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My Green Velvet Life

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recycling

Just Stuff

I’ve been organizing pictures and came across some odds and ends I’d like to share.

Here’s a fun card I made for my youngest grandson.  I can’t remember exactly where I got the blister package (I save all kinds–HUGE FUN–KIDS LOVE IT TOO!).  It was a little tough squeezing in all of the stuff . . .

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This is a sweet wedding cake I decorated a few years ago for our daughter’s backyard wedding.  We just ordered a plain frosted cake from the grocery store bakery and I added the decorations.  The little bride and groom were just a few dollars from a craft store.  I just wish I would have been brave enough to use fresh flowers.  There are so many gorgeous ones on Pinterest!  Check out my wedding boards: Really Pretty Weddings  and Really Pretty Weddings 2.

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Earlier this year I helped my pre-school Sunday School kids make these super cool capes from old tee shirts.  Simply cut off the entire front (leaving the neck area).  They absolutely loved it.  The crosses were made out of duct tape which they adore.  I’m sure I got this idea from a Pinterest pin!

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These two photos are of my laundry room.  I painted it a few months ago.  I was excited about using a rich dark brown but I had to use lots of self-discipline not to do more than one wall.  The creamy white and the floral curtains are the perfect balance to keep it fresh, don’t you think?

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And here’s the view looking from my laundry room into my kitchen.  It’s so homey I’m gonna never leave!

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I love this picture.  It was a dark and windy night!

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Our church has a ladies’ luncheon every spring, featuring a table decorating competition.  Yay!  I won I won I won!

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Don’t overlook life’s small joys while searching for the big ones.  — Unknown

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Stuck on Happy with Duct Dynasty

Hey!  Uncle Si and Phil’s grandkids would love the duct tape creativity at our house!  Clean and simple fun for the whole family . . .

Check out the cool binder my daughter and granddaughter made by simply recovering an old ugly one.  Wouldn’t this be a fun project for school/scout/church groups to do for back-to-school?  You could ask businesses to donate old binders, folders, etc.  Then simply set up tables in a large room loaded with donated duct tape, stickers, and Sharpie markers (along with skilled helpers, of course), and invite kids to come and make their own amazing looks.

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We have also found a fun way to use duct tape scraps. Simply stick them onto a piece of lightweight cardboard.  You can then cut into fun shapes.  Be sure to save the leftover silhouette for some other creative moment.

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You can also keep adding scraps until you end up with an interesting collage.  Just have fun with it and don’t worry about the wrinkles.   This is the collage I used to make some birthday cards for my grandsons.

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I couldn’t resist adding a little star-spangled glitz.

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Pretty cool,  huh?  Perfectly messy and funky.

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As an excuse for my laziness, I carried the theme through on the inside of the cards.  Cuz any granny could give cards with boring old typed-up messages.

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Here are a couple of sites you might like for more inspiration:

Would love to hear about your own duct tape creations!  In the meantime, I’ll be catching up on a little relaxing TV time with the Robertson’s.  And I’ll be wondering:

Will my creations inspire Jase to duct tape Willie’s office?

Will Korie and Missy use duct tape to brighten up Martin’s bachelor pad?

Will Uncle Si finally make a duct tape shoulder bag for his beloved Tupperware cup?

Hey!  If it quacks like duct tape you can bet your whistle it will make everybody happy happy happy.

Seriously though, wouldn’t all those beards get stuck in the tape?  Ouch.  Could The Robertson Men meet the challenge?

That’s what I’m talkin’ about!

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Repost: (Tight)wad Bows

Last year after Christmas, I was fooling around with the gigantic mess of leftover wrapping paper on my art room table and I discovered a fun and ultra easy way to use leftover wrapping.  I had decided I would not publish it until the following year during holiday season, so it would be fresh in your mind as you find yourself buried in a mountain of leftover Christmas cheer.  (And you will, no matter how neat you try to be!)

Well here it is the Christmas season once again and . . . ta da!  My idea makes its debut tonight:  Use your leftover paper to make bows!

Take the wrapping paper in your hand (pattern right side up), then squeeze and wad up in the middle:

Take the ends and fold under (all around, until it has a circular shape), then staple in the middle:

At this point, you have a respectable bow, although your staple will show if you look closely.

But don’t stop there! Make at least one more bow to layer on top. You can layer even more if you’d like. I did cheat a bit on the smaller red bow. Instead of stapling I just taped it in the bottom.

These bows might be perfect for you if:

  • You love the less-than-perfect, homey, vintage look.
  • You don’t want to spend one cent on bows.
  • You are creative but not crafty.  You are maybe a little clutzy.

You could even wad up the kids and let them make all the bows for you.  They love elf work!

So wad do you think?

Trashy Greetings

Not feeling too creative or clever lately.  Typically, this time of year is a bit blah in Wisconsin. Although this year we have been treated with greenery and blooms busting forth well before Easter, my mood is stubbornly sitting on the blah side.  I guess my internal clock really loves how gray afternoons and icy mud puddles seem to nod approval to laziness, quiet reflection, and even a bit of indulgent self-pity.

Okay I’m really not here to trash our beautiful spring.  But I am here to talk about trash. I love saving strange bits of garbage in hopes of discovering and sharing their fantastic artistic potential. Here are a few greeting cards I’ve made the last few weeks. Each one is just a bit trashy and a great big easy. (Notice some of the elements are simply stapled together. Because sometimes I’m too lazy to glue.)

This “black vase” is wrinkled-up paper from a bag of coffee. (Hint: Berres Brothers makes the yummiest coffee and the coolest waxy black packaging.)

This “silver vase” is a piece of cream cheese wrapping. A bit messy to wash but so worth it. And you guessed it. My beloved painted cardboard too.

This “silver vase” is a bit of shiny cardboard from a package of face lotion. I wrinkled it for a fun effect.

This blue background is from one of my favorite art trash resources: a Mentos candy wrapper.  This gorgeous material is always a hit with the kids. (The candy is a hit with the kids too.)

And this “brown vase”is from a Starbucks coffee cup wrapper.  It’s so nubby I’m gonna die!

Now go forth and have your own trashy fun!

(Tight)wad Bows

Last year after Christmas, I was fooling around with the gigantic mess of leftover wrapping paper on my art room table and I discovered a fun and ultra easy way to use leftover wrapping.  I had decided I would not publish it until the following year during holiday season, so it would be fresh in your mind as you find yourself buried in a mountain of leftover Christmas cheer.  (And you will, no matter how neat you try to be!)

Well here it is the Christmas season once again and . . . ta da!  My idea makes its debut tonight:  Use your leftover paper to make bows!

Take the wrapping paper in your hand (pattern right side up), then squeeze and wad up in the middle:

Take the ends and fold under (all around, until it has a circular shape), then staple in the middle:

At this point, you have a respectable bow, although your staple will show if you look closely.

But don’t stop there! Make at least one more bow to layer on top. You can layer even more if you’d like. I did cheat a bit on the smaller red bow. Instead of stapling I just taped it in the bottom.

These bows might be perfect for you if:

  • You love the less-than-perfect, homey, vintage look.
  • You don’t want to spend one cent on bows.
  • You are creative but not crafty.  You are maybe a little clutzy.

You could even wad up the kids and let them make all the bows for you.  They love elf work!

So wad do you think?

So-Cool-It-Squeaks Art

Art doesn’t transform.  It just plain forms.  — Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997), American pop artist

In a small fit of creativity, I challenged myself to pick up three pieces of litter from the parking lot and use them for a little art project.  It took me about 30 seconds to discover my items: a piece of worn wood, a red plastic chip from somebody’s car light and a round plastic piece.

And here is my masterpiece!  I simply glued the pieces onto a painted piece of recycled cardboard.  For embellishment, I used recycled foil candy wrappers and two non-recycled items:  blue glitter and an orange plastic jewel.

This would be an awesome and ultra cheap party project.  Of course, you’d need to designate a safe place to scavenge for garbage items.  For kids, you’d also need to be watchful to ensure nobody scores something disgusting such as a dirty hamburger wrapper.  But don’t let that scare you.  This is squeaky clean fun!

Fuzzy Distress Signals: A Paint & Yarn Addiction

I really don’t know how to paint or knit or crochet.   Well, my wonderful mother-in-law did teach me to knit and crochet when I was a very young lady but I never practiced enough. The only way I can explain why I’ve been so hung up on messy, distress painting and playing with fuzzy yarn is that it is FUN.  Proof below that you don’t need to be a talented genius or spend tons of time to be artistic and creative.  You just need to PLAY.   It also doesn’t hurt to buy a nice selection of Tim Holtz Distress Crackle Paints (cracked cardboard, where have you been all my life?) or spend a few hours yarn-hunting on eBay.  I admit it.  I’m a needy-stuff artist . . .

This one’s a little corny but with a touch of charm.  I had cut some green metallic ribbon and accidentally noticed how it looked like glitter.  Before I knew it I had a little garden.

This one reminds me of a girl with dark hair blowing in the wind.

Don’t be afraid to crack up a little and sprout your inner wild child. Be messy. Because there’s no messing up.

What’s in Your Art Gallery?

There is no abstract art.  You must always start with something.  Afterward you can remove all traces of reality.  — Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), Spanish artist

All of us have an artist wondering around in our souls.  So many of us just don’t pay attention, whether we’re busy, tired or simply unsure of ourselves.  And so we think we’re not artistic.  I said exactly that about myself a few posts ago.  Hmmm . . . did you notice my first sentence?  Did I really mean wondering not wandering?  Like there’s a little guy hanging out in there, finger painting on your rib cage, wondering why in the heck you don’t let him out to play once in a while?

I like Picasso’s quote because it reminds me that we don’t have to conjure up anything out of thin air to be artistic.  We just need to relax and notice.  Notice the used coffee filter, the dog’s hair flying across the room, the quick kisses before seeing the kids off to school.  It’s all beautiful material meant just for you (just what you’re thinking when you are vacuuming!).  You certainly don’t need to make one single piece of art out of any of it.  Just living is the best art of all.  And thanks to our amazing gift of memory, we each have our very own art gallery full of everything we love.  Does your art gallery have any finger paintings?

If you look closely at my flower fridge magnets, you’ll see some familiar things: orange juice lids, shiny coffee can liners and bits of yarn.  Here are instructions, along with pictures of one I made tonight (the others I made last Christmas).

If you’re not familiar with some of the items you can get them in any craft or scrapbooking store.  You can make as fancy or glittery as you like.  It’s your garden!

You will need:
metal orange juice lids
foil coffee can liners
paper (anything you like–I used an old greeting card for these instructions
glitter (optional)–if using glitter you’ll also need regular white school glue to coat your flower
very large glue dots (much easier and safer than a glue gun)
magnets
bits of fuzzy yarn
paper brads (fasteners)
large round and flower paper punches (optional)  You can also simply cut with scissors.  Most craft stores put their punches on sale every so often.  They make great gifts for anyone who likes to be creative with paper, etc.  Warning: They are very dangerous for children and should never be used without adult help.
 
 
 
Punch or cut a circle out of the coffee can liner.  If punching, you’ll notice it is a little tricky getting the liner into position because it is thick and stiff and wrinkly.  I have pretty good luck if I first press out the liner with something heavy.
 
 
 
Using a glue dot, attach the punched circle to OJ lid.
 
Punch or cut a flower out the paper.
 
Push a brad through the center of the flower and then push open the tips of the brad so it is fastened.
 
Attach paper flower and yarn to coffee liner/OJ lid:  Put one large glue dot in middle of liner and take another glue dot and pull apart to make  a few small ones–put them around the circle, then twirl your yarn around and press into glue dots.  Press the paper flower with brad into the large glue dot in the center.
 
Press a large glue dot onto magnet, then press onto back of lid.
 
Take a picture of your work!  It will serve as a good reminder for days when you’re not feeling very talented.
 
 

Last Christmas, I found an aluminum pan to use for my little photo session.  This would make a very fun arrangement for give-aways at showers, birthday parties, Mother’s Day brunches, visits to elderly care homes, etc.   The little round aluminum pans would be an adorable way to show off individual magnets for a teacher or co-worker gift.  

Visitors from Planet Shinius

As a follow-up to my recent post Thriftie Gifties, my grandkids are very excited to share their ideas for used bags.  We even roped in my almost 12-year-old grandson.  Most of the materials we used were recycled but we also added pipe cleaners and sticky back foam shapes (which stuck very well).  The cute hair strips and shiny ears are pieces of packaging stapled onto the bags.  Stapling worked really well for edges where little fingers can’t reach on the inside.  The pipe cleaners were simply punched through  the material.  Ideally, you could push the pipe cleaner through one hole and push it out through a second hole, then tie or curl.  Most of these, however, were simply twisted on the inside to stay–not recommended for little hands.

Thriftie Gifties – dedicated to Mom.

Out of clutter find SIMPLICITY.
From discord find HARMONY.
In the middle of difficulty lies OPPORTUNITY.
     — Albert Einstein (1879-1955), US (German-born) physicist
 

I don’t want to scare you away by saying the word “crafts”.  I am really not a crafty person at all.  Not artistic either.  I am actually quite sloppy and in many ways even impatient.  This is exactly why I love organizing, cleaning and poetry.  I can find simplicity in the midst of chaos.   And the coolest thing about it is that in the process of finding simplicity, I am being creative.  I am creating simplicity.  A basic statement, but really think about it.  Creating simplicity!

What does all of this have to do with my Thriftie Gifties title and my mom?  When I was in grade school, I was invited to quite the shin-dig of a birthday party, at least it was in those olden times.  (I am almost 50 in case you’re wondering.)  The entire class was invited and they even had a clown for entertainment.  My very busy mom of eight (last baby brother not yet born) somehow managed to buy a lovely, modest gift for my birthday friend.  I don’t remember a thing about the gift, but what my mom did with it stuck with me forever.  We had no wrapping paper in the house.  I was mortified.  My mom went to the messy stack of newspapers in the corner of the living room and pulled out the funnies.  By then I was in tears.  She assured me it was a very neat idea.  I did not believe her.  I hated her.  Of course I had no choice but to nervously march into the party with my ridiculous funnies-wrapped package.  What did all the kids say?  I don’t even remember (because they probably didn’t even notice).  I do remember being mad at my mom for a long time.  Yet . . . deep down . . . just a little . . . I was proud that my mom was so darn smart!

Well of course she was smart.  Wouldn’t our parents and grandparents be rolling their eyes at how nowadays we “re-purpose” our old bath towels, etc. and then write glamorous blogs about it?  I’m sure many people have used nothing but newspaper for wrapping paper all their lives.  Simple ingenuity has always just been about playful common sense.  It’s there for everybody.  A game we can all play.

So in memory of my mom and all of our smart elders, I’m sharing some fun gift bags you can make for absolutely free.  A reminder that I am a bit sloppy and impatient.  I am happy getting the idea but not so much making it look perfect.   If my amazing, artistic daughters would have been in charge of this project we’d have Martha Stewart squirming.  Tonight you’re stuck with just me.  But that’s okay.  I’ve shared the simple idea and hopefully thrown in a few harmonic thoughts.  Just do your own thing.  Decorate with magazine cut-outs or search the junk drawer for string and doo-dads.  Whatever.  It’s now your opportunity . . .

Save, wash and dry all kinds of paper/foil/plastic bags.  (This drives my hubby crazy!)  You’ll need to turn them inside out, unless you want to be super funky and leave as is.

For bows and ribbons, you can use almost anything.  I am fond of cutting (or just tearing as I did here) pieces from the ends of bags.  May not be very strong though so be careful when tying.  The best thing ever is large dog food bags.  The material is super sturdy and looks cool too.

For bows, just scrunch the material, then tie with whatever.

Use the fun dog picture or turn it over for silver.

Stryofoam sheets from shipped products is fun stuff to.  I made a bow but it ended up looking a little strange.

Oops I think it’s a headless angel (an idea for future post?)

Purple bow helped a little (or is it now a headless angel with a purple bow?)

Okay hopefully by now you get the idea!

Bits and pieces of fascinating possibilities.

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