Classic School Map Find

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While rummaging at a local church rummage sale last fall, I saw this hanging in a corner. It was a canvas map that used to hang in a classroom in the school attached to the church. I figured it would be out of my price range for the day (I had $10 whole bucks in my wallet), but I asked anyway.

$6. $6!! I bought it on the spot. The older lady taking the money told me a young woman was eyeing it up earlier, but she went home saying she need to think it over. I hope she decided she didn’t want it, because I know it makes no sense to pass up something so under priced.

I estimate the map to be from about 1970. I’m dating it from the geography it presents. It features the territory of Afars and Issas. Today we know this as Djibouti, but it used the name Afars and Issas from 1967 to 1977. Further down the African continent I spotted The Congo. In 1971, The Congo would become Zaire (today the Democratic Republic of Congo). This puts the map after 1967, but before 1971. So i’m rounding it to circa 1970. (Still before I was born, so its an antique to me).

 

Aquarium Terrarium

 

I’m actually not certain what species of air plant these are. Genus Tillandsia, but no idea about the species. I bought them because I thought they looked like tentacles. And I just love things with tentacles.

I wanted to get an aquarium for our apartment, but I really just don’t trust our one cat. The other cat would never bother an aquarium, but our big one would definitely destroy it the moment we turned our backs on him. Making one out of plants, though, might last a little longer with him.

I bought the air plants at the Philadelphia Flower Show a few weeks ago, but you can find them at just about any store that sells plants. They’re a bit trendy right now. I bought the shells in a big bag for a few bucks at my local Michael’s.

The air plants I chose were just the right size to rest comfortably inside the shells. Next we needed only a few supplies to make this, all of which I could buy from my local Big Box Store.

Small washers, fishing wire and scissors. A drill will also be necessary, but I assume everyone has one of those just lying around. If you don’t, you should really get one, they are awesome!

I drilled tiny holes into the tops of each of the shells. Remember, the hole only has to be big enough to get fishing wire through and you don’t want it to be noticeable, otherwise. This is all about creating the illusion of swimming.

              

After running through the fishing wire, I tied a small washer to the end in order to anchor it inside the shell. I did this for all three shells and then placed my air plants inside them. The nestled nicely inside each.

Side note: all three of these plants were long and twisty, until my big cat found them and ate part of one of them. Do not leave these around your cats like I did. That being said, it actually worked out for me to have one of the plants be a tad shorter than the rest. It would fit in nicely as the plant that lives to the left of the terrarium.

The trouble one is the big guy one the right. He’s why I can’t have nice things.

I made a run to Home Goods to buy a glass case. I originally thought I would buy a lantern for this project, but the glass case I found was just perfect. Anything that has large, open glass panels will work for this. It’s all about how clearly you can see your air plant-fish.

I strung the fishing wire up through the crease at the top of the case and tied some more little washers to them to keep them hanging. I arranged them in a way to make them look as though they were swimming. Finally, I bought some small black rocks at Michael’s to fill in the bottom of the case. This was my end result:

My Terrarium Aquarium!

 

Invitations for all you 80’s Lovers

 

A few years back, a friend asked me for some help with invites for her upcoming engagement party. Her fiance’s favorite song (ever!) was a-ha’s “Take On Me.” She very much wanted the song’s music video’s aesthetic to transfer in some way over to the invites. In case you are too young to know why this would make for such a cool visual, I direct your attention here before you finish reading this blog:

 

She sent me some of their engagement photos, specifically this image: DSC_0298 (2)

 

I put this through Photoshop, cutting out just the bride’s figure. When I was left with just her image, I reprinted it out onto paper a bit more agreeable for a pencil than regular printer paper. I worked in the groom’s image first, then went about trying to recreate the music video.

 

When I finished the final image, I scanned it and sent the bride a high-resolution image for her to pass onto a printing service. This was the image she sent to all her party-goers:

 

 

Admittedly, I could have done a bit better with the background. But they seemed happy with the results, at least. Inside the message read,”Our a-ha moment came when she agreed to take on me.”

Upcycled Bridesmaid Dress

I have too many bridesmaid dresses. They’re perfectly nice when you wear them at our friend’s wedding, but in the end they always end up in the back of a closet collecting dust. Bride’s try to reassure you when you buy the dress that “It’s totally reusable! It will make a fine cocktail dress!” It won’t. It will always look like a bridesmaid dress. (Side note: I’m pretty sure I told my own bridesmaids the same lie. Sorry!)

So, now I am on a mission of dismantling  these dusty gowns for parts. First up:

Sam and I after too many mimosas at a Brunch-Time Wedding

 

Once again, a perfectly nice dress. But, really, where else could I wear this but at a wedding? More specifically, that top? I bet you’re eyeing up that lovely tulle skirt. The material and that color!

I wish this post was about my mad sewing skills.  Its not. Its about my Mom’s mad sewing skills! I went to my Mom with what I wanted and she was able to finish it within a day.

First, she detached the top. Its the top that lets you know this is a bridesmaid dress. It had to go. She took a half inch of the material layers where she cut and flipped them inward to create a waistband.

The original zipper crossed both the bodice and skirt, so she had to cut that in half. She sealed the ends and reused the zipper pull tab for the skirt’s zipper.

And that’s all it took. So I went to a local thrift store and found a sweater to match the skirt.

Good bye bridesmaid dress, hello something I can reuse.

Flash Medal Box

 

I gave Sam this as an anniversary present a few years back. Running medals had accumulated in small piles on his nightstand, on his desk and sometimes in between the sofa seat cushions. He needed to organize! His running buddy is my sister, who I discovered had been using a small decoupaged box I gave her years ago to hold all her medals. In fact, I’ve now had to make her a few to hold all the medals she’s won. Naturally, this gave me an idea for Sam.

Sam is a big comic book fan, so of course, I had to make this from a superhero know for running. I gathered up supplies from his own collection and my trusty bottle of Mod Podge.

   

One thing I do different when I decoupage is that I rarely use the original item in the finished project. I have a pretty fine scanner that I use to make copies of the images I want. This way I can size things the way I want them (and I don’t destroy any of Sam’s comics). I usually scan them in at a high resolution, then re-size them, and finally print them all out (on as few sheets as possible) on card stock paper.

Using scissors and an Exacto knife, I figured out my layout onto a pine box I bought at Michaels. I painted the box black before I covered it, assuming that some of the box would be showing through.

Once I figured my layout, I used the Mod Podge on the box and the backs of the pieces to place them onto to the box. When the box was covered, I used the Mod Podge to cover the whole box, using enough coats that none of the original pieces were sticking up anywhere. It has a nice, smooth feeling when its done.

Around the edge of the lid, I simply painted the box red. The color matched with most of the images and I thought it gave it a nice cohesiveness.

 

  

Sam has been using this box now for a few years, and pretty soon I will have to make him a new one. Personally, I just don’t get running, but Sam shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

Library Book Basket

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I buy a lot of baskets. I’m pretty sure I will always find a use them, and when they’re only a dollar or two at the thrift store, I buy them. I brought this basket home, where I was met with a pile of library books covering one side of the sofa.

First, the basket:

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Perfectly fine little basket. Probably would’ve worked great in a bathroom.

Now, I should have taken ‘in-process’ pictures, but I didn’t know I would be blogging about this a few months later. So, I will try my best at explaining.

I went by my local Jo-Ann Fabric’s and went towards the wood crafts aisles way in the back of the store. I found a pine plaque roughly the size of one of the sides of the baskets.

I knew I wanted a literary theme and, visually speaking, children’s literature is perfect for a project like this.

I drew out my idea, in this case “The Little Prince.” (Great book, in case you haven’t read it). I used acrylic paints to paint in the design, and chalk board paint to fill in the negative space.

Once the paint dried, i coated the acrylic in polyurethane, sealing it in. I painted three coats of the black chalk board paint. Once the polyurethane and chalk board paint were all dry, I tempered the chalk board by completely covering it in chalk and then erasing it. Remember, you do not seal in the chalk board.

Finally, I drilled two holes into the plaque and used some sewing thread to attach it to the basket. In the end I got this:

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