I made this matryoshka quilt for my best friend's new daughter:
I am so happy with the way it turned out (slight wrinkly-ness aside)! I've always had an obsession with matryoshkas and thought about making a quilt for years. I only had the concept in my head when I got started, but was really winging it as I didn't have a pattern and had never done a complex applique before. I also haven't done much embroidery so was winging it with all of the embroidered faces! All the circles are hand-stitched (I never did figure out the rocking method of hand-quilting; this was all painstakingly slow stab-stitch. Thank you, Netflix!)
Here's a quilt I made for my sister-in-law for Christmas. It is the first quilt I have ever made in all solid colours and I love it. It was particularly hard to give this one away, but she did love it so much, so that made up for it!
Here are some close-ups of a few of the blocks. My machine quilting is pretty off-the-mark in this one... don't look too closely!
And here is the label I embroidered to go on the back. (Fiver is the nickname for this little baby that I had for her in utero.)
And here is another quilt I made for the wedding of two friends of mine. One of them made a joke one time about me making them a quilt to protect their bedsheets from the cats. So I made a yellow, white, grey, and black quilt to match their three cats.
I really wanted to use a lot of greys in this quilt, but only had one grey fabric. I am trying to use more of what's in my stash, so I ended up flipping some of the black and white prints I had and using them wrongside-up in the quilt. I think the technique worked pretty well! Here is a somewhat closer shot of the stripes:
And here is the quilt label. The title is, of course, "Sheet Protector".
I got this bookcase at the Salvation Army store for $8, and finally got around to crack-filling, sanding, scraping, priming, and painting it! It now holds my television as well as some books and DVDs.
The shelf was one of those plywood cabinets that you used to be able to buy to hold sets of Childcraft encyclopedia (there was a Childcraft logo burned into the kickboard). It looked like it had been in a classroom for a long time. It was covered in crayon and marker, and for some reason, a TON of tape... the kind that is so yellowed and brittle and no longer sticky, just good and STUCK. It took a lot of scraping and sanding to get the residue off.
I never think to take a before picture before my project is already underway, but here are a few I scraped together so you get the gist:
Sooooo much tape goo and crayons:
For anyone interested in refinishing crappy old furniture like this, I recommend three things:
1) sanding well before and between every coat 2) priming with a high-quality primer and WAITING THE FULL SEVEN DAYS TO PAINT. That is the worst part, but you will regret it if you don't, because your paint will be tacky until the end of time instead of nicely hardened. 3) using a gently FLECKED foam roller (usually at specialty paint stores). A foam roller alone will give you air bubbles, but the feltiness of the flecked roller will give you a nice smooth finish.
I made this tonight as a gift for my best friend's upcoming baby. I haven't drawn anything in many years and have never been good at it, but this was a satisfying experiment. I have been thinking for a few months about how to incorporate this Bob Dylan verse into some kind of baby gift for her and her husband. (It's a few lines from the great "Forever Young". My friend and her husband are both bananas for folk music, and this song is the sweetest wish ever for a new person in the world, so it seemed like a good fit.)
I was thinking about doing some kind of paper cut, but couldn't figure out exactly what I wanted to do or how. Then I happened across this: http://pinterest.com/pin/11115652 on Pinterest, and felt inspired by the wavy lines of text and the graphics interspersed with the text, so I appropriated those ideas (sorry and thank you, Actual Artist!) and went to town. (If anyone knows who did that work, by the way, I'd love to credit them properly! UPDATE: The original work is from libre_versalita of Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/libre_versalita/3595089631/) I don't know how these kinds of posters are actually created... probably in Photoshop? But like a chump, I did mine by hand with a Sharpie pen and watercolour paper. I freehanded everything, but did a rough copy beforehand to plan out my design.
And here it is all framed up:
I also handcut the mat for the frame! Even though it's not perfect, I feel very craft-capable tonight.
(I don't know if this technically qualifies as a glass craft since I'm not really creating the glass itself...? I may get booed out of the forum by all of you talented glassblowers and fusers...)
Inspired by my incessant scrolling through Pinterest, I recently reorganized my really messy pantry (seen here:http://www.flickr.com/photos/grammardog/sets/72157627601241276/). I replaced many food boxes and bags with glass canisters. I really liked the way my canisters looked with my handwritten labels on them, but even after just a few opening and closings, I noticed that they were starting to look a little worn. (Obviously, it was the chocolate-covered pretzels canister that I noticed the wear on first.) I figured they were going to start looking dingy pretty fast. So, looking down the barrel of another sleepless night, I decided to do some glass etching. Glass etching is one of the most satisfying and simple crafts around! The etching cream does almost all of the work. The hardest part is creating and applying your design, and that's only as hard as you make it.
Here is one of the finished products!
I went to the dollar store and bought a bunch of small, stick-on letters. They were exactly what I was looking for... super-sticky, made of pliable plastic, and a nice basic font:
I labelled each jar with the contents using the stickers... no prep to the canisters required:
Next I used masking tape to tape a rectangle around the words. I didn't use a ruler or a measuring tape for any of this... just eyeballed it. I wasn't interested in every canister being perfectly uniform. I pressed the tape and the stickers down hard around all the edges to make sure no etching cream could sneak under there.
The next step is applying the etching cream. Etching cream is a goopy liquid that looks sort of like hair conditioner with sand mixed into it. I used Armour Etch, which is pretty expensive... about $40 for a medium-sized bottle. I had a bottle on hand that I've been stretching for years, and you can, too, if you're as cheap as I am. The cream should be applied over your stencil in a very thick layer... not dripping off, but it should not be at any risk of drying up. If you apply it too thinly, like a layer of paint, the chemical process to etch the glass won't be effective, and you'll get uneven results. If your stencil is carefully adhered to your surface, you can re-use a lot of the cream by brushing off the excess before rinsing it and putting it back in the bottle (if your stencil/stickers are a bit loose, brushing over your design too much could sweep the etching cream under the stickers and make your edges messy). This is how I've made one bottle last through 10 years of projects, and I've found no ill effects from re-using it in this way. You need to really glob it on thickly to get a consistent look, and it seems a waste to wash that all down the drain. So buy the smallest bottle and make it last!
So you apply the etching cream with a paintbrush. If you get it on your skin, it will burn you up, so be careful. Also, it doesn't smell that bad, but you can tell it's totally giving you pulmonary disease, so use it in a well-ventilated area and you could even wear a mask if you're so inclined. Leave the cream on the glass for no longer than a minute. Any longer than that and it will continue etching deeper into the glass, creeping under your stickers and making your edges look blurry instead of nice and crisp. I taped all the jars first, then set the microwave timer for an hour and went to town. I managed about two jars at a time, rinsing one while the other etched, then globbing on the cream while another one etched. I kept an eye on the ticking timer to note when each one needed a rinse. As I rinsed the jars under warm water, I rubbed at the tape and stickers and eased them off. Then I was done! Here are some of the results:
I went generic with some of the pasta jars since I like to switch it up with my noodles:
Some of the small jars couldn't fit their labels, but I ended up loving the modern, graphic look of the wraparound text:
So, I'm a lady on a budget. A tight one. But! I am also a resourceful lady who likes to thrift shop, likes a challenge, and likes to make ugly and neglected things beautiful. Ain't that lucky?
For about four years, I have been using some very ugly, very damaged, unmatching particleboard end tables as bedside tables. They don't have drawers and are too short and too wide and too wobbly, and are just altogether unpleasant! My cat chews on my glasses and my earplugs sometimes because I don't have a drawer to put them in. Isn't that a sad story? And I don't need to tell you how else a bedside table with a drawer might come in handy, am I right, friends?
I have been keeping my eyes peeled in stores for a pair of matching, petite night stands, but haven't been able to find anything in my super-teensy price range. So when I came across an ugly, 1970's plasticized laminate set at the Salvation Army, I thought, "Dare I...? Do I have the hubris to think I can solve a problem like Maria 1970's plastic laminate?"
The Sally Ann guy tried to sell me this set for $20. Pffft! I beat him down to $10 for the pair, citing their extreme unattractiveness, and we were off to the races. While very ugly, the tables actually appeared to have been well cared-for... the drawers were clean as a whistle, and at some point, some 80's dude cared enough about them to replace the legs, and the pieces were nice and sturdy. So I handed over my ten bucks and loaded them into the car.
First I cleaned the tables all over with rubbing alcohol, to remove any dirt and grease. I then disassembled the tables as much as I could and sanded the laminate until it wasn't shiny anymore. Sanding down the laminate was one of the most disgusting experiences of my life, you guys. I inhaled more of the 1970's than Bill Clinton. Hyuk! Anyway, not to put too fine a point on it, but I was blowing plastic laminate boogies out for a week. Don't be a hero, Craftsters... wear a dust mask! I was outside on my apartment deck, so I didn't think I needed one, but boy, was I wrong. After the sanding and the boogies and the tears, I primed the tables with BIN water-based primer-sealer, which has to cure for 7 days to really adhere well. Longest week of my life! I have no patience, at all. After that painful waiting process, I finally rolled on a couple of coats of latex paint, and replaced the ugly old tarnished brass drawer pulls:
with new, modern pieces that cost me $3 apiece at the hardware store (see teaser, if you've forgotten). Then I reassembled the pieces. Ready? Okay, LOOK!
I love the way they turned out! I think they're well-worth my labour, and $16 plus paint. I'm excited to see them in my new grown-up lady bedroom.