Antique Thread Box

Okay, so I want to clear this up from the get-go… its the thread that is antique, not the box. 🙂

A while back I was the lucky recipient of a massive CraigsList haul of fabric. Pieces that ranged from scraps to full bolts of cotton and upholstery fabrics. Stuff that clearly ranged as far back as the seventies – lots of gold/orange/avocado green/brown combinations and newer. Such great stuff! I’ve already put some of it to use after spending nearly a week to sort through it all.

Well, in that load, there was also some other accessories. Thread, zippers, bias tape and ribbons. The thread is what I wanted to talk about.

These few spools of thread came from an era where the spools themselves were made of wood. To be perfectly honest – and I had a mother who sewed – I don’t recall the last time I saw a wooden spool. I’ve not really researched it, but I think there is some history there. And they are cool looking.

So, I wanted to be able to display them in my sewing room. I searched eBay for an antique or vintage thread holder, and one not too large, as I didn’t want this to be another one of those collections that I went out and bought a few hundred spools! (Trust me, I have been known to do dumb stuff like that!)

Well, I never did find one that I really liked, but seeing all of those on eBay and other Google searches, I had an idea of what I wanted.

Out came my trusty paint stir sticks. It is a simple enough design and I think I had everything measured and cut and the clamped to allow the glue to dry in less than an hour. I added the back, gave it a good sanding and then painted it.

DSCN4254Cute, huh? I love the simplicity of the design and there is some room to add a few spools. Down the road. 🙂

Now to find some wall space left in the sewing/quilting room!

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! 🙂

DSCN4662

DSCN4661

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.

DSCN4716

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!

DSCN4555

DSCN4556

DSCN4557

IMG_6543

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

More Intermediate Work

Again, the way I work is very energetic and a bit haphazard. I start working on multiple things at once and then wrap them up almost all at the same time. I am making progress on another pink ombré dresser, a couple of nightstands and began the process of putting together my pew (a bench for the foyer!) So, yeah, tons of stuff going on all at the same time.

2015-12-11 22.00.02Additionally, last weekend I was the recipient of a ton of wonderful stuff from a woman who, along with her family, were clearing her grandparents’ home and her grandmother was an avid sewer and crafter (like me)! I brought out two truck loads of ‘stuff’ – and I have spent the better part of the last five days going through all of it!

Seven large 55 gallon plastic bags, five more 33 gallon bags and a ton of other stuff – including numerous rolls of upholstery fabric! Initially, I was worried as Laura warned me that both of her grandparents were smokers, but this stuff was really clean and only smelled of fabric and crafts! LOL!

2015-12-11 21.58.47There was some really awesome retro and vintage fabrics. Colors straight out of the seventies: gold, green and oranges! But there are tons of it, some cuts were multiple yards! There are gorgeous cuts of pastels and children’s prints. Lots of whites and blacks – staples that I can always use. Laces, ribbons and threads. A bunch of real wool felt… red, blue, brown, greens, yellow and more! Velours, brocades and lace. Such awesomeness!

2015-12-05 20.27.47I’ve chosen a huge selection of the fabrics and extras, and am donating a large selection. I don’t usually work with knits or corduroys, but did select about two dozen cuts of fabrics that will make lovely blankets. I sat one day (and evening) hemming and have made a whole bunch of blankets that will be going to my favorite animal shelter: Wayside Waifs (along with some other stuff I’ve collected for them).

2015-12-11 21.59.44Oh and about another twenty pairs of jeans! Yay! More denim for my rag rug! So, I also spent more time deconstructing all those jeans and preparing them to be cut into 3″ strips. I also managed to sneak a little time sewing and have started sewing denim patchwork squares (7″)… I think I have about 50 so far. Might be looking at maybe ten by ten initially, and with all this leftover scrap denim, I think I could probably get at least a half dozen quilts out of it all!

2015-12-07 23.12.13Yeah, I’ll sleep when I am dead! And when I am recovering from surgery (oh yeah, attended an information class today about joint replacement therapy too)!

julie

Deconstructing A Pair of Jeans With the Least Amount of Waste

I recently found instructions on how to create a rag rug. Of course, I want to try to make one with denim. And not new denim, but the soft, broken-in denim, like your favorite pair of jeans. And the best place to find that is, in fact, an old pair of jeans. Or rather, in a lot of old jeans.

So I started collecting old pairs of jeans. Off to my favorite thrift stores and second hand shops. Actually, I wanted a nice variety in the colors, so I picked some that looked new and were dark blue, and I picked out some that had wear and fading and were almost white in some cases. Then there were pairs in the middle, a nice hue of blue, some with fraying and some with spots – like the thighs or knees or butts. I started looking for the larger sizes and the lower priced pairs.

Side note: Even thrift stores have sales! The stores that we visit seem to have a color rotating method. It keeps stock fresh and making room for new arrivals. Always check at the front for which color is discounted.

So, The Kid and I had hit a GoodWill store on a different side of town while we were out delivering a dresser. The colors of the day where white and yellow -50% off – so I headed to the men’s jeans section. I found ten pairs of jeans in sizes larger than 42″ waist sizes marked at $2.48… so I walked out of there with lots of denim material and only spent about $12! Couldn’t buy that much new material in a store and this was soft and had a variety of colors.

Then it was time to take apart the jeans. I searched the internet for instructions, but I either found ways to do it that were inefficient (taking the seams apart with a seam ripper – yeah, right) to those that wasted too much fabric. I had instructions for using other portions of the jeans, like the waistband and outside seams, so I didn’t want to waste anything.

So, I decided to write my own instructions as I took apart the pants. There are a couple of terms that I will use that might not be obvious to all readers:

a. I will refer to the thread as gold, although it may be a different color.

b. If you’re not comfortable handling a single edge razor, a seam ripper could be used, but it will dull very quickly. In fact, the razor blades that I use are really only stay sharp through two to three pairs of jeans. Once I find some resistance in pulling the razor blade, I switch for a new one.

c. I will refer to seams as “inner seam” and “outer seams”. Inner seams are folded in and have no outside stitching, while an outer seam has the bulk on the outside and will have decorative gold stitching:

Inner:Outer SeamsOkay, let’s take apart some jeans:

1. First up is removing the brand label. Not all jeans have these, although I have found that most do. I found a cute use for them, by re-attaching them all to a denim pillow. May or may not do this, I guess when I’m done with the rug, I’ll see if I have enough.

DSCN34752. I have found the fastest way to take apart almost everything related to the jeans. Slide the razor blade at a corner and carefully pull towards you. Continue all the way around.

3. Jeans are tough. And one of the things that make jeans so long lasting is the reinforcement at stress points. Like the back pockets and belt loops and bottom of the zipper. The key to making it easier to deconstruct a pair of jeans is in tackling these reinforcements. Cutting through the reinforced seam is the most straightforward and easiest way to loosen the remainder of the seam.

DSCN34744.  I start by cutting through all of the belt loop reinforcement – just the bottom, where it actually connects below the waist band. Then, one by one, pull the belt loop away from you and using the blade, cut just the gold threads.

5. Next, we’re going to remove the waist band. I actually have a project that will use the waistbands and the belt loops attached (at the top), so it is important for me to cleanly cut the seams.

6. I find a spot where the seam isn’t reinforced or that it has more than one row of stitches. And then it is just a matter of cutting all those seams. I find this to go pretty quickly, the two areas you will find that need more attention is at the the ends – where the button hole and button come together. Just keep pulling back on the seam to reveal the stitches.

7. Next we’re going to remove the zipper and all of its components. I know some would like to keep the zippers, but in my case, I know that I would never reuse them. I rarely use zippers, but when I have, they have been much longer than the ones that come from these jeans. This is the first waste product.

Using sharp scissors, cut as close as you can to the outer seam.

DSCN3515Continue all the way down around the curve to the seam.

DSCN35168. Then repeat on the other side of the zipper.

DSCN34909. Now continue cutting to the side of the ‘out’ seam. This will continue around to the waist in back (between the pockets).

10. Now you have essentially two separate legs. Now you want to split the seams to capture as much of the fabric as possible. Start by cutting along the outer seam all the way to the bottom hem. Cut through the hem.

DSCN349311. Now cut off the hem and set it aside. I actually have used all of my hems in a very special project. It is SO cool! Just because I keep and use something, doesn’t necessarily mean you will, so keep only what you want and can use.

12. Now, lay the pant leg out. Then fold it in half, right sides together based on the inner seam. Now, cut off the inner seam, keeping as close as you can to the seam.

13. As you cut the inner seam, you will fun into the pocket as it is incorporated into the seam. Translation? Many layers of fabric! So once you have reached this point, open the fabric and cut with as few layers as possible. You also may have to contend with rivets at the pocket site. These can be heck on scissors, so be careful!

14. On the front (with the pocket) cut the outer seam to remove the pocket. I have a project in mind for the mini-pocket (or change pocket) so, I cut away most of the pocket construction and the white portion. I try to leave some fabric around the smaller pocket, so I can accomplish this other project.

15. Now time to remove the back pockets. You could actually do this at any point in the project, but I like to have everything already done and then sit down on the couch with my box of razor blades and remove the pockets while I watch television.

2015-05-12 21.11.10Again, pull the sharp edge across the reinforcement at the both corners, once or twice. Once you’ve gotten past the reinforcement seam, the remainder of the pocket is pretty easy.

I’ll share with you my little secret. Some of this fabric is going to be used to upholster a wing back chair. And removing the pocket reveals a darker fabric underneath and adds more visual interest. Even if you are cutting the fabric for use in a quilt or some other project, the difference between the faded and not-so-faded fabric.

16. Steps 10 through 16 as necessary to complete the deconstruction. When you’ve done, this should be the total pieces from a single pair of jeans to be discarded. I save the outside seams but the not the inside seams.

DSCN3518And here is my bounty. This pile represents about 30 pairs of jeans, ranging from size 30 all the way up through 54″!

IMG_4209The fabric shown in the photo above, is to be cut into strips and then braided into the denim rag rug.

Screen Shot 2015-06-05 at 4.19.00 PMI actually have much more that I am deconstructing slightly different as I am using it for a upholstery project. I got the idea from the photo above. I just love the juxtification between the formality of the chair yet informal fabric of salvaged denim. The small hints of pockets and seams just adds to the overall delight.

My chair is a little different than the style above, the back has a tufts rather than a flat surface. And this is where the different shades of blue will bring such a uniqueness to it.

Here are some other images that influence me:

Okay, that’s it for today. If you have further questions, comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear them!

julie

Cross Stitching Isn’t a Hobby for Wimps

An update to the giant cross stitch that I am working on. I do a little whenever I have some free time and this weekend was a gigantic laze-fest for The Kid and me.2015-01-18 20.04.59Now that I’ve gotten a foothold on a couple of areas, it makes continuing that much easier. The canvas is getting less rigid and easier to roll up, so that I can concentrate on a single area.

So, I opted to try out a “field” of varying colors at the left center area of the canvas. I went through and stitched the off-green color first. I then followed through with the gold-ish color. Finally, I took a slightly darker gold and wove a few threads through the field.

2015-01-18 20.05.28

Next up, the very almost-kelly green field in between previously completed gold fields in the upper right side of the canvas.2015-01-18 20.05.33

This section was completed pretty much without thought. But while doing this section, I wondered just how long it will take me to complete the entire canvas.

So, with the kelly green area, I counted stitches and timed how long it took. There were 313 cross stitches. It took me 95 minutes to complete.

So based on these numbers, it takes 3.3 seconds per cross-stitch. A square inch is 144 stitches, which would be 475 seconds or about 8 minutes. The entire canvas, 16″ x 20″, is 46,080 stitches,and at 3.3 seconds per stitch, about 13,963 minutes (232 hours).

So, if I were to work on it about 3 hours a day, it will take about 76 days. Now, of course, you have to factor in some time for thread color changes, end of thread secures, any mistakes or re-work and you will soon realize that as my audience, you’re going to be seeing a lot of updates on this piece!!

Today I put in more time than three hours, more like five, but the complexity of first field probably meant that I didn’t achieve the require 3.3 seconds per. But it really is only about leisure and the fact that I can’t sit and do nothing with my hands. Eventually, I will turn this into a large pillow or wall hanging.

In the meantime, I am just enjoying it.

julie

Wind Chimes Redux

I love wind chimes. I heard once that the music from wind chimes will prevent evil spirits from entering your home. I kind of like the sound of that. But what I really love is the music that comes from wind chimes.

When we moved into our new home, I knew that I had to hang chimes. Not those twinkly little chimes, but large, full chimes that ‘bong’. Almost like church organs. It didn’t take long for me to have the roof lines of both decks lined with wind chimes.

But, as things do with time, the chimes began to break down. We would find tubes or hangers of various chimes on the ground below the decks. I would dutifully collect the pieces and soon, I had a box full of tubes.

With the advent of spring and the upcoming neighborhood garage sales, I knew that I would have to get this project completed. I had done this once before (you can see the blog post here) but there was a big flaw in my execution.

This time around, I determined to do it better. The design had two 2×2’s about 36 inches long, with two shorter pieces at each end. Then the pieces were bolted together (thanks to the help of The Kid).

DSCN2412

Once this was done, we drilled holes about one inch apart for the length of the open portion, which turned out to be right at 30″. Then it was just a matter of threading the tubes on, varying the length and colors for an interesting look.

Once complete on both sides, all that remained was to add the change for hanging. I threaded two eye bolts on each end and ran a short length of chain between them. Then, using the remainder of the chain, I threaded the chain between the ends.

DSCN2419

Then, it was time to hang the chimes.

DSCN2418

The chimes were hung at the right time… we’re expecting a typical Midwest thunderstorm which promises to bring some wind which will equal some beautiful chime music.

I was able to hang it alongside of the other chimes that I created at the same time. This one has lasted much longer. It was created using a enameled pot lid and half of a dozen enamel-wear spoons, using a large ladle as the clanger, topped off with a small cup. I love the way this turned out (you all know my love of red and white)!

dscn1836-e1324860038267

Whenever I go thrifting (as I call visiting thrift stores) I am always on the lookout for unique pieces that might make for interesting chimes. Below are the pieces next up for an interesting chime, the base is a red colander and the clanger is a small colander in silver. I think this will make for a unique chime in the end.

Collander ChimesI had written this particular post and made the mistake of not saving it. So this is the second re-write and I am sorry, but I am sure that I missed some important parts in the re-writing. Please, if you have questions, I’d be happy to help in any way I can.

julie

What’s The Secret to Etsy?

I’ve been a seller on Etsy for sometime. Well, I use the term “seller” loosely, as I just made my first (and only) sale a week or so ago. Perhaps Etsy is one of those places that server more as an inspiration for people rather than an actual place to buy goods, I am just not sure. I thought it funny, that in all of the time that I have been selling, my fees have totaled about eight and half dollars and with the first item I sold, my grand total of sales to date is $6.00. And of course, that doesn’t include the cost of actually creating that item that finally sold.

Did I tell you about an on-going little project that I finally decided to list on Etsy? I started as a whim, one of those things that I like to do when I have to have something to do with my hands while watching television… making reusable felt covers for notebooks. I don’t recall the very first one or even the first size of notebook, but I have completed nearly a hundred over time. Let me show you a few:

il_570xN.567690192_mumd

il_570xN.567805623_3i9y

il_570xN.567683996_7mws

il_570xN.567698066_bnfy

il_570xN.567681032_hhtu

il_570xN.567686054_fvqsThese happen to be the notebooks that are 4″ x 6″, but I have done covers in all sizes, from 3″x4″ up to 8 1/2″ x 11″ and many sizes in between. And the covers are reusable, just slip the old notebook out and the new one… violá!

Here is the one that finally sold and was my first (and only) sale:

il_570xN.567694970_ikkb il_570xN.567694998_g8jk

By a Futurama fan, no doubt. I really don’t want to have to create a bunch of Futurama based notebooks just to get some sales, I think that the selection should appeal to a wide audience, but perhaps I overestimate. That particular notebook received quite a few ‘favorited’ and a couple of Pinterest pins.

Any way, if anyone has the keys to success with Etsy, please share?

julie

%d bloggers like this: