Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Roadkill Rescue- A Headboard!

It's here! The Roadkill Rescue Party! Nothing gets my creative juices flowing like some free junk!
Here is a picture of my "new" headboard.

Roadkill Rescue Headboard

Naturally, it comes with a story that starts with a twinkle in my eye and a heap on the curb.

For a while I have wanted a headboard. I cruised craigslist in my search for a headboard, but I was also open to making my own. A few things percolated in my head during this time.

I liked the look of this PB bed. This wall of colored tiles on Ohdeedoh captivated my imagination. They look like mini cupboard doors to me. I also liked this shutter headboard on Shanty 2 Chic. With a king sized bed (a marriage must, in my opinion) getting enough shutters with my budget was a challenge.

I said a little prayer for the patience to live with wants and be very clear about my true needs.

Car Full of Drawers
One morning on my way to work I saw a large dresser thing on the curb. Of course I had to investigate. It was too big to become a play kitchen. Too big to fit in my car.  I passed it by. 

Pass by junk? Surely you don't believe that!

The next day before school I went back. I parked, got out my cordless drill/screwdriver and unscrewed all the doors and took the drawers. Picture me stealthily working at the crack of dawn just hoping none of my colleagues or students would see me! Here is the car chock full of these drawers. When I look at this now I can hardly believe I stopped. It really was a dilapidated thing. And, it was 6:30 AM- in the ghetto! I am crazy! My love for junk knows no bounds!
This is How I Roll

This is how I roll! Once in our parking garage I loaded up a cart and headed to my balcony workshop. Silly me! There is no room in the balcony workshop for this much junk. I had to work in the living room. One of these days I am going to video Cliff's face when I roll in with a cart full o'junk. He really is a patient man.

Turns out the drawers were plastic. Wood printed plastic and some particle board covered in wood print contact paper. No wonder this ended up on the curb. This thing really put the foe in faux bois!

But junk doesn't scare me. It just slows me down. I took the drawer fronts off and tossed the rest.
playing with frames
Finally all that was left was a parade of plastic frame like things with a heavy wood grain imprint. I toyed around with the idea of some sort of frame wall. But, with only three rooms, I am running out of walls. Then it hit me, a headboard! I piled everything up in the corner of my workshop and saved this project for after Christmas. 
 Washing the Frames

After a few months on the balcony, these babies were fifthly. Not to mention I found them on the curb to begin with. Citra Solv to the rescue. No hose. No yard. Rub a dub dub, good scrub in the tub. The frames cleaned up nicely and so did my tub. Nice and orange scented!

Since I wanted the look of cupboard doors- ala my inspiration wall, I needed to fill in the middle hole. I went to staples to buy foam board thinking that would be super light weight but stiffer than cardboard. Foam board is crazy expensive for what it is! More expensive than hardboard at Home Depot! So I went with hardboard. They cut it for me at HD. It took about a dozen cuts, so they did charge me $3 for all the cuts.

Everything got a coat of black spray primer and black spray paint. Then I used Gorilla tape to tape the inserts into the frames. 
Plastic Moulding with Hardboard

Hanging them on the wall was the next dilemma to be solved. I ended up just getting some black 3" drywall screws and screwing them right into the wall. Not the best look, but they are mostly hidden by pillows. This isn't my forever headboard. But for now, it makes me very happy.

Roadkill Rescue Headboard

Looking at these pictures I see that I have to do something with the picture on the left. I had a large lamp on that side table and that's why it was hung so high. Too high now. Also, I finally hung the plastic plates above my bed. I took away the green ones. Too busy.

Would you have guessed this was made of plastic and held together with tape? That fact alone makes me happy! Kinda Martha meets Macgyver!
Roadkill Rescue Headboard  
I am off to work (right. now. really.) but I can not wait to come home and see what everyone else finds and rehabs! Check out the rest of the party here! 

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Watching Olympics & Other New Projects

I am watching the Olympics so the crafting is really slow this week.

Did find this on craigslist this weekend.
It was a perfect craigslist transaction too. I responded to the ad early Sunday morning, got a reply in about a half hour later. The owner lived five minutes away and was totally prepared to help me get it in the car. 

Of course, this will become another kitchen. This one is extra special because it's for the bittiest Crayons at Our Fair School! Our pre-school teacher told me she wanted to buy one of my kitchens. Naturally, this will be a gift. I am just so excited that I will get to see the kids enjoy the fruit of my labor. I have been looking for just the right cabinet for a while. I wanted something with plenty of room for small groups of children to play. I think this is perfect. It cost me $20, but it is all solid wood.

In other news, later this week I am sharing my Roadkill Rescue project. I am really excited about it because it was another one of those things where  the junk I needed was there when I needed it. Be sure to come back on the 25th!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Thrifted Trinkets

Garage Sale Junk

A few weeks ago I stopped at a garage sale in Burbank. I found a great vintage table cloth, a classic Fisher Price rolly chime ball, a Jenga game for my class, and this Cool Whip tub of trinkets. I think I spent less than $5 bucks on everything. I didn't *need* any of it, but these vintage things captured my imagination.

Let's take a closer look.
It took a bit of doing to unwind and free all those bits and bobs.
Trinket Display
Please click on this to see it larger. It's as if my entire '70's childhood was shrunk into a Cool Whip tub!
 Vintage Trinkets
So much has changed. I happen to have a faux PB "rotary phone" but I doubt my students would even know what it was.
Western Trinkets
Actually, I imagine these date back to the late '60's. These look like the toys my cousins played with and my grandmother saved in her toy box.
Vintage Childhood Trinkets
And, although I have honestly never smoked a cigarette, even to try it, I did play smoke all the time. Be it bubble gum cigarettes or rolls of paper, that was always cool. Do kids today do that? I have never seen a Crayon fake smoke. They make paper cell phones out of any folded paper.
Bible, Bone, Bandit Mask
I have no projects planned for these. For now they will stay in the Cool Whip tub. Maybe someday I will make a doll house. I'd love to do that. Or maybe I'll use them in a "Bits 'n Pieces" collage. I will probably just horde them. Then when I die and (hopefully) my grandchildren hold my garage sale, some person with a fondness for junk will buy them.
"Greasy Kid Stuff"
"Greasy Kid Stuff"

And they will have this totally cool, teeny tiny, bottle of "Greasy Kid Stuff."

Have a great week!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Quilling Week: Project 5 - Cupcake Picks!

Quilled Cupcake Picks
My favorite quilling project! Cupcake picks!

Quilled Cupcake Picks
How cute would these be for a shower? If you pre-cut the paper strips, you can make these assembly line style pretty quickly.
Quilled Cupcake Pick- Truck
It's "Celebrate the Boy" month in blogland and I think this one is just adorable!

Quilled Cupcake Pick- Candle
Speaking of "boys," Cliff celebrated his birthday this week. Love you honey!

All of these patterns came from either this Beginner Quilling Kit or Paper Quilling for the First Time by Alli Bartkowski.

Quilling Week Introduction
Quilling Week Project #1
Quilling Week Project #2
Quilling Week Project #3
Quilling Week Project #4

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Quilling Week: Fourth Project -Snack Canister

Quilled Container

This was once...
Container for Repurposing

I do love me some trash to treasure!

To transform this container I removed the wrapper and traced it onto some adhesive scrapbook paper that is similar to this. That part could not be easier.
Quilled Lid
Rolling the flower shapes was easy. The whole project t took about a half hour. I discovered that if I pre cut all the strips I can curl really quickly and efficiently. I really like how the white flower turned out. The pink flower was harder to get symmetrical.

My beloved secretary at school is a Jehovah's Witness so she doesn't celebrate holidays. I plan to fill this with some candy for an "anytime" gift. Since I love the tasty peanuts that come in these containers (99 Cents Only no less!) I can see a lot of this type of decorated canister in my future!

One more quilling project tomorrow!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Quilling Week: Third Project -Discovering a Challenge

Quilled hearts

After my success with the laundry line card, I had the idea to make something for St. Patricks day. My idea was to fill a small bottle with some quilled four-leaf clovers. The inspiration came from this beautiful jar of quilled hearts I saw a few weeks before meeting up with Alli at the Crafts Convention. Funny how once you learn about something, suddenly it is everywhere.

To me, the petals on a four-leaf clover are heart shaped, so I started by making four green hearts. Each heart was made from two tear drop quills. By the time I got three hearts done, I could tell that it was too busy to look like a clover.

 Undaunted I tried a "grape roll" which is basically a tight roll with the center pushed out a bit.
Better, but not quite what I wanted.
Quilled Shamrock

At this point, I decided to let my brain rest and move on  to another project- one that involves following the patterns for flowers! Enough ingenuity!

Actually, whenever I take a break, it's only a matter of time before the solution comes to me. In fact, I have another approach brewing just from writing this post. Still, I wanted to share this project.  I think there is value in seeing the duds too.

The great thing about quilling is that these duds are easily stored for a day when I need three green hearts.

Tune in tomorrow for a finished project! In the meantime, check out Charlotte's amazing quilling blog, The Art of Quilling. I love her angels and this quilling for kids pumpkin is awesome! The Crayons would go nuts for that!

Oh, and to answer a question about gluing the quilled designs down. Ali's beginner kit comes with a tube of Elmers glue with a very fine tip. I just put a blob of glue on a scrap of cardboard and kinda dunked the bottom of the shape into the glue and placed it on the card. Once dry, the designs are surprisingly sturdy.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Quilling Week: My Second Project- Laundry Line Card

One of my most distinct memories of Alli in high school is a bit embarrassing. And, hey, this is just a public blog open to everyone in the world, so why not share! Well, OK. I really admired Alli's clothes. I liked her style. So one day at our lockers she told me she bought a whole bunch of new tops and some new pants at Marshalls. That very afternoon I begged my mom to take me spring clothes shopping at Marshalls. I scoured the racks and bought everything that Alli had bought! I am pretty sure there were days that we had the same outfits on.
Jenn & Baby Gina
This is the only picture I have of the Limited pants bought at Marshalls.
(Total aside, that baby- my little cousin is getting married this May!)

I cringe at this memory. How annoying that must have been!

Anyway, 20 some odd years later, I hate to copy anyone literally. Oh sure I am inspired by hundreds of amazing crafters every day. But I rarely make a project verbatim. Usually I try to take inspiration and shake it up. So, after the success of the ducks, I was itching to create my own design. I scoured Alli's book to see what she had not yet come up with. Not easy. Alli has hundreds of awesome designs!

Some like these snowflakes are crazy beautiful. This alphabet is so adorable!

I have a good friend who has just been hospitalized and is in for some long weeks. The thought "hang in there" has been sort of my prayer mantra for her. At the same time, this little vignette from the Crafts Convention has captured my imagination.
Perler Bead Laundry Line

So, I decided to go off on my own and try to make a laundry line card.
Quilled Laundry Line Card
The bird was easy. Basically blue ducks. The dress was based on Alli's ballerina pattern with teardrop sleeves and collar added. The t-shirt is my attempt at some basic square shapes. It's a bit wonky. The boxers turned out just the way I imagined. The clothes line is just a bit of embroidery floss. Of course, the scale is way off. That is either one huge bird or one tiny shirt! Who cares! It was fun to make!

Actually, I have been thinking of sending this friend a Begginer Quilling Kit. It is very portable, easy and could be a great way to while away some long lonely hours.

Tomorrow a design idea that didn't work the way I wanted. Hey, the duds can be interesting too.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Quilling Week: My First Project

I think I met Alli in Middle School, but we really became friends in high school. We were in the same homeroom and took all the same art classes. Art class was where our friendship blossomed. I loved art class, but became increasingly aware of the fact that I didn't  have real talent.

Alli on the other hand was a natural. So it's no surprise that she has built a business around art. I moved away from Penfield in my junior year and except for attending one wedding we lost touch. Now, twenty years later, we have reconnected through facebook. The internet is amazing!

On to quilling!

Quilling is the art of paper curling. To quill you measure off a strip of thin quilling paper and then wind it around the slotted quilling tool. When you get a coil, you place it in the measuring tool to size it. The length of your paper strip and your own winding tension determine the size of your coil.

After you have the basic round coil, you can crimp it in many ways to make all sorts of shapes.

Alli was a mechanical engineer and she brings that kind of precision to her quilling. The directions are clear, well documented with photos and easy to follow.
 Bigger Duck
For my first project, I decided to follow the directions step by step. This is pretty rare for me! I am tend to fly by the seat of my pants most of the time. I followed the directions for the little ducks and guess what? They came out nearly perfect!

Next, I decided to try my hand at some smaller ducks. I had to look through the booklet to figure out the ratio between paper strip length and coil size. These too came out good. There is such a quick learning curve!
Small Quilled Ducks
If you look closely, you can see that one of the coils inside the small duck heads got all glued together and isn't really coil-ly but more of a hollow circle. Managing the amount of glue to use was perhaps my biggest learning curve. All four ducks took about half an hour because I was watching TV, reading the directions and going very cautiously. Once I relaxed into it, the quilling went much faster and turned out better. Finger pressure is important for an even coil. I found the less I paid attention, the looser and more even my coils were.

Not that I am the least bit perfectionist. I definitely put the craft in quilling. Letting go of perfection makes it fun for me. And, frankly, unless you have read Alli's book or have seen other true quilling artists, less even coils are hardly noticeable. I have to say, I spent the weekend quilling and made some mistakes, but there was no cursing. Most of the paper packs Alli sells cost about $2 for 50 strips and many coils only require a few inches of a single strip. The biggest mistake only cost pennies.
I had first thought I would save these ducks to use with a framed birth announcement, but since the baby hasn't been born yet, and I like instant gratification, I decided to play around with another idea. I wanted try a paper ruffle with scrap book paper and thought I could make a little sign. I was in a "use what you have" mode, and the stickers I had are just off.  The letters are too big, too overwhelming, and some are the wrong colors.

I don't think this project is up to stand alone gift standards, but I might glue it to a plain gift bag and fill the bag with baby sleepers, ear plugs and a blanket.

My first quilling projects were very relaxing. I typically sew to take my mind off of my stressors. Quilling is another nice escape. It requires some concentration- but less than sewing. It produces satisfying results with a quick learning curve. (No curses!)  The colors are so pretty - it's like having a paper rainbow in your lap!

Tune in tomorrow for my second project where I ditch the directions and make up my own design! In the meantime, Ann has amazing quilling projects on her blog All Things Paper. She is clearly no beginner. It's exciting to see what can be made!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Quilling Week

Quilled Toppers to Celebrate the Olympics
Naturally, I root for Team USA. However, I couldn't have been happier tonight when Alexandre Bilodeau won Canada's first gold medal on home soil. Doesn't every country deserve that thrill? I think so. And, he seems to be a really nice guy to boot! Since I had no cupcakes on hand, I celebrated with an ice cream sammy.

Anyway, this weekend I have been holed up with a cold.  And, like a ray of sunshine my friend Alli sent me her book Quilling for the First Time and a Beginner Quilling Kit! So it's been Olympics and quilling round the clock for me!
Beginner Quilling Kit
Just looking that rainbow of paper makes me happy!

Remember when Llyod Dobler predicted that kickboxing was the sport of the future?
Well, I'd like to declare quilling the craft of the future!

Seriously, it's very relaxing, is super affordable, and requires relatively few supplies. Did I mention that quilling materials store easily and don't even take up much space!

Other than one small heart "make and take" at the Crafts Convention, I have never quilled. I thought it might be fun for you to sort of learn along with me. Each day this week I am going to post a project I made this weekend. I will share them in the order* that I made them so you will be able to see my progress. 

To start:
A full description of the Beginner Quilling Kit is available here.
Alli's book Paper Quilling for the First Time  is described here.
You can see quilling tools here. See what I mean- just a few small scale supplies.
The basics of quilling. These simple steps are the basis for endless designs. 
Basic quilled shapes.

I hope to see you back tomorrow!

*I will share my creations in order with one exception, I made those two toppers last.

True Love Doesn't Even Cost A Dollar

 During the rainy weeks before Valentines Day my students made Valentine Mailboxes at lunch and recess.
Because of all their effort on the mailboxes, the Crayons were especially excited about Valentines this year.

Inside the mailboxes we found gems like these.
These are handmade Valentines. I think I have said it before, but times are *really* tight for the Crayon families this year. Tighter than ever. Several of my students told me that they couldn't buy Valentines this year. I resisted rescuing them and buying some. Instead I said that they could always make their own. And, I am so happy to say, a few did! 

Anyone can go to the dollar store and buy some Valentines. It's a real act of love to hand write 30 Valentines for your friends. 

Oh, and these were done by a boy. How perfect for the "Month of the Boy" going on in blogland!



I got a couple of copies of Pack-o-Fun at the Crafts Convention and I can heartily say that this magazine is Crayon Tested- Teacher Approved. 

The Crayons really loved reading this magazine and making the Valentines Mailboxes. I think it's safe to say we made almost all of them. One caviot, Pack-o-Fun (like most all craft publications) is designed to sell the products of it's advertisers, so I had to have a talk with the Crayons about coming up with their own materials. I wasn't going to buy feather boas, craft foam or google eyes. They would have to improvise. I think improvisation is an important skill and I am cheap, so it's a win-win there.

From the table of contents:


19 Beverly the Bear
20 Sammie the Skunk
21 Rosie the Robot
22 Alex the Alien
23 Walter the Whale
24 Freddie the Frog
25 Groovin' Guitar
26 Humpty Dumpty

From the Crayon Box:

Our Valentines Mailboxs

Loosly inspired Beverly the Bear
Inspired by Beverly the Bear from Pack-o-Fun

Some Terrific Sammy the Skunks.
Pack-o-Fun Sammy the Skunk Mailboxes
The original called for using soda bottles. I think the Crayons adapted this one very well.
A Few Robots & A Decorated Box
Quite a few robots. Less functional and more fun.
Based on Walter the Whale from Pack-o-Fun
I am sure Pink wouldn't name her whale "Walter."
My Frog and a Guitar
Freddie the Frog
Guitar Valentine Mailbox
Last but not least, an amazing guitar!
Hope Your Valentines is a "pack -o- fun" too!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Branch Wreath (Takkenkrans)

Branch Wreath (Takkenkrans)
Originally uploaded by
Made by BeaG

I love this wreath by BeaG on Flickr. Back when I was making my wreath I was thinking about how nice it would be to make this natural wreath. It reminds me of Lincoln Logs, and it's not too country.

But, where would I go to cut some branches? It's not like I live near the forrest!

Or do I?
Mid February Behind the Building

These trees have been in the alley behind our building for nearly a month. Do I have the nerve to go out there and saw off a bunch of branches?

Not this year.

Speaking of wreaths, my neighbors across the hall have caught the wreath spirit. So nice to see this part of the hall get decorated. This little beauty was from the 99 Cents Only Store. Love them.