We’ve decided that Annas Make Stuff would be even more awesome if we talked about other people making stuff too! First up is Anna S’s big brother.
While I love doing projects for my house, it’s much more fun to make them for my friends and family! My sister, Nina, and I have been talking about doing some kind of outdoor project for her yard for awhile. While we were talking on the phone, she showed me this picture on her Pinterest:
With my amazing internet detective skills, I found the project on the This Old House website.
Now, my process in woodworking projects is to read the instructions, get a vague understanding of how it works, and kind of just go from there. First, I decided to build the bench out of 2x4s. While it wouldn’t be as sturdy as decking, it was a cheaper and more easily available option. And I knew that Nina would end up painting it anyways. So when figuring out how much wood to buy, the directions say to take the diameter of the tree, add 6-12 inches, divide by 1.75, and that would give you the length of the smallest board.
This led to my first mistake where I actually used the circumference, instead of the diameter. I ended up buying way too much wood, and this led to multiple recuts, but luckily, I had already cut the 30 degree angle on the other end. To make all the cuts, I used my miter saw. Without it, cutting all of those angles would be been almost impossible for me. If you want to do this project, I highly recommend it.
I wish I had more pictures of the process, but just imagine me cutting a crap ton of boards in my sister’s garage.
All in all, the project took me about five hours. The things I didn’t do were sand, paint, or dig out the soil under legs. If I could do it again, I would try and make it a little more sturdy. I ended up not buying enough carriage bolts, so I instead attached the legs with screws. I’ll have to end up adding more more pieces of wood for support.
Hooray for making things! I’ll update with new pictures after it gets painted.
Hey there! Anna S. here. So, my super awesome mom is obsessed with a few things. In no particular order, they are: wine, chocolate, Zumba, vodka, sock monkeys, and crossword puzzles. So for her birthday, I decided to take on two of these obsessions, which ended up being Zumba and sock monkeys.
I couldn’t remember the last time I sewed anything. Although I do remember a brief cross stitching phase when I was younger, so I predicted it would end up looking like a 4-year-old made it. But I found a pattern, bought supplies (spending way too long picking between all of the patterned socks), and started working. For about 30 seconds I considered buying a sewing machine, but the non-idiot part of my brain reminded me that just because I try to sew a sock monkey doesn’t mean that I’m going to start regularly embarking on sewing adventures.
Step one was to draw out and pin all of the places where I had to stitch and cut.
It definitely would have been easier and higher quality with a sewing machine, but I liked to tell myself that amateur, low-quality hand stitching would give the sock monkey more character.
After I finished sewing, I got to cut out all the monkey parts and turn them inside out… which actually looks kind of creepy.
Next it was time to stuff the empty body and appendages. Luckily, we have a telescoping bear claw back scratcher that always sits on our coffee table, which is perfect for shoving stuffing into narrow monkey tubes. Yep, I said narrow monkey tubes. Props to my wifeyfriend for helping with this part. Monkey tubes.
After I shoved lots of cotton wads up the monkey’s crotch, I stitched the crotch shut (so barbaric!). Then I made eyes out of felt and buttons. And a must say, a sock monkey without arms, a mouth, and a tail is actually kind of adorable.
Next came the arms, tail, and mouth, which I’m still not convinced are attached correctly (You hear that mom? Don’t drag the sock monkey around by its arms, tail, or mouth.).
Then the real magic happened. I used ribbon and tiny bells to sew some Zumba bell bracelets, just like my mom wears to Zumba, because you can’t get rid of the jiggle without any jingle! Okay, you caught me. I’m drinking wine while blogging.
I also bought a doll shirt and free-handed the Zumba logo with acrylic and fabric paint. Luckily the Zumba logo looks like a child drew it, so it was right on my level.
Special thanks to Anna V, who has all of the creative visions that I carry out.
Next up? Glove chipmunk, duh!
Anna E found a great tutorial on adding color to black and white photos, so we thought we’d give it a go!
Anna E recolored old family photos:
And Anna S recolored a picture of what she looked like in a past lifetime:
It was a slow start, but once we got the hang of it, it was pretty easy and fun!
Hi soon-to-be-faithful readers! We’re Anna S and Anna E, super awesome friends since 2003. We first met when Anna S was in The Vagina Monologues and Anna E was the stage manager, which of course is a recipe for a fantastic friendship. Anna E even officiated Anna S’s wedding (to another Anna– Anna V., who will sometimes join us in our endeavor to make things). We’re both graduates of the HCI/d master’s program at Indiana University, and we’re now both User Experience Designers in Indianapolis. In fact, we live 6 blocks away from each other. Basically, we’re morphing into one person. One perfect Anna.
Anyway, we decided to embark on an endeavor to learn and make stuff so we could have some fun and fulfilling stuff to do outside of work. Here’s a little more about us and why we’re doing this:
- When I was about 6, I made a fake lunch box for my dad out of popsicle sticks and construction paper. I remember being super proud of it. I thought it was super cool that it had a flap you could lift to reveal the contents of the lunch box (an apple and coffee– lunch of champions).
- I also felt super awesome when I designed and coded my online portfolio, since I’d never done so before. I felt like the tone and visual design really reflected who I was as a designer, and with all of the coding skills I taught myself, I no longer felt confined to what I could do in web design programs and WYSIWYG editors.
- My dad and I built a wooden wine rack (similar plan is here). I definitely couldn’t have done it on my own, but it was awesome to use different tools and see it all come together.