Sew Proud

I am currently on a cross country adventure, but I thought I’d quickly share a project I finished before I hit the road. I’m not a seamstress. This will not be a sewing tutorial; you do not want to learn how to sew from me! That being said, I’m pretty proud of this finished product.

I bought an IKEA kids table and chair set for my granddaughter for Christmas and I wanted to make it just a little special. I decided to make cushions for the chairs.

I bought my fabric and foam cushions at Hobby Lobby for about twelve dollars. I bought extra fabric for another project that I will finish and post when I return home.

I bought these supplies quite awhile ago and didn’t get started because I had an idea but no actual plan. My hand was finally forced because I ran out of time. After some head scratching and rethinking of my idea, I decided to just keep it simple. I basically made snug fitting pillow cases and sewed the cushions into them. I also made some ties out of the same fabric and sewed them into the seam and then zigzag stitched over them for extra strength.

When I was finished I felt like they need a little something so I raided my daughters button stash and gave them a bolstered appearance.

They are definitely not perfect and a more skilled seamstress could have done a much better job, but I think they are cute and my three year old granddaughter will love them. I can’t wait to see them on the chairs.

I hope you all are enjoying the holiday season and feeding your creativity.

Keep crafting and keep warm!

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Burlap and Lace Garland

IMG_E7454My daughter and son-in -law recently moved out of their first apartment and because of the timing of everything, I was in charge of turning in their keys. I decided to take the opportunity to make an imprint of the key on a homemade Christmas ornament; this is what inspired the garland project.

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For those curious about the ornaments; The one one the left is salt dough, The one on the right is a cornstarch dough.

I had most of the supplies already on hand but I did pick up the jingle bells for 50% off at Hobby Lobby.  I think I paid $3.50 and I have some of the red ones left. The burlap is left over party decor from about five years ago, the lace I picked up on clearance a few years back (Because I knew eventually it would be perfect for something!), the red and white twine I found at Target last year (I absolutely love it!)  and the regular twine I used for the garland base is something I always keep on hand. Oh and I almost forgot, I had the white fabric on hand too. I try to live a somewhat minimalist life, but this paragraph makes me sound a little bit like a pack rat!

I made the stars and trees. I had a lot of cornstarch dough left over and I wanted to use it up; that’s when the garland idea hit me. I made as many stars and trees as I could, so I would be sure to have enough. It’s similar making cookies, I rolled out the dough and used my cookie cutters to cut the shapes. Once they were cut out, I poked holes in them for the string and then baked them according to the directions. Here’s a link to the recipe I used: http://the-pickled-herring.blogspot.com/2012/12/scandinavian-christmas-day-1.html

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While the ornaments were baking, I gathered my other supplies and got to work. I cut the fabric and burlap into 1/2 X 12 inch strips and I cut the ribbon into 12 inch lengths. I don’t know how many I used, I just made a bunch and then cut a few more when I ran out. I cut an 8 foot piece of brown twine to make sure it would be long enough for the project. Once I had that done, I started adding them to the twine. To attach them I folded each strip in half and the threaded the ends through the loop and around the twine. (see picture below)  Initially, I started with just the burlap and lace (that’s why the fabric isn’t in the picture) but I decided it needed another texture and color. Also, next time I think I’ll try to find a narrow burlap ribbon, because the thin strips of burlap proved a bit challenging  to work with.

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After all of the strips were attached I started adding the jingle bells, trees and stars. I used the red and white twine to tie them to the garland. I tied a knot around the twine and then finished it off with a bow. To string the ornaments, I had to thread the twine on a needle to get it through the holes. ( I wish I would have made the holes a little bigger because threading the twine on that needle made me act a little ugly a couple of times!)

This was a learning experience and I would do a few things differently next time, but overall I am really happy with the end result. I hope my daughter is too because the garland is going to her new house along with those ornaments that started this whole thing.

Outdoor Christmas Wreaths

I thought I’d take a few moments on this snowy Monday to share my most recent Christmas decor project. I live in an old farmhouse and I have always loved the pictures of houses where there is a wreath in every window. However, I do not like the idea of spending money on all those wreaths; so I came up with a plan. I went to my local Walmart and picked up five of their cheapest evergreen garlands. The were $2.38 apiece. I then went to Menard’s and found a big roll of sparkly red ribbon for $4.99. ( I just love things that sparkle!)

I did this project in my kitchen…that wasn’t the best idea I’ve ever had; my kitchen was COATED in sparkly goodness. I’m pretty sure my family is still eating red glitter.

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The tools I used for this project were wire cutters and a ruler. I cut all of the garlands in half and cut pieces of ribbon to hang my wreaths. I cut the ribbon at about 33 inches to get them to hang where I liked them in my windows.  I twisted each of the lengths of garland into a circle, flattened the back and fluffed up the front. I didn’t quite loop it around twice; I left the top quarter a single layer so I could make the wreaths a little larger. Once I had the ribbon tied on, it wasn’t noticeable. I used some of the garland greenery like twist ties to hold the loops firmly together. Once the wreaths were made, I tied a piece of the ribbon in a loop around each one.

To hang them I simply opened the top sash of my windows and shut the ribbon in them, leaving the knot on the inside. At this point I thought I was done, I was so very wrong. That night it was a bit breezy and those adorable little wreaths made an absolutely awful noise rubbing against the window glass. At 1:30 am the bedroom windows were aggressively stripped of their noise makers! In the morning, I got out my husband’s fishing line (shh….) and cut pieces to loop around the bottom of the wreaths. I secured the lines by tying them around a piece of dowel and shutting the fishing line in the window with the dowel on the inside. It works well, but it isn’t very pretty, so I just decorated the window sills!

I very happy with how these wreaths are working out. I only put them in the windows on the two story section of our house but I think next year I’ll make a few more (okay, like 10 more) for the rest of the windows.

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How they look wearing today’s snow.

I’d love to see what other people are doing to bring a festive feel to their homes. So show me what you are up to! Happy Holiday Decorating!

 

My Workshop

I’ve been spending some time out in the barn this fall getting my workshop set up. (So has my loving husband. I’m so glad he puts up with my shenanigans!)  I’ve had a shop out there for a while but it wasn’t set up to my liking; I was just using it as is and there were things being stored in the space that really didn’t belong there and they took up a lot of my space. Junk was cleared, workbenches were relocated and supplies were reorganized. I super happy with the end result and I can’t wait to spend some serious time out there making things!

 

Now that it’s getting colder, I wanted to have a way to heat the shop, but it’s a pretty big room in a drafty old barn so I needed to get a little creative. The shop has a ceiling mounted heater and I have hung some moving blankets across the center of the room to temporarily create a smaller space to heat during the winter months. I picked up the blankets at Harbor Freight and I hung them from nails using medium sized binder clips. It’s working out pretty well and I’m glad that I can now use the space year round.

Speaking of using my shop…I better get out there and make something to blog about!

Christmas Tree Farm Sign

I am very fond of the current farmhouse decor trend, especially all the Christmas stuff. (I mean I do live in a farmhouse, so…) I have seen vintage inspired tree farm signs EVERYWHERE and I decided I wanted to make one of my own so I could personalize it. And, as we all know, I am a cheapskate so I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on this project.

I scored a big time find at Goodwill recently and I decided it would be perfect for my sign. It’s a fairly large oval embroidery hoop that I picked up for $3.99. I also found a large round one and I bought that one too. I had a canvas drop cloth that I purchased last year but never used, so I cut pieces out of that to stretch in the hoops.

 

Once I had the fabric nice and tight, I broke out my handy dandy overhead projector. (another awesome Goodwill find) and lightly traced on my designs with a pencil. after that I set up shop at the dining room table with my craft paints and brushes.

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It was a bit of a time consuming project, and it’s not my prettiest work, but overall I am pleased with the rustic charm of the end result.

 

On to the next project!

Fall Dollar Store Up-cycle

I really enjoy decorating for fall, but I don’t like spending a ton of money to do it; I’m a junker after all. When I got out my decorations this year I really felt like I needed a little something more to put in my kitchen. I really like the buttermilk colored pumpkins, but I do not like how much they cost. So, I made a trip to the dollar store to see what I could find.

What I found were some bright orange Styrofoam pumpkins that are about the size of an acorn squash. I bought three. Here is the before:

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As you can see, they were not pretty and I wasn’t sure if I could improve them at all. I decided to use some off-white chalk paint that I had left over from another project, just to see what would happen. Whatever that orange coating is,  it was plastic-y and I was afraid the paint would just pool up and not stick. I did have a little trouble with that, but it was not as bad a I thought it would be. After about three full coats, they looked pretty good. I used a little brown gel stain to add some age/shading to them after the paint had dried.

After the pumpkins were painted, I used some copper craft paint that I already had (I have a paint problem!) to paint the stems. When they were done, I still felt like they needed a little something, so I went digging around in the bottom of my fall decorations tote to see what sort of goodies I could find. I NEVER throw away the little bits that fall of the fake flowers, picks, garlands and greenery…I just stick them in the tote.

There wasn’t much in there, I must have used them for another project, but I found enough to make it work. I  poked the ends of the bits into the pumpkin and used straight pins to hold them in place. They are not the finest piece of art I’ve ever created, but for 3 bucks and a little time, I’m pleased with the result.

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I love to hear what other people are doing; so, what sort of fun fall crafts has everyone else been working on this year?

Green Thumb

I’ve been working on a couple of thrift store finds that I’m quite excited about. I’m turning two candle holders into plant holders…plant art…plant sculpture? I’m not sure what to call them, but I’m pretty happy with the end result.

The first one is a wall mounted piece that cost me about three dollars.  It has the little spikey things in the bottom of each circle that is supposed to hold a candle. I thought about trying to cut them out, but since I used pots with drain holes in the bottom, they don’t pose a problem and I left them as is. I painted the candle holder with some copper spray paint I had left over from my daughter’s wedding. (She did copper before it was “in” and I had to spray paint some of the decor; she’s always been on the cutting edge of cool) The pots are just inexpensive terra cotta pots that I picked up for eighty cents apiece at the home improvement store.  I painted them with the white latex paint that I always have around the house. When the pots are in place, they tip forward just a bit; not enough to fall out, but I secured them to the frame with some copper wire just to be sure.

The second one is a table top candle holder. It was also about 3 dollars and it did not have spikey bits. (Yay!) I sprayed it with off-white paint that I had from another project. I should mention that I sealed both candle holders with a matte clear coat. These pots are also from the home improvement store.  The bottoms of them are painted with some gray “oops” paint that I bought at Menard’s for fifty cents. ( I always head back to the paint department when I’m there, I’ve found some really great colors) The rim of the pots were painted with some craft paint that I also had left over from the wedding. I thought about adding some highlights on the stand, but I really like the simplicity of it so I’m going to leave it as is.

 

Now that these items are done, I’ll be working on a small shelving unit and a couple of projects with burlap coffee bean bags. I’m also in the process of reorganizing my shop, so I’m keeping busy but look for another post soon!

In The Works

It has been a while since I posted anything on this site but that will be changing in the near future. I have been working on some home redecorating projects and some smaller projects that I need to write about soon.

In next week, I should have my entryway project finished and I’ll be able to post all the before, during and after pictures. I’ll talk about how my tendency to save things that I can reuse or up-cycle meant that the whole project came in under $100 dollars!

I’ve also been scouring Goodwill and other exciting places (yes, Goodwill is exciting). I’ve found a few gems that I’m working on redoing now; I’ll write about those too! I’m also working on some  next steps and hoping that I can find a way to turn this into my full time gig.

Here’s a sneak peek at a couple of the before images:

 

Stayed tuned…

Feeling inspired 

Life has been busy. I started a new job and am studying for certification exams; it hasn’t left much time for creating or writing. But today I got inspired. My daughter got married in May and like most newlyweds, she doesn’t have many Christmas decorations and she loves Christmas…so I made her some.


The letters on the Noel picture are cork and they are from the banner that was hanging at her high school graduation open house. The candle holder is from her wedding. 


It was fun getting my hands “dirty” . I hope the inspiration keeps coming!