Wednesday, July 23, 2014

DIY Computer Chair

I recovered an office chair! I was intimidated, but gathered the courage to do this (while hubby was away for the day!), and I'm glad I did. This lifeless-looking thing has been around for at least ten years, and was overdue for an update.
Basically, I followed a tutorial by PracticallyFunctional that I first saw on Pinterest. However, as with all DIY projects, as I went, I realized I needed to make adaptations. My chair isn't put together like the one in the tutorial. So, I found that even taking the chair apart was a bit of a challenge. 

The seat came off the frame, but not without a few screwdriver scrapes. 

At least a hundred staples had to be removed.

I learned that it was easiest to remove them this way. The edge of the seat became the lever for the pliers to push down against, to "roll" and lift out the staples.

The trickiest part was figuring out how to get the cushion off the seat back! Mine didn't have obvious screws, as in the tutorial. I finally did a Google search and found someone who had a chair like mine, and figured out what to do - cut through the fabric of the seat back and cut through the foam to reach the plastic plug/screw set that would release the seat back board from the plastic back. Whew. 

I had one inch-thick foam on hand from which I could cut a new piece for the seat back.

At one point, I began to wonder if I would be going out to buy a new office chair!

Determination saw me through. I love this home dec seat back fabric - notice how I centered the print?! It's a leftover from the cover I sewed for Hogan's window bench in July 2012. I wish I'd had enough of this print to cover the seat too.

But I kept it economical, and used another leftover home dec print in leafy aqua. Now we're not only sitting prettily, but also more comfortably because I put a one inch layer of foam on top of the original foam seat.
As a practicing DIYer, PracticallyFunctional said her chair took one hour to re-cover. I lost that contest!  Still, I'll pat myself on the back for my three-hour finish. Linda

Monday, July 21, 2014

Bee Block

Do you get blog-moody like I sometimes do? Maybe because it's summertime, maybe because we've frequently had rainy days (like six inches one day last weekend), or maybe because I just don't feel like it, but I haven't wanted to write a blog post, or read blogs. Don't get me wrong though! I still like my blog friends! In fact, I brag to non-bloggers that I could travel just about anyplace in the world and arrange to meet-up with a blogger who I've come to know pretty well. Blog comments and swapped emails build friendships.

Moodiness aside, I've spent productive time in my sewing room, especially on rainy days.

Always a beginning-of-the-month priority is to make the queen's block for our Mid-Century Modern Bee. Our July queen is Susan who lives in Australia, and blogs at PatchworknPlay. She asked for a 12" star block. The star could be our choice as long as it has a black background and any clear color prints. I selected the Blazing Star block on Jinny Beyer's "Free Block Patterns" website. To make sure the points met perfectly in the center, I hand-pieced it, and used a wall paper seam roller to press each completed seam.

You can see in this close-up that the black background is a cool "Target" print. I found this Timeless Treasures fabric - in both black and white - about six years ago, and bought five yards of each color. It's proving to be a timeless (catch that pun?) contemporary print.

So Susan remembers that this block is the one I contributed to her quilt, I made it in my very favorite colors.
Blazing Star, 12-1/2" X 12-1/2" unfinished
If you know me very well, you're aware that I'm crazy for popcorn. Not the microwaveable kind, but the good 'ole fashioned kernel-type that's popped in oil in a Whirlypop on the stovetop. I think this cartoon is a good mood-lifter, especially if you're experiencing the summer heat.


Friday, July 11, 2014

More fun!

This giveaway has ended.
Are you ready for a giveaway?! Then, let's do it!

If you haven't had your head buried in the sand, you've heard about American Made Brand fabrics, a new line of quilting cottons made by Clothworks. Fifty solid colors are available, and they're all 100 percent grown and milled here in the good 'ole USA. How can a red-blooded American quilter not love that?!
After the recent blog tour of all 50 states, where you could pick up patterns for state license plates (here's mine, for Florida) American Made Brand is now reminding us to enter its Farm to Fabric Quilt Challenge. Create your own interpretation of that theme using AMB solids, enter by August 15, and have a chance to show your quilt at this fall's International Quilt Festival and Market, in Houston! Find more entry information here.

To thank you for considering making an entry, AMB is giving away this 13" X 15" tote bag. (Veggie greens not included.)

Just leave a comment for a chance to win. I'd really like to know...  Have you made anything using only solid fabrics? If so, what have you've made?

This is an over-the-weekend giveaway, so I'll choose a winner Sunday evening. I'm opening this giveaway to international friends as well (postage covered by me) because I don't want you to be left out.

Thanks everyone! Linda
This giveaway has ended. Random Number Generator picked commenter #5, Carla. She has been notified. Thank you all for entering!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Bits of This and That

Since I haven't been teaching lately, my sewing room has seen me a lot.

I finished piecing this 62" X 62" quilt top. I meant to be done with it, but after sharing pictures and swapping emails with my talented designer-friend, Anne of SpringLeafStudios, (Check out her latest pillow design that's on the cover of Modern Patchwork magazine!) I agreed with her assessment that the big hot pink blooms in the side borders are a bit distracting from the beautiful hand-appliqué on the inside - appliqué done by Julia in Australia.
Happy Together, 62" X 62"
So, I've ordered more of the border fabric ("Brassica" by Philip Jacobs) and will be sure to cut the print from the areas that are more similar to the top and bottom borders. Such a happy quilt! Yes? Speaking of "happy," I've named it "Happy Together," not only for the bright colors, but because this is a shared project between Julia and me. Quilting will be fun as I'm imagining curved cross-hatching behind the appliqué, and feathers, using holographic Marathon threads.

In the meantime, I'm quilting a 78" X 78". Wanting large spirals, I rounded up everything in the house that's larger than 12" in diameter. Believe it or not, I used the 23" diameter glass top of a round table to outline a circle on the quilt! I also used an 18" wall clock, and the lids of two Tupperware containers, for 14" and 13" circles. These are the circles made with freezer paper so I can press them to the quilt top. We gotta get creative sometimes, don't we?

Here's some of what I've been quilting using the free motion quilting foot - not a walking foot. I have to eyeball the distance between the curves, so they aren't perfect. But I sure like the texture which I attribute to the double batting - Quilter's Dream poly and wool. I'll be working on this piece for a week or so.

In the mail we received these hand prints that are now beautifully gracing our refrigerator.

Here are the guys who made them. I miss them so much!
Austin, and five month-old LJ

While I can't imagine living without the technology that gives me immediate pictures and FaceTime, nothing beat being IRL - in real life. How else can you buss those adorable cheeks?! Linda

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Back at it!

At my follow-up visit for my leg catheterization, I got the all clear to return to normal activities. It was also interesting to learn that in fact my left leg stent was 90 percent blocked! That's an unbelievable build-up of plaque in just six months. I can't tell you how happy I am to be "clean" again!

I finished this quilt, and used one of my new labels on it. I like these, and will sure use them, but I will also make my usual Printed Treasures labels so all the details are recorded too.

I've been anxious to try quilting that double batting. Today I had time to play with my test piece. Not only do I love the way this looks, but it quilted just beautifully! No problem whatsoever moving it through the machine, and in fact, I felt that I had more control over the piece because it was "sturdy." I'm charmed with how this looks, and excited to get started on the big quilt!

I tested four different threads to decide which I want to go crazy with. All I know so far is that white is ruled out. It just doesn't do anything for the designs.

Here's the test quilting from the back. Backing fabric is Carolyn Friedlander's 108" Widescreen, in grey.

A few evenings ago, during a brief stroll outside my sewing room, I came across this. I didn't know Hogan had an interest in ballet!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Second Anniversary

It was two years ago today that we moved into our new house in Florida. No surprise, but the time has truly flown by.

When we moved in on June 23, 2012, we were welcomed by Tropical Storm Debby. We'd never seen so much non-stop rain - three days and nights worth! We were only too familiar with flooding and loss of drinking water, as it happened in Des Moines in 1993. We've since learned that sand is much more porous than clay, so the danger of flooding here is minimal.

Two years later... this is what our house looks like. Professional landscaping made a nice improvement, and we love the colors of the different blooms - yellow, red, pink. How neat is it that you can plant impatiens in August and have them continue to bloom in June?!

I wanted to show more pictures of the changes around our area - every day, ten new houses are being built... and sold! - but our on-again/off-again rain has prevented me from getting out to take photos. And, there's still the recovery from last Wednesday's procedure to open the clogged stent in my left leg. The doc found that blood flow through the stent, that was put in just six months ago, was reduced 85 percent due to plaque pushing through the mesh. I'm recovering well, pain-free, though no lifting or strenuous activities are allowed until my follow-up doc visit on Wednesday.

Here's the little bit of sewing I've managed. I finished up a selvages version of the "Edith Small Zipper Bag" (find the tutorial on the tab above) started last November when Edith visited from Switzerland.

And three collapsible thread catchers are done. A couple weeks ago, when I taught my weekly quilting group how to make them, I used these, in a various stage of completion, to show how to sew them. They're still a clever design, I think. Though I made mine with the inside ring of a four-inch wooden embroidery hoop, this YouTube video shows how to make one with the top ring part of a Pringles can!

Happy mail brought these custom fabric labels. If you need customized labels, or just pre-designed ones with your name, visit Jennifer's Jewels Etsy shop here.

We just found out that our old Francrest Circle house in Iowa is for sale again. It's so interesting to see the online pictures of what the owners did with the place. It looks great! Linda


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