Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The embarrassing truth...


Does anyone else have a problem with posting "before" and "after" pictures? I find it embarrassing. Sometimes you don't realize how "bad" it's gotten until you capture it on film. Typically, when bloggers post "before" and "after" photos, it's a comment on those who owned the house "before" the blogger bought it. But, when you've lived in the house for over 20 years, you've no one to blame but yourself. {sigh}

I tend to get used to things around me until one day it hits me that an update is definitely in order. Last week I started painting my main floor hallway, and during the process realized how outdated the color was in my entryway.  I painted the entryway "Butter Cream -- Restoration Hardware" years ago and liked it at the time, but it had definitely seen better days. Last week I tested "Behr Coliseum Marble" -- the same color I was painting the hallway -- on one of the walls in my entryway to see if we would like it. We lived with it for a few days before we decided we loved this warm gray color...


Years ago I painted this entryway myself. It's a two story monstrosity. I could have been killed. At the time I didn't realize how difficult it would be until I was halfway through and by then there was no backing out, so I finished the job and vowed "never again." This time I got three estimates. One came in at $1200, another at $1100, and the third at $500. {I furnished the paint.} If the $500 quote would have been from a high school student with no experience, I would have dismissed it, but it was from a professional painter with 40 years experience, references and insurance. I'm no fool. He and his assistant arrived yesterday morning at 8am and they were done by 3pm -- two coats of paint on everything. It looks gorgeous...


My camera doesn't capture colors well when I take inside photos. There is actually more of a difference in the very white ceiling and the gray on the walls. It's so pretty.


Within the last few months we've updated our main floor with new paint in every room. Now I'm heading down to the basement and updating the paint on those walls. We're also going to be refinishing a bathroom down there. That's another one of those "before" pictures that is going to be hard to publish. {eek}



Monday, January 28, 2013

Painted Owl Pillow


A couple of weeks ago I was wondering through Pinterest when I saw this adorable pillow. I followed its trail and realized that it was no longer available on Etsy, so at that moment I decided to make a similar one for myself. The owl was originally silk screened onto fabric, but I don't have a silk screen so I decided to hand paint me some owl. I haphazardly carefully and deliberately sketched my owl...


Next I cut a piece of fabric and traced the owl onto the fabric. You all know the trick of tracing through a window right? No? Well, I'll fill you in. Hang the original drawing -- the paper you are tracing from -- on your sliding glass door or window. Choose a window that is directly exposed to light during that time of day. Then hang the paper or fabric you're tracing onto on top of the original drawing. The bright light through the window will help you easily see through the top layer to the original drawing below and make it easy for you to trace onto the finished product.

When I had the drawing sketched onto my muslin, I choose some acrylic paint and went to work with a small 3/8" paintbrush...



If I make this pillow again, I might add a little heart right here...


Next, I assembled the pillow. I placed some pom pom fringe into the seam of the pillow. I love the whimsical element that pom poms add to anything...


Whenever I make something for the first time, there are always things I'd do differently. This time I would have added a little more fabric to the bottom of the pillow so the feet would be a little more apparent. Who'd want to cover up these adorable tootsies?



I'm sure eventually my love of owls will wane, but so far there is no sign of that happening.


Update: A couple of you have asked in a comment what acrylic paint I used. The week before I bought a small sample of Martha Stewart "Cornucopia" (interior wall paint) in Home Depot for another project, so I just used that. Any acrylic paint will do. It doesn't have to be fabric paint because a pillow isn't something you're going to be washing a lot. 

Linked to:
The Inspiration Board @ Homework
Handmade Tuesday @ Ladybug Blessings
Create & Inspire Party @ Toastie Studio Blog


Saturday, January 26, 2013

Sneak Peak...

I put painting on the back burner yesterday and retrieved my sewing machine from my closet. I found some inspiration on Pinterest. I'll post the finished project on Monday, but here's a sneak peak...


I'm wondering if my owl love will wane. So far, it's as strong as ever.


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Odds 'n Ends...


If you judged how I was doing by how many blog posts I've published recently, you'd think I had dropped off the face of the earth. My blog has not been a priority. Two things are at fault -- I've been busy with life and I'm in a creative slump. The second usually follows the first. One needs time to create. ;o) One of the reasons I've never advertised on my blog is because I don't want to be beholden to anyone. That way when life gets busy or my creativity wanes, I don't have to feel guilty when I let my blog slide.

My husband and I just got home from a long weekend in North Carolina. We had a wonderful time with two of our adorable grandchildren and my daughter and her husband...



Today I started painting the hallway on the main floor of our home. If it seems like I've had a lot of painting projects lately, I have. It's always good to get a fresh coat of paint on the walls. I'm also getting quotes for the painting of our two-story entryway. When I was young and naive I painted it myself. It's a wonder I didn't leave my children motherless with that little escapade, but I was young and I never even considered paying someone else to do it. Not only have I gotten a little smarter in my old age, but we also have a little more disposable money now that our kids have left home. I'm grateful.

We are also going to start our fourth bathroom redo next month. I've been in the process of choosing new flooring, bathtub, counters, vanity and all the fixtures the last couple of weeks. All the old will go. I'm excited to start the process of reconstructing and updating our last bathroom.

Hopefully things will slow down a little in the next month and my creative juices will start to flow again. I have a few projects up my sleeve, and will try to get them down on paper and through my sewing machine within the next few weeks.

Have a nice day!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Friday, January 11, 2013

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

"Rag Quilted Table Runner" Tutorial...

I've always thought rag quilts were adorable. I love their soft ruffled-edged seams. Rag quilts are quilts that have exposed seam allowances on the front of the quilt and finished, traditional seams on the back. They usually have three layers -- a top, batting, and backing -- and they are assembled using a completely different method than is traditionally used for quilts.


In the past few months I've changed up our nook (informal dining area) a bit and added some color. I used to have a blue and white kitchen, and that color scheme flowed into our nook. Lately I've been added more colors to that area of our home, and I wanted to make a crazy rag quilted table runner to reflect some of those colors that have been added.

This is a great way for beginner sewers to quilt. It's easy and fun and you don't even have to worry about binding the edges of the quilt!

Materials:

Choose a variety of 100% cotton fabrics for the front and back of quilt.
Thread
Quilt batting: I used a poly-fil, 80% cotton 20% polyester with a 1/4" loft height. I bought a "crib size" piece and had some left over for future projects. Flannel fabric can also be used as the quilt "batting."

For a 17" x 31" table runner, cut the following lengths.

16 - 2 3/4" x 20 inch strips for front of quilt
16 - 2 3/4" x 20 inch strips for back of quilt
14 - 1 1/2" x 20 inch strips of quilt batting
2 - 2" x 20 inch strips of quilt batting to be used at both ends

The easiest way to make the strips of fabric is with a rotary cutter. If you purchase one, I guarantee you'll use it all the time!

Directions:

Use 3/8" seams.

Take one "back" strip of fabric and lay it wrong side up. Center a strip of quilt batting over it, like this...


Then take a "front" strip of fabric and place it right side up on top. You should have the batting sandwiched between the two strips (front and back -- wrong sides together) of fabric...


To quilt a row, sew down the center of the fabrics with a straight stitch or a decorative stitch...


Create another row for your quilt the same way. Then sew the rows -- back sides of quilt together -- with a 3/8" seam allowance. For the first and last rows use the 2" wide batting. Place the edge with the batting on the outside edge of the quilt.


 Here's what the front of my quilt looked like as I began to sew the rows together...


The back of my quilt looked like this...


Clip the seam allowance 1/4" every 3/8-ish inch, like this...


Don't worry if the sides of the quilt match up perfectly, you will trim the sides when you are finished sewing the rows together.

Continue quilting the strips, sewing the rows together and clipping the seams.


When you have all 16 rows sewn together, trim the side seams using a rotary cutter so that your quilt measures about 18" wide. (The quilt will shrink in width and length a little when it is washed.)


After you have trimmed the sides, stitch around the outside edge of your table runner using a 3/8" seam. I opened the seams of each row as I went around. Clip the outside edge 1/4" every 3/8" just like the other seams.


To get those wonderful soft-ruffled seams, you need to toss the runner into the washing machine on a gentle cycle and dry it in your dryer. I put a couple of clean towels into the dryer with the runner to help ruffle the edges.


Here's the back of the finished runner...


And here's how it looks on our table. Kind of crazy, but I love it...


This same technique of quilting can be used with a Jelly Roll to form a beautiful quilt or table runner. Jelly Rolls are collections of 2 1/2" x 44" already-cut strips of fabric. They typically include 40 strips but can vary.

Enjoy!
 

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Thankful Thoughts...


I'm grateful for this time in my life... 

In honor of one of my New Year's Resolutions, I am adding a Thankful Thoughts post to my blog. I'm finally home from my holiday trip to California. The plans were that we were to spend Christmas with family in California and then come home to Colorado for a New Year's celebration, but even the best laid plans get altered occasionally. My mother needed a little extra tender loving care, so I stayed another week. At one point as I was helping her, she looked at me with a smile on her face and said, "I think you've become the mother." I agreed there was a little role-reversal going on that week. I was grateful to be able to spend some time caring for her, as she has always done such a phenomenal job caring for all those around her. I'm so thankful to be in a time and place in my life when I can attend to the sudden needs of family members so readily. It's a blessing.



I'm grateful for my friend Chris...

I find it interesting in the blogging world when you can connect with someone and find friendship even though you've never met that person in "real life." There have been a number of people I've made a connection with, but none more so than Chris. Chris and I immediately found we have much in common. We both have large families, an interest in sewing and a do-it-yourself attitude, and {most important} a strong faith in God. Her comments and insightful emails always ground me to that which is most important and her kind words and sweet thoughts always bring joy to my heart.

2012 was a difficult year for our family in many ways, however, those trials and difficulties brought many blessings and a closeness to our Heavenly Father and the Savior that we might not have had otherwise. We were not only blessed with added insight and inspiration from Him, but also through the kind acts of others. Chris was often there with a sweet thought or kind word that uplifted me when I particularly needed it -- even though she was unaware at the time of our situation. I'm grateful for her friendship.

When I arrived home last night I opened a package that Chris sent me before Christmas. In it I found this...


It's a "Daily Gratitude Journal." She mentioned that she had kept a journal like this in the past year and said, "I was able to record at least one blessing each day in a special notebook. It has renewed my outlook on life, strengthened my faith in God's sovereignty, and caused me to truly rejoice daily as well as focus my attention on the eternal instead of the temporal." {Is it any wonder why I love and respect this woman?} She gave me this beautiful hand-sewn journal and encouraged me to do the same. I'm so grateful. I love the idea of ending each day with gratitude in my heart and my thankful thoughts recorded in this book! Thank you Chris for this beautiful journal and, most especially, for your friendship.


Chris also sent me some ginger spiced nuts that she had made.
Although I shared this beautiful journal with you all...
I'm not going to share those nuts with N-E-body.
They are unbelievable good. 
I need to email her for the recipe right now!