Category Archives: DIY

Ladybugs and Licorice

Fabric Swap Hoopes Park Studios

Marilla had this wonderful idea a couple months ago to organize a special fabric swap. But it wasn’t any old fabric swap- it was a hand-printed fabric swap. Time to break out the stamps and fabric paint!

My swap partner was Charlotte of English Girl at Home. She is one timely seamstress, because only a couple weeks after receiving the fabric I sent her, she has already made a cute, mod-style dress out of it!  It is so cool to see my fabric being worn.


Before I start rambling about my printing process, here’s what she sent me:

ladybug print

Oooh, aaah. Chambrayyyyy. With ladybugs. It’s simple but thoughtfully detailed- just my style!

*Update 9/26/14- Here is a link to the full fabric swap round-up. Some gorgeous fabrics were made. I’d highly recommend checking them out*

Read on for more about my dyeing and printing process.

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Wire-Wrapped Wine Glasses

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I’m always looking for creative, budget-friendly wedding gifts- especially since I’m of that age where my friends are starting to get married. My mom mentioned that a friend’s daughter had decorated wine glasses and I liked the idea. I made these glasses for my friend who got married last weekend (I also made the dress that I wore).

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What I used:

  • one pack of 10 yd permanently colored copper wire
  • glass and metal beads

For each glass I cut 5-6 feet of wire. I fastened it around the base of the stem and then started wrapping. There wasn’t much of a method to my madness, I just wrapped and added beads until I liked how each stem looked. When I ran out of wire I used needle nose pliers to fasten the end and pushed it behind a bead. I used a lot of seed beads on these but they don’t show well in the pictures.

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I wrapped up the glasses with some nice wine I bought on a trip to a winery in New York, and put a note in each of them. One note was a reminder that the glasses should be hand-washed to preserve the decorations. This is also a reminder for you should you go a-wrapping!

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I used bubble wrap to pack the glasses in a box, then wrapped the box and wine bottle in some cotton fabric and white ribbon.

I hadn’t done any wire wrapping before, and I really like how they turned out. What do you think?

wrapped

 

Let’s talk about undercuts

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Let’s talk about undercuts.

Mainly, how I acquired mine. In August of 2013 (so about 7 months ago), I went to a women’s retreat. We camped in the woods, sang songs, talked about feminism, and I ran a screen printing tent. It was a little hippy-dippy, but I liked it. A few of the women there had some awesome alternative haircuts. One had shaved off parts of her hair and left the rest long.  I immediately fell in love with this juxtaposition of the feminine and the edgy. About a day (and not much more consideration) later I found someone to shave off the hair on the left side of my head. The love affair has been ongoing since then.

As far as upkeep, I buzz it about once a month. Currently it has a bit of a fade, but usually I just buzz it all off at a level 2. When I cut it, I pull the long parts to the right side of my head in a tight bun to avoid accidentally cutting my long hair and expanding my undercut.

The downside is that I can’t do as much cool braiding stuff with my hair like I used to. But I would happily make the trade again.

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And holy wow those ABM photoshop actions are amazing. I bought the mini collection for Photoshop- I used Petal and Jean to edit these photographs. I fiddled around with the settings a little after running the actions, and think it did just enough to boost the light and vibrancy of these pictures.

 

Making blog buttons

I wanted to share my new blog buttons with you! To add them to your site, copy the code in the text box below each image and paste it into a widget (if you use wordpress) or gadget (if you use blogger) on your side bar.

For those of you interested in making your own blog buttons, I’ve also included the resources I used to make them.

Here they are!

215×75 pixels

HPS octopus button

 

 

 

215×122 pixels

HPS bee button

 

 

 

 

 

The internet is chock full of quality tutorials for coding almost anything! I followed these tutorials to create the code for my buttons:

1. I used images from the Graphics Fairy . It is a website of vintage clip art image and DIY projects. It is a great resource for vintage stock images, and everything on it is free (under the terms of use). I used Adobe Photoshop to create the buttons using the images from the Graphics Fairy and the text tool. Make sure your images fit the width of your side bar (215×75 pixels is a good place to start). I made two different images so people could choose which size they want.

2. I followed this tutorial to make the code for the button (its from Teacher Blogging Basics). It walks you through creating a widget and customizing the code so the button can show up in your side bar. Clear instructions, very easy to follow. This is good if you only want to add a button. If you want to add code below the button so people can copy it, read on to step 3.

3. I used this tutorial to make the code for the text box below each button (seen in the side bar).  It is a “Grab a Button” generator. It will generate code for the button and text box below. Paste the code into a widget on your side bar to see it show up on your blog.

I learned SO much about coding and HTML code from this project. I knew next to nothing about it before, and I understand a great deal about it now. This is definitely a project that a beginner can handle. Good luck! Let me know if you want to swap buttons.

 

 

Furniture painting

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I’d like to share a guest post with you today. My old friend and sometimes photographer Emily has gotten in to painting furniture lately. I’m always impressed at how she is able to transform old pieces of furniture into something eye catching. Her designs are so simple and classic. Today I’ve invited her to share one of her recent projects. Take it away, Em!

The first piece of furniture I painted was this past summer (2013). I painted an old bookshelf blue and white. I like painting furniture because it gives a room a new look and can revamp something you may have had for a long time. Giving a piece of furniture a makeover can help you see a whole room with new eyes. I haven’t quite mastered painting furniture, and I’m still figuring out best practices, but I have a lot of fun doing it.

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I found this rocking chair in an old barn when I was helping to clean out a friend’s property. My godson is having his first birthday in May and I thought it would be a perfect gift.

My cousin Caroline and I did this project together. First we wiped the chair down to clean it off. There was a lot of chipped paint we had to get rid of. The chair was too small to use a power sander, so we sanded it off by hand using a rough grade of sand paper. The more you sand a surface, the smoother it will get- the grade of sand paper doesn’t matter that much. We wiped down the chair a second time to get rid of all the dust from sanding.

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Next, we spray painted the chair with a navy blue matte spray paint (Rustoleum brand). We did two very thin coats so that it wouldn’t drip. We waited an hour between the two coats of paint. You can put a fan or a heater by the paint so that it will dry faster between coats. If your coat of paint is thin enough, it shouldn’t take more than an hour to dry between coats. After two coats of blue paint, we let the chair dry over night.

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To paint the C on the seat, I printed out a C in a font I liked (Times New Roman or something similar). I used the C as a stencil and painted it with white paint.

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Once the C dried, I sealed the whole chair with a glossy sealer to make the paint last. The chair is currently waiting for May in my house, anticipating its adorable new owner!

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Another project I’m planning this summer is to strip a bookshelf down to its original wood and then stain it a dark color.

Thanks so much for sharing, Em! For more information on painting furniture, I would recommend this article and this article as good places to start.

Care Package

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This is another post in which I go gaga over snail mail. More specifically, a post in which I follow some tutorials I found on A Beautiful Mess to make a care package to send to one of my collegiate friends. I remember how disconnected I was from home when I was in college, and letters/packages from home gave me such a warm, fuzzy feeling, made it all a little less lonely. I used to get giddy over snail mail from home, so I like to pay it forward when I have the chance.
I found this tutorial  on making these adorable little books. I used white paper and velvet animal print fabric to make the book, and then I embroidered the cover with beads!

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washi tape roses
I also found this cool rose washi tape that I included with the package, and one of those Valentine’s Day cards from a while back (with a note inside apologizing for my tardiness, of course).

Then I followed this this brilliant tutorial on making your own packaging (um why did I not think of this?!).

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I cut out an appropriate sized piece of a paper bag, which I stitched together with a basting stitch on my machine (my needle wasn’t super happy about it, but it did okay). I addressed it, crammed aforementioned items inside, sewed remaining edge closed, and popped it in the mail! Heres hoping she enjoys it.

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20140302-231408.jpgWhat other items do you like to include in care packages?

 

Bjork earrings

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I’ve been away from my sewing machine most of this past month, so I’ve been working on more drawings and other small DIYs (as you can probably tell!). This is a pair of earrings I made recently.

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I saw these earrings on Shlomit Ofir, the website of a jewelry designer of the same name. These are named the “Bjork earrings”. I really like the multicolored metals and all the different pieces- Shlomit Ofir’s jewelry features such sweet, delicate designs.

bjork earrings

Here’s how I made my own version.

You need: leather in two colors, 2 earring hooks, 4 jump rings, chain

You also need an awl (or thick, sharp needle), scissors, and jewelry pliers or needle nose pliers

Cut out two small triangles from each color of leather. Make sure all the triangles are the same size (it may help to make a paper pattern). The triangles on the earrings I made were about 1/2 inch on each side.

Use the awl or needle to poke two holes in each triangle- one at the point, and the other directly below, like so:

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Open up a jump ring and use it to attach two triangles together to make a diamond shape. Attach each diamond shape to an earring hook using another jump ring.

Decide how long you want the chain to be, and cut two chains the same length. Attach each chain to the bottom of the diamond.

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Celtic knots

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So celtic knots- nearly impossible to draw- right? Wrong! Here is the easiest way ever to draw them. I learned this at summer camp when I was a kid. I found my old drawings when I was cleaning out my art supplies recently.

Start with a basic rectangle of diagonal dots:

basic knot

Then you fill it in, according to the rules.
The rules:
the rules

This is what the progression of your knot should look like:
the instructions

I drew my knot with thick lines, but you can also make thinner lines for a looser knot.
skinny knot

The smallest knot you can draw is a 3×3 square:

smallest knot

Once you feel comfortable with the basic knot, it’s time to get fancy.
First, you can add lines to make extra edges in your knot. Just connect the lines between two vertical or two horizontal dots:
extra edges knot

You can also draw bigger knots, and draw perpendicular lines connecting dots. This will make extra corners in the middle of your knot:
big knotOnce you have mastered square knots, you can branch out! I made this “J” knot to put on the front of a card for a friend’s birthday:

J knot

I traced it onto a clean sheet of paper and then colored it in!j knot outline

J knot coloreod

Just have fun with it. Remember the rules, and if all else fails, you can always erase and start over. Have fun!

Paper crane chain

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Raise your hand if you think origami is cool.
There is an old Japanese legend that if you make 1000 paper cranes, you will have eternal good luck. Well, I don’t quite have enough time to fold that many paper cranes, but I like the idea of a paper crane chain. I was aiming for 36 cranes (half of 36 is 18, also a good luck number).

Here’s how I made them:

origami-cranes

 After I had made all the cranes (my chain ended up with 29), I used a yarn needle to string them together. I tied a knot between each of the cranes to hold them up. I added a tassel to the end of the chain.

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I like how colorful and whimsical it is! I’ve hung it in a few places- first by a window, but now it is draped across the piano.

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20140115-002429.jpg20140115-002418.jpgI made this paper crane chain while I was visiting a good friend of mine in Delaware. We used to hang out all the time and sew in high school, but it had been a few years since we hung out. While I was working on this project she was making a glittery banner. She keeps a tumblr blog that you can find here. We have made many projects together, one of which I’ll be sharing later this month (as soon as I can find some good pictures).

Hope you all are staying warm in whatever weather Mother Nature has thrown your way. Philly is finally sunny after a long run of grey skies.

Follow your dreams

Follow your dreams- keep sleeping

Follow your dreamsMy friend Jillie made this banner to hang above her bed.

*Update 1/18/14- here is another picture:*

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She used stencils to cut letters out of sparkly card stock. Then she used tape to attach the letters to yarn and hung it above her bed. It looks so cozy hanging with the string of lights. Sweet dreams, Jillie!

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