Monday, April 21, 2014

Guest Room

Quite some time ago I started working on the guest room.  I painted a chest that I talked about in this post.  The lamp was another post.  Then other things got in the way and the guest room was in a holding pattern.  But, I'm happy to report that I'm moving forward on that project again.

I was given this day bed a few years ago.

I didn't really care for the brassy trim on the arms and front legs.

Nor did I want to keep the wood natural.

So I prepared to paint it all.

I was able to remove the metal trim,

which made painting it possible.

I did prime the pieces first, and then painted them a darker bronze tone.

The wooden parts of the bed I painted in two colors of green.

 I set the bed up in the guest room with the plan to finish the bedding and then blog about it. I brought home a couple rugs from Home Goods to try in the room.

This is the one I ended up keeping.  I wanted to include this shot as it shows the ceiling I painted when my daughter was still living at home and using this room.  It is a cloudy sky at dusk and I saw no reason to change it now.  Fast forward to a couple weeks ago when I decided to make a dust ruffle for the bed.

This is the toile I have been saving for a very long time.  I decided on box pleats.  

 It moved along fairly well.

I had a few other smaller projects to attend to in the room.

I covered some buttons for this pillow and,
 picked up one more pillow at Home Goods.


Then I decided I could use this lampshade by just painting it.

That didn't work out the way I thought it would, so, on to plan B.

I bought this fabric and used it to cover the lampshade.

I actually glued the fabric to the shade in sections.

My plan was to use it for the wall sconce behind the bed.

Next I decided to tackle the cushion for the window seat.  I'm not going to bore you with the trials and tribulations of that process.  It is way too long for this blog post.  Instead, let's just say I'm glad it is now complete.

I bought a significant amount of the toile when I was not sure how it was going to be used.  I decided to use it again for the cushion on the window seat.

I purchased this pillow ages ago and added the buttons to the flower centers.

I want to add some pillows here but first,

I jumped ahead to this little number.  My brother, Dan, dropped this off for me two weeks ago.  It was left by a tenant and Dan knows it's something I won't turn away.  At the time, I had no place for it.  But, suddenly it hit me.  This would make a perfect resting place for a suitcase in the guest room. 
A slipcover would be all it needed. 
I used a canvas in a dark green for the top and more of the toile for the bottom.
I am delighted to have it finished before my sister arrives for Easter.  I am hoping to finish one more detail before she arrives.
 I bought these two pillow forms at the Goodwill Outlet for $1.22. 
 I cut one in half so that I would have a pillow for each end of the window seat.
 I used the same toile and paired it with a little burlap. 
 I used some of this trim for a little detailing.  Heaven knows I have enough of it and I should use it somewhere.
I plan to add a row of buttons to the each end of the pillow and make one more just like it for the other end of the window seat.  But my sister arrived just as I took this picture so that's it for now.  I still have two small tables and two chairs lined up for this room.  So expect to see more on the guest room in another post.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Shirley Voda Watercolors

This week I was looking for books for a project and I chose to search the bins at the Goodwill Outlet Store where they sell the books for 15 cents per inch. (more on that project in a future post) Once that mission was accomplished, I decided to make one more stop before returning home.  The Clubhouse Shop was close by and it never hurts to pop in and look around.  Weeeell, it was my lucky day.  They were having a backroom clearance on items that were not worthy of the general sale floor. 

I first spotted this watercolor of Alberto.

And then, tilted the opposite direction, I found Violet.

I was immediately drawn to them and their sticker price of $15 each.

I inquired about them and was told to ignore the price on the sticker....wait for it.....they would $5 each.

Needless to say, the water damaged mat boards did not slow me down in making it to the checkout counter.

They are original watercolors by Shirley Voda.  Both had labels on the back from when they were displayed at the St. Louis Artists' Guild.  It listed the artist along with the name of the painting and the price.

I am hoping they were sold for that price at the time (50 times what I paid for Alberto), and were now being recycled, just a little worse for wear.  I still consider them a fabulous find.  I will deal with the water stained mats at some point, but for now they are already hanging in my home exactly as I found them.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Handmade Gifts

Do you find it hard to come up with new ideas for gift giving?  If you know the person well, and have some idea of their interests and hobbies, it puts you a little ahead of the game.  But even then it is difficult to come up with fresh ideas each time a birthday rolls around.

My daughter relieves me of that responsibility.  She has a birthday this week and she gave me ample notice of what she would like to receive.

She is a huge proponent of children's literacy and has a double Master's degree in Elementary Education Administration, and Communication with an emphasis in Reading.  She spent several years working in Elementary Education.  Now as a mother of a three year old, and another son who will turn two this week, she uses her skills to develop these young minds and inspire them to love to read, or, be read to as is the case for now.

She also started a literacy blog two plus years ago.  It is called Growing Book By Book, and is her way of offering ideas and information to anyone involved with a child's early education.  That brings me back to the, "What would you like for your birthday?" question.  Or in her case, "Mom, I would love it if you would make me a blanket for my birthday." 

She is planning a story book time in the park this summer for anyone who would like to join.  The blanket is where the kids will sit as they listen to her read to them. That got the wheels turning.

 I found these Dr. Seuss panels at and decided that would be my inspiration for the quilt.  The blocks are representations of pages taken from three different books written by Dr. Seuss.

Oh, the Places You'll go!
The Lorax
Green Eggs and Ham

There were ten pages per book, so thirty pages in all for this quilt.  I washed the fabric and cut the pages apart.  Then ironed them and pressed in the hems.

Then came cutting the strips to divide the pages.  This was a mathematical nightmare as the page blocks ranged from 10 1/2 x 6 3/4 to 10 x 7 inches. That meant making up the difference, plus or minus, with the strips.

Next came sewing them together.  It was challenging to remember to be constantly watching carefully to always have right sides together.  I goofed a couple times trying to sew at dusk and not turning on a light when I should have.

Another factor to keep in mind was to make sure all pages of the book were right side up.

It was easy to get confused in the rush to beat the birthday deadline.

Add to that having the bobbin thread run out, and not realizing it until you sewed the entire width of the quilt.  It was definitely an exercise in staying in the moment.

But I was off and away.  Somehow this was going to come together.  I had somewhat of a plan on paper but that went out the window pretty quickly.

Of course, I also needed to keep the page blocks in the correct order as I sewed them in strips.  Again, focus, focus, focus!

The next question was, "What do I use for a backing?"  I had this on my mind throughout, and was trying to think of something that would work well outdoors.  I had to have something that would not pick up grass and leaves.  It also needed to be something that would wash easily.

I had noticed in the blog world that people were using canvas painter's cloths as slip covers and I had been thinking of trying that myself, but just had not had a project that fit that look.  I decided this was it.  The size I bought was slightly larger than the finished quilt top and I thought I might be able to to wrap the back to the front as a binding.  However, once it was washed and dried, the width was within a 1/2 inch of the top.

So I used the factory hem in the dropcloth and zigzaged a seam along the edge of my top fabric.  I was able to fold the top down 4 inches and keep the factory hem there.  On the bottom, the corners had pulled up some, so I ripped that hem out and adjusted it to fold 2 inches to the front.  (FYI: the painter's cloth was very easy to work with and for $11, a real bargain.)

I found a three inch alphabet stencil at Michael's that fit nicely along the top border.  (Incidentally, Michael's has a very good selection of alphabet stencils.  At my location they have put some with their acrylic paints and others a couple aisles over with drawing supplies.  Luckily I overhead someone talking about this and discovered exactly what I needed in the second aisle.)

I mixed textile medium with my acrylic paint in a 1:2 ratio.

And was able to get the name of Jodie's blog onto the top border.
I finished the project with one day to spare.  That gave me time to find all the pins I missed, cut all the loose threads I missed,  and wrap the package. 


She was very happy with her quilt and....

so was the little one.

What about my "almost two" year old grandson?   I bought him a doctor's kit complete with stethoscope and blood pressure cuff. 

This will come in handy as he looks after his stuffed animals in his Veterinarian Clinic.

 The handmade parts of his gift are the sleeping pillows I made for the animals to rest on while they recover.

Yes, I let him open his present a few days early.  Grandmas have that option.