Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Wrapping it Up

How long does it take to wrap a gift for a baby shower?  I guess if you only have 15 minutes to get it done on time, anyone could do it.



It might even go more quickly if it is a small book and a box of blocks.

I thought I might like some letters on the outside of the package.

I had these stamps that I bought on clearance and have never used and it seemed like the right opportunity to break them open.

I decided to stamp them onto pages of a book.  I don't do much with stamps so my ink pads are a little dry.  I really wanted the ink around just the edges of the letters. But given the ink pads I was using, I had to be satisfied with what I got.

I mounted the book page paper onto a sheet of black paper for firmness and to keep the glue from wrinkling the paper.

After I cut them out, I had to figure out how to use them.  Originally I was going to punch a hole in each and dangle them from a small ribbon but that plan changed as things progressed.

I covered the book with kraft paper the way we used to cover our books in grade school. I wrapped the blocks with the same paper but with the stars on the inside.

I cut some strips of this same paper and pleated them as I sewed down the center to hold the pleats in place.

I wrapped that around the sides of the package and added the oversized rick rack to cover the stitching.  Then I twirled a little burlap into a rosebud and glued it where the ends met.

Next I attached a tag to the book with a little piece of black ribbon, stuck the letters onto the book and added a button to each.
And voila, my package is wrapped.  I'm glad I started this a week in advance of the shower.
(Seriously, give me some pretty paper and some colorful ribbon and I could have the present ready in record time.  But sometimes, it's just nice to fiddle around with supplies you have on hand and be grateful that you have the time to experiment with the materials.)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

From Clock Cabinet to Grotto

 When I bought something similar, I just thought it was a niche.

I liked it so I bought it.
Someone noticed it in my studio and asked if it was an old clock cabinet?  I knew it probably was not going to be what ever it used to be, but at least now I had a clue as to what that was.

Traditionally they looked more like this. I guess mine might have had a door at one time.

They came in various styles.

Mine needed a little wood filler here and there.

The short sides on the base had fallen off so my nephew reattached them for me. (Actually, they were fine when I bought it but it sat so long in my studio, the glue gave out.)

I had an idea for this piece that involved painting it first.  I have been wanting to try the formula for making chalk paint and this seemed like the right opportunity.  I mixed 2 Tbsp. of  a free sample paint from Valspar with 1 Tbsp. of Plaster of Paris and 1 Tbsp. of hot water.  This was enough to paint the entire piece, including the back, with two coats.

For the next layer I used one Tbsp. of the same paint and 1 Tbsp. of white paint along with the water and Plaster of Paris.  I distressed it some and decided I didn't like the fact that I could not see any of the original color.
So, I repainted it again with the first color formula and distressed it again.

I also glued a sheet of decorative paper to the inside back.
And then I gave everything, including the paper, a coat of wax.
I checked pinterest to see what others were doing with their clock cabinets.

(acase of
This one is more sophisticated than mine.  Nicer wood, well made, and beautiful detail in the half columns.

Here is an example of one with the door intact.  I think they added a shelf so they could display more tiles.

Creative applications abound.

I did find one that was painted.
But back to my project.
I had been tossing around ideas for using old keys and some medals and crosses I had saved.
I decided this might be the right opportunity to use them.

I laid them out first.

 And then glued them in place.

I added a few more after this picture was taken but there are still spaces that I will fill in when I find something I think works with what is already here.
I have an old statue of St. Anthony that I wanted to use inside the grotto.  He is already slightly worn so he was perfect.  No distressing needed.

 That's it.  Finished.

 I had some tiny votive lights that are the perfect size to fit on either side of the statue.
I took these photos standing on a stool, and as you can see, an unsteady one at that.

A do-over might be in order tomorrow.

But for now, one more to-do project is ta-done.

I tried taking a few more before I published this post. 

 I just can't quite capture it.  It looks better to my eye than it does in the photos.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Food for Dreams

It is my turn to host the dream group this month and since it is still Valentine weekend, I thought a little red was in order.  I'm talking about the food and one of my favorites, cranberries!

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it tastes ok.

I tested it at the suggested 45 minute mark and decided it needed a little longer in the over.

Just then my nephew appeared at my door and we started talking.  You know how this ends, right?

It definitely baked longer than it should have before I came back to the task at hand.
Since it was made with love, they will forgive me if it's a little dry.
Unfortunately I'm on a "no sugar, no flour" program right now so I won't be the judge.

I'll just have to make it again when I can taste it.

I am sure it will all disappear before I am tempted.  If you are tempted you will find the recipe on my pinterest board under Recipes for Special Occasions. Or just click here and it will take you directly to the recipe.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Mural at Cafe Mochi

I slipped away from personal projects for a few weeks and haven't posted anything for awhile.  No, I did not take flight to a southern destination.  I have been right here with the rest of you, dealing with pitifully low wind chills, and more wintery forms of precipitation than I care to discuss.

But onto more pleasant topics.  A while back a friend added a room onto his existing restaurant.  And because I helped him with the original building, as well as it's expansion, he again enlisted me to deal with the cosmetics of this project.

The room provides another 525 sq.feet.  The right hand side of the back wall, where there are no studs, is actually an opening to stairs leading down to the kitchen.

Here you can see that wall in green that leads to the stairs and the kitchen.  The servers counter is to be installed along the above blank wall.

All those patio lovers needed to have somewhere to go during this very long winter.
In fact, winter came so early, the patio furniture had to be used inside while we waited for the new tables and chairs to arrive.

Here it is from the outside. The single story portion is the addition.

Weather issues stopped the progress so it will be spring before the balcony is completed.  But meanwhile we are moving along inside.

Chairs and tables did arrive. 

 Light fixtures were hung.

and shades were installed on the windows.  But this room was asking for more.

Early on I was planning something special for the long wall you see here.

It needed some pizzazz and I knew the guy who could make it happen.

 I had the idea of bringing the patio view indoors.  Michael Schmitz put his artistic talent into sketching ideas of how that would look. 

We collaborated, mostly through emails, until we were both satisfied with the drawing.

The wall measures 8x16 so this was no small canvas.  With the help of his mother, Michael snapped grid lines and dove into transferring his creation in a big way.

Once the lighter gray background was in place,

Mike set to work on the figures in the foreground.

I popped in occasionally to document the progress in photos.

Mike alternated between sketching and painting.

Things were coming along.

Each time I stopped in more people had joined the party.

And then it came down to the details and finishing touches.

The mural is complete.  Michael has left the building.