MyStoryART is a delightful, eclectic blog that passionately shares with readers and listeners, wisdom tales and art adventures in mixed media, digital collage, polymer clay, assemblages, jewelry, tutorials, thrifty art tips and techniques. Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Introducing the Whimsy Pumpkin Gals...

What a great summer we had in Victoria! The weather was spectacular and I got to spend a fair amount of time in one of my favourite places... the beach. 

Hubby and I also had a lovely week up in the Okanogan (Canada's wine country in the interior of British Columbia) sampling all the wines and having a very delicious experience in the five star restaurants attached to the wineries. 

In September, we ducked down south of the border to Portland for a stay at the Kennedy School hotel for few days and then over the Oregon shore visiting Cannon Beach, Seaside and Fort Stevens.  How lovely it is at Fort Stevens with its miles and miles of white sand. The drive back up through Washington state is one that I always enjoy. Yep it was a good summer all around.

I was anxious to get home... I missed messing around in my art room and I had a big box of goodies from Blick that I brought back with me that I could hardly wait to get into.  Nothing like a couple of weeks away from creating (and a trip to the art store) to get my juices going again.  And.. with Halloween around the corner, the idea for the Pumpkin Gals popped into my head one morning while I was at the pool (I do my version of water aerobics every morning for an hour or so at the crack of dawn).  What fun it has been coming up with these two beauties! 

I chuckle every time I look at them... and now that they are finished I am a bit sad... the juice, the fun is always in the getting ready to create phase and in the creating itself!!

Now I just know you are going to ask...what are they made of?  It's polymer clay sculpted over very large glass Christmas bulbs.  The bat and the cat are also made of polymer clay. The bat is attached to a pipe cleaner so that it moves when you touch it.  The cat just lounges around and looks smugly cool!  They are free standing but can also be hung on a Halloween tree or in a window.  I just chuckle every time I look at those false eyelashes!

Halloween is just around the corner... what are you going to create???

Till next time, have an artsy week,

Posts from the Past..Chapter 1

Today. with close to 200 blog posts already under my belt,  I thought I would go back into the blog "archives" and pull up a couple older posts you may not have seen when they were first published OR if you are a more recent/new visitor to myStoryART you may not have discovered yet.

First up is a blog post from July 2010 "Feeling Stuck, Bogged Down, Need Some Inspiration?"  That's kinda how I felt this morning when I started this post!!  Once again I had put my thinking cap somewhere and darn it, I couldn't find it. So I took my own advice... and I am back in the groove!

As many of you know, I love stories.  So here's a short, ah... romantic tale...from 2009 that, guaranteed,  will bring a smile to your face ... one you may have missed along the way... The Storm

Hope you have a wonderful week... and I will do this one again... it was fun taking a look back at older posts!!


Chalkboard Labels for the Spice in Your Life

Here is a quick project that I completed on a recent Saturday morning... chalkboard labels for my spice jars.

Originally I purchased a spice jar "spindle" at a garage sale with the idea of using it in my art room.  The spindle doesn't take up much space (and I need lots in my art space) and the bottles are very handy for storing little stuff like seed beads, pins, elastic bands, x-acto knife blades, eyeballs (yes, you read that right...made from clay) and other small things that you use a lot.  I already have one and thought a second one would be handy...after all there are 16 bottles to have fun filling up!!  And then...

I got a new RED KitchenAid mixer... the super duper one that you can make all sorts of wonderful things with especially bread!!

I love baking bread and as hubby says:  "You are probably the only person I will ever know who could burn out a KitchenAid making bread and goodies!"  That's exactly what I did recently to the one I have had for 10 years.  Oh it still works but only at beating speeds... okay for whipped cream...not good for bread kneading.

I decided that perhaps it might be an idea to paint this spindle the same colour as my new machine, put some cute labels on the end and free up some space in the cupboard.  Being an avid cook, I have more herbs and spices than you could possibly imagine... a whole cupboard full of them!!  And yes, in case you are wondering, I use them all.

Thanks to my friend Geraldine, I was able to borrow her 1-1/2" round punch (just the perfect size for the tops of the bottles) to get the job done.  A few minutes on the web produced a plethora of free labels for personalizing and printing.

Interested in doing this kind of project?  Here's what you need:

Avery full Label Sheets #5165,5265™, 5975™, 6465™, 8165™, 8465™ (anyone of these will work)
Clear contact paper
A 1-1/2" round punch

World Label has free templates for different types of labels, many of which you can personalize on your computer and then print off. The chalkboard ones can be found here.

Once I completed filling out the template, I reduced the size of the graphic in my graphics program to make the labels smaller.  You may need to fiddle with this a little bit to get the labels down to 1-1/2" in order to fit on the tops of the bottles.

You can find all sorts of labels there for labeling jars in your pantry.  I save the mason jars from store bought sauces and then fill them up with nuts, dried fruit, rice, quinoa, beans, etc.. and slap a label on the front.  Using clear contact paper on the front of the label means that you can (carefully) clean the bottle when you refill it.  As hubby found out recently... don't let it soak in the washing up water while you check the latest news on your laptop...your label will be ....uhh... toast!!

Have fun with this project.  Your cupboards will definitely pass the "mother in law" test once all your spice jars are done!

Till next time,

The Happy Gardener Reycyles Cookie Tins!

These past couple of weeks have been spent sprucing up my "secret" side garden and the deck off my living room with flowers, flowers and more flowers.  It's just lovely sitting out there with my morning coffee and my Kobo... a little read,a cup of good coffee, some sunshine and this kid is a happy camper!

First let me tell you about those flower boxes.  They are the best thing since sliced bread for putting over a railing.  They are adjustable to the width of the railing but the best thing is that they have a leveling piece on the bottom of them that allows them to remain upright... no sagging, no danger they will fall over or off.  They also have a reservoir in the bottom of them so that in warm weather your plants won't be suffering from thirst.  They are more expensive than most planter boxes but worth every penny.  Called "fence and railing planters", they are available from LeeValley.

Recycled Cookie Tin Project

One fine sunny day, in the early days of spring, I was cleaning up and clearing out "stuff" that had been lingering forgotten in my downstairs pantry.  I came across some old cookie tins I had been saving for a couple of years.  They were the big ones from Costco that had once held some very delicious Christmas cookies.  I couldn't remember why I was saving them so they were earmarked for the recycling bin.

As I was about to place them in the bin and send them to recycling heaven, it hit me.  Of course, use them to plant flowers in this summer!  But boy the first thing they would need would be a paint job and some sprucing up.  They were okay as cookie tins but pretty ugly for fleurs!!

Over to the hardware store I went to buy some primer paint and some hot red and yellow spray paint for the second coat. Well it was a bit too nippy outside to do any painting so I had to put the project on hold till it warmed up some outside.  But in the meantime...

I went looking for vintage flower seed packet graphics and found  a whole collection of Seed Catalogues at the Smithsonian digital collection.

I found a bunch I liked, re-sized them in my graphics program to fit the sides of the cookie tins and printed them off.  Because they will be outside all summer, I decided to ModgePodge them with a couple of coats to protect them from inclement weather.

Fast forward to a warm spring day.  Out the door into the backyard I went with a big cardboard box, my primer paint and the tins.  Put the tins in the box to paint as spray paint goes all over.  Even being as careful as I was with both the primer and finish coat of red, I ended up with some rather pretty but unusual colored grass!!

Take your time painting inside and out.  Get into all the crevices with the primer.  Let it dry thoroughly... best to wait overnight.  The next day you can start with the your chosen finish colour for the outside of the tin.  You really don't need to do the inside.

Once your tins are thoroughly dry, you can modge podge your graphics to the sides of the tin.  Do all four sides as you may be turning the plants around for even blooming. Punch a bunch of holes in the bottom of the tin. Take a kitchen garbage bag and cut it to fit inside the tin, fill it with dirt and then your plants.

I made three of them... two red ones for the bench in my secret garden and one yellow one that sits on the table at our front door...

Happy Gardening,


Fun Projects - Messenger Bag/Tutorial

Well my friend Karen recently "lightly and gently" scolded me for not posting more often! "it doesn't have to be a long post you know... you do some cool projects we all want to see."

Okay, my friend, I promise I will do a series of small posts over the summer.  And the first one is the "I need to grab my wallet and go to the store" messenger bag project I just completed a couple of days ago.

I don't know about you, but I ABSOLUTELY do not like having to haul my big tote bag (with everything but the kitchen sink in it...) to the grocery store or the beach.  So one day last week with a couple of hours to play in my sewing room, I decided to make a small kid sized messenger bag that fits my sunglasses, my wallet and keys. Here are the 5 things I like about it:

1. strap is wide and fits either over my shoulder and diagonally across my body
2. was made from left over fabric in my stash
3. has a little inner pocket to tuck my car/house keys in
4. washable
5. lined with iron on fleece to give it shape and body

 Here's a photo of the finished project:

I made the "body" out of jean fabric, lined it with the outer fabric and used another piece of fabric for the strap.  It's a great way to use up those scraps of fabric from other projects.

Here are the fabric size cutting instructions I used for my bag:

Flap - 1 - print fabric - 9.5" x 8"
Flap Lining - 1 - jean fabric - 9.5 x 8"

Body - 1 - jean fabric - 12" x 17"
Body Lining - 1 - print fabric - 12" x 17" 

Strap - 1 - print fabric - 40" long x 4.5" wide

Iron on fleece - for strap - 40" long x 4" wide
               - for flap - 1 piece - 9.5" x 8"
               - for body - 1 piece - 12" x 17"

You can find excellent picture sewing instructions for a kids messenger bag here. 

If you want to add an inner pocket, there are also instructions at the site for measurements and how to do it.

The pictorial is especially helpful if you need some assistance in learning how to attach the lining and strap to the bag.  It is easy as pie once you "get it" but it can drive you to drink (chuckle) if you don't know how... it is not an intuitive assembly!!

If you want to add a magnetic snap to the bag, do it before you assemble it!!  I forgot and then decided to just leave it off altogether rather than mess it up!

To strengthen the strap and allow it to "lie" nicely, top-stitch it on both sides and sew a couple of "lines" through the length of the strap.

So there you have it... use up your stash...make one for yourself, one for a friend, a neighbour, a favourite sister or niece and while you are at it why not make one for each of your kids, your grandkids, the neighbour kids, their friends... Just kidding...

Happy Sewing,