Crafts Archive

The Internet Project Roundup

There’s an amazing process I’ve observed here on the internet. We have the ability to make stuff and share it with other people, or admire things other people have made. We post about it on our blogs, put it on twitter, bookmark it via Delicious, with the intention of making it ourselves or giving a hat tip to someone’s effort. There are people around the world, who you and I will never talk to, will probably never meet and may otherwise not exist at all except that they shared one thing with the web that they made and then allowed it to take on a life of its own. It’s those recipes, ideas, tutorials and inspirational blog posts that help me decide to do with my extra 10 pounds of tomatoes or make me search for project-specific materials in the area. This post is for you, oh contributors to the internet. And to the readers and makers of said projects, for actually taking the initiative to start and finish the projects in imitation and collboration.

Here’s what I’ve made recently:

Spicy Roasted Tomato & Black Bean Soup from Poppytalk and Jeannette Ordas of Everybody likes Sandwiches

This soup was simple, delicious and easy to make. Head over to Poppytalk for the full recipe but it was essentially roasting tomatoes, garlic and peppers set to simmer in sauteed onions, celery and chicken stock with an after addition of black beans. After tasting post-roast, I only used 1 Poblano pepper and substituted the dollop of sour cream with some queso fresco. It was so hearty, the end result was deceptively like was veggie chili. Best part of this recipe? Leftover soup and getting to use a CSA Poblano, tomatoes and basil in it.

Leather chain necklace tutorial by Cucumbersome

For this next project, I sadly don’t have a photo of the finished necklace. My sister had an important birthday last week and in my rush to overnight her a birthday package (featuring almond and orange biscotti dipped in chocolate and this necklace), the camera was left behind in the rush. It turned out fantastically! Sister loved it and I loved it. Perhaps I’ll snag a pic of it in the next few months when I see her. I’d strongly recommend heading out to your local scrap shop (like I did) and picking up some leather pieces to make it.

My only tweak would be to look for thinner leather as it seems my grey was significantly thicker than what Cucumbersome features in her tutorial. The template you print up also was no where near scale that she had mentioned so this necklace so you end up sizing it yourself. That means there are quite a few size variations you could try. I’d like to try making the necklace with both smaller and larger chains. I closed by necklace loop by cutting the bottom looped chain in half at the center and re-gluing it together with the lead chain inside of it.

Both these projects were fun and I’d recommend not only the recipe and tutorial but the fantastic Poppytalk and Cucumbersome as blogs to follow. Enough about me, what’d you make last week? What’s up to bat in your craft room or kitchen for this week?

Makin’ Vs. Writin’

Some days feel more like creating days than talking about it days. Ya dig?

I had one of those days yesterday afternoon. While watching some Dexter- Season 2 with the worst hangover in recent memory, I snipped quite happily for hours and turned out a few more cards. Most are for a birthday but I’m experimenting with new objects. What do you think? I’m pretty pleased with how they came out, the pho card especially. NOTE TO SELF: go get a damn glue stick. That wet stuff leaves a wee bit of markage.

Destination Oakland: Depot for Awesome

I hit the motherload yesterday. Most people might not consider it a motherload, and perhaps this is a Motherload: Population 1- type situation. But definitely, a motherload was hit. And it was MINE MINE GLORIOUS ALL MINE.

Last week, the fine people of the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse sent out a newsletter.  “Who the hell is that?” you ask. It’s a creative mecca so full of possibility and potential that if you look around enough and are of the creative persuasion, you will have a panic attack. It’s a store of crafter’s supply potpourri (second definition).

So in this email newsletter, they said “We’re having a very special Vintage sale!” and then listed some of the items. Immediately my eyeballs popped at this line:

  • Incredible hand-printed Art Deco/ Art Nouveau wallpaper rolls

As a relentless cheapskate and bargain-hunter, this was NEWS INDEED! Except I didn’t make it to their sale last weekend. In fact, I probably wouldn’t have gone at all except there was another newsletter. And this time, a %-off opportunity included. So I packed up my little day bag and headed to Oakland yesterday. To the Bart-mobile!

As you might’ve seen on twitter, I kind of freaked out. If you faced THIS, you’d flip your business too, guaranteed. And that was about half of the stash. After hyperventilating a bit, time to dig in.

At this point, you’re probably wondering why a generally sane person would freak over some smelly, flaky old wall coverings. Since buying the book Wallpaper Projects: 50 Craft and Design Ideas for Your Home, from Accents to Art from local authors and Curiosity Shoppe owners Lauren Smith and Derek Fagerstrom, I’ve kept my eye open for some fun papers to make stuff with. There are vintage wallpapers on etsy but nothing I’m willing to pay for and have shipped (although come to think of it, I’m sure my BART fare to and fro was probably the same $ as shipping, ah perspective). Here’s the loot!

Ain’t they just the pretties bunch of prints you’ve seen? I can imagine a million things to do with this wallpaper but I want to hear your ideas. The paper is pretty brittle but I know that just the right treatment will help display and preserve them for years to come. Seriously, tell me tell me tell me. There’s a lot of paper here, so if you’re partial to one print and have a good idea, I could potentially hook you up. But you gotta tell me first! Comment, email or twitter will do.

And because you can’t hang out at the Creative Reuse Depot without picking up other gems, observe the magic..

More old calendars for envelopes!

A few psychedelic-printed band folders from a local music shop for framing! (click them for greater detail)

Two A+ patterns, comin’ to gitcha frilly shirt and bag!

Neon Paper because you can never have too much! And leather to try this necklace tutorial from Cucumbersome!

And then this monstrosity which I picked up for sewing tips. But seriously, who at Simplicity thought this cover wasn’t creepy? It’s totally creepy.

Lastly, it wouldn’t have been a complete trip without lugging my loot by Bakesale Betty, a mere 4 blocks away, and noshing on a fried chicken sandwich. The delicious taste of success!

A Tutorial: On Envelopes and Old Calendars

I was a weird kid. There was a time when history homework got turned into a sewing project and when a social studies project transformed into an illustrated essay. It’s no great surprise that there are craft projects I’ve been making for so long I’m not even sure when they started. This is one of those projects.

Once upon a time, I got a Far Side Wall calendar for Christmas every year. It was bittersweet. I’d excitedly read through the freshly unwrapped calendar but was then immediately faced with changing the guard and removing my year-old companion.

At some point, as a means of preservation, the homemade envelope was created. Ever since, I’ve always kept few old calendars around the house to add a nice touch to any outgoing mail.

Finished Envelopes

What’s better than getting a letter? Getting one in a kooky envelope. So let’s get to it!

What you’ll need:
A calendar or extra-large magazine made of heavy paper
An envelope
Double Stick Tape
A marker
White mailing labels (nice to have but not necessary)



1. Find an envelope whose shape you dig. I’d recommend the boxier shaped one, like the eastern standard envelop without long triangles. Carefully pull the envelope apart at the glued seams until it’s unfolded and can be laid out flat. Try not to rip the paper. TRY. But if you do rip the paper, fear not. You’ve got two options: one, try again with another envelope or two, fold a bit of tape over the flubbed edge.

blank calendar

2. Using the unfolded envelope as a template, place over a spot on the calendar you’d like to feature. Go ahead and pick something nice and pretty or just frame something cool. Since the teapot and cupcake is obviously the most prominent thing on this calendar, that’s what I’m squaring up to look pretty.


3. Holding down your template with one hand, trace the unfolded envelope with the marker so that the envelope shape is transferred onto the calender paper.

Traced calendar

4. Cut the envelope shape out of the calendar paper. Make sure to cut inside of the line you traced so that there aren’t any  marks on the finished envelope.


5. Flip the calendar page wrong side up so that the date portion of the calendar is exposed (in most cases there is a date portion but not apparently this one). Fold in the same 4 creases as your original envelope template. Make sure that the side you intended to show is on the outside. You should now basically have an envelope, granted it wouldn’t really hold anything just yet. Go over each crease with something sturdy like the back of your scissors to make sure that it is a crisp fold. Go ahead, dig in. Those stiff papers can be stubborn.


6. Using the double stick tape, cut a strip to adhere the back to each of the side flaps. Those short little arms on the right and left of the above picture, see em? Those are the flaps.

7. Press them together, making sure that no double stick take is showing. If it is, trim them with your scissors! When the time comes for you to mail a letter, you can either use a piece of regular tape over the outside seam to seal it shut or use double stick tape again on the underside flap.


8. If you have a mailing label, stick it to the front of the envelope so that there is space to write the letter name name and destination. If you don’t have a mailing label, write the address on a piece of white paper, cut it out and stick a bit of packing tape over it. That goes on the front of the envelope. Do the same for your return address.

Mailing Label

And dude, if you’re not much of a letter writer, there are plenty of other ways to use these envelopes. And if this shape doesn’t fit your purpose, you can make many other types of envelopes. There is nothing stopping you from making them for Christmas cards, to jazz up gift cards, or maybe, JUST MAYBE, you need an award envelope for the Academy Awards. Or to hold your cut coupons. Or to participate in the Write A Prisoner program. Ya’ll get the idea.

Because its natural for one to get bored with oneself and one’s own craft projects, I’m extraordinarily interested in what you do with it. So GIVE IT A TRY! And then LET ME KNOW what you made! Seriously want to see what you did.  Send me to a flickr link or an emailz and I’ll update this post later with your ideas and successful (or CraftFail?) results.

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