Sunday, January 31, 2010

Whee! I'm Weaving!

Dear Shayne,

For Christmas, I got the always appreciated gift of "go buy yourself something nice" (that is: cash). So I bought myself a loom. I've been wanting one for a long time, after hearing that it's faster than knitting and also uses yarn (of which I have... well, let's just say I have yarn and leave it at that.)

The kit actually came with yarn for a first project, so I used that for practice. And look! I'm making woven fabric!
I'm weaving!

So. Cool.

"Practice" is the key word for this project, as I am clearly having trouble keeping the edges even:
"Rustic," perhaps?

So I either need to get a lot better at this or, you know, embrace the "rustic" look (knowing me, I'll probably do the latter.)

Hey... what's that in the background?
Little helper

Why, it's Kaesea, of course!
Little helper
My little helper.

Okay. Back to weaving.
(Oh, yeah... it's totally addictive.)


Monday, January 25, 2010

Winter Purse

Dear Kelly,

Jenny needed a new winter purse which was not in her budget, so we decided to be crafty and make one. (Apparently, I can't craft without her now :P )

Important things to note are:
  1. We didn't use a pattern.
  2. We lined it. (Only had to rip it apart twice to get that right.)
  3. We only used what I had in the house. (Including braiding unhemmed fabric to make the handles.)
  4. She actually likes it enough to use it.
Overall, a craft WIN.


Saturday, January 23, 2010

It's calendar time!

Dear Shayne,

I love this time of year -- discount calendars! Not just for the usual purpose of figuring out the date, but for crafting (of course).

When you were out visiting in May, we scored some $1 calendars at Chronicle Books. What a find! Then we spent some quality crafting time making envelopes. You made some from the Porn for Women calendar (Wow! 2010 is out of stock already -- looks like you won't be making a $1 score on that one this year...)

Here you are cutting out the envelope (yup, a man scooping a litter box):

And here's your finished envelope, complete with super-cute label:

We both got the Stuff on my Cat and Art of Modern Rock calendars. Here are some of the envelopes I made from Stuff on my Cat:
Calendar envelopes

And Art of Modern Rock -- I think you also made one from this bird, but you cropped it differently and I remember liking what you did better. :)
Calendar envelopes
I love to make envelopes -- it's fun to find something crazy in the mailbox.

Just this past week, I saw a project on craftster that takes this project up a notch -- user McJulie-O made the envelopes, then cut out the little thumbnail photos from the back of calendar and used those to make matching cards. It's so cute! Check it out.

So, did you mail that litter box one to anyone?


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Bill payin' record

Dear Shayne,

As I peeled the dots off of my bill payin' record at the beginning of 2010, I thought this was a simple little craft you might be interested in. Or not. It's pretty boring. But it sure does come in handy for a slacker like me.

Several years back, I printed out a little grid that shows our utility bills across the top and the months down the side:
Bill payin' record

I laminated it with the intention of using a dry erase marker to make X's when I paid bills. But then I went with little dot stickers -- it's neater than X's and the lamination makes it easy to pick them off at the end of the year.

We have a couple of bills that get paid either quarterly or every other month, so I just made those grids cover two or three months. Those are the hardest ones for me to keep track of, so this is really handy.

I attached the laminated grid to a piece of black cardstock (for looks, really) and then I taped the flap of an envelope to the back so there's a pocket to hold the dot stickers. I keep it tacked to a bulletin board next to my desk, so it's easy to see at a glance what needs payin'.

Here's me having paid two bills:
Bill payin' record


I originally made the stickers using a hole punch and a sticker maker, but then I found these pre-made at an office supply store, so I bought 'em. The store was in Wales, though, so when I run out, that's going to be an expensive re-stocking trip.

If you make one of these for yourself, you could also use little gold stars and feel super proud every time you pay a bill!


Friday, January 15, 2010

More mail!

Dear Shayne,

I have recently read a couple of books that have inspired me to send more mail. One is a novel called The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. It's a sweet little book set just after the second World War and it's told entirely through correspondence. Very voyeuristic -- like reading someone else's letters. (Thanks, Mom, for recommending it -- soo good!)

The other is Good Mail Day by the PodPost gals. It's an inspirational book about mail art -- making it, sending it, the history, etc. They also write about documenting the mail that you send and receive. Keeping records helps me stay on top of things, so I jumped right on that and decided to make a "Correspondence Register." (Ooh! Fancy!)

Even though I never use them, I have a habit of buying blank journals, so I already had one on hand for creating my register. I stenciled "To" on the front:
My Correspondence Register

I flipped it over and stenciled "From" on the back. This could probably use additional embellishment, but it conveys the message for now:
My Correspondence Register

On the To side, I record all outgoing mail. Flip it over to the From side, and I record incoming mail. Eventually, the two will meet in the middle and I'll need a new book!

I've used the following headings for my columns for outgoing mail: Date, Recipient, Content, and Stationery. For the incoming: Date, Sender, Contents, and Reply Sent? That last column is perfect for keeping me on track to send replies.

Here is a photo from Good Mail Day showing some great examples of correspondence records (including a very cool one you can buy from the Letter Writers Alliance):
Good Mail Day
(Click on that to see the details.)

So far this year, I have sent eight pieces of mail, which is pretty darned good, since it's only the 15th. That's one piece every other day. Go, me! Here's my outgoing register:
My Correspondence Register

Now I know you'll be wondering where your mail is, so I'll put something in the mail to you as soon as I finish writing this post!


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Skullified calendar: 2010 version

Dear Shayne,

As you may recall, I "skullified" a lovely but un-skully calendar last year to fit into our bones-y bathroom. As the new year approached, I knew I'd have to do it again.

I'd been casting about, looking for just the right calendar, when I stumbled upon this gorgeous free printable calendar at the blog Love. Obsess. Inspire.

[Side note: What a lovely frickin' blog that is! Just amazing. You've got to check it out. Really beautiful stuff -- just tons of eye candy.]

I love this calendar so much that I knew I had to have it, but last year's skullifying technique (black rubber stamped skull) seemed way too heavy handed for such a lovely, ethereal calendar.

Sooo... at the risk of offending the designer, I downloaded her calendar and, using the Old Skull Hellron font, I added some skulls in Photoshop.

Here is January, hanging on our bathroom wall:
Skullified calendar 2010

And here are all of the other altered pages:
Skullified calendar 2010

September is one of my favorites:
Skullified calendar 2010

I had a really good time making this, although the original calendar is so perfect that I do feel like a cow for altering it. But I had to have it, so it had to have skulls.

If anyone reading this is not a whack job for skulls like I am, I encourage you to download and print this beauty in its original form!


Thursday, January 07, 2010

Monster for you

Dear Shayne,

I got a bunch of crafty gifts for Christmas this year -- I really need to take some photos and share. In the meantime, I'll show everyone what I sent you...

A monster!
Monster ornament

He's about 3 inches tall and super cute. I bought him at Renegade from My Imaginary Boyfriend. (That shop name cracks me up.)

Grrrr! This is the kind of monster everyone needs.


Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Tiny stuff in the mail

Dear Shayne,

Well, it's a new year, so it seems like we should be doing something special to commemorate that but... bah. How about this: So, long, 2009. Don't let the door hit you in the ass!

Okay, done.

Meanwhile, I've been meaning to post these for awhile -- tiny stuff that you made and sent to me! Yay!

First up, nested envelopes (and cards!) So cute!

If anyone wonders how tiny the tiniest of envelopes is here, it's verrry tiny. Here it is, next to a US dime:


You made those using your Cricut, right? I am loving my Cricut for cutting envelopes. Pure happiness that it cuts an A2 sized envelope for me. Whee!

You also sent me a piece of experimental mail to see if the USPS would deliver it. The good news is that they will, but the bad news is there was postage due and I had to go to the Post Office to get it:

(I blurred our addresses. I'm weird like that -- not wanting everyone on the internet to know where I live n' all.)

I'm surprised we got away with just the 20 cent charge -- that's the "non-machinable surcharge" put on square envelopes, but the minimum size for a square envelope is 5x5 inches. Obviously, this was smaller than that! But I guess they'd rather get 20 cents out of me than pay to send it back to you.

So I wonder if one with 64 cents on it would get delivered, or if they'd charge us for something else... let's try it!

In fact, let's send more mail this year. I've been loosely working on a "Goals for 2010" for the past couple of weeks (fortunately, none of the goals are: "Make lists on time," cause I'd already be failing) and one of them is to send more mail. Mail is great. Let's all send more!

Speaking of mail, have you read the book Good Mail Day by the gals at PodPost? Such a great book -- very inspirational!