Saturday, December 31, 2011

I Did It

In an earlier post...or two...or three...I mentioned wanting to finish a quilt for LeLe's Christmas gift. I finally gave up, just content to work on it as I could. And you know what? I finished it. I was surprised at myself.

She chose the fabric, and a design, and I altered the design to my own liking. It wasn't an easy thing to do, and I fussed at myself frequently. I also quilted it as I went. Part of that was great because the quilting part was much easier. But connecting the pieces together was a pain. The entire quilt is queen size, so it was still hard to handle. I'm very glad I finished, and she seemed to be very happy with it. So, here is the finished product.


It was so big, there was no place in my house I could hang it up to take a better photo. Maybe she will post a photo of it on her bed.

When I first began, I mentioned to Sharon at Vrooman's Quilts that I was using the Lilly and Will II fabric, and she was so kind to send me a jelly roll. That made doing the center and the squares so much easier!  And after so many of Marcia's posts at Marcia's Crafty Sewing and Quilting blog, I decided to try using a decorative stitch on the binding.


It was a bit tricky, and I'll not use such an intricate design again until I have more practice, but all in all, I like it.


I plan to try making some shams to match, as soon as I recover from all the Christmas stress, and the severe cold I've been dealing with.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Winter Wreath

Here is the winter yarn wreath I finished last night. I used dark gray yarn on a styrofoam wreath form and several different wintery accents that I bought at Michael's for 60% off. I love the little cardinal. The lace was some that Mom had given me a few months ago. I really like how it turned out! I wanted to do something that was more versatile than just Christmas, so this will last until at least February. I know the photo isn't the best (it was on my phone at around 10 PM last night).

What a Mess

You see this mess?


Well, it is supposed to be a Christmas gift. By the looks of it, I doubt seriously if that will happen. But, it's for my LeLe, she knows it probably won't, and is ok with it.

That's how my sewing room usually looks when I'm in the middle of something. Not a pretty picture is it? But, it's how I work. I don't have a good space to spread it all out, and the ironing board usually doubles as a table, the bed as a design board. You use what you have eh?  I normally clean the biggest part of it up every other day or so. If someone should come in and see it before I do, oh well.

This is a little wooden Nativity set I made umpteen years ago for my Mother-in-Law.


I had a band saw and lots of scraps and I made countless little things like this. They are all gone now except for this and a few Christmas decorations. I made this simple by design, and she thought LMW would enjoy playing with it. He does like wiping them all off the table.

Back to work in the messy sewing room.











Thursday, December 8, 2011

Be Merry!

This has been a great couple of weeks mail wise. So many lovely things arriving in my mail box. I recently won a giveaway on SewCalGal's blog and it arrived today. Woo Hoo! It was for her 2011 Christmas Quilt Show and I won a door prize. (I didn't enter a quilt)


 It's Be Merry by Martha Walker at Wagons West Designs, and it's full to bursting with awesome Christmas projects I can't wait to try. It gives me something to work on for Christmas all year long.   I'm so very pleased to have won this, and feel very blessed. Merry Christmas to Me!!

I also posted about this on my other blog.

Thank you SewCalGal and Martha!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Third Pillow

For sister #3. Did you guess how many I had? Three sisters and a brother. I don't think a pillow is something he'd appreciate though... *grin*


I thought I'd like this one the least, but turns out I like it the best. There's enough of Mom's sweaters left to make myself a pillow and I may try that in the next week or so. This was a Minutes for Me project and it didn't take all that long.

Here are all the pillows I've made for Christmas 2011.


I've enjoyed making them. There was no pressure for a change and I just enjoyed the process.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Second Keepsake Pillow

Ok, Sister #2 is up.


This was made from a sweater vest. The pieces are not even, straight or smooth. There was no way to cut them that way with how the vest was made. So, I zig-zagged them onto fabric and then pieced them together as best I could. My Mom was a gingerbread person freak too and it rubbed off on Sister #2. I'm sure she will be happy with this, even if it is a bit unkempt.


I did quilt the top part along the sashing pieces. Had to add some quilting in there somewhere!
Now, on to Sister #3...how many sisters do I have anyway??!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Christmas Keepsake Pillow

I'm into pillows right now. They are quick and easy, and I can actually have one almost done by the time LMW wakes from his nap. I have several more in the works, but this one is made from a sweatshirt my Mom wore at Christmastime.


My mom had a closet full of Christmas sweaters and sweatshirts, and I took some of them to make pillows for my sisters.  They've probably forgotten all about them, but I hope they will be pleasantly surprised when they open them up.


I quilted the top of this one and added some snowflake buttons. I know Sister #1 will love it. I hope to carry on my Mom's love of Christmas and decorating as the years go by. Maybe I'll also be known as the "Lady with all the Christmas stuff" in the years to come.

Don't forget to visit the Minutes for Me Linky Party.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Peppermint Pillow

I carved out some Minutes for Me time today, and whipped up this pillow from a sweater. It was interesting and I enjoyed most of it. I say that, because closing the thing up took me just about as much time as all the other parts combined. :/


I started with this sweater. I marked off squarea, cut it out, and bonded some fabric to the backs to keep it from stretching.


Next step was to use heat and bond on striped fabric. I drew off the candy canes, cut them out and pressed them on the block.


Using a decorative buttonhole stitch, I appliqued the canes on and then attached some white grosgrain ribbon.



I sewed the front to the back, turned it right side out, stuffed it and sewed up the bottom. At first I did it by hand. Didn't like the result, and did it again. Nope. So, I tried it one more time on the machine. Not perfect, but much better. I can live with that.

Final result:



Me likey. Now, it's back to the grindstone....

Monday, November 14, 2011

Weekend Work

Along with the canvases, I sewed and painted a Christmas stocking for a little boy in Canada. His Mom is a friend of my daughter.


Mom asked for an old school cartoon character and I found something from Bing Images that filled the bill.
I also worked on a pillow made from one of my mother's many Christmas sweatshirts, but it's not ready for prime time yet. *grin*


Sunday, November 13, 2011

More Trees

Seems like all I ever paint on canvases are trees.... but what can I say? They are easy. It took me a while to get this one right though. First attempt was a fail.


Mercy! I am extremely unhappy with this. Not only do the trees in the back look bad, but I was way too heavy handed with the antiquing. Not to mention that weird little empty blob on the right side...don't know how that happened... Back to the drawing board.

I filled in behind the brown tree limbs with a different color blue, dabbed a bit of white in the top left corner, and black in the bottom right corner, blocked in a simple white tree in the background, flicked some white and black paint on it and called'er done.


Much better. This is for a silent auction benefiting Special Olympics. I hope someone likes it enough to bid on it.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Hot Pads

Catchy title huh? Couldn't think of anything else. But, I wanted to share what I finished up this week. Every piece of fabric used here, came from the stash my mother left. She loved and adored Christmas and was always making something for it.


I learned some lessons with them...

They aren't thick enough. So, next time I'll add more "innerds".

I am not good at binding. The more I do, the more I realize I'm just not good at it. I should have done it by hand, but as always, I was in a hurry. They are for several folks as a gift, and I wanted them ready to give out right after Thanksgiving. Next time, I'll seam them together and turn them right side out. No binding.

If I come up with more free time....tis to laugh...I'll make more for myself and take some Minutes for Me.

In any case, They are done, they are usable, and they were made with love. I would be happy to receive one and kept two for myself. The ones that didn't make the cut. Ha!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Stepping Up

Ok, so I ran to the local Walmart and grabbed a few groceries this morning, with LMW in tow. While there, I purchased some dark red braid to finish out a bench redo. I took leftover fabric from reupholstering my dining chairs, and recovered this ugly thing I was deluded in thinking was nice. Ugh.


How sad....how terribly sad. What was I thinking? I wasn't, that's the problem. Oh well. Drum roll please......


I'm in love. And I know this time, it really does look better than it did when I began. I was going to buy some hangy down trim, but didn't want to cover up any of the cool legs.


This is a bench my grandfather made from scraps. It was an ugly gray color and was just plain wood. I used it for years as a step stool, and decided to step up my game with it. I'm very happy at the result. (Now)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Lamp Post

A post about a lamp...lamp post...play on words?....ahem


I posted earlier that I intended to redo this lamp I wound up with, from my mother's household things. She was famous for having U G L Y lamps all over the house and it was a family joke. Since I needed a lamp, I took the least ugly one and decided to fix her up some.  Sister #1 doubted the possibility of making it usable and I took that challenge.

Plan A
I first thought to paint the entire thing shades of white and gray. Therefore I primed the base, and painted the shade. It took three good coats of gray paint to block out any light flowing through. I left the white on the base, and painted the wood parts gray. Hmmmm, not so happy with this.


Plan B
I bought a can of silver metallic spray paint and decided to make the base look like metal. With the first spray I didn't like it. And I also realized that everything in my house is either gold or brushed nickle finish.


Plan C
While trying to decide what to do to it now, I just covered the base with a red rusty brown looking primer and set it and the shade aside in my sewing room.


Plan D
While I looked at it every day for several days, I decided I kinda liked it this way. The color was more of a chocolate brown than red and it seemed to "fit" the lamp somehow. So, I decided to look for some fabric to cover the shade to match. I looked online and found something I absolutely loved, and it was perfect for what I had in mind.

I couldn't buy it, and had a revelation that I could paint the shade something like it. Sooo, here I go with cream colored spray paint to coat the shade first. While the shade dried, I coated the base with a glaze because I wanted it glossy.


Then I took out my trusty watercolor pencils to draw the design, and my craft paints. Let the fun begin!
When it was all finished, I put it together, stuck in a bulb, put it on the buffet and stepped back for a look see.

Before:


After:


As you can see, I reversed the dark and light from the fabric and am pretty pleased with the result.


I'm happy with my lamp post. *grin*

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

#craftingfail

Here is my latest creation that I was so proud of. I think it turned out beautifully. My son had taken an extremely long nap one day and I had time to roll up all the rosettes and pin them on (I had previously wrapped the wreath and it took me three nights to do it because I double-wrapped it) and get it hung up. Isn't it lovely? Yeah, I'm pretty humble. :-/


I hung it on our front door temporarily with a shower suction-cup hook thingie. I don't have a real wreath hanger and just wanted to see what it looked like for the time-being. I kept it up and called my mom and dad to come over to look at it and play with LMW.

We were playing outside and Dad said, "Something just fell in the house and broke." I thought, "Oh, the wreath fell but it couldn't have broken. It's styrofoam protected by yarn." I looked inside and sure enough, it was in the floor broken in three places.


Talk about heart-broken. I haven't had the gumption to tape it up/glue it back together and re-wrap it. I don't know if my heart can take it.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Oil and Water


Here is the finished redo of an old table. It's the first of many projects I mentioned in an earlier post.


The process was a bit aggravating, because of operator error, but I started out sanding and filling in cracks in the old lady.

It originally had a glass top, but when we bought it second hand, the glass was missing. My husband just put a piece of plywood in it and we used it that way for umpteen years. 

Next I primed it with just an average water based white primer. It had been in the garage for a while, and was a little globby, but seemed to smooth out as I worked. So far, so good.


Our local Walmart didn't have the color of paint I wanted without having to get it mixed, and that gets pricey, so I headed 30+ miles away to the nearest Home Depot. Found a lovely oil rubbed bronze color that I wanted to try. I didn't know if it would look right on a piece of furniture like this, but was willing to experiment.

Got home, set everything up and opened the can...I didn't pay attention bought the wrong type of paint! That's right, oil based. Grumble grumble. Well, let me see how this will play out. Can you use oil based over water based??

Stirred the paint and it was thick as MO-Lasses. I had a bit of paint thinner, and added that, but it really didn't help much. The more I painted, the thicker it got. It was labeled "Fast Drying" but it took a whole day and night to dry enough to see how it was going to look. I was wailing and pulling on my hair by this time. 
I seem to always have issues when I try to paint something. I just don't understand this!!

Next day, I checked on it, and other than smelling to high heaven, it looked better than I'd hoped. But it needed another coat. I had to run to the local wally world this time and get some mineral spirits. Poured it into a bowl with a bit of paint and the process was much easier.

I decided I wanted to high light the scroll work, so I took out a can of rusty brown spray paint, sprayed it on a rag, and dabbed it on the raised part. Hmmmm, that looks ok thinks me. Added a coat of what was supposed to be "satin" poly, and wound up with a shiney shiney thing. Oh well.

It's done, it looks nice, I like it and it will still hold up for another generation....I hope. :)

Before:


After:


Note and question: I edited the photos to rub out the cord to the lamp. Anyone have any good ideas for camouflaging an ugly cord where it's in plain sight?

Friday, October 21, 2011

The First Ornament

I finished the first ornament of the 2011 Christmas season. I learned that I painted the face a little too large, and maybe made the fur on his hat a little too wide, but other than that, I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out. It wasn't too difficult either.


Actually, I did create another ornament, but it's for the ornament exchange and I don't want to reveal it just yet.
Soooo, it begins....HO! HO! HO!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Construction Junction

There's a song going on in my head now from "Schoolhouse Rock"...
Conjunction Junction, what's your function?......
That will be an earworm all day, I can see that now. *grin*

Here is the latest NICU quilt. Nothing intricate or involved.


I found a throw at our local "Spirit of Sharing" facility. (Goodwill type place) It seemed to be in pretty good shape, almost new, so I purchased it for a couple of bucks and washed it well. I thought it would be a fast, easy top for a quilt, since I wanted one more done before I delivered to St. Vincent's. I added the border to enlarge it, since it wasn't as big as I wanted, and then quilted it to some more fleece.


I learned that fleece on fleece can wind up just a tad wonky. But, I'm not worried about it since it's not terribly noticeable. And I'm sure if it were me receiving it, I wouldn't care how wonky it was. I hope and pray it blesses the child and parents who receive it.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Weekend Work 10-17-11

I finished a NICU quilt and I'm happier with it than with any I've done before.


I think it was a combination of things. Blue and green are my favorite colors, I tried something new with the bow ties...


And my new machine is working like a dream. (After I've figured out more things about it.)
So, this one is my favorite so far.


I also began working on some furniture painting and lamp reconfiguring. It's been a frustrating process that I'll tell you about in a later post. In the meantime, here are some of the items I have plans to upgrade. Can anyone say U G L Y?

Lamp rejected from my Mom's home.

Beaten and bruised.


My first attempt as making a plain bench into a seat. Epic fail.


At least it matches the truck here...

We've had this table ever since my children were little. It just needs a facelift and it'll be good as new! It's still sturdy and usable and I don't want to trash it.

My, I didn't realize how much work I had ahead of me until I posted all the photos! Fortunately, the two tables are close to being done, and I have a good plan for the lamp. The chair will be a major undertaking. It belonged to my grandmother. I really would like most of this done by Thanksgiving, so wish me luck!