Friday, August 28, 2015

The Old World Direction Sign

Hello. Today is a gorgeous day to be outside, but if you have time, I have a"classroom" project for you. It is a direction sign or marker. I saw something similar on Pinterest. (What did we do before Pinterest? Seriously, I can't ever go back.) I wanted this to appear to be from a thousand years ago, but still cute. I also wanted to make note of the places we would read about or "visit" in Literature and History that year in school. 

 I started with some shims I took from the garage. I am not sure why we had these, hubby doesn't do a ton of carpentry work. They are just plain, thin pieces of wood about the size and weight of a ruler. They are not sanded, but the rough look is perfect for this project. (Watch out for splinters!)

Next, I got out all my acrylic paints. Any colors will work, but I used muted slightly faded colors and added water to a couple to fade them out even more.I wanted the sign to look old and weathered. I spread out some newspaper and painted away.

The paint dries very quickly. I used this black paint to write out the names of the places on each piece. It has a very narrow tip, making it easy to write with. I also used a brown Sharpee marker on a few for variety. You can use whatever you have handy.

Here you see writing as it dries. (Zzzzzzz...) This took an hour or so.

This picture came out so much worse than I thought.(Flash? Where are you??) You can see how I attached the wood pieces to a tall stick with 8" lengths of yarn. You could use any twine or string. Just wrap it around the sign and the stick a couple times and tie in a knot. They are uneven and out of balance, that is great for this sign.

Here we are on my front porch. It isn't sturdy enough to take much weather. It wouldn't survive in the garden for long. It was in my homeschool room last year for student inspiration. I'm not sure it did that. I am thinking of painting over the city names and using different national capitals and how far away they are. Paris, Moscow, Berlin ... But you could put grandma's house, 37 miles. Or Disney World, 768 miles. You get the idea.

 I am sure I enjoyed this more than my student did. But it would be great in a classroom. And as always, thanks for reading.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Save the Sweats

     Hello all. Today is a beautiful day to be outside. I like to walk everyday and to do that I need comfortable exercise clothes. I had a bambino a few months ago and my wardrobe is limited. Today's project is a pair of black sweats that were handed down to me. They fit around the waist but not anywhere else. As you can see from this picture, they are too long and too baggy.

This is not a great picture, but you can see the extreme bagginess. I spread the pants out and decided to taper the legs. I didn't want them tight like leggings, just less huge. After many mistakes I have learned to take things in before I shorten the length. You usually don't need to shorten a piece of clothing as much as you thought after you take it in. 

First, I turned them inside out.I used a yard stick to make a chalk line from the thigh down to the ankle. I am sewing a new seam on the inner leg to preserve the white decorative lines running down the side of each leg.

I sewed straight down that line twice. Why twice? Because I don't want to be working out (or watching Netflix) and split my pants! After sewing, I cut the extra fabric away.

I only needed to turn the pants under once and sew them down to get the right length in the legs.

Now they are ready for a test drive, or test walk. I plan to wear them almost daily as most moms do. They are comfortable and elastic waist sweats are perfect for the mom of a new baby. KC the wonder dog agrees. (He will agree to anything if you take him for a walk.)

Thanks for reading, now go make something fabulous for yourself.

Friday, August 21, 2015

The Black Tank Re-sized

Hello and happy Friday to you! Today's project is a black tank that I loved but didn't fit very well. As I write this all I can think about is that my arm looks weird and flappy like a chicken wing. This is not a good look and I wish it wasn't there. Six months of bed rest does bad things to your muscle tone. But lifting and holding a cute baby is a great arm workout, so I have it covered.

It is actually the top of a very full dress that looked like a tent on me. I liked the material and wanted to save it.

It was perfect in the shoulders and bust but the fullness at the bottom made me look like I was still pregnant. Looking pregnant when you aren't pregnant is no fun.

The pattern was subtle but great for covering baby drool and spit up. These are important factors in my wardrobe right now.

I started by turning it inside out and sewing straight down from the empire waist seam. I didn't want it tight around the middle, just more fitted.

I cut the extra fabric away when I was done sewing. Sorry no sewing machine pictures, but you get the idea. The seams will not fray because that's how t-shirts are. They are easy and fun to work with.

Here it is finished. You can see it is straight and not smaller through the body.

Here I am wearing it to go pick up some wholesale groceries. Not exciting unless you want five dozen Chobani yogurts. Do me a favor? Ignore the flappy arm. And as always, thanks for reading

Monday, August 17, 2015

The "Sisal" Floor Mat

Today's project is a sisal rug or floor mat. Sisal is a natural woven material that looks great. But I didn't have real woven sisal fibers sitting around my house.

I had this. This is a heavy fabric. It was soft but heavy and stiff. It looks a lot like sisal to me. I only had a small piece in the fabric closet and I had the idea to make it into a small floor mat.

            Looks like the makings of a floor mat to me. What do you think? Here we go.

To start, I folded it in half and cut the uneven excess from the sides. I plan to have this look the same on both sides.

I started by turning the good sides inside facing each other and sewing it all around with a small opening to turn it right side out again. Just like sewing a pillow. You can see the red thread that was in my machine when I started. Oops!

After sewing around I turned it inside out. Here is the opening after, I am going to sew that closed..

I sewed all around the edges to make them flat and smooth all around.

Here it is on my floor. It looks like it is made from a natural fiber but it is soft and easy on bare feet. Perfect for the bathroom as a bathmat.

It's very simple. I could have dressed it up a bit, but I like the un-fussiness of it.
Thanks for reading.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Herb Garden Flower Pots

 Hello Readers. Today's project is an herb garden out of mismatched pots.
 I didn't get a picture of my collection of pots but any pots will do. Mine were all pretty close in size, I wanted them all on my kitchen windowsill. Summer is ending so I wanted some herbs inside.

Really, any pots will work, but this is a bit small.
 Even giant pots, if that's what you're into. 

I found these pots at the garden store. They had the trays that go underneath too. 
Now, here is the unifying factor. I painted them all to make them match. I used chalkboard paint in a can and painted the pots with a brush. I just found this spray paint at the store and I can think of a ton of stuff to paint with it.
Back to the project! I painted any part of the pot that had a design or color on it. Most of my pots had some clay showing so I left those parts alone. 

I wrote on each pot with chalk to note which herb was going in each pot. I can change the label if I change or kill the plant. Now to the garden center for some soil and seeds or plants. Happy gardening to you. Thanks for reading.

Monday, August 10, 2015

The No-Sew Orange T-shirt

Hello all. Today's refashion is just an attempt to cope with a problem. I bought this new shirt because I loved the orangey color. I love orange, it's a sunset, it's sherbet, it's perfect for summer. 

But what is this? A hole. I didn't see it at the store or it appeared after the first wash. Either way I was disappointed.

I started cutting. I was going to make a tank top with something as trim on the shoulders. T shirts are great for refashioning because they do not fray. You can just cut, cut, cut with no hemming.

I cut both shoulders straight down the front and back, including that awful hole.

I ended up cutting off the sleeves and cutting them into thin strips. This will be the trim.

I pulled the ends so the strips would stretch and be even longer.

I tied three on each shoulder. I could have let them hang loose like fringe but I tied them into bows.

Here is the back shoulder. It was quick and easy and nice for hot weather.

That's it for today.Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The Tuxedo Skirt Refashion

     Hello all. Today's project is a skirt made from two skirts that were both too tight. They were given to me by a sweet lady (Thanks Danielle!) that didn't want them anymore. I love a pile of hand-me-downs.
     So here are the skirts. They are almost identical, except in color. That is what made this refashion possible. If they were different lengths, styles or fabrics, this wouldn't have worked.

     I decided to use the black skirt to add on to the blue skirt. I figured out how much I needed to add to the waist so I could wear it comfortably, plus enough for a wide seam allowance. I made the strips wider at the bottom to keep the shape of the skirt intact, and so it wasn't tight at the bottom.

     I cut straight down the side seams of the blue skirt and pinned the black fabric pieces in place lining and all. (Inside out, of course.)

I sewed the black pieces in with a very small, tight stitch length to make it hold together well, wear after wear. I don't have a serger so I actually sewed two seams close to each other. This will keep the fabrics from fraying.

It came together very well.

I wore it out to lunch at the Japanese steakhouse with the staff photographer.

I think the stripe down the sides looks like a tuxedo, hence the name. Thanks for reading!

The "Custom" Fabric Blinds

      Hello all. Today's NO-SEW project is roller blind I made for my little guys room. He is too young to express an opinion, but I'm sure he likes it. I started with a cheap, readily available, easy to install plastic roller blind from WalMart. It's cheap (Yea!) but really unattractive (Boo!). It isn't hard to make it a lot cuter. They are easy to install and come with directions inside so I wont cover that part of the project.

     I choose the nautical fabric from the stash in my closet because it matched the room best. Any woven fabric will work, knits are not a good idea.

      I spread the blind out on the floor and measured to see how much fabric I would need to cover it. I didn't want to see the blind showing, just my fabric.

I used this iron-on adhesive to finish the side edges and bottom hem. I simply folded the fabric back and ironed it in place. This stuff is pretty strong and will hold up well since this is not being worn, it's just hanging out. The heat of the dryer make this type of adhesive loosen up. (In my experience anyway.)

Next comes the duct tape. That's right, you're taping this fabric to the blind. You need good quality duct tape. The cheap tape from the dollar store isn't the same. I used several strips of duct tape to secure the fabric to the blind. Be careful to line the fabric up so it will hang evenly without being lower on one side.

      Only the tape across the top of the fabric will hold it, so tape it well. It should hang freely at the bottom. The sides and bottom of the fabric should hang freely.

To pull the blind up and down you should grab the blind itself not the fabric. You can't pull on the fabric itself, and you don't need to. The blind works as if the fabric wasn't even there.

Here is the finished window with curtains on top of the blind. It turned out pretty snazzy if I say so myself.

     These blinds come in light filtering and black-out weight plastic. They are great for a bedroom to block the sunlight at nap time. Thanks for reading!