Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Salvaging Porch Furniture

My sister wanted to toss her porch furniture because the cushions had fallen apart and the metal frames were pitted and rusted. Connie wanted new furniture despite my explaining it was salvageable.

My husband and I couldn’t bear to see it trashed. We hauled the couch, coffee table, and two rocking chairs home from her house. I got to work on it right away—you can do this, too, if your metal furniture is showing wear and tear.

The cushions were indeed beyond redemption. My husband replaced them with some found at Home Depot. I eventually plan to make new cushions myself, but these will work for a couple of years.

After scrubbing everything clean, the corroded metal was dealt with by sanding every single inch using a metal sanding tool made by Black & Decker which attaches to a drill.

Once all metal pieces were smooth and rust-free, I primed everything and then painted each framework piece a soft fern green twice. I protected the glass section of the coffee table with newspaper and masking tape.

It’s all done now and ready for summer. Connie is not getting this furniture back.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Sashiko Coasters

Sashiko (which means little stabs) is an old Japanese hand-sewing technique originating in rural areas of Japan. It involves a decorative running stitch creating interlocking designs, generally white thread on indigo-dyed homespun fabric. Sashiko is often used in the layering of cloth, like quilting, which adds durability as well as much-needed warmth.

To get a feel for the technique on a small scale before starting my larger project, I tried a sashiko coaster kit found at Bella Quiltworks here in Tucson.

Here are the five coasters I made—I love the white against the indigo fabric. It was problematic getting that rich indigo color to show up well and it looks black in the photos.

The instructions called for simply folding over the edges and stitching them to finish the coasters, but I added a layer of flannel as interfacing and backed the coasters with leftover Japanese-print fabric from my stash.

I bought
The Ultimate Sashiko Sourcebook to learn more about sashiko. It provides lots of great information, a pattern library, and a number of projects with instructions.

Kake-Jiku: Images of Japan in Applique, Fabric Origami, and Sashiko is already in my little craft library. It has an appliqué project incorporating sashiko I’d like to try, too.


Lots of information is available about sashiko, but here are a few links to get you started.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Baseball T-shirt

Here is the second of the t-shirts I embroidered and mailed off to Kelli on Friday—a simple baseball. Last Thursday night I attended a Sidewinders baseball game and thought a simple baseball design would be a good boy thing to do.

I merely drew around a soup bowl and did the embroidery. By the way, I do all my embroidery projects by hand as I do not have a machine that will do it for me. It’s all good—I’m happy stitching away with my very own little fingers.

Kelli suggested including a 3x5-inch card with a note translated into Spanish if going to Nicaragua or Portuguese if going to Mozambique. I sent a t-shirt for each country and simply translated “Peace and Love” into the applicable language.

Today I’m finishing a fun new project I’ll share tomorrow.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Blessings Friday: Kelli’s Peace T-shirt Project

Kelli at Africankelli put out a request for assistance in gathering t-shirts (gently used or new) which she’ll take to Nicaragua in May and Mozambique in June. I signed up right away—there’s still time for you to participate if you’d like.

She mentioned embellishing the t-shirts should we so desire. Heck yeah, I want to do that! We recently donated a bunch of clothes which left us without any t-shirts to offer, so I bought two Carter’s t-shirts for little boys. There is no size restriction on the t-shirts as she’ll be offering them to folks of all ages.

The other day I was chatting with Joni of Yummers! about embroidery and mentioned children’s coloring books as a good source for simple embroidery designs.

And that’s what I’m doing; I used the sneakers coloring page as the embellishment for the back of the white t-shirt. Today I’ll decide what to do on the navy t-shirt and get that done. Then I’ll put them in the mail for Kelli.

What a great end to a week so full of adventures!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Searching For My Love

WARNING! This post is graphic intensive.

I’ve finished my project for The Scent of Water photo
swap and mailed it to Christine of Mumblings of the Incoherent blog. “Reflections” is this month’s theme.

This is my submission, Mallards in the pond at Tucson’s Agua Caliente Park.

I printed the photo on a card so I could write a note to Christine.

After playing around with my camera, I decided to include an additional picture and framed both in magnetic frames so she can replace the pictures at will. She may not like rubber ducks.

I started thinking about other ways to play with the reflections concept and came out with this wacky activity to occupy myself. It’s a little pictorial story set to music about the two rubber ducks (Mr. Lonely and Baby) floating about in my pool. I couldn’t resist having fun with yet another example of reflections.

Bobby Moore & The Rhythm Aces’ 1966 song Searching for My Love popped in my head—also a type of reflection. It’s about a guy (Mr. Lonely) searching for his lost love (Baby) and reflecting on his actions in causing this loss.

Activate the music and then pretend the following lyrics and pictures are a little video correlating to it.

Source: stationery from Crafters Paper and Supply

True love found!

P.S. No rubber duckies were harmed in the making of this example of my incipient insanity.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Natural Cleaning Recipes Booklet

Yesterday was Earth Day and I completely forgot to post about it—how shameful of me.

However, Meggiecat and I have been collaborating and now offer something that continues the Earth Day commemoration.

Source: Meggiecat; text added by me

We’ve created a small booklet with some basic recipes to make your own green cleaning products at home. There are hundreds of such to be found online, in books and magazines, and passed around via word of mouth. These particular recipes are those I use myself.

Where to find the bentonite clay used in some of the recipes? You can find it at herbal stores like New Life Health Center, Sunflower Market, places that offer organic foods and herbal concoctions. Make sure to ask for a jar of Indian Healing Clay, a very fine powder used in facials and things.

We are providing the recipes in two PDF versions via Lauren Stephens' Free PDF Hosting and PDF Sharing (you may want to check this out for your own blog use). My other resource was being recalcitrant this morning, so I found a new host.

One is a regular PDF version that you can print and put into a notebook. The other is a booklet paginated such that you print and assemble it just like a regular book. The latter would be good if you want to include it in a gift set such as a basket of cleaning products you’ve made with the recipes, or maybe a little gift of essential oils and things.

We used a free publishing tool
resource discovered by Meggiecat which worked great with this little project. Check this out for your own booklet needs.

Both versions include printable labels for the recipes as well as two blank labels.

  • Booklet version
  • Tuesday, April 22, 2008

    Junie Moon’s New Bag

    Thank you for your fun comments yesterday. I am giving great consideration to what each of you has said and opening an Etsy store sounds feasible. Not today though as I have a project to finish for Meggiecat first.

    When finishing a big project such as that in preparing for the Special Olympics, I always get this weird discombobulated feeling and am not quite sure what to do with myself next. It’s a bit like being lost and not sure which direction to go.

    To combat this, I made a new bag last night using two Japanese-print fabrics I fell in love with at Hancock Fabrics. The picture above shows the bag inside out. Aren’t the little parasols on the lining fabric ever so glorious?

    And here is the exterior of the bag. I love the colors of the lining complementing so perfectly the same colors in the exterior. The pattern I used is New Look 6574.

    It’s always a happy day when you have a new bag!

    Monday, April 21, 2008

    Aprons vs. Booty Shorts

    What sells at a fundraiser when it’s hosted at a biker’s bar? Sex and alcohol—not clutches, aprons, purses, beauty products, floral arrangements, or glass art pieces.

    Connie and I didn’t realize the Special Olympics fundraiser site was a bar until we arrived at the event’s address; nor did we understand that 99.5% of the attendees would be bikers although we knew there would be some, just not that many. We didn’t sell a single thing.

    My cowgirl bags didn’t sell.

    These didn’t sell either, although Connie absconded with one.

    My clutches didn’t sell—nor did the aprons or anything else I prepared.

    The organizers invited only five vendors and later told us that they had not had good luck with selling things in the past. I’m not surprised. Out of the five, only one woman had booming sales.

    This is Jamie, a biker from South Dakota who designs products that fit right in with the target market group. She kindly posed with her husband, Chi Chi.

    Jamie’s helmet spikes sold along with her thongs and booty shorts (new term for me). You can visit her web site to see her products. Her table was popular because she is part of this eclectic biker community and knows what they want. Here is her business card--it took me a while to figure out what her business name means.

    Lesson learned for the rest of us. Know your market, a mandate of which we were ignorant. Connie and I envisioned families, Special Olympics athletes, and community supporters.

    What to do when you’re the equivalent of an apron surrounded by leather and chains? You adapt. We adapted by simply contributing cash and I overcame my fear of the chains, tattoos, and tough exteriors by talking to people who turned out to be quite nice. It was an alien world for me, but I made friends and Chi Chi let me sit on his Harley—a first for me.

    At the end of the day, this is what it is really all about.

    It’s about people like this sweet child (his adoptive parents gave me permission to take his photo), one of only three children we saw the entire day—and for good reason. Being a volunteer for a good cause like the Special Olympics is an opportunity that transcends boundaries of all sorts, no matter the circumstances in which we find ourselves.

    I don’t regret a single thing.