Sunday, March 30, 2014

Giving to charity

I keep a plastic garbage bag in my laundry room.

Whenever a piece of clothing becomes too small for someone
too big 
(yeah right)
I decide I hate its guts

I put it into the plastic garbage bag to be donated.

Then when the bag is full I go drop it off
or give it to a friend of mine who distributes it to those who can use the items.

The other day I noticed the bag was getting full-ish
so I decided to go ahead and stick it in my car.

I glance inside and see a white dress shirt.
Yep, Carter is constantly outgrowing white dress shirts
so this is a logical thing to see.

I grab the bag and head to the car.

Something inside me says
"you better look inside and make sure there isn't anything you don't want to give away"

So I open the bag.

Inside I find
a bunch of dirty laundry from our last trip out of town!
Mostly our underwear
a white dress shirt.

Holy guacamole!
I almost donated a bag of dirty underwear and socks!

~that was a close one~

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Crazy Spontaneous

Last week
my oldest son texted me to tell me about their difficulties finding a new apartment.
They have to move by April 17th.
And it's not going well.

We texted back and forth about his dilemma.

He joked that we should just buy a condo for them and they would pay the mortgage
which would be cheaper than any of the rents they'd seen.

I asked,"Why are you asking me? Dad's the one you should talk to"
He said," Hmm you talk to Dad!"
At that point I called him a wimp.

He said it was a balance of probabilities.
More likely to get a positive response from me.
(but true)

Anyway, I casually mention to Frank that our kid wants us to buy a place for him to rent.
And he says...
"Let's do it"

Is he joking?

So I tell Branden that he really should talk to Dad because
there is obviously a possibility that he's open to this crazy scenario.

So they end up texting all evening about it.

The next morning at breakfast Frank mentions the conversation he had with Branden.
Then he says,"We should go out there and look.  Want to?"
"Sure, I guess"
(I'm always up for a trip to see my family and the grand baby)

He gets on his computer and books tickets
-frequent flyer miles to the rescue-

I literally had 3 hours to:
make arrangements for Carter
Put Austin on our car insurance so he could drive to work and drive Carter where he needed to be
freak out a little
let my sister know we were coming and ask if we could stay with her
(Yay for flexible relatives!)
tell my work I was suddenly going out of town
Oh and send a text to tell Carter that when he got out of school that day his parents would be gone to Utah!


That's us

Monday, March 24, 2014

Upholstery Class Week 10

Today was the last day of upholstery class

I did not finish my chair

Even though it seemed like I was really close to being done,
there are just so many little steps!
I got a ton of stuff done today but it just isn't finished.

So I signed up for one more hour
a private session with the instructor.
I honestly don't know if I will be able to finish in an hour
but it was my only option other than bringing it home unfinished.

So we will meet for an hour before her next class begins.
Then I have to book out of there so the new folks have room for their projects.
-insert sad face-

Here is what I did accomplish:

First order of business was finishing the buttons.
As we were doing the buttons last week, one of the strings broke.
Kathleen told me that we should stop there and she would bring in better thread
because nobody wants buttons that pop off later!
That's for darn sure.

You use this ginormous needle to do it.
and it is a workout!
push push push, yank yank yank
and finally the needle comes through the other side.

Then you tie it with some cotton batting to hold it in place.

Kathleen showing me how to measure to be sure the buttons are even.

Measuring for the second row.

So awesome seeing it come together!

The back view with all the knots.
Later I took all of those strings and attached them to the nearest wood pieces with tacks.

Next I took all those pieces on the side that were tacked UP
and brought them DOWN and stapled.

All stapled down
Now if money falls out of someone's pocket
it won't be lost in the guts of my chair...
just sit there in the side, easily fished out.
Is that why we do this step?

Next, fill in the area with cotton
and put muslin over the top.
Neat and tidy.

Filling in the wings with cotton batting.

the side and wing back with the muslin on

I tilted the chair
(after tacking down the strings from the buttons)
and filled the back with cotton batting

Now, before I put the muslin on the back
I had to take out some of the staples holding the fabric of the chair back
so that I could make sure I had nice pleats going from the buttons to the top of the chair.
and I tightened it all up.

Covered the back with muslin.
staple the top, bottom and then sides

Next put a nice layer of batting across the whole thing
using some spray adhesive to help it stay in place.

Measure and cut fabric for the back and sides of arms.
Then mark with chalk and cut off excess.

I then had to spend some time making welting.
The top edge of the arms has it as well as the back.
You attach it to the top but leave some hanging down on the sides so that you can attach that part as you go.
That way it fits perfectly.
hard to explain
but it makes sense when doing it.

Here is a picture of one of the arms with welting attached.

At this point I looked around the room and realized
that I am a total mess!
My stuff was literally strewn across several areas in the room!

The table:

On top of a nearby sewing machine:

And just look at the area around my chair!
Oh my gosh, a disaster zone!

As a reference, here is my neighbor's work area:

When time was up this is what my chair looked like:

I have attached the top area of the sides.
Welting along the bottom front of chair.
Welting along the arm is about half done.
I simply tacked the back in place to try to protect my batting which is taking a beating from all the times I've moved the chair around.

The front looks amazing and finished for the most part.
But the back.
Oh the back.
I feel like I have a lot to do still...

Wish me luck.
I'm gonna need it!

Upholstery Class Week 9

At the end of the last class I had the fabric ready to go onto the back of the chair.
As usual, the next step involves a lot of tucking, finding the wood, and then cutting the fabric to fit around the wood pieces and down into the chair.
(chair is laying on its back here)

Kathleen (the teacher) usually shows me on one side and then I do the other.

I tacked the top/back to hold it in place as I worked to get the front looking good.

Here Kathleen is showing me how to get nice pleats along the top/side of the chair.

Oh, lovely

Everything is tacked in place, then stapled (remove the tacks) and then trim excess fabric

The front has some room left in the fabric since I'll be adding buttons.

Next, we used some muslin to make a pattern for the cushion.
The cushion is the part I've been most nervous about
but I gotta say that Kathleen makes it seem pretty easy!

Lay muslin down and use chalk to mark the edges.
Cut the pattern out, adding 1/2" for seam allowance.
Take it back tot he chair and make sure it fits

Cut it out of the fabric.
Since I'm using velvet I always have to make sure the nap runs the right direction as I go.

I took this picture of a fellow classmate because we were all laughing at her 
(in a nice way of course)
for hammering upside down!

Next I had to sew the welting that goes around the cushion.
The big industrial machines are SO nice for this.
They have a special welting foot and it's just a breeze.
I attached the welting to one side of the cushion as I sew it to avoid extra steps.
I love this trick and had never tried it before.

Here is my giant spool of welting cord!
I think I'll have enough for another project, don't you?

We started putting in the buttons on the back of the chair...

Here is a view of the arms where they meet the back.
I hope I can remember how we did that if I do it again...

And my finished cushion cover!
I'm so proud of it!

Look at that amazing job.
Seriously though.

Only one week left...

Monday, March 17, 2014

Life between class

When I look back 
I see that I am not doing a lot of blogging other than my upholstery classes.
That might lead you to believe that I don't do much in my life.
You'd pretty much be right.
I am going to give you a glimpse 
into my exciting life
between classes

Here are some things I have done recently:

I have purchased yet another spaghetti squash that is now rotting on my counter
(just like the one before it)

I started the process of stripping the cedar chest I got when we moved in here.
Yes, over a year ago.
I totally forgot to take "before" pictures.
I hate it when I do that!

I made a scrumptious dinner for my family
and did not get the response it deserved.
So I left the kitchen and ate by myself in the dining room.
It was lovely.
I should probably do that more often.

I am going to a friend's house once a week to help teach her to sew.
Its been super fun!
We have made pillows, drawstring bags, and last week we made super hero capes for her boys.
I don't really know what I'm doing though so I hope she's learning what she wants to learn...

I joined a challenge group at my gym.
We meet once a week together.
I am pretty much failing.
I cannot figure out where the athlete Debbie went to.
I'm having trouble finding her.

I found out that I have to have one ovary removed.
but it is the title of my blog so you were warned.

As soon as it gets warm enough
(and I finish the cedar chest)
I'm going to redo our kitchen table.
I'm going to make the top striped!
Frank doesn't know yet.
I'm excited.

I came up with this new plan to have one person totally in charge of family home evening each week.
That person can decide if we have a lesson
(they teach it)
or an activity.
They are also in charge of snacks.
It is working out great and we've done a number of different things!
Go me.

I am actually way behind on my tivo shows.
I haven't been watching tv at all...
not even when I fold clothes.
What the heck is wrong with me?

I bought a movie that I've been wanting to see
and a friend said that we should have a girls night and all watch it together.
Then girls night fell through and hasn't been rescheduled.
am I a good friend or what?
It's been over 2 weeks...
I'm cracking.

That's all I've got.

Time to go eat cookies.
(see above regarding the gym)

Monday, March 10, 2014

Upholstery Class Week 8

Upholstery class is so much fun!
I just found out today that practically everyone else in the class has signed up for the next session.
And I didn't!
boo hoo
and it's full.

I don't know if I'll actually finish my chair in the next two weeks
which is a little stressful.
Because the finishing part is the part you really want to get right.
So after all this time
I'd hate to go home and wing it and end up unhappy.

I did make arrangements to meet an hour early with the instructor
for the next two weeks.
So hopefully that adds enough time that I can get done.

I still have to:
finish the back
add the tufting/buttons
put the fabric on the outside of the arms and back
and make a cushion!

Let's be honest...

I'm doomed.

This week, almost everyone in the class is at the point of really needing help.
So there was more waiting around for my turn to get advice on the next step.
I do try to make sure to watch what she's telling other people so that even if I'm not able to work on my project at that moment, at least I'm learning.

Here is what I did this week:

The first thing I did was to make my covered buttons.
I've tried making covered buttons from the kits you can buy at the store
and they never work out.
they break or the fabric bunches up.

Here at the school they have this handy dandy machine that made it easy
and the buttons look awesome.

Aren't they cute?

At the end of last class I had cut the fabric for the arms.

I had to tuck the fabric in and find the places to make the cuts for tucking it into the chair.

I tacked it in place on the back side so that it would stay put while I did the inside.

Here is my instructor Kathleen showing me how and where to make the cuts on the arm.
Then she made me do the other side.

I then tacked the fabric in place.
This chair has exposed wood arms so I have to pull it tight and get it neatly into the groove by the wood.

I pushed the excess fabric down into the chair
in the back and sides

Here is the corner the instructor did:

Here is the corner I did:

So the trick is to make cuts in the fabric to go around the wood
don't cut too close
but don't cut too far away either.

When I watch her cut and then tuck the fabric
I can see that a lot of this comes with learning
how it should feel as you pull the fabric tight.


So here are the arms all tucked and tacked.
Ready for staples

Here is the back of the chair.
looks crazy right now.
But all these things are pulled through
and then stapled
Then I cut off the excess after its all stapled down.

I got to use the pneumatic stapler for this part
It is stronger and has a long nose on it to get into little spaces.

The front of the arm is all stapled and trimmed.

Next I measured and cut the fabric for the back of the chair.

I draped it to find the spots to cut
and made cuts so that I could push the center down into the chair and out the back
the sides will wrap around

I then marked where the fabric came around the arms
and cut it out 

I made welting that will be sewn there so that it gives a nice edge all around the arm

Unfortunately, the bobbin ran out on the sewing machine so I wasn't able to finish this part.

The clocks in the classroom were not changed for daylight savings time
so we didn't realize it was time to stop
until it was REALLY time to stop

This is where I was at the end of class

I'm going to sew the strips for the welting at home this week so that I can be ready to go  next Monday at 8 a.m.

So. Much. Fun.