A Little Wooden Reno-redo

DH tackled an item that’s been on his “honey-do” list for a while, part of our Arts and Crafts bathroom renovation.

We got a new shower door, put up some wainscoting and painted the upper walls gray to sort-of match the formica cabinet and the fixtures. It used to be lavender and blue, with a sailing sort of a theme. We figured since lots of other parts of the house are Craftsman-style, we’d gravitate toward that decor for the guest bathroom as well.

Here’s the ugly mirror with its peeling-from-the-underside edges:

bathroom mirror

ugly-edge mirror

DH had the brilliant idea of assembling a frame to go around the mirror and hide that shabby peeling edge.

framed mirror

the framed mirror

He used a pine-cone tile [one we’d bought a long time ago, thinking to use for something, but nothing came up until now] for a center piece for the upper frame. He added ebony plugs at the corners of the frame pieces.

framed mirror

in this b&w view, can you see the ebony plugs in the upper right corner?

He added a cloud lift to each upper corner:

cloud lift

cloud lift

cloud lift

right corner cloud lift

It wasn’t truly a simple project, because the wood he used was very spring-y so it was hard to glue the frame in place; the middle would bow up while the ends were being pushed down and vice versa. He tried several types of epoxy and Tite-bond II. Clamps wouldn’t fit in this scenario. We spent some quality time together in meaningful conversation while mashing the frame onto the glass with our out-stretched palms until the 5-minute set-up time was accomplished. He had to cut, sand, and varnish the wood, then he added the ebony plugs, and cut, sanded, varnished, and added the cloud lifts, so that was a lot of embellishing to the simple frame. Once completed, though, the frame added a whole new level of style to the room.

bathroom mirror

Unframed mirror before (note the ring-tailed varmint, Grayzie, in the background)

Postscript:

The idea that he had installed some cloud lifts to the frame, with nothing for them to lift, weighed heavily on DH’s conscience. He had to add an additional feature to the frame –two ledges or small shelves or lengths of frame just above the cloud lifts so  the lifts didn’t look just stuck on, they would be performing their function of lifting. I think it looks even better. And he feels better about the whole project.

framed mirror

completed mirror frame

Vivid

Vivid

Vivid

Weekly photo challenge theme is “vivid” –see more vivid photos here.

Today is the A J Jacobs family (which includes you and me and everyone else) Global Family Reunion in NYC and other satellite party locations. Check it out and meet some of our mutual cousins! It features fun, education, and is a benefit for Alzheimer’s Research.

Little Bits of Fabric

Fabric remnants are ideal for making outfits for little people. They’re small, they’re less expensive, and you can find really cute ones in the remnant bin. Like these:

fabric remnants

cute remnants

The pattern presented itself in May 2015 Burdastyle UK.

Burdastyle baby clothes

Little Burda Clothes

I decided to experiment with the more ordinary remnants before taking on the premium Frozen item, the fabric roll on the far right in the first image. Good thing, too, because I discovered that I’d traced the pattern a bit wrong. The dress and top are the same pattern piece with two different lengths and sleeves. Sometimes it’s hard to see the tracing lines on the Burda pattern sheets, because they’re all mixed in with about a hundred other pattern lines. And you have to add seam and hem allowances to every cutting line.

Burma baby clothes

top and shorts

This is my take on the top and shorts. I used small rickrack for top sleeve and hem trim, rather than the stretch lace trim called for. For the waist and leg bands, I used Dritz fold-over elastic from JoAnn’s, rather than rib-knit called for in the pattern.

Burma baby clothes

Burda dress and shorts

The pocket trim on the dress called for elastic ribbon. What the? Never heard of it. But I had a little strip of teal piping in the “oddments” baggie, so I used that. I think the big giant pocket on the front of the dress looks kind of cyclopic, but maybe it will be fun for a toddler. For these pants, I did use the rib-knit, as I just happened to have a remnant of matching white in the stash. The waistband is a casing of rib-knit fabric stuffed with 1-inch wide elastic. The leg bands are just rib-knit with no elastic inside. And since both of these remnants have similar colors, I combined  them in the reversible bucket hat.

Burma baby hat

reversible hat

Oh by the way, you might want to get in on this opportunity to win a Janome serger from Burda. all you have to do is enter a fitting tip in the comments on their contest page. You might need to have an account with them and sign in to it, to do this…

She Didn’t Let Me Down

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

Thanks to all the military relatives and friends who have sacrificed so much for us in America. We can enjoy cookouts, water parks, watching old movies, going to the fro-yo place this four-day weekend, thanks to them. My heart goes out to the people in other countries right now who are dealing with misery and want.

My parents were both in the Army, and my grandfather and brother were in the Navy. One of my sons went into the Army, and has served in Korea, Afghanistan and Iraq. I’m grateful for the mindfulness of the military those associations have brought me. I seem to be enjoying a prosperous time right now, but I don’t want to forget the wars waged, the losses, the changes.

This weekend, Ancestry.com is offering free access if you want to search their military records for records of your ancestors. And if you haven’t set up a pedigree chart so far, you can do so with a free account on familysearch.org. Family Search is getting better and more public records are added all the time. I promise you, researching your ancestors is a fun and addictive hobby!

I decided to do a little sewing, and chose this Burdastyle wrap dress from their March 2015 UK issue.

wrap dress

Cotton sateen wrap dress from Burdastyle March 2015

The level of difficulty was greater than what I’ve been used to, but I tried to rise to the occasion! First, I had to trace the pattern, and it had all sorts of weird pieces. Waistband pieces, facings, slashes, pleats. Interfacing. For notions, I needed 2 snaps and a button. I looked all over and finally found exactly 2 large-enough snaps in the zipper drawer.

snaps

two snaps left in the stash

Would you believe this pack of snaps went for 50 cents? Once again, my grandmother didn’t let me down. She has been gone since 1995, but I am still benefitting from the thrifty cache of notions and sewing paraphernalia in her old teak sewing desk.

Have a great weekend!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Broken

broken foot

Nothing major, it’s just a little bitty piece of bone in there somewhere that was broken

 

For more “Broken” check the challenge here.

An Easy Little Remnant Quilt

Of all kinds of quilting, I like the easy ones the best. You might not win the prize at the county fair for making one, but little quilts can be memorable, and provide hours of comfy relaxation.

I had this patchwork remnant from JoAnn’s in the stash for a long time. Whenever I see a patchwork remnant, I get it, because it represents added work, and therefore value. So the retail price of this sort of pieced-together fabric is about $25 per yard. Half-price as a remnant, the finished product makes it look like you did a lot of measuring and ironing and seam-clipping, but we know the truth. And if the truth doesn’t set you free, at least it gives you a reduced price for using a remnant.

lap quilt

lap quilt

I used a plain piece of flannel as a near-match in color. And I happened to have a small bit of batting in the stash that was pretty close to the exact size (ended up trimming off about an inch, what are the odds of that?) I chose to “channel-quilt” the top, backing, and batting sandwich. Why? By channel-quilting, I mean I stitched in the ditch from the top one way, so that I traced the patchwork squares by either their tops and bottoms, or their sides, not both, to outline rows rather than squares. I figured if I tried to outline all the individual squares there was more possibility for puckers. As it was, I only had to rip out a few feet of stitching and re-do it, and that’s a pretty good result for me.

I had one package of brown quilt binding in the stash, but I knew that wouldn’t be enough. So when I went to the store to get another one, I saw this luscious chocolate brown satin blanket binding, and I splurged for that. At $7.49 per 4.75 yard package (of course, I applied a 40 or 50% off coupon to that), it’s not cheap but one whole package was exactly enough. What are the odds?

I was thinking it would make a nice baby gift, but it seems to have a more sophisticated look to it. And I also messed up a bit on sewing down the corners of the binding, and added several rows of visible brown stitching at that corner (which would horrify my mom, no doubt) where it shouldn’t have had to be seen if I’d placed the entire binding on correctly to begin with. So I reasoned, not good enough for a gift, but good enough for us. The cats like it.

Rocking it with Remnants

We just got back from a little weekend trip to Orlando, where we romped around with friends and family members, and stayed a night in the Hard Rock Hotel. Too bad DH was sick as a dawg and I was trying to act like I didn’t have a bulky compression splint on my ankle as we were romping. Nevertheless, we had some serious FUN!

How do you describe the Hard Rock café and Hard Rock hotel experience? It’s fraught with catch-phrases mounted everywhere you glance and listen. Popular music really does rule: we remember our favorite songs when this and that happened in our lives. Every heading in the room service book had a lyrical catch-phrase attached; i.e.: On the side of a box in room that held phone book and local flyers of things to do: “Here we are now, Entertain us” –Nirvana. At the Valet Parking, written above the window: “Baby, you can drive my car.”  –The Beatles. Sounds banal now, let’s just say you had to be there.

Hard Rock Hotel mirror

Mirror says I’m the same height as Debbie Harry of Blondie

The Hard Rock link to clothing and textiles is also big. The hallway in which our room was located had a showcase with Eddie Vedder‘s leather fringed jacket. In the lobby, within a wall-mounted glass display case, were K.C. and the Sunshine Band’s yellow tennis shoes and a pair of silver glitter platform-sole boots (Elton John’s?) Of course, you want to get a t-shirt. Many of the t-shirts sold in the lobby store have lyrics across the front. I saw one shirt that looked like a couple pieces of ripped knit jersey tied together in a knot, with a song lyric screen-printed across the front. Makes me think, “I could do that!” When I was a teenager, we loved to create art by simply decoupaging a photo of an artist onto a piece of wood, then writing some lyrics below the photo, shellacking it, and attaching a hook on the back. Or painting an old box from the thrift store, and adding lyrics or sayings. I could write, or paint, or silkscreen, or machine embroider some lyrics on a shirt.

For instance, here are some memorable possibilities:

Jimi Hendrix: “S’cuse me while I kiss the sky!”
Neil Young: “Sailing heart-ships through broken harbors…”
Mountain: “There are years behind us reaching to the place where hearts are beating”
Heart: “Wonder why in dreams your feet never touch the earth?”

But then, you know, it would be like overexposure. Like when the magnificent rock epic gets played on Top 40 over and over again until it becomes a curse to you. I ended up buying a “Mischief Managed” t-shirt that reveals footprints and other things when you go out in the sun wearing it.

Marauder's Map t-shirt

Harry Potter Marauder’s Map T-shirt

Back home, I wanted to use up some remnants so I started with a skirt to go with the t-shirt. Nothing fancy. I have a simple skirt I snagged from TJ Maxx that is midi-length and stretchy, and I traced it onto 3 separate pattern pieces, representing front, back and waistband. No elastic for waistband, no zipper, snaps, buttons, nada. I used a remnant of black spandex that looks like it has gold glitter sprinkled on top, about 1 yard. I like to have a casual skirt around, long enough to not ride up, but not dragging the ground either. It was an experiment, and I was ok with the outcome.

spandex skirt

skirt to go with shirt

Next, a foray into Burdastyle, the May issue, specifically the project “Two-in-One.” A great remnant project, because it uses smallish pieces of two different fabrics, hence you may be able to find the two fabrics in the remnant bin, at half-price. I chose to use fabrics that looked like the ones they used (sorry for my lack of creativity).

black fabric remnant

black jersey knit I’ve had in the stash since 2011

end-of-bolt piece of striped sweater knit

end-of-bolt piece of striped sweater knit

The black was one yard, and it turned out to be about 2 inches shy of the cutting lines for the back piece. I forged on, wondering what the finished project would look like, 2 inches narrower than intended. Not to worry, though. It was a top/minidress, and turned out very voluminous even with the greatly abbreviated seam allowance. The neckline, however, was a no-go. I used the twill-tape version (view B) and the finished neckline looked awful on me. Luckily I found a bit of black rib-knit in the stash and added a t-shirt type collar, more like the one in View A but stretchier.

minidress

Two-in-One May Burdastyle

The magazine blurb says you can layer it with “a second piece that has a longer hem”–so I could wear it over the skirt, but ish! I don’t know about that, would seem like a Bell, Book and Candle effect. Wearing it here with a pair of pants.

Have Cat; Wish Happy Mother’s Day

Some of the beautiful flowers I got for Mother’s Day/birthday…

flowers

Beautiful tribute from some of the young’ns

cat

Yikes! the CAT

cat

cat

IMG_3529

IMG_3530

IMG_3531

IMG_3532

IMG_3533

IMG_3534

Grayzie enjoys being a part of everything that goes on. Party? he’s in the middle! Glass of water? He wants some, too. Container of water left unattended on a flat surface? It’s just his job to knock it over. Here, the flowers are gone, so he parks his carcass on the cards. It’s a Grayzie day! Even though he’s not a mother, and I’m not his mother, he’s not only a pet, he’s our housemate and friend.

IMG_3535

flowers

more flowers from loving progeny!

Have a beautiful, sweet Mother’s Day! Even if you’re not a mother, or have lost your mother, share the love as best you can… ❤

Getting Dolled Up with Remnants and Oddments

Barbies

The Barbies in the wake of the holiday weekend

This was the scene in the playroom after the holiday weekend a few weeks ago. I was informed by a girl grandkid in a loud and plaintive tone, that: “Nana, the boys were taking all the Barbies’ clothes off!” Did I mention we have 3 almost-seven-year-old grandsons? Apparently they played a big part in why the Barbies are making this look like a dollhouse of ill repute! My mom, who painstakingly made the dollhouse, would be so distraught if she knew! Anyway, something needed to be done to restore those Barbies to the heightened state of clothes horses they were intended to be.

But it wasn’t as easy as I thought. Sewing miniature clothes is no picnic, in my book. Especially when you can’t get into all those out-of-the-way storage spots where all the cool remnants are stashed.

ribbon storage

all sorts of ribbons are way up high

Unfortunately, lots of ribbons and various embellishments are stored in these boxes on a high shelf, to which I’m currently unable to climb. So I had to make do with this little assortment of notions remnants, like cord, rickrack, piping, that my grandmother might have called “oddments.” Oddments sounds like remnants. But these aren’t really cool stuff, they’re mostly leftovers that I’m too thrifty to throw out.

oddments

oddments

Barbie patterns

Barbie doll clothes patterns

I found two patterns in the stash; one I got at a yard sale a long time ago, and one that’s more recent. I looked at the old one, the Butterick Miss America Collection, and was stunned to see that it had less of the original pattern and more, much more, hand-traced patterns with a hand-lettered, very detailed sheaf of instruction sheets.

doll clothes pattern

contents of the pattern envelope

Giving myself a break, I stopped after 3 dresses. That’s because I didn’t want to search too deep for materials. Maybe, once I get more mobile. At least 3 Barbies are clothed for the moment.

Barbies

In their new dresses

Cabin Fever Remnant Project Lineup

“And on the seventh day…”

It’s the seventh day since I broke my foot, and have had to keep it elevated, and will continue until I go to the orthopedist a few more days from now.

The first couple of days I had more energy and a more hopeful outlook. Both energy and attitude have been steadily going downhill. But I don’t want to be negative. In fact, there are several bright facets to that diamond of derring-do, the clumsy trick that landed me here in cabin-feverama.

1) I have more time to read, watch TV, watch Craftsy class lessons, and delete extraneous stuff off my computer that is prompting iCloud to try and get me to buy more storage.
2) Mostly everywhere I go in the house has something nearby that can be converted to a foot-prop. Therefore, I can still serve as a tech-support person, sew, knit, Internet surf.
3) DH rented me a wheelchair so I can get around with greater ease, and crutches for the places that the wheelchair won’t go.

Since becoming bored out of my skull, I decided to do a little work on my wardrobe. This guy, #Adamsays, “I think, no matter what your age is, a pencil skirt is the most flattering skirt out there.”

I like the pencil skirt. I wanted to try out this pattern, especially since the skirt only takes 1 yard no matter what size, and see if it works with some choice remnants in the stash.

Simplicity pattern

Threads Pattern for skirt, top, pants

I chose a 1-yard piece of charcoal Ponte Roma for skirt #1, which normally sells for $12.99 per yard. Ponte Roma is a soft, luxe, drapey knit (in this case anyway). For possible tops, I have an almost 3/4 yard remnant of gray reversible knit that I think will fit the bill for this April 2015 Burdastyle Super Easy vest (normally $16.99 per yard).

April 2015 Burdastyle

BurdaStyle ridiculously easy clothes patterns

Then there’s a .83 of a yard piece of gray, aqua and peach/pink Hacci sweater knit, 57″ wide, that looks like it will make an awesome spring top. And a yard of blush-pink open-work Leno t-shirt knit for a tunic. I’ve seen lots of combinations of gray and blush-pink, and it’s savory together. Hacci knit, normal price is $12.99 per yard. Leno knit piece, normally $9.99 per yard. Of course, sold as remnants, all these cha-ching’d up at half the prices quoted herein.

Having had success with the first pencil skirt, why not another one in black? Not just ordinary black, but a glossy, Sleek Foil Denim Knit that looks a bit like shiny leather? Normally $24.99 per yard, it’s 55″ wide, so a .945 yard remnant actually provided a whole skirt. And to go with it, a top out of animal print sweater knit with a black foil collar. True, the collar piece is supposed to be cut on the bias, however, the fabric stretches in all directions, so this little neckline piece was cut from a scrap of the skirt fabric, on the straight grain. This animal print sweater-knit piece is older and I’ve lost the price tag, so we’ll just presume it is the same price as the Hacci, $12.99 per yard.

Remnant fabrics for 2 skirts, 3 tops and a vest: a little less than $40 (half of what it would be if bought off the bolt). Simplicity pattern: on sale for $1.99 (retail price $18.95). Cost of Burdastyle April issue £4.99 plus postage. Various notions: 2 zippers, thread, single-fold bias tape from stash. Estimated gasoline savings due to not being able to go anywhere because of broken foot: $15.

black pencil skirt

black pencil skirt

gray pencil skirt

charcoal Ponte Roma pencil skirt

reversible vest

reversible vest (Burda calls it a waistcoat)

Hacci sweater knit top

Hacci sweater knit top

Simplicity top

animal print sweater knit top with pleather collar

Leno weave top

Leno weave tunic top

First top was the animal print sweater knit, view C from the Simplicity pattern. Next was the Hacci sweater knit, a combination of views A and C. It has a stand-up collar and the back hem is a little longer than the front hem. I presumed for value’s sake that the two knits were similar. In the midst of sewing, they were not much alike at all. The animal print knit, although soft and light, had a much firmer texture than the Hacci. The Hacci sweater knit frayed at the ends, and while sewing the very first seam, the knit fabric bunched up under the needle and needed emergency extrication by prying up the throat plate and pushing the birds nest up through the needle hole with a screw driver blade. After that, I applied SewKeysE knit bias tape to just about every seam. Stretch needle used for all these knits. Maybe when I get a little more mobile, I can add some P.S. pictures of me wearing them…

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