Thursday, August 31, 2017

Fence Post to folksy Pumpkins

The old saying  "waste not want not" is definitely my mantra this year.  I challenged myself to stock my very small 8 x 5 booth with holiday decor that is more than 50% recycled.  In other words no money to little money will go in to materials.  I had seen the idea of using 4x4s to make pumpkins on Pinterest so I cannot take any creative credit for the initial Idea.  
We had some old 4x4s laying around they had one time been fence post...

I asked Mr. RTI to cut them in lengths of 4,5 and 6 inches then I applied orange paint to them..only one coat.  I used valspar interior flat base with a tint added to it.  I choose flat paint because I wanted to sand then top coat.  I also had some decorative dowels that were from some items I inherited from my Dads Shop.  I choose to use these as stems.  So far the only money spent was 12.00 on paint and there will be a good bit left over.

I had some old stain that was not that great for any other project but this one....I put all the pegs and dowels in a glass jar dumped the old stain in and shook.  This covered them perfectly for this project.  I just removed them when I thought they were dark enough and laid them out to dry. 
 I also drilled a hole in the top of each block to add the "stem". 

I used one of my favorite craft room tools a Silhouette Cameo to cut the faces for the blocks and stenciled each size with a different face.  I did remember to make sure that the top of the block had the predrilled hole in it...No faces were put on Upside down in this step.  

They were left to dry.  I used chalk paint for the faces so it only took about an hour.  Each block had to be distressed and sanded and doing all this by hand was not the plan.  Mr. RTI suggested mounting my belt sander in the vise on my work bench.  The belt sander had a setting that would allow it to run with out holding the trigger so It could be used as a grider...Boy did this save time and I was able to get the last bit of use out of a belt that had been left on it.

I wrapped the grip with a rag as not to scuff it so the next I used it by hand it would not be rough.  

This was very quick work.  
And that belt is done....

The next step was to put a clear coat on them since they were painted with flat paint and chalk paint.  
I choose some American Paint company top coat for the job.  You simply rub it on and let it dry, no buffing!

This did a wonderful job and was also quick work.  I already had the top coat so no money was spent.

I dipped the "stems" in to wood glue and hammered them into the predrilled holes on the top.

And I did not like them.....the large ones were a little too tall!

The Jig Saw took care of that 

The stems of course had to be decorated! 
I did not have any paper wrapped wire nor was I going to make it.  I did not have any raffia and was not going to make it.  I did have however a burlap coffee bag and some gold wire.  
I pulled the burlap threads from the bag a little tedious however easy and the bag was free.  
I had the wire already, probably was in some  craft supplies I bought at the thrift store.  
So no money spent.!

And they are reversible!

A lot of this project was therapeutic and me being in the shop for a day is a privilege !
I managed to make 6 sets and they will be available at Vintage Collections down town Camden tomorrow.  
HAppy Fall!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Wool Dryer Balls

Yes it is an green thing in more ways than one!

The concept of dryer balls are to save you money and time and these really work.  
I use them and love them!  The  idea is this the balls roll around in your laundry separating it in the dryer hence cutting some of the dryer time.  They also fluff keeping wrinkles down and softening.  The bonus is...I have one of these:
Meet Gnar Gnar..short for Gnarly little attitude!

He sheds long blonde hairs.....The dryer ball brush against your clothes causing the hairs to knot up on them selves.  The plus is I will find little wads of hair in the dryer but not on my clothes....Love that.!
Making the dryer balls is simple however time consuming.  A lot of post suggest buying wool that is 100% wool yarn and rolling it in a ball.  That is costly!  It takes a lot of yarn to make a ball the size of a tennis ball.  My short cut is a 100% wool sweater or blanket (found second hand) that I cut into strips, roll those in to a ball then wind yard around that ball.  Also a cost saver ; take your coupon or app on your phone with you to Joann's,  Micheal's or Hobby Lobby to get your yarn for at the least 40% off.  Also Ibotta has rebate offers for Joann's I think the last time I used it I got 10% back on my purchase.  It was super easy just scan the bar-code on your receipt in the Ibotta app.

Once you have your ball made you put in the leg of a pair of panty hose and knot it off.  One leg will hold about 10- 11 balls.  Throw this in your wash.  I throw in mainly washes that use hot to warm water.  The agitation in the wash will cause the 100% wool yarn to felt on it self.  This felting prevents the balls from coming unraveled.  It takes about 7 washes to really felt then well.  

Once they are felted you are done with washing them.  It takes 3 balls to effectively work in your dryer, I have not noticed any difference with more than three. Simply put three in your dryer with your wet clothes.  You do not  need to wash them again.  You can put essential oils on them .  The oils will really not scent your clothes that well but when you open your dryer it will be a spa experience!
I sell these in my booth at Vintage Collections downtown Camden. I decided to make storage bags for them.
I approached this with simplicity and minimal supplies.  I wanted the customer to be able to see the balls so the back had to be "see through".

I had some remnants of cotton dish toweling that I could get roughly two bags from each remnant.
This was another mug of Tea project!

I used twine, tulle and the remnants! 

And my serger.  I love this handy little machine once I just dug in and taught myself to thread it!

Simple process :  cut the remnants with pinking sheers to prevent unraveling and make an interesting edge, Sew folded over tulle onto the back leaving the folded edge as the top of your bag back..Insert a ribbon or in this case a jute string about 3 inches from the top in the seam with the string on the inside of the right sides together.  this way the string will be on the right side of the finished bag to tie it off.  Serge or machine sew and you are done!

Just make a tag with instructions on how to use and what a great little gift!

If you are local and want to save the green and go green but are cramped on time visit my booth at Vintage Collections down town Camden SC.  I have them for sale there!

Happy Savings!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Fence rails,treadles and wagons

I was privileged today and managed to get in the shop  and put together a Funky little table.  The components are: old radio flyer wagon, fence rail, treadle sewing machine base and treadle sewing machine trim molding , a handful of screws and e6000 glue.  Optional clear coat lacquer. Well and a few standard tools.

The most difficult part of this project was removing the wheels from the old wagon.

The bolts were pretty rusted and finally I resorted to one of my favorite tools the Dremel. 

A grinding wheel for metal split the nuts and I was able to pull them off with pliers.

I cleaned the wagon with some medium steel wool and general purpose cleaner.  

In order for the wagon to sit level and sturdy I used a fence rail cut in 2 peices.  I used the original holes that were used to attach the sewing machine cabinet to the base to attach them.  I drilled four holes in the wagon as well, as pilot holes in the fence rails.  I put a dab of e6000 in each holes and screwed the wagon down.  

The towel bar is a vintage piece of molding off a treadle machine.  I cut it to length , pre drilled the ends and attached it to the base with vintage screws. In order to prevent anymore rust from forming on the wagon I put a few coats of clear lacquer on it.  

Not every one,s taste..However, Funky and different!  Perfect for the dorm cave as a bar. towel storage in a bath or spice and utensil storage in that eclectic kitchen.  It will be available at Vintage Collections down town Camden.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Homemade Laundry Powder and Being Green

In an effort to be frugal and more environmentally conscious I have started making my own laundry soap.  I have been pleasantly pleased with the results.  There are three basic ingredients: Fels-Naptha soap, Borax and Super washing soda.  All of these items can be found at your local grocery store or you can order them on line and have them delivered to your door.  I find my bar soap at Kroger in the laundry soap isle and the other two items are at almost every grocers.  You can also use Ivory soap as well, you can replace one Fels Naptha bar with two ivory bars.  Handmade soaps that are coconut oil based also make great alternatives. 

The recipe is very simple.  One bar of soap finely ground plus one cup each of borax and super washing soda.  When I make it I make a triple or at least double batch.  This time I made enough to offer "give it a try Jars" to sell in my booth.  

Here is how I tackle this Job.

I am making three batches at one time.
 I first, do not do this in the house...because I use an old food processor the soap and additives can make dust so I make this in my shop with....

Ventilation is a good idea..I do not want to breath in Borax.  
I break the bar soaps in half so that they will fit in the shoot on my processor and install the grate plate so that I can grate the soap first.  You can hand grate the soap but what is the fun in that.  Mental Note:  I make soap every two to three months so I have a old processor that I no longer use for food.  The benefit is there is minimal clean up.  If you use your kitchen processor run it through the dishwasher before you use it again.  You can usually find a old used processor at thrift stores cheap.  Getting one may make this a lot less labor intensive. 

You will have little slivers left just put them to the side you can add them back when you process your grated soap. 

When you are done grating the bar soaps switch back to your processor blade , break up the slivers and grind your soap to a semi fine powder.
Get your self a bucket to make mixing all the ingredients a lot easier. Use a spoon because it can be drying on your  hands or you can wear gloves  You can also add 1 one and a half cups of soap powder to one cup of borax and one cup of washing powder to your processor and mix small batches at a time.  I tried this method this time and was pleased with how well it worked.

I keep an enamel pot beside my washer with the homemade laundry powder in it and an old tablespoon measuring spoon.  I use one tablespoon per normal size to smaller loads.  I use Two for heavily soiled clothing and extra large loads.  I have a Bravos XL washer and it can hold large loads and two works great .  This is also a HE machine and this is fine it has no suds.  I use warm to cold water for most of my clothes and this powder dissolves wonderfully as well as cleans.  It will leave you clothes smelling clean not perfumed.

Now not every one has time...we are all strapped for it and when we get a minute making soap that we are not sure we will like is not the first thing on our list.  So I made small jars that will do 10 small to normal loads.  I will be offering these in my booth at Vintage Collections  located downtown Camden.

The labels were made using avery templates and printed on my printer.

I used a Martha Stewart circle cutter to cut them out and double sided tape runner to attach them to the jars as well as the left over ribbon .

I do keep a back up of commercial soap in the laundry room .  Life here gets busy and complicated at times so a back up is always a good plan.  However for the most part homemade is my all the time preference.

I also use wool dryer balls. I find that they do all that you hear about them.  Clothes dry quicker with less wrinkles and static and are soft. I will also be offering them for sale at the booth in a few weeks.  I have tried a few homemade fabric softeners but so far am not impressed, when I find one I will be sure to share.
Well happy Laudrying ,

Thursday, June 15, 2017

I got it covered!

In a kitchen remodel we decided to go with open upper shelving.  I house my pots and pans on this wall above the stove.   and YEP!  The lids to the pans that are not used on a weekly basis get a little filmy.  

I have some vintage linen napkins that would make great pot lid covers.  They would be reusable and match the retro vintage theme of some of my kitchen.

Now to you linen collectors no linen with out stain or hole was injured during this project.  
I gathered my materials I needed with my machine....

estimated what the large button hole had to be in the center of the napkin to accommodate the largest pot lid handle.  

Marked the center of the napkin with pins , set the stitch length to the lowest setting on my machine with the zig zag stitch selected..and made a large button hole....snipped a slit in the center and.....

I HATE plan B!
I am glad I only made one!

PLAN B: Get a paper towel...bare with me it looks pretty good from where I am standing...

Fold it in quarters....put the center of your paper towel in the center of the lid will leave an impression on the towel ,

 then cut your round.  Cut a slit in the center large enough to go over your handle and you are done.  If it is still clean when you take the pot down reuse it..if not throw it out and make a new only takes a min or two...a lot less time then washing the lid every time you take the pot down.

barely notice it!

Moral of this post:  All of these wonderful ideas in blog land did not always start out wonderful ideas. Sometimes you go back to the "drawing Board" and re approach an idea several times before you get your desired out come.  So try again!