Tuesday, January 31, 2012

More About Me: Country Woman Magazine

I currently have a little feature/ spotlight on 

if you want to read a little more about me and my blog!
Kind of exciting for me, they're featuring my bird pillow cover tutorial and basket liners!

Since they're featuring my bird pillow cover tutorial, I thought it would be appropriate to include this video clip.
I think it's hilarious!

Monday, January 30, 2012

SYTYC Week 1: Clutter Crates

I cleaned out my wood scrap bin to make crates to hold my clutter in three different rooms.  I love these things and we've been getting a lot of use out of them.

All used reclaimed or scrap wood and have drawer pulls for handles.
I don't know about you, but I have piles of junk that we use enough to keep out, but I'd rather have them in a crate to try to look more tidy.

I thought I'd focus on one crate at a time.

This ended up being my favorite one.

This box was made with my leftover MDF scraps and had to be pieced together.

I loved the herringbone pattern when it was all done.  Originally I was going to paint a chevron zig-zag, but decided it was so trendy, and tried to switch it a little by doing the herringbone pattern.  It's a variation of the chevron, but you alternate the colors per row instead of solid zig zags.  It ended up working perfectly to seamlessly wrap around the hole box and not break the pattern.
I used left over paint from previous projects.

The crate was free to this point, so I splurged on these bar drawer pulls to use as handles.
I love the modern look the pattern and silver handle give to this crate.
This currently is in our master bedroom and holds all my husbands magazines and reference books that were two large piles on between the bed and his wall.

Crate #2
This fall my neighbor tore down their fence and she said I could take any wood I wanted before they took it away.  So some fence planks have been rotting in my yard for a few months and I used a few to make this crate.

This crate required other scraps to hold the weather planks together.
I chose to use my 2x2 scraps in the corner, 1x2 strips across the bottom, and I made a divider in the center so I could have two separate compartments.  One for toys, the other for books.

Once again, I think the finish and hardware make the crate.
I used brass handles that I spray painted black, along with the corner braces and casters.  I just thought the shiny silver would look too modern and the oil rubbed bronze made it look more authentic and aged.

This crate goes in our front room.  With our baby still in the sit and play stage, we have toys out every day.  So now all the toys can all fit in the crate, along with all the books in the other half.

At the end of the day I can easily roll the crate on the caster wheels to the mess, load it up and just push the crate out of the way.  I am LOVING this thing!

The last  crate was the most difficult to finish.
This crate is made from my pine scraps. 

This crate was made with all pine sides.  I had to add 2x2 stubs in the corners to house the casters.
The handles were the cheapest drawer pulls, and were brass.  I just spray painted them white to better match the white hardware. 

To finish the outside, I really wanted to maintain the natural wood grain and knots since I was using actual wood.  But I also wanted it to be colorful as it was for my kid's room.
So I made a wood stain wtih Rit dye and it gave it the color, but is just a stain so you still get the wood grain too.

Using my own had sketched stencils, I gave it natural wood animal silhouettes.  My favorite is the elephant.

This crate holds toys and also has the casters to roll around to make my life easier! 

This crate is in my kid's room to the toys and books.

These crates are all pretty big, so they go on the floor and wouldn't fit on a shelf or anything.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Week 4: Squadron Bomber Jacket

I have been so grateful to make it this far, (further than I ever have in other competitions) to week 4 of Season 3 in Project Run and Play.  
So thanks for anyone who voted for the Lace Princess Grace look last week and hopefully you will like my
 Squadron Bomber Jacket.
It's a military inspired, asymmetrical, pocket filled, high-collared and flannel lined jacket.

I styled the look with gray carpenter jeans, army snow boots, and RJ's monster hat he designed last winter with me.
This hat is his favorite and always gets smiles when he wears it in public.
Hat details, pictures, and original post here:

My son was the model again and my husband reminded me of this WWII tank parked in front of the National Guard right by our house.

 Jacket Construction:
The style is basically a double breasted coat, having the under-layer cross over past the center line, and the top layer passing across, but in this case the asymmetry of the top side of the coat extends up to the shoulder seam and slopes down to the center line.  This coat closes with Anorak snaps, which were large and slate in color which was perfect for my green/ gray look.
The main pockets are the waist welt pockets.  They are lined with the green fleece and are the perfect position to jam those hands in there.

The collar is a thick standing piece that tapers on the underside.  It covers the entire neck and can act as a scarf/ lower face shield.

To design it laying right, there's a break where the coat front meets the shoulder, which allows the rest of the collar to wrap around the neck.

Another favorite element are those shallow chest pockets.
I found these gray taped metallic 5" "fashion zippers" at JoAnns.  The exposed zipper trend seemed fun and masculine for these pockets.  The pockets are lined with flannel.  I took photos for a tutorial of these exposed zippers, the technique I used is similar to sewing welt pockets.
I have a tutorial planned for these exposed zipper pockets hopefully available in the next few days!

I would love to have made this with a nice wool.  But it's itchy, scratchy, expensive and dry clean only.  So I stuck with the sweatshirt fleece, as I did with my husband's dress coat I made him for Christmas.  
The whole jacket is fully lined with black buffalo plaid flannel.
To me the lining is what makes a big difference in coats being homemade looking or polished.  I've made things unlined in the past, which works, but it definitely takes your garment up a notch if it's lined in my opinion.

The layer of sweatshirt fleece and flannel makes this a pretty warm coat.  Not a puffy parka, but a good transition coat for when it's too chilly for a hoodie but not quite cold enough for the huge puffer snow coat.

RJ really wanted to get up to get a closer look at the gun, and once I put him up there he doesn't look so sure. 

You can also wear the collar down and open if it's too much up at your face, or if you just want to look cool like I did in 1st grade only wearing one backpack strap.

We interrupt this photo shoot for a roll down the hill.

This ended up being my favorite shot, he tucked himself into the wheels, and you can get a good view of the monster hat.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Vinyl Tablecloth Update

Over a year ago I used tablecloth to make a fitted tablecloth for our dining table.
It has been awesome to protect the wood and made clean up easy with the messy kids.
But it's life came to an end after 1.5 years of use, lots of messes, and I even melted a few holes by an edge of a hot dish that wasn't completely on a pot holder.

So the original black damask tablecloth went in the trash and I needed to make a new one.
But I couldn't find any tablecloth printed vinyl I liked.  I even looked at laminated cotton, which was expensive but even then nothing stood out.

So I ended up paying $3.00 for just the clear, thinnest vinyl and made the same fitted tablecloth.
Tutorial here.
But I didn't finish the edge with bias tape or hemming or anything, just a straight cut.

Now I use linen tablecloths and this just protects them from having to wash them every day, which would be the case with kids.  So it's a little tacky, like sitting on Grandma's vinyl encased couch, but if anyone ever does come over we'll pull off the plastic and eat on the real linen tablecloth.  But no one ever really comes over, so for most of the time we'll have the plastic easy cleanup.

I actually like the idea of having the fitted clear topper tablecloth so I can change out the colors with the season/ event. I did kind of get sick of the black damask after a while, and this opens up a lot of fun opportunities to make printed cloth tablecloths that are fitted and can be exchanged.

I haven't tried it, but I thought if dry erase markers come off easily, it would be a fun drawing mat too.  I'm thinking dry erase probably won't wipe off though.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Week 3: Lace Princess Grace Gown

I'm so thrilled and grateful to still be here for week three of Project Run and Play!
Thanks for anyone who voted for the Oxford Gent boy look, I really appreciate it.  It's been so fun participating in this competition and has really pushed me in a lot of ways.
{through Sunday night}
This week was especially fun for me, RETRO, picking a decade to design for.
I ended up going with the 50s and made a Lace Princess Grace Gown, dress coat,  and clutch.

My inspiration was Grace Kelly.  
Not only beautiful, she was a movie star, an actual princess, and style icon.  This dress was inspired by a red lace gown she wore in Alfred Hitchcock's 1954 film, Dial M for Murder.
So of course a little princess would need not only the gown, but a dress coat and coordinating clutch.

I thought lace would be too adult for a little girl, then I remembered I had this ivory polka-dot lace I'd been saving, and thought it would work great for a little tea length princess dress.  Because the lace was ivory, I had to hand dye all my fabrics so they'd coordinate. 

 It was kind of tricky because the lace was ivory, where the white sheet I used for the base, tulle, and organza were all white.  So I learned a lot about dying fabric and lucked out that they all ended up the same shade of seafoam green.
RIT dye has an online formula guide to mix their base dyes to get over 500 colors.

I really love this little gown.  It was so fun to make.

The inspiration dress had a sexy sweetheart neckline, which I loved.  But for a little girl, I just made a simple v-neck that wouldn't compete with the polka-dot lace.
I loved the sheer sleeves that to me, is typical 50s formal wear and kept the sleeves unlined in my look.

I chose to have a dropped waist on the skirt for a more modern look.  The skirt obviously had to be really full and so I have a six-layered circle skirt on this dress.
The base is a sheet, followed by 4 layers of gathered tulle, then topped with a single organza layer for a little shimmer.

The skirt is obviously great for spinning....

...or jumping for that matter.

Dress Coat:
Like all fashionable 50s looks, this gown needed a coordinating dress coat to cover the large skirt to the hem.  I designed a peter pan collar with a three button closure to make it easy to get on and off.

I had a set of vintage 50s paper dolls as a kid and I liked how they always had coordinating clutches with their elbow length gloves.  We bagged gloves here, but I did make a little clutch from the dress scraps for my little neighbor to have as payment for helping me with the photos.

The body of the clutch is the polka-dot lace with the organza lined lid.  I found this rectangular diamond looking button to add a little glam.  The clutch is lined with the gray coat fabric.

I told my little model she could open the clutch because everything inside she got to keep.
I'd just got some basic make up for her (I did check with her mom before to make sure it was OK).  
Of course her favorite was lipstick!


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