January 24, 2012

Autumn Forest Painting

 I finally finished a painting I've been working on since September.  I wanted something to remind me of the fall, my favorite time of the year.  So I painted a group of trees in the woods with lots of oranges and browns to coordinate with the rest of the living room. I love aspens and used them as inspiration for my abstract trees. I didn't really know where this painting would lead me when I started it.  I think that's why it took so long to finish it.  For most of fall it sat on the wall above the couch a blank white canvas with pencil marks on it.  Then in November I finished the sky and the tree canopy.  And finally, yesterday I painted the forest floor and the tree trunks.

This painting is the largest canvas I've painted.  Its by no means the best painting I've done.  Its pretty sloppy and I kept running out of paint so the color doesn't match up in a lot of places.  But, I really like it and from a distance you don't notice my mess ups that easy.

Hurray! The painting looks great above the couch.  

January 23, 2012

Indoor Flowers for Winter

Yesterday I finished another project for the entryway.  I made some wall hung glass vases filled with primrose. This January I've been feeling a little blah with all the rain and clouds everyday so I wanted something to remind me spring is on its way. I chose primrose because to me they symbolize the first signs of spring since they are the first flowers after Christmas that arrive at the garden center. This project was very easy and only took a few hours to complete.  It was inexpensive as well.  I think at most I spent $10 on this project. 

Here are my inspirational ideas.  I wanted to do the glass tubes inside a picture frame (bottom right corner) but I didn't think it would look as well on our white wall in the entryway.  So instead I used a board I had in my possession as the backdrops to these flower containers.

First I painted a design on each of my wooden board pieces.  Originally I wrote out the words "Nature" and "in bloom" on each of the boards but once I did they looked corny to me so I covered them up using the same stencil as on my desk from early this summer.  Click here to see my previous desk project.

Once the paint was dry (I let it sit overnight) I used the drill gun and made two holes a few inches apart where I wanted my glass jars to hang.

Then I potted up my primrose.  Since there is no drainage in the vases I filled the bottom half with decorative stones to keep the roots from rotting.
Then I used some leftover wire to wind 3 times around the neck of the vase and twist tied the wire together to keep it from slipping.  I then pulled the wire through each of the holes I drilled through my board and twist tied them again on the back.

Then the final step was to hang them on the wall. 

This one I had to redo because I first attached the vase to it upside down.  It only took me a few extra minutes to redo thankfully.

 Hurray for a cute and easy way to bring the outdoors into your home!

 I realize the house will eventually get too warm for the primrose and they will eventually out grow their containers but I designed this to be easily taken apart and changed from time to time depending on the season.  You could even put fake flowers or some cut flowers inside if you wanted.

 Looking at the flowers through the sunburst mirror.

January 16, 2012

D.I.Y. Sunburst Mirror

 This weekend project was to make an impressive star burst mirror using very simply materials.  I have been looking for ideas to dress up the entryway and make it flow a little better with the office area.  I thought about hanging up our long boards in this area but they are pretty heavy and I didn't want to damage the walls with a lot of hardware.  Plus the wheels get very dirty and would make the white walls look dingy after awhile so instead I browsed the Internet for ideas and found this great mirror tutorial at hisugarplum.blogspot.com.  It was very simple to make and only cost about 10 dollars.  I bought a pack of shims at home depot for 5 dollars, a 6" and a 12" wooden floral wreath at Michael's for 3 dollars and a 10" mirror from a thrift store.  It only took a few hours to put together and was hanging on the wall the following day.

 Once the mirror was hung on the wall it looked great!  It was the perfect size to fit the wall and coordinated perfectly with the wood details from the office area and the hall closet.  This was the best idea I've found in awhile.  I love this mirror!

After hanging up the mirror Oz wanted to take my photo in the mirror and describe how the mirror was constructed.  It was not a very good explanation on my part, so if you want to see how to make the mirror for yourself click here

January 15, 2012

New Year Resolution for 2012

It hasn't been until very recently that I started to make goals for the upcoming year.  Mainly because I never had anything I felt the need to really improve/give up for the year.  And, I am terrible at sticking with my resolutions.  But now that I am starting to set realistic goals that are something I want to achieve, I am much better at following through and completing my personal goals.  This year I am setting 3 goals:

Goal 1: Spend Less $
As much as I live within my means, I realize I should be saving more than spending.  My weaknesses are crafts and gardening.  To help me save rather than spend I am going to cut back on the amount I spend on gardening and crafts by using up the materials I have on hand before buying anything new for future projects.  My room is packed full of enough fabric, yarn, ribbon, felt, and misc. crafts to last me several decades. By finishing my past projects I hope to not buy anymore fabric or scrapbooking supplies for the next year.  I have already started on this goal by finishing all the misc. earrings that I have been wanting to put together for the last year or so.

Goal 2: Balance Out Working and Home Life
I love my job but working 5 full days at a physically demanding work place can take it out of me by the weekend.  This coming year I would like to balance working hard at work, finding time to craft and just remembering to relax.  I like to stay busy.  When I'm not at work I am usually making plans for my next craft project or redecorating the house.  It is nice to have hobbies and passions but when they consume your whole life its time to reevaluate what is important.  I want to make hanging out with my friends and family a major priority again.  To accomplish this I have cut back on working for the winter months, slowly curbing my desire to design 24/7 and am learning to take life as it comes by unexpectedly.  

Goal 3: Spend More Time with Charlotte
I think I've been doing a pretty good job giving Charlotte the attention she needs.  But she is a very active little dog and loves to play and exercise.  I am making it my priority to give her the physical and mental development she needs as an active dog.  I am working on waking up earlier to get her a second walk in the mornings, taking her to the park more, finding new dogs to play with and for her up coming birthday I want to get her the equipment to start doing agility obstacles.  All of this will benefit the both of us and keep us both in shape.  

So those are my goals for the new year.  I know I will follow through with them because I have the desire to balance out my financial, mental and physical life.  And since I have set small goals within my larger goals, I have smaller steps to take to make my resolutions stick for the whole year and beyond.  If you have set goals for yourself I will you good fortune in achieving your own goals.  Happy New Year!

January 14, 2012

D.I.Y. Earring Display Case

 This weekend I put the finishing touches on my new earring display case.  I borrowed the idea of using a briefcase as the earring holder from a fellow earring maker and added my own personal touches to the project.  

 I first bought a used briefcase from goodwill for about 8 dollars.  I then removed the interior organizer dividers from the upper portion of the briefcase.

 Once the extra stuff from the interior had been removed I used a scrap piece of fabric I had lying around and glued it into the upper and lower portions of the briefcase using Elmer's adhesive spray.  I thought I used a lot of glue but I think most of it sank into the fabric on the briefcase because it didn't hold its adhesion very well.

 To add better bond between the fabric and the interior of the briefcase I hot glued a ribbon of 3/4" ribbon I found in the bias tape section of the craft store.  The ribbon also helped hide the rough, ragged edges of the fraying fabric on the ends.

 Once the fabric and ribbon was securely attached, I cut dowel rods to fit lengthwise across my briefcase which would hold my earring cards.  I hot glued 3 dowel rods to the fabric.  Before I did this I first screwed in 6 3/4" cup hooks into each dowel rod for the earrings to slide onto.

Here is a close up of the dowels and cup hooks.  I think I hot glued the rods on a little crooked but once the earring cards were on them I couldn't tell.

 Finally, I added my earrings and its done!  I had space to hang 18 different earrings which was just about perfect for what I needed.

 On the bottom of the briefcase I used a few extra dowel rods to section off the bottom to hold more jewelry or business cards or whatever I can think of in the future.

I hope you enjoyed this project.  It was a fun way to display my jewelry.  This is a great project for jewelry makers, sellers or just to display your own personal collection.

January 10, 2012

National Houseplant Appreciation Day

Today is National Houseplant Appreciation Day.  I'm not making this up.  You can find it online if you type in obscure calendar holidays.  Anyways, in honor of this day, this morning I pampered my houseplants by watering, fertilizing and dusting them.  I also did a bug check.  It's a good thing I did because one of my orchids had a few scales on it.  Yuck!  Scale is not something I want on my plants, it is very tough to get rid of it gets to be a serious problem.  But luckily I caught the infestation in time before it spread to all the houseplants.

Here are a few photos to show off my houseplants:

This is a lady slipper orchid.  I bought this one last week when I went up to the Portland Plant Market for work duties.  I love lady slippers and I really like how dark this one is.
This is the first orchid I bought 3 years ago.  It is so delicate looking and the blooms last up to 9 months!  Last year I successfully got it to re bloom, the first time since taking it home a few years prior.

 This is a before and after shot of the hoya plant I rescued from being trash 2-3 years ago.  It only had 2 leaves on it when I saved it and now it has vines 3 feet long.  I give credit to saving this plant to a good sunny location and keeping it very dry between waterings.

 I recently put in a houseplant shelf above the office area.  Before, my plants were scattered everywhere and never had a permanent home.  I chose this spot because they are out of the way, there is plenty of light and it really added a natural look to this corner. I also switched out the light in this corner with a full spectrum light that houseplants need if they aren't exposed to enough natural sunlight. Soon I would like to replant all of these plants and put them into matching pottery.  I haven't decided how to do this yet but I think it will look great when everything is the same color combination.

 Lastly, here is my Christmas cactus a friend gave me a cutting of 2 years ago.  This one is sitting in my bedroom.  I love this plant because it blooms once in winter and again in spring.  I like the orange/pink combination of its petals.

Well, that's all for me.  Be sure and pamper your own houseplants today.  Even just a kind word can make all the difference to your plants!

January 09, 2012

Portland Nursery on Division

I spent the day with Amy in Portland yesterday. I dropped off Charlotte at Amy's so she could play with Porter then Amy and I were off and about. Eventually We went to a plant nursery in search of plants for Amy's apartment. We went to the Portland nursery on Division Street. 

It was a pretty cool spot. We found some staghorn ferns mounted on the walls. We both bought a 4" one to make our own.

We saw a hanging basket filled with beautiful red speckled pitcher plants.

A giant jade plant that was about 4 feet tall.

They had tons of tropical plants more than a story high. I'm standing under a giant palm plant with fronds so large they could double as an umbrella.

They also had a great selection of succulents and cacti. Inside the greenhouse was a mini desert display with all sorts of cacti growing around rocks and boulders. Out front they even had living walls made with succulents.
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