Monday, April 27, 2009

DIY: Natural Rock Drawer Pulls

This is, quite possibly, my best invention yet. Do you remember when I declared that everything that is mass manufactured can be made right at home? Well, here is more proof. In my current decorating frenzy I set out to put some cupboard/drawer pulls on my kitchen cupboards. I had just recently torn out an advertisement from a home improvement magazine for some beautiful rock pulls that are currently selling for a minimum of $10 per piece (go ahead and see for yourself- just Google "stone drawer pulls"). Well, I decided that this natural and beautiful hardware would make my cupboards look lovely but I could already hear my checkbook wailing from inside of my new purse. Nevertheless, I still had to have them.

So, again with the terrific knowledge of nuts and bolts that my husband stores away in his brain and a complete raid of my decorating closet, I came up with the exact same product for about $1 each. Here's how you can make one too:

Here's what you need:

Polished rocks (found in the home dec section of any store including your local dollar store or pick up your favorites on the beach)

Epoxy glue

Cap Nuts (I bought mine at McMaster-Carr item #90835A300 1/4"X20 and 12mm length)

Machine Screws (McMaster-Carr item # 90271A542 1/4X20 and 1" length)

Dremel or sandpaper for roughing up surfaces

First, rough up the surfaces of your rocks and cap nuts. This will help the glue to stick better.

Mix up the epoxy following the directions on the package. Dip the cap nut into the epoxy and place on the rock to dry. You won't need too much glue on the nut and if you do get too much on you run the risk of it sliding off of your rock before it is dried.

Tah-Dah!! I purchased a mounting template that helped me mark where I wanted the pulls to be. Drilling was a piece of cake and the kids even helped me put the screws through the holes and twist the pulls on.

I am so impressed with the success of this project that I'm already scheming up new places in my home I may put them (buttons in the craft lab?) You could use nearly anything other than rocks for a unique look. What will you use?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Spring Purse: A Lesson In Brocade

Created with the New Look pattern 6738 that I picked up nearly a year ago, this purse was a quick weekend project to bring a little spring into my world. It turned out to be a lesson in working with Brocade fabric as well. The purse threatened to be a disaster several times in the making but, with some quick thinking and putting to use some of my craft miscellany, it came through a true beauty to accent my pink spring trench coat.

Even though I used the recommended 70/10 H needle suggested in Sandra Betzina's "More Fabric Savvy" I still ended up with some annoyingly large holes in the fabric where the needle went through. My remedy? I found some matching pink floss in my stash and hand embroidered a backstitch along the seamline where the needle went in. If you really examine the purse, the holes are still slightly visible but much more masked with the backstitching and I think it accents the purse quite nicely.

After realizing that Brocade is a pretty difficult fabric to work with for this reason, I proceeded to hand sew the rest of the pieces with transparent thread and a very fine needle.

The last problem was where I was going to find a heavy ring for the front strap of the purse (can you spot it on the pattern envelope)? Oops. I started a project again without all of the recommended supplies. Oh well, I used two old, ugly brass O rings (what else would I have used them for?) and tied a simple knot over and over around them in the same matching floss.

I love it. It is lined with a hot pink, inexpensive costume satin that I bought around Halloween. It was so pretty when I finished that I considered not even wearing it but for special occasions.

But then I realized that if I only use it that often, I'll never have an excuse to make another. And a girl can always use a new purse, don't you think?

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Pirate Show

I learned just in time that the the local middle school was putting on a musical called "A Pirate's Life For Me". So, I purchased two tickets and scheduled a Saturday date with my little pirate. Luckily, he had the perfect outfit to wear.

I made this pirate shirt at the beginning of the school year using Simplicity pattern 4760 and the perfect map fabric. I originally intended to press a "Pirates of the Carribean" shadow patch on the back but decided that it made the shirt a bit chaotic. So, I'll use that on a simpler shirt next year. What I did try, however, is a very neat collar technique that I learned on the new Threads DVD called "Industry Insider Techniques". It was the perfect solution to my usual impossible -to-sew-neatly collar corners.

I even found this super cute pair of pants complete with a skull fob to match. This outfit was a subtle way for Cam to extend his pretend dress-up play to school without looking like he was wearing a costume.

It was a fantastic experience to take Cam to his first play and he did surprisingly well for a five year old staying up well beyond bedtime. He was a complete gentleman and perfect date even with the inconvenience of holding my knee against his fold-down seat through the whole production so his 39 lb body wouldn't get swallowed up by the chair.

The play has inspired him to try his hand at play writing. Our kitchen has been turned into a theater with every large and small chair from the house lined up in neat little rows for the audience. I have been taking dictation for nearly a week now quickly typing down his every thought and word to capture the general plot and dialog for him (it keeps changing). Generally the play stars his best friends and consists of a cast of robots, superheros and pirates who go about destroying all of the bad things in the world.

I've been teaching him how to design instructions, pictures and patterns for his creations lately so they are well thought through before we attempt to make them. He has spent the week in the craft lab drawing pictures and diagrams describing every aspect of his play. There are even a few posters taped to walls around our house that advertise that the show starts at bedtime when the sun goes down. You can be sure that I'll be in the front row...
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