Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Collecting | Secondhand stars

star ornaments
 I've come to the conclusion that I'll collect almost anything. Except for stuff that's made (and marketed) specifically to be collectible. Hummel figurines? I'll pass. Precious Moments? God no. Those faceless Willow Tree people that everybody else loves? Not my thing. collection of stars
But turn me loose in a thrift store or at a garage sale and I guarantee I will find some random castoff that has absolutely no monetary value that I will just HAVE to have.  
And then I'll find another one. And another one. And another one. Case in point: my collection of secondhand stars. Most of them cost next to nothing.
Some of them I've given makeovers, like these two. The star on the left was unpainted cardboard when I bought it. The one on the right was one of those plastic glow-in-the-dark models. I gave them both a coat of copper paint and now they look like they're metal.  
These were all basic pine stars that I've picked up one or two at a time. Most of them were unfinished wood when I bought them. One was bright blue. I painted them all white, glued a little newspaper on them and grunged them up a bit.
collection of stars
This one was obviously a cookie cutter that someone had drilled holes in and turned into a Christmas ornament before casting it off.
star Christmas ornaments
Most of these were bright shiny gold stars, which I didn't love, so I brought them home and painted them silver.
collection of stars
I tend to put out a star or two here and there occasionally, but most of the time, my stars live in a box.collection of stars
With Christmas coming, I decided I'd pull them all out and give them a chance to shine.
They're still just a bunch of random, discarded, picked-up-at-a-thrift-store-for-a-quarter-each stars. 
collection of stars

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Thanksgiving | Turkey assemblage

turkey robot
I've been a little obsessed with "turkey robots" lately. Some people call them "turkey assemblages." Or "upcycled turkeys." Or "steampunk turkeys." Whatever you call them, they're out there, and I love them.
steam punk turkeys
I've been storing images of some of my favorites on Pinterest and keeping my eye out for parts to make my own.
upcycled turkey
 A few weeks ago, I found an old vegetable steamer in a thrift store.
upcycled turkey
I bought it, knowing that the flaps on the basket would make perfect turkey feathers. 
turkey assemblage
I also bought this thing. I'm not sure what it is. Maybe a tea strainer? But when I looked at it, I saw a turkey head.
turkey assemblage
After I got my turkey parts home, I disassembled the steamer and soaked the pieces in vinegar for a few minutes to remove the lime scale.
turkey craft
 The bright, shiny aluminum wasn't working for me, so I slapped a quick coat of brown acrylic craft paint on everything.
Rub 'n Buff on metal
 Then I smeared Spanish copper Rub 'n Buff over the paint. (Rub 'n Buff doesn't adhere very well to shiny metal; hence the basecoat.)
making a turkey from upcycled parts
 When the Rub 'n Buff dried, I buffed the pieces with a soft cloth and started assembling the turkey.
picture hangers
 For the feet, I found one of these picture hangers in the hardware stash in my basement. (And then I had to go down to the hardware store to buy a second one.)
picture hangers
They got a basecoat of brown acrylic craft paint, topped with Spanish copper Rub 'n Buff, too.
making a turkey assemblage
The beak was made from an old earring. I just snipped the end of it off.
Thanksgiving craft
I found a couple of washers for the eyes.
turkey assemblage
I put a bolt through the hole on the bottom of the turkey's head and stacked six nuts on it to act as spacers.
turkey craft project
The head was screwed into a hole in the center of the body.
turkey robot
Here's what the head looks like from the front.
Thanksgiving craft And here's how it's attached in the back
After I had the head attached, I hung the feet off the rim of the turkey's body.
making a turkey from salvaged parts
 Then I glued on his facial features.
metal turkey
 Here he is all done.
turkey assemblage
Linking to:
Funky Junk | Salvaged Junk Projects
Show & Share | Coastal Charm

Monday, October 17, 2016

Halloween | Something Wicked This Way Comes Sign

Something Wicked This Way Comes
 I made a new Halloween sign last weekend. I love doing this kind of stuff: making something out of nothing, starting with just an idea in my head.
empty frame
Or in this case, an idea in my head and a thrift store frame. I had bought the frame a few years back, thinking it was the perfect size (11 1/2 inches by 36 inches) for a subway sign. I could never decide what I wanted the sign to say, though, so it never got made. 
cutting a plywood sign blank
 Finally last week, I figured out what I wanted the sign to say. But before I could make it say anything, I needed a sign blank. Fortunately, my husband always has a supply of plywood in the garage, so I stole one of the pieces, measured and marked it to the dimensions I needed and then sweet talked him into cutting it on his tablesaw for me.
Halloween subway art
I painted the plywood with some black chalk paint I had on hand.
 Double Double Toil and Trouble
Then came the fun part: drawing up the sign in InDesign. The serif font is Copperplate, and the sans serif ones are all some version of Arial. The smiling skull and crossbones is a (really big) Wingding.
subway sign
After I had my sign drawn up, I printed it out, tiling it onto five pages. (My printer added the vertical stripes on its own. Spooky.)
Double Double Toil and Trouble
I lined all the pages up, overlapping the words that spilled from one page onto the next.
Something Wicked This Way Comes
Then I trimmed off the bottom edge of each page and Scotch taped the pieces together.
making a Halloween sign
In order to transfer the design, I rubbed chalk over the back of the paper.
hand-painted sign
Then I flipped the page back over, centered it over my sign blank and traced around the letters.
Halloween subway sign
When I had the letters all traced, I held my breath and started peeling the paper away to see if the design transferred.
Halloween subway sign
Phew. It worked.
hand-painted sign
Except for a couple lines that I missed while tracing, the design transferred perfectly.
Hand-painted sign
Here's the full sign blank (left) with the chalk outlines and the original printer version.Something Wicked This Way Comes
Once I had my outlines, I just painted inside the lines with some white acrylic paint.
Halloween art
I tried working from the outside in, so I wouldn't smear the chalk lines while I was painting.
Double Double Toil and Trouble
To make the dots, I loaded paint onto the rounded end of a paintbush and pressed at somewhat regular intervals.
hand-painted sign
After I had all the letters painted, I wiped off the remaining chalk with a damp rag and then put on a second coat of white paint.
painted sign
 Then I popped the sign blank into the frame and voila: Halloween art.
painted sign
My lettering isn't perfect, but I'm OK with that. I really like the hand-painted look.
Double Double Toil and Trouble
Here's the completed sign in a vignette I set up on my porch. I think it's actually going to hang on the wall in my office/den, but I wanted to play around with it a little first.
Something Wicked This Way Comes

Linking to:
Coastal Charm | Show and Share
Create with Joy | Inspire Me Monday
Mad Skills Party
The Scoop
My Repurposed Life | Talk of the Town
Funky Junk