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Creative Casey's Blog

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Bright and Easy Idea for LOOSE Photos & Cards

I saw this basic idea in a photo book I checked out at the library this summer and I fell in love with the concept!  Get out all of your old loose photos and those cards you wanted to keep but had no idea what to do with them so you just gathered them for years in a basket or box in a closet. Here's an awesome way to display them!

All you do is find or purchase a spinning card rack and put your loose photos and cards that you want to keep in the card pockets. After looking for a display rack in yard sales, thrift stores and craigslist with no luck, I went for a search on the net and found a 12 section spinning display rack at This was the smallest rack and least expensive at $25. The shipping is what hurt $10.  I kind of wanted to go bigger and get one of the tall floor ones to put in a corner in my dining room but wasn't 100% sure how it would look. I now wish I would have went big. It's the right size for now and it has room for a lot more pics and cards but someday I will need the larger version which is about $50.

This is my new fav toy/idea.  I had fun pulling out my boxes and putting my grandfather's old postcards from the early 1900's in the slots and then my trip/vacation postcards next to them. I also had cards from special occasions that I had kept, black and white photos, polaroid images, handmade cards and pics from my nephew, etc... and they all fit.  I used an old antique envelop to put tiny pictures in it for display otherwise they wouldn't have fit.  My goal is to create some sign to put on the top of the spinning rack (there's a place for it) once I come up with what I want to put on it (for now I have a polaroid snapshot of me when I was little). Now I have a talk piece for guest to look through and stories to reminisce and share with others instead of leaving these mementos hidden in the recess of my closet never to be seen or looked at for years.

DIY Creative Coat Rack

The first image below is of a coat rack I made for my work office. There's an older post about it somewhere on my blog.  I was going for a raw screen printed kind of look.  I liked it for a brief moment in time but after three years of planning I now have a brand new office space in a new building.  I'm working on redecorating my office using some of my old art pieces and bringing in some new things like plants and a revamped coat rack.

I've been creating a bunch of arts and crafty projects lately which of course is thrilling, productive, creative and therapeutic in their own right but this is the first mixed media piece I've done all summer. Here's how I did it.

I started with the blank piece of wood from the old piece, painted with reds and yellows, used a crackle medium followed by yellow paint, modge podged some sewing pattern paper I got for .25 cents at Craft Bits & Pieces, tried some other collage pieces... didn't like the outcome so I tore most everything off and started all over. I found an image about REST that I liked in a magazine and cut it out, painted the background with blue, violet and white, added more modge podge with the sewing patterned paper, modge podged the cut out image on, smeared paint around the edges, epoxied buttons and an old key lock I found around my house. I used stamp letters and black paint to add the quote, "PS Enjoy Your Life" to the image.  I found old large headed nails in my basement and hammered them in the corners of the wood. I then used modge podge and an acrylic spray sealer over the entire piece then drilled and reattached the coat hooks. I put holes in the back for hanging.

 Viola!!! I love this piece. Way better then my last attempt! And the total cost was only $5 for the coat the coat hooks from HD. Wood was a left over piece from house projects.

First Coat Rack made a year ago.

Newest mixed media coat rack.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Completed Refinished Front Door

In an earlier post I introduced you to my 100 year old front door that has leaded glass and at least six layers of paint. Check out that post to learn more about how this project got started. All I can say is WOW this was way more of a project then I bargained for!

The hot zone heat gun worked well to get off the major paint layers; however it was very difficult to get the tiny detailed spaces. I became inpatient and held the gun to close while scrapping and heard a "crack"....yep you guessed it....the leaded glass heated up to hot and cracked. So far it has only been a very small surface crack and is holding up but boy did that stink!

Then once I got the major paint layers off I noticed their tended to me a milky residue color on a lot of door and it turned out to be an original oil based paint. This was no good because the hot gun only heated up the paint but the scrapper just pushed it around. I thought if I used a sander on it this might work to take that little bit of surface off, but it didn't. I then tried chemical stripper and scrapping. This worked some but not fully. When I went to a couple of paint stores and showed them pics asking if I could go ahead and stain the door at this point they all said no that it wouldn't work. The advice was you have to keep using the chemical stripper and get it all off or else the stain wouldn't adhere and would resist in those spots were the oil paint was. I already pretty much knew this but was some how hoping they would have the miracle answer. They had an answer all right- keep using the chemical stripper or else paint the door. The later was a phrase was dreaded and refused to think about.

I went home from the paint stores with a scrubby pad and paint thinner which were recommended. I refused to repaint the door but cried at the thought of continuing to try to get off every inch of the oil based (probably lead based) paint. But I did it! I worked and worked and worked the following day and after another 5 hours and about 4 times with the chemical stripper I got there. Hooray!!!! Glorious!!!

I actually liked the natural wood color and left it like that for a week because I didn't want to mess it up with staining it. Eventually I chose a Cider Mill semi-transparent stain to put on. This was the easiest part. I think it turned out pretty good, perhaps a little darker than intended but it's a rich shade. Way better than it started. I continue to relearn the home improvement lesson that it takes 3x's as long to complete a project then estimated. Wonder when I'll actually start using that theory in my project time line.   :)

Enjoy the pics of the process.

Believe it or not I forgot to take a pic of the original front door with all of the paint. It was cracked and peeling and a brownish color. There is still some on in this picture.

Milky white on door from the oil based original paint.

All stripped down to the original wood.

All finished with Cider Mill semi-transparent stain.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Glass Jars Turned Into Soap Jars for .35 cents

I saw a smiliar project on pinterest and while at a yard sale recently I found a couple of glass jars with lids for .10 cents each. Then at another yard sale I found brand new pump dispensers for .25 cents each.

I drilled a hole into the lids of the jars and made it a tight fit so the pump wouldn't move and put it in the drilled hole.  Cut the length of the pump hose to fit into your size jar. Fill the jar with hand soap or lotion if you want. Looks great, is super quick and easy!

Creative Bird Seed Holder

I saw these bird seeders at a local art festival (Cornhill Festival) at a booth. I don't know the person who made them to give them credit but I thought it was an innovative idea and set out to try to make my own. It ended up being very easy, inexpensive and fun.

Materials needed:  old album records (free curtesy of my neighbor), spindles (either found or you can pick them up at Home Depot for $2 each), metal rod ($2.77 at Home Depot and makes 3-4 projects), exterior paint of your choice (can get sample size which is plenty for 2.99 at HD), epoxy, drill, screwdriver and one screw.

To figure out how to safely melt the records I watched a video on YouTube: I set out to make my own and found it very fun! I made 4 in a short amount of time and wanted to keep experimenting with different shapes. Then I painted the spindles, used a hacksaw to cut the metal rod into 3 pieces, drilled a 3" hole in the bottom of the spindle, epoxied one of the metal rods into the hole, and then drilled a hole in the top of the spindle followed by screwing the record bowl into the top of the spindle.

This entire project took about an hour (with waiting time in between steps) and I made 2 during that hour.  This was an easy and fun project. You then put in your yard or garden with bird seed in the bowl.

Another idea I saw for the melted old records are to use them as chip or popcorn bowls. That would be pretty neat and give me a reason to keep creating more! :)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Easy Patchwork Quilts

I purchased a trundle bed for my spare room. It's a basic metal twin frame with a mattress and then a metal frame underneath the bed that is on rollers and when pulled out pops up into another twin bed or connects to the other twin making it a king size bed.  My sister and nephew are going to be visiting in a few weeks and staying with me so I felt some pressure to purchase some twin sheets and look into buying comforters for both beds. However; once I started looking at comforters and quilt bedspreads I realized it was going to be very expensive to buy one let alone two so I set out to make two twin quilt bedspreads without spending a lot of money or a ton of time on the project.

First I'll tell you my quilting experience. I've been making quilts on and off for the past 10-12 years. I've made a couple of queen size patchwork quilts for wedding gifts, a couple of speciality smaller wedding quilts out of satin, a handful of lap patchwork quilts and a handful of baby quilts some patchwork and some with patterns and embroider work on them. I have only a simple basic $100 sewing machine and not a fancy quilter machine and I have never taken a quilting class just learned a little from my great Aunt who is a Master Hand Quilter.

Here's how I made two twin quilts for about $30 total.  I went to Craft Bits and Pieces which sells donated new art/crafting supplies.  I found earthy tones of solid fabric with a couple of brighter pieces and bought enough material for backing pieces and 12 yards of interface (for the middle layer).  I made a cardboard square 6x6 (usually I make much smaller squares on patchwork quilts but I wanted to try bigger on these). I traced and cut (using a cutting board) and traced and cut and traced and cut until I  had enough squares to make a twin quilt (which is about 65" x 86-90"). I think my quilts ended up being 11 or 12 squares across and then 16 columns down.  I laid the squares out on the floor creating the entire pattern I wanted (this was done in my living room the biggest open space I had). Then I started sewing each row together with the sewing machine. Once all of the rows were together I started connecting the rows to each other vertically until the top piece was finished.

I then used large pieces of different colors of the fabric that was left over from the squares and sewed them together to make the backing (should be about 4" larger on each side than the top piece). I cut and sewed the interfacing together to make the middle layer (this should be about 1" extra on each side).
** It's always better to have extra that you can later trim up rather than to little.  I brought the 3 layers of each quilt to my great-Aunt's house and used her antique stretcher boards (that were her mother's and handmade by her father). We stretched the backing out and then centered the other two layers together, tied the quilt every three blocks (on the seams) and all edges, then folded over the backing and pinned it to make the border around the quilt. Finally I hand stitched around the entire border of the quilt to finish the edging. I did the same with the second twin size quilt.** Note- you can tie the layers together on a large table or on a flat surface like a floor. I do this with lap quilts and baby quilts. Sometimes it's just harder to get each layer of fabric really tight when tying if it's a large quilt and you are doing it on the floor by yourself, but it can be done.

All in all I would say it took about 2 hours each quilt to cut squares, an hour to lay out the pattern on the floor, about 2 hours to sew the top piece together, an hour to measure, cut and sew the backing and interface, 1 hour to tie the quilt and another 1.5 hours to hand stitch the outside border. A total of 7.5 hours per quilt. Not bad.  My one recommendation is iron your squares before sewing them together. I'm always lazy and don't. I wait until the quilt is completed and then iron a huge quilt (which can be a pain) or like you will see in the pics I still have procrastinated and haven't ironed them yet! :)

cardboard 6x6" model, marker and fabric. cut and trace and repeat 100's of times

Sorry I forgot to take pictures of laying the pattern on the floor and sewing, but here is just the top piece sewn together.

Backing using miscellaneous left over pieces sewn together or you can use a solid one color piece of fabric or patterned fabric (it usually takes about 5 yards to make a twin quilt backing).

Interfacing sewn together and placed on top of the back piece.

All three layers together but not tied. I brought my camera but forgot to take pics of the tying process. Sorry!

Turned over extra backing to make edging that I pinned and hand stitched all the way around the entire quilt.

Finish quilt #1

Finished quilt #2

Close up: the white yarn if you can see it is are the ties.  And yes- it needs to be IRONED! :)

Sweet Memories

I was in SC visiting my sister, brother-in-law and nephew a few weeks ago. I was helping my sister to go through my nephews baby/toddler clothes and apparatuses that babies/toddlers need. At this point she doesn't think she'll have any more children and wanted to start purging the baby items being stored for the past few years.  We started pulling bin after bin and box after box, separating and taking pictures. I showed her how to post things on craigslist and helped her get started.

As we were going through the bins of clothes and bibs, etc... my sister became sullen looking at certain outfits that brought back memories, such as the outfit my nephew was brought home from the hospital in.  As we were commenting on certain baby clothes and the memories an idea started forming.  I mentioned to her that she should pull out and give me the clothes that remind her most of my nephew at certain stages of his baby-hood/toddler-hood. I shared that I thought I could try to make a memory quilt using the clothes. She actually thought this was a good idea and we went to town picking out the most memorable outfits and talking fondly of my nephew at those ages.  My brother-in-law joined in after a while.

My nephew (he's 5 y/o) saw me cutting up the clothes and looked at me with an angry expression saying, "Aunt CiCi why are you cutting up my favorite clothes?" He couldn't quite get the concept. ;)

So here's how I did it.  This project was a real challenge due to the elasticity of the clothes and the fact that they were all different sizes from t-shirts, to newborn outfits, to pajama legs, bibs, etc....  Since finishing this project I've heard that you can purchase some type of iron on interface that will help so the material doesn't stretch as much and your sewing machine will like it much better.  I cut the clothes into pieces then laid them out on my floor to make the pattern. I then sewed the pieces together using rows as much as I could. I had World War III with my sewing machine doing this part!  I then purchased about 4.5 yards of blue fabric from Craft Bits and Pieces for $5 and used an old flannel twin size bed sheet for the interface/middle piece.  I used antique wooden stretching boards of my Aunts and with her help we laid the 3 layers together, stretched them out and tied the quilt in random places since there wasn't really a pattern going on. I folded over the edges and hand stitched them while watching a movie one night.

I think it turned out pretty well for the challenge that it was.  My parents were the first to see it and we reminisced about how the quilt represents everything that reminds us of my nephew....skeletons, robots, dinosaurs, and bugs bugs bugs! My sister and her family will see it in a few weeks when they come up for a visit.

While making this quilt I found a picture on and went to the site;  This woman is a professional at making children's quilts. Way better than mine but hey I gave it a whirl and it will serve it's purpose which is to preserve sweet memories!

Cutting clothes

Pile of quilt squares. Much easier to fit in suitcase for the flight back to NY.

Putting the top portion together. Sewing nightmare!

Finished quilt. And no I haven't ironed it yet! (Probably should have done that first when before pieces are sewn together but I'm always to lazy. A true professional quilter would iron though!)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Surfing (well sort of), Art fest, and Comedy Fun

Here's some of the fun adventurous things I've been up to lately:

* I found a SUPing group through BayCreek Padding- and tried it out. SUPing is the new surfing (especially if you only live near lakes)!  I met a handful of pretty nice people who were also trying it out for the first time. You basically stand on a surf board and have one paddle that you move side to side for direction and momentum.  It was really fun and quite the core workout. My abs and arms were sore the next day.  Although it was an extremely hot day and the instructor joked about "accidentally" falling in the water, I didn't and thankfully so as the creek was full of geese poo! This is a giant motivator not to fall. After cruising the creek we went out to the bay in the channel. We got some wave action from the jet ski's and boats which added excitement and a challenge. I would highly recommended trying this out. They've since started a fitness SUPing class. I'm thinking about giving it a whirl.

* I FINALLY got to check out the Cornhill Festival in Rochester, This is an extremely well known annual weekend summer art festival that is held in a beautiful little historic area of Rochester. The houses and landscape are quaint and awesome and there are many winding streets that are full of tents, vendors, musicians and a ton of food.  I'm a Rochester transplant and have lived here for 10 years but this is my first time there. Unfortunately for years the big family reunion Pig Roast was held the same weekend so family duties called instead of the festival.  I took several business cards from some really cool vendors and will add them here later (once I find them again). I always get inspired to create and try new techniques after going to an art festival. My mind is still spinning with ideas. Now I just need to finish those darn house projects so I can get to the fun creating!

* I recently came across an Open Mic Comedy Night that is held at Writers and Books once a  month, We can all use as much laughter as we can get so I had a free evening and checked it out.  The host was very funny and the other performers I give a ton of cheers to because they are all amateurs but brave enough to get up and practice/perform in front of everyone. I appreciate comedians not just because they make you laugh but because it's actually really hard to be a good comedian and takes a lot of talent and practice. Not something I could do. Most of the laughs I give people are not intended just perfect mishaps! ;)

***Done anything fun lately or tried anything new? Let me know! I'm always looking for recommendations!***