Monday, October 24, 2011

After Much Pain & Suffering

So I purchased two matching wing chairs in a (lovely?) dusty rose color this spring.  I paid $30 a piece.  Not bad at all! Oh, I'll just quickly reupholster them and finally be able to complete the room I've been working on.  Yeah, right.  Here it is, at least six months later, and I've only finished one of the two chairs.  If you've ever wondered why getting something reupholstered often costs more than just buying new, let me tell you.  IT IS NOT EASY!  It took me at least 7 days just to rip off the old fabric!  It didn't help that my chairs had a very solid, hardwood frame, either.  Getting the old staples and nails out can really mess up a girl's dainty hands.
This is what the original chairs looked like:

I suppose it would have been easier had I any actual training in the reupholstering department.  And the proper tools.  But I've always believed in the tried and true 4-H motto:  Learn By Doing.

It was also quite the chore to find a fabric I liked for the re-do.  The stuff (in the perfect peacock blue color) I really wanted cost $90 per yard.  I needed 8 yards per chair.  Not happening.  I finally found this beautiful blueish-with-a-slight-green-undertone velvet fabric for $17 per yard.  It was regularly $150 per yard, so I practically stole it!  And it is actually great for kids since spills bead up and wipe right off.

The nail-head trim was another pain in my side. Did you know I had to pre-drill every single nail?  The hardness of the frame caused the nails to bend if I tried to hammer before drilling.  I probably ruined 75 nails that way.  But never fear, I repurposed them by sticking the ruined ones into my pumpkins this year.  Waste not, want not.

What do you think of my refinished chair?  I'll be starting on the second one this week.  Maybe.  If I can bring myself to do it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Parent's Mantle (The After Photos)

A friend of mine reminded me that I never posted photos of how my parent's mantle turned out. It has been months since it was completed and I think they are enjoying it so far. They decided on a neutral paint color and neutral tile. I couldn't convince them to do a Taj Mahal style of tilework, but they are sort of the cowboy/country type, so I'm not surprised. The painting on the mantle has been hanging there for at least 10 years and was painted by yours truly. It's a picture of some of our horses, Rhythm and Jungle Rose out in the pasture behind the house.

Finally, NO MORE WHITE BRICKS! Ironically, they will probably be back in style next season. :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Put Your Pumpkins To Work

Are you tired of lazy pumpkins who, while festively decorated, just sit there and do nothing? Me, too. So I came up with some ways to use pumpkins that were both fun AND functional. Pumpkin candlesticks, pumpkin tiered platters, pumpkin name cards, gold-leafed pumpkins (Okay, some were not functional, but I digress....)

A few weeks ago I was asked to present a fresh technique on decorating with pumpkins on the lifestyle television show, Studio 5. Today was the big "reveal" and you can watch the segment here. The video sums it up quite well, but I've included additional images of the pumpkins I made. The gold spray paint I used was Krylon's Brilliant Gold and for the glittered pumpkins I simply brushed on some artist's acrylic medium (you can use white glue or Mod Podge) and sprinkled the gold over the glue. If you have any questions about any of these projects, drop me a line! Have fun making your own versions of these pumpkin ideas. (That is, if you can have fun knowing that your poor pumpkins are now working instead of sitting on the front porch just looking pretty.)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

I Have No Greater Joy

I can't even remember how to operate this blog thing. Yes, it has been since January since I've posted. I've actually got a bunch of stuff to show you. That's the problem, see? I don't have time to blog because I've been busy making things! But I'm not going to worry about trying to blog all the time. I'm not trying to be rich and famous. I just want an outlet to share some of my thoughts and creative experiments. Some of them don't turn out too well, but maybe I'll show you anyway. Here is a painting I just finished that I'm entering into the International Art competition put on by the LDS church every three years. I have to wait until DECEMBER 31st to find out if I make it into round one of the judging. That's a long time to wait. But if I don't make it into the show, at least I have something that I think captures my cutie pie (now 18 months old) quite well. I have rarely painted myself. Who wants to look at themselves that long? I realized I need my roots done. :)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Cuddle Bug

I've been wanting a baby sleeping bag for my 9 month old for some time now, but being the sort of snooty type when it comes to fabrics, of course I had my eye on the $140 pure Merino wool variety. Yeah, right. Like I would actually spend that type of money on something he'll grow out of in a few months. So what is a snooty mom to do? Get out the sewing machine! And run to the local thrift store to see if she could find a 100% Merino wool sweater large enough to snuggle her baby.
And I did! Out of racks and racks of ugly, semi-ugly, do-able, and wearable sweaters, there were only 3 sweaters that were made of 100% Merino wool. Two of them had large holes in them. Thank heavens for J. Crew.
100% Merino wool is important, you see. It couldn't just be out of regular old wool, or a synthetic fiber blend. Only Merino wool is soft enough to wrap a baby, and the hypoallergenic fiber is naturally regulating to keep baby warm enough and cool enough, depending. Medical studies have found that babies and infants sleeping in or on merino settle more quickly, sleep longer, feed better, cry less and gain weight faster.
Plus, it is naturally flame resistant. Lucky for me, the one and only sweater that would work was in a color I could work with.
After researching the many sleeping bags on the market, I decided to buy a flannel fabric for an outer covering, and secure the openings with snaps for easy changing.
As a pattern, I traced a sweater that was too large for baby (minus the sleeves) onto some newspaper, and simply squared off the bottom to give him room to move his legs naturally. He can even still crawl when he's in the bag! But one thing he can't do is kick off his covers in the middle of the night and wake up too chilly.

What a fabulous invention! And I must say, I think my version is much better than the one I would have paid $140 for. I read a review saying that the wool was so thin you could see through it and it didn't quite get the job done. My baby bag is made from a high quality reclaimed sweater and is very thick and soft! Plus, I paid about $12 for the materials. And it's cute. So there. Most importantly, I'm hoping this will help baby sleep better and in turn I can make more fabulous knock offs of over priced goodies!

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Infamous Bricks

For years we've worried about those blasted bricks. Although they made the perfect stage for a myriad of performances, and the handle to the wood burning stove made the best microphone, it was time for a change. Before I can remember, the stove in my parents' living room rested atop rows of ugly, oversized, white bricks with dark brown grout. These same bricks lined the wall behind the stove. I suppose it was in fashion at one point, but I'm not sure my mother ever liked it, and especially not when her children and now grandchildren were at constant risk of hurting themselves. Not to mention how badly they hurt our design sensibilities.

So, for Christmas this year, my sisters and I decided to pool our resources and come up with a better solution. The stove had to stay (what if the electricity goes out?) but the bricks DEFINITELY had to go!

Since my parents have a difficult time making decisions about such things, I created these sample images to give them an idea about wall color and mantle style. I didn't have any photos of the original stove and wall, so I searched the trusty internet for images that would be close enough. The stone tile had already been decided. We've been working on the project this weekend, and when it is complete, I will post pictures. Mom and Dad still haven't decided on a mantle, but they did pick a wall paint color. What would you choose?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

To Blog or Not To Blog

What do you get when you combine severe sleep deprivation, food poisoning, Christmas shopping, traveling hours by car to visit Mom and Dad for a few days, then traveling hours by airplane to visit another Mom and Dad for even more than a few days, then throw in some holiday parties and more trips to the store and long lines at the post office and on and on and on.....

Well, it equals no time to write any of these lovely blog posts. For an entire month. A month vacation from blogging is quite short, actually, when you consider that I used to post on another blog every 365 days or so. But now that things are starting to settle down in my life, I will resume. I wonder how all of these other people manage to find the time, however. I've only got one child! How did my mother do so much with seven of us?

Oh, Dear! My baby- who recently started turning into a toddler- has just tried to see what I am doing here at the computer and has fallen and scratched his poor head. Guess I will resume blogging a bit later!