make: customize your drink bottles

I washed the labels off these wine bottles months ago. I’ve been wanting to try glass etching and thought these would be good to practice on. Well I haven’t got around to that, but hopefully you’ll see a post about etching in the future!

In the mean time I hosted a Galentine’s Day party and wanted to create a cute beverage area and we all know plastic juice bottles are not cute. I reached for some masking tape and pink marker to make cute labels when Brian suggested I use the chalk markers. They easily write on glass, but also can be easily washed off. After a few hours and lots of prepared drinks there was a little smudge on one of the bottles, but in general they held up well.

I was also overthinking pouring the juice in to the bottles. I figured I’d need a funnel, but decided to wing it and barely wasted a drip.

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make: screenprint dish towel

I took my t-shirt screen printing off shirt on on to dish towel for a gift for my mom and my boyfriend’s mom. To make the design I found a clip art of each state (I made both a Missouri and Texas) and placed it on top of some arrows. I printed out the design and for these I used plastic binder inserts. I taped the insert on top of the design and used an x-acto knife to cut out the design. It is much harder to cut through the plastic than the freezer paper, but you can reuse the design (I made shirts with these stencils too). I didn’t have a lot of trouble with paint seeping under the stencil, but I had to be more careful to keep everything in place.

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make: felt jewelry bags

To make my oven bake clay necklaces more finished for gifts I decided to make pouches for them. I got the idea to use the felt with a folded top from a similar pouch I got from Madewell a few years ago with the purchase of some earrings. I put my own spin on them by making them smaller and in all different sizes and by adding a ribbon tag on the side.

The felt I had on hand. I bought it a year ago to make a shave kit for my boyfriend and still had plenty left over. The ribbon I had bought on a whim.  I liked the design and knew I would find a use for it, I just didn’t know I would find a use so soon.

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The best part about these is they each can be a slightly different size, so no need to worry too much about measuring. Just make sure to cut a rectangle not some wacky quadrilateral. The right angles are important. Then it just takes two seams on either side. I put a few pins in them to keep the flap down and the ribbon piece in place. To speed up the sewing process don’t worry about cutting the thread between each pouch and sew all of one side before cutting threads and going back to sew the opposite side.

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They worked great for gifting and made my necklaces feel more professional.

make: oven bake clay necklaces

Last September at the H Street festival amid the booths of crap made in China I found a lady selling hand crafted necklaces that I liked. I bought one for myself and my friend Catherine bought one too. Soon after Catherine found a tutorial on pinterest on how to make similar necklaces with oven baked clay.

I had some grey Sculpey clay on hand from when I took a shoe making class way back when. So that is what I started with, only later on a trip to Michaels and JoAnns did I discover the wide world of oven back clay. The other popular brand is Fimo. They both come in a variety of colors including a few that are speckled. I bought some that were granite like and sparkley, which cuts out some of the painting later on.IMG_1780

The process is pretty easy, but took a few tries to get a consistent size and figure out what looked best.  It was a lot like playing with play dough. I rolled a long noodle and then cut it in sections with a box cutter. Then using a skewer I poked holes through the middle of them. Bake according to the package, which was not very long.

When they come out they will be hard, but still with a little give. You can sand them a little after baking if needed. I taped them off with painters tape and used craft paint to jazz them up.

To finish I threaded the beads on to a chain. I bought chain and clasps at Michaels as well and assembled the necklaces. Needle nose pliers help a lot in this process. Also a little patience.

To gift the necklaces I made small felt bags. I’ll show you how to make them soon!

make: stockings

I’ve been making a lot lately, but a lot of my makes were for Christmas gifts. Therefore I held off sharing them till now. Hopefully they are still inspirational.

I meant to share the new Christmas decorations Brian and I made in December, but you know how December goes.

While I have a large tub of Christmas decorations and an artificial tree, Brian had zero decorations other than what he made with me. So after hanging two Courtney stockings in the apartment we decided to make new stockings we could hang together.

I have a small stash of felt so I thought that would make a good base. I kinda of eyeballed the sock shape. I sketched it out with chalk first and the cut them out. From there we both had free use of all the craft supplies.
I decided to stick to felt and did some decorative stitching. I used the blanket stitch around the outside and added a hook for hanging.

Brian’s is more mixed media. He used acrylic paint for a tree, sewed a felt piece on and used fun ninja turtle fabric for the hanger.

We hung them right where the modern household without a fireplace hangs their stockings… above the TV.

gait: wanderlust 108

Heading in to Wanderlust I wasn’t sure what to expect. It seemed a little hippy, but also a fun day of exercising outdoors. 
One advantage to this event was that it started at 10 am. So I didn’t have to get up before the sun. A disadvantage was that it got a little hot by the time the 5K started at 11, but there was a cool breeze all day and enough shade to get out of the sun if you needed to.  

 
The event is billed as a Mindful Triatholon. The first stage is a 5K. The 5K was the least exciting. As I had worried the route was just around the RFK parking lot, however it was a step worse in that it was two loops! The start was a little crowded, but soon thinned out. My friend Becky found me soon after and we ran the rest of the 5K together which made the time go quickly. We finished in 27:17, not near my fastest, but that wasn’t the point now was it? 

We had a little break to cool down and pick up all the free stuff this included a yoga mat, hair ties, water bottle accessories, yogurt, chia tea, kefir, kashi, temporary tattoos, and some people got tribal painting on their bodies. We also got a headband when we checked in. 

  
Next up was dance yoga. What is dance yoga you ask? I didn’t know either. There was a DJ set up on stage and out walks MC Yogi. He was a great motivational speaker and had us do things like clap along to the music while in a lunge. Then we just collapsed in to a major dance party. 

Next was normal yoga, it was a good flow class but nothing special. I was worried about the meditation portion, but ended up enjoying the practice. The instructor is also a tri coach so she isn’t just about the spirit. She lead us through metta meditation where we pictured people in our lives and sent them health and happiness. 

The main part of the day was over after meditation, but I signed up for two small classes. First up was hoola hooping. She taught us how to use our hands, do a few tricks, and some yoga poses while hooping. It was fun and I only almost hurt someone with my hoop once. 

My second class was slack line. It was a pretty quick and basic class, but I learned to kneel on the line and I stood for maybe two seconds on the line. It was a lot harder than I expected. 

Overall Wanderlust 108 was a great experience and I will definitely try to check out some of their other events. 

make: key lime pie

I had some friends over for book club last week and one of my friends brought me a bag of fruit. Some pears and peaches and apricots, which were delicious. And then a bag of key limes. I’ve never bought key limes and wasn’t sure what to do with them other than make key lime pie. I did some internet research and found that all the recipes with key limes were a variation of pie. Little pies, pies in cupcake cups, pie pops… So I decided to just go with pie, full sized pie. 

 It took most of the limes I had (about 20) to squeeze a half cup of juice. Then it was pretty quick to whip the cream cheese, egg yolk, and sweetened condensed milk together. I bought a graham cracker crust so I wouldn’t have left over graham crackers that I would never use.  

 I made it after work so after baking for 18 minutes I only had a few hours to refrigerate before giving in and trying. I still thought it was delicious, but Brian has reported it is even better after a day of refrigerating. 

  
 

make: camera cuboid

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When I travel I try to fit in with the locals. I’m probably not good at this at all, but I like to believe no one can tell I’m a tourist. The last few trips I took I pretty successfully carried my camera in a larger purse. The zipper broke on the large purse I used when I went to Amsterdam so I went shopping for a new one. I found a pretty brown fossil bag at Macy’s that is a great size. Most bags were either HUGE or tiny, so I was happy when Brian spotted this one.

I’d been thinking of making some type of protective camera holder for my purse for a while (like since I got my camera over two years ago), but I never quite got around to it. So for this trip I decided to make it happen. After a few searches on Google and Pinterest I found a few examples, but nothing I wanted to copy. There were a few examples of more elaborate camera holders made by covering foam with fabric. With these in mind I set to make my own pattern.

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I made some bags with a flat bottom for Christmas gifts last year, so I used the same premise to make the flat bottom. I sketched out my design on newspaper, but when I assembled the pattern it seemed a little big. So I shaved off a half-inch of depth. I basically made a 8x5x5 cuboid by adding a 1/4 inch seam allowance on each edge that would be sewn.

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I cut out four pieces of the pattern material and two of the batting. I used a pretty thin batting because that is what I had in the craft cabinet, but if I was shopping specifically for this project I might buy something a little thicker or fluffier or even a thin foam. The box is made by sewing the sides and bottom of the lining material, then diagonally to sew the bottom corners. I did the same with the exterior fabric and batting. I put right sides together and sewed the pieces together, leaving a hole for turning. I did a quick hidden stitch to finish it off. After finishing I realized it might be easier/cleaner to leave a hole in the bottom to turn, but you decide.

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I’m happy with the result. It fits nicely in my purse with room left for my wallet and other necessities. There is also room in the cuboid for both my lenses if I decide to carry them both around. Its not enough protection for dropping my camera off the Eiffel Tower, but plenty of protection from keys, coins, lip gloss, and gentle bumps.

take: trying out a new lens

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In preparation for our trip to Europe in a few weeks I purchased a new lens for my Canon DSLR camera. I just had the kit lens and wanted to get something with a little more zoom. I ended up buying a 55-250mm used from a nice local camera shop in Dupont. Yesterday Brian and I walked down to the mall to try out the zoom. We ended the day at the Nationals-Rockies game so I had another great opportunity to try out the zoom. I was impressed! We were standing above center field and I could practically call pitches.

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