Saturday, April 17, 2010

Easter Eggs! (not the hidden secret kind, the literal kind)

While I'm still in holiday mode, check out the Easter eggs I dyed this year!

I used green, blue, and purple neon food coloring, and these things came out BRIGHT!

Happy Belated Easter!

Holiday Goodness

I've got bunches of photos saved in a "Craft photos to use" folder on the computer but some of them are horribly out of date now.  I just want to get them out of there so I don't have to look at them anymore, but I can't bring myself to just delete them without sharing them on the blog.  That's why you're getting a Christmas post in the middle of April.  Here's some of my Christmas decorations/activities!

Here is my scraggly artificial Christmas tree.  I think I got it at Target for about $20, maybe $30.  It's actually not a bad tree, but it does lose a few branches every year.  I made myself a tree skirt this year!  It's actually just a big piece of red felt I had leftover from a poodle skirt I made 3 years ago bunched up at the bottom of the tree.  I have red felt out the wazoo here at the Bolech household.

My tree cleans up pretty nice don't you think?  All my Christmas ornament sets are red - I think red was big the year I started buying my own ornaments.  I kind of wish I'd gone with a little more variety when I bought them, but I have more ornaments than I'll ever need now, so I'll stick with red.

This is my favorite ornament of the year. It's the "Our first Christmas together" ornament.  AWWWWWWWWW!  Stephen did not wear a white suit at our wedding.

My mom and I made some Christmas candies this year with Wilton's candy melts.  They are actually really yummy and pretty fun to make, although I made way more than I could eat.  I finally threw away the leftovers a few weeks ago. Here's some photos of us making candy!

Candy melts melting away on the hot plate.

Homemade fillings: coconut, orange creme, raspberry creme and peanut butter. Yum!

Mom filling up some plastic candy molds

Some candies awaiting their filling

And just for the heck of it, here's a picture of the Jack-O-Lantern I carved at Halloween!

Too bad I didn't remember to take a picture before it rotted...

Happy holidays everyone!!

Backpack Purse: Trying to recreate the one that got away

Once upon a time I had an awesome purse.  It was made of some cute red white and blue fabric that kind of looked like patchwork.  It was that backpack style you see a lot these days, but most of the ones you see are made of ugly nylon and whoever is wearing it got it for free somewhere.  Mine had leather straps that were made of skinnier leather straps bound together.  It was lined with some other cute fabric too. I got that thing at Old Navy for five dollars on clearance. I used to look at this purse and think about its simple construction and how I could probably make something similar, but why would I need to since I already had this awesome thing premade?  I'm glad I did that wondering now, because at some point in my life I must have decided I didn't need this purse anymore and put it in some giveaway or squirrel away box, and now I have no idea where it is. I kept wanting that purse for things like hiking and any other activity where I needed a purse but wanted my hands free for something else, so I looked and looked and looked but never found the purse.  Then my honeymoon was coming up.  I knew we'd be out and about every single day on this trip so I knew it was time.  Time to re-create my most favorite backpack purse.

I found some fabric that I just LOVED at Jo-anns one day.  I knew exactly what I wanted to make out of it when I saw it, so I bought myself a yard of it.  I also bought some grommets, and some covered buttons, and some cotton yarn.

I did write down a "pattern" for this purse, so I could make it again if I needed to, but it's really just a bunch of drawings of rectangles and vague lists of what order to do things in.  If you know how to sew a little bit you could probably figure it out on your own, but if you're as desperate for a backpack purse as I was, I'll be happy to help you along using my quasi-pattern-thing.

Here are some pictures!!

I didn't take many pictures of making the purse, in fact, I didn't get any except for when I snuck up on Stephen and put it on his head.

This hat isn't very comfortable...

Now behold!  The completed bag!

I braided the straps with several strands of cotton yarn and strung them through the top drawstring and knotted them through the grommets I hammered into the bottom corners.

The purse also features a separate drawstring to tie the top closed, just in case anyone was determined to rob me they'd have an extra tie to undo.

Partway through taking these after pictures Stephen brought me some beets from the farm!


The purse also has a secret pocket inside of it, except now it's not a secret anymore.

And here are some action shots of me and my purse on our honeymoon!

Me and my purse taking in the view in Puerto Rico

Me and my purse having a banana daiquiri in St. Thomas

My purse holding all our important stuff when we snorkeled in Barbados

And me and my purse at the Brimstone Hill fortress in St. Kitts.

My purse and I are very happy now.  I think I may have to switch out the straps some day, but it is my favorite bag for vacations!  I hope you all have a purse that you know and love, and if you accidentally don't love it for a little while, I hope that you know how to make your own copy!

Can you beer me another thumb tack?

You may remember that I blogged about making a super cute tack board last month.  I actually made some tacks for it the same day, but didn't get around to blogging it before now. I never took any after pictures of the darn things until weeks later.  Since the tack board sat around unblogged for a long time, this post is way overdue.  I'm a little slow on the blogging...

I've been saving beer bottle caps for a while now, and I've got about a million of them (Stephen likes beer) but I knew  I wanted to make tacks out of them some day.  I made one out of a budweiser cap back when they had that "beware the penguins" ad campaign, since I was in that "Penguins are Awesome" stage of life that everyone goes through, and the cap had a penguin on it so I couldn't throw it out.  I was too young to drink that beer, so I'm not sure where the cap came from.  Of course that's not really important at all...  I still have that penguin tack but it's all rusted so I didn't want to put it in my pretty fabric tack board.

This project was made entirely by stuff I already had on hand!  Awesome!  All I did was find all the flat backed tacks I had, and hot glued them into the backs of the bottle caps. 

The cap on the far right is my penguin tack.  I'm so vintage.

If I were to do this project more carefully, I'd probably put some sort of backing in the cap before I filled it up with hot glue, because the tacks sort of sink in, and this method takes up a LOT of glue, but at the time I was going for quick and easy results, and I'm happy what I came out with.

The boring part: watching the tacks to make sure they don't sink into the glue.

Although the tacks ended up a little short due to the sinkage, they stay stuck in the board just fine!  I'm really happy with how they came out!  Recycling is fun!!

Can you tell we are Shiner people?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Pom Pom Pom Pom Pom Pom Pom Pom...

Oh pom-poms (aka pompons, as I often see it written but I've never actually heard it said this way).  Pom-poms are great!  They are super easy to make!  I have piles of yarn sitting around, leftover from other projects when I used to do more crochet work.  Then one day back in February or so I was overcome with need.  The need to make pom-poms!

 My apologies for the crummy lighting! Our home is like a pit of darkness...

I made my pom-poms out of lionbrand homespun yarn.  I love this stuff!  It's so soft and cuddly, and pom-poms made out of it are simply luxurious (if there is such thing as a luxurious pom-pom that is).
One downside of making pom-poms out of homespun is that there are little yarn fuzzies flying around and making you sneeze for a while after.  This probably happens with a lot of yarns, but it is especially bad with this super soft, squishy yarn.

Making pom-poms is sooooooo easy.  You can buy pom-pom makers, which make it a snap.  You can go the more frugal route and make your own pom-pom makers (I really like this idea - I think I made pom-pom easter "chicks" - mine was more duck like - with this method in first grade).  I just went the lazy route and wrapped the yarn around my fingers and hands, depending on how big i wanted the finished pom-pom to be.  I think this method takes a lot more trimming in the end, but hey - who doesn't like to give things a haircut?  After I made this first little pile of fluffies, I went a little pom-pom crazy and decided to use up all my small balls of homespun for pom-poms.  Now I have all these:

They're multiplying like Tribbles!

After I took the above picture, I found that the pom-poms shedded all over the bedspread.  We'll see if the husband notices the big red and brown fuzzy splotch before he reads this blog post...

 Can you see all the fuzz?  No? Good.

This pom-pom is my favorite because I think it looks like a little lambie tail!

Hey Bo-Peep! I found one!

I didn't realize it when I took this photo, but now I think it's kind of a funny picture since Stephen has a giant knife in one hand and a little fluffy pom-pom in the other.  Ok, maybe it's not that funny. MAYBE we can pretend he just chopped the tail off of a cute little lambie.  Then the picture is not funny.  Then it is gruesome and sad.  I'm sorry I showed you such a disturbing photo.

What am I going to do with all these pom-poms?  I'm not really sure, actually.  But now instead of a big bag of yarn I have a big box of pom-poms.  That's progress right?