Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Pinterest Inspired Shell Craft

The beach is one of my favorite places to go. I like the sand, the ocean, the sun, finding sharks teeth, and collecting seashells. As any beachcomber knows, those shells will definitely add up. A few decent trips to the beach and you're utterly overrun. What do you do with them? Do you display them or do you keep them in a box? I'm not a fan of traditional shell crafts (shells lining mirrors, bowls, shells made into candle holders, etc.), so what do do with all those shells is a big problem for me. 

I had started to think that maybe I shouldn't pick up any shells at all.That idea quickly went out the window ... I like finding pretty and interesting shells too much to not pick up any. Plus, my daughter (who is 3) likes to pick them up. She's not very discriminating when it comes to which shells she likes, so she ends up with a bunch.

Well, as is more and more frequent in my life, PINTEREST to the rescue! I saw  this pin and quickly added it to my Crafts board.

Seashell Shadowboxes

That pin took me to Under the table and dreaming's 60 Different Shell Crafts for your Collected Beach Treasures. The pin's original source is It's the little things that make a house a home .

All you do is fill a shadowbox with your favorite shells. That's it*. These Simple Seashell Shadowboxes could not be easier to make. You can display a lot of shells without taking up much space. I used to display my favorite shells on shelves. Trust me, you do NOT want to dust a shelf with lots of seashells on it. (This paragraph is quite a tongue twister!)

I have many, many seashells, but I wanted to start out small. Here's how my shadowbox turned out. There may be a few more tweaks made to it, but I'm pretty happy with it overall.

Shells from Amelia Island

* I say that's all there is to it. Actually, I rubbed my shells with mineral oil first. It helps bring out the color in most of the shells. I rubbed a generous coat on all the shells, put them in a bowl and let them sit overnight (actually, it was more like a week or two because I'm slow to get back around to things). Then, I gave them another wiping before putting them in the shadowbox. Oh, and don't put mineral oil on things like sand dollars -- it doesn't turn out well (the voice of experience is talking here).

Craft Gremlins

I'll be honest ... When I make something that turns out right, 99% of the time it's by happy accident. I'm not especially skilled in any particular crafty area. Basic skills are present, but I truly believe that when something I make is really good, it's because the craft angels are smiling on me that day. The stitches just accidentally stay in a straight line ... The knitting pattern just happened to turn out with no missed stitches ... The flowers came together on their own in that vase ... etc. This belief is supported by the fact that I can very rarely repeat a success. Maybe that's why I have craft ADHD. Subconsciously, I know that I can create one good version of each thing I try so there's no reason to stick with any one type of craft for very long.

An alternative theory is that there are craft gremlins living in the walls of my house. On the days that I make something spectacular, those gremlins are enjoying a well-earned day off. Maybe they're  asleep or outside in the swimming pool or doing whatever it is that gremlins do when they aren't at work. I kind of like this theory because it explains (1) why I have so many more sort-of-okay crafts than spectacular crafts, and (2) how parts of my yard can look good one day and look like a disaster the next -- the gremlins had the day off and played outside. This theory also allows me to use the word gremlin. I like that word. It reminds me of my Grandfather. He drove a green Gremlin. I went back and forth to school in that car many, many days. (For those of you unfamiliar with the Gremlin, check out the Wikipedia entry.)

The Gremlin via Wikipedia
Wow! Talk about digressing! Back to the point of this post... not too long ago, I made two softies from socks that I thought turned out pretty darn good. I guess these guys were my high point in sock softie creation, because here's what I've made lately:

This is supposed to be a lamb (left) and a dog (right).

Perspective is weird on this one, but you couldn't see the face if I photographed her straight on.

This lamb is supposed to be asleep, but I just keep thinking about those horror movies where the monster has its eyes sewn shut. Also, the body is freakishly long.

So, while they're somewhat acceptable, they're also weird. Not sure if these will make it into the gift pile or if I'll just give them to my daughter. I think I'll stay away from sock-based softies for a while. Maybe I can convince the gremlins to move to someone else's house...or at least take an extended vacation.

The pattern for both the lamb and the dog came from a book Sock and Glove: Creating Charming Softy Friends from Cast-Off Socks and Gloves by  Miyako Kanamori.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

RIP Little Garden Gnome

The late Garden Gnome
 A few weeks ago, I committed a horrible act. I murdered my adorable Garden Gnome. It wasn't intentional -- really -- I loved him. He sat in our large wildflower garden, keeping watch over all the plants and insects. The garden bloomed beautifully and the flowers always had interesting insects on them. I like to think that he was responsible for a little bit of that.

The garden had become so full of flowers that Mr. Gnome was partially obscured from view. If you knew where he was, you could see him, but he was small and didn't draw your eye if you weren't aware of his presence. I should have moved him to a more prominent place in the garden, but I thought he liked his secluded little spot. Maybe he did, but it led to his untimely death.

See ... It all started when my husband offered to teach me how to use our gigantic Kubota zero-turn radius lawn mower (lawn tractor?). I said "sure" and started cruising around the backyard without the blade engaged so I could get a feel for the weird steering. After I learned how to not run into trees, the swingset, the fence, etc., we put the blade down and I was cutting grass! I'm only slightly ashamed to admit that the experience got me all hyped up on testosterone (MORE POWER!) and mowing the grass wasn't meeting my power needs.

This isn't me, but it's the kind of lawn mower we have (or at least really similar). It's from the Kubota website.
Here's where the story takes its tragic turn. We had 3 wildflower garden beds that needed to be mowed over. They had gone from beautiful, lush wildflowers to scraggly weeds and it was time for them to go. Being all testoster-stoned (see what I did there? hahaha), I volunteered for the job. I forgot about my Garden Gnome in the largest flower bed. I ran right through the middle of the bed and am pretty sure I took him out on the first pass. It was tragic. I saw gnome parts flying all over the place. I panicked, but there was nothing I could do. It was too late. He was in pieces, never to be whole again. 

Even though I saw lots of gnome pieces flying, I could only find one when I went to retrieve the body. It's ironic that I found the eyes intact so they could stare at me accusingly. Rest in peace Mr. Garden Gnome. You brought me joy and I loved you. Sorry I ran you down with the lawn mower.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Time Really Flies!!!

Eeek! It's August 2nd! Eeek! I'd been doing so well on keeping up with my blog and now it's been over a month since I posted anything! Eeek!!!

Okay... deep breaths and happy thoughts! I do have things to post. Whew! I've just been too lazy to get them posted. I'm going to stop being lazy in 3... 2... 1... now!

I made several little bags a while ago that I thought turned out pretty cute. My mom thought they turned out cute, too, and asked me if I could make a bigger version of one for her to use as a purse. She picked out the fabric and I enlarged the pattern. Here's the finished product (sorry for the crappy cell phone pictures).

I think it turned out well! The owl fabric is super cute. I didn't get a picture of the inside, but it's green with a large white floral print.


My husband and I worked on this project together. We saw a wooden American flag in a catalog that we both liked, but the price was way too high. After looking at it for a few minutes, we realized we could make something similar for a much lower price. 

Here's what we made:

It's landscape stakes and spray paint from Lowes. The stars were a stencil of sorts made by my husband's co-worker on her Cricut (Thank you!!!). I am pretty proud of this. It ended up being a Father's Day present for my step-dad.

Okay! No more being lazy! I have more posts in mind and will get them up after I feed my daughter ... she insists on several meals a day!  :-)