Monday, March 25, 2013

How to Make a Hanging-Sign Style Picture Grouping


-         Wood Frames
-         Pliers
-         Screw Eyes
-         S-Hooks
-         Screwdriver (to help turn screw eyes)

Time Commitment:

 ~ 30 min – 1 hour

How to Make it Happen:

Step 1 - Assemble players

1) Here are the materials I used- substitute sizes & materials as you like (as long as the frames are made of wood)

Step 2 - Add screw eyes

2) Screw the screw eyes into the frames until the threads are fully embedded in the wood – I find it easier to turn them by using a screwdriver.

Step 3 - Squish S-hooks

3) The S-hook on the left is straight from the package, and the S-hook on the right has been squeezed by pliers (make sure the hooks aren’t completely closed, or you won’t be able to assemble the frames).

Step 4 - Frames ready to be assembled

4) Use four screw eyes per frame – here are two frames ready to be fastened together using the S-hooks.

Step 5 - Finished frames

5) Fasten the frames together using the S-hooks, and hang using wire or a picture hook!


Sunday, March 17, 2013

How to Re-Cover a Ball Clasp Clutch Purse


-         Ball clasp purse (Note: it is much easier not to scratch the metal in Step 7 if the metal clasp section has some sort of decoration- like the purse I use here. It doesn't mean the smooth ones are bad, just that it's harder to do)
-         Pliers
-         Hammer
-         Screwdrivers (straight head, small thickness)
-         Needle & thread
-         Fabric (for cover, lining, & outdoor type fabric for interface)

Time Commitment:

 ~3-4 hours

How to Make it Happen:

Step 1 - Examine patient and assemble operating tools

1) A note of warning – these metal edges are very sharp, so wearing leather gloves is recommended while you remove the metal clasp from the fabric. Getting the clasp removed is labor intensive, so be patient and work slowly or you could damage the clasp.

Step 2 - Clasp surgery

2) Slide the thinnest screwdriver into the slot between the metal clasp and the purse, tapping the end of the screwdriver with a hammer to force the clasp open. This is the longest part of the process, and you can wiggle the screwdriver slightly to bend the clasp open. It doesn’t need to open very far- only enough that you can slide the fabric free. Repeat for the rest of the clasp- the curved sides (where the screwdriver is wedged in this picture) are the hardest to open.

Step 3 - Ready for new fabric

3) The clasp is now free from the fabric –use the old fabric to make a pattern for the replacement fabric.

Step 4 - Using pattern for new pieces

4) Cut out the new fabric (Note- Leave room for seams on the bottom and err on the side of making it slightly too large, since it’s easier to trim than to try to stretch the fabric if it’s cut too small)

Step 5 - Make seam

5) Sew the new fabric section together (the seam will run from hinge to hinge on the clasp). To make sure the seam won’t show in the finished purse, layer the fabric as follows (pile will run from top to bottom according to the picture):
Lining (wrong side up) - Lining (right side up) – Interface (wrong side up) – Cover (wrong side up) – Cover (right side up) – Interface (right side up)

Turn the purse right side out (so that the cover fabrics are visible). The clasp will be attached so that the lining fabric shows on the inside, and the seam will be invisible!

Step 6 - Add edging stitch

6) Run an edging stitch along the outside of the fabric bundle (where the clasp will cover). This helps make reassembly easier, and gives the fabric a bit more thickness for the clasp to hold on to.

Step 7 - Reassembling the purse

7) Reassemble the purse (taping the fabric temporarily in place as you go, which will make positioning it a lot easier) by using pliers to re-close the clasp, holding the fabric in place. To keep the pliers from scratching the clasp, you can cover them in fabric. Work carefully, especially in the corners (which are hard to close again).

Step 8 - Admire your work!

8) Your purse is done!

More admiring!


Note: I used one of my Spoonflower designs as a cover. The fabric can be found here:
Turquoise Honeycomb Fabric 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Whoopie Pie Recipe - Chipotle Chocolate w/ Whipped Cream Filling

Spicy Chocolate - Amish Style
Happy Pi Day! In honor of 3/14, here's a whoopie pi(e) recipe!

Makes approx. 2 dozen whoopie pies


Whoopie pie
-         1/2 cup butter
-         1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
-         1/2 cup sugar
-         2 eggs
-         2 tsp vanilla
-         2 Tbsp unsulfured molasses
-         2/3 cup milk
-         1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa (special dark if you can find it)
-         2 1/3 cup flour
-         1/2 tsp salt
-         1 1/2 tsp baking soda
-         6 oz milk chocolate chips
-         1-1 1/2 tsp chipotle powder (use 1/2 -1 tsp if you don’t want much spice)
-         1 tsp cinnamon

-         1 cup heavy (whipping) cream
-         3 Tbsp confectioner’s sugar
-         1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Time Commitment:

 ~2 hours (including baking and assembly time)

How to Make it Happen:

Whoopie pies
  1. Preheat oven to 350 deg F.
  2. Cream butter until fluffy.
  3. Add sugars and mix.
  4. Add eggs, vanilla, and molasses, stirring between each addition.
  5. Mix flour, cocoa, salt, cinnamon, chipotle powder, and baking soda separately. Add to butter mixture in parts, alternating with milk.
  6. Beat 1-2 minutes until smooth, then add chocolate chips and mix to incorporate.
  7. Drop by Tablespoons onto a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake 10-15 minutes.
  8. Allow whoopie pies to cool completely before assembling. Since whipped cream only holds up a day or two, try not to make the filling until the day you’re planning to eat them. The whoopie pies will stay fresh in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few days until you’re ready to assemble them.

  1. Using a chilled bowl and beaters, beat the heavy cream on medium speed until soft peaks form.
  2. Add powdered sugar and vanilla to the heavy cream.
  3. Continue beating on medium speed until the whipped cream forms stiff peaks.
  4. Assemble whoopie pies by spreading a large dollop of filling on one cookie, then sandwiching it with another.
  5. Enjoy! These can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about 2 days.


Sunday, March 10, 2013

How to Restain a Wood Chair - Partial Project!

NOTE: This post is not done, it only covers fixing wobbly legs at this point. It will be updated once I finish the chair!


-         Wood chair
-         Sandpaper
-         Stain
-         Poly coat (I use polycrylic, a water-based finish, instead of polyurethane)
-         Wood glue (to tighten joints)
-         Fabric-covered hammer or rubber mallet (to coax apart loose joints)
-         Clamp/rope (to hold joints in place while gluing)

Time Commitment:

  Ongoing for me (this post will be updated when I finish the chair)

So here’s the deal- it’s March, but it’s too cold to let the chair dry outside and I just moved…sooo, I’m just going to cover how to make the joints on your chair stable and secure for this post and update it when I actually finish the chair…

How to Make it Happen:

Today's patient

1) This is an old-fashioned kind of chair back that I love very much (it has two supports behind the back of the chair, and I think they’re really cute). First, check the joints on the chair- this one had two loose legs, so they need to be secured before worrying about appearances.

Poor chair- a science experiment gone wrong

2) Someone did a really horrific repair job on this leg. The metal bracket is actually split right at the corner, and someone tried to use what looks like wood filler or a combination of sawdust and glue. It’s all loose and wobbly.

Fixing the leg

3) I took the metal bracket off the chair and used a fabric covered hammer to knock the leg out of its socket (the fabric covering on the hammer head is to keep the hammer from denting the wood- you can also use a rubber mallet)

Gluing it back in place

4) Make sure the hole doesn’t go the whole way through the chair or you’ll have a puddle of glue on your furniture/floor. If it doesn’t (and it shouldn’t), fill the hole about halfway with wood glue and press the leg back into place. Glue that squirts out around the leg can be wiped away. Use a clamp, rope, etc. to hold the leg tightly in place while the glue dries.

Securing the legs in place

One leg is glued in place (you can see a blob of glue next to the leg in the lower right hand corner), and the other is being put into place. The chair is now sturdy, and when I update this post we will get to the restaining and refinishing of the chair…


Sunday, March 3, 2013

How to Make a Coin Purse


-         Fabric (2 pieces cut to 4.5” by 8.5”)
-         Zipper (about 5” long)
-         Pins
-         Needle and thread
-         Scissors

Time Commitment:

 ~1-2 hours

The Original - Nice but Boring

This design is based on this coin purse from H&M – I love the circle zipper pull!

How to Make it Happen:

Step 1 - Cut some fabric

1) Cut 4.5” by 8.5” rectangles out of your outer and lining fabrics. For this purse, I’m using my Green Shire Toile design from Spoonflower on the outside and a dark purple cotton on the inside.

Step 2 - Zipper time
2) Dealing with lining makes the process slightly more complicated. Fold a 1/4" seam toward the wrong size of both fabrics, sandwiching the zipper. The end of the zipper should be at the center of the 8.5” side of the fabric, leaving an unsewn 1/2" tail on the zipper. Using pins to keep the zipper in place, sew along one edge of the zipper.

Step 3 - More zipper time

3) Pin the other side of the zipper and sew it into place.

Step 4 - The rest of the seams

4) Turn the purse inside out and sew down the side with the zipper end first, then sew the bottom of the purse closed. Leave a half inch seam while sewing, then trim to a 1/4" seam. Clip corners at a 45 degree angle so that the corners are sharper when the purse is turned right side out.

Step 5 - Ta da!

5) Turn the purse right side out and fill with spare change!


Note: The fabric I used for this purse is one of my Spoonflower designs, and can be found at this link:
Green Shire Toile