Sewing our Sanity

Thursday, September 27, 2012

A "New" Front Door

Dear Monica,

I have been wanting to do something with our front door for quite a while.  There was nothing wrong with it.  Just a bit boring. Black to match the shutters.  And in our neighborhood there are several houses with tan siding, black shutters, and black doors.

Originally, I thought red.  But a red door would be lost next to the red brick and it would be quite hard to find the right shade.  The same with blue or green.  So I talked to Mom and Dad, and they suggested yellow.  I thought, perfect!  No one else has yellow and it is such a cheery color.  

When Mom and Dad were here, last week I picked up a few paint chips at ACE.  I taped them to the front door and Mom and I stood back to see which looked best and picked a shade that wasn't too orange.  I didn't want something that would clash with the red bricks.  I also searched Pinterest for yellow doors to get some ideas.  I found that most of the yellow doors had dark door knobs and white sidelites.  So that is what I decided to do.  I also decided to do it last week because Sam was gone and I was pretty sure that he would veto the idea of a yellow door. :)

I started by giving the door a good washing.  Then pained both the door and the sidelite with a single coat of Kiltz.  This probably wasn't totally necessary since the paint I used was a paint and a primer.  

Then I started with the yellow paint.  I used a semi-gloss exterior paint and a foam brush.  After 3 coats it looked like this.

The foam brush was just not covering enough so I switched to using a small foam paint roller, which worked much better.  In total, I put on 5 coats of the yellow paint.  Then Dad installed the new door handle.  

And here it is the "new" front door! 

I love it! It makes me smile every time I open it.  



Monday, September 24, 2012

Ruffled Circle Skirt for Caroline

Dear Emily,

What happened to last week? Things were so busy here I had no time to write a thing to you. Must be the same for you! I don't know about you, but I am still adjusting to the kids being back in school. I want it to be June again! 

I loved the circle skirt you made Natalie so much that when I saw this blue ruffle fabric, I had to get some to make one for Caroline. It looks tie-dyed but classy. Is that an oxymoron?

I followed these directions Dana posted on Made. They were absolutely the best ones I found. Once I had folded and cut the skirt, I took the still folded piece to my machine, changed the thread in the machine to match the fabric, unfolded the skirt and had a duh! moment. There is no seam! That is one of the best things about this skirt. That and the ruffle fabric did not need to be hemmed. And the waistband was super easy.  I used wide black elastic just like Dana did in the tutorial I mentioned above. 

What little girl doesn't like a full skirt to twirl in?

It is so cute! I want one. Maybe next summer, but for me, I want to this one Coastal Curtsy Skirt
No Big Dill

Have you seen the site Ruffle Fabric?? There are so many beautiful ruffle fabrics. Solids, stripes, prints, pastels, brights, wide ruffles and narrow ruffles...way too many choices!

Off to make a burlap wreath. Tomorrow I will take a pic of the sign I made for the front porch.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Flotsam and Jetsam

Dear Monica,

I have come to believe that my children are hoarders.  They want to keep everything!  Every little piece of paper, broken crayon, or tiny trinket.  I keep finding little bits and pieces of toys or games laying around on the floor and that become potential chocking hazards to Mikey.  These things don't necessarily have a "home" either and if I try to throw them away someone will "need" it next week.

So I went to Target and bought some large, square cracker jars (on sale for $5 each YAY!).  And made these.

Now every little chocking hazard can be picked up off the floor and placed in the jar until someone needs it or thinks they need it.  

I used my Silhouette to make vinyl stencils which I stuck to the front of my jars.

Then I used Etchall etching cream, which you can purchase through Silhouette's website.  The Etchall is an acid that permanently etches a design on glass.

I loaded the cream on. Don't worry about using too much or wasting the cream (I will tell you why in a minute).  The directions said to let it sit 15 minutes, but after checking I thought it needed longer so ended up leaving it for 45 minutes.

Then I wiped the excess cream off and put it back in the bottle.  It can be used again.

Then I used warm water to rinse the rest of the cream off and remove the vinyl.

And now, we have a place for all that flotsam and jetsam that used to inhabit our floors, dark corners, and drawers. I anticipate that these will be pretty full in no time.  


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Chalk Paint questions answered and a couple sneak peaks

Dear Emily,

You did it again! Another fabulous piece of furniture

What a transformation, too! I can tell from your photos that you moved a lot of furniture around in that room. You will have to send me pictures of all of it because, unfortunately, I have no idea when we will be down there again.

Now I wonder how the sanded grout would be added to paint? While I am sure, as you said, ASCP is far superior, I am going to try the homemade recipe with plaster of paris the next time I have something smallish to paint. 

Our cousin, Carole, asked about the roughness of it. I did not sand the hutch but nowI know I could have. When I went to Spring Market at Lucketts and got to see Miss Mustard Seed's furniture up close and personal, I was in awe of how smooth it was. Like silk. After painting and sanding a chair I am working on, I discovered that I, too, could achieve this smoothness, that it is not all in the wax. (sounds like I am doing an infomercial) In fact, I am not sure you can get that smoothness without some sanding. When i sanded the chair, I discovered where the name 'chalk paint' came from - the paint is like chalk when it is sanded. 

I found some great tips from Christie on this blog post over at Carter's Cottage. One suggestion I really like is to water down the paint a bit for the second coat. That conserves the expensive paint and makes it easier to distress. I wish I had seen this post before I distressed this chair. Christie prefers waxing before distressing. I distressed first. Oh well. This is what my chair looks like so far, pre-waxing. 

I'll get to the waxing later this week. I hope.

And speaking of waxing, it is recommended that you always use clear wax first. Then dark wax. Even if you are going for a darker look to begin with. Here is something from the ASCP site on using dark wax. That way, if you don't like the dark, it is easier to remove. Paint can also be added to the clear wax, particularly to make a white wax. And speaking of white...I also have this to finish but I want to put a graphic on the top from either my Silhouette images or The Graphics Fairy. (Have you seen that blog? There are some great free images there.)

It is a little dresser that was my nightstand when I was a girl and the finish was wearing. Caroline has been using it for her doll clothes. It is the perfect size.

Off the subject of chalk paint, here is a sneak peak at my buffet turned tv console. 

I painted this pre-ASCP but finally finished two of the drawers the other week. I will not tell you how long they stayed unpainted while the rest of the cabinet was finished. It is embarrassing. I think I was busy having a baby or something.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Homemade Chalk Paint

Dear Monica,

I loved working with the Annie Sloan's Chalk Paint on my china cabinet and had read so much about making your own chalk paint that I thought I would try it on our TV cabinet.  It is a solid piece but getting quite a bit scratched up and starting to show its age. I wanted a new look and buying something new is out of the question right now, so paint it is.

I found a few different recipes here and here. I decided to go with Plaster of Paris, since it seemed to be the easiest to find.  I bought mine at Lowes for about $6.  I didn't have any flat latex paint on hand but I did have some red eggshell latex paint from our dining room.  Most recipes seem to use flat but as long as it is not a semi-gloss or a gloss it should be fine.  

Some recipes suggested mixing the PofP with a bit of water before mixing it with the paint.  I highly recommend this or you will be stirring the PofP and paint FOREVER.  I started conservatively but found that a higher paint to PofP ratio worked.  I used about 2/3 paint to 1/3 PofP.  

The top of the cabinet was pretty scratched up from our center surround sound speaker and someone had left a sweaty glass on it, which left a bubbled surface. 

So, I sanded the top to remove the bubbles.  

Then I started painting and painting.  I found that this paint did not cover as well as the ASCP.  But that could have been because I was trying to cover a black piece of furniture with red paint.  After two coats it looked like this....

so I ended up putting on 4 coats to get the color I wanted.  Then I put on a coat of clear wax, which really darkened the piece up and made it the exact shade I was going for.

All in all, I would use homemade chalk paint again.  It was easy to make, easy to use since I didn't have to sand, and had the same chalky look.  But, I would only use it on a piece that I knew I was not going to keep forever.  I feel the ASCP is far superior and gives a piece an heirloom look.  



Linked at Miss Mustard Seed

Friday, September 7, 2012

Fabric Book Cover

Dear Emily,

I love, love, love your china cabinet. It is absolutely fabulous! I have been working on some furniture painting this week and hopefully by next week I will be ready to send you some pictures. This back to school stuff is killing me! Second grade is harder than first! Do you have to cover workbooks with contact paper? That takes forever...I dread when I have three sets to cover instead of one. This year there was a hard back book to cover with a book cover. I was just going to cover it with brown kraft paper and let Anthony decorate it but then I had a brainstorm. Why is it that brainstorms are usually not the easy way? I decided to try a fabric book cover instead. Yes, crazy you are thinking. With all the paper back books to cover in contact paper, umpteen forms to fill out, and trying to get everyone into a routine, why? 

Anthony had begged me to buy this fabric for him awhile ago and I had yet to find something to make for him out of it. He is seven, getting beyond the age where it is cool to wear something your mom made. 

I measured the book as you would to make a paper cover added half an inch to the length and one inch to the width. (1/4" seam allowance all around and another 1/4" for sewing the flaps down) I cut two peices with this measurement, sewed them inside out - leaving an opening for turning, turned right side out and pressed the piece. I folded each long end back on itself and sewed to make a pocket for the front and back cover of the book. Clear as mud? Maybe these will help.


P.S. I am so excited we finally signed up for the Southern Bloggers Conference. We have lots to do to get ready for it the least of which is made business cards!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

My "new" Duck Egg Blue China Hutch

Dear Monica,

A few weeks ago, I bought an old china hutch from a consignment store.  I needed something that I could put books in and that had some storage space at the bottom.  I searched and searched for something that was in the right price range and wasn't too ugly.

This is the top of the hutch.

And this is the bottom.

It is a nice solid piece and I liked the details on it and I knew that with a little love it could really be something beautiful.  I asked you for your thoughts and you gave me some great ideas in this post about painting furniture.

I made a trip to my Annie Sloan's Chalk Paint stockist and bought Duck Egg Blue and Old White paint.  Then I set about spending several days painting and painting in between Mikey's naps and a few times while he played in the play pen.  After a coat of clear wax I am happy to say, it is finished and in the house!

Isn't she purrrty?

She goes quite nicely with my little rocking chair.  I painted the bamboo accents and hardware in old white.  This was quite tedious because I did it by hand and then had to go back and touch it up but I really love how it all turned out. 

I wanted our books and knickknacks to stand out and not be lost in the dark, so I painted the inside in Old White.  I love that I have a place for my collection of frogs.