Monday, July 29, 2013

The Button Tree

Now that I've gotten rid of the ugly orange laminate counter top in the bathroom I may have to find a new home for my button tree. 

But, it's definitely staying somewhere, because I like it so much! 

Monday, July 15, 2013

A Little Light from Pinterest

While perusing Pinterest recently I came across a blog with an idea for lighting up the back patio. It looked pretty simple and inexpensive so I decided to go for it. 

I'd like to say I had the supplies on hand but alas 'tis not true, so I scurried on over to Walmart to pick up

  • mason jars  - $10 for a dozen - I only needed four but I can always find something to do with the rest
  • outdoor solar light sticks - $1 a stick x's 4 
As is par for the course for me, I wanted to put my own stamp on the craft so I also ran to Hobby Lobby to pick up some glass stones. - $9 for three bags, one each of clear, blue, and gold stones 

Back at home I started to assemble my Mason Jar Solar Powered Luminaries. I have to say that while the luminaries were fairly easy to put together, it wasn't quite as simple as she made it out to be. According to the blogger you are supposed to: 
Stick one end of the paper clip into the light (you might have to loosen the screws a little bit.) Use all three and space them evenly around the edge.
I never could  get this part right and ended up only using two clips and inserting them into the holes where the original cover attached.  
I also had to use black electrical tape to hold the clips in place. Next came the truly hard part ... screwing the ring on the jar to hold the light in place. Maybe she used smaller or less thick paper clips? I never could get the rings straight or tight but the clips are staying in place and that's what matters. 

Finally I got three luminaries put together and then discovered that the fourth solar light stick was defective. Note to self: before purchasing in the future, always check to make sure the tab that activates the light hasn't already been removed. Oh well, they say you're supposed to group things in threes anyway. 

I thought the jars looked pretty good in the daylight but nighttime would be the true test. I went out at dusk and this is what I saw.
Not exactly the glow that I had envisioned. 


I checked back a little later and found it looked a little brighter but not much. As it got darker outside it was impossible to photo with my phone and my camera battery is dead so I can't show the difference, but trust me, they were pretty but not WOW! pretty.

I thought it might help to take some of the glass stones out, perhaps they are diffusing too much light? I also decided that I really wanted four lights as I had originally planned. So, the Hubs and I made a Walmart trek this weekend and I picked up another solar light stick (plus batteries for my camera, and a couple of T-shirts and a pair of shorts for my husband. Why is it I can rarely go into a store and come out with only what I intended to buy? Sigh.) Later in the day I made my fourth luminary. I took stones from the other three jars making all four about half full. I set them in place on the patio, three on the bench and one on the table. I then sat back and anxiously awaited for darkness to fall, hoping this time would be the charm and things were going to turn out "light".

You can only imagine my disappointment when I discovered last night that only two of the luminaries were shinning, one was extremely dim and the fourth was totally dark. Boo hiss!

It might have something to do with all the rain we've had lately. There hasn't been much sunlight to recharge the lights. Or perhaps something is loose?  I brought all the jars inside this morning to check them out and wouldn't you know that all four are now working?! Ever diligent, I reassembled the luminaries (with even fewer stones) and moved the jars back outside. Here they are sitting on a table in the middle of the patio,hopefully soaking up the sun's rays which are finally out. (I can't decide who's happier to see the sunshine, me or the birds chirping their little hearts out. I'd chirp too if I knew how!)

Tonight will be the true test. If they don't work after all this, I give up. It seemed like a good idea at the time but maybe it's just not meant to be. Meanwhile, I need to figure out what to do with all these left over glass stones   
Pinterest here I come!
Woohoo, third time's the charm. My lights look bootiful! 

Not only do fewer stones allow for better light, they cast the most amazing shadows on the surface the jars are sitting on. 

A close up of the table light  Without a good camera it's hard to get a photo of the overall effect but I think you might see what I'm talking about. Anyway, I'd consider this "Pinterest Steal" a success even though it took awhile to get the right result. 

Moral of the story - don't give up, sometimes it takes a few tries to get the what you want!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

A Craft Room Re-do

I can't believe I haven't posted on this blog in almost two years. I shouldn't be surprise though since I haven't really done anything crafty during this time. I'd like to say that things are going to change but who really knows what tomorrow will bring. But if by chance I get bitten by the bug again ... I'll be ready!

Over the last couple of weeks I did a complete overhaul of my craft room. I decided it was time to purge the clutter from my life and get rid of all the "stuff" that was never going to be brought to completion. I have a friend who was sickened by the ruthlessness that led to thirteen bags of "trash" and a jam packed van of donations for Goodwill. 

I assured her that it was something that had to be done and the end result just might open the door for me to actually get back into doing something creative. And if it doesn't? Well, at least now I have a clean space that is opened up to the rest of the house and isn't an embarrassment for visitors to see.

My only real regret ....

I thought I had some good "before" photos to show so you could compare them to the end result but sadly I think they were lost in the computer crash of 2012. The only two I could come up with were this

and this

As is clearly obvious, it is completely chaotic in this room. There was just so. much. stuff. So, while I pretty much knew where everything was, anyone else could get lost in a nano second. I'll admit it was at times claustrophobic, and am pretty sure that one of the reasons my desire to create died was because it was such an overwhelming and depressing room.

The first thing I did was relocate all of my sewing paraphernalia to one of the bedrooms. Since Andrew chose to stay in Knoxville after graduation I decided to designate his room as the guest/sewing room.

There's still a bed for sleeping, other than that it's not a "bed"room. The chest of drawers is full of fabric and the bookshelf holds felt, yarn, ribbon, buttons, etc. 

An old but trusted sewing machine, what's left of my felt bag inventory, a chest full of unfinished projects, 

and for when the mood strikes to get my exercise on, an elliptical and weights (Haha, those are NOT my weights. Don't you just love that ancient TV? I won it in a raffle at work waaaaay back in 1997!)

It was now time to return to the disaster area and focus on restoring order. It took about four days of purging, cleaning, storing, and re-arranging but the final result ..

Another look at the befores and afters ...

My goal was to organize and store as much as possible out of sight

Here's a run down of what's stashed where:
  1. Card making supplies, punches, embellishments, idea books
  2. Photos, photos, and more photos
  3. Crafting tools
  4. A whole closet of books, tools, and supplies, and shelves of stamps and the stuff that goes with them
  5. 12x12 paper, 2 totes under the table
  6. 8 1/2  11 paper, 2 6-drawer carts under the table
  7. Totes of family members memorabilia 
  8. Display board of various  competed and in-progress projects
  9. A chest of jewelry supplies, polymer clay "stuff", stickers & embellishments, specialty papers, and misc.crap that I just couldn't let go of
Everyone needs a little inspiration right? 

Art work by my children looks down on me while I work and makes me smile. But, it doesn't stop there...

while going through the boys' totes of memorabilia I found a painting by each child depicting Van Gogh's Starry  Night. Andrew drew his in chalk while in Kindergarten 

and Ian's painting is from our co-op days (2004/5)

Dale had a poster that use to hang in his office. I bought the three together, and voila!! 
Isn't this awesome?! Sadly neither of my children followed in Mom's footsteps when it comes to artistic creativity. They lean more towards Dad's musical and athletic bents. Oh well, I can always hope for daughters-in-law and granddaughters to share my enthusiasm for paper and fabric, color, paint, chalk, and things that shine. (Boys, if your reading this, can you get on that pronto please? Mama needs some crafting buddies.) 

Meanwhile I am hoping that my new-found craft space will inspire me to return to creating. And if it doesn't .... well, at least I have a clean, organized space and a clear path from the living room to the kitchen!