Tutorial: Sharpie Tile Coasters

Create colorful coasters with Sharpie markers, rubbing alcohol and plain white tiles.I've had a stack of plain white tiles in the garage since we did some bathroom work over a year ago. I knew they would eventually be perfect for some sort of craft. The obvious project, of course, is coasters.

These coasters incorporate two materials that you probably have in your house right now - Sharpie markers and rubbing alcohol. A set of four coasters are easy (and inexpensive) to create and would be a thoughtful housewarming, hostess or holiday gift.

With a little guidance, this is a project that even the kids could help with.

Materials




Directions


A word of warning before you begin. This project does not smell great while you are working, so make sure you are in a well ventilated area. Also, protect your work surfaces.

Make sure the tile surface is clean and dry.

Choose four Sharpie colors. (Pro tip: The metallics don't work well for this project.)
Take your first color and draw 4-6, randomly placed circles that are between the size of a dime and nickel.

Completely color in the circles.

Neatness doesn't count ;)
Choose your next color and scribble "lion manes" around each circle. It's fine if the colors mix a bit.
With the next color, draw lion manes around your lion manes.
With the last color, fill in any remaining white space.

Let your coloring dry for a few minutes.
Dip a fan brush into rubbing alcohol. Lightly tap the brush against your finger so the alcohol gets sprinkled across the tile.

Don't add too much alcohol at first. You'll be surprised how quickly the colors start to blend and blur.
Sprinkles of rubbing alcohol blurs a Sharpie marker design and gives the effect of watercolors. Gradually tap a little more alcohol across the tile until your design looks just right.

If you go overboard and your design becomes too white or you just don't like the color combination, you can remove all of the ink with an alcohol covered cotton ball. Make sure to wash and dry the tile before you start coloring again.
After the alcohol drops are completely dry, seal in the colors with clear spray paint. Start with a very light coating sprayed at least 18 inches from the tile. If you spray too close to the tile or use too much for the first coat, your colors will blur even more.

After the initial coat is dry, add 2-3 more coats of clear paint according to the package directions.

After the clear coat is completely dry, affix the cork to the back of your tile with E6000 according to the package directions.
When the glue is dry, your coaster is ready for use.
Don't be afraid to experiment with your colors. As I mentioned before, if you hate the color combo, you can always remove the ink with rubbing alcohol and start over.

Create colorful coasters with Sharpie markers, rubbing alcohol and plain white tiles.

Which color is your favorite?




Crafty Saturday Favorites: Into the Wooods

Crafty Saturday Show and Sell Favorites: Shop for one of a kind items and support small, handmade and vintage businesses


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Crafter Thoughts: Extreme Adult Coloring

Extreme adult coloring ideas: meditate by creating a geometric painting with watercolor pencils

My husband didn't believe me that there is such a thing as adult color books and that it's one of the biggest current trends in hobbies until he Googled it.

It's no surprise to me that these books have become insanely popular. There's something about adding thoughtfully placed color to the page that is extremely meditating. Think about it. Why do you give your own kids coloring books? To keep them focused and quiet. It works the same for grown-ups.

I've kind of adapted the concept of adult coloring books into my own little art form. I like to start by sketching a geometric design on a piece of vellum.


Next, I position the vellum on the back of a sheet of watercolor paper and stick it on with a couple small bits of masking tape. Then, the papers go over a lightbox (or a brightly lit window) so I can see the design through the watercolor paper.

The meditative part is using watercolor pencils to fill in all the shapes from the geometric design with smaller, softer details.

Extreme adult coloring ideas: meditate by creating a geometric painting with watercolor pencils

I bet you didn't see those butterflies and dragonflies when you looked at my initial sketch, but there they are!

Finally, fill in the gaps. This isn't a speedy process. The entire drawing/painting easily took 8-10 hours, but I love the colors and design so much I framed it an hung it in our guest room.

Extreme adult coloring ideas: meditate by creating a geometric painting with watercolor pencils


Here's a second painting I completed using the same geometric template. I like this one because I used almost all 24 colors in my set of Loew-Cornell watercolor pencils.

Extreme adult coloring ideas: meditate by creating a geometric painting with watercolor pencils

Relax and treat your self to some colorful meditations!




Recipe: Homemade Granola

Easy to make granola recipe with oats, coconut, almonds, flax seed, honey and agave nectarI love granola. I love the bars. I love the cereal. I don't love all the chemicals, preservatives and fat.

I never even thought about making it myself until my step-sister kindly shared her recipe with me. In less than an hour you can whip up a big batch and only about 10 minutes of that is hands-on time. That's my kind of cooking!

I modified her recipe slightly, eliminating the dried fruit (I just don't like it in my granola) and substituting a couple local, southwestern ingredients. Enjoy!

Dry Ingredients

  • 5 cups old fashioned oatmeal
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup flax seed
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced almonds
  • 1 teaspoon cinamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Wet Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat oven to 350F. Mix the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Mix the wet ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and thoroughly stir them together. Divide the mixture and pour it into two 9 x 13 cake pas.

Bake for 20 minutes. Stir the granola. Bake an additional 20 minutes.


Stir a few times while it cools completely then store granola in an airtight container. Yummy!



Crafty Saturday Favorites: Blue Beads and Bangles

Crafty Saturday Show and Sell Favorites: Shop for one of a kind items and support small, handmade and vintage businesses


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Weathered Wood Backdrop for Better Photos

Improve your product photos with a simple weathered wood paper backdropWhen I am browsing other indie shops and craft blogs, I get so jealous when I see photos with lovely weathered wood backdrops. They make me think of the beach, enjoying an evening out on the deck with friends or lovely gardens growing up against an old fence.

Weathered wood backdrops add a nice texture to product pictures without being a distraction.
Unfortunately, we live in the desert and there is no weathered wood in sight. Think stucco, cement and cinder blocks.

I toyed with the idea of building some sort of wooden backdrop, but it just wasn't a practical solution for me.

Then, one day as I was wandering the aisles of JoAnn Fabrics, I found a roll of fadeless, weathered wood paper.

I bought the paper and a science fair display board and hurried home.
I measured out a length of paper with some "help" from my little furry friend. I don't understand her fascination with paper.
I used my Tombow Xtreme Adhesive Runner (love this stuff!) to stick the paper to the board.

In less than 5 minutes, and under $15,  I was ready to take some sample shots.
Here's my set up. It's nothing fancy.

Improve your product photos with a simple weathered wood paper backdrop

But look at the difference in these two photos. I would much rather have the bag on the right.

Improve your product photos with a simple weathered wood paper backdrop

If I am photographing larger items, like purses, I can stand the board upright, slide on the hook I made with some heavy copper wire, and I'm ready to go.

Improve your blog photos with a simple weathered wood paper backdrop

You can hardly tell that this isn't an actual fence in the background.

Improve your product photos with a simple weathered wood paper backdrop

What do you use as a background in your product pictures?



Craft Fail: Button Bowl

Everyone's seen this craft DIY showing how to make a button bowl. But is it really possible?If you're into crafting, I'm sure you've seen this project on Pinterest, "The Button Bowl."

Not to brag, but I consider myself to be an expert crafter, so when I saw this one I was pretty confident that I could pull it off.

And look at that bowl. Not bad, eh?

Well, my friends, let me tell you that even the most experienced crafters have a failed project from time to time. This is mine.

I started my project with high hopes. It actually seemed like it would be pretty easy compared to the shredded paper bowl I made last year.


The process is simple enough.

Blow up a balloon. Cover it with a bit of Mod Podge. Stick on some buttons.
Stick on more buttons. Add more Mod Podge. Let it dry...

Add a few more coats of Mod Podge. Let it dry...
Pop the balloon. Boom!
Just trim off the excess Mod Podge and voila! Looks great.

It was getting late, so I decided I would take pictures of my finished bowl the next day and then I could write up the tutorial.

When I walked into my studio the next morning, my heart sank. Instead of a perfectly formed button bowl, I found a flat clump of buttons on the table. The bowl had collapsed in on itself. I was so disappointed I couldn't even take a picture.

But, I'm not one to give up. Since I couldn't blow up another balloon to the exact same size, I rummaged through the kitchen until I found a similarly sized serving bowl. I turned the bowl upside down, placed a few strips of parchment paper over it and draped my soft, button-y mess over the bowl.



Clearly I had just been a little to excited about removing the button bowl from the balloon. If I let it sit for a few more days, the bowl will surely harden.

Days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months.

After four long months of "drying" I discovered that my bowl was still so soft that it could be folded into a taco
or even rolled into a burrito.
Here's the time-lapse (about a minute) of what happened when I set the bowl down.

I can make a shredded paper bowl, so why not try a button bowl?
  
Yes, I made a button bowl, sort of, but I am still declaring this a craft fail since my bowl does not stay "bowl shaped" for more than a few seconds.

Everyone's seen this craft DIY showing how to make a button bowl. But is it really possible?

Have you had success making a button bowl? I'd love your advice on this project.