Archive for July, 2010

Before and After: Off-the-Street Chair

When I moved to San Francisco last October, Mike and I picked up this free chair down the block:

Before

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Thank you Sam Berman for this “before” pic.  Despite the chipped blue paint and the fact that the chair didn’t match our kitchen-color-plan (citrus), Sam was very upset I was going to give the chair a make-over (hence the “before” documentation).  Sorry Sam!  I like it better now.

After

I spray painted the legs and made a custom-fit cushion using “wizard of oz” poppy fabric from Cliff’s, pom-pom trim, fabric-covered buttons and 1″ thick foam.

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It matches our storage pegboard, which I painted and Scott hang.


Paper Flowers

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Silly, frugal room-decor from this tutorial.  I knew I’d been saving tissue paper for a reason.

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Jewelry Storage: Earring Hanger Tutorial

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Last summer my  mom gave me a great idea for displaying earrings.  Because I make them so often, my collection of earrings verges on obscene.  Now I can see them all at once.

Total Cost: 2 yds burlap (3.00) + thread + stick = $3

The Method

1. Cut two large rectangles of burlap in contrasting colors and four small strips (roughly 2″x6″).  If you want each color to show, make one strap slightly wider than the other.

2.  Fold the straps and sandwich between the top sides of the two large rectangles.  Pin the straps in place.

3.  Topstitch the large rectangles together on three sides, leaving the bottom open so you can get your hand up there to put on the earring backs.

4.  Find a stick.  Mine came from Paradise (no joke).

5.  Loop the stick through your straps and hang!

Notes:
Instead of making straps, you could fold your large rectangle over the stick or a clothes hanger and sew to secure.
I have a few “s” hooks ($.10 each at the hardware store) on the back side of my hanger, so I can hang necklaces too.

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Toggle Clasp Earrings

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I went to RAG again yesterday while walking around Hayes Valley and saw some beautiful jewelry by Little Hunter, a San Francisco-based designer.  I really liked her use of a very dainty toggle clasp in one of her earring designs.  Last night, I raided my supplies and made these.  I wish I’d had some gold-filled clasps for these (mom?) but instead I found base metal ones.  I like how this design uses a standard jewelry component in an unexpected way.

Materials:
two toggle clasps
gold-filled jewelry wire
two beads
jewelry tools: round and flat nosed pliers, wire cutters
ear wires or a ear wire maker

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The Method

1.  If using an ear-wire maker, follow the instructions to make your two ear wires.

2.  Attach one half of your toggle clasp to each ear wire.

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3.  Wire-wrap your stones to the second half of each ear wire.  Here are some instructions for this technique.  There are a couple of differences between the method I use and the one in this tutorial.  Namely: I use about half as much wire as they do to cut down on waste; in step 3, I bend the wire so it fits the sides of the stone snugly; and in step 7, I close it with a second wrapped loop.

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4.  Put your toggle claps together.

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Linen Summer Scarf

I made this lightweight scarf using this tutorial but modified a couple of steps because I don’t own a serger.  I bought two yards of this 60”-wide distressed linen I found at Discount Fabric, hemmed it on all sides with a double fold, and added a trim (a little less than 3 yards) to the ends with a zig zag stitch.

Total cost: linen (15) + trim (2) + matching thread (3) = $20

I thought it might look bulky because there’s a lot of fabric, but I’m glad I didn’t change the original width.

It’s a huge scarf turtleneck…

…that doubles as a park blanket!

Custom Profile Art: A Tutorial

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I love cameo jewelry and vintage profiles, so last summer I decided to make some vintage-inspired profile art with a modern twist. I gave my boyfriend Mike a set of “us” for his college graduation, and I made a set for myself as well.  I’ve since made a couple for friends and another one of me for my mom.

The Method

Materials:
black cardstock
colored paper
tracing paper
exacto knife and cutting mat
spray mount
matte board with oval cut-out
masking tape for matte board

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1.  Take a picture of yourself or subject like this:

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This picture makes me want to cut my hair!

2.  You could print this out now, but, sans printer, I laid my tracing paper right over my laptop screen and gently traced my profile.

3.  Cut out your tracing paper profile very carefully with an exacto knife.

4.  Use this cut-out as a template, and trace your profile onto your black cardstock with a pencil.

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5.  Cut out the black profile with the exacto knife.  Don’t be discouraged if this takes more than one try.

6.  Apply spray mount to the back of your profile and glue to your colored paper.  Let dry completely.

7.  Use masking tape to attach your profiled-paper to your matte board.

Notes:  If you live in San Francisco, you can find matte board with precut ovals at Flax for ~$2 (very cheap!).  Otherwise, you may have to search around to find a framer (or frame counter at a craft store) that has a circle-cutter.  When I made these in Santa Barbara, I had to go to Craft Essentials out in Goleta, and each 8×10 matte board set me back $8.  You may be able to find them cheaper online.

I glued $.10 hanging hardware to the back of my matte board so I can hang these, but alternately, you can frame them.

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The version of my profile that I like better is at Mike’s house. ;-)

When I get around to setting up an Etsy store, I’m sure I’ll put these custom profiles in it.  Until then, let me know if you’d like one without having to make it yourself!


DIY Address Numbers

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When we moved into our San Francisco apartment last October, our address was marked by a small post-it and everyone had trouble finding our place.   Rather than buy address numbers at Cliff’s, our neighborhood hardware store, I decided I could easily make some.  I hate buying things I can make myself.

Hanging Numbers:  The Method

Materials:
Tracing Paper
Fancy Paper of your choosing, plus thick cardstock for reinforcement, if your fancy paper is thin
Exacto knife
Spray mount or glue (to attach your paper and cardstock)
sewing machine and thread, or glue
tacks for hanging

Using MSWord, I found a number font I liked and used tracing paper to make templates for each number.  I cut these out with an exacto knife and then traced the numbers onto paper from an old bird calandar (if you’re using cardstock reinforcement, glue the papers together and let dry before cutting the numbers out).

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One of the months of my bird calendar was an image of lots of different bird eggs.  I cut out several.


Then I found some bird templates online and traced them to make these:

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After I cut out all my numbers, birds and eggs, I cut three lengths of ribbon, laid them flat on my counter and arranged all the cut-outs along them.  Using a scrap ribbon, I found the proper thread tension for sewing on ribbon and paper, and then I sewed down the length of each ribbon, sewing each paper cut-out into place.  You could turn this into a no-sew project by gluing the cut-outs to the ribbon instead.

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Wire Numbers: The Method

Materials:
craft wire
round and flat-nosed jewelry pliers
nails and hammer to hang

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I learned some basic wire-wrapping techniques a few summers ago, but I’m sure you could do this without any experience.

I used the craft-wire to form each number with pliers.  Then I used a separate wire to connect each number by wrapping it around them.  I added another small wire on top of the middle 7, so that I had a loop to nail through.

I’d be happy to make these for anybody.  They are so easy and cheap! Please contact me if you’re interested in some custom-crafted address numbers.