Monday, December 30, 2013

Faux Milk Glass

I've seen many tutorials on making faux milk glass over the years.  I, finally, gave it a try and it couldn't be any easier.

I used Starbucks bottles.  I cleaned them inside and out with Citrasolv cleaner.  You can use any cleanser, but I have found that Citrasolv works great for removing the label residue.

All you need to do is make little dots with a hot glue gun.  I've seen people make all kinds of decorations with the glue, but I stayed with the dots because I have always liked the hobnail milk glass.  After the glue was completely dry, I sprayed a couple coats of gloss, white paint.  That's it.  Easy-Peasy!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Merry Christmas to Me!

I received the most wonderful present from my parents.  Last year my father built easels for me and my sister.  Again, this year, we received identical gifts.  Not that we are prone to argue with other, however, I think they figure that they are safer giving us the same thing.

I have always wanted a table made out of a Singer sewing machine base.  These are from 1915, I think.  Of course, they didn't look like this when my dad bought them.  He painted them, carefully, recreating the original gold accents.  He topped them off with tempered, smoked, glass with beveled corners.

This one is mine and it's a little bit better than the other one.  LOL.

I can't wait to see what we get next year!  I'm going to start sending him little ideas from Pinterest.


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Large Crocheted Basket

I saw a photo on Pinterest of some big, chunky, crocheted baskets.  I have tons of yarn so I am always looking for containers to hold it.  I found the pattern at  I, loosely, followed it, using Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick and Quick in Grey Marble.  It took six skeins, holding two strands throughout.  I used a size "N" crochet hook.

My basket is 13" high and 16" in diameter.  I might cover cardboard with felt and make an insert for the bottom and sides to make the basket really stable.

Basically, this is how I made it.

Holding two strands, I chained 5, then slip stitched in the first chain to make a circle.  Chain 2, then 7 hdc in the circle.  The entire bottom is worked in the round, so you never slip stitch to end and start a new row.
2nd round -  Work 2 hdc in each hdc around.
3rd round - *work 2 hdc in first hdc, 1 hdc in next hdc, repeat from * around.
4th round - *work 2 hdc in first hdc. 1hdc in next 2 hdc, repeat from * around.
Continue working in rounds, increasing one more hdc after the stitches with 2 hdc in one hdc.  I did this for eight rounds.
Next round, sc in each back loop of each stitch. This starts the sides of the basket.  From this point on, work one hdc in each hdc until you get the basket as tall as you want it.

To make the handles.

Count how many stitches you have around the top.  Subtract 20.  Divide this number in half and that's the amount of stitches you will have between handles.

For example.  I had 60 stitches around.  So I sc in 10 stitches, chained 10 stitches for the handle, skip 10 stitches, sc in next 20 stitches, chain 10 for other handle, skip 10 stitches, sc in last 10 stitches.
On the last round, sc in each sc, 12 sc over the chain handles.  At the end slip stitch in next ditch and fasten off.

I hope that you could make sense out of this.  Feel free to ask questions.

That's it for today.


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Tile Coasters

Tonight it's tile coasters.  This is all you need to make a pretty set of coasters:

4 inch ceramic tiles (they're about 13 cents a piece)
Decorative paper (I used scrapbook paper)
Mod Podge
Paintbrush or foam brush
Polycrylic (I used Minwax clear satin)
Felt circles or tiny rubber "feet"

Cut the paper into 3.75" squares.  Cover the tile with Mod Podge.  Center the paper on the tile.  I used an old credit card to smooth out the paper and make sure that it was completely adhered around the edges.  Brush a coat of Mod Podge over the paper.  It looks nice when you brush it in one direction so that you don't have crazy brush strokes visible.  When this layer dries, apply another layer of Mod Podge.  This time, brush it in the opposite direction.  You don't have to, but I think it looks better this way.  When this coat is entirely dry, brush on a coat of polycrylic, covering the sides of the tile also.  Lastly, attach some felt circles or rubber "feet" at each corner of the bottom of the tile.  That's it!

These make a really nice gift.  In fact, I gave my sister a set on Thanksgiving.  I going to put some up for sale in my etsy shop within the next day or so.


More Crochet

I've been addicted to the crochet hook recently.  I'm into cowls and fingerless gloves.  They are quick so I don't lose interest and end up with only half of a project.  I actually have bags and bags of partially finished projects.

Here's some of the stuff I've finished in the past few days.

Fingerless gloves and cowl made with super soft wool and silk blend.

Fingerless gloves made with a wool/acrylic blend

This cowl was made with Loops and Threads yarn with tiny sequins throughout the yarn.

I can't remember which yarn I used for this one.  I think it's wool and silk too.  I used a size G hook for all of the pieces.

Tomorrow, I think I'm going to put down the hook and pick up my paint brush.  I have a cute, little, vintage writing desk that,desperately needs some chalk paint.


Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Power of Touch

                                                     Drawing by Cyndi Cesare

Some people take touch for granted.  It's so natural for them to reach out and touch someone's hand or hug someone.  I was not raised that way.  When I tell someone that I really don't have a single memory of my parents touching me when I was a child, I can see the disbelief or suspicion in their eyes.  My parents grew up with some really dysfunctional ideas.  They were never touched by their parents.  Maybe it's the area in which they were raised.  My mother says that it's generational, but I don't think that's it.  All of my friends had parents and grandparents, even older than mine, and I always saw hugging and other physical signs of love , support, and approval in their homes.  My parents were actually in their 20's in the sixties.  These were the days of peace, love, introspection, exploration, etc.

My, maternal, grandparents were very, physically, cold.  They loved us, but they never said it and they certainly never touched us.  To them, every form of touch was wrong and might have something sexual behind it.  I know my, maternal, great-grandfather was the same.  I'm not sure about my mom's grandmother.  I think she might have been a little more loving if she had been able.

My mom's mother died too early.  My grandfather was in his 60's, so he remarried.  His new wife was a short, little, red-haired, lady that hugged everyone.  When I was in my early 20's, she used to hold my hand in the mall.  Surprisingly, my grandfather jumped on the hugging bandwagon right away, as did we all.  We probably looked pretty funny for the first year or two.  We were definitely some uncomfortable huggers.  But, before we knew it, we were hugging hello, hugging goodby, hugging congratulations, you name it - we were finally normal.

My sister had two children and we actually touched them.  We kissed them, threw them up in the air, swung them around, we we're becoming pros.  Then I married an Italian and his family "forgettabouddit" they would hug at the drop of a hat.

Touch is so important.  When someone reaches out and touches you, it can make you feel special, loved, safe, stronger, healed.  Babies stop crying when you pick them up.  Dogs are happy if you just put one hand on their head.  

What made me think about touching today was a phone call from my mother.  My grandfather is 95 and in a long-term care facility.  She said that he hugged her today for a very long time - like he might never see her again.  I think that, in his current situation, there are so few things that really bring pleasure.  He eats lots of cookies because the sugary taste is so pleasurable to him.  I think the feel of his daughter was so good, because he no longer has the worries, inhibitions, or archaic ideas of his past.  He just knows what feels good and what doesn't.  And, what could be better than your only child sitting next to you and knowing that you are stilled loved.

So, reach out and touch someone today.