I created this 5"x7" painting for one of my really good friends. I enjoyed giving it as much as I did painting it, and I hope that it brings her Joy.

The painting is done on canvas with plain old craft store acrylics. And, when I say old, I mean it. Some of those paints made the move with me almost three years ago, and they weren't new then! A couple of lessons from this project:

1) When you buy new paints, write a date on the bottom so you know the old ones
2) Don't use clumpy old paints to paint words
3) Practice painting words before the next project


Photo Collage

Back in December, I visited the Etsy Dallas Jingle Bash and purchased some awesome letterpress letter cards spelling out our last name.  I didn't really think about where I was going to put them, so when I got them home, I tried holding them up around our apartment.  They never seemed quite right anywhere, but ended up on the wall in the corner behind our TV. They were looking really strange to me back there and it finally got on my nerves enough that I decided to a photo collage around the letters.

I'm all about cheapness, and thrifting at Goodwill led me to some fantastic frames for only a buck or two.


After clorox-wiping all of the Goodwill frames, I started arranging the frames around the paper templates I'd made of the letters already on the wall (pardon the puppy, she got curious).


Then, I made paper templates of all the frames and hung those on the wall with the letters to make sure it looked okay from across the room.


I don't have any pictures of the actual painting, but I hauled all the goodwill frames out to the top deck of the parking garage at my apartment complex (oh, how I wish I had a house with a yard) and spray painted them all black while my neighbors looked at me like I was crazy.






Craft acrylic paints are my favorite for a quick painting. You can do the whole painting in one sitting. Once you're finished with one color, then you move on to another color, working sort of like a paint by number so that when you get to colors that touch, one of them is dry.

This is a two-painting set that I did for a silent auction. The benefits from the auction go to Second Harvest food bank. I call this one vol. II because there are two paintings and because this is my second time to paint books. I have a similar painting hanging in my office at work.


Maybe for the next in my series, it will be three paintings! Tell me what you think.


Tasty Treats

IMG_1482I decided this week to put my favorite wedding gift to good use - my beautiful red KitchenAid pro.  And boy, have I put it to work; I've been a baking madman!  Baking is a craft, right?

I stumbed across a fantastic recipe for Pizza Rolls.

These were an instant hit in our house, I made a double batch and froze them in mealsize portions for Huz to take for lunch.  He loved them so much, I made another batch a few days later, only instead of mozzarella and pepperoni filling, we filled them with sausage and pepperjack. 

Then, I found a recipe for Lemon Breakast Rolls with lemony filling and lemony cream cheese icing.


I made these the night before so I could just wake up to pull them out of the fridge to rise, then pop them in the oven without all the prep and mess.  They didn't turn out quite as good as I was hoping they would, but they were still pretty tasty and the fam loved them.


Time for spring wreath

When folks come to visit my apartment, I tell them to go until they see an orange rug. The rug came from Anthropologie many years ago, and I just put it there when I moved in. I always meant to get a new rug, but I've really come to love the spot of color when I come around the corner to my door. Then, at Christmas, I hung my very first wreath. That came down about mid-January and my door has been rather ordinary since then.
Time for spring6

Until now. I finished my new wreath, which I am calling 'Time for spring'. It's made from a Styrofoam wreath form, yarn, fake flowers and pieces of time magazine. And, a lot of hot glue.
Time for spring5 Time for spring1 Time for spring2 Time for spring3 Time for spring4 Time for spring7 
    First, I covered the wreath form with variegated green yarn. This took quite awhile. I started on Sunday during the Oscars, and worked on it a little bit each night since then. The real trick was keeping the yarn from tangling as I wound it around the form.

    I choose the two different floral stems because I liked the leaves and the colors. And, since it’s me, I needed to have something made out of magazines on it. I saw this tutorial from Dozi on another blog and printed it off a long time ago for creating paper flowers. I don’t remember which blog referenced the tutorial, but thank you!

    Time Magazine is good for large blocks of text, but the paper stock is rather light. The result was more of a bud than the full flower that Dozi achieved. To get the bud to work, I glued it onto floral wire and then wrapped from there. I held on to the bottom of the wrap to try to get the top to fan out.

    The buds were not enough magazine, so I simply made some paper carnations by bunching together a couple of different sized circles.

    Finally, I grabbed the hot glue gun and just started sticking stuff on. I wish I could tell you that there was a process, but I would add something and then realize it needed something else.

    My door is a now a lot more welcoming.

    Time for spring 8
    Oh, and I had an extra paper carnation, so I glued it onto a bobby pin and stuck it in my hair.


    Puff painting

    Do you remember puff painting t-shirts as a kid? That was the last time I did it, which was probably in the mid '90s. So, I don't know what came over me to try it again.

    This started as one of the dyed t-shirts I made last week. Then, I just grabbed a bottle of white puff paint from Hobby Lobby and started doodling on one shoulder. My original plan was for a motif along one shoulder, but I was having so much fun that I covered the whole shirt. I even wore it to work one day (I don't have to dress fancy). It definitely was fun to look down and see the texture.



    I think I'm good for puff paint right now, but I want to try again with larger blocks of paint in more colors.


    Dye and tie dye

    Gotta love a package of men's white tees. Oh, the possibilities! Throw in a trip to the fabric store where they have an easy-to-use packet of dye and you know I'm gonna make a mess.

    These packets were as easy to use as they promise. You just take off the paper package.

    Inside, there is a little plastic pouch with the color. Just drop that into the pot of water and stir or add it to the hot water in the washing machine. I even attempted to make a mess starting the purple one on the stove and then transferring it to the washing machine. Why do that? Well, I didn't feel up to standing at the stove stirring the pot.

    I ran two different colors - violet and gunmetal. The violet was beautiful and vibrant; I was very impressed. The gunmetal turned out to be a little more blue than the package let on. I would definitely buy this dye again. Nothing against Rit dye - we've had our good times in the past - but I'm a little too messy not to use something this easy. I can't wait to try more of the 38 colors.
    I tried to do a tie dye t-shirt in each load using the one rubber band I own. I was successful with the purple but not with the gunmetal. Next time, I'll use more rubber bands!

    So, what am I going to do with the rest of the t-shirts (4 left - 1 purple, 2 gunmetal and 1 that I ran in both loads that turned out to be almost navy)
    I have a couple of things up my sleeve, but you'll have to
     wait and see!

    iPhone photo of the week

    Travel. I do it fairly often. I'm at the beginning of a series of trips. This picture shows two of my companions for the next couple of weeks.



    Bulletin board

    Happy St. Patrick's Day! In honor of the color of the day and also the warm weather we've been having here in WI, I’ve put together some things that I like on my bulletin board to share with y’all.

    envelopes (Paper Source), green vase (Etsy), pillow (Target), tealight (ZGallerie), shoes (Tilly's), necklace (Anthropologie)

    I think I'm gonna order a package of these envelopes in the chartreuse green. They'll make whatever I put in them look interesting


    Heart garlands

    Instead of your traditional valentine card, I sent a bit of home decor. It was fun talking to everyone I sent one to and hearing where they hung up their garland. I'm selfish - I kept two and put one in my apartment and one in the window at my office at work.

    It was a very simple process:
    1) Grab a stack of magazines from one of the many overflowing piles. The Anthropologie catalogs were definitely my favorites
    2) Pull out all the pages that had pretty designs
    3) Create heart templates out of card stock. This helped me group the hearts on to the page and make the best use of pretty patterns
    4) Start cutting. I freehanded some hearts as I got more comfortable
    5) Lay out the yardstick and start putting rows of hearts together
    6) Start up the sewing machine and run the hearts through. I found that it was easiest if I kept the hearts spaced only a couple of stitches apart. You can see in the picture above what happened when the hearts weren't propped up by their neighbors
    7) Stick in envelopes with a note for friends and family. I put aside a few to share with etsy friends, too



    Easter cards

    You'll see a lot of different greeting and notecards here at the Table. I've been into card making for a couple of years, maybe more than that! What started with leftover scrapbooking supplies (when that was my thing), has become a way to try new techniques. Friends and family have come to expect handmade cards on their birthdays and any holiday worth sending a card (no cards for administrative assistants day!). I combined three different techniques on these cards: potato stamps, sewing on paper, and collage. 

    eastergg11 1) Cut eggs out of potatoes. It's surprising, but I didn't cut myself! After cutting the (russet) potatoes in half, I took my paring knife and ran it about a quarter an inch from the cut edge, at about a quarter of an inch in. Then, I start to carve the egg shape. I tried to add different designs. Straight lines were easiest, polka dots didn't turn out well at all
    easteregg10 2) Grab some acrylic paints in assorted spring colors and start painting the different sections of the egg. I reused the best of the 'eggs' with different color combinations. Here, remember to wipe off the paint, including the crevices or you get green when you expect yellow after a couple of stamp
    easteregg9 3) Lay out the cards and start stamping. I tried different combinations of one, two and three eggs. I also tried horizontal and vertical layouts. My favorite turned out to be two eggs with minimal overlap on a vertical card
    easteregg8 4) To keep the eggs from making a mess on my table, I used an egg carton. Yes Mom, I know I forgot to put down a drop cloth over my nice table. I promise I didn't make a mess and I won't do it again
    easteregg7 5) Cut strips of text from a magazine. Time Magazine worked well because it has large blocks of text and the paper is pretty thin. Then, cut a fringe along one edge. I used a glue stick to tack down the newspaper grass
    easteregg6 6) This part was messy. Open up a bag of the green plastic grass for Easter baskets. Cut the pieces in half because you don't need the whole length
    easteregg5 7) Lay the card on the sewing machine and spread some of the grass over the other grass. Just grab a handful and lay it on top; not all of it will get caught in the stitch. I probably wouldn't recommend this method if you're a perfectionist, but it was interesting to see what stuck. If there are holes in the green grass, just grab another handful and run a second stitch
    easteregg4 8) Trim the grass. This was definitely the biggest mess. Thank goodness for my dustbuster! I tried to trim the green grass so that it didn't stick off the card or cover too much of the eggs
    9) Fan out the newspaper grass, pop in an envelope and drop it in the mail. If you want to skip all but this last step, you can get a handmade, unique potato egg card at my etsy shop



    My Own Home Hack

    One of my favorite blogs to read is Apartment Therapy.  I love seeing beautiful kitchens, unique decorating styles and MOST OF ALL, I love their Home Hacks.  When I stumbed across this awesome tree made out of yarn and push pins, I decided to put my own spin on it:

    So, I ventured out to my favorite two-story JoAnn's and picked up some yarn, ran into Wal-Mart for clear pushpins, and then rushed home to start playing.  I'm not really a tree person, so I decided to try something a little more abstract and random on the bare wall behind the desk in our home office.


    Here's a closeup of the colors I chose.  I was thinking of going with grey and yellow, but when I saw this pretty bright apple green, I was sold. 

    This project is great for apartment dwellers like me who can't paint walls and are scared of putting big holes in the walls.  The holes left by pushpins are small and the artwork has a huge impact.

    New etsy shop

    There is a lot going on around here! I didn't expect to get moving this fast, but I'm not going to complain (yet). I might change that as I try to find that work/life balance thing that folks speak of. 
    In the meantime, I couldn't wait to share two projects with etsy shoppers - my easter cards and heart garlands that I made back around Valentine’s day. I’ll post pictures on both of those this week as I get everything together. But, you can start shopping now!


    Birthday card

    IMG_0853Doodles, pretty paper and a sewing machine. This is what I can do with those three things.

    This birthday card for my coworker was pretty fun to make. I think it might be the first time that something I've hand drawn has ended up on one of my cards without some kind of manipulation. I have done some drawings for things to gocco, but those sketches still get enlarged or grouped together on the copier. This one was fun. The question is, did she like the card?

    The little sister

    Hello Hello! I'm Megs, the little sister in this blogging trio. I'll be visiting the Table on a regular basis to share my craftings!

    Lately, I've been working on completing a quilt made out of my younger bro's old, torn up blue jeans. A recent bout of unemployment led me to start up an etsy shop to sell cute clothes for little munchkins (check me out at www.etsy.com/shop/megiepiedesigns). So, expect lots of sewing projects from me!

    Etsy Products

    My (brand new) day job involves a lot of numbers. I'm a senior accountant with a hedge fund administration firm, so I craft to keep myself from dreaming about dollar signs and financial statements (it has happened...I've dreamt about playing Minesweeper, too!!) The new job means my craft time is back to being limited to nights and weekends, but the plus side is that I'll actually have money to buy supplies!

    I'm probably the least crafty in the family, but considering how amazingly talented and creative CaraB and BLady are, that's not saying much. I hope to bring a little humor to the blog as I often do silly things like sew an entire quilt inside out and my projects sometimes end up looking like a hot mess. The important thing is to have fun!


    iPhone photo of the week

    Do you carry a camera with you everywhere you go? I used to. In fact, I bought a new point-and-shoot camera a couple of years ago just for that purpose. It is small, perfect to fit in all but the tiniest of purses.

    But, then I got my iPhone. Now, my little Canon, gets left at home quite often. From talking with folks, I don't think I'm alone in this. My cousin lamented that there will be a couple years of her daughter's life that are only documented in 2 megapixel iPhone photo glory, sans flash and, sometimes, a steady hand.

    If the iPhone is good enough to capture my cousin's little cutie, then perhaps it can even be elevated to an art? There are a number of iPhone apps out there that can do some pretty neat things with a photo.

    And, so is born a new feature for the table - the iPhone photo of the week. I'll take up the challenge to take some beautiful or quirky or just interesting photos with the iPhone camera.

    Week 1
    Week 1
    Foggy bit of country



    There were people everywhere this weekend. Crowds can be beautiful, like this collage from etsy artist dannyliz. I love the beautiful papers, and this is a crowd I would love to sit and watch all day.

    However, crowds at the grocery store, the mall, Wal-mart, and Joann Fabrics sapped all creative energy out of me (unlike the crowd above). Too bad I saved Joann Fabrics for my last stop - I was too tired to come up with exciting projects.


    Flat Stanley

    I have a visitor this weekend. Flat Stanley came all the way from Texas to spend a week with me. To show him a good time, I took him walking around on Sunday afternoon. We got to see frozen lakes, a street band, bicyclists and tons of folks enjoying the nice weather. Then, we went and had blue moon ice cream.

    Flat Stanley’s visit to WI is part of a school project for my cousin. I’d’ve much rather had my cousin to visit me, but he didn’t fit in the envelope. Still, it was fun to compose interesting photos that had Stanley in them to prove that he’s been here. I took around 200 trying to get the perfect set to show off the town.

    The thin light didn’t help a whole lot, but at least it was somewhat sunny. I prefer shooting natural light, and Stanley’s laminated exterior didn’t allow for the use of flash.

    This picture above was taken with no flash, next to the windows but after the sun had started to sink. I took the picture into photoshop and upped the contrast and tweaked the saturation. I really like how the ice cream looks so blue and just starting to melt.


    National craft month

    Well, I'll be darned...March is national craft month! Trust me, I didn't know this when I started my blog. This is another reason to be super crafty for the next 26 days. We all need supplies to sustain the extended effort to create, so here are a few of my favorite resources:

    And, who knew that Overstock sold craft supplies: Overstock.com

    Walmart is good for plain white tshirts, although I'm a little sadden by the lack of fabrics in stores. I even hear that the fabric section of my favorite Walmart is going away, too. It used to be a great source of $1/yard fabrics.

    Tomorrow, I plan on hitting up a the brick and mortar versions of these places to stock up.


    Nifty Table

    Welcome to my new project! My goal is to help spark your creativity by presenting projects that I've completed (along with steps and photos), reviews of craft books, resources, and ideaboards based on what I like at the present. You'll probably also see quite a few references to Etsy, which I love.

    During the day, I am a project manager at a software company. But, before this, I had a background in journalism and dabbled in graphic design. I miss the creative outlet that my previous job provided, so this is my attempt to make up for the loss.

    Here are some of my projects:

    My interests are scattered widely through the craft world: painting, computer graphic desing, sewing photography, but especially paper crafts. I really like making cards or anything that can be done with pages ripped out of magazines. Oh, and as you can tell, I also like birds.

    My mom and sister are also quite crafty. At Home (with the big H), we do most of our crafting around the dining room table. Thus the name of the blog. I expect you'll be hearing from the two of them along the way.

    Thanks for joining me!