Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Fabric... loads of it. I decluttered my own fabric and some of my mom's and gave it to a local dance studio to use for making costumes in future years. Especially good if they decided to go with a retro theme.
Make mosaic stepping stones with loads of "found" items and glass beads, etc.
I'm working on a few projects to list in up coming blogs.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Thursday, April 2, 2009
I see these falling down sheds, barns and houses all over the place on the Prairies. They've always held a fascination for me. One day while driving out to the farm I remembered how much I had loved the old barn wood furniture I'd seen at the "Death Race".
I asked around and found someone who was willing to let me help my self to the pile of wood that was already falling off an old barn. With help from my MIL, I was able to bring what I needed to our home in the city and start to work on a plan.
Take the time to evaluate each board. Remove all nails before you start. Cut off any rotting or soft pieces of wood. You don't have to give up a whole board just because part of it is rotten. Cut and use what is good. You'd be surprised at the amount of wood you'll still have.
Pick a pattern or plan.
I will not try to recreate what I did but there are loads of ideas and plans on line to help you decide what kind of furniture you would like. I, personally, just went with plain and strong.
You'll need at least an extra set of hands and a skill saw or chop saw. I always screw rather than nail my items together.
As you can see from my photo, my bench is very rustic but not very fancy. There are soooo many ways to use barn wood. I will show you another project soon.
Monday, March 30, 2009
A city yard, 3 children who stay at home all day, 365 days a year. Last summer, our whole neighbourhood seemed to be in our yard on most days. The neighbours even started calling us a "day care". The attraction?
Really it was just a simple use of what was already available to us. We were trying to save money. We are blessed enough to have a walk out basement, which meant our upper deck was 9 feet up. What we didn't have was money for any kind of free standing exercise or play equipment. Upon much deliberation, we added anchors and chains to our deck's underside. This meant we could switch out uses for these items. We bought swings, hammocks and trapeze bars for the kids to choose what they wanted to use and made two spaces available.
Monday, March 23, 2009
Opps, I somehow deleted my image of the tools you need for the snipping of the jeans.
- Rotary cutter: cuts the squares.
- Snipper: cuts the seams to make them fray better.
- Self-healing mat: Keeps you sane.
- I'd love to see your finished quilts. Feel free to send them to me. There's nothing like another kindred spirit to find another great idea.
if you can sew a straight line,
YOU CAN DO THIS!
Get out your sewing machine, thread it up and set your stitch to a nice strong one.
Forget what your sewing teacher taught you about right sides together. We're going to break that rule in this project.
Take your first square, both front and back. Put the wrong sides together. Do this will all your squares.
Next you will need to pick up your first square and put the two back together (while still holding the fronts onto them) and sew a straight seam along one edge. You'll want a seam allowance that is alot larger than you're used to, 3/4 inch at least.
Now you should have four pieces of fabric but only two squares joined by one row of stitching. Attach your next square to the last one and keep doing this till you've done the first row.
Next you'll want to sew each row the same until all the rows are done.
Stop! set up all your rows on the floor again, make sure everything is where you wanted it to be, there's no going back after this stage. Take time to rearrange rows if you're not sure.
You'll want to sew row 1 to row 2. Wrong sides together, seams pinned open. Keep your seam allowance the same as you used for the joining of the squares. Do this till all the rows are joined.
Hint: There is a strangely named tool, a hump jumper, that may help if your machine does not like the amount of denim a join makes. Usually sewing and quilting stores carry these.
You will need to pin open all the outside edge seams and sew a line around the edge at the same width you did the inner seams. No need to bind or hem these edges.
The great thing about jeans... they fray. Remember cut offs? That's the feel of "ragging" a quilt. It works well with cottons, flannels and denim. So why fight it? Lets use that to add character to our project.
In order to get the full affect of ragging you will need to snip the seams. This can be fun or exhausting.. it's all about the right tool. Below you will see a picture of the snipper I recommend. Regular scissors will not work well and I guarantee you'll never make one again if you try them. Fiskars makes a great snipper. This is NOT a thread cutter... they are NOT strong enough.
Once again, time to call a friend, rent a movie and put on the tea. This is way more fun when you share it with someone else.
You'll need to snip all the way around the edge. DO NOT CUT THROUGH THE STITCHING LINE! YOU WILL REGRET IT SO WATCH WHAT YOU'RE DOING. Once the edge is done, I tend to cut one row at a time till all the rows are snipped in one direction.
Turn the blanket and do all the rows in the other direction. It is not unheard of to miss something. When you think you're done. Lay it out and walk on it.. look at it and find any bits you didn't snip.
Here I have big squares on the back side, with little squares to make a border.
The top is made of strips sewn together, then cut to the smaller square size and sewn together to fit with the later square size. Again a boarder of smaller squares around the edge.
Your entire quilt need not be jean. If you want you can use cotton or flannel scraps to make either the top or bottom of the quilt but I'd stick to jean one side or the other and not mix them up. Keep your other fabric on the opposite side of the jean. I'll get to more examples of that in a later post.
First of all, there are simple and complicated ways to do many things. Jeans are no different. If you're new to sewing, you'll want to stick to the simple. For more advanced you'll see my photo is a quilt make of strips, then small blocks and then larger blocks. Don't feel overwhelmed.. do what suits your level of commitment.
How do I get started?
- You're going to need to cut your jeans into squares. I prefer to have two standard sizes. You 'll note that 4 of the small ones become approx. the same size as one of the large ones, this makes alot more patterns possible.
- I sit and cut small and large squares one evening while watching TV, so I can get rid of the bits I don't want and it'll take up less room.
- plastic quilters squares are available, this makes sizing easier since they will all be uniform.
- Nothing can replace good tools: rotary cutter, mat, a new blade and a straight edge or template.
If you precut these sizes you will need to lay the legs out flat so that you can cut across the seam to use as much of the leg as possible.
Rent a movie, hire a friend, make some tea and start cutting. Have fun with it and you'll soon be ready for the next step.
Monday, March 16, 2009
Your assignment, should you choose to accept it: is to get out those jeans and find a large space to work in.
You'll want to get rid of any part of the jeans that has paint, oil, grease or a stain that is too difficult to remove. I'm not THAT much of a junker... you do have to throw somethings out. Look over each pair, backs of legs tend to get less wear and tear than knees. If the knee is blown out or worn so much that you can see the shape of the knee in it .. that can go too. Decide if you want to work with jean bums or not. Throw them out if you don't want them. If you're not sure... then set them aside in a separate pile.
Best cutting tool I know of is the rotary cutter. For this job you want a new blade, a self healing mat and a straight edge of some kind.
First cut off all the legs.
Cut up the crotch, so the legs will lay out flat.
Cut below worn knees or yucky parts . Keep backs of legs if the fronts aren't worth redeeming.
Make piles of jeans according to weight. Thicker jeans, stretch jeans, light weight jeans.
Once you've done this... you can start filling trash bags for the rag bin. The good pieces of fabric you'll have to find boxes to store them in until you've picked one of the projects. It might seem like a lot but it's going to take alot less room and be easier to store than when they were whole and in a big pile.
Keep an eye open for the blue genes post.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
For Hanging cups you need a few more holes. You'll want to purchase or make some kind of hanger. I've choosen what I found at my Dollar store. These are made for hanging pots and is made of chain and hooks. For me, that means 3 more holes. These holes I spaced evenly around the edge of the of the saucer. Be careful to leave enough room from the edge that you won't weaken the china. Now you can insert the hooks, tighten them so they don't come out and hang up your newest creation.