Monday, March 16, 2015

How Not to Follow Directions

Salted Caramel doughnut and coffee at the General American Donut Company.
I'm doing a book review for the site Cut Out + Keep.  This means that I receive a craft book, look through it, tell them what I like, and then make something from it.  That seems straight forward and easy enough.  I chose a project that I felt excited about and I got all my materials together.  I even learned what a hand cranked knitting dolly is.  Nothing knitting comes naturally to me; that thing was/is confusing.
I spent a couple of hours sitting in bed watching a movie and cranking out cord.  Clearly I was over excited about this because I have cord for days.  Really, I have made the project twice and I still have a pile of cord.  Also, don't make cord in bed, sit at a table or something.  My back and my arms were sore.
Okay, back to the project; I made it and it was frustrating.  Then I looked back at the book and found directions that I did not follow.  I made it again, it was less frustrating, and again, I found myself not following all of the directions.  Maybe this project was written in a general way so that the person making it would be encouraged to take a little creative license?  Maybe I'm just not good at following directions?
I already know I'll be making a third version of this project (I just can't let go!) and I want other people to make their own versions so I can see if they follow the directions or do something more like I did.  This has become less about crafting and more about a curiosity of how each person interprets things differently.  Obviously, I need to get back into grad' school. I'm even carrying the book around with me so I can study it.
Soy latte at the Foundry.  They have great diy OSB tables.
Anyway, in between making versions one and two, I went to a doughnut shop and a coffee shop.  The Lady Bean wanted to explore her home city and we were out of coffee.  I probably needed the break because I think I'm obsessing.  Wanna' come over and make a tiara?  Bring yarn.

xoxo,
b

Monday, March 9, 2015

Alligator Pinata

It was birthday time again and this year that called for an alligator pinata.
The candy went in an opening in the mouth.  The alligator is based on the one from Oh Happy Day.  If you'd like to see more photos look on my Instagram.

xoxo,
b

Monday, March 2, 2015

One finished corner...

Valentine surprise
I have a bedroom update, but first, have you ever tried to gift balloons on an extremely windy day?  It doesn't work.  All the strings tangle and won't separate.  So my two bouquets of six became one room's worth of ceiling balloons.  I grabbed the scissors and right before I gave into cutting the strings, I decided to just release them.  I think this worked much better.

One completed corner.
I have one corner (and most of a wall) of the bedroom finished.  I tried to hang the mirrors I had just finished painting, but they're very heavy and one of the wires kept snapping.  I put them away and bought the proper supplies when I went out to run errands.
The art wall has been up for awhile, no changes there.  Her back ordered West Elm bedding finally came and I steamed it in the dryer.  I couldn't handle the thought of ironing it.  I think I might hate ironing so I was procrastinating about putting on the bedding.  I survived though and I finished these little mountain pillows.  I read a tutorial for making these pillows, but I ended up just sort of doing my own thing.  I had a sweater dress that shrank and some felt scraps so I made some chalk shapes and cut them out with a rotary tool.  I sewed the felt and sweater into place at the same time.  After they were stuffed and together, I tacked down the felt edges with a buttonhole stitch.  I cut out the rest of the dress and decided to make more.  It's very satisfying.
The side table is the same one we've had for awhile.  It's from Urban Outfitters and I think it's for record storage, but it's also good for books.  The wall sconce is new and also from Urban Outfitters.  I had to finish the headboard before I could decide where to hang it.  It doesn't look like they sell the table anymore, but I kinda' love the little light.
The headboard is what I would call one of my major projects for the room.  The main project, other than painting and papering, was refinishing the dresser.  I looked for some headboard inspiration for awhile.  I know that beds don't have to have them, but it makes it look complete to me.  I love tufting and I saw a great tutorial for a faux tufted twin headboard on Vintage Revivals.  Mr. Husband is a painter so we have a variety of large frames around the house.  I looked around and chose the one I liked best.  I got real excited and bought all the supplies.  I found some great remnant fabric and learned that it's cheaper to buy a foam mattress topper than it is to buy foam (Joann Fabric coupon + twin eggshell topper = best deal I could find).  Alright!  I was ready to go and my materials sat there for a few months.  Um, meh.  I have no idea why I'm this way, but I am.  I think I was intimidated by the thought of messing it up.  When I finally did decide to conquer it, everything went quick and smooth (until I realized that I didn't have access to a nail gun-- we're working on that).  I had another person to help for everything except the tufting.  The directions are easy to follow.  I had some trouble getting my faux tufts to staying so I pressed down harder with my stapler and put 2-3 staples in for each tuft.  I used the same button kit as the tutorial and it worked well, but thicker fabric will take a little forcing.  I used a hammer to press the button backs in (be careful not to flatten the button face when doing this).  I kind of love it.  I would make another.  I'd actually enjoy having a reason to make another.

Right after I finished.  See my scissors?

Here's a bonus photo since the pillows are stacked in front of it in the other photo.  My next big DIY for the room is to cover a bean bag chair in faux fur.  The pre-fab versions that were adult size (Miss Lady is 5'5 and growing) were way too pricey so we got a cheaper chair with the intention of making a cover.  I just ordered the fabric. 
The room should be done in April.  I'm slow and I need to make a trip to Ikea before I can complete it.  So much to do.

xoxo,
b

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

This Room

Hello!  I have been obsessing over Miss Bean's room.  I have filled myself to capacity on Pinterest and various online searches.  Can't. Look. Any. More.  I've reached my visual fill and now I just need to get in there and work, but, um, I have to work so it's going slow.

Way back when--moving in.
 The image above is from almost 4 years ago when we were moving in.  The Lady Bean was little then.

The same wall a week ago.
This is that same wall; the space to the right of the window.

Detail of gallery wall.

This is a little bit of wall art DIY.  The empty frame in the previous picture became the home for a happy little salt dough cloud.  I made some ornaments in December (and then I wondered what to do with them).  I put printable paper from Mini Eco in the frame and glued the cloud on the glass.  Boom!  A little bit'a cute.

The new dresser when we first saw it in the store.
Another update since the first picture is a new dresser.  She's 13 and 5'5; I think she could use some grown up furniture.  We replaced the two pieces of children's furniture with one large dresser and I love it, but this finish wasn't going to work.

Our inspiration
The "French Maid" dresser was the inspiration for the new finish on her new dresser.  It's pretty great.

The room in 2015.
This is how the bedroom looks currently.  You can see that it's still very much a work in progress, BUT...  The dresser is done!  Look to the left, that's 5 feet of lovely.  Oh how I love to do finish work.  The decorations hanging from the ceiling are nice, but they need to be taken down.  The Lady doesn't do pink anymore so while I love paper decorations, we are going to move on to something similar, but different.

There are mirrors to paint and more frames to hang, cords to hide, etc. and so on, and so on...

xoxo,
b

Monday, December 29, 2014

Featured Member on Cut Out + Keep

It's finally up!  I'm horrible at the interviews, but check it out here!

xoxo,
b

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Has it really been almost a month?

Wow.  I do get distracted.  Last time I posted, the current pumpkinhead was just a baby form.  Now it's getting a base coat; photos soon.  I am posting a "How To" for the pumpkin masks on Cut Out + Keep.

Fancy Bat is taking shape.  The only parts left to make are the leggings and the shirt.  I'm still frightened of knit.  I am sewing a practice set before cutting into the actual costume fabric.

I made my first turban and wore it to a holiday party.  I used these instructions in a size medium.
 
Okay, last thing today, a picture of my daughter's room taken while she was in ballet for the day.
She gets the best light in the house.
xoxo,
bmerry


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Catching Up

Mr. Husband left town over the weekend and we had an all lady house (except for one kitty cat man).  We started our weekend by watching Maleficent and then we got crafty and loungey.  The Lady Bean listened to a lot of music and worked on homework (wow).  I decided it was time to pull out old projects and new ones... always new ones.

Let's start with the new!
Pumpkin form
I made progress on the pumpkin mask, but for some reason I don't like using a black bag for the form.  I don't even know why, but it's covered with paper now.

Linoleum block
I finished my first product review for Cut Out + Keep.  A project with a tutorial and final photos will be posted there.  I am not sure when, but I will put a link here when it happens.

I call this "The Louise Pattern".
Miss Bean decided to be Louise Belcher for next Halloween.  I know this seems insanely early, but I enjoy working on the costumes when I'm stuck inside during the winter.  I also realized after years of last minute costumes, it's much more fun to be done with a costume when October hits than it is to be starting one.  The other benefits are better costumes because I'm not rushing and if it's already made, it's harder for her to change her mind 5 times.

Now for the old...
From white to grey.
I pulled out a bag of supplies that I had for a project(s) started two years ago.  I used to feel awful about doing things like this (you know, setting something aside and then just sort of walking away from it), but then I realized that I often end up going back (eventually) and it works better that way.  Sometimes I need to develop a few skills or step away in order to figure something out.  The problem with this method though, is that sometimes you decide you want more of a certain fabric you were using, but you can't find it anymore.  So the photo above is me "making it work" and dying some similar fabric that I already have.  Not what I would liked to have done, but I learned to buy a little extra in the future.

Fancy Bat is back.
That brings us to this, Fancy Bat.  Fancy Bat wears a fancy hat.  Fancy Bat also wears a vest and maybe some sort of a pocket watch, sips drinks with a pinky out, etc. because Fancy Bat is fancy.  FB is inspired by Mary Engelbreit characters, personified animals in children's books, and a bit of the Victorian era.  I drew the original sketches and sewed the hood and cape in 2012.  I was using this piece to challenge myself to sew a complete outfit based on a created character.  At the time, I was planning to purchase a shirt and tights to layer the pieces over, but now I've decided to sew those as well.  If I'm using this as a personal "sew a complete look" challenge, I really should go all the way.  Anyway, the next piece is cut and ready to sew and I've made a few tweaks to the design. I am loving it.  

Does anyone write?  Fancy Bat needs a story.  Maybe someday I'll write one, but that's not really my thing.

xoxo,
b