Entries in Artsy McCrafty (8)

Wednesday
May282014

Ready for Departure

Chris and I are packing our bags and fleeing town this evening! We will be flying off to Venice and spending two days there prior to setting sail for a week around the Greek Isles. This will be my first time on a cruise, and I am beyond excited! Work and life have been pretty much non-stop crazy lately, and I am so thankful for this chance to get away for a little while and catch my breath. I have a feeling this is going to be a very special trip.

In the midst of planning and packing, I decided to make some holders for our passports! I found a great tutorial on Poppytalk, and took things just a step further by stamping some special words on the front. The covers were really fun and a snap to make, so I thought I'd leave you guys with this simple little project.


This was my first experiment with leatherworking, and I learned quite a lot. I visited a bunch of leather stores around the Fashion District, and they all smelled amazing! It was quite an experience to see and feel the difference between all the various animal skins.


Unlike fabric, which is usually sold by the yard, leather is generally priced by piece. Since my project required very little leather, I chose a lovely gray goatskin that would work well with other future projects. Maybe we can make some boots for Wonka? :)


I printed and cut the pattern for my cover (You can find the template that I used here). After examining and selecting a section that laid nice and flat, I then carefully traced an outline of the pattern onto the skin. A scratch awl would've been ideal for this job, but an embossing needle worked out just fine.


After tracing out the pattern, I went ahead and started puncturing holes along the dotted border of the template. It was important to be as precise as possible because leather is pretty unforgiving - once you poke a hole, it's there to stay. It helps to have a craft cutting board or even a stack of newspapers underneath as you work. This allows you to pierce deeper into the leather without damaging your work surface.


This is the part where I sliced my finger open, bled over all my work, and had to start over. PLEASE be careful as you cut!! Different sections of a pelt can vary in thickness and softness, so cut slowly and keep your hands steady so you don't end up wearing a Mickey Mouse midi ring. A ruler is also helpful for guiding your lines and creating a clean cut.


Time to sew! I used a heavy-duty poly thread that I had laying around, but waxed linen thread would give these stitches a nice, bold look. This template calls for
aproximately 45" of thread for each side of the cover, and 20" for the card divider line.


Saddle stitching is a common technique used in leatherworking, and I picked it up pretty quickly from this very short and straightforward video tutorial. The key to neat saddle stitching is to keep pulling both ends taught, so that the lengths are equal on both sides, in order to set each stich before moving on to the next hole. I used this technique to stitch both sides of the cover, then sewed in the card holder divider.


Now the cover is complete, and it's time to find a new adventure :) See you guys later!

Tuesday
Dec172013

One for the Books

Whenever I asked for a toy as a child, my parents would often reply: "You want it? Let's make it!" Rather than purchasing the things I wanted, they would take me shopping for all the necessary tools and materials, then provide the guidance I needed to recreate the items I desired.

This was my mom and dad's way of spending quality time with me. They challenged my creativity and instilled a value of resourcefulness. I am grateful for these lessons because they've allowed me to discover the joy of working with my hands. It has become one of my deepest passions, and it influences everything I do today.

When I came across this vintage book iPhone dock at Anthropologie, the first thought that popped into my head was, "Oh neat! I want that."  The second thought that came to mind was, "You know what? I could make that." This turned out to be such a fun and simple project, and I am very happy to share it with you!

Here's what you will need:

- Hardcover book of your choice (At least 1.5" thick)
- Ruler
- Pencil
- 2 binder clips
- Box cutter
- Thin metal file
- Phone & charger cable


Choose any hardcover book you'd like to turn into a dock. 
Sentimental attachment made me queasy about chopping up my own beloved books, so I swung by the Strand Book Store and picked up this 1943 edition of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn for a dollar. By the way, if you have not been to this bookstore, you really must stop by. And if you have not read this book, add that to your to-do list as well.

Make sure you are not cutting up a rare collector's edition, and we are ready to start!


Begin by outlining the width and diameter of your charger with a sharp pencil. Be sure to trace as closely as possible.


You know the saying - Measure twice, cut once. We do not want to waste any books on this project! Once you are certain that the outline is as close to the actual size of the base as possible, begin carefully cutting into the cover. Use a ruler as a guide to keep your lines straight. Rather than stabbing into the cover, I found that light, repetitive strokes were the most effective way to cut and maintain precision.

Once you break through the hard cover, try squeezing your charger through the opening. Use a thin metal file to fine tune any areas that need adjusting. File a little at a time and constantly check the fit. You want to achieve a very tight fit in order to create a base that will support your phone in a vertical position.
Eventually, you should be able to wedge your charger through the opening.


Trace through the opening in the cover to get an outline onto the first inside page. Then, using your ruler, draw a channel to accommodate the charger's cord.


Use your box cutter and ruler to cut along the outline. This is where the binder clips come in handy - use them to keep the finished pages clipped back as you continue to cut through the book. After you have cut approximately 100 pages, try pushing the charger base into the cutout. Keep testing periodically to ensure that you are not cutting too deeply into the book.


Once you are able to fit the base snugly into the pages and the charger sits flush with the cover, you are all done!

I usually charge my phone on my night stand at the end of each day. There's always a stack of nighttime reading at my bedside, so the new dock fits right in! I love that you can always swap out the surrounding books to create different looks. 

Prior to this project, I'd been clipping my charger to a pillow so that it would not fall behind our bed every time I unplugged my phone. Having a place to dock my phone is much more convenient, especially since I use it as my alarm clock. No more dropping my phone on the floor every time I hit snooze!

I hope you enjoyed this project! It's a cinch to adapt and personalize, and would make a fantastic gift for that lovely bibliophile on your list :)

Tuesday
Aug272013

Office Ours

A relaxing weekend for me doesn't necessarily involve sleeping in and lounging around all day. It's more about spending time completely immersed in something I truly love.

I'd been feeling a bit run-down lately and was in dire need of some downtime to unwind. So, this past Saturday, I shut myself in a room and just painted to my heart's desire! For fifteen hours straight. By the time I was finished, I felt absolutely refreshed, revitalized, and happy.

It is wonderful and very important to have somewhere to go and just get lost doing something you are passionate about. Our office is my favorite place to catch my breath and let my mind loose. Here's a peek inside!


As you can see from these listing photos, our second bedroom was previously an adorable little boy's room. Since we don't have any kids yet, Chris and I decided to utilize this space as a home office. This serves as a practical space for managing all our household affairs, but I like to think of it more as a studio…  a laboratory for exploring and experimenting with ideas.


This is where we come to make things happen. I love coming in here with a cup of coffee - it's always a good time. The serene atmosphere fosters a wealth of creativity and productivity.

The office is connected to the living room, so I decided to replace the original solid door with a glass paned one. This allows us to spend time alone in here without feeling completely isolated from each other. It also lets Wonka peek in when I am working on messier projects that he isn’t allowed to sniff around. After surviving the move, my pinboard is starting fresh – a blank canvas for new inspiration and mementos (and parking tickets).

This room has the best view in the apartment. All you see is trees when you look out the windows. With such splendid scenery, it is very hard not to feel inspired. What a lovely place to read, write, sew, paint, draw, sing, and pay bills! :)


With all the foliage surrounding this room, it only felt right to bring some of that green inside. This sunny corner makes a happy home for our fiddle leaf fig tree. The bench is a comfy place to hang out and read a book, and it is one of Wonka's favorite napping spots.


This is where I hoard my arsenal of crafting tools and supplies. Practical storage solutions play a vital role in keeping everything organized and Chris’ sanity in check!


And here is my finished painting! It makes me smile :) I am really looking forward to working on many more projects in this happy space.

Errors occurred while processing template[pageRendered/journal.st]:
StringTemplate Error: Can't parse chunk: {settingHomePageKBArticle}" target="_blank">Learn how.</a></li>
<li>If you have already selected a front page, make sure it is enabled. Click on the Cubes icon (top right) and then click the "enable page" button.</li>
</ol>
</div>

: expecting '"', found '<EOF>'
StringTemplate Error: problem parsing template 'pageRendered/noDefaultModule': null
StringTemplate Error: problem parsing template 'pageRendered/noDefaultModule': null