Tag Archives: DIY

Taking Scissors to T-Shirts

Adam Saaks in action. Image via Fashion Scriptures.

I like t-shirts — who doesn’t? They’ve got to be the most comfortable things on the planet, or at least way up there in anybody’s list. They’re so soft, so simple, so basic — and therein lies the comfort, as well as the iffiness some people (i.e., me) may have about wearing them in public. there was a time I felt they were too simple and too basic — they were originally meant to be underwear, after all. No matter what gorgeous print or designer logo may be on a t-shirt, it doesn’t change the fact that it is still just a t-shirt.

Eventually I did a turnaround as a became less snotty and more appreciative of the art and wit that came on them. Enter scissors-wielding, t-shirt-cutting rockstar-designer Adam Saaks, and my change of heart is complete. This guy is a wizard who transforms that most basic shirt into something spectacular.

He turns the shapeless to sexy, the plain to intricate, and the way he does it is a show in itself. He does his thing with just a pair of shears and his fingers, while the shirt is on the wearer. Can’t get more custom than that. He’s spontaneous, cocky, and just a little bit wild. Whew, that’s hot. I must admit though that I find most of his creations too risque for me to wear, but I still can’t help being enthralled by his process.

This and preceding images from Adam Saaks's Facebook page.

And now I look at my t-shirts with fresh eyes and try to find in them possibilities where previously there was just a whole lot of blah. I have done surgery on a couple and removed the bands at the neck, hem, and sleeves. The raw edges made them look a bit more, well, edgy, and made them even more comfortable than they are already. I have done some basic fringe-y things at the hem, and have recently ventured into more aggressive vertical slashes at the back, which lent the shirt a kind of folk-rock oomph.

Blogger morenabeachbum successfully employed some of Adam Saak’s twisty, weave-y techniques and came up with pretty great results, like this one below.

Image from Morena, Filipina, and Proud.

Here are a couple of other great takes on scissors on t-shirts.

From a discussion thread on The Fashion Spot. Shared by user Cocoly.

Found on Pinterest, originally pinned by Ashleigh Lewis.

Inspired yet? But though these works of art come from t-shirts, most of these end results can no longer technically be classified as t-shirts — they’ve reincarnated into totally different types of clothing.

Still there are others who don’t confine themselves to apparel when cutting up those t-shirts. ChocolateSushiHM on Etsy made a lovely necklace out of strips of cut up t-shirt..

Blue necklace by ChocolateShushiHM on Etsy.

Blogger ChiWei from One Dog Woof combined cut up t-shirt fabric with cool crocheting and created an awesome scarf.

Image from One Dog Woof

Posted in Design, Fashion | Tagged ,


image via sake puppets

I’ve been looking for a new craft to take up while I (not-so-patiently) await the arrival of spring, and I think I have found a winner. Sashiko, a traditional Japanese embroidery technique, is a simple craft that anyone can pick up, requires very few supplies and is very relaxing to practice. Sashiko is used to embellish cloth, assemble quilts and even sometimes to simply mend textiles. Today I will rundown the basics and point you in the direction of resources where you can find supplies or learn more about this beautiful craft.

sashiko needles via purl beeSashiko needles via the purl bee

sashiko threadsashiko thread via grumperina

Thread and Needles

Sashiko uses extra long needles and special embroidery thread that you can find online, or at some stores that carry embroidery supplies. This may be a contentious statement, but if you can’t find the real deal you can certainly learn and practice with ordinary embroidery needles and thread.  Etsy seller Sake Puppets also sells starter kits that are perfect for beginners and come with everything you need to get your stitching started.

traditional coat with sashiko embroidery via Charming Treasures


Traditionally, indigo-dyed hemp was chosen for sashiko. The dark blue does show off the simple white stitches beautifully, but if you choose a more colourful approach that’s okay too. Densely woven textiles tend to be better suited to this type of embroidery so pick a hemp, canvas or cotton.

image via the purl bee


There are numerous traditional Sashiko patterns that can be found online or in Japanese craft books, but you can also experiment with creating one yourself. Typically the patterns are geometric and made up of a series of interlocking lines or curves.

image via Sashiko Stitchers

Basic Sashiko Stitches

If you’re familiar with embroidery then most likely you know how to do a running stitch. This is the stitch that is most often used in Sashiko, and luckily it’s easy to learn. Simply insert your needle up through the back of your fabric so just the tip pokes through. Guide your needle tip into the fabric following the line of your pattern, making a short stitch while gathering the fabric on the needle. Keep doing these two steps until you have a few pleats of fabric on your needle. Pull your needle and thread through the gathered fabric and you should have a neat row of stitches. Continue working in this manner until your pattern is complete. There are two great tutorials that can be found here and here if you need more detailed instructions.

au petits oiseaux

That’s a very basic guide to Sashiko embroidery and I hope you’ve found it helpful. After tackling a few small projects I am looking forward to attempting something larger like a pillow or a quilt.

Happy Friday Everyone!

Posted in Design | Tagged , ,

DIY Valentine’s Invasion

floating hearts via Apartment Therapy

Valentine’s Day is next week and if you are looking for some ideas to show your loved ones a little extra affection I’ve rounded up a few love-inspired DIY decor ideas. Valentine’s Day has acquired something of a bad rap for being tacky and too sweet, but hopefully you’ll find these projects are anything but. So spread the love and get out your craft supplies.

Fingerprint Art via Man Made DIY

This easy wall art DIY project makes a great gift that can be displayed year round. When making personalized art you do want to make sure it isn’t something the recipient will be too embarrassed to display in their home, and this idea definitely fits the bill (unless it’s your first date, in which case it might veer into creepy territory.)

Giant Valentine Poster DIY by Oh Happy Day!

Sometimes it takes a big gesture to let your special someone know you want to lock lips. Oh Happy Day has graciously offered a tutorial and free download so you can make an oversized poster for your valentine.

Glitter Letters by Make Life Lovely

It is my opinion that everything in life is made better with a little sprinkle of glitter. These sparkly xo’s are a cute idea for a gift or just a Valentine’s decoration. If you want an unexpected touch shake on a non-traditional colour instead of the typical red or pink.

Giant Geometric Wall Heart via Oleander and Palm

I love this Geometric wall heart made by Oleander and Palm. It looks both easy and chic, and you could customize this by using other colours or even by adding initials. I think this is one valentine I would consider leaving up permanently.

Paint Chip Heart Garland via Grace and Light Studios

You’d think with all the paint chip projects out there paint stores would start hiding these things under lock and key. Luckily they haven’t yet, and all this pretty garland takes is some thread, a heart punch or scissors, and a handful of paint chips of course. This would also make a good project for kids to help with.

Heart Balloon Surprise via Oh Happy Day!

Surprise your valentine with a cascade of hearts by borrowing this simple but impactful idea. I sourced out a couple of places (1,2) where you can find heart balloons if you want to give this a try.

Chocolate Hibiscus Truffles via Bake Noir

Of course there’s also the lazy man’s option of just hiding candy and chocolates around the house to be found over the course of the day. Although, when it comes to delicious chocolates why wait for Valentine’s Day?

Happy Friday Everyone!

Easy Polymer Clay Pendant Tutorial

pendant by MandyAll Photographs by Eric Cator

Polymer clay, also known by the brand names Sculpey and Fimo, is surprisingly easy to work with. Once you get used to working with polymer clay you can make anything from highly detailed miniatures to pretty beads, and it’s incredibly addictive. Here’s a little tutorial for making pendants for necklaces or ornaments for your tree. The process is so simple and quick, so these make fantastic last minute gifts.

Materials Needed:


buttons, stamps, bits of metal (anything that you think might make an interesting texture.)

rolling pin

Aluminum Foil

Old baking sheet

sharp knife or cookie cutters

wooden skewer

necklace chain, ribbon or string

plastic table cover

gloves (optional)

Step One: Set up your workspace

Polymer clay is made of synthetic materials which makes it easy to manipulate and gives it a smooth texture. It is not food safe though, so when choosing your tools it’s best to use items that won’t be used to serve or prepare food afterwards. Protect your work surface with plastic sheeting, and line your baking sheet with foil and set that aside.

Step Two: Knead Clay and Roll Dough

Take a lump of sculpey and using your hands massage it until it becomes flexible. Sculpey can be hard to squish but the heat from your hands will quickly soften it. Roll the softened dough to desired thickness. I did mine about a quarter inch thick. If you roll it too thin the finished piece can be fragile, too thick and it might be too heavy.

Step Three: Cut Out Shapes and Add Textures

Using a sharp knife or cookie cutters cut out pendant shapes. Using a spare scrap of clay try pressing your various texture objects into the clay to get a sense of the effect they will create. When you find something you are happy with use the object/stamp etc. to make patterns on your pendant.

Step Four: Poke Holes and Transfer to Baking Sheet

Using a wooden skewer poke holes in the tops of your pendants and carefully transfer them to your foil lined baking sheet.

Step Five: Bake

Follow the directions on the sculpey package for baking. I recommend keeping an eye on your creations while they are in the oven. Thin objects have a tendency to discolour if they get too hot. When they are finished baking remove from the oven and let cool completely.

Step Six: Paint and Decorate

Using paints, crystals, beads or anything else you like decorate your pendants. Mine are going to the tween girls on my gift list so I picked colours suitable for them. When the paint is dry thread the pendants on ribbons, chains or strings.

Voila, a collection of homemade gifts to package up and give.

Happy Friday Everyone!

Posted in Culture | Tagged , ,

I Learned How To Scroll Saw Today, What Did You Do?

To say I live in a remote part of Canada may be an understatement. The town I live in is approximately 500 people strong and a hair south of the arctic circle in the Northwest Territories. There are no permanent roads in or out, no coffee shops, no retail stores, no theatres, nada, nuthin’, zip, zilch. What’s a girl to do in a town like this?

I took up scroll sawing, natch.

A scroll saw is a craft tool used to create intricate and fine detail into thin pieces of wood. Those who are well practiced in this craft can literally turn blocks of wood into lace. I thought if I could learn to scroll saw, then I could stay busy AND force all my friends and family to display my ‘art.’

This is Gord. Gord has been scroll sawing for about 15 years and has graciously offered to teach me EVERYTHING he knows.  Gord is also from Newfoundland, which means that half of the time I don’t even know what he is saying, but he does tell me “good job b’y” which I think means I’m doing ok.

These lace beauties are the result of Gord’s handiwork. I’d say I feel pretty good about him as a teacher.

Because my roommates and I had just cut down our Christmas tree from the woods, I had ornaments on the brain. I found some free vector images of feathers on the internet and thought they’d be a good and easy first project. Some other tools that were needed, in addition to a scroll saw, were thin craft plywood, spray glue, stencil, scissors, and sandpaper.

The first thing I learned is, that because the wood is thin, it is much easier to saw through three pieces, plus you get three times the finished product with each cut (efficiency!). The three pieces of wood are taped around the entire perimeter to hold them together. The stencil of feathers is then roughly cut out and adhered to the board with spray glue.

I also learned the basics of using a scroll saw. It’s beautifully simple. A blade is held in between two pairs of clamps, as well, there is an on and off dial that rotates to adjust speed.

Before I was allowed to get at my feathers, I had to practice on nonsense shapes (wax on, wax off). Shown above are my feathers after they had been cut out and glued to the three pieces of craft plywood and placed on the scroll saw.

My feathers! Once they were cut, they were sanded down with 150 gauge sandpaper and an even finer 240 gauge sandpaper. Aren’t they bee-u-tee-ful? I still need to varnish them and figure out a way to hang them from the tree, but I’m very satisfied with the result to this point.

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