DIY Decorative Container: Super Fast, cheap and easy

upcycled container

upcycled container

Materials: Rub-on Transfers, container (preferably recycled/reused)

Time: 20 minutes or less.

For this DIY Decorative container it is super fast, easy and cheap. It is good for many age ranges, but I believe 8 years and older will appreciate the craft more.

I spent $0.75 for the rub-on transfers. I bought them at Big Lots in their 75% clearance rack. There wasn’t much of a selection, but I liked what they offered.

This container is from my protein powder. The packaging was a plastic sleeve and slipped right off. If your container has paper glued to it I suggest soaking it in hot water and dish detergent.

If you’re really impatient, like me, there is a product called Un-du. This is magic! It is alcohol based and really for unglue-ing pictures from scrapbooks. I use it on everything glue based that I don’t have patience to wait the hot water way. I put a picture of it in the right sidebar to show what it looks like. I love this product.

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The instructions are very straight forward. Pick a image. I cut out the image so it was easier to place on the container. Hold the image down while rubbing it with the stick that comes with the transfers. When you think the image has transferred, carefully pick up one corner and sneak a peek. If it still clings to the clear plastic, replace and keep rubbing. If it comes off, slowly continue to peal away. Sometimes parts of the image may not stick and you’ll have to continue rubbing in that area.

My container is slick plastic, which I think made it a tad bit more difficult. It takes a bit more persistence, but it will finally adhere to the container.

This container will be for my art journal embellishments. I have a ton of loose pieces of ribbons, buttons and paper do-dads. When I’m doing art journals I like to see all the stuff I have to put on top. This container will work perfectly.

 

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Art Journals: Quick and Easy Collage

Art journals are a way to express yourself creatively. They dumped all the baggage out of our heads and onto paper. I often just use paint, as shown in the last article. There are days that I need to put images down. Again, I am not an artist and most of my drawings are crude. Therefore, I like to use magazine articles.

I have a small cardboard box that I painted to hold interesting magazine pictures. I don’t always like to keep the full magazines, I don’t have a lot of space to store things, so I pull out interesting pictures to keep for later.

Materials: art book w/heavy paper, magazines, glue, markers and/or paint.

Time: 30 minutes, more or less.

IMG_3219There was a lot of drama in the office at this time. It’s pretty much the way I felt going in some days. After putting it on paper and closing the book, it really helped me put it behind me.

IMG_3218Everyone was ‘in a mood’. After I wrote the word all I could see was it spelled backwards DOOM.  This particular journal was for my dark days. Thankfully, even though I’ve been using it since the early 2000’s, I haven’t finished it yet. I don’t have that many dark days.

I like having just one art journal for the bad times, to keep them quarantined from the rest of my life. I have another art journal for my sunny days.

It is fun, years later, to look back on these art journals. I’ve seen how far I’ve come and grown through these times. Every day you move forward in time is a day you’ve come closer to who you will become. It is interesting to look at some of these defining moments, the good and the bad, in color and without long paragraphs.

Are you thinking about making an art journal? Have you ever made an art journal? What do you include in them?

Tempest in a teapot. Too much drama in my life.

Art Journaling: Easy and quick

Moods color our emotions so getting those colors and feelings out of our heads and onto paper releases them to make a fresh start. I’m not much of an artist at all. I see in my head what I want to draw, but it never comes out. With Art Journals that’s okay. You don’t have to be perfect and no one has to see it. I feel it’s most important to express yourself.

Time: 10 minutes or longer

Materials:

  • Notebook: I use a square one I found in the art supplies of Michaels purchased with one of their many 40% coupons since these are often not on sale. Not expensive.
  • Paint: I prefer the little bottles of paint that cost about $1.00 or less. I love the metallic colors best.
  • Brushes: as many or none, depending on preference.
Tempest in a teapot. Too much drama in my life.

Tempest in a teapot. Too much drama in my life.

I feel this is doubly important with kids. They don’t have a sophisticated vocabulary yet and so for them to journal through writing is a chore that is more draining than it is healing. Children are drawn to painting. They love to grab up a brush and just slap paint to paper. With an Art Journal there are no rules, no pictures to be drawn, just colors and maybe a word or two.

Changes happening so quick without warning

Changes happening so quick without warning

After putting these colors on paper it took a weight off my mind. I put a short explanation on the back to remind myself of this time, put it behind me and move on.

Do you have an art journal? What kinds of things do you put in yours? Fabric, flowers or poems?

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Quick and Easy Kid’s Craft: Pencil holder

Quick and easy kid’s craft with super fast clean up. I usually like any craft that kids make to look sort of grown up, this is my exception to the rule. It really does look like a kid craft, but it’s one of my favorites because it’s fun to do. For my container I use Crystal Light containers. I think they are so sturdy and it’s a shame to just throw them out.

Materials: Mod Podge (or white glue), tissue paper, sponge brush and a container. Wax paper, newspaper or scrap paper for work surface makes for super fast clean up.

 

IMG_2902 This is one of my favorite tissue papers. I got a ton of it at the Dollar Store and it’s taking me forever to use it up.

Looking at it here it doesn’t seem to have a lot of white, but when you put it on a Crystal Light container it looks more white than colorful. If you have a tissue paper with a lot of white space I suggest tearing them into smaller pieces.

IMG_2901This will put more color on the container.

IMG_2903Brush on the Mod Podge

IMG_2905Place the tissue paper on the surface

IMG_2906Sometimes you get bubbles. Smooth these out with your fingers. When I’m crafting with a child and the finished product has a bubble I call it texture. It’s what the fancy artists do.

IMG_2910It’s easier to put your hand in the container and work around it. Once you get all the paper on then go over top of the tissue paper with a coat of Mod Podge.

IMG_2913The one on the left my daughter made. She really had a good time with it and because I used it for all my tall paint brushes she felt as if she had made something very useful and was quite proud of it.

I’d love to hear any other ideas for using these plastic containers!

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DIY: Quick and Easy Light Switch Plates

Like all my crafts these are quick, easy and clean up is a breeze. Great for Kids or adults who don’t want to invest a lot of time. The project looks great. I dislike kid’s crafts that look too “kiddie”. I love for kids to be able to show off their art and be proud of it. As an adult, I like to do a quick craft that doesn’t look like a kid did it.

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After I painted my craft room I thought I’d like to have ‘new’ switch plates. Mostly because,  in my haste, I dribbled paint all over a few of these. I did take off most of them, but a few I thought I could paint around.  Yeah, Ms. Patient didn’t do a good job with that.

Mod Podge is a staple in my craft room, so really all I bought was the less than $0.50 light plate. This is another craft I think most kids can help do. The cutting might be a bit difficult, and if you like things exactly perfect, well the paper might need a bit of help. I say let the kids do it and if a guest is crass enough to mention a bubble shame them by telling who did it. That will keep the criticisms down in the future.

Time: 20 minutes more or less, depending on your fussiness.

Materials: Light switch plate, Mod Podge (or white glue), Brush, pencil and scissors

For easy clean up use newspaper, scrap paper and/or wax paper

First, the wrong way. Don’t measure with barely any room around the light switch. The first one I gave a 1/4″ seam allowance, like with fabric, right? Wrong. It’s best if you give a good deal all around. You can always trim it. I gave about an inch, when I did it correctly, not that I measured precisely. Who has time for that?

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This series shows how to do it, but using the smaller paper. You can see why the bigger paper is needed. I don’t mind showing off my mistakes.

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These two (below) show the merits of having a lot of paper to use. Brush the Mod Podge liberally on the light switch and then the paper. Smooth it out with you fingers.

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I had to do a bit of cutting to get it around the corners without making a bubbly, wobbly mess on the front. I cut in the corners, sort of like you would to get wrapping paper nice.

I almost always Mod Podge on top to seal the project. With this one, however, I liked the feel of paper and couldn’t bear sealing it. I am sure it will get dirty, but considering the cost, I don’t mind. I’ll just either make another or replace it.

I didn’t take pictures during the process since I wasn’t sure how it was working out. I cut a hole out for the light switch, but didn’t cut ones for the screws. I figured when I screwed them into the wall just poking them through would be enough.

For yellow rose plate I used scrap-booking paper. I have since learned a useful trick, that I have not yet tried. I read on the internet that lightly spraying the paper with water will make it more pliable.

I also tried my favorite decoupage medium, tissue paper. It was much more fun. But looked childish. Not that I care, but if you’re doing it with a child I’d let them decide. My daughter always liked to make something that looked grown up.

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You might notice that I don’t have a picture showing them on the wall. Another very important piece of advice would be to put your screws in a ‘Safe place’. A Safe Place can be defined as one where the cat doesn’t play. I think you get the picture.

IMG_0428I’m not naming names, though.

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DIY: Quick and Easy Bookmarks using re-purposed page a day calendars

I love this craft because it’s one of those crafts anyone can do. It can look sophisticated and childish depending on the materials used. This is the kind of craft kids and adults both can get a lot of satisfaction in making.

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When I do crafts with kids I like the result to look really nice. My daughter always disliked those “make a tree from Cheerios” type crafts, even when she was very young. It didn’t really look good and it was never useful.

Time: 30 minutes or so

Materials:

  • Tags or heavy weight (card stock) paper
  • Mod Podge or white glue
  • Paint (2 or 3 is best)
  • Scissors
  • sponge &/or sponge brush
  • Wax paper or newspaper
  • Skittles (optional)

I don’t like to clean up which is where the paper comes in. I usually put paper (wax or news) on the table before I get started. I use wax paper as a paint palette and a glue holder.  News paper leaks ink and makes it yucky. If you’re using Mod Podge you don’t want to double dip your brush. It can get really icky.

If you’re using card stock paper cut it into the shape you like. Take your sponge or brush and paint on a light coat of paint. You don’t want it to be so heavy that it saturates the paper. You will be sponging more paint on top. That will cover any mistakes.

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When you’re done with one side I just flip it over and cover the other side. I place it on it’s side or on the tops of the paint bottles. It will bend a bit from the wet paint. Don’t worry, we’ll fix that later.

While I’m waiting for that to dry, I pick out the picture and cut it out. Here is the tricky part with kids. Depending on their age they may not have good cutting skills. I’d let them pick it out while I cut the picture.

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Next I go over the bookmark with another color. My base color is Espresso Brown. The sponged coat is Pure Gold. Both are metallic type paint. They are usually pretty cheap. I like metallics because they’re shiny.

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Let this dry. Usually these paints dry super quick. We don’t need them to be completely dry. I fan it a bit and it’s good. I don’t have much more patience than a child doing this craft.

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Now Mod Podge (or white glue) all over it. First on the bookmark, carefully place the picture then seal it with the Mod Podge (glue). The glue will dry clear. I try not to make it too thick. In the picture I put it on thick to show it’s on. I wiped most of that off.

Now the next step is what takes patience. You have to let it dry. This is the time to clean up your area (ball up and throw away your work area paper), put away all the pictures and talk about the books it can go in.

You should probably wait about a 1/2 hour, but sometimes I forget about it for days. It’s not an exact science. When you come back to the bookmark if it has gotten too wet it will have bent. I use 65# paper and it doesn’t happen as much, but on the lighter grades it will. Don’t worry, you can fix it. Take the book mark and put it in an old book and then set weights (or more books) on the book. I put my weights in a box so the weight is distributed evenly.

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Sometimes I’ve put the bookmark in wax paper. Unfortunately if it isn’t completely dry the wax paper can take off some of the picture. That’s what happened to Aragorn which is why my final picture is of Boromir.

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I used the same technique with Boromir except I used three colors. Gold, sponged on Espresso and dotted it with mossy green ink. It was fancy ink that looked like a bingo dauber. It was on sale. I buy all my supplies on sale.

To finish these I often put some ribbon or yarns through the holes. Mostly because my cats love to play with them while I’m reading. I always have string on me.

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Magnet Strengths

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When I first started selling my Glass Marble Magnets on Etsy I didn’t really know about Magnet strengths. I’ve heard that Rare Earth Magnets were ‘strong’ from websites, but didn’t really care to quantify it.

The first one is 1/8″ x 1/16″. I really liked this little magnet because it was so cute and little. It looked very nice on my little bees, just the right size I thought. Very low profile, you could hardly see it. It looked sweet.

Unfortunately, they could only hold up one piece of paper, and not very well at that. They would also slide on my refrigerator. They were not what I consider “strong” at all, and no longer my favorite.

At the same time I bought bar magnets 1/2″ x 1/4″ x 1/16″ for putting on Mighty Beanz toys. Because they are longer and have more surface area, they are stronger. They were able to hold 4 papers on the fridge. They didn’t slide around when you walked passed the fridge like the small round ones, but they weren’t as strong as I anticipated. They were the perfect size, however, for the Mighty Beanz so I will continue to use them.

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Mighty Beanz Dino magnets click to see more pics

The black ceramic magnets that you see in the big box craft stores. They are 3/4″ across and 1/4″ thick. Compared to the Rare Earth magnets they are huge. Yet they only hold 4 pieces of paper, like the bar magnet pictured. I used these on my door at work to hold up art work. Often if someone bumped against the paper all the magnets would fall off in a shower. It was very annoying.

The last magnet on the list is my favorite. It is 1/2″ x 1/8″ and can hold 10 pieces of paper easily to the door. These magnets don’t move a bit, either. They stay fixed to the surface. My favorite thing to see is someone pick one off my door. Their eyes get a little wide when they realize how much they actually have to tug to get them off.

I started making these to use at work. I was encouraged to sell these because they are so nice. I have a lot of fun looking for new marbles and things to use these magnets on.

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Goldfish pattern Glass Marble Magnets (click for more pics)

I hope this has helped explain magnet strengths. I think some people like them for simple decorations which is nice. But if you need them to do work, you have to understand their strengths.

 

Moonwalking & Time travel

moonwalking with einstein

I love this book. I’m reading it for a second time. It’s a great book on how to remember things using techniques from ancient Greece. Josh, the author, starts writing an article about Memory Championships. He is challenged by one of the contestants to enter the next year’s memory competition. The book is not only about his training for the competition, he also discusses what people in the field (psychology and neurology) have written about memory.

In the time before movable type and books, it was important to be able to memorize important information. In this book Josh shows many ways to memorize vast amounts of information. There are memory tricks for memorizing cards, which I didn’t care for. Far too much effort I thought, but interesting to read about. My favorite way of remembering lists is in using the “Memory Palace”. With this technique to memorize items in order you place them in a very familiar place. Josh was first instructed to use the house he grew up in. The first item on the list was pickled garlic and he was to imagine it parked in the driveway. The next item was Cottage Cheese which he envisioned Claudia (a supermodel) in a children’s pool filled with Cottage cheese. As you can see these images are so vivid I still remember them. I will never use this technique for remembering a shopping list, but I wonder when I was in school learning all the bones, muscles, functions and nerve levels if this would have helped.

My favorite tidbit is about a Dutch psychologist Willem Wagenaar. (Page 28): For 6 years (1978 – 1984) he kept a diary of 1 or 2 notable events that happened to him each day. For each event he wrote what occurred, who was involved and when, each on a separate card. In 1984 he began testing himself to see just how much he would be able to recall. He would pull out a random card and see if he had any memories of the day. He found he could recall almost everything that happened – especially more recent events – with a few retrieval clues. But nearly 20% of the oldest memories seemed to have totally disappeared. These events, described in his own diary, felt foreign as if they’d happened to a stranger.

Wagenaar wasn’t convinced they were gone. He decided to take another look at 10 events and sought out the people he had mentioned in the diary. In every single case, with enough prodding, someone was able to supply a detail that lead him to retrieve other parts of the memory. Not one of his memories had disappeared. He concluded that “In light of this one cannot say any event was completely forgotten.”

I found it fascinating that some events he read, written in his own writing felt as if they happened to a stranger. This encouraged me to keep a better diary. I’ve kept one on and off for the last 25 years. At first I started when I was pregnant so my daughter would have something fun to read when she was pregnant. That has not happened yet, so I don’t know if she’ll find it as fun as I’d hoped. As she grew up I’ve become less and less persistent. In the last 10 yrs it sort of dribbled off.

Last year, inspired by this psychologist, I bought a 5 Year Journal.

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One of the things I always write in it is the weather. People around me often say, “we never have ___ weather in (month)”. By next year I’ll be able to look back on the day and easily see if it is typical of the day. I also put in one or two things that happened. Even on boring days something is bound to happen. I like this particular journal because the pages are fairly thick so no bleed through, the elastic keeps my page and its small. It was $14, which is usually more than I pay, but for 5 years I thought it was a good deal. If I continue to use it and see value in it, I will get the 10 year journal next time.

Another thing I like about this journal is the “Time Travel” aspect. I love talking to my Past and Future Selves. I do this through calendars. In this one I will write a note on a sticky post-it note and place it on the appropriate day. For instance, I paid extra for the Executive membership at Costco. I left myself a note asking if it was a good idea and that I need to talk to the service desk about it on this date.  Sometimes I will write in a separate color on a date to let my past self know how it turned out. I do this with my Outlook calendar, too. If I have a goal to do something, I write notes to my future self asking how I’m doing and if I’m keeping on track. I can be somewhat of a nag, but I forgive myself for it.

These are 2 great books to pick up just for the fun of it. Josh was able to do well in the Memory Championships proving to himself (and me) that anyone who dedicates the time to learning and getting ‘in shape’ for memorizing can do it. It’s not just something for those with a genius towards memorization.

 

Getting Started Again

I went with a new hosting site and have lost all my previous posts. I’m not sure how that happened. I’m moving forward and I refuse to fuss about it. I’m sure I should have backed it up somewhere along the way and I didn’t.

IMG_0431Frank says he’ll help, so I’m sure I’ll get back up and running soon.