Oh The Things You Can Do With Paintsticks

Those humble little paint sticks. So useful for stirring paint. And for so many other things. I had a brief email conversation with a woman who had used paint sticks and adhered them to the side of a cabinet, gave it a quaint little finish, almost like siding. It was awesome.

I got to thinking about all the uses of those paint sticks, and more specifically, all the things I have used them for. They work wonders as shims, propping up furniture so that you can paint down to the bottom of a piece of furniture, heck, I’ve even used them for fly swatters.

I wanted to share with you something I am working on now. I am putting together a tall, skinny cabinet and needed a top for it. After scrounging in my wood pile, I just did not have something that would work and I bristled at the thought of yet another trip to The HomeDepot. I looked around the garage and what did I see?

DSCN2539Yes, my trusty bucket of paint sticks. And then brilliance struck. I would make a solid piece of wood using paint sticks. So one by one, I spread glue onto the sticks and positioned them together. They are actually made of two paints sticks end to end and then side to side, and staggered so that the ‘seam’ of the two sticks wouldn’t line up in a row on the finished piece.

I could have sworn that I had taken a photo of them while the glue was drying, but cannot find it now. But once the glue dried, I removed the clamps. As you can see in the picture, the surface – front and back – was a bit rough.

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I measured out the length that I needed. I marked it with a pencil and using a circular saw, The Kid trimmed both ends. I figured it would be easier to sand the thing if I was only sanding the section that I would be using.

DSCN2518Here is the rough piece and the ends that were cut off. Not too much excess. Still trying to figure out what I can do with the leftover pieces. Hmmm….

Top Made of Paint Sticks

Then the sanding began. This was not for the faint of heart… if I do something like this again, I will definitely be more careful with lining up the sticks. Also, I wouldn’t use quite so much glue. I think sanding off the glue was the hardest part.

Top RoughAfter much sanding, it started getting smooth. I must have gone through 6 sheets of sand paper working on this. At this stage, I used some wood filler on some of the gaps and divots and areas that needed more sanding. I figured that as long as there was still filler on the board, I would know where to continue sanding to make it all even.

DSCN2535Finally, it is smooth on all sides. I don’t know about you, but it looks like a solid piece of wood with some really great grain. Heavier than all get out, but I am still in love with this.

DSCN2536The Kid came out and did the routing on three sides. Just so minor sanding and then it was ready for the first coat of stain. I used a very light stain, as I don’t want to cover up that beauty, just keep it sealed. I ran out of the stain after the first coat though, so will have to finish this later.DSCN2537

Here is a shot of the end of the wood… I just love the way that looks!

I just wanted to point out the wonderful ways to use those paint stir sticks. It is a regular habit for both me and The Kid to stop and pick up a few on each trip to the store. I never feel like I am ‘stealing’ anything as I buy a butt-load of paint from them and they offer them free to their customers.

I’d love to see what you’ve made with stir sticks. They’re really handy!

julie

 

Pink, pink and some more pink!

Seems that every thing that I do lately seems to take about three times longer than it used to. I suppose that is partly due to the fact that I seem to have little ‘spare’ time to work on projects. Dang job getting in the way of my hobbies! How dare it! LOL

I did manage, with The Kid’s help, to get two more projects completed. And of course, as the title hints exclaims, both are finished in my favorite shades of pink.

First came the trunk which I imagine being used as either a toy box or perhaps a keepsake trunk. I found this on the curb about three houses down from where I was picking up some piece of furniture, just sitting there forlorn. To be fair, it had seen better days and it needed new hardware, as the lid was sitting next to it. But I could see the potential.

It got a light sanding and a base primer. Then I replaced the hinge and added a ‘soft down lid’ hinge, keeps the lid from DSCN2511slamming on little fingers. I also added felt around the top of the box to prevent it from banging when closed. Once the hardware was done, I applied two coats of pale pink in a high gloss finish. At that time, it was transferred to the ottoman in front of the couch (halfway between the couch and television), so that I could hand paint the “dots” and still watch my recent binge… “Nurse Jackie”. But that is a whole ‘nuther discussion!

Using four simple round objects – a plate, a bowl, a large glass and a small glass – I randomly marked circles over the entirety of the box. Then it was time to sit back and paint them all in. One thing I did learn was to not paint the very lightest color when the room was dim… found the following morning that I hadn’t done such a great job after all. :-) Just took a little clean up and second coats on most of the colors. But in the end, it turned out fabulous.

I added the little bun feet, just to add a little charm. I glued some more felt to the bottom to take care of any wood floors. And it would be easy to reposition, so that toys could be accessed easily. Here is the end product:

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The trunk is lined with cedar, but I am sure that it is only a veneer. Still, smells nice and I am pretty sure would repel moths.

DSCN2531Next up is the little desk that I picked up from a thrift store for $8. My original intention was to take it apart and stack the drawer units to create a tall vanity, but The Kid pointed out that it had a waterfall front and was in more than awesome shape, so he talked me into painting it too.

Once again, it was primed and painted the base coat of pink. I love the way the high gloss looks, making everything look very shiny. Then the drawers (also primed) received one of four colors of paint, the ombré style of painting. I can’t get enough of this, it makes me think of little princesses. It previously had these weird wood handles over indentions and I didn’t want to put them back on. A while back, I had purchased handles for another project that didn’t turn out, so I opted to use them on the desk.

DSCN2532Again, loved the way this turned out. The photo makes it look a little darker than it really is, I waited until evening to take the picture, so there isn’t a whole lot of natural light. And speaking of pictures, I have reverted to my old (bad) habit of not taking a ‘before’ photo. Sigh. I didn’t have pictures of either of these projects, but live and let live. I like the ‘after’ photos better anyway.

DSCN2533Another angle. This piece could easily be used as a vanity as well. A cute little dresser mirror on top and viola!, vanity!

DSCN2534All wood construction, always start with good bones. This was just too good of a deal to pass up.

Well into the next couple of projects, trying to get things cleared up in the garage, so that I can do my remodel out there. My plan is the effectively build a wall between the larger and smaller garage bays and get some vertical height in which to store things. Right now its all on the floor, which takes up more room than I want. I really want to be able to all the cars in the garage when necessary (I live in tornado alley after all) by just moving a few things out of the way. Right now, I feel lucky when I can get one of my three cars into the garage. Need organization!

julie

 

No Drought In Kansas City

As many of you know, I am a transplant to Kansas City from Northern California’s Silicon Valley. We celebrate ten years in the Show-Me state next month. Even so, I always pay attention to the weather and wild fires out in California, which I still think of as ‘home’. They’ve been through some devastating drought conditions which have led to major wild fires. I feel for my peeps on the west coast.

But drought is one thing that Kansas City has not experienced. Well, at least not this year! Everything is greener than green and if you follow my blog, you know that my strawberry patch…

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…and The Kid’s pumpkin patch…

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….are growing like gang-busters. As I understood strawberries, the plants really don’t mature until the third year and then you can expect some decent harvests. Well, mine are only in their second year but have already harvested many quarts. And this even with me leaving about a third on the ground to help fill in light patches!My HouseI have a larger than standard lot, as our house is on a semi-cul-de-sac. I don’t know what else to call it. It is a corner where one street turns 90 degrees and becomes another street, but the corner is set back and we have a wide half-round area in front of my house and two of my neighbors. This makes for larger backyards, which good or bad, means we have more lawn.

Screen Shot 2014-06-13 at 6.34.56 PMHowever, the way that our property is naturally graded, all run off from the eastern neighbor flows into a little stream through our back yard and then into a underground culvert that then feeds into a (very small) lake in the neighborhood just south of us. Thankfully this ugly culvert is in the back of my western neighbor and he has done a great job of camouflaging it.

One might reasonably think that this should work well and most of the time it does. However, when we have had multiple days of heavy rain (as we have recently), it doesn’t seem to work and we get a lot of standing water in our backyard. Or as I call it, “A River Runs Through It”.

DSCN2486The small leafy patch just to the left of the tree (behind the river) is the Kid’s pumpkin patch. Lots of rain is working a minor miracle on the plants… the vines have gone gangbusters and there are hundreds of blossoms! I think we can safely expect a lot of pumpkins… not the biggest, but I am expecting numbers! So, the standing water isn’t a big deal (although it does make it tough to mow that part of the yard), but mostly it keeps the grass beautifully green and nourishes my tree line.

All of Kansas City is just so healthy and green as well. For once, I can honestly look at Kansas City and call it beautiful! I don’t dislike KC, but there is nothing to compare with San Jose/San Francisco area and the Pacific Ocean and the Sierra Madre mountains and everything in between. I really miss California!

Me and The Kid have been slowly been working on some new projects – The Kid now more than me since I’ve gone back to work. Last night we sold the purple vanity (yay!) and I think I have a buyer for the umpteenth pink ombre dresser that I finished an evening or so ago. That leaves just the two-tone vanity left to sell and I will officially have my entry way cleared!

photoI am also about a third or so complete on a 8″ x 10″ cross stitch project, I just picked up the canvas and some thread and started stitching! I am thinking that I will make it into an iPad case when I am done. Or something. Ha! I always have to have something to do with my hands even when I am too tired to refinish furniture and just am sitting on the couch watching ‘Nurse Jackie’. (Don’t get me started talking about binge series watching… that’s another whole different post!)

Thankfully, today is Friday and the end of my first week on the new job. I am really liking it, as I have a super team and an even more super (super-duper?) manager and I am coming up to speed really quick. Which is great, ’cause I really don’t like being the ‘new’ person. I see me doing this for a while. I hope!

julie

A Quick Chime Report

So, in closing yesterday’s post, I showed you the pieces I had ready for the next chime. I simply cannot be that close to a conclusion and not finish the project. So first thing this morning, I set up threading the chime.

Collander ChimesUsing an old colander as the base, I had also purchased a much smaller one. This originally was meant to be used in the American Girl dollhouse (you can see the post about it here), but the scale was a bit too large. And it was blue (the dollhouse kitchen was turquoise). So it was appropriated this morning for the wind chime (after being spray painted silver). Since most of the utensils that I was planning on using were silver or red (or both!), I thought that the two colanders being the same color workable.

As a side note, I just wanted to discuss painting. Painting in all forms is one of the easiest, quickest and least permanent ways of changing the look of just about anything and everything. A room or piece of furniture or frame or just about anything can be easily and usually inexpensive changed. And if you don’t like the new color or you’ve changed the decor of the room, it can be easily changed again. That said, use caution when applying paint: be sure to read instructions, follow cautions and use proper preparations. And always paint with with proper ventilation. End of lecture!

Using a larger red ball that was left from the disintegration of wind chimes past, I threaded into the silver colander. Then the larger red colander was threaded atop the small silver one. I was lucky with the length of string that I used and only had to discard but a few inches while allowing the threading to rise from the top colander and onto an “S” hook (also from the pieces box).

Then it was just a matter of again threading through the existing holes of the colander (so easy!) to hang the utensils. I only used one red spoon to provide an even number which worked perfectly with the design of the colander.

Colander ChimeSo there it is! I really like how it came out and now proudly hangs from the eves on the kitchen deck. Which is a bit poetic, since these were kitchen utensils and colanders. And is my favorite kitchen colors.

We’re expecting storms in the Midwest tonight, so I am hoping this will make for some beautiful music!

julie

 

Tale of Four Victrolas, Part Red

So, with the last post, I began telling you about four old Victrola cabinets that I picked up for free from CraigsList. I showed you the first (along with a purple vanity makeover) and here is the second Victrola cabinet.

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Technically, this cabinet isn’t a Victrola, but the brand name is Cecilian. Personally, I’ve never heard of that brand, so out of convenience, I will just refer to as a Victrola cabinet. :-) This one is the one of the left in the picture above.

This next cabinet was destined for the same treatment as the turquoise one, until it hit me one day. I have a little area of the dining room table where I do bills and mail. I have, for some time, been trying to get the dining room table cleared, so that we could, oh, I dunno, eat dinner there?

So, I opted to keep this one and turned it into a mail organization station. I think it was kind of inevitable, considering that it was already painted the perfect red (remember how much I love red?)… which, I assure you was coincidental.

This particular cabinet started out much like the last. The body was in need of some real reconstruction, but the top was in pretty good shape. So, the body was primed, sanded and painted and the top got the customary two coats of walnut stain (with a light sanding in between) and then two coats of polyurethane. Once I decided to keep this one, I opted for some really nice hardware (read: paid some real money!) and got just the right look.

The inside was finished, again, much the same way as the first. Hate to be redundant because I am feeling like I am starting to sound like a broken record, but the inside was so nicely preserved that really a good wipe down with cloth and then a very light coat of poly to seal it all.

DSCN2397Then, with the help of my handy assistant, we installed two metal rods to hang folders in the open side. It was really very easy and inexpensive. The 5 foot steel rod was a mere two and a half dollars at The HomeDepot and The Kid was able to cut them easily and a couple of drilled holes and they were installed. I had this little pencil holder gadget from something I had taken apart in the past, and I thought it was the perfect finishing piece to keep a pen or two handy.

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The other side, I left without any changes (I think this was where the records were kept when it was a music player), so I can keep whatever I need close at hand.

DSCN2398So, after completing it, it was a matter of pushing it into place and loading it up. I know that I have a habit of filling up a space (and then some!) and I am worried this is a little much for the space. I’d like to think that if it helps me organize the space, then it should be okay. What do you think?

DSCN2396So, originally when I thought that the piece would be for sale, I painted a matching mirror. If you recall, I picked up three of these mirrors from the Penney’s Outlet store for a pittance and the idea was to include one with each of the cabinets.

I definitely don’t have space for a mirror in this room, since this one is pretty much filled with windows. So, I will either include this with something else or sell it by itself. Either way, I love that red! ;-)

DSCN2406Okay, now I am down to the last two cabinets. One will require that we build a new lid but I am excited that the Kid and I have the skills to do this. I promise I will take more pictures!

Today was an ‘off’ day, I think that the Kid and me deserved to sleep in late. Right back at it tomorrow though!

julie

 

And My Favorite Status: SOLD!

I finally moved one of the two behemoths out of my entry way and turned them into cash! Yay!

The wardrobe has been finished for a while and I was beginning to wonder if anyone would find the makeover to their taste. I was jockeying ways to actually keep it and make it the centerpiece of my entry way when I got the email. If you want to take a look at the previous blogs which described went into the restoration and painting of the wardrobe, click here.

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I happily helped load it into the back of their SUV in exchange for a tidy sum of cash. I like it when it works out that way.

I also had just put the finishing touches on the off-white vanity and no sooner listed it for sale, then a lovely woman called to claim it for her daughter. I hadn’t even had a chance to post the finished pics here.

DSCN2341So, the vanity needed very little work, it was just in brilliant condition. A few minor fixes to the veneer, we (me and my trusty sidekick ‘The Kid’) attempted to replace the missing veneer pieces. It was good practice.

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DSCN2334It turned out okay, but not spectacular, so I opted to go ahead with painting the entire cabinet. I loved the simplicity of the design on the drawers and mirror. And of course, my new favorite color – Vanilla Custard – gave it an elegant look.

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At the last minute, I came across an old piano bench, the top so warped and the veneer almost non-existent, that I opted to use along with the vanity. Apologies for the bad lighting, but I only had finished the bench before sunset and could take a quick snapshot before the buyer arrived.

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DSCN2347As it was a former piano bench, the top hinged up to reveal a little storage under the top. It was a simple job to add a piece of two inch foam and then wrap it with the softest velour I could find. And without having a sample of the paint with me, I picked out the fabric and the color was a spot on match.

As timing would have it, we picked up another vanity and bench seat! I am in the middle of so many projects… on top of that, I am trying to keep an active job hunt going. There might just be a point that I would be grateful to go back to work and not worry about how much furniture is occupying my three car garage!

julie

New Favorite Color – Vanilla Custard

Had a break in the weather – actually had a couple of days with temperatures in the seventies. And then, of course, it dipped back down today to make it too cold to paint in the garage again. So frustrating. If temps don’t go back up soon, I will be bringing in the latest aquisition of a vanity to work.

I thought I’d give you a sneak peak at the pieces as they are drying their third coat of paint, using my new favorite color and sheen. I am using  high gloss paint in a shade called Vanilla Custard. It is a warmer than an ordinary white, bordering on a very light yellow. I had originally planned to use it in conjunction with some touches of Blush Pink, but now am giving that color scheme a second thought, I like the Vanilla Custard all by itself.

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The bottom large drawers have a beautiful motif on their fronts. This may (or may not) be highlighted in a coordinating pink.

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The primary body of the vanity in the Vanilla Custard. Three coats of paint in high gloss finish make this piece just shine. Love the front legs on this piece. Even though you can’t see it in this photo, the smaller drawers have some extraordinary motifs as well.

photo 9The mirror frame also has some nice carved detailing. This piece required the most work, as all of the joints had come loose or apart. Just need to reinstall the glass and re-attach to the vanity.

photo 10Small piano bench I picked up that had a warped bench top. Removed it and will be replacing with a padded cushion in the softest fabric in the same shade of white. Like the leg detailing… not too much and not too little.

Both pieces were found objects, absolutely free! The big investment besides elbow grease and some screws and glue was the paint at a hefty $17. I am tempted to keep this one, but it really is completely different than my current bedroom style.

Well, that’s it for tonight. Come back soon for the unveiling!

julie

Rescued Wardrobe… Finished At Last!

If you’ve been reading my blog, you will remember that quite some time ago, I started work on rescuing an antique wardrobe. Well, since my last contract ended, I took the last push and finished it. Put the handles on it last night and wiped down the interior and took the final photos.

DSCN2270So here it is, it all of its black, white and shades of grey. Oh and the smallest touches of turquoise. I think it quite striking and I wish that I had a place to display it and keep it in my home. It is that beautiful. Oh, and did I mention? It weighs like 300 pounds, which means, that me and the Kid gotta pick it up and deliver it somewhere. And if luck holds out, it will be on a second floor somewhere. Whew!

DSCN2269I got lucky and the doors open and close easily, no sticking or creaking. This piece was absolutely a gem in its heyday, it is just too bad that the previous owner left it sit in a garage and made a mess of the walnut veneer. I imagine it was an absolutely gem.

DSCN2271As you can see, the interior escaped most of the damage that incurred on the outside. A thorough cleaning of the interior and the replacement of one trim piece and it sparkles like it must have always.

DSCN2272Last shot, you can see the multiple coats of polyurethane just shine in the evening sun… I just love the way this turned out. I especially enjoy the color scheme that was chosen. The stark contrast of the black and white with the shades of grey are stunning. I debated about the accent color, but in the end, I went with a favorite of mine – a deep turquoise.

If you care to see the previous blogs, you can see them here, here and here.

Now, to get them sold and move on to the next projects… picked up these lovely cabinets thanks to the generousity of a gentleman who only wanted the guts of the old record players. I think these will turn out to be very lovely pieces.

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I’ve also started on the third piece of stained glass, after thinking long and hard, it hit me… it has to be my logo for the doll accessories and clothing and furniture that I’ve been creating. Lends itself perfectly to stained glass. I still have to show you the last one I finished, although I think I realized that the image I chose was much too intricate and am not very happy with the way it turned out. But we can talk about that more in the next blog post.

julie

Taking the “Pane” out of Making Stained Glass

You can thank the Kid for the title of this post. I just love his quirky sense of humor… gets that from me, I suspect.

I promised to give you some tips and hints about using glass paint to make faux stained glass. I have been using the products from Plaid, their Gallery Glass line. Of their product line, I have used both the glass paint and the “leading” strips. I stumbled onto their products at an estate sale, purchasing a large box of craft products ostensibly for the beads and paint and some other items. But since I now had the supplies, curiosity got the better of me and I set off to figure out how to use it.

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After much trial and error – including the mistake that the paint was to be brushed on – I finally got the hang of using the paint. I’ve gotten quite adept at using it with some very nice results.

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DSCN1996This particular glass contained was a 99¢ glass vase from a thrift store. I liked that the edges were rounded. I started with the leading strips, these particular ones are an eighth319OU8-c8+L inch wide. They are adhesive that once applied are able to be adjusted for a few days. But once they have been on the glass for a few days, they are permanent. I started but running lead around the top and bottom and then divide the space with an additional one or two lines. Then as it appeals to me, I make vertical and diagonal lines. I use a razor blade or exacto knife to get the joints very tight. I continue until I am satisfied.

DSCN1997Then it is time to add the color. Don’t be afraid to fill into the blank spaces with a lot of paint, the thicker and wavier you make the paint, the more distorted and “stained glass-like” it will appear. I like to lay the piece on its side and fill in all of the areas that are presented. The glass is dry to the touch in a few hours but can be disturbed if touch or scratched. I like to let the paint set up for at least 24 hours before applying any real pressure.

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DSCN1999Continue with random color selections until you’ve completed all sides. Allow to dry. It’s that easy!

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I’ve done a number of pieces, round, square and even flat panes of glass. I am working on a piece that is almost finished that will decorate the top portion of a arched window in my kitchen, of course in my favorite colors: red and white! The paints are almost fully cured and then I have to install it. And of course take some photos. I hope you will come back and see my results.

julie

PS – For those interested, I am not being paid for nor sponsored in any way for the mention of any products in this post. I just like the way that these particular products work and want to share with you my success.

Wonderful World of Wine Glasses

There’s this wonderful web site that auctions off items from businesses that go out of business (mostly) and they always seem to have the most extraordinary things. I like to wait until the last day and skim through and find anything not being bid on and make my selections. Recently, I won an auction for 20 wine glasses for just $5 (and a couple of dollars processing fee) and the Kid drove downtown to pick them up for me. I had no plan in mind when I bid on them, I just knew it would be a great canvas for some fun art.

Of course, I didn’t take any ‘before’ pictures, but I think in this situation, you won’t miss much. But here are my ‘afters':

First, I had recently purchased a 30 bottle package of ultra fine glitter. You can thank one of the blogs that I follow, she was making Christmas ornaments and I immediately fell in love with the look of the extra fine glitter. So, the first set of glasses was rewarded with a thick coat of glitter on the stem and base of the glass… chose 8 different colors – selecting those with the most deep colors:

2013-12-25 17.56.50I used Modge-Podge and a brush and then sprinkled the glitter over the stem and base. I used a thick coat of Modge-Podge so it would have a nice even coat and not require patching or filling in. Once dry, I placed the glass upside down and sprayed it lightly with two coats of high gloss clear XXX, letting each coat dry thoroughly in between to ensure a long lasting finish. All in all, I think this would be pretty durable, although I would only clean by hand and never put it in the dishwasher.

An addendum: I did want to add two more to this set, one in black and another in silver, but the Kid thought that would be too ‘pedestrian’. Where did this Kid come from anyway?

Next up was an attempt to recreate a pinterest pin. I like the idea of gradients of a single color or a color ombré approach. The first one was done in shades of blue and I immediately liked the way it turned out. I used Elmer’s Paint Pens, over the years I have invested in many colors and line weights, so naturally it was an easy enough solution. I started with the darkest color and made dots and let them dry. Followed by three more layers in lighter degrees of the same color until there is a nice coverage. A few straggling dots up the stem for fun. Green, yellow and pink followed for a nice set of four.

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2013-12-25 17.58.24These also were the recipients of two coats of clear gloss coats sprayed with ample drying time in between. These, also, should be hand cleaned for years of use. I hope. :-)

For the third set of glasses, I used a process that I have been playing with lately, a paint that dries to mimic stained glass. I’ve been playing with this for a while, first used on a large mirror and then a couple sheets of glass to actually make some “stained glass” panels. I have another project that I will talk about soon in another post, that I used this paint on a glass gallon bottle and then filled with small Christmas lights to make a nice, calming ambient light source. The company that makes the paint almost makes mock “leading” and so I simply started by laying out the “leading and then filling in the shapes. I used nice thick coats so that I didn’t have to do multiple coats, something I learned over time and experimentation.

2013-12-25 17.58.58I only made two, as I think these wouldn’t actually be good for drinking, but rather just decorative. I don’t plan on using them as glasses, but rather as an object of art. I love the bubbly look of the way the paint actually looks like old glass, the uneven and wavering surface. These paints come in many colors and I have many of them, and will continue to experiment with it.

The final set of glasses was the most fun and of course, the season lent the motif to the decoration: Christmas lights. Not the new little twinkle lights, but the lights I grew up with and still my favorite. I cut out a small template for the bulb and the rest was free hand. Again, finished the same as most of the glasses and I will handle the same way.

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2013-12-25 17.54.28And with the completion of these 6 glasses, all of my glasses had been used. And a couple of days worth of crafting time. And now I have to figure out what I am going to do next and more importantly, what I am going to do with these new glasses. My house is overflowing to spilling out with projects and there just isn’t room anymore for any more displays!

Well, I hope that everyone had a great holiday and enjoyed time off. I relaxed as much as that is possible for me with the Kid.

I hope you made something beautiful today!

julie

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