Friday, May 29, 2009

Sarah's Tshirt tote.

We've talked about how much kids love getting their hands dirty, and making sure the rowdies wear an old Tshirt or overshirt while they are creating really messy art, (it's all messy!). How about incorporating the two...when my granddaughter Sarah visited from Arkansas we decided to take one of these old Tshirts and sew up her very own tote bag.

Sarah's tote bag.

This is not a new idea, I have seen lots of these done in various ways...just google how to sew a Tshirt tote, and you find all kinds of projects. I like doing these because they are such a great way to recycle and everybody has an old Tshirt.

Yardstick and chalk marking.

First thing to decide is how big you want the bag. Measure it out on the front of the Tshirt with a yardstick,(easy for the rowdies to use) and chalk, you may also want to measure and chalk the back. Sarah cut the front first,layed this piece down on the back and cut around it. Rowdies love to work with chalk, they love tools of all kinds of course they want to do the cutting. If you have a rotary cutter introduce the grandkids to this handy dandy little item...they are amazed!!!

Sewn strap, use a chopstick to turn it.

The straps are very easy as well, make them as long or short as you want by cutting strips from the Tshirt. When you have cut the strips of material place the right sides together and sew a seam. Turn the strap right side out, (a chop stick works really well for helping little hands work the strap back to the right side.) Sarah did a lot of the sewing of the straight seams on her bag, I sewed the straps on for her since it was a rather small area and had to be backstiched.

I am not going to go into detail on how to sew the bag, again you can google tons of ideas for sewing it up. The main thing I wanted to share was the way she chose to decorate it. We had a blast painting her hands in bright colors of acrylic paint and smacking handprints all over her tote, front and back! She then used dimensional paint to write her name on both sides of the bag. (We painted the Tshirt before we sewed it, it might be better to paint it after.)


If you have a favorite Tshirt with a cool logo just be sure you cut your bag to incorporate the logo, additional paint may be added...cause they have to paint! When Sarah wanted a second, smaller bag we cut pieces from other old Tshirts and sewed them together before we made our tote. For this bag we used an old sweatpant drawstring for the handle, you could also use shoelaces or ribbon for handles.

Scraps of Tshirts bag.

If the grandboys don't want to make a tote bag have them handprint a plain Tshirt they can wear, make a pillow to sleep on, or do a simple collage on construction paper. I do have a grandson who loves to sew and he has made several pillows, and silly creatures from old clothes.

Moo Cow design.
Acrylic paint on a pair of jeans, may also be done on a Tshirt.

Take a peek next week, I have two of the grandgirls with me for a few days and we are going to make one on our favorite projects......Altered Flip Flops!!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Thrift store recycling.

Sorry dear readers I admit to having been in a technology slump the last few weeks. Honestly, I didn't realize it had been so long since I had posted. "My, how time flies when you are procrastinating".

Mixed Media group, hard at work!!

I have been involved in creating some of my own art and have attended a few classes as well. I belong to a local Mixed Media group. A lot of the members of this group are either Rowdy Grandmas or Rowdy Moms and are always giving me great ideas for arting and crafting. At the meeting last Saturday we all made jean purses from our old jeans, (the ones I brought were too small for me, a few claimed theirs were too large...yeah, right!!)

The beginnings of my jean purse!!

During the meeting we spent some time talking about using recycled materials in our art, such as the jeans. Mary Lynn, a fellow Rowdy Grandma showed us some items she has picked up at Goodwill. She purchases old pictures sold at thrift stores and reuses the canvas and frame for her own work.

Carla's purse with a decal she made of her dog and cute!!!

What a great recycling idea for all artists. In an older post I talked about taking the grandkids on trips to the thrift store and encouraging them to find something to use in their own art. I had not thought of looking through the old pictures..... kids love actually putting their work on canvas....this way it is already framed and if they like they can paint the frame as well!!

Remember bean and macaroni art? My next trip with the rowdies to Goodwill we will seek out a small framed canvas to fill with dried beans and gives them a chance to play with their food.

While at the thrift store pick up an old Tshirt and make a tote bag. My granddaughter Sarah and I did this a few months ago, next post I will share her Tshirt tote bag with you.

Please share your thrift store finds with me...I am always happy to have new things to search for when I make a trip to Goodwill, and would love to post some of your finds.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Chalkboard paint.

I love chalkboard paint, it can turn just about anything into a message board or drawing center.

Lauryn's jar.

This is a really fun paint to use on the wall in a child’s room or on a piece of furniture.The rowdies painted a storage chest I have in my studio and spend a lot of time drawing pictures and leaving messages there. We love chalkboard paint so much we decided to try it out on a few other projects.

Taylor and Lauryn in the studio.

Old shoe boxes and jars are wonderful storage items, if you paint them with chalkboard paint you can list almost everything you put into them…and if you change your mind, just erase and start your stash list all over again.

A few things to keep in mind when you paint on these surfaces.

1. You will need at least 2 coats, and it is best to let it dry for at least an hour before writing on it.(I sometimes put a coat of gesso on first as a primer).

2. Since you are crafting with the rowdies remember to have an old hair dryer ready so they can dry between coats…they adore this step in any painting project.

3. Brush on each coat in a different direction for a smoother coverage.

4. Wax paper is better than newspaper as a surface to paint on …Lyndsey turned her freshly painted box lid over on newspaper and it stuck…big time!!!

5. You may use bristle brushes, this paint does wash out with water. I prefer inexpensive foam brushes that can be thrown away.

Lyndsey's box top.

The coolest project we came up with is applying the chalkboard paint to denim.

Denim patch. Approx 5 1/2''h x 4"w

I cut up a pair of my old jeans; we made a pin out of one scrap and a big patch from the other.

Denim pin with gesso.

A coat of gesso was applied to the small denim piece used for the pin.
When dry we applied 2 coats of chalkboard paint, letting each coat dry. Since the pin is a small area we used chalk pencils which you can purchase at any craft store, they come in a variety of colors.

Denim pin. Approx. 2''h x 1 1/2"w

Attach a safety pin to the material and it becomes a really cute pin. This piece was sprayed with a matte acrylic spray so the chalk would not rub off. Be careful with the spray so the picture is not too diluted.

Denim pin with matte spray.

The big patch was not coated with gesso, we applied 3 coats of chalkboard paint. This piece is large enough to use regular chalk.

Big patch drawing!!

This is a great way to leave yourself a message or even use as a name tag. If you decide to try this project with the grandkids leave me a comment about how you decided to use it. I would love to hear from other Rowdy Grandmas!!