Thursday, September 30, 2010

Rain, Floods and Jewel Boxes

To say it’s raining in Annapolis is an understatement. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever seen this much rain in one morning – ever. My basement is again flooded. My husband had to take off work this morning to mop it up and move all the water sodden trash – I guess that’s one way to get rid of things. This time the water was high enough to get into the finished part of the basement.

On a much happier note, I've been having so much fun creating these little trinket and jewel boxes! I happened upon a garage sale where a former crafter sold tons of her leftovers. The prices weren't great, but they were reasonable so I loaded up my cart (figure of speech) and purchased a nice grouping of wood boxes, banks and other unfinished wood items.

I painted some with black gesso and some with white (which gives it a nice whitewashed touch). Then I just played!!

I used my handmade paper to create the one above. I made the paper ahead of time from paper scraps; glitter and gold leaf, and stashed it away just waiting for an opportunity. Once I used gesso on the box, I used Mod Podge to secure the handmade paper and then coated it with matte Mod Podge once again.  I used a vintage earring to create the little knob.

For the next box, which I call my “friendship” box, I painted it white and then stamped it and distressed it with three colors of Tim Holtz distressed inks. I then used Mod Podge once again to secure and finish this pretty scrap of paper to the lid. Two metal embellishments adorn the lid – the Japanese symbol for friendship and the word “friendship.” A pretty vintage earring piece serves as the knob.  Inside, I covered the bottom with mulberry paper and a definition of the word “friend” decorates the top. Pictures didn’t turn out too well for the inside… rain isn’t helping.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I LOOOVE This Frame

I've had this beautiful antique frame forever. Have no idea where it came from and I stashed away intending to do something with it sooner or later. Well, sooner became later. About one month ago, our basement flooded. Fortunately, we caught the flood before any major damage was done. Almost everything was off the floor.

Almost everything, except my frame.

It was a little water damaged when I picked it out of the trash pile that my husband had started.

"What do you want with that?" he asked.

"I love this frame; I can't just throw it out," I implored and added emphatically, "it's an antique!"

"It's ruined," he said as he rolled his eyes.

"I can fix it," I said as I cringed at the water spots and sodden back.

To prove my point, I sprinted up the stairs, cleaned it up and sanded it lightly. I scanned my paint...ahh, turquoise would do. After two coats of paint it looked good, but not great. I needed something else.

Carrying my precious frame up to my closet (er, um, craft room), I grabbed some black antique glaze medium and lightly sponged it on. I took special care to apply a heavier coat to the detail around the inside of the frame and ta da!

I love it and my husband probably still thinks that I threw it out.

Visit thecsiproject.comYou may notice a trend in turquoise on this blog and that's because I'm linking to

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Whirlwind Weekend; Let Me Catch my Breath

Only got to one project this weekend (read below to find out why). However, I did finish it! I had this old antique frame sitting in my garage for quite a while. I painted it a great shade of turquoise, but still couldn't figure out what to do with it. After seeing a few bulletin boards at flea markets this weekend, I finally figured it out! Why not make a shabby chic bulletin board? I love the result. Now, I've got to find an empty wall...not easy in this house!

On to the reasons why I didn't get much done this weekend ... my wonderful mother and father-law and two of Greg's brothers came down this Friday. We celebrated Kellen's 10th birthday with yummy crabs! Saturday was crazy. Got up; went to some yard and estate sales (didn't find much) and then went on to the Annapolis Home & Garden Show for my part-time job (I'm Home & Garden Editor for a local magazine). As soon as I got home, we packed the car and headed to Philadelphia to watch my nephew play soccer against the Philadelphia Union team. He plays professional soccer for Chivas USA. Unfortunately, Ben didn't get to play (the first time he wasn't put in the game). They lost (and we think they could of won if Ben was in the game, but hey, what do you think?). 

Despite the loss, we all joined Ben after the game at a great Philadelphia pizza place. It was kind of surreal because as we sat at the table, the waiters and busboys were asking Ben for his autograph. It was so cool! 
Packed up the car and drove back to Annapolis (got home about 1 AM) and woke up early next morning to Kellen's sleepover friends. After breakfast, we scurried over to a nearby restaurant to watch the Steelers beat the TB Buccaneers (Yea!) and then bid our farewells to our house guests.

Other good news...I won some sweet Sugar Scrubs AND a Green Tea Lemongrass soap from Carmen at Beyond the Fringe Crafts in her giveaway! In case you haven't discovered Carmen and her blog, please visit it to see what this amazingly talented woman can do! Her cards are incredible and I expect that her soaps will be just as wonderful. Can't wait to try them!! Thanks Carmen.

I'm linking this to:

Friday, September 24, 2010

From Drab to Fab

About a month ago, I was at the Goodwill store and saw four of these great square frames for a mere $12. Not bad, I thought; I can do something with these! And I  did! If you recall previous posts, I revealed my "Pretty in Pink, Dragonfly" and "Frog" mirrors, however, I had one left and really wanted to use my new paints. After seeing the calendar for the CSI project, I got to work, painting it a lovely shade of this year's hottest color, turquoise! 

I then stamped it with French script. However, it needed more...ribbon? No. Vintage jewelry? Nah. Hmm, how about those three wood flowers that have been sitting in my wood scrap drawer? Yes, those would do! So after painting the flowers with black acrylic, I added some vintage white buttons and thensecured them with Gorilla Glue to the wood frame. The result? A pretty turquoise "Printemps" accent mirror. 
I'm linking to: 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Party Like it's 1999

1999: That was the about the year I had the most energy and creative spunk to make my kids' birthday parties awesome. But, I'm happy to say that it hasn't gone all downhill from that time...I did manage to create some pretty cool extravaganzas since then. Why the post? Well, I wanted to enter the CSI contest this week and it also happens to be Kellen's 10th birthday on Friday.

Unfortunately, this year we aren't doing a party. Instead, we are heading up to Philadelphia on Saturday to watch his cousin Ben play professional soccer against the Union. We are bringing two friends (a hard decision for him, but tickets ain't cheap).

I still want to do something special (and cheap), though on the drive up. Any ideas?

Meanwhile, I thought I'd share some party ideas I've done for my kids in the past. First, Kellen's third birthday. He loved Bob the Builder, but I wanted to go beyond the commercial stuff, so I managed to get some hardhats, home depot aprons, construction tape and other goodies. The cake? It was dirt cake in a dump truck, of course. Games were simple, instead of Duck, Duck, Goose. It was Hammer, Hammer, Nail. And workshops were set up all over with plastic tools to let the toddlers "build" to their hearts content. It was an early morning party (don't all construction guys start early) so food was done in a breakfast format. we had truckloads of fun.

Unfortunately, my scanner doesn't work and I can't share photos from my best party ever -- Nolan's 8th birthday Harry Potter party. I completely transformed my house into Diagon Alley and Hogwarts. The kids shopped for wands, owls and even made desposits at Gringotts. They got to go to HoneyDukes, take a potions class and get "sorted" into houses. We had a Quiddich game (they all brought their own brooms) in the backyard and the golden snitch was hidden. The cake was a replica of Hogwarts (after an earthquake) and we had "guest" appearances from all sorts of Harry Potter characters (my oldest son's friends).

Yes, I love planning kid's parties. I really hope Kellen will oblige me for a few more years!



As I pulled out of the driveway at 5:30 AM yesterday to attend Fitness Boot Camp, AC DC blasted through my car speakers, “I’m on the Highway to Hell...”

“How apropos,” I thought.

I managed to drag my weary body to yet my fourth morning of hell, I mean boot camp, despite the crackle of joints and subsequent pain emanating from undiscovered muscles. I wish I could say that I’m getting used to it, but not yet.

To relax, I’m walking my dog, cleaning the house and working on some Christmas (yes, Christmas) products for an upcoming craft show I’m playing with stamps, gesso, wood blocks and glazing techniques and really having fun with it. Of course, with a mountain of broken vintage jewelry at my fingertips, I’ve been adding a little bead here and a little bling there. Stay tuned for more.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Fitness Boot Camp Day 2 - A Piece of Cake: Dream On!

Okay. I made it through day two of fitness boot camp, an early morning fitness program fundraiser for a little boy at my school who has cancer. Day one (Zumba) was great. Beside the fact that I traveled left when the instructor said "right" and that my belly dancing looked like I was having a seizure, I felt pretty good. Today was another story.

"Pilates," I thought. "how hard can that be?" Uh, I found out that I have no core muscles -- seriously, I couldn't do anything -- and that was just the warm up class. Not only am I the most uncoordinated person in the class, I am the least flexible. Those of you who know me, don't let my petite build fool you, I am out of shape! This boot camp is a month long. I'm aiming for keeping my legs straight and doing a real sit-up.

PS. Doing wood block collage in my spare time...since I now get up at 5:15 AM, I find I have some! Imagine that.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Just Junkin'

Had a very limited time to go junking today, but I did manage to find one great sale on my way home from a not-so-great sale.  I drove a pretty good distant to attend a sale advertised as "huge" with antiques, etc., only to find a minimal amount of nothing but overpriced junk. On my way home I stopped at three others and bought nothing, except for some tennis balls for my kids and dog.

Then, I happened to see one more sign and took a chance. They were closing up the sale and were willing to take minimal prices on everything left. Among the cool things I bought for a song, are the items pictured. These will definitely decorate my home until they sell in my shop (and they probably will sell, because they're so cool). I spent a total of $15 at that sale and even got an antique table (it needs a lot of work).
Check back for some more cool findings and a couple other things that I'm working on.
Now, I'm off to enjoy the outdoors with my spray paint...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Just a Moment in the Limelight

I am very pleased to say that I am featured on the blog, Esty Studios, a sweet blog by Kerry Grbich that features handmade artists and their creative spaces. Thank you so much Kerry!

If you read the blog, you'll note that my creative space is primarily the back of my closet, however, I'm working on changing that (at least until my son comes home from college)!

I really need to spread out, especially when I get ready for my first craft show and my husband is tired of stepping on broken jewelry pieces when he tries to grab a tee shirt.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Fall for This!

Fall is in the air ... literally, hanging from my mantle! 
I made a fall banner during our last Wine and Design at my friend Cassie's home. When she told me what we were making, I immediately thought, "burlap." Don't ask me why; I guess I knew that I wanted a rustic, country look and that I could achieve that with burlap. As usual, I wanted to use what I had on hand.

Hmm, as I sat at my kitchen table, I saw the burlap rice bags that I've been using for decor...those would do! I quickly measured and cut them into long triangle shapes and then gathered all my paper, scissors, glue and stencils and headed over to Cassie's, not really sure what I was going to do next.

Once I got there, I scoured my paper collection and decided to use a gingham gray and white. Since my letter stencils proved too big for my little triangles, I borrowed Cassie's mom's chipboard letters and traced them. Next, I glued them on to the burlap flags. I then traced some leaf stencils on to some fall colored papers and strategically glued them on to the burlap.

Since I used the seam side of the burlap rice bags, I was able to place the kite string inside the seams to hang them. A couple of stitches on each flag is all it took to secure it to the string. Simple, yet quite striking! Don't you think?

Linking to
The DIY Show Off

Friday, September 10, 2010

Shutter Island - Any Ideas?

Thought that title might get your attention! I have a question for all of you creative, engineering type people out there. I am participating in my first craft show this December ... and I decided to use these antique shutters (which used to hang on my walls) as a display for all my handcrafted signs and mirrors.

The big question -- how do I hang my products on the slats? My Wine & Design group suggested "S" hooks, which is a great idea and will probably work, but I was wondering if you all had any other suggestions for displaying my little mirrors, signs and frames.

Any ideas out there? I have a lot of items to hang, but most are rather lightweight. I provided a close-up of the slats.

I also have some table top items to display, but I don't want a huge table taking up all my space. Anyone who has done these types of fairs, I would love your input! I want my little 8 x 10 space to look like a welcoming store where people will buy a lot of merchandise!!!

Frog Huntin'

Yesterday was soooo beautiful and the kids were off from school so we decided to go frog and fossil hunting at Calvert Cliffs, a beautiful park about an hour south of us. Kellen and I took our backpack, frog net and bucket and journeyed about four miles into the wilderness -- well, it was a rugged hiking path. We did find tons of frogs, but didn't catch any...they were just too fast! However, Kellen did find a fossilized shark's tooth, some fossilized sting ray teeth and I found some pretty shells. I'm thinking that some may make great backdrops for vintage jewelry pieces...who knows what they'll become?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Reflections of What's Important

This is an old photo of my three boys, but it remains a favorite. I am reflecting today on my kids and being a mom. You see this past week, two moms of my kids' friends passed away. We knew each other through play dates and watching our kids play on the same teams. I knew Sandy for over 15 years, but I really hadn't seen her much in the past few years as our sons moved on to play different sports and hang out with new friends. She was a quiet, sweet woman who lived a full life, but died much too young. She was only 54. 
I had just spoken to Shirley, the other mom, at Back-to-School night. We waved "hi" and told each other that we'd catch up with each other later. We never got to do that because she died the next day. Shirley was a gentle, warm, smart woman with a great love for her family. I only knew her for eight years, but she was easy to talk to and her quick wit made her fun to be around. She was only 50. I will miss these women and I can't believe that I'll never be able to talk with them again. It's sad that it takes a tragedy like this to make me stop and reflect on what's important, but maybe that's what God intends for us when he takes away people so special. My heart goes out to their families and may God take them into his arms.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Covered in Paint and Glue

It's so beautiful in humidity and in the high 70s...perfect for painting! And that's exactly what I've been doing. We did have a relaxing Saturday and then I got to work and even put my husband to work! I'm in the process of getting all my spray painting done while it's nice. Then I can bring everything in during the winter to distress, glaze or whatever.

I've also been very busy creating little vintage jewelry magnets...tedious work with tweezers, sparkling little rhinestones and super glue. I have a stash of broken jewels--some with missing stones-- and then I hunt through my plethora of vintage rhinestones (which I've had for over 27 years. Sometimes, I'm glad I'm a pack-rat)!

Here's a sample of some of them...aren't they pretty? I'm sticking these magnets everywhere...on my metal lamps, fridge, and oh, yes, in my shop. It's my new obsession and much easier to store than furniture (which I'm still trying to sell)!

Well, I'm working (if you call this work) on Labor Day, so I better get back at it.
Have a great day!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Woo! Hoo! Mountain Dew!

I'm very excited to announce that my Mod Podge Funky Vintage gadget container made the top ten at the CSI Project! Click on the link to see all the fabulous entries -- there were 200! It was the first contest I entered with my art so I feel a little giddy!
Here's a quick peek at it again (or you can go to my previous post to view the whole thing). Yippee! A good way to start the weekend.

I'm feeling inspired to make some vintage jewelry magnets since my new super strong Neodymium Rare Earth Magnets just arrived! I also received some very cool vintage wood dominoes in the mail that I'm going to use on a shelf...can't wait to create!

Show off!

Since I have way too much to do today...deadlines loom...I decided to post another one of my resin frame/vintage jewelry re-dos. I took an ornate and ugly vintage resin frame and spray painted with my favorite color: Rust-oleum Heirloom White.
I then chose this gorgeous vintage rose cameo that was from my broken stash of jewelry and wanted to highlight it -- show it off!

So, I selected a gorgeous piece of paper with the same shade of blue as the cameo and glued it to the back of the board that came with the frame.
I then took a plain wood oval, spray painted that to match the frame and secured it to the board and with my trusty Gorilla Glue, I added the cameo...ta da!

Oh, by the way, my favorite sister (she's my only sis) featured me on her blog this week! Thanks Stacie! Click here to see my 15 minutes of fame! and while you're there you can sign up to follow her blog, too.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

And we have a winner...

I'm happy to announce that Pam of the Sallygoodin blog is the winner of my follower giveaway! Thanks to, I selected Pam via her number in my follower list. Pam, in case you aren't reading this, I will email you to get all your address info (and your last name!) That's my son (about five years ago) cheering for you!

Pam won these sweet little picture frames.
Don't worry folks, I'm going to do another giveaway at 100! So if you, didn't win this time, stick around. Make sure you get your friends to come on over because I plan on sharing some before and afters, photo tutorials (haven't figured out the video thing just yet), and lots more.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Giveaway Time!

Well, I finally reached the magic number of 50 followers! And so, as I promised, I will be hosting a giveaway for my followers. I will select a lucky follower at random to receive these two country chic wood picture frames! I painted these sweet, little frames with this year's hottest color -- aqua, turquoise (whatever you call it) -- and then lightly glazed them to give them a shabby, but sophisticated look. They are roughly 7 1/2 " x  5 1/2" and they come with glass.

I will draw the lucky winner on Thursday around noon, and you must be a follower to win! So, if you haven't signed up to follow, do so by tomorrow before noon! Good luck.