Friday, August 26, 2011

Coffee Cup Patchwork

My square coffee mug defied me for the longest time. It just would not tell me what it wanted to be decorated with, so into the back of the cabinet it went.
Recently, I've been buying squares of colorful cotton for a quilt that has been in my thoughts forever. It had to be very bright, along with functional, of course. Gleefully, I played with the squares until I had the color sequence just right. A denim curtain had been relegated to the material pile, so the 10" center square came about.
Geez, I'm rambling. The coffee mug. Yes.
I made another template, this time for small squares. Raw, these were 2" square pieces. Having already laid out the color sequence, all I had to do was cut the squares and line them up for sewing.
Here's the result-

Lucky for me, my printer will photocopy. Copying every direction, I had four sheets of paper copy of the fabric block. Before it made it to the FabCopy file, I used a little for my mug.
Laying out the paper, I stared at the mug, seeing but not really seeing.
I could have wrapped the strip around the mug, but with the upward angle of the glass, matching it would be tricky and I'm no expect on the Mod Podge front.

And I'm not a quilter, either. No matter how exact I measure and cut and sew, the little squares would not line up. So- out come the rulers.
Tracing lines on both sides of a 2" grid ruler, I had that positioned pretty good. Turning the paper, I traced on both sides of a 1" grid ruler so that I had pieces that measured 1" by 2". Mod Podging the back of the first piece, it magically turned and angled itself quite nicely to the glass.
Okay. I can go with that.

Continuing with the angling was the only way out after that. The staggering of the square copies seemed to match the square mug.
And it wasn't done yet.
Picking up one of my detail brushes and the pot of white acrylic paint, my hand made little hash marks, resembling a good old fashioned patch on a favorite pair of jeans.

Now, it was done, after a final of Mod Podge Gloss, of course.
And I needed a cup of coffee really bad, if only to celebrate!

Doing this mug has brought about many ideas, ones to further explore on the blank mugs I will get in the future. This first mug will sit prominently on my little brew 'n go for all to see.
Who knows what I'll come up with next?

Stay safe.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Make Your Own Mouse Pad

This project was so quick and easy, I had to stare at it when it was done for quite some time to make sure it was right. That day had started off with me scooting around, getting things together for my first Porch Sale this Saturday. It seemed like a disjointed day to me- nothing was exactly in focus even though I had a mission to accomplish. Sitting at my desk with my coffee was when the lightning hit.
Gathering up a few things, I set to work. After cutting the paper and foam sheet to match, I sprayed the paper with clear acrylic spray, and repeated the step after the first coat was dry. The humidity was starting to climb, so I had to finish this step as soon as possible. Humidity and sprays have a very bad relationship. Combining the two can give you horrible and unfixable results.
 The dried paper and foam backing only lacked Mod Podge to join the two in patriotic splendor. The white plastic piece on the right is what I use for a brayer (a dollar store purchase from the kitchenware aisle).
A coat of Mod Podge on the foam backing done, I carefully placed the paper on, smoothing with my fingers. My little white squeegy pushed out all the bubbles. Keep moving your squeegy to make sure everything will lay flat. Moving your mouse over little hills and valleys might net you some unexpected results! So make double sure all bubbles and ripples are gone.
That little hump in the center got worked out with a few threats for incentive!
Next, I weighted the pad down, hoping it would stay flat!
And- OH NO!! NONONONONO... The corners started to curl up. I won't type what I said, but I did remember all the posts I've read on Mod Podge Rocks of how some projects went a little wrong, and then the follow-up saying the whole thing straightened itself out overnight. Problem resolved.
Sure enough, the next morning the corners had quietly sighed and laid down, just like they were supposed to.
More, you ask? You betcha! One with a little extra bling for the holiday. Who says a mouse pad has to be plain and uninteresting? Certainly not me.
Three more came off the desk before I finally felt my run was over for the day.

Here's a close up of the metallic paint I added to just the poinsettias to set them off more. But not so much it interrupts the flatness of the pad.

So ends the saga, but it really doesn't end here. What you pick to Mod Podge to the backing is unique to you. Embellish more. Paint a border. Add your name. Take a favorite picture and adhere it. Just make sure you spray the print with clear a few times so it won't smudge. My first pad was of bandana pieces I had copied on the printer. I keep a large FabCopy file for projects such as these. But that's another post.

There ya go. Have at it! Create your own world.


Friday, August 12, 2011

Tin Transformation

Ever need a certain something to carry another little certain something so it doesn't get lost in the bottom of your bag, or the glove compartment, or your pocket?
I always seem to need to carry something- something that can't get lost- because sure enough, I'm going to need to get my hands on it right quick! The Tin Transformation takes care of that for me. They're easy and fairly quick to do in their simple form. And the possibilities are endless when it comes to your preferred alteration.
Let's start with a tin and a tiny dab of gesso~

After the paint is dry, it's time to be artsy-craftsy. Do you want to just paint it? Add a different element? I chose fabric for the center because the print really caught my eye. Cutting a template so the fabric fit well in the 'frame' took some well placed words of wisdom that we won't go in to!
Using Matte Mod Podge, thoroughly coat the back of the fabric piece and let it dry. This will keep the fabric from fraying after it is cut to size. (Thanks to Amy from Mod Podge Rocks for that tip!)
When you're sure the fabric is going to fit just so, apply Mod Podge again and stick that little thing in place. You'll be able to move it around a very little before it sets.

Now what to do?
As always, I chose to paint for the final. Not long ago, I made myself a color chart, showing every color I have with their corresponding names and make. I moved the tin down the side of the purples to find the match. Later, I realized one of my new colors just matched that funky yellow-green, so I added that to the line up. At this point, I walked out of the studio to let the last part of the process simmer.
That particular shade of purple worked well around the little border. Adding Plaid's New Leaf Green set off the fabric print, so I liked that.

Not bad, but something's missing. Well, not really. It was staring me straight in the face the whole time. So-
I carried the print of the fabric over on to the painted side, doing my best to match it.

Now it was complete. After a coat of all purpose sealer, the painted area was still a little tacky, so I slapped on a coat of clear nail polish. Five minutes later, I could stuff in it whatever would fit.

And that's my secret!

Oh, go ahead. Try it. You'll like it!


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Autumn Light

I just couldn't resist making this tea light holder just a teensy bit early, so go ahead. Roll your eyes. Shake your head. But, just look at this cute little thing!
I feel a set of them coming on...

As usual, I was prowling around the dollar store, and the fall decorations are starting to arrive. Now, I really like ribbon. Plain is all right on certain applications, but I would prefer a nice pattern. Something to make the eyes smile. Mine lit on this one particular wide ribbon with a great autumn leaf design, so in the cart it flew.
The tea light holder was in the next aisle. You know where that went. From there, I was concentrating on my list and not thinking about the first two items.
The next morning is when 'what to do with it' came crashing down on me. Other projects were immediately pushed back so I could make a new mess on my desk.
Pieces and parts. Parts and pieces. A little more cutting, some placing to make sure it all fit just right, and the top was done!
Each individual piece was Mod Podged onto the glass with a small piece of sponge. Some of the Podge went over the leaves and onto the glass, so I dabbed more Podge all over the top section. When it dried, the spillover gave the glass a slightly frosted look. Bingo!
After the Mod Podge dried, the little tea light holder looked half naked. Something was missing. At this point, I walked out of the studio for a little break. When I returned, the answer was staring me in the face.
What about the bottom? it said.
Okay. Sounds good to me. Now- how to apply more cutouts. My mind ran around like a gerbil on steroids, until it finally fell exhausted but satisfied in a heap under the base. Wow. What a trip.
The base fit perfectly on a leftover piece from the original cut. More trimming, more Mod Podge, and presto!
Autumn Light was born.

Enjoy the rest of summer, everyone. Fall comes too soon.