Halloween Windsocks

I’ve seen this craft all over Pinterest, with a couple of variations, but essentially it’s all the same technique – cans, paint and fabric create your choice of a themed windsock.

Like most of my crafts, it was easy, fun, and then suddenly took a little weird turn but it ended up just fine.

To start, I saved two aluminum cans from cooking during the week. Many of the craft posts suggest using coffee cans, but the coffee we buy comes in a bag, so that wasn’t a choice.

I painted one can white, and the other green. Fun fact: Fabric paint isn’t just for fabric. My only tube of green paint was part of a fabric paint set, but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try it on a can. If it didn’t stick, I could just toss it in the recycle bin and start over.

Painted cans for halloween windsocks

While I waited for the paint to dry, I browsed the internet and my Pinterest board full of doodles and practiced making simple but funny/happy ghost and monster faces.

faces for halloween windsocks

Once I had an idea of what I wanted, I used my black sharpie to draw on the outlines of the faces, and then came back and used black and white paint to fill in the details.

For the ghost, I used duct tape to stick on strips of white vinyl inside the bottom rim of the can for the streamers. I happen to work at a company that has vinyl scraps in the trash, but a trash bag or ribbons or even a vinyl tablecloth cut into strips would also work. At the top, I punched a small hole with a hammer and nail, and then screwed a cup hook into that hole, using a wine cork on the inside to hold it all together.

And then my attention turned to my Frankenstein can. And I realized I had painted it upside down – the open end was at the top.

Whoops! It sure was easier to hold onto while I painted it that way, but now I had to figure out how to put the streamers and hooks on it.

I decided to use a bottle opener to cut holes in the bottom of that can, and then threaded through strips of black material. This is much easier (and much less likely to result in a need for a tetanus shot) if you thread them from the outside into the holes to the inside. I pulled each strip up to where I could reach it, and then tied a big knot in each which keeps it from falling back through the hole.

Alternate bottom for halloween windsocks

For the hanger, I punched holes in the sides and threaded some thin gauge wire through, and then twisted that into a hanging loop at the top.

On both versions, I cut the streamer strips at random heights, and then cut a notch in the bottoms to make them a little more finished.

These were fun to make – my plan is to keep saving cans through the month and keep adding to the collection. I’m thinking a vampire, a pumpkin and maybe a mummy?

Frankenstein Halloween Windsock | SuzerSpace.com

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Paper Bag “Leather” Finish

Simple technique gives a coffee can an upscale finish

I’ve seen a lot up upscale Mod Podge posts on the blogs and Pinterest – really cool things like map covered dresser drawers and tables, and some stunning wall and floor treatments.

Personally, I remember this craft from art camp – tearing tissue paper or napkins and carefully gluing them around a glass votive candle holder to create a stained glass “masterpiece.”

I decided to use this technique to cover a coffee can I keep in my kitchen to keep my dollar bills. It’s my “rainy day” fund – whenever I end up any one dollar bills in my wallet, I move them into this can. This serves two purposes – 1) It means I can’t buy overpriced and really bad for you snack food at the candy machine at work and 2) those dollar bills add up.

This process is pretty straightforward.  I took a paper bag that didn’t have printing on it, and cut two 1″ wide pieces that were long around to go around the diameter of the can. I glued those even at the top and bottom to hide the can edges. Then I tore the bag into small pieces.

paper bag pieces for a coffee can leather finish

I crumpled up and smoothed out the little pieces to give them some texture. And then I realized I didn’t have any Mod Podge in the house. There is an ongoing battle on the Internet on whether you can just use watered down Elmer’s glue for this, and I’d say for a project like this, the answer is yes.

To keep from ruining a foam sponge, I went a messier route. I dipped each little crumpled piece into a tub of water, and then wrung it out. I then squirted a little Elmer’s on the piece, and rubbed the glue into the water into the paper. I then applied them onto the can, being sure to overlap enough so none of the can showed below. The glue is water based, so all the mess washed off my hands pretty easily.

I think because I used watered down glue instead of Mod Podge it ended up without the shiny finish. So while this was supposed to look like leather, it kind of looks more like cork. I like it, and my dollar bills are now living a classier life in my new decorative finished can.

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New life for old cushions

Simple sewing and a sale on towels upgrade an old glider

My former next door neighbor was a super lovely woman with an interesting life history. She also had a love of outdoor furniture, and I had asked her once where she had bought a particular set because I was looking for something similar for our screened in porch. She didn’t
remember, but several years later when she decided to replace that set, she gifted it to us.

Technically she said it was a loan, but we both knew she was never going to ask for it back.

The main piece is a glider, and it was probably built in the late ‘60s. It isn’t that cool vintage kind of piece, it’s just an old glider that had seen better days. Some scrubbing and some WD-40 fixed up the metal glider part, but the cushions were a whole other story.

The main fabric was stiff and scratchy, and they had bare spots from use and from where mice had burrowed into them when they were in winter storage.

new life for old cushions
Here’s a before look at one of the old cushions. And this is the “good” one without all the bitten off parts

My plan at the time was to replace them, so I threw an old sheet over them and we used the glider that season. At the end of the season I saw cushions go on sale and tried to find three that matched in the size I needed, and that wasn’t possible.

I repeated this scenario for, uh, 10 years. Didn’t mean to, just never remembered to do anything about it, or refused to pay the price for new cushions. I really don’t understand why outside furniture and accessories are so expensive.

At the beginning of this summer, Mom handed down a really great sewing machine. And I saw on another blog a post about how to make simple cushion covers. The technique didn’t really work for the cushions I had, but it got my wheels turning.

And then I saw this tutorial on making an envelope style pillow case, and I began to wonder if I could make something like that for my
cushions. Make cushion covers, not buy new cushions.

At the beginning of the summer, Target had a sale on beach towels. Boom! (that’s the sound the confetti cannon in my mind makes when a project comes together).

I didn’t use a pattern, but the process was pretty straightforward – sew two towels together on  the short end, right sides together.

Towels give new life to old cushions

Set the cushion on the new double long towel and overlap the top and bottom so the tucked in envelope portion would be invisible on the back. towels create covers that give new life to old cushions

I measured and pinned the sides, and sewed using the stripes as my guideline.

Envelope style cover made from towels gives new life to old outdoor cushions

 

I sewed double seams to make this extra sturdy. And while each cover is defective in it’s own way (I often lose track of right sides and seam allowances when I work), they are light years better than what was there before.

Towels sewn in an envelope style pillow cushion cover give new life to old outdoor furniture | suzerspace.com

Wrestling the cushions into the covers was also a little challenging, but it was worth it, because the finished look is great, and they can come off and run through the wash if needed.

And if they get super grungy or I just get tired of the color scheme, I bet Target has a towel sale again 🙂

Featured at Threading My Way

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Hand Painted Ladybug Planter

Another quick Sharpie upcycle craft

Buoyed by my success with my Happy Face Planter, I set about to use my new skill set (tracing shapes and filling them in with Sharpies!).

Ladybugs seemed a good choice for this craft, since they are basically a bunch of circles.

I traced a quarter and a dime onto a cereal box and cut them out with scissors. And then I cut out a pie shaped slice out of the quarter circle.

templates for the ladybug planter

Using a red Sharpie, I traced that shape onto my terra cotta pot. I didn’t even wash it, and I don’t care about the cracks. Switching to a black marker, I slid the dime size circle slightly downward into the big circle for the head, and slightly upward into the big circle to give me the guide for the reveal of the body. For the head and body parts, I didn’t trace the whole circle – just where it met the red one.

Outlined shapes for the ladybug planter

And then I colored them in. Just as with the Happy Face planter, you really only need a steady hand close to the edges; you can be pretty sloppy on the fill in area. I freehanded the swirls for the antennae. I let the red wing parts dry before free handing the little dots for the body.

I repeated the pattern mostly randomly around the pot, and now I have another cute planter for my deck.

 

Featured at Snickerdoodle Create Bake Make

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Etched Glasses

An easy way to personalize barware

 

Mr. SuzerSpace and I like ice-cold drinks on the weekends. In fact, we even have a special recipe for a beer based drink.

Unfortunately, one of us tends to put down her glass and lose track of it, and then drink the other person’s drink.

The obvious solution would be to etch our names on our glasses. But what fun would be obvious be?

Instead, I chose to etch “Mine” and “Not Yours” on a set of glasses.

This is an easy craft – all of the instructions are on the back of the etching cream bottle. And using my Silhouette Cameo to create the stencil made it even easier.

In Silhouette Studio

I set up in Silhouette Studio two rectangles the maximum size of what I wanted the words to be. And then I typed them inside that rectangle in a big bold font. From my paint stencil project, I know it’s best to give yourself extra taped off area so as not to drip on the finished piece.

words for etched glasses

I sent that to cut on contact paper, and then weeded the letters out of the big rectangle.  The goal is to make a stencil for the etching cream. Contact paper is a good choice here because the stencil is going to be thrown away, but it needs to be super sticky to protect the areas you don’t want etched.

I used transfer tape to move the stencil to the glass. I probably could have moved the “Mine” one without the tape, but the “Not Yours” version has those little parts inside the “o” (those are called counters) and it’s easier to move that with the tape.

Final Assembly

After I washed the glass and cleaned it one last time with an alcohol wipe to get off any grease, I applied the contact paper stencil and then applied the etching cream. I wore gloves and worked outside for this project because etching cream is an acid and I don’t want to lose any skin (or countertop).

mask for etched glasses applied to with transfer tape
Gridded transfer tape makes moving a contact paper mask for etching glasses easier.

After the required time was up, I washed off the cream, washed and dried the glass and then repeated the process on the second glass.

And now I have a very unique set of glasses for weekend drinking!

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