Monday, August 18, 2014

T-Shirt Pillows

Every so often, a shirt comes around that is just too great to be stored in the closet. You might try to wear it as frequently as possible to share the awesomeness with the world. After all that sharing with the world, eventually it starts to wear out. That, my friends, is a sad, sad day. This is a story of two such shirts.

Behold the awesomeness that is this pink Elvis t-shirt that was a Birthday gift from my best friend, and this Golden Girls shirt my Gram gave me as a Christmas present. I have had a slight obsession with both Elvis and the Golden Girls since high school, if not before. Yup. I’m so hipster I liked these things before it was cool to ironically like them. Adjusts unnecessary glasses and sips PBR.

They’re both made of very thin material and were starting to get a little worn over the years. I was worried that a hole would develop and it might be lost forever. The best course of action was obviously to turn these great t-shirts into great pillows.

You Will Need:

Nerdtastic t-shirts
Chalk or Pencil
Sewing machine (or needle/ thread/ perseverance)
Straight pins
Embroidery floss (optional)

Square Pillow

Lay your t-shirt flat and decide how much of the main image you want to be featured on your pillow. Take a deep breath and thank the inanimate object that has been worn so many times and started so many conversations. Tentatively, hesitantly, and mournfully cut the sleeves and collar from the shirt. Have second thoughts. Decide to continue and tell yourself you’re giving it new life. Cut up the side seams of the shirt and across the shoulder seems, separating the shirt into two pieces, front and back.

Turn halves inside-out, use the ruler and chalk or pencil to draw a square on the shirt featuring the design as desired. Pin the two sides together inside your lines. Carefully cut out your square.

Use your sewing machine to stitch around the edges leaving about 3-4” open at the bottom of the pillow. Remove the pins and turn it right side out. Stuff your pillow A little fuller than you think it should be; the filling will flatten out over time. You can also use a pencil to help get the stuffing all the way into the corners. Once it’s full, use a slip stitch to sew up the last few open inches. You can stop there OR you can add tassels. And when you have the option to add tassels, why wouldn't you?

To make the tassels, don't listen to me. I kind of just messed with embroidery floss until it worked. Seriously. Each one is slightly different. Since I can't be trusted when it comes to tassels, this tutorial will be much more useful. When they're finished, just run a few stitches through the center of the tassel into the corners of the pillow.

Circle Pillow

The circle pillow shares a lot of steps with the square pillow but you have to be extra careful not to tug the fabric while machine sewing the edges or you'll end up with a lumpy circle. T-shirt material is notoriously difficult because it is so stretchy. I used a lamp shade as a guide for a perfect circle because I'm a classy, classy lady. Don't forget to leave a few inches open to turn right side out and stuff. Afterwards, stitch it up and you're all done.

Any favorite t-shirts laying around that need a makeover? Do you know how to make a good tassel? I'd love to know!


Monday, August 4, 2014

Life Day 2014!

Do you know what today is? Today is the second anniversary of my car accident. Last year on this day, I retold the story of the car rolling off the interstate and me walking out (through the windshield) with little more than bruises and scrapes, with lots of pictures and details, and declared August 5th to be Life Day. It seems unnecessary to relive those details this time around but very important to hold on to the ultimate feeling of blessing, joy, and love. Life Day is a reminder to celebrate all the little things around us that make life special that can be so easy to forget and take for granted. It's especially impactful after having spent last weekend with four of my closest friends in the world for our annual Girls Weekend trip.

We just got back yesterday from our long weekend trip in St. Augustine, FL. We had an amazing weekend full of lots of delicious food, amazing adventures, and plenty of laughs. There was one moment in particular that hit me; all four of us were back in the hotel room eating junk food and playing Cards Against Humanity and suddenly we were all laughing uncontrollably. It just got out of control. I laughed until my sides literally ached. What about you ask? Nothing in particular. Just a series of words that all of a sudden were the funniest thing we'd ever heard. At that moment in all the laugher I was crying. Part of it was because of laughing so hard, the other part was because I just felt so incredibly complete around these women and thankful to be there to share it with them. Of course, I said nothing at the time or I would have totally ruined an otherwise hysterical moment with my excessively emotional ramblings.

Since my last Life Day I've moved to Greenville and have become happily settled. I've found a job that I love and created career happiness. I've learned to deal with a lot of the feelings that we were still causing trouble last year. I adopted the sweetest, cutest kitten ever (even if she is nipping at my toe at the moment because she wants me to stop typing and cuddle).  I've met some lovely new people and grown even closer to some already in my life. One bestie is about to have her first baby! Another just got engaged! My family continues to be loving, wonderful, and close even from hundreds of miles away. Big things are happening and I'm so grateful, especially on Life Day, to have the opportunity to take it in. And also, I'm grateful to be able to share it with a group of small but loyal readers and internet friends. Update: Smudge has compromised by cuddling on my shoulder and still letting me type with one hand.

I hope you have your own life day but under much happier circumstances! Anything you're particularly grateful for when you take a minute to think about it? I'd love to know!


Friday, July 25, 2014

Weekend Inspiration: Work Spaces

GUESS WHAT?! I got a new computer! Well, new to me. My old laptop has done me very well but at this stage in it's life it was starting to have some issues. I can't fault it. The technical status of this little 2007 MacBook is beyond vintage, beyond antique, straight into dinosaur classification. It's survived many a late night, 20 page paper writing session. It's had coffee spilled on it. It's been thrown from a moving vehicle IKidYouNot. Then it became the platform for everything posted on this little blog and has done quite well keeping up with the task. As much as I love that little machine, it was definitely time for an upgrade and upgrade I did! The new computer is excessively large but since it was a great deal on it-why not? AND that means lots more pictures of higher quality, more ability to edit them and be detail specific... so many possibilities! The only issue is that this monster of a monitor is way out of place at the moment sitting on my craft desk. The space is going to need some revamping and reorganizing to keep up. With this upcoming task in mind, the weekend inspiration is work spaces!

1. These shelves look like a super simple DIY.

2. Am I cool enough to get away with a quote wall?

3. Love me a good lookin' peg board.

4. A little dark for my taste but the idea of using wire hangers to display things is brilliant.

5. Empty cans? Check. Plain board? Check. All set to make this organizing set up!

6. I never would have thought of using a mug tower for something like this. Never.

7. The look of the stacked books to create the desk leg is gorgeous but not too friendly to re-readers. I guess that's the sacrifice made for aesthetics. Sigh.

Another work space challenge is this little one seen here cuddling with her arch nemesis, the giraffe.

She's been great about really chewing or scratching on things or getting into places where she shouldn't, but at the same time I don't want to tempt her by being overly trusting. She is only 4 months old. So finding a layout and system that is functional, inspiring, but not too kitten tempting is the criteria.

Any suggestions for a craft and kitten friendly space? And changes in technology you want to warn me about from 2007 to 2014? I'd love to know! :)


Monday, June 23, 2014

The Skinny (and Smudge!)

It's been a very busy two weeks! I say 2 weeks because that's how long it's been since I've posted... Sorry... A few big things happened though and I'd love to fill you in.

First, on Friday the 6th I went to an Etsy craft party at Due South Coffee hosted by Jessica of TinOiseux  and Brooke of Juxtaposition. These two lovely ladies know how to throw a craft party! I had so much fun meeting other crafty people and making a personalized Sharpie mug.

Next, I randomly picked the USA out of a bag as my World Cup team in the office contest. And we beat Ghana! I have never cared so much as about any sport as much as this World Cup. That last second goal by Portugal on Sunday almost gave me an aneurysm.

After that, we headed to Atlanta for the National Conference of Volunteering and Service. Y'all. It was inspiring, exhilarating, educational, and most definitely exhausting. It was WAY bigger than anticipated. My favorite session was a "fireside" chat with women with several women with highly successful careers discussing the lessons they've learned and mistakes they've made. It was incredible. I fangirled shamelessly.

Lastly, and most excitingly, I GOT A KITTEN. Her name is Smudge and she's 2.4 pounds of sweetness. A bit skittish, more than a little silly, but definitely the sweetest. Her favorite place to cuddle is on face. It's cool. I've already gone a little crazy with toy buying but the next step is obviously toy-making. I'll be the first to admit I haven't historically been a cat person but Smudge really picked me, and who am I to argue with that face? When I was at the Humane Society for another event I just happened to look in on the animals available. All the other kittens were going nuts from the excitement of the dogs and people outside. All except a little puff butt in the corner cage facing away. She looked over her kitten shoulder at me, got up, and walked over to lay down as close to me as possible. My heart melted and I knew if she was still there after I got back from the conference in Atlanta that it was meant to be.

What I didn't expect to happen is that I was actually really worried she wasn't going to be there when I got back. I called the Humane Society multiple times to check. I didn't even go home first when I got back into town, I went right there and picked her up. Now we've had a nice long weekend of quality time to play and bond. #BFFL

That's it! Lots of new things but all good. Now we're up to speed and ready for the next round of fun, creative posts. Who are you routing for in the World Cup? Any advice for this first time kitten mom? I'd love to know!


Monday, June 2, 2014

Hanging Herb Garden (The Unexpectedly Challenging One)

Last week we talked about 2 different pretty simple hanging planters. Now it's time to up the anti and bring on the macrame. Are you ready for this? *stretches arms in preparation*

When I worked with children back in the day, one little girl came in with a handful of twisted cord determined to make a bracelet like the ones the big kids made in art class at school. All she remembered from the older kid who was trying to teach her were the terms "snake" "lizard" and "tunnel." Filling in the gaps, I figured she must be talking about macrame. Soon all the kids wanted to learn how. The idea of teaching a bunch of boys and girls how to play with yarn was essentially a dream come true. The snake/lizard method was by far the easiest to understand.

That's the primary idea. The lizard will always go under the tunnel and over the snake and the snake will always be opposite of that. If you alternate which reptile goes under and over, then the knots will begin to twist. It's actually pretty cool if you're doing a long project but with just a few knots it looks messy. Just a tip, it's easier to tighten the snake and lizard if you hold the tunnel tightly. Once you've got the basic knot down, you're ready to move on to the planter.

6 Strand Hanging Planter

You will Need:

Small Pot filled with the sun-craving plants of your choice
6 pieces Nylon rope, 72" each
1" Steel welded O-ring (can be bought individually in store for 80 cents)
Lighter (optional)

I chose these pots from Lowe's for a few reasons: cheap, adorable, colorful, self-watering, light weight, annnnd immediately available.

The O-ring should be centered on the strands and secured with a pretzel knot.  Separate the strands into 3 groups of 4 strands. 8" down from the O-ring, you'll add 4 macrame knots into each group. 2" or 3" down from the macrame knots, tie a pretzel knot between the macrame groups using just the outside strands (the center picture). Gather all your strands together. You'll notice that the strands that were the "tunnels" in the macrame knots are a bit longer than all the others. A few inches  below your pretzel knots, grab one strand from each of the tunnel groups and pull them to the side. Those pieces are now your snakes and lizards to make a large set of macrame knots at the bottom of the holder. Knot to your desired length (mine is about 10 knots long) and then tie it off by wrapping all the strands in a pretzel knot. Pull each strand tightly, trim edges to desired length, and finish off with a quick pass of your lighter to keep the ends from fraying.

As mentioned in the previous posts, I wanted my hanging planters short so they wouldn't take up too much space on the patio. If you need longer ones, start with rope pieces longer than 72".

This one might take a little practice, but I think it might be my favorite. What do you think? Have you made one yet? I'd love to know!


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