Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Follow Me on Instagram!

Hi Guys!

It’s been a few months, and while I still don’t think coming back to this blog is right for me right now, I have started an Instagram account!

My handle is @helenanutshell. I think this link will take you there.

For now, in order to continue following my work, please find me there.




Farewell For Now

Hi. I’m writing this specifically for those of you who are following me: all 46 of you. I am baffled and delighted by you guys, simply because for the 4+ years I’ve kept this blog I’ve never been writing for outside recognition. I started this blog because I was starting to get tired of shoving every single thing I made at my college roommate and shouting HERE LOOK WHAT I MADE. At the time I also thought I might give Etsy a go, simply because I was making more jewelry than I could get rid of without some kind of outlet like that. I have had some success selling in other venues in the past after all.

Etsy, unfortunately, requires a lot of time and a solid brand to be profitable, and as a college student I had neither of those. But I kept writing posts because I like hearing myself talk, and I like to be able to share my work. And slowly, people started following me (although my mom remains my biggest commenter by a wide margin [HI MOM!!!]). This has always blown my mind, because the blog is so personal, and so self-centered, and I’ve never really tried to market it in any way.

But I have done a lot of projects with wider appeal, fan projects for Doctor Who, Sassy Cross Stitches which are very en vogue right now, lots of Holiday stuff. I’ve dabbled in putting my prop work on the blog, especially when I did the Not Food Project which was such a big endeavor.

Since I’ve moved to NYC, and have been working consistently in props (and by consistently I mean that I’ve got a 40 hour work week), I’ve found my need for the creative outlet of this blog has dried up a bit. I’m making a lot of stuff every day, but almost none of it ends up here. And I’ve found that thinking about my blog makes me feel a little guilty, like I’m neglecting something which other people are relying on me to provide, which has never been the point of the blog in the first place.

So, I’m going to take an indefinite half-hiatus. I call it a half-hiatus because I’m both giving myself permission to ignore the blog for as long as I need to, and giving myself permission to come back and post sporadically, if I ever want to share my work again. It is possible that by the time the fall rolls around, and my employment situation shifts, I will find writing for this blog and sharing my work as fulfilling as I have in the past, and because it is my blog I am giving myself permission to do so. In the mean-time, please feel free to follow along with my ideas and inspiration boards on Pinterest ( You can also follow my professional work at ( And I’ll still get an email every time someone comments, so I promise not to ignore any new movement on the blog. Until next time, Happy Crafting everyone!

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!

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!

September Revamp: To Do List

Last month’s re-vamp post in many ways inspired this one. If you recall, it was based on a project which I had chosen to include in a to-do list in 2012. I usually don’t make my crafty to-do lists public, unless I have some great inspiration images or I’m in a period of unusual transition in my life. I seem to be meeting both of those criteria this month, since I’m moving into a new apartment next month and I have some really fun and interesting ideas I want to share with you. As per usual, I found most of my ideas on Pinterest.


A friend recently gave me some lovely wood pieces and I’m definitely inspired by this combination of wood and pearl. I’m hoping to find a good way to bring out the natural beauty of the wood in a few pairs of earrings.


There is another piece I have in mind inspired by this bracelet (which inspired these bracelets). I am hoping to drill holes in the tin I currently store embroidery floss in, and plan to embroider a traditional flower pattern using those holes. I’m pretty excited about the idea.


I think I’m going to follow up on this pair of earrings from April by making a second pair of puffy geometric shapes, maybe triangles. I’ll have my craft supplies and my beads back again this weekend so I will be able to really dive into something like this again.


This project is not exactly what I plan to do, but it has a lot of similarities. I have a lot of really really lovely broken china from work, and when I move into my new place I’ll be acquiring a three level rolling cart. I plan to mosaic the tops of the shelves and make it a nice addition to our kitchen with some plants ect. on it.

img_0413 - Copy luv final - Copy

And finally, I have fallen in love with the idea of making my own face scrubbers and dish scrubbers, and as soon as I’m in my own apartment I intend to do just that. I actually already have the cotton to do these projects, for the most part, so they should be a snap to churn out, and super useful!

I only ended up completing 3 of the 5 projects I included in the first to-do list. This is pretty par for the course; there are always ideas which seem great to me at the time but don’t really have a place in my life/don’t end up coming to fruition because I lose interest in them. I’m sure this list will be no different, but my goal is to complete at least half of these projects by the end of the year. I will periodically come back to update this list with links and images to the completed projects, as I have now done with the old list from 2012.

Surprise Corned Beef

Kind of out of the blue, and almost a year later, but I’m adding to the Not Food Project. The show I’m working on now is with the same company as Top Girls, and the director requested a plate of corned beef along the same lines as that food. So I started with this image.

reference image corned beef

I cut some cardboard to shape, painted it and added some strategic shrink wrap to make it shine a little bit (just like I did for my apple pie), and added some ribbon rissotto and some bead peas, and then painted it again to give it some depth.


All in all, not bad for a plate of unrealistic corned beef!


Bon Apetit!

A Quick Photo

This is a project I did a while ago, but I just wanted to take a moment and share, since I’ve been so crazy busy lately.