Saturday, December 14, 2013

Upcycling with style

I have had more than a few posts about loving the rolled paper anything.  Plus I found that this newspaper upcycling could work in two ways.  The first way is to sell and the second way is to use for containers that are partically free to hold items in the studio.  Why spend money when I can make them for almost nothing.  So I have. 

I started out storing my rolled paper tubes in left over plastic drink containers but have decided after I had cut them down; I cut them down too short.  So back to the drawing board.  I found an empty cornmeal container and went to town. 
I took the mostly plain newspaper tubes and hot glued them to the sides of the container.  It's cardboard so I figured hot glue would take less time than regular white glue. Worked like a charm.  Here is the side view.
 I cut off the tubes even with the top and bottom of the container. No one but me will be seeing these on a regular basis so the fact that some of the tubes were fatter than the others, doesn't matter to me.

I also had one Crystal Light container and did the same thing to it.  I love how heavy it is once it has two coats of paint and three or four coats of varnish.  When I add tubes to it, falling over won't be an issue.
Here is the view from the top to the bottom.  It's messy but again no one is going to be picking it up to do a potiental buyer inspection.

I thought I should try making a smaller version of the of the larger container I made for the smaller tubes.  So this container is from weaving the paper tubes.
In keeping with the upcycling concept, the bottom of the purple container is made from our pizza box from last week on Friday night.  I found a glass and traced it onto the non-greasy parts of the box and cut them out.  The rest is newspaper, glue and paint. 

I wanted to show how the container dips in the middle.  I think it's because I pulled the paper tubes too taunt, then loosened up towards the top again.  When it stands up, it's less noticeable. 
Here is my very first attempt at weaving the newspaper tubes into a vase.  I only used 9 spokes.  If I had not applied a varnish to it after painting, it would not withstand any day to day use.  I am using it, but I made a second one.  I used 17 spokes in that one and it turned out much better.

I think this one is much better.  There is less of a dip in the middle like the purple one and having more spokes makes it stronger even before the varnish. 
Here is the group shot.  I am going to keep making these until they look even and prettier but for now they are containers just for me.  Such a cool craft.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

New Obsession-UpCycling Paper

I have been really busy getting ready for more shows this winter because once Christmas is gone, my sales will drop like a rock.  So I have to get as much expose and back for my buck while I can.  I have been in the studio day and night.  Well, that might be because I have a new craft obsession.  I have always loved paper, but now I really LOVE paper.  This new concentration of my attention is from watching way too many YouTube videos.  

Funny enough, one of the most colorful resources for my latest paper adventure is this catalog.  I had three years of them and decided to toss them.  I thumbed through them to get our personal information off of the cover and the inside to shred.  While looking through them, I found a ton of colors I thought would make great paper tubes.
Look at that purple!  I didn't care there was writing on it.  It would look great anyway.  I found reds, oranges, yellows, deep browns, greens, golds, and the purples.  Perfect!
Look at those beautiful colors.  That all came from a few years of Penzey's catalogs.  Who doesn't think those look like the old Pixie sticks with that sugarly powdered stuff inside??  
So this is what I did with some of the tubes.  It takes a ton of tubes to make these.  I rolled my tubes with a shrimp skewer.  I wanted something small and I got it.  It took forever to roll them and then to mash them flat and then rolling them into a shape.  This is my first oval.  That will be a lovely oval shaped box by the time it's over.
After I roll the tubes, I sort them into dominate colors.  I try to group all the purples together and all the blues together, and so on and so on.  It makes it easier when I am looking for a color to not have to sort through hundreds of tubes.  I have a misc. container but for the most part everything is broken down into color group.  I do have a container (in the back of this photo) that has tubes that were rolled with a dowel.  I kept the fatter tubes together for larger projects.  I did not break those down into color groups, because most of them are from newspaper.  
This is a better picture with some of the colors group together.  So now you see why I now look at "junk" mail differently these days.  Catalogs seem to be my best source.  There is always newspaper but I love the color from the catalogs.  

I will post more pictures of finished boxes as soon as I get the knobs on them.  There are different sizes and shapes and even some that are fun subjects.  So there you have it.  I have been busy!  I take a ton of pictures and have them all downloaded; just need to attach them to words and get them up here for you to see.  I realize that so many of you who read my blog are knitter and crocheters.  I haven't done any of that in a long time.  When Mr. Hunter/Gatherer has his two week shut down from work and craft season is over for a bit, I will pick up the needles and knit something, hopefully!  Until next time.  Keep an eye for me for pretty paper!!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Craft Room Update

I have been meaning to post for a few days but I have been on a tear with paper (pun intended) lately so my attention has been focused on that to the point that my hands have just about had they can take.  

A few years ago I did a post about us changing my youngest son's room into my new craft studio.  We tore out the carpet, repainted and I moved in.  I have changed the arrangement at least three or four times and every time I think it's going to be "the" arrangement.  Not so much.  Okay, not at all.  I have once again come upon a new way of arranging things again and now I finally am going to post the pics.  I know sometimes Mr. Hunter/Gatherer is not amused but he is a good sport about most silly things I do.  We would not be able to stay married this long if he wasn't.
This scene has changed over and over but what still remains is, I still am not happy with it.  It still looks cluttered no matter how many containers I buy, repurpose or embellish.  It's slowly getting there but not quite yet.
In order to have some sort of order I needed to not put all my quilling paper away in an Iris cart.  I just got tired of looking through drawers and never knowing what I did and did not have.  So I already had two small curtain rods mounted on the wall for mobile storage and decided my quilling paper needed to be there instead.

Here is one of the rods done.  I left the paper in it's original packaging so I would know the name and the size of the paper.  I made a lot of wire S hooks so they would hand on the rods. 
This is how it looks now.  There is not really organization to the colors.  I did however group all the same colors together.  That's a ton of paper strips but it makes me happy everyday when I walk in here and see it. 

I bought this magnet board from The Container Store years and years ago and never really used it but now it has a use for all my little canisters that I bought at Michael's.  I put all my tiny magnets up there at the top and there are a few quilled magnets up there too.  There will be more and more as spring comes.

This shelf is from another room and I just stuck some stuff up there that I am not sure I want to see either in my Etsy shop or at craft shows.  I know I should sell them and eventually I will,but just not yet.

This rack was on another wall and got moved.  It holds my jars of buttons, glues, beads, spray fixatives and now had beads that I have made hanging from the bottom.  They will be either in my Etsy shop or at a craft show soon.

This is one of the craft twirly things.  The name escapes me but piling it up with different stuff does not.  The top section has large and small wooden clothes pins I use everyday.  I got tired of opening and closing drawers to look for them so out in the light they come.  I also have bling packets hanging on the top rack also.  The rotating part holds my paint brushes, magic markers of all kinds, rotary cutter, scissors, chasing hammer, and all kinds of other tools that I use on a regular basis.  
There are two bookcases and in here as well as a desk, a wing back chair, a fan, three rolling carts, and a huge wire rack with wheels that holds all the bins and display items for craft shows.  The room is full.  The walls are filling up fast too.  The closet is full and needs more organization but like everything else around here, it will happen when it happens.  
So that is how I spend some of the time I could be blogging.  I watch YouTube videos about how everyone else arranges their craft rooms and then I get ideas how to make mine more functional.  I think better with less clutter.  How about you?

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Long Time No See

I haven't blogged in two months but have a ton of projects that came and went not to mention all the pictures I took of them.  I need to figure out a schedule so that it's not months in between blog posts.  Since opening up Messy Table Designs, I have been busy learning new things in classes, on videos and reading blogs.  There are so many ideas out there I feel a wee bit over whelmed.  I have done some  craft shows this fall and have applications to do more in the spring so rotating stock between seasons is always an ongoing process.

I have some pictures that I wanted to post of the work that I am currently doing.  I am not sure that any of these items will end up in my Etsy shop or at a show.  These first projects are the prototypes of better things to come; hopefully!  I started by watching one video in Spanish (Spain Spanish) and I made items similar to what I saw in the video and actually sold a couple of pieces in a show I did earlier this month.  That video lead me to another one and then I started watching more and more and finally decided to try a project.  So the pictures I am about to post are my first attempts at what I have been watching lately.  I love the idea but it needs to be refined (that's my way of saying, I need to get better at doing them.)  So here they are...

This is this weekend's effort.  It's an oval box made from three Oriental Trading Company catalogs that were duplicates.  I asked to be taken off the mailing list but they don't listen so I decided to use them first.  
Here is the box without the lid.
The inside of the bottom of the box.
The top knob.  
Another beauty shot of the top knob.
Once this thing completely dries, I will vanish it (an invaluable tip I got from a YouTube video).  I have been using a combination of Mod Podge and Diamond Glaze to try and harden my boxes.  This is will be the first one to get the varnish.  I can't wait to see how it will turn out.  I am debating if I should paint it like the next one you are about to see.
Round Box (The second box I have ever made with junk mail)
Really, this is junk mail and newspaper, really.

Here is the side view with the lid.  It looks like it's sloping but it's not.  It's just the paper.
The knob.  This one is small. I didn't see making the larger knob until after this one was already done.  It's still sturdy though.
Here is the inside view.
This box started out as the first one I showed; bright colored paper ads, but I painted it with some watered down paints and then dry brushed it with gold leaf from a tube that I had on hand.  It's been sealed with Mod Podge and that's the shine.
Here is my very first attempt at anything with junk mail besides throwing it into recycle bin.  It's rough but it was fun and I learned all kinds of things.
The view of the base and the wonky sides.
Better view of side and inside bottom.

So this is only one reason why I have not had time to blog.  These bowls take a lot of prep time and then drying time from both the gluing and the painting.  Anyway...that's is some of what I have been up to lately.  Now I have become obsessed with rolling paper tubes, looking at all the junk mail that crosses our threshold, and shapes for bowls and boxes.  I am just in love with this whole idea.  I may be late to the party, but I can still have a good time!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Been Busy!

I realized today that I haven't blogged in nearly four weeks.  I have tried to at least get the Wordless Wednesday up but never seem to find the time to do an actual blog post.  The fall is super busy for me.  I have been ramping up the creating because fall is the time of the year for craft fairs.  People are starting to think about gift giving and I want some of my creations to be those gifts.  I have come up with some new things for the line up this year.  The trick is to come up with something new every year so that people want to come back to your shop or your booth.  We attend a craft fair over this past weekend and there were some really beautiful things but I did not purchase one thing.  The BIG craft show for me to attend, is the Neptune Festival Boardwalk Show.  We try to attend every year to see what the out-of-towners and out-of-staters are creating.  I think I purchase something every year. 

I have been busy so my desk is in work mode all day, every day.  I have not found my organization happy place lately.  After the craft season is over, I will look for better solutions for my beads, wires and pens.  It's just too crowded on the work table.  So here are the no so beauty shots of what I am talking about.  
This was taken this morning as you can see from the time date stamp.  I left everything where it lay last night when I went to bed.  Some days it just ends up that way.
I was not kidding when I said there is too much stuff on my work table.  I need to find an inexpensive solution to my storage and organization problems for my main supplies.
This is the other side of the table.  Just an unholy mess but it's not going to get any better from now until after gift giving season is over.  I have tried numerous times to keep thing organized without spending big bucks.  If I buy anything for storage for the business the state of Virginia makes my pay a property tax on it every single year I am in business.  So I am always looking at cardboard boxes, scarp wood, etc that I can make things out of to keep from paying them one more dime than I have to.  

So now you can see why I have not been blogging too much lately.  I just need to keep my nose to the grindstone and make some $$ this season.  If you have any storage ideas that I can make myself or purchase to save money and still stay neat, please leave me a comment!!

Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday
Penguin Gourd

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Norfolk Botanical Garden, Norfolk, Virginia

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday
Very slow day at work, so it's time for a nap.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Rock, Paper, Scissors

Well there is not rock but lots of paper and scissors this week.  I have been busy getting things for the fall craft sales.  I know I am going to do at least three but might try to do more if I can swing it.  Part of having an Etsy business is not just making and posting things, it's trying to market, cost control, cost control, and more cost control.  So this post is about my Cost Control methods for one aspect of the business.

The thing I love most about having my own business is I am not restricted by what I can and can not do...well the lack of funds sometimes.  For the most part the lack of funds leads me to try creative ways to still do what I want, but finding an expensive path towards my goal.  

This week's goal is inexpensive packaging.  I love that so many businesses have a certain color or a certain paper that is identified with their name.  The most famous is Tiffany's packaging.  You know when you get this, you are getting something very special.  I want my clients to know that I think they are special by hand making as much as I can for my business.  I make all the jewelry myself, the paper beads, the paper bead jewelry, the mobiles, the quilled trinket boxes, etc.  So why would I buy pre-made packaging?  

I have been searching the internet for weeks trying to find packaging that would work for my business.  I have found two things that are going to work and so I have been making them; envelopes and boxes.  

Paper Source is where I got my envelope templates.  I have seen loads of cute handmade paper things on Pinterest but never found a template that I could use over and over.  I stumbled on to Paper Source and finally found what I was looking for.  I made the investment and it has been a blast playing with them.  I mostly used the smallest two in the set, but eventually I think I will use the others.  My main goal was the smallest one.  Here is what I did with them.
These are made from scraps of scrapbook paper that was large enough to lay the template on.  Then I took a bone tool and made the creases more crisp, glued them and let them dry.  When a customer buys earrings I can slip a business card and the earrings into the envelope.  The envelope is the same size as a business card so that's perfect for what I wanted.  When I made these I didn't know my business card would fit.  Worked out well just by luck.

Then I had to move on to boxes to put my quilling and necklaces into.  I found this pattern on via Pinterest and then followed the link.  I made the box twice between the YouTube video and her picture tutorial.  It took me a bit to get the hang of it because she does it so quickly.  I had to keep starting and stopping the video.  And these are what I came up with.
These bottoms of the boxes were made from origami paper that I had on hand.  The lid has to be larger so I had to use scrapbook paper for the lids.  I had a ball making these.  Once you make one you are hooked.  Making them takes no time at all.  You can make any size you like as long as the top is 1/2" larger than the bottom.  If you make the box from scrap book paper, it's a 12X12" square.  That part would be the lid.  The bottom would measure 11 1/2"X11 1/2" square.  I have made about four different sizes.  I can put cotton in them to make them look nice.  
This is a box totally from scrapbook paper using the above measurements.
To contrast the different sizes, the green one was made with origami paper on the bottom and scrapbook paper for the lid and the bottom one is the same box as above.
I tried these which I don't think are going to work for the business but I made two of them with one sheet of scrapbook paper.  I got this idea from here.

I have another box in mind to use but have to make a few to see if they are going to work for the business and how cost effective they would be.  So these are what I have been up to lately.  

If you were my customer and made a purchase, would having a handmade box or envelope be the "cute" factor that would be the icing on your purchase?

Friday, August 02, 2013

How Does Your Garden Grow

How Does Your Garden Grow?

I have not done a post in a while because I have been busy doing lots more cooking than usual and of course working on items for my Etsy shop, Messy Table Designs.  I did remember to take pictures for future posts so let's get started. 

I am crazy in the spring about getting the garden started. We go through our seed catalogs for things to plant that have worked in the past and try to add something new.  We are limited with our space because of the dogs.  There are six beds of different sizes.  You have seen pictures before  so I won't go over those again.  As the summer marches on, so does my love for the garden.  While I love what comes out of it, I hate the hand watering part.  You have seen our water barrels; 5 in total.  I have to fill up buckets and large plastic watering cans and walk them back and forth.  We don't have enough pressure to hook up a hose otherwise I would hooking that baby up to save the wear and tear on my elbows and back from hauling water.  Wish we could  tap into the neighbor's waterspout.  Their waterspout would fill up the five barrels we have but, it would require we cut up their downspout and we don't have permission to do that.  

So with watering, weed picking and all kinds of composting and organic fertilizers our garden has been pretty darned good this year.
Not sure how many tomatoes (Roma) we have lost to squirrels but these escaped the teeth marks.  We had to pick them before I would have liked, otherwise we would have had to put them in the compost bin.  I did not weight these to see how much we had but I got 1 1/2 quarts out of them.  So not so bad.

This is our first harvest of our third year growing potatoes.  First year was only 2 1/2 pounds of slips.  Then we were encouraged about that first harvest and grew 5 lbs in potato towers.  Our harvest was good but not as much as we had hoped.  So back to beds we went.  We ordered 7 lbs of Golden Red slips.  Half were planted in one bed and the other half in another bed with beans and peppers.  Golden Reds (I think that's their name) is a cross between a Red Bliss and a Yukon Gold.  They have the typical red bliss look but the inside is a nice golden yellow that is a very creamy potato.  This bowl holds 7 1/2 pounds.  We have not harvested the other bed.  Those plants have not wilted back enough to dig up.  We thought we would give them a few more weeks.  I think we are almost there.

So that is our harvest update as of today July 30, 2013.  I have picked basil and made pesto once.  It was yummy.  The bugs are beginning to get to it so one huge picking might be all I get.  A canning post with tomatoes still to come either this week or this weekend when I find the time.  Happy Gardening everyone.