Over in my Messy Desk Crafters Facebook group, we hosted a swap with our members for Valentine’s Day this year. It was a one on one swap which means thatpartners are assigned and we each make something for our partner. Our object was to alter a box or candy box and fill it with three handmade items. I was a bit excited about this as I have been slacking in the crafting department lately and wanted to accomplish more than just the Christmas canvases. So this is my first craft project for 2016!
Before I get into the project, let me just preface this by saying I’m not really a hearts and flowers type of girl. I can play with some clock gears and ink things up all day long but flowers and glitter just make me uncomfortable. I like to grunge and distress things, make them look old and antique. Prettifying things is not my thing! I can do it, I’m just not comfortable with that particular type of art. Therefore, I have to challenge myself every now and then to do things I’m not comfortable with so I can try and improve my skill sets. Practice is always good.
When I went shopping for the box, I wanted to be sure to get a heart shaped candy box…just to celebrate the holiday. I found one that already had a flower on it and had ribbon stitched into the top of the box. I thought the ribbon and flower both were kind of ugly but I liked that the ribbon was stitched in and I wanted to challenge myself with altering embellishments that were already in place. So I went ahead and bought it.
After I got it home and ate all the chocolate (hey it was like 9 pieces and it lasted a week, don’t judge!), I took the before picture and then stared at the box awhile. I almost instantly regretted buying one that was already decorated. I tried to take them off but both would have damaged the lid and I was fighting the urge to grunge it up. So I started by covering it in modeling paste. I used Liquitex Professional Modeling Paste Medium, 16-oz to cover the lid and ribbon. I remembered having some metallic red and gold acrylic paints so I was planning to treat it like a mixed media canvas. But after covering it with modelling paste, I found that I was out of the metallic red paint.
After gluing all of the embellishments and flowers on, I accented them with Viva Decor .8-Ounce Mother of Pearl Precious Metal Liquid Color. I absolutely love this paint, it has a super pretty metallic look to it. Once that dried, I added some goodies for my partner, extra trim and stuff. I topped it off with three of my handmade lace button flowers. I ended up not really liking the final product.
My best friend told me it’s real pretty, so she loved it at least. She also reminded me that it’s not grungy which is what I’m most comfortable with when it comes to art. So I’m hoping that my swap partner is more into flowers and hearts and likes the final outcome. If not, I’m sure she’ll enjoy the goodies inside. While this wasn’t one of my favorite projects, it turned out okay I guess. Let me know what you think! Is it too much? Too busy?
If you’re interested in joining in on the fun over at Messy Desk Crafters, hop on over and check us out! We’re a fun bunch of crafters that enjoy sharing in each other’s lives. We don’t judge, and all skill levels are welcome!
I am a firm believer that the best gifts for any holiday are gifts from the heart. Whether they are purchased or handmade, I try to always get gifts that mean more than, “Oh, she’ll like that.” I like to give gifts that will be cherished.
This year, my parents moved from Florida to Puerto Rico. For the past 10 years, they’ve lived within 5 miles of my house and my son and I visited them nearly once a week. Now that they’ve both retired, they decided to retire to paradise and bought a house on top of a mountain with a view of the nearby beach. While we’re all happy about their retirement in their paradise, the day they left was very hard. The first Christmas without them was hard on all of us. So instead of buying a gift for them this year, I made a mixed media art canvas with family pictures for them to hang on their walls at Christmas time.
The first one I made turned out to be my favorite. One of the things I’ve learned since I started crafting is that my mistakes often turn into masterpieces so long as I don’t give up on them. This piece stayed true to form. I painted the background of the canvas with a couple of different colors and then printed out copies of those pictures and glued them down with some decorative paper borders. I hated the way it turned out. It looked cheap to me. So I ripped the paper and photos off which ripped some of the paint off and made me want to throw the whole thing away. So I sat on it for a day or two.
When I sat back down to try again, I decided to take some texture paste and give the piece texture throughout. This disguised the rips from the previous attempt. Next, I grabbed a paper doily and some snowflake stencils that I had in my stash and created the snowflakes with my texture paste. Then I painted it with Folk Art Metallic Emerald Green Acrylic paint. I went over the snowflakes and edges of the canvas with Viva’s Precious Metal Colour – Mother of Pearl. After pasting on some flowers and decorative frames from Michael’s, I made a stick pin with beads from my stash. I put a little more of the Mother of Pearl paint around the edges of the canvas and picture frames to give the look of snow.
On the next canvas, I started by painting the background with Folk Art Sahara Gold Acrylic paint. Next I covered the entire background with Delta Ceramcoat Crackle and let it sit for a few minutes. I then painted the entire background again with Folk Art Lipstick Red Acrylic paint which gave it the red and gold crackled effect. Once dry, I used decorative Christmas paper from my stash to border the picture. I took the lamppost fence from my Christmas village collection and used various holiday items from my stash to decorate this one up a bit.
I decided to keep both canvas’ somewhat simple as I have a tendency to make things a bit too busy. I didn’t want to distract from the actual photos so I used just enough decoration to frame the photos. I really liked how they turned out and my parents absolutely loved them. I enjoyed making these and will probably create another set for my own home.
If you are interested in the painting materials I’ve used, I put links below to the exact products. I apologize for not having links to the decorations as they were just miscellaneous items I had leftover and did not have the original packaging to provide the brands. I will be sure to keep track of these items for future posts.
Happy 2016! It’s that time again when many of us are feeling the pressure of fulfilling our New Year’s resolutions. Do you have your planer ready? It is commonly known that messy desks make for creative minds. But how in the world do we keep up with all of the creativity that flows through our brain on the daily?
I typically have so many ideas running through my head that nearly 50% of them go unrealized because I’ve forgotten about half of it before my round-to-it ever gets off the flat side! I hate it when that happens, don’t you? Each year, I make a bunch of plans that result in very little follow through. I blame it on disorganization…a cluttered mind.
To try and tackle this problem, I am starting this year off on the right foot by keeping a crafting planner. I worked on creating my planner, off and on, for the last half of 2015. Well now it is ready to go for 2016 and I am bound and determined to keep myself organized and on track this year.
Nothing Too Fancy – Just a Planner
When I sat down to create my planner, I took a few things into consideration:
What supplies do I have on hand?
What size would be most effective for me?
What will I use it for?
With these things in mind, I began creating.
I am still perfecting my skills on covers and bindings. I knew I wanted something hard so it could withstand all of the abuse it would endure from things being thrown on top of it, being cast aside to be out of the way, and frequent use. I happened to have an old brief case that my mom used before she retired. She gave it to me as she was de-stashing her house in preparation for a move. For the longest time, it sat under my desk because I didn’t know what to use it for. I don’t need it for my career.
It ended up being perfect for my crafting planner though. It’s big and bulky which isn’t necessarily great at home, but I intend to travel a lot and would like to take my crafting planner with me. On my road trips, I like to pick up various pamphlets and things to remember where I went and what I did on my trip. This brief case has pockets for file folders on the inside cover which are great for that. It also has spots for business cards, pens, etc.
The handles make it great for carrying around. It’s not the prettiest of covers, but I find that the black leather is much more durable than a decorated card stock cover would be. I’m not exactly delicate when I’m out and about so this will protect my planner quite nicely. And for a taste of my creative side, I simply created a real pretty front cover for the inside of it where the embedded binder clips hold my planner pages.
Many people use mini-planners. I considered making one that size, however, I find it very hard and painful for me to write in those small spaces. They aren’t the most efficient for those that suffer from things like RA and arthritis. So my planner is the standard 8×11 size and affords me plenty of room to write and keep notes. This also allows me to print off my own pages for the planner without having to worry about fancy settings and alignments for smaller, half pages. This works for me.
While considering the supplies I had on hand and what I would be using the planner for, I decided I would create my own dividers to show my creative side. Since these will be permanent, I will likely decorate those as time goes on. However, since I will change out calendar pages and such regularly, I decided not to go real decorative on those. It isn’t cost efficient as I would be throwing supplies away each year. So I just created templates for each planner page I needed and I print them off on plain old printer paper as needed.
I needed to create a planner because I had tons of ideas that just went by the wayside because I never wrote them down, or they got lost in the shuffle of post-its. Now I have a place to keep track of everything I have going on, all in one spot, and it’s portable. As I mentioned above, I don’t decorate the actual pages. The purpose is to keep track of the things I want to do, my goals, my tasks, etc. I think decorated pages would distract me from getting things done. I don’t want that.
I have several different pages that I use to keep track of things:
Monthly Calendar– I use the monthly calendars to keep track of what events are coming up so I know if I’m running behind on preparing for them. For example, I have a swap that I need to send out to my swap partner the first week of February. So on my January Calendar, I’ve notated that I should work on that swap the last week of January at the very latest.
Weekly Calendar – The weekly calendar, shown here, helps me keep track of my task list and what my goals are for each day. As shown, it also matching my Desk Calendar so that I still see my tasks when I’ve managed to bury my planner (it happens!). The bottom portion of the weekly calendar shows each day of the week with spaces to write in my tasks. The top left column is my To Do List. The top right column is where I list things I need to buy. This may include supplies I ran out of or grocery items I tend to forget, a book I’d like to read, etc.
Birthday List – This is simply a list of birthdays for my friends so that I can quickly determine upcoming birthdays and plan accordingly.
Event Tracker– The Event Tracker helps me keep track of what events I’ve joined in my crafting group. I can write in when it starts, what the details are, who participates, when it ends, what the deadlines are, etc.
Swap Tracker – This helps me keep track of swaps I’m either hosting or participating in. Much like the Event Tracker, it helps me keep track of the details of the swap so I don’t have to constantly look up the Event in the group.
Productivity Tracker– My crafting group has an ongoing Productivity Challenge where members earn points for being productive. It’s somewhat of a contest. The most productive may or may not get a small prize for being the most productive during a certain period of time. This tracker helps me track how productive I was and what I worked on. It also helps the group admins determine who the winner is.
Challenge Tracker– The Challenge Tracker is almost exactly the same as the Swap Tracker, except there are no partners or swaps. It is simply a challenge to create something specific or do something specific and the tracker allows me to keep track of the details.
Giveaway Tracker – The Giveaway Tracker is much like the Event Tracker. It allows me to write down the details of the Giveaway and keep track of who participated and how so that when I pick a winner, it’s fairly simple to figure out. It also allows me to see who has won before so that the same people aren’t always getting free stuff. I like to share the love.
Ideas – This is mostly just a blank page with lines for me to write down my ideas so that I can come back to them whenever I’m ready. All crafters get ideas, but few crafters actually follow through on all of them. Creative minds just don’t work that way. So I write them down and come back to them later. I also have blank paper and graph paper in this section in case I need to sketch things out or make a collage or something to help remember the vision.
I have each of these pages in different sections of my planner so I can easily find what I’m looking for. Staying organized helps me stay on track. So this is how I will keep up with things this year and stay on top of what I need to get done.
Last year I asked a question in The Messy Desk Crafter Facebook Group about what the biggest crafting obstacle is for each member. The top answers were mostly around staying organized. I am working on writing a book to be published in a few months on how to get and stay organized for crafters and will provide suggestions for each of the obstacles that were listed off in response to the question. So if you’re looking for some tips and tricks on that, check back often as I will post the status here on my blog as I get the book out there.