Thursday, February 23, 2012

Nursery Evolution: Windows

We have curtains...finally!  

I picked up this Fredrika fabric last month from Ikea, but the last few weeks have been marked by swollen feet, so I kept putting off curtain construction.  The baby is due this Saturday and last weekend I made a deal with her...she just had to wait until I got the curtains finished and then she was more than welcome to make her appearance.  Good thing I finished them up tonight, because I'm experiencing some contractions as I type this.  Don't's still undecided as to whether these are real ones or Braxton Hicks ones, so we're just waiting it out at this point.

So back to the curtains...I love this fabric.  It suits the room really well.  It's pretty heavy duty fabric, so when it's lined with the blackout liner fabric, they feel more like drapes than curtains.  Anyway, I bought four yards of Fredrika and four yards of blackout fabric (with a 50% off coupon at Joann's).  It turned out that I had just enough for both windows.  Four yards was actually just a lucky guess.  
I used this tutorial for directions on how to make lined curtains.  It features a blind hem, which I had never done before, so that was a learning experience.  I'm not quite sure that I had the stitch lengths accurately configured.  You're not supposed to see the ticks on the front of the fabric, but they are pretty visible upon a close inspection:
And here's what the other side of a blind hem stitch looks like:
The blackout curtain liner fabric was chosen after reading YHL's post on their nursery curtains.  I hate mini blinds, so I had taken down the ones that came with the house.  I didn't want to install them again, so blackout liners seemed to be a good choice.  

Here's what the curtains look like closed during the middle of the day:
Light still gets through, but it is significantly less than it would be without the liner.  (P.S. Aren't they pretty?)

I also lined the valance on the other window.  It probably didn't need it, because I decided to keep the roller blind that came with the house, but I wanted to keep things consistent.  I didn't add any fabric to the sides, so the valance does not do much bunching.
Peeking out from under the valance is the roller blind.  I've given most of the roller blinds that came with the house to the Goodwill, because they were all trimmed with this white fancy trim:
I liked the scalloped edge, but not that fancy trim.  I bought yellow and orange dingle balls to trim the curtain, but decided to put those on the nursery lampshade instead.  I found this other trim at the store and it seemed like a good substitute.  I cut off the white trim and hot glued the new trim to the roller blind.
It's a little hard to see in these pictures, but it looks really good in person.
The final touch for the windows is the curtain hardware.  I found these fabulous rods and tie backs at Lowe's and they are so awesome:

So there you go!  Windows are done and the room is pretty much finished.  Baby is now allowed to emerge!

Dingle Shade

So the nursery needed a little bit more lighting.  It has an overhead dome light, which is just your standard dome light from any home improvement store.  I want to change it out, but haven't found anything to replace it.  The room also has a tiny globe fixture on the wall above the crib (see photo to the left).  This came with the house, though it was hanging on with only one screw when we moved in.  It wasn't until we removed the carpet that we found the other screw and secured it to the wall.  For the longest time we thought the globe itself was all prism-y and colorful, but when I removed the globe to protect it from paint, I discovered that the lightbulb had all of the colors on it.  Weird, but neat.

We also wanted a little table lamp for on top of the dresser, so I checked around at some stores, but all of the plastic lamps felt cheap and flimsy.  Target had a nice lamp in pink, but the more I thought about getting a ceramic lamp, the more I worried about it falling onto little heads.  So I turned to Etsy and found this little plastic vintage lamp for $25.00:
Orange!!  It seems that I keep adding a ton of orange to this room, but since it's my favorite color, I don't mind.  

So this lamp needed a shade.  We went to a fancy pants lighting place and they sold shades for about $80.00 each, so that wasn't going to work.  We then headed back to Target with the lamp in hand and found a perfect little shade for about $15.00:
But the shade was missing a little somethin'-somethin'.  I considered painting it, slathering it with mod podge and fabric or paper, or just adding a little trim.  Trim seemed to be the easiest and quickest route.  I went through my ribbons and things and settled on some dingle balls that I had picked up for a different project in the nursery. I decided that they were meant to live with the lamp instead, so I used the following method for adhering them to the shade:

Step 1...gather supplies:  shade, hot glue gun, dingle balls, scissors.

Step 2...Start gluing from the back seam of the shade.  Make sure to neatly trim your dingle ball edge before attaching.  Then work in small sections of hot glue, pressing the trim into the glue as you go.

Step 3...Continue all around the lamp shade until you hit the back seam again.  Carefully trim your dingle balls to fit the rest of the way and attach with glue.
So there are two dingle balls touching...I don't care...It's the back of the lamp.

Step 4...Repeat along the other edge of the shade until your shade turns out like this:

I found that it was better not to press the dingle balls into the hot glue, because the glue would stick to my fingers.  It attached just as well by pulling the trim taut against the shade and holding it for a second or two while the glue dried.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Slipper Grippers

I found these at Treadle Yard Goods:
They are for the bottoms of slippers and socks.  I can't wait to make some footed pajamas for my little Kraken!  

Treadle only had these two colors, but you can find other colors through a google search.  The company on the packaging, Lyle Enterprises, also has a variety for sale.  

Has anyone tried these?  I read a review just now on Amazon that wasn't very good, but she also was cutting out each little foot and fabric gluing it onto the soles of her projects.  That does not seem like the right way to use these footy fabric squares.  

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Black Bear Rocker

So last month I faced a moral dilemma.  My mom sent me a link to a rocking chair on Craigslist for $50.00 and I entered into a dialogue with the owner via e-mail.  You know how you can post a picture to your e-mail profile?  Well, the owner of the rocker had one of these pictures...he was in camo, with a rifle, straddling a dead black bear. 

I had already entered into an agreement to meet with the guy the next morning and as soon as I took notice of that picture, I started to think of ways to back out.  We were expecting a wintry mix the next day and he was an hour away...  Eventually, I went downstairs to consult my husband and then I started to cry.

Yup, since I've been pregnant, I have been prone to crazy crying and the trigger always seems to be a story about pain or death involving animals.  This story made me cry for like three days, some story about a dehydrated mama and baby elephant being stuck in mud made me bawl, and, most recently, my mom told me about how her old dog ran off one day and when they couldn't find him, they went to the pound and he was on death row.  They got him with one day to spare and that's a happy story, but it still made me cry for ages.  (And I heard this story when I was not pregnant, but it is still super sad and I can't think of it without crying:  Lucy.) So anyway, this dead black bear made me really upset and all I could keep saying between sobs was "Bears are nice!"

So back to my moral dilemma.  I had to come to terms with my moral objections to hunting bears and my desire to have that rocker for the nursery.  I grew up around hunting and hunters in a small town in upstate New York where boys named Heath wore flannel, drove a Ford (or was it a Chevy), and sullied the memory of a girl's first kiss with a cigarette-flavored mouth. **crickets chirping** What was I saying?  Oh, yes, hunters and hunting existed in this small town, but I've been removed from it for a while and I don't see the point in hunting bears (or wolves...or wolves from helicopters, for that matter).  How could I give my money to a man who did this?  My husband came up with the solution:

We would rescue the chair!
And we did!  It's lovely and old.  It's a tad rickety, but it'll hold up.  And look at the back panel of the rocker:
I really want to take a bunch of colors and paint all that scroll work, but my husband has put the kibosh on that.  I still think it would look pretty, but I don't really have the time or the physical stamina to do that right now.

And here's the seat:
It's not the original seat and it feels like a piece of pleather...thankfully not bear skin.  So I decided to make a cushion for it, because that brown does not go with the Color Dots in the room.

First the fabric choice...and check out the company name:
Then I sketched out a seat in paper and cut out my fabric pieces (two seats and then a side piece):
 Used some Soft-n-Crafty:
 And cut out a matching cushion:
I sewed the thing together -- not forgetting little bias tape fabric ties for the back of the cushion -- popped in the foam and realized my cushion-cover fit was a bit off.  I left it on the chair like that for a week or two, not bothering to sew up the back seam.  I figured I would either redo it or just leave it as is.  I left the fit as is and finally sewed up that final seam last night.

 And styled:

As for Mr. Black Bear, well, when we walked into the Craigslist guy's house, we saw the bear in a little alcove.  He had been stuffed and mounted, with his jaws open and terrifying and he looked like he was charging through the wall to tear out our throats.  And you know that bear was just sitting in the forest, happily eating a jug of honey, chatting with some bluebirds on his shoulder when that hunter came along and destroyed his happy life.  So we've named our new chair Black Bear Rocker in his memory.  

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

One Square

When did fairies become such whores?  No, seriously, this is a legitimate question.  And just by typing it, I realize all the perverts from my old blog will flock to this site when they type "fairy whores" in their google searches.  I'm willing to take that risk.  So, again I ask, when did Tinkerbelle become a slut? ("Tinkerbelle sluts" is probably a common search term for Disney deviants.)
Evidence of Slutitude
I was asked to make a quilt square for a friend's little girl and I really wanted to embroider a fairy.  She loves fairies.  The only thing I had on hand was the Sublime Stitching Craft Pad and the only fairy in it was the one above.  She looks a little too mature for my liking.  And even if I had their Gnomes and Fairies pattern set, I would not have been able to use either of those two fairies.  Blah.

So I went with a unicorn.  I think little girls like unicorns.  I don't remember ever being obsessed with them when I was a kid (I also don't remember being too interested in fairies), but I figured a unicorn is fanciful enough and would represent a non-brothel-like world.
I know the sequins are not too practical for a quilt, but it's a mini quilt and I double knotted each one to secure it.  I also added a little heart brand on its flank.  So there you go...this unicorn is much more age appropriate than that fairy.  

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Puppet Theatre

In a moment of desperation for something to read during lunch one day in December, I picked up   Liesl Gibson's "Oliver + S: Little Things to Sew."   It was a total impulse buy and it was not on sale at all.  Flipping through it over my meal, I almost had buyer's remorse.  There didn't seem to be a whole lot in the book that I felt compelled to make...and then I came upon the last pattern in the book:  a puppet theatre.  

It was so awesome and as soon as I saw it, I knew that I wanted to make it for my little neighbor friend's fifth birthday in February.  So a week before her birthday I started gathering the supplies and reading through the pattern to prepare myself for the project.  I didn't expect that it would take too long to sew the thing up, but I have a bit of a physical ailment lately:  swollen feet from pregnancy.  Horrid stuff.  I can only sew for one to two, maybe three, hours at a time before my feet start to feel like bloated corpses and I need to elevate them.  So yeah, with these restrictions, what would have taken me a night of two of some dedicated, hard-core sewing, took me about a week with a little here and there.

Anyway, it was a great pattern.  Super easy directions.  My measurements were off a few times, but I blame that on my immobility and the fact that I hate measuring. Luckily, the miscalculations were not that significant.  The backing is made of painter's canvas.  I still have enough to make one (maybe two) more puppet theatres. Besides the backing, I only needed to purchase the dowels for the top and bottom of the window, the shower curtain extension rod, twill tape, and some fusible web interfacing.  The rest of the fabric I had sitting around in my craft room.
The theatre did not fit in any of our doorways, so I suspended it at the top of the stairs for the photo shoot.   I've had the house fabric for ages, but with only a yard of it, I had to choose a different roofing fabric.  I thought the gray pinstripes looked pretty good with the blue.  The curtain fabric is a sweet little floral calico, but I could never think of anything to do with it--as clothing it would just seem too Little House.

And do you see that little speck in the window?
It's a hummingbird!
 I found these little handpainted buttons at Treadle Yard Goods and fell in love with them.  They are made by Susan Clarke Originals.  Look how cute they are!  They had so many different birds, butterflies, ladybugs, but these hummingbirds were just perfect for the little theatre.  I saved one bird for any future puppet house windows I may make.  
 Also check out those window box florals.  So perfect!  The example photo in the book had plain green fabric with button embellishments to represent the flowers, but I didn't have the time to sort through my buttons and I was pretty sure I didn't have any teeny tiny buttons and there were definitely no tiny flower buttons in my collection.

I did, however, have this fabulous marble ball button for a doorknob:
 So there you have it.  The theatre was a big hit with the birthday gal.  She gave us a "live action puppetry" show with some fun animal puppets her mom had given her as gifts.  And because I cannot resist, here is Mr. Parker in all of his thespian glory.
I also keep thinking of other house designs...or what about a castle design?  With a little drawbridge and some turrets?  Or a circus tent design?  Fun stuff!

And now we turn back to our regularly scheduled programming of "Sewing for Baby."  With three weeks to go, I better get moving!