Wednesday, January 23, 2013

DIY Project: Safari Cheater Quilt

Cheater quilts. Sounds awful, huh? But these cheaters actually pretty awesome. Covered in neatly printed patch work of all of the prints offered in the collection, ready for you to just quilt, and pretend you pieced the whole thing. Cheater. Cheater! CHEATER!

Crib-sized Cheater quilt

This makes cheater prints the perfect first quilting project, as they allow you to try your hand at making a quilted blanket, without having to invest the time piecing the quilt top. Paired with fusible batting, which eliminates the need for using a time consuming basting stitch, spray or pins on your quilt sandwich, this project literary consists of alining and ironing your layers together, followed by quilting, and lastly, adding the binding. Easy as pie! So, if you've been thinking of trying your hand at quilting, get some cheater print and give it a go (why yes, Cate, I'm talking to you)!!!

Close up of quilted cheater quilt top

So, when it all comes down to it, a Cheater Quilt really is just another variation of my panel quilted blanket, and that was the look I was expecting. I didn't think it would end up actually looking so quilt-y. But see for yourself. It actually looks really good. And what's even better? This crib sized, 2 yard, cheater quilt took me about 4 hours to make start to finish (including making the binding). Not bad.

 Coordinating print for the quilt backing

I quilted the blanket in a grid pattern that followed the patchwork of the cheater panel, but instead of one line on each side of a patch seam, as I would normally do using this quilt pattern, I made 3 lines this time. One on each side, and one in the middle, simulating the seams of a real patchwork quilt top. Of course, this added some time to the process. A simple grid would have been a lot quicker, but I like the look of this, especially on the cheater panel.

I used a coordinating print from the same collection for the backing, and a matching white solid for the homemade binding.  I added one of my labels, and done!


Quilt top:
Dan Stiles for Birch Fabrics Organic, Safari Soiree, Cheater

Dan Stiles for Birch Fabrics Organic, Safari Soiree, Polka Dance

Birch Fabrics Organic, Solid, Cream

Monday, January 21, 2013

DIY Project: Reusable Shopping Bag

This project started as something else, a beach bag, but I wasn't very happy with the end result. Not because this bag isn't nice, it is plenty nice. It just didn't turn out like the idea in my head. I hate when that happens. I was my mistake. I didn't use a heavy enough canvas, and I didn't use a stabilizer to make up for it. So instead of the stiff, standing beach bag I wanted, I got a flimsy, foldable bag, and thus my project was failed.

Then I thought "it won't make a great beach bag, but it would make a great shopping bag". And with the parameters changed, the project outcome changed, and I went from being unhappy to very happy with this project. So, I give you my brand new, accidentally made, enormous Reusable Shopping Bag:

Shopping bag with internal pocket and key fob.

It has wrap-around straps for strength and durability, French seams throughout, an inside pocket, a key fob, and padded strap handles. I used a light canvas in gray and white chevron, paired with a light aqua lining. The bag measures 22" by 18" by 8", but still fold down to a compact little square, perfect to keep in my purse or car, easy to bring to the mall or grocery store.

I like it, and and am glad to add a pretty reusable bag to my collection. I'm even happier to make something that I'll actually use out of a failed project that otherwise would have done nothing but collect dust at the bottom of some closet.

Monday, January 14, 2013

DIY Project: Fabric Wrapped Pin Board with Nail Trim

I made this for my office, having recently seen something similar on Pinterest. I used this gorgeous Mint Fleur Chinoise upholstery weight fabric, left over from my chair makeover, for my pin board, and silver tone upholstery nails for the trim.

My massive pin board via my Instagram

I love this print so much, I was stoked to have enough left over to cover my pin board! 

Fabric Wrapped Pin Board with Nail Trim

What you need:
1 cork board
fabric to cover cork board with a few inches to spare
nailhead trim
adhesive spray

What to do:
1. Iron your fabric thoroughly.
2. Adhere fabric to your pin board, using the spray adhesive. Start in one corner, and work your way across, making sure the fabric is completely smooth everywhere.
3. Line rim/frame of pin board with nail trim (my least favorite part of this project - it's quite hard on the fingers/thumbs). Make sure you place the nails straight, and with equal distance all the way around.
4. Flip board upside down, wrap the fabric around the edge/frame, and staple the fabric securely to the back.
5. Done!

This is such a quick, easy little diy that makes such a big difference! Now my pin board actually adds to my room decor, instead of being a boring, brown eyesore.


1 yard Caitlin Wilson Mind Fleur Chinoise fabric
300 upholstery nail trim nails
adhesive spray glue

Saturday, January 12, 2013

DIY Project: Projects Yearbook.

Screenshot, via iPhoto.

The other day I had the idea of compiling a photo book of the projects I've completed, a year book of sorts. I made and ordered it the next day, via iPhoto, and every since I've been eagerly anticipated it's arrival. Today it was finally, FINALLY delivered to my front stoop.

Very happy to have my project yearbook in hand!
via my Instagram

As soon as the book was delivered, I looked through it for typos/mistakes/print quality/etc., just as I always do when receiving a printed product such as this. And I'm pretty happy with the quality of the book, for the most part.

Notice anything odd?

The binding is well made, the cover and dust jacket are both gorgeous. The quality of the photo printing was so-so. The pictures in the book came out darker, and less clear than they do when the pictures themselves are printed. That is a bummer. But the biggest downer was the couple of pages of the book that have been printed upside down. Yup, that's right. Up. Side. Down.

The book had several places where pages had been inserted upside down. 

I really, really love my project yearbook idea! Even though this particular copy isn't perfect, it's been really fun to have a tangible collection of all the things I made last year. I am really looking forward to getting the correctly printed replacement book! In fact, I've already started working on this year's book, although I'll be using another printer. I hope it will be a lot easier and more convenient to fill in each project as I finish it, versus spending hours on end adding, editing, and proofing everything in one sitting at the end of the year (or, as in this case, at the beginning of the next). Also, I hope the next one will print correctly, and more true to the images, on the first try. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

DIY Project: Reupholster Chairs

My husband have had this table and chair set for eons. While they might not be my particular style, they are high quality and in fairly good condition. The fabric on the chairs seats , however, have started showing major signs of wear. As we currently rent, we haven't been in any hurry to replace them. Instead I've been thinking about redoing them myself for quite a while, and finally took the plunge. I've never done any furniture reupholstery before, but it was easy enough. I improvised the process, taking notes as I took the chairs apart, and then put them together again in the reverse order. Piece of cake!

Chairs, Before

I got a bunch of amazing Caitlin Wilson pillows when I redid my office last year, and ever since, I've wanted to use this gorgeous Mint Fleur Chinoise print to reupholster these chairs. Finally, finally, I pulled the trigger and ordered the fabric, in spite of its $60/yard price tag.

Source: Caitlin Wilson Textiles

I've been waiting for the fabric to arrive for what feels like eons, which makes me feel like I've been working on this project for weeks, when I in fact have not. Luckily, when the fabric actually got here, the project took about an hour and a half from start to finish, which isn't bad given the fact that I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. Here are my "new" chairs:

Chairs, after

I'm so glad to finally have this project completed, and I love, love, LOVE how they turned out! They've brightened up my little kitchen nook so much! I find myself repeatedly walking through the kitchen, for no reason other than to admire my pretty, new chairs.



2 yards Caitlin Wilson Textiles Mint Fleur Chinoise, $120

Thursday, January 3, 2013

DIY Project: Pom Pom Garland

I've seen pom pom garlands all over the place lately, and as I love pom poms, I've been dying to make my own for ages, to decorate the rack of the faux taxidermy deer head in my office. The other day, the massive bag of Pom Poms I ordered online finally arrived on my door step, and I made this garland this morning.

DIY Project: Pom Pom Garland

This project is super easy, very fast from start to finish, and so so cute!

What you'll need: 
pom poms
string, yarn, or fishing line
embroidery needle

You can use any type of pom poms for this project; felt, yard, or "fuzzies" like these.

What to do:
1. Starting 12 inches from one end of the string (or however long you think you'll need to attach the garland when using it), start adding a pom pom by spearing through it with your needle and thread. You can knot the thread around each pom pom, but if they sit fairly snug on the string, like min did, there's no need.
2. Repeat step 1, for however long you want your garland, adding another, and another, leaving a suitable space between each pom pom. Leave extra string on the other side as well.
3. Done!

I used an embroidery needle to make my garland, which worked well, but regular sewing needles would also have worked.

Perfect for holiday or party decor, or to spruce up a faux taxidermy rack. I also have tons of left over pom poms, and several other pom pom projects coming up!

 via my Instagram

I love my little pom pom garland! It fits in perfectly in my office!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

DIY Project: Ribbon Hair Ties (Retail Knockoff)

Have you seen these awesome ribbon style hair ties? I love them, as they do not leave a "pony tail dent" in my extremely straight hair, even if I wear them all day. They usually retail for a ridiculous $1-$3 a pop (!!!), and I've been meaning to make my own for quite some time. I finally pulled the trigger, and when I calculated the cost of making these, and compared it to the retail versions, I'm glad I didn't wait another day.

I ordered plain elastic online here, and printed and glitter versions here, for next to nothing compared to the  retail prices! I was honestly appalled when I found this stuff for $1.35 for FIVE yards, and you can make 3-4 hair ties per yard. It seems a lot of people must be rolling in their crazy hair-tie profits!

DIY Project: Ribbon Hair Ties

Make plain sets, tie them off in a knot or bow, ends going in the same direction, or not. It all looks different on the pony tail (& on the wrist), so experiment to find which style you like best. Pretty coordinated sets makes for a cute little gift, or party favor.

What you'll need:
Fold Over Elastic, (FOE)

ruler or measuring tape
very sharp scissors

Ok, so maybe I went a little bit overboard when ordering supplies... I was exited.

What to do:

1. Measure between 8"-10" piece of FOE, depending on hair thickness and personal preference. I use a 10" for my hair ties, and it makes for the perfect tie for my hair (& my wrist).
2. Cut elastic, fold with pretty side out, and tie a knot or bow. Experiment with the type of knot, to find the look you like best. Clean up FOE edges (if needed).
3. Voila! Your hair tie is finished!

I made my hair ties in bulk, moving the entire batch through each step before moving on to the next. 
For example, I cut all my 10" FOB first, tied all of them, and then trimmed all the edges after that. Still, it was quite fast!

Emi-Jay (the original): different collections of 5, ranging from $10.99 - $12.99
DIY Ribbon Hair Ties, $1.35 for 20
DIY Printed Ribbon Hair Ties, $0.90 for 4
DIY Glitter Ribbon Hair Ties, $1.20 for 4 

Can you tell which hair ties are my DIY version and which ones are Emi-Jay brand?

DIY vs Retail. Can you tell the difference?

Crazy, right? I mean, that's really CRAZY!!! So, do yourself a favor and DIY some of these. It takes about a minute, and both your hair & your wallet will thank you.

Coordinated hair tie sets, ready for gifting

After having completed 42 DIY projects in 2012 (not counting redoes, multi-post reveals, food, etc.), and I'm looking forward to increasing that number in 2013. My goal is to complete 52 projects, averaged over the next 52 weeks. Given travel etc., that sounds challenging, yet achievable. This quiet, low key project was the perfect activity for a lazy day recovering from bringing in the New Year.