Saturday, August 3, 2013

Marquee letters

It was my man's birthday a week ago!  He's a big typography geek, and I made him marquee letters with his initials.

I was pretty smitten with this Craftster tutorial video, but then I saw these marquee letters and liked the backgrounds even better.  My sister pointed out to me the map used in one of the letters, and I had a map of Oregon (where we live) that was perfect (and free) for this project.

The Craftster tute goes into more details about prepping the letters, which I got from Joann.   I used a box cutter to start taking the front off, and I found that once I started it, I was able to just tear the rest away.  I kind of wanted it to look rough (I even tore the bottom left of the B and didn't fix it with anything, it's a pretty forgiving project if you don't take it too seriously).

Once I had the front of the letters off, I used them to trace out the map.  The B is made from the whole of Oregon and the J is made up of the Portland area (it was a double sided map with cities on one side, the whole state on the other).   I used Mod Podge to glue them in there.

I purchased these lights from Target for under $13 (I used one string for both letters, I had 2 light socket spots left over, but only one light since I busted one of the bulbs twisting it too tightly), making the whole project under $20.

Now, here is where I tell you to be careful when you're stringing the lights together letter to letter, the first time I did it I made it a BJ and that was just frustrating.  Also, if you take more time to cut off the excess paper before trying to screw the lights in, you won't accidentally break a light trying to get that sucker in there.

The way I cut holes for the lights was to use one of my Leatherman's poker tools, then shoved a screwdriver in the rest of the way and tore off some of the excess cardboard.  High tech!  Also I love my Leatherman tool, if he was a real man I would have run away with him when I was a teenager.

Star Trek Cross Stitches, Part 1

A few weeks ago, my mother sent me a link to this Star Trek Cross Stitch book.  It was so cute!  I'm pretty stubborn about buying craft books though, or just books in general.  I go to the library a lot, and I looked at our library's website and they didn't carry it, so I gave up on it.  Six days later, out of nowhere, a friend of mine MAILED me the book!  Signed by the author, too.  I immediately got my cross stitch on, and began the Federation Seal.

Awwwww yeaaaaah.

My husband is a pretty big Trekkie, and being in proximity to that has made me pretty Trekkish myself.  A friend of my man's is expecting his first baby to be born this month, and he is a HUGE fan of Deep Space 9.  I don't usually like to make baby items for people because babies in my family have these giant heads and never fit into anything under 6 months old, and I don't like to gamble with unfamiliar genes and my knitting time.  I decided to make the DS9 space station for them to hang on their future cadet's wall.

The DS9 was super fun to do, it didn't have much mindless cross stitching like the blue in the Federation seal, but it wasn't too complicated to keep me from watching the Big Bang Theory.  When I went to the store to grab some extra embroidery thread, I wrote down the colors I would need, which included pink.  I came back home and was going through the pattern and saw the TWO STITCHES the pink called for.  Don't get me wrong, they are important to the makeup of the station, but I would have settled for something on hand if I would have paid attention to the lack of pink needed :)

I'm currently in the middle of my "thank you" cross stitch that I'm making for the friend who got it for me, and then I plan on making a Borg cube Christmas ornament (!!!!!!! I almost can't handle that one) and an excellent one of Wesley Crusher with the words "Shut up, Wesley" over the top of him.  More posts as this develops!

And can I talk about how much I love that cross stitching is such a cheap hobby?  It's bomb diggity.

4th of July nails

This year my husband and I are trying to celebrate all the holidays, if only just a little bit.  I'm including painting my nails as celebrating.  I keep expectations pretty low around here.  Enjoy my shiny, patriotic sausage fingers!

I did something I had never done before, which was use cheap acrylic paint for the red and blue.  My husband sent me this Duck Hunt nails video, which I did not do, but she uses acrylic paint for most of her nail art, which is SO MUCH easier to work with than regular nail polish.  I don't have red or blue nail polish, so it was nice not to fork out cash to buy them for one set of nails.

I used Essie's Good To Go topcoat (which I do really like) and even though it shrinks the polish, it didn't really do that with acrylic paint, so that was pretty nice too.

I used a striper for the lines and stars, which were haaard and looked TERRIBLE but when you put them all next to each other it's like the cheerleader effect from How I Met Your Mother (a bunch of ugly girls grouped together can be deceptively pretty just because of how many of them their are, same with my janky stars).

I sported my nails at a Civil War Reenactment (which they have in Oregon!  And probably everywhere!  Well, in 'Merica.  GO TO ONE) which is more of celebrating a holiday than nails, but I have no pictures to prove we were there.  Oh wait yes I do!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Beard in Progress

My man has an orange beard, and I've had the idea for a while to knit a beard...being knit.  I saw this pin and it made me want to get on that already.

I'm pretty happy how it turned out.  I cut a piece of thick cardstock around the beard and roughly sewed it there (otherwise the mouth drooped).  I also put a piece under the knitting needles.

I had a broken set of size 7 knitting needles, from when I first started knitting and kept my knitting on the floor and stepped on it.  Learning experiences!  Luckily I held on the them and finally found a use.  I cut the knitting needles down and whittled the ends a little bit to fit a white bead on them.  Crudely.

I glued the beads on with some Elmer's craft glue that I had originally bought to use for quilling, and then put some on the backside of the stitches so they wouldn't fall all over the place.

I used a couple finishing nails to nail it through the cardstock/cardboard and ruffled the knitting in front of it.  Tada!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Fake scrapbooking: bound cards/letters

I reeeeeeeally hate scrapbooking.  You can get creative to the nth degree, and really, I've only recently (kind of) mastered not starting projects I have no intention of finishing.  My mom is really great at scrapbooking and has a whole collection of 12 4" binders filled with pictures and letters and cards and tickets to places.  They're incredible!  But my mom has always had a lot more patience (and drive) when it comes to those big projects.  The box I had post cards in is still strewn across the floor in Jesse's man cave from a week ago.  Go me!

Since I was 8, I've held on to post cards my brother sent me when he was in the military.  I've always wanted to do something with them, but scrapbooking was out because 1) I hated it, and 2) I didn't want to cover the front of the postcard.

I was intrigued when I saw this pin on Pinterest, of bound letters.  Then I saw this one, where she had made a collection of all different types of cards she had received.  What a great idea!

Tada!  I binded them together using some chipboard and metal rings!  Also, binded is not a real word.

I'm sure I'm missing a few of the postcards he sent me along the way, but I'm tickled I have this many.  My favorite is the one that folds out.  To fit it in there, I taped a couple pieces of scrap paper together (to strengthen it) and taped it to the card itself.

I also started sponsoring a kid through Compassion back when I was 16 up until the end of 2011.  I always loved receiving her letters (and her drawings!!).  After she left the program, I organized all her letters and shoved them in my files.  Not that great of a way to appreciate them.

When I went to the store to buy chipboard for the covers, I wanted to grab a pretty piece of paper to put on the cover, and I fell in love with one in particular.

It's washi paper, and was $2.  That's more than I'll normally spend on a piece of paper, but it was for something special.  I was nervous about mod podging it because it was so thin, but it was just fine.  I only did a layer on the chipboard, not one over the top as well.

I'm really happy with how they turned out!  I thought about putting labels on them, and I may with the postcards, but for now I only have the two and I'll know which is which.  I was also thinking of binding together cards we got from our wedding.

I ended up going to Collage for the art supplies (chip board, washi paper & metal rings).  It came to about $5, and I used scrapbook paper that I had on hand for the postcard book.