Sunday, November 24

Making a Grungy Primitive Ornament

Let me start this post with two confessions that will make sense in a moment:

I love primitives.  I love colonial American architecture, decor, and life. 

I hate paying for things.  I'm not a thief (thou shalt not steal!), but if there's a way for me to make something as opposed to purchasing it (especially mass-produced items at big-box stores), then I'm all for it.

I'm busy making items for my shop, Punkin Stuffins.  I had a wonderful customer a few weeks ago who purchased nearly all of the pumpkins in my shop, which was great!  But now, I'm low on stock and need to make more items, and with the holidays fast approaching, I'm spending all of my spare time trying to restock.

Enter: primitives.

I've wanted to make some little primitive ornaments for a while now, but wasn't sure how to go about making the "grunge-y" look.  I came across some instructions on eHow, and decided to share my steps with you.  I think that there are several ways to make something look old and grungy, but this is a good starting point for anyone.

You'll need some instant coffee, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, and water.  You'll also need a sponge brush, a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil, and an oven set to 170 degrees (because my oven won't go lower than that).

In a glass or other non-staining bowl, put a half cup of instant coffee granules, two teaspoons of vanilla, one teaspoon each of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger, and two cups of hot water.  Mix together until everything is combined.

Place your fabric on the foil-lined cookie sheets and spread the mixture as lightly or heavily as you want on the fabric, then sprinkle on the allspice and rub it in with your fingers.

Bake at 170 degrees for 10 minutes at a time, checking until they are dry.  If you've stained both sides, you'll want to flip the fabric every 10 minutes.

Once dry, remove them from the oven.  Rub the fabric with your fingers to blend the stain and brush off any excess granules.  You can also use sandpaper to grind down the stain if you've applied a thick layer.

Embellish with embroidery and hand-stitching.  Here's mine!

I think that I'll be adjusting my stain formula because it was too much for what I wanted, but this is a good starting point for anyone interested in making prims.  Just have fun, and enjoy your handiwork!

Wednesday, November 20

Birthday Reflections and a Simple Side Table Mat Pattern

Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.  For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.--2 Cor. 4:16-18

Well, here I am, another year older.  My birthday falls in my favorite season of the year...when I look out the window and see the trees in vibrant colors, with a carpet of fallen leaves covering the ground.  Many trees are a topaz yellow color, with some splashes of ruby, emerald and orange garnet interspersed.  I enjoy the coolness in the air and the smell of fires burning.  I enjoy the cloudy gray days and cool rain, but I also take pleasure in seeing a sapphire sky behind all of the beautiful colors of nature on a clear day.  I anticipate the arrival of winter, when the snow blankets everything in a dazzling display of glittering diamond snowflakes.

There's so much to be thankful for, too.  During this time of the year, we start to turn our thoughts toward Thanksgiving--traditionally a time to give thanks--but it's important to stop and realize just how blessed we really are all of the time.  Every time I come into the house from outside, I think about how glad I am to have a warm cozy house to live in.  I'm thankful for my health, despite the problems I've been having.  I'm so thankful for my wonderful husband and best friend.  I'm grateful that we always have food to eat in the fridge, and the extra income to eat out if we so choose.  I'm blessed to not have to worry about any basic need being filled.  There are many who can't say that.  Mostly, though, I'm thankful for the gift of salvation that I have been given, and the assurance that when I leave this life, I'll be with the One who created me, and there's no greater gift to be thankful for in life.  There's a total peace that comes with that knowledge, and nothing on earth can offer that.

In the midst of all of my reflection, I took the time to start making things with my new fabrics.  I created a simple, yet pretty, set of table mats that I thought I would share with you!  The instructions below are for making two matching mats.

You will need:
4-3" x 13" strips of border fabric
4-3" x 12" strips of border fabric
2-9" x 12" center panel of contrasting fabric
2-16" x 13" coordinating backing fabric (I used the same fabric for the backing and front border)
One spool of matching thread
2-2 1/2 yd. packages of matching piping

Do this:
Pin the long sides of the center panel to the long sides of the 3" x 12" strips, right sides together.  Sew these edges using 1/2" seams.  Iron the seams open.

Pin the 3" x 13" strips of fabric to the sides of of the middle panel, right sides together.  Sew these, making sure to keep the seams flat on the sewn piece.  Iron the new seams open.

Cut lengths of piping to slightly larger than each side of the panel.  Pin the piping to the right side of the fabric edge of the top panel.  Line the bottom edge of the piping up to the raw edge of the panel on the right side of the fabric.  Overlap the piping on each corner, and sew along the edge of the piping (usually 3/8").  You can use a special sewing machine foot, but my regular foot worked fine for me.

Pin the backing along three sides of the panel and piping, with the right sides of the fabric together.  Leave the fourth side open for turning out.  Sew along the same line that you created when you sewed on the piping for a guideline.  Iron the edges flat, then turn the last raw edges inward and pin.  Sew along the edge of the piping to close the mat.  Iron the remaining edge flat.

Repeat the steps for your second cover.  You should now have two table mats for your living room end tables!  Great job.  Your overall size should be about 15" x 13".  You can be more creative than me and add batting and quilting, or you can simplify it by leaving out the piping (and skipping a step or two in the instructions).  This is just a basic, simple pattern that you can use as a base for whatever you can create!