Over time I have written tutorials on various media and subjects. This is the 'click on the link' shortcut to finding a particular tutorial as well as the 'here is that post' (for the older posts). 

The complete posts can be seen below the Index.



Adding Stencils to Metal Planters April 12/18


Click on the link below the tutorial to go to the post. 

Tutorial: Building a Long Sign Repurposed 5

Tutorial : Slice Cricut Cottage Home Sign


Tutorial: Pre-Made and Individual Letter Stencilling

Tutorial: Fresh Eggs June 19/16

Tutorial: Stencilling Individual Letters May 22/16

How to: Stencilled Grocery Sign on Old Fence Board Jan 31/16


Tutorial - Simple Header (added Nov 12/15)


Easter Banner Tutorial

Narrow Blog Header with PicMonkey
Banner Letters the PicMonkey Way
Mini Banner
Tutorial - Adding Grab Buttons to Your Blog
Tutorial - PicMonkey Collages
Tutorial - Watermarking with PicMonkey
Tutorial - Joining Linky Parties
Tutorial - Adding a Link to Your Post 
Tutorial - Adding Grab Buttons to Your Blog
Tutorial - Replacing Backing Paper
iPiccy and Collages
Thank You Mamie Jane for File Photo Display Idea
Homemade Chalk Paint First Try


May 22, 2016

Tutorial - Stenciling Individual Letters

My stencilling work area is often the corner of the kitchen table.

Before I touch paint and brush I plan the word I want to stencil (from individual letters). In this example I am using 4 inch letters.

I make myself a paper plan, including the space between each letter. Next I tape the bottom line for the letters and the beginning and end of the word as it matches the paper plan.

I get my letters organized just to make the stencilling go as quickly as possible.

I tape each letter (one at a time) in place as well as hold down (blue only) areas where I am stencilling. I have newspaper handy to dab OFF paint from the stencil brush so I get a VERY light dabber as I stencil. 

I also tape edges of a letter to make sure I do not stencil outside of the (T) letter - and it is a good idea to do that BEFORE you start the stencilling of a letter.

As each letter was stencilled and dry to touch I added the next letter. I checked my distance between each letter with a ruler as I taped the letter in place. 

I removed all the tape, collected my supplies, cleaned things up and put them away.

And what was I stencilling TOOLS on?  A carpenters tool box.

The final touch was to sand the letters down to show wear and give the entire tool box a clear coat of wax and then a polish.

Since I frequently write posts about stencilling I decided I would write a reference stencilling post, using individual letters to make words. I will be linking back to this post if an example of 'how' is needed. 

Clean Up Sequence I Use:

As soon after stencilling each stencil should be cleaned. I use water (since I used chalk-clay paint) and dish soap. I usually have some water in the sink and drop the used stencils in to soak. I rub the paint off each stencil paying extra attention to NOT bending or pulling on the thin lines (see 0). I pat the stencils dry and clip them back with the rest of the letter set.
I have also learned that I need to carefully clean any paint from the inside rim of the paint lid (screw on lid) and from the outside rim of the paint container (again, screw on) so that the paint doesn't dry to itself and make opening the container next time you want to use it. I read recently that putting a piece of plastic wrap between the container and lid before screwing the lid on is a good idea. I am going to try that too.


Tutorial: Simple Header for Blogger

I have been having fun making single picture blog headers recently and thought I would share the sequence.

I use Blogger.

I make the header using PicMonkey.

Because I take photos of my garden, thrifted finds, projects etc. I make sure that I take some photos that lend themselves to cropping with space for text.

Using PicMonkey CROP the section of the photo you want to use.

Using PicMonkey RESIZE your photo to 1150 x (width is automatically size).

 When you like the look of the photo add your text. I include the name of my blog and 3 descriptors that tell the reader what I blog about. 

I once used a long list of words to describe my blog and I found that over time I was writing about collecting, repurposing, sharing. 

I save my finished header my header folder as header month day year

I do spend time choosing a font that appeals to me and looks right with the photo I am using. When I look back over my past headers I can see that I have refined the process.

I often plan a photo that I want to use for a header by making sure the background is plain so that the text I plan to add will be very easy to read.

A review of the header construction

In PicMonkey choose EDIT and then choose your photo. I put the photos I might use for my header into a file on my hard drive desktop into a file I name Headers, this saves time finding a photo when working on the actual header.

I choose CROP and when I have the photo cropped I choose RESIZE and change the size to 1150 x (in this case) 283.

Once I like the look of my edited photo I add TEXT

SAVE your new header.

The font choice should be easy to read. I make my blog name larger than my descriptors and most often use the same font and colour for both.


Tutorial - Adding Grab Buttons to Your Blog

Bloggers often make Grab Buttons that, when clicked on, link back to their blogs. When you start out having a blog there are so many different 'small things' to learn, and sometimes it is not easy to found out where to find instructions/information.

Often Linky Party Hosts ask that their Grab Buttons be put on the blogs of those who link to their parties.

This tutorial is about how to add other bloggers
Grab buttons to your blog.

 Some Grab Buttons are copy and paste. Some are copy the html and open a html gadget and paste (Grab Buttons). I am posting about the 'copy the html' grab button.

So, what is an html gadget?

When you designed your blog page you added gadgets. To do that you clicked on Layout (1). Next you clicked on gadget (2). Note that there are more gadgets at the bottom of your blog layout and you likely will want to click on one of those, not a top of the page gadget.

Next step - after you click on Add a Gadget you will see this window of choices. Scroll down until you find HTML/Java Script and click on the + (plus). This will be make the gadget an HTML/JavaScript gadget.

This is where you will add the html code you copied from a blog. (in the Content area). How is just below.

So you are now at the place where you can add HTML for the button of your choice.
Where did you get that HTML?

#1 is where you see a Grab Button (on another bloggers blog) that you would like to add to your blog.
#2 you copy the code under their button (click in the code box and copy the entire code - there are several lines of code so start to copy from the first letter of the html text to the last, scrolling down).
#3 Paste the code into the Content area (it is in HTML). After you paste it in, SAVE and then if you like click on Rich Text to see what you have.
#4 is a screen shot of what the button looks like on your own blog.

You can add many HTML codes inside the same Content area. I usually put a couple of spaces between each HTML code I add. For example, you could add all the blog 
(Grab Button codes) that are your favourites a
(depending on the layout your choose). 
You will see that on many bloggers pages.

Hoped this cleared up a bit of the mystery.
Thanks for the idea Hilda From Overwhelmed to Organized for the idea.
Hilda wrote: 

Thanks for this tutorial Joy! I'm new to blogging & have been trying to join some linky parties. I can link on their site & on my post as you showed but some parties have a "button" they say to grab but I don't know how to do that. Can you help please? Thank you so much! on Tutorial - Joining Linky Parties

ps: for a very clear tutorial on HOW to make your own Blog Button check out this blog:
Between Naps on the Front Porch - Make a Blog Button with a Grab Box
and then I came across
Buttons Deconstructed by c.w.frosting.com
worth reading if you want to make/edit a Grab Button
Collages and editing done with PicMonkey,
screen shots are from my own blog.


Tutorial - PicMonkey Collages

Friday PicMonkey published their COLLAGES addition to their (still free) suite of editing tools. Thank you PicMonkey.

Here is my version of 'how to' make collages with PicMonkeyALL screen shots are of the PicMonkey Editing Program which belongs to PicMonkey.

I have added my own pictures and watermarks as I go through the 'making a collage' process.

Open  PicMonkey. (this is the new front page, well organized).
Click on "Create a Collage" and you will see the screen with the default collage. Note that you can pick your own collage shape by clicking on the small grey collage icon on the left of the Photos. Click on Upload photos to add your photos.
You will see a light blue explanation as you hover over an area.
 I uploaded several of my own photos which I had previously placed in a folder on my desktop for easy access). The uploaded photos below were taken by me.
I dragged the photos that worked well together into the default collage shell (if you choose autofill the software does it for you).
Arrange the pictures where you want (drag into a different space) until you are pleased with your collage. Note that you can resize the collage (for saving) just under the picture of the collage. I used 980 as my width and the height is filled in automatically.
Next click on the paint pallette and you can choose a colour for the (white) background lines. You can also leave the frames white. Below is a screen shot of the many Collage layouts available. Take time to play around and create interesting collages.
 When you have finished your collage, save it (I use .jpg when I save my photos.)
Note: frames and watermarking were added after the pictures of 'making a collage' were made in the COLLAGE section of PicMonkey. I saved each screen shot (on a MAC it is Command/Shift/3) and then opened each screen shot with Preview, cropped with the square cropping tool and saved to my Tutorial - PicMonkey Folder on my computer.

For framing and watermarking in PicMonkey you can read the my Tutorial - Watermarking PicMonkey here.

For the collage tutorial pictures I used a Basic Frame, black and 2 pixels wide, used the same font/colour for uniformity for my watermarks.

If you need detail info just ask in comments and I will add more details.


Watermarking for Beginners

Watermarking with PicMonkey is simple, fast and so far is not available in the 'collage' format. I use it for single pictures where I don't need a collage. I use iPiccy for collages. 

Pretty straight forward.

1. Open PicMonkey
2. Upload (bottom left of screen is the word upload) 
    a picture you have previously placed on your desktop or somewhere you can find
3. Add a frame if you like (I like Basic and Shadow with some colour changes)
4. Add TEXT (it is the P)
5. Write your text (I use: aVintageGreen, my blog name)

6. Making sure the text remains active (white line around it) change the font, the color, the size and FADE amount. The fade makes the text a watermark. It marks your picture.
When you like the look of your watermark click elsewhere in your picture to turn off text select.
If you like the look and are finished your editing, click on SAVE (bottom left corner of screen) and pick .jpg and Dimensions: (980 pixels most commonly, rest fills in automatically).

You will want to 'play around' with color, font, size, placement and fading until the use of watermark is not longer strange to you. Enjoy.


Tutorial on Watermarking - using iPiccy

This is part one of a short posting series on Watermarking Your Photos.

First up is iPiccy.

I am starting with iPiccy.com/editor. iPiccy was first out with easy to use collages since the demise of Picnik.

Watermarking - putting text on your photo and then lightening it. This marks the photo as belonging to you.

You can watermark without adding a frame or resizing but I like to include all the steps at the same time as I watermark.

In iPiccy the first step is to choose your photo. I store all my photos in iPhoto (Mac) so I crop my photo, rename the photo, and then export it to a folder on my desktop for easy access.

If you are a Mac User and this is the first time you have used iPiccy there are a few steps you have to go through to get things working. Follow the screen instructions provided by iPiccy. It may seem complicated but it does work if you follow the on screen instructions. Don't be discouraged if things don't work the first time. Start fresh and try again.

Once iPiccy is on your screen click on the yellow "Start Editing" button. All the iPiccy screen shots below are the property of iPiccy.
The next screen is where you choose your collage shape and add images. Images can also be added after the collage shape window is open.
Once you pick your collage shape you drag your picture/s into the shape and your basic collage is made. You now have to resize it (camera icon), frame it (frame icon) and add your watermark (sheets of paper icon).

I resize my finished photos to 980 pixels x (automatic fill in for rest of data)
Next I select the frame tool (yellow in the picture below). I pick the type of frame (this one is Basic), the color (a blue to go with my picture) and click on OK to close the color window, and then Apply must be clicked to apply the frame to the photo.
The stack of paper tool (yellow in the picture below) is where you add the watermark.  Click on the stack of paper tool, then click on the T text icon and type (your blog name or title ...), choose the color you want, choose the font you want (scroll down the left hand scroll bar to choose the font). When you like the look drag your watermark to where you want it displayed on you picture page, use the Fade bar to lighten it and then...

click on the yellow icon of a disk to save your picture. Type in the name you want (I used Watermarking1Collage.jpg). I save mine in .jpg (there is a choice on this screen for type of file format you want to use and you do have to select .jpg if that is your choice. Then click on Save Photo! I save my finished photos in the folder with the other pictures for my current post.

Here is a second copy of my finished watermarked picture. You can see I have added my blog title (aVintageGreen) near the bottom right corner of the picture. That is my watermark.

Next: PicMonkey (which is very easy to use).


Tutorial - Joining Linky Parties

Part 2 on Linking - Joining Linky Parties

How do you share your thrifty ideas?

Check my last post on How to add a link in your own post.

Question: Why would I want to join a linky party?

Answer: This is one way to show off your own post/blog, attract visitors and meet and read some great bloggers in your field of interest.

Question: Isn't that like bragging or showing off or just messing up my own post and providing free advertising for other bloggers? Plus, what's in it for me?

Answer: Sharing ideas, appreciating the work of others, joining in on an interest group, showing appreciation for the projects and ideas of others is part of the sharing/linking.

Assuming that you have written and published the post you want to link to parties you will have to do the following:

1. open the blog post you want to link with (ie) blog party address. I am using name of blog Newbie Party as an example. If you have under 100 followers or have been blogging six months or less this is a great party to join.

Here is her May 14th Newbie party address: type in her name here and you would link it by:

hint: I often put all my Linking to: at the bottom of my post. That way if a reader isn't interested in seeing where you link up they can read your post and move on. If a reader wants to check out the blogs you link with it is convenient for them to click and read.

2. Type into your blog post: name of blog post

3. Still in your blog post: Highlight name of blog post

4. Click on Link

5. Paste (or type) name of blog post http address into the Link to name of blog post

6. Make sure the little box next to Open this link in a new window is checkmarked

7. Click on OK

8. Click on Update (this re-saves your post and publishes it with your new changes).

hint: learn how to copy and paste. On my computer Command C is copy and Command V is paste.

Now what? If you want to join more parties repeat the same process for each addition and when you are finished UPDATE your post.

Is that it?  NO. Now you have to do a kind of reverse. This time you copy the post title of your post that you were adding links to and THEN you have to link to each party you added to your post.

So, for example if your post title is Tutorial - Replacing Backing Paper and you copied the http address at the top of the screen you would have copied:


What is next?
Well, you click on the blog post link you added to your post, FROM YOUR POST.
You will have to scroll down their blog post until you see Add your Link

Click on Add your link

There are several different looking link up views but they are all similar in function.
You would then click on Next Step.

This is where you click on Crop (the picture you want to show on their post).

You will now see the previous page 
but you will also see your picture with your title underneath. 

The linky page can also look like this (below). You fill in
1. Your post
2. Your title
3. Your email and your name
4. pick From Web and Crop - (see picture above)
Is that it?

It is polite to make a kind comment on to your hostess/host (generally hostess) about their post, for example:

Thanks for hosting. I enjoyed looking at your features this week. I especially like the tulips and daffodils you showed in your garden. I am following your blog and have a link back on my blog so I remember to visit again.

Comments are written to match the post you just read. Maintaining a Linky Party takes time and it is polite to acknowledge the host of the party for their efforts with a 'thank you'.

Is that it? 
Yes, for that post. 

If you have linked more on your own blog you go back to your blog, click on the next link and repeat until you are finished. It takes time and you will find your own favourite blogs to link to.

Question: How do I keep track of blogs I want to link with? 

Answer: See my side bar, it is FULL of great link parties as well as great posts to read.

Question: This takes a long time, is it worth the trouble?

Answer: You will get faster at following the process and you will also become familiar with parities you want to join. Later on you will become very particular about matching your post to the theme or tone of the parties you link with. Its all a learning process.


Tutorial - Adding a Link to Your Post 
(May 17/12)

This post is for newer blog writers who want to add a link inside their post.

Adding a LINK to your posts is straight forward.

You start a NEW POST. In EDIT add your text and pictures. If you want to add a link to another blog post as an example or thank someone for having a great idea you can add a link back to their post. 

(hint: Save your posts while you are writing them.)

In your post type in the name of the blog (ie) aVintageGreen where you want it to appear in your post.

Highlight the name aVintageGreen. Make sure it stays highlighted while you link it.

Click on  Link at the top your editing screen (in Blogspot, I haven't tried this in Wordpress) and either type in or paste in the URL of the blog post (ie) http://www.avintagegreen.com.

Make sure that you click on the little box beside Open this link in a new window. Click on OK.

You will now see your EDIT page of your post. Continue writing your post. 

(hint: you can Save and Preview any time to see if you like the look of your post)

When you are finished writing your post you Publish.

The Linked Post Name will now be an active link after you Publish/Update your post, (ie) aVintageGreen.

hint: remember to check in the box Open this link in a new window.

Screen shot of Edit Link with arrows showing the places where you enter your OWN information.

Your post will now have an active link (or several if you add them). This is also the way you join in with Linky Parties. Next post will be more on joining Linky Parties.

I used screen shot and preview/crop to capture the image from my computer. I used PicMonkey to frame, watermark and special effects for color. I used Pixlr to add the banner and Tutorial title.


Tutorial - Replacing Backing Paper
May 16/12

Quick tasks always expand to 'take awhile jobs'. Easy repair - replace the paper on the back of a small picture. Part way into the task - notice frame is cracked.
ruler, pencil, scissors, pliers, brown paper, glue, small clamp, small nails
Procedure (above):
#1- 4 Remove nails (pliers), and backing, save, find smaller nails
#1-3: remove glass (watch out for those sharp edges), wash and dry - note the lovely thickness of the old glass.
#4 - discover crack in frame.
Fill crack with wood glue, clamp, let glue dry (do something else for at least an hour).
Re-assemble - glass, picture, backing cardboard. Push nails in carefully to original nail holes with pliers. Put screw eye in original hole. Trace shape of back onto brown paper. Cut out, trim, and trim again until the brown paper edges are 'barely inside' the outside edge of the frame. Glue. (hint: cut a small slit for each screw eye before gluing). Spray back of paper lightly with water. Let it dry (sunshine Tuesday was a great help for fast drying time).
Paper shrinks taunt. Reattach wire. Project completed. Put supplies away.


iPiccy and Collages
May 3/12

There is header hope after the demise of Picnik. Brenda of Cozy Little House wrote a great tutorial today on using iPiccy which has COLLAGES. Following her tutorial I made the collage (below) and then added text with PicMonkey, and as I practice more with iPiccy I find that they also have text. More than meets the eye.
Following Brenda's tutorial was easy. Very clear instructions from Adobe Flash Player took a few minutes [Mac uploading issues] for hosting pictures on one's own hard drive and restarting the browser took a couple of extra minutes but that was 'one time only'. After that everything went smoothly. Big WOW. I am happy.

I do notice that the collages are quite large . The next one I pixel sized it as low as it would go on the program. (see last picture for more 'learning' about Blender).
The above is with mirror frame.
This has a few editing changes and a different frame, museum I think.
So, collages are back, thanks to iPiccy 
and Brenda of Cozy Little House for writing the tutorial.

Then I went back again and made one more collage
and discovered what "Blender" meant.
After making the collage I clicked on Blender and it allowed me to group the collage pictures into one picture and then resize the collage (I picked 980).
So, the problem with resizing is also solved.


April 18/12

I saw a post that Mamie Jane wrote about creating a photo display. Fell in love with the idea. Set about finding the pieces needed to make my own photo display.

Three weeks ago I found a box of worn out saw files at a garage sale and bought 10. Took awhile to find some old pieces of 2x4 that were well used. Found four. Already had the chalk paint, brush, wax, drill, hammer. At a garage sale last weekend I picked up four packages of magnets.

I painted the blocks of wood with 2 coats of ASCP Old White, then added Paris Grey to the tops. When they dried I dry brushed on some streaks of Old White. Later I used clear wax and buffed the wood.
Went online to Graphics Fairy and collected six 'photo' prints. Loaded them into iPhoto and duplicated then printed the batch out as a proof sheet. Found a photo in my digital collection from a few years ago and used PicMonkey to change the photo to 'old fashioned' and added text (Add Your Own Photo), duplicated and printed a proof sheet. The pieces of the project were ready to put together.

The files  were pounded into the holes that DH drilled in the pieces of 2x4.
I cut the photos out and stuck them to the files with magnets just to see how they would look. I put four sets of file picture displays together. Then I played around with different backgrounds. I think the file/magnet combination would be useful for holding recipes and many other small display items.

Supply list:
Metal Saw Files
Blocks of much used 2x4 pieces (any wood that would support the files will work)
ASCP (Old White and Paris Gray) or any latex paint you have on hand
Paint Brush
Wax and buffing cloth
Electric Drill, Hammer
Round magnets
Old pictures (thank you Graphics Fairy) and scissors.

Cost: under $2.50 a set (the used files were $1.00 each)


Homemade Chalk Paint First Try
Feb 10/12

November 2011 was the last garage sale, not much happening. At the final garage sale of the morning I found a bedside table with drawer, bottom shelf, Queen Anne style legs, gold accent paint on worn white. Paint wearing off, top with dings and splits, water stain all down back. I offered five, it was accepted and the bedside table sat in my living room untouched until now.

I picked up some Bondex Plaster of Paris Thursday. I had a litre of white satin latex paint sitting on the deck (all winter), a clean empty rhubarb/ strawberry jam jar, well worn paint brush, 1/4 measure and some newspaper. What could be better - my first try at making chalkpaint.

Recipe I used:
1/4 cup plaster of paris powder
1/4 cup slightly warm water
3/4 cup latex paint
[1/1/3 ratio]
Mixed plaster of paris and slightly warm water very well.
Added latex paint, continued mixing until smooth.

Used DryDex (pink) to fill in the dings and crack on the top of the bedside table and smoothed with a sanding sponge.

I painted the first coat. The paint went on much the same as ASCP [which I love]. Dried in about the same amount of time. Added second coat. Dried in. The water stain on the back didn't really cover properly so I opened some white Kilz oil paint and covered the water stained back. When it dried I painted another layer of the chalkpaint.

Check out the work that went in to the original finish on the little bedside table, 
all that gold lining!
 Some more views of the top dings and crack and the worn painted surfaces.
 DriDex sanded off, first coat on top and a colour sample of fresh and old paint.
 Condition of legs, first coat of chalkpaint.
 Second coat (drawer got 3 coats of chalk paint).
Painting finished. Surface feels the same as ASCP to me, slightly chalky feel.
Waxing is next.
 Dressed with a vintage netted hat and long black gloves.
Before (in the daylight) and after (in the late evening).

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Thanks for visiting. I read and appreciate all your comments. Joy

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