Monday, May 15, 2017

Let's Get Organized--Part 3

In the last of my "Let's Get Organized" series, I'm going to show you how I store my papers, embellishments and ribbon.  Shown above is my 12 x 12 paper storage system, which I bought years ago from Sam's Club.  I sort by color.  Decorative papers are on the top in each drawer, solids below.  Above the cart I have plastic containers for specialty papers (Christmas, Halloween, etc).  I'll also admit that I have about 15 pads of paper simply stored on top of rolling carts.  In addition, I have an accordion folder full of coordinating papers.  These came that way so I left them!  
 Small 6 x 6 pads are stored in a fabric shoe bin.  My 8.5 x 11 paper is stored in plastic containers, except for white, black and kraft.  Those are in an office stacking letter tray, right on top of the counter and ready to use.  You'll notice that I use my label maker on everything.   
I also have a system for storing my scraps, which I've written about before.  You can see it Here.
 Right in front of my paper work station is this wonderful round embellishment holder.  My sister bought this for me as a gift and I filled it right up.  She got it from Hobby Lobby and I was able to buy additional clips.  I organize by theme, holiday and letters/numbers.
I also store tags, eyelets, and other embellishments in plastic  trays in a middle cabinet drawer.  They are sorted and stored all together for easy access.
This side of the studio has a lot going on!  Dominating the wall is my ribbon holder.  I made this myself, using four laminated shelving pieces.  I screwed them into a box and hung on the wall.  Tension curtain rods hold a majority of my ribbon.  I really should make another one but I've since hung a lot more stuff on the wall, so there's no more room!  The rest of my ribbon is stored below in plastic shoe bins.  The covered bin on the bottom shelf of my ribbon holder holds all my scrap pieces.  I never waste a piece of ribbon!  lol.  Below the holder are stacking washi tape holders that I got from Michaels.  I love that each row has a strip of metal "teeth" that help you tear the tape.  To the right of that are my Stickles holders...made for me by by Dad.  These store the glitter glue upside down so that they are always ready to use.
I hope you've enjoyed the "highlights" of my studio storage solutions.  I'm always looking to organize better as I firmly believe that it makes creating so much easier and stress free.
Here's a couple of photos of my studio...
You'll notice that I like bright colors on my walls and bulldogs for my decorations!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Let's Get Organized--Part 2

Ready to organize your rolls of vinyl and/or stamps? 
Here's how I keep those supplies organized and easy to find in my studio.  
Maybe you will find this info useful for your own crafty organization!
In the photo above, you'll see my hanging system for storing vinyl.  I bought the clothes bar from Ikea.  To the left I have the mats hanging up with clip style hangers.  The vinyl is stored on Swing Arm Pants Hangers.  I store by color and type. 
Below the hanging vinyl I have a wine storage rack that holds specialty vinyl. 
Next is stamp storage.  I've tried several systems with my wood block stamps and finally settled on breaking up all the Stampin' Up sets and storing them by themes...all the Christmas in one plastic box, all the Easter in another, etc.  I bought a large plastic silverware/utensil holder to store all my sentiment stamps.  I can put everything, including stamp blocks, in a bottom drawer in the studio. 
On the counter above the wooden stamp storage, I have these plastic drawer systems holding all of my clear stamps.  Stamps are again sorted by type:  alphas, birthday, Christmas, etc.  Because clear stamps have a habit of falling off (and getting lost), I like being able to pull the drawer out and take it to my work station.   If a stamp does fall off of it's plastic, I can find it in the drawer.
Here's a tip for keeping clear stamps sticky:  mix up one part of Aleene's Tack-It Over & Over  with one part water.  Brush on the back of your stamp and let dry.  Perfect adhesion!!  
I mix up a small batch and store it in a little plastic container.  Can you find it in the picture above?
I hope these tips on organization helped make your crafting a bit less messy!
Next week we'll finish up with some organizational hints for your paper, ribbon and embellishments.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Let's Get Organized--Part 1

It's been a while since I did a post on how I organize my studio.  I've found that when things are organized correctly--like things together--I have a much more productive day.  I get very frustrated when I can't find a tool or supply and hate to waste time looking for it.  So after every project, I put everything away and start each new project fresh.  It works for me and I love having a neat studio!
So if you're looking for tips on how to organize your supplies, here are some of my tips and tricks.  
Paint Storage
For my acrylic paints, I have have this lovely lazy susan style holder (above).  Yup, all four sides totally full!  I organize alphabetically by brand.  Each bottle has the color name written on the top.  I also have a cupboard where I have extra paint colors.  Also labeled and stored alphabetically in short cardboard boxes.  In that same cupboard I have my water color, fabric and oil paints as well as brushes used for those particular mediums.  There are also spray paints and sealers plus a few flat canvases. 
Since I am currently painting lots of furniture, my chalk paint is out on my main painting table.  The open jars are on the yellow lazy susan, while extras are stored in the box.  You'll see that some other paints are there as well.  Between the lazy susan, cardboard box and plastic tote, I have all the paints corraled and tidy and easy to find. 
Ink Storage
Behind the paint I have some of my inks.  All the Distress Inks are labeled and put into this plastic spinner.  Clipped to the sides are the sample sheets...perfect for matching up the right color.  The top holds alcohol inks and patinas.  On a little shelf to the right of this I have my Distress markers. And next to that are my Archival Inks, displayed in an upcycled wine box.  Other less used inks, are stored on a small vertical shelving unit on a counter top across from this area.
I have distress ink applicators for each color (a tip from Tim Holtz himself) but before that, I had one applicator and just changed out the pads for each color.  I love this little spinning carousel that holds them!  
Next week, I'll share a few more organization tips on storing vinyl and stamps.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Triple French Themed Redux

I had three items in my stash that needed to be upcycled.  
I decided to go with a French theme, using some of my favorite techniques.  
First was this oak card box.  I removed the inner divider and covered the bottom with decorative paper.  I changed the inside and outside with a distressed white chalk finish.  On the top, I added this lovely French label transfer. 
The larger box shown above started out as a beat up wooden cigar box.  The hinges were past redemption so I simply glued the box shut and went to work, giving it a distressed white and vintage green chalk finish.  A lovely French transfer finishes it off. 
Finally there is this small mirror that started out as an unfinished piece from Ikea.  I wanted to try out the lovely decor molds I've had for about a year.  These are gorgeous vintage style molds from Prima Marketing.  For my first try, I used Plaster of Paris.  I had some issues with getting the right consistency but I found that even if the molded pieces broke, I could glue them together on the board and once painted, they looked perfectly fine.  In fact the upper right embellishment lost a large chunk but looks awesomely ancient on the piece.  After gluing on the plaster pieces, I gave everything a shabby vintage chalk paint finish.  Then I stamped various images all over.  A coat of wax protects the piece.  I really love these molded embellishments and will be sure to buy more!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Cheerful Birthday Cards

Coordinating designer paper scraps were used in these two cheerful cards.  The top card was accented with matching turquoise ribbon and sentiment strip.  I created the embellishment using a Sizzix die cut.  I distressed the edges and added details with a brown pen.  A bronze brad holds the two layers together. 
This card is accented with a simple stamped sentiment.  I colored the letters with Distress Markers and distressed the edges with Vintage Photo Distress Ink.
I always enjoy using up scraps in cards!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Paint Review and Two Painted Tables

I recently purchased a new-to-me paint to try on my upcyled furniture-- Decoart Americana Satin Enamels.  I was intrigued by this paint because not only was it branded as for furniture, it also had some great features.  Like chalk paint, you do not need to sand or prime before using it.  And according to the directions, no need to varnish!  And being an enamel, I knew I'd get a nice shine too.  So I bought the basics--black and white--and decided what to use them on.
While this wouldn't be a great paint for shabby style furniture, I thought a perfect test run would be to paint this shaker table.  And I was very pleased with the results!
The black took two coats to cover the legs.  The shine was amazing and the finish was smooth.  I left the legs varnish free as suggested.  The white top took three coats of white.  The white seemed a bit thin but once I got to full coverage, I was pleased with the look.  I also used the black to hand letter the French design.  I didn't have to thin the paint with water to be able to do the lettering.  For added use protection, I did add several coats of varnish to the top.   
Another thing I wanted to see was how this paint would look with chalk paint.  I envision using it for shiny tops instead of gel stain.  On the table above, the bottom was painted in chalk paint and waxed, giving it a shabby matte finish.  The top, done in white enamel (again, it took three coats) has a beautiful glossy shine, without having to varnish!  
The verdict?  If you are looking for a paint that has built in shine and durability, I recommend Americana Satin Enamel.  I plan on purchasing a few more colors to use on my upcycled furniture.  Of course I'll share them with you when I do!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Project: Vintage Style Note Holder

Recently I needed to make several favor gifts for an event I put on.  I had these wooden post it note holders in my stash and decided they would be perfect.  My dad made these holders for me but you can buy them very inexpensively from Cabin Crafters.  Shop your local dollar store for the actual note pads.
Here's how to make your own: 
First I grabbed a lovely vintage graphic from my favorite site, The Graphics Fairy.  I placed the image into PhotoShop and created the layout I wanted.  Then--VERY IMPORTANT--I mirrored the image and printed it out using a laser printer. 
Next I painted the wood note holders using Americana Decor Chalky Finish (Timeless).  While they were drying I "fussy" cut each of my printed images out. 
To transfer, I used the Polycrylic method.  
To do this, simply paint a coat of poly where your image will be placed.   While still wet, brush poly over the reversed side of the image.  Flip the image over onto the wet surface.  Brush another coat of poly on top of your image and smooth out, using your fingers or brush.  You want to make sure that there are no bubbles trapped under the paper image. 
Now let the image dry.  It doesn't take long.  I like to do this in the morning and then come back to it after lunch.  Once dry, you want to wet the paper to reveal the image.  You can use a sponge or spray bottle but get the paper as wet as possible.  Let it sit for about 10 minutes and then wet again.  Take your finger and gently start to rub the paper away from the image.  It may take more water spritzes to remove all the paper.  If some of the transfer comes off, you can leave it as is (giving your piece a true vintage look) or you can touch up with black paint. 
Once I removed the paper, I gave the top of the note holder one more coat of poly.  I did this because I wanted to shade around the image and if I didn't, any remaining paper around the image grabs the paint.  Once that was dry, I used brown acrylic paint to shade the image and around the letters. 
I also shaded around the entire holder bottom, sides, and back.  I then flyspecked the entire piece.  Once everything was dry, I brushed on a final coat of polycrylic. 
Using double sided tape, add a strip to the back of a post it note stack and attach the pad to the holder.
And here it is!  A lovely and practical gift.  
Here's a look at the rest of the holders I made.  
I chose graphics to fit each person's personality.