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.

New to Me: Red Quilt Wallcovering

Colors, Room of Awesome

This photo in the June 2017 edition of Country Living magazine caught my eye:

Country Living June 2017 p27 Quilted Wallcovering

Country Living magazine June 2017, p. 27.

“Quilted wallcovering. Create a warm welcome with this unique spin on an accent wall.”

It seems to be from a bathroom or a half bath with a red wooden dresser repurposed as a vanity, plus a red and dark brown wood-frame mirror set against a coordinating red, black and white quilt. By all appearances, the quilt is permanently attached to the wall.

Wow, what a wonderful look. The mirror on top of the pieced multicolor quilt is too busy for my taste, but I really like how striking the wall is and how well the space is pulled together.

A comparable look would be relatively easy to achieve with paint and a stencil, if you don’t want to use a quilt or are worried about the longevity of textiles as a wallcovering.

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

Discoveries: Kitchen with Moroccan-Inspired Elements

Design & Designers, Room of Awesome

It’s two weeks till Thanksgiving here in the U.S., and I’m thinking kitchen thoughts. Not food, but the kitchen as a space, for I still have a few adjustments to make in our kitchen.

While browsing for ideas, I came across a kitchen with Moroccan-inspired elements:

DesignSponge Meg Van Lith Kitchen

Meg Van Lith, via Design*Sponge.

It’s from the home of Meg and Doug Van Lith and family in Phoenix, AZ.

I love wood and plants, and although the wood tones here are darker than what I prefer, the result creates such an inviting kitchen. Although ceiling-height tile backsplashes can feel cold and clinical, that’s not the case this time; the warm tones in the rest of the space counteract the backsplash. Also, the tile pattern carefully coordinates with the lighting over the island, and the open shelving and plants soften the strict black and white color scheme. Clearly Meg knows what she’s doing. It would be a pleasure to live in that house!

Also, I LOVE that they’re using their dining table for other everyday activities too, such as puzzle building. For me, a home isn’t a home if it’s too precious.

Visit the Design*Sponge article for more photos of the gorgeous Van Lith home.

Alas, as beautiful as this kitchen is, it doesn’t solve my current problem. Oh well, what a delightful excuse to browse more! 🙂

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

Now on Etsy: Two Yoga Mat Bags

Ahem Ahem!, Arts & Crafts, Colors

I made and listed two more yoga mat bags.

The first has a cheerful, modern floral print. The outdoor fabric is stain and water resistant (but not waterproof), and the bottom and shoulder strap are made with burgundy red canvas.

Yoga Mat Bag YB001b

For the second yoga bag, I repurposed a remnant of a calm paisley print in pale aqua and brown. A dark brown cotton with tiny white polka dots makes a nice, strong accent on the shoulder strap.

Yoga Mat Bag YB002c

Both are in my Etsy shop now!

Random Beauty: Tiny Feather

Random Beauty

Somehow this feels like the perfect thing for the beginning of October, even though I spotted it in out driveway a few weeks ago: a teeny, tiny perfect feather.

Tiny Feather Closeup

On the basis of color and shape, I’m guessing a baby turkey. We’ve had a gaggle of five hanging around on and off with their mother and an aunt.

I just love nature – it creates such amazing things!

Colorful Book Bag Prototypes

Arts & Crafts, Colors, DIY

Some prototypes from a past sewing project:

Past Projects Book Bags

These small book bags / fold-away shopping bags all have slightly different construction or proportions. I kept changing details until I found a solution I was happy with.

The colors still make me smile. 🙂

Shop my book bags here.

My Con or Bust Donations for 2017

Arts & Crafts, Geek out!

Here are my donations for Con or Bust‘s yearly online auction for 2017: two sleep masks.

One is a sleepy critter. It’s made from brown polyester felt lined with a soft linen blend fabric; there’s also felt applique (ears and nose) and embroidery (eyes).

Critter Sleep Mask Collage

The other has a stylized dragon embroidered as an interlace pattern on black polyester felt lined with navy blue cotton.

Dragon Sleep Mask Collage

Bidding will start in two weeks, on Monday, April 24, 2017.

Before that, you can have a look at the 2017 Auction Index (Google spreadsheet), visit the Con or Bust website for more information or browse the 2017 Auction Tags.

Con or Bust, Inc., is a U.S.-based, tax-exempt not-for-profit organization that helps people of color/non-white people attend SFF conventions. Con or Bust isn’t a scholarship and isn’t limited to the United States, to particular types of con-goers, or to specific cons; its goal is simply to help fans of color go to SFF cons and be their own awesome selves. It is funded through donations and an online auction held annually.

As I’ve had firsthand experience of being on a miniature budget and having to limit my geeky hobbies accordingly (i.e., not that much fun), I decided to add Con or Bust to my list of things worthy of support. This is my second time donating.

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

Online Finds: Knitted Bear Mug Rugs

Arts & Crafts, Fabrics & Materials

I saw these knitted bear mug rugs and immediately thought of Worldcon 75 and their mascot Major Ursa:

Crafty Jen SewandSo Coaster Tutorial Baby-Bears

Crafty Jen via SewandSo / F&W Media International Ltd.

The coaster design is by Louise Walker and available in her book Faux Taxidermy Knits; tutorial for SewandSo by Jen. There’s a little stuffing in the bears’ head and paws, which makes them part plushie.

Pretty awesome and very cute!

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

Discoveries: Woolly Thoughts – Knits with a Mathematical Twist

Arts & Crafts, Design & Designers, Fabrics & Materials, Geek out!, Inspiration

Pat Ashforth and Steve Plummer are two mathekniticians – maths people who not only knit and crochet, but present mathematical ideas through their yarn craft. And it’s fascinating!

They make afghans, wall hangings, tabletops(!), cushions, shawls, toilet-roll covers, puppets, sweaters, hats and so much more. Some of my favorites include these pillows and puzzles, for example…

Woolly Thoughts Pillow Puzzle Combo

Pat Ashforth and Steve Plummer at Woolly Thoughts. Clockwise from top right: Tangram pillow, three Hexaflexacube pillows (in pink, green and orange), and Diabolical Cube puzzle.

…and the square root afghan:

Woolly Thoughts Afghan square root

Pat Ashforth and Steve Plummer at Woolly Thoughts.

Their conjoined Möbius hat and the penrose table are also really, really awesome and neat; please have a look. Also visit the Woolly Thoughts website or design collection at Ravelry!

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