Green Tunic

So I don’t think I’ve posted anything about dyeing recently, other than my post on my first screen printing attempt.   Well I picked up some green Tulip “Fabric Dye” in the Walmart clearance section the other day for 50 cents.  I can hardly resist anything that costs 50 cents, and it seemed like fun (these little packets of dye normally cost 3 or 4 dollars each – crazy mark up)!

Well I glanced quickly at the back before purchasing it and saw it says it works best on cotton, rayon and silk which are all natural fibers.  I guessed it must be fiber reactive, one of my favorite dyes to use since it means I can use it for shibori (the Japanese art of knotting, folding and binding fabric before dyeing to produce beautiful results).  Further research suggested I was right that it is a form of fiber reactive dye.

I received this awesome pattern from burdastyle for free a couple months ago and have been waiting to try it.  You all know how much I am into hippie chic lately.  I decided to whip up the pattern in some bleached linen (a natural fiber made from flax) I had purchased months ago from fabric-store.com on clearance, then dye it in shibori style.  (For the record, tie dye is a form of shibori, so this whole project is just a thinly veiled crunchy clothing tutorial.)

Shibori Tunic

Materials:

  • 2.25 yards of linen or natural material (like cotton)
  • 100% cotton thread
  • Tulip Permanent Fabric Dye
  • Rubber Elastics
  • 1/4 C salt
  • A plastic bucket
  • A stirring implement
  • Rubber Gloves
  1.  Prepare the tunic – (sew front darts, side seams, shoulder seams, sleeves and set in sleeves). Also prepare the collar and front, but do not attach to the body of the tunic.  I also basted along the neck seam since the dye bath washes out the water soluble marker I use.

    Plain linen tunic without finished collar, sleeves or bottom.

    Plain linen tunic without finished collar, sleeves or bottom.

  2. I decided to dye the collar and sleeve hems solid green, but shibori the rest of the dress.  I chose to try a folding shibori pattern, which I’ve actually never tried before. To do this, accordion fold the fabric the long ways.

    Fold shirt accordion style.

    Fold shirt accordion style.

  3. I also used an iron to press the fabric.
  4. Then accordion fold the length into triangles.

    Fold into triangles accordion style and secure with rubber bands.

    Fold into triangles accordion style and secure with rubber bands.

  5. When you reach the end, secure the fabric with rubber bands.
  6. Next prepare your dye.  This Tulip Fabric dye required me to boil a gallon of water and mix with salt.

    Add salt to steaming water.

    Add salt to steaming water.

  7. Add the dye in and stir.  Make sure your area is completely covered since fiber reactive dye will permanently dye any natural surface (such as wood floors…)

    Add dye to bath.

    Add dye to bath.

  8. Once combined add your fabric to the dye and stir continuously for 15 minutes.
  9. After that, stir periodically for another 45 minutes.20160822_221205
  10. Wash in cold water until the water runs clear.

    Rinse in cold water.

    Rinse in cold water.

  11. I then hung my pieces to dry.

    Hang to dry. (Ignore all the projects in my messy basement)

    Hang to dry. (Ignore all the projects in my messy basement)

  12. Once dry, I finished my tunic neckline, sleeves, and bottom seam following the pattern instructions.

    Finish tunic neckline, sleeves and bottom hem.

    Finish tunic neckline, sleeves and bottom hem.

  13. When complete I threw it in the washing machine on warm with synthrapol to remove any additional dye that had not adhered to the fabric.
20160823_224509

Voila! DIY Shibori tunic! I think folding may be my new favorite shibori technique!

Posted in Crafts & Sewing | Leave a comment

Close but no cigar

So today’s project is awesome.  At least I hope it is, it’s processing right now.  Well anyway I am going to blame Stranger Things for it not being done on time, but its really just hats and Lexi’s time management skills.  Check back tomorrow, I promise it will be done.

What are you going to do instead?  Well you can instead browse this hilarious webcomic from our friend Caldwell if you haven’t already found it on the internet.  Start with my personal favorite.

Oh and some of you may have noticed that I’m late announcing the winners of July’s give away.  You all win.  Anyone who answered the contest gets a hat.  I just have to make them first, so all bets are off on if Pokemon will still be in style by then.

Posted in Crafts & Sewing | Leave a comment

Lavender Lip Balm

It was so hot this weekend.  It was around 95 every day but according to the weather websites it “felt like 104”.  I can tell you that it actually felt like being slowly roasted alive.  I don’t know how anyone goes outside of their air conditioned houses further to the south.  My parents live on a little cottage on a lake in the summer which is great and relaxing.  The one downside is that the cottage lacks air conditioning (or heat).  When the outside temperature hits 90 degrees I turn into a blob.  A whiny, irritable blob.  I needed to be productive this weekend and I just could not bring myself to do anything.

Luckily when we went back to our air conditioned house I was recharged enough to finally make some lavender lip balm for the June Give Away!  A bit late I know!  I made this recipe slightly differently from the last batch of lavender honey lip balm.  The problem with the version I made last time is that the honey eventually separated from the lip balm emulsion and became a weird liquidy mess.  It smelled nice, but was not very pleasantly textured and actually kind of grainy on your lips.  This version is just beeswax and oil based, with none of the honey.

Months ago I had refined some beeswax taken during several of my hive visits.  To refine the wax I simply wash the comb gently in water, then put it in a metal coffee can or glass canning jar in a water bath.  I bring the water to a gentle simmer and let the wax melt.  After it is completely melted I let it cool slightly then pour the wax through cheesecloth into a clean plastic container.  When cooled you can pop the wax out of the container much like you do ice cubes in an ice tray.

Finished lip balm

Finished lip balm

Lavender Beeswax Lip Balm

What you need:

  • 1/2 oz of beeswax
  • 4 Tbsp sweet almond oil (or any other cooking oil such as coconut, olive or )
  • vitamin e oil (a couple drops)
  • lavender essential oil (a few drops)
  • clean glass jar (I use an old jar from pasta sauce)
  • 8 .25 oz lip balm containers (sanitized and dry)

    Ingredients

    Ingredients

  1.  Weight .5 oz of beeswax into a container.  If you are using a block of beeswax you will have to gently shave this into the container until you reach .5 oz.

    Weight .5 oz of beeswax

    Weight .5 oz of beeswax

  2. Add the beeswax and 4 Tbsp of almond oil to your clean glass jar.  Place in a pot of water and slowly bring water to a boil.

    Mix beeswax and almond oil in a jar in hot water bath

    Mix beeswax and almond oil in a jar in hot water bath

  3. Swish oil and beeswax around in the jar until melted.  (You should probably use gloves for this, I just have teflon hands.)

    Swish oil and wax until melted.

    Swish oil and wax until melted.

  4. Remove from heat and take a clean teaspoon to remove a teaspoons worth of liquid.

    Test lip gloss consistency.  This looks and feels great.

    Test lip gloss consistency. This looks and feels great.

  5. Let cool and test for consistency.  If it is too liquidy, melt in more beeswax; if it is too firm add more oil.
  6. When you have reached the desired consistency (I did not make any additions) remove the jar from heat and swirl in 2 drops of vitamin e oil and 4 drops lavender oil.  Note that you can use ANY type of essential oil you desire.  I just happen to like lavender…
  7. Pour liquid into your clean lip balm containers and let cool completely.

    Wait for lip balm to cool before capping jars.

    Wait for lip balm to cool before capping jars.

  8. Cap and give away to your friends!

    Finished lip balm

    Finished lip balm

Posted in Beekeeping, Crafts & Sewing | 2 Comments

Oh So Stylish DIY Badge Holder

So the other day I noticed I had a pack of 10 badge holders in my Amazon shopping cart.  Weird.  I didn’t remember putting them there.  I thought I must have had them in there from DanyCon since I was toying around with the idea of making everyone lanyards and badges, but knew I had purchased things since then.  I promptly deleted them because clearly I was going crazy.

The next day Will was complaining about how often he has to replace the little plastic thing holding his work badge.  Ah.  Will was the culprit.  He said those were the “sturdiest” holders he could find (though they really didn’t look particularly sturdy).  That made me think back to when I was at college.  In school I carried my student ID around everywhere with me on a lanyard.  That ID holder was made of leather and was super durable.  I never had to replace it once in 4 years.  That got my thinking, “I could make that”…

Yesterday at the summer house an inner tube popped so I asked my dad for part of the plastic as he was tossing it in the trash.  He probably thought I was crazy because he said something like “you can have the whole thing if you really want it…”  The plastic is perfect for the see-through window on the badge holder, and was thick enough to sew through without ripping!  Plus I saved a few inches of plastic from the landfill… and was able to use up some scrap fabric and interfacing!  Here’s how to make your own!

blurred

DIY Badge/ID Holder

What you need:

  • 1 square foot of fabric
  • a small rectangle of thick malleable plastic (less than 6×4″)
  • a small rectangle of Peltex Pellon 70 ultra firm stabilizer (less than 6×4″)
  • a small rectangle of medium weight fusible interfacing (less than 6×4″)
  • a 1/2″ diameter plastic ring (like the ones used for roman shades)
  • 1 snap
  1. Cut a 4″ x 2 5/16″ rectangle of pellon 70 and a 6 1/2 x 5″ rectangle of fabric.

    Cut peltex and fabric

    Cut peltex and fabric

  2. Fold the width-wise edges of the fabric up the sides of the interfacing.  My trick with interfacing is that instead of using pins, which are difficult to use with such thick interfacing, I use tiny binder clips.  They save so much time!

    Hold interfacing and fabric with binder clips for easy sewing.

    Hold interfacing and fabric with binder clips for easy sewing.

  3. Press.

    Press

    Press

  4. Fold the fabric up around the interfacing & clip

    Fold fabric up

    Fold fabric up

  5. Press.

    Press

    Press

  6. Fold the ugly (side you’ll put on the inside) edge of the fabric up over the top of the interfacing.

    Wrap "bad" side of fabric around interfacing.

    Wrap “bad” side of fabric around interfacing.

  7. Fold in the edges like you would an envelope so the fabric will not show.

    Fold in edges so they will not show.

    Fold in edges so they will not show.

  8. Press.

    Press

    Press

  9. Fold the good side of the fabric over onto the bad side of the badge (this will be hidden when we attach the front).

    Fold "good" side of fabric over "bad" side of fabric.

    Fold “good” side of fabric over “bad” side of fabric.

  10. Stitch all around the outside, close to the edge.  This is the back of your badge holder.

    Stitch 1/8" from the edge.

    Stitch 1/8″ from the edge.

  11. Take the back of your badge holder and trace around this on a piece of fusible interfacing.  Cut out the interfacing a mm or so larger than the traced rectangle.

    Trace badge holder back onto interfacing, cut slightly larger than this.

    Trace badge holder back onto interfacing, cut slightly larger than this.

  12. Cut out a square of fabric 1/2″ larger than the rectangle in every direction.
  13. Measure 1/2″ up from the interfacing on each side and draw lines forming a frame.

    Draw a 1/2" frame on interfacing.

    Draw a 1/2″ frame on interfacing.

  14. Cut a “v” in the interfacing from one corner of the inside rectangle to the adjacent corner.

    Cut "v"s up to the frame on both sides.

    Cut “v”s up to the frame on both sides.

  15. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse interfacing to fabric.

    Fuse interfacing to fabric

    Fuse interfacing to fabric

  16. Cut your “v” shapes from step 14 into the fabric taking care not to cut further than the interfacing.

    Cut "v"s into fabric

    Cut “v”s into fabric

  17. Fold and press the sides, forming mitered edges (see instructions in this post).  Trim the fabric so it comes just to the edge of the “frame” you drew in step 13.

    Fold and press up sides, forming mitered corners

    Fold and press up sides, forming mitered corners

  18. Fold the inner pieces outwards, press, trim to slightly smaller than the outside of the rectangle and binder clip.

    Fold inner pieces out, forming a frame.

    Fold inner pieces out, forming a frame.

  19. Repeat for all 4 sides.

    Trim and clip then repeat for all 4 sides.

    Trim and clip then repeat for all 4 sides.

  20. Sew 1/8″ from the center of the frame, all around the face of the badge holder.

    Stitch 1/8" from the inside of the frame.

    Stitch 1/8″ from the inside of the frame.

  21. Cut a piece of plastic slightly smaller than the width of the “frame”.

    Cut a piece of plastic smaller than the frame.

    Cut a piece of plastic smaller than the frame.

  22. Center the plastic on the back of the frame, place a piece of waxed paper over it (this will prevent the plastic from sticking to your presser foot) and binder clip.

    Add waxed paper over the plastic to prevent it from sticking.

    Add waxed paper over the plastic to prevent it from sticking.

  23. Stitch 1/8″ from the outside of the “frame” all around.

    Stitch 1/8" from the outside edge of the frame.

    Stitch 1/8″ from the outside edge of the frame.

  24. Remove the waxed paper by tearing.

    Tear off waxed paper.

    Tear off waxed paper.

  25. Add a plastic ring to the back piece by stitching back and forth over the ring.

    Attach ring

    Attach ring

  26. Place the frame of your badge holder over the wrong side of your badge holder back.20160808_222019
  27. Stitch on top of the outer stitching, taking care to leave the top side opened (so you can put your badge in).
  28. Add a snap at the top of the badge holder between the top edge of the “frame” and the back.

    Add snap

    Add snap

  29. Enjoy!

    blurred2

    Looks especially great on a mannequin wearing a long black cloak as shown here.

Posted in Crafts & Sewing | 2 Comments

Long live the queen!

Crazy day today with the bees!  Simon ordered some queens from a local beekeeper so I jumped on his order and got one as well since last time I checked Ingrid had perished.  Well today, after I received the queen, I had this grand plan to take 5 frames out of my flourishing hive and put them in the dying hive and install the new queen.

"Please let me meet the queen mom, I don't even need a bee suit, see." (Dany is a little too curious about bees.)

“Please let me meet the queen mom, I don’t even need a bee suit, see.” (Dany is a little too curious about bees.)

Well the first issue I had was that Betsy’s (flourishing) hive had produced SO MUCH HONEY that I could not lift the top deep.  Crap.  I am not a weakling either, so this thing must have weighted nearly 100 lbs.    I guess this is a good problem to have, but my hive visits are not going to be very useful anymore.  The other problem is that I could no longer get to the bottom deep to extract some frames of brood.  Great.  So I threw a queen excluder and a shallow super on top and called it a day.

Betsy's hive "bearding" (hanging out outside the hive to keep cool). You should have seen them when it was 95 out! It was only 70 out today!

Betsy’s hive “bearding” (hanging out outside the hive to keep cool). You should have seen them when it was 95 out! It was only 70 out today!

The second hive seemed to have a rather large amount of activity going on, considering these bees have been queenless for a month.  Odd.  I opened that hive up and unlike the barren wasteland I expected to see, I saw 5 full frames of brood!  Odd, but awesome!  And then I saw her!  A new queen!  I had purchased Ingrid as a marked queen so she had a white spot on her back.  This big beauty had no mark to be found.  They must have created emergency cells from some of the remaining larvae and built their own queen!  When the bees recognize they are queenless, they can create a queen by building out an ordinary cell and feeding royal jelly to the larvae inside.  I am guessing/hoping she mated with my second hive too!  (Seems like good sperm since that hive is so populous!)

Some beekeepers would probably suggest I re-queen the hive where the second queen was produced.  To those beekeepers my response is firstly, it is August 4th.  It takes around 7-10 days to accept a new queen, and by that point they may miss out on this nectar flow from this week’s rain.  Secondly, my record with queen acceptance is PITIFUL (see this post and this post).  Thirdly, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.  And finally THEY MADE THAT QUEEN.  Long live the Queen, long live Queen Renée!

Renee's hive - steady stream of bees at the entrance reducer (I removed this when I left).

Renee’s hive – steady stream of bees at the entrance reducer (I removed this when I left).

Now what to do with this third queen?

 

Posted in Beekeeping | Leave a comment

Lexi’s Crock Pot Teriyaki Chicken

Have I raved about chicken thighs on this blog yet?  I don’t know that I have.  I discovered them a couple years back and have been in love ever since (and don’t get me started on turkey thighs).  I know it is silly to say “discovered” because surely I had realized chickens had thighs, right?  Well I did, but I didn’t realize you could buy them in super cheap bulk packs for next to nothing, and that they were like heaven after sitting in a crock pot all day.

My go-to recipe for chicken thighs is for “Salsa Chicken” which is quite literally the easiest recipe ever (see the food section of this blog entry for the steps which are to basically dump a can of salsa in with some chicken thighs).  The recipe makes the best chicken tacos known to man and the most difficult part is shredding the chicken!  Another great thing about chicken thighs is that you can stick them in the freezer and pop them directly out of the freezer and into the crock pot with no issue!  Then last week chicken thighs were $.88 a pound at the grocery store (I know, right?).  All this got me to thinking… what else can I do with chicken thighs and a crock pot?

Here’s the next recipe I’ve come up with and I think its a hit.  Come fall I’ll work on some more…

Chicken Teriyaki

Crock Pot Chicken Teriyaki

Crock Pot Teriyaki Chicken Thighs

You will need:

  • 3/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 cloves garlic, halved
  • 4-6 chicken thighs (frozen)
  • 1 Tbsp corn starch

Place chicken thighs in crock pot.  Mix together first 5 ingredients, pour over chicken in crock pot.  Cook on low 8 hours.

Mix first 5 ingredients and pour over chicken

Mix first 5 ingredients and pour over chicken

Cook on low 8 hours

Cook on low 8 hours

When the chicken is finished, pour sauce into gravy separator.  Let sit for a few minutes then pour the sauce into a saucepan over high heat.  When it starts to bubble, lower the temperature to medium and add 1 Tbsp corn starch mixed with 1 Tbsp water.  Stir until mixture thickens.  Pour thickened sauce over chicken then serve.

Thicken sauce and pour over chicken

Thicken sauce and pour over chicken

Posted in Culinary Delights | 2 Comments

Yoga Mat Transport (and July Give Away)

So I accidentally ate KFC today.  Well not accidentally, it was pre-meditated.  I did walk in and purchase it before I ate it.  I even had a rousing conversation with the guy at the counter about my favorite types of Mountain Dew.  Anyway, never again.  (That’s what I say every time.)

I was going some where with this… oh yeah!  So its not all that bad because I did yoga today at lunch, and that might counteract some of the terribleness of eating that delicious chicken deep fried in lard.  Maybe.

Yesterday I had an epiphany about yoga.  If you’ve read my other blog posts, you’ll notice that I attempted to start meditating to relieve the horrible tension headaches I was getting during my last project at work.  The problem with meditation is that you have to just sit there and do nothing.  I mean, I know that’s the whole point, don’t get me wrong.  If you’ve met me, you’ll know I can’t just sit in once place and do nothing.  Frankly I will go one step further and say it kills me to not multitask.  Well yoga fixes that!  I am focusing on my breath while mindfully moving (doing exercise)!  It is the perfect combination of relaxation+exercise multitasking that a type A person like myself would enjoy.  And did I mention I can touch my toes now?!  I’m all in.

Yoga has lots of “stuff” that you can buy to go along with it, but aside from some pants that you won’t moon anyone in a mat is really all you need.  I now own two mats, one for home and one that I keep at work.  Recently my best buddy has been lamenting her yoga mat bag’s functionality because the mat sticks to the sides when she tries to insert it.  That got me to thinking.  Below is a “bag” pattern to hold your yoga mat!

The circumference of my mat at home is 15″.  The mat is 5mm thick, so this is pretty large.  You can change the size slightly to accommodate your mat, though using long strips of velcro allows you to adjust the size considerably.

Yoga Mat Carrier

What you’ll need:

  • ~1/2 yard of scrap fabric (I used some leftover from the curtains in our lounge)
  • 2.5 yards of 1″ thick nylon heavy webbing
  • 1 foot of velcro
  • thread to match
  1. Cut a 22×16″ rectangle of your fabric.
  2. Press the sides under 1/2″ then under 1/2″ again.

    Fold edges under and press

    Fold edges under and press

  3. Fold out the corners.  Snip the corner off at the first intersection of your folds.

    Snip off corner at first intersection

    Snip off corner at first intersection

  4. Fold the rest of the corner over at the inner most intersection of your folds. Then fold the edges under 1/2″ and under 1/2″ again following the original folds.

    Mitered corners

    Mitered corners

  5. Repeat for all 4 corners.  Pin & stitch

    Pin and stitch edges

    Pin and stitch edges

  6. Cut a 10×5.5″ rectangle of fabric for your pocket.  Press the top under 1/4″ and then under 1/4″ again.  Stitch.

    Fold under one side of the pocket.

    Fold under one side of the pocket.

  7. Fold the sides in 1 1/4″.  Press & stitch 1/4″ from the unfinished edge.

    Fold sides in. (Check out my adorable ruler slap bracelet!)

    Fold sides in. (Check out my adorable ruler slap bracelet!)

  8. Fold large rectangle for the bag in half to find the center.  Pin the unfinished edge of the pocket slightly above this line. Stitch.

    This picture is slightly wrong... You should have stitched the folded in sides so they shouldn't be flopping around.

    This picture is slightly wrong… You should have stitched the folded in sides so they shouldn’t be flopping around.

  9. Pin the sides of the pocket and stitch (you may have to turn the pocket inside out to do this).

    Pin sides of pocket to bag.

    Pin sides of pocket to bag.

  10. Attach a 1″ piece of velcro to the pocket.

    Attach velcro to inside of pocket.

    Attach velcro to inside of pocket.

  11. Attach a 3.5″ piece of velcro vertically to the edge of each side of the top of the “bag” on the the right side of the fabric.
  12. Attach the other half of the 3.5″ piece of velcro on the edge of each side of the bottom of the “bag” on the wrong side of the fabric.
  13. Take your nylon webbing and cut it in two equal length pieces.  Toast the edges slightly with a lighter to prevent fraying.

    Burn edges to prevent fraying

    Burn edges to prevent fraying

  14. Once again fold fabric in half and pin one end of the webbing to one side at the fold.  Take the other end of the webbing and overlap the pinned end by an inch.  Replace your pin.  Make sure your strap is not twisted.  Repeat with other side.

    Attach handles to bag.

    Attach handles to bag.  Note that I marked where to stop sewing with the perpendicular pins.

  15. Stitch both straps on the edge from 2 inches below the velcro to 2 inches below the velcro on the other side.

Enjoy!

Go yoga.

Go yoga.

To roll up your yoga mat lay the rectangle flat and put the yoga bag through the straps.  pull side with pocket up first around mat snuggly, then wrap the other side around securing to the velcro.  You can put your yoga strap in the front pocket!

Insert mat through straps

Insert mat through straps

Roll rectangular section around mat, securing with velcro.

Roll rectangular section around mat, securing with velcro.

 

Now for the part you have been waiting for!  Thank you for the June contest entries… I will be contacting you in the coming week.  Our July give away is going to be centered around Pokemon… I’ll be giving away several hats similar to the one I made here (though they will be solid black with a pokeball).  If you’d like to enter, post a comment (by August 15th) with an answer to the following question – Is Lexi pulling off that red lipstick above? Just kidding, tell me your favorite Pokemon and why!  Bonus points if you can guess my favorite pokemon. :D  Bonus bonus points if you can guess my favorite flavor of Mountain Dew (Will you are disqualified from answering both of the bonus questions).

 

Posted in Crafts & Sewing | 12 Comments

One day late

My shopping consultant neglected to pick up a key component for today’s project so I cannot finish it yet.  I’ll put the post up tomorrow night, complete with July’s contest… so check back Wednesday morning!

Posted in Crafts & Sewing | Leave a comment

Stone Inlaid Dog Water Bowl Mat

We have this fabulous little robot named Bert who cleans our floors.  He is pretty good at it and doesn’t complain much.  He does get a little confused sometimes and crashes into things.  Will tends to scold him for this.  I have told Will that he shouldn’t yell so much at Bert or he will be first on Bert’s hit list when the inevitable Robopocalypse occurs.  Once they allow self driving cars and drones it will only be a matter of time.

Sorry I digress, back to Bert crashing into things.  The one thing he really struggles with is Dany’s food and water bowls.  We have a nice little mat under the food and water bowls to protect our wood floors and keep the area underneath them clean and dry.  Unfortunately Bert likes to get on top of this mat and drag it around until the water bowl tips over and the entire floor is soaked.  Maybe he thinks he is a mopping robot, I’m not really sure, but he makes a big mess and is starting to ruin my hardwood floors.

Bert the robot attacking the water bowls.

Bert the robot attacking the water bowl

The problem in actuality is that the lip of the water bowl mat is so low that Bert’s front wheels get up and over it with no problem.  If it were a bit higher Bert’s front bumper would hit it and he would go around it.  For a while I’ve been wanting to get a new dog bowl stand to prevent this problem, but Dany is so low the ground that I think a raised one would be too high for her.  What I settled on was making a slightly raised platform/mat out of some scrap wood and leftover tiles from my backsplash.  I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.  You can follow my instructions below to make your own!

Stone Inlaid Dog Water Bowl Matdog_water_bowl

What you’ll need:

  • 3/4″ thick piece of scrap wood cut down to size 12×18
  • 3/4″ thick piece of slightly nicer wood (you’ll need 2 pieces 19.5″ long x 1.25″ wide and 2 pieces 13.5″ long x 1.25″ wide)
  • Stone tiles to fit the 12×18″ space (I used leftover tumbled travertine from my backsplash that I sealed with stone sealer)
  • polyurethane
  • stain
  • 8 1 1/2″ finishing nails
  • Wood glue
  • Mastic
  • Grout
  1. Cut your first piece of wood to 12″x18″.  I did this using a new device recommended to me by my best pal Amy.  Since I only have a circular saw it is difficult to make perfectly straight cuts.  I bought this clamp guide to help guide my saw along while I cut.  It worked great!

    Circular saw guide

    Circular saw guide

  2. Cut your nicer pieces of wood into 2 pieces 19.5″ long x 1.25″ wide and 2 pieces 13.5″ long x 1.25″ wide.  I don’t have a picture of this because I went to my dad’s house to use his table saw to do this.  Unfortunately we didn’t have a ripping blade on the saw when we did that and we set off all the fire alarms in the house.  I might be blacklisted from my dad’s tool shop now…
  3. Using a miter box, cut each end at a 45 degree angle.
  4. Sand and stain your nicer pieces of wood in your desired shade.  I matched my kitchen cabinets which are the dreaded red oak.

    Stain side pieces

    Stain side pieces

  5. After stain has dried apply polyurethane over the stain.  Let dry completely and sand between each coat.  I applied 3 coats total.  Debatably I could have done this after assembling.
    Stain side pieces

    Apply polyurethane

    Sand between coats

    Sand between coats

  6. Map out your stone layout on the base piece of wood.  Make sure no tiles hang off the edge.
  7. Cut tiles down to size.  For this I started using a diamond dust hacksaw blade, but this took forever.  For the rest of the tiles I simply scored the tile using the hacksaw blade then used a chisel to break it clean off.
    Score tile with diamond blade saw

    Score tile with diamond blade saw

    Use chisel to break tile

    Use chisel to break tile

    Split tile

    Split tile

  8. Apply wood glue to the edge of the long sides of the base.  Clamp long strips of wood to this.  Let dry.
    Apply wood glue

    Apply wood glue

    Clamp sides to base

    Clamp sides to base

  9. Repeat for shorter sides of the base, this time also gluing the angles where they meet.  Let dry.
  10. Because I’m paranoid that the glue might not be strong enough I also tapped in a couple finishing nails on each side of the base.

    Add finishing nails

    Add finishing nails

  11. Apply mastic to the base of the stand at the proper depth as per your mastic’s instructions.  You’ll see I didn’t have the proper trowel to do this, so don’t follow my method. :)
  12. Apply tiles over the mastic, pressing tiles gently into the mastic.  Repeat for all tiles.

    Apply mastic and tiles

    Apply mastic and tiles

  13. Let mastic dry overnight (or whatever the instructions say).
  14. Mix grout to a thick icing like texture.  Insert into a zip lock baggy and cut the tip off (like a pastry bag).  This is the technique that worked the best for my dad & I when using the tumbled travertine tiles.  Normally you’d use a trowel to apply the grout and press and wipe the grout over the face of the tiles using a grout float.  Unfortunately this fills in all the beautiful imperfections in the travertine tile.  I tried scrubbing them with a brush, but they never looked the same again. 

    Mix grout to icing-like texture

    Mix grout to icing-like texture

  15. Pipe the grout in the space between the tiles, avoiding the face of the tiles.

    Pipe grout in between tiles

    Pipe grout in between tiles

  16. Using the edge of a grout float, press and smooth the grout into the cracks.  (I did not have a grout float anymore so I just used a paper towel and my finger (similar to how you apply caulk).

    Press grout into cracks

    Press grout into cracks

  17. Use a very slightly dampened sponge (or again in my case paper towel) to wipe the face of the tiles.

    Wipe tiles

    Wipe tiles with slightly dampened cloth

  18. Let dry overnight then enjoy!20160717_142801

Stay tuned next week for the July Give-Away!  I think you Pokemon lovers will be excited!

Posted in Home Improvement | Leave a comment

Pokemania

So all my free time right now is pretty much consumed by Pokemon Go.  I’m mostly joking, but in all honesty, Will & I have been going out every night to hit up Pokestops.  Super silly.  We went out to main street in Clinton at 10:30pm on Friday and there were at least 20 other people doing the exact same thing.   After departing a conversation with one of the other groups, we heard one of them remark “I never thought anything like this would happen in our lifetimes!”  Again very silly.  But seriously, if you played red or blue as a child this game was literally made for you.   You know you always wanted to catch pokemon in the real world.  And now you can!

As an example of how great it is, Saturday we went to my parent’s summerhouse and went out in the paddleboat to catch water pokemon.  Totally worked, look at a couple I caught…

Pokemon on the Lake

Fishing for Pokemon on the Lake

A wild magikarp appeared!

A wild magikarp appeared!

A wild poliwag appeared!

A wild poliwag appeared!

Well given all the pokemania – I thought I would post something pokemon related.  I am fairly short on time (what with leveling up all my pokemon and becoming a pokemon master) so I decided to refashion a hat and add an embroidered pokeball to it.  I will never attempt to re-make a baseball cap again.  Everything was super easy except the brim.  I redid the brim about 45 times until I got something that even looked remotely okay.  The problem was in finishing the hat they had trimmed the excess material, making it impossible to stitch it back together properly.  Never again.

I’ll try to post the tutorial for re-doing a hat later this week in case anyone is adventurous, but for now here’s a free embroidery file of a pokeball for you to adorn everything with.  You’ll need to change the extension from .zip to .pes.  Though it is fully functional and looks great, it is really not a great example of elegant machine embroidery, so I’ll try to post a less teflon-tough version when pokemon mania subsides.

http://www.ladybeekeeper.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/pokemon.zip

Go Team Blue!

pokemon_hat

How to Refashion a Baseball Cap into a Pokemon Trainer Hat

What you need:

  • embroidery machine and the embroidery file here (rename from .zip to .pes)
  • red and white embroidery thread
  • old baseball cap (I used a hat Will got from a friend’s wedding since Will doesn’t wear hats – I still have mine Matt & Maren ;) )
  • thick white material (like canvas)
  • recycled pattern paper
  • white thread
  • seam ripper
  1. First you’ll need to disassemble the hat starting at the little button on top. I found that you could remove the two pieces of the button by using a screw driver.

    Pry off metal button

    Pry off metal button

  2. Begin removing the brim and front panel of the hat. This is all you’ll want to remove.  Make sure to keep the hat band intact when you remove the front panel and brim.  You’ll want to take pictures so you can remember how to put it all back together as it may be slightly different than my hat.
  3. Take the front piece and lay it flat, tracing a pattern for your new front panel.

    Remove the front panel of the hat

    Remove the front panel of the hat, trace for new pattern

  4. Trace your pattern on the white canvas, leaving room for 1/2″ of seam allowance all around.
  5. Using your embroidery machine and a 4×4″ hoop, stitch the pokeball in the center of your canvas panel, switching colors from red to white when prompted.

    Embroider pokeball on front panel

    Embroider pokeball on front panel

  6. Cut out your pattern leaving 1/2″ seam allowance all around. Cut a slit at the top of the hat like the original panel.

    Cut out front panel

    Cut out front panel

  7. Overlap the two edges of the slit and stitch closed, forming a three dimensional panel for your forehead.

    Pin dart at front of hat

    Pin dart at front of hat

  8. Pin each side of the panel to each side front of the hat, making sure to line up the point properly.

    Pin front panel

    Pin front panel

  9. Sew each side.

    Stitch front panel

    Stitch front panel

  10. Top stitch slightly to the inside of where you just stitched on the front panel sides.

    Top stitch

    Top stitch

  11. Reattach the brim by pinning the brim right sides together to the outside of the front panel of the hat. This was the biggest challenge for me because I could not fit the brim between the feed dogs and the presser foot.
  12. After I got it to sit as nice as possible, I made it look a bit better by top stitching along the edge of the brim and the front panel.
  13. Finally reattach the button. (I just tapped the two pieces together with a hammer.)

20160711_235626

Posted in Crafts & Sewing | 7 Comments