Friday, November 29, 2013

White Friday

Black Friday sounds rather frightening so I am having White Friday, with white fog in the morning. Since my last post, I have been making a dress a day for a 6 year old. I was trying to follow the sewing plan I sketched and showed in a previous post, but after making the dress I thought it was so fast and easy, I should keep going. One dress looked good, and two seemed even better, so why not ten? Therefore, being stuck on the dress, I am not anywhere close to getting all the other things made. The pants, vest, slippers, hat, bag, doll, blouse and skirt are all cut out waiting to be sewn. The dresses you see in the picture are all made from flannel from the Walmart sewing dept. There are a couple more dresses not pictured. One, I could not get off of her because she loves the soft flannel. I am thinking of making some adult size dresses in flannel, also. Each dress is supposed to have a matching pair of pants to wear with it. Though the dresses look plain and shapeless in the photos, they look better on the little girl, and some of them have elastic bands in the back to pull the dress up more snugly.
I have nearly used up this jar of buttons I got at Walmart. Since there were no buttons alike in the whole collection, I had to use them quite playfully, with different sizes and slightly different colors. I thought you might like to know about this before you buy these. They come in whites and blues and reds and other colors but none of them are alike. These are the buttons on the dresses.
I do hope to write a meaningful post soon!


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Two Pretty Projects

Winter's Day in St. James Park

By John Ritchie, Scotland, 1869-1963

It would be wonderfully nostalgic to be able to hang a pair of skates on the door in keeping with winter's dazzle, but there are probably many people who never had a pair of skates and cannot find them at Goodwill or the thrift stores. I found a pair last year but they were a very large men's size and so heavy so, this year I experimented with some felt fabric and came up with a pattern you can use to make your own.
You can use whatever types of materials, fabrics, glues and paints you want, but here is what worked for me. I had a couple of total mess-up failures before I figured the easiest and most effective way to do this, and that is why it seemed to take such a long time to get this post up.
Here is the pattern, but it is only a photograph and not a scan, so I am not sure how big it will print. If you want to make your own pattern, just trace around a child's shoe. This one is made in a Victorian style, but you can draw your own style.
Cut the blades from card stock or cardboard and paint them with silver paint, or, you can use silver metallic paper from the scrapbook section of any craft store, that you peel off and stick. I have done this with the white pair of skates shown below.
I have drawn eyelet holes for laces with polymer paint, but you could glue on large silver sequins, available at the dollar store craft section, if you like. Use thick clear glitter glue for good results but let dry near a heater.

Cut four skates from the pattern using glittered white or black felt. I could not find glittered white felt so I painted the skates with glitter glue after they were stuffed with fiber-fil.

Above, some of the materials: glitter glue in clear, black polymer paint, silver string, dollar store door hanger with bells, felt fabric.

Machine stitch or hand stitch all around the two layers of the skate shapes, leaving the top open, and then stuff it firmly almost to the top opening. you will not want the stuffing to show. This will not be turned inside out, so the stitching will show on the outside. The stitches are large and are made close to the edges.
When the skate is all sewn and stuffed, draw silver sparkle eyelets on it with Polymer or Scribbles brand paints. Using black shiny Polymer, color in the heels and sole of the skate.
If you are interested, you can take three strands of silver embroidery thread and sew laces back and forth through the eyelets.

Add your furry trim after the skate has been sewn, with large whip stitches by hand, hot glue, or large zig-zag stitch on the machine. It takes half a yard of trim for a set of these skates, and you can use any kind of trim, from ruffled eyelet to fringe. I added the plaid sock edge and ball fringe to these pair below and have tied them onto a jingle bell doorknob ornament from Dollar Tree.

When you do not have fabric for these small projects, buy a scarf at the dollar store.

You might try using silver sparkly chenille wire for the skate runner, fashioning it into the right shape. Attatch the runners with hot glue, staples or stitches or whatever works.
Make it easy on yourself by using the pattern to make cardboard skates. It works much faster.

Go here for paper ornament patterns, including skates for package tags or ornaments


Here is another quick project from Dollar Tree. This wire basket has been turned into a cover for a cake stand, just by prying the handle off and screwing on an inexpensive knob on the top.

I have worn out most of my tea copies and kept saying I needed to make another one but just did not seem to get around to doing it. While at Dollar Tree I saw a collection of knit hats, many of them with warm linings, so I brought home a stretchy one to put on the teapot. It fit just fine and works well. I need to cut out a space for the handle and spout and it will look like a stylish tea cozy.

Besides essential house keeping, there always seems to be an extraordinary amount of other things to do. I hope everyone is taking time from their busy life at home, to take tea.

How do you like the look of these treats? Well you wont have to worry about sugar or weight gain because they are plastic ornaments. Fun to look at and they make a bright spot.



Wednesday, November 06, 2013

The Love of Home

Painting by Charles Amable Lenoir, French 1860-1926


Lately I have been busy cleaning up the laundry room, but I will have no before-and-after pictures because the "after" does not impress me much. It has been an intense job in a small space, so I needed to take some time to do something a little more cheerful. Today I have covered my couch with the fabric called Minky. In case you think it was a big job, I assure you it was a matter of wrapping the fabric around the foam seating area. It clings just right on the foam padding so no sewing or fastening was required.


I sewed the pillow cases easily, leaving enough fabric to tuck in the ends. There are two regular sized pillows inside each case.
This fabric is an imitation of the French antique fabric called chenille, but Minky is much easier to work with and use. This fabric goes well with the muslin curtains and ball fringe trim.

This room is usually quite dark, and that is why I had the paneling painted a light color and am using such light colors in general. It was early in the morning when I took this picture so it still turned out a bit dark.

There was a nice size piece left that just fit the end table. Those are the Minky pumpkins from a few months ago. The stems are white poinsettia fake flowers.

A long narrow strip of the Minky fabric was enough to cover the top of the piano.

Adding cushions of different colors will be fun, as white is like a blank canvas that shows off other things. In case you think white is difficult to care fore these days, the micro fibers are very easy to wipe clean. In the country area where I live, no color stays clean and so I just choose what I like. You can see more colors in Minky here


The use of dollar store wired ribbon for this inoperative fake fireplace has really been interesting. Every time I walk past this hearth it looks so much like a real fire, it feels warm! And it is a safe flame.

Wired ribbon was very useful when I lost the hardware to this cabinet while I was preparing to paint it. I had to find something to use to pull the drawers open. The ends are knotted so the drawer pull is strong enough to use til I locate the hardware.



This table setting is created in order to get ready for a couple of ladies who are coming to an autumn tea on Friday, so I can get an idea of what it will look like. I will show you a drawing of what I want the table to look, later.

I wanted to use some of the maple leaves for place mats. In summer when they are a vivid green, they look stunning with rose motif tea cups. In autumn, these gold edged cups go great.


Those are scones with the all-fruit apricot jam, and whipped cream. The tea is real lemon with honey,

And the birdcage and bird are ornaments that I rarely use, and like the other things I was thinking of getting rid of, I made the mistake of getting it out of the box just to see what it would look like.



I have been on my walk outside and taken a picture. The fog comes in first thing in the morning and then the day gets sunny and bright. I think fog would be a favorite thing these days with all the shabby chic whites that people promote in magazines and the web. It has the perfect puffy softness for this well-loved look.


I think one of the dearest desires of a woman, whether she is married or not or has children or not, is to have her own home to care for without interference; a place she put her heart into and make suitable and lovely. I have known many women who took a bleak house and made it into a type of heaven where you could forget where you were and dwell on what was good and sweet. I think of Margaret in Elizabeth Gaskells 18th century novel, North and South, when I think of making a home anywhere you have to live. In the industrial town full of smoke and darkness, she made tea time a bright spot for her company.


A new addition to my house is this outdoor mat, which works very well. It says carry on :-) On sale at Walmart, so there are probably none left by the time you read this post.

Since I have a few more things to do around here, and some errands to do, I hope to write more on the love of the home and add my thoughts to this post. In the meantime, your thoughts are very welcome.


Sunday, November 03, 2013

A Busy Day

Memories by George Henry Boughton, American, 1833-1905
The soft blue in the painting featured here is similar to the blue spruce that I used for mantel decor along with the bluish pumpkins.
The advantage of natural seasonal decor is that I do not have to store it in a box and when it is thrown outside it goes to seed and grows more for next year.
It has been a busy day here housekeeping, so I took a little time to do some more light hearted things. I have been trying to do a small, creative thing each day.

This typewriter rubber stamp that I have used to embellish some paper with, is the closest I have come to a real typewriter in a long time. Despite the conveniences of computers, I really miss the old typewriters, especially the portable ones. There was no losing all your letter by touching the wrong key. I found this rubber stamp at the fabric store when it was having a huge discount on their stamping selections.

This is a set of dishes I do not use very much and had considered selling it. It is not fine china, and it came from a grocery store promotion about 20 years ago. I was In The Dollar Tree today and noticed this stemware glass for $1.00 so I purchased just one of them. I wanted to see if it matched the plates before I got more, and the colors are similar. I think the goblet is an autumn item but it is going to work out well with these rose dishes. The glass is very sturdy too, and not delicate at all, so the quality is quite similar. I am more interested in using this set now that I have found some matching goblets at such a small price! There were some other colors of stemware there but I did not have time to really look at them.

The dollar store just got a supply of these led-lite pillar candles, and this time they change colors. I tried them out in the store before I selected the ones I wanted to buy, to make sure they all worked. Here they are sitting on that old candelabra that was supposed to be in my yard sale a few months ago.

I hope you are having a lovely day and including something restful and creative that gives your heart peace. I am looking forward to addressing a few more serious subjects later, so please check back again.


I am trying also to remember to go outside each day, and today I saw such pretty foliage that looked good with this cup.