Sunday, September 25, 2016

Penny's bag

Our boxer Penny loves the beach. But living in Florida is HOT! We take a cooler with a 32 oz bladder filled with cold water in addition to a 16oz bottle of water that gets refilled from the bladder as we walk. Up until today, we have had to backtrack on our walk in order to refill her bottle. Not only is it inconvenient, imagine a 5 year old kid that thinks we're leaving ever time we turn around for refills and that's Penny..."are we going home already?"... she's been known to park her fanny and look at the 2 of us as if to say "I'm not ready yet!".
So I thought I would put my birthday present to good use. My wonderful husband (and Penny) bought me an embroidery machine. I found it on Craigslist. If we had not run into a great guy named James I would have never been able to have one of these...
Here's how I made Penny's bag:
I used 2 small terry cloth towels, some insul-brite batting, a crab embroidery pattern and the comic sans font. I've been doing a lot of reading and video watching (thank goodness for YouTube 😀) because the first time I tried the embroidery part I didn't realize that the thread would sink into the fabric without the proper stabilizer. I found a website that used Glad brand press'n seal  as an inexpensive alternative to water soluble. And it works!
Now we have an insulated cover for Penny's water bladder we can use without having to turn around on the beach...and it even has a handle that makes it easy to hold.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Travel bag

I've needed a new travel bag for my "bathroom stuff" forever. However it's been impossible to find just the right thing. I take lots of medicine and wear contacts in addition to the normal stuff a girl needs when she travels. 

And that led to this...via Pinterest and Craftsy of course! I don't have a true tutorial for this 'cause it was one of those "fly by the seat of my pants" kind of project. I can tell you that it turned out larger than I thought and only took 4 fat quarters. And it's lined too! 

I used two fat quarters for the outside (don't you love the print!!) and 2 solid colors for the outside, one 28" zipper (didn't know what size I needed but they're pretty easy to cut to size) and Pellon 70 ultra firm stabilizer. 

I made a cardboard template from a letter size piece of cardboard that was an insert from something.
I traced my medicine container to get the overall length and width and measured my tallest item (contact solution bottle) to make sure that everything I needed fit height wise. I had enough fabric with the 4 fat quarters to add a pocket in the top inside for my meds that I can be sure are gonna stay where they should. 
Once I decided how big I needed the bag (mine is 10" tall overall), I started measuring pieces before I cut anything just to make sure I could use the fabric I wanted. (I bought the skull print months ago and knew that I wouldn't be able to find anymore.) I found the directions for the zipper installation and the construction of the sides in a class on Craftsy called "Sew Sturdy Travel Organizers" by Annie Unrein. The travel organizers in her class are made for taking to sewing or quilting class. They're very easy to follow and she gives great instructions which made it easy for me to adjust the size. 
It took me a little while to work out the pattern in my head and I was also smart enough to put it down when I was getting turned around in my brain. Which meant not too many seams had to be undone...yea!!
And if you never looked into Craftsy classes you really should. The ones I have are very easy to follow along with and you have the opportunity to ask question as well as see what others have made. Really good ideas on the site and they have some great sales. And they have sales a lot...fabric, supplies and classes are all put on sale at one time or another. If you sign up for the email notifications, they'll send you an email when sales happen! 

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Napkin rings!

I will admit that I am cheap...not thrifty... cheap. After I finished the placemats, it was time for new napkins and napkin rings. I thought about making the napkins but the price of fabric makes it not the best price choice. I found new ones at Kohl's... clearance priced... paid for with Kohl's cash... meaning FREE! Love that!
Then I picked up the napkin rings next to them. $5.00 each for plain wooden rings. Not in my world 😞 I just can't do that.
So I looked through all the craft "crap" as my hubby lovingly calls it and found some thick cardboard tubes. Don't know why I saved them but I did. And thank goodness I did.
I cut the tube into 8 1-1/2" sections. Using just regular white glue spread all over each section, I wrapped each piece with cotton string and then glued a shell on each finished piece. From start to finish it took about an hour. Spreading the glue was messy but they sure we're worth it.
 They look great with the placemats and dishes and the best part? They were pretty much free since I had everything I needed on hand.
Love these!!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

New place mats!

We finally bought new dishes! Then I realized that we needed new placemats to match 😞. It's also one of those times that my frugal habits would make things difficult. Sooo... I kept thinking that I would come across the exact match AND find them on sale. Six weeks later and nothing. Not even a "kinda match".
I ended up shopping the Joann website to see what kind of fabric I could find on sale. I found this great batik fabric that I had used a while ago to make some hot pads. It wasn't on sale that day. $12  a yard. Not happening in my world cause I would need 8 mats. Quick math told me that I would need close to 4 yards. I would also have to pay shipping. These mats were gonna cost a small fortune!
And then I checked my email. JoAnn had sent me a 60% off coupon!
And when I went back to the website, the fabric had been marked down to $9 a yard. I bought 4 yards and the site let me use my 60% off coupon. I didn't think it would work but it did!! (Most of the time those coupons only work for regularly priced items which I understand.)
I bought 4 yards and spent around $30 including shipping. Nice right? 😎
It took me, start to finish, roughly 2 1/2 hours to make 8. And they were finished in time for dinner with guests at the house. And they match our new dishes which makes me very happy. AND they were cheap!!
I also have enough left to make some more hot pads.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Penny's travel bag

We have become one of those couples that include our dog in everything possible including travel. She's become a wonderful companion for me when I have a bad day.
BUT...she didn't have her own travel bag. The last time we traveled with her, I used an old tailgating tote. She deserves something special,  don't you think?
I found this pattern and thought it would make the perfect bag for her. Beach bag
The sides on Penny's bag go all the way to the top and I lined her bag instead of binding it.
Her directions are very easy to follow and I think makes the pattern pretty simple to complete.
Let me know if you make one! I would love to see it!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Gone fishin!

We went to visit my sister-in-law and her SO back in June. They live in a small town in Georgia on a good deal of acreage. She's recently retired (early and good for her!!) and had a workshop built on the property. It's full of tools, scrap wood and very organized with huge double doors so she can wheel out tools and tables to reduce mess. I LOVED it and came home very envious but with some new skills. (Thanks Linda!)
I've wanted to learn how to use more power tools since the fence project and Linda had the patience to walk me through using a jigsaw. They're a little intimidating to me since you guide the blade yourself unlike a circular saw which has a blade guide. She pulled out some scrap wood for me, some clamps and some saw horses for the wood. Once everything was set up outside (no mess to clean up since we were outside!), she gave me a pencil and suggested I start by drawing easy shapes and then cutting. I was really surprised that it really wasn't near as hard as I thought it would be to cut simple shapes.

This is where I started...

She and her SO had recently done some volunteer work on Cumberland Island off the Georgia coast and gave me some sand dollars and fishing floats that they'd found while walking the beaches. I thought they'd be great to hang at home since we have a very eclectic beach style to our home decorating.
Once I had the simple shapes down, I drew a couple of fish on some scrap wood.It did take some practice to get the curves on the fish right but I think they turned out pretty well for a first try. I used my Dremel to drill the holes for hanging the floats and sand dollars. And I originally planned on hanging these outside but decided, once they were finished, that they would be too fragile with the sand dollars for outdoors.
Since I'm definitely not a painter, I called my daughter and asked for some suggestions on how to get started. She had some great tips including marking my paint lines with tape and add shapes with my Silhouette cutter. She also suggested the use of a black Sharpie marker for outlining and hiding the not so straight paint lines. The tips worked like a charm! I used some clear jewelry line along with crimp beads to hang the floats and sand dollars once the paint was dry. 
And this how they finished up!

I used some Command strips (love those things!!) to hang them on the walls in our bar room and definitely love the way they turned out.
A big thanks to Linda for all her help and my grandson Jordan for the paint and float layout suggestions.
Again...power tools are fun and NOT scary with the right instructions and guidance!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

I haven't lost my marbles yet...

I have LOTS of these glass half stones...
I bought them years ago to fill several glass vases and bowls around the house. I dumped them into this basket a short while later because I really didn't like the way they looked. We have a very eclectic decorating style here and the vases didn't blend with the look like I thought they might. But as per my usual, I refuse to throw stuff like this away. Sooner or later something will hit my brain and I can go through my craft closet and come up with some way to get where I want end up. ;)
I ended up here...

I started here...

And used this to get to where I wanted to be...

Our window in the kitchen and the french doors to the patio both have these small windows above the normal ones. I could never decide what to do with the windows due to where they sit and how long they are. They let a lot of light into our home so I really didn't want to put up traditional curtain panels (and I'm not very traditional like that). 
Once I started looking through my closet, I realized that I had a whole basket of these stones sitting around just waiting to be put to good use. I had all of the tools, wire and crimp beads on hand but needed to find a glass friendly glue that wouldn't come loose with the Florida sun. And you know what that means?? I just HAD to make a trip to JoAnn...for the glue you know...I didn't buy anything else...OK...well maybe I did but I'll save that for another time. (All I can say is thank goodness for an understanding hubby!)
So here's how I put it all together:
The window measures 71"W x 15"L. I spray painted an old spring rod with black spray paint so it would blend in with the window frame. (NEVER THROW ANYTHING soon as you do, you're gonna need it! I keep stuff in my craft room closet and de-clutter it probably twice a year.) I did open the rod to be longer than the 71" measurement just in case I was off with my measuring and I wanted to make sure that once I hung the rod there would be no brass color showing.
I cut the jewelry wire into roughly 24" strands to account for the wrapping and crimping the wire onto the rods. I tried gluing the stones directly onto the wire but the wire wouldn't lay flat on the back of the stones. Since the wire is steel it has a tendency to stay curled without some weight on it.  My next attempt came with the help of scotch tape. I taped the wire to the back of each stone and then placed glue in between the tape strips.
This worked like a charm! Yes it's time consuming but it's one of the mindless steps of a craft project that keeps us from having to concentrate too hard and you can watch tv at the same time ;)
The stones ended up looking like this:

I let the glue dry overnight and took the tape off the next day. I strung each strand onto the curtain rod and hung this one in our kitchen window.
They look really nice with the morning sun coming in the window and add just enough oomph without having to hang a full curtain and loosing all that light. The stones turned the window into a giant suncatcher that we really enjoy.
I still have to make one for over the back door. Lord knows I have lots of these stones to still use. I think next time I'll crimp the strands onto the rod before I glue the beads which will save a step in the end. It would also prevent any of the strands getting tangled up while drying. I didn't think about that until afterwords when I was trying lay out the color order and lengths. It could've prevented the rearranging of the strands and kept me in line with the lengths. I ended up trimming the wire after the rod was hung because I didn't want all of the strands the same length.
The strands range in length from 12-14-1/2" and I used a total of 19 strands. I think the other window could use a few more strands. 
I do suggest that you periodically check the weight of the strands on your rod in the window. Every 3-4 strands I hung on the rod, I placed the rod back in the window. I didn't want the rod to fall and I wasn't sure how much weight the spring rod would be able to hold. Since we have tile floors in the main living areas of our home, if the rod would be flying...not good...not good at all...

My fence project was published here - They have some really cool projects on the site!