Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Feeling Crafty

There's nothing like moving into a new home to bring out the crafty side of a woman.  First, there's the thrill of decorating someplace new. Second, since many belongings are nestled deeply in some box located in the basement, garage, shed, or storage unit, a gal has to get creative with what she has at hand. And last of all, moving is ex-pen-sive so free and cheap become the operative words.

When school got out last month, I bought a teacher gift for the high school principal.  I got her a nice smelling candle and also picked up a gift bag since I have never mastered the fine art of wrapping cylinders. I knew I had just bought some tissue paper so I was fine on that account.

After I got home from shopping, I put the candle in the gift bag and then panicked. I remembered where the tissue paper was in the old house, but where had it gotten stored in the new house? Hadn't a clue. Now most women out there will recognize that a gift bag without tissue paper is without Jack Shepard, or Penn without Teller or Percy Jackson without's just unheard of. What was I to do?

Luckily, a zap of inspiration hit me. I may not know where the tissue paper was, but I had colored computer paper and I could decorate anything!   I took some green paper and sliced it lengthwise into many strips. I then accordion-folded the strips to make a nice little nest for the candle, like this:

Even white paper would have worked but since I had a green and blue bag, I went with the green.

Did my creative streak end there? Nay, I say. Past readers of this blog will remember that I moved into a house that already had its own name--The Toothpaste House.  One day I was online looking for some new decorating ideas and happened upon a blog called A Place for Us 5 that is run by a creative genius named Destiny. She came up with a wonderful idea to hang signs in front of some of her rooms.  Using her idea I made a sign of my own for the front of my house.

I bought a blank wood piece in the above shape at Walmart for $1.17.  I then spent a little under $4 each to buy almond and brown leather colored spray paints. Using Destiny's method, I painted the shape in almond first, then circled it with leather. I then topped it with a circle of almond again. After it dried, I applied the letters which were simply alphabet letters purchased in the scrapbook section of Walmart for $3. I then coated the front of the sign with three coats of Mod Podge to help protect it from the elements. I bought the chocolate ribbon with toothpaste blue dots at Walmart, and used thumbtacks that I had on hand to tack it to the back of the sign. The sign itself is hanging on a magnet that used to be an ugly manila folder color. I spray painted it white and attached it to my door, which must have some metal somewhere even though it looks like wood. Thanks for the idea, Destiny!  (Her signs are much cuter. Go check them out.)

Our new house is heated by oil in the winter. I have never had a home that is heated by oil, but previous owners already warned us of the expense. Apparently we will have to buy a minimum of 100 gallons from the vendor, at a price usually ranging from $3.50-$5.00 per gallon.

To help us with the shock of initial payment this fall I came up with an idea.  At any given point I can walk around our home and find between $2 and $5. This is because we empty our pockets in many different rooms. I can walk around right now and find spare change on my desk, my husband's desk, the kitchen table, our dresser, my nightstand, the bathroom counter and the top of the clothes washer. What if--my eyes got all sparkly--what if instead of just dumping spare change all over the house, we put it in one common place, like a jar!

I took an old mayonnaise jar (hey, I can be environmentally conscious) and printed "heating oil" (duh) on some blue paper. I then matted it with white paper (inking the edges for effect) and matted that on light blue paper. I glue dotted the whole label onto the jar, then decorated the top with twine. Now I just L-O-V-E throwing spare change in there. Came home from the bank today with $21. Yee-haw!

My last little project involved our fridge. We have lots of fridge magnets that we accrued over the years and usually they were plastered all over the front. I decided to do something a little different this time. I took all the magnets that were from businesses, or have recipes on them or otherwise were bound to be recycled as a craft item and stuck them on the side of the fridge that no one sees.  We have no particular attachment (attachment--get it?  ha ha!) to these magnets.

On the front of the fridge I put those magnets that are beautiful or that have meaning to me.

On the other side, I put our collection of magnets from places we have visited, a mini-travelogue. I was going to make a little magnetic sign that said something extremely creative like "our travels" but ended up making one that said, " We came, we saw, we spent money on magnets."  I printed it off and inserted it into a $1.50 magnetic frame from Walmart.

Far right column, top to bottom: Seattle, Wyoming, Devil's Tower, Antelope Island in the Great Salt Lake, and of course Forks--home of all things Twilight!

Middle column: Snoqualmie Falls, WA; Capitol Reef, UT;  Leavenworth, WA; Mt. Timpanogos, UT.

Left column: Lake Powell; Mount Rushmore, SD; Bryce Canyon, UT; Spuds Fish and Chips, W. Seattle.
The little turtle says "Boracay, Philippines." Daughter Em got it for us when she was there.

I'm hoping that by then end of the summer we will have a few more travel mementos.  Here's to a wonderful summer for all of you, filled with creativity and fun adventures!


  1. Love your new sign!
    I'm going to go check the blog out now.

  2. Jill: Thank you! I get lots of comments on it when people come over to visit. I hope you like Destiny's site. She's an inspiration for sure.

  3. Love your door sign. You and my daughter are both crafty, clever women.

  4. Auntie M: Thank you. My birth as a creative woman coincided with the birth of the internet. :) I bow down to Jill as the queen of creativity. I think she should start her own blog.

  5. Hi Randi
    It isn't taking long to make your house a home. Well done. It's those little touches that make all the difference.

  6. Ken: I'm really having fun doing it, too. Crossing my fingers and hoping this is the last move for a while!

  7. Randi -

    I think crafts must just be a female gene, I find the dogs chewies arranged in a certain order & then if I move it around I find them back in the same order the next day. Can someone explain to me WHY the cow hooves have to go next to the deer antler & not the pig bone, what difference does it make & who's got the time to think about it?

    Just keep the magnets away from Tim's computers :)

    God Bless,

  8. Adam: That is really funny! So even female dogs are crafty,eh?

  9. Randi -

    Yeah Aussies have deer-like stick legs, so clearly it took some thought to move stuff around the way she wanted it.

    Its been a while since I've had a boy dog, but you can really feel the diff. in animals betwen male & female spirits. The girl dogs like to go sniff the flowers, act very dainty, I would get chewed out by Smokey if I came home late or if I had messages on the answering machine (not just robo calls, she could tell if it was a human voice).

    I am also surprised at the number of pets who will sit & watch TV, must just be a symptom of our lazy culture...

    God Bless,

  10. You are so creative! I love all the brilliant ideas! I often have ideas but no recourses to follow through. . . I'll work on that! :)

  11. Adam: That is so funny(and cute!)that your dog wanted to be your secretary! I can just see her giving you the "reprimand" eye when you got home and ignored the machine.

    Taleah: Thanks for coming to visit Foreign Quang and for becoming a follower! It doesn't surprise me that you have some good ideas, after hearing some of your story ideas.

  12. That's a great door sign. I like your heating oil jar idea too. So can you show me how to wrap a cylinder? I tried once. It didn't come out too pretty. LOL.

  13. septembermom: No trying to wrap cylinders for me! I am the queen of gift bags. My friends and I even make sure we never write on a gift bag or its tag so we can recycle it for the next party. We'll make comments like, "Isn't that the gift bag that Susan gave to Lucy for her 30th birthday?"


You won't be paid for it, but at least you'll know that you have contributed intelligence to the universe...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...