Lailah in December

January 23, 2012

My husband the cobbler.

February 10, 2010

Matt & I are a good team. I get ideas for stuff to make around the house, and he uses his gifts of precision & spatial reasoning to execute my designs. He just finished these cabinet doors for the built-ins in our living room….

We don’t have any radiators in our house but I love the look of a radiator box—so we made the doors out of the same screen material. Matt bought a router to do this project so now we’re equipped to do other woodworking projects.

I have a weird fascination with the knob collection at Anthropologie. Getting to pick out some new knobs was one of the exciting parts of this project—aside from finally being able to hide our junk behind closed doors.

On snowy days like today, Matt makes his family recipe for Snow Cream.

You’ll need 1 cup sugar, 1 can evaporated milk, & 1 tablespoon vanilla.

Plus, a big bucket of freshly harvested snow.

Matt starts mixing a scoop of snow at a time in with the other three ingredients, until all the liquid’s absorbed.

Dish up the snow cream (makes about 4 big bowls) and enjoy by the fire.

Snow play.

February 9, 2010

So far, we’ve been off since Friday at noon…. With a new storm coming tonight, it’s debatable whether we’ll go back to work this week at all.

I don’t mind being snowed-in one bit. There’s so much to do! For one thing, I have more time to practice with my camera. I’m experimenting with the long lens & depth of field.

Lisa & I went down to check out the creek.

Molly & Anubis came to stay. We went exploring in this winter wonderland.

Matt, Molly, & I played Yahtzee. My aunt gave us an eco-friendly, reusable set. She photocopied & laminated the scorecards—a great gift idea.

I made this Amy Butler Snow Mum pillow in a dark gray woolblend felt using a free pattern. Some of my friends are coming over next week to make them so I tested it out beforehand. I love how it came out.

Grosgrain aprons.

February 9, 2010

In a search for the perfect apron pattern, I liked the Cottage Chic Apron on Grosgrain the best: she has an easy-to-follow tutorial.

Here’s Matt modeling my first attempt….

I learned how to gather by doing this project—I love the ruffle.

The apron’s supposed to be reversible but I thought I was smarter than the tutorial, so mine’s not quite reversible.

I gifted the first one to Candice. Thanks, Candice, for graciously accepting my error-ridden sewing project. In my second attempt, I made the ties twice as long as the ones in the tutorial.

I also tried the pocket. Here’s the other side—it’s truly reversible this time. I’m mailing this one to a friend. Molly & I made these during the snowstorm this weekend.

I altered the dimensions in the tutorial only slightly to make the apron using 4 fat quarters. You can make the whole thing for $10 or less, depending on the fabrics you use. I made another apron today—my third attempt—with the new fabrics from Amy Butler’s LOVE collection.

And here’s the other side:

Grosgrain claims the apron took her two hours. She is an amazing seamstress—check out her Salvation Army makeovers on her blog. Though it hasn’t taken me two hours, I’m starting to get better with practice….

Learning portrait photography.

February 8, 2010

I’m in the process of learning children’s portrait photography. I aspire to take photos like this woman and this woman—they inspire me.

For now, I’m teaching myself and learning from photographers online. My sister Lisa has been a great sport about letting me practice on her.

She’s a great subject.

Lisa’s never afraid to be silly….

I’m trying different post-processing techniques, too.

Learning about lighting and composition is one thing, but my newly developing skills were tested to the max when I went to do a portrait session with my two-year-old cousin Jason.

He’s got tons of energy.

In an hour I took almost 300 photos, only 15 of which turned out to be worth printing.

So, I’m learning….

Cobbling around the house.

February 7, 2010

I’ve been finding it rewarding to make stuff for the house—things that we can actually use.

Thanks to a great tutorial complete with photos, I made roman shades for our attic loft. The fabric is Amy Butler’s Daisy Chain Pressed Flowers in Rose.

Now our strange & mysterious neighbors won’t be able to see in….

I still need to get a metal bar to put in the bottom of the shade so the shade will be weighted down a bit and lie flatter.

During the last snowstorm, I revamped our home office—new paint, rearranged furniture, and a recovered chair. With super on-sale IKEA fabric ($1.99/yard) and the help of an expert seamstress, I gave a make-over to our hand-me-down This End Up chair. (Unfortunately, I haven’t found a “before” photo, but the cover was green & pilly.)

I’ve been wanting to paint a room gray for a while and I love how it turned out.

I still want to get some new chairs—maybe red—and a new light fixture to complement the new decor.

Learning to sew.

February 6, 2010

I’ve been trying to dive right into sewing. There’re so many things I want to make.

One of my first projects was this ruffled felt pillow—How About Orange has a tutorial. Despite how easy the project is, I wasn’t quite able to make my ruffle straight. So, I’m learning….

I found a really cute bag on Made By Rae—she has a free pattern & tutorial. I didn’t use my favorite fabric for my first try—a good thing since I made plenty of mistakes. I’d definitely use a more heavy-duty fabric next time. There’re lots of cool pics of the Buttercup Bag on Flickr.

Next time, I will try a button closure—the magnet clasp is too much. Other variations of the bag include a bigger size and a longer strap.

I learned how to do pleats for the first time with this project—how exciting!

Cobbling a life.

February 5, 2010

My sister fondly (I think) calls me a cobbler for my tendency to make stuff and/or claim, “I could make that!”

I’m embracing that name here.

Cobbling is a mindset. It’s a way of taking the pieces in life—leftovers and layoffs, scraps and seeds—and putting them to use in a meaningful way. Sometimes you have instructions and plans and tutorials, and sometimes you don’t. Either way, there’s satisfaction in the homemade & the homegrown.

This blog is an act of cobbling itself: a collection of ideas, projects, words, & images that I’m cobbling together to create something new from the parts & pieces of life.