Friday, January 26, 2018

A Pack Rat's Guide Continues...

I little while ago, I posted a Facebook Live video feed of my messed up, maxed out crop room I fondly refer to as Crafty Neighbor Studios.  It’s a wreck.  Between the chaos of the holidays, my niece moving in for a bit, and the “purge” cycle my husband is going through, it has accumulated a lot of stuff, and now I have to find a place to put all of it.  Whether that is safely stored in my shelves, tossed in the trash, sold in a garage sale, or donated to ScrapDenton remains to be seen, but I have to do something with it and I have to do something NOW!  Just watch the video, and you’ll see what I’m talking about!

So this video reminded me of some blog posts I did many moons ago about decluttering and organizing, and they have some great tips and info that bears repeating.  If you weren’t around then, I urge you to check out these 4 articles.  I think they’ll help.  And with any luck, I will have more tips to share with you as I clean up this big mess and get my studio back to being my happy place where I love to create!  Until then, please enjoy:

Happy Spring Cleaning!


Wednesday, January 17, 2018

New Year, New Everything

I know it's been a while since I posted.  There have been a lot of dramatic changes in the Murray household over the last few months.  For those of you who don't know, my younger sister, Patsy, passed away on September 1 after a lengthy illness.  She left a big hole in this world, and we are all learning to cope with that.  She was survived by a daughter, my niece, who is disabled and was dependent on her.  After spending some time with my mother, my niece has come to stay with me, and we are trying to help her become independent.  It's a long process, and very time consuming, but we are excited about what the future holds.

So in the mean time, I've had about a gazillion irons in the fire.  One of them that pops up this time every year is cleaning and reorganizing.  I don't know about you, but I always have to do a lot of reorganizing right after the holidays.  I have to find a place for all the stuff we bought and received as gifts.  Then I have my semi-annual scrapbook garage sale coming up this weekend, so I need to go through all my craft supplies to see what I can get rid of.  But that's not all.  It has spread across the whole house.  We cleaned out the tupperware cabinet and I reorganized my closet.  We've also had to clean out one of the spare bedrooms (aka the other craft supply store room) for my niece to move into.   We're so serious about cleaning and reorganizing right now that my husband has adopted a word of the year -- "purge". So 2018 is the year of the purge, and we're eyeballs deep in it.

Another thing that happens in January for the last few years is that I start a new planner.  I'm so hooked on the 365 Happy Planners by Me and My Big Ideas that this year I've actually started two!  I moved to one of the "Big" planners for my everyday memory planning -- that way I can just use standard 8.5" x 11" paper in it without having to trim it down.  I'm liking the bigger format.  It gives me lots more room to play.  Starting this year, I am moving my fitness and wellness tracking to a separate planner, so I went with the Mini fitness planner, also by MAMBI.  I'm having to adjust to it not having exactly the format I want, but I'm making it work.

So that brings me to today's project...some charm holder/page markers for my planners.  I was inspired to make these by some I had seen on Easy.  I was amazed at how simple they were to assemble, and I had so much fun, I just might make a few more!

Here's the supplies you need to start with:

Recycled plastic, chain, assorted jump rings, eyelets, charms.

Crop-o-dile, small jewelry pliers.  Not pictured: paper trimmer and Arc System hole punch

The plastic I used for my charm holder was actually the plastic wrapper that came on my fitness planner, but you could use any kind of thin plastic, as long as the hole punch works on it.  The ones I saw on Easy used colored plastic such as you might find on a report cover or a plastic binder or file folder.  I just happened to have the clear plastic wrapper laying around, so I wanted to try it.  I cut them to size, rounded the corners, and punched the holes.  It all cut very easily with my regular scrapbooking tools.

I discovered a few things when I added the eyelets.  I tried 3 different methods trying to achieve a nice look.  The first was with my Crop-o-dile.  As you can see, it smashed the eyelet pretty well, but it was an ugly and uneven mess on the back side.  Then I went to my spring-loaded eyelet punch, but this particular eyelet was a lot harder than some others I've had and I had a really hard time getting it to smash.  The third eyelet was done with an eyelet washer and the spring loaded eyelet setter.  It didn't flatten the eyelet out as much as the Crop-o-dile, but the washer gave it a nice, finished look on the back side.  One other thing I will note:  I used the small size eyelets for my project because I wanted the look I could get using colored eyelets, however, I think that the larger sized eyelets might actually be better in this case.

After setting the eyelets, I assembled a small length of chain with a few charms.  Here's the finial project:

Well, that's all for now.  I hope you enjoyed my little planner project, and I hope you'll stay tuned for more fun projects coming up this year!  Until then, go do something crafty!

#mambi, #happyplanner, #embracethediscs

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Quick Last-Minute Decor for Fall/Thanksgiving

I know it’s a little late for a new Thanksgiving/Fall project, but this one was so quick and so cute, I just had to share.  I’ll admit that I did not come up with this project on my own.  I was scrolling through Instagram one day and Hobby Lobby had posted an ad with these cute papier-mâché pumpkins and I just had to give it a try!

I found the paper I wanted and two sizes of papier-mâché pumpkins at Hobby Lobby, but for balance, I wanted a size in-between as well. 

That’s when I decided it didn’t really have to be a papier-mâché pumpkin; this technique would work on plastic or other materials as well.  So I found a couple of Styrofoam pumpkins at Dollar Tree in the perfect size.  I also like that all three sizes are slightly different shapes, so it gives it a bit of interest.

The first step in creating these beauties is to cut your paper into long strips.  I started with 1 inch, but quickly found that was a little too wide for the medium pumpkin, so as I worked on it, I cut some of the strips in half.  

On the second pumpkin, I went to ¾” strips.  The 1” strips worked just fine for the large pumpkin. 

Why does it make a difference? The pumpkin curves—not only up and down, but side to side – and the paper is flat.  If the paper is too wide it will pucker and wrinkle as you lay it down.  The thinner the strips, the less it has to curve, and therefore, the less it will wrinkle.

The length of the strips will vary depending on the size of the pumpkin.  I found that my medium pumpkin was about 8” from the stem down to the middle of the underside, including a bit of overlap.  I cut all my pieces into 8” strips and was left with an equal number of 4” strips.  The easiest way to decide what length you need is to take one of your strips and hold it next to the stem while you wrap it down the side and across the bottom.  Let it cross over the center and then fold it back the direction it came.  That’s where you’ll cut it.  They don’t have to be exact, either, because they are all going to overlap each other on the bottom.  So as long as it covers the bottom center of the pumpkin, you should be good.

Unfortunately, the 12" strips weren't long enough to go all the way to the middle of the large pumpkin.  So when I finished wrapping all the strips around the pumpkin, I covered the spot with a scalloped circle punched from the same paper.

I used Mod-Podge because it’s my go-to collage medium, but you can probably use other glues.  I painted a wide strip of glue onto the pumpkin and also on the back of the strip, that way you know you have good coverage. Start at the stem and wrap the strip down the pumpkin to end at the middle of the bottom.  I worked on the “valleys” first, because it’s easier to cover the curved parts if you don’t have to worry about getting down into the creases.

After I did all the valleys, I made my way around the pumpkin again, this time overlapping the paper where it came out of the valley.  If the wide curved part is too wide for your strip of paper, just cover one side of it.  The main point is to overlap the valley strips.  You might have to go around the pumpkin a third, fourth or even fifth time, depending on how wide those curved parts are, and how big the pumpkin is.

Once I covered the body of the pumpkin, I let it dry overnight and then covered the stem with hemp.  I covered the entire stem with redline tape and then started winding the hemp around.  Start at the top of the stem and stick the twine down to the middle.  Wrap it tightly around the stem, leaving no gaps.  When you get to the bottom of the stem, find a good spot to cut it and tack it down so that it’s tucked up close to the base of the stem.

I also gave my pumpkins a spray of polyurethane to finish them off and protect the glue from getting sticky in humid weather.  You can add to the pumpkins by attaching silk or paper leaves, or even bling.

And here is another view of the finished project.

I hope you enjoyed my fun little project – I sure had fun making it!

Until next time, go do something crafty!