Tuesday, June 19, 2012

El Cheapo Artwork a la Rayna

As we are nearing the arrival of our second baby, we're trying our best to get her room ready and prepared just the way we want it. I'm not going to say I'm picky, I just have an idea of what I want, and that's usually what I want. I don't like to compromise a whole lot on that front if I don't have to. Artwork for her room has been a bit of a challenge in that regard so I decided to take it into my own hands. Enter: Rayna's Craft Tutorial #2.

El Cheapo Artwork a la Rayna

plywood backing for the corresponding paper size (3/8" thickness at least)
decoupage glue
foam brushes
cutting mat
artwork hanging hardware (I used the sawtooth hangers)
craft knife
desired scrapbook papers for artwork

1.) Make sure your plywood backing is the same size as the paper you're going to work with. If it isn't, cut the plywood backing to size. Note: I bought my plywood backing at Michael's where I was able to use a 40% off coupon and get 12" x 12" for the same size as my scrapbooking paper.

2.) If you wish, you can turn your paper right side down and lay the plywood backing on top of it so you can trace the outline of where you want it glued. I just kind of winged it, which also worked.

3.) Brush on a generous amount of glue onto the side of the plywood backing where you'll be gluing your scrapbook paper. This is the point at which you have to work pretty quickly...

4.) Lay your scrapbook paper on top of your gluey plywood board, get it in position as QUICKLY as possible, and then use the brayer to flatten it out and get out any air bubbles that may have appeared when you laid it down. Again, WORKING QUICKLY.

5.) When you're happy with the appearance of your artwork at this point (this is pretty much how it will look when you're done so keep that in mind), you can flip over the entire piece of artwork and lay it right side down on top of your cutting mat. If necessary, use your craft knife to trim the paper so it's flush with the sides of the plywood board.

6.) At this point, I ran my fingers around all 4 corners smoothing down cuts and wiping away excess glue. Then, I attached my hardware. I recommend getting a plywood board with at least a 3/8" thickness because that allows the nails to be pounded in without going through your artwork in the front. That would be bad. You can also get this kind of hardware (and several other different kinds of hanging hardware) at Michael's and use a coupon!

7.) Turn your artwork back around so the right side is facing upward, and, if desired, brush on another generous layer of the decoupage glue to kind of set and seal the paper artwork. It also adds a really cool vintage patina so it looks like you've had it forever. :) Make sure you get the glue around the edges of the paper so it won't start to peel up in the future. Also make sure to remove any excess glue.

Voila! Now you are done and can hang your lovely artwork anywhere in your house. People will wonder where you bought that beautiful piece!

I did two of them for our baby room and completely beat the price of anything we saw in the stores. We had seen some beautiful artwork at Target, but we didn't really want to pay $15 each for a set of 3.
This is what we did instead:
*plywood backing $2.50 (with coupon) (x2)
*scrapbooking paper $0.69 (x2)
*2 foam brushes  $1.99

And I already had everything else so I spent $8.37 for 2 very personalized pieces of artwork. I'm so proud of myself. So head on over to your local craft/scrapbooking store and go nuts. Happy Crafting!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Easy Peasy Valance for Dummies

I don't mean to offend anyone with this title. This just perfectly describes my relationship with sewing and making pretty things quickly and easily. I get bored pretty quickly so it's best if I can make something nice very easily. It has also struck me that this is my first tutorial. Yay! I'm very excited, and I'm sure something will go wrong, but this is a good one to start with. Again, easy.

So our house has these ugly, old, dirty venetian blinds that we never use in certain windows, e.g. our kitchen window above the sink (a). They're the windows that we never cover because they let in awesome light during the day. I tried taking down those ugly venetian blinds and found that underneath them it was even uglier (b). So I had to come up with something to cover them up because there was NO WAY I was going to continue looking at those stupid, ugly venetian blinds just because it was uglier to remove them.

Easy Peasy Valance for Dummies

fabric cut to window (width inside trim + 2in) and (desired height + 4in)
coordinating sewing thread
1" x 2" batten (cut to finished width of window)
(2) 1-1/2" L brackets
staple gun
power drill
tape measure (not pictured)
1.) The first thing I did was cut my fabric to the appropriate size. I added 2 inches to the width and 4 inches to the height. I found it was helpful to label the top and bottom of my fabric so I didn't get confused later. Trust me, it happens.

2.) Stitch a zigzag stitch (or serge, if your machine does that) all the way around the piece to lock in the threads.

3.) Fold and pin both the left and right sides of your fabric in 1 inch on the wrong side. Sew a 3/4 inch seam allowance in a coordinating thread color.

4.) Fold and pin the bottom of your fabric in 1 inch on the wrong side. Sew a 3/4 inch seam allowance in a coordinating color.

And you're done sewing! Wasn't that easy? Now we're going to work on hanging and installing your valance.

5.) Cut your batten down to size. I like to make it about 1/4 inch shorter than the width of my finished valance just so it tucks inside the fabric nicely.

6.) Lay the batten down (with the 2 inch surface down) on a secure surface. Align your completed valance right side up on top of the upward-facing 2 inch surface of the batten (a). Ensure the edges are lined up evenly with the edges of your batten and the top edge of the valance is even with the top edge of the batten. Staple your valance to the batten (b).

7.) Fold your valance over the batten so you are looking at a finished valance with the staples in the back. Lay the valance assembly right side down and measure about 5 inches in from each side of the batten to screw in your L brackets for installation. I always make sure the top of the L brackets go above the batten just a bit so there's extra room for installing it to the inside of the window trim.

8.) Now all that's left to do is install your valance inside your window trim and make sure it's level and even. Or at least as level and even as you want it. :) Just a side note: you CANNOT see the wooden batten from the outside. I checked.

And you're done! Now you can (and should) admire your beautiful handiwork.

Here's another one I did in our breakfast nook. The sunlight's amazing in there, and we NEVER put the curtains (or the blinds previously) down. I also made roman shades out of this same fabric for the other 2 windows in the breakfast nook, but that's a whole different can of worms and a subject for a later date. Happy Crafting!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Yaye! (That's Joey for Coloring)

For Mother's Day, Scott made the mistake of getting me the book 100 One-Yard Wonders, which is a sewing book for the mostly sewing-impaired like myself. So I've already made 4 projects from this book, and I keep finding things I want to make, but I'm having to remind myself to take a chill pill once in a while. I need to do that. I get a new type of project going, and I want to do ALL THE THINGS. So this is me. Taking a chill pill.

Before I decided to cool it, though, I made one of the easier projects in the book because 1) I've been just waiting for the chance when Joey would really be into coloring to make this, and 2) because I had all the supplies on hand. Oh, and it's EASY. Easy is good.
We've also been doing a lot of traveling, and this is an easy way to transport crayons. If all the slots are filled, you'll know if you're missing any, and, if your kid is like mine, Joey just likes taking the crayons in and out of each slot. He's gotten pretty good at it, actually.
The only obnoxious thing about the pattern was, of course, having to stitch all the little crayon slots. It is totally worth it, though, and, of course, the entire point of the thing. And it gives us an excuse to color that much more. So grab your favorite yard of boy or girl-inspired fabric and get crackin'!