Category Archives: Hand Crafted

Mother’s Day – another day to bring brunch back!

For my 2012 resolutions, I had given myself a goal of “bringing brunch back”.  Now that our kitchen is mostly/kind of/all the way done, it seemed like a great time to host a Mother’s Day Brunch. 

Both JT and I’s mothers and siblings gathered together yesterday for la Fete de la Mere.  There was food and relaxation for all.  We had a coffee crunch right before the guests were to arrive (e.g. it was missing and we needed coffee STAT)  so I didn’t snap any pictures before nor did I want to trouble our guests and break up the flow of the little gathering so I didn’t snap any “durings” either.  But I do have a few “afters” to share:

What’s Mother’s Day without a banner?

Or “MOMOMOMOMOM” napkin rings (I just printed them out on our home printer, cut them down and used some double stick tape.  The green napkins I snagged at Ikea.  See the new stove in the background (#3)– it’s amazing and we love it).

And no brunch is complete without chocolate covered bacon . . . (so I’ve heard, I don’t actually eat bacon . . . )

I had some canvas left over from a deconstructed slip cover so I zig-zag stitched some blue and black lines on it to make a tablecloth at the last minute (if I would have had more time and some white thread, I probably would have serged the edges but for now it has a little more rustic look. . . .

So that was the most of it.  Food and family makes for a nice weekend.  Plus we didn’t have to leave our house!  I hope everyone had a great weekend as well.  Cheers – CT

The last of our Green Shag goodies . . .

As promised, one of our other “picks” from Green Shag market is guitar-related:

Amongst JT’s dizzying array of guitars, can you pick out the new (old) stand?    The previous stand was a little tech-y and JT was always having to pack it up to take with him to gigs.  Now this new sculptural beauty can stay put in the music room (although the back leg does fold in for transport).

Better yet, it can also hold acoustic guitars which the old stand couldn’t handle.

(Not pictured with an acoustic guitar though — for the most part his Gibson lives in its case with its humidifier . . . )

We also found a bundle of old teacher’s aids posters.  They were all 18×24 or larger and really affordably priced for larger scale artwork.

There was a spot in the music room needing some art.  There are actually a lot of spots in our house needing some art, but let’s start with this spot.  For most of our time in this house, we were displaying our diplomas here:

But college graduation is fast becoming a memory and I need the frames for some artwork in the KITCHEN so down them came.

I didn’t have a large frame for our new poster and wasn’t really willing to spend any amount of $ on it.  I had some mat board down in the basement so I measured out the interior opening I would need, brushed on a few coats of black acrylic craft paint and jerry-rigged together a hanging mechanism out of some painter’s tape and a piece of leather cord.

Ta da, artwork!  (Or back of artwork, at any rate . . . )

The back says this “Specimens of original 19th-century American wood type.  From American Wood Type by Rob Roy Kelly.  Copyright 1969 by Litton Educational Publishing Inc.  Courtesy of Rob Roy Kelly and Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, New York.    Then it goes on to detail educational facts about typography and the interplay of negative and positive shapes.  That’s a lot of words to retype.  We’re more worried about what it looks like in the music room, right?

And I like that it’s music related (ish?)  Can anyone else see the word “Hum” or is this just one of those Magic Seeing Eye posters with a different label on the back . . .  The blue walls seem to color shift a little in each picture I take in there . . . just like the KITCHEN!   Pictures of that next post!

Pillows (Really? Pillows? Yes, pillows)

I haven’t been around in my digital form lately, tending the blog.  Maybe because it’s because I’ve been too busy sewing pillows.  Well, yes and other things that are too boring to go into here.  So.  Pillows.

My straight line sewing skills continue to develop . . . At this point I think I’ve mastered the envelope back pillow.  I had some peace sign fabric I bought on a whim at Anatols hanging around my craft room.  Paired with some tweed-y fabric I picked up a Garden Ridge that at one point was destined for a project chair in the basement, I turned out a trio of “peace, man” pillows.

(There are two of the 20×20 peace pillows, they just don’t both fit in the rocker.  And if it don’t fit in the rocker, it don’t make it into the picture!)

Another pillow project was the test pillows for the white canvas I want to use for the Danish Daybed Sofas.  (That are still in the garage — and the foam that I was considering reusing STILL stinks to high heaven.  I don’t know that these CoMo owners did to it to make it hold on to such an aroma . . . ).  The idea for these pillows is to have Shenanigan lay on them a whole lot, to see how they weather such doggy abuse.  I’m sure he will be happy to comply.   But I also thought if I was going to the trouble of making some pillows, I ought to make them a little more interesting than just plain white canvas.  

So I drew a connected chevron pattern on them with black permanent fabric marker.  I was considering strategically coloring in some of the shapes but wasn’t able to decide on color/placement/yada yada yada so I finally just sewed  ’em up.

They’re real classy — I only bought one yard of the test fabric, so they don’t really close all the way without the help of some safety pins. . . .

Let the testing begin!

Shenanigan was the first volunteer . . . . then Sophie hopped up there too . . .

She doesn’t have this compulsion to be on TOP of the pillows like Shenanigan does though, she’s content to just be near them  . . .

That was where I left them this morning and it’s probably where they are right now.  It’s a dog’s life all right!

A weekend’s work is never done . . .

It’s back to Monday folks and I am having crazy crunch time at work.  That is why I value my time at home so much.  So many people in the field I work in are workaholics.  I have always tried to work really hard (and efficiently) while I’m at work, but then leave it at the office.

And come home to . . .

Baby booties?  My Stitch and Bitch project is finally complete . . .

(See this post for the Purl Soho pattern and info.  Super easy to make, just takes a little time — best done in front of Netflix & How I Met Your Mother).

New bamboo shades?  I tried again (very unsuccessfully) to do the black-out cloth on the back of the woven shades we had already.  Total fail.  But they were all pretty busted up anyways (don’t buy cheap!) and afforded zero privacy.  So on a routine visit to Home Depot, we splurged(ish) on new shades for the music room and bedroom.

These are terrible, terrible pictures.  JT speed-installed the blinds on Sunday night as the light was fading fast.  I’m going to take all new pictures of the music room soon . . . .

And new light fixture (coming soon)?  The soffit over the kitchen sink has long had a scary, scary hole in it. . . Hole no more, light fixture to come. . .

Back to the grind.  I’m already looking forward to next weekend and finishing up some more projects (I’m looking at you kitchen soffit.)

Another baby pillow, but for a big boy!

Sometimes my lack of follow through on projects means that instead of delivering a gift at a baby shower, I instead deliver it when the baby is three months . . . or almost two years old.  Yikes!  Better late than never I guess!

So, Jackson is the almost-two-year-old in question and he is adorable.  Since he loves dogs and has a cute little blue and green bedroom, I came up with this . . .

I was thinking about going with J. Dog on the side, but wasn’t sure if his parents were ready to explain rap music and all the surrounding terminology . . . According to some pictures I got from his mom, I think he likes it! My first user review!

Since JT and I don’t have any toddlers of our own, I didn’t think about the ubiquitous child’s show “Blues Clues” although my little sis sure watched it a whole lot when we were kids . . . and my younger cousin looks suspiciously like the boy/man character.  But Jack apparently caught on right away and got his very own “Blues Clues” customized pillow.  Hope you like it little man.

Have a great weekend everyone!  I’m off to finish these baby booties before all these girl babies are born!

Stitch and Bitch Success!

** Content Warning – This is not your Grandma’s crafting! **

Working as a commercial interior designer is a great profession, but it’s not as hands-on as what you see on things like HGTV.  We work in AutoCAD, do Photoshop rendering and pick out materials.  But we also do ceiling plans, coordinate with mechanical/electrical/plumbing, do tedious room finish schedules and even more tedious shop drawings. 

So sometimes we designers want to get hands-on!  Together with some of my designer friends from college, we dreamed up what was at first called “D.I.Y. Day” to be sort of politically correct but then turned quickly into a “Stitch and Bitch” (way more fun).  JT preferred to absent himself (can’t blame him) and us girls took over the Thompson house for a Saturday of crafts. 

I was excited to get further in my New Year’s resolution of “bringing brunch back” so I went to town on that.

I found these great napkins at Ikea that matched the “stitch” theme and also had my beloved blue in them.  And yep, that’s a new rug hanging out in the kitchen — bought for under $30 online.  Sweet.  Ignore the horrible soffit, there’s a new light fixture going in this upcoming weekend . . . .

The girls pitched in with food (and cocktails!) and off we went . . . .

JT had set up the new Ikea Strind coffee table for us before he vanished into thin air and it came in handy having so much more free space in the living room now that the big ottoman has moved on to my brother and sister-in-law’s new house. 

I didn’t get a good before picture of it but Miss K came in with a busted up mirror from Hobby Lobby she scored for $8.  She had a big bag full of stuff and she took her frame to the horribly weedy front yard and made some magic with it.

She made a gorgeous little picture display for her little girl, Mila’s room.  She texted me a picture after, and I think the pictures of Mila with her mommy and daddy are what make it extra cute.  I love the fabric and ribbons and really, the overall pink and brown scheme they did for Mila’s room – very sophisticated but fun.

With all that she had to do, somehow Miss K even finished up first and came in to give us a hand . . .

Miss E had found some great inspiration images on Pinterest and wanted to do something spring-y for her front door.  Several yards of felt and some hot glue later, her wreath came out so great.

One of the nice things is that the felt flowers are wired on individually so she can change it out for the season if she wants (red flowers for Valentines day or orange and brown hues for fall . . . )

Isn’t it sharp on their black front door? I love it!

Now to me. . . . everyone I know seems to be having a baby girl.  So baby presents were in order.  I saw this adorable felt bootie pattern on Purl Soho’s website and wanted to try it out. 

I was the slowpoke of the group.  By the time brunch had wrapped up, I had only one unadorned bootie to show for all my effort.  I persisted in my hand-stitching and thanks to an extra long finale of The Bachelor, got one pair all the way done. 


Now I only have two more pairs left!!  All in all, the Stitch ‘n Bitch was great fun — it was nice to work on a project and be able to catch up with each other, drink really good cranberry-champagne mimosa-things and enjoy a beautifully sunny Saturday.  This might end up being a recurring event, but I think next time instead of starting off on a whole new project, I need to use these D.I.Y. days as a time to finish up all the ones I have started all over the house . . . .

Thanks to Miss K and Miss E for letting me share their projects!  Cheers – CT

Grow where you’re planted

So many new(ish) vintage/thrift/retro stores are popping up all over St. Louis right now, that it’s making my weekends busy trying to get out and visit all these places (First world problems).  The next shop I was targeting is MoModerne, an antique/retro store down on Cherokee Ave (also spotted through Mr. Modtomic’s blog – he keeps me up to date on local shopping hot spots!).  I started following them on Facebook a while ago and they have been posting beautiful images of beautiful furniture.  I’ve wanted almost every item they’ve posted.   So, out of fear for my wallet, I stayed away for a while.  Then an opening in our calendar popped up this last weekend and I dragged JT down to see the place.

What did I find but a little bullet planter waiting to come home with me. (I’ve been dreaming about them for a while – see my posts here and here.)  Perched high up on the shelf, I didn’t notice it until a second perusal of the place prompted me to snatch the tag off of it before anyone else in the store could make off with my find.  When I checked out, the guy said they used to have a bunch of the big ones too.  Why, oh why did I wait so long?

I don’t know what kind of plant this is and it’s one of the few in the house that I haven’t named, but it’s looking pretty gosh-darn happy in its new home.  It feels pretty good to wish and wish and wish for something and finally find it. 

In related plant news Little Walter, the tree, seems to be doing better.  He finally stopped dropping leaves and seems to have stabilized.  I potted him in the IKEA wicker woven basket/planter I snatched up on our IKEA trip the weekend before last.  It was the only thing like it in the plant area and even the check-out lady seemed a little intrigued/puzzled by it.  All I know is it had a plastic liner for plants but a nice woven white/blue-grey pattern I couldn’t resist.   I keep moving him around the living room, but for now he’s living here:

The height isn’t quite right so he’s perched on one of the Target Alto stool knock-offs.  We’ll see.

What else.  Well, since we were down on Cherokee for MoModerne, we also checked out the Mud House (found through Third Story(ies), another STL blog).  I had a yummy chickpea salad sandwich.  I never would have thought of chickpea salad but I sure am glad the Mud House did.  They also had great interior space and some fun, funky artwork.  Another plus — they play good music.  It can be hard to not run out of a restaurant screaming if they play bad music.  There have been times where we have considered leaving the grocery cart in the aisle and abandoning our grocery shopping because the store used to play such bad music.

And the Oscars!  I made “murder” cupcakes (red velvet) complete with Ryan Gosling’s little face as an inside joke for JT’s movie-watching dudes. They were actually pretty easy to make with my handy 1″ diameter punch (plus toothpicks and some good old-fashioned Elmer’s glue).

All-in-all a good weekend.  On to a great week, right?  I had a small epiphany this weekend.  A little late but here’s what I realized:

Life is what you make it.  So be sure to make it what you want.