November 24, 2012

The Paris Bathroom

When we had this house built 11 years ago, it was the first time I had a home with a guest bathroom. It is the usual tiny space but I wanted it to be fun. I could be more creative in this small room without hubby being concerned that it was "too much".

And TOO MUCH was just what I was aiming for.  I wanted to see just how much trip acquired and just Paris inspired could be tastefully crammed into a small room. It will not be considered complete until stuff reaches the ceiling.

The first to grace the wall was this collage (the bottom one) that I made from scaps of memorabilia from my very first trip to Paris in 1989. The collage on the top was an ebay purchase. If it was today, I would have made my own.

The poster and the metal tray were also ebay acquired. If I had only known in 1989, I would have bought more stuff then, but I had no idea we would ever consider a new house at that time.

The arrangement on this wall is probably my least favorite. It lacks the personal attachment but it has "the look".

The newest additions are my proudest because I created them with the help of the fabulous images from The Graphics Fairy. The fan image is transferred to Osnaburg fabric stretched on a wooden embroidery hoop and hung with a ribbon.

Numerous Frenchy labels and a postcard image adorn the potty lid cover made of simple unbleached muslin.  Yes, it washes quite nicely!

Graphics Fairy images were added to three decorative hand towels I found for $2 each in an antique shop. Even the tissue box has Graphics Fairy images on all four sides. They were added after I painted the box with Annie Sloan chalk paint.  The little tip plate says "Merci" and has some old European coins in it.  I really need to find some old French francs.

Here is a wider view showing the little impressionist painting (just above the towels) actually purchased in Paris near Sacre Coeur pictured in the print above it. There is a repeat of 3 more plates on the other side of the collages just out of view. The ones in the racks are Paris scenes and two others are "fashion plates".
Someday I want to get brave enough to do some sort of paint technique below the balloon border.


November 19, 2012

Meet Francine

My hubby and the grandkids have all been models for me on this blog but I needed a really attractive woman to display my lady-like stuff. I found her last week on and she didn't demand a high price. As soon as she came out of her box I knew her name was Francine. Don't ask why. She just IS Francine.

I'm slowly transforming my kitchen into a somewhat Provencal style and that room has the best light and available picture taking spots, so I set her up there in an apron made of fabric from France. I have traveled there but didn't have the forethought in 2010 to bring back a lifetime supply of this hard to get fabric. I have found a great online  source in Cincinnati called French Rendez-vous .
The fabric picture here just arrived a few days ago and it is a coated fabric that wipes clean but is not nearly so heavy and glossy as an oil cloth. I plan to make placemats with it.
My weekly bow to the Graphics Fairy is the pillow shown sitting on my French farmhouse-like chair. It is made from an old damask tablecloth and Battenburg style lace adorned by the great hydrangea image. The back is made from a fat quarter of the perfect hydrangea print.


November 11, 2012

Bits and Pieces

Anyone who sews, quilts and crafts knows that you can never have enough fabric. When I have lots of yardage hanging around I am inspired to combine them in interesting ways but if I have to know exactly what I need to go and purchase , "creative block" sets in.

Pillows are one of the items I've been working on and the thin cottons that I use in my aprons is too wimpy.  The home decor fabric is nicer but alas, also more pricey.  Recently I discovered discontinued samples and remnants. They are small but force you to combine pieces in interesting ways.
I am going to attempt my first tutorial about how I have transformed these small pieces into a pretty nice pillow. The largest pieces are usually no more than 16" x 16" so if I keep my seams narrow I can use a 16" x 16" pillow insert. TIP:  The insert fills out the pillow much better if you don't allow ANY extra room. More on the insert later. I selected a blue/tan pattern for a base and just placed two tan blocks on top of it. But, before actually sewing down the pieces I added a tree graphic from the good old reliable Graphics Fairy.

 I'm not super techy and I just insert my graphics onto a word document. I always create a text box first and then insert the graphic. This gives me extra room for others to fit. If you don't want the text box to be seen you can make it go away by selecting NO LINE for the box. I try to use as much of the space as possible before I print onto Lesley Riley's Transfer Artist Paper. This is more costly than other papers I tried but well worth it. It is so easy to use and doesn't leave a plasticky surface.
After printing, cut as much of the unnecessary paper away from the graphic as possible. Always remember that you will  get a reverse image. So  if you have text or the design will be affected,  ALWAYS flip the image before printing. I have done this a number of times and completely wasted a sheet of transfer paper. (I have even been so stupid as to iron it onto the fabric thereby wasting the fabric as well.)
 Lesley's TAP paper is so easy to use. Just have a good hot dry iron and remove the paper while it is HOT. Slowly peel it back and if it doesn't pull away just give a little more heat. Here is my image below. The other block was created by enlarging a section of the same Graphics Fairy image.
The squares needed a little more so I added some stitching for a little "boost". A FRIXION pen is great to give you a guide for stitching because after you have finished you can erase it with an iron or even a hair dryer!
Now stitch the whole top to the backing fabric which is another nice co-ordinating dark blue 16x16 sample. I used the Frixion pen again to draw my seam line because I want to get the corners rounded nicely. I found that if I square the pillow off too sharply the corners don't get filled with the insert and look like little "ears".
After trimming the corner excess, flip the pillow cover to the right sides and shove in the insert. I don't leave the opening any wider than absolutely necessary since I have to stitch this up by hand for the neatest appearance. The pic below may look weird. In order to ease the work of pushing the insert into the cover try slipping it into a plastic bag. It makes it slippery. After getting it inside just pull and tear the bag to get it out from around the insert. My mother taught me this trick when upholstering cushions. (Thanks, Mom.)
Stitch up the opening by hand and VOILA! When I have more fabric for the backing I prefer to make an envelope closure on the back so you can slip the insert in and out whenever you like and eliminate the hand sewing. For a tutorial click to go to CONFESSIONS OF A PLATE ADDICT's blog who is an inspiration for me to try this blogging thing.

November 4, 2012

Craft Show Fail

This is the way it looked all people!

Yesterday was my first real craft show and it was a bust. I got late notification and so I spent the whole month of October preparing. Not knowing what to expect, I tried to have something to please a variety of tastes so I would know the best way to go in the future. 

Little did I know that the late notification I got extended to the public who had no notification and a show that had previously drawn a large crowd had barely a trickle of attendance.  Others who have done this show before said booths were fewer and most of us bought from each other.  Luckily a table was only $30 so I made that back plus $10 but I  spent more than the $10 to help out others.  I am not in this to make a lot. I basically need to recoup some costs of materials but...

Maybe Etsy?

Well, here are a couple items for the guys. Hubby is modeling while pretending to cook. All of these sport images gleaned from the fabulous Graphics Fairy.