Friday, December 30, 2011

New Years and All That Jazz

Holy cow. How is it almost 2012? It's like I blinked and this year just disappeared.

It's had it's ups and downs and like most roller-coasters, I occasionally got sick.

Overall, I can' complain though. This tiny blog was started and I barely updated for a while but I think it's starting to come along nicely. It's just my little corner of the web. My sincerest thanks to the new blog friends I've met so far too. You guys are amazing.

I've been thinking a lot about resolutions and whether I should even make them but what the heck? Why not?

This is the part where you roll your eyes and wonder if "working out" will show up here.

The short answer to that is "No." The long answer is not suitable for polite company. Ahem.

Anyway, here's what I want from 2012.


Participate in my first belly dance performance in public

Gain my Cisco Certification for Network Associates

Do one random act of kindness for a perfect stranger at least once a week

Buy my first house

Create my dream craftroom

Learn Spanish

Start my first link party

Do my first giveaway on this blog

And most importantly...

To continue this blog in the way it was begun, as a place where I am true to myself, where pageviews don't matter, joy is shared without reservation, comments are always returned, friendships are started, and fun will always be had.

So what are you planning for 2012?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Adventures in Reupholstering

Ok, it's official. 

I broke my upholstering cherry last night. 

I had sort of expected to come into work today with bleeding fingers and a doctor's note detailing just how many staples he'd had to pry out of my body but somehow I managed to walk away from this adventure not only intact but with a lovely new hamper. 

I've always wanted to try my hand at upholstering. I would see these images of beautifully done swingback chairs that went from dingy to damask in the seconds it took to scroll down the page. 

You know which ones I'm talking about. 

That blog you've stumbled across here and there where the crafty genius found some lovely bit of furniture for only a dollar and somehow managed to slap new fabric on it and make you more jealous than you thought possible. 

Every time I'd see one of them, I'd tell myself "Oh yeah, that could be ME sitting in that comfy chair that looks like it came straight out of a Ballard magazine" but I've never had the courage to try my hand at it. Well, I decided to change that. Life is about challenging yourself to try the things you never thought you would, like how many oreos you can fit in your mouth at one time, and so it was time to upholster something. I wanted to start small so I looked around my local Goodwill and found this lovely little hamper. 

Isn't she pretty??

I snagged her for a whole $6 and brought her home. The wood was in perfect condition but the cloth on top...well. Ew. 

Yeah. Ew. 

It was grungy. 
There were stains I didn't want to know the origin of. 
It smelled funny. 

I knew she would be beautiful once I got that nasty fabric off though. The inside had a white cotton liner in it attached with velcro so I ripped that badboy out and just tossed it in the wash. This is the empty basket. I love the color of the wood. 

I took my trusty multi-tool and plucked out all the staples holding the straps in place and then unscrewed the lid from the hinges.

I say this like it was easy. 

That would be a lie. 

In actuality, there was a lot of cussing as those tiny brass screws stripped faster than a hooker in a millionaire's house and I was forced to get them out using a pair of needlenose pliers. 

But I digress. 

 Point is, I got the lid off. Go me. 

Next, I pulled out the staples that were holding the cloth to the board and was pleased to find a fat cat underneath. He decided to help me so it was all good and I let him stay. 

The padding already on the lid was still good and had mercifully survived without any stains. YAY!

I had some trouble deciding on a fabric to put on the lid but a while ago I'd come across a sundress at, you guessed it, Goodwill! I could never wear it but that didn't stop me from buying it because the fabric was pretty and like an addict, I convinced myself I would use this at some point. Hooray for being right for once. 

I cut the sundress in half and then sliced up the side of the part that used to be the bottom. 

I placed my lid in the center of the fabric and, starting from the top, I pulled the fabric down and stapled it in place. Then I pulled up from the bottom, making sure the fabric was taught, and stapled that in place. Each side got a single staple as well and once I was assured that I hadn't completely messed up, I attacked the fabric like a spaz, stapling every spare inch I could reach, pulling the fabric tight around the corners as I went. I wish I could say I had photos of this step but alas, I was so caught up in stapling that I forgot. 


Anyway, use your imagination. It's stapled. 

A lot.

Then I had the hubby critter help me hold it in place while I put in new screws. Thank god I have a ton of them from all the other crap I've taken apart of the years. I stapled the two ribbons back in place on the underside of the lid to keep it from falling all the way when opened and voila!

Ok, so it's not perfect but it makes me happy. The seams down the top are from the panels of the dress but I like how they look. It's hard to see here but the fabric actually has this neat blue/purple sheen to it.

What'cha think? I like it, myself. I can't wait to put the liner back in. It's not actually going to be a hamper. Instead, I'm going to use it to hold all my magazines, clippings, ect that inspire me and are currently jammed on my bookshelf. I'm tired of hunting through them to find my Sherlock Holmes novels so I'll be glad to have a place to put them all. Also, sorry for the complete lack of professional looking photos showing my hamper in the perfect lighting with random items placed around it to make it look perfect but frankly it was late when I completed this and there was no sunlight left to make my work look awesome. 

Again, use your imagination. 

So has anyone else ever upholstered? Any tips I missed? 

Linked here:

 Ladybird Ln   


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Belated Merry Christmas!

Man, what a couple of weeks! I apologize for my silence for the past few days but I've been so busy I haven't had time to breathe, much less post. Between the flu and a roadtrip that took me all the way up to Maryland and back over the course of a few days, I've been too wiped to craft much. My mother-in-law is very sick so it was important to get to her side for Christmas. She's battling cancer and we're worried for her so putting off the trip wasn't an option.

Not to worry though. I've got a ton of new crafts in the works and will be uploading the tutorials for those in the next few days. I finally got a pinterest account now too so don't be surprised if I'm pinning like a mad woman. I hope the holidays were wonderful for everyone and I can't wait to see what amazing treats people have been coming up with while I was gone. I finally got a new sewing machine so I'm itching to get started with that and my lovely sister got me a Cricut!!! Can you believe it? I'm about to leap out of my skin over here. I have a million things I want to try with it already.

New projects in the works:

Tiny Shiny Glitterglobes
Tiny Terrariums
Reupholstered Hamper
Repaint of My Nightstand
Plastic Character Rings
Redecorating for New Years!

Should be fun times. Thanks for stopping in and I'll be popping into everyone's place soon to see what you've been up to! 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Photography Love

It dawned on me tonight while on another round of browsing other people's lovely blogs, that I have pretty much relegated most of my posts here to only artisan crafts and that leaves out a few arts that are very near and dear to me. One of those loves is photography. I know there are plenty of photographers out there that are better at this than me but I love it and I love to learn from them. For me, photography lets me grab a moment. It lets me show the rest of the world the wonder and joy I find in others and in the life around me. It's a love I shared with my father before he passed and now I carry his camera with me on my adventures. I am still learning it to be honest. It was like going from a volvo to a Ferrari since he was a professional at this. I sometimes feel like I'm still a little girl fumbling with daddy's equipment as I try to figure out what all the settings do but I also feel like I'm closer to him when I snap off a shot. It always makes me smile.

Almost two years ago I got a chance to take that camera to Ireland for three weeks with one of the most wonderful people in the world, my friend Taylor. I snapped thousands of photos that I'm still proud of. Just  recently, I got a coupon from Shutterfly for a free 8x8 color 20 photobook that I could design and I knew it was a chance to give Taylor something special. I organized some of our photos and added them to the book with a story-like narrative telling the tale of two heros on an adventure. She got the book about a week ago and told me it made her cry as one of the best gifts she's ever gotten. It's only fair I suppose...her friendship is one of my favorite gifts too. :)

With all that said, I decided that I should finally share some of my photos with you guys. Feedback and critique is always appreciated as I can't grow if I don't know what I'm doing wrong. It's also nice to know when I'm doing things right so here are a few of my favorite shots. :)

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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Rainbow Jellyfish Hat

I admit it. I'm totally a five year old. I'm good with that. 

As such, I really like the silly, unusual, and ridiculous. I have utterly no shame so if something looks like fun, I will happily put it on my head and go about my day. I found a tutorial for making these cute fleece hats and I've been making them for a while now. This is my most recent creation and is the hardest one I've made. It's a rainbow jellyfish. HEE! 

Isn't it CUTE??? It's even got big eyes on the front so it can stare awkwardly at people when I wear it. 

I actually made the base of the hat first and the "tentacles" are strands of rainbow fluffy yarn that have been individually sewn through the headband. The larger tentacles are iridescent ribbon that I stitched a long thread through and then bunched up. I'm pretty darn happy with it even if I look like the strange lovechild of Bob Marley and Rainbow Bright. 

I'll hunt down the tutorial for you guys and link it in a future post so you all can make one too if you want. Happy crafting!!!

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sew many ways

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Revitalized Jewelry box

Some of my happiest memories come from the summers I used to spend with my grandmother in Arizona. My sister and I would go visit and she would let us stay in her room since it had the larger bed. On her dresser, I remember seeing a large jewelry chest. I always thought there was something a little magical about those tiny doors that opened to reveal more drawers. I'm not sure what it was about the tiny portal that so enamored me but I always loved it.

Sadly, when I was 21, my sweet grandma passed away. Over the years, I had all but forgotten about the jewelry chest but just this year my step-mom (whom I utterly adore) called me upstairs during a visit to her home and she showed me the old box sitting in one of the rooms. She had saved it all these years and after my father passed away two years ago, she had moved houses and found it again in the process. She's so incredibly loving that she set it aside just to see if I wanted to have it when I came to visit her. 

It had not weathered well and the dull brown finish on it seemed a lot less magical when I saw it again but somewhere in me, the crafter screamed that I could give it new life. My grandma had always been a crafter herself and I had learned much of my love for the handmade from those summers with her. I knew she would love to see her old things renovated into a new life. I scooped it up and brought it home. 

I wish I'd taken photos of it BEFORE I painted it but I completely forgot to. The old brown paint job was pretty awful, just trust me on this, but the inside of it was lined in deep blue velvet. I used saran wrap and painter's tape to protect the lining and then grabbed a can of krylon white spray paint. I coated the whole thing with white paint and then hand painted the little brass handles with a midnight blue that would match the velvet. I brushed a soft gold over the drawer knobs behind those tiny doors as well. 

VOILA! Suddenly the weathered and worn jewelry box was vibrant and beautiful!

She sits next to my bedside now. :) 

Isn't this blue velvet just gorgeous??

After I painted her, I just felt she still needed a bit more so I took a page from a Alphonse Mucha calendar my friend gave me and modge podged it to the top! Mucha has been my inspiration and my love  since I was little when it comes to art so this just made me even happier. 

So what old things have you given a renewed life to? 

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Friday, December 16, 2011

Boot Re-Paint

This morning I found myself with a bit of a dilemma. I've mentioned previously that funds are pretty tight around here right now so there's not a lot of spending going on. When I checked the mail though, my lovely aunt had sent me a Christmas present of some cash to buy myself something. I found myself torn on what to get. My old black boots, the only ones I have, have seen much better days and were starting to get pretty beat up. I wanted to get a new pair but I also wanted to get my unruly hair cut. Well, the hair won out and I'm glad it did since I feel much better now, but that still left me with my old boots. I've been trying to give a lot of my old stuff new life so I thought why not my old boots too? 

I pulled out some white paint, a couple small brushes, and dragged my boots out to the livingroom.

They're pretty scuffed up though you can't see it so well in this photo. I apologize for the quality of these pictures but it's been a long day and I didn't want to pull out the big fancy camera. ;) 

I pulled up some interesting swirly designs on-line all intent on copying them but in the end I just wound up free-handing on some patterns that I liked. I'm pretty darn happy with the result:

They aren't perfect but I like the little imperfections. These took me about 2 hours hunched over with a tiny brush but I think it was worth it. 

You can see more of the scratches above but at this point, I don't think anyone will notice. Hopefully I can dazzle them with the white swirls and whisk away before they notice that the boots are still beaten up. ;) 

In the end, I think it's a pretty good overhaul that cost me nothing but time and I'm looking forward to wearing them out. I'm going to coat the design with a good waterproofing mix to keep it from getting damaged and I think they'll be super cute with my white tights and black sweater dress! All I need now is a lovely fleur dis lis black and white umbrella. 

Hrm. I might just have to start looking for white umbrellas....

Candace Creations