Tag Archives: D.I.Y.

Homestead: First Curtains

23 Jan

Early last year, I took out my new sewing machine and made some curtain panels. It was really fun! I pretty much followed this tutorial found on Design*Sponge, and made small adjustments where needed: designsponge.com/2010/02/sewing-101-curtains.html.

I started out with this little set for the front door. I wanted something that gave us some privacy, but also let in some light. And this cute cotton fabric did the trick! I’m just having issues photographing the finished panels. This angle looks awkward.

This angle’s also awkward, and the window is being especially reflective.

I tried closing the door to get a shot of the curtains, but now it just looks like I live in a dark hovel. Well, hopefully the combination of these three photos will help give you some idea on how the curtains came out.

The second panel I made was for our workspace. Tim and I have so much stuff that we needed to remove the closet door, so we could actually get in to and utilize the closet. To cover up the mess of art supplies piling up in the closet, I made this curtain panel. Mess, be gone!

Close-up of the adorable fabric.

And finally, I made a curtain panel for our back door. Same deal as the from door: I wanted something that would give us a little privacy, but also let light in (we get great sun coming in from the back yard in the afternoons!). I tied a light green ribbon around the middle. I’m happy that my math and planning skills came together on this one, I really like how it came out.

I wanted to find a fabric design that was nature-inspired without being too flower-y or frill-y. This fits the bill, and also pulls in the pops of green that we have going on in the kitchen color palette. (Not that we have a preconceived or purposeful color palette going on in our house; it’s more like this fabric just happens to jive well with what ended up going on with our kitchen “decor”.)

I really enjoyed making these! And I have lots of future plans for my sewing machine and me. Though I haven’t used it since making these… It’s partly because I’ve been busy with my Etsy shop, but it’s mostly because we got ViVi mid last year, and if she attacks/tries to play with the vacuum cleaner, I can only imagine what it’s going to be like when I try to run a large swath of fabric through the sewing machine… We’re working on teaching her that not everything in the world can be a toy or friend to play with, so I’m hoping to be able to pick up machine sewing again soon!

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Homestead: Christmas Ornament Wreath

11 Dec

I wasn’t sure what to do for a Christmas-y door wreath this year, so I searched around online for some ideas. I found this DIY Christmas Wreath idea from Shelterness.com, and I thought I’d give it a try! In the past, I had been put off by making an ornament wreath because using hot glue to affix all the ornaments felt too permanent; I knew I wasn’t going to get it right the first time, so I wanted to find a way to do it that was adjustable. And what I like about the Shelterness wreath is that the ornaments go on a rounded-out coat hanger, so you can move them around.

This is what I started out with: some colorful, round, cheap ornaments from the store as well as some smaller, colorful ornaments I already had laying around the house. (I ended up not needing to use them all.)

One of the first things you’re supposed to do is secure the metal caps of the ornaments with a little hot glue. Well, it seemed like the caps were on there pretty tightly, and trying to pry them off just to glue them back on felt a little pointless. So at first I just added a little bit of hot glue around where the caps met the ornaments, but that was eating up so much time. So, I stopped the gluing and started adding the ornaments.

This was actually pretty difficult! At least it was for me. After some experimenting, I finally figured out a decent process of mixing up the sizes to minimize gaps (and unsightly glimpses of coat hanger). It took about three hours! And when I was finished and started to re-twist the to ends of the coat hanger together…

A few ornaments popped off. Nards! So if you ever want to try this out, I highly recommend not skipping the hot gluing step at the beginning.

After all that work, I went to hang it on the door…

And it wouldn’t lay flat against the door. Argh! (At least it looks very festive.)

Well, so what if it doesn’t lay flat against the door, right? That’s easy enough to fix by changing the way the hanger’s set up…

…Except, there’s a bigger issue: The wreath is so big that the front door doesn’t close. Double Argh!

But Tim came up with a great idea:

Instead of a door wreath, it’s now a window wreath!

So I have one pretty festive window, and one pretty stark-looking door.

Homestead: Vintage Valentines Wreath

14 Feb

I’ve been attempting to make my house a little more festive year-round. I was hard-pressed for a winter-ish decor idea, until I saw this cute Vintage Valentines Wreath. How perfect!

I wanted a really busy wreath with lots of cute valentines. I can’t remember exactly where I found each valentine image, but if you want to try this at home, you’d be pretty okay with doing a search for “vintage valentines” or “vintage valentines free downloads”, and you’ll find some decent copyright-friendly images that are large enough to print.

I have lots of art supplies already at my house, so I stuck to making this out of materials I already have. I printed out the valentines on white cardstock and cut them out with scissors and an X-Acto knife. I cut a big circle with a hole in the middle of it out of bookbinders board (what a pain in the butt!) and painted the back of it with black gouache. I arranged the valentines into the shape I wanted. And then I glued everything in place, and went over it with lots of layers of Outdoor Mod Podge. It was my first time using Mod Podge! It came out okay, I just wish I did thinner layers so the brushstrokes weren’t as noticeable.

And there ya go:

Vintage Valentine-y goodness!

Here's a close-up of some of the adorableness.

I "needle" lot of romance.

I'm fascinated by this weird egg kid.

"It's PLANE to see I want to be your Valentine." I gotta get in to this Valentines-making business, and put my love of terrible/amazing puns to good use!

My mailman rang my doorbell last weekend to tell me how much he loved this thing. He’d been looking at it all week and wanted to find out how I made it so he could make one with his kids. This wreath makes me so happy whenever I see it, so I’m glad it could bring a little bit of joy to someone else as well.

Won't you be my Valentine?

Year-End Wrap-Up

3 Jan

December! This time of the year’s usually a-flurried with activity. On top of all the holi-daze madness during the month, I tried to do a couple of big projects, but failed. I did get to work on a couple of other fun things though (I’ll share later), and I also made a bunch of random little stuff.

Like this cute crocheted poinsettia! I chose bright-colored yarn to add to the holiday festive-ness.

I used two corsage pins and pinned it to a sweater, and wore it to a few holiday parties. Surprisingly, I don’t have any photos of me wearing it. But take my word for it, it made a lovely-sized corsage. It’s about as big as a small apple. I liked this little guy so much that I made a second one to give as a gift.

Here’s a little crocheted sushi roll I made as a gift.

The extra yarn in back was so I could attach it to something else. I was confused by the directions in the pattern, so I tried to follow the photo that was provided. I don’t think I did it quite right. But this was such a great, simple way to make a little crocheted sushi, and I have a feeling I’ll be making more of these in the future!

This crocheted frame is so darling, and simple to make!

Made this as a host/ess gift for a friends’ holiday party. I originally thought this was going to be small enough for a tree ornament, but it ended up making a pretty good-sized frame. My friends put it on their tree anyways. 🙂

I hot-glued some felt on to the back, but left an open space to slide in a photo. And I made a little loop so it can easily be hung up on the wall.

I actually made this little crocheted mistletoe last year (okay, technically, two years ago now), but it’s so cute that I have to share!

I call her Misty. Maybe I’ll make her some friends this year.

I made this gigantic glittery corsage to wear at a party. The night before, I realized I didn’t have a fun accessory to wear (this was before the crocheted poinsettia), so I rung up my neighbor and doubtfully asked, “Do you happen to have a glittery fabulous fake bouquet of poinsettias that you’re not using?” Oh Gwen, how I will never doubt you again!

There’s actually a photo of me wearing this, but despite its rather large size, you can’t really see it. It’s about the size of a large glittery orange, and I pinned it to a black dress.

Speaking of glitter, a friend threw an ugly sweater party, and I felt challenged to make this.

Front and back views. Sequins and glitter all over the place!

And trailing glitter all over my friend’s house wasn’t a very good present by itself, so I also made a matching ornament to commemorate the occasion.

Front and back views. I found this heart-shaped ornament at Target for pretty cheap, then I outfitted it with glitter and sequins.

My new year’s resolution is to take better photos. Perhaps, I dunno, upgrade to better lighting than what my window sill or living room floor can provide. To get me started, I made a little macro light tent! Found this dandy how-to from Strobist via Jen Kiaba: http://strobist.blogspot.com/2006/07/how-to-diy-10-macro-photo-studio.html:

Functional, inexpensive, and using recycled materials that I already had at home. Can’t wait to try out this bad boy! Though perhaps my first goal of the new year should be to get the Christmas decorations off the dining room table and in to storage. And also to put away my laundry.

Also, check out what Santa Tim got me for Christmas:

(I’m SEW excited!!!!!!!!!)

Wedding Part Five: Outta Time

10 Sep

My final wedding post is about all the things I’m sad I didn’t get to make in time for the wedding! Even though I was working on stuff up to the last minute on our wedding day (well I’m lying, I took a 3-hour nap at 6:30am), there are some things that I just didn’t get to finish. A funny one was that I didn’t get to make table place cards, whoops! But to save my sanity, someone (I think Bill, our groomsman/friend-fa-life) came up with the idea that the groomsmen could act as doormen and escort our guests to their tables. That ended up working out pretty well, plus it also emphasized the personalized nature of our wedding. Hooray!

Here’s some other stuff that I’m sad I didn’t get to finish in time for the wedding:

1. Hand-Crocheted Cake Topper

These two birdies cropped up on some of the stuff we made for the wedding, and I thought it would be adorable to make crocheted versions of them for our cake topper!

But this is as far as I got! I couldn't find a (free) pattern that looked like what I wanted, so I decided to make my own pattern. I had a lot of trouble with the color work though, so it took a lot of trial and error. I really wanted this as a cake topper though! I even brought this with me to the Museum, 'cuz I thought I would have time before the wedding to finish it. Ha ha ha ha ha. Well imagine these two little guys finished, with wings and beaks and eyes, and standing on a crocheted heart. One would have square glasses like Tim's, and one would have cat-eye glasses like me.

The cake still looked beautiful though! Katie (at Clementine Cuisine) used some nifty last-minute improvising skills to decorate the cake with leftover flowers from the flower arrangements and stuff. (c) Lisa Rigby Photography

2. Past Anniversaries Special Mini-Exhibit

I’m always making random stuff for Tim as gifts. Since the wedding was in a historical museum, and we were getting married on our 10th anniversary, I came up with the idea (a few weeks before the wedding, alas) that we could set up a “special exhibit” featuring stuff I made for Tim for past anniversaries:

One year, I'd found a cool book about architectural origami in the school library, and I was inspired to make something for Tim for our anniversary that year. It was a small paper box with little paper cut-outs of the two of us (using green papers, he loves green!). I can't find it though, it's packed up in a box somewhere. So I did this little sketch from memory just to give an idea of what it kind of looked like.

A few anniversaries ago I designed Cubee Craft (Love them! cubeecraft.com) versions of the two of us. Here's a mock up of what they look like! I also posted about them here: https://meincrafthaus.wordpress.com/2009/11/25/cubee-love

I was also going to include a print of the Save the Date post card I made, since it's technically for our 10th anniversary, har har!

I couldn’t remember any other anniversary pieces off the top of my head, so I decided to add some bonus pieces to the “exhibit”:

Bonus Piece #1: Here's a valentine I made for him one year. I can't find the printed piece, so here's a .jpeg of the design.

Bonus Piece #2: Here's a random colored pencil drawing of us that I did. I used to have short blond hair. (I've had a lot of different hair styles over the years!)

3. Directional Signage

I had all these ideas as to what to do for directional signs to the Museum and signage inside and stuff. But this is as far as I got with it! I did bring the poster board and my wide selection of color Sharpies with me on the wedding day though, I thought I'd have time to whip up some sweet signs before the festivities. Ha ha ha ha ha.

Well, that’s (finally) it for wedding posts, folks! Thanks for letting me share my special day with y’all. And I should be back to posting more regularly starting next week. We shall see…

And if you missed ’em, here are all the previous posts about my little personalized D.I.Y. wedding!

Part One: Hand-Made, Heartfelt, & Hitched!

Part Two: Close-Up of the Book Invitation

Part Three: Sew Crazy

Part Four: DJs on the Dance Floor

Wedding Part Four: DJs on the Dance Floor

9 Sep

Another way Tim and I wanted to personalize our wedding was to have our favorite tunes during the wedding bash! We both love music, and our tastes include tunes from different eras; so we thought our musical choices not only reflected our unique tastes, but also lent a sort of “timeless” quality that worked well with the old-time-y museum we got married in. Current meets classic, like getting married in 2011 among cool old machinery from the early 1900’s!

We especially wanted to share some of the really special-to-us songs with our guests, so we included this little section on the back of the wedding program.

Coming up with the playlist for the evening was really fun! It was also challenging in that we knew the acoustics weren’t going to be great in the giant museum, so there was some stuff that would just sound terrible (I had originally been entertaining the idea of using this song as our Processional music and this song, sans the intro, as our Entrance music. Also, we couldn’t play anything remotely jangle-y. Sorry Josef K! Sorry MBV!)

To help save on money, we also decided to DJ and emcee ourselves. We’re so lucky that our wedding party was up for helping us out with this! Bill (audio guru) helped us set up the equipment, and Sherwin co-emcee’d with Tim. We had lots of help DJ-ing as well. Hooray for awesome friends!!

DJs behind-the-scene. Sorry for drawing arrows all over your pic, Mary! (c) Mary McCarthy-Gardiner

Tim during "The Humpty Dance". Check out the emcee mic a'flyin'! (c) Liz Frazier

We were also excited to have my brother/Bridesman John close out the evening with a techno dance party!!

Oh Daddy DJ, please take me to the party... (c) Christine Spiliakos

We had so much music in our arsenal and we were having so much fun that the end of the evening crept up on us, and we didn’t get a chance to play everything! Maybe I’ll make a “Best of Tunes You Never Heard” playlist, haha!

So even though we were psyched to share our fave tunes all evening, it wasn’t all roses. The equipment we rented ended up being… well, shitty. We took a chance on Daddy’s Junky Music on Mass Ave. Hey, it was local and the price was right. Well when we went to pick up the equipment that morning, they didn’t give us the stuff we asked for. Tim ordered specific speakers, but even though he reserved them, they “didn’t have them” that day. And the mixer they gave us only had one clean channel. So obviously no one there checked the equipment before giving it to us. Jerks. So unfortunately it was a little hard to hear the music at some points, and to hear announcements on the mic. I’m sure the acoustics of the room had a lot to do with it too, but dude, when you can’t understand what the two guys who studied Voice and Articulation at college are saying, it’s not just the acoustics! So yeah, Daddy’s stinks. I keep meaning to write them an angry review or something, grrr!!

Because no one could hear him on the mic, Tim had to go to each table to let our guests know they could go up and get food. (c) Lisa Rigby Photography

The food was worth that little extra work though. So yummy! Thanks Katie at Clementine Cuisine! (c) Lisa Rigby Photography

We still had lots of fun though!! If you’re curious about some of the tunes we played, you can click on the images below to hear ’em!

Processional: Mambo Sun by T. Rex. The Bridal Party and I entered from outside, walked down this ramp, and continued down the rest of the make-shift aisle. My parents were waiting at the end of the ramp, where I met up with them and they walked me down the rest of the way. (c) Forrest Frazier

Recessional: Till the End of the Day by the Kinks. Well, at least it was supposed to be! But due to last-minute changes, it actually kicked off Cocktail Hour.

Entrance song: (My Baby Does) Good Sculptures by The Rezillos. (c) Lisa Rigby Photography

First Dance: This Magic Moment by Lou Reed. (c) Lisa Rigby Photography

Father/Daughter Dance: Isn’t She Lovely by The Idea of North. I love the Stevie Wonder version from when I was a kid so I was thinking about it for our dance, and turns out my Dad was thinking the same thing! But he found this cool funky acapella version. (c) Lisa Rigby Photography

Mother/Son Dance: My Mother’s Eyes by Frankie Valli. I think this is one of the nicest Mother/Son dance songs. Way to go Tim and Dyanne! (c) Lisa Rigby Photography.

And if you want to take a gander at our entire play list for the evening, we’re up on Hi-Fi Weddings!! This is such a great site. There are tons of wedding blogs out there, and it’s extremely overwhelming when you’re trying to plan a wedding. And a lot of it’s trite, repetitive, and impersonal. So it’s very refreshing to see a wedding-related resource that emphasizes personalizing your wedding through your music choices. Plus they’ve got some great song recommendations to get you inspired! (As soon as I saw the first three songs on this page, I knew I was in love.)

And here are some more snaps for you to enjoy!

Dancing with fabulous friend/officiant Erin! (c) Alex Garrido

Hug it out! (c) Lisa Rigby Photography

Dance it out! (c) Lisa Rigby Photography

One of my fave pics of the evening! (c) Lisa Rigby Photography

Oh look, Corey Hart stopped by! (c) Mary McCarthy-Gardiner

Thanks for folding programs and tying ribbons on all those cookies, Gwen. Now I command you to DANCE! (c) Dyanne Gardiner

I see a man at the back, as a matter of fact, his eyes are red as the sun... (c) Lisa Rigby Photography

...And a girl in the corner, let no one ignore her, 'cause she thinks she's the passionate one... (c) Lisa Rigby Photography

OH, YEAH! (My least favorite picture of me, but my most favorite time that night.) (c) Lisa Rigby Photography

Heehee, this makes me so happy! Stomp it out, Dave! Shake those hips, Dad! (c) Molly King-Smith

And this is just awesome. Sorry Paul! (c) Mary McCarthy-Gardiner

**UPDATE: I forgot to mention, my bro-in-law Forrest recommended that we check out the program djay to help us rock out our jams. We don’t know much about DJ-ing for real, but Tim and I really dug this program! If you’re without pro DJ equipment and/or experience, I recommend it.**

All right guys, there’s only one more post after this: Part Five: Outta Time!

And if you missed it, here’s the previous post: Part Three: Sew Crazy!

Homestead: Halloween Wreath

21 Oct

I wasn’t able to do any insane Halloween decorations this year, but I was able to make at least one fun thing: a Halloween Wreath!

Close-up of monster faces.

I really wanted to make a Halloween wreath (and my upstairs neighbor made one for their door too so it’s adorable that we both have one!), and I wanted to do something with classic movie monsters. If you can’t tell, I decided on Frankenstein‘s monster, Dracula, The Wolf Man, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, and The Mummy. I also made a little skull face for the center of the ribbon.

I made these dudes out of thick book board and acrylic and gouache paints. Cutting them out was a pain, I ended up using heavy-duty kitchen scissors and it took a couple of hours. Worth it though!

I got the ribbons and actual wreath from A.C. Moore, and the cool leafy garland from the Christmas Tree Shops.

This is what the whole wreath looks like hanging on our door. I didn't make the skeleton hanging in the middle; he's one of three that's also hanging on our door. Another Christmas Tree Shops special!

Thanks to Tim for letting me use his iPhone to take pics (I don’t have a camera anymore). I like how the monster colors came out almost neon!