Wrapped hoops

One of the things I am trying is wrapping my hoops. I first learned of this from a Craftsy class for Celeste Chalasani’s Stumpwork: Raised Embroidery Essentials (no, I have not started this project yet; I need more time to feel ready for it!). I know that several people I follow with feedly tout its importance, but I hadn’t really ever had issue. Of course, I hadn’t really ever sewn much either. Before I start Celeste’s class, I decided I really needed a wrapped hoop since I would be using a fabric I am unfamiliar with (I’ve only done cotton and linen to date). If a professional who is teaching me is telling me that I need something, by golly, I am going to listen and consider it seriously (why was that concept so hard for my university students? They wouldn’t even buy the book!). That’s also why one of the first things I did was buy what I named Johnny 5 – I doubt you will see the resemblance, but I am quite fond of the critter:

It is a Frank A. Edmunds & Co’s universal craft stand that I found at a local craft shop with a super-duper coupon. It isn’t something I researched specifically before I bought it, but it was something I desperately wanted to try. So, when it was just 20 bucks, I said absolutely yes please! And   I. Love. It.   It might not be the greatest, and it might not last long, but it is awesome nonetheless. I should have bought one years ago. I was worried I would have to sit all proper like – nope! I can work it so that I am perfectly slouched as the usual, even sometimes with my leg crossed over it or while I am half laying on my side! Ha! (I know what you are thinking, but I can still maintain really good embroidery form, trust me;) I was worried it wouldn’t stand still – nope! It is pretty good and tight. I was worried my threads would catch on all the protruding gadgets – nope! Of course not, they are all at the top (and you can hide the hoop’s screw too). And – bonus – my light clips right to it so it is perfectly where I need it, no matter how I sit!

So anyway, on to the wrapped hoop story. I went in looking for twill tape as suggested by the professionals. I came out with super discount fabric tape from the scrapping section. It may be a bad idea; time will tell if it becomes unsticky or moves around or whatnot, but at the cheap price of both the tape and the bamboo hoops I have (since I haven’t yet committed to nice ones), I thought it would be worth a shot. So rather than my hoops being boring white, they are going to be covered in lovely designs!

No, you wouldn’t really ever see the lovely design unless you aren’t using them, and if you aren’t using them, you probably have them stashed away out of sight somewhere, that’s true. But I like the idea anyway – it’s a zakka life for me! The point of wrapping them is to keep your fabric tight in the frame and rarely I have noticed that my stitching fabric does get a bit loose at times but I just continue to sew on it as is. However, now with learning more complex stitches, it will behoove me to keep a tight set-up. Part of that is the cheap hoops I use that do not have a crevice for a screwdriver so I can only hand-tighten them, but I am wondering how well this wrapping business will correct the issue. They also say I should always remove the hoop after each sewing session, else I could permanently mark the fabric. This has not once been a problem for me, yet I did try it with the blackwork heart … but then I quit doing it after a few days. Baby steps, people.

TV tray ironing board

My father-in-law had a set of four nice wooden TV dinner tables that he no longer used so I offered to take them off his hands.

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This was a super easy, super quick project. There are a million tutorials online, and I went with this one: Tv Tray Pressing Table.

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I had some pink decor-weight fabric on hand that kind of matched my craft room, but I had to buy some other fabric that would work well for the people who were about to receive an ironing board from me (lucky for me, they all have similar taste in colors).

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It is super nice that the table folds up so easily. It works great for small projects and when I don’t feel like busting out the big table. And, of course, it still duos as a TV tray (or, in my house, a cat perch). Get out your staple gun and have at it!

ikea hack: bekvam stool

*1/27/15 Edit: IkeaHackers added this to their page – check out their site for a ton of great ideas! :)

Ikea does make some really great products, and one of the things I use often is my little BEKVÄM stool. It is lightweight and easy to carry around my kitchen and other parts of the house when I need a step up. Plus, it works as additional seating sometimes – often for my cat, Maya;) I decided it needed a cushion but I wanted the cushion to be removable for when I needed a step up, you know? I don’t want to stand on a pretty seat and make it dirty over the years!

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I bought a piece of ¾ inch wood, cut it the same size as the top of the stool, with about ⅜” extra on the left and right sides (to have a little edge to grab onto when removing), then lightly sanded the edges and corners just so my fabric would not snag on a splinter.

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I used this board as a template to cut the cushion to size. The cusion is very thick and firm, and a little tricky to cut. I tried scissors, a knife, and my rotary cutter. What worked best for me was using the rotary cutter in vertical chopping motions.

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Then, I had a piece of snazzy canvas I bought a while back, and cut it so that I had about three inches to staple to the board. That way, I could make a hem with the fabric for extra strength. I did not have rhyme or reason to how I stapled it – I just had fun!

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As you can see above, I also set the cushion top on the stool and then traced where my wood-plug would go, through the handle opening of the stool itself. To make the plug, I had an extra bit of a 2×4 cut to the rough shape of the handle, then I sanded it down until it fit snug. I used a bit of wood glue and two screws (pre-drilled) to hold it in place.

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The plug allows the cushion to sit firmly on the stool, so you do not have to worry about knocking it off when you sit down. And, it let’s you pop the cushion off when you need to step on the stool, because it isn’t anchored to the stool itself – just slips into the handle hole.

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Now, all that is left is deciding on what color of stain I want to use on the stool itself!

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appliqué gift

Howdy folks! My sister-in-law finally found a home on her wall for the gift I made for her wedding. She hung it above a piece of furniture she inherited from her grandmother, which she painted a cool color – check it out!

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Here’s a close up. I am wondering how to avoid the look of the seam allowance in the method of hand appliqué I chose. Whatever, though, it’s handmade :)

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covered lampshade

Years ago I bought white paper lampshades from Ikea with the intention of decorating them (yeah, that almost never happened). After I painted the bedroom, they were certainly the ugliest bits in it so they needed a makeover. I did not take photos along the way, but I can describe the easy process here:

I used wrapping paper to make a template by rolling the shade and marking its edges with a marker. It will make a big C shape. Then, I added about an inch or so to either side so I could fold it over the edge, and I cut the paper accordingly. Laying it on top of the fabric I had stashed, I could then cut the piece of cloth I needed. I used spray adhesive on the material and carefully rolled the lampshade over it. That was a little tricky and I wish I had left more than an inch for the overlap. I could not align the shade in exactly the same angle as before – and since the fabric was tacky with glue, I couldn’t easily reposition it. But, in the end, it worked great!

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It is just meant to be something fun for now. Eventually (soon, actually), Boy and I will be moving into another room so we can rip out the floor of our current bedroom (similar to my kitchen woes). Can’t wait for that to begin….not. I’m not sure how I will redecorate the future bedroom, and that will include adding a closet and eventually a master bath. Lots of changes happening around here!

Recovered office chair

The chair I use in my craft room is a standard counter-height office chair. The dark boring blue color, which didn’t match my room from the start. I thought to myself, if I can recover an ironing board, maybe I can recover my chair. I had no idea what I was doing, but I took the same principles to make slip covers for the chair. That did NOT work. Then I asked myself, why don’t I take this opportunity to finally learn how to staple fabric to stuff?

First things first – I had to separate the two cushions from the chair itself, then separate the plastic backing from the back cushion. I employed Boy to do that for me, and there was a bit of a snafu when one of the attachment points cracked a little. We glued it with all-purpose cement, and about 8 months later, it is holding up as far as I know. If you decide to do this, just be more gentle when prying things apart than we were.

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I had a large enough portion of this fabric to use, but it was thin so I had to line it since the original cover was so dark. I just used fusible lining, ironed them together, and then went about my business.

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Then, I laid the fabric out, put the cushion on top, folded it over, and used a zillion pins to tug the fabric all around until the front and edges looked great. It was the longest part of this whole process, and I stabbed myself several times.

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Then, I used my easy-fire staple gun, bang! bang! bang! all around the edges (sometimes the thick plastic prevented the staple from securing itself, but mostly I did not have any trouble). A quick snip, snip, snip around the extra bits of fabric, and it was ready to put back together.

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It really enhanced the room – instead of the eye being drawn to a fugly dark blue chair in a happy light room, it matches wonderfully. Plus, changing it to a cotton is more cat-hair friendly than the weave that they loved to scratch at every now and then…

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recovered ironing boards

I made these last fall, but never posted about them. I have a small table-top ironing board that had a whitish cover. Over the years, my gross well water has stained it, and it just looked gross so I wanted to make it pretty.

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A long time ago, I won “pink kelp stripes” fabric from Made by Rae (I could not locate her original post). I saved it for a long time, waiting for something neat to make with it. It was the first giveaway I had ever won (and I recently won another SMS giveaway which I will post about as soon as I receive it!!)

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I didn’t know how to make an ironing board cover, but looking at a couple of examples on the internet, I realized it actually was not that hard. Plus, I had everything I needed to make it on hand already, which was wonderful because I am currently on a no-buy budget for crafts (unless I am making something for another person, that is).

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Then, having reorganized my craft room (more on that in a later post), I no longer needed this table-top version really – not after I refinished my big one which now fit in the room. So I turned it into a photo board!

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I had a couple of yards of some fun Heidi Grace fabric, so I used that for my large ugly blue ironing board. It was a little trickier because the nose of the board was more pointed. This meant that there was a lot of stress on the string when tugging it tight, and the first type of string I used just frayed apart – oh, I was so mad! I had to manually feed a different kind of string through, but in the end, it worked. I also attached the string to a button so that when I tied it, it would not simply become a giant knot. This way, I can remove the cover if I need to wash it.

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