Sunday, February 27, 2011

It's that time of the year again..

It be my birthday. :D Happy Birthday to me!! lol

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Build your own bench...

Okay, so not an imaginative title. :p But nonetheless..I promised a tut for this a million years ago, and it's time to make good.. :p

Tools and supplies needed:

Board or boards, the width you want your bench, and enough length to make two legs and the seat...Mine is about two feet high, by three feet across. So, a total of seven feet in length.

A board or a couple boards to make the supports..I used a piece 2" deep, 8" wide, and 12" long. This was large enough to make both supports.

Wood screws x 10

Sandpaper, med grit (100 grit)


Waterbase varnish (optional)



Electric sander (optional)

Measuring tape or ruler

Wood glue


Kraft paper and pencil

Start with your board...mine was an old, painted shelf we had no need for. Bonus, was already pre-distressed. :D Lay across your sawhorses or whatever you use to hold a board for cutting with a saw. 

Measure out your sections, and mark off. 

Using your paper...draw out an attractive curve for the sides of the legs. I used the edge of the paper to match up the straight edge of the board so I could do it evenly. Trace it onto the board, and flip and repeat for the other side. 

I wanted this decorative detail at the foot of the legs, so I added it in.

Cut out your design details, using the jigsaw. For the side scroll pattern, start at the point, and saw through the curves and off the edge. For bottom, it's a little more tricky. First, cut out the curved bottom. Ignore the little square. Once that is out, move on to the square. 

Starting at one bottom corner of the square, start cutting up, and curve through the corner, straightening at the top, and ending at the corner. You should end up with half that square cut at the top. Repeat on the other side.Clean up any uneven-ness across the top by making another pass along with the blade. Ask me what the heck I am talking about if I am unclear. :p

Cut off that section along your previously marked line, and repeat for the next leg.

I totally messed up, and didn't get pics of this part, but you are going to make supports for each side of the seat. You will make them pretty much the same way you made the legs, but only cut on one side, and leave the other side flat, to support the seat. Please refer to the pic six spots down for a better idea. Heh.

At this point, I find it easiest to sand the pieces before assembling. I smoothed the edges, and then rounded the corners, to give a more worn appearance. Yes, I totally sucked at cutting that little square out. Sue me. :D

Using the ruler, find the middle point of the leg, along the top edge. 

About an inch or so down, pre-drill in a screw, but don't let it go all the way through. Make another one about 1.5 inches below that. 

Take your wood glue, 

..and smear it all over the side edge of the support, on the area that will be against the legs.

This part is fiddly, and maybe someone else has a kickass idea on how to do this, but I don't, so, put the glue end against the inner side of the legs, behind where the screws are, brace the board somehow, and complete the screws. Make sure the top edge of the support is flush with the top edge of the leg. Repeat on other side.

On the seat board, predrill three screws, along the outside edge, where the legs will be. 

Apply more wood glue along the top edges..

..and put the seat onto the legs, screwing down completely. At this point, if you really care, you can fill in the screw heads with putty, let dry, and sand smooth, ready for painting. I, um, don't, really..

Painting: So, I was using a prepainted shelf, so I already had two coats of paint I had applied at some previous time. If you aren't, you are going to need at least one coat underneath for texture and smoothness on the paint. Let that dry, rub over with a wax candle on the high wear areas, and then paint on your contrast color. I used high gloss china red, cause 1. I loved it, and 2. I had a looot of it. :p 

When the paints are all dry, give it a sand...I sanded it all over, to give a smooth and worn appearance, and paid special attention to the high wear areas. The wax you previously smoothed on will help the paint you applied over it to flake off, giving a very vintage, aged look. Beautiful. :D From there, I gave it two coats of varnish, cause it's intended destination is outdoors, and I wanted it to last. You may choose not to, if you want.

Install in your desired location, step back, and don't sprain your elbow trying to pat yourself on the back, cause you did this!! Woohoo!! :D

As usual, let me know about any glaring mistakes, and PLEASE show me if you make one, too!! :D :D


 The DIY Show Off
The Girl Creative"/>"/>

Keeping It Simple
Tip Junkie handmade projects

It's a Blog Party 

DIY Thrifty Thursday @ Thrifty 101 

UPDATE: If I am joined to your linkie, but you don't see your button here, let me know, so I can manually add the link. For some reason, my blog is rejecting the code for a lot of them. I just tried to add one three times, and not once did the code take, though the gap where I kept placing it kept expanding, with nothing in it. ARGH.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Threads of life..

Threads sewn on a machine over water soluble stabilizer, and then rinsed to reveal magic. Amanda McCavour is the magician. I wish I had that much talent with just a pen and paper, even, much less cramming all that thread through the machine! :o

5, 6. Kim Yokota


Something about her voice, and the tempo, I think. I like it..

If you click through, apparently you can download a free mp3 from the label. I think it's worth it. :)

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Vegetarian Japanese dumplings..aka gyoza..aka potstickers..

I adore Japanese boiled dumplings..I used to buy them in Sydney all the time, though not so much here, cause my budget is smaller here. :p

So when my sister, who was abandoning me and heading to the Mainland to live, gave me her little gadget to make them myself, I was all over it. I can't believe how incredibly simple they are to make, when they charge so much in the shops! I found a fantastic tutorial for making the pleats by hand here, if you don't have access to my handy-dandy gadget, so I'm putting up the recipe I made so you can try their awesomeness yourself. :p (I am not in any way recommending that meat filling she used, though...I am veggie all the way! :D )


1 1/2 c shredded  wonbok (Napa cabbage or chinese cabbage) or cabbage

1/4 c diced fine onion

1/4 c minced shiitake mushrooms

1/8 c minced waterchestnuts

1 inch piece ginger, fine grated

10 oz block tofu, pressed to drain excess water and mashed

1 small clove garlic minced

splash sesame oil

salt and pepper to taste

Gyoza wrappers*

Combine all the filling ingredients in a pan, and fry til the cabbage is cooked, and dry rather than soggy.

Adjust seasoning as needed.

Take one wrapper, put 1-1.5 teaspoons of filling in the middle, wet the edges with water, and crimp, either with the tool like I have** or following that tut up above. Press the crimper really hard so the edges are properly sealed, and won't come open in the water while boiling. Very bland and soggy that way.

From here..I like to boil them. So I boil a pot of water to a gentle boil, and slip the dumplings in; boiling for 5 min or so, til they start to look translucent and cooked, like the pic above. Gently scoop out with a slotted spoon, and drain in a colander. 

Another way to cook them, though, is by frying in a pan, preferred by a lot of people. The girl in that other tut above actually has pictures of this process, too (actually, her whole tut rocks, minus the meat..just not vegetarian, and she isn't doing boiled like I'm going ahead with this one. :p )

Serve with your fave dipping sauce. I made one with just soy sauce, sesame oil, chilli flakes, and vinegar. So yum.

My filling makes approx 30 dumplings, and an average serve is 5-6 per person.

* This is a pic of the gyoza wrappers I can also use wonton wrappers if that is all you can find.

**This is my awesome crimper. I find the handles aren't all that strong, and I end up just clamping the edges together by hand...but the whole thing is so worth having, so I don't mind. :p I also have a much larger size, for turnovers, but haven't gotten to try it yet. Can't wait! :D

Would LOVE to hear if you tried these, and let me know if there are any glaring errors in here! :D



The Girl Creative

handmade projects

Related Posts with Thumbnails