Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Hat Factory

I've been crocheting up a hat storm lately!

I have no plans for these hats - they are just fun to make, are cute, and they work up so fast. I'll probably stick them in my gift stash because one can never have too many baby gifts on hand at my age!!

Here's my little Owie modelling the blue & white striped one: 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Mudroom Update

Just after Christmas, I was walking through Home Depot (now, I haven't the foggiest idea why I was in there on December 27th!! What was I actually looking for?) and I spotted a mirror I thought would be great in our mudroom. So I bought it and let it sit leaning against the wall for 2 months. It's how I roll. 

Anyway, this past week, it was (finally) time to tackle that project! You know what is a huge deterrent in finishing projects that require patching walls? Not having any leftover paint. You want to know what's worse? Not having any flippin' clue what the paint colour is! When our house got painted, I brought over a can of leftover paint we had from our trailer and said "Match this for the mudroom please painters!" And they did. Two years later, we don't have that mostly empty paint can, no leftover mudroom paint, and no colour chip. Boo. So here's what my wall looked like for a few weeks as I debated how to deal with this problem: 

Then I went to the paint store and brought home every chip that looked like it could possibly match.

None of them did! A couple would match when it was dark & cloudy, others would match when the sun shone, still another would match when we'd come home in the pitch dark. Also, tester size cans don't come in this colour.

I thought maybe I could find acrylic paint to match and then go from there. Again, bring some home, no match. I finally admitted defeat and went on to plan C: Paint stripes over the places that had patches with paint I already had! 

I drew out my wall to scale on some graph paper, marked where the patches were, and came up with this plan for stripes. I made them 6", 8" & 10" wide, with 6 1/2" between each stripe. 

(I always put tape in the spaces I am not supposed to paint!! I had some close calls even with my tape markers.)

Here's my wall, all said & done! Only took a few months! Wall patched, mirror hung, writing board up.

Oh yeah, those pieces of tape are marking out the size of a shoe cabinet we want to get one day.

(This was not easy! Those glass writing board are kind of a pain to hang by yourself! And yes, that is the reference picture I usually take to my hair dresser when I get my hair cut!)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Catching Up Again

Here's what I've been up to this past week:

Event: I turned another year older.
Photos: Not one!
Summary: My mom & dad visited this past weekend, and we mainly did what we always do, which is: plan what we're going to eat, go to grocery stores, make food, eat it, watch tv, knit/crochet (um, the men in my family don't do this), walk around in Fort Langley, get ice cream, go out to dinner. And that is exactly what we did all weekend long!

Event: Babies everywhere
Photos: all blurry - sorry.
Summary: Being the awesome Aunt that I am, I tell my parents about the lovely little people in my life, and then when my parents come to visit me I lure the niece & nephews over to my house so that I can show off how cute they are. (Also, considering all the free babysitting I do, this doesn't seem too burdensome!!) All that to say, all the babies (and their parents) made an appearance at our place in the last three days. They are still all adorable.

That about sums it up. I'm just over here doing the usual activities in life. I'm trying to finish up a few projects that I will maybe try to show you in the next while, but for now, I have to go do some laundry.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Camera Wrist Strap How-To

I spent the afternoon creating a wrist strap for my camera. I had spied some online that I liked, but I didn't want to spend $25 to buy one, especially when I figured I could probably make my own for free.

Source: etsy.com via Erica on Pinterest

This was my inspiration.

Luckily, I had everything on hand for my project!

You will need:
 - ugly old or new camera strap
 - fabric scraps in your choice of colours (I used a cotton print for the outside, and flannel for the inside)
 - metal or nylon strap slide, or 2 D-rings, or 2 chain links (I took my slide off of a bag I never use - see below, and I also dug around in our garage and found some chain, which I used for the second strap)
 - interfacing (optional. I had some stiff fusible webbing, so I just used that)
 - sewing machine, thread, iron, seam ripper, scissors, etc

(Like this)

Step 1: Using the seam ripper, take the leather & nylon ends of the camera strap off of the strap part. 

Step 2: Cut fabric strips. I made mine about 14" long x 2.5" wide. I used the old strap as a guide for width; I knew I wanted my wrist strap to finish at 1.5" wide so that the edges would line up perfectly with the nylon ends. Adding in 1" for a seam allowance (0.5" each side), you end up with 2.5". As for length, I wanted it to be slightly adjustable, but not too long, so just wrapped the fabric around my wrist for a comfortable fit, and added a bit. If you are using interfacing, cut out a piece the same size or slightly smaller than your fabric. Fuse webbing to the wrong side of one of the fabric pieces.

Step 3: Sew the strap. (See my photos below!) (1) With right sides together, using a 0.5" seam allowance, stitch down one long side of the fabric strip.  If you have sew-in interfacing, now would be the time to sew that in as well. Stitch down the other long side. (2) Now you have a tube. (3) Turn so fabric is right side out. Yeah, it's gonna be tough since it's so narrow! It will go eventually! (4) Press the strap flat. (5) Top stitch down the long sides of the strap.

Step 4: Now it's time to attach the slide. You could skip this if you wanted, and just sew both raw (short) ends of the fabric strap between the leather ends. If you are using a slide, thread one end of the strap around the middle bar. Turn over the raw end and sew to the strap, encasing the middle bar. (Slides usually come with directions on how to install them!) Here's how I used two rings to make it adjustable:

1. Thread the strap through both rings. Fold fabric over to hide raw edge. 
2. Stitch folded section to strap.
3. Making a loop, thread the strap again through both rings.
4. Going over the first ring, thread strap back through the second ring.

Step 5: Make the strap loop small so you have some room to sew. Insert the raw end of fabric strap into the leather/nylon end. Sew through all layers, following the old stitch lines. 

Step 6: Attached to camera! 

I actually made two wrist straps, since after the first one I thought I should write a tutorial on how to make your own! Since I only need one, I am going to give the other one away! If you'd like to have one of these, just tell me in the comments which one one you like better, and I'll randomly pick a winner and send it on!! Attaches easily to any SLR camera - I don't think it would work for a point & shoot - sorry!

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

New Art, Part 3

All this sunshine we've been having makes me want to DO THINGS!! There is nothing like a beautiful day to motivate me. With all that Vitamin D & optimism, I finally got my rear in gear and set about getting this little project started (and finished!). I was largely inspired by this blog post I read several months ago, and knew exactly which photo I wanted to use, and where it was going to go. Luckily, my mom had an original of this photo of my Gran on the beach at English Bay, so I brought it home with me after Christmas. 


I love this photo! I love the bathing suit, the striped shoes, the fact that Gran is on English Bay in Vancouver. (At least I think that's where she is. Seems plausible since as a young woman she did live in Vancouver, and in her memoirs wrote that English Bay was where she learned to swim.) I like to imagine that Gran was with a group of friends, maybe her sisters & cousins, and that they were having a beautiful afternoon on a sunny beach. I can just imagine that there was laughter & playing, a picnic lunch, jokes told, water splashed. Unfortunately, the photo was a bit worse for wear. Not quite enlargement quality. Well, that didn't stop me! I scanned the photo, and with the help of some free photo editing software (Photoscape), was able to touch up the colour a bit, and mostly fix the creases. I straightened it a bit too. I still wanted it to look like an old black & white photo, so I didn't worry too much about getting everything perfect.

After my fake  photo shopping job

So, great. I had my photo ready. Next, I put it on a jump drive and went to Staples. Oh wait, first I got a frame. And before that I measured my wall space. Yesterday I took a little trip to Ikea with a friend (you have to make that trip worth it, so bring a friend!) and purchased a Ribba frame. I tried to keep in mind that with large format printing, the widest you can get (for relatively inexpensive) is 36". Drafting school coming in handy right there! I opted for this one. The price was right at $20, so I was sold. 

At Staples, I just asked to get my photo enlarged to 20" wide & 30" tall (just over the dimensions of my frame), and got it printed on the cheap(er) black & white large format printer. You could also get a glossy poster made, but I wasn't sure how the quality would be since the original photo was only 3" x 4.5". My poster size print only cost $5.56, and it looks great! 

Next, I had to trim it down a bit. (Because Ikea doesn't make normal sized frames for standard North American photo sizes. Metric!) I got out my self-healing cutting mat, exact-o knife and metal ruler and got to work. I used the paper insert thing from the frame as a template to know how much to cut down my print.

Now time to hang it up. I use a handy trick to hang frames: I make a paper template of the frame, marking the location of the wire or hanging ring on the paper. Then, tape the paper up where you want, make any adjustments to location, and use a nail to poke through the hanging mark to make a small mark on the wall behind. Pull the paper off and hammer in your hook/nail, and your picture hangs in the perfect spot! (I think that makes sense...I took no photos of this process.) 

Anyway, here's what it looks like done:

And to give you some context as to where I hung it up:

I quite like it. I realize that Dan might not want to see a photo of my Gran on the beach everyday, but come on, she was a babe!! And I did talk about this project for a few months, so I'm sure he's used to the idea by now! I thought the frame I bought was quite large - guess I could have gone bigger. Oh well, I think once my plan/dream of one day having a stairwell photo gallery takes more shape, the seemingly wonky scale won't be so obvious. So that brings the frame count in this area to 6. Only another 2 1/2 walls left to fill. Small steps, people, small steps.

P.S. For any cousins/aunts of mine reading this, if you'd like a copy of the touched up photo, let me know and I'll email it over!

Monday, February 06, 2012

Odds & Ends in the Ottoman Empire

Last weekend we finally had a baby shower for Henry & Owen. At the last minute the shower location was changed to our house, but that was fine with me. It was fun - family, friends, food, babies! 

We also got our lovely brown leather ottoman a while back! Love it! With this addition, we now have 5 in our living room. It's a bit overkill, we know. 
1 - holds all the toys required to be the most fun Auntie & Uncle on the block
2 - this was a wedding gift. I have a plan in the back of my mind to recover this sucker and one day move it into a kid's room. (that isn't an announcement)
3 - our brand new one!
4 - goes with an old Ikea chair that we have since moved from the living room. But it's nice to put your feet up, you know?
5 - I built this one for Dan last year

The pieces are coming together! I have a plan to change up the furniture layout in here at some point. Big plans! Also, our new one opens up for storage! Yay!