Gratitude Tree

I was so inspired by Michelle's gratitude project last week that I decided to do something in my own neighborhood.  We live on a very busy block and we have a lot of foot and car traffic that comes by our home.

I decided to transform an oak tree out front into a gratitude tree.  I made tags out of waterproof paper, cut string, and put all of it with instructions and markers into a tool box under the tree.  I'm asking everyone that feels blessed to leave a note of gratitude as they pass by. 

We already have several tags!  I hope you are enjoying your Thanksgiving week.  What are you thankful for?

How To Paint if You Are Not An Artist

I'm not an artist.  At least, I've never claimed that label.  I'm creative, but I can't draw.  I can slap paint on a canvas but it's not a da Vinci.  I'm slowly learning that art can be created whether you have the talent to draw a perfect figure or not.  It's called mixed media collage!

Take this quote, for example.  Mary Oliver hit it on the head when she wrote these very basic life instructions.  I need to see these words everyday and a post-it note is not going to cut it. 

I need something bigger.  I need a paint project.  In comes the $5 canvas. 

I picked up this canvas at an estate sale about six years ago with the intention of painting over it.  I have no idea who Carlson is, the colors are ugly, and I'm really hoping this isn't a piece of art worth thousands like the woman that bought an original Picasso painting at a garage sale for $2.  However, it is the perfect size for my project.

I started with the frame. Then, I applied a base coat of light gray to cover the yellow, green, and white.  Next, I applied 3" vinyl letters (thanks to this idea) to spell out the poem.  Then I went to town and added pieces of old paper, maps, washi tape, and other odd bits in different shapes.

Then I added more paint.  I chose the color palette because this piece will be hanging in our bedroom and we have several blue maps on the wall as well so I wanted it to balance. I mixed, blended, wiped paint off with a rag, used water, stamps, and stencils.  Before it was dry I pulled off the letters, exposing the paint underneath.  As suspected, there was a little paint that bled under the vinyl in the process so the letters are not as precise as I would have liked them.

All in all, it's not bad for someone that isn't an artist.  I can't decide if it's finished or not.  I can always go back and paint over the letters with a brush to clean them up, but there is something about the mess that I like.  As I was hanging it, I noticed the words "tell about it" popped off the canvas.  Though not intentional, the message is clear.  It's as if that is the instruction I need most to hear. 

Anyway, it's above the dresser now and these words are what I read when I first open my eyes in the morning. 

What do you think?  Is it finished or I could I add something?  I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Melted Crayons

I spent a weekend home alone recently and most of that time was in my studio dreaming up all manner of things.  One of the projects for the {eye} wonder workshop was to play with crayons.  I took a non traditional route and melted a few of them. 

The result was amazing.  I absolutely love the drips.  This isn't quite finished.  I am not sure what process will happen next, but that's the beauty of art, right?

What else would you add to this canvas?

Repurposing Vintage Locker Baskets

I ran across a treasure recently.  cc's family has land in the country with barns filled to the brim with junk.  It seems as if her grandfather was a "collector."  As her father was cleaning out the barn one day, he unearthed 15 or more locker baskets.  He stacked them in the toss pile and I happened to snag a few that were in the best condition.  

He had no idea how much these baskets are worth.  While I was out antique browsing I found two locker baskets on sale for around $30 each!  I took a quick picture because I knew he wouldn't believe me.  

These baskets come in so handy, but they needed cleaning up first.  I am fortunate to have a large sandblaster at work, so a co-worker of mine sandblasted all of them to get the rust off.  Once they were raw I was able cover the name plate and spray paint them. 

I painted basket 507 in white for my bathroom.  I have a vintage dentist cabinet painted a turquoise green that holds my towels and I'm using basket 507 to hold wash cloths.

I painted basket 504 in bright blue to place in this room and hold all my favorite publications. 

My favorite detail about the baskets are the number plates.  I wonder if the lockers came from a school or an employee break room.  They were made by Kasper Wire Works in Shiner, Texas (also home of a really good beer) so they didn't travel far.

I have a few more that will more than likely end up in my studio for storage of paints and other products, but I haven't decided on a paint color yet.  What would you do with them?

How to Make Your Own Stationary Envelopes

May's 4(for) green acre challenge was to ban junk mail.  I ended up with more junk mail than usual this month.  Maybe because I tried to get off the mailing lists, or maybe because I was more aware of what was arriving in my mailbox.  Typically, it gets thrown into the recycle bin, but with the abundance this month I decided to upcycle it instead of tossing it.

Colorful catalogs full of dresses I'd never wear, a 50+ page catalog from Restoration Hardware, security envelopes with pretty stripes: there was potential in all of them.  The easiest thing to do was put a spin on this junk in order to send it right back in the mail.  I turned them into envelopes of all varieties. 

I started by gathering my favorites from the pile (recycled the rest) and collected the templates.

click on image to print small template size

After that, it was a matter of cutting out the images to the size of envelope I wanted and gluing them together with a glue stick.  I made envelopes for small gift cards, letters, and greeting cards.  I will simply affix a white label to address the envelope and send it off. 

Simple as that.  No more purchasing envelopes.  You can use stamps and stencils for embellishment and a basic glue stick or Japanese washi tape to seal it.