Friday, July 21, 2017

What's On Trend For Fall And Winter 2017

This week, I have done some really amazing things like take a shower, brush my teeth, wash my face, put on make-up, and do my hair in the same room. I've used the microwave and the dishwasher is running as I type. There are baseboards in every room and some of the closet doors are in place. As the raw edges get covered up, I'm feeling so much better. I'm hopeful that the work will be done by early next week and then I'm planning a short break before getting the work in the suite done so it's ready to rent by the first of September.

A few weeks ago, I bought a desk at the 50% off sale at the Re-Store in Kamloops. Last weekend, I painted it a light grey that doesn't compete with the wall or the table and blends nicely with the cabinet colour in the kitchen. The desk is set up in front of the patio doors in the dining room with a view of the pond just on the other side of my fence.

I had a piece of glass waiting to go to the thrift store and decided it was perfect as a mat since it wouldn't impact the colours I'm working with and would protect the desk top. On the desk top, I have the tools I use all the time plus a small computer for taking Craftsy courses. I'm on another workshop now about dimensional wire wrapping and almost ready to start the assignments.

A trip to the dollar store yielded boxes and trays that are perfect for sorting supplies and a glass vase from the thrift store is the right size for two spools of wire. There is still plenty of space for more supplies if needed as I begin to develop my work... or for storage for finished pieces.


I'm still working on the quilt for our bed. I started by dividing the top into nine sections and quilting them individually. In the picture above left, I'm sewing one strip to the back and one to the front of the quilted section with the right sides of the strips facing together. The darker grey strip is for the front. I pressed it up and away and then pinned the raw edge to the next quilted section.

That seam was stitched and pressed flat and open and then the dotted fabric was pressed up and the raw edge turned under and slip stitched in place on the back using the stitching line as a guide. On the front, the darker grey strip joins the two sections and the seam allowances fill the hollow in-between. After this picture was taken, I top stitched the darker grey strip. I have two more seams to slip-stitch in place and then the top will be all together and ready for binding the edges. It'll be nice to have this task done. I have a couple more to do before getting back to sewing clothing however...

... I have started looking at inspiration, patterns, fabrics, and what's on trend for fall and winter 2017. I went through several websites and took notes of what worked for me - which wasn't everything - but was actually quite a lot like silver, denim, cozy knits, neutral plaids, polka dots, florals, deconstructed garments, square shoulders, and velvet. Some of the sites contradicted each other especially about colour which really doesn't matter that much to me since I only wear the colours I love anyway. Turquoise and pink as well as black and blue worn together where mentioned and red is apparently the colour of the season. Since I never wear red, some version of fuchsia or magenta could fill that space. I'm excited to get back to clothing. I plan to start with "cozy knits".

Speaking of which... I purchased this sweater by Sarah Pacini in black from our local consignment store for $44.00. I remember seeing it in a boutique for somewhere around $400.00. A great find and a fun beginning to my fall wardrobe. YES YES

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - baseboards

Friday, July 14, 2017

Tedious Tasks

There are so many fires in British Columbia right now that the sky is often filled with smoke making it difficult not only to see but to breathe. When smoke obscures the sun, the light is different with a strange glow. It's an eerie feeling. As you go about your day, you're constantly aware that somewhere relatively nearby is smoke and danger - a looming shadow.  Yesterday, the sky was clear, the sun shone, and I spent the afternoon visiting with a friend - a nice break.

With all the busyness and noise of the renovations in progress, I've been working on tedious tasks where I don't have to think too much. This week, I finished gathering the bed skirt for our room and recovered the seat of an ice-cream parlour chair that I'd bought years ago for my daughter's room. The original cover is a dirty, torn leather and my daughter's cover was a combination of pink and green. This time...


... I used one of the piece of canvas I'd painted several years ago when I was started to experiment with fabric painting and surface design. I started by making a template of the top, adding a seam allowance, and cutting it from an interfaced section of the fabric.

For the side piece, I measured the diameter and depth of the seat plus an added piece of foam for a bit more cushy. It's not a fine science so I pin fitted and kept altering the diameter until I liked the way it fit the top correctly.

For the bottom edge, I created a casing and then used shoe-lacing to pull it in snug to the bottom of the chair. I tied it with a knot and then tucked the ends inside. This way, I can take the cover off and easily launder it.

The wooden underside of the cushion is screwed to the metal frame of the chair to keep it secure and safe. I like the finished piece although I'm waiting until the room is finished before I add a layer of was just in case I want to add any more colours. It's going in the kitchen near the barn wood table that I'll be using as an island.

The next tedious task is to finish the quilt for our bed that I started either late in 2015 or early in 2016 by cutting a king size duvet cover into strips and quilting them individually. The next step is to piece the strips together to form the entire quilt top and then add the binding around the edges. One side of each seam will need to be hand stitched so I'm hoping to have them together by Monday for when the electrician is adding a new sub-panel and the power will be turned off. No electricity is great hand stitching time.

Talk soon - Myrna

- two tedious tasks done

Friday, July 7, 2017

A Hint Of Turquoise

After four and a half weeks of renovating, I am beyond sick of dust and very tired of workmen in the house and - thankfully - it's nearing the end although as you'll read later, it's also nearing a beginning.

This journey started with changing the countertop in the kitchen and moved from there... like a row of falling dominoes... which I knew it would... which is why I put it off for as long as I did. Yesterday, the beadboard started going up on the back splash in the kitchen. YES YES - what a difference that makes. Fewer raw edges. I couldn't resist adding a pop of colour. I'm hopeful that all but the paint will be done by Friday and that I'll be able to do that on the weekend and then "move" into the kitchen again.

With my decorating scheme, every room has some turquoise in it for continuity - and probably because it seems to be my latest colour love. When the thought of adding a hint of turquoise to the interior doors popped into my head, it was immediately followed by no, I should paint them white. As in play it safe. I don't do should anymore. I painted them Crystal Springs, a light turquoise from Benjamin Moore. Lime and turquoise work well together and, along with a wide white trim, will really show off the doors. I love this style of door. I've renovated a lot of houses and this profile is new for me but one that I've always loved in older homes. It's fun to be doing something new and something I've always loved in my retirement home.

On the weekend, Howard and I went for a walk at Canoe Point. It's a beautiful, up and down, curving path with two areas of boardwalk that I particularly wanted to see since they were featured in an exhibit at the art gallery last year. There are several things I wanted to do more of when I moved here - like hiking and biking - that weren't possible the first year due to falling down the stairs and have been delayed this year with the renovations BUT... that's an excuse. I need to take the time especially as hiking and biking fits into my goal of holistic health and improved fitness.

My youngest son is working at a bible camp for the summer and has decided to wear a cape every day as his distinguishing factor - you know... Kyle... the guy with the cape. On Monday, I sewed him a red one with black seams serged to the outside and painted details. I added a pocket with a pen so that everyone can sign his cape. He'll enjoy this souvenir of his summer.

My tenant gave notice a few weeks ago and is moving out mid month. Each time a tenant leaves, I want to do upgrade something in the suite until it's the way I want it to be. For upgrade, read more renovations. Sigh. This time, I plan to do the kitchen and I've spent three days looking for used kitchen cabinets at every possible store between Kamloops and West Kelowna. I haven't found any cabinets. I did find a desk. At the ReStore in Kamloops, there was ten minutes left in their 50% off anything in the store sale. I bought it for $30 and it's perfect for jewelry making with the narrow drawers for storage and a good work surface. It just needs painting.

It was fabulous having a friend here for a visit. I actually spent some time in the studio and one of the projects I worked on was refashioning this pendant. The original piece was the assignment in one of my on-line classes and turned out less than wonderful because I made the edge as wide as the widest part of the stone instead of as wide as the narrower edge it would be wrapping. Good learning. So I...

...popped out the stone, hammered the shape with a rawhide hammer, and added some wire remnants from my work station to make this pendant for my ex-boss. She wanted a pendant on a 36" chain. On the left, is the look before the patina and on the right is the look after the patina. I don't have a lot of experience photographing shiny objects so the pictures are not as clear as I'd like. That's something else I want to learn as well as create some kind of photo booth for the pieces.

I also finished a baby sweater for a friend and painted the taupe pant pieces that I'd cut out a few weeks ago thinking they were grey.  I started with a black stencil of squares and then added turquoise, blue, copper, and more black, set the paint, sewed the pants, waited a day, washed them, and the copper splatters mostly washed out. I loved the splatters and without them the fabric is not nearly as wonderful - plus the pants are quite stiff - so I'm not sure if they will stay pants or morph into a purse. This stencil - however - is fabulous. It's new and I can see using it again.

The only thing I've done since my friend left is work in the garden, the start of painting upstairs, and the cape for my son. Not one room in my house is fully functional, furniture and closet "stuff" are in all sorts of places they don't belong, and - as mentioned previously - there's dust everywhere. Even in the studio. I don't work well in a mess and have been going out as much as possible. I try to think of things I can do away from the house and one is to work on a life list.

In my journal time, I'm reading The Happiness of Pursuit by Chris Guillebeau in which he writes about finding the quest that will bring purpose to your life. It's a slightly different perspective than I'm used to differentiating between a quest and a goal but the information is similar in many ways. I'm still trying to figure out what part of my life is a goal and what part is a quest.

The author mentions life lists often - the things you want to do before you die - and that seems an excellent question for me to consider. I know I want to buy an electric bike and ride more often and I know I want to take an extended holiday along the east coast of Canada and I am thinking strongly about do I truly indeed want to write another book or start another business and learning will always be a part of everything I do but what do I want to learn next. I haven't sat down and written things out because I'm not inclined toward lists however, in this case, it might be a good idea.... to make sure I know what I want to do so I can do what I want to do. Like a map. For the rest of my life. Do you have a life list?

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - beadboard

Friday, June 23, 2017

The Painted Chair

Today, I am escaping the workmen, the dust, and all that noise to go play in my friend Francine's studio. She lives about an hour away. I've packed three small canvasses to - possibly - paint. They're rectangles that originally I was thinking of painting in portrait perspective up until someone mentioned three in a long line. That's an interesting idea. We'll see what develops. Mostly I want a break and to visit with my friend.

Speaking of painting... I bought this chair at the thrift store quite a while ago wanting to recover it and then when I heard about painting upholstery, it seemed like the perfect practice project... that I kept putting off... and finally got to. The fabric is slightly textured like a jacquard and most likely a poly cotton blend. It was clean and smooth with only a few frays along the upper back edge.

After watching several videos, I combined the methods that I thought got the best results based on the detail images shown in the videos. I mixed chalk paint from The Fat Paint Company half and half with water and applied it in thin layers using a kitchen scrub brush. I didn't sand between layers because the scrub brush had a sanding-like effect. In the detail above, there are two layers of paint on the fabric and you can still see the original colours plus the fabric looks very chalky. At this point, I was worried it wasn't going to work out but I continued with four layers of paint. It dries very quickly - in about twenty minutes.


The upholstery has to be well dampened but not soaking wet. I bought this spray bottle when I was cutting hair. When you depress the lever, you get a continuous flow of fine mist without having to pump the lever over and over. Another friend - Barb - is coming to visit tomorrow and we plan to paint fabric. I'm interested to see how the water bottle will work with that.

In several of the videos I watched, the comment was made that you are dyeing your fabric using this method. No, you are not. You are painting it and building up fine layers. Dyeing is a completely different process. Acrylic paint, however, is quite durable especially the longer it cures although the chair is quite usable right now. None of the paint is rubbing off.

The colour I used for the fabric is Skyline. For the wood, I used Raven and then sanded the edges to expose the original surface. Both wood and fabric are finished with a coat of clear wax. Before waxing, I sanded the upholstery with 220 grit paper which turned the fabric from I'm not sure to I love this. I'm feeling confident to paint my couch now. Most of the videos say the finished fabric feels like leather. Since I don't like the feel of leather, that was one of the reasons I procrastinated so long. It feels more like polished cotton to me.

With the workmen in the house, I'm not getting anything done so it seemed the perfect time to continue with the walkway. All the edges are defined with rocks and I've found the level line from the stairs to the grass edge of the walkway and from there out to the rest of the yard where there is a huge dip. I've dug out four inches of dirt from the walkway between the driveway over to the pink peonies and am ready to begin on the next section curving around to the back yard. The dirt...

... simply switched spots and was thrown up on the lawn where it's being raked out to fill in the dip and level the yard. I also moved some decorative bricks from the back yard to the front to create a step up from the walkway to the grass. It looks funny right now because a rock is missing to the left of the stairs that I need help lifting plus everything is all the same dirt colour.

The next task is to add 2" of sand to the walkway and level it out and then use up the pile of bricks stored in the  carport to create a walkable surface that will be filled in-between with pea gravel. I'm hoping to brick from the steps to the driveway although I doubt I'll have enough bricks. They are red on the front and grey on the back so I'm using the back side which is easy and inexpensive to match. The rectangular bricks will be a nice change from all the round river rock. I may explore some larger cement blocks as well to add variety of size and shape. LOL - I see design everywhere.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - floor in the living room and - hopefully - in the kitchen/dining room by the time I get home.