Thursday, May 31, 2012

Cloth-Painting a Rug and Other Such Nonsense

I am not exactly sure what possessed me to do this project but I did.  I suspect the key word here is possessed.

The husband and I were in Lowe’s a couple of months ago and I saw this rug perched on a sales rack in the middle of the aisle.

*Perfect size for the laundry room = CHECK
*Exact pattern design I wanted = CHECK
*Amazingly low sale price = CHECK
*Black & white = BIG FAT NO

Three out of four ain’t bad, right?

When I pointed the rug out to the husband and told him how perfect I thought it would be for the laundry room the following conversation played out…

Husband: You know it is orange, right?
Wife: I know, I’m going to paint it.
Husband: You can paint rugs?
Wife: Sure people do it all of the time on Pinterest.
Husband: Just because people do stupid things and post them on Pinterest doesn’t make it a good idea.

True there are a bunch of painted rug tutorials floating around on Pinterest.  However they all assume that you are taking a blank rug and adding some sort of pattern to it where you tape off your pattern and pretty much roll paint over the entire rug.
How much harder would it be to take an existing pattern and paint over part of it….?  I had to try.  I figured even if it ended up looking like total crap I would only be out about 8 bucks.  
Long live stupidity!

Step 1: I did a bit of research and most of the people painting rugs recommended using a fabric additive to mix with your paint.  I didn’t expect or need a fluffy soft rug as it was destined for the laundry room but I didn’t want a rock hard unbending mass either.  I ended up using a Martha Stewart fabric paint medium additive, it seemed to do the trick.
Step 2: I mixed my paint with the additive according to the directions on the additive container.  2 parts paint to 1 part additive.
Step 3: Initially I thought I might try to tape over the white lines to ensure I didn’t get black everywhere.  I quickly abandoned that plan after a few minutes as it was going to take forever to get everything lined-up correctly.  Sometimes you just have to go for it!  Using a small foam brush I carefully dabbed paint along the white edge of each of the patterns.  I will admit my first couple outlines were not the best and that part of the rug is positioned the furthest away from the laundry room door.  I did eventually get the hang of it and subsequent patterns looked much sharper. 

Is the rug perfect, nope.  Does it look pretty darn good, good enough for a laundry room…heck yes! 

Even the skeptical husband conceded that the rug turned out not too shabby.

Gotta go post my stupidity to Pinterest.

Cloth- Missing In Action

Apparently if you don’t blog for 3 weeks there is no blog gnome that shows up and takes care of things for you.  Someone really needs to  get on making that happen.
These past few weeks we have been up and down, left and right, to and fro.  Work has been busy, the yard and garden have been demanding time, friends and family needed to be visited....
...we also got HBO and Showtime.
If I am honest my time spent blogging has been inversely proportional to the amount of time I have recently spent catching up on Dexter, True Blood, and Game of Thrones.
Over the years I have gotten hooked on the popular HBO and Showtime shows even though we have never had a subscription to those channels.  I would patiently wait for the last season to come out on iTunes.  I would avoid any radio, TV, or print gossip talking about show spoilers like the plague. 
This year however I decided that if the husband could get stupid NFL Sunday Ticket every year I was going to subscribe to my channels for a few months to get caught up on all of my shows. 
What ensued was TV coma watching bliss…and consequently a total lack of blogging.  How can I be expected to craft, photograph, and write when there are epic battles for crowns, evil witches, and doomsday killers running amuck? 
Laundry room, what laundry room?
I finished up my backlog of episodes just in time for the long Memorial Day weekend.  And in true Wood and Cloth fashion we had a party planned at our house for Memorial Day.  Nothing like having people coming over to your house to smack you back into your non-vampire/serial killer/Westeros life.
I dusted off my crafty pants and went to work putting the finishing touches on the laundry room decor. 
I can't wait to post the results!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Cloth-Quick Project-Baby Car Seat Canopy Tutorial

Holy cow I am not even sure where last week went!  All I know is that I didn't get much done in the way of crafts or home projects.  I did however manage to make a car seat canopy for one of my employees that is having a baby boy in the next couple of weeks.

I guess that counts as crafty, right?

Last year I was on a mission to find a pattern for the cute baby covers I had been seeing everywhere.  I didn't have much luck on the web and even finding a pattern I could buy on ETSY wasn't as easy as I thought it should have been.  I ended up pulling together a few different techniques and making some tweeks here and there.  Everyone seems to go about sewing these in a slightly different manner.  You can get pretty crazy with rick-rack and embellishments but I tend to like them a bit simpler.

Here's what works for me.

Project Rankings
Difficulty - Easy
Frustration - Low
Make-ability - 100% worth it

2 kinds of fabric each 1 1/4 yard ( I usually get 1 1/2 to be sure)
Fusible interfacing (~l/4 yard)
2 Buttons (1 inch diameter)
4 inches 5/8 wide sewable velcro (do not get the sticky kind, it will mess up your needle..don't ask how I know)
Ribbon (16 inches of 1 1/2 inch wide ribbon)
Compass (for drawing)


Step #1: Cut a 42 x 36 inch rectangle from each fabric. Determine which fabric will be the top of your canopy and which will be the underside.  You will also need to determine the direction you want your fabrics to lay if there is a pattern that has a particular direction.
   **Note if you have a directional pattern the 36 inch side goes across the baby carrier from side to side while the 42 inch side goes from front to back.

Step #2: Create a template for rounded corners.  Take a piece of paper and line it up as shown in the picture by either using a cutting mat or ruler.  Measure 2 inches along each side then 2 inches up.  Place a compass point on the upper point.  Extend the compass pencil out so that it hits both marks along the edge.  Draw a line.  Cut along the line and you have a pattern for rounding your corners!

Step #3:  Line up your rounded pattern along each edge of your 2 fabric rectangles.  Pin your pattern to the fabric, trace and cut.  You should end up with 4 rounded corners on each of your 2 fabric pieces.

Step #4: Determine which of your 2 fabrics you want to use for your handles.  I typically choose the fabric that I selected for my underside.  I like the contrast against the other pattern.  Cut 4 10x4 inch pieces.
  **Note if you have a directional pattern the 10 inch side goes front to back while the 4 inch side goes side to side.

Step #5: Cut 2 9x3 inch pieces of fusible interfacing. 

Step #6: Take 2 of your small 10x4 handle pieces and iron on the interfacing to the WRONG side of the fabric.  This will give your handles a bit more strength. 

Step #7: Take one of the pieces with interfacing and one of the plain fabric handle pieces and pin them right sides together.  Sew 3 of the 4 sides together (leave on of the short sides open) with a 1/2 inch seam allowance.  You need to leave one side open so that you can turn the handle right side out. Repeat with the other handle pieces. 

Step #8: Carefully clip the corners and turn the handles right side out.  Fold the open side under ~1/2 and press all sides.  I typically pin the open side shut.  Sew a 1/8 inch top stitch around all 4 sides of each handle. 

Step #9: Cut 2 2 inch pieces of each side of the velcro (one side is the scratchy side, the other side is soft).  Fold your straps in thirds and iron the creases.  I don't measure this or anything just fold and press. 

Step #10: On the upper side of the first fold (see picture) eyeball the middle of the strap and pin one of your scratchy velcro pieces.  On the upper side of the other fold place one of the smooth pieces of velcro in the middle of the strap and pin.  Double check that the pieces line up when you fold the pieces together like you were closing the strap.  If they line up correctly sew the velcro onto the strap as close to the edge of the velcro as possible.  Sew the other piece.  Repeat all steps for the second handle.

Step #11: Cut 2 8 inch long pieces of your ribbon.  Fold your ribbon into thirds like you did your fabric handles.  Position your ribbon onto one of your fabric handles, center your button, and sew the button onto the fabric handle.  You will be sewing through the ribbon as well as the velcro and fabric.  Repeat for the second handle.

Step #12: This step is my least favorite.  It is kind of tricky to work with the big fabric rectangles.  Find a large work space and line up your 2 large fabric rectangles right sides together.  You will want to put pins fairly close together as working with this much fabric things tend to shift around a bit.
  **A couple of tips.  Make sure your fabric is completely smoothed out before you begin pinning.  You don't want wrinkles between the 2 fabrics once you start pinning.  Don't panic if your pieces don't seem to match up 100%.  I usually have to trim a bit here and there to have them layout perfectly.

Step #13: Sew all around your pinned 2 pieces using a 1/2 seam allowance making sure you leave about a 6 inch opening (not sewed) along one of the edges (it don't matter what edge) so that you can turn the cover right side out. 

Step #14: Clip your corners.  Because these are large rounded corners I typically notch them a few times.  Turn your cover right side out.

Step #15: Turn your opening under 1/2 inch and pin.  Press your seam all the way around the cover.  Sew a 1/8 inch top stitch all around the cover sewing the opening close.  Now your ready to attach your handles!

Step #16: Fold your cover in half matching up the 2 36inch sides.  Measure 11 1/2 inches from one of the outer sides.  The right hand side of one of your handles should line up against the 11 1/2 inch position.  Measure 3/4 inch down from the fold side.  Position the top of your handle along the 3/4 inch position.  Open your handle and pin in place on the one fold of the handles that does not have either piece of velcro.  Repeat on the other side of the canopy for the second handle.
  **Note the handle should open toward the open side of the bottom of the canopy, away from the fold.

Step #17: Sew your handle down by stitching a 2 inch line about 1 inch down from the top fold on the handle, and then from the bottom fold on the handle (see picture).  Repeat for the other handle and you are finally done!

Nothing too hard with this one but there are a bunch of steps!