Some Ladybug Action & Another Winter Sweater ready for the matte medium & gesso…

20190227_201540 (2)Some black paint on the wood ladybug body sections.  Another coat of the red paint on the ladybug rocks. Another coat of red on the wings of the wood ladybugs, and as you can probably tell from the picture, I’ve carved out another wood ladybug shape. I have three big magnets, so there is a ladybug shape for each magnet now. I’ve got another ladybug figure in the works and this one will be a girl, so far she is able to stand upright without any support. I guess I got the balance just right. I have some bits of pretty lace that I’ll use to make her a little skirt. I decided the boy one needed a friend.20190227_201505 (2)This paper-mache’ winter sweater is now ready for the matte medium and the gesso! I’ll paint this one a dark blue and embellish it with white iridescent snowflake sequins and silver seed beads.

So, there you go! Some of the various ladybug projects are moving along and another paper-mache’ winter sweater is closer to being finished. I’ll be posting tutorials for the ladybug projects as I finish each of them. None of them are very difficult to make, they just take some time to do, mainly drying time for paint and glue. All the rain we’ve been having does not help things to dry as fast as I would like, but at least it wasn’t snow, at least not yet. Hope not, don’t really need to see snow up close and personal, especially since I saw yesterday morning that my bluebirds already have a new batch of babies and they have already made their first venture outside of their house! Can you believe it?! I guess the parent bluebirds have decided that Spring has sprung, or at least enough to be able to find enough bugs to feed the new babies. I want to say, “Hello!” to my new followers! I’ve been looking at your blogs and you are some very clever and creative folks! Thank you to all my followers for looking at my blog! I work at making it look nice and try to make my posts understandable, as well as I can. I hope you all had a GREAT DAY! and that tomorrow will be even better for you!!!  So, HAPPY CREATIVE PROBLEM SOLVING!!!! HAPPY CRAFTING!!!!!

A Tutorial for the Paper-Mache’ Winter Sweaters…

20190226_130503 (3)This is the first one that I’m declaring finished. The sequins are shiny so the camera had trouble with the sparkly-ness.20190226_130407 (2)I’ve repaired the hole in the bottom edge of the white one where the handling stick was placed. The green one needs some more work, the hole on the bottom edge has to be repaired. I haven’t decided yet what else I might do to the green one, but it is very close to being done, plus I have to make a little wire clothes hanger for it with that red wire in the above picture. So, for these I used:

  • Elmer’s Foam Board  which is what I cut the shapes from, two pieces for each sweater. It comes in 20 x 30 x 3/16 inch pieces, in various colors and can usually be found in the office supply section of stores like Walmart, Target, Staples, etc. It is also available from Hobby Lobby, Michael’s, A.C.Moore, etc., and is usually near the poster board and the art paper section. I used white for this project.
  • Aleene’s Original Clear Gel Tacky Glue  which I used to glue the shapes together and also for attaching the sequins, beads, the gift images, and for attaching the wire clothes hanger.
  • Elmer’s Glue-All Multi-Purpose Glue Extra Strong Formula   which I used  thinned a little with water for the glue part of the paper mache’-ing.
  • Package insert tissue and phone book paper  torn into small pieces for the paper part of the paper-mache’-ing
  • Crayola Kids disposable paint brushes for adding the glue for the paper-mache’-ing and for smoothing the glue out with.
  • Liquitex Matte Medium Fluid Medium  which I used to seal the paper-mache’ after it was dry to protect it from the wetness of the gesso and paint I used on the sweaters to get them ready to be embellished.
  • Liquitex Acrylic Gesso  in white, to help smooth the surface of the sweaters and get them ready to be painted.
  • FolkArt Outdoor Acrylic Paint in : 6240E Cotton   which I used for the white sweater, for the prime coat and the base coat and the final coat.
  • Apple Barrel Matte Acrylic Paint in : 21479E New Shamrock  which I used for the prime coat, the base coat and the final coat on the green sweater.
  • Fashion Trim Snowflake Sequins in shades of blue and iridescent white, which I found at Michael’s.
  • Rocaille Seed Beads, size 11, in silver, from Create-A-Craft, which I found at Walmart, which I used to add a bit of shiny to the middle of the snowflake sequins I put on the white sweater.
  • To and from gift stickers from which I fussy cut those two wrapped gift images I glued on the green sweater. I found these stickers at Walmart.
  • Various colors of vinyl coated automotive wiring  which I found at Dollar Tree,  from which I made the wire clothes hanger bits I used for the hangers for the sweater ornaments
  • Odds and ends: Scissors, toothpicks, bamboo skewers, small round nose pliers with side wire cutter, X-acto craft knife extra sharp and extra blades, cardboard for the templates, a self-healing cutting mat, a large bread board, a # 2 pencil, a small magnifying glass, masking tape, sponge brushes, a straight pin or a really thin,  small nail, an airtight container to hold the water thinned glue, tweezers to help with placing the beads on the sequins.
  • Krylon Colormaster Clear Satin Crystal Clear  Indoor/Outdoor Spray   as a Varnish/Sealer  several coats 20190224_193022 (2).jpg

Instruction how-to’s:

  1. Referring to my picture above, for the white and for the green sweater, I used the cardboard sweater template with the sleeves more close to the body. I sketched out the general sweater shape on the cardboard and then cut it out with scissors. From side to side across the bottom of the sweater is 2 3/4 inches wide. From the collar to the bottom hem of the sweater is 3 1/2 inches. From the collar to the end of the sleeve is 3 1/2 inches. At the widest point measured across from one sleeve edge across the body section and to the far edge of the other sleeve is 4 inches.
  2. I put my self-healing cutting mat on my kitchen floor with a large bread board under it for added protection for the floor. I then placed the template on the foam board, on top of the cutting mat. I then traced around the template, two sweater shapes for each sweater.
  3. With the first template I traced and cut out enough shapes for five sweaters, which adds up to ten shapes. And, as you can see in the above picture, I traced out and cut some shapes with the wider spread arm sweater template, I ended up cutting six of those shapes, enough for three sweaters. Now, a word about cutting foam board, I have a love/hate relationship with foam board, also called foam-core board. The love part: Foam board comes in a lot of colors, it is very light weight and is very inexpensive. For small-ish projects you can use it in place of wood, like in making small picture frames, doll houses, it lends itself very well to making fake gingerbread houses, etc. But, and this is a very important but, this is the hate part: foam board can be difficult to cut.20190224_200042 (2)That is a piece of the foam board in the bottom, of the above picture. See the edges, they are very rough and ragged. Even with a brand new cutting blade, it can be difficult to get a clean cut edge, and scissors just crush the foam board. With much experimentation, I have found that if you do a very light score cut, just barely cutting the surface of the board and then go back over that to make your final cut, you’ll get a much cleaner cut edge. It won’t be perfect looking, but it won’t be crushed and ragged to the max like scissors would do. You can tidy and clean the edges up with a good sharp craft knife.
  4. Referring to the above picture, in the top left corner area, I glued the sweater pieces together, two for each sweater shape, using the Aleene’s Clear Gel Tacky Glue and before the glue dried, I stuck a bamboo skewer between the two pieces to aid in handling the sweater shapes while I did various things to them. Then I set the shapes aside to let the glue dry.
  5. Moving down in an counter clock wise direction, in the picture above. I placed bits of masking tape in an even layer all over the sweater shapes to prepare the surface for the paper-mache’-ing process.
  6. Still going counter clock wise, in the above picture, moving to the next sweater shape. I’ve been gluing the tissue paper and the phone book paper all over the sweater shape. I used the tissue for the sleeves and the phone book pages for the body section. Then I set it aside to dry. I then, using sponge brushes, painted matte medium all over the dry sweater shape to seal the glue and protect it from the wet-ness of the gesso and paint, two coats  Then, once the matte medium is dry, I painted gesso all over the sweater shape to help cover surface imperfections and to smooth the surface more for the paint. (Not in the picture, but the sweater shapes look like the white sweater without it’s sequins, after they have been matte medium-ed and gesso-ed. They’ll look very white.) 20190224_193137 (2)
  7. Now, referring to the above picture, the green sweater shape. Using sponge brushes, it has been prime coated, base coated and final coated with Apple Barrel Matte Acrylic Paint in : 21479E New Shamrock. The white sweater shape has been prime coated, base coated and final coated with FolkArt Outdoor Acrylic Paint in : 6240E Cotton. I have removed the bamboo skewer handling sticks from these two because they can dry flat from now on. I’ve repaired the hole left by the skewer on the white sweater by gluing a bit of tissue paper over the hole and then when that was dry, I painted over it with the same paint I used for the over all color. I cut a bit of the green vinyl coated wire and started shaping it like the hanger part of a clothes hanger. I used a straight pin to make holes in the top of the white sweater shape and after slathering glue on the wire ends, I slide them in the holes to make the hook look like the top part of a clothes hanger.20190226_130503 (3)It turned out looking the way I was trying for. 20190226_130407 (3)
  8. Then I used the Clear Gel Tacky Glue to glue the snowflake sequins on the white sweater and then glued a silver rocaille bead in the center of each snowflake.20190226_130407 (4)
  9. Then, for the green sweater, I fussy cut the package images from the Christmas to and from sticky labels I had and glued them on with the Clear Gel Tacky Glue. I haven’t decided yet if I want to maybe use puffy paint to put maybe dots along the edge of the collar. I’ll make a sketch of it and decide on how it looks.
  10. When the sweater shapes are done with the embellishing process and dry, dry, dry, I’ll take them outside on a nice dry, not windy day and spray them with the Krylon Colormaster Clear Satin Crystal Clear Indoor/Outdoor spray Varnish/Sealer. At least three coats. Front, back and edges to seal them and protect the paint from nicks and scratches and moisture. And hopefully, the varnish will help keep my embellishments from falling off.

So, there you go! These sweaters are actually quite easy to do and you can decorate them in many, many ways. It just takes some explaining to …well… explain how I made them. I was inspired by looking at the feltie versions of Ugly Christmas Sweaters on Pinterest.com to try my hand at designing my version of what I’m calling “Paper-Mache’ Winter Sweater Ornaments”. I was trying for cute not ugly. If, you want to be kind of amazed and dazzled, go on Pinterest.com  and type in Ugly Christmas Sweaters in the search bar. You will see all kinds of sweaters that people have really put some major effort into, to try to make them look… I don’t want to say ugly cause a lot of them aren’t ugly, but are… I’ll say… really interesting and unique looking sweater creations. And there are hoards of cute feltie Christmas Sweater Ornament pictures and how-to’s on Pinterest to look at and be inspired by. You don’t have to use the exact products I used to make these, you could make the sweater shapes from several pieces of watercolor paper glued together or several pieces of cardboard glued together. I used the foam board because I had some on hand and it is very light weight and relatively easy to use. Mainly, I use products that are easy for me to find, or I already have and number one: inexpensive. The big thing about making these is they take a lot of drying time, if you rush the process and they aren’t completely dry, they can start to fall apart in some really spectacular ways, bits can literally shoot off across the room. So, allow for lots of drying time. Work on other projects while you are doing these that use the same general products, and that way something will always be ready to have something done to it.  And about the two sweater shapes that are glued together but I haven’t paper-mache’-ed them yet, they are going to morph into Hawaiian Shirt Ornaments. I’m going to trim the sleeves to give them short sleeves, then paper mache’ them and decorate them to look like Hawaiian Shirt Ornaments. I’ve seen those on Pinterest.com and really like them, too. I hope you all have a SUPER GREAT DAY!!!!! And a GREAT REST OF THIS WEEK!!!! HAPPY CREATIVE PROBLEM SOLVING and HAPPY CRAFTING!!!!!

Not as much progress as I would have liked…but some.

20190219_021559 (2)From the ninth, through the sixteenth, of this month, my husband was on vacation, you would think that was a good thing and in one way it was. Unfortunately, he came down with a bad cold on the ninth and was sick for almost all the time he had off. Booooo! We only got out and about for one day, I had a dental appointment, then we got some more Puffs tissues, some vitamins and then went home. The one good thing was: at least he didn’t have to work while he was sick. He’s much better now, and now I have his cold. I have to go back to the dentist on March 7, to fix a cracked tooth. Hopefully, by then the cold will be gone and I won’t be coughing my brains out. Here’s hoping. At least the weather is getting warmer here. No more down in the twenty’s for the rest of this month predicted. Yeah!!!!

But, I did get a little bit done and am still plugging away on the ladybugs. As you can see towards the back of the picture, I got my ladybug guy’s shoes wrapped and some more paper mache’ done on his body. I’ve got him leaning his head against the catchall pot while his midsection dries. I’ve got some paint on the first wood ladybug’s wings and a prime coat on the body section. I’ve made a template for the feltie ladybug I’m going to make and used it to carve out another partial wood ladybug, the wings are cut out from several pieces of watercolor paper glued together, and I carved some back up eyes in case the first pair I carved break. And slowly but surely, I’ve been building up the red base color on the ladybug rocks I’m working on. The paint is very thin, so it takes a few layers to get good solid coverage. I’ve also made a new template for the winter sweater ornaments. The close armed one made the arms too tight space wise to work with easily, so I made the new one with the arms out more. I used it to cut out enough pieces from the foam core board to make three more of the sweater ornaments.

So, slowly but surely, things are getting done. I’ve been sucking on Cold-eeze drops and Ricola drops and gargling with salt water and drinking lots of tea to help ease the cold symptoms. The cold’s not as bad as it could be, but I could have done without it.  So, I hope all of you have a VERY NICE DAY! Stay warm, stay dry, and  try to stay healthy as well as you can. HAPPY LADYBUG CREATING!!!! HAPPY CREATIVE PROBLEM SOLVING!!!!! HAPPY CRAFTING!!!!!

A Bit of A Recipe Review #1

20190214_024341 (2)Lil’ Mo– “One for me and one for you… ”             B.B. Jo—“How are we going to get the honey out of the honey bear? We are very small and we don’t have thumbs.”

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!!!! There is still time to make something nice for the ones you love and this biscuit recipe is quick and easy to fix!

MENNONITE BUTTERMILK BISCUITS!

Several weeks ago, Diane, of  https://indianeskitchen.com   featured these biscuits–Mennonite Buttermilk Biscuits–    https://indianeskitchen.com/2019/01/16/mennonite-buttermilk-biscuits/   on her blog and I thought I would give them a try.

The recipe calls for shortening, and for health reasons, I don’t use shortening, mainly because all the shortening brands carried at the stores in my area are totally hydrogenated. Very bad for your health! So, I researched online to see what I could substitute for the shortening and not have the the recipe affected too much. I settled on butter, which can be substituted for the same amount as the shortening called for in the recipe. When using butter in baked goods instead of shortening, you need to drop the called for temperature, in this recipe, of 450 degrees, down to 425 degrees, to avoid over-browning, butter browns up really fast. And extend the cooking time a little bit, I ended up baking them for 17 minutes, and watch your biscuits like a hawk so they don’t brown too much! I ended up putting a piece of tin foil over the biscuits through the last part of the cooking time to help keep them from burning. So, I had all my ingredients gathered, I followed along in the instructions, I mixed the dry ingredients first and then cut in the butter. So, good so far. Then I mixed in the buttermilk and lightly blended and then turned the dough out on to a well floured piece of freezer paper. The dough was kind of wet, maybe because of the butter…but I sprinkled flour on it and proceeded to knead it for the 30 seconds as per the instructions. Then, I flattened it out and because I didn’t have a biscuit cutter, I used a glass to cut out the biscuits, and I ended up with eleven to bake. I placed them in my preheated oven and crossed my fingers and started counting the minutes while I watched the biscuits cooking. Part way through, I placed the tin foil piece over them to help prevent over-browning. When the time was up and they were a nice brown, I pulled them out of the oven and spread butter on the tops and let it sit for a minute, per the instructions. Then the moment of truth, my husband, the official taste tester, split one of the biscuits open and slathered it with butter and drizzled it with honey and took a bite. His verdict…..”This is GREAT! Tell Diane this is a SUPER BISCUIT RECIPE!!!! I will definitely want these on a regular basis!”

So, there you go! My husband gives this biscuit recipe 5 stars! And so do I, it was very easy to fix and gave very good results and the instructions are very easy to understand! The bears give the biscuits 5 paws up!

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Here, in the above picture, is a close up view of the finished biscuits. So, follow the links I provided above and you too can try this great biscuit recipe! So, I hope my recipe review is helpful and maybe inspires someone to try these biscuits and check out Diane’s blog, she has all kinds of great recipes on there! I hope you have a GREAT DAY!!!!! HAPPY BAKING and HAPPY CRAFTING!!!! HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!!!

 

 

Works-in-progress are coming along…and two of the ladybug figures…And Spring?!

20190208_182946 (2)Another paper-mache’ winter sweater is ready to embellish! The last three pear-snowmen are finally painted, dry and off their handling sticks. Next for them will be their hats, which will help to determine where their facial features will be and help to line up for their arms and the buttons down their fronts. The wooden ladybug parts are all carved out and ready for some sanding, the paint and then to be glued together. I haven’t decided yet if it will have legs, but it will have some antennas. And my little paper-mache’ ladybug person has been wrapped with the floral tape and the first bits of paper and glue have been applied to help keep the tape from unwrapping itself.  His/her “eyes” have the first coat of paint on them and I’ve got some “arms” ready, I think to maybe be wrapped with some of the floral tape. The big challenge will be seeing if I can get his/her hand shapes and little shoes wrapped with the floral tape to help make their surfaces smoother. I might have to split the tape to make it narrower for the wrapping around the hand/fingers and shoe shapes.

So, that’s what is going on so far with these projects so far. I’ve been taking pictures of the various stages of progress for these critters and things so I can use them for the how-to-do’s.

And would you believe it got up to 82 degrees in my yard today?! We had a warming front go through, and then tomorrow night it will be back down in the 30 degree range. The weather here is flip-flopping temperature-wise just like it’s Spring. My rosemary has some more flowers on it. Dandelions are blooming out in the lawn and a flock of robins has been hanging out in the yard looking for earthworms. And the resident mole has started tunneling up and down the yard, along the side of the apartment…Go Mole Boy! eat all those grubs and slugs!  I’m starting to think it’s not just my rosemary that is confused about what time of the year it is…it still is February, but you’d never know that looking out at what the plants and the critters in the yard are doing! So, stay warm or cool depending on what your weather is doing! HAPPY LADYBUG CREATING and HAPPY CRAFTING!!!!

A Paper Mache’ Ladybug in the Works! And Spider Junior is ready for his dots!

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I’ve got this ladybug ready to be wrapped in the floral tape! I haven’t worked out completely how I’m going to do his arms, but I’m thinking of using galvanized wire and then making the “hands”, from Celluclay or Paperclay. I’ve got the first coat of white paint on his “eyes”. So, he is coming along nicely. And slowly but surely, I’m rounding off the head shape for the wooden ladybug. I don’t want to rush it cause the wood could crack and break. So, little slivers at a time, till it is the roundness that I’m going for. And Spider Junior’s three coats of shiny black paint are finally dry enough for his dot patterning to commence. I’ve got to get his “eyes” painted, they’re gessoed, they just need a few coats of the white paint and they’ll be ready to be painted to look like eyeballs.

So, some ladybugs are in the works and Spider Junior is coming along nicely! I’ve been hanging out on Pinterest.com., looking at how other people have made their various ladybug creations. Working on ideas for how I want to do my cross stitch ladybug picture and my feltie ladybug.  Pondering different options. So, that’s what’s going on so far in the way of ladybugs and spiders. I hope all of you have a VERY NICE DAY! STAY WARM & DRY! HAPPY LADYBUG MAKING!!!! HAPPY CRAFTING!!!!!