Saturday, September 24, 2011 | By: Rita Hutcheson-Cobbs

Organizing All That Paper!!

Call me collectively cheap! I searched a variety of videos and blogs as well as Google images to see how artists stored their punches. Most artist stored their punches either in shallow drawers, which is how I had mine, but being a visual, I needed mine where I could see them, which is why the second way appealed to me which was to display them on the wall. How I saw them was to hang them on the wall using towel rods, but when I went to the store and priced towel rods, I was like, "No way am I paying those prices for towel rods!" I knew that I would need at least three and eventually more. The ones photographed above aren't ALL that I have!! =)  So, I went over to the curtain department and got the $.97 curtain rods which come with the metal hangers and got three of them. They work perfectly! So for less than $3, I have the perfect organizer for my punches and plenty of room to add more!! So is it any surprise that I organize in the cheapest way and share them with you?!

Now, let's talk more about paper, studio papers, art papers, collage papers and scrapbook papers. I want to frighten you by sharing with you how I organize some of my favorite pieces and then how many of my friends shared they organize theirs...believe me, they are more organized than I on this topic. When I moved into the newest studio space, which is still under development, I found that I had a large collection of one brand of scrapbook paper. So, I labeled several 12x12 drawers with that brand name and placed that paper inside. Then I went by theme: guy paper, Christmas, projects I have planned, Asian, black, white, glitter, rub-ons, acetate, even chipboard, just to name a few of my labels. Then I have one labeled kits that are from a particular company that I love. I have many more drawers but this gives you a glimpse of how I have gotten started.

One of my favorite suggestions from my friends was organizing by color because I am a visual and I think it would be easier to add these papers to my projects or pages when I am working. Plus I could find the papers easily. I also thought of putting the accessories in the same neighborhood with the papers for easy access. Another, placed her collections by theme so that in her busy life she could pull whatever she needed for crops or her work travels and take it with her. She scrapbooks all the time even at ball practices and when she is traveling with her job. So she pulls coordinating materials to go with the photos she has printed and she is ready to go. ((Yes, I am jealous ALL the time of her lol))  Then there is organizing by manufacturer, which is something I really should consider since I can never ever remember who makes which papers! If you don't believe me just watch my videos...I get tongue tied trying to remember! I have ADD and get so excited over a piece of beautiful paper that I totally forget! By manufacturer you then can revisit that company again and again to enjoy their designer team's work and use it often. I did that with some of mine when I realized how much I had from one company. Then surprisingly I found that one of my friends organized her paper by specialty paperscard-stock, and color. Regardless whatever works for you, most said they tried different methods before finding the one that worked best for them.

Scraps: I place mine in a plastic container with a lid and then use it from time to time before going through it punching it between two of my favorite punches to use on various projects and then donating the larger scraps. One friend swaps her scraps at crops while another organizes her's within her paper system and uses them. Collage items: I just put mine in a labeled drawer, but alternatives are pizza boxes, paper trays, and decorative shoe boxes if you don't have plastic storage units, these work for your papers too (remember papers can absorb chemicals from cardboard, google for more information). I do like to store music pages, hymnal pages and book pages in boxes so they get that aged look and then use them in my projects but then I have tons of old books that I pull pages from. A guy friend of mine once asked, "Is that legal to tear a page from a book?" I replied, "Only if you are me!" True, you know...

I hope these have been helpful in getting at least some of your papers organized. Consider donating or sending a RAK (random act of kindness) to someone of extra papers you no longer think you will use to remove the clutter from your life. That way you will create more room to organize the items important you as well as get to shop for more!!! =) I would LOVE to hear what your favorite organizational tips are! I am in the midst of moving into a new studio space and need all the help I can get! Remember, we are all in this together, sharing is helping one another have more time to create...which makes us all better people...all the time...others like us more when we do...=)

Hugs,
Rita
www.RitaHutchesonCobbs.com
Wednesday, September 14, 2011 | By: Rita Hutcheson-Cobbs

My first painted bra project!!! Loving it...

To think, this rockin' awesome fun project began as this...

I had never heard of The Painted Bra Project until last week and after I read more about it, I had to purchase some bras and paint them. Since my personal collection just didn't "measure" up, I decided to visit my local thrift store for a better quality at a great price so that if I messed up, it wouldn't be such a terrible loss. Well...here we go...

 I used clear gesso since I had a black bra, a red bra and a white bra...I could do things in a single color, could I? Of course not....

 I also used a sponge brush thinking that the gesso and later the paint would go on much smoother and evenly.

 The clear gesso went on well but did leave a light film on the bra so I am glad I had planned to paint the bra all over.

 I dried the bras outdoors for a couple of hours rather than using a heat gun, but then when I used the heat gun on the actual paint, it did well.

 I painted the whole cup of the bra with the Galeria Crimson Acrylic paint and was very pleased with the coverage.

 I was so beyond pleased with this project! I have never painted fabric in the way and was very pleased. I don't think it will be my last.

 I am doing a happy dance with this project! I know you are tired of me saying that, but it is true! Maybe it is the excitement for the reason why I am doing this, I don't know but regardless, it is fun and the creative thought process is wonderful. I look forward to adding some elements that will reflect dear loved ones that have fought breast cancer and won as well as style elements that reflect the happiness and positive outlook on life that I have.

 I used black paint to create the contrast element for the bra's background red color.

 The words are everything I could think of that reflected those that I knew that had fought breast cancer. Words like dream, inspire, encourage, uplift, dream, and so forth. I filled the cups with these words.

 The I painted the bottom edge of the cups with the black paint so that the next accessory I added would have an extra background to make it pop...

 The photograph is dark but I added a thick lace to the under wire area of the bra to just make the whole thing pop. Don't you love it!! =)
 Then I wanted to bring in the bling!! So I brought out the beads...They are light weight and sewn along the edge of each cup. I think it bring elegance and sexiness while reminding every woman she is also feminine.

Then I added the beautiful black butterfly to one edge and the rhinestone to the ribbon on the other, completing the beautiful presentation that I hope reminds you, everyone and me to self check and to give to breast cancer awareness while holding men and women accountable to self check as well. Thus, "Inspiration" is my entry to The Painted Bra Project...Thanks, Anna, for this opportunity...

Hugs and remember to self-check,
Rita

Thursday, September 8, 2011 | By: Rita Hutcheson-Cobbs

Decorated Guy Friendly Composition Notebook...

This week, I redecorated this composition notebook via our live show! It is such fun to take something simple and make it into a rockin' awesome WOW project! I made this for my son, Ethan, who needed a place for us to put all his homeschooling assignments for the coming year. This was the perfect solution as was this paper collection from DCWV The Guy Stack, since Ethan wasn't to be a chef...

 I used Tim Hotlz Sizzix's die The Hanging Sign and embossed it with garnet powder then hung it with fishing lures and brads. On Ethan's, as you will see shortly, I added his name and grade...even though I had to change the grade from 10th to the 11th, OMGosh, Yes!! Personalizing these treasures makes them even better gifts...imagine the "oh's" and "ah's" this holiday season if you gave these to all your friends and family memebers!! (I want to see your photos please...so tag me on flickr!!)

 On the inside cover, I added a pocket using an envelope and then placed two different sized tags inside...

 The tags are made using the same paper as the cover, both inside and out, back and front. They are made double sided, using shipping tag templates. I am cheap...I trace the tags I have and cut them out of the paper...ok, maybe not cheap, just resourceful...=)
 Again, another envelope on the back with slots for tags...A calendar, list of books read, credits, etc can be kept on the tags. Also, music lessons or other activities can be kept neat and tidy...

 Lots of space to work with in this $.40 notebook. Last year they were only $.20 each but still, a great price for an inexpensive gift. Last Christmas, I gave one decorated in a vintage style at a Dirty Santa Party. The person that won it said that she was going to use it as a guest book in her home! I thought, "wow, how creative is that!"

 The back is completely covered as well but could easily house additional pockets for tags or a calendar.


 This is the one I finished for Ethan! =) I did change the grade and I used rub-ons for the "th" just above the numbers. I really was pleased with how this turned out...it will be functional as well as guy friendly to carry and use.

Tons of Hugs,
Rita
www.RitaHutchesonCobbs.com

Sunday, September 4, 2011 | By: Rita Hutcheson-Cobbs

My new dressing table...

Can you believe I got this for only $5? Well, after looking at the photo I am sure you wondering "why" did I get this at all...well, I just had too...it spoke my name...

I lovingly sanded the whole piece down, getting rid of all the old chipping paint and the pure yuckiness...the drawers were in worse shape due to being in our carport for at least a year...I had a lot of cleaning to do...

I found gold paint under the white paint and was doing a happy dance! I removed all the hardware which was dull and dirty. I washed them in hot, soapy water and a brush. The runners for the drawers were broken and chipped. 

I used this amazing spray paint that the photographs show as a baby blue but it is more of a turquoise. This is Krylon's Blue Ocean Breeze and it took two cans to cover the dressing table really well.  

The sad, but funny part, is when I purchased the table, I had to break the legs off one end to get it in my van. When I went to get the table, the legs for that one side were missing. I couldn't find them anywhere and we looked throughout the stash we have accumulated in restoring/building/remodeling our house. I can hear you now saying, "WHY BOTHER?"  Well, it just spoke to me so I had to keep going...

I took the cover off the mirrored storage area and painted both sides and took the drawers completely apart and painted the fronts knowing that I was going to need new drawers made for the table. 

Then last week, I found this cute tray in the Christmas decorations at a local thrift store for $1.91. I removed the plastic piece with the snowflakes and added...

A sheet of scrapbook paper and an acetate page made by Teresa Collins in her Welcome Home collection. Lovely!!! It note only protects the tray but will hold my lotions/perfumes perfectly...And now...the finished piece...

WOW!!! I hear you!! WOW!! Omgosh, Rockin' Awesome!! Then added a new flat panel for the legs that were missing (and wait till you see what I did with it!) and he also helped me make new drawers...

I decoupaged the wooden panel we added for the legs and it turned out fabulous. I cut out the flowers from some scrapbook paper I had, used the sweet vintage photos that I received in a swap, and my Stampin' Up punch for the leaf/vines. The music was from a RAK and fit perfectly right down the middle. I love this element and it is not only smooth but beautiful. I can add baskets to the side later if I wish...

I placed music pages from a hymnal inside the drawers and inside the mirrored storage space while adding yet another piece of acetate for protection.  

I also decoupaged the area behind the mirror, which you will see closer in a moment. 

At the other end, I roughed up the legs so they would look weathered and then decoupaged music, more vintage photos and some diecuts on the end piece. Magnificent! My son said it reminded him of the beach.

I used the two long handles that came with the dressing table and used Apple Barrel's Bubble Gum pink paint and fingered it into the grooves for good covered. Then when that dried, I rubbed Anita's Classic Gold craft paint on top, around the edges to make them pop. Love, Love, Love it!!! The gold peeled paint just added to this table's charm...

Then I added a pink nob that I found in my studio space...Perfect...The original was a bit worn and not attractive at all. I am pretty sure this table was meant for a teenage gal somewhere, but I think it is perfect for a middle aged gal too! =)

At least for this gal, it is totally perfect! The mirror was broken in one corner and since it was a perfect break, I used E6000 glue to put it back together. The little daisy shaped pieces holding it in place (along with the new screws), just made my day! I love daisies...but more so, I love the sweet faces of the vintage photos peaking around the edges of the mirror. Sweet...

I am so glad that I have found ways to not only save money but be creative while doing so. I look forward to doing more of this type of work or simply refinishing furniture. I love making something old and ready to be thrown away into something new, giving that new life and freshness. Loving it...

Hugs, Rita

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