Monday, January 30, 2012

Pin Cushions ~ Using Kitchen and Art Utensils

These pin cushions were made with a small piece of scrap material and items from thrift stores - an ice cream dish, a metal paint mixing cup, a mini coffee cup, and a vintage jello mold.

Depending on the size of your container, gather polyester filling into the backside of a scrap piece of material.

Gather the material ends and pull tight.  Tie the gathered material with a piece of string (I used scrap string from animal feed bags).  Knot securely.

I used to use a rubber band, but over the years, they will fall apart.  You might also try using a metal bread twist tie.

Trim off the extra material.  Place glue into your container (I used E6000 for this project), and push your new pin cushion down into your container, so that your rounded end (as shown in the photo) is up.  Allow to completely dry.

What Can I Do With a Vintage Wooden Handled Pastry Blender?

You can re-purpose it into a towel holder.

I cannot claim ownership to this idea.  My husband and I saw it in a magazine (once again magazines at hardware stores).
I love shopping at thrift stores for items that no one wants to really "use" as they were intended, and create something very useful (and on a budget).
We used a piece of old barn wood, marked the back as to where we wanted the handle mounted on the front, and drilled two holes.  
We then drilled smaller holes into the handle where we wanted it positioned.  This one had a metal rod all the way through the handle, so our screws needed to be shorter.
We then ran screws through the backside of the barn wood, and into the pastry blender handle.
For ours, we decided to run screws directly into the barn wood and wall.  If you do this, be sure to check where your studs are in the wall, or use plastic anchors to secure your new towel hanger.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Handmade Dice Earrings ~ Using Broken Hair Accessories

Handmade Dice Earrings
Items needed:

~Scrap dice beads from a broken elastic hair accessory (or any other scrap beads from broken items that are similar)

~jewelry tools (small pliers, and sets can be purchased at most craft stores, and in craft aisles of large department stores)

~jump rings and hook ear wires  (both silver or both gold).

~head pins to match jump rings and ear wires

1. Run the end of your head pin through the bead.  With wire cutters, snip off the pin, leaving enough to bend into a circle.  Slip on a jump ring before closing the pin end (to created a ring to hold the jump ring)

2. Slide your jump ring onto your ear wire if you have that type (lever back ear wires), or with pliers, pull the jump ring apart slightly and attach to the ear wire.  Close and tighten your jump ring again.

Enjoy your newly created earrings from something that would normally end up in the trash!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Medicine Cup Bird Feeder Christmas Ornament

I posted this handmade ornament on my Pioneer Woman At Heart blogspot, but realized I never posted it here to explain how I made this.

To be honest, these were fun to make too.  I'll explain the best I can, so that you can make these also.  There are other sources you can probably use for the metal pieces for the top and bottom. 

Items I used:
-recycled medicine cup
-red felt
-2 Round Concho Nickels (found them on clearance)
-scrap bead
-scrap feed bag string and needle to fit thread
-strong glue
-optional: small bird

1. I started by turning the medicine cup upside down, and gluing one of the concho pieces (try searching out western or leather crafting areas at large craft stores for these - mine have two slits in each metal piece for belt making, but worked great).  Allow to dry.

2.Glue the felt to the metal piece, centering it.  Allow it to dry.

3. Thread scrap string and run through the felt and the holes in the metal concho piece from top to bottom, then come back up and through it again.  Slip on a scrap bead, and knot your string.  I used scrap feed bag string.

4. With glue on the upper rim, glue the felt side to the upper portion of the cup.

5. I glued a tiny bird to the bottom of mine.

Thoughts and tips:  I thought about adding bird seed to the inside of this.  Sure would make it a cute ornament.  For your circle of felt, use a template or item in your home to trace onto your felt for ease.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

What Can I Do With An Old Hand Egg Beater?

You can make a rack to hang kitchen utensils, or other items.

I'm not sure if you would consider this "art" in the kitchen (or any other room), but it turned out very nice.

I can't claim ownership of this idea either.  My husband and I saw it in a magazine while shopping in a hardware store months ago. The magazine did not give instructions on specifically how to make this.

Here is how we made ours:

Items we used:

~ scrap piece of old barn wood
~ 3 wood screws, one thin and two for mounting this to the wall
~ scrap wire
~ old picture hanger hooks (we used 4, 2 different sizes)
~ pliers
~ drill and drill bits

1.  First we made sure the wood piece was the size we wanted it.  We placed the egg beater in the position we wanted it in.  Then we carefully drilled holes, completely through the barn wood, where the handle touches the wood, and in four places where the beaters touched the wood.

2. From the backside, we drilled the smaller screw into the barn wood and then into the egg beater handle.  We did drill a starter hole in the handle first (or you may split the wood).  

3. Then we ran scrap wire into the holes at the other end from the backside, up over the piece of egg beater, then back down and secured it on the backside.  We did this for the other two holes as well.

4.  Then we used pliers to bend and attach the picture hangers for our hooks.

5. We then ran two screws through the barn wood front, to mount it to the wall.  This was much more secure than hanging the wood from the wall (since it will hold utensils I use regularly).

Simpler than I thought, and so adorable in my kitchen.  So don't throw out those old egg beaters.  Everything can be used for something. 

Enjoy Scraping!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

School Art Assignment ~ Using Recycled Materials and More

I wanted to share photos that my 15 year-old daughter took.  This is an assignment for Art class.  The school provided the students with a cigar box, and she was the only one who ended up with a wooden box.  

The students were told to think of a place they like to be, and bring in items to fill their box.  She thought of the barn and the animals.  She loves her goats, and she loves Lolita, our white colored hen.

She painted the box with leftover acrylic paints we had, and used the crackle medium to make it look like barn wood.  She painted the front to look like a barn door too.

Inside she filled it with chicken feather, a ladder made from popsicle sticks, a toy tractor she was given in FFA, and the hen house above was made with scrap wood and other pieces I had in my supplies.  She made eggs using some leftover crayola model magic (dries soft) and added straw from the barn.  she also has twine inside this box from the bales of straw in the barn.  

I'm just glad I keep the closet, short on space that is it, full of scrap art supplies.  

I will wait and see what grade she gets on this.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Christmas Ornament ~ Using Thrift Store Finds, Leftover Yarn, and a Canning Lid

If you are lucky enough to find a bag of these wooden drapery rings:

I picked these up at a Goodwill store.  When I have the chance to thrift store shop, Goodwill offers a 1/2 price sticker item each week.  Typically they post the color of the sticker they are offering half price.  You can snatch up great buys for under $1.00.

The fabric that you see below was also purchased at a Goodwill store, and the glitter was given to me from someone whose neighbor was going to throw it out.

I happened to be reading other blogs I follow, and found this pattern for these fun crocheted ornaments:

Simple Statement Ornaments

I took leftover cotton yarn that I had from crocheting teacher gifts and other items (in Christmas colors), and in solid pastels.  

For the Christmas colored ones, I decided to use a canning lid for the center.  These would frame photos very nicely also. 

The wooden rings I purchased are about 3 inches wide.  The regular sized canning lids fit perfectly behind these rings.  

The canning lid fit like a glove, when placed white side down, on the backside of my ornament.  I decided to decoupage the back side with leftover fabric, and the front side with silver glitter.  I let that dry.

When these lids were completely dry, I purchased quilling paper in green and red.  I thought it would be easier to glue the canning lids to the wooden rings, prior to gluing the quilled holly and berry on to it.



 Finished Ornament with Quilled Holly Leaves and Berries

 For paper quilling instructions on making holly leaves and other shapes, visit Paper Quilling Instructions

These are so fun to make. You could decoupage the lid front side with dried flowers, vintage photos, or scraps.  These rings had hooks in them, so I was already to attach hangers when they were completely dry.

You never know what you'll find, or make, with thrift store goodies. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Garden Mushrooms Made from Metal Mixing Bowls

I came across this idea many, many years ago.  I have since used it in all of my flower gardens.  When my kids were very young, I had a magazine subscription to Family Fun Magazine.  This idea was originally from there.  I think it had to have been over 6 years ago or so.

To make them you will need metal bowls such as thin mixing bowls.  You can typically find sets of these for sale at thrift stores or garage sales.  The original article also mentioned making these with pizza pans and a thick log, for stools to sit on in the garden.  My directions are adapted to what worked for me, when making these.

You will also need:
~matte acrylic spray (or)
~glossy acrylic spray
~Patio paint or other outdoor paint: red and white
~sponge brush for flat edged paint brush (for painting red)
~round sponge brush or other utensil to create a 1-1/2 inch circle or smaller (the smaller the bowl, the smaller the circle), or cut circles from compressed sponges.
~waxed paper or other protected surface cover
~scrap wood screws (just long enough to hold logs into place)
~one nail and hammer
~screw driver and drill bit for your screws
~small round tree logs or thick cut branches (this will be your mushroom stem and will need to be wide enough to support the bowl you are using on it)

Note: before you start, you can also tap starter holes for your screws, prior to painting.

1. Spray the bottoms of the bowls with the matte spray finish.  Allow it to dry.  You can do 1-2 coats.  This will help the paint to adhere to the metal.

2. Paint a coat of red paint to each bowl.  Allow to dry.  Here is a photograph of the bowls with one coat of Geranium Red Patio Paint.  It will take 1-4 coats to get a good color on these metal bowls.  Be sure to allow each coat to dry.

3. Once you have the red color you prefer, dip your round sponge brush into your white paint and paint dots onto your bowl bottoms.  Allow them to dry.  You may need to go over these with a second coat.

4. After your white dots have dried completely, spray the entire outside of each bowl (mushroom top) with your matte or glossy acrylic finish.  Allow to dry.  I suggest you spray 1-3 coats to protect your mushrooms from weather.

5. With your nail and hammer, gently tap two holes in the center bottom of each bowl.  This will help you run your screws.  In making these again, I decided to run my screws into the bowls first, then remove them, and then run them through the bowl and into the log after that.  These are cumbersome to screw together, so having a helper is nice.

(It's winter here now, so this is for picture purposes only.  We removed it after the photo and stored them all in the garden shed until winter is over.)

6. With help, hold the bowls over the tree branches or small logs and screw two screws into the bowl and into the wood.

You now have garden mushrooms that you can place in your gardens.  Dig a small hole to hold your mushrooms in place.

Be sure to remove your mushrooms after gardening season has ended.  Store them with your gardening supplies and reuse year after year.

Note:  You could also use spray paint for the base red color.  I simply used up paint I already had.

Also, if you have ants in your garden, you may have to change out the log on you mushroom after the gardening year is over.  Inspect it before you store it for the winter season.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Old Strainer Turned Hanging Flower Pot

Any old strainer you are not using, or one you find at a thrift store, can be used for an outdoor hanging planter.  

While I was out at a thrift store in search for something else, I found this old metal strainer for $1.50.  With a bend of the handle, and a portion of the strainer, I repurposed it into an outdoor planter.

When summer time arrives, I will simply fill the strainer with a moss basket liner and insert a small plant inside that. 

This "flower pot" will add color and beauty to the entrance of one of my doors.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Gift Tag Tips

1. Recycle the cardboard boxes from candy canes for Christmas gift tags.  The backside of many of these boxes are already red or green.  After the holidays, search out discounted candy canes.  Save the cardboard for gift tags and use the candy canes in hot cocoa, or crushed in chocolate.

2. Save white cardboard from linens, curtains, and packaged clothing items.  

3. Save the last scrap of yarn when it's too short to roll into a small ball (12 inches or so,  and shorter).  Use these for ties on the gift tags.  Use them to embellish tags also.

4. Save strings from pet and other animal feed bags for gift tag ties.

5. Save priority cardboard mailing envelopes.  Reuse the cardboard for gift tags. Decoupage material or paint the printed side.

.............More to Come!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Cereal Box Gift Tags ~ Preparing for Christmas 2012

Items you need to make these:

~scrap yarn
~crochet hook (we used size F, with thin acrylic yarn)
~yarn needle
~scrap string
~tacky glue or white glue
~cereal box cardboard or scrap similar
~scrap fabric in darker Christmas colors 
~flat edged paintbrush (although any small brush will work)
~one-hole, hole punch

1. First, take your yarn and crochet mini-wreaths, about 1 inch wide.  I was inspired by a fellow blog follower: With a Grateful Prayer and a Thankful Heart (mini wreath directions).

2. Cut the cereal box into sections that you prefer for you tie on gift tags.  We made ours about 1 1/2 inches by 3 1/2 inches.

3. Cut a piece of scrap fabric to cover the print side of the cereal box.  With a thin coat of decoupage, paint a thin coat on the print side, and gently place the cut fabric on top, right side of fabric up. Smooth out fabric and allow to dry (see below).

4. Cut scrap string for the bow on your mini wreath.  We used scrap string from animal feed bags.  Thread it into the top of the wreath using the yarn needle.  Remove needle and tie the string into a bow.

5. Take your cut cardboard with fabric that has dried, and punch a hole with your one-hole punch.  This punches through the cardboard and fabric, but leaves the fabric attached by a tiny bit.  Simply use scissors to cut it off.

6. Apply a layer of glue to the back side of the mini wreath and apply the wreath to the side of the cardboard that does not have the fabric on it (see below).

7.  Use scrap yarn or scrap string to tie on to the gift card.  Use a thin-line permanent marker to write "To" and "From" on the gift tag.

These can be made for any season, and are lots of fun to make.  Kids can help, and even learn to crochet these fun mini-wreaths.

Make them as simple as you want, or add more embellishing.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Yo-yo Cards

If you have scrap material leftover from this past Christmas, and in very small amounts, make yo-yo's with them.  There are many instruction video's on Youtube to help with making a yo-yo.  Once you have the yo-yo's made, consider this:

A card embellishment

Glue a tiny yo-yo to the inside of a card to say thank you to some one.  This is a fun way to utilize scrap fabric.