June 28, 2010

Pillows and Cushions

I decided to replace my outdoor furniture cushions this year. The cost to replace them, even for the low end and least expensive cushions, was going to add up fast. I wanted to keep the cost down so I decided to make them myself. I found some outdoor (fabric vs. vinyl) tablecloths in some bright prints that I thought would work well. I struggled a bit with some of the details like getting the measurements right and what to use for inserts. I didn’t want this to be one of those projects that never gets completed so I allowed myself to make mistakes and rip out some seams if I had to.

Here are the dining table cushions:


Here are a couple of the pillows…



…and the swing cushions:


I used the old foam from the old cushion, washed it and put snaps in the back seam so that it can be easily removed and washed. The pillow insert is an inexpensive queen size bed pillow.

For the pillows, I cut out felt appliqu├ęs and embroidered them into place. I was inspired by throw pillows I’ve seen in the stores and catalogues recently and this project idea from Jo-Ann. Since I was on a pillow-making roll, I had to make this pillow using Ruffles and Stuff’s tutorial. Here’s my version:


I used my die cutter for the butterflies and some of the flowers that I used in the other pillows. I used templates that I found online for the rest of the flowers and for the birds. Also, for the bird pillows, I used a stencil and fabric paint that I already had for the branches. The inserts are from throw pillows that I wasn’t using.

Once I got the measurements right, the sewing was easy and I enjoyed doing the embroidery in the evenings while watching TV.

May 12, 2010

My Garden and a Visit from the Tooth Fairy

Life has been pretty crazy lately and I haven’t had any time to write about my projects. I want this blog to be something I enjoy rather than a source of guilt so I won’t apologize but hope to get caught up on what we’ve been up to around here.

This time of year, my obsession is my garden. The little spare time I’ve had lately, I’ve been working on various things out there. This season began with me wanting to grow strawberries. I bought one of those upside down things but in  my opinion, they are not the prettiest garden ornaments, so I did a little research and came up with my own strawberry planter.

I found the little buckets in the dollar bin at Target awhile ago and I bought the chain from the hardware section at Wal-mart. Here’s the strawberries ready to be moved out to the garden…or back in the house if the weather is a little frosty or too windy.

Here’s one of the reasons I haven’t had much time to write lately.

Also, Pookie who is soon to turn 7, lost her first tooth.

As soon as I got home from work, I put together her tooth fairy pillow. I’ve been planning this project for quite some time but like so many other things, I procrastinated. I did succeed in finishing it by bedtime though – in plenty of time for the tooth fairy’s arrival.

March 17, 2010

Polymer Clay Necklace

I finally finished the polymer clay necklace that I started awhile ago.


I made a cylinder bead from the same black clay and lined up eye pins to link it to the square flower piece I made before. The pendant is strung on a mix of glass luster beads and knotted black leather lace. I’ve seen quite a bit of jewelry pieces made with organic material like leather that really appeals to me.

March 4, 2010

Display Shelf

My youngest daughter has started collecting the dolls her Dad and I have purchased for her from places we’ve visited. She and I decided that she needs a shelf to display them. We’ve been keeping our eyes open for something that will look nice in her room. When I saw this I thought, that’s it! So, the other day when I was at Wal-Mart, I purchased a shelf kit and pink ribbon.

Since I was installing it myself, I didn’t follow the directions exactly. My shelf was 8” rather than 6” so I cut the two ribbon pieces a bit longer and I stapled them to the bottom of the shelf before attempting to hang it on the wall. I used thumb tacks to temporarily attach it to the wall so that I could make adjustments before permanently attaching it with screws.

I removed shanks from some pretty buttons and glued them to the screws to hide them. I didn’t like how the staples looked on the bottom of the shelf, so I covered them with a bit of acrylic paint.

So far, she only has two dolls in her collection – one from Mexico and one from Hawaii. I like the way it looks and it was almost as easy as I thought it would be. I think I’ll use this idea again. It’s definitely more of a display rather than storage solution.

February 17, 2010

More Polymer Clay

I’m still fascinated with polymer clay and Pookie and I have been having more fun playing with it. Here is a batch of hearts we made for Valentine’s Day.

I was at Wal-Mart the other day and couldn’t help stopping by the craft section. Although I am a frequent visitor, I didn’t realize that they stock polymer clay. I purchased a variety pack of Sculpy III. I read a tip that different clays should be used for different uses and that Sculpy III may not be strong enough for some jewelry pieces but it seems to be more kid-friendly.
 100_0802 100_0801
Pookie made the red and white spirals and the face with the Sculpy III and I made the flower pendant and some beads using Studio clay (also by Sculpy) in Midnight and Sedona from Hobby Lobby. I used a clay cutter for the flower which I placed on a square base that I cut out with my Exacto knife. I strung a glass bead and bead cup on a head pin and pushed it into the center of the flower. I added two eye pins to the top so that the pendant can be strung. Studio glossy glaze was used to give everything a shiny finish. The cured clay has a matte finish before polishing which is also nice.

I’m still considering a few design options for completing the jewelry for these pieces as well as plans for some more jewelry projects.

February 9, 2010

Valentine Hearts

Several years ago when my older girls were little, I discovered Polymer Clay and was intrigued by how it could be used in jewelry making. I read about it on some discussion boards – there were no blogs then – and promptly went out and got some supplies so that I could begin to play with it. The girls and I spent a fun day creating and baking. I moved on to other projects and haven’t given it much thought until I saw this post on Firefly Hill Style. It’s such a simple and cute project. Here is how mine turned out:
I used two shades of pink and red cord. I like the color combination. Now, Pookie is intrigued. I think I’ll pick up some more clay so that she and I can have some fun creating and baking.

February 7, 2010

Valentine’s Craft

Last year, I had all these plans to do something crafty for Valentine’s Day. Needless to say, time ran out and we ended up only sending the store bought cards to school. I was very disappointed in myself. There are so many simple crafts that can be done for V-Day. It’s such a great holiday for crafty people. A big gift is not required. In my opinion, our loved ones enjoy the fact that we are thinking of them.

I found this project a little while ago and thought it was a perfect craft to do for the grandparents. This project is so easy and only requires a few supplies that may already be on hand – glue, card stock, scissors, some photos printed off of our home printer. I did run out and purchased V-Day muffin liners and a ‘Happy Valentine’s Day’ stamp which were on sale at Hobby Lobby.

Here’s our version for Pookie to give to her Grandmother.

This is a great project to do with the kids.

January 31, 2010

A Quick and Easy DIY Project

I had heard about the kits that convert recessed lights to pendants awhile ago and forgot all about them until I read this post by Thrifty Decor Chick. I was really excited about these kits for a several reasons. Like TDC, we have a lot of recessed lights in our kitchen and I would really like to change things up a bit.
100_0752 Also, although I consider myself to be somewhat handy, I’m nervous when it comes to projects involving electricity. Finally, if for whatever reason the kit didn’t live up to my expectations, I could just remove it and end up with the original light fixture with no harm done.

Pookie and I were out running errands yesterday so I decided to check them out. The first, more conveniently located, home improvement store that we went to didn’t have them so we headed over to Lowe’s. They had two Portfolio kits to choose from – silver or antique bronze I chose antique bronze.
Although the white frosted shade the kit came with was ok, I have a preference for colored glass. After some deliberation and advice from Pookie, I purchased this shade:
100_0750 As soon as we got home, I got started on the installation. Once I took it out of the packaging I thought the finish looked more black than antique bronze and couldn’t resist the temptation to pull out my antique gold Rub ‘n Buff. I considered leaving it as is, or at least holding off on changing the color until I knew I could successfully install the light, however; I don’t have much patience so, in my usual manner, I plunged right in – for better or worse, this kit is mine.

So here it is:
100_0756I hadn’t noticed before that that light was not centered. What’s up with that? I think, from the kit directions, that I may be able to change the placement of the cord to make that less apparent. Regardless, I really like the way it turned out.

January 20, 2010

So Much Fun

I wrote in December about the awesome gift I got for my daughter for Christmas – a sewing machine. In my usual fashion, there were a couple things I had to do before we could actually get started. First, I felt we needed the right book to help me with the lessons. I looked at a few and decided on these – My First Machine Sewing Book: Straight Stitching and Simply Sewing (Kids Can Do It). Second, I realized that she needed a workspace that is her size - there is no way she could reach a foot pedal sitting at the table.

When Pookie was small, I got her a Dora table and chair set. She used it for everything - meals, play, crafts, etc. She has since outgrown Dora and we moved the set to the playroom. Until I find her the right sewing table, I thought it might be a good idea to redo the Dora table. She had some qualms about painting over her sticker collection. I had my own concerns about painting over Dora and my nostalgia. The table was pretty beat up and a nice new paint job could only be an improvement. Since the focus of this entry is on sewing, I'll post my before and after of the table redo another time.

100_0566 Finally I have my act together enough to sit down with her for sewing lessons. We started with My First Machine Sewing Book. I have to say…she’s a natural. I’m so proud. I’m thinking, pillows will be perfect first projects for her – fun and she has that straight stitch down. I can’t wait to show my Mom pictures of our little seamstress.

January 18, 2010

I’m Back

I’ve had a lot going on in my life lately and although I’ve had a ton of inspiration and plans for projects, I haven’t had much time to complete them or write about them. The Holidays were pretty hectic and between that working full-time and family, I haven’t had much time for anything else.

Logan Probably the biggest thing that has been going on is the arrival of my first Grandson. Our little man arrived on January 2 and we are all absolutely thrilled with him. He’s such a good sweet baby! I told Teresa that he is spoiling her. She’s going to think this whole motherhood gig is a piece of cake.

So as the title of this entry indicates, I’m back. I have so many plans for projects…I just have to find time to do them. Our plans for a trip to Mexico has me excited about getting out my summer clothes and thinking about some casual jewelry to go with my outfits. It’s been fun getting out all of my jewelry-making supplies. I’ve been hording beads and findings that have caught my eye – most of which I’ve picked up on sale or with coupons.

I recently set-up a craft space in my basement and Pookie and I spent some time there this weekend. I completed this multi-strand glass bead bracelet and a stamped pendant for my little girl last night.

Next, I'm thinking about making a necklace and some earrings.