Monthly Archives: January 2014

Random acts of craftiness – ugly datebook makeover

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I’m probably one of the last people on earth still using a datebook to record appointments and keep track of birthdays, etc. I expect most people have abandoned a physical book in favour of an electronic calendar on their smart phone. Since I tend to forget things, writing them down helps me remember where I supposed to be when (I also have a big calendar in the kitchen to keep track of family appointments and events).

Last year I found a datebook that was the right size (small) and the right price ($1.50) at Michaels. Problem was it was ugly, with a nasty dark plastic cover.

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Upon closer look, I realized the cover could be removed.

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A piece of scrapbook paper, glue and a roll of clear MacTac and I had a brand new, attractive datebook.

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Datebook makeover 2013

This year, I decided once again to datebook (and this time, take pictures). The datebook is 7-1/2 inches wide and 6-1/2 inches long, I added an extra 1/2 inch on all 4 sides so I had 1/4 inch to fold over. I used my scoring board to mark the fold lines.

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Of course, I made it more challenging for myself by cutting my scrapbook paper on the vertical rather than the horizontal, which meant I didn’t have enough paper to cover both the front and the back. I was able to find a complementary piece of paper in my stash. I think the end result is actually more interesting and attractive than my original idea.

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This is an easy project – it takes about 30 minutes (less if you cut your paper properly).  To ensure a smooth edge in each corner, follow the scoring lines and cut out a small square in each corner.

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Fold the long (horizontal) edge done and glue it (I used ModModge) and then glue the short (vertical) down on top. If there’s any excess, just trim with scissors.  Glue down the edges of one side of the cover at a time.

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Dab a bit of glue onto the edge and use your finger to press the paper under the spine of the book and then glue the edges on the other side.

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I only applied glue to the edges of the scrapbook paper, rather than the cover itself, as gluing paper often causes it to bubble.

To ensure that my datebook gets me through the year, I covered it in clear MacTac. Since it’s sticky, the MacTac also helps keep the scrapbook paper in place. It’s pretty easy to work with; you can pull it up and make small adjustments to smooth our bubbles or straighten up an edge.

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I found it worked best when I did one side of the cover at a time, making sure the MacTac came down as far as the scrapbook paper on the inside edge. Not only does it look neater but it also increases the durability.

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Since I used scrapbook paper from my own stash and had MacTac left over from last year, my only expense was the datebook itself. A $1.50 well spent.

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If you don’t need a datebook, you can use the same technique to personalize any kind of notebook.  Check out your local dollar store for inexpensive notebooks and have fun.

Links include: Think Pink Sundays at Flamingo Toes ; Monday Link Party at Craft-O-Maniac; Motivate Me Monday at Keeping It Simple; Making Monday Marvelous at C.R.A.F.T. ; Made by You Mondays at Skip to My Lou ; Market Yourself Monday at Sumo’s Sweet Stuff; Get Your Craft on Tuesday at Today’s Creative Blog; Tuesday To Do Part at The Blackberry Vine: Take-a-Look Tuesdays at Sugar Bee Crafts; Wednesday Wowzers at oopsy daisy; Flaunt It Fridays at Dotted Line Crafts; The Cure for the Common Monday at Lines Across My FaceSix Sisters Stuff – Strut Your Stuff Saturday

Sparkly shoes make everything better

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I love shoes. I also like bargains. So when I found a pair of black satin shoes with rhinestones on them during a pre-Christmas trip to a local thrift store, I was thrilled.

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Not only did they fit perfectly, but they looked like they’re hardly ever been worn. For $14.95, the shoes were a good deal. However, one of friends I was shopping with had a 30% off everything coupon – at $10.50, the shoes were definitely going home with me.

I bought the shoes because they were fun. I’d been looking for a pair of sparkly shoes, but most of the ones I saw in the store were a) too high b) uncomfortable or c) cheap looking. Often they were all three.  My rhinestone beauties were as nice a pair as I’d ever seen. Did I mention they only cost $10.50?

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Satin shoes aren’t exactly everyday wear, unless you attend lots of swanky parties. My social calendar is surprisingly light on fancy affairs, but with the holidays coming up, I figured there’s be at least a couple of opportunities to dress up and wear my sparkly shoes. I could also ignore the fashion police and wear them to work from time to time.

Christmas is over and I can report I did wear my shoes to a couple of parties. They were a big hit. The really great thing about my sparkly shoes is that they have rhinestones on the heels, as well as on the front. I shine, coming and going.

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What I didn’t anticipate about my shoes is how great I feel when I’m wearing them. It’s less about what else I’m wearing but the fact that every time I look down at my feet and see my shoes twinkling back at me, I smile. It’s hard to be in a bad mood when I’m wearing these shoes. Even seeing them sitting in my closet makes me happy.

While I like to pride myself on having my own personal sense of style, my wardrobe is pretty conservative. Maybe that’s why I like my sparkly shoes so much. They’re just the right amount of flash and whimsy, especially in the winter when all I seem to wear are dark colours.

Since it looks like it’s going to be a long time until spring, I imagine I’ll be digging my shoes out from time to time. Even I just wear them around the house. As far as I’m concerned, sparkly shoes are the cure for almost everything.

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Top 5 for 2013 – hits, misses and reflections

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Since it’s New Year’s Day, it seems like a good time to throw a quick glance to the year that was and look ahead to the next 364 days. I’ve been enjoying Gillian from Crafting a Rainbow’s year-end posts, so I decided to join in (albeit with my own adapted version).

Top 5 List

Misses – Learning to sew

This was top goal for 2013. And an epic fail. Despite taking sewing lessons, I never got further than making a muslin (actually 3).  I loved the pattern – Colette’s Crepe dress, but it was just not to be.

The pattern is well-used (more likely abused), but the fabric itself remains untouched by scissors.  Although the instructor suggested that the pattern was too complicated to complete over 3 classes, I expect that it was probably beyond my sewing abilities. I did finish re-fashioning a dress into a tunic (started in summer 2012) and made a funky vintage apron for a friend for her birthday (love the birds!).

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Hits – Bead blog challenges

This year, I pushed myself to participate in a number of bead challenges/blog hops. This was a bit intimidating for me since many of the people who participate in these types of challenges are professional jewelry designers.  Each one was different and I created a number of new pieces of jewelry and experimented with a number of techniques. I was particularly happy with the bracelet and necklace I put together for Bead Soup, using beads and components I received from a beader in Serbia.

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Reflections

The jury’s still out on sewing. I think I may actually like the “idea” of sewing more than actually doing it. However, I’m not willing to give up on it quite yet. I think I need to focus on smaller projects and develop my skills before tackling another pattern. I bought a new computer early in the fall and I need a case/sleeve. I’ve been hunting around the web for options, but haven’t found the “one” yet.

Vintage towel sleeve from Vintage Chica

Quilted button-up laptop case from Amy a la mode

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Or this funky laptop sleeve made from fabric scraps (Ars Technica). This one might be the front runner, since I have a pair of old corduroy pants of my husband’s that would make a sturdy outer layer for a laptop case. Plus, the pattern seems simple (famous last words).

I know that I’m happiest when I’m doing something creative – the specific project doesn’t really matter. While I certainly accomplished more in 2013 than I had in the previous year, there were periods during the year where my crafting supplies sat gathering dust. Deadlines are always a good motivator – hence the bead blog challenges and making gifts for family and friends. I’d like to find a bit more balance and use my evenings a bit more creatively, rather than watching mindless TV. I often come home and read for a couple of hours after supper and it may be difficult to resist curling up with a book, especially after a long day at work.
Inspiration and goals

I’m constantly inspired by the many amazing bloggers and artisans who share their work. A few of my favourites in 2013:

  • Andrea from Stitch Parade, who sews and knits beautifully. Last year, she tried her hand a making jewelry, with impressive results;
  • Rebecca Anderson, a Scottish jewelry designer, who has a blog and two Etsy shops. I was lucky enough to receive some waxed cotton thread from her just as I was figuring out my design for my Bead Soup necklace;
  • Gertie’s New Blog for Better Sewing – I will never sew like Gretchen but being a fan of vintage clothing, I love her outfits. Her blog posts are very informative and she has a knack for explaining complicated sewing techniques in uncomplicated terms. Plus she has pink hair!

In terms of my goals for 2013, as I noted above, I’m still going to work on my sewing. I’d also like to get back into knitting. I used to be an active knitter and fell out of the habit a number of years ago. I have a new bright red winter coat and I haven’t been able to find a hat in a complementary style/colour. Since I live in Eastern Canada and winter tends to be long (last year we had snow until early April), I figure I’ve still got time to find a pattern and yarn and make a hat before the snow melts.

I don’t have any specific goals in terms of making jewelry, but I’d like to continue to try new techniques and designs. My beading supplies are a total mess and it’s hard to find anything, so the first step is bringing some order to the chaos. Organizing is not my favourite activity, so I need to figure out a way to break the job down into manageable steps. I did manage to bring some order to my scrapbook supplies, so I know it can be done.

My biggest goal for 2014 is to enjoy what I’m doing. While I often work better when I’m under pressure, rushing to get a project done by a specific date can be stressful and often takes the fun out of it. So for 2014, I’m going to practice mindful crafting. Plan a bit more and focus on what I’m doing.

Whatever your plans are for 2014, I wish you all the best for a happy and healthy new year.