Do It Yourself Day!



It’s no secret that I miss the beach. The ocean. The sound of the surf. The feel of the sand beneath my feet. Sometimes it’s like a physical pain.


I know that sounds silly. Don’t judge me.


Silly or not, however, I was recently mooning over some of the ocean-y paintings at Etsy and wishing I could afford some of them to bedeck my walls, when the thought occured to me that p’raps I could paint some my ownself!



Since I am the sort of person who never listens to those nagging, doubtful voices of doom and despair (heh. yeah. right), I chose to ignore the uprising of you never had a single lesson! and you don’t know the first thing about painting! sorts of thoughts, and went rummaging through my closets until I found a few odd canvasses lying about.


I also had quite the assortment of acrylic paints in my cupboards, so all I had to do was augment with a few more $0.99 bottles from Hobby Lobby and I was all set to become the next idiot-savant artist (emphasis on idiot).



I started with a couple of 5″ X 7″ canvasses, and just sat right at my desk with several internet windows open to finished paintings of the type I was lusting after for inspiration. It took me a couple of hours to complete each one, but I would be lying if I said I was not chuffed to bits at the results.


 (click to see larger, if you wanna)


The top one is called “The Caribbean” and the bottom is called “The Atlantic”. I really like how one of the clouds in the top painting turned out looking somewhat squiddy.


They are hardly professional quality. They are quite amateurish. But they’re mine. I created them! And so I’m inordinately fond of them. I slapped a coat of mod-podge on each one to protect it from sneezes and peanut-buttery fingers, and put them on my kitchen windowsill.


Bolstered with confidence, I then tackled a rather large canvas I had. It’s 2′ x 3′, I think. Besides the ocean, I’m fascinated with clouds, so I decided to try to paint a really impressive storm cloud over the ocean. This was a lot more difficult than I anticipated…the larger scale seemed to demand perfection, so I put it up several times over the course of many days and would just study it…trying to decide what was wrong and what was right. I also consulted lots of other paintings, and spent a lot of time gazing at real, honest to goodness clouds in the sky outside my house.



Finally I decided to stop futzing around with it and just call it good instead of perfect. And it is good, or at least good enough for me. Although I coated it with mod-podge like the others just to insure that I would stop “improving” it.


So there you go. My offering for DIY Day over at Kimba’s A Soft Place To Land. I cannot tell you how therapeutic it is to just give yourself permission to play with paint once in a while (painting your baseboards does not count)! Please do pop over to Kimba’s place and check out all the fabulous creativity going on…you’ll be inspired!

Craftyliciousness Galore…

I’m joining a really neat bloggy carnival going on over at A Soft Place To Land, called Do It Yourself Day.





Originally the founder, one very talented lady named Kimba, had thought this carnival would be a fun way to pass the summer weeks, but it has grown so popular and wonderful that (luckily for me since I just now found it) she has decided to keep it going indefinitely!


I’m seriously hoping that, as school looms into view, having this little carnival to attend every week will inspire me to keep creating even in the midst of, you know, teachin’ and larnin’ and stuff. Cuz that stuff? Seriously shrivels up my creativity. I blame it on the math.


A while back I mentioned that I had crafted some Ugly Dolls with my kiddos, and I wanted to finally show them off. Ugly Dolls, if you don’t know, are a series of soft stuffed toys created with exactly two pieces of fabric and some bits of embroidery floss. And subsequently sold for 20 smackaroos. To which I can only say:





However, many of my children were instantly smitten with the little exorbitantly-priced uglies (which are actually pretty cute) and would periodically pine for them in a most pathetic way, knowing that I would never shell out the bucks for something that, as I repeatedly told them, I could make myself!



So one day, I decided I would. I would show them! I purchased a few yards of flannel from Wal Mart in several shades and each child with an Ugly Doll Longing showed me a picture of what they wanted theirs to look like. Then I freehanded the shape on a double layer of material and cut the sucker out.


The thing about making an ugly doll is that, well…it’s ugly. It’s not supposed to be perfect! So that’s why I felt comfortable with the whole freehanding thing.





Then we added some bits of felt in the proper places to make eyes and teeth, and we embroidered mouths and such. The eyes and teeth were ironed on with that iron-on stuff the name of which escapes me at the moment. Sorry.


I sewed them up with the sewing machine, and set the kids a-stuffin. Sticks and spoons come in handy for the narrow bits.





Sew ’em shut, and there ya go. Ugly Dolls. At about $3 (THREE! DOLLARS!) apiece.



The only caution I would give in trying it yourself is not to stuff them too tightly. We got a little carried away on one or two and the fabric simply couldn’t handle the pressure. An emergency operation was performed, a sort of ugly-doll brand of liposuction, and all seems well now.


The little green triangular guy was invented by my 11 year old son, but the other dudes are copied from the originals…I believe it’s an Uglydog, Wedgehead, an Uglycat, and Target, from left to right. Some creative license taken, of course. Uglydog even has his own name tag.



So happy togetherrrrrrr!



Don’t forget to pop over to Kimba’s place at A Soft Place to Land for far, far more DIY ideas than will get your eyes a-glazin’ and your creative juices a-flowin’!


This post has also joined up with Skip To My Lou and her sewing carnival; to see more lovely gift ideas, pop over to Skip to my Lou!