Category Archives: crafty

enjoys long walks on the beach

I know I promised a while ago, but here’s some shots of my (not so) recent project. I picked up an old letterpress tray at a flea market a few months back, and decided to use it to display all the little sand samples I’ve been collecting. I try to remember to bring sand back from the various beachy places we go, but don’t always remember a suitable container, and as a result have been known to shove loose handfuls of it into my pockets when necessary. Thankfully Greg tends to have random extra dog poop bags in his pockets. I got the apothecary bottles from American Science & Surplus, which is the most addicting online shop for weird little fun supplies.

letterpress display case

letterpress display case

letterpress display case

letterpress display case

I do want to ask everyone’s opinion though. I actually had made a little shadowbox kind of display for the collection a while back, but I was looking for something to do with the letterpress tray and wanted to try this. What do you guys think? Which do you prefer?

shadowbox sand display


$5 facelift

A couple of weeks ago we were having a few people over for Greg’s birthday. The morning of the party, I had to run out to the local grocery store to pick up a few things I’d forgotten. Much to my dismay, it was a prime sidewalk sale day, and here I was stuck inside cooking and cleaning. On my way to the store, I spotted a guy selling a primo tv/bar cart, just ripe for the refinishing. I could hardly contain my excitement, and breezed through Acme as fast as possible lest someone else snatch up my find. Luckily it was still there when I came back, and after paying the guy $5 it was mine, all mine. I rolled it back four blocks to my house in the stifling heat, smiling all the way. It was so loud all the neighbors probably thought I was a homeless guy pushing his Home Depot shopping cart full of prized posessions (side note – the Home Depot near our house must be pretty lax in their shopping cart security, because that seems to be the cart of choice for all the locals to steal). A block away from the house I was giggling to myself thinking about how Greg would roll his eyes when I showed him the newest piece of crap that I dragged home with the intention of fixing up. When I looked up, he was actually at the other end of the block walking toward me on his way to the DMV, and he saw me and stifled a laugh. I waved my arms really big as if to get his attention and shouted, “HEEEEY!!!! LOOK WHAT I GOT FOR US!!!! ARE YOU SO EXCITED??!@#!#??” He couldn’t help but laugh, and when he got closer he gave me the typical trying-to-be-nice reply “Oh….um, yeeeaaahhhh…that’s cool…..” Sort of like his reaction when I first brought him to see the house we now live in. Coincidentally, when I showed it to our friend who came to the party, she said she swears she saw it out on the street on the other side of the city the week before, and tried to take it but it wouldn’t fit in her car. Luck for me it made the rounds through the trash-picking scene and right into my heart.

bar cart - before

bar cart - before

After cleaning it up a bit, I painted the fake wood parts white, and left the chrome frame untouched. I also covered the surfaces with some paper from The Paper Source and topped it off with clear contact paper to make it water resistant. It came out pretty nicely for a first try I think. I’m still not sure how all the colors look together, the chrome feels a little too busy, so I might eventually wind up painting that too.

bar cart - after

bar cart - after

bar cart - after
Now the big question is where to put it?


mini laundry hampers

In the interest of keeping my sewing momentum going, I did a house-related sewing project today that I’m really excited about! I never know what to do with dirty dish towels, cloth napkins and rags, because they’re the sort of thing that I feel need to be washed separately but don’t really merit their own load of laundry. This means they hang out in random places for months until I finally get it together to wash them, or just use them as rags and eventually throw them away. So I got an idea (from a clothespin sack that my mom used to have hanging from the clothesline) and made hanging bins for the basement stairwell so I have a handy place to put all of the above. I was so proud of myself for coming up with the idea that I decided to put together a little tutorial.


– a few yards of fabric (I used some fabric that I had a bunch of but I’m not too crazy about it, so I could use it to experiment with)
– short wooden dowels (I think mine were maybe like 9 inches long? I had them left over from another project)
– if you don’t have wooden dowels, you can use a wire coat hanger and bend it to fit in the pouch

Step 1:
Cut a rectangle of fabric twice as long as the desired “height” of the bin and slightly wider than the wooden dowel (maybe an inch longer).

Step 2:
Draw or trace an oval toward the top of the rectangle slighty smaller than the size of the opening you’d like. For mine, I used the top of an apothecary jar to trace sort of an oblong shape. Cut out the oval shape.

Step 3:
Make a series of small cuts around the edge so the inside of the oval is fringed.

Step 4:
Place the fabric wrong-side up, fold back the fringe and iron it it place. I used my trusty little metal ruler to push the fringe back while I ironed it. I use that little ruler for for all of my too-close-for-comfort ironing tasks.

Step 5:
Using a zig-zag stitch, make a “hem” by sewing the fringe down around the hole.

Step 6:
Fold fabric in half so right-sides are together and pin around the edges. Then, starting from the bottom (the folded edge), sew up the sides and halfway across the top. Do the same for the other side, leaving about a half inch open at the center of the top (this is where the hanging loop will poke through). Make sure the opening between the stitching is as close to centered as possible, otherwise your bin will hang slightly crooked, like mine. I can’t remember what seam allowance I used, but the smaller the better so you’re sure to have enough room for your dowel to fit.

Step 7:
Make a hanging loop by cutting a thin scrap of fabric about 6 or 7 inches long and a half-inch or so wide. Fold each side in so the long edges overlap in the middle and iron in place. Using a zig-zag stitch, sew right down the center of the folded strip. You can do this much more neatly if you’d like, but I didn’t care much what the stitching looked like on mine. Criss cross the bottoms and stitch in place into a loop shape.

Step 8:
Turn the bag right-side out. Run the wooden dowel through the center of the hanging loop, slip the dowel in place at the top of the bag, and feed the loop through the space at the top.