Sunday, July 17, 2011

Crocheting Newborn Photography Props

I've been unemployed from my full-time job since March 1, 2011. I've been praying about and pondering how I could earn a little extra income from home. I know how to crochet, so the idea of crocheting photography props seemed like a good place to start. We likely will not get rich from crocheted photography props, but, as long as they sell, I think I can make a little money for us. Also, it will give me another creative outlet while I'm at home alone a lot.

I'm so grateful that there are people in the blogosphere who are willing to share their knowledge and create tutorials.

I found a tutorial here for the newborn nesting bowl. It was really easy to follow, and I'm pleased with the final product. I didn't end up with as many rows as the pattern said there would be, but I think a newborn would fit in the nesting bowl if my Cabbage Patch doll does. It's also fairly stretchy.

Crochet Geek is probably my favorite reference blog now. She provides excellent written and video tutorials. I've learned a lot just in a couple of days. I found the pattern I used for this fuzzy newborn hat on her site.

I would really appreciate your prayers as I take a few steps on this journey over the next several days. I purchased enough yarn to make seven newborn nesting bowls. My goal is to post them on Faceboook as I complete them and try to sell them for $20 each. They go for more than that on Etsy, so I think $20 is a good place to start. I'm hoping to get them in the hands of some of my photographer friends who could help me spread the word. We'll see how it goes!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Mail Holder Makeover - Silhouette SD

This is a project I've wanted to do for a while, but I was putting it off until my craft room was cleaned up. Crafting is much easier when I can actually sit at my work space. :O)

I purchased this mail holder from Goodwill for $3. It still had the Target price sticker on it where it had been clearanced, so I don't think it had been used (the price sticker was on the front of the mail holder). My goal was to clean it up (it had been sitting around for a long time ...), spray paint it black, and use my Silhouette to create "IN" and "OUT" labels for it. Simple.

The more I thought about it, simple "IN" and "OUT" labels didn't seem to have enough pizzazz for me. I didn't want anything flashy, but I wanted more than just "IN" and "OUT". In hindsight, the simplicity of the "IN" and "OUT" would have saved me a lot of time this afternoon, but I'm still glad I chose to do something different. :O)

I mentioned that I wanted to clean it up first. There were three Goodwill price stickers (Have you noticed that Goodwill always puts a lot of price stickers on their items? I suppose they want to prevent price switching.), a stack of Target price stickers, and the original bar code sticker on it. Some of the stickers came off easily, but some were tricky. I purchased this bottle of un-du adhesive remover several years ago. It's was marketed for scrapbooking, but it comes in handy for removing stickers. It almost always works, and this time was no disappointment.

This is the final product. The top bin is for mail we receive, and the bottom bin is for mail going out. Isn't that so much cuter than just "IN" and "OUT"?

If you ever come to our house, please promise me you won't look at the paint job. I think I should have sanded the mail holder first. The finish on it reminded me of the white shelving units that can be purchased in boxes and assembled. I tried painting one of those, and I could scrape the paint off with my fingernail. This project didn't turn out that severe, but it has a very uneven finish, even after multiple coats of spray paint. From a distance, it still looks nice. That's all that matters, right? Projects that look good from a distance = successful projects, right? Right?

I hung the mail holder on our entry wall that is by our front door. We don't have a mud room, but this works for us. I need to add a small picture above the mail holder. Maybe I could just add an empty frame to match the other two empty picture frames that are hanging on the wall. We've only had the house a year and a half. I still need more time to decide on which pictures will go in those frames. Maybe I'll decide before the 5 year mark ... maybe ... I make no promises.

Thanks for reading! It makes me feel special. :O)

I thought I would attempt to link to Tatertots and Jello's weekend wrap-up party. Let's see how it goes.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Labels for My Photo Boxes - Silhouette SD Project

As you may already know, I've been revamping our croffice (craft room + office). It will function mostly as a craft room, but we couldn't do without an office completely. One of my top goals for the space was that it be very organized - EVERYTHING has a place, and EVERYTHING in its place. One of the ways that is being accomplished is the use of photo boxes on two bookshelves (the bookshelves were purchased a few years ago from Walmart, and the photo boxes were purchased on sale at Michael's).

My original plan was to use the built-in "label holders" the boxes already had. As I filled the boxes, I put Post-it Notes on them to identify the contents. Then I was going to make the labels all at once at the end. The other day, I was looking for something, and I had a difficult time reading the Post-It Notes, particularly for the boxes on the lower shelves. The built-in labels would have been even smaller. My goal was efficiency, not wasting time crawling on the floor trying to read labels!

So the Holy Spirit gave me a great idea (He gets the credit for anything good that comes out of me!): use my Silhouette SD to make larger labels on the backs of the boxes. Such a good idea!

This is a shot of the boxes in their Post-it Notes state:

I used the Silhouette Studio software to make my labels. It was a simple as using any word processing software. Arial Black is the font I chose. Isn't it funny that out of ALL the fonts I could have used, Arial Black won out? Ease of reading wins out every time with me. This is a screen shot from Silhouette Studio:

Once I ran the vinyl through the Silhouette, I removed the excess vinyl. The paper was curling, so I used painters' tape to hold it down.

The next step was adding the transfer paper. I had a few issues with the transfer paper, but I still recommend using it for anything involving this much text. Any straight lines I managed to maintain were the result of the Holy Spirit and transfer paper. After a little trial and error, I discovered an Exacto knife was the easiest way to separate the roll of transfer paper that you see to the right in the photo below. I scored the paper and then tore it off in a relatively straight line.

I used a paper trimmer to help with straight lines. I also use a paper trimmer when I'm cutting my vinyl projects off the roll. That has worked much better than scissors. It gives me a much cleaner edge for my next project.

This is the side of the box where you would expect the label to be:

I chose to label the boxes on the "back". That gave me a larger surface area, and I didn't have the empty built-in label holders looking at me longingly when I was finished. This is a shot of the label lined up and ready to be adhered to the box. The masking tape looking material is the transfer paper. I have a scraper that I bought from the Silhouette company, but it's MIA. My sea pass from our recent cruise worked great, as would any credit card, bonus card, library card ... you get the picture. The scraper of your choice is used to smooth everything out and ensure there are no bubbles. It also affixes the vinyl to the transfer paper and ultimately to the final product.

This little guy came in handy more than I thought it would. It was perfect for getting out the little doo-dads in the "closed" letters (i.e. "e's" and "p's"). It also reminded me of my fabulous dentist. Doesn't it look like the scraper tools dentists use?

I am so pleased with the final product! They are so easy to read, and they look crisp and clean. Although, I just realized I didn't line my boxes up straight enough. I'm trying not to be a perfectionist about that. I may need help from the Holy Spirit on that one!

This is a slightly closer look at them. Just in case you were wondering, I opted to left justify the text on the boxes rather than center it so that I wouldn't be up until the wee hours of the morning with a ruler making sure the text was perfectly centered. Left justified was much easier.

What do you think? I think I love it! :O)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Upcycled Bulletin Board and Croffice Sneak Peek

When I was a child, my mom gave me a bulletin board that was hers when she was growing up. I used it for years. I even covered it with fabric and ribbon to make one of those ribbon memory boards when I was in college. A couple of months ago, we went through several boxes of my old things that were in storage at my grandmother's house, and I found the bulletin board. It still had the fabric and ribbons on it, but those were easy to remove. I decided I'd like to incorporate it into my craft room update, but I wanted to frame it to downplay some of the age on it. Easy peasy.

Mama's bulletin board prior to the upgrade:

I found a frame on clearance at Hobby Lobby for $8.84. It was a tad more than I wanted to spend on it (I attempted finding a frame at a thrift store), but I really liked it. It's white with just a touch of a reddish-pink color around the raised edges. It didn't have a back to it, which was perfect.

This is a bad picture of the edge of the bulletin board. It had a ribbon-y trim around it that was showing some age. That was part of the reason I wanted to frame it.

This is a shot of the back of the bulletin board. Again, you can see the age it was showing. It already had hardware on the back of it for hanging, so that meant I didn't have to add a hanging mechanism to the frame. Yay!

I used my high temp glue gun and attached the frame to the bulletin board. There was a small ledge on the inside of the frame, so it really was easy.

This is a picture of the framed bulletin board:

Joseph was super fab and said he would hang the bulletin board and a few other things on the wall above one of the desks in the croffice (craft room + office = croffice). He said, "I think there's a stud right here." I said, "Yep. *wink*" haha!

I purchased this bulletin board from Goodwill for $3.00. It's in pretty good condition. Not bad!

This is the wall where "we" hung everything above the desk. This is your sneak peek of the croffice update. I have some finishing details left to do, and then I'll post the reveal. :O)