Thursday, September 12, 2013

Week 33 Craft: Peet Pot Frankenstein

One of the things I most love about Pinterest is seeing the amazing crafts people come up with by re-purposing a product into something so far away from what it's designed purpose is.  And right now I am crushing on peet pots.  They are so easy to work with, and at 14 for only $1.97 are a total bargain.  Check out this cutie from the making memories blog.

   Or these scary guys from All You magazine...

Here's my addition to the fun:  a peet pot Frankenstein

He's super easy to make and aside from the peet pots you probably have most of the supplies on hand.

3" Peet Pots (I found mine in the garden center of Home Depot)
2 white buttons (I used on 3/8" and one 1/2" one)
2 tiny black buttons
Green craft paint (I used Apple Barrel's "Ivy Green")
Black fine point Sharpie (or black craft paint and fine brush)
2 bolts
3" x 20" scrap of black felt
Glue Gun
Needle and thread

How to:
1. Paint your peet pot and let it dry. I painted the inside black so if the felt "hair" doesn't completely fill in my Frank wouldn't look like he had a bald spot.
2. Take a large needle and push through where you want his bolts to go.  The reason I suggest a large needle is so that you can ensure the bolts end up directly across from each other.

3. Insert your bolts.  Once inserted, I liberally coated the portion of the bolt on the inside of the pot with glue from my glue gun so that they were more stable.

4. Using a needle and thread sew your black button onto your white button.  I didn't use the glue gun here because sewing makes it more stable and also less thick.

5. Decide where you want to place the eyes and poke your threaded needle through the pot.  Sew in place with a couple of stitches.  Again, I chose to sew instead of glue for stability and so the eyes would be closer to the pot. Please Note: This part is MUCH EASIER if you do it BEFORE you glue the hair in.

6. Take your felt and with 2" sticking above the top of the pot use your glue gun to adhere it to the pot. Wind it loosely towards the center, adding glue here and there to keep it in place.  Here's a picture of the coil; I got too excited and had started to cut fringe before I remembered I hadn't snapped a photo.

7.  Cut your felt coil into fringe.  I also ended up tapering the ends so it looks more like hair.

8.  Using a Sharpie or paint add some eyebrows and mouth.  This is where you get to choose your Frankie's personality; I went with nervous.

Keep in mind these peet pots are not meant for long term durability; I wouldn't expect this to be a craft that will live on as an heirloom.  And just like gremlins - don't get them wet!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Week 32 Craft: Halloween Wreath

The calendar is officially on September, so the Halloween season has commenced - at least if you consider yourself a crafter. Come to think of it, any self respecting crafter started in with the Halloween crafts about the same time you finished the last Cadberry egg. Deco mesh wreaths are all the rage right now, so I thought I'd try my hand at one. While I LOVE the wreaths that look like they're big enough to take on Godzilla I thought I would start with something a little more manageable.

Here's what you need:
Wire wreath form
Deco mesh
Ribbon in various patterns and widths
Pumpkin picks in two sizes
Chenille twist ties
Appliance paint
Painters tape
Metallic spray paint
Silk flowers

1. Grab your metallic paint and spray your smaller pumpkins and the flowers. Be patient with the flowers; they take more paint than you think to get good coverage.

My original thought was to just give them a light spray, but it caused the petals to have a bluish hue.

2.  Paint the larger pumpkins with a coat of the white appliance paint. The finish ends up looking like ceramic, very nice! Once they dry use the painters tape to make stripes, chevrons or checks and spray with the black appliance paint. If you don't have appliance paint you could use acrylic paint and then a high gloss polyurethane to get the same ceramic look, but c' know you have some way back on that top shelf behind the goo gone.

 Boo!  Some paint leaked under the tape, but I touched it up later.

3. There are about 500,000 tutorials on how to make a deco mesh wreath, so refer to your favorite one. I used one roll and was able to get around my wreath just shy of twice. Don't worry that it didn't make it all the way around a second time; this is where you will add your painted pumpkins.

4. After that I looped and tied some 2" ribbon around the wreath one time. Pop your silk flowers off their stem and space them around the wreath at points where the mesh and ribbon are twist tied to the wreath form. Once you are happy with how it looks, use your hot glue gun to glue them in place.

5.  Arrange your pumpkins in a grouping, tucking the wire picks to the back of the wreath. Once you are satisfied with the placement twist tie them to the wreath form. I left the picks on and chose to wire them in place because I felt they might be too heavy to glue into place. I had also sprayed a berry pick with the black appliance paint and tucked some of those around just for the heck of it.

6.  Take your other ribbons and cut them into 10" lengths. I cut a "V" into the ends for a little added interest. Wrap a twist tie the middle and then tie it to the wreath form. Just for continuity I added one to the right of each flower.

 Your wreath is done. I like how the deco mesh is very shear and with the flowers looks very funereal.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Week 31 Craft: Preserving Sand Dollars

Other than my husband, there is nothing I love more than the ocean. He'd argue that I love the ocean more, and claims if I could I'd figure out a way to collect on his life insurance so I could buy a place on the beach. Alas, his policy isn't large enough...Ha!

One of my favorite things to do is walk along the beach and collect shells, sea glass, water worn rocks and sand dollars. These treasures can be found all over our house, tucked on a shelf or piled in a jar. But, no lava from Hawaii; it's bad luck to bring back lava rocks from there. Rumor has it the post office receives hundreds of pounds in the mail each year from tourists claiming their luck went south after they snuck some in their luggage.

We just got back from California and the beaches were littered with sand dollars. I came home with oodles of them - two pounds to be exact. Hopefully many of you brought back a sand dollar or two to remind you of your summer and want to preserve them.  Personally, I would love to leave them as I find them; they have such rich colors. Unfortunately, they start to smell over time if you leave them untreated.

Start by soaking your sand dollars in water. I've read online about changing the water until it runs clean. Sand dollars hold a tremendous amount of sand and it is importent to get out as much as you can. I loaded mine into a bucket of water and ran my fingers through them to agitate them.  You will be amazed at how much sand comes out of these!  Be very gentle while doing this; these are fragile creatures and can break easily.

Once you feel confident you have removed the sand (you can fool yourself into thinking you got it all, but you didn't!) place them into a container with four parts water and one part bleach. Gently shake the container to make sure the sand dollars are completely covered. Let them soak for between 7 - 15 minutes. Don't let them soak longer; the bleach weakens the shell.  You might notice I left a few before they became completely bleached.  I like the little bit of contrast, but if you want them all white go ahead and remove the ones that are bleached and leave the others in the bleach water for a few more minutes.

You can see them starting to lighten in this photo.  Isn't it a cool picture?  They look like they are shrouded in the mist.

Thoroughly rinse  the sand dollars. You really want to make sure that any of the bleach solution is gone. Hey! More sand.  Once rinsed set them out to dry in the sun.

To truly preserve them just paint them with a mixture of equal parts craft glue and water. If your sand dollar will be regularly handled, or if you just have a few, I recommend this. Mine are going into a large hurricane glass, so I left them uncoated. They probably won't last as many years, but that just means I'll need to go back to the beach to re-stock!

Here they are displayed in my bath; a beautiful reminder of the ocean.