Saturday, June 22, 2013

Briar Rose

I stewed over what to make with my Briar Rose bundle from Quilt Market…and after 2 weeks of stewing I  cut into it late one night without any plan.  In the morning I realized that was a stupid thing to do.   I should not make important quilting decisions late at night!
Luckily it all worked out once I started sewing.  :)

These little frogs are my favorite:

These wild daisies are beautiful but smell like wet dog.  I told Sophie to smell them and she agreed… they stink!

Briar Rose by Heather Ross for Windham Fabrics is available next month…yay!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Painting Furniture

I’m not an expert at painting and restoring furniture.  But I have learned a lot since I’ve been doing it…and since I’ve promised  a few people this post, I’m going to jot down some of my resources and painting tips for you.

I buy pieces that are in relatively good shape, and solid wood.  Sometimes you have to use your imagination a little bit.   Don’t be afraid of chips, dents, or wear and tear.  Wood filler, wood glue, or a little bit of trim go a long way!

90% of the time I sand my larger pieces.  If the finish is really damaged or has large flat surfaces I break out the big guns and use an electric sander. 

I only sand to smooth the surface and get scratches out, but if your piece is already smooth you can actually skip the sanding.   Some paints (like Chalk paint) cut out the sanding step completely…but if your surface is rough or has any scratches in it, you’ll still want to give it a good sanding.  Don’t worry about getting all the cracks and crevices, just prime those areas well.

After sanding, clean your piece.  If I sanded it a lot I use a vacuum brush attachment over the whole thing, then I wipe it down with wet/dry rags.  Get all of the dust off!

 Always always always prime.   I use the Zinsser primer, it comes as a brush on paint, or as a spray paint.  Both work great, but for larger pieces with large flat surfaces, I recommend lightly rolling it on or brushing it on.

Most of the time I use plain old Interior Latex paint from Home Depot…it’s usually left over paint from my house somewhere.  I like to use a smooth 4" roller to do the large flat surfaces and a brush in the curved or hard to reach spots.

I think one of the biggest mistakes is not allowing the paint to dry long enough after painting.  It can take up to a week for the paint to fully harden…so be patient…and leave it alone for as long as possible.   Also wait for the paint to dry fully in between coats.  I usually give it  full day, or do a coat in the morning and one before bed.

It’s hard to wait I know…but it’ll be worth it.  Plus if your like me it’s been sitting in your garage for 5 months anyways, so what’s another few days?   ;)

On larger pieces like a dresser or table I always use a protective finish once the paint is completely dry.  I like Minwax Water Based Polycrylic just because it doesn’t have the strong fumes.  On a table top or the top of a dresser I will do at least 2 or three coats to keep it protected.   **If you're painting over white paint you might not want to use polycrylic.  Even though it says it won't yellow I've heard from a couple of people that said it did, so use a wax product instead (some wax recommendations at the bottom of this post).

I love spray paint.

But spray paint doesn’t create an even sheen.  So if you use it on a large dresser, table, or anything with large flat surfaces…you’ll see that some spots might be shinier or more opaque than others.  Which is why I don’t use spray paint on anything larger than a nightstand. 

I spray paint shiny wood, plastic, metal…everything.  I rarely sand before spray paint, but I do use a spray primer as an extra precaution.

I highly recommend reading the posts from this blog.   I’ve learned a lot from her, and tried some of the products she recommends.  If you want to learn more about it read her great posts below:

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Free Quilt Tutorial: Scrappy Summer

This is a fabulous quilt for using up scraps…and since my inbox was full of questions about it I figured I’d post a quick free pattern.  I’ve seen many antique quilts in this pattern.  It’s been around forever…and is a great way to use up extra strips, squares, or extra pre-cuts you have lying around.  If you want a more detailed version of this pattern with yardage requirements, sizes, and color options, you can find a pattern in my shop.

For a 64" x 80" quilt you’ll need:

Print fabrics:  160 scrap 4 1/2" squares
Solid or small print for the chain squares:  20 strips 2 1/2" x the width of the fabric
White fabric:  20 strips 2 1/2" x the width of the fabric

Step 1:  Sew each of the color 2 1/2" strips to a white 2 1/2" strip.  Chain piece to save time!!!  You should have 20 strip sets when your done.  Press seams towards the color fabric. 

Step 2:  Cut each of the strip sets into 16 units 2 1/2" x 4 1/2".   You can cut 2 or 3 strip sets at a time to speed things up!

Step 3:  Sew the units together to create four patch blocks.  Press the seam in either direction or open.  You should have 160 four patch blocks when your done. 

Step 4:   Layout 2 matching four patch blocks, and 2 scrap squares.  Sew them together as shown, the arrows indicate pressing direction (press the last seam in either direction or open).

Repeat until you have 80 blocks.

Step 5:  Assemble the blocks into 10 rows of 8 blocks each.  I didn’t worry about creating locking seams…a pin in the seam while you sew will help the seams match and everything should line up nice and neat!

Step 6:  Sew the blocks together to form the rows.  Press seams, alternating directions with each row.  Sew the rows together to finish the quilt top.

This quilt is a perfect Picnic Size.  More sizes and detailed material requirements can be found in a detailed pattern here.

Now go sort through your scraps…and happy summer quilting!

Friday, June 7, 2013


Here’s some doings this past week…courtesy of my phone camera.
  In my latest order United Notions included a color card of Moda Bella Solids…
it is HUGE.

Almost too huge…I can’t find a place to put it. 
And speaking of huge my UPS man probably hated me this week:

I bought my second roll of Warm and White while it was 50% off at Joanns with a free shipping coupon.  
It should be enough for one or two quilts I think.  ;)  My husband was thrilled.

On larger quilts I do the quilting on the dining table …Sophie loves to watch…and pull the quilt down.

The chickens!

I finished cutting up my Briar Rose bundle last night. 
I stayed up way too late…and my kids woke up way too early (yawn).

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Scrappy Summer

My after-market sewing goal was to make a quilt only from scraps.  Sorting, measuring, pressing, and trimming my scraps is what took forever…the rest of it went together quickly. 

Sophie had rolls and cracks full of sand by the time we got home from the beach.

When using a lot of different prints and colors, a simple pattern and a lot of solids makes it a bit easier on the eyes.  
It was fun to see what colors I use the most while sorting my scraps….red, green, blues, yellow, a little orange, and of course gray…SO much gray.

This one measures 64" x 80".  These blocks are simple to make and it’s a great way to use scraps. 

And of course…my scrap basket is still full, and ready for more.
Edit:  Thanks for the recommendations on good homes for scraps!!