March 24, 2016

Easy Way To Age Metal

Although there are ways to chemically age metal, the easiest
way (in my opionion)  to make metal objects have an aged
look is to use paint. You also have more control over the
look of the aging process and in the final outcome. 

You can look on Pinterest or other places on the internet
to get an idea of what actual old buckets, etc. look like
to mimick the look with paint. 

To age some olive-type buckets that I got from WalMart
(thanks to Yvonne at Stone Gable blog letting us know
about) I gathered up some acrylic craft paints from my
stash in rusty colors. 

They were such a good price that I got five of them.

These are sold out at WalMart now but due to the popularity
of this type bucket, I am seeing more of them in other stores.

You can use this technique on any type of metal objects that
won't be left outside. The paints I used were craft paints 
which are not waterproof.  I tried sanding on one bucket to
see if that would make less shiny but actually it made it 
MORE shiny and took away the galvanized look.

Here's a close-up of one of the buckets before painting...

 The vintage olive buckets that I liked the look of the most,
were rusty along seams, openings and handles so that is 
what I tried to copy with the paint. 
The colors that worked best for the look I wanted were the reds and browns...not the metallics.

The "tools" that were used mainly were paint, nubby paint
brushes, crumpled paper towels and plastic wrap. A sea
sponge could also be used in place of a brush to get the
paint on the metal in an uneven or mottled pattern. 

Use a pouncing motion to put the paint where you want it on
the metal. Immediately after applying the paint, dab it with
the crumpled paper towel and/or plastic wrap. Work in small
patches at a time so the paint does not have time to dry before
you get to pouncing it with the paper/wrap. 

1. Pounce on paint with brush or sea sponge
2. Pounce on top of wet paint with paper towel
and/or plastic wrap to soften the look of the paint.

1. Pounce on
2. Pounce off

If too much paint comes off, just add more. Even layer
other rusty colors for more authenticity. 
1. Pounce brown paint on top of dried red paint
2. Pounce off some of the brown paint

I was not brave enough to try a sealer on the paint.
I thought no matter how "matte" it was, it might add shine.

I am using the buckets in a covered area by my back door.
The paint (so far) has held up well in that area. 

Here's how the buckets looked with mums in them 
during the Fall...

To elevate the mums in the buckets, pine bark mulch was added
to the bottom until the flowers were at the right height.

The mulch is still in the bottom of the buckets and ready 
to help elevate Spring flowers .

Filling five buckets with flowers can be pricey so I did a
little cheating for Spring. I pulled some artificial daffodils
out of the attic and bought a few new bunches on sale.

Usually it's the greenery on artificial flowers the "give them 
away" so I bought some liriope (or monkey grass) to mimick
real daffodil greenery...I'll plant it in the yard later.

The liriope had been sitting outside at the garden center 
and was kinda weathered looking. After a shot of leaf
shine, (either one) they looked great.
The "Design Master Leaf Shine" came from Michaels; the "Schutlz Leaf Shine" came from Home Depot.

I didn't want any of the plastic pots to show but I also wanted
to keep the pots on the liriope. Some extra potting soil was
added to the bottom of the the liriope pot to elevate the grass.

More pine bark mulch was used if needed to get the top
of the grass at the right height in the metal bucket. 

Now for the "cheater" part...artificial daffodils.
Push down any greenery down the stem or cut it
off completely. Also be sure to cut off the tag (duh).

The flowers are easier to store year-to-year if you can keep
them on the original stem. If you need to cut them off the
stem to help them look more real, just do it. 
You will probably need wire cutters to separate the flowers from the main stem. 

Push the artificial flowers'  down into the real liliorope.
Bend the stems, spread them apart, fiddle with them
to make them look natural in the liriope. 

 Add pine bark mulch (or other filler) around the plastic pot. 
You could stop here or if you want to add some moss.

To add variation to the height of the pots small bowls, etc.
were added underneath the buckets...that is optional.  

None of our back door visitors have been able to tell that
the Spring daffodils are not real. 

 The "Easter Snap" (a blast of cold weather after a period
of warm weather here in the South) is coming this weekend
but it won't bother these daffodils. 

If this paint treatment does wear off on your metal items
just add more layers of rusty colors of paint with 
the same technique to add more layers of "years" . 

I hope you have a blessed Easter weekend!

March 13, 2016

Free Printable Irish Sayings

These Irish blessing and wishes are some of my favorite ones.
I composed them to print out and use in decorating for 
St. Patrick's Day. I'm happy to share them with you if you 
would like to download them to your computer and print them
out for yourself.  They can be used in decorating or to hand
out to friends and co-workers on St. Patrick's Day.

The text is in black so you don't have to have a color printer
to use these printables. I used fonts that I though might look
like an ancient Irish calligrapher wrote these out. 

The color and creativity comes from YOU as decide what 
kind of paper you want to print them on. 

Some I printed out on scrapbook paper...

...and some I printed out on paper that I aged with coffee.

Some of these printables are formatted as 5"x7" and some
are formatted as 8"x10" and could be framed. 

If the scrapbook paper that you want to print on is
12"x12" just cut it down to 8.5"x11" to run through
your home printer. 

You could also print these out on plain paper and let your 
kids draw borders around them. 

If you need instructions how how to download and print
these out, please click on this post.

These are the larger printables...

These are the sayings that will print two per page...





Wishing you a happy St. Patrick's Day!

March 11, 2016

Easy Versatile Spring Wreath

This Spring wreath is very easy to make and can be adapted in
so many ways in just a few minutes after you get the base made.

To make the base wreath, you will need a grapevine wreath
form (readily available in craft stores) and the most
 real-looking artificial greenery that you can afford. In my 
opinion, the best greenery for this wreath is the type that
is specifically made as greenery...not attached to flowers. 

You can use one type of greenery or mix different types of
greenery. To get the most greenery for your money a "bush"
form of greenery or a garland of greenery is the best buy.
Of course, use a coupon if available for the store to help 
with the cost also.  Use a wire cutter to cut the stems from
 the bush or garland leaving as much stem as possible. 

Push the stems into the grapevine wreath. If the stems are 
short and won't stay in the vines, you can add glue to the
end of the stems to attach them permanently. If you use
glue on the stems, let the wreath lie flat until the glue dries. 

Make the wreath as full of greenery as you like.

The wreath is beautiful and classy all by itself.

If you want to add embellishments to the wreath after you get
 the base made, it is easy to attach them on top of the greenery.

For Saint Patrick's Day artificial shamrocks were pushed
 into the grapevine wreath just like the original greenery was.

 A cross (from Jo Ann's last year I think) was tied on the top
of the wreath with fishing line. I like to use fishing line to 
attach items to wreaths because it becomes almost invisible.

Artificial Spring flowers can also be added to the wreath.
The greenery on these daffodils did not look real to me so I cut it off of the flowers before adding it to the wreath.

The daffodil's wire stems were cut into clumps and the
wire stems were pushed into the grapevine wreath.

For Easter all kinds of cute embellishments can be added.
These carrots are from Michael's (on sale they were only about $1 each).

The stems on the carrots were pushed through the greenery
 into the grapevines and a bow added with thin wire. 

A look that can take your wreath from Spring and on into
Summer is adding your initial to the greenery wreath.

Right now, I have the Saint Patrick's Day version of the 
wreath on my front door.  Want to see the Saint Pat's 
decorations beyond the front door? Come on in... my dining room just inside the front door I've put
out decorations I have made in the past few years. 

On the dining room table are the green bottles that I made
toppers for that (are supposed to ) look like soldered 
bottles. The bottle toppers have shamrocks.

If you want to make your own faux soldered bottles
you can click on this link for the instructions.

This cute little plaque (from Jo Ann's) was attached to
the scale to tie it in more to the St. Patrick's theme. 

A table runner can also helps to emphasize whatever theme
or holiday you are decorating for. Here's how to make a 
no-sew table runner easily...
1. Purchase fabric that goes with your theme that will
be as long as you want your runner to be.
Cut the fabric the width that you want the runner 
to be plus enough to fold under hems on either side.

2. Iron a hem along the long sides of your fabric.
 Starch helps hold the folded hem in place.

3. Fold the ends into a point. Iron and starch into place.
After ironing the point use clear tape to keep it in place.

4. Enjoy! For more details on making table runners 

This year I put the Irish Blessings/Wishes in the 
glass-front cabinet behind the dining room table. 

I love that the cabinet has old wavy glass in it but it is hard
to take good photos through the glass. I'm going to open
the doors for you so you can read the papers and feel blessed.

Some of the Irish blessings/wishes were printed on scrapbook
papers that look old-ish and some were printed on papers
that were aged at home with tea or coffee. 

You can download these blessings/wishes and print
them out for yourself by clicking on this post. 

Moving visually around the room to the left... will see the faux stained glass with a depiction 
of Saint Patrick. 

He was made with stained glass paints on a sheet of 
acrylic from the craft store. Click here if you want to
see how he was made. 

Since I change out the images in the frame seasonally,
St. Patrick lives most of the year attached to a piece 
of foam core to keep the acrylic from bending. Then he is
 put in the frame with painter's tape this time of year. 

To give a touch of St. Patrick's Day to the living room
I just added a few purchased items to the display that 
was already there. 

I keep the framed chicken wire out all year and change 
what is on it seasonally. Right now they have the
 fake wood signs on them.

The kitchen table has shamrocks (left over from making the
wreath) in green glass bottles and a funny saying I saw
on a plastic cup and made into a printable. 

I'm going to enjoy changing out my new versatile wreath
this Spring and Summer...I hope you will make one too!

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