Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Recent Thrift Store Finds

I realized I haven't had a "thrift store find" posts for a while, so let me share some findings from last week...

I quickly stopped by one of my usual shops when I realized I only had a few minutes to spare before I needed to pick up my kids from school. Here are the details:

Large white bowl $X.XX

Metal strainer $1.99

Vintage pillow case $1.99

Book $2.99

I was looking for a large white bowl like this for a while after seeing this on the Pottery Barn website.

It is $79 after the price was reduced from $99. Mine? That's right, it was $4.99! :)

I have been looking for a colorful metal strainer for a while too, but that was something I didn't really need. Nor did I want to spend $15 to $20 on. But if it is $1.99? Now, you are talking.

I have been collecting vintage sheets and pillow cases, and I really liked this one. The book seemed very interesting too and I had to grab it. :)

I would say my quick thrift shop stop was a huge success. You never know what you will find at a thrift shop, but it is always nice to find the items that you were looking for for so cheap. No more garage sales and yard sales till Spring, but thank goodness thrift shops are open all year around. :)

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Big Reveal of Small Sewing Room ~ Part 4

This is the final post about the "Big Reveal of Small Sewing Room" (are you guys tired of the same or similar pictures yet? I promise, there are other tutorial posts coming soon!). There are so many details in this tiny space, I just couldn't explain everything in one post.

Today I am going to talk about how I made the tiny clothes for the mannequin. She is only 3 1/4" tall, and I was contemplating how in the world I could make clothes for her. After thinking about it for a while I decided to do it just like a normal size dress, but with much simpler embellishment and help with glue. :)

{How to make the dress} --- Note: all the sewing was done with 1/8" seam allowance. If your mannequin is different size than mine, you have to adjust the size of the fabric strips.

1. Cut two strips of fabrics. One is for the top and measures 1 1/2"x 3" and the other one, for the skirt, measures 1 1/2"x 4 1/4".

* Top *

2. Take the fabric for the top and fold it in half and press with your finger. Open the fabric and make a small cut on the middle of the folded line. That will be the opening for the neck. Fold about 1/8" around the neck and the arm hole area as shown in the picture. Then sew.

3. Fold the fabric right sides together. Sew the sides.

4. Turn inside out. Press the sides with your fingers.

* Skirt *

5. Take the longer fabric strip and fold one of the long sides, 1/8th inch from the edge. Iron and sew. Then, using bigger stitches, sew the other side of the seam. Pull one thread to gather the fabric.

6. Fold the fabric right sides together and sew the seam. Open the seam and press with a finger.

*Putting it all together *

7. Slip the top onto the mannequin, and put the skirt on. It looks like the top is tucked in. Pull the thread to gather the fabric of the skirt piece and tie the end of the thread together.

8. I went through my laces and trims... in times like this, my tendency to "can't-throw-even-the-tiniest-things-away" comes in handy. I found a piece of lace and tiny ribbon flower. Use fabric Glue to glue them on. Oh! By the way, the pearl necklace she is wearing... I threaded 6 tiny beads to regular sewing thread and tied the ends. To keep the necklace on the mannequin, I used a small dot of fabric glue on the mannequin and set the thread of the necklace on it. In case you were wondering. :)

{Ironing board}

I bought the ironing board at Joann's. I can't remember how much I paid for it, but it was a really good deal. It had blue and white gin-gum check fabric on the board, but it didn't go with the room I was creating, so I peeled it off and added light gray fabric instead. The "quilt block" is 7/8". I guess from the ratio of the room, they are considered "big" blocks.

{Small quilt}

I didn't do a tutorial on this one, but the finished size of the quilt it 3"x 4". I also sewed this with 1/8" seam allowance. I used the same fabrics I used to make the fabric bolts, and they were already in strips, so zip, zap and zip! There is a quilt. I really enjoyed hand quilting this one.

Because I had so much fun doing this, I started looking at small objects such as bottle caps, toothpaste caps, spools... with a different set of eyes. Hmmm... What can I make them into for a tiny room... Ah, so fun!! I hope you enjoyed my posts about this small sewing room as much as enjoyed creating it. :)

Friday, November 6, 2015

Book Review ~ The Knitter's Handbook

It has been so cold where I live the last few days. The hard wood floor is one of my favorite parts of my house, but I needed to find my fluffy slippers. It takes a little adjustment, but the cold season has its own flare and ways to be enjoyed. Around this time I always want to break out my yarn and play with them. I know some basics of crocheting and knitting, but I am self taught and not confident enough to say that I am a knitter.

The book I am reviewing today is The Knitter's Handbook by Eleanor Van Zandt. It's beautiful cover made me excited to turn the pages right away. There I found many useful and comprehensive information for yarns and patterns.

This book will guide you through more than 90 stitches and techniques. Clear and easy-to-follow instructions and 250 step-by-step illustrations are surely encouraging for me to try it. Look at all these beautiful patterns. Wouldn't it be fun to knit a beautiful hat or a sweater using those stitches??

Oh, one more pretty picture from this book... I couldn't resist. :)

Whether you are new to knitting and want to learn more (me!) or an experienced knitter who wants to try advanced patterns, the Knitter's Handbook will be the go-to book.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Big Reveal of Small Sewing Room ~Part 3

It is such a small space, but there is so much to cover! First up, I am going to talk about how to make the fabrics vertically stored on the shelf and fabric bolts.

* Fabrics on the shelf and fabric bolts *

*Note--- the shelf you have might be a different size from mine, so measure the width and depth of your shelf and change the measurements to fit yours.

For my shelf, I cut 3/4" D x 7/8" H reqtangles out of cardstock to be the core of the fabric. Cut fabrics slightly narrower than the height of the cardstock (in my case it is 6/8") x 3". Wrap the fabric strip around the cardstock and put a dab of fabric glue on the edge of the fabric. Glue the edge and done.

It is fun to go through scraps to find colors you are looking for. My advice is to use smaller patterned fabric for most of them and mix somewhat bigger patterns. So there is visual interest when you put them in the shelf. I got carried away and made more than the shelf could contain... oh how similar to my true life!

Some of my beloved Liberty of London fabrics are going to be in the miniature sewing room too.

To make the fabric bolts, cut 1 3/8"x 3/4" cardstock and 1 1/4"x 3" fabric. As you did with the smaller fabric square, wrap the fabric around, glue and done.

There are many times in the past that I love the fabric so much that I wanted to buy the whole bolt instead of a yard or two. Have you ever wished that too? Now is your chance to treat yourself to fabric bolts! (grin)

* Spool of Thread *

I found these spools at a craft store in a bag and I think it was about $1 to $2. I used DMC floss and put a dab of fabric glue on the spool so the beginning of the thread stays. Wrap the thread around until your desired look and cut the thread. To finished it up put a dab of fabric glue, on the thread and glue the end of the thread.

* Wool Cushion on the Chairs *

This one is super simple. I measured the circumference of the seating. Cut 4 circles (I made two cushions, so two circles for each). I used blanket stitches to stitch the two wool circles together. It's that simple.

* Cutting Mat *

This is made out of cardstock. You will be amazed by the possibilities of so many things you can make with simple (and cheap!) cardstock. I chose a very light shade of green and simply drew lines 1/8" apart.
When you put things on the cutting mat, it looks more real. I wish someone sold tiny quilter's ruler and cutting tools. Whoever manufacture things for dollhouses, that might be a great hit item!

That is it for today's post but there are a lot more detail-talk is coming up. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Big Reveal of Small Sewing Room ~ Part 2

Thank you all for your nice comments on my last post about the small sewing room reveal! As I promised, I would like to have a few posts about the details of what I did to create the things around the room. Somethings will be a quick exploration and some will be a simple tutorial.

Let's talk about the suitcase and furniture in case you missed the other post.

As a base for the "room" you can pretty much use anything. I happened to use the unfinished wooden suitcase for this project, but you can find many other shapes and sizes at major craft stores. I think it will be so much more interesting if you can find a container around the house. The suitcase I used is 7"H x 9 1/2"W x 3 1/2"D closed. The size of your room determines the size of the furniture, how much you can put in and display. It will be helpful to have a rough idea of what your room will look like, but remember you can always change your mind!

Some of the furniture... surprisingly, I found at a dollar store! I wish I bought more when I saw them. When I went back they were all gone and are not carried anymore. I found the others at craft stores, such as Michael's, Hobby Lobby and Joann's. There is always a way to do this cheaper. Use coupons and look for sales are the best. I have noticed that at Hobby Lobby, their doll house section has quite an impressive selection and they go on sale at 30% off quite often.

I simply used spray paint to paint the box and and the furniture. You will want to use the kind of spray paint that will stick to wood, plastic and metal. That way you can spray paint them all at once and you won't need to even worry about switching paints. Read the manufacture's instructions before starting.

After the paint was completely dried, I work on the wallpaper and the flooring, and guess what? They are both scrapbook paper. You can buy wallpaper and the wood flooring made for doll houses, but they are much more expensive, and I didn't find the style I liked. When I was browsing the scrapbook section, I came cross this embossed white paper and wood plank paper. I fell in love with the white paper. The size of the flower embossing gave a subtle, but dramatic look in the small doll house sized room. The wood planks were actually too wide for the size of the room, so I drew some lines in between to narrow the width of the planks. I used colored pencil to mimic the existent lines on the paper.

To install them, you need to measure the inside of the box and cut the paper just a hair smaller. Use Mod Podge to paste them on the box.

* Drawer chest and the Cork board *

Unfortunately, the drawers won't open but since this was one of the dollar furniture, I didn't think I could complain too much. It is still a pretty and fun addition to the room, wouldn't you think so?

I bought the frame a while ago, and I don't remember where. When I was decorating the room, I thought this would be the perfect scale for the drawer chest. Also, any sewing/craft room needs an inspiration board, right?

{How to}
1. I used cork sheet for this project and the back side of the cork sheet has adhesive that you can peel and stick. Cut the cork sheet and soft white fabric slightly larger than the opening of the frame.

2. Layer the fabric and the cork sheet (sticky side up) together. Fold the edges of the fabric to cover the cork sheet.

3. Glue it on to the back of the frame. That is it!

4. Now, you can go through your magazine to find VERY small and beautiful images for your inspiration board. Since I used cork sheet, you will be able to pin them like you do with real cork board. :)

* "Jumbo Pillow" *

Well, this Jumbo pillow is 2" x 2" but to everything else it is "jumbo". It is a simple square pillow, but I did all my sewing for this room with 1/8" seam rather than the usual 1/4". I thought because everything is so small, smaller seams make sense. Here is a quick how-to.

1. You can use any fabric, but I think it is fun to pick fabric with a motif that would fit in 2 1/2" x 2 1/2" as I did. Cut 2 pieces of 2 1/4" x 2 1/4" squares: remember, the seam allowance is 1/8", so the finished pillow will be 2"x 2". If you would rather have a wider seam, that is fine too.

2. Sew around the edge leaving a small opening to turn the fabric inside out. Snip the corners for a clean finish.

3. Turn the pillow inside out, stuff with fiber fill and sew it closed. I sewed pom-poms onto the corners, but this is optional.

* Cakes and plates *

I wish I could take credit for those cute cakes, but I bought them at a craft store. They were stuck on a piece of paper in a row. I separated them and glue them on to buttons. Yep, I said buttons. I went through my buttons and found buttons that are the perfect size for those cute treats. There, I didn't need to spend a dime!

That's it for today's post, but I still need to cover other things in the room. :) See you at the next post everyone!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Big Reveal of Small Sewing Room! Part 1

Do you remember these photos? I started working on putting together a small sewing room a while ago.

I painted the wooden suite case...

Then put up wall paper and hard wood floors... (they are just scrap book paper. I LOVE the texture on the paper!)

I am so happy to finally share the finished sewing room today! I couldn't decide on the furniture arrangement at first. When that was done, I started making all sorts of decorations. Lots and lots of ideas with many possibilities flooded my mind and I really had to pick and choose what to do. I felt like the whole process was just like trying to decorate a real room; except everything I was working on was much smaller.

Welcome everyone to my small sewing room tour!

First up is this cupboard with spool and fabric bolts. I love, LOVE how this turned out!

In the sewing room, I needed a big table for cutting and putting the sewing machine on, and of course a place for treats every now and then. Can you believe I found this table at a dollar store a while ago? It was unfinished but I painted it white. I went back to buy more for future projects, but they don't carry them anymore (sob!).

This drawer chest is also a dollar store find. You can use your imagination of what's in the drawers... more fabrics, findings, yarns, books? Who knows. I made the cork board to pin up some pretty cutouts from a magazines.

One of my favorite things in this sewing room is this mannequin. I had several idea for the dress, but this is what my mind settled on. Wouldn't it be fun to make a live-sized one?

Fabric bolts in a tin. Sometimes I wish I could buy a bolt of fabrics when I find something I really love: here is my chance to have a "bolt" of fabric. Can you spot fabrics from Riley Blake, Art Gallery Fabric, Moda and Cotton + Steel?

The room is a mix of store bought items and things I made. In my next post, I will talk about what I made and how, so stay tuned!
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