Showing posts with label Crafts & DIY. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Crafts & DIY. Show all posts

Sunday, November 18, 2018

DIY or New Reusable Advent Calendars For a Treasured Family Keepsake

A Wooden, Cardboard, Cloth or DIY Advent Calendar

We've had a cloth advent calendar for Christmas for the past 20 years. Since the kids were little, the same advent calendar sees our family room annually. 

The nice thing about a cloth calendar with pockets is you can put treats inside for each of the 24 days.

Our family Advent Calendar is featured below.

Bring out your own Advent Calendar each year and make it standard part of family traditions.

However, if you're not into a store bought reusable Advent Calendar, you can make your own. Get the kids involved.

Five DIY Ideas on How to Make Your Own Advent Calendar:
Our Family Advent Calendar
by Funkthishouse.com
  1. Use 24 kiddie Christmas socks. Glue each sock to a painted cardboard or wooden backboard. Put treats in each sock for each day.
  2. Use 24 small boxes (ring size) glued to cardboard or backboard. Keep the lids on the boxes, and inside each box put treats. Decorate the boxes individually.
  3. Attach 24 small gift bags to a backboard or cardboard. Put treats in the gift bags.
  4. Use mini tree stockings. Put them all together on a piece of string with numbers on the front for each day. Put treats in each one.
  5. Use 24 empty toilet paper rolls. I know, that's weird right, but it works. Glue the rolls together in the shape of a Christmas Tree - 1 on the top for the star then, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, then 2 and 2 for the base of the tree. Glue them together then decorate each one. Place goodies inside each roll. 
Making your own Advent Calendar is a beautiful reminder during the kids growing years. When they're older, and no longer decorating with you, you'll pull out that calendar along with your past Christmas memories.

Time holds our treasures, and our treasures stop time. Think about the decorations your kids have made over the years, and what they mean to you. There isn't anything quite as precious.

Whether you use a pre-made Christmas Calendar or  DIY one makes no difference. Create memories during the little years to carry you through the big years.

When the time is right, take all the decorations your kids have made, wrap them up and pass them on. They can include them into their Christmas traditions along with your family stories.




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

5 Creative Household Pillowcase Hacks

Review of Multiple Ways to Use Pillowcases for Sorting, Storing, and Decorating

1. Use Pillowcases to Cover the Backs of Chairs

Last week I featured how to use a pillowcase to make a No-Sew Halloween Chair Cover

You can also use it to cover the backs of ratty or damaged armless desk chairs.

The worn faux leather desk chair in my son's room started to shed some of it's material. The pieces were making a mess on the floor. 

So not being in the mood to buy a new chair, I covered the back of it with a pillow case. The width of this particular chair was perfect. The pillowcase fit snuggly keeping all the worn pieces neatly inside. I simply tucked the excess pillowcase at the bottom of the chair into the seat.

2. Use Pillowcases to Line Baskets and Boxes

Have you ever been to the store and thought you'd love one of those lined hampers or decorative storage baskets but after seeing the price, changed your mind? 

You can make your own.

This no-sew pillowcase hack is very easy. Put the pillowcase inside the basket and pull it over the sides. For smaller baskets, just tuck the excess pillowcase up the side up and create a thicker border edge. If you want, use sticky double sided velcro strips under the pillow case border edge to keep it in place.

You could also put the excess in the bottom part of the basket.

3. Use Pillowcases to Cover Your Clothes

Instead of using plastic garment bags, cut a hole in the top of a pillowcase and pull it over your clothes on a hanger.

It's a handy way to store kids clothes. Place three or four items together under one pillowcase, tie it at the bottom. When you're ready to pass them down, they're neatly together in the closet.

Pass them down in a decorative way: Use pretty pillowcases and tie the bottoms with a satin ribbon.

4. Use Pillowcases to Organize Bed Sheets

How many times have you had to look for the sheets matching pillowcases? This hack is the best, it's my personal favorite. 

Put your sheets and other matching pillowcases that go with the set, folded inside one of the matching pillowcases! Best of all, your linen closet looks super organized. When you need your bedding, it's all together.

5. Use Pillowcases to Cover Stools and Create a Skirt

For taller stools this is especially simple. Pull the pillowcase over the stool. Take a ribbon or other decorative piece of material and tie it just under the seat part. The excess material will create a skirt. If there's room under the seat, you could also attach the material by using a heavy duty staple gun.

If the stools are small, use the smallest pillowcases you have. You may have to cut and hem them, or use a bit of creativity to pull the excess material up and then tie the tie below the seat.

These make a lovely decorating hack for parties and special events.

Have fun!



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Easy No-Sew Halloween Chair Covers

Add Halloween Chair Covers for Parties or Just Because You're the Mommy with Magical Detail Decorating Powers

Small details create a finished décor scheme. Expert party planners think of the most mundane items to include when they decorate. 

The walls, the lawn, the windows, the doorways and table settings are the first choice areas most of us tend to decorate. Rarely do you see chair covers.

You Can DIY Your Own Chair Covers Simply By Decorating the Chair Backs

If you love to dip your paws into artsy festive projects, start with chair covers. 

The easiest way to DIY chair covers is to focus strictly on the backs of the chairs. The seats of chairs are little more work, so avoid those unless you're into more work.

Simple No-Sew Halloween Chair Backs:
  1. Use Pillowcases to put on the backs of each chair. 
  2. First check the size of your chair backs to see if a pillowcase will fit over it. Most likely it will. You may need king size pillowcases if your chair backs are quite high.
  3. Decorate the pillowcases.
  4. If you're not into decorating the pillowcases then purchase plain orange or black pillowcases and simply slip them over the chair backs as is.
  5. Or, get the kids involved with decorating each one.
  6. Decorate them anyway you want. Draw on them, tape or glue cut-out designs on them, use felt, or markers. Let your inner artist lose.
  7. Or buy pre-made Halloween themed pillowcases.
When Halloween is over, pack them away for next year.

Not a DIY Guru? No Biggy, Get them Ready-Made

We're not all the crafty type. Not to worry, you can find some creative pre-done Halloween chair covers online. Most are quite affordable. Here's a super cute cover for a little girl's Halloween Party:


You can find additional ready-made Halloween chair cover styles here.

Have fun, and Happy Halloween :)


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Friday, September 14, 2018

How to Easily Paint & Refinish Metal Outdoor Furniture

How to Easily Paint & Refinish Metal Outdoor Furniture
Renew Your Outdoor Furniture with Rust-Oleum Spray Paint

For the last few seasons, our outdoor furniture has started looking worn and tired.  Metal outdoor furniture is too expensive to throw away and replace, but it was definitely time to restore the beauty of the pieces.  

Last spring my husband started refinishing our outdoor furniture one piece at a time.  He choose our wrought iron table as his first project.  With a few cans of black Rust-Oleum and less than an hour, our outdoor table looked brand new again!  

Since then, he has refinished the chairs that match that table and the whole set is beautiful again. 

Last week, he refinished our wrought iron glider.  I love all of our outdoor furniture and appreciate its durability.  But, that glider is the one I use the most.  I am thrilled to have it restored to its original beauty.

My new slogan for wrought iron metal outdoor furniture:  Restore, Don't Replace!
 


Refinish Metal Outdoor Furniture
Refinished Wrought Iron Patio Table & Chairs
He also painted my little ghost  in the background with a can of White Rust-Oleum - Getting him ready for Halloween



How to Refinish Wrought Iron Outdoor Furniture

Time:  45 mins
Cost:  $25.00

Compared to the Cost of a New Glider:  $300.00

Because the refinishing of the metal table and chairs had been so successful, when my husband said he was going to refinish the glider, I grabbed my camera.  I wanted to make sure I had everything I needed to tell you exactly how to repaint your metal outdoor furniture too.

  How to Easily Paint & Refinish Metal Outdoor FurnitureItems Needed:
  • Cans of Rust-Oleum
  • Plastic Drop Cloth 
  • Tent Pegs
  • Plastic Gloves
  • Long Sleeve Shirt
  • Old Shoes & Old Painting Clothes
Step 1:  Clean the piece - remove all dust & dirt

Step 2:  Cover an area in the yard with a large, thick plastic drop cloth  (2.0 mil preferred)

Step 3:  Use tent pegs to hold the drop cloth down.  We used old army tent pegs at all four corners, but you could use bricks instead to weigh down the corners.

How to Easily Paint & Refinish Metal Outdoor Furniture Step 4:  Shake up the Rust-Oleum spray paint

Step 5:  Turn the piece over and start spraying the underside

Step 6:  Turn the piece right side up and spray the entire surface from every angle in order to cover it completely and evenly

It took about 45 minutes and 4 cans of Rust-Oleum to spray paint the glider.  That short amount of time spent renewing our glider will give us many more years to enjoy the beloved glider.  Plus, the Rust-Oleum spray paint helps to prevent rust.


Restoring Wrought Iron Metal Outdoor Patio Furniture


Additional Spray Painting Tips: 


Wear disposable gloves  (see products below)

Wear long sleeves to protect your skin

You may need to wear protective eyewear and disposable masks

Keep the spray can moving as you are painting to avoid runs.

You should do all of your painting on any individual piece within an hour.  

This spray paint, in our experience, tends to self- level any heavy areas of application as it drys, within reason.

Let the furniture piece completely dry for 24 hrs. before use.

 
How to Easily Paint & Refinish Metal Outdoor Furniture
My Wrought Iron Glider Beautifully Restored

   

 See More Crafts & DIY Reviews On
ReviewThisCrafts.com!

 

House of Sylvestermouse











Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Mosaics By Maria Review

Looking for mosaic tiles? Glass tiles in the size, shape and color needed for your mosaic tile or glass projects can be difficult to find whether it be an online merchant or bricks and mortar store.

Quality glass tile can be difficult to obtain as brick and mortar stores which carry a wide selection, are very tough to find even in large cities.



I have tried more than a few tile sources and always return to the tried and true online store of Mosaics By Maria.When I was learning to create mosaic tile projects it was my teacher/mentor who referred me to Mosaics By Maria and it was a wise recommendation indeed.


Variety Of Mosaic Tiles


Mosaic tilers and stained glass artists know how much labor is involved with crafting pieces requiring small intricate glass cuts. Pieces take hours to make and the less time nipping glass the better!

Mosaics By Maria offers rectangles, squares, mini rectangles, skinnies in a variety of sizes between 1 inch and 1/4 inch; cut with accuracy for a clean and straight edge. For those of us who tend to wander when attempting to cut a straight line these tiles are perfect for backgrounds as is or can be easily nipped to adjust the size.



Off Cut Mosaic Tiles


Off cut tiles are the remnants or scraps from the cutting of tiles from large glass sheet. Mosaics By Maria always has a large selection of off cuts sold in bulk. The off cuts are all shapes and sizes which are a must have if you tile regularly. I love the off cuts in white and black as these are colors always needed when tiling and the off cuts are a nice saving for your time, tile budget and preventing tiler elbow!


Glass Tile Sheets Offer Convenience


Smaller glass sheets are also available and the main attraction is the smaller size! Glass sheets from commercial suppliers are usually large and difficult to manage for the hobby tiler. The glass sheets must be cut down multiple times before the glass can be sized to a smaller home mosaic pieces. Mosaics By Maria offers 6 inch square glass sheets which are easy to store and easy to use.
I like to use the sheets for projects such as Chauncey The Lion.



Chauncey is made with abstract cuts from a glass sheet to form the lion.



Giraffe Mom made with pre-cut tiles in squares and rectangles nipped to size.



Turning Your Dog Into A Mosaic Tile


Yes, I turned my dog into a mosaic tile as a Christmas gift for Grandma Dog. It may seem a bit overwhelming for a novice tiler to transform a pet into a mosaic tile, but I promise a DIY er can do it. If you are interested in turning your dog or cat (fish, gerbil, rabbit!)into a mosaic tile, I provide a tutorial here.




This project was a combination of using pre cut square tiles and a glass sheet cut abstractly for the background.


Recommendation

I highly recommend Mosaics By Maria for quality mosaic tiles. My orders have always been shipped quickly, the orders have been accurate and I love the selection of pre-cut tiles to meet all your mosaic tiling needs. Always a pleasure to support a company or service which delivers as promised.


My Favorite Tile Nipper


I'm frequently asked what tile nipper I would recommend. I have definitely tried quite a few and always go back to one of the most affordable nippers which performs well consistently. I have found the Roberts/q.e.p. Glass Tile Nipper far outperforms the much more expensive tile nippers.







Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

How To Make The Easiest Cuticle Oil Ever

How to make the easiest cuticle oil ever
Photo's by Lou16
Today I'm going to review how to make the easiest cuticle oil ever. Once you see how easy it is you'll wonder why you haven't always made your own DIY cuticle oil!

Don't use a cuticle oil? You're not alone, it's a step many people miss out when they do their nails at home. I must admit, but cuticles were in pretty bad shape and I would just rub my hand cream into them and think 'oh well, that's just my cuticles!'

This year I've decided to treat myself my getting my nails done once a month (well it's about every three weeks, but my husband thinks it's a monthly thing LOL!) and I do love it when they pop on the cuticle oil at the end. My cuticles are looking much better, but they would look even better if I used it a little bit more often.

Now I like the idea of using natural products and not having some of the additives that you find in some skincare/personal care products being present. I also know that lemon oil is great for softening cuticles, I just had to look for some cuticle oil recipes ...

There are so many recipes for DIY cuticle oil that they would make your head spin, but many of them used so many ingredients that it just seem such an effort. Using sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, vitamin E oil and about 5 different essential oils just seemed a lot for me to recommend to people, after all we don't have all these ingredients just lying around the house do we?

Well I found a recipe that used olive oil and just two essential oils and I changed the essential oils (based on my own aromatherapy knowledge, and on what I had on hand) and I've come up with the easiest cuticle oil ever -

How to make the easiest DIY cuticle oil ever - every thing ready to begin - olive oil, lemon oil, lavender oil, bottle and funnel

Easy DIY Cuticle Oil That Your Nails Will Love!


4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 drops pure lemon essential oil
2 drops pure lavender essential oil.

Simply mix the ingredients together and keep in a bottle, I recommend seeing if you can find a nail polish style of bottle with a nail polish brush to keep it in (they didn't have any at my local store) or even a roller bottle.

These type of bottles will made it easier to apply, but aren't essential.   As you can see from my photo I just used a test tube style bottle (as I had it on hand) and I use a Q-tip to add the oil around my nails. I will let you know, however, that I have some roller bottles on order.

Lemon oil is fantastic for softening hard skin which is why it's a perfect addition to a cuticle oil. Lavender oil is a very nourishing oil, softening and just great for skin. The combination of these two oils works fantastically to help keep your cuticles looking fabulous and as an added bonus, using a cuticle oil after a manicure actually helps it stay looking beautiful for longer something I've only just found out!

                                                                                                                                                              
EXTRA TIP - if you take vitamin E capsules then simple pierce one of them and squeeze the contents into the cuticle oil.  It will make the oil even more moisturizing and rich (a much cheaper alternative to adding vitamin E oil!).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
It's very important that you use pure essential oils and not synthetic ones when making your own skincare as each essential oil brings it's own benefits and fragrant oils don't have these benefits.

I love to use Arbonne's essential oils when available, if I'm after an oil that they don't have then I make sure that the one I buy is 100% pure essential oil.

Aromatherapy Isn't Just About DIY Skincare!


You can use essential oils for lots of different things, here's a few articles that you might find interesting ...

How Aromatherapy can Help StressHow Aromatherapy Can Help Stress
Aromatherapy has proven to be very successful at helping to relieve stress, simply by using certain essential oils stress and conditions caused by stress can be alleveiated.

Essential Oil Room Humidifier and DiffuserEssential Oil Room Humidifier and Diffuser
Using essential oils in a humidifier or diffuser can add a lovely atmosphere to a room as essential oils can really help to work on your emotions from relaxing you or making you more upbeat.

Reviewing Uses for Tea Tree OilReviewing Uses for Tea Tree Oil
The herbaceous fragrance of tea tree doesn't begin to hint at how many uses there are for this essential oil from medicinal to beauty to household uses this is one very versatile essential oil.


How to make the easiest cuticle oil with only 4 ingredients
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Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

DIY Mercury Glass



It's time for a DIY project for the true romantics out there.  Is there anything lovelier than fresh cut flowers in an antiqued mercury glass vase?  Perhaps the reason mercury glass is such a popular centerpiece at weddings is the nostalgic effect it has on us.  I absolutely love the understated beauty and elegance of silvered glass.  The look, and the effect, is way too wonderful to save only for special occasions.  

I invite you to follow along with me and transform your own gorgeous flower vessels.  It takes very little time and money to create the beautiful mercury glass effect presented here.  In less than an hour, you can be enjoying your own timeless centerpiece.  If you're like me, you'll get hooked and create any number of these mercury glass vases for yourself and for gifting to friends and family.  This is a gift you can be sure will be used and appreciated.


What You Will Need
* Glass vase
* White vinegar
* Water
* Misting pump bottle
* Paper towels

Optional
* Tarp or plastic drop cloth
* Wooden dowel rod
* Gloves

Steps 1-5
  1. Mix one cup of white vinegar with one cup of water.  Pour into misting bottle.
  2. Use a paper towel or soft cloth to wipe your glass clean.
  3. Protect work surfaces with a tarp, newspapers, or a drop cloth.  
  4. Test mister to ensure you will get a very fine spray.
  5. Shake up your spray paint for two minutes.

Step 6
Depending on the type of glass container you are painting, you may find it very helpful to use a dowel rod.  Supporting your vase with a dowel makes it easy to mist and spray all of the surfaces at the same time (without getting paint on your hands or fingerprints on your vase).  It also enables you to spray the bottom of the vase without waiting for the paint to dry on the sides of the container.

When I was painting the test tube vases, I used short dowel rods that I stood on end in an old piece of wood.  All I did was drill some holes in a two-by-four.  Then, I stacked each test tube on a dowel, leaving enough space in between to give me room to maneuver with the mister and spray paint.



Steps 7-8
Spray a very fine mist of the vinegar water on your vase.  The key to success is to start with a very light coating of the mist.  If you get large, running droplets, go ahead and wipe it down with a paper towel and start again.

Immediately spray over the mist with a light coat of the Looking Glass spray paint.  You will repeat these steps two to three times, so it is important not to try to get all of the silvering done all at once.  Light layering is essential to getting the desired vintage look of mercury glass.






Step 9
Very gently dab all over the misted and painted surface of the glass with a clean and dry paper towel. You want to blot up all spots of water and any larger droplets of paint.  This step creates the aged look of the silvered glass.











Step 10
Repeat the misting, painting, and blotting process until you are happy with the final effect.  I repeated the process three times on the vases pictured in this tutorial.


Step 11
Once the paint is dry, experiment with arranging your favorite flowers in your gorgeous mercury glass vases.  They look really nice in groupings of various sizes and shapes.

In this example, I placed three mercury glass test tubes in an antique bed spring.  The addition of a beveled mirror base created stability and an interesting reflective quality.  Peonies seemed just right for this type of vintage floral arrangement.















Mercury glass centerpieces don't have to be expensive to look like you spent big bucks at a floral shop.  Use the glass you already have at home.  It is so easy to upcycle any ordinary jar or cheap vase into something extraordinary.  There is something incredibly satisfying about giving a face-lift to a common, plain item.

We all hold the power of transformation in our hands.  Let's go create and share some beauty today.



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

A Review of Creativity on Review This!

(c) Kimberly Austin Daly, Artist*
Creativity Lives in Everyone!

My daughter is an artist.  She studied art in college, graduating with a degree in Fine Arts. But her creativity in this field has been present since she was old enough to hold a crayon.  All her life she has been compelled to draw & paint.  I've always admired her artistic ability because I can't draw a straight line with a ruler! :-)

*Artwork is the property of Kimberly Daly, Artist/Illustrator.  Copyright: Do not copy.  Permission granted for display in this story.






My hubby was a fine musician, having studied the violin for 14 years, then played the guitar for many more years and even had his own 'trio' during the 'folk music' era of our college days.
Today my son plays guitar and several other instruments and has his own local band with a group of fellow musicians.  I can't play any instrument and have no musical ability.

My brother sings and plays guitar.  My mother and sister could sing up a storm. I can't carry a tune in a bucket!  

Coastal Crochet Crafts on Etsy

I used to say to my talented family that I had no 'talent' for anything, until they reminded me that my crochet and needlework crafting was MY creative ability.  






Creative Talent is in Everyone


You don't have to be able to sing or dance, play an instrument or draw to be talented.  Creativity in ANY area is a talent all its own.  It was a nice reminder that we all have some form of creative talent, whether its in the arts & crafts field, music or dance, or simply being a wonderful cook.  Being able to express ourselves in writing is also a creative endeavor.  


Highlighting a Few Reviews Written by Our Talented Contributors on Review This!


Our team of contributors who write for Review This! review many products and do music, book and movie reviews, in addition to a wide range of other topics.  They are also very creative, sharing a variety of crafts, tutorials of DIY projects, cooking and baking recipes, and photography and gardening tips.  The following are a few examples of this team's creative talents.


Crafts Reviews



(c) Dawn Rae
How to Make Easy Christmas Tree Ornaments by Dawn Rae.  Dawn gives us easy step-by-step instructions on how to create with your children these simple, yet lovely, ornaments for your holiday tree.







(c) Bev Owens

For crochet crafters, Bev Owens tells us about this easy pattern you can use to create your own handmade poncho in her review titled Reviewing A Crochet Poncho Pattern.






(c) Wednesday-Elf

Wednesday-Elf loves to crochet, particularly stuffed animals.  Handmade crafts are her favorite, as shown in this A Bird in the Hand-i-Craft article.  In addition to her own crochet crafting, she enjoys sharing the creative talents of many other fiber art creators on Etsy.










DIY Projects


(c) RenaisanceWoman2010)
Clever & creative Diana (RenaissanceWoman2010) gives us a tutorial for a DIY Mason Jar Bird Feeder using a regular canning jar, a pretty plate or bowl, and a few other simple supplies (glue, wire, and a chick feeder base). Then just add bird seed and watch the local feathered friends in your area flock to your new bird feeder. 







Photography Tips



(c) mbgphoto
Several of the Review This contributors are photographers, but Mary Beth Granger (mbgphoto) goes one step further with sharing her fabulous photography tips for all of us to learn to take even better photographs. She shares the tips she's learned from taking photography classes and doing LOTS of practice. I would imagine Mary Beth seldom goes anywhere without a camera. Her favorite subjects are lighthouses! Check out her Review of Photography Tips for some helpful advice for your own photographs. 





Recipe Reviews



(c) Sylvestermouse

Sylvestermouse is our creative baker here on Review This! She loves to put together fancy cakes and cupcakes.  A quick look at one of her favorite cookbooks for baking (the Cupcake Cakes Cookbook) will give you an idea of some of the fun and clever ideas she often incorporates into her baking.








Gardening Tips



Olivia Morris is one of our resident gardeners.  In her How to Grow Your Way to Happiness and a Great Garden, she shares some tips for your spring planting. 




Articles on Creativity


For more articles on these creative reviews, click on each subject below:






What do you consider your 'creative' talent?  







(c) Review of Creativity by Wednesday Elf


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Modern Masters Metal Effects Paint Review

If you were to offer me something bright, shiny, and new, or, on the other hand, something with the rich patina of age, I would choose the luster of an item that shows signs of life every time.  The best example I can give is that of a copper weather vane.  I have always loved the verdigris patina of weathered copper.  So, when I discovered Modern Masters Metal Effects paints, I just knew I had to explore the possibilities of being able to speed up a process that normally takes place over many years.

I was given a custom-made folk art weather vane many years ago.  Because of the loveliness of the wood grain, and because I didn't want to risk ruining what was a very meaningful gift, I'd been reluctant to paint or stain the weather vane with ordinary finishes.  Until I found the right product, I decided to leave my special art piece unfinished.

When I recently came across some online videos of how Modern Masters paints and patina activators had completely transformed normal household items (like vases, frames, furniture, garden statues, and planters), I knew the day had come to give my weather vane the finish it deserved and had waited for all this time.  I stopped by Hobby Lobby to pick up the Modern Masters copper paint and green patina kit and got started right away.

My first experiment with patina application.
You can finish a small project in a couple of days.  First, you apply two coats of their uniquely formulated primer.  Once those coats have dried, you then apply the first coat of your metal effects paint.  For the second application of copper paint, you work quickly to spray on the patina activator while the paint is still wet.  Then the really fascinating process begins.  Over the course of a few minutes, you will begin to see evidence of oxidation taking place.  The green patina begins to appear and will become more visible over the next several hours.  Your painted item will become more and more lovely with time.  The patina continues to evolve just as it would if you left copper outside to weather naturally.

Patina brushed in the direction of the grain.
Though I followed the directions, and spritzed on the patina activator as instructed, my first results were not what I wanted.  The verdigris patina was too speckled for my taste.  I decided to brush on a new coat of copper paint and begin again.  That is the beauty of this process:  you can redo until you are satisfied.  It doesn't take long to figure out what works best given the vision you have for a piece.  I found that lightly brushing the wet patina solution in the direction of the wood grain produced the best results.  It created a sense of movement and freedom that honors the true spirit of this horse.

I have been asked about whether or not the metal effects paint must be sealed.  The copper and bronze finishes are self-protective (no topcoat needed).  You are encouraged to seal the iron paint with rust patina.  There is a Modern Masters product specifically made for that purpose.  It is called Permacoat X-Treme Sealer.

The wonder of this product is that it works on so many different materials (wood, metal, plastic, stone, paper, etc.).  You have the choice of copper, bronze, and iron metal effects, along with green, blue, or rust patina activators.  I have purchased all three kits and have more projects currently in progress.  At the moment, I am restoring two vintage portholes recovered from ships.  They are getting the bronze treatment just as soon as I finish removing all of the salt, rust, paint, and caulk from their surfaces.  I will post photos throughout that process.

My other ongoing project involves the iron paint with rust activator.  I am refinishing some reclaimed doors I purchased from the Habitat for Humanity ReStore.  Those doors are going in the She Shed I built a while back.  I'll keep you posted with the results of that experiment as I determine which direction I'm heading with that design.  I'm thinking I might try a mixed media approach or play with some stencils when activating the patina.  And, of course, it won't stop at that.  I've been going through my jewelry box with the thought of giving some items a new look.  Check out my Pinterest Modern Masters Metal Effects board for inspiration.

As you can probably tell, I am totally sold on Modern Masters Metal Effects paints.  I highly recommend this creative medium.  You can purchase the product in kits or individually.  The paints and patina solutions come in a number of different quantities, making it easy and affordable to customize based on the size of your project.  Go have some fun with your own metal effects adventure in patina painting!  You will be amazed.


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Thursday, May 17, 2018

DIY Mason Jar Bird Feeder - Tutorial and Product Review

One of my favorite things in all the world is to spend time observing and photographing wild birds.  Most avid bird-watchers and photographers know that providing food is one way to ensure a steady stream of visitors and photo moments.  For some time now, I have wanted to make a new feeder for the birds that bring me such great pleasure.

Right away I knew that a mason jar bird feeder would be perfect for my country home.  Who doesn't love the charm of the ever-popular mason jar?  I thought I would share this project and a few tips for those out there who might also enjoy treating their feathered friends.  It is likely you already have most of what is needed for this easy do-it-yourself craft.  Let's get started.






Supplies Needed

  1. A regular mouth canning jar.
  2. A chick feeder base.
  3. A bowl or plate for the canopy over the jar.
  4. E6000 glue (or another super strength clear adhesive).
  5. Birdseed.
  6. Chain or picture wire (plant or basket hanger).
  7. Optional: Decorative knob.
Step One:  Acquire a regular mouth canning jar and proportionately sized dish for its canopy.  You can find inexpensive mason jars at thrift stores, any of the dollar stores, craft stores, etc.  Though I already had some canning jars at home, I fell in love with The Pioneer Woman's embossed Betsy mason jars.  In addition to being especially lovely, the jars are 32 ounces, which means you won't have to fill your bird feeder as often as with smaller containers.

Step Two:  Buy a screw-on chick feeder base that fits a regular mouth mason jar.  Most feed stores will have them, or you can purchase one online.  I get mine locally from either Tractor Supply Company or Big-R.  Typically, I pay $2.99-$3.99, depending on whether I buy a plastic or a galvanized metal feeder.  There are usually a few colors from which to choose.  My store has red, green, yellow, purple, and the galvanized silver feeders.


Step Three:  Determine if you are going to hang your feeder or place it on a post.  If you plan to hang your bird feeder, you may wish to use a decorative knob on the canopy (to provide an anchor point for a chain or hanging wire).  The ceramic knob I chose couldn't be glued on, so I used my Dremel and a tile bit to drill a hole in the center of my canopy dish.  The bit worked perfectly and created a very neat little hole for the screw that holds the knob in place.  Tip:  Keep the surface wet and go slow while you are drilling.  Angle the bit slightly.


Step Four:  Insert a screw and use two washers (one for the interior screw and one for the exterior knob) to protect the bowl's surface.  I used a 3/4-inch long machine screw (#8) that fit the thickness of the bowl and the knob threads.  Tip:  Be careful not to over-tighten the screw.  You wouldn't want to crack that beautiful bowl (part of the vintage floral pasta bowl set by The Pioneer Woman).  *You can skip steps three and four if you choose a scalloped edge bowl and hook your plant hanger chains between the rounded curves.







Step Five:  Apply E6000 glue on the bottom rim of the mason jar (around the entire rim).  Follow the instructions on the glue label to ensure the best adhesion results.














Step Six:  Center bottom of mason jar inside canopy bowl and apply gentle pressure while the glue is bonding.  Set aside for the glue to cure.  Depending on the temperature and weather conditions, curing time can take 1-2 days.  It's important not to rush this step.

*In this photo, you are looking down inside the open mouth of the jar.  You can see how it is centered over the screw for the canopy knob.  Tip: Use a flathead screw so the jar rim can sit flush on the bowl.










Step Seven:  After the glue is fully cured, fill mason jar with birdseed.  I used safflower seed.  Supposedly, squirrels won't bother a feeder with this kind of seed.  It is also said to keep bully birds from hogging all of the seed.  Safflower seed attracts the kind of birds I am hoping to feed.  I plan to hang my feeder, but decided to wait one extra day to ensure the glue is totally cured.

Because my hummingbirds are attracted to red feeders, I am thoughtfully considering the best location for this bird feeder.  You can see from the introductory photo on this page that the first bird to check out my new feeder was a hummer.

I love how my DIY mason jar bird feeder project turned out (so much so that I am making more than one feeder).  In addition to the Betsy mason jars, the dishes I purchased for the canopies are a part of The Pioneer Woman Collection.  The pattern on the red bowl matches the embossed pattern on the glass jar.  I bought everything at Walmart.


Now I'm excited to see who shows up at the feeder today.  More photos to come soon!



















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