Thursday, September 29, 2011

Dinner Party Centerpiece Idea......Paper Feathers

Need a stunning centerpiece for your dinner table?  How about a bushel of something interesting in your foyer?  These are not only simple to make but once you get in the groove, you'll find that making them can be therapeutic as well.   Try different shapes or painting them with water colors before you cut them.  There are all kinds of things you can do with this technique.  Did I mention that you can make these for pennies each? 
Roll of craft paper
Elmer’s glue
20-gage wire
Wire cutters
Tape (any kind)
STEP 1:  Cut out a piece of craft paper that is 18” long by 7” wide and fold in 1/2 lengthwise and cut out the shape of a feather.  Tapered to a point at the bottom and rounded at the top.  Do this with the paper still folded so the feather is the same on both sides.

STEP 2:  With the paper still folded, start making small slanted cuts very close together to about 1/2 from the fold. SUGGESTION: The closer your cuts are together the more feather-like your plumes will become.

STEP 3:  Next you will make the shaft by rolling a piece of 2” x 5” craft paper in a long tube and gluing the end of it to keep it together.

STEP 4:  Cut a piece of wire the length of the feather and glue about 1” of the end of the wire in the smaller end of the shaft.

STEP 5: Lay the wire in the crease of the feather and glue down.  

If the wire is hard to manage then tape it in place with some very small pieces of tape until the glue dries.

When the feather is dry, gently curve the wire like you see in the photo.  About 5 of these makes a terrific arrangement.  More.....Even better! 
Paper feather beauty shot
 A little inspiration.
Want another 150 projects?  Check out The Big Ass Book of Crafts 2!
Available now for pre-order on

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Hey everyone!  Here is my new video about The Big Ass Book of Crafts 2.  Have a terrific Wednesday.  I'm off to shop for fabrics today.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Giant Octopus DIY!

 This Octopus is from the original THE BIG ASS BOOK OF CRAFTS 1 (2008) Warning:  It looks a lot harder than it is to make but it does take up a lot of room so be prepared.  I have nieces and nephews galore and this particular octo-chair makes them very happy.

Have fun!  xoxo, Mark

Large beanbag chair in a color that's easy to match
Large trash bags
4 1/2 yards of 60” wide fabric that matches your beanbag
1/4 yard of black heavy cotton or felt
8 bags of stuffing for the arms
Sewing machine with z zigzag capability
Straight pins
Seam ripper
Sewing needles and matching heavy-duty thread.
Just an FYI, I am in love with the Bernina 1008.  It's an amazing machine.

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1.  Cut out two large ovals in your black fabric for the eyes and two smaller ovals for the inside of the eyes.
2.  Zigzag the smaller ovals on to the larger ovals.
3.  Take a good look at your beanbag and pin the eyes in place.
Also, figure out where the arms are going to be sewn on your beanbag. 
BEANBAG 101:  Most beanbags are sewn like a beach ball.  With several seams all the way around to make the shape and often a circle on the bottom.  I used the circle on the bottom to trap my tentacles.  You could use a seam ripper and make an 8” hole in each seam to put in your octopus legs and trap the end of your arms in the seams as you sew up the holes. I trapped these in each seam and it worked well.
Unzip and empty your beanbag of all the stuffing in the trash bags and store in another place.  You won’t need this until you’re done.
4.  Zigzag stitch the eyes and mouth on the beanbag.
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5.  Cut eight 6ft x 15” strips of fabric for your arms.
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6.  Sew each one of these strips like a sock with one end open.  Turn them right side out and stuff them.
 Place the open end of the arm inside the slit and sew up from the inside.  
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7.  Fill the beanbag with your stuffing and you’re golden.
Don’t forget to zip back up or your stuffing will be everywhere much to the happiness of the kids!
Make sure to check out THE BIG ASS BOOK OF CRAFTS 2 for instructions and patterns for a huge snail and alligator!  For pre-sale now on

Thursday, September 22, 2011

October 8th SoCal Social.....Come Join Us!

The SoCal Social on October 8th!
Tons of goodies, an amazing lunch and a fun Q&A with yours truly!
Click on the link and find out all about it!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Have you thought about............

Amazing pattern on pattern dining room.
 This is something you want to do in a room that has tons of light.  Pattern on pattern, dark woods, and check out the plates lined across the top of the room.  Wonderful!  I'm a fan of over the top rooms with lots going on.  

HAVE YOU THOUGHT ABOUT.......wallpapering your door with an amazing pattern?
What about lining the upper part of your dining room or kitchen walls with plates?
Might be a good time to hit the flea markets!

I love that every square inch of the wall space is covered with art in this room and that the tables are low.  Next time you hit a yard sale, look for old drawings someone did in a life class.  I've found stacks of them many times!

HAVE YOU THOUGHT ABOUT............filling every square inch of a wall with artwork?  
What about very low tables and super huge lamps?

Now get out there and get creative with your space!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Skull Pillow DIY!

Picture 4 
If you love a bit of the macabre all year long then these skull pillows are perfect for your home decor.  I have them in my kitchen in NYC all year long and they look fantastic with my Mexican art and colorful walls.  However, just having a few around for Halloween can be fun, too. 
1 yard white canvas fabric
Black satin or black canvas fabric. You could use Ultrasuede, too.
Sewing machine
Black thread
White thread
Pillow stuffing
Straight pins
Skull pattern
Here's the pattern to help you out! 
Step 1 
STEP 1: Cut out 2 layers of your pillow shape in white
STEP 2: Cut out 1 skull in black satin, canvas or whatever fabric you chose.
STEP 3: Pin the skull to the white canvas, carefully centering it. 
Step 2  
STEP 4: Zigzag stitch around the all of the edges, eyes, mouth and nose of the skull. 
Step 3  
STEP 5: Pin the two sides of the pillow with right sides together and stitch around with 1/2 inch seam allowance leaving a 5 inch hole.  This will be the hole to stuff your pillow. 
Step 4 
STEP 6: Turn the pillow inside out and stuff with the pillow stuffing. 
Step 5  
STEP 7: Stitch up the hole by hand with needle and thread using the white thread.
Now that was easy, wasn't it!  

This Skull Pillow is from The Big Ass Book of Crafts Volume 1.  Between Volume 1 and 2 there are over 300 projects!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Crafty Newsletters........I'm sold

So, I finally signed up to get some crafty newsletters, then I decided that I would start contributing to them. Check out the link on the right hand side of my page for some free Halloween crafts.  It's easy to do!  Seriously, they send tons of ideas your way and it's like a craft book in your in box every few days.
Just thought I'd share.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Cast Planter Candle Holder..........Gotta love it!

Welcome everyone to my first blog hop courtesy of Fave Crafts!  I hope you'll take a moment and join my blog.  Happy Thursday.
 Do you realize how many cool things you have around your house that make terrific molds for plaster?  Halloween masks, funky dishes, plastic planters, even old toys and doll heads.  If you can fill it with plaster, chances are you’ll come up with something pretty cool.  These candle holders have a great architectural feel to them, kind of like they were salvaged from an old building and found in a pile of bricks.  In fact, a quick trip to the 99c store was where I found these fantastic plastic planters.  Now start digging through your stuff and let’s get casting!

Plastic planters from the hardware or 99c store
Cooking spray
1 bag of plaster of Paris
4 small glass votive holders 
Off white latex paint
Metallic gold latex paint
Sticky felt for the bottom
1.        Determine how much plaster you’ll need for your mold. A 10 lb. bag of plaster of Paris will serve you well for several craft projects and it’s more economical to buy it in bulk than to buy smaller amounts.
2.        Spray your planter on the inside and your glass votive holders on the outside with the cooking spray.  *This will help it the plaster slip out easily after it’s dry.
3.        Mix your plaster of Paris in a large container and pour it in your mold.
4.        Tap the mold with a spoon on the sides or tap it on the table to get out all of the bubbles.
5.        While the plaster is still wet, you will set in your glass votive holders about 1” down in the plaster and let them stay there until the plaster is dry.
6.        When dry, twist out the votive holders, turn your planter over and tap out the plaster cast.
7.        Let dry a bit longer, I’d say at least another hour before you paint.
8.        When the cast candle holder is completely dry sand it to get off the rough edges.
9.        Paint it with the off white latex paint.
10.     When the off white paint is dry, then put some gold paint on one of your rags and rub the edges of the plaster to give it an antique look. *If you get too much gold on it, go over it again with the white until you’ve achieved your desired effect.
11.     Fill with votives decorate your table and you’re done.

  This project and 100 more in THE BIG ASS BOOK OF HOME DECOR

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

HOBO LAMP.........Save a lamp, save the world!

If you're like me, you have bags of scraps waiting to be turned into something amazing.  I like to call this lamp project Hobo Chic because it almost didn’t matter what scraps I used, all of the colors just worked well together.  Try squares or triangles make it look like a quilt.  Which ever way you tackle the project you're sure come up with something amazing.

A lamp and lampshade in serious need of an overhaul
Minwax Polycrylic Clear Coat
1” paintbrush
Scraps of fabric
 Pinking Shears (I like the Fiskars Brand)
Newspaper for your workspace and for lampshade pattern

HINT: Decide which shapes you are going to use for your lamp.  This is important because once you start applying the fabric, your fingers will be sticky and it’s hard to cut more shapes without making a huge mess.  
I chose strips of fabric, but you can use squares or triangles. 
1. Cut your shapes with the pinking shears (the shears give more texture and interest)
2. Coat the back of your scrap with the Polycrylic
3. Apply to the lamp
4. Add more Polycrylic to the fabric once it’s adhered to the base
5. Repeat step 3 and 4 until the entire lamp is covered.
6. For interest, add some strips around the base of the lamp and around the neck.  
1.    Place your lampshade on the seam at the edge of craft paper or newspaper.
2.    Roll the shade along and trace on both ends the shape of the shade to 
make your lampshade pattern
3.    Cut out the pattern
4.    Now we are going to divide the lampshade pattern in to 8 equal 
pieces by folding it in half, then half again, and then half again. 
5.    Cut 8 pieces of fabric using this as your pattern.
6.    Starting at the seam, apply the fabric pieces the same
way you applied the fabric to the base by painting 
the fabric back with Polycrylic and then adhering 
it to the shade.
7.    Do this all the way around the shade.
8.    Next, cut small strips about 3/8th of an inch wide to give the ribbon effect
in between the different fabric panels and apply those with the Polycrylic.
9.    To finish the top and bottom of the lamp you will cut a 1/2-inch strip of 
fabric on the bias. 
INFO:  In case you don’t know what bias is, pretend you have 
a perfect square of fabric. Now if you fold it in half to create a triangle, 
the length of the fold is the bias.  When you cut fabric 
on the bias, it has stretch.  Pretty cool right! 
DON’T WORRY:  If you need to cut several pieces of bias to go 
around the top and the bottom rim of the shade, it will contribute 
to the HOBO-NESS, of the project.    
9. Attach the strips around and let it dry.
This and 100 more projects in

Monday, September 12, 2011

Oldie But Goodie! Andy Warhol Art

I'm not sure if you can have any more fun at work than playing on a copy machine.  I've been "let go" of quite a few jobs for "experimenting" in the copy room.  NO, not for having my butt on the copy machine I assure you. But it's not like I haven't thought about it.  For this particular piece I used Andy Warhol's Mona Lisa as inspiration.  Since I rarely smile in photos I thought this was the perfect inspiration for this piece.

Copy machine or program on your computer that can change your images from color to black and white
8 sheets of each of 2 different colors of paper in the same family (I used blue and violet blue) 16 all together
Frame store or poster frame in the size you like
Transparent tape
Glue stick
Picture 1
Step 1:  Find an image that you like and with your computer, turn it into a black and white image with high contrast.  If you don't have a computer that can do this you can take your image to a copy shop and do it on the copy machine.  Just set it on high contrast and watch what happens.  You may have to take your first copied image and set it on the copier to get more contrast.

Step 2:  Shrink your new image so that it's 1/4 the size of a normal piece of copy paper.  You don't have to do this, you can do this in any size you like, it's up to you.  
Step 3:  Print out the images on colored paper.  As many as you'll need to fit in your frame.  I like using 2 different colors of paper to make it more interesting.  

Step 4:  Overlap them evenly and attach them using a bit of the glue stick and then the tape. SUGGESTION:  Do this on a large surface or on the floor making sure it’s clean

Start by making rows of 4 side by side and then attaching row upon row until you get to the top.
NOT BAD!  Now you can be your own work of art.....Even more than you already are.  
Picture 2

The Big Ass Book of Crafts 2 is available for pre-sale on  It's filled with tons of art projects that will make you a neighborhood Picasso!