Category Archives: Stuff I Made

Cafe Curtains

For several months, we’ve had naked window in the breakfast area next to a table and chairs so stained, they desperately needed to be recovered. I had a streak of bravery or psychosis, however you want to look at it, and decided to recover the chairs and make curtains.

flowered fabric

When I started removing layers of fabric on the chairs, I found some particularly poor previous choices, like this one.

tweed fabric
Of course, none of my choices were as bad as the original fabric on the chairs.
recovered chair

Luckily, a simple staple gun and new fabric can improve even the ugliest of chairs.

sewing machine

I hadn't used a sewing machine since 8th grade Home Economics. Let's just say the bobbin and I are not on speaking terms.

cafe curtains

Fortunately, cafe curtains are essentially sewing a long hem. They turned out not nearly as terrible as I feared.


Paper Crane Art

One of our neighbors when I was a kid was a Japanese woman who had married an American serviceman and immigrated to the US. In many ways, she kept a Japanese home, right there in Russellville, Arkansas. I found her fascinating. I liked to hang out at her house. She had a son, who had recently gone to college, so a little girl hanging around was fun for her. She taught me some Japanese and origami. I can still count to 10 in Japanese, but that’s about all I retained. However, even now, when I’m on a long conference call or something, I’ll catch myself folding paper.

paper craneRecently, I made several planners from vintage books. I wanted to do something with the pages I gutted from them. I remembered I knew how to make paper cranes.

99 paper cranes

In case you were wondering, this is what 99 paper cranes look like.

paper crane art

I hung them in the guest bedroom with a large frame to create 3 dimensional art.

Christmas Thank You Notes

I usually order some photo cards with a good photo of the kid and the tree to send to family and friends to say thanks for the loot. (Of course, we also appreciate the time they spent with us) This year, I decided to make them a little more personal by actually making them.

craft paper

I take sick pleasure using my husband's engineering ruler to craft.

birdcage envelope

This may be the prettiest envelope I've made.

more crafted cards

I made five different variations of cards and envelopes.

craft paper cards

Since it's craft paper instead of photo paper, it's easier to write personalized notes and for Monkey Boy to sign his name.

Thank you card pic

But I just can't resist a cute pic in the card.

Christmas Card Garland

overfull desk drawer

This is one of the desk drawers in the rolltop. It's been filled with store bought Christmas cards for 10 years. They just take up space and annoy me when I see them there.

cut up cards

I used a plastic cup as a pattern to cut circles out of two boxes of the cards.


I wanted this to coordinate with our stocking hangers, which spell: PEACE & JOY.

christmas card garland

Christmas card garland

It makes me irrationally happy to actually use these old cards.

Cupcakes and Champagne

Last year, my friend got married right after her birthday. This year, she celebrated her birthday and anniversary while expecting her first child. While this is all terribly exciting, pregnancy does tend dampen any plans for toasts, if you’re being all responsible and stuff. This meant a slight change of plans for the cupcakes and champagne birthday treat I previously planned.

cupcakes on Kavanaugh box
There is a delightful cupcakery in town. This brown label has come to symbolize happiness in a box.
Cook's champagne bottle
The day of the wedding, I ran a couple of last-minute errands. I swung by a drive-thru liquor store and asked for a bottle of champagne, “just whatever.” He sold me this. It was $4. We drank it while getting ready. It’s a wonder we didn’t get sick.
bottle lamp

I made the bottle into a lamp with a simple kit

cupcake label lamp shade

I got labels from the cupcakery to cover the lamp shade.

champagne bottle lamp

Cupcakes and Champagne lamp! It's not quite the same as the real thing, but it lasts longer.

Jesse Tree

We have been trying to make our Christmas celebration a meaningful one. It’s important to us our son view this holiday not only as a toy grab, but as a practice of his faith. An acquaintance, Meredith Gould, introduced me to the tradition of a Jesse Tree. I love it!

Jesse Tree

We used a small table top tree.

Jesse Tree ornaments

This year I downloaded paper ornaments and scripture readings from Faith Magazine

Jesse Tree ornaments

Each day we add another ornament to the tree and read a passage from the Bible relating to the lineage or prophesy leading to the birth of Christ.

My long-term plan is to make and buy permanent ornaments to replace the paper ones. Over the next few years, we’ll put together a family collection of Jesse Tree ornaments. I’m hopeful this tradition will help ground all of us during this Christmas season.

Advent Wreath

Yesterday was the first day of the Advent. My husband and I didn’t grow up observing the liturgical calendar, but we decided we wanted to teach our son some of the more traditional observances of Christmas, starting with an Advent Wreath.

advent wreathThere’s no delicate way to write this: most Advent Wreaths I’ve seen are tacky. I don’t like the look of them. Then a friend sent me a link to an advent wreath on City Cradle Design. I realized I could make a “wreath” that worked esthetically in my house and was actually pretty.

bottle advent wreath

I painted bottles I pulled from the recycle bin.

apothecary labels

I found blank apothecary labels at I filled in with each candle symbolized.

bottle advent wreath

I used grapevine and yarn balls as substitutes for greenery.

Advent table

Our advent table. More on the Jesse Tree on the right to come.