Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Hunkering Down into Craftsy Mode

Sometimes I feel artsy. Sometimes I feel craftsy. Sometimes I struggle with who I want to be... artsy me or craftsy me? Then I wonder... does it really matter? Nope. Just enjoy both.

This week I am starting to get ready for an arts and crafts show I will be doing in late November in Savannah, Georgia. It is a small show in my mother-in-law's island community. I've decided to focus on creating things that might actually sell. Crazy notion, right? Sometimes I feel like I am a sell-out to trends when I decide to make cutesy things that might sell. Then I have to slap myself upside the head and say, "girl, what do you think you are trying to do here?"

So... my focus for the next few months will be to enjoy the making part. The cutting, the gluing, the painting of the same thing over and over. I will save the bold and experimental statement pieces for later.

I think it helps to think about producing a "line" of projects, a set of colors and themes that work together so that the booth will look cohesive. This is tricky for me and my squirrel brain. I get bored easily and usually go from one direction all the way over to the other side about 10 times a day. But I am buckling down and I mean it. I will stay on track. This is a great opportunity and I refuse to let my inner 4-year-old mess this up.

I have done a few shows before, but never with a full force effort.  So here I go.

My first project: some trashy birdhouses that can also be used as Christmas ornaments.

Here's the how-to:

wooden birdhouses (I found mine in the bargain bins at Michael's)
scrapbook paper
raw umber acrylic paint, regular and transparent
matte gel medium
liquid matte medium
satin varnish
ric rac trim
small scraps of fabric
mod podge for fabric

1) Trace the sides of the birdhouse onto cardstock to create a pattern for each style of birdhouse.

2) Choose a variety of scrapbook paper prints and trace the pattern, cut.

3) Paint your birdhouses with one coat of raw umber acrylic paint.

4) Use a thin coat of matte gel medium to glue the pieces to the sides of the birdhouse. Cover each piece with another thin coat of matte gel medium.

5) Using transparent raw umber acrylic paint and liquid matte medium, create grungy smudges around the edges of each side. I use the brush, a paper towel, and my fingers to get the smudginess just right.

6) Cut tiny "patches" out of the srapbook paper scraps. Glue these to the sides using the matte gel medium and cover each with a thin coat of matte gel medium.

7) Using the transparent raw umber and the liquid matte medium, create more grungy smudges around the patches.

8) Once dry, coat the entire piece with a thin coat of satin varnish.

9) Insert the ric rac as a hanger.

10) Cut the string into an 8-10 inch piece.

11) Using your fingers, coat the string with raw umber paint. Allow to dry.

12) Cut fabric into tiny triangles

13) Fold the top edge of the triangle over the string using the Mod Podge and coat each flag with a generous amount of Mod Podge to prevent fabric fray. Allow the flag garland to dry on a piece of plastic or other non-porous surface.

14) Once dry, peel the flag garland up, trim excess glue, and adhere to the birdhouse with small pieces of paper and matte gel medium.

 Now back to work!


  1. These are great! I may have to go out and get a few birdhouses!

    I call myself an artist and I like to paint glue sew..you name it!

  2. If I was at that sale, I would buy one of those lovely birdhouses! I too struggle with the artsy and crafty me. I don't try to put a label on it anymore, I just create and try my best to always be enjoying it no matter what it is. I too get bored easily, so make a real variety of things. Lovely creative work!

    1. thank you for the encouragement Kim. I think you are right, just create and enjoy it! Why worry about the label?!

  3. Sweet for the tweets. Adorable. Thanks for the advance look see of what you are making. xox

  4. These are charming - thanks for the instructions but mostly for sharing your craftsy self! Hope you can keep that 4 year old self banished :)

  5. How cute! They turned out so well. And you can be darn certainty that you'll be the only one with excellent birdhouse ornaments to sell.


  6. Ooh. I like! Thanks for sharing the how-to...I may have to add this to my (quite lengthy) to-do list, although mine would never ever ever look as cute as these! I hope you sell a flock of them :)

  7. These are precious! I would totally buy one too if I were there! Keep up the great crafty work!

    1. Thank you for your words of encouragement Nikkie!

  8. These are positively darling Jenny! Thank you so much for sharing the process. I have a few of these birdhouses so I may have to give it a go. I bet you'll sell them all!

    1. Thanks Linda! You need to paint your birdhouses! I want to see your spin!

  9. These are so sweet! Love the bunting.