Friday, June 26, 2009

#33...take your shoes on a trip

When traveling, I used to pack my shoes in plastic grocery bags, and although it is great to reuse, repurpose and all that, they sure do not look tres chic when you open you suitcase at your destination. I decided to end the grocery sack ugliness going on inside my suitcase by making some simple, cute shoe sleeves to tote my shoes on vacation.

To make them all you need is a half a yard of fabric (any type of quilter's cotton or cotton/poly blend works great), thread, iron and a sewing machine. Half a yard of fabric will make two sleeves, which can fit either two pairs of shoes or one boot each. These are a great project for new sewers and great gifts for traveling friends. It takes about 20 minutes to make two sleeves.

Here's how you do it:

#1 Cut two pieces of fabric into a square 18" x 18"

#2 Turn under 1/4" on two opposite sides of the square. Press. Turn under same two sides again, totally encasing the raw edge. Straight stitch across the turned under hems. (These sides are the top and bottom of the sleeve)

#3 Fold the square in half with the right sides out matching up the two unsewn sides of the square. Stitch 1/4" seam down side of sleeve. Clip the seam edge close to the seam. Now turn the tube inside out and press the seam edges together from the inside and and sew down 1/4" on the side seam again, this time with the right sides together. When you turn the tube back right side out, the inside seam will be totally encased without any raw edges. This is called a French Seam, and it will help keep your sleeve from unraveling and having messy, stringy hems. Click here to see an online tutorial with pictures of how this seam is made.

#4 Once your sleeve is turned right side out, you now have a finished tube. Simply sew across one of the open sides to close it and form the bottom.'re done!

When I get home from my trip I simply throw them in the wash with the rest of my laundry. The same 8 sleeves have been traveling with me for several years now, making them a very green travel accessory.

Happy Trails!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

#32...learning my upholstery limits

The other day, I posted a chair that I recovered myself.......however, I do have upholstery limits. For example, pictured above is a chair I found on ebay for $10 (please note that it cost $90 to ship to me.) The leather that came on it looks surprisingly good in this photo, but in actuality it was cracked, dried out and came off the chair when you brushed against it. The chair is an Ekornes Stressless recliner from the 1970's. Originally, I really wanted an Eames Lounge chair, but Tyler wanted something a little taller than Eames, so we settled on this vintage Ekornes. I bought $25 worth of white marine grade vinyl and took it to the upholsterer. He charged me $175 to recover it.....bringing my total for the chair to $300, which I was happy to pay, as I could not have accomplished all of the button detail had I tried to recover this myself.


Monday, June 22, 2009

#31...make a statement baby

Inspired by the hand printing projects in both Lena Corwin's book Printing by Hand, and Lotta Jansdotter's book How to Print with Anything from Potatoes to Linoleum, I started hand printing these personalized baby onesies as gifts for expecting friends. They were a big hit, and people started placing orders. It just dawned on me that I should list them in my Etsy shop. (sometimes I am slow to recognize business potential)

People have come up with the funniest things for me to print on the onesies. The options are really endless. I print on 100% cotton plain onesies that I buy from the store. I use hard plastic letter stamps that I individually paint with
Jacquard textile paint and print onto the onesie. Once printed, the onesie can be machine washed and dried. I like to make a little tulle bag to gift package the onesie in, making it easy to wrap and give away!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

#30...upholstered slipper chair

I have tried a few upholstery projects in my day. Some have been successful, others have ended in frustration with expensive fabric cut-up and ruined on the floor. I own several books on the subject of upholstery, and despite that they offer good step-by-step instructions, I find that I have learned the most from trial and error.

I recently bought a new upholstery book, Matthew Haly's Book of Upholstery. The pictures were what sold me. It has beautiful, modern ideas for upholstery projects for the home. I was inspired looking through the pages to attempt covering the below slipper chair for my sister-in-law-to-be Kelly for her birthday. I was pleased with how the chair turned out.

A few things I have learned about upholstery projects:
* If your piece is a family heirloom, antique or expensive piece.....take it to a professional.
* Start with something easy, like recovering dining chair seats



Monday, June 15, 2009

#29...wire basket lighting

When I came across this charming and unconventional bedside lighting idea in a back issue of Country Home magazine (march 2005 issue), I set about making my own version to flank my guest bed in my loft space. The bed fits tightly into the space, with only about 18 inches on either side of the bed, so I needed a light that did not take up floor space, lit the dark corners, and served as a night stand.

Inspired by the wire basket, I found two wire window boxes that had a metal tray in the bottom of them for plants. I bent the metal tray edges out a bit, so that it no longer fit inside the window box and actually rested on top, creating a little ledge. I attached the boxes to the wall on either side of the bed at night stand height.

Instead of installing a lamp kit into the wire box (as in the inspiration pic), I purchased two strands of white holiday lights (making sure they were strung on white cord not green), and put one inside each window box in somewhat of a jumbled bird's nest fashion. I placed the tray on top and dropped the plug through the bottom of the box and plugged into the nearest outlet. My wall outlets happen to be connected to a wall light switch, so it is easy to turn the lights on an off with the switch. (If the lights were not plugged into an outlet operated by a wall switch, it would be fairly easy to splice the holiday wire coming out of the bottom of the box and put a small on-off switch on the cord, allowing it to operate like most table lamps. Any home improvement store sells this type of self-install switch, and the instructions on the back of the package are easy to follow.)

This project cost less than $30 for each light. I found the window boxes for $20 each, and each string of holiday lights cost about $5. I love how the guest bed corner sparkles when the lights are on!

Friday, June 12, 2009!!!!

Despite the circus-like appearance of this tent, we are not having a grand time under this big top.....but a bunch of termites are! If you live in a wood house in the south, at some point, despite your best efforts at pest control, you may find yourself with a wee bit of a termite problem. In that case, a company comes, tents the house, pumps poisonous gas in, and lets it sit in the house for 24 hours, killing every flying, crawling and scurrying critter. This is not a DIY project, and it is sort of a pain to have to undergo this, but it is one of the challenges of living in an older wooden home.
Today, I am experiencing unusual (much like the oddness of tenting a house like a circus to kill bugs), technical, BLOGGING PROBLEMS! For some reason, blogger is only allowing me to upload one photo to my blog. If I try to upload more, it acts normally for the upload, and then the photos disappear when I try to preview or post. It is some weird circus-like vanishing act! I have tried a few HTML tricks that I found on the blogger help forums, but no matter what I do it only lets one picture post.....if there is anyone out there reading this, who has any idea what I am talking about, I would really appreciate any help/advice..... I am hopeful that someone more computer savvy than I can help me sail through these issues with the greatest of ease!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009 pipe decor

When searching for curtain rods for my TV room/home office, I wanted something industrial looking and simple to cover the bank of windows pictured above, and one just like it on another wall. Every curtain rod that I priced was several hundred dollars, and out of my range.

My husband Tyler came up with the idea that we try making our curtain rods out of plumbing pipe, plumbing flanges and U-bolts, that we purchased at Home Depot.
The cost of making plumbing pipe drapery rods was significantly less than almost every other type of rod. Here are the parts that we used to make them:
2 flanges (about $2-$3 each)
2 elbow pieces ( about $2 each)
Plumbing pipe costs anywhere from $1 - $3 a foot. It comes in various thicknesses.....i.e. 1/2" or 3/4" or 1". The flanges and elbows also come in these widths, and you need to be sure that all sizes match. Pipe can be cut and threaded to any length (about 50 cents a cut at Home Depot/Lowe's)
U-bolts to serve as curtain rings (about $1 each)
We really like how the rods turned out, they are very sturdy no matter how hard you yank the drapery back and forth. And the beauty of the pipe is that they will never bow or sag.

Friday, June 5, 2009 banner for baby

The above image, which I found on Domino Magazine's former website, was the inspiration behind the orange spray painted airplane canvas that I previously posted, and the name banner in today's post. I crafted a similar name banner for baby Andrew's new room, and hung it spanning the window to serve as a valence of sorts.Here's how I made it:

I purchased two 12"x12" scrapbook paper stacks from Joann Fabric & Crafts, entitled "All About Boys". Joanns has a lot of paper stack options on-line, and some of the same stacks in the store. I did not end up using all of the paper I bought, I can probably make another name banner with the leftovers, however having two stacks gave me more sheets of each individual paper pattern and allowed me the ability to use the same pattern in different spots in the banner.

I decided which papers I wanted to use for the backgrounds, trying to vary light and dark papers and spread out the colors throughout the banner. I cut each of the backgrounds into an 8 1/2" x 11" rectangle.

Next, I used Microsoft Word to print various fonts for the letters. Once I found fonts that I liked, I made the font size between 600 and 650 depending on the letter. I wanted the letters to be close to the same size, and not all fonts are the same size, so I had to play around with this part a bit. I printed the letters one per page in 10% grey scale (as not to waste black ink)
After printing the letters I cut them all out, creating templates.
Next I chose which papers I wanted to use for the letters, trying to insure that each letter contrasted each background and really stood out, so that they could be read from a distance. I traced each letter onto the back of chosen papers, tracing each letter backwards, so that when cut out the pencil lines would not show on the face of the paper, yet the letter would be facing the correct direction on the paper front . Using a small foam brush, I painted a thin coat of matte Modge Podge on each letter and placed them onto the background papers. Once dry, I applied a Modge Podge coat to the entire surface. Once dry, I placed the letters between sheets of wax paper and flattened them under a stack of books overnight. After flattening, I worried that the letters would curl over time, so I decided to make the letters a little bit stiffer by adhering a 140lb. card stock paper to the back of each letter. I tried a spray adhesive, but the letters started peeling off the backing, so I again used Modge Podge to glue the papers together and once dry, re-flattened for a few days.
Finally time to hang! I purchased some mini silver binder clips from Office Max, and some picture hanging wire and eyehooks from the hardware store. I screwed the eyehook into the top of the window frame, attached the wire and strung the wire across to the eyehook on the opposite side. I did not tighten down the right side of the wire until hanging all of the letters by their clips, in case the wire needed to be let out or tighten to raise or lower the banner. Once it was set in position I wrapped the right side of the wire around the right eyehook and Voila!
This project took me about 5 hours to make, and cost about $50 for papers, hanging materials, and Modge Podge. It really adds a lot to the plain window in Andrew's room, and was fun & simple, albeit tedious, to make!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

#25...simple spray paint art

I recently took a job helping a new mother accessorize her new baby's nursery. She wanted to add some color to her nursery palette of brown, light blue and light green. One of the projects I did for the nursery was to paint this bright orange airplane artwork. I did it with spray paint, and it was really simple to make the silhouette style piece.

I started with a white canvas from the art supply store. (This canvas was about 18" x 24") I opted for a canvas that was gallery wrapped around the edge, which means there are no staples showing and the canvas does not need framing.

Next, a perused google images looking for a "vintage airplane drawing" that would work for what I wanted to do. I found a tiny thumbnail picture of a plane in the position that I wanted, and I used my printer/copier to enlarge the plane to an appropriate size for my canvas. I then cut out the plane shape creating my template. I traced the plane template onto poster board, as I thought that copy paper may bleed through when I did the spraypainting. I drew the little plane puffs onto the poster board and cut them out as well.

With my three templates in hand, I laid them down onto my canvas and played around with the arrangement until I liked the composition. Next I used removable double sided tape and taped the three templates to the canvas, being certain that the edges of each shape laid down nice and flat.

I set up some newspaper in the yard, and using a Rustoleum Enamel Gloss spray paint from Home Depot, I started by spraying each edge of the canvas, trying not to get too much overspray on the face of the canvas. Once the sides dried, I laid the canvas down onto the paper and sprayed several thin layers of the bright orange paint over the canvas, being careful that I sprayed straight down onto the canvas and not from the side, (which may cause paint to leak under the templates.) Once I was satisfied with the orange coverage, I immediately used the tip of a knife to gently lift the plane and air puff templates off of the canvas, revealing the white silhouette. Once it was dry, I coated the entire surface with an acrylic matte varnish from the art supply store, to give it a more smooth surface and finished look.

The project took less than 2 hours, and cost less than $25 for the canvas, spray paint, poster board and varnish. I have done other silhouette artwork pieces in the past, and those required cutting the silhouette out of paper, and mounting it onto a background decoupage style. I like that this canvas is one smooth piece of art and does not have a collage effect like layered paper artwork has.
My camera's focus was off when I took these, so these shots are a bit fuzzy.
Don't worry it is not your eyes!