Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Thrifty Find of the Week

Everyone loves a good thrift find, right?
Here's my newest favorite. A vintage metal mum brooch:
It's so fun to wear! At $3, if Z slimes it (or even breaks it--though that would be a sad day) I won't be devastated. I can't say that for my Lia Sophia jewelry!

Unlike most of the other vintage enameled jewelry that I've found at thrift stores, this one has no nicks or scratches (yet). So far I have worn it as a brooch (duh) and as a necklace connecter (off to the side ala--Emma Pillsbury). It would also look super cute as a hair clip or on a knitted beanie. 

Saturday, February 19, 2011


Attempt #1
When I was a kid, our grandma had a huge stash of plastic canvas and yarn. She would work on her counted  cross-stitch and we would go to town on plastic canvas. The other day, I found this website: and thought, "I could do that!"

I picked up a hoop, floss, and needles on the most recent trip to the craft store, came home and tried it out. Since I didn't have any transfer paper, I lightly freehanded the rabbit onto a flour sack towel. In retrospect, the flowers also should have been sketched--the curves would have been smoother and instead of focusing on making the line curve, I could have focused on making even stitches.
Next time will be better and maybe some stitching on baby shoes?

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Sewing saga

Here is what I did with the wonderful fabric!

First, I made a table runner. I picked the fabric in mid-December because it looked Christmasy, but not so Christmasy that it couldn't last through Valentine's day. (Once upon a time K and I didn't take down our tree until March, but that's another story.)

The table runner has took up residence on our coffee table a week or so before Christmas.  After the table runner (which is extra long), there was one lonely strip of fabric left.  I briefly contemplated trimming some red towels which had frayed in the wash (first wash) with the scraps, but that sounded too fancy and, really, if the towels fray in the first wash I don't want to put that much effort into them anyways.

*This* is my sewing machine:

It's an awful thing. It was $5 at a garage sale. It seems to hate needles. It likes to break them. The "gas pedal" has no slow. If you're going to sew with this machine, you're gonna sew fast! Just try to sew bias tape straight and on high speed.

Also, I decided not to buy any new fabric for this project. I started off with the leftover fabric from the table runner (see the sneak peek) and some flannel left over from making cloth baby wipes last summer.

I had enough to make three layers of flannel. To this, I added a layer of grey flannel. Only, I didn't have a big enough piece--so I sewed two smaller pieces together.

The plain grey looked kind of boring (on the back of the table runner, no one sees it). So I appliquéd a heart (fabric leftover from a valance) to the grey flannel.
 The contrast between the two sides was a little too much, so I used another scrap of the "main" fabric to create another appliqué for the grey side.
 But then, I used red thread. It was ugly. Out came the seam ripper for the first time. The thread was replaced with a blue that unexpectedly matched perfectly (thread was originally bought for a project that turned out to be impossible on my $5-high-speed machine).
 Four layers of flannel probably was enough, but I despise getting scorched fingers when lifting pans out of the oven. To be safe, a few scrappy pieces of terry cloth were cobbled together. I used a big zig zag because proper seams would have been too bulky. I also didn't bother to change the thread because this layer is sandwiched and will not be seen.
 Then I "quilted" all the inside layers together in a starburst and sewing from the center to the edge.
 Then the table runner fabric was added on and quilted with three lines following the pattern on the fabric.
Then, the grey flannel with appliqués was sewn on, edges trimmed and finished with red bias tape (left over from the table runner. My machine also does not do buttonholes, so that part was hand sewn. The button is vintage and I think is from a bag of buttons that my sister-in-law's mom gave me.

Finished product:

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Catching up slowly

It's nearly a month past Christmas. I suppose there should be some posting activity going on 'round-abouts-here.

Since the new year K and I have been doing the 30 Day Shred! I had started it before, but had a hard time getting into level 2 (it's so hard with all those LIFTS and PLANKS and crazy exercises that I'm pretty sure Jillian just made up for the express purpose of making me feel weak). I can now say we are solidly into level 2 and will be staying there for quite some time. Hopefully we'll graduate to hiking by springtime.

Some crafting has been getting done around our house lately. I'll give you a sneak peek here in a second. While you're waiting, here's a list of things that are on my "to-do-and-post-on-the-blog list" for the next several months.

Refinish the free-by-the-side-of-the-road dining chairs. I really want to recover the seats in a nice Amy Butler or Kokka oilcloth.  (mmm... I'm getting really addicted to fabric and Joanne's is not satisfying me in the oilcloth department. This could get expensive.)

Paint an accent wall in the living room. Not sure yet about the color, but right now we're leaning towards a dark reddish purple. Said wall might get vinyl accents, or stenciled, or perhaps just painted a solid color and some art.

Finish the giant canvas my sister-in-law gave me. My sister-in-law gave me a gigantic canvas awhile ago (it is too big to fit on the easel K gave me for Christmas!) that was already painted. I've painted over it--but did a shoddy job sanding the textures down and now what I'm painting on it isn't really working.

Those three things should keep me busy for awhile--and that's if I work diligently on them! Z did take a two hour nap (his longest ever!) today. If this becomes regular finishing projects might happen.

Oh, and I almost forgot--here's the sneak peek.