Saturday, August 8, 2015

Controlling the chaos: jewelry

Lately, I've been feeling overwhelmed by the amount of clutter and general chaos that surrounds me in my home. I am determined to improve my situation! As a first step, I decided to tackle the top of my dresser:

the top of my very messy dresser

The bulk of the above mess is my pile of jewelry. The pile is not only messy, but it is difficult to find, extract, and untangle pieces (particularly from the bottom of the pile!). I have been eyeing jewelry storage racks for a couple of years now and then stumbled across a tutorial from Home Depot: "DIY Jewelry Organizer Made from a Salvaged Drawer." I didn't have any drawers laying about, but I was able to find a base:

The wood base

I found this one at Jo-Ann's (and I was able to use a 50% coupon for it-- yay!). Then I pretty much followed the tutorial.

after one coat of off-white paint

I started by sanding and then painted the piece with an off-white acrylic craft paint.

after one coat of navy blue paint

Then I sanded again and painted with a navy blue.

after sanding the navy blue paint

Then I sanded again to give it that distressed look with the white base peeking through.

mapping out where the hardware should go

Next I mapped out where to put the hardware. I chose a mix of knobs and a couple of pulls and then lined the bottom edge with hooks. I gotta say-- the hardware was not cheap. I think I spent about $28 on the pulls and knobs, purchased from Home Depot and another local hardware store. I am sure I could have been thriftier about it, but I decided the convenience was worth it. Fortunately, the wood was inexpensive and I already had the other supplies. So the project was not a budget-breaker. And it was still a lot less than the jewelry racks I was looking at on etsy!

using a paper template to mark hardware positioning

Using a paper template taped it to the front of the rack, I marked where each piece of hardware was to go. When I went to make the holes, I drilled through the template-- that way I didn't have to mark up the front of the jewelry rack. It worked really well. And I successfully used a drill for the first time and I survived to tell the tale. Yay!

Completed jewelry rack, back side

In the above picture, you can see the back after all of the hardware was installed. Just above the rack, you can see the paper template I used (with all of the holes).

And here is the completed front view:

Completed jewelry rack, front side

Finally, I got it hung on the wall and loaded it up:

Completed jewelry rack, in situ

Check out that tidy dresser top! And now I can actually see and easily find all of my jewelry. Success!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Borders on!

Last week, I had four blocks done and a few in progress. Today, I added the final borders:

completed quilt top

I feel like I have had a productive week! Even better, I am totally loving how it has turned out. Yay!

Backing is next on the agenda. I have the fabric-- I even have enough that I *should* be able to piece the full back with just the one print. There is so much piecing on the front, I really want to avoid a ton of seams on the back. Here's hopin'!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Starry sky

I've been hanging onto that desire to create and have made some good progress on my new project:

After one week of work on my Galaxy quilt, 4 blocks are complete and 3 are ready to go.

The four blocks on the bottom left are all sewn, and the three on the right are in progress. It is a twelve block quilt, so I feel as if I'm already more than halfway. Yay!

I'm really enjoying putting this one together so far. Rainbows are totally fun. :)

Monday, July 20, 2015

Starting fresh

My mom passed away this weekend. She had been struggling for a number of years, so in many ways, it was a blessing. But I can't help but feel sad and a bit bewildered. A world without my mom... it is a strange thing.

I find myself really feeling a need to make and create right now. So I have been taking some time in my quilt cave to figure out how to channel this energy. I found my project:

Galaxy quilt from McCall's Quilting, May/June 2014

My plan is to use this pattern, from the May/June 2014 issue of McCall's Quilting but make it ROY G BIV style.

pile of pretty fabrics

Last fall I purchased a beautifully curated color wheel-inspired set of fat quarters from Pile o' Fabric. So I used that as a base and have supplemented with some additional prints and solids. Just looking at the stack makes me happy. What's not to love about rainbows?

For the background, I'll be using a deep blue solid, Kona Nautical. I'm toying with the idea of mixing up the background a bit though as well. We'll see.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Birthday gifts

We've celebrated a couple of birthdays lately-- meaning more Personalized Name Pillows pattern from Kimberbell Designs!

Flynn's favorite color is green:

Flynn's pillow, front view

I used a green dimple dot on the back. So soft!

Flynn's pillow, top view

Max's favorite color is white.

Max's pillow, front view

I couldn't bring myself to make a white pillow for a 5 year old, so I went with blue (a second favorite) and silver (which is kind of white-ish, right?).

Max's pillow, detail view

I used a cool textured silver lame for the star accents.

Max's pillow, top view

The back has a silver-grey minkee stripe. Super cozy!

As ever, the pillows were fun to make and were received with great cheer. Truly, this pattern is fabulous!!!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Teacher gifts

The last day of school for Big Bear was on Thursday. I made a couple of gifts for his teacher.

First was a collaborative gift I put together from the class (heavily inspired by Pinterest, of course!).

framed butterfly art

Each student painted a 4" square of watercolor paper and signed the back of the square. I then used a Cricut machine to cut out the butterfly shapes from the painted squares as well as from colored tissue paper. I glued tissue paper butterflies to the back of each cutout both to cover the writing on the back as well as to give some more color. I then pasted the tissue paper cutouts onto the background (a 12" x 12" heavyweight scrapbook paper) to act as sort of "shadows" for the dimensional butterflies. The background paper turned out not to be heavy enough and was bowing/curling from the glue even before I added the dimensional butterflies. So I backed the whole thing with some thick paperboard cut to size which flattened everything back out. Then I scored each of the painted butterfly shapes on either side of the middle, carefully folded up the wings and antennae and used hot glue to position each atop a "shadow."

butterfly art in profile so you can see the shadows

The quote was one I found online that I printed onto vellum and glued to the background. It was perfect as they spent the last 2 months studying butterflies as a part of their second grace curriculum.

butterfly art, unframed

I didn't have time or space (12" x 12" was a tight fit for all those butterflies!) to have the kiddos sign the actual piece. So before cutting, I photographed the names on the back of the squares. Then I used Paint Shop Pro to resize the names so they were proportionally the same size. I printed them out and then traced them onto the corner of the background.

I found a relatively inexpensive 12" x 12" shadowbox frame at Michaels to finish it off.

As papercrafting is not my thing, I'm pretty pleased with how this project turned out. And Big Bear's teacher was happily surprised and touched by the gift. Yay!

In addition to the class gift, I also decided to put together a little gift basket to the teacher from our family. I used Pink Penguin's happy little patchwork basket tutorial, but enlarged it a bit so that it finished at 5" x 7".

gift basket, back

I used some linen for the body of the basket and a cute linen/cotton charm pack (purchased from Michelle Engel Bencsko's Cicada Studio way back in 2008) for the patchwork. I interfaced the linen before sewing to give it some stability and used fusible fleece for the inner lining. The lining fabric is quilting cotton from my stash.

gift basket, inside view

The basket didn't go together entirely as expected. The thickness of the charm square fabric did not lend itself to finishing in the manner as called for in the pattern. So I improvised, resulting in the narrow border of lining along the top of the basket. It worked out okay, but it is not as tidy as I would have liked.

gift basket, side view

I didn't get a picture of it all filled with goodies, but they included a Starbucks tumbler (one of the fancy duo-chromatic ones that just lately came out), a Starbucks gift card, a gourmet chocolate bar, and a gift card to her favorite restaurant, along with a heartfelt thank you card.

gift basket, front

Hopefully, she enjoys it!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

It doesn't always work.

I like to think that I'm pretty good at putting colors/fabrics together. But not everything works the way I think it will. Case in point:

not feeling this combo at all

On a whim, I started pulling fabrics from my stash. The colors all worked together. But in this configuration? Not so much. Washed-out weirdness (in person, it is even worse).

Feeling lazy, rather than fixing the "real" problem of the grey/yellow pieced blocks, I decided to try and make them work by finding a new focus fabric.

this combo is working better... at least there is contrast

Still not perfect, but soooo much better with some contrast in there. I think with some borders, this one is going to be okay. And at this point, okay is feeling pretty good to me.