Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Apple Centerpiece

The other day I finally thew away the wilted sunflowers on the dining room table and I was trying to think of something to put there when I saw these apples in the kitchen.  I then opened up my overflowing cabinet of table linens and this red, white and blue beauty was right on top.  On our recent trip to Michigan we stopped at a crazy, wonderful store called Punzels where I bought this runner.  (If you have any interest in Scandinavian linens, this is the store for you!  It was huge and amazing and awesome.)  But back to the apples... I ended up loving the combination of the green apples on the red and blue runner.  It's so nice when you can find things you already have in the house that when combined make something novel and beautiful (kind of like when you make a great outfit you love out of the old clothes in your closet you've been staring at all season). So open up the cupboards and dig around because you never know what will inspire you...the possibilities are endless!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Pyrex Joy

This past weekend I went to the Springfield Antique Extravaganza with my mom and we had a great time.  My first purchase of the day was the beautiful blue Pyrex bowl above.  I was immediately drawn to the happy blue color and I really like the low, squat shape.  When I got it home and put it next to my other Pyrex bowls I just couldn't stop looking at the way the colors work together!  Pure Pyrex joy!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Bird Fabric

This week Spoonflower's fabric design contest theme is birds!  The rules were you had to use black, white, "spoonflower blue" and one other color of your choice.  As you can see I chose red.

If you would like to vote for my fabric (and you have the patience to wade through 22 pages of designs) then click here.  Even if you don't want to vote for my fabric you should still take a peak at all the entries.  It is always so much fun to see what people come up with.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Homemade Duvet Covers

I have been working on this yellow room project now for over six months and I am finally glad to finish it!  This room is fairly small but has just enough room for two twin beds.  For the past eight years it has had two mismatched quilts on it that, although cute, were not my vision for the room.  I really wanted the room's color scheme to be yellow, red and white.

So one day when I was at Calico Corner's I found two fabrics that I loved - one with yellow stripes and one with red.  I just couldn't decide.  The red-striped fabric is part of Calico's French Stripes Collection and has a wonderful texture and as they describe it a "French laundry look." And the yellow fabric has a beautiful, textural stripe and was on clearance for only $8/yard!  So in typical Nessy fashion I decided in that moment to make four duvet covers!  (I knew it was insane at the time, but I just couldn't let either fabric go!)  So six months (and many, many curse words) later I have four new duvet covers - two for summer and two for winter!

Originally I thought, "How hard can it be?"  All you have to do is sew two rectangles together that are the same size as your duvet."  So I headed over to IKEA's website and designed the whole duvet cover around their 64'' wide by 86'' long duvet.  Theoretically all you have to do is add 2 inches to the width and 5 inches to the length which gives you a 1 inch seam allowance and enough fabric for a roll over button hole area.  But it did become a bit more complicated because I had to piece together three pieces for each duvet.  If anyone is really interested, send me an email and I will send you the exact dimensions I used.   

Looking back, I probably bit off a bit more than I could chew, but that is just my nature.  I did learn a ton from this project.  I now know how to sew button holes like a champ and I learned how to sew buttons on with the sewing machine.  (If you have never done this it is totally amazing! I will never sew another button by hand.)  I also learned that one really should change out the needle in one's sewing machine fairly often.  I also had to pace myself on this project which I hate to do.  But in the end it was worth it.  Now all I need are some guests who are willing to sleep on twin beds!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Hand-stamped Headboard

The headboard project is finally done!  This past Saturday I spent the entire day stamping this project out.  It took me longer than I expected to figure out all the spacing and it was a little nerve wracking to actually stamp on the headboard, but in the end it all worked out.

As you can see below I started with blank headboards I bought at Ballard Designs.  At first my plan was to buy the headboard slipcovers that they sell just in case I messed it up.  But in usual Nessy fashion I impetuously decided to stamp directly on the headboard itself.  I did however, mock up several design options in Photoshop just to help me get the spacing and design just how I wanted it.  If you don't have Photoshop I would recommend stamping a sample out on to craft paper first.

The other issue I had was that the stamp turned out much lighter than my test fabric.  I was OK with the faded look because it gave it a vintage appearance.  If you don't want that look I would recommend giving the area you are going to stamp a gentle cleaning with a damp cloth.  (I had a small spot where my dirty fingers smudged the fabric so I spot cleaned it with Spray-N-wash and a damp towel and the ink appeared to take better in that spot.)

Another thing I learned is that stamping is not a project for perfectionists.  Inevitably your dots won't line up perfectly or your stamp might be a little crooked.  (Another tip - because of the irregular shape of the bunta blocks it is helpful to put a piece of tape on the back to help you line up North and South)  But these little imperfections truly give it that hand-stamped appearance and from far away no one will even notice! 

Overall I am very happy with the final result and now I can't stop thinking of the possibilities;  I see hand stamped roman shades and curtains in my future!  So get out there everyone and leave your stamp on this world!  (OK, OK, I know but I couldn't resist.)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Custom Rubber Stamp

As I mentioned in the last post, I bought the bunta blocks for a project. I have been wanting to make headboards for the two twin beds in our yellow guest room for a while. Originally I wanted to cover them in a Les Indiennes fabric, but they only sell to the trade (and are a bit above my price range).  So when I saw the bunta blocks I thought, "I can make my own hand stamped fabric!"

When I sat down to mock up the design in Photoshop I realized I needed a larger stamp like one I had seen at Jackalope but didn't buy.  So being the crazy perfectionist that I am, I called Jackalope to see if somehow they might be able to find the one block I had seen in the two giant bowls they had filled with blocks.  Amazingly, a very nice person named Ray answered the phone who actually agreed to send me some photos of the blocks in hopes of finding the one I had in my head.  I couldn't believe that anyone would take the time to try and look through all those blocks -  incredible customer service!  Unfortunately none of the photos Ray sent me were the right one.  (Thanks again Ray!)

So that got me started thinking about making my own stamp and finally to the subject of this blog!  I wanted to try and match the small flower stamp I bought at Jackalope so I could use both for my headboard project.  As you can see below I started with a rough pencil sketch that pulled elements from the bunta block.
I then traced and perfected the design in Illustrator.
I then uploaded the design to Simon's Stamps. I couldn't believe how easy it was and the stamp arrived three days after I uploaded the file!  I also designed and ordered a matching dot line stamp.
Below you can see my first stamp test.
I was very excited by how it turned out but I felt it was too perfect to match the bunta block print.  So I ended up taking an exacto knife to the brand new rubber stamp!  I was scared to ruin it, but it turned out I had to work pretty hard to rough it up.  If I had to do it over again I would have roughed it up in Illustrator first- lesson learned!
As you can see above it now has a more "aged" look that matches my bunta block. 

In my next entry I will post photos of the headboards so check back soon!