Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Wedding Present

Two of my dear friends got married this weekend and I wanted to make them an extra special present. But I also wanted to craft more.

I had heard about the wine box ceremony a few months after our own wedding and I thought it was great. Well, knowing my friends, Matt and Rachel, were wine fans, I thought it would be perfect.

I found the perfect box at Home Goods. I even ran around the store, trying to find a suitable wine bottle substitute to make sure it would fit in the box, and the box would still be able to close. I made due with a bottle of margarita mix. (I even got a discount because the clasp was broken--something I never thought I would be able to ask for, but I mustered up the guts and got a whole $1.64 off! Haha.)

Now, I know the box looks gorgeous. And when I brought it to my dad for advice, he tried to talk me out of doing anything to it. But, what you can't really see in the picture are the knicks and scratches on the box. But it was a solid wood box, and it was the perfect size. Especially for the two glasses I was lucky enough to find to also fit in.

(Please ignore the old mail, tape dispenser and my wine glass. One day, I will adequately set up my pictures...or maybe not.)

So, first I had to remove the hardware and figure out a suitable replacement for the broken clasp. I'm telling this out of order, though, because I ended up bringing the whole box to Lowe's to show to the hardware department manager. But, she was able to help me find one that worked just fine.

Because the clasp wasn't the same color as the hardware, I spray painted them all in my brushed silver spray paint. (I think the can is magical...I keep finding projects for it, and never running out!)

I had found a window box shelf I adored at Home Goods, as well, so I sanded it and added it to my collection of things that needed to be spray painted blue.

After three coats, the box came out perfectly! I didn't bother spray painting the inside rims because I figured I would either touch it up or figure out another solution later.

Knowing the wedding colors were blue and brown, I was able to use scrapbook paper I had for use in the living room. I had made blue- and sepia-toned wallet-sized copies of some of their engagement picture and other pictures I found on facebook. I used a ruler and craft cutting knife to cut in the squares as a sort of mat for the pictures to sit in.

Then, I started placing pictures in the holes and used Mod Podge to adhere the pictures to the paper.

Then, I placed the pictures and paper on the box top and used even more Mod Podge (but, then again, I don't believe there is such a thing as too much Modge Podge). Then I added the names and the wedding date cut from the invitation and the Save The Date cards, as well as the decorative ribbon.

After about four coats of Mod Podge, I started spraying it with acrylic sealer. Then added another three layers of Mod Podge. Then sealed it again with five more layers of acrylic sealer. Needless to say, these pictures weren't going anywhere.

While I was waiting for the layers to dry, I had to figure out a way to make sure the wine bottle and glasses were well packed. After remembering getting into trouble as a child, I remembered how easily carved floral foam is. (Quick story: my mom had some, I had fingernails and was an only child and amused myself for about an hour with the stuff.)

When I brought home the blocks, I began to carve them with, don't laugh, an ice cream scoop and a melon baller. I should point out, at this moment in time, that I worked for five years at Carvel. It was nice to find out I hadn't lost the art of the perfect scoop.

Unfortunately, the box was a little too small to accommodate all the bulk of a wine bottle and glasses, while still being able to close the lid.

So, after wasting a few hours on that, I cut slices from the cut pieces and used Liquid Nails to adhere the foam to the velvet lining.

Instead of touching up the edges of the boxes, I remembered my glue gun. (Oh, my glue gun. I made a vow that if I ever opened a craft shop, I would name it "Happiness is a Warm Glue Gun". Sorry, kind of a fan of puns.)

I purchased a piece of scrap fabric with a wedding motif. First, I ironed the rough edges under, then glued the corners to the corners of the box. Before that, I attached ribbons to the sides of the box just for a little extra holding power for the contents. I used finishing nails as an extra precaution on the ribbons.

After adding the hardware back on, I had to make a nice presentation of the "instructions" for the box.

Here's a bigger picture of the text.

Here's the final product.

After another few layers of acrylic sealer, I was ready to wrap it up.

If you're a fan of Mod Podge, this article from Mod Podge Rocks is fantastic for wrapping. I used the Press 'N Seal wrapping like the article recommended. I haven't heard anything from the bride and groom, but they're in Aruba, so I won't press them for details of how well my Mod Podge held up.

Oh, and while I was waiting for one of the many layers of either Mod Podge or acrylic sealer to dry, I spray painted a frame with some leftover blue spray paint, and used my circle cutter to use some of the leftover pictures.

Unfortunately, I didn't take a picture of the final products and wrapping. (I even made a bow from leftover ribbon! I'm pissed I forgot to shoot it!) But when I told friends what I made them, I got at least three informal invitations to future weddings because they liked the gift idea so much.

What To Do...

Just made my first Craigslist transaction!

(Side note: I need to stop watching so many episodes of "Law & Order: SVU" before making said transactions. Oh, the paranoia!)

So, now I have two wooden stools, painted white, that are blank canvases.

When I brought them in the door, my husband said they would make great side tables. Now, I'm looking at them with even more potential than I did initially.

At least now I get to stare at them in the house for a few days and decide.

Love it!

Small Victory

My husband saw a picture in Real Simple magazine of built-in shelving and called me over, saying "Do you think we could do this with one of the taller crawl spaces upstairs?" I nearly hugged him because I  have secretly wanted built-in shelving somewhere in my house.  But I didn't hug him at the time because, when he called me over, he was on the toilet.

Yeah, I don't know when we lost that barrier of closing and locking the bathroom door when it's just the two of us, but it's gone completely. Welcome to marriage!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

My Husband Now Regrets Getting Me a Sewing Machine for Christmas

My cousin's wife has a baby shower this weekend five hours away. However, I have a wedding this weekend for two of my very good friends. But I did make a present to send up with my mom.

I used the tutorial from Crap I've Made for Appliqued Tie Onesies, then, seeing as I have four more onesies left in the pack and plenty of fabric, I got a little creative.

I will say, though, I accidentally bought one sided iron-on webbing, so I didn't get a flat look, but I liked the 3D looks I created.

Oh, by the way, they live in Maine. Hence the pun.

This was before I added the buttons.

They're never too young for Puff Paint (and apparently, I will never grow out of using it).

I especially love that I only ironed and sewed the middle of the wings to the onesie, therefore it has a flapping effect. LOVE!

(No, it's not an arrow pointing to the baby's shoulder blade, it's the devil's tale!)

And here they are all together. (Oh, didn't realize my foot was in the picture. Er, um, nevermind the desperate need for a pedicure.)

And, of course, I couldn't get enough of the crafting, so I went a little nuts making the bow and wrapping the gift. (Yes, her name is Emily, too!)

Oh, and the cat enjoyed the process of wrapping the present, of course.

UPDATE: Here's a picture of my cousin's son, Deklan, proudly sporting the onesie!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Weeknight Craft

OK, I have a HUGE crafting post coming up, but the project I did was for my cousin's wife's baby shower this coming weekend, so I have to hold off on posting it on the off chance my cousin or his wife reads it and finds out early what it is. (Oh, it's so good, though! So good!)

But, until I post that, I had to get my craft on tonight.

After looking at all my craft blogs for a few days, I've noticed a trend of decorating for autumn. Well, being that it's officially the first day, I went to the dollar store and spent a heaping $4 to give my home some fall flair.

With the help of a glue gun (only one burn to report), I decorated a wine glass and two candle holders with some festive foliage. (Can you tell I have a thing for alliteration?)

And the finished glass and candle holders look like this!

And, yes, we now have TWO kitties to worry about burning themselves, so I spent another $2 and bought battery operated candles.

I know, I know...it's a little minimalistic, but I'm still in that hesitant novice crafter mindset of "I'll add more, I swear, but for now, I need to take a step back and appreciate what I have."

Conversation with the husband, following crafting:

"What do you think?"

"Um, they're leafy."

"Well, yeah, that's the point. Do you like them?"

"They're leafy."

I have yet to figure out what that means, but in the meantime, here's a picture of our new little kitten, Buster (crawling on my husband's butt, haha).

Our first cat, Beth, is not responding well to being a big sister. She is currently annoyed at her humans, as well as the little terror they brought into the house. But, as a way of making amends, I am including her picture in this post, as well.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Circle Table

About a year ago, Lenny and I found a $30 corner desk at Christmas Tree Shop. It was  a stain of wood we normally wouldn't buy, but for the price, we figured we'd make an exception. After using it as a TV stand, I rearranged the furniture one night and it became our entrance table. The space underneath is perfect for our shoes and bags to keep out of the way, and it's normally cluttered with mail on a weekly basis now.
Well, in between waiting for something to dry during my Crazy Craft Weekend (as it has now come to be known), I got creative with the Martha Stewart Circle Cutter. Oh, I love that thing, I really do. I used the blade I had been using all weekend, as I figured it was probably starting to get dull anyway and would have to be replaced.
I started making circles on the table itself.
After making the circles, I dabbed a little light blue paint on a paper towel and rubbed it around the circles, then wiped the excess off with a clean paper towel.
And I was left with blue circles all over the table!
I wiped any paint stains on the table with Orange Glow wood cleaner, which seemed to do the trick to get rid of the blue paint outside the circles, leaving the paint inside intact.
I decided I needed more circles, so I repeated the process and ended up with having a table we were "just OK with" to having such a great accent piece.
(Don't mind the mess around the table; quickly following my Crazy Crafting Weekend  was a huge clean before my husband got home from National Guard. I swear, our house isn't normally in shambles to this point.)

Don't Even Get Me Started on Throw Pillows...

Could someone please explain to me why decorative pillows cost so much? I don't agree with spending more than $6 on a throw pillow, I don't care how well it accents the decor.

I decided to take matters into my own hands. While at the craft store, I purchased some fabric discards that had the blue and brown circles I loved. (About $5 for a bundle of four 12"x18".)

Once I layed out the fabric against the pillow, though, I realized it was a little too short. So I decided to have a flashback to my 8th grade home ec class and make a patchwork pillow.
Using some coordinating fabric ($2  sheets from Wal-Mart, no joke!), I began cutting. Of course, the cat had to investigate.

(Yes, that is the WWE Encyclopedia, which makes an excellent weight when cutting fabric.)

I was kind of worn out after crafting all weekend, I didn't feel like making exact measurements and, instead, folding pieces of fabric into right angles to make squares.

After sewing a row together, I sewed the original fabric with the brown strip, using an iron to flatten out the inner seams.

Following that, I sewed my strip of sewn together squares to the top to add even more length, figuring I would cut it later.

After putting together a make-shift backing out of more brown sheets, I inserted the original pillow inside and squished around the stuffing to even it out. I was very pleased with the result, as I didn't want it to look too patchwork-y, and I loved the geometric aspect of how the squares and stripes turned out.

The Perfect Shelf

Lenny and I decided we wanted a shelf in the pantry in the kitchen, which we turned into the area for the sink and the dishwasher. We figured it would be great to be able to use that area to hold dishes, as well, making it easier to transfer dishes from the dishwasher or sink, instead of making multiple trips. Unfortunately, we couldn't find anything either of us liked and we took up valuable cabinet space holding our dishes, only using two of the three shelves because the top shelf was pretty inconvenient to reach.

After a visit to my dentist, who happens to be Swedish, I decided to go to Ikea and get lost for a while while the Novocaine wore off. While in the kitchen section, I came across the cutest little country shelf. So simple, long and just the right size I was looking for.

Now would be the point in the blog when I should mention my husband says he doesn't like Ikea. Anything I bring home from Ikea, I have to sneak in the house, and tell him later where it came from, once he decides he likes it/doesn't mind it.

After putting it together—with the "help" of the cat, who was very good at finding (and playing with) parts I had dropped—I attempted to hang it by myself. This was a mistake.

After making a few holes in the wall, I waited for my brother-in-law to come over. Thankfully, he was a better stud-finder than I was (and that is now a joke among the family).

And now I have basically an empty cabinet I can store the kitchen odds and ends!