Take and Bake

Sometimes I just feel like getting crafty. I want to go to Michael’s with an idea in my mind and see what happens.

Enter the Sharpie Mug. Again the interwebs are full of ideas and suggestions and How Tos and Not Tos. So much so it became a bit overwhelming. So I took the most common suggestions and just went for it.

I collected stencils and stickers and Oil-Paint Sharpie Pens all from Michael’s and then a dozen or so mugs from the dollar store. The most common suggestion found was to use cheap mugs. The cheaper the mug, the weaker the glaze. The weaker the glaze, the more easily the paint can bond to the mug and prevent wearing when you wash the mug. Same goes for Oil-based paints. This was suggested over regular sharpies or sharpie paint pens.

Supplies and Prep

Supplies and Prep

This was such an easy project, once I got over the creative-freeze that came with a blank mug. The options are endless. I found that looking at too many photos of what others had done only limited me because I just wanted to copy all these great mugs. But I found the best results when I just let go and made what I wanted to make.

Monograms - they are my weakness

Monograms – they are my weakness

This is also a great project to do with kids, for family, or for mass gifting. The pens aren’t entirely cheap, but they will last for a long time. I bought reusable stencils and materials, so those will have a permanent home in my craft-belt. And the mugs? $1, people. Can you even by a soda for that price anymore?

The possibilities are endless...

The possibilities are endless…

So here’s what I did:

Gather the supplies, troops and a creative playlist.
Paint, stencil and freehand to your heart’s desire.
Let dry for at least 12 hours, but I waited until the next day before baking.
Bake in a heated oven to 350 for 25 minutes and then let completely cool in the oven after you’ve turned it off.

So close....

So close….

Enjoy the fruits of your labor. Or in some cases, give them away because you made 12 and don’t need quite that many…

if you try this, please let us know how it went for you. My cups are being hand-washed for the time being, but all my research leads me to test out their top-shelf dishwasher safe status. Report back!

-Jenn

ROSEBUD

I’m pretty sure that the number one sign of being a fully-fledged and committed grown-up is not, in fact, paying bills, or having a dentist, or knowing the name of your drycleaner.

It’s wreaths on the door.

Hear me out: when I was a kid, my mom’s need to have a seasonally-appropriate wreath just seemed weird. Christmas, I could accept, but who cares what a door wears the rest of the year?

Now, though…maybe it’s a pride of ownership thing; maybe it’s because my quirky house has two front doors, so it looks doubly-naked when the holidays are over and my super-glittery front door festivities get boxed up for the year. All I know is that my doors just look forlorn and unfinished all spring and summer long.

The thing is, there’s a huge gulf between conceding that what I really want is a non-Christmas wreath or two to tide me over til December comes back again and actually liking wreaths in general. Silk flowers? Fake birds? Sculpted confections of wired ribbon?

Have we met?

When we started talking about making plaster flowers, I thought I had the ideal solution – yarn-wrap a foam wreath form, and festoon it with tiny little plastered pieces of perfection. Simple color scheme and contrasting textures, all brought together in one playful nod to nature. Boom!

Foam wreaths were easy to find, and about $3 each. Yarn, I had in spades, and this was a great way to use up lumpy left-over grass-green acrylic yarn I would never find another a purpose for. I dressed those puppies up weeks ago, and left them to age while they awaited their finishing floral touches.

nekkid

Eh. We all saw how that plaster thing turned out, right? Not so much boom, whole lotta bust. Wreaths? Consigned to the Island of Mis-fired Projects, for good as far as I was concerned.

Tonight, I was working on another project entirely, involving felt flowers. I bought the materials for this other project rather haphazardly, and, since I had never actually made felt flowers before, had conscientiously bought a few extra sheets of craft felt to experiment with.

supply

Turns out, I can TOTALLY knock felt flowers out of the park, which explains why “make a few test ones first,” in the course of some absent-minded crafting to the dulcet tones of season finales on TV, turned into “holy crap, where did all these ridiculous little fabric plants come from?”

Extra flowers…sad abandoned wreath forms. Surplus test flowers…sad, neglected, abandoned rings of yarny goodness, desperate to bedeck bland, spiritless, front doors. Felt flowers just lyin’ around, doin’ nothin’, and…

OH HEY THERE, BRIGHT IDEA. WELCOME TO THE PARTY.

test

profile

Any time anyone wants to congratulate me on unintentionally buying scrap felt pieces in the same colors as my house, by all means, feel free.

insitu

Total wreath cost: basically $3. Everything else – yarn, felt, random old lace scrap, the quilting pins that are holding the flowers on because Hot Glue And I Do Not Get Along – came from shopping my own supplies.

Since I have two front doors and a roommate who frequently gets left out of some of my wackier projects and plans, I handed wreath #2 and a stack of felt to her and told her to go wild. Last I checked, she eyeball deep in little finished flowers, and still making more. I’m a little frightened of what she might produce, but don’t blame her for over-producing the flowers; they’re easy and error-proof enough to be wildly addictive. That, however, is a post for another day.

In which I got totally plastered

In between our own personal projects, and the projects we decide to turn into random competitions, there’s the occasional project that Jenn and I both love enough just-as-is to commit to collaboration on. If I think really hard about it, plaster-coated silk flowers were the first project that we both saw en mass on Pinterest and thought “hey, we should save that for if we ever start the blog we keep joking about.”

Honestly, this had all the makings of a perfect project.

Supplies readily available and imminently affordable?

plastered

Check.

Internet rife with clear, consistent, and blessedly simple instructions, with universally successful outcomes?

Check, super check, checkity check check.

I feel like I should make some up-front disclosures:

One, I am not a big fan of fake flowers. Because…they’re fake. They’re fake and weird and fake and make me feel like I’m about to be thrown a retirement party and honestly I think I’ve satisfied my crazy-old-lady quotient just by having a cat, you know?

Two: I also don’t do candles, and actually, it’s because of the cat. Who habitually jumps onto counters. Where candles might be lit.

Trust me, the smell that happens when you shove a smoldering cat under a faucet because he crash-landed on your latest scented acquisition is enough to put you off for life, and if you’re lucky enough to have a cat stupid enough to do it twice? In the same week?

Well, let’s just say that there’s a reason no one makes a Scorched Feline scent. Yankee Catastrophe, for real.

Despite these fundamental facts, I had high hopes for this project. Had. HAD. Long story short: plastered flower tea light holders? I should have known better.

It seemed so simple:

Find some structurally-spectacular fake flowers.

fleur

Take 2 parts plaster of paris to 1 part cold water, add extra water to thin as needed. Dip flowers, shake excess, and repeat the ol’ dip-and-shake until PRESTO, MAGIC, A PERFECTLY COATED AND PRESERVED FLORAL FORM EMERGES.

Real-world instructions based on the actual events as they occurred in my kitchen:

Take 2 parts plaster of paris to 1 part cold water, add extra to thin to dipping consistency. Dip flowers, end up with near-immediate clotty seizure of white goo that looks like someone replaced my plaster with mashed potatoes. Panic, flail, shake, dip again, PANIC AND FLAIL MORE.

finished

Attempt to reshape the rapidly-hardening yet still weirdly-floppy plaster splodge back into a flower shape. End up with slightly floral pancake. Be amazed at how you can still see the flower’s original barely-there peach shade now blazing fluorescently orange through the inch-thick potato-chalk.

Realize you can’t take pictures because you’ve accidentally casted your own hands up to the elbow. Panic-wash hands, sparing a moment’s regret for the dishes you now wish you’d cleared out of the sink before starting this. Thin plaster more. Attempt dipping again with much smaller, less complicated flowers.

tinies

Fail only slightly less. Wash hands again. Discover that this second hand-wash took just long enough for the plaster to go from dippably-liquid to moldably solid. Give up and use this as an excuse to express your feelings on the project in freeform plaster format.

sadface

Go ahead and grade yourself on a generous curve for overall project excecution.

graded

Clearly, this plaster flower project was NOT the kind of “plastered” this girl was meant to achieve.

First Impressions

 

When people walk into your home, how are they greeted? Is it with a pile of shoes and evidence of a busy, active home? Or are you striving for a Pottery Barn-esque entryway? As your guests walk through your home and get comfortable, there is inevitably, THE bathroom that becomes the guest bathroom. Maybe you only have one bathroom, and it serves double or triple duty. If you’re like me, there is the quintessential “powder room”. The bathroom that is maintained just a bit more, in case guests stop by and always looks ready.

My powder room started in a blah blank place. The people we purchased our home from where ‘flippers’ and they were motivated to make the house as universally appealing as possible. And while they certainly succeeded, it’s not how I would love the room. Mr. Plaid and I look to do our own reno projects someday, to the kitchen and bathroom(s), but that takes dollars and skills, both of which… well, we’re progressing on in our own time.

For the powder room, I would love to see the manufacture-grade cabinet/sink combo be replaced with a lovely pedestal sink, it would take up less space but make more of an impact.

 

 

The mirror above the cabine-sink is huge, actually takes up the entire wall on that side from left to right and sits under a row of bulb lights. We all know the ones I’m talking about. They are unflattering and a pain to clean? You know the ones?

Basic, basic, basic

Basic, basic, basic

I would replace those with a lovely pair of (flattering) lower-watt sconces that would be soft enough that could be left on during dinner parties without being obtrusive. Like these:

SchoolHouse Electric

Schoolhouse Electric

But until then, I am left with two Kohl canvas finds and a trip to the big box store on the hunt for paint.

 

My first thought was to embrace my desire for color and bold tones in the house, so I thought a goldenrod or even orange would do the trick.

Not so Golden

Not so Golden

That got vetoed. Fast.

Still trying to choose

Still trying to choose

So I went and tried to find an interesting enough color that still was vibrant and inviting, while trying to make the space feel bigger. Let me just confess something here, paint color picking, is hard for me. Not only because of my commitment issues, but because I put a lot of pressure on the color. For some of my rooms and progress with making my house a home, paint and the color I choose is the main player until more aspects of the room can be brought together. It’s not an all or nothing. Every project and DIY effort is in flux and changing. I still have plans for my buffet, or that damn bar tray. I bake Macarons at least once a month, trying new flavors and colors, getting the Pied just right and the softness perfect.

Still trying to convince him

Still trying to convince him

Anyway, I am rambling. “Waiter… more coffee please!!”

Back to my color dilemma. As you can see, Mr. Plaid helped choose a more man-friendly color, and since I wanted him to continue encouraging my décor endeavors, I obliged the blue-grey and dove right in.

Gray?

Gray?

Let me tell you, cutting in and taping that room, was a pain. In my neck, my back, and metaphorically, my ass.

Good prep does make a job easier

Good prep does make a job easier

Cut and tape

Cut and tape

But, the quick change was welcome and continues to be a bright spot.

Not too shabby

Not too shabby

Thanks for reading, we love comments and feedback!

-jenn