Fun with Adhesive Vinyl

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The Pie and I are really enjoying all the cool things that can be done with our new Silhouette Cameo die cutter. And now that everyone we know knows that we have one, we’re fully expecting people to flood us with ideas of things to make. For them. But for now we’re still making stuff just for us. This past weekend we created some decals for the Pie’s new batting helmet, complete with his team logo on the front and his name and number as well.

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And requisite hidden corgi inside.

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I also have a huge blank space inside my office above my whiteboard. In our office the whiteboards often have inspirational sayings on them, mostly to do with sales or customer service or opportunity or whatever. Mine is thankfully blank. And I like the idea of putting words up on the wall but I’m not a huge fan of the flowery sayings that people use and then spread all over Pinterest. It’s just not my style.

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So I got a little creative with my thinking and went with something a bit different, to remind me to simply chill out when dealing with my particularly challenging clients.

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It was kind of a pain to put up and it’s a little crooked but I love it.

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I used the extra space on the vinyl to add some Space Invaders as well. Also crooked. Crooked is definitely my style.

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Everyone in the office over the age of 25 comes in and goes, “SPACE INVADERS! AWESOME!” and everyone under the age of 25 comes into the office and goes, “CRAY CRAY! AWESOME!” So at least I know I’m hitting all the demographics.

Have You Tried Milk Art?

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This is a super popular project for folks with kids, because you can teach them all about surface tension and the properties of soap and fat and all that good science-y stuff in a nice controlled environment, with very pretty results.

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The supplies are simple: a large shallow tray (a rimmed baking sheet will do), watercolour paper (sized to fit in your tray), cotton swabs, liquid food colouring, a few drops liquid dish soap, and some milk. You can use almond milk or rice milk or homogenized milk or cream or whatever — you just need some milk with a decent fat content. The results will apparently differ depending on the milk you use (almond milk is supposedly the best), but I only had regular old 2% on hand so I can’t really speak to that.

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On a level surface, pour milk into your tray so that the whole bottom is just covered.

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Now start dotting the surface of the milk with food colouring. Go with whatever floats your boat.

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Take a cotton swab and dip it in your dish soap.

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Gently touch the swab to your milk surface. POW! Watch that science happen.

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This is that same spot a few seconds later.

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Touch the swab all over to make the  colours mix or drag it across the surface to make a trail.

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Now lay your paper down flat on the surface of the milk, then slide it off.

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Let it drip a bit and lay it or hang it somewhere to dry.

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I liked how the colours kept changing as I put in more paper, so I didn’t replace my milk, but you can if you like.

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After a while I had nine full sheets and I was quite pleased with the results.

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You can do whatever you want with these sheets: cut them into shapes and frame them, use them as stationery or greeting cards … whatever you want.

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In my case, I ironed them flat using the high steam setting on my iron.

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You can tell that I let this one dry on a sheet of newspaper can’t you?

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Then I played around with the order of them a bit.

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And used Blu-Tack to put them up on the wall in our bedroom.

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The colours I used complement the other quick wall art I made a few weeks ago so I am very happy with how they turned out – though I would like to try it with almond milk sometime.

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Glitter *may* be involved.

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I saw this little bit of neat a while back and I’ve always wanted to recreate it for someone special. But of course by recreate I mean do it in a completely different way. Nevertheless.

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What you need for this, however you decide to do it, is an artist’s canvas, some paint, some electric or battery-powered lights (LEDs are safer), a knife for cutting, a brush for painting, and some glue for, well, gluing. In this particular project, there was also glitter involved.

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First, check and make sure your lights are working. Yes? Good.

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Now, paint your canvas however you like. I was going to do mine a nice metallic, but then I thought better of it and went with a soft matte gray instead. Because I didn’t want to distract from the glitter.

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As for your design, well, that’s up to you. The original idea was just sort of abstract, like fireworks. But you could do constellations (like someone’s Zodiac sign), or something more Lite-Brite-y. Or a marquee. Whatever you want. For mine, I decided on a dandelion, where each seed of my favourite flower (and I’m not ashamed to admit that I love that plucky weed) corresponded to a light.

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Here’s a quick sketch I did once I figured out my idea, just for proof of concept.

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I lightly marked out the design on the painted canvas with a pencil. I had to make sure that the design was big enough to accommodate the size of the lights I had purchased.

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Then I discovered that the ugly deflectors on my Dollarama lights weren’t glued on and I could pull them off, meaning I was just left with the pretty little diode!

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Then I cut out holes big enough for the lights to poke through.

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I basically just needed to poke a hole with the Xacto and twist it a bit. While I was doing this the Pie started trying to make me mess up, which I did, on the very last hole. Then he started giggling and saying he shouldn’t tease me when I have a knife in my hand. How well he knows me by now.

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Then I poked through the lights. Make sure to test them and see how they look! Of course my camera plus low light equals blurry photo, but you get the idea.

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Then, if you want, you can secure them in place with a bit of hot glue around the back, but I’ll do that later. I don’t want the lights to get all glittered up.

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Now, for the front, I had to fill in the rest of my design. With glitter. I used regular school glue to fill in the parts of the dandelion seeds and stalk.

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Then dusted them with appropriately-coloured glitter.

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Then let it dry.

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You can dust away loose glitter with a soft fluffy brush and some compressed air. I did most of this outside.

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And sealed up my glitter again. Yes, I have a jar full of jars of glitter. That stuff is dangerous.

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The seeds took forever because I did the little actual seed part first.

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By the time I was done with all the white fluffy bits I was so done with glitter in general.

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Here it is after I went at it with compressed air for a bit. It seems to work best on the superfine metallic powder.

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It looks pretty good just on its own.

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Then I added back in the lights and secured each with a drop of hot glue. This is where I discovered that if you don’t use glue sticks for a while they yellow. Fortunately you can’t see this on the front.

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I also secured all the loose wires and the battery casings. It doesn’t look pretty but you can’t see it so who cares?

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I like it. I like that it looks neat during the day, with the contrast in gray and glitter, and then when you turn it on at night the light sparkles off everything but the background (except for the few stray bits of glitter embedded in the canvas). I also like how the seeds kind of look like dragonflies. NEAT!

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Lite Brite Dandelions 47

Going Postal

Going Postal

You may recall that in the spring I acquired several envelopes of vintage postage stamps once belonging to my great grandfather and I was casting about, trying to figure out what to do with them.

In the interim, my dad found some more of them in a filing cabinet, and now I have lots.

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It took me a good hour to sort them from his weird Scottish code to something that I could understand.

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And now I’m going to show you two things I did with them.  I’m sure I’ll do more in the future.

The first idea I had was to enlarge two of the stamps I liked very much.  To do this, I took a close-up photo of each using my macro lens and some bright light.  I was originally going to scan them instead, but I found they lost a lot of their depth that way.

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This is my improvised light box: a bright window, a white sheet of board, and a clean surface.

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I touched up the images to improve the contrast and remove imperfections. I love the sheer size of my new computer screen for doing this. No more sticking my nose to the screen!

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After alterations:

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So here are the two I want to blow up. The mountain goat:

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And Expo 67.  You can see that by taking a photo instead of scanning you can pick up the slightly raised red ink on the expo67 and the 5.

Expo 67

Then I had the Pie take the images to our university’s printing services and he came home with these nice big printouts.  I bought a special pair of scrapbooking scissors at Michael’s that resembles the edges of a postage stamp, so I cut out the stamp image to look like a giant stamp.

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Then I simply inserted it in a photo frame of the appropriate size and shape.

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This extra one is for Rusty, because he’s an ice maker (and does curling ice), so I thought he would like it.  Three stacked one on top of the other I think makes the colour contrasts stand out nicely.

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The other thing I did involved a stamp series, which I simply placed in a collage on black paper (for contrast) and inserted in the frame.

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This is actually two series together, both of Queen Elizabeth, both representing certain elements of Canadian culture and industry.

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For added interest, I did a little research on each stamp (Collections Canada has a comprehensive list) and printed out the information to accompany each framed picture.

Button Mosaic

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If you’re looking for a last-minute gift idea for the person who has everything, the person who appreciates all things quirky and vintage, or the person who has a strong addiction to sewing notions (trust me, there are more of them out there than you think), then look no further than right.  Here.

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I have a large collection of vintage sewing buttons, but my favourites are the ones with the pearlescent sheen — so I have extra of those.

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I picked up this mini wood frame at Michaels back when I was doing the coffee stirrer wall art.

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At the time I figured I would make another, smaller version of the same, but it was not to be.  Instead, I painted it purple and started sticking buttons on with Mod Podge (though any white glue — or non-white glue — would work here).

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I kind of went with an ombre sort of pattern from purple to red to white.

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These buttons attach with that little sticky-outie thing and won’t lie flat, so I glued them into small spaces between other buttons, where the other buttons would hold them up.

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Button Mosaic 13

Don’t forget to stick some hanging hardware on the back.

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The finished product.  Easy peasy blamo kablam.

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Crayon Rainbows, on Canvas

Crayon Art

YARRRRRRR!  We be makin’ ARRRRRRRRT t’day, matey!  It’s also International Talk Like a Pirate Day for the Pastafarian religion, and I *may* have recently watched the first three Pirates of the Caribbean movies in a row.  Also, I live in Newfoundland, where people tend to talk like pirates on a daily basis.  It’s also the anniversary of the night the Pie and I went on our first date.  Eight years have gone by since that night, and so much has changed in our lives.  Crazy.  Tonight we are going to make ourselves a nice dinner and cozy up with our favourite orange, black and white wedding present, the inimitable Grenadier St. James.

Gren in Motion

In the meantime, however, why don’t you sit down and make yourself some pretty?

I saw a picture on Flickr of my cousin and his son making this particular project, and I thought it was so cool that I should try it on my own.  Then I discovered that this stuff is ALLLLL over the internet, especially Etsy, these days.  I’m no trendsetter, obviously.  Even so, I’m going to add to the plethora of posts about it, so that you can see it, Ali-style.

Crayon Art

Now, I’m being a real keener and starting my DIY Christmas gifts really, really early this year.  So I’ve pretty much taken over the dining room as my craft central, especially as now there is a large bed in my former office work space.

Crayon Art

For this project you will need some crayons (go with Crayola, it seems they melt the best), some glue (I used hot glue), a blank canvas (I used two small 5″ x 7″ ones, stacked, but you can use cardboard or wood or whatever you have on hand), and a hairdryer or other focused heat source.  I hear tell of people using paint strippers for this, but you really don’t need anything that hot.  Oh, and you’ll need newspaper or a drop cloth or something to protect the surrounding area from flying hot wax.

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For my first attempt at this, I thought I would go with a straight rainbow, before I got too fancy.  Plus I know someone who really loves rainbows, and this would make a nice little present.

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I started with the basic colours of the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet, and I laid them out on my canvas.

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Then I filled in the gaps with other colours in the spectrum.

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If Crayola has colours called things like this:

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Then why are they still naming colours like this?

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Then the question was, should I lay them out with their colour names facing up, or the Crayola logo facing up?  The Pie told me to go with the logo, because after everything is melted it will be easier to see than the smaller names.

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Then we glue.  I used hot glue on the crayon, and I only put it on the top half.  I wasn’t sure how it would deal with the melting wax, and I figured that most of the melting was going to go down on the lower half of the crayon.

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Then I used hockey tape to temporary secure my two canvases together.

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And I leaned it up against a shoebox (full of stuff, for weight) on top of my drop cloth and newspaper.

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Then I started in with the hairdryer, on its hottest and highest setting, focusing pretty closely on the bottom ends of the crayons.

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You can see how the wax tends to fly a bit.

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It took a while to get them started, but once they got going, they really got going.

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I liked how the wax crept around the sides of the canvas, and I wish I’d had a bigger one to work with.

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Let the wax cool and harden.

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Then you can hang it up, any which way you would like!

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