Tuesday, June 29, 2010

No go.

First of all, thank you to everyone who weighed in with your opinions on the blog comments of the previous post, and on Facebook. The unanimous vote was to add the pleats to the shoulder, which I did.

I started with this...

...then turned it into this. But the fact of the matter is that I just don't like it.

And it's not that I don't like the pleats going all the way up, I just don't like the pleats, period. On the mannequin it looks kinda cute, but on me it's just weird. I just don't see me ever, ever wearing this.

One reason I'm even showing you the end product is because I wanted you to know that I did indeed finish it, but those pleats will be coming off. I think I'll attempt a ruffle with some different fabric. That was what I tried first, but the turquoise fabric was too stiff to ruffle nicely.

The main reason I'm showing you my big fat failure is to show that things don't always go right, and that's okay. This was definitely a learning project, and unfortunately it didn't lead to a result that pleased me. But, again, THAT'S OKAY! Now I know, and I'll try something else. Things like this happen to me often- I just don't always blog about it! :)

Monday, June 28, 2010

HELP! Attempt to amp up a cardigan

I like to think that I'm a pretty smart trip packer. I find out what the weather is supposed to be like where we're going, pack accordingly, then pack a few more things for the "just in case" scenarios that inevitably happen. On our last trip I did the same thing, but came up short on warm layers because I'd forgotten that "the wind chill factor" is an actual thing over there. So I headed to the thrift store.

I found this nice little ribbed cardigan for a pretty good price, but now that it's home and in my closet, it's in amongst about half a dozen other cardigans just like it.

This seemed like the perfect opportunity to try out a tutorial I stumbled upon a while ago and give it some pizazz. I didn't follow the tutorial exactly because I was working with a limited amount of scrap. This lovely finished strip of turquoise cotton came off of the dress that I made for my daughter out of a women's skirt. This was the original sash I put on it, then decided the color wasn't quite right and took it off.

I just eyeballed some pleats, pinned them as I went down the side of the sweater then sewed it into place right on top of the existing line of stitches.

Here's where I ran into a problem. The side on the right is the one I did first. Afterwards I thought it might look kind of funny to have the ruffle stop in the middle of the chest. So I did the same thing on the other side, then went back and added more pleats above it until it reached the shoulder seam. (See the pins? Those pleats aren't permanent yet.)

I need some help. Which do you think looks better? Pleats to the shoulder or just part of the way? Here are some more photos to help you help me decide.

Does that look fine having the pleats stop there?

Should they continue up to the shoulder?

Or is that too much?

I still don't know which one I like. Will you please, please leave me a comment telling me what you think? Otherwise this cardigan may never see the light of day again.

Oh yeah, I also want to replace the buttons with ones that match the turquoise fabric. What do you think? (You'll have to blur your eyes a little and use your imagination on this one, k?)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

My brother's couch is DONE!

When we got home from our week-long trip, one of the first things I did when I fired up my computer was to download the photos my sister-in-law e-mailed me of their completely finished couch.

The posts detailing this project can be found here and here, but here's a quick run-down: My lovely brother and his lovely wife life in Salt Lake City (about 5 hours from me) and owned a not-so-lovely couch. They wanted to save it and I agreed to help. I spent about 4 1/2 days at their place re-upholstering said couch.

The old seat cushion covers came back home with me and got torn apart and used to make the new ones.

I sewed them up a couple of weeks ago, mailed them back, then all I could do was hope and pray they'd fit the actual cushions and await news.

Here's the result.


My trusty assistant, Molly.

And a close-up of the beautiful fabric they chose. Photos don't do it justice because you just have to feel how soft it is!

I have to say, I'm pretty pleased with how the whole thing turned out. Now let's wrap up with a proper "Before and After".

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

An easy yet personal baby shower gift

The other day I attended an open house for a friend of mine who will soon be welcoming her fifth child into the world. I love trying to make something by hand for my expectant friends, and this time I really had fun with it.

I purchased a package of white Onesies then went to town decorating each one.

This stork silhouette was found online then printed onto inkjet transfer paper and ironed on.

The kids and I were watching "James and the Giant Peach" while I was making these, and Mr. Earthworm became the inspiration for this one. :)

Does he look familiar? That's one of my trusty ol' birdy designs from my shoe making days.

And of course, this will be a proud reminder of her baby boy's lucky number.

This one was my favorite, but I was so excited about it that I muffed the first try by ironing it on upside down! First I found the image of the ticket online, then used Photoshop to add the text and printed it onto transfer paper. The fix came by printing another image, ironing it onto a small bit of white fabric then stitching it over the upside down image on the Onesie.

I tucked a flannel receiving blanket down into a thrifted basket then added a pair of Diddle Dumpling baby shoes and surrounded them with the Onesies.

A little ric-rac tied around the basket for some color, and I think overall the effect is charming!

Monday, June 21, 2010

A BIG sign and some thrifty finds

During my last trip to the Home Depot, I spotted several planks of wood in the cull bin that looked pretty decent. The cull bin is where they put damaged, warped or otherwise flawed pieces of wood and drastically mark them down in price. I spent $2 and came home with 3 pieces (one that was about 4' long, and two about 3' each).

I'd been wanting to make some really big signs to sell, and right off the bat I knew these imperfect pieces of lumber would be perfect for that!

My trial sign started off with a light sanding, then a coat of warm white spray paint. I taped off a 1" border and painted that with brick red craft paint. Then I used my printer ink transfer technique (found in this tutorial) for the letters.

Some sanding to make it look less new, a quick wipe of polyurethane and a wire hanger on the back and it's done!

Sooo easy. I think next time I'll bang up the wood with a hammer, then maybe use some stain to age it even more.

But for a first try, I'm happy with it.

And just for fun, I wanted to show you what I picked up on my last visit to the Bargain Center. Isn't this cute? I'm not sure if it's for organizing silverware at a picnic or holding gardening tools or what, but I love the wood and that the divider is removable.

Gotta figure out how to get rid of that stenciling though...

This suitcase and lidded basket are in really great shape.

I was surprised at how perfect the inside of the suitcase is.

Not loving the image printed on the lid of the basket, but a little bit of fabric or even some scrapbook paper will take care of that in a flash.

I'm not much of a hot beverage drinker, but I just couldn't pass up that awesome vintage plaid Thermos. The inside of it looks like it's never even been used! The red candlestick will definitely be going another color, but I love the size and shape. And the blue lamp base will get painted to look like the one in the photo below.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Before and After: Rocking Chair and Tiny Table

I bought this rocking chair a few weeks ago at a local thrift store because it was in terrible condition. Well, the finish was anyway. The rocker itself was pretty good. But I've been wanting to try a new paint treatment on something and I thought this would be the perfect candidate.

The finish wasn't quite this bad when I got it. This photo was taken after quite a bit of sanding.

I decided to give it a wash with some white glaze.

I wanted the white to really stick to the exposed wood, resist in some spots where the finish remained and to sink into the crevices.

I wish it didn't blend into the wall so much. It's hard to see the finish in these photos. But I think I like the way the rocker turned out. It still has that shabby look that I love but without looking like it belongs in the dump.
Or does it?

Wouldn't you know it- this chair is the identical twin of my very own living room rocker!
The next transformation is another piece that seems to be related to something in my house. You know that little blue table?

This is his little brother.

I did almost the very same thing to this one as the other. White primer, blue paint, lots of distressing.

The only difference is that I didn't do any antiquing on this one because the wood underneath was already very dark. It just didn't need it.

This table is tiny. It fits perfectly with one of my little schoolhouse chairs.

My family and I are taking a little vacation together to celebrate me and my mister's 10th wedding anniversary, so I won't be able to post much until I get back. But I promise I have big plans for some furniture and decor projects, so stay tuned ya'll!