Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Work-In-Progress - 2011, 0803...

Many of my artist blogging friends post a WOYWW (What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday) in order to keep up with what others are creating. Some have told me they like doing this because it pushes them to make progress with their art each week, and it provides them with a historical record of their artistic growth.

So I thought I would take a cue from them. I certainly don't consider myself an artist, but I do take pleasure in using what skills I have to create something now and then. I like the idea of reminding myself that, in spite of often having too many creative irons in the fire at any given time and not always finishing them, I do usually still move from Point A to Point B on these projects - probably not fast enough for a weekly update, but how about a periodic one?

This week I'm working on recovering back cushions for the old couch in the basement at Le Rustique. One of Big Daddy's partners gave us a four-cushion couch, a couple love seats and a round oak table with four chairs when we closed on the farm. The furniture is in great shape, but the upholstery is dated and doesn't fit in with our Cowboys & Indians decor in the rest of the house.

I found a great slip cover for the couch, but the back cushions are better suited to being used pillow-style on top of the slip cover. Easy solution - recover the soft, pillow-y cushions with this fabric.

But to stop there would be too easy, right? In order to finish the cushions properly, I want covered piping all around the edges. And that's where things get a little complicated - and time consuming, of course. Although you can't tell from my photograph (I need lessons using flash in my work space!), the background on this fabric is kind of a brick red with more blue than yellow undertones. Now try finding piping or bias tape in that shade - impossible. I did, however, find a gorgeous faux suede remnant in a complementary red (although once again the flash photos don't tell a true story, as the fabrics really are close enough to the same color), so I'm all set to make my own piping - ten yards of it.

Using the parallelogram tubing method of making bias strips (a fancy way of saying 'shortcut'), here's how it goes:
Calculate the size square you need, lay it out and cut it in half diagonally.

Reposition the pieces with the right sides of the hypotenuses (hypotenii?) together, pin and sew a narrow seam, thus forming a parallelogram - which you then mark with parallel lines the desired width of your bias strips.

Offsetting the lines by one strip, pin right sides together to form a tube, and stitch it closed.

Start cutting single thickness along the marked lines, and voila - continuous bias strip.

The fabric in front is just a leftover strip that goes in my "Scraps & Embellishments  -  Red" box of goodies.
And now I'm ready to make the piping.

And because I'm never content to have just one thing on my plate at any given time, here is my other work-in-progress for this week.

Repurpose an old, beat up short bench, footstool thing gleaned from some garage sale somewhere along the way. I have a remnant of silk decorator fabric that is barely enough to cover the bench. As you'll no doubt notice, I was able to center the motif side-to-side, but I didn't have enough to position the arrow exactly where I wanted it. But, hey, when someone needs a place to plunk their backside to pull on a pair of boots, do you think they'll care? I chose not to remove the old fabric (twice recovered, probably in the twenties and again in the fifties) since I didn't want any more padding, and I sure didn't want to have to clean up old batting fibers. I also had to fill the cushion's original screw holes with wood putty so they could grab and hold the new screws. And now - a very nearly finished work-in-progress (just waiting for the spray paint to fully dry in this incessant humidity).

Both of these projects are destined for Le Rustique. And no, they don't go in the same room together, (not even the same floor of the house), but thanks for asking. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Help! I'm Melting...

Will someone please come tell me a bedtime story about snow fairies, ice queens, polar bear dens, blizzards and penguins? Maybe it would take my mind off this "oppressive heat" - which is what our weather people have resorted to calling this steam/sauna effect that smacks you in the face as soon as you open the door.

This is what LazyDog thinks of the Dog Days of August:

And this is what we're having for dessert tonight so we can pretend there's an upside:
Blueberry Granita