Easy Art?

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Easy? Couldn’t be easier. Art? Doubtful!

My friend Martha and I exchange art journals, and we do 3-4 pages in each other’s journal before we trade back. Any art goes — doodling, hand lettering, mixed media, collage. Our products are sometimes crapsmanship, but it’s a good way to try out techniques on a small scale.

This piece, that I entitled “Leisure Suit,” was a simple collage from magazine parts. It’s ridiculous and can hardly be called art, but I like it anyway!

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Hand-Rolled Beads

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I’ve recently been experimenting with decorating paper and using it to make hand-rolled beads. It’s an easy process and lends a distinctive crafty (do I mean crappy?) touch to a necklace.

My first task was to create the decorated paper. For each color theme, I used cardstock and paint or inks. The red/white and the pink/lime necklaces had paper printed from my GelliPlate using acrylic craft paint. I used Distress Oxides and sprayed-on water to get the blue colors that I hoped would resemble shades of denim.

Once the papers were dry, I cut them up into half-inch strips. Pinterest has a ton of how-to links, but the rolling-up process was easy. Using craft glue and a toothpick, I first glued (with gloss ModPodge, my best friend) a tab on each strip that was about an inch long, just by folding over an end. Then I wrapped this tab (without glue on the outside) around a toothpick and continued to wrap, gluing as I went. After removing the toothpick, I set aside each bead to dry.

My last task was to thread some jeweler’s string through the hand-made beads, adding other coordinating beads from my stash. I like how each necklace turned out, and they’re certainly one-of-a-kind!

 

My April Fool’s Day Pranks!

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I love and adore April Fool’s Day.  Every year that I was a teacher, I would begin April 1 by removing all the chairs from my classroom. When I told the kids they’d have to stand all day, I was always surprised how gullible six-and seven-year-olds can be.  When I got promoted to the position of a school administrator, my teachers weren’t quite so easily duped — except for the year that I put a sign on the copier. The sign said that the copy machine company had installed a ‘voice activation’ setting, and all that people had to do was give oral commands. You can imagine how funny it was to watch! (Right, Shanne?!)

This year, I’m excited that Easter and April Fool’s Day coincide. Since I’ll have my family over for Easter, they will be unsuspecting recipients of my warped sense of humor. Here are a few of my intended pranks.

I’m making a special cake for each of my grandchildren. They’ll love sponge cake, don’t you think?

The grandkids will also get a special drink, which is really congealed cherry Jello.

All three of my bathrooms will have this sign posted on the door.

I’ve drawn bunny whiskers and ears on many of my family pictures. (I used a dry erase marker, which will easily wipe off.)

Imagine people’s surprise when they open up the Dunkin’ Donut box, expecting a chocolate-covered or glazed one, …

and end up with a box of veggies with Ranch dip. (Ok, I know the picture is incomplete, but I’m not serving this until tomorrow.

I still have 24 hours or so to come up with a few more pranks. Dan the Man just rolls his eyes at my glee You must promise though, if you’re coming over to my house tomorrow and you’re you’ve read this post, you won’t give my secrets away!!!

 

Decoupaged Patio Table

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Last year, I bought a cheap, cheap side table for my patio — I think it was under $6. The glass top was painted a pretty blue on its underside, but over time, the paint had almost completely peeled away. Not a good look!

I scraped and scraped to remove the remaining paint, but there were a couple areas that were attached with rivets, and I couldn’t get under the rivets to get rid of the little patches of blue. This was not a good look either!

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Knowing I had little to lose, I looked in my craft stash for colorful paper, intending to decoupage it onto the underside of the glass.  I found a bright floral tissue paper that I hoped would serve to camouflage the unwanted blue specks. Fortunately, I also had some outdoor ModPodge to use as glue.

This photo shows the outcome. Up close, it’s definitely flawed, but I figure few people will be examining it carefully. I think it lends a nice plop of color to an otherwise boring section of my backyard. Score one for me!

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Handmade Card for 20th Birthday

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My granddaughter Kelsey has just turned 20, and I made her this birthday card.  I’m not sure she was very impressed with my illustration skills, but I’m quite convinced she appreciated the cash that accompanied the card!

I first washed the front of a blank white notecard with some Distress crayons and water.  Once dry, I penned the words “Happy birthday” and dotted each letter with a white Gelly Roll pen.

On the inside, I again used Gelly Roll pens to create birthday candles representing tally marks.  My signature, “G & G”, is our standard one for “Grandma and Grandpa.”  Love, love, love!

My $3.04 Easter Tablescape

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Yes, the title of this post is a little misleading. Most of the items on my Easter dining table came directly from my springtime storage tub.

I had the table runner, white porcelain bunnies,

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pink Easter grass, the white eggs, white dishes, and the pink paper plate I stationed between the plate and bowl.Easter 3I used some green polka-dotted washi tape to make the “placecards,”

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and spent $3.04 on pink striped scrapbook paper which serves as the placemats.  Easter 5

Smart, huh?

DIY Gift Wrap

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For the last few gifts I’ve given, I have played around with creating my own gift wrap. The paper design turns out big and sloppy and interesting, and I like the fact that it isn’t neat and pretty. It’s clearly DIY and is a fun, cheap project.

I started out with a large roll of white paper I purchased at Hobby Lobby. I found this for $10 in the kids’ craft section, and used a 40% off coupon. I cut pieces down to the size I needed for each particular gift, and then used acrylic and/or watercolor paints and markers to decorate. These were for my granddaughter when she turned five.

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Thursday is my BFF’s birthday, but I won’t tell how old she is! This is the paper I made for her today.
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Since she’s a crapsman too, I know she’ll appreciate the effort!

 

Sugar-Free Blackberry Fluff

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Dan the Man and I have been on the ketogenic diet. With this diet, the focus is on eating fat and protein and eliminating most carbs and sugars. In an effort to satisfy my ever-present sweet tooth, I eat a daily dose of sugar-free pudding made with heavy cream. But last night, I invented a new and easy recipe that turned out to be delicious.

I used a 3-ounce package of sugar-free cheesecake Jello instant pudding,

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one 8-ounce package of softened cream cheese,

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two cups of heavy cream,

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and about half a jar (no, I didn’t measure) of sugar-free blackberry jam.

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My intent was to mix the pudding, cream cheese, and cream using my stand mixer and then swirl the blackberry jam into it.  Didn’t work!  So, instead, I used the mixer to mix all four ingredients. It turned out creamy, sweet, mildly fruity, and yummilicious.  This recipe is a keto keeper!

 

V-Day Cards

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For the last week or so, I’ve been experimenting with a few techniques for making Valentine’s Day cards.  Coincidentally, I’ve had to send out both a get well card and a condolence card, and I’ve used my newly-created cards for those purposes too.

I began by looking for inspiration on YouTube and Pinterest. I found this “Masked Gelli Plate Hearts” from Balzar Designs on YouTube at https://youtu.be/8VGfRw8L6T4. Since I’d just acquired a Gelli Plate and was anxious to experiment, this seemed like a great starting point. The tutorial showed me how to use all sorts of paints, stencils, and stamps to build color onto plain card stock.  Once I was happy with my paper, I cut out hearts (using my kindergarten cutting technique beginning with a paper fold), and then I glued them onto previously-purchased cards.  A few pen strokes later, here are a few of my creations.

Next, I tried some bright red acrylic paint, white paint, and a spray bottle of water.  I plopped some dabs of paint onto a piece of parchment paper (my favorite crafting underlayment!), sprayed it with a healthy dose of water, and used my finger to swirl the water into the paints. Using more white cardstock, I ran the paper through the paints, getting a somewhat marbled effect.  Once dry, I cut out my hearts and added them to cards.

For my final effort, I followed a watercolor tutorial I found on Pinterest from Bedlam answers Butterflies (http://bedlamandbutterflies.co.uk/2016/02/last-minute-valentines-day-cards/).  I’m kind of “Meh” about these, and they certainly didn’t turn out as pretty as the original, but whatever!

Now I’m on to decorating the envelopes.  More on that next week!