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!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Change up your dog collar!

I made a collar for Penny a while back that looked like this

The hardware and instructions came from Country Brook Design. They carry everything you need to make collars, leashes, etc. 
My daughter suggested trying to make an inter-changeable collar. After giving it lots of thought, I bought some 1" black webbing and 2 rolls of 7/8" ribbon. I made the collar base using the instructions from Country Brook but added velcro in 3 spots on the collar, one on either end and one in the middle. I sewed 2 pieces of velcro at either end and one in the middle. I cut the ribbon to the length adding about 1/2" to each end to turn under and add the velcro. The one attached to the collar in the photo below matches her new coat ;)
Here's a photo of the first two "covers" that I've made. I also have a purple tiger print for football season too! Making the collar this way will not only save me money but will also allow Penny to have "party collars" just like I have my "party glasses". (I have a glass for almost every occasion and love them!)
These are incredibly easy to make and will save a TON of money!
A huge "thank you" to my daughter for the idea!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Penny's coat

The weather here in Florida is normally warm. Once in a while we catch up with some of the other Southern states with cold temps. When we adopted Penny we realized that she didn't like the cold. I HATE being does Penny. So I started looking for a coat pattern. I lucked into the instructions for measurements on Pinterest here The worst part of this whole process was trying to get a 65lb boxer to stand up still while I measured and tried to fit the coat as I sewed. I used some flannel with some thin batting in between so the coat wasn't too hot but would be enough to keep her happy outside. (And yes, she has a matching collar!)
This is also the first time I tried free motion quilting. Man...I need to practice that one a LOT more! But over all the coat turned out well. I quilted around each heart and used velcro for closures so if she happens to catch the coat on something, it will come off fairly easily without hurting her.

Here's a couple of close ups of the stitching.

And I did figure out a way to make interchangeable collar covers. I made one collar with the hardware and so far we have 3 covers. One that matches this coat and 2 for football season! Pics soon to come!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Me and the fence post

My hubby says I have a problem with clutter...maybe...maybe not. This time he said he was wrong! ;)  I found this piece of picket fence in our "back forty" as we call part of our yard. I brushed it off and kept it on the porch for weeks while I tried to work out in my head exactly how I needed to go about getting where I wanted to be. Sometimes the ideas come right away and sometimes not...

 Here's what I used to get to my end result:
I found the wicks and glass holders for the mason jars here They have just about everything I could think of that I might want to convert any mason jars laying around the house. They even have conversion kits for wine bottles!
The fence section originally had 6 pickets but I had only ordered 5 wicks and holders. Soooo while the hubby was gone, I pulled out the circular saw and cut one of the pickets off. (First time using the saw and will definitely be doing it again! How come men don't tell you it's fun?) Then I measured the spaces for the jars. And my version of measuring is normally eyeballing it, laying a string (ok I used my tablet cord to string across the boards) and marking dots with a Sharpie marker. Then I pulled out the power drill (first time for that too and just as much fun!) and drilled a hole in each picket.
Once the holes were wide enough for the zip ties I started on the jars. I bought 5 pipe hangers that were 3-1/2" each to attach to each jar. I filled each jar with some children's play sand and some shells I had from the Charleston beaches. I added some glass beachy charms on wire around the neck of each jar. Once that part was finished, I attached the pipe hangers to the fence with the zip ties, screwed the hangers to the lids of the jars making sure to tighten the screws so they stayed put. I added oil to each jar and then screwed the jars to the lids. 
Here's a photo with 2 jars completed and the other 3 hangers attached.
And a close up of one jar

Here's the completed fence section lit with one of my coffee can lights. Start to finish, it really only took me about an afternoon. I love that it wasn't something that I had to stop and come back to because of time.
 I'm trying to come up with a way to attach hangers on the back for "legs". That way, I could move it out into the yard depending on the nights we in the yard versus on the porch. It would also make it a little safer for the porch. Right now it's just leaning against the wall. I was thinking about maybe those old fashioned drawer pulls that are coming back in style or maybe I could find some hinges that would work. Maybe I need to go wander the hardware store.
I think that it turned out very nicely for one of my "winging it" projects. And the hubby now understands a little better my obsession with "NO...don't throw that away yet!"