Hey crafty people! Please consider sending master craftslady Aunt Esther a birthday card. It would mean a lot to her and to us, her family. She is great.
My great aunt Esther is turning 90 on September 17th. Esther is a super awesome lady, the kind who will not only let you crash on her couch when you’re passing through town, but who will also have an array of delicious, home-made snacks waiting for you when you get in at midnight. She is a crafting MACHINE who is always willing to teach you how to do something, or make you something if you ask. For as long as I’ve known her, she has been crocheting blankets for the homeless/orphans/any charity that needs blankets. She will also send you her wedding dress when you call her up out of the blue to ask to wear it in your own wedding (see above). If you were at our wedding, you probably met her … she was the older lady in the snazzy red jacket, gamely rolling with all our comedy-weirdo wedding touches.
Anyway, for her 90th birthday, we would like to find 90 people who are willing to send her a birthday card. If you would like to send a card, please email me at firstnamelastname at gmail.com and I will send you her address and further instructions. That’s Susannah followed by Becket. And then the gmail part. You know how email addresses work!
Thanks in advance, friends! Esther is one of the nicest, most giving people I’ve ever known and I know she would enjoy getting some postcards and notes from other nice people around the country.
Craft Project #19 - Desk Rehab
I found this desk at my favorite thrift store in L.A. and I couldn’t resist its run-down charms. This, despite the fact that I already HAVE a desk with almost the exact same lines, and the fact that a (sane) person really doesn’t need more than one desk in her home. I was originally going to paint the drawer fronts, but after stripping and sanding the whole thing, I discovered that the wood was actually still in amaaaazing shape. And once I applied Danish Oil finish and saw the result, I was sold on leaving it au natural. I hit a little bit of a snag when I discovered that not all of the wood on the lower part of the desk was the same type as the drawer-fronts and those parts came out a different color when I oiled them up. When you added in the faux-wood laminate top, it just looked a little too hodge-podgy with all the different woods going on, so I solved the problem by painting the contrasting parts white and I LOVE how it turned out. I found some new hardware to replace the broken and missing drawer pulls and voila! It came out looking so sweet that I rearranged our apartment and found room for it. Welcome home, new friend!
Craft Project #18 - More Baby Stuff!
I have a backlog of craft projects I need to post, but I’ll lead off with my most recent undertaking, a gift bag full of baby stuff for young Eleanor. I did some market research to find out what the trendiest and hottest babies are buying and using in their cribs. Apparently, “taggies” — super tactile blankets with lots of little tags good for chewing and rubbing — are all the rage with Hollywood’s pre-verbal elite. Lucky for me, they’re really easy to make and there are tutorials all over the Internet. I appliqued a big E (because it’s never to early to start learning how to spell your name!) and four big stars (because Eleanor is really into astronomy!) on one side of the blanket, which was the most time-consuming part. The back is a fabric type called “Minky” which I’ve never used before, but with which I would like to make an adult-sized swaddling blanket for myself. It’s really soft and cuddly, guys! The tags are just assorted ribbons from Joanne’s typically sparse selection, cut into ~ 3-inch strips.
I used the leftover blanket fabric for the little shoes. I got the pattern here and they were so quick and came out soooo cute that I’m tempted to make ten more pairs for all the futurebabies yet to be born to my friends, but I feel like having a plastic bag full of baby shoes is a little serial-killer-ish, so I’m gonna hold off for now.
The hat was an afterthought, and came out of my desire to clear out a little bit of my yarn stash. It knitted up super quick from a free Ravelry pattern (registration required) called “Trendy Newborn Hat.” I don’t think it’s that trendy, but I’m only an amateur baby coolhunter, so what do I know?
I put all three items into a fabric giftbag and tied it up with some leftover ribbon for a pleasing presentation, then shipped it off! Hooray for new humans!
Craft Project #17
My good friend Joree is having a baby in a few weeks, and since I still owed her a craft from that Facebook meme thing, I decided to send her a package of things for the tiny person. So she will be receiving 1 large square swaddling blanket, 2 burp cloths, and 3 baby bibs. You can see the swaddling blanket and the bibs modeled above by Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Bear. The burp cloths look exactly like the swaddling blanket except smaller. The patterns/instructions for all these items can be found over at Chickpea Studios. I am especially pleased with how the contrasting edge stitching came out on the blanket and burp cloths. I love the red with the mint green, and I also love that I actually got to use one of the other 40 fancypants stitches on my new(ish) sewing machine.
Craft Project #16b
Along the same lines as the Chuck slippers I made for my grandma, these are knitted/felted spats that I made for my grandfather. I didn’t get a pic of him wearing them, but I imagine he looks very fancy in them.
Craft Project #16
I made these Chucks for my grandmother for Christmas. They are felted, which (for non-knitters in the crowd) means they are knit large with wool yarn and then shrunk down in the washing machine to the correct size. I used some rubberized paint on the soles so she wouldn’t break a hip in them. They came out CUTESVILLE, as you can see from the pic of her wearing them with her Christmas PJs. I think I’m going to make a pair for myself someday, maybe with real laces for extra authenticity.
My friend Natasha was contractually obligated to make me something in return for her Rick Springfield portrait, so she made me these. They combine three of my favorite things: 1) coasters, 2) Dolly Parton and 3) 60s-era styling. I respect wood, I love Dolly more than I can properly express, and I live mostly in the past, so I LOVE these. LOVE! They are decoupaged on some kind of lightweight plywood and are wonderfully finished with gold metallic something-or-other around the edges.
Craft Project #15
You know when you are having one of those days when you have a million things to work on, but all you want to do is make a pair of “Jersey Shore” finger puppets? For no apparent reason? Yeah, that was my morning in a nutshell! I made a Snooki and a Situation. I was going to make everybody, but then they were taking too long. I’m selling these two on Etsy, so depending on whether/how quickly they sell, I may make more, including a Sammi/Ronnie set and a JWOWW/Pauly D set. I will not make a Vinny.
Posting on this here craftyblog will be a little light the next couple weeks because I’ve taken the above “Handmade Christmas” pledge one step further and am attempting (for the … third? fourth? Christmas in a row) to handmake most of the gifts I give this month. I might post some teaser pics of what I’m making, but full posts will have to wait until after the 25th. There are some people I just can’t make stuff for (Dad) because they don’t like anything besides DVDs, books, and CDs, but I try to give handmade items to everyone else. I would encourage you to think about making something for one of your gift-ees. And if you aren’t crafty and can’t make anything, think about buying something handmade and supporting artists, craftspeople, and small businesses.
When we moved to L.A., I built some bookshelves. I entered them in the design*sponge DIY contest and they were a finalist! But I lost to a suitcase with a pillow in it. Or dog bed, whatever. Not bitter at all! The original shelves and instructions for how to build them can be found here. Last week I decided we needed more shelving, especially for all the DVD screeners we were about to get! So I spent a day building a third shelf and rearranging the existing shelves into one long megawall of books and DVDs. It definitely makes an impact! I love, love, love having a home that’s full of books. I think it makes the room a lot warmer, both literally and figuratively. But I’ve tried to cut down on the visual clutter of the books somewhat by arranging them by color, which is a very popular and controversial trend. It’s a lot easier for me to find books this way, too, since I tend to remember colors better than authors and titles. Stupid names and words!