Friday, May 31, 2013

Sewing a Pencil Case

I enjoy working with my sewing students and helping them work through projects that they have found. This little sewing project was done by one of my young students, and I think it is a really cute beginner-sewing project. The project took just a few ends of fabric and about an hour sewing time. The longest phase was quilting the inside panel.

I had my student prepare pattern pieces using regular printer paper versus cutting directly onto the fabric. This will allow her to easily scale the pieces to make a different size case in the future. I also felt that it provided her with some additional skills for when she decides to create her own projects. We also changed the direction of the strips from the original project.

Here is a link to the original project: How to Make a Pencil Case.

I hope that you will try it out!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Crafty Home: Silk Screened Cushion Cover

I took a silk screening workshop several months ago. It was something that I had wanted to do for a really long time and I am looking forward to turning several of my designs into screens. I will like to write a blog post on the experience, but have not gotten around to doing so just yet. However, I decided to take my creation and turn it into a cushion cover. The design is actually my husband's recording company logo. I printed it on green cotton velvet with black ink.

I made an envelope style cushion cover and backed the green velvet with matching colour corduroy. The image is a bit off set, mainly because I did not really plan on making a pillow when I did the print, but I think it still works. It makes a really great pillow for the sitting/library area outside my husband's studio, and is a crafty home project that I hope will inspire you to create.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Crafty Home: How to Make a Pillow Insert

My husband has been sailing with his parents since he was a baby. He learned to sail with his dad and he is eager for the day when he can call the boys crew mates. We already live in "cottage country," so about three years ago we decided to make Toronto our choice for where to keep our boat. We had it closer to home, but there is so much happening in Toronto and after living there for many years it was our way of getting to spend time in the city and enjoy some sailing on Lake Ontario.

Earlier this year we visited the Toronto International Boat Show and I was inspired. Aside from wishing and dreaming of some of the new boats with their breathtaking interiors and amazing sailing features, it made me think about ways I could make our boat more homey. As part of our Crafty Home series I will share with you the projects I will be making with the hope that it will inspire you to add some handmade and creative touches to your home or home away from home.

Our little home away from home is like an urban cottage on the water. It is a 32 feet Beneteau and comfortably sleeps four, and slightly less comfortably sleeps six. Our little family enjoy summer nights listening to the live music concerts next to the marina and walking to all the festivities of the city. Another great benefit is that we are always going away from the flow of traffic and do not have to contend with hours of cottage country traffic.

Boat lift-in was on Saturday, May 4, and we were up bright and early to make our last minute preparations. I always get so nervous seeing the boat suspended in the air and it is such a relief when it finally sits in the water and we have confirmed buoyancy. Much of the day was spent cleaning the boat and getting it ready for the season.

Several months ago I purchased two of these beautiful 100% cotton embroidered cushion covers, but I needed to get pillow inserts. I decided to make the pillow inserts from some cotton fabric I have in my studio. It was a quick and easy project and is a great alternative to buying ready made ones. If you have cushion covers and will like to make pillow inserts, here is what I did to make mines.

Making a Pillow Insert
My pillow covers are 12" x 20", so adjust your measurements to match the size of your pillow covers. Measure your pillow cover and add a minimum 1/2" for seam allowance (Fig1). I used one yard of 45" wide, 100% cotton. The amount of fabric you will need depends on the size of the pillows you are making. I also used 100% cotton thread. I used EcoFill; however, the pillow fill is something that you can find at your local craft store, Michaels, online at Joann's, or visit Walmart's craft section.

1. Cut two pieces of fabric 13" x 21" (which includes 1/2" seam allowance).
2. Stitch around the edges using a 1/2" seam allowance and leaving an opening in the middle-bottom of the pillow.
3. Trim the ends of the pillow and turn inside out.
4. Stuff the pillow to your desired firmness and close opening with a slip stitch.

5. Place the new pillow insert into the cushion cover and enjoy.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day

In the mid 1800’s an eight-year-old girl was kidnapped by a stranger, placed on a ship and sold to a sugarcane plantation owner in Trinidad and Tobago. Far away from her native Ife, Nigeria, she was left with flashes of childhood memories and the sound of her mother’s voice. Her name was changed to Mary Durant. She later became Mary Barber and she was my Great, Great, Great Grand Mother.

The strength that she had was passed down to her daughters and their daughters. The lessons taught and the knowledge shared lives on in my heart. It is the root of who I am as a daughter, friend, woman, and mother.

Today on Mother’s Day I, honour all Mothers in their daily task of teaching, nurturing and supporting. Today I also thank my Mother, my Grandmother, Great Grandmother and the generations that have come before me. Without these women, I would not be the person or the mother I am today.

It is because of these strong, loving and nurturing women and their ability to make it through adversities with grace and their ability to love, that I can stand here today. I am proud of who I am and I feel honoured that I have been blessed with the role of Mother and that I have such wonderful examples to follow.

My Mother and I in 1978.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Thrift Store Find: Vintage Needlepoint

This week I will like to share a beautiful piece of needlepoint that I found. This piece is in keeping with our Crafty Home series. It is one of those pieces that can be used as is or it can receive an updated look by changing the picture frame. I plan on giving it new life by making it into a decorative pillow.

If you are interested in tying your hand at some needlework, you can find some beautiful kits at Anna Maria Horner. I also did a book review last year of "Doodle Stitching The Motif Collection," which is a great little resource if you will like an introduction to embroidery. You can also download our FREE embroidery pattern.

Do you think a piece like this is better left as is or is making a decorative pillow a good idea?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

DIY Magnetic Chalkboard

The project today is a magnetic chalkboard made from a metal tray. I used the "Krylon" Chalkboard Paint and applied two coats in a sweeping motion. I let the tray dry to the touch in between coats and waited for 24 hours as instructed before using. Now I have a board that I can write on and post using magnets.

I really needed something close to my desk as a quick and easy reference during the day as I work through my task. However, I did not want a bulletin board or large chalkboard, so I decided to make something that was simple and would fit the space available next to my desk.

Metal Tray
Chalkboard Paint
Screw Driver
Chalk or Chalk Ink

1. Clean the surface of the metal tray to remove any residue.

2. Spray or paint metal tray with the chalkboard paint, following the paint instructions.

3. Make a hole at the centre top of the tray, using a nail and hammer.

4. Fasten finished tray to your wall or other location with a screw.

If you are using a spray can, it really does work best using a side-to-side motion when spraying. Let the paint dry between coats and I strongly recommend doing it outdoors or in a well-ventilated area.

I used Chalk Ink (Wet Wipe Markers) to embellish, and with the help of a ruler I made lines for my "To-Do" list. You can also use regular chalk if you like or use as a magnetic board to post notes. I also think it looks really cute and is a much needed addition to my workspace.

What do you think of the idea?

Visit the other projects that are part of our Crafty Home series.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Crafty Home Series

Last Wednesday I was happy to be back on Crafted Spaces Radio. The episode highlighted some of the things that are happening at Crafted Spaces, but it was also an introduction to our "Crafty Home" series.

Our recent Home Organization Challenge was so wonderful, and I was happy that so many of you joined us here on the blog, on Facebook and on Pinterest. With over ten thousand page views and thousands of Pinterest repins the response was extremely encouraging and really motivated me each week. Having a clean and organized home now means that there are lots of opportunities for adding creative touches. Adding a bit of personality, handmade accents, and a punch of colour is therefore the focus of this new series.

I am excited to start our "Crafty Home" series, because it means that I can transform each of the rooms in my home with handmade decorative elements that is reflective of my family and I.  Each week I will post my projects along with tutorials. I also have several Pinterest boards with tons of links to amazing DIY projects and sewing tutorials, which I hope will inspire you to create along with me.

If you are not the "make it" type, but you will like to find ways of adding handmade and crafty touches to your home or workspace, then do not leave just yet. During the series I will chat and share with you information about artisans, designers, stores and websites that you may want to check out for some crafty goodies. There are wonderful places to find "Crafty Home" accents and it is a great way to support crafters and makers.

The projects I will be featuring are great for your home, workplace or home away from home. If you also have a cottage, boat, mobile home or other place you occasionally call home; then join me in this creative transformation.

There are so many ideas and sources of inspiration, that sometimes it is difficult to narrow things down. I will like to share some of my Crafted Spaces Pinterest boards, which are bursting with ideas and projects that you may want to try. Creating an ideas board, can help with deciding what you will like to make and in some cases provide the resources on how to make it. It is also a great place to start when you are defining and refining your style.

DIY Projects
Crafty Ideas
Home Projects
Home Style
Sewing (includes many home decor sewing projects)

If you already have a "Crafty Home" and you will like to share with us some of the things you have done, please comment below or message me with your link(s).

These links will be have been updated throughout the series.

Stained Wicker Baskets
Crafty Home Accents
Furniture Painting Tutorial
How to Make a Shower Curtain
Silk Screened Cushion Cover
How to Make a Pillow Insert
Vintage Needlepoint
DIY Magnetic Chalkboard

Crafted Spaces Radio
Repurposing Materials
Crafty Home Project Ideas
The Art of Thrifting
Finding Your Style
Crafty Home Inspiration

This series will run until June 30, 2013. This is not a sponsored series, and I have purchased or made the products or items featured. The opinions expressed are my own and the links shared are unsolicited and is not in association with any third party.

Friday, May 3, 2013

DIY Daffodil Bouquet

One of my favourite spring flowers is the daffodil. Daffodils are a wonderful perennial with a light aroma and a wonderful range of yellow hues. Ranging from bright yellow to pale white, it is also found in a variety of sizes.

I first learnt about daffodils in William Wordsworth's poem "Daffodils," in a little poetry book my mother had in our library and I fell in love with daffodils even before I ever laid my eyes on one. Seeing the blooms this spring has reminded me of the poem and brought to mind this project.

If you are getting married this spring or early summer it is a flower to consider. I was fortunate to collect some blooms from my garden and some from a neighbouring wood lot close to my house. If you are interested in adding them to your garden, visit your local garden centre and plant some bulbs. If you will like to use them throughout your wedding, check with your florist for availability in your area.

You can make a bouquet using one colour or a combination like the one I have made. Another great option is combining your daffodils with other flowers that have the same colour for a range of texture. I also love the idea of using them in centerpieces. The amount of blooms you use will also be something to consider. The bouquet I made has a dozen stems, which makes for a cute bouquet if you are having a small garden wedding. This size bouquet is also great for bridesmaids as well.

You can make your bouquet the day before your big day. Remember to place it upright in a small amount of water (do not wet the ribbon) and keep it cool in your refrigerator.

12 Stems of Daffodils
Rubber Band
18" Velvet Ribbon
Pearl Head Pins

1. Remove foliage before you begin. Hold a flower in your left hand and add alternating coloured flowers to frame your centre flower, turning the bouquet each time. Point the blooms towards you as you work and continue to add flowers, while creating a rounded shape.

2. When your bouquet is your desired size. Gently secure the stems with a rubber band and make adjustments if needed. You can also use floral tape to secure stems by wrapping several times in the same place.

3. Cut the ends of the stems off so they are about 6-8 inches long or to your desired length. Cut stems so that they are in a straight line. Spray flowers lightly with water.

4. Finish your bouquet by wrapping a length of ribbon around the stems, starting from the base of the flowers moving down the stems and covering the rubber band or floral tape. Overlap ribbon slightly.

5. Insert pins into the ribbon at a slight angle to embellish and secure ribbon.

6. Place bouquet in water overnight and keep in a cool place.

Daffodils have a substance that is toxic if ingested, so please keep this in mind if you are considering using them for your bouquet. Daffodils can be harmful to cats as well, so something to consider if you are a cat owner. It is generally a good practice to always wash your hands after handling flowers.

by William Wordsworth

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed--and gazed--but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

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