It’s Sew Easy to Craft

FIRST STITICHESThat charming husband of mine made a new friend in line at work. I may have mentioned he works at a market in Fremont. [What time is it? Marketime!] One of his lovely customers, a lady named Maggie, mentioned she’d just got a fancy new sewing machine and was planning to get rid of her old one. Honeybee and I had only just been talking about sewing machines. He seemed to be under the impression that I needed one. Why, I’m not sure since it’s been years since I anyone trusted me behind one and I’ve already hemmed all his pants and shorts by hand. He told Maggie about our conversation and was delighted to receive her old model once she got the hang of the new one. Thanks, Maggie!

Look out, world. I have a sewing machine now! The needle was broken and I spend a great deal of weekend familiarizing. Honeybee and I took a trip to the nation’s smallest Joann [true story!] for new needles. Usually I spend at least an hour looking through all the doodads Joanna carries, but Matt broke his toe at work this weekend and was a limpy thing. “Babe, we’re going there for just needles. In and out,” he said. I conceded, but that just goes to show, I don’t stop shopping unless there’s at least one broken bone. Now that I have a new [to me] sewing machine and a fresh pack of needles, I’m super excited to make new things. If you follow Sunshine Press on Pinterest you might’ve seen some easy project pinning!

The plan is to start simple with cloth napkins, tea towels and infinity scarves.

Once I’m positive I can sew a straight line, I plan to move on to shades for our windows. Currently our windows are covered with hideous blinds and the one we open has a white sheet on it. The windows are short and wide and all around frumpy. Ordinarily I’d suggest a big long curtain to make the room look bigger, etc, but that won’t do in our room. We need to be able to easily access the wall underneath (there’s an outlet directly below the window). Plus the window itself opens out, not up. We prop it open with a drum stick because we’re authentic musicians. I’m thinking the best option for covering such a window is roman shades. And apparently there are about a million no sew versions of the diy, but I’ve got a sewing machine now, so I’ll be making it  the hard way. Pillows, too!

Mama Sunshine is amazing behind a sewing machine! She’s made quilts for as long as I’ve lived and all the skills I have were learned from watching and practicing alongside her. To thank Mama for her expertise and, you know, for being the best mom ever, I’ll be making her [a super secret, shh, don’t tell] quilt. I haven’t quite decided what kind or a color scheme yet, but that’s the plan. For quilting practice I want to make a picnic blanket. One side will be denim ombre and the other side will be plaid flannel. The flannel side will have a pocket to hold cell phones/keys. As I described this idea to my Aunt she said it sounded like a perfectly warm cozy winter blanket. I didn’t even think of that! Our winters are pretty mild and I typically run hot. Ten bucks says I end up using it more as a throw than a picnic blanket. Either way, it will be cute!

After quilting, the next hardest slash most impossible thing for me to sew is clothing. I’ll be starting with (and probably sticking with) simple skirts for a while.

Sew yeah. Keep a lookout for a few new projects here.

[See what I did there? Little punny?]

xo,

Sunshine

Progress

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Woo! This week is a whirlwind. So far, I’ve cleaned, jammed with my boss, read, chilled, planned and sanded. I’ve also been to the gym with renewed vim and vigor. Phew!

Here’s that table I was telling you about…brace yourself…

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Isn’t she a doll?! I’ve got more sanding to do, though. There are SO many tiny, delicate spaces. And I wanna get the top ultra soft for maximum touchability.

I’m in the middle of a great many projects, so, you know, happy as a clam.

How’s things with you, boo? What’s the scoop, milkshake?

LOVE WINS Painted Window Project

Alright y’all! By some sort of miracle I got all my work and chores done early this week which was perfect for a weekend of diy! I made this!

LOVE!!!

You may recall the list of projects that I’m aiming to accomplish in time for our wedding I mentioned a few weeks ago. The big day’s coming up quickly! June 15th. No? Here’s a refresher:

  • handmade garlands see them in all their glory here
  • a fancy fascinator.
  • Menu: Sunshine’s Sweet Almonds aka BRI’S NUTS
  • photo vignette

Moving right along, actually, the process was fairly straightforward. But it was definitely time-consuming. I started with this window that I found literally right across the street. It even already has string attached to both sides, so it’ll be easy to hang when the time comes.

before

It looked pretty gnarly to begin with. Look at it up close. Disgusting, no?! I used a scrub brush, a broom and a sponge on this thing!

gnarly

I didn’t really know what I was in for in terms of cleaning this window. Luckily I don’t naturally look at clocks so I have no idea how long it took.

After the initial dusting, the next step was cleaning the panes with glass cleaner. Then taping them off completely, front and back. Meticulously.

first pane is a pain

It’s important to get the absolute crispest edge you can while working around what is probably years of caked on paint.

paint caked grossness

One thing I love about do it yourself projects, no matter how simple, is that you get better the more you do. See the difference between these two? The more panes I covered, the more streamlined the process became and soon after I barely needed my razor for perfect edges.

streamlined

By the end I was hella profesh. After everything’s taped off I took a paint scraper and released as much of the chipping paint as possible. On a perfect day I probably would have done some sanding, too, but since the point is to be rustic, I let it be.

back and front

Next I primed and painted them a soft white. Nothing says wedding like white and since the goal is to hang this bad boy in a tree for people to take photos in front of, I had to do both sides. As the project stretched on into evening, I moved it inside and finished the paint-dry-paint-dry-paint process.

PAINTED

As usual, my indoors projects are overseen by princess Pokie on her high pillow of authority.

POKIE

I pulled up a good font and traced my letters on plain white paper. Easy. I taped each sheet on the opposite side of the appropriate pane and then painted my letters loosely based on them. For the paint itself, I mixed a medium bodied flat white with a soft-bodied iridescent white [both from Utrecht] which makes for a milky effect that stands out just a bit when compared to the soft white outer lining.

lettering

This allowed me to achieve the handmade-but-still-well-made look I was going for. Voila!

<3

See?! Who says you need to spend a bunch of money on props and decoration for a wedding? Not I, said the Sunshine.

LOVE WINS

Yay! Love wins, indeed!

Sunshine

DIY Paper Garlands

This week left me feeling all sorts of random and raw. Just happy to have it done. But now that all the work is done [a midterm, homework and work-work] and there’s nothing but sunshine and, well, I FEEL EFFIN GREAT!

Isn’t it awesome how sunshine can do that? I think so. This weekend I’ll be working on Mother’s Day projects and birthday presents for my mom [same day as mother’s day], but that doesn’t mean I won’t share what I worked on last weekend. Check it. Paper garlands.

Paper Garlands

Aren’t they lovely? Just cute as a button! Here’s how I done it!

Gather supplies: Pritt Stick [always reminds me of the Kate Nash song, Mariella, “she got some Pritt Stick and she glued her lips togethah…”], hemp string, magazine to clip, fine point sharpie, scissors, a razor and two sheets of plastic or cardboard to make your templates.

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You can make garlands out of any shape, but I went for small triangles, big triangles and circles to keep it simple. Since these are for our upcoming wedding, I used bridal magazines and catalogues I had left over. They have bunches of flowers and great color schemes built right in. Make your templates using something easy to trace around. For the circles and smaller triangles I used a thin sheet of plastic [originally the back of a report cover]. For the bigger triangles I used a sheet of cardboard I found lying around.

Trace, cut, repeat. [For four hours or until the kitty gets tired of playing the hemp string and clippings and falls asleep, whichever]

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Once you’ve got your shapes, move on to assembly.

When you initially unwrap your string, it’s not gonna lay flat. I played with it by twisting it around until it seemed calm to avoid a willy nilly finished product. That step isn’t necessary if willy nilly is the look you’re going for.

Lay your triangle face down and give the edge a rub with your glue stick. For the circles I folded them in half and creased them down so the center would be easy to find.

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Lay the string over top then fold over gently using a rocking motion.

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Slide and push so that you get a good fit.

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Then put just a bit more glue on the tips and fold them over so you have a snug little hole for the string to fit through. Then just keep doing that until you run out of something. Ha! Tie loops at the ends so they’ll be easy to hang later. I love making things easy.

For some I did all circles or all triangles but my favorites are the combination ones where I alternated little triangle, circle, little triangle, big triangle, little triangle, circle, little triangle, etc.

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Suggestion: make a movie marathon of it and craft with friends. I watched Harry Potter for these, but a Jeff Goldblum marathon would’ve been good!

This isn’t their final destination, but I had to string these bad boys up in the gorgeous sunshine of my backyard so you could see!

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Happy crafting!

xo

Sunshine

The Lady is a Vamp

First listen to this song:

Then imagine a plain, boring dresser [cough, cough looking at you IKEA Goliat]. This piece, like my dresser, was inherited when Butterfly went overseas. It’s a particle board ordeal, so I didn’t want to risk sanding so I removed the hardware and primed it like so.

lame goliat

It took me all of three minutes to decide that deep, sexy, plum was the color of choice here. But for some reason the paint wouldn’t stick in a few spots.

the lady is a vamp

Weird, right? I went over a couple more times until it was perfect. After it dried it was time to attach my beautiful new fixtures. Unfortunately [meaning I cursed for a full five minutes] the moment the new handle touched the paint it scratched off. And, to add insult to injury, I screwed them in and then they magically just wouldn’t screw anymore. No mas!

are you kidding me?!

This upset me, but like the song says, I just won’t be defeated. So I got out my gorilla glue. I wish I could say that I didn’t know what would happen, but I’ve used it before. I know gorilla glue expands three to four times its size. But, no, these handles were going to stay. Look at this mess!

seriously?!

Bah, I say! My sexy vamp purple goddess was not gonna go out like that. I yoinked a razor blade from somewhere and got to scraping. I got most of it off, but there was no hope for a clean-looking finish. My next best hope was for a good distraction. Enter lace.

glue that lace in place

I used spray adhesive to make it stay and cut wee slits for the handles to slip through. Boom. Picking the accent color was harder. I have a great lilacy purple that would’ve played up the purple, but I ultimately went with black. This is, after all, a distraction technique.

hawt

Isn’t she darling?! I’ll tell ya. The lady is a vamp. She’s a vixen, not tramp. She’s the top of the top she’s the best. Yes!

[Minus ten cool points if you know what song I’m talking about, ha!]

But that’s not all folks. Like the dresser, I lined each drawer with black self-adhesive contact paper so each drawer is smooth and crisp. I only did the bottom, though, so I could still peep my stickers.

message from john

Sorry for the blurry pictures. I swear they looked better at the time. Granted, at the time there was a metric fuckton of sawdust everywhere. So…you know.

done!

Oh! You love, yes?

success

Success? Can you tell? You can tell? I can tell, too. But, I don’t care. It ultimately looks better and like I said, I just won’t be defeated.

xoxo,

Sunshine!

Staining My [Antiquish] Dresser

Oh hello there, hi! How are you?

Good weekend?

Mine? It was FRIGGIN SWEET! I approached, tackled and defeated the beast that is my dresser. LOOK!

Before: before

DRESSER!

See, what had happened was: this neighborhood cat named T peed on it! Like two years ago. I know. Gross. Luckily the dresser was stained and polyurethaned so it didn’t seep into the wood.

I took off the existing fixtures which were breaking like little antiquish jerks. Someone had glued and screwed these things on. Ugh. I unscrewed. I beat them off with a hammer. Problem solved.

drawers

Then I grabbed my Makita and got to work. I started with grade 80 sandpaper to get the ugly off. Then 120. Then 220. Then 320 just on top. Then matte finish polyurethane to protect my work. This stuff covers like some kind of magical butter that isn’t made of fat.

When doing a project like this I suggest buying those fancy safety goggles and nose protectors. You don’t want to end up with sawdust nose hairs like me. I swore at the hardware store that I wouldn’t pay $5 for one and that I could use a bandana. Got home and couldn’t find my bandana anywhere. Um yeah. Bad news for my nose and ears and lungs. Good news for the dresser, though. So that’s something.

naked wood

Sanding wood down to its natural finish is like unwrapping a present carefully and slowly while also doing a million reps with a shake weight. [My arms are sore.]

flipped it

But it’s worth it when you find sweet, sweet wood ripples like these. I fell in love!

wood ripples!

Then the staining began. I used Varathane’s Weathered Gray [and the same brand matte poly].

uh oh, looks blue

I was worried that it was looking it bit too blue with the first coat. But I could already tell that choosing stain over paint was the right way to go. Look how that grain shines through!

it's like fancy driftwood

Not too blue, definitely gray. And ooh!

jewelry tree

Putting everything back took some time. I went through all the jewelry on my tree and kept only what I wear often. At least three were made by the lovely and talented Jeri Mack.

lady stuff

I recently procured this IDEAL candle dish from IKEA to wrangle all my stuff. Our teeny bathroom is too small for getting ready so all that get done at our individual dressers. These items are either very often used or too tall to go inside the drawers [which explains why I want the PS so bad, it’s got room for tall items].

from across the room

Now I walk in the room and my eye goes from the duvet cover to the dresser and back and forth and I smile like a fool every time. 🙂

Awesome.

This was my successful project. Next I’ll tell ya about the not-so-successful thing I did…well tried to do…but, damn it, did.

Happy crafting!

Sunshine

Project Sourcing & Pricing

Dresser, inherited

Drawer pulls, IKEA SATTA Knob [when I saw them on the website I thought they looked cheap but when I saw them in store, it was love. They have a great weight to ’em and they’re hella inexpensive!] $1.99 x 2

Varathane’s Weathered Gray Stain [it’s like fancy driftwood] $8

Varathane’s  Matte Polyurethane $8

Various grit sandpaper, $15

BAM $35 holla!

This last photo is an experiment to see if my cell phone takes as good of pictures as we thought. Meh, but there’s definitely not as much light going on in this room in this corner this morning. And this is with the flash on. More on that later!

dresser from cell phone

Next!

Things don’t necessarily work out the way we plan. As it turns out we didn’t get to jam the other night. One of our jammers ended up admitted to the hospital after experiencing some blindness and pain. An MRI revealed that there may be something. That’s all I know. Our hearts dropped, Honeybee’s and mine. We couldn’t do anything or say anything, really. We just sat in silence, sending our love.

Update! It was scar tissue, not a tumor. Phew, but also, gasp. More prayers and more love just to be sure. ❤

No jam left me with extra time to make my hardware store list extra thorough. I had to do something to keep from being sad [without just cause]. So, with any luck, I’ll be:

Staining My Dresser

Why? Because all these damn wood tones in this room are making me feel like I’m in a bad lodge. Also, because [back at the Burrow] a neighborhood cat, T, peed on it. Gross. Also-also because the fixtures are breaking apart and weren’t very comfortable in the first place.

Painting My Nightstand

Why, well that wood tone thing I mentioned before, but this one especially because it’s a blonde wood tone. Bleh. I’ve seen an IKEA hack on this very piece. They went for white. I don’t know if that would work for me, but I also don’t have another particular color in mind. This is my wild card project.

Staining  That Amazing Round Antique Table

Okay, I’ll admit if any one project gets out of my reach, it’ll be this one. I want to practice my staining skills on the dresser before I take on anything so lovely as this one. I’m also unsure about stain colors. I’m hoping the hardware store will woo me. Especially one of these gel stains I’ve been itching to try. We shall see.

Sketches for a New Series

Yup. Can’t wait!

Happy weekend, y’all!

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