Thursday, September 29, 2016


Inspired by Star Wars, I gave new life to an old throw pillow.

- pillow form or old throw pillow
- solid green fabric - any kind you like, large enough to cover the pillow plus ears and seam allowance (I used fleece)
- thread matching your fabric
- marker
- sewing notions, sewing machine, etc.
- Yoda photo or toy for reference

1. Lay out the fabric, double-layered and right-sides-together. Place your pillow on top. Draw a line on the fabric around the pillow approximately 1 inch from the sides of the pillow. Draw ears. (You can make a paper template if you want them to be perfectly even.) Remove pillow. Pin fabric layers together. Sew around on the lines BUT NOT BETWEEN THE PILLOW AND THE EARS. Leave an opening at the bottom edge for turning and inserting pillow.

2. Trim the excess fabric and turn right side out.

3. Sew around inside the ears and between the ears and where the pillow will go.

4. Insert the pillow and sew the opening shut. DONE.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Keepsakes for Kids

When your baby is born, it's a lots of fun to start saving keepsakes for them. I suggest starting a box, although you may prefer to put some things I've suggested below in a scrapbook or binder. You may also want to start two boxes, one that is basically a time capsule and one for items for baby to use in the future.

First, you'll need a box with a lid. It can be cardboard, wood, or plastic. Here are some suggestions:
- box from a baby gift
- box from baby formula, diapers, wipes, etc.
- store-bought baby keepsake box
- family heirloom box or chest
- any sturdy box, decorated if desired

Add baby's name to the outside of the box, if desired.

Second, start filling the box. Here are some items to consider:
- baby cards, gift tags, and ribbons
- baby's first/favorite bottle, outfit, toy, shoes, etc.
- hospital bracelet, crib card, etc.
- newspapers from the day/week baby was born
- magazines from the week/month baby was born
- comic book from the month baby was born, especially if baby shares their name with a character
- souvenir from your favorite/local sports team(s), especially from baby's first game
- souvenir from sports championship for the year/season baby was born (hat, shirt, replica ring, etc.)
- CD with the #1 song from the week baby was born
- DVD/blu-ray/memorabilia from the #1 movie from the week baby was born
- personalized items that are for when baby gets older (pencil, key chain, jackknife, etc.)
- sports cards of athletes who share baby's name or birthday
- coins and postage stamps from the year baby was born
- mementos from the Chinese zodiac year baby was born

These are just a few suggestions. Please comment with your ideas. Have fun!

Monday, February 29, 2016

DIY TRANSFORMERS Rescue Bots Blades the Helicopter Pinata

My son loves the TV show "Rescue Bots" and has requested a "Transformers" birthday party this year. After some inspiration from Pinterest, I took on the ambitious project of building a helicopter pinata that looked like the character "Blades".

- images of "Blades" for reference
- balloon
- strips of newspaper/flyers
- lots of white glue (or a mixture of 1 part warm water, 1 part flour)
- two bowls/dishes (one for the glue, one for balancing the balloon while you cover it)
- tissue paper: white, orange, blue
- strong string
- candy (individually wrapped), small toys, etc. for filling pinata
- foam core board or sturdy cardboard
- acrylic paint: white, orange, blue
- optional: printed "Rescue Bots" logo, other metallic decal/stickers
- optional: orange plastic bottle lid

1. Inflate the balloon until it is firm but not so much that it might pop. Ensure it is tied tightly. Prepare to get messy (cover your work surface with plastic or newspaper if you like). Put some glue in one dish and balance the balloon in the other. Dip the newspaper strips into the glue and remove the excess with your fingers. Lay the strips onto the balloon, overlapping slightly. Keep them as smooth as possible. Cover as much of the balloon as possible with the first layer. I let each layer dry in between but some tutorials recommend just doing all the layers at once and then letting the whole thing dry for a longer time - your choice. I did 6 layers, alternating the direction of the strips with each layer. Once the balloon is covered with all the layers and is dry, you should just have a small hole around the end of the balloon. If the balloon hasn't already began to deflate on its own, puncture it with a pin or needle and allow it to slowly deflate. Remove the deflated balloon. Sections of the pinata may be pulled inwards by the balloon if it is stuck to the glue - use a pencil, ruler or stick to push the section back out.

2. Paint the entire pinata white. Use a pencil to lightly mark the areas that will be orange (the top 1/4 of the balloon, when on its side) and blue (WINDSHIELD: the front half of the balloon, far end from the opening). Paint these areas orange and blue. Allow all the paint to dry. Do a second coat if necessary.

3. Cut two inch strips of tissue paper (all three colors), snip along one long edge approximately every 1/2 inch and about 1 inch deep. You can snip several strips at once. Don't worry about precision. Starting at the back of the balloon (hole end), glue the strips of white tissue paper with the fringe edge towards the back (hole end), from just over the edge of the orange on one side around to the other. Overlap the strips approximately 1 inch, working your way towards the front of the balloon. Make sure you don't use too much glue and leave the fringe edge loose. Cover all the area you painted white and put one row of white over the blue. Continue with the blue tissue paper until you have all the blue covered and one strip over the front of the orange. Proceed to cover the orange area with the orange tissue paper strips in circles from the blue/white up to the center of the top.

4. Carefully poke two small holes approximately 1.5 inches on either side of the very top of the pinata. Thread a three-foot (1 meter) long string through (I used a stiff wire to guide it). I put a circle of white foam core board covered in white tissue paper on the top of the pinata, between the holes. (Cardboard will work too. Paint it white before applying the tissue paper.)

5. PROPELLER: Cut two long strips of foam core board or cardboard the same size (approximately 2 feet long and 3 inches wide). Glue them together. Once the glue is dry, paint them orange. Once the paint is dry, cover the entire thing with orange tissue paper strips. Once it's dry, poke a small hole in the exact center. Thread both ends of the string from the top of the pinata through this hole. Poke/drill a hole through the orange bottle lid and thread both ends of the string through it. Tie a large knot to secure the strip of foam core board/cardboard and lid down to the top of the pinata. (You can skip the lid or use a different color lid.)

6. Glue a "Rescue Bots" logo on the blue near the front underside of the pinata (optional). FLOATS: On the bottom of the pinata, poke two small holes approximately three inches on either side of the center. Cut 8 strips of foam core board or cardboard (paint white) about 1 foot long and 3 inches wide. Glue them together as two sets of four. Paint the top side orange.Cover the sides/edges with white tissue paper strips (hanging down). Cover the top with orange tissue paper strips. Once dry, poke a small hole in the exact center of each.

7. Thread the ends of the string from the bottom of the pinata through these holes (orange side towards the pinata). Tie large knots in the ends of the string to secure the pieces of foam core board/cardboard to the bottom of the pinata. Trim away the excess string.

8. Poke a small hole on either side of the hole at the back end of the pinata. Fill the pinata with candy, toys, etc.

9. Use some scraps of foam core board/cardboard that will fit through the hole. Poke holes through them and thread a foot-long piece of string through them. Put this assembly inside and pull the string ends through the holes in the pinata. (See picture.)

10. TAIL: Build a tail out of three layers of foam core board/card board (painted white), referring to pictures of "Blades". Make the end that will be attached to the pinata the same size as your hole. (You may have to trim the hole bigger for the tail to be strong enough and the right scale.) Paint the orange areas orange. Cover with white and orange tissue paper strips. Add the circular parts, covered in white tissue paper. Once assembled and dry, poke a small hole through approximately 3/4 inches from the end that will attach to the pinata. Thread one end of the string from the back end of the pinata through the hole. Apply glue to the edge/end of the tail and poke it inside the hole against your scrap assembly inside. Tie the ends of the string together tightly, pulling everything together to secure it. Add stickers to the center of the circles on the tail if you want.

11. Fill in around the tail with half-circles of foam core board/cardboard (painted white) and white tissue paper, covering the hole and the string/knot.

12. DONE! Whew! This took me a long time to assemble. Take your time, refer to your pictures of "Blades" often, and use longer strings than you think you need. 

NOTE: If your kid(s) want to help, depending on their age(s), they can fill the pinata with candy or perform any of the other steps that you feel they are able to, but be cautious about having them poke the holes or doing other cutting.

Also, you can alter the color scheme, logos, and tail design however you want and build any other kind of helicopter using this method. The key is reference photos so that you end up with something that looks like what you had in mind.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Art Journaling

Art journaling combines my loves of sketching, writing, quotes, and notebooks. I love how every art journal you see is so different, just like every artist. I was looking for a new notebook to start a special art journal in, with thick pages and no lines, but I realized that it doesn't matter what the journal looks like, I can glue the pages together to make them thicker, and I can either use the lines or ignore them. So I grabbed a journal that I've had for years and started having fun. Here are some of my pages.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Disney's Maleficent Inspired Box

I recently fell in love with Disney's "Maleficent", a re-telling of "Sleeping Beauty" with much more focus on the "evil queen". The film is beautiful, as is the story, and when I was looking to transform a little hinged box that I'd been saving for years, I decided to go with a Maleficent theme.

acrylic paint
polymer clay
paper and pencil

1. Look at images from the film on the internet or watch the movie to get a feel for the magical scenery and creatures. The colors also inspired me. For the front and back of the box, I traced silhouettes of Maleficent so they would line up towards the "spine" of the box. On the front I went with her wing-less dark queen silhouette from when she curses Aurora and on the back I did her happy, winged, long-hair silhouette from after she saves Aurora. Inside I did one side as a night time scene from the moors and the other side a woodsy daytime scene.

2. Add accents like polymer clay, charms, stones, crystals, and feathers. I made black polymer clay thorns and a raven for the front of the box and brown/green tree branches for the back. (After I took photos) I super glued a white quartz stone inside and plan to add some brown and black feathers also. Other charms and stones might come later as I collect "magical" things.

3. DONE.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

DIY Cardboard Fireplace

This Christmas season I decided to build a fireplace out of cardboard boxes so we could hang our stockings properly.

- 5 cardboard boxes the same size
- several large pieces of cardboard
- small pieces of cardboard
- masking tape
- white glue
- paint (black, brown/red, white)
- cardboard tubes
- photo or printout of flames/fire

1. Stand up three of the boxes on end side by side, with the bottom of the end ones facing forward and the bottom of the middle one facing backwards. Glue and tape them together. Let the glue dry.

2. Lay the remaining two cardboard boxes on top of the three, with the bottoms facing forward, and glue in place. Let the glue dry.

3. I turned this part around and reinforced inside all the boxes to increase the strength, but if you won't have anyone trying to climb on it, you could skip this.

4. Glue a sheet of cardboard to the back to cover it. You can skip this step but it helps with stability.

5. Glue long pieces of cardboard to the top and bottom to make a mantle and base. I had saved some 1-inch-thick "boards" of cardboard that were perfect for this. You can layer sheets of cardboard to make a thick slab. Feel free to paint them.

6. Paint the inside of the center box (that is backwards to the other four) black. Once dry, glue your flames to the back (optional).

7. My boxes were white, so I just painted the "bricks" over top in brown. You could leave your boxes brown and just paint the white "grout" or paint them white, mark off your grout lines, and then paint brown or red over top for bricks. You can paint any pattern or colors you prefer - match your decor or recreate a beloved fireplace from your childhood.

8. Glue cardboard tubes of different lengths inside your black center box. I used half tubes in the bottom first, then stacked full tubes randomly on top. I rolled up strips of cardboard and glued them in the ends of the tubes to fill them, but that's optional.

9. DONE!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Loki Wooden Chest

This was a rather unexpected project that came together really well...

I love the character Loki from the "Thor" and "Avengers" movies. Tom Hiddleston is a fantastic actor and the costuming is beautiful. I saw a Loki helmet pendant necklace online and ordered it, but when it arrived, I discovered that it was much larger than I had expected. The pendant is solid metal and very nice, but simply too big for me to ever wear as a necklace. I realized that the top loop of the pendant would actually make a great screw-hole and the pendant could easily become a unique accent to a piece of furniture.

While searching for the right place for my Loki helmet, I remembered the wooden chest that my grandfather had built for me when I was a kid. I had painted it purple and Mom helped me line the inside with black velvet. Deep down, I knew this chest was the perfect place for my Loki helmet.

After removing all the hardware, which was already brass and matched the pendant, I gave the chest a new black and green paint job:
GREEN: lid (inside and outside), front, right side
BLACK: interior, bottom, back, left side

I removed the black velvet lining for painting, then glued it back in after.

Next came some carefully cut strips of a broken black leather belt, glued on the left side and back of the chest, emulating Loki's armor.

Finally, I reattached all the hardware. DONE.

I plan to add some more brass accents, as I find the perfect ones.

UPDATE: More brass accents! I hammered brass diamond-shaped studs into the left side by the leather pieces, emulating more of Loki's armor. I got a little rough with the hammer on some of them and I like the effect - makes it look battle-damaged.

And some PERFECT brass corners for the top of the box. They look like the designs on Loki's armor plates as well as his helmet/horns.