Archive for the 'diy projects' Category

An attempt towards progress

by @ Tuesday, June 29th, 2010. Filed under diy projects

Refinished maple nightstands

After a few responses to the last post I decided I needed to make an effort at digging myself out of this rut.  I am still in time out, but I need to be productive.

For those of you who don’t know (or haven’t been paying attention), the one place I can work uninterrupted is in my garage.  It’s hot as fuck in there right now, but no one messes with the projects in there.

Since the house has been on the market I have refinished a vintage metal bed frame and stained a pair of nightstands. Today I came home and started destroying refinishing my dresser.  I’ve had it since elementary school.  It moved to Texas with me in ’94 and I decided to paint it green (I was in a rut then too).  The plan is to remove the green paint and restore it to it’s former walnut stain finish.

Stay tuned.


The fashionable one

by @ Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010. Filed under diy projects, fashion, identity, observations on life

WTF?! Wings? I might make the clothes but M is definitely the more fashionable of the two of us.  Here she is sporting the “Chairman Mao Mu’umu’u”  from my Smoke House Dresses line.  The design was based on this dress from Browns Fashion and the dress was made from a polyester house dress.

M has been around for most of my semi-pro sewing career.  She has inspired a lot of my work and has definitely pushed me towards being a better designer.

Thanks M for being my “Tim Gunn” for the Smokehouse Dresses line.


This fish made a bicycle

by @ Tuesday, January 6th, 2009. Filed under bike, diy projects

After almost a year (and almost $600) my bike is done!
The frame was purchased on Craigslist.  I took it apart. I stripped it  and repainted it lavender.  I was able to salvage a lot of parts.  I did my best to get used parts before I got new ones ( Yellow Bike, Frankenbike, and CL). When I bought new stuff I went local (Thank you guys at the Peddler).



Check out the flickr page for more pics…

and now for the specs

1970? Niitaka Mixte
Handlebars and Brakes:
Mavi Bullhorns with Diacompe Brake handles, original diacompe brakes with new cables and housings
Fork and Headset:
Front wheel:
Sun  27×1 1/4 CR18
Rear wheel:
Sun 27×1 1/4 CR18 with flip/flop hub
Panaracer Pasela
Crankset and Bottom bracket
Stronglight Track crank and bb  48t chainring. 170mm arms.
Saddle :
Terry Butterfly
Cog/Gearing et cetera:
17t freewheel/Singlespeed


Productivity has it’s price

by @ Tuesday, November 25th, 2008. Filed under bad habits, diy projects, rants

In the last week I have destroyed a giant heap of sweaters (high end sweaters) to produce 9 hat/scarf sets.  There are also a few unmatched hats and scarves.  You might say that is awesome. But it’s not.  The only reason that happened is because I am in a bad mood, and when that happens it is just best for me to be in my sewing cave away from all people (usually destroying things). I am not in some sort of crafter’s holiday rush right now.  My hatred for retail (and bitchy customers) keeps me from selling my stuff in stores and the internet (BTW. If someone out there wants to be the go between for a minimal fee, preferably merch, let me know).

To the people who are concerned about my disappearance or perhaps the fact that I haven’t been answering my phone, stay tuned, you could end up with something nice and warm.

I suppose the plus side to spending a billion hours in front of the sewing machine is that it keeps me off the internet.



by @ Monday, April 9th, 2007. Filed under diy projects, random musings, this old house

I’ll admit it. I have a Sunday routine. Any other day of the week I just wing it. But Sunday, there is a routine. Sometimes you just need to decide on a day to get things done.

As much as I enjoy sleeping in, back when I had roommates I would get up early on Sunday just to enjoy some quiet. I’d bake muffins or some other tasty breakfast treat, and enjoy my coffee, maybe read the paper. Then I would clean the house (I cleaned the house a lot when I had roomates).

When the roommates were gone, I started waking up later. I’d still bake stuff but just not every week. Sometimes I’d clean, most of the time I would not. When there were boys in the picture, I enjoyed loafing in bed and then grabbing a late breakfast.

Now that all is quiet, I listen to chillville on the radio, I get out of bed around 10. I change the sheets on my bed (cause it is the only way I remember to do it on a regular basis) and I do laundry. I clean up around the house and try and put things back in order after a week of leaving things wherever I dropped them when I came in from work.

Today, I woke up way earlier than usual. I woke up around 8 (probably because I passed out on the couch last night around 8ish woke up around 10ish and then fell back asleep). I made whole wheat biscuts and started the laundry. I spent a chunk of the morning on the internet doing research for a sewing class. Then I puttered around in my sewing room. I did the final fitting for the prom dress I am altering. I went outside for a bit to take care of my roses that had decided that they wanted to lie down. I made homemade veggie burgers (I have faith that the weather will improve and we will go back to the regularly scheduled grilling season). I returned to the internet to research composite lumber (for my fence) and dual-flush toilets (I need to replace the toilet in my bathroom and I am looking at the high efficiency ones). I made lunch for the next few days. I chatted with Megan on the phone and then I made quesadillas for dinner. Then it was guilty pleasure tv time. Every Sunday I watch Extreme Makeover Home Edition (and usually have a good cry during the heartwrenching moment when they move the bus). Then I fold laundry.


30 years of Jen

by @ Wednesday, January 31st, 2007. Filed under diy projects, growing up, this old house

I turned 30 on Friday. 30 doesn’t feel that much different than 29. Some people say that it is the new 21. If it really was the new 21 I would have had a margarita machine and a bouncy castle…

The festivities began on Thursday. My co-workers decorated my office with a ton of balloons. Then they cookied my car when I was in a meeting.

Those would be lemon-cream filled sandwich cookies plastered all over my car (no, they didn’t hurt the paint). This was how I started my long weekend (I had scheduled myself to be off through Tuesday)

After work I went to the container store (my car was still covered in cookies and only a few were lost in transit). I picked up shelves so I could finish my pantry project. The shelving project required a drill bit I didn’t have so I tabled installation until Friday.

I slept in on Friday morning (till about 10ish). I had a chocolate-chocolate chip cookie for breakfast (I was meeting my parents for lunch at noon so I didn’t eat a “real breakfast”). I removed most of the cookies from my car and then I headed off to meet my parents for lunch at Hyde Park Bar and Grill.

After lunch I headed out to FirstSamples. I needed to return a key and talk to Shauna about the future of Level IV. There is still one cookie stuck to the top of my car (this cookie was still on my car when I took it to be washed on Monday afternoon).

I went to Home Depot on the way home from the studio. I had to get the giant drill bit in order to install my new shelves. I bought a nifty new set of drill bits and headed home to my lemon-scented garage.

Shelf installation went pretty quick. I was done in 20 minutes or so. All of my food is one space now. I no longer use a giant rubbermaid tub for food storage. Elfa is expensive, but it rocks.

I went to Trudy’s for dinner (and my free Mexmart). I was shocked that my party of 10 was seated in 45 minutes and not the hour and 30 minutes we were quoted. After dinner I finished the night off at the Alamo Drafthouse (Spike and Mike’s Sick and Twisted Animation Festival). The festival has seen better days but it is pretty hard to compete against YouTube.

Saturday was spent cleaning my house and loafing. I did some prep work for the dinner party I was hosting on Sunday. I went back to the container store (they are having a sale). I went to World Market (they have a great wine selection and the prices are pretty good). I went to the grocery store (which I hate) because I needed some key ingredients for dinner. Before retiring to the couch for the evening I made the chocolate mousse and biscotti. I ended up watching Life Aquatic with the commentary on (and falling asleep because I was worn out).

Sunday I was up early. I went to Costco (I drove by on Saturday and it was a zoo). I washed my hair and began the baking marathon (ok, not like my Christmas baking marathon). Portobella Brie cups for the appetizer. I made pasta with artichoke hearts, spinach and feta for the main course. Chocolate mousse with whipped cream (from scratch and spiked with Bailey’s) for dessert.

I had 7 of my closest friends around one table. This has NEVER happened before. I can rarely arrange time with just two of them. Most of them I have known since college. Some have been roommates. We ate and drank and talked from 7 until around 10 ish. Keely and Megan ended up staying until 2am (It was nice. The last time we did something like that was after I broke up with the first boy. This time all of us were resting firmly on the plateau without issues).

Monday I slept in until around 10:30. Mom came over to drop off some things. I went to the post office and ran a few errands. I got my car washed. They did a pretty crappy job. There is still some lemon frosting here and there. I spent a big chunk of my evening organizing my sewing room and pondering if I could skip another day of work. Maybe I could become a professional organizer. Maybe work at the container store?

So that would be my 30th birthday weekend.


Merry Christmas (take that Martha Stewart)

by @ Friday, December 9th, 2005. Filed under diy projects, ex sightings

I dragged my 2-d, cat-proof, Christmas tree out of the closet last night and decided that I needed to add a little more bling. This years main decoration…

AOL coasters (and a few crappy free cds).

I actually save them vs. tossing them and letting them go out to the landfill. I figured that one day I could make them into something . I saw some pretty cool Halloween costumes that you can make with old cds.

I need to add a little more color but I think that I have enough bling.


This old house…

by @ Wednesday, November 23rd, 2005. Filed under diy projects, this old house

Once again I had to strap on the tool belt and restore order to my house.

The time, roughly 5 am on Monday morning. I had just come back from the afterhours dance at Ruta Maya. I decided to run the dishwasher because my houseguests manange to use ALL the coffee mugs and most of the other glassware during their 4 day visit. I pull out the dishwasher soap from the cabinet under the sink and notice that it’s a little funky down there. I decided to investigate rather than ignore it. I pull out all of the cleaning supplies (how I ended up with more than one bottle of windex and a billion sponges is a blur) and I decide that this is going to take some time. I stop there and leave some plastic containers to catch the drip because I am too tired to find the source. It wasn’t as if the leak was a waterfall. Besides, 7 more hours of dripping wasn’t going to hurt.

After sleep and coffee I check out the damage. The intake hose for the faucet was the source of the leak. How to fix it? Well, I am no plumber so I decided to pull a McGuyver and duct tape it so I could deal with the funky rotten wood problem. I pulled out the bottom of the cabinet only to discover that there was a layer of what looked like the floor of a forest after it rains. Muddy and little bits of wood. Damp smell… The only thing missing was signs of life. It would have added a little bit of humor if I found some sort of mushroom or something growing down there.

There is nothing like taking out frustration with a hammer. I don’t have a crowbar so I used the hammer to pry out damaged wood. At some point I realized I should calm down a bit or I would end up destroying the perfectly good plumbing.

Frustration? Yes, I was a little pissy. What caused it? Lack of sleep and, as usual, boys. The general population and one in particular. Rubbing up against boys all weekend at the lindy exchange in combination with tequilla (mmm, mexican martinis). I was so asking for trouble. But I have standards so no exchange hook ups for me. I was also lucky that I was unable to drink and dial (I removed a phone number from my cell a few months ago just for that reason). To top it off, on Sunday morning I wake up in the middle of an orgasm. I had been dreaming about doing very bad things with a guy friend of mine (I thought I had purged that reoccuring dream, apparently not).

So where does that leave me now? Well, after gutting the kitchen cabinet I decided that I would call in for help. I should remove the dishwasher to see how far the leak spread. The leak is still being contained by the duct tape. I may or may not fix it myself.

and for ther record, boys are stupid



by @ Monday, September 19th, 2005. Filed under diy projects

I love shoes.
Dancing was an excuse to have even more shoes.
I stopped dancing for about 2 years or so and gave away a lot of shoes.
I started dancing again back in April and realized that the shoes I had left, just weren’t good enough. They were worn out or aggravated previous dance injuries.

I did some investigating and found that in the time I had been gone there were no new developments in the world of dance shoes. I want something that looks like a pump and feels like a sneaker (and preferably costs under $40).

Ideally I wanted wedges. They force you to lean forward and dance into the floor (if you don’t, you will fall on your ass, and potentially roll your ankle on the way down. As far as the available shoes go, they are expensive and open toed.
Exhibit A
Exhibit B

I even did a few searches and found that most European Comfort Shoes have a cork/lightweight heel that is wedge shaped.

Unfortunately there is the problem of the open toe.

Then I found a pretty cool shoe on They are a closed toe wedge by Dexter. I don’t really like the decorative thingy on the front though. I also don’t like the fact that they are $76.

So what’s a girl to do? Make her own shoes.

I started out with a hand-me-down pair of Swivels (Exhibit A).
Then I took them apart (FYI, they are glued not stitched).
I traced the existing (slightly mangled from previous user) upper onto a new piece of leather.

Here’s what the process looks like…

Next step. Find a good lining for the leather and decide on the edge finishing.

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  • Jen: jen at projectjen dot com
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