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1  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Reupholstered Rocking Horse Toy Thing on: May 04, 2008 05:50:58 PM
I don't know if you've ever had a moment like this, but I looked around our apartment about a week ago and suddenly hated everything. Just wanted to throw everything out and start all over... which of course will never happen for various economic and ecological reasons. But at least some changes were in order. So... I found a bunch of cool fabric in the IKEA As-Is department, and decided to try to reupholster my daughter's outgrown ride-on toy. It was one of those faux-velvet plush snail ones (see picture inset), and when I cut off the fabric, I discovered that it had pretty cool-looking guts:

From that, I made this:

Looks pretty cool if I do say so myself. This was a pretty finicky project, I have to admit - because of the way that the seat and rocking bottom are attached, I basically had to hand-sew the fabric directly onto the thing.

More redoings coming up!
2  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / Two gifts for two friends on: March 23, 2008 04:27:11 AM

Earrings made out of pieces of lace, curved metal, and coral beads for a very close, very lovely friend's birthday. These were much more finicky to make than it would seem, mostly because the lace was hard to manipulate.

A necklacemade of found objects and some coral and pearl beads. It's got a nice swing when worn and the two circles hit against each other softly.
3  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Organizing craft supplies - the recycled way on: March 23, 2008 04:22:16 AM
I finally got to deal with the growing insanity of art supplies on my toddler's little table. I would love to attach some kind of huge paper roll that she can just keep pulling new paper out, but this is one of the little plastic IKEA tables, so no can do. But still:

Recycled cardboard from a box and a mailing tube, covered in fabric from the stash (I just used Gem-Tac to glue the fabric down. I love that stuff.), and then hot-glued it all together to form one art-supply-organizing unit. This way, you can just lift the whole thing up and bring it from room to room, depending on where the art is happening. I'm anticipating adding more mailing tube thingies as these run out of space, or as Lara acquires new media - I'm guessing eventually the middle paper box will be entirely surrounded.
4  QUILTING / Quilting: Completed Projects / Blue Squares (my first quilt) on: March 23, 2008 04:19:42 AM
Inspired by this post, I made my first quilt - which we are now sleeping under.  Feels like a whole new bed!

I machine quilted, and then hand-sewed the binding (actually it's just fabric from the back folded over. The finished thing is about 84" x 96", big enough to cover our queen-size bed. I still would like to wash it so that it can get that lovely wrinkly quilty look.  Here is a shot of what the back looks like. I'm thinking sometimes we'll just flip it over since this batik is so pretty.

5  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Swingy, loose, and flowy on: March 23, 2008 04:14:47 AM
I am inordinately and unreasonably obsessed with this Japanese website. Scroll down the "Pickups" - there are many pages of them. The aesthetic of loose, piled on layers really appeals to me, even though it really seems as though the weather would be have to be set on 70 permanently for this style. In any case, I think these clothes are permeating my mind because I have just reconned these:

This used to be a pretty boobtastic belly shirt, shirred under the bust, and way too revealing. But the material is the softest jersey of this lovely lavender color, so I couldn't let it go. Instead, I used the drawstring casing that used to be the shirring to add length to the straps. I put the serged inside on the outside on purpose, to add some detail.

This is made from a men's button-down shirt and two men's tees. I totally love it, even though it shows multiple signs of being handmade. Can't wait for it to warm up a little bit around here.

This is made from a men's button-down shirt in response to my deep unnatural jealousy of all thing smocky. I can't decide - with the pocket or without?

6  IMAGE REPRODUCTION TECHNIQUES / Stenciling: Completed Projects / Stencil Portraits with Collage and Oils on: November 07, 2007 12:08:28 PM

With each, I took a photo, rendered it into a stencil, and then used that stencil to create a portrait either in mixed media collage or oil paint. I think these would be great presents for the holidays - I'm probably just going to hand them out to the fam!
7  CLOTHING / Clothing for Kids: Completed Projects / Jessie the Yodeling Cowgirl! on: October 31, 2007 06:55:02 PM

Happy Halloween everyone! Lara's costume was tough. She doesn't really get Halloween as a concept yet, and is at the same time fairly adept at taking off her clothes - thus, she can't really be expected to suffer for the sake of a really great costume idea, nor can she be compelled to do so. So we needed to come up with something that would in general be "normal" clothing that wouldn't be too annoying to wear all day, but also should be a fun thing she could recognize. Thank goodness for Toy Story 2 - Jessie the Yodeling Cowgirl it was!

All handmade and handsewn from scratch except the white shirt base. The belt buckle is made out of a Photoshopped and printed out picture of a bull, cardboard, and Mod Podge. The buttons are fabric-covered cardboard circles. The hat - oh, the hat! - is made of two pieces of felt, some ribbon, and yarn.

I might secretly be a milliner. I'll be honest, I'm pretty damn proud of that hat.

8  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Cardboard toy kitchen for my daughter (a ton o' pics) on: October 25, 2007 04:36:56 PM

Finally this very long project is complete. To recap: this little kitchen unit is built entirely from recycled (as in, salvaged from the dumpster) corrugated cardboard covered in contact paper. No glue, no nails, nothing but clever joining cuts make the kitchen entirely disassemblable so it can be packed flat for moving/storage. The structure is all my own design. (Can you tell I'm pretty proud of this?)

Edited to add: Thanks so much for all the comments, everyone!

The sink (a baking pan sunk into a hole cut out for it), complete with fully turning hot and cold water taps.

Lara demonstrates the oven door, which is held in the upright position with a velcro tab.

It's hard to explain completely how the pieces fit together (let's just say that all those hours of playing Tetris apparently didn't go to waste!), but you can get a sense of it from this picture of the disassembled cardboard before the contact paper was applied. The notched pieces slide onto and then hook through the slotted grooves:

9  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Aprons Galore on: October 09, 2007 04:59:41 PM
So last week, at the parents' meeting at Lara's preschool, her teacher mentioned that the kiddos like to have aprons when playing with the cooking toys - and of course, hearing that, I decided to make some for them.

This one is made from a piece of an old tablecloth (thanks, Amy!), the front of a totebag, and a long piece I nail-creased into bias tape. (I'm impatient with the ironing and lack one of those bias-makers.) And really, truth be told, lots of the "iron the crease" instructions get the nail treatment at my house.

Next is a half-apron with a double pocket. The blue fabric has ladybugs on it, and the white fabric has frogs.

Here is Lara modeling it in front of the mirror.

The last is from a bigger piece of the same tablecloth and another self-fashioned bias piece. I made this one first, and was all set to give it to the school, but Lara has fallen in love with it and refused to take it off all day... I think we're keeping it to go with that kitchen I'm building her!

10  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Close Your Clothes! on: October 02, 2007 11:09:50 AM
I made this activity book for my daughter's second birthday. It's made out of old clothes and some Freecycled fabric, and has pages of clothes-fastener activities with facing pages featuring poems about the fasteners. The pages are each stuffed with two layers of felt I had around the house. I cropped the poems (which I wrote) out the pictures, but I am transcribing them under each page. I'm so happy with how it came out! Good thing too, because it took fo-e-vah to make. Why is everything I do so laborious? I think I must just be a very laborious person. Anyway:

Buttons are delightful doodads,
Says a fishwife who reviews shads.
They will last through any new fads,
States a pair of kangaroo lads
To their neighbor, Marilou Gladds.

Adds famed button expert Clay Kee:
If you snub them when you wakey,
Then youre making a mistakey,
Coming to eat breakfast nakey!

There are two sides to a zipper,
Each side full of little teeth
As you pull the slider upward,
Theyre connecting underneath!

These small teeth are not for chewing
(That your own teeth do with ease)
These teeth keep you warm and toasty,
Even in a frosty breeze!

Lets unwrap
The word snap:
It can be a beatnik clap,
Or a fish biting a scrap,
Or some sudden colder weather that requires a shoulder wrap,
Or a cookie made of ginger that can break in a mishap,
Or an angry little yap,
A quick photo of a chap,
Or a football hiked behind from beneath the centers lap
Or a task so that is so easy its like taking a short nap!

Old MacDonald had a farm (E-I-E-I-O!)
And on his farm he worked quite hard (E-I-E-I-O!)
He herded his sheep, and he milked his cows,
Tended chickens, walked his dog,
Every night went for a jog!

Old MacDonald one fine day (E-I-E-I-O!)
Didnt buckle his overalls all the way (E-I-E-I-O!)
How his animals laughed when his pants fell down
Cows said MOO-ha! Pigs said OINK-ha!
And his doggie barked a WOOF-WOOF-ha-ha!

They sent a new dress to the Duchess of Veldt,
A dress that was loose and too baggy, she felt.
To make it fit better and make her seem svelte,
The shrewd Duchess cinched up her waist with a belt!

A man and his dog were out walking one day
Through a field of dry grass that looked kind of like hay.
Then later he petted his doggies soft fur
Where a grass seed was stuck, a seed known as a burr.

He looked at the seed it was covered in hooks
That held tight to the dog hairs looped crannies and nooks.
Inspired, he made hook and loop strips to use
As buckles (called Velcro) for everyones shoes.

The silky curls and swirls in Laras hair
Are golden, hazel, auburn scarcely brown
When loose, they gleam in ribbons in midair,
Twisting themselves into a copper crown
Of knots and tangles that a comb despair;
Its better in the wind to clip them down.
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