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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Burlap, sweet burlap!

 So this is the pillow that we are making in this post.  Hope you enjoy it. 
 For our pillow we used 1/2 yard of Osanburg fabric, for pillow back and front, and 4 yards of burlap. The Osanburg was cut into 2 pieces, so the one became the front, and the other is saved for the back of the pillow. The burlap was the narrow kind that is on a roll, but you could use yardage and cut it in strips. I'd say these were 4" wide.
 Originally, I tried to gather the burlap, and sew it on like that, but it just was too much, and the burlap ended up standing straight up. So I took the Osanburg and drew a circle as big as I wanted the outside of flower to be.  Then I took the one end of the burlap and started zig zagging it to the pillow front. I pleated it as I sewed, you'll kind of know how much to pleat it so it lays flat on the front of the pillow. I pleated some going left to right and some right to left, this was really done randomly.
 Once the outside circle was almost done, I started sewing the burlap in a spiral. I tried to keep it at an equal distance as I sewed the spiral.  When I was almost done, I pleated the center, so I could have a flower center,  and finished sewing with the machine.  I have a heavy duty sewing machine, and this just buzzed through this sewing.  I wasn't real happy with the center, so I took some thread, and stitched the center down.
 So here is the burlap sewn, you could make it fuller or narrower, or add some other ribbon throughout it, buttons, whatever you like. 
Then add the back piece and sew three sides together, and make sure that you don't catch the burlap when you are sewing. Turn this right side out and stuff with polyfil, hand stitch the one side closed.  Hope you have as much fun making your as we did!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Recipe for rust

 Ever wish you had a rust pin, and couldn't find what you were looking for?  Here's a quick and simple way to make your metal things rusty. DO NOT POUR THIS MIXTURE DOWN YOUR DRAIN!  You will see this warning several times throughout this post.  To begin you will need, hydrogen peroxide, salt, and vinegar: these are needed for your mixture.  To mix and rust in, pick some old container, an old cool whip bowl or a little glass vase, just not a metal container.   And for stirring, I found a wooden dowel works well.
So now, round up the things that you would like to rust. For this example, we picked safety pins and a bell.  DO NOT POUR THIS MIXTURE DOWN THE DRAIN!  You are going to need to mix equal parts of the vinegar and hydrogen peroxide, if you don't need much to cover your items, don't make much.  Add salt.  The amount of salt you add depends on how much you are mixing, for the 1/2 cup we made I think I added about 1 teaspoon.  Then mix well, and add your metal items.
Now, go grab a cup of coffee or shop, whatever, cause this will take some time.  The longer you let them soak, the rusty they become. DO NOT POUR THIS MIXTURE DOWN THE DRAIN! When they are as rust as you would like them to be, you are finished.  Let them dry on a paper towel.  If you are doing safety pins, be careful not to let them rust so much, that they don't close anymore.  Have fun rusting!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Fat quarter..wait...what?

 What's a fat quarter? Fabric that needs a diet?  Above is 1/4 yard of fabric, unfolded.  So here you see a piece of fabric that is 9" by the width of the fabric, (WOF)  So you would end up with a piece of material 9"x45" -that's 1/4 yard of fabric, long, skinny and rectangular.
And here a picture of a fat quarter. and it measures 18" by 22 1/2"  You can see that depending what you were making you would prefer the one piece to the other, just because of how the piece of material is shaped. A fat quarter is more square looking, so there you have it, and now you know the difference between the two.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Great idea!

Different times at the store we have customers who leave their work bag at the shop.  So here's an idea to make your life easier.  In your bag somewhere, add your name and phone number, that way if you accidentally leave your bag somewhere, people are able to return it to you.  Just a thought, happy crafting!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Have you any wool?

What would we do without wool?  Hopefully, this post will answer alot of your questions about wool.  What is felted wool? Felted wool is wool that has been washed and dried.  You can take wool, whether it is off the bolt or a garment that you may purchase, and wash it in your washer with warm/hot water and a little detergent.  From there dry it in the dryer, and then your wool is ready to use. 
  What's the difference between 'felted wool' and 'wool felt'?  The felt that we sell at the store is felt that is made from wool, so because it is an animal fiber, it can be dyed different colors, than felt that is made from a cotton (plant fiber)  And felted wool, is wool that has been washed and dried.
  How do I know if wool has been 'felted' before I begin to use it?  All of the hand-dyed wool from the store has been felted, fat quarters have not been.  However, when in doubt, wash it.  Better to have washed it twice then have it shrink on a finished project.  When wool has been felted it has a fuller feel to it.
  Can you use wool and felt on the same project?   Yes, you can use both and even cotton in you like.  Many times we will use a nice cotton flannel.  Moda has a whole line of fabric called Woolsie, that has wonderful colors and it looks beautiful.  Sometimes, this can keep the price of your finished piece down. You can always use cotton for the backing of your pieces as well.  Wool felt doesn't wash as nicely as wool that has been felted, so I would keep this in mind if my piece was going to be washed repeatedly. 
  Should you have any other questions, please feel free to leave a post, and we will be happy to answer your questions.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Finishing the back of your work!

Ever see the beautiful backs of some stitcheries and there is paper on the back?  Today we will show you how to give your work that 'professional' look.  The supplies you will need: your finished work in a frame, brown paper bag or brown craft paper, glue, water, and sand paper or nail file.
 So begin by measuring your picture and make sure that your paper bag or craft paper is bigger than this.  Wet this bag or paper, here it can be kind of tricky, you want the piece wet enough, so it is thoroughly wet, but not so wet that it tears for you. Set this to the side. Then add white glue to the back of your frame, and thin this down with water.  I usually wet my finger and smooth this out. You want to make sure you go to the edge of the frame, but be careful to not run over the side.

 Here you can see that we have laid the stitched piece on the paper and there is plenty of wet bag/paper that we will NOT need to cover our back.  Better to have too much than not enough.  You don't want to pull your paper tight, but try to get out the creases and wrinkles. If you pull the wet paper too tightly, you can break your frame. Usually, we would have our piece flipped the other way, but have shown it this way to help you understand what we were talking about.  So normally we would drape the wet fabric over the stitched piece, with the work faced down. Let dry thoroughly
 When it is dry you will want to grab your nail file/sand paper.  Gently run your sand paper along the edge of the frame, and as you sand, your paper from the bag will be cut off. Do this to all your sides.
 Here several of the sides have been sanded.
And here all of them have been sanded, so if you would add a hanger you would be good to go.To add your hanger, find the center of your frame Try this sometime when you want to finish the back of your stitched piece.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Messy but fun!

 Ever heard of 'grunging' something?  Well, here's your chance to take something and make it in to something else.  We started with a glass vase, got it at the thrift store for $2.50. This is what we will be grunging.  You will also need some 'Elmer's' type glue, cinnamon, water, paint brush, container for mixing glue and water, and spray sealer.
 You will want to mix the glue and the water in a container to thin the glue done.  If you want to use Modge Podge, you can, using glue thinned with water, is less expensive.   You want to the glue/water mixture to be spreadable with a paint brush. Then begin to brush it on your glass container, and sprinkle with cinnamon. Continue brushing and sprinkling, until your whole container is covered.  Allow to dry thoroughly.  Overnight is great.
Your container may look something like this one.  Someone suggested putting a little paint in your glue, I've never tried that.  Will need to!.  When your glue/cinnamon is dry, spray this with your sealer.
 Here we've taken the same container and tied jute around the top.
 Add some flowers and you are done!
This small container was done the same way, but we also rolled it in instant coffee grounds while the glue/water mixture was still wet.  Going to put pencils in this one.  Give it a try!

Friday, September 13, 2013

To stain with coffee or tea

 So today, we are going to show you the difference between tea staining and coffee staining, and how its done. The supplies you are going to need are whatever fabric you want to stain, water, coffee or tea, (instant works great) and some containers for staining.  You can stain any fabric you like cotton, furs, Warm and Natural, you get the idea.  Let's say you are making a doll dress, and the colors seem too 'bright'-just tone them down by staining them.  Ok, so you choose which you want, tea or coffee, for staining, and use equal parts of them together.  Water 1/2 c+ coffee 1/2c or Water 1/2c. + 1/2c tea.
 For our demonstration, we used 4 pieces of muslin, it is all the same kind and about equal pieces.
 I like to begin the staining, but wetting the fabrics in water, first.
 Then ring them out. Do you see the one on the top right looks like a bird?
 I like to heat the water and tea or coffee together in the microwave, stir this real good, and then add your fabric, and wait.  Maybe this would be a good time to get YOU some coffee or tea. Let this soak for about 10 minutes.  You can soak it longer but it really doesn't change the color much. Ring it out and place it on a cooking sheet.
 Then you have several options from here, you can place your fabric in the oven or put it in the sun.  If you put it in the oven  BE CAREFUL! You will want to have it on a low setting and really watch this.  If you put it in the sun, you can put it out to dry in the sun.
Here is what the fabric looks like when it has dried.   We soaked the one piece of fabric for 10 minutes and the bottom piece was 20 minutes.  This was true for both the coffee and the tea.  Honestly, I couldn't tell a difference between the ones that were soaked longer.  Tea will always be a lighter color and a little more of an orange tint to it.  While coffee stains darker and is more brownish.  Hope this helps you in your next venture of tea or coffee staining.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Updated dolies

Need some more ideas on wool applique?  You can take an old doily and coffee stain it, and add some pumpkins to the outside.  Add whatever you like to them, pennies, leaves, stars, hearts, you get the idea.  We just whip stitched this on. There may not always be thread to stitch to, underneath the wool, so you may have to have your stitches farther apart then what you want.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Easy pumpkins

 So today, we are going to walk you through the process of making a little pumpkin.  These are the tips and techniques that you would use to make dolls, or other things out of muslin, and then paint. This is the nearly finished pumpkin, so you get an idea of the finished, well almost, product.
 Take a circle, the bigger the circle the bigger the pumpkin, and trace it onto paper.
 Here, we have placed a single layer of muslin over top of your pattern, and you can see the circle through the fabric.
 Trace around your circle, on the fabric, with a marker, pencil, whatever you can see.
 Pin to another piece of muslin. Sew around your pencil line, you can hand stitch or machine sew.
 Cut around your circle, leaving a 1/4" allowance, all the way around.
 Next you are going to clip around the edge, every 1/2" or so, being careful to NOT cut your sewing line.  This will help your circle to look like a circle, when you turn it right sides out.
 Since we have sewn completely around the circle, we need to make an opening for turning. Seperate your circles, you want to only cut 1.  Cut a small slit in it, this will become your back, and turn your circle through this opening.
 So here is our circle with the slit, to the back.  Now stuff your pumpkin, as stiff as you want it, this should be pretty tight, we don't want whimpy pumpkins!
 After it is stuff with polyfil, you can hand stitch the opening closed. Try to do this neatly, but remember it will be on the bottom of your pumpkin, so don't stress to much.
 Now, by taking a heavier thread, we used pearl cotton.  Tie a big knot and begin from the bottom, coming up through the center of the pumpkin, we will sew "sections" for our pumpkin.
 We tried to give our pumpkin 6 sections. I would think you'd want to do at least 5, but see how this works out for you.  When you are done stitching, try to end your stitching on the bottom and tie a big knot there as well.  We kind of pulled our stitches after every section, to try to make it look puffy between the sections.
 So, once your stitching is done, it's time to paint.  You can make your pumpkins as orange or brown as you like. Our paint was thinned down slightly with water.  You want to make sure you get paint in all the nooks and crannies.
So, here's a little patch of pumpkins, you can see different size circles, make different size pumpkins.  You can sprinkle cinnamon on top of them, before the paint is dry if you like.  For stems, have fun, you could use cinnamon sticks, felt, sticks, dowels, you pick.  Glue those into the centers.  How about adding a little pick of bittersweet, leaves and some moss around the top as well.  Wouldn't a bowl full of these be great!  Have fun with this and hope it gave you some good tips to use.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Best Press!

And every once in awhile on this blog we will plug a great product.  You may never have tried this, and maybe you want to hear about it.  I have a lovely steam iron I use for pressing work, seams etc.  But this stuff is great! You can get it in "flavored" sprays.  Actually, they are scented or not scented.
I really like using this when I am sewing, bags, quilts, clothes, it just really crisp up your seams.  I have used starch in the past, and sometimes this wants to clump up for me or gives my iron fits, so Best Press is a product that doesn't do either one of those things.  Give it a try and tell us what you think, or if you have used the product, we'd love to hear what you think.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

So here you can see another stool that we have redone.  Again, we used burlap and we didn't use a stapler at all.  These are decorative tacks that you can purchase and nail on to hold the burlap in place. The tacks were used and we just reused them to take the new burlap in place.  So as you can see there are many options for re-covering stools or seats,

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Around the edge

So to begin, you will need to secure your pieces together, while you stitch.  We have used staples to secure our while we stitch.  We are going to stitch two circles together, we are using a contrasting threads so you can see the stitches better.  If you need a quick over view of beginning blanket stitching, see our previous posts. 

So, here we have done more stitching, so you can see what it looks like, you will try to keep your stitch length even.

This is the finished project, we have stitched all the way around. Take out the staples and you are finished.