Monday, November 30, 2015

30 Days of Creativity

I began November with a personal challenge - 30 Days of Creativity.

I made more than 30 items over the month, but I express my creativity in many ways and not everything involved "making".

In my quest to see the bottom of my sewing cabinet, I tackled a pile of projects.

I made pillows for the guest room,

for gifts

and to decorate the house.

I made a bunch of stockings out of drop cloth scraps

and sent many of them off to friends.

Scraps of fabric

became ornaments to decorate a little tree in the entry.

I painted a sign for the garden ladder and then the "making' stopped for a few days.

I took this cabinet from the living room

and reunited it with its base in the entry.

I had fun creating a pleasing display on the shelves.

That yellow and blue soup tureen is finally getting a spotlight.

The tureen is part of the set of Pistoulet dishes that the awesome Kris of Junk Chic Cottage won from a Pfaltzgraff giveaway and gifted to me.

November's creativity

led to the house being completely decorated and ready for Christmas.

And so, December will be a month to simply enjoy the season.

But, I just have a few hours left in November to finish embroidering this table runner for my next door neighbor.

Then, I can kick back and do nothing!

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Sunday, November 22, 2015

Finally Finished

It took awhile, but finally our kitchen update is finished.

In August, I told Steve that I wanted to make some changes in "his" kitchen and showed him this picture as my inspiration.

I actually love this look of our "before" kitchen, but the shelves didn't hold much and the table wasn't a functional workspace.

Steve's only question was, "will it require a home loan?"

He jumped on the idea when I told him that most of the changes were small and it wouldn't cost much.

Our first step was to find pendant lights and we are quite happy with the Kichler Missoula pewter lights we found at Lamps Plus.

The lights required electrical work and our electrician suggested bartering - he did the kitchen lighting and lighting in our garden in exchange for one of Steve's paintings.

Steve and I bought these slatted wood shelves in 1978 when we bought our first house.

We stole the shelves from the bathroom (which required changes there too) and filled them with dishes that Steve can quickly grab when he's making dinner.

My grandmother's Kansas farm table is in the same spot, but a cutting board nearly the same size as the table top provides a better food prep surface for Steve.

Steve actually sits on the stool a lot while he makes salads or chops ingredients for his incredible sauces - those baskets beneath the table provide needed storage for big bowls and platters.

We needed an area for messages, paper, pens, etc.

and I found the perfect piece at Michael's to serve as a "desk".

Steve painted a chalkboard on the pantry door and he uses it every single day.

He takes a photo with his phone before he heads to the grocery store each day- notice he only allows cursive writing on the board!

We had the tile floor installed in 2004

and the granite counter tops installed in 2007 along with Steve's Viking range

so the only other major expense on this project was having the kitchen painted  - we no longer climb ladders!

Peeking into the dining room, you might notice another change - we had no plans to buy new dining room chairs, but when we found 1 white and 2 red metal cafe chairs half price at a local shop we couldn't resist.

Steve doesn't know it yet, but this week I have plans for a big change in the entry on Thanksgiving Day when our son is visiting and can lend his strong arms.

After that, all my effort is going to Christmas decorating because I am joining 2 different groups of wonderful ladies to show off Christmas decor.

I need to finish up a lot of little Christmas projects!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

No-Sew Table Runner

Several people asked me about making a table runner like the one I made for my Giveaway.

I think is my first tutorial, but considering that I was a teacher for more than 30 years, I should be able to give decent instructions.

 My materials are drop cloth , paint and stickers.

I am big on making things quick and easy so I simply tear the fabric - there will be a more detailed pictured later on in this tutorial.

For the method of stenciling on this piece, I needed to mask off an even stripe down the center of the runner - the white book in the left corner is my measurement - I'm obviously not an engineer!

I'm also big on crooked letters so that I don't have to be exact.

My runners definitely have a primitive homespun feel because it is difficult (for me at least) to get the paint perfectly even on cloth.

I remove the stickers and the tape right away - it helps to have a trash can right next to the table so paint doesn't get on anything.

After the paint is dry (Annie Sloan Chalk Paint dries quickly) I put the piece in the dryer to heat it.

The hardest part of the runner is the fringe because the long sides of the drop cloth tear and fringe easily, but the shorter sides are thicker and fringing is much slower.

To make the knots, I gather 4 strands in each hand and tie a knot and then a second knot.

After I used the sticker, I used the outer edges as stencils to make a pillow.

I get double use out of the stickers, but I don't save them for re-use because they lose their stickiness.

And now I just need to sew the pillow together.

Here is the finished runner just before I packaged it up to mail off this afternoon.

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