Beading: Trying to Learn By Doing!

I ran across some beautifully hand beaded works recently and of course, I want to try and do it too. I always seem to take the jump-in-with-both-feet-and-wallet approach. Most of the time it works pretty well.

And I think it did this time too. Maybe?

So, I went out and bought about a million dollars worth of beading supplies. Well, not quite, but I did buy a LOT for such a little project. And I say that because I am thinking that the bead work is way more of a hassle than it was worth!

I’ll just dive right into the final product:

DSCN3678photo 7It is actually a felt jacket for a notebook… I use them (the notebooks) ALL the time when I am working and also when I am playing! First, I cut the large deep blue felt that would serve as the cover. It was enough to provide for four inches of overlap on each end, used to be able to create pockets that the covers would go into. Next, found the paisley design online, printed it and the starting with the teal, just cut out the shapes and using embroidery thread, stitched each one in ascending order.

I actually cut out some of the overlapping layers as I went, so that the dark green center wouldn’t be 6 layers deep!

Next came the beading. Actually first came finding needles that would fit through seed beads with thread! On the plus size, I know have about 156 new sewing needles, but on the other hand only about 6 of them worked. And they are so tiny and fragile, I managed to break one trying to force too much thread through the needle threader!

Okay, now back to beading! In the supplies I bought were lots of sequins – of all colors, shapes and sizes. (Of course my OCD required me to sit and sort it all!!) This helped get an idea of what I wanted to use and where.

I started with the dark green. One of the boxes of beads I bought had tubular beads and matching beads. The dark green was completed with the tubular beads across the color (rather than along with it). I thought about going back and adding seed beads between, but I think that would have been too much.

I then went back to the turquoise, those cute little ‘snowflake-ish’ designs with a bed atop into each one of the ‘loops’. Next came the lime green (I know it looks yellowish in the photo) where I sewed a little flower space with three matching green beads.

photo 4Then I went onto the purple.. this was pretty straightforward also, as the only real purple sequins were these little round ones, so I topped them off with a little larger purple bead.

And then I went back to the dark blue! I started beading this like outlining the shape but I was having a hard time controlling my spacing and the beads didn’t want to line up. About half way up the side of this and I was ready to call it quits. But then, I thought I’ll just fill it in!

Yeah. These are the things you don’t read about when trying to get information about how to do this. As you can see, I think I sewed on about 600 of these little blue seed beads (and I know because I accidentally knocked the paper plate on the floor and had to pick them all up!). Those alone took me about the time it took to watch 8 movies to sew on! Once I got to a certain point and thought “oh hell, no” I was past the point of no return! I had already spent a considerable time beading, but I did like the way it looked. So, I soldiered on.

DSCN3676I am actually still looking for the perfect ‘thing’ do place in the middle of the smallest and also dark green center. I originally had a large oval shaped button with its own beading, but being oval it didn’t look right in the teardrop/paisley shape.

I ran up to my sewing machine, sewed the little sleeve/pockets and slid the book into the cover.

DSCN3678Violå! It was done. Like I said, I have about a million bucks tied up in all of these beads, sequins, plastic flowers and needles that I may have to do more just to help offset the costs! After all, I can just get the basic piece done and work on the beading whenever I don’t have anything else to do.

Yeah, right!?!?

Projects Underway, So I Will Show You My “Gardens”

I honestly have no idea how this happens! I just finished five fantastic pieces and I turn around and the garage is filled to capacity with new ones!

Lately, I have been trying to work as early in the day as I can, as the weather has been hot and humid. I don’t have to be in the garage long for me to be soaked with sweat. I keep hoping that it will help me lose weight, but, alas, it isn’t working. :-(

So, the first thing on the ‘To Do’ list this morning, was to mount the circulating fan that has plagued me by constantly being in the way, to the ceiling. A fairly easy proposition and with The Kid’s help, we had it done quickly. And what a difference it makes being close to the ceiling and managing to circulate over most of the garage’s space.

DSCN3645So, as to the fact that I really don’t have anything to show because it is all in progress, I thought I would give you a look at how the container gardening is going.

2015-06-05 17.46.33These are how my started-from-seed tomatoes looked when I finally replanted them in the containers (5 gallon buckets acquired for free around my part of town). I hadn’t gotten my version of tomato cages up at this point.

DSCN3659And here is what they look like today. They are growing nicely! I have been collecting coffee grounds which I am going to mix with Miracle-Grow soil and add to each bucket. Hopefully that will give them more of a boost. I do have flowers on most of the plants, but need to check if I should pinch those off or just let them take their course. Seems that the plants are on the smaller side, at least to me. This is the first time I’ve ever grown tomatoes.

I’m also growing something on the other side of the deck. There are three trees in there, one is the tree I want to plant in the yard to memorialize our dog, who we lost a little more than a year ago. We are going to dig the hole and add her ashes and then plant the tree above it. I have been casting concrete stepping stones that have a ‘paw print’, to act as a walkway to the tree.

The other plants are ‘surprises’. I have no idea what they are or how they germinated or what they will ‘grow up’ to be. Time will tell. All I know is that I’ve always had a green thumb, even when I don’t intend to grow something!

DSCN3663And here is The Kid’s little corn patch. I cannot wait to have home grown sweet corn! (I think they should be taller, though.) This is not mine to mess with though and The Kid just wants them to run their course. It has been so wet as of late, and I suspect that is what is preventing the plants from growing “up”.

julie

Overdosing on Pink? Can’t Happen!

I love pink. It is such a happy little color and is feminine and yet, can be tough. I wear lots of pink. Which is kind of funny, since growing up surrounded by brothers, the last thing I wanted was to be “girly”. My mom tried a few times, but it just wasn’t going to happen for me. I remember one time she hung these gauzy pink curtains in my room and I just hated them. They didn’t hang there long – not sure what happened to them, but I am sure my complaints about them quickly became old. I was a tomboy from the get go and still am, I guess. But I like pink a little more now. (Not enough to decorate my bedroom with it, but love working with it!)

So, I had mentioned in an earlier post that we restocked the garage with furniture pieces. I am in the midst of doing a little test: I want to see if I can really earn enough money from the furniture makeovers and projects to allow me to skip the normal ‘nine to five’. I’ve never been one to sit around all day, but this sabbatical has shown me that I am a little more ready for the slower pace, even if I am not ready to actually “retire”.

So, in this experiment, the first pieces to be completed and be listed for sale are, of course, pink. There is something so sweet about the pink ombré color style that just appeals to people. It is so happy and fun! So, here we go:

We actually picked up four of the pieces from one place. I love happy coincidences like this. My general approach to these giveaways is to be kind, considerate and make it convenient for the giver. So, by replying and telling her that I wanted the pieces and that I would be able to pick up at her convenience, I was the receiver! We scheduled the pickup for the next day at noon and when we arrived, we were greeted by two young men who helped us load. I love when things go like this… feels like good karma.

So, there was a six drawer dresser and a matching nightstand and another five drawer dresser also with a matching nightstand. We had picked up a four drawer dresser a couple of days before, so in all, these five pieces became a single project.

Everything was primed… previously, I had purchased a good primer and had it tinted pink. It turned out a little darker pink than I had really wanted, but it has turned out to be a great color; it is more than obvious if you’ve missed a spot!

DSCN3604Here was the garage following the priming. The weather has turned very hot and even our unusually cool garage has heated up. So much of the painting occurs either very late in the day or very early in the morning. It doesn’t take much to work up a good sweat!Five Before&After Three Before&After Four Before&After Two Before&After One Before&AfterThen it was just a matter of painting the bases and then I organized the drawers to be painted by color. One drawer on the six drawer dresser would have to be painted the same color as the base, since I have just the base and five colors. I did the same on its matching nightstand, well, to make it match!

As the drawers go, there was one drawer to be painted the base coat, five to be painted Pink 1, five to be painted Pink 2, four to be painted Pink 3, three to be painted Pink 4 and two to be painted in the deepest shade of Pink (5). I use Behr Paint from Home Depot.photoThese have been my much used paint colors. The base coat is the Barely Pink, skipped Be Mine and then used Scented Valentine, Pink Chintz, Springtime Bloom, Fuchsia Kiss and Hot Pink. I originally started out using a matte finish, as early on the sample colors only were available in matte. But as I progressed, I found that I preferred the High Gloss finish – not only did it add a shine to the pieces, but I believe it would be better as far as fingerprints go. I still roll on the paint, I love the soft finish it leaves behind.

Here are all five pieces completed. There are so many times I’d wished that I had a reason to keep these pieces (or simply make them for myself), but alas, a daughter is not to be. I am very happy with my son, and he let’s me decorate his room to my heart’s content, but there is nothing like these gorgeous shades of pink!

DSCN3629These five pieces aren’t exactly the same style but very close. I believe that they are circa 1950’s, and are mostly made of wood. The tall six drawer and its matching nightstand are Broyhill brand, so you know that they aDSCN3637re quality. I really like these pieces for a number of reason, including that they are sturdy and quality made yet inexpensive enough to appeal to folks on a budget. Making them over is a breeze and doing 5 pieces at the same time is like a small assembly line for me and The Kid.

Because we’ve done this before, we had all the paint and rollers ready to roll. For some odd reason, I had been on eBay and come across these round ceramic knobs and had ordered 30 of them (they came from four different Chinese vendors) and took a while to get here from overseas, but were ready and waiting to be installed on these pieces. Kind of a coincidence, as I needed 29 – I could have used the final one on the top five-drawer dresser (the right-most piece in the photo above) but elected to use these faux lock piece instead there as well as on the four drawer top drawer. I really kind of like them and will need to hunt down more of them. They were the original “dirty brass” color, which I have come to dislike a great deal. I think all of those old hardware pieces are just too common and cheap looking.

As a side note, I have collected an almost insane amount of old hardware. Most come with this familiar and ubiquitous “bat wing” pulls, which I have actually come to loathe. I have to find a way to unload these easily. Not only are they bulky, but they are heavy as well and sometimes trying to sell them online ends up costing the buyer more in shipping than the hardware itself is worth. As a consequence, they often do not sell.Batwing Dresser HandlesI love to use updated hardware on the furniture pieces that I refinish. And I love the simplicity of the ceramic handles that I’ve used here and the ones I have used previously, which are just slightly different. But the pop of the white against the pinks are wonderful, especially the darker pinks.

Okay, I’ve rambled on enough for today. I still need to write the ads to list the furniture for sale. Wish me luck that they go quickly. I already have another five projects started in the garage… but these will be other than pink! I am even thinking of some black!

julie

PS…for those interested, I am not being paid for nor sponsored in any way for the mention of any products or stores in this post. I just like the way that these particular products work and want to share.

Quick Update: Paisley, Painting and Scrap Quilting

Been a little remiss in writing regular posts. This does not mean that I haven’t been working hard and have a ton of projects ongoing all the time.

I am not sure that I revealed this before, but a fair amount of the work I do – in projects and experiments – are sold to fund more projects. That’s why you will see a lot of repainted furniture… I have found this to be the most reliable and easiest way to make money. As a second note, I have been on a professional sabbatical for the past six months, so the furniture projects also help to replace some of the earnings that I haven’t been contributing to my household budget.

Currently, all of the former pieces completed have sold, thankfully!

With all of that said, the garage is filled up! Kansas City has a wonderful CraigsList community, but like everything, it isn’t always consistent. I can go for months without being able to snag decent furniture and then (like last week) it turns around and we have been able to score a bunch of pieces. I had so many projects lined up, that I needed to make a physical list and schedule pieces to make the most sense and still be contributing to the household budget, while still working on pieces for the blog.

DSCN3604So, a shot of the garage… this is three dressers and two nightstands, in my signature pink primer. All five pieces will be done in the same ombré pink scheme and will be sold mix and match. We also have a project dresser and an entertainment center – both pieces that are scheduled for some transformation experimentation. There is also the leftover “hi-fi” that I have finally decided to turn into a “bill pay station”while keeping the ability to play music. I haven’t quite figured out exactly what I am doing with it, exactly why it isn’t on the ‘do right now’ list.

One of the fun things I have been messing around with is beading decoration. I have this weird love of paisley, but you wouldn’t find a single thing in my house decorated with it. It is a weird kind of love… but soon hope to integrate some of it into the master bedroom redesign. Lack of funds have put that plan on hold – the most expensive portion is the purchase of fabric.

photo 6Here is the paisley beading project. I took this snapshot with my phone in a fairly dark living room, so the colors aren’t as vibrant as they really look. The felt pieces have all been stitched onto a deep blue background and today I purchased all of the beads and sequin pieces I will need to complete it. Part of the delay is that much of the sequins came in a large collection of colors and styles and with my OCD I first had to sort it all to get what I needed to match colors.

photo 5Here I had started the deep green with glass tubular beads and then started on the turquoise. Lots to do and lots of shapes and colors to work with. I am really enjoying this project.

I have also been working on a small challenge of my own, I wrote a little about it last week. I wanted to see just how small sized scrap I could work with and still be successful. Here is some examples of pieces that I feel that I can use. You can see how small they are by the lines on my cutting mat. I can’t really work with anything less than 3/4″, you can’t get two good seams and still have much displayed in the piecing. I had two plastic boxes, about shoe boxed sized, and have used up the scraps of one.

DSCN3602I had started with a 3″ muslin square attaching the scraps. I think I’ve gotten enough to make a doll-sized quilt or the perfect center to be surrounded by larger scrap pieces. This was fun, but a bit tedious… it seemed just once you got the needle moving you had to stop! But it becomes almost cathartic along with watching old movies!

Okay, that was a quick update to the past week’s work. Lots to do in the coming weeks! Oh, and can’t forget the container gardening… one tomato plant even has flowers! I think I have to pinch back these flowers, as the plants need some upward growth before it can support fruit. I think I need to read up some more!

julie

Filling Up The Hours with The Details (Planning and Organizing)

I’ve had some seriously disconnected days… can’t seem to get anything started or finished. Sold the last of the finished dressers and am down to only having my restored chandelier left for sale. Did manage to keep an eye on the free list on CraigsList and have a garage full of future projects.

While I’ve been meandering, I have been “testing” myself on just how little I can go with fabric pieces by doing some piecing and should be ready to reveal my final decision in the next day or so. I mean, how small of a scrap piece would you save?

Picked up six more pairs of jeans to harvest denim for the rag rug I plan to make. This is what six pairs of larger than 40 waist sized jeans boils down to:

DSCN3585You can check out my instructions on how to get the most out of a pair of blue jeans here. I also have the same instructions on instructables.com and can see it here.

Other than the denim and the scrap piecing, I’ve been done a little goofing around with felt. I found a pattern online for this cute little minion (it seems everything everywhere is about those little yellow guys), so I whipped one up.

DSCN3577Some of the directions weren’t all that good and neither was the pattern… I am thinking about how I can make my own pattern for a slightly larger version of this guy. I know this photo doesn’t allow for size comparison, but he is about 6″ from top of his head to bottom. I’d like to make one maybe 50% larger… I even managed to find larger sized eyes. I want to do something different with his arms and legs, as I didn’t care for how they came out in this version. Even after modifying his boots to be more 3D-ish, I still don’t like it. I want to make his feet (boots) and hands (gloves) out of leather, which means it is going to have to be larger to work with.

I have been trying to get our workplace in the garage into order. I picked up a deeper shelved piece and want to get things squared away before we get started on the next dozen or so projects. The Kid also managed to finally get a way to store our pipe clamps so that they won’t be constantly in the way or being knocked over.

DSCN3584I am determined to get this garage into a more useable and convertible space. There is still plenty of space on this wall which is the back side of the work area.

I also have an area that I want to be able to use for a paint booth and picked up heavy plastic sheeting a while back to use as “curtains” to contain the over-spray but nothing that is “permanent” so that I can still use the stall to park my car (sometimes in the Midwest, it is important to be able to garage your vehicles, like yesterday’s tornado warnings). Once situated – and it shouldn’t take long – we can get moving on the new pieces.

You cannot imagine how long it has taken me to write these words! Geez, I hope soon to get my focus and motivation back!

julie

Paisley and Felt, and Tomatoes on the Vine

Did it again. No matter how determined I am, I simply am unable to finish all previously started projects. Some just seem destined to be hanging around the edges waiting for the inspiration (or sheer boredom) to kick in and I can pick up these unfinished projects. Over in the quilt world, I know that unfinished quilt tops are called ‘UFO’s’ and I suppose that could be related to any creative project.

I can’t even really tell you why, but I have recently jumped on the paisley band wagon. I have always loved paisley, from its simplest form to some of those amazing fabrics you see in upholstery and clothing. I suppose that it has to do with my physical limitations – everyone knows that I’ve been given the okay to have both of my knees replaced – I like to have projects to do while I am applying cold or hot compresses in hopes of helping the swelling and the pain. Sometimes it is all I can do to get to the couch and once there, sometimes have it be almost impossible to stand again.

Okay, that was not a cry for pity. Seriously. I just wanted to explain why I have to have projects that can basically be done from the couch. This paisley project is just such a project.

So, off to the internet to find a paisley leaf (is that what you call it?) that was fairly complex but not too complex. I found this one:

Paisley Starting Point

The whole paisley towards the bottom is what I started with. I am planning on doing some embroidery and beading on this, so it can be too ornate, but I did want to include a lot of color. Here is how far I got last night:

DSCN3582The great thing is that I can add or take away any element I want (or don’t want). Right now, I am not sure I like the center paisley… but while I am beading and embroidering the many layers before I get to it, I have time. I see some of the circles are not very round… will fix those in the process too. When this is done, I am going to sew the whole thing onto a felt book cover. So, this gives me a lot of hand work to do while I am both waiting for surgery and during recovery.

Another thing that The Kid helped me finally get finished is the tomato “cages”. For the life of me, I cannot figure out what to call this thing, so I am going with ‘cages’, although it is so not a cage!

So, you may recall that a couple of weeks ago, I planted tomato seeds in a little starter kit. As they grew, I transferred them to food grade five gallon buckets and they went out on the back deck. They are growing like weeds! :-)

So, I knew I was going to have to support the branches of the plants, but didn’t want to use the traditional tomato cage. Did you realize that those stupid things are like $6 at Home Depot!? No thank you.

photoHere was my sketched idea of how to support the plants. Well, finally, I made this happen. Now the super great thing is that this cost me nothing. Well, because I had the supplies on hand, I didn’t have to buy anything (that money was already spent a long time ago). It consists of two buckets, 10 gallons of small rock, two 2″x4″s, small “eyes” (the kind from ‘hooks and eyes’) and some rope or twine.

I wasn’t sure whether the twine would last the growing season, so I opted for the plastic rope. Time will tell if this works. So, just eyeballing it, I screwed the eyes into the 2″x4″s about 8 inches apart, repeated on the second board. Then holding them in the bucket, I filled it with small rock. Then I threaded the rope back and forth between the two boards, after I had set them on each end of the row of tomato buckets.

DSCN3576So, here’s the setup. I have already figured out that there needs to be something to keep the two boards even when it starts to get weighed down with tomato vines. Can you believe how big this plants have grown already?

I think I need to figure out better knots as well. Not wild about the neon yellow colored rope either. Whatever I do, its going to have to be done soon, at the rate these are growing. I sure am hoping that I get fruit!

If you look hard enough, you can see The Kid’s corn garden… those, too, are growing quite nicely.

DSCN3580 V2Okay… that concludes the updates today. Over the past couple of days, we picked up three new furniture pieces to work on. The ivory dresser sold, which just leaves the recently completed ‘suitcase dresser’. I guess The Kid is going to be doing most of the physical labor on these.

Okay, gotta go ice the knees!

julie

Large, Long, Medium, Small and Too Small: Let’s Talk About Scraps!

Seems some days I just cannot get inspired. Doesn’t it happen to everyone? I walk around the house and look at projects planned, started and unfinished. I make lists of work that needs to be done. I review and re-order the lists and I watch CraigsList and pick up more potential projects. I clean, re-arrange and organize. I even cleaned and organized the garage; vacuumed the carpets.

Whenever I see carpets for free on CraigsList, I try to pick ’em up. Most of the time the rugs are dirty or smell or just plain ol’ ugly. Once in a great while you get a nice one. Hasn’t happened in a long while, but you can get lucky. Anyway, I like to pick up carpets when they’re available, ’cause I like to have them on the floor in the garage. Serves a couple of purposes… 1) makes it more comfortable to stand on, 2) helps reduce the noise and 3) I can walk around in the garage without my shoes on (either barefoot or stocking-footed) – well, as long as it is kept relatively clean. I have the great shop vac that can suck the color right out of the carpets and I usually try to do it on a regular basis.

IMG_7258Okay, back to the matter at hand. Trying to get inspired. I follow several other blogs, blogs of all different crafts and ideas. Of course I do follow a couple of different quilters and quilt makers. One is currently doing a “scrap-a-long” which got me thinking about my scraps. One other website has talked about what is the smallest scrap that one would keep and use. I recently did a bunch of cutting for another quilt (see above pic) and I got a lot of new scraps. Okay, I’ll admit that maybe I cut a little so that I was able to get a decent stash of scraps. I had pretty much used up all my other scraps and the barrel was almost empty.

So, sometimes when I can’t seem to get into a groove or lack the proper inspiration, I will sew scraps. I always have 8″ and 6″ squares of muslin sitting for just such times. I set up and I can sew scraps together without ever really having to think. I watch old movies and sew to my heart’s content.

So, yesterday, I took all (4) the plastic bins and hit the sofa. I dumped everything onto the ottoman and set the four plastic boxes around me. It seemed like a never-ending supply of scraps. I finally came up with the categories: large, long, medium, small and too small. Everything that was too small went into the trash. Two movies later, I was pretty much done.

So, this morning, still in the uninspired and goal-less, I headed to my sewing room and snuggled into my position behind the sewing machine. In this situation, I’m not going to try to use the small pieces, rather, I have that set aside for a special project that I want to try.

So, four hours/2 movies later, here is what I have:

photo 1And here is my setup:

This is but a step in a direction. Now I have to cut apart all of those pieces in the chain and then get ready to do a second round of chain piecing. I am trying to be random, allowing the pieces to be put together as I pull them out of the bins, but occasionally I will substitute another color if it is too similar in color.

IMG_6475Here are the 8″ squares waiting to be trimmed, lying on the cutting table. I have a stash of these squares too numerous to be counted, but I am conservatively guessing somewhere in the neighborhood of 200. I won’t start sewing these squares together any time soon, as I already have about 150 quilt tops waiting to be quilted. Technically, I guess the scrap bin will never be “finished”, but I am still on the kick to not start something new until everything started is completed. It can be difficult at times.

julie

Lately, I Have Been So Distracted!

There doesn’t seem to be any ramp up time for me when I start thinking about going back to work. It goes from a fleeting notion to a full blown hunt in a snap. Much of my time lately has been taken up with the construction of a job hunt. I have had a few minutes here and there, but it seems that once I get things organized and ready to work, I am tired or distracted by a phone call.

But, with that said, I have finished a couple of projects. The first one is something I’ve done before, but I never seem to get bored with the idea. The suitcase dresser is a very popular style, especially when you’re looking at a piece that may have damage or isn’t the highest quality. I’ve probably done a half dozen of this style now, and it always comes out great.
Although these are difficult to do, they tend to take some time to complete. Especially when the cabinet requires work as well. The Kid was much more involved in this one, as all of the drawers had to have fronts placed and supports both front and back of each drawer. One drawer had to almost be rebuilt from scratch, the one good thing is that all the pieces were there and just needed to be put back together.

I created a tutorial some time back, you can see it Suitcase Dresser Tutorial. I didn’t take many photos, since I’ve done the tutorial. I will tell you that if you have dedicated space to work on it, it helps. I did most of the work in the kitchen and dining room, and had to constantly move the drawers as I progressed with the work.

DSCN3560I tend to work on it ‘assembly line style’, that is, I glue the fabrics on all of the drawers first, then glue the tucks on all four sides. Since each side needs to be clamped while is it drying, I can only do one side at a time. So I have to find a way to stack them out of the way while the glue dries.

I’ve gotten some things done with the container gardening… if you recall, I am attempting to grow tomatoes on the deck. So far, so good.

DSCN3564That’s The Kid’s one stalk of corn, he wanted to try just one. He also planted corn in his backyard garden.

DSCN3565We’ve had so much rain that everything is so green and the grass around the garden seems to have overtaken much of it. On this side, we attempted to build a small berm; the yard slopes such that when it rains, we end up with a little stream. I call it “a river runs through it’… and we’ve now figured out to avoid it, but with the ridiculous amount of rain we’ve had, it has widened. We experienced standing water around the seeds and we worried that nothing would ever sprout. But it does finally seem to have a foothold and now we have to watch the garden to make sure it gets the proper amount of water.

DSCN3575And speaking of growing… I rescued this little violet when it was on its last leg about a year/year and a half ago. Someone had left it behind when they left their job and it sat for nearly two weeks without being watered or attended to. It was sad. I brought it home and repotted it in a larger pot in MiracleGro soil. And almost immediately this thing started sprouting new leaves and flowers. It has given me almost nonstop flowers ever since. Don’t those little purple flowers just make your heart smile?DSCN3571On the other hand (or should I say knee), I am now forced to ice or apply heat to both knees almost daily. The ice packs that I’ve been using have started to leak and I never really liked them anyway. They never really fit right against my knees, consequently, I did not get the full benefit. I had seen this ice packs using rice and you can both heat them up or cool them down.DSCN3572 I actually had bought two bags of rice awhile back and with so little crafting time, I thought maybe if I just cranked out a few smaller projects, I might feel like I am accomplishing something. The project is simple enough… I would cut some muslin fabric and sew the edges together leaving one open side; to keep the rice from bunching up on one end or the other, I added some baffles. Then using soft fleece, I made each one a cover. I used velcro for the opening – this way if the covers get dirty or wet, then can just be thrown into the washer/dryer.

Front of Denim Hems BagSo, I’ve also attempted to use up some of the denim that I cut up a few weeks ago. The main bulk of the denim is going into one or the other of two main projects: a braided rag rug and reupholstering a wing chair.

That leaves me with pant leg hems (2 per each pair of jeans), back pockets (2 per) and a waistband. So, I took the plastic bag of hems and sat down in front of the sewing machine and started sewing them together. Once I had a sizable piece of fabric, it hit me… this would make a terrific all purpose bag!

Back of Denim Hems BagI have always been a fan of canvas bags – we use them for groceries and I carry them into many places that I shop. I had found one that was about the right size of the piece that I had sewn, so opted to use it as sort of a lining. With it in place, I then used a waistband to finish the bag.

I found an older bag that had a beautiful handle and removed the rivets that were holding the handle in place. I cut four pieces of leather as the support of the handles. I couldn’t get the rivets to hold with my home kit, so I’ve opted to find some place that does leather work. I also want this place to stitch the bag pocket, as there is too many layers for my sewing machine. That is the thing with denim, it gets too thick very quickly. In fact, during this entire process, I broke 18 needles! And these needles were specifically for denim and other heavy projects. It is just as you work, the layers can add up very quickly… especially when you’re talking about seams!

DSCN3570On the other end of the sewing spectrum, I’ve been doing some hand sewing. I just start a with a circle of felt – whatever color I have on hand – and start adding stitches and have been using beads on many of the pieces. I didn’t have a specific project in mind, but while perusing Pinterest, I saw some pin cushions that looked similar. So, violá!

DSCN3569Won’t these be the most adorable little pin cushions?

DSCN3568And the great thing about this, is, this will give me a chance to use up much of my scrap felt. I can sit and watch television and stitch to my heart’s content. (Someday I will get back to working on my My Huge Cross Stitch Project. I just had to take a break from it for a while.)DSCN3567And the last little project… My son built this in his wood shop class a couple of years ago and I never knew exactly what to do with it. But working lately in my home office lately has shown that for the health of my knees, I need to have my feet elevated. And what better way to do it than with this little footstool! I painted it my signature red and I had just enough fabric to cover the foam that I added (material is left over from re-cover my dining room chairs and pillow covers for the couch). Don’t you just love it when things come together?VioletsSo, I am going to leave you with another shot of my happy little violets!

julie

Ivory Dresser, Thunderstorms and a Nap

Although today was one of those laid back kind of days. I did manage to finish one project and continue making strides on another one.

2015-05-14 17.25.52I had shown you the progress on this dresser previously. I picked it up from CraigsList for a whopping twenty bucks, I couldn’t believe my good fortune. I had every intention of restoring this piece to its original glory, I had enough old veneer to replace the few places that were missing.

I was so excited about starting work on this one. That excitement soon turned to sadness, as I realized that this piece was not to be. As I started working on the drawers, lifting edges to squirt glue between the pieces, large chunks of veneer just came off in my hands. As I continued trying to re-glue, more and more pieces would loosen and fall off in big pieces.

As I continued, I realized that all of the drawers were in the same shape. So, I used the opportunity to harvest the veneer for future projects.

Fast forward to its completion. A solid layer of primer and three coats of semi-gloss latex paint in a sweet color called “Toasted Marshmallow”. I mean, that even sounds like it would be sweet to eat!

DSCN3550

The Kid put the handles on this morning, and we moved it out into the garage and took photos. I love the way it turned out even if it meant that I couldn’t restore it.

DSCN3553 This is one of those pieces that I wished I could keep. I find that more and more I am more than happy with the way these pieces are turning out.

DSCN3552I added the little scroll at the top of the dresser, the original one had a small ornamental mirror. It was chipped on one corner and show some real age. The applique was painted the same color as the handles. I just love that shimmer!

DSCN3554So, this one is now ready to be listed on CraigsList. The garage is getting quite empty and the waiting projects are fewer and fewer. There is a part of me that thinks that this is subconscious that it might be time that I head back to work. (If you’re new here, I am a software engineer in my “other” life!)

julie

Oh The Treasures You Can Find!

I don’t think that it is any secret that I love thrifting. That is, perusing and shopping at thrift stores, secondhand shops, yard and estate sales… just about anywhere you might find a bargain. I have some great collections that I constantly search for more pieces: china, pyrex, fabric, furniture hardware, old sewing notions and pin cushions, old Macintosh computers and accessories, crystal, interesting old jars and liquor-type decanters for my planned chandelier in the entry way… yadda, yadda, yadda. It is so true that one person’s trash is another’s treasure. Even The Kid has a couple of collections that he looks to add to, including his love of older technology and electronic gaming.

Today, we headed to one of the thrift stores that we love. It is heads above many of the other shops we go, in that it is so clean and well designed and has a lot of merchandise turnover, so that you rarely see something two visits in a row. In fact, not so long ago, I had run across something that I really wanted, but for whatever reason, I decided not to buy it. A few hours later thinking about it, I decided I did want it and was worth the asking price, but by the time I got back, it had been sold. Lesson learned.

So, today’s visit was particularly good. Just one more collection for the sewing room are quilting and sewing books – regardless of when they were printed. I have picked up quite a few for pennies and they are almost always awesome. I purchased a quilt book not so long ago printed in the 70’s that featured quilts with the big color schemes back in the day – how many remember avocado green, harvest gold and burnt orange? I certainly do, my mom’s kitchen was of just these colors. I believe the refrigerator and stove were avocado green, but the wallpaper – these giant leaves on a background of ivory in those three iconic colors.

But if you can imagine, those colors together in a quilt were, well to put it as nicely as I can, were a massive color saturation and over abundance. They even talked about using knoits, poly- and polyblends in a quilt! Wow!

Well, today’s find was a bevy of beautiful books. Most are fairly current; I’d say within a decade or so.

photo 4But the prize was the 1969 first print titled “Singer Sewing Book: The Complete Guide to Sewing”. From the funky graphics on both the front and back covers to the instructional information, it just oozes awesomeness! I can’t wait to sit down with it and really go through it.

imagesI also managed to find a huge amount of Pyrex, although not my collection, but rather pieces I actually love to cook with. I collect Pyrex in the red and orange color titled “Friendship”. Its a tricky 16132915804696ppattern to find, which makes hunting for it all that much more fun. The clear Pyrex, on the other hand, is fairly common and still being produced. These pieces are workhorse bowls and pans and I use them often. I have bread pans, cake pans, mixing bowls and a whole lot more. I learned to use glass  – rather than metal – for baking and I just love the nice evenness that it affords. And all this stuff is dishwasher safe, no hand washing for me! I do have a couple of very high quality cookies sheets that have never been touched with soap nor anything that could mar or scratch the surface. Sometimes, it can be a real pain.

I did find six pairs of men’s jeans size 50 and 52! Let me tell you; THAT is a lot of denim! It was a tough inner battle, but in the end I feel like I need to work on using what I have before I decide that I don’t have enough and need more. I have a bad habit of over buying in anticipating a new project. I need to remind myself of that and often.

Tomorrow brings the unveiling of the most recent completed waterfall-style dresser. Just screams luxury and style and elegance. Again, one more piece I wish I could keep!

julie

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