Monday, October 14, 2013

Summer Project

This past summer I did not do a ton of creative projects sadly. I was very busy around my new, old house and jazzing things up. We painted lots and lots. Removed tons of gaudy wallpaper. Wallpaper is EVIL! Put in a new vinyl floor in a bathroom. Replaced a bunch of pieces and parts in said bathroom. Doesn't look like a 150 year old woman with 992 cats lives here anymore. And that is a good thing! 

Started working on jazzing up the kitchen and that, of course, turned into the project that will never end. Another day and another idea. Lots of outdoor work as much yard work! And of course I like to garden and have lots of flowers and plants around. The goal is to turn our front yard into an English cottage garden and look like a park not a golf course. Grass is also evil! Sucks up lots of water...those icky chemicals to keep things under control...the all time consuming mowing. No thank you!

When I wasn't working on all that I did have a little time to play. I finished unpacking my studio. I even unpacked my quilting supplies! I started this crazy organization project which of course led to about 153 other organization projects. All of that leads me to go through everything in my studio and think about whether or not I need it or if I have doubles, triples...YIKES! I really don't need three of the same stamp. This all lead to the massive sale on Inky Hot Mess

Aside from that I did find a little time to actually play. Real play. Not oh I'll clean this today play. Since I moved to South Carolina, I had two nephews born. When my first nephew was born, I made his mom a memory box. The box was to keep important things about him growing up - first lost tooth, first lock of hair, first report card, first drawing, a stuffed animal that became worn out but he loved, things like that. The important stuff when one starts out in life.

Well, my sister-in-law let me know that needed the same box for my other nephews. Why I never thought of this, I don't know. I was worried I wouldn't be able to find a similar box. And I did have a hard time. I went to eight - yes eight - stores looking for the right kind of box. I didn't use paper mache because I knew this would need to stand up for years and years to come. I figure eventually she'll pass the boxes onto the boys or she'll keep them until she's 100 years old. Either way, paper wasn't going to work.

So I went with a wood box. I discovered that it's become rather difficult to find large paper mache boxes! I went to Michael's, Joann, AC Moore, and Hobby Lobby. A couple of the chains I went to multiple locations. Thankfully, AC Moore did have the style of box I was looking for in wood! 

Memory Box - Animal Cookies
The first one I made for a monkey boy. J is a crazy little man! He's tons of fun. Being an aunt I'm allowed favorites. right? he's definitely my favorite. Since J is such a crazy kid, I made his a little crazy. I used brighter little kid paper and put the papers on crocked on purpose. There's a little monkey on the box somewhere that his mom found right away.

Memory Box - Animal Cookies
The papers are from Close To My Heart and it's called Animal Cookies. It is retired, but you might be able to find some on eBay or through a consultant with a stash.

Memory Box - Animal Cookies
The box top and inside are painted. I used Dutch Blue from Apple Barrel Colors which is made by Plaid.

T's box is very different. T is a pretty calm baby. So it's looking like he'll have a similar personality to his oldest brother W. These boxes are all W's fault! And that's a good thing. I actually enjoy looking through his box and knowing I made something very special for him and his mom. 

Memory Box - Mixed Papers
T's box is the same wood box from AC Moore. I used a mix of papers. They were all bought when my sister-in-law was pregnant with W...that was seven years ago! Back then many papers didn't have names of patterns or company names printed on them especially if they were a few years old then. So I have no idea who made any of these papers. I used many of them on W's box. So the two calm boys have similar boxes. The actual box is very different. W's is lined with fabric. I learned NOT to do that again! It was so difficult to do and it became difficult to open and close. 

Memory Box - Mixed Papers
The top and inside of T's box is painted Spring Sky from Apple Barrel Colors which is made by Plaid.  The paint is so much better than the fabric. Far less bulky and it doesn't take up space inside the box. It also protects the wood. I used almost an entire two ounce bottle on each box.

How did all those 2" x 2" squares of paper stick? Magic. With lots and lots of Mod Podge. There's several coats and layers. Each box took about 10 hours to make. That includes all of the cutting of the paper, all the layers and coats of Mod Podge, and painting. That doesn't include drying time. The paint has to be 100% dry before you can put a drop of Mod Podge on to else the Mod Podge will no longer be clear! If you want a tinted glaze, then that's fine. Each side had to dry overnight and be elevated since the papers go right to the bottom of the box. I did not cover the bottoms. 

Now who wouldn't want me for an aunt? I make the boys the coolest stuffs. I made the oldest boys quilts one year for Christmas. T doesn't have one yet....he's not old enough for one yet. Once he's a toddler and has favorite things, he'll get one. But he does have his own memory box! I'm trying to think of something fun I could make for each of the boys for their birthdays next year. Since I like paper and fabric, I have lots of options! It has to be something personal for each one. Meaning something that has their favorite thing like stars, baseball, dogs, trucks, dinosaurs, trains, etc. We shall see what I make them for 2014!

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