The rules of reality say the Bumble Bee shouldn't be able to fly...some rules were meant to be broken.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Play Set - Day 1 Shopping for Materials

The Valley Christian High School play this spring is an audience participation murder mystery.  It will be set in the mid 19th century chronologically but the set is a turn of the century, aged manor.

Today I went to Stardust Building Supplies in Mesa, Arizona with VCHS custodian, Sean.  (yeah, yeah he happens to be my kid, but he is an official staff member)  Stardust sells all sorts of recycled building materials and other cool stuff.  Doors, appliances, cabinets, lighting, hardware, windows, fireplaces, paint, tile and more.  We even saw a nice set of truck rims there today.  You just never know.

They had a lot of blingy things there and my ADD was just going bonkers.  Sean had to get me to re-focus several times.  I'll have to go back when I can just spend some quality time digging through all the cool stuff

We found a set of french doors that are 5' wide and a single french door for the Solarium and Garden entrances to the set, as well as a brass sconce and a chandelier.  All together the items would have cost us $125.00  After speaking with Todd, the manager, they generously offered to lend us the said items, with the option for the school to buy them should Sheri decide to keep them.  Wow!  They were so willing to help us out I just had to give them a plug here. 

Thanks to Kenny and Gary who set everything aside for us so Sean can pick it up with his peek-up truck.

Thanks again Stardust.  We look forward to showing you how we have incorporated the supplies.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


I finally got sick and tired of missing calls because I couldn't find my phone fast enough.  Before I purchased my iphone, I had a nice little case that hung on the outside of my purse.  Since getting the iphone I haven't found one that was large enough that had the same outside-of-the-purse hanging feature.

So I decided to make my own.  I guess I just can't get enough of that recycled fabric.

Another piece of an old tie, some jewelry rawhide and a few matching beads later I have my own, custom made iphone pouch that I can put on my purse or a belt loop.  No more digging!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

I'm so excited!!!

It's my favorite time of year.  No, not Christmas, not Easter, not my birthday.  It's something even better.

It's High-School performance time, and that means sets for the play.  It's one of, if not my most favorite creative thing to do.  Over the years of done little things here and there for various elementary and middle school Christmmas programs.  In 2003 I became the parent of a high-school freshman, who was very much at home on the stage.  As a matter of fact, he finally became his real self when he was playing a part and making the audience laugh.

My first foray into the world of make believe was a small bit of faux painting assistance, a black light door knocker, and a portrait of one of the students as Scrooge for Charles Dickens "A Christmas Carol".  I guess I made an impression because I was called upon again the following year for The Importance of being Earnest and Tales of the Kingdom.  It was here that I discovered the amazingly flexible set staple - styrofoam sheets used for insulating homes.

Each year, and with each play I had an opportunity to experiment and hone my styro-skills.  My most extravagant effort was a town square for Gossip Gone Wrong seen here...

This was all done with styrofoam sheets, clear plastic table clothes, cardboard pillar forms and miscellaneous wood trim. There was an extensive amount of math involved in this set to create the 3 dimensional street effect on a 2 dimensional flat panel.

Recently, I was called upon to do a simple decoration for a Christmas Program at my church.  Back to my favorite medium...styro.  I made 2 "pillars", 4 feet wide and 12" tall.  Each piece consisted of 2 separate sheets, a flat background piece and a carved 2nd piece attached with 3M spray glue.  This has been the best adhesive of everything I have tried.  The pieces were made from several thicknesses to provide a true three dimensional effect.  In addition, I used paint thinner to create textured icicles.  They were then sprayed with adhesive and sprinkled with a large-cut "snow" glitter.  The foam was finished with Glidden house paint.  Spray paint doesn't work as it has a tendency to eat the styrofoam.

So what's next, an audience participation, murder mystery.  I met with the drama teacher today and we went over sketches and ideas.  A living room with doors leading into a library, dining room, solarium, garden terrace, and curved stair case.  Sounds complicated, maybe?

Yes, I'm excited to have something fun and wonderful to blog about, in addition to my little craft ideas.   Keep checking back to see what ideas we come up with and how we overcome and difficulties that arise as we search for the desired effect.

So,, happy set building and happy crafting.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


I had some fun attaching new covers to old books with fabric recently.  I thought I would try to apply the same ideas to a removable book cover.  My beat up, old Bible cover was pretty sad after more than 10 years of use. 

I grabbed of few of my fabric pieces and played around with the idea.  After a few mistakes I had managed to pull something together, although it was pretty rough.  Some stitches had to be pulled out, and I laughed at myself a few times for how stupidly I was thinking.   However, once complete I was able to take the cover and some measurements as well to determine how to calculate everything for the next attempt.

Plus 2" inches here, plus 1 1/2" there.  Add a little zig-zag stitching...oooo, oooo, lets throw some jewelry and beads into the mix.  If you have been reading any of my blog you know I love to add beads.  Beads, beads, beads, la, la, la...

Ok, back to reality, my dear. 

This cover is pretty simple to make.  I would consider myself and Intermediate sewer, thanks only to my Sewing Goddess Mother.  This project took about 2 hours.  I think I'll try putting a few more together for my store and see if they sell.

I'll be putting an e-book together for this one.  Post a comment if you would like a copy.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Decorative Tassel

Think outside the box.  Isn't that how the saying goes.  Don't limit yourself, be flexible and you'll be surprised what you can create.

I wanted to dress up my cheap IKEA chairs so I decided to try a little bead work on them.  No, I didn't glue any beads onto the chairs, I pulled together some of my jewelry supplies and started laying some ideas out.  Here is what I came up with...

I LOVE it!  It gives just the tiniest little punch to the chair.  You can use this idea on almost any kind of dining chair.  But wait, there's more.  Why limit it to chairs.  I tried it on my (again) cheap IKEA buffet, then the candle on my $7.50 brass candleabra (see previous blog). 

Let's see how many ways and places I can think to use this in, oh, two minutes.  A bed post, a door handle, a cabinet handle, a chandelier, a lamp base, a wall sconce, a shower curtain rod, a towel rod.  (Oh, my goodness, now I have another idea for the same thing with a cedar sachet to hang on a closet rod, but I digress) 

What can you suggest?  Walk around your place and look for something, anything you can loop this little gadget around and comment here.  We could have some real fun with this one.

A Cost Summary Of My Entry Decor

I put together this entry collection with a lots of bargain shopping and a little bit of creativity.  Some pieces were new but very reasonably priced and others are re-purposed.  I'll start from the top down and go over where I purchased each item and what it cost. 

The mirror was purchased from Fry's Marketplace at 75% off.  Originally around $50 I was able to pick it up for $12.99.  This was not a scratch & dent or flawed in any way.  I was simply at the right place at the right time.

All of the books were purchased at Goodwill on half-off day.  I chose the top two because the covers were in very good condition and visually appealing.  The bottom book was painted with house paint and antiqued with a little bit of craft paint (see previous blog).

The red fabric mirror, the black iron decor and the ceramic bird were all purchased at Goodwill, again on half-off day, and all were in perfect condition.  The lamp was one I already owned but it was white with an ugly white plastic shade.  I spray painted the base of the lamp brown and antiqued it with a little bit of cream colored paint and picked up 1/4 yard of decorator fabric and beaded trim at Home Fabrics for $6.  The lamp shade was recovered using a little bit of hot glue.

The red table "runner" is simply one of my placemats.  The table itself was purchased at Fry's Marketplace for $25.  It was one of those put-it-together-yourself pieces, but the size was perfect.  The basket also joined us from Fry's.  It has a white cotton lining that is attached and I picked it up at 40% off - $7.  The picture is a drawing I did many years ago, of my son and his dog.  There are a few other framed drawings behind it.  I just switch them out and place a different one in front when I am in the mood.  Behind that, another Goodwill item.  Some scrap silk plant parts.

In total, I have calculated the approximate cost, not included the items I already had, to total around $62.  That's it.  After that it was just a matter of playing around with the arrangement until I liked the look. I did not have a plan for the decor or the display when I started.  The pieces caught my attention individually, and when I started putting everything together they kind of told me where they wanted to go. 

So now you are thinking I am crazy and I talk to inanimate objects.  YES, I do!  Try it sometime.  You may like what they have to say.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Quick Coaster Tray

I picked up a little wooden tray at the thrift store the other day.  It was bare unfinished wood but had a cute metal mesh on each side of the tray, and I thought I could do something with it.

Perhaps it would make a nice, non-traditional coaster for a couple of drinks,  or even a serving tray for a small fast-food meal.

I sprayed the whole tray with black spray paint and let it dry.  Then I taped off the metal mesh with painters tape and went over it again with a light coat of brown spray paint.  After drying, I attached a piece of scrap fabric so that the tray would not scratch my $12.50 coffee table (see previous blog) and then cut another piece of scrap fabric and frayed the edges.  I placed this fabric inside the tray but did not glue it.  This way if the fabric is spilled on or stained I can easily pull it out and place a new piece inside.  I can also change the fabric do coordinated with seasonal and holiday decorating.

It's a nice change from the traditional "coaster" and not bad for a buck.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Beautiful Books

Keeping in line with our recycle theme I had a lot of fun turning used books into one of a kind decorations.  My sister-in-law calls it "repurposing".  With a few good hard cover books, some decorator fabric scraps, men's ties, and yard-sale jewelry I was able to throw together some nice pieces in very little tim.

The project is completed in such a way that the books are still ready for reading.  Enjoy full access to your library with a unique decorative flair.

I'll be writing an e-book with the step by step instructions for this one.  Check back soon to look for the link.

$12.50 Coffee Table

So your dog chewed up the furniture.  Big deal!

Talk about keeping stuff out of the landfill...I found this great coffee table at Goodwill.  I had obviously been chewed on a little by a dog, and three of the four bolts holding the table to the base were missing bolts.  The regular price of this table was $25 but it was half-off day so I picked it up for $12.50.

The heavy base was in great condition and other then some teeth marks the oak was a little scratched but in otherwise good condition as well.  With some help from my son and his truck (save more dough by borrowing a friend or family member) we brought it home and dropped it on the back patio.

I pulled out all four bolts and put the base upside down in the yard.  This allowed the wood top to extend out over the base and all the sides and corners were easily accessible for sanding.  With an electric sander I gave it a once over on the whole table and a little extra focus on sanding where the teeth marks were.  There were a few spots with glue or something else dried onto the table, but these sanded right off.  I don't think it was more the 15 minutes of sanding overall. 

I then used Glidden brand house paint in a Satin finish, in a basic black, painted the inside corners and dips in the wood with a brush then quickly rolled on one coat with a lint free paint roller.  I did a final roll from end-to-end without stopping to get rid of "roll over" thickness.  The next day I did the same with a second coat of paint.  (I waited an extra day due to the cooler temperature)  On day three I used a light sandpaper to distress the finish in a few places and then hit those spots with a very light coat of a matte finish spray.  I think the distressing helps to "cover-up" the dog's rustic treatment.

After a week or so, I will hit it with some spray pledge to give it some protection.  If its gets a little worn down the road I have left over paint and can easily touch it up again.

Not bad for less then $13.

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