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?

Pink Ombré: Can You Stand More?

I don’t care how many times I do the pink ombré paint scheme, I still love it. And so do you, judging on how quickly the pieces sell and the comments and reviews they get!

So, in case you’re new to the blog, or haven’t been here in a while, I am in the mode of completing projects without starting any new ones. In about three weeks, I will have the first of two knee surgeries  a week apart and one thing that will be important is that I have unencumbered access around my house – be in a walker or crutches. Either way, as I completed six to eight weeks of physical therapy, I need to make sure that I can safely navigate my house. And all these projects stacked up in my dining room, my kitchen, my living room and specifically the garage do not allow safe access. So, I am working diligently to complete them all.

This weekend I was able to complete two more projects. The first is this long dresser. Originally I wanted to turn it either into two smaller individual dressers or turn it into a bench with drawer space. Sort of like this:

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However, with the completion of the pew, I no longer have the space for such a piece of furniture. Although it would sell quite easily, I may try to do this later next year.

Instead, this dresser:

00c0c_aT2b4lrh71c_300x300became this:

DSCN4282Yesterday those adorable flower petal handles finally arrived via eBay. The Kid took the time to put them on last night so that I could take photos and write about them today.

I also used those same knobs on this project:

DSCN4285These pieces actually started life as:

IMG_0163This sweet little vanity was purchased with the hope of becoming a piece for my master bedroom makeover, but, well, life got in the way here too. I think this would be a great compliment to the four poster bed I did a while back. The drawers are the same colors as each post. 🙂

DSCN4242I had primed these cabinets in white, which I think were okay with the pale pink color that it was painted, but I really do need to invest in more primer for red and the darker shades of pink. I am a firm believer in using the right tools and supplies for a superior end product.

Another project that I was able to complete since I had the painting supplies out, is this little holder. I do a lot of faux stained glass painting and find that having the bottles upside down to keep the material at the tip is handy. So, I whipped out some more paint stir sticks and just sort of roughly laid them out to where I thought I needed them around the bottles. Then I drilled the holes large enough to allow the cap to sit securely without being wobbly or too tight. Then it just got a coat of red paint.

I keep threatening, but soon I am going to write a post just about projects that I made using paint stir sticks. Dang, those are handy!

DSCN4272So, here is a view of what’s left in the garage. I had to order a new pneumatic stapler to finish the bench (forefront) with denim cover and there is the other large chest of drawers. I am going to keep this one for my guest bedroom… it is needed to hold some of the specialty fabrics that I have no room for in my sewing room. Then, that leaves only the Scrabble table and one more bench (made from a headboard). This should should pretty much clear out the garage and I will be able to get my sports car bedded down for the remainder of winter. We finally had snow here in the Kansas City area and my little red guy is covered in the white stuff.

Of course, that is the garage! Now, if all my pieces sell that would take care of the foyer too. But I have projects going on in my sewing room too! But that should take care of getting safely around the house anyway!

A few more photos to close out this post:

julie

 

Another Round of Dressers and Benches

Sometimes it seems that if I didn’t stay organized, I could easily be tempted to just kick back on the couch and watch streaming movies and work on my cross stitch. And speaking of, I have managed to get more completed – I figure I am about 30 – 35% completed. I have to make sure that I did a little work on it continuously, I don’t want it to go unfinished.

Today, The Kid and I worked on the head- and foot-boards, turning them into benches. They are turning out pretty cool, although I am having some difficulty in figuring out what color to paint them. I briefly entertained the idea of sanding them down and refinishing them, but they have those round spindles and I don’t particularly enjoying sanding, staining or painting anything round… so, painting it is.

2015-03-26 13.41.54I picked these up in an auction for a mere ten dollars. I totally could see the potential. I am now getting probably thirty or forty percent of my pieces through this auction business.

2015-04-02 19.53.18I love working with The Kid. He is so talented when it comes to wood working and he has experience with all different tools. Thankfully, we continue to purchase better and new tools all the time; with funds from sales of finished products.

6961-1This piece is a very nice dresser purchased from the auction site. After we started taking the drawers out, we found that three out of the five drawers needed serious attention. In fact, on the of the drawers actually came in five pieces; thankfully all of the pieces were there and in good shape, just a matter of gluing it all back together.

2015-04-02 19.53.47Tomorrow I get to start sanding. This purple paint on the cabinet and drawer fronts is peeling badly and I need to get all of that knocked down before I can start priming.

Another little project that I’ve been working on is another faux stained glass. I keep an eye out for interesting material; mirrors, glass, unique wood pieces, what have you. This project was a result of a large slab of glass I picked up.

First, I picked out some wonderful clip art, worked with it a bit until I had a design I liked. Then had the design printed onto a full size sheet of paper and laid the glass on top. (This has been sitting on my kitchen island for at least two weeks and I am sure that my family is getting tired or working around it!)3Hearts 17.5x43

Then it was a matter of laying down the faux leading… this turned out to be a lot of exacting work. I made it a point to lay a few pieces every time I came into the kitchen.2015-03-26 15.51.18

Finally! The leading is done. Whew! I thought I would know what colors I would want to finish this piece with by the time I got to this point, but I am conflicted on whether doing them all red or all pink. Or maybe one pink and one red and one white. Perhaps two red and one pink? I am still thinking about it.

DSCN3236And speaking of colors, here is how the paint chip cards look in the morning light. While I was leaning to the left bottom color in evening light, this morning I am leaning towards the right middle color this morning. I am planning to just live with the chips for a while. Would love to hear your comments!

photoWell, I need to update tomorrow’s list and get ready to hit the hay.

julie

Started A Hundred Things… But Getting Nothing Completed!

Ever have one of those days or weeks or maybe even months? Ever since I’ve been back from vacation, it seems that I have been having the hardest time keeping on track to completing projects.

Lots of things started… between the new furniture pieces and my quilting, it would seem that I have a hundred irons in the fire. But there seems to be so many things preventing me from getting the projects completed.

So, first up is the blonde bedroom set we picked up about a hundred years ago (it sure seems like it!!). We had a chest of drawers, a dresser with a mirror and a head- and foot-board. All was in pretty good shape with the exception of a missing drawer and another drawer broken (but it at least had the drawer front). In trying to determine if we could recreate the missing drawer (we had taken the head and foot boards for just that purpose), we determined that it would be too much work. So, we’re going to cut the dresser in half, going from a six drawer to a three drawer unit.

2015-03-02 17.37.32While The Kid works on that, I have taken the other drawers and chests and head- and foot-boards and given everything a nice sanding and patched holes and gouges. It is really a very nice set, well built. I remember my parent’s having a similar set, I would place it sometime in the 50’s, when blonde furniture was all the rage.

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Here’s the headboard… I think this is going to be finished in pinks, they seem to sell well. I think the wood corner pieces will be one color and the remainder of the drawer a lighter color.2015-03-02 17.38.20In addition to this piece of furniture, we have a three drawer dresser with a different feature. Originally, there was a large slab of granite on top, which had broke. We’ve fit the top with a bottom and then it will have a clear plastic top, in essence creating a narrow shadow box. I think it will also be the pale pink, and for photos I am going to use doll clothes or something to show off the use of it. I think that this will sell quite quickly.

One more piece that we’re working on is a media cabinet that will become just a three drawer dresser. I really like this one, mostly because it was made using mostly wood and not a lot of that junk fiberboard. We’re going to cut at the top of the inside drawer and once again, sand, detail and paint it. This might be a more neutral color, perhaps white.2015-03-02 17.37.57Oh, what else? I feel like I’ve been so lax in writing lately, and that there is so much to get caught up. Let me show you a couple of pics of the garage:

2015-03-06 18.44.29 2015-03-06 18.44.19Oh yes, I won two sets of headboards and footboards from an online auction place, we’re going to use them to make those cute little bench seats. The last one I did sold very quickly and had a lot of interest and was so easy to put together. You can see them in the photo above to the very left.

At least the weather has been very nice the last few days. Which was great timing since we just ran out of kerosene for our garage heater!

In the house, I have a couple more projects in the works. Of course, you all know about the cross stitch. I suppose you are all just sick of hearing about that! I warned you!

But I also started digging through the junk in my home office recently. You all know that at times I will get frustrated with a mess and will stop working just to get things organized. Well, my home office had finally reached mission critical!

I have two boxes of the stuff that I take to my “real” jobs… the kind of things that make computer work just that much nicer. For instance, I have a custom keyboard and mouse, photos of The Kid, my own pens and markers and calligraphy pens. When I finish a job, I just throw the stuff into a box and wait for the next job. But they’ve started to drive me crazy, as once there is one or two boxes, they seem to just invite more clutter.

One of the things I had under all that clutter were my Lego Mini-Figs. If you are not a Lego fan, just do a Google search on the words “Lego Mini-Figs” and you will see what I mean. Along with PEZ dispensers, it is one of those things that The Kid and I collect together. He plays with his, mine are meant to be showcased.

So, now that I had a decent amount, I started to work on putting them into a shadow box. I ordered black 2×2 blocks for the mini-figs to “stand” on and once they arrived, I started working on the layout. Ever notice that when you’re anxiously awaiting the delivery of something it seems to take so much longer than it should?!

2015-03-06 18.44.57I’ll give you an update when I get closer to being done.

Another collection: cut glass crystal. I found that I had some pieces without lids and some lids without bottoms. So, now I’ve begun this whole other search to find mates for these pieces. Yeah, like I don’t have enough to do already. <<Sigh>>

2015-03-06 18.44.48I did manage to find the right pieces, though, for another small cake/cupcake tray. That ostensibly was the reason for looking for doomed lids, in order to create these small cake/cupcake plates. But I don’t really need a reason. Now do I?2015-03-06 18.45.07And of course, the faux stained glass jars. I’ve done quite a few of these, and because we tend to find these bottles when we’re out abandoned house hunting, it is fun to turn them into night lights or ambient lighting. I thought I would do one in shades of pink. Offer it up when someone buys the furniture pieces we’re doing in the ombré style using pink. I like it even more with the micro-glitter with the faux stained glass.

Another development on the quilting front. I am a pretty prolific quilter but recently the woman who does the longarm quilting for me, my friend Gloria, opted to retire from providing this service to me. I’ve been doing some searching and also some investigative work into whether I might just invest in a longarm machine and do the quilting myself. I pulled together all the incomplete quilt tops that I could find and I have just over 50 tops (with their matching backs) ready to be quilted. This doesn’t include 6 denim quilts that are a special challenge. And today, I uncovered a bunch (maybe as many as 20) of tops that don’t have their backs prepared yet. And I know that I have blocks cut for probably another dozen or so.

Okay, so, I think I found a young lady kind of local who I am going to take for a test drive. I’ve sent her two fairly large quilt tops and backs and given her carte blanche to do what she wants with them. If it works out – and she does seem to have the most infectious energy! – then I am going to drive down and meet her, delivering to her another 50! (Hi Becky!!) I have such good feelings about this.

Whew! After almost nothing from me for weeks, I think I might have gone a little overboard! Ha! Feast or famine! I will try to do better about providing more consistent updates.

Oh, one more thing and then I will be done. Promise. One of the cut glass crystal pieces that I found and bought was for trifles or layered meat dishes. I had always thought they were called “truffles” but I am wrong. I have a recipe for a potato and roast beef thing, but of course, I started with a trifle. Oreo Cookie Trifle.

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This has Oreo cookies, vanilla cream, crushed Oreo cookies, whipped cream, mini Oreo cookies and an Oreo cookie crust bottom. This should probably be called “Death By Oreo Cookies” or something. My blood sugar is rising just thinking about cutting into it!!2015-03-06 18.26.05Thanks for dropping by!

julie

Wonderful World of Paint Stir Sticks

A while back I ran across some decorating schemes using paint sticks. I’ve been using paint sticks for many things, from whole projects to repair. The one I am going to show you today was actually The Kid’s idea. He came up with the idea and did all the work. I am so impressed, and happy too.

DSCN2386See, this is how I’ve been storing my glass paints. I started with those tubs, left over from cookie dough, but I soon filled them up and expanded to a small cardboard box. But when that overflowed, I knew I would have to do something a little more ‘constructive’. I started talking about it with The Kid, mentioned that I had a few dresser drawers that might work, but left the design and build to him.

And this is what he came up with:

DSCN2387This is a bunch of paint stir sticks. Lots of cuts and glue. But this is so cool! I loaded it with the paint bottles head in, so that I could see the color from the bottom. It also keeps the glue at the tip, which is handy since you’re not supposed shake this paint, so keeping the paint at the tip makes it easier to use right out of the box.

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I buy paint from Home Depot constantly, so I don’t feel bad about taking a handful each time I go it. You can see the branding in orange paint.

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Here it is loaded up. The dividers are placed with just a hint of a downward angle, to keep the bottles from falling out when moving it. He added a handle to the top to move it easily.

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This is a little chart that I put together (work in progress) that shows all of the different colors of paint dry. I have found DSCN2393that this is essential, as many of the colors look nothing like you might imagine they would be dry. I have had to remove some paint on a couple of projects when I found that the color dry was nothing like the color wet. I have a list of the colors and their numbers that gets stored behind the frame. Its an interesting piece of art all on its own, I think.

So, I had promised to write a few posts about what I use paint stir sticks for. This is the first. I also used them a lot when building the doll house, especially in the kitchen. I glue them side by side and then use them as thin, yet strong boards.

In thess photos, the fronts of the bottom cabinets and the little cabinet next to the fridge were built using the stir sticks. Also the pub table and stools. They are made of 100% pine, so they are wood, and can be used in any way that one would use wood. At least in small portions. Which when working in the scale of doll houses, is perfect.

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The little wood box next to the fireplace was another project. I’ve made numerous and varied sizes of boxes, sometimes just to hold supplies.     DSCN1893

The doors and shelves were a perfect place to use the paint stick wood. Nice and thin, yet strong and paint-able. The perfect size when working in miniatures.

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Some more shots of the wood as it was used:

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DSCN1876I find that whenever I go to Home Depot – which is often – I stop by the paint department (if I am not already going to that department specifically) just for a handful of sticks. And sometimes I even use them to stir paint!

We’re having a wet and cool stormy day here in the Midwest and I am thinking that not much is going to get done. At least not anything outdoors.

julie

 

 

PS…for those interested, I am not being paid for nor sponsored in any way for the mention of any products or stores in this post. I just like the way that these particular products work and want to share with you!

The Apple of My Eye: Kitchen Stained Glass

One of the things that drew me to my house was the use of arched windows. They add some real drama to the front of the house. I have one in the kitchen and it allows some really wonderful light to flow into the space. (Excuse my messy kitchen!)

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A few years ago, I noticed though, that the arch of the window had something happening between the panes of the glass. I pretty much ignored it. Most of the time it wasn’t even noticeable, or more accurately, I didn’t notice it.

But recently, it seems that it has kind of taken over the window and I looked into it. Seems that this isn’t repairable, it has to be replaced and this is an expensive window. I would either have to bite the bullet or live with it. Things have been a little tight when it comes to be expenditures, so I knew that I would have to live with it. But the work I have been doing with the faux stained glass paint made me think I could at least dress up the window or at least hide the issue.

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I did a Google search on red and white stained glass and stumbled over this image:Stained Glass - Red & White Design_001I knew that this would be a perfect starting point for my design. And isn’t the red and white striking? So I made a online template and then played with options until I got it just right.

So, I had the Kid tape sheets of paper together and cut me a perfect size and shape template and I took it to a glass place and had a piece of 1/8″ glass cut. Then, using the same materials that I use in all of the faux stained glass, although this time I took to using larger bottles of paint and longer strips of the ‘leading’.

DSCN2056So, I started by laying out the edge leading, two rows about two inches wide. I really just eyeball it, I like any imperfections that come out of a less-than-strict way of doing this.

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DSCN2055Next came the center image. I toyed with using the Apple Macintosh logo, since I am a big fan, but when I bounced the idea off the Kid, he thought not. Years ago, prompted by my love and use of Macs, people started giving me Apples, in all shapes, sizes and materials. I haven’t been able to display the entire collection since we moved here (still working the logistics – am thinking a built in cabinet in a nook at the bottom of the staircase) and I have a few of the apples in my kitchen around the sink. So, having an red apple in the center of this piece just made sense.

I found an image online and increased the size until it was just right and then printed it. I slipped the paper under the glass and then used the liquid leading. Its a little more difficult to use and practice does help, you really just have to go slow and steady.

DSCN2057Once it has dried, it was just a matter of filling in all of the areas with paint. Everything got two coats to make all the of the paint colors more vivid. Then the piece around the apple was filled with Crystal Clear and if you use the tip to put bumps and ridges in it as you apply it, when it dries it has a more authentic look.

After a few days of drying time, it was time to place the piece. Since I really didn’t want it to be permanent, I sized it to fit inside of the most inner trim of the window and used mirror clips to hold the mirror.

And here is the final look:DSCN2187I am very happy with how this project turned out. It is tough getting a photo of a window with the light shining through, and the piece really just shines. It is a real focus point in the room.

I liked so much how this came out, that I am doing another larger window sized piece. This time on another favorite red and white item: images-1I already have all the leading completed. Not sure where it will go, but I am sure that it will turn out wonderful!

julie

PS…for those interested, I am not being paid for nor sponsored in any way for the mention of any products in this post. I just like the way that these particular products work and want to share with you my success.

Taking the “Pane” out of Making Stained Glass

You can thank the Kid for the title of this post. I just love his quirky sense of humor… gets that from me, I suspect.

I promised to give you some tips and hints about using glass paint to make faux stained glass. I have been using the products from Plaid, their Gallery Glass line. Of their product line, I have used both the glass paint and the “leading” strips. I stumbled onto their products at an estate sale, purchasing a large box of craft products ostensibly for the beads and paint and some other items. But since I now had the supplies, curiosity got the better of me and I set off to figure out how to use it.

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After much trial and error – including the mistake that the paint was to be brushed on – I finally got the hang of using the paint. I’ve gotten quite adept at using it with some very nice results.

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DSCN1996This particular glass contained was a 99¢ glass vase from a thrift store. I liked that the edges were rounded. I started with the leading strips, these particular ones are an eighth319OU8-c8+L inch wide. They are adhesive that once applied are able to be adjusted for a few days. But once they have been on the glass for a few days, they are permanent. I started but running lead around the top and bottom and then divide the space with an additional one or two lines. Then as it appeals to me, I make vertical and diagonal lines. I use a razor blade or exacto knife to get the joints very tight. I continue until I am satisfied.

DSCN1997Then it is time to add the color. Don’t be afraid to fill into the blank spaces with a lot of paint, the thicker and wavier you make the paint, the more distorted and “stained glass-like” it will appear. I like to lay the piece on its side and fill in all of the areas that are presented. The glass is dry to the touch in a few hours but can be disturbed if touch or scratched. I like to let the paint set up for at least 24 hours before applying any real pressure.

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DSCN1999Continue with random color selections until you’ve completed all sides. Allow to dry. It’s that easy!

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I’ve done a number of pieces, round, square and even flat panes of glass. I am working on a piece that is almost finished that will decorate the top portion of a arched window in my kitchen, of course in my favorite colors: red and white! The paints are almost fully cured and then I have to install it. And of course take some photos. I hope you will come back and see my results.

julie

PS – For those interested, I am not being paid for nor sponsored in any way for the mention of any products in this post. I just like the way that these particular products work and want to share with you my success.

My First Sale!

Okay, I have to admit it isn’t my first sale, but it is the first time that I’ve sold a quilt. You see, I’ve been making quilts, by the hundreds for the past 15 or so years. The first time I thought I’d try to sell a quilt, I was quite disappointed with the offer and the “bartering” that was going on. The price I was asking was barely the cost of the material and the top stitching that I had paid to have done, let alone the creativity or labor that went into it. I vowed then and there that I would never sell another quilt, rather give them to people who would love, admire and use them.

But recently, I have been thinking about my plans about what comes next and what I would do with everything that fills my house from basement to the attic rafters! So, very slowly, I have been listing some of my less cherished china and crafts, including a few quilts for sale. And my first sale of a quilt, the red one in the last post, was the first one to sell for asking price. Someone wanted what I made and was willing to pay me money! Woot!

I’ve been playing around with making “stained glass”. Actually, it is mock stained glass, but I love the look. I made some recent pieces, in addition to the lighted bottles (also in a recent post), so I thought I’d do a quick tutorial. That will be tomorrow’s post, but wanted to show you what is on the horizon.

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So, come back tomorrow and I will give you some basic instructions on how to achieve this. It took me a bit of experimenting, so you can benefit from my mistakes!

Oh, and the PowerBall estimates that the jackpot is over $400 Millions dollars. The Kid just bought the winning ticket. 🙂 Maybe I will share with you if you stop by!

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