I love making things from scraps and trash, whether it be empty Altoid tins, old photographs, or rusty bits I find on the street. Most of the things I post here are available from my Etsy shop, Racky Road.

So welcome! Grab a cold one, kick off your shoes, and have a look around.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Fairies Three

I had some pegs left over from my last project; tiny little things in dresses. I decided to make a little trio of fairy queens with them. Have I mentioned before how much I love those wee crowns? I distressed their clothing a bit, because everyone knows fairies are hard workers. Each fairy measures 1 1/2" tall, including her little crown.

Not sure what the two on the right will do for you, but I'm pretty sure the one in the blue dress with the apron will wash the dishes for you if you ask nicely.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Tin of the Month Club, May

Each month this year, I'm altering a small tin and posting it. April's tin was dark and rainy, but you know what they say about April showers; they bring May flowers. And this month, they certainly did. No more dark skies, just a beautiful spring. I hope your spring is as lovely.

To see the rest of this year's tins so far, click here.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Tiny Peg Circus

Step right up to see the greatest show on earth! An entire traveling circus, tucked up inside a tiny trunk. Well, OK, full disclosure: the entire circus doesn't fit into the trunk, but most of it does. I just got a little carried away and kept adding extra acts and accessories. Making little peg circus performers is just too much fun.

Here's the whole gang, standing in front of their opened trunk. 
 Ready for a ton of photos? Brace yourself!

First, the trunk. I made this from the same 4" by 2" by 2" chipboard steamer trunk kit I used to make the Tiny Traveler. This one's a little brighter in color, because hey, it's a circus.

Opened up, you can see that five of the circus performers fit in the lid. Behind them, the flags for the ticket booth and the ringmaster's whip are stored. The three drawers on the right hold things like barbells for the strongman, knives for the knife thrower and his assistant, and a rubber chicken for the clowns. The bottom drawer also serves as the ticket booth, once it's slid out and turned around.

And here comes the circus! First up, there's the daring knife thrower. His revolving wheel and sign are found on the bottom of the trunk. That is one brave assistant he's working with; look how close those knives are. I think the sign should read "Daring Knife Thrower's Assistant"!

On the other side of the opened trunk, you can see Pete the ticket seller, manning the bottom drawer/ticket booth, Magnificent Mighty Max and his 500 lb. weights, and Red, who sells cotton candy. That cotton candy is actually pink packing peanuts, cut down and stuck onto toothpicks. Mmm, only two treats left, better get 'em while you can!

Clowns! You gotta have clowns at the circus. Here's Bingo and Twinkle with a big red ball and a rubber chicken. I hear their act is hilarious.

Finally, here's the act that broke out of the trunk: the Amazing Lion Act. The ringmaster seems to have things well in hand with that whip of his. It's made from a thin piece of wire wrapped with black embroidery floss.  The lion's hoop is made from a plastic ring and a 1 inch dollhouse hat stand with the "head" removed.

Here's the gang all together. I'm excited to announce that I made a special Tiny Peg Circus collage sheet for Alpha Stamps featuring circus signs and costumes that you can wrap around wooden pegs to make a circus of your own. Each of these circus performers was made using that collage sheet. Wrapping the pegs is relatively easy. I'll show you how.

First, carefully trim out the desired costume, and then paint the face, hair, and shoulders of your peg person. I used Delta Ceramcoat AC Flesh color for the people's faces. Once the paint is dry, apply a nice coat of Mod Podge all around the body part of the peg.

Take your trimmed costume, and center it below the face. Make sure the bottom of the costume is perfectly lined up with the bottom of the peg.

Wrap the costume, making sure it's on straight and that there are no wrinkles.

Once the costume is secured all around the peg, it's time to wrap the neck. I found it best to add more Mod Podge around the neck under the tabs before this step. Get it good and wet!

Starting with the front, work your way around, pushing the tabs in as you go. There may be a little bit of a sharp point where the tab comes together and the peg begins to curve, but you can push that in when the Mod Podge is still wet underneath and it will pretty much smooth out. Once you're happy with the way the costume looks, give the entire peg, including the head, one more coat of Mod Podge.

Mount extra parts, like the bow tie and lion's mane, to some thin cardboard to give them some weight. Coat them with Mod Podge and then cut them out with an Xacto knife. On the collage sheet, there are tabs on the lion's mane (see arrows below), but you don't really need them. The mane fits well around the face and a thin line of Tacky Glue adheres it nicely.

Here's the lion, with his mane freshly glued and waiting to dry. I like my pegs shiny, so once the Mod Podge and glue was dry, I gave each of the pegs a final coat of clear glaze. Helpful hint: I used a removable glue dot to adhere the peg to a plastic drink stirrer. That way, I could glaze the entire peg without worrying about stickiness or fingerprints. What a time saver!

Customization is possible: I used the same costume for the knife thrower and the ticket taker. To make them a little different, I gave the ticket taker a red bow tie and a little red pocket square. To make a female lion, I cut out just the ears and a tiny bit of connecting cardboard from the lion's mane. It's a circus; have fun with it!

One more photo of some of the gang before they pack it all up and move on to another town. I hope you enjoyed the show!

Need supplies? Click here!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Tin of the Month Club, April

It is so rainy and dark at my house that I feel it's the perfect time to reveal April's tin of the month. You know what they say about April showers! This tin is pretty dark, but it is accurate. At least there's a silver lining!

Did you miss a month? If you click here, you can get caught up.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Tiny Traveler

This month's Alpha Stamps theme has to be one of my all time favorites: steamer trunks! We each got a 2" by 4" steamer trunk kit and directions for assembly. From there, the sky was the limit. I decided to make a little trunk that looked ordinary on the outside, but inside, contained everything a tiny traveler would need to have a truly comfortable voyage. Here's the tiny traveler herself. She's a 2" painted peg doll. With a crown. She demanded it.

 On the outside, her trunk may not look like much...
...but when you open the trunk, you can see the tiny traveler and all her goodies snugly tucked up inside. On the left, there's a trundle bed on hinges, held to the wall by some ribbon with velcro, a charming wire chair, and the tiny traveler herself. On the right is a drawer containing bedding, a drop leaf desk, and a bedside table and lantern, held in place with another velcro'd ribbon.

When the chair is removed, the bed can be lowered. The top drawer contains a mattress and a pillow for the bed. I handstitched each of these because they were so tiny. Note: the chair I used was part of a set of three chairs and an adorable wire table. I cut the legs down on this chair for size. I'll use the table and two chairs left on another project some day.

The bed is made, the bedside table is in place, and a bright red lamp provides light for reading.

The drop leaf writing table is a great place for the tiny traveler to keep her books, her mail, a nice cup of coffee, and her binoculars. (She loves sightseeing!)

I took a few in progress shots, but so much of this project was trial and error. For example, I made five top drawers before I got the size just right, and when I first attached the trundle bed to the wall, I put the hinges on backwards, so the bed didn't fold down correctly. The directions that come with the kit are perfect for making a standard trunk. My best advice to you, if you're crazy like I am and want to customize the trunk, is to really think things through before using glue. Make sure everything is working the way you want it to before you commit!

Here you see where I had to make up for a little error. I should have cut the suede strapping short where the hinges on the lid would go. I ripped the paper a bit when removing the excess. This doesn't matter in the end, though, as that part is hidden by the hinge. I darkened that area with a marker, though, just in case. You can also see here where I dug the cardboard out a little where the moving part of the hinge will be. This allows the lid to open wider. 

The inside hinges were attached with E6000 glue, but I wanted the outside hinges to be extra sturdy, so they are affixed with brads.

Here's the lid of the box in progress. The ribbon holding the trundle bed was glued and the hinges were attached to the lid before covering the sides with paper. That way, the brads and the raw ends of the ribbon are hidden. Make sure you test the ribbon to see if it's long enough to hold the bed when it's in place. You don't want to have to rip the decorative paper from the sides of the lid and replace the ribbon and that paper. Really, you don't. Don't ask me how I know this.

This is the bottom of the box. I was not able to wait until the ribbon and hinge was attached to this side as it would be too difficult (for me, anyway) to determine the size of the shelves and desk. I placed the lantern and spool table on the bottom to determine where the shelf above them could fit. (You can see the drop down desk and the shelf above it in the picture.) Then I made sure that the drawer on top was large enough to hold the bedding. This determined the height of the drop leaf desk. You'll want to adjust your trunk to hold whatever you wish to include.

There are all sorts of fun ways to set up the tiny traveler's little trunk.

There's a lot of stuff packed into that tiny trunk!

I enjoyed this project so much that I have already begun working on my next steamer trunk. For a complete list of products used in this one, click here.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Halloween Countdown

I just participated in another Craftster swap, one in which you send one awesome item to your partner. One thing about my partner, she is a huge Halloween fan. I love working on Halloween crafts no matter what time of year it is, so I decided to make her an October calendar that she can use every year.

The calendar consists 31 ATCs, bound together with a Bind It All, and mounted on a collapsible cardboard frame. I also included a little costumed rat, to keep her company.

The back cover folds up to create a triangular stand for the pages. Each day in October, she can flip one over as Halloween approaches. I used playing cards for the bases of the ATCs. They're just the right size, and it's easy to quickly cover them with scrapbook paper and then cut them out. I didn't cover the backs because I don't mind the way they look, and the cards would be way too fat with all that extra paper involved.

Here's the calendar on October 1:

on the 5th:
And on the Halloween itself:

I really had fun making a card for every day of October. Here are all the cards before they were bound:

I hope this gives her many years of Halloween joy.

Friday, March 20, 2015

GIANT X-acto Knife Prop

Have you ever needed a really, really big X-acto knife? Well, I have, so I thought I'd make one of my own, mostly with stuff we had around the house.
 And here it is. I think it looks real, although it's actually 4 1/2 feet tall. (That's an actual X-acto knife lying beside it on the floor.)

The knife itself is made of 1 1/2" PVC pipe, spray painted silver. The blade is made of thin wood, and sits in a black rubber end cap that I slit open with a box cutter. I think the part that's under the cap is what really makes it: I went looking at Home Depot to find something to mimic that grip part on a real knife, and almost cried real tears of joy when I found this 2" clear pipe with nylon reinforcements in it. It fits perfectly on the PVC, with no adhesive necessary!

I cut the stencil out for the logo on my Silhouette Cameo, then traced around them with pencil and hand-painted the logo on with black. It's a tiny bit wambly, because it's not easy to paint on that round surface, but I'm pretty happy with it.

What does one do with a giant X-acto? I'm going to use this for a prop in a costume I'm making, and then it's going to live in my craft room as decor. 
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