Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Coaster or frame?

Who doesn't love Instagram? If you are a smart phone user and you have this app you can create gorgeous photos simply by changing to a preset filter. And there is even an app for printing these photos called PostalPix. They take a photo, upload it to their network, and print and ship direct to your home! They print the square Instagram prints as well as normal size shots as well. Square prints come in a 9x9 sheet of 2x2 prints, 5x5, and 4x4. Regular prints come in 4x6, 5x7, and 8x10. They also have some specialty items like cell phone covers, aluminum prints, and mouse pads. I have ordered from them numerous times and they have always been fantastic. If an order doesn't show up they are more than happy to print and ship again. They have fabulous customer service which is something special!

Well, I had a stash of 2x2 Instagram shots sitting around waiting for crafts. My friend who is a tile guy had an extra box of tile leftover from a job. I was more than happy to take these off his hands. They are gray and 4-1/2 x 8-1/2. Not a standard coaster size. But I was determined to find a use. I took out these Instagrams and set to choosing which ones to use; a very difficult decision. I settled on pictures that were from my beloved St Croix. (My in laws live there)

Once I had some chosen I set them in order on the tile. I mod podged under them to attach them to the tile, then mod podged over top. If you have outdoor mod podge there will be no further sealing necessary at this point. I don't have this therefore I also like to seal the glue with a layer or two of clear spray paint. This makes them waterproof. With this method you need to be sure to let it dry for several days before you put a mug on top otherwise you will have lovely rings in your paint job, not visible unless they catch the light a certain way. I learned this the hard way and it drove me crazy! Added another layer of clear spray and they are still faintly there but not as bad.

To use as a coaster, don't forget the felt pads underneath to protect you tabletop from the tile edges. To use as a picture frame get a plate stand and set it up. I like it both ways, so you decide, coaster for two? Or picture frame?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

More Zentangle

I am so amazed by the awesomeness of this! There are so many people out there who do this on a regular basis and don't even realize they're doing it. Repetitive doodles. That's all it is! And anyone can do it! You don't have to be a fantastic artist to doodle these. I have been much engrossed in this lately because we are considering it as a camp craft for this summer. My research has shown me so many cool ideas. I especially like the ones that start with a nature shape and then doodle inside the spaces created. There are so many possibilities within this too!

First, let me say, I doodle all the time but I don't do repetitive patterns or if I do they are the same patterns over and over so coming up with new patterns is not exactly easy for me. I also enjoy the look of details in a picture but I hate executing them as I haven't the patience. This has been a great exercise for me. I am so addicted.

A great resource was www.ztforkids.com. I have ordered their book and I am excited to get it. My kids even got into the idea. A another great resource was www.tangledesigns.com. They have an entire index of many designs! I never would have thought of some of these!

With these resources behind me and the ideas to inspire I looked on Instagram to see what others have posted. Behold! I was amazed! And these are just the pictures I found that were intriguing to what we plan to do at camp this summer!

Trying my hand at it has been fun. You really don't need any artistic ability besides repetitive lines. Here are my recent tries.

Check out the websites mentioned, google it, search Instagram for #zentangle, and try your hand at it. There are many amazing resources out there. I have ordered several books for the kids to look through at camp but there are so many web sources that you may never need a book. Besides, all you really need is a pen, paper, and your imagination!

Ps, some of these are by two ladies in particular: nadik4ever and jennshii are both very talented ladies. Follow on Instagram and you can see why their work intrigued me! I am a private user but you can request a follow for stxradley on Instagram! Happy doodling!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

DIY Coasters

Remember those tiles I bought a while ago? Well, I found some gorgeous paper for my friend Carolina. Her wedding was a peacock theme so no anything I see with peacocks makes me think of her. I try not to overwhelm her with these gifts. I could easily see her getting tired of the peacocks.

Anyway, through the magic of text messaging I sent her pictures of al the papers in the stack and then she picked out four she really liked.

Before I got started I put the little adhesive dots on the back of the tile. People have recommended felt to protect your table from the hard edge of the tile. I prefer these dots because they are so quick and easy.

Cut your paper to size and mod podge away! First a layer under the paper to adhere to the tile....

Then a layer over to seal the paper. If you have outdoor mod podge for this step you may not need to clear spray them to seal. I do not so I prefer a layer of clear spraypaint to help seal the paper from any moisture. Regular mod podge will eventually absorb the water and become sticky again, so seal it!

These are so cute and I am actually a little jealous of these peacock colors! Wish I had them in my house. Carolina, I hope you love them!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


Alright, so if you don't know what Zentangle is just google it. Basically there are small squares of paper, a fine tip marker or pen, and a pencil. You make a doodle, divide it into spaces, and fill each of the spaces with a repetitive doodle. My friend Brooke gave me a sample starter kit and I just fell in love with this. For me it is relaxing and a study in patience. It's also out of my comfort zone since you are working with patterns and random shapes.

Creating or drawing for me would usually take on a real form, like a flower or a tree. But to try to do patterns and patiently shade them in was a good practice for me.

In fact, these are so simple that even my kids can take a basic shape like a letter and divide it into many sections, filling them in with patterns and ideas. This was my basic breakdown for them.

Well, I loved this so much I started to look at the possibility for camp crafts. While pinning the many ideas I found a fantastic one for taking a face in a magazine and tangling around that. I started with the typical adds we see. I found this one for Drano. I love her face. I decided she would be my perfect sorceress!

I cut out the picture and glued it onto my paper. I then used a pencil to start drawing in my outlines for the picture. Using my pen I made patterns in the sections I divided.

The hardest part was her hand. I'm not entirely pleased with it but I love the overall effect. Take a look at the whole Zentangle craze and see what you think. Anyone can do it and I bet you could be as addicted as I am!
Have fun!

Monday, March 11, 2013

DIY Book Look 2 (a how to for ereader book cover)

Since the original book cover for my Kobo ereader did not work I set out to complete another. Determination is a wonderful thing!

Thus I headed to the basement for the box of old abandoned books at camp. Behold! I found a couple of books just the right size!

The one I will be showing you step by step examples of however is the one I am making for a Kindle Fire that the lovely Karlee has. I love to do crafty things for this girl! But the premise is still the same: find a book that is the right size for your ereader!

Well, this is a classic Hardy Boys book obviously. Frown at me all you want for never reading them, but this book is the perfect size for a Kindle Fire.

Open up the book all the way. This book has a binding that can be cut from the book itself. That is why a hardcover book is the best for this.

Now, grab those handy dandy scissors and cut away at the binding! Mwhahahaha! Yes, evil cackling is allowed and even encouraged here. Once you have cut away the binding you should have the book separate from the cover. I haven't found a use for the book itself yet but I am looking. Otherwise throw it out! (Mwhahahaha!)

Karlee chose a beautiful pattern from this mat stack. This paper is regular craft paper and 8x8 in size. This was doable but a tight squeeze. I used the 12x12 paper from a card stock stack for my purple ereader and I would recommend it over this. This still worked fine however.

With the cover paper chosen it was time to choose a tissue paper for the binding. I chose tissue paper because it molds well to the binding and you can glue 'through' it essentially to get a good solid hold. I chose to use first the dark blue to cover any lettering on the binding, and this lovely golden yellow paper for the bright strands in it.

Mod podge is your friend! This stuff is fabulous! Glue your binding first. Glue on the binding, the. The papers, then a layer of more glue. After that is done you can start on the cover.

While I waited for the binding to dry I drew the title on the cover. Karlee had chosen the title 'Safe Haven' by Nicholas Sparks. Good ole fine point sharpie here.

When the binding was dry enough to flip over I cut the excess off the corners and began gluing down the cover on the inside.

When it was dry enough to flip back over I used this DecoColor marker in silver to add highlights to the words and write on the binding.

Now, for the fabric on the inside I used an old corduroy I had lying around. A softer plusher fabric like fleece would work well for this too. Just be sure it is not too thick. You will cut a size slightly larger than the cover.

Now, my personal favorite friend is this little roll of no sew binding. If you want to sew your seems, go right ahead. This was more convenient for me. I folded over the edges and ironed so the seems would line up with the edges of the cover.

Now, on the right side of your fabric is where your ereader will sit. I had only measurements to go with for this one. A kindle fire measures 7.4 x 4.5. I used these to cut a rectangle of thin cardboard, and determine where my holes would go. The elastic I am using for this is 1/4" elastic. I used a headband on the purple cover. Just find what works for you. You will be cutting two holes in each corner for the elastic.

Now, poke the elastic through...

And flip the fabric over.

Now, hot glue the elastic to the backside of the cardboard like so.

And then you are free to hot glue the fabric to the cover. If you want a strap to hold the cover closed when not in use I would also cut and glue that now. When hot gluing the fabric, start at the center in the binding and then glue your sides down. This will give you an even distribution.

As an afterthought I added this little pocket with plain fabric. No sew binding again and hot glue.

To finish, I mod lodged over the entire thing, and then clear spray painted to seal.

I was so excited I had to take it over to Karlee right away!
And guess what?! It fit!

I hope you have been inspired. I think these are beautiful, functional, and I love that we repurposed something old and unwanted. Now, it's your turn! Have at it!

Update: I used a blow dryer to melt the hot glue along the right side of the ereader case. I pried up the paper and glue and pulled out the headband pieces. I then cut and replaced these pieces with the 1/4 inch elastic which seems to be holding up tighter and stronger. Using hot glue yet again I then re-attached the liner and other pieces. The ereader holds in more snug and the elastic is less bulky than the headband elastic. I hope this is helpful to you. 

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