Autumn in August?

Ok, so I know it’s barely the start of August, but as most of you crafters and those of you in retail know, it’s basically already Thanksgiving.  Well, as far as the retailers would have us believe.  Even though it’s been this way for years and years already, I STILL get so shocked when I see stores roll out new seasonal merchandise at least 3 months prior.  And of course, there’s ALWAYS the grumblers complaining that it’s waaaaayyyy too early to be thinking about the upcoming season.

As much as I still get shocked, in a way, I understand the early jump start.  We’re constantly taught that the early bird gets the worm, right?  To stop being lazy, and that procrastination gets you nowhere.  That successful, organized people plan ahead, no?  If you think about it, if the stores waited until summer actually started before they set up summer themed merchandise, we wouldn’t have time to get the perfect swimsuit for our Hawaiian vacation.  We might not have the money all at once to get all of the awesome Christmas decor, and still have time to set it up and enjoy it long enough before it’s time to tear it all down.  As a crafter, you know it’s essential to start early in order to complete your projects in a timely manner.  The older I get, the more and more I try to remind myself that this early planning is much more beneficial, at least for me.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am such a bad procrastinator!  I’ve gotten better as I’ve gotten older, but it’s still something I work on and am trying to improve about myself.
Over the last couple of years, I’ve been surprisingly proactive when it comes to seasonal decorating.  Since switching jobs, I’ve had much more free time to get things done.  Now that all of the fall decor has rolled into retailers, my bank account hopefully won’t suffer!  Im such a sucker for the fall and winter months (you wouldn’t think so living in So Cal!)!

I’ve had a grapevine wreath in my stash for like 2-3 years now…seriously.  I made it a point that I was going to finally sit down and use it up.  I headed to my local Dollar Tree and grabbed a few great floral picks and pumpkins before they’re all gone.  If you’ve never ventured into a Dollar Tree, you’re missing out!  Now, obviously floral items from craft stores are going to have a bigger and somewhat better selection, but honestly, the Dollar Tree floral is pretty amazing!  I guarantee you, nobody will ever believe you only spent a few dollars!

*I hate the little bald spot above “give” so I fixed it after the picture was taken

The only *major* purchase was the tiny owl from Jo-Ann Fabric.  I had a roll of 2″ burlap in my stash that I cut up to make the mini banner.  I wrote out the message in sharpie to act as a guide for the black acrylic paint.  I was planning on using some heat transfer vinyl with my cricut, but I got too lazy.  In retrospect, I kind of wished I had used vinyl, but I still love it!

I really love how it turned out, and I can’t wait to make some more!  I want to put it on the front door already, but I know that’s pushing it!

Till next time!

Nik

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DIY Blackout Curtains: Semi-tutorial

With all of the crafting I’ve been doing lately, it feels so strange when I don’t get a chance to work on anything for the week.  In fact, I feel guilty if I don’t get some practice in.  I know I’ve still got a ways to go, so I feel like I should be getting practice in daily.  Between work and personal time, it isn’t always possible, or even practical to craft a lot.  

Last month’s craft to-do list was a little bit long, but I’m happy to say I at least finished a little more than the previous month’s list. I still need to increase the time spent making things, so I know I need to get more control of my scheduling/time management.

One of the things that I enjoy most about crafting is when the finished product is a functional piece to the home, office, or wherever necessary.  After finishing the curtains for my fabric storage shelf, I wanted to finally tackle the blackout curtains I’ve needed.  I originally wanted to make all new curtains, but I decided I’d rather save the money and just repurpose the existing curtains.  It’s also a cheaper option than buying pre-made blackout curtains.

**This process will also work for any lining you want to add to an existing curtain panel, not just blackout lining.

I picked up some Roc-Ion Blackout Lining Fabric from my local Jo-Ann Fabric.  It could technically work as either a main fabric, an attached lining fabric, or a second layer that just hangs behind the main fabric.  I chose to use it as a lining fabric directly attached to the main fabric.  Another benefit to using the existing curtains is that you already know the finished dimensions needed, and the hems are already pressed into the fabric for easy guidelines.

I unfortunately didn’t take any photos of the process because I originally wasn’t going to post about it since I wasn’t really “creating” anything.  I figured it might help someone else out who’s looking to make their own blackout curtains, so I’ll try to write out as many details as possible.  

**Disclaimer:  I’m in no way a professional, and this is certainly not the only way.  It may not even be the best way, but it was easy and worked for me, so hopefully it can help someone else!

1). READY…SET…RIP!

Begin carefully seam ripping all of the existing sewing lines from the manufacturer.  This will give you one large rectangle of fabric (as if you’re starting from scratch).


2). CUT THE BLACKOUT LINING FABRIC:

Length:  Cut about 2″ less than what the FINISHED curtain length will be.  For example: if the finished length from top of the rod pocket to the bottom hem measures 60″, cut the blackout lining to 58″.  This will make sure the raw edges of the lining are encased within the hem while reducing bulk for sewing.  It’s not vital, you could still make it the same length of the main fabric, but it may increase the bulkiness when sewing the hems.

Width:  Cut 1″ less than what the TOTAL width of the main fabric measurement is (the measurement from side edge to side edge after seam ripping).  We’re cutting it shorter to create a self-binding effect that will hide the raw edges and keep the blackout lining from rolling to the front of the curtains.

3). SEW IT UP!

Place fabrics right sides together.  Line up one side seam, pin.  Since we cut the length of blackout fabric shorter, be sure center it in the main fabric so that equal amounts of the main fabric are at the top and bottom.  

Sew side seam only using a 1/2″ seam allowance.  Repeat along the other side seam.  Do not sew top and bottom seams.

4). ALMOST THERE!

Turn fabrics right sides out, press.  You will start to see where the front fabric naturally pulls towards the back, creating a border along the sides.  Pin side seams if desired and topstitch.  Repeat with other side seam.  This creates a really nice, professional finish to the backside of your curtain.


5). HEADING FOR THE FINISH LINE

Now all that remains is to fold down the top to create the rod pocket, and fold up the bottom hem.  Use the manufacturer hem lines as a guide and it will make life so much easier.  When you fold and press the main fabric towards the back, it should cover up the raw edges of the blackout lining.  If for some reason it does not, give yourself more slack in the seam allowance until the lining is covered.  Pin and topstitch in place and you’re done!  Repeat process with any additional curtain panels you may have.


I love that there are no raw edges exposed and that the lining and main fabrics work together as one unit.  

Fabric Organization and Sewing New Curtains

I recently did a major spring cleaning through my craft closet and it feels great!  I let go of some things I wasn’t using and just didn’t really need anymore.  I needed to reorganize some areas so I could actually get to my supplies more easily and use them!

I normally keep all of my fabrics and yarns inside plastic storage bins so they don’t get dust buildup.  The problem with this is that I can’t ever get to the ones I need.  I also end up forgetting what I have on hand.

I decided to make mini bolts of fabric and put them on shelves so I can see everything.  I must say, I’m liking it much better already!


I didn’t want to spend any money because I wasn’t sure at first if I’d like the new way.  I had a package of 8 1/2 x 11 chipboard pieces from scrapbooking days, so I figured they would suffice for now.  All small remnant pieces are just folded for now.  

I don’t want them to get exposed to dust (and mostly Karla’s pet hair!) now that they’re out in the open, so I made some curtains to help keep them dustfree.

I picked up some Keepsake Calico fabric from JoAnn Fabrics.  I think it’s a nice print without being too bright or busy for my taste.


A simple rod pocket style curtain and cheap tension rod did the trick!