Sunday, August 31, 2014

Heartfelt Coasters

This month all four of us finished our Paint Chip Challenge! Hooray! I drew the inspiration for my project from these mosaic greeting cards by Chica and Jo. But instead of greeting cards, I decided to make tile coasters.

I began by purchasing a new craft tool. This is a one-inch heart-shaped paper punch from Martha Stewart's craft collection. I found it was too large for the standard several-shades-on-one-card paint chips, so I used the larger size chips and was able to punch about 10 hearts from each card. I chose tones of cranberry and forest green to compliment my home's color scheme.

Once I cut out the hearts, I played with them to create a pleasing pattern on my plain white 4-inch tiles. I decided to make all four coasters in the same colorway. Luckily, I had some tiles left over from a home improvement project, so I didn't need to buy them.

I used "Super Gloss-Brilliant" Mod Podge to adhere the paint chips to the tiles. I wanted the finished product to be nice and shiny so that they still looked like tiles with a high-gloss finish. I found this formula of Mod Podge at Walmart for around five dollars.

I started with a thick-ish layer of Mod Podge on the tile, then pressed the hearts into it. I then added another layer of Mod Podge over the hearts. Then I smoothed out the globs of the glue to the best of my ability so that the finished product would be as flat as possible. I found that the paint chips didn't want to lie flat. So every time they started to curl up, I used the wood end of my sponge brush to push them flat again.

[Like this fuzzy action shot?]

I let the pieces dry for a couple hours, then added another layer of Mod Podge. I used four layers altogether. With each layer, I applied the glue in a different direction:

  1. top to bottom
  2. right to left
  3. bottom to top
  4. left to right
The finished tiles have a cross-hatch look to the finish which you can see clearly if you look at the top of the hearts on the tiles from this angle.

Next, I used some felt adhesive dots to keep the backs of the tiles from scratching the tabletop. These are the thick felt dots found at a hardware store that you can adhere to the bottom of furniture legs to make moving heavy furniture easy and keep it from scratching a wood floor. Luckily, I had some of these left over too.

Using five pads on the back keeps each tile quite stable. The felt pads raise the tiles off the table like this:

I'm so pleased with the final result! If I were to change one thing, it might be to paint the sides of the tiles and cover them with Mod Podge, too. That would give the coasters a completely finished appearance. 

But for now, I think I'll just sit back and enjoy a nice tall glass of iced tea on this holiday weekend.

My project was inspired by this project I found on Pinterest by Chica and Jo:

Saturday, August 30, 2014

For This Week...

Even though I didn't have paint chips, I made a special run to a paint department to collect some just for this project.

When I first saw paint chip projects, I loved this calendar idea:

I'm not sure if I love it because it's green or because it's so organized or if it's somehow related to the fact that I'm a Virgo (which theoretically means I love organization). What I can tell you is that I just love it. And I just moved, which means I could use it for the house calendar.

Sadly, my boyfriend and I determined neither of us uses calendars enough to justify the space this one would take up. When I saw a weekly calendar, we agreed we could use one that size.

Once I had a basic idea, I took it my own way. I bought a certificate display frame for something like $2. I already had the background paper. I made sure to select paint chip colors both Jeff and I would like. A bit of measuring, cutting, taping, and doodling and I made this:

It's behind glass so we can use white board markers to change the plans for the week. I used a Sharpie pen not marker (have you tried these? they're incredible and fun!) to write the abbreviations on the paint chips. I also used them for the doodle in the middle space. (You'll notice the doodle looks like vines with some of the ends having leaves.)

The week is an odd number of days, so I gave the bigger squares to the weekend since that's usually when we're busier.

I also got 8 heavy duty magnets from the hardware department for an additional $2. After double-sided tape failed to keep it all attached, I took Jeff's suggestion and hot glued them to the back. I used all the magnets (four piles of 2 magnets) to make the frame tall enough to actually stick to the fridge.

If it seems pertinent, we'll write the date on each paint chip to determine which Saturday we're looking at (today or next week).

Here it is, attached to the fridge.

I hope we'll use it. Jeff sometimes has plans he forgets to tell me about, so I'll be happy to have this as a reference point.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

By The Seashore

When I started, I didn't know what I wanted to do. I liked a couple of the ideas on the pintrest board, but wanted to do my own thing. This was the one that inspired me most.

This is pretty cool looking! Paint chip artwork

I decided on a green/teal color pallet for this project. I wanted a color I haven't worked with before, and these paint chips caught my eye went I started browsing.

I used pinking scissors (special craft scissors with a design on the edge, instead of a straight edge) to cut out all the paint chips first - 3 copies of 6 different samples, with four colors on each, for a total of 72 colored rectangles to work with. Then I had to decide what to do with them.

After a little trial-and-error, I ended up with the plan that I would use two of each color, and make sure the pair of them were on a diagonal from each other. I think that's what made it take so long, but I also think it made the final product look better than complete randomness would have.

The project took 5 hours from start to finish.

I wasn't sure if I actually really liked it as I was working, since it wasn't in the right shape the whole time. I only cut it down to the rectangle at the end.  And then, I was very happy with how it turned out :)

And, I still have a whole stack of samples left. I'm thinking I might do something else with them another day. A mobile, maybe?

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Dots for the Office

I currently work out of a spacious, well-lit office decked out in very Jodie gear. But our building isn't earthquake-safe, so we're relocating to a new building where my new workspace will be much smaller and much less easy to deck out.

Still, I think I'll have space for a small object or two on my desk. I wanted to use this month's challenge to brighten up the space.

I was inspired by this picture, where the artist arranged large, punched-out ovals to a pleasing effect.


I made a used a whole rainbow of color for mine.

Looks nice at my desk now, and should be great in a few months after we move! 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Hosta Heart

Three years ago, we started updating our yard. We cut down some trees, put in some curbing, and added a sprinkler system. Then we barked the perimeter of the yard. Finally, we started adding plants to the beds.

Each Spring, Jeanne and I divide the hostas. Soon they'll completely fill the beds. I love the variegation on the leaves.The plants are doing quite well, coming in lush and sprouting their purple flowers a couple times each summer. With Dale's help, most of the hosta-chomping slugs are staying away.

These plants just keep spreading a little love.


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Everything's Coming Up Roses!

Not to be outdone, I've completed my July Challenge only 12 days late!

I've always loved origami, so this challenge was right up my alley. I found some origami roses on the pintrest board that I liked, and decided to give them a go. Unfortunately, the linked tutorial only gave about half of the instructions and I didn't know it, and I almost gave up in frustration when I couldn't get them to come out. 

But! I went on Youtube and found the full tutorials I needed, and ended up making four different variations of rose, as well as three different leaves. 

The large yellow one was the simplest, called a Bird Base Rose

The blue one is a basic rose, and it gave me a little trouble because I kept making creases I shouldn't have. I ended up with two blue crumpled paper ball toys for my cat before I got one completed:

The small purple and pink roses are called Kawasaki Roses, and are definitely not for beginners. They were the hardest to figure out, but the most fun for me just because it was a challenge. (I just kept thinking, whoever first invented this rose must have been an origami genius.) Thus, why I made two. The first time I was shaping the rose, I kept saying, "IT'S BLOOMING! IT'S BLOOMING!"  

The leaves came from various sources. 

The pointy one on the top-right of the yellow flower was from the blog post with the poor flower instructions. Fortunately, all the instructions for the leaf were there (it's also at the end of the basic rose tutorial):

The other two, I found just by googling "origami leaves". 

The large rounded one was my favorite to make, although the instructions say to use scissors, which is blasphemy in origami! I used a much more acceptable way of folding it to shape it:

I'm not very impressed with the technique of the small wavy one, but it looks ok when it's finished:: 

The last one was something I ran across on Youtube while looking for the other tutorials. I thought it was an ingenious idea, and looked nice when finished, so I went ahead and added that one to my collection last-minute. It's called a Magic Rose Cube, because it can be folded up into a box, and unfolded into a flower at any time.

So, overall, I had a TON of fun making these. I have lots of scraps of colored paper now, as well as a number of "cat toys"... though my kitty doesn't seem very interested in them so far. Oh well.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

August Challenge: Paint Chip Art

This month we'll start at a hardware store and swipe some paint chip swatches. Then we'll manipulate the little bits of paint to create a piece of art. It might be wall art.

Or mosaic.

Perhaps some paper jewelry.

Or a pretty garland.

This is a color challenge as much as anything else, so I'm especially looking forward to seeing what Jeanne comes up with, since her theme is spectrums, tones, and shades.

If any of our blog followers would like to join us in this challenge, let us know! There are more ideas for inspiration on our Pinterest board.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Paper Box

For my July paper challenge, I made a heart-shaped box. I found this template online via Pinterest.

I started by making a sample from white paper to figure out how the box went together. It was pretty easy to understand which way the dotted lines needed to be folded, and how the tabs intertwined to create the flat bottom.

I used some scrapbooking paper with a heart print to form my box. If I try this again, I'll use a thicker paper. Cardstock the thickness of a manila folder would be just about right.

A heart-shaped box, made of hearts. I'm filling this with candy and giving it as a gift.



My inspiration came from Pinterest.
Unfortunately, I could not locate the original designer.