Archive | DIY RSS feed for this section
Aside

Showing Off – My Ghetto Craft Room

17 Sep

Hey Everybody! I finally did something crafty over the weekend! *Insert super-awkward-white-girl-dance here*  I’m feeling incredibly productive at the moment. I just hope I can keep the ball rolling. It feels great to finally have some order among the chaos that tends to be my life & home. This weekend is definitely at the top of my list of productive weekends of 2012.

Saturday started with a trip to Jo-Ann Fabrics. They had just moved out of a tiny strip mall space and into a HUGE location that used to be a “family fun center” – you know, bumper cars, mini golf, laser tag, all kinds of arcade games, etc – so it’s seriously enormous. As I’ve been describing it to my friends, “It’s like Hobby Lobby and Michaels had a baby and the baby is on crack” – in other words, heaven.

This weekend was their grand opening, so there were sales and coupons coming out my ears. I picked up a 40″ cutting mat for $25 (on sale from $50). But I’m not here to talk about good deals. You’ll have to go see for yourself.

Once I got home, I was itching to sew or make something, but my “sewing room” (aka completely unfinished basement) was in complete disarray. So I got to work – completely neglecting weekly cleaning tasks, laundry, dishes, etc. in the process (so worth it).

After about 4 hours and 1.5 discs of “How I Met Your Mother”, my craft room looks like this –

Janky-Ass Craft Room

So pretty, right? Yeah, not so much. BUT it is perfectly functional – lots of storage, a sewing table, a cutting table, and an extra surface for who knows what. It’ll be great when I have girlfriends come over for sewing/ crafting/ dance-party adventures.

The extra table actually has a drop-down keyboard tray that would be perfect for a small sewing machine, and it was only $10 on Craigslist. Score! The top was in pretty rough shape, but luckily I was completely incapable of passing up a package of chevron shelf liner for $5 at TJ Maxx a few months ago – even though I had NO idea what I’d use it for. About 20 minutes of trying to apply said shelf liner later, now this table is probably my favorite part of the whole space.

But then there’s also the cutting table – first of all, see the tiny pink cutting mat on the chevron table above? Yeah, that’s all I used to have for cutting fabric – 12 x 12″ of scrapbook cutting mat. The new cutting mat is such a godsend – I can’t BELIEVE how much easier it was to cut fabric and actually keep it square with this bad boy. Flutters, my friends…full-blown heart palpitations. The table I’m using is a drafting table I’ve had since I was in high school (you know, when I dreamed of going to art school & getting famous). Needless to say, since the art school dream died, this poor guy hasn’t gotten used except as a catch-all. Lucky me, it’s the PERFECT size for my giant cutting mat – and is being showered in love lately.

Of course, we can’t forget the most important part of the sewing room – the sewing cabinet! My mom bought this for my birthday (in APRIL) from Walmart. It’s not the fanciest or most well-constructed of sewing cabinets – actually it’s pretty much the exact opposite – but it’s got tons of storage & surface area and works just perfectly for a novice like myself.  We put it together right away, but it’s sat unused until I could get all my crap organized – which was tough because we had a houseguest living on the other side of the basement for a couple months, and I really didn’t want to barge into her space to spend hours organizing, so I just let it be for a while. Now it’s got everything right at hand – small organizers in the cabinet front hold sewing essentials, and scrap fabrics & old photos for scrapbooking are on the shelves inside the cabinet. My canvas bin full of fabric yardage I’ve purchased over the last few months tucks onto the big shelf when the cabinet is not in use, but I have to pull it out to sew or else there’s no room for my super-long legs under the table. No big deal though, usually whatever I’m sewing will come out of this bin & I’ll need to take it out anyway. The best part is that if I want to, I can close up the sewing cabinet to make the whole area look a little less cluttered.

Over to the right of the sewing table is a little rolling cart & 3-drawer storage unit that used to reside in my art studio at my parents’ house. The cart is currently holding my minimal ribbon collection, hot glue gun, and general crafting supplies. The 3-drawer unit is surprisingly empty for the moment. Apparently I have tons of storage in this make-shift craft room! Oh, and you can also see a small fraction of my ridiculous DVD collection there. Some women collect shoes, I collect movies. You’ll get over it.

So, there it is – complete with ghetto “wallpaper” (fabric stapled to floor joists above to cover insulation bats) and concrete floor & walls. Not the most beautiful space in the world, but super functional and a nice little retreat.  The TV & DVD player make it that much more appealing because I don’t feel so secluded if there’s something on the TV, plus I can get my fix of chick-flicks when I’m down here.  I can even bring Love Bug down to play with the overflow of toys that we store in the basement. It’s like Christmas for her because she pretty much forgot about all these toys. Oh, to be young and easily distracted.

I still fully intend to get a rug & a ceiling light (but not a hard-wired one) to make the space feel a little more finished. I don’t want to put too much more work into this space because we’re hoping to move before the end of the year and it would just feel like a waste.  At least now I can host those crafting (and dance-party) adventures at my place. Everyone’s invited 🙂

X’s

Not Such A Baby

29 Aug

Love Bug turned 2 this month. TWO! It’s absolutely crazy how fast the time goes – yes, I know people say it all the time, but that’s because it’s TRUE!

We had a pretty awesome little birthday bash for her – held at my future in-laws’ house in their huge backyard. We’re lucky that they have a large party tent because we got a few pitter patters of raindrops throughout the afternoon, but otherwise the day was absolutely gorgeous.

I just wanted to pop in and share some photos from the glorious event – especially after all the work that went into planning it – I’m so proud of how everything came out! I’m in no way an event planner, but I do have a seemingly endless list of inspiring feeds in my Google Reader…so that helps 😉

I don’t have a lot of detail shots of the party setup (I know, I should seriously rename this blog to have something to do with “fail” because it’s all I can seem to do…haha) BUT here’s what you get –

I went ultra-girly, but tried to keep it modern with hot pinks, oranges, reds, and yellows. I love how the watermelon fruit bowl pops on the hot pink tablecloth.

Here’s our little drink station – we snatched the beverage tub from Target for $10, the straw dispenser came from Michael’s for around $3, and the beverage dispenser belongs to my future mother-in-law.

Side note: See that little strip of chevron along the outer edge of the tablecloth? Well, the tablecloth was too small for the table, so there was white on either side of the red – not horrible, but definitely needed a little something extra, so I had my mom run strips of chevron duct tape over the edge of the table. I had bought the duct tape just in case we needed it, but with no real plans to use it. It’s always good to have fancy duct tape, in my opinion, it can be used for so many things and people NEVER know what it is! I actually had a close friend email me a few days after the party to ask where I got the cute table cloth on the food table because she wanted one for her upcoming birthday party!

I love this shot. I love how everything happened to line up perfectly. I love the dessert bowls filled with dips – snagged from TJ Maxx for $2 a piece. I love the apothecary jar I also got at TJ Maxx for $12. I love the fresh strawberries in the cute porcelain basket – another TJ Maxx score at $3. I think my favorite parts of the whole party set-up, though, were the labels and the popcorn.

I made the labels all by my lonesome with the intermediate-level Adobe Illustrator skills I learned in what proved to be the most useful High School class ever (even earned me college credit – win!). I feel like Illustrator doesn’t get enough attention in the craft-blog world.  I might throw a quick tutorial up if anyone seems interested – these labels were surprisingly easy to make & modify. That’s why I LOVE Illustrator. Photoshop has its place, of course, but when it comes to simple graphic designs, Illustrator will always be my go-to. I actually did the invites myself, too – a 5-hour labor of love. Here’s how those turned out –

Back to the popcorn. The popcorn entered the equation by a [rare] stroke of genius on my part. I had intended to fill the apothecary jar with colored candies – maybe in a gradient or ombre effect, I hadn’t quite thought that far ahead.  I went to a store in the mall that sells colored Sixlets (best candy ever!) by the pound and started hunting for the colors I wanted.  I really wasn’t finding the bright, bold colors I was hoping for and, me being the procrastinator that I am this being the day before the party, didn’t really have time to go all over town looking. Luckily for me, this same store sells flavored popcorns and I asked one of the employees if the fruit flavors were brightly colored or more muted colors. Instead of just answering my question, the angel brought me samples!  I’ll keep the number of samples I devoured to myself to minimize humiliation, but, in the end, I settled on Strawberry, Orange, Banana, and Cheesecake [fave] to mix together in the apothecary jar. I think the popcorn turned out better than the candy would have due to the bright color & large scale of each piece – not to mention the cost savings and the fact that I didn’t have 4 lbs of leftover candy after the party.

Something you may have noticed in that first picture is the pink square thingy over to the left. It’s kind of hard to tell what it is from that distance, but here’s a closeup –

It’s just a little glitter name plaque I made literally at the last minute (did I mention I’m a procrastinator?). Seriously, I finished it up AS we were walking out the door to the party… I’ve got a tutorial for this coming soon – it’s a short one because this was SO easy… so easy I don’t even have pictures for the tutorial except the final product! Haha.

In the end, everyone had a really good time – there weren’t as many toddler-age children as we had planned for – just Love Bug & her BFF – but there was a SWARM of cute babies ranging from 1-4 months old! They were definitely competition for Center Of Attention.  Evvie still won. Just look at that face 🙂

Happy Birthday Love Bug!!!! ❤

X’s

Somebody to Love

Pinterest Challenge

6 Jul

It’s Pinterest Challenge time, according to a few credible sources

I feel like I discovered Pinterest before it became a “thing”. {If only this were truth… }  It was wayyyyy back in January 2011 and I was just starting to blossom as a domestic goddess… Pinterest made me a monster [No, really, ask my fiancee].  With the ability to FINALLY compile EVERYTHING that could possibly inspire me, I turned into a crazed home-making, cooking, DIY-ing, crafting, sewing, spray-painting savage [with impeccable taste, of course].

That being said, This is now the FOURTH {un}official Pinterest Challenge, and I have yet to participate in a single one. This just won’t do. I am determined to make some sort of magic this weekend. Something to get me off my tush during this heat wave and let my creative energies loose.

I haven’t quite decided on a project yet, but here are some directions I’m leaning…

1. Ikat Chevron Painting (would be AHHHMAZING in my bedroom, which I posted a brief concept board of here)

2.  DIY Plank Headboard – Like the one pictured below, but with a “zipper” seam down the center… not sure about the lights

3. Laundry Closet Makeover (ambitious? yes. necessary? even more so.)

4. Painted Vases (would need to do some serious thrift store shopping to accomplish this one)

5. Toy Storage Crate (SOOOO Cute – and will be perfect for the makeover I’m planning for my daughter’s room!)

Who else is jumping on the Pinterest Challenge bandwagon? Anybody have a list of pinned projects SO long that you’ll simply never have the time to complete them all? Does the list just keep getting longer? Yeah. Mine too.

X’s

Somebody to Love

Valentine’s Cupcakes

13 Feb

I’m making these to take to work tomorrow. Who wants to join me?

thecakebar:

Sweetheart Cupcakes Tutorial! (recipe/tutorial)

Green Sleeves… No, Blue!

8 Feb

I’ve been obsessing lately over what to do about the case for my Motorola Xoom, which I first talked about here.  I linked up a bunch of “pinspiration” photos, but none of them really felt right. They’re all incredibly adorable, and if it were a gift, I’d carry any of them with pride. However, none of them had all of the little features I wished I could find, so I thought I’d just combine a bunch and come up with an awesome platypus kind of case…

So, I went to work – literally.  I was sitting in a 3.5 hour meeting yesterday, trying to pay as much attention as possible when most of the subject matter was either information I had personally assembled but was being presented by somebody else, OR it was all going right over my head (a common occurrence) . So,  I did what any normal art school dropout would have done – I started doodling (cue segue…).

I have never really been much of a doodler. The only reason I am even remotely skilled at drawing is because I am incredibly detail-oriented and have great spatial awareness. Meaning, I can look at pretty much anything and draw it relatively accurately.  What I can’t generally do is pull something out of my imagination and bring it to life on paper – this being the reason I didn’t quite cut it as an artist.  This time, however, I got lucky.  Since I can’t just go ahead and doodle, I started brainstorming ideas for this tablet sleeve.  I drew about a dozen rectangles and filled them with designs I liked based off of my recollection of the inspiration photos I had previously posted.  Once I finally started seeing a trend, I began to refine the design until I had an incredibly sloppy sketch of exactly how I want my sleeve to be.

When I got home from work, I busted out my wicked-awesome artist’s pencils and went to work. About an hour later, I had this to show for 4.5 hours of planning:

I know it’s not much, but I’m pretty proud of myself for not having drawn ANYTHING in almost 3 years.  I know my handwriting’s a little sloppy, but I get a pass because I’m a southpaw, right?

Anyway, here’s a breakdown of the plan:

  • Solid navy exterior – canvas
  • Crisp white accent stripe on center – material TBD (potentially leather?)
  •  Brass button & loop closure – originally thinking monogrammed, but I found the ones pictured below, and I pretty much fell in love with that anchor…sooooo I bought the whole set from here 🙂
  • Exterior business card slot
  • Zippered side closures (both sides)
  • Interior stylus loop
  • Chevron printed interior fabric – cotton

And here are the fabrics I purchased tonight for this project:

Like I stated in the last post, I’m wanting something that’s very chic and professional-looking, but I can’t help that fun, bright prints are my weakness. The chevron was music to my eyes, so I had to have it.  It will make an awesome interior lining!

Now, since I have basically zero sewing skills, can anyone give me pointers for construction of this guy? I’m hoping to get some more sketches of the interior and my proposed construction done soon, but I can use all the help I can get at this point!  Anybody? Please?

I’ll be back with an update soon!

X’s

Christa

Friendship Bracelet Valentines

5 Feb

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner! Are you ready? I’m getting there… got a few tricks up my sleeve this year.

I saw this and couldn’t help but share. I’m sure you’ve all made friendship bracelets at some point. Personally, I used to have a tackle box full of embroidery floss in every color imaginable. So naturally, when this pops up in my feed – FRIENDSHIP BRACELET VALENTINES!! – I get pretty giddy.

This is such a cute idea. Especially if you have an elementary or middle school-aged daughter. Help her make some for her friends!

I’ll likely be making a set to mail to my bridesmaids ❤

sunset-vine:

 Find out more about this DIY and see all these pictures here!

Thinking About Technology [DIY]

30 Jan

Today I’m thinking about technology.  My fiance is a huge technology junkie, so you can bet that any time something new comes out, we’ll have it as soon as he’s got the money.  For example: Playstation 3 with PS Move bundle, 55″ 3D Plasma/ Internet TV, Google TV, Direct TV (with movie package), Android phones out the wahzoo… the list goes on.

The newest addition to our wacked-out technology family is a Motorola Xoom.  For those of you who don’t know, the Xoom is an Android tablet (similar to an iPad) sold by cell phone companies such as US Cellular and Verizon (our model is Wi-Fi only, so there is no monthly service charge).

Xoom

I originally had been begging for an iPad, but they are WAY out of our price range – especially for the amount of storage I’d need on it.  The Android tablets tend to be more affordable, functional, and customizable than iPad (not that I’m knocking Apple… because I’m the Apple lover of the family).  Overall, after 3 days of use, I’m very impressed with this little guy.  I’m planning to get a bluetooth keyboard that I can use with it to make it practically function like a laptop.

You’re probably wondering why I’ve classified this as DIY… right? Don’t deny it.  You know you are.

The thing about these devices is that you have to be EXTRA careful with them, and protect them well with a case or sleeve.  This is where the DIY in me comes out.  There are tons of cases on the market that would be both functional and protective, but are lacking pizazz.  I tend to gravitate towards merchandise that is more eye-catching and unique (probably due to my only-child syndrome) as demonstrated by the work boots I purchased for construction site visits.

So, off to Etsy I went, to gain inspiration.  I decided that I really love the look of wool felt device covers such as these:

Felt & Leather

Source

Source

Source

I also REALLY fell in love with these wonderful leather cases with stamped/branded designs:

Source

So, now that I’m all loaded up with ideas – which way do I go? I love that these options are all pretty gender neutral and workplace appropriate, but I bought this amazing fabric from Spoonflower (which, if you don’t know, is an amazing community of artists creating their own textiles) with plans to make a case for my new Kindle… oh, I forgot to mention that one at the beginning – oops… BUT my Kindle already has a case, and my Xoom does not. Here’s the fabric in question:

Spoonflower – TROIMIETTES

This one is obviously more feminine, meaning that the fiance is less likely to carry it (which could prove to be a positive thing). I’m really just not sure where I want to go as far as aesthetics.  Any suggestions?  I’ll get to construction once I have that figured out for myself.

Has anybody out there ever made their own device cover? ALSO *segway*, has anybody ever worked with Neoprene? I have the remnants of a 13″ Macbook sleeve, which I tore apart to make this gadget carrier for my future father-in-law for Christmas:

*Please ignore the horrible photography… these were taken with my cell phone*

If you’re interested, here is the tutorial I followed for the above project.

Anyway, I lined the Kindle side with half of the neoprene from my Macbook sleeve, and let me tell you… neoprene is not easy to sew. Especially with the beginner’s sewing machine I was using for this project.  I now have a Singer 4423 Heavy Duty sewing machine … isn’t it PRETTY?

Even though I have my gorgeous heavy duty sewing machine, I’m pretty nervous that the neoprene for this project will prove to be equally difficult to work with; so any tips you all have for a novice sewer would be awesome! I’ll let you know when I’ve got this whole Xoom sleeve design figured out…hopefully it won’t take TOO long. Don’t want to leave this guy unprotected for too long!

X’s

Christa

%d bloggers like this: