Monday, December 21, 2009

Black and White Mosaics

Essentially a craft (mind you I did use this same technique for the back splash picture). Although my dad (who is a contractor) didn't say it was "the wrong way" to do this, it's not the most professional way to go about it (ie he would never do this but he did say that it was incredibly solid). The main issue is because you are going to be breaking and placing these pieces by hand- therefore there is some unevenness to the surface- you can minimize this by choosing tiles that are the same thickness.

The trick to these mosaics is using 2 colours of grout along side black and white tile pieces (I use grey as well)

Click on the tutorial below for a run through of the process. I assure you this is easier than you may think- just remember the safety goggles. You will thank me later.

Total cost was around $50 for a back splash, a 3'x3'table top and tray.
  • Glue (I used Lepage "No Nails") will have to be super strong glue for wood and ceramic. this will set you back around $10 a tube (I used 2 tubes).
  • Grout in each colour will be around $10-15 each box
  • Tiles I purchased from the ReStore (because you don't need all of the blacks and all of the whites to be matchy matchy) and i got a million for around $10 (okay like 15 really big tiles- I still have extra)

The following you tools you will also need:

  • safety goggles
  • towel or thick piece of canvas to wrap the tiles in (this will get ruined)
  • hammer
  • gloves to protect your fingers from cuts, glue and grout
  • when grouting you will need a damp rag to wipe off excess grout from tiles

Cooking and Baking

Look at all of this food! Until last month, I had never even baked a pilsbury cinnamon roll! I'm starting to enjoy my adventures in the kitchen, while saving a tonne of money making from scratch. So far not too many mistakes. That second tourtiere didn't stand a chance.

closet sachets

Yawn. Kinda boring I know, but very important in cold weather locations where we have to store half of our cloths for half of the year. Lavender is a great choice, but not always available in all locations. Here's a list of other ingredients that work well at repelling moths as well as smell great (try combining a few ingredients):

  • ceder chips/ shavings

  • dried lemon peel

  • dried rosemary

  • whole cloves

  • peppercorn (definitely combine this with another ingredient)

  • peppermint

  • cinnamon

The pattern below is what I drew and printed out. I cut out the shapes and folded each piece in 1/2 to make a half circle. Then I ironed onto an old dish towel- however the iron on was more plastic than one would want for this purpose. I therefore followed the lines on the wings and ran it through my sewing machine (without the thread) to perforate tiny hole- it worked out quite well- and smells quite nice. Attach a loop of ribbon at the top before sewing shut if you want these to hang.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Painted Glass

Easy to make and feminine, next I'm going to paint some wine bottle vases. To make, draw out a simple design, tape it to the under side of glass, then apply nail polish. If you make a mistake simply clean with nail polish remover, or toss in the recycling bin! This is only for decoration, and should not be used for food. Hand wash.

Printed Pillow

As soon as I saw the post by Sara aka creative Jewish mom on I knew I had to try this out- and an old shirt was saved and transformed into a midcenturyish pillow. Follow Sara's tutorial here on how to make the "stamps". Because I printed mine onto fabric, I used a fabric medium that, when mixed with acrylic paint, I supposed to work better with fabric - or something. IMHO years of art school tells me that once the acrylic paint dries on fabric- it's not going anywhere- so I don't think it's necessary at all.

Some tips to add:
  • at first draw very very lightly, this way you can adjust the design before you commit
  • the thicker and more filled in, the better the outcome (see the acorn in the detail picture)
  • use scotch tape on the back to make a "handle" before applying paint and printing -this will give your fingers someting to hold and make it less messy
  • the more you use the stamp, the cooler the result

Friday, December 11, 2009

Moose Trophy

One day, once I've collected enough cardboard boxes, I will use my projector to make a life sized one (which means it's going to be HUGE). In the mean time I've assembled this prototype. I glued the print outs on to poster board, but I got a blister. I would suggest cereal or chip box type cardboard instead- you may just need some glue to keep it in place with thinner cardboard. Click on the images below to enlarge/ save. If I did it right the pattern should fit nicely on to two 8.5" x 11" sized paper.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Handwarmer beautifully modeled by my husband. Recipes vary (some use corn because the rice can get humid), but be sure to use %100 wool or cashmere (natural fire retardants) and don't microwave for more than one minute at a time.

  • 2 pieces of 100% wool or cashmere scraps, sewn together, leaving a small opening to fill

  • a mixture of 1/3 cup of rice, the contents of 2 peppermint tea bags, 1 tsp salt

Actually most smelly teas will work fine, I just like peppermint. Pour mixture into the wool/cashmere pouch, sew the pouch shut, and you are ready to microwave.

Igel the Pincushion

Not terribly original, but still makes a great gift- to yourself! This little guy, who is made of felt, has proven very handy indeed- and he took no time to make. Click the image to enlarge/ save. This is just my take on a hedgehog pincushion, google the term, and a few can be found on the web. One thing I forgot to add was, before you close him shut with your running stitch, you will have to stuff him a little with some fiber fill/ stuffing.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The snow and cold are now here to stay

You'd think with all this free time I would be blogging like crazy. The reality is I've been rather depressed. No work = no identity. No worries, things are turning around slowly, we have meetings with people and potential clients. And carefully we are wading through business plans and lawyers. Slowly but surely.

Slowly but surely the brother in law is getting better- the recent tracheotomy has seem to have done wonders, maybe with a bit of luck he'll be out of the hospital by Xmas. Fingers crossed.

A special thanks to Heather of for posting my feather tree. Also a thank you to Irene who posted some comments here, reminding me to keep my chin up (and that every where people are feeling the recession).

Best Regards.