Category Archives: Art and Craft Projects

Mummy Lantern Making Pinterest Success

I wish all Pinterest stories were success stories, but unfortunately they are not. There are lots of awesome Pinterest Fail articles circulating out there.

Like this one from Buzzfeed:

http://www.buzzfeed.com/readcommentbackwards/31-horrendous-pinterest-fail-monstrosities-dmjk

And this one from Huffington Post:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/27/pinterest-food-fails-pictures_n_2199732.html

And here is a whole website called epicpintersetfail.com that has the sole purpose of documenting Pinterest Fails:

http://epicpinterestfail.com/

However, in the interest of spreading good cheer here is a success story!

I recently became a Girl Scout leader (there’s a whole story there that begins with me and a friend declaring we would never sign up for such a time-consuming task that culminated in us both being co-troop leaders a few weeks later, but that is not the point here) and I needed a quick and easy Halloween craft that would make our first meeting of our brand new troop fun. I needed something I could do with 10 girls, that wouldn’t take too long and would result in something cool so they could get excited about becoming a scout. We originally considered painting pumpkins, but decided we wanted something new. So, I did what all of you would do, I consulted Pinterest. I quickly found a pin with an article from babble titled 25 Ghoulishly Easy Halloween Kids Crafts that gave me some fun ideas.

You can check out that babble article here:
http://www.babble.com/crafts-activities/25-ghoulishly-easy-halloween-kids-crafts/

After perusing all of these great ideas I thought mummy lanterns fit the bill. I followed the post and found a great new blog called Crafting a Green World. We like to be as green as possible here at the Unconventional Farmhouse so I can’t wait to go back and read more from this blog. Here is the link to their mummy lantern post and I hope while you’re there you will read other things they have to say:

http://craftingagreenworld.com/2011/09/23/how-to-mummified-glass-jar-candle-holder/

Although this craft idea isn’t original to us we thought we’d give due credit and share it with our readers too. The craft was simple. First Ella Rose and I did a test run the night before and then all the girls went to town in their meeting. They LOVED it and I would definitely recommend it to all those of you looking for a great Halloween craft.

The materials are packed up and ready for the Girl Scout meeting!

The materials are packed up and ready for the Girl Scout meeting.

For the jars we used:

  • Mason Jars (various sizes)
  • Rolled Gauze (From the local pharmacy first aid isle)
  • Flour
  • Water

In individual bowls the girls mixed flour and water and stirred it with spoons until it was a liquidy paste consistency.  Then each girl took a strip of gauze and dunked it in their bowl until it was completely covered.  They then wrapped their jars with gauze.  It made a mess, but they pushed up their sleeves and got over it quickly.  They laughed when they thought about the fact that it’s the same ingredients they use for cookies!  For these reasons keeping our clothes clean wasn’t a concern.  They then put their mummy on a plate and went and washed their hands.  We didn’t give any dry time before completing the next step.

 

Messy, messy, messy!

Messy, messy, messy!

 

For the face we used:

  • Construction Paper (mostly black, but a few wanted to add a twist)
  • Hole Punchers (some wanted to punch out holes to add to their face creations)
  • Elmer’s Glue (squirted onto a plate to share)
  • Small Craft Sticks (to apply glue)
She is getting the face ready.

She is getting the face ready.

Adding her own design.

Adding her own design.

The girls chose whether they wanted creepy, silly, scary, funny or whatever their heart’s desired and they started cutting out faces accordingly. They glued them on with Elmer’s glue. We let them dry overnight and by the end of school the next day they came running at me like a herd of excited Girl Scouts to pick up their mummy lanterns.

Happy girl!

Happy girl!

When they got home they got to have their parents light the tea candle I put inside each one for a mummy lantern effect.  Isn’t it nice when success can be simple?

They look great in a group!

They look great in a group!

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

Our unconventional mummy lanterns on display.

Our unconventional mummy lanterns on display.

Have a safe and fun Halloween,

Kelli

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For the Love of Color

I have an admitted addiction. I know you are assuming it’s to painting, but that’s not it! I am addicted to color! I do appreciate the look of houses that follow a single color pallet or theme, but that design is just not for me. I like to look around and see all sorts of color. It makes me smile! We have mustard yellow walls, light yellow walls, tan walls, purple walls, red walls, terracotta walls, turquoise walls, dark green walls, bright green walls and as Greer likes to call the color he picked for his room “man cave gray” walls. The way we try to tie it all together is by using color in a variety of other ways throughout the house. It’s a kaleidoscope of happy and plans for more happy, I mean color, are underway. I will always be adding color. Many prefer a more monochromatic home because of its relaxing atmosphere, but for me life is just too short not to have color everywhere. Aaron long ago stopped trying to keep me from adding colors and started embracing it (and maybe even liking it) and Greer and Ella Rose love their bright and fun home. My addiction has led to stashes of paint everywhere! Sometimes I just buy a can of spray paint, not because I have a particular item to paint, but because I like the color. Then I will walk around and find random things to paint…true story! I use all kinds of paint and I use it to cover furniture, canvases, barn wood paintings, accessories, floors, rugs, and all sorts of other things. Sometimes this works well and sometimes not so well. Experimentation is part of the fun! I could walk around our home and take hundreds of photos for this post, but I will just select a few and maybe one day do a follow up post with a few hundred more. So, here are some examples of how I have added color by painting random things. I have also included some of my biggest blunders. I thought you might like to see those too! If you are afraid to make a blunder then painting random things may not be for you.

These guys were a little boring!

These guys were a little boring!

A little spray paint gave them more personality.

A little spray paint gave them more personality.

This table used to be very shiny wood...much more deserving of our unconventional farmhouse now!

This table used to be very shiny wood…much more deserving of our unconventional farmhouse now!

A little too blah for my taste!

A little too blah for my taste!

Now it packs a punch of color that is nice in the garden.

Now it packs a punch of color that is nice in the garden.

I don't even remember what color this cabinet used to be, but simply painting the trim a fun color instantly added uniqueness.

I don’t even remember what color this cabinet used to be, but simply painting the trim a fun color instantly added uniqueness.

Barn wood is painted and so is the silver bottle!

Barn wood is painted and so is the silver bottle!

The fireplace looks like tile, but nope, I painted it.  The original plan was to tile it when funding allowed, but now we just love it.  All those squares were stamped on with make up sponges.

The fireplace looks like tile, but nope, I painted it. The original plan was to tile it when funding allowed, but now we just love it. All those squares were stamped on with make up sponges.

Faded, brown and boring these cushions didn't make the cut for our new pool porch redo!

Faded, brown and boring these cushions didn’t make the cut for our new pool porch redo!

So after reading several other bloggers say you could give them a make over with spray paint, I decided a $4 can of spray paint was a bargain cushion redo.  (Have you priced these?)

So after reading several other bloggers say you could give them a make over with spray paint, I decided a $4 can of spray paint was a bargain cushion redo. (Have you priced these?)

I liked the look!  Bright, fun, different!  But boy, our booties did not!  It was scratchy and miserable and remember this was for a pool!

I liked the look! Bright, fun, different! But boy, our booties did not! It was scratchy and miserable and remember this was for a pool!

Thankfully K-Mart clearance saved the day!  This is much more comfy!  Painting FAIL!

Thankfully K-Mart clearance saved the day! This is much more comfy! Painting FAIL!

Speaking of those chairs...they were a worn out and faded green color before some spray paint brought them back to life!

Speaking of those chairs…they were a worn out and faded green color before some spray paint brought them back to life!

This pergola was on the porch of the house my generous sister-in-law bought, but it didn't fit.  So....it was donated to our spruce up our pool porch cause. But, it was black, and I wanted the porch to be injected with personality!

This pergola was on the porch of the house my generous sister-in-law bought, but it didn’t fit. So….it was donated to our spruce up our pool porch cause. But, it was black, and I wanted the porch to be injected with personality!

It took over 30 cans of spray paint, many hours of labor, very sore blistery fingers, and maybe some inappropriate language and the black aluminum still showed through!  So...I brush painted the final coat and finally got the look I wanted.

It took over 30 cans of spray paint, many hours of labor, very sore blistery fingers, and maybe some inappropriate language and the black aluminum still showed through! So…I brush painted the final coat and finally got the look I wanted.

If you'd asked me while working on it and even within the two months post finished product I would've said epic painting fail...

If you’d asked me while working on it and even within the two months post finished product I would’ve said epic painting fail…

...but now when I smile anytime I see it, sit in it, or even in this case look at a photo of it I definitely think epic painting win.

…but now when I smile anytime I see it, sit in it, or even in this case look at a photo of it I definitely think epic painting win.

Some painting victories are much more small like this old rusted basket I painted to add a punch of color.

Some painting victories are much more small like this old rusted basket I painted to add a punch of color.

Many of you asked about this wreath from our front door post and the truth is it is an old Christmas wreath that the stars rusted badly on and the red berries peeled off of....but a little paint changed it up.

Many of you asked about this wreath from our front door post and the truth is it is an old Christmas wreath that the stars rusted badly on and the red berries peeled off of….but a little paint changed it up.

Another random accessory painting.  Sometimes color can be subtle.

Another random accessory painting. Sometimes color can be subtle.

These chairs used to be black.

These chairs used to be black.

The other two became lime green for the vegetable garden.

The other two became lime green for the vegetable garden.

This was metallic gold when found second hand...I actually painted it black (ha, I know) and sprinkled some grass in and painted again to give it texture.

This was metallic gold when found second hand…I actually painted it black (ha, I know) and sprinkled some grass in and painted again to give it texture.

Another formerly black chair!

Another formerly black chair!

This rusted very badly, so it got a coat of paint.  It did rust again and get touched up again, and then it rusted again.  This time I left it.  Many would consider it a painting fail, but I think it's just unconventional.

This rusted very badly, so it got a coat of paint. It did rust again and get touched up again, and then it rusted again. This time I left it. Many would consider it a painting fail, but I think it’s just unconventional.

Some simple spray painted letters.

Some simple spray painted letters.

They pack some punch to the front door!

They pack some punch to the front door!

Why does most patio furniture come in black?

Why does most patio furniture come in black?

A little fun with color and some experimentation can go a long way.

A little fun with color and some experimentation can go a long way.

That's better!

That’s better!

This framed piece of tin was beige and plain when we yanked it out of a stash in the back of a run down antique store.

This framed piece of tin was beige and plain when we yanked it out of a stash in the back of a run down antique store.

I gave the frame a red wash finish, the tin a yellow wash finish and then took toothpicks and dabbed each dot already pressed into the tin with a variety of colors.  Instant happy!

I gave the frame a red wash finish, the tin a yellow wash finish and then took toothpicks and dabbed each dot already pressed into the tin with a variety of colors. Instant happy!

One last view of what happy looks like!

One last view of what happy looks like!

So go ahead, buy some paint, experiment, have fun!

Just don't paint your feet!

Just don’t paint your feet!

-Kelli

P.S. As I just took a cleaning break while writing I noticed an overwhelming number of things I did not include! Part two will definitely come one day!

A Secret for Hand Lettering Signs

I do A LOT of hand lettered signs and I use a variety of methods for them, but this “secret” is by far the easiest method I’ve encountered. I usually prefer hand lettered signs to stenciled signs because I like the “homemade” look it gives. I guess my theory is if I wanted a factory made looking sign then I’d just go buy it.

This sign in particular is very special for me because I made it for my dad. My parents live on the lower Ocoee river and my dad turned a super large natural drainage ditch into a dry creek bed and then eventually into an actual creek. He set up a pump in the river and pumps water from it to the top of his creek then it runs through the creek and right back into the river. (Very ingenious.) We call his creation “Ocoee Creek” and it needed a sign to properly show off this name.

Man Made Ocoee Creek

Man Made Ocoee Creek

IMG_7722

I began with a piece of pressure treated wood (this sign will be outside and not protected from the elements so I chose to start with pressure treated for extra protection) and then I sketched out my design very lightly with pencil. I just drew it out right on the wood. I also wrote out the words “OCOEE CREEK” with a very thin pencil line.

photo 42

Next I took a sharpie (here is the secret part) and went over my letters. I started with them being very thin then went over each letter again to thicken it up. This gave me a nice, straight edge and a marker is much easier to control than paint. I did the same with the turtle and leaf parts of the sign as well. After the marker completely dried I went back over it again with a sharpie a second time and then let that dry completely.

photo4 3

photo 44

Next I took a tiny paint brush and a variety of green and brown shades and began adding small strokes of these colors to give the letters depth and a more “painterly” look. I only touched up here and there so that my nice, clean sharpie lines were still visible. I let a first coat dry and added another layer for more depth. After my “painterly” touches were all dried up I went back with my sharpie to clean up the edges a little. I also filled in my drawing around the lettering with paint and gave them depth as well. Letting things dry completely and then returning to add depth is the key.

photo 22

photo 5

photo 4

So the secret to a hand lettered painted sign? A sharpie! Who knew?

After the sign was complete and dried I sprayed it with a clear polyeruthane spray to help protect it. This will need to be redone every so often to continue to maintain a coat of protection.

photo5 1

The sign is now hung and looks great it this rustic environment.

The Completed Hand Lettered Sign

The Completed Hand Lettered Sign

Photo Apr 18, 3 27 39 PM

IMG_7725

IMG_7615

Here is a a video of the creek. Photos just simply do not do it justice!

Now go forth and make yourself some signs full of all those amazing quotes you’ve pinned on pinterest!

-Kelli

House Rules

Every family needs some rules…right? Well, we certainly decided we did! A few days ago I was reading this article

The Good Kid Project: Integrity

The Good Kid Project: Integrity


from the March 2014 issue of Better Homes and Gardens and it took me back to that decision to make our house rules. We had been talking about creating family rules for awhile and had even talked about some specific rules that would be good to do our best to follow. Aaron and I want to teach our children to be kind and treat others well and that all starts with how we treat each other here at home. We wanted a set of rules that we all could count on. We’d also talked about creating a special way to post our house rules so that they would be a constant reminder for us all. We were doing what we always do (tossing about ideas) when our friend Laura called with an offering. She had bought an old house and replaced the windows before moving in. However, Laura has never been one to waste so she called me to see if I wanted the old windows to “do something fun with.” Of course I said yes! And our house rules then began to take shape!

I took Laura’s old window and cleaned it up and painted it green with some left over paint from an old project. I sanded it off to give it an old weathered feel (yes I do like that look- I don’t like things to look “perfect”, at least not in our old unconventional farmhouse) and let it dry for a few days. Then I taped off the wood part of the window very securely with painter’s tape and used Martha Stewart’s black chalk paint (sold at Michael’s and also sold in a variety of colors- not just black) on the window panes. It takes quiet a few coats to paint over glass so I had to paint, watch it dry, paint, watch it dry, paint, watch it dry, and on and on. Then I took some small letter stencils and painted the words house rules on the bottom of the window with the same black chalk paint.

The fun part came last. We sat down as a family with a piece of chalk and came up with our rules together. We chose to phrase all of our rules in the positive so that we have a list of things we will do our best to do rather than a list of things not to do. (I also am a second grade teacher and this is how I do my classroom rules. It sets a positive tone and gives everyone a good goal to work towards.) We had fun making our list and Aaron and I kept the discussion on track by helping direct towards the kind of rules we need in order to have a home that we all feel happy to live in. We then signed our rules. We all know we will fall short at times, but posting what we are striving for is a wonderful reminder.

Our Rules

Our Rules


Our rules are now hanging in our laundry room/mud room which makes it one of the first things we see when we get home and one of the last things we see when we leave. From time to time we refer to them (when needed and even when not needed.) We try to keep them front and present in our conversations. Greer and Ella Rose are also quick to point them out to us if needed as well! This project has been a positive aesthetic addition to our home, but even more importantly has had a positive impact on our family- you can’t beat that!
-Kelli
Our Rules Hanging in Our Mud Room

Our Rules Hanging in Our Mud Room


P.S. We know you will ask so… a skadoosh shake your booty is a family celebration that involves booty shaking…what else?!
P.P.S I liked the fluidity of our rules being in chalk so much that I also painted a wall in my second grade classroom with chalk paint and my second graders and I made rules, wrote them on the wall and signed them. The idea transcends!
Our House Rules

Our House Rules