DIY Decorative Foam Stamps

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Did you hear a really loud scream today?  A really high pitched squeal?  Actually two of them?  It was me!  The first one was because of this:

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If you can’t tell, it’s a SnAkE!!!  A really big snake!  That sidewalk there is 4 feet wide.  Ugggggg……

My husband said that it is a “good” snake.  No such thing!

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Gives me the chills just to see a pic of it!  That was my first squeal and THIS was my second

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I made a foam rubber stamp!  All by myself!  From scratch!  Squeal!  Want to know the best part?  It wasn’t that hard to do.  YOU can totally do this, too.

Here is what you will need:

  • Two paper copies of the design that you want to make into a stamp.  You can even just type out a name, a word or a phrase like, “Happy Birthday!” in Word.
  • Scissors
  • A sheet of craft foam.  I bought this blue sheet at Walmart and it is quite thin.  I’m sure that Michaels or Joann’s or any craft supply store carries thicker foam sheets.
  • Spray adhesive
  • Something to use as a sturdy stamp base.  I just cut a piece of wood to size.
  • Baby powder (you’ll see in a minute)
  • An ink pad

I got the idea after watching this awesome YouTube tutorial.

First of all I chose the letter A in the Damask Dings font (dingbat) and, in Word resized it to the size that I wanted.  I made two copies of this…hang on and you’ll see why.

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My printer is out of toner so I had to color in the lines a bit so you can see the image.  See it?  Good.  Next I roughly cut around my design (only one of the copies), sprayed adhesive on the back and immediately stuck it on the foam board.

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At this point I cut around my printed design, and here is where my second copy came into play:  As I cut each piece out, I placed it on top of the copy (paper side up) so my placement would be exactly like the original.  I ended up using a hole punch to cut out the smaller circles.  I’m lazy you know!  Actually it was to get perfect little circles.

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Next, I cut a piece of foam a bit bigger than the size of the design, sprayed some adhesive to cover the surface and then layed it down, sticky side down, on top of the image.  This is how you capture the design in place.  If it looks a bit wonky, you have a minute or so to adjust the pieces.

Now the foam backer is all sticky, what to do, what to do?  Baby powder, of course!  Sprinkle some on the exposed sticky parts, rub it in with your finger, then gently wipe the powder off:

Smooth as a baby’s bottom.

Before mounting the stamp, I inked it up and then stamped directly on the wood.  After letting it dry for a minute I mounted the foam on the side opposite of the stamped image.  This is where it would have been nice to have better quality foam.  With this thin foam I just have to be very careful when inking.  Kind of messed up the wood block, but it’s not the end of the world.   As you can see, my stamp works just fine.

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Made by ME!  Squeal!  (Did you hear that?!)  Since there is a layer of paper sandwiched in there, I wouldn’t recommend washing the stamp under running water.  To clean it, just stamp over and over on a damp paper towel until the color is gone.

I have a couple of really great ideas for using foam stamps.  I promise to share them soon!

 

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DIY: “Special Times” Perpetual Calendar

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Have you seen those family birthday calendars out there in the internet world?  They are a cool way to keep track of the birthdays in your family, for sure.  Most of the ones that I have seen are a long wooden sign that says, “Birthdays” or “Family” or “Family Birthdays” or something along those lines.  Across the bottom of the sign they list each of the twelve months or an initial to represent each month.  Then, under each month there are squares, hearts, circles all chained together; each one has a name and a number to represent a family member’s birthday.  Have you seen them?  Do you have any idea what I am talking about?  If not, Google or Bing “Family Birthday Calendar” right now.  You will be bombarded with all kinds of versions of what I just described.  See?   I would show you some pictures, but I don’t want to break any copyright laws.  End up in prison, or worse.

Well, a while back I had some requests from some ladies at church to make one of these birthday calendars for an upcoming “Super Saturday” craft making day.  I looked and looked and hemmed and hawed as I tried to find the perfect calendar to copy.  At the back of my mind were questions like, “What about small families?” and “What if no one has a birthday in Feb., or July, or September…the whole thing will look out-of-whack” and “What if a new child or grandbaby is born?  People will constantly be seeking me out to cut out more hearts or squares or circles.”.  I also got thinking about the anniversaries and other holidays that we look forward that aren’t birthdays.   This is what I came up with instead:

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Basically I painted a purchased wood plaque, painted it black and cut out white vinyl on my Roland Dr. Stika cutter.  The black with white lettering kind of gives a chalkboard-y look, don’t you think?

The hook is just a cup hook that I spray painted black.

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When doing this in bulk, just stick the screw ends into some cardboard to make them stand up and spray away.  Then screw it in your painted board.  Easy enough!

For my tags, I just hand traced and cut them out with scissors, but you can use any shape that you want…rectangles…hearts…circles…whatever.  Make sure that there is a hole to slip over the hook.  For a clean look, only use one shape and have enough for each birthday, anniversary, holiday that you want to remember to celebrate.  In fact, have extras for newbies that join the family.  I handwrote on my tags and added border details, but when I made one of these perpetual calendars for my parents (who have 10 kids plus their spouses and grandchildren…), I typed, printed and then hand cut out each tag.  Made it look more professional.

So, the way that these calendars work is that you put all of the tags in chronological order with the next special day’s tag on top and place the stack on the hook.  When the special day on the top is over, pull the pile off of the hook, put the top tag on the bottom of the pile and put them all back on the hook.  That way you can see at a glance when the next celebration is.  Cool, right?  (If two or more people share a special day, put both events on one tag.)

As I have mentioned before, I am losing the beige and going gray in my home and I decided to lighten my calendar up.  First I mixed up a gray-blue shade of paint and painted a couple of coats over the black.  While the paint was still tacky I distressed a bit to reveal the black layer below.  I like to use a damp paper towel and/or my thumbnail to gently rub and  scrape away bits of paint.

Just for fun, I added a stenciled detail:

I cut out some new vinyl using the LimaBean font, slapped it on and replaced the cup screw.  I think that I like it.

So, which look do you like better?

Next celebration?  Mother’s Day!  Have a happy one!

 

********* Linking up to these awesome parties!*********

Are You a Painting Scaredy-Cat?

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I know a lot of people who are almost deathly afraid of painting.  Are you?  Does the sight of a paintbrush bring fear to your heart?  Make your pulse quicken?  Maybe some psychologically see the word “PAIN” hidden in the word “PAINt” and make the assumption that it is just too hard to do.  For those of you who are fearful, read on.  For those who just think painting is a big pain in the patootie, read on, as well.  My goal is to empower one and all with the knowledge that painting, although a lot of work, is such a rewarding skill to have.  And…it is easy!  Trust me on this.

Years ago my hubby and I were given the opportunity to rent an Eichler home in the California Bay area (think pricey!) for a very low comparable rent because our friend who owned it just wanted someone in there that he could trust to take care of it.  Since we were getting such cheap rent, our friend asked us to repaint a long wall in the living room/dining room.  We lived there for 8 months and I hated the way that that wall looked.  In my opinion, it ruined the whole house.  One Saturday, my hubby and I finally decided to tackle the wall project and you know what?  It took us less than an hour of working time to paint the darn thing.  Two coats of paint.  Transformed the place!  Made me wonder why we put it off.  Guess we were just scaredy-cats!

I’m sure that we have all heard that the fastest and cheapest way to transform a room is with paint and that is so true!  Last week I painted my master bath and I can’t even believe the difference it made.

The whole place feels happier to me.  I almost hear angels singing every time that I walk in there!  All that as a result of a few hours of work.  Totally worth it!

I am in the midst of painting my family room and thought that I would share some pointers that make painting so easy.  As with anything else, you have got to have the right tools and this is a tool that I love:

I got mine at Lowes for about $27.  Not much more than it would cost to buy a roller brush with an extension plus a roller tray.  Best part is you don’t NEED a roller tray.  Genius!  Basically you just suck up the paint into the stick handle with the included siphon.  Absolutely no mess.  I decided to see just how much I could paint in one minute.  You know how much I like to time myself, right?  Look how much I painted in 60 seconds:

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It may be hard to gauge by a picture, but I was impressed.   All that in one, non-rushing, normal paced moment.

This is how much one handle-full of paint covered…almost one whole wall!

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The instructions say that it will take most of the first handle-full of paint to saturate the roller.  From here on out, one handle-full would probably even cover much more area than this.  By the way, when I say, “handle-full” I am referring to the amount of paint that the handle can hold.  It literally takes about 5 seconds to siphon up a handle-full.  And no messy pouring from the bucket.  I LOVE this tool.

That said, what about the edges and trim?  You can put your scaredy-cat painting claws away because I have another tool that makes this job, dare I say, EASY.  Yep, I said it.

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When I painted my master bathroom I didn’t use this tool.  Stupid me!  I spent so much time perfectly placing painters tape to protect my molding and trim.  I have smartened up in my family room painting project.  This edging tool saves me so…much…time.   Seriously, you will want to kiss this tool when you see how much work it saves you.   Basically, this little gadget holds a small painting pad and it has a couple of little wheels on one edge to help the tool glide along the molding.   You can buy them wherever you buy your paint supplies.  At less than $5, it is even cheaper than buying painter’s tape!

Oh, and here is a subject that needs its own paragraph:  don’t buy cheapo paint.  Just don’t!  That is what I used to do and always planned to paint at least two times.  When you buy good paint you can get by with just one coat of paint.  Maybe a little touchup here and there.  TONS of time is saved by buying good paint.  You really don’t save any money buying cheapo paint either because you have to buy twice as much.  It’ll probably cost you more.  So, repeat after me, “No cheapo paint”. “No cheapo paint”.  Got it?  Good.

Other painting tips?  Have a large brush for the corners (where two walls meet up).  Honestly, I think that a large dollar store brush works fine for this (and I don’t feel bad about just tossing it instead of washing it afterwards…we are in a drought here).

Also keep a container of spackle close by to fill nail holes, etc.

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So, has all this calmed your painting fears?  Does the thought of painting seem less painful?  I hope so!   All said, it does take time to paint a room, a door, a piece of furniture, but believe me, that time is time well spent.  When you sit back and realize what a difference a bit of time and some paint make you will realize it was all worth it.  Take courage, my friend!

 

********* Linking up to these awesome parties!*********

 

DIY Decorative Mirror Frame

 

Have you every used Gallery Glass products that help create stained glass looks?  I love the stuff!  My favorite is Crystal Clear (as if clear could be called a color):

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This is what it looks like.  My sister-in-law knows that I love this product and got me like 10 bottles of it when she saw it clearanced out.  Thanks, Kinna!!!  Now I can come up with all kinds of projects to make.  Trust me, I’ve got ideas!  Oh, and lest you think that Gallery Glass sponsors me…nah.  I’m not that cool.  I just like this stuff!

So, a couple of months ago I picked up a square framed mirror at the dollar store.  I bought it with absolutely no idea what I was going to do with it.  I like square stuff, remember?  Today I was doing some organizing and came across my G.G. stash (thanks again, Kinna!) and immediately formed an idea of what to do with the square framed mirror.  Want a sneak peak?

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Question… have you ever tried to take a picture of a mirror?  Not that easy, let me tell you.  Just so you know!

So, let me walk you through the process from dollar store to finished art.  Ready?  Let’s go!

First thing, I cut up a 4×4 piece of sticker paper and placed it smack dab in the middle of the frame.  You could just use tape if you want.  You might as well know that I did this project twice.  First, using the tip of the bottle, I just made big squiggles:

It was ok, but not great, so I just scraped it off and started over again.  No tears, now worries.  Next try, I just smeared a layer of G.G. over the whole mirror.  I didn’t really take any pics because I used my fingers to smear the stuff around.  Messy.  I used Q-tips to make my design.  Basically, I just wiped vertical “stripes” and then horizontal.  I truly wasn’t going for perfection, more of a playful look.  Really, the sky is the limit when comes to the textured looks you can create with this product.

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Important: once the product has dried, and before trying to remove the paper/tape from the center of the frame, make sure that you score around the paper with a razor so your awesome design doesn’t come up with it.

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Honestly, this project would have been easier if I would have removed the mirror from the frame.  I made quite a mess near the frame, so I made it part of the design and just wiped the area closest to the frame clean.  Yeah, I used a bunch of Q-tips and this is what it looked like once it dried:

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Well, it was mostly dry at this point.  See what I mean about taking pictures of mirrors?  I actually like this shot because it shows the effect pretty well.  Not perfect, but that is just fine with me.  I wish you could see it in person.

Don’t you just love this quote?   It is by Gordon B. Hinkley and I adore it.  I just printed it up on aqua cardstock, cut it 4×4 inches, sprayed some spray adhesive on the back side and stuck it right in the middle.  Go ahead and print it up for yourself, if you want to.  Look closely at the cardstock.  Do you like the spotted bits?  Kind of goes with the distressed font (Attic), right?

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The spots were a happy accident. I tried to distress the frame a bit with sandpaper, but it didn’t really show.  BUT, it got bits of black dust on the paper and I decided I liked it so I purposely added more, smashing it on with a paper towel.

A-ny-way… it is done and here it is!

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Again, the little white bits are mostly dry.  Ain’t nobody got time to wait!  Oh, yeah.  I added a satin flower that I made a while back and I like the way it looks.

One more look?  O.K., fine.

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Makes you want to run out to the craft store RIGHT NOW to get some Crystal Clear Gallery Glass Window Color, doesn’t it?  Go! I want to see what you create!

 

********* Linking up to these awesome parties!*********

 

Raid Your Yard: Lovely in Lavender

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What is growing in your yard right this very minute?  If you don’t know, run and look.  I’ll wait.  At this spring time of year it seems like everything is in bloom and looking beautiful.

Here are some areas in my yard that I am absolutely loving right now:

Today I decided to get all Martha Stewart-like and bring some of my outdoors…indoors.  Some people like to gather a bit of every kind of flower that they have in bloom and put them in a vase.  Me?  I prefer only one type of flower in each arrangement.  That’s just me, though.  I decided to gather lavender since we have absolute TONS of it in our landscaping.

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Let me share a story that I always think of whenever I see lavender:  My friend was wearing the color lavender when she was approached by a guy who, in what must have been his best “designer guy” impression, said to her, “You look lahv-ly in lah-vender.”  Cracks me up every time.  Just trust me when I say that this stuff is buzzing with bees.  Buzzzzing like crazy

Since we have absolute oodles of lavender, I decided to make a few arrangements with items that we already have on hand.  Ready to see?

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I think that this is an actual Martha Stewart pitcher.  I like it.  I like it a lot.

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This is a tall, modern vase that I like to keep in my kitchen window above the sink.

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This funky, modern looking vase was purchased at Michaels a couple of years ago.  My daughter likes to keep it in her room.

And lastly, this one:

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Just a simple jar that everyone, and their neighbor’s dog, has.  A drop of blue and a tiny drop of yellow food coloring makes the perfect aqua water.  A touch of raffia completes the look.

I’m loving having the outdoors, indoors today!  Four new arrangements and it didn’t cost me a dime.  Love that, too!  My home is lovely in lavender.  (Snicker!)

Now, why don’t you grab some scissors and a vase and go raid YOUR yard!  I promise you will be glad you did! (Just watch out for bees!)

 

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