Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Another Pinterest project - Another win!

I've been reviewing my Pinterest boards lately, in anticipation of our upcoming move (more on that later).  I've found tons of handy things that I'd long forgotten: painting tips, organization ideas, and of course, ideas & tutorials for craft projects for decoration.  While we can't use most of these pins yet, there were a few things I could get a jump on now!

One of these ideas I found on Pinterest and saved from another pinner.

Unfortunately, this pin links back to a blog or blog post that has since been made private, so I can't give the mind behind this idea any credit.

It wasn't too hard to piece together what needed to happen here, though, and I was feeling antsy.  Off to Michael's I went.


The hubs and I attended the same alma mater for undergrad and met while singing in their select choir.  I got the idea of using our university hymn as the music in the background to make one of these canvases.  I asked on Facebook, looking for a copy of the sheet music, tagging a few music major friends to see if anyone had a copy.  Within an hour, our collegiate director (professor emeritus now) had arranged to have a copy faxed to me and before the end of the work day, my boss (also a fellow alum) was having a stroll down memory lane.  These are the times I love social media - people you haven't seen in years can remind you that your time together was real, even though distance and life may separate you.

Boss's Facebook post - "Donita, did you have this faxed to the office? ... This made my day!"

Confession: I had never used Mod Podge before.  I figured it couldn't be that hard.  It definitely has a nuance to it, but it got the job done.  Be sure to buy the brayer on your first trip to the craft store (learn from me).  
Amateur tip #1: If you have something on copy paper that you want to Mod Podge, and don't know that they have special sealer for thin paper, I recommend copying your image onto card stock.  Totally worth the $0.45 at Staples.

Prep: Make sure your music is large enough that it extends over the edge of the canvas.  Then trim the paper to 1/8" more narrow than your canvas on all sides.  (This prevents the paper from sticking straight out at the edges of the canvas, while ensuring you don't have lots of white space at the edge.)

This is the version cut to exactly 11x14... Trust me - you want it trimmed a little more closely.

Step 1:  Apply a thin to medium layer of Mod Podge to the canvas. Carefully lay your cardstock music onto the canvas.  Use your brayer to smooth any wrinkles that may appear and press down firmly around all edges. (It's assumed you know to wait the recommended amount of time between coats of mod podge or paint.)
Amateur tip #2: Find a hardcover book that is slightly smaller than the inside of your framed canvas.  Have this handy when you are using your brayer, to support the canvas from underneath.  When you apply the mod podge, the canvas will stretch if you push down on it.  
Step 2: Mod Podge over top of your music (1-2 medium layers).

Step 3: Choose your phrase and apply the letters to the canvas.  I chose "Loyal Forever" because the last line of the University Hymn is "Loyal forever to dear ONU".
Amateur tip #3: If you need to mark lightly on the canvas, pencil will erase off of mod podge! Who knew?

Step 4: Paint over the letters with your chosen paint color.  I used 'Pure Pumpkin'.  The name had only part to do with it.  The other part was that our school colors are orange and black.  Use as many coats as you think you need, but make sure that you can still see some of the music underneath.  I only needed one coat.

Step 5: Once the paint is dry, carefully peel the letters off of your canvas.  Mod Podge over your acrylic paint (2-3 medium layers).

Don't worry - it dries very clear!

Step 6:  Reminisce about your alma mater and smile.

Monday, April 4, 2016

DIY Ticket Stub Shadowbox

A few years ago, I came across this pin:

Super cute, right?  I love the idea of keeping ticket stubs for posterity, but there are only so many cool scrapbook page layouts you can do with them...  I immediately grabbed this pin and followed the link to the retailer who showcased this idea.  I'm sure they are lovely products, but they ran from $95-210: a bit outside of the budget for our house.

I kept an eye out for a more affordable alternative, but hadn't found one.  After stumbling across this pin again today, I did another search and found that top-opening shadowbox frames were now a thing.  A thing I could buy at a big box craft store.  Whenever I wanted.  (I'm sure they aren't the same quality, but they'll get the job done!)

I had been super restless all afternoon, due to some frustrating phone calls and dead ends.  I was trying to clean up my office and found my fat stack of ticket stubs, waiting to be 'framed'.  That was it.  Today was the day.  I grabbed up my purse & got in the car.  An hour later, I had several DIY projects' worth of materials and I was home, on a mission.

The review I had found online had warned me that some frames didn't have a nice black background on them, so I was prepared to do a little beautifying with the frame when I got home.  Sure enough, the frame included a removable sheet of paper with wine corks pictured and when you took that out, all you were left with was the wrong side of the cardboard.  I grabbed a piece of fabric from my fabric stash and a glue gun.

I cut out a rectangle with my pinking shears, pressed out the wrinkles and affixed the fabric to the back of the frame with a bead of hot glue onto the wrong side of the cardboard.  Keeping everything smooth with the hubs' help, we secured all four edges on the wrong side of the frame backing.  I pinked the edges of the fabric again, trying to keep an even margin along all the edges.  Tightly wrapping the remaining fabric to the back of the frame (the side with the hangers), I glued the edges in place with another line of hot glue.  It took a little effort to get the back of the frame back in place, since the fabric made it thicker, but since I used a top-opening shadowbox, the back of the frame won't need to ever come out again.

Using the adhesive letters I picked up, we measured the frame and decided to set the letters just above the 2/3 mark on the glass.  I liked the 'admit one' idea, so I ran with that.  We cleaned the glass to remove any dust.  The hubs helped with centering the text and applying the letters.


Less than $40. Done and done.

Notice the place of prominence for my favorite point guard ever. #4!!

And in its new home!

I'm so excited with how this turned out and to have these memories on display, even in a small way, instead of gathering dust and taking up desk space.  Each of these tickets has a memory associated and it brings a smile to my face!


  • Top-opening shadowbox frame (I used this one)
  • adhesive letters, if you wish to include wording on the glass or on the back of the frame (I used these)
  • pinking shears
  • fabric remnant (the thinner the material, the easier getting it back in the frame will be)
  • hot glue gun
  • iron & ironing board
  • ruler
  • ticket stubs
This was super quick & easy!  If you have a collection of ticket stubs littering up your drawers or scrapbook to-do files, go for it!

Friday, April 1, 2016

Back-Burner Obsessions, or Black Lace Shawl, be mine!!

For months now, I've been back-burner obsessed with having a black lace shawl.  What's back-burner obsessed?  I'm defining it as that feeling that pops up when your mind is blank, that wardrobe desire that rears its ugly head when you're about 90% dressed and looking for that certain 'Je ne sais quoi' to feel fully dressed, or that compulsion every time you are staring at your stash trying to decide what to knit next.

I love shawls during transitional seasons - they are a nice layer of warmth without bulk - and black goes with EVERYTHING.  I had to have one.

I don't own black lace-weight yarn.  Well-dyed black yarn is hard to find (Don't believe me - google 'breaking black dye' or check this out).  I don't know many patterns that would compliment black lace.  And reading your knitting is SO hard in black.  What's a girl to do?

I had to have a black lace shawl, but I didn't want to knit a black lace anything. Also, I wouldn't dare ask someone else to knit it for me.

I had previously been operating under the strategy 'ignore it and it will go away'.  That had not been successful.  And then, I said something about it out loud.  3 times.  Once to the hubs & to 2 different ladies from my knitting group on different occasions, truly hoping that they would call out my crazy and help me put this to bed.  Apparently, just like Beetlejuice, saying it three times made it real.

The next thing I knew, a friend had 3 skeins of madTosh Vintage on destash in a color called 'Victorian Gothic'.

I mean, come on.
It's a charcoal black, semi-solid (the easier to read your stitches with) and so squishy, I felt like this girl:

Naturally, I pounced.

'But wait' - you might be thinking - 'that doesn't look like lace, that looks thicker?'  You would be right.  This is DK weight yarn, but I told myself that reading DK-weight lace knitting would be easier than lace-weight lace knitting.  Bigger yarn, bigger needles, bigger stitches, less squinting?  That was my story & I was sticking to it.

I didn't have a plan, but that was irrelevant.  I searched, I queued a few patterns, but nothing was jumping out at me.  It wasn't until months later, when I was hunting around Martina Behm's Ravelry store that something truly struck me (that buy 3, get 10% off discount gets me every time.  She's an evil knitting genius and I love her for it!).


Simply beautiful, flowing lace.  DK weight, adjustable yarn requirements to maximize your yardage.  It was love.

Before blocking.  Always block your lace!!

And now, it is finished and blocked and beautiful!  I wore it yesterday and felt very polished, even though I went to the office, ran errands and spent my afternoon at Firestone.  Black lace shawl, be mine!!

Photobomb credit: Ellie, the best dog ever