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Category Archives: DIY Projects

Penny Wall…CHECK!

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I honestly wasn’t sure this thing would ever get finished. Someone asked about it the other day which caused me to look back at the original post and I almost gasped when I saw it was from last May. GASPED! That’s not cool. Granted, it was a pretty big project. But it lit a fire under me which, to his chagrin, I lit under Ryan.

Here’s a before picture. Ryan put down some plywood so that we wouldn’t have to glue the pennies directly to the wall. We are renters, after all.

True to form, this is the only picture I have. Stupidly, I didn’t take any during pictures. Honestly, you guys, I SWEAR I did, but I cannot find them anywhere in my iPhoto library. Of course, I did have to wade through a LOT of Comic-Con pictures (thanks, Ryan). And, I’ll admit, probably 500 pictures of Ralph. He’s super cute. You’d totally understand if you knew him. ANYWAY, this is the only before picture I could find.

AND…after.

And here’s one of the reasons it took us so long:

They’re all heads up and faces forward! Well, as close to that as possible. Four score and seven years ago, INDEED! Plus, each one is glued separately. We started out using my trusty glue gun, but when it became Ryan’s turn (it got more difficult at the halfway point and I think he was afraid I’d somehow spaz out and fall from a step stool or something), he decided to just use Elmer’s glue. He said it worked just as well as (update:  he says BETTER than) the glue gun. I could have screamed since I had a few third degree burns (okay, just some reddened skin) from putting hot glue on every single penny. My delicate hands are ruined. My dream of being a hand model is now lost forever…

All in all, it was a little over $50 in pennies. Ryan’s grandma was nice enough to supply AT LEAST $20 worth. The rest we bought. Did you know that the bank “sells” $25 BOXES of pennies? Well, they do.

Side note – how do you like all of our fancy decanters? We started collecting them before we got married. And my new Liquor poster? Cool, right? My brother (from another mother) is making an awesome frame for it. I can’t wait!!

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It’s actually come to fruition

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“Where are we?” you’re probably asking.  The Shire?  Have I taken you to a dreamland of magic?  Brigadoon?  Kinda.  It’s my new terrarium, you guys!!!!!!!!!!!! 

I actually did it!!!  As you may notice, I didn’t use the glass thingy that I had initially.  I know, I know.  Upon further study, it just seemed like it would make a better vase than a terrarium.  The holes were just so dang tiny!  So, I sucked it up and bought a kit from Etsy (side note – the seller was super nice and I highly recommend her).  The only thing I’m sad about is the fact that the little figurine  (aaahahahahahah, right?) I bought was a little too big to fit.  Boooooo.  But don’t worry.  I’m on the hunt for something new.  I’ll keep you updated.

String Light Lantern

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Check this out – this idea is coming at you from my sister, Katy!  I see I’m not the only DIY’er in the family!  So, let me show you her fabulous idea.

Are you wondering exactly what this is?  Obviously, I’m not going to let you wonder for long.  I’ll give you the run-down.  My sister (like me) gets headaches from overly “stinky” things.  And by stinky, I mean things like some scented candles.  BUT she doesn’t get headaches from super cute candleholders!!  Duh.  That would be ridiculous.  Actually, that would be sad.  In this day and age, though, I bet there’s someone out there who is.  I’m still scratching my head wondering how so many people today are allergic to peanuts.  It’s weird, you guys.  And it really infringes on my right to eat peanuts on an airplane.  Ugh.

ANYWAY, Katy liked this lantern candleholder and, suddenly, the string lights in her window fell on her head!  Okay.  That didn’t really happen.  But she did get a little bored of the string lights hanging in her window, so she had a design epiphany.  Why don’t I put the string lights into my new fancy-pants candleholder?!  It was a “You got chocolate in my peanut butter.  YOU GOT PEANUT BUTTER IN MY CHOCOLATE!” moment. 

She did say, though, that she had to tweak it a little before it looked as cute as it does.  Initially, she tried to just ball up the lights and ram them in there, but the lights would eventually clump down into a corner and look…well, poopy.  My words.  So, she grabbed a curtain scarf, rolled the lights inside, fluffed it up a bit and put it in the lantern. 

Ingenious!  Now, all you fellow stinky candle afflicted people can run out and purchase candle lanterns and stuff!  Oh, and if you like this one, it’s from Partylite and you can find it here.  Tee hee.  I’m such a bad influence…

The Yudu is Fully Operational

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Like the Deathstar.  Get it?  These people do.  Anyway, every week I told myself, “This weekend, I’m getting the Yudu out.”  And every Monday I was like “Crap!  THIS weekend, I’m getting the Yudu out.”  It was a cycle.  But…that cycle has been broken, you guys!!! 

Oh, maybe I should first fill you in on what a Yudu is.  Duh.  It’s a screenprinting machine.  More specifically, it’s this.  You can do (yudu) lots of things – textiles, cards, etc.  (I couldn’t think of anything past cards, but I know there’s more).

So, without further ado…BAM!

Cute, right?!  It was part of the gift I made for the baby shower this past weekend.  It turned out pretty well for a first attempt.  Well, it wasn’t really the first.  Ryan helped me with the liquid emulsion we bought and then we had to come up with a cheat to adhere the TINY onesie onto the platen (I realized these words might all be a foreign language to just about all of you).  Plus we had to play around with the amount of ink to use.  So…this is my third attempt.  But it was the first in the sense that it was the first I’d ever hand out to someone with my name on it.  I’m not going to hand out crippity crap and say I made it.  (Insert scoff  here).  Although, I do wish I could have gotten the little “chain” higher up on the onesie, but it just wasn’t going to happen.  I can’t believe there are “people” out there who are so small that they can wear something like this!  I don’t think Ralph OR Ted could fit into that thing!

So hold on to your butts for some more Yudu designs.  Ryan’s already come up with some pretty dang funny things that we’re going to implement.  And…this weekend I’m getting the Yudu out.

Baby Girl Quilt!

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Okay.  I know I said I was going to wait until after the baby shower to post this, but I can’t.  I’ve said it before – my patience skills need some serious work.  Plus, the recipient doesn’t read my blog (sigh…), so she’ll be none the wiser.  Drum roll please…

TA DA!!!!! Right?!  Super pretty, if I do say so myself!  I decided to go with a solid color background this time.  And I made sure to buy enough.  This time.  It was a close call, though.

Oh, and you can’t really tell here, but I bound the edges with scraps from several of the same patterned fabrics I used. I really like it. Here’s a close-up:

Not the greatest picture, I know.  Maybe I should keep an amateur photographer on my payroll.

I’m already working on another quilt.  This time it’s for me.  And it is SO PRETTY!!!!  You will drop dead when you see it.  Literally.  Well, hopefully not, but still…

Baby Boy Quilt

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I actually did it!!!!!!  I made a quilt!  Granted, it’s a baby quilt, but IT’S A FREAKING QUILT!!!  It was finished a while ago, but I didn’t want to post anything about it until the recipient, my adorable niece Zoe, received it in the mail.  Yes, you read that correctly.  I’ll be a great-aunt.  Even more hilarious, my sister is going to be a grandma.  But let’s just keep on topic…

I may have written this before, but I truly mean it this time – I think I might now know what it’s like to have a kid.  After I was done with this thing, I just stared and stared at it saying ridiculous things like “I can’t believe I made that.”  Don’t parents say things like that?  I didn’t tell it I loved it or anything, but I TOTALLY do.  I’m just so proud of myself.  It has lots of imperfections – the seams aren’t exactly lined up everywhere, I didn’t buy enough material for the back so I had to put a big stripe down the middle and I HIGHLY doubt the border is the same width, but I think it’s wonderful.  Kinda like someone’s kid that’s kinda ugly.  Come on.  Don’t pretend they don’t exist.

Anyway, the pattern I used was this.  Honestly, I wish I’d chosen an easier pattern to start with.  It wasn’t necessarily hard, there was a just a LOT of cutting.  And sewing curves.  Yikes.  I also deviated a bit when it came to the quilting part.  Instead of just tying knots in the center of each circle, I actually quilted it with a free-motion quilting foot.  A free-motion foot is different from a “regular” foot because it enables you to move the fabric around instead of having to do straight lines.  Quilting itself made me feel like my back was about to break.  Something I didn’t really think about was the act of trying to ram a large portion of a quilt into that tiny space between the needle and the sewing machine.  It can’t be more than 6 inches which means there’s a lot of rolling and readjusting.  That and the fact that the weight of the quilt (surprisingly heavy) keeps wanting to pull the entire thing off the machine.  But I got the hang of it.

Here’s a picture up close.

Here’s a picture of the back.  Notice the big grey stripe.

I read that it’s nice to “sign” your quilt, so I embroidered something on it. 

I’ve also finished another baby quilt, but you’ll have to wait until after the baby shower to see pictures.  It’s not for a few weeks, so patience…  I hear it’s a virtue or something.

Side note – yes, these pictures were taken in my office at work.  It has WAY better light compared to my apartment.

State Love

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Some of you might know that I’m not from the Sunshine State.  Wait, the Golden State?  The Gold Rush State?  I can’t remember.  I’ll just say California.  I’m not from California.  I’m from the EMPIRE State.  Good ‘ole NY of S (like US of A – get it)!  More specifically, Buffalo.  Please don’t ask me if I’m a big Bills fan.  People ALWAYS ask me that.  And then they giggle and talk about how funny it was how they lost all those superbowls in a row.  Good grief.  Whatever.  What about our snow fall records?  No one beats us there!  So suck it!

Anyway, when I saw this I knew what I had to do.  I had to make one depicting my home state.  So…TO THE CRAFT ROOM!  Awww.  That makes me sad since “The Craft Room” is my dining room table.  Some day…

This time, I took some progress pictures to help you make your own.  It was pretty easy and didn’t cost much.  Of course, I had a scrap of wood sitting around and some fabric, but neither of those would cost much.  The only other things I needed were nails and crochet yarn.  Is it yarn or string?  I have no idea.  It looks like string.

SO…

One of my awesome readers asked what the kind of nails and string I used, so I thought it would be better if I just made a little list of your needed supplies:

Piece of wood
Paint/fabric & glue
Nails – I used 1 1/4″ 3d bright nails (my husband just informed me that the additional info relates to the type and finish of the nail)
Crochet yarn/thread stuff – size (gauge?) 10.

NOW:

Step 1:  Cover your piece of wood.  First off, if you have a nicer piece of wood, you could just paint it.  My piece was a scrap from some old Ikea shelves we had to cut down, so it was MDF and had raw edges.  It was easier to just cover it with fabric.  Of course, I just used Mod Podge to adhere it.  I suggest gluing the fabric on the back instead of spreading glue on the front because there were some spots where it soaked through and it looks a littly poopy. Not totally poopy, but a little.

Step 2:  Find a map of your state, print it out and tape it to the fabric.  I did the old “roll the tape into a little tube and stick it on the underside of corners” trick.  It worked like a charm.  I also drew a good-sized heart and taped that where Buffalo is.

Step 3:  Start nailing along the state border.  I just kinda eyeballed how far apart each nail should be.  I thought it looked the best when the nail heads were actually touching or very close to to that.  I’m going to add this little piece of advice as Ryan found a quicker way.  I think he thought I looked sad or spazzy or something.  First, he went and bought me what I’d like to call “Baby’s First Hammer.” It was very small.  Not quite a toy, but small.  He said the “normal” hammer was a little too big for my little (read: adorably delicate) hands.  Apparently, though, even that was pathetic to watch because he then hauled out the drill and showed me how to drill the holes first (with a slight smaller drill bit) and then put the nails in.  It was easy peasy.

Step 4:  Remove the paper guide you used.  This is where I was kinda happy I had done the drilling first.  Not that it was super hard to remove in between the nails, but it just saved some time.

Step 5:  Insert all the nails.  Obviously, this step is only if you drilled the holes instead of just hammered in the nails.

Step 6:  Start winding the string!  Since New York is not a square state and Buffalo is on a border, I had to finagle a little bit to get all the string to go in the same direction.  That meant that I completely skipped winding the string on some nails.  Once you get going, though, this part was pretty easy.

Step 7:  This is also optional.  Again, since the heart wasn’t in the center, Ryan thought it didn’t really stand out.  So, when I wasn’t looking, he got out a red Sharpie and colored the nail heads there.  Apparently he thought I might be mad because he said something along of the lines of “I did something that you might not like.  But I can totally fix it if you don’t.”  I think he’s afraid of me sometimes.  Anyway, it actually does look a lot better (see first picture above), but it also made me regret using green fabric.  He said that if it really bugs me, he doesn’t think it would be too hard to take the nails out, put another piece of fabric on and re-insert the nails.  Especially the ones where I drilled the holes instead of just nailing them.

Step 8:  Stand back and look at the awesomeness.

As a side note, Ryan had serious reservations about me doing this.  Get this.  His reason:  he thinks that we should “rep the West” instead of New York.  Insert eye roll here.  What are we Tupac and Biggy?  Redonk.