Friday, September 28, 2012

This is Halloween, Everybody Make a Scene!

Ever since my friend Nikki moved back to town, we've been trying to get together semi-regularly for random craft nights! So far, we've had two.

At the first, we made a bunch of flower pens for her to bring to work. She just started her first year as a teacher, and she wanted to have pens available for her students to use while in class that they wouldn't walk off with.

Sadly, this is the least-grainy picture from that adventure.
At the second, this past Sunday, Nikki wanted to paint, and paint we did!

Unfortunately, I kind of totally forgot it was happening, so I hadn't even brainstormed about what I'd want to paint. Once we pulled out the canvases and paints (just because I was unprepared doesn't mean I didn't have a ready supply of craft supplies), I drew a blank.

Nikki had come with a plan (she wanted to do a tree and birds silhouette thing) and began painting immediately, while I just sat staring at my blank canvas. Then I realized that it was almost October, so of course I had do paint something for Halloween! Duh!

Keeping in theme with last year, where I went kind of bat crazy with my decorations, I decided to paint a moonscape featuring bats! And because I usually like my paintings to have a 3-D aspect to them (partially because I think it's fun and partially because I think it distracts from the fact that painting isn't actually my forte), I glued on a glittery felt bat in the corner!

It's very simple, and something that a child could have done, but I absolutely love it!

Nikki, however, was not as lucky. Due to the fact that I have a pretty sparse supply of paints and colors, her tree and birds thing wasn't quite working out as planned. She ended up deciding to scrap the whole project and paint over all of it in black. We started brainstorming on what she could do with a black canvas, and I joked that she should just put some googly eyes on it. Then we decided, non-jokingly, that she should totally just put some googly eyes on it!

We actually had to make a trip to Michael's to get some googly eyes for this one... not because I didn't have any (I had an entire craft drawer full), but because I didn't have a good variety of sizes. Afterwards, I texted my good friend, Academy Award Winner Sandra Bullock**, to let him know that after getting some craft supplies, all of my googly eyes wouldn't fit into my googly eye bin... because he's always joking that rather than first-world problems, I keep having first-grade problems.

I liked hers so much that I decided to make one too!

I just love the eyebrows.

Also, Nikki painted another canvas with polka dots.

We tend to make a bit of a mess.

And now that it's almost October, I feel like it's time to start putting up all my other Halloween decorations, too!

WHILE I CRAFTED: We actually didn't listen to or watch anything. I guess we just hung out and talked? Weird...

**My friend asked that I not use his name on my blog. "Academy Award Winner Sandra Bullock" is the pseudonym that he (yes, he) chose to protect his identity.

Monday, September 24, 2012

A simple re-upholstery of bar stools

Everyone wallows a bit differently. When going through a rough time, some people curl up with a pint of ice cream and a sad movie. Others prefer vacations or shopping sprees. My college roommate would sautee spinach and nap. Me? I like the very specific diversion of assembling furniture. Not building furniture, I don't know how to do that, but assembling it.

That's why when I was feeling low a while ago, I spent a great deal of time at Target perusing their home furnishings section. I ended up coming home with 3 new bookshelves (all of which I probably didn't actually need), and two of their Julia Bar and Counter Stools!

The bookshelves have actually proven to be very useful (because I have far too many books and movies) and surprisingly actually fit into both my old and new apartments (albeit after days of feng shui in each), but it's the bar stools that I really love. They're perfect height for the island in my kitchen, swivel around, and have comfy cushions. Still, though I hate to admit it, I always thought they were fairly ugly. The brownish-creamish color scheme was just not working for me. It didn't match a thing in my apartment! Granted, nothing in my apartment matched a single other thing in my apartment... but I'm working on that.

In an attempt to make the bar stools a bit more aesthetically pleasing, I finally recovered them a couple months ago!

Weirdly enough, this was yet another simple project that basically boiled down to stapling things together.


What you'll need:

-About a yard of fabric - Actually, I bought about 6 yards of fabric at once, because I had a few different projects going on at the time, so I may be wrong about only needing about a yard of fabric. You've been warned.
-Screwdriver (both Flathead and Phillips)
-Staple gun and staples

How to do it:

(1) Start by using your screwdriver (Phillips, probably) to remove the cushions from the stools.

I forgot to take pictures during the process, so let's
just pretend that this was the old cushion...
When you flip over your cushion, you'll see some net/mesh-like fabric covering the bottom. I just tore this off and threw it away, never to think of it again. Others might have kept it intact to re-attach later or would have attached new netting. I didn't find that necessary.

(2) Next, remove all the staples you see. There will be a ton.

When removing the staples, I found it helpful to use a Flathead screwdriver (with a very thin tip) to dig underneath the staples and then kind of lever them up so that they were no longer against the surface. I then used pliers for the actual extraction process.

Side note: After removing all the staples from the first cushion, my wrist was really hurting me because I had used wrist muscles I had no idea I had, I guess. So for the second cushion, I wore my carpal-tunnel wrist guard (which, well, the fact that I even have a carpal-tunnel wrist guard might have also explained my wrist pain), and found that it was much easier.

The most important part of this step, though, is to watch out for spiders. I apparently had a spider living inside one of my cushions. It crawled on my arm. After I screamed and ran away, I was forced to take a long break from the project as I tried to get enough courage to go back into my living room. I'm not saying that all cushions have spiders living in them, but let's be real, all cushions totally have spiders living in them.

(3) After all of the staples are finally removed, and you are finished recovering from the traumatizing experience of having a probably harmless arachnid in your general vicinity, remove the existing fabric from the cushions.

(4) Using the old fabric as a template for the new fabric, cut out two circles from the new fabric - one for each bar stool - and be sure to give yourself an extra inch or two of fabric on the border, just in case.

Usually, people use a heavier upholstery fabric, but since I bought mine for multiple projects, I just stuck with regular cotton material. I figured that even if it did wear out, it'd be easy enough to replace again (also, non-upholstery fabric is much less expensive... assuming you're not using silk or diamond-laced gold thread or anything).

Also, after seeing this pattern, I could hardly resist.
(5) Staple away.

Once you've cut the new fabric, attaching it is just a matter of pulling it taut and stapling like a mad-man (or if you're like me, a mad-woman)! I have an electric staple gun that I got from Home Depot, and it makes this process way easier. I recommend just stapling away until you are comfortable that the fabric is secure.

Keep in mind that the staples may not end up flush with the surface of the cushion. In fact, I don't think they ever will (unless it's just that I'm doing something wrong with my staple gun specifically). I ended up using my hammer to push the staples into the stool the rest of the way.

(6) Using your screwdriver (or whatever you used in step 1), re-attach the cushions.

And there you go!

I used this project as a sort of introduction to furniture re-upholstery. Next, I'm going to attempt recovering these old dining room chairs I stole out of my parents' attic (with their permission). I'm ultimately working up to recovering an old wing-back chair and ottoman that my mom got in a garage sale.

WHILE I CRAFTED: I watched Star Trek: Voyager.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Framed Hair-Clip Holder (with some hair-clips included)

Earlier, I mentioned that I would show in-depth tutorials on how to staple things together. Despite the fact that I had meant it as a joke, that's exactly what I'm about to do. Why? Because that's really all it takes to make this framed hair-clip holder!


I generally don't wear many accessories (with the notable exceptions of my Aggie ring and tattered, Velcro watch), so when I want to spice up my ensemble, I usually default to a hair-clip of some sort. Unfortunately, I'm pretty dang lazy and scatter-brained, so if they're not easily accessible and right in front of me, I tend to either forget about them entirely or just decide to forego them on the grounds of not wanting to bring down, open, dig through, then put away the box of hair-clips I keep in my bathroom cabinet.

In an attempt to remedy the situation, I thumb-tacked a ribbon to the wall and just hung all of my clips and barrettes on it. While functional enough, it was pretty white-trash-tastic. Then, when browsing Pinterest, I saw a much better solution, and decided to try it myself!


What you'll need:
  • Empty frame - I got mine at Hobby Lobby. They also have lime green and purple ones.
  • Ribbon - Try to use one of the sturdier fabrics. I usually love satin ribbon, but decided to go with a stronger type for this project for the sake of structural stability.
  • Staple gun and staples
  • Hammer
How to do it:

It's incredibly easy to do. Basically, just staple the ribbon to the back of the frame. I spaced my ribbons about 3.5" apart on center, but it doesn't really matter. Do what works for you.

If your staple gun is like mine, the staples will probably still stick out a bit from the surface of the wood (I'm guessing this is because they sometimes are used to hold wires and stuff in place). I just used my hammer to hit them in the rest of the way. And then you're pretty much done.

I hung mine in my bathroom. I think it looks great with the
flamingo picture Hannah gave me a few years back.
Then, just attach your hair-clips and you're ready to accessorize away!

What's that? You don't have any hair clips and/or are extremely jealous of mine?
Definitely the latter, right?

I mean... they go with everything! Even Batman masks!
*Photo courtesy of Walquist Photography
Well, fear not, dear citizens! I've got you covered.


What you'll need:

Fake flowers
Hot-glue gun and glue sticks
Alligator clips or Barrettes
Pliers with wire-cutting capability

Oh, and a novelty Halloween cup of Diet Dr. Pepper. That's key.
How to do it:

Start by selecting which flowers you want to make into a clip. I recommend flowers that lay somewhat flat, such as daisies or sunflowers, rather than more shapely flowers, like lilies and rose buds.

Then, remove the flower stem and backing. Because there are wires in most fake flower stems, use the wire cutters rather than scissors. Cut them as close to the base of the flower as possible.

Because the green backing is usually what holds the flower together, put a dollop of hot glue at the base of the flower to hold everything together. Note: if your flower is still lacking in structural integrity, try spot-welding between the different petal layers with hot glue.

Finally, attach the alligator clip (or barrette) with more hot glue. It's important here to position the clip correctly. I like to position it so that the tip of the clip is in roughly the center of the flower, and the open/close lever is near the edge of the middle portion - just before the petals start branching out on their own.


It's also important, when hot-gluing the clip in place, to fully encase the rounded top of the clip in hot glue (so that stray hairs don't get caught underneath) without covering the alligator teeth or accidentally gluing the clip in a permanently closed position.

Let the glue cool, and voila!

If hair clips aren't really your thing, you could use clothespins to attach small pictures to the ribbons in the frame and use the flower clips as decorative items around the house.

WHILE I CRAFTED: I listened to my Kate Nash station on Pandora.

Friday, September 14, 2012


Because rambling endlessly and showing off my admittedly lame accomplishments are two things I deeply enjoy, I thought it was high time that I started a blog cataloging my various craft-themed escapades! Before, whenever I'd stick a clothespin on an old tuna can and call it art, I'd have to make up some contrived, obscure connection to physical activity or health so that I could brag about my ingenuity (or ability to copy simple things I see on Pinterest) publicly on my fitness blog.

Uh... tuna is good for your heart! And... um... by reusing this can,
rather than throwing it away, it helps the environment...
which makes running outside easier on the lungs?
Is anyone buying this?
But now, I can drop the weird pretenses! Get ready for tutorials on extremely complex crafting concepts, such as:

Stapling things together!

Thumb-tacking things to walls!

Using hole punches!

Ripping up paper!


Wait... that's not right...

And, of course, putting toothpicks in things!

And yes, that's bacon.

I'm looking forward to it, and I'm hoping you are, too!

Oh ho ho! Isn't crafting just grand.