Friday, October 21, 2016

Chamil Garden Stamps

My annual birthday art supply buying spree had to be changed since my favorite store closed!   Fortunately I saw these stamps that janethecrazy posted on  Instagram .   (Check her out - she does great  travel journals) .  

The detailed doodle stamps are a brand made in Japan - Chamil Garden. I  tracked some down on Nico Neco Zakkaya's  Etsy shop where she sells Japanese stationery, stamps, washi tape and other goodies.   It was such a treat to get a package from her store!

First, the envelope all decorated with tape and little stamped designs.

And inside, another envelope:

Look at this fantastic black glassine envelope with a hand-written label, decorated hole reinforcer and washi tape.

I carefully peeled off the washi tape as I opened the envelope and look what fell out -

a little plastic stick wrapped with extra washi tape !    I love the extra time put into all the details that make things special .

Back to the stamps - check out these beauties!

I just finished a major purge of my stamp collection,  but who could resist these?   The stamps are small - the tallish ones less than an  inch wide and the fat ones about about and inch and a half wide.    They look like they will be great as journal accents, but I had to try them out on some quick tags.

I rubbed  Distress inks on the tags ,  stamped on the designs, then added  some Tim Holtz phrase stickers and ric - rac ties.    I love the detailing in the stamps and the mix of images and text.

Isn't the Internet amazing ? A woman in New Hampshire finds stamps made in Japan and buys them from a seller in New York !

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Pumpkins Going Postal

Continuing my efforts to push the limits of the postal system,  I mailed pumpkins to the Grands.

My first idea was to use those little pumpkin buckets for hauling candy loot, but the opening is huge.  I found these carvable pumpkins, and the expert in all things pumpkin at the craft store assured me there would be plenty of room inside for treats.

The Captain helped with cutting off the tops.  While these little guys are carvable, they are not easily carvable, and it took some extra muscle and hand strength to cut off the cap.

But look at all the room inside !   I was able to fit in trucks for the boys and a full-size jar of Wilton fall cookie decorations for Montana granddaughter with plenty of room for extra goodies.

I lined the pumpkins with some tissue paper from my stash and then tucked in goodies - chocolate eyeballs, blinky rings,

pumpkin tattoos,  M&Ms, bead bracelet kit and chocolate ghosts.

I used some plastic decorative tape to hold it all together.   I wouldn't trust paper washi tape to hold stick,  but the plastic tape held securely.   I did use packing tape to hold on the labels.

And here they are at the Post Office.   It's no secret that I love our Post Office clerks - they always comment on my packaging and didn't even blink at my latest mailing adventure.   I do wish they didn't have to slap those honking stickers all over, but they always try to avoid covering artwork, so can't really complain.

And here they are in Texas with some very happy little guys.   I FaceTimed Montana granddaughter who was busy munching on eyeballs , so hers also made it OK.

This is so much fun!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Laundry Room Rescue

Our laundry room is pretty sad .  It gets high marks for function, and zip, nada, nothing for style or pizazz.    Last week I decided to fix that.   I had a few goals - banish the beige cave look,  add more light, get rid of the ugly tension rod. and not spend much doing it.

I forgot to take a real "before" picture until I was half-way through ripping out the wall to wall carpeting .  Really - who puts wall to wall in a laundry room?

Boring beige,  ratty carpeting and exposed pipes, including the PVC one with red printing the whole length of the pipe.  Not pictured, but prominently featured - old bookcase stuffed with art room overflow, plastic laundry baskets and a leaning mountain of boxes I've been saving for god knows what.

First up- painting everything - ceiling, walls and floor.  I used up some leftover paint, so walls are sage green and floor dark marine blue. Painted all the pipes so they aren't a focal point anymore!

Next up- the ratty dryer top.  Not sure why, but the top had rusted.  I had pasted some wallpaper to cover it , using enough glue to hold it down in a category 5 hurricane.  Scraping all that glue off was the worst part of the project.  I did some research about painting appliances and read good things about Rust-Oleum's appliance paint.  (Sadly they are not paying me for this glowing review!).

The stuff is freakin' magic!  Cleaned up the washer and dryer and then did a light sanding before painting.  I used a high-density foam roller which made all kinds of tiny bubbles that disappeared quickly, leaving a hard, enamel finish.  I brushed on the paint in areas that were too small for the roller - same great finish.  I did three coats on the body of the machines and six or seven to cover the rust on the dryer.    It's hard to tell in pictures, but honestly, they look brand new - all little nicks covered, plus all that rusty top mess on the dryer.

Now for the fun part - some decorating!   The bookcase got a coat of black spray paint and a serious decluttering !  I added a lamp to get some more light in this windowless room . A cloth Ikea storage cube got a big flower stamp treatment.

As you can see, the ceiling angles sharply behind the washer and dryer.  I saw this  shelf idea on Pinterest and The Captain made it happen.  I love how it is a place to add some interest and also prevents socks from jumping behind the washer .  I found some back there - go figure!  Laundry pods in the silver basket and items from around the house transplanted to the shelf.

The other Pinterest inspired project - a pipe-fitting clothes rack.  The Captain found this one as a kit at Home Depot - well worth  $25.00 .  He mounted it on a board and hung it with these nice brackets- a two-fer - hanging rack and a shelf.

Borrowed an area rug from the family room, added a new laundry basket, and a decorated a switch plate.

And one more fun addition - a metal hanging flower basket added to the boring ceiling light fixture!

Mission accomplished - more color, more light , lots more style for minimal expense.  Now I may actually enjoy doing laundry - WHO AM I KIDDING??!!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Vintage Stamp Caddy DIY Rescue

I went to a doozie of an estate sale on Friday.  Generally the ones run by professionals are organized, prices clearly marked and no safety hazards.  This one was a hot mess - no pricing and lots of junk that should have just been relegated to the trash.

Apparently the man who lived there ran his own business from a tiny office.  It looked like someone had just dumped boxes of paperwork onto the floor until there was really no where to walk. The desk was buried in paperwork, several jars of those little black combs, broken pencils and other assorted flotsam ,  but then  I spotted this from the doorway:

Dirty and slightly rusty, but it still had all its pieces .    I climbed over the rubble to snag it and the "PAID.   CK # "  stamp that was still hanging in it.    Some serious cleaning and a bit of sanding and the caddy was ready for paint.

A couple of coats of  spray paint later my little treasure was restored to its 1945 glory.  I did the first coat with a Krylon black paint - at least as much leaked out all over my hands as sprayed out the nozzle - so annoying.   I finished it with this Rust-Oleum Carbon Mist paint   - a rich charcoal, not quite black, not too shiny - my new favorite.   And no drips - always a plus.  I left the top the original gold color since it was in good shape and a nice contract with the charcoal.

I added a couple of other stamps that have  those great handles and my Distress Ink tools.  And it makes a perfect spot for my corsage from DC son's summer wedding.  You can sort of see the dried rose and greenery on the right.

Turns out that these are collectibles now - not sure how I feel about something made in 1945 classified as "vintage", although that's less harsh than "antique"!   I saw this exact caddy on Etsy for $65.00,  lots more than the $1.50 I paid for mine.

I think I may keep it on my work table - so cute!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Year of the Doodle Update

It's been a while since I've shared  pages from this great book by Dawn de Vries Sokul.    I'm about 2/3 of the way through and amazed at how well the binding is holding up to all the paint, ink, and bits of ephemera.   I probably shouldn't mention it - maybe it will  boingggg apart while I'm sleeping !

Here is how fat it's become -on the left is a new copy of Ms Sokul's Art Doodle Love and on the right my overstuffed Year of the Doodle that started life as the same size as the one on the left.

We've had a busy summer and I haven't been doing much art work, but it's been fun to work in my book - a small canvas for each day that doesn't take much time to finish.

Doodling is what the book is about - most pages have a prompt and some subtle background color or design, so there's no dreaded white page.   I've been stretching myself to put pen to paper on most days-either as a doodle or lettering,

Some days the prompt just doesn't speak to me, so I go off on my own  as on the 25th,

The Birkenstocks are a big deal.   I've been reading Danny Gregory's book and he keeps saying to draw what you see, not what you think you see.   I had to really study the shoes and force myself to draw what I saw.  Amazingly, the sandals look recognizable!

I also use lots of stamps.  I love the "before my dock rots" one and rarely get to use it.

I love this doll by Traci Stillwell that I cut out of Cloth Paper Scissors  - doesn't she seem perfect for this quote from A Reunion of Ghosts?  (It's a fantastic book, BTW).

Honestly, I can't rave enough about this book - if I'm not working on a day, I'm adding shading or otherwise fiddling with pages I've already done.  So much joy in such a little package!

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