Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Cheapskate Cricut Rugs

I have been busy trying to get some outdoor projects done before winter really sets in.  I think it may have come last night.  So windy and cold, and chance of flurries today.  I got my shutters painted and back up, but it's too nasty to go outside and take any pictures, so that will have to wait for a nicer day.

The other outdoor project I completed was a stenciled door mat.  I was looking for a 'coir' mat, (I think that's what they're called, not sure) for awhile, but couldn't find a plain one.  My sweet hubby found me one for Christmas last year, but it has been sitting downstairs since then.  I decided it was was past time to do something with it.  I had tried this technique on a couple other rugs, and it worked great.

I am an avid sewer, with an embroidery machine.  For that, I have a roll of sticky back tear away backing for embroidery hooping.  Well, I had a great idea!  Cut it the size of a sheet of paper, run it through my printer with the pattern I want, cut it out and stick it to my project.  Cheapskate stencil!  It is a little tedious to cut out the design, but I seem to thrive on tedious projects.

So, here are some pics of the rugs.  The little rug with the damask design is a plain carpet sample type rug that actually worked the best.  I stuck the stencil to it and spray painted it. It has been my front door rug all summer, and was getting kind of faded looking.  I just took a small paint brush and repainted it all.  Took me maybe 1/2 hour or so, well worth it, I think.

Here it is with just the stencils stuck on it.  I had to cover the rest of the rug with newspaper and tape it off before I started spray painting.

These are the designs I decided to put on my coir mat. My daughter pointed out that I am a little damask happy, so I decided to just go with something simple.  I always look at my favorite stores to see what I like, and try to do a knock off. I used an exacto type knife, and a small pair of scissors to cut it out, remembering that I wanted the outside stencil, not the actual letter and numbers.  However, they came out nicely, and I saved them for a future project, perhaps.

Here is the plain mat before decorating.

Here it is all ready for paint.

Here it is after painting.

And here it is all done.  Looks pretty good.  It was hard to get the stencil to stick really well on the points of the surface of the rug.  The other rug that had a flatter surface had a neater finish, but I'm OK with this.  I'm sure no one would notice but me!

Notice my helper sleeping inside!

Also notice the rug inside in the entry.  I am so done with that!  I am going to find a piece of carpet and have 3 rugs bound for my front door, back door and slider.  If you could look beyond the sleeping dog, you look right out my back slider, and my back door is just to the left of that.  So you can see all 3 rugs at once, and I want them all to match, sort of.  I plan to decorate them somehow too, just haven't decided what.

I'm sure this could be done with any sticker sheet, as long as you can remove it from your project.  I would really like a Silhouette. It is like a cricut, but you don't need cartridges. It is computer generated, and it will cut any stencil design you send it.  The choices are limitless.  So....if anyone wants to donate to my Silhouette  fund, I will be more that happy to cut stencils or wall vinyl or anything you'd like!  :)

Thanks for stopping by to read, come back soon!


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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Brass to Class

Well, here we are in the middle of October, and I am trying to hurry and do all those outdoor projects that were supposed to be done this summer.  Fortunately, the weather has been pretty awesome, and I have done quite a bit of painting.

                                                  Before                                After

My front doors and shutters are hunter green, and I am so done with them!  Yesterday, I decided to paint the doors black.  Not pitch black, but a nice shade of black I picked out at the paint store.  It's Benjamin Moore Onyx, and I also picked a nice green that I may paint my shutters, but I don't want to get in over my head.  One thing at a time!  Anyway, I put 2 coats on the doors yesterday, but I think the first coat wasn't really dry (I'm not real patient!), and they didn't end up looking too great.  So... I let them dry good overnight, and rolled another coat on today.  They turned out pretty good, for a DIYer. 

As long as the knobs were off for painting, I figured I might as well sand them a bit and spray the outside handles with Oil Rubbed Bronze, one of my Rustoleum favs.  I've done a few indoor light fixtures, my cabinet knobs, and my outdoor light fixtures.  Say goodbye to brass, and hello to oil rubbed bronze.  What a difference.  I love it!!

                                          Brass before                         Oil Rubbed Bronze after

         Front door with new knob

Here's a few pics of my light fixtures.  They once were a nice shiny brass, but now after 16 years, were a rather discolored, tarnished shade of yuck.  Spray paint to the rescue.  I wiped them down, took them apart, primed and then painted them.  They're like brand new!

Before - tarnished brass

Ok, I guess a couple of my lights were still shiny, but they were take offs my hubby brought home from a job he was on. 

Before - shiny brass

Now they all match, garage, front porch and back patio.  Yea!!

Notice the one on the right is missing it's tail!  The threaded part rusted right off, and I need to find another one.  Oh well, it's OK for now, it's just the back slider light.

Well, I also stenciled a rug for the front door, but that I'll share later.  It turned out really cute.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Spring Wreath

I know that it's actually going to be summer soon, as my kids only have 1 more week of school.  But I finally got around to making a spring wreath for my front door.  I found one on pinterest I really loved, and was sure I could make myself rather easily.  I already had a grapevine wreath from years ago.  It used to be a fall wreath with silk leaves hot glued to it.  I pulled them off awhile ago, but it's just been laying around, waiting to be redone.  So I printed a picture of the one I liked, and did my best to duplicate it, with the materials I had on hand.  Here is how my version turned out.

Here's the original I copied.

Which brings up another subject, the color of my door.  Our house is white with a dark green roof, and hunter green shutters and front door.  I am sooooo tired of the green (hate might be a better description!), but I don't know what color to paint them.  I think I really want my front door black, but not sure about the shutters.  Anyhow, this wreath on the black door looks really good. Here are a few more pictures of my wreath, on my green door, and in the front entry. 

I used scraps of fabric left from a lampshade with antique letter script, ironed craftbond on the back, and embroidered S P R I N G on it.  Then I cut around each letter and sewed them to a piece of jute twine. You could easily just use scrapbook paper, and print the letters or stamp them, or write them, and then glue the letters to a string.

The flowers are just rolled roses, that you can find about a million tutorials for online.  I never think I like the way mine turn out, but after they're done and arranged they look fine.

So that's my little bit of spring, a little late.  I glued the flowers to a piece of burlap and just wired them on, so I can remove them and reuse my wreath for summer.  Maybe by August or so I'll get around to that....

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Friday, May 18, 2012

Monogrammed Burlap Table Runner & Placemats

Last Sunday was Mother's Day, and I was having my parents over for dinner.  I always see really cool dining table decor, but I never take the time to do it.  Most of my family could care a less, as long as there's food on the table.  But it matters to me, and makes me feel good when my house looks good.  So I decided to quickly make a table runner and matching placemats.

It was super easy.  I measured my table length, and then added enough to hang down on each end.  Make sure it's not to long so it won't touch the chair seat.  Mine are maybe 1/2" above the chair.  I made mine 12" wide, but you can decide what looks good on your table.  Burlap is easy to cut straight, you just have to follow one of the threads.  I think I pulled one thread from each long side, and 5 threads from the short ends to make a small fringe.  Then I did a narrow zig-zag stitch with thread the same color as the burlap on all 4 sides, catching in the last woven thread.  If you don't stitch it, it will unravel quickly.  Do this before you decorate it, or you will have burlap strings everywhere.  

Then I just found an R in a font that I liked, made it about 6" high and printed it in reverse.  That way you can trace it and make an iron on.  I used regular Wonder Under, because I wanted to stitch around the edges.  But you could use Heavy Wonder Under, or Heat 'n Bond Ultra, and you don't have to sew it at all.  
You trace your reversed letter on the paper side of your iron on adhesive, iron it to the back of your fabric, cut it out and iron it on.  Easy peasy!! I straight stitched around the R, because I like that look.  I'm OK if it frays a little around the edges. 

Then I cut out 4 placemats.  I don't remember the exact measurements.  It was part what fit on the table, and part how much burlap I had left.  Anyway...I used the same method with fraying the short ends a bit and zig-zagging around the edges.  I used the same font and printed a smaller R in reverse, and made iron-ons in 4 different fabrics.

I'm loving how they turned out.  It was a cheap and simple project, that makes my dining room look way better.  I'm thinking the table runner can stay, with different placemats for fall and Christmas.  We'll see what we come up with then.  

It looks so much better, don't you think?  My dining room is the only room in our house that has a south window.  It's probably my favorite room because if the sun is out, it's so bright and cheery.  I love my dining room set too.  That is another story for another day.  

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Friday, May 4, 2012

Mom & Dad's Chair

The story of this chair is long.  I'm pretty sure it started out it's life covered in a sort of vinyl, plastic like material.  My memory says it was a floral of browns and greens.  Anyhow, early on my parents recovered it in a blue nubby type material, and that is how I mainly remember it.

 Well, they replaced it a few years back, and of course I grabbed it.  It is small, and I thought it would fit great in a little girls room. It had a gathered skirt, that I pulled off right away.  At the time, my girl's room was pastel ginghams, so I made a slipcover to match.  I found a VHS tape at the library, with awesome directions, that I still use today.  I dug through old pictures, and scanned the only one I could find.

See it in the corner?  It was cute, and served it's purpose.  Then my girl wanted a big girl room, so we went with a Hawaiian theme. Bright pink and lime green, with a little orange and turquoise thrown in.  I'm hoping we've reached the digital age by now, and I can find a picture saved on CD.  Digging through old boxes of pictures is very time consuming.  It's also really sentimental.  Hurray, I found one!!

It was fun, and we loved it in her room.  But alas, she again outgrew her room style, and wanted shabby chic.  That is what it is now, and I will share lots of projects from her room later.  So the small chair ended up in the living room, with it's nasty blue fabric for a few years.  Finally, I had it and decided it was time to recover it.  We pulled the blue off, repaired springs and webbing, and added extra batting.

Found some fun fabric on clearance at Hobby Lobby.  Love the colors.

So, the nasty blue chair, lives again.  I planned it for the living room, but decided it just didn't feel right in there.  Then one day it dawned on me that it would be great in the corner of the kitchen, next to the slider.  Everyone always hangs out in the kitchen anyway, so it's perfect.  For now, at least.  The kitchen may have another makeover soon, if we can make up our mind.

This is where is it now, and we love it.  But nothing is forever.  See that red wall?  As soon as I wash the rest of my kitchen walls, that I took wallpaper off like a year ago or more, it will all get a fresh coat of paint. But that's a story for another day...

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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Scrappy Brown Quilt

Wow, time sure flies!  I planned to blog at least once a week, or perhaps more, but the weeks go by without stopping to tell me.  Anyway, it's been a week and a half, and I need to get posting.  Last year, when I discovered the wonderful, addicting Pinterest, I starting pinning way more projects that I could probably do in a lifetime.  But, when I need inspiration, it's so fun to go back to my boards and find a project.  Some of the ideas just stick in my head, and won't go away until I try them.  Some are successes, some epic fails!

I have a friend I follow on Pinterest, who pins tons of quilting ideas.  Now, I sew constantly, but quilting has never been my cup of tea.  I have made a couple of quilts for my daughters bed, but that's about it.  One of her pins was for a Raw Edge Layer Cake Quilt, that looked so simple and quick, I was dying to try it.

So off I went to Hobby Lobby to buy and cut my own cake layers.

Here they are all washed, pressed and cut into 10" squares.  I decided to make a crib size quilt. (to sell, I won't be needing anymore crib size quilts!)  I cut 30 squares, 5 across by 6 down, and 30 of the polka dot fabric for the back.  I have a zig zag blade for my rotary cutter, so I used that.  

Then I cut 30 9" squares of fusible quilt batting.  The idea is to fuse the quilt layers together, quilt each square, and then sew the squares together.  I wasn't too impressed with the fusible batting.  It only stuck on one side, and by the time I was done pressing it, it was pretty flat.  It fluffed up again after washing, but I'll try something different when this package is gone.  

After this step, the squares went to my mom, who loves hand sewing.  She just moved to a retirement community where the ladies meet every other week to visit and sew.  So I thought I would supply her with a project to bring!  We decided to sew 2 squares in the center of each block, a 6" and a 3" inside it.  It only took her a couple of weeks to get it done.

I then laid the squares out on the floor in a pattern I liked, and started sewing the blocks together into rows, and then the rows together.

You stitch the pieces together with the seam allowance exposed on top.  Check out the tutorial here for much better directions. It went really quick!

I followed quilt binding instructions here. It worked really well.  I machined stitched it to the front, pressed it around to the back and then sent it home with mom to hand stitch it to the back.  She finished the binding, and then snipped the seam allowances every 1/2" or so.  Then all that's left to do is throw it in the wash a few times to "rag" it up.

It turned out so cool.  I love it!

If anyone is in the market for a crib quilt, let me know.  I have one for sale!!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Grandma's Piano

Back to the living room re-decorating.  14 years ago, my grandmother gave me her piano.  I was the only child or grandchild that had taken piano lessons, and had any musical talent.  That being said, my musical talents are very slim, but I enjoy sitting down and playing a little, as long as no one is home to listen!  Anyway, she wanted me to have her piano then, so that after she was gone, no one else would lay claim to it.  So we rounded up a few strong friends, and moved it to our house.  It was a light blonde wood, that at the time, matched my living room pretty well.  The front legs had a little curve to them, that also matched my queen ann style tables.

Over time, the "blonde" had turned rather orangeish, and after painting or staining everything else in the room, the color of the piano was really bugging me.  I threatened to paint it for a few years, but never had the nerve.  Finally I had enough and decided to tackle it.  When I was a kid, my parents bought an old upright piano off someones porch for $75, took it apart, stripped it and refinished it.  So I knew what I was up against.  I don't have the patience for stripping, unless the piece is really awesome.  I just planned to paint it a creamy off-white.

I proceeded to dismantle it, and for the most part, pianos are designed to be taken apart rather easily.  I took off the top, front pieces, knee board, and all the keys.  I laid them in order on the floor, so they would go back correctly.

The dust inside, under the keys was horrible.  I gave it a good vacuuming, then lightly sanded the surfaces to be painted. 

Ready to paint.  I didn't take any pictures while I was painting, only the finished product.  I decided to paint the body with Rustoleum Heirloom White, and stain the top with Dark Walnut Gel Stain.  I've used the gel stain on my fireplace mantel, family room end tables and a few other pieces. It's amazing stuff.  You don't need to strip the existing finish, just rough it up and start staining.  I'll do another post about it and show you my family room re-do, and how to apply it. I just laid drop cloths around it, and painted it right where it stood.  The piano turned out great.  I am so happy with the change, and  glad I had the courage to try. 

 Here's a peek while it's going back together.

And here it is, all done. 

 After painting, you really need to wait a few days or week(s) before setting anything on the new surface, as it takes awhile for the paint or urethane to cure.  I learned the hard way by setting a TV on a dresser in our bedroom.  There are little rings where it sat. :(   Lesson learned!!

The picture on the piano is my grandmother, holding a rose.  So appropriate, I really loved her a lot.  She is the only grandmother I knew, and I spent lots of time with her.  She was a grown up child, (in a good way!) and loved to play with her grandchildren.  We went on many trips and camping adventures with my grandparents, and I can still get teary eyed thinking of them.  I'm sure she would be happy with the results.

Thanks for spending the time to read this, and feel free to leave any comment or questions.

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