Posts Tagged ‘projects’

My Week(29) in iPhone Photos

Saturday, May 21st, 2011

Sunday:

Pouring rain in Columbus, where luckily my sister-in-law had an alternate indoor location for her garden wedding

Self portrait of my fancy headband while I let one tired baby sleep in my lap

A little ring sling action at the reception. Caroline says "IT'S 9 PM WHY AM I NOT IN BED?"

Monday:

I saw 10 hours of this while we drove home. The kids were incredibly well behaved - probably because they were so tired from 4 days with no naps.

Little Evan slept like this for most of the trip - and STILL went to bed at the regular time.

Tuesday:

Excited to wake up in his own bed

Caroline gets some love from a Stroller Strides friend who missed her while we were gone.

This was for sale at the kennel where we board Brutus. If you dress your dog like this we cannot be friends.

Wednesday:

Lazy, lie around the house day for everyone but me...

...because I am INSANE and decided to redecoraty my pantry. That's right, my PANTRY. A closet NO ONE SEES.

Meanwhile, our most used room looked like THIS.

Thursday:

I had to take Little Evan back to the pediatrician for another lead test because his first sample was "insufficient". He was NOT happy about getting poked again. (This picture is pre-poking)

Some milk and his blankie made him feel much better.

After bedtime I got out my camera manual and finally started learning how to use the damn thing

Friday:

Someone has a hard time staying in his seat at Stroller Strides - but SCREAMS if I buckle him in.

Nursing baby cuddles.

Dollar Store generics crack me up

Saturday:

It FINALLY stopped raining so I went to check on my plants. Looks like I'll get blueberries this year!

Cereal for breakfast, as usual, in his new dinosaur shirt.

We went to Lowe's to look at pavers, since we need to get them ordered THIS WEEKEND. As excited as I am for a patio, this is not going to be easy or cheap and I'm worried.

Yeah, so, the patio. I know I keep talking about how we’re doing it “soon” but day 1 of the project starts a week from today. For some reason my brain simply CANNOT HANDLE the idea of square feet and cubic feet and tons and lengths and heights and all the other stuff we need to figure out. I’m sitting here right now with a notebook and a calculator, sweating profusely and swearing at the numbers. The good news is my folks are coming up to help (spoken: Mom & I shop for patio furniture while Dad & E do all the math and heavy lifting). If we blow our budget as much as I THINK we’re going to we might just be sitting on the bricks for the next year.

Did you take any camera phone photos this week? Link up with one or lots using the linky below and grab the code (so it shows on your blog too!) over at Amy’s . It’s really fun!

 

It’s Like I Had A Yarn Shaped Hole In My Life

Sunday, December 12th, 2010

I don’t think I can find words to describe how much I enjoy knitting. It’s sort of silly to think that something that’s been around for hundreds (thousands?) of years can still feel so cool and so new and so fun every time I pick up my needles. At any given moment I probably have four or five different items in progress with the yarn & patterns ready for another half dozen…and then I get on Ravelry.com and end up starting three more projects I had no idea I even wanted to make before I saw them right. that. instant. There’s a reason my Christmas knitting is way behind schedule and it’s not because I don’t knit every chance I get.

There’s just something about yarn – the colors, the textures, the way it feels on my hands – that I cannot resist. Yarn stores have replaced bookstores as the most dangerous place on the planet for my wallet. And then! Turning it into things! Things I can wear! Or other people can wear! It’s like magic! I’m shocked every single time I put on something I made with my own two hands and think “this used to just be yarn and now it is a HAT. HOW did that happen?!” Despite the image I’m trying to project here on the blog with my crafts and projects and creativeness I suck at almost all forms of domesticity. I’m still not good with fabric and terrified of my sewing machine – I’ll leave that to my amazing, talented, awesome, inspiring blog friends – but me and knitting? Amazingly, we’re BFF’S.

Want to see what I’ve been doing instead of finishing the nursery/new bedroom/cleaning/cooking/wrapping presents/deep breathing exercises/taking care of my family? I’m not going to spoil anyone’s Christmas here, so this is just the stuff I’ve finished recently that I’m NOT giving as gifts.

These coffee coozies take almost no yarn and no time so I still plan to make a zillion more before Christmas.

Super easy and comfortable fingerless gloves made from one skein of something really fancy, like baby alpaca and silk (I lost the wrapper so I can't remember exactly). I also lost the other glove, but by "lost" I mean "it's in the hall closet somewhere and I will definitely find it as soon as I get up off this couch."

Bebeh pixie hats. I made three (four? five?) more of these and sent them to friends who were/are expecting babies soon. The yarn is ridiculous - and inexpensive - but it makes for great newborn pictures.

This may never make it onto a baby, because I sort of made up the pattern and it MIGHT be too small for an actual infant, but if it fits? OMFG TEH CUTE!

More fingerless gloves (can you tell I'm afraid to knit fingers?) But they work great when I'm taking pictures or trying to buckle car seats so I'm going with it. These were the Mom's Night Out project Megan wrote the pattern for, designed to be easy enough for even a real beginner.

And this. THIS is me accepting the fact that I am totally having a Christmas baby who will be wearing this pretty much from the moment she's born. I'm OK with that. p.s. I totally made up this pattern too, based loosely on the pixie hat. I'm pretty proud.

And now, back to the knitting.

Special Snowflakes of The Internet

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

The other day I saw a comment on Twitter that said something like “Before you post a craft tutorial or idea on your blog, always Google to make sure someone else hasn’t already posted one.”

And then my head exploded.

To be clear, the tweet wasn’t directed at me. Crafting is only a teeny tiny part of my blog and definitely not my area of expertise. I have never gotten a nasty email or comment about the originality of my projects. And I try very, very hard to keep it that way. There is no reason at all I should have taken the kind of offense to the remark that caused my brains to splatter all over the wall behind me.

I understand that people copying each others work is a big problem in blog land. There was the cooking magazine that reprinted a blogger’s post without her permission and then told her “Well the internet is free, so technically we can print anything we want! Plus, we edited your crappy writing so much, YOU should really pay US!” (No, really, this just happened.) And just this week Jill found her recent craft tutorial on a site that claims it “collects” posts from across the internet and republishes them – without giving her byline. But they’re doing it to help you! You’ll get tons of traffic! From this site no one has ever heard of and has no valid contact info!

I also know stealing someone’s design/craft can be a huge problem for handmade businesses, since there’s really no way to copyright something like a ruffle or a rosette. That’s not cool. Don’t rip off creative people you admire – SUPPORT them.

BUT. Posting a recipe for, say, zucchini bread even though there are already a zillion recipes online for zucchini bread is not plagiarism. Neither is posting a how-to on a ribbon mobile or felt flowers or using an empty frame as a whiteboard, although if you Google any of those you get dozens and dozens (hundreds)(sometimes thousands) of responses. Demanding no one ever use an idea someone else has had is like saying “OK, Mommy bloggers, since I’ve already read posts about cloth diapers, potty training, making your own baby food, pooping while giving birth and cute kids, ALL THOSE THINGS are off limits.” If we limited the internet to only 100% original thoughts it probably wouldn’t exist. Neither would most books, movies, art, music, etc. Have you ever read the New Testament? Some of those dudes totally tell the same stories, even though they were told before!!

How about instead of assuming you are such a special snowflake all YOUR ideas are one-of-a-kind and it’s everyone else who’s stealing we agree to some rules for polite blogging?

1. If you are “inspired” by someone else’s idea, link to them in your post.
2. If you flat out USE someone else’s tutorial, link to them in your post, and maybe stick to just posting pictures instead of your own “how-to”.
3. Changing the NAME of a recipe is not the same as inventing a new recipe. You have to actually modify the ingredients/instructions to make it new.
4. Use common sense – don’t be a douchecanoe. When in doubt, link link link.

But for the record, the internet is a really huge place. I promise there is more than enough room for everyone’s yarn wreath tutorials (coming soon to bebehblog!)

Like I said, I didn’t really need to get so pissed off about this – I’m just having a pissed off sort of day and angry blogging is the pregnant woman’s equivalent of drinking a bottle of wine.

Baby Sandy’s Nursery: Vintage Bib, Ribbon Mobile, Chalkboard Tray

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

Since the new “nursery” is more of a playroom than an actual nursery (I’m still debating whether or not we’re buying a second crib – so far, “no” is winning) I’m way less interested in making it perfect than making it fun and functional. At the same time, I feel sort of bad that Baby Girl is going to be forced to share her space from the very beginning with an older brother so I’m putting a lot of effort money thought into special touches just for her. I mean, it’s SUPER AWESOME that we’ve already banished most of the ugly, plastic, music playing toys to the second floor, but it also means a pale pastel princess color scheme is totally out of the question. Good thing I was already into the idea of bright colors.

Instead of boring the crap out of you with hundreds of individual posts explaining every step of each project, I’m going to do them in weekly (bi-weekly? monthly? OMG it can’t be monthly because I only HAVE a month left to finish all of this DEEP BREATHS DEEEEEEEEP BREATHS) round-ups.

Project 1: Find a way to display the vintage embroidered bib my mom saved from my (her?) childhood

framed vintage bib DIY

I *think* it’s a cow surrounded by flowers. Or maybe a vase. Or maybe I’m still high on spray adheisive.

Since the bib is sort of pastel and the room is mostly bright, I wanted a bright frame to put it in.

framed vintage bib DIY

Green frame from Target: $6.99, tiny fabric squares: free from my swag bag at The Creative Connection, but I’ve seen them at Joann’s for a few bucks a pack

Then I used the spray adhesive to stick the little squares to a piece of off-white cardstock.

framed vintage bib DIY

I KNOW YOU ARE SO AMAZED RIGHT NOW.

Then I put the bib on the fabric/paper and popped the whole thing in the frame.

framed vintage bib DIY

And now I have a lovely, girly, almost-free piece of art for the new nursery

Project 2: DIY Ribbon Mobile

I did not come up with this idea, not by a long shot. A Google image search for “ribbon mobile” brings up tons and tons of slightly different versions and it’s not like you NEED instructions. But I learned a few things in my attempt so I’m going to post a tiny how-to.

DIY Ribbon Mobile

I only ended up using the larger embroidery hoop and even though I did spray paint it yellow I didn’t really need to. You don’t see enough of the hoop for it to matter.

DIY Ribbon Mobile

Figure out how long you want the mobile to be and cut ribbon to approximately twice that length. DON’T go out of your way to make it perfect, since the uneven lengths is what makes it sort of whimsical

I discovered that the thinner the ribbon, the easier it was to work with. I actually gave up on the wide orange kind because it kept coming unlooped. The grosgrain mid-sized ribbon also worked very well once I figured out how to tie it. I originally bought a bunch of ribbon at the fabric store but found MUCH cheaper options at Michael’s – 50 cents a spool with tons left over.

DIY Ribbon Mobile

You would think randomly choosing the color order would make life easier, but instead I spent far too long worrying there was too my orange or pink in any one section

In theory, all you have to do to secure the ribbon to the hoop is hold it double, wrap the end where the ribbon is folded around the hoop, then pull the ends through until it’s tight. But with anything thicker than 1/8th inch ribbon, it’s hard to pull it tight enough to make it stay – and I was NOT looking forward to gluing each one individually. So what works is after you pull the ribbon through the loop end, take the free end and pull it through the loop again on the right side. It makes sort of a little knot without changing the way it looks too much.

DIY Ribbon Mobile

Ta-da! Beautiful, one of a kind ribbon mobile for the nursery

Project 3: Chalkboard tray as door sign

I used to collect vintage trays and display them as wall art in my living room, so when I saw a chalkboard tray in the Pottery Barn catalog I thought it was a super cute idea. And one that is obviously so ridiculously easy there is no way anyone should bother to buy the one from PB for $200 (sadly, I can’t find the tray online to link to, but it was in the Thanksgiving issue.)

diy chalkboard tray

Supplies: totally NON-vintage tray I bought for 10 cents at church rumage sale, chalkboard spray paint, ribbon, Tacky Glue

Yeah, you don’t need a step-by-step for this.

diy chalkboard tray

One day, we’ll pick a %^&# name, and I’ll write that on the sign

I’m going to hang it on the door.

Now I’m going to go spray paint some more stuff in my dining room. Because I’m sure that is AWESOME for the baby.

Upcycled: Wool Sweaters to Felt Flowers

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

You would not BELIEVE how many perfectly good, brand new wool sweaters I’ve ruined in my washing machine. Dozens. Maybe hundreds. Until I started knitting and learned to actually appreciate fiber I always saw those “HANDWASH COLD ONLY” and “LAY FLAT TO DRY” rules more like…guidelines. I was too lazy and forgetful to separate stuff before throwing it all in the wash. And yet I was always shocked and devastated when my previously human-sized sweaters came out of the dryer doll-sized and stiff.

That shrinking process is called “felting” and this week I did it on purpose so I could turn wool sweaters into crafty felt flowers.

Since all the sweaters I’ve ruined recently are black, I went to Goodwill to hunt through the racks.

Score!!

Cardigans are a double score because you can repurpose the buttons in your flowers.

The trick is to find sweaters made of 100% WOOL. Not 70% acrylic, 30% wool or some other synthetic blend. You also want to watch out for items that have “machine washable” on the tag or say anything like “Super Wash” or “No Shrinking!” That sort of defeats the whole purpose here. In theory, you could use other animal fibers – the light pink sweater is actually 100% cashmere – but I found it didn’t felt up as nicely as the wool ones.

I did pretty well with what I bought – the white one in the front didn’t have a tag and I suspected it wasn’t real wool so I wasn’t shocked when it didn’t felt. But it’s clearly hand made and was only $3 so I’ll just wear it. The scarf didn’t felt either, but again, not big loss. New scarf for me!

Now you’re going to shrink the sweaters on purpose to make felt you can craft with.
Follow these steps:
1. Throw sweaters in the washing machine with a little detergent.
2. Set machine to Hot Wash/Cold Rinse and push start.
3. Walk away.

And you’re done.

I found a lot of instructions online that wanted you to put the items you were felting in a mesh bag or pillowcase or toss in a tennis ball or some other heavy item but I had the best luck with the straight up washing machine. Since the goal here is to make the fibers as dense and stiff as possible so you can cut it up, you can even toss the whole mess in the dryer on high when they’re done washing. If you’re not happy with how felty they look after 1 wash, repeat the cycle.

If your sweater wasn’t wool to begin with it will become very clear right about now, because they will not look like this:

Post-felting. You can see how they've shrunk.

Now comes the crafty part. If you’re creative on your own just stop reading and go do something awesome with your new wool felt. The rest of my project isn’t that impressive. But if you want some ideas, read on.

My first thought was to cut out actual flower shapes and sew them together. I found flowers to use as templates online, traced them onto cardboard, and cut out the cardboard shapes to trace onto the felt:

Why yes, that is the box from a cereal that is kid tested and mother approved. It was the only thin cardboard we had in the house.

Unfortunately, tracing the shapes onto the felt was WAY too much work for me, especially with a toddler trying to crawl across the table every two seconds. If you can think of an easier way let me know (Maybe I should pin them? Maybe I can cut with an X-acto knife to avoid the tracing?) but I recommend stick to shapes you can free-hand. I have the cutting skills of a second grader so flowers and stars come out as lopsided blobs – but since you’re a grown up you can definitely do better.

Luckily, I can do a lot with just one or two fancy shapes and a few easily cut circles and leaves.

It helps if you have some buttons hanging around - these are all from the Goodwill sweaters or my stash of lost buttons on the dryer.

Cut out different shapes in different colors...

Stitch them together with a little thread and one of those buttons...

If you're feeling lazy, just stick to cutting out circles...

Or if you're feeling REALLY lazy, use a little yarn to make a loopy flower on a leaf (the button makes it fancy!)...

And you're done! Now you can glue them to pins, barettes, headbands, or sew them right onto a boring purse or scarf.

I’m sort of ridiculously pleased with my flowers. For the record, I made all these from just the bottom part of one sleeve from each sweater – I still have a LOT of felt left over. You can use it the same way you’d use acrylic or nylon felt from the craft store, just remember it is wool so it might be a little scratchy on bebeh parts.

Happy Crafting!

p.s. These are the stretchy cuffs from a couple of the sleeves. I’m thinking they’ll make great headbands for a tiny baby girl – especially with a little felt flower sewn on.

To be continued...