Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Just a small finish......

 Okay so I haven't yet done a post on what I finished last week but this is this weeks finish which I am just a wee bit proud of :-) I started this project way back here about 6 weeks ago.  It didn't take 6 weeks to do, I just did other things in between.  It did take a couple of days to remove all the old coverings, tacks and rusty nails though which was not a pleasant job but well worth the end result.
 I am very blessed to live in a street of generous caring neighbours and one of those neighbours happens to be a qualified upholsterer who generously let me work beside him in his workshop, helping me with each step of the process, using his tools and readily imparting his knowledge, and years of experience with me. Another neighbour also helped me by fixing up one of the back legs that was a bit broken and wobbly. I am looking forward to showing him the end result because he struggled to see its potential as he fixed it for me. 
 I think it took about 6 hours or maybe a little less to recover it including sewing the piping. I used a industrial sewing machine for the first time and felt like a complete novice sewer again as it goes way faster than a domestic.
 I probably chose the most difficult chair to reupholster for a first project but on the upside I learnt a lot of upholstery techniques that you would only learn from someone in the trade. I now know that some of the online tutorials that I have read recently are simply the wrong way of doing things.
 The main floral fabric was an off-cut from a piece of curtaining from my neighbour which I had had for a few months waiting for the perfect project to show it off. I bought the chevron print from Spotlight as a contrast to the large flowers and I really love how they look together with the pop of colour from the turquoise piping and legs. What I really enjoyed as I was applying the fabric was seeing my original vision of how I wanted it to look come into reality.
I'm not usually into giving objects names but I am naming this cute but bold little chair "Amy" after the street we bought our first house on which is where we first acquired this chair, quite a few (unspecified) years ago.Yes she's been very patiently waiting far too long for a much needed makeover. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A custom order.....

About a month ago now I agreed to make a friend some cushions to brighten up her her couches for an open home. It was a Friday afternoon and she needed them by lunch time the next day (no pressure :-)  I like a challenge and a deadline is always good for motivation. She had given me a clear idea as to colours (bright) and design but otherwise trusted my creative intuitions :-) I was immediately drawn to my stash of colour saturated Balinese batiks thinking they would work well with some modern contemporary designs. Two hours into cutting out, at about 5 pm, I decided to have a break and get dinner on but no sooner had I started, the power went off and didn't come back on till 10 pm so no sewing got done but I did get all the cutting out finished before it got too dark to see. 

So the next morning I worked hard to finish them in time but not to how I had originally envisioned them to look like. I made my friend promise me she would give them back to me after the open homes so I could do more work on them. They looked fine to her but I knew they could look much better. I added the hand-quilted circles to the above circle cushion along with a thin layer of batting on the underside.....
....then to these woven designs I added a line of stitching down each fabric strip to not only reduce fraying on the raw edges but to add a little texture.
Then on the back of each one I added a handmade button and loop enclosure.

To see how these handmade covered buttons are made, the tutorial can be found here on Michelle's blog.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Keeping busy.....

 A few weeks back I agreed to have a boarder stay with us over the summer months which has meant a lot of re-arranging of furniture, tidying, and getting rid of a lot of  "stuff " that we have collected over the years that is now no longer needed. Having a good clean out really does feel good plus it motivated me into giving a couple of pieces of furniture a much needed makeover. The above 'hall table' has been in my possession since my flatting days. Not sure who's it actually was originally but I happily ended up with it because I could see its potential :-) I don't have any before photos of it but lets just say it was looking a little neglected in its raw state. I had sanded it down last year so it was all ready and waiting for a new coat of paint.

For the top I decoupaged squares of Amy Butler acid free paper. It reminds me of Moroccan or Portuguese tiles and I'm really pleased with how it has turned out.

I acquired these two old wooden rulers and the school atlas from my father a couple of weeks ago. My Dad has been sick with cancer for some time now and passed away on Saturday. He had asked me to go into his office and choose anything I might want. It didn't feel right taking his stuff but these items caught my eye and he seemed happy with what I had chosen. 

This desk has been also patiently waiting for a makeover and I have been waiting for inspiration to strike as to what to do with it. It was always going to be Caitlin's, so with her slight obsession with the boy band "One Direction", inspiration came last week to paint a Union Jack design on the top. The aqua/turquoise paint I had already purchased for another project and I love the colour combo of red/aqua/white. It already had the red plastic 'feet' on it's legs so that was a nice happy coincidence. 

The Union Jack design was easy but time consuming to do but totally worth it for the end result. To get the nice clean, straight lines I used masking tape over the already white background but it bled under the tape so our new house guest Siobhan suggested using painters tape which does not bleed like masking tape. I love how this piece has turned out exactly how I had envisioned. Needless to say Caitlin is also pleased with her new desk. All this painting has inspired me to makeover more furniture so expect more :-)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Exam time.....

Stress levels are starting to creep up in our house as my oldest daughter, Amelia, prepares for her Level 2 NCEA exams. Yesterday on one of her breaks away from studying she prepared this yummy green smoothie to go with our lunch. With that vibrant green colour it has to be good for you! The 'green' layer is made up of spinach (from our garden of course :-) , green apple, lemon juice, and coconut milk, the white layer is more coconut milk, yoghurt, more green apple and mint. The recipe can be found here on "A beautiful mess"

Right at this moment Amelia is sitting her English exam and I can't help but think about her and hope the words are flowing onto the paper for her. To keep my mind occupied I have been spray painting her cane bedside table white as a wee surprise when she gets home. Hope she likes it :-)

Monday, November 4, 2013

Busy, busy

I think I started making these to cushions a couple of weeks ago maybe but had to put them aside for a custom order of 3 cushions covers for a friend so this past weekend I finally got to finish them. I love how they both turned out but I'm particularly pleased with the union jack design. 

 I've been wanting to make a union jack cushion for a while now but wasn't quite sure how to go about it but in the end I decided to just appliqué the pieces on using Visoflex and finishing them off with a machine embroidered blanket stitch. Quite quick and easy once all the cutting out was done.
And this bright floral cushion reminds of all the colourful spring flowers blooming in my garden at the moment. This one is quilted with some wavy lines that intersect each other randomly breaking up the straight piecing and giving it a modern edge. Both these cushions have an envelope backing using a strip of a print from the cushion fronts and some fun ric-rac. These cushion covers are now listed here in my etsy shop :-)
And a bit of progress has been made with my first re-upholstery project. It now has a double layer of all new foam rubber and is so much nicer to sit on now. I felt ridiculously proud of myself when I finished stapling the foam on and made sure my girls noticed what I'd done. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Some pretty finishes......

 My eldest daughter has been in desperate need of a new pencil case for a while now so I whipped this one up for her on the last week of the holidays. She chose the fabrics, designer fabrics I might add :-) She definitely knows what she likes and doesn't like this girl  :-)
 I found the free pattern and tutorial over here at "A spoonful of sugar" I like the triangular shape because it's just a bit different to your everyday pencil case shape plus it sits nice and flat. The pattern is a little on the small side so I made it a couple of inches longer mainly to accommodate the larger zip that I had on hand.

 I also gave it more of a scrappy look and added some pretty machine embroidery stitches too.
And I finished covering this lampshade last week using up some of my scraps. It was a pretty quick and easy project plus I had fun putting all those gorgeous fabrics together :-)

I love how it turned out but I'm not quite sure where it's going to go yet. I think it would be perfect for a girls room so might have to look for a lamp-stand for it to go on.

And here's a sneak peak of a couple of cushion designs I'm working on this week. I spent yesterday morning brainstorming and sketching and now I have more ideas/designs than time which is a good thing really. 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

A work in progress....

 I made the most of the sunny almost summery weather we had a week or so ago during the last school holidays and hauled this very old bedroom chair out onto our deck to strip off the old fabric ready for its makeover.
 This is my first re-upholstery project. I've had this chair for nearly 20 years as it was left behind in the first house we purchased. It's previous owner was an elderly lady who was moving to South Africa and I think was a bit overwhelmed with the big life changing move she was undertaking. Anyway she left us a lot of her junk that she didn't know what to do with. A lot of the stuff was definitely just 'junk' but there were some treasures amongst it and one of them was this chair. Even though it was covered in ugly stained fabric I could see it's potential then. I had originally intended to get it recovered professionally but could never afford it so I made a slip-cover out of white calico and trimmed it's skirt with a blue and white gingham ( oh so 90's!!)
Taking out all those tacks took so very very long but I got a bit of tan from the lovely warm sun and definitely an upper body workout too :-) plus as I removed the fabric I could see how it was put on in the first place. Now I just need to get some advice on how to add a new layer of foam rubber to the seat and back before I add some pretty fabrics to it.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Little piles of inspiration....

I have a wee project that I started last Friday afternoon which involves the above pile of bright and colourful scraps taken from my overflowing scrap basket. When I was searching through my scraps for the right mix of fabrics for this particular project I couldn't stop myself being inspired by the eclectic mix of fabrics I was sorting through so.......  
 .......here is another yummy and pretty pile of fabrics that I put together for a future project yet to be designed. Quite a few of these fabrics have been in my stash for a while so I think it's time they were brought out and made use of  :-)
This pile of green and pink fabrics have been gathered together, sitting on my sewing attic floor for a couple of months now whilst I finish other projects and decide what it is I'm going to turn them into. I'm thinking they would be perfect for a little girls quilt.....what do you think???

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

September in my garden

Yes my garden is in full spring bloom now that September is here. It really is my most favourite time to spend in the garden although I do need to get going now and plan and plant out my veggie garden which I guess I should have started on last month.
So now that spring is here it also means that Christmas is less than 4 months away which I was nicely reminded of when I read this post by Betz White who has just started a "Holiday Stitch-along Ornament Club". You can read all about it here or click on the button below or in my sidebar. It took me mere seconds to decide I was going to join up as I always like to have new ornaments to add to my Christmas tree each year and handmade ornaments are always that much more special, not to mention Betz White is one clever designer.
Betz White Stitch-along Ornament Club

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Journal covers in the making.....

I can't remember what my inspiration was when I started making these journal covers but I do know that I like to have pen/pencil and paper at the ready when inspiration strikes. I also know that I like to make plain, everyday items pretty and inspirational to look at. The above journal cover set was the first one I made and my good friend Darleen promptly purchased it as soon as I showed it to her so I guess that spurred me on to make more. 

Of course the best thing for me about making these journal covers or keepers is putting the fabric combinations together. Out of the 3 sets above I think my favourite would have to be the one on the right made from one of Heather Bailey's prints. I love her fresh modern retro vibe she has put into this fabric collection, the vibrant colours and the detail in the paisley motif. 
I have just added these sets to my shop this morning. The larger size fits an A5 journal and the smaller fits a A6 journal so the smaller one is perfect for on the go journalling/sketching down of ideas as they strike. The elastic bands holds everything together and the elastic pen holders ensures there is always a pen handy as well as the paper :-)

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Buds of spring hope.....

I noticed this week that my garden is starting to show signs of spring. I picked this bunch of snowdrops, winter cheer and the first 2 daffodils to bloom to go on our dinning table yesterday. After noticing all the buds emerging here and there I had to take a few shots to share with you here.

 This has to be my favourite to emerge so far. I love the delicate pale pink of these petals. 

Can you see the bee hiding in one of these flowers?? I didn't notice it until I uploaded the photo on to my computer. I think the best thing about flowers at this time of the year is their beautiful fragrance.

We've just had two weeks of school holidays here and during the last week we did a girls road trip down to Wellington to catch up with friends that we hadn't seen for 3 years. Fortuitously for us they were house/dog sitting for family who just happened to have a lovely home in Paraparaumu right on the beach with the above view from the lounge of Kapiti island. 

I finished up these colourful zippered pouches before we went away. They were a custom order for a lady from church who wanted them for a stall to raise funds for Parkinsons disease. As you can see they are all made from scraps and embellished with a variety of machine embroidery stitches...so much fun to make and I love each one equally. 
I have some more sewing to show you and lots more planned in the coming months plus I'm looking forward to learning how to upholster furniture. I have plans to eventually do something like this, this and this!! 

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