Wednesday, September 25, 2019

HAPPY WEDNESDAY!!!!! HAPPY FALL!!!!!! & An Update on the Chalk Paint Review progress...

HAPPY FALL!!!! This is the second time I'm doing this post, I put the Blogger app. on my tablet, and I would say, be careful what buttons you press on there, it is very easy to accidentally delete a whole post with the app.

My husband and I went to New Bern yesterday for a medical appointment and for shopping, and all along the way, the trees are seriously starting to change color. So, Fall is happening now!

I haven't been getting on here as much as I would like, I've been taking several coding courses, one in HTML, one in CSS, 2 in JavaScript, and a course in Python. All of which takes up a major chunk of time. I hope to be able to use some of what I'm learning to help on the blog.  But, I have been slowly getting some craft-related things in the works. I've finished prepping the rocks I'm using for the comparisons for the paint review I'm working on...

In this photo, you will see three rocks that I've painted with the first coat of the base colors for some more ladybug rocks. These rocks are small and are good for small, relatively quick projects and in this case, good for a paint comparison. The rock to the left, in the photo, I've painted with FolkArt Matte Acrylic paint in the 414E Cardinal Red color. The two rocks to the right, in front of the other paint bottle, I've painted with Waverly Inspirations Chalk Matte Finish No Prep Acrylic Paint in the Lacquer color, which is made by Plaid. As you can see, quite a bit of the white prime coat is showing through still on all three rocks...

I'm also testing the paints on these two paper-mache eggs I've done, these both have two coats of the paints on them. The one to the left is painted with the Waverly chalk paint and the one to the right is painted with the FolkArt paint. As you can see the one painted with the chalk paint still has some of the white prime coat showing through and the FolkArt paint egg has better paint pigment coverage, very little of the prime coat is showing through...

Here in this photo, are the rocks after three coats of the paints, the one to the left painted with the FolkArt paint and the one in the center and the one to the right painted with the chalk paint. And after three coats of the paints each, some of the white primer coat is still even now showing through. I've been applying the paints with one-inch sponge brushes to help minimize streaking. So, more paint needs to be applied. So, I will keep working on these rocks and when I finish them I'll do a proper review post to show the results of the paint comparison experiment.

I'm still slogging my way through "Moby Dick"...
Slowly but surely, I'm getting it read, it's classic literature, but the subject matter is difficult, most notably the killing of the whales and how Queequeg is treated. The characters, in general, are well written and Ahab's descent into serious obsession and outright madness is very believable. I'll give a better overall opinion when I finally finish reading the book.

So, I'll say again...HAPPY FALL!!!!!

Get outside and look at the leaves, the colors are beautiful! I hope you all have a SUPER NICE DAY!!! HAPPY CRAFTING!!!! HAPPY CODING!!!! HAPPY READING!!!!

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Happy Tuesday! We survived Hurricane Dorian...

It came towards us as a level two, but it stayed offshore far enough so that all we got was a whole lot of rain and tropical-storm-force winds. Nowhere near as bad as Hurricane Florence, last year. This time we had very little damage, a few tree limbs down, our apartment was pelted with pinecones during the actual storm and my lemongrass pot was blown over. And we lost power for six hours.  By the time Dorian got here, it was nowhere as bad as what it did to the Bahamas. We were very lucky, the Bahamas wasn't, they got clobbered by high level five force winds, rain and storm surge. Remember them in your thoughts and prayers and donate money to the Red Cross for the Bahamas Hurricane Dorian Disaster Relief Fund. They need everything, but money is the most flexible. And make sure it really is the true Red Cross website, unfortunately, there are a lot of scammers that take advantage of people and try to make money off other people's misfortunes.

I took advantage of the calm before the storm, which is an actual thing, and finally got some varnish on SpiderBoy.
There is a definite reason the Wright Brothers picked North Carolina and Kittyhawk in particular to test their airplane, the wind blows here pretty much all the time. It can be a real challenge to spray varnish on craft projects outside, I have to pick days with the least amount of wind or the varnish just blows away and very little ends up on the project. I used my new camera to take his picture. I'll reattach his legs when he is dry, dry, dry. Now that I've got my new camera, I'm getting the pictures ready for a new spider tutorial. I've also been prepping the rocks I want to use for the chalk paint review I'm working on, the rocks are from the very bottom of my bag of river stones and needed some work to make them usable.

I've been slogging my way slowly through Moby Dick, by Herman Melville. I want to use it for a literary foods post. When Ishmael and Queequeg stay at the Try Pots hotel they are served clam chowder and cod chowder at every meal. The description of the clam chowder is very close to an actual workable clam chowder recipe. I bought the ingredients to make it, I just need to work my way through the rest of the book. Moby Dick is not an easy read, but slowly but surely I'm getting through it.

So, projects and posts are in the works, finally having usable cameras again is a very happy thing!
So, I hope you all have a very nice day! More posts are finally coming soon! HAPPY CRAFTING!!!!

Friday, August 23, 2019

Happy Friday!!!!!

Happy Friday!!!! Chill out and hang out like these cute penguins! I hope you all have a SUPER GREAT WEEKEND!!!!! HAPPY CRAFTING!!!!!!

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Happy Wednesday! and a Paper Mache Spider update!

Well, it is Wednesday again and this last week wasn't so bad. I found this nice Zen tree picture on Goggle images. Doing crafts is real good for busting stress!
I'm back to working on paper mache spiders and I'm in the process of giving Spider-Girl a makeover.

I had painted her like this, above, with the flower pattern similar to my girly cat rock.
But, I think it looks way better on the rock than it does the spider...It looks too busy!
So, I painted her, Spider-Girl, over in black and will start her over again. And, I'm not super thrilled with Spider-Junior's spots either.
The ones that look yellowish are supposed to be green but didn't show up as green against the black body color.
So, I'm going to redo them in a much greener green, hopefully, they will turn out better this time. That's the good thing about crafting if a project isn't going the way you envisioned, you can always do it over until it does.
At least Spider-Boy had turned out well, his spots look good on him. I'm getting my pictures together for a Paper Mache Spider tutorial and will post it soon.

In other craftiness, I'm working on a cross-stitch fox which I'm going to have to alter some.

I originally found him on Pinterest and saved the picture, but since then the picture has been removed from Pinterest, most likely for copyright issues.
So, my version of him will have to be changed a bit. To make the picture easier for counting stitches I washed out the color with photo editing and reduced it to grey, white and black.
I tracked down some images of real foxes for inspiration and comparisons.
Real foxes don't have cream or white coloring right up around their eyes and their tails don't stick up in the air when they sit, so there are two ways to change him right off.
And there is black around the edges of their ears, so that's another way to make him different. Plus the original fox is kind of floating in space, so I'm going to add some greenery around him and try to ground him somewhat.

So, there you go, some craftiness in the works! I hope you all have a great rest of the week!

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Happy Wednesday! Another Zen Moment!

Another nice Zen rock picture to look at. Still working on my deep breathing for stress reduction and to lower the blood pressure. Deep breathing is so simple and can be done anywhere and needs no special equipment to do! Breath in slowly for at least five counts, hold it for five counts, then breath out slowly, working up to breathing out for ten counts. And repeat the sequence and work up to doing it for at least ten minutes a day for the full benefits to be achieved. Though, I would recommend sitting while you practice doing it, if you're not used to doing deep breathing, it can make you feel a little dizzy and light headed...oh fresh air... what a concept! Keep working at it, your body gets used to the increased volume of fresh oxygen pretty quickly, and the dizzy feelings will go away. So, I hope you HAVE A NICE DAY!!!  KEEP BREATHING and HAPPY CRAFTING!!!!!

A Painted Ladybug Rock How-To

For these guys I used:
  • Smooth river stones, washed with a mild liquid soap, well rinsed and dried for several days
  • FolkArt Matte Finish Acrylic Paint in 901E Wicker White, for the prime coat. Also for the whites of the eyes and the antennae.
  • FolkArt Matte Finish Acrylic Paint in 938 Licorice, for the head, the spots, and the pupils of the eyes.
  • FolkArt Matte Finish Acrylic Paint in 414E Cardinal Red, for the base coat and the body color.
  • FolkArt Blending Gel 867, for thinning the paints and extending the drying time to help prevent streaking and hard edges.
  • A Posca Pen, 0.7mm, in Bright Pink, for their little mouths.
  • Sponge brushes for applying the white prime coat and the red base coat.
  • A No. 2 Flat paintbrush, synthetic bristles, for applying the black, head paint.
  • Nail Art Dotting tools and Fondant Modeling tools in various sizes, for the eyes, the antennae, and the body spots.
  • Toothpicks for mixing and stirring the paints.
  • A paper plate, used as a paint palette. 
  • Freezer Paper to cover the work area.
  • KRYLON ColorMaster Clear, Satin Crystal Clear, Indoor/Outdoor Spray Varnish, to seal the paint and protect the paint from moisture, chipping and yellowing
  •  Elmer's Carpenter's Wood Filler Stainable Interior/Exterior, Repairs holes, fills in cracks and can be used to make the rocks sit nicer.
  • Sandpaper Fine and Extra Fine
  • Liquitex Acrylic Liquid Matte Medium 
  • Liquitex Acrylic White Gesso

To start out, find some nice roundish stones or buy some like from Home Depot or Lowe's Home Improvement stores, which both sell bags of river stones in various sizes. Wash the rocks you want to use in a mild dishwashing soap, I use a few drops of Ivory Classic Formula, it is mild and rinses off well. Rinse the rocks until the water is clear and soap bubble-free. Then set the rocks aside for several days to dry.
The rocks I used for these ladybugs had no major surface problems, so I prime coated them with the Wicker White, I used three coats, it helps fill in any little dips or cracks on the rocks' surfaces and helps create a good surface for the base coat. Let the paint dry at least twenty-four hours between coats of paint, it helps prevent bubbling, lifting, and cracking.
If your rocks are less than perfect, have major cracks, holes or just won't sit nice, don't despair! They can be made usable!
Elmer's Wood Filler can be used to fill in cracks, crevasses, and holes. It can also be used to help create a smoother surface and make a wobbly rock sit nicer. I use a plastic knife to apply the filler to the problem areas and let dry for 24 hours. Then sand the rock gently smooth and inspect it to see if all the problems have been fixed. If the rock is still not quite right, apply more wood filler, let it dry, and sand it again. You can repeat this process until the rock is just how you want. When the rock is finally as smooth as you want, apply acrylic matte medium to seal the surface and let dry 24 hours, I use one of the sponge brushes to apply the medium.
After the matte medium is dry, apply a coat of acrylic gesso with a sponge brush. The matte medium and the gesso prepare the surface of the rock for paint, just like a canvas for regular painting. Now the rock is ready to paint.   
I used the FolkArt Matte Finish acrylic paint in 910E Wicker White for the prime coat and I used the FolkArt Matte Finish acrylic paint in 414E Cardinal Red for the base coat and main body color.   
I used a clean sponge brush to apply several coats of the red till I got a good overall coverage of the red and set the rocks aside to dry overnight. Then I used the #2 flat paint brush to apply the FolkArt Matte Finish acrylic paint in 938 Licorice for the head color and I also used it for the spots on the body.   
And I applied the spots with my fondant modeling tool, the head of the tool is round and is good for making dots.  
I used the Wicker White and the larger end of my nail art dotting tool to apply the white's of the eyes.
And, I used the smaller end of my dotting tool and the Licorice to apply the pupils to the eyes.
I used the smaller end of my dotting tool again to apply the antennae with the Wicker White.
 I used the Posca pen in the Bright Pink color to apply their little mouths. Now these guys are in the drying stage and to make sure they are dry, dry, dry, I'd give them at least a week before I apply varnish.

I use Krylon ColorMaster Clear Satin Crystal Clear Indoor/Outdoor, which is a spray-on acrylic based varnish/sealer to seal the rocks and help protect them from moisture and discoloring and chipping of the paint. I mist the paint on to the rocks and let dry between coats overnight, for rocks that will be outside or exposed to moisture, apply at least three coats of the varnish. I usually apply four coats for added protection, but I wouldn't let the rocks sit in wet areas after they are finished. Too wet, is too wet and even on varnished rocks the paint will bubble, lift and start to peel off.

So, there you go! These guys are very easy to do and a relatively quick project to work on, the drying time between coats of paint is what takes longest and is very important and can't be rushed. Even though acrylic paint drys fast to the touch, it needs to go at least 24 hours between coats of paint to help prevent bubbling, cracking and lifting. It's not funny when the rock you've been putting all kinds of time and effort into painting, starts having the paint peel off because it wasn't dry all the way before you decided to varnish it. You don't need to use the exact products I used for doing these ladybugs, I use them because they are easy to get and inexpensive and work well for me. I hope my how-to is helpful for you! I've been trying to get this finished sooner, but July has been a very crappy month, my car was rear-ended, I had two of the fillings in my teeth fall out and had to get them replaced and it has been super hot and dry here. All around, I could have done without most of this past month. Mark it down to crap happens. On the bright side, I got a new tablet with a nice camera to use for taking pictures for the blog, so not everything this month was horrible. I'm getting a little better at figuring out how to work the blog, though, I haven't mastered it yet, there's a one floating around that I haven't been able to get rid of. There's always something to be annoying!  So, HAVE A GREAT REST OF THIS DAY and HAPPY CRAFTING!!!!!

Saturday, July 13, 2019

A bit of a Product Review #1

I have been using FolkArt's Outdoor Acrylic paint for over a year now on various things. One of the main things I like about it is that it is self-sealing, but you can varnish it with a water-based varnish or sealer.
I used it on the bluebird house that I painted last year...
I used the white as a base coat...
I used the two shades of green for the main colors...
And here it is out on the tree to the side of my apartment, and it is still looking great a year later. The bluebirds like it so much, they stayed in it all winter and started having babies in January this year.
I used the white on these guys, the pear-shaped snowmen, so I wouldn't have to varnish them. They are still looking good, no cracks, or chips, or discoloration.
And I used the white on my paper-mache winter sweater ornament earlier this year and it is still looking good. No cracks, or chips, or discoloration.
Now, recently I have been using the white on my attic door, excuse the crappy picture, my camera couldn't pick up well what my eye can see. The paint as it dried, made all kinds of hairline cracks, they weren't awful, but still, it was annoying. So I sanded the door down and redid it and it happened again and the cracks were worse. So, I went through the process a third time, still cracks but very few this time. So, I'm going to leave them, they are very tiny, the varnish I've decided to use to protect the paint from the bumping and wear and tear of the door being used will fill in the cracks and keep them from getting worse. So, I showed you all the things I've been using the same bottles of paint on so you can see it does hold up well over time, but only to a certain point. Probably the constant opening and closing of the paint bottle didn't help. But when the FolkArt Outdoor paint is new and fresh, it is GREAT! I highly recommend it! If you care to use it, I would say get only the amount you are going to use for the project you want it for and use it up quickly. Acrylic paint, in general, doesn't store well over time, as it starts to go bad it gets thick and gloppy and separates out and no amount of shaking the bottle will fix it.

So, on a scale of one to ten, with one being worst and ten being best, when the FolkArt Outdoor Acrylic Paint is brand new, I give it a ten. When the same bottle of paint is a year old, I'd say you are really pushing your luck using it, the results might not be as good as when the paint was new. So, as the paint in the same bottle gets older, I'd give it a five. Try to use the paint up before it gets to be six months old, after that the quality starts to go downhill.

So, there you go! I hope my product review is helpful to you! The FolkArt Outdoor Acrylic Paint is very easy to use and has low odor and it washes off your paint brushes and your hands with soap and water. If it splatters on to things you don't want it on, wipe it off with a damp paper towel while the splatters are still wet, if the paint dries you'll have to scrap it off. And once it dries on your clothing, it won't come off, so wear old clothes when working with the paint.
So, I hope you all have a GREAT rest of this weekend! Now that I've finally finished with the trials and tribulations of painting the attic door, I'll do posts on here more often. While I was in the thick of it, it was seriously pissing me off and I was determined to make the door turn out at least not bad looking. I wanted to finish it up so I could give an honest review of using the paint.