Textile Lovin’

Here’s a little update on what I’ve been working on lately….

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I’ve been digging through my fabric stash and creating pictures with them.

This farm scene was my first attempt.

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The clothesline with “quilts” was a last minute inspiration, but really my personal favorite part of this piece. I was going to do a garden at that spot, but couldn’t bring myself to actually sew it on there. It just wasn’t quite right.

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My second piece was this sweet little cottage scene. Little is not the correct word though—it is actually quite large, measuring over 16″ by 20″.

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Vintage yo-yos discovered at a yard sale make perfect flowers, especially with a sweet button sewn onto the middle.

My favorite part of this scene is the little fox curled up in his den at the corner. (Or you could call it a cat, it sorta looks like one!)

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Part of why I enjoy making these is using up such a variety of fabrics. It is a good excuse for my fabric hoarding I guess! I love finding just the right piece of fabric, ribbon, or trim for a certain area. Some are newer materials, but I use a LOT of vintage finds, which I really love!

My next attempt was based on a real place, not a made up one.

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For this one I loosely based it on a picture of the Bass Harbor Lighthouse in Maine.

A variety of corduroy and wool tans and browns create the rocks. If I had to redo this one I would make the sky a tad bit brighter blue.

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The last piece I finished represents the Bodie Island Lighthouse in North Carolina.

I don’t *love* this one as much, it’s just kind of okay for me.

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As each one has been rather large, I decided to scale down a bit. Pictured above is a piece I just started. Nothing is sewn on yet, just pinned down. Typically I pin a bunch of possibilities down and edit from there. Here I am recreating a scene from the Jordan pond area of Acadia National Park. I have a lot of work to do on it yet, but I wanted to show a bit of my creative process.

First I usually sketch out a rough idea, then begin to pull fabrics that may work. I strive to not only use color schemes that work, but to incorporate lots of texture too.

Not a single one ends up exactly like what I originally envisioned, and that’s okay…sometimes it turns out even better.

So there you have it, this is what I’ve been working at lately! This is fun for me and I so enjoy the creative process in this. This is how I unwind!

Handmade Christmas 2014: Folded Antique Music Ornament

Hey everyone!

So I am slightly obsessed with things made out of either vintage sheet music pages or book pages.

I have done a number of previous crafts on here using this as a medium, usually for Christmas.

This is my latest trial set of projects and I have to say that I made quite a few.

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Definitely one of those things that once you make one, you are eager to do more.

They are fairly simple to pull off, and I promise that those who are supposedly “uncrafty” can still make these.

You can buy old books or hymn books at yard sales, used book sales, thrift shops, etc. I scored several antique music magazines from the 1920’s-1930’s at a local antique store for a couple bucks. They are awesome! I could seriously frame some of the ads in them for decoration, but that’s for another day.

Here’s the process I followed:

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I ripped out some pages and cut same-sized rectangles out of the paper. I stacked three together, lining up the edges, and folded them accordion style, or like a fan. It’s important to keep your folds approximately the same width.

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Next step is to separate them and fold each accordion in half, like in the above picture.

Glue together the middles of each so they all turn into a one-piece fan shape.

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Finally, to complete the circle, glue the three (or you could do a fuller one with 4) fan shapes together where they meet.

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You could leave them plain, but I chose to put some kind of embellishment in the center. Some have a bit of burlap with a sparkly snowflake on top, others have a glittery word like “Joy,” and some have little pictures from that old music magazine that are backed with cardstock. Cutouts from vintage Christmas cards would be really cool too I would think.

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Another option that looks neat is to make another layer that’s larger and place it underneath. Just use much larger pieces, or even a full page, to fold. I love the look of these, and you could go really big to make a wreath.

For any size you choose, just make sure to back it with something for stability. I used canning lids that had been used and washed, hot gluing them to the back. For the larger ones I used a round plastic lid that had been on an ice cream pail. You could use a circle of cardboard or something else that’s sturdy though.

Happy crafting! Stay tuned for more handmade Christmas ideas.

Paper Heart Valentine Garland

On tap for today is a pretty paper garland, perfect for Valentine’s Day.

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These are pretty quick to whip up–all you need is an old book or hymnal, scissors, and a sewing machine.

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Cut out a bunch of hearts that are the same size. I used a few pieces of paper stacked together and was able to cut out quite a few in a short time.

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After cutting out gobs of these, all you have to do is sew two at a time together (as you can see, I used red thread) down the middle of the heart. Keep adding sets of two as you go. You an either make all of them flush against each other or stagger them out, leaving an inch or two of thread in between the sets of hearts. At this point I’ll also add that I made a nice length of thread at the beginning and end of each garland for hanging purposes.

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When finished, you can either let the hearts hang as is or fold each in half, creating a 3-dimensional look.

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After hanging this up and taking pics, I realized this would look MUCH better against a darker wall. Oh well. I also thought about combining this music paper with red cardstock and alternating them.

By the way, do ya like my chalkboard? This is hanging in our entryway and was a 5 cent yard sale steal. I usually have a verse written on it, but decided to do “LOVE” in a font that I liked. I looked some fonts up, saw how LOVE looked written in this particular one, then copied it freehand in pink chalk.

4 Boys, 1 Bedroom

I am beginning to do my post-Christmas purge of the house. This is an opportune time of the year to pull this off because 1) There ain’t much happening in January 2) It’s yucky out and I’m stuck inside a lot and 3) Christmas just happened and things have accumulated much more than I wanted them to. In other words, I hate too much clutter and we have a lot of crap to get rid of. Granted, we really don’t have an exorbitant amount of stuff per person, but there’s 7 of us here and our house isn’t that big. Therefore, if more stuff comes in, other stuff needs to leave. That’s where today’s lovely little post comes in. I certainly didn’t intend for my purging to become a blog thing, but after cleaning up my boys’ room yesterday (a.k.a. getting rid of junk while they were at school and couldn’t see things “disappear”), I realized how good it looks cleaned up and organized. I also realized that I’ve never done a little tour of any of our rooms.

Therefore, today I am sharing about how we fit all 4 of our boys into 1 bedroom. Sounds a little crazy, I know, but it works for us. If anyone has 3 or more children, unless they have a really big house, it’s likely that some siblings will share a room. I draw inspiration from seeing how other people pull things off, so hopefully today’s picture tour can give you some sense of how we make this work.

christmas, boys bedroom, veggies 043This is a view from when you first step in the door. As you can see, we live in a Cape Cod, so I have to deal with the angled ceilings upstairs. This can make furniture arrangement a little tricky. Thankfully this is probably the biggest room in our house, so we’ve got floor space to work with.

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To get more specific, I’ll start at the back wall and work my way front. We have 2 sets of bunk beds set up in an “L” formation. The bigger boys have the one set and my little guys have the other set. I do all red and blue bedding to keep it boyish. The left set of bunk beds were made by my very capable husband a number of years ago. The other set was given to us for free soon after the twins were born. They were used by some people that we knew who were moving and wanted to pass them off to someone who could use them. Thank you Lord, for they have worked beautifully for us.

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In one little corner, I have a desk set up for doing homework. The desk was also a hand-me-down and above it I have this cool antique needlework map of the world, which I wrote about here. My “keeping it real” moment for you–when I examined the little white container on the floor under the nightlight, it was full of yellow water (Not pee, which wouldn’t be an impossibility!) and dead stinkbugs. Apparently my 10 year old had made a homemade stinkbug trap that really worked. Luckily for you I didn’t do a close-up of it;)

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This is the one lonely dormer window in that room. Underneath it I have a child-sized rolltop desk that I found years ago at an antique store. The curtains are some basic panels I made out of a fabric found at a thrift store. It looks like heavier mailbag fabric and has things like “airmail” and “US Mail” printed all over it.

christmas, boys bedroom, veggies 050Now for the front corner of their room. We have a grand total of 2 dressers that they share. As an aside, my boys, even the older ones, seem to like wearing the same 3 shirts and pants all the time. Does anybody else’s kids do that? I’m like, “let’s rotate our outfits a little more guys, okay?” The dresser on the left is part of a bedroom set that I refinished when I was pregnant with my first child. (That set was mine and before that, my aunt’s when she was growing up.) The taller dresser on the right was a freebie that I refinished a few years ago, painting it a glossy royal blue on the outside and doing chalkboard paint on the drawer fronts.

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The top of said dresser, topped off with Pinewood Derby cars that my older guys have made through the years–with a little help from their Dad, of course. (Just as another aside, he is a pro at making these! The last couple years my bigger boys have won “Best of Show,” as voted on by their peers, Not to brag or anything….)

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Our other boy’s dresser is topped with an antique soda crate stood on end and adorned with various trophies and ribbons. They also have their rock collection stored there.

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On the opposite wall, as you walk in the door, is this monstrous thing. It takes up a lot of room but I love it! Yep, this antique wooden shelving unit was found at a barn sale just this fall. I ditched my other toy storage bin shelves and set up all the boy toys in this. My husband put wooden “risers” underneath so it sets up higher and has storage for wider items. I put a lot of their building toys under there.

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On top of the shelves are a toy wagon that belonged to my husband’s uncle as a boy, a vintage globe, and a vintage Playskool mailbox toy. On the wall behind this I also have a “You been farming long?” print that my Mom-Mom had handed down to me since I had blond twin boys. (Anyone remember those from the 80’s? I think every farm family we knew growing up had something with that on them in their house.)

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Another view of those shelves close-up. Trucks, tractors, Nerf guns, GI Joe’s, and other goodies are all tucked into their places.

Well, that sums up my tour of the boys’ room for now. After purging and generally organizing it, I snapped some pictures before they got home from school! I did a lot more dramatic improvements to my girl’s bedroom, which I may show on a later date.

Thanks for stopping by!

Rachel

Lace Embellished Tee

I haven’t made any good projects involving clothing lately– at least none where I embellish upon something that’s already made. (I have made a few pieces from scratch lately, but that’s for another day.)

Upon seeing lots of cool lace inspired clothing lately, I decided to pretty up a basic long-sleeved T.

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It was really pretty darn simple once I got cracking on it.

Here’s the basics of what I did:

lace shirt, wheat crackers 001I started off with a basic knit t-shirt in this blue color. Since I’m a sucker for darker blue paired with white, I pulled out a Goodwill lace table runner thing that had been sitting in my fabric stash.

lace shirt, wheat crackers 002After literally slicing off the longer end pieces off the runner, I pinned them down the middle of my tee, placing the straight sides so they touch. I also left a tail of about 1-2″ at the top and bottom, tucking them underneath into the inside of the shirt. If you do this or something similar, use lots of pins! After making sure everything was in its proper place, I zig-zag stitched down the middle using white thread. This adhered both pieces to the middle portion. Following this I used a straight stitch down the side of each lace strip. I screwed up once and had to break out my trusty seam ripper to fix the situation. Another warning: knit material like this is sorta stretchy while the lace is not, so make you don’t have any bunchiness going on as you sew.

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That’s pretty much it. Now I have a new Tee to wear this fall and winter. The only thing I may change is the neckline–I don’t love how it looks just yet, so it may get fixed up a bit more, but I haven’t decided on how I want it.

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Paired up with my current favorite pair of earrings (which are a steal on amazon!), I really enjoyed wearing my new Tee to usher in some fall weather.

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New Spring Curtains!

With the approach of some *possible* spring weather, I’ve been on a curtain-making binge.

Yep, 4 of our rooms now have different curtains hanging in them. I’m a little nutty like that when I get on a kick. Today I’ll be sharing the ones I made for our living room.

Oh, and by the way, I hardly spent a thing to make them. Store-bought curtains can be so stinking expensive! I’ve priced them out before and even if you think you’re getting an okay deal, that’s sometimes just the price for one half of a window. With an overflowing fabric stash, I raided it and found something unique for each of the rooms.

For this pair, I used a linen white tablecloth that my mother trash-picked for me last year. It was still in its packaging, so don’t be too grossed out. (Good job Mom!) She knew I may find a good use for it, and so I did:

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It was in perfect shape, so I cut it in half and used that white linen as a base for my curtains. My other ones were much more formal-looking valances. I was looking for something more casual and bright, so the white fit the bill for that.

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To add some pops of bright color, I embellished these with some quilting squares I had won off of Ebay. They are Amy Butler fabrics–I forget the name of the collection, but thought they were very pretty. Basically I sewed a few together in a strip, then sewed them near the top of the curtain. I have a bunch left, so I may make a matching pillow to go with.

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I love the colors and designs in these squares!

For some finishing touches, I sewed on a length of orange grosgrain ribbon to the top and a length of green to the bottom of the squares.

Hanging with my handmade curtains are lace panels that I’ve had for many years.

All in all, I am enjoying my new curtains and think they definitely give my room a different look. You never know what you can come up with when thinking a bit outside of the box!

I may be sharing some of my other curtain-making adventures in the near future, so stay tuned!!

Burlap & Gingham Grapevine Wreath

Whew! It was a relief to get my Christmas stuff put away last week. The house seems a bit more spacious and, well, a little less cluttered.

This time of year always makes me want to purge my home of unnecessary clutter and organize even more. In fact, I just told someone the other day that I truly felt like I could rid our home of half  of our belongings and we would still have plenty. Anybody else with me on that one?

Anyway, today I thought I’d share what I just hung on my front door now that Christmas is behind us.

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I actually made this well over a year, maybe a year and a half ago. I think I even put one photo of it on a blog post, but didn’t feature it at all.

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As you can see, I took a simple grapevine wreath and chose a color palette of black, white, gray, and yellow. Then I made up a bunch of flowers and rosettes using various fabrics that had these colors. I ended up with burlap, black and white gingham, several patterned cotton fabrics, and a gray cashmere thrifted sweater. For the hanger portion I took a length of the gingham and sewed it into a basic long rectangle, then added a bit of twine to the top.

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I’m not sure if this is totally wintry, or seasonable, but I like it nonetheless.

Book Page Lid Ornaments

This is a project from my archives from last year. I loved these and am planning on making more for this holiday season.

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What do old hymnal pages and canning lids have in common? These holiday ornaments, of course!

How did I make them? If you’re a crafty soul like me, I’m sure you can figure it out just by looking at my pictures. However, I’ll give you all a quick tutorial just in case.

Start out with a canning lid and a page out of an old hymnal or old sheet music. I’ve gotten old hymnals from used book sales for super cheap and used them for a different project in previous years. Using the lid as a template, trace and cut out a circle from the music page. I also went around my edges with scalloped-edged scissors just for extra embellishment.

Using Mod Podge and a paintbrush, I lightly covered one side of the lid and pressed the page onto it. You could use either side of the lid–mine are reddish around the edges, so I wanted that to show a little. As some of the pictures show, I also did a couple with the gold showing from the flipside.

I left a couple of ornaments just plain, but added a rolled fabric flower and a button to some as well. In order to hang it, I also hot glued a loop of thin wire to the back. Ribbon would certainly look pretty cute too.

I’m sure there are lots of other ways to embellish these. I plan on making more, so feel free to leave a comment with any suggestions you may have.

Thimble & Flowers Necklace

This project is one I’ve been aching to try out. Thanks to a gloomy morning and nothing on our schedule today, I was able to make this cute thimble necklace.

My original inspiration came from this post, so it really wasn’t my idea. I did think it was awfully clever, so of course I had to be a big copycat and make one for myself.

In case you would want to make one too, here’s a quick play by play of how I put this pendant together.

Gather supplies. You will need one thimble, green yarn or embroidery floss, colored head sewing pins, hot glue gun, silver jewelry wire, pliers, silver jumpring.

Take a length of jewelry wire and wrap it around the edge of your thimble. I doubled mine, used a little hot glue to hold it in place, and twisted the ends together with my pliers. I first attempted to make a jumpring thing with my wire , but soon abandoned that idea and used a regular jumpring instead. (As you can see in my picture above, it wasn’t too pretty.)

Choose the pins you will use for your flowers. I snipped the ends off of all of them because they were a little too tall for my thimble arrangement.

Next you will squeeze some hot glue into the bottom inside portion of your thimble flowerpot. Arrange your pins inside the thimble and add some more hot glue.

I will warn you now–this is a hot job! Watch your fingers because the outside of the thimble will get really hot as you fill it with glue. Once you have your pins arranged, fill up with more glue and add your green yarn or floss. Press down a little so it adheres to the glue part.

That’s pretty much it. This doesn’t take very long to assemble. The last thing you need to do is string this onto a necklace chain, leather cord, or whatever else you want to use. I chose a silver necklace chain that I already had.

This would make a great handmade gift for anyone who enjoys sewing.