Sewing Themed Collage – Part 2

I know you all have been anxiously awaiting the next steps in my sewing themed collage. I hope the Super Bowl was able to entertain you in my absence.

Without further ado, here is the continuing saga of the Sewing Themed Collage

After I placed the initial pieces, I through the collage needed a photographic element. I liked this image of a kid in a candy store, and thought it added an additional vintage element. I accented it with an old-fashioned photo mount. I wasn’t quite pleased with the result, so I attempted to fix it using the old favorite, “if you don’t like the way something looks, try to cover your mistake with velum.” I then followed that with the other old favorite, “if you don’t have the correct adhesive, just use a lot of what you do have, maybe that will work.” That just created a huge mess.

So now I have, a photo I dislike, and wavy bumpy velum because Modge Podge (MP from now on) and velum aggressively dislike each other.

So, once it had dried, I tore off that mistake, which left a nice little ragged look. Lemons, now you are lemonade!

I then used a vinyl number in the lower corner. The black stands out like a sore thumb, but don’t worry, it won’t last. This picture shows the cool paper scraps left where the photo/vellum once were.

I took an old ragged paint brush and dry brushed a little white paint over the six and the side of the collage.

To soften this harsh white color on an otherwise muted collage, I rubbed gel paint in raw umber all over the canvas. This especially looks cool on any raw paper that hasn’t been MP’ed yet.

I then removed the lovely vinyl 6 which left a slight outline of where it once was. See, I told you it would all be alright.

I still felt like the piece was missing something, so I looked in my drawer of scraps and found the perfect item. A couple of years ago, I made a mini album out of my canceled passport (future blog post), and I had printed mini photographs onto transparencies. I still have a couple lying around, and I thought it would be the vintage-y photographic element I was looking for. I love how you can still see the text behind the picture. Here is the final piece.


Mosaic Address Panels

This summer I undertook the largest mosaic project I have ever attempted. Last year my parents built a new front porch for my little brick house, and this year I wanted to continue to work on the home’s curb appeal. My front door is painted a pretty British racing green with matching wooden screen door, so I wanted something to flank both sides while displaying the address numbers.

Inspired by the craftsman designs of Frank Lloyd Wright, I first sketched out the design on graph paper, and then converted that to Excel spreadsheet to create an installation guide.

My original plan was to make the panels flank both sides of the door and go all the way to the ground. After realizing that the cement backerboard came in 3×5′ sheets, I redesigned each panel to be 1.5×5″.

I ordered whole sheets of 3/4″ tiles in the Kaleidoscope Color Grove Glass Mosaic series from Mosaic Tile Supplies. I chose the colors, Flax as the background, with accents of Lipstick, Caramel, Stratosphere and Portland.

Once the sheets arrived, I flipped the Excel image because the tiles arrived on face-mounted sheets, meaning that I would be working on the sheets from the back. I cut out the tiles from the Flax sheets, and then replaced them with the other colored tiles, using masking tape to piece the squares back together. So, basically I was creating large quilts of tiles. I then applied tile mastic to the backerboard and applied the tile squares to the board, leaving a two-inch border for the MDF trim. Once the tile adhesive dried for 24 hours, I then removed the paper cover soaking the paper and carefully removing the tape and paper. I then grouted the panels.

The hardest part of the process was drilling into the bricks on the house. My father was generous enough to assist in this process. He installed screw anchors and then was able to screw the panels directly onto the wall. He then covered the screws and raw backerboard with MDF trim painted to match the house paint.

Here are the final photos of the panels on the house.

Homemade Packing Tape Dispenser

I was so inspired by this cool cigar box tape dispenser Cathe Holden made (check out her blog, I decided to make one for myself.
Cathe Holden's Cigar Box Tape Dispenser

Michael’s sells these great clear packing tapes with funky designs on them, since I can’t commit to using only one design, I have many rolls lying around the studio. I hate gumming up my scissors cutting them to get a clean tear, so obviously a tape dispenser became indispensable to my studio. I wanted to make this using found objects lying around the studio. Mainly for the whole “waste-not-want-not” mentality, and also because I am cheap and didn’t want to spend any money. The more I looked at purchasing various component pieces, the more I found myself drawn to just purchasing a “real” tape dispenser from the store. So, here are the more or less step-by-step instructions for making your own tape dispenser.

Since I have switched to online banking, I haven’t needed this cool bill organizer I purchased at Target many years ago. It has faux beadboard styling and a convenient drawer for various essentials. (I forgot to take a before picture, but it looked similar to this)

I knocked out the inner dividers carefully and drilled a hole on the sides for a dowel. I then painted the organizer bright turquoise and decoupaged the interior with pages from an old dictionary. ( I know that skimmed over a couple of steps, but this is not a decoupage instruction post.

I also watered down some brown paint and quickly wiped the organizer with that to give it an antiqued appearance.

To create a sharp edge to tear the tape, I tore off the metal-cutting band from a box of waxed paper. I then flattened out the poky metal bits with a pair of pliers.

I then used metal duct tape to adhere it to the organizer. I used the metal tape to give it a consistent look and to safely cover the other sharp edge of the metal (who knew that edge was sharp on both sides.) I then realized that metal tape alone wouldn’t give it the strength needed, so I stole some brass screws from a little box I had lying around the studio. I didn’t have a drill bit small enough, so I used a nail to make small pilot holes.

Now for the most challenging part of this process. How to securely hold the 3″ diameter packing tape onto the dowel spindle? I looked at closet rods, but they weren’t thick enough. I tried to find the foam paint rollers used by Cathe Holden, but my Home Depot only had rollers with their own thick diameter. So, in keeping with my upcycling theme, I decided to modify old spools from ribbon. I cut the edge of one side to fit the tape and did the same for the other side of the roll.

However that didn’t work, because when you spun the packing tape around the dowel, the ribbon spool would spin right off the roll. So, I decided to trim down the other side as well and force the entire spool into the packing tape. I put masking tape along the edge for a really tight fit.

I repeated that for all the rolls of tape, loaded on the dowel and then assembled the dowel within the organizer. I reattached the drawer pull to the bottom drawer, and loaded it up with essential mailing supplies.

Now I can’t wait to get my next order so I can use my new tape dispenser.


I have since replaced the metal strip from the wax paper for a hacksaw blade. The metal strip only cuts aluminum foil, wax paper, cling film and flesh…ow.