Monday, November 8, 2010

A Few New Projects I've Been Working On

I've been working on this valance for the kitchen for about a month.
I used "Aunt Martha's Superb Herbs 4001" for the actual herb part in the center of each 'frame'. I designed the frame part around each herb based on a picture I saw of a corner design for an embriodery machine.

The basil was probably my favorite.

The decorative edging on the bottom actually looked like this, but I thought that while the whole thing would be overwhelming, half of it would make a nice trim. The tan color in the edging (not only in the stripe, but also in the cording between the black cording in the loops) is the exact same shade as the curtain. I ran a line of stitching down each side of the black stripe in the center to stabilize the trim before I cut it apart. I still ended up with a ton of black, gossamer like thread all over the place, but once I pulled out the black the rest stayed put while I sewed it in the curtain.
Then there were curtains for the sunroom. Sheers actually, but what else would you put in a room designed to let in sunlight? I could have taken a picture of the window on the other side of the room as well, but it looks pretty much the same, just a few different items around the window. The little things mixed in with the sheers are beads.
We got the idea for the strands of beads from a set of beaded curtain accents Bree and I saw some time ago in a home decor store when we went in search of a valance for the livingroom window.  Those were big chunky beads on thick ribbons, but while they were cute, they would have been a little heavy for the overall look I was trying to achieve in the sunroom, plus they were $20 per set of three. The girls and I were able to make all the beaded strands (10 per window, strung on pearl cotton embriodery thread) and buy everything else for the windows, including the rods for about what we would have spent on the beads alone if we had purchased just four sets of the ones we saw in the store.  There were five strands on each corner; three having a pattern and two which were more random. Bree and Ri strung most of the beads.
We used this pillow as the inspiration for the strands of beads.
I was using very inexpensive sheers and I wanted a swag effect, but they didn't have a swag available, so I sewed two of the longer sheers together to make the swag. Then I fashioned this little piece out of some of the beads and this semi-circle thing I think was intended for a necklace in order to gather the swag in the middle to hide the seam.  All in all, I think it turned out pretty well. Superman, who doesn't usually care anything at all about home decor, actually complimented us on them and told Ri he would like to have curtains like that in their home one day.
I still have one valance left to make; for the sewing (computer, whatever) room, but I probably won't work on that until this weekend.
For the record, I'ts not that I'm a huge fan of valances or anything, it's just that hubby doesn't really like curtains. He likes the clean, simple (ok - I'm fighting the urge to say stark - and I just lost) look of plain blinds. We have the nice plantation style blinds, and while they are nice for blinds, I just can't stand it anymore. We've lived here for 2 1/2 yrs and I'm getting tired of plain ol' blinds. I figured valances would be a compromise; a little color for me, and not too much "stuff" for him.  The sheers are window length, but they are sheers (plus, I staked a claim on that room - I always wanted one I could cram full of plants). And to give hubby his props, he has been very supportive of the whole thing, even when I bought a curtain rod for the kitchen window that wouldn't work and asked him to go back out that night and buy another one. He made an excellent choice.
This is a rug Ri and I made to put in front of the sliding glass door in the sunroom. She cut most of it out and pieced it. I appliqued the words and quilted it. I know, it doesn't exactly match the colors in the pillow or beads, but it does have teal in it and the red matches some of the pots I have in there. Also, since the piano is in there (and often the flute and guitar) I just couldn't resist this group of fabrics. You can't really see it well, but both of the lighter blocks have music measures in them and the fabric in the center is a toile print of people playing instruments. The black prints are obviously a good choice for a rug. And, if you look just to the right (sorry, just caught that - to the left) of the pillow above, you'll see another pillow we have in there that has colors that are much the same as these.
We got the idea for this rug in "Step-On-It Rugs", designed by Pearl L. Krush.
Something I've had brewing for awhile now is this nasturtium vinegar. Didn't it turn out to be a gorgeous color? I can't wait to try it in a vinaigrette. 

The rest aren't really projects, but I'll include them anyway.
I'm not about to take photos of all my fall decorations (Have I ever mentioned how much I love pumpkins? No? Well I do.), but I would like to show this little fellow because you can't imagine the debate that has raged between some of the girls about how these pumpkins should be arranged. I think some of them change it everytime it's their turn to do dishes.
Then there's T.Lynn's favorite decoration. Mr. Squirrel must grace the table throughout autum, or according to her, just any ol' time. The only problem with him is that the salt runs out of that acorn so quickly you have to be very careful.
I couldn't resist this little lantern I found the other day. I'm not much of a shopper, but every once in awhile I do have to go into a store, and I'm a sucker for lanterns and bird houses. I'll have to get a picture soon of the lantern I turned into a terrarium.
Interestingly enough, this little cutting from one of the pothos, rooting in a jelly jar, is one of my favorite decorations. It's sitting in the kitchen window and I just love seeing that little thing there everytime I go to the sink.
And finally, one of the few full shots you'll probably ever see around here. I figured it couldn't do much harm to show a picture of Grandma on my blog since all my cousins are posting pictures up on their facebook pages.
Not bad for 90, huh?  I might be biased, but I think she's beautiful. She's usually in a hurry to go to bed each night (at around 7:30), but she stayed up 'til 10:30 the night I was making the flowers for the cake, just so she could watch. :D I used two of her favorites; pink roses and violets - don't ask me why they look blue, they really were purple. I got tickled at her Saturday morning after I had finished putting the flowers on the cake. She was quicker than the two little girls at snatching up some of the extra flowers once I told them I had all I needed. I guess she has about 80 years more experience than they have of sneaking sweets.
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  1. Wow! Such industry and creativity. All the projects look fabulous. Love the beading!
    Your mum does look wonderful for her age and that cake is very special. You are amaingly talented, Becky!

  2. All looks so lovely Becky and your Grandma is beautiful!

    Have a week filled with happiness. xxxx

  3. Thank you very much ladies. You are very gracious.

  4. Wow! You HAVe been busy. I think I like the pulls on the curtains the best. NEED to do that. Also, what fibers are in the rug?

    Good job all around.

  5. The face and back of the rug are just cotton, and the batting is polyester (a scrap I had for some reason). I would have used more durable material except that door is really not used all that much. For some reason the kids love to run around to the garage and storm up the ramp - maybe because of how much noise it makes! :D We have non-slip rug tape on the backing so it woun't slide when you step on it.

  6. Thanks for the pictures of your finished herb embroidery. I'm just starting back to embroidering after about 30 years and just needed a little color idea to get started. Your curtains are terrific.