Monday, December 31, 2012

thrift store finds: vintage intercom speaker to iPod speaker

I found this $2 intercom speaker box at Bring a few weeks back while the kiddo and I were hunting down robot parts for an upcoming project.

I challenged the Mister to find some way to turn it into an iPod speaker for the sake of our project, because though I knew I could probably muddle through and scare up some on-line diagrams and eventually research it into completion, he has years of practice building and repairing computers and I figured he could skip the research phase.

An hour later (maybe less?) he had removed the old guts, hunted down a scrap cord, and finished off the inside of the box so that my iPod wouldn't get scratched up. After that, it works like any other iPod speaker; just plug it in and turn on the music!

("Science is Real" by They Might Be Giants available for purchase on iTunes.)

I love that it sounds like an old a.m. transistor radio; just what I was hoping for. The iPod tucks up inside the back, the plate slips on to conceal it, and all done! I regret I don't have a step-by-step diy for you; the Mister was responsible for all but the idea, so I don't have any in-process photos.

Basically, he removed everything from the inside of the intercom box except for the speaker parts and the wires that attached them. Then he connected the ends of those wires to the wires + micro plug from a dead set of earbuds. After that, it's just a matter of plugging the iPod in to the speaker and turning it on! I tried to find a similar project on-line to link to, but this is the closest I came: an Instructable on making an iPod speaker from earbuds and some old computer speakers. Anything with a speaker in it probably works in a similar way. But admittedly, that assumption may be way off base.

Also: the knob and dial still turn, but they don't actually control anything. For the sake of our robot project, though, they'll lend that extra bit of detail that'll make it shine. Stay "tuned"! There'll be more about this in a couple of weeks. Until then, it's a total cliff-hanger.  Bwa-ha-ha!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

rusty robot "vintage" door sign diy

This post was my recent project audition for "So You Think You're Crafty" and guess what? I was lucky enough to make it into the regular competition phase. To all of the amazing competitors I was up against, well done. I hope I'm up to the challenge of meeting the bar you've all raised. The weekly competition is anonymous and starts in January; I'll let you know when the voting starts for the first round!

I don’t know about you, but I have pin boards full of so many projects over on Pinterest that I’m sure I’ll never get to all of them in this lifetime. I’m gonna have to start farming stuff out. You busy? ;)

One recent love that I’ve been pinning (over and over and over again) is vintage signage. I love old typography, vintage graphics, and weathered finishes. When my love of vintage signs recently dovetailed with my need for a fireplace fix-up, I ended up picking up a pair of vintage army green sheet metal panels from Bring (the local re-building store) for 50 cents each . . . and then, because I tend to eyeball things rather than measuring them, I had a whole panel leftover.

I decided to make my sweet kiddo a sign to go above the door of his room with the leftover panel. Since he’s two and a complete nut for robots,  his room is now labeled a “ROBOTICS LAB". He loves it! In fact, the rest of the afternoon he was sing-songing "robotics lab" over and over again and dancing by the door of his room. Win!

I hope you like my kiddo's rusty robot sign as much as we do! I'll consider it high praise if you sing about it later.

I have a second, similar project I'll be posting soon. In that post, I'll go into more detail about each of the steps, but I hope this photo collage tutorial will help you get started if you're someone who just needs a little push in the right direction. Basically, start with a surface that's a little gritty and old,  paint, then roughen it up and help it rust!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

mural painting at mom's house

I found these old photos the other day from maybe five years ago. The mister and I were visiting my mom's house, and she suggested that we paint a tree mural on the guest room wall together. Just the kind of project I like working on!

First, I used a nice, soft pencil (or possibly charcoal?) to sketch out the tree.

Then Mom and I used artist's acrylics to paint in the bark together. Lots of chatting, too, of course.

I'm pretty sure we were done in a day. Of course, that was before I had my kiddo. If I were to have attempted such a thing with my sweetheart in tow, I imagine it still wouldn't be done. ;)

I hear tell that Mom's since added leaves to the tree, but I haven't been out lately to take a peek for myself. There's a set of bunk beds in there now too, for the grandkids, that I always picture looking just like a treehouse.

So: what kind of projects have you collaborated on? Ever take on a big project with a parent?

Thanks for reading! If you're interested, here's a link to a previous post I did about the blue tree mural I painted in my kiddo's room. It took more than a day, as I recall, but then, I was a new mama working on my own, so I try to go easy on myself.

And here's a link to a post I wrote about repairing the mural, after my busy toddler tried to peel all the paint off his wall during nap time one afternoon.

p.s. you can make these images larger just by clicking on them, but you probably already knew that!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

freezer paper stencils + flour sack towels

The night before my sweet cousin's wedding, I had a major 11th-hour craft fail in my family's hotel room. My screen printing project fell all to pieces. Returning home after the wedding, I dusted off my butt and set aside the silkscreen for awhile, turning instead to freezer paper stencils to make my cousin and her fiance' a set of personalized, woodsy kitchen towels. Supplies: freezer paper, craft knife, brown Tee Juice dauber, + iron. And, not pictured, cotton tea towels and pencil.
Sketch your design onto the dull, unplasticized surface of the freezer paper, then cut it out with your craft knife. I chose to print one of the towels with a woodgrain pattern and a "carved" heart with their initials inside. I drew this freehand, but if you're not sure where to start, you can find images on-line to inspire your pencil.
A more involved design like mine will require careful handling and ironing.
Iron the stencil on to towels carefully, adding separated elements (like the letters in the "carved heart") after everything else.
Using the Tee Juice dauber, go over the entire design.
After letting it dry for awhile, remove the freezer paper and iron the entire piece to set the dye. Wash and dry, then iron flat.
The second design was the same process but a different graphic: a stand of trees, their state, and their initials.
Thanks so much for reading! Wanna make the photos larger? Just click! Linking up to: Six Sisters Be Different, Act Normal