a look inside the life of Whitney


Craft Weekend

Every once in a while I need to do something with my hands. I love to make things. Most of the time that manifests in computer graphics and drawings. But a lot of times it also involves constructing something, whether it be with wood, fabric, or some other random craft. The end result is usually a gift or a new decoration for my home. For example, the paint stick lamp shade that I made 2 years ago that still hangs over my dining room table. That was a fantastically simple and useful project.

So this weekend, I set to the task of making a gift for my nephew’s upcoming birthday. I found a fun idea on Pinterest (where else) and decided it would be a perfect, cost effective gift for a two year old. Here’s the Pinterest inspiration:


And here’s my attempt:

It turned out rather perfectly if I do say so myself. Hope he likes it.

But then I didn’t stop there. I had another pin that I was for some reason just absolutely eager to try. Here’s the pin:


And here’s my little love monster:

IMG_3992Isn’t he cute 🙂 I was huge on stuffed animals as a kid so I think that’s why I was so eager to make one of these little guys. It’s definitely not the best sewing job, but it was an experiment with leftover fabric from other projects. He’ll make a good gift someday.

Once I finished sewing this little guy up, I was ready to call it done. I’m not eager to do another sewing project anytime soon, at least for another couple of weeks. What I love about graphic design is there’s no clean up. You shut the computer, move it, and done. With sewing….there’s all the trash from bits of thread and fabric, there’s putting away the extra fabric, there’s putting away the sewing machine, on and on. It doesn’t take terribly long but I’m lazy sometimes. So when I’m facing another sewing project, it might take me weeks to actually do it, because I don’t want to haul all the stuff out, knowing i’ll have to clean it up after.

But, these two projects were a lot of fun and good for a clarity of mind. It keeps me from burning out on graphic projects, and I can do a lot of it while watching movies or training videos for online marketing, the business Rob and I are working on. It’s a win win!

So that’s all for the craft projects for now. If you spend a lot of time on the computer, especially doing creative work, you ought to try getting away from it and doing something with your hands. It engages your creativity in a different way and can spark new ideas for your main work. It already is for mine!

Have a wonderful day and keep watchin’!



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September Project: Light Fixtures Galore

Alright, I’ll be honest. I kinda sorta forgot about the “one project per month” thing that I had planned to do. I guess I got preoccupied with life. BUT, to make up for it, I got into a rather crafty mood over the weekend and completed two projects I was meaning to do.

The first was to recover a lamp that I have in my living room. I did not like the shade and it didn’t really go well. So instead of getting a new shade (which I couldn’t anyways because its crafted for that lamp), I decided to attach some fabric over it so it would coordinate better. Well I can tell you right now that I don’t work with fabric very well, not in this way. And as usual I don’t think things all the way through. Like how the pattern of my fabric was directional so I couldn’t just wrap it up and call it done. I had to carefully lay it out, and with the pyramid shape, it left a lot of overlap. Still, I think it turned out ok in the end, as long as you don’t get up close and look at it. I used mostly hot glue to attach it because I didn’t really have any other way. Below you’ll see before and after.

Next, I finally got around to constructing a new pendant shade out of paint sticks. And since I have a lot of natural wood in my kitchen, I decided not to paint them this time and let the fabric behind it stand out. And yes, I used the same fabric because I had enough left over to do so. I think this project was much more successful than the first. I guess since it was the second time around, I thought about it a little more. Still, humorously I miscalculated how wide it would be after it was assembled, so I had to go get a couple more pieces of wood the next day to construct the piece that would allow it to hang. Frustrating, but not a bit deal. I really love how it turned out though. Much better than the first one I think. And it allows more light through, so thats a bonus to. So at least one of my two projects turned out exactly like i wanted.

Total cost to do both of these projects: $7 for the fabric, $2 for the edging ribbon, Paint Sticks: free, $6 for supporting square Dowel Rods. So the grand total was under $20. Awesome! Made for a good productive Saturday.

My fall decorations are up! Anyone else excited for some cooler weather? I know I am!

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Sphere-ly Decorative

(you see that? my title is a play on words, haha)

Alright. How many of you have noticed the decorative spheres that fill random bowls, glass vases, and other various otherwise empty objects? They are everywhere. And they vary in what they look like, from foliage, to tiles, to strings; I mean the list goes on and on. Do you know what I’m talking about? Let me give you a visual:

I mean, they’re not just for Christmas decorations anymore. We’re talking year-round randomly scattered throughout the house, purely decorative spheres. The only problem is, even at Hobby Lobby they can be a little pricey. Now, you may not be interested in the wonders of having sphere-shaped objects in your home, but as I’ve mentioned in past posts, I have a thing for circles. I’m not alone you know. After all, the symbol for marriage is a ring, which is in fact a circle. But I’m getting off topic…

So why bring this up today? Well, if any of you have ever watched a craft or home improvement show, you’ve probably seen this very simple trick to make your own decorative spheres.

Yarn Balls.

After all, they are very simple to make and can look just as good as the store bought kind. Take a balloon, take some yarn dipped in paste, wrap it around the (inflated) balloon, let it dry, pop the balloon, and ta-da, a beautifully simple decorative sphere. Now if you’re like me and have a bunch of random yarn laying around, this is a GREAT way to get rid of it. You can hang them as decorations, toss them in a gift basket for flair, fill a random container with them, even stick them over a light bulb and make them into lamp shades. Loads of possibilities for this one. Look at the application in this picture below. I think its such a beautifully simplistic way to add something extra to this outdoor table setting.

Plus, it doesn’t have to be yarn. There are plenty of other kinds of string you can use. And it doesn’t have to be string. Take a solid foam ball from hobby lobby and glue a bunch of grass to it! Congrats, you now have a decorative, foliage sphere. Not the greenery type? How about paper-mache? Or even taking clear Christmas bulbs and filling with things like rocks, beads, rose petals, coffee beans? You could decorate all the nooks and crannies in your home with these crazy spheres.

This is what I love about the idea process. You see one way do to something, then find a million different ways to do it using the same concept. I definitely want to try making some yarn balls sometime because I think they add a little rustic touch to a room. And I love those tall clear glass vases and the idea of changing out the things you put inside to match the season or just for variety.

So has anyone ever tried making these, or bought a decorative sphere of some kind for their homes?

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Poster Plastered Dresser

I have to be honest. I’m not exactly brimming with ideas these days. After a rough weekend, the last thing on my mind was my blog. So today I went searching for some new inspiration, something to get the juices flowing again. Here’s what I found.

Click Here for the actual article from the DIY network website.

I’m actually quite excited to find an article on this and some recommended steps because I’ve been wanting a trunk or box or something of the sort decorated with interior design magazine pictures. Funny thing is, I don’t have a trunk to do this on. But I plan to, if I ever find one in a flea market.

Anyways, this is a neat and simple idea to characterize a piece of furniture. I personally like the dresser in this picture the way it is. The most I would do probably is just repaint it. Still, for those who have a thing for mod art, this project is for you.

I’ve done a few projects over the weekend, nothing terribly exciting but I look forward to sharing the simple way I updated two pieces of furniture to match my bedroom. And now that my camera is working again, I can in fact actually show you.

Summer is almost over; most kids are back to school. Better get those home projects done before winter sets in. Has anyone done anything new to their space? Do tell.

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The Usefulness of Window Shutters

I think today is a good day to take a break from cranking out ideas from my own brain and share from another source.

Home Made Simple, if I haven’t mentioned already, is a great website I found a while back that has a lot of clever ideas. It reminds me of Better Homes and Gardens, but I like the way they organize and present things better. There are recipes and the like shared on this website to, but I focus on the interior design related articles.  Basically, this won’t be the last time I inform you of the latest thing I found there that I enjoy and might try.

From Home Made Simple

Window shutters. On the outside, they make a home look more country or cottage like in style. And forget functionality. I’ve hardly seen any recently built houses that have actual functioning shutters added to the outside of a house. They are mostly for decoration nowadays. Only the older houses have functioning ones, and that’s if they are still in tact. As for the inside…well its like having heavy duty blinds. Functional (I hope) and again add that country style element. But I know my grandma for one, would instantly mention how one would have to dust all the slats in the blinds all the time, (I think she hates dust). Still, the look of them, whether applied on the exterior or interior, is quite appealing and can add a finishing touch to a home. But I think designers have realized that shutters have woefully lost their functionality in this modern day, so they have come up with different ways to put these decorative pieces of wood back to work.

Thus, I highly recommend you read this article about repurposing window shutters for other uses (click here). It shares four different ways to use shutters for things other than hanging aimlessly around a window; the greatest of these being how they turned a shutter into a side table. Functional and decorative! Awesome! So go check it out!

Honestly though, people do still use shutters functionally to block that pesky sun from ruining furniture our blinding your eyes, or causing skin cancer. I’ve just seen a lot of houses with shutters permanently attached beside windows, which is decorative…but pointless otherwise. There’s no reason to lose the functionality of these things. 

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Paint Stick Pendant Shade: Part 2

This is more of an “in addition to” post. So if you haven’t read about my intro to this concept click here!

Anyways, I finished the first attempt at a paint stick pendant light this week and while it is a decent first try; I think I can do better. I think the bright colors don’t help any either. But as for how it casts light, it’s not bad. I’m glad I drilled the holes in it.

Here’s how I did it: 1) Drilled a hole in the top for the light/cord. 2) painted the sticks separately (first white, then the color to maintain the true color of the paint)…3) Glued the paint sticks to the paper mache box. 4) drilled holes for a twinkle effect.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

So when I finished, I wasn’t as impressed as I thought. And as I was sitting there looking at it, and the lid left over from the box, I started thinking of other ways to do it. So there’s a few pictures and a sketch of some other ideas in that slideshow. I may build another one, especially since a nice guy at home depot gave me 30 paint sticks when I told him what I was attempting to do.

Note for future paint stick building enthusiasts: the ones from home depot are much better quality.

Please leave your feedback on my first attempt. Thanks!

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Paint Stick Pendant Shade

Once again, I reveal my obsession with light and light fixtures because today’s idea is another one of these.

I once saw on the Nate Berkus show (I think) a way to construct a simple outdoor walkway light from paint stir sticks and a pipe/tube clamp. I always have a few paint sticks lying around so this idea has always been in the back of my mind.

Well, in studying pipe clamps a little closer, I became less fond of using one for this idea. So lately I’ve been trying to come up with a similar concept. I have seen in my research, that others have painted and attached paint sticks to basic lampshades and hang it as a pendent light. Or even deconstruct a chandelier in some fashion and attach paint sticks.

But, I wanted to do it a little differently and try to use something that wasn’t already intended to be a light fixture. Eventually, I found a paper-mâché box at hobby lobby that would make it easy to attach paint sticks. It was a simple solution. Below you’ll find some sketches that helped me figure out how I wanted to put this together and how I wanted to fashion it decoratively.

I really wanted to make it so that light would shine up, down, and out of small punctures or openings in the sides for maximum luminosity, but figuring out how to construct it in that way with only a limited number of ideas and resources was becoming frustrating. So for now I may simply settle for cutting a hole in the bottom of the box that is small enough to allow my plug in pendant cord through and allow the constructed shade to simply rest as the base of the bulb casing.

Basically, it’s simple, it uses the concept of the original idea, and inexpensive. I plan to construct it for this month’s project so be on the look-out for the project completion post!

Happy Tuesday!