May 24, 2011

Personalized Clay Rock Magnets

This project came about for a couple of reasons.  1) I love magnets.  2) My kids love rocks.  Put them together, and they turn out pretty cute!
I also had some darling inspiration: This nest with "eggs" inside by Two Shades of Pink - where each egg is stamped with their family's names.  And also, these little balls of love from the crafty CPA

So, I took 2 light, natural colors of sculpy/fimo clay (the kind you bake), and squished them together to make a mottled, marbled looking "rock". 
To make the rock shape I used a little piece of foil for the middle, to save on the amount of clay I used, and to make the rocks lighter in weight. 
As you can see below a little piece of clay can just be wrapped around a ball of foil and pinched together and shaped with fingers until it looks like a rock. 
Since the clay is warm and pliable from squishing it and holding it in your hands, you can use small alphabet stamps to impress words into the clay.
I found this little set for $1 at the craft store, and it worked great!:

I tried to line them up, and space the letters evenly, but imperfection adds to the charm:)  I pressed as far as I could, without impressing the straight lines or corners of the edges of the stamps. 

Below is a picture of the indentations from the letter stamps, before it has been baked or painted.

Bake them according to the clay package instructions.  Here are a few that my daughter, mom and I made. 

Once they are baked and cool fill in the indentations with paint in order to make them stand out. 
I used acrylic paint - and applied it with a little stylist (a very pointy metal utensil, often used for embossing, etc.) 
You could instead try to water down paint, brush it over the letters, and wipe away the excess, but it is difficult.  We tried it and it was hard to wipe away all the excess and still leave enough in the indentation. 
If you don't have a stylist you could try using the tip of a sharp pencil, or mechanical pencil, and dip that into your paint to trace inside the indentation. 
Below is an in progress picture:

I super glued super strong magnets onto the back - and now I can use them on my fridge or these magnetic burner covers I have hanging on the wall near my craft table....

They are super easy, and so fun to personalize!  My mom made some with the words "peace", "joy" and "love" could make a whole rock set for yourself or friends!  Because who doesn't love a personalized (easy-to-make) gift?!

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May 14, 2011

Painted Garden Markers

We planted a our little garden last weekend, and it is always fun to see things grow.  I am sure it costs more to maintain than it actually pays back in produce - but it is also great for the kids to help take care of the plants. 
I made these painted wooden garden markers with my daughter, which is a variation of a set that I made for my friend last year
We used paint stir sticks this time - which are great because they are free from the hardware store!
This time we painted them "faux wood" color (all acrylic paint) - but I am torn as to whether I like this look.  The other set I made was very colorful, which I might like better...(take a look at the pics at the bottom of the post)...but these are still fun :)
I penciled in cursive the name of a plant on each marker (which you may or may not be able to see in the picture above).

I painted a bubble of lighter color around the penciled words...nothing to precise:

And then stenciled in the darker letters over the lighter color...

Also painted a little picture of the plant, and drilled a hole in the top to attach the dragonflies!
The dragonflies are my favorite part. 
They are made from 20 gauge copper wire and the cheapest little assortment of colored beads I could find.
To make them, cut a length of cord about 2 feet long:

Make two loops near the middle of the length, each about 1.5" long - making sure they cross each other.

Make two smaller loops crossing and overlapping the larger loops.  These are the dragonfly's wings.

Thread a bead onto one of the long tails, and loop it over the top/middle of the wings - situating the bead on top.  You can wrap the long tail around the middle once or twice if you want. 

String 4-6 beads onto both of the tails hanging down, pushing them all the way up to meet the wings. 

Loop one of the lengths of wire through the last bead, to secure them all tightly to the top - as shown below:

Secure the dragonfly to the garden marker through the hole you drilled, twisting the remaining cord around the body of the dragonfly to hold it upright. 
I also sprayed mine with a few clear coats of polyurethane, to help protect them from the elements. 

They end up being charming additions to the garden, and the dragonflies add extra color and whimsy that I really like. 

Below are pictures of the first set we made - which are a bit more colorful - and also very fun...

I hope you all get a chance to enjoy growing plants and gardens this spring and summer! 
For us, there is nothing like eating fresh food from the garden :)

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May 7, 2011

Egg Shell Mosaic Fruit Bowl

I have needed a fruit bowl for a while - but I was reluctant to buy plain a metal basket.  I wanted something more colorful, to complement the colors in the kitchen. 

I found this white ceramic bowl very inexpensively at the China Fair store, anticipating that I would decorate it myself somehow.


When I saw this idea at Crafts by Amanda - I was so excited to try it on my fruit bowl!

I saved some of the eggs shells from Easter, and dyed some other eggs that I had blown out and saved previously, making sure that I had different shades of a variety of colors.

I used mod podge to place my egg shells, and covered them in a thick coat to seal them to the bowl. 

I also finished with a clear finish spray.  I don't plan on washing this bowl, just wiping it down as needed - so I hope it holds up well. 
I did a sun scene on one side, and a moon scene on the other, so that I could use a wide array of colors.  I love it!  It adds just the dash of color I was hoping for!

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