Lately, I Have Been So Distracted!

There doesn’t seem to be any ramp up time for me when I start thinking about going back to work. It goes from a fleeting notion to a full blown hunt in a snap. Much of my time lately has been taken up with the construction of a job hunt. I have had a few minutes here and there, but it seems that once I get things organized and ready to work, I am tired or distracted by a phone call.

But, with that said, I have finished a couple of projects. The first one is something I’ve done before, but I never seem to get bored with the idea. The suitcase dresser is a very popular style, especially when you’re looking at a piece that may have damage or isn’t the highest quality. I’ve probably done a half dozen of this style now, and it always comes out great.
Although these are difficult to do, they tend to take some time to complete. Especially when the cabinet requires work as well. The Kid was much more involved in this one, as all of the drawers had to have fronts placed and supports both front and back of each drawer. One drawer had to almost be rebuilt from scratch, the one good thing is that all the pieces were there and just needed to be put back together.

I created a tutorial some time back, you can see it Suitcase Dresser Tutorial. I didn’t take many photos, since I’ve done the tutorial. I will tell you that if you have dedicated space to work on it, it helps. I did most of the work in the kitchen and dining room, and had to constantly move the drawers as I progressed with the work.

DSCN3560I tend to work on it ‘assembly line style’, that is, I glue the fabrics on all of the drawers first, then glue the tucks on all four sides. Since each side needs to be clamped while is it drying, I can only do one side at a time. So I have to find a way to stack them out of the way while the glue dries.

I’ve gotten some things done with the container gardening… if you recall, I am attempting to grow tomatoes on the deck. So far, so good.

DSCN3564That’s The Kid’s one stalk of corn, he wanted to try just one. He also planted corn in his backyard garden.

DSCN3565We’ve had so much rain that everything is so green and the grass around the garden seems to have overtaken much of it. On this side, we attempted to build a small berm; the yard slopes such that when it rains, we end up with a little stream. I call it “a river runs through it’… and we’ve now figured out to avoid it, but with the ridiculous amount of rain we’ve had, it has widened. We experienced standing water around the seeds and we worried that nothing would ever sprout. But it does finally seem to have a foothold and now we have to watch the garden to make sure it gets the proper amount of water.

DSCN3575And speaking of growing… I rescued this little violet when it was on its last leg about a year/year and a half ago. Someone had left it behind when they left their job and it sat for nearly two weeks without being watered or attended to. It was sad. I brought it home and repotted it in a larger pot in MiracleGro soil. And almost immediately this thing started sprouting new leaves and flowers. It has given me almost nonstop flowers ever since. Don’t those little purple flowers just make your heart smile?DSCN3571On the other hand (or should I say knee), I am now forced to ice or apply heat to both knees almost daily. The ice packs that I’ve been using have started to leak and I never really liked them anyway. They never really fit right against my knees, consequently, I did not get the full benefit. I had seen this ice packs using rice and you can both heat them up or cool them down.DSCN3572 I actually had bought two bags of rice awhile back and with so little crafting time, I thought maybe if I just cranked out a few smaller projects, I might feel like I am accomplishing something. The project is simple enough… I would cut some muslin fabric and sew the edges together leaving one open side; to keep the rice from bunching up on one end or the other, I added some baffles. Then using soft fleece, I made each one a cover. I used velcro for the opening – this way if the covers get dirty or wet, then can just be thrown into the washer/dryer.

Front of Denim Hems BagSo, I’ve also attempted to use up some of the denim that I cut up a few weeks ago. The main bulk of the denim is going into one or the other of two main projects: a braided rag rug and reupholstering a wing chair.

That leaves me with pant leg hems (2 per each pair of jeans), back pockets (2 per) and a waistband. So, I took the plastic bag of hems and sat down in front of the sewing machine and started sewing them together. Once I had a sizable piece of fabric, it hit me… this would make a terrific all purpose bag!

Back of Denim Hems BagI have always been a fan of canvas bags – we use them for groceries and I carry them into many places that I shop. I had found one that was about the right size of the piece that I had sewn, so opted to use it as sort of a lining. With it in place, I then used a waistband to finish the bag.

I found an older bag that had a beautiful handle and removed the rivets that were holding the handle in place. I cut four pieces of leather as the support of the handles. I couldn’t get the rivets to hold with my home kit, so I’ve opted to find some place that does leather work. I also want this place to stitch the bag pocket, as there is too many layers for my sewing machine. That is the thing with denim, it gets too thick very quickly. In fact, during this entire process, I broke 18 needles! And these needles were specifically for denim and other heavy projects. It is just as you work, the layers can add up very quickly… especially when you’re talking about seams!

DSCN3570On the other end of the sewing spectrum, I’ve been doing some hand sewing. I just start a with a circle of felt – whatever color I have on hand – and start adding stitches and have been using beads on many of the pieces. I didn’t have a specific project in mind, but while perusing Pinterest, I saw some pin cushions that looked similar. So, violá!

DSCN3569Won’t these be the most adorable little pin cushions?

DSCN3568And the great thing about this, is, this will give me a chance to use up much of my scrap felt. I can sit and watch television and stitch to my heart’s content. (Someday I will get back to working on my My Huge Cross Stitch Project. I just had to take a break from it for a while.)DSCN3567And the last little project… My son built this in his wood shop class a couple of years ago and I never knew exactly what to do with it. But working lately in my home office lately has shown that for the health of my knees, I need to have my feet elevated. And what better way to do it than with this little footstool! I painted it my signature red and I had just enough fabric to cover the foam that I added (material is left over from re-cover my dining room chairs and pillow covers for the couch). Don’t you just love it when things come together?VioletsSo, I am going to leave you with another shot of my happy little violets!

julie

Oh The Things You Can Do With Paintsticks

Those humble little paint sticks. So useful for stirring paint. And for so many other things. I had a brief email conversation with a woman who had used paint sticks and adhered them to the side of a cabinet, gave it a quaint little finish, almost like siding. It was awesome.

I got to thinking about all the uses of those paint sticks, and more specifically, all the things I have used them for. They work wonders as shims, propping up furniture so that you can paint down to the bottom of a piece of furniture, heck, I’ve even used them for fly swatters.

I wanted to share with you something I am working on now. I am putting together a tall, skinny cabinet and needed a top for it. After scrounging in my wood pile, I just did not have something that would work and I bristled at the thought of yet another trip to The HomeDepot. I looked around the garage and what did I see?

DSCN2539Yes, my trusty bucket of paint sticks. And then brilliance struck. I would make a solid piece of wood using paint sticks. So one by one, I spread glue onto the sticks and positioned them together. They are actually made of two paints sticks end to end and then side to side, and staggered so that the ‘seam’ of the two sticks wouldn’t line up in a row on the finished piece.

I could have sworn that I had taken a photo of them while the glue was drying, but cannot find it now. But once the glue dried, I removed the clamps. As you can see in the picture, the surface – front and back – was a bit rough.

DSCN2517

I measured out the length that I needed. I marked it with a pencil and using a circular saw, The Kid trimmed both ends. I figured it would be easier to sand the thing if I was only sanding the section that I would be using.

DSCN2518Here is the rough piece and the ends that were cut off. Not too much excess. Still trying to figure out what I can do with the leftover pieces. Hmmm….

Top Made of Paint Sticks

Then the sanding began. This was not for the faint of heart… if I do something like this again, I will definitely be more careful with lining up the sticks. Also, I wouldn’t use quite so much glue. I think sanding off the glue was the hardest part.

Top RoughAfter much sanding, it started getting smooth. I must have gone through 6 sheets of sand paper working on this. At this stage, I used some wood filler on some of the gaps and divots and areas that needed more sanding. I figured that as long as there was still filler on the board, I would know where to continue sanding to make it all even.

DSCN2535Finally, it is smooth on all sides. I don’t know about you, but it looks like a solid piece of wood with some really great grain. Heavier than all get out, but I am still in love with this.

DSCN2536The Kid came out and did the routing on three sides. Just so minor sanding and then it was ready for the first coat of stain. I used a very light stain, as I don’t want to cover up that beauty, just keep it sealed. I ran out of the stain after the first coat though, so will have to finish this later.DSCN2537

Here is a shot of the end of the wood… I just love the way that looks!

I just wanted to point out the wonderful ways to use those paint stir sticks. It is a regular habit for both me and The Kid to stop and pick up a few on each trip to the store. I never feel like I am ‘stealing’ anything as I buy a butt-load of paint from them and they offer them free to their customers.

I’d love to see what you’ve made with stir sticks. They’re really handy!

julie

 

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