Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Grain Sack Pillow

Hello and Happy Thanksgiving!

I AM still alive, believe it or not. So, in my previous post I talked about doing my first show and mentioned that I wasn't very stressed or worried about getting things done. Well, that changed in a hurry! About the middle of last week I went into panic mode, other wise known as "don't go near mom/wife" mode. Ha! In all seriousness, I'm feeling pretty good now but still have a ways to go. Along the way I have also realized that what I intended to be a once a day, or every few days blog, hasn't really worked out that way. I'm still trying to decide what is appropriate and fitting for my life versus what will keep people interested and coming back. It's all such a balancing act and I certainly don't have it mastered yet.

On to the good stuff. I have been working on several of the key pieces for my booth which include a farm house table (built from scratch), a sheet music dresser and a hutch. I will definitely be posting those soon! In between the large projects I have been attempting to get all the "chum" together. (Chum=all the accessories to "pretty up" the booth. My husband and I were watching a reality show on flea markets once and that's what they called it. I had never heard it called that before but I thought it was funny.) Today's post is part of my chum.

Last year I bought a few grain sacks at a sale but wasn't sure what to do with them. Last week while digging through all of my crap valuable finds, I caught them out of the corner of my eye and decided they would be cute pillows! This one is from a place in Independence, Iowa ~ pretty cool. The letters are really faded so I apologize, the pictures stink. In person it is more legible.

On to the how to...
*Choose a pillow form. I bought a 14 x 14 pillow form at Joann's Fabric.

*Then cut the grain sack (it was pillow case shaped) to remove the back half. Laying the sack with letters up, measure the middle (side to side & up and down) and centered it on the pillow form (put the sack on top of the pillow). From there, leave an extra 1 inch on each side so you have room to sew. You can always trim excess later.

*Cut the sack to the size you need (allowing the 1 extra inch). You will also want to cut the same size piece for the backside of the pillow (we used the plain, backside of the grain sack).
*Important: flip the two grain sack pieces over to their backside (upside down, facing each other) and make sure the edges (of the 2 pieces) are evenly lined up. The picture/words should be on the inside  (inside out) when you sew it. You only want to sew around three sides. Otherwise you will have sewn it shut and can no longer stuff your pillow in..swear words will follow...yada, yada, yada.

*Sew around the three sides (my wonderful seamstress mother did it, although this is a really easy sew job), leaving the bottom or top open. Turn the grain sack "shell" right side up-now it should look like the pillow you want (before the pillow is in it). Stuff your pillow in, and then hand sew the remaining edge shut. Hand sewing it will give the cleanest final look.

In the case of this pillow, we thought it would be cute to have the four corners look a little different. So we cut the corners wider initially so that a long tail was left, and then when we (by 'we,' I mean my mom) sewed it we didn't sew the corners shut. After putting the pillow form in we tied the four corners in a knot. My mom did the planning on that piece of it, so I can't take credit. As I may have mentioned before, I was in panic mode and not interested in such details, but thank goodness she was.

That's it! Cute little pillow with minimal work.
Looking back, this was rather long winded. I apologize for that but what did you expect when I haven't blogged for a week?
Have a great turkey day with your family!
Until next time....

Monday, November 14, 2011

My first show!

I apologize for being absent the past few weeks. Wow, were we busy with birthday parties, errands, a hurt hand (or two), more parties, ...you mommas know what I'm talking about, but I have survived it (I may not be sane, but I survived none the less).

During my absence I signed up for my first show! A local business called Urban Finds hosts bi-monthly shows for vendors to display their antiques/funky junk/art, etc... I will be joining them for their December Christmas Extravaganza on December 3rd and 4th. I'm so excited to be doing my first show but it's a bit nerve racking as well. Still trying to decide on all the items I will be bringing. I'm currently working on a narrow farm house table and will certainly post that when it's finished. In the meantime I will be working feverishly to complete everything in time. But who am I kidding, I love to be over-busy (much to my hubby's disdain, ha!).

If you are local I would love for you to come and check it out. More details to come!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Photography & Photoshop Learning Curve

When I first started painting furniture I had no idea that it would lead to a blog, and then that the blog would necessitate learning about photography, cameras, picture editing,.... the list goes on. Now, don't get me wrong, I LOVE to learn new things but a little tidbit about me - I have this need to know everything right now. For some reason my mind does not accept that there is a learning curve. Nope- just the requirement to be an expert. At everything. Not so much that I know more than others, just that I have to be perfect at it before I think it's good enough. So how's that workin' out? Well... not so good, but I'm working on it.

We celebrated my middle daughter's 8th birthday last weekend and of course I took some pictures. I thought I would share some of the 'before' photoshop pictures and the 'after.' I still have much to learn. I don't quite have the eye for it yet. I can tell when an original picture is too dark but I still struggle with how much to lighten it, when to soften, when to sharpen, etc.. (Just a note so you don't think I'm a horrible & crazy parent: we usually do not allow them to wear makeup like this but we had a "Rocker Girl" themed party where they got their hair, nails and makeup done)

Birthday Girl
The first picture was ok but seemed a little dull and lifeless.

The hubs & our youngest
In the 'after' I should have tried to sharpen it even more. It's too blurry looking, and too dark but I love the timelessness that a black and white gives.

Our oldest, pretending to be a super model/rock star.
The bright light from below was actually the light streaming in from the kitchen window. My nieces were up on the counter trying to block it but I kind of like it. It's looks fun to me (professional photographers would likely disagree!). The only thing I changed in the 'after' was that I removed the outlet & lightened the overall picture just a little. Did you notice the outlet?

My youngest insisting on trying to do her own makeup.
I changed it to black and white and lightened it a little.
(Don't mind the horrid upholstery on the seat-it's in line for a change once we decide on fabric)

Finally, the birthday girl again. She was opening presents in this one.
In the second picture I changed the coloring up using free action sets from The Pioneer Woman. She has some wonderful photography lessons on her blog (and recipes, home schooling tips, home & gardening tips..she's basically wonder woman!!)

So those are some of my attempts at Photoshop. I'm looking to purchase a new camera as well but have a lot more research to do before making the move. I want something that I can grow into (so I don't want to buy another one a year from now), but don't want to overbuy. I'll keep you posted on what I decide.

Have a great week, and feel free to share your photography successes, mishaps or any other little tidbits you would like.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Annie Sloan & Two French Headboards

Hurray...tomorrow is Friday!!!
I find it a bit silly that I still love Friday so much, even though I'm home every day of the week. I think it is because when the weekend comes I have more freedom to do other things since the hubs is usually home.
Whatever reason, I'm glad the weekend is almost here!

You can also find this post, and many more amazing projects, on the French Country Cottage blog.

Today I am posting on two little frenchy headboards that I picked up at the Goodwill. So, I doubt that they are really french but that's what they resemble in my humble mind. They were quite ugly when I picked them up (my mom gave me one of those looks), but in this business you have to be able to see past the current color or style but instead see if the shape and detail are there. I got ahead of myself and started to sand them when I realized I hadn't taken a picture. They were originally all the yellow color. Here they are before.

They sat in the garage like this for a month or so (much to my husband's despair-he just loves projects sitting around) while I decided what to do with them. Well, a few weeks ago I purchased Annie Sloan's book on paint transformations using her chalk paint (not chalkboard paint-completely different). Lucky me, she had done a similar headboard and I loved it! The outside trim is painted in Old White and the center in Duck Egg Blue.

This paint is rather thick and I did use it full strength. In the future I think I will dilute it with water just a bit so it goes on smoother. As a result, this does have the hand painted look. I also distressed the headboards slightly, and covered them with a coat of Fiddes & Sons wax in Light (clear). Overall, I really like them and I wish my two girls would agree to put them in their room, but they just "aren't cool" for them right now. I disagree, but such is life. I can also imagine them in a guest room for when little guests come to visit, maybe over the holidays. With that lovely image of a cozy holiday with a house-full-of-guests in mind...I'm off to sleep.
Until next time,

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

30 Days of Thankful

Simple as that. I will list some of the many things I am thankful for over the next 30 days. I will edit this post through the end of November.

Day 1: My children's love of reading. Such a simple, but important thing in our house.
Day 2: Sweatpants, cuddly blankets and comfort food (baby, it's cold outside!)

Day 3: My wonderful husband and the "me" time he encourages me to take in order to remain sane.
Love those few hours when I can get away and do whatever I please (which usually involves Michael's & Starbucks).
Day 4: Those rare moments when you catch your kids playing without being noticed.  
My two year old is very good at playing alone & I love to quietly watch her talking to her babies & making things up as she goes along, or my eight & nine year old dancing all crazy. So sweet and innocent.
Day 5: A change of pace. A change from your normal, daily routine.
Day 6: My perfectly imperfect family. Sometimes we're loud, we fight, we forget our manners...but it doesn't matter. We are together. We are healthy. And we love each other.
Day 7: The ability to change and grow. What if you reached a certain point and you could no longer change or grow. You couldn't improve, you couldn't lose or gain weight, you couldn't become a better person? How lucky we are, to be able to change the things we don't like about ourselves & our lives.
Day 8: Coupons. Today I am thankful for coupons, sales, deals, discounts, etc... We (my husband & I) often see who can find the best deals. The feeling of getting a great deal and rarely ever paying full price is, well, priceless.
Day 9: Electricity. We lost ours with the first snow of the season this morning. Not pleasant but thankfully, it was short lived.
Day 10: Good health. I take this for granted often, until I get sick or injured, then I remember how lucky I am to feel good 99% of the time.
Day 11: Sunshine. It's such a pick me up!
Day 12: Past & present military. I appreciate you all so very much, and all that you do for our country. You are all amazing. Thank you for preserving my freedom.
Day 13: Pictures. It's so much fun to look through them and reminisce and talk about family and friends.
Day 14: Forgiveness.  I hope you will forgive me for not keeping up this past week!
Day 15: My cell phone. That's all.

Day 16: Kids..all of them. So honest and sweet, they often bring you back to reality and re balance your perspective on things.
Day 17: My mommy. She's so talented, particularly with DIY, and always willing to help and teach me. Not to mention she is always, always there for any of us whenever we need it, and is a wonderful grandma to my kiddos. 
Day 18: Spray paint and Modge Podge. These two things are amazing. Love them! You will see why on the sheet music dresser that I will be showing you soon (idea from Miss Mustard Seed's blog).
Day 19: Sunday Funday. Probably not the traditional definition, but yesterday all of the family chipped in to help me get ready for my upcoming show. It was fun.
Day 20: Unexpected quality time. Related to the previous one, my daughter asked if she could help with some of my projects. Now usually, I admit, I'm anal and don't really want "help" on painting projects, however, this was just the primer so I thought it would be fun to let my middle child help. Not only did she do an awesome job but it gave us some time together AND I got to teach her some things about painting and DIY. Priceless.
Day 21: My amazing, handsome husband. Sorry ladies, I took the perfect one.. and no, you can't have him. Na-na-na-na-na-na. Really, I'm not sorry. Just happy and thankful that he's mine. :) 
Day 22: The US of A. I often think of how lucky we are to be able to walk outside without fear of being shot or bombed. I'm not afraid to send me kids to school for fear of getting caught in the cross-fire of a war outside my door. It may not be perfect, but I wouldn't want to live anywhere else (ok, maybe Italy or France wouldn't be torture either). 
Day 23: "Do nothing" time.  So nice, even if rare.
Day 24: Eating everything you see without guilt day. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Day 25: Family get togethers. Fun to hang out and catch up.
Day 26: Music. It can completely change my mood, provide an outlet and even confirm that I'm not the only one who faces challenges.
Day 27: Sleep. Oh how I love my sleep. Mmmmm....   
Day 28: Exercise. Never thought I would say that but it does make me feel more confident and helps to relieve stress. It's just getting to the gym that presents the problem. :)
Day 29: My Birthday. It's coming right up. I can't say that I love getting older, but isn't it so much fun to have a day out of the year that's all yours? Plus, you get away with a lot more (or doing a lot less, in my case). 
Day 30: You. It's true. I love my friends, family and even the others that I've never met that support me throughout my ventures. You provide support and encouragement when I'm feeling frustrated or down. Thank you so much! I hope that I can provide you with some ideas, inspiration or just a little comic relief from time to time.

I am also doing this activity with the kids, and trying to remind them of just how many things we have to be thankful for.
What are you thankful for and do you have any traditions that celebrate it?