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.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Tin of the Month Club, January

Early last fall, I found a set of 12 small tins (about 1 1/2 inch in diameter), designed for jewelry parts storage. They were on sale at Tuesday Morning, and although I didn't have a plan for them, I couldn't resist them at the low, low price of $1.99. Why I didn't purchase every set they have, I don't know.

Fast forward to this week. I don't currently have any pending projects, so I pulled out the tins and started fiddling around. I ended up making a Halloween tin that I was pretty happy with. I thought about making a few more with a Halloween theme, but since there were 11 tins left, I thought it would be fun to make one tin for each month of the year. It's now my 2015 challenge to myself.

Each month, barring disease, disaster, or just plain slackness, I'll post up one of these little tins. At the end of the year, the whole year will be represented in tins.

Here's January. I photographed it on a black background so the trim would show.

Here it is on white. Once I get all twelve done, I want to make a composite photo of them all together.

Sorry, the Halloween tin will have to wait until October. But February is right around the corner. Stay tuned!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Dottie at the Circus: Mini Altoids Tin

Here's a little Mini Altoids tin circus, featuring Dottie, a fine circus elephant performer. I removed the lid of the tin, and used it as a floor, where Dottie can perform.

Dottie is a tiny plastic elephant, but I made her a little hat and blanket to dress her up for her circus debut. The hat is made from Apoxie Sculpt, painted red with white dots. The little pom pom on top is a clear seed bead. The blanket is a little snippet of ribbon, with painted on white "fringe".

The flags are made with matchsticks and the same striped paper I used on the sides of the tin.

A tiny circus poster on the back, advertising the elephant show:

And there you have it, a tiny circus that can fit in the palm of your hand.

Saturday, January 3, 2015


My last project of 2014, and first to be published in '15! Alpha Stamps sent me a twinchie shadowbox to decorate. I decided on an "Almost Valentine" theme and a red and turquoise scheme, which matches my craft room. I have so many great collage sheets that I've collected, so I pulled them out and found some great images. Most of them are love related, but some, I chose for their color alone, like the elephant on the bicycle, Red Riding Hood, who's now reaching for some pie, and the curious rabbit with the little mushrooms.

Cupids hold a banner made from washi tape and baker's twine.

Here you can see that some of the squares are elevated, in order to give the surface more depth. All I did was cut some small squares of corrugated and place them under a few of the twinchies. Some of the blocks are as deep as the cubbies, but others have one, two, or even three layers of corrugated supporting them. You can also see the stripey sides of the box in this shot. I love that paper; it's so fun.

Here are a few close ups of some of the squares. The figures are elevated with foam tape. Some ladies, one with a gentleman caller:
Some queens, a fancy lady, and a loner:

This was a really fun project with only one real downside: my craft room is a huge mess now! My New Year's resolution is to straighten out my work space.

If you'd like to see a list of all the wonderful Alpha Stamps goodies that went into the making of this box, click here. 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Tiny Ornament Boxes, OR a Fun Swap

Quite some time ago, a good friend of mine and I got all excited about decorating vintage Christmas ornament boxes. I found a great deal on Ebay: two adorable identical boxes for $10. Each box measured just 4" by 5 1/2". I kept one and sent one to her, with the promise that we would each decorate them and give them to each other as gifts.

So here's what I sent her. It's a vintage plastic reindeer with a stocking, sitting on a glittery surface of snow. There's a little package next to him, addressed to her. What could be inside?
I left the cellophane window on mine; she removed hers. She wins. It's really better without. I told her she may want to take that off of the one I sent her. The glare is pretty bad, especially in photos.

Aren't these the cutest boxes ever? Neither of us could bear to mess with the outsides; they were just too perfect!

And here's what she sent me. I just love it so much! The tree is raised up to give it dimension, and look at that deer, spying on Santa. So cute! There's lots of glitter in the snow on the ground and on the roof of the house. I am a big fan of the little bit of glitter around the opening of the box.

And a picture of the side, so you can see the dimension better. 
What a fun Christmas exchange. Ho ho ho!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Mini Tin Ornament

My last kit from Alpha Stamps came with the cutest little reindeer charm. I just had to figure out something to do with him. I also had some small bottle brush trees and lots of Snow-tex left over, so I popped the lid off of a mini Altoids tin and put this little ornament together. The gold tinsel and the jingle bell hanging on the bottom make it extra festive.
This was a quick little project that was fun to do.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Light-up Christmas House, with Tutorial

Christmas is coming! Inspired by vintage Putz houses, I made this little house using Alpha Stamps' new Glitter House Template collage sheet and lots of other fun Christmas supplies (also from Alpha Stamps, of course!) This house has an LED light inside, and a working streetlight on the corner. Here it is in daylight:

And here it is in the dark, with both the inside light and the street light lit. When the lights are on, you can see the Christmas tree inside the front window.
These little houses are so fun and easy to make! Here's how I made this one.

Cut apart the template and adhere it temporarily with spray adhesive to the backside of sturdy double sided scrapbook paper. For this project, I used a very light coat of Aleene's Spray Tacky Glue. Once the house was cut out, I removed the template. Using a ruler and x-acto knife, cut around the outside edge of the template, and the doors and windows. Use a bone folder to score along the tab lines and the dotted fold lines, and then carefully remove the template from the scrapbook paper.

Fold along the scored tab and fold lines, and begin to glue the house together. I glued the top of the house down first, then the sides, and then folded up and glued the bottom. It really helps to cut out the bottom of the floor (noted on the template), so you can get your hands up into the house and hold down those glued edges until they dry. Once the house is assembled, you can replace the cut out part and complete the floor. In this next photo (using different paper from the final project), the top part of the house is glued down, and the tabs on the side are folded and glued. Just tuck them in and hold for a few minutes while the glue sets, and then finish up with the floor.

Now for the roof. I used corrugated cardboard for my roof, so I gently peeled off the top layer of paper to expose the ribs within. Once the cardboard is stripped, adhere the template, and then cut and score the roof. Glue it to the top of the house. I used a rubber band to hold the roof in place until the glue was set.

This is my first time to use Snow-tex, but definitely not my last! I just couldn't wait to try it out, so I did a little test area on the roof, using an old paintbrush. Notice I taped around the edge of the lid of the box with masking tape; I didn't want to get any snow on the sides. (In case you're wondering, yes, I always work like this. My desk is a mess!)

Glue the chimney to the roof using Tacky Glue. Don't worry that the chimney doesn't sit flat on the corrugated cardboard; Snow-tex will cover that up.

Next, I put a string of tiny pearls around the door and all of the windows except the large one in front. I found that it helped to cut the string into tinier segments, especially when going around a curve. For the rounded windows, I cut the strands so that I was only gluing on two pearls at a time. Here, Santa stands guard while you check out those pearly windows. The snow you see on the window panes was added using an embroidery needle. I found the popsicle stick to be too large for applying small amounts of the Snow-tex.

I made the chimney cap a bit smaller than the one on the template so it didn't hang over the chimney, but I did cut the hole in it so I could add some smoke, which was made with a little bit of cotton pulled off a cotton ball.  In this next photo, I was determining placement of the house, the Santa, and the trees on the box lid.

I drew around all the elements on the top to help give me a guide of where to punch holes out for the wiring of the streetlight and the LED light within the house. Once I knew where things were going to go, I punched out the holes. The larger hole for the LED light was made with scissor tips, and the smaller streetlight hole was made with a large needle. These holes don't have to be pretty; they will be covered in the final project.

To keep the lights stable on top, I used a bit of Apoxie Sculpt to secure them underneath the lid. 

Now it's time to add the snow. To keep the front doorstep from being buried, I sat the house up on a piece of cardboard cut to the same size as the floor. This will make the house look like it's on a little hill. Now, fill in the snow! I used a popsicle stick for the larger areas, like the ground, and a toothpick for some of the smaller areas, like the tops of the windows and around the Santa. As I mentioned before, the tiny bits of snow on the window panes were applied with a needle.

The trees were a little taller than I needed, so I used wire clippers to cut their wooden bases off. Once I applied all the snow on the ground, I used Aleene's Tacky Glue around the bottoms of the trees and set them into place. Push them into that snow, so they'll be nice and stable.

To make the wreath in the front window, I used a hole reinforcement label and some green yarn. I wrapped the yarn around the circle several times, adding some tacky glue when necessary. Red seed beads were then glued on to resemble holly berries. An upside down candy cane made the perfect wreath hanger.

Before assembly, I painted the box with cream and white stripes, and glued on some 7/8" lace around the rim of the top. The batteries for the lights are now hidden within the box. Look around back: someone has built a snowman!

The great thing about these templates is how flexible they are. You can make whatever sort of houses you wish. How about a haunted house next October? Meanwhile, happy little Christmas house! For a complete list of supplies, click here!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Cigar Box Mini

I really love old cigar boxes, so when the November kit from Alpha Stamps came out, I couldn't wait to start; they are now carrying so many new cigar box themed collage sheets, plus tons of coordinating scrapbook papers. I made a mini cigar box! Here's a photo of it with some of my actual sized boxes.
Isn't it so cute? The tiny masonite cigar box I used is just the right size to hold a gift card, and the Turquoise Mini Cigar Boxes collage sheet is designed to perfectly fit this box.

Here's a little tip if you're going to be covering a box: before you adhere the paper to the top, reinforce the hinged area with some tape. This will help keep that joint strong when the lid is opened and closed.

I added images from some of the other collage sheets to the top and sides of the box. Here's the finished outside, with the red "seal" broken:

The interior is lined with a lovely houndstooth pattern, and features a 3D cigar-themed sticker.

This little box would make a perfect gift box for a cigar aficionado. But I'd like to just display it, so I chose a few images from the Cigar Box Secrets scrapbook paper, cut them out, and mounted them on a little foam core base, cut just to fit inside the box. They stand up nicely, but are easy to remove should I decide to use the box to hold a gift card later.

In this next photo, you can see the three pieces after I first completed them. I liked the way they looked inside the box, but just couldn't be happy with that lady in the back. She blends in too much with the background, and it's hard to see her and tell that she's actually 3D.

I used some colored pencils to give her face and hair a little more definition, and then used some Copic Markers to color in the halo in the background. What a difference! Now she shows up so much better.

It looks to me like these lovely ladies are all waiting for a parade.
For a complete list of supplies, click here.
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