Cross Stitching Isn’t a Hobby for Wimps

An update to the giant cross stitch that I am working on. I do a little whenever I have some free time and this weekend was a gigantic laze-fest for The Kid and me.2015-01-18 20.04.59Now that I’ve gotten a foothold on a couple of areas, it makes continuing that much easier. The canvas is getting less rigid and easier to roll up, so that I can concentrate on a single area.

So, I opted to try out a “field” of varying colors at the left center area of the canvas. I went through and stitched the off-green color first. I then followed through with the gold-ish color. Finally, I took a slightly darker gold and wove a few threads through the field.

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Next up, the very almost-kelly green field in between previously completed gold fields in the upper right side of the canvas.2015-01-18 20.05.33

This section was completed pretty much without thought. But while doing this section, I wondered just how long it will take me to complete the entire canvas.

So, with the kelly green area, I counted stitches and timed how long it took. There were 313 cross stitches. It took me 95 minutes to complete.

So based on these numbers, it takes 3.3 seconds per cross-stitch. A square inch is 144 stitches, which would be 475 seconds or about 8 minutes. The entire canvas, 16″ x 20″, is 46,080 stitches,and at 3.3 seconds per stitch, about 13,963 minutes (232 hours).

So, if I were to work on it about 3 hours a day, it will take about 76 days. Now, of course, you have to factor in some time for thread color changes, end of thread secures, any mistakes or re-work and you will soon realize that as my audience, you’re going to be seeing a lot of updates on this piece!!

Today I put in more time than three hours, more like five, but the complexity of first field probably meant that I didn’t achieve the require 3.3 seconds per. But it really is only about leisure and the fact that I can’t sit and do nothing with my hands. Eventually, I will turn this into a large pillow or wall hanging.

In the meantime, I am just enjoying it.

julie

Being A Bit Lazy So Far This Year…

Wow, I can’t believe that it has almost been a week since the last post. I knew I needed to take a breather, but when I stopped and looked around, it occurred to me that I have pretty much done nuthin’ for the last few days. I am hot on a binge watching of “The X-Files” (and loving the oh-so-young David Duchovny) and working on the “hee-you-JUH” (well huge for me) cross stitch.

I think I “started” this sometime last year after running across the photo in a magazine in my doctor’s office (don’t tell that I stole the mag!) and I think I alluded to this project once or twice in this post.

"The Road Across the Wolds" by David Hockney

“The Road Across the Wolds” by David Hockney

I did manage to get a significant part completed on one (of four) canvases before becoming overwhelmed with the process of connecting the four canvases together.

I picked it back up on New Year’s Day, just to keep my hands busy while The Kid and I (that’s for you Jennifer!!) started the marathon. I am vowing to work on it at least a little every day, and maybe, just maybe, I will be able to show you the finished work next New Year’s!!

So, here is today’s update:

01:05You will see that I actually did connect the four pieces together and finish the wheat field that spills into the left bottom canvas. I then switched to the upper right canvas and have been working on the fields. And wow, there are a LOT of fields! :-)

I did sell three pieces on Craigslist, the pink pieces I did. I met a nice gentleman who is very good at talking me down on my prices. Grrr. Not a fan of that. Especially since he mentioned on one piece he was planning to repaint. I really don’t care what people do with the pieces once the buy them, but I don’t wanna know that my hard work is soon to be erased.

Okay, that’s it for today.

julie

Getting Ready For the New Year, Wrapping Up Loose Ends

I am this close to have a ton of projects completed. Along with everything that I got going, I am also trying to redesign the site. I want a new logo and look. The Kid is helping.

A quick couple of projects that I did complete:

First one up is a cross stitch that I had been working on during my “in between” projects time. You know, when paint is drying or waiting for something to be picked up. During those times I plunk myself down on the couch and squeeze in a little ‘me time’. I am just like my Dad, in that I can’t just sit and watch television. I have to be doing something with my hands, so I do cross stitch and embroider or making felt ornaments with a blanket stitch.

Here’s the first one. I did actually finished this a bit back, but it took a while the whole project done. You see it was intended to be a iPad case, but after adding the backing and the lining, the size got a little squeezed. So it is more of a ‘mini iPad’ case. But it was fun to do because I didn’t really have to think about it too much, color was totally random and it is a pretty simple pattern.

DSCN2985This was done using a cartoon called “Shoe”. I have always loved this series, as the writers love Macs and all things Apple. This was one of my favorites:

Screen Shot 2014-12-26 at 11.40.05 PMI tweaked it a little so that it fit into a single pane, added the logo to the bottom right corner:

iDebtI am really happy with how it turned out. In hindsight, though, I wished I had done a little more ‘fading’ in the blue panels, so that it was a little more seamless. Oh well, a lesson learned for next time. :-)DSCN2987

I have been thinking about getting it framed and sending it to the authors, just for fun. I mean, I love the work and the creative part of it, but what do you do with them once you’re done?

I have a ton more projects to finish up and then get documented. I also have to list them for sale as well. Hopefully three of the pieces are claimed by the people that they were intended for when I started them. That will really help clean up the garage and the foyer. And provide a little more cash for the next projects! Ha!

Okay, gotta hit the sheets! I am wiped out!

julie

 

 

A Lighting Adventure: Practice Makes Perfect

There are so many things that I love about my house, but one of them ain’t the builder standard lighting. Slowly but surely I’ve been replacing those very practical and perfectly functional lighting fixtures with upgraded ones.

I’ve wanted to do something really unique ever since I stumbled onto this online company that sold electrical cording and custom colored socket covers. And a lot of other cool and awesome stuff.

(Oh, by the way, they are not sponsoring me in any way. But even if they were, I’d still say the same things!)

So, I started planning cool lighting projects. The first one I wanted to do is based on this photo:

crystal-decanters-as-pendant-lights-1This is going to take some more planning and purchasing of supplies, including a way to reach the ceiling when it is about 20 feet high.

Instead, with the latest addition of the embroidery machine, I realized that corner in my sewing room was a little too dark. It does take some additional light when you’re dealing with lots of thread color changes and lots of stitch changes. So, I opted to do my first lighting project for that corner.

DSCN2868Somewhere along my travels, I picked up two pairs of hanging lights. I didn’t know then what I was going to do with them, I just knew that I had to have them. Try as I may, I can’t remember if it was from thrifting or the ReStore or abandoned house hunting or where. Each had two wires that came from a single canopy ending in a cut glass globe. Of course, the wires were interwoven with those brass chains so popular beginning in the late 50’s.

So, this is where I started. I took everything apart and pulled out the old wiring. From ColorCord company, I ordered new sockets, wiring and cord grips. This is the best part, when you order, you have a myriad of colors and styles of wiring and different styles of sockets and socket covers and cages and all sorts of fun stuff. Check it out!

I ordered the mint twisted wiring and ceramic sockets. My plan was to take the existing canopies and the pendant holders and spray paint them white. Replace the wiring with the twisted mint cord and swag them over the areas needed. In my mind’s eye, I could see it.

Screen Shot 2014-12-02 at 10.32.17 PMOn a recent thrifting trip, I ran across three cut glass tulip design globes that were open ended and I thought would provided better light than a closed one. So, I went from a four bulbs on two fixtures to a single one with three shades.

DSCN2861That meant that the four existing pendant caps that I had would have to replaced with three matching. And instead of the two canopies that I had planned on using, I would be using just one now.

First, The Kid – my newly appointed electrical engineer – wired the sockets.

DSCN2864Then added the cord grips. The cord grips are new to me, but take the strain off of the wiring in the sockets, much as the chains used to in the old style.

DSCN2865Then the wires were threaded through the canopy.

DSCN2866Next The Kid climbed up into the attic and after cutting the power, he wired it to the existing light – the one that hangs over the sewing machine.

DSCN2872Here is how we left it after the first night of work. While The Kid was up in the attic handling the wiring, I installed the hooks and worked the wiring to make sure that everything was even. But I goofed pretty good.

The next morning, we removed the hooks and filled in the holes and then using a tape measure to ensure things were lined up and then rehung the lamps again. With a flip of a switch – viola! – light!

DSCN2884Its been a long day. Still much to talk about. And work on. You wouldn’t believe the garage again!

julie

Sewing Room Update: Finally Finished!

2014-10-27 19.52.50Well, I say “finished” but is anything ever really finished?

So, way back I showed you the new cabinet added to my sewing room. Because it came with a plain front – rather than the beadboard finish that is on every other cabinet in the room – I attempted to change the doors on this new cabinet to match.

At first, we tried to use the thin sheets you can get from any hardware or big box store.

First we cut them to size for each panel:

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Then we slathered on the glue, placed the beadboard and then weighted it down with whatever we had in the garage. You can see we used paint cans, a small anvil – even boxes of Diet Coke.

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2014-10-12 13.38.30After leaving it overnight, I came out the next morning to find that the glue hadn’t ‘stuck’ to the door panel, only the beadboard. Back to square one.

I did some investigating and ran across a wallpaper that looked like beadboard. It couldn’t hurt to try, right? I ordered one roll and waited. It finally came and attempt number two was started.

Since I wasn’t using much, I opted for premixed wallpaper paste. Using a four inch roller, I slathered it on heavy.

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Rolled the wallpaper on top and smoothed with my hands. Then using a sharp blade, I cut the piece to size using the edges of the trim.

2014-10-22 18.36.30Wiped up any excess paste…

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…did all three panels the same way…

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And here’s how it looked. Left it to dry overnight and went to sleep with my fingers crossed.

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Here is both doors (three panels):

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Came out the next morning and it looked great! Yay! However, as I kept looking at them, I felt like something wasn’t quite right. The bounding trim was very glossy but the paper had a matte finish. I thought I would just set them up and spray paint them glossy white.

Good idea, except the paper never really dried. It was just sort of sticky. In a room where dust and material fragments and threads would be everywhere, I knew this wouldn’t be good. I opted to spray it with a glossy clear sealant. Now, there was a chance here that this would only make things worse and not resolve the issue. But I figured I could just stick The Kid in the truck and point him in the direction of IKEA and get him to buy replacement doors. It was worth a try.

And it worked! Next morning the stickiness was gone and the doors were all shiny! Next step, installation.

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Doesn’t it look like we bought it that way? I love this idea and may be looking for more ways to use this!

A couple more pics of the new cabinet and some of the other changes as a result:

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Added some more “buttons” and one still not up yet:

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New shelf along the ceiling line… those boxes hold so much! I have completed quilt squares and lots and lots of cut pieces just waiting to be turned into more quilts.

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Had to turn the button board vertical to fit. Had to move some other pieces, like the tack board, to another part of the room. Added some new things as well to the mix, such as this “puzzle box” of sewing attachments made by Singer in the early part of the 20th century.

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Here is where the tack board went. The top is a photo of The Kid when we had just adopted our puppy.

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Here is an older shot of the cabinets along the back wall and turning up to the window. You can sort of make out the beadboard fronts.

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Okay, now that this is done… I need to turn my attention to the third stall of the garage. It is where my sports car needs to be housed during what we expect to be a pretty snowy winter. I need to get the STUFF either done or out of there. I really just want to play in my sewing room… I just bought that new embroidery machine and can’t wait to get started. But first things first.

Julie

From a Desk Into A Tower of Drawers

Some time back I came up with a solution to the thousands of skeins of embroidery thread that I bought and collected over the years (and in anticipation of a very large cross stitch project) by using those boxes designed for storing photographs.

While this did work for a while, I found that it wasn’t pleasing to the eye and if you needed a color that was at or near the bottom, it became a bit of a pain to have to move all of the boxes to get to the one that you needed. I started looking around for something different.

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During one of my routine trips to thrift stores, I found a very cute and very well made children’s desk. Of course I hadn’t taken a photo before The Kid started taking it apart, but this will give you kind of an idea of what it looked like before we started. The drawers were removed and set aside for painting.

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Removing four screws and the top came right off. Then the supports between the two base sections also came right off, when you find well made furniture it doesn’t have an over abundance of glue or nails used. I suspect this is late 1930’s or maybe early 1940’s.

One half was flipper over and we removed the “feet” section. Again, four screws.

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Then one piece was set on top of the other. We simply used the same holes used to originally assemble it to attach one piece to the other. Bonus!

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There were some holes and a little bit of damage where the back support had been attached, so a little wood putty and some sanding and it was ready for priming.

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I knew I was going to paint it my signature red, so the primer was tinted almost the same color. Less coats of paint to get a rich red.

Drawers Primed

Drawers were also prepped for painting the same way:

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We built the cabinet top from paint stir sticks. You can see the whole process here. We just laid the top down and flipped the cabinet upside down and attached it, again, using the existing screw holes. Here you can see my “assistant” helping!

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And more paint. We also had to fill in the gaps of where the two cabinets came together, that was a little trickier.

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After several coats of paint (yes, that it what is required when you’ve chosen such a deep red color) and new drawer pulls and viola! Here is the cabinet in the front entry.

Red Thread CabinetShortly after, it was moved to next to one of two re-purposed china cabinets in my living room. And all of the embroidery thread was then transferred from the boxes to the cabinet.

Since I’ve been working so much, I haven’t had a chance to finish up any projects… so am using the time to get caught up in writing about previous projects. The blog (actually “blogS” as I have another) seem to be a third almost full time job as well. But I love it all!

julie

 

 

Been A Little Quiet

The new job and some other issues have kept me a bit away from my crafting and upcycling. Also, I think I just needed a little break.

This past weekend took us to Witchita to pick up some items from an online auction and we made a day of it – me and The Kid. Its about a three and a half hour drive from our home, so once there, we explored the city a little and had a picnic lunch at a nearby lake and state park. It was gorgeous! The temperature couldn’t have been nicer if I could have made a wish and with a slight breeze blowing it was heavenly. We had a quasi-water ski show with a couple who just spent their time skiing back and forth on our shore… we were quite entertained by the show – especially when he fell!

So, a few things that we picked up that I thought I would share with you:

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This was the biggest treasure… with a little work, the plan is to put this in my living room. I love the care and attention that went into building furniture 50, 60, 70 or more years ago. It is why I will only work with all wood pieces, I would hate to to think that work I did wouldn’t last because the basic structure of the furniture wasn’t sound or high quality. This shouldn’t need much work, just replacing some of the missing veneer, and thankfully, I have managed to collect a good chunk from pieces I have worked on it the past. Then a sanding and re-stain. And the little drawer needs to be re-assembled, but nothing major.

Other pieces were just more cut glassware and then this really interesting framed doily in the shape of a peacock and embroidered. I love unique stuff like this… I am planning on finding wall space for it in my sewing room.

510-1Here is a photo of my cut glass find… to add to my ever growing collection:

480-1The plate itself is not my pattern(s) but I have become obsessed with the cut glass/crystal stuff lately. Don’t know what I am going to do with it, but I will figure out something!

Thanks for stopping by!

julie

What’s The Secret to Etsy?

I’ve been a seller on Etsy for sometime. Well, I use the term “seller” loosely, as I just made my first (and only) sale a week or so ago. Perhaps Etsy is one of those places that server more as an inspiration for people rather than an actual place to buy goods, I am just not sure. I thought it funny, that in all of the time that I have been selling, my fees have totaled about eight and half dollars and with the first item I sold, my grand total of sales to date is $6.00. And of course, that doesn’t include the cost of actually creating that item that finally sold.

Did I tell you about an on-going little project that I finally decided to list on Etsy? I started as a whim, one of those things that I like to do when I have to have something to do with my hands while watching television… making reusable felt covers for notebooks. I don’t recall the very first one or even the first size of notebook, but I have completed nearly a hundred over time. Let me show you a few:

il_570xN.567690192_mumd

il_570xN.567805623_3i9y

il_570xN.567683996_7mws

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il_570xN.567681032_hhtu

il_570xN.567686054_fvqsThese happen to be the notebooks that are 4″ x 6″, but I have done covers in all sizes, from 3″x4″ up to 8 1/2″ x 11″ and many sizes in between. And the covers are reusable, just slip the old notebook out and the new one… violá!

Here is the one that finally sold and was my first (and only) sale:

il_570xN.567694970_ikkb il_570xN.567694998_g8jk

By a Futurama fan, no doubt. I really don’t want to have to create a bunch of Futurama based notebooks just to get some sales, I think that the selection should appeal to a wide audience, but perhaps I overestimate. That particular notebook received quite a few ‘favorited’ and a couple of Pinterest pins.

Any way, if anyone has the keys to success with Etsy, please share?

julie

Embroidery, Baking and Painting. Its a Trifecta of Crafting!

It has been a rough week for me, so this will be a quick post. In honor of my Mother who passed away this past week, I finished some hanger covers that I had stamped and marked and my Mom had embroidered for me. She had been a big embroiderer when I was young and she did teach me how at that time. I did a few pieces when I was young, not sure any had really survived. I’ve occasionally picked up a piece from time to time, but never have been accomplished at it. Mostly just did accents on pieces. I bought a lovely sewing machine from Singer that now does it automatically and I could never compete – time or accuracy – with its results.

My Mom had finished the pieces in the previous months, and all that was needed to complete it was to sew the seams and trim the pillow cases. And here are the finished results:

Hanger Cover1 Hanger Cover2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think they turned out quite charming. I think that I will hang one on the front of my closet door in my bathroom and the other will hang in the quest room.

Another thing I did differently was to do some baking this week. Nothing like rich, gooey, calorie laden baked goods to make the family feel better and bond me with my son. And he loved this! And it was so simple to do, I don’t know why I hadn’t done it sooner or do it more often. It is called Monkeybread and this recipe was made using Pillsbury refrigerated dough for buttermilk biscuits.

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Screen Shot 2013-03-11 at 11.01.38 PMThis was so unbelievably good, especially warm! It was gone before the day’s end. And so simple to make… you should try it!

Last but not least, this simple transformation of a beautiful little piece. It was very beautiful, but the top’s veneer was seriously damaged. I spent a few hours and a hammer and a pry tool and managed to remove it all without damaging the base piece. This allowed me to then prime the entire piece and generously applied six coats of my favorite black paint to the top. the remainder of the cabinet was the recipient of this beautiful dark purple that leans toward red when wet, but blue when dry so it just looks so extraordinary with the black that has undertones of blue as well.

I cleaned and then spray painted the hardware that was original to the piece, they were quite stunning in their own right. Not often do I re-use the original hardware, usually it is those ubiquitous Chippendale style handles that I have come to really dislike quite intensely. But with a couple of carefully applied coats of metallic black, these handles just turned out fabulously.

Here is a quick before and after photo:

Purple Before&After

Much to do this week and I have the luxury of having the Kid home with me on Spring Break. So far, “spring” has been cold, cloudy and a bit precipitous. The Kid has voiced his desire to transform a dresser from start to finish… I am excited and trying to convince myself that he wants to learn the process but I know he is doing it so that he can take a bigger cut of the profit! Either way, I get his company and help and that is worth it all!

Thank you for dropping by. And keep up the crafting!

julie

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