Transforming Art

Just a quick post today, I’ve got this great piece of art from a flea market.


I looked at it and immediately it clicked: I knew I had to do something like this.


The greyish flowers were so drab after all, and the painting needed something to bring it to life. A little bit of white and brown paint later, and I have a fresh piece of art for the living room.


I especially love how well it works with the frame. No extra paint needed!

November Revamp: Trivets

This post is revamped from all the way in 2011. I made trivets having just moved into a school dorm apartment which had a kitchen, so it appears history is repeating itself since I’ve made some trivets to go with my new kitchen in my first real-person apartment. I did the curtains first, and built/painted furniture to bring down some of the colors from the curtains. When all was said and done I still had some curtain fabric left over, and some fabric from the cushions on the chairs, so I did now what I did then and made a set of trivets for my new kitchen.


This project was originally inspired by a trivet we had at home as a child. My mom had gotten it from a friend a long time ago, and I reverse engineered the process to figure out how to do it. Since then I’ve done it many times, and so I’m revisiting my tutorial to share the technique, because it’s fun and easy, and really cute.


Because bottle caps are so easy to gather and recycle, the effective cost of this project comes down to the fabric- which I already had because of the curtains. Basically what you need are a sewing kit, so a needle, thread, and something to cut the thread with, and the bottle caps and fabric.


You’ll be essentially covering the bottle caps in fabric, creating little fabric “yo-yo’s” which you’ll then sew together. For a simple circle trivet you’ll need 19 bottle caps. More if you want to make it longer, or a larger size.


Cut out a nice circle of fabric, with maybe a 1″ larger diameter than a bottle cap.


Your circle does not have to be perfect. Almost none of mine were. It doesn’t matter anyway, because (in a technique similar to these Fabric Yo-yos from you’ll start by stitching loosely around the edge in a circle.


Flip your fabric over, and put your bottle cap on it, top down. Start to pull on the thread, cinching in the stitches.


Pull the thread tight, and if you feel the need to, stitch a second round in the bottle cap, to secure the “yo-yo”. Here’s a finished one.


The front of your bottle cap should be covered in one smooth, nice looking layer of fabric.


Wash rinse repeat however many times you need to until you have enough fabric covered bottle caps for the trivet you want. You may decide to lay them out before you start stitching to make sure you like the final result. I usually do.


Start sewing together your bottle caps. I use a simple running stitch, adjusting tension wherever I need to to make the fabric lay properly. Sorry I didn’t stitch this in black so you could see it better- I didn’t want to have to unpick my stitches and re-do the whole project later.


The stitching process can be a little bit tedious but it is really rewarding to watch the pieces build together into something recognizable.

My one piece of real advice is to make sure you don’t miss any seams- think of each piece as if it were a hexagon, and make sure that even the corner pieces have at least three seams connecting them to each other. This will give you a really solid trivet. The back should look like this.


The finished trivet from the top will look like this.


Of course I am nothing if not thorough, so I made a set of three with different patterns. I think the striped one is my favorite!



Chic Geometric Drop Earrings

I was inspired by a pair of earrings I saw on a girl in an elevator this week, and felt like I could really use a similar pair.


… then I made two pairs. Viola.


I am really in love with the pearl and copper ones especially.

Cross Stitch Tin for my Embroidery Thread

Looks like today I’m hitting the 2/5 mark for my fall 2015 to-do list!


I finally finished stitching the top of my embroidery thread tin, a project which was originally inspired by this


and subsequently inspired by these bangles.


Using my experience from the bangles project, I set out to embroider the top of the tin, so that there would never again be any question as to what was meant to be stored inside.


First I set out a grid in pencil, and then marked over it in permanent marker.


Then I realized that I didn’t like the pattern which I had started with and so chose a different pattern (one of the rosebuds from this pattern, if you’re curious. I’ve also got another project using this pattern in the works so you’ll see it again soon!)

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Then I drilled the holes, having realized that I *actually* wanted the new pattern approximately two stitches lower on the lid of the tin than they were. It was a process. I had some trouble getting the holes to land precisely on the grid marks, though I did try really hard. It occurred to me as I was finishing the stitching that I should have just used the drill press to make the holes instead of a hand held drill. Learn from my mistakes people! a) Make sure the pattern you choose is the pattern you *actually* want and don’t use permanent marker until you’re certain. Maybe then don’t use permanent marker. More on that later. b) use a drill press if you have access to one! I didn’t and that was stupid.

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The insides of your holes will be sharp. Consider using a dremel to cut them down, but be aware that this will leave marks on the inside of your tin. *The more you know!*

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Also, washing off the permanent marker was a pain. It did come off with nail polish remover since it is an alcohol based ink, but it also took off a good section of the “finish” on the tin, making the area around the stitching much shinier.


When all is said and done you can only sort of tell so it’s fine. The stitching process itself was fairly painless. I used the full 6 strands of the thread to get fuller stitches, and while the insides of some of the holes were sharp enough to sheer the thread, most of the time it wasn’t an issue.


As you can see I got pretty excited about the stitching process.


One other interesting thing about the process was that I did a lot of bad-technique backtracking in order to make the back side of the piece look decent.


I tried to make all the stitches run the same way. I didn’t want it looking messy because you can definitely see both sides, so the back is just as important as the front.


My thread is so pretty! Nothing quite like seeing a rainbow gradient. No question about what this box holds now, either!


I love using old techniques in new and surprising ways!

October Revamp: Sweater Pillows

While I made these truly adorable pillows a few years ago, I didn’t exactly have a sewing machine. Or a color scheme. Or any plan at all.


Three years later I’ve moved into my own place and I finally have all three of those things available, so I decided now was finally the time to re-visit this idea and talk about it a little more in depth.


The first thing I grabbed was these sweaters from goodwill ($5 total, you guys.) I also had pillow forms already, so my total cost for project was $5 ($1.66/pillow if you will)

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Honestly, this project is so simple if you have a sewing machine, you guys. All you have to do is remove the seams so that you end up with a vaguely square shape.

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Knits stretch, so it doesn’t matter if your fabric is a little narrower than your pillow form as long as they will stretch to fit.

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Mine certainly did. I had 0 problems fitting the pillow forms into my pillow cases once I’d sewn the two sides together (leaving a hole for stuffing, which I totally didn’t forget to do at all on the first pillow nope no way)


They’re so fun! They match my decor perfectly, and they’re actually really comfy. I feel very cozy in my bed now.


As you can see, I’ve got some variety. I switched it up by making the two large pillows each have the same back and front, so I have two pillows with turquoise in them instead of just one. I sleep on the little one so I made sure there was a “real pillowcase” side to him for comfort.


In order to vary it up a bit  (and not totally because I sewed it wrong the first time) I used the “wrong side” of the teal sweater for one of the pillows, and the “right side” for the other so they match but they don’t match.


The little guy is also special because of the pattern of the knit. I’m a lot in love with these new pillows and they go really well in my new room.

No! My First Irreverent Cross Stitch

Just a quick project today, I found this really great frame at Goodwill and I just had to join in the tradition of irreverent embroidery. Because irreverent embroidery is awesome.


This is not my first foray into the intersection between traditional, demure, and feminine mediums and modernisms, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. Either way I’m kind of in love with this new piece of art!

Pearl and Wood Earrings

Things are settling down for me a little bit, and I finally got to unpack my beads, so I was able to make some really fun earrings for a friend’s birthday. I think I mentioned this idea in this post, actually.


My friend makes these lovely wooden post earrings with knots from natural wood. They’re so fun, but I saw the following image on Pinterest and I thought I could definitely do something different and fun with them!


I can’t decide which I like better, the white pearls or the brown ones.


Here’s a photo including the back side of these last earrings


The glass pearls and the wood tones really work well together!