Something From Nothing and a little bit of Everything!

The art of turning "good junk" into "great design"

"Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."
William Morris, Hopes and Fears for Art (1882)

Sunday, October 5, 2014

If I can make a Quilt, anyone can!

So a couple of weeks ago I had a day off, and I had the whole day to myself.  A first in a very long time.  I had many things I should have done, but my heart was set on creating a quilt.  I had bought fat quarters in fall colours, and they had been hanging out in my knitting basket since that day I had the urge to quilt.probably 18 months ago. Well the day had finally come.
I looked at several patterns, and headed to the basement to my fabric stash to figure out what I could put together.  Low and behold I found a quilt kit with an array of plaids, and it had been hidden away for years.  I can't even tell you when I bought it, but I was thrilled to find it. I added a few fabrics from my stash to break up all the plaids, and cut them into the same size blocks. Now you were supposed to just sew the  squares together and make a patchwork quilt, but of course, that would have been too easy. 
I had been surfing around Pinterest and had found an easy 9 block or Disappearing 4 Block,  and decided that I could tackle that.   You can find the tutorial at Andie Johnson Sews.
  The irony was that the kit said it could be made in an evening, but with my variation on the blocks it was a weekend project.

I started by matching up four squares in a pattern that I thought was appealing and with a 1/4" seam created a larger block and kept my seam ripper handy for when the seams didn't quite line up the way they were supposed to.

When all the blocks were put together I laid them out on the floor and marked them with post it notes so I would remember the order of the blocks, and then I started to cut them in order to make them into 9 blocks using my rotary cutter and quilters rulers.

 Using the centre seams as my guide I cut the squares 1 1/2 " from the seam creating 9 separate blocks

Then turn the centre blocks so that opposite fabrics are next to each other.  The picture below, I just realized has an error as the centre block was not turned correctly.

In the finished blocks I ensured that the largest block had the small square adjacent to it. Then those nine blocks were sewn together.

One block almost completed
This shows the correct way to turn the cut blocks.

Remember to press your seams as you go.  I cut all blocks to the same size and then it was time to sew three blocks together to create a strip.

Seams pressed

Ready to add the backing

 I had some muslin left from another project so decided to use that for the backing and to create the binding from that as well.  I used spray adhesive to first attach the batting to the top, and then to the muslin.

It was time to decide how to quilt.  I decided to keep it simple and marked diagonal lines through the blocks with chalk and began to sew.

  I cut the backing so that there was a 1 1/2" excess on all sides

The next step was to create the binding.  I folded the backing toward the quilt top, pressing it in half and then in half again and pinned it in place.  There are some great tutorials on line for mitring the corners.  Hope my visuals help.

1.  With the first side of the binding on your right hand side, fold  the binding  up to meet the edge of the quilted squares and create an angled edge.

2.  Then fold the bottom edge up to meet the quilted squares.

3.  This step can be a little fiddly.  Fold the bottom edge again to create a nicely mitred corner and pin in place.

4.  After all the sides are pinned, sew the binding in place. I used the edge of my presser foot as a guide to keep the seam straight.

The finished product

It is lap size, fits perfectly for me, and displays nicely in my cheesebox when not in use.  What else could a girl ask for. 
 Although no where near perfect and a true quilter might cringe at my techniques, (It has been years since I took a quilting course, and made a beautiful twin size rag quilt) I was happy to have used some of my stash and cross a project off of my to do list. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

More Fall Decor

Isn't fall the best time for decorating?  I love the colours and the textures that fall introduces, and although I decorated my mantle 2 weeks ago, a day off with time to look around, meant changing things up. 
It is so much fun to go "shopping" in your home and find the stuff that you can make work in another room, or an unexpected twist for an object that you have had for a long time. 
I decided that my book shelves were way too busy for my minimalistic personality and they were causing conflict with my equally busy mantle.  A few tweaks here and there, and I think it is much calmer. 

I already had the can of spray paint from another project so it was just a quick spray to cover the tin pail and when I turn the butterfly toward the fireplace, no one even knows it is there.

I found silk florals (mums, Japanese lanterns, and some foliage) at Michaels with a 40% discount.  My new arrangement was just $22.00 and will look great for many seasons. I didn't want to cut the stems, in case I decided to use them in another container one day, so I just bent them and fastened them together with  a really fancy elastic band.

This little box was a little sad with only half a bottom, but Jeff found the perfect piece to nail in place and finish it off.  A piece of muslin to line it, and it is home to a great crop of pumpkins.

2 bags of mini pumpkins at the grocery store for $3.99 each for a pop of colour .  I washed them in bleach as I had seen on Pinterest, in an effort to help them to last longer.

                                 Oh, and I added a little something new to my cheesebox that is featured in the post Family Room Finds but  that's a post for another day. 

Happy Fall

Friday, September 12, 2014


Now there is an upside to having wood paneling everywhere in my house, it does add character once painted.  My house is so small that I had to paint everything white to make it brighter and feel bigger. Again I do have a wish list for this room and  all in good time I will start crossing them off!

First I painted everything white with one of my favourite paints. Its called CIL Smart3 Wash & Wear Furniture and Cabinet Melamine finish. It is so amazing, goes on really easily and blocks out the wood colour. You can get all the details here on Home Depot website.

I removed the cupboard above the fridge because it wasn't very handy being there! It has made a huge difference not being there and is in keeping with the airy feel. 

When I bought this house the previous homeowners knew that the stove did not work but they did not tell me that. The stove top worked but the only thing that worked in the oven was the broil! I wasn't overly upset because that oven was so ugly and old. So out with the old and in with the new. I got this stainless steal oven on Kijiji for only $200!! The new oven has the controls on the front not at the back which gave the illusion of having much more room (which this kitchen needs a lot of)

There was a table top dishwasher on a cabinet that was mobile. I guess they used to wheel it over to the sink to wash the dishes. Well it just had to go because it was taking up way more room that this kitchen has. Once gone it opens up the space so much more and works much better for me.

I decided to keep the ceiling the wood paneling because it was lighter and nicer than the paneling on the walls. Also it just adds the perfect amount of character and warmth and works well with the white walls and nautical feel I am going for.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

And it starts

I have never had a house with a theme but since this place is so close to the water and feels like a cottage I decided on nautical lake house. It is clear to see that this house has not been updated in a long time. There are plenty of things that I would love to do in this house unfortunately everything I would like to do costs a lot of money and time. I really thought there were a lot of things about the house that I could not live with. Like the super small bathroom, kitchen, and bedrooms (lets be serious the whole house is small). Surprisingly after living here for one year it is the perfect size and layout for me. There are a lot of cosmetic things that I just couldn't wait to get my hands on! I started with the first room that you walk into, the living room. 

Here is the before of what the living room was like. The room is very small and the wood panelling and colours on the wall wasn't helping anything. Almost all the walls in the house were painted a pale yellow cream that just washed everything out. It all just had to go~the wood, curtains, and wall colour. I would love to tell you that I ripped out the carpet but.... I haven't yet. There is a subfloor in one of the bedrooms that needs to be replaced first. I have been told that houses like this with a crawl space often have issues with support beams, mold, and proper air flow. So before I go tearing up the floor I better be somewhat prepared for what I find underneath the floor! So I am living with it until I can't take it anymore!

So the first order of business:
Prime all the wood white
Then take that valance down. It was driving me crazy! 
Paint all the wood white
Paint the ceiling 
Paint the walls

It was kinda a crazy time, I think I left myself 2 days to paint everything before all my stuff was moving in. I had the help of a friend and my mom to help me paint. I believe in the end we had 3-4 coats of paint on all the wood.

Ta Da! I cannot for the life of me remember the paint colour. In the confusion of moving it is lost forever. It is a Martha Stewart light blue/grey colour, very bright and refreshing. Surprisingly almost all my furniture fit pretty perfectly. This picture was taken this winter and I have changed things around  a bit.

So this was the first room that got a new look and I love it! Weird enough I hardly bought anything for this new house, and it has a totally different feel than my previous place. I will update some pictures to show how things have changed over the past few months. Next project, a VERY small kitchen with a very weird layout.