Wednesday, December 30, 2009

diy updates: baby accessories

G has been busy getting the house ready for the babies arrival. You saw the cornices already...and we'll update other things when they're finished. But i wanted to take a second to update you on some baby accessories i've made over the past month.

since there are no newborns nearby, everything is being modeled by other friends! thanks to snuggles, whisker, and david the bear.

baby tutu

baby bear hat

baby tutu and baby bear hat (and another gumdrop pillow I just made)

baby winter hats

baby mary janes with real pearls!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

curvaceous pelmet boxes

Of all the projects we've done, this is one of the ones we're most proud of. When all is said and done, I think the babies room is going to be the dopest room in the house.

For a long time, I wanted to put up a cornice box - also called a pelmet box - above some of the windows in our condo. G and I had done some planning, and we mostly knew how to do it. The problem was that G said we don't have a jigsaw so we couldn't build a cornice with a shape that I like, it would have to just be a rectangle. It wasn't exactly what I hoped for, but G said it was the only way.

But because this was going to be the first cornice in our home, and it was going to be in the babies room, I never gave up hope we could find a way to have a shape. If it was for our bedroom instead, maybe I would have accepted the plain front, but for this room, I was motivated to figure it out.

Just a couple days before we were planning to start on building them, I found a tutorial online that said you could make a beautiful pelmet out of just foamcore! That makes it easy to carve any shape you want! Isn't that a great idea? It's inexpensive and you can choose any shape you want, which allowed us to splurge on the fabric.

When I told G this idea, he was a little hesitant. He didn't think it would be strong - and he also prefers using wood because he thinks it's more tough and manly. But he changed his mind when he realized how much I really wanted some kind of style other than a rectangle on it. Thats something great about me & G together: I tell him what I want, and he helps me make it happen. Without him, I don't feel I can finish any projects. Without me, he doesn't ever want to start any projects!

Here is a step by step tutorial. We didn't do it exactly the same way the Little Green Notebook did, but hers was a good place to start.

First, we designed the front of the box. I was looking for a style that wasn't too ornate, but was still pretty. I definitely wanted a little bit of curve, not just right angles. Here's G drawing the design on foamcore. He's wearing a Randy Moss jersey in support of him since everyone else is blaming him now!

Then we used a boxcutter to cut out the right shapes, and used duct tape to connect them pieces together. This is G looking proud of the job he did!

Instead of using all foamcore like the other site, we compromised and used wood on the back so it's sturdier. The wood keeps the front from bending and also is the piece that attached to the wall.

We then covered the front of each box with batting to make it puffy. After that, we wrapped it with this fabric. Initially, we were going to use an amy butler fabric for this project, but based on the design of the fabric and the style of the cornice, they weren't a good match, so we changed our mind last minute. We looked all over the place for the right fabric, and when we finally found this one, we were excited!

Here is G using a staple gun to upholster the cornice. Can you believe it's just made of foamcore?

This is what it looks like on the window. Isn't it pretty?

So what do you think?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

tutorial: bootleg gumdrop pillow

i've been sweating this pillow for a long time, but i could never figure out how to make it. i surfed all over the internet for the bootleg version. i even borrowed amy butler's books from the library, but i couldn't find the right pattern for this pillow. just when i was about to give in and buy the pattern for the pillow...which only cost $11.99 anyway, i found a DIY tutorial for a "Moroccan pouf" online. i think it's kinda funny that it doesn't mention Amy Butler at all, when it's almost exactly her pattern, just a couple inches different in size.

When i saw it, it looked so similar to Amy Butler's pouf, that I asked G to reverse engineer and figure out how to change the free bootleg pattern to be more the right size of the amy butler version. that way it looks even more like the original one that i liked in the first place.

BTW, i did support amy butler herself by buying her fabric. a lot of the babys room is going to be done using her fabrics. but the reason i didn't want to buy the pattern is both me & G don't like paying money for ideas. Ideas should be free and we should share them freely!

Here is our process step by step.

First, cut out 8 pieces of fabric in this shape. The design we chose had some regular features, so we tried to make each piece identical. we could have been a little more random, but I wanted the uniform look.

Sew them together like this in pairs, also sew the diagonal edges together but not all the way to leave space to stuff it later. Then sew the pairs together until you have the outer casing of the pillow.


Then start stuffing with whatever kind of stuffing you got. I used polyester fiberfil, although amy butler suggests using some natural stuffing that would cost $100 just for the filling!

It's a convenient time capsule too. We're going to let our kids open it when they turn 21. So we also put in a bottle of gin...

...a Bruce Lee DVD in honor of their dad's favorite guy...

...and a Justin Timberlake bobblehead given to me by Auntie kay.

Next, make a cover for that hole. It could be any shape, we chose something like an octagon.

We're going to make another one for the nursery.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Road Trip Down Memory Lane

Note from new contributor Grouchy G: Just because S hasn't updated here in a long time doesn't mean she hasn't had stuff to update about. As many of yall know, there have been plenty of life changes for us, so free time to spend on the internets has been hard to come by. So she invited me to be her co-conspirator on this here blog, so there is less pressure for frequent updating, but so that we can still try to keep family and friends up to date with what's going on, specifically, what projects we got in and out of our hands.

I have guest posted on this blog before, but now I'm a real partner on it! This is really what I wanted all along. So below, I present to you my first entry as an official Home Engineer. (Holla!)

On Saturday, I had a show at Amherst College. S and I met and became friends as students at UMass-Amherst, so we made the trip together and visited some of our old favorite places.

It was very meaningful actually. This was the 12th annual Voices for the Voiceless poetry concert, and I've been to about 7 of them. Maybe 8, maybe 6. I dunno, but a lot. It's one of my favorite shows to do every year because of the quality of poets and the attentive crowd. But usually, I drive right back to Boston after the show is over - but now that S came with me, we decided to take advantage of the school's offer for a hotel room and stay the night.

Moreover, old friend Shaggy Flores was there, and he was on point. Shaggy is a UMass grad also, who also met his wife in college. They brought their beautiful 5 year-old girl with them too. There are many parallels between myself and Shaggy. We both went to UMass, both moved to DC after graduation - we even were working about 3 blocks from each other. We both have masters degrees, and both are dope. We also both have our share of haters at our alma mater.

Also Bao was there, and he's one of my closest friends in the world. Bao & I have never done Voices together, although we've both appeared multiple times. And since he and his partner J just had their first child 6 weeks ago, it's wonderful to be able to spend time with him as we're getting ready to grow our family.

Also, two legends of Nuyorican poetry were there: Louis Reyes Rivera (amazing as always) and Americo Casiano (my first tiem meeting him) - both were phenomenal. I also got to meet Mwalim, who teaches spoken word and many other things at UMass-Dartmouth. Since I teach a simialr thing at UMass-Boston, we're like UMass brothers. I am definitely gonna hit him up for some knowledge about how to navigate that whole system.

But anyway, the rest of the weekend was focused on - what else? - food. So here we here we go:
Two slices each at Antonio's! Wow, it's been almost 10 years since we had this! Still just as good as we remembered. Maybe even better. Nom nom nom.

Amazing food from Santiago's Family Restaurant in Westfield. They catered the show. Ooooooooooooooh. Damn the pork belly is my JOINT. Even though I try to be pretty health conscious, the Chinese in me makes me unable to resist pork belly and extra oil in everything. Their food was seriously bomb tho. Full plate an hour after two slices at Antonio's.

S did leave the show a little early to catch up with our old friend from college Malis. And to see her beautiful family. Malis moved to Amherst for college, then never left! it was great to see her. After the show, we got calzones from DP Dough. We ate them so fast we forgot to take pictures.

Next morning we hit the Korean Restaurant on Route 9 in Hadley. We wondered if it would be as good now that we're older and get good pretty good Korean food near our home, or can get bomb Korean food every time we're in NYC or LA.

Nope, it was just as good we remembered. Mmmmmm.

Cider Donuts from Atkins Farm.

Yes I will have another.