Sunday, August 16, 2015

The random stuff I write and forget about till I've no idea where I was going.

I could see it, a random piece of dental floss discarded on the carpet like fairy kite string. How on earth did it make it's way into the waiting room? Perhaps last night I didn't get it all the way into the trash bin and the cleaning crew didn't see it fall out. Or maybe the waxy coating stuck to their shoes and they had already vacuumed. Of course that would be terrible if it stuck in their vacuum and they had to cut it out later when the belt started to burn up. 
Why on earth was I staring at it when I could so easily pick it up and properly discard it.
Then I saw the highly polished leather shoes just a yard away. I followed them up to the designer trousers, matching leather belt, silk shirt or mayhap linen? I couldn't be certain without touching, but that could be terribly awkward, just touching a persons shirt. Heck, I hadn't even seen his face. Or perhaps it was a she. Doubtful since I was certain the trousers were packing, but to be safe I ventured further up. Hmm, were those pecks of breast?
Perhaps I stayed focused there too long, contemplating if I was seeing B cups or a well developed man, but the body cleared it's throat. Shit! I did it again.  My eyes flew to what would be a male face. A very handsome face that happen to be smiling at me.
I had no idea how to recover so I said the first thing that came to mine.
"Fairies have apparently lost their kite."
I expect everyone to get my humor, but have learned after decades of disappointment that few do. The rare few that get are my best friends, the rest pity laugh and we've established a 'you don't get to drink coffee on my couch or suggest movies to me because you lack taste'. At least that's how I label them. I'm fairly certain they label me as simply weird. And that's okay. I understand weird.
The handsome man with the well defined pecks followed my line of sight and saw the floss, he chuckled. He actually chuckled. For real too. Not the pity laugh I'm accustomed to.
I put my hand out, "Hello, I'm Elizabeth. I'm guessing you're my 1:00? Bradley is it?"
He didn't hesitate in taking my hand, so I give him more points for that.
"I am, but...

Monday, July 13, 2015

Rusty Wagon to Rusty Shelf

Per Instagram, it's been 11-weeks since I did this project. So yep, I'm a little behind.

This beauty was rusting in our backyard for about 8-years. I had thought about turning it into a planter, but knew that would just speed up the rusting process and I was fond of this guy. Maybe fond is pushing it, but for heavens sack it's a red wagon. The first one my kids played with and one of my favorite photos of them includes it. So... maybe I have a few hoarder tendencies. Whatever! 
It's no longer holding up my compost wall. Now it's holding a bunch of garden odds and ends. So there! ;)

THE rusty wagon minus the deflated over-sized tires and one of the sidewalls.

Old pickets a friend dropped off ages ago that I use whenever I need weathered wood. I just did a quick measure of the inside of the wagon and cut the wood to fit.

I cut the boards as long as I could so I could use the sides of the wagon to keep them in place.

Metal screws with nuts held the shelves in place.

I used heavy duty screws to hold it up using the holes left by the axles. Since this is an exterior wall molly bolts weren't needed. It's SOLID!

Old pockets are stapled to the sides to hold tools.
Jute is tied between the side walls, knotted and stapled so that herbs can dry and to hold items on the shelves.

This photo is from today... 11-weeks later. A few months up and it's still one of my favorite pieces.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

No Sew T-Shirt Tote

 Yep, another piece of clothing needing a new purpose.
This time one of my favorite t-shirts... and I'm really not a fan of t-shirts.
But this one is super cool.
Sadly the neck and sleeves were starting to show their age.
Thankfully the logo of our local roller derby team still looks great.

Got a cool shirt, but it's showing it's age?
First step, cut the sleeves and neckline off.  Leave the seams so it's less likely to pull apart. 

Next make your fringe. You can make this as long or short as you want to.  I want mine on the inside so they don't show. That means turning the shirt inside out before marking, cutting and knotting.
Time to knot, and knot, and knot some more.
If you've made no sew blankets you know there's a gap between the knots.
So the smaller stuff won't fall out, knot each knot together... surely that makes sense.  ;)
Because the spacing between the neck and sleeves are so wide, I used the seam of the old sleeve as a tie to close the gap. 
Still looks a lot like a shirt, but the tote is ready to use. If your shirt has graphics lower, then by all means make the top larger. I just couldn't lose anything on this one.  :)
Finished tote!  I tossed a big, heavy wooden box inside and swing it around... cause I'm a daredevil like that.  ;)

And so NOTHING goes to waste... the sleeves make great hairbands.  ;)

No Sew Up-cycled Apron

I have a small pile of old clothes building on my craft desk.
I couldn't donate them because they had holes.
But I HAD to do something before I went nuts.
So today I pulled out my fancy "you touch you die" scissors and went to town.

First Project
 Up-cycled Apron

Got a pair of old jeans?
Need an apron you don't mind dirtying up?
Cause come on, the one we bought off Etsy is too stinkin' cute to actually do work in.
... or is that just me?  
Anyway, here you go.  A way to reuse those old jeans.

Cut straightt across, about 1 to 2" below the back pockets. 
To make the belt, cut just below the waistline and then down the sides of the legs.
That's basically it! The button/snap works as your closure. 
... and if the jeans are a bit small, just add ribbon and extend it.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Coffee Filter Cherry Blossom Tutorial

I needed a super cheap table decoration that would represent Japan and give height to our display.
So I went to Pinterest for some ideas.  
I knew I had some coffee filters that were too small for our machine.
I have lots of funky tree limbs I could trim and a plethara of vases.
...and sand and glass rocks.  

Hello, my name's Christine and I'm a craft hoarder.

My first attempt at a cherry blossom involved paint...
it's too embarrassing to post.  
So I found another pin.
This one suggested food color and 24-hours.

Um... no.  I had 12 tops.

Another showed how to cut them to shape but used fancy wires and glue and expensive beads and what the heck?  I need CHEAP!  Free preferable.  

So I just made it up as I went.   

What you'll need:
Coffee filters
Food color
Bowl with warm water
Twist ties or pipe cleaners
Something sharp to poke holes

Red food color, I could tell you 15 to 20 drops but does anyone really count them?

Submerge them, I left them in for less than a minute. 
Squeeze the excess out.

I wasn't going to wait 24-hours to dry. 
Just lay them out one by one.

It took like 15 to 20-minutes to dry.  For real. 

Ain't they purty?!

Now get to folding.  Half, half and half again.

Cut it like a heart.  Not the half heart but a full heart. 
Totally makes sense right?

Doesn't matter if the shape is funky.  At least not to me.  I like funky.

  The idea is to pre-punch 2 holes in the center so they don't rip when pushing the twist ties through. 
Yes, in the jewelry business we sometimes use dental tools.  ;)

I pull 1/4 of the twist tie threw one side and use it to twist the center of the filter/flower tight.

When you open it up it's all smushy in the center. 
Us the extra twist tie to attach to a branch, twinkle lights, just about anything.  Have fun! 

The branch I cut was a good 6' long so finding a wall space blank that large.. not easy for me. 
But you get the general idea. 

Still can't get it all in one photo.  :)

A few extras on the bathroom lights. 

If you are doing this for the house and not just a quick display.  Try using red marker on the wet edges of the filters to make darker tips.
You can also leave the filters in longer or add more food color to darken some.
Cherry blossoms come in varies shades so have fun.
You can't mess them up.  Pinky swear! 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Get back to work America!

When I worked in my 6X6X6 cubical,
(No, the numbers were never lost on me.)
I had so many rubber-bands coming in with paperwork that I began making rubber-band balls.
Just knot a few of them together and then start wrapping others around the core.
In no time I had the solar system displayed on my desk, the sun as big as a basketball.
I began making them for coworkers. It was better than stress balls and you could bounce them, thereby ticking the departments off downstairs. Win win.
So you can imagine how upset I was to see premade rubber-band balls.
Come on America. Let's get back to the basics and start making stuff again.

So as promised, a picture tutorial on making a rubber-band ball...

2oz bag of rubber-bands, $1.00

Less than 15-minutes.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Loofa, Loofah, Loufah, Luffa... that scrubby thing!

Each year I plant a garden I try to pick a plant I wouldn't normally grow.  Last year it was watermelon.  Because it requires so much water and we live on the edge of the desert, it's not easy to grow for a lazy gardener like myself.  Needless to say I didn't have much luck and only had two that were edible, the rest just went into the compost.
This year I tried another vine but this time I wasn't looking for food, but a scrubber.  I trained the plant to go up a tree that shades part of my garden.  Early on the plant did well, I saw lots of flowers, much like you'd see from cucumbers, and then small gourds started to grow.  But early on the base of the vine was stepped on by some 'helpful' 5-year olds.  <sigh>  After that I didn't expect much from the plants and just left them alone.
A few days ago the kids came in asking about the gourds in the trees and I decided maybe I should at least see what became of them.  So Sunday the husband and I pulled out the ladder and started to cut them down one by one.  I had a total of 10 decent sized ones and a few I just added to the growing compost pile.
I went on YouTube to see how and when to open them.  Seems that some of mine had already dried on the vine, so those I opened with pretty good results.  Others I'll let sit outside for a few more days, possibly weeks till they dry out.  

*By the way, this is an edible plant.  If you harvest them early they are used in Chinese and Vietnamese dishes.  

I have this ugly, scraggly tree in the garden that the husband won't let me cut down, so I made it a trellis.

No, they aren't pretty.

This one was a bit green, but you could feel the sides were separated from the fiber so I opened it.  It peeled very easy, but the fibers are still sticky and the seeds weren't dry enough to pour out.  This one will remain outside till it dries more.

The brown gourd was harder to peel, but the fibers were much dryer and the seeds poured right out.  *These are all cell phone photos so my fingers sometimes get in the way.  ;)

To give you a better idea of how it looks as you peel it. 

This is a 3rd, smaller gourd and much dryer than both.  The skin came off in about 20 pieces.  But it was ready to go.  You can see the seeds and that these are just store bought plants.  *I'll be saving the new seeds for next year.

The two on the left will need to dry more and I'll wait to open the others.

The 3rd, smaller gourd I cut into pieces to make soap with.  A bread knife works great.

Once I washed the fiber they fluffed up.

I made several different soaps, these are the scents I like for my gardening soap.

Mercy wanted Lavender in purple.

Justice wanted a sweet smell in pink.
The guys decided they wanted green and a manly smell, of course. 

I used to go all out and make lye and olive oil soap, but the mess and time it took to get it just right wasn't worth it to me.  I don't sell the stuff, I just want to use it, so melt and pour is perfect for me.  This batch is made from olive oil glycerine soap that you can find at Micheal's.  It runs about $10.00 for 2lbs, but if you have their app you can usually get it for $6 to $5.  That makes 7 to 8 good size bars.  *I still have 4 cubes left I'll make a kitchen soap with, lemon and eucalyptus.  Maybe even with yellow dye for fun.

Soon after pouring, the girls wanted glitter added to the hexagon, a paintbrush still wasn't gentle enough so the soap was wampy.  But they don't care.  Also, my molds are 8-years old.  I'd recommend better ones if you're making to sell or gift.  Since these are staying in the family... not an issue. 

I had some purple left so I added a layer to the natural bar.  It now has a nice lavender kick. 

In the sun you can see the shredded loofah pieces.
The pink and green bars have slices of loofah, they look cool up close.

Aren't they purty?!

It's harder to see through the purple and green, but I'm pleased. 

So as I started to type this blog it bothered me that I hadn't finished the block of soap, so I went ahead and made the last kitchen soap.  From start to finish it took all of 10-minutes.  That included melting the soap and clean up.  Which of course is easy since your cleaning up soap.  ;)

Simple kitchen soap.

A container, a touch of Vaseline to coat the sides so it releases easier, cut up loofah (hard to see but inside the glass lid), melt and pour with essential oil and color (I heat the soap before I add the scent and color), the alcohol is to spray on the soap after it's poured so the bubbles will pop and the surface is smooth.

Four squares make a small bar of soap, perfect for my sink.  It will take about 40-minutes to harden.  Faster if you set in the fridge. 

The husband said this one is his favorite.  SCORE!

So there you go.  Loofa added to melt and pour soap; super easy and useful.  My kind of craft.