Sparkly Star Art


I originally wanted to do this just using microbeads I have from a project that I have yet to write up and post here (oops - sorry!), but it seemed a little boring with just microbeads and I needed something to cover some more mistakes... so I went for the glitter. I kind of hate myself for using glitter (ever) - it IS the herpes of craft supplies! - but I like the outcome. (And let's be fair, I've been waiting for a chance to use that quote...)
Glitter Herpes
via Flickr
The photos, no matter how much I edited them and played with exposure, don't really do this project full justice because there's the texture, the glitz, the different blues, etc. that just don't all show up well at the same time. But, if you want to do something that's more or less for July 4th, without being too obviously geared toward the holiday (or something you can't just keep out all the time), here's a little project to brighten up your walls!

Supplies
  • Small picture frame (you don't need the back of it - just the glass and the frame)
  • Mod Podge Matte
  • Mod Podge Dimensional Magic
  • Microbeads (Mine are Martha Stewart and I have no idea if anyone else actually makes them...)
  • Fine Grain Glitter
  • Washi tape or painter's tape
  • Paint/Scrapbook Markers (that work on glass)
  • Tiny bit of ribbon (and something to singe the ends with)
  • Hot glue & glue gun


Instructions
First, you want to grab the glass out of your frame. I used a small frame and recommend not going too much bigger than about 3" x 5" because it just takes so much material to cover the space and I think you get a lot of "wow" from just a little space because there's a lot of stuff on this thing! 

I drew stars on my glass with a chalk marker so that it was easy to rub off because I tend to make mistakes... but you can go ahead with your paint or glass marker and draw your stars on one side of the glass. Flip the glass over and cover the star area with tape so that you are keeping the area inside the star clean and embellishment free. (I used washi tape just because I didn't have painter's tape, but I'm sure the painter's tape would be a more cost-effective choice... oops!)

Then, I put some Mod Podge matte on the back of my glass (the side with the tape) and covered it with microbeads. I let that dry for an hour or so. 

When I came back, the whole thing looked kind of plain (and I wasn't going to use all the rest of the microbeads to try to make the color look thicker and prettier) so I grabbed the glitter (2 shades of blue from a little sample pack of glitter) and smeared some more mod podge on top of the microbeads (using my finger so that I could gently apply it and not wipe up the microbeads)... 

And then I poured on my glitter... 


I let that dry overnight (but I'm not sure you have to wait that long) and then I wiped off the chalk stars so that I could use a scrapbook marker to draw them on correctly and make sure the star aligned exactly with the line where the embellishment ends (because some stuff always gets under the tape, no matter what I do). I used a regular scrapbook marker that wrote on glass (after an unsuccessful paint pen-type thing smeared all over me). 

Then I used a tiny, thin little layer of Dimensional Magic. I basically wanted to keep the frame backless, but didn't want glitter and microbeads spilling every time the air conditioning turned on, so that's what I went with... I wondered about using regular Mod Podge, but didn't know if that would end up looking weird, so I went with the magical formula!

After I let that dry (overnight again), I had to figure out how I was going to display this thing because I wanted the stars to be see through (and not just so you could see scrapbook paper). 

First, I pulled off the tape (being careful not to just rip off big chunks around the stars... which wasn't terribly easy, but I'm not sure how to do it any better.) To hang the glass, I decided to cut some ribbon and then fold it around the corners of my frame and hot glue it into the frame. (I did my best to try to show you what and how I did this... but it's not difficult and I'm sure you can figure out a way that might not even involve glue gun burns.)

Then it was just time to tie the bow, singe the edges of the ribbon, and hang it up! 

The actual project itself takes less than 2 hours - you just have to wait for some things to dry, but the "active time" is pretty limited and I made it entirely with stuff I had on hand and that you might have in your scrapbook stash!

I'm linking up to some of my favorite conferences!

Crafty Interview: Ash of Evelyn Kate Designs


When I was talking to Ash about wanting to feature her blog and do guest post-like stuff too, I thought about how fun it might be if I could ask crafty bloggers some questions... about blogging, crafty life, their favorite things, etc. Basically, get their advice and opinions to frame the guest post and tutorials for you and I think it would be pretty cool to have a couple and compare answers and get ideas and opinions... and Ash was awesome enough to let me test out some questions on her and she answered them all! So, here's the first of the crafty interviews with Ashley of Evelyn Kate Designs!




When and how did you start being crafty?
            I have always been crafty. I remember when I was a little girl going with my mom to the craft store and running towards the kids aisles to get a box of crafts. Do you remember those friendship bracelets? I think one summer I made something like 50 of those! OH and don’t get me started on the hemp necklaces in middle school…

When did you start blogging about your craftiness and why?
I started blogging mid march of 2011. I’m just a baby in the blogging world! My husband suggested I present all of the crafty things I do in addition to capturing all of our home improvements. In other words, this is like a living scrap book for our house/life etc.

What's your favorite project (of everything you've made)?
            Well, my favorite project is creating life (Evelyn and baby H)…haha but on a serious note I would have to say my favorite project is my American flag picture frame. I’m not much of a painter but I think it turned out pretty well and I saved a bundle compared to the designer version.

What's your favorite crafty material or medium?
          I love book pages! I also adore tissue paper. There is so much you can do with those items when you add mod podge to the mix!

What's the biggest challenge you face(d) in blogging?
          My biggest challenge is time management. Working full time, being a mother and wife and balancing that time with blogging has its challenges. I created this blogging calendar to help keep me organized. I also created a weekly cleaning calendar to make sure that cleaning the house and keeping up with chores is a breeze.
                                                                                                     
When you don't feel particularly crafty, what do you do to find inspiration?
          It is so early on in my blogging career that I haven’t really hit the “not feeling crafty” point. I’m sure it will happen sooner or later! We are doing so much with our house before baby h arrives that I am pretty busy thinking of different things to do around the house. My husband loves that I always have a list of to-do’s!

How do you organize your craft supplies?
          Oh, you do NOT want to see that mess. I do have them organized (in my mind at least) in clear plastic bins. During maternity leave I plan on officially organizing my area (the study) and making it nice and pretty. I’m thinking about purchasing a paper organizer. I love different textures of white paper.

How do you organize (remember, find) tutorials and posts online that you like?
            Recently, I just started using Pinterest. It is such a great idea. The inventor of that website is a genius! Before Pinterest I just bookmarked everything. Yeah, my favorite’s folder had something like 50+ websites. I’m so happy I have another means to keep organized and see the tutorial/post on my “pin” board.

What's your best tip for new bloggers?
          Don’t look at your follower/comment count! This can consume you and this will (at times) frustrate you. I wish there was a way I could turn off the follower count in blogger. Does anyone have suggestions how to do this? I love each and every one of my followers but sometimes I feel like I’m not living up to par when I only get one additional follower after a week of blogging. I want to be the very best blogger I can be! But trust me…don’t look at the numbers try to focus on what you love to do – blog!  

What are some things you're loving right now (crafty or not)?
          Things I’m loving: Starbucks Java Chip Frappe, my Joes Maternity jeans (oh so worth the money,) my little girl, my darling husband, the baby kicks in my stomach (although sometimes you like to kick my lungs…), finishing harrison’s baby room, the laundry room/mudroom/walk-in pantry remodel.

What question do you wish I asked (and please answer it)?!
          Ok with this question I can tell that you are teaching a few college courses!

Lets see…what about: What do you like to do other than crafting?

I enjoy spending time with my family…we are at my parent’s house almost every weekend (when 10302040 projects aren’t going on)…I live 5 minutes away from my parents. Actually, my 3 older brothers and I all live within an 8 mile radius around my parents. I guess you can see we will never leave the area…ok anyways back to the question --- Also, I do enjoy boating, jetskiing, and anything revolving around the pool/lake.

Thanks so much for the chance to share my thoughts!


Thank YOU Ash for sharing your thoughts and answering all my questions!

Ashley blogs at Evelyn Kate Designs and you can find the feature post with several tutorials here on my blog!

[If you are interested in doing the guest post/featured post and crafty interview, please let me know by emailing me at craftingscientist@gmail.com!]

Featured Post: Evelyn Kate Designs




Since I started blogging I have had the pleasure to "meet" some AMAZINGLY crafty and talented ladies and today I'm so excited to share one of my favorites with you! Meet Ashley (or Ash) of Evelyn Kate Designs - she's one of those ridiculous talented multi-tasking mommy bloggers with a business AND graphic design talent... oh, and she's a scientist! You know, one of those incredibly talented people that you want to hate because she's so on top of so many things, but you can't, because she's SO sweet AND willing to share her talent with you? Yup, she's one of those!

Today, I'm going to feature a couple of her projects that I personally love and think you will too! (And by the way, she's a new blogger - she just started in February of this year and she already has all of these projects so I can hardly wait to see what else she makes!)

I first discovered Miss Ash's blog because she shared a blogging calendar printable that I jumped all over... I know I'm not the most organized blogger, but trust me, this printable has definitely improved my planning already (you don't even want to imagine where I'd be without it)!
If you want one of your very own, you can download it for FREE(!!!) here. (I told you - she's so generous with her creativity, you have to love her!)

Maybe you all are getting ready for July 4th now (assuming you're more organized than me and start these things more than 10 minutes in advance)? Well, check out this amazing yarn and canvas flag! I love this - you could make it with stuff you have on hand (unless you wanted to be super-fancy and find some stars) and it's more unique than the yarn wreath I tend to make by default!
I love the idea of textured, 3-D wall art like this that would amaze your house guests (and not just look pretty in pictures)! You can find the tutorial for her flag art here.

Speaking of house guests, anyone throwing a party? If so, you've got to check out her projects to help you put together amazing paper goods and decorations! Last week she shared AMAZING printables she used for her daughter's birthday party, but trust me, these are not ordinary kid birthday things - there are also bridal versions of the "event-specific" printables. My favorites have to be these cupcake wrappers and toppers you can download for FREE!
And for full "let's make Martha jealous" impact, Ash made these gorgeous tissue paper pom poms for the party! You can find the tutorial here so you can make your own!

Seriously, there is so much awesomeness at Evelyn Kate Designs that I had major troubles picking out just a couple of projects to feature... she has a tutorial to help you make your own amazing Ballard wall art knock off using paper + canvas + paint + mod podge, as well as a printable weekly cleaning schedule you can download for free, and a tutorial to help you make your own pinwheel card!

Go check out Ashley at Evelyn Kate Designs to see all the projects I didn't feature here, download everything you need to be a crafty, organized goddess, and wait for the awesome projects yet to come!

Blogging How To: Numbering Your Comments

Maybe you all are much more tech savvy than I am... or maybe I just have really bad luck (which is what I'm going to tell myself), but I had tried to number my comments several times in the past and come up with nothing...


But now, hopefully you'll notice my comments are numbered! I used this tutorial from The Cutest Blog on the Block and they finally work - it was super-easy and I didn't have issues or 8 different possible codes to find and look for and guess about, just copy and paste! Good luck!

Light Box!


Not too long after I posted this morning about the sad state of my laptop, I got some good news - it's been resurrected! Somehow the lovely folks at Apple decided to repair it even though it was past the warranty point and I got charged almost nothing and I'm happily typing away on my old MacBook Pro (the other love of my life). So I put together this little post about a project from (more than) a month (or so) ago...

When I got the new awesome camera, I demanded that the boyfriend make me a little lightbox so that I could have awesome pictures for the blog (it's like a little photostudio! just for me!) and so he followed this tutorial I found from Michele of The Scrap Shoppe.



The is a view of the end:

This is a look down on the lightbox (so sort of a view from the top):

And a view of the inside of the box (where you put your fabulous craft or whatever you want to take the picture of):

I highly HIGHLY recommend this project - I think it's really improved the quality of my photos!

I'm linking up to some of my favorite conferences!

New(-ish) Design?

What do you guys think of the new(-ish) blog design? I know it's not too different, but I was just getting bored with the old design and too stuck on some little things I didn't like, so I fixed it up and played with it a bit...

I think I might play with the header a bit more and I still have a couple little tweaks that I want to make to various little coordinating details (and I want to tackle the tutorials page soon), but for now, we have this! (And another enthusiastic thumbs up for GIMP here - it's free and AMAZING!)

No tutorial up for now (I know that I usually have one around Monday or Tuesday of each week) because my main laptop finally died (it had a VERY long life) and I'm waiting to hear on the cost of repairs (to compare to the cost of replacing it and so I wasn't going to mess with editing photos for now (and I've been a bit busy). Just wanted to let you guys know what's up because I'm deviating a bit from my loose blog schedule...

Also, if you are still interested in a button swap or if you have posted my button (so I can add you to my peers page), let me know!

Roundup: Blogging Resources - Blog Buttons!


When I made my little blog button (below), I used a variety of tutorials to help me out. Since then, I've shared my little collection of resources with several other bloggers. Since digging up that email every time people ask isn't the most efficient thing in the world, I'm doing a little roundup here (it's sort of a mini roundup actually because I didn't use too many resources). So if you are looking to create your own blog button, here are some tutorials that might help!



Musings of a Housewife has a tutorial here for how to design a blog button and then another one here for how to create the code for your blog button. I think these two might have been my most favorite resources for creating the blog button...

Though I used this one from Empty Easel as well because I kept having issues getting the actual button itself to show up above the scrolling box of code. 

There's this one from one of my most favorite sites - Kevin & Amanda - that I used. I always check there for blog-related tutorials because I've loved everything I've found there!

Then there's this Squidoo lens page that I found... it was linked from another tutorial I found then, but can't ever seem to find again and give proper credit to. I also looked to this one when I was having issues getting the actual button image to show up.

And finally, there's this tutorial from Blogging with Amy (another excellent resource for general blogging tips - as in, not just for crafty bloggers) that I found useful.

Now these are newer resources I've found to help and think might be even more useful (I just didn't have the good fortune to find it then)...

Here's one from Mommy Bits (with an awesome walk-through for creating the code), another one from Who Are You Calling Crafty?, and one from Sew.Craft.Create. (part of the Blog Design 101 series).

Whenever I've sent this out, I've reminded bloggers that there are continually more and more tutorials for creating your own blog button so you might find your own best ever option by doing an good ol' fashioned Google search!

If you want to show off that you were included in a roundup here, feel free to grab my new featured button!

Watermelon Wreath


I was thinking about making a summer wreath and one night, when I was laying in bed just pondering life, this idea came to me. I about popped out of bed to try to make it right then and there, but luckily, I didn't have any pink yarn... or I think I might have made it right then and there! But this is really simple and just combines a couple techniques and skills you already have to make something you probably don't!

This is another project where I experimented and went back a few times to change things so I don't have a ton of pictures, but don't worry, it's simple and even if you do things a different way, I think you can figure out how to make this just from seeing the finished product!


Supplies

  • Wreath form (I used straw, still in the plastic wrap)
  • Light green yarn
  • Dark green yarn
  • Pink yarn
  • Black buttons (I used them in 2 sizes because that's what I had)
  • Needle and pink thread
  • Scissors
Instructions
You start with your wreath form - if it's straw, leave it in the plastic wrap! - and take one of your green yarns, tie it around your wreath, and just start wrapping. I would make maybe a 1.5 - 2-inch section of one green wrapped around the wreath and then switch colors.

The only tricky part is this one, but I think you can do things another way and might even come up with something prettier! Basically, when you first start, you might grab the light green and wrap until you've got your chunk of light green. Then, you tie a knot as though you're finishing the wreath, but don't cut after the knot. Then, grab your dark green yarn and tie it right next to the end of the light green and start wrapping. I sometimes overlapped the two colors, but I don't think you need to. However, you do want to wrap around the end of your light green yarn - basically, drag it to the point where you'll start the light green again, hold it, and wrap the dark green around it. You could cut and re-knot every time you switch colors, but I just didn't want to mess with that!

If you forget to put the light green under the dark green, you end up with weird little strings that you have to pull across later... note the one the arrow points to above and learn from my mistakes!

Once I covered half the wreath with green yarn stripes, I tied knots and cut the green yarn. Then, I started the pink yarn and finished up the yarn wrapping. I originally thought about gluing buttons or black felt "seeds," but I wanted to make sure everything would stay put and avoid glue strings, so that's why I sewed... but I'm not sure I'd recommend it.

But it's very simple - grab your pink thread and needle and start sewing the button around the pink yarn in the same way you'd sew a button onto fabric.

The only weird thing is that you have to pull the yarn a bit to thread the needle under and through the yarn, but again, I'm sure you can figure it out!

After that, I just grabbed a light green and white ribbon, slipped it through the yarn on the back of the wreath, tied it in a bow, and hung it up to admire the summer-y goodness!

In terms of the time for this project, I'd say it's about 3 hours only because it took so long to wrap the yarn and then sew the buttons - but it was NOT a difficult 3 hours! You can definitely watch some TV while you do it... In terms of the cost, I had the wreath form, the green yarns, the thread and needle, buttons, and ribbon on hand, so the only thing I had to buy was the pink yarn for less than $3! But, even if you have to buy it, yarn should be around $8 total, a wreath form for less than $3, and then almost nothing for a couple buttons and thread and you have plenty of all of it leftover!

I'm linking up to some of my favorite conferences!

P.S. I didn't do the constellation thing here because no constellation starts with "W" and I think the watermelon name is pretty distinct - no chance you'll think I was talking about the lemonhead wreath or something!

Favorite Things Roundup

I keep thinking about doing more roundups - projects using a particular material, color, etc. or products I love, links I love, etc. - and those are still in the works. But I did make this little button/badge thing, so that's a win... right?!

For now, this is a round up of some of my favorite things - a mix of products, links, free downloads, and more. (I just love them - I'm not getting paid for this though I am linking products via Amazon Associates.)


Free Downloadable, Printable Argyle Business Cards from Jessica Jones at How About Orange - I love argyle and free printables, so this is an obvious choice! This blog is also amazing and definitely one you should follow (if you don't already)!
image from How About Orange

Jergens Natural Glow Lotion - for those of us hoping to go from Casper to non-blinding, the one for fair skin works AND doesn't smell bad. It doesn't even really smell like self-tanner or anything and it doesn't seem to come off on clothes or sheets or anything, even if you go workout. I've had this before, but the smell was terrible and I couldn't see much difference, but a friend told me how great this stuff was and I'm thrilled to report she's right! : )

Colour Clock Screensaver - time is a hexadecimal color on this free screensaver. I believe it's only for Macs for now, but who knows!? I credit Kotori Blog for helping me discover this little freebie and this is another fabulous blog I highly recommend!
image found here

Summer Dresses - I love them... and I love that there are so many gorgeous patterns and colors out there now. I love all the chevron patterns, the navy stripes with fun color details (like salmon or lime green piping). Seriously, I had major problems picking just one dress to picture here because there are so many gorgeous ones out there...
Coley Tie-Back Dress from Ralph Lauren, "only" $148 here

New Blogger Additions - Google has new extensions for Chrome including one for Blogger that lets you view all the pictures on a Blogger blog in a variety of ways just by clicking a button! The picture above is the "Mosaic" view. You can read about the changes here on Blogger Buzz. Jam Hands had this awesome tutorial with pictures about how to use the extension to make a visual recipe index.
image from Blogger Buzz here

    The Blog: Updates & News

    I guess it depends on how we define "news" here... but inspired by my truly nerdy roots, I have some blog-related goals for myself this summer and the main one is to grow! [I'm not teaching anything this summer so I should - in theory - have a bit more time to devote to blogging... cross your fingers!] I'm hoping that I can grow this little blog and maybe even make a little money - if only to pay for the domain name, photo hosting site pro membership, and even a craft or two! Along those lines, I'm working on the PR/Advertising tab that you see on most big crafty blogs and hopefully I'll have at least an initial draft up soon (and I'll post about my resources and what I used to do that whenever I do that), but one thing I was inspired by already was the button swap!


    I was exploring examples of PR/Advertising sites, particularly among some of the newer blogs I follow and love, and I saw that The Gunny Sack offers a button swap! Basically, you swap blog buttons and give each other some publicity for FREE! So I emailed the lovely ladies there and to my great delight, they said YES! So, if you check out my sidebar, there is now a button for The Gunny Sack. If you haven't already checked out this blog, you really should - there are some amazing posts and these ladies seriously post so many amazing projects that it blows my mind!

    I got some advice from a blogger I really admire recently and she reminded me to only put up information about or links to sources and places that I really like and believe in and I'm thrilled to say that I truly love this blog! Seriously, today's post was an edible school bus snack [for kids... or the young at heart!] WITH a cartoon illustration for how to do it (that kind of reminds of Hyperbole and a Half)!

    If you would like to become a bloggy BFF (that's what I'm calling my button swap partner for now - any suggestions?), please email me at craftingscientist@gmail.com. I'd love to do more of these and find out how you all plan to or have already grown your blogs and gotten started with the PR/Advertising stuff!
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