Archive for the ‘thing a day’ Category

It’s here!  “Thing” number thirty!  I completed my Thing A Day Challenge with another crafting first: making a candle.  When I saw the wedding candle favor tutorial on 100 Layer Cake, I had to try it for myself.  It’s such a cute idea for a personal, hand-made thank-you or hostess gift.  And it’s really easy to make.  I bought the wax, fragrance (vanilla), wick, and glass container at a craft store and used some scrapbook paper and hemp rope that I already had on hand.  All I did was preheat the glass container, melt the wax and mix in the fragrance, secure the wick to a chopstick resting atop the glass (to keep the wick centered and standing straight), pour in the wax, and wait for it to dry.  The options for embellishing the outside are endless.  Twine, tags, charms, whatever.  I’ve seen embroidered felt candle cozies in the store, which would also be cute.  I think it turned out pretty—and it smells really good!

Wow, I can’t believe the Thing A Day Challenge is over.  It has been so much fun.  I’ve learned new things, discovered new talents, met new people, found new stores, and purchased a bunch of cool new craft supplies.  But most importantly, the challenge helped me return to my creative passions.  And that was the whole point.  I’m pretty much obsessed with crafting now, and I am excited about the future.  I have so many ideas—for this blog, for new creative projects, for a potential Etsy store—that I can’t wait to make happen.  Thanks for coming along with me on the journey!

P.S. – My boss asked me to write an essay about the experience for Diablo magazine, so I’m excited (and a little nervous) about that.  I’m working on it now, and I’ll be sure to post some excerpts here in the coming days—and link to the real deal when it’s published.


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Omg, the challenge is almost over!  I can’t believe how many fun projects I’ve done, and how much I’ve learned over the last 30–er 45ish—days.  I’ve definitely noticed that as I went along, the projects became more and more challening.  “Thing” number twenty-nine is no exception: It was my first attempt at making jewelry.  I fell in love with this cute-as-a-button necklace on the Joy’s Hope blog, and the instructions were really easy.  I had to make a few adjustments, though, because I couldn’t find a necklace bail that looked anything like hers.  Some creative friends said I should be able to find them in craft stores, but I looked everywhere.  The bail I ended up purchasing at Michael’s is really large, as large as the button itself.  You could see the bail through the button holes.  So, I gessoed the center of the bail and covered the gesso spot with black paint.  That way, you see black through the button holes, not the bail.  I worried that putting paint between the two items would weaken the glue bond, so I left a border around the perimeter of the bail unpainted.  Hopefully that helped.  (Since I bought a pair of buttons, I may order one of those specially made bails on Etsy and make a second necklace where the button holes are really holes.)  But anyway, I think it turned out pretty cute!

Btw, I think Photo Booth is one of the coolest Mac programs ever.  So much easier than trying to photograph myself with a digital camera—having to twist my arm all funky and stay out of shadows and center my face in the frame and do 3,218 takes.

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For “thing” number twenty-eight, I made this cute stuffie, whom I’m calling Grayscale Monster.  I’ve seen various stuffed monsters on Etsy and craft blogs, but the design of this one is purely out of my head.  Designing a monster is pretty easy—you can use any shape or color or embellishment and it works because it’s a monster, and there are no rules about what a monster must look like.  And, seriously, the sillier the better.  I like that.

I tried out some new embroidery stitches (btw, I’m really, really, really enjoying embroidery these days) and paired a new button with a recycled one. The plain black button is an extra that came with a peacoat I purchased several years ago.  The ribbon isn’t terribly secure—observe Nomnom kitty in nomnoming mode—so I’ll need to work on that, should I decide to make/sell stuffies in the future.  But I just love it.  Grayscale Monster isn’t very scary.  He’s really a sweetie at heart—and kind of scared of you.

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Sigh… my first major Thing A Day fail. I was bound to have one of those, right!?  I’ve seen several bottlecap magnet tutorials recently, and I’ve been wanting to try it out.  While some tutorials call for a dimensial adhesive, such as JudiKins Diamond Gloss or Ranger Glossy Accents, I used Martha Stewart’s and the suggested clear casting resin.  I’ve never worked with resin before.  It’s like a very smelly chemistry experiment.  For the first couple bottlecaps, I didn’t seal the paper well enough (I used packing tape), nor did I glue it down.  So the resin soaked into and discolored the edges of the paper and the paper kept floating up to the top.  I had to push it back down with a toothpick a couple times and then blow away the bubbles.  (You’re supposed to use a heat gun, but breath does the trick, too—as long as you don’t inhale near the resin!)  A magnet from that batch is on the right.  For the second try, I sealed the paper with three coats of Mod Podge and glued it down, which worked well.  However, for some reason, the resin became cloudy.  A magnet from that batch is on the left.  Maybe I didn’t mix the resin correctly?  Not sure.  I’d like to perfect this process, because I think it’s a cute idea, with so many possibilities.

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It’s obvious I’m really getting into this Challenge, as my projects keep getting more involved. My “thing” number twenty-six, a fabric wreath, was more messy than the burlap wreath and more time-consuming than the Peeps bunting. I followed Moda Bakeshop’s tutorial and used the Harmony honey bun by Jan Patek.

It took one evening to cut all the strips and three more to do the tying. For such a simple concept, it takes quite a lot of time to create! I love how it turned out, though. Very shabby chic. While the honey bun offers ready-made consistency in the size and colors of the fabric strips, this project could easily be done with mismatching scrap fabrics and ribbon for a fun eco-chic wreath.

My mom and sister (Erin) are working on fabric wreaths of their own. I’m excited to see how theirs turn out, and hopefully I can share them here, too.

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My elementary school would do these themed events once a year when each grade level would learn all about the culture of a country.  I can’t recall if it was one day or full week, but students could dress up in ethnic outfits and we’d sample food from that country and listen to its music.  In second grade, we learned about Japan, and one of the activities was origami.  I loved it and I asked my parents for origami books and paper.  I recall making many origami boxes and little paper cups that actually held water. But the crane eluded me.  I could never quite fold it right.  And eventually, the seven-year-old me gave up and moved on to a different hobby.

For “thing” number twenty-five, I decided to take on the crane.  Dum-dum-da-dummmmmmm.  I raided my little sister Lindsey’s supply of origami stuff (the same sister who has pastry supplies—she’s a Reinaissance woman), and among her things, I believe I found my old origami book.  And on my lunch break today at Taco Bell—because who doesn’t think origami goes well with Mexican food?—I set to folding a little bird.  I quickly learned that my seven-year-old brain was no match for this book.  It is the most poorly written instruction manual I’ve ever read!  It alternates between illustrations and photos, and they’re taken from different perspectives—sometimes from the origami-folder’s perspective, sometimes the opposite direction.  And the fragmented style of the captions is nearly impossible to follow.  I stumbled through with many a quizzical look and furrowed brow, but after a mere 10 minutes, I had a damn-near perfect crane.  Oh yeah.  Crane: conquered.

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My longtime roommate and good friend, Kristin, introduced me to Noises Off many years ago. The movie—starring Carol Burnett, Michael Caine, Christopher Reeve, John Ritter, Julie Hagerty, Marilu Henner, and Nicollette Sheridan—quickly became one of my favorites.  Originally a British play, the comedy is about a traveling theater troupe that’s falling apart, due to inter-cast romances and bizarre professional quirks.  You see them perform the same act of a play three times—each getting progressively worse as they continue on their tour.  It is absolutely hilarious.  And filled with so many great lines.  I think I quote this movie once a day.

Anyway, for “thing” number twenty-four, I went to see the theater production of Noises Off by Walnut Creek’s Center Rep (pictured above).  It was fantastic—definitely on par with the film and much better than the other two theater productions I’ve seen in recent years.  Plus, their set (which must rotate, as act two is the backstage view of the play) is exquisite.  If you’re in the Bay Area, check it out.  And if not, put Noises Off in your Netflix queue

“Lucky I can’t see far with this leg!”

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