Friday, October 29, 2010

Saving my pennies to make a penny table

I have been inspired! (Again? you say..well, yes. It never ends for me.)

This is my inspiration. A desk covered in pennies.

Found it on the blog, Epbot. I have seen a FLOOR covered in pennies, which was also cool, but how do you move that?! But a table, well, I can just take that with me when I move.

I have been saving up my pennies now for about a month. In my household, we don't typically rush into things. I scrounged up all the pennies in the household (sadly, barely covered the bottom of the jar). Purchased a few rolls of pennies from the bank. Do you know that purchasing rolls of pennies is like gambling? Except, no matter what, YOU WIN!!

In 2009, they minted commemorative pennies for Abe Lincoln, four different coins. I have been looking to get multiples of all four coins (anything to break up the monotony of the Lincoln Memorial). Additionally, in 2010, they minted a Shield penny! I am also hunting for multiples of those. Meaning that each time I unroll a bunch of pennies, it is exciting to see which coins I may have gotten this time.

Regardless of whether I get a special coin, each penny has a life of it's own. Some are shiny and new and bright. Others are very world worn, barely recognizable as a penny. I have one that is practically black, with a faint impression of the Memorial on it. Others have a green patina from the copper, and most of them are simply a deep brown. Some were minted in the 50's and are still crisp and clear, others were printed in the 90's and look beaten to death.

The life of these coins. It may just be a penny, but they have more value than their monetary worth. When I see them spread out on the table, the variations in colors and differences in wear....they become something more than simply pocket change.

And that is why I can't wait until I get my penny table. Need to save up more pennies!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Finished wood boxes

From humble beginnings...

to this! I am happy with how they turned out. Something I was already using, now made a bit prettier.

Decorating a wood box

LOVE the site Craftgawker!! Saw a beautiful small wood box (chest) decorated with paper. Ahh....

I have a small set of boxes I got from Ikea a few years back (gah! that long?!) that I have been using in my bathroom. My mom bought me some breathtaking paper in Montana (say what?!) this summer that has been sitting in my closet rolled up. I have just been wondering what to do with it. Inspiration has struck!

I am out of Modge-Podge, so I used plain old Elmers Glue. I cut parchment cardstock to fit the front and sides and tops of the boxes, then glued them on with the Elmers, using a foam brush to get even coats. Then I cut out my ladies with an scalpel, measuring to fit. Again used Elmers and a foam brush to apply them. Let dry for a few hours.

Next, I distressed the edges with sandpaper. Then, I applied a few different colors of ink with a brush. Pink, cranberry, key lime green, and blue. Start with the lightest, and work to the darkest. I even applied it to the edges. Let dry.

After an hour or so, apply a light coat of Elmers glue over the paper and edges with ink. Make sure to cover well the edges of paper. Let dry completely or overnight, then apply a second coat.

Once this coat is dry, I will apply a coat of sealant, then take another pic of the project all done. I love how it is turning out!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Luminaries...taking it to the next level!

I just can't leave well enough alone.

This is round two. I LOVE art nouveau. Sadly, it's expensive and I can't afford it. I own a book of clip art, so I photocopied some flowers I loved, and cut them out with an scalpel.

Same basic instructions as the former post, use a 12 by 12 piece of scrap booking card stock, cut on a 45 degree angle. Measure it to be 3 1/2 inches wide. Once cut on the longest part, cut a small portion off one end leave a a thin fold-over for gluing. Measure and fold for each panel, for this one I measured each for 3 and 1/8inch. Do the same four times to make a cube and dry fit.

Then comes the fun part. Find your image! Make sure it fits. Pick out four different ones or repeat the same one, or draw them on. The image you select is important, make sure you aren't cutting out huge portions, but leaving paper connections to reveal the image.

I did not glue or tape them on, I held them on with my free hand because I was working from the front this time. I worked from the center to the outside, periodically flipping it over, to carefully repeat the cuts from the back to get the cut sections out. It's all about patience and being careful.

Once done, cut off the excess on side four, use a glue stick to glue the flap onto the back of side four. I used tiny binder clips to hold it together. It slides over the top of the Febrez shade (pictured is "White Linen").

Very pretty, and super personal!

Would make a lovely gift!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Making Halloween Luminaries

I have the flickering Febrez luminaries, and I enjoy them a lot. But, I am not such a fan of the style choices I get. I decided to work up something myself that is a bit different!

Making luminaries for it instead. Safer than using a candle, and it turned out very cute! (Sorry, no pic in the dark. I tried, but I am too shaky without the flash)

I started with basic scrap booking card stock, 12 by 12. Cut it on a 45 degree angle, down the middle of the paper to get the longest strip possible. If you want an exact fit so you use no scented liner, trim a small bit off one side (leave a little flap, about 1/8 or less, for gluing at the end), fold over for a crease, measure 3 inches, crease again, another 3 inches, etc..until you have 4 sides.

Pick your display side (I forgot to do this and ended up using the duller side. tsk!), and then draw your simple picture on the opposite side. Do the same for all four sides. Be sure to leave about 1/4 inch at the bottom for the lip of luminary if it is to fit snug.

On the picture side, take a thumbtack or pin, and poke holes evenly. Do not place them too close together or they will tear. It's best to work from the center to the outside to decrease the chances of tearing. Once that is done on one side, turn it over, take a slightly larger pin (I just used a display pin my son had for baseball) and do a secondary poke on all the holes, working again from the center outwards. This pushes the paper toward the back which DOES make a difference (in the pic, I messed this up at the top of the pumpkin, and I can tell!), plus the larger holes lets more light out.

Repeat four times.

Last step, do a dry fit on the luminary, trim the excess off the far side, then use a glue stick to glue that tiny extra piece to the inside of the far side.

Tah-dah!!! If you want scent, add some essential oils to the paper (but beware, the oil, being oil, will stain the paper....and you don't want it to be too close to the bottom or it will get into the light. Use your own judgement!).

I am thinking of doing a monogram for hubby and I for our bedroom just a smidgen larger so I can use the liner inside of it (thinking 3 1/8 inch per side). Love making things personal!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Living Small

My husband and I have embarked on a 7 to 10 year plan. Soon, our children will be grown and we will be able to move on from here. I want to move closer to my parents who are getting older, so that I can help them as they age. But I do not want to live in the same household as them (been there, done that, not gonna do it again).

Hubs and I have been looking at various house plans and houses in the area (Montana) to get ideas. I am in LOVE with the Tumbleweed house plans by Jay Shafer ( I see the plans as very well thought out, and practical arrangement for two people, possibly three. I have also been reading a lot of books on living in small spaces, by writers like Sarah Susanka and others. It is fascinating to me to see how small space can be made more efficient and open just by being more creative and thoughtful. We don't necessarily need MORE space, we need to be more mindful in how space is used.

Talked with my father about our ideas. This is a man who has drawn up plans from scratch on at least three houses that I know of, remodeled two others. He has an associates degree in drafting. So, he knows how to make house plans. Also, we are CURRENTLY living in a house of less than 900 square feet with four people, four dogs, two cats, and a chinchilla. I only feel "cramped" when we have guests. Otherwise, I feel like I have adequate room in my house.

My father told me that we need to have 1,200 square feet minimum for our next house and the plans were were looking at (less than 800 square feet) were too small. Are you KIDDING ME?! There will only be two of us, possibly three (depending on boomerang adult kids). Why would we need more square footage in the future than we have currently?

In my mind, if we start from scratch building, my husband and I get the golden opportunity to build in all the wonderful ideas we glean from Sarah Susanka and others on how to capitalize on the space! To utilize every last inch of what we have with built in bookcases, built in eating areas and things such as that. Why waste space?

I have always envisioned myself as I age living in a smaller space. Either in a studio area, a small cabin with a loft, something along those lines. My "mental picture" had always been around 400 square feet. So, to me, 700 to 800 square feet is HUGE. Spacious! Practically as big as what I currently have, just with less people in it. What in the world will I do with all that space?

Sorry for my rant of the day. I just don't understand the bigger is better concept.