Jed’s Blanket: Handmade With Love

Does anyone else find the boys/men in their family are the hardest to buy presents for? I think I’m a pretty awesome present picker-outer but when it came to deciding what to get for my little bro last Christmas I was stumped. I didn’t want to give him a gift card again or money. Was there anything I could make that he would actually use? My sister and I put our heads together and came up with a useful and warm idea!

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What I made today… Ikea Billy revamp


With two new roommates moving in this month I needed to get some more storage for the kitchen so off to Ikea I went with boyfriend in tow. Going Sunday morning we were able to take advantage of their $1 breakfast. It’s such a good deal and for $1 more you can add a piece of yummy cinnamon french toast!

I was all set on getting the Billy bookcase in black/brown until I realized the white one cost $30 less! All of a sudden white was looking like the better choice. I love all the room set-ups in Ikea. In one bedroom there was a bookcase with a pink patterned back. Walking over to it I realised they had just put fabric against the back panel, which you could also purchase there. Thank you Ikea for the cheap bookcase and a great idea to personalize it!

While my very handy boyfriend was assembling the bookcase I looked through my fabric stash to see what would look good and what I had enough yardage of. The fabric I choose is a groovy vintage cotton made in Japan. First I measured the panel and added 2” on each side. This is probably a 2 person job. While one person is sliding the fabric and panel through the grooves the other is pulling the fabric tight on the sides to it doesn’t bunch up or sag. It was actually quite easy and the extra fabric on the sides was handy to grasp on to. After I checked to make sure the fabric was snug we nailed the panel to the bookcase as per the instructions. What a huge difference! I think I’m going to have to do this to all future bookcases!

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Adding a personal touch can go a long way in making even cheap Ikea bookcases fit your home and style.

Velvet: devore etching and dying

I had such a great time at the Red Deer College Summer Series this July. I admit I was a bit lonely in the evenings, no T.V! gasp, but what I learned was definitely worth a little me time. I read two whole books! The other ladies in my course, transforming cloth, were all fantastic and the instructor, Lynn Pflueger, was amazing!

The technique used on this velvet scarf is called devore. Here is the definition from my booklet.

“Also known as “burn-out”, devore is a process whereby cellulose fibres are carbonised by acid and heat, then the burned-out fibres are removed by washing. This results in a partly translucent effect in poly/cotton blends, and “holes” in pure cotton.”                

-Lynn Pflueger

I’ll take you through the steps! After sketching my idea and finalizing the layout I pinned the scarf, fluffy side down, to a saran wrap/towel covered board and taped off sections to insure continuity. I learned a way to create stamps that makes it really easy to get the placement you want. Cut out craft foam and rubber cement it to Plexiglas! It’s the little things that really blow my mind! Lol.

Using P-4 thickened paste (the acid) I stamped my print on and painted the design on the ends of the scarf. Then I let it fully dry.


The next step is to use an iron to heat the dried paste only until it achieves a cafe au late color. This can be tricky because you only want to “burn” the fibres enough so they fall off, not so you scorch the rest of the fabric.


And now it’s magic time! Oooohhhh! Simply swish the scarf in water and… Voilà the print is revealed! Ok, it’s more like put the scarf in a jar and shake the crap out of it and rinse it lots to make the burnt fibres fall off. It’s not really magic, it’s science.

After immersing the scarf in a soda soak for 15 minutes it’s time to apply the fibre reactive dye. I had a lot of fun with this. I used an eye dropper, paint brush, and my fingers to rub the dye around. My fingers got a little stained but that’s the mark of a dedicated artist.


I wrapped the scarf in plastic wrap and left it to “cure” overnight in our hotbox. The ideal temperature for this is 70 deg F. The next day I gave it a wash and then it went into a pot of weak acid dye solution for an hour. This process would only dye the background fabric, giving the scarf more depth and an interesting sheen. I choose red.


I’m really happy with the end result! And now that it’s getting a little colder out I can wear it!

I have more projects I’m working on from the samples made during this course that I’m excited to share too.



The week spent at RDC was very informative, eye-opening and above all fun! Yay for learning!

Even a chair needs some loving






Moving out on your own can bring lots of new things. A new sense of freedom, new friends, new experiences, and new/old furniture! Yea, free stuff! But what if these gifted treasures are a little too shabby and not enough chic?

When I moved in with my cousins last fall I was so happy that they had lots of furniture. I didn’t really have much besides things for the bedroom. Most was donated by family or friends and is really quite lovely. The table and chairs were my aunt and uncles first set, and although it is in super condition, the seat was looking a little worn. Kiah and I decided we could remedy this by re-covering the seat with a very sturdy cotton fabric found at Wal-Mart.




I will admit we had this idea and bought the fabric in the summer. Procrastination is a trait we share, but we got it done eventually and are very happy with the results! this project was also way faster and easier then I thought. After unscrewing the seat and washing the chair frame (very dusty!) we used the seat to make a pattern.







There were tons of staples holding the old fabric on the wood so we decided to just lay the new fabric over top. Something that was discovered after removing the seat is that the set was made in Romania! I think this may be why it’s held up so well after so many years (sorry aunty and uncle, lol), good solid craftsmanship!




We had a bunch of little nails and tacks but most were too long. Also the wood was very dense, another testament to the quality. The solution we devised was to hold the fabric taut with 2 nails on either side and use hot glue to secure the rest. Oh glue gun, what would I do without you!? This may not be what Martha Stewart would have recommended but it worked well for us. I’m more of a “use what you have on hand” kind of girl.  After screwing the seats back on the frames the spiffed up chairs were good to go!







I think the chairs look mighty dapper now! A huge improvement! With the leftover fabric, of which there is a lot, I think I’ll make a matching table runner.













Conclusion: Perhaps this new facelift will persuade us to eat at the table more, instead of just using it as a catchall for receipts, newspapers, and flyers!

A Mother’s Day gift

Today is Mother’s day and because I’m cheap, er, I mean love my mom so much, I decided to make her gift. I usually get her jewellery but thought this year I would put my efforts into creating something that was pretty and useful. Also I could use up some fabric I already owned thereby reducing my fabric pile. It’s win win!

I bought this book, Amy Butler’s In Stitches, last summer and had yet to make anything. I really like the projects. They’re easy to make and the patterns are sized correctly. No enlarging needed! The patterns on the fabric’s used in the book are quite inspiring, very shabby chic.


I picked 2 projects to make. A sleeping mask and a kimono-style bathrobe. Here are some supplies I used:


The sleeping mask turned out really well so I made one for my grandma too, and I added their initial’s with sequins.





I had given my mom a nice thick robe for Christmas one year but thought a nice light cotton robe would be good for warmer weather. there was just enough fabric too! The robe is made using different sized squares and 2 pattern pieces from the book for the neck facing.

My mom cannot function without her morning coffee. (That must be where I get that from, and we take our coffee the same way. 2 creams!) So I enlisted Kiah to play the part of my mom and model the robe and sleeping mask in a typical morning setting.




Well I hope she likes it, and hip hip hooray for mom’s everywhere! 

Happy Mother’s Day Mom!

Conclusion: Making gifts by hand takes more effort but a mother is always worth it!

In the cord of N

I went to the public library the other day and was happily surprised at the size of their craft and hobby section! Using great restraint, and the fact that I had to haul the books home, I choose 3 to borrow. The first project I completed is a corded necklace from the book Fabric Jewelry 25 designs to make using silk, ribbon, buttons, and beads by Teresa Searle.


I really love statement necklaces and thought this would be a quick, simple project. Simple, yes. Quick, No. Turning the fabric into cords was the quickest part, it was the beading that took up the longest chunk of time. I used 3 different fabrics. 2 shades of green taffeta and a pear coloured silk.


After cutting the strips I twisted the fabric as I sewed it with a zig zag stitch to make the cords.

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I learned that twisting the fabric really tightly yields the neatest looking cord. I just had to adjust the width of my zig zag stitch to fit the cord width. After all the cords were sewn I used my dress from to adjust the length and arrange the cords.


The book suggests using a paint palette to hold and sort the beads but since I didn’t have one that wasn’t already caked in acrylic I used a muffin tin. This worked better for me as it is sturdier and the wells are deeper, so i could bead while watching The Apprentice and not have to worry about losing all my beads in the couch.  I’m rooting for NeNe and Lil Jon!


 I just used beads I already had. I’m really trying to use up the stash of supplies I have before I buy more. The cords did fray a bit so while beading I did trim the fray as I went. In the end I really like the necklace. I think it’s great for a relaxed summer look and will bring a bit of pizzazz to a tank top, cut off shorts, and leather sandals.



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Conclusion: Beading, like getting dressed, always takes alot longer then I think.

And the decisions narrow….. a poll.

Spring is finally here and my sister’s grad creeps ever closer. On my recent trip to Vancouver I went to my favoritist fabric shop in the city to find the fabric for the grad dress. Rokko’s Fabrics is amazing! It’s located on Fraser Street at 46th Avenue. They have a women working there who is simply the best. So knowledgeable and friendly. She helped me pick all the fabric for my College Grad Collection and I was very happy she is still there! Rokko’s motto is

“At Rokko’s All You Require Is Good Taste-Not A Fat Purse”

and this is very true. I Love their selection and prices!

So here is the fabric that I bought for the dress:


 This is sheer so I bought a grey poly satin for the lining. It makes the colors pop really well!


Now this is where me and my sister, Halie, can use your help. I designed 3 different dresses and we both like all of them! Dilemma! Vote on which you like best and comments are always appreciated.





Conclusion: I love my sister!