Concrete Mushrooms !! A tutorial.

Every November, I start preparing my garden for some color and delight. Dubai is blessed with nearly four months of pleasant weather ie from November to February. Most of us try to make the best of it by enjoying the outdoors as much as possible.  Also since we were going to play host to a long list of visitors in December, I was determined to add more life to our beautiful courtyards.  The grass story will follow after a few other posts. Meanwhile let me share with you, the other developments and DIY creations that adorned our gardens. This is a pictorial of making sculptures from cement. This was my first experience of playing with this compound (concrete) and there are quite a few mistakes, I made, which I wouldn’t want you to make hence I have outlined my goof ups !! Most sites, talk about premix cement bags. I couldn’t find any so I just hopped over at one of my favorite local hardware store in Hor Al Anz and bought a 25 kg cement bag. Now that is a hugely heavy bag and its always best to keep it as covered as possible. Goof up 1:- Since it was too heavy to carry to the backyard, we kept it at the entrance of the open garage ~ what I never took into account was the frequent rains that we were blessed with this winter  😦

  • Keep all the utencils, spatula, bucket etc ready and on top of some plastic sheet.
  • Gloves are a MUST !! You wouldn’t realize it until the next morning how worn and hurt your hands are going to be. Goof up 2.
  • Since the idea is to give the shape (mold) of the utencil/container to the mixed cement, its best to have everything ready beforehand. Concrete clumps relatively quickly but takes a long period to set.
  • Since we were working on it for the first time, we basically added the cement mix with some tiny gravel and alittle sand with some water. I just added the three and tested with the consistency of the water. Don’t mix with your hands, it will squeeze the muscles out of you ~ use a spatula in the bucket to stir the mix. When I felt confident of the consistency, I placed some hard plastic sheet (u can also use some cling wrap) to a container and fill some of the mix in it. This is where, I wish I would have added some more water 😦  Goof up 3.

Fotor030404017 Press and smooth the base of the mix with your spatula. This is the head of the mushroom !Fotor030404445 For the trunk or stem of the mushroom, I cut off both sides of a large 7UP bottle and filled it 3/4 of the cement mix. Fotor030404917

  • Notice the folds on the first mushroom “head”, in the picture below, I wish I would have given more folds with the other plastics in the containers and hence it would add a sense of realism to the whole project. Perhaps goof up 4 😦
  • Leave the containers to strengthen for nearly 48 hours. The concrete leaves the container quite easily once it is set .
  • It would be a good idea to use a little sanding paper to sand off some loose pieces from the edges.
  • Using an xo knife, just cut open the side of the 7up bottle and voila !! It just falls in your hand like a large cylinder.
  • One end is quite smooth and stable while the other end will be quite rough and rugged.
  • The picture below is that of them both (mushroom umbrella and stem) meeting together for the first time. I wanted to see, which head sat on which trunk best for size, support and stability.

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  • I decided to spray paint the mushrooms, green, that I’ll be keeping in the porch.
  • Now, just a word of caution. Concrete does absorb aloooot of paint.  SO for best results, if your going to spray paint, 2 coats will do the job well.
  • Still, I believe, spray paint is not the best choice for concrete.

Fotor030405723 For the umbrella, my wingman sawaab, used some glossy bright red paint and painted the town red 😉 Fotor030412223 Once the paint had dried, we had different size circles drawn on them and filled it with white acrylic paint. Fotor030411954 Once that was done, a single of coat of modge podge to seal the deal 🙂 Very few glues can join two pieces of concrete except the silicone guns. So here my wingmen are using a lot of force and fun to fill the stem of the mushrooms with some silicone glue. Fotor030410023 Arent the colors such a delight !!! Fotor030410547 The two mushroom stems in the next photo shows two pvc tubes running into them. This was done in the mixing stage so that both these mushrooms could get some support when dug into the grass. We didn’t want the mushrooms tilting or falling off, every time a ball hit them. Only these two were painted white unlike the other green ones. Fotor030410842 And there you have it !! Two little happy mushrooms enjoying the sunshine together 🙂 DSCF6040 Notice how firmly they stand due to the pvc poles holding them deep into the ground. DSCF6044_2 We kept the stems white so as to stand out in the beautiful green grass. DSCF6046 DSCF6003_2 All said and done, I feel, the imperfections added character to these little sculptures. Some were great while some were a learning experience 🙂 DSCF6034 DSCF6040_2 I enjoyed coming out of my comfort zone and trying something unique and new.  As much as I realized the endless possibilities of sculpting with concrete, I am beginning to understand its limitations too. DSCF6041_2 DSCF6043_2 All four of these mushrooms adorn my porch and welcome all my guests. Its purely a labor of love !! DSCF6043 Recyled materials :- 7UP bottle, spatula, plastic sheets used by the movers when we shifted here, pvc pipes from other projects. Fotor0304163059

Please share with me if you have ever attempted playing with cement and how your experience was !! I am sharing this pictorial with the following blog friends and their parties. Totally tasty Tuesdays @ Mandys recipe box

Thank you for visiting me today friends. I hope you found this post entertaining and informative. Please leave a comment or subscribe to my posts and stay updated with my latest posts. Have a beautiful day ! 89CD521B678A2BD781B376927E6E3B02

Frame from recycled cardboard ~ Tutorial

Hi Friends ,

A lot of times, we rush out to the nearest stores in search of craft items we wish to use in a project. In some cases, it is a must, however in other cases, we can try and improvise with what we have at hand. Today, I am sharing with you how to make a frame out of a regular double layer corrugated cardboard. Ofcourse, I’m sure, there are others who may have thought this one out as well.

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I made this nearly 6 months back for my youngest sons’ room ~ He is an outgoing boy and his room has quite a dash of bright colors, hence I kept the tone very bright and cheerful colors. Since almost all my projects carry a load of recycled materials and also since I am such a firm believer in “waste not” ~ I have decided to leave a list at the end of my post stating the items which were recycled. Materials required :

  • Double layered corrugated cardboard
  • Hot glue gun / White wood glue
  • Blade or xcto blade
  • Cardstock to cover the frame
  • Embellishments include your choice of beads, buttons, cola caps, ribbons etc
  • If you like, you could distress the edges too with some distress ink.

Recycled :- Bottle cap,  patches of scrapbooking paper, buttons, cardboard !

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Roughly cut a square within the large square piece of cardboard with an sharp blade. Cutting a cardboard may seem relatively easy but you have to be very careful with the pressure and intensity with which you cut with one hand and the position of  the other hand.

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Settle the cardboard on a large sheet of cardstock ~ I have used a handmade paper due to its strength and durability.

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Mark the center ( roughly) in the square ~ as already marked above and cut out four triangles.

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Snip off the end of the triangles if its too long. Glue the ends on the backside of the frame. Cut off the corners of the other end of the paper and glue it backwards. The regular white glue or a hot glue gun can be used here.

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Once the papers are all glued the board ~ your frame is ready. After this, its really a matter of dressing up the frame for the party.

I’ve embellished the frame with a couple of pinwheels, the initial of my sons’  name, a bunting using scraps and a paper rosette. This project, totally uses up all your scrap and recycled materials ! Voila ! BeFunky_DSCF2127.jpg I could have given the frame a backing, but I preferred to let it remain empty so that the color from the background would let the shades on the bunting, pop even more.

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Notice how the same frame shows up differently in 3 different backgrounds !  Mr E was super excieted to have something “MADE” all for himself. Being the youngest, he is quite accustomed to getting the hand-me-downs 🙂   Although, I did not finish it off with a matt modge podge, I am happy to report that its been over 6 months and all the embellishments look neat and tidy. So there you have it ! I am linking this post to the following parties :-

I’m curious, are all crafters like me, well how about the ones who visit me ?

  1. Do you like to recycle ?  Yes / No
  2. How often do you try to improvise rather than buy brand new stuff ?  Always / Never / sometimes
  3. Do you feel a sense of achievement when you have made something from complete waste ?  Yes / No
  4. Do you feel, sometimes you have gone overboard with collecting stuff to recycle ? Yes / No

For me that’s a ~ YES, ALWAYS, YES, YES  !!! So if you have a similar reply, you just won yourself a twin on the other side of the world !! Thank you for visiting me.   I would love to hear how you liked this ridiculously inexpensive frame ! Have a beautiful day and drive safely please ! 329847D06DC776810690945E262E8BDA

Checkered Get well wishes.

Yeeeeeellow Ladies !!! And how was the month of May for you ? I hope with all the chaos in the world, we creative souls are taking good refuge burried under a pile of DS, copics, stamps and … list is too long.. {you get the picture, dont you ??}

Jokes apart, honestly, sometimes, its such a relief that ” we  ”  { ladies who are nurturing and devoloping  our creative desires} are so blessed to have found a fullfilling channel to keep us occupied constructively and help us release our emotions. I cant imagine how time consuming and boring it must be to sit infront of the idiot box for hours or worse, spend hours gossiping in social kitties or perhaps even worse, not be able to enjoy or afford any hobby at all !! 

I have found so many dear friends thru the www world that have reached out for my friendship and really kept me going when at times you feel so lost and in despair.

Also many thanks to the scores of dear friends and visitors for always leaving such thoughtful comments behind. I look forward to them and read each one of them. They are such a joy. Infact, I know alot of people give out blog candies for number of hits on their blog, or the number of followers, they have, but for me, those comments make all the difference. Infact I think, it is getting time to probably make a candy, one of these days, probably when I reach xxx number of comments !!!! 

The last two weeks have been so gratifying (artistically speaking !!) I have a heap of completed projects that I am going to share with you very soon. Some altered art, some wall hangings, some bookmarks, some new techniques and some cards. Ofcourse they will follow in posts, one after the other.

For today, I have a Get Well Soon, easel card with plenty of layers. I completly love the design paper which I am using for the first time. I used a lovely sketch from Mojo Monday which, I did not realize would be alittle tricky, but in the end, I am quite pleased with the effort. [ and ofcourse I am too late to submit my card for that challenge 😦  ]  A beautiful fence digital stamp with two flower pots paper pieced to it. 3 Brads and a simple ribbon knotted around the sentiment. Ofcourse this is my new MS border punch, which I have absolutely completely insanely fallen-in-love with !! For those of you who own it, isnt the design simply fabulous ? and for those who havent picked them up so far, whats keeping you from them ???

I have made a deliberate effort at keeping the look more masculine with more muted colors and lots of distressing.

I hope this card brings a smile to the souls feeling under the weather.

Here is the slide :

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This card enters quite a few challenges. However since I am guest DT for Clear It Out! – I am entering this card for their paper piecing challenge.

 And here’s a list of the other many challenges, this card enters :

I hope you liked this card. Please feel free to browse thru more of my projects. And ofcourse if you would leave a comment, it would add to my joy 🙂  Thank you for your lovely visit.

Cheerio then  Friends. Will be seeing you soon !