Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!!

I hope your holiday is filled with candy and joy. And ghosts. I have the day off, but no plans. I've got sugar cookie dough chilling in the fridge and plans to score some half-off halloween goodies tomorrow at Target.

If you're feeling spooky, check out this silly halloween quiz from Kate Beaton, the witty, history-buff-tastic genius behind Hark, a vagrant. It's a hilarious comic that's mostly about famous figures from history.

Happy haunting!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Christmas crafts!

In a moment of delirious wishful thinking this morning I pulled out some old sweaters. It's still too warm to wear them, and I realized most of my sweaters have seen better days anyways. I cut up an old green one for upcycling! I made a super cute little tree ornament with some old buttons and a scrap of ribbon.

Coffee because I needed a fourth picture :)

I really wasn't up for taking "proper" pictures of it- lighting in my apartment really sucks. So unless I go visit my mom's lovely, light, super-windowed house it's kind of a pain in the butt to take a good picture of anything, especially since my photo skills are currently... under development. I snapped a few so-so pictures and pulled up Pixlr's Instagram-esque editor, Pixlr-o-matic. So much fun! I have a dumbphone, so I've never played with all the fun filters and effects Instagram and other similar apps have, and I just never got around to finding a computer-based alternative. Pixlr also offers pretty powerful photo editing tools online, for free! You can also download Pixlr-o-matic for your desktop! (I promise I wasn't payed to say any of that.)

Is it too early to prepare for Christmas? Whenever I see holiday merch in retail stores in September I get a little disgusted. I hate hearing holiday music before December 1st. But every Christmas I have all these awesome ideas and projects and I never get them all done. Every year I start earlier in hopes of accomplishing my crazy goals. Do any of you do the same thing? How early is too early?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Button crafts: wine charms

Wine charms!

I'm not really a wine drinker. I'd much prefer a good local beer. But I know plenty of wine drinkers, and I do live in a locale with several wineries. Also a good excuse to make something cute with all these buttons I've got! (Especially since I, uh, bought more last weekend.)

This was my first attempt... I think they came out pretty well! I gave them to my mother and she loved them.

I've got more sets in the works. Hello, Christmas gifts!! Look at you being made almost three months in advance.

A note on making wine charms:

With most projects I try, I usually do a little Pinterest research if I'm not straight up following a specific tutorial. But not with these! I just found the right sized coil of memory wire at a craft store, bought it on a whim, and used pliers, jump rings, and buttons/beads I had on hand to put them together. Afterwards, I did search on Pinterest and found that I don't finish off my charm rings like most other crafters seem to do, with a sort of loop-and-hook. Instead, I made a closed-off loop at each end, like so:

I found this method easy- just pull the end of the wire around with needle-nose pliers to make sort of a c-shape, and pinch shut with regular pliers. The charm goes on to the stem of a glass easily and stays on no problem!

You can purchase wire rings specifically for making wine charms on Etsy and probably most craft supply shops.

Happy crafting!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Caturday craft!

This Caturday I'm posting a plug for one of my bestest friends, Jessie and her awesome Etsy, Ciaobeatrice! She makes super cute animal pillows and her kitten (pillow) is adorable.

Jess is one of the sweetest, awesomest, talented ladies I know. She lives in LA- too far from here! She just put a new Hobbes softy in her shop, too!

Crafts tomorrow. I'm excited!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Egads! I missed a day.

I didn't have anything planned anyways, and I really am trying to have meaningful content as often as possible. But it's not always possible!

Today's another stub of a post. I have a long long shift today- first day for Perks of Being a Wallflower! And we're having a game night tonight. I have Saturday off, though, so hopefully I will sleep well tonight and have a nice productive day tomorrow!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Rough start, good day.

Today has not totally gone as planned. I didn't sleep well, so I got a slow start, but I've had spurts of productivity. I went through some old stuff at my mom's and set aside a whole box of stuff to find a new home for, and Mom and I had a good talk.

I haven't done much on my list yet, but there is still time left in the day. Time to do laundry, time to do dishes, time to craft. As soon as my coffee kicks in.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Getting organized

Because I'm not.

I've never really been organized, and I'm constantly caught in a vicious cycle: I'm naturally a little scatterbrained, so I'm prone to disorganization. But my unorganized life makes my scatterbrained-ness worse, which in turn makes it harder for me to get organized. It doesn't help that Wes and I have crazy customer service schedules, either.

But I know I need to change.

Last month I got a month-to-month organizer and a tear-off pad weekly organizer whose pages fit just perfectly in the month-to-month.

And I haven't really used them! I think I will use NaBloWriMo as a tool to get organized... to keep myself accountable for goals that I set.

  • I will plan ahead for blog posts, so I rarely wake up thinking, "Ok, what the heck will I write about this morning?" 
  • I will take note of what nights Wes and I are off together, so I can plan ahead to have a healthy meal that we can cook together.
  • I will plan what days I do laundry, and record what days I wash the sheets and the shower curtain.
  • I will also plan one day a week to clean the bathroom and the kitchen floor, and vacuum the carpet.
  • I will spend 20 minutes every day on decluttering. 

Whew! I think this is a good start. Not all of my ultimate goals are on here- I don't have anything about organizing my craft desk, or setting a schedule for organizing our wedding, but I think those will follow. One thing at a time!

Monday, October 1, 2012

October + NaBloWriMo + a work in progress!

Hooray, October is here! That means Indian summer is in full swing out here... it's supposed to hit 103 degrees today- yikes! That ALSO means that NaBloWriMo is here. The official prompt is to give yourself an introduction, and I don't have a functioning "about me" page yet, so here are some factoids about me:

  • I am a huge D&D playing, Stargate/Star Trek/Star Wars loving, always-reading kind of nerd. 
  • I am engaged to the sweetest, handsomest, silliest, nerdiest boy I have ever met.
  • I love love love upcycling. Most of my craft projects somehow involve taking old stuff and making it into new stuff... like these cards I made with an old book.
  • I have a degree in international relations but I haven't found a "real" job yet, so for now I'm a manager at a small movie theater that serves beer, wine, and real food. And popcorn, too.
  • I. LOVE. CATS. I celebrate them every Saturday with my Caturday series. (Don't worry, I don't celebrate Caturday in the "traditional" internet fashion of lolcats.) I wish wish wish I could have a kitty, but our apartment is too small and we'd have to pay pet rent. 
  • I prefer to buy things second hand. Good for my wallet, good for the earth, good for what ever non-profit runs the thrift shop!
  • I live in the East Bay in CA and I love it!
Seven is enough, right? 

I also want to share one of my current works-in-progress, since I spent all my time crafting last week and poppyrocket suffered a little as a result.

I'm working on a super chunky baubley sort of bracelet with lots of buttons! It's so much fun. I can't wait to finish it... but I'm out of findings so I've got to go shopping today! I had wanted to go over the weekend but there was absolutely no time and not working on it is killing me.

Hope your October 1st is more fall-ish than mine!!

Saturday, September 29, 2012


Egads! Have I really gone a whole week without an update? Oops! This week has flown by. More hours at work, and I spent my two days off crafting like a madwoman. I'll have some photos to show for that soon.

This Caturday I thought I'd share one of my favorite cat webcomics, Cat Versus Human.

CvsH's creator, Yasmin, is crazy about cats and really hits the nail on the head as far as cat ownership. If you dig CvsH, check out her book and her shop, where she's got cute shirts, iPhone cases, and canvas totes with lots of cute cat designs.

I am absolutely drooling over this super cute wide neck sweatshirt!
Happy Caturday! Now go pet a kitty.

Saturday, September 22, 2012


Hooray for the first day of fall! Naturally it is like 95 degrees outside.

Here's one of my favorite pictures of Harpo and Groucho, my mom's cats.

Happy Caturday!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Button bracelet!

Hooray for trying new things!! Today I made some jump rings. I have a huge stash of buttons and have been thinking about button jewelry for ages.

I acquired the wire and pliers when they were left at the library (along with a TON of seed beads after a one-time class last summer. My mom's coworker, Sandy, called the instructor, who said the library could keep them. Maybe she thought she was doing something nice, but the library staff really had no use for them, and no place to put them. Sandy knew I would love the stuff, so she gave it all to me!

I'd never wire wrapped before, but I had so many ideas. I watched videos. I pinned tutorials. And did nothing.

Until today!

Working with wire is, as I had predicted, challenging. After five buttons I needed a break. Well, also I was starving. I was on my way to the fridge when the urge to start this project hit me.

I've definitely caught the jewelry-making bug! I had so much fun, in spite of sore finger tips and a minor flesh wound. I'm going to the craft store tomorrow to scope out what's available! And to get a better pair of wire cutters.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

NaBloWriMo 2012!

I'm so excited! October is National Blog Writing Month. Not Hannah decided a couple years ago that bloggers should have their own version of National Novel Writing Month, and thus NaBloWriMo was born! All you have to do is post every single day for a month. Stumped bloggers can check the NaBloWriMo blog for prompts.

I'm so excited! I've got a few entries in the pipeline already in preperation. Because trying to write meaningful posts every day is a ton of work! I tried it last year with my old blog and learned a lot about my self and about managing a blog. I know I'm going to learn more this year!!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tutorial: Record cover postcards

This is one of my favorite paper upcycling projects: making postcards out of old vinyl record covers. Easy, useful and super cool- not to mention cheap! I've found records as low as a quarter a pop, but I'd say they average a dollar at most thrift stores. I might shell out two or three for a really cool cover.

 PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE make sure you're not cutting up something really rare or valuable! A quick ebay search will save you from kicking yourself later. If you pick your records up at a thrift store or a music store's dollar bin, you're probably just fine, but better safe than sorry.

Pretty colors!!

Once you've got your covers, it's time to cut! If your album has a thin paper slip cover, set that aside for now.

My little brother got to this one before I did, and cut out the robot on the front. But that's ok, because the back is covered in SPACE!

Figure out which rectangle-shaped (or square, let's not be picky) areas on your cover will look best. Grab your cutting tools of choice and have at it!

Ta-da!! How awesome is this? Now I can send someone a little piece of the universe. I was able to get four postcards from the back cover. This is unusual for the back side- usually it's covered in words.

Most record covers, especially the older ones, are made of paperboard. This means the back side will be brown. Which is fine, if that's what you want, but it's easier to write and read on a white background, yes?

I glued my post cards to the "wrong" side of a slip cover, the thin paper jacket many records have. It's not the end of the world if you have to use something else; I like the ecofriendliness of using the slip cover, though. Sometimes you can even find big bunches of old slip covers and other inserts from old albums that were orphaned, grouped together, and sold cheaply. 

But wait! The back will be blank. wouldn't it be nice to have some guidelines for a stamp and address, to make it look like a real postcard? I think so.

There's more than one way to achieve this. You could free hand it, use a ruler, make a stamp, or make a stencil like I did.

Grab old postcard. Or two or three, if you think you'll screw up like I did the on the first try. I used a craft knife and ruler to carefully cut along the guidelines and where the stamp box was. Then I used a small pair of scissors to widen the cuts so I could get a pen tip in there.

This was not my first try. As you might guess, the lines I get from this stencil are not perfectly straight and even all the way across. And I like them that way. The possibilities with this project are endless! That's what I love about upcycling.

I'm going to put myself out there and say this is the first craft tutorial I've ever written, so if anything is unclear please please please let me know! I would be ever so thankful.

Saturday, September 15, 2012


I have not yet figured out a schedule for this blog yet; how many updates I'll post each week, which days will cover what topics, et cetera et cetera. It is too soon for me. I need to experiment a little and find my voice.

The exception being Caturday. Because I. Effing. Love. Cats.

I won't be celebrating Caturday in the traditional lolcat fashion (for more on that check out Know Your Meme). Instead I will share things like this photo.

Groucho, Harpo, and Chico were rescue kittens my old roommate found in a box outside of a K-Mart three years ago. I begged my mom to let me take them home... and she said yes! She still has Groucho, and Chico went home with my uncle, but Harpo sadly and suddenly died last year. I can't have cats in my apartment so I have to visit my mom to get my cat fix. Guess where I'll be this afternoon?

Happy Caturday!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Happy (late) National Crochet Day!

According to Lion Brand Yarn's Facebook page, yesterday was National Crochet Day. I am sorry to have missed it, though I don't have any crochet projects to work on right now. I just finished a jersey yarn rug (from an old set of sheets) for my brother, and am all crocheted-out for the moment.

Still, I feel I should do something to observe National Crochet Day! So I will share a super neat resource I discovered, via Pinterest (naturally!).

Some wonderful person has uploaded Thérèse de Dillmont's Encyclopedia of Needlework in its entirety!

There is a whole chapter of crochet instructions, from basics to more complicated stitches to very intricate lace patterns. The images are very clear, and one or two youtube videos were added in as well.

There's a million and one crochet resources out there, but there's something special about learning from a book that is over one one hundred years old

This book has much more than just crochet, too! There are fifteen chapters covering sewing, embroidery, macrame, knitting, and more. Be prepared to scroll through loooooooong pages, though. Each chapter is one single page of the website! 

Happy crocheting!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Paperback correspondence

I started making cards- Christmas cards, specifically- to create something new out of something old. I use as much recycled material in my greeting cards as possible. Closer to Christmas I'll share that story.

This is what I'm working on right now.

A while ago I happened upon a very worn paperback copy of Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking-Glass. I finally made use of it, and I'm quite pleased with the results. 

It had the illustrations and lovely, yellowed, easy-to-tear pages. I just needed a little time for the ideas to sit on my back burner before I could really get them out.

I wish you could touch them- the feel of layers and torn paper edges is lovely.

This next one is my absolute favorite. It's from the chapter where Alice finds the garden of live flowers, and it's one of my favorite illustrations from the book.

I do have a confession to make: I had not read Through the Looking-Glass when I bought this book, and I did not read it before I tore it to pieces. After making two or three cards, the idea occurred to me that maybe I should read it, especially if I plan on sending or selling these cards!

I'm nearly done reading, and it's a fantastic book. I wish I had read it as a child. There's a lot of children's fantasy I didn't read until I was an adult; The Hobbit and The Chronicles of Narnia are also on that list. My reading habits when I was a kid were primarily influenced by my mother, who much preferred mysteries and historical fiction, so Nancy Drew, Betsy-Tacy, and Laura Wilder books filled my shelves.

For anyone interested in reading Through the Looking-Glass this instant, you can find the original text with scans of the illustrations on the University of Virginia website here.

Friday, September 7, 2012

New beginnings

This is blogging: take two for me.

I tried my hand at it last year, and it did not go as I had hoped. I won't dwell, however. I'm coming in for reentry with new ideas, new determination, and healthier (not higher or lower) expectations.

And I'm excited!

I'm taking my time. I don't want to rush things, compromise my goals, become discouraged. I want to learn and grow, make friends, and follow my heart.

We'll see where things go from here!