Saturday, June 30, 2012

Chalkboard visitor's book

Long time no blog. That's what having a job does to me. Sucks out my creative energy.

Weekends have become a time to do nothing as oppose to do nice things around the house. This must and will change. In anticipation of a new phase of creativity, I'm sharing our chalkboard visitor's book.

The thing is, proper visitor books are nice, really nice. But we don't have a villa in the south of France, we don't have a quaint seaside cottage in Cornwall. We have a comfortable apartment in Santa Monica, which is enough to persuade friends and family to come visit. Which is Awesome.

I printed pics we had of when people had visted and pinned them up next to their messages. I also had a bunch of pictures on my phone which i hadn't got round to printing yet - these are some of my Santa Monica faves.

And that's it. Chalk board, messages and photos  = our chalkboard visitors book. Love.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

"$40" dresser makeover

I guess if, like me, you like to buy furniture from thrift stores you probably already know how big your car is, you know, so you don't buy anything that won't fit....

I evidently didn't when I bought this guy;

It was taller than we ideally wanted but it was priced at $40 which was far cheaper than anything else I'd seen so I bought it but as I was on my bike I arranged to come back at the weekend with the car and husband to pick it up. 

So the following Saturday we came back to get it. It didn't fit in the car. We tried every possible way for 20 minutes. I felt like such an idiot! 

So faced with either donating it back to the shop for free (no returns obv) and losing $40 or hiring $19 van from the Uhaul across the street to get it home, we opted for hiring a van. $19 seemed like a good deal. 

$19 is a LIE is what it is! It may be the starting price but with tax, insurance, per mile fees etc etc. It ended up costing us $35 to get a van and drive the massive 3 mile round trip to our flat and back. So, $75 down and half of our Saturday wasted messing about with U-haul, I started to really felt like an idiot. 

Anyway, once it was home, I started to forgot all of that and I think it was just about worth it in the end - it now looks like this; 

It has 2 coats of Founding Father from dutch boy and then I lightly distressed the edges and details. I then finished it with a clear Behr faux glaze with a regular black craft paint mixed in it (3ish parts to one) applied with a cloth (inspired by lovely makeovers like this). I didn't change the hardware, just sprayed it with Krylon oil robbed bronze spraypaint. 

It was my first time using glaze and I love that it breaks up the solid colour and gives it more texture. I just did one coat though as I think it may just start to look dirty with any more- its a fine line between well-used and well-grubby!

I may go back and use it on this project too.

PS don't my fabric covered corkboards look nice above the desk? Remnant fabric too. SCORE. 


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Have sewing machine, will sew.

I've been going a little cushion crazy this week - I made a foam one with piping for a bench, and another for a rocking chair and a matching toss pillow to go with this one.

We bought this storage bench a while ago from Craig's list for our hallway

and also this rocking chair from a charity shop for one of the bedrooms

and ever since, they've both been needing seat cushions.

The bench was evidently smaller than the average bench as the only ones I could find to fit were for kids toy chests with yacky material and a steep prince tag ... Then I found this amazing tutorial from Pretty Handy Girl via CSI project for a piped bench cushion so I went about making one instead.

The tutorial is really clear and detailed so I'm not going to repeat it step by step but here are the main steps and materials:

2" foam to fit
Carving knife
Batting to cover foam twice
Piping (about 6 yards in all)
Sewing machine

I cut the foam to size using a bread knife - I've read that an electric carving knife is good for this too but I don't have one of these. I found that just pulling the knife backwards rather than in a sawing motion helped make a much cleaner cut. I then wrapped the batting around to cover each side twice and secure with tape temporarily to stop it from unrolling whilst making the cushion.

The I cut all 7 pieces of fabric (6 sides and an extra piece for the back flap) with around 1.5" excess for hemming and placed over the cushion and pinned

Then ironed and sewed along the lines to make a guide to follow for the piping

I actually found the piping rather difficult to deal with - it had a tiny hem of 1/4 inch so not much to grab hold of and too small to both pin and machine sew so I just had to hold it in place which made for a wonky seam in places.

The back is an envelope fastening so there are two pieces that overlap - one sewn to top and sides and one to the bottom only. This is secured with velcro so the cushion cover can be changed.

And that is that. I'm a beginner sewer so I found this challenging but very doable.

I'm contemplating stenciling the fabric to make it a bit less ...well beige...will keep you posted

and since I'd now got the hang of it, I then made a smaller one for the rocking chair with gorgeous but cheapo remnant fabric. Same basic method but I added rounded edges for the back corners and little tie tassles at the back too 

Then I was really on a roll. I had some leftover fabric from making this union jack cushion so did a quickie stars and stripes one to match...


Thursday, December 8, 2011

goodwill sweater pillow

I feel like I've seen tons of sweater pillows on Pinterest but I think it may actually just be the same few pics that have been repinned over and over! Anyway, when I saw these 2 bad boys in Goodwill at half off I grabbed them quick.

The small one is Ralph Loren no less, not too shabby eh? Almost too good to cut up. Alas it's a kid's size 8-10 and since I don't have any kids and it pretty much fitted a 12x16 pillow straight off, I decided to make it into a pillow cover after all.

I turned it inside out, snipped off the arms and sewed from the arm seam straight down on each side and across the neck (as per the black lines on pic), leaving the bottom open.

There wasn't enough body left to make a fold over enveloped style flap so I got 3 large buttons and used the piping from the sleeves to make loops for the buttons - looks a little scruffy on the inside but fine on the outside - maybe I can get away with calling it 'rustic'


Buttons on, pillow in, finished.  I like how you can still see the neckline! No mistaking this was previously a jumper!




Monday, December 5, 2011

homemade crimbo decorations

I've been crafting this afternoon....turning this little lot
...into this:

Clear baubles from Michaels - filled with strips of left over paper music and animal print paper from this project

Old sauce and jam jars spraypainted with a snowflake stencil and looking glass/ silver/white spraypaint plus a wire handle to make make candle holders/latterns

and wooden letters modpodged with the same music paper

Just need a tree now....