Monday, September 30, 2019

Renewed Kitchen Chairs - Paint and Fabric

On my ongoing efforts to update my kitchen now that the flooring, wall color, and window treatments have been done, I am wanting to change my cabinets.  ...But replacing cabinets is definitely not in the budget, so I started looking at paint options.  Between looking at specially formulated cabinet paint from Sherwin Williams and Lowes, sprayers, refacing options, and other paints, I discovered on Facebook: chalk paint.  Once I landed on Heirloom Traditions Paint, with its promise of no sanding and no wax needed for its self-leveling and primer-included paints, I was intrigued. 

Then I realized a huge surprise:  the company is based in my city and they had a showroom!  I had learned so much about their paint and their recommended application techniques on their Facebook Live streams and on their YouTube videos.  They don't have real paint chips, something I hope they will re-think. After seeing some of their customers' cabinets in the Facebook group, I decided that I wanted my cabinets to be painted Cashmere, a true, bright white.   But taking on all those kitchen cabinets....with a new paint and all that work!  I had to really think hard.  It made it easier each time a Facebook friend showed off her new white cabinets, painted by a husband or replaced completely.  The ones that started as honey oak (like mine) before their transformation always caught my attention the best!  I was ready to try it but decided that I would do some smaller projects first! 

I had kitchen chairs that I have owned for 25+ years that were chipped and dingy.  I decided that the  Cashmere paint would be perfect for those and would give me the experience and confidence I needed before starting kitchen cabinets-- something I had to do correctly and I had to love!

Newly painted on the left next to the chipped and dinged one on the right.

This weekend I started the process and painted my kitchen chairs and reupholstered the seats.  The chairs would add to the new, clean feel!  They were red when I bought them in my 20s!  I used spray paint from K Mart to change them to match a farmhouse style when we moved to the country in my 30s.  They slowly became shabby chic on their own as they chipped and aged at this current house. 

The first thing I did was remove the seat bottoms.

Next, the secret sauce:  using the Deglosser

Their deglosser is odor free and doesn't have to be cleaned off.  I applied it with a green Scotch Brite scrubby and wiped it down with a paper towel to remove the dirt and grime. I kept a paint brush nearby, thinking that might help with tight details, but I never used it for this project.

Then it was a matter of painting.  I used their tools: the brush for applying paint and the sponge applicator that they use in their how-to videos for stippling. The paint is the tough part to buy if you are like me and are used  to purchasing by the gallon.  I am usually heavy-handed with paint, but they were right, I could have painted all of these and more with just a free sample size.  (One free sample is available to new customers via their Facebook and website, although when I went to their showroom, they entered my order on their site for me and got me my free sample.)  For whatever reason, this paint goes a long way. 

The paint covered everything.

In sections, I painted and then stippled with a sponge, hiding all the brush strokes and catching drips.  I did keep a damp paper towel for the sponge to set on to keep it moist, but not dripping wet.

It was quick to dry.  Super quick.  That is one reason why stippling and painting is best done in sections!

Once I finished the four chairs,  they were dry enough for any areas that needed an extra coat and dry enough to flip over to get the bottom of the rails. I debated letting them cure for a few days before adding a newly upholstered seat bottoms but I couldn't wait.  I did allow them a few drying hours though.  Then I gathered my upholstery tools.

I stripped off the old fabric using a staple lifter. When I inherited my dining room chairs, upon redoing those seats, I realized my grandpa never removed the old fabric.  As much fun as it was to try to remember previous coverings, that meant that he could never inspect or change the padding.  In all those decades, those chairs really needed new padding.  These chairs though, I have redone a few times, and the padding has been updated.

I elected not to replace the foam rubber and dacron batting this time. The high density foam rubber I had still had support.  I placed the wooden seat bottom and padding on the wrong side of the new upholstery fabric and, starting at the centers, began stapling (with 3/8" staples) toward the corners.

The corners should have no fold or tucks unless using a super thick foam, in which case a perfectly vertical fold on each exact corner is standard.

After screwing the seat bottoms back into place, the chairs are done!

I will say that when I needed to take breaks from painting and stippling, I placed each the sponge and the brush in separate plastic zipper bags to keep the air away from them.  Clean up was simple with warm water and dish soap.  The brush cleaned up perfectly.  The sponge had some areas where the paint had dried but I think it will be fine for many more uses.  I kept my stir stick as a paint chip for my house decorating swatchbook.

In reviewing this project and process, I loved the ease of use and finish of this paint.  My kitchen chairs look refreshed.  This was a great one day project.  Once the paint is cured, I will have a better idea of its durability.  My next project will be painting the oak cabinets in my first floor powder room.  Those cabinets are exactly like the ones in my kitchen so they will be a great sample.  Although they won't be painted in the same color, they should give me a good idea of the work involved and give me opportunities to learn a bit more.

Links to places and projects mentioned in this post:

Thank you for checking out this new kind of project for me.  If you were looking for my machine embroidery projects, check out my Embroidery Gallery.
For my paper projects, check out my Paper Gallery.
For my soap making posts, check out my Soap Recipe Gallery.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Cats Pajamas! Lined Crossbody on an Embroidery Machine

For a gift, I made a pattern I have had in my digital files since I started machine embroidery:  Embroidery Garden's Two Zipper Bag.  This is an in-the-hoop file that allows the stitcher to make a fully lined, multiple pocket, multiple zipper bag in the hoop.  The strap is the only part made on a conventional sewing machine.  The inside bottom of the bag's lining gets whip stitched by hand.  All else, including zipper installation is done on the embroidery machine.  The one I made was the 5x7, stitched on my Brother PE770.  I hooped no show poly mesh instead of the suggested Vilene because I took a class from Reen of Embroidery Garden when she came to town and that was an innovation she discovered.  Using the poly mesh means that you MUST cut a window from the back of the zipper so that the bag is not ruined!  But doing that small thing allows you to use a stabilizer that can stay in the bag.  Vilene must be dissolved in water, leaving a wet bag that must dry. To me, the poly mesh is a much better choice!

The fabric I used is a long-retired Laurel Burch print called "Fantastic Felines" that I bought years ago (like more than 10 years ago!) when I worked at Baer Fabrics.  I am working through my stash!  I used a thin cotton batting from my stash that I ironed to press as flat as possible.  The zippers were also from the stash from a purchase of bulk nylon zippers I bought years ago. Thread is Metro; needles are titanium embroidery eye sharps by Organ, size 75/11.

I did make a couple of adjustments to the pattern. After stitching step three from the extensive illustrated directions, as instructed, I added batting and pulled down the front piece of outside fabric (leaving the lining tucked up).  Then I stitched the name.  This is a font from Applique Corner called Grandly.  I needed something thick since it was going on a busy print.  I picked a thread color from the many in this fabric print that would not be directly under the font once stitched.  I use Embrilliance Essentials and that makes adding a name, nudging the letters so they look like script, and adding a basting box to the name a snap!  I removed the basting box after stitching and used my SteamFast mini iron to press it flat since the batting gave the personalization a little loft that looked like puckering.  It pressed flat, hower, and was able to because the basting box kept even tension. There was no puckering, just loft. Ironing made it smooth again and I proceeded from there with the instructions as printed.

My next alteration was with the strap.  I knew the length of strap I wanted but I find it easier to make looped fasteners and attach a free-standing strap with swivel claw-hook findings (like the kind you use for snap tabs).  Next time, I will attach the findings to the loops instead of the strap so that the bag can also be hooked onto belt loops without the strap as an option!  My loop fasteners were cut to 5-1/2" each.  Next time I will also make those shorter. My strap was cut to 44" (based on the size of the recipient) and sewn to the swivel claw-hook findings on each end.

Once the bag was done, the strap was clipped onto the loops.

I did add the optional back pocket.  It is large enough to hold my iphone 6+ in the Otterbox.  I take that to mean most phones will fit!

I used a scrap of fabric fused and sewn to cardstock to make a matching birthday card. My card was my participation in a friend's weekly challenge.  I used a punch to make the polka dots.  The buttons were made with two punches and I added ink to look like the buttons were sewn on.

 My gift was complete.  Hopefully it will be considered fun and practical.

Links shared in this post:

To see my other embroidery projects along with links, tutorials, and resources, check out my Embroidery page.  To see my paper projects, check my Paper Gallery.  This blog contains my recipes, soapmaking formulas, loom knitting, doll clothes sewing, and screen printing projects.  You can get to those from the header at the top of the blog when viewing on a computer or by scrolling just under the banner if viewing on a phone.  When viewing on your phone, you can always get to the web view version by scrolling to the very bottom and clicking on the "View Web Version" link in order to see side bars and other elements visible on a computer.  

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Zippered Wristlets Made with the Embroidery Machine

Over the summer my daughter lived in the dorms during a ballet intensive out of town and I was prompted to make a few things to make life a bit more convenient. I wanted something specifically helpful for trudging down to the laundry room in her building.  I found that the Embroidery Garden In The Hoop Wristlet Set, made in the 5x7 size, is the perfect size for quarters for the machines.  I made a couple because they were so quick and super handy to have.

"In the hoop" refers to 3D finished items made entirely (or mostly) in the embroidery machine.  This is a fully lined pouch and even the zipper is installed in the embroidery machine. (A nylon zipper must be used (never metal) for in the hoop (ITH) projects because the embroidery machine will be sewing over the zipper.)  I took a class with Reen, the owner of Embroidery Garden a few years ago when she came to town.  Her great tip for ITH projects, that differ from her own printed instructions, is to hoop no show poly mesh (cutaway stabilizer) instead of the prescribed tear away.  The no show poly mesh is so soft that it can stay in the project with a window cut out behind the zipper.  (Cutting out behind the zipper is a must in order to turn the bag when completed!)

For this project, the strap was made on a regular sewing machine, however, using modified instructions that are included with the file instructions.

I preferred these without the flower embellishment or the decorative quilting on the file, but I did still use a cotton batting to give it a little structure.

The second one I made was embellished with a file my daughter picked out from Frublomgren on Etsy.  Her fantastic hipster bunnies get the rare distinction of being the ONLY design in my collection of thousands that my 15-year-old liked!

We decided to remove the bubble with PEACE from the original design.  When I edited it out, I also lost part of the circle applique with blanket stitching behind the bunnies.  I wanted that background so my little bunnies wouldn't get lost in the printed base fabric of the zipper bag, so I went on and edited out the circle background too with my Embrilliance software (Essentials module's tools) and then used the Embrilliance Stitch Artist module's tools to digitize a new circle applique with a blanket stitch edging.  Using the shapes library made it a cinch to do!

I used a swivel lanyard claw hook on the strap to finish, a slight modification to the Embroidery Garden instructions.  The strap can be unclipped to be used as a wrist fob for keys.

Quick Links to Blog Mentions:
To see my other embroidery projects and links to tutorials and resources, check out my Machine Embroidery Gallery.  Paper projects can be found in my Paper Gallery.  Soaping recipes can be found in my Soapmakers Gallery.  

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Dorm Towels!

My favorite high school student will be living in dorms this summer for a special ballet intensive.  I picked up some Costco bath towels, hand towels (which my makeup-loving daughter calls face towels), and wash cloths for her to take.

To help her keep up with them, I thought a monogram would be perfect. must know that this is a bit of an issue.  Or at least it has been such an issue that I was banned by her from doing three-letter monograms.  And the reason?  Well, a typical woman's monogram is "first name" "LAST NAME" "middle name".  For this kiddo, that would spell:  pMs.  PMS??  What was I thinking?  All I can say is that I was never an expert on monograms and never even had an embroidery machine when she was a baby.  When I was looking at baby names, I remember thinking about her initials:  PSM.  Looked fine and I was done.  But a monogram is not the same as initials!!  The order is different!

So, the only thing she would allow me to do was single letter monograms or we have put her entire first name on things.

That was until I found this new monogram called Massey from Jack N Mack on Etsy

And look how it looks if you use the Two-line Add-on and re-arrange the letters!!! This orders the letters just like initials and I am out of hot water!

How cute is that?  I sent it to my daughter to get her approval -- and she loved it.

I used my Embrilliance Essentials embroidery software to put together the letters (the Massey font is available in BX as well as all the regular formats) and the Two-line add-on.

I used the full monogram for the hand towels and bath towels.  I used only her first name initial with the lines that come with the font on the wash cloth.  What I also love about this design is that you can use two colors because the letters are made with a satin stitch outlined with a bean stitch.  The double dash is just a satin stitch and I matched it to the bean stitch color. The single line details have the bean stitch.

Because these are are super skinny, I used the knockdown feature in Embrilliance Enthusiast. I stitched the knockdown in white to match the towels.

I decided I wanted the "P" on the washcloths to be located on the lower right quadrant of the washcloth.  That way, when folded, it was in the middle.

This is the 1.5" size for the washcloths.

The hand towels and bath towels were different in that they were centered.  The hand towels were sized up from the 4" letter for the last name and sized down a bit for the first and middle initial letters.  The bath towels were 6" for the last name and 5" for the first and middle initials.

I placed the monogram so that the bottom of the basting box would be 1/2" above the top band on the hand towel and 1" on the bath towel.

I hooped tearaway and floated the bath linens.  I topped with WSS but many stitchers feel that WSS is not necessary with knockdown.  I like how it puts the pile in its place for the knockdown.

On pre-washing:  I would normally not pre-wash embroidered towels.  But...I have purchased these Costco towels before and I have found that they are not very absorbent until after they have been washed. I am not sure if they are coated with something to keep them white or what but they are almost resistant to water until that first washing.  Since my daughter is taking these to school, I wanted them ready to use.  No way would she wash them first.  (That idea actually made me giggle!)  That first wash also brings out tons of lint.  After I embroidered these, I washed in hot water again to get rid of all the WSS.  That is another thing I would not do if it were a gift.  I wanted these soft, absorbent, fluffy, and ready to use for this kid.

They are packed in an Ikea bag and waiting with the rest of her stuff. One more thing off the list!

Sources for things mentioned in this post:

This project was stitched on a Brother PE770 single needle embroidery machine with Metro polyester embroidery thread using an Organ titanium needle with an embroidery eye size 11.

To see my other embroidery projects, check out my embroidery gallery.  To see my paper projects, check out my paper gallery.

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