Friday, June 27, 2014

Summertime Twirl Circle Skirt

Friday, June 27, 2014
To me the Fourth of July just screams heat.  Outside at parades, picnics, barbeques, carnivals.  Right in the middle of summer, Hot, Hot, HOT!  When I was trying to think of what I would make for The Ribbon Retreat blog this time, I immediately thought of this light and breezy knit from Riley Blake Designs.
Then I thought, what am I going to make with this amazingly soft fabric?  And it came to me, or more truthfully, after I made a pair of shorts my darling 5 year old told me she hates shorts and wanted a skirt instead.  And THAT's when it hit me, A SKIRT! ;)  Not just any skirt, but a  full circle skirt with a soft yoga waistband.  Simple to make, easy to wear and absolutely perfect for twirling.
Lets make a bunch, shall we?

Summertime Twirl Circle Skirt Tutorial

Knit fabric- depending on the size of the skirt you will need 1/2 to 1 yard
contrasting knit fabric for waistband if desired- you will need a scant amount, 1/4 yard will do
sewing machine and tools

waist- all the way around
 distance from the waist to the knee

1. We need to figure out the radius of the circle we're going to cut out of the middle of the skirt.  To do this we are going to take the waist measurement and divide it by 6.28 (2 X pi)
in my example my daughter's waist measured 18", 18/6.28= 2.87
It's kind of hard to find that on a ruler, so I rounded to 2 7/8"
2. The second calculation is simple addition.  Add the radius you just found to the distance from the waist to the knee.
my example: 2 7/8" + 8"= 10 7/8"
(the amount of fabric you will need will be twice this number- - in this case 22", However, I only had a 1/2 yard cut, so instead of making a full circle, I made two half circles)

Drawing our circle:
Take your fabric and fold it in quarters.  *in my case, I'm making two half circles and sewing them together- so I only folded it in half
From the fully folded corner (if you're making a full circle, or just the folded edge if you're making half circles) you will start making marks at the distance of the radius, and the radius plus length.  Repeat at close intervals from one edge of the fabric to the other, then fill in the space between the marks to make two 1/4 circles- one using the radius and another at the radius plus length.
Cut along the lines.
Now you have your circle.  (If you made half circles, you will sew the two edges together to create a full circle)

Cut out the waistband:
Cut out the waistband fabric.  For a 2T size, I made the waist band 6" wide.  You will want to make it bigger for a larger skirt.  The waistband will be folded in half to create the band, and then folded in half again when worn, so the finished waistband height will be 1/4th the width of the initial piece you cut out.
So, for the 2T skirt: 6" X 18" (the measurement of the waist)

Sew the two short ends of the waistband together.
*an important note about the stitch to use.  Knit has some stretch to it, this is why we are using it for the waistband as well.  In order to keep our stitches from breaking as it stretches we need to use a stitch that has some give.  A zig zag stitch will work, but if you have a machine with a double overlock stitch, it will give you a better edge on your stitch line.
The arrow is pointing to the symbol for the double overlock stitch on my machine.

Mark your waistband and the inside of the skirt at the quarter points.  Fold the waistband in half, wrong sides together, put the skirt inside the waistband with right side out, matching up the quarter marks.  There might be a bit of difference in the two lengths, extra fabric on the skirt for example, this is okay, just make small gathers as it's being sewn together.

The trickiest part of this skirt is that the fabric has a tendency to roll, so make sure you pin around the whole skirt keeping the edges all lined up.

The last thing you have to do is sew around the entire waist of the skirt.
Trim your threads and you're done.  The great thing about knit is that it doesn't fray, so you don't have to finish the hem of the skirt unless you want to.

 Now you're ready for hanging out in the sun,

 or twirling around,
Or running crying through the yard to avoid having your picture taken one more time!

What will you do when you have a cute skirt too?


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Reading Nook for E

Wednesday, June 4, 2014
*I was given product in exchange for a blog post.  The opinions and project are my own.

My older daughter has had at least 3 bedroom makeovers- the rest of my children have had 0.  I've decided it's time to do something about that.  So, instead of starting with the next oldest child (who is a boy and just wants posters of sports heroes and cars on his walls) I started with the youngest.  She's not yet 2 and doesn't have very many opinions of her own so I can do what I want.

When I was given the opportunity to review these Wallternative decals, I knew exactly what I would use it for, a reading/play nook in her bedroom.

She is a big fan of pillows and soft things, so I knew she would love a little area just loaded with things to snuggle up with.

I decided to set off the area with this beautiful Wildflowers Floral Frame.  Isn't the detail gorgeous?  I chose to get it in Dark Blue and I love how it looks against the turquoise paint.  Then, I had to add yellow, it's just so bright and fun.  The font for the letter monogram is Tall and Thin.

After the design had some direction with the wall decal, it was time to add the pillows.  I created the box pillow using some foam I had salvaged from an old ottoman that was broken.  The fabric is a Premier Prints line.  The colorful pillow is a simple envelope pillow made using fabric from Hobby Lobby and the White Ruffle Pillow is one of my designs.  You can find the tutorial for it here.  (Don't worry, it's washable ;) )

You can see how the nook fits neatly in the corner behind the crib.  I love that it creates a cozy place she can play in.  The Designer Decal from Wallternatives was easy to apply.  Just be sure you follow the directions, including making sure the burnish the decal before pulling off the backing and taking plenty of time to SLOWLY pull off the transfer tape.  There are a TON of details in this gorgeous design and you want to make sure you don't miss a bit of it.

And of course, it wouldn't be an accurate review post unless the recipient got to share her feelings about the change.  I kid you not, the very first thing she did was go right up to the vinyl decal and touch it and point to the letter saying "E".  I couldn't have staged it any better. ;)

And the reading nook as a whole?  I'd say it is a success.  And, No, she doesn't read yet.  She just loves to flip through the pages of her books.  I'm hoping it's a good sign though that she will take up reading just like her older siblings.

Would I recommend Designer Decals from Wallternatives?  Absolutely.  Even going slowly removing the transfer tape, it was still many, many times faster than stenciling or hand painting this intricate design.  It accomplished just what I hoped it would, stunning design, simply done.

Do you have any makeover projects on your list this summer?  I'd love to hear what you're up to.


Friday, May 23, 2014

The Great Secretary Makeover

Friday, May 23, 2014
*I was provided the paint and wax used in this project free of charge in exchange for a post demonstrating their use.  The project and opinions are my own.*

My Great-grandmother was an amazing woman.  She was full of spirit and fun.  I didn't get to know her very well, as she passed away when I was only 8 years old, but I have memories of going to the zoo with her and spending time with her at my Grandmother's house.

The older I get, the more I cherish the connections I can maintain with those who have gone before.  I appreciate their sacrifices on my behalf a little better, and I try to keep their memories and stories alive.  That's why, when my Aunt offered to let me have this secretary of my Great-grandmother's, I was thrilled.  It's a beautiful piece and a tangible way for me to keep her memory close.
 However, the wood stain was not my favorite.  It's a bit dated- the picture doesn't do justice to the greenish 70's hue of the wood.   And the whole piece was a bit too dark for my home.  I have been wanting to paint it for years, but because it has so much sentimental value, I was afraid of ruining it.  When I was contacted by Annie Sloan Unfolded to try their Chalk Paint® Decorative Paint by Annie Sloan, I knew it was finally time to tackle this special piece.

I thought about going with a bold color, but since I already have a pretty bright piece in this room, I decided to stick with something a bit more neutral.  I used Old White as the main color for the secretary, but I couldn't resist adding a bit of oomph with a bright yellow- in this case English Yellow.

 I only wanted a bit of the yellow to show through, so instead of painting the entire piece yellow, I just painted the places I wanted the accent color to show through.  Once the yellow was dried, I painted the entire piece with the Old White.  I followed the advice of a friend with much more experience than I and while the white was still wet, wiped off the areas I wanted the yellow to show with a wet baby wipe.  I used A LOT of wipes, but I love that it allowed much more of the yellow to show through than would have if I had allowed it to dry and sanded the white off.  
I ended up painting two coats of the white because the green cast of the original stain was still peeking through the first coat.

I had a hard time deciding how to treat the inside of the main cabinet.  I decided to paint just the back yellow and the sides and top and bottom white.  I love the bold statement of all that yellow in the back.
Once the entire piece was painted and dry, I took a very fine grit sand paper and lightly sanded the edges.  I wanted just a bit of the wood to show through, but not a ton.  Then I used the soft clear wax and did one coat over the whole piece.  I wanted this piece so have a little softer feel, so I followed up the first coat of wax with a light coat of the soft dark wax, focusing on the edges, corners and inside the detail work on the cabinet doors.  I didn't want it too dark, just a bit of an aged patina.  I followed that with one last coat of clear wax over the whole piece to knock down the dark wax a hair and seal it really well.  The first time I painted furniture I was worried about the waxing part, but it's really one of my favorite steps of the whole process.  I'm amazed every time at the beautiful, soft finish it gives the piece.
I'm so grateful to finally give this piece the makeover it deserved! :)  It is bright and happy and lightens up my front room.  I love the hints of yellow throughout.  The Chalk Paint ® was so easy to use and apply.  I love that I didn't have to prep the piece other than cleaning it well before starting.  I'm a big fan of the soft, lovely finish the paint and soft wax combination gives the furniture.
The writing desk has to be one of my favorite parts.  I love those three yellow drawers.  I kept all the original hardware on the secretary.  I think the aged bronze finish works perfectly with the colors I chose.
Who knew furniture painting could solve so many problems all at once?  I lightened up my living room, conquered my fear of painting and waxing furniture, and kept the memory of my great-grandmother alive all in one fell swoop!  So, now that you know how easy it is to use Chalk Paint® Decorative Paint by Annie Sloan, what are you going to paint first?  I have a table downstairs that's just begging for some color...or the kitchen chairs...or the bar stools...  I guess I better get busy! :)

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