Finding Clay a gift is always an issue. He has no real hobbies, unless you consider working or coffee drinking a “hobby”, so every year it becomes a guessing game as to what to get him for Christmas (or any other occasion, for that matter). This year, amidst the usual stuff for “work” like ties, shirts, fountain pens, etc. (yawn), I found an opportunity to give him something he’d never expect and actually needs.
Daniel and I purchased a vintage end table a couple of years ago at Goodwill, but it needed more than we were prepared to handle at the time, so we set it aside. I have looked at the 1950’s dated table many times and wondered what possessed me to let Daniel convince me to buy it. It was so – ugly. But, he liked it and thought it was interesting, so I sprung the few dollars and figured we would work it out later.
About 10 days before Christmas, I realized that Clay was functioning without a real side or end table when not at his desk at his office. BAM! That’s when it occurred to me what he really needed was a true “coffee table” for his coffee cup.
And that, my friends, is how inspiration for an ugly table is (finally) born!
We didn’t have a lot of time, so Daniel and I got to work. He sanded the finish off the table, and we made a few simple repairs with wood glue, clamping and wood filler. The rounded edge of the table prevented us from using traditional clamps, so we fashioned one out of tie downs used on a truck. While Daniel was a bit skeptical of my makeshift clamp idea, it worked like a charm, and is another example of why you should never throw anything away.
After the repairs were made, it was sanded and thoroughly cleaned, and we began painting. It is not perfect, but that was not the goal for this project. It’s okay if a project isn’t perfect, as that is what provides character.
I always make my own chalk paint for large projects using a mixture of paint, calcium carbonate, baking soda and water. It provides a nice, smooth finish and allows me to use whatever color I wish, or have on hand. A few coats of the black, and it was already a better looking table! I gave it 24 hours to completely dry before the next step.
I am not an artist, so the design was created using my Cricut. I used two different patterns to create the one finally used, and then cut the pattern out of vinyl to create a stencil.
Once the stencil was applied to the top of the table, I simply applied three coats of paint, letting it dry overnight after the second coat. Then, I let the table dry 24 hours before applying 3 coats of matte sealant.
We kept it hidden until Christmas morning, when the guys snuck it downstairs. We buried it under a box and Christmas quilt rather than leaving it where he could see it. This way, we got to torture him with “what could it be?”
Clay said he thought it might be a new desk chair or something else, but never imagined anything like that!
Some things, you just don’t repeat, but some are really cute and bear being overheard and shared … at least that’s my story and I’m stickin to it today. lol
A little back story here, Deb is going Cruising … AGAIN !!! AND, she’s already said she’ll be going again in December – SMH SMH SMH – What am I now? chopped Cruise Harley Hotel and Bag Maker? LOL – I mean, she did just abscond with 10 of my latest bags AND she left the dog? What’s with that?
So, we have this sisters/mother private Messenger chat group, right?
Well, I caught this convo going on yesterday afternoon after Deb had arrived In Galveston.
shhh …. read, but don’t repeat, because we’re almost like … kissing and telling …. ALMOST … NOT QUITE!!!!
SAT 3:33 P.M.
SP: Arrived in Galveston. No Wi-Fi for ipad. Wont stay connected.
Sorry bout that, chief.
GP: Hooray, you arrived safely. Don’t fret about the Wi-Fi, check in when you can. We don’t want to become a chore. Concentrate on the “good times”
GP: Check in tomorrow?
Hope you and Dale enjoy a relaxing evening.
SP: Yez. We do tboard until 10:00am.
Xinner with friends from Kehmah. They come over when we are in Galveston.
I HATE THIS CELL PHONE KEYBOARD!!!!!!!!.
Offuntil later. I have 10 bags i think. May be 8 tjough. Lol
GP: Have fun. Will catch up with you later.
SP: will count them soon and pick one for tonight and tomorrow
Time Passes ……………………4:47pm
Ready to go to dinner. Outside pockets.
Inside zipper pocket.
GP: Nice bag
Such a clean purse. LOL
SP: Lenty of room left over. Think i can get my ipad in as well as my phone.
GP: Purse is NO good if iPad doesn’t fit.
Love suede too!
GP: Enjoy dinner and the company.
SP: Need messenger bag for that. Lol no garage
Lol. Ignore last.
GP: Thank you iPad…huh!
SP: Dumb phone. Lol.
Ipad win t connect here.
………….and they moved on to their respective as you were’ing from there —
Here’s the front and back of that bag ..
~~~ the end ~~~ (as I say in the group )
So, in the mean time….
Live Every Moment, Love Beyond Words, Laugh Everyday,
Growing up our home was filled with seamstresses: a grandmother who should have been a fashion designer, a mother who was so good her own daughters were afraid to compete, and all three of my older sisters were (and are) talented seamstresses in their own rights.
As for me, a discussion of fabric types, prints, patterns, measuring and so forth was like listening to the adults on a Charlie Brown special: just a lot of “Wa-wah, wa-wah”.
So, as we began to pull our businesses together last fall, we moved fabrics and other supplies from one home to another, based on what each of us felt we needed for the projects we had in mind. Honestly, I felt like a traveling salesman traveling from one home to another to deliver bags to one sister and pick up bags for another.
In one of my acquisitions, I received several fabrics I was told were “border prints”. These were not what I thought a border print should look like, but again, what do I know about it? When I think of a border print, I envision a very well defined border with horizontal lines and designs within those lines (like many southwest prints).
Border prints are generally found along the selvage and often on both selvages, but can also be on just one, depending upon the design. Border prints are often found in geometric designs (again, think southwestern prints), or florals.
In the above photo, you can clearly see the top and bottom borders, and that they run along the selvage. That’s easy enough to see them as border prints.
However, the ones I received were more along the lines of falling or cascading designs, like you’d see in home decor for curtains or bedskirts.
I could not imagine sewing curtains or bedding out of these, let alone anything else, but there was a lot of both, so I packed them away for the future. Then one day, it occurred to me these border prints offered a complete set of coordinating fabrics for my hen and chick sets.
These are perfect for sectioning into various parts and creating coordinating fabrics for small critters. It saves time in hunting coordinating fabrics, because you already know the sections will go together.
I love that I was able to create something fun and unique with a little outside the box thinking.
1st sister, Pat discovered this cute little toddler dress and evidently it just screamed “send me to Jennifer, send me to Jennifer.” So, she did.
In the box that she sent were probably at least half a dozen shirts she sent for making my man’s shirt aprons, a slinky, shiny blouse which I loved, and this little dress. The dress screamed the loudest … and it said “Me, Me, do something with me first.”
2nd sister, Deb, happened to be visiting at the time and when I waved it at her and said, “this would make a cute bag, but it’s gonna be bigger than I have been making lately.”
She replied matter of factly, “Ok, so, cut it in half.”
I whipped around to look at Deb and said “EH? In half?”
So, I looked at it and said — “hmm”… folded it in half and was totally sold on the idea.
Some cutting, splicing, finding and making of a lining with a pocket (gotta have pockets somewhere – lol )…… Presto-change- a cute little toddler dress now becomes two near identical small bags.
(The lining with the inner pocket that you really can’t see)
They are over on Etsy at the time of this writing, but I cant say they are one of a kind … lol
…………. Because …
There are TWO of them… TWINS !!!
And they are just too precious even if I must say so myself.
“ Lacy and frilly, fun loving and sassy purse for that precious one in your life. Bound to bring plenty of oohs and ahhs her way. Whether Young or old, she will feel like a princess with this bag on her shoulder. Easter, Spring , but also weddings, parties and anytime events.It’s jewelry on your young lady’s shoulder.
Have two special young ladies in your life, or even twins? Well, you’re in luck because there are two of these precious purses available.This listing is only for ONE bag, but a second is also available for purchase at this time.
Very definitely this is a “statement bag”….. anyone carrying this bag is saying, “I feel beautiful, feminine, and significant!” Buy one and share the other with your daughter, granddaughter, best friend, sister, sorority sister, etc. The bags are two-of -a-kind only and will demonstrate the uniqueness of the women who carry them.”
Mother and the sisters all write great ad copy, don’t they? Wish they would do it for everything I make, but they’ve all balked at that suggestion in the past…..
Just made a video on these adorable bags, check it out
So, in the mean time….
Live Every Moment, Love Beyond Words, Laugh Everyday, ~
It’s a set of Aprons for that special Mother/daughter/son, or Father/daughter/son combo. And of course there are numerous other combos … the Aunt or Uncle/niece/nephew, Grandparent ……. etc …
The original challenge by the 3 other sisters and our mother was to make matching aprons for an adult and child from shirts. If it weren’t an upcycle challenge, I could have just gone out and bought a child’s shirt and adult man’s shirt as a matching set. But, I also don’t like accepting easy challenges.. what’s the challenge in that? lol
I found a man’s light pink shirt, a boy’s purple plaid shirt and hoped that some hand dyeing would do the trick to pull them together enough that I could mix and match parts … take from the plaid and put on the solid and vice-a-versa. But once I set dye to each piece, ugh … I was further away from my goal than when I started.
No, I’m not going to show what that combo looked like. Just trust me, ugh ugh ugh … not quite gag me with a stick ugh, but it definitely was not going to fly …. so back to the drawing board.
I WILL show you the man’s shirt on the dye boards though.
After all the parts of the shirt were dry and I had set the dye, I found myself tossing all the parts of this shirt from one hand to the other… How was I going to make this work, because I might end up searching the rest of my life for a child’s shirt that would mesh with the pink/dyed purple man’s shirt.
So, it was inventory time… I needed to look at this project differently. Just what did I have available in my hand that I wasn’t seeing the bigger picture of uses for? I knew I would need most every bit of the back for the ties and I would use one sleeve for the larger deep pockets I like to put on my aprons and then it hit me— every shirt has TWO sleeves, silly — The BIG question though was, can I squeeze a child sized apron out of a man’s shirt sleeve?
And here’s the answer to that question – YES! You can squeeze a child sized apron from a man’s shirt sleeve.
Here’s the set together along with the adult apron by its self.
Even the lining is hand-dyed- and yeah, I do like lining my aprons.
Here’s all that’s left of the original “Joseph & Feiss” man’s dress shirt size 16 36/37.
Now, as a side note, I can hear some people saying ‘yeah, I can see a woman, mother, daughter, aunt, grandmother wearing a purple apron, but no man I know is going to wear a purple apron… ‘
To that I say this – ANY GUY will look AWESOME in a purple shirt as well as a hand-dyed purple apron, so give it a go… (I’d go so far as saying a guy looks “HOT” in purple but I’ve been told, at my age I shouldn’t be saying things like that in public… so – I won’t …… just play like you didn’t read that. (Unread, Unread – Unsee, Unsee, as Shari likes to say.)
Beyond that, as I write this post, the apron set is over on Etsy. If it’s gone by time you read this article and you’d like a set, then send us an email here on the blog at 4TxSisters (at) gmail.com. Address it to Jennifer – or not—lol – guess it really doesn’t matter who you address it to, so far, I’m the apron maker of the group, so most likely it will be passed on to me.
So, in the mean time….
Live Every Moment, Love Beyond Words, Laugh Everyday,
“Back in the day,” which, for the purpose of this blog means the early ‘80’s, I had a purple velour sweatsuit Clay says I wore all the time. I had only vague memories of this outfit, as it was the only warm one I really owned in college. So, when ever it was even moderately cool, out came the “purple suit”.
Then, about 3 months ago, a funny thing happened: a box arrived with the top of that long ago lost sweatsuit.
You see, my mother throws nothing away for fear someone might need it someday. (And, yes, in case you’re wondering, her daughters all suffer from this to one degree or another.)
I had no idea what I would do with this item until right before Valentine’s Day. I decided to make a “love letters” pillow for Clay since he had such fond memories of this outfit.
There was not enough of the fabric to cut both sides without some alterations. I used the front of the shirt as the back, by removing the “V” insert and sewing two sides together.
Once I had a piece of fabric, it was a simple matter of cutting the pattern so the center of the heart matched the center of the fabric.
As if destined for this final transition, the waistband was exactly the right width and length to form the gusset. It was effect!
I had some leftover cording from a chair makeover, and found a coordinating gold upholstery fabric for the pocket. Using some glittered iron on, I added the words “love letters” to the pocket.
I’ll spare you the gory details of this being my first (and not terribly successful) attempt at adding cording to a pillow, and how I had to do a lot of hand stitching. I will also not mention that it still needs some tweaking.
No, none of that, because in the end, when I tried to point these things out to Clay, his response was, “I love it! Stop dissing MY pillow!” Enough said.
So, when I left home that next day, I left a “love letter” for him to find when he returned.
That’s what it was all about: not that the pillow was perfect, but that the gift and sentiment were.