Monday, November 28, 2011

A Christmas present more than a year in the making.

A little over a year ago I was over ambitious and started a piece of needlepoint for my boyfriend's mom.  My plan was to make a decorative pillow and the face would be entirely needlepointed.  The piece was roughly 50,000 stitches.  I somehow thought I could finish this in a month.  I was both wrong and crazy.  By Christmas it looked like this:

It was pretty clear that this was not going to happen, so I put it away and it stay out of sight and mind until April.  Nothing keeps a project going like ignoring it.  I started back up again and in June it looked like this:
The end was in sight!  Well, there I go getting ahead of myself again.  I still needed to fill the colors on Smokey's head and white for the entire background.  I really prefer the completely covered look, especially because Aida is not a pretty pillow fabric.  There are roughly the same number of stitches in the design as in the background (a least there is no pattern to follow).  By the middle of October I had finished filling in the colors in the dog and started filling in the white.  In the last two weeks I have put my nose to the grind stone and by the beginning of last week it this was all I had left:
This may not look like a lot, but each of those rows were still 60 stitches across.  I had to finish because I had asked my Aunt Lani to help at our family Thanksgiving celebration last Saturday.  I worked until the bitter end including finishing up an extra line of orange around the outside edge on the 1 1/2 hour car ride.  By the time I arrived, I had a couple stitches to go and then it looked like this:

For honesty, here is the back.  I definitely have some small knots but at least all the colors stayed in the lines.

At first when I started the pillow I though we would just add a back border of fabric on the front and a matching black back.  My Aunt Lani suggested I make a log cabin quilt design on the front in various black fabric.  After much discussion about fabric combination and layouts I started to sew.  I have only used a sewing machine a handful of times in my life and probably the last time when I was 8 making scrunchies.  It was slow going and almost every seam was ripped out 3 times before I got it right.  Here is what it looked like mid-sewing.
And here is the back.  There is a lot of thread in the finished product.

And here it is, the final product!!!!!!!
And here is my Aunt Lani who is the most patient person in the world and helped me through the 13 hour process of the final product.  There were definately some downtime in the day because it was out Thanksgiving.  Here is a picture of Aunt Lani and me with the pillow:
It was a long hard process but the finished product looks amazing if I do say so myself.

A little tease

Here is a bit of foreshadowing to the recent project. 

The first year I started dating my boyfriend I decided to make a cross stitch design for his mom who is a huge Lady Vols fan.  I started it in October and proceeded to work on it like crazy even on Christmas Eve.  By Christmas is only looked like this:

This was good enough to present as a mock up on Christmas morning, but the final product did not get to her until about Mother's Day.  Here is a picture of it mid-process in March.

And here was the final product:

I will follow up with a post about this years project, but the design and scope will give you hints.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Time Sink

It feels like all of my time lately has been sucked away by these...

Well, the constant struggle to keep them off my yard.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

So I am a Little Crazy

 So what would a normal person do when their wall looks like this:

Normal people actions:
  • Call a pro 
  •   Develop a plan
  • Think about how quickly you would need to finish the project
 My actions:

Which eventually led to this...

Now I have to form a game plan of how to proceed from here.  My first inclination is the do-it-yourself fix of throwing up a couple coats of oil based primer, skim coating the walls, more oil based primer, and finally a couple coats of paint.  There are a couple problems with this plan that could be overcome...first, it seems to be a heated debate whether any primer even oil based is okay with wallpaper paste residue.  Next there is the problem of the different thickness of wall.  I have also never skim coated myself, but hey that is why I have a can do attitude.

The completely different option is to try and find someone to throw up 3/4" sheet rock.  I have never sheet rocked, but that wouldn't normally stop me, but I do have an arch on the wall that I would have to deal with.  I have covered the plaster walls with sheet rock in the past and it has worked pretty well.

The final option that is much messier and that I am going to try and avoid is to tear out all the lathe and plaster and traditionally sheet rock that wall. 

This wall is really an experiment because I have 2 more walls in the living room and all 4 in the dinning room that I am pretty sure have wall paper underneath the paint.  None of them bother me as much as this one did, but I am sure I will want to address them eventually.

I will keep you updated as things change (who knows how long that will take) and wish me luck.

Bonus picture!  Here is the original wall paper pattern.

Rope Light-A-Rama

So it is time for the the first project...

If you put these things together what do you get?


You have to hear the back story first.  My friend Robb is furnishing a new house and found this great sculptural light, the problem was a lot of $$$$$.  After looking at the picture, I said we can make that.  A lot of time passed between that statement and actually assembling the lamp, even though the actually assembly only took 30 minutes.

Before actually getting out hands on the rope we had lots of ideas about pulling apart a rope and then bringing it back together, but in the end we realized that we could twist the rope and it would open up enough to slip the light kit in.  After inserting the light kit, we secured both ends with black Guerrilla Tape but any kind of strong tape would do.   After the tape Robb covered the ends in twine for a more finished look.

The final step in the process is artfully hang the rope.  The original price for the inspiration piece was almost $1000 for two and were were able to make two for less than $100.  Now for the main event, the finished product.
While the cheapo idea of making this was mine, the real credit goes to Robb who figured out the simpler way to do it, and completed all the final steps.  I think it looks amazing!

Monday, November 14, 2011

First Post

So this is the beginning.  I have been reading blogs for the last two years and have decided it is time to jump in.  I plan on writing about crafts, home improvement and travel.  Hopefully, the things I write about are the interesting parts of my life outside of work.

Since I am jumping in on blogging late in the game (both in the world of blogging and in my adventures in my house) I will be peppering in old completed projects.

Thanks for joining me!