Monday, January 25, 2016

Monsters Inc Nursery Name Letters

Late last year, my friend and co-worker had a precious little baby boy. From the moment she told me she was pregnant, we began looking online for ways to incorporate a Monsters, Inc/Pixar theme into the nursery and saw a whole bunch of amazing items on Pinterest (like this and this). We really liked the idea of the letter names but when we looked on Etsy, the hand painted ones ran anywhere from $10-$20 per letter. She already knew she was going to name him Ethan so that could have run $50-$100! Sorry, bud, but no way!

She seemed to have confidence that together, we could draw them. I, however, did not (sorry). Weeks passed and we dropped the subject but my mind was still turning as I tried to figure out what to get her for a baby shower present. I decided to try to make them so I headed to Michaels and bought the wooden 12" letters to spell his name. I pulled up pictures of Mike and Sully and other Monsters, Inc characters on my computer and tried to free-hand them in a simpler, baby-friendly way.

Honestly? I don't think they came out horrible when I sketched them. At least, not Mike and Sully. However, I didn't have enough faith in myself to keep going. I thought even if I did manage to draw them decently, I would surely manage to fail when I began painting.

Prior to hand-drawing, I had wanted to use scrapbook paper to create the names but there didn't seem to be any Monsters, Inc scrapbook paper in existence. I was worried it wouldn't work if I just printed some images out. However, after I found this set on Etsy, I decided to give it a try because the price was good. If I failed, I'd only be out a few bucks. I downloaded the images and printed them on regular printer paper.

The color of my printer was a little off but I was pleased with how they came out. I spent a few minutes deciding how to arrange the sheets so there wouldn't be two Mike papers next to each other or two solid blue backgrounds.

I actually ended up going in and editing the third image with the doors in Paint because the way it was lining up with the H, no Mike and Sullys were showing up so I moved some of the doors and colors around and added more of them. Then I just traced the letters on the back of the paper, cut them out, and used Mod Podge to stick the paper on and seal it. I applied thin layers at first to prevent bleed through (which I had a tiny bit of with the M page). They came out super cute!

My friend was very happy with them and they are now hanging in Ethan's nursery, who finally joined us on New Year's Eve.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Bless This Hizzle Custom Cross Stitch

Last May, my childhood friend got married. We'd been close friends since elementary school (so over twenty years!). For her wedding gift, I wanted to make her something special that both commemorated the exciting occasion, was personal, and incorporated her amazing sense of humor. She and her fiancee at the time were just wanting to save up to buy a place of their own. I knew nothing out there existed that was exactly what I wanted (well, I'm sure something existed on Etsy but I wanted to make it myself) so I decided to see if I could design my own cross stitch. I've never done anything like it before as all of my previous cross stitches (see here and here) have been kits. I like to think I was successful....

So, a while before I started (but knew what I wanted to make), another friend's stepmother was doing some cleaning and asked if she wanted a pile of cross stitch centered magazines. My friend didn't cross stitch but knew I did so she asked me if I wanted them. I said yes and took the pile and began to flip through them looking to see if there was a house in any of them. I found this one:

I liked the shape of the house but it was very small compared to what I was imagining. I got to thinking about how I could blow up the house and make it larger. On the opposite page was the cross stitch design.

I color coded it and transferred it to some graphing paper I had printed off (and made WAY too large). For every square on the original design, I colored in four squares on my graph paper. The design ended up looking like this:

To get the wording centered, I figured out how many columns of the graph each word would take up. For example, if the cross stitch was going to be 43 columns in width and the word was 21 columns long, I did (43-21=20/2=10). So, I would count off 10 columns from the left and start the word there. It ended up working pretty well!

I think I started the stitch in March or April. It should have been plenty of time to finish for May but, as always, life got in the way. Here is a quick progression of some pictures I took:

I made the cross stitch using all old colors from my previous cross stitches plus a random pack of thread I bought on Amazon (since I didn't have any greens).


I was initially worried about the gray in the roof but I think it came out just fine!

I made the writing in a combination of purple and orange as my friend's wedding colors were yellow, orange, and raspberry.

Then I framed it and gave it to her a little while after the wedding (I believe around August).

I am really happy with how it came out! I think it looks great and is the perfect, custom wedding gift!

Once again, congratulations to my dear friend on her wedding!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Let it Snow Banner

Today I'd like to share with you a quick craft you could make last minute before the holidays - a winter banner! It can say anything, really, but I chose "Let It Snow".

You will need:
-Canvas triangle banners (I got mine at Consumer Crafts)
-Styrofoam snowflakes (I got mine on clearance a few years ago at Michaels)
-Bakers twine
-Letter stencil
-Gold paint
-Paint brush, hot glue, hot glue gun, and scissors

I just figured out what I wanted my banner to say which was a mildly easy decision because I only had 9 of the little banner flags. I just tried a couple holiday phrases until I found one that worked. I stenciled the letters onto the triangles and after they dried, I hot glued them onto the baker's twine, putting a snowflake in between the words. Here is a close up.

It turned out super cute and I leave it draped on my closet door in my living room during the holidays.

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season! I will be back in January to share a few other crafts I made this past year!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Glitter Striped Coasters

Like my solid glitter coasters I shared last week, these coasters were also made two years ago. The damage to them wasn't as bad as the ones coated entirely in glitter, but they still needed some minor touching up.

You will need:
-white ceramic tiles (I got a half box of 40 at Home Depot and they were about $.16 each)
-Cork board
-Mod Podge
-Paint brush, scissors

Again, I started off with my plain white coaster.

I cut four squares of cork and hot glued them to the back.

I used Scotch tape to create the various lines I wanted. I alternated between horizontal (or vertical depending which direction you're looking) and diagonal.

Then I covered the non-taped tile with Mod Podge and covered them with glitter. Once they were a little bit dry (but not all the way), I carefully pulled off the tape.

After they were dry to the touch, I gave them 4-5 coats of Mod Podge. Unfortunately, the glitter still smeared a bit onto the white tile. I tried to get it off, but gave up. Unfortunately, the red glitter also bled a little bit.

The picture above of the red and green striped coasters and the picture below of the silver and gold striped coasters are how they looked two years ago before the horrific smudging accident. You can see all the leftover glitter on them  I wasn't able to get off at the time.

Once I finally got back to fixing the coasters last year, I took a tool I have for vinyl and used it to scrape off the glitter on the white tile. I got almost all of it off! Here is how they looked last year before they were delivered to family and friends.

So much better!

Again, I didn't get to see how my family reacted to them but hopefully they were a hit!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Solid Glitter Coasters

You may be surprised to learn that I actually made these coasters two years ago back when I made my vinyl snowflake coasters and my vinyl polka dot coasters. I had gotten them all ready to give them to my family and I put them in a bag to take them to our family Christmas party and when I got to my parents' house to check on them, they were smudged. I was FURIOUS! I had spent days making them and they had been drying at least a week, if not two, but the Mod Podge had not cured. So, before you even attempt these, make sure you have a few weeks to let the Mod Podge completely dry (even if you think it's dry, it might not be dry).

You will need:
-white ceramic tiles (I got a half box of 40 at Home Depot and they were about $.16 each)
-Cork board
-Mod Podge
-Paint brush, scissors

I started off with a plain, white ceramic coaster.

I cut four squares of cork and hot glued them to the back of the coaster.

I coated the coasters in Mod Podge, covered them with glitter, and let it dry. Once they dried, I covered them with Mod Podge again and added more glitter to ensure a thick coat. I think I added 4-5 coats of Mod Podge over the next week or so, just to be safe and ensure they were sealed and the glitter wouldn't come off. Then I gave them about a week or two to dry. As I said above, that wasn't enough, apparently.

When I pulled them out of the bag, they had dents in them and once I was over my frustration at the project, I touched up the glitter, recoated them with Mod Podge and let them sit in my china cabinet for a few weeks where they wouldn't be touched.

I gave them to my parents who handed them out to my friends and family last Christmas. I didn't get to see anyone's reactions because I was in South Africa. I went on a trip through my university a few days after Christmas through early January. We got to explore Cape Town and see how the aftermath of Apartheid still lingered in the city. We did service projects with a few grassroots organizations. And I got to see zebras, ostriches, monkeys, and penguins (yes, penguins). Here are just a few of the many pictures I took during our two week trip.