Sunday, March 23, 2014

Short Hiatus - Vertigo

Dear Readers,

A few of you know this, but last week after writing the Sunset Springs Apartments post, I developed vertigo. As a result, I've been unable to stare at computer screens, TVs, mobile phone screens...etc...  for more than a few minutes without coming away more dizzy than before looking. I'll be taking a few weeks hiatus so that I can more fully recover and continue blogging. 

Thursday will continue to be Craftsday, except that I won't be updating the blog with pictures until I've made a full recovery from vertigo. This is actually great timing because I've wanted to work on a present for a dear friend of mine, as her birthday is coming up in a few weeks. This way I'll be able to keep it a secret. ;) Win-win! 

Thank you all for your patience and understanding. See you in a few weeks!


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Sunset Springs Apartments

I'm the webmistress of Sunset Springs Apartments and my Thursday activity this week has been to update the website. Yeah, I know.. not very crafty. But it takes skill to write code! I needed to get it done, so why not set aside time on a Thursday to do it? :)

I focused my work on two pages of the website: Surrounding Area of St. George and Tuacahn Furnished Apartments. The surrounding Area of St. George has some highlighted text that you can move your mouse over and see the specifically named "place of interest" of your choice.

For the Tuacahn Furnished Apartments page, I edited, resized, and uploaded the pictures for the gallery. Working on both of these pages may seem like simple tasks, but it took four, straight, devoted hours to finish just these 2 pages, both of which were mostly done to begin with.

Please let me know if the drop-down, mouse-hover works correctly for you on the Surrounding Area of St. George page. It doesn't work for mobile phones, though, since there is no cursor/mouse on a mobile device.

Level of difficulty: 1/5 for me, but if you have no coding experience, it might be a 4/5. It also helps to have a photo-editing program like Photoshop to make your pictures look pretty. Personally I just use Photoshop 7.0.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Mending Old Jeans - HowTo

Ever have that PERFECT pair of jeans that gets an embarasing rip in it? Or they have holes in them from regular use? Then you go to Walmart and buy those patches, but the jean pattern doesn't exactly match. Bummer! Well, I found a pretty good tutorial that'll fix -any- jean rip/hole, no matter the color of your jeans - using interfacing! Here's the tutorial that I used. I'll take you through the steps I used and some snags I ran into...

Following the directions in the Tutorial, I ironed on the interface on the inside of the jean. Then I turned it right-side out and started sewing back and forth, back and forth... over and over again. My first attempt's results were:

Looks like someone took a pen and scribbled on some paper, right? 
This is what it looks like on the outside of the pants:

With my first attempt, I tried my hardest to cover up as much white as possible. The picture shown above demonstrates the difference of pre-stitching vs. post-stitching. Hardly a difference. There's still a lot of white showing, even though I tried my hardest.

With the first attempt, I was trying to stitch with the grain of the pants. After it took forever-and-a-day to finish, I wanted to see what would happen if I did a more... sloppy stitch.

With this one (above), I didn't care about the grain and I stitched much fewer lines. I didn't take a picture of the finished product, but there wasn't much of a difference between my first attempt and my second attempt. They were both patched up and still had some faded white showing through the stitching. But all-in-all, they looked pretty good!

BE CAREFUL! You could end up sewing a few layers together. I was very careful while I was sewing, trying to keep it as flat as I could feel. Somehow there were still a few stitches that attached themselves to another layer of the pants. THIS CAN HAPPEN TO YOU!!!

Luckily I didn't sew too much into the fabric, and it's a really easy fix. You just snip the extra threads and re-do the area that was snipped. Easy peasy. 

The tutorial mentions that you can sew a border around the excess white interfacing to keep it from coming loose. I have NO idea how you'd be able to sew a 360 degrees on a pant-leg, though, without hand stitching it. I've seen other tutorials where they take pinking scissors and cut around the sewn part. I would personally just keep ironing it back down every time it comes up, or just trim it then iron it. I'm a low-maintenance kind-of-gal. 

Overall, the project was easy. Another 2/5. Might be 3/5 depending on your sewing skills (for my sister, this'd be a 3/5 project) but if you're used to handling a sewing machine, it's pretty easy. The thread I used was this, Dual Dity Plus Denim Thread. Great stuff.

Also I have to apologize; the reason it took a few days to create this post was because we had family over periodically throughout the weekend starting Friday, so I just wasn't able to update. Family first, ya know. :)

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Manicotti and Cherry Blossoms

Double whammy today, folks! Food AND nail art! Woohoo! I'm going to share with you my FAVORITE manicotti recipe ever. I found a recipe for making your own, homemade manicotti noodles from scratch. Because the ingredients for the rest of the recipe looked a little bland, I decided to turn to The Pioneer Woman for her version of Three-Cheese-Stuffed Shells. It. Was. A perfect. Match.

Making the noodles from scratch is very basic. 4 simple ingredients everyone has in their pantry. They're really like crepes, except thicker. And more filling... Mmmm.... Sorry, I was thinking about the cheese-filling that goes inside of these later on...

To make them round, once you have the batter in the pan, just turn the pan in a clockwise motion while it's vertical. You want to be quick, though, because these babies cook really quickly.

Let's skip to what they look like after they're out of the oven... I felt that I didn't need to take pictures of the rest of the steps. Pioneer Woman does a great job of that already.

It was so... Good... Heavenly. Just heavenly. You pair Pioneer Woman's cooking with homemade noodles, and you've hit the jackpot.

Because tomorrow is a big day for me, I needed to paint my nails to reflect what we're going to be doing:

Any guesses?

The color of my nails remind me of seaweed...

We're going to be learning how to make sushi tomorrow!! So I had to do a little cherry blossom theme on my nails. Granted, I only have white acrylic paint, so I improvised and used some beet powder from my mom to get the pink color. Worked out fairly decently, but I would have rather used a dark pink acrylic paint. The beet powder didn't create the dark color I was looking for. (I submitted my nail art to this link-up if anyone is interested in seeing more nail art ideas. :) )

It was hard to create those flowers. It was my first attempt at one-stroke gradient. It didn't turn out quite like I wanted it to, but it was a good first attempt. :) I'm trying to branch out... Pun unintended...

So I'd rate the nails a 3/5 for difficulty and the manicotti a 2/5. It was super easy; just time consuming.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Crochet! Or... Not... - Backup Nail Art Project

I've been re-teaching myself how to crochet. I found a project I haven't worked on since I was probably 15 and thought, "Why not?" I need to practice my skills so I can make a flower or some pretty thing to put on my little girl's monogram anyway, so why not practice with this?

I have NO idea what the previous stitch was, so I decided to just continue on with a double stitch. Yeah... Not the right pattern...

Here are only 2 or 3 rows done with the double stitch. The rest is who-knows-what (if anyone recognizes this stitch, please let me know what it is!)

Aaaaaand then my little girl got hold of it and unraveled it to what you see above. I was almost finished, dang it! My fault for leaving it in a reachable place. SO I've decided to show you what I've been up to nail-art-wise as a backup project!

I went over to my grandmother's house last week and did a lot of peoples' nails, some of which I've included here.

My aunt wanted a "Trigger Finger" theme done, and she wanted it "as wild and crazy as [I] can imagine... Except to remember that [she] still has to go to church tomorrow". So I recommended glitter polish, a different color every finger, but keeping a blue/purple theme. She has recently joined a gun membership club for women, so she wanted her "trigger finger" to stand out from the rest. That's why it's the only special/red nail.

She was very happy with the results.

My favorite color, which is quite hard to see from the pictures (taken at night by the way) is the dark blue on the pinky fingers. It was like midnight blue with pretty blue glitter. Too bad it doesn't stand out.

Then we've got the classic red nails! My cousin is going to a wedding and wanted the traditional, classy red.

These ones are a nice red base with red glitter. They were so shiny; the color reminded me of Dorothy's red slippers! And now we come to my favorite ones:

These were inspired by Valentine's Day. It was hard to make any small lines for the roses because I only have one nail art brush, and it's not the thinnest of brushes.. Behind the nails you can see what I received for Heart's Day....

Mmmmm.... My favorite chocolate in the world. Ferrero Rocher. (For those of you who do not know how to pronounce it, it's french [I think] and pronounced "Ferrero Row-shAy") There is no "r" pronounced at the end.

I'll probably try to finish the crochet square thing for next week's update. Or I might mend some of my husband's clothing... Or I'll do something completely different.
Thank you for reading/viewing! I love to hear from you, so please leave a comment. :)

Friday, February 14, 2014

"Tipping Jar"

Because of my nail art post, one of my good friends, Mei, suggested that I make a tip jar to help raise funds towards my $3000 goal. That's just what I did!

I just used an empty Nesquik container, measured how much fabric it'd take to cover it, sewed it, pulled it over...

and folded it a few times at the bottom so it can have pockets. That way I can give an incentive for everyone to tip me:

I've made a little sign that can be removed, replaced, re-written.. etc. After a while, I'd take out the money and count it to see who the lucky winner is.

Who would you vote for? 

Tips, please? ;)

Friday, February 7, 2014

DIY Yarn-wrapped Monogram

I bought a monogram - this wooden letter A from Hobby Lobby for $3. I had always meant to cover it with fabric, paint it, or wrap it with yarn, but I never got around to it... Until now. I decided to cover it with yarn.

There are a TON of tutorials on Pinterest that you can choose to follow. I looked at a half a dozen, so I won't bother singling a few out from the goldmine available. I will tell you, though, that my first inspiration was from this photo. I didn't make the connection that this would be difficult if I chose a Serif font...

Some yarn-wrapped letters are wrapped vertically, some horizontally, and some with a mix of the two. I liked the look of horizontal lines on the finished product.

Here are the materials I used... except I didn't end up using the flower. After I finished the project, I realized I didn't want to embellish it with that specific flower.

 Something that the tutorials don't always mention is how tedious it is to pull a long piece of cut string through holes. You want to wad up the yarn to speed up the process.

 Then you pull it through the hole... Just be careful not to make a big knot out of it. I stopped wadding it when the string was a little shorter than the length of my arm.

 First I started with the vertical lines. You don't have to wrap the whole letter from top to bottom multiple times like I did. It would have saved a LOT of yarn if I had just cut and glued the yarn about an inch long along the edges where the vertical lines would show.

I'm sorry, I thought I took a picture between the last step and the next step. Oops! Now you get to see the finished product!

 Yay! Finished! After a FEW HOURS of wrapping. :D
The next picture shows what the bottom looks like...

 As you can see, I had to glue some yarn in odd places to make the horizontal lines look uniform throughout the A. I like the pattern it made.

 I love this aerial shot. :) It looks so nice and uniform!

 Front side... (Again I had to glue the yarn in a little pattern where the A has a diagonal slope, near the lower-right side of the base. See the pattern?)

 This is the back. Still looks pretty neat. :)

 This wasn't a hard project at all. It was time-consuming, like the lampshade project. But this one was far more enjoyable. Maybe it's because my baby was asleep whenever I worked on this... Or maybe because I love working with yarn. I'd give it a 2/5 because of the patience-factor of this project.

I NEED HELP! Do any of you have any ideas on how to embellish this letter? I'm thinking of making a few of these flowers (or ones that are similar) as a backup plan, but I'd love to get some input from you guys. So please leave a comment - help a girl out?

Friday, January 31, 2014

Nail Art - Valentine's Day nails!

We had a CRAZY evening yesterday. My sister had expressed the desire for me to paint her nails a Valentine's day theme since February is around the corner. I decided to paint nails for Craftsday also because I wanted to enter this nail art challenge. I had a few ideas in mind, but everything changed because 5 minutes after my sister arrived at my house last night, the power went out.

I had to paint her nails by candle-light.

So honestly, that's my reasoning for why they didn't turn out as neat as I wanted them to... She was also in a rush to leave after I finished the final touches so I wasn't able to put on a protective coat. I'll do any touch-ups on Saturday, though, because we'll be helping her and her husband find a couch (and possibly go yardsale-ing).

I did an alternating pink(Essie's Pink Diamond #470) and red(Maybelline's Racing Rubies #190) for the base coats, but for the pink dots on the red nails, I used Naturistics Super Chrome(Rose Chrome) since it's a very opaque pink.

 Closeup of the nailpolish I used...

I didn't use a stencil for these. I originally did a border around the whole nail and THEN my sister said she wanted a heart.

So I made little hearts... I was sad that some of the dots touched :(

These look much better looking at them in reality rather than a picture.

Oh, I also used 3 coats of paint for the base coat. I don't like using express finishes for the base coat... I'm always too tempted to put too much nail polish on at once so that it doesn't dry out too quickly, but it usually causes air bubbles if I do that. So I had to do 3 thin layers, which is HARD TO ACCOMPLISH with a fast-drying nail polish!

I'm happy with the result, though. :)

Even if I didn't shape her nails beforehand... Or trim her cuticles... oh well. You live and learn, right?

I have the goal to save up $3000 so I can go to a special beauty school here in Salt Lake that specializes only in doing nails/nail art. How we're going to save up that money? I have no idea. But it'll be a dream come true when I can finally get certified to be a manicurist (is that what they're professionally called? No? Nail Salon Artist? I don't know.)

Level of difficulty: it depends on how well you can paint nails. It's a hobby of mine, so I'd put this at 1 or 2 out of 5. There was no special skill involved except that you have to be able to freehand a heart pretty well (or put a sticker on the nail while you dot around it. That would create the same effect). I just used a standard dotting tool. The effect would have been more neat and cool looking if I had used different sized dotting tools (my sister happens to have a set so she has around 6-8 different sizes of dots you can make). I was originally going for something like this, except as a border.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

DIY Wall Hanging - Fabric & Yarn Art PART 2 - FINISHED!

I set out on Thursday to create a wall-hanging decoration for my daughter's room (Click here to read about PART 1).

I have finally finished it! 

Because I used a stretchy fabric with no support on all border sides, (there was cardboard only in the top and bottom part of the wall-hanging) it hung with a slight hourglass shape. There was also another problem that arose while I was hanging it...

The top cardboard piece decided to bend. It was my fault for not being more careful in finding a sturdier, non-bent piece of cardboard, but laziness kicked in and I paid for it in the end. Now it wants to fold in half like a book. All I have to do to fix this problem, though, is to find/buy a thin dowel and stick it in where the ribbon comes out of the fabric. Then it'll be straight again.

Again, this project ended up being a lot more complex than I set out for it to be, but it came out really cute! If I were to make it again, I'd add a few more flowers and make their stems longer. Since she has a lot of butterfly patterns in her room, though, I'm glad I made the butterfly the most prominent part of the decoration. Again, this project was a difficulty of 4/5 because of so many things that went wrong while completing this project (plus outlining the wings with yarn was VERY tedious because of the detail involved).

A synopsis of what I'd do differently next time:
  • make sure the cardboard isn't bent (if I decide to just use 2 pieces for the top/bottom)
  • just use a full sheet of cardboard instead of doing the above
    • this will ensure cleaner, straighter edges on all sides of the picture
    • it will also cut the amount of time for this project down to a day instead of 2+ (I decided to try out the 2 pieces of cardboard for this project and I probably won't do it again. I'm used to using just one, full sheet)
  • prepare a ruffle-border/any trimmings ahead of time so they can actually be included in the project!

Friday, January 24, 2014

DIY Wall Hanging - Fabric & Yarn Art PART 1

This project is turning into a 2+ day project. I started on Thursday, but I keep adding more ideas to this project... So I'll show you guys what I've done up to this point. 

There's an ugly, grey fuse box in my daughter's room:

It sticks out like a sore thumb... I've been meaning to make some kind of a wall-hanging decoration to cover it. It's a pretty big eyesore. It measured 16" by 30" total, so I needed to make something a few inches longer/wider on each side.

(Ugly picture of me trying to measure it. Sorry! It was the best I could do being one-handed)

Normally when I make yarn art I use a full sheet of cardboard. This time I wanted to try something different and create a makeshift wall-scroll. I needed pieces for the top and bottom.

(Shh... I up-cycle all of my diaper boxes!)

Then I needed the fabric. I measured roughly 12 inches more than the length of my wall-scroll to roll up the cardboard pieces in multiple layers of fabric.

Before I rolled up the cardboard into the fabric, I cut a piece of ribbon that I'll be using to hang the whole thing. I then used my glue-gun to glue the sides of the wall-scroll so it looks like it has a nice, finished edge. 

I was thinking about a design for the wall-scroll and drew a few sketches... Then drew the final patterns that I'd cut out and use as a template. This was originally going to be the template page and the large space was reserved for a pretty big butterfly.

However, I got to sketching a few thumbnails on some scrap paper... And then my daughter wanted to nurse. Picking her up, I held her with my right arm, leaving me unable to sketch while nursing.


I still had my left hand. In the drawing below, the upper-left drawing was with my right hand before I started nursing my daughter. The upper-right butterfly was done entirely by my left hand while my right hand was immobile.

I liked it so much that I re-drew it with my right hand with steady, clean lines. (I don't know if you can see, but the upper-right drawing's lines are not smooth at all).

Normally when I do my yarn art, I just use one color of yarn and outline my templates. But while my sister was visiting, I had her braid some yarn together... three different types of green. It looked so cool that I decided to use it in my design. I didn't have a picture of her braiding, so here are pictures of me braiding the rest of the braids today...

They were very loooooong braids. (Roughly 4 feet long)

My daughter happily, patiently playing while I braid. :)

I don't want to give away all of my secrets on how I do my yarn art, but this is what it looks like up to this point. I'm still gluing the yarn and none of the braided yarn is glued down yet. I also wanted to make a ruffled border, but we'll see if I can get to that... I can always add it later.

Let me know if anyone is interested in yarn art. I'm willing to make custom orders. All of my templates are hand-made by request. A lot of hard work and dedication goes into these yarn pieces - I can make/outline practically any picture (I don't do copyright images unless you are the owner). I'll post a picture of some of my other yarn art pieces some other time.

The level of difficulty of this project is a 4/5. Yarn art in general can be as easy as a 1 and complex as a 5. I hope to finish this tomorrow. I want to work on a different project by my next blog update! (Click here for PART 2!)