Although I hoped to finish a quilted tote bag I’ve been working on instead, this weekend was set aside for a When I‘m Not Quilting (WINQ) project – adding wood paneling to our upstairs fireplace.
The fireplace is designed to be a divider between two rooms (we don’t use it much here in Southern California, but it’s come in handy on a few winter nights when the desert chill rolls in.) The chimney part that hides the vent rises to the ceiling and was done in traditional drywall and orange peel. It was calling out for something more dramatic, though!
So we decided to add Stickwood paneling.
We hadn’t planned to do this project until later in the year, but Stickwood was discontinuing the Honey color wood we wanted; luckily, we snatched up the planking before it sold out (at clearance prices!)
Since this was our upstairs fireplace, and the table saw was downstairs outside the garage, we hired a friend’s son to be the runner between us. (It had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that our ancient knees couldn’t take the repeated strain and don’t let anyone tell you differently. 😀 ) Having his help cut the time in half; we finished measuring, cutting and attaching all the planks – including some not quite level rip cuts along the top – in less than 4 hours.
Although Stikwood offers edging, I found the metal corner trim we decided to use online at Home Depot. It did require a special metal blade/grinder to cut, but with the right tools it wasn’t a problem.
We’re really pleased with the way it turned out – it does make the fireplace focal point much more dramatic!
However, in the interest of being completely truthful, I’m going to mention one note of caution. If you are a stickler for precision, Stikwood may not be for you. It’s a natural product, made from reclaimed or sustainable wood. There are tiny gaps here and there and some edges that don’t match up exactly. I’m sure some of that is installer error – our first attempt! – and some is caused by a 15+ year old house which was never level to start with.
But you definitely end up with a rustic look. Which is perfect for what we wanted, but may not be for everyone. I have to admit, though, the whole time I was working on this project, I kept imagining an entire accent wall of wood with an antique quilt hanging in front of it. It would be absolutely lovely! Maybe that’ll be my next WINQ…
Couldn’t be more excited for Christmas this year as I’m planning to decorate the Whimzie Quiltz sewing room for the holidays, too. One of the first decorations is this sewing themed Countdown Calendar.
The impetus for this piece came from a Nancy Zieman blog post from 2015. Instead of a quilted wallhanging, though, I decided I wanted fabric-covered canvas. Luckily, there was just enough of the grey snowflake fabric in my stash!
I loved-loved-loved how she used a measuring tape for the numbers, but wanted mine to be one piece. Which meant my version ended up using a 15″ x 30″ canvas from JoAnn’s.
The tree is felt, trimmed with mini pompom ribbon, and the base is machine appliquéd fabric from my stash. Most of the buttons came from LittleRedCottage on Etsy (her button selection is AMAZING) and they are attached with those stick-on velcro dots. The loop dots are next to the measuring tape; by using the hook side on the back of the buttons they stick to the felt without any thing else needed.
The wooden spools were left over from another project years ago, but had to be cut in half in order to lay flat. This did not go as well as expected – so glad I had safety goggles on when cutting! – but eventually I got 4 semi-identical halves. I painted them orange and wound pink embroidery floss around each before attaching.
I finished it off with a little white ric-rac around the edges and the sequin star – all easily glued down.
I am just super thrilled with the way it turned out! It’s going to be the highlight of my holiday sewing room decor. But stay tuned to see what other fun things turn up before December arrives!
DeVon D.’s email read,
“I am a runner. I would really like some type of tote made from [all these race shirts and race bibs that are just sitting around.] Any thoughts? Feel like tackling this?”
13 years of custom quilting and I’d never made a quilted tote bag! But, hey, I love a challenge, so I said, “Sure!”
While waiting for her marathon shirts to arrive, I decided to do a trial bag. That’s how I ended up with this ENORMOUS beach tote. I mean, it’s big. REALLY big. Like “hide the pregnant actress’ belly because it’ll ruin her character’s storyline” big.
With a few adjustments, though, I felt ready to take on DeVon’s projects. She sent me enough shirts that I ended up quilting her both a beach tote and a book tote.
And, I threw in a quilted backpack, just for the fun of it.
These were definitely a fun little digression from regular quilting. I liked having to figure out the math as I went along to get to a normal size on the bags and the instant gratification of finishing a small project is always nice.
And DeVon seems pretty happy with them, too. She posted yesterday on the Whimzie Quiltz Facebook page,
“I knew you were the right person to hand that project over to. The totes are all great and I just adore the fun Jingle Bell Run back pack. Such creativity!”
You say there’s an evil super villain with a shrink ray taking over the world? I’m not worried – I’ll just move into my new Altoid tin Whimzie Quiltz studio and keep right on quilting…
As you can see from the photos below, I tried to recreate my actual sewing studio as faithfully as possible.
Starting with the lid on the left, there’s the felt wall that I use to audition blocks and photograph quilts, a “sew fun” inspirational message and a teeny tiny copy of my book, A Quilter’s Christmas Carol (life-size versions still available in my Etsy store.)
On the right side, I used leftover pink wall paint for the background and hung a mini blind and three decorative “oversized” buttons, topping it off with miniaturized fabric banner just like the one hanging in my room.
In real life, I have a planter/vase shaped like a giant thimble where I keep scissors and pens – in the mini version, I included a Monopoly thimble (RIP). The tiny spools of thread came pre-wound with pink so they fit in nicely with no alterations and I used scraps of pink and orange fabrics from my stash for the bolts of fabric.
My real sewing machine is white – I painted the mini sewing machine white; my everyday scissors are orange – I painted two mini scissors orange. The sewing cabinet in my room is finished in cherry wood grain laminate; it was easy to stain a small piece of balsa wood to represent that color finish in the tin.
One final tip if you want to create your own – I cut the prongs off of 4 tiny brads (the kind you use for scrapbooking) and glued the heads on the right side of Altoid tin as feet. Without these, since the lid side is bigger, the tin leaned to the right when open for display. Brad feet keep everything nice and level.
I found part of the fun of this project was making the Altoid tin match my actual sewing studio as closely as possible, but I could totally see creating the sewing room you’ve always wanted as a mini version, too.
If you do decide to make one, please share a photo with me as I’d love to “visit”… and that way we can all thumb our noses at shrink ray-wielding super villains!
I have two sewing spaces in my home – the sewing room upstairs and a little cart downstairs. It’s a nice set up because I can work on small projects in the evenings while watching TV without having to disturb my regular Whimzie Quiltz activities. But as I started work fresh in the new year, I noticed both areas had gotten messy. (Oh, we’re all friends here, I won’t lie… things were out of control!)
For upstairs, the solution turned out to be a washi tape organizer (on sale at Michaels!) Turns out that 100+ small thread spools (most of mine are Sulky and Gutermann) which had been just tossed in a drawer, fit perfectly. Now all my appliqué thread options are easily viewed and color coordinated.
For downstairs, the problem was I had amassed a large collection of secondary quilt tools. They, too, were just randomly tossed on the cart. To organize everything, I decided to make a wooden display. It has holes drilled on top, one for each tool, and a wooden “pocket” on the front to keep my smallest Omnigrid ruler. (The metal “inspire” embellishment coordinates with the galvanized steel chicken feeder pincushion I made two years ago.)
Even though these were just two small organization efforts, I’m feeling much more together now and ready to face 2017’s quilting projects. Bring ’em on!
Making custom Whimzie quilts for my fabulous customers isn’t all I do (it’s just my favorite thing to do.) When I‘m Not Quilting I still like to create, though, so here’s some quick photos of some of the Grinch themed WINQs I’ve done recently…
Who-ville Canister Set
Must Stop Christmas from Coming Countdown Calendar
If you saw yesterday’s post on my Grinch dining room decor, you probably won’t be surprised by today’s blog entry.
Once the table runner, placemats and napkins were laid out and everything turned into a pink, red and white Who-ville wonderland, our denim captain’s chairs didn’t quite fit in anymore. Slipcovers to the rescue!
While I am a pretty great quilter (pause while I blush, humbly) I am a terrible seamstress. Yes, Virginia, sewing and quilting are two very different things! But, fortunately, these sewn slipcovers were super easy.
I glanced through a couple tutorials from Pinterest, decided to start Saturday morning, and by mid-afternoon I had 2 chair slipcovers and a bench slipcover done. Easiest day of sewing I think I’ve ever had!
Amusing fact: While we have two of these captain’s chairs in the dining room, the only one who ever sits on them is the cat. Both have had broken legs, and I’m as good at repairing woodwork as I am at sewing, so people aren’t allowed!