Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 | Favorite Projects and Posts

Because all the other bloggers are doing it, I felt that I, too, should offer a Year in Review for Wisconsin Magpie ... So here it is.
Best of 2016 Blog Posts
 Let me start by saying, I don't have a whole lotta posts to choose from when compiling my "Best Of" list because I fell off the blogging bandwagon for a while.
Wisconsin Magpie Best of 2016 Blog Posts
Thankfully, my husband and I took a couple of vacations that helped me get back on track. I love writing posts about our travels. They're basically a digital scrapbook for me, but hopefully a few other people find them entertaining or informative, too.
Wisconsin Magpie Best of 2016 Blog Posts
Personally, I love to read other people's travel blogs, especially if they're writing about some place we've gone to before or are thinking about going to in the future. (The best part of the travel blog is that if you get bored, you can just close your browser window and walk away, unlike in the old days when you'd have to sit through your Uncle Frank's entire slide slow, and just when you thought you were free, he'd pull out another carousel of Grand Canyon pictures.)
Wisconsin Magpie Best of 2016 Blog Posts
Anyhoo, if anybody is still with me, in March we went to the U.S. Virgin Islands. Then in September we went to Mackinac Island. You can click on the links if you want to read the posts. Or not.
Wisconsin Magpie Best of 2016 Blog Posts
In addition to my travel posts, I did some fun project posts. One of my favorites was my Ohio Star Quilt Square Chair.
Wisconsin Magpie Best of 2016 Blog Posts
I love the chair, but when I shared the post on Hometalk, most of the comments were about the table I had it sitting next to. Some of the commenters said the table should be my next project; others said the table was stunning as is in all its weathered, chippy glory. For the record, I am in the "stunning as is" camp.
Wisconsin Magpie Best of 2016 Blog Posts
Another favorite project post was the one about my Twine-wrapped Dog and Cat ...
Wisconsin Magpie Best of 2016 Blog Posts
... mostly because they were thrift store rescues. (Cue the Sarah McLachlan ballad here.) I am a sucker for a good thrift store rescue. 
Wisconsin Magpie Best of 2016 Blog Posts
In October I made this Halloween sign ...
Wisconsin Magpie Best of 2016 Blog Posts
... and in November I made my little Turkey Robot (from a vegetable steamer and various other metal parts). The Turkey Robot is my all-time No. 1 most-viewed and most-pinned post.
Wisconsin Magpie Best of 2016 Blog Posts
 If I die tomorrow, I'm pretty sure my obit will read, "Lisa Cestkowski, inventor of the Turkey Robot, died at her home today, surrounded by her beloved cats, Calvin and Hobbes, who are also the two prime suspects in her murder and stand to inherit her entire fortune, which, unbeknownst to them, consists wholly of knickknacks, geegaws and broken thrift store 'finds' that, much to her husband's chagrin, she had stockpiled in the couple's basement with intentions to make over into 'something fabulous.'" Or something like that.
Wisconsin Magpie Best of 2016 Blog Posts
My post about my collection of Secondhand Stars also got a lot of page views and comments. (And by "a lot" I mean 285 and 8, respectively.) (Quit judging me.)
Wisconsin Magpie Best of 2016 Blog PostsI ended the year blogging about this little Train Case Makeover ...
Wisconsin Magpie Best of 2016 Blog Posts
... which garnered (even by my standards) very few page views. (In part, I think the low page views were due to the fact that I forgot to put links to it on social media, so I'm including it in this post, in hopes that at least somebody sees it.)
Wisconsin Magpie Best of 2016 Blog Posts
My last post of the year (except for the one you're reading now) was about a shirt that I stenciled for a university that doesn't exist.
Best of 2016 blog posts
So there you have it. Thanks for following along. And please, share links to any posts you love/like/are not totally repulsed by. It is great for my ego when I go to my analytics page and see that someone other than my mother has been reading my blog. 

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Monday, December 26, 2016

Stenciling | A (Fictitious College) Shirt

For reasons that aren't entirely clear to me, my son decided he wanted a Wisconsin State University shirt for Christmas this year ... which posed a bit of a problem because, as those of you who live in this neck of the Midwestern woods know, there is no such school as Wisconsin State.
fabric painted shirt
Apparently there is, or was at some time, a movement afoot to rename UW-Milwaukee Wisconsin State. I don't think it's gained much traction, but my son, a UW-Milwaukee student, is still holding out hope.
freezer paper stencil
 Anyhoo, since I couldn't go to the college bookstore and buy a Wisconsin State shirt, I had to make a stencil and create my own. I started by trimming a piece of freezer paper to 8 1/2 by 14 inches, then feeding it through my computer printer and printing the words "Wisconsin State" (in Rockingham Condensed) on the flat/non-shiny side.
stenciling a shirt
I weeded out all the letters with an Xacto knife.
stenciling on fabric
 I saved the inside of the O and the A, but the rest of the letters were waste.
stenciling on fabric
(It's times like this when I wish I had one of those fancy die cutting machines ... )
stenciling on fabric
 Once I had the letters trimmed, I positioned the stencil.
stenciling a shirt
 Then I ironed it onto the shirt. 
stenciling a shirt
 The shiny side of the freezer paper adhered to the fabric.
textile medium and acrylic craft paint
 I made my own fabric paint out of one part of textile medium and two parts of acrylic craft paint.
fabric paiint
 Then I pounced the paint on with a stencil brush.
fabric paint
I tried not to go too heavy with the paint because the thicker the paint, the more likely it is to crack.
fabric paint
Plus, I wanted the shirt to have a vintage look, to hint at Wisconsin State's long and storied history ...
freezer paper stencil
 Once I had the letters all painted, I peeled up the stencil. 
freezer paper stencil
Then I just had to flip the shirt inside out and iron it to heatset the paint.

Linking to:
Talk of the Town

Monday, December 19, 2016

Makeover | Chalk-painted Suitcase

train case makeover after
Here's a little train case I picked up at a thrift store ...
suitcase makeover before
... 'cept when I bought it, it looked like this.
suitcase makeover before
 Cute little case, right? Except for the tragic 1990s floral tapestry.
suitcase makeover before
 I like to use old suitcases for storage (because a shelf full of vintage suitcases is much nicer to look at than a shelf full of Rubbermaid totes).
chalk painted suitcase
 Although this suitcase didn't qualify as "vintage," I liked it, and I thought I could neutralize the grandma-y flower print with ...
chalk paint
... black chalk paint. (IMHO, a little black chalk paint makes everything better.)
chalk-painted train case
I spritzed some water onto the case first, so the paint would go on a little thinner and work itself into the weave of the fabric.
chalk-painted train case
Then I started painting.
chalk-painted train case
 I didn't worry about taping anything off. I just cut into the edges as carefully as I could. I got a little paint on the suede trim and the hardware here and there, but it wiped right off with a damp rag. 
suitcase makeover
 Here's what the case looked like after the first coat. It was a little splotchy and some of the flowers still showed through. 
train case makeover
So I just kept  spritzing and painting until all vestiges of the flowers were gone.
train case makeover
 Honestly, it's impossible to tell that the case was painted. 
 It looks like it always looked this way.
suitcase makeover
Here's the inside. The lining was already grey and in great condition, so I didn't have to do anything to it ...
chalk-painted suitcase
... except fill it with stuff. 
painting a suitcase
So, one last time: Here's the "before" ...
chalk paint
... and the "after." 

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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Christmas | Silver and Gold

silver and gold Christmas decorations
One of my favorite things to decorate at Christmastime is the hutch in my dining room.
Christmas storage
Mostly because I get to open this suitcase...
vintage suitcase
 ... which contains all of this.
Christmas decor
Nothing says "Christmas" like a suitcase full of shiny baubles.
hutch decorated for Christmas
A few of them end up on our tree, but most of them go into the hutch ...
hutch decorated for Christmas
... nestled among the dishes and glasses there.
hutch decorated for Christmas
I try to keep the hutch looking classy ...
hutch decorated for Christmas
... but sometimes a little kitsch creeps in.
hutch decorated for Christmas
... because, ceramic deer and faux snow.
hutch at Christmastime
I love white dishes and shiny ornaments ...
Christmas decor in dining room
... but not nearly as much as I love ceramic deer and plastic snow. 
silver and gold ornaments
So the hutch ends up being a marriage of classic ...