Who’s Behind The Mask?

Red Feathered MaskIt’s hard to believe we are in the month of October already. Thoughts of my favorite time of the year, Halloween, come to mind. I suppose I’m just a big kid at heart. Dressing up was so much fun. Deciding what to be for Halloween was a major accomplishment. Sometimes the costume was store bought (e.g. Snow White, Peter Pan), while other times we made our own (e.g. Gypsy, Witch).

Purple & Gold Mardi Gras Mask
Purple Gold MaskAll you really need is a great mask. Craft stores sell a variety of white masks to decorate any way you please. In terms of comfort, the quarter masks are an easy solution, as opposed to latex masks, sold in Halloween stores, which can be very hot to wear.

Red Sequined Mask and White Floral Mask
 Red & White MasksMasks can be decorated with a particular theme in mind or for holiday celebrations, such as Carnival, Mardi Gras, New Year’s Eve, and the Chinese New Year. Each finished mask is a beautiful work of wearable art.

Turquoise & Gold Feathered Mask
Turquoise & Gold Feathered MaskI look at this mask and think of Aqua Man, the Marvel Comic’s super hero. It is also reminiscent of the Philadelphia Mummer’s Parade. The rich details and vibrant colors are real showstoppers.

Red, Black & Gold Long Nose Joker Mask
Red, Black & Gold Long Nose Joker MaskThis mask has a devilish quality about it. Practical jokes are sure to follow.

Black & Gold Opera/Theater Masks
Black & Gold Opera/Theater MasksMusical notes and gold braided trim adorn these fanciful masks.

Antiqued Cat Mask
Antiqued Cat MaskPerky ears and delicate patterns make this mask a favorite among cat lovers.

Blue & Gold Asian Mask
Blue & Gold Asian MaskA lovely combination of two arts – mask making and fan decorating.

Assorted Feathered & Bejeweled Masks
Assorted Feathered & Bejeweled MasksThis assortment of masks is ready to be worn in celebration or displayed as artwork and party decor.

Black & Gold and All White Feathered Masks
Black & Gold and All White Feathered MasksFeathered masks tend to be the most flamboyant.

Red & Black Harlequin Mask
Red & Black Harlequin MaskThe visual impact of this red, black and gold mask is enhanced with light catching glitter and thick gold trim. A few faux gemstones are the perfect finishing touch.

Ornate Venetian Masks
Ornate Venetian MasksMasks made to celebrate the Carnival of Venice are among the most elaborately decorated with lavish brocade fabrics, ribbons, crystals, intricately hand painted designs, and touches of gold or silver leaf. This centuries old technique has influenced artists world wide, and is highly valued among collectors.

For a more practical, down-to-earth approach, below are the instructions to complete your own decorated mask.

How To Make Your Own Mask
Your project starts with a visit to the craft store. The mask you choose will be the most important decision because it determines the range of decorating possibilities.

Plain White Quarter Mask – Ready for Decorating
Plain White Quarter Mask – Ready for DecoratingMost craft stores have several style options. Because this was a first attempt at decorating a mask, this simple white quarter mask was chosen.

Mask – Painted Blue and Outlined with Rhinestones
Blue Mask with Rhinestones
The mask was spray-painted royal blue. Fabric stores have beaded and rhinestone trims perfect for mask decorating. The rhinestones twinkle in the light, calling attention to the wearer’s face with an emphasis on the eyes. As shown, the mask is ready to wear, but let’s take it to the next level.

Black Feathers on a Foam Backer
Mask with Feathers
This mask was made as a wall decoration, so the back will not be seen. (If you plan to wear your mask, simply glue the feathers directly onto the back of the mask, and line it with felt for comfort.) To make the wall art, trace the mask onto a sheet of black foam, which is used as mask liner to hold and support the feathers. The eyes and lower shape of the mask are cut out using an X-Acto knife.

The Opposite Side of the Foam Backer
Feather Backing
This photo shows the wrong side of the foam sheet used as a liner or backer board for the feathers. The bottom of the foam and eye openings line up perfectly with the blue mask, but the upper portion of the foam extends upward like a crown to support the feathers.

The Finished Black Feather Mask
Finished Feathered Mask
Luxurious black feathers and sparkling rhinestones stand in sharp contrast to the rich royal blue on this completed mask.

Take a walk on the wild side. Dress up, stay in character, and most importantly have fun. Mask making isn’t just for kids. It’s for the child within all of us!

Thanks for reading & Happy Crafting!

Why Just Paint? Faux Finish.


Faux finishing is a great, inexpensive way to transform a room and can be easily done over a weekend, and sometimes in a few hours with minimal effort.

There certainly is no shortage of ideas and inspirations for faux finishing including: retail stores, restaurants, shopping malls, magazines, books, websites, videos, craft and paint stores. Instructional videos can be found on YouTube, but don’t forget to check paint manufacturers’ websites as well.

You may already have many faux finishing tools in your home without even realizing it. Paint can be applied using rolled up plastic wrap or fabric; synthetic sea sponges; brushes, sponge rollers; and trowels. Application methods include dabbing, rolling, splattering, brushing, and glazing. Additional supplies and advice are available through local craft stores, and home improvement or hardware stores.

                          Faux Marble                                               Faux Metal
Faux Marble and Faux Metal
Faux Marble has a mottled background and white veining applied using a feather.

Faux Metal is created using a specialty iridescent metallic paint applied on the diagonal for a hammered metal appearance.

                       Crackle Finish                                      Faux Venetian Plaster
Crackle Finish and Faux Plaster
Crackle Finish involves painting a background color first, followed by a special antiquing medium, which cracks as it dries, revealing the color beneath for an aged, weathered look.

Faux Venetian Plaster has color and texture applied at same time with a trowel, which is a two step process, followed by a drying period, and sanded afterward to create a soft sheen finish.

Textured Wall Paint
Textured Wall Paint
Textured Wall Paint is probably the easiest faux finish to apply. No special skills are required. If you can use a paint roller, you can texture a wall. After it dries, the wall will resemble the texture of plaster, and the softness of wallpaper. With a bold punch of color, it can be used as an accent wall in a living room, dining room or master bedroom.

Textured Wall Paint
Textured Paint
Faux Plaster can be created simply by applying a thick layer of paint and using assorted “tools” to texture the surface while the paint is still wet.  Additional layers can be applied for greater texture and depth.

Faux Wood Grain over an Abstract Background
Faux Wood Grain
Faux Wood Grain requires the use of a stencil.  Paint the base coat first in a light or medium color.  When it has dried, go over it with the stencil using a darker color to simulate the natural wood grain, or try using metallic glitter paint as shown above.

These faux finishing techniques are not limited to walls. The same processes can be applied to ceilings, furniture, and just about any other surface.

How To Faux Finish A Room
Research faux finishing ideas and installation methods. Choose your design. Choose the paint colors. Having several color combinations is fine because the first step will help you narrow down the choices. Purchase the paints and corresponding application tools required for your chosen faux finish.

Trying something new for the first time can be a stressful experience. What if you make a mistake? What will you do if you fail halfway through the project? If the paint colors looked great in the store, why do they look so different in my home?

Sample Board
Paint Sample Board
Crafter Tip – Sample Boards are your best friends.
You need to experiment with your color schemes and methods of paint application. The simplest solution is creating a sample board. Sample boards give you a chance to get your feet wet, so to speak, without the overwhelming feelings that can come when faced with full-size wall or an entire room. Hone your skills on the sample boards. With proven skill and newfound confidence, you’ll be ready to take on the full project. Keep your sample board handy for reference while you are painting.

24” x 36” poster board is an easily manageable size. Another option is foam board, also known as foam core, which consists of two pieces of poster board with a piece of foam sandwiched in between for strength. The ability to pin inspirational photos is an advantage of foam core over standard poster board.

Gold Metallic Paint & Synthetic Sea Sponge – (2nd paint color, taupe, not shown)
New Bath Paint
For the technique demonstrated in the bathroom below, first paint a coat of the background wall color on the sample board, and let it dry. Apply each group of colors on different areas of the sample board, being careful to label or make note of colors used. Feel free to experiment with various brush and or sponge techniques. Let the paints dry.

Faux Finish Close Up Detail Sponge Painting
Sponge Painting Detail
Now lean the sample board against a wall in the room to be painted. It is important to see the colors under the existing natural and artificial lighting. Begin the elimination process. Some will be very obvious missteps for one reason or another. A few usually rise to the top of your list. At this point, you can do some additional testing. You may want to create another sample board with larger samples of your top picks.

Sponge Painted Bathroom
Sponge Painted Bathroom

Sponge Painted Bathroom
Once you have decided, it’s time to tackle the faux finishing of all the walls in that room. Take your time, and remember it doesn’t have to be perfect. The beauty of hand-applied finishes is the variation and artistry. If you are using multiple colors, apply one color at a time, and then repeat the process.

You can do this!

Thanks for reading & Happy Crafting!

Thank You!

Fireworks
With many thanks to all of you, I have reached an important milestone: 400 Followers. Thank you to all my readers and followers for liking, commenting, and sharing this creative journey with me. I am so grateful for each and every one of you.

Inspiration
I enjoy visiting your websites to read your amazing articles, which in turn inspire me to keep writing and sharing as we encourage and support one another. As human beings, we are all connected and WordPress makes it easy to stay in touch across the miles and throughout the days.

Winding Path
Together we look forward to what the future holds, knowing we always have companions along the way.

Thanks for Visiting
Thanks for reading & Happy Crafting!

Tropical Splendor

Tropical Inspiration
Ah the tropics! I’m sure we all wish we could be basking in the sun on a tropical island -sand under your feet, a soft ocean breeze, and a cool fruity drink within reach. Our travel plans may be on hold for now, but we can dream. A tropical project may be just what we need to brighten the day and lift our spirits.

Inspiration
Tropical Inspiration
The thick vegetation and unusual wildlife is a constant reminder that this is a whole new world, and we are invited to come inside to explore.

Inspiration
Close-up Tropical Leaf
There’s an infinite variety of foliage and tropical leaves provide many interesting shapes, intricate patterns and vibrant colors.

Original Metal Leaf Wall Sconces
Original Metal Leaf Wall Sconces
In this project we will be refinishing these metal, leaf-shaped wall sconces. Purchased from an online home furnishing store, it was a great disappointment to open the box and discover their color schemes were completely mismatched. Because we liked the size and shape of these leaves, we decided to keep them anyway, with hopes of one day fixing the problem. That day is today!

Supplies
Paints
Supplies:
Metal Leaf Wall Sconces (18” high x 11-1/2” wide x 6-1/2” thick)
Acrylic Paint – medium green, dark green, yellow, and brilliant blue
Paintbrushes
Clear Spray Paint – gloss or matte finish

Paint the Base Coat
Leaves Painted Green
Step 1 – Paint each leaf medium green. They look better already. As you progress, remember this is your chance to experiment with colors as well as painting techniques. If you don’t like something, you can easily paint over it with another base coat and try again.

Choose your Color Scheme
Blue Wash vs. Blue Stippling
Step 2 –On the left, a blue wash was applied over the surface, using very watered down blue paint. The right leaf has a blue stippled pattern, made by applying blue paint with short brushstrokes. I like the light and shadow effect of the wash technique on the left, which provides depth and richness in the color, while also helping to define the leaf’s structure. The texture on the right leaf is interesting, but visually breaks up the surface, making it appear to be clustered leaves as opposed to one large leaf.

Define Light & Shadow
Highlight & Veining
Step 3 – The position of the sun in the sky creates the marvelous effects of light and shadow. I chose to have the light coming from above on the left. This means the left side of each leaf is lighter than the right. Washes of blue and green were applied, with the darker hues upon the right side of each leaf. The veins were given dimension with blue shadows beneath, which lighten gradually as they approach the next vein below. The leaf photo on the right has light yellow veins. Other shades were tested as well.

Veining details
Finalized Colors
Step 4 – Bright green (a mixture of yellow and dark green) was applied to all the veins on both leaves. The beaded edge around the perimeter of each leaf was painted yellow.

Completed Flat Finish Leaves
Finish Option 1
Step 5 –At this point you could stop. I highly recommend spraying each leaf, front and back, with a matte finish clear spray paint to seal the paints. Before installing candles, please see the Crafter Tip below. For a gloss finish, please continue to Step 6.

Flat Finish versus Gloss
Flat Finish versus Gloss
Step 6 – Tropical islands have high humidity and frequent rain. To achieve that wet-look, you will need to spray a few coats of glossy clear spray paint. This photo shows the dramatic difference between the flat and gloss finishes. Notice how much more vibrant the colors become with the gloss finish.

Completed Gloss Finish Leaves
Finish Option 2
These are the completed tropical leaves with new navy blue candles.

Crafter Tip: Each wall sconce has a metal spike to hold a candle. If you try to push a taper candle down onto the spike, it will inevitably split the candle. How do I know? I broke two! To avoid this, pre-drill a hole in the bottom of each candle using a very thin drill bit.

I hope you enjoyed this makeover process. These steps can be applied to all kinds of home décor. You don’t have to settle for anything. Take out your paints and let your imagination bring crafts to life in your own personal style.

Thanks for reading & Happy Crafting!

Fun with Photo Editing

Here Comes the Sun
Wouldn’t it be cool if you could simply change a gloomy sky to a gorgeous day with a wave of your arm? We might not have that ability now, but we can certainly achieve this monumental task through the power of photo editing. Many software programs are available, including PhotoShop and Corel Paint Shop Pro. Your existing digital photos are the perfect canvases for creating new masterpieces to share with family and friends. Here are some fun photo-editing ideas to explore:

Fun in the Sun
Beach Before & After
Take a few of your old vacation photos and add or subtract a little action. In the first photo, the planes, boats and parachutes were added to a peaceful beach scene. In the second, all the extras, except for the two planes, were removed and removal of the waterfall restored the shoreline.

Playful Pets
Playful Pets
These silly hybrid animals are amusing for the kids. The combinations are endless. The key is choosing animals with similar colors. The rest is a simple copy and paste.

Adventurous Kids
Adventurous Kids
Many people have tried riding a horse or maybe even a camel. Why not alter the photos to spice things up a bit by adding a dolphin or a T-Rex? Now that would be exciting!

Story Time
Tell Me a Story
Our local library offers a program enabling children to read to a live greyhound. I’m sure a tiger loves stories as much as everyone else, but I doubt kids will be reading to them any time soon. Photos like this will certainly grab the attention of their grandparents!

Creating Drama
Create Drama
Do you have a budding actor or actress in your family? With the appropriate pose and facial expression, he or she can be inserted into any harrowing scene you choose.

Portraiture
Female Portrait
Portraits don’t have to be same old same old. This layered photo tells a story by combining colors, textures, and meaningful items surrounding this beautiful woman in a more intriguing pose. Perhaps she’s an architect or a stained glass artist with an appreciation for antiques. Tell your story.

Storybook Romance
Fantasy Female Potrait
Prom or wedding photos are ideal resources. Add a fairy tale background and imagine the possibilities

View from Above
Airplane View
Everyone loves taking photos from airplane windows. Usually there’s not much to see except clouds or maybe a bit of land or water. The little lizard above is really funny, but it could be even better with if you inserted a family member. You could say it was a “no frills airline!” lol

Come Sail Away
Sink Sailing
The tricky parts of this illusion are the ripples in the water’s surface and the reflection of the sailboat.

3D Tech
Tech Illusions
Can you remember a time when you didn’t have a cell phone? These photos not only capture the subjects, they bring them out into our world in three-dimensional splendor.

Room with a View
Room with a View
Who is watching whom? This is an amazing photo. At first glimpse you might think the artist simply replaced the outside image with an underwater scene, but look how cleverly the reflections of the water create dappled patterns upon the walls.

Cat & Mouse Games
Cat & Mouse
Typically a game like this would not end well, but this is another astonishing illusion.

Who’s Afraid of the Wolf?
Red Riding Hood
This fearless little girl looks calm and self-assured. the story, “Little Red Riding Hood,” has come to life!

Death-Defying Yoga?
Underwater Yoga
Someone is always coming up with new exercise and meditation classes, but I don’t think underwater yoga is a thing! Maybe she’s a shark whisperer? In this exceptional photo, it’s the shared lighting and bubbles that really make it believable.

As your skills grow and you develop your own editing style, your creative photos will blossom with intriguing details and dazzling special effects. Who knows? You may find yourself working in the gaming and entertainment industry, graphic design, advertising, photography, or any of the many fields that entice consumers with compelling images.

Thanks for reading & Happy Crafting!

How to Make an Ocean Themed Wreath

Fishing Net with Life Preserver
A day at the beach – the warmth of the sun upon your skin, seagulls chattering nearby, damp sand between your toes, the laughter of children, and the ebb and flow of the waves depositing tiny treasures upon the shore. Whether it’s sea glass or seashells, each has unique colors and patterns courtesy of Mother Nature. Creating an ocean themed wreath is a great way to display your shell collection and as a reminder of those days in the sun and a promise of vacations yet to come.

Ocean Wreath with Open Center
Ocean Wreath Version 1
The ocean’s creatures hitch a ride upon this wreath as it floats along the surface of the sea. All the items shown are small to medium scale to coordinate with the life-size fish and crab. (Alternate option: The open center reminds me of a life preserver. If you really want to play up the life preserver look, you could use a white foam wreath base, let some of the white show through the netting, and add a thick piece of rope around the perimeter similar to the one shown in the photo at the top of this post.)

Supplies:
16” Wire Wreath Frame
Fishing Net
Glue Gun with plenty of Glue Sticks
Old size 6 (or size G) Crochet Needle – to “fish” the twine through netting
Life-size Crab and Fish Figurines
Seashells – different sizes, shapes and colors
3 Starfish
Tan twine – to tie on larger shells, crab and fish
Faceted round diamond shaped rhinestones – glued upside down on starfish legs
Optional blue paint – to blend twine ties over bodies of fish and crab
Optional black foam core and painted wood sea horses for second version of wreath.
Anchor Wreath Hanging Hook

Crafter Tip: A word of caution about fishing nets – The netting is available through craft stores and online. If the product description includes the words “recycled materials,” it really means it was used for fishing! I’m sure it must have been rinsed, but the fishy smell may still be present. Air it out first before use. You may want to wear gloves while you are handling netting, and keep it out of children’s reach. Also fishing nets often contain mismatched patches, which add character and a bit of a background story for your finished project.

Crafter Tip: Before you start, cover your worktable with newspaper. You will be flipping the wreath over multiple times to tie the decorations. It’s helpful to have someone assist with this project. One person can hold wreath up on end while other ties the knots in back. That’s a real time saver.

Close Up – Twine Tie
Close Up Ties
Wrap the fishing net around the wire wreath frame. Be sure to make thick layers to completely conceal the wire. Use tan twine to tie the netting in place in multiple locations until you are satisfied with the fullness and coverage. Refer to the red highlighted rectangle in the above photo. Using the crochet needle, “fish” the twine through the netting to the back of the wreath. The twine forms single stitches upon the face of the wreath, which will blend with the natural color of the netting, and will be covered by shells. If you purchase white fishing net, use white string or twine. All ties for this project should be secured on the back, and tied in double or triple knots. Crafter Tip: To ensure ties remain tight, add hot glue to each knot.

Close Up – Crab
Close Up Crab

Close Up – Fish
Close Up Fish
Crab & Fish Figurines – Because these figures are the stars of this project, they should be attached first. Originally they were meant to stand as statues upon a shelf or mantelpiece, but in this case they were the perfect size, color and shape to use as wreath decorations. Due to their weight, be sure each is securely tied to your wreath. Crafter Tip: Because the underside of the fish might be seen from the side, it was painted blue to blend with the body or look like splashing water. The twine ties across the crab and fish figures were painted blue to be less noticeable.

Close Up – Starfish
Close Up Starfish
Attach the starfishes next. These three were positioned in an asymmetrical pattern, but you can add as many as you like. Crisscross ties over the center of the starfish and cover the twine with a seashell. To add a little sparkle, glue diamond shaped rhinestones onto each starfish, three per leg. Use glue or twine to attach the seashells. Lay them out and move them around to create an attractive arrangement. Work quickly with the hot glue, which dries fast. Larger shells may need to be tied instead of glued. Distribute accent colors evenly throughout the wreath to unify design.

The second option for this ocean wreath has a filled center with additional sea life.

Option 2 – Ocean Wreath with Solid Center
Finished Wreath Version 2
This version offers additional opportunities to display your shell collection. Use black foam core in the center with punched holes around perimeter to tie onto the wire wreath frame. Punch additional holes if needed to tie on large shells or figures. Cover the foam core with a layer of fishing net and glue on additional shells and sea horses. For instructions to create the painted wood sea horses shown in photo, please click here.

Close Up – Wreath Hanging Hook
Anchor Hook
This decorative anchor hook fits the overall ocean theme and will provide sturdy, heavy-duty support for this large, heavy wreath. Crafter Tip: Be sure to insert the hook through all the rings in the metal frame. Place a seashell over the tip of the hook.

Thanks for reading & Happy Crafting!

How to Decorate Wood Crafts

Fawn
When I was a little girl, my bedroom was decorated with Disney’s Bambi characters. Each wooden plaque was painted in full color and beautifully detailed. Before falling asleep at night, I would sit and admire each one, imagining they came to life before my very eyes. You can create painted wood art (and memories) for your home.

Raw Wood Owl
Wooden Owl
Wood cutouts, figures and plaques can be a fun, inexpensive project. The projects described below are ocean creatures, however, many themes are available, including sports, nature, and holidays. This owl is predominately raw wood, with just a little color to accentuate the face.

Painted Wooden Heart
Wooden Heart
Decorating can be done with magic markers, acrylic paints, fabric paints (for 3-D effect), stickers, and self-stick gems. Finished items can be used as wall art, Christmas ornaments, wreath décor, place cards, window charms, and refrigerator magnets. These techniques can be used for larger woodcrafts as well. Outdoor items will require waterproof paints, and you will want to consider the fading effects of the sun.

Seahorses:

Inspiration
Seahorse
It’s always helpful to refer to a few photos to inspire your color palette. Note how textured the body is and any patterns naturally found in this unique sea creature.

Raw Wood Seahorse
Raw Wood Seahorse

Turquoise Seahorse Supplies
Turquoise Seahorse Paints
Supplies:
Wooden Seahorse (5-1/2” high x 3” wide x 3/8” thick)
Acrylic Paint – turquoise, yellow, and metallic blue (plus black for the pupil)
1) Bottle Dimensional Fabric Paint – light blue
Paintbrushes

Seahorse Close Up Detail
P7 Turquoise Seahorse Detail
Seahorses – Step By Step Process: Apply base coat of acrylic paint over the surface, and be sure to paint over all the dark brown edges. When it’s dry, you may want to draw details to define your design.

Choose accent paints and begin working across the body, being careful not to smear the fresh paint as you go. Allow the piece to dry for several hours.

Dab a paintbrush in undiluted acrylic paint to create the subtle bumpy effect on the seahorse’s body. The metallic paint down the center of the body gives it an iridescent finish, which visually transforms the flat wood into a rounded, three-dimensional figure.

Finished Seahorse
Finished Turquoise Seahorse
Lastly, the blue fabric paint was applied to form spikes along the contours of the body. You may need to do a second coat on the spikes to achieve the texture as shown.

Purple Seahorse Supplies
Purple Seahorse Paints
Supplies:
Wooden Seahorse (5-1/2” high x 3” wide x 3/8” thick)
Acrylic Paint – orange, fuschia, and metallic light purple (plus black for the pupil)
1) Bottle Dimensional Fabric Paint – light blue
Paintbrushes

Seahorse Close Up Detail
Purple Seahorse Detail
Follow the same steps noted above for the turquoise seahorse.

Finished Purple Seahorse
Finished Purple Seahorse
For a more three dimensional look, please click here to see a more advanced version of these seahorses.

Dolphin:

Inspiration
Swimming Dolphins
Unlike the seahorses, dolphins have smooth, sleek bodies with a glossy sheen. To reproduce that wet-look, dimensional fabric paints will be exclusively used for this project.

Raw Wood Dolphin
Raw Wood Dolphin

Dolphin Supplies
Dolphin Paints
Supplies:
Wooden Dolphin (3” high x 5-1/2” wide x 3/8” thick)
3) Bottles Dimensional Fabric Paint – white, pearl silver, black
Paintbrush

Dolphin Close Up Detail
Dolphin Detail
Dolphin – Step By Step Process: You will be working across the body one color at a time, being careful not to smear the fresh paint as you go, and cover all the dark brown edges.

As you squeeze the bottle, apply the paint in a thick layer, using long “strokes,” to give the dolphin’s body depth. A damp paintbrush can be used to level the surface.

Allow the piece to dry over night. Be sure to wash the paintbrush with soap and water to remove fabric paint, which tends to adhere to the bristles like glue.

Finished Dolphin
Finished Dolphin
It may require several paint applications to achieve the look you desire. Don’t worry about getting a perfectly smooth paint finish. The irregularities look like water rippling across his skin as he swims through the ocean.

Sea Turtle:

Inspiration
Swimming Sea Turtle
Sea turtles having fascinating patterns on their shells as well as their heads and flippers.

Raw Wood Sea Turtle
Raw Wood Turtle

Green Sea Turtle Supplies
Sea Turtle Paints
Supplies:
Wooden Turtle (3” high x 5-1/2” wide x 3/8” thick)
Acrylic Paint – cream
2) Bottles Dimensional Fabric Paint – brown, green
Paintbrushes

Sea Turtle Close Up Detail
Sea Turtle Detail
Sea Turtle – Step By Step Process: You will be working across the body, one color at a time, being careful not to smear the fresh paint as you go. Apply a thick coat of brown fabric paint over the entire body to create depth. Allow the piece to dry over night. Now apply a thick coat of green fabric paint upon the shell. As you squeeze the bottle, apply the paint using long spiral “strokes” starting at the shell perimeter and working toward the center. Repeat this process several times to achieve desired thickness and raised dome shell shape.

Finished Sea Turtle
Finished Sea Turtle
The final step is applying the detailed scales on the head and flippers, and the pattern on the turtle’s shell using acrylic paint and a fine paintbrush.

I hope you enjoy painting woodcrafts in your own unique style. It’s a lot of fun for the child in all of us and makes a great souvenir from your creative journey.

Thanks for reading & Happy Crafting!

The Beauty of Woodcrafting

Wooden Heart Pendants
Painted Wood Hearts
Woodcrafts are a fun and inexpensive way to express your creativity. From birdhouses to toys and home décor, there’s something for everyone and these projects are great activities to do with the kids. With a few craft supplies and a little inspiration, you’ll be ready to create your next masterpiece. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Blue Floral Birdhouse
Floral Birdhouse
Birdhouses are very popular, easy to complete woodcrafts. A quick coat of paint and a few freehand leaves and flowers were all that was needed to complete this project. A realistic looking feathered bird perched in front of the entrance would be a cute addition to this indoor decoration. Crafter Tip: For outdoor use, choose a birdhouse with an access door for easy cleaning.

Accessorizing A Birdhouse
Gingerbread Birdhouse
This artist took woodcrafting to the next level by layering multiple wood decorations, upon a simple birdhouse frame, including a gingerbread man, festive white picket fence, signage, and a miniature birdhouse hanging from the roof. Enhancing a ready-made item adds personality, and unique design flare. Crafter Tip: It is helpful to keep sandpaper on hand. Most woodcrafts are ready to be painted or stained, but sometimes rough edges need a little attention before additional finishes can be applied.

Painted Carved Wood Birds
Painted Carved Wood Birds
These colorful fellows have wire attached to their feet for easy attachment on branches, or stakes. Be sure to always use the appropriate type of paint (indoor versus outdoor) depending upon where you choose to display your creations.

Painted Wood Relief Plaque
Wood Relief Plaque
This three-dimensional plaque proudly adorns a two-tone raised panel on an exterior door. Similar plaques would be a great way for kids to express their personalities on their bedroom doors.

Purple & White Heart Wall Hanging
Purple & White Heart
Hearts are a favorite décor item. Instead of using the usual red or pink color scheme, this crafter chose a pretty purple and black floral scrapbooking paper with a touch of lace. Although they can’t be seen in this photo, be sure to paint the edges to match the background color prior to attaching the paper. Crafter Tip: As a more romantic alternative, the edges could be wrapped with coordinating ribbon or lace.

Toy Train
Toy Train
If you are looking for an absolutely effortless craft store project, you could purchase a few train cars, set it up at home and call it done. Natural wood grain is beautiful just the way it is. There’s really no need to do any painting, but if you feel you want to add just a little color, stickers from the scrapbooking department will work just fine. Crafter Tip: Or let your kids handle it and everyone wins.

Jeweled Box
Jeweled Box
To create this jeweled box, start by painting the exterior iridescent purple, which will peek through the beads. Apply large mirrored pieces first and establish mid-size purple beaded borders. Fill in the remainder with tiny seed beads. The inside could be lined with velvet or satin fabric. Crafter Tips: Use full strands of beads for borders to make the gluing process easier, and ensure they are glued firmly in place at the edges of the lid because they may loosen over time with wear and tear.

Welcome Sign & Lawn Decor
Welcome Sign
Part of your exterior décor may include “Welcome” signs, house number plaques, and humorous lawn ornaments such as garden gnomes and sheep. Large-scale seasonal items are also ready to paint, such as pumpkins and reindeer.

Personalized Wall Clock
Wall Clock
After staining this wall clock, a floral and checkerboard scrapbooking paper was applied along with self-stick black numbers. Craft stores carry kits, which include clock hands and the battery operated mechanism for the back. The unfinished clocks in several shapes and sizes are sold separately.

Floral Letters Wall Art
Floral Letters Wall Art
Letters have become popular wall art. Simply use your initials, or any words you like. In this photo, silk flower petals were glued on the top and sides of each letter. It’s super easy to do and ready to hang up. Crafter Tip: As alternatives, you could use mini pom poms, glass marbles, or self-stick gemstones.

Decorated “Home” Wall Art
Decorated “Home” Wall Art
A distressed paint finish in four different colors, a few sprigs of silk foliage, and a butterfly create a casual, welcoming message. Hanging an antique key enhances the warm feelings associated with “Home.” Crafter Tip: To achieve this distressed look, allow the paint to dry, and then use sand paper to “age” the letters.

Freestanding Inspirational Art
Wooden Owls
Whether you work in an office or from home, it never hurts to have a little inspiration to lift you spirits and bring a smile to your face. These cute little owls fit the bill, along with an empowering message too.

Wooden Serving Tray
Wooden Serving Tray
A plain wooden serving tray was spruced up with some spray paint, and lined with a bamboo placemat. If necessary, trim the bamboo to fit. The dark gray paint, which peeks through the wood slats, contrasts nicely with the light color bamboo. Crafter Tip: Pier 1 has a large variety of unusual placemats, which can be used for many crafting projects.

Please stay tuned for next week’s post featuring detailed instructions for painting woodcrafts.

Thanks for reading & Happy Crafting!

All Tied Up In Knots

The Last Stitch in a Granny Squares Afghan
Granny Squares
Crocheting is a fun and easy way to make blankets, garments, scarves, hats, toys, and anything else you can imagine. Whether you are sitting in a waiting room, passing the time on an airplane flight, or watching the kids during after school sports, crocheting is a very portable craft. All you need is yarn and a crocheting needle, which are both easily carried in a tote bag.

Crocheted Floral Design
Crocheted Flower
Whatever your learning preference, crocheting lessons are available in abundance. Formal classes are offered through craft and fabric stores, as well as sewing centers, but most people learn to crochet from family members or friends eager to share their craft. If you prefer a more social, group-learning experience, many churches have knitting and crocheting clubs. Another option is the local high school evening program, and of course the Internet features how-to videos for beginners and experts.

Zigzag Crochet Stitch
Zigzag Stitch
This afghan only has two colors, but you can use as many as you like.

Shell Crochet Stitch
Shell Stitch
There are a multitude of stitches to choose from, including the single and double crochet, the zigzag, the shell, and the popcorn stitch.

Rainbow Yarn
Rainbow Afghan
Yarn selections are amazing– textured, soft or bold colors, ultra soft, bulky versus fine gauge, heather, fiber content (acrylic, wool, cotton, nylon), ombre, and metallic. Manufacturers label their products with recommendations for needle gauge, and uses for each type of yarn.

Ombre Yarn
Ombre Baby Blanket
Blankets make great housewarming and baby gifts. For the college and professional sports enthusiast, team colors and logos can be incorporated into the design.

Luminaries
Luminaries
A beautiful crocheted cover really dresses up this otherwise ordinary glass jar luminary.

Placemats & Table Runners
Placemats & Table Runners
Fine, silky yarns, produce lacey crocheted textiles.

Home Decor
African Violet
African violets can be tricky to grow, but this plant will never need water or special plant food. In fact the only thing it needs is a place of honor on your table.

Crocheted Top
Crocheted Top
Crocheted apparel, such as skirts, tops and dresses have become very popular. Depending upon the openness of the weave, a matching fabric lining may be required.

Beaded Shawl Detail
Beaded Shawl Detail
You can easily change the look of a crocheted item by: combining different stitches; changing the needle size or tension; using novelty yarns or multiple colors; the addition of beads and fringe.

Toy Turtle
Turtle Doorstop
Some of the more unusual crocheted items are stuffed animals, baby toys, handbags, pillows, and slippers. Craft stores have free downloadable project ideas with full instructions on their websites.

Toy Dog
Black & White Toy Dog
This adorable pup is perfect for babies because it’s soft, easy to handle, and there are no dangerous parts or pieces.

Riding in Style
Crocheted Bicycle
If you’re really ambitious, and have a great sense of humor, you might consider updating your exercise equipment with the playful patterns and colorful whimsy of crochet. You probably weren’t going to use it anyway, so you might as well transform it into a work of art and wonderful conversation piece.

Thanks for reading & Happy Crafting!

Problem Solving for Tree Frogs

Tree Frog
These beautiful candleholders were purchased many years ago in Sanibel Island, Florida. Unfortunately, there’s a hidden problem, and it’s not the tree frogs.

Candleholders Before
Thick layers of tropical leaves weave their way around the base with three colorful tree frogs crawling among the foliage. Can you spot the problem? If you think it’s the candles, you’re right!

Closeup Top Candleholder
As you can see from this photo, the glass top of each candleholder will only fit a votive size candle. Proportionally, they would look much better with tall slim candles but they just won’t fit. We’re going to change that! The same procedure can be followed for any candleholders you may have. Let’s get started!

Supplies:
Candleholder Supplies
Supplies:
2) Candleholders
6) 12” Navy taper candles
Cardstock (See Crafting Tip in Step 1 for alternatives)
Gluestick
Scissors (or an X-Acto knife)
Fillet glove (optional protection when cutting)
Circle template
2) Rubber bands
Crinkle Paper (or mini glass marbles)

Additional Supplies:
Candleholder Paints
Painting Supplies:
Acrylic Paint – brown
Bottles of fabric paint – brown, dark green, yellow, medium green
Paintbrush

Creating Candleholder Caps
Cardstock Circles & Glue
Step 1 – To accommodate slimmer candles, we need to create a cap for the top of each candleholder. Measure the top of the candleholder. If you are using cardstock, cut 3) small 2-1/2” circles, and 2) large 3” circles. Glue the small circles together, one on top of the other like a layer cake. Glue the two large circles together in the same fashion. Center the small circles on top of the large and glue them together. Repeat this step to make the cap for the second candleholder.

Crafter Tip: This project was completed during the Covid 19 lockdown. I had to work with what I had on hand. In hindsight, I believe caps made from matt board or a sheet of plastic would be more rigid, and would only require cutting out two circles, one for each candleholder.

Tracing the Candles
Trace Candles
Step 2 – I decided to use three 12” tall taper candles in each candleholder. Hold the three candles in the center of each cap and trace the shape with a pen or pencil. Cut out the center of each cap following the triad shape of the candles.

Finished Caps
Assembled Cardstock Caps
You now have two caps for the candleholders. Test each to ensure a good fit on the candleholders. Test-fit the candles for a snug fit in each cap. Make adjustments by trimming as needed. Because the taper candles vary in size, be sure to label the bottom of each cap with “L” for left and “R” for right to ensure the candles will fit in a later step.

Painted Base Coat & Glass Marbles
Cardstock Caps Painted Brown
Step 3 – Paint the tops and edges of the caps brown to blend with the branches in the base. You may need to add mini glass marbles or crinkle paper to the bottoms to adjust the candles to the desired height.

Candles in Caps
Banded Taper Candles
Step 4 – Slide the candles into the cap. Adjust the cap’s position as needed. Wrap the candles with a rubber band beneath the cap to secure their positioning.

Final Candle Placement
Fitting Tapers in Candleholders
Step 5 – Place the candles and cap into the top of the holder. Temporarily slide the cap up to fill the void with marbles or crinkle paper. This will stabilize the candles in an upright position. To ensure that the caps will stay in place, I tacked three spots along the edge of each cap with hot glue.

Crafter Tip: I found that the crinkle paper provided firmer support than the glass marbles, which have a tendency to shift.

First Layer of Leaves
1st Layer Leaves
Step 6 – Create 3-dimensional leaves on top with fabric paint in colors similar to those found in the base.

Second Layer of Leaves
2nd Layer Leaves
Step 7 – Allow drying time. Add another layer of leaves overlapping the previous one.

Fourth Layer of Leaves
4th Layer Leaves
Step 8 – Allow drying time between layers. Add as many layers as you like to build up thick foliage.

Finished Candleholders
Completed Candleholders
These are the completed candleholders with their new candles.

Candleholders – Before & After
Before & After Frog Candle Holders
Note how much better they look with the taller candles. The blue candles and new three-dimensional painted green and yellow leaves accentuate the rainforest colors in the frogs and foliage.

When you can’t find the candles you need, it’s time to flex your creativity muscles. If you have had a similar creative challenge, please share your experiences in the comments section.

Thanks for reading & Happy Crafting!