Friday, March 13, 2009

A "Sew" Pretty Project and Tutorial.....

"If I stitch fast enough, does that count as aerobic exercise?"
~Author Unknown~
We have arrived at another Beautiful Life Friday, hosted by Melissa at The Inspired Room. I sat surveying my Beautiful Life Goals earlier this week and I realized that part of beautiful living is recognizing what is and what is not working for me and to make changes based on my observations.

Well, I realized that a relationship was just not going to work out so I exercised my right to terminate it. This is a relationship that I listed as wanting to improve upon in my original list of goals. I know you are thinking what does this have to do with a sewing project, I'll get to that in a minute, and I promise it all ties together in the end.

I tried. I really, seriously, did try to establish a consistent relationship with her. I made an effort to spend time with her at least three times a week and I found the effort draining. I never really enjoyed our time together and a heavy weight of guilt settled upon me when I ignored her. I kept reminding myself that this relationship would be of a great benefit to me if I would just give the effort it required. I came to the conclusion last week that there are just some things you cannot force and friendship with her was one of those things. I decided it was just not going to work out for either of us and put an end to it. I did it as gently and lovingly as possible. I even introduced her to a new friend and they are getting along famously!

A huge weight lifted as she transitioned out of my life and the spot she emptied made room for something new. I felt like I had lost two hundred pounds of guilt and was pleasantly surprised by that fact. Yes, my treadmill and I broke up! Now I know you are thinking this is counter productive to reaching towards another of my goals, healthy living, not sew!
I prefer to do my walking where I am actually moving forward not just stepping in place. I am keeping my appointment with healthy living by walking in the great outdoors of God's cathedral and am enjoying the awakening of spring. I am sew excited about the empty space she left and decided to fill it with something more pleasant that was also in line with my goals.

I have spent a good portion of my week shifting things around in my studio space to make room for a "sew" pretty project! My former friend, the treadmill, stood folded up in half my studio closet. I folded her down and hopped on to trudge along as I recited, "No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." (Hebrews 12:11 NIV) I declare I am totally untrainable to the the treadmill! My time with her was not pleasant. It was painful and not in the least peaceful. So did I give up? No, I changed to a new plan of action that I still have to discipline myself too but oh the peace it produces when I walk along admiring God's handiwork, soaking up spring, and communing with Him!

Sew, what did I do with that big empty space? I moved one of my cupboards into the vacated space in the closet, am slowly reorganizing and culling supplies, and now I have room for my new "sew" pretty project! My sewing machine was stowed away in a cupboard and a pain to drag out every time I needed it. I would forgo the pleasure of sewing because it was not convenient. A trip to the flea market(s) solved my problem.

I purchased a deeply discounted iron sewing machine base with a study top already in place. I also found a set of old sewing drawers still in their frames and a bundle of old patterns. Armed with a couple of cans of spray paint, some wallpaper paste, and polyurethane I now have a pretty sewing table!

(click on any photo to enlarge for better viewing)

*Table top
*Wallpaper or Border Paste
*Foam Brushes ~ Be sure to use a quality foam brush, I recommend the dense foam brushes with the wooden handle. They are a bit more expensive but less likely to flake off or leave air bubbles on your project.
*Old Sewing Patterns ~ You will want a variety, I used pieces from five or six different patterns
*Cream or White Paint ~ I used cream spray paint
*Damp Rag

*To begin your pattern covered table top clean it thoroughly and then paint it with either a cream or white base coat of paint of your choice and allow to dry. This will allow the pattern pieces a neutral background that will really show off the layering. My base was already painted cream but I freshened it up as it had a few nicks.
*Once base coat is dry begin with one or two large pattern pieces to cover the top area of your project. You may want to dry fit the pieces before you actually begin attaching them. I started with one large piece across the front and then built layers starting at a back corner and working my way forward and across. Begin on the front edge of your table top by brushing wallpaper paste across the front edge only. Gently place your pattern piece to line up with the edge of the table, you can leave some overhang to glue to the under edge if you wish. Smooth in place.

There is no right or wrong way to do this. This is not a perfect process, some wrinkles will ensue and overworking the pieces can sometimes result in a tear in the tissue. I just patched up as best as I could and on the next layer I covered up any imperfections.

*Begin working in long strokes of glue and pressing the pattern in place. If you try to coat the whole surface and then lay the pattern down you will get an excess amount of wrinkles and the paper absorbs the glue quite quickly and becomes unworkable. Glue in small increments to prevent frustration!

I smoothed the pieces down with my hands making sure there are no air bubbles which will cause the paper to lift off the surface.

*Once piece is down, brush thin layer of glue over the edges of the pattern piece, smooth over with damp rag.

*Continue to layer and glue, cutting pattern pieces as necessary to get the look you desire until the whole surface is completely covered to your satisfaction. Allow to dry.

*Once dry, coat with three coats of polyurethane, allowing each coat to dry between coats. If you use a sponge brush be sure to use light pressure and to watch for air bubbles in the finish. If you see any, pop them with a needle so they don't mar your final finish.For the drawers I lightly sanded the flaking varnish off, wiped them down and just put on a fresh coat of clear sealer. Handy Hubby attached the drawer frames to the underside of the table and I ended up with a "sew" pretty project!

Sew, as you can see, I think I made a pretty good compromise for my Beautiful Life Goals. I think some beautiful accessories for my home will flow right off that pretty work surface. The question is, "If I stitch fast enough, does that count as aerobic exercise?"

Wait until you see my new sewing stool,
machine cover, and sewing cupboard,...coming soon!

Miss Sandy

P.S. In case you are wondering, I am still a bit under the weather but making steady improvement. This seems to be a step forward, step back kind of thing so I am still taking it easy and working on my new projects in small increments of time and energy. Thank you so much for the thoughts, prayers, emails, cards, and cups of kindness. You ARE the best medicine a girl could ever have!


Lady Farmer said...

Miss Sandy ~
Your creativity never ceases to amaze me. How do these ideas just pop into your head? I see your beautiful sewing table and think, Patterns pieces ~ just perfect for a sewing cabinet top, but I would never have come up with the idea myself!
Thank you for sharing all your thoughts and ideas. You inspire me to continue with my many unfinished projects!
Blessings! (and continued best wished on getting well.)

Teresa said...

Wow- looks great. someday I'm going to get on the ball and set up a space to use for sewing, right now it's the dinner table :}
Thanks for a great idea.

LiLi M. said...

Hello Miss Sandy, I'm happy to hear that you are on the mend again. I love your sewing table. How clever and how beautiful. Have a nice weekend!

Anonymous said...

I SEW love your sewing table! What a great idea. Now it will be handy to sew whenever you are in the mood. Glad to hear your health is improving. Take care and blessings this weekend.

Vee said...

Ohhhh wooooowwwww...that is so pretty! And here you had me thinking that you were giving up on an elderly aunt or something...hahahaha...

Hope that your lungs forgive you for working with those polyurethane fumes, Miss Sandy! I see that you worked on it in the garage where there was lots of fresh air, right?

Can't wait to see what you do with the next projects.

Lorrie said...

Your sewing table top is wonderful! I love the use of the sewing patterns - sew creative!

I hope you continue to feel better.


Penny from Enjoying The Simple Things said...

OH MY!! I love that!! Love it to death!!

Susie said...

Well aren't you clever!?!? Of course you are, I already knew that!!! I look forward to seeing the cupboard and stool.

Decor To Adore said...

Most impressive! You are so creative!

Lori said...

your sewing table looks great Miss Sandy!!!

Tina said...

I love your new sewing table Miss Sandy.
You´re SO creative.

Anonymous said...

What a beautifully transformed project table!

Tiffany said...

What a great project!

commoncents said...

Nice post!

Would you like a link exchange with our blog COMMON CENTS? Check us out, I think you'll like it!!

SharDon Exclusives said...

Praise the Lord you are almost back to your "old" self. Anyway it sounds like it from your writings! Your sewing project looks wonderful! I Have my television on mine. Looks GREAT!
Welcome back.........

Catherine Holman said...

I simply can't believe what you can accomplish when you are under the weather! Beautiful!

Andrea said...

Amazing! It's beautiful! I wish I could sew, but the Lord just didn't see fit to bless me with that talent. But I greatly admire anyone who can. God bless. Have a great weekend, and I hope you continue to feel better.

Things That Inspire said...

I have seen some art with dress patterns, but I had no idea how to do it. Thank you so much for this inspiring post!

I see the Emerson quote in your 'leave your comment' section - I need to look up more on Emerson, every quote I read really hits home to me.

Sheryl said...

Your sewing table is soooo cool. What a great idea. I don't sew much because my sewing maching is hard to get at and I have no place to leave it out.

I am proud of your transformations this week.

Thanks for visiting I hope you come back often. I know I will be coming back here.

Have a great weekend.

Fifi Flowers said...

I LOVE your table it is GREAT!!!

Unknown said...

It is a huge project. Love it!

Have a great spontaneous weekend.


madrekarin said...

Oh, yeah! That's better than a treadmill any day!! Although, if you had left the treadle grate on the bottom you could exercise while you sew, thereby completely justifying the change. ;)

Lisa Kettell said...

This project is over the top amazing, love it, love it. UHM, I had a relationship with a treadmill once, it didn't work out either, LOL. Now I have one with an optical machine, which isn't too friendly yet. I too enjoy the beauty outside, so much more relaxing and invigorating!

SO glad you came by the soiree, I hope you had some fun!

P.S. Don't forget to comment on post no.7 for the giveaways!

Magic and Joy!
Lisa! said...

That turned out lovely!

Vicki Page said...

Your new sewing table is adorable! What a great idea for the old sewing stands. Glad to hear your on the mend. Vicki Page

Andrea said...

Sandy, I am passing a friendship award on to you. You are a very encouraging person, and your blog shows you truly care about people. Just go to my blog and copy the quoted text and award. They are on my Saturday, March 14 post. (I tried to copy and paste for you, but I couldn't make it work.) May God bless you.


Pinkie Denise said...

Hello Miss Sandy,
I loved reading you wonderful post...I miss you so much. I have been so busy getting my shop ready leaving me with very little time to blog. I love your finished project. Many good memories I have of my grandmothers treadle that I hope to inherit someday...So sorry to hear your not feeling well Take care and be sure to visit again real soon God Bless friend Pinkie

Melissa @ The Inspired Room said...

Miss Sandy, You are amazing. Love your post and your table!

How do you remain so creative in spite of being under the weather?! WOW.


The Feathered Nest said...

Hi sweet Sandy! I do hope that you are on the mend dear friend!!! What a WONDERFUL project!! I just love the way your table turned out...beautiful! Please take good care of yourself ~ xxoo, Dawn

KarenB said...

Your table turned out beautiful. I've bookmarked your blog, I'll be back. I also love your scripture and faith references. Nice job.

Vee said...


I'm visiting from Melissa's today! :D

All the time I was working my way down through her list, I was hoping that she was talking about your table. That's why I'm wearing a big grin right now. She was!

Chari at Happy To Design said...

Hello Sandy...

Ohhh my...what a beautiful project table!!! Thank you so much for giving the step-by-step tutorial!

Okay, you will not believe this...I could hardly believe my eyes when I seen your first photo of patterns! The pattern (underneath) is the pattern my Mama used to make my wedding dress! Ohh my goodness! That's just awesome!!! Hehe!!!

Warmest wishes,

Anonymous said...

just found your blog, love it & you. I feel like we could be soul mates. I see me in most everything you do & say, I mostly am a sewer, but love other types of crafting as well. I just can't seem to go out and buy what ever I want, I first have to see if I can make it, some times can be a hazard because I have so many projects running around in my mind.I tend to ramble on as well. thanks for being you & I will return again when I have more time. I'm a 60yr. old farmwife & grandma to 13 beautiful grandkids. Live in a hand built(by my husband) lg.log home on a farm in Oh. Love the Lord as well.

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