Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Preserving Cattails for Indoor Decor!




This post involves blood and gore!

What? 
This is supposed to be about preserving cattails. 
How could that involve blood and gore?


It all started when I asked Mr. S to come along to the countryside to collect some cattails.  
We do this every couple of years.  

 


It is a simple matter of climbing down the embankment and cutting the cattails before they get to "ripe" and start to puff.


 
Well.....









it would be simple enough.....

If the rock retaining wall HADN'T crumbled when Mr. S stepped down....
But Mr. S is tough and stoic!!!!
So even though he fell and twisted his thumb....we kept at it!
Then....we got back in the truck and found even more cattails along the road....
Then many cattails in hand...back home we went.

When John got out of the truck...he asked me what I thought we had walked in to make his pants get all red!!!!!
 YIKES!  He was covered in GORE!
Luckily, when we got to the source of the bleeding...it wasn't a big deal!
The bleeding stopped in 5 minutes and the little wound was covered with a regular bandage.
BUT....I his boot was filled with blood...
There was a puddle on the floormat in the truck.
Ick...Ick....Ick..

Now on to preserving those cattails.....
I originally posted about this here...PRESERVING CATTAILS TUTORIAL

In order to make the cattails last, you need a very strong "GLUE".
I have tried a couple of methods.
Hairspray: it isn't strong enough...and who has it anyway.
ModgePodge:  Works....but has a funny texture because of the way it sits on the surface.


 

Polyurethane is my go to solution for strong long lasting cattails.


The poly absorbs into the cattail and keeps in all that fluff that is just waiting to burst out,




I used a disposable brush and put on a very thick coat.

 The can of poly that was on the shelf was pretty old...so I feel like this was a great use of the "dregs" in the can.




I left them out in the yard to dry.
Then....I went back into the house to help clean up all that GORE!
 

So thank you to Mr. S for "taking one for the crafting team"!
AND
wait till you see what I use these very COSTLY cattails for!
More to come soon....



Thursday, September 15, 2016

Simple Boxed Corner Pillow Instructions

Fabric junkies know what a dangerous place a wholesale fabric store can be.


The Sweetwater Daughter and I took a trip to the fabric store with no real "need" in mind.


Of course....
what should my eye spy....?


This remnant was only $5.00 a yard and has all the right colors for our family room.





I knew it would be the perfect way to make the two Malabar chairs coordinate with the room.




 We moved these two chairs from the living room to the family room this spring.

As you can see....the fabric on the cushion is not the best for a room with rust colored carpet.  But with the addition of beige cushions it was sorta okay.









It was serendipity!








I do a lot of NO SEW projects....alas....this is NOT one of them.
In fact...it is kinda picky sewing....not for the faint of heart.
This post is not really about the seat cushion....but you may be interested in that process.

And would you believe....?  I learned how to do this BEFORE there was Google!
The real trick to tackling a sewing project like this is DECONSTRUCTION!
If you take the old cushion cover apart, you have the perfect pattern pieces to create the new one.
It is kind of scary....because once you rip it apart...there is no turning back!


One nifty discovery with the old cover was the way the welting is attached.

Instead of the usual piece of covered welting that is sandwiched between the pieces, this project uses a self welt.

That means that the welt becomes part of the top piece of fabric.

(I ripped out the old cording so that I had the perfect size for the new self welt.

Then comes my least favorite part.....zippers and pinning and stitching...OH MY!

A couple of hints:  
Don't try to give yourself extra room....cushions need to fit super tight.  In fact....you will think that it is never going to fit...and then as you close the zipper...a tight fitting cover just snaps into place.
Check out this tutorial for covering a box cushion with a zipper:  Something For the Road Box Cushion Tutorial
Seriously....these directions are some of the best I have seen.
Whew!  
Once the seat cushions were done, it was time for the pillows for the back.
I wanted a little more formal looking cushion.  


Did you know that the corner on the left is called a "Turkish" corner?  I like it....but I simply wasn't in the mood to do more welting!

So....the next best and simple option was a box corner.

Simply put...this is a lot like the way paper grocery bags are designed.  After the knife edges of the pillow are stitched, you pull out a triangle and stitch across at the depth of your side.
Confused yet?
Source


This is a photo from yet another tutorial that is way better than anything I can write.

Check it out....

http://www.patchworkposse.com/how-to-sew-box-corners-3-ways/










This is a close up of the boxed corner.

This one is three inches deep.

Making the back cushions was a lot easier than doing the seat cushions.

I even went big time and put zippers in.  WHOOT WHOOT!








The finished project is every bit as nice as the vision that I had standing in the fabric store!
Don't you just love when that happens?
The price was right.....less than $25 for four cushions....not including my labor and time....but that is why they call it DIY!

Have a Great Day!


Link Parties




Simple Boxed Corner Pillow Instructions

Fabric junkies know what a dangerous place a wholesale fabric store can be.


The Sweetwater Daughter and I took a trip to the fabric store with no real "need" in mind.


Of course....
what should my eye spy....?


This remnant was only $5.00 a yard and has all the right colors for our family room.





I knew it would be the perfect way to make the two Malabar chairs coordinate with the room.




 We moved these two chairs from the living room to the family room this spring.

As you can see....the fabric on the cushion is not the best for a room with rust colored carpet.  But with the addition of beige cushions it was sorta okay.









It was serendipity!








I do a lot of NO SEW projects....alas....this is NOT one of them.
In fact...it is kinda picky sewing....not for the faint of heart.
This post is not really about the seat cushion....but you may be interested in that process.

And would you believe....?  I learned how to do this BEFORE there was Google!
The real trick to tackling a sewing project like this is DECONSTRUCTION!
If you take the old cushion cover apart, you have the perfect pattern pieces to create the new one.
It is kind of scary....because once you rip it apart...there is no turning back!


One nifty discovery with the old cover was the way the welting is attached.

Instead of the usual piece of covered welting that is sandwiched between the pieces, this project uses a self welt.

That means that the welt becomes part of the top piece of fabric.

(I ripped out the old cording so that I had the perfect size for the new self welt.

Then comes my least favorite part.....zippers and pinning and stitching...OH MY!

A couple of hints:  
Don't try to give yourself extra room....cushions need to fit super tight.  In fact....you will think that it is never going to fit...and then as you close the zipper...a tight fitting cover just snaps into place.
Check out this tutorial for covering a box cushion with a zipper:  Something For the Road Box Cushion Tutorial
Seriously....these directions are some of the best I have seen.
Whew!  
Once the seat cushions were done, it was time for the pillows for the back.
I wanted a little more formal looking cushion.  


Did you know that the corner on the left is called a "Turkish" corner?  I like it....but I simply wasn't in the mood to do more welting!

So....the next best and simple option was a box corner.

Simply put...this is a lot like the way paper grocery bags are designed.  After the knife edges of the pillow are stitched, you pull out a triangle and stitch across at the depth of your side.
Confused yet?
Source


This is a photo from yet another tutorial that is way better than anything I can write.

Check it out....

http://www.patchworkposse.com/how-to-sew-box-corners-3-ways/










This is a close up of the boxed corner.

This one is three inches deep.

Making the back cushions was a lot easier than doing the seat cushions.

I even went big time and put zippers in.  WHOOT WHOOT!








The finished project is every bit as nice as the vision that I had standing in the fabric store!
Don't you just love when that happens?
The price was right.....less than $25 for four cushions....not including my labor and time....but that is why they call it DIY!

Have a Great Day!


Link Parties




Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Dropped Ceiling Panel Update

The latest project here at Sweetwater is a cosmetic update of the lower level bathroom.

This turned out to be one of those projects that reminds me of the book If You Give A Mouse a Cookie. 
If you aren't familiar with the storyline....it goes something like this...
"If you give a mouse a cookie, he's going to ask for a glass of milk.
When you give him the milk, he'll probably ask you for a straw. When he's finished, he'll ask you for a napkin.
Then he'll want to look in a mirror to make sure he doesn't have a milk mustache. When he looks in the mirror, he might notice his hair needs a trim. So he'll probably ask for a pair of nail scissors...."  and so on and so on.

The Sweetwater version goes something like this!

If you notice that some of the grout in the bathtub tile is cracked and dirty, you are probably going to need a trip to the store to buy a Dremel tool.






When you are at store, you will see a nice Medicine cabinet that would be a fix for the one that has a tiny chip in the mirror.

When you buy the new cabinet, you realize that the old cabinet had a light as part of it....and the new one doesn't...

So you will just have to buy a new light.





When you take off the old medicine cabinet, you realize that the wall will need to have repairs and paint for the new light and cabinet.


Since the walls are painted a really dark red, you will need to use a primer and several coats of new gray paint to cover.

Since the bathroom is small and hard to work in with the fixtures in place, you will want to remove them.

When you take the toilet out, you find out that the flange is cracked, so you will want to call a plumber to replace this.



When you get the pretty new paint on the walls, you will notice that the white woodwork looks very yellow, so you will need to give it a refreshing coat of white.





FINALLY....we are getting to the real point of this post....The dropped ceiling panels.

This bathroom is in the basement and there is a need to have access to the stuff up there!  Don't you love my technical language?  We access the plumbing for the outside deck faucet from here.  And dang it....a couple of times there has been leakage and staining.  The original acoustic tiles are no longer available....so it was time for something newer and better.


I was absolutely amazed at the variety of options available to update a dropped ceiling.
We decided on 2 x 2 foot paneled tiles.
If you have an unsightly dropped ceiling you might want to consider one of these!
I would like to tell you that this was easy peasy....BUT NOT!
It actually took Mr. S  three days and multiple trips to the store to get it finished.
AND...it involved lots of MATH and cutting and swearing under his breath.
But the results are amazing!

We are waiting for delivery on the special order medicine chest and a visit from the plumber to repair and install the toilet.  I also need to repaint the door a bright white. But all in all....this project is a wrap.

So.....if you give Mr. S a bathroom redo project, he is probably going to need a beer.
If Mr. S has a beer, he is probably going to want to go fishing!  And he earned it!

Now for me.....
If you give a girl a new ceiling in the bathroom, she is probably going to want one in the craft room!

Oh...and the original problem with the missing grout?
Solved!

Have A Wonderful Day!
Link Parties
The Cottage Market Cup of Joe

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Quick Flower Arranging Tip

Hurrah! The Zinnia's are in full bloom!
These garden flowers make wonderful flower arrangements.

I have been using a "ball" of chicken wire to support the stems in my Zinnia arrangements this summer. 
A big roll of this stuff is great to have on hand in your supply closet. 
I still love fresh floral foam to support stems, but the chicken wire is reusable, making it a thrifty choice!

 Harvesting zinnias at the right stage is essential to getting a long vase life.  Harvest too soon and the stems will bend and droop; wait too long and the blooms fade quickly.  A really simple way to see if your zinnias are ready to harvest is by doing the “wiggle” test.  Simply grab the stem about 8 inches below the flower and give it a gentle shake.  If it’s immature, the stem will be soft and bend easily.  If it is ready to harvest, the stem remains stiff and upright when you wiggle it.  It’s time to cut!  Cut deeply on the plant to get a long, strong stem. Remove the foliage and don’t be afraid to cut off side shoots on the main stem you just harvested.  Zinnias are a  “cut and come again” flower, so when you cut the plant “hard,” it responds by sending out even more long, strong stems all season long. (http://www.floretflowers.com)

Conditioning Zinnias is really simple and worth the effort.
There are several schools of thought on conditioning Zinnias.
This is the way I do it.... 
Place stems in boiling water for a few seconds. Condition overnight in tepid water. Zinnias last better if plants are watered before they are cut.   

If you want to read more about conditioning different flowers, this link is great!
The Garden Club of Brookfield Connecticut   

And now I will close with some Zinnia inspirations for you! 



 Have A Great Day!