I have a new Cricut! It’s been sitting on my desk in the box for the last week — yes, an entire week. Why? Because I have no freakin’ idea where to start and I’m a little paralyzed. I’m seriously questioning yet another hobby, although I can totally justify that sewing/quilting and machine cutting are somewhat related — sort of, if I really try.
I’ve sent some time this week in a Facebook Cricut group, and watching videos from Auntie Tay and Lorrie Nunemaker on YouTube — thank you both if you see this. I’m about ready to haul this sucker out and start. I have two small projects to start with — a street sign and a small helmet sticker for MartMan — hopefully the rest will just come to me. You know, if you build it ….
There are some bigger projects down the road, I hope. I feel like a new parent.
Creativity, don’t fail me now. Putting on my brave now.
I knocked my sewing room atomic clock off the wall the other day and damaged the display, so I decided I needed a new clock. I searched Amazon, Etsy, and eBay for sewing-themed clocks and decor and found a lot of cute things, but nothing that spoke to me enough to buy. In my search, I ran across a few pictures of a handmade clock using a vintage quilt block design called the Dresden Plate, and I fell in love with it. The original purpose of a Dresden Plate quilt was to use the smallest fabric scraps so nothing went to waste, and this random piecework style seemed to suit my crafting and sewing style.
This is my version of the Dresden Plate clock.
Traditional Dresden Plates have 16 petals, but my first Dresden Plate blades were made using a template I accidentally found online at The Crafty Quilter that yielded 12 blades per Dresden, perfect for clock making. I chose a 12″ x 12″ x 1″ square artist’s canvas to mount my clock to, and found that a 5″ tall blade created a Dresden with a final diameter of 11-1/2″ including the center circle.
Here’s what you need to make your own:
A 12-blade Dresden Plate — quilted to a piece of coordinating fabric at least 14″ x 14″ or bigger so it wraps around the canvas frame to be secured in place on the back.
Batting — I used white fleece on this, since the fabric content really didn’t matter. The fleece was almost too bulky on the corners of the frame.
12″ x 12″ artist’s stretched canvas — available in the crafts section at Walmart, or any crafting store like Michael’s or Jo-Ann’s, as well as Amazon
Clock works kit — the kit you choose is partially determined by the depth of your stretched canvas frame. I bought the 3/4″ kit for the 1″ deep canvas. Available at Michael’s or Amazon.
A tube of E6000 glue or a hot glue gun
One piece of shim or other long flat wood, at least 12″ long
After sewing the Dresden, I applied it to the background fabric with a running top stitch, and quilted the background fabric with a simple echo outline of the petals. You can get as creative or simple as you want. I centered and stretched the finished block on the canvas, and secured it using an electric staple gun, stapling it to the back of the canvas’s frame, much like you’d reupholster a chair. Find the center of the Dresden Plate by putting a straight pin through it from the front, and mark that location on the back of the canvas. Clip a small hole where you marked the pin, put the stem through the fabric from the back and on the front, assemble the hands on the front as directed in the clock works instructions. Finish by hot gluing the back of the clock works to the shim so it is straight and won’t move, and secure the shim to the frame of the canvas with hot glue. Be sure you don’t cover up the dial adjustment or battery case on the back with the shim. My mounting was disappointingly askew on my first clock, but it will be better next time. Trim any excess fabric on the back, hang and enjoy!
My latest project has been freshening up my hall bathroom vanity and medicine cabinet with a good coat of paint. My house was built in 1986, and both were showing their useful life and style ages.
I opted to do something a little more current than the dark Java Gel Stain I’d used in the kitchen and master bathroom. All the big kids seem to be using white right now, so I picked out a nice antique white. I used:
Sander, sanding block and sandpaper.
Dutch Boy Cabinet and Trim Paint, primer and paint, tinted 011W Antique White. This vanity didn’t even take an entire pint container.
Small dense roller and tray, and small paint brush.
I removed the doors and hardware, cleaned the surfaces to be painted with TSP, lightly sanded them with a hand sander, sanding block and sandpaper to remove what was left of the old poly topcoat, then I dusted them, taped all the edges off with painters tape, and started painting. It took three coats of brushing on the detail, then rolling the entire surface. Rolling is the only way to go and gives a flawless finish.
Once you start painting, just know the first couple of coats will look TERRIBLE and make you question life itself. It gets better. Be sure to allow plenty of time for this project because you should wait about 24 hours between paint coats. I started painting on Saturday and wasn’t done until Tuesday. I encourage you to search YouTube for detailed instructions, as there are lots of very helpful videos out there.
DON’T PANIC! It’s just the first coat.
Tape all your edges, and any details you don’t want to paint.
I used packing paper from Amazon packages to cover the floor.
Have plenty nitrile gloves handy, a wipe rag, and a couple of large zip top bags. Since cabinet and trim paint is acrylic, you won’t be rinsing out your tools between coats. Just drop them in a sealed bag and they’ll be fine overnight. I threw them away when I was done.
We replaced the old antiqued gold hardware with weathered nickel. Eventually I can see the walls painted a soft gray and new flooring, but I’m totally out of the mood for more painting projects right now.
I’m still fighting the winter blahs and have been creatively uninspired in my sewing room lately, so I decided to do something I’ve been wanting for myself for a while.
Several weeks ago, I moved my sewing room from the front of my family room, to the back. It’s a slightly smaller space, so I did a lot of de-cluttering and organizing and am extremely happy with the outcome. I also now have a nice sitting area in front of our lovely fireplace again in the front part of the room.
The new space. I’ve been asked about the tables — the table on the left is our old dining room table with the center leaf in place; the table in the center is two 4-cube bookshelves with an Ikea butcher block top, total cost about $150. The wrought iron shelving is a $5 find at a garage sale. The large 18 cube organizer is my fabric.
I’ve been wanting to make dust covers for my embroidery and sewing machines to help finish off the reorganizing. The fabric I wound up using was a hand-me-down from my friend, Anne, and worked out yardage-wise for some quick dust covers. Fitting a cover to the embroidery arm on the embroidery machine was a challenge, and I’m satisfied with the result.
I still don’t know what to do next, but I do feel like I got something done. Hopefully, with Spring just around the corner, I’ll start feeling creative again.
Second office chair makeover, stripped screws and a trip to the hardware store
Meet my very expensive Merit chair that I’ve had for probably 20 years. Ask any transcriptionist, our chair is our life. We spend hours upon hours firmly planted in a chair working and if the chair doesn’t fit, your body will tell you all about it. I love this chair, but I’m notoriously hard on my stuff, and she was showing wear. The seat was very dirty, and probably 10 years ago I attempted a “slipcover” of sorts and wound up with this very baggy, ugly plaid thing, making a dirty chair dirty and ugly.
Today I took apart her apart, and the only difference from the last makeover I did was this chair has a finished back on it, requiring fabric for both sides. Taking the back apart required a pry bar and some gentle but firm coaxing. Taking the screws that held the front of the backrest to the backrest support bar was a MAJOR challenge. The screws that were originally used were machine screws and I swear they were glued in as they were screwed down. I wound up stripping the Phillips heads while trying to take them out. So, I also highly recommend a little device called the Grabit Damaged Screw Remover, which was easy enough that even I could work it. A couple of new machine screws — thank you Lowe’s guy for helping me find the tool and the right screws — and the project was smooth sailing from there.
This project required:
A magnet to clean up all the staples you wind up removing (optional)
Phillips and flat head screw driver
Electric staple gun
Fabric, and fabric shears
Grabit Damaged Screw Remover and power drill (really optional)
I had five consecutive days off of work, during which time I had a wishlist of things to get done. I wound up only getting a few of the things on my list finished, but fortunately, the big one was my craft room chair makeover.
This chair is 20+ years old, and looked it. There are tons of step-by-step videos on YouTube, and I would recommend starting there if you want to tackle a project like this. It only took a few hours and some hard work once I got started.
A few tips:
Krypto was totally uninterested in what I was doing
Make sure that you have enough of whatever fabric you choose to match patterns if you need to. I didn’t on this project because I was just using up a large upholstery weight remnant that I would never in a million years use for anything else and was doing the project just to see if I could. I came close, but not quite. Fortunately, this chair also has a black plastic shell for the backrest, so I only had to upholster the seat and front of the backrest. We’ll just call my pattern mismatching intentional.
Work on those corners and angles. I didn’t do it very well, so there are some visible folds on the edges, but they look okay, and definitely better than before. My fabric didn’t have a lot of stretch, and that may have been the problem.
Take pictures, not just for before and after photos, but so you know how to reassemble your chair after you’ve disassembled it.
This project required a Phillips-head screwdriver, hammer, mallet, and Allen Wrenches.
I used an electric staple gun and 3/8″ staples. Be prepared to use a little muscle to get your staples to go all the way in your wooden base. I tried using longer staples, and they would not go all the way in. In this case, less is better.
Have a sheet or something down on the floor so you can work without worrying about getting your project dirty.
I added some poly quilt batting, especially to the arms, which had totally deflated over the years.
I chose not to spray paint anything, as the base was in great condition. The back is also a black plastic shell, with only minimal scuffing. I just cleaned it well.
I still have a lot of leave left for this leave year, and two more chairs to do. And better fabric. And a little more motivation now that I’ve done it once.
UPDATE: I had to redo my sad little lumbar pillow too. I reused the stuffing with a little added.
Today I made the switch from summer to Halloween on my front door. I found a similar wreath on the enternetz, and this is my take on it with the pieces/parts I could source locally. I think she came out pretty well. I have materials to make more, so if you’re interested in your very own for $120, leave me a comment and I’ll get back to you!