The Runner Up

My parents left Monday and now my tiny apartment is very quite…  Such a nice visit, but it always makes me sad to see them go.

Obviously not much happened this weekend by way of crafting, but I do have an upcoming project to share.

I recently decided that I would like a runner for behind one side of our sectional couch.  We have a mini bookcase that sits there now (serving as a side table), but I feel like the area needs some more character.
Here is where I want to put the runner.  That flash of black is my older cat, Sasha.
Flash of Black 2
I found three 2×3 rugs on-sale at West Elm (I feel like I am using a lot of their products lately – I just happened to find several deals the week I was searching).
Katarina Rug Love
Runner up-close
This post is full of cats!  The black and white one (sometimes she looks grey and white) is Katarina.  The cats really wanted to be in the pictures, or rather on-top of my project since it was taking attention away from them.  I have a feeling this runner will become a ‘spot’ for them.  Currently I have a small 2×3 rug laying across from the area where I plan to place the runner – they are always hanging-out on it.  They never sat there pre-rug!
I also picked-up a spool of yellow yarn and a pack of darning needles.
Yellow Yarn
My plan is to sew the rugs together with the yarn.  Since the area won’t get a lot of foot traffic (aside from cat paws), I think the yarn will hold-up just fine.  If I were planning to place the runner in a high traffic area, I would have gone with a heavier thread.  This is my first attempt at sewing rugs together, it may be a bit trial and error, but I’ll share regardless of the outcome!
Black Cat Yellow Yarn
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Enter the Kitchen Utensils

Sunday was project day at my house.  Aside from assembling our new kitchen/dining room table and rearranging a few items, I also completed a kitchen craft!
I previously shared this picture of the tiny open shelf above my toaster oven.
Curtain Hooks
My kitchen is dated (very dated), but I live in a rental so there are limitations to what I can really ‘upgrade’.  Because of this, lately I have shifted some of my efforts towards making the kitchen more enjoyable to look at (and function in).  When we first moved in two years ago, I let my husband organize every aspect of the kitchen.  He cooks, I don’t, so I felt it was only fair.  However, when I was cooking during his recovery from surgery, I realized this area was in desperate need of my attention.  With his blessing, last month I re-organized the cabinets and moved a few items around to gain more workable countertop space.  As a result, all of our rarely used (but still needed) appliances ended-up in a box on the floor!
Kitchen in a Basket
They have since moved to a bakers rack that sits where the box once did.
Kitchen with a Semi Cover
Yep, I plan to hide the contents with that curtain panel I currently have tacked to the bakers rack with bag clips.  I found the panel on-sale at West Elm when I picked-up the dishtowel I used for my project this weekend.  The panel will eventually be transformed into a much nicer cover, but until I can get there, this is how it will remain.  Since the bakers rack resides outside of the kitchen, I feel it absolutely needs to be covered.  I’m not a big fan of looking at appliances while I’m sitting/working in my dinning room area. Plus, you can see it from the couch – just an eyesore for me.  I thought the grey panel was neutral enough not to drawl too much attention, but at the same time the pattern is pleasant to look at.  I’m not too excited that the cover remains unfinished for my family’s visit in a few days, but I can only do so much in one weekend!
That was a huge side note!  Let’s get back to the craft at hand…

My tension rod and curtain hooks, in original form, did not match.  I had to find a way to tie them together.  After some internet searching, I decided to cover the hooks with ribbon.  Ideally I could have spray painted the hooks white, but I don’t have a place to do that.  I don’t know, can you spray paint something in a public park, is it illegal!?!

To start, I cut 10 pieces of ribbon (I eye-balled them).  I fired-up the old glue gun, and folded down the very edge of each ribbon and secured it with some glue.

Fold-down Ribbon
I then glued the same end of the ribbon to the circle part of the curtain hook.
Glue to Edge of Ring
Next, I wrapped the ribbon around the ring until I got back to where I started.  Then I cut off the remaining ribbon, leaving enough to fold the end over and glue down, before finally gluing the finished edge to the back of the ring.
Completed Curtain Clip
To get my curtain hooks on the tension rod, I had to take the end piece off.
Slide Rings on Rod
The ribbon added some bulk, but once on the tension rod it was smooth sailing!

On the Rod pic 1

I thought I would hem the dishtowel, but in the end I ended-up folding it and securing the clips at the fold.  I like the added bulk, and this way, if I get bored and want the utensils to face-up, I have the option to make the change.

On the Rod - 2

Overall, I think it’s a nice addition to my tiny kitchen!

Full View of Kitchen Shelf

Hampers and Dishtowel – Oh My!

We came home from dinner last night to discover that 5 packages were waiting for us in the lobby!!  I was expecting two, because as far as I knew the other three had not yet shipped, but it was a pleasant surprise.  We were laughing as three of the packages were largish, and although not heavy, we had to push them down the hall to get them on the elevator.  Well, maybe you had to be there for that one…
Now, although it was 10PM, of course I had to open them!   Plus, even if I wasn’t super excited about the contents, I still needed to open and discard the boxes as I can’t keep large, unnecessary items sitting around in our one bedroom apartment.  So – what did I get!?!  An outdoor rug for our balcony (I’m trying to make it more inviting out there), an acrylic pitcher, and three whitewashed wicker baskets with lids (those were in the three larger boxes).  My plan is to use the baskets as hampers, but first I need to make liners for them.  This is sort of poor planning on my part as my parents are coming to visit for 5 days next week – and they are staying in our apartment.  To make it even more cramped, my Brother and Sister-in-law will also be staying with us on one of the nights.  Although I am excited to see everyone, I am VERY anxious about how we will all fit and where everyone’s stuff is going to go.  Normally I would have just stacked the baskets in a corner until I made the liners, but now I think my best option is to use the liners from our old hampers as a temporary solution, because there is no way I can leave six hampers hanging out while everyone is here!
After thinking about it more today, I am also contemplating covering the lids or running some green fabric through the baskets to tie them in better with our bedroom decor.
As a funny side note, my husband got very excited when he saw the baskets because he thought we could sit on them.  NO!!  I went running at him as he was about to test one out.  Ideally that would have been the best option, something that served not only as hamper, but also as a bench.  However, I had a very hard time finding something I liked or something that would even work in that capacity that didn’t require a lot of work.  And when I say work, I mean basically building it myself – which I don’t have the space or tools to do.

Here they are looking very much at home at the end of our bed!

Three Hampers
And here they are with the make-shift liners – obviously there will be a follow-up to this post once I devise how to make my own liners.  While I was writing this post I also noticed that the hamper on the right has a slightly different pattern.  Don’t worry, I already switched it to the middle!
Hamper Liners
Moving out of the bedroom and into the kitchen, here is a sneak peak at one of my projects for the weekend.
Curtain Hooks
It doesn’t look like much right now – and let’s be honest, the curtain clips and tension rod don’t even match (and you also have to love an out-dated apartment rental kitchen!) – but I have some ideas in mind that should pull it all together.  I bought a hand towel on sale at West Elm and I intend to hem it and hang it from the hooks.  I opted for the hooks because I thought they would allow easier access to the shelf contents.  Plus, I am considering leaving two or three of the hooks empty to hang recipes from.  And finally, I’ll be honest, I am just sort of fascinated by the idea of incorporating the hooks into a project!
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Back – Through the French Door

Well, I’m finally back!  It was a long and unexpected hiatus, but that’s how life pans out sometimes.  Right after the New Year my husband needed surgery, which left him at home for 6 weeks with certain restrictions.  Between working, taking care of him, and handling all the chores/errands on my own, time for crafts and home decorating was basically non-existent.  Then, once he was back at work, he was presented with a job opportunity in another city.  For about a month we were 90% certain we were packing-up, relocating, and about to begin life in a new environment.  But, just when we thought everything was a go, he got a promotion at his current job – an opportunity he could not pass-up.  So here I am, revived and rejuvenated and ready to spruce-up the current apartment with some new additions.  Also, I can’t help but think that my pictures will look much better now as we got a new camera this past weekend!

So, to start the ball rolling, I have a simple project to share.  This is actually a craft that my husband decided on – which makes me proud, as I feel a little of me is starting to rube off!  Unfortunately, I don’t have before pictures as this was something he worked on about a year and a half ago, but I decided to share because I recently had to fix a piece that fell off.

My husband took our boring glass balcony door and made it into a faux french door.  He picked-up square dowel rods at Michaels and painted them white with acrylic paint.  He then measured the size of the glass and decided how large he wanted each “pane” on the door to be.  He is an engineer, so you can see why this project was appealing to him – anything that involves math and results in something symmetrical makes him a happy man.  He used a pencil to mark on the door around the glass where he wanted to place each horizontal dowel rod. (We do this a lot, write on our walls/doors with pencil.  It’s the fastest way to mark things, especially since it comes off easily with a Magic Eraser.)  
He then cut the rods down to size and glued them on with rubber cement.  Who knew – I mean, as I child I used rubber cement on EVERYTHING, but I never imagined it could glue wood to glass.  Plus, it will come off, which is the key here since we rent and this is not really our door.
He then did the same thing with the vertical lines – this step just involved a little more cutting.
And that was that, we had a new door!

So, back to why I am sharing this now…  One of the dowel rods fell-off right before Christmas and since then it has been sitting on top of the ugly AC unit that resides next to the door.  I don’t know why it’s taken me this long to repair it, I guess it’s just one of those things.

Anyhow, here is the door with the missing pane.
 
 
 
 
 
And ta-da!! Here it is fixed. A simple and inexpensive update!
 
 
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Just ignore those fixtures on the top of the door, they have been there since we moved in.  Every few months I tell myself I will remove them, then I examine them and I am reminded that they are covered in about 10 layers of paint and removing them will most likely result in more than just the fixtures coming off the door.  Future project – come up with a way to cover them!
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Thanksgiving Pumpkin Quest – Final Product #1

This weekend I finished my center piece and napkin rings for Thanksgiving – finally!! In the end I ditched the pumpkin idea, I just couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for. I decided to just work with the materials I recently picked up at Michael’s on clearance. The center piece is super easy, most likely not even requiring the step by step instructions below, but I’m trying to develop a system in terms of sharing my ideas and right now I am testing out the step by step method!

Center Piece:
Color scheme – ivory, gold, orange

Materials:
Hurricane glass candle holder
Fake Candle (yes, it even feels like I real candle!)
Miniature pumpkins (seem to be made from a seed of sorts – see picture below)
1 branch of glittery gold leaves
Scissors or wire cutters
6 miniature gords
Ivory acrylic paint
White acrylic paint
Golden brown acrylic paint
Small paint brush
Small decorative cake stand

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Step 1: With the candle already in the hurricane holder, fill the bottom of the holder with some of the miniature pumpkins – my pumpkins measured about 1-1 1/2 inches from the bottom.
Step 2: Cut off the individual extensions from the branch of leaves using scissors or wire cutters. Position the smaller pieces in with the pumpkins to surround the base of the candle; arrange to your liking – mine almost reach the top of the candle.

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Step 3: Using the ivory paint, apply 2-3 coats to the gords – although two of my gords were already ivory in color, I wanted all 6 to be uniform, so I also painted them.
Step 4: Mix a small amount of golden brown paint with a larger amount of white paint and use this mixture to add some dimension/shading to the gords by randomly applying applications. (Very hard to see in the photo!)

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Step 5: Paint the stems of the gords with the brown paint mixture.
Step 6: Place the hurricane glass on the cake stand and place the gords around the base of the hurricane glass. Toss a few miniature pumpkins in with the gords and you are done!

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Thanksgiving Pumpkin Quest – Final Product #2

Napkin Rings:
Color scheme – orange, gold

Materials:
Miniature pumpkins
Rust colored thread
7/16 inch wide gold ribbon – precut into 10 inch strips (2 per napkin ring)
Dark yellow thread
Sewing needle
Hot glue gun

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Step 1: Thread the needle with the rust colored thread, but do not knot. Using the needle, poke through the center of each pumpkin. Continue to add more pumpkins until the chain measures about 5 ½ inches in length. Be sure to leave about 5 inches of thread hanging on either side of your pumpkin chain. Note: many of the pumpkins may be hard to string and some will break.

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Step 2: Taking the precut ribbon, fold over one end about 1/4 an inch and sew down with the dark yellow thread – this will provide a nice finished edge that will be attached to the pumpkins. Only do this for one side of each ribbon piece.
Step 3: Using the glue gun, glue one piece of ribbon to each end of the pumpkin chain. Be sure to glue the folded ends of the ribbon to the pumpkins (rough edges touching the pumpkins) making sure to also glue the excess thread hanging from each end of the chain between the ribbon and the end pumpkins. When you are done, the ends of the thread will be hanging off the pumpkin chain with the ribbons.

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Step 4: Once the glue dries, cut off the ends of thread that remain. Finish off the ends of each ribbon by lightly going over them with clear nail polish.
Step 5: Tie around your napkins, and you are done!

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Soup Cans as Center Pieces

Side tracking back to wedding stuff…

In a quest to not spend too much money, as no matter how small the wedding the costs seems to be more than anticipated (36 people including the two of us), I decided to skip on center pieces and go with bigger place card settings. I starting by thinking of supplies that I already had on hand or that would be easy to obtain, and cheap, and my final conclusion was to use empty tin cans and twigs! Ha ha – I know, it does not sound great, but wait until you see the pictures! I essentially created a mini tree for each guest. Plus, my husband got really involved in the process. He mostly enjoyed hunting for twigs in Central Park. Which essentially became hunting for large branches, that could be made into twigs, and then leaving the park carrying them as if it were totally natural to walk around with large tree branches – still not sure if we violated any laws there!

To begin the process, I took each of the twigs I had cut and placed one in each can. I then stuffed newspaper around each twig, filling about 3/4 of the can. I choose newspaper as I wanted to make the cans lighter for means of transporting.

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Using a large circle punch (left over from my scrap booking days!), I cut circles out of card stock, one for each of the cans. I then cut a slit half-way to the center of each circle. Using the slit, I fit the circle piece into the can around each twig.

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I then poured rice on top of the paper ledge – filling each can to the top. I choose to purchase some dried peas and amber colored stones to add color to the arrangement and keep with the organic feel.

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Next I used rubber cement to attach the labels and finally I tied on name tags with raffia and used a hot glue gun to attach flower confetti pieces to the twigs.

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Thanksgiving Pumpkin Quest – well, a side track for placemats

So aside from pumpkins, I have also been searching for placemats and napkins. At first I thought I would make my own placemats – pick out some fabric and either sew my own rectangles or create something by weaving two fabrics together. Well, although I can sew, it’s not my favorite thing (I become very impatient with all the steps and I just want to move on to the next phase). But as luck would have it, I found some worthy items at HomeGoods. Plus it wasn’t that hard to talk myself out of the do-it-yourself route once I spotted placemats I liked! I also picked-up some contrasting napkins with the plan being to make my own napkin rings. Still formulating, but I am thinking something with buttons and twine – not 100% yet. And to round out my shopping experience, I picked up a mini cake stand. It should work well for adding some depth to my design.

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Thanksgiving Pumpkin Quest – Take 1

My parents are spending Thanksgiving with us this year. My husband (Joe) is the cook in our house, so while he preps his dinner menu, I am deciding what to create for a table setting. I am currently fixated on designing something with white pumpkins. My idea is to paint, or spray paint, a variety of fake pumpkins white. I thought I would find some discounted pumpkins at Michael’s the day after Halloween, but it appears I was too late in deciding to go there straight from work. I should have gone on my lunch break because there was barely anything left come 5:30 (plus I live in NYC and finding deals is even tougher if you don’t go first thing)!

Not all was lost though, I did scoop-up two items at a grand total of $2.07!!! Not exactly sure what I will do with them just yet (may paint those gourds white), but that’s the fun part!

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And of course my grey stripe (Katarina) had to partake in the fun:

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Brooch Bouquet

My idea for starting this blog steamed from the overwhelming responses I received from friends and family over my wedding bouquet. So, I thought it only fitting to begin by posting some of the handmade crafts I created for my special day this past July.

I crafted my bouquet using brooches and earrings from my Mom, both Grandmas, and my Mother in Law (plus a few odds and ends of my own). I was so pleased with how it turned out that I have yet to take it apart and return any of the items! However, the general consensuses seems to be that I should keep the jewelry and the bouquet in-tact! I used instructions from Fancy Pants Weddings (http://www.fancypantsweddings.com/how-to-design-a-brooch-bouquet/) to get myself up and rolling with the project. I used fewer pieces of jewelry than advised; I probably only used about 25. I followed the instructions for wiring the pieces and using the floral tape, but I improvised on the final steps. I had intended to buy more brooches for “filler” at the flea market, but the day I went I was distracted by earrings, and I purchased those instead!

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