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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Made {In} The Shade

Just wanted to get this in quick before the busy last 2 days of Memorial Weekend. We have baseball games for my husband both days, so it will get hectic. Go Rio!! Hope everyone has a great holiday and safe travels!

I promised I'd show you the other project that I finally got around to finishing along with my ironing board, so here it is. A lamp makeover. Hope you weren't sitting on the edge of your seat for too long  LOL.

The "after" picture was a dreary day so it was hard to get a good picture of it, sorry.
The story goes, I had this really cute antique lamp on my buffet in my living room. The bulb socket part was a little loose and my husband was convinced it was going to start a fire, so he really wanted me to use something else. I bought this ordinary goldish looking lamp for $4 at a local consignment shop. Can't beat that, right? I liked the glass middle part, but not the gold finish and I did not like the  lamp shade. It was going in my living room (which is browns & golds with aqua accent) so I wanted to recover the shade to match a lap rag quilt (on the left) that I had recently made. See the lovely shade?


First off, I taped up the glass part of the lamp and spray painted it a nice deep brown. I don't have a picture of that because I did it quite a while ago, but just tape it up really good. I put some fabric on the shade and attached it to the lamp, turned it on to see if the plaid in the shade would show through the fabric and it didn't, so I didn't need to spray paint the lampshade first. I made sure the shade was adequately covered with a piece of fabric, measuring my shade by the wider bottom piece.  Then I used my glue gun and secured the fabric to the shade with a trail of glue all around the bottom and top edges. I didn't want glue in the middle of the shade as I was afraid you'd be able to see glue marks when the lamp was on.  Make sure your fabric seam matches the seam on the shade. As you can see, I didn't think of that when I glued mine on and....... yeah, wish I would've. Oh well. As my mother always says, file it under "L" for  live and learn.



Then I glued the bottom and top edges under the shade, pulling tight.


After I let it dry a few  minutes, I went back and trimmed the excess off.


Lastly, I put a piece of ribbon over my seam .


Now I have a new lamp in my living room that brings out the aqua in my eyes I mean lap quilt!


Quit the improvement, eh? 

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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

All Up In {and over} My Grill



Today I want to share a project that has been brewing in the hopper a little while. I've been wanting to make a cover for our grill and just hadn't decided the best way to go about it or with what. I found some oil cloth at Hobby Lobby that I am coveting. I know, I'm not supposed to covet but in all fairness, there are a few designs that are pretty sweet. But, it's not cheap so I didn't want to use oilcloth until I knew what I was doing. Although, I did scarf up some of the project sheets that were hanging by the oil cloth display so I could do some more coveting planning.Someday I'd love to make my daughter a rain coat.


As you can see, I started with our electric grill. I know, everyone uses gas but I'm the one that does the grilling since I want food on table when my hubby gets home, and I'm afraid terrified of gas grills. I had an electric one when I was single and absolutely loved it. It was bright orangish-red that my mom picked up for a few bucks at a garage sale for me and I used it until it died. So after a few years of marriage and our stint with a gas grill that didn't last too long, we went back to electric. I should clarify - it was the gas grill that didn't last - still married! 

Anywho... since I wasn't using oilcloth, I figured the next best thing would be a vinyl tablecloth. It would be a big piece of "fabric", smooth on the inside and repel water/weather elements on the outside. I picked up a nice bright one for $3. I chose the biggest size available, 60" x 102" rectangle.


I wasn't quite sure how to sew with this, like what needle I should use so I figured I'd follow the same rules for sewing with oilcloth. Here are a few tips:
  • use a size 16 needle - also known as a denim needle for sewing with denim fabrics. You can use a standard poly/cotton thread
  • cut your fabric with pinking shears to avoid fraying edges & finish edges as you normally would
  • use a longer stitch when going straight, and shorten when you go around curves or corners
First thing I did was measure my grill. I'm going to make this cover in 3 pieces, very similar to the way you make a sewing machine cover, just on a larger scale.
  
Piece 1: I went from the floor in front, over the grill to the floor in back by how wide the grill was plus 1" for seam allowance. I cut that out and laid it on the grill. 
Pieces 2 and 3: Then I measured the 2 end sides from the ground to the top of the piece already on the grill by the width plus 1" seam allowance. 


I hope this makes sense. The wheel base was wider than the grill handles so go with the widest parts. You can adjust later.

I cut out my pieces and pinned them right sides together. Once it was all pinned, I could tell the top part was much wider (because of the wheels) than it need to be, so I trimmed the sides at a taper for a more fitted look and repinned.

bigger than it needed to be, so I trimmed some off
 Now it looks better.

Gently remove and carry to your sewing machine. Don't forget to change your needle!


I will confess I did not finish my seams. The table cloth had finished seams all around it and after cutting it, I ended up with half my seams finished and I figured that was good enough. Next I just sewed my 3 seams on both sides with a 1/2" seam allowance. I also left the bottom edge alone, I didn't hem.


I was going to do boxed corners but when I put the cover on to just test it, the corners didn't need to be boxed, they were already sort of formed that way so I left them. All done! See how nice it looks? MUCH better than just a plain 'ole boring black one!


Just sitting there looking all pretty until it's time to grill! 


Does your grill need a new {or a first} cover? Go ahead and give it a try - it's easy!

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Monday, May 20, 2013

Finally Crossed the Finish Line

I finally got 2 projects done this weekend that I had started and then moved away from. Don't you just love that feeling when you finally get something done that's been hanging out there a while? Unfortunately, I have quite a few of those projects to choose from. Not necessarily craft projects but just general stuff around the house I need to hunker down and get done. Like closets. We are fortunate enough to have quite a bit of closet space in our house, but then the flip side is, they just accumulate and they need cleaning out frequently. And my laundry room... the general household shelves in there need cleaning out so I can reorganize and make my laundry room a fun place to be! And my craft room. I have done quite a bit of cleaning out in there (used to be the kids playroom) but I still need to reorganize and figure out the best set up for the space ~ and the fun part: the color scheme and decorating!



Which brings me to one of my projects I finally finished was my ironing board makeover. As some of you can probably agree, they can get kinda nasty sometimes. My board is/was bright turquoise (with screeeeeeeching legs whenever you folded it up or down) and a boring bluish, ugly, stained cover. This is what I'm talking about:


some of these are shadows, but the large spotted blob in the middle are stains
So I sprayed some WD-40 on the tracking underneath and whatever the other mechanism is called. :) And took off the rubber legs to prepare it for a new paint job.


And since it was a while from when I painted it to when I made the cover, I can't seem to find any pictures of the painting process, but it's pretty basic - I just spray painted it.

Materials needed:

1 can coordinating spray paint {optional} you don't have to paint yours
5 yards of 1/2" ribbon
Large safety pin
Coordinating thread
Enough fabric for your ironing board size (this same concept would work for a table top too) My ironing board is 13.5"L x 52"W x 1" deep. I just picked some home decor fabric I had in my stash, which was some ivory & black toile print by Mill Creek Fabrics and it was 58" wide. I used little less than 2 yards. If I remember correctly, I got it on clearance at Hobby Lobby for like $4 or $7/yd. I have blackish countertops, file cabinets and black curtains hanging on my closet in my craft room so I'm kinda thinking of going with a black/ivory/red color scheme. But I'm not promising anything. I'm a woman, it's my perogative to change my mind. :)


I skimmed this tutorial as inspiration, then sort of did my own thing. So, the first thing I did was lay out my fabric and put my ironing board on top. I figured 1.5" for the seam allowance and about 3.5" for the gathering,  so using a disappearing ink marking pen, I marked every so often 5" from the edges all around my board.

sorry, looks like someone bled all over my board!

 Once you get all your markings done, connect them all for your outline.

 Next, cut out your "pattern."


I then used my serger to serge all around the outer edge. If you don't have a serger, then by all means run out and get one. Ha, just kidding. You can zig-zag stitch around if you want. 


Fold over your edge 1/2" and press. Fold over again, 1" and press.


Next, pin your pressed edges down. It will pucker when you get to the rounded part of the cover, but just make sure you pin them down the best you can.



Then sew all around your edge using 1/4" seam allowance from the inside (folded) edge.


Take your ribbon and find your largest safety pin. And I mean largest because that really helps! Attach it to the end of your ribbon and start feeding in through the 2" opening you left open. 


And just scootchy your pin through, and straighten out the fabric behind you. Scootchy through, straighten out.... all the way to the end. I thought I was going to have carpal tunnel before the end because I couldn't find my regular super large safety pin I use for this.


When you're done, pull the extra ribbon through so that both hanging strands are the same length. Then lay your cover evenly on your board. I put mine on over the old cover since it was pretty thin anyway.



Then pull your 2 ribbon pieces evenly to gather it tight.


Tie the ends....... and look ~ you went from blah to "ah!!"


All ready for my first ironing job!


The fun part of making your own ironing board cover is that the possibilities are endless with all the fabric choices. You go to the store to buy one, and they're either boring or expensive. Pottery Barn has some that are nice patterns, but $29 (+ shipping). And if you get your home decor fabric 40-50% off with a Jo-Ann or Hobby Lobby coupon, you can make one for far less than that! Is your ironing board ready for a makeover?

I will keep you on the edge of your seat waiting for the reveal of my other finished project. I'm running out of time posting for now since I need to clean up the aftermath of destruction in my kitchen from preparing for a birthday party. Work before play.... :)

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Friday, May 10, 2013

My Twirly Girl {Skirt}

With the weather finally warming up here this past week (until today, it's cold, wet and in the 50's) Hattie was able to wear some of her skirts that I've made her. She wore a favorite purple one on her birthday this past Wednesday (pardon the wet hair, she likes to take a bath at night & then have me wash her hair in the morning at the kitchen sink, laying on the counter, salon style.)



This Circle Skirt is so easy to make and I found the tutorial over at MADE. I've made Hattie several, one for my niece and even one for myself!

Hattie's skirts
The red/white/blue one I made her for the 4th of July last year and I also took some extra fabric, cut a heart out and attached it to a plain white tank to make it a set.

So, if you'd like to make one of these yourself, I'll show you how, and you'll have your very own circle skirt for yourself or whomever, in less than an hour! (honestly, you can probably make 2 in an hour!)


What you'll need to get started:

Waist and skirt length measurements of the lucky skirt recipient

For a childs skirt, I'd say you'll need about 1 yard of {washed}fabric. For larger sizes, I'd make the pattern piece first, then figure out how much fabric you'd need. Optimal fabrics are lightweight - rayon, cotton or knit.

about 3/4 yard of white or coordinating color 2" wide elastic. Narrower than 2" is fine, I've used both but do prefer the wider. (MADE even has a tutorial for dying elastics.)

coordinating thread

To make your pattern:

Take your waist measurement and add 2".  The additional 2" is for fabric "give" when it's sewn to the elastic. So for this project I will take the waist measurement of 18 inches + 2 inch = 20 inches DIVIDE BY 6.28 for the radius = 3.19 inches. For easy marking, I rounded up to a 3.25 inch radius.

Tape some white scratch paper together. I used 4 pieces. At the bottom left corner, measure where the radius is and move your ruler up slightly every so often and mark until you get to the other side of the paper.


Connect your markings.


Now take your length measurement and add an inch for the hem. When I use knit, I just serge the bottom so I don't add for length. Measure that length from your radius marking, also moving the ruler across the page like you did for the radius.


Connect those measurements, and then cut along your lines.


You will end up with a 1/4 of a donut!


I like to fold mine in half, and make sure both sides are evened out. Trim if necessary.


Then take your fabric, fold it in half and then in half again, so you have a right-angled corner that is the fold on the left and double fold on the bottom. Lay your pattern piece on top, with edges of pattern matched up with edges of fabric like this:


Cut out your donut piece.

When cut out, this is what you will have:


 If you have a serger, serge around the waist. If you don't have a serger, fold down the edge 1/4 ", press, fold down again 1/4" and sew. You could just also zig-zag stitch the edge if you like - whatever you prefer. I serged my edge.


I also did for the hem too as long as I was at it since that's what I prefer for knits. If you are using a cotton, do the same for the hem (fold down, press, fold down again and sew. It helps to use the smallest seam allowance possible to keep the skirt able to twirl and not be weighed down by a thick hem.)



Now for the waistband, take your elastic, fold in half.....

 and sew the ends together with a 1/2" seam allowance.

 Fan the seam out...

  and sew down both sides.


When done, you'll have a nice, smooth waistband. If your lucky recipient is by you, try the elastic now for a good fit. If not, it's easier to adjust now than later. If you have your own labels, it would be the time to attach your label.


Now comes the tricky part... and I say tricky because you have to {in my opinion} sew blindly, while stretching your elastic on one side of your machine and pulling it the other way through your machine.

At this point your elastic will be smaller than your skirt, which is fine. You will be stretching it to the fabric to create the "fullness" of the skirt. (the following pictures are of a different fabric, I got distracted and forgot to take pictures of the purple & white skirt at this point.)


Pin your elastic to the skirt, finding the middle of the back and pin that first. Pin the elastic so that you have about 1/4" on top of the skirt. Then pin the middle of the front. Feel free to pin all around as much as you like but I found it doesn't really help, I just do the front and back.



The next step is very important - STRETCH the elastic AS YOU SEW. The picture below is of the elastic normal...


And this is sewing while you are streeeeeeeeetching..... :) You have to stretch with one hand towards you while pulling it through the machine on the other side of your foot. Sew while stretching, stop. Stretch and sew. Repeat all the way around.


Then when you are done, it looks like this!


See how quick and easy that was? It's fun to make up a bunch for little girls... my daughter loves to see how high she can twirl them! (we had a few pics we couldn't share because they were "cheeky!")



Oh, to be young again! I haven't given her the purple & white cheetah print one because I'm making a top to go with it. She's totally into gymnastics these days and since my sewing machine is also an embroidery machine, I'm going to teach myself how to embroider a gymnast with a purple leotard on the top.

The great thing about this is, you make your own pattern, so you can make the skirt in any size. Go on, give it a whirl (haha!) and make your own! 

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