Archive | May 2012

Giraffes on a Wall

When my daughter was potty training, we had a hard time convincing her to get out of bed at night to use the bathroom.  When we asked her why, she said she was scared.  Her dad asked her if she’d be less scared if there was a friendly picture on the half wall next to the bathroom.  She said she thought it might help.  So, my husband asked me how we could giraffes (her favorite animal) on the wall.  While I had never done a mural, I said I’d paint them.  As usual, my husband was envisioning a quick and dirty job and I was envisioning how I could make the best giraffe mural I possibly could.  I don’t know how many hours it took, but it was many.

The view of the finished wall from the bathroom door.

The challenge on this project was that I had never worked on a wall mural before, and working close to the wall gives a very different perspective from how it looks when you stand back.  The wall is textured, so I had that to contend with.  And the hall is narrow, so I couldn’t really step back to get a really good perspective while I was working.

My giraffe drawing skills are not stellar.  So, my daughter’s wonderful art teacher loaned me a projector.  I found some images from a calendar we had and projected them on the wall.  Unfortunately, I did not project them at the best possible scale.  I wanted them as big as possible since they were the focus, but when I projected the tree, I didn’t think about how it was going to look in relation to the giraffes.  Since I didn’t project it on a good scale to be eaten by the giraffe, I made it darker to try to make it look like it was further back.  But at the same time, I painted too much texture into the leaves, so it doesn’t really look like it’s in the background like I intended.  And that was probably the most difficult thing about painting on a wall–trying to get all the elements into the right perspective for what I wanted.  The tree to the left is lighter in color with the intention that it would look closer.  Again, I don’t think I succeeded in this.

A view that includes all of the tree on the left.

My grass is a blend of yellows and greens to try to give it texture.  Overall, I’m pleased with each individual element, but I don’t think they worked together as well as I hoped.  My daughter, however, loved it, so I guess that’s all that matters.

What about you?  Have you done mural painting in your home?  What challenges did you face?  Any tricks you’d like to share?


What to Do with Those Ugly Maternity Monitor Bands

A little over two years ago, when I was pregnant with my son, I was put on twice-a-week fetal monitoring due to my advanced age (over 35).  They gave me the stretchy bands that hold the monitoring devices to my belly to keep so they wouldn’t have to waste new ones each time I came in.  When I had my son, I was going to throw them away, and my husband told me not to because I could make something out of them.  “What on earth would I make out of these ugly things?” I said.  He suggested a band to hold our trash bag in place on our trash can insert while I slide it into the trash can.  “Good suggestion,” I said.  Lining the trash can has always been a struggle for me because I have a hard time keeping the edges down to tuck them into the can.

The first thing that struck me as I prepared to do this project was that the clips they used to hold the bands wrapped around my belly were actually plastic bobbins.  I now have four “new” bobbins–SCORE!  But, I digress…

I measured the distance around the can with my measuring tape:  40 inches.  I actually intended to cut the band at 40 inches, and thought I had done so, as you can see in the picture.


However, the measure must have slipped, because when I re-measured, it was 39 inches.  I decided to try it anyway, and I made a small 1/4-inch seam.  I stitched over it twice since I was not using extra strong thread and I wanted to make sure it wouldn’t break easily.  As you can see, it worked.  So, thanks to my husband, I no longer have to wrestle with the trash can liners!


Below, the band around the trash can insert/liner and bag.


A Post-Beading Mess

I previously posted about a trinket box that I had worked on for a friend, put aside, then picked up again.  It seems that I forgot one part of my prior attempt at making this box:  the beads.

Back when we had cable TV, I saw a show on HGTV where a woman had strung beads on thread and glued them to the box.  I wanted to do the top of my friend’s box in this way.  I was using two blues and two neutrals: clear and silver.

Beautiful, right?  The problem was that when I was trying to apply them, I had trouble keeping them in straight lines.  They wound up going all over the place, and I eventually stripped them all off and repainted the top of the box.  Then, I removed any paint and glue stuck to them, and wound up with this mess:

Now, I am stuck trying to figure out which beads are light blue and which are dark blue.  Which beads are clear and which are silver.  They look somewhat different in the tray, but when I start sorting them, they start to all look alike.  I have learned my lesson:  until I get good at pasting beads to boxes, I will only use very different colors.  This way, if things go wrong, I can sort them with ease.

Does anyone out there have any tips for gluing beads to boxes?  If so, I would love to hear them, as I would like to be able to do this successfully some time.