Painted Pumpkin Yard Stakes DIY

This simple Halloween project was made solely to please our 3 year old granddaughter, she loves pumpkins!

I found some old pumpkin cut-outs while sorting through decorations recently, and remembered how my young daughters enjoyed hanging them in the windows, and on the walls, changing them everyday.  It’s hard to believe that was over 25 years ago! Oh well, anyway, they inspired me to make some cheerful yard stake jack-o-lanterns to greet my grand kids this Halloween.

Using the cut-outs as a guide, I changed the pumpkin patterns up a bit; made them bigger, and fattened up the cheeks.  After tracing them onto a piece of scrap 1/4″ plywood, they were cut out with a jig saw and a scroll saw, and sanded before painting.
Paint the pumpkins with 3 to 4 coats of craft paint, let dry.  Sand again, removing more paint around all the edges for a worn appearance.

  

A garage sale find of wire grilling forks have been hanging on a nail in my garage, waiting for a worthy purpose. I was looking for something that wouldn’t be too noticeable, and wanted to keep the pumpkins low, so they would make great stakes.

The forks were glued to the backside of the pumpkins with Gorilla glue, and clamped in place overnight to dry. Gorilla glue expands as it dries, so you don’t want to overdo it. I probably could have used less, but I wanted to make sure they were adhered well, it gets pretty windy at our house sometimes. Sand down any dried excess glue. Paint the glued area with orange paint.

  

I found some rusty metal leaves from last Fall’s decorating. For some color, they were brushed with a thin layer of Citrus colored Alcohol Ink, and wiped off lightly before letting them dry.


All the pieces, front and back, were sprayed with a Clear Matte Finish. Let dry.

The metal leaf stem was curled and wired to the pumpkin with a scrap length of wire. Curl the ends of the scrap wire. Tie on some raffia, trim.  Gently shape the leaves and wires as desired.

  
I’m not too sure where my pumpkins will get settled as of yet, but sure it will be near the door, where they’ll be seen.  I might have to put a solar light behind them too!

 

 

 

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Hand Painted Vintage Style Clock DIY

It isn’t hard to find large decorative clocks nowadays, they’re everywhere, but, 15 years ago the pickings were mighty thin.
I was wanting something of good size for a long open stairway wall in our kitchen/dining area, and I thought a huge clock would be perfect. After several unsuccessful months of shopping, I sit staring at the wall, pondering my dilemma, when one of my then teen daughters jokingly asked why I didn’t paint a mural, and be done with it. Yeah, like I could paint a mural?! The idea was enough to kick my mind into gear though, why couldn’t I try to paint my own clock? I had no idea that thought would start a whole new venture.
A number of clocks have been painted since then, ranging from 30″ to 4 foot in diameter, and even mine was given a much needed update. Please keep in mind, I’m not claiming to be a clock painting master with this post, just a craftsperson sharing what I’ve learned, and some tips and tricks that have worked well for me. Heck, I wasn’t even aware there were templates available until after I had my first one painted, which you can probably see by the numeral placement in my before & after picture.

I’d like to caution in advance that this is not a small project. It’s not hard, but time consuming. Unless you really have nothing else to do, I would allow at least two weeks to complete a clock. An overhead projector, and a place to hang the clock for the final steps will be needed. Handpainted, it is a bit of an undertaking, but I’ve always been happy with the results, and especially like that each one is unique. Although the drying process can be helped along with a fan, there is alot of steps, and drying time between the painted layers is crucial. Humidity is not your friend either. I work in the AC during the summer, only going outside to quickly do the sanding steps. That being said, let’s build a clock.
A 1/2″ BC grade plywood will be used for the circle. One side is nicer than the other, and will be the front of the clock.

After being asked to paint a 30″ personalized clock last fall, I had my plywood cut and sanded before I thought of blogging it, so I used a piece of scrap plywood in the pictures below to show how it was drawn.
Lay the plywood face up on a work surface you can easily walk around. Determine the best place to draw the circle. Knot holes are not usually a problem, they can lend a lot of character, but you don’t want to cut through one on the rim of the clock. Hammer a 1 1/2″ finishing nail where the center of the clock will be.

Drill a small hole on the 1″ mark of a thin wooden yard stick, just large enough to fit over the head of the nail, no bigger. With the yardstick on the nail, hold a pencil firmly on the edge of the yardstick at the 16″ mark. Walk slowly backward around the work surface, marking the plywood, until you complete the circle.

  

  

Remove the nail, but keep it, and the yardstick handy, they’ll be used again. Cut on the outside edge of the drawn line. Use a hand sander and medium grit sandpaper to sand the clock and edges smooth, using the drawn line as a guide. Do not round the edges.
Cut two lenghts of pine stripping.

Lay the circle face up, making sure the wood grain is running level horizontally. Using the yardstick and the nail hole as a reference point, mark the top center of the clock with a line on a piece of tape. Extend the tape over the edge of the clock so you can mark the back too, in the same place.

Stand the circle up as straight as possible against a wall, with the back side facing you. Use the yardstick and a level to draw a centered line down from the mark on the tape and over the nail hole. Lay the clock down. Go out 8″ on each side of this centered line and draw two more lines.

Draw centered lines down the length of each pine stripping piece. Match and center them up with the outside lines on the back of the circle, minding that the angles are facing toward the outside edges. Drill, and countersink, four evenly spaced pilot holes on each stripping piece. Cut, or grind, the tips from 1 1/4″ wood screws so they do not protrude through the front of the clock, and screw the stripping into place. Fill holes with lightweight spackling, let dry, and sand smooth. Except for two 1/2″ D-ring hangers, which we’ll get to later, the building is done.

  

  

  

An old sewing machine cabinet, 30″ high, is my “go to” work table for this project. It’s a comfortable height and easily walked around for drawing and painting.
I find it helpful from this point on, to always lay the clock down in the same position, with the top away from me, and, except for the paper layer, always paint and sand layers horizontally across the front following the wood grain.

Other painting supplies needed are …..
water based black primer
black paint – eggshell or satin finish
small bottle of black craft paint
clear mixing glaze
3 colors of wall paint -eggshell or satin finish. The colors requested for this project were Linen, Colonial Beige, and Stowe White.
inexpensive 3″ or 4″ chip brushes – maybe about 6, so they’re handy when needed. The wider brushes work well for the crackle layers because you would have less brush strokes.
thin liner detail brush for painting the circle lines
Titebond Hide Glue – I get mine at a True Value Hardware Store. $9 for an 8 oz. bottle.
very thin paper, or tissue paper – I bought my roll at a beauty supply store. Do not use printed paper
painter’s tape
a couple paint sticks and lidded bowls for mixing
overhead projector – you might check your local library if you don’t have excess to one, or check a rental place.
printable clock template – the place I found mine is no longer available, but there’s a bunch on line. A blank clock face template could be customized with more lines then scanned onto a transparency
gum eraser and #2 pencil
electric hand sander with fine and very fine grit sanding discs
clock supplies at http://www.klockit.com – high torque clock movement #10115 – $9.00, and 12″ clock hands #66796 – $8.00

Time to paint, we’ll start with the black base. Remove any tape from the clock. Paint the entire clock with black primer. Let dry. Cover the primer with a coat of black paint. Let dry. Replace a little piece of tape on the back to mark the top of the clock again, so you always know where it is.

While the black paint is open, make a black glaze for the next step by mixing 1 cup of black paint with 2 cups of clear glaze. Stir well. Store in an airtight container.
Tear up random pieces of the very thin paper, enough to cover the front and sides of the clock. Tear off any finished side edges of the paper too, they will be noticeable if you don’t.
Brush a layer of black glaze on a small area of the clock front. Lay pieces of paper on top of the wet glaze, overlapping their edges. Immediately, brushing quickly in different directions, brush a thin layer of black glaze over the paper, creating some creases and wrinkles. Glaze and paper the side edges too by tearing the paper ends into strips so they lay down better. Do not over brush, or the paper will get too wet and start to tear and roll. Work in small areas until the clock front is covered. Let it dry to a dull look. Brush on another thin coat of black glaze, and let it dry thoroughly overnight. Sand with a fine grit sandpaper, horizontally, following the wood grain underneath, until smoothed, but not through the paper.

  

  

  

For a crackle medium, mix 1 cup of hide glue with about 3/4 cup of very hot water, stirring well. Store in an airtight container. As a rule, the thinner the crackle medium, the thinner your cracks, so there is a lot of room for change in this step. If bigger cracks are wanted, use less hot water. Regardless, the mixture will be very thin, and splatter easily. Make sure your floor and work area are protected well. Crackling is a lot of fun, but can be a little touchy, it doesn’t like to be re-brushed as you put it on, single strokes are needed. If you’ve never tried it before, you may want to play around with it on some scrap wood first to get the feel of it, or catch a video on YouTube.

With a clean brush apply a coat of crackle, in broad, even strokes, horizontally over the sanded black glaze layer. Do not over brush.  The crackle glue will separate and remain shiny. Let crackle dry approximately 45 min to an 1 hour, until it is still a tiny bit tacky. Test it with your finger.
Mix 2 cup of glaze medium with 2 cups of your first color choice, mine was Linen. Mix it well, and have it ready to brush on as soon as the crackle is ready. It too goes on in quick, wide, one time, even strokes, horizontally. Do not re-brush or try to touch up the paint, the brush will pick up any paint that is wet. The cracks will widen as it dries. Let this layer dry completely. Sand again, always horizontally, as before, until some of the black layer shows through.

  

  

Basically, this is all about brushing on colors of paint over layers of crackle, and sanding in between. At the end, some of all the colors will show through somewhere.
For a little added dimension, I dry brushed a little un-thinned Linen paint on in hopes it would peek through a little too when I’m done, and another coat of crackle was applied.

  

Colonial Beige paint was put on over the crackle, and sanded after it dried. Another layer of crackle was put on before the final layer of Stowe White paint. Sand again when dry.

  

Circles need to be drawn before the numbers are added. Push, or tap, your nail through the center hole from the backside of the clock, through the paint. Lay the clock face up. Tap the nail into the hole, leaving enough protruding to put the yardstick on, to draw circles. My nail usually goes right into my old table top and holds the clock firm.
Using the same technique as in the beginning, I drew the circles I wanted.

  

Carefully remove the nail. Use a small piece of cardboard under the claw of your hammer so you don’t leave a pressure mark on the clock. Flip the clock over. Measure 4 1/2″ down from the top inside tip of the pine strips, center and attach D-rings. Find a place to hang the clock, level, so you can use the overhead and template for marking. The clock must be level before doing any marking or drawing. I removed my clock from the wall and hung this one in its place until I was finished.

Firmly hold the edge of a sturdy, straight yardstick, vertically over the center of the nail hole. Use a level to draw a straight faint line through the circles at the top and bottom of the clock, where the six and twelve will be. Do the same horizontally, over the center of the hole, to mark where the three and nine will go. Cut four very thin strips of painter’s tape to highlight these lines on the outer edge of the clock. Put the template on the overhead. Use the tape marking the quarter hours, and the center nail hole to line up the template. Tape the template in place so it doesn’t move. Lightly trace the minute marks where you want them on the clock. I traced mine in the second outside circle.

  

  

Replace the clock face up on the work surface. Use a yardstick to line up the minute lines that are opposite each other, remark them with short straight lines, and longer faint lines through the circle in the numeral spaces, to help get a perfect angle on them. I also put a small dot on the numeral spaces, so I don’t accidentally tape them off and paint them with the minute marks. Cutting a bunch of tiny strips and taping off minute lines can get very boring, so I usually turn on a little Netflix while I do it. You don’t want the minute lines very wide, about an 1/8″. Just by eye-balling it, add a little space on each side of the line and tape them off, keeping your line in the center, and rubbing the tape down well to prevent leakage. Re-stir your crackle glaze, and give each of your taped lines a light coat. Wait about 30 minutes and paint the lines twice with black paint, drying well between coats. To insure nice, crisp, clean lines, wait until the second coat is completely dry before removing the tape. When you remove the tape, carefully pull up and towards your painted line.

  

  

Draw a triangular stencil for your numeral marks. Mark the center on the outer side of your triangle. Line up that mark and the point of the triangle on the faint line drawn with the yardstick. Trace inside the triangle. Repeat at each numeral. Tape them off and paint them like the minute marks, one coat crackle, two coats black.

  

Cut two 5″ lengths of clear plastic. One, 7/16″W, and one, 5/16″W.

  

For the first Roman Numeral, center the widest plastic strip over the drawn line. Trace.
Use the same strip to trace the spacer between the numerals on the #2 first, then, re-position it, and trace again on the outside of the spacer for the numerals.

  

Center the strip over the drawn line on #3, trace for the middle of the numeral. Trace again on each side for spacing and numerals.

For the #4, begin with the 5/16″ strip laid over the drawn line, as spacing. All spaces will be 5/16″. The numerals will be 7/16″.

Use tracing paper to trace a small section of the curved lines where the numeral V will go. Draw separate patterns for the V and the X, within the traced curved lines. The 7/16″ strip is used to draw the wide part of the numerals. The skinny line will be 1/8″ wide. Make sure to include the curved lines and a faint center line on your pattern. Match up the curved lines on your pattern with those on the clock, and use graphite paper to trace the patterns where they are needed.

  

Continue drawing the numerals around the clock. All of the wide numeral strips remain 7/16″. The spacing between the strips decreased to around 1/4″ on the #6 thru #12. There’s really no set rules. I just do a lot of looking and maybe a little adjusting to get things right.  A gum eraser will easily take care of any mistakes. Its most important that the numerals are straight and lining up well with the numeral opposite of it, so they have the same angle. Hope that makes sense. Sometimes it helps to glance at another clock, or pictures, for reference.
The numerals will have to be taped off and painted in steps. You can’t tape on damp paint, so wait for things to dry well before moving forward. Again, a crackle layer first, then two coats of black. Do not remove the tape until the paint is completely dry.

  

    

With the numerals done, rehang the clock and give it a good look. Everything look good? Count all the way around the clock and make sure the numerals are correct. For the life of me I couldn’t see what was wrong with one of my clocks one day. Maybe I was tired, don’t know. My daughter walked in, glanced at it and asked why I had two tens? Yep, there it was! I’ve also washed a numeral completely off after painting a V backwards, and fixed it. It’s all just paint, most everything is fix-able if need be.

     

Back at the work table, squirt a little black craft paint on a piece of waxed paper and thin it with a few drops of water to paint the circle lines with a very fine liner brush.
Paint the outside ring. One coat of crackle, two coats of black. Let dry. Clean up any tape bleeds, erase any pencil lines and do any last minute touches, then, sand to your liking with a very fine grit sandpaper. Give the back a quick sand too. Make sure to sand smooth any glue or paint drippings around the back edge. Wipe it off with a dry, clean, soft, lint free cloth. Now is the time to personalize if you wish. If not, give it some speckling with black craft paint and a toothbrush, and it’s done.

      

After the speckles have dried completely, use some books or something to raise your clock up off of the work surface. Drill through the nail hole with a 5/16″ bit. Push the stem of the clock movement, with the rubber pad on it, through the hole from the back, and tighten it on with the nut and washer provided. Hot glue a small piece of wood under the clock movement to hold it solid, and paint it black.

  

  

Carefully remove the plastic protective covering from the clock hands. Spray them with a black matte finish. Let dry.

Put the hands on your clock ..
1- Match up the small rectangle hole on the long hand with the clock movement. It will fit loosely. Turn long hand clockwise a full circle, and stop on 12. Remove the hand.
2- Lay the short hand on the clock movement, pointing at 9. Press it down gently and evenly until it fits snugly.
3- Lay the long hand on the movement, pointing at 12. Gently hold the bottom of the long hand to keep it level as you screw on the cap. Turn the long hand clockwise all the way around to make sure it clears the short hand. If you need to do adjusting, don’t try to bend the hands on the clock. Remove them to adjust and repeat the steps again.
Always set the time by turning the long hand clockwise.
Remove battery when transporting the clock.

So, what do you think?  Anyone inspired to start painting yet?  Are you painting anything similar and have some tips to share?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

River Rock Mosaic Garden Rock Art

The heat and humidity has us spending much of our time indoors lately. That’s not all bad though, the AC feels real good and there’s always an area in my house that could use a little attention; like the large catch-all area in the basement. It actually turned out to be quite fun to take on that task. I found things I’ve been looking for, things I forgot I had, and most of all, figured out I definitely need to get better at putting things away.
It made my day when I pulled a container of rocks out from under a table. Here was a garden project that I had been wanting to do for a couple years now, and never took the time. It could be done indoors, and in small steps. Alright, I could multi-task!
A couple years ago I made a big mosaic rock with some polished river rocks. It was meant for a show, but, found a welcome home in my garden instead. I thought a grouping of them would look cool, so I bought more rocks with the intentions of making some, but never took the time. Well, now, was the perfect time.

I picked out three smaller rocks I liked the shape of and washed them with hot soapy water. Then gathered my rocks, painters/masking tape, bowl of rubbing alcohol, a work rag, and some E6000, clear or white. I found my bags of rock in the floral department at Hobby Lobby. I think they were about $3 each. They weren’t as shiny as my original ones, but would do.
After washing the rocks, they were sorted by the colors and sizes I wanted to use, swished in a bowl of rubbing alcohol to remove any oils on them, and laid out to dry.

    

using a liberal amount of glue, begin gluing on the rocks you like, leaving a small space between them, 1/16″th to 1/8th”. Use a piece of tape to hold them into place until they dry. This takes some time. You may even have to use tape and a rock as a prop while drying. If you don’t wait for the rocks to dry firmly enough, they may shift as you move the rock around.

    

As I glued, I realized I was going to need tiny rocks for a few small spaces around the rounded tops and bottom edges. I picked out a big handful from a pea rock pile behind my house, and gave them a wash, so I’d have something to choose from.

Once the rock is completely covered, let it dry 24 hours.

I used gray sanded grout left over from a bathroom tile project. Grout powder settles and should be re-stirred before mixing with water. ALWAYS WEAR A MASK AND GLASSES when stirring or mixing grout powder. You do not want it to get into your eyes, lungs or nasal passages.
Grouts may differ, follow the directions on the grout package for mixing. I started with 1/2 cup of water, and stirred in about 1 1/4 cup to 1 1/2 cup grout powder. Stir until lumps are gone and it has a consistency of thick oatmeal. Cover in an airtight container and let set for 15 to 20 minutes, before grouting.
I used an old shower curtain to provide a waterproof surface to work on. You’ll also need a pair of rubber or disposable gloves, a bucket of water, old rag, and maybe a putty knife.

  

Re-stir the mixed grout. Spread the grout across the rocks, pressing it into all the crevices. You can spread the grout on neatly with a putty knife, or just lay it on with your gloved fingertips, which is the method I prefer. Make sure you cover the edges of the rocks on the bottom as well.

   

  

Once the rocks are covered with grout, let them set 30 to 40 minutes. Squeeze out a wet rag and wipe them down to expose the rocks you glued on. Let set another 10 to 15 minutes, or sooner, depending on how fast your grout is drying, then rub firmly around the rocks to remove any excess grout, and smooth the grout lines. Wipe lightly with a rinsed dampened rag. Rinse rag with clean water and wipe lightly again. The rocks should be pretty clean but still have a slight hazy look. Let dry 12 hours. ALWAYS DISPOSE OF DIRTY GROUT WATER OUTSIDE – NEVER POUR IT DOWN YOUR DRAIN! Using an outdoor faucet works best for rinsing and washing grout buckets, rags, and tools.

  

  

Spritz the rocks lightly with window cleaner and use a soft bristled toothbrush to give the exposed rocks a very light scrub and remove the haze. Use a ceramic tool/dental pick to remove any glue residue or unwanted grout. You can wipe it down with a damp rag again at this point if needed. Let dry another 12 hours. Brush the entire rock with a light coat of grout sealer, wipe and buff it dry. Follow recommended curing time on grout instructions before exposing your mosaics to saturation.

  

My grout instructions recommended waiting three weeks. Keeping that in mind, I arranged my rocks in the garden.  I do have my dumb moments once in a while, so, I really thought I was on top of my game when I remembered to move them inside when there was a threat of rain, and before the 3 weeks were up. I didn’t get to revel very long, I’m embarrassed to say. After getting no rain, I moved my rocks back, and turned on the sprinkler to water the garden, duh?  Oh well, it didn’t look like any damage was done, I guess time will tell. 🙂

Friendly reminder – mosaic rocks should be stored indoors during the cold winter months and returned to the garden after temps maintain over 32 degrees in the spring.

 

 

 

 

Catching Up!

Oh My Gosh, I sure have missed my blog. I didn’t desert my post; things have just been busy and I needed to take a little unplanned hiatus, I guess you could say.
Our household occupancy increased by three, in February, for the summer. Us, and our daughter, have been preparing to finish up some remodeling projects in our homes, and begin some new ones. There’s been a lot of sorting and organizing, purging and purging, and lots of double duty grandma and grandpa time going on. We’re gearing up for a very busy summer, but very thankfully, all is good, no, great!
Its not all work and no play though. In May, a group of us checked out the awesome shops along the @https://www.facebook.com/LincolnHwyJunkathon/. I scored big at @sweetbettylous in Paton, Iowa, finding some great pieces for making old world style and salt shaker garden stakes for the https://www.facebook.com/BackRoadsJunkItTrail/.

Getting back in the swing of things, I thought I’d share some pictures of more garden stakes made using the basic steps from my Aug 2016 posts.  I have so much fun making these.

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garden stake 6

garden stake 2

 

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garden stakes 1

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I’m itching to get started on some new projects. I’ll be back soon!

Vintage Style Toilet Paper Storage

I finally thought of a useful purpose for the curious little copper piece I picked up at @gypsyalleyus last year. Some of you may remember seeing it on my Facebook page. I definitely remember the dumbfounded look on my husband’s face when I unloaded it from the back of my car. Once again, I didn’t have a clue as to what I was going to do with it either, but, recently, as I was looking for a cute way to store spare rolls of TP in the bathroom, the answer seemed obvious.

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Before I could get started, all the plumbing was removed from the inside of the tank and it was given a disinfecting scrub. I had to find a set of four 1 1/2″ dia. vintage porcelain casters, eight large flat washers, and four cotter pins. I tried looking around locally for the casters, then got impatient and ordered some off of Ebay. A toothbrush and some Comet cream cleanser cleaned them right up.

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A piece of 1/2″ plywood had to fit in the bottom of the tank to help hold the wheels firmly. There was a lip on the edge of the tank opening, so, after tracing the top edge of the tank on cardboard, I reduced the template by 1/2″ all the way around, before transferring it to the wood. Cut and sanded the rough edges.20170106_150135  20170113_084338  20170113_085429

I used four of the large washers to determine and mark the placement of the casters.  For ease of drilling through the copper, a pilot hole was drilled first, then a 7/16″ hole to accommodate the size of the caster stem.

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Hold the plywood firmly in the bottom of the tank to mark through the holes.  Drill 7/16″ holes in the wood and replace in the tank.

Put one washer on each caster stem and insert them through the holes on the bottom of the tank, up through the wood. Turn tank upright so its resting on the casters. Put another washer on each caster stem. Use a white paint pen to reach inside the tank and mark the caster stems at the top of the washer. These marks will be used to drill holes for the cotter pins.

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Center punch the caster stems on the white marking. At the drill press, hold the caster firmly with vise grips and drill an 1/8″ hole, on the center punch, through the stem.

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Paint the plywood black. Paint the bottom of the tank. Let dry.

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Put the plywood back in bottom of the tank and insert the casters again. Push the cotter pins through the drilled holes of the caster stem.

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Paint the tank and lid. I beat a small dent out of the lid before painting. Lightly sand dried paint with a piece of wrinkled brown paper to smooth the finish.

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The porcelain handle was taken apart.

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My husband helped me figure out a way to twist the handle back on firmly by customizing a 3/8″ coupling fitting.

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I found the perfect lid handle at the Habitat store for 50 cents. After taping off the porcelain parts, I sprayed the handles, and the handle pieces that would show, with a hammered metal paint. I used a q-tip with a little fingernail polish remover and a ceramic tool to clean up some paint bleeds before attaching the handles.

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I’ve been saving an old necklace from my high school years because I liked the fleur-de-lis (never thought I’d be using it for something like this). The link at the top of the fleur-de-lis was pretty weak and bent right off without leaving any sharp edges. I sprayed it to match the handles and let it dry.

For good adhesion, I scrapped off a small bit of paint where I wanted to place the fleur-de-lis, then glued it on with a small dab of E6000.

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This is a fun piece, I love it!  It’s sure to add a bit of vintage charm to my bathroom.

 

Our Elfun Christmas Tree

This is just for kicks, and, I think, a fitting ending to the year.  I love seeing all the beautiful Christmas trees others post on line, so I thought I’d share mine.

 

I wanted to really brighten up the Christmas tree this year and make it more fun for the kids.  I had a few elves and some red and green lights in mind when I made a trip to town a couple weeks ago.  That was before my daughter, grand-kids, and I went into Hobby Lobby!  A decoration wonderland!!

With my grandson’s encouragement, I loaded my cart with garland, mesh ribbon, lights, and bright, funky sprigs. Oh yes, and elves, one large one and 8 small ones. All of our new treasures, along with some red, green, and white decorations from a couple years ago, would do our tree up just dandy.

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Our elves got a little added sparkle with glitter gel pens, shiny metallic pipe cleaners, and bells on all their toes.

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Mr. Big Elf is in front for all to see, and there’s a little one playing peek-a-boo on a low branch of the tree.

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There’s smiling elves, peeking out all over, as sprite as can be …

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And even a silly one hanging upside down, from his knees.

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I wish you a Very Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year, and many blessings for a joyous holiday season!

 

Fused Glass Snowman Ornament

Christmas orders have been keepin’ me busy, busy, this last month, and delayed progress on my other crafting projects.  Every year I tell myself I’m going to get a jump on things and get started in August, but, yeah, it never seems to work out that way. I guess maybe I’m just not disciplined enough to do it.

But, wanting to share something in the spirit of Christmas, I thought I’d show how I make my snowman ornament.  This little guy was my first ornament design. He’s been a good seller for me and I still offer him today.  I know there’s not much time before Christmas, but he’s pretty simple to make. Please feel free to make him for gifts for your family or friends. He is my original design, so I do ask that you do not make him for sale or profit, Thank You.

I had a client request a few snowmen in purple, so you’ll see the purple colors in this post, but, I’ve used a variety of colors as you can see in the feature picture.  I use Spectrum System 96 colors and a COE96 Uroboros 602502 red.

I like to get all my little embellishment pieces out of the way, so before I start ornaments, I make a batch of holly, carrot noses, and berries.

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After using my pattern pieces to cut my glass –

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there’s three steps I’m mindful of as I shape and grind –

#1 – I lay the hat brace on the backside of the hat piece to make sure it mimics the top shape of the hat, and will fit neatly behind it.

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#2 – Make sure the hatband fits nicely about 1/8″ up from the bottom edge of the hat.

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#3 – Shape the top curve of the hat brim to match the bottom curve of the hatband.

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Clean glass pieces thoroughly. Bend a short length of 17 gauge high temp wire to form a loop.  Glue it in place, in the center of the hat brace, propped on a small piece of kiln fiber, let dry.   I always use kiln shelf paper for my ornaments, but, to each their own..

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While you have the glue out, glue the hatband on the hat and the end on the scarf.  Prop the scarf end with a scrap of glass until its dry.

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Once everything is dry, brush a little fusers glue along the bottom edge of the hat brace, and carefully lay the hat piece over it, covering it completely.  The hat will meld over it so its not seen after firing. Let glue dry well before brushing a little glue on the bottom edge of the hat, and laying the head in place, slightly overlapping. Let glue dry.

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Brush small line of glue along bottom edge of head, and lay the scarf in place, slightly overlapping, at neck.  Let dry.  Place hat brim on the shelf, separately, to fire.

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I use a small tabletop kiln to fire my ornaments.  I start on medium, with the lid open a bit, until the temp reaches 1000 and the kiln paper is done burning, then close the lid and turn it to high. I like a sharp clean look, so I watch closely through the kiln lid window when the temp gets to around 1600 degrees, and shut the kiln off quickly once the glass edges have rounded smoothly .. most often at 1650 – 1700 degrees. After unplugging the kiln, flash vent to 1100 degrees, and shut the lid until the kiln is at room temp.

After completely cooled, glue the hat brim on with E6000.  I always prop the hat brim and/or lay the rubber ends of my small pliers across it to hold in place until dry.  Use a toothpick to help glue on nose, holly, and the berry.  To add the glass seed bead eyes, squirt a small amount of glue on waxed paper.  Hold the bead with tweezers, touch it in the glue, then put it on the glass.  Let glue dry. Clean away any unwanted glue, that is showing, with a craft knife or small ceramic tool.

Hope you have fun with him! Please contact me if you have any questions. I’d love to see what you create if you’re willing to share!