Friday, September 7, 2012

How To Make A Pottery Barn Skeleton Vase

I know it has been a while, a very, very long while but for those that may not know I am in the middle of rebuilding my life. On January 31st, shortly after my last post here a fire consumed my home and everything with it including my beloved pets. Only Samhain and I remain along with my turtle Fred. While I am not able to create on the scale I was for a while I can show you some things I am doing to pass the time while I rebuild my home.

Pottery Barn Skull Vase Tutorial

I LOVE these vases but at $150.00 each and the fact that enough people bought them for them to sell out had me thinking of a way to recreate them for myself.


You Will Need:

• A package of Sculpey, Fimo or Premo Polymer Clay - Transparent is best
• Sculpey tools or make-shift ones found around the home
• Glue (depending on the type of vase you use) I used Elmers China and Glass Cement
• Aluminum Foil
• Heavy Duty Elastic Band
• Toaster oven or regular oven
• Spray Paint Satin Finish in Ivory
• Van Dyke Brown Acrylic Paint
• Paper Towels
• Vase of your choice
• Plastic to protect while painting

First Step:

Thick sturdy foil draped over the top of the vase for clay support

Lay the vase down on it's side and wrap a thick layer of foil over it but not around it as you will have to remove this later. The thick layer is meant to hold it's shape when you remove the foil for baking.

Condition your clay by kneading it until it is soft. I used a half a package for my skull. If you would like to have a skull closer to that of Pottery Barn then you can use less.

Roll the clay in between your palms loosely so it forms a sort of UFO shape.

Place the ball on your vase and begin to push down to flatten the edges while pinching the bottom to make the jawline.

Use your finger to smooth the surface.

Rock the ball of clay into a UFO shape

Flatten the ends of the skull while shaping the jawline

Now take your tools and begin to shape the face as so:

Use a rounded end to make the eyes

Rock the tool back and forth facing away from the nose to create a more almond shape for the eye sockets.

Use a pointed tool to make the nose

Do the same for the nose

Cut in teeth

"Cut" Three lines for the teeth making sure the top teeth are a bit bigger than the bottom like so:

Lines for teeth, make tops bigger than the bottoms

Then cut the teeth vertically also making sure the top are larger than the bottomCarefully remove the aluminum foil and place on a baking sheet with some balled or rolled up foil underneath to support your skull.

Ball up the foil underneath for support

Bake according to the directions on the package. Usually 30 minutes for each 1/4 of an inch at 275 degrees F. Mine baked for over an hour.

Secure with a rubber band

After your skull has baked and thoroughly cooled adhere it to your vase. Hold firmly for a minute and use a strong rubber band to keep it in place as the glue dries.

Once the glue dries take your vase outside and give it a few coats of spray paint. (Just make sure it is not too windy or buggy. I had to do some sanding and fixing of little buggy corpses)

REMINDER: Several thinner, even coats from further away are best when spray painting. Too close or too thick a coat will cause drips.

Needs a few more coats

A Happy Accident!
It seems that it was a bit too moist out to really spray paint but it turned out ok in the end. If you would like to get a bit of a crackle effect try dabbing a VERY thin layer of water in little spots (I would suggest using a scrap piece of something handy to practice and make sure that is the effect you are going for) Very little moisture will work so don't go crazy.

Get Gloppy With It

Now here comes the fun messy part. To antique your vase add a fair amount of water to your acrylic paint. It should be soupy but not too thick. Take a paper towel and drench it in the mixture then daub it on the vase working in small sections. Take a second paper towel and using a combination of pats and wipes begin to remove the paint. Do not remove all of it and try to keep the aging effect inconsistent. Take your time but know if you mess up (Are there really any mess ups?) You can wait for it to thoroughly dry and re-spray paint the vase to start over.

I prefer the matte look however you may spray your piece with a clear gloss
It is your vase, Have fun with it!

Well, there you have it, I hope you enjoyed my first tutorial of this caliber!

My vase ended up costing a little less than $30 but that is because I had to buy a vase and supplies as opposed to using ones I had. I did use a 40% coupon for Michaels (or ACMoore, I forget which I was in at the time) to lessen the cost of the vase.

Please feel free to share this tutorial but make sure you give credit (It is just the polite thing to do) If you make a vase please also share what you have done. I am considering making a few tutorials as a way to pass the time and I would love to see what all of you have done too!

Thank you Knock Off Decor for featuring this tutorial on your site!


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

2012 GBK Golden Globes Gifting Suite Part Three

Stories From Both Days

The Artisan Group's Table Display
Normally I write about each day at the lounges but some unforseen "distractions" has muddled my memory as to when people came around so I am going to pick a few photos and tell a bit of a story about them. If you would like to see all the photos of the Gift Lounge visit The Artisan Group's Facebook Page and don't forget to like them while you are there!

Jeremy Irons with SariBlue
I was pretty excited to meet Jeremy because he was in one of my all time favorite movies. When he came over to our table I introduced myself and said "I know you have been in a ton of movies and have done a lot of amazing work both in film and out but I must tell you that you were in my all time favorite movie" To which he replied "Really? Which?" and I said "The Lion King" which was greeted with a confused smirk, chuckle and a bit of shock. I really do not think he was expecting that but it is the truth.

Bailee Madison with The Write Stuff
What a sweet little girl! The last time I saw Bailee she was practically half the size she is now. While she flitted around the table like a hummingbird on a sugar high, delighting in everything we had, Valerie and I chatted with her mother. Through the conversation I found out a little something about Bailee, something she likes more than anything and it just so happens that I can make what she loves. I have made arrangements to get this item to her and as soon as I know she has it I will post a little story about it. I don't want to ruin any surprises after all.

Janina Gavankar admiring JuditB Jewelry
Once Janina came to the table it took her a split second to remember us and she gave Valerie a big hug. Last time she visited us was at the Emmy Gift Lounge and she chose Gary Hirsch's Bots as her favorite thing in the whole lounge! This time she picked a most beautiful bracelet by Lapis Beach and featured it on her website.

Janina wasn't the only one...

Raphael Sbarge, Valerie and Me (and darn-it I am actually wearing heels)
Raphael was one of the nicest celebrities (actually the ones that stopped by our table were all very nice) He was genuinely interested in everything on the table asked questions and told us he had a surprise for us. We had to wait a little while but when the surprise came it was a big one! There will be 8 pages total and four have already been posted. We can't thank them enough for the feature!

Another great surprise came when Actress Tess Hunt and Glee Actor Josh Sussman made this as a thank you to our group:

This has to be one of the coolest things and it is so great being able to see a true reaction to your gift as it is opened. (My gift is opened just after the 7:00 mark) Oh and Tess, we certainly don't mind the video being long..

Well, that is it for today, there will be a few more stories soon so while you are waiting hop on to Twitter tonight at 8pm EST and join in The Artisan Group's Twitter Party. You can win fabulous hand-made items like the celebs got and it is a ton of fun. Just follow @TheArtisanGroup and @BlackCatDesign and brush up on your trivia! See you there!


Saturday, January 21, 2012

2012 GBK Golden Globes Gifting Suite Part Two

It is setup day!

We are lucky to have two members that happen to live in the L.A. area and we were grateful for the help. Both Rachel Leathers and Jean Roth came to the hotel to help unpack, put the risers and backdrop together and unwrap all the displays. There was a lot to do and they both made it smooth. Setup didn't take long and cleanup wasn't bad which left us plenty of time to make sure everything was perfect.

After bidding goodbye to Jean and Rachel, Valerie and I headed back to the room to get ready for the industry mixer. This is where agents, publicists, PR people and the like head in and look around at the vendors. It is also a chance to meet the other vendors.

When we came back to the roof where the event was to happen, we were once again blown away by how lovely the venue looked.

Looking from our table to the entrance
Photo wall for when the celebrities arrive
How gorgeous is this?

Yup, that is cake! Well, sort of, the outside was but the inside was not. It did have to be there for three days afterall.

The rest of the night was mingling, seeing the now familiar faces of the talent agents and hors d'oeuvres.

Stay tuned for Part Three!


Thursday, January 19, 2012

2012 GBK Golden Globes Gifting Suite Part One

Yup, it is that time again, awards time and once again I flew out to California to represent the fabulous artists of The Artisan Group as well as myself.

The next few days will be behind the scenes, great photos and a few fun stories about my time there. So let us see, where to start? I guess the flight out would be a nice start. Last year at this time (if you happen read my blog at all) I was stuck for 10 hours in an airport because of a crazy snowstorm, not fun at all. This time the flight was smooth and I got to L.A. a day before set-up.

The beautiful L'Ermitage Hotel in Beverly Hills was to be the backdrop for the event and I must say, it was beautiful and I enjoyed my time looking around and having a hot apple cider with cookies while I waited for Valerie to arrive.

How beautiful is this room?

I didn't have to wait very long before Valerie pulled up, I saw her this time because the balcony overlooked the street.

Hi Val!

View of L.A. from the balcony

After we got settled we decided to take a walk up to the roof and see the pool and where the event was to take place. If you squint really hard you can see the Hollywood Sign up in the hills (I will save the pool picture for later)

Since we were all settled in we decided to have one nice dinner because the rest of the time would be hectic working (but a ton of fun too!)

Val saw Phyllis Diller, I saw the back of her head
Settled and full from a delicious dinner and excited for tomorrow we headed to bed.

Stay tuned for part two!


Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Real Meaning Of The Holiday Season - Year Two

Well, it seems it is that time of year again, it seems like just yesterday that I wrote this post about why I dislike this time of year so much. I have to be quite honest, in this whole year I really feel that things are worse than they were before. From the behavior of people on Black Friday to the greed of stores cutting into the holidays of their employees. I see people struggling to buy expensive gifts out of their means to the recipients not appreciating what they were given

Then there is this gem:

If this doesn't scream self-centered, unappreciative, spoiled brat I am not sure what does.

I don't understand how people are not angry with what the holidays have become. Everyday I see a boatload of wish lists of items that cost hundreds of dollars (some are in jest, I understand but most are not) After the holidays I can guarantee that these same people will be sulking if they do not receive a good portion on their list.

Last year I did a little experiment to try and make myself feel better about the holidays and to take my mind off of the people I miss so very much and I am going to do it again. I managed to give a smile or two to some people and maybe a happy tear to others. It would be great if maybe you can do this too, you would be surprised at how something so simple as a few little heartfelt words can make such a big difference, not even an iPad or a flat screen tv can do that.

Here are the rules once again if you aren't familiar with them from last year:

This is what I have decided to do (and you can certainly make your own rules as to how you pick people if you decide to play along) First take the first two people on your facebook account that pop up in your friends list on the side. Think long and hard of something to give that person and send that gift in words in an email or write it on a piece of paper to hand to that friend. Do it everyday until Christmas, or if you are so inclined until New Year's Eve.

Now here is the catch:

1. You can not make it public it is a private thing shared in an email/paper between you and the person.

2. You have to pick the first two people that pop up in your friends list and if they were chosen already you must go to the next one in line.

3. and finally the most important rule, the gift can not cost money, none, ziltch, zippo. It can not be a tangible thing. This means you can not gift someone a luxury yacht, a giant diamond ring or a wardrobe full of clothes. I want you to think very hard about that person and what they truly need in their life.

To make it easier you may link to this post or copy and paste it into the email. Explain why you are playing along or not it is up to you. Maybe, just maybe it will make you feel better too.

and in case you are wondering if I found what I want for Christmas the answer is no, I am still looking, it is not something to hold or unwrap, it is something to be found... a simple 5 letter word


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Buy Handmade and Support The Arts

It's that time of year again and what is better than finding that perfect gift for someone you love? Finding that perfect gift from a local artisan.

The Artisan Group has top of the line artists that create an array of wonderful hand-made gifts for just about everyone on your list. Why not head over to their Gift Guide for a small sampling of what they have to offer? It is great to buy handmade, you are not only supporting small independent businesses but giving a high quality gift that was made with great care. Just click the logo above to be taken right to their guide and Happy Shopping!


Friday, November 18, 2011

Zooey's Gift

For those of you that follow my blog you know that I will be sending this pendant to none other than Zooey Deschanel and I am so happy to do so. My group, The Artisan Group, which I am partnered with Valerie of The Beez Kneez has been in direct contact with a total of four actresses. They will be receiving a bag full of handmade gifts from our members and everyone is busy creating and researching what each actress likes. Would you like to know which actresses will be receiving the other gifts from our members? Make sure you  become a fan on Facebook and you will be the first to find out!

Zooey's Pendant

Tucked inside a little box
All packaged up and ready to go

Floral Pendants
Although the above pendants have been spoken for they will soon appear in my Etsy shop. I had to track down and order more of these settings, it wasn't easy but I found a handful and they are coming from a long way away. Stay tuned here and as soon as I get them in my hands I am going to paint them and list them.

Are there any flowers and colors you would like to see first?


Monday, November 14, 2011

We Are So Excited!

We are so excited to be sending this hand-painted necklace to none other than Zooey Deschanel along with some other gifts from the talented artists of The Artisan Group! Zooey is currently the star of New Girl and is an actress, musician and singer/songwriter. Not only will she be receiving my necklace but also some fabulous stationery, spa products, jewelry and much more from the other artists!


Friday, November 11, 2011

Thank You

Sergeant Nicholas Cutro
1st Infantry Division, Vietnam 1964-1965
This blog I think will be a difficult one, no, I know it will be. I don't normally allow people to peak into my private life often, or ever really other than rants from a job, how annoyed I am at driving anywhere or maybe a peek into what inspired a painting. Truth is that a lot of my personal life is painful to think about as it is filled with way too much loss on so many levels yet it does not compare to the loss many of our servicemen and women have.

I am not sure why I decided to write this post, well, yes maybe I do but I will get to that in a few.

Above is a photo of my father, Sergeant Nicholas Cutro, 1st Infantry Division - I am afraid I can not remember the Signal Battalion he was stationed with - Vietnam 1964-1965.

I was able to watch The History Channel's program Vietnam yesterday. If my dad was alive today I know we would have watched it together. I get my love of history from him and to this day I have not found someone that would spend hours wandering museums with me reading everything it had to offer. I miss that.

My dad didn't share much about his time in Vietnam and that is understandable. The stories and photos he did share involved friends, boot camp and small stories that did not go into the actual horrors he lived through during his time there and I never asked. 

My dad had a very hard life. His mother died when he was only four and his mother's sisters ripped him and my aunt away from their father and separated them. They were also abusive toward him yet my dad always seemed to have a smile on his face, even in the end. He was a first generation American and as soon as he could he volunteered to join the army and enlisted to go to Vietnam.

When my dad came home from service there was no one to pick him up or greet him at the airport and this was before people began to take things out on our service men and woman. When I was watching The History Channel's Vietnam I was moved by the entire program but one thing that was said hit the hardest and in a way inspired this blog. In one segment toward the end Barry Romo had been talking about how proud he was to be returning home in his dress uniform until he reached American soil and found what awaited him, from people the refused to sit near him, to the whispers, points and and shuns. After 40 years, it brought him to tears.

Now comes the reason for writing this blog today. I have swore many years ago, whether I agree with something or not it is irrelevant, that I will never, ever treat a vet the way my father and those that served were treated when they returned home. I would like to take a moment right now to say thank you from the bottom of my heart. Everyone screams freedom at the top of their lungs but not everyone will stand up and fight for it and to you I am grateful.

My dad, whom I miss very much, passed away in October of 2001 from the effects of cancer due to being exposed to Agent Orange while serving his country.


Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Artisan Group's Holiday Gift Guide

Holiday Gift Guide

For the past few weeks The Artisan Group has been putting together a holiday guide with all of our members lovely handmade items. Since there are over 450 members in the group there are many items to choose from so why not support handmade by clicking on the picture above?


The Artisan Group is just a few fans away from kicking off a MAJOR giveaway so click above to read the rules, be sure to comment and like or follow and  Good Luck!


Friday, September 30, 2011

Emmy Gift Lounge Wrap-up With Some Candids

This is the last of my Emmy Gift Lounge write-ups. I think I will just post a few candids that we received thanks to our incredible photographer Eric! Most of these photos were a surprise to us. I certainly had no idea they were being taken.

America Fererra
I had the pleasure of meeting America once before at the Sundance Film Festival. She remembered me from the last time which is very nice. I guess she doesn't often get told that someone's favorite movie by her is "Real Woman Have Curves" and is instead always associated with Ugly Betty, maybe that was why she remembered. 

She is such a soft-spoken person. America does not like to take photos with products which is fine but if you ask her to pose with you she will. I remember upon meeting her at Sundance she asked if she had to take photos and I told her no so when we met her again we didn't ask her to take a photo and instead used our valuable time to talk with her about the group.  

Next is Nia Peeples. Again she remembered me and I had mistakenly mixed up her friends but she made a joke and we had a good laugh about it. At these events we are only supposed to have around 30 seconds to a minute with each celebrity but Nia stayed a very long time with us. I think she picked up everything on our table and from her messages and Tweets to us it seems she has to fight her daughter for some of the gifts we gave her.

Nia Peeples and Valerie
I love this photo! This is Valerie and she is showing Nia a wristlet made by Tina Dean Designs. The look on her face was just as she was told that it is made out of VHS tape...

and this was after when she was showing everyone in the room.

Actress Beverly Mitchell was also very into our group and was kind enough to send one of our members a personal email. This is Beverly learning about "Plarn". The first photo is her trying to figure it out and the second is when she realized the purse I was showing her was made out of grocery bags.

Dot-Marie Jones of Glee visited our booth and loved the smell of Bellaroma's Banana Grapeseed facial scrub that she passed it around and she wasn't the only celeb that liked our members bath and body products!

Glynn Turman and his wife
In case you were wondering what the look on Glynn Turman's face was all about, I just told him the sundae I am holding is soap from AJ Sweetsoap!

So as I wrap up the final post I will leave you with a few celebs that liked our whole group so much they held the whole bag for a photo-op! So thank you to all the celebs, press, and talent that passed by our table and stopped to talk with us and thank all of you for reading along as I shared some stories.

Rex Linn and Joe Mantegna 

Tony Denison and P.J. Byrnes

meow ^..^ meow ^..^ meow ^..^ meow ^..^ meow ^..^ meow ^..^ meow ^..^ meow
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