Tinker Around

Welcome to my blog. It is full of basic projects and tutorials for things that I have done and feel like others out there would benefit from learning too. Be sure to take time to leave me a comment. Thanx, Pam

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Artist Travel Case

Hey there everyone.  As promised, I am going to open up my travel painting case and show you what I like to take along on painting seminars and such.

I actually have one case that is an old makeup case that my daughter was gonna toss out.  Of course, knowing that her mom saved everything, she offered to me.  I know a good deal when I see it and snagged that puppy right up!!!

Now, let's have a look inside.  I will just list some of the stuff that I keep in it - far left is splattering tool and brushes, compass ruler, extra pens and pencils.  Center, up the middle in the eyeshadow brush area - plastic spoon (just sounded like a good idea at the time), stylus, soap stone, exacto and couple detailing tools.  Center open compartment - pliers, scissors, assorted tapes (painters and clear), round rubber thingy to put under my pallet to keep it from moving around, hand battery operated fan, pencil sharpener in a baggy to hold the trash part til I can get to the trash can, collapsible water basin, cotton swabs, dobbers, water bottle, alcohol wipes, sandpaper, tracing paper, carbon paper, pallet paper (the papers are all folded into quarters and put into one baggie, pallet knife, tissue and bandaids.  Then, on the far right side is extra paper towels folded into quarters, and some of the hand/feet warmers from the store.  Yes, all of that fit in this one little case.  Pretty amazing isn't it!!!  I have to be really careful packing it or it won't close.  The little pink ribbons are glued in to help hold stuff in place when carry it around.

There is another item that I use a lot when painting too, this basket.  I made the liner out of plastic canvas and made it to hold brushes down the center and two rows of paints on one side, and books on the other.   If you decide to make one of these, I would suggest that you get one with a fixed handle.  I used to carry a utensil organizer, but the handle moved back and forth and would mess up the tops of all the brushes.  So, I knew that this one had to be fixed, un-movable.

Between these two items, I have all that I need when painting.  All I have to carry separately is my canvas or whatever my surface is.  Hope you have enjoyed this weeks post.  Next week, I am going to show you my completed art/craft room.  See ya later, Pam

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Organization...Day Three

Wow!!  What a week!!  We put our 22 year old daughter on a plane to South Korea on Wednesday.  She has a work Visa to teach English in Daejeon for a year or two.  She is like an extension of my right arm and my painting buddy!  I am so thankful for Skype and  that we have already gotten to see and chat with Sarah!!!

Ok, you didn't come to hear about that.   Sorry, I had said that we would talk about my paint storage case and what is in it, but we are going a different route.  Canvas Storage and Flooring.  Maybe I will be where I can get the case out and go through it next week.  So... on with the canvas storage and what is going on in the art/craft room organization and redo.  I am going to post step by step photos this week.  Here is a picture of the canvas all hung up nice and pretty, it turned out just like I have envisioned in my head!!  Love when that happens.

Now, here are the steps that I took.  First, decide how many canvas you can put in one grouping and the door still open and close, or you could just put them in a closet on the wall or wherever.  The thing is, you need to get a measuring tape out and see what length of belting, strapping or whatever materials you are using is going to be needed.  I am using this purse handle webbing that is one inch wide and was purchased with a coupon from my local fabric store.

Then, I took and slathered the area where I was going to cut it with Fray Check or some sort of Fabric Glue and let it dry before you cut it.  This will keep the ends from raveling later, you can see that mine still shows signs of raveling because I tugged on it so much to get the knots smaller.

I used the Hercules Hooks as my nails or hangers.  I purchase these things at the store, and get a couple packs at a time.  They are great and I have NEVER had anything to fall off the wall when using these.
Lastly, hang the straps up and slide in your canvas.  Isn't that cool!!!  And yes, I thought it up myself and am rather pleased with that fact!  I am also thinking of hanging some shelves using the same technique, though I don't know yet.  If you have questions about how these hooks work or anything, please feel free to post under comments.

Peel and stick tiles are not the best flooring around, but when you have carpet that is paint stained and rippling...well, I had to do something cheap for safety sake!!   First, I cut the carpet with a cutting knife/blade and took a look underneath to make sure there were no major cracks in the flooring.  IF you have large cracks, stop!!  You will need to have your house professionally leveled before you do anything else.  Mine was fine so I proceeded to take out the carpet, and it is heavy, so do it in sections if you are working alone like I was.

Be careful when you start pulling out those tack strips, they use strong pointy nails for a reason.  Use a claw hammer and flathead screwdriver to get under the edges and get all the nails out of the concrete.
Then, take an old, really trashy towel and wipe down the concrete, get all the little pieces and dust off the floor.  Tile won't stick to dust!!!  Don't try to get all the tire tracks and stuff up, just get it dust free and flat.  Meaning...if there are globs of ceiling and stuff stuck on the concrete you better get it up.  No reason to go to all this trouble to have that tile ripple with a lump under it later.

Next, fill the little holes with joint compound.  You can get it at the hardware store in a small tub.  Be sure to get some sort of a putty knife to put it down with.  I lost mine somewhere during the carpet removal and used a pallet knife to finish up.  (I did find it in the kitchen sink later.  lol)  This is like icing a cake and filling the cracks.  You can go back and lightly sand the filled areas later to smooth them out, I got mine flat enough the first time that I didn't bother.

I also decided to paint the walls and baseboards before laying the tiles.  Might as well do it all while I was at it.  The baseboards got painted to go with the door frame.  I just felt that there was too much white and cream everywhere if I were to leave them unpainted.  I took two different colors of Folk Art craft acrylics and a flat brush, dipped the brush into the two colors (one on each corner) and just slapped it on there. Really!  I didn't do anything special except to keep the paint on the baseboards.  I even let the paint get on the concrete.  Seriously!  It IS that easy.  Here is a picture of before and after.

I hand wipe each section just before laying the tile on the concrete, yes, I just swipe it with my bare hand.  Be sure that the concrete has dried completely and all the holes are dry too.  Nothing like a tile popping up later cause you didn't take the time to do it properly.  Also, be sure to purchase extra tiles and store in the closet for tiles that crack or get so dirty that they have to be replaced.  I did that with my bathrooms over 10 years ago, and have never needed the tiles, but I have them just in case.  The patterns that I used in those bathrooms have been discontinued now.  Better safe than sorry.

Most folks say to start in the middle of the room and work your way out.  I start at the doorway.  The reason for this is that no room is square, you are going to have to cut pieces for adding at the side walls and stuff, no way around that.  But, when I walk into a room, the highest traffic area...I want to start with a full sized tile and not some little piece that has been set in at the end that might pop out.

Here is a picture of the floor before and the tile after.  I like the tile.  Looks like a slate or marble, and it is .99 a square peel and stick.  Go figure!!!

I really hope that this information will help someone decide to tackle that flooring, it really isn't that hard.  And I think the payoff is great, my students and I love it!!!

That is it for this week.  Hope to have the room almost finished by next week and then we will finish this Organizational Section of the blog up and go on to something else.  Hope you are all having a great week and getting some organizing of your own done.  Please take the time to leave me some comments, I look forward to reading feedback from my readers.  - Pam

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Organization...Day Two

Not sure that we can ever get fully organized, but I sure am trying to get the one room finished up!!!  So, last week I said that I would touch on that one space that everyone has and almost no one utilizes.  Do you know what it is??   There is about a two foot by one foot space above all door, especially closets, that is just there.  I have done several things over the years to take advantage of this unused space. I do apologize, but there won't a lot of pictures this week.  The craft room is a wreck and not worthy of any photos right now!   Here are a few ideas...

  • In a craft room or your bedroom, put a couple nails up there and hang small gift bags full of tags, cards, scissors, bows and tape.  When you go to wrap a gift, everything except the wrapping is right there!  Be sure to use a gift bag with the hard handles, not the limp ones that you can't get up and down without a chair or ladder.
  • How about a shelf up there for all your extras for the bathroom...store extra soap (makes the closet smell nice!), toilet paper, shaving cream, deodorants,...
  • In the kids rooms, how about a shelf for hand me down shoes to grow in to.
  • Guest room, what about an extra set of sheets?  It is not like the guest are staying forever, so you don't really care what is up there as long as you remember it is there.  You could put extra stuff that they might need while staying with you, but make sure it doesn't get outdated.
  • Out in the garage, paper towels that are sealed in plastic, paper plates, napkins, party or hot cups,...
I could go on, but you get the idea.

See ya in a week, and hope to have more pictures then.  I still have to finish rearranging the furniture after I get on a fresh coat of light tan paint (it is bright purple right now) and get all the nasty carpet pulled up.  Just wanted to show you the current color of the Art/Craft Room.

My daughter leaves next Wednesday for So.Korea to teach English for a year, so things are very busy here.  Next week I will share with you what is in my travel painting case and how I carry my paints and brushes to Seminars.  See ya in a week, and I promise to be more together then!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Organization...Day One

Well, looks like I am gonna be posting early this week.  It is snowing here in Central Texas and if I have to be shut in and am on my computer...I am sure of you are too.  So...here we go!!!

We are going to be talking about organizing your art/craft room on and off for the next few weeks, as I am redoing mine!  It is clean enough and somewhat organized now, but I know it can be better.  My room is a 10'x13' bedroom that is located in the back of the house.  The walls are purple, the carpet is a paint spotted dirty cream color, and the walls are lined with bookcases.  See, it looks manageable.

But, the closet is a mess.  When a closet looks this bad, it doesn't get used, everything stays buried and you have to dig or purchase new stuff.  So, in the next few weeks, as the room gets cleaned and gone through, so of the stuff in the closet will come out.  I am sure if you have a closet like this, there are things in there that need to be trashed or given to your crafty friends.  I know my students are looking forward to our classes for the next month or so!  lol  (oh, there, see the purple wall!)

Let's look at one of my boxes of ribbon.  This is what it looked like on the shelf, there were two boxes full.  Inside, it was in rows and had a couple extras thrown on top.  By the way, watch your local craft stores, these photo storage boxes go on sale all the time!!  In fact, I just picked up four more this week for just over $2 each.  You will see in future posts how and where I have used them in this room.  Pretty and easily stacked.

It has all been wrapped and filed and now there is enough room for BOTH boxes of ribbon in the one box.  You would be surprised how much room those spools take up...anyone got a craft project for all these empty spools??  What to do with them for now??  Easy, thread them all together and hang them from the ceiling in the garage.

Now, on to the process and then I will reveal the final project.  Take and unroll the entire spool, start rolling it around the two of the inserts that come in the photo boxes.  You might have to cut down those pieces of cardboard depending on how much ribbon there is.  Here is a photo of where the ribbons are so long that they wrap around so many times that the ribbon roll is too tall for the box now.  See how it sticks up above the edge of the box?  See the second photo, I cut down the cardboard inserts and re-wrapped the ribbons.

You ready for this?  Let's go back and take a look at the before photo and then the after will be right below that one.  I love my new ribbon storage, and I have tried dowel rods and lots of other things.  Soooo....what do you think???

Isn't that AWESOME!!!!  Well, one of many boxes down, and now I even have an extra box to put more stuff into later!!!  Yippee!!!

Now, let me show you how I organized all my little Sizzix and Cricut cut out shapes.  This is really easy and it uses up a LOT of those little scraps of paper.  Don't have one of those machines that cut out the shapes that you can use in altered art or scrapbooking??  There are folks that sell them on ebay, yes, you can order pre-cut shapes and even tell them what color you want them in.  Do you have a friend that has a lot of punches that you like?  Borrow them for a couple days and spend an evening in front of the tv punching a few and slip them into snack bags until you get your organization container, and then just transfer them over.  I have even used a muffin tin to organize while I am between projects.  Ok, here they are.

Then, I got another one of these tool and hardware organizers and did the entire alphabet.  Be sure to keep the outside on the alphabet too, never know when you might want those pieces.  Oh, I just used a black permanent marker to draw the letter on the outside, and it looks like the actual letter shape (font).  You could even tape them to the inside and let them show through. 

Wow!!  I feel like I got a lot done.  Eventually, you are going to see the new paint, shelving, and floor.  This is going to have to do for now.  

What am I going to do next week??  To be honest with you, I am not quite sure yet.  I have so many ideas flowing in my brain, and so many projects in the works.  I do know that we all have one little area of wasted space in our homes, and so I will post a small section on that next week along with my regular post.  

Why don't you post some questions along with your comments and let me know what kinds of things you would like to read about.  You never know, I might pick your question to write the next blog about!!!  See ya in a week, Pam