I Took The Advice and This Time I Used Maps!

After I finished the last dresser – covered with vintage dress patterns – someone made the suggestion to try maps. And I just happened to have some old road atlases from those days before GPS (do you remember that far back! LOL), so I plunged in.

For the life of me I cannot recall where I picked up this desk, but it has been sitting in the third stall of the garage for a while. Its decent quality – inside one drawer is marked ‘Broyhill’ – so I figured it would be a good starting point.

As you can see, I almost forgot about taking ‘before’ photos… I had it already up on the table with the drawers removed!

DSCN4704Somehow these days, desks just aren’t in much demand. I guess with everyone having a laptop, sitting any where works and you’re no longer chained to a desk.

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So, with the help from The Kid, we removed the extra legs and shortened the desktop and turned it into a nice sized little chest. The bottom drawer is nice and deep, great for storing bulky stuff.

DSCN4712I sold the sewing pattern covered dresser to this great couple for their daughter. She is into fashion, so it really appealed to her. When they came by to pick it up, they mentioned that they were looking for something for their son’s quite extensive Lego collection. Dad was a bit annoyed from stepping on those little plastic bricks in the dark as he was trying to check in on the kids as they slept – I’ve been there myself and it turns a very quiet excursion into some mighty loud yelps! So the very deep drawer might be just the thing for the family!

The whole process of adding the maps was the easiest and funnest part. I just sit and watch television and cut and paste. I did some strategic placements, on one side is the state of Missouri and Kansas and on the top is a nice map of the states. Following two nights of drying/curing, I applied two coats of polyurethane to give the maps a little staying power. It could even take a little scrubbing if it gets colored on.

I had the antique hoop knob pulls, rescued from a previous project that with a little green spray paint turned out quite unique!

The drawer that was removed from the desk section turned out to be the perfect size for a replacement drawer in a sewing cabinet that I am transforming into a little entry way table. Don’t you just love it when things come together? If you’ve been reading my blog at all, you know that I hate to waste anything… and when it can be reused and saved from the landfill, I am a happy recycler!

Tomorrow, The Kid and I are making the trek out to meet Rebecca “Becky” Collis of Collis Country Quilting! I am so excited to meet Becky and check out her setup. Most excited about finishing some of these quilts that I have been working on for the past three years!!I have another idea for a dresser makeover… would make the cutest storage piece for a little boy’s room. Have to keep my eyes open for the next perfect piece!julie

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Why Are The Weekends Always Too Short?

This weekend was really about simply making progress on about a half dozen big projects. I am never amazed at the never-ending supply of great ideas and the things that inspire them.

I did this project not too long ago and just never got around to posting about it. Simple enough, just a shadow box and an old game controller. Hard to take photos of it though!🙂

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This next project was sparked by a lively conversation with a wonderful co-worker. She has the words “Inside Voice” written on the white board in her office and we got to talking about it. Trust me to say that she is not the only person who needs to be reminded that cubicles are not the same as walled offices and voices travel. Mine included!DSCN4715

So, I searched the internet and found a couple of compositions that might work well for a cross stitch pillow she can lean against the bottom of her monitor to remind her. I can’t quite decide which one I am going with, just yet. I know the colors and have a scrap pieces of fabric I used in making a suitcase dresser and I still have to get enough thread so that I don’t run out. Either one I use will require a ton for the background, so I am going to lay in a good supply.

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Lastly, I also had this little chair that I remade for my sewing room. Simple again in design… just painted the frame of an old chair given to me and recover the seat. The green looks more ‘limey’ than it really is, the lighting in the room made it look like this!

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Okay, back to work tomorrow! I have three days of training in anticipation of me taking over the training, so I really have to be paying attention! No way can I afford to doze off in these classes!

julie

Giant Gummy Bear!

This is one of those ‘fun, just gotta do it once’ kind of projects. This one was The Kid’s idea and he found the recipe. I just happened to have the perfect pan for it.

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And the best part? It is so yummy to eat! And actually tastes better than your traditional gummy bears.

So, here’s the recipe:

1/2 cup of very cold water

1/4 cup of corn syrup

2 packets of unflavored gelatin

1 pack of Jell-O

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For our mold, we estimated it at twice the amount of the recipe. It actually filled it perfectly with no leftover. Luck, not planning!

I could probably describe how to make the mixture, but the video has all the details and is fun to watch. You should go watch it!

We prepared the mold (actually an oversize cupcake mold) by clamping the edges together with strong hand clamps.

IMG_3662So, The Kid made up the stuff, we poured it into the mold and set it in the refrigerator and left it overnight. IMG_3663

IMG_3664So, The Kid made up the stuff, we poured it into the mold and set it in the refrigerator and left it overnight.IMG_3665

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IMG_3667The next morning, we ran a large bowl full of hot water (not boiling but as hot as we could get from the tap). He removed the clamps and then dipped the mold into it. Holding there a few seconds and then testing to see if the mold would release the gelatin.IMG_3673

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You can get a good idea how large the mold from these photos. The mold came with the base supposedly to hold the two halfs together (not enough to keep the mixture from oozing out the sides).IMG_3668

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The bear slipped out of the mold quite easily. Flipped it over and set it on the paper plate.

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IMG_3710His ears were the first thing to go! And the rest of him didn’t last too long. It actually tastes like real gummy bears – this was berry blue – and it was yummy!

Recently we tried making another one, even larger, with a similar cake sized pan, but I think we were reaching in its size. We ended up with just the head and we used strawberry Jell-O, so when you opened the refrigerator, there was a disembodied hear staring at you!

That one didn’t last long either! Show me yours if you decide to make one!

julie

Another Dresser Experiment: Pattern Tissue

Wow, I did it again! I have been so busy at work and all that it entails as well as trying to finish up some projects. Then, too, The Kid and I got hooked on watching “Games of Thrones” – I know, I know, way behind the rest of the world! It has seriously eaten into my online time!

But with The Kid’s help, have finished another dresser. I actually am able to work on some of these projects while watching streaming television, I’d have a little more room to work if I gave up and admitted – at least temporarily – quilting defeat! The rescued quilt from that falling down barn is going to have to wait. For now.

I picked up this little dresser at one of my two online auction sites. I love when people overlook these pieces because they seem so flimsy, but in reality, they are quality pieces. I got this one for five dollars, just because no one could see past the missing back, broken rungs and the massive spider egg and web colony being built in it!

A quick cleanup and help from The Kid to fix the rungs and put a solid back on it and it was ready for my magic. After making the Monopoly Dresser, I wanted to try my hand at another cover: sewing pattern tissue paper. I recently inherited some pretty old patterns – circa 1940’s/1950’s in which I placed a couple of the pattern covers in frames to hang in my sewing room.

As most of the patterns were used and cut, so I didn’t see any way to actually use them to make the clothing, so I thought of decorating a little drawer unit to store things in my craft room.

I used thinned Elmer’s white glue and a 1″ paint brush to layer the tissue. I simply kept an eye for more interesting elements in the patterns and layered until I was happy with the look. I like how there are some areas that are a little lighter than others and the old style patterns had heavy cut lines that showed nicely.

I created the handles after a lot of thought as to what to use for knobs. I thought about buttons (very BIG buttons) or other things common to sewing. I had painted some big round wood knobs black, but the paint job wasn’t as smooth as I would have liked, so I scrapped them and went back to the drawer board.

Then inspiration struck! I had The Kid pick up some wooden spools and cut them in half. He ended up with a groove running down the middle, so he cut thin wood to place on the back. Then he added some half inch thick cuts from a 3/4″ dowel, glued it all together and let it dry. Came back to do a little sanding and then a couple of coats of semi-gloss black spray paint and a little more time for the paint to dry.

Aren’t they too cute?!

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So, I’ll keep this short from here and just show you the photos!

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Whaddya think?

julie

A New (Old) Obsession: Monopoly

I don’t know about the rest of you, but Monopoly was a staple in my house growing up. We always had to have more than one game at a time as pieces – and especially tokens – were always walking off. So, we’d buy a second to replenish the first. Or vice versa.🙂

So, it was no stretch of the imagination that I had to collect Monopoly tokens. I have quite a few now, I am guessing somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 or more sets, and some are super neat! I have learned much about the game’s evolution as well… did you know during World War II they didn’t use metal tokens (they needed the metal for the war effort) and wooden tokens were used in the game.

I will have to take some time to photograph all my sets. Most of them live on narrow little shelves in my home office, but recently I have started collecting again, so quite a few reside around the little free space I have around my keyboard.

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But along with collecting the tokens, I ended up with lots of other Monopoly pieces. Game boards, property cards, Chance and Community Chest cards and dice. But mostly? Monopoly money. And I just knew there had to be something fun that I could do with all of it.

I started kind of small, using some of the money to cover a star, boxes and tins. This was easy enough and once dry, I sprayed several coats of an clear sealant over the top.

But, I knew that I had to do something bigger. And once I found an older but sturdy four drawer chest, I knew what was going to happen next!

I started covering the sides with the Monopoly money and realized that covering both sides, the front and the top might be a bit too much. I finished the front and sides and kind of liked the plain white top (primer) but wanted to see what paint I still had in my arsenal. When I kind of squinted my eyes, I could see a lot of yellow/gold and the white, so I wanted to play one of the other three colors: pink, blue or green. When I checked my paint stock, I found a perfect blue (and there was plenty of it!).

There was, of course, the drawers that had to be covered as well. This was all well and good, as I was able to watch movies and do the gluing.

BTW, I simply used slightly watered Elmer’s glue, applied with a 1″ brush. Simply brush on the glue, lay on the bills and brush more glue over the top. It takes a little effort to make it look random and still cover all the surfaces. I tried not to get anything repetitive or lined up and tried to get as many upside down and sideways as right side up.

I left the bills overhang the edges and sides and once dry, simply used a single edged razor blade to make a nice neat edge. I couldn’t believe how easy this was!

Then I moved the cabinet into the garage and painted the top blue. It took several coats to get it saturated and looking really good. I also painted the inside edges of the drawer opens blue as well.

Once it was good and dry, I rolled polyurethane over the entire box and drawer fronts (twice!) for a really glossy finish. It will make everything last a long time too!

Now it was time to put drawer pulls on. It was The Kid who had the idea of making larger versions of Monopoly’s classic houses and hotels. And the houses were cut from 2″x2″ and the hotels from a 2″x4″ that we had in the garage. It was a fairly simple construction using the band saw. I then sanded them smoothly and painted them their iconic colors (standard Rustoleum high gloss paint from The Home Depot).

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We realized that they would need to stick out from the cabinet in order to be grasped, so The Kid cut 1″ dowels into 1/2″ segments and drilled through the centers (and of course painted). They were then glued into the centers of each ‘house’ and ‘hotel’ and by the time I got home from work, they were ready to be attached.

This is one of those jobs that I keep The Kid around for! He is so good about measuring and taking care of the fine details! All that was left was to move it into the sunshine and take photos!

And there it is! I think it would be great for a kid’s room, especially one who loves to play games (real games, not on their computers and phones) or to help organize a family room or rec room. It was just so much fun to make!

This particular piece was made using Monopoly Deluxe Edition money, but I have several different editions (including Junior Monopoly) that I still want to use for something! So much fun!

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Have you done something like this? I’d love to see what you’ve done!

julie

Antique Wardrobe: Once Again in Pinks!

I stumbled across another site in which to buy great pieces of furniture for cheap: MacsBid. I think they’re rather new and as such, you can still get great things for little money. They are local to the Kansas City area, so apologies if you cannot take advantage of this site.

A few weeks ago, I bid on and won this great old wardrobe/dresser piece. Even from just the photos (they do schedule a day for inspection) I could tell this would be a great piece to re-do.

As with most pieces of this age, there were issues with the veneer, but I am fairly experienced to handling that. On the up side, the interior of the hanging portion was lined with cedar and looked to be lightly used. Structurally, it was solid, the drawer guides needed a little love but that was it.

I removed the drawers and the door and its hardware. I taped off the door edges because I knew I wanted to maintain the interior of the wardrobe section.

I then started stripping away any loose veneer and then sanding the areas. I filled in the deeper sections with wood filler and followed with sanding. Lots of sanding! I also had to glue and clamp the trim between the wardrobe and the drawers… its expected that over time moisture and then heat will weaken or dissolve wood glue.

There was lots of sanding and I applied wood filler where and when needed. My arms got a real workout even with an electric sander! I also sanded all the surfaces lightly to achieve the best paint adhesion, including the drawers and door front.

Out came my signature pink paints: the door was color one and then the drawers in order. The cabinet was so thirsty that it took nearly six coats of paint to get good saturation and even coverage. I used the original hinges, just spray painted them silver (originally brass) and then added these adorable flower petal handles (using original holes).

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There was a little adjusting necessary with the drawers, sometimes painting will add moisture and the wood will expand. We simply planed bottoms to preserve the recent painting and they slide quite nicely.

The only thing left is to sell and deliver it to some lucky little (or not so little) girl who loves pink!

Tomorrow marks a slight change in my activities, I am heading back to full time work after being on sabbatical (and recovery from my knee surgeries) for the past fifteen months so once again my creative work will become a little less constant. Although I’ve already two more projects to show you and I’ve been steadily working on both the hand quilting of my ‘found’ quilt and that large needlepoint that I begun oh so long ago! I also have tomatoes started on the deck and this year I am growing potatoes in a barrel! Never a dull moment around here!

Thanks for dropping by!

julie

A Tutorial: How to Make Denim Yarn From Old Denim Jeans

I’ve been working on this one for a while. And boy, am I glad to have this one crossed off my list!

Where to start? I saw a braided wool rug on Pinterest (where else?) and thought that it would look great in denim. So, off I started to figure out how to make the strips to make braids and then (eventually) get it made into a rug.

Of course, the way I envisioned the rug, it would have to be many shades of blue, worn to perfection by being worn. I have always been a big fan of denim quilts, having made many of them, so I know that it all had to start from old pairs of blue jeans. And since The Kid and I are big fans of thrift shopping, so a new item was added to the shopping list. And its great, you can find a variety of sizes and denim qualities and colors easily. And I found jeans in size 58! Do you have any idea how much fabric that is?

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So, I’m getting ahead of myself. I did a test and took pictures so that I could write a tutorial on how to turn old jeans into a braided rug.

  1. Collect from your closets old and unworn jeans. You can also get them from friends and co-workers; I once posted a note in a common area and my co-workers rewarded me with over two dozen pair! Also, as noted, I also buy them from thrift stores; keep an eye open for when they run specials… in this case, the two pairs of jeans I bought were on a day when the thrift shop had half off orange tags:

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2. Next, you have to harvest the fabric. I created a tutorial on how to do this with the least amount of waste, you can see it here. This is what I have when I finished taking apart this pair of jeans:

3. Because I am a quilter, I have a cutting mat and rotary cutter, but you could achieve the same results with scissors. Cut the fabric into 3″ strips, maneuvering the material to get the most uninterrupted strips. I find that this does not have to be cut on the grain, in fact, there is more ‘give’ later when you’re braiding if you do not.

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4. Cut the strips, using all the fabric. I collect the smaller pieces and have used them in making denim quilts.

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5. You’ll want to trip edges to make them even, including the top strip even though you will only get about 8″ of fabric that measures 3″ wide.

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This represents all of the strips from this single pair of jeans and the scraps.

6. I then separated the strips into three piles roughly equal and joined the strips with a single zigzag stitch along the edges. This resulted in each of the three pieces being about XXX” long.

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7. Now, moving to the ironing board, we’re going to turn these strips into binding by turning the two edges to meet in the middle and then ironing in place:

8. This sets the crease making it easier to then sew together. Moving now to your sewing machine, I fold the two folded edges together…

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…and sew a seam a scant eighth of an inch from the edge. This locks the rough edges inside and will reduce the amount of fraying and lengthen the life of your rug. I found this to be a process that requires special attention, as you’re sewing through about four layers (and up to eight on seams), so I had to guide it through the tough areas or I would be looking at multiple broken threads on each length. I also used a heavy duty thread to minimize breaks.

9. At this point, you need to repeat the last couple of steps until all your strips have been turned into (what I referred to as) denim yarn. It is then ready to turn into a rug.

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Each of these lengths are approximately 39 feet. In this case, since it is a single pair of jeans, the color is uniform, but if you’re making lots of denim yard for a large rug, vary the color and value will result in a more interesting rug. The older the denim is, by the way, will also result in a softer rug under foot.

10. I overlapped but offset the ends of the three pieces of denim yard and sewed them securely.

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11. Then it is time to braid!

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I had my son hold the ends with a pliers so that I could really tug hard as I braided, but you could also loop it over a door or some other brilliant way (share with me how you do it!). I then braided the three lengths.

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I simply clipped the ends together and then wound the braid into a circle. The total length of the braid was just under 39 feet and ended up being a circle with a diameter of 12 inches. I didn’t take a lot of time winding it, but normally I would take more time to make the braid lay flat and sew them together while winding.

So, there are the instructions for making denim yarn and turning into braid. I’ve been working on my yarn for some time and started with this prepared bundles:

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The step I left out of the instructions that I used here, was to wind the three inch lengths of fabric into rolls to make it easier to work with. I found after a while that the 39/40 feet length was about as long as I wanted to make the yarn and still be able to easily work with it without tangling. I think it is a matter of preference and offer the length that works for me. I also started sewing about four inches down on each length (and end about 4 inches before the other end), so later when I begin braiding, I can quickly connect the lengths and continue braiding.

Many hours of ironing and sewing went into turning those rolls into this yarn (isn’t there some beautiful variances in color?):

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Which when tidied up and stacked neatly looks like this:

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The next step is to start braiding!

julie

Finally! The Grand Reveal of the Church Table

I have a bad habit (sometimes) of starting projects that take me a while to get around to finishing. Actually in this case, I actually did finish it, but have been wafting back and forth about a final finishing piece. That, and I never got around to taking the final pictures either. And because of its sheer combined size, it isn’t like I can just drag it out and set it up and shoot the photos… and I always used the excuse about that final flourish to put it off.

Well, time is up for procrastinating. This coming weekend, my neighborhood is having one of its two annual garage sale weekends. I’ve combed the house and really collected from every nook and cranny anything that I could live without. I have to admit that lately the house has been creaking from the excess that I’ve collected these past years. We’re going to have a really big sale!

So, since we’re already using the driveway as a sales floor, I might as well as to it some of the furniture projects that I’ve recently completed. Including the dining room table and its eight chairs, as well as the the matching sideboard. So, me and The Kid dragged it all out and arranged it artfully on the lawn (partially on the neighbor’s lawn too) and took photos.

I’ll just start with photos… now that I have them!

DSCN4529The table was made by combining a salvaged door that I picked up from a Catholic church that was closing its school. The door was from the main office and I could only imagine had been pushed open by the hands of hundreds of little kids in cute school uniforms.

I removed the hardware, replaced the holes with wood and sanded, sanded, sanded. The more layers of varnish I removed, the more beautiful the wood I was revealing. The Kid helped in creating the skirt and attaching the legs, but we simply recreated the same mechanism that held together my original oak table that was purchased when I first got married (it still is working to this day!). Before we attached it to the door, it was painted my favorite shade of red. (Have I mentioned that I love red?)

The chairs were all from the same Catholic school… all of these were well worn, used and loved by students from that school. It took hours of sanding to remove doodlings and scratches but unbelievably, there was not a single wad of gum stuck under the seats!

As you can see, six of the chairs became red, but wanted to create accent piece (or in this case, pieces). What better color to contrast with red than turquoise?

Even better, I created a piece to accompany it. A mid-century piece, this is all wood. The drawers have dove-tailed construction and great detailing typical of the fifties. I love the spiral details on either side and I was able to fit it with a great set of vintage hardware that I painted black. The Kid and I have refurb’d many dressers and desk drawers, so bringing this piece was no challenge. The drawers glide beautifully and silently on their tracks and fit within their frames nicely.

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This is one of those times when I wish my house was empty (and I didn’t love my replacement round dining room table)! This sideboard rivals even my newly built piece, although mine has a little bit nicer top.

DSCN1864So, finally, I can mark this one off the list. Now just to get it sold and be able to reclaim the space in my garage would be the icing on that cake!

julie

Thinking Big… Maybe Too Big?

I have a bad habit of always going big when I take on a project. My first quilt project was to contain 2,000 different fabrics in a charm quilt to celebrate the new millennium. (That one isn’t done, BTW). The first time I wanted to really try a cross stitch project, the canvas was two feet by three feet (that’s big for cross stitch). That one too, isn’t done. My first (faux) stained glass project was about six foot by three foot… that one did get finished. The American Girl doll house I built was 48 square feet and stood over seven feet. Also done (and sold)! Even if the projects are quite so big, I tend to go a little overboard on the project materials… you’ve seen photos of my sewing/quilt room, yes? I literally have enough fabric to open my own shop.🙂

So, one of the more recent projects that is in progress is a braided denim rug. One of the things I like to try to do is having little projects within the bigger one that I can write posts about. So, this one started with how to harvest the most denim from old blue jeans. I actually wrote that one up as an “instructable” and you can see it here. Then over the course of a couple of months, I collected used blue jeans and harvested as many three inch strips as I could.

DSCN4263.JPGIt was a long process, but I was able to do most of the deconstruction while watching old movies or binge watching my favorite television series. Over a hundred pairs of jeans (lost count during collecting) were used and I was able to sell the carefully removed back pockets on eBay for almost a hundred dollars!

The next step was to create long strips… I wasn’t – and still aren’t – sure how long the rolls should be and what would be the easiest length to work with. After all, braiding tends to tangle while working… I will just have to be conscious of it while working. I ended up creating mostly the same length… just guessing at it while I was sewing. Some ended up longer than others and there are a couple of kind of short ones. The should be easiest enough to shorten when I start braiding if they turn out to be too long.

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After this, I rolled all the strips into coils… this photo is most of them. Whew! This alone was the endeavor. I rolled about half by hand… just round and round. The Kid, being inventive and with a slight allergy to repetitious work, came up with the idea of rolling them using a power drill. I just love the way his brain works!

The next step is to turn these strips into the “yarn” for braiding. I am basically turning it into binding… folding the edges in and “setting” them with an iron. Then, I fold this in half and sew it with a long stitch. It took some time and trials to figure out how to sew over this much bulk, especially the seams, without constantly breaking the threads but using a heavy duty thread – actually a hand quilting thread – finally was the answer. That and coaxing the seams through by hand. I then let it fall over the edge and into a basket on the floor:

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So, far, I’ve managed to empty the with the least amount of coils. It is a bit of a long slow process. I don’t have the slightest idea of how to estimate the amount of yarn that I will need to complete the rug. Actually, I’m not sure how big I even want the rug to be!

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What I want to do is do a smaller, controlled experiment. Choose a specific number of pairs of jeans, say, 5 or perhaps ten and harvest the denim and create the yarn. That way, I know exactly how much will be needed to create the braids and how much it will produce as far as a rug size is concerned.

I’m also planning a very detailed tutorial, from start to finish. I guess this post is an attempt at trying to explain why lately I haven’t been able to post regularly. All the projects that I have in progress follow the same template… much too big to complete quickly or easily! And definitely too big to write about easily in a single post.🙂

But, and speaking of this blog, I do have a milestone to announce. I don’t really actively promote this blog and it was really an experiment to see if I could do this as well as learn about the technical aspects of creating, producing and maintaining a blog. Sort of helps me in my “normal” nine-to-five job. But I always am doing creative type things and if my writing and photos help or inspire someone else, then great!

Screen Shot 2016-03-29 at 1.54.02 PMSo, I’ve surpassed the 100,000 mark with visitors! To be honest, I thought if I could maintain the blog for a year and have 5,000 visitors, I’d be successful. Who’da thunk?

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