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.

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. 

Monday, March 16, 2015


My cousin and his wife are moving back into town after several years (yay!), and we're going to go see their new place on Wednesday. I want to bring them a housewarming gift, so I got a scrap of wood, painted it white, stenciled on some letters and then painted them. Then I sanded the front and the edges, which are painted black. This is a quick and easy gift. It probably took less than two hours to complete.

Now I hope they'll stay put for a while!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Tin of the Month Club, March

Is it March already? Then it must be time for this month's tin. I went a little Eastery with this one, even though most of the time Easter falls in April. I think I just needed to feel like Spring is on its way! Here's a cute little fellow and his friend the Easter bunny.

Here are the first quarter tins so far: January, February, and now March. I already feel like this year is flying by!

My friend cackle, over at CackleAndHoot is also in the Tin of the Month Club. Check out hers here!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Tea And Treats

This month's Alpha Stamps theme is "Marie takes tea". It's all about Marie Antoinette in gorgeous dresses, plus lots of delicious looking treats. Mmmm!

I constructed a little tea shop, where Marie can pick out the perfect sweets for her afternoon tea with the girls. Marie's so happy, she's strung up some little flags and made a banner. Maybe she'll hang it on the windows of the shop.

The shop is constructed from 2" paper maché boxes with lids. I used two boxes for the lower shelves, and a box lid for the upper window.  The "curtains" are actually the skirt I cut off of a figure in the collage sheet. I attached it to a Panniers Dress shape cutout, and added the "Tea Party" heart and the clock. It was fun to adorn the shop with ball fringe and Dresden trim. 

Here's a photo of the back of the shop, where you can see how the dress shape cutout was the perfect shape to support not only the curtains, but also the heart and clock, plus all the little leaves surrounding the clock. You can also see how the flag was attached. I used a bit of E6000 to adhere it up at the top, but because of the ball fringe, I could only attach it at that one spot. To make it stable, I glued a little pink bead to the flat surface of the box and stuck the end of the toothpick flagpole into that bead. 

Look how adorable those little treats are! I gave all the paper treats some sparkly red Stickles accents, and glued a small red seed bead onto the top of each of the cupcakes, which also happen to be beads. The seed beads make perfect little cherries, and fit right into the holes in the cupcakes. I also glued a seed bead to the bottom of the heart shaped tart so it sits at an angle and can be seen more easily.

Here's the showpiece cake in the top window. It has lots of red Stickle cherries, and a little piece of lace serving as a doily. The little Tea Party heart was solid green, so I took a Sharpie marker to it and highlighted the raised areas in black.

What sweet little 3D bows! I used a silicone mold and some paper clay to create them. I painted them pink with little green polka dots, and gave them a coat of glaze to make them nice and shiny.

I was going to have the shop sitting right on the ground, but it really looked better taller, where Marie can reach it properly. My husband helped me cut a little piece of wood and some dowels for legs. I painted the top white (the pom pom trim will cover that) and the legs a nice blue green to match the Dresden trim and Tea Party heart. 

One more photo of Marie, so happy with her polka dotted bunting.  How does she stay so thin with all those tempting tarts and cupcakes so readily available?

Hope you can join Marie and me for tea! For a complete list of supplies, click here.

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