Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Miniature Beach Scene in a Bottle

Summer is here - time to bask in the glorious sun! I recently made a trip out to the beach and found many a treasure in the sand. But what to do with it? The answer: recreate your day in the sun using the beach itself! Now you never have to leave home to enjoy the seashore.

  • Jar or bottle
  • Sand
  • Shells
  • Popsicle stick
  • Marker
  • White glue
Step 1: Combing the Beach

On your next trip out to the beach, take a moment to scan the sand. Chances are there are cool shells and other such treasures all around you. I found this really awesome crab shell, sand dollar, and a couple of other shells that tickled my fancy. Resist the urge to take all of these neat finds, as the bottle only has so much room in it for decorating!

Next, you need to collect some sand. I actually used some colored sand that I had, but it would also be a really good idea to take some of the sand from the beach you are recreating on a miniature scale. The choice is yours!

Step 2: Creating A Mini Scene

 Now that you have collected all of your treasures, fill up your bottle or jar with sand until it looks just right to you. Once the sand is in, you can cut the popsicle stick into two pieces. One piece should be longer to act as the sign post, and the other shorter for the actual sign. Write the name of your beach on the shorter piece and then glue it to the longer popsicle stick piece.

While this is drying, begin arranging your shells in your bottle. While deciding what went into the bottle, I realized that sometimes less is more (I warned you to resist the urge to collect all shells in sight!!). Once your arrangement is complete - I took a loooooong time to decide what went where - you can stick your beach sign into the sand. Make sure there is enough sand to hold up the popsicle stick sign, or it might fall over.

Ta daaaaaa! Your custom beach in a bottle is complete. Now all that's left is to find the perfect place for it and enjoy the view.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Summers In Bloom: Painting A Terra Cotta Pot

     Now that the weather seems to be warming up here, I am in the planting spirit. I found some unique succulents - Living Stones! - and decided the terra cotta pot they would live in was just too plain. In about two days, I created a customized "Gossip Stone" terra cotta pot that I really enjoy.

  • Terra cotta pot and saucer
  • Fine grained sandpaper
  • Acrylic paint
  • Sponge brush
  • Acrylic sealer
  • Optional: stencil and stencil adhesive for design

Step 1: You want to begin by sanding down the terra cotta pot to remove any obstructions from its surface and to allow the paint to adhere better. My pot, in particular, came from a thrift store and had some flaky patches and some old adhesive on it. Rinse the pot out and let it dry completely. I didn't do this with the saucer, as it was in pretty good shape.

Step 2: Now you can paint the base coat. I used Ultra Deep Blue. Depending on the color, you may need to add multiple coats of paint. For the shade of blue I used, I ended up using 3 coats of paint. For the inside of the pot, you only have to go down a couple of inches, as the soil will cover the rest of the pot. Allow adequate drying time between coats. If you are impatient like me and waiting for paint to dry is excruciating, now would be a good time to paint the saucer.

Step 3: Now comes the fun part - wait, we weren't already having fun?! - painting your design. I chose to do a Legend of Zelda, Gossip Stone pot as I had already chosen cute "Living Stone" plants I came across one day at Home Depot. Print out a design on white paper and tape it to your blank stencil. Then simply cut out the stencil with a craft knife. Another option is to use patterned stencils or simply freehand a design (I am not a good enough artist to attempt this yet!!!!). Spray the back of your awesome new stencil with stencil adhesive and apply it to the pot, being mindful that the pot is round and your stencil flat. Then paint in your design.

For the lip of the pot, I paraphrased a Gossip Stone quote from The Ocarina of Time: The magical stone speaks but its words are secret. It fits in so well!!!!

Step 4: At long last!! We can seal the pot; two coats on the inside and two on the outside. Dido for the saucer. Voila! We have an awesomely unique pot that even Link wouldn't dare pick up and throw!!

Secret Step 5: Because I always get out of control when crafting, I went outside and found a rock that resembled the shape of a Gossip Stone. Using a black artist pen, I drew on the face design. Now my little stone plants can grow in a proper home!