Three duct tape wallets

Girls camp - duct tape wallets

Girls camp 2010 - duct tape wallets

After volunteering for girls camp, I needed a couple weeks to recover. Now I’m back. I planned to take lots of photos at camp, but instead I ended up spending every moment teaching the girls how to make duct tape wallets. By the end of the week, I was seriously sick of duct tape wallets. But the girls loved them, so it was worth it. A friend sent me these photos that she took at camp. (That’s me in the gray sweatshirt in the first photo.)

Because of the green tarp roof on the makeshift quonset hut that we called The Craft Shack, everything looked green tinted. It reminded me of the Mr. Big song “Green Tinted Sixties Mind.” Admit it, you know you loved Mr. Big. :)

Anyway, duct tape wallets are certainly not a new thing, and I probably don’t need to tell most of you how to make one. But when I was searching for instructions online, I couldn’t find one easy-to-follow tutorial for a simple duct tape wallet. Plus, friends have asked me for the instructions for my wallet design. Though I developed this pattern myself, I’m told it’s not exactly original, but here it is. This wallet takes about 45 minutes to make. Read more »

Camp craft

Away at camp

13 Jun 2010

The Craft Shack

Just a quick note to let you all know what I’ve been up to. I’m volunteering as the crafts director at a girls camp this week. So, for the past couple months, I’ve been preparing all the crafts and buying supplies for about 90 teenage girls to make cool stuff. I’ve kept the projects secret in case any of the girls read my blog…but now that they are soundly sleeping, I’ll fill you in. These are the projects I have planned: duct tape wallets, resin pendant necklaces, alphabet fleece pillows, yo yo headbands and pins, door name plates made from subway tiles, and paracord bracelets. I hope the girls have as much fun making them as I have. The picture above is our Craft Shack. Needs some work, I know, but I think it’ll be great. I’ll post lots of pictures and share all the crafts with you when I get back. Have a great week!

This is the third and final post in my Victoria magazine series.

As I mentioned in my last post, hats were commonplace in Victoria magazine. In fact, every issue included at least one woman wearing a hat. Here’s a look at some of Victoria’s many hat ladies…

Summer Victoria hats

Photo credits (left to right, top to bottom): Toshi Otsuki, Geoffrey Gross, Toshi Otsuki (3), Tom Hooper, Toshi Otsuki, Luciana Pampalone, Toshi Otsuki

I love high-quality simple straw hats in summer. When I lived in New York City, cozy felt hats were a must for winter. I especially love the big black fur hat, though I doubt I’d have the courage to wear it. It’s too bad we don’t wear hats much on the West Coast. Which one is your favorite hat?

Winter Victoria hats

Photo credits (left to right, top to bottom): Pia Tryde, Thomas Hooper (2), Barry Dunne, Stefano Massimo, Steve Randazzo, Toshi Otsuki (3)

All those hats inspired me to make some paper art using their fabulous shapes. I titled my silhouettes “The Hats of Victoria.” All four are made from one of the hats pictured above. Can you find all of them?

Victoria hats silhouettes

I’ve included pdf downloads of all four patterns after the jump for you to make your own paper hats. I thought it would also be great to mix in other feminine accessories: sexy stiletto, small purse, bright umbrella, etc., so I’m planning to make another set soon. Read more »

This post is the second of three in my Victoria magazine series.

As promised (though delivered a little late), here is my wish list inspired by Victoria magazine. Vintage bicycles, feminine hats, and luxurious toiletries were mainstays of Victoria. You could always find classic luggage and fashion too. The magazine also hosted artists- and authors-in-residence. I’ve included two books from my favorites (Madeleine L’Engle and Maryjo Koch). Jaunty umbrellas, bright bistro chairs, and dress forms are also typical Victoria. I think Penhaligon’s Bluebell Soap is the most beautiful soap in the world. Have any of you tried it? And who doesn’t love Tiffany’s heart locket paired with their beaded chain? Happy shopping!

Victoria wish list

Clockwise from top left: Linus bicycles, The Nest: An Artist’s Sketchbook, The Ordering of Love: The New and Collected Poems of Madeleine L’Engle, Peter Beaton hats, The Conran Shop bistro metal folding chairs, Hunter original rain boots, Urban Outfitters linen dress forms, SteamLine luggage, Penhaligon’s Bluebell Soap, Pare umbrellas, Tiffany Hearts Locket and beaded chain.

This post is a departure from the usual, but please bear with me.
Dedicated to Mack Lundstrom, who taught me to write from the heart.

Victoria magazines

I feel like I’m saying goodbye to an era.

In a recent attempt at simplicity, I’ve been cleaning out extraneous belongings that have cluttered up my apartment—and thus my life. But one collection I vowed to eliminate has proven hard to part with: my 13-year accumulation of Victoria magazines.

The Brown House

The brown and beige house (that's me dressed as a Native American for Halloween)

My grandmother first introduced me to Victoria when I was a teenager in the early 90s. She kept recent issues in a basket on the floor next to her chair. Every Sunday when my family visited her, I’d curl up at her feet and pour through those pages over and over again. I never got bored of them—or my grandmother’s stories. We bonded over our mutual affection for that magazine. And Victoria opened up a whole new world to me, albeit a world that was decidedly un-cool for a girl my age.

Victoria brought the promise of beauty, luxury, and grace into my otherwise drab existence. To my mother’s dismay, the home in which I grew up was decorated in a distinctly masculine aesthetic: wall-to-wall solid oak with numerous mounted deer heads and antlers. The only two colors found in that house were brown and beige. Even the outside was painted beige and brown! I shared a small bedroom with my two sisters, sleeping in oak platform beds that stacked on top of each other during the day and rolled out at night. Love was there, but beauty—at least my kind of beauty—was nowhere to be found. Then Victoria showed me a wealth of romantic fashions, white furniture (hallelujah!), bright linens, and lush gardens. I was hooked.

Madeleine L'Engle

Madeleine L'Engle, best known for her book A Wrinkle in Time

For better or worse, Victoria informed my taste for the next 13 years. I grew to admire Nancy Lindemeyer (founding editor of Victoria), her vision, and words of wisdom. One of Victoria‘s Writers in Residence, Madeleine L’Engle, became a favorite author. I savored each photo taken by Victoria‘s most prolific photographer, Toshi Otsuki. (I even tried to hire Mr. Otsuki when I worked for Real Simple magazine, but he had retired because his eyesight was failing.) Victoria magazine was one reason I chose to major in magazine journalism in college. In fact, I secretly hoped to work for Victoria someday.

“We do not observe the world around us without in some way changing it, and being changed ourselves.”
-Madeleine L’Engle

Nancy Lindemeyer

Nancy Lindemeyer, founder and editor in chief of Victoria from March 1987 to October 2000

Victoria wasn’t just about a style. It was a way of life. A way of life epitomized by Jane Austen’s world, in which her protagonists enjoyed afternoon tea, rambling walks in sprawling gardens, picnic-lunch excursions, beautifully handwritten letters, and an overall refinement that’s generally lacking today. It’s a way of life, I’m sorry to say, I may never achieve.

I gradually outgrew my infatuation with Victoria‘s pretty but cluttered world. (My Real Simple tenure was probably to blame.) Still, when Victoria folded in 2003, I was heartbroken because my dream of being a part of its staff was over. Four years later, I received a postcard in the mail announcing Victoria‘s relaunch. Nostalgic for the memories we shared together, I subscribed immediately. When the new issue arrived, nothing in it held my fancy. Maybe it was the absence of Nancy Lindemeyer’s touch. Or the dearth of Toshi Otsuki’s photographs. But in truth, nothing was exactly wrong with it. Victoria seemed the same. I had changed.

“When I began Victoria magazine, I always said that it was for the women who loved their grandmothers as I did. And who would never forget the legacy of womanhood they gave them. It was much more than appreciation of a gracious time. It was a sense of what was beautiful in life—of what to hold on to that expresses the best we have to give.”
-Nancy Lindemeyer

It was time for me to let Victoria go. Before boxing up the magazines to sell on eBay, I felt impelled to take one last look—at every page of every issue. It took me weeks. When I got down to the last few issues, I didn’t want it to end. Leafing through them, I recalled the power they once had to transport me and stir a longing for that life. Though I hadn’t opened most of the magazines for at least a decade, I vividly remembered how certain photos had enthralled me. But my fond memories of Victoria are just that: memories. And one cannot live in memories.


My grandmother

Perhaps not coincidentally, this journey down memory lane started just before I heard my grandmother was sick with terminal cancer. Though I still loved her and held no grudges, we hadn’t spoken in years. I visited her in the hospital recently. I wouldn’t say fences were mended during those visits, but with Victoria memories fresh in my mind, I at least kept the bad from blotting out the good memories we once shared. The person I knew and loved during those precious Victoria years is how I will choose to remember my grandmother.

So, with a heavy heart and tears on my cheeks, I pack up Victoria and prepare to say goodbye to my beloved grandmother. With their passing from my life, an era comes to an end. One I will not forget.

This is the first of a three-part series. Please come back in the following weeks for a Victoria-themed wish list and a Victoria-themed craft.

DIY tulle pendant light

Gudrun Sjödén catalog

Inspired by Jonas Bohlin's tulle lamp, seen here in Gudrun Sjödén's catalog

Ever since I spotted Swedish designer Jonas Bohlin’s tulle lamp in Gudrun Sjödén’s catalog last year, I’ve been dying to make my own. I finally did it! I started with Ikea’s Melodi pendant lamp, then added tulle. Never having attempted anything like this before, I guessed four yards of tulle would be plenty. Boy, was I wrong. It actually took 10 yards. No worries, though. At $1 a yard at Walmart, the tulle is quite affordable. This lamp reminds me of a ballerina’s tutu. Imagine a pink one hanging in your little girl’s room. Or a black one in your modern bedroom. Jonas Bohlin’s lamp = $524. My lamp = $25. Woot. Read more »

Framed silhouette "faith"

Just a quick decorating idea inspired by Kathy’s lovely framed “K” at Creative Home Expressions. My framed “hope” was fun while it lasted, but I needed a change, so here’s to “faith.” Adding the red-and-white striped scrapbook paper in the background gave it a whole new look. If you want to make your own, download the letters here and click here for the tutorial. One guess what my next word will be. Bigger project coming next Monday.

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