Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Book & Calendar New Year's Banner Display

Made a banner after dinner tonight. I used this template from the wonderful Lovely Design blog which I found doing a generic search, then fell in love with immediately. I used my old 2011 calendar pages with some highlight family photos from the year, plus the words FAST AWAY THE OLD YEAR PASSES printed in Castorgate-Distort font. Hung it all on a shiny ribbon I had on hand, rigbht above my desk opposite the Messy Crafty Corner.

After that, I got the idea to use a blank journal to represent the New Year. Printed out WELCOME, 2012! and YOU'RE A BLANK PAGE in Andalus font,, adhered with a glue stick, and wrapped a large brown elastic headband around the binding to hang it with.

Happiness and peace be yours in 2012! What will you write in the book of your life this year?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Rolled magazine pages starburst wreath

Still haven't found out how to spin straw into gold, but I sure did a lot with magazines this holiday season!

Here's the last-minute wreath I did for Christmas Eve. Just rolled pages hot glued to a paper plate, with foam half-balls, glitter, and ribbon. So easy, and much better than consigning old Family Circles to the recycle bin.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Backtrack: Christmas card

I didn't design a Christmas card this year, (although I get half points for doing one for my daughter's birthday on the 18th)...I am the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad person who finally slapped a few store-bought ones into the mail and called it a season. Or maybe I've lived long enough to know I can't do everything all the time; and if I really want a handmade one it's gonna have to start in, like, July.

So for those of you who just met me, which is pretty much anyone reading this except BBB (she knows who she is) here is one I did a few years ago and still like a lot. In fact, I think I'll just make the same one every year from now on and pretend it's a new idea...think it'll work?

Materials/tools I used: White card stock, printed image and text, crown punch, gold foil, bubble wrap, gold acrylic paint, vintage button, star stickers, torn paper, glitter, recycled coffee holder, glue stick, Mod Podge.

Merry Christmas from the Shannons!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Confessions of a crappy stamper

I am so, so bad at stamping.

No, really, I am. This is not a putdown or pout session, just a fact. I tried for years to master this particular crafting technique--it looks so easy when Tim Holtz, or even my 4-year-old grandson, does it. I've taken classes, bought books, watched videos, had one-on-one instruction. I own two drawers full of mounted, unmounted, rubber, acrylic, matched stamp sets and all kinds of loose ones. I have purchased dozens of inkpads, foam stamping mats, acrylic blocks, and every accouterment I found at our local craft store to help me get past my stamping bungling and cluelessness. None of it helped.

My stamping efforts are blurry, smeary, uneven, pathetic. Many are the nice cards and tags that lay ruined because once again, someone to whom stamping comes as naturally as sucking air in and out convinced me to give it a shot "one more time". (Cue Charlie Brown and the football.)

And we're not even gonna mention the word embossing anymore. Okay?

I surrender!

Seriously, my wannabe stamper days are behind me. Life is too fleeting to spend in frustration--at least, mine is. Besides, I found that magazines, old books, online clipart, junk mail, catalogs, and wrapping paper are all unending sources for wonderful images I can Mod Podge or adhere with a glue stick. I love cutout magazine and newspaper letters like these and find they add a really nifty touch to my collages and such. I'd rather spend time doing things that make me happy.

And I have a whole bunch of stamps to barter with other crafty friends for stuff I really want, like handmade papers, buttons, and empty Altoid tins. Time to set up a swap!

Shoutout from Dollar Store Crafts!

Heather from one of my very favorite online resources, Dollar Store Crafts, gave me a really nice little pat on the shoulder on Facebook yesterday. Apparently she liked my glass glitter post. Now, isn't that a great way to kick off a new blog? YEE-HA!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Rice Cake Hanging Bird Feeder Medallions

PLM (Project Messy Level): 5

Materials/tools I used: Rice cakes, birdseed, peanut butter, apple butter, ribbon/shoelaces/string, glass cake pan, metal skewer, waxed paper, little Chinese-food-shaped gift boxes, pinking shears, punch-cut shapes, bird clip art, glue stick

First I got out my good friend the green wobble-legged card table (which I trash picked from one of the tenants who moved out--another story)and spread an old tablecloth over it. Then I put down a sheet of waxed paper and began. All I did was cover the rice cakes in peanut butter and apple butter (jelly would be fine, but we were out of it) and roll them in the glass cake pan which was filled with birdseed. After patting them gently to secure the seed adhering better to the rice cakes, I laid them back on the waxed paper sheet and pierced each with the skewer. Now I had a nice hole to put the hanger through. Serendipity of the day: Shoelaces make fantastic hangers! They're easy to thread through the holes, and also sturdy.

When I'm done (which with all the interruptions of normal, everyday living did not happen today) I'll have a dozen of these; today I finished these two. I'll pack all of them in waxed-paper lined little gift boxes which I scooped up at last year's post-Christmas sales for 10 cents apiece and add a cute little clipart birdie tag.

The mess continues for tomorrow. My husband is a saintly man.

Listening to:

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

O Tannenbaum
A nearby community gallery put on an Alternative Tree Exhibit. I made some of my folded magazine trees for the exhibit and was pleased how they came out. Then I was inspired to do this mixed media piece for myself. It looks so great in my house, I decided the gallery could just do without it.

Materials/tools: Blank canvas, hot glue, 24k gold spray paint, rolled magazine pages, tissue paper, grapevine wreath, cork, Stickles Gold 1799, Memories Mist in Cherry Smoothie, plastic medallion, broken piece of brooch, cut letters from magazines, and of course, Mod Podge--cuz it rocks!

Noel Noel, Noel, Nooooooelll

I did one of those clove-studded lemons! I used to do these years ago, but stopped because it was so hard to stick the cloves through the peel. (DUUUHHHhhh--use a skewer first, Silly!) It smells absolutely Heavenly.

This is my favorite project from this year--folded magazine trees! I made a slew of them as gifts. This little one, which used to be the manual for my old Verizon phone, is the one I like best. I learned the process from watching MisadventurousMommy on YouTube:

Bling bling tree '11

This year I got a great idea: I thought, I love to wear my jewelry, so why shouldn't my Christmas tree love it, too? So, along with the vintage glass ornaments, I went through my necklaces, earrings, brooches, bracelets, and hair clips--even a tiara-- and put most of them to work as tree trimming. I really like the outcome.

No, I love the outcome!

Upcycle broken ornaments into glitter!

How I love Christmas! This year I've had a lot of fun trying a bunch of new things in my Messy Corner. I also pulled out some old tricks, such as my method of making glass glitter out of broken ornaments!

So I dropped the entire box of shiny glass balls and broke two...what's new? I'm clumsy, and I'm messy. (Moment of silence for the dear departed.)

Did I blubber? Did I fret? Nope. Been there, done that. I got out a bowl and put the broken pieces in it. Then I covered the bowl with a disposable cloth and got to work with my implements of choice: a potato masher, a meat mallet, a small jar, and a paintbrush. Follow along:

The cloth is absolutely essential, since the laws of physics dictate that little glass bits will be flying through the air. I use a disposable one, because I don't want microshards in something I'm going to reuse. Safety first.

Okay, time to get violent.

After the initial breakdown, I'm ready for the mallet. Back on with the cover cloth. Then I use the blunt top to squish the pieces even more finely.

The last step is the mortar-and-pestle effect of grinding with the jar. Moving it in an arc, I use the edge to go back and forth over the pieces until they're just the size I want. Soemtimes this takes a while.

Repeat all the above steps if necessary. You'll end up with a bowl of fine glitter that, I guarantee, looks a whole lot better than this crappy picture I took on the iPhone.

Using a paintbrush, carefully remove the shards and fine dust from the cover cloth, then dispose of it (the cloth, not the paintbrush). I put a piece of paper under the bowl to catch the glitter dust--the better to scoop it all back in the bowl and not lose any of the lovely stuffs.

Okay, so I got glitter! Now what to do? I decided to glam up one of the unbroken balls. I brushed on a goodly coat of my BFF Mod Podge and carefully rolled the ornament in the glitter bowl until it was covered all over. After that, I let it dry, tied on a bit of ribbon, and ended up with THIS:

Nice, huh?

Remember: glass glitter is not child friendly. Do not breathe in the fine dust as you're grinding. Clean your masher, mallet, and jar well, even though they don't touch the glitter directly, and tap the fine glass dust out of the paintbrush if you plan on using it again.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Welcome to my mess!

I am messy, and like playing with paper and stuff. I make happy, crafty messes in the corner of the living room of our one-bedroom apartment, situated on the third floor of a vintage building. No sewing fancy-schmancy magazine layout. Just me, my little tables, a bookcase, some tools, and tons of hoarded craft materials filling the walk-in closet and every crevice I can stuff them into. Once in a while, this crafty messiness/messy craftiness actually results in something cool, and I want to begin documenting those serendipities.

I abandoned my last effort almost two years ago. I've toyed with reviving it, but it sputtered and gasped and landed in That Great Blogyard in the Sky. It's time to start again from scritchy-scratch and be here Now. What better time to start again than Christmas?

If anyone actually ends up reading this--well, how fun is that? I'd love for you to join my little adventures. Maybe I can join yours, too! And now, on with the show...this is it!