Monday, June 30, 2014

Pinterest is a fickle friend.

Pinterest, ah, pinterest. It keeps me up at night, makes me run out the door five minutes later than I'd like, and convinces me that I should be trying crafts that aren't at all within my skill set all the time. So here I am with my latest skill acquisition campaign- chalkboard art.

DIY chalkboard word art is harder than you'd think. I did this with chalkboard marker. Because it goes on smooth and dries *slightly less smudgeable than your standard chalkstick. Of course, halfway through, the friend to whom I was sending progress shots pointed out that I had misspelled a rather prominent word- yay distractions- and I got to test my damp cloth "spot removal" technique, then try to rewrite and resize the word, without smudging the word beneath it. I highly recommend triple checking everything before committing it to the board, and then before moving on.
The inspiration piece is, of course, more polished, but this will do. And now there are another four chalkboard boards calling my name in the basement. Next, I think I'll try to conquer painted word art, you know, for masochism's sake.

Any other suggestions on deceptively complicated Pinterest inspired projects to attempt?

Sunday, June 22, 2014

My DIY Kinde Case- Because Sewing and Reading are Life

 Ooh, pretty, but was is it? It's my DIY Kindle cover. Why? Because I needed one.  Cool yes?
 I decided I wanted one that would stand up, and not just keep it from getting dinged up in my bag. I would have just bought one, but I wanted two things that weren't going to happen if I bought one. I wanted a pretty floral (hello Amy Butler Ginger Bliss, circa 2005) and I needed it that night. Well, perfectly girly and immediate just doesn't happen all too quickly, so, I had to get creative.




Basically, I traced neatly around my new Kindle onto two layers of that plastic grid my grandma was always trying to teach me how to cover in yarn to make nifty over large cross-stitch-esque designs. Yeah, that never happened, but it is nice and stiff.

Once I had two pieces that matched my kindle of said plastic grid, I cut one into two pieces lengthwise about 2/3 of the way across. (that way those two pieces bend when everything is put together).

Then I cut matching pieces of felt and hot glued them to either side of the plastic grid for softness.

Next I cut four short pieces of elastic and one long piece of elastic, and the strip of fabric for my case cover. I determined it's size by laying out my three case pieces on top of the fabric, with about a quarter inch between the one that went behind that back of the kindle, the narrow one, and then about an eighth of an inch between the narrow and the last one, (the narrow will go in the middle) on the wrong side and tracing around them lightly in pencil. Then, I moved the pieces as though mirrored from those positions, outward, so that I traced a second large rectangle outside the largest rectangle, a second midsize next to the midsize, and a second small on the end, because in the end, I wanted my opening to go in the middle. Once I had all these rectangles marked out, large large, small, medium, medium, small, I added a 1/4" seam allowance around the whole thing, and marked that in, then cut out the long rectangle. Then it was just a matter of lining up where I wanted my elastic to go: four  short pieces situated so they'd cross the corners of the RIGHT SIDE of the end with the first large rectangle - you'll want to fold under the edges on the end that will be visible and finish it nicely, but that's only the two on the fold between the two large rectangles. Stitch them in place at the ends. They need to be tight because these will hold your kindle in place, so cut them a touch short and pull them a bit taut when you put them in.
Then put the long piece all the way across the RIGHT SIDE  approx 1" from end between the two medium sized rectangles, and stitch it down, just at the ends. When you're done, this is what will hold it close.

Now, you'll want to press the far ends (one end of a large and one small rectangle) under. Then fold these two bits toward the center so they just meet and stitch along the top and bottom, like you're making a pillow sham.

Then, the whole thing gets flipped right side out, the rigid felt covered parts slide in. Stitch between the split ends of the front cover so the rigid cover pieces don't slide around, and then along the edge of the narrow one between it and the opening.  Woot! Almost done. Slip the Kindle in to see if the elastic holds it. If it's too loose, use a needle and thread to tighten up the elastic. If you pulled it during the insetting phase, you should be peachy.

Now, the unsightly opening. I covered mine with a strip of ribbon neatly hot glued in place. Why? Because it was quick.

Last things last. Take a strip of the plasticy stuff about an inch by three inches, cover it in the coordinating fabric, and hand stitch it along the top and just a bit down either short side about an inch and a half from the far end of the back of the cover, to hold the folded front as a stand.

And then you're done.
Woohoo! Enjoy some good reading, or stream some movies. Live is just more fun with a good cover.

My apologies if that was hard to follow, but the whole process was pretty intuitive. You'll be fine. Seriously. You will.
If you don't want to have to deal with folding your elastic under, you can add an extra half inch between the two large rectangles, cut between them, attach the elastic, then sew them back together before proceeding. It makes for neater elastic ends, but it's more complicated from a construction standpoint. But you know, it's totally within your skill set.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Violcolora Wood

Well, I was aiming for blue with this woodgrain fabric design, but I love this violet-ish blue even more than expected. Of course, I forsee a few other colors that need to happen based on the woodgrain, because a woodgrain quilt might be exactly what I need.
I, For one, really like interestingly stained wood.
You?

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Spring Harvest

While meandering through my garden I spied a shy peek of red. This year's improvised mesh cages over the strawberries seem to be keeping the hungry birds at bay, so I got to enjoy the first sweet berries of the season. What's ripening in your garden?

Friday, May 09, 2014

5 Last Minute Mother's Day Gifts for the Broke, that Won't Clutter Up Mom's House

So, you forgot Mother's Day this year? Or maybe you don't have a lot of money to spend on your mom, or perhaps you put off buying the card until it was too late. If you're like me, you probably just had grand visions of making something complicated and ran out of time. Never fear- there's still time to do something thoughtful on the cheap.

1. Brighten Her World- Nothing says "I love you, mom" like showing up early Sunday morning with some window cleaner and washing Mom's windows, inside and out. Bonus points for not creating clutter and being nearly free. Yes, it requires you to live near your mom, but frankly, if you don't, and you didn't send anything, you're in a delivery or Amazon gift card kind of bind.

2. Grow Some Love. Plant her garden for her. This is particularly great if your mom loves a garden but has trouble getting down on her knees for the intensive start of season planting. This is what I do, every year, for my now 80 year old Mother-in-Law. Picking up a tray of flowers is not expensive (less than $2 for 6 plants, at most garden centers I've visited) and can put a lot of color in her yard.

3. Bind a Memory. Check out the myriad book binding tutorials online. They're fabulous, easy, and can be done with stuff you probably have on hand. If your mom is anything like my mom, she'd love a small handbound book (yay printer paper) to toss in her purse or keep by her bed for jotting down all those fleeting thoughts you and I would just tweet to the world and then not be able to find later. Bonus if you've got some lovely scrapbook paper laying around for a cover.

4. Girl Time. Forget the expensive spa, just you and mom having some good old fashioned girl time, at home. Do each other's nails, make a scary face mask out of stuff from your kitchen- just have someone else watch any of the littles who might detract from the calm of your time together.

5. If you don't have time for any of that, hit up the office supply section of your local box store, because I have yet to meet the woman who can't use a nice pencil sharpener or a good pen, and it's all under ten bucks.

If you're wondering, I just want my husband to fix my leaky faucet, and for my mom, I used the scrap wood in her garage to build the raised beds she's been asking for. Yay free!

Good luck, and Happy Mother's Day.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Home is where you post your plight.

My neighbors? They're cool. So I wasn't surprised, at all, to see this cute little sign pushing out of the mound near the curb as I walked to visit a neighbor today. Ah, winter, feel free to move along.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Frozen and the Gay Agenda

Yes, Virginia, it is reasonable to argue Frozen has a gay agenda. Here's why.
The whole point of fairy tales is to tell stories with archetypes whose struggles work on multiple levels and speak to different situations. Elsa's is the story of a girl who was different, whose parents felt she should hide that difference. A girl who felt isolated despite the love around her. On the surface it is the story of hidden power, the fear of an accusation of witchcraft or sorcery. Those are still real concerns today, and to every little pagan kid in the audience, the story touched a chord. For the LGBT audience members, they may have identified with Elsa's isolation too, and that's, wonderful. That's the point.
Elsa began concealing who she was for the sake of other people's opinion and learned that the path of honesty, love, and self acceptance can make the world a better place. Who can't benefit from that lesson? The closet atheist, the creative depressive? No, everyone can benefit from that message. So while yes, there has been a lot of drum beating with the far right, dare I say extremists, decrying that Frozen is nothing but shoring up the Same Sex Marriage argument and normalizing homosexuality, really it is just normalizing vulnerability, inner strength, and the positive effect of embracing our individuality.
Go out there and interpret Frozen. Then reinterpret it. Deconstruct it, compare it, look at the symbols and pick apart the social values. Mock Anna's lack in judgment and scratch your head wondering where the Regent went. Connect with the piece. It is a fairy tale, created for human connection- a metaphoric prism through which we can all view many things, even the "gay agenda." Then when you've exhausted yourself, Let it Go.