Monday, September 15, 2014

DIY Otomi Artwork for the Nursery

Hello again! Tonight I have the first of hopefully many baby room projects to share with y'all. I mentioned in the last post that I had started on a piece of artwork for the nursery. Well this piece has been in my mind for years actually!

It all started a while back when for some reason I was looking at baby bedding on a website called Serena and Lilly that featured embroidered animals and shapes. I thought it was so pretty and told myself that if I ever had a baby then I would make something similar for the crib bedding. Here is the bedding I am talking about:

Eventually I discovered that the design of the bedding was based on a much more colorful version of embroidery made by the Otomi tribe in Mexico. Once I saw these colorful versions, I decided THAT was what I wanted for a future nursery, not the beige and white version that I had originally seen haha. Below is an example of actual Otomi embroidery.

 The problem with these authentic embroidered pieces from Mexico is that they are quite pricey. Even with scouring Ebay and Craigslist, I couldn't find anything in the size I wanted for less than $200. Now, maybe my little bundle of joy that is on the way is worth that much money, but I like to think he'd be more happy with the fact that I saved a little money to put toward his college (or some really cute clothes for him haha). Once I decided to DIY a version of the Otomi embroidery I had to find a something to trace or use as a stencil since I did not want to have to freehand the animals and other shapes. Luckily, I stumbled across these stencils and new they would be perfect! With the stencils figured out, I just needed to buy a large canvas and a variety of acrylic paints. The canvas I chose is 36" square and is from Hobby Lobby. I used a 40% off coupon for the canvas, and all the paints were already on sale. You'll also need some contact paper for this project. The total for paint and supplies was probably around $50. I did end up also buying some Polycrylic sealer to finish the painting off, but that part isn't absolutely necessary. Now for the steps to create the painting!

The first thing to do is trace the shapes onto the contact paper and cut them out. If you're using clear contact paper, then you can just lay the printed animal stencil underneath and trace them right onto the contact paper with a maker. Cutting all these shapes takes a while, so maybe pop in a movie or start a Netflix marathon and get to work! Once you have all the shapes that you want cut out, arrange them on the canvas before peeling off the backing of the contact paper.

Once you got 'em where you want 'em, peel the backing off piece by piece and press the contact paper into place.

This next step may not be essential but it was quick and probably helped a little bit. I used a small foam paint roller to apply a thin coat of primer over the entire canvas. My hope was that it would seal the edges of the contact paper shapes in order to prevent the colored paint from seeping under.

I waited overnight for the primer to dry, then got to work on the next step of marking out and drawing all the lines that I would be painting. Instead of painting stripes on the animals like the inspiration embroidery, I decided to leave the animals white and have the background be striped. My stripes were each 1" wide.

When it came time to fill in each stripe with paint, I just used a small craft paint brush. I skipped around on the stripes so that I was never painting up against a freshly painted stripe. To help the process go faster, I lined up the paint bottles in the order I wanted to use so that I didn't have to stop and decide on a color each time. Also, each stripe got 2 coats of paint.

The shapes on the left have had the contact paper removed, and the shapes on the right still have the contact paper that has just been painted over. 

As I went along I started to peel off the contact paper to reveal the white canvas underneath and it became apparent that the coat of primer I did was not super effective.

Once all the stripes were done, I went back with white acrylic paint and touched up any bleed through spots. Then I painted the edges of the canvas with gold craft paint. The final step was to brush on a coat of semi-gloss acrylic sealer to give a nice sheen to the painting. The craft paints I used had a matte finish and just looked kind of chalky. Then it was done!

Having this painting done is making me even more excited to get the rest of the work done on the baby's room! I'm already working on the 2nd project which is refinishing a dresser that we bought on Craigslist. Tonight I finished removing a few layers of paint from all the drawer fronts, and tomorrow I'm hoping to remove the paint from the frame of the dresser. I'll be sure to share the dresser on here when it's all done! Until next time, have a great week!

Monday, September 1, 2014

French Stripe Love Seat Makeover

Well I was on a blogging roll for a couple weeks but then I fell off the wagon. In my defense, we were out of town 2 weekends ago then last weekend I was busy working on this love-seat project as well as making some "taste-test" cupcakes for a wedding that is coming up in October. But a few nights ago I finally finished the re-upholstery job on the love seat and I'm really happy with how it turned out!

This didn't start out like my usual makeover post with a piece of furniture I picked up from the trash. I actually paid for this one! haha. This little settee came from an estate sale that I visited back in January. I loved the shape and style of it and the caning on the back was in perfect condition. The super fluffy down cushion was another selling point. Lucky for me, it fit perfectly in the back of my old Subaru, so it came home with us and then sat in the basement untouched for the next 6 months. Not my quickest furniture turn around, but definitely not my slowest either! I knew that it needed to be recovered but wasn't sure what type or color of fabric to get. Thankfully, the frame of the settee was in very good shape and did not need any work.

The makeover got kicked into gear when I found some fabric I liked while down in Houston in July. I had originally thought I'd use a solid color cotton velvet fabric since that's what it was already covered with. But when I saw this heavy blue and white stripe, I knew it would be perfect since it had a French country look that would play nicely with the French style of the love-seat. Without knowing how much fabric I really needed, I made a guess and bought 3 1/2 yards. It ended up being just enough! (with a little help from another fabric) The first step in the re-upholstery project was to un-stitch the cushion. There was no zipper and I couldn't just cut it apart since I needed to use the pieces as a pattern for my new fabric. I also wanted to re-use the piping that was around the edges. So I carefully ripped open all the seams to get my pattern pieces and removing the cording from the velvet piping fabric. This part wasn't exactly fun, but it made making the new cushion cover much easier. I don't have any pictures of the cushion making process, but if you have specific questions about that, just let me know!

When it came to re-upholstering the bottom part of the settee I had to start by ripping the fabric off from around the edges and removing all the upholstery nails. Then I had to un-stitch that fabric from the under layer. I tried to remember how this was done since I'd have to try and replicate it with the new fabric.

Even after removing the nails around the edge, the middle was still sewn down. 

You can see here it was sewn from underneath into a gap left between two sections of batting. 

Next it was time to add my new fabric. For the middle section of the seat upholstery, I used a piece of scrap fabric that I had since there wasn't enough of my new fabric to cover it. I sewed the striped fabric around the edges then used a round upholstery needle to sew the piece down. I sewed along the seam between the white and striped fabric, and tried my best to match it up to the gap between batting underneath.

That rectangle gap between the middle and the edge is where I sewed the new fabric down into. 

Upholstery needles are curved to allow you to sew through layers of fabric when you can't reach underneath to push the needle back up. 

All sewn down around the edges of the white fabric. 

Then I pulled the striped fabric down around the edges and used the pneumatic staple gun hold it in place. As usual the corners were the most difficult part to cover. They turned out ok though.

The final step was to add trim around all the stapled edges to give it a finished look. Since I didn't have enough striped fabric to make double chord welting like the love seat had originally, I bought some twill tape that had a little bit of gold thread mixed in to use as trim. My plan at first was to attach the twill tape using large decorative upholstery nails, but after trying to nail a few in, I decided it was not worth my time and probably wouldn't turn out well. So I turned to my trusty friend the hot glue gun! That turned out to be much easier/quicker. Now for some final pictures!

For these pictures the love seat is in front of the built-ins in our front room, but I think it's permanent home will be in the little window bump-out in our master bedroom. Adding this to our bedroom will inevitably make me want to do a complete makeover of our bedroom, but that will have to wait.

In other news, this weekend my parents came to visit us and we kept them pretty busy :) On Saturday we took a little tour around Kansas City including Chez Elle Creperie for breakfast, then the City River Market where there is lots of great local produce and hand made goods. After that we headed to the WWI Memorial and Museum. The museum is HUGE so we only made it through half of it before heading to lunch at a local BBQ place. Then we drove back to the museum to finish seeing the other half. By the time we finished it was almost 5:00 pm so we went home to take a little break before grilling some burgers for dinner. On Sunday, Mom and Dad helped us with a few projects around the house. Mom and I got started on clearing out the guest room that will be turned into the baby's room. Now I'm ready to really get moving in there! I started little craft project for that room tonight that I'll be sure to share on here (as long as it turns out good). I guess that's it for tonight! I hope you all had a great Labor Day weekend and I'll talk to you later!