Hooray for Clay Appliques!

I love clay, dough…if you can mold it, I’m all over it! The letters and shapes on these projects were made of simple homemade playdough—the kind they make at preschools. Then I used cookie cutters to form the shapes (I use the plastic Wilton 101 Cookie Cutters, a massive collection of numbers, letters, and even dinosaur shapes). A few days of air drying and you have your very own clay appliques! The playdough recipe I worked with didn’t take to oven drying. Best to do it during a warm, sunny day. I made a batch of appliques during the rainy months and it took forever to knead, get smooth, and dry evenly. You can use regular wood glue to attach the appliques to the boxes.

After adding the basecoat and designs to the appliques, don’t foTriorget to coat them with water-based varnish to keep cockroaches from eating it. The boxes are regular 3×5 inch wood recipe boxes you can get anywhere, while the wood tissue box was something my mom had lying around.

I used water-based acrylics to embellish the projects. Polka dots were care of pencil erasers and the handle ends of my paintbrushes. tissuebox copyI love how the lines and dots are uneven and seem to have a mind of their own. I nicknamed these projects Mi Abuelita Loca—it just reminded me of that one crazy aunt we all have who’s loud, a little unbalanced, but a whole lot of fun.

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Snazzy Dog Houses

I made these dog houses for my cousin, Angela, a while back. trixiefrontI worked with the family carpenter to make the house shell since I’m an eyeball kind of girl. And you really don’t want to eyeball a dog house that will be occupied by a breathing dog.

If ever you plan to make one for your dog, make sure you use non-toxic materials in case Fido decides to make a chew toy out of his home. The wood used was regular 1 x 4 plywood and 2 x 2s for joints and reinforcements. Don’t forget to make the entryway big enough. I remember putting in a least 5-6 inches extra all around. Plus, we added vents in the back to help circulate the air.

cleo right obliqueThe bigger dog houses for Sam and Cleo featured detachable roofs to make it easier to transport. For embellishments, the houses had hand-cut, hand-stenciled designs, a wood bone nameplate (gotta love that puzzle saw!), and details made of homemade playdough (the letters for the name, the black paw, the stars, and everything on Trixie’s doorframe). For Sam and Cleo’s houses, I stenciled the interior as well.

Angela placed these dog houses in a covered garage allowing for simple varnish to keep it fadeproof and waterproof. samobliqueIf you wanted to put your doghouse outdoors like a yard, adding feet and treating it to become weatherproof would be a good idea—but then again, I can’t imagine not sharing my bed with my dog on a rainy night.