Valentine’s Day | Wisconsin bulletin board

Valentine's Day
Meet my new state-of-the-heart bulletin board.

Valentine's Day craft

This is what it looked like when I bought it (at a thrift store, of course). It had a nice beefy frame that was painted in a neutral cream color — and the paint was chipping in spots, so there was a little bit of mint green showing through here and there. I loved the chunky, chippy old frame. The orange cork, not so much.

painting a cork board with chalk paint
To de-orangify the cork, I broke out some leftover cream chalk paint (Americana Decor Chalky Finish/Lace). It took two coats to cover.

Valentine's Day craft

I didn’t want my lovely new/old bulletin board to get overwhelmed with notes and photos and general clutter, so I decided I’d put a neat, orderly collage on the top half of it. To make the collage, I picked up three packages of different sized heart cutouts.

The pink and red were not working for me, so I painted the hearts black.

I found a map of Wisconsin online that I sized to fit the width of the bulletin board and printed out.

Valentine's Day bulletin board
I lined up the tiled pieces of the map, taped them together and then cut around the perimeter.

Valentine's Day bulletin board
Next I lightly traced all the way around the border with a pencil.

crafting with hearts
Then I started filling inside the map with my hearts.

crafting with hearts
I started at the bottom and worked from the outside in.

Valentine's Day bulletin board

I tried to keep the outside row of hearts as close to the border as I could. I also tried to keep the pattern random, alternating the sizes of the hearts and the direction they were facing as much as possible.

Valentine's Day bulletin board
When I had all the pieces roughly where I wanted them to go, I adhered them to the board. The formerly red glitter hearts I stuck down with rubber cement. The others were peel-and-stick.

Valentine's Day craft
The last thing I did was erase the pencil line. (I started erasing it before I adhered the hearts, but every time I tried blowing the eraser residue away I would inadvertently blow unattached hearts all over. So eventually I wised up and realized I would be better off to stick everything down first.)

Valentine's Day craft
Here’s the bulletin board propped up on my desk. I can still tack notes and things to the bottom half of the board, but the top is all nice and neat.

 

Stenciling | A (fictitious college) shirt

For reasons that aren’t entirely clear to me, my son decided he wanted a Wisconsin State University shirt for Christmas this year … which posed a bit of a problem because, as those of you who live in this neck of the Midwestern woods know, there is no such school as Wisconsin State.

fabric painted shirt
Apparently there is, or was at some time, a movement afoot to rename UW-Milwaukee Wisconsin State. I don’t think it’s gained much traction, but my son, a UW-Milwaukee student, is still holding out hope.

freezer paper stencil
Anyhoo, since I couldn’t go to the college bookstore and buy a Wisconsin State shirt, I had to make a stencil and create my own. I started by trimming a piece of freezer paper to 8 1/2 by 14 inches, then feeding it through my computer printer and printing the words “Wisconsin State” (in Rockingham Condensed) on the flat/non-shiny side.

stenciling a shirt
I weeded out all the letters with an Xacto knife.

stenciling on fabric
I saved the inside of the O and the A, but the rest of the letters were waste.

stenciling on fabric
(It’s times like this when I wish I had one of those fancy die cutting machines … )

stenciling on fabric
Once I had the letters trimmed, I positioned the stencil.

stenciling a shirt
Then I ironed it onto the shirt.

stenciling a shirt
The shiny side of the freezer paper adhered to the fabric.

textile medium and acrylic craft paint
I made my own fabric paint out of one part of textile medium and two parts of acrylic craft paint.

fabric paiint
Then I pounced the paint on with a stencil brush.

fabric paint
I tried not to go too heavy with the paint because the thicker the paint, the more likely it is to crack.

fabric paint
Plus, I wanted the shirt to have a vintage look, to hint at Wisconsin State’s long and storied history …

freezer paper stencil
Once I had the letters all painted, I peeled up the stencil.

freezer paper stencil

Then I just had to flip the shirt inside out and iron it to heatset the paint.

Crafting | Cheesehead chicks

Happy Day Before The NCAA Basketball Tournament Championship Day!

Just kidding. I know that’s not a national holiday. What I meant was: “Happy Day After Frank Kaminsky’s Birthday Day!”

Sorry. I guess that’s only a state holiday. But, as a lifelong resident and self-appointed representative of the Great State of Wisconsin, allow me to extend an invitation to all of my blog readers to join in our celebration. (Unless, of course, you’re a Duke fan; then you can just move along.)

To commemorate our special day, I made my little newspaper chicks (which I blogged about here) new Easter bonnets.

cheesehead craft
Technically, cheeseheads are more of a Packer thing than a Badger thing, but when I considered the other options for headgear (namely, Wisconsin Badger baseball caps or stocking caps), foam cheese wedges seemed like the best match for my millinery skills.

cheesehead craft
If you can cut a triangle out of a block of Styrofoam, you can make a miniature cheesehead.

If you are concerned that the texture of Styrofoam does not seem very cheeselike, you can coat it with some of this stuff:

cheeseheads
My now-college-age son used to make a diorama for the 4-H fair every year when he was a youngster, and he used CelluClay to make hills, rocks, mountains, etc. Turns out, it makes pretty good cheeseheads, too.

cheesehead craft
The back of the box says CelluClay has an “indeterminate shelf life,” and as this box had been sitting in my basement for an indeterminate length of time (at least five years, maybe 10?), I figured now was the perfect time to use it. CelluClay comes out of the box dry and powdery…

cheesehead craft
… but when you add water, it becomes a slimy clay, which is really easy to mold.

cheesehead craft
I didn’t have to do much molding. I just spread a thin layer over the entire Styrofoam wedge, like I was frosting a cake, and then went to bed…

cheesehead craft
… because CelluClay takes forever to dry. The next morning, I grabbed the blow dryer (which really only ever gets used for crafting purposes anymore), and dried the still-wet wedges. Then I painted them.

cheesehead craft
I did not have Cheesehead Yellow in my paint box, so I did a custom mix. (One big plop of Medium Yellow and two small dribbles of Pumpkin Orange, in case you want to re-create it.)

cheesehead craft
When the paint was dry, I fit the caps on the chicks, making sure the little bowls I had carved out of the undersides of the wedges were the right size for the chicks’ heads.

cheeseheads
Then I printed out some Badger pennants, glued them to coffee stir sticks (which also only ever get used for crafting purposes around here) and set them up.

Here’s the aerial view:

cheeseheads
Go Badgers!