"There's a very fine line between a groove and a rut; a fine line between eccentrics and people who are just plain nuts."Thank you for the feed back on the blogger issue. I have done this post three times and somehow I think I have finally gotten it to work, fingers crossed. Talk about an appropriate post title - Blogger is making me nuts and I didn't even need a tutorial for that! Anyway, lets move on to nuttier issues...
OK, it is official...I have fallen off the deep end, gone around the bend, yes, I have gone certifiably nuts! You know you have been cooped up in the house way too long when you start using snacks from your pantry to craft with. No, I have not been crushing cookies and scattering oats on glue to make scenes on paper nor have I reverted back to my kindergarten days of macaroni necklaces or pasta covered cigar boxes. Although, have mercy, my mother does have a lot of those! No, I went straight for the nuts, pistachio nuts to be exact.
Handy Hubby happens to love those little green gems so I bought him a bag for Valentine's Day. The other evening he was snacking on them and I cracked a few open to taste them. I was holding the shells in my hand ready to toss them in the trash but as I was about to cast them away I noticed how they looked like tiny halves of bird egg shells. And this my friends is always how one of my nutty adventures begins - with an idea.
Instead of throwing them away as most normal people would do, I let the idea brew while I thoroughly washed the shells and lay them out on a paper towel to dry. Handy Hubby meandered into the kitchen to see what was taking me so long to return only to find me standing at the sink with a toothbrush scrubbing away at empty nut shells. Bless his heart, he did not say a word.
(FREE BACKGROUND IMAGE FOR YOUR ART)
After I came back and sat down beside him, he put his arm around me and asked me if maybe I wanted to go out to dinner the next night. He even threw in a trip to my favorite book store AND he offered to accompany me to the place he most intensely dislikes to go with me - Michael's! I wrinkled by brow and asked what was the occasion. He kissed me on the forehead and said, "Honey, I think you need to get out of the house, you are going a little nuts."
I was not about to argue or try to explain that I was inspired by the shells. I heaved a huge sigh and agreed that he was probably right and I probably did need (want) to drive into the city to browse in a real live coffee smelling book store and spend lots of time cruising the aisles of Michael's, especially those dollar bins, not to mention a stop at my all time favorite sandwich shop topped off by a picnic in the car by the lake. Oh yeah, I would so fake nuttiness for that!
Anyway, the next day after Handy Hubby was conveniently stashed away at work, I gathered up my nut shells with glee and headed into the studio to turn them into mini bird eggs!
These "eggs" are the perfect scale and dimension for small projects. They are so easy to make that I thought you too might have a nutty kind of day where you might feel the need to craft from your snacks, or maybe not, but anyway, below you will find the step-by-step instructions.
To make your own nut shell eggs you will need:
*Pistachio Nut Shells
*Acrylic Paint - I used Folk Art brand in Coffee Bean, Hauser Green Light, and Jamaican Sea
*Small Paint Brush
*Old Tooth Brush
*Small Piece of cloth - I used a snippet of muslin
*Brown Ink Pad - I used Stampabilites Brown
*Hot Glue and Hot Glue Gun
*Thoroughly wash empty nut shells to remove any salt or hulls.
*Lay shells on a paper towel to drain. Allow to dry completely before moving to the painting process.
*Place nut shells hollow side down on a protected surface. You will only want to work with three or four shells at a time as they dry rather quickly and you will need blending time.
*Dip paint brush into water then into brown paint to make an inky puddle, coat back of shells.
*Immediately rinse brush in clean water and make an inky puddle of green paint. Dab onto shell randomly leaving some brown areas showing.
*Repeat above process with the blue paint.
*Take the snippet of cloth and very lightly dab the paint to mottle it slightly so you blend the colors but be careful not to over blend or muddy it up too much. Do not allow shells to dry between paint applications or they won't blend well. Allow to dry.
*Dip the tip of an old toothbrush into brown paint and swish around to load brush with paint. Flick end of toothbrush to fleck paint spatters over the shells. Allow to dry.
*Once shells are dry, make a very inky puddle of brown paint by dipping paint brush into water and mixing in a tiny bit of paint. You want this to be very transparent. Brush a thin light coat over the shell to antique or tone down paint colors. Allow to dry.
*Once dry, use the brown ink pad to ink the edges of the "egg" shell.
*Turn shells over and fill hollow side with hot glue and allow to harden. This will give you a solid surface to make adhering it to your projects easier. To steady the shells while filling them and waiting for the glue to harden, I taped down two bamboo skewers to make a channel to hold the shells upright.
NOTE: It is not necessary to seal the paint on the "eggs" but if you so desire, you can use a little clear coat of spray or brush on sealer in either a matte or gloss finish depending on how you want them to look.
Here is how I used one of the eggs on an altered shipping tag:
For a little added egg painting inspiration I am referring to one of my favorite books, Bird Egg Feather Nest by Maryjo Koch.
Maryjo has a whole series of these magnificent nature inspired books that she has filled with her paintings.
Pond Lake River Sea
Seed Leaf Flower Fruit
Dragonfly Beetle Butterfly Bee
I really admire her painting skills and her new book, Vintage Collage Journals: Journaling with Antique Ephemera is out!
Have fun going nuts!
(I'll bet you never thought you would need a tutorial for that!)