Crafts & Cocktails

I’m back! And I’m combining my two favorite interests—drinking and crafting. Not to brag but not only is this craft directly related to drinking, I also drank an impressive amount of alcohol while making it.

I’ve been wanting to teach myself to cross-stitch for a while, especially after funny and sarcastic phrases starting getting popular. I know that “I need a drink” seems like it took as much thought as opening a beer, but it beat out about 50 other options I was weighing.

I settled on this phrase because it was funny, 95% of the time true, and nothing I would have to hide when my parents came to my apartment. Then I found this Old-English font with a stitching chart on Pinterest. The font combined with this phrase looked perfect—kinda like all these smarmy phrases showing up on old-fashioned cross-stitch projects. 

Then I made a pattern on Stitch Fiddle. This site is amazing for making your own pattern. It’s like a piece of online graph paper where you can design a color-coded pattern. It was a slow process to count out all the squares and spacing, but it’s much easier than counting the minuscule squares on the fabric. Hot tip: don’t forget to add more than one column of squares between words. This is a lesson the lack of space between “I” and “need” will never let me forget.

Overall, this was a fun project that was easy to teach myself and customize to say anything. It doesn’t hurt that the sum total of supplies was about $5.

And here’s an unrelated bonus: my gallery wall, 2.0! I’ve been busy starting a new job and moving states and apartments lately, so it feels like home again to get this back up on the wall.

 

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Gallery Wall

It’s been far too long since I posted—apologies to my follower. But now that summer/an active lifestyle is done, I am excited to get back to it! To get into the groove, I’d like to share something I’ve been wanting to post: my gallery wall. I’ve been a fan of this type of setup for awhile and have read (and ignored) lots of tips on how to create your own. And now I’m about to give you tips on how I made mine, so take that with a grain of salt.

My humble gallery wall.

My humble gallery wall.

Please note that I did not intend this to be a shrine to my own artwork but when you’re a. into painting and b. too poor for real art, it happens. Deal with it. I thought I’d mention where the pieces came from and point out some of the vintage or thirty ones BECAUSE IT’S WHAT I DO!

Ms. Foxy: Hardcore fans of my blog (JK, that’s not a thing) will recognize this as a painting I did in my last art class. End of story.

The Golden “B”: The newest addition to the wall! The letter was a few dollars at Target and I spray painted it gold and drilled a hole in the back to hang it. So easy and cheap!

Whale Cribbage Board: A favorite of mine from a local vintage store.

My Passport: Six pages of my passport, separated and framed with a custom-cut mat. Hint: if the coolest stamps are on back-to-back pages, a color copy looks just as good.

My Dad’s Army Photo: My favorite picture of him, because I think he looks like a movie star.

Gold Framed Oil Painting: An original painting of Paris that I got at my favorite antique store by my cabin. Super inexpensive for an original anything.

Mask: A tiny little mask I picked up while volunteering in El Salvador that cost a couple bucks.

Dog painting: My beloved dog Bailey, painted by me.

White Framed Watercolor: This is a painting of the Mirabell Gardens in Salzburg, Austria that I bought from a street artist in the same location.

Eiffel Tower Painting: Another one I did in art class. This one is a copy of another painting.

Wooden Framed Mountain Painting: A painting I did from life (is a mountain alive?) while in Seward, Alaska at a plein air painting weekend.

Silver Framed Boat Painting: Another from the same Seward plein air weekend with a frame from a thrift store.

Vintage Book: A vintage book made into a clock that I bought at a flea market in Brooklyn.

My Humble Advice and Tips:

  1. Mix and match everything. Gold and silver. Black and brown. Homemade and purchased. Photos and other media. Some people go with all photos or all black frames which can look really great, but I love the unmatched look of my wall (and I think it fits my apartment).
  2. Don’t think you have to spend a lot. The most I spent on anything on this wall was probably getting the custom mat for my passport, which was not all that much. Homemade art can look really nice!
  3. Include three-dimensional stuff along with two-dimensional art. It really adds another, well, dimension to the wall. Consider hanging things that aren’t normally meant to be hung. I had to nail a wire to the cribbage board to hang it up, but it’s one of my favorite parts of the wall (and since I don’t know how to play cribbage, no big loss).
  4. Search thrift stores for picture frames. Those can often be the most expensive part, but places like Goodwill are overflowing with them for cheap.

A Foxy Gentleman

Project number two from this session of art class is a painting of a lovely gentleman (I think) fox. I originally thought it was a female and my art teacher didn’t, but I just couldn’t bring myself to paint boobs to make it true. I was inspired by (copied) this painting I found on Etsy via Pinterest. I’ve been very into foxes lately so one wearing a British riding coat seems fitting. It only took about two classes to finish up. I think it turned out pretty well! image1   I like how the plain, really light peachy background sets off the fox and makes it look more like a fancy portrait. My teacher wanted me to change it and add more color, but I stood my ground. Here he is resting on my green leather chair, as fox oil paintings are wont to do. I’ve still got to find a good spot for him/her but I think it would fit in nicely in my chair and book corner. image3The next painting I’m working on is of a rug! I hope it turns out better than it sounds in that sentence.

Spray Paint is Magic, Part Deux: The Golden Edition

I’m not saying I’m a gold digger, but I’m really digging everything gold lately. And, if you saw my other spray paint project, I really dig spray painting things, too. It’s cheap, easy, and completely changes an item into something else. So you can see where this is going: gold spray paint! I’ve also been into trays like everyone else so when I found this metal one at Goodwill, I snagged it up. image1-4 Once I had the gold spray paint in my grubby little hands, I couldn’t fathom just spray painting one item in my apartment, so I settled on an amount between one and everything I own (everything was tempting but I chose two). That’s how this boring pencil holder got roped into the deal. Sucker. image1-5 If you haven’t looked at metallic spray paints lately, there are a lot of options. They range from insanely shiny and reflective to toned down and matte. I picked one on the matte side in a gold tone. I first washed the tray and pencil holder and then sprayed them with a coat of primer. I wasn’t sure if the paint would stick to the shiny surface of the tray without it. Then it was just three-ish coats of the paint and here’s how they turned out! image2-5 image3 As you can see, the only thing that didn’t work out is that you can still slightly see the logo on the tray. I’m debating whether I will try spraying a bunch more coats to cover it up or try mod podging something onto it to cover it up. Otherwise, I love the color and the finish. And in the meantime, once the tray is styled, the writing doesn’t really show at all. See?! image4-2Cost of the project:

  • Tray: $3.99 at Goodwill
  • Gold spray paint (Valspar quick-drying metallic): $3.14
  • Primer: already had (ha! I WIN!)

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The Weekend Antique Haul

I swear, I didn’t even mean to go antiquing. But that’s how some of my best finds started out. There’s really nothing better than a Saturday spent brunching and browsing at one of my favorite antique stores in town. This place is really insane. Three floors of wall to ceiling STUFF. Furniture, books, barware, and, yes, crap. It’s amazing. It takes some patience to dig through but, as you’ll see, it’s always worth it!

Here’s what I welcomed into a new home:

A green leather footstool that perfectly matches an antique green leather chair I got from the same store another time. I darkened the legs to make it match better with a wood touch up stain.

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A pink tapestry-style (I made that term up, FYI) blanket. I was unsure about this one, but I already love the pop of color it adds to my all-white bedroom without the commitment of paint. I also think the pattern has something of a regal, tapestry feel to it, no?

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This would also add a pop of fun and color to a chair or couch, again without the commitment of completely redoing the colors in a room. I can see this moving into the living room once spring comes…and I get a couch.

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And lastly, another antique umbrella to add to my collection. (Since I can’t stop purchasing these, they have become a “collection” and I’m much more justified in buying multiple ones.) Here’s the cool, molded handle and decorative tassel hanging out on my new deer bottle opener (from World Market).

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And the fully opened umbrella. The great condition and plaid pattern (it feels so British countryside) were irresistible.

IMG_3733Total damage:

  • Footstool: $25
  • Blanket: $25
  • Umbrella $12

Not too shabby for a day at the antique store! As I stand and survey my apartment, I realize almost nothing in here is new from a store (not that there’s anything wrong with that). It makes me so happy to have unique furniture and decor that I’ve hand-picked piece by piece and that have spoken to me throughout the years. They all add up to an apartment that really reflects me and my taste. (I’ve been told my place makes me look like an “old soul”, whatever that means). That said, I think I am going to make this a regular “feature” on the blog. I find so many great items for my apartment at different antique, thrift, and vintage stores, I might as well share my goodies!

Super Easy Ceramic Tile Coasters

In spite of the hyperbole, “super easy” is even an understatement here. These things take about 10 minutes from start to finish. I’m still deeply conflicted over this craft and the quality of it but more on that later. I learned how to make these in a HYP (Habitat (for Humanity) Young Professionals) get-together where we upcycled (buzzword alert) junk. So they were free to make (for me). But really, if you don’t already have tiles lying around and no one you know does, I’m sure you can get them really cheap at the store or at somewhere like Habitat ReStore, which is where our supplies came from. (I swear this is not a promotion post but, c’mon, Habitat is awesome.) So cost=$0 but if you’re purchasing things, probably under $10.

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So here is the recipe for personalized coasters!

Ingredients:

  • Tiles (mine are around 4×4 and were leftovers)
  • Mod Podge (you’ll know it by the great 70’s packaging and how fun it is to peel off your fingers)
  • Paper (I used scrapbook paper card stock but I mean, whatever you’ve got and like)
  • Fuzzy anti-scratch stickers (if you don’t know the real name of these or where to find them…good luck to ya)
  • A foam paintbrush

Steps

  1. Grab tiles. Sets of 4 feel complete to me but honesty, if I will probably only use those when I am drinking 4 things at once. On second thought, this might happen more than I think.
  2. You can sand the tiles first but I didn’t and it worked fine. So this step is for overachievers only!
  3. Measure the tiles and decide how wide you want the frame of tile to be around the paper. Cut paper to size. (A scrapbooking sliding cutter with a ruler on it works really well for this.)
  4. Paint the tile with Mod Podge with the brush (a thin layer is all you need).
  5. Place the paper on the tile.
  6. Add a few more layers of Mod Podge on top to seal in.
  7. Stick on the fuzzy stickers (4 per tile naturally, in each corner) so it doesn’t scratch your table and ta da!

Here are closeups of the 2 styles I made.

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Like I said, this took about 10 minutes, not counting the extra layers of Mod Podge I added in later for safety. They look pretty cute and I like that they are real customizable to your decor and taste. The issue I’ve had so far is a hot beverage did not go over so well and warped the paper a bit. I’m also not sure I love the look. I’m also debating whether it looks too cheap or not.

Input needed! What do you think? Cheap or chic? I’d love to try some variations on this, since it was so cheap and easy. I’m in love with maps so I think putting old maps on the tiles would look great and go with my decor, as well as covering an entire tile or painting it first. I’m not sure what the answer to hot drinks is though and I worry that condensation would do the same. Anyone know of any better sealants? How would you make yours unique? I’d love to hear some ideas!

Eiffel Tower Copycat Oil Painting

So my problem when I paint is that I end up being too precise and anal about my paintings so that they a. take me forever to do and b. become no fun at all and stressful instead. I’ve been really trying to break out of that lately and I thought copying the style of a loose and free painting might help. I fell in love with this painting of the Eiffel Tower before I had that idea and decided to try to recreate it. And I don’t want to give the impression that I invented this painting, I definitely copied one. (I found the painting on Pinterest and I guess it is from someone named Aja’s Etsy site, FYI. Fooled me, I thought it could have been a professional famous artist!)

This has been one of the most fun paintings I’ve done and it only took a few hours total to do (maybe like 4 – if that sounds like a lot, for me it isn’t!). It was really great for me to get out of my precise style that can be super limiting and not even fun. I hope I can continue that pattern even when I’m not working from someone else’s work! I think this is one of only a few paintings I’ve completed that I can say I love.

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The free and painterly style of this really got me to loosen my hand up. I hope it lasts and carries on into other work but if not, at least I have a completed painting I like as a consolation prize.