This guy’s stuff is amazing! It’s all paper. Unbelievable.
I made this scrap wreath a couple years ago, but couldn’t figure out what to do with it. We already had wreaths for our home, so I took it to school and hung it on the door of our Student Lounge.
It was another free project, using a wire coat hanger bent into a circle, and scraps I double-knotted. It’s a fun one if you just want to sit for awhile and do something with your hands but not your brain–great for watching TV. If you’ve got tulle, it looks nice mixed in with the other scraps, but I didn’t have any for this project and I still think it turned out nice. It’s homey, but better than a bare door, I think. The more mono-chromatic, the more chic it looks. I limited my scraps to greens and whites.
One evening this week, I had enough time to do some more work on the entryway project. Some of the pages had fallen, and there were still gaps to fill in. I’m still at the point of taping them to the wall with just a piece of double-stick tape. Later I’ll reinforce all of it by slopping some Mod Podge on the backs. Once that’s secure and dry, I’ll be brushing Mod Podge all over the front to seal it.
Although it’ll be sealed, I think I’ll be able to remove it fairly easily should I decide some day that I want to change it (or re-sell). I’ve got a few resolutions regarding home projects:
1. Don’t let re-sale stop me from doing projects I’ve always wanted to try. We’ve got a 15-year mortgage on this baby, and we’re not going anywhere soon! If we decide to re-sell, we can pay someone to get rid of it.
2. In our first condo, I wanted to do projects once, do them right, and not have to do any more projects. Now, in this condo, I’m going to look at projects in a new way, as “installations,” as something you try for awhile and see what sticks. Maybe I’ll change it later, or maybe I’ll keep it forever. Doesn’t matter, as long as I’m having fun.
I’m definitely having fun on this project. It’s easy! And meditative. You just stand there and tape things to the wall. I’m already starting to think of my next cheap, improvisational project: painting the powder room dark blue and using a silver Sharpie to draw waves all over the walls. (Like this.)
First project in our new home!
Since we’ve moved in, I’ve felt unusually indecisive about how we should decorate this place, which has been okay since we can’t spend money on home projects anyway until we’ve re-filled our Rainy Day Fund (which we emptied for the down payment). It’s a nice place, so home projects aren’t urgent, but it also lacks our own personal stamp and looks like everybody else’s homes in the building. Naturally, I feel the need to put my own personality into our decor.
I had a glorious 5-day weekend for Thanksgiving, and spent much of that time leafing through home decor books from the library, taking notes on post-its. Brimming with inspiration, I generated so many free/cheap DIY home project ideas that I will be kept busy more than long enough to start saving money again. With all that time, and all that inspiration, I was itching to get started.
I’ve wanted to decoupage a book-page wall for a long time, inspired by local home boutique Watson Kennedy. Hubby recently gave me permission to tear pages out of a cool dictionary of his. So I went to town! I grabbed some double-stick tape and just started putting pages up. I taped pages from the dictionary that had funny or cool words, that were graphically pleasing, that had cool pictures, or that had personal references (such as my name and hubby’s name).
It was very improvisational. I tried spacing them far away from each other, then filling in gaps between. After awhile, I remembered that I had some other antique books and music books, so I started mixing those in so that there would be several different shades of white. They make the wall more dimensional.
Before, the entryway was just an expanse of white wall. Now, I walk past and it catches my eye. I still need to fill in some holes, and then when I’ve got everything positioned, I’m going to reinforce with Mod Podge behind each page and then seal the whole thing with Mod Podge. Right now, the pages flutter every time we walk by, which is charming but pages keep falling.
Also, I’m quite proud of myself for remembering to take time-lapse photos (I set a 5-minute timer while I was working), and making my first .gif!
For years, I’ve had a beautiful silk some friends brought me from Hyderabad, India. It was meant to be a sari, but I’ve never found an appropriate occasion to wear it as such. I decided to make a tank top with it.
I used the same Burda pattern I used to make my sequin 1920′s top, but this time I cut it from the smallest size. I had a magazine picture taped to my wall as my inspiration, and it had a funky hemline, which I copied here. As you can see above, the front hem curves down and is short, while the back hem is longer and hangs straight. In hindsight it’s a bit too long for my taste, but can easily be shortened.
My inspiration image had a sash across the neck, which I decided to copy using the black selvage of the silk. The tank hung loose on the bosom, I’m not sure why, so I pinched the fabric together at the v-neck and stitched it. Finally, I wanted the tank to be more form-fitting, so I looped the neck sash through the shoulders to the back and out again, and tied it with a square knot. Although this was an improvisation necessary to “fix” how loose the top looked, I think it actually looks intentional, a funky design feature.
I haven’t had much occasion to wear it, since the weather has been unusually chilly here in Seattle (in the teens last night!–that never happens!). But I am sure it will feel absolutely lovely in the summer. Now that I have worked with silk, I am excited to make lots more garments with it. It feels delicious on my skin!
What I learned from this project:
1. Don’t do the same project twice. Use a pattern more than once, but modify it based on inspiration images from my fashion binder.
2. Make lemonade from lemons; when the final product has a “mistake,” fix it by adding a new design element.
3. Playing with the hemline is fun and I want to do funky hemlines again in the future. I like how the back hem covers me bum so I feel modest, but the front hangs short enough to not look like a potato sack. I was able to curve the front hemline thanks to the know-how I picked up from the DIY pajama shorts project I just finished!
I met this beautiful woman at the EtsyRain Craft Show. She was selling teas, alongside a gentleman wearing a steampunk hat.
What I love about her look:
1. Her hair! I wondered if it was all her real hair, it was so full.
2. Her gorgeous skirt, straight from the Wild West.
3. The white blouse
4. The pop of the red neckerchief
All through middle- and high-school, my sister and I walked home together from school. In the spring, a block away from our home, on an otherwise run-down street, a cherry blossom tree graced us with the splendor only a cherry blossom tree can. It is my opinion that there are very few things as perfectly, sublimely pretty as cherry blossoms. I was moved by the tree and wanted to write a poem, but could never find the words to describe it properly. Every day, walking past, I would belabor my poor sister with pathetic high-school attempts at poetry. “Cherry blossoms…” I would say. I never got much farther than that. Eventually, after many days of enduring my poetic inadequacy, my sister started teasing me. Every time we came in sight of the tree, she would pre-empt me in a pompous poetry-recitation tone: “Cherry blossoms…!”
In college as undergrads, together we crossed the lake to the university, where every spring the tree-lined Quad lit up in pale pink blossoms. They fell like blushing snow onto the grass. My sister still teased me: “Cherry blossoms…”
When hubby and I were dating, he would play a song for me, “Cherry Blossom Girl,” by Aire. When we got engaged, my sister took our engagement photos at the Quad, where hubby and I met and spent our earliest days together. We stood under cherry blossom trees, hand in hand, looking up.
Every couple years I take my students to see the cherry blossom trees. Surrounded by Japanese tourists, I marvel again at the blossoms, and feel thankful I teach kids who are pure enough to gasp with excitement over how the trees are just so pretty.
All of this is to say, when I saw this photo-realistic cherry blossom silk at Nancy’s Sewing Basket, I knew I needed to buy it, even if it was $58 a yard. I knew it was one of those fabrics that wouldn’t leave me alone if I didn’t buy it. It is hands-down the most luscious, beautiful fabric I’ve ever purchased.
Originally, I had planned to make a dress from this fabric, but realized a dress requires 4 1/2 yards of fabric! I scaled back my ambition to maybe a blouse. Though I’m not yet sure exactly what I’ll do with it, I’m sure it will always make me feel lovely.