The Hallway is Clear!

So, I finally have some clarity and time to write this post. If you’ve been reading, you probably realize that the first of two knee replacement surgeries has been completed. I am writing this from my hospital bed!

I finished up the last of crafting organization, ostensibly to clear all the walking obstructions since I will be using first a walker and then crutches during rehab and recovery.

I have a bad habit of collecting too much whenever I start a new project. So, when I found a very cheap way of getting jewelry supplies, I really overdid it. My initial project to display this was novel idea of using an old typesetter drawer and small glass bottles.

What I found however, was that it didn’t even put a dent the amount of supplies that I had. I’ve been working on more of these in the past months,

DSCN4326And all of this was after I created several more shelving units similar to that first one. But I kept pushing and finally have the majority of it stored. Along with the new cabinet that I made (more later on that project) and got it all moved down to the landing to clear the hallway That effectively leads from the master bedroom to the kitchen.

Checking into the hospital for surgery really threw a wrench into plans, but I think it works for now. Or at least until the majority of my recovery is complete.

Wow! Completing the list! (I’m Really Doing It!)

I have been running around like a crazy person, completing all of my necessary pre-op work and tests while trying to complete my own personal project list.

When I realized that I would need to do certain things in my house to make it easier for me to get around once I have both my knee surgeries, I made a list. I think originally, there was about 12 or 14 things and I may have added one or two while working, but I am down to really only one big thing that needs to be done. For me, that is nothing short of amazing! Of course, I have had to pour on tons of self restraint not to pick up more projects or supplies, but I have been able to do it! Wow! I am very pleased with myself (if I have to say so myself!!)! Ha!

So, tonight, I check off three more projects. Its sort of more projects but in the end it is three end pieces, so I will call it three.

First, I picked up a dresser-styled chest of drawers a while back that I knew I wanted to keep. Somewhere in the past couple of years, a chest of drawers that I brought with me from California that was part of my quest suite got sold. It was a weird set of events that had me selling a project dresser twice – so the piece I already owned was substituted. Ever since that, I had been on the lookout for a replacement. I knew it had to be very high quality and had to have tons of personality. I had a cheap piece, more of a dresser, in the bedroom for a while, just to have a place to store crap.

So, the piece I eventually found was this:

Can you believe this? Someone gave this piece away! I was so lucky to have been watching CraigsList almost at the time he listed it. He said my email came less than six minutes after he posted the ad and he had gotten over two dozen responses!

There was only one small repair necessary and the top was in sad shape. You can’t really tell from the photos, but it was beyond saving. But since my guest bedroom is white with blue accents, it was destined to become white anyway.

RetroDresser Before&After copySo, this dresser was picked up along the way and painted white just as a place holder. So, over the last couple of days, I emptied the drawers and slowly brought it down. Trust me, when you are working with two bad knees and a stair case, everything becomes slower!

The new piece was painted carefully with the most purest white in a high gloss finish. To get it even and covered, it took five coats! I didn’t want to rush it though and wanted to do whatever it took to get it right. This piece was for me and I want it to last a long time.

I went back and forth with how to paint the top of the chest. To keep the drawers working the best (behind the doors) I finally decided to keep the wood stain. But in figuring out how to paint it so that it was all white with the doors closed, it took a bit of figuring. But at long last, it was done and moved into its home back in the guest room.

2016-01-23 22.44.13Here are a few more photos of the finished piece:DSCN4296

With that done, I need to get rid of the first dresser. Because the pink scheme sells well and I have all the necessary paint and tools, it was an easy decision.

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(In the middle of writing this, I had to upload all my pictures from my phone and camera and then organize them! It can take so long to get a single post written!)

Next up is a cute little end table that I had hoped to become the base of a small cabinet. It didn’t quite work out, so I opted just to paint it and I’ll get rid of it on CraigsList.

DSCN4323.JPGNext, is the little cabinet next to this table in the photo above.

It started life as a blonde desk:

2015-07-16 19.54.53With The Kid’s help, we were able to convert it into just a cabinet, sans desk and legs. It was finished in my favorite shade of glossy red and fitted with new legs and matching cup holder pulls.

DSCN4319Well, this has been a long day and an even longer week. Still so much to write about too! And I am nervous about next week and the dual surgeries and important that I get lots of rest. So I am going to put my feet up and watch some mindless television while I go get some more ideas from Pinterest!

julie

Two Words: Prewound Bobbins

So, I am working diligently to get everything done and organized before surgery, now just nine days away. Wow… I am both so excited and terrified at the same time!

But work continues on the braided rug made of old jeans. After finishing cutting and harvesting denim from more than a hundred and fifty pairs of jeans… probably closer to two hundred. I’ve sold the back pockets on eBay for a nice little bit and I’ve sewed together all the inseams and bottom seams and have (mostly) fashioned them into bags and purses. I say mostly because I’ve still to find a tailor or perhaps shoe repair place that can do the final seams and attach handles as my somewhat specialty sewing machines just can’t do more than twelve layers of denim and/or leather (handles or straps). I am excited about finishing them though, they are going to be trĂ© chic when they are complete.

The three inch strips of denim are, for the most part, now combined to form reasonable lengths. It took some time and experimentation to figure it out, but I’ve landed on a length that I think will be most productive when I start braiding. I’m taking lots of photos and making tons of notes, I think I am going to do a in-depth tutorial on creating these rugs from start to finish, that is, starting at the very start to include collecting jeans and harvesting the fabric all the way through to the finished rug. So, I won’t put too much of that into these posts pre-tutorial.

IMG_3480But I did do something that I thought I’d never do while in the process of turning the three inch strips into the finished strip for braiding. And that was to buy pre-wound bobbins.

s-l1600I don’t know why, exactly, I hesitated to do so, maybe something leftover from an early home-ec class or something about being thrifty and always winding your own bobbins. And heaven knows that I have enough bobbins and don’t really need to invest in more. But I found that with all the basic sewing that I’ve been doing, I have been just going through tons of bobbins and to sit and wind bobbins seems to be the most essential waste of time. Additionally, the pre-wound bobbins that I purchased seem to be wound very efficiently, that is to say, it seems to be twice as much thread on the bobbins than when I wind them, so I find that I am not changing bobbins as often. Which is awesome… again with the amount of basic sewing I am doing, nothing is as irritating just getting into a groove of sewing just to have the bobbin run out. And as my machine is overdue for maintenance, the bobbin sensor is getting in the habit of not alerting me and I find that I can run through feet of sewing before I realize that its not stitching! Argh!

So, here is officially my stamp of approval on pre-wound bobbins. They’re not overtly expensive (I get mine off eBay), they save me both time and frustration and they are help saving my sanity! Can’t think of better reasons to use them!

So, do you use pre-wound bobbins? I’d love to get the impressions of others who do a lot of sewing. Ever tried them? What’s your take?

julie

 

Forever in Blue Jeans

So, I’ve finished (for now) cutting all the blue jeans collected into three inch strips. I had set aside all the remaining pieces for making jean quilts. I’ve been working up the courage to start the rag rug… for whatever crazy reason, I always seem to go overboard when putting together the materials necessary for a project. Based on the tutorial I saw online for the rug, I now estimate that the amount of material that I have put together, I think I will probably end up with a forty foot diameter rug! I don’t know what it is that always makes me overestimate everything, but it seems that every project I work on, I do this.

DSCN4264This is the strips I’ve made… this has got to be the result of at least a hundred pairs of jeans and then some. I pick up pairs of jeans and just the denim material where ever I go, and recently procured a bunch when I picked up all that material free from CraigsList. And it was only recently that I started saving the back pockets – and I now have more than 100 pairs – so, I know that there were more pairs of jeans than those.

I made a “test” rug using 1 inch strips, that did not pan out too well. However, I think that fact that it was smaller was part of the problem. I need to fold the three inch strips into itself, so that the rough edges are hidden. I have been considering doing the folding and sewing it closed that way, but just haven’t decided.

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Anyway, I sat down and just started sewing the denim scraps. At first, it was just to get an idea of how well it would work, but after a while, I just got lost in it. I started watching Alfred Hitchcock’s 1950’s series and kept sewing. I was working with 7″ cotton squares as a starting point. On and off sewing over the past week or so, and I’ve finally made my way through the majority of the denim scraps. I didn’t want to make any squares with too many seams, the denim gets thick quickly and I know longarms don’t love to hit those seams where the material is thicker than four layers or so. I decided to make the squares as simple as possible and to keep those intersecting seams to a minimum.

IMG_6897Yesterday, I used the last really good piece of denim and stacked them and did a count.

IMG_0296That’s 422! At 10 x 10 squares – about 70″ x 70″, that would make at least four quilts! I was thinking about working with some colored denim – red, I think – as a medallion pieces and then placing the blue denim squares on point around it.I briefly considered double sided quilts, but then I would be right back to the problem of thickness and seams. And that each quilt would weigh like a hundred pounds! Ha!

Now that I’ve used up the scraps, however, leaves me with trying to finish up my other projects before surgery. Just three weeks now before the scheduled date and I’ve still a handful of projects to complete in the garage. I am making headway on them, but the temperatures in the 20’s have made it a bit cold to be working in the garage. It should be a bit warmer today though.

The dresser and the nightstands sold quickly, within a day of posting them. Yeah! My foyer is getting emptier although I still seem to have the red desk. Even before I painted it, it was one of those pieces that just doesn’t seem to appeal to anyone. It is a great little piece, and I have lowered the price to the point where I won’t make any money on it. I wish I had a place for it myself, as it is beautiful, but alas, I do not.

And I am just waiting on the pneumatic stapler that I ordered online so that I can finish up my upholstery projects. More denim! And that should clear the final pieces from the foyer and the garage. It should be simple at that point to re-arrange the final stuff in the garage to get two cars back into the space initially designed for cars!

I’ve got a couple of small project lined up to keep me busy while I am working on the last couple of big projects. Seems like it is both taking forever and time is just whizzing by while I wait for this upcoming surgery! And in the same way, I am both excited and terrified about it!

julie

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