Friday, January 13, 2012

splish splash

Warning: Adult Content in this Post!

as usual, i'm about threeee months late posting this, but then you already guessed that. Waaaaay back in November i got Terry to agree to help ME put the tile back splash up in the kitchen.  and by ME i mean Nacho.  i'd mentioned the tile here, so that tells you how long i'd had it sitting in the garagae.  we don't do anything but hockey in a hurry around here.

i know i took a before photo somewhere but cannot find it.  so just close your eyes & picture a plain, basically white wall.  well that wall was starting to see some wear from spaghetti sauce, etc. so we figured we needed to get the lead out & get it tiled.  let's see, the date on my photos say Saturday, November 5, 2011, so it was Wednesday, November 2, that Terry came over to talk through the layout with me.  let me tell you something, there is nothing like watching someone who does this stuff for a living!  i was amazed at how fast he'd figured all the field tiles without really measuring much of anything.  he took one field tile, laid it against the wall, and basically drew all the rest free hand to get an idea of how it would lay.  and remember, we had decided to lay these in a straight horizontal pattern - no brick pattern here.  since we were going to intersperse the glass tiles around the wall, we simply took 10 pieces of paper cut to 4 x 6 & taped those up on the wall.  we did change one thing; we decided to insert some of those on a vertical.  again, impressive that Terry never flinched & just kept laying it all out in pencil.  Terry said i had until Saturday to look at those pieces of paper taped to the wall & change what i didn't like, but i had to stay in the lines drawn for the field tiles.  i didn't change a thing cuz he got it right the 1st time - this is why i picked him!

so Saturday the 5th rolls around and here we go!
field tile on the West & North wall.  notice the little dots between the tiles?  basic nails for spacers!

and here they are again looking mostly at the North wall.  notice the blanks we left for the glass inserts.
the top row was filled in by field tiles cut in half.
Nacho had the glass tiles laid out using a field tile to cut that sheet into 4 x 6 pieces.
while Terry installed them.
Nacho was able to do most of the cutting for the glass sheets on the tile cutter that Terry brought, but he did have to cut some by hand.  and there is 1 glass inset that i had to piece together tile by tile!  so i really did help do the back splash in the end.

our project was not without peril!  we did have 1 accident that i have yet to report to OSHA.  Terry was wiping his hand across one of the tile sheets after Nacho cut it and, not even thinking about what he was doing, sliced his finger.  not bad, but bad enough we had to break out the Finger Condoms for him!
truth be told i think he liked saying this was the only tile job he'd ever had to use a condom on!

after that it was grout, caulk (which yours truly did) & attaching the silver electrical & light plates that i got at Lowe's.  And here kids is our finished wall!
we couldn't be happier!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

the Envelope Please!

i have finally decided to get the sewing machine back out again. i have a motivator though, banquette cushions.  it seems i am the one holding the kitchen dining up from "Finished" since i don't have those done.  well huh?

a few years before my mom passed away, she asked if there was anything in particular that i wanted. i knew nothing about sewing then (and not really anything now), but i'd wanted her to teach me the basics, like how to hem a pair of pants or....make a pillow. she was too ill at the time & i never got that lesson.  but i did get her sewing machine & all her sewing goodies!  i took the machine in shortly after i got it & had it completely looked over & tuned up.  i've used it for a few small projects but have always been too intimidated to do any "real" project.  well that banquette is bound to change everything now isn't it?

i've collected a few sewing projects on my Pinterest SewIt board & one is for a Simple Envelope Pillow in 20 or 40 minutes.  i must say, this was the perfect project & one of the best written how-to's i have ever come across.  Shannon was right, it took me more than 20 minutes for each one, but it wasn't because she didn't make it easy to read & do.  i had a few machine problems that slowed me down, but i stuck to it got it done!

in my quest to reuse any & all things around the house, i'd used the center portion of an old chaise cushion to make the boxers a doggie bed/mat.  that left the bottom/foot piece & the top/mid pieces for something else.  so i decided to use the smaller foot piece for my envelope cushion experiment.  the fabric came from a large quantity i bought several years ago when i bit off a project too big - making a new futon cushion.  people, that is harder than it looks & i never finished it so i had a bunch of this fabric left.

So here's that dingy cushion
yuck! nast!  but hey, it's an outdoor cushion!  who cares!  and, i'm about to make it look like new thanks to Shannon.  about = 1 hour later!

now you can easily go check out her instructions cuz they are much shorter & i think her end product is much prettier, but here's my ugly duckling's transformation process:

Steps 1 & 2 = Measure
as Shannon instructed, i measured the Length & Width for my fabric adding about 5 inches to each.
Length - I added 7 to this to give me 35"
Width - I added 5 to this to give me 29"
i like how Shannon admitted adding lots of extra just in case. she's right, i'd rather cut fabric off after i'm done than not have enough.
Steps 3 & 4 - Fold & Hem
i folded the edges over twice like Shannon instructed & ironed them down then sewed along the edge to create a nice finished edge for the envelope back when done.
Steps 5 & 6 - Wrap & Sew
after sewing the edges, lay your pillow on top of your fabric, RIGHT SIDE UP, and fold one hemmed side over

then fold the other hemmed side over
Step 7 - Close It
with the pillow still in the "wrapping", use pins to mark where you want to sew down each side to close it up.  remove the pillow sew the left & right sides.  i did a back stitch over the hemmed overlap just to give it a little extra strenth.  cut off the excess after you're done sewing & turn it right side out.
there's the old ratty cushion in the background awaiting it's new home!  and here is the finished product!

and Back with the overlap!
thanks to Shannon's "rather have too much fabric" mentality, i have about a 3 1/2" overlap on my 1st pillow. it didn't quite work out that well on my 2nd, but i managed to eeek out a little overlap & pretty much use the last large piece of this old fabric. and here are my 2 pillows that i'll be using on the chaise this summer!
i do have a couple issues to keep working on with my sewing machine. i think i have a tension problem because my top thread kept breaking on me multiple times.  and each time, i made myself stop, rip out the seam & start all over from the beginning. no shortcuts this time around!  i'm training myself to expect less than perfect, deal with it & try again!  but also, there is something off on my stitches.  like this
notice how uneven they are!?  i have no idea what is causing that, so i'll consult the ladies in my swim group. for now, onto more envelope cushions as the 1st round/draft of the banquette seating!

Mad Props to Shannon over at Madigan Made!  if it weren't for her awesome tutorial & pics, there is no way i would have stuck with this and certainly wouldn't be as charged as i am to start on the real cushions!
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