Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Creative Goals for Me & My Home

A few projects have been dancing in my mind lately, but since I have been traveling recently, they haven't gained any ground. 

These are my optimistic DIY goals for decorating and sewing in the upcoming 2015 year...  

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sewing DIY: the Perfect Non-Slip, No-Headache, Sweatyband Inspired Headband

If you have a Sweatyband brand headband, you know how terrific they are at staying put all day and not causing headaches. And that they are amazing for athletic activities!  You also know how pricey the little buggers can be, retailing for about $15 each band. I used my best reverse engineering skills to make my own version and wanted to share the "how to steps" because they really turned out to be just as great as the original version.

On the left in the photos below is my version for about $4 and the $15 Sweatyband version on the right.  Twinsies, right?  My favorite glitter ribbon headband only cost about $2 each to make.  What a great gift to slip into someone's stocking this holiday!  And did I mention you can toss them in with your regular wash?

Instructions below the fold.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Sewing: Lined Curtains (Steps 6-10)

Continuing the steps to sew the curtain panels...

Before and after, what a difference!

Previously we
Determined how much fabric we need
* Completed the sewing steps part one of this post (steps 1-5)

Sewing: Lined Curtains (Steps 1-5)

While it's easy enough to buy curtain panels, they typically only come in standard sizes and windows tend to be anything but standard, which is why you are probably here trying to decide if it's worth making your own.  

If you have a sewing machine (or can borrow one), the answer is YES! Try not to be intimated by the outrageous pricing of custom drapes.  The online quote for drapes in the exact same fabric was $1,992.  Sewing a few straight lines is child's play compared to that sticker shock.  

If you are following along from my last post where we calculated fabric needs, you hopefully have your curtain rod or curtain track hung with the hooks/clips to make measuring easier for the next steps.  If you don't, no worries, I didn't have my curtain track up, so I found its measurements and the measurements of the carriers for my curtain track online to help me plan (carriers are the equivalent of a drapery ring when using curtain tracks).

The steps below assume you have purchased the amount of fabric needed, found in the previous post explaining how to calculate fabric needs.  I've tried to cut down the explanation to make it easier to just follow step by step without getting too lost in the details, but included links to tutorials I found helpful if you need more explanation.  And amazon links are affiliate links.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Next Project: Lined Curtains for Guest Room

Have you ever slept in your guest bedroom?  Not a nap, but a real overnight visit to experience the bedroom from your guests' perspective?  It sounds completely logical, but it never crossed my mind until an article suggested doing just that to help you discover what your guest room might be missing.

While the hubs was out of town, I camped out for a couple nights in the guest bedroom to check it out.  The change of view was pretty fun.  One of the things I noticed was how the sun seemed to arrive slightly earlier and brighter than my own bedroom; despite the existing window shades. Obviously I'm exaggerating, but I thought adding curtains might be a nice touch to soften the look of the room, added functionalality, and it'd be a fun sewing project for me.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Sewing Reveal: Baby Kaitlyn's Herringbone Quilt

This sweet little quilt will be gifted to a friend in celebration of her baby girl.  This is the second herringbone quilt I've made and this one went much quicker, but it being baby sized probably has more to do finishing it quickly than my prowess as a sewer.

Quilt Inspiration: Baby Kaitlyn's Owl Mobile in Lavender and Teal

Inspiration for this quilt was this adorable sleeping owl mobile in the baby's room.  I thought about adding an applique owl to the back, but I chickened out since I have never done applique before.  Since this was a gift; figured it wasn't the best time to experiment.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Sewing Reveal: Herringbone Quilt

Finished the Herringbone quilt I shared as a work in progress (WIP) on this post.  But I never actually posted the final "ta da" photos.  Please say hello to my most recently finished sewing project!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Removing Stickers Off Suede-Like Soft Leather Soled Heels - My Photo Results

Everyone loves a good deal, but the thin plastic perforated sales stickers that Nordstrom Rack uses can be especially difficult to remove from shoes - especially when they're on a soft leather sole.  You know how vehicle registration stickers can seem permanent when you are trying to scrape them off your windshield?  Well, the Nordstrom Rack sales stickers can be just as bad.  Except you can't use a razor!

Last year I picked up a pair of heeled sandals with the soft creamy leather soles - you know the kind - they feel a bit like suede.  Once I picked off the sales sticker, there was a square of sticky residue left behind.  They sat in the closet for while because I wasn't sure how to tackle the adhesive residue on a soft shoe sole.  

Other methods I may try out later are also listed below.  Click here to see my 2nd attempt using a different product.

I tried one removal method and wanted to share the after photos so you can know what to expect.  

Monday, May 12, 2014

New Sewing Machine! Brother PC420PRW Project Runway

Now that I've sewed with my new sewing machine enough to make the herringbone blanket, I thought I'd share my thoughts on moving from a 15 year old mechanical machine (Singer 4830C) to a new computerized machine.  And my general thoughts on my new Brother PC420PRW sewing machine.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Next Project: Herringbone Quilt (WIP)

While looking at potential new sewing machines, I found an easy quilt as you go tutorial for a herringbone blanket.  These first photos show my work-in-progress.  The "quilt as you go" concept was new to me, but basically you sew the quilt pieces to the batting creating panels instead of blocks.  See the white strip poking out?  That's my batting.  Check out the tutorial by Maureen Cracknell and her flicker group to see other blankets made using the same tutorial (this pink baby version is a fav of mine).


Monday, March 17, 2014

Sewing Reveal: Custom Bench Seat Cushion for Pottery Barn Entryway Bench

I made this bench cushion for my friend Katy who scored this Pottery Barn bench from Craig's List - and it was easier than it looks - I promise!  Her husband was redoing the finish from black to the current dark wood stain when I was over at their house.  We were chatting about their new score and  I offered to make a cushion for them with the caveat that I had never done this before.  Being as awesome as they are, they weren't scared of my sewing skills at all! 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Craft fail & recovery. Lining drawers with fabric, twice.

I won't lie.  It took two attempts to line the nightstand's drawers in the guest bedroom.  The second method was a keeper!

My first attempt to use "stiffened" fabric as a drawer liner was an utter failure. Using fabric inside the drawer seemed ideal - this way you can find something exactly your style and cover up the insides of the less than perfect vintage drawers.

The technique and instructions I found at Blue Eyed Yonder basically involved soaking fabric in a fabric stiffener and ironing fabric flat before it dries.  Then you take your perfectly flat and stiff fabric and cut to the dimensions of the drawer and use double sided tape to make it stick.  Hmmm.  Sounds easy, right?  And her Pinterest worthy photos show gorgeous results, so it obviously works for most people.  Except for me.

Where I went wrong (if you're a skimmer, the last lesson is probably most important):
  1. Attempting to iron fabric damp with a liquid similar to glue is going to make you have a bad time.  It gunked up my iron pretty good, so then I had to deal with that.  Working with a large amount of sticky fabric was not fun either.
    LESSON: Plan for iron to get messy and allow serious clean up time.  Cut fabric into manageable sizes BEFORE adding stiffener.  This.  My fabric size was annoyingly large.
  2. After fabric dried all the way, I realized the fabric stiffener didn't really soak through everywhere evenly, so it created different textures throughout the fabric.  Some areas were more stiff than others.
    LESSON: Cut fabric into smaller batches.  Use bigger bowl to be sure you can really work the product into the fabric.  Use more fabric stiffener and liquid.

    Honestly, I thought I had coated it fairly evenly, but trying not to make a mess and rotating that much fabric in a small bowl was not easy.  Ugh.  I still thought I could "save" the project, so I went back and painted on more fabric stiffener onto the softer sections of fabric (see photo), which actually worked.

  3. Even after gunking up your iron and trying to make sure fabric is hanging super flat to dry, it still had a weird texture to it.  Not like paper.  Unless it's like a piece of paper you wadded up and then tried to iron flat.  It looked like that.  I even tried to iron it again (dry).  More gunk on the iron with no results.
    LESSON: Try using a light weight fabric.  I think the fact that I used a canvas-like home decor weight fabric may have sabotaged this from the beginning.  
At this point, I let the fabric sit in a drawer for a few months.  Yes months.  I had felt defeated by it and worse, I really liked this fabric so it really stung.

Saving the project
I realized if the steam in my iron was reactivating the dried fabric stiffener, then maybe I could wash out the stiffener and still use the fabric.  I cut out a section of the fabric a few inches larger than the nightstand's drawer and rinsed it out with lots of water.  The water had some bubbles and a light milky color, so I realized the fabric stiffener was actually washing out of the fabric.  This stuff is probably meant to be permanent and it's not really *all* gone, so I still ironed my fabric and let it dry flat, but it was significantly softer than compared to what I started with.

Method Two - the one that worked for me: Upholstering drawer liner

I decided to wrap a board with the fabric so it would be easily changeable, because the one thing I do like about the old fashioned (plastic?) drawer liners is they are easy to clean and wipe down.  This method of drawer liner gave me the visual "pop" I craved but it's still temporary in case I change my mind later.

  1. First I cut cardboard about 1/4" smaller than my actual drawer dimensions to allow room for the fabric.  You could use foam core board, but I happened to have brand new cardboard leftover.
  2. Next, wrap the board in felt.  This gives it a little more substance and gives a slight upholstered look.  Lots of glue and it stuck nicely to my board.

Last, I wrapped the board in my Robert Allen blue dot material.  But it needed more convincing than just glue.  If you look closely, you can see where I used a household stapler (in addition to the glue).  I used a extra bit of felt where I wanted to staple to make sure it wouldn't go through to the other side.  Classy, I know, but it worked and was so easy!  I even added a bit of ribbon to help pull the drawer bottom out if I ever need to.  

Then I dropped them into the drawers (with the ribbon towards the back).  And VIOLA!  The finished product.  I hope our guests are pleasantly surprised when they look in their nightstand!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Product Review: Liquid Bar Keepers Friend

Ever have a product amaze you so much you wanted to tell everyone?  Just recently I used the liquid version of Bar Keepers Friend to clean my stainless stove top and it did a super job removing cooked on grease.  I cannot explain the plethora of products I've previously tried on these spots.  Seriously.  And just this one ring was proving to be impossibly stubborn so it really annoyed me that much more.

I read the Manly Housekeeper's post on removing soap scum and hard water stains from his shower, where he tests and compares six products and shares the results - it's a seriously awesome post, you should check it out.  That was the first time I knew BKF was available in a softer liquid version, so I bought a bottle at Target and tried it on my stove top.

The before and after photos say it all.  Sounds weird, but I was actually giddy when I realized my rag was getting dirty - it meant the nasty ick was finally coming off my stove! Hooray for cleaning products that work and even better, it's made in the USA.

Side by side before and after Liquid Bar Keepers Friend

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Sewing Pics! Mom's Colorful Baby Blanket

My mother just finished a chenille baby blanket and it was so pretty, I had to post a few photos.
The bright colors are so fun and it's great high contrast for a newborn. And for a boy, something outside of the norm. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Wall Decor: DIY Framed Agate Slices

After drooling over Horchow's framed agate slices, priced at $245 each (yes, EACH!), I was determined to make a set for myself and not sacrifice style.
I love with how this DIY project turned out - and at just $25 each!

When they came out looking so spiffy, I contemplated hanging in my room so I could see them more often.  The variety of colors and movement is really stunning in person.
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