Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Storage ottoman

This is a cool thing. After we got my comfy corner chair in the bedroom, Dave and I knew we wanted an ottoman to go with it. I had thought about one of those chunky yarn poofs, but in addition to them being basically huge cat toys they are also EXPENSIVE for what they are. I could have tried making one but instead Dave came up with another solution - we could make a storage ottoman together! 

We started it well before my surgery in February and he put the finishing touches on by the time I was able to make it up the stairs and want to sit in the chair afterwards. It is the perfect height to keep my legs out straight in front of me and to support the sore and achy spots. 

We used oak boards for the body and I added foam and some amazing scrunchy velvety fabric to plywood for the top. The top didn’t turn out as squishy as I was thinking, but it is firm and supportive which is nice. Staining took some time as well as finding hardware we liked. These handles are 100% necessary because it is a heavy thing! I’m not sure how Dave would have gotten it up the stairs otherwise.

For some fun and to hide the plywood top I used spray adhesive (which had not so great success, but it’s on there) to put this cute mischievous kitty print inside. We framed it with some more wood so the staples and edge of the fabric are covered. Down in the corner there you can see the felt tabs Dave added to avoid the top thunking closed. Even with the two hinge brackets we used it still wants to close pretty quick because it’s a bit… substantial. 

I lined the bottom with a heavy duty felt that makes it look quite polished. In addition to being a great thing to sit on to put on shoes, to rest legs on post surgery, and to generally enhance chair reclining comfort, it is a great place to store all of my physical therapy paraphernalia! I’m still impressed that my foam roller fits in there perfectly. It certainly wasn’t purpose-made, but looks like it. Go us. 


Monday, March 22, 2021

horse show time

This past weekend, roughly a month post-surgery, our barn had a horse show. I was very bummed to not be able to participate with Bandit - it was one of my goals for the year before all of the drama - but Mom and I got involved by making some very cute prizes for first place. 

These zippered pouches were incredibly fun to make and play with color combinations. All it took was a few squares of fabric scraps and a short zipper from my big stash of colorful zips. I didn’t do anything fancy for the zipper installation. There are no tabs that cover the ends, just a quick and lazy install that turned out with the slightly curved tops where the zippers tuck into the seams. They look great and were low fuss. 

My favorite part was pairing up the inner and outer fabrics. There are certainly some unconventional combinations in there that look just fab. I wanted these to be fun prizes, so instead of just an empty pouch, we went in search of some puffy peppermints that most horses I know love. We filled each pouch to the brim with peppermints, zipped them closed, and displayed them all together in this bowl at the prize table. Each person who won a class got a pouch! Everyone enjoyed the show and also loved the treats.


Tuesday, March 9, 2021

saddle up

Here’s a fun thing I finished and promptly forgot to write about. I haven’t taken it to the barn yet, but I did get some photos of it in the garage when I brought my saddle home for conditioning back in January. February this year was so silly that here we are in March already. 

It’s another mostly unnecessary horse accessory, this time for my saddle instead of the horse. I say mostly because the new stirrups I bought are quite heavier and larger than my previous pair and this stirrup cover should definitely keep them from scuffing up the sides of my saddle. Necessary? No, given that my saddle lives stationary on it’s own rack at the barn. Nice to have? Totally, because it does occasionally get transported to and fro in the car, and I suppose carrying it from rack to horse? Anyhow, it’s fun.

It was an interesting thing to try to make off the cuff. I’d been seeing some online marketed by intrepid college students who make custom fully fleece ones. How hard can it be, says I. The fleece, one figures, is great against the saddle for softness and anti-scuff properties. I was skeptical about it as an outer layer though because barn dust, which is everywhere. I tried mine out with a black linen outer layer that I think should at least be wipe off-able in comparison to the fleece. I’m aware it will still get dirty, but at least it will be under my saddle cover most of the time so it won’t be getting the full barn dust treatment. Though, it is already full of cat hair thanks to Newton’s aerosolized fluff so maybe that’s a miscalculation. The black did seem a little less “loud” than making the whole thing out of the print though. Don’t want to attract any attention! 

I used a horse print fleece print from the stash cabinet on the inside and also ended up adding it as a gusset for the stirrup pockets. Originally I thought I’d measured long and wide enough to be able to just sew a rectangle of linen to a rectangle of fleece, fold up the ends, sew them down to make pockets, and call it a day. Not to be. I mis-measured, even with the buffer I thought I was adding, and the stirrups wouldn’t fit. So I just took four rectangles of fleece and sewed them on in such a way that they form the sides of the stirrup pockets and problem solved.

I think in retrospect I forgot to account for seam allowances, not too sure what happened. That’s what you get for designing on the fly. (Pretty sure it was also super late at night when I was sewing). I do still think that with proper measurements the first, much simpler and faster, way should be possible. I avoided taking it to the barn this muddy season; no reason to tempt fate. When I eventually get around to using it I think I’m going to smile whenever I see the ponies on the inside. 

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Quilt fort

January is finishing up and so am I. This fun project came as a special request from my brother for my nephew. I had a lot of fun playing with fabrics on this one.... so much character, literal and figurative.

The challenge was “hey can you make like a hanging thing I can put around my desk so the little guy has a hidden room down there?” Like a quilt fort? Yes, yes I can. Basically I made a short, wide quilt that is long enough to wrap around the dimensions of the desk he had in mind and a couple inches shy of the height from desktop to floor. I sent some sticky Velcro tape along with it so he could customize where the anchors were based on the obstacles/potential anchor spots on the desk architecture. 

Serendipitously, I had a couple of Star Wars prints sitting in the cabinet: one colorful print that I just looove and one black and white Mandalorian print that Mom recently found. Hurrah for the remnants bin at Joann’s! I pulled a bunch of fabrics from my scrap pile that I thought coordinated well with the retro rainbow and hemmed and hawed until I had a good combination. Of course leftover Minions had to make it in there, and I even got to use an orphan block from a really cool quilt I made a long time ago for a wedding present (that red and yellow patchwork). 

For the pattern I decided I really wanted to pull something from one of the many quilting books and magazines I have on my shelves. Not that I’ll stick with this intent, but I’m hoping to work out of my hard copy books and patterns more this year both for sewing as well as knitting. We’ll see how it goes. The pattern I chose was out of Fat Quarterly Shape Workshop for Quilters. I modified it a bit to serve the dimensions I needed and the fabric on hand, and I changed up a couple of the squares to be solids as opposed to square-in-a-square, but the inspiration was definitely from the book. I added (what else?) linen to the top and bottom to make up the height I needed as well as to serve as a bit of a visual frame and a fun yellow polka dot print to the ends to make it long enough. 

I thought for a hot second about making a second pieced panel for the back and then thought better of it. I have FINALLY used up all but a small rectangle or two of this green swirly print. It started out life as a duvet cover from Ikea and has been extremely useful in many projects since it was retired to my fabric stash. Don’t get rid of your old duvets, people. You obviously loved the print/design/colors when you bought it and there’s so much fabric there! As long as they are still in decent, non pilled, non gross state of course. 

Quilting and binding went along uneventfully, especially since I got those little clips to hold on the binding as I sew (which you can see in the picture above). I swear I don’t hate binding as much as my face suggests. For the quilting I echoed one of the prints in the quilt, a navy with waves of dots, and did the preprogrammed wave pattern from my machine. The front got orange to pop on that retro Star Wars print and the back got yellow. Look at the Darth Vader and Storm Trooper heads. Isn’t that awesome? I know. 

I’m really happy that my brother thought to ask me to make this. It’s always fun to make for other people but it was especially fun to make something that was actually requested!

Friday, January 8, 2021

First thing of 2021 and it’s blingy!

Well that was silly fun. My first project of 2021 is a bit of a curveball given what my usual crafts are. I made a beaded browband! For the horse, yes. He doesn’t know how loved he is. I’m not sure his excitement is going to be anywhere near mine when this arrives on his bridle. 

LB was always going to show me how to do this, but she didn’t get the chance. I did think I sensed some celestial laughter from her as I cursed through a few passes of needle through leather, so it was a fun way to remember her despite the fact that YouTube had to teach me. The empty channel browband wasn’t that expensive, like 20 bucks, and the beads were some from my stash and some from a half off sale at Joann’s. I chose a smattering of purples (of course), a light peach, and a golden yellow that matches Bandit’s spots. It’s an unusual color combination that will look lovely on him.

It wasn’t nearly as difficult as I feared. I’m curious to see how sturdy it is. I did use some heavy duty thread to attach the stranded beads (on wire) in the channel, but maybe it needs more? Time will tell! I was going to wait until after the winter muddy weather to take this to the barn but I think it’s going to get installed tomorrow because I just can’t help myself. So fun.