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.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Tin of the Month Club, July

Each month this year, I'm altering a small tin and posting it. Happy July! To me, the biggest event in July is the Fourth. I love me some fireworks. For this month's tin, I tried to find trim that brought fireworks to mind. Hooray for the red, white, and blue!

If you'd like to see the rest of the tins I've done so far this year, click here.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Circus Toys

Here's a couple of new things I've added to my circus collection, along with a large squeaky clown toy I played with as a baby. (Could that have been the start of my love of the circus?)

I used the new Funny Mixies collage sheet from Alpha Stamps to make the set of puzzle blocks. I am a huge fan of vintage puzzle blocks, and often use them in my art, so it was fun to make a set of my own. You can mix and match the faces, bodies and feet on the blocks to make all sorts of crazy characters. Hey wait; is that Satan, wearing a dress?

While the four sides of the blocks each contain a body part, the tops and bottoms each have part of a single image on them. Put those together, and you get a circus scene. I used some fine grained sand paper to lightly sand all the blocks. I wanted them to look like they were well loved and played with often.

I got the red clacker a couple of years ago from a "free" table at a craft event. I was attracted to its color and well-used look, plus: free! I used a couple of fun clown images from the Reversible Clown collage sheet and gold star stickers to make it a little more fun. That clown on the left is actually smoking a cigarette.

Look at him! For shame! Obviously, I sanded him a bit, too. It would look weird to have him be all bright and shiny on such a wonderfully distressed toy.

Do you need some supplies to make your own puzzle blocks? Click here! Alpha Stamps has everything you need, from the wooden blocks to the collage sheet, to the custom wooden box they're contained in.

I can think of so many uses for blocks like this. What about personalized photo puzzles for Christmas gifts this year. Wouldn't those be sweet?

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Tin of the Month Club, June

Each month this year, I'm altering a small tin and posting it. Now that it's summertime, it's time to go enjoy the outdoors. Let's go fishing! This tin is in honor of my husband, who's an avid fisherman. He tied the tiny fly that's tempting that large fish in the background.

Here are the second quarter 2015 tins together:

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

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Ocean TV

What's on television tonight? Mermaids! I took this great metal tv frame from Alpha Stamps, and created a mermaid show. It includes everything a proper mermaid needs: friends, coral, pearls, sea glass, and some nice shell bikini tops. What fun they're having, playing in the waves.

I got the mermaid images from the Caribbean Blue Mermaids collage sheet. I used two of the images there to create this one full image. On the collage sheet, the girl on the left is actually from a separate image, so I cut her out and added her in. I also cut out a separate image of the girl in the foreground and adhered her on top of the corresponding image of her with foam glue dots to make her appear more dimensional.

When I got the tv, I thought the black "speaker box" was a little distracting, so I painted between the black lines with some turquoise paint, and then distressed it with ink. Here's a little picture of the speaker before. That big black square seemed just a bit too distracting to me. Painting it in helped it to fade more into the background. After all, tonight's show is all about the mermaids!
A little closer shot of those delightful frolicking sea nymphs:

Doesn't this make you long for the beach? Need supplies? Click here!

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!
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