Friday, August 26, 2016

Alexander's T-shirt Quilt

Alexander is the son of my good friend Cindy.  I've known him since he was born. 

This Spring he graduated from high school.  I told him that if they wanted to pay for the materials I would put the time in and make him a t-shirt quilt for his graduation gift. 

Alexander was all over that. 

He is a funny kid.  He has Asperger's and is very OCD about some things.  It was difficult for him at first to go thru all his shirts and "give" them away, even though the majority of them didn't even fit him anymore. However, having them in a quilt will make both him and his mom happy (i.e. less shirts in his dresser drawers sitting there doing nothing).

I had him go thru his t-shirt stash with me and he showed me the ones that for SURE had to go in the quilt and then depending on how the size and design ended up we had another pile of shirts to add to as needed.  I didn't use up all the shirts he gave me, but we did use 24 of them.  Not everyone will have that many shirts but Alexander NEVER wears a solid t-shirt....NEVER.  It has to have some logo or something on it.

This is the first time I have put together a t-shirt quilt that didn't involve the majority to be school or sports themed shirts.  In fact, he only had one shirt that represents his school.  Instead, Alexander likes video games, goofy sayings, Star Wars, Pok√©mon, etc.  So I had to pull that all together in this quilt.

Here is the top all put together before sending it off for quilting.

He picked out his sashing/border fabric as well as the backing fabric.  He wanted to choose and not have me pick out something for him.  Fine with me.

I just heard back that the quilting is done and I should get it back next week.  I asked Lynn to quilt his name and graduation year on a blank block that I included in the quilt since he didn't have any shirts with his name.  I guess I need to go find some binding fabric to go with now that I know the quilt is coming back.

  • Zelda and Gang fabric from JoAnn's.  Needed 6 yds. for the backing and it couldn't be matched perfectly.  I tried.  From a distance it will hardly be noticeable.

The other t-shirt quilts that we've put together.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Baby J in her swimsuit

This is my cousin Daniel and his cute daughter.

He sent me this pic of her in the swimsuit I made for her.
Seriously this little girl is darling...and already she loves the water.

Hope you all are enjoying your summer too!

Post about the swimsuit

Monday, July 11, 2016

Painted the porch swing

 Last week I spray painted the porch swing.
It looks brand new and is so much fun.

I really wanted to paint the swing like this:

I so wanted to do this to our swing but the back slats are vertical not horizontal.  Rats!:

But alas my swing slats didn't go that direction.

I was slightly lazy about painting and probably should have taken the entire thing apart so that I didn't get any of the hardware painted.  That seemed like too much effort.  Besides, by keeping it hanging up I could just flip it over and spray the bottom without having to prop it up against anything else.  And the day I painted it was so warm that it dried super quick.

Instead of taking the swing apart I broke out the Glad Press 'n Seal Wrap and put it over the chain parts near where I was spraying and any of the bolts that I could get to. 

It felt pretty genius on my part.
Once it all dried I just pulled it off and threw it in the trash.

What our view looks like as you sit in the swing.


Thursday, July 7, 2016

Samuel's T-shirt Quilt Top

Our nephew Samuel, in Nebraska, just graduated from Hastings High School this past May
(as well as received his Eagle Scout Award). 

Post graduation he gathered up the t-shirts he felt he could part with and sent them to me so I could put together this t-shirt quilt.

He is a tall guy (goes without saying for our family)--about 6'3"
and so I had to make sure this quilt was long enough to cover his frame.
That was a trick as he didn't have as many shirts as his sister did.
His older sister is the blondie middle one of this trio of cousins. 
I had to be a bit more creative in how I put his quilt all together.

The finished top.
I am really loving the gray/black keyboard look.

A little close-up of some of the t-shirt piecing I did for the borders.

Now to pick out the back, binding and send it off to the quilter.

  • Front and back (where possible) of about 7 t-shirts plus a sleeve logo.  He had an EXACT duplicate of the white shirt front and back so I only cut the paw print off the second shirt and placed it in the quilt.
  • For this quilt I pieced much more of the solid color portion of the t-shirts to add to it, including the sashing. I might have even pulled some solids from other t-shirt quilt extras I had.
  • Post about his sister's t-shirt quilt. You can see how different they ended up being even though they attended the same high school and both ran cross country.
  • Finished quilt top dimensions: 69 x 89 inches

Monday, July 4, 2016

A-Frame Porch Swing Frame

I like a good porch swing. 
It reminds me of my Grandma Johnson. 
They always had a swing at their homes. 
Though the swing that Grandpa made at their Idaho Falls home was more like this glider.

When we moved last year we took the porch swing with us that had been hanging on our kids' swing set.  The new owners didn't want the swing set and we gave it away on Craigslist in about 2 hours after listing it, but the porch swing came with us.

On Saturday hubby and I made the A-frame for the porch swing.
I'm not going to show the entire process, but just a few to give you an idea.  We based it off of a couple plans we found.  I listed the links at the end.

 17 degree angle cut on the legs and markings of where the cross pieces will attach.

 Leg pieces

 We used a circular saw to cut the lap joints on the legs.
We could have just attached the 2 x 4 pieces with a butt joint but lap joints are stronger.
You just make a number of cuts between the markings down to the depth that you need.
Measure and adjust the blade as needed.

 Then hubby just used a chisel to bust out the cut pieces.

 Once the cut pieces are all out then you do a little clean-up with the chisel.

After you have all the cuts done we dry fit the pieces and take additional measurements of the cross pieces.  The larger piece on top is the beam placed there to determine the correct placement.

Then we just started assembling and screwing down pieces. 

The only cutting down of pieces were on the 2 x 4's.  We left all the 4 x 4's at 8 feet and the top 4 x 6 beam at 8 feet also.  We debated on cutting some of it down, but decided we liked it as is.  The bottom of the top beam ended up being 7 feet 4 inches from the ground once we were all done.

Porch swing is in place. 
It would've been nice to actually hang it on our front porch too;
however, there would not have been much room to actually do any swinging.

You can see the stump back left that we need to remove too. Here is the post on that tree. And then we plan on putting a garden back in that spot too now that it isn't covered entirely by shade.

 A little close-up of how hubby attached and stabilized the beam and frame.
We angled the legs out 10 degrees to prevent some rocking from side to side.
The little stabilizer block piece is cut 45 degrees on the right,
10 degrees on the left and is 6 inches long.

After some time decided to place the swing here so we could enjoy the view of the pond and sunsets. We eventually plan on putting in a permanent fire pit there in front of the swing.

I am really happy with how it turned out for us.
It already is a nice addition to our backyard.

  • (4) 4 x 4 x 8 ft. green treated beams for support legs --$7.65 each
  • Cut top of each leg piece at 17 degree angle.
  • (2) 2 x 4 x 8 ft. green treated boards for cross support --$3.75 each
  • (1) 4 x 6 x 8 ft. green treated beam for top post --$15.57 each
  • Total Lumber $53.67
  • Plans based off this frame and this frame.
  • How to cut half-lap joints here.
  • Swing hook kit hardware from Menards for about $9 for the pair.
  • Bench swing bought at thrift store a couple years ago ($30). It'll be painting it next.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Open Wide Zipper Pouch

Daughter #2 has been out in Idaho for a couple weeks working for her aunt and uncle with their fireworks business.  She'll be home after the 4th of July sometime but this has been a good little trial run for her of living away from home.  AND it was the first time ever that she flew in a plane.  For a girl who has some anxiety issues, she did great.  She texted and sent pics along the way, and at one point said she "was tempting fate by flying in 2 planes on the same day."  Silly girl! 

Thanks to Ms. Devyn who helped her from Minneapolis to Salt Lake City.  She sort of adopted our daughter at the airport check-in kiosk when she found out they were both flying to SLC.  It was nice that she didn't have to worry so much.  I love it when we find good people along our roads in life.

She needed some storage items to keep everything corralled since she'll be gone for 5-6 weeks.  So I made her this zipper pouch so that she can keep her AP summer homework all in the same place.

Once you make one of these you'll see how quick they sew up.
And how easy it is to make whatever size you need.
It might become slightly addicting too.


Friday, June 24, 2016

Magnetic Chalkboard Frame

This project took way more time and effort than I think it needed.
But I guess that is what happens when you are just winging it.

Finished up

 Frame and paint detail

Hanging in my entry with the real life shoes lying everywhere.

 Close-up of metal glued onto the board.
I cut the metal to shape with a pair of tin snips.
Used a jigsaw to cut the board.

 The crease on the board is what occurs when you use contact cement--don't quite get it
lined up correctly and quickly try and pull it off to reposition.
You just get a bend in your metal because it IS NOT coming off.

At this point we are calling it "character".  I didn't want to start all over.
It would have been too frustrating.

  • Originally tried to glue the metal to the board with Liquid Nails.  Ughh, thumbs down!!  As soon as I took the clamps off the pieces the metal just popped right off.  Maybe I wasn't doing it correctly, but I felt it should've been easier to use.
  • Contact cement is PERMANENT! You cannot remove it and replace like other products.  Once it is down, that is where it is going.  In hindsight we should have put the metal into the frame and then laid the glued board down on top of it to get it lined up correctly.  Since we didn't I had to go back and trim off metal or wood here and there in order to get the piece to line back up in the frame.  And we also have a little crease in the metal after trying to pull it off quickly once we realized it wasn't lined up perfectly.
  • Once I got all the coats of paint on and then seasoned the chalkboard it wasn't nearly as noticeable.  And I can always strategically place things I am hanging up.

Oh well!


You can buy sheets of chalkboard at Home Depot. They are about $10 and measure 2 x 4 feet.  That would've worked great for the size I needed except I wanted chalkboard AND magnet board combined.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Recycled drawstring backpack

Our youngest daughter headed off to girls camp this week.
She said she needed a backpack to carry stuff around in so she wouldn't have to put it in her pocket of carry it by hand.
This is what we came up with using no pattern and fabric that we already had in the stash.
You can get an idea of how big it is based on my wingback chair.
I forget to measure it before my daughter left.

A little topstitching detail

 I opted to just tie the end off into a knot and add some fray check to the ends.
I also sewed the straps down near the loop so that they would stay in place more.
I also did this at the top of the strap, when the bag was completely open to stabilize again.

It held a good amount once she loaded it up for camp.
Not sure what all she put in there, but it was full.

Peace out people!
See you at the end of the week.

She commented to me, "I'm going to have the cutest backpack at camp!"

I think I would have to agree.

  • Denim base used from cut off jean legs (that we bought to turn into shorts) and squared off.
  • Red fabric is from my stash.
  • I did line this completely, but forgot a picture.
  • Pinterest has all sorts of tutorials if you need some help making one.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Chalkboard Frame

We've been working on daughter #2's bedroom and here is one of the accessories we added to her room.

She wanted a chalkboard frame to write herself notes.

And yes this is her handwriting--freehand.
She can print in font--it is amazing!

I love the details on this frame.
It's plastic, but after spray painting it I don't think anyone would know it.


This is the window side of her basement bedroom.  We FINALLY got the orange-ish walls (check the first pic to see the previous color--sort of) painted a nice white which makes a huge difference.  I still need to get rid of the dark brown wood blinds, but I haven't figured out what other window treatment to do.  So for the moment we've added the tissue paper flowers to try and "disguise" the window a little.  It was cheap and easy until we know what we are going to do permanently.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Just because....

Once upon a time, when I was VERY young, I thought that being a photographer for National Geographic Magazine would've been the best job in the world.  I think the introvert in me would've loved that job.  But the homebody in me would probably have been done after awhile.  I sometimes feel like the Princess and the Pea--I want my bed and my pillow.

Did that photography dream become a reality? No.  Not even close.
I took one photography class in high school and majored in Zoology at BYU. 

However, every now and again I dabble.
Our yard backs up to a pond and so the #wildlifeinthesuburbs gets used on my Instagram quite often.

This guy was hiding under our firepit one morning when my son went to put it away. 
Since he was sitting so quietly and still I decided to take advantage of it.

FYI I think this is an American Toad

To dreams realized and unrealized!!
Enjoy your weekend everyone!!


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