Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Martha Stewart Inspired Curtains

So, I don't love Martha Stewart. I just don't. I like her. She has some nice ideas but I don't think she is the end-all-be-all of home decor. Plus, I find most of the directions for crafts or recipes overly complicated. In the past, I have had to print them out, read, and re-read directions for crafts many times just so I can re-write and simplify them. But that's just me.

But, many moons ago, I found a cute way to use up all the men's handkerchiefs a person has laying around the house. I don't have the problem but what I do have is lots and lots of cloth napkins running around my house. Why do I have so many? I love linens and my mom and her best friend send them to me. However, I don't need a dozen sets of eight dinner napkins especially when I don't throw lots of dinner parties. But most of the ones they send me are beautiful (and the ones that aren't get donated so somebody else can love them) and I make curtains for my kitchen window out them.

Fall themed cafe curtains

I change the curtains in my kitchen window about every two-three months, depending on the season. Some of the curtains I have made; others my mom has made. It is one of those things that makes me happy. Plus, making these curtains is nothing more than sewing straight lines and there's no hemming since napkins are already hemmed for you. Bonus!

So my latest pull from the lottery was to take these beautiful fall napkins and make some curtains out of them. I forgot to take pictures through the different steps so you only get to see the final product. This was another great project because it only took me a short afternoon; I think I finished it during nap time! Bonus again!

Also, you get to see the sweet suspension bridge my husband built last summer in our backyard. It is pretty awesome!

So, what do you have lying around your house that could be used to make curtains? Want to make them for yourself? Here's the link!

Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

First Pick!

I am excited to be done with the Map of the World. Very excited. In less than 48 hours I was already itching to start something new!

So the whole point of this blog is that I have created a lottery system to choose which of my many, many craft and sewing projects I will work on next. That being said, I have a confession to make: I totally started a project on the sly since I was hoping to give it out as Valentine gifts. You know those cute little Quite Activity Books (like here , here , and here - just to name a few)? Well, I thought I would make a few for the various toddlers in my life and I kind of wanted it to be a surprise so I wasn't going to mention it until I was all done. I got all the supplies, I made various templates, cut out lots of felt and even made a few pages. It looked cute but I hated it; I hated every single moment of working on it. I kept on thinking of all the other awesome stuff I could be doing (even cleaning toilets- that's  how much I hated working on them) and this was such a waste of my time. So, I scrapped it.

I haven't throw it all away--I just can't bring myself to toss everything out--it's just too much waste for me and I don't like wasting stuff. Maybe one day I will go back and finish them but on the giant list of things that I need to be doing that I keep going in the back of my mind, this has a giant line going through it.

Sometimes you just have to walk away from the whole thing. One friend asked how I felt walking away from it and I said I felt kind of free. That was another monkey on my back.

Moving on!

The first project I chose was to convert one of the first counted cross stitch projects I ever started -and never finished- into something other than the pillow it was intended to be. Here's what I started out with: 

I wasn't a big fan of this project. It was too outdated-my mom told me she bought the pattern in the 1970's. It was supposed to be a pillow and I didn't like the idea of committing that much time, effort and money into making a pillow that would look so out of place. The idea was thrown out there to cut the piece up and making ornaments or door hangers. I did just that!

I cut the whole thing into fourths, picked some extra Christmas material I had laying around and just made little pillows. People of the internet, this will blow your mind: I finished this project in an afternoon! That included spending an hour trying to figure out why my sewing machine was broken-it turned out not to be; the needle was bent and once I replaced it it worked fine. Here's what I made:

The best part is I LOVE these little pillows. I love them! I don't know why. They are the same patterns but now they are small, compact and cute. Plus, the kids had a great time helping me stuff them with batting; they thought we were stuffing them with either clouds! It was great!

I walked around the rest of the day totally dumbfounded that this little project had been languishing in my sewing box for at least 20 years since I thought it was ugly and now I can't wait until next Christmas to display them. Simply awesome!

Later this week: loving this lottery system.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Happy Day!

Oh Happy Day! Happy Happy Day! I have finally, FINALLY, finished the map of the world that I have been working on since last Spring.

This is a minor miracle in that it took me less than one year to finish it. I have had many projects-some bigger and some much, much smaller-that took 2,3 and I daresay, 10 times as long to complete but this was becoming a weight around my neck.

I just have this one terrible picture to show you since I have already sent it off to be framed. Here it is, in all its horrible lighting glory:

I am really happy with how this turned out; believe it or not, the back stitching (or outlining) was not as intricate as I thought it would be. Don't get me wrong, the sails on the boat heard a few curse words but it went really fast once I had finished the counted cross stitch. I'm also happy I had the foresight to back stitch as I went along. I hate back stitching and to do it in smaller chunks helped make it seem less tedious.

The best part of this project being finished, is I get to move onto SOMETHING ELSE! This has been a weight around my neck; not letting me start anything new and I have been lusting after several different projects to start. So I am hoping that my next project is one that is really awesome (and maybe not so huge!).

On an unrelated note, I get the Stoney Creek Friday Flash email sent me to each week. Sometimes I glance through it and other times it goes straight to the trash can but for whatever reason I looked through it last week. Oh man, bad idea. In their Overstock and Closeout section there were a few  items that I felt that I just couldn't live without. The good thing was I didn't spend more than $10 on any one item but they will just have to get in the lottery along with everything else! They did speak to me since they were all things I would make and probably keep for myself-which is nice since about 75% of the stuff I make doesn't stay with me.

I'm trying to think of anything else I have worked on lately and the only thing I did do was make a basic Christmas tree skirt out of muslin for my friend Taylor--check her out over at Red Vine Spirituality. She has a love affair with burlap that can not be denied and decorates her house at Christmas with burlap and red that is super gorgeous. Anyway, at the beginning of December (or late November, I've already forgotten) we got a little Pinterest goofy and figured we could reproduce this beauty!  All I did was take some scrap muslin and make a basic skirt for her and she did all the rest. It was fantastic. She was kind enough to send me a picture:

Isn't her tree gorgeous and fun? I love the polka dots on the tree skirt. I am amazed at how fast she was able to get it done.

Well, now that this monkey is off my back, I'm on to other things. The first choice from the lottery will be picked tomorrow!

And, yes, I am sorry I haven't posted anything in quite a while. This blogging stuff is HARD! I'm amazed at the people who are able to do it every day or multiple times a week! Amazing. I will work to be more diligent in my blogging efforts.

What projects are you working on? Anything that you just can't wait to finish?