endlessly creating

teaching, books, projects, & other things i love


Quick Project – Map Coasters

A few weeks ago I came across this awesome site that generates watercolor maps of any location you search. Then Pinterest gave me this idea for DIY coasters and I decided to combine the two to make a set for my dad for Father’s Day, featuring locations that are meaningful to us (home, campgrounds, etc).


The coasters were just over $1 each in the garden department at Home Depot and I copied and pasted the maps into a Word document to resize, crop, and print.

I used pushpins to prop the coasters up - way easier to mod podge the edges and keep them from sticking to anything!

I used pushpins to prop the coasters up – way easier to mod podge the edges and keep them from sticking to anything!

As I so often do with projects, I might have slightly overdone it… on some of them, it wasn’t clear what you’re looking at (the neighborhood is just a bunch of lines!) so I marked the specific location, such as our house, with a little heart. But then for consistency’s sake I wanted that on all of them, and then when it was too late I was like hm, that’s a bit much. Oh well.

The only problem I had other than that is that they seem to have stayed kinda sticky. I let the mod podge dry for DAYS, but it still felt tacky. I tried a spray-on acrylic sealant and let THAT dry for a couple days too and they looked okay, but they ended up getting a little messed up and they stick together a bit when they’re stacked. I don’t know, I always have issues with mod podge…


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Steampunk Silliness

I’ve never really had the opportunity or inclination for cosplay. I don’t think I’m geeky enough to go to a convention, and if I did I think I’d be too self-conscious to show up in full costume. I mean, one Halloween I hid my striped pirate tights under my pants and kept my hat in my backpack until I got to class. And I was dressing up to match a friend in the same class! She did the same thing, and we rolled up our pants and put on our hats together in the hallway. We were both too shy to walk across campus alone in very minimal costumes. ON HALLOWEEN.

But I’ve been seeing a lot of Disneybound pictures lately, and I feel like I could maybe do that – I like the idea of “toning down” a costume so that it looks normal, but still evokes a certain character or interest. I kind of want to come up with some Disney outfits but nothing in my closet really works at the moment. I do have a skirt I want to accessorize into a Wonder Woman look, but I don’t have the accessories yet! However, I love the look of steampunk so when I got bored yesterday I decided to dig through my clothes and see how steampunk I could get based just on what I already had. I was… successfullish?

Wish I'd gotten one where you could see my awesome boots :(

Wish I’d gotten one where you could see my awesome boots :(

I ended up not really liking how the brown skirt sat – it should go a little lower but it’s too small! I bought it in high school and just didn’t want to part with it when I gained weight. I think it would look better if I had more like a vest or corset instead, but that’s not exactly my usual attire. Maybe I’ll figure something out by the time it’s cool enough outside to actually wear the boots (I took off the brown skirt and switched to flats when I actually left the house, which kinda took away from the look but oh well!).

Ah yes, corduroy, so steampunk. The flower necklace is the only thing I bought specifically because it looked a little "steampunkish." I'm aware the octopus is cliche.

Ah yes, corduroy, so steampunk. I’m aware the octopus is a giant cliche.

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DIY Skirts

I am painfully bad at sewing. Most of the time I get lazy and impatient, so I’m not very careful about making sure everything is cut and pinned and sewed correctly… which does not usually result in a presentable product! I also have little knowledge about various sewing accessories so I end up improvising with the basics that I happen to already own. Is it surprising that my projects don’t usually turn out?

Last summer I tried making a skirt based on one of the many, many tutorials I’ve come across on Pinterest, and the results were not pretty. Right after tearing it apart and making it again SIX TIMES, I found this post on Pinstrosity that sums up the problem quite well – the skirt ballooned out and made me look pregnant, not exactly the look I was going for. I modified it several times and ended up with a passable skirt that I only wore once because it still just didn’t fit right or look great, so I pretty much gave up on making my own skirts… until now!

A few weeks ago I wore a skirt I actually made in high school (with my grandma’s help… the zipper was too intimidating) and realized that if I’d been successful with that pattern once, I could do it again. And I did! Twice!


The first one pictured above is the original. I think the pattern I’d bought had modifications to make a shorter skirt (just the patterned part) or to add on that wide band at the bottom. I had a bunch of fabric I’d purchased for another Pinterest tutorial before I realized I’d probably just ruin it, so I decided to make a similar-length skirt minus the band – but I still wanted it to be past knee-length so I could wear it to work.

This skirt requires a little more work than the other one I posted, but hopefully I can explain it in a somewhat helpful way for anyone who wants to give it a try…

Materials: about 2 yards of fabric (depending on print – see step 2); 7″ zipper; hem tape or similar to line waistband

Quick Instructions: Make the template and cut six wedges, sew together, add a zipper and lining, finish the waistband and hem.

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Lace/Knit Skirt

I’ve been having a lot of fun (and a surprising amount of success!) with sewing lately and wanted to share. I’ll be posting the first two skirts I made soon, but for now, here’s one I came up with so I could finally use some incredibly cheap, incredibly ugly fabric I bought a few months ago.

Why did I buy ugly fabric? Well, awhile back Joann Fabric had an amazing online sale on knit fabrics (something like $1 or $2 a yard) and I kept seeing tutorials saying that knits are nice because you don’t have to hem the raw edges, and I’m terrible at hemming. I don’t remember exactly what I was planning to make, but I think I wanted to use neutral colors, so I bought a couple yards of grey and a couple of a sort of nude/beige color. Not sure what I was thinking, because I really dislike all the “nude” colored dresses and things I keep seeing and I don’t understand why anyone would wear a boring color when they could wear a bold one. However, the picture online looked like a warm, pinkish color, and I thought maybe it would be okay. Well, it was not. It was the dullest, most boring beige of all time, and it has stayed in the box it came in ever since I got it.

As I was working on my other skirts, though, I thought of all the cute lace clothing that’s become popular lately, and decided that maybe if there was lace over the ugly, it would look prettier!



This skirt was SUPER easy even though I pretty much made things up as I went. I’d originally visualized something with a fold-over wasitband like yoga pants, but – duh – I wasn’t using a stretchy knit so that couldn’t happen. Here’s how I did it:

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Sand Dollar Shadowbox

I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, so I adore cold, rocky beaches. Every time I went to the coast as a child, I always, always wanted to find a whole sand dollar, but never found anything more than some broken pieces. When I moved to Texas, it was hard for me to realize that I wouldn’t get to see those beaches again for a long time, so I planned a trip with some friends as a kind of farewell, and much to my delight I finally found my first sand dollar!

I stood there on the beach, staring at the perfect shell in my hand, cherishing a moment I’d been waiting for my whole life. It was like a sign, a miracle – the coast saying goodbye to me with this last, lovely gift.


Moments later, one of my friends inexplicably smacked the sand dollar out of my hand, and we all stared in shock at the broken pieces on the ground.

Luckily, I found another one farther along the beach, so looking back on that moment and how dramatic it was just makes me laugh. And I finally figured out how to display my sand dollar, so now it serves as a lovely reminder of both the coast and that ridiculous moment on our trip!


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