Thursday, January 21, 2010

Sewing Machine Cover

This Christmas I was so thrilled to get a sewing machine from my parents. I didn't want a machine what would overwhelm me with lots of bells and whistles, and this Janome has everything I need and is easy to use and thread. They purchased it from this great company Heuer's Sewing. Major bonus is that they do all of their repairs in shop, rather than sending them away.

The day after Christmas I bought some awesome fabric from Hobby Lobby (or Hobby Lobotomy as Dan calls it) with the idea of making a cover for the machine. A few days later, I made the basic cover, but there were still tweaks I wanted to make to it.

I cut an opening on the top for the handle, on the side for the power cord, and added a pocket to the front for the manual. A lot of topstitching was involved for these steps, which I am not so good at. Pretty dece for a first project!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sunburst Clock

So, apparently some people think these gold sunburst clocks are tacky. I happen to think they're rad. We have one hanging in our living room, much to Dan's dismay. He thinks it looks like something from his grandma's basement. It's also consistently fast, but really, it's just for decoration, not time-telling purposes.

But when Jess wanted to offload a different gold sunburst clock from her grandma's basement, I snatched that right up! I'm going to be such a great old person.

I turned to my trusty friend, spray paint, to modern this clock up a bit. I promise you, not everything in my home is spray painted, although it may seem that way.

While I usually do my spray painting outside, this time I did it in our basement because it's too cold for paint to dry. It took about 5 minutes, one coat (Rustoleum satin spray paint in aqua), plus touch-ups, so the fumes were minimal.


Red Dresser Project

One of my favorite blogs is Little Green Notebook. The woman behind it is an interior designer and, in the true crafter spirit, shares her ideas and projects regularly. I can't tell you how many of her blog posts are starred in my Google Reader to come back to when I'm ready for a new project. One that I had to tackle right away, however, was this one of hers: Office Redo. I loved the idea of transforming an old piece of furniture into something super sharp and modern for not a lot of money.

This is the Craigslist photo of the dresser I found.

Close-up of the hardware.

I picked up the same color spray paint as LGN, Safety Red. She also suggested purchasing a nozzle attachment for the can. This totally saved my hand. I made the mistake of not priming the dresser, which made the project take a lot longer and used a lot more paint. Lesson learned for next time.

After removing all of the hardware (12 drawers is a lot!) the dresser got about 4 cans-worth of spray paint. I noticed some bubbling on top so I did some sanding and spraying. There is still a little, but it's not noticeable.When I was satisfied with the red, I applied a coat of Wipe-On Poly. You can find this at any hardware or craft store. It's just like it sounds - take a rag and wipe this stuff on. When it's fully dry it's really nice and glossy. A little goes a long way.


Animal Portraits

Okay, I sheepishly admit that this next project was stolen inspired by this etsy seller: Rachel Loves Bob

Go there. Buy her stuff! Her prices are more than reasonable for something this creative of this quality. But I wanted to see if I could make some myself. I have inherited a pretty impressive button stash from my grandma's sewing cabinet, so I was set there. I made a quick stop to the craft store and picked up some cheap embroidery hoops and some black woven fabric from the clearance bin. Probably about $3 total spent on this project.

As soon as I got home I started sketching animal heads. I knew I wanted to keep it to heads only, because I liked the more formal silhouette style.

This is when I realized that I cannot draw.


Enter my multi-talented husband, who never ceases to surprise me. He whipped up some sketches for me in no time. I started with a fawn head, as they are my favorite animal.

My Steps
1. Cut out the outline of your animal head.
2. Load your fabric into the embroidery hoop.
3. Trace your outline, using fabric chalk, onto your fabric.
4. Sew buttons! It looks best if you try to overlap them so hardly any fabric shows beneath.

I actually completed almost the entire fawn button silhouette before it became apparent that the shape was too blob-like. You really have to choose a distinct, yet simple, silhouette so it is recognizable. I took it apart and started over. I had Dan sketch a rabbit and an elephant and started the steps over.

After I finished I washed any chalk that was still visible and tucked the remaining fabric behind the hoop. A little fabric glue kept the unruly pieces out of sight.

 Can you spot the two rabbit buttons?

I really liked this project because it was surprisingly quick to do. In the future, if I can compile a large stash of assorted orange buttons, I might like to make another one to commemorate my cat, Crispy.


Houdini explained some of his tricks in books written for the magic brotherhood throughout his career. In Handcuff Secrets (1909), he revealed how many locks and handcuffs could be opened with properly applied force, others with shoestrings. Other times, he carried concealed lockpicks or keys, being able to regurgitate small keys at will.--

Here's a diorama I made in 2005 based on Houdini. I got the glass and wood diorama case from Ikea and painted it black. The skeleton is from a kit. Moss, fake roses, miniature keys were from the craft store.

Bird Purse

With a lot of help from my friends, I made an adorable purse using this free pattern:

My super crafty friend, Amy, made an entire DRESS out of this bird fabric with yellow fabric details. She gave the leftovers to me for this purse (the birds really reminds me of Charley Harper's illustrations). At one of our weekly dinner and craft nights, she, Jess, and my aunt helped me sew it all up.

I finished it right before winter hit Wisconsin so I haven't been using it because it's much more suited to spring.

Key Lime Project

If there's one thing I have learned this past year it's that spray paint can be used for a lot more than just graffiti and can completely transform an object. When surveying my furniture to see what could use some sprucing up, I landed on Dan's digital piano. It's not a regular piano so nothing could get damaged. It's just fake wood, metal and plastic. I ran the idea by him and let him choose the color. Always stylish and never reserved, he chose a bright Key Lime Green! We took a trip to the hardware store and stocked up on the color.

Meanwhile, I had also purchased this mirror for $3 at a rummage sale, with the idea of painting it a bright color to add some pop to our bedroom. I decided it would be key lime, too.

It appears to have been painted before, but the color is uneven, splotchy in places and discolored.

I put on my painting clothes and got to work. This project was so easy. All I had to do was cover the glass with some newspaper and tape.

Here it is in action. I think it looks great with our red, black and white bedroom.

I wish I had a before picture of Dan's digital piano, but I don't. We covered the keys with newspaper just in case any color got under the lid. We also covered the gold foot pedals with paper.

So what do you think? Let me know if you try something like it! Also, stay tuned for my other spray painting projects to follow. I'm playing a bit of catch-up on here trying to get all of my past projects up.

First Post

Here is my first post. I hope to fill this blog with ideas and crafty things I create.