Homemade Soap

Here is a blog post from one of our Customer Service Reps who tried out our soap making book…have you tried soap making yet?

Having super sensitive skin I have been looking for a how to on making my own natural soap.  I want to know what is in the soap as well as being able to pronounce the ingredients.  The Natural Soapmaking Book for Beginners was an excellent starting place.  It is full of lots of information on pure ingredients; what to use and what to stay away from.

With such sensitive skin I decided to try the Goat milk, cinnamon, oats, and honey soap.  The oatmeal exfoliates gently while the goat milk and honey hydrate and soften your skin while providing natural antibacterial properties.

Gathering ingredients

Melting the fats

Dissolving lye in the goats milk (make sure you wear your protective gear)

Emulsifying the oil/fats with lye to obtain trace

In the mold it goes

Cut into slices to finish curing

8 weeks later all cured and ready to be used.  This soap has a nice lather and smells wonderful.  My skin loves it.

Wanting to try a soap that didn’t take 2 months to use, I tried one of the recipes that used melt and pour glycerin.  Who doesn’t love roses…?!?!?!  The Rose Petal Melt and Pour soap was quick and easy.  The bonus was being able to use it the same day!

Melting the glycerin

Rose clay, rose petals, and rose essential oil

Setting up (only 4 hours instead of 2 months)

This recipe was quicker for those who want the make and use right of way options.  The instructions are well written and easy to understand.  Rose oil calms and relaxes you while stimulating and elevating your mind.

Categories - Inspiration, News, Staff Projects

Foxy Quilling

Fox made by quilling

I was flipping through a book while planning our September catalog when a cute little quilled fox caught my eye! The fox was part of a larger project, but I decided to recreate just the fox because I wanted to start small and simple. This was my first experience quilling. It took a little longer than I expected (about two hours) but it was fun to try something new and learn a new skill!

I used our Paper Quilling Kit with Storage Box (#87441). This is the perfect kit for beginners because it has everything you need to get started. It includes quilling strips, quilling comb, circle template ruler, curling coach, tweezers, ultrafine tip glue applicator, needle and slotted tool, and a tri-fold blank card. I used regular Elmer’s Glue on the quilling strips.

I loosely followed the directions from the book by looking at the picture for each step (this book will be available to purchase after the September catalog has been mailed out). The fox is made up of multiple sections that each contain one or more quilling strips. For example, the ears themselves are sections that are made up of one quilling strip each that is curled tightly around itself and bent. The front legs are another section that is made up of four short strips that are slightly curled by hand and glued together at their ends. Each section doesn’t look like much by itself, but when you put all the sections together that’s when the magic really happens!

I decided to give the finished fox to my Grandma because I thought of her while I was making it. She has given my family cards with quilling art on them before for holidays or birthdays. After doing the craft myself, I can really appreciate the time and care that goes into these!


Categories - Finished Projects, Inspiration, Snapshots, Staff Projects

USA Paper Mache Letters

These mache letters will look great on your mantel or bookshelf this Fourth of July and they were so much fun to paint! A great project for the beginning painter or for the Americana enthusiast.

These letters allow for a little creative freedom when deciding where to do the stripes and what will be your blue fields. I pretty much just eyeballed it, but used a ruler to help me keep most lines straight when they needed to be. Other than that, just relax and have fun, these are supposed to be a little whimsical or rustic.

You just need a few supplies: 12″ Mache Letters – A (#40153), U (#40173), and S (#40171); Falling Stars Background Stencil (#71899); Identi Pen Black (#70830); DecoArt Americana paint colors in Williamsburg Blue (#13040), Deep Midnight Blue (#13166), Winter Blue (#13190), Rookwood Red (#13097), Black Plum (#13172), Light Buttermilk (#13164), Antique White (#13058), Snow White (#13001), and Neons Fiery Red (#18000).

I painted the sides and back of each letter with Deep Midnight Blue. For the design, paint the blue fields with Williamsburg Blue, shade with Deep Midnight Blue, highlight with Winter Blue. Light stripes paint with Light Buttermilk, shade with Antique White, highlight with Snow White. Red stipes paint with Rookwood Red, shade with Black Plum, highlight with Fiery Red. Stars are stenciled with Light Buttermilk. Add dip dots to each corner of the star. When everything is dry, outline the stripes and some sections of the A for separation with the Identi Pen. Finish with your favorite varnish.

There you have it…some fun Americana letters to enjoy all summer long!

Happy Painting!

Categories - Finished Projects, Inspiration, Snapshots, Staff Projects

USA House Letters

With the Fourth of July coming up I thought I would create a fun, quick and easy project that anyone can do on our Row Houses – Set of 4 (#62828). All you will need are a few paint colors, some stencils, and some extra ribbon and you are on your way.

Here are the colors I used for this project (you can use any color that you prefer)
DecoArt Americana:
Deep Midnight Blue
Calico Red
Light Buttermilk
Khaki Tan
Lamp Black
DecoArt Extreme Sheen 24K Gold

Initial Impressions Sleek Stencil (#71961)
Falling Stars Background Stencil (#71899)

To start the project, I taped off the roof lines and painted them all Lamp Black. Once dry, tape off the house line and paint one house Deep Midnight Blue, the one with the star Calico Red, the house with the flag Light Buttermilk, and the tall skinny house with Khaki Tan. Paint the star 24K Gold. Paint the flag Light Buttermilk, then paint the upper left corner with Deep Midnight Blue, and stripes with Calico Red.

When everything is dry, stencil stars on the Deep Midnight Blue House, U on the Calico Red house, S on the Light Buttermilk House, and an A on the Khaki Tan house.

Finish with your favorite varnish.

For a final touch, I had some red, white, and blue ribbon in my stash at home and used a hot glue gun to glue it in place across the roof and house lines.

If you want more detail, you can shade and highlight your houses, but I was going for a simple primitive look. You could even sand the edges for a more worn or rustic look.

Happy Painting!

Categories - Finished Projects, Inspiration, Snapshots, Staff Projects

Large Patriotic Grooved Heart

I was wanting something new for my front door for the Fourth of July and had many ideas going through my head as I looked for a surface. I don’t know about any of you, but my head is constantly full of creative ideas…sometimes keeping myself focused on one thing is always a challenge because I am easily distracted by other creative ideas and craft projects.

But, here is what I came up with and it can be painted in a matter of hours. Here is what you will need: Grooved Primitive Heart (#62998), Assorted Wood Stars (#63102), 1/2″ Wood Spools (#63208), 3/4″ Wood Spools (#63209), Rustic Accents 22 Gauge Wire (#70067), Identi Pen Black (#70830), ribbon for a bow, and the following DecoArt Americana paint colors: Uniform Blue (#13086), Deep Midnight Blue (#13166), French Grey Blue (#13098), Rookwood Red (#13097), Black Plum (#13172), Light Buttermilk (#13164), Antique White (#13058), Snow White (#13001), Neons Fiery Red (#18000).

The first thing you need to do is measure every two inches from the top of your highest point of the heart all the way down to the tip….this will give you your stripe width. I then lined the blue field up to the groove that runs down the center and with the edge of the third stripe. Tape off the area around the blue field and paint that area Uniform Blue, this may take two coats. Let dry and remove tape. Tape off the sections for the light colored stripes and paint Light Buttermilk. After the stripes are dry, remove the tape and then tape off the sections for the red stripes. Paint the red stripes Rookwood Red, let dry and remove tape.

Paint the large wooden star Light Buttermilk. Shade around the outside edges with Antique White and highlight the center with Snow White.

I did a little basic shading on the edges of each stripe and on the blue field with a little highlighting in the center of each. Blue field shade with Deep Midnight Blue, highlight with French Grey Blue. Light stripes shade with Antique White, highlight with Snow White. Red stripes shade with Black Plum, highlight with Neons Fiery Red.

When all the paint is dry, use the Identi Pen to add wiggly lines along the edges of the blue field and to separate each stripe, as well as around the outside edge of the star.

Glue the star in the center of the blue field.

I drilled two holes in the tops of the heart to run sire through. I then thought it would be cute to add some of our wooden spools for a fun look. I alternated between the large and the small spools. I painted the small spools Uniform Blue, and the larger spools Light Buttermilk, but painted the ends with Rookwood Red. You could paint them differently or not add them at all.

Finish all wood with your favorite varnish. Add a fabric or ribbon bow to the wire for a festive finishing touch!

Happy Painting!

Categories - Finished Projects, Inspiration, Snapshots, Staff Projects

Patriotic Flip Flops

In the summer I live in flip flops and when I saw our wooden flip flops, I knew I had to paint them, but at first I was like, but how. Then my love for Americana came shinning through and I was off and painting.

You will only need a few paint colors for this project and they are:
DecoArt Americana
Calico Red
Deep Midnight Blue
Light Buttermilk
Antique White
Black Plum
Soft Black
Snow White
French Grey Blue
Hot Shots/Neons
Fiery Red

Other Supplies:
Ribbon (#80154)
Black Identi Pen (#70830)
Falling Stars Background Stencil (#71899)

First I divided the the flip flops up with 2″ stripes. I chose to tape them off for crisp lines. I started with painting the red stripes first, so I taped off those sections first and painted them Calico Red. When they were dry, I removed the tape and taped off to paint the light stripes. Once the tape is in place and secure I painted them with Light Buttermilk. Shade the outside of the red stripes and the center seam with Black Plum and highlight the center with Fiery Red. Shade the outside of the light stripes and down the center seam with Antique White, highlight the center with Snow White.

Paint the straps with Deep Midnight Blue. Shade the ends of the straps and where they over lap with Soft Black, highlight the center of the straps with French Grey Blue. Stencil stars with Light Buttermilk.

Instead of using a stencil for the lettering. I chose two fonts on my computer and printed the saying out to the size that would best fit the stripes. Then I traced them on and first outlined the letters with the Identi Pen and then filled in the letters with the pen as well. You can do this saying, your family name, or even another saying…the choice is yours.

Once everything is dry, finish with your favorite varnish. I chose to drill two holes and then added wire for easy hanging. Then for an extra touch, I added some patriotic ribbon that was in my stash.

There you have it, a fun and quick patriotic project that would look great hanging on your front door.

Happy Painting!

Categories - Finished Projects, Inspiration, Snapshots, Staff Projects

Wooden Firecrackers

I love to paint and decorate with an Americana theme. All summer long and beyond, my house is filled with fun Americana and Fourth of July themed projects that I have painted, crafted, sewed, or even bought over the years. In fact my favorite colors are red and blue…imagine that. LOL
As I was cruising Pinterest, I saw many ideas for wooden firecrackers of all shapes and sizes and that got me thinking. I found that our Large Blocks – Set of (#62824) would be perfect for this idea. So, I picked four DecoArt Americana paint colors, Uniform Blue, Rookwood Red, Light Buttermilk, and Lamp Black. I painted one of the long blocks Rookwood Red, the other Light Buttermilk, and the smallest Uniform Blue. The largest block I decided would be my base and I painted it Lamp Black. You don’t have to use the colors I picked, you can choose your own favorites.
Using the Folk Art Layering Stencils – Star (#71927) I applied white stars to the blue block…I did tape off the stripes so that I wouldn’t get those accidentally stenciled on. For the Light Buttermilk block, I used the same stencil, but chose to also use a few of the stripes. Then for the Rookwood Red block, I dug through my stash of stencils to look for the largest star that I had that would fill the space and then added a smaller blue star to the center. This painted up so quickly and you can easily do whatever your creative mind decides for these blocks. You could even do one with stripes, or even trim one of the larger blocks to be a little bit shorter if you wanted too.

After all the paint was dry, I used Americana Sealer Finisher Matte Spray (#70836) to finish each block. I drilled a small hole in the top of each block so that I could glue some Jute (#80167) in place for the firecracker fuse. Position them on the base to where you would like them, and glue in place. I added a patriotic ribbon around the center for a fun touch and added some moss I had in my craft stash to glue to the base for a fun and rustic look. If you wanted to, you could even sand the edges of the blocks for a more rustic look before you varnish.

This project comes together in just a few short hours due to drying time. But it is fun and easy to make whether you are a beginner or not.

Happy Painting!

Categories - Finished Projects, Inspiration, Snapshots, Staff Projects

Patriotic Decorative Shelf

I am sure you will all figure out from a lot of these upcoming posts that Americana and Patriotic designs are a favorite of mine. But there are so many fun and easy projects that you can create to use in your home for the Fourth of July or for everyday. I tend to have more Americana items on display all year long, and some that are a little more Fourth of July themed that stay up all summer long. My craft room is even decked out in Americana colors and accessories and I think that is where this shelf will end up!

This shelf came together quickly and with Minimal paint colors too. All you will need is our Decorative Shelf (#62670), Assorted Wood Stars (#63102), Falling Stars Background Stencil (#71899), and an Identi Pen Black (#70830). As well as the following paint DecoArt Americana paint colors: Light Buttermilk (#13164), Antique White (#13058), Snow White (#13001), Rookwood Red (#13097), Black Plum (#13172), Williamsburg Blue (#13040), Deep Midnight Blue (#13166), Winter Blue (#13190), and Neons Fiery Red (#18000).

I measured the top portion of the shelf and divided it evenly to that I could have two red stripes and two white stripes. You could divide it to have three stripes, it is pretty much your decision. The blue field of the shelf I made large enough to fit the largest wood star from the assortment of wood stars that I had. After that, the rest is pretty much easy to do.

Tape off the section next to the blue field, paint this section with Williamsburg Blue, shade around the edges with Deep Midnight Blue, highlight the center with Winter Blue. Paint the shelf area the same way as the blue field. Let dry. Then stencil the stars with Light Buttermilk.

For the stripes, tape off the area of the blue field, then tape off your sections for the light stripes. Paint the light stripes with Light Buttermilk. This may take two coats. Let dry. Once dry, remove tape and tape off the sections to paint the red stripes. Paint the red stripes with Rookwood Red. Let dry and remove tape. Once your stripes are dry, shade the light stripes with Antique White at the left and right sides of the stripes, highlight the center with Snow White. Shade the red stripes with Black Plum at the left and right side edges of the stripes, highlight the center with Fiery Red.

The sides of the shelf and the pegs are painted Rookwood Red. The lower portion of the shelf is painted Light Buttermilk.

Paint the wood star with Light Buttermilk, shade around the outside edges with Antique White, highlight the center with Snow White.

Once the paint is dry, I used the Identi Pen to make some wiggly outlines around the edge of the star and along the edges of the stripes. Then glue your wooden star in place on the blue field. Finish with your favorite varnish.

There you have it…a fun and easy Americana shelf you can enjoy all year long!

Happy Painting!

Categories - Finished Projects, Inspiration, Snapshots, Staff Projects

“Home” Wooden License Plate

I have been seeing a lot of “Home” signs on Pinterest where the “O” in home is the state that you live in, and thought to myself that would be fun to make! We have lots of sign options but decided to use our Wooden License Plate (#62809) for this project.

You will only need a few supplies to create this sign. I went on the web to find state shapes and printed out the state of Oregon and then sized it to fit the lettering from the  “Home Home Home” stencil that is from the FolkArt Stencil Value Pack Phrases (#71932).

Paint your surface with Americana Decor Chalky Paint in Relic (#15407). Let it dry and then apply Americana Decor Crackle Medium (#72005) and let it dry completely. Then paint your top color with Americana Decor Chalky Paint in Timeless (#15103). Make sure to not over work the paint, try to go in one continuous direction. If you have a few think areas where a brush stroke shows, that is ok, you are going for an aged rustic look. Let your background dry completely.

Once your background is dry, trace on the H, M, E, and the state shape. I outlined all of these first with the Identi Pen (#70830) and then filled the shapes in with DecoArt Americana Lamp Black (#13067).

Finish with your favorite varnish.

That is pretty much it for this project. I now just have to find a ribbon to run through the cutouts to hang this on my wall.

These would make great Christmas gifts for family and friends.

Happy Painting!

Categories - Finished Projects, Inspiration, Staff Projects

Garden Picket Sign

I have always wanted to paint a garden sign, why have I not done it until now? Well, time for one, but also, I have so many hobbies and crafts that I tend to bounce around from project to project alot, and well, the garden sign just never happened.

We put up a small section of picket fence, oh about 11 years ago and I have had a small section floating around the yard that my boys used to build forts with and ramps, and it has managed to stay in one piece over the years. So, I decided I would use that shabby piece of picket fence and make it into my garden sign this year.

First off, I wanted to try using DecoArt’s new Americana Decor Wood Reclaim (#87427) and see how it would work on the rough pickets. I chose not to sand the pickets, but just dive right in and start painting every inch with Wood Reclaim. I used two coats to really give a good cover to the wood on both the front and the back. This product made the rough and aged pickets feel smooth again. I let it dry over night and then I was ready to paint.

I chose to use DecoArt Patio Paint for extra durability. For the background color, I used the darkest green I had, you could use any color that you like or have on hand, this is where you can have alot of fun. I once again did two coats for the background color for the front and the back, this pretty much used up all of the green, but hey, what is paint there for, but to be used. I let this dry overnight, which actually led to several days of sitting and drying due to lack of time to work on the sign. You all know how life can sometimes get in the way of crafting and painting.

Then with some stencils I had in my stash of supplies, I spelled out, “Welcome to my garden”. I chose to trace them on and then carefully outlined them with my brush and a soft yellow paint and then filled the letters in. I chose to do two coats for a more solid finish. When it came to the flower designs, I knew I really didn’t want to trace patterns on, so I decided to freehand all of my designs and sketched them in with a white chalk pencil starting with the daisies on the top of each picket. Then I sketched out the vines on the cross bars.

Looking through the my paint colors I had at home, which was not the entire line of Patio Paint, I made my plan. I painted the daisy petals white with a yellow center and then stippled layers of brown to the centers for more detail. The vines were painted with a script liner and a dark brown and then I went over them again with a lighter brown for highlights. The leaves and flowers are all stroke flowers that were just quick and easy, as well as fun to paint. Then I added a few dip dots here and there along the vines in a light pink and blue to match the center dots of the small stroked flowers. With this part, you can paint any type of flower you want, I really wanted a fun whimsical look, so I did not worry about being exact.

After all the flowers were dry, I outlined the larger daisies with black for petal separation. Let the paint dry for about 24 hours, just to make sure it is good and dry. Then apply two coats of Patio Paint Clear Coat for the finishing touch. I let it dry for about 72 hours to make sure that the paint was cured.

Then the task was to where I was going to put it in our yard. I moved it around and around and then settled on the spot where it would be. I am very happy that I found the time to create this sign and love how it turned out. I think I am ready to paint more garden signs now!

Happy Spring and Happy Painting!
Categories - Finished Projects, Inspiration, Staff Projects