Sunday, June 28, 2009

New Entertainment Center

Well, we now have a new entertainment center. This is our living room this morning.

My brother Jeffrey came over this afternoon and he and Jeff delivered some furniture to our storage and then went and picked up the entertainment center in San Carlos. It's pretty big for the living room, but it looks nice. The room will look better once we get it cleaned up. After they got it into the house, my Dad, who came out to pick up something from the garage, helped to get all the pieces leveled and plugged in. Now we just need to go buy a TV (and probably speakers and a blu-ray player)...which Jeff is happy to do.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Father's Day BBQ

Today my brother James hosted a BBQ for father's day. Yes, father's day was last weekend, but James was out of town. =)

Despite the terrible heat, it was lovely to spend time with all three of my brothers, my father and their families. (Thanks James!)

James' daughter, Lizzie, seems to really enjoy spending time with Shasta. My two twin nephews, Daniel and Thomas, and Lizzie played with Shasta pretty much all day. Hopefully Shasta will sleep the night through tonight.

I had hoped to go see some couches today either before or after the BBQ, but we didn't make it to see any. Jeff slept in late and we were running behind and we just ran out of day. They'll just have to wait.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Finished Bathroom Curtains

I haven't worked on the Roman shades this week. I decided to order "battens" to glue on the back. They are small plastic ribs that help the shade pleat in the right place without wrinkling into a mess when you pull the cords. I figure I might as well wait until they arrive before I do the final finishing.

Instead, I turned some of my energy to working on tiered curtains for the master bathroom and kitchen. They went very quickly as they are just large rectangles of fabric with a header and a hem. I finished the bathroom curtains today and Jeff hung them up tonight.

Finished bathroom curtains

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Sewing Room Shades Nearly Done

Yesterday I got the sewing room shades finished to the point of sewing on rings. I just lined them with a light white fabric because I don't need to achieve a dark room, I'm just trying to keep my cherry furniture out of the direct morning sunlight. Jeff and I will again have to get the headers made up and then we can hang them.

Last night we had another doggy obedience class. Shasta is doing quite well.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Sewing Room Shades, 2nd Try

After spending the weekend ripping the earlier pieced Roman shade panels, I spent today reassembling them with a slightly different border configuration. I just didn't like the overall look, by the time I added the tiny side borders. Now the edge borders will be almost the same size as the borders within the panel. I think it will look better. Now I just need to add wider borders at the top and bottom and then they're ready to line and finish. Hopefully I'll finish the sewing tomorrow.

Tonight, my Dad dropped by and helped us fix a couple house issues. And we rehung the kitchen blinds, which should help with the mid-day heat. Jeff crawled up and picked some plums to share.

And another cute picture of Shasta, because it's hard for me to resist.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Summer Solstice

We had a lovely, quiet day today. We didn't have a lot of things planned and we just got to enjoy the day.

We started out the day planning to go out for breakfast, but when we got to the restaurant, it was so packed we just decided to pass on that plan. So, instead we went to Whole Foods and bought some breakfast fixings and Jeff make us a lovely breakfast. Yum.

The weather was perfect today. We just left the windows open and enjoyed it. We went for a walk today and Sharon got some adorable pictures of Shasta while we were waiting for Jeff in the hardware store.

Jeff got to take a nap today while Sharon worked on un-sewing her Roman shades for the sewing room. She decided to change the width of the borders, afterall. So, there was a temporary setback on that project, but she'll get them put together this week.

We spent a while this evening playing with our puppy in the front yard. We really need someone to come film her, but we did the best we could:

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Making Canvas Bags

It’s easier than you think!

Selecting Fabric
You can use many fabrics, but fabrics which are durable and work well are canvas or cotton duck. Other heavy fabrics you might consider are twills, drills, denims or other heavy home decorator fabrics. If you find those for a good price, or you want a particular printed fabric, it is worth trying any of those fabrics for the bags. A yard of fabric, at least 52” wide, will make two canvas bags.

For each bag, you also need at least a yard of 1”-wide cotton webbing, or also called belting, for the handles. If you have a heavy duty sewing machine, you should consider using heavyweight cotton webbing, if you can find it, as the handles are often the first part of the bag to wear out when you use lighter webbing. Belting is usually located in the notions area at your local fabric store, but you can also buy online from sources like Greenberg & Hammer, either by the yard or by the bolt. Helpful search terms are “belting” or “cotton webbing.” If you’re going to make many of these bags, there are a number of sources for the belting at really low prices if you buy at least 50 yards. One source where I bought mine is Jontay Distributing.

Prewash the Fabric
If you are able, it’s always good to prewash the fabric and belting before you cut it. Though, as these are bags and not form-fitted clothes, a bit of shrinkage in the finished product won’t make much difference. If you do prewash, wash with the hottest water setting on your machine so it maximizes the shrinkage before cutting.

Designing the Pattern
Most canvas comes in 60” widths, but shrinks down at least a couple of inches after washing. That’s fine, you only need fabric that is 52” wide for the pattern we are using. (If you can only find 45” wide fabric, the pattern can be rearranged to fit your fabric.) The pattern diagram for two canvas bags from 1 yard of fabric is shown below. Each bag is made of up a piece that is 16”x36” and two side pieces, each 8”x15¼” plus two handles that are 18” each.

Cutting out the Pattern
Cut out the pattern in a way convenient for you. We tend to cut off and discard the selvage first (because it doesn’t shrink the same amount as the rest of the fabric and so never lies flat). The cutting diagram is shown for fabric at least 52” wide.

Pattern Diagram for 2 Shopping Bags
1 yard of 54" wide fabric

Assembling the Bags
Step 1
Serge or zig zag the raw edge of each of the short ends of the large “body” piece of the bag and one of the skinny edges on each of the side panels. (Don’t worry about the rest of the edges yet, they’ll get finished during construction).

Step 2
Fold the large piece in half and mark the center with a pin. Do the same with one of the small pieces, on the short edge.
Match the pins and pin the small piece to the large piece, as shown in the pinning diagram. Mark in from the ends on the small piece a space equal to your 5/8” seam allowance. Run a seam along that edge, from mark to mark as shown in the photograph (do not sew all the way from edge to edge).
If your sewing machine has a reverse or “tacking” function, it is a good idea to back up on your stitches at each end in order to “lock” your seam. That way the seam won’t loosen while you are doing the rest of the assembly.

Repeat the process for the other side piece.

Step 3
Next you need to snip the large piece of fabric so you can turn it to sew the other edge. You want place a cut in the fabric at the point where you made the mark. Cut up nearly to your seam, but not all the way to it.

Once you’ve cut the large fabric, you can turn the fabric and pin the edge. Sew it down the length. Repeat for all three remaining corners.

Step 4
Now, you’ll want to either serge or zig zag over all of the raw edges. This will prolong the life of your bag as it will help prevent fraying or unravelling.

Applying the Handles
Step 1
There is no exact correct positioning of the handles. We apply them with about a 4” gap between their attachment points. Mark the center of the edge of the fabric and measure out an equal distance on either side and mark the fabric.
Lay the handle webbing down next to the mark, with a 1” overlap with the canvas and pin in down. Sew it down on the fabric. Do the same with the second side.
Repeat for the second handle.

Step 2
Fold down the top edge of the bag 1”, tucking the handle to the inside of the bag. Sew along the serged or zig-zagged edge with a secure seam.

Step 3
Flip the handle to the outside of the bag. Pin it down. Now you are going to sew a seam that securely attaches the handle to the bag. We tend to sew along the top, diagonal to the bottom, along the bottom, then diagonal back to the top, and then repeat along the top. Something like this:

Step 4
Trim or tie off whatever threads are hanging. You don’t want them catching on stuff and pulling out your seams.

Congratulations, you have made a shopping bag!

Master Bedroom Shades Installed

Yeah! We have achieved success in making and installing the master bedroom roman shades! We're pretty thrilled with them, though with the weird window frame, the room doesn't achieve full dark during the daytime, but it's still pretty dark in there. After a somewhat frustrating install, Jeff has decided to check out the nap-ability of the room this afternoon.

Jeff was a lot of help this morning installing all the hardware bits onto the header and then installing them in the window frames.

Now I'm trying to decide whether I'm going to rip apart the panels for the sewing room. I've decided I don't like the borders with the print fabric in the corners. And when you take into consideration the full window width and the outside border, I think they would look better with a slightly narrower solid green border between the squares. Then the borders around the outside would be more similar in width. But it's never fun to un-sew something. I've figured out how to finish the sewing room panel to make it tall enough, now I just need to do it.

At this point, I'm sure the sewing room Roman shades won't be done tomorrow. But at least the master bedroom is done. And now we've done all the steps of Roman shade assembly so the second and third bedrooms should go much faster.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Sewed Rings All Day

I pretty much spent the whole day sewing clear plastic rings on the back of the Roman shades (and watching TV on hulu), so we could assemble them.

I finished the master bedroom shades today, but as we were putting them together tonight, I realized I had sewn one of the rows of rings in the wrong place. Grr. So, tomorrow I'll have to take off the four misplaced rings and sew the row in the right location. Darn, this means that I put holes in the rubberized lining that will show light. Maybe I'll just leave the thread in place on the bad row and just add another row in the correct location above it.

We tried it on the window tonight, but the cords won't be strung up until I fix the row of rings.

Today I also stained my piece of plywood for the sewing room. I bought the plywood to install my serger thread racks on. I cannot bring myself to put a dozen screws into the knotty pine panelling in the sewing room.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Assembling Master Bedroom Shades

I have turned my attention to trying to get the master bedroom shades assembled and hung before Sunday. One thing I have learned is that rubberized black-out lining is not so fun to work with. =) It's taken me 3 to 4 hours and I've just managed to get one of the shades lined and to the point where we can sew on the rings and attach to the header. And every time you pin it, you put little holes in the fabric where light can shine through; the more pins you use to stabilize the layers, the more holes!

Luckily though, they're going to work to block out sun, mostly. These windows are tough, though, because they have a little wood border that limits the width of the shade.

There is some sun peeking out around the edges when I taped it onto the face of the window, but I think there will be less leakage of light once it's installed into the window frame.

At this pace, it may be tough to have all 5 shades done and installed by Sunday. I guess we'll see. I can probably mostly get all 3 of the master bedroom shades lined during the day today. And hopefully Jeff will be able to help me cut the wood for the header and install all the hardware bits on or before Saturday.

It will be really nice to have this project done. Then I can turn my attention back to unpacking.

Update at 4PM:

Woohoo! I just finished lining all three of the master bedroom shades! I did the second two assembly-line style and they went much faster. I still need to sew rings onto all three of them, but I need to do some research about how far they can be spaced apart. My book says 5" to 8", but I want to put them 10" apart so that they show the same piece of design when they are drawn. I don't know if that's too far apart and if they'll have problems spaced that far.

Also, I need to start figuring out what I need to complete the sewing room shades. I need to calculate how much border I need to add in order to make the panels fit the windows properly.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Pieced Panels Halfway Finished

I should be finishing the master bedroom shades, but I'm distracted with the fun, new project; making the panels for the sewing room shades. I'm surprised by how quickly the blocks are going together. They were much faster than the master bedroom shades, I think simply because they had fewer seams. I've already finished one of them, but for the outer border (to finish to the right window width). And I've finished all the rest of the squares for the second. I just need to cut some more borders and assemble the panel. I should be able to finish the second panel tonight.

I'd like to get all 5 of these panels assembled into Roman shades and hung up by Sunday.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Sewing Room Roman Shades

I've come up with a plan for the Sewing Room Roman Shades. I did come up with a pattern from the Quilter's Cache website, called Hope of Hartford. This is an interesting pattern; it looks pretty easy, but in fact is fairly difficult to assemble.

And here is my final pallet of fabric. I was weak yesterday, and bought some more fabric. I was hoping to find a light brown that was close to the shade in this fabric, but the closest I could find was the yellow. (The JoAnn Fabrics in Redwood City has the smallest selection of cotton fabrics I've ever seen at one of these stores. I need to look around for another fabric store.)

I'm going to assemble the squares with sashes, like this:

The hardware arrived today, so as soon as I finish lining the master bedroom shades, we can assemble and hang them. I'm using the instructions from my Singer book, but the best source I found online was at the DIY Network.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Making Progress on Shades

I'm continuing to work on the Roman shades for the master bedroom. I spent yesterday cutting all the pieces out and building all the little square units for the blocks so today I was actually able to make pretty good progress. My overall pattern looks like this. The squares running down the middle are the individual 10 inch blocks. I got one panel mostly done today, but I still need to add green border on the side edges and at the bottom.

Today, I also went and did some errands. I went and bought replacement screws for my sewing table. The movers broke a couple of them putting the furniture together wrong. I also tried to buy a piece of plywood to hang my serger racks, but apparently most hardware stores don't cut wood anymore. And I couldn't buy a full piece because I was driving the car. I'll have to find wood another day.

I also went to a Home Dec Fabric Store, Norman S. Bernie Co., in San Mateo that was holding a liquidation sale. They're cleaning house and have some pretty good deals on fabric. If I was still in the market for SCA fabric, today could have been a very expensive day. =) Anyway, I got a few samples as I'm thinking about making triple pleated drapes for the living room. I should have taken photos in the daylight, but here are the current forerunners.

I initially thought I would go with the striped fabric because it was more plain, but when I got the patterned fabric home, I found its colors matched the rug in the living room quite well.

Tonight was Shasta's last night in the Beginning Obedience Class. We went ahead and signed her up for the Advanced Beginning Class which begins next week. We'll have to continue to commute to Downtown San Jose for the class. We had been planning to start classes in San Mateo, but apparently that group lost their class site and haven't found one yet, so they've suspended classes while they try to locate a place to hold them.