Thursday, July 28, 2011

My first sale in a store!

I love to make picture frames.  They are simple and fun, and allow me to concentrate my creativity in a small area.  I buy $1.00 frames at Michael's, and paint them, usually using Delta Ceramcoat or Folk Art Acrylic Paint.

After I paint the frame and it dries (which is pretty quickly in the painting world, less than 15 minutes for sure), I may or may not spray it with some clear gloss spray depending on the look I'm going for.  Once that has dried (also very quick), I start to embellish.  This picture shows my collection of little stones, usually used for mosaics, fish tanks, flower arrangements, etc.  I use them on my frames.  The ribbon "caddy" is a repurpose piece of shoe rack.  My husband drilled out the sides of the top to insert a dowel rod to hold the ribbon, and then drilled a wood base to give it stability.  The dowel rod can be removed at any time to add more ribbon.

In addition to adding stones, I usually embellish with chipboard alphabet letters, prima flowers (or flowers I make myself with McGill flower punches), creatures such as the birds in the lower left corner, beads, and whatever else I happen to find.  Anything can be useful, little buttons, nuts and bolts, washers, fabric, scraps from papercrafting - the sky's the limit!

Time for some pics of frames :-)

Pink paint, black on inside and outside rim, black stones, clear gems, and pearl beads

Light blue paint, butterflies, chipboard g-r-o-w letters, mini pots, flowers from Ashland collection @ Michael's, butterfly in glass oval globe

Yellow paint, yellow brad flowers from Hobby Lobby, pink and purple gems, purple butterfly, ribbon

Blue paint, white paint, shells, netting

Frame from the top: green paint, black stones, Ashland collection grass, ladybugs, chipboard letters, red gems, black stones

I usually buy the square frames but sometimes I get a different shape.  I get the square frames for a couple of reasons.  1) I like the cohesive look it brings when they are all grouped together. 2) It's easier for me to put my logo inside it. 3) I think a square frame is easier for the customer because no one really wants to sit there and cut a heart shape on their photo to make it fit. 4) Therefore, higher likelihood of it selling if it is square.
This frame was done with light pink paint, pearl strand, flowers, flower brads, pink/green/dark green gems and L-O-V-E chipboard letters

Here's an oval shape, with green paint, a butterfly, branches taken from some morning glory flowers, D-R-E-A-M chipboard letters, and pink glitter

So here's what they look like in the boutique I work at:

Of course there are more in this photo than what I posted here, but you get the idea.

Even better, two of them SOLD!

*happy dance*
*plot to spend all profit at Michael's/Hobby Lobby/, put it back 'into the business'*

The ladybug one and another one that was like my least favorite (funny how that works) sold.  Actually you can see part of it in the above photo, it's the brown one in the back right with square tiles.

I think that goes to prove my motto, "Someone, Somewhere", meaning that some person, somewhere will like it and buy it.  I mean, look at some of the bat-crap crazy stuff on Etsy.  Somebody buys it!!  So when you are feeling down that your creation hasn't sold, don't despair.  Just think of my slogan, and it will eventually sell to the right person!  Also, don't think that because you don't really care for it, doesn't mean that someone else won't adore it.  So branch out of your rut, try something new, and see what happens!

I'd love to hear which frame you like best,

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I guess I love to cook

For some odd reason, I have always assumed I cannot cook.  My mom is a good cook, although I think she has tired of it, perhaps due to lack of inspiration or cooking for somewhat thankless individuals.  I don't know.  But she never taught me how to cook, and I will say that I never specifically asked to learn.

Two things helped me get started.  One, I have the Whole Foods Missions App on my iPhone.  It has "missions", with names such as 'Root It Out', 'Garlic Breath', and 'Matchmaker: Sweet & Spicy'.  Each mission has several steps which may include a specific type of food to try, a movie/book about food to check out, or foods to try together. 

For example, 'Root It Out' says "Dig in to these great root vegetables"
  • Bamboo shoot
  • Jicama
  • Parsnip
  • Rutabaga
  • Taro
  • Wasabi
I don't know about you, but I wouldn't have ordinarily just picked up a jicama (also known as a Mexican potato, but strangely it doesn't taste like a potato), and done something with it.  This app gives me the idea to do something, and then I go to to see what I can make.

The second thing that helped me get started was my boss from this temporary position I was holding joined Weight Watchers, and started sharing recipes with me.  It was really fun, and rather surprising how good everything was from the WW recipes.  I have now since left, but am still cooking!

Some photos of all the super yummy things I've been making; these are all Weight Watchers:

This is the first recipe I made from Weight Watchers.  My boss brought her leftovers in and let me try some.  I don't even eat fish, but this was fantastic!  Tilapia with tomatoes and capers, steamed asparagus, and dill mashed potatoes.

Okay this kind of looks like some weird muffin blob, but let me assure you it is fantastic.  Egg souffle with red bell peppers, zucchini, colby cheese and bacon.  A great way to start the day!

This was a chicken and edamame stir fry, using up the remaining zucchini and red bell pepper from the previous recipe.  This was very good.

Okay so I'm kind of a slacker and didn't post recipes, but feel free to comment with your email and I'll send it to you!  All of these were easy and I've made each a couple times since. 

From this I have learned that one should never put restrictions on what they think they can do.  To quote Henry Ford, "If you think you can do it or think you can't do it, you are right."

Cheers to the ability to do what ever you put your mind to,

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Obsessed with Tags

So the title of this post pretty much says it all

I am obsessed with tags!

I really love them.  How could one not? They are so easy to make, simpler than an entire scrapbook page to be sure, and even quicker than a card.  Pick a color or theme and go!  Here's some of my latest:

This was a series of tags I did for testing out a couple new products I picked up. 

To make these tags, you need:
  • The tag itself (duh)
  • Ranger Distress Ink and foam applicator
  • Colored cardstock
  • McGill flower punch medium geranium
  • McGill flower punch small geranium
  • Elmer's papercraft glue
  • Colored brads
  • Ranger Stickles
  • Colored ribbon
  • Tattered Angels Glimmer Mists (optional)
Wow so that's a lot of crap you need to make just one tag!  But it's super fun, and once you have these base materials you can continue to create to your hearts content (or until hubby says what the heck are you doing up so late let's go to bed).

I will describe how to make these tags in just a sec, but first I will say which combo of products were used for each tag, starting at the top left.  I will list the cardstock color, the Distress Ink color, the Distress Stickle color, and the Glimmer Mist color in that order.
  • White, Worn Lipstick, Pink, Cranberry Zing
  • White, Dusty Concord, Purple, (no glimmer mist used...I really want a purple color though...)
  • Light blue, Faded Jeans, Midnight Blue, N/A
  • Yellow, Spiced Marmalade, Orange Peel, N/A
  • Cream, Antique Linen, Gold, Tattered Leather
  • Cream, Frayed Burlap, Platinum, Tattered Leather (I sprayed 3x instead of 1x compared to the 'Antique Linen' one
  • White, Peeled Paint, Lime Green, N/A
  • Red, Fired Brick, Candy Cane, N/A
  • Light Pink, Spun Sugar, Cotton Candy, Cranberry Zing (only 1 very light spray)
  • White, Tumbled Glass, Turquoise, Electric Blue

Making these are really easy (once you have the loot).  Start out with a blank tag, and rub your choice of Distress ink right on the edge around the whole tag. 

Then start doing the blending technique (much easier to see someone do it, check out and search for Tim Holtz Distress Ink.  This way you can see what I'm talking about).  Blend where you want, this technique is great for buildable color.  At this point you can spray with your Tattered Angels Glimmer Mist. 

One thing to note about the mist: do not shake the bottle unless you want bigger blotches of mist to go on your project.  To achieve a finer mist, roll the bottle in your hand, until you see all the solid color in the bottle dissolve.  Also, if you spray close to your project you will get blotches.  If you spray farther away, you will get the finer mist.

To assemble the flowers, use the McGill craft punch in Medium Geranium and Small Geranium.  Unfortunately, I haven't really seen many McGill punches at Hobby Lobby or Michael's.  If you have an Archiver's near you, that is where they are, or you can buy them online.  Also unfortunately, they're not particularly cheap, but I guess what is in the crafty crap world.

Punch out 4 leaves/petals with the larger punch and 4 with the smaller.  Using Elmer's Papercraft Glue, assemble them together to look like a flower.  When they are dry, you can insert a colored brad into the center and then glue them directly on to your tag.  Lastly, add a bit of glitter with your Stickles, in a color that matches your flower.

Thread some ribbon through the hole, and done!

These tags really inspire me, as they are a blank canvas, and you can have a complete work of art done so quickly.  Here are some other ones I created recently:

The one on the left was done at a scrapbooking convention at the Suburban Showcase Collection in Novi, MI as a make-n-take.  I used a stamp to create the flower image, then lined it with three different colors of Smooch Ink (of which I have none...yet...).  Then I added some Stickles on top.

The one on the right was me testing out a new process, as well as my friend's musical note stamp.  So...I don't own one of those Ranger craft mats.  You know, the one that's like $15 and is featured in all of Tim Holtz' demo videos?  I was trying to save some $$ (which never works out, does it?) so I decided to try some wax paper instead.

Stop laughing.

So I blotted some Worn Lipstick, Broken China, and Dusty Concord on the mat wax paper, and sprayed with a Mini-Mister.  It actually came out decent, but not exactly what I was going for.  Eventually I will buy the stupid mat.

Then I stamped Broken China on the music note stamp, and when it dried, added some Icicle Stickle on top of it.  When that dried, I glued on some buttons, gems and a small geranium flower.

The one on the left was fun to do, well they are all fun to do so really that's unnecessary!  I started by blending the top 2/3 with Tumbled Glass Distress Ink, and the bottom 1/3 with Antique Linen.  I stamped the image on with Archiver Black ink (my favorite black ink).  I sprayed the top with Electric Blue Glimmer Mist, and the bottom with Tattered Leather.  I spread some True Blue and Star Dust Stickles on top, and Platinum on the bottom using my finger - I use some very high tech tools in my craft room.  Added some cute shells and done!

The one on the left was done using the same ghetto wax paper. 

I said stop laughing.

This look was a little more blotchy, but I like how it turned out.  I used some stamps from a Tim Holtz collection, the Eiffel Tower and the harlequin diamond pattern.  I selected some diamonds to fill in with Midnight Blue Stickle and left it at that.

Are you sick of tags yet?  No? Go on you say?  Oh, gosh, I don't know if I

okay here's some more!

Cute and simple, this tag was stamped with this bird image, colored in with Pentel markers, and selected areas I added Stickles: Yellow, Glam Pink, and Lavender.  Added a couple of flower punches from a McGill mini punch, in 3D thanks to some foam tape.  By now I'm sure you recognized the Dusty Concord Distress Ink on the edges.

This one was first blended with Victorian Velvet Distress Ink, then sprayed with Black Magic Glimmer Mist.  A couple of stamped images - there's the harlequin again - and some added Distress Stickles in Pink and Black Diamond.  On the side are some mini pink brads from Recollection.  Over top the scrolled stamp you can see some Distress Crackle Paint in Rock Candy, which is clear.

Brushed in Victorian Velvet Distress Ink, this is kind of a different effect than the normal smooth look.  Three separate stamped flowers, filled in with marker and some Stickles - Pink, Magenta, and Platinum.  The flowers are from a McGill punch called Petite Petals.

Maybe a reprieve from the heat (or maybe just an excuse to use a new stamp I bought) this tag is delightfully frosty.  One stamped image in Archival Brilliance Pearlescent Sky Blue on top of a tag brushed with Tumbled Glass.  Stickles - Waterfall, Baby Blue, Silver, and Frosted Lace.  Sprayed lightly with Silver Sugar Glimmer Mist.

This tag kind of shows up as light in this picture, but it is more colorful in person.  Tumbled glass and Peeled Paint Distress Ink blended together, then sprayed with Electric Blue Glimmer Mist.  Flowers are also from Petite Petals punch, and then speckled with some stickles - Eucalyptus and Turquoise.

This tag was based entirely off the ribbon attached to it, coincidentally it is not even in this picture (doh!).  Oh well.  Super quick and easy but so cute!  You can tell these ink colors are not like Distress Inks; much too bright!  These are Colorbox Cat's Eye Queues, spefically Citrine, Mango Tango, Razzberry, and Canary.  Punches are again from the Petite Petals, and Stickles are Lime, Orange Peel, Glam Pink and Yellow.

Hopefully y'all love tags as much as I do, I'd love to see some of yours!

Tag! You're it!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Paint Chip Bookshelf Redo

This is my new recycled bookshelf! 
It originally belonged to my grandparents, at which time it looked like this:

Dark brown.  (That's my Boston Terrier, Chase)
This project was not one of those paint n go types.  It definitely needed a bit of prep.  You'll see that it was split and cracked near the bottom.  Not really a huge concern, I just used some drywall paste on it, let it dry, then sanded smooth.  I also sanded the whole unit with an orbital sander so my paint would have something to cling to.  I manually sanded with a medium grit paper in the awkward parts.  Once I sanded it off, I used my husband's air compressor to blast the dust away.  This is not necessary, but makes the tedious part go by quite quickly. 

At first, I'm not gonna lie, I started off  with the original plan of just spraying the whole thing with some Rustoleum 2x white semi-gloss.  And then I was thinking, hey wouldn't it be fun to throw some color on this thing?

Why can't I just stick with the easy plan...

So I was at Home Depot, and saw this beautiful paint chip from Behr:

Colors from top to bottom are: Water Flow, Liquid Blue, Brilliant Sea, and Havasu.
And I thought, hey, the shelf has 4 sections...this chip has 4 colors...
I ended up buying paint samples, 1 of each color (about $2.94 each).

Of course, latex paint (the Behr) will not stick to oil paint (the Rustoleum spray).  So I would need to prime the area of the shelves where I wanted to paint the Behr.  Luckily, Home Depot was doing a rebate for $5 off any gallon. (YAY!)  So I bought some Glidden Gripper.  This stuff is great.  It is thick and creamy and went on so smoothly.  (I'm sure my new Purdy paint brushes helped.)

Once I put a coat of the Gripper on and let it dry, it was time to tape off the sections that I wanted to use the Behr paint on.  Here's a big tip I can give to anyone doing any painting, on anything, ever:

Do NOT chintz out on your painter's tape.  Get the good stuff.  Low tack (the amount of stickiness on the tape) is imperative.  It will save you from doing 78974938 touch-ups once you peel the tape off.

Taped off:


And with a can of Rustoleum gloss, the finished product!!


I hope you guys liked this furniture re-do; I'm so happy to share this fun project with you.  I'm also pleased that I was able to keep my grandparents' shelf and redo it for something that is very useful - like holding all my crafty crap.

Here's to recycling, repurposing, and reusing,

Monday, July 18, 2011

1st Blog Post

Okay, so I'm finally joining the blog world and throwing my two cents out there.  Let's make this a fun Q&A and get this blog set up.

Q: Why start a blog? 
A: I think I have something to offer, and even if no one ever were to see it, I'll be happy to have a record of all the fun 'crafty crap' I do.

Q: Why not start a blog? 
A: I think fear.  (Yes that sounds silly, I'm well aware) But seriously, since I've joined Twitter, I've been following many amazingly talented people and am now following their blogs.  I was afraid that I could never compare to the sheer talent of blogs like Miss Mustard Seed or be as fun and peppy as blogs like Mod Podge Rocks!

But who cares!? I am me, and that's all there is to it!

Also a HUGE thank you to Jennifer (@garagesalediary), Jill (@JunkyVagobond), and Cari (@CariCucksey) for encouraging me to start blogging :-) Please tell me you're following them, they are really some fabulous ladies! And please make it a point to encourage someone today; you never know what your kind words will do.

This image from Pinterest was the final push to make me do it:

Although shouldn't that be 'lose'?

Q: Why is the blog called Pearl Gateway?  A: My middle name that I share with my mom is Pearl, and I absolutely love it.  Something so ''yester-year" or some other such about it.  I'd say 'vintage' but that word couldn't be more overused at the moment.  Anyway, I digress!  Gateway represents my love of travel, a connection to somewhere new.  I also take it as my connection to creativity, and hopefully, my potential to connect creatively with others.

Q: So what am I going to blog about?  A: Anything CREATIVE!  Papercrafts, mosaics, painting, furniture re-dos, all that 'crafty crap' as I call it.  I also consider garage saling creative (creative with your money, as well as being able to see the treasure potential from someone's trash), so I'll post some fun finds.  I think fashion is creative, so maybe if I have a cute outfit, I'll post that too.  I'm not really a cook, but every now and then I find a fab recipe that must be shared - and hey, cooking is creative - so maybe I'll post something super yummy with you!

Looking forward to being creative with you,