Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Project: Table top makeover

Today my boyfriend and I were given a lovely coffee table.  It’s a great piece of furniture, but it has four glass panels that make my man uncomfortable.  He thinks they’re an accident waiting to happen, so I’ve devised what I think will be a fun, easy, and attractive project to solve that problem.

I’m going to replace the real, breakable stuff with faux stained glass panels made out of Plexiglas!

Fun, right?!

Here’s what I’ve got so far:

Step 1:  I spent some time perusing pictures of stained glass windows and how to videos, and I cobbled together a version of my own based on all of them.  Then I drew a rough draft.

stained glass2

Step 2:  Once I was satisfied with the general look of the thing I darkened in all the lines and retraced the image onto a piece of news print using a wide tipped permanent marker.  This way the lines are thicker and I can get a good idea of how all the detailing will look in the end.

stained glass1

And that’s it for now, but next I plan on tapping this picture to the back of the Plexiglas and re-tracing it yet again, but with a gun metal gray acrylic paint this time.  I will be sure to keep you updated on the process.  In the meantime let me know what you think, and please, if you have any suggestions feel free to pass them my way!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Discovery: CampHobachee

Earlier today I found a lovely little Etsy shop named Camp Ho-ba-chee.

There are so many amazing things here!
camp hobachee1camp hobachee2
camp hobachee3camp hobachee5
camp hobachee4camp hobachee6

That vintage birdie pin cushion is the best thing I’ve seen in a long time.  I covet it, along with that adorable vintage sewing bag and the German first aid kit, just because it’s so interesting.  Truth be told I would buy out this store if I had the money, but then that wouldn’t leave anything for anyone else, which would be wrong of me.

I really need to explore this store some more!

Monday, May 23, 2011

It’s Summer Camp Time!

When I was a kid summer was mostly lazy time, but only until Girl Scout camp started! 

At camp I went on nature hikes, swam in rivers, and ran through the rain in muddy fields like a mad child with thirty other equally hyper girls, but the best part was all the great D.I.Y. tricks I learned.

For example, I was taught several different ways to build a fire.  I remember one of them: the A-frame.  It basically looks like this -
It’s pretty simple: you get some medium sized sticks and lay them together in the shape of an “A.”  Then you put some smaller sticks and kindling in the middle and light the fire from underneath the “A.”  At camp we would use what I liked to call “The Fire-starter Guy,” which was a bundle of pine needles tied together in a shape that vaguely resembled the human form.  We would set fire to it’s head and then slide it under the gap in the a-frame, and if all went well later in the night we would make s’mores!

And I learned how to make a bacon and egg breakfast in a paper bag!

They make it look so easy and delicious!

From what I remember the breakfast I made didn’t turn out quite as well as the one in this video, but it was edible, so I count that as a win.

And then there was the Pinhole Camera!

This project is pretty awesome.

This was one of my favorites.  I did something wrong and none of my pictures could be developed, but it was a really great idea, and as a kid I was excited just to try it.  After watching this video I’m excited to try it again!  Let’s hope I get it right this time…

Friday, May 20, 2011

Project: Making a Light Box

The other day I made a light box out of a cardboard box and some white muslin fabric.

I wanted to see if I could improve my photo taking skills, which are admittedly weak, using only my Canon Power Shot and a few common household items.  I did a quick search of the internets and found the basic instructions here:

It’s incredibly easy.

For my light box I also cut a hole in the top of the box and shined an extra light from above instead of putting a reflective surface on the ceiling of the box, and it worked out well.  I used muslin to cover the holes because I have a lot of the stuff, but I could just have easily used tissue paper, a cut-up white t-shirt, a white bed sheet, etc.  And to create the light I used three medium sized clamp lamps (found at any hardware store) and 100 watt soft white light bulbs. 

And just look at the results!

mrs stewarts bluing

green and white oil lamp

owl candel holder    

presto mister

My box was kind of  small, so I was only able to take pictures of small items, but it’s the best they’ve ever looked!

This project was a lot easier and a lot more fun than I had anticipated.  I highly recommend you try it!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Project possible - Cloche Hats

Cloche hats have always fascinated me.

There is something so elegant about a nice cloche. 

cloche hats2      cloche hats3
cloche hats4       cloche hats5
I have always wanted to know how to make a cloche hat like the ones above, but millinery is a hard thing to get the hang of. 

I did find this pattern and tutorial for a recycled felt cloche hat, and there are many free knitting and crochet hat patterns in this style.  This how to video gets me pretty excited, too!

The results are adorable.

I am really excited to try this one!  I’ll let you know how it comes out… 

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Mantel Piece: The Conclusion!

Finally, it is done!

The mantel piece that has taken me months to complete is finished!  Behold!

mantel piece before2      … and …

mantel piece after

Here’s how I did it:

1. I had to start by getting as much of the old paint off as possible using and extremely pungent substance called “Kutzit.” (Pronounced cuts-it)  This stuff makes the old paint extremely pliable and slimy so you can scrape it off.  It’s a mess.

2. Once all that was done and everything was dry I began sanding.  I started out sanding by hand using a sandpaper block, which seemed like it would take forever, until my father discovered an electric hand sander he had forgotten he owned.  Best discovery ever!

3.  After I had gotten 90% of the paint off I had to pick and scrape the rest of it out of every crack and off every remaining surface.  This part was tedious and seemed like it would never end, but it also kind of felt like an excavation.  Whoever had painted this mantel piece last really laid it on thick.  There was a lot of really nice detail on this mantel piece that I hadn’t seen in all those months of sanding because they were obscured by random globs of paint.  These little discoveries helped to keep me going.

4. Finally, the hard part was done.  I had originally planned to repaint the mantel piece some lovely, delicate color, but after all the time and effort it took to get the last color off, and after seeing how nice the natural wood of the piece looked, I changed my mind.  I coated it with linseed oil instead, which gave the wood and darker, richer hue.  I only did one coat of linseed oil because I liked the color immediately. 
      I had a problem, though.  I wanted the mantel piece to add color to my living room, but that wouldn’t happen now, so I painted the section of the wall in my apartment that the mantel piece was going to be mounted on a shade of blue called “Picture Perfect.”  And after I securing the mantel piece on the wall using invisible wall mounts, that is exactly how it looks.  I could not be happier with how it came out!

Now comes the really fun part – decorating!  I’ve already started with a few things:

012 011

My grandmother made that owl back in the seventies during her ceramics phase.   The other three items I found at a local flea market.  Any suggestions on what I should do with it next?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Tribute my Mothers

mothers day vintage card

I have many things to thank my mother and grandmother for, too many to list here.  But one thing I can never thank them enough for is the crafting tradition passed down to me through generations.

My grandmother let me rummage through her closets when I was a little kid, and that’s where I found her aunts old stash of crafting supplies.  With all that stuff my grandmother taught me plastic canvas work, counted cross stitch (which I loved), and embroidery (which I didn’t take to as well).  In later years I discovered a talent for knitting and crochet, and so now my grandmother says I must be the reincarnation of her grandmother, who made this hand crocheted quilt -


My grandmother has always been a very crafty lady; she made both her daughters’ wedding dresses, their Mardi Gras ball gowns, and many more items of clothing over the years.  She also tried her had at ceramics.  She made this set of mugs and shakers for my mom when she got married, among many other things.  And later on in life she took up quilting.


My mother taught me how to read a sewing pattern, bought me my first sewing machine when I was a kid, let me use her sewing machine after I broke that first one, and she has been a general source of encouragement with every crafty venture I take.  Of course she is also a crafter herself; as a kid I had two ceramic figurines of Charlie Brown and Snoopy that my mother had made when she was a teenager.  She also made many a Halloween and Mardi Gras costume for myself and my brother.

I wouldn’t be where I am without them, and I can’t say thank you enough for the gifts they have given me.  Happy Mother’s Day!

Friday, May 6, 2011

More Vintage Hairstyles

I have always loved the look of pin curls and finger waves.

I thought both of these things were harder to do with longer hair, but I found these great videos that teach me how to do both!  And while I discovered they are not very difficult, they are time consuming, so make sure you have enough time to spare if you’re going to attempt these hair do’s.

It’s a fabulous look if you have the time and patience!

This first one looks complex, but the explanation is very thorough, and it comes out looking wonderful.

This one’s a little easier, but takes just as much patience

And this last video is just the basic pin curl, which can be the basis for many a beautiful up-do.

Enjoy killing time with these.  I know I will!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Play Ball!

Last night I went to see a baseball game.

And to my surprise, I had a lot of fun.

the great American past time

I say I was surprised because up until now I have only known baseball to be a very long and complicated game. 

Also, during my brief stint in Chicago I met a lot of Cubs fans.  No one warned me what an intense group of people they would be, and it only gets worse the closer you get to Wrigley field.  I admire the dedication and loyalty of the average Cubs fan, but I can’t say they make it easy for an outsider to get into the game, even if they wanted to. 

After last night, though, I was inspired to put together this collection:

I feel like all I need now is some fireworks and apple pie to make this one classic American summer.
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