Friday, January 31, 2014

Nail Art - Valentine's Day nails!

We had a CRAZY evening yesterday. My sister had expressed the desire for me to paint her nails a Valentine's day theme since February is around the corner. I decided to paint nails for Craftsday also because I wanted to enter this nail art challenge. I had a few ideas in mind, but everything changed because 5 minutes after my sister arrived at my house last night, the power went out.

I had to paint her nails by candle-light.

So honestly, that's my reasoning for why they didn't turn out as neat as I wanted them to... She was also in a rush to leave after I finished the final touches so I wasn't able to put on a protective coat. I'll do any touch-ups on Saturday, though, because we'll be helping her and her husband find a couch (and possibly go yardsale-ing).

I did an alternating pink(Essie's Pink Diamond #470) and red(Maybelline's Racing Rubies #190) for the base coats, but for the pink dots on the red nails, I used Naturistics Super Chrome(Rose Chrome) since it's a very opaque pink.

 Closeup of the nailpolish I used...

I didn't use a stencil for these. I originally did a border around the whole nail and THEN my sister said she wanted a heart.

So I made little hearts... I was sad that some of the dots touched :(

These look much better looking at them in reality rather than a picture.

Oh, I also used 3 coats of paint for the base coat. I don't like using express finishes for the base coat... I'm always too tempted to put too much nail polish on at once so that it doesn't dry out too quickly, but it usually causes air bubbles if I do that. So I had to do 3 thin layers, which is HARD TO ACCOMPLISH with a fast-drying nail polish!

I'm happy with the result, though. :)

Even if I didn't shape her nails beforehand... Or trim her cuticles... oh well. You live and learn, right?

I have the goal to save up $3000 so I can go to a special beauty school here in Salt Lake that specializes only in doing nails/nail art. How we're going to save up that money? I have no idea. But it'll be a dream come true when I can finally get certified to be a manicurist (is that what they're professionally called? No? Nail Salon Artist? I don't know.)

Level of difficulty: it depends on how well you can paint nails. It's a hobby of mine, so I'd put this at 1 or 2 out of 5. There was no special skill involved except that you have to be able to freehand a heart pretty well (or put a sticker on the nail while you dot around it. That would create the same effect). I just used a standard dotting tool. The effect would have been more neat and cool looking if I had used different sized dotting tools (my sister happens to have a set so she has around 6-8 different sizes of dots you can make). I was originally going for something like this, except as a border.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

DIY Wall Hanging - Fabric & Yarn Art PART 2 - FINISHED!

I set out on Thursday to create a wall-hanging decoration for my daughter's room (Click here to read about PART 1).

I have finally finished it! 

Because I used a stretchy fabric with no support on all border sides, (there was cardboard only in the top and bottom part of the wall-hanging) it hung with a slight hourglass shape. There was also another problem that arose while I was hanging it...

The top cardboard piece decided to bend. It was my fault for not being more careful in finding a sturdier, non-bent piece of cardboard, but laziness kicked in and I paid for it in the end. Now it wants to fold in half like a book. All I have to do to fix this problem, though, is to find/buy a thin dowel and stick it in where the ribbon comes out of the fabric. Then it'll be straight again.

Again, this project ended up being a lot more complex than I set out for it to be, but it came out really cute! If I were to make it again, I'd add a few more flowers and make their stems longer. Since she has a lot of butterfly patterns in her room, though, I'm glad I made the butterfly the most prominent part of the decoration. Again, this project was a difficulty of 4/5 because of so many things that went wrong while completing this project (plus outlining the wings with yarn was VERY tedious because of the detail involved).

A synopsis of what I'd do differently next time:
  • make sure the cardboard isn't bent (if I decide to just use 2 pieces for the top/bottom)
  • just use a full sheet of cardboard instead of doing the above
    • this will ensure cleaner, straighter edges on all sides of the picture
    • it will also cut the amount of time for this project down to a day instead of 2+ (I decided to try out the 2 pieces of cardboard for this project and I probably won't do it again. I'm used to using just one, full sheet)
  • prepare a ruffle-border/any trimmings ahead of time so they can actually be included in the project!

Friday, January 24, 2014

DIY Wall Hanging - Fabric & Yarn Art PART 1

This project is turning into a 2+ day project. I started on Thursday, but I keep adding more ideas to this project... So I'll show you guys what I've done up to this point. 

There's an ugly, grey fuse box in my daughter's room:

It sticks out like a sore thumb... I've been meaning to make some kind of a wall-hanging decoration to cover it. It's a pretty big eyesore. It measured 16" by 30" total, so I needed to make something a few inches longer/wider on each side.

(Ugly picture of me trying to measure it. Sorry! It was the best I could do being one-handed)

Normally when I make yarn art I use a full sheet of cardboard. This time I wanted to try something different and create a makeshift wall-scroll. I needed pieces for the top and bottom.

(Shh... I up-cycle all of my diaper boxes!)

Then I needed the fabric. I measured roughly 12 inches more than the length of my wall-scroll to roll up the cardboard pieces in multiple layers of fabric.

Before I rolled up the cardboard into the fabric, I cut a piece of ribbon that I'll be using to hang the whole thing. I then used my glue-gun to glue the sides of the wall-scroll so it looks like it has a nice, finished edge. 

I was thinking about a design for the wall-scroll and drew a few sketches... Then drew the final patterns that I'd cut out and use as a template. This was originally going to be the template page and the large space was reserved for a pretty big butterfly.

However, I got to sketching a few thumbnails on some scrap paper... And then my daughter wanted to nurse. Picking her up, I held her with my right arm, leaving me unable to sketch while nursing.


I still had my left hand. In the drawing below, the upper-left drawing was with my right hand before I started nursing my daughter. The upper-right butterfly was done entirely by my left hand while my right hand was immobile.

I liked it so much that I re-drew it with my right hand with steady, clean lines. (I don't know if you can see, but the upper-right drawing's lines are not smooth at all).

Normally when I do my yarn art, I just use one color of yarn and outline my templates. But while my sister was visiting, I had her braid some yarn together... three different types of green. It looked so cool that I decided to use it in my design. I didn't have a picture of her braiding, so here are pictures of me braiding the rest of the braids today...

They were very loooooong braids. (Roughly 4 feet long)

My daughter happily, patiently playing while I braid. :)

I don't want to give away all of my secrets on how I do my yarn art, but this is what it looks like up to this point. I'm still gluing the yarn and none of the braided yarn is glued down yet. I also wanted to make a ruffled border, but we'll see if I can get to that... I can always add it later.

Let me know if anyone is interested in yarn art. I'm willing to make custom orders. All of my templates are hand-made by request. A lot of hard work and dedication goes into these yarn pieces - I can make/outline practically any picture (I don't do copyright images unless you are the owner). I'll post a picture of some of my other yarn art pieces some other time.

The level of difficulty of this project is a 4/5. Yarn art in general can be as easy as a 1 and complex as a 5. I hope to finish this tomorrow. I want to work on a different project by my next blog update! (Click here for PART 2!)

Friday, January 17, 2014

Lampshade DIY

This was the first project I ever wanted to tackle when I started decorating the baby's nursery last year, but I kept pushing it back. You could say that this project was the reason why I started Thursday is Craftsday so that I could FINALLY finish it!

I bought the lamp + lampshade at Deseret Industries for roughly $4. I took off the original fabric from the lampshade so there was only the skeleton left. After MUCH consideration as to what the lampshade should look like, I decided to go with this tutorial and look:

Except my lamp didn't have many vertical prongs, so I made the scraps of fabric connect to the base and top of the skeleton (the scraps go up and down instead of side to side).

I used ribbons and scraps of fabric I had that correlate with my daughter's bedroom theme (green, pink, purple, and white). I cut them a few inches longer than the length of the lampshade...

However, I found that some fabric pieces were much thicker than others and thus needed a LOT more room to tie the ends. My rule of thumb was "if you feel like it's long enough, add another 2-3 inches" and even with that rule of thumb, there were some close calls. I had a few scraps of fabric I couldn't use because I cut them just an inch too short of what I needed.

Also, some ribbon is very slick and will start to untie itself. So leave PLENTY of room in case you need to double-tie a knot.

The finished product! I trimmed the edges so they were uniform, both on the top and the bottom. The best part about the style I used is that I can always add more pieces of fabric and/or ribbon if there are too many gaps!

(Bird's eye view. See how nice and trim it looks?)

This is what the lamp looks like when it's turned on. I was surprised that there weren't a lot of lines across the room. Maybe it's the light bulb I'm using? It gave the perfect amount of light, even with all of the gaps in between fabric pieces.

The color scheme fit perfectly for her room and it looks super cute. :) 

My baby girl can't take her eyes off of it! I'll need to move the lamp to her dresser so she won't be within reach of it...

So here's the scoop. I would actually rate this project a 3 out of 5. Why? It took me a few hours to do compared to my previous projects, between cutting the fabric and tying the knots. Also, the knot-tying part was VERY frustrating when you think you have enough length in your fabric, go to tie it, and find that you're just short of being able to leave ANY slack at all, making it impossible to tie. 

It didn't help that my daughter was trying to pull all of my fabric off the desk while I was tying knots... So that could be why it took me a few hours to make instead of, well, 30-40 minutes. ;) 

This project was still easy enough to accomplish while, say, watching a movie (which is what I did.)

Friday, January 10, 2014

Giftwrap a box lid - Empty Christmas Presents

You know how some people wrap an empty box to look like a Christmas present, either for a Christmas decoration or to make the space under the tree look less empty? Well for Christmas, we received some cute, tiny boxes that were the perfect size to fit under our little 2' Christmas tree. Granted we had Christmas at my husband's parents' place, so we no longer need the little boxes, but they were such cute boxes that I wanted to make them decorations or tree-fillers. However, some of the boxes had rips or tape residue on them (mostly on the lids). So yesterday, I learned how to wrap a box lid (something I've never done before).

Since it was something new, I went to youtube for help. This is the guide I chose to follow: 

I made some modifications, though, since I didn't like the look of the diagonal line showing. I'll walk you through the process.

I like to simplify things, so I didn't think I'd need a pencil and to mark where I needed to cut. I cut in a pretty straight line naturally. So if you don't think you can cut in a semi-straight line, then sure. Try what the video says and measure it out. 

Something I WISH I had at the time was a glue stick. It would have made the wrinkles in the wrapping paper more discrete and made even more crisp lines... Maybe.

So I give the wrapping paper a little more than an inch on all sides and cut it out. Because the paper will be finished inside the box, there's no real need to be exact. You just have to have enough paper to finish on the inside sides of the box, rather than the inside top of the lid. If that makes sense. Here, I'll show you:

See how there is still a little bit of space before it hits the inside top of the lid? That's a good thing.

I wrapped opposite sides because with the left and right wings/flaps/wrapping paper, we're going to do something special that wasn't in the video.

We're going to fold the edges!!! This way it'll be a nice, crisp, horizontal line instead of diagonal lines.

I secured all of the folds with tape. I had to make sure this isn't going to come undone on me... I have a little toddler and these need to survive her playing with them!


See those nice, crisp horizontal lines? Yeah, I like them, too.

The finished product! I had to squeeze and pry a bit to get the lid back on the box since they were already fitting kinda snug, but I eventually got it!

Yes I know, the colors don't match. But at least now it doesn't have a big white sticky residue showing on top! And it looks nice. It's the fact that I (and now you) know how to wrap a box lid that matters!

Overall, the difficulty of this project was a 2. Folding the paper into the box lid was the most challenging part (actually fitting the lid back onto the box again was the most challenging part, but folding comes close). Again, I wish I had a glue stick.

A simple craft project, but there you go! How many of you have ever wrapped a box lid before?

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

New Layout Design

Hi everyone! It's not Thursday yet, but I did do a little designing to my blog and want to know what you think. Please take the time to vote in the poll (choose as many answers as you have opinions about the new look) and leave any comments on what you would change, if you don't like the color-scheme.

Thank you for helping me make this website more appealing to you!

Do you like the new layout?
pollcode.com free polls 

Friday, January 3, 2014

Storage Unit / Bookshelf

My first thursday craftsday activity was to put together this Circo Double-Cube Storage Unit found at Target. My mom gave it to me to put in my daughter's room to help keep the clutter maintainable. This is what it looks like when I finished putting it together:

bookshelf organizer

Quaint, right? I love it. :) I have more books to put on it once my girl is a little bit older...

The ease of assembly was, from (easiest)1-5(most difficult) a 2. I was able to put it together by myself without a hitch and only took 20 minutes. If you're used to putting together Ikea furniture, it was much easier to put together than, for example, the Ikea tables or 4x4 box organizers. I needed a hammer, philip's screwdriver, and flat-head screwdriver. The only reason for the hammer is to pound some felt-tipped "buffers" on the bottom of the organizer, in case you were to put it on wood. I didn't really need them, but I put them on anyway so I wouldn't lose them.

To give you a better idea of the size, this is what it looks like next to a few toys and an Ikea rocking chair:

I think it's a wonderful addition to baby's room. She loves to take off the books and pull toys out from the bins (also available at Target) and then put them back again.

One more thing in case you're interested in getting one of these. This is the box it comes in:

For a wimp like me, this thing was HEAVY! But at least I know it's made of good material, right? :P It weighs 17 lbs and the box is pretty small and thin. So it's really compact.

So there you go! My first project of the year... and, as a miracle, I even finished this before 9:30am! I was on a roll yesterday.

Happy New Year 2014! This is going to be a great year. :)

New Beginnings - Happy New Year!

It's the beginning of a New Year and one of my goals for the year is to get a LOT of projects finished that I had started in 2013. So, I picked a day of the week (Thursday) and am setting aside time during that day to finish a craft... or at least work on one. Yesterday was the first Thursday of the year and, to start my Thursday Craftsday off right, I was true to my word. I made something! The next post will have a brief explanation of what I did and, of course, pictures! I will update every Friday, unless I have extra time on Thursdays to update the blog.

Let us begin!

A little bit about myself-
I'm a stay-at-home mom with a beautiful 13 month-old daughter. Most of the time I'm interacting with her, but when I'm not, I'm usually playing video games/online MMORPGs with my husband, working on a website for my extended family's apartments to keep my coding skills from getting too rusty, creating and coloring images using Photoshop 7.0, and, of course, crafting.