craft drought!

From the lack of posts here recently you would think I hadn't been working on any projects. I haven't been lazy, really! But it's all for work and things that will be appearing in upcoming French General books, so I can't spoil them by posting here about it. But I did get a bit of a break recently and had a chance to whip up some kitchen curtains, which were on my long list of home projects.

So I picked up some new Amy Butler fabric, and voila!

We have a super crappy view from the kitchen window, so I thought cafe curtains would be a good choice. And I went with the clip-on curtain rings, so it will be really easy to change out the fabric whenever I feel like it.

I'm really happy with how they turned out, they warm up the kitchen and make the new grey winter mornings more bearable!


Sofa's Choice

So I took a bunch of pictures of the apartment today. Brian is working on a show at Fox and they need apartments and houses they can shoot as backgrounds for this crazy animation/photography hybrid they are doing. We're hoping there's some money in it for us if we get chosen, so we thought we'd try our luck.

Anyway, just like seeing a candid picture of yourself is the best way to jump start a diet, looking at all the pics of the apartment pointed out to me all the things I want to change about it! There's a lot of little changes I can make, but perhaps the biggest choice concerns the big couch that dominates the living room. I don't even know what color to call it...beige? grey? putty? Whatever, I hate it. It's a total non-color. I wasn't committed to even keeping this couch until fairly recently, but it's just too comfortable (and too much hassle) to get rid of.

Sooo...slipcover time! Since covering this giant will be a major investment of time and money, I thought I'd try a little photoshop magic to help me make the decision. But now I can't decide!

A dark chocolatey brown? I'm envisioning a short cotton velveteen...I'm also imagining all the cat hair...

A vintagey golden yellow? Maybe in a wide wale courdoroy?

A subduded robin's egg blue? Or is that color too trendy?

This bold turquoise reminds me of a vintage couch at my parents house, which I love. It would be great in tweed.

Another vintagey color, perfect for cotton velveteen.

Or, the standby, white. Boring, but it hides the cat hair and it's easy to bleach clean.

So help me! Tell me what to do! I live with a colorblind roommate!


Vintage Bargello

I should really change this to the "Bargello Blog", since that's what I seem to post about most often. But look what I found at my fave Salvation Army today! For $1.25!!!

It's a "four-way" Bargello design, which I've been wanting to try. It's in great condition, with no funky smells and totally clean. There were a few pulled stitches which I repaired in 5 minutes, and it needed a new pillow form because the old one was completely flat. I can't believe how great the colors are, it fits in perfectly with all the ones I've made so far.

I also picked up this cute little pot. No marks but it looks sorta Scandinavian and I love grey pottery in general. All in all a great thrifting trip and not bad for $5 total!



is soooo yummy. At least, this yarn is. It's all vintage Persian wool, in perfect condition, with tags dating from 1968-1977. Now that I've totally cleaned them out, I can reveal my source, Kit Kraft in Studio City. The guy who runs Kit Kraft told me it was brought in by the daughter of a woman who collected it for years, and when she died no one in her family wanted it.

Buying this yarn started as an impulse but has resulted in a incredible creative burst that has energized and inspired me. I've already used a lot of it up for my Bargello designs, but there is enough left to keep me busy for quite a while. I feel like the woman who collected it would be happy that another needle crafter has been able to put it to use. I plan on using it until every bit is gone. Then hopefully, I'll find another hidden treasure trove to inspire me!


New Bargello

I've been doing so much crafting for work that I haven't had a second to do anything for myself! It's good though, I'm happy as a clam coming up with new craft ideas every day. Anyway, here's the latest needlepoint pillow I finished a couple weeks ago. I bought several old books on bargello recently and this design is from one of them. I liked the result of leaving the top and bottom white, I think it keeps it more modern. Soon the house is going to be filled with these pillows, but they are so satisfying to work that I can't stop!


Patio Daddy-o!

It's been hotter than blazes here in LA, but me...I like the heat. And I love my little patio off the dining room, especially now that it's summer and we can keep the doors open all day. It's like we have a second living room, plus I love being with all my gorgeous plants. Most of the plants are "rescues"...plants that someone else threw out and I brought back to life (but that's another post).

We finally got some furniture out on the patio (thanks mom!) but of course I couldn't just buy the cushions from Cost Plus for $20. Nooooooo. I had to spend two days cutting foam, making piping (I hate nothing more than making piping) and putting in zippers. But of course I'm glad I did, I mean how cute is that?

The patio is still a work in progress (there's still room for a few more plants!) but it's shaping up nicely I think. A very nice spot to have breakfast and read blogs, and who could ask for more?


Before & After

Everybody loves a makeover, right? I sure do, especially when it's fast and cheap. I found this funky mirror at the Salvation Army in Pasadena for $5. The frame is plastic, and in it's original state of nasty spray-on gold finish, you could really tell it wasn't wood. But I liked how over the top it was, and the glass was in good shape.

So I had some high gloss paint mixed up in "Chili Pepper Red" for $6...spent an afternoon with a very small paintbrush...

and voila! It's still funky, obviously...but hopefully in a good way. And, ironically it doesn't look like plastic anymore. I hung it in the bathroom (where I have a whole orange thing going on) and now I can see the back of my head when I do my hair! I know the whole cheap furniture painted bright colors thing is kinda overdone at this point, but it really does add a nice pop of color in an unexpected place. And a funky statement piece for $11? Can't beat that with a stick.


OCD crafting

I'm making a temari ball right now. It's a traditional Asian craft, apparently women would start making them before the new year and then give them to their daughters so the first thing they would see when they opened their eyes on New Year's day was a beautiful embroidered ball.

This website describes them as a "Japanese symbol of perfection"...I don't know if mine is that, exactly. It's my first time making one so I'm learning as I go, but the secret seems to be about 1/2 hand-eye coordination and 1/2 obsessive attention to detail. Oh plus a lot of math, too. The math is what screwed me up a little, which is why it's no symbol of perfection. Plus I'm regretting my choice of background thread color...

Anyway I am sure I will make more of these, if only because I hate not getting something exactly right the first time. Plus it's very intricate yet I can do it while watching movies, which I love. If you're interested, it's a styrofoam ball, covered with a layer of batting, then a layer of yarn, then a layer of thread wrapped randomly around the ball. Then you divide it into sections and embroider a pattern.

It might be a craft in the next book I'm working on, but only if I can figure out how to write the directions for making one!


It really ties the room together

I'm a big fan of "The Big Lebowski". Like, so much of a fan that I actually attended "Lebowski Fest" last year, which in case you haven't heard, is the annual mecca for Achievers (which is the preferred nomenclature, dude).

One of my favorite things about the movie is the dialogue, which includes a lot of highly quote-able lines. "This aggression will not stand"..."Mark it 8, Dude"..."That rug really tied the room together". But probably the best line and the one that sums up the whole movie is "The Dude abides". It's deep. It's so deep, in fact, that I decided we needed it cross-stitched on a sampler. Because every home needs a sampler, but our home is not exactly the "Bless this house" type.

So I whipped up this little sampler and now it hangs near our front door. It was really easy, even figuring out the little bowling balls and pins wasn't too hard. And now whenever friends come over, they know...the Dude abides.

Next I'm gonna do "Nobody F*cks With The Jesus".


the perfect summer bag?

Except for really liking my scotch, and a weird attachment to "Law & Order", I don't think I am one of those people with an "addictive personality". Except in one regard...I kinda have a problem with handbags. I don't even carry that many of them, I just like having them. Lately, I've been dreaming of a big oversized clutch, but one with a vintagey, touristy feel to it...like those bags that women picked up on Mexican cruises in the 60's. You still find them in thrift shops sometimes, but these days most of the ones I find are really sad and beat up. I have several awesome vintage straw bags, but they aren't sturdy enough for all the junk I carry around each day.

So I went ahead and made up the one I had in my head, and I'm pretty happy with the result! I used burlap instead of straw, and I made the flowers using a vintage flower loom. They were super easy to make, and once they were stitched down to the burlap they almost look like really elaborate embroidery. I added a chain handle that tucks inside so you can use the handle or not depending on how much you need your hands.

Anyway, I think it's pretty fab. It makes me want to put on a vintage sundress and go to a pool party and dance a rhumba. Now I'm thinking about laptop bags, and how most of them are so ugly. I know I could come up with something way cuter...


2 bedroom, 2.1 bath apt

That's the love of my life right there, also known as Grimy the cat. 'Aint she gorgeous? I love having a cat, but of course with a cat comes the dreaded litter box, and the subsequent issues of where to put the darn thing so you and your guests don't have to see and/or smell it.

When we moved into this apartment (about 4 months ago) one of the first things I wanted to do was find a good place for the litter box that wouldn't offend me. Luckily my bathroom has this great cabinet next to the toilet. I don't know what else it could even be used for, but it's a perfect little private place for Grimy to do her thing.

I put a tension rod on the inside of the cabinet and made a little curtain with rings at the top to hide the box from view. Grimy has no problem pushing the curtain aside, and I think she actually appreciates the privacy!

You know it's a success when guests use the bathroom and don't even notice that the cat box is right next to them! Now if only I could find a cute solution for keeping it clean...


trying this again...

I tried to host this blog over on Wordpress, 'cause they had the name "Craftnik" available and I didn't have to add the "online" to the address. But I dunno, something funky was going on over there, or maybe it was me, or maybe the problem was that I use Safari, or a mac...anyway I came back to Blogger which is less customizable but waaay easier to deal with.

So here I am, and I'm ready to start posting all the cool stuff I've been working on. It's been a flurry of activity here at the Craftnik HQ, I've been crazy busy getting the book proposal put together. Who knows if anything will come of it, but it has certainly kept me busy during my current spell of unemployment. And I've felt so creative lately, which I am learning to accept in whatever form it takes these days.

So here's one of the latest projects, Bargello Pillows!

I'm seriously obsessed with this form of needlepoint, "Bargello". It's been around since the 17th century apparently, but I had never really paid any attention to it until I saw these gorgeous pillows at Jonathan Adler. Then I found an AMAZING cache of old but pristine Persian wool at a local craft store (more on that later) and I finally tried doing a Bargello pattern. And then another...and now another...

it's seriously addictive, I'm telling you. It does use a lot of yarn, though, so I'm quickly running through my supplies. Looks like I'll have to head over to the craft store and dig through their stock again soon!