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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