Thursday, December 18, 2008

Office Tannenbaum

This is my 16" office Christmas tree, all decked out with battery operated red lights, little glittery silver snowballs and, just to amp up the Avril Lavigne factor, some skull and crossbones garland (homemade of course). And if my desk doesn't say "festive if not overboard" I don't know what does. I hope y'all enjoy this slice of my daily life here at work. Behind the tree is a corkboard covered in that I choose to call my inspiration board because I tack up little bits and pieces I collect.

A close up. You needed it. You wanted it. You got it.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Look Who's Turning One

This time one year ago, my baby blog was born. Doodle commemorates the occasion. Celebrate with me. Do something crafty. Fly a kite.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Button Upgrade, Once More

I got this cute little jacket/blazer thing at a ritzy boutique in the West Village for a business trip to California last year. And sadly, the buttons came off the jacket a little too quickly to call the thing high quality. But alas, I'm not here to be a garment inspector or a clothing critic. I'm just here to tell you about this sewing upgrade. Do you think I've been in a sewing mode lately? It's a little ridiculous. I hate pulling out all the supplies so when I made Mr. Gingerbread man, I sewed everything else I could think of so I could put away the machine and the rest of the pins, threads, needles, and assorted other bits and bobs. This is, I believe, the last thing I've got to report on of this nature for a while. Whew! A girl gets tired of these kinds of projects. Sewing is my mommy's game, not mine.
Anyhow, back to this blazer thing... so (or should I be punny and say "sew") I got to delve into the aforshown bowls of buttons to find a good match. I added them to both sleeves and its a big time upgrade.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Cuff Links, the Homemade Version

So I got this shirt years ago at a Gap Outlet in Freeport, Maine. And it came with buttons as cuff links. Well, wouldn't you know, immediately one set (four are needed for the shirt, two per cuff) died in the dryer. And then I lost a second set. And well, then the shirt disappeared into the back of the closet or was only used when the sleeves could be rolled up three or four times each to avoid showing off the missing cuff links. I pulled out the bead kit, found 16 identical pearls (let's admit they are knockoffs) and a nice colored embroidery thread to sew them into cuff links. It was pretty easy as a process and I'm prepared to say this is a big upgrade from the original.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Christmas Doodle

I drew this snowman out of text. I'm digging the idea. I'm not going to claim that I came up with the idea, but I really got a kick out of creating this snow man and plan to mix this concept with some calligraphy skills and do something really spectacular for next year's Christmas card. Too bad I didn't come up with something like this a few months ago or I could have used it for this year. It's not that exciting of a craft, but I wanted to show it to my lovely readers, anyway.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Button Switch Upgrade

Look at my WalMart sweater! I've garnered a plethora of compliments now that I've upgraded its buttons. This is a wardrobe upgrade. I took something that looked OK and made it look great. Clearly, I'm proud of this one. I liked this shirt when I saw it at WalMart. It is so versatile. It can be paired with so many outfits, too. I always thought the buttons were a give away that the thing came from a discount store. So, I bought some new buttons and changed the sweater up, quite drastically. I got these green ceramic buttons at the craft store without measuring the size of the originals. And naturally I guessed wrong. The new buttons are significantly larger than the old ones and, therefore, the buttonholes needed to be changed. I hate breaking into knit sweaters and buttonholes can be so tricky, but as the sweater was both cheap and fuzzy, I figured, what's the worst that can happen? Turns out, not much. The ceramic buttons are so much heavier than the old plastic ones that I had to sew a snap into the neck of the sweater so that every part would stay in place. And while I was sewing that in... I decided to give the label an upgrade, too. I take the sweater off frequently, so I thought it would be neat to have an arty little label inside instead of WalMart's No Boundaries. So you can see that in the pics, too.

This is my arty button shot. I don't know why I included it with this post other than because I thought it was just plain awesome. I inherited this massive button collection from my mom when she was trying to pare down her sewing supplies. I carefully separated them into categories, by color, material, size. I love when I get a chance to dive right in and grab some good ones. I'm always scheming of ways to use these buttons. I think you'll see lots of 'em in the next few weeks!

Here's the before shot. The sweater in its cheap button glory. And behind it is the lovely postcard wall that I've been working on for the past year. Thanks to all of those who have contributed.
I included this picture so you could see the size difference between the green ceramic button and the cheap plastic ones.

And finally, I took this picture and liked the way the fuzziness showed up. Hope you enjoy it, too.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Blueprints for Mr. Gingerbread

I wanted to share this creative sketch-out that I did before I started on the gingerbread man. I was talking over the project with one of my coworkers and I drew my concept for him (top right) and he inquired about the placement of the man on the tree. Those two faces on the left were his impressions of what a gingerbread man should look like when he gets a Christmas tree enema.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Gingerbread Man of My Dreams

And now for the Theta Christmas tree topper.
First I'll tell you the supplies and then I'll tell you the process... This is an
old school crafting post, one that actually offers advice on making the above
pictured tree topper.
  • brown foam
  • six green and red buttons
  • two packages of white brick-a-brack trim, medium thickness
  • scissors
  • craft glue
  • a hot glue gun with glue sticks
  • brown thread
  • a sewing machine or the will power to sew quite a lot by hand
  • lots and lots of straight pins
  • cheap cotton cloth, appropriately ginger colored
  • several examples of other gingerbread men, to use for inspiration
  • something to use as eyeballs, four of 'em
  • a brown crayon
  • red paint, to use as a mouth.

Take yer brown crayon and your brown foam, draw a gingerbread man. Cut out the gingerbread man from foam. I used two pieces of foam and cut them both out so that I could give, as a coworker called it, the poor final product a Christmas-tree enema. I took a picture to explain what I'm talking about. So next you take your fabric and lay it out on a flat surface folded in half so that it is two pieces of fabric thick and place the gingerbread man cutout on top. Trace around the man, leaving about an inch and a half border. Cut out the fabric so that you have two pieces of gingerbread man looking fabric. Now it's time to put the foam bit on the inside of the fabric pieces and pin all around him. Sew him up, leaving a space between his legs so that you can take out the foam and eventually install him on top of a Christmas tree (thus the enema comment). Turn the sewn product inside out so that the hem is on the inside, replace the foam inside to give him a taut look and feel. Real cookies are never wrinkled. Not to get naughty here, but you'll need to glue the fabric from between his legs to the foam, so that he is complete, all around. Next you'll add the brick brack using craft glue (or hot glue depending on your personal preferences). I left about a quarter inch on the outside of the brick brack, but again, it's up to you. Add your buttons for his tummy and your sparkly eyes and then paint on a mouth. I added a gross grain ribbon sash around his neck to make him extra pretty. My guy was double sided for a tree to be displayed in the round, so I had to do the last several steps twice. Stick a tree up his bum and you're done!

I've uploaded lots of pictures to show off the project (and my somewhat messy process).

So here's the guy all covered in pins. And you get a good idea of the supplies I used to create the man. Note the shoe in the top left of the photo and the trash on the floor. I was so messy the night I made this dude!
So I needed brown thread. I bought some when I bought the fabric only to come home and find almost an identical color thread in my sewing box. Think of all the gingerbread men I could sew with these two spools.
This is my dude when I'd sewn him up. Notice how snug his cover his to the foam underneath. Also notice that I cut my finger while doing this craft. Whoops. Suffer for the love of the craft.
And here I've added brick brack but have yet to add the face. I really liked the way it looked at this stage in the process.

And finally... here we see the backside of the tree. My craft on display at the Dallas Country Club -- what a proud moment for this crafter!