Category Archives: Art and Crafts

Tab-top Curtains for Bathroom Window

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We’ve been finished with bathroom renovations for a bit now, but the room still needs some finishing touches – curtains being the number one priority. I wanted to sew some sheer and simple curtains so decided on an unlined, tab-top design. Here’s the tutorial I followed.

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Each room in the future bed and breakfast will be inspired by a type of tree found at Ridgeside, and this bedroom and bathroom’s tree is the sycamore. We’ve gone with shades of gray and white to mimic the tree’s beautiful bark, and we’ve used copper accents to bring in the color of the sycamore’s seed pods and fall foliage. To match the copper shower curtain rod, Josh built a copper curtain rod for the window, too.

For the curtains, I purchased four yards of a heavier weight cotton – not as thin as a quilting cotton but not too thick, either. I still wanted it to be sheer and have movement. I went with a light gray color similar to the gray grout between the tiles.

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The instructions were so easy to follow, and I was able to adapt the pattern to fit our bathroom window perfectly. For detailed instructions, visit the step-by-step from Stitched by Crystal. I’m just going to summarize my notes about the project and include pictures.

I made two separate curtain panels, each one with four tabs, so once I took the dimensions of the bathroom window, I cut two large panels, eight tabs, and two skinny strips (used to sandwich the tabs at the top of the curtain). I folded, ironed, and pinned the sides, then sewed both edges.

IMG_4745Instead of sewing the bottom edge next, I made my tabs and pinned them in place along the top edge.

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After sewing the panels in place, I lined up my skinny strips of fabric and sewed them along the top edge of the curtains, sandwiching the tabs.

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Then I folded the strips up and ironed them nicely. When you fold over the last edge and sew it in place, it creates a very clean tab-top finish.

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Lastly, I folded, ironed, pinned, and sewed the bottom edge. I did this last because I wanted to make sure the length of the curtains was just right. I hung the curtains on the rod and made note of exactly where I wanted them to fall.

This was a very fun sewing project with a pretty and functional result. Now the bathroom has some elegant curtains to keep out light and provide privacy. I like the simple tab-top design and plan to make many more curtains for the bed and breakfast.

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Knit Pillows Inspired by Nature

I just finished knitting a few accent pillows: one green and one purple, both inspired by nature.

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Moss Pillow

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For the smaller 12″ x 12″ green pillow, I highlighted the yarn’s mossy tones with garter stitch on one side. It seemed to really mimic the bumpy texture of moss.

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For the other side, I actually used the moss stitch (knit, purl, knit, purl for one row and purl, knit, purl, knit for the following row), but oddly, I don’t think it looks as mossy as the garter side. I really love the garter stitch and this yarn together. It’s perfect.

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Lavender Pillow

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I used a handspun wool (spun by super talented Mom) for the larger  14″ x 14″ pillow. The beautiful purple yarn reminds me of soft lavender with gray and blue hues mixed in.

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One side is a basic rib, and the other is a simple stockinette stitch. Since the color variation in the yarn is so pretty, it didn’t need a fancy pattern.

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Assembly

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After I finished knitting the squares, I pinned them together (wrong sides facing) around the pillow form and began hand sewing the seams.

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Done! Two pretty accent pillows to use while relaxing in a rocking chair, sipping a cup of tea.

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Rosemary Wreath

‘Tis the season for holiday decorations – I love the homemade, crafty ones the best. For a simple and inexpensive wreath, I used rosemary and other accents from the garden.

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I found a wire clothes-hanger and bent it into a circle shape (or as close as I could get to a circle). I clipped lots of rosemary from our Richmond garden and organized them into bundles. With green floral-wire, I secured each bundle to the clothes hanger, overlapping the rosemary to hide the green floral-wire.

IMG_2206Once I was done attaching the rosemary, I played around with some extra decorations. A tiny bow:

IMG_2216Some berries and mums from the garden:

IMG_2222Instant holiday charm! I think these would also look pretty with little Christmas ornaments, pom-poms, peppermint candies, lavender, or draped with sparkly garland.

“Plus” Quilt Complete

Finally! I’m so happy to report that I have completed my first quilt – a plus-design quilt. It was a great project for learning the process, and I have gotten more comfortable using a sewing machine. Special thanks to my Ma for letting me borrow her machine for so long.

quilting the top, batting, and backing

quilting the top, batting, and backing

Quilting the top, batting, and backing together was a little tricky – I had to get the hang of maneuvering the quilt through the machine. It’s a lot of fabric, and I was only working with a tiny quilt! For the quilting pattern, I outlined the white plus-shapes.

quilting complete!

quilting complete!

Next came the binding, which turned out to be much easier than expected. I used a French binding method, so I machine sewed the binding to the front of the quilt and then hand stitched the binding to the back. I love how seamless the binding looks from the front, and the hand stitching didn’t take too long (plus I could bring the quilt to the couch and watch a movie since I didn’t have to sit at the sewing machine for this part).

Lastly, I ironed the quilt to make it nice and neat again. Done! This will make a pretty wall hanging, and I can’t wait to start planning the design and fabrics for a larger quilt for the bed and breakfast.

quilt complete

quilt complete

Quilting Basics: “Plus” Quilt

Both art and crafts are a big part of my life. Making “things” gives me a great sense of fulfillment, and quilting seemed like a great technique to learn for my next project. Plus, there’s a perfect space above the basement stairs where I’d love to hang a large quilt for the bed and breakfast.

Luckily, Visual Arts Center of Richmond offers tons of wonderful classes in areas like fiber, ceramics, glass, photography, or writing. I signed up for “Quilting Basics” taught by Julia Janeczek. This was a four-week class (one night a week) and was a fantastic experience – I’d recommend it to anyone. Go out and learn a new craft! So much fun.

Visual Arts Center of Richmond

Visual Arts Center of Richmond

I like some traditional styles of quilts but really like more contemporary designs that blend the old and new. Here’s what inspired me for my first quilting project: circles quilt by Lindsey Rhodes; gradient blue quilt by Bonjour!; chevron quilt by The Apartment. Since this project would be my first attempt at quilting and my first time using a sewing machine, the simpler the better. I went with a plus-sign design by Quilty but removed the rotated-plus blocks and chose light- to dark-blues and gray-green fabrics to create a gradient.

fabric choices

fabric choices

After I rounded up the necessary materials, I started cutting out all the squares I’d need. Because I had limited time in class, I cut down the finished size of the quilt to be only 4 x 4 blocks rather than the 7 x 8 blocks needed for a throw. This project would be a small sampler so I could learn all the steps (I was definitely the least experienced and slowest student in the class).

cutting quilt sqaures

cutting quilt squares

Once all the pieces were cut and ironed, I began sewing. On a sewing machine! I admit, I was totally intimidated, but thanks to my instructor it was actually pretty easy. There are a lot of steps to quilting, but it’s a meditative sort of process.

front of quilt: blocks assembled

blocks assembled for “plus” quilt top

By the end of my four weeks, I’d pieced all my blocks. I didn’t have a lot of time outside of class, so I still need to sew all the blocks together, quilt the front to the back, and complete the binding. There were demos during class, so I’m confident that I can work on it at home without too much trouble.

I’m so happy that I took the class and feel inspired to try new patterns and designs, and I haven’t even finished my current quilt yet. This experience has also got me thinking about sewing curtains, pillows, napkins, and all sorts of homemade projects for our future bed and breakfast.

I can’t wait to share the finished quilt with you all – stay tuned!

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