Saturday, December 24, 2011

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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Free 2012 Calendar Download - Silk & Lace

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I am completely lost without a write-in calendar hanging on my wall. Usually, I download a free one that some other creative person was generous enough to share, but this year I decide to make my own... I hope you enjoy this lovely silk and lace calendar I made!

Note: Each page measures approximately 6.25" x 8.5" (printed on standard 8.5"x 11" white cardstock). Use the faint cross guides in each corner to cut to size. Shown mounted to black cardstock.


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Tooth Fairy Pillow Toothorial

Pin It Now! Once upon a time there was a mother who stunk at remembering important, sentimental events of her loved ones (including her 10 year wedding anniversary last week, but that's a different story). So on the morning that her first born child lost his very first baby tooth, she made a mental note to send the tooth fairy that night while he slept. She got her sweet child all pumped up and excited about the tooth fairy's visit and even taught him how to neatly wrap his tooth and place it under his pillow. The next morning that dear child came to his mother and said that the tooth fairy didn't come. Worst. Mother. EVER. So she told her son that the tooth fairy must have gotten lost on her way, but she would surely come that night. And so she did, leaving more than fair market value for a first tooth due to her extreme tardiness. Therapy not included.

Gosh, I wish I would have had this tooth fairy pillow then. You simply hang it on your kid's door knob (a very VISIBLE reminder as I'm headed to bed). No creeping in their bedroom in the dark, digging blindly under their pillow.

These make great little gifts for 4 to 6 year olds... I made these last Christmas for Denny to give to each of his classmates. I'm sure none of those mothers forgot their first born child's tooth fairy visit, but I thought I'd make it easier on them nonetheless.

Each pillow features a pocket for the child to safely place their lost tooth. The sewing instructions are pretty straight forward... it's just a 5"x5" pillow with a handle on top (I used coordinating fabric for the handle, but ribbon would be even easier).

First, you'll want to make the pocket. Cut/form/iron a 3" pocket using white cotton muslin. Then iron the image directly onto your finished pocket using iron-on transfer paper (can be purchased a craft and fabric stores). You must flip/reflect/mirror the image before printing... I've attached the pdf file of the mirrored images in a link at the very end of this post). Here are the original images as well in case you wanted to print them directly on your fabric (here's a tutorial if you choose to go that route).

Center and sew the pocket on the front piece of your pillow. Once you have the pocket on, sew and stuff your pillow. Easy peasy.

*Note: If using iron-on transfer method, be careful not to iron the actual image when pressing your pocket... it will melt your image and leave you with a gunky iron. Place a scrap piece of cotton over the image if you must iron it further.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My Mid-Century Modern Dining Chairs

Pin It Now! When we first moved to Boise in January, we commissioned our talented friend, Shayne to build us a new kitchen table. For the first ten years of our marriage, we ate our meals at a tiny 2'x4' computer desk... functional but very cramped. So we indulged ourselves and hired Shayne to build us the table of our dreams. Solid walnut, clean lines, modern flair... we LOVE it. For months I searched for the perfect chairs to compliment it. Finally, I came across a set of six mid-century modern teak chairs on craigslist... $250 for the set. I seriously thought I had died and gone to heaven! I showed them to Denzil and he thought they were the ugliest things in the world, but I told him to trust me, and he finally gave in with a whatever.

So I pulled off the 50-year old upholstery and crusty foam and sanded the chair frames down to their bare wood. This took me many weeks and provided me with a high-fiber diet of sawdust. Then I restained them a dark walnut color and gave them three coats of satin lacquer. Even Denzil agrees that they do our new table some serious justice :)

As for the the upholstery, I was torn on whether to cover the seats with vinyl. I knew the chairs would see a lot of abuse from my kids, and finally came to terms that my beautiful chairs needed to be covered with some ghetto vinyl... I used a frosted clear vinyl over my fabric, which I think was a tad less tacky with its less-shiny glare. This is a picture of day two after finishing my chairs:

Spilled cereal? Nothing my waterproof vinyl can't handle ;) Yep, totally glad I went with the vinyl.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Easter Dresses

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Oh boy... I promise I haven't fallen off the face of the earth. I guess I enjoy reading blogs much more than posting to them :) I've been working on a ton of projects... not just sewing either. I've built a few pieces of furniture for my new home (thanks Ana White) and have done lots of painting of walls and kitchen cabinets (I'm so in love with my white kitchen cabinets!). But none of that in this post... I'm way behind so I'll start with the Easter dresses I made this past spring. They're inspired by this apron I fell in love with from Anthro. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Vintage Blossom Wingback Chair

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Last month I became obsessed with finding a nice upholstered chair to put in my new home. Long story short... I couldn't find one I loved within my price range, so I decided to rescue a junkyard wingback chair and reupholster it myself. I must confess, if I had fully realized all the time, blisters and expense that goes into reupholstering, I would not have taken on such a huge project. That being said, I'm glad I did it and I love, love, LOVE my new chair.

Here is the chair I rescued. It was once owned by a old granny and her many cats. My husband is allergic to cats, which meant I had to strip this chair down to its bare wooden frame and replace all the foam and batting as well. Take note, new foam doubled the cost of this project. So, if you decide to rescue your own chair, it would be a bonus if the foam was still in good shape.

Believe it or not, taking apart the chair is the most tedious, dirtiest, time-consuming part of reupholstering. You will most definitely ruin your manicure, and will potentially need to get a tetanus booster shot in the process (you may want to figure that into the cost). Using a flat-head screwdriver and needlenose pliers, you have to pull out thousands of staples, removing your fabric pieces layer by layer. I wish I would have timed this part, but I'd estimate it took me about 15 hours to get the chair down to its frame:

Molly,the creative maven, gives an excellent tutorial that compares the chair pieces to layers of an onion. It's important to take notes on the order of your layers. She recommends numbering each piece as you remove it so you'll remember how to put it back together. And keep your old yucky pieces intact, so you can use them as your pattern. Here is my pile of pieces:

I fell in love with the dove fabric on Crate and Barrel's Carly Chair shown here:

This particular fabric is called Vintage Blossom, and was designed by Dwell Studio for Robert Allen Home Fabric. Although I loved the gray used in Crate and Barrel's chair, I decided to go with the jade because I think it'll survive the wrath of my children better.

Since I am no expert on reupholstering, I'm not going to make this a full tutorial. However, let me steer you to some excellent tutorials that helped me:

How to Reupholster a Wingback Chair by the creative maven

Back of Chair Video by diyupholsterysupply

Curve Ease Video by diyupholsterysupply

Foam Video by diyupholsterysupply

Cording Tutorial by Autum

Additional notes that you may find helpful:

Fabric: I used 6.5 yards of home decor fabric (fyi, carries Dwell Studio home fabric)

Batting: 6 yards of 8 oz poly batting (about 1 inch thick)

Cording: 12 yards

Metal Tack Strips: 3 (1 cut to size for the outside of arm sides, 2 for back of chair)

Cardboard Tack Strip: 3 yards

Curve Ease: 4 feet (for outside of wings)

Staples: a lot, a lot, a lot

Medium or High Density Foam: 1 3/4 yard of 4-inch thick foam (24 inch wide) and 2 yards of 1-inch thick foam (24 inches wide)

Paint for the chair legs: Valspar high gloss latex enamel paint (Black)

If you're smarter than me, you would have found a chair with the foam intact and this would be your starting point (not to mention, saving yourself $100). OH! and springs... make sure none of the springs are broken. Bad springs or bad foam... just walk away. This picture also shows the new seat bottom and front. I cushioned the front with 1" foam and a layer of batting before putting on the front piece as shown. The seat cover sits directly on the springs and is composed of a layer of wool felt, a layer of batting, and the gray wool you see on top. Why did I use wool? Because that's what I happened to have in my fabric stash. Muslin would work equally as well.

*Note: The inside wings, inside arm and bottom front got 1" foam and the chair back and seat cushion got 4" foam.

Even if your foam is good, I recommend replacing your batting. The batting will add about $25 to your costs, but it gives your foam a nicer finished look and adds a flattering loft to your chair. At this stage, I put the batting everywhere except the back. Do not staple the batting on the outside arm piece to the bottom of your chair yet.

Here is my seat cushion, layered with batting on each side. Have you ever tried cutting 4-inch foam? Do yourself a favor and use an electric knife (yes, the one you use to carve the Thanksgiving Turkey).

After layering the batting on each side, I wrapped my cushion with another layer of batting. There is a special adhesive that you can use to apply the batting to the foam, but since this is my first and last reupholstering project, I decided to save the $10 and do a quick hand-stitching along the edges. Voila:

Next I prepped my cording using this fantastic tutorial. I almost had an aneurysm trying to wrap my brain around this concept, but once I figured it out, it changed my life forever. It takes the tediousness out of making bias tape and I'm very excited about that. Please refer to the same tutorial for guidance on making your seat cushion cover.

Each chair is a little different, but on my chair, the inside wing piece was sewed to the inside arm piece. The original chair covered the front of the arm as a separate piece, which was nailed in place. I opted to sew my arm front to my inside arm piece beforehand because I liked the look of it better. Use your old pieces as a pattern (you'll have to seam rip them apart first in this case). Once you have your new inside arm/wing pieces sewn together, center the arm/wing seam (mine has cording there) and start attaching from that point.

If you look at the wooden frame picture above, then you'll notice openings at the back, bottom and sides of the frame. This is where everything slides through. Tuck your excess fabric through those openings and those will be pulled taut and stapled last. First do the inside arm/wing sides and next do the chair back.

See all the excess fabric hanging out the back and side? Pull the heck out of it and staple them in place after you've stapled around everywhere else as shown.

After you've stapled the fabric to the back, bottom and sides of the frame, feel free to trim away the excess.

Next I stapled on my cording in one continuous strip along the sides and back.

And more cording along the front:

Next, watch this Curve Ease tutorial and use this technique to put on the outside wings. Staple your curve ease snug against your cording. I applied more batting as shown in the video (so my outside wings had double batting), crimped the curve ease along the wing, then stapled the sides to the back of the chair taut.

I didn't take a picture of applying the outside arm piece because at this point I could see the light at the end of the tunnel and I was too dang excited to take pictures. I used cardboard tack strip along the top of the outside arm (snug against the underarm rest). Then watch this video and use the same principle to apply a metal tack strip to the front arm side and staple along bottom and chair back. I had to cut my metal tack strip to size for this part.

Refer to the same video to put on your chair back. Turn your chair upside down and staple on a dust cover (really, you can use any fabric for this... muslin would work fine).

And there you have it... my total cost of reupholstering this wingback chair was about $225, plus 25 hours of hard labor (my poor blistered hands... it's a miracle they're not marred by staple holes). If I were to take this in to be professionally done, it would have cost at least $400 PLUS cost of fabric ($100) so $500 total. Before taking on this project, I would have thought that price was ridiculously high. Now it seems a bit low. Kudos to professional upholsterers.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Happy birthday, Baby Tess!

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My baby turned one year old last week! We had a small family party at our new home, and I made Tess a new dress, a party hat, and a name banner for the occasion. And of course cake. I hate making cakes. Love to eat them; hate to make them. My sister is an amazing cake decorator, but she lives 2,000 miles away (boooooo!!!). However, I am very grateful to have her as my personal 24-hour cake-help hotline. That's my sisterly right :) Thanks, Janell!

This must be my reward for wearing this stupid hat.

What the??? Get that camera out of my face so I can eat my cake in peace!

Sticking my tongue out helps me balance.

Happy birthday, baby girl! I love you very much, but don't expect me to make you a cake every year... being cute can only get you so far.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Free "Little Fawn" Digital Art Print

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Last month we made our big move to Boise, Idaho. I love, love, LOVE it here! I've missed the mountains so much while living in Texas. Snowboarding, hiking, and backpacking here I come! Except we need some serious snow... ironically Texas has more than we do right now. Go figure.

Ok, I am going to attempt to revive my poor neglected blog. Don't get your hopes too high... one post per month would be a step up for me... baby steps. So here is a little treat for you. It's a woodlands print I made to hang in my half bath. Something lovely for the house guests to ponder on while taking care of their business. I almost drew in some little deer droppings, but thought the better of it. I'm trying hard to class up my act and become more ladylike. Besides, the teacher at my kid's school taught him that "poo, crap and butt" are bad words. So now I'm forced to change my entire vocabulary.

I printed my Little Fawn as a 5"x7" print, but I made the jpeg larger so you could size it accordingly. All you need is a color printer and some white cardstock and you're good to go!


*special thanks to pattern cooler for the background patterns.

Monday, January 31, 2011

TeacherMom Lunch Bag Giveaway

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Hey, interested in totally cute lunch bag made by my best friend? Check out her new blog... giveaway ends tonight!

Good Luck!