Category Archives: Home Decor

Graham Crafter is BACK!

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If we were still in elementary school, I should have to write “I have neglected my blog.” 50 times as punishment.  We’re not, so I’ll just claim that I’ve been busy. But, it’s a good busy… I bought a house! It has needed a lot of work.  So basically, I’ve purchased the most expensive craft project in history.

I’m going to use GrahamCrafter to post a few before and after shots, and also to post some how-to projects.  I’ll continue with regular craft projects, as well.

I’ll start with the master bedroom redo.  Here are a few “before” shots:

Bedroom1  Bedroom2

Let me start by saying I don’t care for blue.  At all.  And this was a lot of blue.  Here is the after…

Bedroom3

The re-decorating included: Behr “Plum Smoke” paint, new carpet, new blinds, Martha Stewart bedding, some new furniture, some refreshed old furniture, a new light fixture, new lamps,  and new wall hangings.  Here is another shot:

Bedroom4

I probably should have pushed the fabric drawers in a little more neatly before I took the picture, but I didn’t think of it until later.  You might be looking at this photo wondering, “what are those little doors for?” Well, I’ll tell you… they’re for the best spot in the house:

Bedroom5

 

Project #14: Glitter Jars

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OK, this is a really easy and really quick project.  I had something else in mind for tonight and it was a total disaster.  So, I had to come up with something on the fly.  AND the Tigers have a playoff game tonight so it had to be quick.  Glitter jars it is!

We’ll start with the supplies.  You need a jar (clean out a food jar and remove the label), glitter, Modge Podge, a cheapo foam brush, and possibly ribbon or cardstock to add a little decoration.  You may also want a file folder (more on that later.)

There aren’t really many steps here.  You basically just brush on the Modge Podge and then dump on the glitter.  BUT! I have a little tip for you.  Open the file folder and lay it down before you dump the glitter… then read on…

After you’ve dumped all that glitter onto the jar, you probably have a mess that looks something like this:

If you used the file folder, you now have an easy way to clean up the glitter with as little mess as possible.  Just shake the glitter into the crease and use the folder to funnel your little sparkles of wonder back into the jar.

Happy Crafting!

Project #12: Wood Block Photo Transfer

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If you check out the early days of Graham Crafter, you’ll see that some of the first projects were in preparation for my sister’s wedding.  Today’s project was post-wedding… once we had the photos.  All of the beautiful photos came from Timeless Elegance Photography.  I can’t say enough good things about them.

I was inspired to make this project after watching this succinct but adorable video on wood block photo transfers:

That video pretty much sums it up, but if I left it at that, this wouldn’t be much of a blog post.  So we’ll start with supplies.  Please note that not all the supplies are pictured.  I only photographed the ones I used to make the photo blocks.   The other stuff came about later as I worked to assemble one pretty, finished product.  You will need: photos printed on regular copy paper (printed in reverse – more on that later), acrylic gel medium (I used Liquitex), wood blocks (I used unfinished wood plaques I found at the Hobby Lobby), craft acrylic paint, the ever-useful cheapo foam brush, Modge Podge, ribbon, and scrapbook paper.  You may also want the little decorative touch – I chose a silk orchid because orchids were the main flower at the wedding.

First things first… I painted the edges of the wood plaque (the parts that won’t be the area for the photo transfer.)  If you’re using a more rustic piece of wood or going for an unfinished look, you may want to skip the paint.

Start by doing the photo transfer.  The very beginning is to print your photos.  They work best on a laser printer using regular copy paper.  You should have a setting on your printer to print the image in reverse.  Because we’ll be laying the photo face down, NOT printing it in reverse will make your people look backwards.  Trim away the edges of the photo to make it fit your space.  Then cover the space for the photo in gel medium.  Gel medium is pretty thick and looks like really heavy glue when you first apply it.  The thicker the coverage, the fuller your image transfer will be.  So if you want a more rustic look, use a bit thinner coat.  But let’s be real – this bride and these bridesmaids will look good no matter what.

 

Once the gel medium is on, lay the photo face down.  Smooth out any wrinkles and bubbles.  The photos don’t maybe show this step real well.  Check out the video above.  After this dried a bit, I touched up the painted edges.  Let the entire thing dry overnight.

 

The next day, your block will look exactly the same, but dry.  You now need a bowl of water and a sponge.  Using the sponge, get the paper wet and start removing the paper.  Once it’s good and soaked, use your fingers to start peeling away the paper.  The image will have transferred to the gel medium.  It’s MAGIC! If only they made gel medium with glitter.  You know what else is magic? That between trimming and peeling away the paper, a photo of bridesmaids turned into a photo of the happy couple.

 

Scraping away the paper might take a while.  You might have to go back and get little bits that stuck around the first time.  But once you’re done, let everything dry and brush on some Modge Podge to seal the deal.  This is magical Modge Podge – it turned the photo BACK into the bridesmaids!

From here on out, assembling this project looks a lot like Project #10: Halloween Sign.  Use a staple gun to attach the ribbon that connects the blocks to each other.  I used two strands of thinner ribbon and tied them into a bow at the top.  For a bit of added fancy, I used Modge Podge to add scrapbook paper to the back of the photo blocks.  This covers up the ribbon and staples, and generally classes up the joint a bit.

 

At the very end, I used my trusty glue gun to attach the orchid.

When you’re done, give the awesome finished project to your sister and favorite brother-in-law.  Then watch your sister try to decide where to hang it.  Happy Crafting!

Project #10: Wood Block Halloween Sign

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So, it may feel early for Halloween… but as far as I’m concerned, after Labor Day = Fall.  And Fall = Halloween.  At this moment, fall also = that season when the Tigers can’t score a damn run.  So there’s that.  Also, this idea can be used for a million different projects, so don’t feel like you need to start an exclusive relationship with Halloween.  Originally, I got this project from one of those free sheets at Michaels.  But, I made a few tweaks to wind up with my finished product.

As always, we’ll start with supplies.  Here’s whatcha need: Small wood blocks (sold in the wood section of any craft store;  the 4-inch size are less than a dollar each), scrapbook paper, wide ribbon, craft acrylic paint, a cheapo foam brush, and something called a D-ring (usually they’re in the jewelry-making section or the make-your-own purse section.  I’ve never made my own purse.  I leave that to the pros at Nine West.)  You also need a staple gun.

This one starts easily enough.  Paint your blocks.  Here’s the part where I tell you that the step-by-step photos depict one sign and the “finished product” photos depict another.  I made several of these and took the photos a few days apart.  But you get the idea.  I did a couple coats of orange and then a couple coats of orange glitter.  I LOVE GLITTER.  Let the paint dry completely before moving on.

 

Next comes the scrapbook paper.  Cut squares to fit onto the top of your wood plaque.  For the 4″ wood squares, I cut 3″ paper squares.  No need to measure super carefully, just hold the paper up OH MY GOD THE TIGERS SCORED 2 RUNS! to the plaque and eyeball it.  You’ll also need to cut out the letters in contrasting colors.  I used my Cricut (thanks, Erin!), but if you don’t have one, cut letters with an exacto knife or use stickers.

Using the Modge Podge, glue the paper square to the top of the plaque.  Be sure to press out any wrinkles and let it dry a bit.  Then glue a letter to each square.  Let everything dry before you slop on the Modge Podge as shellac.  Then, slop on the Modge Podge as shellac.

 

All the messy stuff is done.  Let the blocks dry and cut your ribbon long enough to hold the blocks, leaving some space at the ends.  Then, using the staple gun, attach the ribbon the the back of the blocks.  Staple guns are so handy.  I keep mine in the toolbox my Dad got me for Christmas.  Yep, you read that right.  My Dad got me a toolbox for Christmas.  He worked at the Home Depot after retiring.  He astutely pointed out that perhaps I’d have preferred he got a job at the Gap.

All that’s left is the D-Ring.  Just fold a bit of the ribbon over it and glue. I used a bit of super glue and then Modge Podge to prevent frayed edges.

Here is a fancy photo of the finished sign hanging on  my wall.  Happy Crafting and Happy Halloween!

Project #1 – Ribbon Pillow

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Well, here it is… the Graham Crafter Blog.  Sometimes I make things, and sometimes people like them.  This is the place where I’ll show you how to make them, too.  The first project is a relatively easy pillow.  I took my inspiration from a ridiculously overpriced version at Pier One.  And if you know me, I won’t buy it if I can make it.  And, my couch came from Ikea, so I felt like the pillow should not be the most expensive thing in the living room.  This project does require that you know how to sew, but it’s all straight line sewing – no need to read a pattern!

To start, choose your materials: 5 or 6 spools of ribbon in different colors.  You can be creative with the width and texture, but you probably don’t want to go less than 1/2″ wide.  Cut the ribbon into 19″ strips.  You’ll also need two pieces of fabric, cut 18″ square.  I chose an upholstery fabric because it’s a heavier – nice for a throw pillow.  Unless you want just a pillowcase and not an actual pillow, you will also need stuffing (available at pretty much any craft store).  Finally, you’ll need thread and fusible “stitch witchery” (also available at pretty much any craft store, or even grocery superstores that have craft sections).  “Stitch witchery” is also known as “that crap you use with the iron when you don’t want to actually hem your pants.”  Oh, and you should probably use a sewing machine, but if you’re brave enough to hand sew – go for it!

Materials

To start, cut a piece of stitch witchery the same length as your first ribbon.  Place it at the bottom edge of the ribbon and iron it to the top of a fabric square.  Follow the directions on the stitch witchery package to determine the temperature of the iron.  You’ll want to start at the top and work your way down.  Keep adding ribbons in this manner until you reach the bottom.  If you’re anything like me, the ribbon ironing will take a week, because you only do like 3 at a time before you get bored.

Note to Self: paint your nails next time you have to take pictures of your hand for the Graham Crafter Blog.

Eventually, you’ll have all the ribbons ironed down and your entire square filled.

Now, cut the edges so the ribbon is more even.  This will make for easier sewing and right-side-outing later.

Next, put the other fabric square on top of your ribbon piece.  Layer them right sides facing each other.   This  matters later when you turn it right-side out (your seams will be hidden on the inside).  Pin the pieces together (I know, I know… the pinning part sucks.  But it makes for better sewing).  Sew around the edges with about a 5/8″ seam allowance (but it’s just a pillow, so the seam allowance is negotiable). Don’t forget to leave yourself a small opening (about 3 inches) to add the stuffing later!

Yep, that’s the sewing machine Santa brought me when I was 13.  Because what 13-year-old girl doesn’t want a sewing machine? If I were 13 now, I would want the Justin Bieber singing toothbrush.  Actually, I’m 31 and I still want that toothbrush.

When you’re done sewing, turn the thing right-side-out (using your little opening), and start stuffing.  You might need to use a knitting needle or butter knife to square out the corners.  Speaking of 13-year-old me, stuffing is a skill that would have come in handy back then.  But enough about that… keep stuffing until your pillow is as soft and/or firm as you’d like it.

When fully stuffed, fold in the edges of your little opening and sew it closed.  Cut your threads and you’re done!

Woo hoo! You made something! Put it on your couch and show it off proudly to all who visit.