DIY

DIY Polymer Clay Hearts

DIY- Polymer Clay Valentine’s Day Ornaments

I have a small ornament tree that is perfect for year round holiday decorating. I love the idea of hanging small ornaments on it, but hate buying them for all of the various holidays. So, I wondered how could I make Valentine’s ornaments for a nominal cost. Perusing the holy grail of craft ideas, Pinterest, I found polymer clay. That’s all I needed for inspiration.

So, after a quick trip to my favorite craft store, I was ready to get my hands a little dirty.  I set out to create these super cute Valentine’s Day ornaments.

Supplies 

To make them you will need one small package of Sculpey III ®, a heart shaped cookie cutter, a doily, ribbon, a knife and a small dowel for rolling out the clay. I bought the starter tool set for polymer clay, it was all of $10 bucks and I figured I would get a lot of use out of it.  I also picked up wax paper to roll the clay out on.

polymer_clay_hearts

Directions for Polymer Clay Ornaments

Take a little of the clay in your hand and warm it up by playing with it. Think of it as play dough.  Then, place it on the wax paper and roll it out to about a ¼-inch thickness.  Next, place the doily on top of the clay and press it into the clay with the dowel.  This will leave a pattern on the clay.  When you have the pattern the way you want it, cut out a heart with the cookie cutter.  Once I had the heart cut out, I took one of the tools to place two small holes in the tops of the heart to run a ribbon through.

To finish the ornament, bake it in a 250-degree oven for about 15 minutes.  Any longer and it may burn; any less and it may not cure properly.

polymer clay ornaments

Notes

Polymer clay is durable and does not necessarily need to be sealed. It’s plastic clay and is said to hold up to the wear, weathering and washing.  Still, you may choose to seal your polymer clay creations.  To seal it, brush it with a thin layer of a product called Varathane. I would recommend not letting your kids do this part.

For more info check out these resources:  The Blue Bottle Tree and Waterlily Charms

Dixie Belle Paint Review

Dixie Belle Chalk Paint Review

A few summers ago I became infatuated with chalk paint.  It requires no sanding, or priming. Simply prep a piece to be painted by wiping it down and then starting to paint.  I was thrilled to be asked to review Dixie Belle Chalk Paint and I knew exactly which project I would tackle.

before_chalk_paint

A while back, my mother gifted me these amazing cake tables. I loved the shape and height of them, but the color left a lot to be desired. They were an odd royal blue and went with nothing in my house. I knew that at some point I would paint them; it has not been a priority though. Now I can say they are done and they look fabulous!

I have tried other chalk paints before on the lower end of the price scale, but had not tried theirs yet. It is a better quality than the chalk paints I have used from Michael’s or JoAnne’s and sells at a higher price, still it’s not as expensive as the brand that shall remain nameless. I like that Dixie Belle comes in two sizes and a wide variety of colors.

Dixie _Belle_chalk_paint

For my cake table project, I choose their Buttercream. It’s a warm cream that brightened up the tables beautifully. I expected it to take multiple coats of chalk paint to cover the blue and it did. I painted almost three coats over the blue and let each coat dry before applying the next. I then painted a clear coat over it to give it a little glossy shine.

They sent me stain and a wax, but for this project, I wanted the tables to be less aged and more one-dimensional. I have a few other small projects I intend to work on as well, and will try the wax out then.

I have to admit; I did not follow the instructions, and realized I could have thinned out the paint with a little water. It may have helped it to go on more smoothly. Honestly, I do not think I would have had a better outcome had I watered it a bit.

after_chalk_paint

Tell me what you think? Did these come out beautifully? I think they are my new found favorites.

*Sponsored Post – Dixie Belle Paint Company sent me some paint for the purposes of this review.

Sewing Class

The one thing I have wanted to do was take a sewing class and this past weekend I had the chance to take a class at Jo-Ann’s.  The class focused on making a fabric bin. At first I thought it may have been a little above my skill set, but then I realized it was just straight lines.

Fabric Bin project

Fabric Bin project

I started out with 5/8th of a yard of fabric for the main fabric and the liner as well as the interfacing. I needed to get the eye-let kit and rope trim for the handles, although in the end I opted to leave the handles off the bin.  Jo-Ann’s provided me with the single piece pattern. I cut the pattern out three times and then began the process of sewing it all together.  The sewing class was supposed to be a mere three hours long, but almost five hours later, I was done.

Finished fabric bin project

Finished fabric bin project

As it turned out, I was the only one to sign up for the home decor project sewing class and was able to get individualized attention.  I wasn’t he only one there to sew though. There were a couple of 10 year olds there with their own sewing machines learning to make patch work pillows.  I was struck by their level of interest, concentration and creativity.  In a day where most millennials aren’t learning to sew, it was refreshing to see girls much younger learning to.

One of the young girls was a cancer survivor and she hadn’t been to a sewing class in a few years. I felt fortunate to meet the young lady. She’s very talented, creative and inquisitive.  After she complimented me on the Paris print I was working with, I gave her the scrap material I had. I am sure she will do something amazing with it.  I spent most of the day chatting with her mother as I diligently sewed my project.

The cool thing is the pattern for the fabric bin was so easy; I can replicate it at home and make a bunch of bins for other organizational needs.  It will make a gift too.

As for taking a class at Jo-Ann’s, I would happily take another. It was a fun day working on a project where my only focus was what I was working on.  The instructor was patient and helpful. I think it helped that she really enjoyed being there with all of us.

If you want to learn to sew, I suggest checking out their sewing classes. They have a sewing 101 class that teaches you the basics. You will learn about the various hems, stitches and the like.  I may actually go back and take that class, even though it’s a bit remedial for me.

DIY Bath Bombs

DIY Bath Bombs

I love taking long baths, relaxing with a bunch of bubbles and tossing in a bath bomb or two.  At the prices LUSH or Basin want for them though, I thought it best to figure out how to make them myself.  So, as we all do, I went directly to Pinterest for a DIY bath bomb recipe, or two.  I found a couple I liked and opted to try one of them.  One called for oil and the other called for witch hazel.  I settled on the witch hazel recipe.

bath bomb recipe

bath bomb recipe

 

To make these bath bombs, I needed baking soda, Epsom salts, citric acid, essential oil and a spray bottle of witch hazel.  Using a big bowl, I mixed the dry ingredients and then dropped in a bit of rose scented essential oil.  I then sprayed down the mixture until I had a wet sand consistency. I then took a few dried rose petals and mixed them through for a little color, texture and addition fragrance. You could also do this with lavender.

Using an old muffin tin lined with plastic wrap I spooned in the mixture and packed it down. I let it sit over night to let it dry out.

The first time I tried this recipe I used plastic eggs left over from Easter. What an epic fail that was. Well, each of the eggs is practically a lethal weapon. They are hard as rocks and the dried mixture will not come out easily.  I needed to run hot water over the outside to loosen it. Once loosened, the bath bomb was fine.  It did take a while to dissolve in the tub, but it added the right fragrance and softness I was looking for.

bath_bombs

 

The per item cost is so much more reasonable than anything one can find at Lush or Basin. The most expensive items on the ingredients list are the citric acid and essential oil. Even still, you can get several batches made out of one bag of citric acid.

These wrapped in a pretty paper and tied with a ribbon would make a great gift for your mom, sister or baby sitter.

 

 

Salvaging old wax to make a new candle

Scented candles this time of year lend a little bit to the season, pumpkin spice in October and November, a bit of evergreen and cinnamon spice heading into December.  A home that has the scent the season wafting through is just a welcoming place to be.  I purchase jar candles at Marshall’s , TJMaxx and Target throughout the Autumn months. They have the best prices and selection rather than spending an arm & leg at the mall candle shop.  Each year though I end up with jars filled with left over wax and a spent wick.  Tossing out a jar with an inch or more of wax seems wasteful. I hate to surrender the wax to the landfill and of course, the jars are worth saving for other uses. So, what’s the trick to using the left over wax? Make a new candle.

 

salvaging wax for a new candle

It’s an easy process and a quick DIY.  Simply melt down the wax over a low heat on a flat electric stove top.  Once the wax melts, carefully pour it into a smaller vessel with a fresh wick.  Just like that, you make a new candle.

small_jar_candles

On occasion, there may not be enough wax left over to fill another smaller jar.  If there are several with little to none left, you can melt down each of them and then layer the different scents. Melt down one and then pour it into a jar with a wick. Let it harden and then then pour in the second layer. Repeat the process until you’ve filled the smaller jar.

 

I love this project, as it lets me reuse the scented wax to create a new candle without a lot of mess or fuss.  Candle making in its own right can be messy with the need for pot to melt the wax, a selection of scents to perfume the wax. This way is a bit cleaner, and a bit quicker. It also allows for some creativity with the style of jar used. In some cases, I will reuse the smaller jar of a spent jar candle. Other times I may find a unique shaped jar, or grab a votive candle holder to turn into a cool new candle.