backgrounds

Monday, August 23, 2010

Project Quilt Update

After getting all my bricks cut, I began the process of laying them out on the queen-sized bed in my guest room. This was the biggest space I had to lay them out that wasn't in a high-traffic area (like somewhere on the floor in the kitchen/living room). My husband pointed out, though, that maybe I should have taken the multi-colored quilt off the bed before laying everything out to really give me a sense of how all the colors would look together. Yeah, that would have made more sense. Oh well...here is how we're looking right now:


I'm pleased with how all the colors are going together and, even though they don't match perfectly, I feel like there's still some harmony between all of them. Laying them out was a lot of fun, too. I feel like if I had it to do again, I would probably get something completely different than what I have now, which is kind of fun.

Also - whoa. This quilt looks huge! This is laid out across a queen bed. I know it will "shrink" some with seam allowances adding up, but still - it's going to be a decent-sized throw. You can also see that I had a few bricks left over. I will save them, of course - I love fabric too much to throw them out!

P.S. The quilt on the bed is from Pottery Barn several years ago, in case you were wondering. I now appreciate it so much more, now that I understand the time and labor that goes into making a quilt!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Nursery Project #2

I have another wall decor project to share with you. This one is a bit more involved, so I tried to be mindful and take step-by-step pictures along the way. Basically, I wanted something sweet but also unexpected for her walls. I decided on teapots for this project because they are girl-y without being cutesy (if that makes sense?). To start, I did a Google Image Search for "teapot silhouettes" and printed off what I found. Then I used a photocopier to enlarge the two images I wanted to use. (You may be able to skip that step, depending on how large the images are when you print them off or where you get your images - maybe you're more artistic and can just draw freehand?) So, this is where my pictures pick up.



Here are my materials for this project:





(Black poster board, scissors, Exact-o knife, pencil, extra paper, frames and fabric - you could also use scrapbook paper, but I couldn't find any that I liked so I used fabric instead.)


First I took my enlarged images (you can see in the picture below how small they started off and how big I blew them up to...I think this is, like, 200% magnified) and cut them out, then traced their outlines onto my white paper. Once they were traced, I used my pencil to fill in where the original outline did not provide the best edge and to make the outline...better? (I hope this makes sense - please ask me questions if you have them!)



Next, I cut out the newly-drawn and improved images using scissors and my Exact-o knife (to cut out the handle).




Then I traced the white image onto the black poster board and cut it out using my Exact-o knife. Since that black poster board is what you will use for the outline of your silhouette, you want to be very careful with this step to ensure you get a nice, clean edge. So I figured out which direction I wanted my teapot to face, and then traced the image on the opposite side of the posterboard and cut it out on that side as well. That way, the other side had a nice, clean edge to it, without visible pencil marks or scratches from the knife when it goes "outside the lines" in the process of cutting out the shape - which it will.



This is what you get:




Next I laid the black silhouette face-down and layered the fabric face-down on top of it, followed by the frame's back:




I turned the whole thing over so I could affix the cut-out "handle" onto the fabric using double-sided tape (still holding to this day). Then I put it all face-down into the framed glass and re-attached the frame. (You could skip the step with the tape and just put everything face-down directly into the frame, if you don't need to fill in any "holes" from your silhouette.)


Here is your final product:





You'll notice the one on the right is not the same silhouette I showed of my photocopied, enlarged images. It was too blob-like so I went and found an outline that I liked better. Then I when I was through and put them side-by-side, I felt like the one on the left suddenly looked less like a teapot and more like a genie bottle. But it works and it's fine!

I think this project has a lot of potential and you could go a lot of different ways with something similar. I have an idea for an entire series if I ever have a playroom one day...so stay tuned!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Project Quilt Update

So, after watching Project Runway* and feeling like a major loser because they can make an entire outfit in five hours, I got to work on my quilt. First I ironed each strip (22 in all) and then set to work cutting them into smaller pieces, also called "bricks." I cut each strip into four equal-sized bricks. Most of the strips were approximately 44" long, so each brick was therefore about 11". However, some strips were a little bit longer or shorter so I think having strips that vary in size - even if only slightly - will add to the eclectic-ness of the entire quilt.

I have found that I am not great at cutting straight lines, so this became a huge help:


Here are my cut out bricks:



I arranged them by color and pattern - there's a blue/green floral and pink/purple floral section on the left side and then I noticed that some of the strips were the same pattern but different colors, so I grouped those together on the right side. Then there were some that didn't fit into a category at all. I separated them like this so that once I start assembling my quilt, I get a nice variety of color and pattern throughout.

Next up: my bricks all laid out!

*I'm enjoyng the new season so far, but I don't have a favorite designer yet - mostly just some I'm ready to see go home! I'm very impressed, though, that Gretchen has won two challenges in a row! Also, I like that the episodes are 1.5 hours long now and we get to see more into the designers' lives and interactions with each other. However, this is funny to me because it seems like a very Lifetime Channel thing to do, you know?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Nursery Project #1

Over the next few posts, I want to share with you a few of the things I made for my daughter's nursery and then I will post pictures of the whole thing, all put together. First up: some wall decor!

Here is what I wanted framed:


It's my Halloween costume from when I was three that my mom made for me. I thought it would be cute framed in the nursery. My mom took it and had it cleaned for me at a drycleaners that specializes in handling delicate, older pieces with care. Once I got it back, it was good as new. I used brown kraft paper (I have a huge roll and love it for wrapping presents and all kinds of projects) as the background because that is what I had on hand, but I think using a gray or pale beiege wrapping paper or wall paper would be really pretty too. Again - I just used what I had on hand.

In picking out the frame, I just guessed at the size I thought I would need. This is just a regular poster frame, not a shadowbox (which you know I do love!). I knew a regular frame would work to keep the whole thing pressed against the glass and flat. I used double-sided tape to afix the straps to the brown paper and it's still holding it in place, several months later.

To assemble, I first cut my kraft paper to the proper size. Next, I put the kraft paper on top of the frame backing and then laid the tutu/leotard on top and got it arranged how I wanted (this is when I used the tape). Finally, I put the glass and frame on top of that and pressed the whole thing together, flipping it over and secured the back and frame together.

Ta da! I think this is so sweet for a nursery and special since it is something from my childhood. More projects to come!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Birthday Pudding Pie

My little girl turned 1 this weekend.  She isn't big on solids yet (weird I know.)  So, I gave her a big pile of chocolate pudding and whipped cream and she dug in!

I wanted to serve the adults something a little more sophisticated, what do you think?  Not too bad for pudding.



Monday, August 2, 2010

New Project: A Quilt!

For my birthday, I received the below strips of fabric and instructions for turning the strips into a quilt. All the fabric is from Amy Butler's Lotus Collection. I am very excited about this new project...while I love to sew, I have never dared to make a quilt before. So, we'll see how it goes. It may be my first and last quilt, so I thought I should document my progress!

With a new baby, I'm not sure how much time I will have to devote this project, so I've decided to adopt the mindset that I will take my time and work on it when I can. It will be a like a good book - I'll just keep coming back to it!

Blueberries

These babies are cheaper than dirt right now in Georgia!  2 full pounds for $4.

This is how I am freezing them for the off season to throw in muffins, pancakes, smoothies, etc.