As I work on this post, I am really regretting the fact that we lost the battery charger for our camera and that the TSA employee at Detroit Metro Airport dropped our 50mm lens and broke it. Over the past months, I have done a decent amount of crafting, but the quality of the pictures (or presences of them at all) is lacking, which is a major bummer.
While we are still without the super nice 50 mm lens, at least we finally got a new charger, so hopefully I’ll get some half decent snapshots of future projects. To follow is a compilation of some recent crafts, and the good and not-so-good pictures.
I’ll start with a newer on-line obsession: Pinterest!
What? You’ve not heard of pinterest.com? Well, then you must not be friends with Molly, who turned me on to this awesome website. At first, I ignored her email, assuming it was spam. Then, when she assured me it was legit, I took a look, and since then, I have wasted spent several hours perusing pictures of fun stuff. For those who don’t know, it’s a website where you can ‘pin’ pics of stuff that interests you. What you end up with is virtual pinboards, that can serve as inspiration for whatever you like; decorating your house, recipes you want to try, vacations you want to go on, etc. I guess it’s an improvement over my usual on-line habit, which was (and still sometimes is) etsy.com, which usually ends with me buying a bunch of stuff, instead of just looking.
I pinned a bunch of craft projects, and out of the dozens of things I want to make, I actually did make a couple….
#1: Sewing Machine Cover
I have been wanting something nicer than the standard issue plastic cover, and this fit the bill. The fabric was home dec weight from Joann’s and was on sale (like everything is eventually at Joann’s), so the total cost of this project was around $15! Looking back, I wish it was a little bit more snug, but overall I am happy with it. Here’s a picture of my ‘pin’:
#2 Quilted Wine Tote
My second pinterest inspired project was a fun wine bottle holder. I thought this was a cute idea when giving a bottle of wine as a gift, and I whipped it up in time for a little anniversary gift for Erin and Terrence.
#3 Matching Game
Well, the true inspiration for this project came from one of my other favorite sites, purlbee.com, but I am pretty sure it appears somewhere on pinterest. Since, I have a tendency to buy fabrics with no solid plans for them, I end up with stacks of cute fabrics that often never materialize into anything. However, I found a perfect use for some of my fabrics, a game for Lilly, who enjoys matching. I got to play it with her in July and she blazed through it. In fact, she seemed a little bored by the end. Luckily, once she is completely over this game, Rog and Ali will have inherited a crapload of coasters!! So, it’s really the gift that keeps on giving.
#4 Felt Billy Balls
This combines two of my favorite things: felt and Billy Balls (aka Craspedia), and was another Pinterest find. This is a link to the instructions. I started with wool roving, that you mix with soap and hot and cold water to felt into balls. After they dry, a little floral wire through the ball, and there you have it. I just finished this only moments ago, and I love the way it looks. Take a look:
I’m notorious for giving way overdue handmade gifts (see previous post re: gift for Anjali). I average between 9 months to 1 year late. In this case, I was a little more than a year late, but I’ll blame that on Ty for never giving me his address, and the fact that he moved twice in one year. I wanted to make something handmade for Ashley and Ty for their wedding one year anniversary. I love curling up under our colorful striped quilt, but wasn’t sure what colors they’d like, so I kept it neutral and went with shades of gray. I really wish I had better pictures of this one, but I was working on a deadline…that I had already exceeded by a year. So, think of it as ‘before and after’ shots.
My good friend Katharina is pregnant with her first babe, and her due date is quickly approaching. And on top of a super fun surprise baby shower, I wanted to give her a little handmade gift for her baby girl. I took my inspiration from Pinterest again, and went for something simple and cute. While the quilt made an appearance at the shower, I had to take it home to finish sewing in a couple loose ends.
Here’s the inspiration and a couple shots of the complete quilt:
It’s hard to think of a crafty gift to make a boy, but I wanted to make Fred something for his birthday this year. I thought about making him a Gorden Gartrell Shirt – but we all know how that would turn out:
Then I had an idea, some sort of art for his home office that would remind him of his real office in Chicago, and so the idea for a Chicago flag quilt was born. The Chicago flag is a pretty popular symbol in Chicago, appearing on t-shirts, hats, baby onesies, etc. A little Chicago history here – on the flag are four stars and five stripes. The stars represent important events in Chicago’s history – Fort Dearborn, the Great Chicago Fire, the World Columbian Exposition, and the Century of Progress Exposition. The white stripes represent the North, West and South side of the city, and the blue stripes refer to the bodies of water (top = Lake Michigan and the north branch of the Chicago River, bottom = south branch of Chicago River and the Great Canal). Kind of interesting – thank you Wikipedia for that information, I hope it’s correct! However, when planning this quilt, it’s kind of surprising how many variations there are out there:
After buying five different shades of blue, I settle on one I liked the best and got to work:
Happy Birthday Fred!!
A friend suggested I work on a Detroit quilt next – it looks cool, but quite a bit harder:
Finally, a new post!! It’s been about eight months since my last post. Even though I haven’t had the time to blog, I still try to get my craft on when I can. It’s just been hard with moving, starting a new job, yada yada yada. Anyway, I have a lot to share!
I’ll start with one of my most recent projects – Quilty. I wanted to make a comfy throw for our new living room, something colorful, fun, and big enough for both Fred and me. It also had to be easy and pretty much mistake proof. So, I didn’t use a pattern, just a bunch of strips of different widths joined together in a random arrangement. Although it’s meant to be used as a throw, it’s closer to the size of a twin comforter, because I really hate it when the bottom of a blanket isn’t long enough to quite cover your toes – that’s the worst!!
Making the quilt top, you’ll need:
-Rotary cutter and cutting mat to make a million strips of varying width (1.5, 2.5, and 4.5 inches, so they’ll fit together nicely)
-Some energy to organize strips into a random pattern, making sure like colors don’t end up next to each other
-Lots of energy to sew all these pieces together and then iron the seams flat.
Here are some pics of the process!!
Remember this picture from my last blog post??? Well, I just got off the phone with my sister Karen, who finally received the housewarming gift I made for her. I couldn’t wait for it to arrive so that I could surprise Karen with a handmade gift and write this blog post! I recently took up quilting and this is actually the first quilt that is 100% finished. The pattern is by Amy Butler and called Thea’s Puzzle Quilt, and the pattern was free on-line!! I ordered my fabric from Quilt Home, who has a great selection of fabrics, with free and fast shipping. So, after a quick trip to Joann’s to pick up a couple notions, I started to get to work….To follow is a photo timeline of my quilt-making process.
Hello everyone!! I am really excited because I actually have a ton of recent projects to share, so get excited!! I am so happy because I have more free time now to do a lot of projects and really turn our apartment into a disaster–it is covered with straight pins and little pieces of fabric and threads to prove it. Even though I try to keep things neat, when I get in the crafting zone, I have a one-track mind and really can’t be bothered to clean up after myself!! Also, I got a new sewing machine (see below), and I love it. It makes sewing easier and faster. And last of all, I’ve taken up quilting and am semi-obsessed!!
Okay, let’s get started with the loveliest baby shower for mom-to-be Emily Mullin. Now, the vast majority of the credit for this goes to Molly for all her hard work and attention to detail. But because she doesn’t have a blog, I feel obligated to share these pictures with the rest of the world! Here are some highlights of the the special touches from the party:
Although I didn’t finish all of Emily’s gift, I did get a couple handmade gifts for the new baby. I have a ton of sewing and knitting books and one of my favorite things to do is look through them and daydream about actually getting them done. And even though I know I will probably never make something from every book, I still buy them and still love them!! FYI – by far the best place to buy these books is overstock.com. They almost always have to books I am looking for, and they’re always cheaper and shipping is only $2!
I made the reversible fabric box from Joel Dewberry’s Sewn Spaces. Since Em and Sean don’t know the sex of their baby, I wanted to make something that could go either way. So I went to my even bigger stack of fabric to find something that would fit the bill:
I also did some more burp clothes, because they’re useful and an easy way to use cute fabrics:
And now that it has taken me forever to make this post, I’ve had a chance to finish Em’s elephant–thanks Molly for taking pictures!
Ok, so what else have I done lately–a bunch!!! Below is my new awesome sewing machine, another purchase from overstock.com (which is awesome because shipping is still only $2 and it probably weighs 30 pounds). Below are some of my summer projects I made with my new machine, including a halter top for the hot weather (which has now subsided), some super cute tops for Lilly’s third birthday (I bought the patterns from a great store on etsy.com called Heidi and Finn Modern Wears for Kids). And of course, my very first quilt, after a class at Quiltology.
Anjali’s birthday is December 29th and everytime I talk to her I explain that I found an awesome birthday gift for her, but that it’s on back order for months…I wonder if she believes me. Most likely, she figures I just haven’t bought anything yet! But the truth is, I have been trying to finish the Lace Afghan from Knit.1 Magazine (which I think is no longer published).
Yes, it’s Spring/Summer 2009, and we are well into Summer 2010, but this project has been interrupted several times by trips, exams, holidays and more exciting and faster projects. But finally I got the motivation to wrap this one up.
I will say it’s a great knitting project for when you don’t want to be super focused. Once you get used to the pattern, you can watch TV or a movie at the same time. But, it’s a big a blanket and as the afghan grows, it’s becomes more cumbersome to travel with, so this is not a portable project. But overall, I love the look and wish I had the motivation to make a few more for friends and for myself.
Here are some shots of finishing up the afghan, motivated by our new ipad (of course ,the published pattern in the magazine had an error, so I had to get the corrected one on-line). It was a nice Saturday morning, a big iced coffee, knitting, and watching more tivo’ed Real Housewives!!!!
Happy Birthday 7 months late Anjali!!
I was very excited to throw my great friend Stephanie a baby shower on May 22. Alison, Brie and I had brainstormed a lot of super cute ideas to make it a fun day. However, baby Gabe had other plans!! Steph’s water broke the day before the shower and he was born around 1 AM on the 22nd!! Needless to say the shower was canceled, but we all celebrated a healthy baby boy for Steph and Bill. Although the shower didn’t happen, I did reep the benefits of having a deadline to get some projects done around my apartment that I had been wanting to do for months, and also experiment with some fun shower decorations that I will no doubt use in the future.
Below are three and a half projects I did in prep for the shower:
1. Photo wall in the living room
2. Felt Garland Decorations
3. Diaper Cake
3 1/2 Recovered Knoll chair
The Photo Wall
I have always loved photo walls or gallery walls or whatever you’d like to call them and I’ve always thought one would look great in our living room because it’s such a huge wall. After getting a lot of old pictures of my dad’s family from the grandparents house, I was really anxious to display some of them in our house. However, the pictures were sitting in a drawer for the past year, because I never quite had the time or energy to put one up. With Steph’s shower coming up and a recent trip to Europe with Fred’s new awesome camera, I had the motivation to get it done.
I wasn’t really sure how to go about putting together a gallery wall, but like everything else I do, I started with a google search. I saw a lot of example walls to get some ideas. I didn’t want something that screamed, “I copied this out of a Pottery Barn catalog” (even though they have some nice photo walls in their catalog) and I also didn’t want to spend too much on frames. So, I opted to mix and match frame sizes, styles, and colors and also work with both color and black and white prints. I bought most of the frames from Joann Fabric and Target. And now that the project is complete I have noticed some nice frames at West Elm and Restoration Hardware as well. Joann’s frames were a steal, because I bought them at one of their crazy sales when all the frames were 50% off.
Our apartment was pretty much a disaster for the 5 days I worked on this project. First, I pushed the dining room table to the side, so that I could use the floor to decide on the frame layout. The frames sat there for a few days while I made two trips to Target to fill in the gaps of the wall with a couple of their frames. With Fred’s help, we decided on the frame layout:
After deciding on the layout, I cut out paper templates of the frames. I used some wrapping paper left over from Christmas, which worked well because the wrapping paper was wide enough and the reverse of the paper had grid marks so I could easily cut even rectangles.
Then I put the paper templates on the wall with masking tape. This let me adjust the layout of the frames and decide on the appropriate height and width of the photo wall without having to put nails in the wall.
After I was happy with the placement of the photos, I started putting screws in the wall to hold the photos in place, then I tore down the wrapping paper and hung the real frame:
After picking up our pictures from Walgreens, I loaded the photos into the frames. Check out the final product:
2. Felt Garland
I have had my eye of this garland ever since I saw it on the Purl Bee website in December, 2009 and I was just waiting to throw a party to make it! I recruited Alison and Brie to help me get started on cutting out hundreds of circles, Fred pitched in as well!
But it was worth the time and sore fingers!
Unfortunately, the garland is still waiting to be used, I will have to throw a party sometime soon! I did hang one loop on the window just to see what it looked like, the rest is being used as colorful filler in a basket.
3. Diaper Cake
Now this one I was really excited about, because after all my google searching for diaper cakes and watching youtube videos on making diaper cakes, I think I made to nicest one.
Here are the items you’ll need:
1. Diapers (duh!) I used some newborn ones.
2. A cardboard circle (I used a cardboard cake bottom from Joann fabrics in the cake decorating section)
3. One cardboard tube left over after you finish using a roll of paper towel, do those have a name??
4. Three receiving blankets
5. A ton of rubberbands
6. Straight pins (to secure the blankets in place
7. One glass baby bottle (used as the topper to the cake)
You can start by preparing the diapers. All you have to do is roll each diaper up and secure it with a rubber band, as shown below:
So, you will need a LOT of rolled up diapers. The cake I made was three tiers. For the bottom layer, put six rolled diapers around the paper towel roll and secure it with a rubber band. Then arrange 12 more diapers around the first layer. Then, add a third round of diapers, I think it takes is 20 diapers and secure that layer with a rubber band. There you have it, the bottom tier of the diaper cake. For the second tier, follow the above instructions and only do two rounds of diapers. And then for the third tier, you guessed it, you only do one layer of diapers.
Now you have three tiers of your cake secured to the paper towel roll. Then take your receiving blankets and adjust the thickness by folding it to the width of the diapers. Then wrap it around the each tier and secure it with a straight pin.
To top it off, I stuck a vintage glass bottle in the third layer (it will sit nicely on top of the paper towel roll). You can decorate it with ribbons or some baby accessories as well.
And there you have it, an adorable centerpiece/gift for a mom-to-be!!
3.5 Recovered Knoll Chair
So, I only count this as half a project because I started it, but I left it to the professionals to finish.
My grandma’s house is full of retro furniture finds and it seems that whatever you find falls into one of two categories. Either it’s a super nice quality piece of furniture….or it was an inexpensive garage sale find. And sometimes it can be hard to figure out which is which! But I found a really nice chair hidden in the basement, it just needed a little help. So, I thought it would be fun to take on the challenge of recovering it. Fred and I picked out a really cute fabric from The Needle Shop and I bought a bunch of cushioning stuff, spray glue and a staple gun and thought I could figure it out. Well, I tried, I tried really hard, and after 8+ months of a dismantled chair sitting in my living room, I took it to an upholstery place and let them finish the job. The woman at the shop was fairly blunt when she told me that the work I had done was okay, but they would be taking it all apart again–oh well. Anyway, it was worth the money, and the chair looks great!!
Most recently on http://www.purlbee.com they highlighted two stuffed animal elephants projects, one is from Handmade Knitted Gifts. I thought how funny this was considering my recent obsession with purlbee.com and the fact that I have knit four of those very elephants! I have made them all for friends new babies. My niece Lilly ended up getting two, because her first one was snatched at the hospital when she was born, but I can’t blame the stuffed elephant thief, they are so darn cute!!
Below is the second elephant I knitted for Lilly (born August 10, 2007) to replace the lost one. I can’t find a picture of the original one, but I remember taking it to Ali Brown-Premo’s shower and giving it to her without arms, because I hadn’t finished it yet!
Here is the most recent elephant for Jen Schaffler’s baby. The elephant had to be gender neutral because they didn’t find out the sex. So, instead of a pink scarf, I did a cute polka dot tie. BTW, Jen had a beautiful baby boy February 3, 2010!!
Fred helped me tie its tie, because I still don’t know how to do that and he got all fancy on me and did a Windsor knot, so cute!!
So, who will be next to receive an elephant??? We’ll see, I think I might know who, but that’s all hearsay right now!!!
I have to thank my friends Rebecca and Molly for this post! First, thanks to Rebecca for motivating me to start posting to my blog again. Ever since she decided to finally share with us that she does in fact have a blog (thekrautners.blogspot.com), I have been a regular reader. Reading their posts make me want to keep up a little more with my own, even though mine aren’t nearly as funny.
Second, thanks to Molly who turned me on to http://www.purlbee.com, a great crafting blog with really cute projects. Whenever I’m bored at the computer I look through all the archived posts and dream about actually having the time to do some of them. But I decided to make more time to do crafting projects now that residency is finished and I have more weekend free time. Recently there were two great projects involving felt, and I love felt and I thought they were perfect.
So, I dragged Fred to Joann Fabrics with me on Saturday afternoon, (which is a semi-annoying experience even for me because the place is packed) to help me pick out materials. Then the rest of the cold afternoon I spent watching a Real Housewives of Orange County marathon and getting to work.
I started both projects, but only one is finished so far, and that one is these super cute rose barrettes! They are so adorable and of course Lilly popped into my head as someone who would make them look even cuter!!
Molly’s Sketchbook: Rose Barrettes (from http://www.purlbee.com)
I used the great print out templates from purlbee.com.
I made two barrettes, which I am going to give to my friend Alison Hay’s daughter Caitlin, and then I am going to get some more made for Lilly for Valentine’s Day!
Stay tuned to see my next project, here’s a sneak peak:
Thanks Rebecca and Molly!! And also thanks for being the only two people who actually subscribe to my blog!!
This past weekend I made a trip to a small town on the East Coast called New York City to visit my sister Karen and friend Anjali. The weekend consisted mainly of eating (flat bagels, soup dumplings, pork belly and bread pudding that tasted like Hudson’s cookies) and shopping (several cardigans and striped turtlenecks at the insistance of Anjali). But I also had fun going to PurlSoho, a small knit shop in Soho (http://www.purlsoho.com/purl 137 Sullivan Street NY, NY 10021) owned by Joelle Hoverson, author of one of my favorite knitting books (see earlier posts!). I picked out a couple beret type hats that would make fun/quick projects. I was surprised that one of them was free, but then not so surprised because I found the pattern on-line for free the next day (http://www.kelbournewoolens.com/, I guess it probably sells more yarn to give away a free pattern). …Anyway, I quickly whipped up this cute little hat made from Kelbourne Organik yarn in Seablue. I made it in a solid color (FYI, you only need two skeins to make the hat if you make it one color) Here are the results: