Archive for the 'DIY' Category

Crafting with kids

Decorating your door for Christmas (really, any particular “season”) seems much more common here than in Norway, so the kids and I decided that when in Rome…

We took a trip to our local, very peculiar hobby store (it stocks everything from French curves to dish cloths, from gum balls to photo corners) and stocked up, not being entirely clear on the game plan:

To begin with, I wrapped the  styrofoam ring with jute ribbon. This reminds me of my mother’s old Christmas wreath, which was a ring made of braided jute embellished with a red ribbon. It was hard wrapping the ribbon evenly, and it wasn’t completely successful.


After that, I cut holly leaves from doubled green felt (with fusible interfacing between the layers), sewed some “veins” on the leaves and added some red plastic pearls for the holly berries. The bird (a “cardinal”, according to the wrapping), may have absolutely nothing to do with Christmas or even the season of winter as far as I know, but it’s red, and that’s good enough for us.

It was a little harder to involve the kids than I had thought, mainly because the glue got absolutely everywhere, and the kids didn’t like the stuff on their hands. But we’ll get better at this.

And here is the finished product. We may yet take it down to add some more holly or maybe a snowflake or two. But we’ll leave this up for a while and see if we miss anything.

jul2011 001



We’ve been reorganizing our house a little lately, as a result of the baby moving out of our room. There was an old set of drawers in the kids’ room that I wanted to redo to make it suitable for our bedroom to store some of my yarn stash. I don’t often do DIY, but I do think sanding and refinishing a set of drawers is the kind of thing everyone should be able to manage, so off I went to the hardware store.


Worn old varnish, chipped and broken drawer pulls, some stains. Not so nice.


Single-use gloves, brush, screwdriver, sandpaper, matte oak-stain varnish (the hardware store assistant told me to buy a darker varnish to hide old stains), new drawer pulls (can you see in the picture that I bought two different size drawer pulls? I couldn’t until I put them on, which annoys me but not enough to have the big ones replaced). I use gloves for all DIY jobs, I hate getting sticky paint or varnish on my hands. I managed to get a little on them while removing the gloves, and discovered that nail varnish remover works really well even with furniture varnish 🙂

Step 1:
Remove old drawer pulls

Step 2:
Sand all surface areas. I sanded the top very carefully to remove all the old, chipped varnish, but I was less careful with the rest of the surfaces, as the hardware store assistant had said that I only needed to roughen the surface of the old varnish. As you can see on the drawer fronts below, that wasn’t strictly true and they became quite mottled-looking after the first coat of varnish. They improved slightly with the second coat, though.

Step 3:
Apply two coats of varnish.

Drawer fronts after one coat of varnish:

Top of the set of drawers after two coats of varnish:

Step 4:
Attach new drawer pulls and (optional) cut out and insert paper liners for the drawers. I wanted liners because the interior was quite worn and to avoid snagging the stash yarns.