Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Change of Season (and crafts to go with it!)

Although I was born in Summer, my favorite seasons are Spring and Fall. Why? Because I love the change of color, and luckily, here there's a lot of it!  It's true, Fall officially started a few weeks back, but we had sort of an Indian Summer and so the leaves are really beautiful shades of yellow red and brown right now. The best time to collect and press them, so that's what I did!

The truth is, I was planning on making this last year, but never got around to it, so it was haunting me. Although it takes a couple of days to make (because of drying time) it is SO worth it and the pictures really don't do it justice. I love to change the decorations in the house according to the season and this fits perfectly, it would also make a nice centerpiece for your Thanksgiving table, although I've already made something else. So, go gather some leaves, place them flat in between two (or more) sheets of newspaper, or paper towel, then place them on a flat surface, cover with more paper and put some heavy books on them so that they're completely covered. Leave them like that for several days (mine were there a week). When they're nice and dry and flat, you're ready to start.

You'll need:
rice paper for decoupage, I like voile(the thin stuff), but thicker is okay, however, it will be more opaque.
a mixture of craft of Elmer's glue and water.60/40 is about right, but I just play it by ear (or eye, if your speaking Italian ) It's best if you make it up in a closeable jar, so you can save it between drying times.
2 medium sized paint brushes
Varnish (optional)
Hurricane or glass container or jar
an Exacto or craft knife

First, tear your rice paper into fairly big pieces, as in the top photo. The second photo shows a straight edge, you DON'T want that, or the seem is likely to show. Line your work surface with a plastic table cloth or something non-stick.  Place the paper aside and paint the glue mixture onto the hurricane like so:

Then carefully place your rice paper onto the glass, slightly overlapping it so that there are no holes. Cover the entire jar and if you can't fit the paper eveny to the top seem, don't worry, just let it stick out over the edge. Once it's completely covered, give it another paint-over with the glue mixture, this will make sure that it's wet enough so that the overlapping  doesn't show when it's dry. DO NOT overdo it though or the paper will tear.Let dry for a couple of hours.
When it's dry, take an exacto knife and trim the edge.
Now, repaint the whole thing with the glue mix and then, one at a time, paint the back of the leaves and place them where you want them to go. Be patient and careful, so that they don't break. Hold them a second until they stick and paint over the top too.
Unfortunately, my batteries died here so I didn't get of a pic of the leaves being placed, but you get the idea....
Once you have finished covering the glass, paint over and let it dry for several hours or over night. When it was dry I painted it again because some of the leaves weren't flat. If your stems stick out, you can cut them at the base of the leaf and glue them on seperately, as close as possible. When it's completely dry, add a coat or two of varnish to protect it. That's it! A beautiful fall hurricane. I hope you liked the tutorial.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


What?? Just when you thought Halloween was over............. Here I am! Better late than never!!! Well, I really wanted to post on Halloween , but I was just TOO busy. Anyway, since this really is supposed to be a craft blog, I thought I would post this just the same and that'll give you plenty of time to make them for next year!  There were plenty of these going ,or "floating" I should say, around the web. I saw them and just HAD to make them, in a hurry, since I was super busy organizing my huge Halloween event.  These actually took me way back to when I was a little girl because I remember making "stained glass jars" with the same technique. I have actually decided to make some of these cuties for Christmas too, so I'll post when I do. Anyway, all you need is some colored tissue paper, scissors, craft clue or mod podge,a paint brush, jars and a clear glaze(optional) oh, and some glitter if you'd like. First , dilute your glue with a little water, about 60/40( I just wing it), then tear your background tissue paper into pieces .You can use a whole piece if you don't like the stained glass effect, but you'll need to measure it by wrapping it around your jar before starting and cutting it at the correct height too. Then, paint your jar with the glue mixture, being careful to drip the excess off the brush before painting, and apply your tissue paper. While that's drying, cut out your silly or scary faces or anything else you want to use. With an almost dry brush, carefully paint  glue mix onto the face parts and position them on the jar. I usually go over the whole jar with a bit of glue to make sure it all sticks well, but don't touch the face parts or they are bound to move. let dry well and if you'd like use some glaze or flatting to seal. I used the non-toxic type that's used for wooden toys. It's safer and almost odorless.Last, but not least; a little glue mixture around the top, then dip it in the glitter of your choice , and VoilĂ  or should I say BOO! There is your spooky jar-o-lantern.  My favorite is the goofy- faced one!