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Friday, January 31, 2014

Buttons, buttons, who's got the button....

 So now to finish up the buttons..... Remember I said, I wanted to make these as coasters!  It seemed like such a great idea!  Not really sure what I was thinking,  how is a glass going to sit flat on something that stick up that high?  So, now I'm thinking of using them in a wreath, or in a bowl.  To finish....
 Pick an acrylic paint that is the color of the button you would like.  I went with a lot of neutrals and a country blue and barn red.  My buttons took two coats of painting, and then I used two coats of sealer on them as well.  Remember, the coasters.  oh boy!
 I knew I was going to use jute as the thread. In giving you directions, I'm going to use the four squares in the buttons as north, east, south and west.  I thought this would be less confusing.  So take a good length of thread, and go down in the east and come up in the north.
 Then go down in the south and up in the west.
 Kind of tighten up your jute and tie a square knot.
These were so much fun to make.  Hope you have as much fun as I did! 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Back to the salt mine....

So here is the finished bowl, using salt dough recipe from earlier post. In case you don't want to look back, its 2 cups flour, 1 cup salt, and 1 cup water.  I like to show you the finished piece first, so you know what we are going to be doing and I think its easier to follow along.  So mix your dough up and roll it out.
 Again, the dough is about 1/4" thick and was rolled out on a floured surface.  I didn't use a whole batch of flour to do this bowl, I'd say about half, but if you are doing a large bowl, you will want to make more.  Just play with it and see what works, this is meant to be FUN!!!
 I thought a bowl this size would be kind of a good size to begin trying.  Your bowl will need to be oven safe.  I made sure I used spray on the bowl, so the dough would slip off when I was done with the baking process.  I thought about aluminum foil, but wasn't sure if the folds would make the inside of the bowl kind of wrinkley (I don't think that's a word, but I think you know what I mean) 
 I put the dough over the bowl, and cut away what was extra.  Kind of like a pie crust, if you make pies that way :)  And you are ready to put this bad boy in the oven,  bake it around 200 degrees, so it won't burn and it may take several hours. 
 Once the salt dough is baked, you can finish it however you like.  I used off white paint, I know it looks kind of white, and did an under coat.  Then because I didn't want the paint solid, I rubbed a candle over the outside of the bowl.  Then I painted the outside with brown acrylic paint.
 I put a sealer over all of the bowl, inside and out.  The inside of the bowl, did this crackle looking thing!  It's kind of cool, but I'm not sure why it did that.  The good thing about this process is, if you don't like it, you aren't out a lot of money.  But if you do like it, it's kind of cool. I'm using mine  as a catch all for "stuff"  Hope you have fun and let me know how yours turn out. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Salt dough? who knew it could be so much fun!

Remember doing salt dough ornaments as a kid?  We did a lot of Christmas ornaments cutting out shapes with cookie cutters and painting them.  Well, salt dough has made a come back with folks doing all kinds of things with them.  The next several posts will be about some of the things you can do/make with this inexpensive dough.  There are several recipes you can find, but the one I go to is 2 cups flour, 1 cup salt and 1 cup water.  
 So find a bowl you can mix those ingredients up in and let's get started.  I love working with this dough, but it does dry out your hands.  Just a warning.
 Sometimes you will need to add a little more water, remember this isn't rocket science!  and have fun!  I do knead mine some, I don't know that its necessary, I just love kneading dough, its like therapy to me!
 Roll the dough out evenly, on a floured surface.  The thicker your dough the longer it will take to dry, but it does tear easier.  I'd say this was maybe 1/4" thick.  I wanted to make the buttons you saw in the first picture.  My idea was to make them into coasters, for a button loving woman I know. 
 So to cut the circles as big as I wanted them, I used a plastic storage container.  It had a slight lip on it, which was just perfect for cutting through the dough. I cut 5 circles from the dough.
 For the button holes, I used a straw.  You can do several holes, before the end of the straw gets plugged up and you need to empty it to make more holes.
 I didn't measure mine, just eye-balled them.  If you want to measure, feel free to do so.
 I knew that I was going to use jute as my "thread" when I had them painted.  I thought if I gave the jute a grove before I did the baking, there would be a nice place for the jute to lay. (More about this later!)
 I also knew I wanted the buttons to have an indent a little ways from the edge, like some buttons do.  So to achieve this, I used a piece of stemware that was about 1/4"-1/2" away from the outer edge. When I had that centered on the button, I pushed it down to make an indent.
I put these on aluminum foil and baked them in the oven.  I used the convection feature in the oven, to hurry the process along.  You don't want to burn them but you want to make sure they are good and dry.  These took several hours.  Finishing will be another post!