Sometimes a well-meaning friend or family member will get you a gift of some kind that really doesn’t reflect your aesthetic ideals. But maybe you still want to keep said item around for when this person stops by. There are ways to alter the item in question so that it fits into your decor, but it still recognizable by the Gifter. For example, if someone gives you a hideous throw pillow, you can simply recover it, and remove the cover when the Gifter comes to visit.
It obviously took a lot of skill to create this, but since I’m going for more of a pirate/pin up/Bohemian look in my house, it really doesn’t match. This particular piece was not a gift, it was thrifted, but I’m just using it as an example.
Step 1: Turn it over and screw in picture hooks:
I have no idea what these are called. They came in a “picture hanging kit” I have. They’re little squares with a short screw shaft. I just screwed them in by hand, no drilling or anything.
Step 2: I then painted the whole thing black. It’s best to do a uniform color as the background so that you don’t have any weird shapes or colors showing through the front painting. If you’re worried about the colors showing through, coat it with white first and let that dry.
Step 3: While that was drying, I sketched out what I wanted to paint (and took a blurry photo of it). If you’re a great artist you can probably skip this step, but there’s a reason I didn’t complete a degree in art.
Step 4: Cut out the main shape and use it as a stencil. Mine was very simple, but you can see a more complex stencil here. Trace it in pencil.
Step 5: I filled in the whole thing with white. I’ll be painting the other colors on top of this, so the white underneath them will really make them pop, as opposed to painting directly on the black. I tried to free-hand my little scroll at the bottom, and you can see that didn’t work out great. I was able to fix it, however.
Step 6: And you’re done! Just kidding, I hate it when “how to” shows do that. They show the first, easy steps in minute detail, then the host says “next you simple recreate the Sistine Chapel ceiling in 1/8 size on the wall, and you’re done!” And you think “I hate that lady, but now I’m compelled to do this!”
I used my original drawing to sketch pencil guides onto my big white blob, then painted that. I used shirt paint for the eye lashes and script, because I find it much easier to use for fine lines than paint brushes. It’s just my personal preference. I use Liquitex paints, but again, that’s just a personal preference. They come in all kinds of colors, or you can get the basics and mix your own. They aren’t paying me or anything, but I would TOTALLY take it if they would.
A couple things to remember about painting: acrylic paint dries slightly darker than when you mix it, so if the shade is really important, mix some, let it dry, then see if it’s what you want before you use it on the final product. Also, I used glitter nail polish on the lips, but nail polish WILL melt acrylic paint if you aren’t careful. Dab it on, don’t run it around, and DON’T touch it once it’s in place. Let it dry for a disgusting amount of time.
I added some fake flowers I had laying around, and then added this to our wall of artwork. If this were an actual gift, I could just flip it over on the hook when the Gifter stopped by. This was a fun project that only took a few hours (with drying time) to complete.
The concept of ugly blanket is simple: take all the leftover bits of yarn from other crochet projects, and make them into on glorious, hideous blanket. I started out trying to make it like a quilt, but there were many flaws in this strategy, mainly my lack of skill. The squares were all various sizes, and everything was stitched too tight, so nothing would lay flat. It was too ugly to exist:
I ripped the whole thing out (including all the tiny squares I had made) and started over. I don’t actually have a single crochet project I haven’t ripped out at least once and started over. Maybe I should try to learn some basic skills…. Anyway, here’s the finally finished product:
Complete with muppet-like fringe (which turned into dread locks once washed). I used this opportunity to use up small bits of yarn from my own stash, plus the generous donations of several friends and family members. I even ripped out projects that were complete, but I didn’t want anymore. So basically it’s a cannibal blanket.
And here we have Kornberg (featuring Roscoe) enjoying her gift. This was a housewarming/Christmas/Thank you gift, (basically all the events that went by while I was making it) and she and her pets all love it. I’m currently taking donations for the next one, if you have extra yarn laying around.
If you’re like me, your significant other is about your same size, and likes to steal all of your pajama pants. Even the fairly effeminate Mr. Bubble pants, that are mostly pink. “His name is MISTER Bubble. That’s not effeminate!” is Hubby’s defense, but I still need something comfy to wear.
Enter the navy blue yoga capri pants. You think they’d be safe, right? Nope. My Hubby values comfort way over dignity. I had 3 pairs that are all identical, so I decided to make one pair into shorts. Sure enough, that was enough to keep him from adopting them! I used pink thread to hem them up, just to be on the safe side.
The best way I have found to do this is to cut off roughly how much you want cut off, leaving a generous margin for error. Then acquire a helpful friend or family member to pin them while you’re wearing them. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been overly blessed in the booty department, so if I try to sew things without trying them on, I end up short-changed in the rear. Just remember you can always make it shorter, but not longer.
Have your helpful friend fold the edge under once, and then once again to make sure the raw edge is contained in fabric. If you absolutely have to do this yourself, I recommend pinning with safety pins while the clothing is not on you, then try it on to see how you did. You may have to do this several times to get it right.
I hand sewed two rows simply because I thought it looked cute. I wore these CONSTANTLY while pregnant because they are so stretchy and comfortable. Now it’s winter though, and it’s ridiculously cold for Texas. I don’t even think I own enough layers to be outside in. I’m starting to doubt Canadians actually exist, because no human should be able to survive this.
And here I am writing a blog post about shorts when it’s less than 30 degrees F out. But, if you’re like me, you better start summer crafts now, or they’ll never be done in time. I’m still working on a scarf I started in June and I doubt it will be done for this winter. So many craft, so little time.
Once they’re completely dry, you can display them again! I put them in this vase my sis Beans made for me, next to the fairy statue she got me.
You can also press flowers to dry. I’ve found it works best to let them get fairly wilted first, so there’s less moisture in the petals. I love having these dried roses, because I don’t have to worry about watering them, and I get to see a reminder of my loving Hubby every day.
The fun/burden of being crafty is getting together to do crafts with all your crafty friends. When the craftiest of them all, Kathy Phantastic, is getting married it is all hands (with scissors in them) on deck. Our job was mainly to create mountains of fringe:
Kathy Phantastic knows that proper crafting requires fuel and bribes. They were provided in the form of Topo Chico and pizza.
All that fringe was totally worth the final product: personalized pinata letters!
Some people wait until the last second to get their Halloween costume. Running out to Spirit or Halloween Express the day before a party is not thrifty or creative. You can easily spend upwards of $50 on something you’ll wear once! That’s just crazy talk. Your first stop for costume items should be your own closet. Do you have any interesting items of clothing, or something you rarely wear? Maybe you have an old prom dress, a feather boa, or a fedora you bought, but were never bold enough to wear. Look at these items and use them as a jumping-off point. You can also combine different clothing items that don’t normally go together. You have 50 scarves? Wear them all, all over you and be an old-style burlesque dancer (this is a viable costume in Texas, where it will likely be 80 degrees on Halloween). Still no ideas?
Search friends’ closets (with their knowledge, of course). Maybe one has a red trench coat, and you have a red hat: Bam! Carmen Sandiego costume! Don’t forget that a costume of your opposite gender is also an option. Even a terrible version of a guy dressed as The Little Mermaid is hilarious, so keep those possibilities in mind.
Next stop for ideas, components, accessories, or even whole costumes: Thrift stores. All those people that bought last minute costumes in prior years gave them away, and you can profit from it! Thrift stores are FULL of Halloween costumes, including some brand new items, and they cost way less than at the Halloween stores.
Still need inspiration? Are there any celebrities, cartoon characters, or famous people you resemble? What are some topical ideas you could represent? Maybe you could just wear a suit with a name tag that says “Government” and go around “shutting down” conversations all night long. Look back over some of the big news stories of the year. You can also just google Halloween costume ideas. You can also go back through my archives for some amazingly witty ideas, because I’m great.
Cross Dressing (for girls, sorry dudes)
This made me realize 1) I have been blogging for a long time! and 2) I really do love Halloween, obviously. Costumes don’t have to be expensive, or a big ordeal. Just do something fun!
So I haven’t made an official announcement or anything, but here it is: I’m knocked up! The Hubby and I are very excited to welcome baby NachoNacho BooBoo Tarzan to the family. Pregnancy is incredibly draining however, which has led to a dearth of blog posts. Always helpful, Kornberg and my sis Beans have stepped up with some guest posts! Here is Kornberg’s helpful tutorial about remaking jewelry with jewelry you already have:
So I was cleaning out some of my jewelry and ended up with a huge baggie of stuff–half of it I loved but never wore and the other half was junk. I hated to get rid of some of it but I never wore it! One pair of earrings stung in particular–I loved them. I loved the texture, the pattern and the color but they were uncomfortable to wear. Then it hit me–I can fix this! So next time I was at Jo-ann’s, I stopped by the jewelry area and picked up some supplies. I got 2 sizes of jump rings, 2 packs of chain, 2 sizes of earring hooks and a pack of ring bases–all of it was on a 50% off sale so it ended up being less than $15 and I have plenty leftover for future projects.
I also had 2 small pliers from other projects–having 2 was really helpful because I could use the round tip ones to hold something stable while the flat grippy ones could grab and manipulate whatever I was holding.
Of course I didn’t take pictures before but here is a mock of up of the original inspiration earrings. The top has a post on the back and is really huge–I have other piercings in my earlobe and that smooshed them.
Here is how they ended up. I replaced the old jump ring and put them on long hoops. They brush the curve between my neck and shoulder now and look amazing. Best part is that I got them originally at the city-wide garage sale for $1.
Here are the remains of another piece that I was really upset to get rid of. I loved loved loved the beads but the necklace was an awkward length and was really bulky and didn’t go with anything.
See how awesome those are???
And here is the final product. It’s a really long necklace and the beads are intended to sit at different levels on each side. It’s much more in tune with my style and it looks like I spent a crapton of money on it. I’ve seen things like this on sale for way more than I am willing to spend on costume jewelry. I just took some of the beads from the original necklace and hooked them together in segments and then attached the chain. I would hold stuff up to me to guess at lengths but even if it’s wrong, you can always make things shorter or longer by hooking chain. I made sure to get chain that was easy to work with because I am a total novice and have no idea how the fancier types of links work.
These earrings were another garage sale find. They were on posts and my main problem with them was that they tangled up with EVERYTHING. So I pulled the posts off with pliers and put hooks on them (taken from some other jewelry that I didn’t want to re-use) so now they can hang on my earring ship.
These are locally made earrings that I loved but were too short. I guess I like a longer look for my jewelry because these and the next 3 pieces were all just made longer. All I did was take the hook off and put them on a longer hook.
For these I just stole a length of chain from the awesome bead necklace and inserted it between the hook and jump ring that the earrings came with. I spend a lot of time on the phone right now and those short earrings were so annoying and would clank everywhere. Now they won’t!
These were more garage sale earrings. They were originally wired in silver but one of the hooks had apparently been lost and instead of replacing it, they made a new one out of what looks like a paper clip. It was all janky and made my ear holes itch. I also didn’t like the length–these are way too cool to be hidden like that! So I used some jewelry wire from another project and tried to copy what the original wiring looked like. I have no skills so they are “deliberately” messy–I made them very messy so it looks intentional. I do this with a lof of things in my life–my hair, my make up, my art projects–so that my lack of skills is not apparent. Now you know my secret.
My friend Palmer is amazing, and creative, and productive, and she has started her own online magazine. It’s pretty badass. And who has two thumbs and was asked to write for it? This chick! Here’s my super great article. Read it and praise me!
I have a love/hate relationship with Pinterest. It’s great for finding crafty ideas and inspiration, and I even found a wonderful board showing how much photoshop is really used in magazines; it is eye-opening. But there are also things that make me roll my eyes so hard I need physical therapy afterward.
complain about discuss tagging etiquette. For the love of Poseiden stop saying “Yes, please!” at the end of everything. You are not shopping on Pinterest. No one is going to hand you the food/crafted item you see. I cannot express how prevalent and obnoxious this is. It makes me want to stab you in the eyes so you can never pin anything ever again.
If you are pinning something, do not write crap like this (taken from an actual pin):
Chef Robin White Aka @canapes45 of @Chatterworks teaches: How to Corn Your Fresh @DArtagnan_Inc Corned Beef. Your INVITED to Pin and Tweet Chat with us: @Chatterworks – @Canapes45 – @KatieSheaDesign – @TheDailyBasics Tweet/Pin with HashTags: #ChatwrksStPat #stpatricksday Tues 3/05 4pm EST Celebrating St Patrick’s Day in #recipes, #drinks, #entertaining and #traditions!
If you are pinning this and don’t delete this garbage you deserve to be slapped with an entire ham. This is impossible to read, packed with useless information, and someone tell me I’m not the only one to notice the glaring spelling error? You are taking up room on my pinterest with your textual garbage. If I wanted to see that I would read yahoo.com (ooh, burn!).
I admit, I am a confirmed cranky old bitch. Phrases like “These kids today have terrible grammar!” complete with impotent fist shaking, are commonplace in conversations with me. I can no longer contain my mockery of pinterest, however, so I created a whole board simply called “Why?”, where I pin terrible things and add my commentary. Follow my journey of snark and ridicule through crafting and recipes. I hope you find it as humorous as I do cathartic.
Hubby and I have a ridiculous Halloween party every year. It’s our favorite holiday, and we try and come up with something new whenever we can. This year, we may have reached the pinnacle. The whole house was decked out like a mad scientist’s lab, and we crafted things for months in advance.
Bloody thift store sheets!
Shelf of specimens! (including baby parts in jars!)
This is an underwear mannequin we own, and what better use for her?
Bloody surgery gloves and tools!
Torture table!! (Complete with Justein Beiber CD!!!)
Unhappy dogs in costume! (Flapjack’s arrived later that night)
Evil surgeon and patient, with happier, de-costumed dogs!
A non-costumed person, vampire, hitchhiker, me, and Batgirl!
My wonderful Hubby was the robot David from Prometheus!
I even used my surgery scar as part of my costume! I super glued metal bits over top to look like staples. We had such a great time, and I have no idea what we’re going to do next year!
As you might know, Mi Madre has a tiny quilting hobby, and that hobby creates a lot of mess in the form of fabric and thread scraps. Being the thrifty, eco-friendly (aside from her GIGANTIC PICK UP TRUCK) lady she is, she came up with a method to use all those scraps. I don’t create nearly as much detritus as she does, but I eventually had enough scraps to use for this project.
Loyal readers/stalkers may remember that my sweet, cutest-dog-until-the-end-of-eternity Flapjack already has a handmade dog bed. They may also remember that he once did this to my carpeting:
He basically did the same thing to the bed in his crate. So we’re going to start with a new bed, and toys while he’s locked up, because he obviously needs something to do other than dig.
You will need a thrift store or other unneeded pillow case, and a bunch of crap to stuff it with. If you are reworking some of your t-shirts, save the scraps for this type of thing. This is a great way to reuse holey socks, stained undershirts, or other fabric that is too messed up for the thrift store.
Stuff it with all that crap you’ve been saving (you can even store scraps in the pillow case while you’re hoarding them up), and make it nice and fluffy. Then pin it shut like so:
Sew that beast shut, and BOOM dog bed! I even wrapped Flapjack’s in another thifted pillow case so I can wash it:
What if you don’t have a dog, or all your dogs already have beds? Make them anyway and donate to your local shelter or pet rescue organization. Dogs can be destructive, as my sweet angel pie has shown, so they need that stuff constantly.