Saturday, January 7

How To Remove Crayon Wax

My easel. Oi.
After several months of neglecting any attempt at cleaning my studio, it was a complete disaster. Once I was able to take time to breathe after prepping for the craft show at Uncle John's Cider Mill, I stared at my studio in amazement. The crayon wrappers scattered all over the floor, empty lacquer cans, and dozens of glass panels left over from the frames were all things that were easy enough to clean up. But the wax...the melted wax... it was everywhere. The desk, the table, the floors, the walls, my clothes... EVERYWHERE! Who knew so much wax could be in SO many places? It wasn't even limited to the area where I melt the crayons. So once I picked up the stray flowers, glue sticks, and newspaper, it was time to tackle the wax drips.

Now, I've never been a clean or cautious crafter. Prepping an area is not my forte. Neither is cleaning. Nor keeping things clean. I am a mess and my friends will readily attest to this. So for those of you who are like me and have not taken appropriate measures to prevent an intensive cleanup before doing a melted wax project, this tutorial is for you! OR, if your child is extremely artistic and decides to express this talent on your walls or floors, this is also for you.

The Disaster: Zone 1
While the main mess of the melted crayon was not limited to my melting table, that was where the bulk of the mess was, and that's where you'll see my transformation from "is that a candle in the shape of an easel?" to "Oh my! What a lovely, clean workspace."

Step 1: Gather your supplies.

  • Dull knife (optional)
  • Hand broom (optional)
  • Hair Dryer
  • Paper towels
  • Patience

The Disaster: Zone 2
 Step 2: Remove excess globs of wax.
This step is for those who have created massive globs of wax. If you're simply dealing with a few splatters or wax markings, feel free to skip this step. Use your dull knife to gently lift away the excess wax. Be careful not to scratch your surface! Sweep away your wax shavings with your hand broom.
Scraping off excess wax. There was a lot.

Step 3: Melt the wax.
Working in small sections, focus the heat from your hair dryer onto the wax until it melts (it will have a shiny, wet look). Use a paper towel to wipe away the melted wax. Be sure to use the un-used (un-waxed) sections of the paper towel each time you clean off a patch of wax. Repeat as necessary until all the wax is gone.
Melting the wax.

Yay! All the wax is gone from the desk! (Nevermind the wall in the background...)
Now, the only thing I haven't figured out yet is how to get the wax splatters off of walls. DO NOT use the method above on anything but a high-gloss paint. Mine is eggshell and all I did was make "lovely" streaks of colors that clash with the purple elegance of the walls. I read somewhere that magic eraser will work, so I may try that. Or I'll just have to live with it until I decide to repaint. Meh.

Good luck to all of you who must face this battle. And remember, the best offense is a good defense, so if you want to avoid this time-consuming process, just lay down some newspaper. Cheers!

Friday, December 16

Decorating with Ornaments

I love Christmas. I love the lights, the garland, the trees, the snow (though we're lacking that at the moment), the baking, and the movies. But what I'm discovering is that the degree of busyness around the holiday season seems to grow exponentially with my age! I really hope that I can get a bit more organized and prepared before next year rolls around! With custom artwork requests, graphic design gigs, and making the majority of gifts, there's not much time to truly enjoy all that I love about the season. But, I did have the chance to make this with my mom as a lovely centerpiece and decoration for the table.

Photo from The Home Depot's Website
Big, beautiful, festive centerpieces always bring a smile to people's faces, and we all would love to make fabulous HGTV-worthy table-toppers, but who has room on the table for one? Once all the plates, cups, wine glasses, wine, oh, and food - all get on the table, there's not much room left to spare! And if you go for a piece that's too tall, you can't see all those smiling faces around the table. Solution? Hang it! I saw this  (see Left) on a Home Depot commercial and instantly loved it. Theirs is much more intricate with different colored/shaped ornaments and someone who is probably at the same skill level as Martha Stewart, but I think ours turned out pretty nice.

So here's how you do it!

  • Fishing line
  • Bulbs (We bought a batch of 50 from Hobby Lobby and had a few to spare for decorating garland.)
  • Chandelier (If you lack a dangling light fixture, I'm sure you could fashion a brace of sorts out of cross stitch hoops or sticks.)
  • Christmas music (trust me, you'll need it to motivate you once your shoulders start getting weary. For me, that was at the 4th bulb.)
Step 1: "Measure"
Determine where you want the lowest bulb to hang. We had my dad sit in his seat to direct us on what the proper height was. Last thing you want is to do allllll this work just to have the bottom bulbs still blocking the view! It would be wise to actually measure where this point is, but we went the guess-and-check route.

Step 2: Start it up.
Start with the top bulb. Tie your fishing line to the hanging apparatus of the bulb and position it just below the chandelier in the center.

Step 3: Create the levels!
Now, the number of bulbs per level will be determined by your hanging structure. Our chandelier has 8 arms, so we worked in groups of 4 and altered the arms used per level (so if the top level is on arms 1,3,5,7 then the next level with be on 2,4,6,8. So on and so forth). Cut a generous amount of fishing line and tie it to your bulbs. Loop it over the inner-most area on the arm of the chandelier and adjust the height as necessary. Secure once you're happy with where it sits.

Step 4:
Repeat Step 3, but hang the bulbs further out on the arms (by about an inch or so depending) and with longer lines so the level will be about 3 or so inches lower than the level above. Repeat this step until you've made the tree as big as you like.

Step 5: Fill 'er in!
This part is kind of tricky. It helps to have a second set of eyes on the ground checking for where the bulbs should go. Basically, hang bulbs in the center area of the "tree"to fill in the empty gaps. We only had to add about 5 or 6 bulbs.

Step 6: Trim your centerpiece
Trim off the excess ends of the fishing line, step back and enjoy your lovely new creation!

Not the best of photos, but it'll do!
If you check out the link on The Home Depot's page, there's another tutorial using s-hooks and it looks much cleaner than our make-shift version. And there's a video!

I would LOVE to do this ornament frame project as well! But that may have to be saved for next year...
Photo from The Home Depot's website

Thursday, November 24

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm am SO excited for today, and hope you all are as well! Thanksgiving is on of my favorite holidays because of all the delicious food, and also it's the official kick-off to Christmas!! I'm not one to go out shopping on Black Friday, but now that I'm an online shop owner, I have to do a LOT of prepping to make sure I'm ready for the online shoppers. So here are my holiday WEEK deals!

From now through December 1st at 11:59 p.m.:

  • Receive a FREE 8" x 10" piece with every custom item order!
  • 20% off any orders over $60! Enter promo code TURK3Y(Must total to $60 before Shipping and Handling!
I hope you all have a fantastic Thanksgiving spending time with all that you're thankful for! Now go stuff yourselves full of deliciousness, enter a food coma, and get to shopping! =)