Saturday, July 14, 2012

New Toy

I found a new toy online yesterday, but I'll warn you, its pretty addictive. It's called Scribbler Too, and you can find it here
The funny thing is that a long time ago I tried drawing in this style, with lots of connective lines and "spiderweb" effects, but I left it behind when I couldn't see where I could go with it. Art was a lot different in the 1980's when I first tried this... it was enough at the time that my art teacher wasn't thrilled with it.
Now that I have played with this program, I remember how much I really loved drawing like this. Looking at the style now it strikes me as being a little bit of a cross between Tim Burton style and M.C. Escher...not that either one draws in spiderwebs, but it does have a bit of that feel.

Now you, too, can draw in a truly funky and artistic way. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

No More Misplaced Keys.....

One sweet (slightly repurposed) shelf, ready to hold keys, work ID badge, cell phone and wallet.....

Well I never had any intention of posting this to a blog.... after all, the internet is full of crafty guys and gals who not only find the time to craft daily but are also happy to show the world all that they have done.   I didn't even know this was going to be the final result when I first went into it...this was a project that evolved slowly, and without photo documentation along the way (I will try and do better with this on future projects).

I am not a professional, and will be the first one to admit that I often have no idea what it is that I am doing when it comes to painting, staining and general repurposing stuff from one form to another, so please bear with me on this.

I originally bought this picture frame/shelf at a yard sale for fifty cents.  The gal selling it was happy to see it go but couldn't think of what I could possibly do with it as one of the thin board picture backs was missing and another one was bent pretty badly.  A few of the metal prongs that held the pictures in snugly were snapped off, and the frame (originally a very stained white) was not only ugly to look at, but it also had some damage to the edge of the shelf lip on one side where it looked as if something had chewed on it.

Still, for such a low price I couldn't pass it up and figured I would do something with it eventually.  That day came a few weeks later when I found my husband once again wandering around our home and wondering aloud just where were his keys.... and then where was his phone, his wallet and his ID badge for work.

We had tried keeping a basket by the door, but it only ever seemed to receive various receipts, candy wrappers and junk mail, while the above-mentioned essential items invariably were left on kitchen counters, on top of the dryer and, in one instance, in my dresser.  Nothing else seemed to be working, and, by this time the picture frame shelf had finally made its way from the trunk of my car and into the house, so I pulled it out and tried figuring out what I could do with it.

I admit the original plan was just to clean it up, toss in some pretty photos and slap it on the wall next to the front door....this way the Beloved could set all his stuff on the shelf when he walked in at night.  No amount of scrubbing however would make that white paint white again.... so I went to my storage room and pulled out a couple of sample-sized jars of paint to play with (honestly, the sample sizes are perfect for smaller project people such as myself as they can be made into any color you'd like at a very nice price and you aren't stuck with a huge can lying about for the next 10 years.  Also, its a great way to be sure that the shade of Robins Egg Blue that you are just dying over at the store will really look good in your bedroom).

Now we currently live in an apartment.  One that comes with a deck, thankfully, but it isn't conducive to stripping items as the neighbors will definitely object once they walk past the smell (not to mention the landlord who will object to the mess involved).  This item was not solid wood, but was made from a pressed wood product that surely would not enjoy paint stripper.... so I took a chance and slapped a coat of pale blue over the white and prayed it would stick.  It slid around a bit and it took about three thin coats to cover the shelf properly, but I was happy with the I pulled out my spray can of clear coat and went to town with it (yes, I know, furniture bloggers around the world are gasping in dismay at my choice of using something that came out of a spray can, but for small projects its the easiest to go with and its what I had on hand after repainting a set of yard sale lamps).

Now that I had my blue frame it was time to consider just what to do to finish the project.  I remembered having some small hooks lying about that I had pulled off another "find" (I love to yard sale, so there is always something around that I can steal parts from).  They were already painted with a chippy blue that looked perfect with my paint job, so on they went.

I went back and forth for a couple of days on which photos of mine I could showcase in the frame, when I realized that with the hooks now in place the Beloved could now hang his keys.  I looked at the frame with its four photo slots just staring at me when my brain mentally counted 1-2-3-4... four letters in the word keys!

I played around with the idea of hopping into my Adobe Illustrator program and just creating some fun letters to print out, when I remembered that backroadsphotography ( had wonderful alphabet photos available.  Now I admit, seeing as how the owner is my brother, I just went to his website, played with the alphabet generator (a fun tool to play with) until I found the letters I liked.  I sent Jason an email, asking for the letters and, being the nice guy that he is he sent them over without delay.  Happily I sent the images off for printing....

...and here is what we ended up with.
The final piece, ready for hanging
Detail of the side.... its these "groovy" sidewalls that got me to bring this home. Check out how cute those hooks are!

Trust me, it looks even better on the wall than it does on the grass....

Detail of the letter E that I liked, courtesy of Backroads Photography

Detail of the letter K that I chose, courtesy of Backroads Photography

Feel free to contact Jason at Backroads if you are interested in purchasing any of his fun lettering... there is a wide variety to choose from, and he adds more as he gets them. You can contact him at for more information.

If you want to duplicate the look of my shelf you will need the following letters: K-02, E-04, Y-01 and S-04.

Paint used was Valspar brand, but Lowe's failed to put the color sample sticker on the side, so forgive me if I am wrong, but I think the color was Sky Blue #1. I can't recall the color name properly because I bought the jar months ago for a different project and then went with another color, so the name never had much of a chance to stick in my head...

Also, just a few hints... you can build up dings, cracks and holes with putty before painting. Missing backing pieces for photo frames can be replaced with cardboard, and missing prongs in the back can be replaced with small scrapbook brads.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Independence Day 2012 - Freedom Festival Balloon Launch

 5 am. 

The day was full of birdsong when my alarm went off.  I hit snooze, rolled over and attempted to get a little more sleep, but it refused to come.  Grumpily I looked to the window, noted that it was still fairly dark outside, and crawled out of bed.  I slumped off to the bathroom to run my shower, berating myself for stupidly staying up until after two am that morning.

6 am found Richard and I on the road, making our way to Provo where the annual Freedom Festival balloon launch was being held.  I had read online that the balloons would start filling for launch at 6:30 so we knew we still had time.  However, it quickly became apparent that a lot of people had planned to attend the same event, and we found ourselves in a bit of a traffic jam.  We found a place to park a few blocks away and made our way to the field, joining the crowd of people all heading in the same direction.

When we got to the part I was amazed at how many people had packed themselves into a space the size of a football field. 

Then I focused on the balloons and forgot the crowds around me.  The sun had not yet cleared the nearby mountains, but the light that filled the air lit these wonders with a translucency that was surreal.  The event must have actually started at 6, because many of the balloons were close to being filled already...

I pulled out my camera and began snapping shot after shot, wandering from one slowly filling balloon after another, utterly entranced as balloons, filled, began launching into the air and drifting off slowly, like seeds blown from a puff of dandelion.

Here are just a few of the shots from that morning. Tomorrow I will share some of my favorite shots from the parade that followed...