Saturday, July 30, 2011

Braided Hexnut Bracelet (and a safety precaution?)

So. I have to go to El Paso. I shouldn't have feed my curiosity with more google searches. I should have left it at 'don't go out alone.' I should've told my coworker to not elaborate when he said that he was stationed at the border for a few months. I should not have ready the line about El Paso bordering Juarez, also known as 'the most dangerous city outside of a declared war zone.' WHAT?!

Anyway. I saw this on pinterest:

And in spirit of the the pinterest challenge on Young House Love (and on Bower Power and over at Emily Henderson's and on Making a House a Home), and the ball of twine sitting on my desk, staring at me, and refusing to be put away until I attempted my project, I did it:

You like my cute jammie shorts? Yeah, I wore them 80% of today.

But it was SUPER easy. I cut three pieces of twine just shy of 3 feet long. I gave myself an inch of slack, and tied a knot. Then I braided. I did about an inch and a half, and then just before crossing the string on the far left over, I added a hexnut. This is where is gets a little (and by little, I mean a teency bit) difficult. The string then started to like to flop around, but that's nothing I couldn't solve by hooking the string around my toes to keep it steady. I kept adding a hexnut on the left, crossing that string over, then adding a hexnut to the right, and crossing it back over, braiding the hexnuts in until I was out of hexnuts. And then I braided some more. I braided until the end of the twine, and knotted it off. I then wrapped it around my wrist, decided where I wanted it to lay, and unraveled some braided so as to make the bracelet a bit tighter. I then used some superglue and glued the ends of the twine to a jewelry clasp (so that the bracelet doesn't just tie on). It's one of the clasps that you lay the ribbon in and squeeze it close with pliers - the superglue is just for some extra securing because it is twine. The clasp also has the piece where you can adjust the length (you know, like the clip on one side and the loops on the other), so I can play around with the slack. And voila! A project totaling $0, as I had everything lying around. If I would have bought it all, here's my estimated breakdown:

  • Twine: Ace Hardware: $4
  • 17 Hexnuts (that's how many I had on hand): Walmart: $2 (I got mine in a pack with some 3/4 #8 screws)
  • Superglue: $3
  • Jewelry clasp: JoAnn's: $2.44 (here's the exact ones)

Cheap?! YES!

And the best (and maybe weirdest) part? I figure that I can wear it in El Paso, and if it comes to it (hoping against hope), I can use it as a brass knuckles sort of deal. Maybe that's a little too out there. But I'm way scared. Way way scared.

So, here's some cheery photos - look at Bruce, loving his humid climate:

And did you see the baby traps at the bottom? Does he know we have little flea flies? They're so cute!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Apartment Tour!

By popular demand, it is your treat to listen to me narrate as if you don't know what a chair is. I don't know why I felt the need to talk throughout (probably so you didn't hear me breathing, which would have been creepier, and you would have wanted to do this to me).

I think the video/time of day/lighting got most of the colors true to real (minus the bath mats, and this bothers me). But ignore the mess, and enjoy a virtual tour! Then come visit.

Apartment Tour! on Vimeo.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Dresser: finished!

It's been a long time coming. About a month and a half, actually. I finished this guy about two weeks ago, but with my impending move, it wasn't worth the effort to take him back up to my bedroom, so he stood empty in the garage for a week. Waiting. He was so excited to get his drawers in him, he could barely stand it! Okay, maybe that was me.


Doesn't he look fabulous?! Don't pay attention to his side  decor of moving boxes, or the piles of stuff without homes on his top. I love his deep brown, his nice new hardware, and, most of all, that this was a $35 project, and an entirely new dresser. My dad didn't even recognize it, and this was his dresser for maybe 15 years.
Sidenote: it's come to my attention that I may not be able to take straight pictures.

I got all of my hardware and paint at Wal-Mart. I usually like to avoid the Wally World, but, due to a flat tire on a Sunday in northern Michigan, I was left to wander the local Wal-Mart for an hour while the tire was fixed. This gave me the time to browse the paint and hardware options, with literally nothing else to do. I used the Alno Inc Traditional 1.2" Brass Knobs in Satin Nickel and the Liberty Satin Nickel 3" Square Foot Pulls. Each came in a set of two, rounding that total to roughly $12. I picked up a spray primer in a deep red/brown/rust color, and about 4 cans of a dark brown spray paint. I can't remember the specifics on the spray paint, but I know I have a leftover bottle packed in some box somewhere. 

The work on the body of the dresser was infinitely easier than the drawers. I borrowed my dad's hand sander, which was a major upgrade from when I did the drawers by hand. Using an 80-grade sandpaper, I sanded off the thick coats of gloss and got the dresser down to his particle-boards and trim skeleton. Then I painted. Easy as that. I let each coat dry for a day, mainly because I would do a coat after work, and wanted to give the full two hours between coats, but didn't want to stay in my paint clothes, delay a shower, and delay going to bed every night. I wasn't in dire need of my clothing to be in a dresser, so I let it space out. I did maybe 5 coats, and i don't know if that was because that is what the dresser wanted, or because I'm a sub-par spray-painter. I need to work on standing a bit further away, I know that much.

And for a shot of nostalgia, here's the before, in my bedroom in Columbus before moving out. Goodbye, glossy-fake-wood-grain and ugly hardware!

Friday, July 15, 2011


This has nothing to do with creating. Well, as I should be packing for my impending move, it has nothing to do with working, either. Procrastination!

Moving always gets me a little excited. Sure, I'm annoyed at the packing, not being able to find anything, and the huffing and puffing. But I love going through all of my stuff and keep everything, necessitating the super cute organization baskets sort through the necessary and unnecessary. Moving also makes me [falsely] believe that I can paint. I am dying for the day that I can paint. Alas, I am in the cycle of post-college yearly apartment hopping, so I'll just dream for now.

And start mood boards.

I started with a quiz, from one of my all-time obsessions, Ikea. Turns out I'm a Scandinavian Natural. Huzzah!

I'm liking this.

So I created a bit of a living room. I wanted to work with two of my favorite pieces, and really, that's all I'm working with. The picture is a canvas print of a picture my sister took of my grandpa's pond in Michigan. I've gotten a few done since then, and I highly recommend Canvas Pop. I've gotten another print for my bathroom and two prints on flat canvas (so the picture wasn't wrapped around the wood frame) for my hallways. And we've sent more of my sister's awesome photography skills to be mounted for my grandma's wall. Really - they do a great job, and I'm constantly wondering what I can get printed next. 

The other piece is a buffet table used as a TV stand. It's bamboo, and it was found on an AWESOME sale. I'm talking $200 for a $900 piece. I love furniture outlets. Also, it's just super pretty, no?

And then I mashed some colors.

I'm going to have to work on the colors. I was pulling from Word, and it's a little difficult. I like the blue and charcoal, but I couldn't make a decent brown, and the middle purple/blue accent color is just not right. I was shooting for the color of the cloud in the middle of the pond picture. If anyone has a suggestion of that color, please share :)

Until then, I'll be dream-painting and decorating my imaginary future house.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Glass Etching.

I saw a tutorial on glass etching, and it claimed to be easy, and really, IT WAS. In fact, I went a little beyond the one pan I wanted to glass etch for a friend, and I etched my set of three glass pans.

I used contact paper, an exact-o knife, glass etching material (I found it at Michael's), and a set of cheap paintbrushes.

I first measured out a length of contact paper, sketched my friend's last name, and cut it out the negative space in the contact paper.

Then I realized that  if I were to attach that piece to the pan, that I would be etching the name backward. So I  peeled off the backing and stuck it to the back of another piece of contact paper of the same dimensions.

 This was the result.

I forgot to take a picture of the next step, but it's super easy. I followed the instructions on the glass etching material, which was to paint the material over the letter cut outs. Apply a thick amount, and leave it on for 6 minutes (or however long the bottle says). Then, you wash off with water.

And Voila!

I got fancy (and tired of cutting out of contact paper), and starting free-handing these babies.

This is what the material looks like when it's sitting. It's just a thick white blob.

Here's two of the pans I made:
I'm sorry for the difficulty to see all of the details. It's hard to photograph these things.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

T-shirt Blanket: Pittsburgh Blanket Edition.

The Pittsburgh blanket is done! After my shower curtain debacle, I needed something to boost my spirits. Also, this has just been waiting to be finished.

The original plan was to do a square pattern on the back with a Steelers fabric, a Pirates fabric, and a Penguins fabric. Then it was discovered that the Pens don't license their logo for fabric. The option then could have been to use generic hockey sticks, but that wasn't worth it. So then it was just the Steelers and Pirates. And then the Pirates fabric order was canceled. So, moving on, the Pirate fabric was swapped for black Steelers fabric because yellow fabric squares were already cut, and something to cut squares out of at this point was needed.

I'd say it turned out just fabulously.

After sewing the Steeler squares, I sewed the t-shirts and Steelers, right sides together. I left a one-square wide gap, and turned the blanket out. I then did a blind stitch on the gap.

I had wanted to do a couple of stitches through the blanket (from the front to back, but in the middle of the blanket) so as to keep the blanket from spinning around. Every black shirt corner matched to the dead center of a yellow Steeler square though. I like using black thread because I feel it's less conspicuous. So I just left it.

Ah, success. For the front, check here. And my sewing/creating ability is back :)

AND, to top it off, I used some of the extra Steeler fabric, cut out the decal, and BAM!

I finished my last two onesies, as one baby mama and one baby daddy are Steeler fans. I love a good two-for one.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Drying Rack.

A bit ago, I enlisted my dad for a bit of woodwork.

I saw these wall drying racks popping up on the internet and in some of Martha's magazine, and thought that would be great as my living situation still changes every year. I'll always have a wall, so a wall drying rack made more sense than a pop out one. I went to buy one first, and then didn't want to fork out the $80. Seriously. So I found a tutorial and with a bit of forcing things together, here we are!

Ignore these kind of ugly pictures. I haven't hung it up because I'm moving soon, so it's living in the garage for now (with very poor lighting). So now it's hung up (and functioning!), but the laundry room still does not have good lighting. Alas. You'll have to take me word that it's cute and weathered-like, and the middle knob isn't cock-eyed, like he appears. 

Here's a shot at my tutorial:

Wood pieces:
  1. 2 x 2’ precut birch (1/2 inch thick)
  2. Two 1/2 x 2” poplar boards
  3. Two 3/8” dowel rods (48” long)

  1. Hook lock
  2. Narrow loose pin hinges (set of two)
  3. D ring hangers for mounting on wall
  4. Bracketed hinge for side (or chain with small screw eyes)
  5. Three knobs (Target sells these in packs - much cheaper than buying individually)

  1. Primer and paint
  2. Wood filler
  3. Wood glue

I made my frame 24-inches wide and 21.5-inches long. My dad insisted on making the edges 45 degrees, because 'that's the right way to do it.' It gave me practice on my triangle skills.

After we cut our boards, we cut the dowel rods to fit. This happened to be 22 inches. 

We then drilled the holes into the sides (the 21.5-inch pieces). We put the pieces next to each other to make sure that the holes were in line. We then drilled the one-inch holes. My dad had a trick for this: he measured one-inch on the drill bit, then taped it off. It would have been easier (and straighter) with a drill press, but our method worked.

Then we started assembling the drying rack frame. With a little bit of wood glue, my dad's nail gun, some forcing and clamping and wood filler in the cracks, we had a frame. This is also the time Dad told me, 'Wood working isn't really my thing.' So in our frustration, we trucked on. You may need to hammer in the dowel rods a bit, using a rubber mallet, or, in our case, a piece of wood on the outside of the frame and a hammer (lightly!).

Then it's time for painting and priming. I trust most can do this, or read the instructions on the spray can.

The rest involves the piecing together. We put hinges on the bottom, where the frame would swing out. On the sides, we put in a bracketed hinge. This was a bit difficult because the hinge was not made for our angles. The mounting piece was 180 degrees of where we wanted it, and the piece to attach to the rack had a little dip in it, for reasons I don't understand. It was nothing a little pliers and bending couldn't fix. Make it work! We put a hook on top (we don't want this thing swinging around on its own), and the hangers on the back. Lastly, we drilled holes for our knobs. My dad got fancy and counter-sank them so the screws on the back of the knobs would lay flat with the wall.

And ta-da! There it is! Well, I did some sanding to give it a 'distressed' look, too. But now I have a drying rack that I don't have to rearrange my rooms to set-up. So happy :)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Shower Curtain [fail].

I saw a blog with a beautiful DIY shower curtain. And the shower curtain was yellow stripes. I have been looking for a yellow shower curtain without ducks for WEEKS. It was destiny. I was meant to follow the tutorial and recreate the perfect yellow shower curtain.

And then this resulted.

It's just atrocious. The yellow, the gaps of white, the ruffles, the poor proportion. All wrong.

So where did it go wrong?

I bought a full size cotton sheet, word for word of the tutorial. I hemmed it to my desired length and folded over the wider top hem so as to strengthen the top of my curtain. All good.

I couldn't find the specific Tulip soft paint that was recommended, but my sister found fabric spray paint and had used it for some t-shirts before. Okay, we'll try it. If I were to do this again, I would not use it. A bottle didn't last one strip across the sheet, meaning that I had to buy five. But I didn't buy five at first, I bought two and thought it would be enough. So then I ran out mid-stripe, and ended with a two-tone stripe in the middle as one had a full day of drying on the other. Secondly, this paint runs like mad. It didn't matter that I measured out my 12-inch stripes and taped them off, and then put extra tape around that to prevent spray. The whole sheet is yellow-tinged. And the stripes became roughly 15 or 16 inches, throwing off my white space in between.

My sister also grabbed me a little bottle of grey paint. I thought I might splatter or something. Instead I did these wonky dots around the stripes. I have no idea what came over me. They were just ugly. But you know when you do something, and you know it's bad, but you just have to keep going because you started and the whole time you're crossing your fingers, hoping, just maybe, that the horrible thing turns into something wonderful that you can brag about? That pulled me through.

But it was still just horrible.

So then I decided that I would cover it up with ruffles. It would look so cute! I could cover up the dots and make a crisp line around the yellow.

Except not.

So alas. This baby is out.

All is not lost, however. I did learn that I can make a mean button hole. And some decent ruffles. I wouldn't have tried either without this project. So watch out; everyone may be getting something with ruffles and button holes in the near future.

Friday, July 1, 2011


I keep saying that I made onesies, but, in reality, I just embellished them. My cousin is having a baby girl, and one of my best friends is having a baby boy, both due in September. As clothes are something that babies can never have enough of, I thought I'd take a shot at making some of my own.

Disclaimer: these pictures are horrible. My apartment doesn't have overhead lighting. It's a very strange thing, but the result is dark pictures sans flash, or overexposed pictures with flash. C'est la vie.

It's difficult to see these baby girl ones, but there's one with a fabric bow, one with a fabric flower, one with a line of eyelet lace with ribbon bows on the shoulder, and the last with three rows of eyelet lace on the collar. 

The boys ones include one with a tie, one with a mustache, one with hockey sticks, and the last one with a throw to Harry Potter, because we're obsessed.

For the tie, I had ripped the seam out of one side. Then I just got lazy and unbuttoned the bottom and just deal with the tight turns, especially around the neck. I made a paper stencil for the tie, mustache, and hockey sticks, just redrawing until it looked about right. The 'Muggle Born' is made of iron-on letters. I was not about to try and sew around each of those individually.

I had bought two packs of 5 onesies, so I still have two more to each. I'm thinking maybe a bear shape? I don't know. I'm struggling with this last one.

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