Sunday, May 26, 2013

Custom Drapes (with grommets!)

   In which the saga of finding the perfect fabric continues...

I seem to be doing this master bedroom make over all out of order - I still need to move my workroom stuff to the as yet not built work room, I've only painted one wall, I changed my mind about the color of the dresser (again!), and instead of continuing with the paint, I made the curtains ~ this sounds like the making of a disaster, right?

Not exactly - the curtains are AWESOME! ...and I learned how to make grommet drapes! High five me!! It goes like this.....

1. Make the curtain panels
2. Figure out the spacing of the grommets. You want to start about 1 1/2" to 2" from the edge for your first grommet and about 1" down from the top. Then evenly space the grommets across the fabric. After I marked the locations with pins I folded the fabric to make sure I was happy with the spacing, using the pins as the hole centers. I used the 1" (2.54cm) grommets spaced every 5.5" on 54" wide fabric. This will give you an idea of the size of the folds your going to end up with.
3. Using the template that comes with the package, mark your circles in pencil or chalk all the way across.
4. Then came the scary part - cutting holes in my expensive fabric! Cut the holes one at a time, installing the grommet and then moving to the next hole. The grommets are two pieces, one side has a little raised lip which goes on the back of the fabric. The other side has small raised pins, this one goes on the front. The two pieces snap together. There is a small slot on the front piece, if you want to remove the grommet simply put a flat head screwdriver in the slot and twist. It pops right open.

5. Pretty simple. I ended up using 10 grommets per panel. The package said I would need 8. It depends on how full you want the panels to be, the size of the rod your using, weight of the fabric, etc... I bought the grommets at JoAnne's, they run about $8.00 per package for the 1" and $12.00 for the 2".
6. Then comes the fun part - hang 'em high!
 This is pretty heavy drapery fabric so I simply turned a 3" hem at the top. If you're using a light weight fabric adding an interfacing would be a good idea to keep the shape and support the weight of the fabric.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Master Bedroom ~ Stage ONE

   The master bedroom is not a room that I was ready to start working on just yet. It's a huge space, with a sitting room area. At the moment the sitting area is my office\work space. It's where I make jewelry, paint, sew etc... It's not what I want to do in the space, but I don't currently have a craft~art~sewing room and it's tucked out of the way upstairs. The garage will eventually be the work room but I haven't reached that room yet either!

   Anyway, sometimes creativity has a mind of its own. I found a piece of fabric.... not just any piece of fabric - the fabric. The one that you just know is the perfect fabric for that room. I'm just crazy about travel & advertising art. I especially love the work from the 50's and 60's. It's all so fun and colorful. When I saw this fabric with the awesome Hawaiian vacation motif I just knew I had to have it. So, of course I bought 10 yards of it without actually having a plan.
    As the plan began to coalesce in my tiny pea brain, I saw curtains out of the fabric and the walls in red, dusty blue and green... too much? NO!! Fabric in hand, I head for Lowe's -- I need paint samples! I'm a huge fan of paint samples - it's a great way to see if what's in your head is actually going to work out on the wall, and I had a coupon for free samples!
   I got samples of all the major colors in the fabric, even though the red is very intense. The thought being that maybe it would be okay as an accent wall - besides, my sister said it would be ok and she's very color conservative. What I like to do is try the samples out on several walls so that I can see what the paint will look like in different light sources. I also put all the colors close together to see if they're going to reflect in an odd or unpleasant way.

   I decided that the red is going to make a great accent wall and the dusty blue is going to be a nice calming influence. The green.... hmm, still thinking - might be the bathroom color... or the ceiling.... think, think... I'll get back to you on the green.

   While I'm pondering paint, I got distracted on the internet while looking for art for my new master bedroom. I found a fun, graphic piece for an airline. When I tried to order one it turned out the the largest size they had was 12"x16" - harumph! What I had in mind was more like 30"x40" - sigh. Fine, I'll do it myself.... and that's how the master bedroom project became several projects.

   I went to the Hobby Lobby - bought the biggest picture I could find on clearance - it's 33"x44" - cost me $10.00 - this is a great way to get canvas cheap, a stretched canvas that large would have cost upwards of $80.00. I got a container of Gesso, which is an awesome product for prepping a canvas for paint. I coated the ugly picture with Gesso. While I waited for it to dry - I went back to the internet and saved the picture I had found. I printed it onto a clear transparency and put it on my handy overhead projector. With a little putzing around I got the image the size I wanted and in the right spot on the canvas.
   I lightly traced the image onto the canvas in pencil and, using the poster as my guide, I painted the picture.

   Now, I have this great piece of art that will go on my very red accent wall... right - back to painting the walls. Next time I'll show you the finished walls and we'll talk about making curtains!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Ladies Day!!

   This month was my turn to host our Lady's Day - a day to get together with friends and learn something new. Well, I decided that I'd like to learn how to make the perfect martini - so of course, everyone else wants to learn that too, right?

   So, here's my version of the perfect martini cocktail party.

First - select the martini's you want to serve. For each martini there should be a food pairing.

 I decided that we should start with the classic - James Bond type martini - vodka, vermouth - 'nough said.
When you want to learn how to make a perfect cocktail you go to the experts.... right? I went to Esquire - they have a really nice web site full of great drink recipes!

According to Esquire - the key to the perfect martini is quality ingredients and cold... cold... cold! I use Grey Goose Vodka and Noilly Prat Vermouth.  Swirl a little vermouth around your chilled glass, dump it out, add the vodka and an olive or lemon peel. I served this with a baked brie - so easy, so elegant looking, so delicious and gone so fast!!

The second round was a tribute to the 1980's  and Patrick Swayze - whew! We had a Cosmo and paired it with shrimp cocktail - delightful!
1 oz vodka
1/2 oz triple sec
1/2 oz fresh lime juice
1/2 oz cranberry juice

Shake vodka, triple sec, lime and cranberry juice vigorously in a shaker with ice. Strain into a martini glass, garnish with a lime wedge on the rim, and serve.
I had to end with a killer dessert martini right? As a modern tribute to Ryan Gosling... I served an absolutely decadent Espresso Martini with a fruit plate. This was by far the favorite of all the ladies!
1oz Vodka
1oz Espresso
1\2 oz Creme de Cacao
1\2 oz Kahula

The fruit was served with Amaretto Breeze Fruit Dip - not gonna lie, there were spoons involved!

So, have a variety of martini's - there are hundreds to choose from - and pair them with great foods. Also, if you're serving several different martini's, you can get sample size martini glasses at any good party supply store.  There are also tons of great websites that will help you with your food pairings. Round up some great friends and a few supplies and get ready to enjoy the day!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

A Derby Hat Break

   My sister owns a condo in Soloman's, Maryland. A lovely place to go relax, nice home, great neighbors, a boat.... the works. They have a lot of free time on their hands so they have a lot of ... events.One of the events they have every year is in May - the official Opening of the Pier (or somesuch title). All the neighbors form teams, there are costumes, great food, too much to drink and a pretty serious competition for which pier has the best overall theme.

   This year my sisters group has decided on a Kentucky Derby theme - so, of course she needs an awesome Audrey-Hepburn-My-Fair-Lady-type-derby-hat. I love this idea, its one of my all time favorite movies so of course I offer to make the hat.

   No, I don't know how to make a hat.

   No, I've never attempted anything like this, although I did make a large cheese head for one of my kids.

   Yea, sure -- I got this.

Step 1 - Gather supplies...
 A big (no, really big!) hat
Hot Glue
Stuff that sparkles is especially nice.

Step 2 - Add the hat band, ribbon and feathers - it's all background. Feathers are essential - fluffy  movement is elegant and adds to the general awesomeness of the hat. (Note the sparkly ribbon)
Step 3 - Add the flowers - if they're really big, wire is a great way to secure them. If they're not too heavy the hot glue works. Go for flowers with a ruffly, romantic feel - it suits the event.
Step 4 - Check the back and sides, add some ribbon and a few touches to the back - you have to look good coming and going. Try the hat on to make sure its not too heavy on one side - you can't be listing to one side all evening - people will think you're drunk.
Final Step --
Find a dress that you can rock with the awesome hat - a parasol is a handy item as well - if it rains you have to protect the hat. If it doesn't rain, you can serve chips in the parasol.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Sometimes.... You Just Need An Expert

   Some brilliant man decided that the perfect place to have the cable was on the only long wall in the living room. The same man decided that the perfect place to locate the cable jack was 6ft up on the wall. He thoughtfully added a pvc pipe and and electrical outlet so I could hang the tv on the wall. Sigh.

   So I said, "Can we move the cable to the other wall?" To which husband replies, "Sure, no problem." Months go by, no moving happens. I keep asking.... maybe I should call someone, you know, an expert. No, we can do this... Finally.... after 11 months - the moving commences!

   It looks like this:
   The trough happened because getting the cable through the wall is much harder then you'd think. I don't know why the box had to be cut larger.

   Then it looked like this:
   Draw the future location of the 'stuff' on the wall, cut a hole, put in the frame thingy and some wire. End.

   Then this happened:
   Oh, well ---- hmmm, now what?

Call the damn guy! I did - he's great, going to fix the entire situation for under $300. Sometimes you have to know your limits - apparently our limit is electrical work!

   And while I'm here I'll share another good tip - Angie's List is a great place to find exactly what you need. Great reviews, easy to use & its cheap!

Later, there will be finished pictures of the cable in the right place!