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Homestead: First Curtains

23 Jan

Early last year, I took out my new sewing machine and made some curtain panels. It was really fun! I pretty much followed this tutorial found on Design*Sponge, and made small adjustments where needed: designsponge.com/2010/02/sewing-101-curtains.html.

I started out with this little set for the front door. I wanted something that gave us some privacy, but also let in some light. And this cute cotton fabric did the trick! I’m just having issues photographing the finished panels. This angle looks awkward.

This angle’s also awkward, and the window is being especially reflective.

I tried closing the door to get a shot of the curtains, but now it just looks like I live in a dark hovel. Well, hopefully the combination of these three photos will help give you some idea on how the curtains came out.

The second panel I made was for our workspace. Tim and I have so much stuff that we needed to remove the closet door, so we could actually get in to and utilize the closet. To cover up the mess of art supplies piling up in the closet, I made this curtain panel. Mess, be gone!

Close-up of the adorable fabric.

And finally, I made a curtain panel for our back door. Same deal as the from door: I wanted something that would give us a little privacy, but also let light in (we get great sun coming in from the back yard in the afternoons!). I tied a light green ribbon around the middle. I’m happy that my math and planning skills came together on this one, I really like how it came out.

I wanted to find a fabric design that was nature-inspired without being too flower-y or frill-y. This fits the bill, and also pulls in the pops of green that we have going on in the kitchen color palette. (Not that we have a preconceived or purposeful color palette going on in our house; it’s more like this fabric just happens to jive well with what ended up going on with our kitchen “decor”.)

I really enjoyed making these! And I have lots of future plans for my sewing machine and me. Though I haven’t used it since making these… It’s partly because I’ve been busy with my Etsy shop, but it’s mostly because we got ViVi mid last year, and if she attacks/tries to play with the vacuum cleaner, I can only imagine what it’s going to be like when I try to run a large swath of fabric through the sewing machine… We’re working on teaching her that not everything in the world can be a toy or friend to play with, so I’m hoping to be able to pick up machine sewing again soon!

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Homestead: Christmas Ornament Wreath

11 Dec

I wasn’t sure what to do for a Christmas-y door wreath this year, so I searched around online for some ideas. I found this DIY Christmas Wreath idea from Shelterness.com, and I thought I’d give it a try! In the past, I had been put off by making an ornament wreath because using hot glue to affix all the ornaments felt too permanent; I knew I wasn’t going to get it right the first time, so I wanted to find a way to do it that was adjustable. And what I like about the Shelterness wreath is that the ornaments go on a rounded-out coat hanger, so you can move them around.

This is what I started out with: some colorful, round, cheap ornaments from the store as well as some smaller, colorful ornaments I already had laying around the house. (I ended up not needing to use them all.)

One of the first things you’re supposed to do is secure the metal caps of the ornaments with a little hot glue. Well, it seemed like the caps were on there pretty tightly, and trying to pry them off just to glue them back on felt a little pointless. So at first I just added a little bit of hot glue around where the caps met the ornaments, but that was eating up so much time. So, I stopped the gluing and started adding the ornaments.

This was actually pretty difficult! At least it was for me. After some experimenting, I finally figured out a decent process of mixing up the sizes to minimize gaps (and unsightly glimpses of coat hanger). It took about three hours! And when I was finished and started to re-twist the to ends of the coat hanger together…

A few ornaments popped off. Nards! So if you ever want to try this out, I highly recommend not skipping the hot gluing step at the beginning.

After all that work, I went to hang it on the door…

And it wouldn’t lay flat against the door. Argh! (At least it looks very festive.)

Well, so what if it doesn’t lay flat against the door, right? That’s easy enough to fix by changing the way the hanger’s set up…

…Except, there’s a bigger issue: The wreath is so big that the front door doesn’t close. Double Argh!

But Tim came up with a great idea:

Instead of a door wreath, it’s now a window wreath!

So I have one pretty festive window, and one pretty stark-looking door.

Homestead: Craft Table

15 May

Through the kindness of a thoughtful ex-coworker, I had inherited one of those little IKEA laptop tables. At first, he lent it to me because my make-shift workspace was severely lacking in table space. But on my last day on the job, he said he considered it a “permanent loan.”

I hope he meant it! Cuz a few years later, I was severely lacking in outdoor porch furnishings, and I thought it was a good idea to throw some IKEA furniture out there.

I don’t have a photo of what a summer of crazy weather did to the table…

…But here’s what it looked like when I attempted to chisel off and sand down all the weird lumps and cracks it caused.

Here’s a close-up of the heinousness.

I was attempting to smooth out the tabletop so I could try to do something fun with it. Make the little table look fun and arty-crafty, rather than “the person who lives here is a cheap lazy bum.”

Since I enjoyed my first foray in to decoupage, I figured I try it again! Over the years I’d collected lots of little squares of patterns and images I like, and I thought this would be a great way to put them to use. So after attempting to sand the table, I painted the tabletop with some acrylic paints (I mixed up whatever colors were closest to me in my art stash), then I started gluing down squares of paper using Outdoor Mod Podge. I knew that the squares were different sizes and wouldn’t perfectly line up with each other, so I decided to follow my intuition on where to place each square, and leave the gaps where they naturally form.

I quickly realized I would soon run out of squares. So I spent a week hunting down and cutting out more squares from catalogs and magazines, and I printed some out from websites. Once the table was covered, I applied four thin layers of the Outdoor Mod Podge over everything.

And here it is, the table that went from “crappy” to “colorful” in just… well, three or four weeks.

Here’s a close-up of some of the squares. The table’s still a little lumpy underneath, but I’m hoping that the flurry of color and pattern will camouflage the bumps. And the bumps aren’t so big to cause a beverage glass or something to fall over, so that’s good.

It’s nice to have a crafty-colorful table out on the front porch now, and it also doubles as a cool background for picture-taking. Here’s an excellent example: My talented friend Tess made this adorably cute ceramic juicer! And the decoupage in the background emphasizes its sassy-ness. Way more than if I took a pic of it on my dirty kitchen table.

The Outdoor Mod Podge is sure getting put to the test the past couple of weeks. It’s been raining lots, and so far the table seems waterproof. We’ll see how it holds up throughout the summer!

Though it’s accompanied out there by other cheapy IKEA furniture, so who knows… maybe I’ll have to decoupage these chairs next.

This was a fun project, but now I really wanna make a resin table top. Or get a custom-cut piece of glass to cover up a tabletop. So many project ideas, so pitifully little time.