9/29/14

Cement Compass Tutorial

Here is a tutorial on how I made the large compass rose in my backyard lagoon.
Firstly, I drew a large compass to use as a pattern. I drew this onto some butcher paper, it measures approximately 37 inches round.
The next step was to create a mold if you will to pour the mortar mix (I use mortar not cement) into to create the cement compass. I cut long strips of cardboard into two inch strips. Next, I used hot glue to attach it to the paper backing and to other pieces of cardboard to keep it all together. Here it is completed. The cardboard strips are all glued in place to the paper backing and to the joining cardboard pieces as well. I pulled off the paper backing in this photo. I did this to better anchor the mold in place in the dirt. I tried it with the paper backing still attached but it didn't sit properly in the dirt so it wasn't leveling like I wanted it to. So off came the paper!
Here is the cement mold in place ready for the mortar mix to fill in the areas to create the compass in the lagoons floor. I just poured some of the dry mortar in a bucket and added some water until it was a nice ever-so-slightly-runny consistency. *wear gloves,  mortar is brutal on bare skin*
The mortar mix sets up pretty fast. I usually take a knife and run it along side the cardboard to make the edges a little softer. If you don't do this step, the edges can be pretty sharp on your feet when you walk across it barefoot.
Once you start pulling up the cardboard pieces you'll be amazed at how great it looks. Which in turn gets your mind racing to all kinds of other fabulous things you can make with mortar!
Here is the compass rose all finished with some faux bricks that I made to fill in the area around the medallion. There is no way I was going to cut brick to fit in those areas.

Here it is painted with the first coat of acrylic paint.
I also distressed it as well and painted all the brick around the compass black to give it all an old-old look. Lastly, I swept some dirt and sand on to the bricks to set them all in place.

It was super easy to make. I hope this encourages you to make this or something similar. 
big hugs,

9/23/14

Treasure

This past weekend I got a lot of fantastic pirate treasure. Prices were insanely low on everything I seemed to gravitate  towards. Ok, most people do not want to buy this old junk--- so maybe that is why I can pick it up so cheaply?
I found some great block sales.... 

I also scored at some rummage sales...
and some Church sales as well.

 My favorite place to score treasures though is the weekend swap meet. I have people I buy from every weekend and they practically give me things for free... The gal I buy jewelry from sold me all of this for $1.00!

 In the bag was all of these too...

Another person whom I buy from lets me stuff-- and I mean STUFF things into a large carry tote and sells me the entire lot for only $10.00. Here is a small sample of some of the things I stuffed in my large tote that I got this past weekend. *don't hate me*
I also stuffed in the bag an old Kodak memory book... At first glance I thought the images were cut out from books....

When I got it home I realized that it is actually filled with old post cards, the earliest is from 1900. 

Here is a post card of the 1906 devastating fire in San Francisco with the caption "No need of telling what this means"

I have also been playing pirate in my backyard. Ok, more like "demolition man" I pulled apart the little pirate store I have in my backyard. I am getting rid of the "cutesy-ness" and making it more pirate. Aaaarrrgh! 
All the shabby chic bird cages are being taken out. I'll either paint them black and reuse them, or just get rid of them all together. I was concerned my grand daughter wouldn't be to happy with the idea--- but I think she came around when I showed her some small plastic mice and she asked me if I would put them in her new pirate store to scare everyone. That's my girl!
I am hoping to get a huge jump on things before the weather gets rainy and to cold for me to venture outside.
big hugs,
 

9/18/14

Girl Scouts

My five year old grand daughter is going to be selling Girl Scout cookies in a few months and I am excited for her.... I thought it would be fun for her to make some "cookies on a cookie sheet" for either a Girl Scout swap or just as a little thank you gift for a cookie purchase.
 My daughter had a bag full of rectangle shaped pins that worked out perfectly for the cookie sheet.

I used metal tape to cover the pins and then using a hole punch I punched out a bazillion little circles (cookies) out of thin chip board.
I dabbed Elmer's glue on the metal covered pins and glued the circles in place. Lastly, I handed them over to Miss Chloe and she gets the fun job of adding all the chocolate chips to all the cookies.
I am sure she has her eye on getting a patch for selling the most cookies.. the little cutie-pie~
big hugs,
 

9/10/14

School Spirit

When I was in high school a lot of my friends wore handmade knitted or crocheted scarves with the schools colors. I desperately wanted one. It never happened. If I had known how to crochet or knit myself back in the day, I would have made my own. *sigh, I want a do-over* I have made my two grandkids even though they are in elementary school school spirit scarves. I even made them hats to go along with their scarves! Their school is having a beautiful fund raising dinner at a super exclusive house on the extension.... oooh-la-la.... So, I thought I'd go old school and whip up a scarf and hat set to be auctioned off at a silent auction at the event. I know, I know..... so "1980's" But I couldn't help myself~ I created a stand for the hat and scarf using some foam core--- hoping to make it a little less "grandma made an auction item" and over all make it a little more desirable.

I also whipped up a crocheted cheerleader using the schools colors of navy blue and yellow. I loved making this doll, it was an easy pattern to follow, although the next time I make it I will tweak the pattern a little bit. I didn't like the oval shape of the head... or the eyes and the mouth. Other than that, I love it!
I think I'll whip up some scarves and have the grandkids give them to their teachers. Might as well start a trend! Make them desirable once again!
big hugs,
 

9/3/14

Yard Work

Or should I say "yarrrghd work!" I've been steadily working on my backyard moving things around getting a large space opened up so I can build my newest pirate store. I had to move several large clumps of orange flowered Cannas from the area I'm wanting to build on. I decided to transplant the plants along part of my fence which will add a nice tropical flare to this area.

I L.O.V.E the large leaves on these plants! Luckily, they transplanted very well and seem to be doing fine even in this hot weather we've been having.

Of course, once I had the last Cannas plants divided and planted, I decided I wanted the planting area to be a little larger! Twice as big to be exact. Which meant one plank all around the deck had to be removed. (half way finished so far) I had to build a retaining wall under the deck to keep the dirt in the "planter box" area. Now, I not only have a larger area for the Cannas plants to spread out and flourish, I have another area to display some pirate treasure. Aaargh!
Besides transplanting plants, I have had to transplant a few pirate treasures throughout my yard as well. 
 Which begins the whole domino effect...
The upside is, its good to get reacquainted with things I forgot I had *wink* and of course, make ROOM for some new additions.... like this Poseidon/Neptune statue that I bought this past weekend. I placed the statue next to my pirate bar. I thought I'd whip up a sign for the bar, maybe calling it "Neptunes Waterfront Bar"  I thought that'd be funny since the bar is beside the pool~ I am contemplating painting the statue either copper with some green verdigris, or painting it gold. Still undecided on that... The Neptune statue is missing the three pronged Trident that sits on top of his spear. I will either replace it with something similar or possibly add a large conch shell to the spear instead. Stay tuned for his transformation..... 
I would like to create a large basin around the bottom of this statue and fill it with seashells...... could be so darn cute!
big hugs,

8/28/14

Journal

I made a cover for the  stack of painted pages I painted when I was bored  journal pages I had amassed.

I reinforced the side of the book cover with thin chipboard covered in metal tape. I attached the dragonfly brooch to the cover with E6000 and then for added cuteness I used thin copper wire and stitched it to the books cover. The large silver dandelion embellishment is a Darice embossing folder imprint which I used metal tape with as well.
I do not like to journal at all, but I do like making things.... so I guess I would put this book into more along the lines of being a glue book... or even a smash book.

Yes, that's my story and I am sticking to it...
I added an old vintage letter to one page that I simply sealed closed against the page with a sticker.... you just know at some point someone is going to peel off that sticker and read the letter... I would.

I also added an old envelope to one page and stuffed an old art piece of mine I had in a box into it....

I like the process of making something....  cutting, gluing, painting, distressing... you know.
I added a lot of scrap booking paper to this book as you can see. No excuses, I just love the images on the paper.... I buy it then never use it, I am sure you can all relate! I decided to start actually using it! *gasp* I added some velum over some of the pages for writing, and some I am planning on doing a white-wash finish over the top making another area for writing... (not that I am going to write in it)

 Recently though, I am especially fond of being able to set something aside and work on it at a much later time when the mood strikes. Although I don't consider any of these pages "finished" as of yet... I am happy to set them aside for now....
 I have other thoughts on my mind..... As part of my Birthmonth gift to myself (starting in September) I have decided I want another pirate store in my backyard. I have been looking online for some plans to build one and I think I have found the perfect plans for building such a store.
Isn't it fabulous? It is a biggie, 10 x 12... I may have to make it 10 x 10 to fit the space I was wanting it to fit.... but it looks easy enough to shorten. (I hope!) Of course my version is going to be a pirate store not a green house, but the basic frame is something I can use.
So, now comes the HUGE domino effect that is going to be underway in my backyard with all the plants needing to be moved and transplanted, along with finding new spots for the pirate props. Adding more drip irrigation... and then of course the actual building of the pirate store itself. All doable... but eiy-eiy-eiy... what am I getting myself into?
big hugs,