I just love when a simple sewing project surprises me with a major ‘wow’ factor! My burlap curtain project is 50% complete, but I couldn’t wait to finish the other half before showing you how such a simple, budget friendly project can add some major ‘wow’ to a room.
This project was sew simple! Here's what to do: cut a length of burlap to coordinate with the length of the window to be decorated. Create a hem at the top of the burlap panel by folding a 3” width (your hem can be whatever width your heart desires) to the backside of the fabric and sewing with a zigzag stitch. I set my zigzag stitch width to 7.0 and length to 1.0. Next, to prevent the entire panel from unraveling over time you will need to either: create another hem at the bottom of the panel, the same way as you did for the top. Or, do as I did, and simply create a zigzag stitch about 2” from the bottom of your panel (no hemming) – this will allow the bottom to fray, but only to the point of the stitch line…I think the frayed bottom will look nice!
Here is what your panel should look like after completing these oh, sew simple steps!
I love how translucent the burlap is, letting in light and allowing us to still see the wonderful backyard, but also adding enough texture, warmth and richness to the room that most other sheers lack...
However, once I hung this up, I felt that it was still missing a certain je ne sais quoi….
Ta-Dah!! Stripes! Exactly what it needed (in my opinion anyway)! All I did was to continue the same zigzag stitch I used to make the hem, 8 “ apart across the width of the panel.
Simply pick a starting point at the top of the panel, line up the center of your sewing foot with a strand of burlap, and ‘drive’ the foot along that strand until you reach the end. Measure 8” (you can do whatever spacing you would like, and it doesn’t even have to be uniform) down from that line and repeat.
It really created this wonderful effect where the zigzag pulled in three strands of burlap together to form a sort of piping effect – I Love it!
This a great first time sewing project: gives you the confidence to know you CAN sew and also allows you to get comfortable with the sewing machine without having to do any ‘crazy’ stitching. However, if this is your first time sewing, please do not judge the craft by this project alone…sewing straight lines can get a little boring after a while but at least the result makes up for it…and once you are done with these curtains, you can graduate to more exciting projects!
Oh! And I almost forgot, I ended up discovering a pretty helpful tip when working with burlap…or any other shifty fabric for that matter…the burlap kept slipping, falling and bunching as I was trying to sew, and as I thought to myself, ‘geez, it sure would be great to have some sort of clip to keep everything from acting all crazy!’ it dawned on me: potato chips! I ended up making a beeline for the pantry to grab the clips we use to close our potato chip bags – viola! Problem solved.
Just be sure the clips you use don’t have ‘teeth’ as they will most likely snag on the burlap...Total cost to create this one curtain panel: $9.00! Now that's something to make you say 'wow.' Happy sewing!
So there has been a kink in my slipcover plans…that wonderful $1.50 per yard fabric I found…well, it has since sold out…bah! I originally bought only 3 yards to ‘experiment’ with – thinking 1. There was an entire bolt left for sale incase this was indeed the fabric I wanted to go with 2. How many people in my smallish town are going to have a hankering to cover their house in plaid over the next couple of days??? Apparently, cheap plaid fabric is a hot item around here! I went back to the store only 4 days later to collect the remaining 10 yards of fabric I needed to recover the rest of our chairs and nearly died of a heart attack when I saw one measly scrap of plaid fabric left on the bolt…what!? Where the heck did all of it go!?
I’m getting no sympathy from my husband during my fabric crisis because his retail motto is: ‘you’ve got to buy it when you see it!’ Whereas I take a more hesitant approach to buying…I look, I ponder, I weigh my options, I carry the thing around the store making sure it ‘feels right’, then 9 times out of 10 I put said item back on the shelf and say ‘I can always come back for it.’ I would normally shrug this fabric mishap off as an ‘it wasn’t meant to be’ moment, but I was able to finish one slipcover with the 3 yards I had and absolutely love the way it turned out…so, I fear, it actually WAS meant to be! But what is going to hurt the most is having to pay 5 to 6 TIMES as much money to get fabric that I will not love as much out of spite…
So, although I only have one cover, here are some pictures of what I did! I used BibbidyBoppidtyBeautiful’s wonderful tutorial as a guide to create my own pattern plans.
I did mess up in a few areas, but it was nothing major and something I can easily tweak on my next cover. This was definitely a very do-able project, the hardest part is just making sure your chair measurements are correct. I was able to cut and sew this entire slipcover in about 2 hours (a lot less time consuming than I thought it would be). If you’ve ever thought about making your own slipcovers, I definitely recommend giving it a whirl…just remember lesson #3,242: buy ALL of your fabric at the same time!
To make matters worse, my burlap fabric arrived in the mail this weekend…I started-in right away and cut a length of fabric for one curtain panel…I go to unroll the fabric for the next curtain panel and what do I see…a giant, 12” tear, smack dab in the middle of the fabric! Ugh. My craft karma has just been off lately…lesson #3,423: always inspect ALL of your fabric (even if it’s 10 yards long) before making the first cut…so now I have one slipcover and one curtain panel…pretty soon it’s going to look like we fell down the rabbit hole to Alice’s wonderland around here…luckily, I think there is enough yardage beyond the tear to make one more panel, and I guess I’ll just have to go get more for the other window – It’s ‘make it work’ time!
Today's fun fact is brought to you by: freakyanimals.com
The fingerprints of koala bears are eerily similar to those of humans, so much so that they could be confused at a crime scene. And like humans, each kola print is unique – no two kolas will have the same fingerprint.
Left: Koala fingerprint Right: Human fingerprint
I don't know if you remember way back when, in one of my very first posts, I mentioned how I was giving up Diet Coke and consequently subbing it for coffee?? Well, I have successfully banished Diet Coke from the home (although I do still partake in the fizzy delight when we are out at restaurants) and as a result, have created a mini coffee house in our kitchen....My story with coffee over the last 4 months is a long and complicated one....I'll give you the Cliff's Notes version: My Keurig and I....well, we had a falling out. Maybe the Keurig was bitter that I actually started putting it to work instead of allowing it to just rest peacefully as a countertop ornament, but the thing was giving me major 'tude! So, it's in timeout....a very long timeout....Meanwhile, I have dusted off the 'old fashion' coffee pot (which, quite frankly suits my needs much better, seeing that my husband and I drink 2-3 cups each a day) unfolded the paper filters and ripped open that fresh bag of grounds.....ahhhhhh, now that's a sensation you miss with the Keurig!
Here are some of the coffees we have tried -- all delicious, but the one that takes the cream and sugar, so to speak, is the LION Toasted Coconut!! OH my! You have to give this a try -- it is World Market's featured coffee this month (the only reason I happened to give it a go) I promise you will not be disappointed!
And, this past month, I have been on a homemade coffee creamer kick. It's definitely more economical, the ingredients are fresh and are actually things you can pronounce and identify and best yet, it tastes delicious! Ms Carrie Vitt, over at Deliciously Organic, gave me the inspiration to make my own coffee creamer -- she has some GREAT recipes, check it out! My latest recipe consists of half and half, sweetened condensed milk and a splash of hazelnut syrup.
Oh, and on a totally different note, I found some fabric for my parson chair re-do!!
This is not the direction I thought I wanted to go in at all -- I really am not a fan of plaid -- but something about this particular fabric spoke to me....ah, who am I kiding, I know EXACTLY what spoke to me about it....the price!! Only $1.50 per yard!! I'm not sure if this will be the final fabric I go with, but if nothing else, it will let me relax when I am actually making the slipcover -- knowing that I am not breaking the bank if I mess up....and deep down inside, a voice is telling me that it might actually look nice with the burlap curtains....
Parson. Meet Plaid. I think you two are going to get along famously!
PS: This is the very seat where the blogging magic happens...in case you were ever curious...and no, that is not a dead dog in the background...just my 'floor potato' as I like to call her...
It happens to me at every new base…the dreaded one year itch! I’m always ready to get up and go, ready for a change of scenery exactly one year after we move to our new place…weird I know. I don’t know if it’s so much that I get bored of the house we live in after one year or if it’s more that the house starts to feel cluttered and dirty beyond repair and it almost seems like it would just be better to move than to address the mess…but I digress, we signed on for another year lease in our current home (which I DO LOVE) and my husband would undoubtedly pull every last hair off his head if I told him that we had to move again J So, what’s the next best thing?? Why, redecorating (and some no joke cleaning…) of course!!
I spent 3 hours on Friday night with 2 buckets, 4 shamies and a scrub brush cleaning our kitchen floor on my hands and knees. I was nearly in traction come Saturday morning, but the floors shine like a diamond! As much as I love my Shark steam mop, after a year’s worth of kid mess, it just wasn’t cutting it anymore. I researched online, that you could actually use normal laundry detergent mixed with warm water to clean tile floors – it cleaned the grout like nobody’s business and best of all, our house still smells like lavender! I didn’t notice any sticky residue, which I was worried the soap would leave behind, and will most definitely be using detergent for all floor cleanings from now on. Getting the floors clean only scratched the surface of what all needs to be scrubbed in this house…tomorrow, steam cleaning the carpets and then on to washing windows and walls….yes, walls (you’d be amazed what 3 toddlers can do to a wall)…at least I am heading in the right direction!
A thing of beauty!
I moved this runner from the living room temporarily in order to prep for the carpet cleaning fest...but I like it so much here, I might just leave it!
Now, on to the redecorating! I have started a couple minor rehab projects: repainting some old picture frames and an easel that our neighbor gave us! I’ll be sure to post pics of the finished product. I also ordered 10 yards of burlap from Joann this weekend…why, you ask!? Well, our kitchen has been longing for curtains ever since we moved in, but I just couldn’t decide which direction to go in with the type of curtain…I brought home some great ones from World Market, hung them up and hated them….so, I just decided to make my own! I love the look of natural fibers and somehow thought, ‘I wonder what burlap would look like???’ I found some pictures online (phew! I’m not the only one with a crazy idea…) and loved how they looked – and at $3 per yard, I can outfit my whole house in curtains for the price of just one curtain panel at most retail stores! I just hope mine turn out as well! We’ll see!
After the curtains, the hunt is on for some great fabric to make slipcovers for our awful parsons chairs! A sewer’s work is never done….check back for updates on my ongoing projects!
This week’s fun fact is brought to you by: funfactz.com
Cranberries are sorted for ripeness by bouncing them; a fully ripened cranberry can be dribbled like a basketball. Bruised or over-ripe berries will not bounce as well as perfectly ripe berries.
Come this Thanksgiving I will be the one in the produce aisle bouncing cranberries to make sure I get the best ones!
Have a fun and safe weekend!
Our old hummingbird feeder was looking pretty sad and has been void of food for a good 5 months now – despite this, the hummingbirds still came to check, and always left with a frown and an empty belly…Well, all of that has changed!
Armed with the mother of all hummingbird feeders (thank you father-in-law!), we will now be able to feed birds from miles around! Come one come all!
Here is a great activity you can do with the kids – they love helping, ‘cooking’ the nectar, adding the color and of course, bird watching! And best of all, it requires minimal planning, is a quick enough activity to hold toddler attention spans, and is virtually mess-free!
Humming Bird Nectar:
4 parts water
1 part sugar
Put water and sugar into a saucepan. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Turn off heat, and let cool to room temperature. Add a couple drops of red food coloring, stir. Pour into a hummingbird feeder and hang in a bird friendly area!
Safety Note: DO NOT turn on stove until all ingredients have been added to the saucepan and kids are safely away from the stovetop…and, as always, use the back burners when cooking with little ones around!
Wouldn’t you know, my daughter and I hung the new feeder, took the old feeder to the trash, turned the corner to come back inside and what did we see…our first dinner guest! Since then, there has been one hummingbird that hides in the pine trees behind our fence and fiercely fends off any intruding hummingbirds from the feeder with a series of disapproving chirps (yes, hummingbirds chirp!) followed by a kamikaze nose-dive…guess the kids and I can whip-up a mean nectar!?
can you see him? he's sitting on the feeder
Have you all just been waiting with baited breath to see the completed shoo-fly block quilt top!? Ok, well here she is!
Au Jardin Baby/Toddler Quilt
My original plan was to place the different colored shoo-fly blocks in a random pattern, but I didn't like the way the initial layout looked, and decided, instead, to place the coordinating blocks together to form rows. I think it made a huge difference in the overall impact of the quilt.
And, remember how I said the backing fabric was going to be one you wouldn't want to miss!? Well, what do you think, was I right!?
Alexander Henry 'Larkspur' fabric
I don't know what it is about this particular fabric that makes my pupils dilate and my heart go pitter-patter, I am not obsessed with birds or flowers, but there's just something about this fabric...It was actually my fabric buyer (a.k.a. my mom...more on that in a second) who found this one, and I think she hit the jackpot! I get most of my fabrics from a store in Arizona that has the BEST selection of hard to find and totally random fabrics. Lucky for me, my fabric buyer (my mom) lives in AZ and is able to scope out the fabric selection at this store when I am running low on supplies...which doesn't happen very often because when I go to visit my family I am sure to buy pounds and pounds of the stuff! Anyway, if you love this fabric as much as I do, you have my mother's eye to thank!
And better yet, I have enough left over to incorporate it in at least one more quilt!
I don’t think so, but it sure is starting to look like one!! Ok, here is another FANTASTIC recipe! If you want a show-stopper dessert, one that looks like you just graduated from 4 years of culinary school but that only requires the ability to peel and core an apple…this one’s for you!!
Apple Tarte Tatin
From Williams-Sonoma’s ‘The World Kitchen’ cookbook my sister-in-law gave me for my birthday. (PS: Williams-Sonoma has a trove of recipes on their website…I have tried a few and all have been out of this world)
1 sheet puff pastry (usually freezer section of the grocery store), thawed if frozen
½1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temp
½1/2 cup sugar
10-11 tart-sweet apples, such as Gala and Pink Lady, halved and cored
On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the puff pastry sheet to 1/4¼ inch thickness. Invert a cast-iron skillet or other flameproof baking pan on top of the rolled pastry. Using a knife, cut around the outside of the pan to create a section of pastry the same size as the pan. Lay cut pastry piece on a foil lined baking sheet, cover with another piece of foil and place in fridge until ready to use.
Pre heat oven to 375 degrees. Heavily (and they aren’t joking, it will be verrrry heavy) coat the bottom and sides of the pan with butter and sprinkle with sugar.
Arrange the apple halves in a concentric circle around the pan, packing them as closely as possible. Place the pan over medium-high heat and cook until the juices color and bubble and the apples begin to soften. About 25 min.
Transfer the pan to the oven and bake uncovered until the apples darken in color and are soft when pricked with a fork. About 25 min. Remove from the oven and cover with the chilled pastry round. Return to the oven and bake until golden. About 25 min longer.
Remove from the oven. Run a knife around the edge of the pan. Place a large plate or platter over the pan and using pot holders, carefully invert the pan to unmold the tart. Replace any apples that have stuck to the pan (with all that butter, this probably won’t happen!) Serve warm or at room temp.
Will you get a load of that!? Made with only 4 ingredients. A thing of beauty and so, so simple. The directions are wordy, but I promise this recipe is a cinch!
We didn’t have any on hand, but this would go perfectly with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream…next time I will try a different fruit; peaches, pears, or cherries…oh my!
I usually comb the internet at least one night a week looking for new quilt block ideas. I had a very successful ‘hunt’ last week and was able to flag several blocks that I hope to use in upcoming quilt projects.
The one that first caught my eye was the Shoofly block – so simple, yet when used with contrasting fabrics, can really make an impact!
I usually iron my seams to the side, but for this seam loaded quilt block, I decided to try ironing them open, which helps a ton with the overall bulk of the finished quilt top (less ‘bumps’ to quilt over). Ironing the seams open, does require a little more time, and a few more iron burns on your fingers (ouch!) but the reduction in bulk has me convinced that I should be a seams open kind of girl from here on out.
I just love how these blocks came together and can’t wait to get the entire quilt finished…stay tuned, I’ll be sure to post pics of the finished product (you won’t want to miss the fabric I am going to use for the back)!