I find everyday presents inspirations for projects. Hope you enjoy my ideas.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Wooden Christmas Ornaments

I got a new toy...a Scroll Saw!!!  Something I've wanted for awhile. My daughter-in-law asked me if I could make a few things for the new babies room...(ideas she found on Pinterest).  I said sure...just need a new saw :)  How great is this thing...endless project ideas.

I made Katie's things then started in on fun things for Christmas...I did a little research online looking for  scroll saw patterns...seems its mostly old woodworking guys making creepy trivets and things...figured I could just sketch out my own designs and figure out the cutting as I went along.  It's super easy and really fun.  For the ornaments I thought starting with Christmas trees would be quick and easy.  I bought some 1/4" poplar at Home Depot and went to town.

I just traced multiple images using a template I cut out of paper...

How fun does this look? 
Once I got the hang of it I tried more complex designs...but later on that.
Once all the trees were cut out, I sanded them to smooth the edges. 
(actually the scroll saw leaves a pretty smooth edge) 

You can see the moose ornament?...that's my fancier shape
I drilled a hole at the top of each tree (for hanging...duh)
I wanted a "weathered" look to the wood and found a formula on Pinterest that sounded easy...I mixed up a STRONG cup of tea and added coffee grounds to it.  I painted it on each of the trees...stained the wood a little...not much and I was skeptical it was going to work...but the second stage worked like a charm.

Next, I mixed steel wool and vinegar in a jar and let it sit overnight.  Apparently the tea mixture mixed with the vinegar mixture "grays" the stain like old barn wood.  It's so cool...it worked.

I painted on the vinegar mix...left the room and 1/2 hour later when I returned it was quite brown and gray.
When they were dry I sanded off some highlights, tied hemp twine through the holes and I have a bunch of new Christmas ornaments.  I made a bunch more designs today...I'll share later.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

New tee shirts for the grandsons

As I've shown in earlier posts...I love silkscreening...and with my "discovery" of contact paper as a stencil and the use of my cricut for cutting intricate designs and text...a whole new world has opened up.  Silkscreening is really meant to be used for multiple runs i.e. printing the same image over and over again.  I usually will just print one tee (or maybe two) but it's so easy with this method it's hardly work at all.  Kale, my 3 year old grandson has become quite the celebrity at school.  The teachers like seeing what funny shirt he'll wear next.  I wish I could claim being clever enough to come up with the sayings...I usually just pour over the internet looking for funny things to print.  Here are two that I printed yesterday.  For a tutorial on silkscreening using contact paper check out this earlier post

and some old favorites: 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Out of Africa

Well...we did it.  We went on safari to Africa...just got back 2 days ago.  We visited South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana.  WHAT AN ADVENTURE.  The things we saw, the people we met...all so amazing.  The trip was to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary AND to celebrate a milestone for me...5 years POST treatment for my Stage IV colon cancer.  As I told everyone in an earlier post I was diagnosed with cancer in May '06.  Finished treatment in August of '09...sooooo 5 years since any kind of treatment and I'm still cancer free.  Yipppeeee.  Anyway...back to Africa...

We started in South Africa...toured Soweto and Johannesburg...interesting, depressing, noisy, crowded, very poor, culturally diverse, hectic...on and on and on. Visited Nelson Mandela's home, saw the apartheid museum, Desmond Tutu's home (interesting 2 Nobel Peace Prize winners are from the same street in Soweto)  I'm glad we saw it...probably don't have to go back. Next stop...Zambia, a camp called Chichele in the Luangwa River Valley.  So full of wildlife. The Zambians are happy, welcoming, kind people.  We had a great time...saw all kinds of animals.

From Chichele we headed to Zimbabwe to see Victoria Falls.  It's impressive...nature at it's best.  We took a helicopter ride over it...wow...the Zambezi River tumbling over the falls makes quite a show

From Victoria Falls (Livingstone) we drove into Botswana to the Chobe River...stayed at the Chobe Chewero Lodge. Lots of "Be Ebola Aware" signs at the border...!

From Chobe we flew in a bush plane to a great lodge on Chief's Island. Saw tons of game...some of it quite up close and personal.  Baboons and hyenas running freely through the camp...pretty unsettling but fun and exciting once you knew they weren't going to attack!!!

mama hyena and her cubs


painted (wild) dog

And my favorite...this beautiful leopard.  We watched her make a kill and devour it.  Kind of gross but fascinating at the same time.

An incredible adventure...I'm sure we'll go back...I'd love to see Kenya.