Craft Room Re-do Re-Do

I loved the stripes in my old craft room.  But I needed more sewing space, especially with my new machine.  And the carpet was a minefield of hidden dropped pins. Also very difficult to keep clean of thread and craft crap.  At least that is what my excuse was. And since there was so much going on in the space, I was wanting some clean and bright walls while we were at it. 

Craft/Sewing Room- Anything Pretty

So here is my new craft/sewing space.  Quite possibly my favorite room in the house. Because I love to be in there.  Because it super functional for my sewing/crafting wishes.  And because it is pretty to look at.

It is this clean and organized all of the time.  Insert sarcasm font.

Here is what we originally started with when we moved in.  Pink and wallpaper.

the before

And then here was the stripes and small table of the original craft room makeover.

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craft room

So let’s start with the big stuff.  The walls are painted with the leftovers from the basement- Sherwin William's Eider White.  And the floors are a bamboo hardwood. 

I had a minor freakout the night before the were installed that they were going to be too orange.  As in Honey Oak orange. I may have been seen laying out a whole section of the wood out of the box on top of the ugly honey oak ones in the kitchen. At midnight. To judge if the oranges were different.  But after they went in I love them and they are so much nicer than carpet in the space.  Just a quick sweep and they are clean.  At least the floor part.

Derek made the amazing massive sewing table modifying this plan from Ana White as well as the smaller table that pulls out to give me an L shaped workspace and so that I don’t have to constantly move up and down.  Life-changing.  Both the space on the table and the ability to swing my chair to the side for a quick cut or press.  He knows the way to my heart is building furniture and he does it so well.

Craft/Sewing Room- Anything Pretty
Craft/Sewing Room- Anything Pretty
Craft/Sewing Room- Anything Pretty
Craft/Sewing Room- Anything Pretty

I painted the bottom of the table solid black and glazed the top with a gray paint using my tried and true method with gray acrylic paint.  It is difficult to get a good picture of the finish next to the window, but most people who come into the space think that it is stone before they run their hands over it to see it is wood.

Craft/Sewing Room- Anything Pretty

That was not my intention with the glaze, but I love that it turned out that way. 

I love that my machine is directly in front of the window so that during the day I can look out into the backyard.

Craft/Sewing Room- Anything Pretty

Let’s also pretend that I just snapped that photo and the midwest is looking that green this time of year.

Now let’s take a spin around the rest of the room.

The cutting table is the same, just spun around.  It still gives me a lot of floor space (and enough room for an air mattress when we need an additional guest bed).  I got rid of the ironing board, but added a an ironing space modifying this tutorial, making it instead with just a piece of plywood rather than an entire table. The cover is removable like a fitted sheet for washing purposes.  And when I need a really big cutting surface, I just take off the ironing board.

Craft/Sewing Room- Anything Pretty

My fabric scraps and works in progress are housed in the cubbies underneath.

Craft/Sewing Room- Anything Pretty

My bulletin board is simple…a cork board with fabric stapled around it.

Craft/Sewing Room- Anything Pretty

My grandmother’s sewing accessories are in shadow boxes on the wall and I recovered her sewing chair for an extra space when friends come to sew.  It is tucked into the corner.

Craft/Sewing Room- Anything Pretty
Craft/Sewing Room- Anything Pretty
Craft/Sewing Room- Anything Pretty
Craft/Sewing Room- Anything Pretty

My design wall remained the same.

Craft/Sewing Room- Anything Pretty

And the Kona color card moved next to my bookshelves.

Derek made some simple forward facing bookshelves like these to hold a sampling of my craft/sewing books.  I have found seeing the covers instead of just having them stacked on a shelf reminds me to use them more-either for specific projects or just for the general inspiration of pretty pictures.  Not all of them fit, but I rotate them around with ones stored the typical way to keep things fresh.

Craft/Sewing Room- Anything Pretty

The roman shade is also DIY with selvedge fabric from Spoonflower.  I loosely used this tutorial and backed it with blackout lining so it can be dark in there for people to sleep if the space is needed for another guest space.

Craft/Sewing Room- Anything Pretty

And that print is just perfect for a sewing room.

Craft/Sewing Room- Anything Pretty

Also above my sewing table is my friend Lauren’s print.  I love the colors and the sentiment. 

Craft/Sewing Room- Anything Pretty

Notice the seam ripper is well accessible next to my machine

Craft/Sewing Room- Anything Pretty

And some more organization pics if you are into that.  I keep my fabric organized using the mini bolts method as explained here.  It has helped so much with finding what I need.  The top shelf is fabrics other than cotton.  Then my prints organized by color, with some subsections (i.e. Christmas).  And then my solids organized by color.  Don’t worry, my stash has increased a lot since I snapped these pictures.  Especially the solids.  My serger is below that.  My sewing table is so big, I also can keep it out if I am going to be using it frequently.  My precuts and patterns are on the bottom shelf.

Craft/Sewing Room- Anything Pretty
Craft/Sewing Room- Anything Pretty
Craft/Sewing Room- Anything Pretty

Non-sewing craft supplies and batting are on the opposite bookshelf.

Craft/Sewing Room- Anything Pretty
Craft/Sewing Room- Anything Pretty

And rulers, ironing supplies and large amounts of fabric are on the shelves over the chair.

Craft/Sewing Room- Anything Pretty

Whew! Sorry for the picture overload, but I always love looking at where people create and how they organize.  I have learned a lot about how I want a space to work for me when I am sewing and crafting and I think this space fits the bill perfectly.   I think I named most of my sources, but let me know if you are curious about something I missed. Hope you enjoyed the tour!

I am linking up with-

TDC Before and After

The Briar Rose Quilt

Sometimes it is nice to sew with some pink. And strawberries.  And frogs.

Briar Rose Quilt

And sometimes it is nice to make a simple quilt and let the fabric do the heavy lifting.  Especially when it is so pretty.

Briar Rose Quilt

I spent a lot of time trying what to sew up with my charm pack of Briar Rose by Heather Ross.  I had many ideas and a couple of them even made to the design wall. 

But I just did not want to cut it up too much.  Those frogs. 

Briar Rose Quilt

Briar Rose Quilt

And the other whimsical goodies hiding the patterns.

Briar Rose QuiltBriar Rose Quilt

So I ended up a pattern I have done before-this quilt by Elizabeth Hartman.  It is a great pattern for a beginner and the fabrics can shine.

Briar Rose Quilt

I quilted it with my favorite wave and backed it with some girly purple polka dot. 

Briar Rose Quilt

Since I do not have any little girls in my house and the little one who lives here already has plenty of quilts, this one is going to be a baby gift. 

Briar Rose Quilt

I copied my friend Jaime’s great idea and put the quilt label on the binding.  It is unobtrusive and easy. Perfect.

When the fabric line comes up later this month, I may have to get some more of those frogs.  And maybe the strawberries. In a couple of colors.

Quilt Design Wall

Meet my old quilt design wall. 

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Difficult to visualize quilts on.  Especially without a ladder.  And prone to destruction by toddlers, dogs and the vacuum.

I am lucky to have a devoted space to my crafting and even luckier to have a huge free wall.

Quilt design wall

Perfect. 

Derek was not well versed in quilt design walls for some odd reason.  I explained the basic premise of wrapping batting over something light so that cotton fabric would stick to it.  And it should be large as we had about a 7 foot square to work with.  And since it was going to be permanent, I wanted something that looked nice. And not temporary.  Almost like a framed piece of art. 

This is what he came up with-

Quilt design wall

Well the wall, not the quilt.  That was me. But you get the idea.

So how did we do it?  Here is the how-to if you want your own.  This makes one approximately 6ft x 6ft design wall.

Quilt design wall

Materials:

13 6-foot 1x2 boards

4  6 1/4 foot  pieces of molding for the facing

Paint

Duct tape

Foam backing for vinyl siding equal to the interior of the frame size. 

Finish nails and about 16 3-inch wood screws (A finish nail gun is your best friend on this project)

A couple of straight pins

An exacto knife.

7’ by 7’ sheet of batting

 

Quilt design wall

1. Make an L-shaped frame out of 1x2. Use 8 1x2s to make 4 “L’s”.   We used a nail gun and finishing nails.

2. Screw your four L’s into studs on the wall in a frame shape. By making the L shaped frame out of 1x2 it provides a 3/4” interior lip to screw into the wall and creates a 2 1/4” inch frame that is perpendicular to the wall.

Quilt design wall

Quilt design wall

3. Cut up a 1x2 into 2 pieces that measure about 1 foot a piece.  This does not need to be exact.  Install these two pieces horizontally into the studs in the middle of the frame.  These will serve as supports for the vertical pieces.  Quilt design wall

4. Nail 4 1x2s as vertical supports-on the two sides onto the frame and two in the middle, crossing over the horizontal pieces in the middle.

Quilt design wall

Quilt design wall

5. Paint the exposed edges and the molding.  I painted before we started anything and tried to be strategic about only painting what was going to show.  However, as you can see by the painted 1x2s above I over painted.

6.  Measure and cut your foam (the kind they use behind vinyl siding) to your inner frame size. Make sure it fits with a little bit of space on the edges (about a half inch).  He had to duct tape two pieces together to get one this size.

Quilt design wall

7.  Wrap that sucker with batting.  We secured it with duct tape on the back and stuck a couple straight pins in the front close the the corners.  Pins/staples/anything sharp would be a bad idea on the back because of the potential poke factor on the front.

Quilt design wall

8. Stick it back up there inside the frame.

Quilt design wall

8.  Cut molding to fit the frame and nail it to the edges of the wood around the frame.  The batting layer is now enclosed and won’t move.

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9. Caulk your nail holes and your mitered edges.  Honestly we still have not done this step.  It is functional without it but prettier with it. 

Quilt design wall

And you are ready to go.

I have been using my design wall for awhile and it has been invaluable.  The cotton fabric just sticks right to the batting.  It is like temporary art.

Right now it is sporting some triangles.

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I received a couple of charm packs of Lotta Jansdotter’s upcoming line- Glimma and after adding some solids (all from my stash) the design wall was put to great use.  Making sure the triangles were not forming any funky shapes.  And that the colors played nicely together.  Because random takes a lot of planning.  That is what a design wall is for.

And providing great fabric to look at while I sew.  IMG_0017

Hmmm….maybe I need two design walls.

Cutting Up the Color Card

I have loved my Kona color card for awhile.  So pretty to see all the fabric possibilities lined up just waiting for you to buy them and make something beautiful.

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Except there was one problem.  The fabric swatches were glued down.  So when you wanted to see how two colors played with each other, you had to try to finagle the cardboard to try to get them somewhat in the same vicinity while not bending the heck out the card. 

I don’t think I need to tell you how well that worked.

So I cut it up.

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It was a little scary making that first snip.  But then it was almost liberating…is that weird?  Take that color card!

But then how to store them? A quick google search gave me lots of ideas.  A hole punch and a ring.  A jewelry case separated by color.  All good ideas but I wanted them to be easily accessible and visible.  And moveable of course.

Then my time working in special education came to the rescue…velcro strips. 

If you are not familiar with what I am talking about, we use velcro strips a lot.  For reinforcement systems to communication modalities to sensory issues, velcro is where it is at.  I have spent many many hours putting velcro on the back of pennies. So this is the most unoriginal idea ever.

So I bought strips of velcro and cut the soft side into small pieces.  And them stuck them on the back of each and every little square.  Which takes a very long time. There are 243 of those babies.

Then I stuck the rough side velcro strips onto an old canvas I had laying around from another previously abandoned project.

cutting up the kona color card

A little little color sorting and sticking later, I have this completely functional and not to mention somewhat pretty piece.cutting up the kona color card

The best part? You can take them off and move them anywhere.  Or rearrange them in any way.  Or just look at al the color possibilities.

cutting up the kona color card

So when I am trying to match solids to colors in patterned fabric, I just swipe them from the strip.

cutting up the kona color card

Or when I want to see certain colors together…just pull them off and move them around.  And return them back to the strip later of course.  Can’t lose any of the colors in the mess I call a craft room.

cutting up the kona color card

I added a couple of velcro strips around the craft room so I can stick them anywhere.  Like over the sewing machine…

cutting up the kona color card

Or even on the bottom of the canvas-

cutting up the kona color card

I am not sure why I did not think of this earlier.  Or why it makes me so happy.  Maybe I should have pinned up the color card for display a long time ago. Or done some self-reflection about why little pieces of fabric stuck to a canvas make me smile.

Anyways all I know is I love how it has functioned so far.  And I love looking at the colors while I am busy cutting.  Even if it does make me weird.

cutting up the kona color card

Burp Cloth Tutorial (Field-Tested)

When I found out I was pregnant, one of the first things I did was start buying fabric for burp clothes.  Easy and cute and I finally had an excuse to buy some kids fabric besides giving it away to other people. There are precisely 23894 tutorials on the blogosphere for how to make them and I did the whole sewing fabric on a diaper method (don’t worry, I go into greater detail in the actual tutorial).

burp cloth tutorialburp cloth tutorial

They did look prettier before they were washed a million times.

burp cloth tutorial

I made over 20 like this and thought I was golden.  Because we were not going to have an urper anyway so they would just sit pretty in their box.

And then Carter made his arrival.  And he had reflux. IMG_7440

Which meant that burp clothes became a constant fashion accessory.  And that you did not get nice clothes on for work until you were literally walking out the door in case he erupted. 

You should be thanking me for not sharing a picture of him actually spitting up.  Because we have them.

Anyway with all the urping going on, the diaper burp clothes I made were showing their weaknesses.  Namely that they are too wide for shoulders and were constantly falling off. Leaving your shoulder in a vulnerable position.  Not to mention your back.

My friend Lauren made us some thinner ones which worked so much better (and matched his nursery too- bonus!).

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So taking her thin design and adding some flannel for some extra “stickiness” I have now perfected the burp cloth.  At least think so.  Now if I just find the time make some more of them…

Ready for the How-To?

Materials:

Printed Cotton Fabric (approximately 9x18- a fat quarter works well)

Flannel Fabric (double the size of the printed fabric)

Scissors or Rotary Cutter

Sewing Machine

Iron

How To:

1. Cut your fabric larger than the size you are thinking of making your burp cloth and pre-wash it to get the shrinking thing out of the way.

2. Cut your now shrunk printed fabric in a 9 in x 18 in rectangle.  This size can be varied, I cut the three burp clothes I made at slightly different widths depending on how much fabric I had.  This is not an exact science.burp cloth tutorial

3. Cut two flannel squares the exact same size you cut the printed fabric.

4. Line up your three squares right on top of each other with right sides together. (In the picture the three pieces are fanned out slightly so that you can see the order…when you sew make sure they are right on top of each other).burp cloth tutorial

5. Sew around the 4 edges, and stop before you reach where you started, leaving a three inch opening to flip it out.  I used a quarter inch seam.

burp cloth tutorial

6. Cut your corners of the sewn fabrics.  Be careful not to cut the seam. Press open the seams.

burp cloth tutorialburp cloth tutorial

7. Stick your hand in the opening and pull it right side out.  The second piece of flannel stays in the middle for extra urping absorbency.  Make sure to spend some time poking out the corners.burp cloth tutorial

8. Press well so it lays flat.  Make sure to press the flaps where the opening is in so that it matches the rest of the seams.burp cloth tutorial

9.  Edge stitch around the all 4 edges to finish it off and to complete the area with the opening.

burp cloth tutorial

10.  And you are done!  Super fast and easy.

burp cloth tutorial

One side is cute, the other side is sticky and the extra piece of flannel will help absorb the urping.  Not to mention it is skinny enough not to be sliding off your shoulder.

burp cloth tutorial

Tie it up with a bow and it also makes the perfect shower gift.

burp cloth tutorial

Happy Urping!

Houston We Have Bedding

The nursery is still a work in progress, but now at least he will have a cute and comfy place to sleep if he decides to appear early.  His quilt?  Not ready to be in this post.   And the quilt is more for me to look at anyway since he won’t be sleeping with it for awhile.  At least that is what I tell myself. 

This whole being off for the summer thing is doing wonders for my sewing productivity.  Now I just need to start fitting in showers before the afternoon.

Anyway…

baby bedding

One of the most difficult things about the bedding was picking out the fabrics.  They had to be certain colors…and kidish…but not over the top kidish…and possibly go with our loose “animals” theme.  I had lists and lists of options and struggled with making a decision as there were so many cute things out there.  I finally gave myself a deadline and started ordering things.  And then it sat until I got around to actually sewing it.  I know you are surprised.

First up….the crib skirt.   The fabric I used was Metro Living by Robert Kaufman.

Not exactly rocket science but I needed to cover the ugly gap between the mattress and the drawers.  The metal brackets were visible holding up the mattress and the drawers of the crib do not have tops on them so you can see all the stuff in them.  I also wanted to make it adjustable so that when we lower the mattress as he gets bigger, I can make the crib skirt shorter. 

First, I prewashed the fabric and measured my opening.  I added a couple of of extra inches to the tops and sides and then cut out a rectangle of fabric.  I seamed the sides and added ribbon ties.

baby bedding

Then I tied the ribbon to the springy part of the crib (that’s the technical term) adjusting for height.

baby bedding

After a couple of reties to even everything out and get it to hang straight, I had this.

baby bedding

So as the mattress gets lower and the skirt needs to get shorter, I can just retie further up.    Super simple but I love how it turned out.

baby bedding

Now onto the crib sheet.

For some reason this project was intimidating to me so I have been putting it off for awhile.  I found tons of tutorials online with slight variations.  Which one to choose?  How do I know there and my mattress dimensions were similar?

I think my major anxiety came from the fabric.  It is Central Park by Kate Spain and when I ordered it months ago, that print in that color was starting to become difficult to find in the yardage I needed.  So I knew that after I procrastinated that it was going to be really hard to find if I had to replace it when I royally messed it up.  Hello new fabric choice or spending way to much money for it on ebay.  So it continued to sit.

I finally decided to on this tutorial from luvinthemommyhood.  From what I read reading comments on other tutorials, elastic all the way around the sheet was more secure than just the corners.  Since it was quilting cotton, my fabric was a little narrower than I would have hoped but I decided to take a leap of faith.  I am not going to do a whole step by step because I followed her tutorial pretty closely.  With the exception of measuring four times before I cut anything.  And marking and pinning all the cuts and trying on the mattress to make sure it fit before I cut and sewed.  So it took 6 times as long but oh well.  I was not going to screw up this fabric.

The only difficult part was inserting the stupid elastic.  Luckily for me, my bobbin ran out of thread in the middle of sewing the elastic pocket.  I cursed at the time but thought I would try to string it through halfway and see how it worked since I had to stop sewing until it was reloaded anyway.

I could have been executing her whole “attach a pin and let it slide through” method totally incorrectly but it did not work for me.  At all.

So I got out this doohickey (another technical sewing term) that I had bought for some other project that has never seen completion.   It came in handy for this one, so ultimately a good purchase.

baby bedding

I had the pull the elastic through in phases because the wire was not long enough, but worked so much easier for me.

After the elastic was in and sewn, I had the nerve wracking experience of slipping it on the mattress.  And really really hoping it fit.

baby bedding

It did!  Happy day!  And it turned out to be a easy project….time to make some more.

In case you were wondering what the underside looks like….

baby bedding

And the corners….

baby bedding

It is actually starting to come together.  Just a couple of sewing and DIY projects left!

baby bedding

Procrastination

Some things never change….another baby quilt with not the best pics because I finished it minutes before a friend’s baby shower. 

As in pacing in front of dryer worried that we were going to be late after setting a new personal best time for hand sewing the binding.

I have not learned and maybe never will.  But on the bright side I now have baby accessories to drape the quilt on.  Maybe that will help the incredibly quickly taken pictures.

new wave quilt

new wave quilt

I used the New Wave quilt pattern that I found on Oh Fransson.  Since they are not finding out the gender, I picked the yellow, orange and green color palette.  Did I mention that I love how it came out?

new wave quilt

And the back….which only looks transparent because of the whole standing in front of a window thing.

new wave quilt

This is the first time I attempted free motion quilting on my new machine and I am happy with how it came out even without my standby free motion partner of red wine.

 new wave quilt

To make the patterned fabric stand out even more, I just did random loops in the white border areas.

new wave quilt

I also loved how it made the pattern come through to the back.

new wave quilt

Hopefully the new baby will love it and maybe next time I will learn my lesson. 

I wouldn’t hold my breathe though.

Baby Windowpanes

The reason that I started to learn to quilt was because all my friends started to have babies and I wanted to make cute things for them.  This makes baby quilt #6 (with a couple more in progress of course since I can never finish something 100% without starting something new).

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And I still love making them…..

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This took just a charm pack of fun fabric and a solid color for the background. It pieced together very quickly and I love the windowpane look.

And the back in a cream soft flannel with a pinwheel….

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I think I am in love with that curvy stitch on my sewing machine…..

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I also made a light weight blanket with a fun boy animal print.

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This was super easy.  I just got a yard of fabric I loved and sliced it, turned different sections around, and inserted white.

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More snuggly flannel on the back.  This was the first time I attempted a machine sewn binding.  I have to say it was so much faster than a traditional hand sewn binding (like on the quilt) and I was so happy how the front looks.  But it was a little wonkier on the back than I would have liked.  Oh well I guess that just means more practice.  Hopefully Baby K won’t mind.

We had a great time at the shower and Sarah, the mom-to-be, looked so cute.  Sarah is actually the friend that convinced to start a blog and that people would actually read it (besides her and my mom). 154117_592771270129_66801178_33502088_2849917_n

So now you know where to direct your hate mail/fan mail to.

Hope Baby K loves his new quilt!

Swapping

Last week at the Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild we had a holiday swap.

And it was super fun as this is the first swap I have participated.  Because of the unfortunate potholder incident.

The “rules” were that we could make anything for any holiday and we were going to do it in November because most guild members are going to be super busy in December with all sorts of handmade gifts.

I should be one of them.  And I should have also been super busy in September and October as well with this task.  But the procrastinator in me is going strong and I have not started one Christmas gift yet.  So much for getting any sleep the week before Christmas again.

Oh well.

Anyway for the swap I used some left over Figgy Pudding jelly roll to make a fun Christmas accent pillow.

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It came together super quick (even for me) and I just used four blocks of disappearing nine patch.  It is a fun and easy pattern that a simple google search will lead you to many tutorials for.  And this time I was not even ripping seams 5 minutes before I had to leave for the meeting.  Stupid potholders.

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But the most fun part of the swap by far….

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My new Liberty of London scarf!  Somehow even being the last to choose in my group, I scored the swap item that the president, Jacquie, made.  It is gorgeous and so soft.

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And backed with a great autumny orange shot cotton.  Of course I wore it to work the very next day and got tons of compliments. 

As if the scarf was not enough, I also received two fat quarters of Kate Spain’s 12 Days of Christmas.  Which is perfect as I had just ordered fabric from that line for my very own Christmas quilt that I am going to get to as soon as all the drapes and Christmas gifts are complete.

Christmas is still months away….right?

Drapery Cutting-The Quick and Easy Way

I had a really good weekend.  My former college roommate, Katie,  flew in for a visit and we had a great time.  We shopped.  We enjoyed tapas, sangria, red wine and stayed up past our bedtime.  We got pedicures and cooked together.  And of course talked and talked.  Which made me really wish we were not hundreds of miles and a plane ride away from each other.

And took absolutely no pictures.  Even after I made a point to say “We need need to take tons of pictures this weekend because we got 0 last time”

Just picture us having an amazing time.

We also had numerous “wow we are getting old” moments.  Maybe it is because 30 is in the not too distant future.  Or maybe it is because we have both recently have moved from the city to the ‘burbs.  Or maybe it is the glaring differences in how we used to hang out and how we spend our time together now. 

But the point of this post is not to bore everyone with reminiscing.  I really do have a point.

As part of being “old” we spent some time making drapery panels for Katie’s new house.  We spent a half of day picking out the fabric and got five new lined panels banged out in just a couple of hours.

Which led Derek to ask why it has taken me months to finish our panels in the kitchen.

Anyway……

She picked out three great fabrics for each panel…..a deep gray, and orange stripe and an orange and gray pattern.   Of course again no pictures, but I made her swear to email me some as soon as they are hung in her house.

Katie is a beginning sewer and has just completed a couple of pillows.  So when I showed her my trick for incredibly fast fabric cutting she was amazed it went so fast. 

And so was Derek….because again those dang  kitchen panels.

This tip is not going to be anything new to experienced sewers out there, but i wanted to share it with everyone that is just starting to make an easy drapery panel on their own.  Because I wish I knew this with my first panels.

Quick and Easy way to Measure and Cut Drapery Panels

1. Find a square flooring surface in you house.  This could be a tile or wood floor.  Or even a carpet beginning/ending point in a wide doorway.  Or even a wall if you don’t have anything else.

2. Figure out how long you want you drapery panels to be and measure it out from your beginning edge.  Mark that spot with a piece of tape.  Scoot a little bit down and repeat to make sure you tape line is even.

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3. Stretch out the fabric from your tape line to your original square line on the floor.  If you are on wood or tile, line up the fabric with a line in the floor to make sure you are straight.

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4. Cut right along the edge that you know is square.

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5. Repeat with the other panels.

And you should have them cut in just a couple of minutes and ready to sew.  Quick right?

Just ask Derek about the kitchen.

Potholder Demons

Once upon a time there was a demon that lived in my old sewing machine.

And because of this demon, I was not able to make decent potholders no matter how much seam ripping was involved.  And let’s just say the seam ripper has never got quite the workout that the potholders provided.

Which was really embarrassing…because come on they are potholders.  Just like a tiny quilt block.  So should not be hard or complicated.  But it was and my potholders sat in the growing unfinished project pile, a victim of the sewing machine demon.  For months….

Until now….

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Inspired by the new sewing machine, I was convinced that it had to be demons of the old one that were causing my failure.  Because it certainly could not have been my sewing skills.

Well it was a little of both.  The sewing machine helped immensely and at the Creative Connection, Kim and I took a class from Camille.  She gave me some pointers about what I was stupidly doing wrong.

Which I am not going to mention here because, well, they really were stupid mistakes.  Just trust me about that.  And learn from me…if something is repeatedly not working correctly, ask someone for help before ditching it in the unfinished projects stack.  Because after Minnesota, I came home with these….

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So now that the potholder demon is gone, I can move on to other projects.  Like sewing large numbers of really boring drapes.  Or start the Christmas presents I swore last year while I was binding a quilt at 2am on December 24rd that I would begin in July.

Or I could always start on something more fun.  Like this……

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I know what I am thinking…..

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

I get bored easily.

Especially when I am not busy painting a new project.

It gives me too much time to look around and want to switch something up.

Even in a perfectly good room that we remodeled less than two years ago.

I don’t think this trait is on my husband’s top ten list of things he loves about me.

It may have to do with spending money.

Or cutting into football watching time.

 

So when I started thinking about the rooms I wanted to make changes in, it happened to be the first three rooms that we completed when we moved it.  And as I disclaimer I still love them, but they all needed a little freshening up.  And to of course on a budget (see above).  The three rooms are the dining room, family room and office.  And while the office and dining room are still works in progress, the family room’s minor changes are complete.  And they are just enough to keep me happy with the space.

And I am happy to report that no football watching time was infringed on for any part of it.

The Family Room

Issue #1- Too Much Brown

  Since we bought the bookshelves, I have been trying to convince Derek to let me paint the back.  Or apply pretty fabric or decorative paper to give them some pattern and pizzazz.  Just something to break up the boring brown. 

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But that idea got vetoed.  Maybe because he knows my propensity to want to change things and anything permanent would not bode well for the solid wood bookcases.  I could day that we could just add built-ins when I get tired of them but I don’t think that would help my case.

So for two years I let it go and tried to enjoy the brown.

Then one day it hit me…..what about spray paint?  It is cheap and easily re-doable and who needs to touch the bookscases?  Why had I not thought of this brilliant idea sooner?

So I spray painted the lamps a blue gray and got new drum shades.  Then the brown tray got a coat of silver.  And I thought I would love it and it would solve of my brown problems. IMG_2947

But a couple of weeks later I am still not sure.  Maybe the blue is too shiny?  Maybe it is too much contrast with the brown bookshelves?  Maybe the lamps are too skinny?  Maybe I should just go with gray instead of blue-gray? Maybe I am just feeling fall-ish now and this is just reading a little too springy?  Maybe I way overthinking this and just need to be happy that is not brown and get over not painting the interior of the bookshelves?

Anyways….

Issue #2 It Just Doesn’t Feel Done

There is another change in the family room that I am 100% in love with….the rug.

I was a little iffy on adding an area rug over carpet.  But the space was not really unified and I wanted some more modernish touches in the room to make it flow more with the adjoining kitchen.  So I got out one of our 5x8 area rugs that we were not using and see what I thought of the idea.

It was love at first site….except the rug was way too small.

So that led us on a rug search.  It had to be big.  And cheap.  And modernish.  And good colors.  And not solid brown (see above). And not matchy with the walls.  But not too orange either. And not too busy.  Basically perfect.

We went everywhere in the city that carried rugs and came back with nothing.  It may have had something to do with how picky I was being.

Overstock had some great and cheap ones, but the colors and sizes were not matching up.  I then stumbled on Rugsdirect.com and found a couple that met all of my criteria.  And free shipping and returns. 

It was a very exciting day.

We ended up with this one.

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And I am amazed about how something so simple can complete the space.

Some friends commented that it was brilliant that the circles of the rug complemented the circular coffee table so well.

Ummmm….yeah.

I was totally thinking that when I picked it out.

Issue# 3 Throw Pillows

You also may notice we now actually have some throw pillows on the couch and chair.  There are still some more half finished in the sewing room, but we at least have some color on the sofa.

But I have a confession to make.

I asked you opinion on throw pillows a long time ago.

About whether I should use the home dec fabric I already had or go with more modern cotton prints.

And the majority of you said to stick with what I had.

Well I didn’t.

Sorry….but I did listen on your advice on the kitchen curtain color, so you can’t stay mad.

Right?

 

So what do you think?  Hopefully I am not the only one that gets the itch to change things up.   But I think I am satisfied with the space and will be able to enjoy my time hanging out in there and not thinking about what I want to change.

For now at least.

What I Brought Back From My First Time

I know most people do not detail their IKEA purchases.  Because they go all the time and it could get really boring really fast.

But unluckily luckily for you, I am not one of those people.

Being that it was my first IKEA trip, and I am still 8 hours away from one, I just have to share.

The fabric was the first thing that went into the bag soon to be cart. 

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I had heard about the great fabrics at IKEA from my modern quilting guild friends and was really excited to see what they had.

And I even I had purpose in mind….those shrunken office drapes.  I wanted something more modern and washable and cheap because I needed a lot.  And before IKEA I was coming up with nothing.  A whole lot of nothing that was not over $20 a yard.

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Of course as soon as I got the bolt home I had to hang it to make sure I loved it as much as I thought I would.  Not sure what I would have done with it if I hated it, but it turned out OK because I think they will look perfect. When I finally get around to sewing them of course. 

The next purchase I really  had no plan for.  I knew I wanted rugs for  the entryway, kitchen and possibly office.  And that black and white would look good in all those places.  So I bought it thinking that we could make it work.

So it was unrolled and tried in the entryway…

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Ehhh not my favorite there.

Office?  Nope does not fit under furniture without covering up vents.

Kitchen?

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(Imagine flowing white panels on all the windows)

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(At least we have the rods up)

Even without the curtains I think we have a winner.  Which is good  because I was out of options besides Craigslist.

My final purchases were a pretty (and cheap) silver bowl that I am thinking about using in the dining room.

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And the classic white pots which I am thinking will house herbs in the kitchen in the winter.  And an aloe plant which came highly recommended by Kim.   It had a couple battle scars from the car ride.

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I could have bought a lot more….especially in the fabric if I had unlimited time to browse.  But I think for my first time I got a nice collection of things that ended up working out great.  And crazily enough not one of those items required any assembly.

Now if I can just become a curtain making machine……

Crickets

I have been a little absent on this blog lately.  And I am really behind on emails….and commenting.  Sigh.

But this would be one of the reasons why.

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A new (to me) Bernina.  Isn’t she pretty?

Not planned, but when you hang out with people who sew and are in the know these things happen.

You see when my friend and fellow KCMQG officer Jaime mentioned that they had gotten some pre-owned mechanical Berninas in that were in great shape, I got really excited. Granted you probably think I am crazy for wanting to give up a 25 year Kenmore that my mother bought for the purpose of hemming uniforms and dance costumes and caused much cursing in the craft room.  But I admit it that I wanted it.  However, we had just gotten back from Italy and I decided that it did not fall into the “need” category.  I just would not think about it.

But then a week later my friend Lauren emailed me.  She had taken the plunge.  She could not stop raving about what an amazing machine it was.  And Lauren is a persuasive and hilarious girl (not to mention an talented fabric designer) so I knew that I had to go see it at least.  You know just to look at it.

And I will admit it was amazing.   And I have a birthday coming up.  So Jaime helped my buckle it in the back seat and it came home with me.

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So I have been playing with it (and not blogging) ever since.

Of course, to go with our new machines we made a trek out to a great fabric store in Lawrence.  Fabric stores make me happy.  Especially when you have a good machine sew with.

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The one downside to this whole thing?  I can no longer blame my sewing inadequacies on a crappy machine.  Which I did frequently and now the truth will be out.  I guess I will just have to get better.  And hope that my friends can help me in that department as well…..

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The Latest

With the majority of my time spent in the garden recently, the craft room and sewing machine has not been getting a lot of love.  But I did manage to whip up another small baby quilt.

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The pattern is  Charm Squares Baby Quilt that I found on Sew Mama Sew.  It was super quick and easy and I had the top pieced in an hour or two.  Which for me is super fast as I am still really slow and like to admire each piece of fabric before moving on.  And it did not take much fabric.  Just a charm pack and 5/8 yard of other fabric and you have the top pieced.. 

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When I chose the fabric, they did not know if they were going to be the lucky parents of a boy or girl and I thought Authentic was the perfect choice.  It had a little more pink in it than I originally pictures, but it worked out OK because they will be welcoming a baby girl.  Luck over skill.

I backed it with cream flannel to add a little snuggle for the baby.

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I also whipped out some burp clothes.  Another super quick and easy project that does not take too much fabric.  Just a little patience with ironing and measuring to get everything lined up right.  And so much cuter than just a plain cloth diaper to throw over your shoulder.

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My next quilting project will be a first for me….a quilt I am actually planning on keeping.  Since I made the resolution that we would use the picnic basket this year, I determined that we needed a picnic quilt.  My goal was to make it super easy so that it would come together quickly so we could use it before it got too sweltering.  Good news: the quilt top is really close to being complete.  The bad news is that I missed the sweltering deadline.  Oh well.  We can still picnic in the heat.  Can’t wait to share that quilt (in conjunction with our picnic of course).

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A Dog’s Life

In the quest to slowly but surely get the master bedroom to being officially an “after”, I knew we had to something about one of the last eyesores in the room-the dog beds. 

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The current ones were plaid, old and furry.  But they are a necessary evil.

Because you can’t just take away their beds because they are ugly.  Well I guess you could, but that would not be very nice.

And you can buy some cute dog beds but they were never the perfect size or color for our space.  And what fun is buying them when you can easily make them?

So a little while ago I bought some fabric I loved for this purpose.IMG_0633

(In case you are curious…the fabrics are Summer Soiree by Paula Prass and Two by Two Stripe by Michael Miller)

Horribly impractical with the white being perfect to exhibit mud and the black a magnet for dog hair.

But oh well….I told myself that is what a washing machine is for.

I made the beds very simply. I just measured the space, added a couple of inches for seam allowances and the depth of the pillow, and then constructed it just like an envelope backed pillow.  In other words exactly how you could make a pillow case for a pillow form.  Super quick and easy.  And a perfect beginner sewing project.

Here is the back on one bed with the overlapping fabric.

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Then you just have to stuff it with something soft and washable. 

You could make a matching pillow form with muslin and polyfil for this purpose.

Or you could be green (and cheap) like me and find something laying around to stuff it with.  Because let’s be honest anything that is soft (for the dogs) and washable (for you) would work.

So let’s just say that you melted a king size duvet insert trying to stuff it in your washer which turned out to be too small.  Not that you (or I) would be dumb enough to do that….we are talking hypothetically.  You could cut that in pieces and stuff your beds with that.  Hypothetically of course.

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Whatever you use does not not need to be perfectly sized.  Just shove it in there and you get this….

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or this….

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Perfectly smooth….no.  But cheap and honestly our dogs have more fun shifting and digging at the lumps to get it to their liking.  Smooth beds are boring.

And if you have extra fabric you could make a little pillow for their head.  

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Winter had already shifted the pillow for her liking….but of course would not lay on it as soon as the big bad camera made an appearance.

She was however happy to try both beds before determining which was to her liking.

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Which one do you think she should choose?  Is she more a chevron or stripe type of girl?

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All Around the Color Wheel

The procrastinator in me is alive and well.  This is quilt number three and although I swore to myself that I would get it completed and photographed waaay in advance, I ended up sprinting home 10 minutes before the baby shower began in order to snap some pictures while I had good light and then quickly throw it in a gift bag with some tissue…..similar to the last two quilts.  Sigh.  So that is my excuse of why all my quilt pics are not dynamite and I am sticking to it.  I worry that if I ever get around to making a quilt for myself that it will never get completed because obviously the only thing that motivates me is deadlines.

Anyway this quilt was super easy to put together but for a simple baby quilt I am happy with how it turned out. IMG_0622

And for the quilting I did random semi-straight lines-IMG_0623

And used cozy blue flannel for the back to make it a little more “boyish”-IMG_0624

If you like me and new to quilting and sewing this is a great project.  All you need is a Kona Solids bright palette charm pack and white fabric cut in 2.5 inch strips.  If you are really adverse to cutting fabric you also could buy a white fabric jelly roll.  I really love how the colors fade into each other around the color wheel, but think it would also look nice all mixed up.IMG_0631

Moving onto black and white, I also wanted to share my incredibly impractical fabric purchase today.   This way everyone can agree that I need to get my head examined.IMG_0633

Why is black and white impractical?  Especially in the hip chevron?  Because this is the fabric I selected for dog beds in the master bedroom.  The white is perfect to show every single muddy pawprint and the black is calling for dog hair to just stick to it.  But I told myself that really it was a good thing that they will look dirty so quickly…that way I will be forced to wash it everyday more frequently.   So really I am just adding a incentive for keeping things cleaner….at least that is what I told myself at the fabric store.  I can rationalize anything.

Anyway I think that the pattern will look great in the slowly coming together master bedroom.  I might even let the pups lay on them. …if they wipe their paws of course.

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Cold Feet

Have I mentioned that I am just a little bit tired of winter?  

I guess I have.

But one thing that I did not go into in my past grumbling is that my hands and feet are always icicles during the winter months.  No matter how many slippers and thick socks I wear my feet are frigid.  Until now, the only thing that worked was every evening filling up the bathtub part way with hot water and dunking them.  Just a little time consuming.  Or sticking them on my husbands bare leg while we are laying in bed.  More fun ? Yes, but I bet you can guess how happy he is when I do that.

Then I heard one of my parent’s friends mention that they have like a beanbag filled with rice that they heat up and it keeps their toes cozy all night.  My mom was very intrigued (cold feet are genetic I guess) and I thought it was brilliant.  I had all these visions in my head about how I would construct it and then make an awesome tutorial to share here.  And then everyone else would be so excited that I put this new idea together in a cute fabric sort of way.

Then I googled it.

Definitely not the first person to think about this or put together a tutorial.  Rats.  Guess I have been living under a rock.

But I am happy to report that if you can sew a straight line you can put one together super quick.  Really.  No major skills required.  I put mine together in less than 10 minutes start to finish. 

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Basically all you need is a cute fabric scrap, lining fabric, some rice, some Velcro and possibly some scented oil if you want it to smell nice.  I used stuff that I had laying around except for the orange scent I found in the soap making aisle at a craft store.

Since there are so many great tutorials out there I am not going to add another one, but this one at Sew, Mama, Sew! Blog was what I used for inspiration.

In a nutshell, sew together your lining fabric on three sides, fill it with scented rice (I used about ten drops of oil) and then sew it closed.

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Then make a slightly larger pillowcase for your rice with velcro on the end.

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Smush it closed and now you have a pretty little foot warmer.

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I have found warming mine in the microwave for about 2 minutes does the trick.  I also read that some people suggest to also put a cup of water in the microwave while you are warming it to make sure your rice does not scorch.  Not sure if this is true or not but I thought it was better to play it safe because while I have never smelled burned rice, I do not imagine it to be very pleasant.

Also a hint that I learned…there is a reason that it has a removable cover.  When you set it in the microwave, make sure you take off the pretty fabric so it doesn’t get all gross sitting in there.  Or maybe that it just me and it is a sign that our microwave needs to be cleaned.  Lesson Learned.

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This might be the best winter invention yet.  It is keeping my toes toasty warm as I speak type.  And it has been going strong for over an hour.  And as a bonus, the fabric matches some of the pillows in the family room so it does not look out of place.  It can just be a mini pillow. So if you are like me and  never heard of such of thing you really need to try it out. 

I know Derek’s legs are appreciating it at least.

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Dear Label Maker,

Sorry Label Maker but you may have be dethroned as my favorite organizing companion.

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You had a great run with organizing lots of things like the linen closet and numerous other closets.  But in the craft room I needed a little something different.  Like these-IMG_0497

You see I have a this problem with the craft room….my attention is always shifting from one craft to another.  You were just too….permanent.  I could not commit to static labels that long.

I can change the post-it labels so quickly and easily.  They stick just like the adhesive on the top of a traditional post-it….except the entire label is covered with it.  But you can move it and change the label just as easy as switching a normal post-it.  My one hint….they are not found next to the post-its.  I had to go to the “label” aisle at the office supply store to snag them.

For example… in the closet…..I started with this. 

With the help of my Post-It Labels and some heavy duty sorting and purging, it now looks like this-

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Now all my magazines, fabric, partially finished projects and wrapping supplies are handily organized.

And you see that empty shelf?  There is a plan for that….my new craft obsession is quilting (like I happened to mention here) and therefore all my new fabrics already have a home waiting.

My other fabrics that have greater yardage are organized in a hanging system.  IMG_0378

All the cotton fabrics are hanging on the white hangers, knits and flannel on the navy hangers and the home dec fabric are on the tan hangers.

I thought about being an over achiever and measuring each piece of fabric and writing the yardage on customized dry erasable labels hanging from each hanger.  Then I got tired and decided that the color coding was going far enough to keep in semi organized.  Maybe when I am bored this summer I will take on that idea but until then just pretend I have ultra cute tags.

Next to the hanging area I have my project boxes.  These will be changing a lot (at least I hope) and the post it labels are perfect.  (Notice the honey oak is still hanging on in the closet.  That way I can remember it’s ugliness and be grateful that is gone from the rest of the room.  Or I just was so incredibly sick of painting trim that I decided that the closet did not matter)

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Hopefully this box will be empty soon as it was supposed to be a gift for this past Christmas.

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I am loving all the pieces of a project in one centralized location so that I do not lose any pieces and can work on multiple things at a time.  This just feeds the crafting ADD.

Miscellaneous fabric (like linings, interfacings, and left over batting) joins all the wrapping supplies in this organizer.

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I try to recycle magazines…but some I cannot part with and before the “great reorganization” were just stacked everywhere.  Now they are nicely stacked at the top of the closet where i can easily access them them but they are out of the way.

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The rest of the craft room also received a good organization courtesy of the post-it label.  But that will have to wait for another post.  Don’t want to provide everyone with too much riveting entertainment at once…