Last week my brother and his wife Ali came to visit us (well, mainly Clara, haha). They live up in NYC where John & I met and fell in love, so it’s always a treat to have them in our neck of the woods and it was actually their first time seeing our new house. Since it was almost exactly their one year wedding anniversary I thought I should DIY something sweet, and since I was an accidental kleptomaniac at their wedding (where John’s long arm snapped the pic below), I knew at least one material that I’d be using: a pilfered napkin.
Wait, let me explain. I had a three month old daughter who pretty much wanted to nurse the entire time. And somehow amid feedings and meeting & greetings a napkin from the table migrated into my purse/diaper bag. It probably got caught up in a blanket or was somehow mistaken for a bib. Total mystery. But the end result is that I accidentally took a cloth napkin from my brother’s wedding reception. And I’m the weirdo who actually called the venue to tell them what happened and offered to mail it back to them, to which the sweet man laughed and told me to that shipping it would be far more than it’s worth and to “consider it a gift.” So I did. And it sat in our full-of-junk-that-we-need-to-do-something-about playroom until Dan and Ali’s impending visit. At which point I said “ooh, I’ll use the stolen wedding napkin to make them an anniversary gift!”
John and I brainstormed all sorts of options for using it (making a fabric mat to display a framed photo from their wedding, dying it and cutting it down to make little fabric coasters, formally monogramming it and starching it to the bottom of a serving tray, etc). But for some reason the idea of needlepoint kept popping into my head. I knew I didn’t trust myself to actually needlepoint it (maybe someday, but with their visit fast approaching and lots of desk/office projects going on, I decided I’d rather “cheat”). And I actually liked the slightly off-kilter idea of hand-drawing a needlepoint inspired design right onto the napkin and then framing that. So first I trolled Pinterest and Google for needlepoint inspiration (most of which was far too advanced for a fake-needlepoint project like mine) and sketched out a few possibilities on graph paper.
Update: I just learned that needlepoint is the wrong word and I actually mean “cross-stitch” – so pretend I’m saying cross-stitch everywhere that I use the word needlpoint below.
John and I decided that this little drawing on the right was our favorite.
I worried how it would transfer onto the napkin (would it bleed? would it run? would it just look terrible and drawn on?), but luckily the Ikea frame that I had on hand (thanks to this Ikea run where we stockpiled a few for random projects like this) had a 5 x 7 ” opening, which meant that I could cut my stolen napkin into fourths so I’d have the option for three do-overs. There was definitely comfort in the fact that the first, second, and third attempt could fail and I’d still have one more shot. I figured the best method of transfer would just be to lay the cloth napkin over the card stock sketch and see if the design was visible (aka: traceable) through the fabric. And it was. Booyah.
Incidentally, if it wasn’t sheer enough I planned to tape the napkin and paper up to a window so the sun would shine through and make it easier to see, but I was glad to skip that step.
Then I just used a fine pointed marker to trace my little faux-needlepoint Xs all around the heart and the arrow and just freehanded the little dashed letters from the original design. Since I’m a detailed-oriented gal, I’ll take a moment to mention that the specific fine pointed marker that I used was a LePen (purchased on sale at Michael’s a few months back in teal because I loved it and couldn’t resist). Did the marker bleed? Yes. Was it slight? Yes. Did I like it? Surprisingly, yes. But it took me a second to realize that.
Since I had four shots at this (thanks to cutting my napkin into fourths), I tried my Le Pen first. And I wasn’t sure I liked how not-super-crisp the slight bleed made things. So then I tried tracing the same design onto a second fourth of the napkin with a ballpoint pen (which didn’t bleed at all). I did it in blue, and black, and even used a red Pilot rolling-ball pen too, just to exhaust a bunch of options.
I learned that I actually didn’t like the sharp lines as much as the softer and more charming slightly blurred lines from the Le Pen. For some reason it just looked more homemade and sweet and sort of timeworn and imperfect – as opposed to sharp and doodled with a pen. Does that make sense?
So I popped my favorite first attempt into my already-on-hand Ikea frame.
Here it is hanging on our frame wall so you can get a feel for how it might look when hung with a few other things at Dan & Ali’s place:
It’s kinda plain-jane on its own, but it’s a nice little frame for a grouping since it plays so well with other busier things.
Total spent: $0. But if you count the original cost of the frame, the price of a Le Pen marker, and a scrap of fabric/cloth napkin (if you don’t accidentally steal one like my frazzled-mom self) this project might be around twelve bucks or so. And when it came to time spent, maybe it took me half an hour from start to finish? Unless my brother Dan is reading this, in which case it was $100 and took me five grueling days to complete.
Speaking of the one-year-anniversary lovebirds, Dan and Ali seemed to be genuinely charmed by it, so… score. I think they especially loved that it was a stolen napkin from their venue (which was hilarious/meaningful), so perhaps using something special like a swatch from a wedding table runner (or even a non-fabric item like a paper menu or seating card?) could help you create something sort of handmade and personal to commemorate someone’s big day in a new way?
So there’s the story of a napkin that I accidentally stole, kept around for a full year, and then hunted down in our crazy playroom full o’ junk. Please tell me I’m not the only one who has inadvertently taken something that wasn’t theirs. And that I’m not the only one to have a giant mountain of odds & ends that desperately need to be sorted/garage saled/repurposed/donated. Oh well, at least I was actually able to locate the napkin without calling in a search crew. That means the playroom can’t be too bad, right? Right?
Wrong. It’s bad.
What have you sketched/framed lately? Any other accidental kleptomaniac stories? Feel free to make me feel less alone in my little napkin-caper incident.
Psst- After many requests we’re spilling the beans about our approach to feeding Clara over on BabyCenter. With our doc’s blessing, we tried a method called Baby Led Weaning which meant no purees and no babyfood (instead she got the same healthy foods that we were eating, tweaked so she could safely eat them right along with us). More on the whole shebang here.
This is so cute! It’s nice to see an old craft brought to life again in a new way. Thanks for sharing!!
At a friend’s wedding I took some flowers (white freesia) from a table bouquet and let it dry in a book. That little branch came out really nice and my intention was to make a card with them as a gift for their 10 anniversary..
… but they divorced before it! :-(
Miranda A says
I’m just getting into the DIY and fixerupper stuff. I found a sweet little wooden chair at Goodwill the other day for $2.50! (Sweet, I know) It was just an old, dark wood color w/ a ratty off-white cushion. I took it home and painted it “Yukon Gold” yellow (from Lowes :) and covered the seat with a coordinating pillow case (also from Goodwill). Total project cost about $14 and I’m so stoked. You guys make it look so easy, so I tried it, and sho nuff! :) Pics at mirandyfamily.blogspot.com
Wahoo! I’d love to see pics!
i actually stole a tiffany blue chair bow from our wedding reception…i have held on to it for 5 years but haven’t figured out what to do with it yet….
Jackie Kalbow says
Love the idea! And on a side note – my second baby refused to eat anything but what we ate – so we never did the baby food thing with her either. Worked great and WAY cheaper!
I framed some decorative file folders I bought in the 1$ at Target for my daughters room. They were a a year old.
People always enjoy the gifts I make more than the ones I buy — I guess it really IS the thought that counts :)
For Sonia’s grandpa’s birthday this year, we made a collage by cutting up old paintings/finger-paintings that Sonia had done & put it in a really simple frame.
The whole thing took 20 minutes & cost $8 (for the frame.)
“Poppy” LOVES it… and now all the other grandparents are jealous!
Guess we’ll be making a few more!!!
The napkin needlepoint is darling, btw. Plus, your karma is all straightened out now ;->
Jess @ Little House. Big Heart. says
Aw, how cute! Such a thoughtful gift :)
I accidentally stole a bag of cat food from Tarjay the other day. It was on the bottom rack of my cart and I paid and left without remembering to have the lady scan it. I realized when I got home and went back and paid for it. I felt terrible!
Emily D. says
What a sweet little gift! I love thoughtful handmade things the best.
Speaking of napkins…I was watching Sex and the City reruns last night and Miranda’s backsplash tiles are like the exact colors of the paper you had in your frames in your living room. I was like oh Sue the Napkin would look great in this kitchen. First-Miranda is make believe, second-Sue the Napkin is in fact a napkin.
Haha, I love it. Go Miranda.
Very sweet. A quilter’s tip for future writing on fabric projects – iron a piece of wax paper on to the back of your fabric. It will stabilize the fabric and keep it from shifting while you work. It helps a little with the bleeding, too, but not much.
I’m also amused by your description of baby-fed weaning. I’ve done that with my 14 month old simply because she wouldn’t eat the food if I pureed it. (We never offered her baby food.) I didn’t know it had a name or was an official technique!
So smart! Love the wax paper tip. Also love that your 14 month old loves table food like the bean!
I love it! And I think the slightly-bleeding color looks a little more like thread (especially older, more frayed thread) than the crisper pens.
One of my parents’ wedding guests watercolored a little bouquet of flowers over their invitation (which was just black text on ivory paper) as a wedding gift and they still have it framed and hanging today!
I’m super glad you did this, because my crazy weirdo office is doing a “Secret Pumpkin” – a fall secret santa – and I bought a frame for my person and was trying to figure out what to draw/print to put into it… but I think you just gave me my inspiration!
And you are not a lonely klepto… I’m at my desk right now looking at a plastic pig I accidentally put in my pocket my last afternoon working at a daycare.
Lauren @ Enchanting says
I love this idea! We are building a frame collage in our living room (even came up with a cool idea for working in the thermostat! haha) and this would be awesome to include. In fact I may be sitting at my desk sketching out some faux-needlepoint right now…
[email protected] says
Oh wow, just a few weeks ago I was at a one-year bday party for my son’s little friend. I was there with another mommy friend and her little girl. When we arrived I asked where her bag was so that I could put mine with hers. She always has a coach bag with her and there weren’t very many people there. I went to where she said it would be, and there was one coach bag. So when it came time to leave, I went in to get our bags, and when I came out toting the coach bag with my diaper bag, a woman shyly stepped up and said “Thats my purse”. Wow. Really making a name for myself at these events.
Oh man, that would totally happen to me!
I totally want to make “faux needlepoint” into a combination word—“faudlepoint” has a nice ring to it I think?
I can feel the silliness kicking in and it’s only Tuesday…could be an interesting week. :)
Haha, I still love to say fauxpiary (my term for the two faux topiaries on the mantel in the kitchen).
debbie c says
Cute idea! To completely change the subject, are you as totally excited for Missoni for Target as I am? As if we needed another reason to spend too much time at Tarjay!
Yayyy! It’s Tuesday!
My husband was the best man in his friend’s wedding back in June…he was also in charge of coralling all the tuxes and making sure that all the groomsmen left with them and the venue knew this. So…we ended up with (the venue made him take) a guest’s suit jacket, we asked everyone we knew and asked them to ask everyone they knew, but no one’s claimed it…it’s just sitting in our closet. My husband also has a clip on tie from another wedding he was in, he forgot to turn it in with the tux…I could definitely use that for an anniversay gift lol (since it’s lavender and he’ll never wear it).
I’m such a regular at my local Dunkin Donuts that if there’s no line behind me, I’ll chat it up with my baristas for 10 or 15 minutes. I’ve already talked with them for so long that we’ve all forgotten I didn’t pay, but I always come back and make good – strong coffee shop relations are a must :)
I’ve also accidentally walked out of places like Target and IKEA with extra items inside larger items.
when a friend of mine got married her aunt asked the servers if she could keep one of the teacups and saucers that were in the china pattern from her wedding day. the servers found a chipped one and let her keep it. she gave it to my friend on their first wedding anniversary and my friend really cherishes it. i thought it was a sweet idea.
That’s so sweet! I love it!
Carolyn S says
Cute project! I love the shot of your full playroom by the way. That’s what my husband and I refer to as a “sling room”. You open the door, sling something in, and close the door. Voila, your house is still clean. :)
Haha, I love it. We officially have a sling room!
Ah, the story about the napkin is hilarious – but it sounds like it was meant to be! I love how it turned out. Sure, it might be simple, but it’s absolutely charming and meaningful, and that makes it perfect.
As for baby led weaning – yay! We took the same approach with our daughter (19 mths) and absolutely love how it’s worked out for us. We decided to wait longer than 6 months before offering her food – waiting until she showed express interest…and we’ve never looked back! She dos have her likes and dislikes – but she eats a wide variety of foods and we always get complimented on how well she eats.
P.S. I have a room that looks exactly the same as the playroom! In my case – it’s the room I am slowly converting to my daughter’s bedroom in preparation for moving her out of our room into her “big girl bed”.
If you ever want to make a cross-stitch piece for yourself, with no deadline, “real” cross-stitch is actually super-easy, and one of those projects that makes you feel proud you accomplished something so awesome-looking. (Which is the Petersik way, isn’t it? Easy enough, but awesome!)
Sounds tempting for sure!
That’s a sweet idea and definitely a tangible memory!
Rachel Tatem says
Love the faux needle point, never thought of doing that but it works
Tip: instead of taping things to a window for tracing, put it on a glass table w/a light underneath. It’s way easier to work for longer periods of time. I don’t have a glass table, but I do have a 8×10 picture frame that I regularly raid the glass out of. I just set it on my knees w/a desk lamp on the floor. This also works really well for embossing paper w/a stencil underneath.
So smart! Love it.
soooo cute (: i love your whole wall!!!
Cute project. Might have to steal the idea when I actually start decorating the house we’ve lived in for four years.
My father in law has a strange habit of putting the silverware from buffets in his shirt pocket while he fills his plate. Sometimes he forgets all about it and ends up at home with a fork in his pocket.
When my daughter was little, we were in the checkout line of the grocery store. My son had stepped out of the plastic car at the front of the basket to help me put stuff on the belt. When we got out to the truck I went to put my darling daughter in her car seat to find her covered in chocolate. She had jacked a butterfinger and chewed through the plastic and had it half eaten in a matter of minutes. Yeah, that was fun, “Um, excuse me, I need to pay for this. The bar code? Uhhhh, whoopsie, I think she ate it.” Luckily she’s almost three now and has never stolen again (of course I watch her like a hawk in the checkout line).
Oh my gosh- hilarious!
I love it – sometimes it’s okay to fake it ;) This is adorable and gives the Martha Stewart effect without me actually learning how to needlepoint. Great idea!
Anna Scherling says
While in Philadelphia for 9 months with my new husband, we temporarily stored some of our wedding gifts at a friend’s apartment – it was a basement that shared some storage with the upstairs unit. When our families came to take it home with them for a more long-term solution, they accidentally grabbed an extra box with odds and ends. A platter. A plastic drain cleaner stick. That sort of thing. When we came back from Philly and discovered the mistake, everyone had moved. I found her via Facebook a few months later, living halfway across the country. Thankfully, she said not to worry about it. :)
jackie g. photog says
very cute!! funny…i’m actually getting ready to start a real cross-stitch project…i haven’t done it in years….i’ve made several things in the past, and given them all as gifts, as i will do with this one too….My husband is poking fun at me, saying how perfect it is, since i’ve just turned 40 and all! haha!
I was recently inspired by one of your Pinterest Challenge participants.
First, I spray painted 5 frames white (uh, spray paint? Totally inspired by the YHL!).
Then I printed out 5 maps of particular cities (one where my Dad was born, one where my Mother’s family is from, the city we grew up in, the city my sister’s family lives now and the city my brother’s family lives now).
I zoomed in so that the Google map pointer thingy was exactly where I wanted it before printing.
Then I cut each map in a heart shape. Then I mounted them on leftover cork cupboard lining and popped them all in their respective frames.
Before mounting I even did a YHL layout on the floor to make sure I liked the placement.
I do like it but the frame styles are just a little to different for me to love it! One frame in particular is way too bulky.
Oh well, not perfect but perfectly inspired!
Sounds so cute! I love how personal it is!
I love making something personal like that. No one else has something like that and I bet they really love that it included something from their special day. I recently did a framed stamped letter art for my brother and sister in law’s wedding present. If you get time to check it out it’s here:
They said they loved it because it was personalised and unique. (I’m just glad they didn’t look too closely at it!)
SO CUTE! I love that.
I accidentally brought home a silver fork, left in my pan of brownies. It is so pretty and hefty, I immediately started cruising the internet with the thought of collecting mis-matched silver utensils. Let me tell you – what I found so far – too expensive! And I had to give the fork back since it was probably a hand-me-down from grandma. Maybe I have a long-lost relative that will hand me down their real silverware!
Haha, here’s hoping you find a bunch at a thrift store!
Man! Even when I think that one of your projects is going to be too cutesy for my liking, I still end up loving it!The finished project looks great on the gallery wall (which I also have)…maybe I need to make a similar project!
Maureen@ This (Kinda) Old House says
Loved your art project, but what I love more is that you have a room tucked away that is a mess. :) Makes me feel a bit better about mine.
Another great crafty (and super easy!!) idea using a persons wedding memorabilia is to make a “couples first Christmas” ornament out of it! Cut the invitation into strips, curl and slide them into a glass ball. Finish off with a piece of ribbon, and voila! It’s a keepsake many of my friends have loved!
My most recent accidental klepto moment: The house that we rented from June-August was amazing and our landlords were the best part. To welcome us to the house, they left my husband a bottle of local craft beer and a frosty beer glass in the freezer. While packing up the house, I inadvertently packed up the beer glass. So it is now in the freezer of our latest temporary abode, 8 hours away from it’s home.
We got to know our landlords really well and became great friends. I’ve sent them a text photo of the beer glass with the message– “If you ever want to see your Hales Ales glass again, a visit to the Frenzs is required!”.
Haha, too funny.
Thank you so much for the baby led weaning post! I had never heard of it but ended up doing the same thing. I started solids at six months with my baby boy and he hated it! I started with traditional cereals with breast milk and pureeing different things. But he just wouldn’t have it. And then we noticed that as we’re having dinner he really wants to try what we are having, he would reach out for food at our table, so that’s when we gave him tiny bits of food and he loved it! My son is now 9 months old and eats everything on his own and he still has no teeth!!! (First one just popped yesterday!). I think it’s only natural to let your baby feed himself/herself!
Oh, as for kleptomania, here’s my story. Me and hubby went shopping with our baby (baby being in the stroller), we had so much fun going in and out of stores and then we look at our baby boy and guess what? Our baby had stolen a tie! And the most hideous ugly tie too! We reacted so loudly that everyone at the store noticed and we were embarrassed. First I thought I should keep it for memory! But of course we returned it to the store, I would have bought it but it was $70 so we had to pass. And I’m glad we did, imagine if I kept it, framed it, and wrote something like “My baby’s first steal!” what kind of message would that be for our little one?
Haha, too funny. That’s a pretty fancy baby to get into ties so early on.
Thank you thank you for your post over on Baby Center about Baby Led Weaning! I must not have been the only one requesting to hear about your adventures with feeding Clara! :) I made my own baby food (organic as much as possible) and really enjoyed it. I had never heard of BLW until I read something about it on your blog. At that point I was already making purees and it was working for us…but I really want to try BLW with future babies. Seems like it would be much less time consuming…although much more messy! Haha! I’m excited to try it whenever our next baby comes along! Thanks for sharing your experience!
It does look quite cute, if you were afraid that napkin would not be see through enough, you could have shone a light from behind it. That’s what I did to trace a design onto a canvas. http://thefirstapartment.blogspot.com/2011/06/how-to-make-your-own-projector.html It worked out well, and the frame kept it stable enough to trace like the frame would have in your project. And good luck on your playroom, I just cleaned out my craft/office room, it takes a lot of will power to get through something like that.
could’ve fooled me! looks like the real deal! :)
Love this! Something so pretty and nostalgic about cross stitching. I recently did a somewhat similar project (Ikea frames and all!) inspired by Pinterest. I used Photoshop to create a silhouette of my chihuahua Jolie (who totally wants to be Burger’s girlfriend, by the way) and traced them onto grass patterned paper. Very appropriate as the dog loves her some grass. I attached it to a piece of slightly metallic silver paper and voila — instant dog art! I love how they kind of look like little chihuahua shaped topiaries. Check it out: http://yfrog.com/klqdcdrxj
So much fun!
[email protected] up with the Jenks says
i love that you are making personal gifts mainstream!! Now that we are living off of one income (I’m a new stay-at-home mom), our family and friends are going to be getting a lot more of my craft projects as gifts! Ha!
Thanks for sharing!
Wom-mom Ethne says
My bff and I embroidered love note kitchen towels for Valentine’s Day. I have a link here so you can see it. I happen to think they turned out super cute.
So cute! Haha. Love them.
i used those exact same le pens at my wedding reception, for people to sign the photo frame we had in place of a guest book! love the teal color.
Krystle @ ColorTransformedFamily says
I love how you use stuff lying around the house to frame. It really make artwork a lot more affordable and personal. Such a sweet idea for a gift!
Super cute & sweet – I’m sure they loved it! So special. Honesty rocks, Sherry – I love that you reported the napkin.
I was also the weirdo, who after realizing I’d kept an out-of-state motel’s plastic door-access-card, called the motel (3 years later!) to report the card & said I’d mail it back. The lady laughed like crazy & said “Oh, don’t worry about it – cut it up…I don’t return those cards all the time.” Yikes. I was disappointed that she (as a motel employee) said she didn’t return them “all the time.” Ha. I’m sooo honest that a thin, little plastic access card weighed heavily on my conscience (I imagined what it’d be like if every guest didn’t return their card??).
Kinda funny story (I guess, depending on who’s telling it – Ha)…’bout 3 years ago, the postman accidently delivered a small, lightweight package in my mailbox intended for another address & it got mixed in with some kitchen table piles of stuff (I was in the midst of decluttering like a big dog) & I didn’t discover the package until many months later, unfortunately. I was mortified! I located the address & felt like a loser delivering it (all sorts of scenarios were playing in my brain about the package’s contents & the potential impact on someone’s life by my snafu). The lady, when she opened the door & saw the package said, with wide eyes, “Oh my gosh, those are my birth control pills that I never received!!” Ooops. Boy did that “walk of shame” to my car feel like the longest trip evah. :)
Haha, that’s too funny! I love that you’re so honest. That lost package thing could totally happen to me too. Heck there might be a lost package at the bottom of the playroom mess! Haha.
Liz R says
Stolen wedding items? CHECK. While I usually snag something at a wedding, at my wedding a chair sash was somehow grabbed by a cousin and usually ends up making appearances at family gatherins. Whether it be around a chandelier or decorating a chair, its fun to keep seeing it!
ashley brown says
i like that faux cross-stitching. i may need to try it..
i recently picked up a bunch of packs of the ikea Clips frames (4 in a pack for .99cents each) and cut out and framed a bunch of stuff from a NYC trip my husband and i went on last fall for our wedding anniversary. i framed things like postcards, photos we took, maps, metro cards, the playbill from the phantom of the opera, and other little paper mementos from the trip. i plan on hanging them all on a wall dedicated to nyc. it was fun picking out all of the things to frame!