Category Archives: DIY

My New (Thrifted) Gallery Wall

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My New (Thrifted) Gallery Wall

Let me start by saying that I love photographs.  Yes, I know, pretty much everyone likes a good photo, but I LOVE photographs.  It doesn’t matter if they’re old photos, or new ones, or studio shots, or candid camera phone photos — in my opinion, they’re all great.  Finishing this project means I finally have a place to show off a bunch of my fave photos and I couldn’t be happier!

One of the worst things about our big move west was that I had to put my long planned gallery wall on hold.  The other not so great thing is living in a rental.  Technically, we are allowed to paint if our landlord approves the colors, and we paint over it before we leave.  That seems like a lot of work to me.  So, we live with white walls.  White walls with no nail holes for us to fill (at my husband’s insistence).  To say that the bare white walls annoyed me would be an understatement.  There’s just something so bleh about naked walls.

What’s a girl to do?  Quit moping around, fix the problems, and get some photos up in this place!  I wasn’t sure how I was going to do it, but I did it.  I made my gallery wall, and I love it.  There’s not much space in our budget right now for home decor, but you’d be surprised what you can do when you’re determined.  All in all, including frames, paint, primer, command strips, and whatever else, I spent under $30!  Not too shabby.

I collected a whole bunch of frames from thrift shops and garage sales, the most expensive one was $3!  I don’t think I will ever, ever, EVER buy a frame for full price again.  Many were $0.99.  Oh, and fun tip, if you buy a frame with no glass, don’t go crazy and buy glass at the craft or framing store, just buy another cheap frame with the same size glass.  You’ll save anywhere between $5-15 doing that.  By the time I was done, I had 15 frames, of all different shapes, colors, and materials.

thrifted frames

After I got a bunch of frames, I knew what sizes to look for to round out the arrangement

Being the Pinterest freak that I am, I had visions of mis-matched frames painted the same color dancing in my mind.  Once the idea was there, I had to go with it.  I’d never done anything like this before, but I bit the bullet and said “Hello, spray paint,” and I’m so glad I did.  Seriously, it’s my new best friend.  That’s a whole other subject though.  The basic frame preparation process is as follows:

1.  Gather up your frames

unprimed frames

Hello, frames – don’t mind the weights, that’s another project

2.  Snap shots of your kitty posing by the frames

cat, frames

She’s a model

3.  Prime the frames.  I used Zinsser Cover Stain spray primer.

primed frames

Primed and ready

4.  Give each frame 2 coats of paint.  I used Rustoleum American Grey spray paint.

I don’t have a photo of this step as I staggered it over several days.

Next came some final arranging and a quick sketch of the plan.

It looked like a very big gallery when on the floor, I even got out the tape measure to make sure it would fit the wall.

It looked like a very big gallery when on the floor, I even got out the tape measure to make sure it would fit the wall.

Sometimes you just need to put pencil to paper.

Sometimes you just need to put pencil to paper.

I don’t think I can express enough how useful that sketch of the plan was.  I used it when choosing photos, for planning the mats, their measurements, EVERYTHING.  It looked a lot different by the end of the process.

Definitely used.

Definitely used.

Now comes the difficult part — at least it was the difficult part for me.  It was so hard to choose photos for the wall!  I know it’s not permanent and I can always change them out, but it was still so hard.  I ended up with a pretty wide selection, but we’ll go into more detail with that in a bit.

Lucky for me, I own my own matboard cutter.  I really recommend one if you’re planning on doing a lot of framing.  Mine is a very basic model, but it serves my purposes.  I believe it’s the Logan “Compact.”  The process of cutting out all the mats was so long, but it was so, so worth it.  I have perfectly custom mats at a fraction of what I would have to pay to have them done professionally.

My favorite custom mat - love it!

My favorite custom mat – love it!

After putting the photos in their frames, the last step was attaching said frames to the wall.  I’ve already mentioned my husband’s obsession with making no holes in the walls for us to fill when we move out, so enter Command strips.  They are magnificent.  I used their picture hanging kits, which are basically sticky velcro.  They couldn’t have been easier to use.  I didn’t think to photograph the process, but I’ll be sure to do that  and make a post next time I use them.

Being the rebel I am, I eyeballed the final placement on the wall.  The wall, by the way, is in our dining room.  I chose it because it’s a huge white eyesore that stares at me all the time, and it also happens to be visible all the way from the other end of the house.  It feels so good to no longer have that white wall taunting me all the time.  Now as soon as I get into the hallway on the complete other end of the house, I see pretty frames and even prettier faces looking back at me.  It’s fantastic.

So, after a lot of patient thrift hunting, spray painting, and photo picking…

Here it is!

gallery wall, American Gray, thrifted frames, spray painted frames

dining room, gallery wall

dining room, gallery wall

The photos, in case you’re curious are detailed below.  I tried to get an even mix of my side of the family and his, as well as a few different types of photos (candid, studio, posed, etc.).  I’m pretty sure I’ll be happy with this layout for a while.

See below for descriptions of photos

See below for descriptions of photos

1.  My husband and I, along with his parents and sisters at our wedding

2.  Our cat, Cali

3.  A wedding shot

4.  My husband and I with my parents, brother, sister in law, and niece and nephew

5.  The babies in our life.  My goddaughter, our niece, and our nephew

6.  My husband as a toddler with his monkey

7.  Cute studio shot of us a little after our engagement

8.  Some candids of us together: on the big island during our honeymoon, in our backyard with the pets, and at Niagara Falls

9.  Us being goofy in the photo booth at the wedding

10.  Our dog, Cheyanne

11.  Hilarious photo of my parents trying to wrangle a mad 2 year old and a baby.  They’ll likely kill me for sharing this.

12.  Favorite photo strips from the wedding:  my brother, cousin and I, my best friend from HS and I, HS friends reunited, old roommate and husband, husband and his sisters

13.  Me as a toddler eating cake batter

14.  My husband’s parents on vacation, just a cute photo of them

15.  Us kissing on our  honeymoon *awwwww*

I’ve entered Creating with the Stars over at East Coast Creative.  If you could click on my link (#354) on the contest page here, that would be awesome!

Thanks!

 

Shared over Say Not Sweet Anne

 

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Craft Debt Pt 4 – Ghosts of Crafts Present

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Missed Parts 1, 2, and 3? Catch up if you like: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

Only a few things on today’s rundown.  These are all projects that I’ve been working on or thinking about starting in the last few months.

The Cross Stitch

After I finished embroidering my nephew’s birthday present in December I was feeling a need to continue with more needlework.  I’ve never really worked a cross stitch pattern that I didn’t make myself, so I took it upon myself to try one out.

Turns out, finding free cross stitch patterns online is pretty easy.  There are even websites that let you make your own patterns from pictures for free.  No need to buy expensive software.  I went with the free online pattern option, and picked a beach scene.  Any normal person would have picked a small piece or a sampler with a lot of blank space for their first true cross stitch.  Not me.  Being the special kind of crazy that I am, I chose a full coverage piece that measures almost 2 square feet and has about 50 colors in it.  Typical.

Tropical Beach X-stitch

Obviously, it is going to take a while.  I’ve found that working on it while I watch tv works well, but haven’t really been doing much with it.  After the Cinderella outfit is done, and now the new official #2 project of the comforter is done, too, I’ll focus more on stitching while relaxing in the evening.  It will be finished eventually, I promise.

Yeah, there's a lot left to do

Yeah, there’s a lot left to do

The Camera Bag

I’d say I’m about 50% done with this one.  When I first got my DSLR back in October, I had my eye on one of these beautiful bags by Kelly Moore.  I couldn’t afford it at the time, and didn’t really need it either, so no camera bag for me.  Fast forward to December.  We went to Texas and Florida this December, which meant travelling with my shiny new camera.   Still not willing or able to buy a fancy girly camera back, and totally unwilling to buy a, shall we say, “traditional” (read: ugly) bag, I came up with the idea to make my own insert for a purse.  Custom camera bag, here I come!

As with most things in life, there were already a couple of tutorials floating around Pinterest, so I checked those out.  Same basic idea, choose purse, measure purse, buy foam, cut foam, cover foam with fabric, sew up, the end. Cool.  I bought my foam, a new purse to use as a camera bag, and already had my fabric.  I bought the green kind of foam, but I’ve read online that the white kind is better because the green kind lets out some gases over time that may damage your lenses.  My camera is rarely in its bag, so I’m not too worried about the short bouts of foam gas exposure it’s receiving.  So, at first I made the mistake of overthinking everything, and tried making templates and patterns and figuring out seam allowance… all that jazz.  Then, it struck me!  Quit being crazy, just cut the foam and sew the fabric around it and trim.  Much easier, no headache whatsoever.

For our trips, I had it at a pretty decent stage.  The foam was cut, fabric was cut, it was just missing sewing on some parts, and velcro on the dividers.  I plan on finishing it before another trip.

Camera Bag Materials

Camera Bag Materials

Progress so far

Progress so far

The Spoon Racks

Ever since I was a little girl, I remember my mom and grandma collecting decorative spoons.  They got them every tourist-y place we went, and let me tell you, there were a lot of spoons collected.  When my grandma passed away a few years ago, I kept her spoon collection and the spoon racks they were displayed on.  There are way more spoons than places on the racks to put them.  Turns out she had most of the spaces double or triple filled!

Here’s my plan for the spoons and their spoon racks.  I want to paint the racks a bunch of fun, bright colors and hang them up in my craft area.  The walls are all white, and I hate to paint them since this is a rental, so I’m hoping bright spoon racks with polished, shiny spoons on them will really liven up the space.

I'll only use a few

I’ll only use a few

Oh yes, there's quite a lot to choose from

Oh yes, there’s quite a lot to choose from

Thanks for catching up on my to-do list!  Coming up next, working my way out of this pile of unfinished projects and, of course, keeping you updated.

Craft Debt Pt 3 – The Ghost of Crafts Past

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New to my page? Check out my previous 2 craft debt posts for more info and my already covered shame (1 and 2).

Today I want to cover unfinished, almost forgotten, and sometimes headed for disaster, crafts of long ago.  Unlike the last two posts, some of these crafts/projects were abandoned on purpose, so if I’m going to finish those, there will be some imaginative re-planning to be done.  Let me break it down for you, there’s… The Good – projects that were either going well or could easily go well;  The Bad – projects that I likely started and didn’t have a clue what I was getting into, usually above my skill level at the time;  and the Ugly – horrible, bad ideas, the type that make you wonder what you were thinking.

The Good

My best friend Kelly and I really shouldn’t be trusted in craft or fabric stores.  It feels like we always walk away with more than we should! This first project is an excellent example.  We went to a small fabric store to get lace for my wedding veil and walked out with that plus a pattern for cupcake shaped potholders and enough fabric to make almost a dozen of them.  Do you think any have been made yet?  Nope!

p.s.  My wedding was almost a year and a half ago

They would be cute if they were done

They would be cute if they were done

This next one is all me, and sort of wedding related as well.  I was struggling with ideas for bridesmaid gifts for a while, and for some time this was my favorite idea.  I planned to make myself, my maid of honor, and my bridesmaids all nice kimono robes to wear the morning of the wedding while we were getting ready. Cute, right?  Well, I’ll spare you the details, but that didn’t happen.  I’m left with a half made robe (the blue/brown fabric) and a bunch of uncut fabric.

So soft and silky

So soft and silky

I’m not sure whether to call this a dressform or a mannequin body.  I’m going with dressform.  I bought it from the Casual Corner where I worked vacations when they were selling everything off.  The measurements are decently close to my measurements, and the $15 i spent on it was a lot better than the dressforms at the fabric stores.  I need to get a stand for it, and if its reasonably possible, get the measurements exactly the same as mine.

Dressform

Dressform

The Bad

Remember, this batch of projects had the best of intentions, but usually due to inexperience, I either picked bad materials or generally screwed them up.

This dress is the perfect example of inexperience leading to the wrong fabric choices.  The pattern was great in theory for this dress, it has the boho hippy thing going on, but its such a thick fabric.  Really, it’s better suited to pillows or curtains, but I didn’t know any better.  Not sure what to make of it now;  it’s all cut into pattern pieces.

That fabric is thicker than it looks

That fabric is thicker than it looks

I tried to make this corset as a top for the renaissance fair, but time ran out before we went, and it got shoved away in a drawer.  I don’t even know where the outer fabric has gone — I can’t find it anywhere.  Maybe I should finish this one anyway, it would be a good sewing exercise.

Couldn't find the outer fabric

Couldn’t find the outer fabric

Another renaissance fair fail.  This one only got to the fabric buying stage.  The funny thing is, this isn’t even a project for me, it was for my friend Kelly.  Well, I’d forgotten about the fabric and now it’s with me in California, and she’s in New York.  I’m going to ask her what she wants me to do with the fabric, I could send it back or maybe make something nice for her or her daughter.  Any ideas?

Pretty fabrics

Pretty fabrics

When I first got my sewing machine in college, a friend and I bought all kinds of crazy patterns and had all sorts of ideas.  I started trying to sew this little handbag, but got so confused by the instructions at the time that I just gave up.  I’m not even sure this is the pattern I was using.

The bag that almost was

The bag that almost was

I have quite a few…

Too many choices

Too many choices

This little thing makes me happy.  I started knitting a rectangle one day, and decided it would make an adorable little bag.  I’m torn if this belongs in this section or in the “The Good” section, but it’s here because I don’t know how to finish it.  It would need a pretty strong lining, and a zipper.

Fuzziness

Fuzziness

Another bunch of Kelly’s fabric.  We thought we could redo all the upholstery in her truck with this stuff.  It’s so soft and snuggly, but it’s also not very strong and it sheds a lot.  I’ll have to ask her what she wants done with it because I sure don’t know.

Fluffies

Fluffies

Originally I had this crazy idea to attach these 3 canvases onto top each other and paint a big picture over the lot of them.  Then, I quickly changed my mind.  Now I have 3 blue canvases that each have some  unpainted edges (I can’t remember why I thought that part was a good idea).

Seemed like a good idea at the time

Seemed like a good idea at the time

These beauties are another failed bridesmaid gift.  Don’t worry, they girls all got lovely earrings and necklaces.  I found these at Hobby Lobby for like 99c each and couldn’t resist.  The plan was to paint them all in colors that each girl likes and put the jewelry inside.  Time and energy, as well as a couple of other things, put a damper on that plan.  Now what do I do with 6 ceramic cupcakes?

Now What?

Now What?

The Ugly

Oh, the ugly…

Ok, so what you see before you is the bodice and lining of what could have been my junior prom gown.  I don’t think this fabric is ugly in and of itself, it’s more that I’m now in my late 20’s and not in need of a shiny silver and black prom dress.  I’m not sure what to do with this now.

That's very... checker-y

That’s very… checker-y

A more recent attempt at sewing.  This very bright red thing is the result of last minute panic at the lack of a Halloween costume a couple of Halloweens ago.  Yeah… I’m just going to go ahead and say this is so not much style and should just be stopped.  So, I have lots of bright red shiny/satiny fabric and black frilly lace trim to use up.

Yeesh

Yeesh

Ok, digging up these pants made this whole undertaking worth it.  I remember the exact moment when I realized what a horrible, horrible idea these were.  They don’t look so crazy on the lady on the pattern, but when you have them in front of you in real life, well, that’s a whole other matter.

Wow, just wow

Wow, just wow

I don’t think a photo of these pants on the floor do their insanity justice.  For your viewing and laughing pleasure, I put them on.  Please bear in mind that these were made exactly according to the pattern instructions, no extra width or panels sewn in.  Oh, and they’re huge on me and I’m pretty sure I weighed about 10lbs less when I made them.

Photos do not do them justice

Photos do not do them justice

I hope you enjoyed this dive into my sewing and crafting past.  Check back Monday for your next installment, Craft Debt Pt 4: The Ghost of Crafting Present.  In the meantime, feel free to check out the rest of my posts or let me know all your crafting failing/abandonment adventures.

Craft debt Pt 2 – the one where my husband notices

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When we last left off, I was being a horrible godmother who doesn’t complete and send Christmas presents.

That was craft priority número uno;  the rest of these items are in no particular order, but for the sake of organization, posts may be themed.  Take this post.  The projects below are not only not finished, but worse, they’re things my husband has noticed are not finished and reminds me about… a lot.

The Pillows

The Pillows

The Pillows

Ah, the pillows.  If you’ve been reading my blog, you may have read this post all about my current obsession with throw pillows.  I love me some throw pillows.  I don’t love me some half done projects that I’ve grown bored of.

Some time Years ago we bought a couch off Craigslist.  The moment I saw this sofa, I had to have it.  It was just what we were looking for, a comfy microfiber couch that would fit in our tv room and it even looked nice.  Jackpot.  Quickly after getting it home and sitting on it we realized there was not much in the way of snuggliness.  It needed throw pillows.  I picked out a fantastic fabric at Joann’s that matched the color scheme in the tv room.  I took it home and in no time made a throw pillow. Success!  Then I got bored or busy, I forget which, and the matching pillow never got past the fabric cutting stage.

Ta-Da!

Ta-Da!

It just needs piping and sewing

It just needs piping and sewing

At some point in the following months I knit a coordinating pillow and put it next to the lone sewn one on the couch.  They looked so cute together, what a nice couple.  Then, as if by magic, I got bored of knitting that pillow’s matching partner about 3/4 of the way through.  Shameful.

So cute together

So cute together

SO close!

SO close!

So here we are, in a different house in a different state, and many years later, with two little pillows on the big couch.  Any time I mention sewing or pillows, I swear an alarm goes off in Charles’ head and he reminds me of the pillows that time forgot.  So ends the tale of the first DIY my husband cared about.

The Comforter

This story starts much more recently, in December actually.  BTW, it was another contributing factor in the Cinderella delay, but enough excuses.

To understand this project, you need to know something about our dog.  She is the most lovable, well behaved dog in the world, until you dare to leave her alone in the house with a bed accessible to her.  She destroys comforters and sheets;  I’m not sure what it is all about, and it really doesn’t matter, but she just destroys those suckers.  We have holes in basically all our sheets, duvet covers, and comforters thanks to that sweet little girl.

Yeah, she's cute

Yeah, she’s cute

Enter our current comforter.  I think it is a favorite of my husband’s  or he’s just snapped after years of linen abuse.  He wants the holes of the comforter patched up so we can wash it.  Fair enough.  He can’t sew, and works full time.  I can sew, and do not have a job here yet.  So I promised to fix it.  Except that this request to fix the comforter came right in the middle of December, otherwise known as crazy busy time.  I started it, and little and big holes alike were closing up before my eyes, but then we went on vacation, instead of continuing and finishing when we got back, I just switched out comforters to an undamaged one, threw the holey one in a corner, and stopped.

Just one of many patched holes

Just one of many patched holes

The sleeping culprit in the background

I’m bad, I warned you.  It needs to stop.

Thanks for being my craft confession buddies.  I’m planning on updating and posting as I work my way out of craft debt.  Come back tomorrow for Part 3, “The Ghost of Crafts Past.”

Craft Debt

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Craft Debt

I’m in serious craft debt.  No, not the kind that involves credit cards and debt collectors, serious craft debt.  I have a ton of unfinished projects all around me and hidden away, I’m in deep.

I call it debt because I just don’t feel right starting anything new right now.  I owe it to these projects to see them through.  So, I make a resolution today, in front of all you witnesses (hehe, “all” like there’s a lot), that I will work my way out of this pile of unfinished projects, and into a happy land of sweet guiltless crafting!

This is a little embarrassing, but I’m going to share the crafts stuck in limbo now.  I say ‘a little’ because I know there is no way I’m the only one out there in craft debt.  Here goes, my lost, forgotten, in progress, and otherwise unloved crafts.

Cinderella PJ’s and Robe

Cute, right?

Cute, right?

This list of shame is going to be in no particular order, except this first item.  I am ashamed to admit it, but, this is my goddaughter’s Christmas present.  Yes, I am a horrible person… Except I’m not.  See, like many things in this life, I started with the best of intentions.  Come with me, back in time, to the start of this saga…

It was the first week of December and I was on top of my game.  My best friend, and goddaughter’s mother, had sent me a link to her Christmas wish list, and I had read it immediately.  As soon as I saw the doll sized Cinderella robe and nightgown set I knew what I had to do.  I would buy that little set and up the ante by sewing her her very own matching set to wear.  Best godmother ever, right?  That’s when it sort of went south.  I braved Toys’r’us (actually 2 of them, but that’s another story) and bought the set.  That very same day I went to Joann’s and bought a pattern for a similar robe and a pattern for a similar nightgown.  Still winning.  Problem is, that’s where progress stopped.  It wasn’t for lack of good intentions, I had tons of those.  It was time.  You’re saying to yourselves, “Time?! What lies! It was the first week of December, tons of time.”  You’re right, tons of time, which is why I undertook the project in the first place.  Little did I realize that the birthday embroidery I was working on for my nephew would take so long, or that the weeks before Christmas would be so unbelievably busy.

See? I even got the patterns!

See? I even got the patterns!

I’m ashamed, I honestly am.  True, I did warn my bestie that her daughter’s present would be late, but now it’s past a little late.  The doll sized set has sat in a place of constant shaming since I bought it, hanging by its cute little hanger from my desk lamp, little doll slippers right along with it.  This project is priority level 1 zillion; I cannot and will not be the horrible aunt who didn’t send her niece a Christmas present.

Prominent place of shaming

Prominent place of shaming

So cute on the little hanger

So cute on the little hanger

..and the little slippers, too

..and the little slippers, too

It has become pretty clear to me that this litany of abandoned projects will need to be spread out over several posts.  I promise they aren’t all anywhere near as horrible a tale as the Cinderella outfit.  I’ll be updating you all each day on my pile-o-unfinished-stuff.  In the meantime, has anyone else got some craft debt they want to fess up to?  Let me know, maybe I won’t feel so guilty while I sew.

Keep on reading, Part 2 is here.

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