A Crafty Winter

Happy New Year! I’ve been waiting for Christmas to be over in one aspect: so I can finally share some of my sewing projects I’ve been up to.

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This year I decided to make gifts for the women in my family. It was a great way to avoid all the malls and crowds and give something a bit more personal, though I probably won’t touch the sewing machine for some time now.

Table Runners

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I know how to sew garments pretty well, but when it comes to basic things like a table runner that doesn’t even require any seams, I’m out of my element and turning to google. I found my inspiration and directions from Apartment Therapy, where the placement of multiple table runners along the width of the table added a more contemporary look to the dining room. I also like how the table runner doubles as a placemat.

I cut out four rectangles, making sure when I folded over the raw edge 1/2″, the finished width was wide enough to fit a plate and cutlery on either side. Mine were 16″. However, I found that it lacked a certain je ne sais quoi when I tested it on my table, so I added red seam binding to all the edges.

img_4109The seam binding was a bit tricky at the corners. I folded and pinned them like this and then hand-sewed the gap together.

Here is how a finished one looked:

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Pillows

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I had also never made pillows. They’re not terribly hard, but they do take a while to get the hang of, especially if you want a full-looking pillow, rather than a saggy one. I discovered a great trick of cutting the fabric the same length and width as the pillow because the pillow form will stuff into it and make it look healthier.

I did two Christmas-themed pillows, using the dark red/maroon colour as a way to tie them together.

For the abstract lace Christmas trees, I followed directions from Make It & Love It. I was thrilled when I saw almost the exact same green zigzag fabric at Fabricland! Instead of doing 2 layers of lace trim, I had a lot of maroon ribbon to use up so I sewed a strand of that on each lace piece (9 in total), and then added the silver buttons for stars. Make sure you sew all these pieces to one piece of fabric before you sew the two rectangles together!

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The Canadian-themed pillow was my own pattern. I cut out the maple leaf from the leftover squares of this patchwork quilt fabric, sewed it together, turned it inside out, and handstitched the gap. I’m particularly pleased with how the envelope back turned out so that you can actually take the pillow case off and wash it if needed. Instructions on how to do that also from Make It & Love It.

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Fox Apron

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The last project I’ll mention because it’s so darn cute and was probably my favourite to make was this fox apron from Simple as That that I discovered on Pinterest. The main adjustment I did was instead of using white glue to fasten the paw pockets, ears, eyes, nose, and cheeks, I cut out backs for everything (including the face) so there would be no raw edges and fraying seams. This also meant I didn’t make mine reversible, but I didn’t think that was a great loss because if you have the option to wear a fox or a floral print as a little girl, chances are you’re going to go for the fox. So I altered the free pattern you can download from the site to allow room for seam allowances. I’m really happy with how it turned out, and my niece loves it too!

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foxaprononnaomi

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How to Turn an Old Window into a Picture Frame

And now for something completely different.

I’ve had this old window sitting in my basement for almost a year. I bought it at Folk Art Interiors in West Point Grey with the intention of turning it into a picture frame like you see on many Pinterest pages.

This past summer, I finally did it. It was my first time stripping and staining wood, and I gotta say I’m pretty proud of my work!

Here’s what it looked like when I bought it:

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Broken glass pane, badly chipped paint. I brought it to my parents’ place out in Langley because they have the space to do DIY projects like this. The first step was taking out all the glass.

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I left this job to the men

I knew I wanted to put new glass in it anyway, but it turned out it was helpful to remove it so that it was easier to peel, sand, and stain the wood. I used my dad’s heating gun to get all the old paint off, or as much as I could. The heat from the gun caused the paint to bubble, making it slide right off. I also used a chisel and a wire brush.

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I didn’t want to take all the white paint off because the point is that it’s supposed to look old and vintage. But the walls in our apartment are white, so I wanted to strip it down to let the natural wood colour come through.

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Then I used this electric sander to smooth it out, which is so much more fun than rubbing by hand:

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And ta-da:

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I liked how it looked as is, but I was curious to try a natural wood stain and see how that would look. So I applied two coats back at our apartment. It was interesting to work with a stain rather than paint because stain only sticks to the parts of the wood that are sanded well. Otherwise, the wood doesn’t absorb it. You can definitely tell that it’s not an even colour in different places, but that’s part of the charm.

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Then I used a clear satin finish on it to seal the stain.

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Next step was to add the glass panes. We brought the frame into a glass shop and got six panes cut perfectly to fit. This was the most expensive and trickiest part of the process, especially when two panels break on you as you’re trying to put them in. But eventually we got them all put in smoothly and secured with Glazier’s steel push points. These little guys are hard to find but Home Depot carried them. They’re a subtle solution that you don’t see from the good side. We didn’t putty the glass since we weren’t sealing in this window from the elements.

glass halfway in

glass halfway in

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inserting the push points

I ordered some 11″x14″ wedding photos from Shutterfly, centred those into the six frames, and then mounted some leftover black scrapbooking paper behind them. We used good ol’ scotch tape to attach the photos & backings to the window.

IMG_2344It held up great, and this is what you see on the other side:

IMG_2349I’m really pleased with it and love the addition it makes to our dining room wall:

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Distress-It-Yourself

Well, it’s that time of year I bring you another Pinteresty-style post. And yes, it has to do with picture frames again. That’s what my DIY projects tend to be. This time, I tackled distressing a picture frame.

I wanted some art for my bathroom as I’m still decorating after over a year of moving into my apartment. So I did some antique shopping in Fort Langley and bought this old print and picture frame.

original printI liked the print, especially the postcard text behind the birds. It fits perfectly with the old handwriting on my shower curtain. But I didn’t like the sickly sweet pink of the wood frame. So I distressed it, thanks to these helpful “how-to” instructions I found here and here.

Since I wanted a dark brown colour to be the old layer of paint that showed through, I started off by repainting both pieces of the frame, applying two coats. My old acrylic paint set I got for Christmas one year came in handy so that I didn’t have to buy all the supplies.

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My kitchen table work space. The turquoise frame to the left needed some touch-ups so I did that at the same time.

IMG_0266IMG_0268After letting the paint thoroughly dry, I rubbed the edge of a candle along the frames because this prevents the next colour of paint from sticking to the brown. It also indicates which parts of the frame will peel away when you bring out the sandpaper. Don’t be shy with the wax. If you want a really distressed frame, rub away. You can see the path of my wax below.

IMG_0315 I painted the two pieces again in the main colour I wanted the frame to be.

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I mixed a large amount of white, a pinch of yellow, and some dark purple to get this purply grey colour

IMG_0319I only did one coat of the purply grey because I was going to be sanding some of it off anyway to have the brown show through. Next, I took a piece of sandpaper and started rubbing the frames. I was surprised how easily it took off the paint in the places where I had rubbed the wax!

IMG_0323The last step was to apply some clear varnish to seal in the paint. I borrowed a spray can of my dad’s which gave it a semi-gloss look.

IMG_0328IMG_0325And voilĂ ! The funny thing is now I don’t even think I’ll hang it in my bathroom. I like it more for my hallway or living room.

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My antique corner, minus the Times Square frame I also repainted. You could say I have eclectic tastes!

So that was my bout of craftiness until next year. Any Distress-It-Yourself (or Do-It-Yourself) projects you have on the go?