Saturday, November 28, 2009

Enough Already

Are you getting tired of the placemats to pillows theme? Yes, I hear you. I've been known to obsess and beat a good idea to death. I promise this will be the last post for awhile on this subject, but I had to show you these last ones. I do love a good deal, and this was the best deal I've found yet...

Here are the specifics:

Placemat: $3.99 @ Target
Stuffing: Poly-Fil for $1.80 on sale @ Hobby Lobby
Time spent: 10 minutes per pillow (no exaggeration!)

I found these placemats at Target and couldn't resist them. They are a slightly furry fabric, which seems much more appropriate for a pillow than a placemat. They were "lined" so all I had to do was open up a hole in the seam, fill with a little stuffing and stitch the seam back up. (Go here for more detailed instructions.) I made eight -- yes, eight -- in a little over an hour. At under $6 each it's hard to come by a more affordable gift for friends for Christmas. Plus, they have the "cute factor" going for them...

One more reason to love Target.

Tonight I'm linking to Funky Junk Interior's "Saturday Nite Special." Go here to find more delightful decorating ideas!

Also linked to "Metamorphosis Monday" at Between Naps on the Porch for more creative finds!

And one more... Go to "Get your Craft On" at Today's Creative Blog for more ideas!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Repurposing -- Holiday Placemat Pillow

Ahhhh. After a one and a half day decorating marathon, the halls are decked! Christmas is upon us, and at our house it's all around us. Yes, it's time to break out the Christmas decorations and maybe make a few new ones! Here's a new application for the "old" trick of repurposing a placemat to create a pillow. This time it's a holiday pillow. Here are the specifics...

Placemat: $5.95 @ Crate & Barrel
Napkin: $3.95 @ Crate & Barrel
Stuffing: Poly-Fil $1.80 on sale @ Hobby Lobby

This pillow was a little different than the others I had made because the placemat wasn't "lined." It was just one piece of fabric, so I needed another piece of fabric for the back of the pillow. I could have used fabric from my home stash, but I decided when I bought the placemat to buy a complimentary colored napkin to use for the back of the pillow. So easy.

When it came time to make the pillow I laid both pieces of fabrics (wrong sides together) on the ironing board with the placemat facing up. I lined up two sides of the napkin and placemat and ironed the other two sides of the napkin over the placemat to show me where best to fold the napkin so all sides would line up. Then I pressed the newly made napkin hems for those two sides. (No need to stitch those hems because that will be taken care of when you stitch the placemat to the napkin.)

It was time to pin the placemat and napkin together -- wrong sides together. Then I sewed along the already existing 1" hemline of the placemat, leaving an opening in the bottom of the pillow for stuffing access. A little stuffing filled the pillow, and the hole was stitched shut! So easy. So quick. So festive! So dang cute!!!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

You Are Apple Pie

You are warm hearted and generous. You're the type of person who's willing to take a small piece of the pie so that everyone can have some. During the holidays, you do your best to give as much as possible. You are always thinking about what you can do for others.

Your ideal holiday would be spent with your closest family and friends all in the same house. The greatest present anyone can give you on the holidays is to simply be there.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Mini Paper Mache Boxes

I'm always looking for containers to wrap presents in at Christmas time. A few weeks ago I came upon this post at Holly's Haven. I admired the cute gift box she made from a recycled candy box. It got me thinking. I love the idea of the container being part of the gift. For example, a piece of jewelry being placed in a container that later could hold earrings, a ring, or some loose change. Here's what I came up with...

First I bought a few 99 cent paper mache boxes at Hobby Lobby...

Then I bought a few sheets of scrapbook paper and collected these items that I had around the house...

Then I went to work and created these cute gift boxes. I just cut out some paper and modge-podged the scrapbook paper to the paper mache box. (Tip: When you modge-podge make sure you put modge-podge on both surfaces -- the paper and the box. This assures a tighter seal.) Next you "paint" modge-podge all over the outside surface of the paper. This adds a sheen to the surface. When the box was dry I distressed the edges of the box a bit with an ink pad. Next I punched out my flower petals, distressed them, wrinkled them up a bit, stacked them, and used a brad to secure them together and to the top of the box. It would be easy to make bigger boxes too, by adding several "flowers" to the top of a larger box. This was one of the easiest and most fun projects that I've done in some time! Cute, eh?

These cute boxes could be filled with a piece of jewelry, a gift card, or Hershey's kisses! The possibilities are endless! ;o)

(Thank you, Holly, for sharing such a cute idea with us all!)

I've linked to Today's Creative Blog's "Get Your Craft On"
and "DIY Day" at A Soft Place to Land !

to Funky Junk Interior's Saturday Nite Special &
Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch!
Head over to all those links to find more creative ideas!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

"My Little Chickadee"

"My Little Chickadee" is the perfect name for this beautiful purse! Once again I've created a Hang Up from Tina Given's line named, "Annabella" for Free Spirit. This cleverly designed collection features a dreamy warm colorway in "mink." It certainly has a little something for everyone -- florals, dots, swirls, and even an adventurous bird or two! You might remember "Fields of Gold" that I made last month from this same line. "My Little Chickadee" features little birdies amongst amber flowers and lime green vines. You may not have many birds visiting your gardens this time of year, but if this tote heads to your home you could always have a chickadee close by!

"My Little Chickadee" is in my Etsy!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Thankful Thursday...

What surprised me this week?
This week I received so many kind, thoughtful comments of encouragement on my blog. We all feel this way, so I know you'll understand it when I say that it both surprised and delighted me. Thank you so much for taking a little time to respond to one or more of my posts. It was appreciated.

What inspired me this week?
I hope I can verbalize these feelings adequately... For several weeks now I have been inspired by those who can take items of seemingly little worth or value and transform these pieces into objects of beauty. I've been captivated by many individuals on blogs who have truly learned the art of taking a worn, useless object and altering it to become serviceable and something of merit. Their abilities to create, repurpose, and reuse are inspiring.

As I was contemplating these projects the other day, I was given a little insight into another application of the principle of "repurposing." At the time I was reading the Bible detailing Christ's life and ministry. I was led to recognize Jesus' innate ability to acknowledge and show concern for those individuals of seemingly little worth or value in society. In most cases, through his ministrations, those individuals were changed and their lives repurposed. Because Jesus acknowledged their individual worth in his eyes, by demonstrating faith they became someone of value in their own eyes. Thus, they were able to repurpose and change their lives. Miraculous transformations, to be sure. Christ's life and teachings transformed many who witnessed him. I am grateful and inspired by His ability and willingness to transform me and my life.

What moved me this week?
This quick message moved me this week. It's a wonderful reminder of the potential and desire we all have to create...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

"Prairie Nights"

Swirls, scrolls, thistle-like fleurettes, and mosaics combine to create a playful, cheerful feeling in this Michael Miller collection, aptly named "Whimsy," by Valerie Pillow and Anne Maxfield. I love the focused, uncluttered color palette in these fabrics that spotlight indigo blue, lime green and bright white. The fabrics I chose from this line for "Prairie Nights" remind me of a thick, dark night on the plains. Thistles growing. Grasshoppers singing. Moon glowing. Stars shining in an inky indigo sky. To me, "Prairie Nights" reflects the whimsical, vibrant sights and sounds of a night on the prairie. This is a pattern I designed myself. I have to admit, I love the wide hips on her and the rounded buttoned strap!

"Prairie Nights" will be found in my Etsy very soon.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Finally Finished...

Do you remember that blickity-blank-blank chair that I bought at a local flea market and started refinishing a few weeks ago? Yes, that one. You will remember that I repainted him two weekends ago, after a dastardly first attempt, and the only thing left to do was dress him in some new, more contemporary garb. At that time I mentioned that I was a little nervous about starting the reupholstering. Generally I'm fairly confident around fabric, but upholstering is something I've never done, so I was hoping it would go well. I am happy to say that little chair and I made up this weekend. Yes, we are once again on good terms. I might go so far as to say I've fallen in love with him all over again. If my husband was a jealous man, he'd be worried.

This is how it played out... This past weekend I committed my husband and I to reupholster said chair. Sometimes these projects are not marriage strengthening. Six years into our marriage we wallpapered and tiled all in one month, and it almost spelled the end of an otherwise beautiful relationship. We committed then and there, because of our love for our children and each other, never to tile or wallpaper together again. Old memories die hard. Because neither of us had any experience upholstering, I was afraid of the tension that might be generated from such a project. I'm here to say, those feelings were unfounded. We breezed through this project with nary a cross word spoken. Not only did the chair get a fashionable redo, but my husband and I remain very happily married. It was a successful weekend all around.

Here's the run-down. When I first bought the chair I realized I would need to add more "filler" on his seat because he sagged. It's nothing to get embarrassed about. Age does that to you. Don't ask me how I know that. I bought a 2" seat cushion from Hobby Lobby to add a little cushiony goodness to his seat.

Then I covered the cushion up with the filler that had been on the chair originally...

From there I used the fabric that had been on the chair originally as a pattern (adding additional fabric to the edges because I knew I would need more fabric to go around that added cushion) and cut out the seat fabric. I thought adjusting the fabric to the chair would be difficult, but because I have experience with fabric, I know that it is a "forgiving" medium so I could stretch it a little here and pull it a little there to make things work nicely.

I tacked the fabric down with a cheapo $7 upholstery stapler/tacker that I bought at Hancock's Fabric. It worked like a charm. Then I bought some carpet tacks at Home Depot, which are longer than upholstery tacks, and hammered those all around the bottom inside edges of the chair. The reason I used the carpet tacks was because, on the top of the chair especially, I was going through multiple layers of thick fabric so I needed the longer "nails."

I remember complaining as I was taking off the fabric on the original chair that I had to remove tens of thousands of upholstery tacks. I thought it was excessive. However, as I was tacking and hammering I realized I was putting in just as many staples and tacks as had been there originally. I kept imagining someone sitting down on the chair and having every seam bust apart, tacks pinging around the room, etc. Thinking of the generous frame of Great Aunt Hulda alone, made me add 103 more tacks... (just kidding -- I don't have an Aunt Hulda -- but you know what I mean...)

At this point I was singing the happy song, because upholstering the bottom part of the chair had gone swimmingly!

For the top part of the chair I again added little more substance to the back cushion and tacked it into place using a needle and embroidery floss...

Again, I used the old fabric as a pattern and cut the new fabric out, cutting generous seams, and tacking it into place with the stapler and then securing better with the tacks. I trimmed all around the edges.

Then I made a pattern out of paper for the back cover. I used the pattern to cut out a piece of fusible interfacing and ironed it to the upholstery fabric. Then I cut the upholstery fabric about 1 inch wider than the interfacing and turned the upholstery fabric over along the edge of the interfacing to make a nice finish on the edge of the back cover. I tacked the cover to the back of the chair and then applied some trim with a hot glue gun to cover the edges.

And now for the finished product...

Approximate Cost:
Just trying to keep it real...
Chair - $34
Fabric - $25
Trim - $3
Tacks, staples - $3
Extra cushioning - $10
Stain/paint remover - $5
Sandpaper - $3
Primer & paint - $10
Total: $93

I was hoping it wouldn't cost this much, but alas, it did. Next time I'll shop at Goodwill or a garage sale for the piece of furniture. Had it been an all wood chair it would have been much less expensive. Still, I'm very happy with the result...

Here's the before...

And, the after...

Check out the following DIY linky parties:
"Trash to Treasure Tuesday" at Reinvented
"Do It Yourself Day" at A Soft Place to Land
"Toot your Horn Tuesday" at A Silly Little Sparrow

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Ginger Harvest Cookies

Last night I made a batch of quite possibly my very favorite fall cookies. That's a bold statement for me because I have a penchant for cookies -- especially in the fall. Suffice it to say, that this cookie is filled with delectable fall spices and deliciously sweetened flavors. I love thick, chewy cookies. This recipe is chewy goodness at its best! Just thought I'd share...

Ginger Harvest Cookies
  • 6 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 6 tsp. ground ginger
  • 3 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4+ tsp. salt
  • 2 1/4 cups shortening
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup molasses
  • 1/2 cup coarse sugar or raw sugar
In medium bowl sift together the flour, ginger, soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Set aside.

In large mixing bowl beat shortening until softened. Gradually add the 2 cups of granulated sugar; beat until fluffy. Add eggs and molasses; beat well. Add half of flour mixture; beat until combined. Stir in remaining flour mixture a little at a time.

Shape into 2 inch balls and roll in sugar. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake in 350 degree oven for 12 to 14 minutes until cookies are light brown and puffed. Do not over-bake or the cookies will not be chewy. Let stand for 2 minutes before transferring to rack. Cool.


Friday, November 13, 2009

Child's Activity Table Reveal...

You may remember my post last weekend about my "Old and New Refinishing Projects." Well, yesterday I completed the Child's Activity Table that I started refinishing last weekend. This table is destined for the grandkid's play area in the rec room. You may recall that I purchased this little end table for $12.99 at Goodwill. To recap:

My muscley man popped off the top of it with his bare hands,

and I stripped off the stain and varnish and sanded it down.

Then we plugged up the holes left by the spindles and sanded some more, and more, and more.

I'm a quick study. It doesn't take me but one disasterous experience to learn my lesson. The more time you spend on prep, the better the end product.

On Wednesday we had a nice warm day, so I started the painting process. First, I primed the little table by using Rust-oleum American Accents Primer. I then added two coats of Rust-oleum American Accents Heirloom White spray paint in half hour intervals. That particular paint and color is the rage in furniture refinishing circles. Peer pressure drove me to use it, and in this case peer pressure was a good thing. I let all that dry overnight in my toasty warm garage.

Next I chose to add a little glaze. (Some call glazing "antiquing", others "faux finishing." Putting a glaze finish on furniture makes it look like something other than "new" wood. It adds highlights and "ages" the piece of wood or furniture.) Saturday when I went shopping for glaze, I learned that glaze comes in a clear form. You pour the amount of glaze you anticipate using into a small container and then add an acrylic paint to the glaze to formulate your color. This made me nervous. I like others to do the dirty work, so I can blame them if the color doesn't turn out right. Anyway, I reluctantly mixed my colors, which wasn't as difficult as I had anticipated, and went to work.

I have no photographic chronology of the glazing of the table. I was too busy to snap pictures. Suffice it to say, I painted the glaze on the table, sections at a time, and then rubbed some of it off with a soft piece of fabric. I used an old sock. It worked like a charm. At one point I had to get a damp piece of fabric to remove more of the glaze. The glaze and acrylic paint are all water soluble, so it's easy to remove more glaze if necessary. Clean up was a snap. (FYI: Glazing is an imperfect science. You just eyeball it till you get the amount of color and detail that suits you.) Then I kicked that little table around the garage and slapped it a few times to make it look distressed. I probably could have skipped that step. Ten minutes with the grandkids would have had the same effect. ;o)

And now for the reveal...

Overall, I'm very pleased with the results, especially for a first time refinishing project. I can't wait to see our grandchildren gathered around this little table having fun!

I've linked to Funky Junk Interiors "Saturday Night Special". Click on the button to see more creations...

Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special

Another Linky party @ Poppies at Play...