11/13/19

Creating Custom Diamond Art from a Kit

One of the items in my Prime Con swag bag back in May was the Rainbow Tree Diamond Art by Leisure Arts (affiliate link). It's pretty, but as I got new Diamond Art projects to review, I kept moving this one to the bottom of the stack. Rather than complete it as intended...


... I used the kit to create my own custom design!


The first thing I did was to cut out a cardstock heart that was approximately the same size as the tree image. I traced the pattern onto the protective plastic using a Sharpie. 


I cut out the heart, following the lines I'd drawn on the plastic. I cut off the color guide from one side of the canvas and threw the rest of it away. 


Then I got to dotting! Because the canvas was printed, I started out by following the color guide, filling in the reds, oranges, and yellows on the left. 

Three problems arose: First, I didn't want the black branches to show, so I had to get creative there. Through experimentation, I found that hiding the black was the most effective when I did an ombre transition of color directly across the black areas. You can see a little bit of the black in the light yellow area, but it's camouflaged well elsewhere. 


My second problem was that there were two tiny areas (upper left and in the middle far right) where there wasn't any adhesive because my heart had extended slightly beyond the size of the tree. I solved that problem with craft glue. The dots stuck beautifully. 

Problem #3 was that the dots didn't perfectly fit the arbitrary heart shape I'd cut out. Take a closer look: 


The perfectionist in me was annoyed that the rows aren't smooth and perfect all the way around the heart like they are along the bottom left, but I got over it. I haven't decided what I'm doing with the finished heart, but I'll choose something that allows me to camouflage the edges. 


I completed 98% of my heart using the colors in the kit, but I've amassed such a large collection of leftover dots (see my storage system here!) from other kits that I used some other colors to help with the ombre effect I needed to cover the black.

I've been using my leftover gems to dot everything that doesn't move. It's so much fun! Tomorrow I'll show you a fun Christmas ornament and Friday my new hair accessory, both made with leftover Diamond Dotz.

Holiday Diamond Art

11/12/19

West Virginia 2018

I recently ordered a bunch of photos from our 2018 six-state adventure. West Virginia was actually the fourth of the six states that we visited but the easiest to scrap, so I started with it. 

West Virginia 2018 (affiliate link)

Since we were only in West Virginia for 24 hours, it was easier than usual to select my photos. I didn't include pictures of the inside of the Capitol nor of the downstairs area of the incredible State Museum, but I have plenty of photos of each in my blog post about our visit to West Virginia. I think the layout and the blog post complement each other nicely. 

More travel pages to come... eventually! In the meantime, I'm glad to have this one in the album. 

11/11/19

Plaid's Let's Paint Live: Farmhouse Pumpkins

Time to share another painting from Plaid's Let's Paint Live events! (Click to see my sunset cactusmy starfish and my other cactus.) I always learn so much during these paint events, which is what I love about them. This one took me WAY out of my comfort zone.


Not only is it about as far from my usual style as you can get, but it was my first time painting with a palette knife. That was a really fun challenge.

I didn't realize it when I started, but I accidentally challenged myself further. Since I didn't see myself displaying a heavily distressed, farmhouse-style painting of a pair of blue pumpkins, I opted to paint on watercolor paper rather than a pricier wooden canvas. My paper was 9" square (rather than 12" like the recommended wooden canvas), which meant I needed to scale things down. Not a big deal, except that I had to be a lot more careful with the palette knife to fit it into smaller spaces. Combined with the fact that the palette knife didn't move as smoothly across the textured watercolor paper as it would have across the wood canvas, I hadn't exactly set myself up for success. No matter- I learned a lot and I had fun. Mission accomplished.

Just for fun, here's a look at the sample project:


Compare it to this screen capture of the one instructor Jessie Pniewski painted live:


When I look at her two paintings together, I see why mine is so heavily distressed, even though that goes against my usual style. Because the tool and technique were completely new to me, I was following along closely with the live version, distressing heavily while Jessie distressed heavily.

Plaid hosts Let's Paint Live nights on the first Thursday of each month at 7:30 pm Eastern, which means the next one is Thursday, December 5. Jessie will be teaching three adorable painted holiday ornaments. I can't wait!

11/8/19

Dirty Pour Coasters

Have you tried paint pouring yet? I've shared two paint pouring projects in the past (here and here) and it is so much fun! If you haven't done paint pouring yet, I hope this Dirty Pour Coaster project finally inspires you to try it. Affiliate links below.



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Dirty Pour Coasters



Materials:






Steps:


Pick up to 5 paint colors for your project. Pour equal parts of paint and Pouring Medium into each cup, and stir gently to combine. Learn from my mistake and do not introduce bubbles into the paint.

Protect your work surface and wear gloves (trust me). Elevate each coaster by putting it on an upside down cup.



I've titled this project Dirty Pour Coasters, but I'm not actually doing a dirty pour in the photo above. That's the first step to a Puddle Pour. To make a Puddle Pour, pour the first color into a puddle on the surface. Pour the second color into the center of that puddle, and repeat for each of the colors. Then pick up the coaster and tilt it to allow the paint to flow to (and eventually over) the edges.


For a Dirty Pour, add each color to a separate cup.


Pour the paint onto the coaster and let it flow over the edges. This is a basic Dirty Pour. Instead of pouring the paint, you can place a coaster upside down on the cup of paint, then quickly invert the two. This is called a Flip Cup, which is a type of Dirty Pour. Lift the cup and let the paint flow across the coaster.

We experimented with each technique.


A Dirty Pour tends to create more marbling than a Puddle Pour, but no matter how you make them, they're really pretty. 


Trevor and I had issues with bubbles, which I believe is because of my overly aggressive mixing of the paint and Pouring Medium. We each left the bubbles on some of our coasters, hoping they would go away on their own (spoiler: they didn't) and used a toothpick to pop the bubbles on the other coasters. This was tedious. Better not to introduce bubbles in the first place. 


We let our coasters dry for 48 hours, then removed them from the cups and painted undersides and any exposed wood on the edges. When that was dry, we cut self-adhesive felt to size and stuck it to the underside.  


I highly recommend getting some paint and Apple Barrel Pouring Medium and giving paint pouring a try. Obviously, you're not limited to making coasters, but I think they're a good beginner project. They make a great gift, too!

11/7/19

StickTogether Custom Portrait

It's been awhile since the last time I mentioned StickTogether here on the blog, and I am so excited to show you my latest StickTogether project!  


Do you recognize that handsome face? It's not just any rabbit. It's Trouble! StickTogether offers custom designs so that you can create a pixelated mosaic poster of a beloved pet, a person, or whatever else you'd like. The process is simple. Contact StickTogether (and tell them Cindy deRosier sent you!) with a photo you'd like to turn into a poster, and they will get back to you with a quote if the design will work when pixelated. 

I sent in this image:


And I got this proof back:


I thought the fence was distracting, so I asked them to take that out and they were happy to do so. My poster arrived in a mailing tube with all the stickers I needed. I've been working on it for awhile and have found that it is a great form of stress relief. And I am so happy with the finished artwork! The photo at the top of the post was taken from up close. Here is what it looks like about 8 feet back: 


And when I back up way into the kitchen, it looks even better. 


I'm planning to frame it and find a place where it can be viewed easily from a distance or up close. Thank you so much to StickTogether for a poster that was fun to make and that I'll treasure for years. 

11/6/19

Pez Dispenser Halloween Costume

This year, Trevor dressed as a Pez dispenser for Halloween. 


Specifically, he was this reindeer Pez dispenser. 


A perfect resemblance, no?


I made 95% of the costume during the power outage. No glue gun, sewing machine, or artificial light for me! Given the choice, I recommend electricity. Affiliate links below. 


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Pez Dispenser Halloween Costume



Materials:



Steps: 


Remove the sleeves from the t-shirt. Print out PEZ and put it under the t-shirt on the light table. Carefully trace the letters onto the shirt. (Yea, electricity!)


Cut the styrofoam so that it has the same proportions as a package of Pez. Ideally, you should use a foam cutter. I used a steak knife, which is really messy. (As an added bonus, you can't vacuum without electricity and trying to sweep up staticky bits is impossible. I shouldn't have done this indoors, but hindsight is 20-20.) 

Wrap the ends with duct tape. 


Wrap the felt around the middle of the Pez package, leaving the silver edges exposed. Glue it in place with the FabriTac. Print out PEZ in blue, cut out the letters, then glue them to the fabric. Use the Sharpie to write the other information onto the Pez package. I wrote exactly what was on the actual Pez container, except I changed the net weight to the weight of the styrofoam prop.

Measure a piece of ribbon to fit around your neck, add an extra inch, then cut. Sew the snaps onto the ends, then sew the bells to the front center.

After you're dressed, add a red reindeer nose using face paint. (Fun fact: This is the very first time Trevor has worn face paint. All his life, he has refused face paint, temporary tattoos, and anything similar. I only put the tiniest amount on to give him a red nose. He hated it, but was cooperative for the pictures.)


Due to the insanity that was our life last week, Trevor tried on his costume for the first time about 30 minutes before his friends showed up to trick-or-treat. If he'd tried it on sooner, I would have made some changes. I would have altered the shirt to make it narrower to more closely mimic the shape of the Pez dispenser, plus added a rigid piece to define the rectangular shape. Brown sweatpants would have helped the look too. But even without those improvements, both Trevor and I were happy with how it turned out. And we all had an awesome Halloween. 

11/5/19

Orange Art Box

I was invited to be part of the Orange Art Box team (affiliate link here and below) and recently received my first box. I LOVE getting packages in the mail and it's even better when the box contains craft supplies! Orange Art Box is a subscription box for kids age 5+. Each box has a theme and is curated with one feature project and multiple smaller projects, with everything you need to make them. 

Trevor was excited when the box showed up. I let him do the unboxing. We were both impressed with all the goodies packed in there.


We started crafting right away. Trevor claimed the large tree and used the squirrel toy with a pouncer to paint it.


I made myself a button bracelet. 



We each worked on a wood ornament next, then we each made a scratch art leaf. 


We kept going until we'd made everything you see below:


Not only did we make 8 projects between us, but we have tons of leftover supplies! The four bottles of paint and the bottle of glitter glue are nearly full. There are hundreds of stickers left, as well as a sheet of Glue Dots. And, of course, the paintbrush, pouncers, and scratch art stick are all reusable.

Orange Art Box is available as a monthly subscription or as a gift subscription. I'm already looking forward to the December box!

Orange Art Box - Subscribe Now

11/4/19

Pillow Party 2019

I love a creative challenge, so when I was invited to join up with 24 other craft bloggers for a Holiday Pillow Party, I jumped right in! Each of us received pillows and other goodies from Fairfield World with the instructions to decorate our pillows for the holidays. I love seeing what everyone made! Based on what you know about me, can you pick out mine?




If you guessed that I made the snowmen family portrait, you're right! Follow the steps to make your own. Affiliate links (and a big giveaway!) below. 



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Snowmen Family Portrait Pillow


Materials: 



Steps: 

Remove the Poly-Fil from the pillow and put it temporarily into the bag the pillow came in.

In a shallow disposable tray, mix paint with 1 cup of water. You want a completely liquid consistency, but not so diluted that it won't color the pillow. Dip the top half of the pillow into the paint. After the paint has soaked in, spread the pillow case flat to let it dry. (I did this on the lawn so I wouldn't make a mess indoors.)


Meanwhile, cut out snowmen to represent each member of the family. Use black Stickles for eyes, mouths, and buttons; orange Stickles for carrot noses, and pink Stickles for bunny ears. I also added our family colors to the snowmen's hats. 

When the pillow and the Stickles were dry, I used the Beacon glue to attach the felt to the pillow. Then I used the brown Stickles to add arms.

While the arms were drying, I added my leftover Dotz to the sky to make snowflakes. They're hard to see in the picture, but they add so much sparkle in real life! 

Finally, I re-stuffed the pillow.  

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I had so much fun making my pillow, but it was even more fun to check out all the other designers' pillows. There's so much talent out there! Each pillow is so different from the others.

If you'd like to make your own pillow (or anything else crafty), I have good news for you! You can enter this Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to be the lucky one to win a $100 gift card to Michaels and 10 pounds of Poly-Fil. Good luck, everyone!

11/1/19

Public Safety Power Shutoff - #2 and #3

The posts that ran this week were prescheduled, and it's a good thing because we've been without electricity at Casa deRosier. On Saturday 10/26, our second Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) began. You may recall that our first PSPS was just two weeks earlier. That time, our power was out for 48 hours. This time, it was out for five days. Technically, that was PSPS #2 and PSPS #3 back-to-back... we were among the unfortunate ones who didn't get power restored for the short time between the two shutoffs.

While our routines were interrupted and we missed our daily conveniences, we survived the outage just fine. And most importantly, there were no fire outbreaks in our area. My heart goes out to those communities dealing with horrific fires.

While some of our neighbors used gas-powered generators during the outage, we used solar energy. We weren't sure how well it would work, but we were so happy with our system that I want to recommend it to you all. These are affiliate links, which means that if you make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Our basic system consisted of these two items:


Goal Zero Yeti 400 Portable Power Station



Goal Zero Boulder 100 Watt Monocrystalline Solar Panel



Both items are portable and easily moved by one person. (This is the newer version of our battery.) We were able to keep devices charged and power lights. The battery held its charge beautifully in the evening with a bunch of stuff plugged into it and recharged quickly during daylight hours. We are looking into expanding our system with other Goal Zero products so that we are completely self-reliant and not affected by any future PSPS events.

One other product that came in very handy during the power outage was our Luci.


Luci Solar Chargeable Lantern



This solar-powered lantern is very lightweight, inflatable (and thus, collapsable) and gives off plenty of light for most tasks. It's very affordable compared to other lanterns, particularly when you factor in not having to pay for propane or battery replacement. This would make a great gift. You can't go wrong by being prepared.