Inspiration Comes in Many Forms and Unexpected Places

Inspiration has a way of sneaking up on you from different places and in different ways. Feeling like I have sort of worn out the ombr̩ style and that I wanted Рnee, needed, to do something different, I found inspiration. In a crayon box.

I was cleaning out the cupboards upstairs in the hall which has been a holding place for school supplies for the Kid for many years. I had sort of made it my mission to help all his teachers and their students by always buying more than I needed during the back-to-school sales and stashing some away so that the Kid would always have supplies, and also donating at least two or three students’ worth of supplies to his new homeroom teacher. Needless to say, as we near the end of his K-12 school days, I needed to get rid of some. And that is where I saw the Crayola boxes and found inspiration.

huggies-slip-ons

I had picked up a dresser that was the perfect piece… solid and wood, but with absolutely no personality. Well, here it is, a bit of personality now!:

DSCN1272

I am so pleased with how this turned out. The base color – something in between orange and yellow – was a real bear to work with. No coverage whatsoever and even in priming the cabinet first, it required no less than six coats of paint. The other colors, even the yellow, were dreams compared. The black stripes and outlines were done with my favorite Elmer’s paint pens. I struggled for a while on what to use for handles, I wish this had been a piece that had built-in drawer pulls, but in the end, I just used wood round knobs painted the same color as the drawer, hoping to make them blend-in. I think it worked! What do you think?

Here’s a quick before and after:

Crayola Before&After

Another project done this week is a gem that I found at a storage center. The owners were clearing out a few of the discarded or left behind items, including this lovely little beat up piece:

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But if you can see past the flaking, dull paint and the horrible hardware to see the beauty that lies within, you are off on the right foot. The lovely curves of this dresser tell the real story. And in sanding the chipped and flaking paint off the top of this lovely, I found the most beautiful wood. It took nearly eight sheets of sandpaper and some real dedication and time in removing it all, but it was worth the effort.

Dresser Top

This is three coats of a natural finish, followed by two coats of polyurethane. It just shines and should last another fifty or sixty years! I didn’t spend as much time with the body, but opted to apply three coats of the antique white (one of my favorites) and then add the six ceramic knobs painted a deep chocolate brown. The perfect crowning touch. And here is the result:

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And so that you don’t have to scroll back up to see the before photo, here is the before and after:

Ivory Before&After

These are the kind of results that I love and only hope to achieve with every piece that I work on. But alas, there are two more pink ombré pieces waiting, one to be delivered and the other to be sold. Additionally, work continues on the doll beds and their matching dressers, armoires and night stands, as well as clothing. I hope to have quite a nice inventory when I am ready to start selling. It is turning out to be a little more work than I thought, at least taking more time than I anticipated. But it is fun and has been rewarding as I put my creativity to work in a smaller scale.

Thanks for dropping by! And keep the crafting and inspiration flowing!

julie

False Front Book Box, Jello Molds, Crayola Projects and Tiny Portraits.

Finally finished a couple of projects… started a few more and worked on even more. Let me catch you up on a few of the done ones.

False Front Book Box: This is one from the “To Get Done” list, number 15. When I saw this on Etsy.com, I thought it looked easier than it turned out to actually be. Finding the books was easy and getting the box created was fairly simple and straightforward. I used a miter saw to cut the majority of the book away, leaving between 2 inches and an inch and a half. Unfortunately the saw caused the pages to be a bit jagged, especially at the top and bottom. It became a real challenge to join the books to each other and in the end, using clamps to hold the books together as the glue dried caused the width of the total books ended up being shorter than the box (meaning you can actually see the box). I am still considering ways to fix this, but am unsure at this point. Like I said, this was not as easy as the original idea looked. I have a new found respect for some of the artisans who have found ways to work around these issues.

If you’ve read my blog before, you know two things: one, I love to go to thrift stores and look for treasures. And two, my kitchen (and attached dining room and living room) are ‘Kitchenaide Red’.

Last week on one lunch run to a nearby thrift store, I found this set of aluminum molds. I am sure that they were jello molds, they reminded me of something that I am sure that we had in my own home when I was a Kid.

Well, spray painted with a coat of primer followed by two coats of matte dark red paint. I glued small hooks to the back for hanging using E-6000 glue. A couple of hours of drying time and a lithe kid on the counter and they were hung on either side of the red trivet over my sink in the kitchen.

This weekend was filled with crayola projects. First were using up all the off branded crayons collected during the Kid’s younger years of visiting those restaurants where they give kids crayons while they wait for dinner. We had a lot!

My son jokingly calls me a hoarder on occasion as when the opportunity presents itself, I snatch up bargains and clearance items even if I have no idea where or how I can use the items. I usually have some vague idea of what it could be used for and usually I do use it eventually.

That is what happened with both the silicon molds and the frames in these next projects. Me and the Kid sorted and peeled off labels and then broke the crayons into manageable pieces. Then using the molds, we filled them and placed the molds into a 450 degree oven. For the snowflake molds, being smaller, it only took about 15 minutes for them to melt. A few required a few more pieces to get a nice fill. It was surprising how much the crayons melt down.

The gingerbread man molds required much more crayon pieces considering that they were larger and deeper. For the most part, I wanted to make singular colored gingerbread men. Most of the crayons were red, blue, yellow and green, but I did have some orange and brown.

These were in the oven about 20 minutes when I had to add to these to fill up the molds. I had enough for almost all but the brownish-orange one. One of them was part blue and part yellow. They went back into the oven for another 20 minutes or so. The one downside to the silicon molds are they are difficult to move since they are so flexible. When I moved it, a bit of melted crayon ran from one color to another. I think next time I would use another cookie sheet and not move them until they’ve cooled and hardened a bit.

I will definitely be doing this again. One thing I learned is that less quality crayons have a bit more wax and tend to separate a bit, so I would probably stir the wax when it come out of the oven. Its a little hard to see in the photo, but the gingerbread men have a lighter looking layer, I guess the colored portion is heavier. I’ve seen a number of these projects on pinterest.com ranging from hearts to circles and even rocks, but my favorite by far is a cupcake mold. I will be keeping my eyes open for other interesting molds and of course, continue to collect crayons whenever possible. I will probably be on the watch for Crayola brand crayons to be on sale, like during back to school sales. I also like the idea of multi-colored remakes, like shades of red or orange swirled together.

The other set of crayola projects were the initials and the heart shape frame in the shadowboxes. These gorgeous frames were a deal found at Michael’s in the “as is” bin. Marked originally $9.99, they were on sale for $1.25 a piece! Too good of a deal to pass up.

So, it was simple enough to open up text edit on my Mac and sift through the myriad of fonts that I now have installed (did I mentioned I bought 10,000 fonts for $20?) to find a clean capital letter S and J. Simple sizing until I had it right and googled for a heart shape and printed them out. Then it was a simple matter of sizing, cutting and gluing the crayon pieces into place and letting them dry over night. Setting them into frames this morning and they were complete.

One things I did realize is that Crayola brand crayons have used (or currently use) different styles of branding on their crayons. Different fonts, sizes and styles in labels. There is one mistake in the crayola heart by using a crayon that didn’t match the others.

There is this story that I read when I did a lot of quilting. The story was about the Amish and their quilting and how they always put one ‘mistake’ into their quilts because only God was perfect. I always like that. So, even though I don’t plan for mistakes, when I do make them I embrace them. I like the idea of only being human. There is also the quilting idea of ‘better done than perfect’, meaning that you could work on something in trying to perfect it, but sometimes it is simply better that one finishes the project and moves on to another one. I like that idea too.

So, the final project of the weekend was a quick yet satisfying one. While out material gathering, I ran across these tiny stretched canvases and the small easel. They were adorable and at a buck and a half, I couldn’t resist.

I had been playing around with some larger canvases and came up with a process of printing on tissue paper and then gluing the image to the canvas using a watered down white glue mixture. It makes the tissue paper ‘crinkle’ looking a bit like exaggerated brush strokes on the canvas. I found three shots of the Kid when he was younger and sized them in Photoshop and printed them on the tissue paper and mounted them on the canvas. This is going in my office and will rotate the canvases from day to day.

Isn’t he adorable?

So, I know that it has been a while since I posted, but I hope it was well worth the wait. Like I said earlier, I have several other projects in process and a few more about to begin. I hope you will come back and visit real soon.

Happy crafting y’all!

 

 

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