Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Stencilling with a Cricut

My next adventure in Cricuting was making stencils out of clear contact paper.  I went out to my crap craft shed and found the bottle of Armour Etch that I bought years ago.  I had no idea whether it was still any good or not, but decided to see.

I am woefully behind on wedding gifts and needed one for a young couple whose surname is Byrd.  I had a nice vase, so I decided to decorate it for them.  I cut a fancy B out of the contact paper and, just for fun, also cut out a little bird on a branch right over the "B"  I applied the vinyl to the vase, although I had to cut the sides of the vinyl AROUND the design in order to accommodate the curve of the vase.

I pressed the contact paper down really well, especially around the edges of the design, and then I applied the etching cream and prayed that it would still work in spite of being 10+ years old.  I waited about 15 minutes, and then scraped the etching cream back into the bottle and ran the vase under running water to wash off the rest of the etching cream.  I then removed the contact paper to see if the etching cream worked.

IT WORKED!!!  WOO HOO!  No need to buy more of that expensive stuff!

I put a blue towel inside the vase in hopes of getting a decent picture, but you can barely see the branch on which the little birdie is sitting.  Anyway, I think it turned out pretty cute, and I hope that T and C like it!

I then started thinking about what else I could etch.  I thought about my Pyrex bowls and pans, and how I've always had to write my name on a piece of masking tape to stick to the bottom of the dish at pot luck suppers.  So, I cut out another stencil, along with a curvy little design on each side, and stuck it on my Pyrex meat loaf pan.  I did both sides of the pan this way.  I should be pretty "cool" at the next pot luck supper with my monogrammed cookware!

While I was looking for the Armour Etch cream, I came across some candles that I had bought on sale a couple of years ago.  I had intended to try my hand at hand-painting candles but never got "a round tuit".  I also found the bottle of candle medium that I bought for that unattempted project, along with a bottle of black craft paint.  Yeah!  I was in business!

Well, I did a couple of candles, and I'm not thrilled with either one of them.  I wiped down the candles with alcohol, let them dry and then applied the contact paper.  It was hard to get the contact paper to stick down very well on the candles,, and the paint is best when applied with a wide foam brush.  The nativity scene was supposed to have a very thin arch over the whole scene, but I ended up scraping it off.  I also got the bright idea of applying glitter to the star, but managed to glitter Joseph's head, as well.  Oh, well, this will do for us, but I wouldn't give it to anyone else!

My next candlepainting project was this fancy monogram.  Again, it was hard to get the contact paper to stick to the candle well, and while I was stuggling with it, I managed to get it crooked!  This design is too fancy, and some of the parts of it are just too thin to do well as a stencil on candles.  It'll do for us, though!

A poster on the HGTV craft boards suggested that I cut my designs out of black tissue paper and use a piece of waxed paper to hold the design against the candle while I use a blow dryer to melt the candle wax just enough to soak into the tissue paper design.  I have a few more candles, so I'm going to give that idea a try.

I've been painting the doors and trim in my entry way this week, so I will be back as soon as I finish that job and get the walls painted!

Monday, October 25, 2010

My Latest Obsession

I just realized that if I had waited until MONDAY to post my previous post, I would have had something for Smiling Sally's BLUE MONDAY!   That's what I get for jumping in and posting without my brain in gear!

My sweet hubby bought me a Cricut Create for Christmas.  He totally missed Walmart's Black Frday sale of the Cricut Expression that I really wanted, but...oh, well, it's the thought that counts, right?

However, when I opened the box, there was no cartridge inside!  Apparently, someone had stolen the cartridge.  So, off to Walmart I went.  They had one more Create in stock...and someone had stolen the cartridge out of that box, too!  Finally, Walmart's manager just gave me a cartridge.  The only problem was that it was a "Home Decor" cartridge.  Sure, it had lots of cute stuff on it, and I did play with it for quite a while, but that cartridge had NO FONTS!  It's kind of hard to personalize stuff without any fonts.

Given our financial situation, my hubby didn't see any need for spending money on either a cartridge or the Make The Cut program that I really wanted.  With Make The Cut, I wouldn't need any more cartridges!

So, my Cricut Create sat, mostly unused, until September, when my wonderful mom gave me birthday money!  WooHoo!!!  I promptly sat down and ordered MTC!

It is super simple to use, and I really like that I can take simple images and convert them into die cuts!

All I needed was something to cut...preferably vinyl.  I was out of money, so I asked a friend who owns a printing/sign business if I could buy some of her scrap vinyl.  She GAVE me a whole box full! WooHoo, again!

The very first thing I made was this 4" tile as a gift for my cousin and his wife who were both celebrating their birthdays.  I had planned on making a set of 4 coasters; but, I was running out of time, and this intricate design took quite a bit of time to weed out the unwanted vinyl.  I turned it into a wall decoration, instead.

This is not the finished version.  I had to stop at Walmart on the way to the party to get some ribbon and sticky-back felt to finish it off.  I used E6000 glue to glue a length of 1-1/4" wide sheer black ribbon to the back.  I glued ribbon all the way down the back of the tile for extra security.  I then cut a square of black felt and applied that to the back.  For what it's worth, I do NOT like the sticky-back's very hard to work with, IMHO!  I was pleased with how well it turned out, and my cousins were delighted.

Then, my hubby came up with a request.  He had just gotten back from a fishing trip to our trailer in Arkansas with his buddies.  His buddy, Daryl, had rotten fishing luck that weekend, and my hubby likes to "rub it in" a little.  He asked me to decorate a coffee cup for Daryl, who was a good enough sport to laugh about it!

 My daugher-in-law likes to decorate for Halloween, so I made her this tile and finished it with the ribbon in the same way that I finished my cousins' tile.

For a more serious gift, I bought this fall charger at Walmart and applied a vinyl monogram.  She said that this was just the kind of thing she likes!

Then, my hubby came back with another request.  Our business phone numbers changed a while back, but we had not yet changed the numbers on our work trucks.  The work trucks got new phone numbers, and then I made new vinyl signs to put in the back windows.  We figure that people might notice those signs better than they might notice the signs on the sides of the trucks.  Maybe my signs will help our business!

I'll be back later with some more pictures of my obsession craft projects! Have a great week!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

I'm still around...alive and kicking!

WOW!  It's been a LONG time since I posted!

In case anyone was wondering, no, I'm not dead, nor did I drop off the face of the earth!

With all the hullabaloo of my husband's illness, my own health issues, and our financial setbacks last year, I just lost my posting and crafting mojo.  I did make a few things for Christmas, but that was about it, as far as crafting goes.

Hubby is doing very well now, despite a few set-backs.  He had issues with his blood thickening up, so had to take blood-thinners for about 8 months.  He also had another foot injury which put him back into the hospital for a few days, but the infection wasn't as bad as it was last year.  He now has a CPAP machine, which alleviates my fears that I might wake up to find that he quit breathing without starting back up again.  He had some issues with heart palpitations, but another heart catherization showed NO BLOCKAGES.  Thank goodness!  I'm inclined to think that the palpitations may have been mild anxiety attacks, as he's not had another spell of them since the catherization.  I believe that the catherization probably alleviated his worries, and thus eliminated the palpitations.

I'm at home full-time now, as my arthritis in my knee, hip, hands, and spine make it very difficult to be on my feet for very long or even do computer work on a full-time basis.  I'm currently awaiting a disability hearing...sometime within the next 8 months...MAYBE!   The knee was functioning OK for a couple of yeras, after I had a cortisone shot directly into the joint; however, the shot is now wearing off.  I'm hoping to be able to get another shot very soon.

Our oldest grandson graduated from high school in May, and is in his first semester at college.  It was a blessing that he won  enough scholarships to pay for his first semester!  We're very proud of him!

I started getting my crafting mojo back by monogramming sheets and towels for him to take to college.  I didn't take a picture of those, for some reason.

Our youngest grandson turned 3 in August, and since he graduated to a full-sized "big boy" bed, I decorated some sheets for him with machine embroidery and a little red rick-rack..

Here's the top sheet, from left to right.  The bottom sheet matches the pillowcases and coordinates with the top sheet.

I've been making quite a few things over the past month, but I'll save those for another post!