Making a Quick Quote Picture

I use Picmonkey a lot for this blog.  I use it to make all my collages because of the ability to do a little bit of photo editing (like fixing the contrast or brightness when one picture is taken in light that is different from the rest), and the ability to add text to my pictures.  I love that even the free option (which I currently use) is full of features.

Last night I finished reading The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut, and one of the quotes near the end really stuck out to me, so I wanted to make a quick quote picture for it, and I thought you might like to see how simple it is to make!  (Note:  This is just me showing you something I use.  This is NOT a sponsored post.)

Step 1:  Set Up

Step 1

First you need to decide what kind of project you want to do.  Usually I pick “collage,” but for today’s project I picked “design.”  Once you make you choice, the page will open and you can pick the canvas color.  I picked black because I wanted something fairly stark looking.  One of my favorite options is that you can make the canvas transparent.

Step 2:  Add Text

Step 2

Next I typed up my quote.  In order to get to the text options, select the “T” on the let side of the screen.  I chunked it into different parts based on the phrasing, and changed the font for the different parts.  You can type it all up as one text box and change within that, but I prefer to make each chunk its own text box.  This makes it easier to change my font as I go.  I am not really great font mixer, but I like to contrast thin cursive options with chunkier print options.  For this picture I had three fonts because I wanted “love” to be different from everything else.

Step 3:  Embellish

Step 3

Once I was happy with my fonts, I picked the overlay options to add just a little pop of color.  Overlays are the butterfly icon on the left.  I wanted a heart and an arrow and that was it.  I played around with the doodled hearts until I found one I liked.  Then I added the arrow and right clicked on it to send it behind the text and heart.  I considered adding more embellishments, but I decided not to because I wanted the focus to really be the word “love,” and doing more would probably detract from that.

Step 4:  Save

Screenshot (10)

Across the top of your work space are a few options such as merging the layers.  This is also where you select “save.”  Once you decide to save, the left side menu will change so you can name and save.  Once saving is done, you will be back at the work space.  You can work some more after you save, but once you navigate away from the page, your work is lost.  It’s also important to know that the site doesn’t automatically save the progress of your work, so make sure you’re saving as you go, especially on a larger project.

Once you’re done, your image is complete and ready to use.  I did this when I woke up this morning and the entire project, screenshots and all, only took me about 10 minutes (but of course I’ve done this before and knew exactly what I wanted and where to find it).  Do you use any sort of photo editing/designing sites?  What do you like and why do you like it?  I would have never found pickmonkey if a friend hadn’t shown it to me, so I’m always willing to try something new!

Love Quote Vonnegut

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Quilt 2 and More Lessons

I have finally boxed up and mailed off quilt number 2, so I figured this is a good time to discuss just what I learned from it.

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Actual Sewing Lessons

  • I can’t sew straight.  That’s not totally true, but when sewing over long distances (such as the binding), I found that I wavered…a lot.  I had some serious difficulty keeping my lines straight any time I had to sew something longer than 10 inches.
  • Stitch in the ditch is hard.  Stitch in the ditch is when you try and sew in the seams you made when joining two pieces of fabric together.  If your lines weren’t perfect to begin with, this will be difficult.  My problem seemed to be with when I ironed seams.  I wasn’t getting my seams to fall completely flat, so stitching in the ditch meant I sometimes ended up sewing over an ironed seam that wasn’t quite where it should have been.
  • Seam ripping happens.  I did a lot of seam ripping on this project.  Some of it was productive and really enhanced the final product.  Some of it wasn’t as productive and meant wasted time.
  • I need to work on “squaring up.”  If you don’t sew everything exactly perfect, your final product won’t be exactly square.  This can be a problem when you’re trying to do things like miter corners.  There are tips and tricks for making things square, but, at the end of the day, they only work if you’re a fraction of an inch off over the entire project.  I need to work on having more consistent internal seams, but I also need to work on these little tricks too.

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Life Lessons

  • It’s okay to take your time.  Several times during this process I would find myself ripping the same seam over and over again.  I would get frustrated that things weren’t going as well as I wanted.  So I’d step back.  Sometimes I just took 10 minutes to do something else, other times I took an entire week to do something, anything, else.  If I hadn’t stepped back when I needed to, for as long as I needed to, I would have ended up with a much sadder final product.  I need to remember that taking time and taking breaks from projects doesn’t mean there isn’t progress and that things aren’t getting done.  It means I care enough to do it right, and I know that means I need to be in the right frame of mind to do it properly.
  • Draw out your path.  When I was working on joining the triangles, I drew in my seam allowance on every triangle to help me make sure I was doing things right when pining and sewing.  Without those lines, my triangles wouldn’t have had as sharp of points, and my rows wouldn’t be as even.  It’s okay to map out the path you intend to follow, especially if this is the first time you’re doing it.  In the future I might not need to draw my seam allowances on triangles (and in fact didn’t need to when I was playing with hexagons), but that’s only because I spent so much time trying to do it right with my initial run through.
  • You’ll always see all the things you did wrong, but that isn’t what others see.  Every time I finish a project like this, all I can see is every mistake.  I see every wobbly line, every blunted point, every misplaced thread.  But that’s not what others see.  They see the good because they didn’t sweat the process and see every mistake being made.  They can look at it as a whole while I still see individual parts.  While they might notice the stitching being off here or there, they don’t see it as part of a catalog of everything that is wrong like I do.  When they give you a compliment, take it at face value (and don’t mention problems x, y, and z).

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Fun Friday: Fabrics on Etsy

It’s been forever since I’ve done a Fun Friday.  Last night I was thinking about my next quilt (which is crazy because I’m still working on the top for my current quilt), and I jumped onto Etsy to look at the offerings. So today’s post is all about fabrics on Etsy!

Living in a tiny town means I don’t have access to many fabrics.  Even when I drive to “the big town,” I really only have box stores to choose from.  Sometimes those places just don’t have the color/pattern/quality you’re looking for.  Etsy to the rescue!  I used Etsy to purchase about half the fabrics I used on my brother’s quilt, and was super happy with the results.  All the fabrics came to me clean, the advertised size, and undamaged-all things I was concerned about with my first time ordering.

Here are a few of the listings I’ve been loving as I think about my next quilt.

Maker by Art Gallery Fabrics - MKR-2885- Make Embroidery Pretty

Source

I’m a fan of lines (which is an odd thing to say), so I enjoyed this fabric because of the color changing lines and how it looks home-made but well done.  Usually I love bold colors (which you shall soon see), but I can see this being the showcase of a more subdued quilt.

SALE! 1/2 Yard Bundle- Little Ark By Carina Gardner For Riley Blake Designs

Source

I love blues and greens, and this set is the perfect mix of curves and lines with that color combination.  I like the coordination of this set.  Each piece stands well on its own, but they all belong together, too.

Folk Song by Anna Maria Horner -  FQ Bundle

Source

I told you I love bold colors, and this set sure does scream bold!  The colors are vibrant and saturated; the patterns striking.  Something about this set makes me feel like it’s luxurious and an extravagance.

So there you go!  Three fabric sets on Etsy that I’m loving right now.  Do you buy fabric on Etsy?  I’d love to hear about what you’ve bought and what you made!

Final Darbysmart Box

This one has been sitting in my to-do pile for a while now.  I just kept putting it off because I was so sad that the subscription box wasn’t what I had hoped it would be.  I was also a little bit wary of this project because it’s one my husband had tried over a year ago as a gift for me, and he wasn’t all that successful.  Finally, though, I sat down and took the time to do it (which is actually very little time at all).  Here’s my review of my final Darbysmart subscription box.

Final Darbysmart Box

Review

Materials

This box had two 1/4 inch pieces of plywood with holes drilled into the sides, a few print outs on paper, some leather cord for tying the two boards (and any interior pages) together, a foam brush, and the Modge Podge brand transfer medium.  The plywood was the same quality as what you get at the hardware store, and the picture sets were specific to Father’s Day since the craft was intended to be for that if you wished.  (You could print your own pictures for this also, but make sure to follow the directions and use the right type of printer.)

Process

The process here is pretty straightforward and easy to follow.  You trim your paper to the size of your wood piece, slather the medium all over the picture (a nice heavy coat), stick the image onto the wood (image side down, of course), smooth it out, and leave it alone.  Depending on the humidity of where you are, you should leave it for 24-48 hours.  Even though I live in a very dry place, I didn’t want to take any chances, so I waited the full 48.  Once the waiting is done, you take a wet cloth and rub of the paper backing to reveal the picture beneath.  (This is a kind of messy process.)

Problems

I’m not sure if I didn’t do a good job with the initial sticking down, or if I was rubbing too hard, but the image started rubbing off too during the final step.  Once I realized what was happening, I tried very hard to stop the spread of the destroyed image.  It mostly seemed to happen around the edges.  When positioning the image, you only get one shot at it because it sticks like crazy to the wood, so a skewed image is also a potential problem.  Mine turned out a little off kilter, but I don’t think it’s terribly obvious.

Final Product

When it was done, I was annoyed by the final product because it wasn’t something I felt I could give to someone else.  It was too messed up and there’s no way to fix that once it happens.  I’m not against the project itself, but these are the same issues my husband had back when he tried it.  If you know of a way to keep this from happening, I’d be interested to hear.  I’m willing to give this project another try, but I need to do some trouble shooting before I’d consider it.

Dyeing a Shirt

My husband had a scrub top left over from nursing school that was white.  It’s a pretty awesome top because of the pockets-both their size and positioning.  However, white isn’t a great color for the job of nursing because of how easily it shows dirt.  So this top sat in the back of the closet, only coming out every now and then.  Last time I was at the store, I noticed the Rit dye.  “That,” I said to myself, “is the answer.  This is how we put that top to use.”  I’d never dyed clothes before, so I was excited to try this.  You will need:

  • Clothing item
  • Box of dye
  • Container to dye in
  • Rubber Gloves

I used Rit dye and followed the instructions on the box.  The font is SUPER small, so you might want to check out their website, which also has a tutorial video.

Dyeing a Shirt

Before you dye, get everything together.  You don’t want to have gloves covered in dye water and realize you need something.  Even if you’re using a bathtub, you’ll want to put down a plastic cloth of some sort to be a barrier.  You think you can do this without making a mess, but you’re wrong.  I saw little splatters of dye throughout the process.  I’m not even sure how most of them happened.  (Tip:  have your clean-up materials handy for just this sort of situation.  I had a bleach rag ready to go while I dyed, specifically for those little splatters that might escape my plastic cover.  I used it more than I thought I would.)

The instructions tell you to add to the dye water based on what type of fabric you have.  I had a mostly cotton product, so I added salt to mine.  I had difficulty finding information about what additives to use for mixed fabrics, so I just used the additive meant for the fabric with the highest percentage.  Once the shirt was in the dye bath, I found it helpful to use a bit of wooden dowel to help move it around.  This seemed to cause less overall mess than my gloved hands.

The final product was a bit more grey than black, but I mostly expected that.  I didn’t think I was going to get a true black.  I’m sure it’s possible (maybe through a second trip through dye), but I am happy with my result, so I won’t be bothering with that.  This whole process was messier than I anticipated (which made me wish we had some sort of wash basin where I wouldn’t have cared as much), but it was also more fun than I thought it would be.  I will totally be dying more things in the future!

Nerf Gun Mod

I’d like to start today by congratulating our Keep-Collective Giveaway winner”  Leslie B!  Ansley will be in touch with you!  Now, today’s post is a guide to taking a Nerf Gun and modding it for your needs.  The husband and I did this to a set as part of a birthday gift to a friend.  It was fun, and only a little trying.  There are lots of different ways to do this, and there are even forums for how to do different styles, so don’t consider this some sort of expert guide.  This was our first time and it was fun!

Materials

  • Nerf Guns
  • Acrylic Paint
  • Brushes of varying size
  • Rags
  • Protective Clear Coat

Nerf Gun Mod

Process

  1. You can choose to take the gun apart, but we were concerned about our ability to put it back together, so we did not.  If you decide to take it apart, make sure to take pictures for yourself as reference when you put it back together.
  2. Decide on your color scheme.  We went with a gray for the barrel and trigger, light brown on the handle wrap, gold on all the parts that were originally black, and regular brown on the rest.  It’s easiest if you assign a new color to each current color, but not strictly necessary.
  3. Put on your first coat for the light colors first.  It will make you want to scream because it will start to pull away, or not cover well.  This is okay.  Put on a coat the best you can, and walk away.  I went for coverage and wasn’t especially careful about the fine lines and details.  That’s why I did the light colors first-the darker brown would cover any overlap when I used it.
  4. Put on coats of paint over and over again until you have the coverage you desire.  For me, this meant applying coats about every twenty minutes for several hours every night.  Your mileage may vary.
  5. Repeat this process with the dark brown, this time being more careful about those fine lines and distinctions.  Go back with a detail brush to clean up all those fine lines.  (I did this at the same time, alternating between two brushes as I worked.)
  6. Make sure all moving mechanisms (such as the trigger) are still working.
  7. Touch up as needed.
  8. Wet a rag and dip it into some black paint.  Rub the rag over the gun to give it the weathered/dirty look.  Repeat this until you are happy with the look.
  9. Clear coat the gun so the paint won’t chip and peel.
  10. Enjoy!

Like I said, there are a lot of different ways to do this.  I didn’t do any priming, but others do.  I used acrylics, but others use spray paint.  There are a lot of ways to get to the final product, but the goal is to have fun doing it, and to create a look that you’ve been imagining!  Enjoy!

Quilt Progress

As soon as I finished my brother’s quilt, I started on another one for my cousin.  This time I wanted to try out triangles.  She picked out the grey/yellow/green color scheme, and I got to work.  Along the way I have learned a LOT.  This quilt is still in progress, but I thought I’d share how it was going so far.

Triangle Quilt in Progress

So far I have half of the top sewn together (top right), and it was an ordeal to get me there.  I cut around 300 triangles so I had some extras to play with during the layout.  In the end, I decided on 14 down by 20 across, which meant a total of 280 triangles used.  In the middle two pictures, you can see how I laid everything out on the floor of our spare bedroom.  I had to move almost everything out, but it worked.  Once I had the layout, I carefully picked up each row in order and kept the rows separate from each other.  I also made a giant chart of every triangle and what it was.  I obviously didn’t do it well enough, though, because on the bottom row of the sewn top you can see that one of those green triangles matches up with another same fabric triangle directly above it.  I could pull it all out, but I’m not going to.  It would involve ripping the row as well as ripping several triangles.  It will bug me, but it stays.

Once I figured out how to join the triangles together, things went really well, but before that, it was several hours of sewing, ripping, and questioning what the heck I was doing.  In the bottom left picture, you can see how I put together the triangles at first.  The problem with this, of course, is that when I join the rows together, those pretty points will become blunt tops.  I had half a row done before I realized that.  (And had ripped out triangles again and again trying to get that point.)  The bottom right picture is what I actually needed.  I need that point nestled 1/4 inch in so I can have the crisp point when I joint he rows.  To get this, I actually drew in my quarter inch seam allowance on the back of each triangle.  The point where those seam allowances crossed was the recessed point I wanted.  It added a little time, but saved me a ton of grief in the long run.

Overall, I’m pretty pleased with how this quilt is coming along.  My lines are straight, my points are crisp, and everything seems to line up fairly well.  I’m excited to finish the top and get to the actual quilting.  I haven’t decided what I want to do for that yet, though.

Another DIY Box Review

Back in December, I took advantage of a sale that allowed me to get a 6 month subscription to the DarbySmart To DIY For Box.  You can read my previous reviews here (December, January, February).  Today I’m going to review both March and April together.

March and April DIY Boxes

Review

The March box included materials to create….something with the yarn and plastic canvas.  On one hand, it’s nice because you can make whatever you want, but on the other hand, it’s a bit ambiguous.  Plus, the yarn is multi-color, so creating a design is a bit tricky.  You might notice that I don’t have a final product photo.  That’s because I don’t know what to do with it.  I’m thinking about mailing the whole set to my niece.

The April box came just a few days ago, and this was a cool idea, but just not for me.  It’s a set to make your own perfume.  Fun.  Except, I try to avoid perfume because too much of it aggravates my asthma.  Now, that’s not to say I won’t, on occasion, wear a little bit of it, but I do think the strong fumes associated with making one might be hard on me.  I think I will still try to make this and mail it off to someone else, but I will probably have to wear a mask while creating, and take my time with it.

Overall, I’m kind of done with these boxes.  I was very excited when I first started because it felt like  chance to try out some cool new crafts.  But now, I realize that out of the five boxes I’ve gotten, I only enjoyed one-the tea towels.  I only have one month remaining, but I currently have zero plans to renew this subscription.  I think I’ll stick to ordering a kit that I am actually interested in instead of taking this monthly chance.

February Darbysmart DIY Box

I am SO BEHIND on these boxes!  I feel like I never get to them until the next one is arriving at my doorstep.  So, here we are, end of March, and I am finally reviewing my February box.  To be fair, though, these boxes ship on the 17th and usually arrive at my door around the 23rd, so it really has been only a month.  Right?  Ugh, I’m trying to justify myself.  So sorry.

February Darbysmart Box

Review

This month I got materials to take a platter like plate and add some stenciling to it.  The box contained the plate, two bottles of paint (turquoise and black), a foam brush, sticky stencils in the alphabet and some flower pattern, and some hot chocolate on a stick.  When I saw the hot chocolate, I was SUPER convinced that this was a food platter of some sort.  But when I went to the DIY directions, I found out it was actually meant to hold jewelry?  Odd.  Though, to be fair, I guess it can be whatever I want it to be.

Personally, I thought the flower and leaf patterns were ugly, so I stuck with the letters.  Since this project isn’t really the sort of thing I would keep, I decided to make it for my mother-in-law.  She had showed me something she wanted to make that was all about family, so I decided to put “friends” and “family” on the long sides of the platter and “fun” on the short sides.

The process was super simple.  Since the stencil letters were stick on, i just arranged them until I was happy with the placement, and then used the foam brush to apply the paint.  Once the paint was on, I removed the stencils and let dry.  I repeated this for each word.  (Dry time was only 3 or so minutes.)  When the brush went outside the stencil area, I used a Q-tip to clean up the errant paint, and that seemed to work pretty well.  Once all the lettering was done, into the oven it went.  30 minutes later I was done.

I think I would have enjoyed this project more if I had gotten the smaller, round dishes that were shown in the directions as those are something I might have kept and used.  I also wish the stencils had been a little more….interesting?  I’m not sure what the right word is here.  I guess I wish they had been more my style.  But, obviously they are someone’s style, so there’s that.

While everything was in the oven, I made my hot chocolate and drank it, thinking about how I now need to buy some bubble wrap so I can ship this to the MIL.  Was I excited about this project?  Not really.  I did like that this definitely felt like my money’s worth of product, though.

A Crafting “Now What?”

Sometimes I see a picture online and I wonder to myself if I can recreate whatever it is that I am seeing.  And that’s what led me to try and make this deer head.  (This isn’t the image I saw, this is the one I made.)

deer

Basically, I traced a deer head onto vellum (I didn’t have any tracing paper).  Then, I cut some colorful magazine pages into strips and glued them onto the vellum, going well over the lines so I would have complete coverage.  Then I flipped the paper over and used the original tracing lines to cut out the deer head.  Once it was cut, I “sealed” it with modge podge.  And then…..what?  No, really, what was there to do?  I loved how it looked, but I had nothing to do with it.  The process was fun, but I had no use for the final product.

Eventually I decided to put it on a canvas that I had painted to look like wood, but that didn’t really work out for me.  Turns out, the vellum I had refused to stick to anything with any of the adhesives I had.  I have stronger stuff now that I think would work, but it literally peeled off the canvas the three times I tried to glue it down.

So, do you have any projects that you have started and didn’t know what to do with them when you finished?  Do you have any suggestions for those of us that have finished projects but nothing to do with them?  I’d love to hear your ideas!