Friday, April 30, 2010

Refashion FAIL

sigh... I love the process of trying to change clothes that are in my closet just by using...clothes that are in my closet. But it's always just a make it up as you go- big fat gamble in the end.

Day 8 of the creativity project was to refashion some wardrobe item. I thought it would be the perfect opportunity for me to finally fix these 2 shirts with coffee stain right in the middle of them. (seriously, what is wrong with me?)

So it doesn't look horrible on the hanger...but it looks pretty bad on. It might look better on someone who is closer to an a-cup. But probably not. I really like the idea of the gathered panel, but I had to take it down too low to cover up that oddly placed stain. But I didn't have enough fabric to take it all the way to the bottom either. Plus the vertical panel kind of looks weird with the horizontal stripes. I'd like to try it again on a sold shirt with a lower neckline. 

I also attempted to redeem myself on the white stained shirt, but I just couldn't think of a way to cover that low stain that wouldn't look completely ridiculous. I might as well just wear it with a girl scout sash or something. :)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Have you seen these kids yet?!?!

I love this song. I love these kids singing it. Awesomeness.

Or would you prefer Coldplay?

Lady Gaga?


The Cure??



There are so many more to love, just go look around their youtube channel.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Stenciled Toy Box

I bought this toy box for H a while back at Ikea, but it was plain white.

Here is the before, with ALL the toys taken out. (He will ignore the toys until I start to put them in, then he suddenly wants them out. It's a fun game.)

Today I decided to personalize it a little using contact paper stencils. I just traced the letters and designs I wanted right off of my computer screen onto paper, then taped that paper over contact paper onto my cutting mat, and cut through both layers with an exacto knife. It's very simple to make a stencil for anything this way, as long as you make sure you put the sticky side of the contact paper down (which I didn't remember the first time, so I had to cut out his whole name over again. Oops.)

Here's the simple outcome...

I used acrylic paint and it did bleed under a bit, but it actually gives it this really cool distressed effect that I love. And the swipe of the sponge brush almost looks like wood grain.

I got the fox shape here. It's a papercutting blog with lots of really cool templates. Papercutting is on my very, very long list of things to try. Anyone trying any new crafts lately?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Virtual Field Trip

Let's go to the MoMA. It will only take two minutes.

Happy weekend! (found here.)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Life Lists and Small Doses of Creativity

Yesterday I had about 30 minutes to myself in the afternoon when I got all three of the kids I was watching to sleep at once. Instead of turning on HGTV, I found some tiny post-its* and starting making lots of little lists. It was a very good thing. I'm not usually much of a list-maker, nothing outside of the occasional daily to-do list. But these lists were much different.

A list of my list topics: 3 things that inspire me, short-term goals, next skills I want to learn, new sewing skills to tackle, ways to focus on other people more than myself, upcoming gifts I need to make and give,  foods to eat more of now that it's summer, small things making me happy right now, things to do to be a better wife, and things to teach Hendrix now that he's one.

I came home and stuck them in my blank-paged moleskine. EVERYONE should own one of these. I have one and use it for everything- writing, lists, doodling, prayers, whatever. Nick has about 6-7, all for different purposes. (You can even buy some gussied-up ones here.)

What got me started with the listing was my friend Liv's current blog adventure, Project 10 for Creativity.

Each day, she gives a small, ten-minute task to get your creative juices flowing. I think today is day 5, but it's definitely not too late to start. 

Let me tell you why I think what she is doing is so brilliant. EVERYONE is creative. It's how we are made. I always have people tell me they just aren't creative at all, and that's why they couldn't make the stuff I make. But it isn't true. Of course, not everyone is creative in the way that they should sew or paint pictures or take pictures or whatever. But everyone is creative in some way every day. Moms create loving homes and fun days for their kids, nurses create comforting care unique to what each patient needs, lawyers create arguments and cases based on truth and unique interpretations of the law... it goes on. Even if you do nothing but sit on your couch all day, I'm sure you've invented a unique sandwich from ingredients that happened to be in your fridge. 

Day three of the project was to list the three things that inspire you most creatively. If you do nothing else in the project, this one is worth thinking about. Here is mine:

This little boy.

The possibility of new fabric. (These came in the mail yesterday-yay!)

And the city.

Go check it all out here.

**(Tera if you are reading this, I owe you 9-10 post-it notes.)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Freshly Picked Skirts for Spring

BE FOREWARNED: This post is full of bad self-timer, auto-flash photography. Oh, and some awkward modeling, and a cute popping-in child.

I almost didn't post about this, because I don't know how to take decent pictures of myself, but I wanted to give some helpful hints to anyone who wants to try making the Freshly Picked skirt.

This was my first attempt. I'm glad I bought $2 a yard fabric for this one, because I'm not in love with how it came out. There is just so much fabric gathered under the elastic. This makes it a bit too flouncy. I might still wear it with a nice black top on a hot date or something, but I was hoping for more of an every day type of skirt. 

Which is a shame, because I love the hidden peek of yellow in the pockets. (Noticing a trend here lately?)

On my second attempt, I used some really cool fabric that my friend brought me from Tanzania. But this time, instead of cutting the width of the fabric to twice the width of the elastic waist, I did 1 and 1/2 times the width, which is how she does it on Ruffles and Stuff. This turned out in a level of pouffy-ness that I was much more pleased with. But I still did the pockets and attached it to the elastic the Freshly Picked-way. 

I was afraid that this style of skirt would not look good on me because I am not very slim waisted and have no hips. But that's the beauty of it- it makes anyone look like they have a nice waist and curves. Plus it's an easy clothing item for a sewer of any level. So go make one. Or nine. 

And the slob in me also likes it with the shirt un-tucked.

But that's why I wanted to make some skirts, because I have kind of turned into that mom-slob person with a pony-tail and elastic-waist pants that I never wanted to be. So I have resolved to wear mostly skirts and dresses this summer. 

I have also resolved to become a person that makes the bed every day. I've done it for 2 days now- turns out, it's really quick and easy to do.  :)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Plate Wall! (with how-to)

I've wanted a wall of plates ever since I saw this one on Lena Corwin's blog.

Mine isn't quite this epic, but it is very nice on my little apartment kitchen wall, I think.

Here's how I did it:

First, gather supplies. Your plates of course, and an equal number of plate hangers. These on the left are from Bed Bath and Beyond, and they are cheaper than the others I got from Michael's. BUT, the hook on them is so long that you can see the nails peeking out above the plates. Not a big deal, just a word to the wise.

Go ahead and stretch the hangers over the plates, then arrange on the floor until you come up with something pleasing to your eye. I didn't want mine to be too symmetrical, so after much trial and error, I settled on an arrangement. The ones with the vintage camembert labels I got at Jungle Jim's, and the other three I found on clearance at Anthropologie. (Does anyone else have to go straight to the sale table in the back when they go in that place? I pretend I have horse-blinders on until I get back there, so I don't let the covet-monster get me.) Of course, you could also make a great, cheap plate wall if you take a little time thrifting. I just couldn't resist all these bright colors since I can't paint my apartment walls.

Then I cut out paper circles the same size as my plates and taped them to the wall in that arrangement. This really helped me get everything in just the right place. Next, I nailed in all the little hooks, right below the tops of the circles. (I even did all the nailing myself instead of wussing out and asking Nick!)

Finally, exchange your paper circles for pretty plates, and admire. (Yes, I have one of the old rolling dishwashers you have to hook up to the sink.)

I love it. And I have room to add more if I want.

I don't know if you can see, but those flowers have little numbers in them, like a paint-by number.

Design Sponge also has a helpful video about hanging plates that you can see here.

I also wanted to show you another little DIY I made for my kitchen a long time ago, my vintage record sleeve organizers:
We have next to no counter-space for mail and coupons and such, so these are great, and so easy to do. The how-to is right here. The only thing I did differently was glue a pretty sheet of scrapbook paper to the back of each one's pocket.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Cincicrafti Spring

So remember when I went to the Crafty Supermarket back in the fall? Well, today there is a spring one, even bigger and better than the last. For some reason, I did not know about this until 10:30 this morning, thanks to Olivia. (What a good blogity-blogging friend!)

There were about 50 vendors this time, up from 20, and I loved them all! No really, I didn't see one single thing that wasn't really cool and inspiring.

All the old Cincy favorites were there again, including Kitsch CafeMorninglori, and Visual Lingual. And I learned about a few artists that are new to me-

I really love these necklaces from Yellowberry. They remind me of those friendship bracelets we used to make in grade school.

These earrings by Red Raven Studios make me wish I wore earrings. They also had a slew of gorgeous belt buckles at the show. 

And this really fun wristlet by Buzz was my only purchase of the day. The artist described it as "tennis-preppy," which I thought was really funny. All of the supplies she uses are recycled vintage, even the zippers and thread. So there you go earth, happy earth day. 

If you are local, get down to Clifton- there are still over 3 hours left of handmade goodness!
(info here.) 

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Yellow & Black Birthday Party

We all had so much fun at Hendrix's first birthday! I'll let the pictures do the talking...

Some credits:
- I first got my inspiration for a yellow party here, which I found at Ohdeedoh.
- I got all the cupcake toppers from this free download at A Beautiful Mess. I just changed the colors and   added the phrases in photoshop.
- All of the other signs I made from these, again I used photoshop to change them.
- Do you love that font as much as I do? Download it here. Found it from Yes, Please. 
- My wonderful husband made everything for that delicious taco bar, which included choice of carnitas, ground beef, and shredded chicken. Oh yeah, AND 3 kinds of homemade salsa! 
- My beautiful mom made all those cupcakes- everyone thought I had bought them from a bakery!
- I had a "Candy Bar" full of yellow candies people could eat and kids could add to their goodie bags. I'm pretty sure this is not my original idea, but I don't remember where I've seen it before- probably several places.
- Go here to find out more about the photo booth area and how I made felt mustaches. 
- There isn't a picture of this, but I used Prudent Baby's idea for a kid's craft station. I just bought some cardboard cut-out animal shapes from Michael's ($2 for 12) and laid out crayons and stickers I already had. Really cheap and easy, and the kids loved it.
- Find out what that yellow tablecloth really is here. (H's birthday present!)

-And of course, these gorgeous pictures are all by my friend Nathan at Fyrefly Photography!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Handmade Birthday Shirts

This was H's party outfit. He's a jeans and t-shirt kind of kid. My original plans were to make a LilBlueBoo Hoodie for him (I even bought the pattern.) But during birthday week, something had to give. So I kept it simple with this appliqued design, and freezer paper stenciled the words. 

He wanted to rock the 90's with his sleeves rolled up. I didn't argue.

And I had to show you the most awesome toddler t-shirts ever. Our friend Jason made them, knowing we would appreciate a handmade gift. But handmade and our 2 favorite shows? aMAZing. 

Buster Bluth

The "gang."
(I did a double take before I realized he had put the three of us in there with Mac and Frank. Classic.)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Photo Booth Felt Mustache How-to

Last night was HG's big birthday party, and it was so much fun! One thing we did was set up a "photo booth" area with a backdrop (old sheet from goodwill) and various props. This is not my original idea, I think I first saw the "smile booth" at Our Labor of Love, and then I saw the idea used again at Simply Radiant. (This yellow party actually inspired me a lot, as you will see in future party posts!)

But as I was gathering supplies for a little prop box, I think I did come up with an original way to make those adorable felt mustaches every "hip" photographer is using lately. (Actually I believe the originator of the mustache-on-a-stick craze is here.)

I didn't have any sticks lying around, and I did have elastic, but that seemed uncomfortable. Then I remembered that I had a bunch of white cloth-covered floral wire- Eureeka!

So here is the mini-tutorial:
Draw up a little mustache design you like (or find one on google) and cut out 2 from the felt. Also cut out a smaller piece, kind of bow tie shaped. Stick the two mustaches together with craft glue. Then put glue on the small piece and stick it in the center, with the middle of the wire sandwiched in between.

This is what it looks like from the back. Let it dry, and the wire wraps comfortably around your ears- you can barely notice it. Which is great, because of course you will want to wear your felt mustache all the time. To work, to school, to the movies, to the summer music festivals...

One for every day of the week.

"Mom, what the deuce is going on with your face?"

"Seriously, take that thing off- I don't like it."

"Ah geez, they got Nana and Grandpa too!"

***See the rest of the party here! ****

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Felt Playhouse is Done! (for now)

Happy birthday to Hendrix! And a big sigh of relief for me because this beast of a project is finally over. I have a few things in mind to add on in the future, but I would be fine to not touch this thing for another couple of months.

Despite all the hours wrestling with giant pieces of thick fabric through the machine, it was really fun to come up with the designs, and so satisfying to see it finished. On to the pictures...

This is the front- the uh, entrance to the circus tent. The red panel rolls up under those ties to get out of the way.

I plan on putting a little velcro above the seals' noses for felt balls, and maybe fish. 

The train engine. I love how the colors of the felt even have a vintage feel- just like the Fisher-Price toys that inspired me.

This is the back, kind of a weird angle since it's up against the bookcase. I split this panel into two overlapping pieces so there would be another exit. I also want to add little connecting pieces between all the train cars. 

You can see the lion and giraffe a little better here. I plan on making some funny felt facial features to velcro on, like mustaches, glasses, big teeth, etc. Like a Mr. Potato Head kind of thing- only not a potato...

I think the elephant side might be my favorite.

I'm going to make a few felt peanuts for his bucket. And I left the opening to his mouth open so they can be stuffed inside.

I finished it during his nap this afternoon, so it was on the table when he woke up. This is what he looked like when he first saw it. He loved it! I was fully prepared for him to look at it and then go play with a cereal box or something, but he just started squealing and laughing! 

And running in and out of it over and over. 

He really loved the window. I might have to put some mesh or clear vinyl over it to keep him from trying to climb out. 

Ah, birthday present bliss... This is probably one of the few times in life I'll get the reaction I want as a parent giving a birthday gift- especially one that took this much work! 

I'm gonna go ahead and say what everyone always says: I really cannot believe he's one. We love you so much HG!

(If anyone has questions or wants to know a little more detail about how I made this, let me know and I will be happy to do a separate post. Also, if you want one of these but aren't insane enough to make it, get a beautiful custom one at Imaginative Play Toys. And believe me, after making one myself, I can say that her prices are very reasonable!)