Inspire Tuesday: Why Do We Make Things?

Inspire Tuesday: Why Do We Make Things?

I just got back to NYC from Boulder yesterday afternoon and didn’t even have time to go back to my apartment before class, which I think tells you a little about how my next two weeks are going to go. I’m missing home a lot today, so I thought I’d share one of my favorite making-related quotes. I am incredibly thankful for the weekend I had with my family in Boulder, and I am ready to kick some ass here at the end of the semester in NYC. December can be insane so don’t forget to carve out a little you-time to make something!

Monday DIY: Braided Sparkle Headband

Happy Monday, Everyone! How was your weekend? I spent mine running around like a mad woman starting with  tea at a townhouse on the Upper East Side (for class!), stopping in at the Frick to see Girl With A Pearl Earring, going to M&J Trimmings and grabbing dinner with the roommates JUST on Friday afternoon/evening. Saturday I saw Catching Fire, got brunch at my favorite spot in the east village, had coffee with friends from high school and had a holiday photo shoot with my incredibly talented friend, and Sunday I went to the renegade craft fair in Brooklyn! Luckily I had some time Saturday night to make a sparkly headband, which is something I’ve been wanting to make for weeks.

DSC_0271

What You’ll Need
– Some elastic. I bought a yard because M&J has a minimum, but you really only need about 6 inches, maybe less.
– Rhinestone chain (Optional). You guys know my affinity for sparkle, so I had to add this. This headband would be just as cute without it. Make sure you get enough to go all the way around your head, that way you can cut it down later.
– Embroidery Thread, assorted colors. I used some of my pearl cotton that I have for my embroidery projects. I think it’s the best for this because the strands don’t split, but if you have just some regular embroidery thread it’ll work just fine.

What I did:

DSC_0253

Pick your thread colors. I chose pinks, purples and grays. I chose 7, but you can obviously do whatever. I cut 5 strands of each color. Since this is a braid, I recommend a number of colors that splits evenly into 3s when multiplied by 5 (ex: 6 x 5 = 30, 30/3 = 10 –> good choice while 7 x 5 = 35, 35/3 = ??? –> bad choice). If that doesn’t make any sense, choose a number of colors you want and f*ck the math.

DSC_0261 Like I said, cut five strands of each color. If you want your braid to be thicker, cut more. Lay out all the strands and your rhinestone chain like above, in three groups. This helps the braiding process. I mixed my colors around so there were various colors in each pile. If you want a more braid-y braid look, put colors in similar groups.

DSC_0262

Braid! If you want to add the sparkle, just group it in with one of your groups of thread and act like it’s just another strand of embroidery thread. Work your threads in between the stones if you want them to really shine or just let the threads cover them in some places and not in others if you want a less sparkly look. The hand in the picture isn’t mine, it’s my boyfriend’s. He patiently held the braid while I did this, but if you don’t have the world’s most patient s/o, you can clip your braid to something or use masking tape.

DSC_0264

When you’ve finished braiding, tie the ends by wrapping them around a bunch of times with about a foot of embroidery thread. Make sure you leave a tail out so you can tie it off.

The amount of elastic you need will depend on how much of your head your braid wraps around. I would hold your headband up to your head and then complete the band with your elastic and then remove about an inch and a half of that amount. I am no scientist. If you can think of a better way to do that, use your judgement. My methods for attaching the elastic were bad, at best. The next time I make one of these, I’ll just hand sew my elastic onto the part of the braid I wrapped with thread, which is what I recommend to you, dear reader.
DSC_0269

And done! Super simple. The whole thing probably took me about an hour and a half.

DSC_0288

PS: If you’re looking for a good book about crafting, you should check out Homeward Bound: Why Women are Embracing the New Domesticity. It’s a neat read, but definitely not without it’s problems. One of my hopes for this blog is that I’ll be able to explore some of my deeper thoughts and feelings about crafting/femininity/feminism, but for right now my semester is taking up too much brain space.

Have a good week everyone & Happy Thanksgiving!

Liz Lemon + Family Mottos

Happy Monday! How was your weekend? I spent mine working on secret projects, watching too much Breaking Bad with the boyfriend, and doing lots and lots of school work (sometimes all three at the same time, no shame!). My embroidery has fallen by the wayside the past few months as I’ve tried my hand at some other crafts so I thought I’d share some projects I did over the summer (which seems like yesterday, but was actually MONTHS ago) and have been working on this fall.

Liz Lemon Quote Wall Hanging

liz lemon full

Who doesn’t love good ol’ LL? She’s been one of my favorite TV characters for a long time, and this quote is one of the shining examples of everything that’s great about her. 85% sass, 15% complete mess. Kind of like all us ladies, amirite? (If I were a stand up comedian, this is the part where you’d throw tomatoes at me.) liz lemon detail

I based my design for Liz on a bookmark my mom got me from Mates Rubbish for my birthday. I love the way her mouth & eyes turned out. Not so much her weird monster hands.

My Mom’s Favorite Saying

A good life take effort

It’s a little hard to read in the picture, but it says “A Good Life Takes Effort,” which is an idea that comes straight from my mom. This piece is a total work-in-progress, but I wanted to share it anyways because I’m pretty excited about it. The blogosphere talks a lot about “intentions” and “mindfulness” but honestly, the real good stuff only happens when you do the work. I can sometimes be pretty lazy about things I don’t want to do (like cook, and clean, and socialize), and sometimes I get upset that I’m not where I want to be, and then I have to remind myself that I am the only one who can change things. I’ll probably frame this one when it’s done and hang it right at the foot of my bed as a reminder. 

tea cup & rose closeup

I’m pretty bad a picking (and/or sticking to) color schemes for my pieces, so I just kind of let them speak to me as I go. For this, I figured the rose should be red and I liked the way the yellow looked on the polka dots. I think it turned out pretty cute, no?

tea bag closeup

How sweet is this little tea bag? All the images on this piece are iron-on pattern transfers from Sublime Stitching, either the books or the loose patterns. Iron-on patterns are my favorite way to do a piece, and I think theirs are the best around, both in quality & imagery. I highly recommend following their Instagram as an amazing source for embroidery inspiration.

Well, that’s it for me, for now folks! What have you made recently? I love to see what other people are up to! Share in the comments & have a great week, lovely!

How to: DIY Jewel Flask

5533455640333_Assort_z1

My wonderful roommate turned 21 on Friday! When I popped into Urban Outfitters  a few weeks ago, I couldn’t find a gift worthy of her sparkling spirit. I had decided on “spa in a box,” (an old standby gift of mine that consists of a beloved movie, some form of Lush product, and fuzzy socks/eye mask/those manicure glove things) and was walking out of the store when I spotted this lovely creation. Like a moth to a glittery flame, I was drawn to it. $18?! I could make this for cheaper!  And before I got home I had ordered all the bits I’d need on amazon for $35. Ah well. Since I’m fairly new at this game, I didn’t just have gems and glue on hand. I think of them as an investment in my crafty future.

Here’s what you’ll need: 
♥ A flask. I got this one because the amazon reviews were good and the lid is attached. Seems important. Be sure you wash yours before you drink out of it.
♥ Gems. I got these because they’re cheap and there were lots of them. In retrospect, I wish they were a little smaller so I could’ve gotten them closer together and covered more of the flask.
♥ Glue. I got E6000 because that’s what my mom told me to get and she’s always right.

Here’s how I did it: 

Processed with VSCOcam

Use a q-tip to apply glue to the backs of the gems.

Processed with VSCOcamMy strategy was to push down on the tube of glue till a little poked out and then kind of wipe it with the q-tip. You only need a little

Processed with VSCOcam

See how little glue you need? Just smush it around the back of the gem. If you had a smaller gem, this might be a little harder but not impossible. Mine ranged from 1″ to 1/2″ in case you were curious.

Processed with VSCOcamPush your gem down for about 3 seconds to attach it. Mine has a curve to it, so the ones on the edge stick up a little. Since I’m giving this to my roommate, I’m not too worried about the gems catching on something and falling off. If one does, I can just glue it back on for her. If you were making this for your bff across the country, don’t put gems so close to the edge. Or just include some extra gems.

Jewels

Go crazy with your gems! Mine ended up ALL over my desk while I picked the favorites that I wanted to use.

Processed with VSCOcamI worked from the right hand down on the front side and from the middle out on the back. I think the front looks better, but I wanted to try different strategies so I could tell you which works better.

photo-oct-27-9-46-31-pm

Voila! Happy glittery drinking!