These Big Strong Hands

Adagio Teas

Copyright Adagio Teas http://www.adagio.com

 

“They look like big strong hands. Don’t they?” ~Rockbiter from The Neverending Story.

I think of my mother’s hands every time I hear this quote, or any phrase containing the words, “big strong hands.” She had beautiful hands, and they were big and strong. My mother was 5’11”, and every inch of that large frame was pure strength. However, I loved her hands the most. They were the hands that soothed me–their vastness covering my entire head as she played with my hair until I fell asleep. They were the hands that I watched intensely whenever she was teaching me something new, whether it be sewing or cooking or cleaning, whatever. While being a waitress (different times, but that is the term she used proudly), they were the hands I watched handle those giant, food-laden trays, like they were nothing more than pillows. The hands I witnessed her wash, at least fifty times a day (food industry! I am a victim of this habit as well!) The hands with long strong fingers, with which she would thump me if I were getting out of line. Piano hands, they were once called, although she never really learned–despite grandma’s dream of turning her five children into a real life Partridge Family Band. (The youngest got the accordion! But she was an award-winner, so you can’t poke fun.) Strong nails, of which I was so jealous, strong hands, that I thought would be around forever….I miss those hands…

Every woman in my family has beautiful big strong hands…except for me, hahaha! Well, they’re certainly strong–fair warning if I clutch your hand or arm for any reason, I could possibly break it, lbvs–but they are definitely more on the little side. For years I watched my mother, her sisters, and their mother, cut potatoes and the like–in their hands–with ease! I tried this method this past weekend (corned beef and potatoes, duh!) and it certainly didn’t work out the way I wanted it to! I didn’t cut myself or anything, but my quartered potatoes were all different sizes…which doesn’t cut it, according to all this stuff I watch on Food Network, hahaha. But the experience made me think of my mother, and how much I missed her big strong hands….

So here’s to all the women who possess big strong hands. Whether they are used for comfort, for child-rearing, for music, for cooking, for expression, for kneading the tar out of some homemade noodles, or for manual labor–I salute you!

Vintage Alice in Wonderland Pendant: Our First Etsy Sale!!

Our very first sale!

Our very first sale!

After a year of preparation and almost a month of being on the Etsy site, Rachel and I are proud to announce our very first Etsy sale!

It has been a year full of ups and downs and a tremendous amount of hard work!  I can tell you that each day that passed with no sales, after the store opened on July 4th, was a dagger to the heart.  It is so hard to keep faith and keep working when you aren’t seeing any results yet.  Not that we, for a moment, thought about giving up but who doesn’t love a little instant gratification!

We have achieved so many of our goals for the beginning of our company, so here’s to reaching one more, may this sale be the first of many!  And a huge thank you to all the people who believed in us and supported us along the way!  This first sale may be a little thing but here’s hoping it turns into something big!

The whole, first sale experience was super fun but my favorite part, other than getting paid, was preparing the item for shipping.  I’ve had my shipping supplies ready from day one and now I finally get to use it all!

We always want to add a little something extra to our orders as a thank you to the customer for shopping with us.  Our first customer will receive the sweet, little box below!

This adorable bird box will hold our first sale!

This adorable bird box will hold our first sale!

I used some yellow packing material to cushion the gift box and pendant in transit.

I love that it sort of looks like a nest!

I love that it sort of looks like a nest!

We sealed the box with our custom Funky Lollipop sticker and it is ready to go.

Lovely and all ready to go!

Lovely and all ready to go!

Now all I have to do is print a label and get a padded envelope from USPS and our first, little baby will be winging it’s way to it’s new home.  The grow up so fast, lol!

And in case you are interested in buying this adorable, vintage inspired pendant for yourself, we will have a new one on the site soon!  You can always convo us on Etsy and ask for it if you just can’t wait, but in the mean time here are some other little beauties that are on the site now or will be coming this week!  Check out our Etsy shop here:  https://www.etsy.com/shop/FunkyLollipop

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Here’s another vintage Alice in Wonderland illustration featuring the white rabbit!

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I love this vintage, inspired cameo piece!

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These lovely earrings match the pendant we sold!

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Woodland creatures are so on trend right now and this fox is a beautiful example of why!

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Here’s another vintage children’s book illustration. I love the fairies, the cherry blossoms and this shade of blue!

DIY Styrofoam Head Project

I was at Hobby Lobby the other day, which is a shocker I know!  Hobby Lobby is doing something new these days and providing little pamphlets that offer different ideas for crafting projects.  I saw the image below and thought, what a great idea, but I could do it better!  I just happened to have a Styrofoam head at home to work with, so I went home and got started right away.

I love decoupage so this was right up my alley!

This was my Hobby Lobby inspiration!

The thing I didn’t like about the example the pamphlet showed, was that the way the paper had been torn seemed so random and because of that, the features of the Styrofoam head were pretty obscured and the yellowish color of the music sheets made it seem dirty.

For my version I choose three different kinds of black and white paper, one that leaned more to the white side and two that had more black in them.  I cut them into strips that were pointed at one end and than widened out so that they resembled very long, thin triangles. I then prepared a water white glue mixture soaked them and conformed them to the head.

I mostly used the whiter paper so the blacker paper would stand out.

I mostly used the whiter paper so the blacker paper would stand out.

I had to use some matte modpodge while it was sill wet to make sure the paper stayed on tightly.  I made a kind of starburst pattern with the pointy ends of the triangles meeting around the nose region and then filled in from there. To finish the back and sides I used more rectangular pieces.

Once I had covered it completely I let it dry and then realized that I could do more with the really dark, black paper to create designs on the figure.

After I added more black designs but before I added the lips.

After I added more black designs but before I added the lips.

Once I finished adding more definition around the eyes and on the sides, I decided to add some lips to really make the features clear.

It's perfect for displaying my DIY fascinator from my wedding!

It’s perfect for displaying my DIY fascinator from my wedding!

I love the way it turned out and I will use it as a prop for taking good product photos of the fascinators I want to add to my Etsy shop.

I think it's beautiful and who knows, maybe I will make some more of these to sell as well!

One last photo!

I think it’s so beautiful I might make a few more as décor or perhaps to sell!  Let me know in the comments if you would buy one!

Tin Can Upcycle Decor

To start off I removed the labels from the cans and painted them white with house paint.  I liked the spotty paint job, it made it seem antiqued so I didn’t do a second coat.

House paint is thicker and stayed better than acrylic or craft paint.

House paint is thicker and stayed better than acrylic or craft paint.

I used craft paint and stamps to apply the decorations.  The craft paint was thin enough to work with the stamps really well.  I used a brush to apply the paint to the stamps and that created less mess than dunking them in paint like you would on a stamp pad.

The craft paint worked better than the acrylic.

The craft paint worked better than the acrylic.

I started with several stamps but the butterfly and vintage stamp got the best results.

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Paper plates: the poor man’s palette!

I think they came out super cute!  I do want to work on a polka dot one as well once I get the right brushes.

Maybe try mixing and matching the colors!

Maybe try mixing and matching the colors!

Now I use them to organize my many craft supplies.  Cute and functional, my favorite combination!

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Wood Burned “My Little Cottage” Plaque Tutorial

After seeing some plaques that I did for Christmas presents this year a friend of mine ordered a custom plaque for her grandmother’s new house.

The only specifications she gave me was that it say “My Little Cottage” and that it should be neutral enough to go with whatever colors and décor the grandmother might want in her new home.

I purchased a plaque sized 9×12 from Hobby Lobby and sanded it.

Blank Plaque: 9x12

Blank Plaque: 9×12

Then I created the design in Publisher and printed it out.

I made the print big so the grandmother could read it easily and added a simple floral design.

I flipped the paper over and covered the back of the design with pencil.

I tried to get as even coverage as possible.

I tried to get as even coverage as possible.

I then taped the paper with design to the plaque making sure that the design didn’t go over any of the edges. I taped the top bottom and sides and each corner with one piece of tape, using eight pieces total.

I tried not to put any pressure on the design so the pencil doesn't rub off on the wood.

I tried not to put any pressure on the design so the pencil wouldn’t rub off on the wood.

Then I went over the entire design with a pencil making sure that I applied a good, even amount of pressure, but not enough to tear the paper.  Again I tried not to rest my hand on other parts of the design while working which could lead to a small amount of smudging.  To check that the design was coming through in the way I wanted, I carefully untapped one section at a time to check my progress, while keeping the rest of the tape in place, so the design wouldn’t move around.

Once I was done I removed the paper.

If the design isn't dark enough go over it again.  Make sure you do this before you remove the paper entirely.

If the design isn’t dark enough go over it again. Make sure you do this before you remove the paper entirely.

I started the wood burning process next.  I used a rounded tip for the majority of the lettering and a medium pointed tip for some of the serifs and the flowers.

I did the majority of the lettering first and then changed tips to do the rest.

I did the majority of the lettering first and then changed tips to do the rest.

Once the wood burning was complete I sanded the surface lightly, applied wood conditioner and stained it using a light gray stain so it would look a little aged.  I waited for that to dry and then applied two coats of sealer with drying time in between.

I think it came out pretty good.  I would have liked to paint in the flowers but they didn't want that.

I think it came out pretty good. I would have liked to paint in the flowers but they didn’t want that.

Once it was completely dry I screwed a small bracket to the back so it can be hung on the wall and it was done!  I delivered it to my friend and she liked it, so job complete.  Instead of payment I traded her for some of the grandmothers things that they were getting rid of, including an armchair, a small traveling bag, an army trunk from WWII with a shipping tag from 1944 and a knitting bag.  There were a lot more little items and I threw in some cash (but not much) to make it an even trade.  I love bargains so it was a pretty sweet deal in my mind!

Sunshine Shelves – Thrifty DIY Tutorial

My inspiration from bhg.com.

My inspiration from bhg.com.

I came across the picture above on pinterest and fell in love with how bright and beautiful the shelves were, but the Ikea VITTSJO shelves were $79 each.  That is way too steep for a girl that mostly shops at thrift stores!  I combed the internet for a cheaper alternative and found the Edsal shelves below for $26.87 on Amazon.

$26.87 on Amazon for these industrial shelves.

$26.87 on Amazon for these industrial shelves.

I bought the paint bhg.com suggested from Walmart for around $3.50 a can and needed 8 cans total. 

I needed 4 cans per shelving unit.

I needed 4 cans per shelving unit.

I painted and put the shelves together two different ways.  With the first shelves I painted all the pieces and put them together as soon as they seemed dry.  Bad idea!  The pieces all got scratched as I was putting them together and because I was trying so hard to not scratch the paint, the pieces fit really wonky.

Notice how the vertical pieces are kind of bent and the shelves don't seem straight.

Notice how the vertical pieces are kind of bent and the shelves don’t seem straight.

The next set of shelves I put together completely and then laid them on their side and painted them.

Spoiler alert!  Don't lay them on their sides to paint.

Spoiler alert! Don’t lay them on their sides to paint.

This worked great for the sides and support pieces and the front and back but when I painted the actual shelf pieces it dripped all over the place.  Still the second shelf results were better than the first.

Much better and straighter than the first attempt.

Much better and straighter than the first attempt.

For best results I would suggest standing the shelves upright for painting or painting all pieces individually, waiting a day or so till they are completely dry, assembling the unit and then touching up any scratches at that point.

Even with the issues I love the way the shelves turned out and they definitely brighten up the living room!

Sunshine Shelves

Sunshine Shelves: Total cost around $82!