Everywhere you look

I see so many cool things in the course of my days–potential projects are everywhere! Most come into my viewfinder and pass right out, but some I feel compelled to capture with my phone’s camera, always sure that I will make something just like that cool something I’m seeing.

Guess how many of these dream projects I’ve actually tackled?

Actually, it’s kind of hard to say. It depends on how you define “tackled.” To make me feel like there might be some purpose in all these near-hits that are pretty-much misses (so far), I thought I’d like to put them in one place here and share them with you. Maybe they’ll inspire you to make some great something? And then I can feel better about it the next time I take a picture “for later.” 🙂

Mappy Easter Eggs


Aren’t these super-cute/cool looking? I’ve never come close to making anything like these. I’ve gotten stumped on what to use for eggs. I know I could blow out the insides of some raw eggs and then mod podge some kind of ephemera to them, but blowing out the inside of eggs would likely make me dizzy. Or get a migraine. And I hardly decorate for Easter, and don’t really like the idea of decorating for holidays or seasons…Still, I really like these. Maybe next spring…

Garden Screen

IMG_0264This one we actually kinda did. Sorta. We wanted to build a screen to hide our garbage cans, and we wanted the screen to contain plants. We found these outside a restaurant somewhere, and I thought they were pretty ingenious. Our version was pretty similar. I’m going to call this one an inspiration-turned-action victory!

Except, sadly, that screen is no more. It got pulverized in a bad windstorm last winter. How quickly one can fall from the thrill of victory to the agony of defeat!

Fairy Chair Garden


OK, so I was never gonna make a garden for fairies. But something about this was just so stinkin’ cute. And it’s made in an old chair, which I have a well-documented soft spot for.

Because I went cold turkey on chairs that need rehab, I don’t have any likely candidates for this project. But I have jumped on the succulent bandwagon and have several in our house. Nothing as twee as the little vignette above, though.

mod Peg Board


Um, yeah:  This was taken at Chipotle. I no longer remember why I thought we needed pegboard with giant holes or where I thought we’d put it or how I thought we’d make it, but I do remember thinking this looked cool. Still do. Never going to to this, however (all those pesky why/where/how questions I can’t answer).

Chunky Picnic Tables


I’m not really sure why I thought these tables were something snap-worthy. What they look like to me now is expensive. Maybe it was that they looked easy to build? We still don’t have a well-functioning picnic table, but we talk about building one every once in a while.

Lattice Pillow


Gotta like the finger in this one! There was something about this pillow I thought was way-groovy. Still do, and this is one project I actually started. Got stymied by the very thin strips of fabric. Several burned fingers (from the iron) later, I abandoned it. Should have known fingers would be my downfall with this venture.

Big Embroidery


We did some renovation work on our bedroom this summer, and I tried to convince Cane that this could make a super-cool headboard. He didn’t share my vision. 🙂 But there’s something about this super-sized embroidery that’s really appealing to me. Makes me want to embroider something with big, chunky fibers of some sort. It could happen.

Vertical Planter


I liked this take on a vertical planter–maybe because it doesn’t have to be attached to the side of the house. Something about this design appealed to me. I can’t really remember what it was now, but I still like the planter all the same!

Burlap Sack Planters

IMG_0572Speaking of planters…I just thought these were clever. Burlap is so inexpensive, and making these would be a lot easier than building a box. For me, at least. But this is another one on the list of projects not done.

Salvaged Christmas Tree


Add this to the list of projects Killed-by-Cane. Probably a mercy killing. I’m pretty sure I snapped this one during the holidays, and I’m pretty sure I said something like this:

“Just think! We’d never have to wrestle a real tree into the house again! No more needles to sweep and vacuum! And it’s recycling instead of killing a tree! It’s UP-cycling, actually. With house parts. And we’re all about houses and re-use and all that junk!”

And I’m pretty sure he said something like:

“But we’d have to store it. And it’s ugly.”

This right here captures everything about why we are generally a good team.

Book Page Snowballs


I am not a big holiday decorator. (I’ll spare you all the reasons why.) But I have loved and longed for these ever since I first saw them 3 or 4 years ago at Powell’s bookstore, where they are hung for the holidays. Thanks to a bountiful source of discarded book pages, I have the paper. Last year I even went so far as to research how to sew a thick stack of paper, and I bought a special needle for my sewing machine. I also bought a cool gizmo to cut the paper into circles. Still haven’t made them. Maybe this will be the year…and I’ll make the mappy eggs right after I make these.

How about you?

Am I the only one who sees inspiration everywhere? You want to tackle any of the projects I’m not going to get to? (So many projects, so little time…) If you do, I would love to see your results. 🙂

27 thoughts on “Everywhere you look

  1. Lisa says:

    Use plastic Easter eggs for the egg project. If you don’t have any and don’t want to add to the consumption stream of plastic junk, I have more than enough to spare in my Easter bin (I reuse them every year, even the paper grass), and would be happy to mail you some (which makes them free AND recycled).

    My “will DIY someday” projects are mostly giant art on canvas. I pin a lot of images that I think, hmm, I could do that. I have been making an effort lately to paint stuff and gift it to friends (who have asked for such paintings), but my paint/canvas pile was pretty big for a while.
    Lisa recently posted…Perspectacles: living with ugly beigeMy Profile

    • Rita says:

      Of course. Duh. I have way more of those plastic eggs than a body could ever need. I, too, reuse them every year–but always add to the collection because I can’t remember if I really still have them, or where they are, or if we have enough of the right colors. (Each kid gets a different colored egg, and they can only put their own color into their basket during the Easter egg hunt. Yes, they are teenagers, and yes, this was necessary to keep Easter morning from turning into some quasi-Hunger Games experience.) So, you may keep all your eggs, but the offer to mail some to me is one of the nicest I’ve had in a long time. 🙂

  2. Erin says:

    I love the potential that you see! I found a while ago that I’m too impatient to be crafty. I love the hunt for a piece, but unless I work on it right away, I have a tough time actually finishing.

  3. Marian says:

    This is me, too, 100%. Inspiration positively EVERYWHERE, and the whole “so many projects, so little time” is something that actually makes me feel a bit angsty. I’m reasonably sure I’m addicted to creating things, and I cannot be without a project – or two or three – on the go at all times. That being said, I’m very selective about what I make; and I have to feel it’s worth my time. So the mapped Easter eggs wouldn’t get made by me (because I don’t like to decorate for all the various holidays either), but the book page snowballs, on the other hand … I could definitely see myself making those, because I do rather enjoy making Christmas tree decorations. (Maybe because they’re small “hits” of creativity I can indulge in which don’t take too long, and which don’t create year-round clutter?).

    Your conversation with Cane about the wooden Christmas tree made me smile. I have tossed the idea around for years … how to have “something” (non-ugly, if possible!) to decorate and under which to set the presents, but without the guilt of chopping down a real tree (or going with a fake plastic tree). Although I hate the idea of making something and then having to store it (cannot stand storing things!), I would definitely be tempted to do something like you showed above if it weren’t for the fact that the kids would probably kill me. They love having a Christmas tree, and I can’t bring myself to wreck Christmas for them, so I learn to live with the guilt…

    On the current creative front, I’m knitting more hats than should be reasonable (as in, my knitting to hat-completed ratio is unreasonable); I should really get back to sewing bedroom curtains (so we won’t just have a piece of lining hanging there): I am toying with the idea of latch-hooking a rug for our 10 year-old son’s bedroom (why he can’t be talked into a braided rug of the sort I’ve made for everyone else in this house, I don’t know…he wants something “plush” and I’m determined that if it’s plush it should at least be wool, and not acrylic (a ready-made wool rug is harder to find, and is expensive). He wanted a sheepskin from IKEA, but I just COULDN’T!); and then there’s the idea of doing an abstract painting so we’ll finally have something to hang over the couch in our front room/office (I’ve watched a YouTube video, and was pretty good at art in high school, so think I could probably do it, and I’ve searched art.com and know exactly the kind of thing I would want; I’ve even done a practice run on paper…); AND if all that wasn’t enough, I just found a Harry Potter knitting book at the library, and hello! do I EVER want to make something from there…maybe even just a tiny sweater ornament as a Christmas gift for my daughter … I wouldn’t have to go so far as to knit an actual set of striped Gryffindor socks that she could wear…or would I…? (And this is just inside the house; we have raspberry bushes falling all over the place in the garden and we need to figure out some sort of trellis!)

    Marian recently posted…A Heart of Eggs, Food Waste, and “Mom, My Friends Think It’s Funny…”My Profile

    • Kate says:

      I just popped on to say Harry Potter knitting for the win! I actually just picked up some self striping sock yarn to make a pair of house color socks (basically a section of all the house colors separated by a cream section and a cream heel, toe, and cuff) for a Christmas present. Since I had to buy the house colors separately, I’ll have enough for a few – I’m making myself a pair as well!

      Actually, I love all book inspired knitting. I made a sweater for my mom from and Anne of Green Gables book. I’m currently toying with the idea of making Jesse the “Matthew’s sweater vest” for Christmas, but I’ve never done cables and I think if I add one more knitting project to my list of things to finish before Christmas I may just lose it!!
      Kate recently posted…WolfieMy Profile

      • Marian says:

        Oooh, was it “Anne’s Sweater” that you knit for your mom? (I LOVE that sweater!). I like Matthew’s sweater vest too, although that would be one I would hesitate to start in October, to be done for Christmas (but that’s maybe just me; I take a long time to finish projects, and that’s a pretty big one). Prior to the fingerless mitts, I had never done cables either, and in fact, I would purposely avoid patterns with cables because I figured they were too hard to do. They’re actually VERY easy! It’s just a matter of putting stitches onto a cable needle (a $3-ish device) and then holding the stitches either to the front or to the back, depending on if you want the cable to swing to the left or to the right. You then knit 1 to 3 stitches (as per the pattern) from the main piece and then put the stitches you’ve held on the cable needle back onto the regular needle and knit those.

        Self-striping sock yarn in Harry Potter house colours? Oh, that sounds fantastic! I need to get over my fear of knitting socks, and just try again. I had knit a pair each for my older two kids, way back when, but they had such a hard time getting them on, they hardly ever wore them! (I’m a tight knitter, and in hindsight, I should have gone up a needle size or two…).
        Marian recently posted…A Heart of Eggs, Food Waste, and “Mom, My Friends Think It’s Funny…”My Profile

        • Kate says:

          It was Anne’s sweater. It took me FOREVER but it really was lovely when it was done. I want to make one for me one day.

          I love socks. I can usually knock a pair out in two weeks or so if I’m not working on any other project. The yarn for the house colors is by Poste yarn and I ordered it from Simply Socks yarn company if your interested. It’s a favorite sock yarn and they have color ways in all four houses! (Which I love since I’m more Hufflepuff than Gryffindor)

      • Rita says:

        You guys are killing me. I so much want to be a knitter–and to think I could do book-inspired projects? That would be awesome. My grandma used to knit, and I so loved all the sweaters she made for me when I was growing up. Last winter I tried to begin teaching myself in earnest. I made a little progress, but not much. Then the weather got so hot, and the idea of sitting with a ball of yarn on my lap was unbearable. Maybe now that the temperatures are cooling off again I’ll try again…

        • Marian says:

          Some words of encouragement, because we knitters are an encouraging lot …

          Although my mom taught me to knit at a young age, I didn’t do a whole lot of it. I could only ever “practice”, and because I could only ever “practice” and not actually make something, I quickly stopped. I didn’t pick it up again until age 29, when I was pregnant and suddenly felt the overwhelming urge to knit a small sweater. (In other words, it’s never too late!)

          The type of needle you work with has a huge impact on how enjoyable knitting is (IMHO): plastic needles are TERRIBLE, so don’t even bother with those; go for metal ones or wooden ones. Also, the length of needle can affect how much you enjoy knitting. I had learned on the long tuck-them-in-your-armpits type, and for the first few baby sweaters I used those, but then I discovered circular needles (which you can use for both flat knitting and in-the-round) and it was amazing how much more I prefer knitting with these. (There’s just something really nice about just having your hands in operation, versus having to deal with tucking needles in position under your arms).

          I tend to think of my favourite aunt when I knit. I will never be as fast as her, but it’s really lovely to have her in mind as I work. I hope if you do try again with the knitting it conjures warm thoughts of your grandma 🙂
          Marian recently posted…A Heart of Eggs, Food Waste, and “Mom, My Friends Think It’s Funny…”My Profile

          • Rita says:

            I think I had a similar experience. My grandma taught me the basics (how to knit and purl), but all I ever made were squares. That got boring! And I know what you mean about needles. When I decided last winter that I want to finally learn how to really knit, I read something about needles and bought myself some wood ones. Something about them just feels so much better than plastic ones. I’ll never have my grandma’s skill–not enough years left to develop that–but I do love feeling connected to her when I’m knitting.

        • Kate says:

          This was the first year I knit through the summer. I usually switch to embroidery because you’re right, knitting with a ball of yarn in your lap in August is just unbearable. Then I found project bags and sock knitting. Now my yarn sits in a bag next to me and I have a small sock in my lap. Totally doable.

          As for the encouragement, the first time I ever tried knitting I went to a class at a local yarn shop (that has now since closed). About half way through the class the woman teaching the class told me that I should probably find another hobby. I’m stubborn. I went to a different yarn shop about 2 1/2 hours away and talked to the owner there and she set me up with a book, some good needles, and some nice yarn and I taught myself. Now I use youtube and books if I have to learn something new. It’s just a whole lot of practice, practice, practice and patience (like anything else, I imagine).

          I also agree with Marian that good needles are important and I swear I’ve tried them all. I currently order mine online because we only have big box craft stores and they do NOT (in my experience) have good needles. I recommend KnitPicks wooden interchangeable circular needles or Knitter’s Pride Karbonz but that’s what works for me.

          Also, I could talk knitting all day. 🙂
          Kate recently posted…WolfieMy Profile

    • Rita says:

      Oh, I could never really ditch the Christmas tree. There are so many memories in our ornaments–although if I could build something like the one in the picture that could be disassembled and stored compactly, and I could hang the ornaments from it…Yeah, that’s not going to happen. 🙂

      And the rest of this comment? Looks like the inside of my head. Don’t you wish we had all the time we need to do all the cool projects in our heads? If you make those Gryffindor socks, I want to see them!

  4. Gretchen says:

    I’ve made decoupaged Easter eggs before! I used styrofoam eggs from the craft store, if I’m remembering right. And pages from an old picture book–there were adorable farm animals, so, you know….seasonally appropriate and all. I vote a definite yes on book page snowballs. I think I always vote yes on book page projects, actually ….
    Gretchen recently posted…Fort Yargo State Park: Mistakes were MadeMy Profile

    • Rita says:

      I love the idea of farm animals (I like anything that’s got some metaphor to it), and I know I have some picture book illustrations. Just wish I still had little kids who would love them. I see lots of book page projects that I think are great, but I’ve never really done one of my own. Maybe this will be the year.

  5. Kate says:

    I LOVE the book page snowballs.

    Lately I’ve been screenshot picture taking off of Instagram. I’ve found so many amazing yarns and pattern ideas from following other knitters.

    I really don’t snap pictures of inspiration as much in real life because I think “oh, I’ll remember that” and I never do.

    • Rita says:

      I’ve been collecting quilting images off Pinterest. (Still haven’t gotten hooked into Instagram. I can’t keep up with the social media I do use.) Because at least I know enough to know that I won’t remember. I’m not sure why it matters, since I rarely end up making anything from the images that inspire me, but I’m still glad to have them collected somewhere.

      I love those snowballs, too. I’m really going to have to try to get that done this year.

  6. Sarah says:

    Such a fun post! I completely relate to seeing inspiration everywhere, and it’s cool to see what strikes another person’s fancy. I think sometimes even thinking through projects we may never make is a good exercise, it gets the creative juices flowing. I definitely felt inspired to make *something* after reading your post!

    I love the idea of the decoupaged eggs! I thought of using plain wooden eggs but I see you have lots of other good suggestions from other commenters. That would be kind of cool as a vacation memento project — you could use maps of places you’d traveled yo or that were significant to your family. Eggs have a kind of cool symbolism with respect to that (what’s inside?).

    Cane is dead wrong about the embroidered headboard….but he’s right about the scrap wood Christmas tree. 🙂
    Sarah recently posted…Finished object: Pencil shirtMy Profile

    • Rita says:

      I think you are so right about how other people’s projects get our own creative juices going. Reading poems by other writers almost always makes me want to write my own. So, even if we aren’t making something just like the something we’ve seen, I think it all goes into the mix.

      Cane and I laughed at your comment about the headboard and tree. Can’t tell you how much I appreciate a vote of solidarity on the headboard. I still think that would’ve been really cool! I knew he was right about the tree as soon as he said it. I think I took the photo just to give him a hard time. 🙂

  7. Jen says:

    I have inspiration aplenty – my Pinterest is filled with it, and I’ve started filling the husband’s as well (by sending him pins or posting things to his facebook wall). There are so many things, and not so much time. I’ve got a garage full of furniture that I’m not supposed to be working on painting until after my shoulder surgery and after the case is settled, so I remain stymied. There are a ton of things that I want to do with this house and this yard, but I need the husband’s help to do. The summer was too hot for working outside and now it is football season.

    In the realm of things that I can control, I’m finding that I don’t start or follow through with all of those things I’m totally in love with at the moment because I am afraid – afraid that I can’t do it, afraid that it’s going to be a disaster, afraid that when it’s done I will hate it. And sometimes perhaps that fear is a blessing in disguise.
    Jen recently posted…Photo Friday – Return to Lake MarsMy Profile

    • Rita says:

      It sounds as if your plate is really full right now. When that happens with me, I let go of all the project things. I let go when the weather is too hot. I let go when the schedule is too busy. I let go when I’m not feeling well. But I want to encourage you to let go even more of the fear of disaster/hate. I get it–when time is so precious, you don’t want to use any of it on a project that doesn’t work out. I’ve so been there. But even the disasters and failures usually teach me something I end up valuing. Of course, in the moment it sucks, but later I can appreciate it. Remind myself often that failure is a necessary component to most successes. Hope your surgery will go well and get you back into project shape. 🙂

  8. May says:

    Ok, Rita. I am so going to push the mappy egg project. Michael’s or Hobby Lobby carry your choice of paper mache or plastic eggs. You could even use the cheap, fillable plastic ones. Slather modpodge over your paper and apply. Boom…another project completed.
    Love the finger foreshadowing of how the pillow project would play out! Too funny. Also, too bad because it was awesome.
    As for the mega-embroidery…I am with you. Sorry, Cane. I have longed for a crewel covered wing chair since 1986. I want the huge, nubby texture surrounding me. I want to day dream in that chair while I trace the stitches with my finger. I want that chair!!! And since I have had thirty years to work up this head of steam, I will add that I want you to have that headboard!

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