Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Few Random Topics

Dining room alcove, new paint job

We spent pretty much the entire weekend painting our living room and dining room, which is a good amount of our first floor. So lots of upheaval and moving furniture back and forth in the house. This area is pretty much done, beside a few touch ups, we have taped the hallway which is a small defined area however there are lots of doors and this area also needs to have the ceiling painted.

We also moved indoors the buffet, yes I have decided this is/was a buffet and not a dresser, mainly because there is a big stamp on the back "buffet". This to got painted and polyurethane treatment as well, it is not quite done so I will wait for the big reveal. We actually managed to get this inside fairly easily in spite of its huge size. We did break a piece of the siding that went under our front door, I suppose I should add the price of that repair to this makeover...sigh.

Buffet color, it is one shade darker then in the dining room

This is the blue I chose it is actually called "Teal Bayou" from Behr, a sample size for 3.00 covered the entire piece. We applied the paint then with dry brush wiped off some of the paint, below are the first strokes going on. This gets good!

These carvings, there are four on this piece are going to get their own makeover, but first I need to sand and prep as I changed my mind on what I want done with these. My husband actually came up with the idea I plan to use.

I managed to finish this for about 60.00 bringing the total for this buffet and its makeover to just over 100.00. I am actually going to do another paint treatment on the carvings and want to line the drawers with something or paint them or both, so guessing I could be spending another 15-25.00 to get it completely done. It is however in ready to use condition, so far it is an awesome addition to our beyond boring foyer.

Also on the weekend I made a full turkey dinner, no kidding even cranberry sauce. My thinking was a lot of food so when painting we had leftovers. I made a mountain of mashed potatoes so the leftovers really felt like Thanksgiving. I did not get any good pics of the turkey after cooked, I soaked this in a brine solution for about 24 hours, it was extremely moist and juicy out of the over, after that I tasted no difference, my husband was on and on all weekend about how good it was. Moral of the story, I WOULD brine a turkey again. I think it helped a lot as this has been in the freezer for about 4 months.

Now for this nifty painting trick we tried and it worked. At the end of painting each day we wrapped our rollers in foil then double bagged and put in the fridge, they were still wet the next day and ready for painting. I think this saved us about 20.00 doing this over the course of our painting.

Also, my window seat is getting a makeover too, here are some before pics. It will be the same blue as in the dining room as it is along the same wall. I will also be making a new cushion and pillows, so that is underway as well.

After all this we will be moving upstairs to do our daughers Princess room, you guessed in "pink and purple".

Friday, March 23, 2012

Today I am Brining a Turkey

Really this does seem a bit crazy or at least a out of season. We actually purchased a turkey breast during December last year to make in the spring for a just because. I actually got motivated to get it out of the freezer earlier this week and have made a brine to make on Saturday, hello leftovers.

After visiting a few blogs and getting some ideas I settled on using oven bags as they are food safe, some suggest a new bucket or trash bag, but these are not really intended for food. I also am lucky enough to have room in my fridge to put the bag in a stock pot and put the stock pot in the fridge

Basic recipe that I followed

12 cups of water
2 cups of sugar
1 cup of salt
1 cup of cider vinegar
1 tablespoon each, thyme, rosemary and sage and pepper
4 cups of ice cubes

Bring to a boil 4 cups of water add sugar and water, once dissolved remove from heat add all other ingredients, pour into bag and tie. Place in fridge for 24-48 hours, flip halfway through so both sides are in the solution.

This goes hand in hand with painting the house, right who doesn't think we need to paint let's make a turkey. I figure it is relatively easy to make and we will have lots of good leftovers to eat for a couple of days while we are painting.

Since this has been in the freezer about 5 months this seemed like a perfect time to give brining a try. Brining is more or less soaking a meat, I think most often poultry in salt water mixture. The salt breaks down the proteins and makes the meat more juicy, also helps to season as well. I plan on using salt, sugar, tyme, rosemary and apple cider vinegar and will soak it over night probably just about 24 hours.

Brining is not for kosher turkey or self basting/pre seasoned turkeys. I will be roasting this and will report how it goes.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Yo Yo Kanzashi Brooches and Pins Tutorial

I am well into my March challenge of making 2 kanzashi or yo yo's a day I have kept up pretty good and have already put many to use. This is just some quick tips for turning these fabric embellishments into brooches and pins.

Items you will need:
  • Flowers and yo yo's (of course) I have actually been using the Clover makers that make these super easy and loads of fun to make. Use method of your choice. My kanzashi's are 3-4 inches, yo yo's are 1.5-2.25 inches.
  • Buttons - I have exclusively used SHANK buttons
  • Felt - it was amazing how many fabric squares I found tucked into many spaces in my fabric stash, I think I found around 40 sheets, in many many colors. (yay for using things I already have)
  • Glue, I mainly have been using a low temp glue gun and embellisment glue, though I have had better results with the glue gun
  • Bar pins, I got both 3/4 inch and 1 inch size, if choosing just one I would get the 1 inch size first
I highly recommend pre cutting all felt into circles, and making the backing or pin in batches, if using multiple colors prep those too. The felt will not be seen but color coordinating is a nice touch.

I had this perfect size gold metal button that was the perfect template for trimming my felt circles to 1 1/4. Other sizes that worked was a quarter, I actually trimmed a little bigger around, about 1/8 th of an inch, this worked well for the 3/4 inch pins. A spice jar lid was nice for some of the bigger brooches, cut a few and see what size you like best.

Take your circle and fold in half, snip a triangle in the fold, when cut free this will make a little diamond, just use the tip of your scissors, really sharp will work best. About 3/4 inch from that just cut a slit

I stuck the pin side through this little diamond, and then moved it around to fit the clasp side through the slit.

Completed back, the left is a 1.25 inch square, the right is prep and sizing for a smaller quarter sized backing with the smaller pin.

Using glue gun generously apply glue, remember it will spread out so leave some space for the glue to move to the outside edge.

Stick down, make sure pin is positioned upright, (I had one end up sideways) and a centered as you can get, you will have a few seconds to do this, upright is key Be careful to not squeeze glue through the holes in the felt it can glue the pin and make it in-operable...yes, did this once too.

Putting on a button, to me this is really fun, maybe it is my epic button collection that mostly goes unused, but this is where you can really complete the look. It also sort of hides some of the un-eveness that might have occurred on the front.

Auditioning buttons, this is half the fun! I ended up with button number four.

Glue the button down. I used a low temp glue gun, you could also use embellishment glue which is intended to glue a porous (fabric) to a non porous (button) item. I found it too drippy and not as secure, I actually intend to test this more.

You can use this technique for kanzashi and yo yo's. I bend way back the petals, towards the front of the kanzashi or in the case of the yo yo's this would be the back.

I then fill that little circular area with the glue, an then some on the surrounding edges, you need to take into account your button. Obviously bigger buttons will hide more glue...I cannot stand to see any glue on the finished product so this is really important.

Then insert your shank button into the glue and close up the flower to engulf the shank, squish it down gently and twist if it has an orientation, again you have a few seconds to wiggle this as needed.

You can finish the back as detailed above, I will add that when adding pin to the back of the kanzashi it may be necessary to go back around the the felt and add additional glue to fully adhere circle. This is also a good time to flatten to the back your petals, you will have a few seconds to work the flower flat to the back.

I found really using the glue gun to be an excellent hold, I have tried pretty hard to pull off flowers from a few test pieces and not been able to do it.

These are the backs of the little yo yo's these will be giveaway items at a few upcoming spring events, so cute and easy to add to blouse or accessory...hint hint :)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Favorite Sewing Tools: Corner / Point Turners

I have loads of sewing tools and notions some intended for sewing others not, but that work well in the sewing room. One of my essential go to tools, and one that drives me mad if I cannot find is a corner turner or point turner.

My favorite is actually a notion that is specifically made for this, it is white and smooth with a rounded edge, I actually have 3 of these so the chance of losing them all is low. I also have blue one with a pointy edge, a ruler and a button guide, I use this too, less often.

I also use other tools for this task, firstly a chop stick, this is good for reaching into longer spaces when my hand will not fit. Just be sure if it is wood that there are no splinters that could snag fabric, a nail file will help eliminate those rough spots.

Pencil, in a pinch I use a pencil, I stick with a white marking pencil as it is almost never "sharp" and will not leave big marks like a lead pencil.

Below is a nifty stylus that I got as a paper crafting tool, it has a very fine ball point. This is intended to work with embossing plates from Fiskars, I actually have no clue where my plates are but this is a good tool for tight corners.

Perfect corners are essential and easy with my many corner turning tools!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Dresser Makeover Begins

We have been spoiled by a fantastic March, days on end into the 70's so we have started to makeover our dresser/buffet. This will reside in our foyer, it will be a big piece that I am hoping makes a statement and serve us with storage function as well. You can see my original blog post on this here.

We painted our foyer, so when ready we can move this piece in, I still need to get and do the trim, hopefully that will be in the next week. We are basically painting our entire first floor the same color it is, it is in fact boring but we hope to add more accessories and a few surprises of color. We also need a new rug and probably a replacement of pillows and window seat, so sticking with the same color was the easy choice, which is ok as we needed to make some choice. The house needed some TLC, patching and sprucing up, we figure we can always paint a room or are later, the hard work is in the prep.

I set out slow but sure, something about completely defacing a perfectly fine, albeit ugly piece of furniture is a bit heartbreaking. I am over it as I know this piece will now live longer then in its current state, I will remind you at this point I paid 55.00 for this huge piece.

So, I started manually sanding it, having zero impact on it, as I sanded it more and more it really seemed to bounce back, almost hard to see the sanding that was done. Of course DH jumped in with a sander and is almost no time had really scuffed it up all over.

I managed to get the hardware off, it is truly ugly I think this will be fun update to do. I also plan on lining with fabric or wallpaper depending on what I find. I still have not picked out the color though am pretty sure it will be some shade of blue. To the blue I plan on letting the wood shine through a bit or distressing with some brown glaze and/or metallic accents...I have lots ideas we'll see where it all ends up!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Business Cards as Price Tags

I have been using these business cards as price tags for a while. I just got these new ones from Vistaprint and did vertical ones instead of the horizontal size.

I just used a standard design and on the back added a $ symbol so all I have to do is write in the price. The card overall is very blank so I have room to add text or descriptions as necessary.

I also can use them for things like these new kanzashi brooches, just add holes and pin onto the card.

Handy and low cost add your own ribbon, yarn, hemp, twine to loop onto purses or totes or whatever.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Kanzashi Challenge and New Items

Just over a week since I challenged myself to make flowers and yo-yo's and I must say I have done pretty good making flowers. I actually have been keeping a tally (over there top right), through today I have made 32 flowers and 4 yo yo's. And here is what I have been doing with them. Brooches, wristlets and clutches all dropped at Yellow Door today.

New item, this is a large clutch with lots of details, firstly pleated style, each side has inward facing pleats. The clutch has an inset zipper that sits about an inch below the top of the clutch. And to top it all off a kanzashi brooch, I made this a brooch so you can decide where best to complete your look. Most of them I put in the middle, though for some off to a side may look is up to you.

Then a pleated wristlet, the same shape and design as the clutch but smaller and with a handle to loop over your wrist, this is the same approximate size as my trapezoid wristlets with a few notable differences. An inset zipper, again below the top of the wristlet, topstitched handles, just a little finishing touch. And a kanzashi brooch, again I made this removable so you can place where you like, and can be dependant if you wear the wrist on your right or left hand.

I could not resist adding a few more pics, this was a busy week working out all the details.

For my flower challenge it is great fun taking a stack of squares and combining them with buttons and pins, you can see the chaos below.

Lovely flowers, mount to a felt/pin combo to make these lovely little brooches, perfect little accessory to compliment an outfit or coat, add to a bag or scarf, combine into your own little bouquet.

I have take these over to yellow door and will be adding more styles in the coming weeks, along with mix and match buttons. I also hope to add some simple ready to embellish coin purses and accessories to create your own look.

I am quite happy with my progress on my flower challenge and my new years resolution, this was on my list of things to work on. I hope to share next weeks some tips and ideas to make your own pins.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Finished Quilt UFO 2012: Habitat and The Big Easy

A few weeks ago during sewing for me week I pieced this quilt, I have now gotten it back from the machine quilter and finished binding it this morning. It is a lovely addition to the chair in my bedroom.

I also did two things different for me, I did the binding on the machine, usually I hand bind but while I have been working on the binding for Sherbet Pips (show and tell soon) I have decided to learn to do this last task of quilting on the machine. I also did the binding in a light color, the same bone Kona cotton that is in the quilt. You can see above managing the quilt, anyone who has done any quilting on a home machine, managing bulk is always an issue.

Many say "the quilting makes the quilt", but for me quilting makes me crazy, this is a task I don't enjoy doing and have not take the time to perfect and practice. I enjoy the fabric and the piecing, for me the fun sort of ends there, so most quilts that are bigger then a baby sized I hire out the quilting. I love handing over a top, batting and a back and getting back a quilt. This quilt was about $65.00 to have quilted, for me a real bargain, however I still did do the binding.
The machine quilter mimicked the flowers in the front and did these throughout along with some swoosh-y zig zag stitches in the sashing strips.

This is all from a line called "Habitat" by Michele D'Amore, I am a fan of most of here collections, this is one of her lines that I have worked a quilt. The quilt pattern is called "The Big Easy".

Love it on this chair perfect for time spent sitting and relaxing with some hand stitching.
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