Step Away From The Glue Gun (And The Sewing Machine…And the Scissors…)

Stop, or I'll glue!

The problem with crafts is that I’m not nearly as crafty as I think I am.  Oh, I have tons of ideas, but I don’t have the skills to back them up.  Since I was a child I’ve always ‘made stuff’ and still, I am not proficient at anything.  You’d think I’d give up, right?  If I had any sense I would, but I still approach craft projects with the same tenacity I have when I explore other areas of my life.

Over the weekend, I bought black out curtains for my three bedroom windows.  My husband installed the decorative curtain rods, which I proudly told him I got on clearance for $9.97 each.  (When asked how much the drapes cost, I dodged the question by telling him about how the sales person gave me an extra 15% off).

The ‘crafty’ part came when I needed something to (cheaply) block sunlight coming through two half-moon arch windows.  My first thought was “tin foil” but my husband asked me not line the drip pans of the stove with foil…I doubt he’d approve of covering a window with it.

Then I got an idea that I thought might actually work:  I could cut the arch out of cardboard or foam board and then hot glue fabric over it.  The idea had two red flags:  cut and hot glue.  But I forged ahead anyway.

Surprisingly, I managed to use a box cutter without maiming myself or destroying any property.  As I cut the cardboard arch and trimmed it to fit in the window, my new glue gun was warming up.  I have an older, larger glue gun, but I thught the smaller one might be easier to handle for this project.

Note:  When I bought this glue gun a few weeks ago, I noticed the package stated it was a “high temp” glue gun.  Duh, I thought, how else would the glue melt?  I didn’t think much about it.  When I got home, I checked my larger glue gun – it was a “low temp” gun and could get plenty hot.  (Here is where a prudent person would reconsider the purchase and return it, for safety’s sake.)

Apparently, I’m not that type of person.

While gluing the fabric to the cardboard, I discovered that the difference between a “low temp” glue gun and a “high temp” glue gun is a first degree vs. second degree burn.  Some glue dropped on the top of my left hand, just above my thumb.  It quickly began to harden, so I pulled the glob off, not realizing that it would take several layers of skin with it.

At this point, I finally did what any reasonable person would do:  I mumbled some angry curse words and went to get a Band-Aid before I bled on my project.  I wished I could lie and tell people the injury occurred from something exciting, like wrestling a swordfish.  I didn’t want to admit that a glue gun nearly took me down.

I soldiered on and finished the second arch, all the while wondering if the glue bonded the materials together, or if they simply melted into one another.  I thought they looked pretty good….from a distance.

One of the arches...

The next day, I noticed light came through under our bathroom door and above our vertical blinds on the window with the arch above it.  I had the perfect idea to fix it:  I would buy a couple of draft stoppers.

I searched the internet, but the reviews weren’t encouraging.   One product review stated:  “Don’t buy. It is junk.”  Another review for a different product read, “It was a disappointment. Save your money for better things.”  I discovered that I could spend anywhere from $8 to $19 for products that had more negative reviews than positive.

Then another thought came to me:  I bet I could make something just as useless for a lot less money.

And that became my challenge.  And another chance to ruin create a craft project.

Due to the high cost of pinto beans and poly-fill, I instead opted to use tube socks, plastic bags, and glass marbles from an old floral arrangement to fill the snake-like stoppers.  Since I just learned to sew a few months ago (when I had to sew badges on scout shirts), I decided making these out of fabric, where I had to measure and sew all the sides, might be too difficult.  At last, I seemed to recognize my limitations.

I bought a couple pairs of knee-high holiday socks for $1.48 a pair.  I figured this should be easy:  fill the socks and then sew them together.  Well…yes and no…..

Socks before their doomed fate
Ack! I'm ruined!
Whew! At least no one can see me up here...
The lumps make it look like a snake digesting a field mouse, but it stays in place

They aren’t perfect, but they get the job done.  So for now, craft projects everywhere can heave a sigh of relief because I’m not looking for anything else to make.  I’m ready to switch back to writing.  At least with writing, my characters are the only ones who get injured!


31 thoughts on “Step Away From The Glue Gun (And The Sewing Machine…And the Scissors…)

  1. Carl D'Agostino January 5, 2012 / 7:38 AM

    For arch window cover I have found stained glass patterned paper at Home Depot and cut it out like you have. Big selection and real classy look.

    • jannatwrites January 5, 2012 / 10:31 PM

      Oooh, I love stained glass patterns, and I didn’t know they had such a thing. I don’t think it would block enough light for this room, but I’ll have to check it out in case it will work somewhere else. Thanks for the tip, Carl!

      • philosophermouseofthehedge January 6, 2012 / 1:33 PM

        If you can’t find the stained glass paper ( it’s very nice) you can make your own using tissue paper – cut cardboard the shape of the window and cut out open areas (leaving about 1-11/2 inch cardboard outlines/borders for each area) glue colored cellophane or colored art tissue over “holes” you created. paint all cardboard with black paint = cheap stainglass window…works for Christmas decoration…but tissue colors like red will fade…easier to just poster paint window design(did this to block out overly bright large window)…..and now I am stepping away from the glue gun and stuff…. HA HA Good luck. enjoyed the post

        • jannatwrites January 6, 2012 / 9:03 PM

          Your kidding, right, Phil???

          Cut cardboard…
          glue colored cellophane…

          I thought you were a nice “mouse” but now I suspect you might be trying to kill me 😉

  2. pattyabr January 5, 2012 / 7:42 AM

    LOL lololol
    Can totally relate
    Just remember practice makes ?perfect or better than average

    • jannatwrites January 5, 2012 / 10:33 PM

      I’m sorry you can relate to this, Patty! I keep waiting to reach the ‘average’ mark, but my patience is wearing thin 🙂

  3. Debbie January 5, 2012 / 9:24 AM

    Janna, you crack me up! I can totally relate — I love the idea of being “crafty;” it’s the reality that’s difficult. I think Carl has a good suggestion for your window arches, but if you need total darkness to sleep, perhaps it would be cheaper and easier to invest in one of those eye mask thingies?!

    • jannatwrites January 5, 2012 / 10:35 PM

      Debbie, I tried the eye mask route, but he didn’t like the way it felt, so he won’t wear it 😦

      I’m sorry you can relate to my craft-deficiency (but I have to admit it makes me feel a tiny bit better that I’m not the only one.)

  4. suzicate January 5, 2012 / 9:30 AM

    You are too funny, Janna. I’ve had my share of crafty mishaps…but oh, the sweet smell of success to those that turned out ok!

    • jannatwrites January 5, 2012 / 10:36 PM

      I’m surprised that you have craft mishaps, SuziCate. You always seemed like the crafty type to me!

  5. T. S. Bazelli January 5, 2012 / 10:31 AM

    You know what, it looks ok! 😀 The sock tube things are really colorful LOL

    • jannatwrites January 5, 2012 / 10:43 PM

      Thanks, Tess. I like the bright colors, too…I just hope the lumps will even out in time!

  6. nrhatch January 5, 2012 / 11:22 AM

    Those sock stoppers have pizzazz!

    • jannatwrites January 5, 2012 / 10:45 PM

      They are bright, Nancy! Both projects cost me a total of $25, and a few layers of skin, so I guess that’s not too bad 😉

  7. totsymae1011 January 5, 2012 / 12:10 PM

    I thought I was crafty because I’m a painter but I’m not crafty either. Stuff comes out too sloppy, even with my best efforts.

    Blame those do-it-yourself websites. They have people thinking an idiot can do it and well, maybe I’m just not as good as an idiot.

    • jannatwrites January 5, 2012 / 10:48 PM

      Oh, Totsymae, I almost got fooled into thinking I could tackle some home improvement projects. Luckily I came to my senses. I agree – there are so many demo videos that make stuff look easy – and it isn’t.

  8. Carol Ann Hoel January 5, 2012 / 12:18 PM

    What’s a minor burn? You did what you set out to do. And it’s colorful. I like it. Designer blinders by Janna. Stocking stoppers instead of stocking stuffers. I burn myself slightly every time I get near the oven, but I haven’t stopped using the oven. Yet. Ha! Blessings to you…

    • jannatwrites January 5, 2012 / 10:50 PM

      Thanks for the nice words, Carol Ann. Now that you mention it, I’ve been burning myself quite a bit in the kitchen. Maybe I should stop cooking! I’m glad you stopped by today.

  9. clarbojahn January 5, 2012 / 4:28 PM

    Way to go with the sock stoppers. One success, right?

    • jannatwrites January 5, 2012 / 10:52 PM

      Well, Clar, they are done, so I guess that is a success. I’ll take it!

  10. pattisj January 5, 2012 / 6:30 PM

    How do you like the black out curtains? I think you did a great job, and love the colorful socks.

    • jannatwrites January 5, 2012 / 10:54 PM

      Thanks, Patti. I actually wear crazy socks like that.

      The black out curtains take some getting used to because the room is much darker now, but I love the fabric and texture of them. Hubby says he slept better, too, so they are a winner!

      • pattisj February 7, 2012 / 11:07 AM

        Ah, yes, THIS glue gun experience. 🙂

  11. jeanne January 5, 2012 / 7:24 PM

    When it comes to eyes are definitely bigger than my glue gun…

    • jannatwrites January 5, 2012 / 10:55 PM

      I love that statement, Jeanne…so clever! Thanks for the chuckle 🙂

  12. Widdershins January 6, 2012 / 2:10 AM

    Snakey draft stoppers … beautiful. Foil lining the drip trays of your stove … absolutely! Who cleans the stove?

    • jannatwrites January 6, 2012 / 9:00 PM

      Thank you, Widdershins – I thought foil on the drip pans was perfectly fine, too 🙂 I don’t clean the drip pans (and I can’t seem to keep my food in the pots and pans) so he buys me new drip pans every few years. Foil would be less expensive!

  13. Damyanti January 6, 2012 / 5:46 PM

    I’m a klutz, so I never tried crafts…all the best with your writing 🙂

    • jannatwrites January 6, 2012 / 9:04 PM

      You’re smart, Damyanti. Perhaps I should just stick to writing!

      Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  14. sonsothunder January 7, 2012 / 3:14 PM

    It all looks great to me. I can relate somewhat to how you feel about your craft-works, though it doesn’t show from here. Though I love to bake, I am always quickly reminded of why I stick mostly to my more natural, savory side of the kitchen…every time I try to decorate a cake.
    Bless You
    Enjoyed the great humor and perfect ebb and flow of your words as usual.

    • jannatwrites January 7, 2012 / 9:35 PM

      Thanks, Paul! Cake decorating is difficult. My single attempt looked like a small child did it (and, at the time, I didn’t have children to blame it on!)

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I’m laughing a bit more since my glue gun wound is beginning to heal 🙂

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