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.

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.

Online Finds: Rainbow Ribbon Wreath and Backdrop

Arts & Crafts, Colors

Isn’t this rainbow ribbon wreath pretty? It would make a great addition to a party to celebrate the LGBT History Month or any occasion where bright colors are welcome.

CatchMyParty Amy C Rainbow Wreath1

Amy C at CatchMyParty

It’s by Amy C at CatchMyParty. Making one is easy, too; it only takes a wire coat hanger turned into a wreath form (or a ready-made form), plenty of ribbons, scissors and tin snips plus some crafting time.

If the latter is a problem, you might consider an easy ribbon backdrop instead:

CatchMyParty Amy C Rainbow Backdrop

Amy C at CatchMyParty

The backdrop takes just long lenghts of ribbon (this one has two per color) tied onto a pole or a curtain rod and hung up, so it’s much faster to make.

Visit the full wreath tutorial by Amy C at CatchMyParty.

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

Ceiling Paint Color Drawn Down the Wall with a Narrow Accent Border

Colors, Design & Designers, Inspiration

Casa Algaba in Seville, Spain, was styled to unstudied, folksy perfection by Pete Bermejo. What drew my eye, however, wasn’t the decorating, as colorful and cheerful as it is. (And, oddly, some of the folk details are reminiscent of my Nordic roots.) It was the painted ceillings.

Whoever designed the paint scheme pulled the ceiling color down onto the very uppermost part of the wall for about 4-6 inches / 10-15 cm. This feature is not unusual in period Finnish buildings that I’ve seen, so it immediately felt familiar and inviting to me. In addition, at the border where the ceiling and wall colors meet, there’s a narrow painted border of maybe one inch / 2-3 cm.

The light blue ceiling is paired with a darker blue border:

Pete Bermejo Casa Algaba Dining Room LtBlue Ceiling

Casa Algaba. Styling by Pete Bermejo, photo by Manolo Yllera.

In another area, the light blue ceiling has irregular, handpainted streaks in a darker blue mixed in:

Pete Bermejo Casa Algaba LtBlue Ceiling w Streaks

Casa Algaba. Styling by Pete Bermejo, photo by Manolo Yllera.

The kitchen ceiling is green with a mustardy yellow border:

Pete Bermejo Casa Algaba Green Ceiling

Casa Algaba. Styling by Pete Bermejo, photo by Manolo Yllera.

Aren’t they incredible? Similar ceiling paint that I’ve seen tend to be in more formal, larger spaces in jugend or neoclassical buildings. The more relaxed treatment we see here, especially paired with the colorful folk details, is perfect for everyday living and very DIY-friendly.

Photos by Manolo Yllera; found via Desire to Inspire.

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

Now on Etsy: Canvas Pouches

Ahem Ahem!, Arts & Crafts

I listed a few canvas pouches at the Playfully Grownup Home Etsy shop.

Canvas Pouches Collage

They’re made from a variety of prints and solids. I used up remnant canvas pieces to make them.

The light green one has a really great, understated but elegant floral pattern outlined in white. I added a coordinating green and white polka dot accent for the drawstring channel.

Canvas Pouch Green White Floral BB001a

For the blue and turquoise floral, I found two good accent color matches but couldn’t decide which I preferred, so I made two versions. Problem solved! 🙂 One has a turquoise-on-turquoise polka dot print…

Canvas Pouch Blues Turquoise BB002c

…and the second a solid bright blue cotton. The latter makes a nice, strong contrast.

Canvas Pouch Blues BB002a

Both colorways have a round bottom made from solid-colored canvas – pale mustard for the green and navy blue for the blue and turquoise bags.

Find them in the Playfully Grownup Home > Carry Me section. And as always, if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask!

My Con or Bust Donation for 2018

Arts & Crafts, Geek out!

Here is my donation for Con or Bust‘s yearly online auction for 2018: a rainbow heart banner.

Rainbow Banner

Each heart measures approx. 3” / 7 cm, and there’s one of each color (purple, red, orange, yellow, green and blue). They have vibrant fronts made from a variety of cottons and cotton blends, and the backsides are made from a linen blend in a neutral greyish beige hue.

Rainbow Banner Back Fabric

All fabrics come from my scraps bin, which reduces waste, as does filling the hearts with clippings (thread and small waste fabric).

Rainbow Banner Hexagon

The hearts form an approx. 53” / 135 cm banner with the help of baker’s twine, with loops at both ends for hanging.

Because of the neutral backing, the banner looks best hung against a wall or other flat surface.

Rainbow Banner on Bookcase

However, as I strung it up for photos, I noticed that the hearts have a tendency to swivel, which would make a nice effect if hung somewhere where air currents can gently sway the banner.

Rainbow Banner on Door Frame

Bidding will start next Monday, April 09, 2018. Before that, you can have a look at the 2018 auction info, visit the Con or Bust website for more information or browse the 2018 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 decided to add Con or Bust to my list of things worthy of support. This is my third time donating.

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

Pieced Prototype Placemats: Progress on Quilting

Colors, Fabrics & Materials

I’m slowly chipping away at the small piecing / quilting prototypes that I started in February.

Piecing1 WiP Half Quilted Top View

My goal is to find a good-looking, neat, satisfying and fast way to machine quilt this kind of a pieced surface. I’ve figured it out halfway: I’ll sew diagonally across the small squares to create diamonds at 45-degree angle to the edge.

Half the battle is done! 🙂

Pieced Prototype Placemats

Colors, Fabrics & Materials

I’ve had a hankering to do some piecing and quilting lately, so prototypes it is! At this stage, I’ve been working on placemats made from two different sizes of squares.

Piecing Purple Blues Greens

The placemat colors are based on a rainbow, with each color moving diagonally across instead of the more static horizontal or vertical layout.

Piecing Purple Blues Greens Yellows Reds

After piecing the top on the first one (the photo above), I re-did some color selections for the second one.

Piecing2 Ready Purple Blues Greens Yellows Reds

Better! There are still improvements I could make, but it seems my stash is getting too low on the shades I’d need.

Even though I haven’t yet fully finished the placemats, I can tell that the math seems to work – the dimensions are suitable. That’s the most important part; colors I can always tweak ad infinitum. 🙂

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!

Bright Colors for an Antidote to November

Books & Mags, Colors, Inspiration

In the northern half of the world, we’re approaching the dark time of the year. For me, November is typically when I start wanting more light and bright things around me. (Candles! Snow!) When that’s not possible, pictures will do. This rainbow-hued glass collection from a home dec magazine fits the bill:

Country Living Jul-Aug 2016 p40

It’s from the Country Living magazine, and the collector, Elsie Larson from Nashville, TN, says this of her Depression glass collection:

“I was inspired by my travels to Palm Springs and specifically stays at the very colorful Parker Hotel, which was designed by one of my heroes, Jonathan Adler. The rainbow effect of their colored glass collection made me smile every morning.”

It’s a beautiful arrangement, and the range of colors is fantastic. (The Parker Hotel colored glass display that Larson mentions can be seen at a Whorange article from February 2014. Personally, I think Larson did a better job than Adler.)

A bonus entry: a color wheel mirror frame in mosaic by Karen Johnston:

Mosaicworksca Blogspot Karen Johnston Colour Wheel Mirror

Karen Johnston at Mosaicworksca.blogspot.com.

The mosaic is so neatly and carefully made. Just gorgeous!

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