Wednesday, February 29, 2012

things I made in february

A few things I made in the past month:

leather cuff bracelet
leather cuff bracelet
I've always admired leather cuff bracelets. The problem is that I have scrawny little wrists and bracelets are always too big for me. In fact, one of Larry's nicknames for me is "T-Rex" (and not because I'm a beast in the mornings, though that, too, is appropriate) because I have such wimpy little arms. So I wanted a cuff bracelet, but knew that one sized for a normal adult would a) overwhelm my wrist and b) slide off. Enter my sewing machine, a thin piece of leather, some metallic silver thread, and grommet-style snaps, and in 10 minutes I had whipped up a couple of DIY leather cuffs. This isn't the most expensive-looking leather (probably because it wasn't expensive!), but I like that it's extra thin and soft because it makes the cuff a lot more comfortable to wear. Will they last forever? Probably not, but at $3 in materials each, I can always make another one!

Speaking of T-Rex, have you seen T-Rex Trying? Hilarious!

DIY felt ball flowers
Porcelain milk bottle vase by Alyssa Ettinger.
DIY felt ball flowers
A few years ago, I bought a bag of multi-colored felt balls thinking that I would make them into a garland for our Christmas tree. I quickly realized that it was going to take a million balls and cost a fortune to make a garland long enough to wrap a tree. So I used the red balls to make a garland for our mantle and ended up making our Christmas tree garland out of felt circles.

This left me with a bunch of leftover felt balls that I had no use for...
in progress
Until I was going through my art supplies and found some green floral wire! Aha!

For the past few years I admired those yellow ball flowers that showed up on all the design blogs (which after googling "yellow ball flowers", I learned were called billy balls or craspedia). I even bought some dried ones last year for a vase in our library. But I wanted more, and while I'm not usually a fan of fake flowers, I think these guys may even be cuter than the real thing and they're easy to DIY. (Use a thick upholstery needle and some elbow grease to poke a hole in the felt ball, then insert the floral wire with a dab of glue.)

Several people asked for a tutorial for this project. The stamps are made using a block of rubber and block-carving tools that are easily found in the printmaking section of your local art store.

wax on wood
wax on wood
You might not know it from the art that's currently available in my shop, but abstract art is my first true love. I've been experimenting lately with mixed results (but the process sure is fun!). This one is wax, gouache, and seed beads on wood.

Also, my studio is now covered with bits of colored wax. D'oh!

blueberry muffins
There's a reason I keep blueberries in the freezer during the off-season - so I can tell winter to F off have a little bite of summer in February!

valentines 2012
800 paper hearts for Valentine's Day! They're still up and I'm tempted to keep them up year round!

DIY rope bowl embellished with embroidery thread
DIY rope bowl embellished with embroidery thread
I had some rope leftover from the first rope bowl I made in December and decided to make a second smaller bowl, embellished with metallic embroidery thread. (I also got smart this time and wrapped the mixing bowl I was using as a guide with aluminum foil to protect it from hot glue.) It's currently in my bathroom being used as nest for my Lush bath bombs - which now that I look at it, would make a pretty sweet alternative Easter basket.

blueberry muffin french toast with blueberry-maple cream cheese frosting
Chaps, a restaurant in Washington state makes something similar that was recently featured on Diners Drive-Ins and Dives. As soon as I saw it, I knew I had to recreate this recipe for myself. Just bake your favorite blueberry muffin recipe in a loaf pan (you will need to double or triple the baking time). Soak slices of the bread in an egg/milk/vanilla/cinnamon/sugar/salt mixture (I never measure) and pan fry. Top with cream cheese frosting (add some blueberries and a squirt of maple syrup, to taste).

yarn-wrapped bottle
yarn-wrapped bottle
yarn-wrapped bottle
As part of my Handmade Holiday, I became obsessed with making yarn-wrapped Christmas balls. I made nearly two dozen of these things and once Christmas was over, I had plans to wrap other things with yarn - like a yarn-wrapped vase. When I saw Elise's take on this, I knew I had to copy her black and white color-scheme.

I'm always planning projects that use beer bottles (we typically have a surplus of these...), but when it comes down to it, a beer bottle looks like a beer bottle no matter what you do with it, and beer bottle decor looks like something that belongs in a dorm to me. So I used a square-ish olive oil bottle for this project and I think it makes a nice shape for a vase. (It's from Safeway brand olive oil.)

A few tips if you want to start wrapping things with yarn: 
1. Use all cotton yarn, no synthetics or blends. Glue doesn't stick to synthetics and you will be very frustrated if you try to glue acrylic yarn to anything.
2. I used a really thin smooth mercerized cotton yarn for this project to give my bottle a sleek, modern, non-fuzzy look.
3. My favorite glue for just about everything is Scotch Quick Dry Adhesive. It dries super fast which is great for projects like this where you don't want the yarn slipping while the glue dries. And, I learned that it even works on glass!

I've got a lot of creative ideas lately, so hopefully I can keep up the momentum in March...


Sarah said...

Okay, I am proposing a barter: you craft with me and I'll help you with your closet organization. I love these crafts! And I am totally serious about the barter. I love to craft, but I need...encouragement. So you help me craft and I'll help you get organized. Win, win!

Lauren Margaret said...

Can we pleeeeeease have a crafting party?

You are awesome, Rachel! You're such an inspiration!

Funnelcloud Rachel said...

Aww, thanks, ladies!

Sarah, I'm happy to craft with you anytime (though you probably don't ever need to see the state of affairs in my closet! Which I have been working on cleaning out since January...)

Pickles and Dimes said...

Oh, I love those floral felt balls! So bright and cheery!

Sarah said...

I literally love it all! And yes, those yellow flowers were just the cheery thing I needed to see on a dreary day like today.

Amy said...

This is seriously SO INSPIRING. Holy cow. I love the things you made and this makes me want to make stuff so I can do a post of my own. Wow.

Funnelcloud Rachel said...

Thanks so much, Amy, for the sweetest comment! :)

Lisa (hello, suburbia) said...

Holy. Cow. What a productive and inspiring month you've had!! Everything looks awesome!! I now feel like a lazy bum and need to do something :)