Category Archives: SeeKarenCraft

We Both Need a Fresh Start: 80’s Jewelry Cabinet Rescue & Blogiversary Recap

One year ago today (happy blogiversary to me), I started this blog with the best of intentions.  Little did I know how much WORK this blogging thing required.  Especially for a girl with a full-time job and full-time life.  Some weeks, especially when I was inspired by the holidays (Easter and Cinco de Mayo, woot woot!), I blogged daily.  Below are some of awesome highlights during these up moments.  I can’t even begin to describe the glee I felt every time another blogger or site featured one of my posts, and I give a big, fat ♥ every time I see one of my posts pinned on Pinterest.  GRINNING EAR-TO-EAR SMILEY FACE.

Hand-Painted Tribal Print Ottoman -- annumography.wordpress

Hand-Painted Tribal Print Ottoman

Take5 Layer Cake -- annumography.wordpress

Take 5 Layer Cake

Boozy Blueberry-Sage Sherbet -- annumography.wordpress

Boozy Blueberry-Sage Sherbet

Copycat Roslyn Spumoni Cake -- annumography.wordpress

Copycat Roslyn Spumoni Whip Cream Cake

Gluten-Free Enchilada Casserole -- annumography.wordpress

Gluten-Free Chorizo Enchilada Breakfast Casserole

Cookbook Bird House -- annumography.wordpress

Catalog Hack Cookbook Bird House

Hand-Painted Otomi Canvas Shoes

Hand-Painted Otomi Canvas Shoes

Mexican Hot Chocolate Brownie Ice Cream -- annumography.wordpress

Mexican Hot Chocolate Brownie Ice Cream

Kate Spade-Inspired Painted Nightstands -- annumography.wordpress

Kate Spade-Inspired Painted Nightstands

Eggplant in Spicy Garlic Sauce -- annumography.wordpress

Eggplant in Spicy Garlic Sauce

Bluth's Original Frozen Banana Cocktail -- annumography.wordpress

Bluth’s Original Frozen Banana Cocktail

Low Carb Mini German Apple Pancake - annumography

Low Carb Mini German Apple Pancakes

And then there were the weeks…and weeks…okay, maybe months…where it was radio silence around here.  Heck, I couldn’t even manage a daily Instagram post.  SAD FACE.

Let us look at the reasons, shall we?  Not that I’m making excuses.  But, dang it, if I don’t identify my problems, how am I going to fix them?

  1. Photography (i.e. the eye candy that keeps blog readers coming back for more) – I mentioned early on my photography shortcomings.  Then WordPress changed the interface to Instagram, and my blog’s whole concept took a nosedive.  Honestly, though, this turned out to be a good thing.  I am now re-learning photo editing, and the quality of my photos should dramatically improve (no more relying on Instagram filters).  And I’ve promised myself a new camera if I show more commitment to the blog this year.
  2. Not measuring up – Every influential blogger tells you not to compare your blog to others.  Well, I didn’t listen.  Or at least not consistently.  So I tried to Keep Up with The Bloggers, and I failed.  This isn’t my full-time job…or even full-time hobby…so I need to cut myself some slack.  I know that my blog quality will improve.  But if not, I’m happy that I’m back to blogging for me.
  3. And then…bam, boom, wham…major life change – With the news I received about my health this year, my diet has dramatically changed.  With my diet change,my after-work evenings have also changed.  Time formerly spent blogging is now spent in the kitchen planning, prepping, and cooking.  Sadly, I can no longer eat any of the recipes that I posted above.  It feels like I’m learning to cook all over again, and sometimes it feels like I have more failures than successes.

So.  It’s a new year with new opportunities.  I’m going to commit again to daily Instagram posts for my 365 Project.  But my blog content is going to be (even) more real, true-to-life Karen.  I’m going to be less concerned about themes and what the other bloggers are doing and more focused on my interests.  I hope this results in more interesting and dynamic reading, because my heart will be in every post.

Take this jewelry cabinet.  Yes, it is so 1980’s.  But I see potential.  In fact, I’ve been seeing its potential for about a decade now.  I just can’t seem to make a decision about how I want to rescue this baby.  Heck, the style may come back again, if I wait long enough.  Or not.

80s Jewelry Box Rescue Before1 -- annumography.wordpress

I found the perfect place for this curved-line, potential beauty between my two closet doors.  I hate the golden oak stain, but then again I don’t hate how it ties to the clock on the wall above.  And I totally dig the rose pink velvet lining.  Over the next couple of days, I will be mulling over my options.  But no more procrastinating and unfinished projects!  I promise both myself and this Material Girl that her makeover will be complete by the end of January.  Maybe before…CONFIDENT SMILEY.

80s Jewelry Box Rescue Before4 -- annumography.wordpress

What are your ideas?  How would you rescue this stuck-in-the-80’s babe?



Wedding Quilt: Part I

Tiki/Rockabilly Wedding - annumography
Willow Grove Photography

Hubby and I celebrate our wedding anniversary this month.  Maybe it’s the anticipation of this anniversary, or maybe it’s the desire to finally GET ON IT when it comes to all the projects I have unfinished around the house, but I have been working on our wedding quilt lately.

Tiki Table Runner - annumography
Willow Grove Photography

Wait.  Let me back up a sec and start from the beginning.  Most of our wedding was hand-crafted by me.  I made the wedding programs, which doubled as fans for our outdoor wedding. And tripled as flags for the guests to wave after the ceremony.

Is it a wedding program, fan, or flag - it's all the above - annumography
Willow Grove Photography

I made the wedding “flowers”, including my bouquet, the maid-of-honor’s clutch and corsage, the flower girl’s headbands, and the groom’s/best man’s boutonnieres.

Vintage Brooch Bouquet - annumography
Willow Grove Photography

I made the groovy buffet food (with a lot of help from friends/family), the chocolate-covered strawberry truffle groom’s cake, and the cupcake tower for the coconut cupcakes.  By the way, my friend Beth made the cupcakes, and she deserves a huge shout-out.  BEST COCONUT CAKE EVER!

Tiki Wedding Toast - annumography
Willow Grove Photography

I made the ice breaker table game for the guests…okay,  you get it.  I made a lot of stuff for our wedding.  And I loved every minute of it.  Yes, it was a lot to do.  But I had a deadline…and boy, did that help a procrastinator like me.

Ice Breaker - How well do you know the couple - annumography
Willow Grove Photography

Anyway, you can catch another (small) glimpse of the table runners that I made in the background of the shot above.  We rented the typical round tables and white tablecloths for our outdoor wedding reception, but wanted to add some tiki vibe with the centerpieces and table runners.  My inspiration for the table runners was a Better Homes and Gardens table runner made from napkins.  It reminded me so much of a patchwork quilt, that I was inspired to create my own table runner with fabric.  And then make it into our wedding quilt.  Fun, right?

I bought several 1960’s inspired cotton fabrics — some tiki, some rockabilly — and labeled the patterns A-I.  I then used Microsoft Excel (my go-to design tool) to create a pattern using the fabrics for four runners.  I needed a total of eight for the reception tables, so I just repeated the design again.

Table Runner Pattern - annumography

The unit of measure is square inches, and is depicted with the light-blue outlined squares.  Once I doubled the runner patterns above, I could determine the cuts that I needed to make for each fabric.  Using the diagram below as a guide, I got busy with my rotary cutter.

Table Runner Fabric Cuts - annumography

After cutting all the pieces, I first sewed them together in 6-inch square blocks.  I then joined the blocks to make one long runner.  I used iron-on interface to make the runners more sturdy and to help keep the seams pressed down…and intact…during the reception.  My idea, if it works, is to use the adhesive properties of the interface to my advantage.  I plan to machine quilt, and I usually have trouble with my batting and backing shifting.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I can just iron the batting directly to the quilt top to help it stay put.

Quilt Tip - Iron-on Fusible Interface - annumography

Not that iron-on interface photographs well.  But it may be the solution to all my quilting problems.  I’ll let you know how it goes in Wedding Quilt: Part II.  Until then, here’s a sneak peak of what’s to come.

Wedding Table Runner Quilt - annumography

Linking to these wonderful blogs:  Homework, The Winthrop Chronicles, and The Vintage Farmhouse.  Check ’em out!

My Take: Coffee Filter Wreath

With as much time as I spend on bloglovin’ and Pinterest, I know that there are a lot of coffee filter wreaths out there.  I wasn’t sure about hopping on the bandwagon.  But when I rescued a couple hundred coffee filters from a friend who was going to trash them, I decided to make my own.

I followed the tutorial from The SITS Girls, but I used a willow wreath from Dollar Tree for my form.  Half of my time was spent folding, the other part gluing.  By the way, I used fast-grab glue instead of a glue gun.  Figured my fingers were safer that way.

Once the wreath was finished, it looked a little too “wedding”.  I was giving the wreath as a gift, and I wanted its recipient to be able to switch out the ribbon for all seasons and holidays.  I also wanted to accentuate the texture of the wreath, which was the best part.

Many bloggers dip and/or dye their coffee wreaths.  Me, I didn’t have that kind of time.  Besides, they were already glued onto the wreath.  Instead I watered down some silver paint (2 parts paint to 1 part water) and lightly ran a flat artists brush over the coffee filter edges.  The entire wreath only needed about a teaspoon of paint (including the tiny drops that I flipped onto my face and arms during the process).

I also made a second gift wreath by painting another willow form and attaching a coffee filter flower.  The flower is sprayed with red glitter paint.  So subtle, you can’t even see it in this shot.  Wink.

What do you think about the silver tipped filters?  Can’t you just see a Christmas bow on there?  Halloween?  And think of the possibilities for weddings…just add your custom colors and have fun.

The O.G. (Old Guest Room): Kate Spade-Inspired Painted Nightstands

You may have noticed that I did not post about the guest room project last week.  Or post about anything for that matter.  I took a break.  Do you do that?  When life seems to be too full, but you want to enjoy it instead of feeling stressed?  If not, do!  I’m back and feeling good.

Kate Spade-Inspired Nightstands - Matching from @annumography blog

I’m joining the Inspired by Kate Spade Style Soiree today with these Shoreline Stripe-inspired nightstands.  But why am I telling you this on a post about my guest room?  Well let me tell ya.

Kate Spade-Inspired Nightstands - Before from @annumography blog

We are repurposing our old master bedroom furniture in the guest room.  This is one of the nightstands.  As you can see, the top is not so pretty.  I had a small accident with a bottle of finger nail polish remover.  When it happened, I was bummed…a little…but more so for my hubby.  He really likes the shape and color of these nightstands and looked forward to keeping them.  The guest room is also his “dressing room” (doesn’t this sound better than just saying that the master bedroom closet is too small for us both), so I’m paying close attention to his style choices in the room re-do.

Kate Spade-Inspired Nightstands - Sanding from @annumography blog

I thought maybe I could sand down the stain and refinish the top, but no luck.  That pesky finger nail polish!  So now what?  Paint.  Hubby is a big fan of all things beachy, so I thought a nautical-inspired paint treatment would be perfect.  I knew that I could use lots of color here, because so much of the design plan focuses on neutrals.

Kate Spade Shoreline

When I saw this Kate Spade Shoreline Stevie Bag, I fell in love with the colors and stripey pattern.  I decided to hack the pattern for my nightstands.

Kate Spade-Inspired Nightstands - Taping from @annumography blog

This project was easy, because I relied on acrylic paints and painter’s tape.  (O.G. Sneak-Peek: see the unfinished closet in the background?)

Kate Spade-Inspired Nightstands - Painting from @annumography blog

Well, mostly easy.  Paint that is the exact color of the painter’s tape made it a little more challenging.

Kate Spade-Inspired Nightstands - Striping from @annumography blog

I continued to add stripes, allowing each new color to dry completely before starting the next.

Kate Spade-Inspired Nightstands - After from @annumography blog

Here they are all painted up and ready to go.  Sorry for the grainy pictures.  I promise to have better ones when the room is staged and these lovelies are in their rightful place next to the bed.

Kate Spade-Inspired Nightstands - Matching from @annumography blog

I used two coats of matte finish polyurethane, though they look awfully shiny in this picture.  What do you think?  Do they look like the inspiration?  Most importantly, the hubby loves them.  Yay!

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133/365 wip #365project #diy #annumography

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As I mentioned, the hit list for the O.G. hasn’t changed from the last time I shared it with you.  But we are making progress on the closet and the painting, though slow.  It’s all my fault.  I didn’t measure well when ordering the closet components.  But more about that another day.

  • Move everything back out of the room
  • Fix the plate for the light fixture/ceiling fan
  • Repair and sand the plaster on the ceiling and walls
  • Putty and sand the trim moldings
  • Paint the ceiling, trim and walls
  • Install the custom closet
  • Sand and stain the floors
  • Hang the ceiling fan
  • Hang the curtains and blinds
  • Move everything back into the room

Where is the half-strikeout button when you need it?

If you are visiting from Life We Live 4, WELCOME!   I love comments, visitors, and followers.  You can also find me on TwitterFacebookInstagram, and Pinterest.

Countdown to Cinco de Mayo: Otomi Painted Canvas Shoes

You know that I like a good painted tribal print.  So as soon as I saw this Land of Nod Otomi Lamp Shade, I had to figure out a way to get that print in my life.


At first I thought I would hack the lamp shade idea, but I couldn’t find a room in my house where it would work.  Argh!  What to do?  This is, after all, the perfect week to do a Mexican textile/print craft project.

I considered a canvas bag or a t-shirt, but (again) I have plenty of both.  What white-background object did I NEED in my life?  A scarf? No, getting too warm around here for scarf weather.  A pillow?  No.  What?

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sketched #seekarencraft #diy #blog #annumography

A post shared by Karen Collins (@annumography) on

The answer is always white canvas shoes.  I buy a pair of these before each summer and immediately remove the shoe strings.  At summer’s end, I throw the scruffy things away without guilt.  I immediately headed to the nearest discount store and bought myself a pair.

I don’t have a before shot of my new pristine white shoes, because I was too excited to begin sketching.  I simply printed a picture of my inspiration photo, picked up a pencil, and started drawing.  This print is meant to look hand-drawn, so I tried not to didn’t worry about making a mistake or two…or many.  After all, it would all be covered up with paint in the end.

Next I popped open some acrylic craft paints, grabbed a small artist’s paint brush, and began filling in the blanks.  I painted one color at a time on both shoes, using my picture as a guide, but making changes as needed to evenly distribute the colors across the two shoes.  It was a little bit like paint-by-number.

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side view #seekarencraft #diy #blog #annumography

A post shared by Karen Collins (@annumography) on

I’m pleased with the results.  You might notice that both shoes have the same pattern, just shifted slightly so that they are not identical.  I also took some creative license to substitute animals that fit the shape of my shoe better than the original pattern.

My favorite may just be the little marigold bunny on the back of the right shoe.

As a final step, I sprayed the shoes with some water-resistant, clear acrylic protectant.  I probably won’t wear these in the rain (or near any body of water), but I want to make sure they last me all summer.  Heck, I might even get fancy with these and add some colorful ribbon laces.  What do you think?

If you are visiting from JAQS Studio: Made By ME #79 Linky Party, WELCOME!   I love comments, visitors, and followers.  You can also find me on TwitterFacebookInstagram, and Pinterest.

Take 2: Catalog Hack Cookbook Bird House

Almost two months ago, I crafted this Uncommon Goods bird house cookbook catalog hack.  You can follow the link to get the full tutorial, but here are a few fun pics from that project.

A pre-made bird house, a vintage cookbook from the thrift store, and outdoor Mod Podge made the project quick, fun, and easy.

I “cracked” myself up by using all egg-based recipes to cover the walls of the bird house.  Get it?  Cracked.  Eggs.  Cracked Eggs.  Hello?

My first challenge in the Pinterest Challenge; the walls were wider than the cookbook pages. Never fear, I MacGyvered a solution by using some painted appetizer picks.

So this is where the story previously ended.  I called it my prototype, because I wasn’t happy with the results.  It was out of proportion, and I needed to find a solution before putting this baby on display.  (This is where I resist singing a certain song by a certain housewife from New Jersey and embarrassing myself with my trash TV viewing preferences.)

I found a candle holder at the thrift store for a buck, which I just knew would make the perfect pedestal for my bird house.  So I adhered the pedestal to the bottom of the bird house using clear silicone caulk.  I also decided to flip the orientation of the cookbook so that the graphics at the top of the pages showed from the front of the bird house.

When I was satisfied with the overall look, I began applying the Mod Podge.  In between Mod Podge sessions — it took four — I used clamps to make sure that the pages and cover of the cookbook glued flat to the bird house roof.  Next step: remove the clamps and apply Mod Podge to the entire bird house one more time.

Sometimes I’m not so good at thinking through cause and effect.  Silly me, I removed the clamps from one side first.  It promptly fell off my craft table, and my perfect pedestal broke.    Arrrrrrgh!

I first tried Super Glue to fix the broken pedestal, but with no luck.  What did I do?  Turn to my trusty silicone caulk, that’s what.

All’s well that ends well.  But is this the end?  If you are being picky, you can see the repaired crack on the pedestal.  Maybe I will end up painting the pedestal to disguise it more.  Maybe I will just call it character and leave it as-is.

Besides, from some viewpoints, you can’t even see it.

Also, if you are visiting from Details or Copycat Crafts, WELCOME!  I love comments, visitors, and followers.  You can also find me on TwitterFacebookInstagram, and Pinterest.

DETAILS      Copycat Crafts

Take 2: Paint-Dipped Basket

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my chartreuse went a smidge neon #seekarencraft

A post shared by Karen Collins (@annumography) on

Between crazy seasonal allergies and gluten allergies (I was a bad girl over Easter weekend), I have a migraine that won’t quit.

Since I’m couch-bound, I had time to make my second paint-dipped basket.  See my earlier tutorial here.

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my chartreuse went a smidge neon #seekarencraft

A post shared by Karen Collins (@annumography) on

The paint went a little more neon than chartreuse, but that’s okay.  Neon is still hot, right?