Archive for May, 2011
I used to run track and cross country in middle school and high school. I actually ran a 5:09 mile once (with the help of some downhill portions of a course and the fact that I was like 80 lbs). It happened once and never again (I usually clocked in between 6:20 and 7:10). But those days are gone (due partially to an ankle injury but mostly to laziness). Now I only run when I’m being chased. Or when I lose track of the baby. But making a runner? That I can do. You guys actually got a sneak peek of my recent runner creation in this picture from Clara’s party:
And let me tell you, it was child’s play compared to my big quilt project (nothing like a little confidence-building quick & easy sewing project to get your sew-mentum up). Yes, I just made a sewing pun for my mom. Happy birthday Momma (it’s tomorrow)! Anyway, here’s how it went. First I sorted through all of the leftover fabrics from Clara’s weekly photo project and picked four that I liked together (for a sort of cheerful and happy-go-lucky mixed & matched effect).
Then I found a runner that I already owned (from Target a while back) and folded it into quarters so I would have an idea of the size of each of the four squares of fabric that I should cut out (so that when sewn together they would equal the approximate width and length of the runner that I already had). I left about an inch of overhang on all sides to account for seams, so it looked a little something like this:
And for some reason I like to over-share, so I’ll point out how insane I am about my “good scissors.” I actually wrote this message on them with Sharpie because I was sick of John using the good sharp ones to do something crazy like trim a thick branch outside or slice open some crazy-thick plastic package. Do you like how it specifically says “no John cuts”? I think it’s hilarious. That’s like Kate Gosselin level micro-managing right there. But it works. John won’t touch these scissors anymore. And I love you for that babe.
Anyway, next I ironed all of my four fabric rectangles so they weren’t all junky and wrinkled looking (they were already washed, btw, which is important to combat shrinkage – because nobody likes shrinkage).
Then I pinned each section together with the bad side facing out (which would create invisible seams – which are my favorite since they’re harder to mess up). Oh and to all of those who gave me the tip about pinning it perpendicular- I love it. I just somehow forgot so I’ll have to try that next time.
With it all pinned together it looked a little questionable for a while, but I (surprisingly) had faith that when I ironed and sewed those seams they’d look a lot less ganked up then they looked at the pinning stage of the game:
And sure enough, after a little bit of sewing things were looking a lot more promising. Who ever would have thought that me + sewing machine = something looking better than it did before. I’m telling you, this is serious growth for me as a person. I would have defined my relationship with sewing machines as tumultuous before this month. But times they are a changing. I might even have a tiny crush on Oh Brother.
Anyway, then it was time to iron down those seams from the back so they would lay nice and flat and look good from the front (as opposed to looking all bunched from the front like a big ol’ runner wedgie going on under the surface).
Then I ironed the outside seams on each end of the runner down to create the finished seams that would be seen from the front. I went straight to ironing because I was feeling gutsy (and didn’t feel like pinning the entire outside edge since the baby was about to wake up from her nap any minute and I was feeling all jumpy and why-the-heck-not about it)…
… and then sewed those two seams (these seams would show, which still kind of scares me but it wasn’t a big deal in the end- I just tried to go slow and steady and keep things nice and straight).
In about five minutes I had a nice tailored looking seam on both ends of my runner (without any pin usage – saweet). Then I had to deal with the unhemmed sides of the whole thing.
So I ironed them down too. I have to admit that not pinning felt good. Like I found some sort of shortcut to the next level in the video game of sewing.
Then I just slowly and carefully stitched around my ironed edges to create a nice neat hem around the outside of the rest of the runner. Aside from my bobbin running out halfway through (which pisses me off every time, I’m not gonna lie), it wasn’t annoying or frustrating. I was almost – dare I say it? – enjoying the process.
Cue the collective gasp.
making out with turning off my sewing machine and removing my freshly completed runner, I just ironed the whole thing again, just to make sure it was nice and tailored looking. Houston, we have a runner:
I hope to use it at lots of Clara parties to come. And probably for a bunch of other parties too- it’s just really happy and festive. It even looks kind of Easter-ish so it could work for a fun little egg dying party or something. Oh and the total cost = zero bucks (thanks to already having the fabric on hand). As for how long it took, I knocked it out in about 45 minutes to an hour. So it’s perfect for any beginners out there who want to kill me because they think I’m getting good at sewing. I’m not. I’m not even junior varsity. I’m the water boy of sewing. I don’t know the right terms for things, I make tons of mistakes as I go, but I’m telling you – just messing around until you end up with something you like is a surprisingly effective approach thus far. So take it as a sign that if a cursed sewing-machines-revolt-in-my-presence person like me can tackle some simple projects, you can do it too. Probably much better than I can.
Psst- Our baby-proofing adventures continue over on BabyCenter today. Can you handle the excitement?
***This giveaway is no longer accepting entries – see who won below!***
Although only 3 will win free prints, everyone can score free shipping on Genuinely Yours orders before June 30th with code YHL2011FS. And according to random.org, our trio of winners are… Alicia (whose family all shares their mom’s dark eyes), Sondra (who feels like she gave birth to three exact clones of her husband) and Erica (whose first two kids have her eyes, but the third got daddy’s). Congrats ladies!
This giveaway combines some of our favorite things: silhouettes, colorful art, and family (if there were a ceramic animal or a map involved, our heads might explode). So needless to say, this prize from Etsy seller Genuinely Yours gets us going. She designs graphic prints that are customized to feature your family, your choice of color, and even your preferred language (good thing, since this prize goes anywhere in the world). So this week THREE of you can pick either her modern spin on the family tree or her silhouette-y take on the family portrait (she does couples too).
- PRIZE: A family tree, family silhouette or couples silhouette in either 8″ x 10″ or 11″ x 14″ from Genuinely Yours
- TO ENTER: Comment on this post with the words “FAMILY ME! and…
- BONUS QUESTION: … tell us what trait or quality ties your family together. Are you all known for being particularly athletic? Bookish? Funny? Friendly? Or maybe you all share a common physical trait?
- GIVEAWAY CLOSES: Wednesday, May 25th at 8pm EST
- NUMBER OF WINNERS: Three
- PRIZE SHIPS: Anywhere on the entire planet!
- USUAL STUFF: One entry per e-mail address is permitted. The winners will be selected using random.org and announced on Thursday as an update to this post. That’s right, come right back here on Thursday for the announcement of our winners. Good luck…
First, let’s appreciate how fun My Little Ponies really were. I think I had around 6 as a child. And it was magical.
But in house-news-that’s-somewhat-related-to-the-throwback-mention-above, after what feels like months (ok, it actually has been months) we’re finally ready to fill the empty wall space on either side of the sink nook in our bedroom with something.
And since I had fun making a little Pinterst inspired painting (but then resolutely decided that I didn’t want it to live in the bedroom)…
It was time for John and I to have a few long chats about what we really wanted to fill the empty space across from the bed (no pressure, we’ll just wake up every morning and see whatever’s hanging there). The unanimous choice: bold and kind of moody photographs. Beautiful photos, but not too soft and pretty- something semi contrasty and interesting and sophisticated. Since our bedroom chandelier is kind of playful and our duvet is pretty bright and fun, we figured we needed some art to balance things out and point the room towards “grown up” (so it doesn’t begin to skew towards “playroom-esque” or “dorm-ish”). So we decided to troll around online to see where we’d end up.
The winning subject? Why horses of course. You all know that I have an uncommon love of almost every type of animal (usually of the white ceramic variety, but I like them all “in real life” too). And ever since I saw a few fancy glossy mag rooms with giant horse art I’ve been itching for some of my own. And this recent house crashing adventure (which includes some giant horse art in the nursery of all places) was the proverbial straw that broke the
camel’s horse’s back. So I let my fingers do the walking to a few online art print sources (including etsy.com, 20×200.com, art.com, allposters.com, etc) and found everything from racehorses and black beauties relaxing on a farm to some wild gorgeous ponies in motion and even a charming serene horseback rider on a moody beckoning beach. And in case you can’t tell which of those descriptions I was most partial to, it was the last two (found here and here, both by the amazingly talented Jan Lakey).
John definitely has a voice when it comes to art selection, so he felt strongly that the photos shouldn’t be “too energetic” and should be “a little calming and scenic” since it is our bedroom after all (you know, where we sleep). With this in mind, I figured the moody horse-on-the-beach shot would probably go over well, but I did worry that the blurry motion-happy horses might strike the hubby as too high energy. So I pulled out one of the tricks John laid out here (in an old post of yore about getting your hubby on board with a decorating decision that he might not be as thrilled about as you are) and figured the best way to sell him on my two favorite print picks would be to photoshop them into our room. That way he’d have a nice clear idea of what it would look like and I could hopefully soothe any worries that it’ll feel too chaotic or anything but sophisticated-and-a-little-moody-but-restful-and-serene-at-the-same-time. My quick little photoshop mock-up ended up looking a little something like this (ignore the “progress” label on the pic, I just used one from our House Tour page):
Of course that’s not how they’ll look fo’ real, but it made it a bit easier to picture how they might layer into the room. We both agreed that the room needed a nice slap of sophistication and contrast, so it wasn’t like we were looking for something pastel or blown out like a big cloudy sky or a gorgeous sandy beach. As I mentioned, we kind of thought the wacky Ikea fixture and the in-yo-face bedding needed something a little bold and contrasty and sort of chic (not that John would ever use that word). We also thought that something with some subtle gold undertones would relate to the curtains and the gold leaves in the bedding without looking downright matchy-matchy (like oil paintings or abstracts with that color might). And after I mocked everything up I was so so so sold.
Oh but you’re probably wondering what John thought. Just as I suspected, he loved the print on the right immediately. But then he did this pause thing when he looked at the one on the left which definitely freaked me out. But a second later he said “I like them.” Not one mention of the worry that the moving horses would feel too crazy or anything. And he said that he liked how the prints obviously weren’t a matched set but worked really nicely together. Just like that, he was so so so sold too. Oh sweet photoshop, how do I ever thank you for making things that could be five day heated
arguments debates into two minute “I’m down” convos? Perhaps with this video of a dog saying I love you? This goes out to you photoshop:
Of course as far as art selection goes, it’s definitely one of those personal things. These horse prints surely won’t be everyone’s jam (and maybe not anyone else’s), but they’re ours and we can’t wait to get ‘em. We’re having a lot more fun taking risks in this house. Even if it means doing things that might not have mass appeal – as long as something speaks strongly to us, we’re in. There’s actually freedom in letting go of the notion that your house should please everyone who walks in the door. It allows you be more true to yourself and your place starts to feel more special. Plus it means that your rooms won’t be in danger of looking like everyone else’s, which isn’t a bad thing either.
Now for the cost. Big a$$ prints (the ones that we ordered were over three feet wide at 40″ x 30″) can easily run you around $100+, but these two happened to be priced at a cool $49 a pop. And thanks to googling around for a coupon code to save me 22% off my entire order (it was “ZOLA” if you’re wondering, hope it still works), I scored both of them for a total of $77.98 (down from $100 for the pair) and paid just $5.98 for shipping, for a grand total of $83.96 spent. Which isn’t bad for over six feet of giant photography (printing our own photos that large with a local printer would probably cost us more).
But giant frames are expensive, so how do we plan to avoid paying another 200 beans for two 40 x 30″ frames? By mounting the prints on 40 x 30″ canvases that I got a while back on super clearance from Michael’s with those two bedroom wall areas in mind (we even taped off the wall first to figure out what size tickled our fancy):
They were only $23 each after 50% off with another 25% off on top of that (we mentioned ‘em at the end of this post a while back). In fact it was such a great deal that after we drove these two home I went back for a third for the entryway – which is the one that I painted here.
But back to the two I got for the bedroom – it means that we’ll have spent around $64 for each giant piece of photographic bedroom art when it’s all said and done (including the canvas and the art). Which isn’t bad when you consider that many printed canvases of that size sold by places like Ballard Designs or Pottery Barn are in the $200-300+ range (each).
After I spray mount (or somehow glue) each print onto one of our 40 x 30″ canvases, I might even cover them with matte Mod Podge for a more dimensional printed canvas look. Not sure how it’ll all go down yet – but you know I’ll share the details when I get there. Should be interesting. Hope I don’t blow it. Then I’m out $64 bucks a pop. Haha. More details when they arrive and are (hopefully) hung up nice and purty.
Psst- John and I watched the most incredible documentary last night called Catfish. We’re still talking about it. Definitely a must-see. It’ll make you wonder how well you know anyone online- including us. Hah.