Thursday

Embroidery Hoop Weaving

One of the best parts of my job is getting to try new things and though I am not new to weaving (see previous posts), making a weaving loom on an embroidery hoop was completely new to me!  After testing it out, I am in love with this form of weaving.  If you have used a loom before, you know that it can be somewhat precise with a little bit of randomness, but when you create a loom out of a simple embroidery hoop, all of your weaving becomes random!  Which you know if my thing.


Randomness with tons of texture is really my thing....just saying!

To create a round Embroidery Hoop Weaving you will need a simple wood embroidery hoop that you can pick up at any craft shop and some yarn or string.  That is the beginning of something fabulous!  You will want you yarn or string to be thin so it will disappear into your weaving and not stand out between "stitches".



1.  To begin, take the outer hoop off and set aside.

2.  Tie a simple double knot to the top of the hoop with the lightweight yarn or string.  Make sure to leave a two to three inch tail for later.

3.  Wrap 4 or 5 yards of yarn/string around a shuttle and cut off of the skein.  I used a make shift shuttle (a glue stick).  You want it small so you can work it around the inside of a tiny hoop.


4.  To begin wrapping you go across the hoop to the opposite of where you ties it on and holding it tightly, wrap the string under the hoop.


5.   You are going to bring the shuttle of string up to the top and off to the right about one inch from where you began, and go across the top holding tight.  Wrap it under the hoop and...


6.  ...cross over the center and go under one inch to the left of the first loop.  In essence you are making figure eights all the way around the hoop going over and then under keeping the yarn tight.




7.  Continue wrapping the yarn/string every inch until you get to your starting point.  The center will look like a messy "Cats's Craddle".  It's ok!


8.  After you arrive back at the starting point take the shuttle and wrap it around the middle cluster of yarn.  Think it like a clock center that you are going to wrap the string around several times at a 12, 3, 6, and 9 o'clock time place.  Pull tight.  This will bring all of the threads into the center.


9.  Once you have wrapped the string around the center a few times, pull the string up to your starting point and knot the string to the tail from the beginning knot.


10.  Trim off any access and tightly push the outer round of the hoop onto the inner warped loom!  Yes, it is now a loom not an embroidery hoop.  So cool huh!


I always begin my weaving with a pretty center.  I find it best to either use the same yarn/string you used for the warp or another thin yarn.  Use a yarn needle (available at any yarn supplier) and knot the end of the threaded yarn to the the back of one of the spokes.  This will secure it.  

Bring the needle up and do a simple over and under each of the warp strings to create a small woven circle.  You can make it larger if you like, but I usually keep mine to about the size of a dime or quarter.



Once you have your center secured, wrap the end  of the yarn piece under a spoke and you are ready to add more.  I love to use wool roving in my weaving.  The colors and poofy textures make the piece extra special and fill in gaps quite quickly.  You can finds wool roving on Amazon or at most craft stores.  It will come in a ball which can be unwound and separated to get the thickness or width you desire.  



To make this yellow wool center, I used a simple Tabby method of looping the wool over and under alternating spokes, tucking and poofing it up to get the look I desired.  This is what I mean by randomness.  You can play with different yarns and wool, fabric too to make your weaving unique to you!


Here I added a thick grey yarn by tucking the end under a spoke and coming up to the front.  Once I had my yarn on the top of the weaving, I wrapped it around each spoke with a simple loose knot and then after a few rows, I skipped every other spoke to give it a larger stitch.  No needle needed!



For the next layer, I made a wood shuttle and strung some thick variegated yarn through the weaving by going over and under each spoke.  As I went around I used my fingers to push the layers close together which created a cool fan type pattern.



I continued to do this with the blue yarn and will finish this one tonight with some of the thick wool white roving as a braid around the outside.  Weaving is one of those arts that is simple, but takes a little faith.  When you begin you will for sure think you are doing something wrong because it "won't look right".  Trust me, I know.  Every weaving I feel that way until I keep going and then it magically takes shape.


I hope this has inspired you to take out one of your unused embroidery hoops and your bin of wool yarn and make something fabulous!  You can watch my KUTV Fresh Living segment to see a hands on tutorial for how to warp your hoop into a loom!  I'll post the link as soon as I have it.  



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Friday

DIY Wild Flower Pottery

Every summer I get the chance to do a television segment for KUTV's Fresh Living on wildflowers.  I know, pinch me ...right?  The day our snow is melted we are out looking through the grasses and rocks on the mountain for the first peeks of those colorful blooms.  This year I wanted to preserve the first of the blooms with these farmhouse pottery slabs.  So, I took my girls and went for a walk in the field to find a few beautiful flowers.  


They are so easy to make and so beautiful hung in a collection on a wall, or displayed with your favorite blooms.  It is also a great way to preserve special blooms from bridal bouquets...and other special occasions.  You can make them tiny for a single petal or bud and wear as a necklace or you can make a big slab and recreate your garden in pottery!  There are no limits to the ways this technique can be used to bring lasting wild flowers into your home.


The materials are few and relatively inexpensive.  You will want Polymer Clay.   I have tried using Air Dry Clay and it is so temperamental and brittle, it is sad to loose your blooms to weak clay, so I clearly recommend using the Polymer Clay.  I love to use Sculpey Polymer Clay .  It comes in lots of colors and is so smooth and easy to work with.  The directions were straight on correct and my projects always turn out perfectly using their clay.  So get some!  Price point is anywhere from $2.50 to $9.00 for a pack which will make 3 to 4 floral pottery 
pieces.


The Polymer Clay comes out hard like a brick.  You will want to break off a piece and knead it in your hands until it gets soft and workable.  Polymer Clay is made of plastic PVC material and softens as it is worked.  So kneads a piece and roll it out to be a 1/4 inch thick.  I like my edges to look like a slap of clay and not perfectly cut.  You can cut your shapes and edges with a knife, but again I love the natural look of rounded fingered shapes.  Use a toothpick or dowel to make a hole in the top to hang it from and place on a non-stick baking pan.


If you are wanting a relief of a flower, lay it down on the clay where you want it to mold and lightly roll over it with a rolling pin to make the indenture.  Lift the flower off of the clay and bake at 275 degrees for 15 minutes.  



If you want to preserve fresh wildflowers with all their color, pick blooms that are soft and will flatten well.  Lay your blooms onto the clay in the place you want them to be and roll over to flatten them into the clay.   Use tweezers to position any petals that are out of place and tap lightly into the clay.  Pick off any that are standing upright and will not lay down.  Heat your oven to 275 degrees and bake for 20 minuets.


The baking process will dry out the flowers and the colors will dull just a bit, but the sealer will refresh them in the next process.  Let the clay cool.

Use your finger to lightly brush off any loose petal crumbs or leaves that popped up during the baking/drying process.


To seal your wildflowers, lightly brush over the baked flowers and clay background with the Sculpey Satin Glaze.  This liquid is the same component as the Polymer Clay but without the fillers, so just as the Polymer Clay dried hard, this satin glaze dries clear and hard over your clay piece to seal in the petals and other parts that may not have laid perfectly flat.  

After you have lightly brushed this over your clay piece, return it to the over for 5 to 10 minutes to bake it clear.  Watch closely as you can over bake it and turn your piece brown...(I know).    Bring it out of the oven and let cool.  

Use the tip of a needle or other tiny sharp object to clear the hole back out and your DIY Wild Flower Pottery piece is ready to hang! 


If you are looking for suppliers of the Sculpey products, I found mine at my local Hobby Lobby.  You can catch a video tutorial for these on my You Tube Channel and on KUTV's Fresh Living today at 1:00.

I hope you enjoy this DIY project!  It is one of my favorite of all time.  I know I say that often, but for real, this was so easy and relatively quick to make.  The girls loved making their own necklaces with collages of tiny petals pressed randomly into the clay.  It was a great way to get them unplugged and outside in nature.  


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Thursday

Vintage Inspired DIY Flags

Summer is just a few weeks away and then it will be time for the red, white, & blue or Purple, gold, green & a whole lot of vintage yumminess!  You all know how much I love my florals and old lace, so when I was asked to create something for the summer holidays, I had to combine the two and create a Vintage Inspired DIY Flag.  


 They are so colorful and rich with texture that I plan to keep mine up year round...well, maybe down at Christmas, but you get my passion.  These are simple to make because they are sew-free, meaning everything is glued.  To complete this project you will need;

Materials 

 Wood Dowel
Base Fabric (burlap or muslin)
Fabric Glue or Low-Temp Hot Glue
Scraps of Fabric, Lace, Trim, etc.
Twine
Sponge Stencil Brush
Star Stencil
Deco Art Vintage Wash Paint
Scissors

I am leaving the size of dowel and yardage of fabric/trims off of the material list because the amounts will vary depending on the size you are wanting to make.  To make the smaller Boho-Vintage Flag at the top of this post you will want a half yard of base fabric and fabric and trim that is a half yard or so in length.  To make the Red, White and Blue Vintage Flag I used one and a half yard of base fabric and fabric and trim that was a yard and a half long.


Instructions

1.  Cut your dowel to the desired width you want your flag to be plus four inches.  Stain it a desired color or you can paint it, or leave it plain.  All three options look great.

2.  Cut your background fabric into a long rectangle the width of your dowel minus four inches.  I hope that isn't too complicated.  You want to make sure your background fabric rectangle isn't larger than your dowel.  The smaller Boho Vintage Flag was 24" wide and 44" inches long.  

3.  Lay the background fabric on a flat surface and fold the top down two inches to create a sleeve for the dowel to go through.  Once you have folded it over, use the hot glue or fabric glue to secure the edge down.  Let dry.


4.  Turn the background fabric right side up with the sleeve to the back.  Cut a piece of smaller rectangle to create the Field of Stars.  To get the measurement, take half the width of your flag for the width of the "field" piece and the length would be figured at a third of the length of your background flag piece.  You are creating another long-ish rectangle for the stars.

5.  Using glue, attach the top of the Field of Stars piece to the top of the background fabric.  I positioned mine about an inch and a half below the top to allow space for extra trim and for the background fabric to show.  Because these are Vintage "Inspried" Flags and not a perfect correct replica of the American Flag, I positioned my Field of Stars on the right side of the background piece.  If you want to create a replica that matches the American Flag in perfect correctness, you will want to position your Field of Stars on the upper left side.  My flags hang at an angle to look like the flag is draped, and I was not concerned about the Field of Stars being on the left.  It is totally your choice which side you place them on.  Glue the outer edge down as well.  Leave the bottom and the left side unglued for now.


6.  After the Field of Star piece is attached on the outer and top side, it is time to add the layers of fabric and trims.  Cut a piece about two inches wide and as long as your background piece.  Using glue, attach it at the top just under the inner side of the Field of Star piece.  Then glue the strip to the background piece just to the end of the Field of Star piece.  You want your strips of fabric to wave free, so only attach this first piece to the corner of the Field of Stars.  Layer the Field of Star piece over the first strip and glue down in place.

7.  Cut another piece of fabric two inches wide and glue it only to the top of the flag aligned with the Field of Star piece and the first strip.  Repeat this all the way across.  I like to leave the edge of the background fabric showing about a half inch.  As you are layering fabric, you can overlap trims and fringe over pieces glued down to create a luscious layered look.  A few pieces of mine were purposefully pieced together using a tiny amount of glue to give it even more of a scrappy look.


8.  After you have gone across the top, position the smaller pieces under the bottom of the Field of Star piece and glue the Field of Star Piece down to the strips of fabric once you have the fabric strips glued down.  

9.  Now that your flag is filled in with strips of fabric, you can glue old lace trims around the Field of Stars to finish off the edge.  I love to layer trims and lace, so have fun choosing a look to finish it off.  Glue the pieces down and let dry.

10.  Once the trims dry, take a pair of scissors and cut the background piece up to the top and the the top of the Field of Stars piece going in between the strips of fabric.  This gives you a layered look to your flag.  Trust me, you are going to love it waving.  After I cut the strips I frayed the edges of the background pieces to give it a worn look.  I did this by running my fingers across the edge and pulling threads to create a frayed look.  It's easy!


11.  To create the stars I used the Deco Art Vintage Effect Wash Paint, a sponge stencil brush and a star stencil.  I couldn't find a star stencil to match the size I wanted, so I took a wood cout out of a star I liked, traced it onto cardstock paper and trimmed the inside of the star shape with a knife to create the perfect star stencil.  I used a minimal amount of Vintage Effect Wash and lightly tapped the sponge stencil brush over the shape stencil to create a faded star look.  

I love the Vintage Effect Wash Paint from Deco Art!  It works as a paint, a stain, or a wash depending on how many layers you add.  For other ideas on how to use this amazing paint go to their site Deco Art!

12.  Let your paint dry and then all you have left to do is tie a string to both ends of the wood dowel to create a hanger.  Seriously,  wasn't that so easy?


If you love the traditional Red, White & Blue you can find a little inspiration below.  I used ribbon, lace strips, trims, burlap, and fabric to create this huge front porch flag.  Instead of gluing the pieces together I added a couple of "pieced" pieces to it by tying a knot in two different fabrics.  I love the shabby vintage look of it.  Be sure to tie off any trims to the end of the flag at the dowel for extra oomph!


I hope this project has inspired you to look through your stash of fabric and create a flag for your summer and beyond.   If you would like to watch a tutorial for the Vintage Inspired DIY Flags, you can go to KUTV Fresh Living and see us make the Boho version on air.  It will be so fun!

If you are wanting to purchase a flag already made for you, both versions of the flag will be up in My Shop for pre-order this week.  Ship dates the first week of June.  There will be limited quantity so when they are gone, they will be gone.  Go ahead and get your pre-order in.  

As always, keep Celebrating, Dreaming and Creating something magical in your life.  xo




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Project Deconstruct with Prairie Paints by Tweetle Dee

 We are freshly back from our southern classes and our super fun Fresh Living segment on KUTV this morning where we were able to give a sneak peek of our new paint line...yes, I said paints!  We have been working on this for about a year now and are so excited to have our colors ready and trials finished and now we get to share them with you.  

We looked into paint suppliers to help us with our barn quilt needs, which anyone who has taken one of my classes knows you need a thick paint with optimal coverage & a paint that works well with distressing and finishing techniques to allow the natural beauty of the wood to come out and enhance the good stuff!  

Prairie Paints by Tweetle Dee are chalk and clay based paints in our signature colors.  We use these colors in all of our barn quilts, and furniture that we repurpose.  So many of you have asked over the past few years for our colors because you want to the aged look that we custom mix.  Now with Prairie Paints you will be able to get our colors exactly the way we finish them from the beginning.   Our line will release June 1st!
While we were in the south we stopped into a small antiques shop and found a darling chair that would be perfect to paint and show a few techniques for how to deconstruct a piece of furniture.  It was sturdy and comfortable and just the right size to sneak into my van along with a chicken nesting box that I was not going to leave behind!
Along the way we were going to deconstruct it, but the huge tornadoes going across the south made it a little difficult to work a chair, so we began yesterday morning by removing the upholstery (carefully)!  Whenever you deconstruct a piece you want to peel back the layers softly to let out the underneath beauty without destroying it.  So, my favorite tools for removing fabric is a thin screwdriver and plyers.
It takes a little patience, but it isn't hard at all.  In fact, pulling nails and staples is relaxing!  Underneath the cover fabric, we found this beautiful mesh of ticking tape and tufted threads.  I knew I wanted to keep them!  So, we trimmed off everything else and left the back in tack...no pun intended!
If you go to Kutv Fresh Living you can watch today's segment where I showed a few tips on how to remove fabric and fill holes.   You can use simple painters fill in the holes you want covered.  Some holes are fine to leave showing as they lend character to the piece, but there will be hundreds of holes.  So you will want to fill some of them.  Let the putty dry and then lightly sand.

Once it is sanded, then you can choose your favorite Prairie Paint color and paint away.  For our Deconstructed Chair, we used the Milk House White.  It is the softest warm white and looks like fresh cream.  (You will want to drink it!)  A couple of coats, let dry, and lightly sand the edges, seal with our finishing oil and you are ready to cover with lined or whatever specialty fabrics you want.
The fabrics we choose were drop cloth linen and a feed sack burlap piece that I found in one of our local antique shops.  We hand stitches the cushion leaving the burlap and springs visible on the bottom and used a staple gun to secure the feed sack to the back.  We choose to cover the staples with thick twine like we did on the sofa (see previous posts).
I hope to bump into you at all the antique shops and flea markets looking for fabulous pieces to turn from old and dusty to farmhouse darling!  Enter to win a crate of our new Prairie Paints by Tweetle Dee by going to our Facebook or Instagram page and commenting on your favorite color.  Then, tag or share with a friend.  The winner will be announced on Monday!


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