Archive for July, 2011


Project 28: Done and lessons learned

July 31, 2011

Music wall

My music wall is done! … for now. I have a feeling it’s the sort of thing I’ll be adding to as I find fun noisemakers. I also have more space leftover than I thought I would so there is plenty of room for more fun.

You can see that I made a sort of xylophone from cardboard tubes, a set of chimes from metal computer parts, and a shaker from a plastic egg in a macrame holder. A metal bar on the bottom gives new standers a place to hold on and also makes a great noise when hit with a drumstick. A utensil holder from Ikea gives us a place to store extra instruments.

I hung a piece of posterboard as a backdrop so we won’t damage the wall and made a simple frame from furring strips (leftover from the nightstands project). They are screwed into studs so the whole thing won’t come down when the babies try to climb it.

Lessons learned:
– The message of the Scrap Exchange is that one man’s trash is another man’s art, but I think one man’s trash can also be another man’s fun toy.
Р Kittens like music walls, too.

The music wall will be put to the real test tomorrow when the baby comes over. I’ll try to get photos or a video of it in action!

Speaking of macrame, come back tomorrow for next week’s project…


Project 28: Shopping

July 28, 2011

Photo by Triangle Tracks

I bought a whole load of stuff from the Scrap Exchange yesterday. I had a vague idea of some things that I wanted, but mostly I wandered around sticking my hand into the barrels and banging things together to see what had the best sound. I bought a few of those cardboard tubes you see above and will cut them down to try to get different tones out of them. I also need to punch holes in some bottlecaps and figure out how to hang a plastic egg without little hands pulling it open. Once I get the prep done the music wall should come together quickly. Check back!

Photo by Triangle Tracks




Project 27: Progress

July 26, 2011



Rag rug progress

This rag rug is coming along slower than I thought it would. Last week I happily cut up a few of my old t-shirts and braided them together to make a long rope. The last step is to sew them into a coil, and I predict this is where I will be for a while. It’s not easy to get a needle through all of those layers! I’ve bled for this project several times now and it’s not remotely close to big enough to replace my bathmat. I’ll persevere, though, and one day I will have a nice, cushy rag rug and more space in my t-shirt drawer.

Photo by me, scissors for scale.




Project 28: Music wall

July 25, 2011

Music wall from Let the Children Play

This week, with unfinished projects all around me, I’m starting on something that I really need in my house: a music wall. I care for children in my home during the week. We generally stay in one room, but now that they are becoming mischievous toddlers I need to figure out how to creatively use my space. My hallway would be perfect for a music wall. I have grand ideas that go beyond hanging pots and pans on the wall, like you see above. If that was all I needed I’d just let them loose in my kitchen. This week I’m going to go back to the Scrap Exchange and see what great materials I can find to repurpose into a music activity wall for kids.

Curious about the rag rug? My aching fingers will post an update with a photo later today. It’s coming along!

Photo by Eat Play Love


Weekend projects

July 20, 2011

Last weekend I had the opportunity to work on a couple of projects for other people that aren’t part of the list for my blog. It was fun to take some of my new skills and use them to gift friends with handmade stuff. Hm, can I can call machine embroidery handmade?

First, I used the embroidery machine to make these fun burp cloths for a baby shower gift. The patterns are from the always awesome Urban Threads.

Burp cloths

Then on Saturday night I brought my sewing machine to a friend’s house so we could make cushions for her rocking chair. This was the first time I’d completely improvised a sewing project and I am pleased with how it turned out.

Rocking chair

This comfier chair is ready to rock a new baby to sleep!

With each technique I learn as part of this blog project I add a new set of fun gift ideas to my crafting arsenal. I’m excited to put more of these skills into practice.


Project 27: Inspiration

July 19, 2011

Photo by Stephanie

Making a rag rug has been on my project list all year, but two things happened recently that caused it to move up on my priority list. The first is that I collected bags full of old t-shirts to bring to a reuse event at MakerFaire but didn’t get them to the person who was taking them in time. The second is that this photo by Stephanie of A Common Thread showed up on one of the craft blogs I read. Isn’t it amazing? I’m half tempted to go rip up a comforter and just recreate it.

I started ripping up my t-shirts last night and am on my way to having a tidy collection of rags for this rug. I’m leaning more toward braiding than knitting at this point, but who knows what I’ll decide by the end of the week?

Photo by Stephanie at A Common Thread


Project 25: Finished quilt and lessons learned

July 18, 2011

My first quilt

It’s done! I finished the last of the stippling and put the binding on last night. I love it! There are loads of mistakes, but I found that this particular pattern was very forgiving. Now I made a quilt and I can definitely imagine making more. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.

Lessons learned:
– Things probably aren’t as hard as you think they will be, especially if you take them one step at a time.
– My sewing machine can do all sorts of things besides the one or two stitches I tend to use.
– A good effort is better than perfection.
– You never know if you can do something until you try!

Yay quilt!


Project 27: Rag Rug

July 18, 2011

Rag Rug by MadebyMelody

I was so inspired by all of the great booths at MakerFaire:NC but the woman making rag rugs really caught my attention. I wish I could remember her name! She showed me her technique for cutting rags and displayed her beautiful knit rugs. I had never considered knitting them before.

This week I’m going to cut up some old clothes to make rag strips and then turn them into a rug. We really need to replace our bathmat so hopefully I’ll have enough rags to make a rug that size. Whether I’ll braid it, knit it, or crochet it I don’t know yet.

Have you ever made a rag rug?

Photo by MadebyMelody on Flickr


Project 26: It’s Friday already?

July 15, 2011

Wow, this week flew by and I didn’t get a single thing done. I worked a bit on the quilt but I still have nothing to show you. The only plarn in my house is a small ball I had made last year. I did embroider a few items for a baby shower tomorrow. I’ll show you those after the recipient gets them. Tomorrow evening I have plans to help a friend make cushions for a chair.

My thumb is feeling a lot better. Next week I think I’ll tackle a thumb-intensive project that I’ve been putting off since my injury, and of course I’ll need to finish the quilt and make some more plarn.

Watch this space!


Project 25: Stippling

July 12, 2011

Stipple 1

Now that the quilt is well on its way to being done I thought I might show you some of my early stippling attempts. I really had no clue what I was doing, but, armed with my sewing machine manual and a practice quilt, I set off to learn this technique.

My first attempt is above. I knew enough to lower the feed dogs and that I should be able to move the material around freely, but I really didn’t know how to get there. With my presser foot down it was impossible to move the fabric. When my presser foot was up I ended up with the sort of tangled mess you see here.

Stipple 2

Attempt #2. I think I had increased my tension and tried to move the fabric faster, but the foot was still up and it was still a tangled mess.

It was at this point that I learned how to change the tension on my presser foot. I made it as loose as I could so that I could keep the foot down and still move the fabric. That resulted in this beauty:

Stipple 3

Huzzah! Then I got bold:

Stipple 4

Resolving to stick to abstract designs, I held my breath and moved my beautiful quilt under the needle. By attacking it block by block I managed to stipple over half of the quilt that first night. I just have 6 more blocks and the borders to go before it is time to figure out how to attach the binding.