DIY · tutorial

DIY iPhone 5 stand

iPhone5-DIY-StandI really like to Facetime with my long-distance family members, but I found that holding my phone up in a good position for the duration of a lengthy call was a little tiring. Setting my phone on the table for a call or propping it up against some books didn’t seem to work very well, either. The phone was always at too low of an angle for comfortable viewing, or it would eventually slide awkwardly out of position, or both. What I really need was a hands-free solution, and preferably one costing next-to-nothing. (Can you sense just how much I like the concept of DIY + free?)

So I looked around online for inexpensive DIY ideas for a sturdy, flexible, hands-free iPhone stand, and few days ago I found what looked like the perfect tutorial here. This showed how easy it might be to make exactly what I needed for nothing, out of spare parts already laying around my house. I knew I had to give it a try.

Following the very simple instructions, I cobbled together part of an old, broken gooseneck lamp, a 1/2-inch hex nut and a spare suction cup. Well, to be completely honest, the end result wasn’t completely free, I did spend 30 cents for the hex nut at my nearby Lowe’s hardware store.

After the E-6000 multi-purpose adhesive (my new favorite stickum) had completely dried, everything screwed together easy-peasy and exactly as shown in the video, however I found that the suction cup had trouble maintaining a good grip on the lightly textured back of my iPhone 5. Basically, because of its non-slick surface, my phone would eventually fall off of the suction cup mount after about two minutes. This was certainly not acceptable.

I pondered this problem for awhile and realized that a new or stronger suction cup was probably not the answer, I needed an even more secure mounting. Then I got the idea of cannibalizing one of my old and now useless iPhone 4 cases by trimming off the upper edge so that the taller iPhone 5 would fit inside. I trimmed the old case with my tin shears, made sure to sand off any rough edges with a metal file, and then just glued the suction cup connector to the back of the truncated case, et voila! My iPhone 5 easily slid right into its new and very secure holder.

Happy to report that my new phone stand works beautifully! I can adjust the phone for either landscape or portrait configuration and the height is just perfect for using Facetime. The only thing I haven’t done yet is cover the back of the case where the suction cup and nut are attached with some black felt from my stash. As suggested in the video, this would give my new stand a neater look from behind. But hey, no hurry, I don’t look at the back anyway.


Algebraic! magnets

AT-magnetsHere are some cute little “Adventure Time” magnets that I made for my niece’s fridge. She and her fiancé are big fans of the TV show on the Cartoon Network and I thought they might get a chuckle out of receiving a set of these for use in their kitchen.

I think that’s it for my magnet-making mania for right now. There’s only so much Mod Podging one can do before sticky finger satiation sets in! I’m going to use the rest of the paper that I punched into 1-inch circles for envelope seals.

crafts · DIY

Mason jar floating candles

Mason-Jar-CandlesIt’s true, I pin lots of cute “ideas for later” on my Pinterest page that I never quite find the time to do. Usually it comes down to lack of money or lack of time or lack of equipment (or all three).

So when I saw some sweet easy-peasy jar candles and realized that I already had all of the items needed to make these in my closet, I jumped at the chance to get creative!

All it took to make these Mason Jar Floating Candles were three glass jars from my stash ( two of them are actually old mayonnaise jars!), a bit of raffia that I had leftover from Christmases past and a few unscented floating candles from Pier 1 that I’d bought on sale and been saving from since I don’t know when. Wrap, tie, snip, fill, splash, done!

These look oh-so-pretty lighted and sitting out on my porch at night.



Bird-MagnetsA few weeks ago I decided to go on a little magnet-making spree! I took my trusty paper punch to some favorite illustrations by the wonderfully creative artist Gennine Zlatkis, and used Mod Podge to adhere these circles to the 1-inch round clear glass pieces that I’d found on sale at Hobby Lobby several months ago.

After carefully smoothing out the paper against the glass backs and letting that dry, I then added a couple of extra coats of the glue to act as a sealer. Later, I used a few drops of E-6000 multi-purpose adhesive to permanently affix an inexpensive magnet round to each piece.

I ended up making a matching set of 12 for my refrigerator, and I must say that they add a lovely artsy touch to my kitchen.

Of course, you could use any kind of paper to make your own magnets, even wrapping paper or images cut from magazines and catalogs. I think scrapbook paper would be ideal!


Making magnets

Magnet makingI don’t know why, but for me there’s something very relaxing about slapping glue onto things with a brush, so the fact that I got to spend a couple of hours this afternoon with my paper punches and a bottle of Mod Podge was pretty delightful.

I’d been collecting snippets of artwork from various places for several months now and finally managed to assemble all of these bits and pieces in one place and get to work making magnets. As well as creating several pretty birdie ones for my own fridge, I made a few for my niece using artwork from one of her favorite TV shows, and I hope she will smile when she sees them.

Later in the day, I measured and cut a piece of linen from my stash for a new cross stitch project that’s been on my list for quite some time. I’ve been buying the floss for this in stages as it went on sale and when Michael’s or Jo-Ann Fabrics had it available, so now that the fabric is finally ready, I can start anytime. I look forward to stitching again, but now that the day is darkening to dusk, I believe I’ll wait until tomorrow to begin. I don’t like starting projects at night, something about mornings and new beginnings just feels better.

DIY · tutorial

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Heart-BookmarkI went looking for a cute and simple project for Valentine’s Day and found a tutorial for these heart-shaped origami page markers at the HowAboutOrange blog. How sweet!

These hearts are a quick and easy fold and slip neatly over a page corner to mark your place in any book. Mine is holding my spot in “The Private Patient,” a crime novel by my favorite UK mystery author P.D. James.

You only need half of a square sheet of paper for these, and I’d recommend using a 5-1/2” x 2-3/4” size piece or smaller. I started with a larger sheet and my first heart came out very pretty, but huge! I think larger hearts might make lovely Valentine’s place cards on a table, though. You could just write your loved ones’ names across the hearts and set them in the middle of your place settings.

One more note: although there are not a lot of folds to these, which allows you to use just about any type of  paper, for the neatest results I’d suggest using the thinnest paper you can find. I actually printed my little red and pink dot pattern onto some lightweight writing paper from an old pad that used to belong to my mother. This makes my little heart bookmark a sweet reminder of her as well.

accessories · cross stitch · DIY

Stitch diary pages

Stitch-Diary-PageI was recently noodling around with my stitch diary and started wondering if I could make my scribbled notes more organized. I did a search of the web for inspiration and found several highly embellished examples of stitch journals, but nothing seemed to be exactly what I wanted, so I decided to create my own simplified page.

Since I wanted to reuse an old three-ring mini-binder, I designed my entry pages for a 5.5” x 8.5” overall size. I printed them out two-up on some leftover stationery stock, which I then sliced down the middle and hole-punched. Voila! Going to try these out for a bit and see if I prefer this neater method better than my little spiral notebook.


DIY Pinboard attempt #2

Pinboard-fullMy second attempt at creating a padded pinboard yielded far more satisfactory results. Adding a second layer of batting gave the board the extra depth I had originally desired, and although it’s hard to tell from the photo, in person you can really see the cushion effect.

I only ran into one little problem with the redo. The staples holding down the fabric came out easily enough, but when I went to remove the daisy-headed upholstery tacks, the cheap corkboard base they’d been stuck into began to disintegrate around the original holes. The old bulletin board wasn’t that substantial to begin with, so reinserting and securing the tacks became an issue.

Angle-shotI eventually hit upon replacing a few of the tacks with small screws, and adding washers and nuts on the reverse to secure them. Then I grabbed my toughest tin shears, clipped off the decorative tops of some of the tacks and glued those onto the screw heads using E-6000. It’s impossible to tell the actual daisy tacks from the screws now.

I’d already inserted anchors and screws into the wall, so all that was left was to reattach the picture wire to the back of the board and hang it up!