Category Archives: Craft
It’s official wedding season! DIY wedding prep has taken over our house. Armed with three seasons of The Good Wife on Amazon Prime, I started to tinker with some design elements for the wedding the last few weeks.
Watercolor Hearts & Scallops
I was inspired by a lot of beautiful watercolor invitations lately so I took out my paints and started doodling.
First I played with a heart design. It’s such a classic wedding theme it hurts.
I tried a loose heart scribble and eventually pare it down to more of a herringbone heart pattern.
Next I played with some other simple shapes like this scallop pattern across the page in a coral orange.
After I was done, I scanned my patterns and manipulated them in Photoshop so I could use them on invitations and other digital work.
I’ve been also working on a monogram that features an “A” for Andrea and “N” for Nate. I sketched out the general shape and then played around with widths and angles until I got it just right.
Then I made a couple handmade stamps of the design. I’ve always wanted to make my own stamps and thought the monogram was the perfect design to try out. Because I am an art supply hoarder, I already had a bunch of stamp making supplies (linoleum cutter & carving block) on hand.
I traced my monogram on a piece of tracing paper then flipped it over so I could make a stamp that printed correctly.
Then, I filled in the backwards design with pencil and pressed it down onto the carving block.
With the pencil mark on the block, I used my lino tools to carve out the design.
I also made a negative stamp of the monogram by adding a circle around it. I used an IKEA water glass as my circle shape.
Then cut out the monogram.
Here are the final two stamps.
You can see on my stamp that the inner triangle of the “A” is a little wonky. It’s hard to get the cutting tools to cut 45 degree angles. And that’s okay with me. I really prefer the handmade look.
What’s coming up next
Here are some of the projects that I will be sharing here on the blog in the next few weeks.
- Wedding website
- Ceremony Decor
- Seating Chart
- Place cards
- Reception Decor
- Thank you gifts
And don’t worry I will still be blogging about the house and cats as well, just not any big projects until after the wedding.
I’ve always loved to decorate for the holidays with fresh wreaths and garlands. Leave it to Martha Stewart to inspire me in my teens with her elaborate Christmas special on HGTV. Once I moved out of my parents house, I usually splurged on a fresh pine wreath for the rental door, but I never have made my one until now.
On my current quest to not spend money, I decided to make my first fresh wreath out of bay branches from my parents’ lovely tree. My dad was happy to agree to a little pruning. As he worked on the tree, I loaded my back seat full of bay branches. I certainly was a happy girl driving home with the fresh bay smell filling the car with loveliness.
I did a little internet research on making a wreath and was happy to find Martha making a wreath on this video as my guide. I picked up a 18″ wire wreath form, a paddle of 26 gauge green floral wire and clear hair bands for the project. I think I spent about $6 on all the materials which is certainly on my budget.
Set up was simple, I rinsed the branches off outside and let them dry in the morning sun for a few hours before I got started.
Then I just clipped the branches into small, compact bundles.
I positioned the leaves so they all laid the same direction and then wrapped the clear hair band around the bottom.
Once I had a few bundles ready, I secured the end of wire to the form and then wrapped the wire around the bundle tightly.
The second bundle overlapped the first and was secured the same way. I kept this pattern going until the whole wreath was covered with bundles. Then I just cut the wire and tied it off on the back of the form.
Here it is finished. It’s bigger than any other wreath we’ve had on our door, but I like it over-sized and simple. Maybe next time I add some texture with different types of leaves or a bow.
Out of no where, I am loving the look of gold on clothing and accessories. This is a big step for me. Typically, I am more of a sterling silver girl. Maybe I am getting more bold now that I am in my mid-thirties but I have been pinning gold items like mad on Pinterest. I though it would make sense to take one of these fashion inspirations and turn it into a DIY Pinterest Challenge Project. I’ve been meaning to join the seasonal challenge created by Young House Love & Bower Power before, but never have gotten around to it until now.
One of my favorite looks has been a big pop of gold on t-shirts. Here’s some of my recent pins:
Of the three, I though I would attempt the last look. I love the abstract modern vibe.
The original looked very organic with the liquid gold on the gray shirt. I didn’t want to buy any new supplies, so I just used materials I had on hand. Mine was going to be much brighter, but I hoped to pull off something a little modern. I used a white v-neck Target shirt and Martha Stewart’s Multi-Purpose Glitter Paint in Florentine Gold.
I got out a paint brush, a plastic plate and a glass of water to rinse the brush.
Then I stretched my t-shirt over a piece of cardboard.
Going for that modern look, I decided I wanted the color focused on the left shoulder of the shirt and the faded out. I started painting full brush strokes in a downward motion until I got the effect I liked.
Then I flipped the cardboard and took the paint across the back of the arm as well.
Once I was done, I let the shirt air dry overnight on a skirt hanger clipped to the cardboard.
The paint instructions say it should dry for 24 hours, but the next morning the paint was dry so I went ahead and set the paint with a hot iron. I put the t-shirt between two dish towels and then ironed on the hottest setting for about 30 seconds.
Here’s a quick shot this morning with a teal scarf. There is a fine line between cool and gaudy with the gold look. My shirt is right on that line. To make it work I think it’s all about how you accessorize it. I didn’t have much time to play this morning, but not only do I like it with the teal scarf, but it would look great under a blazer for a layered look.
And speaking of gold and gaudy, this shirt inspired my work-to-evening Halloween costume tomorrow. I’ll wait and share the look tomorrow along with my second (and favorite) inspired craft projects – the cats costumes.
Our bedroom has had a mini makeover that I wanted to share. First I replaced our IKEA grey duvet with a Cynthia Rowley Duvet cover. I’ve been on the hunt for a new duvet cover the last few months. Our old duvet has been great except it wrinkled badly and was such a light color that it shows any lint (or cat hair) that landed on it. Basically it was a high maintenance bed cover and I was ready to switch it out. I found a lovely purple ruched cover at Home Goods for $40. It’s probably the most feminine bed spread I’ve ever had, but with the muted purple it still is modern.
When I threw it on the bed I was uncertain whether or not it worked with the rest of the room. But with the right throw pillow(s), I thought could tie in the red of my Keep Calm and Carry On print plus the turquoise of my painting and make the purple work.
So I went on the hunt again for the right pillow. Nothing stood out, so my next thought was to make my pillow. I searched Joann’s high and low for my perfect fabric, but couldn’t find one that had my three colors that I wanted to tie together.
Days later, when I was cleaning out my closet, I realized a dress I was giving to Goodwill would work perfectly for a pillow. It has the right combination of dark teal, red and purple to tie in all my bedroom decor. It goes to show how much my home decor matches my wardrobe!
This was actually a win-win situation, because I was heartbroken to throw out this dress in the first place. Unfortunately it just fit awkwardly on me. (Damn Forever 21 and their cute, but unwearable fashion!)
I decided to go with an envelope pillow closure design so I could reuse my beloved Missoni for Target pillow. Since the dress pattern is pretty dark and intense, I wanted to add two linen stripes (from another dress) to break it up. Plus, the stripes will add a little more masculinity to the floral pillow.
So on Saturday while watching the Olympics (I’m obsessed.), I ripped out the dress seams (even the hem) to give me as much mileage as possible for my pillow.
It was a good thing I did, as my pieces barely fit for the back of the pillow.
I sewed all my seams, then ironed them down. (See my gold, silver and bronze medal nails? Told you I was Olympic obsessed.) When the two pieces were ready, I sewed the front and two back pieces together.
The final touch was a little piece of Velcro sewed into the center of the back opening to keep it closed.
Here’s the finished product again. I love it. I also love that I finished the project without major hiccups. Maybe I am actually becoming sew literate after all.
Here again is a wide shot of the room. Looking at these photos , I want to add a dark headboard of some sort to distinguish the bed from the wall. I’d also love to add a side table along the back wall as well, but am holding off. Eventually, we will be expanding this room and adding a (walk-in) closet so I don’t want to be adding furniture for the current space. Instead I’ll just keep myself busy make pillows and spray paint things.
Bear with me on one of my sillier DIY posts. This is how I turned a cheap cat bed into a superior cat hammock.
Cats are so fickle. I buy inexpensive cat stuff just in case they are deemed uncool by our picky pets. Sometimes the strategy backfires when the cheap buy becomes a favorite and then doesn’t hold up.
Here’s the perfect example. This particular cat bed happens to be something Pixel loves. She lays across the top panel using it as a hammock all the time.
She used it so much that the poorly constructed piece began to fall apart. You can see in the above photo how silly she looked sitting in the broken bed in different positions. I decided I needed fix it up for her.
Neither cat ever used the bottom portion as a bed so I got rid of it yo make a proper cat hammock.
The old bed fell apart at the seams, so instead of having a seam right at the frame joint my plan was to make the whole hammock from one continuous piece of fabric.
With a black frame, I bought purple fabric to match our Great Room. I lucked out at Joann’s and found a perfectly sized remnant of purple polyester for a couple bucks.
My Cat Hammock Materials List
- Less than a yard of purple heavy weight polyester or nylon
- Matching thread
- Sewing machine
- Straight pins
- Straight edge
- Pencil and sharpie
- Iron on low setting
With all my materials ready, I removed the old bed from the frame and use it as a rough pattern for the new hammock.
Using a piece of newspaper, I sketched out the shape with pencil. Then I used a straightedge and pen to make exact lines for my pattern and cut it out.
I ironed all the kinks and wrinkles out of the fabric before I pinned it to the pattern.
Then I cut about an inch out from the actual pattern piece for my seam allowance.
The polyester has a tendency to fray so I folded all my seams twice (1/4″ each) to enclose the raw edge. I worked slowly around the entire piece first pressing the edge with my iron then securing it with straight pens.
When it was all pinned, I sewed my seam slowly. (I always make mistakes if I go to fast.) Then I went back and pressed the seam again with the iron.
Since the frame pulls apart really easily, I decided to sew permanent closures, but I could have also used Velcro or snaps to attach the hammock to the frame.
I used the frame as a guide to figure out how much clearance I needed. Then folded over each end and sewed it to create a channel for the frame to fit through.
Installation was a cinch. I just took apart the frame and slid the hammock on then reattached the frame. Here’s the finished piece I presented it to Pixel. She gave it a sniff before walking away and ignored it. Such a fickle cat! I waited on eggshells to see if she would use it.
Days later, I came home from work to find her lounging in the hammock. Her actions showed the project was a success. Pixel has a cool place to spend her afternoons and I feel like a proud cat mama.
Who knows, maybe I’ll try it myself if we need a second cat hammock in the house.
The weather forecast looks very, very hopeful for a real Summer coming soon.
This great news makes me feel bold. It’s time to get our place ready!
With a bunch of free outdoor fabric (thanks Mom!), I am going to attempt to recover our outdoor seat cushions after my success with the sofa pillows.
The cushions belong on these chairs. We purchased them two summers ago when it came apparent we needed somewhere for people to sit outside. You can read the whole post, but I got a great closeout deal on these guys.
The cushions that came with the chairs worked out fine at first, but they have declined rapidly over the last two years. With the free fabric (thanks again Mom!), it made sense to replace the cushions now.
I started by ripping apart one of the old cushions to use as my pattern pieces last night. (Loki thought the old fabric would be a perfect place for a nap this morning.)
Tonight I try my first cushion. I don’t have to pre-wash the outdoor fabric so I am ready to go. Still deciding if I will add a zipper or Velcro along the back, but I have both on hand.
Here goes nothing!
The first weekend of June was rather uneventful on thee ol’ project list at Casa Concrete.
While we watched the rain fall onto our unfinished back porch and in our vacant pool, I got a few things done around the house.
I decided that when the sunny weather finally arrives, our front room will be ready to party. On the queue, some bright colored details and new flowers … maybe a summer scented candle or two.
First up was making two new yellow pillows for the sofa. They took a little of the rainy weekend doldrums away from me.
I made them out of a pack of cloth napkins and two IKEA pillow inserts. I love the Moorish yellow pattern on these napkins I found at Target a while back. They are a nice compliment to my permanent turquoise accessories in the room.
There are many tutorials on the web for making pillows so I won’t go into one here, but I do have three sewing tips my mom taught me that (if I follow) keep me out of trouble.
#1) Always pre-wash your fabric to avoid the material shrinking afterwards.
This is a surprisingly hard thing (for me) to remember. I get too excited about starting the sewing project that I forgot to throw the fabric into the washer. And trust me, it’s much better to throw the uncut fabric into to the washer than cut pattern pieces. That doesn’t really work out too well.
#2) Once the fabric is dry, take the time to iron it.
Having straight edges is pretty important in sewing – so take the time to iron out your fabric. This just makes every cut that much straighter and every seam that much tighter.
#3) Don’t rush even a simple project.
Spend the time to put your project together correctly. Be present. This is a problem I have all the time with sewing. I have a tendency to try and speed through the project only to realize I just sewed the wrong sides together!
Adding the extra details like a little Velcro to make the pillowcase washable is also worth it. It takes a couple more minutes to execute, but it will come in handy after many evening BBQs.
I think sewing can be very rewarding. I have a checkered past with it, but I really want to get over my hang ups.
The rained out weekend could have been a total bummer, but I think I got a little bit of happiness out of it after all!
Happy Monday All!