Saturday, September 12, 2015

Next Year's Special : Baby Frank

When I made my last post, I had no idea the changes and challenges and celebration about to hit the Frank home. Turns out, even then, a little secret was abrew in my belly. (Let's not get finicky about anatomy here.) We're expecting a lil' Frank!

The first trimester included three solid months of nausea, the ferocious continuation of the epic headache, extreme exhaustion, and a good helping of antsy excitement from two happy/nervous first time parents. The second trimester hasn't kicked the headaches, but I'm more energetic and excited and finally able to show off a little baby bump. (Good lord! Why doesn't everyone always wear maternity pants??! They are so amazing!) 

At 20 weeks, we found out that we're having a little Stan. I'm hoping that his hair stays on top of his head. Sure, I'll love him however he comes out, but I'd prefer that Baby Frank waits until he's at least a teenager to grow a full beard.

I guess we're halfway through this pregnancy, which really blows my mind. Time is flying, and the fun's just about to get started.

Stan starts plumbing school on Monday.  He will be working full time and going to school in the evenings for a year. I'll only see him after 10pm on M-Th through next September. So that will leave some space in my life for crafting and blogging, at least until the baby comes to suck up my extra nesting energy. Look forward to some baby project blogging, maybe? And if you want and are close and able, maybe hang out with me on week nights? Here goes!

Monday, April 27, 2015

DIY Spool Footstools (aka) FOOTSPOOLS!

Spring porch-sitting is the best. But I felt we needed to really kick back more in our little rocking chairs. Stan has access to these electrical wiring spools at work, so I had him snag a couple for a quick afternoon project. In all honesty, The work was really spread out over a couple days.. But it could easily be finished in an afternoon.

And then, suddenly, we could put our feet up!

In order to have the stools lay flat Stan hack-sawed off the ends of the long bolts that clamp the stool together. Be sure to tighten them a little first so you don't have to hacksaw twice when you find out the spool is loose. The bolts sticking out on top don't matter, they'll be covered with the padding.

I made the cover very simply. It's basically a huge shower cap. (Gosh, I wish I had a picture of when Stan put it on his head it would liven up this entry.) 

I traced a circle around the spool top and added about 5-6 inches on all sides to allow for a small rolled hem (to prevent unravelling and increase the longevity of the cover) and then another inch(ish) hem to act as the elastic encasement. I sewed like a maniac when I made this because no one but you and I will ever see the underside of these stools. Why get futzy over the unseen details?

Whenever I do a project where I have to feed elastic, it always feels like the first time I've done it. I never seem to get the hang of it. I always have to redo something atleast once. My only real advice is to tie your elastic to a crochet hook and feed it through the hem backwards. Oh, and always have more elastic than you think you need.

The completed cover will snap over the top of the spool with a few inches clearance to hold it in place- as seen above.

We stuffed our footspool with plastic bags instead of poly-fill stuffing. it should withstand weather well and it's cheap (free!) to replace if it gets gross. I stuffed one bag with a lot of other bags to create the tip cushion, then put on the cover and stuffed the rest while it was already on so I could make it even and good-looking.

I painted the stem and base the green of our bathroom. Lucky find! it should help it last through weather better. And it's cute.

Loving coffee and footspools. And Stan has his eye on some bigger spools at work, now. Oh boy.

Friday, April 17, 2015

DIY Stained Glass Window

Spring sun has been shining in my windows lately and had me itching to finally take on a spring project. I wanted some pretty stained glass in he window at the base of our stairwell. 

I was determined to DIY rather than use the fake, flat window clings I've seen at home stores. An internet search left me a little dry on instructables. I combined a few different projects together and here's hoping this little stained glass wonder holds up. (It's only been in place a couple hours... There's still a chance for complete failure.. I'll keep you posted.)

Here's what the project took to complete:
- plexiglass (thicker would be better. I used the plastic from an old poster frame.)
- box cutter 
- decorative glass stones ($1 a bag at the Dollar Tree, this project took about 7 bags)
- E6000 glue ($2.50)
- gloves (use old ones, they get a little gross..
- sanded grout ($5.00)
- clear Command Strips (not pictured, they are sold as refills and come in assorted sizes)

All in all, the project came in at well under $20! And those cheesy plastic clings cost atleast twice as much!

1. Cut the plastic to the window pane's size- leaving atleast 1/8 in space around the edges.

2. Arrange your rocks on the plexiglass. (It takes a while to do this, even thought the look is random, you have to try pretty hard to make it LOOK random. Also, since I used two different sized rocks, I had to fiddle with placement to fill as much space without going over the edges too much.)

3. Glue the rocks down. (I used a skewer to flip individual stones up so I could move them one at a time.) Don't forget to remove any stringy glue bits when you're done.

4. Mix and spread your grout. (I used the whole container.) You will want to really smush the grout down between all the stones and along the edges to hide the plexiglass.

5. As the grout dries, wipe it off the stones. I did this several times during the few hours the grout took to set.

6.Patiently wait for the grout to dry.

7. And then, finally, when it was completely dry, I scrubbed a little harder to remove any tough bits and chipped away any clumps of grout that we're hanging off the edges.

8. Clean the surface of the window and the back of the plexiglass.

9. Adhere command strips to the plexiglass back.

10. Press your stained glass onto the window. Then keep pressing it a lot to make sure all the command strips have made contact. Then press again.

THAT'S IT!! And here's the finished product:

I may go back sometime and add a little caulk around the edges to make the glass look more original to the window. That would also add some extra enforcement, since my greatest fear is that this would fall down and break into a rocky, grouty mess at the bottom of the stairs. But, it does feel very secure with just the command strips (which claim they can hold up to 2 lbs each).

Stan pointed out that the screen behind the glass makes a neat pattern when magnified in the curve of the stones. I like the final look, and am excited to see what the morning light looks like coming through it tomorrow while I sip a cup of coffee.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Early Fall Record Haul

Last weekend, Stan and I went for a Sunday sushi and excursion the other day. Our only major investment for the evening (outside of our bellies) was a pretty good haul at Omega Records. And I always enjoy sharing record covers with ya'll. So here 'tis.

Stan awoke from his afternoon nap to my booming rendition of Ole Man River.

Perfect fall piano. And look at those paws!
Do you know these people? You should. I promise they aren't twerking.
A highlight from Nerds would be the titular song. I've loved these gals for awhile, wooed through another self titled album featuring harmonies that hurt a little they're so pleasantly, & humanly dissident.
Never had any Rush, before.
Biggest investment, and great payout. Love Jazz in the fall. Or whenever else.
Good snag, husband. (Have you seen the amazing inner sleeve from this one?)
Dave and chums do it again. (53 years ago)
Bought this one for those days when I need some real patriotic music.
"Fatha" Hines' stuff is easy to find and fun to hear. He ambles casually through jazz favs.
I got this because it has Marshmallow World on it.... so sue me.
I love listening to these records in our new home. The little crackles sound like popping kindling and almost make me believe we have a working fireplace.

Hand-me-down music is the best.

Some guy (gal?) named Schumpert's collection (see his John Hancock on the Charlie Parker cover?) was recently added to the shelves. I could tell through a few minutes of flipping that he'd spent years collecting and listening to jazz especially. Think of all that record flipping! And now I'm flipping his record. I hope that if he's still around, he's still listening, just to a different format. But maybe he's not around. And I hope one day when I'm not around someone will continue to listen to my collection as well.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

First Fall Project :: Vintage Pumpkin Moon Window Painting

A beautiful late summer day is the perfect scene for a craft project. The husband outside mowing, sun tea brewing on the porch, windows open, Dizzie Gillespie on the record player. Ah, yes. 

Enter today's craft: a window painting/drawing I have been planning the past couple weeks to amp up my fall porch decor. Homeownership is so fun!

I've had four single lane old windows stored on my apartment's back patio for probably almost three years. I've had several dreams for them over that time. I used one as a makeshift light box for pattern transfer for a wedding embroidery once. I have three more, so I guess maybe this will be a repeating seasonal project.

I cleaned up the window frame a bit, but not too much since I think the dirt is charming.( You should see my house it is so "charming".) 

I added a hanging wire using a couple eye hooks and some floral wire I had on hand. I don't recommend floral wire, it's just what I had. I doubled it up to make sure it would hold the weight of the window. In case you don't know the trick to winding hanging wire: it is key to DOUBLE BACK. This locks the wire and keeps it from slipping.

I found a vintage Halloween design on Pinterest that I wanted to zeros and enlarge at work for this project, but I forgot. So this also became a drawing project But for those of you who think ahead, this could be a step to skip. Still, with a gorgeous day like this and a sunlit workstation, I was happy to be drawing.

Here's the original image I was working from.

Great, right? I wanted to find something that could stay up through Thanksgiving. I figure a plump harvest moon should do the trick.

I started out sketching the ideas and shapes of the drawing then took more time to fill it in and establish the spaces that would need paint and those that would be left bare.

The paper I drew the template on was pre-sized for the window pane. I taped it to the front of the pane . I decided to paint the back of the pane for two reasons. I thought maybe having the glass in front of it would give it extra depth and I wanted to protect the paint from the outdoor elements.

Next step is to follow the template using a paint marker. (You probably have one of these lying around now because you tried to do that marker decorated mug thing.) if you need to purchase, no fear, they are only a few bucks and you can get them other places than craft stores. Menards has them as does Walmart.

Be careful as you paint to not paint anywhere where you might need to rest your wrist. I worked from the upper left corner down to the bottom right, because I'm right handed... and a bit anal. Also, the paint pen dries very quickly. Work in small sections so you can finish before it dries. When you try to paint over dry paint it acts as an eraser. Another trick is to compress the pen tip fully and refill it with paint. This helps you go over multiple times and makes a thicker line.

It is important to stand during this craft so that you are copying the drawing directly overhead. Otherwise, your drawing will be skewed. Of course, there's room for some error here. Don't agonize over every detail. Follow the paint if it flows a little. And, if you do screw up big time, you can simply scratch off what you've done and redo.

Once the image is traced, you remove the paper and VOILA! I'm super excited about the final product and looking forward to spending a fall afternoon making a winter porch painting.

I hung the flag pole today too, and did some outdoor cleaning and decorating. it was a productive and lovely day. I am so grateful for the stage of life I'm experiencing.

Come by the house soon! the Franks are open for autumnal visitors.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Boxed up for a Wedding

Our pal, Lucas, married his bride, Nina, the other weekend. It was a beautiful outdoor ceremony held in a little glen in the woods at the end of a sweet lil hike. It was a hot summer day, but the fun couldn't be stopped by just weather. S'more roasting, dancing, and sparkler exit- without fail.

I used another of my record boxes to wrap up a quick gift for the sweet Halls.

The dish towels feature the designed caricatures of the couple from their invitations. The look was too cute not to duplicate for posterity and everyday use.

The ornament was inspired by a wedding gift we received from a friend of Stan's. It has pretty curled pieces of their invitation in it (and a little bit of baby's breath from my wedding centerpieces). We just loved having a little of our wedding on our Christmas tree this past year.

We're still working on getting moved into OUR NEW HOUSE. (I still can't believe we're homeowners!) And I'm excited to share some before and after shots as the afters start happening. It sure is a process. But a super awesome one, and it's even more so with a partner along for the ride.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Somebunny to Love

My sweet friends got married earlier this summer. They are not mushy gushy people but they do have a pretty saccharine sweet pet name for each other. "Bunny" And somehow it's not out of character to call a bearded, motorbike enthusiast a bunny. It suits them, and I wanted to pay it homage in their embroidery.

It was such an honor to witness their wedding. A creative joining of two hearts and lives. 

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