Productive Weekend

Alex original

I sold my first drawing on Etsy yesterday (someone sends me a photo portrait, and I draw it)! Yay! Hopefully it’s the first of many.

And Jane was…really helpful….

This was after I had shooed her away from my paper many. many. times.
This was after I had shooed her away from my paper many. many. times.

.I also worked on a necklace for my mom…

Photo1 (62)And made a couple of cards…

Photo1 (63)Then today I had dance class, as usual…

Photo1 (64)And stopped by a craft fair, where they had an apple press (!), which smelled amaaaziingggg….

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I got some groceries, and may I just say…

EGGNOG!!!!!!

Photo1 (65)Now I’m off to get some more stuff done and then watch Once Upon a Time. 🙂

PAINTSPLOSION!

It’s been a while since I made a new post because I have been very busy being a painting maniac. I think I’ve finally finished all of the main paint projects I’ve had on my to-do list.

And here they are!

1. Painting a dress! I found this dress/top/tunic thing at Target and I fell in love. It’s the perfect fit, it’s super soft, super comfy. It was just a little plain. So …I bought three of them. Because I’m insane. And left one plain and patterned the other two. Love em!

2. I needed to put something on my wall, and I really like that old window frame look, so I found an old window in my basement, cleaned it, and sprayed the glass with a reflective spray paint (Krylon Looking-Glass Paint), and now it’s this nicely aged mirror thing.

3. I’ve had this dresser for almost 20 years, and it’s great, but unattractive. I wanted to paint it, but was nervous because it’s completely laminate. Very plastic-y. But I found this tutorial, and basically just bought the exact stuff she used, and followed her instructions (for the most part). I never have the patience to wait in between coats long enough, so my dresser has some imperfections, but it’s good enough for me.

4. Been wanting to paint this little bathroom cubby since I bought this house 4 years ago. Finally did it! And this is a plain ol’ Ikea table I got years ago.

5. Boring black tv trays. Must make everything Aqua-colored!!!

6. Boring Target tv stand. So much prettier now!

Whew! Okay, now I can get on with my life. And catch up on all of my tv shows.

How to Make a Belt Purse

Also called modern fanny packs or bum bags, these are way more convenient than traditional purses, especially if you’re plodding around a festival or a fair all day.

Here’s how to make one in 3 Super Easy Steps!

Materials:

-A belt

-A small purse/bag/pouch

-scrap of leather/other strong fabric

-needle and thread

Photo1 (16) - CopyStep 1:

Put your belt on and hold the bag/purse against your belt. This will help you to see where to put the scrap of fabric. I didn’t do this first, and just sewed it on the only way I thought of:

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This made the bag stick out from my hip too far. So I had to rip it out and start over again. :/

Step 2:

Sew the scrap of fabric to the back of the bag. You’ll sew the top and bottom of the scrap, leaving the middle open.

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This will create a loop to slide the belt through:

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Step 3:

Wear your belt bag and marvel at your handiwork!

Photo1 (32)(Bonus: The way I made it, I can still use the purse as a regular purse because I can just loop the strap through the links on the sides whenever I want.)

Among other crafty things from today, I re-decorated my front door wreath. Not a minute after I put my wreath on my bed, Jane curled up inside of it and was instantly the happiest cat in the world.

Photo1 (31)And then after I decorated it and put it back on the bed, guess who came back immediately.

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Soren's ABC Book is Finished!

About a year ago, at my sister-in-law’s baby shower, I presented the idea of making an alphabet book for the new baby. I asked all of our friends and family to contribute;  they each chose letters from the alphabet and came up with little sayings to go along with each letter. I drew pictures for each letter, and then…….realized I had no idea how in the heck to get the pages into actual book form. Have you ever made a book? Like, a physical hard cover book? I had not. I was a bit in over my head.

I looked into having a local bindery do it for me (would have cost at least $150 because I had decided to use thick paper for the pages…great…), I tried to find a photo album or good-looking three-ring binder to put it into (couldn’t find anything the right size/orientation), and I finally ran into a friend of a friend who has made books. So I bugged her ceaselessly to help me, and she graciously relented, and we bound it ourselves at a local book arts center.

ABC Book Making 1
We had made accordion folds (I royally screwed up mine, oops!) into the binding paper, and I glued each page to one side of each fold. Then we put really heavy brick-things on top to smoosh it all together.
ABC Book making 2
She has measured and cut the boards for the front and back covers and the spine, and is now applying the cover fabric to them.
ABC Book making 3
She then glued one piece of binding paper to the spine of our accordion-folded pages, and she’s now applying glue to the end papers (which will then be glued directly to the cover boards).
ABC Book Cover
Here is the cover. I just glued my page to the front cover, and then bordered it with washi tape.
ABC Book Notes
The beautiful end paper. It’s a soft Japanese paper with a lovely, rich red scalloped pattern. The note is a thanks to the contributors of the book and a dedication to Soren’s late grandmother.
ABC Book Washi Tape
An example of what the bound pages look like. I lined the folds with washi tape to clean up some glue vestiges and some imperfect page positioning.

Some examples of pages:

ABC EABC OABC UABC Y

Final Thoughts!

1. If I do this again, I’ll decide on the method of binding prior to beginning. It would be much easier to just use regular paper (I basically used cardstock) because then binderies could do it for me for a somewhat reasonable price. Or I could use some sort of technological assistance (there are websites for making books).

2. Colored pencil doesn’t show up well on brown paper. I like the look of colored paper (white just seems too stark to me), but it was really difficult to get vibrant colors (or even visible colors).

3. It was really fun to learn how a book is made!

Look What I Did!

Dresser 2I just painted this hutch thingy! Boy do I love Before and Afters. Here’s the before:

Dresser 4It belonged to my grandparents, and after both of them had passed away, I received a few of their wonderful pieces of furniture. This one had been in my garage for a while, because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with it. But I had some left over paint from another project (I’ll show you that project someday soon), so I dragged this out, and got it started!

Dresser 5It had one of these fantastic drop-down lids, and became a desk. I really like it this way, but I would never use it as a desk, and I didn’t want to keep it closed at all times, so I decided to remove the lid and storage shelf (which was broken, see above pic). I kept them, in case I decide to add them back someday.

Dresser6I would have felt pretty bad about painting this if it were in really good condition, but the varnish/lacquer/whateverthiswouldbe needed to be updated anyway. And I don’t like large chunks of brown in my house, so I had to change the color.

Dresser 1Ahh chevron. I might have to change the pattern someday when chevron becomes just so “last season” that I can’t even stand to look at it anymore. But for the moment, I really like chevron (trends are trends for a reason, no?…usually). I ended up kind of marking out a grid onto the desk with a pencil and ruler, and then laying the tape down to fit into the grid (to ensure that my stripes weren’t off-kilter or poorly proportioned). Don’t know about you, but I can never get painter’s tape to work properly for me. So after pulling it up, I went back in with a tiny brush and fixed up a bunch of spots.

The white outlines on the drawers were a pain in the neck!! I couldn’t use tape or a ruler or anything since they’re not straight (I was outlining ridges that were already on the drawers), so I just had to freehand it. Which took forEVER. And if you look at them closely in person, you can definitely tell it’s hand-done. But it’s good enough for me.

Dresser 3Final Thoughts!!

This was my first time painting furniture (I know! What a newbie!!), so it was really fun to figure this stuff out. I haaaaate painting (like painting walls), so I wasn’t necessarily looking forward to this, but it was soo easy and quick!

Just how easy? Here are my steps:

1. Remove hardware, clean item (I just used a wet paper towel and then dried with a cloth).

2. Paint it! I used just some gray paint with primer in it from Home Depot (it was actually exterior paint, because it was from a previous project). I did about two coats. It probably took me about a half an hour (aside from the chevron and outlining on the drawers…that’s a whole other story).

No, I did no sanding. I know! The surface wasn’t super slick or anything, so I didn’t feel it was necessary (and I’m lazy), and it seems to have worked out just fine. Now I’m looking around my house at the million other things that I can paint. PAINT ALL THE THINGS!!!

Necklaces For Mom

My parents are impossible to shop for (they buy for themselves anything they’re remotely interested in), so I’ve taken to making them things for birthdays, Christmas, and Mother’s/Father’s Day. For my dad, I usually make desserts, and for my mom, I usually make jewelry. I’ve made her a couple of pins, but it’s the necklaces I’ve made that she actually wears. I always have her wardrobe in mind when I make them, and I know what kinds of colors she likes to wear, so I really try to make them fit with her outfits.

Here’s the first one I made, a couple years ago. The band is a little discolored now, but it was originally a rich lime-green.

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This one presented a challenge for me because I couldn’t remove the metal clasps at the ends of the band, so I had to use beads with holes large enough to slide right over the jump ring at the end. (It’s possible that I could have removed the jump ring; I was pretty new to jewelry-making, so I wouldn’t be surprised. But I don’t remember.) So it limited my options a bit, and I ended up paying quite a bit for materials for this guy. I used this particular band because she had actually pointed it out when we visited a local bead store, so I knew she’d like that part at least. And she does like the necklace a lot, and wears it often.

This is another one I made, and she likes it too.

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This is the most recent one I made, for Christmas this year. I had to adjust it a bit (add more extension to the chain), so she’s seen it, but doesn’t have it in her possession yet. I have no idea if she’ll like it or wear it. My mom is very particular, and she has strict guidelines for her style. The bird is a bit of a risk, especially placing it to the side, so we’ll see.

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