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!

Say It With Flowers

Soup Tureen with Lilacs
Lilacs Soup Tureen
Flowers have been used for centuries to decorate, commemorate and celebrate the moments of our lives. Whether you choose fresh cut or silk flowers, the artfully arranged blooms are both a challenge and a triumph for the dedicated crafter. The caption beneath each photo, shown below, expresses the sentiments of each floral centerpiece.  What do your flowers say about you?

Yellow & Pink Rain Boots with Gladiolas and Wild Flowers
Rain Boots as Vases
Playful Humor– Filled with long-stemmed, summertime favorites, these adorable boots present a delightful surprise. Using a waterproof product as a vase is the ultimate irony. Let it rain! We’ll go barefoot.

Crafter Tips: Artificial flowers come in bouquets, picks (short stems), long stems, and garlands. Types of containers are only limited by your imagination. Use what you have – lots of items in your home could be used as floral centerpieces, including a bucket, basket, toy truck, and wagon.

Glass Bowl with Orange & Purple Tulips
Glass Bowl with Orange & Purple Tulips
Spring Fever – For a few shorts weeks every year, we are treated to a vast array of candy colored tulips. Fanned out in alternating heights and colors, this asymmetrical centerpiece commands attention. The small leafy greens add texture, and conceal the stems in the clear glass bowl.

Crafter Tips: When arranging flowers, you’ll want to take into consideration the size of the container, the overall shape of flowers (height & width), contrasting light & shadow, colors, textures, and patterns. Where will it be displayed? Do you have a particular occasion or theme in mind? (Seasons of the year, holidays, tropical garden, day at the beach, etc.)

Water Pitcher with Purple Lilacs & White Sweet Alysse
Water Pitcher with Purple Lilacs & White Sweet Alysse
Abundance – A painted floral motif adorns this antique fine china pitcher, spilling over with delicate pastel blossoms. As a vessel for water, it projects a sense of fresh cut flowers, even if the flowers are artificial.

Crafter Tips: Wire cutters, from a craft or home improvement store, will make the process much easier. Some silk flower stems are made to easily bend and break to the length you want, but don’t count on it.  If cutting the wire is too difficult, bend the stem and hide it with the foliage. Secure flowers using: ties, glue, green florist tape, or by poking the stems into a foam base. Use vines, moss, leaves, or other material to conceal the foam and stems as needed.

Paint Can with Peach Roses & Carnations
Paint Can with Peach Roses & Carnations
Monochromatic Magic – Sometimes a single color can really pack a punch. The lush green leaves offset warm peach flowers in a variety of shapes and sizes. The paint can, an interesting choice, has been covered in coordinating gift-wrapping paper. The white babies breath adds softness to this warm floral palette.

Crafter Tip: You’ll be amazed at the beautiful selection of floral accessories, such as butterflies, birds, glass marbles, candles, and LED lights. The sky is the limit for to what you can achieve.

Black Stiletto Pump & Evening Bag with White Alstroemeria
Black Stiletto Pump & Evening Bag with White Alstroemeria
Girls Just Wanna Have Fun – A chic study in black and white, this impressive display is sophisticated and sassy. The textured metal chain and sleek stone surface contrast with the soft white petals. Obvious question: What happened to Cinderella’s other shoe?

Wicker Basket with Purple Lilacs
Wicker Basket with Purple Lilacs
Impromptu – Easy and carefree, it looks like you just came inside from the garden with a treasure trove of heavenly scented lilacs. For silk blooms, a few drops of essential oil will scent the air, and you’ll enjoy these flowers all year long.

Tea Cup & Saucer with Pink Flowers
Floral Teacup
Clever – Delicate flowers in a china teacup make a great gift or perfect centerpieces for a bridal shower or afternoon tea. After a party, your guests will be competing over who gets to take home the centerpieces.

Grapevine Tricycle with Blue & White Orchids
Floral Tricycle
Child’s Play – Fragile green vines weave their way around this grapevine tricycle. The glass hurricane in the back creates a soft glow when light hits the yellow flower centers. Feel like a little kid again while you admire this playful beauty.

Watering Can with Purple Flowers
Watering Can with Purple Flowers
Casual – You know you have green thumbs when flowers burst forth from your watering can! Like you favorite pair of denim jeans, there’s a relaxed, easygoing vibe suitable for every day. No special tools or items are required, and you can easily swap out the flowers whenever you like.

Driftwood & Flowers
Floral Driftwood Centerpiece
Coastal Drama – An interesting piece of driftwood combined with thoughtfully placed flowers become a sculptural piece of art for your table.

Tree Bark & Exotic Flowers
Flowers & Tree Bark
Woodland Drama – The rough, textured bark contrasts beautifully with the delicate purple petals of a single flower stem in this elegantly simple design.

What Lies Beneath
Flowers Underwater
Unexpected Pleasure – At one time or another, we have all had the experience of putting flowers in a vase. In this example, the vase disappears as the submerged white flowers reach toward the light at the surface. Clear glass marbles anchor the stems and also reflect light for a touch of sparkling glamour.

Orchids in the Spotlight
Lit Orchid Centerpieces
Romantic Ambiance – Lighting is the key element in creating nighttime drama. Soft, diffused light glows from within each frosted glass vase, as orchids spill over the top, receiving the full star treatment, lit brilliantly from below by LEDs. The resulting ambiance is both dreamy and romantic.

So much can be said with flowers. Whether it’s a birthday, an anniversary, or an intimate dinner for two, flowers have a great way of setting the mood with playful exuberance, heartfelt devotion, or the excitement of infinite possibilities.

Thanks for reading & Happy Crafting!

Celebrating 100th Post

100th Post
Today marks a very important milestone – my 100th post! It has been a wonderful experience, and I thank all my readers and followers for taking this journey with me. Below are photos and links to each category of arts and crafts covered to date. Please take a few minutes to peruse your favorites.

Baking & Candy Making
Baking & Candy Making

Beaded Jewelry & Gemstones
Beaded Jewelry & Gemstones

Color Theory
Color Theory

Floral & Home Decor
Floral & Home Decor

“How To” Projects
How-to Projects

Inspiration
Inspiration

Miscellaneous Crafts
Miscellaneous Crafts

Painting – Decorative Techniques
Decorative Painting

Seasons & Holidays
Seasons & Holidays

Wood Crafts
Wood Crafts

Please let me know, in the comments section, if you have any suggestions for future arts and crafts topics. I am looking forward to the next 100 posts. This achievement would not be possible without all of you! Thank you!!

Thanks for reading & Happy Crafting!

Trompe l’oeil – Painting Not Politics

Ruby Slippers & Yellow Brick Rd
In “The Wizard of Oz,” Judy Garland and friends danced their way along the yellow brick road. The next time you watch the movie, take a closer look at the scene when Dorothy meets the Scarecrow. You can see a line across the yellow bricks on the road to the left. This marks the bottom edge of a very large canvas, suspended from the ceiling, which provides the illusion that the road winds through the countryside and beyond. You may not know the terminology, but that is a perfect example of trompe l’oeil.

Polka Dot Eggs
Polka Dot Eggs
Translated into English as “fool the eye,” trompe l’oeil is an art technique used to create three-dimensional illusions. In order to fool the eye, the artist must excel at utilizing perspective, light and shadow, color, and scale. Each of these aspects lends another layer in a composition created solely to entertain and challenge human perception. In the above photo, I’m sure many pedestrians walk around the “protruding” polka dot eggs for fear of walking into one, but it’s actually a cleverly painted illusion.

Mountain Path
Mountain Path
The arched niche in this photograph is real, but the stone path, lavender flowers and mountain vista are painted illusions. Notice how well the path aligns with the opening of the arch, inviting you to begin an awesome hike through a beautiful landscape. The mist and snow covered peaks lend a chill to the air in this amazingly realistic scene.

Fluttering Fabric
Trompe l'oeil Facade Toronto
We’ve all seen window curtains fluttering in the breeze. This building appears to have the “curtains” on the exterior, held in place by four tacks. Including the windows and architectural details, none of it is real.

Waterfall Bridge
Waterfall Bridge
While some illusions evoke wonder and awe with their fanciful, storybook qualities, others tend to be appreciated from afar due to a projected sense of danger, particularly in regard to depth perception. Probably the most disorienting 3D illusions are located upon the floor. When you see what appears to be a gaping hole in the ground, you’re going to walk or ride around it. Notice the people in this photo are walking along the perimeter of the bridge, not down the center. Interestingly, the black dog in the background is not fooled by the illusion. Maybe dogs have a different way of sensing depth than we do. The water appears to pour in from both sides to become beautiful waterfalls plunging into a deep gorge below. Painted to resemble rushing blue water, a portion of the left side railing nearly disappears. It’s a shame the painted water doesn’t match the green color of the existing river to complete the illusion.

Town with a View
Town & Landscape
A first glance, it’s easy to see that the canyon view within the archway is a painting. However, everything you see, with the exception of the brown-framed window, is an illusion. The wooden bench, the sidewalk and even the trash can look real. I wonder how many people walk toward that bench to rest?

Old Fashioned Storefront
Old Fashioned Storefront
The proprietor of this store stands ready to serve his customers, while his wife sits nearby people watching. Epicerie is the French word for grocery store. This family-run business showcases fresh produce and vegetables in front of the store and upon shelves inside the store windows. The stacked merchandise, cast shadows, and event poster upon the wall add realistic touches to this beautiful artwork. It was clever of the artist to use the words on the store windows to advertise his or her painting business. Perhaps that is why they chose not to show reflections on the glass.

Charming Italian Restaurant
Restaurant
Romance meets fairy tales in the lovely formal gardens adorning the second floor of this popular Italian restaurant. White flowers follow the railing as if they are growing alongside the staircase. The open door at the top of the stairs teases the viewer to step “outside” to walk along the beautifully landscaped paths. The only downside to this mural is the unfortunate location of the air conditioning vents near the ceiling, which detract from the grand garden illusion.

Flower Boxes
Flowers
Petals and leaves appear to spill over a low wall from this imaginary window box. As with the previous photo, the vent locations are unfortunate, but in this case the artist has camouflaged them well.

Ornate Window Frame
Ornate Window Frame
Artisans, who trained a lifetime perfecting their crafts, constructed old world architecture. This simple wood framed window exudes that same Old World charm “sculpted” in paint. The ornate details, use of light and shadow successfully combine to give this window frame depth and a richness found only in some of the most prized buildings in Europe.

Deep Sea Diver
Deep Sea Diver
Treasure hunting on a pirate shipwreck in an underwater mine field is not for the faint of heart. This diver appears to have been successful in his search, but he’s not the only one interested. The 3D rendering has effectively created the illusion that the diver’s upper body leans out beyond the wall. The gold necklace is so real you could almost take it from his hand. An octopus tentacle reaches into the painting from our side in the real world – Yikes!

Architectural Details
Libreria Piccolomini Italy
The faux architectural details, such as the coffered ceiling, archways, and the ornate building in the background, visually expand the space.

Candlelit Bridge
Candlelit Bridge
It appears a section of this ultra contemporary bridge has collapsed, revealing an ancient chamber hidden below. This moody, mysterious scene is reminiscent of a Harry Potter film. As we peer into this strange stone-lined room, we are met with the vision of sands in an hourglass, which appear to have stopped flowing, and a burning candle, resting atop a pedestal. Wax drips down the sides and the flame flickers above the walkway surface. What other secrets lie hidden in the darkness? Should we dare to find out, or turn and run? I’m guessing most people would find another way to get to the other side.

Hailing a Taxi Cab
Hailing a Taxi Cab
What a phenomenal painting! The artist has an impressive grasp of perspective and the effects of light. Check out the shadows cast upon the brick wall by the man, the car, and the signpost. Nothing has been overlooked. Even the single orange balloon and string cast a shadow. A floating car would be a very cool way to travel with virtually no traffic. Descending could be problematic. I wonder if they give frequent flyer miles?

Trumpet Player
Trumpet Player
Let’s end on a high note! (lol) I think it’s safe to say that the trumpet in this amazing painting is a tripping hazard. It really looks as if it’s sticking right out of that wall. The only way to improve this illusion would be the relocation of the central air conditioning unit around the corner away from the painting.

Artwork tells a story in a universal language we can all understand. It evokes our emotions and challenges our senses. The next time you find yourself sidestepping around an optical illusion, remember you are as much a part of the artist’s composition as the paint itself.

Thanks for reading & Happy Crafting!

The Allure of Gemstones

Agate Geode
Agate Geode
Even in their raw forms, gemstones are so beautiful.

Throughout history, gemstones have been worn as jewelry, used for healing, and carried for protection. Some gemstones have been used as currency by many cultures, while others were ground into cosmetics, paints & dyes. It is believed Cleopatra used powdered gemstones as eyeshadows. (And you thought your makeup was expensive.)

Funerary Mask of King Tut
King Tut's Mask
This exquisite funerary mask includes gemstones, such as lapis lazuli and turquoise among others, embedded in the gold.

Fabergé Egg
Faberge Egg
Made as gifts for his wife, Russian Tsar Alexander III commissioned a series bejeweled works of art, known as the Fabergé Eggs. The one shown above is called the Renaissance Egg.

Sodalite & Clear Quartz Earrings
Sodalite & Clear Quartz
Fortunately, today, we don’t have to be royalty to enjoy gemstones. There are many resources for purchasing supplies, including craft stores, trade shows, and online suppliers. One of the best resources available is called Fire Mountain Gems & Beads. Their inventory is impressive, and they offer excellent customer service, great pricing, lots of how-to videos, and reliable information for all jewelry making needs.

Amethyst
Amethyst
Best known for its rich purple color, Amethyst is a very popular gemstone, but did you know amethyst also comes in green?

Unakite & Fluorite Beads
Unakite & Fluorite
Each type of gemstone can have a variety of shades and colors. Some are available in one particular color, but the shades vary from light to dark. Others come in a variety of colors, such as Fluorite, which includes purples, greens and clear stones. Unakite is typically a pink and green gemstone, however some stones are all green or all pink.

Blue Topaz
Blue Topaz
Blue Topaz can be found in a wide range of shades, from the lightest, Sky Blue, to the darkest, known as London Blue.

Tigerseye & Glass Necklace
Gllass & Tigerseye
Tiger’s Eye has an almost magical property – it changes color. This phenomenon is called chatoyancy, which is a French word meaning “Cat’s Eye.” It occurs when bright light reflects off fibers in the Tiger’s Eye stone, causing the color to appear to “change.”

Peridot
Peridot
Peridot has a very unique color, ranging from soft shades to brighter, more intense greens, just like those found in nature.

Black Onyx & Carnelian Necklace
Onyx & Carnelian
There are many industry standard treatments (eg. Chemicals, Heat) applied to gemstones to improve color, durability, etc. Before making a purchase, make sure you know if the gems are genuine stones natural from origin or if they have been lab created, and what if any treatments have been applied.

Citrine
Citrine
Like a little pieces of sunshine, Citrine brightens any day with its cheerful yellow colors.

Ruby Necklace
Rubies set in gold
Historically, Rubies are one of the four “precious” gemstones, along with diamonds, emeralds, and sapphires. Love the color but not the price tag? Garnets are a beautiful alternative.

Assorted Gemstones
Multi Gemstones
Exposure to heat or sunlight can fade or weaken some gemstones. Did you know air causes gold and silver to tarnish? Anti-tarnish strips will protect these precious metals. After wearing your jewelry, the best way to keep it clean is to gently wipe it with a soft cloth prior to putting it away. Avoid using chemicals, which can destroy or damage gemstones..By taking care of your gemstone jewelry, it will last for generations to come.

Interested in reading more about gemstones? Please read, “Gemstone Healing Traditions.”

Thanks for reading & Happy Crafting!

Clouds with Silver Linings

Silver Lining Clouds

Due to the Covid 19 virus, most of us have been in lockdown for months, only traveling for groceries or other absolute necessities.

Storm Damaged Tree

Last Wednesday a tornado wreaked havoc upon our town, knocking down trees that had stood for hundreds of years, and taking down power, internet and phone lines.

Hands Heart

I wanted to share some amazing moments, of love, generosity, and fellowship, I have witnessed over the last week:

Charging Cell Phone

Because most people were without power, one neighbor created a makeshift charging station in his front yard, complete with a table, folding chairs, and extension cords, along with an invitation to anyone in the community to charge their phones or laptops.

Grocery Store

Without refrigeration, food shopping has become a daily chore.  As you might imagine, ice can be hard to find in such a widespread blackout, but one man, who lives in a nearby town, delivered ice bags to several neighbors.

Picket Fence

The high winds tore down a section of fencing across the street.  A neighbor went right over to help the homeowner repair it in no time.  Tree trimming companies are completely overwhelmed.  While we wait, my next-door neighbor has been working in my yard for the last two evenings, clearing debris and uncovering plants buried under branches, pine needles and bark.  He is the “Energizer Bunny” of gardening and restoration would not be possible without him.

Shish Kebabs

People with propane gas grills cooked extra food for those in need.

Powerline Repairman

Electrical contractors from all over the country, as well as Canada, have shown up to restore power.  These storm chasers travel wherever and whenever they are needed, restoring power to millions of customers.

Thanks

I would like to thank everyone who has helped in any way to restore our lives: family, friends & neighbors, employees at grocery stores, gas stations, tree trimming companies, electrical, phone and cable companies, truck drivers, delivery services, essential workers, first responders, and good Samaritans everywhere.  

Wizard of Oz

We may not get the opportunity to say thank you in person, but we will remember you in our hearts!

Thank you so much!

Happy Crafting!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crafting Day & Night

Eiffel Tower Day & Night

“As different as day and night” is a common expression. As we find our selves stuck inside, we’re often looking for ways to be entertained. For many, crafting is the answer. A little effort goes a long way, and everyone loves seeing “Before” and “After” photos. These crafts will surprise and hopefully inspire you to create a little crafting magic of your own.

Sledding Centerpiece

Before:  Wooden Sled Wall Art.   After:  Snowman & Friends Centerpiece.
(Click here for how to instructions)

Foxy Santa

Before:  Misfit Christmas Decoration.   After:  Foxy Santa with new hat and tail.
(Click here for how to instructions)

Seashell Plaque

Before:  Drab Wall Art Print.   After:  Seashells, Sea Urchin & Starfish Framed Art.
(Click here for how to instructions)

Piggy Before and After

Before:  Colorless Pig Statue.   After:  Pink Pig with lots of personality.
(Click here for how to instructions)

Before & After Pumpkins

Before:  Faded Lawn Decoration.   After:  Bold Halloween Jack-O-Lanterns
(Click here for how to instructions)

Headless Dog Before & After

Before:  Snowman with Headless Dog.   After:  Restored Dog.
(Click here for how to instructions)

Light House Before & After

Before:  Incomplete Candleholder.   After:  New Lighthouse Roof & “Light.”
(Click here for how to instructions)

Octopus Before & After

Before:  Monochromatic Candleholder.   After:  Blue Ringed Octopus Sculpture.
(Click here for how to instructions)

Sneak Peak of Upcoming Projects:

Candlestick Before & After

Before:  Difficult Candle Size.   After:  Candleholder for Taper Candles.
(Stay tuned for how to instructions in a future post)

Leaves Before & After

Before:  Dull, “Muddy” Wall Sconces.   After:  Vibrant Tropical Leaves & Candles.
(Stay tuned for how to instructions in a future post)

I hope you enjoyed these projects. Take a look around your home for any items that could use a little refreshing. You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish. Good Luck!

Thanks for reading & Happy Crafting!

This Little Piggy Gets a Makeover

Flying Pig
We’ve all heard the expression, “when pigs fly,” implying impossibility. Well, the craft stores may be closed, but we won’t let that stop us from expressing our creativity!

Flying Pig Front
Sometimes you find your next art project in the most unlikely of places! I found this cute little winged pig at the local Rite Aid Pharmacy! Although it’s fine the way it is, I thought it would be nice to add some color. Break out your brushes and acrylic paints because we’re going to give this little piggy a makeover! In my excitement to get started, I had already painted the eyes when I realized I hadn’t taken a “Before” photo. In its original state, there was no color at all.

Flying Pig Back
Here’s a photo of the back. The wings are so cute.

Piglet
Before we get started, I found a photo of this piglet for inspiration. Please feel free to choose any colors you like. The mix of colors on the spotted pig featured at the top of this post would make a great color scheme as well.

Piggy Paints
To complete this project, you will need several acrylic paints and two paint brushes (1 large & 1 small). Clear spray paint is optional.

Painted Pig Details
Paint the details first, including the hooves, eyes, tongue, and the inside of each ear.

Closeup Facial Details
Here is a close up of his smiling little face. The eyes are painted brown, with black pupils and a dot of white in each eye to create a lively expression.

Pink Pig Front
Because the black hooves seemed to be too much contrast, I changed the color of the hooves to tan. In doing so, the eyes become the focal point. Mix white and fuchsia together to create the desired shade of pink, and use it to paint the entire body, except for the end of the snout, which is unpainted.

Pink Pig Back
Here is the back photo. The wings are also unpainted. If you like a challenge, you could come up with a unique scheme for the feathers, possibly using iridescent colors. To protect the acrylic paints, the entire statue was sprayed with clear spray paint.

Piggy Before and After
Before                                                             After

This fun and easy project is inexpensive and can be completed in a very short amount of time. All drug stores have a seasonal section, which is marked down after every holiday and at season’s end by as much as 50% -75% off. There are some great options for adults as well as kids.

Thanks for reading! Happy Crafts!