Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Paper Chains

I've been wanting to share this for a while.

I made paper chains for my best friend's baby shower in early October.

I volunteered to make them because I thought the room could use a little color, I thought it would be easy, and I knew I had all the materials. Only the first point turned out to be true. Oops!

I used mostly scrapbook paper, but that turned out to be too thin, and white on the inside (boring!!), so I doubled most rings (which more than doubled creation time). I ended up not having much solid colored paper, but my mom saved the day and brought me some from her stash. It helps to have two crafty parents to steal supplies from.

I used tape for the connections, and I believe the rings are 1.5 inches wide and 12ish inches in diameter (some paper was 11.5, and I let that slide).

I made probably 120 FEET of this chain. I wish wish wish I got a picture with all of it. It was along all the windows, on some of the tables, and down this 50 FOOT beam in the middle of the room. Maybe someday someone will send me a picture they took of the room. We'll see.

Arlene holding baby Lauren and the gift table

Since I made the chains, I've seen so many ideas for garlands and bunting that would have been SO MUCH easier than my paper chains.

Oh well. They looked great, and there's something so nostalgic about paper chains.

I've seen great looking chains where the person did each length of chain the same color and did a few chains of different colors. This would be beautiful and easy, especially if you were to use card stock--void having to double the chains at all cost!!

Happily, my chains are so beloved that my bestie took them home and used them to decorate her children's bedrooms.

I think they look great among the Disney Princess wall decals. {:

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Paper Baby

I just wanted to share my paper baby. I went to my friend Stephanie's baby shower today, and we were asked to decorate a paper baby before the shower and bring it with us.

I was really proud of mine. It's an Oompa Loompa!!

I wish I had taken a picture of it before I decorated it. But it was a skinny naked baby. Totally flesh-toned (not orange).

The face was also "pre-stamped," I just went over it. 

Truthfully, I don't think it went over very well. Not big Willy Wonka fans? {:

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Space Crib Mobile

I wanted to share with you some pictures of the mobile we made for Everett before we met him.

Sorry these pictures are not "blog quality." Maybe I should unpack it and try again. Bet it would end up hanging in Everett's room if I did! {:

Like the porcupine costume (pictures in the bird costume post), this was truly a team effort for Brian and me. We decided on shapes and created them together. I did all of the hand sewing, but that was just because I didn't have a machine where we were then, and Brian worked more than I did.

My best friend Rachel kindly gave us the mobile her kids used, and we reused all the plastic parts from it. I painted its stars yellow and orange to match the fabric. I also used the original mobile's fabric as sort of a pattern, although I didn't rip it apart.

I'm not sure if Everett liked it. Do babies ever really like mobiles? He liked the ceiling fan a lot more!

Haha. Oh well. At least Brian and I had fun doing a little nesting in our tiny apartment that didn't have a nursery. And we made something we're proud of and can reminisce about.

Minimalist Road Rug


**UPDATE: I'm super bummed to announce that this project was a failure. ]: Not even two months, and it's faded everywhere but the center (where the table is). Our house is not very sunny in general, but I'm assuming it's because of the sun, or from being vacuumed with my super powerful new Hoover I got for Christmas! Everett certainly didn't wear it out. He doesn't really "get" the concept of roads yet. I'd think about repainting it, but if little particles of paint migrated into the air, I don't want to repeat that. I think I need to learn how to weave rugs. (;

The only reason I'm not deleting this post entirely, is the method really worked like a charm. It would be perfect for a temporary rug (for a party, maybe?) or for a wall hanging (in a dark room). It's fast and cheap enough to make for a temporary or simply decorative purpose. **


Things have been so busy around here, I'm amazed how long it's taken me to share this!

Our minimalistic road rug.

A few weeks ago I came to realize Everett really needed a table for crafting. And when I realized he would be crafting in our living room, I thought he should have a rug under that future table.

Luckily we had a few cheap rugs (maybe $10 at Home Depot?), and I started dreaming of how to spruce one up.

Everett's very fond of cars and trains and tractors, so I thought it would be fun for him to have a "road rug." Most road rugs have painted road lines and buildings and parks and people, but I can not justify painting all those things when I should be making art to sell. Also, this thing was destined to reside in our living room! So I wanted it to be functional but still tasteful.

An adorable road rug sold by IKEA

How'd I do it?

Well, hubby and I sat in front of the TV watching Star Trek Next Gen (he on the couch and I on/over/near the rug that is the subject of this post).

I wanted the design to be both structured (to look good and seem ordered) but also somewhat free (so I could improvise and not need to be perfect.

I taped my design with the 3M blue painters tape, the 2 inch size. 

I made a circle (or "round about") in the center and four "rays" coming off of the circle making right angles. Then I made two more "rays" between two of the first "rays." This left me with two larger and four smaller areas to "improvise" in.

The first circle I made around the largest bowl we have in the house. Whenever I needed to make a curve, I curved the tape on the longer edge, then made cuts in from the other edge and overlapped the cut pieces. Does that make sense? Basically, whenever you see a curve, the smaller edge of the curve has cuts in it.

I didn't do every little detail that night because I knew I needed to move it from the living room to the car port, and I wasn't sure if all the tape would stay down (it didn't). Also, when Baby and I came out to watch "Melmo" at 5:00 the next morning, the first thing he went for was the tape. "I need to tear it all up!!!"

So the next day, after the move, I added any other "highways" I needed, smoothed down the existing "interstates," and stood back to take one last look before spraying.

I read about what paints other "rug painters" had used on their projects. They ranged from fabric paint to acrylic to latex interior wall paint. What I figured would be the easiest: spray paint!!

I looked into "safe" fabric spray paint but realized it was expensive, unreliable, and not sold anywhere near me, so I went with Rustoleum. I just planned to leave it outside until the smell faded away.

I found a color I adore called Eden, but I was worried that Eden and the original rug were too similar in value, so I used a can of Apple Green (much lighter), and went around all the edges first, maybe making more contrast? Worth a try? Then I used the bottle of Eden everywhere I could.

I used two full cans of spray paint on this rug, and it really could have used three or four. I was ok with a modeled look. The spray is the "grass" and it's ok for the rug's "dirt" to show through (also, the fewer chemicals that need to dissipate the better, right?). But if you're spraying a rug this size (about 4.5' x 7'), and you want it perfectly covered, you'll need at least three cans.

I couldn't wait to get the tape off, and . . .

Ta da!! I was so happy when I peeled off the tape!

You can see the curve in the bottom left corner of this picture that's sort of peeling up? That edge is sort of fuzzy, but all the others were very crisp. And I hardly notice that edge anymore, just positioned it away from my usual line of vision.

I'm so happy with the rug. It's not too stiff, just slightly more than normal. I imagined it would be all plastic-y with the spray paint, but it's not.

Of course, we left it outside for a few days, then inside in my studio for a bit longer until it stopped stinking. But it actually stopped stinking much sooner than I expected.

We had planned to get Everett a table and chairs at IKEA when we went up north for a wedding. But the timing was wrong, and we couldn't make it. And I'm so happy we didn't! I remembered a coffee table I'd had since high school that we'd refinished a few years back but still hated because it had three wobbly legs.

I bought FOUR new, sturdy legs for it, painted them a fun blue, and Brian attached them. We already had a baby folding chair, and my parents found a couple of my old chairs at their house. The result is an eclectic, fun, strange, unique, mix with a story behind it. And Everett's already enjoying coloring and reading in his new space. Perfect.

coloring paper taped down for baby's ease of coloring

Until next time!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

My Baby Bird

Happy Halloween!

I'm so excited to share Everett's costume with you! It turned out just how I imagined but also SO MUCH BETTER than I expected!

He's a bird. Just a generic bird. That's how he understands the creatures anyway, so why complicate the matter?

I actually got the idea from Pinterest and specifically this blogger. I now know that she got the idea from someone else, but her project gave me the "spark!" She made her daughter fabric feather wings that were just so adorable, and I thought they would adapt perfectly to a costume for Everett.

The original wings were a cape that tied around the neck and wrists, but being that Everett is just 17-months-old, I didn't think he would quite understand ribbon choking him and grasping his wrists.

I really enjoy building on a hoodie. It's a comfortable piece of clothing that simply fits over another outfit, so we can drive to Zoo Boo or to trick-or-treating in a normal outfit and then throw the hoodie on when we reach the destination. The only issue is if it's too hot at the end of October--which is a real possibility in California.

We made his costume on a hoodie last year, and it worked out great! We lucked out that we had a hoodie with ears already on it (bear ears?). We made him a porcupine! I'm saying "we" so much because Brian, my husband, helped me a lot more with that costume--since I needed it!

Don't get me wrong, the porcupine was suuuuuper cute, but I think it's funny that we spent so much more time building the quills last year than I did making the wings this year. And I think I actually like the bird costume more!

If you're interested, the felt quills are sort of like cones (triangles?). Not rolled, just folded and hot-glued. Then we painted the quills, stuffed them, then hot-glued them to the hoodie (felt and stuffing glued to the hoodie). Isn't hot glue the most wonderful stuff?!?

I'm just remembering. Our hot glue gun stopped working the day before Halloween (or the day before Zoo Boo). Halloween is NOT the time to buy a new hot glue gun! My mother-in-law went to Michael's, and they were out! My mom saved-the-day by bringing over one of her extra guns! Haha. Funny memory.

If you're interested, Brian "carved" those pumpkins with a drill with hole-cutter bits. You can tell how much I enjoy carving pumpkins. Blech! I think they turned out great!

Back to the wings . . . 

As much of a tutorial as I can muster:

I wanted to sew his costume this year, just in case he wanted to wear it over and over and we had to wash it (just wishful thinking on my part). 

I laid out the hoodie and traced the shape of a cape on a neutral piece of fabric. Cut it out.

I then made pattern pieces out of paper that fit onto the fabric.

yes, Everett needed to be involved. He's a very talented artist already.

Here are the pieces (all but the smallest that I used to create new patterns for the feathers on the front of the costume). When I cut the fabric, I cut at least an inch, maybe an inch and a half, extra at the top. I realized that the stitching would show if I made the pieces this thin.

I would have used tracing paper if I had it, or had it in big enough sheets.

I machine sewed the strips to the cape, starting at the bottom. Each strip covering the stitching of the previous line. I trimmed the neural cape then cut another cape to be the backing. I didn't really need to line it, but by lining it, there's color when he lifts the wings. Also, the backing has bottom feathers, which the neutral cape didn't (does that make sense?).

The backing (lining, whatever) doesn't exactly match up with the bottom feathers (it's a stretchy fabric, but so feather-y!). But it doesn't matter because it just makes it seem layered.

I was very lucky we had a wedding to go to in northern California last weekend. Brian drove the whole time, and I was able to do the hand stitching. I vote for a road trip every year the weekend before Halloween! I was able to finish the entire costume!

I wanted to hand stitch the visible bits. Since I didn't plan to finish the ends of the "feathers" and let them fray, I wanted to encourage the "folksy" nature of the outfit. I did blanket stitches for the eyes and beak and cross stitches for the wings.

I was proud of my creativity with the eyes. They're actually flowers on a fabric I really like, surrounded by a darker fabric. 

I had no intention of lining the inside of the hood, but the hoodie I found had camouflage inside the hood, so I had to cover it! I really like that extra touch, and I never would have thought of it on my own. Thank you makers of bellicose children's clothes. You're an inspiration! Ha.

I'm very happy with the result. I think it's beautiful, and I'm very gratified that Everett knows it's a bird costume and makes "caw caw" sounds when he wears it. I really wanted him to be something he understood.

Thanks to my best friend Rachel who let me pilfer her fabric stash. I don't have much of my own yet (although a few were mine--including a piece of my dad's old flannel shirt!).

Have a happy Halloween!!

My Colorful Animal Friends

I have a few new projects that are one step away from being done, but I wanted to post something, so you know the kind of shape this blog will take, my tone, etc.

Let's talk colorful animal lawn ornaments!

I thought of this project when I was planning my wedding. I'm a believer in the principle that doing a few big decorations is more memorable for the guests, easier for the host, and potentially more beautiful than doing a bunch of little, fiddly decorations.

When we got engaged, we set our wedding date for May 29th 2010. A spring wedding in a park. I thought buying (or stealing/borrowing) animal lawn ornaments and spray painting them fun, spring colors would make for AWESOME center pieces (or decorations down the center of loooong picnic tables).

I had found and painted two animals when we had to reschedule our wedding for December. The animals didn't seem appropriate for a winter wedding, and besides, my wonderful in-laws basically planned our whole wedding because I was in NO MOOD to plan a wedding (hmmm . . . what is she getting at?).

BUT, when it was time to plan our April baby shower (ah-ha!), I thought the animals would be a perfect addition to the shower tables.

I found and painted two more animals before the party.

Animal lawn ornaments are surprisingly hard to find, and when you do find them in a retail location (like OSH, Miner's, or Ross), they're more expensive than you might think. So we used a combination of the animals and colorful pots and flowers (we already had the pots).

I'm not saying this has to be an expensive project. It could be really cheap if you find animals at a yard sale or flea market (our Ross find was pretty cheap).

AND, unlike most center pieces, these can be re-purposed! We love having ours out in the yard. They're a fun play on the lawn ornament tradition.

I think especially fun if you have kids or grand kids!

The only bit of "tutorial" advice I have is, you're going to need to do quite a few coats. Animals have all sorts of nooks and crannies, and you'll need to get the paint in from every direction multiple times. It's best to do it over a few days, and just give a few coats a day. I used both satin and glossy paints. Both work. I'm usually a "matte" girl, though.

I hope this inspires you!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

First Post

You may be asking, "why a third blog?!?" I already have my personal blog where I mostly describe my son's monthly development and talk about family outings and events. I have my fine art blog where I write about my painting, drawing, and art history interests.

So why a third? Well, my husband and I are doing some interesting renovation and home design projects, and I do some crafting every once in a while. I want to share these projects without subjecting strangers to my baby's milestones or bogging down my fine art site with craft (not to say that craft and design aren't as important as 2D/"fine" art, but if someone comes to www.casdelcisneros.com to look at my paintings, I don't necessarily want them to find kitchen backsplash pictures and paper chains).

And if you're suuuuper perceptive, you may have realized I'm thinking that if my crafting is popular on the interwebs and on sites like Pinterest, it might bring attention to my fine art site, and I might sell some paintings on Esty. You never know. {:

By the way, I only intend to update this blog sporadically, as I have something to post. On my fine art blog, I have a blogging schedule of three posts a week that I stick to quite faithfully. If you like regularity, this isn't your blog, this is. Wow. I really crack myself up sometimes.

Now instead of posting a craft on www.casdelcisneros.com and apologizing, I'll just write a line of explanation and link it. Similarly, I'll be able to link from my personal website here, so the family who follows that site can see my crafting (and our home design!).

I may also stick non-art/non-craft/non-design posts here. For example, I'm considering writing about all the TV and movie gems we've discovered on Netflix Instant Watch. No need for a post like that to be private, but it's certainly not fine art. {: