Canvas Painting 101

Time:  3 hours
Cost:  $$
Difficulty:  7/10
Overall Ranking:  9/10

Here’s to the twilight.  Here’s to the memories.  Here’s to the dreams we had that tried and died.  But, do they really?

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I believe in dreams – the crazy, the sane, big, small, and completely obnoxious.  When I was younger, I thought dreaming never stopped in the limitless capacity of radical imagination.  There’s a song by Switchfoot called Souvenirs that reminds me of a lyrical photograph.  I wonder, then, what would happen if we could keep every unlimited, impossible dream that now just seem like a souvenir in a realistic, grown-up, ever-busy life.

These deep nightmarish thoughts are what inspired by DIY canvas painting this week.  I’ve painted in the past, dandelions and arrows, but I chose the dream catcher for the first time on this project.  I was originally inspired by an ombre-like painting, produced by Silhouette Blog, but modified it to make it my own.

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For my canvas, I used the poster board from a Hobby Lobby artbeat poster.  As much as I love the obsessive Paris products from the poster company, I’m a fan favorite of the partnered cardboard backing for paintings.  I dug up some of my old paints, which have been around since placing in the seventh grade science fair and making homemade dollhouses in high school (class projects, I promise).

I lined up some of my favorite colors by shade and smeared them across the cardboard canvas like a 3-year-old with lipstick.  The greatest tip for this project is overlaying colors for them to blend in a fading effect.  I had a brush for each color and would, at times, revert back to the previous color if more blending was needed.  It doesn’t matter what it really comes out like if it’s the colors you like and the design you choose.

After, I decided on a design and motto by, of course, scrolling through Pinterest.  I traced a sewing hoop and a coin with a pencil for the circles of the dream catcher.  I suggest drawing the design in pencil because we are imperfect beings, and there is no way my project would come out centered the first time.  Then, I got a thin paintbrush and carefully traced over the pencil.

Vitally important information:  Do not sneeze during this process.

The biggest aspect of this project is simply self-expression.  If you like the way a technique looks, use it.  If you prefer other colors, use them.  If you want to add your own motto and design, go for it.  Don’t limit your capacity to what looks difficult or by your own self-motivation.  The bigger you dream, the bigger person you become.

I gave the canvas painting a high rating because this is a personalized artwork I can hang in my apartment.  I love the colors and the fact I made it myself.  However, blending the colors is quite difficult, and I thought making the dream catcher was complicated for someone who hadn’t drawn one before.  Overall, I would encourage pinners to try this as well for a personalized and fun souvenir of Pinterest!

Supernova Mosaic Serving Plates

Time:  4 hours
Cost:  $
Difficulty:  5/10
Overall Ranking:  8/10

Some people are just the life of the party – cue Boys Like Girls – and I’m most definitely that person.  Kinda.  Sometimes.  Maybe.  LOL.  #introvertprobs

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But, even if that’s not always the case, everyone needs a little sparkle in his or her life every so often.  Without fun, we would have never experienced the Framers overthrowing the Articles like they own the place, the People of Walmart (No, I’m not linking to something that could be inappropriate for some readers), or Zenon leaving her space station to finally be on Earth and eventually save the station from collapse and the world ending.  You could say she’s a Supernova Girl, but don’t go to extremes.

For your listening enjoyment, please check out this song from the Disney Channel Original Movie, Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century (on Youtube by MoonlightS27).  You won’t be disappointed because it’s Protozoa, and you won’t understand my blog without it.

This week, I was heavily inspired by interplanetary, megastellar, hydrostatic mosaics on Pinterest from broken DVDs.  While there are options for these projects on necklaces, mirror frames, and bird baths, I wanted to be the life of the actual party.  What better way to get everyone to love you than food?  So, I created my own invention – a mosaic serving plate – a truly Technicolored world.

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All you need for this project is clear tacky glue, a pack of DVDs, and a white serving plate.  I also grabbed some clear acrylic sealer to protect it because I didn’t want to be eating shards of DVDs, but that’s just me.  When I first started the project, I was trying not to scratch the discs with my nails, and I tried to bend the discs to break them.  DVDs are literally more flexible than ever imagined.  Like, what’s in those?  Neo?  (That’s a Matrix joke.)

Don’t bother trying to bend the discs to break them.  Take a pair of sharp scissors and cut the discs in half with some elbow grease that you may or may not have.  DVDs are actually layered discs, so, once cut in half, peel the two layers apart.  This is similar to separating Oreos because you have to get the shiny pieces to stick on one layer, but it doesn’t always work, and then you are stuck with half on each.  It’s a rough life.

Once the layers are separated, it’s easier to cut the discs.  Use the tacky glue to puzzle them out on the plate.  This is a long process, but, in the end, it’s absolutely gorgeous.  Although the project was one of the longest to complete thus far in my blogging experience, I really love the bold statement and stunning outcome.  The project was not too difficult because, since it’s a mosaic, it’s a little easier to correct mistakes.  I would definitely recommend putting sealer over the plate to protect the DVD pieces as the color will scratch off.

In the end, if you’re looking for a showstopper DIY project for your next get-together or you want an “out-of-this-world” creation for your cupcake treats, don’t let gravity get in the way of your mosaic plate aspirations.

Twine, Burlap, and Window Hangings

Time:  2 hours
Cost:  $$$
Difficulty:  4/10
Overall Ranking:  9/10

Heaven is among us in the form of thrifting.  Lately, DIY and thrifting is all the trend when pinners refurbish a piece of furniture.  Turn drab to fab just as easily as infomercials.   Needless to say, I love picking up old furniture from antique malls and revamping them.  My favorite pin right now are flipped window hangings.

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Full disclaimer:  I have, in fact, flipped a nightstand before (check out my past DIY projects to the right).  However, I never used painter’s tape (tape is actually much trickier than just sticking it down, by the way), and this week’s project was my first time flipping a window.

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Why a window?  Well, Maroon 5 just says tap on it, and you’ll feel beautiful.  That’s why.

I found my baby (as I am now sincerely attached to my window) at Lawson Hill Antique Mall in Kirksville, Missouri.  In case you’re in the area, I found it to be helpful and full of lovely, charming little trinkets.  I picked out a white, peeling, chipped window from among the trove.  Next, I headed over to a home improvement store for supplies, picked out the most chipper shade of aquamarine, and sprawled everything out at my apartment.

All one really has to do in flipping furniture is clean off the furniture, sand (if needed), and paint.  Since this was a window, I needed painter’s tape.  After the coldest morning in my exaggerated history, when I almost lost my fingers to the October frost, I finally painted a semi-attractive window.  Although I love the color, my painting job is only decent at best, so maybe be more careful rather than freezing to death when putting on painter’s tape.  I also didn’t have much experience with painter’s tape, but the gist is to try to get the edges to line up without overlap with what needs to be painted.

Then, I threw on some burlap, twine, clothespins, and pictures.  Watch out for the burlap if you’re wearing a sweater; it’ll getcha.  The twine, on the other hand, I wonder if I could make a sweater out of my beloved twine.

Whatever you think looks good, you do it.  You do you.  And let me know how it turns out.   I personally did not fully love some of the Pinterest ideas, so I made my own design from scratch.  This is a step I would definitely encourage to be personalized to add to the project overall.

I loved this DIY project because it was so easy, and the project looks stellar!  My DIY window hanging is personalized to what I will use for years to come.  Although it may be difficult to find furniture at a reasonable price, check out some of your own local thrift stores because you never know exactly what you will find to personalize!

And maybe if I tap on my DIY window enough times, Adam Levine will show up in my kitchen.

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Be a Dynamite. Be Magical. The Conch Braid.

Time:  15-20 minutes
Cost:  $
Difficulty:  9/10
Overall Ranking:  7/10

Boom.  Clap.  Ullullu.  The most beautiful, complicated, magical Pinterest hair you might ever see – known as the Conch Braid (cue drool).

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I would equate the hair of Conch braids to the hair of Blake Lively – virtually impossible to replicate, but worthy of pure admiration and spiteful jealousy.  This hair from the Heavens is basically a French-style fish tale braid.  If you aren’t familiar with a fish tale braid, it’s just splitting your hair into two sections and alternating portions from one side to the next.  For a real tutorial from someone who’s not me, check out how I learned! (Even for me, I don’t consider it too hard.  Give it a try.  You know you want to.)

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In essence, I made the conch braid by putting a bunch of sticky, gunky hair care product in to make myself feel like a hairstylist of sorts.  I grabbed a section on the right side of my head and braided back, into a spiral around the crown of my head.  If it doesn’t feel like you’re getting carpal tunnel, you’re probably not doing it tight enough.  I, for one, had to do this braid twice, because, the first time, my layers fell from their careful little sections of the braid when I was trying to twist the braid.  So, braid tightly.

Inevitably, once I was almost done, my fine, thin hair was in huge knots, and I wasn’t able to keep the sections separated.  The greatest thing about this hair style is there isn’t a way to make it look bad!  Although it’s difficult to keep the strands separated and spiraled, mine came out looking like an elaborate messy bun.  That’s the magic of the conch.

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I think this was a really difficult process to get accustomed to because my arms aren’t long enough, and I can’t see behind my head.  Also, my hair wasn’t long enough to make a significant spiral, so that’s a major factor in actually coming out like the original.  But, on a nice fall day, this is a great option because it is quick and gorgeous!

If you’d like to see my DIY remake in the process, check out my speedy video recap below, which is really a long gif because who really knows how to upload video?

My Movie

In case you wanted to know my song choice for this project, it’s Fire and Dynamite by Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors, which describes the gorgeousness of simple elegance.

A Revolutionary Graphic Nail Design

Time:  60 minutes (excluding time to dry)
Cost:  $
Difficulty:  7/10
Overall Ranking:  9/10

Let’s all go back to the best opening credits ever created, featuring the greatest star ever born.

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Yes, I’m referring to Cadet Kelly, when Hillary Duff, an independent and adorable young lady, twirled ribbons to a Superchick song.  The reason I bring up this sequence to your memory is because, until lately, I didn’t realize how critical it was to the feminist perspective.  Now, I’m definitely not a “feminist,” but I believe women can kick some serious butt.  And, in case you need to start your morning right, the lyrics, “Some people see the revolution, but most only see the girl,” is definitely a motto to dance in your *pajamies to.

Nevertheless, this week, I wanted to try a pin that makes every girl want to kick some butt – graphic nail designs, inspired by none other than Hillary Duff (just the inspiration, not the endorsement).  I was scrolling through Pinterest, as per usual, and found some of these nail designs, created using Scotch tape.

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The gist is that you paint your nail one color, and let it dry completely.  Word from the (not so) wise, make sure the finger nail polish is completely dry, or the Scotch tape peels off the polish.  I’m not going to say I tried that, but there’s a reason I’ll be wearing closed toe shoes this week.  Looks like I need to play that Lizzie McGuire manicure game more frequently.

Once you wait six years for the underlying polish to dry, you get to have a bunch of fun cutting tape into microscopic strips.  The stripes have to be really thin in order to make quality designs, so you must be patient.  You can also do other cutting patterns, like triangles or just cover half of the nail.  I laid the tape over my fingers and pretended I was Edward Scissorhands – the only resemblance being my hands (promise).  Then, I opened up four of my oldest, brightest, and chunkiest nail polish and painted the little sections.  Once the colors dried, I peeled up the tape, and I was superstar status!

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I would definitely recommend this pin tutorial because of how easy it was and the quality of outcome.  The project came out as expected and looked great!  My only hesitation with the DIY project is the amount of drying time needed before adding the design, though this would probably be true about any nail design.

Have you tried nail designs from Pinterest before?  Tell me in the comment sections what you think of this review!

*Pajamies (noun) – the term for pajamas in the Rachael dictionary

A Little Hot Mess – The Art of Melting Crayons

Time:  45 minutes
Cost:  $
Difficulty:  9/10
Overall Ranking:  3/10

Melted Crayon Art

I believe in little messes. You know when your life is like “eh,” and you’re hanging in the middle of it?  It’s like that Francesca Battistelli song, where she loses her keys, and her life basically has the stench equivalent to an ogre.

Well, when I see melted crayon paintings on Pinterest, that’s what I think of – little messes.  But, I want a little mess of my own.  Correction – I want to be reminded to stick around during little messes.  Henceforth, I remade that ever so popular melted crayon fiasco.

Hot Wax Painting

I didn’t want just another regular waterfall of wax, which is why I chose the more splotched rendition of this project.  Why go the easy route?  I loved how some pinners put down paper, leaving a section empty of wax.  I decided to outline the word “faith” in cursive using parchment paper (as I thought this would resist the wax).  Since double-sided tape would not stick to the poster board, I lathered the parchment paper in glue until that sucker was stuck real great (said in sassy dialect).

Then, I unwrapped all of the colors I liked from my crayon box, which is not as easy as it used to be.  How come when I was a kid, it seemed like crayon label would always peel off, but now that I need to peel it, it’s clingier than a middle school relationship.

I took my poster board and crayons out to the middle of my garage and got out my handy dandy blow-dryer (May God always bless my blow-dryer for being there when I wake up with frizzy hair <3).   I put my crayon over the poster board, held the hairdryer over it, and, alas, the biggest little mess from anyone on the planet.  Crayons melt really quickly, by the way.  Before I knew it, HOT WAX FLUNG UNDER MY NAILS, ON THE GARAGE WALLS, AND ALL OVER MY PARCHMENT PAPER CURSIVE.

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Warning:  Hot wax is really hot.  So, between the combination of the scalding wax and the hairdryer blowing everything everywhere, my parchment paper flew up (guess it wasn’t as stuck great as expected), and hot wax flew across the paper like paint splatters.  After the wax dried, I painted “faith” over the top just to teach that wax who was boss.

If you like to make crayon art, please help me out.  For the average person, this seemed nearly impossible.  The wax flew everywhere because of my hairdryer, and hot wax piled high under my nails.  I personally would not retry this pin again because of the severe emotional scarring that the outcome had on my life.  If you plan on making melted crayon art, it may be best to try the typical waterfall poster.  Up to you on if you want hot wax everywhere, though.

Disclaimer:  My nails were not harmed in the making of this project.