Monday, August 16, 2010

Quilt Top

Andrew's Quilt Top

I've wanted to make a quilt for my youngest son for ages, but teenage boys aren't exactly interested in that sort of thing. Then this summer he happened to pull out a quilt from the closet to use on his bed and told me the next day that he wanted one.

He chose the colours (so not my colours, I love cool colours) and the design. He originally wanted it in pure solids so it took some convincing to go for the marbles. It had to be symmetrical - no fancy patterns. The plan was to make it big enough that in a pinch it could go on a queen sized bed, but it's really closer to double size. He's currently in a twin so it'll be plenty big enough for that.

Andrew's Quilt Top

It's 8 colours of moda marbles (3 reds - red hot, brick red and california red, 3 oranges - popsicle, electric and carrot, key lime and flag ivory) in a 10 block repeat sashed with moda solid in black.

I ordered the backing today (black marble) and the binding will be in one of the reds (red hot). All the fabrics were ordered online because the local quilt stores here in Ottawa simply cost too much. I got this fabric for $5-$8 online so even with shipping the price doesn't come close to the $17/m I would have paid locally. Makes me sad (and feel guilty), but the money tree hasn't started producing for me yet!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Pillow to match the Throw

Corded pillow

Shortly after completing the throw for the family room I ordered more fabric to make matching pillows. Problem was, my sewing machine gave up the ghost. After a lot of going back and forth, I finally decided to buy a new one.

Corded pillow

Corded pillow

So I tackled the pillows today and wow, I felt like a completely new sewer (I've been sewing since I was a little kid). This was my first time tackling cording and it's hard! Don't let those cute tutorials fool you ... it's hard! I would not even attempt to give anyone instructions but I will give a noob tip - I sewed the cording on using a zipper foot trying to get as close to the cording as possible, but then I went back again and found I could get closer. I even went around the corners a third time to get really close.

Corded pillow

Once the cording was on I then did another new technique - the invisible zipper. Again, don't let those nice little tutorials fool you ... it's hard to install an invisible zipper! Well, I guess not hard, just fiddly. But check out the end result. Do you see the zipper - no you don't (except the end but that doesn't count).

Corded pillow

I am extremely pleased with how this looks, especially next to my new Capiello poster. Oh, did you notice there's only one? I am really trying to talk myself into making that second pillow. Unfortunately there was only one zipper at the fabric store in the size I needed so it's on hold for now. I could start on the cording but I need a break.

Corded pillow

In case you were wondering, the machine I chose is the Kenmore Limited Edition 17 stitch. It's a great, basic machine. Smooth and great attachments. My old machine was a Kenmore so the learning curve was very small.

Linking to Saturday Nite Special #39

Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special

Tuesday, June 22, 2010



I just finished knitting a beautiful stole. It's a Jared Flood pattern called Willoughby (rav link). This is one of those patterns that looks difficult, but is actually quite simple and straightforward. Although I never managed to memorize it, it repeats along certain patterns that makes it flow easily off the needles.


The only mod I made was to leave out the bobbles. I actually think they look great, but I loathe making them and I knit for pleasure so there was no way I was making 120 bobbles! I made the longer length but only did a total of 20 repeats per side because that used up almost exactly one skein of yarn per side.


I used Tanis Fiber Arts yellow label DK in Sand. The colour variations are gorgeous and subtle. There's almost a purply colour in there every now and then. This is my second time using Tanis' yarn and I highly recommend it.

If I were to make this again (which is highly unlikely, but you never know) I think I'd only do one yarn over along the edge. I find the two yarn overs a little bit too wide, especially after blocking.

Monday, June 14, 2010

How to turn a lampshade into a quilted throw

Alternate title: How to get the perfect throw for your family room in many easy steps:

Go to IKEA to buy lampshades. Don't buy the lampshades but find perfect quilted pillow covers for your bed instead.

Said pillow covers will only come in a set with a quilt and will NOT be in stock when you are there so stalk the IKEA website for a couple of weeks until more arrive. Oh, the quilt will be cut down to become a throw for your couch.

Buy a queen size quilt (you know almost 4 times too big for your couch) because you need two pillow covers for your bed.

Wash the quilt and covers, put covers on the bed (admire), leave the quilt hanging around for several weeks because all good projects need time to mature.

Visit at least 2 fabric stores because one will never have the fabric you are looking for. Buy half a meter of gorgeous Heather Bailey fabric even though it's not the colours you were looking for because you know it's hopeless trying another store.

Image from the Heather Bailey Store: Pineapple Brocade in celery from the Pop Garden collection.

Cut down the quilt to approx. 140 x 180 cm. Forget that you have to cut off the quilt's rounded corner so it will actually end up smaller.

Spend at least 2 days googling quilt binding techniques because you've never actually done one properly before. Fix your sewing machine (um, yeah, sort of fix your sewing machine). Sew on binding using these fantastic instructions by none other than Heather Bailey.

Quilt binding

Spend at least 1, preferably more, days researching how to attach the other side of the binding to the quilt. Realize that your sewing machine can't handle it so decide on hand sewing.

Quilt binding

Using a ladder stitch, make an invisible seam on the other side. This will take many days (not done yet) but the end result is so satisfying.

Quilt binding

If it ever gets finished (you know, that maturing process we already talked about) put it on your couch for tv/movie viewing cuddling.

Quilt binding

Quilt binding

Edited to link to Funky Junk Interiors, Saturday Night Special

Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Painted China Cabinet

china cabinet after
This is a project that I have wanted to do for almost 10 years but never had the nerve to do it. So there it sat, in all its orange glory. But since we renovated the kitchen it is now exposed to the family room and every time I sat on the coach it stuck out like a big orange blob.
china cabinet before

Last Sunday I decided ... enough's enough ... I'm painting this baby. So, in my usual haste, I started taking off all the hardware before I remembered to take a before shot. This picture was taken when we were packing up for the kitchen reno, thus the chairs stacked up in front of it.

I wanted to paint it a darker grey, but the husband, who stated that he "didn't care what I did to it" all of a sudden got opinionated about the colour. I started with CIL Surreal Blue, went down a shade to Silver Trophy, but he finally won with the even lighter shade of Fine Silver. I do like it, but would have liked it to be just a tad darker. I'm toying with some kind of glaze over top to give it some oomph. Lindsay at Better After used a cool product today that I may try to track down.
china cabinet during

I started with a primer coat, followed by two coats of paint, then one coat of varathane. I should have probably done another coat of varathane, but I was getting lazy!

There are lots of imperfections but that's okay. I'm just so happy to get rid of the orange. I kept the top in the original finish because a) it matches our dining room table and b) it was much easier to cover it then have to move the top and c) I knew I'd never get a nice even coat on it like it has now.
china cabinet after

As you can see, I took off the doors. I was thinking about doing that and when the husband saw me taking the doors off to paint them he commented that it looked nice like that. Sold! Then I mentioned that it was really nice that their was already beadboard on the back. He looked at me like I was a bit loopy ... oh, he said, you mean the PANELLING. I then gave him the stink eye and told him, no, the BEADBOARD. (full disclosure, technically it IS panelling, but I wasn't giving that to him).
hardware before and after

Without the doors I've been able to add my pride and joy ... my Keiller Dundee marmalade crocks. They look much better here than they did in behind glass in the kitchen.
Keiller Dundee marmalade crocks

Linking to Funky Junk Interiors' Saturday Nite Special.
Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special

Edited to link to Life in the Fun Lane's first Fresh Coat Friday.

Friday, May 7, 2010

I lived with these for 10 years

light before
10 years, yes, 10 long years I lived with these freakingly ugly light fixtures. When we bought our circa 1970 house all the original swedish ball lamps were still in place, expect in the kitchen where these beauties had been installed. Look at their lovely faux finish - would that be verdigris? We did take them out of the kitchen, but for some reason (I think we ran out of money) we reused them in the back hallway and laundry room. So for 10 years I've put up with these. But since renovating the kitchen I've found that my tolerance for ugly in my house has gone down. Finally, last weekend we picked out these new fixtures. ♥♥♥.
light after

Unfortunately, they only had one in stock so I'm still living with my faux finished beauty in the laundry room. Please lighting store, please call and put me out of my faux finish misery.
light after

Saturday, May 1, 2010

First Foray into Refinishing

This week Donna at Funky Junk Interiors has a surprise category for her Saturday Nite Special linky party - Dressers, Dressers, Dressers.  I knew my little dresser just had to come out to play for this one.
Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special


This dresser was the first piece of furniture I ever refinished so she holds a special place in my heart. I was newly married and my mother-in-law passed this over to me. I wish I had a before shot but, unfortunately, we are talking 20 years ago and I never thought to take pictures of it or the refinishing process. Too bad, we could have had a laugh at the permed hair I was sure to be sporting at the time!

It had been well-used and painted over numerous times. The top coat was white, then red, then another coat of white, then I think there was a dark stain. There might have been another coat in there too.

So out came the Citra-strip (great stuff - works well, smells great and it's non-toxic). I have no idea how long it took me but I know I used most of the bottle of remover and lots of steel wool. I do hope I wore a mask because I'm sure some of that paint had lead in it!

If I remember correctly, I used tung oil for the finish. It's a bit more orangey than I would like it to be, but the wood is so beautiful that I've left it alone.

The original pulls were red plastic vintage 1980's beauties. Since I didn't want the holes to show, and at the time I couldn't find the odd size, I ended up using these. I am not a gold person so someday I may change up this hardware.

She is stuck in a corner at the moment (and very hard to photograph where she sits) because we are in the process of rearranging the living room but cant do anything until we get rid of our monstrous piano.  So please ignore the cords beside her and the plant that kept getting in the way.  And yes, that is part of our record collection off to the right.

Now go check out all the amazing projects at Funky Junk Interiors, my favourite linky party of the week.
Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Stamping Spoons - Update

I've had quite a few comments on how to stamp these spoons.  I have already dabbled in stamped washers so stamping spoons wasn't a far stretch.

You can find good instructions here at Shrimp Salad Circus.

When I tried stamping for the first time I found several really good sites and videos.  Try A Little Tipsy or Every Crafty Endeavor.  There are also some really good videos on Youtube (can't find my favourite one right now).

I ordered my stamp set from 2BCreative on Etsy because I couldn't find them locally. I just checked and she is still selling them.

If DIY isn't your thing, Etsy is full of these.  Typing "stamped spoon" into the handmade search yielded 7 pages and "spoon garden marker" yielded 8 pages.

Have fun. I plan to buy my mom a parsley plant and stamp her out a matching marker. I may just have to make a couple for myself too.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Stamped Spoon for Mother's Day

Edited to link up to Donna at Funky Junk Interiors' Saturday Nite Special Linky Party.

Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special


I know these stamped spoons are all over blogland so I won't bother going into detail about how I made mine. Yes, these are two of my Goodwill spoons, so I'll stop whining that they didn't have anything good because I did pick up these fabulous specimens.


Here are a few tips I learned while doing this:

Smash the heck out of that spoon to get it flat ... it can take it, just don't hit the handle. I found I had to keep switching sides until it was completely flat. This is a good project for letting out some frustration.

Don't put your letters down backwards (note the D in grandma - I "fixed" it and we'll just call it a design feature).

The best tip though - after you use your Sharpie to fill in the stamped letters use a Mr. Clean magic eraser to remove the excess. Works better than anything else I've tried.


(why yes, that is me reflected in the unstamped spoon...)

From start to finish this took me less than a half hour, including locating the missing letter E from the stamp set (it fell into a box in the garage during the kitchen reno). I just have to make another one for my mom (don't know why but I assume this one's for my mother in law).

Love an instant gratification project.

Now to figure out how to get the pictures in to this post without using Flickr since too many family members look at my account (they don't read my blog!).

update: my apologies if these pictures are huge.  I had to use an old Photobucket account and even though I resized them, they still seem to be appearing in gigantic size and I don't feel like fiddling around with it any more since I'll probably never use Photobucket again.  We'll pretend I just like to show lots of detail.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Not Feeling the Thrift Store Love

thrift store cutlery

I love decorating with vintage things.  Vintage, retro, antique, whatever you call it I like the style. I have been drawn to many of the blogs that I follow because they use this style - urban farmhouse, country (I don't like that word, reminds me of decorating with ducks), cottage, beachy - love it. And I've learned from my blog reading that the best way to do vintage is through thrift stores.  Makes sense.  Up until now I've been a fleamarket/ebay/etsy shopper.  But I wanted to try some stamping on spoons for Mother's Day so I thought it would be faster to check out the local thrift store.

Now, I have been to thrift stores before and I admit, I'm just not a fan.  Can't place my finger on it, but I just have never had any luck.  But yesterday I found myself with a little free time so I headed off to my local Goodwill.

thrift store cutlery

And I have to tell you ... I just don't get the Goodwill love.  This stuff was not exactly cheap and pretty sparse for such a big store.  For example, there was a white bowl, nothing special, wasn't a brand name or anything - $9.99.  Seems a bit steep for a thrift store.  There was very little silverware - 99¢ a piece (is that reasonable?).  I picked up a few spoons and a fork just so I wouldn't leave empty handed (and I'm dying to try the stamping thing).  I don't know ... think that's my last trip to Goodwill.  Maybe it was just a bad day? Maybe I'm being unrealistic about the price points?

There is a second hand shop close by that I've never tried.  Maybe I'll pop in there later today and try them out.  Someone has to sell the junk beautiful items that I love.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Almost Done

I haven't updated on the kitchen reno in quite a while but I am happy to report that we are almost done. All that's left is connecting the hood to the vent then I will make everything look pretty for some After shots. For now, here's a sneak peek.

Almost done

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Latest Obsession - eBay

I think I'm one of the last people on earth to do this, but I finally made a purchase on eBay. This quickly led to another, then another ... that place is dangerous I tell you.


It all started with these little pots. I got them for $1.00 each and the shipping was really reasonable. It's like a conspiracy - you get that first thing for such a good deal that you just have to keep hunting for more.

Dundee jars

This first score led to these Keiller jars. I am having a blast bidding on them. So far I have won four (only two have arrived) and have lost I think another three. Now part of my day is spent checking out what new Dundee marmalade jars have been listed.

Dundee jars

I think it's all good as long as I set my limits. The day I start bidding on cars and houses I'll need my account locked up!