Thursday, January 21, 2016

Decorating With Canvas Drop Cloths

Recently, I have gotten excited about canvas drop cloths. They are heavy-duty, inexpensive, come in a variety of sizes, have a wonderful, organic texture, and they are readily available at both Lowes and Home Depot. (There are some quirky down sides to the cloths which I will cover below.) I have seen them used in magazines, mostly in outdoor settings. But I have brought them inside--into our master bedroom.

Our room has a couple of nooks and crannies. One of them is a step-up area with a large archway. I didn't want to block the light that comes through the windows up there, but I also liked the idea of being able to temporarily shut off the space when I want to. (Our ugly exercise equipment is up there, yuck, and I also wanted it to be a fun, hide-away/sleeping area while our grandchildren were here for Christmas.) So I measured the opening, put up a sturdy curtain rod (on the inside of the arch so it is hidden from the rest of the room), and purchased curtain hooks with clips for ease in hanging:

One of the potential down-sides of the large drop cloths is that they have a seam running through them, Fortunately, on the ones I purchased, whomever designed them decided to use french seams, so there are no raw edges. And, frankly, I kind of like the rustic look. As I mentioned, these cloths are heavy, so be sure to anchor your curtain rods in the studs or use toggle bolts. The drywall mounts and screws I used were not sturdy enough.

I was also ready to change out my dark and dated bedding and curtains. So I sewed two drop cloths together and created a bedspread. (Another drawback to the heaviness of this fabric is that it is awkward to sew. Use a heavy duty needle.) I inherited some hand-blocked cotton bedspreads that my family purchased and used while were living in Iran in the early 60's. They show their age a bit, but I think that they make perfect curtains for the window in the upper part of the room:

Another heirloom from Iran, a hand-blocked, cotton tablecloth, adds pattern and color to the bottom of the bed. Again, you can see the seams in the bedspread, but they don't bother me:

I call the look Bedouin shabby chic :)

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Quiet Book of Wonder

Alright friends: As you may recall, we three sisters and our mother engaged in a quiet book page swap last Christmas. The idea was that it’s easier to make 3 of a few pages to share rather than create 10 unique pages all by oneself. And yes, it took me several months to actually sew and bind mine together. Still, I learned to sew buttonholes in the process! Hooray! One more new sewing machine skill I can chalk up, right? But I digress...

There are some amazingly cute quiet books out there, aren’t there? Some are so beautiful! And time-intensive… and even kind of expensive. Our particular venture was not to be that kind of book. We wanted something fun and cute but also something simple that wouldn't break the bank. So without further ado:

The Cute, Quick, Inexpensive Quiet Book of Wonder

Quiet Book Page: Gumball Machine

Like the stoplight page, this page is wonderful for SourPatch's fine motor movement. He's still happy just pulling off the gumballs and putting them back in any little circle. As he gets a little older, he'll enjoy matching the numbers, too.

And me? Mostly I think this page is adorable.

Quiet Book Page: Tic-Tac-Toe

For the older bunch, this is a brilliant way to keep kids quiet and engaged! I was skeptical that the swinging pouch would actually keep the Xs and Os in place, but I have been pleasantly pleased! It would be easy to add another zippered holder like the one on mom's Mr. Potato Head page if desired.

Quiet Book Page: Stoplight

This one is a keeper. It's just the right size for thick, not-quite-two-years-old fingers that are learning dexterity, color, and shapes. Good work, mum.

Quiet Book Page: Mr. Potato Head

Classic page, mom. SourPatch loves it, despite not actually knowing where to put the pieces yet. I love how you used a zippered pouch to hold the pieces. A toddler like Patches can enjoy the zipper and bright pieces. Then, when he is older, he can make fun faces with his two-dimensional potato head. It's a page that will grow with him.

Quiet Book Page: Clock

This page is kind of experimental. All I did was buy foam clocks from the dollar section of Target and stitch them into place, I am a little worried about their durability, but SourPatch hasn't pulled the foam hands off of his book so far! And much to my surprise, this was the page my niece was SO excited about (she is learning to tell time). All of the kids were pretty enthusiastic actually... go figure. Sometimes it's the simple things...

Quiet Book Page: Armor of God

Oh my cute. Elin, you did a marvelous job on this page based off of Doctrine and Covenants 27:15-18. It's one of SourPatch's favorites.