Thursday, August 26, 2010

Etsy store also offering photo prints

Along with jewelry, we're offering prints of some of our photography for reasonable prices. 4x6s are priced at $5, 8x10s at $15, free shipping on orders over $25. More listings to come, but here are some examples:

My photography:
Ryan's photography:
So please check us out at http://www.wiseblueberry.etsy.com

Monday, August 23, 2010

Etsy Store is Reopened!

Well, I've recently been out of work because of some pretty severe joint pain, so I figured I might as well get the etsy store back up. This time I've got items I've made, plus items Ryan made. If you have some time, check us out. We're offering a 5% discount if you're using google checkout to pay, and free shipping on orders over $25!

wiseblueberry designs on etsy

Here's some of the items we've listed recently:

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A Manly Clock for my Sweetie's "Man Cave"

Hello again! Sorry it's been a little while, I didn't get to do anything crafty last weekend because I had to clean house for a short notice inspection by my landlord. But that's over, so now it's crafty time :-)

In our apartment, there is a loft upstairs that my boyfriend has claimed as his "Man Cave" He has a computer, tv, futon, xbox 360, books, etc. It's a nice little room. If I let him put a microwave and a minifridge up there, he'd never come down, lol. He's still decorating up there, getting prints made from photos we've taken and hanging them, little by little. He didn't have a clock up there, and wall clocks are one of my favorite things, I think every room needs one. I looked around a bit to see if I could find something suitable, but didn't see anything that was exactly what I wanted him to have. So I decided to make one. I'm not a clockmaker, I've never made a clock before, but it didn't look too hard, so I decided to give it a shot.

Here's a preview of the finished product, keep reading if you want to see how I did it :-)

First, a trip to A.C. Moore for supplies. I bought a section of walnut wood for the back (this was the inspiration for the project). Had to get a woodburner, I have one in Arizona, but that doesn't do me any good in North Carolina. I also purchased a clock motor, wood carving set, clock hands, and picture frame brackets. The clock motor came with clock hands, but gold isn't the easiest to see against natural wood, so I bought black ones. If you're clever, you may be able to take apart an existing clock/dollar store clock to salvage the motor/hands but this was something I wasn't willing to try on my very first clock making project. Also, I didn't end up needing the picture frame brackets, I didn't know the motor had a place to hang the clock built in.


So to summarize in a nice neat way, supplies used:
Wood for clock face
Wood burner
Clock Motor
Clock Hands
Wood Carving set
Picture frame brackets, if your clock motor doesn't have a hanger built in
Rotary tool (like a dremel)
Something round to trace, or a circle drawing tool
Pencil
Number Stencils
Burn cream, antibiotic ointment, and bandaids

So let's get started! First, decide where you want your clock face to be positioned. I had an abnormally shaped piece of wood, so my numbers could have followed the shape of the wood, but I opted to center a round clock face just about in the middle of my piece of wood. So I measured the widest part of my piece of wood each way and found a center point.


I marked my center point.


I didn't want my numbers obscured by the clock hands, so I positioned the clock hands on my newly marked center to see how far away my numbers needed to be. Note the faint pencil mark above the minute hand. Whenever marking on your surface, be very gentle, especially if working with a relatively soft wood like I was, you don't want your marks to leave indentations after erasing.


Next we want to trace something round to give us a guideline for number placement. I'm fortunate to have a circle drawing tool (the purple thing in the corner of the picture above), so it was easy for me to do this. If' you don't have one of these, a geometry compass would work, or really any round item about the right size that you can position over your center point would work. Trace lightly around it. I promise my circle really is a circle, my camera angle makes it look like an oval. Also, you may notice from my clock face isn't pretty and perfect. I did deliberately choose this piece because I thought the flaws added to the type of project I was going for, but there will be a lesson learned about flaws in wood in a little while.


For the next step, you can be as precise as you want to be. You can nerd it up with a protractor and ruler, or you can eyeball it like me. Stencils are optional, I used them because I have a hard enough time making letters/numbers uniform sizes when they're next to each other, let alone all over a clock face. So I put tick marks where each number was going to go, then stenciled each number. You don't have to mark as lightly with the numbers, these are going to become permanent marks.


Once your numbers are in place, time to mark any other designs you're planning for your clock face. I free handed the letters because they needed my sloppiness.


I do not have any photos of the burning process, I was using an incredibly hot tool, and that's dangerous enough without throwing a camera into the mix. I didn't use any master techniques, but I'll describe what I did to get the effects I got.

I wanted the numbers lighter than the letters, so for the numbers, I carefully outlined each number with a slow dark burn, then using the same motion you would use with a pencil to lightly shade something, I built the color inside each number. Fast movements with your burner and variations in the wood tend to leave a spotty burn, good for projects you intend to have a rough appearance. For the letters, I put the tip on the flat side, and moved slowly, but allowed some variation in the burn (this is why the striped appearance is present in the letters). If you don't want that appearance, carefully go back over the lighter areas until your letters are uniformly dark. The only tip used on this clock was the "universal" tip (I didn't want to have to wait for cool down to use the other tips, though they may have made certain parts easier, like outlining the numbers). So once this is all done, we're left with this:


Yay, it looks like a clock now. At this point, I'm only an hour into the project, and I'm feeling pretty good, pretty optimistic, I may even get this done in one night! Oh I was so wrong, lol.

So next we drill a hole for the motor to come thru, that's easy enough. This took a bit of guessing and testing, since the motor didn't say anything about what size hole was required. To state the obvious, start small and work your way up, you can always make the hole bigger, much harder to make a hole smaller.


So once we've got our hole, go ahead and put the motor through the back of the clock to test it out.


Now here's where the real fun begins. Flip your clock over to assess if you're going to need to remove any material from the back side of your clock. The only clock motors the craft store had in stock had a 3/8" allowance for the clock, and I knew going into this that my piece of wood was 5/8" thick. So as you can see, not enough of the post sticks out, so I've got a little work ahead of me at this point.


If you have material to remove, flip your clock back over and trace around your motor to give you a guideline for where to start digging.


And dig we shall. Get out your wood carving set and get busy.


It didn't seem too bad at first, just basically hollowing out an area slightly larger than my traced motor. But here's where I learned my lesson about flawed wood. Those dark spots do not like to be messed with. They will laugh at your silly hand tools. They don't carve nicely, they're very hard, and when you do manage to dig into them, they crumble violently instead of carving in a predictable way. Optimistically, I would try to fit the motor in every so often to see if I'd removed enough material. Yeah, no. See my gouge marks from wayward carving tools? You may not want to undertake this part of the project with children, pets, or people you like anywhere nearby.


Keep on a digging. Two hours into this process, I noticed these red marks on the wood.


Oh hello bleeding knuckles! At this point, I realized that my hand carving was more difficult than I'd anticipated, and it was going to take much longer than I'd like, and because of my late night crafting, I couldn't get out a wood chisel or something to make it faster. I opted to put it down for the night, clean up my wounds and rest up for the next day.

Time for a new approach. Rotary tool with a grinding wheel. 30 mins, done. Yes!


So once we've finally removed enough material, assemble the motor in the order prescribed by the particular motor you have. Use every single nut and washer included, else your clock may not keep time properly. If you salvaged clock parts, I hope you paid attention to the order you took them apart in.


And finally, put a battery in and set the time! Ignore my dirty floor, it gets messy when I craft. I've vacuumed since, I promise.


Make sure you sign your piece, it is a work of art. The only picture I have of my signature is from when I was carving the back. I burned my initials and the year into the bottom of the back.


And hang it up!


Detail shots:



He loves it :-) Hope you enjoyed reading this, and might even give it a try. I'm off to go change my bandages, happy crafting!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A couple awesome things in my room

Figured I'd share a couple silly things from my room that I really like.

Nail Polish/Perfume Shelf from a CD rack

So my boyfriend had previously purchased, cut, sanded, stained, and even partially put together wood for a custom media cabinet. At the time, it would have comfortably held his DVDs, CDs, and video games with room to grow. Then I moved in, and unleashed his unknown addiction to the five dollar DVD bin. He used to only buy movies full price at Best Buy, ha! And thus, our collection grew exponentially. Disheartened by his original project not being able to be the all in one solution for our combined media storage needs, he never finished the project. He was a carpenter at the time he started the project, so he had an appreciation for real wood, so every component was made of quality supplies (a combination of oak and mahogany pieces, I think). He didn't want to throw the pieces away, and I'm a pack rat, so I wouldn't let him, so we've been storing the stuff for a few years now.

Anyway, enough storytime. I was inspired by RCKFELLA's post on craftster (http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=314533.0). Though my collection isn't as expansive as hers, I was also in need of a shelf for my nail polish, perfume, and various other beauty supplies, so from one of the many partially built shelves came this:


Long L Brackets (painted pink) are on the bottom, and short L brackets (more like what RCKFELLA used) are on the top. The shelf itself was a bit heavy, being solid wood and all, but with the four brackets, all directly into studs, it's secure.

The shelf is pretty deep (CD width), so I could potentially store much more stuff than what I have in it. This shelf is directly above my vanity, so it is awesome. Someday when the vanity is all organized, maybe its picture will also grace this blog.

Keychain Collection Finally on Display!

I've always collected keychains. If someone offered to get me a souvenir from someplace, it's always what I asked for. If I bought something in a gift shop, a keychain was usually what I got. I've never really had a way to display them, so they've been a long linked mess in a ziploc bag since I was like 12.

Since Ryan surrendered the guest room to me, I've been trying to come up with a way to display them. Hooks and key racks just never seemed to fit what I wanted. Then one day when I was hanging frame pictures, it dawned on me that I could just use nails. Sometimes the simplest things escape you until they're right in front of your face. I didn't need an elaborate shelf or ornamental hooks, I just wanted my keychain collection on display. I'm pretty happy with the results. And yes, I am purposely showing off my pink clock. Awesome dollar store find.


Above the door frame was a perfect place because the space wasn't really useful for anything else. There's another door right next to this one on the adjacent wall, so if my collection grows while I'm living here, it can just crawl along that wall.

Obligatory pics to show off the keychains themselves. From left to right they are: Carlsbad Caverns, Grand Canyon, Guernsey Island, Hawaii (which was given to me by my aunt and has a key to her house on it. She's in TX and I'm in NC, so I don't really need that key but so often), London, Meteor Crater, Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch, Tombstone, Winslow, Zion National Park x 3 (I've been there probably a dozen times)

No sew/glue adaptable photo board

I've got a room I'm decorating little by little. Before I moved across the country, I used to have a massive bulletin board I covered in pictures. With the limited space I had when moving, it was one of the things that didn't make it into the Uhaul. I've missed it, because I love pictures and it made it really easy to have them on display without the frames and nails and nonsense. I've seen quite a few of those fabric and ribbon photo boards, which I like because it means I don't have to poke holes in my pictures with tacks. I've been meaning to make one for quite some time, so last weekend, I finally did.

Here's the mounted board before any pictures were added to it:


And because I know someone out there is dying to know (ha), here's a run through of how I put it together :-)

Supplies used:
Package of cork tiles with double stick foam mount included
Fabric Remnant
Fringe Ribbon
Rickrack Leftovers
Thumbtacks
Painter's Tape (duct tape would have been so much better)

First of all, lets get the cork tiles somewhat connected. Lay them down and line them up as evenly as possible. If any of yours have weird printing on them like mine did, make sure the print is up because this is the back. That way if you use a more sheer fabric, you won't see it. Use your tape to connect the pieces.


After this, we need to carefully flip to the other side... But before that we have to curse angrily when it falls apart because we didn't use enough tape. I had even slid a plastic lid under to try to flip like a big giant spatula, but yeah....painter's tape is not duct tape, we must apply more generously.


And now we carefully flip over with a bit more success. You can try to be more awesome than me by either using duct tape, or knowing that you need to use more painter's tape before you attempt this step.


Next we lay our fabric on our board. I knew my remnant was going to be too small, hence the use of the fringe ribbon for space filler in the finished product.


Next we need to start pinning our fabric down. You can iron it if you want/need, or you can be awesome like me and just let the pins stretch the fabric into behaving. If you have a small piece of fabric like me, you may want to measure and mark in order to center it, or you can be lazy awesome like me and eyeball it. Depending in your fabric, you may want to hem the edges, or at least fold them under. Due to my lazy awesomeness, I left my edges raw and exposed, they were about to be covered with fringed ribbon anyway.

Here's a shot of one of my super cute tacks that I found before valentine's day at Office Depot. They came in a pack of 60, which was just about perfect for this project.


Pin generously, the nice thing about the pins is that they can be moved around. Here's my board with the fabric all pinned down:


After your fabric is pinned, if you're like me and have some more space to cover, decide what you want to use to fill the space. You can use more fabric remnants, ribbon, scrap booking paper, or whatever else you can think of. I'm alternating between blue and purple fringe ribbon I've had sitting around forever.


After your board is completely covered, decide on a design for your rick rack. I went pretty simple, and because I was using scraps, I used different colors. You do not have to use rick rack, I just used it because I had extra and because I thought it might grip the pictures a little better than plain ribbon. I only pinned the places where two pieces crossed, because the pictures need to be able to slide under the rick rack.


Once your board is covered and rick rack in place, mount to the wall with the double sided foam. If your cork tiles didn't come with this, you can buy foam tape separately. Just make sure to apply generously, especially if you used fabric with any weight to it.

Any finally, add your pictures. If you'd like to show more of your fabric, you do not have to apply the pictures as generously as I did :-)


You can of course use a sewing machine, fabric glue, hot glue, or whatever other tools to make your fabric/ribbon design more permanent, but I kind of like the idea that if I get sick of any one part of my design, it can be completely dismantled without even removing it from the wall. Thus far, the rick rack is awesome, the pictures haven't fallen or even slid. Pretty happy with the results.

Hope you enjoyed reading this :-)

Think I'm gonna share some stuff....

I've done a couple silly crafty projects lately and I've taken pictures, wanting to share them somewhere, and I figure here is as good as anywhere. I'll put up some stuff in the coming days :-)