General DIY

Painting and Sipping with Scratchpad Cellars and Plutonium Paint

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I love lots of things. A delicious glass of wine and the chance to craft are very high on that list of loved things. So you can imagine how excited I was when the teams at Scratchpad Cellars and Plutonium Paint asked me if I’d like to try my hand at creating my own one-of-a-kind wine label with spray paint. (Obviously, I said yes.) Here’s a little background on each company.

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Giving a bottle of wine is always a welcomed gift, but it’s sometimes difficult to personalize. You can definitely add a handmade tag or a note saying why the selected wine was picked for the recipient, but that tends to be it. Scratchpad had changed that thanks to their ready-for-decorating labels. The cream-colored labels simply list the wine you’re drinking… and that’s it. The rest of the label is a blank canvas for you to create your next work of art. A small pencil comes with the bottle for you and a friend to decorate with while sipping, or you can take it to the next DIY level and put your own craft supplies, like Plutonium Paint, to work.

Speaking of Plutonium, I’m very excited to report that this paint is made right here in Detroit. With 40 colors to choose from (including some excellent names), the paints offer softer pigments than those found in other brands of spray paints. The caps are interchangeable, giving you a lot of freedom to create just the right, precise application. For this project I picked colors Manko, Vegas, Aloha, Stealth, Polar and Third Place Metallic (I LOVE that name!).

Nick and I decided to take two very different approaches to decorating our bottles: I wanted just my label to be painted while he wanted to see the whole bottle covered. Here’s how we did it.

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Ok, ok. My masking technique definitely looks wonky, but it did the trick in keeping my bottle paint free. I cut off the closure of a plastic storage bag and wrapped it around the neck of the bottle as flat as possible. Painters tape helps create a protective seal around the bag. I taped off an area I wanted to decorate on the label and covered the rest of the bottle with more painters tape. Once that was set it was time to paint.

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Using one color at a time I did quick passes with the Plutonium Paint onto the Scratchpad label of my bottle of Chardonnay. I worked from my lightest colors to the darkest. Some had just the quick sprays, other colors got a second or two longer. Once I had added all my colors I took the bottle inside to dry.

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Nick wanted a highly abstract, all-over look to his bottle, so he set the Pinot Noir into our improvised spray booth and made long passes with the paint, starting from the top and angling down.

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As you can see, both of our bottles turned out so different from one another! I love them both.

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Once my paint was dry to the touch I peeled off the painters tape – it was perfect for this type of masking as it didn’t hurt the label at all. I love how my design looks almost like a precious stone. It’s pretty impressive in person.

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Nick’s design is also looks great. There are small, exposed areas on the label that he didn’t paint that I can see adding more designs to, like small doodles or someone’s name.

Our bottles are currently in our wine fridge chilling in anticipation of this evening’s happy hour at home. If you’re curious to learn more about Scratchpad Cellars and Plutonium Paint, take a look at them across their social channels:

Crafty Review: Rowenta Pro Master

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After coming back from QuiltCon last month one of the tools I knew I needed to really think about back in my craft room is my iron. I run my irons really hard, from pressing quilts to my husband ironing shirt after shirt for a work trip. Unfortunately I’ve not found an iron that has been strong enough to last a long time in my craft studio. Until now, thanks to Rowenta.

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The Rowenta Pro Master has been a powerhouse in my craft studio recently. I received an iron to try from Rowenta out and I was blown away but what a quality, well-made iron could do for my sewing projects. What really grabbed my attention? Take a look.

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The water funnel to the iron is capped closed and has a longer channel to keep the water from running out while filling it. Once the maximum water level has been reached the top is closed so that the water can’t spill out. Irons leaking water has been one of my biggest pet peeves in the craft studio; I won’t have to worry about that with the Rowenta Pro Master.

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The iron is heavy, but not in a bad way. It feels sturdy and rugged, making it almost impossible to accidentally tip over while quickly ironing. The weight of the iron’s body helps create easier ironing from start to finish. Even fat quarters that have been folded in my stash for a long time release their wrinkles thanks to the force and even-distribution soleplate of this iron.

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See the rounded point? It’s perfect for ironing smaller opens, corners and other precision-needed components. I’ve been making a lot of the Hour Baskets leading up to Easter and this new iron has been perfect for making sure the boxed corners are pressed and crisp.

I’ve been contemplating several irons recently, from cordless models to irons that can be rested horizontally as opposed to on its heel. I’ excited to say that my search is over. I’m sticking with the Rowenta Pro Master as my go-to iron in my craft studio; you may want to, too.

Looking for some crafty inspiration? Check out Rowenta’s video, featuring craft guru Lotta Jansdotter, on how to make a patchwork coaster from a few years back.

Fan of Rowenta? Make sure to follow them on:

Let’s #Write_On!

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April is National Letter Writing Month and Egg Press and Hello!Lucky want you to ‪write on‬! From April 1-30 mail lovers are being asked to send a piece of mail every day. Now that’s an assignment I like! My card stash has been reorganized and is ready for the challenge.

Would you like to receive a piece of mail from me in April? Add your name to my Write On address book below. Make sure to follow #write_on to see what participants are sending out. And check out Write On’s website to sign up for your free starter kit.

Review: Julie Jackson’s “Subversive Cross Stitch”

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It’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years since Julie Jackson debuted her first book, “Subversive Cross Stitch.” Packed with cross stitch sampler patterns suited to give to your snarkiest of friends for any occasion, the book arrived just as the indie craft world was taking center stage. I poured over my copy, not just laughing at the designs packed with F-bomb after F-bomb, but using it as my go-to reference for classic cross stitch alphabets.

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Today my copy has been written on, marked up, dog-eared… you name it. When I saw that Julie was releasing an anniversary edition with 17 new patterns to enjoy, I wasn’t sure how different it would be from the original and whether I needed the new copy. After having spent time with the book the past few days the heart and guts of the have remained true – and that’s the most important part.

Over the years I’ve frequently found myself lending out my copy of the book to friends curious to try their hands at cross stitch, but eventually turned away from it due to the lack of modern patterns for them to practice with. Julie’s samplers aren’t for the faint of heart, but that’s part of why it makes them so funny. Most of us had at least one cross stitch sampler in our house growing up and I can guarantee you there wasn’t one four-letter word to be found it it. It’s not making fun of an art, it’s poking fun at ourselves. Thanks to the new book I feel confident loaning my older copy out from time to time knowing I’ve got the latest and greatest in my craft book library whenever I need it.

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The latest copy of the book has revised stitch counts and larger diagrams to use. It didn’t take me long to make my first new piece, “It’s not mean if it’s hilarious.” I used some of Sublime Stitching’s embroidery floss on a piece of bright aqua Aida cloth. A glass of wine and some time after work was all I needed to get stitching the subversive way.

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If you’re a fan of Julie’s like I am, her new book is worth adding to your collection; you can purchase it from her website. Don’t forget to check out her site for additional PDF patterns and project ideas. Looking for even more patterns? Check out this collection for DIY Network.

Subversive Cross Stitch: 50 F*cking Clever Designs For Your Sassy Side
By Julie Jackson
powerHouse Books, $15.95

I’m a Fan Of: Minted

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Oh, Minted. I am such a devoted fan of Minted.com. There are a lot of fantastic stationery options online right now, but me I always select Minted. From Valentines to your own business cards, Minted has a paper offering for the occasion. Here are some of my recent purchases from them.

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The very first purchase I made on Minted was actually last year! I bought these adorable school-ready Valentines that I gave to my co-workers at the museum. Part retro, part plain silly, these were perfect to surprise my colleagues with.

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Minted artwork proudly hangs in our home. I love their collaboration with independent artists in their artist marketplace. I’ve been turned onto so many new individuals this way. And there’s great representation from Michigan makers, too!

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My business cards are from Minted, too. Recipients of these cards always have fantastic things to say about them, which is a-ok by me.

The Minted team reached out to me and asked if I’d share my thoughts on their offering of save-the-date cards. Of course, I was happy to oblige. As someone who had a VERY DIY wedding, finding just the right save the date is a huge first step in showing off your wedding to your guests. If you’re hosting a DIY event in the future, take my advice – make as much of the goods as you can, but save a few items to purchase, like these save-the-date cards. You’ll still be representing your DIY spirit, but saving a little bit of your sanity, too.

Minted offers more than 700 options/variations when it comes to save-the-date cards. While that might seem overwhelming, you can filter your search by format, price, style, etc. You’ll find that once you know the look you’re going for, the card will come to you quickly.

Your save the date doesn’t have to be just a flat card. Minted offers postcards, magnets… you name it. And the color palettes available can match just about any event color scheme. They’re fresh and modern.

Once again, Minted has done a great job offering state pride options for folks looking to plan a destination wedding or use a hometown theme for their event. This California-themed save the date is not only reflective of a couple’s love for their home, it also doubles as oversized hang tag. Great idea!

Gold foil is HOT right now! I’m seeing everywhere, from my favorite craft shops to big-box retailers. Minted knows a good thing and has a whole selection of foil-pressed save-the-date cards, like this one. The gold is subtle and perfect – just a hint of shine to add to your finished product. (For us Michigan lovers out there, check out this amazing foil-pressed Michigan mitten print!)

A save the date doesn’t HAVE to have a photo on it. Mine didn’t and I loved it. This watercolor-inspired save “our” date doesn’t have a photo on the front and it’s totally elegant.

Here are a few more of my favorites to help you with your search:

Give yourself lots of time to search Minted’s website so that you can find the save-the-date card that’s perfect for your event. There’s nothing more exciting than the feeling of knowing you’ve picked the most perfect card possible for you!

Make sure to keep an eye on Minted’s blog, Julep. (I’ve even written about the blog for The Henry Ford magazine!) It’s one of my favorite and always provides with so much inspiration. Example? These fill-in-the-blank Valentine’s Day cards!

Are you a fan of Minted? If so, tell me what you love about it!

Lish’s Note: Minted asked me to review their products for my blog. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Make Your Printable Calendar Long-Lasting

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I love calendars! I love mini calendars and big calendars. I love desk calendars and pocket calendars. If it’s a calendar, I’ll probably love it. I have three calendars in my office at any given time. Why so many?

  • One is a desk calendar that I keep close to my computer.
  • One is a pretty monthly calendar, like this paint chip calendar from Paper Source, that’s currently on display behind my desk.
  • And one is a printable calendar that shows all the months of the year at once for quick glances.

My all-year calendar is always a printable calendar from a blogger or Etsy seller I admire. It’s a tough choice picking THE calendar for the year, but this design from Sacred and Profane is the 2015 printable winner for me.

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To make my calendar friendly for constant use all year long, I do a few things to ensure it’s long-lasting. If you’ve found a printable calendar you love, try these ideas to make it ready for daily use.

  • Mount it: I printed my calendar on regular copier paper, so I mounted it to a cover-weight sheet of paper to give it more strength. This year’s calendar is mounted on Paper Source’s Antique Gold 8.5 x 11″ cover weight paper. I trimmed it a bit to better fit within the gold paper and rounded the corners.
  • Laminate it: I laminate my calendars so that they’re ready for action. I’m frequently grabbing my calendar and poring over dates as I work on editorial plans. Having a covering like this keeps the calendar safe and looking great. I have a Scotch Thermal Laminator in my craft studio and it’s perfect for a task like this.
  • Punch it: With a screw punch or hole punch, add holes to the laminated calendar for easy display. I offset the actual calendar on the gold paper so that the holes wouldn’t interfere with actual dates on the calendar.
  • Dress it up: I added a piece of satin black ribbon as the finishing touch so that it can hang gracefully on my office wall.

Still on the hunt for a printable calendar to call your own? Here are some of my favorites for 2015 that are available for free to download.

How-To: Faux Duct Tape Mosaic Flower Pot

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This past weekend I gave my succulents some New Year’s TLC – checked on their pots, cleared away old leaves, etc. I also had a few new succulents left over from my Christmas centerpieces that I had purchased from Lowe’s. I felt so bad for these poor plants – they were tucked away on dark shelves and seemed like they were in desperate need of water. I put some of them into my Christmas plants and saved the others to plant in pots I had on hand.

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For one of the succulents I decided to give a plain 4″ terra cotta pot a quick makeover. Metallic duct tape, from Duck Brand, was one of my favorite New Year’s Eve crafting mediums not too long ago, so I used a Ducklings mini roll to make a faux mosaic-covered pot.
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