Planting Sequoias

In which I blog about a life (hopefully) well lived.


Embroidered Pictures (in which I overcome the urge to keep a commissioned gift for myself)

A few weeks ago, a friend approached me with a proposition: take some sweet old pictures from an old book and do something crafty with it.

Of course I couldn’t say no to that.

The book was a super cute children’s book from the 1950’s-ish (I forgot to look before I gave it back), and it had outlived it’s usefulness as a book. Some budding artist had taken to the pages with the finest of mediums, a ballpoint pen. It may or may not have been Ken.

old book destined for crafting

It took me a while to figure out what to do with the pages that were less doodled.

I searched the Grand Rapids craft and thrift stores high and low for something that was perfect and found nothing.

So, in a fit of desperation, I grabbed a frame that I thought I could do something with, and lo and behold, it was perfect.

The frame came with a mat that had three spots for pictures, so I chose the cutest out of the book and popped them in.

book pictures in frame

And then I embellished them with a bit o’ string, left over originally from my cross-stitched Star Wars sampler and more recently from this string/nail art. If I recall correctly, I originally got the tangled mass of threads from a thrifted embroidery kit in which the pattern portrayed a bucking bronco. The cross-stitched bucking bronco has yet to come into existence.


Since this was to be a gift for a friend, Dianne, I chose words that sort of went with each picture but that definitely reminded me of her–createinspire, and bless.

If you attempt a similar project, please learn from my mistakes. Choose paper that is fairly thick and not at all brittle. When jabbing the needle through the paper, don’t put holes too close together. And use colors that will pop from the page (the “inspire” word is a little hard to read because of the color I chose, as you can see). Some of my letters got a little wonky, but I just rock it and hope that no one will notice. 🙂

embroidered black and white photos in frame

The hardest part of this craft was actually having to give it away in the end. But at least I know it is going to someone very, very special, and that makes it all worth it.

Many thanks to Michelle, who was the instigator of this delightful little craft and the finder of the inked book.

And finally, one of the suggested “tags” for this post is “mechanical bull.” I think I’ll add that just because, well, why not?



Printing on Book Pages (in which I tape both a towel and the likeness of a narwhal to my wall and call it “decor”)

I’ve been known to hang some interesting items up on our walls every now and then (for examples, please see: star wars cross stitch, styrofoam engineer print, or doilies in embroidery hoops). But I’m glad to see that the practice of odd wall decor is becoming more and more socially acceptable (juju hats, anyone?)…perhaps someday I might fit in/actually be on trend instead of just pretending all the time.

On another note, for some reason, it pains me to leave a wall blank. Why leave a wall empty if you can fill it with awesome things?

Both of these two decorating philosophies will come into play in this post, so pay close attention.

First, about a week ago, I removed several pages an old-ish book on French architecture (to clarify: this was not a valuable book; nor was it at all cool). I’ve also been using it for crafts for about 4 years, so as a book, it wasn’t much to look at anymore. I feel that here I must extend my sincerest apologies to my friend Mary and my mother, both of whom are morally opposed to book desecration. I DO know better, but still…

I then ran them through my parent’s awesome color printer and got these beauties. The printable images (free!!!) are from the Graphics Fairy.

This set of three feathered creatures became housewarming gifts for some friends of mine. They have a cat, Harold, who I knew would appreciate these delicious-looking images. I have yet to get his reaction yet–but I’ll be sure to report back when I do.

However, while I was at it, I couldn’t help but print off a few more images for my own apartment. For this set of three, I chose a slightly more…eclectic trio of animals, this time of the variety that enjoy the sea.

narwhal flanked by octopus and crab

And yes, we do live in a state of perpetual darkness here at the apartment in the winter. Which often makes this lackadaisical photographer even more indifferent to quality photography.

hung above the TV

I took down our thankful banner and hung these up over our TV. No more thankfulness. Except from the narwhal, who I think feels right at home in our suburban apartment.

I also recently acquired a great towel that I wanted to display somewhere in our apartment, so down came this undersized picture of the beach at camp.

Before: undersized picture

But before I hung it, I had to iron the towel. Agony of agonies! But I mostly survived that ordeal, and tacked the towel up on the wall:

towel art

I love how the colors kind of “go” in our apartment (look at me getting all fancy with my decorator-speak!).

Here’s a closer look. It’s sort of vintage and definitely awesome.


Kenny no longer questions me when I get out a hammer or the tape to stick something up on the wall. He’s cool like that, and I love him. It’s a good arrangement. 😉