Monday, October 29, 2012

Workin' On the Guest Room

I live my life on lay-away,  doin' a little at a time, and that's how I'm re-doing the guest bedroom. I don't have before pictures, one result of doing things so haphazardly, and I'm not finished, which is another result. But here are some pics of where I am at the moment.

I wanted to add hits of white, without painting furniture, which I neither like to do nor do well.
These pics are of the hub's family, previously framed in some wooden frames I didn't want to paint. So I found some cheap ones at Walmart, painted them up with Annie Sloan chalk paint and covered some mats in old wallpaper graphics from Graphics Fairy. (The bear was part of a gift from the hub in the early eighties. His paws are clips and they held a gold chain. I think I like the bear every bit as much as I do the gold chain. The bit of tatting around his neck is something I picked up long ago in a box of old linens.)
I made the bedskirt of medium weight linen from Dharma Trading. Need I say I did it in bits, and it took forever? For quite a while I had only the end and one side finished--and on the bed. I ran out of linen and had to order more, and then couldn't remember what weight I'd used and wound up mis-ordering twice before I finally got the right weight. Which just gives me gobs more linen to use in sewing.

I go the easy route on making bedskirts, constructing them as if they were an actual skirt with fabric gathered onto a "waistband," which is  upholstery-pinned to the mattress. Then I can change them out easily without removing the mattress.
Another Graphics Fairy image, Citra-solve transferred to a linen/cotton blend  from Dharma Trading (one of the mis-orders). The first time I ever did the Citra-solve method, it smudged a little at the top, but I won't tell if you don't.
This is a vignette I'm not yet happy with yet. (Aside from the fact that it's messy. I read in this room, hence the reading glasses I usually corral in the pottery.) The doll was a gift from my baby sister a few years back, and I'd been displaying itr in a sewing machine drawer I didn't want to paint. So, instead, I painted up an old clementine box, added some corkboard in the back to hide some staining from clementines gone bad, and used the Mod Podge method to transfer another Graphics Fairy image. (Like Graphics Fairy much? Yes, I do!) The books are covered with wallpaper images, also from Graphics Fairy. One of the things I still plan to do is tie them up with twine, instead of the lace, and add a number tag.
I have no good reason to show this side of the bed, except for what I consider my ingenuity. A couple of years ago, I bought a bedside table that was equal to the height of the mattress, which this table is not. The top on the new one was messed up where someone had scratched a name into the finish. I bought it anyway, thinking I could use the furniture/refinisher stuff to even out the finish. Didn't work, so the hub started sanding. The top is now beautifully sanded, but the rest needs to be done--it has two drawers. So the table has been sitting in his workshop ever since. It's too hot to work on it in the summer, which we have a lot of here in Texas, and when it's not summer, we've both forgotten about it. So this was my "temporary" fix. I stacked books up to reach the height of the bed and added a tray across the back to set the lamp on. The table in the shop may or may not ever get finished, but this is working so I'm not complaining.

I'll be sharing this post with The Graphics Fairy Brag Monday. Check it out--there's some really clever people out there in blog-land. Also sharing at Chic on a Shoestring's Flaunt it Friday.

Friday, July 20, 2012

And Yet More Cards

Last post, I talked of all the celebrations to come this week but only shared one card I made. I thought now I'd show you the others.

For my anniversary card, I was inspired by this framed quote from a little about a LOT
Here's mine:
And yes, I realize I put fried fish twice. When we were young, I pretty much fried fish every Friday, but even so it was a mistake I made transferring the words onto the image. And yes, he noticed. :^P

The card for my used-to-be next door neighbor was inspired by Yuriko Craft 4 You .
Now mine:
I used a note card from Michael's dollar section as the base along with leftover paper bits and some vintage buttons. (About fifteen years ago, Patsy, who was then my neighbor, now in her mid-eighties, gave me a cigar box full of buttons from her grandmother. I don't know that these are from that box--I've picked up many containers of old buttons since then--but vintage buttons always remind me of Patsy, which, I think, makes this card very appropriate.)

And that's all for now. Have a good 'un.

Friday, July 13, 2012

July Celebrations

Lots to celebrate this month! First, my cat's birthday, and, no, I don't know the exact date he was born. We brought him home October 13, 2001, and the vet said he was four months old so we reckoned July.
Isn't he a cutie? Heart of my heart.

My anniversary is the 19th--this will be my 48th. Yeah, I know; that's a long time, and I wouldn't trade one day of it. I'm lucky enough to be married to my best friend.

On the birthday front, a dear friend's is the 14th; that's tomorrow as I'm writing this, and another, a used-to-be neighbor's, is the 20th, and a sister's is the 21st.

That's a lot of card-making, and I only have one finished.
I printed an Audrey Hepburn quote onto light gray cardstock and added buttons and ribbon at the bottom (to hide the fact that I'd printed the quote too high). The envelope is made from a gray and black print scrapbook paper.

So now you know what I'll be doing next week: more cards. (At least, Max doesn't require one.)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Button Cards

I'm a beginner at card making. My attempts in the past have simply been quotes printed on cardstock. After tooling around the 'net for inspiration, I decided to spread my wings a bit.
For this one, I used a stamp, blocking the flowers on it with masking tape, before I loaded it up, then stitching on vintage buttons as flowers. For the yellow flower, I used green cord, and it was a doozer to get through the card and the buttons. I wound up with less than I needed to tie a double knot so I dabbed a bit of tacky glue over the single knot and covered the glue and knot with a star punched from yellow paper. For the peach button, I used  crochet cotton I'd colored with green ink. All the envelopes, I lined with green striped paper.
For this one, I put text above a clip art bicycle and printed it onto white cardstock, which I cut into a tag shape. I stitched buttons over the wheels, tied the tag with ribbon and glued it onto a card covered with green patterned paper.
I used clip art for this one too and did the same printing onto cardstock and cutting into a tag routine. The background on this is strips of printed paper glued onto a piece of cardstock, then attached to a card.
This is similar to my earlier ones in that it's a famous person quote, but different in the extras. (The others had none.) I used printed cardstock as a frame around the quote and embellished with buttons.
This one's simple, but I think it looks elegant. Just a stamp on a piece of white cardstock, backed by a bit of patterned cardstock, beneath strips of three different cardstocks, one patterned, the other two plain. And five vintage buttons stitched on with vintage crochet cotton.
The last is the one I actually began with. I did the banner and intended simply to stamp some kind of something below it, but I'd gotten into a button mood so added them here as well.

And that's about it for cards right now. I have another GG birthday in August I need to prepare for, but I have plenty of time for that. My next project is finishing the bedskirt I'm making for the guest room.


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Birthday Time

I have a group of friends whose lives don't allow us to get together as much as we'd like, or as much as we used to, but we always manage to celebrate birthdays. (Funny thing is that with the seven of us we have two birthdays in January, two in March, one in July, and two in August.)

Tomorrow, we're celebrating the July birthday with lunch at my sister's house.

We've also sworn off gift-giving, for the most part, that is. I, being the only crafty one in the bunch, like to bring something I made; I maintain that's allowable. This year, beginning in January, I've made each birthday girl a set of cards, using quotes by famous people, similar to these from Etched in Time's Etsy shop.
For the first two birthdays, I chose Austen and Einstein quotes. The second set were Lucille Ball and Mae West. This time I used Dolly Parton.

I started with a box and a set of stickers I picked up at Target's dollar section.
The size of the box dictated the size of the card, and the size of the card told me it wanted more than just the typography I used in the earlier ones. So I pulled clipart from the 'net. 
These are Parton quotes I found on the 'net: "Find out who you are, and do it on purpose." "The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain."  "We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails." "My weakness has always been food and men, in that order." "Storms make trees take deeper roots." "If you don't like the road you're walking, start paving another."
I don't make envelopes from a template, which is why some look different than others. I like to call it the handmade quality. ;^) Here I used a pack of scrapbooking paper I picked up from the dollar store.
I had to cut the stickers down to fit into the box.
 Tied up--the cards, the stickers, and the envelopes.
 Tucked inside the box.
Tied with ribbon that matches and a boutonniere made of button flowers with a felt leaf.
And with it, another handmade card to wish the birthday girl lots of happiness. (And yes, even I can see that I could have/should have tied more of it together than I did, the reason I didn't being that I had to use what I had on hand. That happens when you live far from decent stores.)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Finally Done!

I'm mailing off the completed bridal bouquet today and wanted to share it.
The completed bouquet: I'm loving the bride's choice of ribbon for the wrapped handle. I think I mentioned that it's a gorgeous vintage silk.

Melissa's been a delight to work with. I've come to admire her greatly, so I included a couple of "gifties" for her. The first is a sachet I made using a photo she posted on her blog.
I used the freezer paper transfer method to print the photo of the happy couple onto linen, then backed the sachet with the same linen, and filled it with dried lavender from my own garden.
The final "giftie" is a boutonniere I made for the groom.

I'm charting new territory here in making both the bouquet and the bout, but I had fun doing it. And as I like to say, That's better'n a sharp stick in the eye. (Of course, I'm usually talking about something unpleasant.)

Monday, June 11, 2012

Birthday Card Knock-off

I'm new to the card-making scene, but I'm totally loving what little I've done so far. Whenever it's time to send a card--if there's time enough--I start looking through the 'net to find ideas. This one I came up with on Pinterest.
Clever, innit? Mine's a very loose interpretation, partly because I didn't have small clothspins, which would have been difficult to send through the mail anyway, and partly because...well, just because.

Here's mine:
Several things are different. 1) I used the font Andy for the primary wording, and a different font for the word Perfect--can't remember offhand which. 2) I used a colored vintage MOP button. I'm thinking I like the white better, and I certainly have a lot of those, but don't feel like changing it. 3) I used crochet thread for the stitching; next time I'll use regular sewing thread. 4) I drew clothespins, cut them out, as ittie-bittie tiny as they are, and glued them down. 5.) My socks are scrapbook paper, not the cool hand-colored ones of the original, and they're stuck onto the card rather than standing out.

Next one I make--and I will make it again--I'll try to get it more like the original with one exception. I think the wording should be: Friends are like socks. We make the perfect pair.

Still, I think it'll be a pretty nice birthday card for a dear, dear friend.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Recycling--Is it always a good thing?

I just finished a project that makes me wonder if recycling is always the best thing to do.

On my last visit to the thrift store, I picked up a valance obviously intended for a child's room. I have no children, therefore no grandchildren, ergo no need for a child's window valance. But it was cute and marked down--making it a buck fifteen--and who can pass that up when the materials are obviously calling out to be something else? Besides, it had obviously been there a while for the price to be cut in half.

As usual, I forgot to take a before photo so in this shot I tried to give you an idea of how I started. The valance was a length of the background check with four animal patches affixed--a horse at each end and a giraffe and elephant in the middle--with a small print border at the bottom and tabs made of each of the colors of the animals.
As the animals were placed too close together to center onto my tea cozy pattern, I added a grass applique onto each, using the tab fabric. The elephant and giraffe I was able to remove from the valance to use in a later project. (So why didn't I simply remove the horse patches and center them? In removing the elephant I left glue behind and I was afraid I'd mess up my background fabric if I tried it with the horses.)
I used the lining of the valance for the cozy lining, simply quilting it with some batting for insulation.
Excepting the last bit of handwork still to be done, here's a shot of the finished cozy. Not too bad for $1.15,  IMHO.

I still have enough of the background fabric to use as a backing on another tea cozy, still to come, and the elephant and zebra patches. So what do you think? Was recycling a good move here?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Still More Bouquet Photos

If you think this bouquet has taken over my life, you're probably right. I'm dreaming of felt flowers. (Also dreaming of Elizabeth Bennet since my favorite way to do handwork is watching movies made from Jane Austen's novels. I watched the whole set of the BBC movies from thirty or so years ago plus a couple of different Pride and Prejudices, and my latest obsession is BBC's Lost in Austen. I've seen that so many times I know the dialog almost as good as the actors do. But when Elizabeth Bennet starts making felt flowers in my dreams, I'm thinking I've had too much of one or the other.)

Currently I'm working on keeping the turquoise flower from seeming out of place. I may have overdone the turquoise additions in the next few pictures.
We replaced the large turquoise leaves at the bottom with leaves of a darker green so I cut the large turquoise leaves into smaller shapes.One is shown here along with a lily with a turquoise center and the white flower below with a turquoise handmade bead. The turquoise felt just above the leaf is a lily with a green center.

I've wrapped the base with a satin ribbon to give the client an idea of how a wrapped handle looks. She's chosen the vintage ribbon beside it for the finished bouquet.
A different view with another turquoise leaf. You can see the tip of the turquoise flower on the right and a turquoise bead inside a flower just above the leaf.
Yet another view. On the left is one of the darker green leaves I added at the base and there's yet another lily with a turquoise center.
Another view. To the left you see the turquoise lily with green center, which means we've been all around this view of the bouquet.
A view from the top.
And another.
And the last.

I'm thinking the turquoise lily is definitely too much. I'm not sure about all the turquoise leaves. There are three; and I'm thinking I should cut it down at least to two, maybe even to just one. That, along with the original turquoise flower and the turquoise centers to the other flowers may be enough.

Thoughts anyone? It would be much appreciated.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Bouquet Update

My client requested I take a photo of the bouquet I'm making her with someone holding it so she could get an idea of how it would look in situ. As I didn't want to be the one holding it nor did I imagine the hub would either, I captured my niece who was spending Memorial Day weekend with her MIL. Of course, I didn't get over to Sunny's until the afternoon and, her living on the lake, by the time I got there, almost everyone had been in the water. Laura was game anyway. (Isn't she a cutie?)
The client wanted to see the bouquet both with and without the turquoise flower that inspired her. In an attempt to make it not appear out of place amidst all the creams and whites, I added some blue in other places, including a few turquoise leaves.
She's uncertain whether she likes the turquoise leaves, as am I. They look The flower is made of a fulled sweater, the leaves are new wool felt. Today I tried to make them look not so slick by first soaking them in tea--didn't work--then I put them into a container with a mixture of bleach, water and marbles, then into the dryer. (Don't ask what I was trying to achieve with the marbles; it didn't work. Did you know wool will melt if left too long in pure bleach? That's how I tell if the felt I pick up at thrift stores is wool or synthetic or a blend. If wool, it melts entirely, if synthetic, not at all, if a blend, only the wool melts and the other fibers remain.) I made the bleach mixture weak and didn't leave the leaves in for long before putting them in the dryer. I think the dryer worked best; what came out doesn't appear any less colorful but it's also not as slick as new felt.
This is the bouquet sans turquoise flower and leaves with only the creams and whites and green leaves remaining.
So we're going with the turquoise flower, and I'm adding bits of turquoise to tie it in better, like beads and buttons and wool roving as centers to a few flowers. I should be able to get to the wrapping of the handle this week, one step closer to being done.

Somebody remind me next time that this is a lot more work than I anticipated. You can also remind me that I'm loving every minute of it. Time versus enjoyment; pretty good balance, I'd say.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Bouquet Addendum

I'm stuck inside today. The hub's in the back lot, digging a trench to irrigate a patch of flowers, and I have to wait for a delivery, which means I can't even retreat to my studio in the backyard.

So--I brought in some handwork along with my light box to photograph the new rendition of the bridal bouquet I'm working on. Since the bride-to-be prefers flowers without embroidery or stacked buttons, I've made several new  to replace the ones with those elements. 
Now I'm working on arrangement. In these first few photos, I placed the flowers in a bouquet, then the leaves below that, then the hydrangeas.
Another view, same arrangement. I've strung beads onto wire loops as additional filler.
Yet another view. Though this flower--and one other--has embroidery, she chose to keep these two.
 This is the last photo with that same arrangement.
Next, I stuck the leaves into the central bouquet with only the hydrangeas as the bottom layer. (There's another arrangement I want to try so I didn't tie the ribbon around this bouquet.)
 Different view, same arrangement.
This is the last view of the second arrangement.

There's one last arrangement I want to try for, inspired by this one at A Thousand Screaming Rabbits.

The components I've put together--and the color scheme--will make it very different, but I think I'd like to see what I can come up with. Gorgeous, innit?