Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Bench is Finished!

So you remember this bench from previous posts.  Well, I had a difficult time finding foam for my cushion.  Who knew that would be so hard?!  Joanne's had it, but it came in a big piece, and it was really expensive.  Then I started looking around at upholstery places and custom car shops.  They were less expensive, but they only had big sheets of foam, which I didn't need.  So my friend, Cheryl, came to the rescue.  She found a twin size foam mattress pad at the dollar store for $6.  I had enough to make 5 layers in the bench to give it plenty of stability but still remain soft.  I'm uber excited, and Britt will be too.  She'll be able to take it back to Athens on her next trip home!

I think she will like it.  If I had a place for it, I'd keep it! lol  This was very easy to make, so I could definitely replicate it if needed.  I'm actually thinking that since I need extra space around my table at the holidays, this could sit right under my bay window and give me that added space.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Progress on my hutch.

This is the piece of furniture that I found on Craigslist for $35.  It had some dings, and it's not the prettiest piece, but I knew I was painting so it didn't matter.  I didn't want to invest a huge amount, since this is my first finishing type project.  I put a little wood filler in places to make sure I had a smooth surface.

Here is the painted piece now.

This will be my base piece.  My only regret is not finding a piece of real wood furniture.  This is laminate.  I also bought gloss paint at the suggestion of the girl at Lowe's.  I won't make that mistake again.  Gloss is very difficult to work with unless you are using a paint sprayer.

And these little babies will be the hutch.

I wanted a curved top and sides but wasn't sure how I was going to get symmetry.  So I decided to use Robbie's headboard as a guide.  I used tissue paper to trace the design of his headboard then cut it out and transferred it to the big part which will be the back part of the hutch.  Then cut it using a jigsaw.  I used a portion of the headboard to create the side design, but it took a little more freehand to get it right.  Lesson #2: do not use plywood if you want a smooth surface.  See that primed piece in the middle.  That is after I sanded and sanded and sanded.  The black piece is a piece of 1x12 that I had left over from Britt's bench.  And since I have already invested the money for the back piece, I have something a little different in mind for it.  I hope to have pics of it Wednesday.  I hope it turns out the way I've envisioned.  So I have that to finish and the one side piece left to cut (again) and paint.  Then I'll put it together.  I hope to have it completely finished this weekend.

And my awesome hubby bought a new jigsaw for me last night!!  Now I won't have to borrow my friend's any longer.  He almost bought a sander and work table too.  Yay for me.  I guess since I'm not in the kitchen so much anymore, he doesn't mind my new hobby!  

I am also working on Robbie's quilt.  I cut out the sections yesterday and hope to start piecing it together this week.  I am also making another quilt, which I'll have more on later.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Not so little make-up bag.

This not so little make-up bag might actually work better as a toiletry bag.  It's huge.  That's my sink right beside it, and that little area really isn't that little.  This bag just makes it look that way.  I had some leftover piping and fabric from Britt's Amy Butler bag that I made for Christmas.  She needed a bigger make-up bag, and boy did she get one.

That's my full size blow dryer just to give you an idea of just how big this thing is!  And see my make-up brushes there in the background?

This is a Bernina pattern that I found, and it was really simple to make.  I had a little trouble with the pattern, since it didn't come with one.  It simply gave instructions for making the shape.  Mine was a little big around the top, so I had to "work" it in at the bottom.  It zips from one end to the other which is very nice.  It's a little thinner than I would have liked, and I believe it needs some sort of stabilizer in the bottom of the bag.  It just flops over when empty, and I can't imagine what it will do when full.  I may try to weight it down.  I'll let Britt try it first and see what she thinks.

So one more project completed and several more on my list.  My list has gotten much shorter since Christmas.  But that's been on purpose, since I'm also working on my sewing room.  I'm refinishing a small 3 drawer dresser that I found over the weekend.  I'm going to Lowes today for the wood to build the hutch that will sit on top along with the paint.  If the rains holds out, I should have it finished this weekend.  Of course, Robbie is asking me daily when I'm going to start his UGA quilt.  So I'll have to at least get it cut to appease him for a little while.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Love, love, love these!!

Okay, so I am an organizational freak!  Yes, I happily admit it.  My spices are in alphabetical order in the cabinet and all the canned goods in my pantry look like the grocery store with all of them right on the edge and facing forward.  It drives others in my household nuts (except of course my OCD husband).  Can you imagine living with two OCD's???  Poor kids, right?? 

The kids have their own linen closet upstairs, and it is always a mess.  How hard is it to put things back exactly as you found them??  Seriously.  Now this doesn't apply to my daughter, because unfortunately, she inherited my freakish habit.  But the boys......is it just boys???  Anyway, I can't tell you how many times I go up there and straighten up that closet.  It drives me nuts.  So when I saw these little tidies, I had to make some.

I also hate having to unfold sheets in my linen closet to see what size they are!  Anyone else hate that??  Is it just my OCD??  Then you have to refold them and continue until you find the right size.  Now I know what you are thinking.....why not have separate shelves for them?  Glad you asked.  I DO.  But they never seem to wind up on their proper shelf.  Imagine that!  If they are trying to kill me, that's a good way.  It's slow and painful yet effective.

So I've killed two birds with one stone - so to speak.  Check these out:

Now, they are neatly organized on the shelf  (except that far king size - I'll have to fix that when I get home), and I know exactly what sheets are in what tidy.  This is the greatest thing since sliced bread!  At least for all of us obsessive compulsives.  You want to make some too, don't ya??  I know, right?

Here's another look:

And another:

And up close:

You have no idea, unless you are OCD, how happy I am.  Now if I could find a way to keep the blankets and towels neat too.........  I guess that won't happen until the boys move out.  Austin will be going this summer.  Am I wrong to be ecstatic?   I wish he could graduate early and move tomorrow.  I'd help - a lot. Really!

I'm going to have to go into his room in full hazmat gear when he leaves to clean it. Anything not bolted down gets thrown out or better yet - burned.  You think I'm kidding.  I have to keep his door closed because the stench waffles down the balcony to the first floor and into my great room.  And all the air freshener in the world won't touch that odor. 

You can find the tutorial here for these tidies.  Happy sewing.  Let me know if you make these and if it's because you are OCD like me. lol


Monday, January 23, 2012

Going Green!

These are snack bags that I found here.  We were going through piles of baggies for school lunches and snacks.  Rob and I have been much more conscious of recycling and conserving.  We subscribe to a recycling service since they don't offer it along with our sanitation service.  But we felt it was very important, so we don't mind paying the nominal fee.  These guys offer a discount to neighborhoods that have a certain amount of people who subscribe.  Anyway, I bought some plastic sandwich containers a few months ago and use small plastic containers for fruit and anything that might be messy.  All BPA free containers of course.  But these little guys are perfect for nuts or pretzels or any type of dry food.  When they get dirty, just toss them in the wash.  Robbie's lunch box this morning was baggie-free.  I'm toying with the idea of lining some with laminate fabric for those messy items.  They just fit neater in the lunch box.

Here is a close up:

DO NOT use sticky velcro.  It will not work on fabric.  Make certain to get sew in.  I actually brought this one to work this morning for my nuts.  Not only are they great for kids, but they'll work for adult snacks too!

I also made some of these this weekend.  I was so tired of going into my linen closet and having to pull apart sheets to see what size they were.  Problem solved with these.  I'll post pics tomorrow.

I am almost finished with Britt's new make-up bag too.  I should have pics of it in a day or so.

And I am uber excited that I found the very first piece of furniture for my sewing room.  I am in the process of designing a hutch for the top of it.  I ran into a bit of a problem with a light switch.  Stupid switch is in the wrong place.  I wanted to work on it this weekend while Rob and Robbie were out of town, but it was raining, and painting in the rain just doesn't work.  I did manage to get it sanded.  I have to pick up the wood sometime this week to build the hutch.  But I have to decide on the dimensions first.  I'll either have to make the hutch shorter so the switch will sit above it (there is no other place to put the switch in that room). Or move it to another wall.  Which I really don't want to do, because it will totally mess up my plans for my cutting table dimensions.  I could build the hutch just like I had planned and put it right where I want it and to heck with the switch.  But I'm not sure if I want to be reaching behind it to turn on the lights.

So once I have thoroughly over-analyzed this, I'll get started on the fun part of building it.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

It's in the Bag!!

I finished Angie's tote bag yesterday.  Once I finished the embroidery, I put it together in a snap.  Very simple.  I think the idea of the zinnias popping out of the pockets turned out really cute.  Kinda looks like they are waving saying "look at me!"  I absolutely love the woven picot stitch I used for the petals.  It is one of my new favorite stitches.  It just makes the flower look 3 dimensional.  I started with a satin stitch in the middle with french knots.  I did not like how the french knots separated the satin stitch, so I pulled those out and decided on french knots for the whole thing.  I thought about using this stitch, but I was trying to get this done since it was really a Christmas gift.  I was already so far behind.  Ya think??  So, I took the easy road.  But I'll try this stitch on another project.

I wasn't as happy with my fabric choice once I got it completed.  It's not horrid, but I could have done better.  I was trying to keep the zinnias in the color you would see them in nature, so I chose fabric in those colors.  And they were really cute when I first put them together in the store.  All in all though I would definitely make this one again.  I'll just use different fabric.  I'm already thinking a green fabric with a daisy pattern would look too cute.  Remember the daisy I used on Gracyn's bag?

I will be completing a few other projects this weekend, so I hope to have some of those posted early next week.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Sweet Progress!

So this is my progress thus far on Britt's bench.  The original pattern called for aprons on the sides.  I didn't want those, since I was covering the top.  I've been searching for the right foam for the seat cushion, but alas I didn't realize how expensive foam is!  So now wanting to be as thrifty as possible, I'm on the hunt for either some old outdoor cushions or even a boat cushion.  I found one small piece at Joanne's over the weekend, but it was not the right density, and I didn't think it would hold up with repeated sittings.  I also haven't decided on whether or not I want to distress the paint.  I think it looks kinda cute just like it is.  I'll let Britt decide since it will be in her house.  She chose the fabric.  She did a good job didn't' she?

I am also almost finished with the embroidery on Angie's tote bag.  Those little woven picots are taking longer than expected.  I just finished the last one yesterday, and all that's left is filling in the middle of the flowers.  I'll have pics hopefully tomorrow.  Or I may just wait until Thursday when I should have the whole thing finished.

And yesterday, I took Robbie with me to Joanne's.  I knew better, I knew better, I knew better.  I couldn't leave without buying his UGA fabric for his new UGA themed quilt.  Then I had to sit down at home later and sketch out the rendering based on his instructions.  And let me just say, they were terribly explicit!!!!!  I did offer some advice.  Some he took, some - not so much.  I hope it turns out the way he has envisioned.

So although I haven't posted in a few days, I have been busy with projects.  I'm beginning to think that Jeannie Baumeister is on to something with her "do one thing at a time" motto.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Sneak Peak!

 This is the wood.  I have drilled my holes and filled any imperfections with wood filler and sanded.  Robbie helped.  We had a blast.  I have also marked my sides where they'll be cut with a jigsaw.  I should have that done later today.  Those are my back steps and happened to be the perfect height for my little project.  I don't have a work table, so the steps had to do.

Once I cut the legs, I can attach them to the top.  Then I'll attach a support piece in the middle.  Then a little paint for the legs and support.  But I can't decide on the color.

Here is the fabric.  The floral will be the bench cover just on the top, and the stripe is the coordinating fabric for the other chairs.  All will be at the kitchen table.

So what's your vote?  Keep it neutral?  Or go with bold?  I think the yellow would be a good color and that's the one I'm leaning toward.  I like the coral too.  I even tossed around black, but I think I like color for this one.  The yellow would make a nice distressed color.  All the other colors in the house are pretty neutral, but it's college.  All their furniture pieces are hodgepodge anyway.  We'll add window treatments and pillows with coordinating fabrics later for cohesion.  The table is is rustic with a mahogany top and distressed ivory legs.  So a distressed look on the bench wouldn't be out of the question.

So let's have your vote.  Which color?

Now that I've begun this project, I have a hankering for a circular saw, a table saw, a work table, a jigsaw of my own, a Kregg jig and all sorts of other tools.  Lowes will be my new favorite place to shop.  haha  Won't my dh be excited!?! lol   And they have much more expensive stuff than Joanne's or Hancock's!


Monday, January 9, 2012

Sneak Peak!

This is a tote I'm making for my friend, Angie.  I thought these little zinnias would be so cute popping out of the pockets of the front of the bag.  The stitch for the petals is the woven picot.  I found it in this book. The Embroidery Stitch Bible.  I like the book thus far, but the instructions on this particular stitch weren't terribly clear.  So I went to Mary's website to view her video tute.   I like this stitch because it is 3 dimensional.

This is a better picture of how the flowers just pop off the fabric.  I chose to tack the fist layer down but allowed the top layers to be free standing.  I used a tapestry needle and #5 pearl cotton.  I attempted this with regular DMC floss, but it just didn't have the same effect.  You really need the thicker thread.  The trick is to really pack the stitches without pulling them too tight.  The tighter you pull the thread, the pointier and skinnier the petal.  The looser the thread, the fatter and rounder the petal.  I used varying degrees of tension to achieve more dimension.  I think the stem (split stitch) is a little thin with the boldness of the flower, so I'm not sure if I'll change that or add some grass or something right next to it.  I may just use a pearl cotton like the flower.  I'll finish the whole bag then decide.

I think this is my new favorite stitch because it's so versatile.  I just love the 3 dimensional look.

I'm also working of Britt's bench.  I have the wood.  I just have to get the legs cut and screwed into the top then cover it.  I should have some sneak peak pics very soon.


Friday, January 6, 2012

Ding. Ding. Ding. And the winner of round 3 is.........

The one on top is the one I posted yesterday.  The one on the bottom is the newest one.  I was adamant I was not going to let this get the best of me.  I sent an email to Barbara Foster at Handy Hands Wednesday, and she was so gracious to call me yesterday.  Once she looked at the pictures I'd sent and walked me through the process, I knew what I was doing wrong and made the corrections.  You know you are good when you can coach someone over the phone and get these results!!  Thanks so much to Barbara. Amazing.  When I was researching tatting I came across her website.  I sent her an email asking for suggestions on how to start, and she told me just what I needed.  I ordered my supplies and began this daunting process.  I'm still no expert, but I am very happy with my latest results.

The one just above is the one I did Wed. and the one above it is the one from yesterday.  Again, not perfect but much improved.  The long one is a pillow edging which I will use once I decide on the pillow case color, and the double one is a towel edging.  I haven't chosen that color either.  It calls for weaving a ribbon through the middle.  It looks really pretty.

Anyway, that's my tatting story for today, and I'm still alive which is always a good thing.  I won this round.  Yay for me.


Thursday, January 5, 2012

More bad tatting!!

It's certainly an improvement but no where near ready to add to any project.  I'll keep practicing!  I refuse to let this beat me.  Remember the pillow cases????  Oh dear Lord those stupid pillow cases.  This is not deja vu. I won't quit, I won't quit, I won't quit.  I will beat it or die trying!


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Learning to tat isn't as easy as I thought it would be!!

This is what I have completed thus far.  I'm learning from Barbara Foster's book Learn Needle Tatting Step by Step.  I'm usually more of a visual, hands-on learner and don't grasp written instructions as well.  I think if I had someone actually show me how this is done, I'd pick it up much, much easier.  I have a couple of small mistakes in these pictured, but to the untrained eye, you'd probably not notice.  I'm working on the basics, because I want to use this type of tatting for baby blankets and baby daygowns.  The double one in the middle of the pic is used on the bottom of towels which has a ribbon right through the center.  It's very cute.  I'll be trying that soon.  Right now, I'm working on a simple ring strand for a pillow case edging.  If I can get that down, I'll use that same technique with a smaller needle and thread.  Then I think I'll try my hand and tatting lace.  I think it's different, but since no one around this small town knows anything about tatting, who knows?!  I'd also like to learn to tat with beads.  I've seen wonderful tatted earrings made with beads that are just precious.  One thing at a time though.


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Bling Bling Pouch

Britt came home for the holidays and had a few extra projects for me.  This extra large jewelry pouch was just one of them.  A make-up bag and curling iron cover round out the set.  I used the fabric left over from her overnight bag to make these. 

This is a picture of the inside.

It's hard to see in the picture, but there are two inner circles that make up the little pockets.  I modified another pattern I had to make this larger and with more pockets.  In hindsight, I should have spun the innermost circle just slightly so the pockets wouldn't have been right on top of each other.  I'll do that if I have to make another.

I also used my brand new bias binding presser foot to attach the binding.  I'm in love with that foot.  It made sewing this pouch soooo much simpler.  It is one step to attach the binding in lieu of with a regular foot.  The binding goes on completely even. I hand stitched the rope trim around the two inner pieces for aesthetics.  I'd use this pattern again with a few minor tweaks.  I may even list some in my shop.


Pin It

Monday, January 2, 2012

Circle Tutorial?

Weird title? I thought so too, and I may be way behind the 8 ball on this.  I discovered a way to make cutting circles easier, especially jumbo ones for which there really is no template.  I always make templates out of tissue paper for all my patterns.  I always fold these in half, then in half again, and yet in half again.  Then I simply stuff them down into my original patter for future use.

I was making a new jewelry pouch for Britt, since she had outgrown the one she had.  She needed a much larger one.  The circle templates I had were entirely too small.  In the past, I would just use something circular to make a new template, but I had nothing that large.  While I was looking at my old templates, an idea hit me.

Start with a circle template you already have.  If you don't have one, make one from something circular.  Plates work well.  Fold the circle in half then in half again.

Now take a piece of tissue paper and fold it in horizontally  half matching the edges. I left my edge at the top uneven just to show you the fold.

Now fold it in half vertically matching the edges.  Make sure this edge is very even.

Now take your original circle template and fold it in half:

And then again in half as shown:

Now place the folded circle in the corner of your folded tissue matching the corner and both edges.  Pin in place.

Now use a protractor to draw your larger circle.  You can also use a tape measure and mark all the way around the outside edge of the circle.  I've done it both ways, and the protractor if far easier.  Make certain you put the pointy side of the protractor right on the corner.  Make your new circle.

I've drawn it in with a dark marker so you could see it better.  The pencil wasn't clear in the pics.

 Now cut it out and you have your new larger circle.  You can use this same method to cut your fabric too.

Simply fold your material the exact same way (in half then in half again), and place your new circle pattern on the folded section as shown.  Match up your points and folded edges.

 This is a picture showing one of the folded sides.
 Pin the pattern to your fabric to keep it in place.
Notice that I only folded one small section of my fabric.  If you fold the entire piece, you'll have a big hole right in the center of your fabric and waste too much.

This is a picture of the finished circle.

And hear are all 3 circles (different sizes) for Britt's jewelry pouch.

And finally the finished product.


And outside:

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Function or Decoration??

I found this little gem at the Restore in Bluffton when Britt and I went shopping for cabinets for my sewing room.  Britt happened to mention to one of the guys working there that we were using cabinets for a sewing room.  He told me he had a vintage sewing machine, so naturally I wanted to see it.  He brought this over, and I knew I had to have it.  Britt and I agreed that even if it didn't work, it would be a nice decoration for my sewing room.  So I bought it.  When my father-in-law came in for Christmas, I asked him to take a look at it.  It would make a whirring sound when I hit the foot peddle but not much else.  He is handy in all things, so I thought if anyone could get it working, he could.  He made a couple of quick adjustments and actually got this beauty running.  It still needs some oil and a good cleaning.  Then I'd like to find a cabinet for it.  I think I'd like to try it to see how it sews.  It won't replace my Viking, but it would certainly be a nice complement.  I can't wait to use it.  Isn't she beautiful??