Monday, February 27, 2012

A Morning Out...

I had a lovely morning today.  It's "Half-Price Monday" at my local thrift store, the MAAC (Medina Area Association of Churches) Clothing Depot, so I went to shop for sweaters to transform into monsters. 

The local church association-run thrift store already has really low prices...most of the items are $1 or less...but on the 4th Monday of the month, all the clothes are half off!  So adult clothes are 50 cents and kid clothes are 25 cents!  It's the perfect time and place to swoop in and get sweaters for monster-making!

And I got quite the haul today!  Sometimes they don't have a lot of the colorful, stripey sweaters I like to use, but I found lots today!  I got 12 sweaters to use for monstermaking, and 3 items of clothing for myself to wear...all for $6!  You can barely buy one sweater at Goodwill for $6 nowadays!
Have I mentioned how much I love the MAAC Thrift Store? 

Knowing that I was going to be in Medina today, I had made an appointment to get my hair cut.  I had about and hour to kill before my appointment after I finished at the thrift store, so I stopped at my favorite local coffee house, the Shirt Factory Cafe.

I loved the little paper shirts on the garland/bunting in the window display!

And I discovered that they had redone a bit of the decor in the dining room!

The huge photo of the building when it used to be an actual shirt factory and the vintage theater seats on the back wall were the most obvious (and my favorite) change.


The photo of the barn owl made me think of my owl-loving friend Casey from PeachesProducts/PeachesPictures.

 A "before" picture of my enjoying my vanilla chai latte with espresso (my gateway drug into the world of liking coffee!).

And the "after" photo of my hair! This was a bit of a milestone for me today.  This is my first haircut by someone I didn't know previously (only family or friends have ever cut my hair before!) It was a new thing to entrust a stranger with my hair.  I feel slightly guilty for "cheating on" my friend & regular hairdresser, Rochelle, who works in a salon in Victor and does amazing work.  She did my hair for my wedding.  My mother also goes to her and I've gone with Mom to her appointments before and gotten my hair cut if Rochelle had time to fit me in.  But Victor is an hour and a half from where I live now.  (I'm sure Rochelle will understand!) I've been wanting to find a local place to go, plus, it was nice to get to know someone new. And Kim at "Fringe" was very nice and did a very good job! I'll definitely be going there again!

New Monster Monday: Robot Nubbin

I've been meaning to make a Robot Nubbin for awhile.  I made a few of them for the Hearts & Crafts show but forgot to photograph them.  

 The RNEST Monthly Challenge for March is coming up and the theme will be "Rise of the Machines", so I thought it was a perfect opportunity to photograph the remaining Robot Nubbins and place a listing in my Etsy shop
*(voting will begin this Thursday, March 1st on the RNEST blog...don't forget to vote for me!)  

 Really the only difference is that they're grey and have a square mouth instead of the Nubbin teeth.  I may experiment with doing robots with more colors in the future.

I love that my husband had these colorful cables that he let me use for the background!

I also made some with square bellies with a square "button" in the middle.  
Sometimes I'll get a mom at my booth says she would buy a Nubbin for her son, but apparently thinks that hearts are too girly.  I know plenty of boys who love the Nubbins with the heart (my previous blog post had two of them that were delighted to make their own hearted Nubbins), but I guess I need to adapt for boys who don't like hearts (or their parents that think hearts aren't masculine enough).  Ironically enough, the original Nubbins had square bellies...but after making special heart-bellied Nubbins for Valentine's Day, I decide I liked the look of hearts better and started making all standard Nubbins with hearts.

Anyway, all this to say that I thought that the Robot Nubbins would be a good platform for bringing back square bellies for a more "boyish" alternative.  But of course, you've noticed I still favor the hearts!  I mostly favored the photos of the hearted Robot Nubbin because of color scheme.  I liked the red.  The all grey square-bellied Robot Nubbin seemed a bit visually boring to me.  I need to make another square-bellied Robot Nubbin with a red button in the center (I had made one in my first batch, but someone bought it at Hearts & Crafts.)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Art Lesson With Older Kids: Making Nubbins!

The older kids have been asking me for months if I can teach them to make their own Nubbins in art class. (for the uninitiated, "Nubbins" are little armless plush monsters I make). The kids see me working on the hand-sewing on them at church a lot and want to make their own. (the Nubbins are pretty popular amongst the church kids!) I finally decided to take the plunge and give them a crack at it...and they've learned that making Nubbins isn't as easy as I make it look! (and teaching them isn't as easy as it sounds!)  I'm sure they'd have an easier time if they used a sewing machine, but I'm not confident enough to let them use my sewing machine just yet!  Plus, I think it's better to get a foundation in hand-sewing first.  After all, that's how I started out!

A few of the life lessons I tried teaching  through this today was that no one is perfect, mistakes happen (so don't freak out), and that the only reason I make it look so easy is that I've has LOTS of practice! (I'm not sure exactly how many Nubbins I've made to date, but it's most likely in the hundreds.)  I've been doing this for almost as long as these kids have been alive!

They actually had started these last class...sewing on the teeth and heart. One of them had gotten to stitching up the sides, but was having trouble getting the stitches small enough (I made him start over twice), so before class today, I used a marker and made dots for them to follow to make their stitches.

Stuffing the Nubbins after stitching them, turning them right-side-out, and attaching the safety eyes.

Stitching the Nubbin closed.

The finished product!

They were so satisfied to have made their own Nubbins!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Handmade Accessories by Fellow RNESTers

Last week, I finally bought my first spoon pendant from my friend and fellow RNEST member, Erin of Sunshyne Silverwear!  I've wanted to buy one from her for awhile, but had a hard time deciding which one to get.  But I recently decided on this blue leaf skeleton one.  

She does such great work!   You can find Sunshyne Silverwear's website here, her Etsy shop here, and her blog here.

 I love getting cool, handmade accessories from my fellow RNEST peeps!  I love that when people comment on them (which happens a lot with my feather hair clips), I can direct them to the artist that made them!  I've started keeping my friends' business cards in my wallet so I can give them to people when they compliment me on my pretty hair clip/spoon necklace!

My feather hair clip is from my friend Casey of PeachesProducts.  I traded her one of my Owl Nubbins for it. (yay for artist trades!) You can find her Etsy shop here.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Art Class: More Stitched-Heart Cards

Today I did a version of last week's project that I did with the older kids, but modified it for the littler kids (who I'm not sure are ready for a sharp needle yet!)  We used plastic needles and yarn.  This version was much closer to the original project that I saw on Pinterest.

The kids had a bit of trouble getting the idea of the running stitch, but they persevered and with some guidance, they eventually got it.  No one got overly frustrated or said the art class's banned phrase "I can't"!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Home Improvements!: Cast Iron Skillets as Kitchen Wall Decor

After rearranging the kitchen this past Saturday, the wall to the right of the door (where the shelves were previously) looked really empty.

I guess it was really bugging CJ, because Sunday morning, he busted out his electric screwdriver and improvised some wall decor from a large old frame I had lying around, and our cast iron skillets!  I thought he was a little crazy at first, but I love it!  (and I love that my husband has a sense of style and enjoys home decor!)

 It looks much better than a blank wall, we didn't need to buy anything, AND we have somewhere to hang the skillets instead of them taking up space on the stovetop!

It was quick and easy too!  We were hosting church on Sunday afternoon and he had this done before people came over! (it is really just 5 screws into the wall!  One for each skillet and the spoons, and two for the frame.) 

The frame was the first thing he put up, just to have something there.  When I said it looked like something needed to be inside the frame was when he got the idea to put the large skillet inside.

  Then he wanted to hang up the smaller skillet as well.  It was my idea to hang the wooden spoons. "Design on a Dime" would be proud!

It definitely looks very farmhouse chic! ;)

Home Improvements!: Movable Kitchen Shelving Unit

My husband and I did some rearranging in our kitchen this past weekend. 

Previously, those shelves with the green drawers (to the left of the doorway) were in a different configuration on the opposite wall of our kitchen, next to the stove. 

 Unfortunately, I wasn't thinking and did not get a good "before" picture.  This picture was taken after we moved the shelves. (they were on the wall to the left of the door)

 This picture I took at Thanksgiving (above) is the only one I have that gives you a visual of where the shelves were before.  They were positioned in a way that they were facing the side of the stove (there wasn't room to put them the other way) and so the stove blocked most of the openings and getting things in/out of the microwave was awkward since the door of the microwave opened towards you.  It wasn't ideal, but we worked with it that way for awhile.

CJ had a plan to build a "box" for the shelves and place them in front of a door that leads to the basement...a space that felt wasted before since we had to be able to get to the door occasionally.

But, since he put casters on the cabinet, we are able to move the whole thing when we need to get to the basement (which is not often). In addition to having casters with locking wheels, we put hook/eye locks on each side, so it stays put when we don't need to move it.  So the unit is secure and there is no danger of it falling over.

 It reminds me of movies where there is a bookcase that opens up to reveal a secret room.  Unfortunately we didn't have the technology to pull on a cookbook to make the thing move like in the movies!