If you can’t find what you want…

…make it!  I’m a DIY kind of girl, always have been. I’m frugal, and learned many skills from my mom; ours was a big family with a limited income, she made do, did a lot of the projects around the house, figured out how to fix things herself. I still tend to do things myself rather than pay someone to do it. Last weekend, I tore the mantle and fireplace surround (with trim all the way to the high ceiling) off my fireplace by myself rather than pay the contractor to do it. Last Fall, when I moved, I wanted a jewelry case to hang in my walk-in closet, that would protect my silver pieces from tarnishing. There are lots on the market, but they were not for my frugal self. And, I decided I didn’t need a large one.

So, I went to Hobby Lobby, bought a 10″ x 20″ shadow box frame, and pulled out the poorly installed canvas backing. I couldn’t find a white frame, so I bought a black one and spray painted it with white enamel that I happened to have on hand. I didn’t take the glass out, I just very carefully taped newspaper over both sides of the glass.

Cut a piece of mat board to fit, and covered that in batting and fabric to match my paint color:JewelryCase1 First, folded in and glued the batting…JewelryCase2 Then did the same with the fabric. The front side looked like this when I was done:JewelryCase3 I glued this into the bottom/back of the shadow box, then drilled holes for cup hooks that I had also spray painted white. (If I were to do this again, I would have used an awl to make my pilot holes–the drill bit got wrapped in batting each time and was a bit of a pain):JewelryCase4 Once the cup hooks were all screwed in:JewelryCase5 And voila! The finished project hanging on the wall of my closet:

JewelryCase6 The wire rack below it is what I have used for years for my necklaces/chains, but anything silver always tarnished quickly hanging out in the open air. Really, a fairly easy project that cost me about $22 total. JewelryCase7Now to get that fireplace surround re-done…

Happy creating,

Doris

A ghastlie reunion

**If you’re visiting from the Bloggers Quilt Festival, be sure to scroll down, my quilt entry is two-sided, and you don’t want to miss the back!

When we (Row House Creations) designed our Mums for Melissa pattern, I knew I had finally found the perfect design to use my (ahem. cough) collection of Alexander Henry Ghastlies fabrics! I think the first collection was released in 2009; sort of a unique, “Addams family” style novelty print. This pattern is designed to use a 2-yard cut of a print fabric that you can’t bear to cut up too small:

mums_frontcopyThe characters in the Ghastlies fabrics are so detailed and have such great expressions, backgrounds and “props” that they need to be used in larger pieces. I did make placemats with them a few years ago, and I made the quilt top I shared on our Row House Creations site in 2013. Trina quilted it for me in 2014, but I realized I never blogged about the finished quilt. Because, you know, 2014 was my worst year. Ever.

But it did get quilted, and it’s pretty awesome (if I do say so myself), because it’s two-sided, and the back is fabulous, too. This is a full shot of the front:

MFMGhastlies1

The “mums” in the center panel include some Ghastlies coordinates, but also just grey, black, pink, and lavender prints from my stash that coordinate well; the center is a dark green tangled lace Ghastlies print. It’s easy to see my fabrics in this photo from before it was quilted:

GhastliesMFMDetail3And the inner border is from a line by Sanae for Mode called Haunted Mansion (I love this print) and looks like a damask wallpaper print complete with spider medallions:

GhastliesMFMdetail5

The quilting is done on an Innova long-arm, using their computerized designs, but in a custom manner (a different design for the center flowers, the inner borders and the large side panels of the quilt):

MFMGhastlies5

MFMGhastlies4I had a TON of fun making this quilt, I’m a bit crazy for Halloween, I love these fabrics, and I was using a pattern my business parter and I had designed. My fun didn’t stop with the quilt top. The back I had just as much fun making, creating a family “photo gallery” and a wainscoting wall look using some Tula Pink Nightshade fabric that coordinates with this collection very well, and the original Ghastlies, the Ghastlie Family Reunion and Ghastlie Gallery collections:

MFMGhastliesBack1

I started by fussy-cutting scenes from the large prints of each collection and “framing” them in coordinating fabric:MFMGhastliesBack4

I arranged them in rows on my design wall, added the white “wall” around them, then added the “wainscoting” panel below and above the photo gallery:

MFMGhastliesBack3

MFMGhastliesBack2The photo gallery inspiration came from this print from a Ghastlie GalleryMFMGhastliesBack5One of my very favorite quilts–this one stays with me! BTW, the back is a one-of-a-kind design and is NOT a pattern and NOT included in our Mums for Melissa pattern.

This is my entry in the Spring 2015 Blogger’s Quilt Festival — entered into “original design” category — would love to have you vote for me for viewer’s choice!

Happy Quilting, and come back again,

Doris

Fox in a Box

Trina and I designed this quilt in 2013, published the pattern, and it’s been a best seller! I’m sharing it here again as my entry in the Spring 2015 Bloggers Quilt Festival.

There is an applique and a non-applique version. I’m kind of partial to those cute little foxes on the applique version…

FrontCoverForDigital_woFR

FIAB FullSHot Quilted2

Fox in a Box made with no applique:

Fox in a Box Quilt

Trina did a wonderful job on the quilting of this one, a combination of straight-line quilting, pebble quilting and shadow spirals…

Fox in a Box Free Motion Quilting

Fox in a Box Free Motion Quilting Detail

In designing this pattern, we worked out two methods of making no-waste (or LOW-waste) flying geese; through trial and error, but the methods in the pattern work our lickety-split!

Our little fox friend peeking out from his Fox and Geese Block, isn’t he adorable?

Fox in a Box Applique Fox and Geese Quilt Block

And his little friend gazing up at him from another block:

FIAB Fox 1 Detail

The two quilts side-by-side on my (apparently not-so-straight) fence:

FIABonFence2

The pattern is available here.

Happy Quilting! …and do come visit again

Doris (& Trina)

From dinosaur to…

…possibly the cutest “up-cycle” project I’ve ever completed.

Over a year ago, I was trying to help my mom sell an entertainment center via craigslist and Facebook. It didn’t fit her new television, so it had been moved to her garage. Well, we couldn’t sell it, we couldn’t even give it away — literally — our local salvage/resale shops won’t take them. So, it became a dinosaur taking up space in my mom’s garage.

But then I saw this, the piece in the before pic is almost an EXACT version of my mom’s dinosaur, shown here:

EntertainmentCenterI sent the pin to my sister and a plan was hatched.

Just before Christmas, we moved the entertainment center from mom’s garage to my garage, and we started painting and remaking it as a surprise for my niece.  We had a lot of fun brainstorming ideas… the sink is a cheap plastic mixing bowl, the faucet is the top of an m&m candy cane that we spray painted, the oven “rack” is a shelf organizer, the burners and stove and faucet knobs are all from the unfinished wood aisle at Hobby Lobby. We used leftover paint from other projects, and  bought kitchen cabinet knobs to use as handles. The inside of the fridge is painted all white, and the shelves are repurposed as refrigerator shelves. The investment in this project in terms of dollars was pretty small.

CollageForBlogWe cut a piece of MDF for the “wall” of the kitchen, my sister didn’t want a cut out (like the Pinterest piece had) in it since it would sit up against the wall in their play area, so I painted an outdoor scene, blue sky with fluffy clouds, flowers and a bunny in the yard, framed it out with 1/2″ trim board for window “mullions”. I also painted a grocery list on the “fridge” door, and a kitty and puppy magnet. (Her grocery list reads milk, juice, candy, bacon — likely a list Zoe would come up with if you asked her what we should buy at the grocery store!)

ZoeKitchen3I made a valance for her “window” out of this yellow Sunkissed fabric by Sweetwater, and trimmed the wash clothes my sister bought for “towels” in the same. The “towel ring” is a plastic scarf ring from Target that I made a little leather holder for. We added cup rings to the opposite wall to hold her utensils.

ZoeKitchen2

ZoeKitchen1We moved it fro my garage, over to my sister’s basement play area on New Year’s weekend, while Zoe was napping. When we had it moved it, I went into her room to wake her up, and I carried her downstairs to see her surprise and she woke up in a BIG hurry when she saw it! (Her brothers were just as excited) A few weeks later, I finished the little apron I made her to match–once she tried it on, she wore it the rest of the day!

ZoeApronCollageShe loves her kitchen, our mom loves that it’s not sitting in her garage anymore, and I love that we didn’t have to send it to the landfill. Win-win.

Happy creating,

Doris

Cheetahs, and Bears, and Owls — oh my!

A year ago in December, I showed you this Baby Cheetah Onesie that I made as a shower gift for a friend’s baby. I also showed you my process for making these in that post.

Baby Cheetah Onesie

This year, I can show you a photo of pretty Olivia wearing her onesie:

Olivia wearing Onesie

Her mommy asked if I’d make her a 1st birthday onesie to wear with a purple tutu on her special day. So, I made her two!

Olivia's Onesies

The quilt that Olivia is sitting in front of in the photo above is from Pottery Barn Kids and has appliqued owls on it, which I used to model my owl on. And the cupcake onesie was just for fun–

Another friend asked me to make this for a new granddaughter, born mid-November (her Daddy is a major Chicago Bears fan), she wanted a Bears logo but with a “cute, baby bear” instead:

Chicago Bears Onesie & Logo

I hope I achieved that; she seemed to be happy with it. It started out like this, a light pencil sketch on the onesie… and then a apply fabric paint before any applique pieces:

Bears Onesie_Start

A detail of the finished “baby logo”:

Chicago Bears Onesie Detail

Disclaimer: This was a custom design request by an individual; I am not mass-producing these items for sale or marketing. The Chicago Bears logo is an NFL officially licensed design.

How did I miss October?!?

Well, I didn’t miss it completely, just blogging during October — but this Autumn just got too crazy, and something had to give. I did sew though, a few costumes… this adorable penguin costume for my niece (you might recall I made her very first Halloween costume in 2011):

103013_Zoe3

The hat was actually purchased, because her Mommy found it under $10. And it’s hard to see, but I made a pillowy fleece & flannel body with black “wing” flaps that attached around her wrist with thin black elastic. She was specific about being a girl penguin (Girl has two big brothers, y’know) so Mom lent her a string of pearls and added a pink flower pin to her hat. Crazy adorable.

Handmade Penguin halloween Costume

And you can almost see it in that photo (she was too excited to stand still!) the Trick-or-Treat bags that I made for her and her brothers:

Trick or Treat Bags Panel

They were a panel I bought a few years ago, and I liked the retro images so much, I almost made myself a table runner out of them instead! 😉 We spent a fun evening with the Lioness granddaughter at Living History Farms Family Halloween (Lion costume from Pottery Barn Kids):

Lion Halloween GemmaIf you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time, you know I love Halloween and I love creative costumes. Have to share one last pic that shows the great robot costumes my sister created for her boys (the penguin’s big brothers):

Kids Trick 0r Treating

until next October…