Sunday, July 25, 2010

Adventures In Slipcovering

While I was out and about yesterday I stopped by Lowe's to check out the color selection of Rustoleum oil paints. On the other side of the paint isle I spotted drop cloths. Figuring the price was right for the yardage, I bought the largest available drop cloth at 12' x 15'. I have a drop cloth that I bought over a year ago at Big Lots. The Big Lots cloth is considerably smaller, too small to cover a sofa, but made with a much better grade of canvas. If fact it's woven so tightly and smoothly that it could be stretched and painted. I've not been lucky enough to encounter these drop cloths on the few occasions that I've returned to Big Lots. The Lowe's cloth is of very poor quality, rough, nubby, and horribly linty. It was pieced together from three separate lengths of canvas as well. Not really what I was aiming for, but not totally unexpected. I was willing to try and work with the yardage. I washed the Lowe's cloth hoping, with the sizing gone and some shrinkage, the fabric might lend itself to a slipcover. Washing didn't improve it as I'd hoped. You can see in one of the images above a fraction of the lint that collected on my floor. This came off of the fabric after washing it. I'm returning the drop cloth to Lowe's. The poor quality could not be overlooked. All was not lost though, as I had a chance to practice draping the massive piece of fabric.

My plan is to construct a loose cover with twill ties. Unfortunately the book that I'm using as a guide, The Sewing Bible: Slipcovers, is more than a little ambiguous. I'm finding that how-to books with the word "bible" in the title are usually lacking details. With my confidence waning after trying to make sense of the book's instructions, I headed over to Hobby Lobby. I knew that they were having a .99 Simplicity pattern sale, and I knew that there was a Simplicity pattern that gave sewing instructions for casual slipcovers. Armed with book and pattern, I went about the business of draping. My reference materials take different approaches, so I just kept at it until I was close to satisfied with how things looked. I'm am now feeling surer of my ability to conquer the slipcover. Eventually the right fabric will find me.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Good Wood

First of all, please try to overlook the horrible (for so many reasons) pictures. Yes, thats my Bath and Bodyworks Sensual Body Lotion, and my flashlight/intruder skull smasher. All in the same picture. Nice. We won't even go into the dirt on the floor, or the rogue thread hanging from my (once again) unmade bed, or my month old pedicure. Golly, why is it that my blog gets no recognition??? Whew, glad I got that out of my system. On to the nitty gritty!

I found the slatted table at Goodwill. I made a round late yesterday and spotted the piece. Left, mulled over it, losing some sleep in the process, and returned for the kill this morning. Half price furniture at Goodwill today, yes-sir-ee. It's a low table at 13 1/2" high. Good for my bedside. I may paint it. It's heavy for its size, and sturdy. I can't help but wonder if it performed some other function in a past life. Like maybe it had a cushion on top and was used as a ottoman?

The stool is a Salvation Army find. I spotted it last week when I scored the table and chairs. It was still there for half-price Wednesday. A sign, I say.  It's heavy too, and measures just short of 16" high. I will definitely paint the stool in a bright and cheerful color.

Meanwhile, my house looks like a disaster. When will the insanity end?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Blog Redo

I'm not sure who I'm addressing here. Blog Patrol tells me to expect zero visitors today, so this post is probably unnecessary. On the chance that there might actually be someone out there checking out my blog, I'm willing to bet that you've noticed the change in template, etc.. You can expect more changes as I'm playing until I find something I like and that represents me. The current template is too monochromatic for my tastes. I'm a color person, so it's not a good fit. What I'm trying to say is, bear with me. Changes might be frequent over the next few weeks and somewhat unsettling for the reader(s). My apologies in advance. Thank you for understanding.

The Table

So here it is. Like the chairs, it's marked Pennsylvania House, but the table has the additional identifying stencil "Lewisburg."  I guess it's entirely possible that the original owner bought the table and chairs together, but the scale seems a bit off. At any rate, it's a very nice table. Someone started to restore it, but they obviously abandoned the project and eventually the set found a new home at the Salvation Army. I think $90 for the whole shebang was a very good deal. The three leaves expand the table to a whopping 96 inches.

I'm still undecided about whether or not I'll keep it. I could probably sell the table for what I have in the whole set or at least half of what I have in the set. The guilt of not waiting for half-price Wednesday would certainly be alleviated if I were to go that route. Truthfully, I am becoming rather attached to the behemoth.

Green Things

Vintage suitcase from Habitat's thrift store. Okra from my neighbor's garden.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


I found these beautiful Windsor chairs at the Salvation Army yesterday. Wednesdays are half-price days, but I was afraid they would be gone if I didn't grab them. They were a steal at full price. I actually made three trips to the store before I pulled the trigger. The set includes a table, one arm chair, and five side chairs. The table is awaiting pick-up, scheduled for Monday. The table is also Pennsylvania House, but I doubt it was original to the set and I may list it on craigslist. It is a very pretty table, oval and solid wood. Three leaves were included. I will refinish the chairs, and the table if I keep it.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Sew Serendipity

Crafter's Choice Book Club sent me an email offering two for $22 + free shipping. The last time they offered me this deal, it turned out to be a fiasco. I won't go into the details here. Figuring I had nothing to lose, I narrowed my choices to four books, one of those being Kay Whitt's Sew Serendipity. My craft book buying decisions are usually made more informed by researching Amazon for reviews. Sew Serendipity had only a few comments, but all were positive. Upon preview, I would have to concur with the Amazon reviewers.

Basically, the book bases the projects on three patterns: a skirt, dress, and jacket.  All of the patterns are included and can be found in an envelope at the back of the book. The patterns look simple enough. What really makes the clothing stand out is the use of fabric, pattern, and color. The samples in the book are beautiful and inspiring. Although many of the garments in the book are bright and colorful, there is certainly room for interpretation for the more neutrally inclined sewer.

Keep in mind that I have yet to create a project from the book, but it looks as though the directions are sufficiently detailed and illustrated. The drawn illustrations are every bit engaging as the photographs. The book includes a chapter on custom fitting. The models wearing the garments in the photographs are of all shapes and sizes. The clothing looks good on all of them.

I'm majorly impressed by this book, and I hope Kay Whitt is already working on a sequel.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Monday, July 5, 2010

New Bag

Made with Pink Chalk's Mail Sack pattern . This is a great pattern that makes a very unfussy but striking bag. The pattern's simplicity invites all manner of embellishment. I've made the smaller version before, and I've been asked many times about its origin.
The larger bag is quite roomy, enough so for a full size laptop, I believe. I'm working on another one. More pictures to follow.