Dusting off the blog

It’s been over a year since I last posted. A year ago I was working on my bedroom , I am so happy with that renovation! My room is still clean, uncluttered and all white. I love it. Of course in our typical style we still have not finished any of the little things that needed to be done. So there are still lights that need to be hung, closet shelves that need to be built and always trim that needs installed. What is it with us and trim?

This past year has seen a lot of changes I went to work for Dan, then I stopped working for Dan. I think you can fill in the blanks there. Daniel is now engaged to Megan, Beth is still nannying while that may not have changed from a year ago the families have, and Thomas has quit both his job and moved to Red River Gorge, KY.

Thomas and a friend are spending their days rock climbing. They plan to stay down there as long as they can survive the cold. They should be home the beginning of Dec. So it will be about 5 weeks of living in a tent, with minimal bathing and no clean laundry. But they are doing what they love! You can read more about their adventure in their blog: http://chasingthecrag.com/author/chasingthecrag/ This is just a trial run to their bigger trip that starts in the Spring. It is exciting to see them doing something they are so passionate about, even if it means not having him home every day with me.

Which means that Dan and I are at least temporarily empty-nesters. We are taking off for a week long trip to NC. We go as a family every summer but this will be the first time Dan and I go alone. I’m excited to see what it’s like there off season. Dan is excited to wake up every day and go fishing, of course. We’ve always talked about having a trailer down there so we can spend more time on our favorite Isle. This will give us a peek to what it like when the weathers not so warm.

As for me, my big change…I have, after many years of talking and searching, finally rented an artist studio space. It’s close to my house so I can easily pop over there to work. It is small and cozy which means its affordable even if I don’t sell any of my art. I have been spending the past month painting, moving supplies, organizing and mostly washing glass. All my stained glass had been stored in the garage for many years, which meant every single piece needed to be washed. What an overwhelming job that was. But it is all clean and sorted by color and ready to create something.

I’m really excited about the idea of creating and learning even more. So far everything I’ve done with stained glass has been self taught, and I am really at a place where I want to take classes and learn from others. Since there’s not many classes around here for mosaic stained glass work, it looks like we’ll have to do some more travelling! If you want to see what I’m creating you can follow my FB page; https://www.facebook.com/lifesmanycolors/ or watch for pictures to be posted to my Flickr acct: https://www.flickr.com/photos/sheilarocks/ or watch for new updates on my Pinterest board:https://www.pinterest.com/sheilat111/stained-glass-color-splash-studio/. Lots of options for mostly all the same stuff so just pick your favorite. I’ll also be updating the blog with my new projects but it will be updated less frequently than the other options.


Dan built me this fabulous workbench, with a light box built right in.


There on the floor are 3 of my tubs of glass that all needed to be hand washed. There are 3 more large tubs and several smaller tubs that also had to be cleaned. But look how nicely the colors are sorted, doesn’t that just make your organizational OCD smile?


There are still shelves that need to be built, peg board that need to be hung and other misc. decorative things that need to happen, but it is officially a workable space.


I really need to get a comfy chair for that corner. You can only spend so much time standing or sitting on a metal stool before you want somewhere comfy to sit and contemplate. Also that door needs to be painted, how boring a plain brown door is!

Craft Fairs…

My friend over at Pepper Paints and I were planning on doing our first ever craft fair last weekend. We registered for the event at the beginning of summer and then we got to work creating stuff to sell. Or at least we talked about creating stuff to sell and we pinned lots of ideas over at Pinterest. Slowly over time a few things did start to pop up around my house.

Like these adorable stuffed owls. I got this idea and more from Button Bird Designs, she does so many cute things. I love almost everything on her blog!


I also had plenty of these wool owls from Dan and mine’s crafting days this past winter.


We saw this idea on Pinterest and I really ran with it. I bought up all kinds of brass candlestick holders from the thrift store and painted them in a variety of colors. This was my favorite project and I just couldn’t quit buying more and more of them. Until I ended up with about 60 candle stick holders in my house.


Another idea from Button Bird Designs were these inspiration boards. I used old cedar deck boards that came from another friends old deck that she tore down and thought for some reason that we would like all the wood. I guess having a cluttery yard inspires people to bring more clutter to it.


Then in the end we decided we just didn’t have enough stuff or enough motivation to make more stuff to do the craft fair. Which left me with a lot of clutter around my house. So I called another friend who recently opened the cutest furniture store over in Hilliard, The Not Just Shabby Shop. I brought in some of my things for her to look at. She loved them and agreed to sell them in her store, yay! This weekend she is moving her entire inventory to the The Vintage Marketplace at the Springfield Antique Mall for their biannual extravaganza. Which means I actually have stuff for sale there. I can’t wait to go on Saturday and see my stuff in her booth!

Making Owls

Our house has been over taken by OWLS! Some are pretty owls…


And some are kind of crazy owls… We joke that they are actually Honey Badgers. We are so immature, we just can’t quit watching this YouTube video of the Honey Badger.


The owls have been sent around the country as Xmas gifts, these 2 went to my niece and nephew in Seattle. Isabella requested one made by me with very specific colors, BJ just wanted Dan to make his.


and they’ve been added to a Xmas quilt… I made this quilt for my mom.


Thomas contributed this owl to his G-ma’s quilt


Hmm I wonder who made this “owl”


Even Daniel got into the fun of making owls. Actually a few people that came by our house in Dec. made an owl. My friend Michele, our neighbor Victoria and of course; Daniel, Thomas, Dan and me.



Daniel made his owl tall, skinny and goofy just like him. He also packed it with lots of rice so he could throw it at his girl-friend, watch out Megan!


Dan and I spent every evening for a few weeks working on owls. It was our stress de-compressor through the holidays. It also prevented us from getting anything done on the renovation!IMG_5267IMG_5269IMG_5273IMG_5288

This was my favorite owl, it lasted for 1 whole day before it was given by Beth as a last minute Xmas gift.


Upcycling a sheet for your quilt backing

As I was lamenting how narrow and expensive flannel is from the fabric store, it occurred to me that you could use flannel sheets for the backing instead.

Beth just made a T-shirt quilt (using all of her favorite t-shirts that she doesn’t really wear but didn’t want to get rid of) since she wanted it to be a light summer quilt she is backing it with a jersey knit sheet. The kids don’t use top sheets on their beds so the top sheets always end up in our fabric bin and we just happened to have a big gray one that she could use. These sheets are inexpensive at Target but they would be even cheaper and better for the earth if you were to buy them at the thrift store. I know it’s a little creepy buying sheets at the thrift store but if you just dump them in the wash right when you get home maybe it won’t seem so bad.

The measurements for top sheets (with the hems opened) are approximately:

Twin: 66 x 96 which equals 1.8 yds x 2.6 yds

Full: 81 x 96 which equals 2.25 yds x 2.6 yds

Queen: 90 x 102 which equals 2.5 yds x 2.8 yds

King: 108 x 102 which equals 3 yds x 2.8 yds

Which would make for much less expensive backing than buying new material. Also you can always use RIT dye to change the color of a sheet if it looks to drab, which I plan on doing with a sheet that I just picked up at the thrift store for $.50.

Quilt #3 my nemesis!!

I don’t know what it was about this quilt that gave me such a problem. It should have been the easy one, instead of being all willy-nilly with the size of the squares I actually used a pattern and cut them all the exact same size. I also thought this would be my biggest quilt, when it was laid out it looked bigger than the others. When I started sewing together the rows I realized it wasn’t going to be as big as I thought, so I searched around the house for more sweaters and cut out a few more rows of blocks. Still no matter how perfectly everything lined up some rows were longer than others. So I cut more squares to fill in the shorts. I think this ended up being a mistake somehow it ended up being misshapen in spots, or maybe it was because I decided to wash it after I had sewn it all together and maybe some parts shrunk again. IMG_7685

I didn’t add embellishments to this one but I did cut some smaller squares and pieced them together to make the bigger squares. I liked the simplicity of this one and with the muted colors I thought it would be perfect for Thomas. Even with a few girlie sweaters thrown in.


My next big mistake was to try and use the serger for the edging without first sewing with my sewing machine. Since the serger cuts off the extra material while it sews this was just too much to try and control all at once. Especially with the stretching  of the sweaters. I gave up on using the serger on my last side of the blanket since it was twisted into a complete mess. Then the blanket was thrown aside for about a week because I was so frustrated with it.

After working on some other projects (like the pouffe) I decided I better finish this so I could quit thinking about it. I cut off two the serged edges and started over with my regular sewing machine. I also had to repair this strange cut through the sweaters, I’m not even sure how that happened.


I used a piece of flannel that I had bought for the first quilt (but then decided not to use) the problem with flannel from the fabric store is how narrow it is. Unless you want to piece it together its not going to make a very big quilt. Since this quilt ended up being smaller than I expected the flannel piece worked fine.


As you can see it still didn’t lay flat, but at least its done.


I tried to sew along the rows like I did with the other 2 but this one is such a mess it just isn’t working. So again I gave up after doing a few rows. These pics show all the twisting & scrunching the quilt was doing.IMG_7710IMG_7711


And then somehow this one ended up being the smallest quilt yet.



Poor Thomas is sick yet again and spending more time lying on the couch. but at least he has lots of blankets around to cuddle up under.


Felted Wool Quilt #2

I finished this quilt awhile ago but never got around to blogging about it. This one I kept for myself since it has all my favorite colors.


I especially love the round embellishments


and I super- duper LOVE this metallic thread. It is so fun!!


I backed this quilt with some super soft fleece that was purchased at JoAnne’s back in Dec. I sewed along all the edges of each square to give it the quilted effect. That gets to be pretty difficult with how thick and bulky these quilts are.


Ta-Da the finished quiltIMG_7695IMG_7700

I also got to use my new serger for the edging. Look at those lovely serged edges.


The completely finished Pouffe

Here it is completely finished, I hand sewed the opening last night then added the button to the center (boy that was a pain, literally I poked myself a couple times.) I was glad I saw the idea to first sew a metal washer in the center than add the button over top of it. That made it much easier to pull in both centers, I didn’t want to lose my needle in the cushion (ouch!) and it was hard enough to push it all the way through and find the center of the washer, finding a hole on a button before it was all cinched together would have been impossible.


A cool art project for the spring

This is a project that I’m going to start saving supplies for. God knows I can collect plenty of wine bottles between now and then! The rest of the supplies I’ll keep an eye out for at thrift stores, eventually garage sales and maybe even free cycle.


This is the work of : Darla Murray and Bridget Smith. Recycled glass garden sculptures. photo from Life: Verbatin

Sewing a pouffe

pouffe:a large firm kind of cushion used as a seat.

Daniel is really into his Hookah, so much so that he was decorating his bedroom in an Indian/ Turkish kinda vibe. When we were out shopping on Black Friday he really wanted me to buy him some floor cushions at World Market, but I reminded him that I had 2 big couch pillows at home that I could recover and make him 2 pillows. We had bought a cheap black sheet back in September for that very purpose but it and the cushions just sat. Finally today I could take them lying on the office floor no more.

I think the problem was I really didn’t want to mess with making piping and for the pillows to look good they would need more definition than just sewing 2 pieces of material together. So I looked for ideas on-line and finally decided to turn them into round pillows and do a parachute type of cover.

I VERY crudely sewed the corners on the square cushions into a roundish shape.


Next I needed to make a pattern. So I searched the house for a tape measure, finally giving up and just folding a piece of paper until I had a pie shape that I thought would work, I then drew it out right on the pillow. I had picked 3 colors to use and my pattern made 10 pie pieces, which meant 1 color would end up butting up against itself. So I made my pattern an inch bigger and hoped for the best. Without a tape measure it was done rather haphazard.


Then I just started piecing it all together. The black material is from the sheet, the brown is a suede-like material that I’ve had in a bin for about 10 years, and the purple is a velvet that was part of my bedroom curtains (also for about 10 years) that I recently cut shorter so they would hang better.



I very carefully followed the same pattern so the colors would match up when I sewed the 2 sides together, and yet look what happened. Oh well I decided I like how the black segments come together and the colors reverse. Its almost like I meant to do that (I didn’t on the first pillow, but I did on the second.)


This is how the cushion started and what I turned it into. I love how it turned out!


I still need to add the zippers and I want to put a button in the center that will squish the centers together. Ahh… it just occurred to me that if I sew a button in the center I wont be able to take the cover off so there is no need for the zipper. Maybe I’ll just hand sew the opening together add the buttons and be done.


I think they both turned out really cool, although not really big enough to use as floor pillows, unless you have a tiny rump. Hopefully, Daniel will like them and if he doesn’t he’s got a brother, sister and mom that would all like to keep them.

Ta-Da the quilt is complete

Yesterday’s snow day was the perfect day to spend sewing. Plus I had received the fleece blanket in the mail that I was planning on using for the back of the quilt. Kohl’s was having a sale (go figure) I got the fleece blanket with shipping for $3, that’s cheaper than buying material so I figured I’d give it a shot.

I laid out the quilt, batting, and fleece blanket, then used large safety pins to hold it all together. I then attempted to sew around the edge. That was a little tricky since the sweaters kept stretching. Things moved around a little bit, but it all came together in the end.IMG_6795


I did have to cut off some of the sweater layer since the fleece wasn’t quite the same size. I saved the scraps and will reuse them in other projects.

Instead of using flannel to do the edging, like I had planned, I decided to use a zig-zag stitch and just sew the perimeter a couple times. It would have been handy to have a serger but I don’t. I liked the way it stretched the edge giving it a scalloped look. I thought it fit better with the design than doing a solid border.


I think the super soft fleece was a nice compliment to the wool sweaters. For the actual quilting I used my sewing machine and just did a crosshatching at the corners of the blocks. (Man that sounded technical, I have no idea if that is the right way to phrase that.) I had planned on hand sewing using colorful embroidery floss, but in the end decided that the sewing machine would do a better job.



Voila a completed project, and I think it turned out awesome!