• Live Life Inspired. Dream With Possibility! Donna Downey
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Beautiful Life Wall Hanging

This was a project I made for Helmar that went to CHA to go in the booth.  I miss it!  This paper line from Bo Bunny really looked great in my living room – going to have to hunt down some more and make a new one, lol!  For the base of the wall hanging, I used chipboard pieces from Creekbank Creations.  I think I’ve mentioned their chipboard before as I use it especially on jewelry.  It’s much denser than anything else on the market so it’s super strong and will hold up to any kind of application – paint, Mod Podge, inks, etc. without any warping.  They are local for me, so I can get my hands on their products easily but it’s not as readily available elsewhere so if you’d like to try it, you’d probably need to check their online store or see them at an event.  They have a whole second “store” that travels to all the CK conventions and lots of other events.  So if you’re at one of those, stop by and try this chipboard – they have lots of mini books and shapes and pages of cutouts plus will do custom word books.

Anyways, back to the project.  Again, I relied mainly on the paper and a page of cutouts that goes with the Beautiful Life line and just accented with lots of Stickles.  Some Prima flowers and epoxy washers from EK (Rebecca Sower’s Attic line) and a piece of ribbon from American Crafts and lots of Helmar adhesives to put it all together!  The little wooden house shape was a craft store find – they came in a package of four for $1, I think.

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Heart Canvas Frame

Oops!  Still trying to get all these Valentine’s projects posted before the end of February.  😉

This little canvas frame took NO time at all.  You could literally make this in a half hour and give it for a gift a couple hours later (just to be sure the paint and glue were totally dry, lol).  The frame is one that EK used to sell – not sure if they still do or not?  Being canvas, it takes paint like a dream and I used Jacquard Lumiere paint to cover it in pink.  The rest is simply adding a few Prima flowers and some pre-glittered chipboard shapes from Scrapworks.  I used Helmar’s 450 Quick Dry Adhesive so it dried fast and strong.  Done!  Change up the colors and theme and you can have instant gifts for family, friends, relatives, teachers…

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Jasmine Dragon Phoenix Pearls

That would be these.

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My friend Kary and I went out for coffee yesterday morning and the coffee shop had these in a glass on the counter.  So here I am, ordering my frozen blended coffee concoction and eyeing these.  Pretty, aren’t they?  Well, of course Kary notices me looking at them.  And being the good friend that she is, SHE knows just WHY I’m looking at them.  And laughs at me.  😉  Now don’t get me wrong – I LOVE tea.  More of a coffee person these days,  but love the occasional cup of tea.  Especially a good tea.  But of course, I wasn’t originally thinking of drinking these, lol.

Did some research on these and here’s what I found:

Tea enriched with the fragrance of jasmine flowers has been a favorite since the Sung Dynasty ruled China 800 years ago. The jasmine plant was brought to China from Persia before the third century. These intoxicatingly fragrant flowers first made their appearance in tea around the fifth century.

Dragon Phoenix Pearl gets its name from the tea bushes “climbing the hillsides like a Dragon rising from the waters”. It is grown in a mountainous, often fog shrouded area near the border of the Fujian and Jiangxi provinces. Dragon Phoenix Pearl is one of the finest jasmines shipped from the port of Foochow.

The tea is plucked in April and May and stored until August when the finest jasmine blossoms are in bloom. Night blooming white jasmine flowers are picked in the morning when the tiny petals are tightly closed and kept cool until nightfall. In the early evening the flowers begin to open with a popping sound which is the signal for the scenting to begin.

Once open, the “mating” of the jasmine and tea leaves takes place in several applications, each taking up to four hours, after which the jasmine petals are removed. Once the petals are removed each leaf and bud set are skillfully hand rolled into a tiny pearl size ball. The tea is then wrapped in silk mesh and dried to set the form.

During infusion the boiling water causes the tiny pearls to open like flowers and then sink slowly to the bottom of the cup. We recommend placing 18 to 20 of these tiny pearls in a clear glass cup to watch their graceful unfurling. The superb fresh bouquet, delicate flavor and unique leaf shape make this tea extra special.

Let me tell you – these smell AMAZING.  So I bought some.  Kary followed me home to watch (she knew) and the minute I got in the door I tried to poke a hole in one with a needle tool.  I tried stabilizing them with Future Floor Finish first (just turned their pretty colors to a dark, shiny brown).  I tried wetting them down first.  Unfortunately, there just is not a way to string these.

So with Kary giggling and offering helpful suggestions along the way (I am soooo converting her to a crafty girl!), I began testing other options.  I cut a small piece of acrylic and began gluing the pearls onto it using Helmar’s 450 Quick Dry Adhesive.  Kary suggested it might look better if I added some color to the acrylic so I pulled out some alcohol inks and dabbed the back, then added a silver bail and popped it onto a hemp cord.  I actually braided some of the cord but forgot to string it before tying off the knots and didn’t feel like re-doing it for the photo, lol.  But anyways.  Here’s my tea pendant.

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And yes – it tastes every bit as heavenly as it smells!


Adore Candle Holder

This was a fun project!  Ever made your own “glass glitter”?  Great for working out frustrations, lol!

After Christmas I purchased some clearance gold ball ornaments.  The super cheap kind that I think ended up costing about $.75 for a package of 24 mini’s (about 1.5″ diameter, I think).  To set up for this, I took an old wooden kitchen cutting board (this is going to mangle it, so don’t use your good one!)  You could also use just a sheet of scrap wood.  Grab some protective eyewear as well!

I put a few baubles at a time (remove the metal hanger part) into a ziploc baggie (you’ll go through several of these as well) and just started pounding on it with a hammer to break them up.  Every so often, add more baubles and as the baggie gets too beat up to be sure you’re containing all the tiny shards, switch to a new one.  Keep hammering until the shards are a size to your liking (you’ll have a mixture ranging from the shards down to dust all mixed together).  I store mine in an old Prima bottle and it’s so pretty!

Now, for the candle holder itself, I grabbed a little votive holder from the dollar store (you can get these cheap ones just about anywhere from your local craft store to dollar stores to department stores).  I used Helmar’s Professional Acid Free Glue – which is a white glue that sets clear.  Holding the candle holder from the inside, SMOTHER the outside in this glue.  You want a thick coating that isn’t running down the glass though.  Then just start adding the glitter, pressing it in and working with it to be sure it’s not “melting” down the side.  At this point, it honestly looks like crud.  The white glue WILL take a few days to completely dry to clear because it’s on so thick and being covered with the glitter doesn’t allow air to get to it quickly.  Patience!  I set mine on its bottom, then a few hours later smooshed things back into place that had run a bit and flipped it over.  Repeat this until it’s no longer sliding around on the glass and then just wait for it to finish drying to clear (you can see this by looking through the inside).

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To finish it off, I found this velvet ribbon with slider from EK (an older line – can’t remember if it was that family line or the Rebecca Sower line).  It was originally self-adhesive, but of course I used some more of the Helmar to be sure it was going to stick to this bumpy surface.  I also pre-bent the curve into the slider before attaching it.  That’s it!

This looks awesome with a light in it.  I use those little battery operated tealight candles in anything I’m not sure I can wash out if candle wax drips.  It looks even better in a little grouping of candles with the light from the other candles flickering off of this one!

Bittersweet Hearts Canvas

Ready for the late Valentine’s Day flurry?  I know.  You usually get the bulk of my holiday items right after the holiday, lol, but it’s because they’ve been in Scrapbook News + Review magazine and I can’t post them here until the month following the issue debut!  This is a 16″x20″ canvas I did using the new Basic Grey Bittersweet collection and a couple of fun techniques.  Oh!  And I’ve also got another Valentine project (a small dollar store frame) up at the Helmar DT blog today – be sure to check that one out for another fun technique!

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Let’s start with the canvas itself.  I knew the effect I wanted, but on a canvas this size, knew I didn’t have enough Glimmer Mists or even the right shade to make this work.  So I made my own spray.  I took a spray bottle (actually it was the one I was using to spray the cat when he did something bad so now I need to get a new one for that purpose, lol) and mixed several shades of Lumiere paint (Jacquard), Pearl Ex (Jacquard), walnut ink crystals (to tone it down when it was a bit too bright) and water.  I couldn’t begin to tell you how much of what colors because I looked like a mad scientist – add a bit of this and a lot of that – until I got it to spray the way I wanted.  Then I layered it onto the canvas.  The first couple of layers I sprayed then wiped with a soft cloth (first one direction then the other, alternating as each layer dried) then started letting some of the droplets remain so it didn’t look so precise.

Then there was the issue of the hearts.  I do have a heart punch somewhere, but only about a 1″ size and I wanted a much bigger one.  So I looked for one.  For a week or two.  In every store within an hour of here.  LSS’s, craft stores – NO ONE had a heart punch in anything over about an inch.  A month before Valentine’s Day.  I was livid, lol!  When I was a distribution buyer, I always made sure we had those in stock well in advance of the holiday so that when the stores began prepping for Valentine’s Day we’d have them ready for them (so I had them in stock back in early December).  Well apparently with the influx of diecutting machines (which I’ve still never broken down and bought), no one carries much in the way of punches anymore – even basics like a heart.  Sooooo, I dug out my old trusty Coluzzle.  Yea, I’m old school, lol!  And proceeded to cut almost 200 hearts out of each sheet out of the Bittersweet pack (I still have a TON of this paper left too – just no full sheets).  Then I used Scribbles to outline the edges of every single heart with a clear glitter to get a subtle sparkle.  I usually don’t spend this kind of time on projects, but this one took several days to complete.

I finished up by tracing one of the 8″ Making Memories chipboard hearts from a couple of years ago (watch for the heart itself to show up as a magnet I made) onto the canvas and began layering the hearts into a heart shape.  I built up layers using Helmar Liquid Scrap Dots.  These are so cool!  I used an entire tube of them on this but just couldn’t stop myself from layering them higher and higher, lol!  They do take some time to dry so I could only do a few layers at a time then would have to stop to allow them to dry so that I didn’t inadvertently flatten them when I pressed on the next layer.  But it was addictive, lol, and I loved watching it take shape as the layers built up!

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Catching up – Love Blocks

Wow.  I keep sitting down to blog and just can’t seem to get it done, lol!  Re-discovered Twittering though, lol, so if you REALLY want to know what’s happening in the oh-so-exciting life of Jenna, you’re welcome to follow me!  I’m michaelcsmommyj on there, since I can’t for the life of me figure out how to put one of those cute little feeds in my sidebar (WordPress has issues with different kinds of code being put on their blogs – apparently the version I tried wasn’t well liked…).  🙂

Meanwhile, I have all kinds of things I need to get caught up on here!  Some projects that I can share (hehe, and some I can’t!), news, several weeks worth of Shout Outs, lol!

So let’s start with a project I made for the Helmar Adhesives DT.  Have I mentioned how much I love their adhesives?  I’m waiting for our DT coordinator to send out new boxes of everything I’ve already run out of, lol!  This started out as just four little unfinished 1.5″ wood blocks (Lara’s Crafts).

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I painted all the edges pink (Making Memories) then trimmed the Basic Grey paper to fit.  I used the Helmar Professional Acid Free Glue to adhere the papers to the wood – this really works well for this purpose and dries fast so you can keep moving right along!  I used the Helmar 450 Quick Dry Adhesive to attach the letters.  The letters are actually old L’il Davis Designs clay letters.  They were originally gold and silver but I dabbed on some of the Making Memories paint then added some glitter (Art Institute Glitter) over the top of the wet paint.

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I spritzed some Prima flowers (using flowers to mimic leaves as well) lightly with Glimmer Mists and attached them and the rhinestone centers (Westrim) with the Helmar 450 Quick Dry Adhesive as well.

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The final step was to use Swarovski beads (Cousin Corp) and Helmar Gemstone Glue to build up the final tower.  It makes a nice little decor item for a tabletop.  🙂

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Another Birdhouse

It’s been a while since I’ve made one of these!  I’ve missed it.  But I pre-painted up several of them so plan on seeing some more here soon!

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This one used some K & Co. papers I fell in love with.  They match my living room, lol.  Or at least two of the colors in my living room.  anyways, I took some felt flowers from Creative Impressions and spritz them with Glimmer Mist and then added Making Memories crystal brads to the center.  But wait!  I used Helmar 450 Quick Dry Adhesive to attach them.  Tracy, our DT leader had mentioned that the 450 wasn’t suitable for use with flat-backed crystals because it reacted with the backs of them.  Well, enough of the glue went past the prongs and hit the crystal backs.  And reacted.  And it is actually a really cool look, lol!  It’s no longer got that faceted crystal look, but more of a crackled…I don’t know, but I like it.

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I also used the Helmar 450 to attach this metallic ribbon from Michael’s to the rooflines.  It’s a slippery ribbon, so the quick grab on the 450 made this soooo much easier.

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And, of course, Mod Podge and acrylic paint from Plaid round out the supply list.