Archive for August, 2011


Project 33: Freezer paper

August 31, 2011

Freezer paper

Surprise! Freezer paper is available at my local grocery store. This is amazing to me because my local grocery store is small and never seems to have normal things that I am looking for. I didn’t hold out much hope that it would have freezer paper. But there it was, on the top shelf near the plastic wrap, advertising its many craft uses right on the box. I quickly snapped this blurry shot with my cell phone and bought some.

I need to spend some time getting my stencil design right and converting it to a format that will work on the laser. My laser appointment is Thursday night. Then I’ll need to find time to do the actual stenciling. Time is something I am unfortunately short on for the immediate future, so I will do my best to get this done if you will do your best to be patient with me.

Wish me luck!


Project 33: Inspiration

August 30, 2011

Make it and love it

Ashley from the great blog Make it and Love it posted a couple of freezer paper stenciling tutorials that really inspired me. The brilliant thing about freezer paper is that it has a plastic coating on one side that melts when you iron it and adheres the paper to your fabric. Then, after you are done with your stencil, you pull the paper off and it leaves no residue. You can get a really clean line.

I am excited to try this technique on my new shades, but first I have to find freezer paper. First stop: the grocery store.

Photo by Ashley at Make it and Love it


Project 33: Freezer Paper Stenciling

August 29, 2011


This week I am going to apply a design to my new sliding panel window shades using a freezer paper stenciling technique. Join me as I shop for freezer paper, cut out my stencil (hopefully with lasers), and dress up my shades.

Photo by trp0 on Flickr




Project 32: Done and lessons learned

August 26, 2011

Finished shades

When am I going to learn to leave myself more time to work on projects? We did all of this last night. Just before 10pm I unrolled my leftover fabric and discovered that I did in fact have enough for the shades. (I don’t know what I would have done if I didn’t!) But when I cut the fabric and sat down to hem the panels I realized that what I really needed was a serger. My husband reminded me that it was Thursday and TechShop was open until midnight, so I ran up there hoping someone who knew how to use the serger was there.

Do you see how incredibly badly I was flying by the seat of my pants?

Fortunately Dara from Li Sashay was there and was willing to zip a few edges for me. Remember Dara? She’s a lifesaver.

My husband took down the old blinds and installed the new sliding panel hardware while I sewed on the velcro so we could hung the panels for privacy overnight. This morning I sewed the bottom hems and inserted the weights that make the panels hang straight. They’re lovely.

What was more lovely was the great light coming into my dining room this morning. That room gets direct light first thing in the morning and these shades created a sort of soft box that diffused it everywhere. I might need to take photos in there sometime.

Lessons learned:
– Set aside more time for projects!

Join me next week for some freezer paper stenciling to dress up these very plain shades. See you then!


Project 32: Before

August 25, 2011

Blinds before

These are the blinds in my dining room as they look right now (kitten for scale). They are stuck open that way because the adjusting rod broke off. They are also missing a couple of slats from each end. I hate them. Tomorrow there will be new sliding panels up there. The panels will be plain, but I think I’ll devote next week on the blog to freezer paper stenciling and get them all decorated up.

Check back!


Project 32: Hardware

August 24, 2011

Ikea hardwareI’ve thought for a long time about the kind of window treatments I need for my sliding glass doors. We have one set in the living room and another set in the dining room; they are the only windows we have downstairs. We need privacy but we also need light, and since we go in and out of those doors sometimes we also need the window treatments to get out of the way when necessary. So when I found this panel system at Ikea I imagined it would be the right solution.

A friend and I made the 3 hour drive to Ikea a month or so ago and I picked up one set of this hardware. Instead of buying their precut panels I remembered that I have fabric left over from the roman shades project. Hopefully I have enough!

Photo from





Project 32: Window panels

August 22, 2011

Dining Room

We have horrible plastic vertical blinds covering our two sliding glass doors that are just begging to be replaced. This week I’m going to use some leftover fabric from a previous project and some hardware from Ikea to make sliding panels for the dining room doors. I may even stencil them. Check back for updates!

Photo by indigo_jones on Flickr


Project 31: Making soap

August 20, 2011

I made soap today! And since it is Saturday and my husband was home I was able to get more process photos to share with you.

Lye water

Above you’ll see the list of supplies I started with: A bread pan, plastic wrap, and waxed paper to make the mold; gloves for safety; distilled water and lye (Roebic crystal drain opener from Lowe’s) for the lye water; coconut oil, olive oil, and castor oil for the oils; heatproof glass measuring cups; and a cool infrared laser thermometer (not required, but fun to have). I forgot to include our kitchen scale or the hand mixer in this photo.

The first step was to make the lye water. Lye can hurt you so I tried to be extra careful, even though safety isn’t really my strong suit. Fortunately I had my husband around to remind me to be cautious. We mixed the lye water outside because of the potential for dangerous splashing and fumes.

Something kind of awesome happens when you mix lye and water: it heats up. I’m sure that people who know things about chemistry know why this happens, but I just thought it was cool.


Next we headed inside and I measured out the oils. I used 6 oz coconut oil, 10 oz olive oil, and .5 oz castor oil. I’m told that the castor oil helps the soap be more lathery, but I included it because it was in the recipe.


It was at this point that I realized that I had mixed the ingredients kind of backwards. I wanted the lye water in one vessel and the oils in another. The two would then combine into the bigger of the two measuring cups for the rest of the process. However, for safety’s sake I was supposed to have mixed the lye water in the small cup and the oils in the big cup so that I was adding the water to the oil and not the other way around. Oops. I carefully poured the oil into the water with no disastrous consequences.

The next step was to agitate the mixture so it will trace. My original reference recommended using a stick blender so it will thicken in a matter of minutes (as opposed to a whisk which could take an hour). Our stick blender is kind of broken and I didn’t want it to fall apart into the lye mixture, so I decided to use a hand mixer. Well, after 20 minutes of using the hand mixer we had a hunch that something was wrong. It just wasn’t thickening. That was when my husband found this video: How to get ‘trace’ in soapmaking. It clearly shows trace happening in a matter of minutes with the stick blender. We got ours out and tried it and it worked like a dream. In just a couple of minutes the mixture was nice and thick and pourable.

Pouring soap

I poured it into the prepared mold — in this case a bread pan lined with both plastic wrap and wax paper. It needs to cure in the mold for 2 days. Then I’ll take it out, cut it up, and let the bars cure for 3-4 weeks. When everything is done I will report back and show you how it turned out.

Yay soap!


Project 31: Oops

August 19, 2011

Did you know that it is Friday? I had no idea it would come so soon. Pretend you can see me looking sheepish right now. The bad news is that I have not yet made soap. The good news is that I have all of my ingredients.

My new plan is to make soap on Saturday. I’ll post the whole process as soon as it is done. You can follow along with me by reading this instructional post at See you then!



Project 31: Soap

August 15, 2011

sea buckthorn soap

This week I’m going to make soap. I’ve never made soap before, but aside from the scariness of working with lye the process looks kind of easy. Have you made soap before? Do you have any tips?

Photo by mwri on Flickr