Category Archives: Craft Projects

Directors Chairs

 

I picked up four directors chairs at a thrift store for $5 each. They didn’t have any seat backs or bottoms. And I spent the summer terrified to try to make my own patterns and sew up my first upholstery project. chairs sewing

I finally worked up the courage to make it happen! 
chairs3After a great deal of measuring and cutting and fretting and feeling like I was failing? I DID IT! And Dale and I sat in them and I felt triumphant.

 

Repainted Luggage

prelug1I picked up this cheap piece of luggage at an estate sale for $7. I needed something to keep my nail polish in. prelug2

I ripped out the lining (which was in pretty gross shape anyway).prelug

Then I created patterns for the lining out of heavy craft paper. I ended up using wood pieces to reinforce the top and bottom because it was a stiffer material. However, I could just as easily have used cardboard.luggage final

I painted the exterior with some Martha Stewart craft paint. I also eventually painted the metal parts with a gold all-purpose craft paint because I liked how it looked. Not necessary to make a cute new piece, tho. luggg

Carefully measuring my paper patterns again before wrapping it in fabric and securing it with hot glue (my favorite). lug2

Painted and ready for the lining. Which was the HARD part. lug1

Fabric-wrapped lining!
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AND it fit! It took a little adjusting and lining up the fabric was a little tricky. But I just took my time with it. luggageAnd here’s a before and after.

 

My First Upholstered Chair!

For the tl; dr crowd here’s the shorthand on my first upholstered chair project:

I have always wanted to learn to do basic upholstery projects so I bought this chair last year with good intentions and little free time:

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I liked the lines, and I didn’t even mind the slipper pink fabric and gold trim. I mean, I love tacky stuff, right? But this was cheap and in bad shape so I didn’t care if I messed it up. It was like $7 at an estate sale.
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Shoddy paint job? Eh, I knew I wasn’t going to keep it.

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So I stripped it, carefully keeping the interior layers (I probably put it back together wrong anyway because I’m clueless). And then I lightly sanded it. I probably could have done a better job sanding but I was more interested in the fabric in all honesty.
IMG_1854Then I spray painted the chair black.

And then the chair sat in the basement for about six months collecting broken dreams. I thought I was going to do double welting as the trim because that’s how it came to me. So I felt like I needed to learn how to make welting. That’s a long side project/story that is pointless here because, after I got going? I realized I’d rather just have gimp trim!

So here’s what I did:

IMG_2846Dale set me up with an awesome work station in the garage–on a table he built that he hasn’t given me pictures of. He’s done a bunch of impressive projects that I can’t show you until I get pics from him.

I used a traditional heavy duty stapler and that seriously and totally SUCKED. I really need an upholstery stapler if I plan to get serious about these projects going forward! It also kinda ruined the chair (which was my fault and nobody can really tell unless I point it out but still). Get a real upholstery stapler. That’s my biggest piece of advice for newbies like myself.

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Trying to position the pattern within the frame of the chair was a challenge. I pinned it first and then stapled. IMG_2852

And THEN I trimmed the fabric. Probably a terrible idea. Probably destroyed the cutting tools I used. Live and learn, eh? Top pinned

Put the existing padding in just as it had been before (that was actually in great shape).  And pinned the front to get my staple on. Ugh, my hands were tired!

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You can see some of my shoddier attempts at cutting the fabric here. I literally have no idea how I should have done it. I’m going to have to do more reading next time. Heh. I also winged it with folding the fabric over the corners. The book I had didn’t address that style. IMG_2859

Finally, I got to the part that I’m good at: using my glue gun! I pinned the gimp (that’s the edging) all along the fabric to cover up all my most egregious screw-ups. Then I used my hot glue gun to glue down several inches at a time, careful to shape the gimp as I moved around the chair. IMG_2861

I cut smaller pieces and glued them down around the edges of the chair.IMG_2863

Ta da! I felt pretty impressed with myself all things considered. IMG_2864

And a pic of the back, of course. IMG_2865

And, in the interest of full disclosure? I screwed up a bit, too, but nobody noticed until I pointed it out to them. IMG_2872This is the first step in our amazing bedroom makeover (that is nowhere near happening yet). But I like it!

DioramaRama: A Diorama Making Party

I’ve been talking about hosting a crafting party for about five years. So I decided to have a few friends over to create dioramas! I LOVE dioramas and I am lucky to know some very smart and creative gals so I combined my insane stash of ephemera with some wine and snacks and friends and this was the result:

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One of the most challenging aspects of DioramaRama was gathering supplies. I have scads of ephemera tucked away all over our house. And as I set about gathering up supplies, I told Dale, “I feel like I’ve been preparing for this party my whole life!” And he basically said: “You totally have.” 1509325_10152383149141667_5495587624112844417_n

So it was a flurry of a week’s worth of gathering up the glitter and the glue and the old magazines and the mason jars, and the tiny clothespins and the bitty rocks and old jewelry and Birchboxes and cigar boxes and sooo much more…(My friend Jeannine took the above pic and posted it on Facebook–I stole it–thanks Jeannine!)

IMG_2734I put out my finest pink plastic tablecloth and set everything up!

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You can’t craft without wine and snacks, obviously.
1982123_10152383153831667_5217586680409379609_nAnd I finally used the Paris-themed cupcake set I have been hanging on to for two years. I KNEW I would use it someday! (I also swiped this pic from Jeannine–please don’t sue.)

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Crafters very busy at work (while I’m busy drinking–typical). IMG_2738

I was amazed at how enthusiastically everyone took to the crafting and how most people came with a plan. They didn’t even use a fraction of the supplies I put out (damn them!). Half of the table is up eating or using the hot glue gun station (in the kitchen). I love hot glue, for real.
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Painting! Gluing! Texting! Posting to social media with the hashtag #dioramarama! It was madness. Remember how cute my table started above? Ha!IMG_2753

Maureen, working out the fine details of her project. She came with a serious plan and executed it beautifully!

10014675_10152297834247480_256116679_nIt was pretty much a madhouse of glitter and glue, which means it was glorious.

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Lara made an adorable Easter-themed decorative box! I LOVE the little chicks floating on the roof! But I LOVE those little fluffy chicks anyway. The little sheep and bunny were little items I got in my Easter basket as a kid. Have I mentioned I hoard weird objects? IMG_2748

Carlen made a tiny tribute to Ravinia with little bottles and wine corks and roses. She lined her box with lovely paper! It’s so adorable! And, happily, she used all my supplies so it meant I had less to pack away. Ha!

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Jeannine made a little galaxy diorama. And, happily, she used some of my supplies! Ha! I love the black glitter framing around the image and the floating clouds. IMG_2756

Anne came with a plan! I supplied the cigar box and she went to town! How lovely is this!? IMG_2758

The inside is whimsical and feline–much like Anne herself! IMG_2757

She photoshopped her cat Gimlet’s head onto a Victorian photo and printed it out. I love it. It cracked me up!IMG_2754

Hether made a collage tribute to her trip to Japan! So she used some elements of her trip with some of my greeting cards and a box I had that used to house a Bible. She put a collage right over a weird Jesus painting! Ha!IMG_2755

She even had a page that lifted up to reveal a second page! Neat!
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I wanted to use an antique pop-up Valentine I picked up a million years ago. So I covered a box in fabric, included a copy of a real love letter from a book of famous love letters I had, and I embellished with glitter and little keys. IMG_2765

I put this lovely lady on the back and embellished her with glitter. She was from a book of greeting cards from the 1940s that belonged to my grandmother! Neat!IMG_2767

Maureen made a tiny hat shop because she is a milliner! IMG_2770

There were lots of lovely little details in the shop! She used a mix of her own stuff and threw in a few goodies of mine as well (including the little wooden thimble that belonged to Dale’s grandmother repurposed as a hat). 

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Jennifer’s collage cigar box has a water feature! It’s SO cute. And anything with a tiny feather bird is basically the best.  IMG_2775

Rebecca had a VISION and she came prepared! This is a detail of her daughter during ballet–turned into a little fairy! IMG_2778How adorable is this?! A little lunchbox converted into a stage in the middle of a little French garden!

Building Snoopy’s Dog House for Christmas

Last year, Dale joked that once we were settled into our house we’d start working on creating our own kind of Griswold Christmas Spectacle by making an over-sized decorate doghouse like Snoopy had in A Charlie Brown Christmas.

Snoopy’s Dog House

Dale’s mom came to visit last week and she’s been asking when we were going to have this cute little dog house set up (she’s a dog person but she loves her grandkitties with the best of them).

So Dale told her he was going to put her to work when she came to visit. Sure enough he picked her up at the train station and headed straight for the hardware store.

When I cam home I found from work I found this in the garage:

Raw Materials

Needless to say I was excited!

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So was Jackie, Dale’s mom! The little opening is about 20 inches. I went back upstairs and let them make some progress. By the following day they had gotten the thing put together, primed and had even started gathering the proper accessories!

Coming Together

I was amazed! We went to the store and acquired the proper flood lights, the chains, and (my big contribution) the “1st Prize” award. Dale set about making the star and the weathervane out of scrap pieces of wood.

I brought some glitter. Obviously. For the star! And the red Christmas bulb.

Dale made the house so it’s very sturdy but can be disassembled reasonably quickly. So he and his mom set about setting it up on the front yard!

Working TogetherThis is them, adorably carrying the spotlights out into the yard!

the frame

Dale brought the frame out!

The StarThe roof and handmade star were up next. In this pic, Dale and Jackie are adding the weathervane that Dale made.

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And how cute is this!? Jackie felt we needed a little Snoopy and she was totally right! We picked up that little 18-inch Snoopy at the hardware store. I love how much it matches the cartoon! We even added a little red bulb. Snoopy

He’s adorable!SNOWAnd, like clockwork? It started to snow! We’ve had a few gawkers stop as they drive by and we even had someone trudge through the snow to get a pic with Snoopy. It’s been a fun conversation piece for the neighbors.