Sunday, November 28, 2010

Birds of a Feather: A Tutorial

Hey friends! Back with the promised shabby chic feather birdie tutorial just for you!  I hope you all had a marvelous Thanksgiving and are recovering from the crazy Black Friday sales!  Brent and I skipped them this year and slept in in our nice cozy bed. :)

When I made the Christmas tree for my studio I wanted something fluffy and white for it to fill in some gaps and thought feather birdies would be perfect but I wasn’t able to find any in the stores so I figured I could make some.  These feather birdies are SO EASY and fun to make.

Here’s your supply list:
Glue Gun & Glue Sticks
String (I used beading string)
Pearlescent beads (10 mm and 2 mm)
A Feather Boa (you know you have one in your closet)
Scissors, Piercing tool or other pokey thingy
Styrofoam balls (about 2.5” diameter)
Something to press feathers down so you don’t burn your fingers (I used a bone folder)
Craft Mat to protect your work surface
Sparkly paper

{Yes, I forgot to include the sparkly paper for the beaks so it’s photoshopped in. :P}

Step One: 
Strip off a whole bunch of feathers from the feather boa and make a pile to the side of you.

Step Two: 
Spread hot glue in sections on the styrofoam ball, careful not to burn your fingers in the process.  Then carefully add feathers so that the styrofoam is completely covered.

Keep covering it until you have a big fuzzy ball of loooove like this:

 Step Three: 
Using very sharp scissors, begin trimming down the feather fluff… kind of like giving a fuzzy pet a haircut.  Don’t cut too much off, just enough to “smooth” and tame the frizz.

Step Four:
Time to build a tail for your birdie…. Snip off some nice “full” feathers from your feather boa and set them aside.  Begin gluing the feathers on one “end” to form a tail.  You might need to work in some extra fluff feathers to give it some body and trim up as needed.
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Step Five: 
Glue on one of your 10 mm beads to make a head.

Step Six:
Snip off some beads from the garland that was too wimpy for your tree and dip in some hot glue using a tweezer or your fingers if you’re not a klutz like me and then adhere to either side of your head to create eyes.
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tep Seven:
Cut a small triangle from your sparkly paper, score from one point to the longest side with a paper piercer or other tool, fold in half (trim if necessary) and dip in hot glue.  Adhere to front of bird head to create a beak.

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Voila! Your ball o’ feathers is starting to look like a birdie! How TWEET!

Step Eight:
Cut a small piece of string to desired hanging length and tie the ends in a knot like this

Step Nine:
Using your paper piercer or other pokey tool, poke the knot down through the feathers and into the styrofoam on the top of the bird.  Be careful not to put it too close to the tail or your birdies will be nose diving from your tree.


And there you have it!  A loverly shabby chic feather birdie for your tree, wreath, or other happy place in your home! 

Now realize you and everything around you is covered in feathers, which, according to your husband ranks right up there with you and everything around you being covered in glitter….

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nky  Smiles & Happy Birdie Making!

PS.. If you make some birdies please link up and share what you’ve created!  (I m trying to figure out the Mr Linky thing and add it to the blog posts… )

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas….


It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here!  We got our first real teeny bit of sticking snow this past weekend and while parts of Utah more north than us got hit hard last night we got only maybe 3”more... YAY!  I guess it is FINALLY time to put away the flip flops and capris and pull out the warm fuzzy slippers and polar bear jammies.

I am SO excited for Christmas this year. I have no clue what I am giving Brent yet, but I have other family members taken care of. WOOT!  On Saturday we put the outside lights on the house and hung the giant wreath on the peak of the house.  I have already packed away my fall decor and set up our new huge Nativity set on the hutch in the front room and we’re going to be putting up our inside Christmas decor on Wednesday.

I’ve been dreaming of a mini Christmas tree in my studio for a while now… well, ever since I saw this fabulous PINK “feather” tree at our new Hobby Lobby in Orem (25 or so miles north of me).  I didn’t buy it right away because I figured it would go on sale (and I don’t pay full retail for much of anything)… well a few weeks later it still wasn’t on sale so I printed a 40% off coupon and went in to buy it.  Thankfully some of the ornaments WERE on sale so I was able to pick some of those up, too.

The tree came stuck in a boring little hot pink wooden square… but I changed that when the ugly Urn Vase Thingy got a makeover.  I pulled the hot pink wooden square off the tree and then plunked that tree into its new home and hot glued some silver metal garland from Ikea in the base of the tree to cover the leftover Spanish moss that was stuck on.

Glue, Wrap, Press (use something other than fingers to avoid burns, don’t ask me how I know this… )

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The clear garland that picked up for the tree just looked too tiny and disappeared into the tree when I put it on it at home so while Stacey was doing this


I opened up my box of jewelry making goodies and started making some custom beaded garland.  I figured 10’ of hand beaded garland would have been plenty for such a small tree.





Try 18ish feet for a 30” tree. LOL! Good thing I had a lot of seed beads and plenty of time on my hands the next evening.  I added to this garland and about doubled the length, I just wished I’d spaced the big beads a little closer together.

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Once I got the right length of beaded garland I started putting the ornaments from Ikea and Hobby Lobby on.  It was missing something so the next evening I went to Roberts Crafts and picked up some supplies to make some feather birdies (which I will have a tutorial on HERE after Thanksgiving – it’s all typed up and ready to go)…  I topped the tree off with a "gemmed star” from Hobby Lobby.   Then it was still missing something so I popped some flowers off of the stash of silk flowers I keep here in the studio for just such occasions, grouped them in threes, and backed them with gathered pink tulle.

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I am loving how my little studio tree turned out!  It was worth the hot glue blisters, squint eye from stringing seed beads, and a contact high from spray lacquer….  The creative process making this simple little tree was loads of fun and adds a cheerful Christmas spirit to my studio.

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I hope you all have a marvelously happy Thanksgiving and I will see you back here later this weekend with a tutorial on making shabby chic feather birdies!

Inky Smiles & Happy Thanksgiving!

PS…  The wire form that previously occupied this little corner has found a new home for the holidays… 


Linking to:


Monday, November 22, 2010

The Urn Vase Thingy Gets a Makeover

So I have been working on a little project and needed a base for it.  When Stacey was here we wandered the aisles of WalMart one afternoon and found some fabulous deals on fall clearance items.  In fact, the store workers were marking them down as we were approaching the aisles. AWESOME!

I found a couple of these fabulous (yet ugly in their current state) urn/vases filled with scraggly sad looking fall foliage.  I picked this one up for $5.00.  I will figure out something to do with the fall foliage next year. :) And while Stacey was working on her gatrillion owl bodies I gave this little guy a makeover.


It’s a cheapish, plastic, should have been resin thingy… Not too ugly but sorta ugly.. but ok, the foliage is really ugly arranged like that.  But look past the foliage…  as Rafiki says, “Look beyond what you see….”

It’s got good “bones”… I bet it would look really pretty painted a cool shade of turquoisey blue… Hrmmm…

So of course I had to rip out all that badly arranged foliage… and the nasty Spanish moss stuff that was glued in there with some sort of nuclear war resistant glue… I got most of it…really… and some of the styrofoam, too.


It’s all good. It will get covered up. :)

So I pulled out the paint and went to town… I did not take photos cuz I did not want my camera anywhere near that much wet paint. (I’m a messy painter.)  I painted it with a flat paint by Behr and let it partially dry.

Once it was mostly dry, but still wet and gloopy in places I started to randomly dump some Doodlebug fine glitter on it. Don’t be shy.. it LIKES glitter, unlike my sweet husband… blue glitter everywhere! Delightful!



Once you’ve gotten your urn vase thingy covered in glitter just how you’d like it, step back and brush the glitter off your face, chest, legs, and out of your hair, and maybe vacuum the dog before the husband catches you glittering again.



Then I took it outside in the garage and hit it with some spray laquer… well, I don’t think I thought that out well enough because when it dried it looked like this:

Looks like the laquer ate through some of the gaps in pain and changed the color of the plastic underneath the paint.  Not exactly how I wanted it to turn out, but I figured it would still work.

So I stuck my tongue out at it and wandered upstairs to enjoy dinner and some of these DELICIOUS little treats that Stacey taught me to make.


Oh and she made her famous SALSA, too! How lucky were we???


Did I mention we had a blast? Tee hee…

Ok, I will be posting the pic of what the Urn Vase Thingy became tomorrow or Wednesday and then a fun little crafty tutorial after Thanksgiving.

Inky Smiles!