Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Soda Can Butterflies

My studio has emerged from the underground to our outdoor space during the summer. Last week I shared my plastic bag pillow, this week I am showing you my soda can butterflies. Don’t you just love it when you can recycle things that would end up in the landfill? Okay, as HR reminds me, they too will end up in the land fill at some point; but it is still fun to reuse and, if you don’t count the paint and other supplies, it saves money, right?

When I saw soda can butterflies on the internet, I thought “Perfect for the garden fence!”  When I saw how easy it is to cut the aluminum cans and how well they take paint and markers, I became addicted. Let me show you what I mean.

First find some empty soda cans (don’t drink that stuff; it is just chemicals with no nutritional value.) Rinse them (if they are not from your family, I would say wash them well.) Using tin snips to get started make a cut to take off the top. After you get it started, you can switch to a pair of old scissors (I wouldn’t use good scissors for this.) However it works best for you cut away the top and bottom and cut down the can so you will have a sheet of aluminum. See what I mean about it being easy to cut!

Trace around a butterfly image (I got mine from the internet) with a Sharpie; with scissors, cut out the image. To make the embossing work well, put the cut-out on something soft like foam, put image on top of the cut-out; use a blunt pointed instrument (mine was a knitting needle)  trace the lines of the butterfly which will emboss it in the metal. To get good marks, I flipped mine over and traced the embossing marks, flipped it again and retraced the marks on the top side.

Now the fun begins!
Wipe the side you plan to use with rubbing alcohol

On this one, I used the color side of the can, filled the outer edge with a black Sharpie, and called it finished.

On this one I used the blank side of the can, filled it in with a yellow Sharpie and a black Sharpie on
the edge. I love how the yellow looks translucent!

I really like the way the Sharpie looks, but am wondering about alcohol inks and Lumieres . I am on the lookout for tossed soda cans!  Maybe I will fill the fence with butterflies!

Friday, July 25, 2014

What to do with all those Walmart bags?

Make a pillow, of course!  (Saw this on A Beautiful Mess blog and changed it just a bit.)


I just stuffed a bunch of those bags into a 1-gallon Ziploc bag,

 made it snug and zip it closed and thus, a waterproof pillow form.

I headed over to Hancocks for some outdoor material and whip up a pillow. On the Beautiful Mess blog, they made an envelope case, but I closed it with hand stitching.  


Okay, there is a bit of crunch, crunch when you squeeze it so you probably wouldn’t want to use it for a nap, but for an accent pillow, it is cheap, weatherproof and keeps those bags out of the landfill just a bit longer. Win/win!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Last Project for RubberMoon Design Team

This post concludes my participation on the RubberMoon Design Team. It has been a wonderful opportunity to become familiar with some very talented artists. The challenge to find innovative ways to use rubber stamps has encouraged me to experiment and reach beyond my comfort zone.  That brings me to today’s post.

Needing a tag to attach to a door prize I am donating to a Master Gardener’s event, I discovered a perfect way to recycle spent car air fresheners. They are sturdy and just the right size!

I traced the spent air freshener card onto painted paper and stamped Handmade by Chrystel and RubberMoon Art Set Stamp. I cut this out and colored the stamped brushes with Derwent Intense Pencils. Next I ironed a piece of painted paper to freezer paper (to give it stability in the printer) and printed in The Underground and the blog address from my computer. After peeling away the freezer paper, I traced the air freshener card onto this paper and cut out. I adhered the papers to the air freshener card with Studio Multi-medium (love this stuff!)
After the medium was completely dry, I smoothed the edges with an emery board, inked the edges and attached a piece of twine.

 Love it when an idea works out!



Last week I received a gift package from RubberMoon for my participation on the team. It included 4 stamps and a Red Rubber Palette.  I used one of the stamps to make a card for Operation Write Home. I cut the beehive background with my Silhouette Portrait. I also used the Portrait to cut the hexagon sentiment piece, which I stamped with Just Bee and Happy.
I tried out the RedRubber Palette and can see where it will be quite useful in creating texture on painted papers.

Thanks Kristen and Brenda for inviting me to be part of this awesome team!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Herb Garden gets a new sign.

Due to a very harsh winter here in Western Kentucky, I lost a number of tender perineal herbs, including a 7 year old rosemary tree. It seemed like a good time to re-do my herb garden. I was gifted a pretty little bird bath a couple of years ago and had not found the right spot for it. After removing the dead rosemary tree, a perfect spot was created.
I found a darling wind chime at Tuesday Morning in the same color as the bird bath. To add another color, I chose a yellow million bells plant.

To tie it altogether, it needed a sign.

Using a technique I learned in a Kijsa Houseman workshop, I painted a board with teal paint. While it was drying, I used my SilhouettePortrait to cut a stencil from contact paper. I adhered the cut-out letters to the board, painted over it, again with teal. This step helps to keep the next color from bleeding. After it was completely dry, I painted the board yellow and left it to dry. When it was dry, I pulled off the letters, revealing the blue paint, attached a chain and hung on the fence.

Sorry there are no photos of the process. I have several more signs to paint; I will do a more detailed tutorial.


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Paint and Tea Party

So what does one do on a hot and muggy Sunday afternoon in Western Kentucky? Go to a Paint and Tea Party, of course.
As I have mentioned on this blog I live in a great little art community; which leads to some very interesting parties and events. One of our neighbors moved here from California a couple of years ago. She and her husband have a lovely home but it did lack her signature. Rose invited her artist friends over to help decorate her new garden shed. Her vision was to turn this little shed into an expression of art with lollipop flowers.

She provided paints in primary colors and we were encouraged to create our own palettes.

Let the creativity begin!!!!!!

Rose has a pretty colorful garden shed, we all had a fun afternoon and the neighborhood is just a bit brighter.

Did I mention, Rose is an excellent chef? With our tea (and sangria) we had cucumber sandwiches, brie and apple sandwiches, chicken salad sandwiches, stuffed tomatoes and an assortment of little bites of sweets (including a to die for lemon bar thing.)
Rose Hughes is a quilter, textile artist, lecturer and author. She blogs at, you can see her beautiful art quilts on her web site,, her books are available on her on Amazon.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Painted Cushions

It has been a bustling late spring and early summer in and out of The Underground! Travels, granddaughter visit, weed battles in the garden and our annual Texas BBQ have kept me hopping! I think the next few weeks will be a bit slower; at least that is what I am hoping. I am ready to work on projects for our new screened porch, which is almost completed.

Yes, HR built it!

While searching Pinterest for decorating ideas, I happened upon a pin for painting fabric. Sounded like a great way to spruce up faded outdoor cushions.

Using Martha Stewart Fabric Medium and craft paint, I followed a link and revived a couple of bistro chair cushions. They look great, but feel a bit stiff, yet comfortable enough to sit on. They haven’t been through a rain so I don’t know how well the paint will hold up when drenched.

I used 1 ½ ounces of medium (cost$5.99 for 6 oz.) and 1 ½ bottles of craft paint (1 part medium to 2 parts paint,) so I figure it cost around $3 for both cushions. For that price, the cushions aren’t really that stiff!

Thursday, July 3, 2014


Can you take one more burlap and Silhouette post? To welcome our guest to our annual Texas Barbecue, I made this banner.


Of course, I cut the stencil with my Silhouette Portrait!