Where Old and New Meet

My cousin Cale was given this quilt after my grandparents died. It wasn’t one my grandmother used; it was kept on display on a high plant shelf above the kitchen. Cale’s puppy didn’t show such deference and sooner than later the hand-stitched heirloom was in pieces.

Cale, abashed, asked me if I could do anything to fix it. “It’s just so soft.”

It was soft. The fabric had been used for a generation before being tucked on a shelf, and I didn’t blame him for wanting to use it, or for his puppy not knowing better. Accidents happen and Grandma Maxine would have been the first to smile at her grandson wanting the quilt to live on.

It took a bit of cutting away tiny stitches…

and a bit of creative patching…

I cut away three of the four corners and patched them with new fabric, and backed the quilt with flannel. This beauty will live on for yet another generation.

We miss you, Grandma Max.

~K

And, done.

Once upon a time, I found this pillowtop at a thrift store. I don’t remember when, but I know it was within the last year. And I’m fairly certain it cost less than $5. The author signed the embroidered piece. I tucked it away with my fabric and found it a few weeks ago.

Sewing and repurposing

It deserved finishing.

Since my parents moved and I no longer have the world’s greatest crafter at my leisure, I relied on a coworker — who is also incredibly good at all things sewn, knitted, embroidered, etc. I showed her the pillow top and asked what she would do.

“Well, I’d finish it. And I have the perfect backing for you at home. Let me bring that in.”

Sewing and repurposing

Another trip to a local thrift store produced the perfect sized $2 pillow form.

Sewing and repurposing

 

And voila — the finished peony pillow. I kinda love it.

~k

 

Trying not to cut my fingers off with the rotary thingy

thrift

We have a chain of thrift stores in Arizona called Epic Thrift. I am new to these, if they aren’t new to our community. (They either popped up overnight, or I just haven’t been paying attention.) Depending on the store, they have a pretty incredible collection of fabrics, which are really, really inexpensive. My favorite find so far is the blue rose pattern. It was five yards for $.99. I have made a couple sets of pillow cases and plan on putting together some curtains with the remainder.

This makes my thrifty, recycling self very happy.

The new craft I’d like to learn is applique. Specifically, I’d like to make a dresden pillow. And then a log cabin pillow. It’s fun to have these bright fabrics when considering how to put one of these together. I know the basics of quilting, but this is a new animal entirely. As such, I’m considering my first Craftsy course. Have you ever taken one of these? And buying this book, which I hear is great for learning applique and quilted pillows.

I love the idea of a neutral couch full of different pillows, with their bright colors. (And of course, one of my mama’s quilts on the back.)

I really miss college. For now, these crafty courses and challenges in patience will do. A big thanks to my buddy Nic for her help in guiding me to the right resources!

~K

 

Needle Wrangler

Anyone else have a tangle of circular knitting needles that looks something like, oh, say, THIS?

Sewing and Knitting

Sewing and Knitting

Good times. Or, a tangled nonsense of zero fun. Your choice.

I did a bit of research, asking fellow knitting nerds how they store their supplies. The results varied in methods, with “in a giant mess” being the loudest, most popular vote. I was already winning that race, and frankly it wasn’t working for me.

Looking around my office, I had an old three ring binder full of recipes. (Remember the quaint days of writing recipes and storing them? Awwww. Once again I say: thank God for you, Internet.)

Sewing and Knitting

Sewing and Knitting

Sewing and Knitting

Sewing and Knitting

Sewing and Knitting

Sewing and Knitting

Sewing and Knitting

Mayhem managed. Nothing to see here. Carry on, friends.

~K

Make It Work

I am slowly turning our third floor into a sewing room and office. The room started as our catch-all for boxes we didn’t know where to unpack, rolled rugs — purchased for our New Jersey home — with its gorgeous hardwood floors, and stacks of books that didn’t make it to the haphazard piles on bookshelves downstairs.

I wanted a space to iron, cut and sew fabric. I also wanted things to be organized in a way that allowed me to access them. If I have to move a dozen boxes to get to the one I need for that one additional element to any project, it simply won’t happen. After a few weeks, it is starting to come together. Far from perfect, but better than where we started.

First find: a chair and cushion at Goodwill — purchased for $5:

The making of an arts + crafts loft

The making of an arts + crafts loft

Second find: a small farm table to replace the one I loved in Golden. This one is smaller, but it will work for my sewing machine. (Or a laptop, if we want to work up here as the weather cools.) Carpets unrolled, chair pulled in and this little table works like a charm.

The making of an arts + crafts loft

But dang it, if that doesn’t still look messy. Baskets of sewing books and that printer were driving me crazy. Also, I don’t have anywhere to cut my fabric, which was sitting with the ironing board in a corner:

The making of an arts + crafts loft

And those little windows needed some attention. Curtains. Some funky curtains. Another cheapy Goodwill find, a good washing and ironing and voila:

Creating a sewing room

Perfect? No. Functional and better than staring at tiny venetian blinds? Yes.

A trip to Ikea with a gift card later — two more bookshelves were added upstairs and that clutter took a much better turn:

The making of an arts + crafts loft

Creating a sewing room

Creating a sewing room

As for cutting the fabric, for now, I’ll have to share the sewing table and make the best of it until I find another sturdy table that will work.

Creating a sewing room

A pretty and functional space.  A minimal investment in new things. A focus on using what we have.

~K

With a bow

Recycling

Recycling

Recycling in New Jersey is a pain. I can only imagine the book of rules, no joke, was created as a deterrent. That said, I have yet to find a job and I’ve will happily jump through the necessary hoops to see that these items are sent to the right facility, instead of just carried away with our trash can. This involves tying like items together, marking the junk mail in one bag and the newspapers in another, etc. It doesn’t take long, but I can imagine is a huge hurdle for anyone with little time.

I’ve been laughing lately at the news out of NYC. The mayor controversially wants to enforce a “food scraps recycling program.” AKA: composting. Can you imagine how much compost could be created from NYC in one day? Also: for the international readers — can you believe that this isn’t something we Americans inherently know we are supposed to do?

I’ve seen, and previously owned and broken, the Rachel Ray trash bowl that sits on your counter for compost. Rather that spend the $20 to replace this, I spent $1 on a larger plastic bowl that sits beneath our kitchen sink. In our area, you are not allowed to have a garbage disposal. As such, all food waste that doesn’t contain animal products goes in the green bowl:

Prosecco + pasta

The perks of composting this way:

1. If you live in a humid environment, like New Jersey, this stuff will compost quickly outside.

2. You have to take out a lot less trash, using fewer trash bags.

3. If you are a gardener, this stuff will be gold, especially if you have patience. Add some worms from your local fishing store and watch out. You’ll have amazing humus. No, not pita humus. This kinda hummus. 

4. You’ll get more exercise, especially if you place your composting area wisely a good distance from your house.

5. You will likely think twice about buying sub-par, out of season fruits and vegetables from a big box store that your family won’t finish, leaving you to later compost. The process can’t help but bring you closer to nature — you’ll be begging for the snow to melt so you aren’t digging and dumping your full bowl. And if you are like me, it will give you a deep sense of environmental smugness that is entirely undeserved as a global over-consumer.

The cons:

1. If you have a dog and haven’t spent the time enclosing your compost area, chances are you will have a dog who finds a way to eat whatever he can out of this area. Yuck.

2. You may attract other animals into your compost area. Shoo!

3. More trash. More trash bags. More hauling the dumb trash can back and forth. Urg!

Morals to this story:

New Jersey — I see your recycling laws and I will meet them. Also, I am composting. So there!

The end,

K

 

 

Repurposed

Sometimes it works...

Sometimes it works...

Sometimes it works...

Sometimes it works...

It is lovely to be able to go into the garden to trim a bouquet for flowers around the house. Also, it gives me a smug sense of satisfaction to be able to use something I already had in a different way, and add color to our home for no expense. With any luck, I’ll get some lavender and bulbs planted so we have lots of flowers next spring too.

-K

Shabby Chic Dresser

The dresser, in stages:

I. Dusty rose. Dirty.

Before + After: antique dresser

II. Stripped. New hardware. A lame attempt at bringing a “barn furniture” look to my bedroom.

Before + After: antique dresser

III. $20 of primer and paint later — a clean look.

Dresser, after

I am glad I was adventurous enough to paint a checkerboard on top. I think it gives this a little more character, without looking like a worn out barn.

Dresser, after

Dresser, after

I changed out the lamp and voila — a shabby chic dresser that matches my bed and keeps the colors in this crazy room to a minimum. (The walls are painted purple and orange; I’m renting this sweet home, and my painting commitment extends only to what I own.)

Dresser, after

I fought the urge to buy a new lamp and instead used something from another room. I love that big white beehive lamp — and I’ll use it more in my office.

Total investment in this project:

Dresser — free

Hardware — $20 at Hobby Lobby

Paint supplies — $26, including lining for the drawers

Time — 5 hours over 4 days

~K

Before + After: Pillowcases

Take a couple vintage pillowcases (which my local thrift store has buckets of for $.50) + a great tutorial, a bit of bias tape, ric rac and perhaps a maybe a little ribbon to create some dresses for a sweet little girl who turns 2 this weekend:

Before + After: Pillowcase Dresses

Before + After: Pillowcase Dresses

Before + After: Pillowcase Dresses

Before + After: Pillowcase Dresses

Before + After: Pillowcase Dresses

Before + After: Pillowcase Dresses

Before + After: Pillowcases

Before + After: Pillowcases

Before + After: Pillowcase Dresses

I used a bit of fabric to whip up a third; I wanted to see if I could make one of these on my own. Also, giving things in threes feels right.

Before + After: Pillowcases

Before + After: Pillowcase Dresses

Before + After: Pillowcase Dresses

Different sizes for a quickly growing girl. Happy birthday, baby R!

~Auntie Kewie