Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Beginning Crochet

Crochet is a simple and fun way to make useful and lovely items.  It is a very cost conscious craft to start as you only need a crochet hook (about $4.00) and yarn (about $3-$8.00).  To get started there are just a few stitches that you need to know.  It works best in my opinion to learn these stitches and get used to the "feel" of crocheting before you embark on a complicated project.  I have the first of a series of videos posted below to help you on this journey should you wish to take it.  Good Luck.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Patch It Up!

I found myself folding clothes this morning, a job that seems never ending in the Ward house, when I came across a pair of my daughter's jeans with a hole in the knee.  Earlier this week I made a simple pillowcase top for her with left over fabric from an actual pillow project.  I wondered when I made the top what bottoms I would put it with.  Instead of just throwing the jeans out I made a repair that made them perfect for the top I made.  If you would like to do this project follow the steps below.

Step 1:  First repair the hole by sewing it closed with simple needle and thread.  Be careful when you do this not to distort the natural shape of the pant by pulling hard when you  are stitching.

Step 2:  Cut out a "patch" from the fabric of your choice in any shape that fits the area.  Apply light to medium weight fusible interfacing to give the patch strength.  I used quilting weight fabric that would have been much too thin for this application if not for the interfacing.

Step 3:  Position your patch over the repair and attach by running a blanket stitch around the perimeter of the shape.  A blanket stitch is a decorative and function stitch in this application.  I used orange cotton string (size 10 crochet cotton).  I like the homespun look of uneven stitching (especially appropriate for a patch).  If you would like a more even look, simply mark 1/4" into the fabric with evenly spaced dots to mark your stitches.  I did not use a fray preventer on this patch because I think it will only enhance the look if it frays a little, but feel free to use it if you want to keep the project as it.

Once the patch is applied the garment is ready to be worn again. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Window Dressing



One questions I get a lot is what to do with windows in the face of so many choices.  Although I am always happy to give my opinion and advice on someone else's project, it is not so easy on my own home.  I find this is true for most people.  It helps to approach it from a more methodical perspective and imagine it is not your own home.  Window treatments can be the major expense in room, so take your time and consider their use, material, and flow with the rest of the home.

I have to confess that I lived with paper shades in my master bedroom for two years.  In my defense, I was busy with many other projects (my own home mostly), but I really had a hard time deciding.  When I could live with the paper no longer, I carefully considered my options and what worked with the space.  The decisions of matchstick blinds seemed obvious (after two years!).  The natural element of the bamboo really helped tie the room with the view of the woods and lake outside the bedroom window.  

I had them hung just under the crown molding to bring more attention to the ceiling height.  This also allows for full exposure of the window glass for maximum light.  I only wish I had done it earlier.

Thrift Store Finds Before and After

I am always on the lookout for great furniture pieces at thrift stores.  I found this glass top coffee table for $29.99 at a local store.  It had a little rust and the paint was in awful shape, but I liked the geometric look going on. I was not sure if it was going to give me the look I was going for but for only $29.99 I thought it was worth a shot.  

I primed the metal frame with spray paint then painted it a gold color with spray paint made for metal.  The glass was in great shape and had a bevel so it cleaned up really well.  I love how it turned out.  Always be careful when using glass tables, they can be dangerous for young children. Don't be afraid to try painting pieces you are unsure of if the price is right.  More times than not they will become favorites! 




Monday, April 1, 2013

Not Your Usual Cut Flower

Living in the South I am very familiar with the flowering shrub commonly know as an Azalea.  My town in fact is widely know as the Azalea City.  These delicate flowers come in colors like shocking pink, white, and baby pink among others.  These Rhododendron are a joy for a few weeks in spring and then forgotten almost entirely until the following spring.  This year however, I have discovered that they are not only lovely outside, but inside as well.

Azalea's delicate tissue like petals do not seem like a practical choice for a cut flower.  On the contrary, it is a wonderfully resilient cut flower.  Kept in water they will last the better part of a week and look fabulous the entire time, closed buds even blooming and all.  Since Azaleas grow in clumps it is very easy to get a big punch from just a handful of cut stems.  If you are going for an elegant look try the common white variety, whereas shocking pink can add an element of fun.  Happy cutting.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Summer Sewing in the Cold

This is the time of year that I start really thinking about summer.  More specifically summer clothes.  I get my drafting supplies out and start making warm weather patterns and look for inspiration for my designs.  Even though it is still cold outside, planning and time are both necessary in order to be ready by the time warmer weather gets here.

I made this basic shift dress last year and hand drew a starfish and embroidered it in pearl cotton on this wonderful stone-colored linen.  If you do not know how or want to make your own patterns, there are plenty of really great ones out there.

When you are planning your sewing, think not only about summer cuts, but also summer friendly fabrics.  Linen is one of my favorites for warm weather.  I know, I know, it wrinkles, but I feel like that also gives linen it's distinctive summer look.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Drawing while enjoying the day

In the hustle and bustle of summer it is easy to keep yourself so busy traveling and "relaxing" that you don't take time for the simple things.  The other day, my daughters and I went shopping for miscellaneous household items and came across some really sweet sidewalk chalk.  It was just the inspiration we needed to put off some household chores, ignore the phone, and spend the afternoon together appreciating the beautiful day.  It was not expensive, we did not have to travel hours away, and all concerned had a great time.  Simplicity is wonderful!
Cute sidewalk chalk makes driveway drawing fun!