Archive for the ‘craft’ Category

bathroom hooks

There might not be much sewing going on in these parts, but there are little home fix-it things happening every day. Nothing like having a baby to make you fix the damn doorknob already (thank you, dear).  This little, vaguely eames, coat rack is in our bathroom–making it a towel rack really, but whatever. The idea is all Martha and it came from her book “Simple Home Solutions,” which I’m sure your local library has and you should check it out. I canceled my subscription to Living a few years ago because it seemed they just started recycling ideas over and over again. Turns out they picked the good ones and put them in this book and a few more might just show up here.

There were quite a few steps to make these simple looking hooks. When I bought the hooks at my awesomely helpful Ace hardware I asked them to hack off the tips of both the hooks (if you have a hacksaw you could do this yourself). Then I spray painted them white, because I didn’t know I wanted them white until after I got them home (they sell white ones, so I could have saved myself some inhaled fumes).  My husband helped me drill a hole in each wood ball–Martha doesn’t tell you how big the hole should be, but when you jam the ball on the end of the hook it should just fit. Then I painted and shellacked all the balls, fretted about the arrangement, and hung the suckers up. I have two more lower down for the kids that aren’t quite done yet, but they will get done unless I have this baby sometime soon. Yup, still pregnant over here even though I’m due today (hear that baby?!). Grannyma took the kids for a couple days, so all we are doing here is waiting. Quietly waiting.

Speaking of kids and Martha Stewart. This is project I wanted to do, but I don’t live near a place with lots of beautiful flat rocks and my local craft store didn’t really have that great of a selection. We actually bought our daughter dominoes for that “the new baby is here” present. Dominoes are a fantastic toy for preschoolers and I thought I’d share this project with all of you who live near a rocky shore, unlike us land locked Midwesterners.

chair patch

This chair has had a blanket casually draped over it–hiding that big ol’ rip–for quite a while now.  It was getting pretty annoying, so I finally formulated a plan to fix it. I saw this fantasticly awesome patch job on flickr a long time ago and have been wanting to do something like it ever since.  You might remember the weird S&M vinyl sewing action here a few weeks ago, well it became a loooong strip of black vinyl hexagons (not paper pieced, I’m not that insane, you can sort of half ass hexagons on your sewing machine–see all those wrinkles? yeah, half ass).

and then using an obscene amount of glue I patched the hole. And it worked!

This chair was a trash pick by someone else and then a gift (to me!) when they moved out of town. It feels good to breath new life into it, for a few more years at least.

And for all of you who have so kindly emailed asking: no, no baby yet. I’ve been slowly loosing my mind the last few weeks and now I’ve just given up. I will be pregnant forever. Granted I’m not due until Monday, but all the signs are there and besides haven’t I been pregnant long enough? shesh.  Oh well, bring on the spicy food and sappy movies!


There has been a lot of weddingness all over the place these days. Craftzine had a handmade weddings series going and well I guess summertime is just a time for weddings. My best friend from high school is getting married this fall, so I’ve been looking at dresses and cakes and cute little wedding things for her. All of which has made me think about my wedding 6 years ago. We tried to be cheap and crafty and we were, but shesh not as crafty as brides and grooms these days. I was on craftster constantly while I was planning it and I remember I could click to see the day’s new post and there would be about 20 of them. Ha! now it’s a crafty behemoth! Anyway, this is all just a ploy to share what I made for my wedding, hoping that it will give others ideas. First the invitations:

I used balsa wood for the main invitation, painting a red/orange/pink stripe across the bottom and gluing the actual invitation to the back. My printer was my best friend for all of this and the map was my baby. We got married in the middle of nowhere (on the farm where my mother grew up!) so the map had to be detailed, but of course stylish as well. I am embarrassed to admit just how many hours I spent on it. And I have a huge mental block when it comes to any image editing software: I learn it for about 10 hours and then forget everything and have to relearn it all again.

A few crafty things we did: my sisters tied red ribbons on all the trees on the path that led up to the hill where we got married–it’s hard to decorate the woods, but this worked really well. My mom made jam for all the guests (thanks mom!) and I made a tag for each that then served as the place card. There are so many little things to do for a wedding, anything that can do double duty should. I don’t know if any one used these (the photo says, “tissues, just in case”) but it was a Martha idea that was easy and useful (I think I was still making them on the way to the wedding). And the last picture isn’t really crafty, but it was an fantastic idea (not mine). Instead of having a guest book, we had a stack of cards and asked the guests to write a little note to us and drop it in a bowl. It was much more personal then just a signature and I still like to read them. There were lots of other little things. I made stickers with numbers on them and printed all the guest’s names out of small pieces of paper, then we could stick the numbers next to the names for escort cards at the last minute because arranged seating is a delicate dance. We strung up a clothesline and clipped photos of ourselves when we were kids onto it–it’s nice to have something for the less social (usually me) to do while avoiding talking to people. And a bunch of other stuff, luminarias, programs, table numbers, candle holders. Weddings are a lot of work.

My dress was made out of my mother’s wedding dress, which was in such poor shape it couldn’t be repaired. I found a seamstress who specialized in vintage fabrics (in Chicago) and she created this amazing dress. I think she had, literally, a small handful of the original lace left when she was done. Not the nicest of women, but damn she could sew.

The piece d’resistance of my cheap and craftiness was this polyester fabric. I ordered 50 yards of it in red and pink from ebay (for like 20 bucks, it was ridiculous) and my brother climbed the tallest ladder we had to staple all of it to a tree branch (if you can’t tell that is at least 25 feet up). The tree was at the beginning of the path to the lake where we had our reception and made a beautiful curtain to walk through to get there. This is the only photo I could find of it and though we had the lengths of material pulled back for the party, when we went to clean up we untied them and someone took this amazing poloroid.

I don’t have any wise words for those planning their wedding now except maybe, become best friends with your printer, exploit all of your family and friend’s talents, and everything can be found second hand.

froggy chair

I bought this froggy chair from a friend of mine a while back. It’s actually hard to find chairs for kids that are in between high chairs and regular seats, well cheap ones at least. We’ve been getting by with dictionaries and just plain old kneeling, but often my daughters legs  fall asleep and then she’ll lie on the ground flailing while we finished dinner. Not really pleasant for anyone. So the chair. I guess I didn’t really mention that I was going to paint it, because everyone in my family was shocked and no one approved. For the few weeks it was at the table, it seems everyone fell in love with this god awful, garish froggy chair.  Well too bad. I just can’t stand that 80’s craft fair, dappled paint, googly eyed animal shit. And I love me some high gloss spray paint. Of course it’s still called the froggy chair. And I need to find another because the kids fight over it at every meal. I guess I better go hit up some old school craft fairs.

Oh and for all of you who subscribe to my blog via email, I’m sorry about that huge email you got with all the past posts in it. We upgraded WordPress this weekend and I guess that was the side effect. It shouldn’t happen again (and if it does, please tell me).

embroidery sketch book

I am super excited about this little project: it’s an embroidery sketch book! Now that it’s springtime here in the midwest–and what a lovely spring it is, by the way–we are outside most of the day. Unfortunately, I don’t know how to knit or crochet, so the only portable project I have as a sewer is seam ripping, which is less than pleasurable. After doing a little embroidery for a quilt square I was reminded how much I like to embroider. If I came up with a real project to embroider I wouldn’t want to take it outside because it would inevitably get dropped in the sandbox or hosed down by the sprinkler, so I made a little book out of fabric and cardboard to take with me. I just cut out a piece of lightweight cardboard (from a cereal box) for the cover, making sure it was a little bigger then my smallest embroidery hoop when folded in half, so I could use the hoop for all the pages. Then I traced the cover onto some fabric (adding seam allowances), made a pocket to go across the whole thing, sewed up 3 sides, slipped the cardboard in, and sewed up the opening. Then I cut some gray and white linen for pages and sewed up the middle.  Done.  When I was thinking about making this sketch book, it was much more elaborate with lots of pockets and pin cushions (more like this) but in the end I wanted something I could make fast, use up, and then make again. Now we’re off to the park.

For more photos look here, and here.