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 fad 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

Another Saga in The Never Ending List of Projects

I feel like I haven’t written anything in a long time, and if you don’t count the last two quick posts about my “ible”, it has been more than a week. Doesn’t mean I haven’t gotten things done though. I think I may just be getting a little lazy about documenting it.

So, a couple of previously finished pieces have been sold and making a bit of room in both the house and the garage. It almost seems that there is a ebb and flow to how the pieces sell. I will have a few pieces for a while, adding to them as I complete projects and then all of a sudden a bunch of things will sell. But sell they have and I am happy to have some cash to begin new projects.

First up, I wanted to provide an update on our gardening. We finally had a break from the rain and we were able to get the corn planted into the garden. We stacked grass clumps around the two sides to help deter the little rain stream that is created every time it rains. We also planted additional seed, such that we could get some kind of result.

2015-06-05 17.46.42

The Kid wanted to keep one stalk in a bucket, sort of as a control subject. I like to have him take an interest in something other than his constant computer use. I am trying with all my might to make him a well rounded young man.

My tomatoes have also been transplanted into their containers. Its has been a hit or miss with the watering so thankfully I started with more starts than I will eventually need.

I still need to complete my plan for the supporting structure, what I plan to use in place of tomato cages. They are still quite little, so I have some time.

The next project that I am working on is another ‘suitcase’ dresser. I love these and have quite a bit of the materials on hand for them. They always seem to sell quickly, too. This one I opted to paint the box in the aubergine color (used on the little Aubergine Victrola cabinet remake).

2015-06-12 18.45.17And here are the drawers in progress…

One of the things I love the most about this particular project is that it allows so much creativity! There is something deeply satisfying about picking out the fabric, being able to look and touch all the different colors, weights, weaves and styles. And because I use a heavier fabric – usually used in upholstery – it is a whole new set of fabrics.

The particular dresser that I had picked up, wasn’t the best quality. In fact, the drawer fronts were molded plastic! I only found this out but attempting to remove the quirky design on all of the drawers. I am so mad at myself for not taking a “before” photo! These two dressers sort of resemble the style of the drawers – not exactly, but it gives you an idea of what it looked like:

The drawer fronts, once I removed the molded plastic section – turned out to be nothing but 1/2″ fiberboard (and not in very good shape with what it took to remove the drawer front). It took a few days of thinking, considering and exploring, and in the end I opted to just leave the fronts and cover it with a solid piece of 1/4″ high quality plywood. This would make it perfect for then doing the fabric “suitcase” fronts.

2015-06-07 17.43.56I also have been working on the very beautiful waterfall dresser. I had high hopes when I bought it that the veneer breaks could be repaired and  with only a little effort, it could be restored to its natural beauty.

Unfortunately, as I started attempting to re-glue the veneer, it literally just fell off. All the drawers were the same and I was just heartbroken! Unfortunately, after sitting in garages and basements, the elements were just more than that poor veneer could deal with. In my estimation and my opinion, the veneer – and more importantly the glue used to secure it – just dries out. There was just enough contact to make getting it off in single pieces impossible. If it had, I could have simply reattached all the pieces. It was just not to be. Sadly.

So, now it is getting updated to a gorgeous ivory – Toasted Marshmallow, to be exact – and it will get new hardware. Oh, did I mention that the previous hardware on this dresser was immaculate! Not a scratch or break anywhere. I don’t think that hardware really matches the style of the dresser once it was repainted though. I opted to list it on eBay and they sold for $65!

I opted instead, to use hardware that I have in my arsenal. I often find hardware at different stores and yard sales and estate sales. Sometimes the hardware comes from an older piece of furniture that I rescued. In this case, these came from my local Habitat for Humanity ReStore. If you live close to one, you should check them out. And often as they get new donations all the time. And you are helping your community to boot!

2015-06-12 18.45.48I had ten in two different styles that I wanted to ‘try out’. The dresser is impressive and needed something ‘large’ to compliment it. The style closer to you in the photo has won. I love this color, it is a shiny gold with a hint of pink – it is actually named “Rose Gold” (from Rust-Oleum). You can see in the corner of the photo a wood applique that I am also installing on the dresser. It too was painted.

2015-06-12 18.45.56A closer look… I love the sparkles! Its beautiful in a quiet sort of way.

2015-06-07 17.26.36Here is the cabinet ready for primer and then paint:

2015-06-12 18.45.33As I mentioned, the veneer just fell off the drawer fronts, but the veneer on the body was in pretty good shape. I only had to patch two small areas, one on either side. Here is the dresser following its third coat of paint.

Here are the drawers, prep’d and ready for painting. And with three coats of paint that followed a primer layer.

2015-06-05 22.17.43One last project in the works. These are the inner seams from all those pairs of jeans that I took apart. I curled them up and secured with a pin temporarily. I think that this will make a very interesting rug and have to figure out how to permanently secure them and attach them to a rug backing. You see in the lower right hand corner of the photo that I have some not currently curled and am hoping to use them to fill in some of the blank areas in the form of little curlicues.Denim Circle3There is a little more work to be done, obviously. This is one of the side projects of taking apart all of those pairs of jeans. I also started the project I hinted about in the deconstructing post. The problem is that working with so many layers in seams with only a standard sewing machine is that needles break. A lot. I went through 12 before I decided to order some heavy duty needles online and will wait to finish up when they arrive.

2015-06-05 17.46.50I found this little guy sprouting up from between boards in the back deck. I love how nature does what she wants! I pulled him up carefully (along with some from the front) and planted them in a long planter box on the back deck. I really would like to have tons and tons of trees on the property. And I love an underdog!

julie

My ‘Ible was Featured on the Living Page!

So, this shouldn’t really qualify as anything too awesome, but it is totally making my day great!

I just got an email from Instructables.com letting me know that one of the editors featured my newly created ‘ible! It gets featured on the front page (of the Living section) and I get a complimentary 3 month Pro Membership!

I’ve always gotten a sense of satisfaction from my professional life, not so much for my creative life. Probably because I don’t really ‘toot my own horn’, so this is a change for me!

Woot!

julie

I Made An “‘ible” On Instructables.com

I had been thinking about the audience that I will reach with my blog and thought that I might reach a greater audience by sharing my steps for deconstructing old pairs of blue jeans.

There is this great website call “instructables.com” which allow regular people to write and share instructions, known commonly as ‘ibles’. I used the set of instructions and all of the photos from my previous post and managed to make a couple of corrections and updates to both sites.

You can see the post Instructables.com. It is the first thing I have published on their site, although I use lots of the ‘ibles’ all the time. It’s an amazing site if you’re into making “stuff”!

Check ’em out!

julie

Deconstructing A Pair of Jeans With the Least Amount of Waste

I recently found instructions on how to create a rag rug. Of course, I want to try to make one with denim. And not new denim, but the soft, broken-in denim, like your favorite pair of jeans. And the best place to find that is, in fact, an old pair of jeans. Or rather, in a lot of old jeans.

So I started collecting old pairs of jeans. Off to my favorite thrift stores and second hand shops. Actually, I wanted a nice variety in the colors, so I picked some that looked new and were dark blue, and I picked out some that had wear and fading and were almost white in some cases. Then there were pairs in the middle, a nice hue of blue, some with fraying and some with spots – like the thighs or knees or butts. I started looking for the larger sizes and the lower priced pairs.

Side note: Even thrift stores have sales! The stores that we visit seem to have a color rotating method. It keeps stock fresh and making room for new arrivals. Always check at the front for which color is discounted.

So, The Kid and I had hit a GoodWill store on a different side of town while we were out delivering a dresser. The colors of the day where white and yellow -50% off – so I headed to the men’s jeans section. I found ten pairs of jeans in sizes larger than 42″ waist sizes marked at $2.48… so I walked out of there with lots of denim material and only spent about $12! Couldn’t buy that much new material in a store and this was soft and had a variety of colors.

Then it was time to take apart the jeans. I searched the internet for instructions, but I either found ways to do it that were inefficient (taking the seams apart with a seam ripper – yeah, right) to those that wasted too much fabric. I had instructions for using other portions of the jeans, like the waistband and outside seams, so I didn’t want to waste anything.

So, I decided to write my own instructions as I took apart the pants. There are a couple of terms that I will use that might not be obvious to all readers:

a. I will refer to the thread as gold, although it may be a different color.

b. If you’re not comfortable handling a single edge razor, a seam ripper could be used, but it will dull very quickly. In fact, the razor blades that I use are really only stay sharp through two to three pairs of jeans. Once I find some resistance in pulling the razor blade, I switch for a new one.

c. I will refer to seams as “inner seam” and “outer seams”. Inner seams are folded in and have no outside stitching, while an outer seam has the bulk on the outside and will have decorative gold stitching:

Inner:Outer SeamsOkay, let’s take apart some jeans:

1. First up is removing the brand label. Not all jeans have these, although I have found that most do. I found a cute use for them, by re-attaching them all to a denim pillow. May or may not do this, I guess when I’m done with the rug, I’ll see if I have enough.

DSCN34752. I have found the fastest way to take apart almost everything related to the jeans. Slide the razor blade at a corner and carefully pull towards you. Continue all the way around.

3. Jeans are tough. And one of the things that make jeans so long lasting is the reinforcement at stress points. Like the back pockets and belt loops and bottom of the zipper. The key to making it easier to deconstruct a pair of jeans is in tackling these reinforcements. Cutting through the reinforced seam is the most straightforward and easiest way to loosen the remainder of the seam.

DSCN34744.  I start by cutting through all of the belt loop reinforcement – just the bottom, where it actually connects below the waist band. Then, one by one, pull the belt loop away from you and using the blade, cut just the gold threads.

5. Next, we’re going to remove the waist band. I actually have a project that will use the waistbands and the belt loops attached (at the top), so it is important for me to cleanly cut the seams.

6. I find a spot where the seam isn’t reinforced or that it has more than one row of stitches. And then it is just a matter of cutting all those seams. I find this to go pretty quickly, the two areas you will find that need more attention is at the the ends – where the button hole and button come together. Just keep pulling back on the seam to reveal the stitches.

7. Next we’re going to remove the zipper and all of its components. I know some would like to keep the zippers, but in my case, I know that I would never reuse them. I rarely use zippers, but when I have, they have been much longer than the ones that come from these jeans. This is the first waste product.

Using sharp scissors, cut as close as you can to the outer seam.

DSCN3515Continue all the way down around the curve to the seam.

DSCN35168. Then repeat on the other side of the zipper.

DSCN34909. Now continue cutting to the side of the ‘out’ seam. This will continue around to the waist in back (between the pockets).

10. Now you have essentially two separate legs. Now you want to split the seams to capture as much of the fabric as possible. Start by cutting along the outer seam all the way to the bottom hem. Cut through the hem.

DSCN349311. Now cut off the hem and set it aside. I actually have used all of my hems in a very special project. It is SO cool! Just because I keep and use something, doesn’t necessarily mean you will, so keep only what you want and can use.

12. Now, lay the pant leg out. Then fold it in half, right sides together based on the inner seam. Now, cut off the inner seam, keeping as close as you can to the seam.

13. As you cut the inner seam, you will fun into the pocket as it is incorporated into the seam. Translation? Many layers of fabric! So once you have reached this point, open the fabric and cut with as few layers as possible. You also may have to contend with rivets at the pocket site. These can be heck on scissors, so be careful!

14. On the front (with the pocket) cut the outer seam to remove the pocket. I have a project in mind for the mini-pocket (or change pocket) so, I cut away most of the pocket construction and the white portion. I try to leave some fabric around the smaller pocket, so I can accomplish this other project.

15. Now time to remove the back pockets. You could actually do this at any point in the project, but I like to have everything already done and then sit down on the couch with my box of razor blades and remove the pockets while I watch television.

2015-05-12 21.11.10Again, pull the sharp edge across the reinforcement at the both corners, once or twice. Once you’ve gotten past the reinforcement seam, the remainder of the pocket is pretty easy.

I’ll share with you my little secret. Some of this fabric is going to be used to upholster a wing back chair. And removing the pocket reveals a darker fabric underneath and adds more visual interest. Even if you are cutting the fabric for use in a quilt or some other project, the difference between the faded and not-so-faded fabric.

16. Steps 10 through 16 as necessary to complete the deconstruction. When you’ve done, this should be the total pieces from a single pair of jeans to be discarded. I save the outside seams but the not the inside seams.

DSCN3518And here is my bounty. This pile represents about 30 pairs of jeans, ranging from size 30 all the way up through 54″!

IMG_4209The fabric shown in the photo above, is to be cut into strips and then braided into the denim rag rug.

Screen Shot 2015-06-05 at 4.19.00 PMI actually have much more that I am deconstructing slightly different as I am using it for a upholstery project. I got the idea from the photo above. I just love the juxtification between the formality of the chair yet informal fabric of salvaged denim. The small hints of pockets and seams just adds to the overall delight.

My chair is a little different than the style above, the back has a tufts rather than a flat surface. And this is where the different shades of blue will bring such a uniqueness to it.

Here are some other images that influence me:

Okay, that’s it for today. If you have further questions, comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear them!

julie

Busy, Busy, Busy… Can It Get Anymore Busy?

Wow… things have been going like gangbusters around here, so much so that I haven’t even had a chance to write! The bulk of my current projects are finished or this close to being finished. So, now I will try to catch it all up.

In between projects, I have taken little bits of time to do some baking. This is where the whole growing up in a large family hits home every time. You see I grew up cooking and baking in a household that usually encompassed between seven to twelve people (and sometimes guests and friends), I learned to cook in large quantities. And it was more like cooking by sight… so you looked at a certain number of, say potatoes, and thought, ‘yes this is enough for eight’ but then you threw in some more. Just in case. And I am telling you that there was never leftovers!

Unfortunately, I never figured out a way to undo that kind of thinking. And that goes for baking as well. My mother would bake a chocolate cake and before it cooled enough to frost, it would be two thirds eaten! Always make more than “enough”.

So, baking for me was like that. One of the things I still do that I learned growing up was to save the ends of a loaf of bread for bread pudding. You know, the crusts that no one wants to eat. Well, I still do that as a loaf of bread in my house today can last a long time. So, when it has been around a while and no one is eating it, I will throw it in the freezer. For bread pudding. This can include bagels and raisin bread and regular ole white bread. So, I had quite a bit filling my tiny, inconvenient freezer, so I made bread pudding.

DSCN3469You have to start with bread crumbs. So I pulled it all out, sliced and diced and toasted it all in the oven. A double batch of bread pudding (see? it is already starting) requires 4 cups of bread crumbs, but I usually throw another half to full extra cup to make sure it comes out okay… ie not too mushy.

DSCN3470

So, of course I prepared more than I could use in a single instance of baking. Are you starting to get the whole “way too much” theme?

DSCN3471So, three extra bags of 4+ cups of bread crumbs were readied for the next baking session. Thank heavens for ziploc bags!

DSCN3472And here is the end result. I have a copy of Better Homes and Gardens red and white cookbook from 1948 that I still use for my baking recipes. Nothing healthy here, these are recipes with lard and butter and lots of sugar! Eaten warm, this is like french toast on steroids!

At the same time, I also had bananas in the freezer. My mom could really bake, and her pièce de ré·sis·tance was her banana bread. She was famous for it. Well, at least in our town she was famous. She had people who would bring her ripe bananas and ask her to make her banana bread. Some of us kids bandied about the idea of going public with it… you know, “Ma Benson’s Famous Banana Bread”… in the same vein as Mrs. Field’s Cookies or Otis Spunkmeyer’s Cookies. Alas, it was not to be.

But having at least enough very ripe bananas on hand for two loaves, out came the bread pans and my wonderful, how-did-I-ever-live-without Kitchenaid mixer. While it was mixing bananas, the pudding was baking. Then the banana bread went it.

Have you ever had warm, out of the oven, homemade banana bread with butter? Just this side of heaven!

DSCN3473I set the loaves to cool and grab my camera but when I returned, someone had already sliced and eaten two very large pieces! I am telling you, this is almost too good to be legal! :-)

So, that was one day… all the while working on other projects as well. I just have to get it all written!
julie

Strawberries and Sweet Corn: Just Getting Started

Spent the last couple of days trying to get ahead of the rain and the water in the backyard. It seems so weird that in one part of the country there is a multiple-year drought while right here in Missouri, we’ve been deluged by rain and experiencing flooding.

We were lucky to get a couple of days when it didn’t rain, so yesterday, we drove out to HomeDepot and bought quite a few bags of MiracleGro garden soil. We figured we get 6 cubic feet of dirt into the hole it would soak up the excess water and we’d then be ready to transplant the corn that we started. The starts were on the verge of outgrowing the starter pots and not looking too good, so the next day we stuck ’em in the ground. I have a feeling that we tried to plant too many in too small of a space, but hopefully through attrition, we’ll end up with just enough.

2015-05-27 17.14.31Kind of sad looking, huh? I’ll give it a couple of days and then I think things will be better. (Keep your fingers crossed.)

I also picked up another flat of strawberry starts while we were at the HomeDepot. Now that the third year plants are already producing berries, I wanted to fill in some of the bare spots, mostly in front. I had initially wanted to put something down around the outside edges of the patch, so that I could access all four sides, but then after thinking about it a little more, realized that I still wouldn’t be able to reach the middle. So instead, I opted to place stepping stones into the patch.

At the end of the last year, The Kid and I stirred up a few batches of quick setting cement and made stepping stones with dog paws in the middle. We had started making them in anticipation of planting a tree for our dog that we lost year before. We were going to burying her ashes under an ash tree and then place the dog print stepping stones out to the tree and maybe around it.

Somehow, we got distracted or busy with other things and we only poured 8 of the stepping stones. One actually still is in the form! So, we pulled those out and set them into the strawberry patch.2015-05-27 17.14.15I placed one at each corner-ish and one sort of centered. That should give us adequate access to all the plants without having to step in the soil or on a plant. Once the stones were placed, we then planted the starts. That went pretty easy and quickly.

Rain has been forecast for the next couple of days. Hopefully it won’t be too hard or too much. The yard is one big soggy mess and I think I have had enough of the gloom. I am ready for sunshine!

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 with you!

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