and technically gives you scrapbook fodder if you are one who does those things. And of course, jars are so easy to come by, who can resist making it into something happy. And I know Shaun is happy since I have a tendency to collect jars or, really, glass containers with a lid, so I am sure he is happy I am finally using at least some of them...

Did you create a happiness jar this year?

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Cricut-Palooza! (Or, My first week of having a new toy.)

 Last week, My Cricut Explore Air arrived and I was very excited.

Since then, I have been playing with it and learning how to use it. I've made lots of random things so far and am getting the hang of it. This is my very first cutting machine, so I knew I would have a learning curve butI gotta say, I am hooked. :)

Reading instructions and learning how to use it.

Pushing the "go" button for the first time! How exciting!
 Here are things I've made with it so far:

Whee! Look at the machine go!

 The pride of the first project.
This was the card that came as a "starter" project with the machine. The software walked me through the whole process to make the card and what to do. I like that it was so easy to get it set up and running.

 I chose a snowflake to test the intricacy of how it can cut. Shaun and I were very impressed with it. This whole snowflake is only 2 inches square or so, as you can see by the measurement lines on the mat under it.  I used the pen to show size comparison, too. Of course, it snowed the next day, and we hate snow, so I joked that since the Cricut controls weather, I guess I'll make a thermometer showing 70 degrees...

Add caption
 With this, I wasn't sure what I wanted to make, but I wanted to see different sized objects, so I just stuck with a simple heart. I love that I can basically make things as big or small as I could possibly need!

 This is actually a mistake. I was trying to make simple card I designed. I thought by selecting "write"  for a certain layer and "cut" for a different part of it, it would cut out the black IN BETWEEN the silver writing so that it was both. I am still not sure how to do that part, but I know the option exists. Oh well, that's what experimentation is for, and I can always use the letters by themselves to make something.

 Here is a card I designed using a  blank pre-set card option that had the notches in the side, and used the write option to do the Thank You.

What thrills me is that you can use your own "system fonts" of fonts from your computer or that you download. I love that! I already used my fonts creatively by printing them, but now I can put it right on something with my Cricut, that is even more awesome!

 Some little speech bubbles I made with some shapes and some of my own fonts. I like that I can use the cut sentiments or the letters by themselves if I wanted.

 I had to test the "poster board" option. I cut some cereal box cardboard and just made whatever I had on the screen. This took me a few tries to get right, but once I did I was SOOO excited. I told my husband "see, I knew I was justified in keeping a bunch of random cardboard!"

Since I was getting used to the design software, and it's January and didn't have anything to decorate my desk with (I like to change the decorations every month), I wanted to make something fun for my desk. Here's the banner I designed in the software.

And I quickly learned how to place things so I can cut them all on one mat, instead of having to take everything off and replace it between cuts.  I was glad I could make that trick work. It's a big time saver when working with smaller items.

The finished banner. Not a great picture, but at least you can see the final thing.

 A card I made.  While at work, I randomly had the idea that it would be fun to make a card that says "you rock my socks" either as a Thank You card or just a greeting. So I uploaded a simple clip art image of socks and designed the card layer to be cut. I put some striped paper behind the socks, which, I have to say, works perfectly and looks like socks I would actually have. I put some other paper behind the cut out words, which I liked when I put it there, but now I think would look better if it were another shade of blue or maybe white since the rest of the card is blue. And I added the ribbon later. I was about to throw it out because it was just a scrap from the banner, but thought it would look cute, so just added it on. I like it.

And finally, something I was playing with today. I wanted to see how small I could make something. The smallest hearts are 1/4 inch each, and the bigger ones are 1/2 inch. I love that it can cut something that tiny. Which means, if I wanted/needed, I could technically make custom confetti. How fun!

I can't wait to try even more things! Those are the things I made just in my first week, I can just see how useful this will be to my crafting.  I am very excited.