Saturday, October 30, 2010

Yes, They ARE for Sale

I’ve had some e-mails asking if my Christmas Stockings are for sale. Yes, they are. While I am planning on selling them in a local shop, if you see anything you are interested in, just send me an e-mail ( )to let me know. I will e-mail back all the details. Smile
I accept paypal. Just so you know, if you live in New York I will collect sales tax based on the shipping address. Sorry!
Have a wonderful day!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

I Cheated!

Yes, I broke down and worked on a project when I was supposed to be organizing my studio. But….in my defense, I was frustrated because I could not magically make more space appear, and I NEEDED a break.
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I now have more space on my worktable, and I’m ready to get back to organizing.
(and by the way….the crown graphic came from The Graphics Fairy.)

Linking up to Brag Monday at The Graphics Fairy.


I’m Diving In

I’ve been super busy lately. I’ve made several Christmas stockings.
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I’ve cleaned the entire house…..except for my studio. My poor, poor studio. It has been used and abused lately. It stores much of the material I am collecting for future projects, including a LOT of stuff that a friend gave me when she found out what I’ve been working on. I enter this room with the best intentions of cleaning and organizing it. THEN before I know what is happening, I am working on a project. As a result, this is what my studio looks like this morning:
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Anyone else get excited working on projects and let this happen to your work space?? Anyone? PLEASE tell me that I’m not alone!
Definitely time to dive in and organize this mess! THEN I must discipline myself to work on ONE or two projects at a time and keep the mess to a minimum. Hope to be back in a day or so with photo proof of a better organized space. Until then…..
Have a blessed and creative day!

Monday, October 25, 2010

What I’ve Been Up to Lately

On Friday, my new sewing machine arrived….and I promptly got busy with sewing projects. Here are a few:
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I am LOVING my new machine!
Here are a couple of other “experiments” that I worked on:
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I ordered some high buck glitter wanting to make some glittered letters…and I’ve been unable to locally find the chipboard that I need to make them. So in the meantime I’ve been trying to come up with other ways to use the glitter. I LOVE the “Joyeux Noel” banner….once it is completely dry, I am going to see how well it wears. I would love to make and sell some of these, but they will need to be able to survive shipping and storage.
I hope to soon be opening my etsy store….right now I’m trying to decide on pricing. That is a little more difficult than I anticipated. I want items to be affordable!….but I would also like to pay myself more than $1 per hr. Winking smile And Man would like for me to recover the cost of the new machine….and the Cricut….and all the materials that I’ve bought. In other words….he would like for my hobby to turn a profit (even if it is only a small one). Funny….I don’t expect him to make a profit fishing or hunting or whatever he may get involved in. Oh well….men sometimes view things differently.
Well….I’m off to vacuum. There are little bits of string EVERYWHERE!
Have a wonderful, creative day!

I'm linking to this party:

freckled laundry

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Give Me a Sign

Or would it be a wall plaque? Whatever you want to call it….here is my latest project:
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  A couple of months ago my hubby came home with a small cabinet that someone gave him. I loved that little cabinet. Unfortunately, due to a bad repair job, it could not be restored to the glory that I just knew it once had. Sadly, I took it apart hoping to give it new life…actually new lives. This sign was made from one of its shelves. The shape and size are perfect. I have 3 more shelves left…stay tuned to see what they may become. One may become a similar sign for my newlywed daughter….maybe. I’m not sure about the others yet.
On another note….
Of course once the sewing bug hit me with full force, my sewing machine decided not to play nice. I kept having trouble with bobbin thread jamming. That was caused by a tiny little scratch on the bobbin case. Or perhaps the scratch was caused from the thread jamming, which led to more thread jamming. (you know…classic “chicken or egg?” dilemma)  Out came the handy, dandy emery board to file out the scratch until I could find a replacement part. I thought I had found the part; but while searching for a better deal, I found conflicting information on whether that particular part worked on my model. Plus I knew that I would eventually have to upgrade my machine. So I started doing some research…. WOW! There are a LOT of choices out there….and a LOT of opinions. First of all….I found out that the general opinion out there in review land is that the machine I currently own is a piece of JUNK! Maybe, just maybe, all those problems that I’ve had with it over the past few years weren’t operator error after all. But that settled one thing for me. Instead of fixing my machine, I needed to bite the bullet and upgrade. Now I am on a VERY limited budget. So jumping right to the top of the line is out of the question. Therefore, the first place I went was to I knew that they sell reconditioned products…I had bought some reconditioned mp3 players several years ago for me and my kids at a fraction of the price of new one. They have served us all well. And I bought 3 for less than the price of a new one. But I digress…..anyway, Overstock had several reconditioned Janome machines. I read and read and read reviews…..until my head was spinning. I do believe there is such a thing as TOO MUCH information. I finally just took a leap of faith and purchased this one. It should be here in a couple of days. I hope it works out. I sure have a huge pile of fabric that is waiting to be turned into Christmas stockings….oh and the unfinished curtain panels I was working on when my current machine took another nosedive….plus more decorative pillow ideas….plus tote bags. Yep…the sewing bug has bitten!
Until next time….

Friday, October 15, 2010

Distressing Furniture is Easy….

until it isn’t. I have re-done furniture before. So when I started this project a few months ago, I went in thinking it would take a couple of days. But I digress….let’s go back to the beginning…..Not long after we moved from NC to NY my dear hubby came home with a pair of these:
Furniture re-do 002 He had found them on the side of the road with a “FREE” sign on them. So home they came. I immediately started refinishing them in my head. Unfortunately, our rental home had NO place to work on them. After a year we moved to this house, which has a very small workshop. The first year here was VERY busy….no time to work on the tables. Then this summer I couldn’t take it any longer. Off to the tiny hardware store in town to buy some stripper. The original plan was to just to give them a deeper, richer finish. So I was just going to strip off all the poly or shellac or whatever the finish was! Therefore, I bought a heavy-duty, all-purpose stripper. Well…the body of the table turned into a blotchy mess. Spots of pure white DRY wood appeared. Yet other spots refused to let go of their finish. Out came the sander. Up went my frustration level. It became very obvious that I was going to have to paint the furniture. Not a problem for me. I like painted furniture. Man, on the other hand, does NOT!!! I thought I would take a cue from Miss Mustard Seed and paint and distress the body then refinish the top with a dark stain. Out came the stripper to work on the top. NONE of that shiny finish would budge! Out came the sander. The dust was flying. I sanded and sanded and sanded. Then came the realization that I wasn’t dealing with a wood top….not even a veneer top. NO, I was dealing with a laminate top….like a laminate countertop. Boy, did I feel like a fool? The look was so real that I had no idea until I got through all that shiny finish and it was STILL shiny. Well there went the idea of staining the top. Then came my first break. I HAD to walk away from this project.
Okay…I break the bad news to my dear hubby that the table is going to have to be painted. He is NOT amused, but there was no going back. Okay….off to the hardware store. Our hardware store is super tiny (to go along with our super tiny town!). But I found some heirloom white paint. They had it in a quart or a spray can. I bought the spray can (several actually) thinking I could skip that all important step of priming. Remember….I’ve done this before. I have refinished several pieces and NEVER primed them. Plus this paint was made by Rustoleum….that stuff usually sticks to ANYTHING! Apparently, I had just gotten lucky before. All seemed to be going well….It sprayed up lovely. I left it to dry overnight before adding a second coat. Well the next day I found “orange peeled” paint. Okay…at this point I was really wishing for a dumpster. Instead I just walked away.
Some time passed….(I should have kept a written journal….as I have obviously blocked out much of this experience and cannot remember how much time). I’m back with a can of primer, a can of paint, a small can of walnut stain……and MUCH determination! As I was getting ready to brush on the primer, I realized that nooks and crannies of this piece were not going to make it easy. So out came the tools and I took the table apart. This is when my husband asked me why I wasn’t just using his spraying equipment. This is the same man that got mad at me for getting his shop dusty when I was sanding this piece. I sure wasn’t about to touch his spray painting stuff….especially when I had NO idea how to use it. Anyway…he grudgingly volunteered to spray it for me over the weekend. So I walked away….AGAIN.
Now it was my hubby’s turn to wish for a dumpster. That weekend he confidently prepped his work space and equipment. He aimed and sprayed…..and nothing came out. He thinned the primer. Nothing came out. He changed the nozzle. Nothing came out. Reality hit him. The last time he had used his equipment, he had owned a different air compressor….a larger air compressor. He cleaned his equipment, went to town, bought a can of spray primer, came home, primed the table…..and promptly told me he was DONE. It was once again MY problem.
I was DETERMINED that this table was NOT going to beat me! This was a matter of pride! And yes….pride was proving itself particularly ugly in this case. Unfortunately, my hubby needed the shop. So after the pieces dried, I brought them into my studio…my very overcrowded studio. Where they sat until a week or so ago. Then I decided it was time….okay past time! Working on one piece at a time….a few minutes here and there…..trying desperately to NOT get even more frustrated, I finally have it ALMOST finished. I have it painted, distressed, and put back together. Now I only have to put a protective finish on it. But first, I’ve decided to let it dry REALLY well. Plus…I really need another break. Not out of frustration so much….I just have several projects that need my attention more at the moment.
So here is the nearly finished product….at least of ONE table. The other one hasn’t been touched. It will have to wait for better weather AND the purchase of a larger air compressor!!! Man was looking for an excuse to buy one anyway.
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I'm linking this post over on Miss Mustard Seed's Furniture Feature Friday.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

After this post I’m going to vacuum…

I’ve been cutting out fabric in the living room and sewing in the studio….and well there are bits of string and lint and mystery dust to prove it.
But on with the post! ;-)
I’ve had images in my head….I’m trying desperately to bring them to reality. I keep a notebook of ideas and as quick as I write one idea down another pops into my head. It is a very crowded place in there. I REALLY do not like having a cluttered mind. A cluttered mind leads to a cluttered house for me. I just cannot concentrate on even the simplest of tasks…It is like the ideas are literally bouncing around in my head…very distracting.
This week the two images that have come into focus the most are a finished end table (which right now is an UNfinished end table…but THAT is another story that I will be saving until it is a FINISHED end table….I pray soon.) and Christmas stockings. The Christmas stockings have been driving me a little nuts, because: 1) the images in my head are NOT traditional, 2) I already have a lot of what I need to make them and 3) Christmas will be here before we know it….and the big one: since they are NOT traditional and in this economy, will anyone buy them???? I try to only make things that I love and can give a home to IF they do not sell, but I really don’t NEED a large inventory of Christmas stockings…..Oh well, this is one project that must become reality. That is the only way to clear it from my head!!! A very temperamental sewing machine is NOT making things easy! (and yes, I am researching replacements…which leads to even greater distraction.)
So, I made a sample stocking this morning. I’m afraid that the VERY pale pink lining does not appear to be pink at all in the photos; so in your mind’s eye picture the softest baby pink.
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Yes, it is made from burlap….very rustic burlap. I also did another ink transfer using the same graphic that I used on the pillow from my previous post. (remember? it came from the Graphics Fairy.) I was curious how it would work on such a loose weave. It is very smudged, which is really what I expected. However, with the rustic nature of the stocking, it doesn’t bother me like it did with the pillow. The entire time I was planning this stocking and cutting out this stocking and getting ready to sew this stocking, I kept telling myself, “do not forget the sew the hanging loop into the seam of the lining”. And then I promptly forgot to sew the hanging loop into the seam of the lining. Therefore I used a zigzag stitch to sew it through the lining and burlap from the inside. It is really okay for the style of this one, but I guess I need to post a note on my machine for future reference!
Another thing that is on my mind….though not a big worry at the moment, is what to do with this mirror. Or to do nothing at all. A friend who is helping me get my business off the ground gave me this mirror to advance the cause.
blog stuff 011 The question is: “Do I refinish it or leave it alone?” My natural instinct is to refinish it. It is very nice as is, but it is very ordinary. For now, I am going to put it to the side and hope it speaks to me, but any suggestions are welcome!
Have a blessed and wonderfully creative day!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Decorative Pillow-Take One

I love old linens….napkins, tea towels, table cloths, sheets. When I go to a yardsale that is one of the first things I start looking for.  I also love things that were made with flour sacks. I have an old quilt that belonged to my great-grandmother that has the tell-tale signs of being at least partially made with flour sacks. I enjoy LOOKING at old European-style grain sacks. However, finding an affordable one just hasn’t happened. I prefer things that are not perfect, that show a history….things with character.
With all that in mind, I set out to make a pillow cover that looked a little shabby….a little faded…imperfect….aged. The first thing that I learned is imperfect doesn’t necessarily mean easy quick! The second thing I learned is I definitely need to buy a new chair for sewing….oh my aching back. ;-)
Well without further ado, here is my first attempt at a faux-old pillow cover:
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It is made with bleached canvas (AKA a bleached drop cloth). The image came from The Graphics Fairy, which I transferred onto the fabric using Citra-Solv. This was my first ink transfer. It came out a little more imperfect than I was going for, but I was pleased for a first try. Plus I keep telling myself…."even REAL old printed flour and grain sacks weren’t always perfect”.  Leave it up to me to want something PERFECTLY imperfect. Now…do I keep it, sell it or give it as a gift???
Have a wonderful, creative day!!!

I'm linking up for Brag Monday at The Graphics Fairy .