Monday, May 13, 2013

Makers Gonna Make.

I want this shirt!

I was recently telling some friends that I'd never photograph or talk about all the things I make. Why? Because I'd be embarrassed about how much time I spend crafting/painting/sewing/whatever.

I made these paper pinwheels out of scrapbook paper and painted dowel rods using a tutorial from Miss Mustard Seed. Then they sort of sat on the ironing board for about a week. Maybe they even got moved to the dining room table a couple times. I realized I had no use for them. I couldn't even think of a place that I could stick them. I think I was going to put them in the entry way as part of my spring decorating, but I couldn't remember exactly how I was going to do so.

They sat there long enough that John finally asked me what I was going to do with them.  I didn't know. I just wanted to make them.

They ended up in this pitcher type thingy on top of the hutch in the dining room. I can't say I even really like them. But there they are.

Is that the Easter bunny? What's he still doing out in mid May? Well, he's just a 75 cent thrift store bunny to me. He has the sweetest face and ears. I didn't even have to spray paint him. I did paint that pot with the fern though. Sometimes I just randomly paint stuff with craft paint while I'm cooking dinner.

It really must be true. Makers gonna make.

Speaking of which, back to the sewing machine I go.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

My Smartphone killed my blog.

Why carry around the good camera when I have my phone in my pocket all the time? Why blog when I  can quickly upload phone pics to Facebook?

It didn't help that our good camera ate batteries. Sometimes, I could take 10 pictures with it before the batteries died. Other times, it wouldn't even take one picture. Oh, and my laptop died too. So I couldn't blog while watching TV at night.

It probably also didn't help that we only ever finished about 90 percent of the stairwell project. I thought  John was going to work on  the board that goes under the actual stairs. It is so loud, and he discussed trying to making it more of a floating board. But it never got done. Spring came, and we had other things to do. Then summer break, kids, blah, blah.

I miss writing about projects though. I want to remember how and when and why I made things.

Like the Christmas quilts I made for the girls.

I got this idea last August or September. I'd make Christmas quilts for the girls. I'd decorate their rooms this (er, last) year for Christmas. Their rooms would look look like photos worthy of magazines. They'd each have a small tree. Ellie's would be white, and Mary's would be pink. And they'd look wonderful with the new quilts. Their rooms would be tidy. Certainly not littered with toys, dirty laundry, and other kid stuff.

But then I realized that two quilts was out of my crafting budget.

So I gave up on the idea for a while.  But it nagged at me. I started looking at fabric on Etsy. It had to have pink (to match Mary's walls), blue/turquoise (to match Ellie's walls), red, and light green. It had to be winter themed without being overly Christmas. My hope was they would be something that could be used from November though January.

Then, perhaps on Pinterest, I found an awesome pattern that just spoke to me. Easy. Patchworky. I loved it. I considered the cost of the pattern, the top material for two twin quilts, the batting, thread, backing material, and binding. That's a lot of crafty money. 

But still, I thought about it. Until one day, when I found THE fabric.

The collection is called Apline Wonderland. I fell in love immediately. I think by then it was probably October. Maybe even the middle of October. The patten (Easy Bake by Cluck, Cluck, Sew) called for ten inch squares - 63 per quilt. The fabric came in pre-cuts of that size called a layer cake. Some layer cakes have 42 squares. This print came in 21 squares per bundle. I'd need three for each quilt IF I didn't make any cutting or seam ripping mistakes. I think each layer cake was about $20. It just seemed like too much money.

Then John had a great idea! I could make them as Christmas gifts for the girls. They could be their main gifts from us. Why hadn't I thought of that? I think I ordered the fabric the next day (October 29th). I knew that I wanted the quilts to be a surprise. So I'd only be able to work on them while Mary and Ellie were both at school (the three mornings a week while Ellie was in preschool) or at night after they were in bed. 

Crappy late night cell phone picture.

The above picture was taken on November 7th. It's Ellie's quilt, with all 63 squares cut up two times, and then sewed back together to make the blocks (four pieces of fabric per finished block). It isn't sewed together yet. I was just laying it out to get the blocks in the order I wanted them. Then I sewed the rows to form the quilt top.


Next, I pinned the quilt sandwich (backing fabric, batting, and quilt top) on the dining room floor. I think I used about 300-325 pins. I put them all in and left them open in case I needed to adjust any. Shutting all them practically made my fingers bleed. This picture was on November 12th.

I started to quilt it a couple days later. But I hadn't pulled the backing fabric as tightly as I should have. I also think that the tape I used to tape it to the floor ended up coming loose. Either way, the back was puckering on me. I'd done all the vertical lines, and they were fine. Then the horizontal ones gave me fits. There was a lot of seam ripping. Finally I just decided it was "good enough" which honestly isn't very like me. But my only alternative was to rip out all of the vertical stitches. I did consider it briefly but decided there wasn't time. 

The front looked pretty good, so I just kept going. I was working until about 1 a.m. every night. My back hurt, my shoulders and my neck too. Oh, and I got this horrible pain in my arm pit. But I had my trusty assistant with me, so I kept going.

Every time I'd lay the quilt out on the table and start running it thought the sewing machine, a kitten would decide it was nap time. Then I'd get to the end of the row and have to flip the quilt. The kittens were not amused. I finally got it all quilted. I wasn't sure what I wanted to bind it with, so I just moved on to Mary's quilt. Starting over seemed like torture. I had to cut down all the fabric, sew the pieces together one way, then cut that, match it up with another, and sew. That made one block. Repeat 63 times, then sew the rows. Pinning a quilt together should be an olympic sport. It must look like a one woman game of twister as I pin from the middle out  in a circular pattern. 

It's cell phone pics or nothing, people!

I loved seeing the winter sun come in through the dining room windows. The above is Mary's quilt on November 21st.

Every day before I'd go get Ellie at school, I'd pick everything up. I'd shove it into the craft closet. Thank goodness the girls never look in there. It's right by their coat hooks in the entry way.

I had them quilted but needed fabric to bind them. I wanted the bindings to be simliar, but not matching. I decided to use a poinsettia print that was part of the quilt tops. Green for Ellie's quilt and red for Mary's. So I ordered that and waited. I attached the binding to the front by machine and then stitched it closed on the back by hand. I think it took about 4-5 hours of hand stitching per quilt.

Then I washed them. And probably prayed that they wouldn't fall apart - that none of the seams would come undone or the fabric fray out. They turned out fine. I don't even remember when I finished them. I think it was around December 1st. I knew I wanted them done well before Christmas which is why I worked so hard. It turned out to be good planning on my part. First we all came down with the flu then I had jury duty for nearly a week.

I did manage to bust out the real camera when I was done with both quilts.

Ellie's is on the left. Mary's is on the right. They are both backed with fabric from Jo Ann's though I don't have the names. One or both might be by Denyse Schmidt. 

I thought they turned out well. I'm not an expert. I could never sell these. Think "home made" when you imagine them close up. They are far, far from perfect. But I was happy with them. I washed them probably 3 times each, and wrapped them up for the girls.

And on Christmas morning Ellie said: "A quilt?!?!??! I hate quilts!!!!!!!"

Yep. But the good news is she doesn't hate them anymore. 

Mary loved hers. I do think that in her own way she realized how much work must have gone into them. 

That's the story of the Christmas quilts 2012. Maybe by Christmas 2013 I'll have their rooms cleaned, the miniature Christmas trees purchased, and even find time to blog about that too. 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

My favorite color is.....


Thursday, March 1, 2012

March 1st

Here it is, March 1st.

I did not get everything done that was on my list. I skipped the pillows. There's a reason the fabric was "forgotten" in the craft closet. I just don't want to deal with them. I need pillow forms and zippers, and I am just not motivated to go to buy them.

The dining room ceiling is done though, and I made a lot of progress on the gallery wall. I still have empty frames, but I have filled several more since I hung the frames.

And now, the basement. Round 2? 3? who knows.


Those seams on the ledge there DROVE ME CRAZY. I caulked them shut. 


John painted the upper walls for me and didn't break his neck. He painted the ceiling way up there too. That's his painted shoe print there on the second step down. It's okay though. I've got plans for the stairs.

I had a little fun with John's office door.

This door was previously unfinished. Unfinished fake wood. It was nasty. 

Other side of the room.

I didn't get a before of this wall. John worked on it while the girls and I were out of town for the day. So this is the best I have. Imagine it without cabinets and rotting baseboards, and that's the before. For reference, I'm standing on the bottom step. John's office door is to the left of this picture.


There was nothing there before. It was a completely wasted space. The wall is about 58 inches wide. I want to add an open shelf below the cabinets. It's on "the list" if you know what I mean.

December 2006

The power of paint!

It was daytime in the before picture, and yet no light was coming in from the sliding doors. I just took the after picture at about 1:30pm on a cloudy day. 

Laundry room standing by the sliding doors, 12/2006


Check out the beam in the middle of the ceiling. I swear I am going to paint that sucker some day. And the cinder blocks? We used them to make our compost bin.

From the front , 2/2010


That last picture shows how the end looks now that it's paneled. So much better. The curtains are made from drop cloths. They could be fuller, but they aren't. They are good enough to hide my stuff.

There is still a bit more to do if we can keep our momentum going. I want John to build some toy storage, hang that mirror that's propped up on the end of the shelving unit, and put a shelf under the new cabinets.  Then I'll paint whatever needs painted. Maybe even that huge beam. But I doubt it:)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

I didn't spray paint it!

My Mom gave me this painting last spring:

I keep an eye out for original art when I am out thrifting. I like this painting, but the frame wasn't working for me. I considered spray painting it, but I never got around to it. I think it's been in the basement for a year.

Then I decided to change some stuff out in the dining room for spring. I wanted new art, but didn't have anything in my hiding spot that was catching my eye. Then I remembered this painting. I emailed Mom to see if I could modify it.

My idea was to make it into a chalkboard. I was all set to get something to make into a chalkboard and paint it. Then I found this piece of poster board that was already painted. And it fit. Maybe I DO have too much stuff! I was going to do a quote or something, but I decided to just go with a doodle. I hung it up, but there was a nail hold showing above it. I stole this little plate from my plate wall, hot glued a pop can tab to the back, and hung it up.

I am so ready to decorate for spring. I've got a couple other crafty ideas for the dining room. Here's one that's almost done:

Felted nest.

I made this nest by holding one strand of wool yarn with one piece of novelty yarn on every other row. Some is cotton, and some is eyelash yarn. There's some twine in there too, but I didn't like the look of it after it felted so I cut most of it off. I still need to paint a little egg and put it inside.

I put it in my huge ironstone bowl, and it will be our dining room centerpiece until I get sick of looking at it.

The basement is so close to being done! I just need to put one more coat of paint on the cabinet doors and the hand rail. I took it down to paint it, so I'll need to hang it back up again. I'm still hoping to get it done by March 1st.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, February 20, 2012

What comes down....

Can go back up!

Use #319 for dining room paneling.

I wanted the basement shelves to have built in look when John made them. But since the actual shelves were the last step of a 6 month project, we just decided not to do it. When I recently decided to paint the paneling going down the stairwell and put up cabinets in there, I asked John to go ahead and work on the shelving unit again. For some crazy reason, he agreed. He faced the front of the shelves too and added trim to the top. He's still working on the side. He ran out of trim and is at Lowes right now.

Front view.

Two years ago.

It's not the same view, but that's what it looked like before John started working on it this weekend. It's hard to believe it's been two years.I can't wait to get it painted and get the new curtains (which aren't even made yet) hung up across them. I should be able to start priming that tonight after the girls are in bed. I'll start working on the stairwell too. The paneling is impossible to paint white. It will take several coats.

Look at the ceiling, not the laundry!

I am so glad to finally have the hole in the ceiling patched. I have no idea why I didn't do it sooner.

I have a feeling my spring pillows are not going to get made this month. But if we get the basement done (again), I will be happy.