Tuesday, 29 July 2014

the old sew and sew

For me, sewing is a necessary evil.
That might sound a bit extreme, but I really don't like it.
I can do it, and therefore I do, but I don't like it.

I always make a mistake, I always have to unpick something, and I don't have the patience to measure properly.
That probably sounds wierd because I really needed patience to hang my cabinet doors, but sewing.............
my patience just goes out the window.

But when Carol sent me these...........

and I saw this again........

I knew that I wanted to create a new cover for my sewing machine, because the old plastic one was falling apart,

and it doesn't look very pretty under the desk in the guest room (sewing stuff has to stay in this room because it won't all fit into the cabinet).
That little bag hanging to the right of the desk holds all the electrical bits for the sewing machine and that'll get a makeover soon, but first I made this.
I used some old burlap type fabric, some cream fabric I found in my stash to back it and some printed 'sewing' fabric that I've had for a while.
I masked off a border and used my new alphabet stickers to write 'my sewing machine'. I know it's not very original but that's just the way I roll, stating the obvious !
I used both fonts, something that I think has stuck with me after seeing this at Bliss Ranch. I just love the mix of lettering.
I used some black paint and an old stencilling brush which meant I could use the stickers more than once because I was using a stippling action, pushing the paint into the fabric.
I cut up the old plastic cover and used it as a template to make four sides and a top. I cut up the 'sewing' fabric into little labels and used bondaweb to attach them, stitched it all together (twice, because the first time it went wrong !) and embellished it with ribbons and buttons.
The buttons are all shell buttons and are mostly more interesting on the back than the front.
I also found some great buttons in my Grandmother's button box. They're fabric covered metal, in different sizes and perfect for my new cover.
I used a left over bit of border on the top of the machine, and put an eyelet for the spool pin (which actually comes off so that you can pack it away safely, but I love eyelets after doing this project, so didn't want to waste the opportunity to use one).

At least when guests come to stay, the old sew and sew looks slightly better than a bit of torn old plastic.
So thanks again for the stickers Carol, I love the look of the negative stencilling on fabric and will definitely be doing more. In fact I've kept all the stickers I used because I believe they still have 'stickability' and I can't bear to throw them away.

I need to make over the little bag now, which will probably get the obvious name of 'electrical stuff''.
Unfortunately it won't be any time soon because work is busier than ever. My boss has gone on a three week holiday to the States with his family, and I seem to have been promoted from Head Chef to Manager, even though I was never actually asked !
I won't have a little rant here, but suffice it to say I'm rather shattered so apologies if I haven't paid you a visit recently.
I hope you're all enjoying a wonderful Summer.

Friday, 4 July 2014

new cabinet doors

For those of you who haven't been here before, I moved back into this house about a year and a half ago, after renting it out for seven years. I'm slowly decorating the whole house, but my latest project involves adding doors to this cabinet.

I originally wanted a china cabinet with glazed upper doors, so my partner built this unit, and added a wooden detail to the top that he found on a job somewhere. Then he got a computer and made an extra shelf in the bottom section for paper, and even made one section of wood removable, so that he could slide the screen and keyboard behind the non existent doors.
I didn't mind the compromise because there was nowhere else to put his computer, but the doors never materialised.......
and then we both moved out, separately !
After being inspired to turn the cabinet into a craft cupboard by Carol (instead of just using it to house junk) which you can read about here, I was intent on finishing this built in unit.
I went to a wood yard and had four pieces of mdf cut, two with cut outs for the upper doors.
I bought some trim to make a central panel on the bottom doors and to frame the opening on the upper doors, which would also disguise the edges of the chicken wire.

I don't have a special place to work or any special tools, I just used a saw and a mitre block and my dining room table.

I pinned on all the trim in a couple of hours, then tackled the hinges.
I laid out the doors back to back and marked and measured all the hinges, and after another couple of hours, I went from this,
to this,
and then this,

Then I took off the crosses (because I wasn't going for barn door, I was going for European), and put on trims in a diamond shape, and a trim on the edge of one of each set of doors to cover the central gap, added magnetic catches inside and painted the doors dark brown.

I rubbed the edge of a candle on the trims to resist the paint and then coated the doors in two layers of white, and distressed and finished with AS wax .

I trawled the internet for hours looking for handles, and finally found what I wanted, and I really love them.

All that was a breeze compared to fixing the chicken wire and finding some fabric.

I can't quite believe that I had managed to hang the doors straight, with almost no adjustments, but it took three or four attempts and lots of scratches to get the chicken wire right.

And the fabric, oh my ................... I had always imagined tightly gathered white or off white muslin, but it looked awful because it was too bedroomy.
My second choice wasn't much better.
I went to every fabric shop in town and all the charity shops. I even tried old lace tablecloths but nothing looked good, so I went back to the internet and looked at prints and sent off for loads of samples.

I really like the two green fabrics at the top on the right, but I wanted something a little different, so I went with this.....

Yay for map fabric, I love it.
The colours are perfect for the dining room. It has lots of blues, reds and browns. Some of the pictures have a slight green tinge, but the picture below shows the true colours of this great fabric.

Also, I originally found it on the Next website for £15 a metre, then found the exact same fabric on another site for £8.99 a metre, so that was a real result.

My dining room almost looks like a proper room now.
From empty.... to wasted storage space.... to useful art cupboard.... to dining room shabby chic/useful art cupboard......
and it only took 10 years !!
I'm pretty happy and as Vickie has pointed out to me, I can always change the fabric if I go off it, but I don't think that will be any time soon. 
I hope you've all enjoyed your 4th July celebrations, of course we don't celebrate this day in the UK, but most people are celebrating the great weather we're having here.
It's hardly rained at all in the last few weeks, which is very unusual, my garden and I both like a little bit of rain !
Linking up with
Make it pretty Monday @ The Dedicated House
Inspire Me Tuesday @ A Stroll Thru Life
Wow Us Wednesdays @ Savvy Southern Style
Show and Tell Friday @ My Romantic Home
Feathered Nest Friday @ French Country Cottage
Silver Pennies Sundays Link Party @ Silver Pennies