4/10/14

Shameless Self Promotion: Buy my new DIY kit I designed for Darby Smart


I have some exciting news! My friend Nicole of the cool DIY kit company Darby Smart, asked me to design an awesome Tulip 3D Paint a.k.a. Puffy Paint and Fabric Spray canvas set  using mini white canvases and cool stencils from the Crafter's Workshop! This kit is officially called Color Wash Canvases and they are so fun to make!

Why do you need to buy this kit?  I've actually come up with TEN reasons...

The Top 10 Reasons why you'll want to buy my Darby Smart DIY kit...
1.  It's a fun, clever, and fast birthday gift idea for a friend or frenemy.
2.  If you're on a diet, treat yourself!  At least, you'll feed your creativity.
3.  It will make your teen or tween stop texting (for atleast an hour).
4. Your blank, boring walls will thank you. So will your fave relative who criticizes your decorating.
5. You can buy more supplies to add to your ever-growing craft hoard.
6. Ummm, hello?  You'll be able to say you own a kit designed by "The Swell Designer".
7. You'll feel all artsy and stuffs.
8. This kit is unicorn-approved.  Seriously, it is!
9. You won't overspend or stand in the stupid craft store line, this kit is shipped FREE to your door!
10. Do I really have to say it?????...........PUFFY PAINT!!!!!!



Oh and what's cool about this Darby Smart kit is that it's all-inclusive and they provide FREE SHIPPING! That deal always makes my ears perk up too!

You get this cool stuff in the kit:
– 1 bottle of Tulip Puffy Dimensional Fabric Paint
– 4 4"x4" canvases
– 3 Tulip Fabric Spray Paints
– Your choice of a cool stencil from Crafter's Workshop
– Foam brush

And what's great is you really don't use up you entire supply of paints and the stencil is totally reusable. This $24 kit is the gift that keeps on giving!

Well, there's just one thing to ask....


OK make that four things.

So did I convince you to buy my kit yet??? Awww come on, you know you want to too...

Until next time Swellions!
Alexa

4/9/14

My new gallery wall in my living room


I finally got around to hanging my gallery wall!  I love that it's an eclectic mix of art that I made, bought, and purchased from friends!  Oh and the bentwood rocker belonged to my Mom (who passed away when I was six), so it holds a special place in my heart. too  I love the swirls and curls, though I may consider giving it a rad paint update! Dexter appears to like it too!

What I hung...
– An X I got at the Queen Bee Market at the Snap Conference 2 years ago (Yay, I'm going again in a couple weeks)
– Color Wheel clock from the San Fran Moma Store
– Pack-O-Fun art by my friend Silvia Chenault
– S photograph I took when I worked at DecoArt (it was a batch of store samples)
– Fresno is For Lovers artwork I did for an art show last year
– 7 art from Anthropologie (I think)
– Love Alphabet letter canvas (get tutorial here)
– Craft a Life You Love canvas I painted this year on stage in the iLoveToCreate booth
– Retro ladies framed print from Target
– KY state fair "World's Largest Food Processor" postcard (see it in full here...cracks me up)
– You Bring Color to My Life printable I designed (you can download it here)
– Embroidered Squirrel Quote art made in 1978 (the year I was born) and thrifted for $2 in downtown Fresno
– Cute Playing Card cat mixed-media art by my friend Laura of The Peculiar Palette.

I actually kinda wanted to create a gallery wall that went from floor to ceiling like this one on A Beautiful Mess, but I just couldn't go there for whatever reason (maybe a lack or adventure or fear, I don't know). I do think it turned out nice overall and is colorful like me!  And thank goodness I finally got this stuff hung.  You won't believe it, but I totally have had the clock for almost 4 years and I have never had it officially hung...shame on me! LOL!

Oh and I can't forget to mention PeeWee who's sitting in the rocking chair and the cool lamp my brother-in-law Joel brought back for me from Saudi Arabia!

Happy hump day, y'all!

Alexa

2/23/14

Wire Cluster Ring DIY


Today I'm going to share one of my favorite projects to make for gift-giving...the wire cluster ring! These are super easy to make and can be made in about 10-15 minutes each -and- they'll garner you LOTS of compliments and oohs and ahhs.  Now you know why I make them as gifts, cause everyone gets super excited over them! Here's what you need to make one, or a dozen, if you so do fancy!


For this project you'll need the following...

– 24 Gauge Wire (silver or sterling silver plated)
– Crystals/pearls/beads of your choice (I picked these up when they were 50% off at Michaels)
– A finger-sized cylinder like a mascara tube
– Flat-nose or round-nose pliers
– Wire cutters


Cut off about a foot of the wire to start with using your wire cutters.


Wrap the wire around the tube about 3 times.  A mascara tube is the size that will fit most fingers (even a pinky for people with bigger fingers).


Carefully remove the wrapped wire in a ring-like shape from the tube. Securely hold it together and take one end of the wire and loop it around the gathered ring wire 3 times.


Now take the other end of the wire and pull it through and loop it several times around This will be about 3/4 of an inch from the first loop.  Clip off the shorter piece of wire, but keep the longer piece.


Feed your first bead onto the wire, then wrap around it a couple times.


Feed your second bead and wrap the wire around a couple of times. Depending on the size of your beads, you will want to alternate sizes, to create evenly spaced beads across your ring.



Here's the progression with six beads on the ring.


Continue adding beads until you reach the other loop or until you run out of wire. For me, I wanted to balance the beads out with a couple more beads so...


I cut another small piece of wire and added a few more beads to my design.

The final step is to use your pliers and fingers to hide any sharp wire-cut points inside your design! You don't want your gift recipient (or yourself) to get poked by your new ring!

Extra Tip:  Less is more. I find that sometimes I get a little too enthusiastic with the beads and my ring turns into a beaded monstrosity!  It may take a few tries to get the hang of what's the right amount of beads to work with for this design.  The great thing is that you can always cut off your beads if the design isn't working out!



And here's me wearing my new ring!  I like the mixture of the pearls and swarovski crystals. Especially with my bling-tastic wedding ring. :)


And here's a version I did just with one stone.  I picked these beads up at JoAnn. They reminded me of Chiclets!


This one I call my fruity pebble rings!  Mix around with bead shapes!   I've created some with large colorful seed beads too.

Hope you liked this fun ring project!

Until next time Swellions!
Alexa
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2/15/14

Book Buddies - The Sweetest Thing EVER!


A friend of mine on Facebook shared this sweet story (via the Dodo) the other day and it really warmed my heart. I thought you'd enjoy it too!  The Animal Rescue League of Berk's County in Pennsylvania has a "Book Buddy" program where they pair children with shelter cats.  The children improve their reading and are given non-judgemental support, while the cats get affection, friendship, and comfort.  I haven't seen a better win/win opportunity in a long time! This program makes me extremely happy.


Here's some more happy moments from the Animal Rescue Book Buddy page!  I love all these photos. Now I want to be a book buddy too! My cats would never sit steal and hang with me like this!



Until next time Swellions!
Alexa
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2/10/14

My creativity is moody


I just officially changed my middle name to "Westerfield", but I'm thinking I may should have changed it to "goes in spurts".  OK, ok, that doesn't sound all that swell.  What I'm trying to say, is that I'm a very random and scatterbrained and frankly, I have a short attention span when it comes to projects.  So that is why you'll see me blogging sometimes, making quote art other times, then working on mixed-media the next. In the words of House of Pain, I  guess I like to "Jump Around".  


So, these 3 quote art works are from a week or so of me being in a quote art mood.  I don't think day to day that I'm moody, but I am very creatively moody.  What would be the mashup of that...Croody?


Anyway, here's 3 of my creative works. :)  I'll probably be in the mood to make more in a month or so. Who knows...

Until next time Swellions!
Alexa
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12/9/13

Last minute gift idea: Wirework jewelry


One of my fave last-minute gifts to make is wirework rings!  Last year, I made these pretty little rings to give my friends at work. I ordered up some nicer silver wire and went to town making simple rosette and beaded rings.  Everyone loved them.


I also tried making some sweet name necklace charms as you see above. I didn't get too far on these (ha, so many of my projects go into my project wasteland also known as a plastic tub).  I shouldn't have given up on the idea, though...I need to fish those suckers out.  Pretty cute, huh?



There are TONS of tutorials online for making rings like these!  Here's some links to some if you are in need of a fast, easy, and fabulous project to give as a gift. I promise, everyone will LOVE them!



1. Rosette Ring Tutorial from Julie Ann Art
2. Love Ring from SwellMayde
3. Heart Ring from Maize Hutton
4. Bead Ring from Socks & Mittens



Hey, and if you don't have time to do a real wire ring, use that cheap sparkly wire from the gift wrap section and go to town. I seriously love that stuff!

Until next time Swellions!
Alexa
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12/5/13

Youtubin' it up!



This week, I was a little miffed that a tween ripped off my image above and made a video on "How to Make DIY Crayon Ornaments", my popular post from last year.  Ideas are everywhere, so I'm not sure I was the first to ever make a hair dryer crayon ornament, but I think I was one of the first to present the idea online.  So, when you see tons of people doing blog and video tutorials on a project you first initiated, it's awesome (except when they use your image to promote it). I was just bummed I didn't own the video portion of my project, too.

So I got proactive and made it happen.

That night I worked up the video you see above and tonight I tackled the video you see below!  I'll share tomorrow or early next week, the step by step tutorial on my blog for the sequin ornament I'm sharing below, but in the meantime, you can see me being my usual quirky self hosting this short video!



I really like making videos, but I need to get my process (lighting, filming, etc.) down better. I'm sure that comes with practice. If you like them, I'd love to hear about it and possibly what other videos you'd like to see. I promise they will always be super simple and super swell (ok, that was way beyond cheesy).

Until next time Swellions!
Alexa
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