Browsing Category "Craft"
20 Jul
Posted in: Abode, Craft
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Thrifted Watercolor – Before and After

Last week I found this cute watercolor at a thrift store for $3.50. I snatched it right up, as I really liked the colors and it’s an actual painting (not a print). What I didn’t love so much was the sage green mat and faux bamboo frame. So I bought a new glossy white frame, and since the mat was a custom size to fit the piece, I spray painted it white as well. Below is the before and after. Grand total for artwork and frame: $7.50. Not bad.

thrifted artwork

13 Jun
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Hard Pressed

Santa Claus! This plate was probably 50+ years old.

If someone asks what I do for a living, I tell them I’m a photographer and designer. This is typically met with some interest and excitement. I admit it – it does sound exciting! But if someone were to ask what I day doing my job looked like, I would explain that it’s maybe 15% actually taking photographs or designing, and the rest of the time is spent at my desk. Scheduling meetings, sending e-mails, invoicing, editing, layout out pages, more editing, taxes, etc.

While I do really enjoy my work, I miss having any sort of physical hands-on aspect. Yes, with photography and design there are tangible products at the end of the process, but I don’t actually bind the books or print the photo or crank out the brochures. I just send in an electronic file and a few days later these things appear at my doorstep. Wizardry.

I’ve long been interested in the printing process, and with letterpress in particular. The lush, thick paper, the tactile feel of the ink pressed in, the vivid colors, the imperfections that accompany such am imprecise method. Through a random series of events nearly two years ago, I came into contact with Austin Jones, who has so graciously been apprenticing me at Heritage Farm Museum & Village in Huntington.

This one made me laugh.

In my spare time (ha!) I’ve designed a couple note cards, with plans to develop more. But the best part is that when I step into the museum (or even when I get out the small press Mr. Jones let me borrow for use at home), it’s like time stands still. I love the smell of the ink, the heaviness of the metal, the varying shades of ink-stained and worn wood. I love how every step of the process is under my control and at the end, I have something useful, tangible, beautiful.

The images in this post are some blocks I found while rummaging through a box of plates at the museum. Some are from my hometown, and some just made me laugh.

I have a few hobbies (as this site demonstrates) but I don’t think I’ve yet mentioned this one. I feel like I’ve been holding out on you


Border material – too cute.


A dept. store in my hometown. Still in business. Still using this logo. My brother bought a suit there a couple weeks ago.


Penny’s Drive In – now closed, but the location of my parent’s first date. Without with I would not be here.

2 Jun

Happy Birthday Bunting

Lest you think all I’ve done the last few months is work, eat, and read (you wouldn’t be far off), I have a crafty fix for you.

Don’t you love bunting? I know it’s getting to be overdone, but it’s really just SO easy. I wanted to make some for the kids’ birthday, and I wanted it to be fabric so I could use it again each year, but I also wanted it to be single-sided so I could hang it in Sydney’s room the rest of the year without it screaming, “Happy Birthday!” Here’s how it goes.

You will need:
1 fat quarter for every 3 triangles you want to make (one triangle for each letter if you’re spelling out a name or Happy Birthday)
1 package of double-folded bias tape
1/4 yard of felt or flannel for letter applique

1. Select coordinating fabrics and bias tape.
2. Cutthe fabric into 6″ squares.
3. Place two squares of the same fabric together, wrong sides facing.
4. Cut from top corners to bottom middle to create a triangle (see photo). Repeat until you have the desired amount of triangles.
5. Using a water-soluble fabric marker, draw out the letters to spell the name or phrase on the felt/flannel. (If you want the letters to be on each side, cut out two of each).
6. Cut out the letters carefully.
7. Arrange the triangles in the order in which you want them to appear in the bunting (as a repeating pattern if you’re using a variety of fabrics). (Note: If you are putting letters on both sides, be sure to arrange the back side in reverse order to the front side, so that each reads correctly.)
7. Using either a straight stitch (I used white thread on red flannel for a more vintage look) or a very tight zigzag stitch, applique the letters onto one of each set of triangles, right sides up.
8. Place triangles right sides facing, and sew sides of triangles with a straight stitch (leave the top open).  Cut the tip of the triangle off, then turn and press.
9. Tuck triangles into the fold of the bias tape in order, and pin. Be sure to leave extra room at each end for tying/hanging.
10. Using a straight stitch, sew the triangles into the bias tape.
11. Hang, and enjoy.

Total time, 1.5 – 2 hours.


10 Jan
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Tablecloth Skirt

There’s a little antique mall in the town next to ours, and I love stopping in there anytime I’m through town without the kids. (Breakables and all.) I’m not typically looking for anything specific in there, but often run across something I just can’t pass up. One recent trip, it was a vintage tablecloth in a golden yellow with a very cute vine floral print along the edge. I just knew it would make something perfect.

It sat in my closet for over a month until I decided it needed to become a skirt. I went to my closet and pulled out a skirt I had that fit well, and used it as a pattern, adding a 1/2″ seam allowance. I did the same for the lining (the fabric is a stiff cotton, and really stuck to my legs or tights, so I knew it would have to be lined). It’s a very basic A-line skirt, but I loved how the pattern fit perfectly for a skirt. I did add a bit of a waistband that wasn’t on the original skirt, because I like a nice thick waistband. What can I say – I’ve had two kids. A side zipper helps everything go on nicely. This is the first piece of clothing I’ve made since my mom helped me put together a skirt and dress from some patterns we had bought at The Wal Marts. I am thrilled!

One of my favorite details is that the floral border is hand-drawn. The tablecloth cost $18, and I have plenty of fabric left over to make several smaller pieces. A skirt for Sydney, perhaps? Or a bag. I’ll let you know where the rest ends up. Click on the photos to see larger, if you’d like.

What is the craziest remodel you’ve ever taken on? A curtain dress a la Gone With the Wind? Napkin hats? A chest of drawers to a headboard?

11 Aug
Posted in: Books, Craft
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Elodie the Elephant

I got this book, One Yard Wonders, for Christmas from my lovely Aunt Ginger. A book right up my alley, filled with small projects, mostly for beginners, that could be tackled in a relatively short amount of time. (Note: The book does have some more advanced projects, so don’t overlook it if you’re more experienced with sewing.)

Anyway, I looked it over a few times, and kept thinking I should try out a few of the projects. Then I’d put it back on the shelf. But when two friends announced they were pregnant, I knew it’d be the motivation I’d need to tackle a project, because the book is filled with cute projects for babies and children.

I chose Elodie the Elephant, a simple project that really only takes half a yard of fabric and a couple hours. I’m really pleased with how they turned out, and hope their recipients are, too. I mean, who wouldn’t love a stuffed elephant, right?

Sidenote: I started these elephants while on my trip to Arkansas where I was able to use my grandmother-in-law’s sewing machine which is…ahem… slightly nicer than my own. I finished them up on my (still nice…but not that nice) sewing machine at home and between the rattles and humming of the motor am trying not to have sewing machine envy. To which I think to myself: who knew there could be such a thing as sewing machine envy.

I can’t share the pattern with you because it’s copyrighted, but you can definitely go pick the book up for yourself and make any number of the dozens of super cute projects.

2 Aug
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Fabric Backed Bookshelf

I’ve seen a number of projects just like this one, so I don’t claim any sort of inspiration or creativity on this one. But I do claim it’s a good first step in working on my little gal’s room that has been so neglected, while her brother’s room is coming along quite nicely, thank you. The thing is, it’s super inexpensive, super easy, and adds a fun punch of color to an otherwise boring room.


Obviously this shelf could have used some reorganizing on its own. Too many toys, too many books, and no sense of style. Poor bookshelf.


Not too shabby, eh? For about $15 in materials, and about two hours of work, you can do it. Here’s how.

Measure your bookshelf to calculate the amount of fabric you’ll need. Mine required 2.5 yards, and that gave me a bit of scrap material to…well… I’ll tell you about that another time.

Empty your bookshelf and remove the shelves. You may want to lay it down in the floor to make it easier, but I did mine in place because it’s mounted to the wall. You know,

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so my little monkeys don’t accidentally pull it over on themselves.

With a can of medium-strength spray adhesive, your fabric, some fabric scissors and a ruler in hand, get to work.

Starting in a top corner, align the fabric (use the non-selvage edge) squarely. Spray the adhesive in the corner, and use the ruler to smooth it down. Next, spray the adhesive along the entire top edge of the bookcase, and align the fabric across. Work your way down, going back and forth from the left to right side. I cut the extra fabric off the edge as I went to cut down on the weight. Take your time, and use the ruler to smooth out any bubbles or wrinkles that come up. If it’s getting crooked, gently pull the fabric back and realign.

Here’s a close up of the fabric, and my favorite shelf. Love her etsy-find piggy bank.

4 Jun
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Gathered Clutch

My friend Mandy is a paradox. “Work Mandy” is totally put-together, organized, thorough, passionate, and inspiring. “Home Mandy” is a little more… scattered. In fact, it is not at all uncommon for her to be out without a wallet/cash/phone/ID. I knew she had been looking for a little wristlet she could through the above items in and grab – smaller than a purse, but with a strap, unlike her wallet. Her birthday was a couple weeks ago, so I was determined to make one for her.

I had seen this super cute tutorial a couple months ago on a craft blog. I knew that with the simple addition of a wrist strap it would be the perfect little clutch for Mandy. I won’t repost the tutorial (it isn’t mine, after all) but I will show you how mine turned out, and how to add the wrist strap.

The inside: The floral fabric is a divider pocket, the red polka-dot two credit card/ID pockets. The blue is just the lining.

Instructions for adding the wrist strap:

Cut a 2″ x 11″ strip of fabric. Sew along long end, right sides together. Turn tube, and press so that seam is in the middle (not along the side).

On the very last sewing step (where you sew around the edges of the lining and the outer fabric. ) – tuck the strap in between the two outside fabric panels. See my photo below about how NOT to do this:

That’s right. I’m such a fantastic blogger that I took a photo of the wrong way to do it, ripped the seam out, replaced the strap in the correct position, and sewed it all up without taking a photo of the correct way to do it. Awesome.

Anyway, the strap should be tucked inside the fabric here, with just the little end tabs sticking out from the middle. In other words, the opposite of the above photo. Make sure the seam on the strap is turned facing the inside. Then sew it up according to the instructions on the tutorial. You may want to pin the strap in place if you don’t plan to start sewing at that spot.

I want to make another one or two of these to have on hand for gifts. This first one took me about three hours, including choosing the fabrics. I would imagine the next ones would go a bit more quickly, since there would be less seam ripping taking place. At least, theoretically.

As for Mandy, she says she hasn’t left her wallet/cash/phone/ID even once since she’s been carrying it. I’m glad I could be a life-changer for her. :-)

23 May
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Quilt Week 3B

Nevermind that “week 3” has taken, in all actuality, six weeks. The quilt top is finished! I refrained from doing a happy dance. I have a suspicion the remaining “weeks” of the quilt-making will be a little easier than this step. As long as I have it finished by fall when the weather cools off, I’ll be happy.

Regardless of my snail’s pace, I am loving these colors. What do you think?

To see the tutorial again, click here. Hopefully for my next update I can share photos of my fellow quilters progress, since they aren’t bloggers.

24 Apr
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Quilt Week 3 – Assembling the Top

This week. (Ahem – so maybe this “week’s” assignment has taken us 3+ weeks. Who cares. We’re having fun. Right girls? Right.)

Anyway, this week we are sewing together our strips for the quilt top. So far, I have 15 of my 20 strips sewn. Then I have to sew the strips together to complete the quilt top. It’s exciting because I can begin to see what it will look like. I am totally loving the colors.

I know as far as quilting goes, this is the most basic, easy pattern possible. But seriously – I’ve wanted to make a quilt for so long I’m super excited to have at least started…something. I can’t wait to cuddle up under it.

31 Mar
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Quilt Week 2 – Cutting!

A couple weeks ago I told you about our quilt-making project. There are three of us meeting together regularly to work on it, and my sister-in-law Jenny (who lives out of town) is starting to tag along remotely. Last week: cutting. We cut 100 rectangles and 100 squares. Once we got it figured out it went pretty well. Most of the evening looked like this.

A sneak peek at Amy’s fabrics:

And at Brittany’s (notice any similarities):

Here’s the one fabric that the three of us Huntington/Barboursville clan chose: