Monday, January 28, 2013

An Amazing Gift

I received an amazing gift in the mail a few days ago, and it's so fantastic, that I had to share it with you all here. The darling (and very artistic) Kim of Gerushia's New World sent me a quilt top that her mother had started, but did not finish. I get to finish it and keep it in my home now. I am speechless at this gift because it is so wonderful. I feel ultimately lucky and honored that Kim trusts me with one of her mother's pieces. Thank you so much, Kim. I will treasure this amazing gift for the rest of my days.

The size of this quilt is perfect for my bed. I can't wait to finish it and snuggle underneath it. 

I love all the fabric that Kim's mom used. The colors, the shapes. I just love it all.

My canine sidekick, Douglas, even loved it, because I couldn't get him off of it. 

I keep looking at how carefully cut and pieced together this quilt is. I hope I can do it, and Kim's mom, justice by finishing it. 

I am so excited to get started on this project. It's the best... ever! Thanks again, Kim!

Until next time!


Friday, January 25, 2013

Adventures in Dumpster Diving

I moved back to Tucson a bit ago, but I feel like I am still trying to organize myself and my décor in a way that I like. The one thing I have noticed is that I really need more furniture. In true grad student fashion, the few pieces of furniture I have are hand-me-downs or something I got at a severe discount. Because I am a grad student, I have learned how to live by a very strict budget, but I have learned how to turn budget living into one with my own style and aesthetic.

Exhibit A: The dumpster chairs

That's right. I found these chairs on a little dumpster diving adventure I took with my mom. We drove by the dumpster near my neighborhood and spotted the chairs. We gave one another that look of mutual agreement that the chairs sticking out of the dumpster deserved another chance at life and without a word, we piled them into the back of my car. Of course, we giggled like schoolgirls the whole way home.

Once I had decided how I wanted these chairs to look, I had to create a plan of attack. First, I had to remove the cushions. Three of the four had this weird minty green fabric that was filthy and nasty. I started to remove the fabric from the seat cushion base only to find that there was maroon vinyl underneath. It took me a while to get it off, and I cut myself more than a dozen times trying to pry the staples off. Luckily, I was able to bribe my neighbor and friend, Jose, with some beer and he helped me pull the seat covering off in a flash.

Second, I had to cover the seat cushion bases with new foam, batting, and fabric. I opted for this damask print that I love so much. The Jo-Ann Fabric store on my side of town is getting ready to move, so they have had everything majorly discounted, which is how I was able to get the foam, batting, and fabric at a very wallet-friendly price. (The chair, in the picture below, with the amazing detail on the back, cost me $3.99 at the Goodwill outlet in Nogales, AZ. I haven't finished it yet, but I will share it when I do).

Third and fourth, I had to sand and paint the chairs. 

Fifth, sand the chairs again to give them that weathered distressed look. Sixth, attach the seat cushions and voilà! The dumpster chairs have a whole new life in my house!

It took me three days to complete the chairs from start to finish, but I really like the way they turned out. Aside from these four chairs, there are two others that I need to finish, then I think I will have all the seating I need.

Before and After
Have you ever salvaged a piece of furniture from the dumpster? I would love to hear about it!

Until next time!


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Coffee Cup Cozy

Getting ready for Valentine's Day? How about a Valentine coffee or tea cup cozy? Head over to Feeling Stitchy for today's tutorial!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

An Ode to the Hot Air Balloon

I never realized how much I enjoyed hot air balloons until recently. I was sifting through some images and I stumbled upon some pictures I had taken at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta in 2011. Shortly after that, I found an image of a hot air balloon in my inspiration file. After that, it seemed that hot air balloons just kept popping up, so I decided to do a little research... and some stitching.

After reading up a bit on hot air balloons, I came to find that 2013 marks the 230th anniversary of the first flight of the hot air balloon created by the French brothers, Joseph and Jacques Montgolfier. Their initial test of a hot air balloon carrying a sheep, a duck, and a rooster floated and landed safely after a few minutes. 

A few months after their test run, the Montgolfier brothers had some human volunteers, Francois Laurent and Pilatre de Rozier, who boarded the hot air balloon and rode it for about half an hour. They rose more than 500 feet and floated over Paris, before landing in a field. The farmers had no idea what was headed toward their field, and approached the balloon with pitch forks. In order to make peace, Laurent and de Rozier offered them a bottle of champagne, which is where the tradition of having a glass of champagne after a balloon ride comes from. Incidentally, the term pilot, comes from Pilatre de Rozier's name. Which I found totally fascinating. 

After reading about hot air balloons, I decided to turn an image of a hot air balloon that I have into an embroidery pattern. Now, I don't know where this image came from, but if you do, please let me know so I can give credit to its creator. 

The funny thing about all of this, though, is that I have never taken a hot air balloon ride. I am a little too wary of taking my feet off the ground that way. 

Have you ever taken a hot air balloon ride?

Until next time.


Thursday, January 3, 2013

Better Late Than Never

Happy New Year! Hope you all had a very merry & bright holiday season! 

Tumacácori National Historical Park. Tumacácori, Arizona
I can't believe the holidays came and went! I was sitting in front of my sewing machine the majority of the time, as I handmade the majority of the Christmas gifts I gave this season. I felt so exhausted, but was happy to spend time with family and friends throughout the holidays. I was excited to ring in the new year and look forward to getting back to work this year. 

2013 is already looking busy for me, as I have a dissertation to finish, but I am looking forward to rolling up my sleeves and getting back into the swing of things. I have lots of embroidery stitches to try, new sewing projects at hand, and a few ideas that I am hoping to tackle.

Do you have big plans for the new year?

Until next time!