Sunday, August 28, 2011

I Heart Spray Paint: A DIY Project

Really, its just amazing what you can do with an hour and 2 cans of spray paint!

Start with an old black wicker chair.  Add a really cute dog to keep you company.

Several years ago, this chair was discarded by one of my neighbors in Virginia when she was moving.  It used to sit in my entry and it was a great place for putting on winter boots or to put books to return to the library and that sort of thing.  Imagine the entry with custom painted stripes in a rich camel color and this chair really popped.   Now that I'm in Florida I want bright, cheerful colors - aqua, coral, hot pink, lime green - tropical colors to match my new environment.  Enter 2 cans of Rustoleum Painters Touch Ultra Cover 2X spray paint in a gorgeous aqua.

I also bought one of those gun shaped trigger attachments to ease the finger cramps, but these cans have a larger 'comfort fit' nozzle and the attachment didn't fit over the can.  It is definitely a nicer nozzle than the traditional spray paint nozzle (at least the cheapo kinds) but after using 2 cans I did have that spray paint finger cramp going on.  A small price to pay for a gorgeous new chair!

After one coat, I realized that I was not the only one in the garden with a DIY project.  Someone decided to give the back of this flower bed a makeover.

"Mulch, pea gravel and dead leaves are so last year, you need freshly raked dirt!"

She's lucky she's cute!  But, I digress.  After letting the first coat dry a bit, I tipped up the chair on its back legs to get up underneath with a light coat, and then back over everything with a second coat.  I went backwards from how I sprayed it the first time, figuring that as the first can started to run out I used a lighter touch.  I just love the braided trim, and I gave that a triple coat along with the toplines of the chair.  I presume the arms will get the most wear so I thought some extra attention there wouldn't hurt.

My advice for future projects is to keep a small amount of the paint for use on the feet.  I have used up both cans completely, but I see some thinly painted spots on the very base of the back legs that needs better coverage.  I can probably mix up a suitable color in craft paint to cover those, and I'll keep that in mind for next time.

This is much better isn't it? 

Saturday, August 27, 2011


Have you been sucked into the inspirational vortex yet that is Pinterest?  Its this wonderful website / program where you can create mood boards of photos or webpages that you find around the net.  You can follow other people's boards either by individual board, or their whole collection.  Its just marvelous.

It's like a visual bookmarking system and I'm having a ton of fun.  They have a handy toolbar tool so no matter where you are on the web, you can pin something.  I think this is going to be great for all kinds of things - quilts that are inspiring, color combinations I want to use, tutorials and recipes I want to return to, even holiday decorating ideas.  I know I saw a bundle of cool Halloween decorations last year that I wanted to try, but its so time consuming to open each link in my favorites.  So much easier to just go to the Halloween board and gaze at photos!

Find me on Pinterest here. Come and check it out!

Friday, August 26, 2011

A Fabric Sale You Won't Want to Miss!

One of my favorite online fabric shops, Burgundy Buttons is having a super duper sale that you won't want to miss.  (Isn't that a great name for a fabric shop?)  She has a fabulous selection of fabrics including Moda, Free Spirit and Westminster.  Service is wonderful too!  Click on the button below and then hit that cute Giant Clearance Sale graphic once you get there. 

The prices on new arrivals are great too! I added a Terrain charm pack to my order this time and I can't wait to see it in person. A couple of weeks ago I bought a Grand Finale charm pack at my LQS to do a fall quilt so I've ordered a few yards to coordinate something. No plan yet, but once they arrive I'm sure I'll be inspired! 

Don't forget to check out her blog too!  Happy shopping!

I did a little DIY project this week, and after I snap some photos this weekend I'll show you.  Its blue.  Very blue!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Ten Minute Block Lap Quilt

Have you seen the 10-Minute Block?  There is a wonderful video by Suzanne McNeill of Design Originals on YouTube with a quick run through of the basic technique, and she also has 2 books with great ideas.  I know this has been around for a little while, but I just discovered it and boy, is it fun!  Three quick seams and you've created an almost 20 inch block!

I used a Park Avenue layer cake and once I got the hang of how to fiddle with the fabric before sewing that third seam it took less than 10 minutes per block.  When you first start out, the pinning is what consumes the bulk of your time but as you get better it will go more quickly.  (I've done all of 6 blocks and I feel like I'm an expert!)  There are different ways of dealing with the center diamond, and I chose to stitch down both sides of the curved seam, reminiscent of Cathedral Windows.  I just love how this turned out kinda scrappy but also cohesive with the rich red centers.  It was a fun way of putting together a roughly 40 x 60 lap quilt in no time flat.

She's all basted and ready to be quilted, but I can't decide what to do.  I think I might draw a continuous leaf pattern and try to do that.  I could echo quilt the red curved center sections but then what else?  And I thought choosing fabric combinations was hard!  I've stalled out at the quilting phase of this project.

I have yardage in one of the blues, but I've decided it should be bound in red so I've ordered more.  So much for my fabric diet!  I never would have chosen the cocoa or chocolate colors to go with the pale blue, ivory and red but I really love this collection!  I'm considering doing another in just the reds, ivorys & blues from Park Avenue.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Aqua and Red Dresden Pillow Cover

A while back I bought a Dresden Plate template at a craft store.  I finally pulled it out this weekend, and got to work.  I've been dreaming of projects in red and aqua, and I thought this would be a great place to start!  It was super simple - I just choose my 4 fabrics, cut the fans and sewed them together chain piecing style.  After that I played around with the stitches on my machine until I learned how to do a satin stitch.

Next thing I knew, it was all set!  I played around with how I wanted to frame it, and decided to go with a simple red border on the front of the pillow color.  Since I'm more partial to red than aqua, it just looked better to me.  Cut the panels to create the envelope flaps for the back and in under 2 hours I have a new throw pillow.  I just love it!  Next time though I will be sure to iron the seams to the dark side.  The red is faintly visible under the aqua fans and it would look more professional if they didn't show.

After I stage some better quality photos, I think it will go into the Etsy shop. I can always make another!  Isn't that apple fabric the cutest?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Red & White Love

I'm very focused on these red & white blocks.  One of the lovely ladies in the swap pointed me to a quicker way to make the square in a square shaped parts of the Love in the Mist block, and that seems to be speeding things along.  I have also discovered that chain piecing and doing this assembly line style makes it feel like I'm progressing faster, whether I am or not!  Get all the corner sections done ... check!  Get all the square in a square sections done ... check!  Get all the top rows sewn together ... check!

I am using a second red fabric and I sewed up the cutaway portions as leaders and enders.  What to do with all those cute little HST's?  Why, make a mug rug of course!  Here she is, all quilted and bound.

I really wanted to finish a project, so I snuck this in along with the blocks.  Are you getting the impression that I'm a wee bit impatient?  Me too!  I've got 7 of my 9 blocks all finished and squared off.  I've been listening to an audio book as I cut & sew - its Amazonia by James Rollins.  Very interesting, and it's almost over.  Wouldn't it be funny if I finished the book at the same time I finish the blocks?

Monday, August 8, 2011

March Birdie Block

Still plugging away on the Birdie Stitches Block of the Month from Little Miss Shabby.  Here's March.  I love the happy rainbow!

And I whipped up a dragonfly pillow to go on the bench at my shop with the roses pillow.  They don't look so hot together, but I thought the dragonfly fabric was a no-brainer.  (My shop is called Dragonfly Garden, after all!)  I think I'll come up with something else to coordinate with the dragonfly blues and purples.

A couple shoppers have admired the pillows already, so I need to determine a price for them.  It looks like there are lots of shops on Etsy that specialize in pillows and pillow covers.  Perhaps I'll join them!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A little progress here, a little progress there

I spent alot of time this weekend working on my Love in a Mist blocks for the Red & White Swap.  These bias seams are killing me.  Using Best Press is very helpful, and I'm getting better but this block requires some serious concentration and some time.  It still takes about 2 hours to get one done.  Don't get me wrong, I'm loving it!  None of these are perfect, but I do think they are swap worthy.  I'd love to do a whole quilt in these one day, maybe in 30's fabrics?  One of the ladies on the board suggested a short cut for the diamond shaped portions and I'm looking forward to trying that.

After spending so much time on these I thought I needed a break, but not a sewing break!  I grabbed a charm pack that I bought at Joanns a while ago (at a great price of course), and thought I'd try the Disappearing 9 Patch that I see all over.  Its kinda fun!  First you make several of these:

And then you cut it in half both ways and you get to play with these:

It seems that I wasn't paying attention, and I rearranged a row without noticing it until the 9 patch had been cut, so I have 2 different blocks to work with here.  There were only enough charms in this little pack to make three 9 patches so I need to get more because this is just not big enough for anything.  When I go to add more, I think I'll repeat the mistake so I have a consistent set of blocks.  Its fun to play around with these.

And this morning before work I had a fabulous lightbulb moment!  My part time lady rearranged part of the store on Monday, and a bench we sell is now facing the front door, surrounded by a display of bird baths.  I like where its sitting, but I felt the display needed a pop of color.  While I was getting ready this morning, it hit me - I could whip up a little pillow for the bench!  So 40 minutes later I had a great little prop for the shop.

And a closeup - I love the fabric.  Its from the Robert Kaufman Joie de Vivre collection, which happens to be part of their breast cancer awareness lines.  I didn't realize that when I bought it, but I'm really happy I have it. 

These pictures look so much better on my computer.  What's up with that?