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!