Friday, July 29, 2011

Happy handprints (and footprints)!

I have to first say that I LOVE that my children LOVE doing arts and crafts as much as I do!! Thank goodness, because my heart would be sad if they didn't! Today, for example, we colored a little, played with the window markers (great things, until your 17month old decides to eat them...), finished up the melted crayon canvas art in the oven, then did a bunch of handprint art, and just as soon as we finished Brooke asked if she could color! Whew!

Both Brooke and Benjamin love hand print and foot print art, and I do as well, so today I wanted to try MY hand (har, har) at replicating some of the super cute ideas I have seen online lately!

First up: BUTTERFLY!

Okay so to make the butterfly you need a footprint from each foot. I thought I'd have her stand on the counter and lift her foot while I painted it, then have her hold on to the cabinet (or my head...) and I'd put her foot down on the paper... Would have been easier on the floor, but since I'm popping a baby out in less than a month I'm not *quite* as flexible at the moment! Brooke loved standing on the counter anyway! Okay, so it worked, but was awkward and one of her prints was wonky, so I went to plan "B".

I had her sit on the counter, put the paper on a clipboard, propped it up against my belly,  and pulled her foot towards it, pressed and then pulled it off. MUCH. better. idea.

Luckily Benjamin was perfectly content playing in the kitchen and laying on the floor (???).... while I worked with Brooke.

Up next: LOBSTER!!

The lobster requires one footprint and one of each hand. I did Brooke's first and then did Benjamin's. He was so super cooperative (yay!).

Love his cute, squishy foot! 

I'm telling you, I have the BEST helper!!

So, this is NOT how you need it to look. the footprint here should be pointed the other way (toes down). Oops! I did Brooke's correctly and did hers first, but um... brain fart on this one?
I didn't throw it away. Nope. I cut them out and glued them onto a new piece of paper, the right way! :)

Final one: PEACOCK!
For the peacock, you need a LOT of handprints, all around the middle (do the handprints first). Then, the body of the bird is supposed to be ONE footprint, toes pointed down. In doing these things with footprints, I quickly realized that my my little lady has a very high arch! Our first attempt on the "body" was horrible. There was too much wet paint and her foot slipped, so it looked crappy. I tried to fix it by doing a print of her other foot next to it (there's fat people, so why not fat peacocks?). See that white shape in the middle? That is b/c of her arch.. so it still looked lame. I set it aside to dry and my final attempt at fixing it was to use one white footprint for the body.

Here are the final masterpieces! I just LOVE them!! 

Lovely lobsters!

Beautiful Butterflies!

And um...... Pathetic peacock?!... 
(I think he is cute!)

MORE Melted Crayon Craziness!

Well, we did it again! I knew I wanted to make more of these canvases and I wanted to try a couple of other techniques to see what else would work! Brooke and I spent a little time yesterday sorting out the colors from 4 boxes of crayons. FYI- for my 11"x14" canvas 40 crayons fit perfectly. So, I chose 10 different colors and used 4 of each one. (In case you missed my first post on how to do this, you can find it here).

This shows you how I laid them out. I would put one down of each color in 4 different areas, then put the next color down beside it..

and so on, until I had 4 like groups of 10 different crayons.

As I said in my original post, I'm in Texas and hell has nothing on the heat we are experiencing. SURELY I could use the sun to melt these puppies. 

My other idea was to put them in the car to melt. Again, SO stinking hot, surely this would work.

However, we have SO many trees that we do not get steady sun in any one area of our yard (front or back) for more than about an hour or so. I had to move this canvas down after about an hour, but no melting had occurred yet.

This was the car canvas, and although it looked like it was starting to sweat/melt, again no drips (after about an hour).

Okay, so no steady sun in the yard or car (I wasn't going to keep moving the canvas from place to place and the car from driveway to street, and all around) = a no go for melting the crayons. So, I put them on the counter and came back to them this afternoon. I was talking to my mom on the phone and she suggested trying them in the oven... brilliant! So, I did. And it worked. Beautifully!

Here was my first set up. Since I'm "with child" those beer mugs sure aren't getting any use (but boy howdy, I would KILL for an ice cold brew!!). I put some foil down on a cookie sheet, propped my canvas up on the mugs, and placed the whole set-up in the oven.

I set mine to 250 (wish I knew how to do the little degree symbol thingy!).

I took a peek after about 1 1/2 minutes and WHA?!?! Drippy?! Yay!

 But, the angle they were at was making the tops of the crayons melt over the wrappers and I thought that looked messy. So.. my anal retentive self took them out of the oven (while Brooke asked, "What's wrong, Mama? Why are you taking them out already?"). I told her I was fixing them and so I did.

Like so. I put one in front of the other to make the angle more steep.

Then I put them back in to get their melt on.

Definitely put down some foil b/c they will likely melt off of the canvas a bit.

This is the finished product for Brooke's canvas. DONE in 5 minutes!! :)

Here is Benjamin's (also after just 5 minutes!)!

These have a different look than the first one I did, since the colors dripped straight down and didn't bleed or blend in with the colors beside them.

Love these colors too!

I love how they turned out and how I did the different color groups. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

No-sew Patio Furniture Cushion Re-do

I've been meaning to share this with you for some time.. like maybe since early April. :) Yeah, that is when I completed this little project! Oops! But.. better late than never! I have thoroughly enjoyed having these re-covered since for YEARS they were cushion-less thanks to neighborhood cats that used them as their loungers when they were on our front porch. Since I am allergic to cats we had to toss the old cushions and we moved the furniture to the back patio. And there they sat. And sat. But, no one sat in them since there was no cushion for the tushion. I had looked into getting cushions made for them, but custom pads are EXpensive! One piece is nearly couch-sized and the other is roughly love-seat sized, so they are rather large. Buying seat and back cushions could have worked, but since so many would have been needed, the cost of that also added up very quickly. Therefore, it was up to ME to make them myself! 

Now, truth be told, this wasn't an inexpensive project by any means. I used a fabric that is meant for outdoors, is weather and fade resistant, and I believe it was about $12/yard on sale (I'm a cheapie and not used to paying that much!) Then I had to buy the foam padding. I got the NuFoam yardage that was also freaking expensive (even though I got it on sale for 40 or 50% off as well!). I got the 2" foam that is used on boats for seats and won't disintegrate or mold. Since it will be outdoors, I "weathered" (hardy, har, har) the expense since I'm hoping these last for several years. When my husband found out how much I had spent he um.... wasn't thrilled with my DIY project anymore! But, it STILL came in less than my other two options would have been and heck, I got to pick some pretty cool fabrics!

Here's how I did it:

Here is the larger of the two pieces before I got started. You can see how they wouldn't be comfortable on your hiney without a cushion!

I had my wood  cut down to the exact size (ripped is what they call it at the hardware store if you want to sound like you know what you are talking about!). It was awesome that they did it all for me and it fit perfectly!! :) I had two pieces cut for each piece of furniture (the seat and the back).

Brooke had to get in on the picture action... of course!

Here are my basic supplies. Fabric, NuFoam, spray  adhesive (which you do NOT need as it didn't work at all!), heavy duty scissors to cut the foam, staple gun, and plenty of extra staples!

I did this on two different days. I started with the striped fabric (that I used for the seat cushions). I am going to combine pics here though to show you the different steps. 
 I laid out my fabric and then placed the boards on top, leaving enough on each side that I would be able to close the ends.
(So, I just noticed that my sweet Nicholas is in this picture and bawled my eyes out. Dammit, I miss that dog so much and am still having issues accepting that he is gone. UGH!!)

Then I placed the foam on top of the board, and trimmed off the excess. I used some good, heavy duty scissors since this is quite a chore!

Then I trimmed the fabric down to the correct size. You need to be sure to leave enough fabric that you will be able to close the ends (like a present) and be able to staple it to the bottom.

Crack kills.

Then you wrap your fabric around on one side to the back.

Fold the edge over, towards the board, so the raw edge is not exposed and won't unravel.

Staple all down the length of the board, spacing your staples a few inches apart as you go.

As I started stapling I quickly realized I needed to bust out the big guns... and use my electric staple gun (you have to plug it in). It worked SO much better!

Fold the other side of the fabric over to the back and fold the edge over again. Make this fold cover up the row of staples you just finished.

(like so)

Again, staple down the length of your fabric. Since you covered up your first row of staples you will only have one line of staples down the middle.

Go down to one open end of your fabric.

Take one corner, fold it in, and staple on the edge of the board. You will be wrapping your ends like a present! This is, afterall, a gift to yourself! :)

Do the same at the opposite end and staple all along the edge of the board (you can see it in the picture). You will then fold over the raw edge a time or two and pull it up to the board (the top in this picture) and staple it down in several spots along the edge.

Admire your lovely finished edge! :)
Ooh la la!
Repeat this process with the other end as well as your other boards/cushions.

Ok, so the first time I went shopping I only bought enough of the NuFoam for the seat cushions. I wanted to see how well it worked before buying more. When I went back to get the rest that I would need, they didn't have enough.. at either local store! Ack!!

Luckily, I'm a talker and I chatted up the girl working there and asked if she would price match the NuFoam that comes in the individual packs with the price that the yardage was on sale for (50%, I believe). She agreed and I got what I needed, but it was in smaller square instead of one continuous piece. This worked out ok though and you can't tell a difference between the cushions.
Even though both were supposed to be 2".. there was a difference as you can see! The square is on the left, yardage on the right. The thinner squares ended up being the back cushions and they are plenty thick!
These were slightly shorter than the boards for the back, but I liked it that way b/c the lip allows it to fit in behind the seat cushion and secures it nicely! 
You can sort of see how it's offset here...
There's a whole LOT of stapling that goes on...
I have the best helper in the world! :)
Ahh pretty! :)
 Once all of the edges are wrapped and stapled, you are DONE!

Place the cushions on your furniture.


I am THRILLED with how these turned out! It's so nice to have a pretty place to sit now! 
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