sewing


25+ years ago my mom handed me a muslin bag full of vintage quilt squares, saying that I was more likely to do something with them than she was.  I  had good intentions;  over the years I researched “Grandma’s Fan” quilts, which was the pattern, and I ordered books on quilting.  But still the bag sat.

Finally in the fall of 2013 I signed up for a beginners quilting class and made my first quilt.  Amazingly, it was very easy and was pretty much completed in the 6 class sessions (okay, plus a little homework).  (Read it here)

So I clearly caught the quilting bug and was off and running.  For my next project, I decided to open that muslin bag and surprise my mom for her April birthday. There were plenty of squares for a queen-sized quilt and they’d been hand-stitched by my great-grandmother Irene back in the 1930s or 1940s out of feed sack cotton; she owned a bakery so acquired quite a few flour sacks!

Once I laid it out, I opted to highlight the white squares with a darker, navy border, which had a somewhat modern look that I knew my mom would like.

Did I mention it was QUEEN sized?!  I had no idea what I was getting into….I learned a lot about quilting on this beast….and quilted it on my own “domestic” Brother sewing machine.  Not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but certainly a labor of love for my mom.  Every stitch I thought about how surprised she’d be and how much I loved giving it to her.  And trust me….there were a LOT of stitches…like 5 spools of thread worth!

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You know by now I enjoy painting and finding the beauty in icky old pieces of furniture.  I hunt through Goodwill stores and other thrift stores, hunting for the $10 prize that just needs some attention to be brought back to its original beauty…or a better version!

Here’s my latest…sorry I always forget to take “before” pics, but trust me when I say this was one tired piece of furniture, with wet stains, chunks of wood missing, marker marks, etc.  and a $13 price tag.  I chalk-painted and waxed bottom and sanded/stained the top.

Look at her now!

I had just finished sewing valances for someone, so needed a new project.  So, of course we went to Goodwill to scope out the furniture area. Found a cute little table with drawer for just $6.00!  Rickety, but solid wood, so the perfect candidate.

I also happened to have a FREE quart of paint from Ace, who was giving them out last weekend in any color of your choosing.  I chose green…like Granny Smith apple green! (unsolicited endorsement;  that new Clark & Kensington paint they carry is super thick and comes in great colors)

Forgetting to shoot a ‘before’ pic, I did get one early on…but I absolutely love how it turned out!  $6. table, free paint…and a $4. drawer knob 🙂  Chalk painted, distressed, waxed and buffed!

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Hubz and I both like Craftsman style…real woods and natural colors…so when I first saw this chair on Craigslist, I was attracted to it.  The fact that is was just $25 made it all the more attractive!

Well, even after cleaning,  the “ultra-suede” cover was still old, faded, and even had some paint on it….ick. Not too great for our living room!

BEFORE!

Well, I finally got around to finishing the new cover…good news is, Charlie the furry     beast doesn’t seem to like the new fabric, so perhaps I will no longer have to vacuum it all the time!

 

 

 

 

 

Charlie, the furry beast

AFTER! Silky fabric has stitched-on floral pattern!

Another project!  My women’s club, the Alcott Club, produces a calendar of events each year.  The past few years it has been lovingly created by a papercrafts wiz, with layers of embellished goodies.

This year, we were aiming for something much simpler, and something that fit easily in a purse. So, it was printed 1/2 size, so when folded was 1/4 the size of an 8 1/2″ x 11″ page.

I was inspired by Vera Bradley and a local modern quilting store that features great funky fabrics. 

Here’s how it worked:

  1. Cut out 32 books-worth of fabric; 2-sides = 64 pieces, 1/2″ larger on all sides than book
  2. Iron on heavy-duty Pellon to wrong side of 32 of the pieces for stability
  3. Right sides together, sew 2 pieces together, around all edges, leaving small opening to turn right-side out. 
  4. Clip corners diagonally for smooth corners once you turn.
  5. Turn right side out, using pencil to push out corners.  Press well.
  6. Pin  ‘rick rack’ trim in opening and top stitch all around outside, attaching trim as you go.
  7. Sew on button, placed so rick rack can reach around it.
  8. Hot glue book to inside (that way book can be removed and new one inserted next year).
  9. Pass out to ladies and wait for ‘ooo’s and ahh’s’!

 

17 days until daughter’s wedding.  We’ve been trying hard to keep within a strict budget, which means lots of DIY projects. Luckily, I’m pretty crafty 🙂 The flower girl dresses are finished and awaiting 2 adorable and teensy girls to bring them to life (age 4 and 2). Also made them hair bows, necklaces, and baskets. In fact, seems like I’ve spent far more time on the flower girls’ things than my own daughter…the bride!  I’ll be working on her veil this week…

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Then I got the itch to paint something, since I’d just bought a load of paint from the “mistints” section of Porter Paints (CHEAP!).  Was planning on using the little table and chairs that my kids once had, for a play table at the reception…so grabbed it, put my chalk paint magic to work…and here’s what I ended up with!  I even took an old quilt that was so torn up it was not salvagable,  cut it up and sewed little seat cushions.  (Still have enough left for a couple of throw pillows for us.)  I’m excited!  It will be perfect for that someday “Grandma’s house” use, too…

"Before"

"Before" it was just a plain wooden table and rickety chairs

"During"

One coat of paint w/unsanded grout added...no sanding or priming necessary for this chalk paint process!

AFTER!

"After"! I LOVE it! Slightly distressed it, waxed it to seal it all, and added chair pads.

This will be a big year for us;  big wedding of daughter in April, followed by college graduation of son, then h.s. graduation of other son…followed by our 30th wedding anniversary…and surely a trip to the poorhouse!

As I look ahead to this, I also have a list of projects I want to complete:

  • Various wedding projects (just 14 weeks away!):
    • 2 flower girl dresses and baskets and hairbands/ribbons
    • table numbers and place-cards
    • invitations and programs (mostly kits)
  • Painting projects:
    • 1940’s maple dresser, soon to be distressed white; for craft supplies
    • bookshelf; adding fabric for shelf backing
    • old oak straight sidechair from Goodwill
    • other wooden side tables/chair finds from Goodwill, etc. for son’s post-college apartment
  • Other downstairs living room decor to make it a better place to hang out

Okay…lots of other stuff I can’t remember right now.  I need to get started sewing! Here is what I have so far for 2 adorable flower girls…looks like cotton candy!

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