Archives For Crafty Goodness

So after posting a roundup of pretty soap pumps last week I decided to go ahead and order this glass oil cruet from Amazon to see if I could make it work as a dish soap dispenser. It arrived on Thursday and I filled it immediately with my lavender-scented store brand dish soap. I was worried that it would be too viscous and I’d need to water it down, but actually it works great! It does take a moment for the air bubble to work its way up and the soap to flow out but after a couple days of use I was convinced to keep it.

olive oil dish soap dispenser

There was one other small issue: as I’d suspected, the smooth glass is a little slick on soapy hands. So on Sunday afternoon I took literally ten minutes to give it a quick little DIY improvement. I started by wrapping some painter’s tape around the top and bottom. I just eyeballed the placement but tried hard to keep it straight and level.

080 (380x570)

Then I brushed on some of this glass etching cream that I’ve had forever. It’s pretty old and seemed kind of goopy so I tested it on the bottom first to make sure it worked. Once I was sure it was still good I applied it to the glass as smoothly as I could manage.

etched glass cruet

I set my kitchen timer for five minutes and then rinsed it off. The moment of truth!

092 (380x570)

It looked pretty good!┬áThe bottle of etching cream had said specifically that it wasn’t intended for use on large, solid surfaces so I was nervous that it would be splotchy but it wasn’t at all.

111 (372x570)

It’d probably look better if it wasn’t almost empty but I’m just keeping it real here. I am not the type of blogger who will make a special trip to the store for more dish soap just so I can get a prettier picture.

DIY Etched Glass Dish Soap Dispenser

It’s subtle difference that’s not even really visible from afar but that wasn’t the point. The point was to make it easier to grip and that mission has been accomplished!

DIY Etched Glass Dish Soap Dispenser.

With all of the incremental changes I’ve been making in the kitchen lately it’s quickly becoming my favorite place to be. Nick and I even decided this weekend to challenge ourselves to go 30 full days without dining out. We usually go out at least once a week, usually more, but we need to cut back on our spending and I’m actually getting to be a pretty good cook. So between now and March 15 I’ll be spending plenty of quality time in here cooking and cleaning. Nick helps, of course, but honestly at the end of the day I’d rather send him off to play with Jack and have some time to myself. Just me, the stove, and Pinterest, haha.

Sometime last year I made these cafe curtains using tea towels and a wooden block wrapped in yarn to stamp a design. I loved the idea, but the execution fell short. They just didn’t turn out the way I’d anticipated and, as much as I tried, I never loved them.

038 (570x380)

Fast forward to a few weeks ago when I painted my kitchen. I took the curtains down to paint the window frame and decided I liked the extra light coming in, but I didn’t love the curtain enough to hem them to hang lower. So I hung some fabric napkins up in the meantime while I devised a plan.

094 (570x373)

I consulted you lovely people, chose a fabric, and yesterday I finally got around to sewing! I have been without a functional washing machine for several weeks now and I was waiting to be able to pre-wash the fabric, but I got sick of waiting and just handwashed it in my kitchen sink. And since I’ve made curtains a billion times now I decided I’d try something new this time and actually line them with some white muslin I already had on hand. You know, like a real live seamstress would do.

013 (570x380)

The care instructions for the printed fabric said not to machine dry it, but I live on the edge so I did anyway. I didn’t want to never be able to machine dry my kitchen curtains for fear that they would shrink and pucker. I have no regrets, despite the fact that I don’t think those horizontal lines you can see running through the blue parts were there before. Anyway, the first thing I did was iron my fabric and then lay it out to cut. I decided to make just one panel using the entire width of the fabric (it’s folded in half in the photo below). I cut it to 36″ long knowing that I would lose several inches to hems.

020 (380x570)

With my smaller piece of fabric laid out flat I gave it another quick pass with the iron and then pressed a hem along the two short sides. I did this by spritzing the fabric with water, folding it over 1/2″, and pressing with my iron. After each side was complete I folded it over another 1/2″ and pressed again. This gives a nice finished edge that won’t fray.

023 (570x380)

026 (570x380)

034 (570x380)

Then I repeated the same process with the top edge, except this time I folded over 1/2″ and then 2″. I was also extra careful here to make sure my folds were straight and even, as a wonky hem at the top could make a geometric pattern like this one obviously crooked.

040 (570x380)

With three sides of my fabric folded over and ironed down I brought in the white muslin I was using for the lining only to discover that I had a problem. I hadn’t accounted for the fact that the muslin was not nearly as wide as the printed fabric when I cut it and so the piece I’d already invested time in handwashing was too small.

045 (570x380)

So I got out the big bolt of muslin that I’ve had for years and cut a piece long enough to cover the full width of the printed fabric (plus a generous allowance to account for possible shrinkage).

048 (570x380)

I quickly handwashed it in my sink, then busied myself with other tasks while I waited an hour for it to dry (it was the only thing in the dryer but I didn’t have the benefit of a spin cycle so it went in sopping). When it was finally dry I laid it out over my printed fabric and carefully lined up one corner, tucking it under the folded edge along the top and one of the sides like so.

051 (570x380)

After making sure they were lined up nicely along those two sides I pinned it in place, making sure to grab both the printed fabric and the lining with the pin.

061 (570x380)

Then I brought the pinned fabric over to my machine and sewed a straight stitch along both sides. When I was finished I brought it back to my mat and used the iron to get it super smooth and flat. If you’re trying this at home be sure to stop your stitches a few inches before the edge on the top so you can still lift the remaining edge.

063 (570x380)

Then I carefully trimmed the lining fabric to be just ever so slightly smaller than the printed fabric.

070 (570x380)

And tucked it in along the third side the same as I’d done a moment before, then pinned and sewed.

072 (570x380)

Bam. Three sides hemmed and the bottom left raw so I can adjust the length, I brought it into the kitchen and clipped it onto the hooks already hanging on the tension rod. I faked a pinch pleat by pinching the fabric before clipping it a few inches below the top of the curtain. You could also use the hem at the top as a rod pocket if you don’t have clips around.

090 (570x380)

As soon as I hung it up and stepped back to take a look Jack scrambled up onto the stepstool I’d just used. He’s really into climbing these days.

082 (380x570)

I was thrilled with the look so I folded and pinned the fabric at each corner to mark the length. If you’re trying this at home and using a curtain rod that’s attached to the wall you might want to pin it all the way across, but since the tension rod is easy to move up or down a smidge if needed I just pinned the corners.

089 (570x380)

Then I folded the fabric over neatly and ironed it right there on the counter. I didn’t choose the quartz counters but I love that they are pretty much indestructible.

093 (570x380)

The hooks are barely big enough to fit around the tension rod and really hard to get on and off so I just brought the whole operation over to my sewing machine. Here’s how the back of it looked after I sewed the bottom (and final!) hem.

108 (570x380)

It was a little late in the day to be taking natural-light photos in my kitchen but I really wanted to post these today instead of waiting until next week (which is the soonest I’d be able to time well-lit pictures). I love love love the way they turned out.

114 (570x380)

Seeing these photos, though, I’m kind of wishing I’d hung them a little lower. The shadow just below the top is bugging me. I could probably fold the bottom hem over once more and it’d be just right. Thoughts?

129 (380x570)

One thing I considered when choosing a curtain fabric was how it would look with the floral fabric skirt in the adjacent laundry room. I’m calling it a win.

138 (570x380)

This has been a super long post so if you’ve made it this far, congrats! I’m so proud of myself for trying something new with the lined curtains–they were actually not too difficult! I’m really happy with the finished result. Do you think I should lower them so that the shadow where the window sashes meet is behind the pleats?

Update: I hemmed and lowered them!

20140206-152209.jpg

I took down the cafe curtains in my kitchen for a few days while I painted and despite the privacy concerns (we live in an historic neighborhood where the houses are really close together), I kind of dug the added light.

038 (570x380)

067 (570x380)

I decided to keep the cafe curtains but maybe hang them a few inches lower, which would require hemming the fabric panels and, you know, I have just never been in love with those curtains. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to change out the fabric. But before I did anything drastic I decided to try hanging up some cloth napkins with curtain clips as a stand-in.

001 (373x570)

I decided I definitely wanted my new curtains to reach all the way to the windowsill, but the lowered height was perfect and the pop of color was fun too. So fun, in fact, that I decided to scrap my original plan to whip up some plain white curtains from fabric I already had on hand and shop around for some more colorful fabric instead. This is only a few feet away from the large-scale floral fabric in the laundry room, so I think that something geometric or small-scale would play nicely. I’m also really digging the idea of navy blue. Here are a few choices I rounded up, all under $12/yard:

geometric and small scale navy curtain fabrics1 / 2 / 3 / 4

5 / 6 / 7 / 8

Here’s a tip when shopping online: pin things you’re interested in to Pinterest (you can use a secret board if you don’t want anyone to see) and Pinterest will suggest other boards that the item has been pinned to. This can help you discover new possibilities through pinners who have similar tastes. I found a couple of these picks that way, and another was through the “you may also like” sidebar on fabric.com. How do you wade through the thousands of fabric options out there to find what you’re looking for (at a price you can afford)? And which fabric do you think I should choose? I have a favorite, but I’m not totally sold.

 

After my moravian star tree topper, the other crafty project I took on this weekend was a finger knit garland for our tree. The purple tinsel garland we already have has seen better days and I wanted to try something more neutral. I already had the supplies on hand so I figured there was no harm in trying, plus this was an easy one to work on while watching TV or even reading a book on my Kindle. I started with this cotton cord, which is actually the very last of a huge spool that’s been used in many, many small projects. I highly recommend keeping some attractive string or twine like this on hand because it is just so useful. I even use it to wrap gifts! Anyway, I did actually end up having to go out for more cord before this project was complete, but I didn’t mind because I know I’ll use it. It was only about $3 with a coupon. For the record, I originally tried to do this project with hemp twine because I had a huge spool of it but it was way too stiff and I gave up after only a couple rows. You could also use yarn, ribbon, strips of fabric, or whatever plentiful, pliable material you have on hand.

025 (380x570)

I watched this youtube video to refresh my memory on how to finger knit. You just wrap the string around your fingers back and forth until you have two rows of loops. The video demonstrates it way better than I can–you can even get the gist without the sound on if you’re at work or hearing impaired.

030 (379x570)

Then, starting with the pinky, I slipped each bottom loop over the one above it and let it slip behind my finger, leaving me with one row of loops.

031 (570x380)

See, my first row of stitches on the back!

032 (570x380)

After a few more rows it still doesn’t look like much, but just keep going and going and going.

033 (570x380)

Make it as long as you want–you could make a bracelet, a necklace, or a long garland like I did. See the video I linked to above for instructions on how to bind it off at the end.

129 (380x570).

134 (380x570)

I really love the natural/neutral vibe it brings to the tree. I think it will look even better once I get some ornaments up there to fill things in a little! And just for kicks, here’s a picture of Jack clinging to me while I knitted the first few rows standing at my desk. He’d been playing happily only moments before, but as soon as he saw I was up to something he was all over me like white on rice. You parents of littles know what I’m talking about.

018 (570x380)

Have a great day, and thanks for reading!