Friday, April 5, 2013

2012 In Review

It has taken me longer than usual, but I finally completed my 2012 Year In Review collage:
For details about how I print and frame this, check out my original post. Also, because I never got around to posting my 2011 version, here you go:
I am loving this tradition! I take the most recent version to work, where I can study the photos and reminisce (usually when I should be getting something else done, of course). I find these collages to be a great reminder that I actually do something other than sit behind a computer. :)

Monday, March 18, 2013

Out with the old…

When my husband and I first moved into our apartment, we assumed it was the beginning of a short-term relationship. We had two weeks to figure out where to live, and thought that after living in the area for a while we would probably find something we liked better. Fast-forward three years and here we are, in the same apartment. Turns out we had made a pretty good decision and we are happy with things the way they are. However, the d├ęcor is in desperate need of revitalization. I took a page from my sister Ruth’s book, and started with the kitchen table. Here is a look at the original set:
As you can see, it’s a very basic table that has zero aesthetic value. Here’s a look at the chairs:
Uninspiring, right? Well, here is the new and improved version:
As you can see, I painted the table white and recovered the chairs. Here’s a closer look at the chair:
For the chairs, I purchased this awesome chevron upholstery fabric. Ruth (my brilliant sister) also recommended using clear vinyl to protect the fabric. I was able to remove the chair cushions and recover them myself…with a bit of assistance from my husband, of course.
I am so happy with the results, and the best part is that I spent no more than $35.00 on supplies. Yay for DIY projects! And yay for awesome sisters who inspire me to try new things. Smile

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Baby Shower

I have another Silhouette project to share. I promise to come up with a new topic soon...but I have been having so much fun with this thing that it's really all I do in my spare time, haha. This time I want to show you the baby shower gift I made. One of my friends is having a baby boy, so I used the Silhouette to cut a couple of shapes out of fabric. I used the sewable fabric interfacing and had no problems cutting the fabric. After adhering the fabric to the onesies, I machine-stitched around the edge and voila! customized onesies. Here's the casual version:
And for those formal occasions:
After finishing the onesies, I needed something to put them in. You'll never guess who came to the rescue again. Yup, my sweet Silhouette. I used the Echo Park Upscale Collection to make a gift box and onesie card:
And there you have it! A completely personalized, 100% handmade baby shower gift.

Happy crafting! :)

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Won't You Be My Valentine?

The other day I was browsing through Pinterest when this image from the incredibly talented Rhonna Farrer caught my eye:
I knew immediately what I wanted to do with this. I purchased the bundle and set to work. I selected the image I wanted to use and opened it in Photoshop. I converted the image from white text on a black background to black text on a white background. If you zoom in close on this image, you can see the edges are not smooth at all:
Photoshop sample
Since the original image is not pure black and white, and the chalkboard writing has indistinct edges, the process of selecting the white text was a bit tricky. To remedy this, after converting the image I then opened it in Illustrator and traced the image. Next, I expanded the trace to produce a vector image with paths, which I could manipulate to produce smoother text. I'll admit it was tedious, but definitely necessary:
Illustrator sample
Much better, don't you think? I exported my results as a jpeg image which I then opened in the Silhouette Studio program. Again, I traced the image and had to manipulate the settings a bit before obtaining the results I needed. 
Silhouette screenshot
Finally, I was ready to cut. My plan was to make a stencil, which I could then use to create actual chalkboard art to be framed. Since the stencil would eventually be discarded, I used some orange vinyl that I currently have no use for. Of course, this orange color does not make for pretty consider yourself warned. :)

Earlier, I had cut an 8x10 sheet of chalkboard vinyl and adhered it to the cardboard backing in my picture frame so it would be ready for the stencil. After cutting the pattern using my Silhouette, I trimmed the stencil and removed the bits that I wanted to color in:
I then used transfer paper to place the stencil over the chalkboard vinyl. Note that the transfer paper helps place the little bits that go inside the cutouts (such as the circle inside an O) in the exact right location. If you try making a stencil with regular paper instead of vinyl, you'll find these bits do not stay in place and you end up cursing yourself repeatedly. Don't ask me how I know this, lol.
And voila! my stencil was ready:
In keeping with the Valentine theme, I used a pink chalk marker to fill in the stencil:
Doesn't the pink chalk look lovely with the orange vinyl, haha. I proceeded to fill in the stencil and allowed it to dry for several hours. I then removed the vinyl, which was yet another painstaking process considering all of the teeny tiny bits involved. And finally, the project was complete. You may notice the image is not completely centered, and I am sure there are probably many other imperfections. Nonetheless, I was thrilled with the result:
I wasn't completely sure about using pink chalk with the blue frame, but I really like the way it turned out. The best part is that the vinyl chalkboard is erasable, so I can update this frame with new chalk art whenever I choose. Of course, considering the amount of time spent on this one, I have a feeling it might be hanging around for a while. :)

Monday, January 28, 2013

Sheedy Photos

Hunter and I went to Balboa Park for a photoshoot in November. I am very happy with the results; take a look and see what you think:
That's it for now. I'll be back soon with some fun projects. See you then!