Posts Tagged 'paintbrush'

You…light up my life….

I’ve really started to love lamps in the past few years. They can add such personality to a room, and a whole lot of “homey-ness.”  That’s why I was so excited to see lots of lamp and light fixture projects in Mark Montano’s Big-Ass Book of Crafts. It was a major selling point for me in fact.

I made this lamp, with a few alterations, from Mark Montano’s clothespin lamp project in the above book. Pretty much all you need is a simple printout of an image that you like (goooo internet!), a couple of dollar store frames, a night light, and an extension cord (if it’s not a battery-operated night light). I also used some recycled posterboard (to make the sides of the lamp), white acrylic paint, and glue (Weldbond brand is awesome). Mr. Montano used clothespins to make the sides of his box lamp, which gives a kitschy pretty look, but I didn’t have any around, and I do love to use what I’ve already got around the house. If you want to see this project in in its original incarnation, please go find the book in your local craft store (or it’s less than $14 on Amazon right now!), or see Mark Montano’s blog post about the project here.

The hardest part about this project is getting the 2 wooden frames (the front and the back of the lamp), to stay the proper distance away from each other while you are gluing on the sides of the lamp. In my case, I was trying to glue thin recycled posterboard to the sides of the wooden frames, and it was tough going a few times. My best advice if you don’t have a 2nd pair of hands to help you, is to use books or stable heavy objects to prop the frames against while you glue. You can also use random found objects to place between the two frames to keep them from leaning in on each other too much. Heavy objects can also be stacked on top of the frames once the adhesive is in place to help keep the glued pieces from moving while they are drying. That way there should be less warping/migration as the glue cures.

The other difficult part of this project is cutting out a shape in the back of your frame to stick the night light into. Mark solved this problem on his blog by using some recycled cardboard to make the back of the frame. Even corrugated cardboard is easier to cut with a craft knife than the dense chipboard backing that comes with many frames. I did a pretty decent hack-job on the back of my frame trying to get the light in there at first. But, please remember, this is an extremely economical project, and, if the back of the frame isn’t so perfect, who cares? You’re doing this for the fun of it right?

Anyway, final tip: to get kind of a whitewashed “beachy” look on this lamp, I used a slightly dried-out thick white acrylic paint to coat the wooden frames and cardboard sides of the lamp. I brushed through it a few times with a rough bristly brush before it could fully dry to a smooth finish. The end :-)

Please let me know if you have any questions about this project, and go check out Mark Montano’s Big-Ass book! Trust me, your $14 would be extremely well-spent!

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Happy Cinco de Mayo!

In honor of Cinco de Mayo, I thought that I would make a pair of empanada earrings.

Now, I know that empanadas do not represent anything to do with the holiday really, and that Mexican heritage cannot be boiled down to a filled pastry, but hey….they look pretty cute right? So if you’d like to see how I made these, please click the “Continue reading” link below. But in the meantime…

I researched Cinco de Mayo today to find out what it was really about, because I was curious. I honestly didn’t know anything about the holiday, other than my personal speculation that it must be the happiest day of the year for the Corona beer company.

Turns out, the real story is way more interesting than margaritas and an excuse to wake up wearing a sombrero. Cinco de Mayo is not the observance of Mexican Independence day as one might think. It actually started as kind of a “Stick it to the Man” debt-free holiday.  And, honestly, can’t we relate to that concept pretty well these days?

It all started when Mexican president Benito Juárez decided that Mexico was going to stop paying interest on its debts to France. France, of course, was expectedly perturbed by this, so they threatened to occupy Mexico until the the debt was paid up. The French occupation suffered a pretty embarassing setback though when, on May 5th 1862, the Mexican militia was able to handily rout their opponent (translation: they OWNED the French army’s derrieres). The French army had not seen defeat in 50 years before that day, but, they sure got a good look at it in Puebla, México. Four-thousand Mexican troops defeated a better-equipped 8,000 french soldiers, and no foreign army has really invaded the Americas ever since.

So, in honor of Cinco de Mayo, and in honor of sticking it to your creditors “con estilo” (with style), I present to you, this empanada earring tutorial. And, if you read till the end you can see a cool Mexico-related video! Happy 5th all!

Continue reading ‘Happy Cinco de Mayo!’


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