Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Button Bracelet

Don't you just love all of the buttons Suzan used to make this.
Here's a picture of me wearing it (ignore the old lady arm).

Vintage lace memo board

Yardstick Star

I took five of the yardsticks that had a similar width and laid out a 5 point star.
Once the star was lined up I drilled holes through each point of the star and inserted one of these nuts into the front of each point and screwed the bolt on the back.
Here's the front of one of the points.
And here's the back.
 Here's what your star should look like.
There's one last step I needed to do to the star before it was finished.  I took one small screw and screwed it into one of the areas where the yardsticks cross each other.  This insures that the wood will not shift, causing the star to lose it's shape.
Now the star is ready to be displayed.

chalkboard countdown to christmas

Altered Christmas photos naughty or nice

Soldered lace pendant with key

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Repurposed Keys and Vintage Jewels

I've been having so much fun with the keys and vintage jewels I purchased a few weeks ago at an antique faire.  But, I have this problem when  faced with a mound of repurposing choices.  It's a little like shopping in a huge mall with hundreds of stores, and then walking out without purchasing a thing.  With too many choices, I just end up over thinking the whole thing.  Do you ever have that problem?

I know, I know, too many choices really isn't a problem, but it can be distracting.  My new found solution is to pick out only a few pieces at a time to work on, and then try to keep my eyes off the pile of vintage goodies staring back at me.  I'm much more productive this way.  Focus, focus, focus......

The six of these key necklaces were made with vintage clip on earrings and pieces of rhinestone necklaces.

I added a bit of bling to these tiny 1" keys and their little lock.  The keys
still open the lock.

Three clip on earrings and antiqued filigrees.

Keys, keys, and more keys.

Vintage earrings and chippy old key escutcheons.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

paint colors
Paint is good. It is inexpensive, easy to apply and can transform any room in a matter of hours. We like to paint and find ourselves repainting rooms often. I thought I’d share some of the colors we currently have in our home. They are neutrals {no surprise there} and they go with everything, but be sure to try out a sample in your home to see how the color looks in different light.
T H E   E N T I R E   H O U S E
Our home was painted from top to bottom in a great neutral wheat/gray/beige by Rodda {HFH09 – relaxed khaki}. This is the color that is in our entry, the base coat of my office and the stripes in the boys’ room. However, I can’t find a sample online and I believe Rodda is only found in the Pacific Northwest, so here are some comparable ones I found by holding up my Benjamin Moore {BM} fan deck to my walls.
BM hazy skies {OC-48}
BM grant beige {HC-83}
T H E   D I N I N G   R O O M
BM berkshire beige {AC-2}
T H E    K I T C H E N
This is the color on the top of the walls.
BM texas leather {AC-3}
T H E   L I V I N G    R O O M
Our walls have been this gray-blue for the past few years
farrow & ball light blue
but we’ve just repainted the room with this new color
restoration hardware slate
T H E   N U R S E R Y
This is a soft blue-gray that doesn’t really look like this swatch on the walls. Sorry about that. It is a bit lighter and softer in real life.
Behr rhino {710E-3}
It is pretty similar to the ever-popular Silver Sage from Restoration Hardware
restoration hardware silver sage
The bed & shelves in the nursery are painted this sludgy gray-blue-green {also not very well-represented by this image}
Sherwin Williams rushing river {SW2093}
Need a few more suggestions? Here are a couple of pretty ones:
BM revere pewter {HC-172}
farrow & ball mouse’s back
** NOTE: while you can never get the color to match perfectly, we typically have the paint swatches color matched at our local hardware store. It is not the fanciest paint, but seems to do the trick **

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Glass Tile Pendants

Remember when I gave a pendant to a random follower? Sad you didn't win?  Well don't fret because I'm going to do a quick run-down on how to make a glass tile pendant.  I first saw a how-to atTrey and Lucy but have seen several other tutorials as well.  Here's my take.

If you're feeling the crafty groove, you can make some similiar to mine - and they can end up costing less than $1.70 each - wow!  Perfect for gifts.  What a great craft - I had one mom comment to me "this is a great craft that spans all ages - my daughter (7 yrs old) could do it and so could I and my mother - and we all enjoyed it!"

First gather your supplies - you'll need:
--a glass tile,
--a bail (that's the hook that goes on the back),
--paper or fabric design,
--diamond glaze and a small paintbrush,
--and a chain to hang it on.

I bought all my supplies from CandyTiles and was really impressed.  I especially like her bundle packs - you don't have to think because it has everything - you can get 20 bails, 20 tiles, 20 chains, and a bottle of diamond glaze for $33.50 - perfect.  And prices get better as you order more - I organized this craft for moms to do at our playgroup and ended up ordering 2 100 Bundle Packs - so make it a party!
** update - 10% off at CandyTiles if you enter "SugarBeez" in the message area when you check out**

Take your tile, and trace it onto your paper.  Then cut it out slightly inside the lines.  You can use an exacto knife but I just used scissors.  Hold it up with your tile on top of it to check the size - you don't want any paper sticking out behind the edge.
Squirt your diamond glaze on the back of the tile - about pea size.  Use a small paintbrush to spread it out - enough to coat the back of the tile but not so much that it's going to ooze.
Then while the diamond glaze is still wet set your paper face-down onto it.  Rub the paper to get a really good seal.
Let dry for 5-10 mintues or longer.  Then squirt diamond glaze on the back of the paper and spread it out with a paintbrush to seal in your paper.  Let dry several hours.  Then using superglue, glue your bails to the back. (Don't use Gorilla Glue - it foams a little so it won't look as clean around your bail)
We had a great time making these - and so will you!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

How to Fold a Burlap Rose

Hi there fellow burlap lovers!!!
It was so fun when the Ronda Handbag was featured in the spring 2010 edition of Haute Handbags Magazine....!!!!  I was so honored!  Now, as promised:  here are the instructions that were promised in the article:  A a fabulous folded burlap rose made of a strip of burlap.
They are sooooo fun and quite easy to make.....!!!

View this short video to see how.
Have a happy burlap folding, rose making~ kinda day!!!
:)  Crystelle

How to Fold a Burlap Rose

Hi there fellow burlap lovers!!!
It was so fun when the Ronda Handbag was featured in the spring 2010 edition of Haute Handbags Magazine....!!!!  I was so honored!  Now, as promised:  here are the instructions that were promised in the article:  A a fabulous folded burlap rose made of a strip of burlap.
They are sooooo fun and quite easy to make.....!!!

View this short video to see how.
Have a happy burlap folding, rose making~ kinda day!!!
:)  Crystelle

It's a sign~

Every time I step into my favourite second hand shops I always seem to stop and stare at the pile of silver trays and plates that are constantly accumulating on the shelves.  For the longest time I've been trying to figure out what I could do with them, but no matter how hard I stared at them, nothing would come to me.

And then I picked up the latest edition of Somerset Home.  There it was, right in front of me...the perfect project!

Angela Harris from yourangil.blogspot.com created beautiful objects with these trays to decorate her home and send out affirmation messages to her family.  I was so excited when I saw this, I knew that I had to make some for my house too!

Here are the supplies that I used:

Most important are the trays, the chalkboard paint and a brush, and some tape.  The rest is just fun embellishments~

1) Lightly clean the area that you will be applying the chalkboard paint to. 

I did a little research on cleaning silver (apparently toothpaste and a soft cloth are the way to go) but I quickly decided that what I loved about thiese little treasures was the patina.  It gives them character and age.  So, I left the rest of the tray alone and continued.

2) Tape around the area that you want covered with chalkboard paint.  This was my first experience using chalkboard paint and I thought that this step would ensure a nice clean edge....sadly it did not.  It wasn't bad but when I removed the tape it did lift some of the paint.  So, if you have an ultra steady hand you can skip this step.  Otherwise, just be super gentle when you remove the tape later on.

3) Paint the chalkboard paint onto the tray.  Give it 2-3 coats alternating the direction of your brush strokes on each layer.  It takes about an hour or so to dry in between each layer depending on how thick you paint it on.

4) Once the last layer of paint has dried thoroughly very, VERY gently remove the tape.  Now for the fun part - embellishing!!  Tie on pretty ribbons, sparkly butterflies, and other things to personalize them.  If your tray doesn't have handles or a filigree edge, you can use a hot glue gun to attach things.

5) Write special messages on the trays for your guests or family members and hang on doors or special places.

Aren't they gorgeous?!?!?  I hung the one above on the outside of my washroom door.

And the one below hangs on the door knob to my guest room.

I thought that I'd be able to set this one on the door casing outside of my studio but it wouldn't stay up there.  I ended up using a 3M Command Strip and sticking it right to the wall.  I love it!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

tea staining

small measures with ashley: tea staining

Image above: Lampshade before tea staining
I’ve long been a fan of color. While I know that an all-white room, a set of stark white dinnerware or even a simple white T-shirt appeals to many, it has never been my cup of tea (no pun intended). When my family vacationed in Florida two summers ago and my Pop wanted a family photo of us in jeans and white shirts, I had to borrow one from my younger sister. A high-school friend’s father used to joke that I always looked like I was headed to a funeral (although, in my defense, those were the days when I, along with many others, was deeply entrenched in all things Anne Rice and Robert Smith). Heck, even my wedding dress, which I had custom-made by local Asheville designer R. Brooke Priddy, was a deep red. To date, the only white apparel I own is a pair of ankle socks that, worn with my black Dansko clogs all summer long to keep my feet nice and dry, remain squarely out of sight.
You can imagine my relief, then, when I met my husband and found he shared my color predilections. Not only did he vibe-out on a similar color palette (think autumn and winter hues), he’s a professional color consultant, having earned his MFA from Penn with a concentration in color theory and painting. Our home is rife with color: pumpkin in the kitchen, merlot in the dining room, deep olive in the bathroom, espresso in the living room, mustard in our bedroom, moss and mushroom in Nugget’s room, battleship gray in the hall leading upstairs, sage in the guest bedroom/office, and more mushroom in the guest bathroom. Most of our decorations aren’t white, either. Occasionally, we come across something in the palest of shades that’s just too good to pass up. This was the case with our recent lampshade find.
We needed another lamp in our living room to balance the lighting across the space. Hubs found a gorgeous specimen with a wooden base, but a white shade. Our solution? A tea-stained dye. We try to keep toxic chemicals out of our abode as much as possible, so a light tea stain seemed like the perfect remedy. It not only modified the color to something more to our liking, it warmed the overall light emitted from the lamp. In today’s Small Measures, I’ll explain our process and how you too can bring a deeper degree of color to some objects in your home.

While the process is quite straightforward, I would like to offer up the disclaimer that not all fabrics will take to tea staining. For the most part, cotton and linen are your best bets, as well as paper. If you’re wondering whether or not your chosen cloth will work, try staining a small, out-of-direct-view patch first. Otherwise, you should be all set.

New and improved!
CLICK HERE for the how-to steps after the jump!
Tea-Staining Fabrics
1. Boil 4 cups of water in a medium-sized pot.
2. Add 4 or more bags of strong black tea (we used Prince of Wales) to the boiling water, depending how dark you want your stain.
3. Continue to boil until the water is reduced by about half, around 20 to 30 minutes.
4. Remove from heat and allow tea to cool for about 10 minutes.
5. Place a towel underneath the object to be stained to absorb drips.
6. If you are staining a lampshade, like we did, perch the center of it on a vase or similar object to keep it raised above the towel (for drying).
7. Paint the tea on with a foam brush (that’s the route we chose), a regular brush, a rag or whatever works for you.
8. Be sure to brush out any streaks, unless you want them.
9. Use a lint-free towel to remove any drips, if necessary.
10. Let dry before handling.
And there you have it! Easy peasy. Several years ago, we picked up the framed vintage Japanese cloth above at Anthropologie. Originally, the matting on top of the fabric was stark white and, per my explanation above, it just didn’t suit us. So we used a tea stain for the matting, following the same process. We simply brushed the tea stain on with a paint brush and allowed it to dry thoroughly before placing it back over the cloth.
What about you? Do you have any experiences with tea staining or using any other natural material to create a stain or dye? I’d love hear about it! — Ashley
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October 15th, 2010 - 10:21 am
I like that, it turns the ordinary into the extraordinary, something to do this weekend me thinks!
Or.. how about knitting a bird and making a nest for it, I have a free pattern giveaway
October 15th, 2010 - 10:38 am
hi ashley, enjoyed your how-to. i’ve used tea (and coffee, and even beet ‘juice’) staining extensively on paper, in my artwork. interesting to see how you use it here!
examples at:http://www.andreadaquino.com)
AT said:
October 15th, 2010 - 10:54 am
Love it! I have tea stained paper for a handmade journal. For paper, if it is thick enough, I prefer just quickly running the paper through a shallow dish of the tea, then lying flat to dry. It makes the stain very smooth, but also gives an aged look to the edges. Nice work!
Felicia Fuller said:
October 15th, 2010 - 10:59 am
I’ve been looking for some new lampshades and like this one. Where can I find it?
Megan said:
October 15th, 2010 - 11:36 am
Thanks for the great tutorial! Any advice on tea staining curtains?
Joanna said:
October 15th, 2010 - 12:47 pm
I used Tea Staining to make a cool piece of artwork for my living room a couple years back. I had a huge photocopy of a Sanborn Fire Insurance map of lower Manhattan in the early 1900′s from college assignment. It was such a great map that I wanted to frame it, but just a plain white piece of paper isn’t very interesting, so, using an old baby pool, I decided to try staining it. I crumpled a brown grocery bag and placed it underneath the map so it wouldn’t stick to the bottom and (gently) poured the tea over it. When it dried, the map looked awesome and old. the bag underneath created faint lines, that made the map look like it was cloth and folded away for some time. People always ask where i got it and are super shocked to hear that it was just a simple “aged” photo copy
October 15th, 2010 - 2:26 pm
Fantastic tips… I hadn’t ever thought of tea staining a lamp shade, I can’t wait to try this project!
Miz.Jo said:
October 15th, 2010 - 2:53 pm
Hey Ashley, this is a great project. It can be applied in so many different ways and its super simple.
Several years back I was taken with how pretty the fabric was that my mom used to strain her berries to make jelly. She used two old cotton clothes and they were the prettiest tie dye looking berry color. I stole them and stitched together a shirt! Eventually, after many wearings and washings, the color faded. But it was cool while it lasted.
Celia said:
October 15th, 2010 - 3:03 pm
My mother used to sew for me A LOT when I was a baby and a young girl. When she made a dress and could only find white socks… she would “tea stain” my socks to get the color just right to match my outfit. This really can be a great way to achieve the perfect color that you want!!
October 15th, 2010 - 4:04 pm
felicia-we picked it up at our local t.j.maxx, and with their wide product variability, i’m not sure where you might be able to source one. sorry! wish i could help more!
megan-for curtains, first of all make sure your fabric contains at least some cotton or linen; otherwise the color might not take. then, wet the curtains first, squeezing out the excess moisture which helps the fabric accept the color better.
then, for the staining, you could either brush it on, which will render a mottled look or do a dye bath, increasing the amount of liquid used largely (i.e. make a big stock pot of water and then add many tea bags to it, and cook it down until you achieve the desired darkness you’re striving for). submerge one panel at a time in the dye bath, leaving it in for up to an hour, moving it around with a long-handled spoon periodically for color uniformity and to remove creases.
wring it out and allow to dry naturally. be aware in advance, however, that the color might be mottled and not as even as that achieved with chemical dyes. for me, taking a chance on a lampshade was a risk i could afford to take. if you’re talking about dying your grandmother’s heirloom lace curtains, be prepared for some variability in color.
Verito said:
October 15th, 2010 - 8:04 pm
You should check out this argentine decor wedsite, and there is a diy proyect on dyed (don’t know the name, that paper thing where you bake cup cakes) with tea and stuck on the wall like wall paper…it just soooo cute!!
Vone said:
October 16th, 2010 - 8:33 am
I made a hooded wrap to go over my friend’s wedding dress and the day before the wedding I gave it to her and we realized that it didn’t match the dress – her dress was ivory and the wrap was white. So after a minor panic attack I tea stained it. I filled one sink with water and the other with 1 tea bag some boiled water and then removed the tea bag and added more water. I got the wrap really wet and then put it in the tea stain and then rinsed off again. And then to avoid drips I ironed it dry on a towel. It still seemed a little too light so I did it one more time and it looked perfect.
That was my first tea staining project and good thing it worked.
Auntie Sheboo said:
October 16th, 2010 - 11:45 am
This is great and made me remember two things that my grandma taught that I had forgotten. She used to take peelings from red onions and boil them to create the same affect. The color is slightly pinky-orangish brown. To set the color so you don’t have fading like the great berry shirt described by MizJo, she often gave them a vinegar bath which prevents fading to some degree but not totally. She also used beet juice, which was mentioned before and walnut hulls to make a very pretty brown. I’m wondering if Saffron would also be good. Thanks! This is great!
elisa said:
October 16th, 2010 - 12:08 pm
we had fun with tea staining too! sometimes it isn’t just brightening white but taking down a loud colour to something a bit gentler. lovely, easy process isn’t it? x
Emily said:
October 16th, 2010 - 4:50 pm
I love the look of tea stained things- I have been tea staining paper for use in paintings/multi-media projects since college. I’ve also used coffee grounds and straight up coffee.
I’ve never used it to stain anything other than paper, so I appreciate your tutorial- I’ve got some white tea towels from the dollar store that I want to tea stain and then stencil with fabric paint.
Once (emabarassingly recently) my sister and I were on a paper flower kick. We wanted to make some natural/ neutral blooms to arrange with our white ones. We made a pot of coffee, took it and our tissue paper outside to stain. Let’s just say that tissue paper wasn’t the smartest decision- it tore irrepairably when we picked it up off the ground. Major. Craft. Fail. Will use coffee filters next time around;)
amy said:
October 16th, 2010 - 11:05 pm
Finally, someone who knows the process and showed me well! Thank you so much. :)
MsChilePepper said:
October 17th, 2010 - 1:26 am
I’ve used tea, coffee and juice from beets and berries to stain light-colored woods for various projects, with great results. Really, anything that will make an UNdesirable stain on your clothes or table linens could make a really nice effect on fabrics and other materials. Mustard, turmeric, greens, lots of other stuff can be used for natural dyes. Experiment!
October 17th, 2010 - 2:09 am
Sweet! I have a cool distressed denim western shirt that was factory Tea Stained and LOVE the look. I tried it once without looking up or having any instructions. Didn’t work. Now that I have a Fool Proof “how to”, look out…I’m gonna be a tea staining FOOL!

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