Online Finds: Abstract Art with Cooking Oil and Food Coloring

Arts & Crafts, Colors, DIY

Allison at Dream a Little Bigger came up with an ingenious way to make abstract art – with cooking oil and gel food colors:

Dream a Little Bigger Allison Food Color Art WiP

Allison at Dream a Little Bigger

Her point was to use something she already had. Can you believe the resist patterns were done with canola oil?

Dream a Little Bigger Allison Food Color Art

Allison at Dream a Little Bigger

Very nice! Apparently the colors change a little as the paper dries, but it looks so vibrant either way. I wonder whether you might be able to do wrapping paper with this technique?

Visit Allison’s tutorial at Dream a Little Bigger for more photos and a how-to.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Dot Photo Frame Refresher

Arts & Crafts, DIY, Leveling Up

Many people in my social bubble have turned to handcrafts during the covid-19 pandemic as a way to pass the time and provide comfort. I’ve seen such a wide spread of projects and patterns and inspiration as a consequence, and enjoyed every one. Here’s a project of my own.

I’ll share what I thought would be a quick photo frame refresher but turned out to be anything but. The results are worth the effort, though, so all’s well that ends well. 🙂

I wanted to make over two older, uber-cheap 5”x7” wooden photo frames. They’re made from pine (I think) that had yellowed over the years, and I was quite tired of the darkened wood. I’ll first give the short version and the before and after photos, and after that the full saga.

Here’s a frame after the complete refresher: white wax, faux nailhead trim done with paint, and permanent marker polka dots.

Dot Photo Frame with Pens

Dot Photo Frame After

Apparently I didn’t take a before photo, but here’s a photo of similar untreated frames:

Walmart Wallniture Unfinished Wood Photo Frames

Walmart

The only difference is my frames were much more yellowed. (Oh, boy, how much more!) Here’s a frame in the middle of the transformation:

Dot Photo Frame Middle Closeup

I originally intended to try whitewaxing the frames. It’s a new-to-me technique I found via Cami at Tidbits. (I like her clear tutorial and whitewaxing projects; please visit her site if interested.)

However, I accidentally bought clear wax instead of white. (I worked on this just before and during some of the worst covid-19 panic in Massachusetts; I guess I had a coronabrain on.) Even while working on the frames I didn’t notice, because the clear wax looks white in the jar. Only after applying a couple of layers did I start wondering why the frames don’t seem to be gaining the lovely transparent white surface I expected… D’oh!

After some thought and more research I tried adding white acrylic crafts paint into the wax and wiping that on with a rag. Either I didn’t mix it properly or the rag wasn’t the best tool, for the surface came out quite uneven. You can see some of the effect in the photo above. However, it was much closer to what I had envisioned.

Perhaps I should’ve left well enough alone – indeed, in hindsight I think I would be quite happy with the improvised faux white wax – but at the time I was disappointed and wanted something else to “improve” the frames. I had an idea of trying to mimic nailhead trim with paint.

Dot Photo Frame Middle

I used an eraser at the end of a pencil and blue acrylic paint. Unfortunately, that made it worse. I’ve never been a polka dot person, and apparently this faux nailhead trim is close enough not to appeal to me. Plus, the eraser was a bit difficult to load with paint and use, even though I started with a clear expectation that the result wouldn’t necessarily be very even.

At this point I had to set the frames aside and chew the matter some more. Eventually, while looking for something else, I ran into two permanent marker tutorials. One is by Jessica from Cutesy Crafts (posted at DIY Candy), and the other by Tasha at Kaleidoscope Living. Both used letter stickers to mask off an area and applied small permanent marker dots all around them, spaced very tight close to the stickers, and wider and wider apart the further you went.

Bingo! I adapted the idea and used markers in five different colors. First I had to make a few dry runs on paper to see what kind of dot distancing and which color combinations I liked best.

Dot Photo Frame with Pens

I ended up starting with a few small brown spots here and there (maybe 4-8 in an inch of frame). Then I added dark blue and green dots, increasing the density slightly. Next, a few more spots of turquoise. Finally, I filled almost all remaining gaps between the blue “nailhead trim” and the rest of the marker dots with lime green.

Here’s the after photo again:

Dot Photo Frame After

…and a closeup:

Dot Photo Frame After Closeup

And only very, very belatedly did I notice that I completely forgot to wax-treat the inner edge of the frame, the one closest to the photo. Fortunately at that point I was able just to laugh at my poor coronabrain project!

And it actually doesn’t look that odd in the end. Live and learn! After all of the rigamarole, I was definitely able to earn a number of experience points from this project.

Intricate Knitting Pattern Based on Pictish Artwork

Arts & Crafts, Design & Designers, Fabrics & Materials

Many people in my social bubble have turned to handcrafts during the covid-19 pandemic as a way to pass the time and provide comfort. I’ve seen such a wide spread of projects and patterns and inspiration as a consequence, and enjoyed every one. Here’s an example.

This intricate knitting pattern for a scarf by Lucy Hague is based on Pictish artwork. In Hague’s words, it “explores the relationship between key patterns and spirals – slowly morphing from one to the other, and then back again.”

Twitter Lucy Hague Kirriemuir

Lucy Hague at Twitter

Ravelry Lucy Hague Kirriemuir Closeup

Lucy Hague at Ravelry

Isn’t it absolutely gorgeous? The knitted surface can replicate curvilinear shapes well, and the purled background literally lifts up the pattern. Excellent design work!

The color is wonderful, too; it reminds me of the blues and greys in northern skies and waters. 🙂

Find the pattern at Ravelry.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Quilling Artist Sena Runa: Update

Arts & Crafts, Colors, Design & Designers

I’ve shared quilling artis Sena Runa’s work before, but that was five years ago. (Yikes! Where does time go?) It’s high time to do an update.

Since I last posted, Runa has moved to Lisbon, Portugal. She also published a book, Quilling Art, and a second one, Quilling: 20 Beautiful Designs, will be out this summer. Congrats on both!

Like before, I’m only posting three of my favorites, but Runa is so productive it really is difficult to pick only from among her recent work.

World map (selection):

Facebook Sena Runa World Map

Sena Runa: World Map

Tardis – naturally, bigger on the inside!

Etsy Sena Runa Tardis

Sena Runa: Tardis

Welsh Dragon:

Instagram Sena Runa Welsh Dragon

Sena Runa: Welsh Dragon

Which one’s your favorite? I think I prefer the Tardis. 🙂

See her Instagram and Facebook accounts or Etsy shop for more!

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Letter Tiles Make a DIY Floor Better

Arts & Crafts, Geek out!

While browsing my inspiration binders for solutions for another problem, I rediscovered this nifty floor treatment from ReadyMade magazine June/July 2010:

ReadyMade June-July 2010 p88

Robin Reimer; photo by Kritsada Panichgul. ReadyMade magazine, June-July 2010, p. 88

As a word nerd, I especially appreciate repurposing letter tiles for this project (likely from Scrabble). Right outside an exterior door may not be the best place for wood tiles, though, but I suppose thorough finishing would take care of that.

The only problem if I were doing this kind of a project might be the urge to arrange specific words here and there and getting carried away with it! LOL! 🙂 😀

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

New to Me: Happy Plant Pots by Abby Ozaltug of CeramicSense

Arts & Crafts, Design & Designers

Canadian potter Abby Ozaltug makes such happy little plant pots you cannot help but smile! Below are two of my favorites.

5AM:

Etsy CeramicSense Abby Ozaltug 5AM

Abby Ozaltug at CeramicSense on Etsy

Bella:

Etsy CeramicSense Abby Ozaltug Bella

Abby Ozaltug at CeramicSense on Etsy

Bella really reminds me of cute British sheep! 🙂

Plant pots aren’t Ozaltug’s only specialty: she also makes figurines, ornaments, wall art objects, wind chimes and various dishes for organizing your life.

Visit CeramicSense on Etsy or Instagram for more of her playful ceramics.

Found via Colossal.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Ombre Dip-Dye Effect on Storage Baskets

Arts & Crafts, Colors, DIY

Ahh, I simply love the ombre rainbow-ish effect on storage baskets by Kara Whitten at Kailo Chic!

It’s apparently made with liquid fabric dye, but I guess you could achieve a similar look with paints and a brush.

Kara Whitten at Kailo Chic

I have two larger baskets that could use a refresher, and Kara’s project has finally given me inspiration to jump into it! It’ll be different, though, for instead of a fabric embellishment, my baskets have pebble inserts. I’ll share the results when I’ve finished; it’ll soon be warm enough to paint on the back deck.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Last-Minute Han Solo Valentines

Arts & Crafts, Bits in Spaaace!, Geek out!

Need a last minute Valentine’s Day card for your Star Wars sweetheart? No problem – Havalah at Sister, What! made three free printable cards, and they’re not too scruffy-looking at all. Here’s the Han Solo one, for instance:

Sisters What Havalah Han Solo Valentines Printable

“I’d be solo without you” – LOL! So awesome. The other two designs clearly refer The Mandalorian series (which I haven’t seen yet, waah).

Thank you for sharing, Havalah!

Happy Valentine’s Day, or friends’ day as it’s known in Finland!

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Brand New Fair Isle Mittens

Arts & Crafts, Colors, Random Beauty

In early January we had some warm temps, but then the temperatures swung again. With new snow on the ground and temperatures well below freezing, I put my brand new mittens to good use. Aren’t they super?

Kirjoneulelapaset

In a perfect world, the blues would be a little less teal-ey and turquoise and lean more towards grey, but you work with what you’ve got, right?

Thank you so much, M, for knitting them! Lurrrve. ❤

Yarn Winter Wreath from Upcycled Materials

Arts & Crafts, DIY, Fabrics & Materials

Last year I tried my hand at making decorations out of upcycled materials (like the ribbon remnant ornaments I already blogged about). Here’s the quick and dirty how-to for a small wreath.

Yarn Wreath on Vase w Spruce Branches

For the wreath form, I cut out the plastic ring at the mouth of an instant oats tube. I used a sharp knife and went as close to the plastic without cutting into it as I could. Some bits of the cardboard did remain, but they were nicely covered by the fuzzy yarn.

Yarn Wreath Basic Materials

I covered the form with white wool-blend yarn unraveled from a sweater I wasn’t using, and also made three pompoms out of the same yarn for an accent. Finally, I made a bow for the top of the wreath out of a pale pink satin ribbon I’d saved from a gift box.

Yarn Wreath Collage

Granted, the wreath isn’t very big at all – the diameter is about 5″ / 13 cm. But for a whopping $0 it’s not too shabby, wouldn’t you say? 🙂

What crafting successes have you had with recycled materials?