Papasan Chairs, the Addams Family, and a Cold

Papasan Chairs, the Addams Family, and a ColdPapasan Chairs, the Addams Family, and a Cold

The past couple of months or so have been really crazy for me, like seriously, awful crazy. I’ve had to get divorced, sell my house, move, work a big event at work, and go on a business trip. There have also been assorted doctor’s appointments thrown in along the way, on multiple days. I’ve taken more vacation time and sick time in the past couple of months than I have in a while.

I did manage to do a project.

I went to the thrift shop one day, on a day I was actually supposed to go out that same night. In the thrift shop, I saw two papasan chairs and a stool. I really like papasan chairs and I had nowhere to sit, so I asked how much they were. The guy there gave them all to me for twenty-five dollars. The whole deal.

The problem was that they didn’t exactly fit in my car on first try. They wouldn’t fit in the trunk, even if I folded the seats down. I almost thought I wasn’t going to get them home, but then I stuck them in the back door and pushed, and pushed, and pushed and finally they just kind of popped into my car. During this whole thing the thrift shop guy was watching me push papasan chair bowls into the backseat of my car. It was kind of odd, but whatever.

I took the chairs home and dumped them in my living room because I was actually supposed to be going out that night.

A nice guy took me to Greenville and we watched a musical about The Addams family. It was pretty great. The particularly theater company, Center Stage, used video mapping as part of the set. There were traditional props as well, but the video mapping was nifty. The play was very good, so kudos to all the actors, and also, whoever did that video mapping. That was impressive.

Just a side note, if you do go to Center Stage and see a play using video mapping, sit more towards the middle because it’s difficult to see on the side.

After my date, I went back to my house. The next day was crafting day for me. I had to tackle the chairs.

Papasan Chairs, the Addams Family, and a Cold

I decided to spray paint them blue. Do you know how much paint this took?! It took at least four bottles of spray paint. FOUR! Someone else may have a better way of painting stuff like this, but I used at least four bottles of spray paint.

The big dilemma over this whole thing was cushions. Papasan cushions are expensive. I got the bright idea to make them myself, and it mostly works.

I ordered a big box of foam pieces from Amazon, which you can do. I found fleece throw blankets at Wal-mart to use as my fabric and I set to work.

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As you can see, I have cushions now. Each side is a different pattern, because I couldn’t find a good combination of patterns, so if you don’t like it, that’s your problem. The throws are 50″ X 60″ and if I had this to do over again, I would use a bigger piece of fabric. I would probably go for 60″ X 60″ or even 70″ X 70″. This size of fabric creates a cushion narrower than the frame. It still works to sit on, it’s just not as pretty as I would like.

Filling these cushions was awful. The foam stuck to everything. EVERYTHING. The cat kept coming into the room and getting into stuff. You can see her investigating in one of the photos. I swept foam up for days after this. Foam here. Foam there. Foam in my underwear, well, not there, but you get the picture. It’s like when you go to the beach and you still find sand in your underwear four months later and you didn’t even take those underwear to the beach.

I tried to funnel the foam into the cushion shells with the bag, but it didn’t work very well. Foam was just sticking to me from all over. I finally got the cushions sewed up and then I tufted them.

Tufting cushions gives them a bit more firmness than they would usually have were they not tufted; it also looks nice. Tufting is not hard, but you need a big needle and strong fingers. I used yarn to tuft my cushions, probably not the best choice, but it worked.

The next thing I wanted to do with my cushions was to make covers. I ordered cheap mandala wall hangings and zippers. I ended up being awfully sick though. I got an awful cold-throat sort of thing. I was miserable. I felt so awful. I was just stuck at home all weekend, feeling puny.

I watched an entire season of a show about people who lived in interesting houses. Some guy got mad at me because I wasn’t giving him my full attention when I was sick, but whatever.

That Sunday, I finally felt well enough to do a little bit of work. I decided to make the covers for my papasan cushions. I wanted to make cushion covers so I could swap them out easy and wash them easy. I chose red mandala patterns and blue mandala patterns.

The tapestry wall hangings are actually cheap as far as fabric goes and is sturdier than you would think. It’s actually a great buy for the amount of fabric that you get. So keep that in mind when you have projects to do. I added a zipper as well because I wasn’t going to seam rip the covers every time I wanted to wash them or change them.

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Getting the cushion in was the hardest part. I rolled it up like a giant colorful burrito and then straddled it like I was trying to ride one of those fake bar bulls, and slowly got the cushion into the cover and zipped it up.

The results are what you see.

One side is red and the other side is blue, so I can change my mind, if I want, about the overall feeling I want to put off.

I haven’t gotten to making a cushion for the foot stool yet, but I will.

I ended up making two papasan cushions for around the same price as one papasan cushion would cost.

Keep in mind–if you use that foam, it will get everywhere, your children’s children will find it, still, lingering around, and clinging to everything with static electricity so strong, it’s almost satanic.

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Patching up a Bad Week

Patching up a Bad WeekPatching up a Bad Week

On Monday morning, on my way to work, I was hit by a person who ran a stop sign, just down the road from my house. The car, a new car, no longer has a front-end, the air bags deployed, and the car is so messed up I couldn’t even put it in park. If someone tells me it’s fixable, I’m going to ask them what crack they’re smoking.

I’ve been back and forth with Elco, the company who handles Enterprise’s rental car insurance. Let me just go ahead and tell you now–if you can at all avoid a wreck with someone driving an Enterprise rental car, do so. It turns out they’re not so easy to deal with.

As it seems now, my car looks totaled. I had no way to get around until this past Saturday evening when my mother brought up my old car for me to drive until Enterprise decides to give me a rental car.

Patching up a Bad WeekOn Friday, someone was viewing my house and somehow, someway, don’t know how, a pipe underneath my house was broken. I had water that morning and I don’t know when this happened or if it happened while people were looking at it. Why they were looking under the house I don’t know. Maybe they check every house they look at to see if there are any visible dead bodies underneath each and every house they view?

So the realtor calls me and says there is a broken pipe. I have absolutely no way to get home from work. I already got someone else to take me to work, for which I am very grateful. So I told the realtor this. He decided to call my husband, whom I am separated from. To no one’s surprise, but the realtor, I got two nasty voicemail messages from my separated husband. I mean, they were mean.

The whole gist of the thing was about how I knew where the water cut offs were to the house and he shouldn’t be dealing with this because he has already told me that I am supposed to take care of everything dealing with the main house as per our court order, which isn’t true. We’re supposed to split costs for any repairs that the realtor deems necessary to sell the house, if reasonable, but whatever, I’m not my husband and I don’t make up his mind.

As I have been having anxiety issues, all due to my separated husband, I had a mild anxiety attack because of these voice mails. I end up shaking and almost bursting into tears when I call the realtor back asking him not to call my husband about anything dealing with the house as far as repairs go. I ended up losing my appetite and ate nothing all day long until dinner time.

I called around and sought the help of anyone I could think of to get this repaired. A very nice man and his wife, who go to church with me, came over, in the dark, and the cold, to fix this for me. I am so grateful to them for taking their time to come over and help me. It’s people like them that prove that there are still good people in the world.

So I had water, hooray!

Bad things are over right? Wrong…

So Saturday morning, I get up and I’m doing housework. I put my comforter in the washer to wash it, because it’s kind of dingy. I had spot cleaned off smaller things. Turns out the washer tried to eat my comforter, and it’s a nice comforter. I’ve put it in the washer before and it’s been fine.

There was a giant hole ripped in the side of my comforter. Seriously, after all the other crap that happened during the week, I had to deal with this too.

Before I could patch this though, there were other things that happened, but these were relatively good things. My mom drove up my old car for me to drive until I got a rental car. It’s a 2007 Hyundai Accent, the first car I bought and it’s trashed now, I didn’t do it. There are stains everywhere, the inside lights don’t work and the driver’s side visor is broken, but it goes!

Patching up a Bad WeekMy cousin came down from North Carolina to get my Ginger cat. As I will have to move in the near future, most likely to an apartment, my cousin is taking charge of my Ginger cat as she likes to go outside. I’m hoping her transition won’t be too bad. She is a good cat.

Later, after everyone was gone, I decided to patch my comforter, which you can see, in my pictures. I used two quarter pieces of fabric from Wal-mart, an off-white piece and a light blue piece, to patch my comforter. The design is oil based permanent marker, which I drew straight onto the fabric. I copied the quilted pattern as best I could. The patched piece stayed, even after going through the dryer again, so I guess I did a pretty good job.

My night wore on and I started to feel awful. It turns out I kept feeling awful and I felt awful into the night. I couldn’t go to sleep for the longest time and I felt awful Sunday morning when I woke up.

Sunday morning also held something else…a rabbit.

I looked out the window and I saw a rabbit. It was a big rabbit, too big to be a wild rabbit for the area. I thought maybe it kind of hung out around the area after someone had let it out and figured it had been what my cat had been chasing outside. I took a couple of pictures of it.

Later when I looked, the rabbit was gone. That afternoon, after feeling poorly all day, I looked back outside and saw the rabbit again. I had already contemplated catching it with my Have-a-Heart trap, but I decided to go outside and see if I could catch it with my hands, which I could, and did. So now there’s a rabbit inside of my house. It’s a male rabbit who doesn’t seem all too bothered by being around people or cats.

Seriously, I went outside in my pajamas, while sick, and caught a rabbit with my bare hands…how productive were you on Sunday?

I really hope this week is calmer. In the end, I’m still alive and going despite someone running a stop sign and almost killing me and dealing with an angry and bitter man. It will take more than that to kill me. Hopefully the saying is true,–“Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

A Spoonful of Sugar

A Spoonful of SugarA Spoonful of Sugar

For quite a while I haven’t felt as if I could dress up for Halloween. There were certain gloomy voices that said Halloween was stupid and it should not be celebrated, probably because it was the Devil. I’m paraphrasing of course, but the idea was, “We don’t celebrate Halloween.” It was only this past year, 2014, that I began to ignore those voices and dress up again.

A Spoonful of Sugar
Lady Doctor Who-4th Doctor

Last year, I was Lady Doctor Who, the 4th doctor to be exact. I dyed a coat of a similar shade to the 4th doctor’s, I made my own very long multi-colored scarf, and I picked out a hat. Ultimately, I think I did well. I even curled my hair to be curly like his. Everyone kept asking me if it was my real hair; yes, it was my real hair.

This year, I didn’t really have anything in mind. I thought about being Mary Poppins, the thought just sort of popped into my head, much like Mary Poppins pops into places. I thought about doing a traditional Mary Poppins, but then I thought about what kind of earrings Mary Poppins should wear. She should definitely wear earrings made of spoons. Regular Mary Poppins wouldn’t wear spoon earrings, she was much too classy for that, and thus, the idea for Hipster Mary Poppins was born.

A Spoonful of SugarHipster Marry Poppins is unimpressed, how ironic.

Hipster Mary Poppins came to life with the help of spoons, a towel, some ribbon, and some strategically chosen pieces of clothing.

Look here, if you’re dressing up for Halloween and pulling together your own costumes, buy items that you can wear other times of the year. Try to find accessories and shirts and shoes that will work on other days than Halloween. It’s fun to dress up, but it’s always good to be thrifty.

Pieces of the costume:

  • Pinstripe Fedora(I already owned this)
  • Glasses(because hipsters where glasses. These were my backup pair.)
  • A grey blazer(purchased from Cato and wearable most of the year)
  • White shirt(I already owned it)
  • A red camisole(I already owned it as well)
  • Dark blue jeans(already owned. Mary’s skirt in the movie is actually navy colored, so it’s a good approximation.)
  • Black boots(I already owned these as well)
  • Spoon earrings and spoon necklace(I made these. More on that in a bit.)
  • “Carpet” Mary Poppins Bag(I made this as well. More on that in a bit.)
  • “Flowers” for my hat(They’re made of bits of ribbon I had lying around.)
  • Umbrella(not pictured here, I carried it around all day. It was my usual umbrella, but I have an umbrella with the crook on the end, so it fit.)

“Carpet” Mary Poppins Bag

The “carpet” bag isn’t actually a carpet, although I did think about making it out of an actual throw rug. when I was shopping for thin pliable rubs, I never found anything that really jumped out at me and the name of the game was thrifty, so I wasn’t about to pay anything over ten dollars for my materials. This is where an ugly orange towel came into play. It was the most carpet-y looking towel I could find and it was only $7.99 at Ross.

As you might be able to tell, this towel isn’t really orange anymore, that’s because I dyed it. I took my Scarlet red Rit dye and mixed a bit of black in with it to create the color you currently see on the bag. There are obviously still orange undertones, that’s because the bag was orange to start with. When you dye material and it’s not white or light-colored, whatever the color is will still exist in the finished product to a degree.

I did not cut the towel at all to create the bag.

I folded the towels in thirds, because I wanted to make it like a messenger bag, very hipster-ish. I sewed up the sides creating a pocket, which would be the bag part.

I then folded the sides of the bag to get those triangle points you see in the third picture. The purpose of this is to create a bottom to the bag. You don’t have to do this step, but your bag will have more of a shape if you do. Get your corners and sew across each one, horizontally. You might be able to see where I put pins as my guide of where to sew.

I then turned the bag right-side out and sewed a few pleats in the top, because the flap is obviously wider than the rest of the bag now. The pleats are to give it some interest and take up some of the extra material.

For a strap I used a cheap belt I never wear. I plan on altering this bag in the future to be a little more usable than it currently is adding an adjustable strap and altering the flap a little more and also possibly adding a closure device.

You could use any towel to make a bag.

The Spoon Jewelry

This jewelry was made of real spoons and this was the first time I have ever made jewelry out of silverware. I have worked with metal before, but not many times. Marking artwork with metal is a bit more difficult than paper or fabric arts. Metal working can be dangerous so if you set forth to make yourself jewelry out of spoons, be careful.

Materials for this project:

  • As many spoons, forks, whatever, that you want
  • Wire
  • Earring hooks
  • Small jewelry loops
  • A bit of chain
  • A clasp
  • A power drill
  • A rotary tool aka a Dremel with heavy-duty cut-off wheels and engraving bits
  • Safety goggles
  • Ear plugs

For the spoons, I went to Wal-Mart, where a trip down the kitchen utensil aisle will net you four spoons for 88 cents. I bought three packs of spoons. The earrings are made from the teaspoons while the necklace is made of tablespoons.

I used my rotary tool, which is totally not a Dremel tool, but a rotary tool from Chicago Tools; it’s much cheaper than Dremel and I got a ton of attachments and bits with it. You can find it at RadioShack. I used heavy-duty cut-off wheels and my rotary tool to cut off the spoons where I wanted them cut off. This can be dangerous; sparks may fly. It gets hot. The cut-off wheel is sharp and they often fly off into ten different pieces, so be careful.

For those of you who don’t know, the cut-off tools are used with multiple passes. You cannot cut straight through something with these thin wheels. It will take at least ten passes to cut through each spoon. The best idea is to clamp the spoons to the edge of your work table with a C-clamp so they don’t move.

One of the things I did with my spoons is use the engraving bits on my rotary tool to draw a design in the spoon bowls. Engraving is very loud. Use the ear plugs.

I then used both my rotary tool and my power drill to drill holes in the spoons. If you’re doing this, use the power drill. The rotary tool will work, but takes much longer because it isn’t as powerful as the power drill and you may very likely burn through several bits doing this. Save yourself the trouble and just use the power drill. A regular drill bit will work fine. Don’t do this on your nice table–work bench or piece of scrap wood only.

Once I had holes in all my spoons I strung them together. The earrings only had one hole each and I used earring pieces in those, fairly simple. The necklace is in a bib style. Notice I cut my spoon at different lengths. I also used the handles of the spoons in my design.

In the end, I learned how to make some jewelry from silverware and I now have a pretty fierce spoon necklace and pair of earrings.

Overall

I believe Hipster Mary Poppins was a success. It was a unique idea that was fun to execute.

 

 

 

If Your Pants are the Wrong Color

If Your Pants are the Wrong ColorIf Your Pants are the Wrong Color

There are sometimes situations in my life that seem unchangeable. I look for solution and I come up empty. One of those recent predicaments was a lack of brown pants.

I love browns. Brown is a great color. It’s earthy. It goes with a lot of things. It reminds me of nature. It’s not the harshness and darkness of black. It’s a warmer and friendlier color. Unfortunately, though, I did not have a pair of brown pants. It’s not that brown pants don’t exist, because they do; the problem is that I couldn’t find brown pants that worked for me.

I went to the store. I tried on brown pants. One pair was way too tight, even though it was a size up from what I normally wear. The other pair hung down from my butt and was incredibly baggy in the back and made me feel like an elephant. Keep in mind that these were the same size of pants.

Women’s clothing sizes and inconsistency is a whole other rant.

I felt a bit defeated because I really wanted a brown pair of pants, a nice pair of brown pants that I could wear to work. A person can only wear black pants so many times before getting bored.

I decided that I would tackle this issue on my own. I am stubborn. If there is not a ready-made solution for a problem I have, I will fix it on my own. A person can’t let something like this get in their way. You find a way to make it work. That’s exactly what I did.

If Your Pants are the Wrong ColorThe picture above is my dye box. I have assorted dyes and supplies in this box and it has helped me find solutions to many problems. I knew that I had dark brown dye in this box and I knew I could use it to solve my problem.

I happened to have a pair of grey pants, which fit fine, unlike those pants I tried on at the store, and I didn’t wear the grey pants that often, so I decided they were a good candidate for the brown dye.

The grey was a lighter grey and it would take the dark brown dye fairly well.

Below are quick dye instructions:

  • Get the item you’re dying wet, with hot water. The entire piece of fabric should be soaked.
  • Put the piece of fabric in a pot, or the sink, full of hot water.
  • Add the dye. How much dye you put in depends on how rich you want the color and how much the fabric you’re dying weighs.
  • Agitate the fabric. I use long dish-washing gloves so I don’t get dye on my hands. I have another story about how my hands were green for about a week, but that is another story.
  • Add salt to the water for cotton.
  • Let the fabric sit in the dye for a while.
  • Make sure to stir it every so often.
  • Drain the water and rinse the fabric with cold water until it runs mostly clear or clear.
  • Put the fabric in the dryer until dry.

If Your Pants are the Wrong ColorThe picture is my pair of now-brown pants next to my black pants

I am a DIY-er at heart, because I’m an artist, but DIY-ing things has helped me through many binds, not that not having a brown pair of pants is that big of a deal, but even small problems can cause stress and I don’t need any more stress on top of all the things I’m already dealing with.

If it doesn’t work, make it work. If there is a situation that causes you stress, make yourself a solution. Life is just too short to stress over not having the right color of pants.