Monday, September 26, 2011

Recycled Posters

I mentioned in a previous post that I have tons of wall space and not a lot of art. Well, I'm working on it!

The Beavis is such a huge Beatles fan so I thought he would appreciate the Fab Four watching over us in our living room. He had this huge Beatles poster that hung in his room during high school and college. It's been rolled up in a tube for many years. I hated to let it go to waste so this is what I came up with.

I'm thinking these boards need frames to make them pop a little more

I love the look of collages, especially the way advertising posters get torn up and pasted over each other. I wanted to do something like that so I took the original poster, cut it up and applied it to decorated canvas boards. It was super cheap and easy!

I picked up some canvas boards and did a little sponge painting with whatever acrylic paints I had around the house. The sunburst motif was added with a stencil and spray paint. Then I doodled over the top with a Sharpie.

Snip, snip to the poster and throw on the Modge Podge. My finished posters have a warped, air-bubble effect which I was fine with. I've heard that if you don't want your decoupaged pieces to look warped that you should soak the paper in water before applying to the surface. Also, make sure to apply the adhesive to the front and the back of the paper.

The other walls in the room are getting some love too.

The giant clock was a P.I.T.A. to hang. Just ask Beavis. And guess what? The battery just died. It is now perpetually 8PM.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Anniversary Art

I got such a nice surprise the other day. Beavis gave me my 7th wedding anniversary present early.

He wanted to follow traditional anniversary gift materials this year. The 7th anniversary is the wool or copper anniversary. Well, I've got tons of wool just sitting in a cabinet waiting to be knitted into stuff so he figured I was set.

Beavis went with copper and found this awesome piece of art from Jenn Bell. I love it! Melted glass over copper, what could be better!  Go check out her site and order some art!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Embracing the Booty!

I am just a few days away from my 2.25" button press machine getting here! I am so excited! I plan on offering my design clients over at MPowered Design button/badge promotional products with more sizes to come in the future. I've been playing with potential, fun button designs in Photoshop and Illustrator.

Aww yea they do!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I don't need OxiClean, I have paint and freezer paper!

It doesn't matter what I'm wearing, I always manage to spill something on myself. In fact, I have a salsa stain from today's lunch on my shirt right now.

Usually the stains come out in the wash but every now and then I'm stuck with them. So, I decided to make some lemonade out of lemons and save a t-shirt.

Ta da!!! The stain has magically disappeared!

I used a freezer paper stencil to add this groovy flower to my shirt. To create your own custom shirt you'll need:

 - a shirt, duh!
 - freezer paper (make sure it is freezer paper, don't use wax paper!)
 - fabric paint and a sponge or brush to apply it with
 - a piece of cardboard large enough to fit inside your shirt
 - craft knife and cutting board 
 - an iron and ironing board

My greasy shirt
I started off with a flower drawing that I did in Adobe Illustrator. Don't worry if you are not a designer. Any clip art, drawing or text will do just fine. Just make sure that your design is simple enough to cut out with a craft knife. I've seen some awesome, detailed freezer paper stencils so if you have patience and a steady hand, go for that intricate design. Otherwise, simple shapes work best.

I sized my design to fit on a standard piece of 8.5"x11" paper and then cut out a piece of freezer paper to those dimensions.

You'll need to either print your design or trace/draw it on the freezer paper.  (TIP! If you are going to use a printer make sure to feed the freezer paper so that printing is on the paper side. Run a test with a piece of regular paper and mark a corner on it to make sure which way the freezer paper needs to be placed in the printer tray.)

Once you have your design on the freezer paper you'll need to cut out the parts of the stencil that expose the parts of the shirt you want painted. Take your time cutting out the stencil and use a cutting board or thick piece of cardboard for a cutting surface. You want clean lines.

Place the stencil on the shirt right where you want your design with the waxy side down and adhere it to the shirt with a warm iron (no steam!). Run the iron over the stencil until it is completely stuck to the shirt.

To prevent the fabric paint from seeping to the other side of your shirt, place a piece of cardboard inside it to act as a barrier. Now apply the fabric paint with a small sponge or stiff bristle brush. I prefer to do several light coats of paint so that I don't get any accidental drips. I also apply the paint with light up and down dabs. If you swipe your brush back and forth you might get some of the bristles underneath the stencil.

Once the paint has dried, peel off the freezer paper. Follow the paint manufacturer's instructions for heat setting the paint. The brand I used just needed a final ironing to set the paint.

Ta da! Instant stain removal!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Occasional Seamstress

When it comes to sewing I'm either totally crazy, can't get enough, stay up until 2AM to finish a project or, well,

I don't sew often but when I do, I finish several projects within a day or two. My projects tend to be small, house or accessory related stuff. No clothing or anything that has to be perfectly tailored. God help me when I have to hem a pair of pants (which happens often when one is 5'1").

Bruce couldn't care less about sewing

One of my quickie projects was a stool cozy. I have several pieces of brown, fake leather furniture that just seem to blend into one another. My solution, cover the cube footstool from Target with some groovy fabric.

The cover just sits over the stool so I can easily throw it in the washing machine when one of the cats decides to throw up on it. And it was so easy to make! I just measured the dimensions of the cube and added 1/2" on each side for a seam allowance. 

Here is my fancy pattern:

My next project was a grocery tote out of some random fabric I found in the remnant bin at Joann's. The lining fabric is an old sheet that my dog Lola tore a chunk out of last summer.

I even managed to put in a pocket for my keys, phone and wallet
But, the nicest thing I made was this cute, reversible bag. The pattern (which was so easy to follow!) and instructions can be found on VeryPurplePerson. The pattern fits perfectly on 4 fat quarters (for the non-sewers, fat quarters are 18"x24" pieces of fabric that are sold individually, typically for quilting projects).

I still have two throw pillows to cover so I hope my sewing mojo keeps rocking.

Lola says "Hi".

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Monday, May 30, 2011

IKEA Hack Cat Cabinets

You cat owners out there know that stylish, affordable cat furniture is hard to find. If you have dogs and cats there are very few contraptions that keep dogs out of the litter and kitty food. 

Beavis hacked some really cool IKEA cabinets to create a kitty litter containment locker and a private dining room for our two cats. 

Pepper couldn't wait for her new groovy kitty condos
You'll need:
  • IKEA PS lockers
  • Heavy Duty Tin Snips
  • Cat Door Kits
  • A drill and a drill bit intended for drilling through metal
After assembling the cabinets Beavis traced out the hole for the cat doors using the template that came with the cat door kit. The cabinets came with shelves but we didn't use them. You could hang them on the wall for instant magnet boards.

Beavis had to drill a few pilot holes around the traced line in order to get the tin snips into the cabinet to cut out the door.

Mark where your screw holes need to go and drill through. Attach the door and fasten. Done!

Pepper makes her first "deposit'

We left the flap off the kitty litter cabinet to allow the cats some room to move since the litter pan took up most of the cabinet space.

Monday, May 16, 2011

More Crochet Love

I've been on a crochet kick lately. A crazy, abstract crochet kick with spirals. I have no idea of what these pieces will turn into but it is a great way to use up the little bits and pieces of leftover yarn from other projects.


The piece above is crocheted with leftover sock yarn. I just make random spirals, stitch them together and occasionally add lines of single crochet around them. I think this might look great attached to a felted bag or even glued to a canvas and hung up on my blank walls.

This second piece is made out of Berroco Comfort leftovers from a baby blanket I made a few months ago. Well, let's just say this piece started off with leftovers but I have since purchased other colors to add in. I hope I continue to be in the mood to work on this so it gets big enough to be a huge, swirly blanket on my couch.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

My on and off again love affair with Crochet

My grandmother taught me how to crochet when I was about 6 years old. She had me do yards and yards of crochet chains and when my stitches were even enough I learned how to take that stitch and connect it to others to make shapes.

Over the years I learned more and more crochet techniques from Grandma. I would ask her what the stitches were called and she always told me that she made it up. For awhile I thought my grandma invented crochet.

Crochet has always been one of those things that I would do on occasion. I would buy enough yarn for what I intended to make and if I ran out I just added other colors or headed back to the store. I never read patterns or calculated my gauge.

Now, I am at a point where I want to be able to follow patterns so I am slowly teaching myself what different crochet stitches are and how to read a pattern.

My first attempt is this blanket.

This is the Sunny Spread pattern and I love it!!!  You make these squares and then just sew them together. So far my plan is to make a 7x10 lap-sized blanket. 33 squares down, 36 to go.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Crafty, Crafty, Crafty

I've been super busy but also super crafty lately.

I've decided to add more bright colors to my home. A few weeks ago I looked around and noticed that everything seemed very brown and earthy with big chunks of red thrown in. To add some color I made new throw pillows for the couch.

I scored some pre-cut, discounted fabric at IKEA and went a little crazy. Both flower print pillows are simple envelope-style pillow cases. Just easy, straight seams. I made the pillow inserts from an old sheet that Lola (pictured above) tore up and a giant bag of cotton stuffing that a friend gave me.

The other two pillows were made from t-shirts that I never wore. My closet is full of t-shirts that either 1) Don't fit, 2) Fit weird, 3) or just end up at the back of the armoire and never get used.

The t-shirt pillows are the same envelope style as the flower pillows. I didn't even bother to hem the edges in the back. I figured they would end up covered in dog hair and in the washing machine every week.

As you can see, pillow covers made out of t-shirts come in handy when one's dogs tend to cuddle up with them.

Lola loves the pillows.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Where have I been?

I know, I know...I've been rather quiet lately. The truth is, I've been rather busy.  Teaching, doing contract work, teaching, social events, teaching... oh, did I mention that I've been teaching?

The closing of Sew Crafty Houston has been a sad experience for me but also a chance for change. I still want to teach knitting classes but I do want a teensy little break. The last couple of months I have been running at breakneck speed.  Today was actually the first day in a long time that I did not have to be somewhere. How did I spend it? Take a look:

That's right. I spent the day on the couch with some sock yarn, some knitting needles and a box of tissues. The first day in what seemed like months that I didn't have to meet someone, go into an office, teach someone or run some sort of errand and I was SICK! At least I got some knitting done and caught up on the current season of Big Love.

I feel bad for my dogs. The weather was beautiful today and perfect for a nice long walk but they spent the entire day sleeping on the couch next to me.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Winter Knitting

Lola loves hand knitted stuff
 People have lost their minds here in Houston over the weather.  There was all this talk about "Snowpocalyspe!!!!" but all that really appeared this morning was a layer of thin ice over everything.

The city is covered in freeways so it was best for everyone to stay at home today and avoid the icy roads. On a side note one can't really get anywhere in Houston without having to use a freeway and some sort of bridge.

Anyway, this cold weather has given me a chance to use the items I've knitted up recently. The striped hand warmers came in handy yesterday while walking the dogs. Well, not so much the walking part but the part where I had to place a baggie over my hand and pick up after the doggies.

The two neckerchiefs, or as I like to call them, "Bandito Bandanas", are perfect to tie around my neck and ears to keep the wind off me. Of course, I make socks all of the time and actually wear them so having a new pair is really nothing new for me.

My favorite things I've knitted recently are the woolly mittens. I know folks who live in cooler climates are probably laughing their butts off right now about someone in Houston being excited over mittens. Hey, just wait until your part of the world experiences a "heat wave" with 80ºF temperatures.  I spend months in 95ºF + weather accompanied by 95% + humidity and actually spend some of that time outside with two hairy dogs. Anything below 75ºF for me is considered cool weather.

For all you knitters and crocheters out there, details on the projects are on the Rav.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Awesome Workshop with Jenine Bressner

I was so fortunate to attend a Ruffled Accessories workshop last weekend with the artist, Jenine Bressner. Jenine is a fantastic glass, fiber and all other kinds of media artist. She's also a really cool, crafty chick. If you are in the Houston area, check out her exhibit at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft. It is gorgeous!

The workshop was great! We learned how to make all these different forms with this cool, stretchy mesh fabric that I am currently on the hunt for.  

The pink and orange "poof" above is destined to become a hair accessory for me. I think we all need a little "poof" in our lives. The blue and green poof is looking like it needs to be attached to a hair elastic. I made another large poof with different shades of green that seems like it might work better as some sort of brooch or necklace adornment.

One of the other forms I made was turned into a hair poof that ended up on a hat/wig that I knitted for a neighbor.

Only Mickey, my fabulous neighbor, could rock this hat like a rockstar!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Kustom Koozies

The Beer Koozie serving its purpose
A dear friend celebrated his 70th birthday last month.

And, yes, I have friends of all ages.

My friend's family wanted to do something fun, crazy and different and decided to have a Pedal Party. Since the family was footing the bill for the Pedal Party I wanted to contribute some kind of party favor. I decided to have custom beer can koozies printed up.

Well, I did some research and found several companies that would print up koozies for varying fees. I only wanted 16-20 so that narrowed down the selection of places that would accommodate small orders. I found a company that had decent prices and a design wizard on their site with a selection of clip art. Not terribly great but at least I could have whatever text I wanted.

Well, I waited just a tad too long to place the order and found out that a rush job with rush shipping (3 weeks is considered "rush") was going to cost me $75 for 16 koozies.!

I looked online and found that one can order blank koozies. I'm crafty, right? I can make my own darned koozies and they will be fabulous!

The koozie pictured above is what I came up with. The blanks were way cheaper than the printed versions and I was able to order a pack of 20 that were pre-sewn. Looking back I wish I would have ordered the unsewn version. They were cheaper plus I could have used my sewing machine to attach all of the patches and then sew up the sides.

Anywhoo.... I created a custom image using Photoshop. If you try this at home make sure you measure your koozie and plan out how large you want the patch to be. I was able to fit 9 of the images on a 8.5" x 11" piece of paper. I printed out the design on t-shirt transfer paper which you can pick up at your local craft store or office supply store.

The images were cut out and ironed onto patches made from an old flat sheet that my dog, Lola, decided to didn't need to be in one piece anymore.

I then hand stitched each patch onto a koozie using a thick needle and embroidery floss. The first 5 koozies weren't so bad but pushing and pulling a needle through that thick koozie material took a toll on my fingers.  This was the point where I realized the unsewn koozies would have been the better choice. I ended up using a pair of pliers to finish the hand sewing.

Some of the iron-ons had a few tears where the transfer wasn't heated up enough to be separated from the backing paper. To hide those flaws and add some bling I used my Hot-fix tool and applied some crystals. One of Mo's craft rules - Sparkles make it better.

The Beavis enjoying his koozie
The koozies were a hit and turned out to be pretty tough. The Beavis accidentally dropped his koozie on the street while the Pedal Party was in transit. He was able to recover and use it even after it was run over by several cars.

Oh, and if you are wondering, "...what the heck is a Pedal Party"? It is this awesome mobile bar that you pedal down the street like a bike. The "bike" can hold 16 people plus the driver and is pedaled by 10 people. Check out the link above.

That's me on the back bench. The minimum height for those that pedal this contraption is 5'4". I was no where near able to reach the pedals so I got to hang out on the back bench and enjoy the ride and my beer.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Mo's Momma's Chicken Thing

I'm not a cook. I actually prefer to not cook but I do have a few dishes that I can make that don't gross people out.

Some people have referred to this tortilla casserole thing that I make as King Ranch Chicken but as far as I am concerned, this is my mom's chicken thing.

I can tell you how to make it but this isn't a real recipe. It is a "throw-a-bunch-of-stuff-together-and-cover-it-with-cheese" kind of thing.

Here is what you need (roughly):
1 casserole dish
1 package of boneless chicken thighs or breasts
2 cans of Cream of Celery soup
Tons of shredded cheese
At least one package of thin, corn tortillas
2 cans of Rotel
1 can of Black Beans

Cook your chicken (fry it, grill it, bake it, BBQ it, whatever...) and chop it/tear it into small, bite sized pieces. Set aside in a bowl. Throw the condensed soup along with 2 cans of water into a pot and turn on the heat. You can just heat the tortillas in a microwave but I prefer to toast them over the gas flame on my stove. I swear this dish tastes better when you burn the tortillas over an open flame just a little bit. After you toast a tortilla, dip it into the soup to soak it and then place it in the corner of the casserole dish. Continue toasting and dipping tortillas until you have lined the bottom of the dish. Then spread out a layer of chicken, the Rotel and black beans. Season to taste. I use Nature's Seasoning. Then spread out a layer of shredded cheese. I usually pour a little of the soup over this layer and then place another layer of toasted and souped tortillas over that. If you have a shallow pan one layer should do the trick but you can continue creating layers until you run out of ingredients. For the final layer I pour on more cheese.

Since everything is cooked you can eat this right away but I prefer to let this bake in the oven at 250 degrees for about an hour.

I recommend that you let this dish cool slowly and then pop into the fridge to be re-heated and eaten the next day.  It tastes so much better after it has been refrigerated. Plus, I like having dinner waiting for me and The Beavis.

This is my "I need to bring a dish to a party" dish and it seems to be well liked. If I don't bring this over on Thanksgiving my father-in-law freaks out.