Wednesday, August 31, 2011

New Lighting and Chairs

My sister replaced her chandelier in her kitchen nook.

Isn't it beautiful? I especially love the round bulbs at the top.

Shall we look at the previous owner's decor?

The dark walls and ornate chairs are not my sister's style by any means. She first stripped the wall paper and painted the walls a bright teal.

Then came a pedestal antique white table.

Adding the new chandelier and new chairs gives the space a chabby chic coastal feel. Next up will be to paint the oak cabinets an antique white, perhaps add molding around the bottom windows to correspond with the top plantation shudders and finish the space with a new rug and seat cushions. A long way to go, but when it is done, it will look completely different than what it originally was. I can't wait to see how it turns out.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Pleated Curtains

I was finally able to work on my sister's curtains this past weekend. Here is the fun and whimsical fabric she picked out.

What was difficult was deciding upon what kind of curtains to make. The least expensive type of curtain to make is the one you slip the rod right through. We wanted a more formal look since the curtains were for the dining and living room so we decided to not go this route.

The next option were using rings. It was okay, but we wanted to take the curtains up a notch by adding pleats.

The finished product would be pleated curtains.

They are my favorite kind of curtain to have, but my least favorite to make because they take longer and cost more. Here is how we made them. Measure your window. The final measurement was 102." Therefore, we cut the lining 106" to have a three inch hem on the bottom and a one inch hem on the top.

Start by hemming the lining 3 inches.

Pin and Sew.

Cut the fabric one inch longer as your lining will be 1 inch shorter on the inside. Therefore, we measured out 107". Hem 3 inches up from the bottom once again.

Pin the lining to the fabric (right sides together). You will want the lining to be at least an inch shorter in width than the fabric. Our fabric was 54 inches while our lining was 50 inches in width. This assures you will not see the lining once it is hung. It gives it a more finished look.

Once sewn together, flip right side out.

Do you see how the fabric has a once inch overage all around the curtain?

Next, it is time to make the pleats. There are two types of pleating tapes you can buy. You can purchase the string pull or the pleating hooks type. I wanted the string pull, but unfortunately, they were sold out. Therefore, my sister went ahead and purchased the pleating hooks tape which will require an additional purchase of pleating hooks.

Fold down the top of the curtains to finished size and place the pleating tape on top of the folded fabric. MAKE sure the tape is positioned so that the opening of the grooves are on the bottom. If you sew it upside down, the hooks will not be able to be slid through and you will have to redo it.

There are sewing guides on the tape so that you do not sew into the grooves. Once sewn, now is the time to iron everything down. This will give it the finished look. Afterward, slide the prongs of the hooks into the opening of the pleating tape.

Pull them through to make the pleats.

Evenly space the hooks along the width of the curtains.

You are now done. You can either use the pleating hooks to hang the curtains or attach decorator rings to the curtains at the pleats to hang.

Here is the finished look.

I love how it turned out. It goes beautifully with the gray walls and couch.

Let's look at the before picture.

Now the after picture.

Still not quite finished, but slowly coming along.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Super Mario Caps

I've been getting a lot of emails lately about my Super Mario Birthday party. After much digging around, I did find some of my older photos. Although, I take pictures and write about nearly all of my projects, I don't necessarily always post everything I write about. Some things just end up in the, "maybe" or the "later" pile due to lack of information or lack of great pictures.

Since, one of the most popular topics I have been getting questions about are my Mario Caps and Princess Peach crowns I made for E.'s birthday party, I thought I would share some more detailed steps and photos of the process to answer some of your questions. Although, I am greatly flattered at the many requests of interest in purchasing my crowns and caps, I simply do not have time to make and sell these, but I will answer any questions you may have in regard to making them. I appreciate all the wonderful kind comments and emails I have received from everyone. It is hard to imagine sometimes that my sister isn't the only one that reads my blog, even harder to see that some of my readers are on the other side of the world. Know that although, it takes me a while sometimes to respond to your emails, I will eventually respond, sometimes through a post like this.

Probably my 3rd most popular question is: Do I have a pattern for my mario caps? Good question. When I made caps, I did make a pattern for myself (a sketch if you will), BUT it is a patten for my then 6 year old. Below are instructions on how I made the mario caps with this pattern, but take into consideration the age and head size of your kids and adjust the pattern size to accommodate those measurements.


I bought a very soft fleece fabric for the caps. Generally, the most typical colors would be red and green for Mario and Luigi. However, my kids also wanted a Power Super Mario and Power Super Luigi cap as well so they pouted their lips and very easily convinced me with the simple five words, "I love you so much." They honestly had me at the pout.


My pattern consists of 5 pieces:
  • top of the cap (pattern is here)
  • circumference of the cap (where you put the M - pattern is here)
  • the beak of the cap (2 pieces of fabric- top and bottom, 1 piece of interfacing)
For each cap, you will need 1 top cap piece, 1 side cap piece, and 2 opposite pieces of the beak piece, plus another beak piece of interfacing.

First, pin the side cap piece to the top cap piece.

I generally like to start in the middle and work my way around.

This allows the two end pieces to be exactly the same size.

You will have about an inch left over on either side which you will have to sew together.

After you pin the pieces together, sew.
Next, put the two beak pieces together, right sides together. Place a piece of interfacing on top of the two right sides to make it stiffer. What you should have is a piece of interfacing, followed by a piece of fleece facing down, followed by a piece of fleece facing up.

Sew all three pieces together along the outer edge, NOT the inner edge.

Flip the right sides out so that your interfacing is now sandwiched between the two pieces of fleece and iron it flat.

It should look like this:

Sew around the edge of the beak so that it lays completely flat.

Here is where it gets a little tricky. At this point, you should have 2 pieces (the top and the beak) that need to be sewn together.

Center the beak inside the cap. The cap should still be facing inside out when you place the beak inside. Pin the beak in place and then sew.

When you sew the beak onto the top of the cap, you next have to hem the rest of the cap, folding under the excess fabric all around the cap.

I also sewed down the beak and front of the cap.

The final step would be to cut out the circle and Letter "M." Place a piece of interfacing under the circle. Sew the M with a zig zag stitch onto the circle before sewing onto the cap so it gives a cleaner look inside the cap.

The final product

Mario's Cap

Power Mario cap.

Here are some of my mistakes. The Power Mario and Luigi cap have a white circle with a colored letter instead of a colored circle with a white letter. I thought I would point that out should you be making these too.

My kiddos loving their caps.

My assembly line

I will tell you this project will take a LONG time. It took me about 10 hours to make all my caps so I was definitely rethinking my plan after the 10th hour. Should you take on this task, I will definitely say you are a wonderful parent to be doing this for your kiddos and they will thank you to no end

and their friends will thank you to no end. Also, don't be surprised if you hear maybe once or twice, "This was the best birthday party ever!" Therefore, if you ask me in hindsight, knowing it would take me 10 hours to make the caps, whether or not I would do it again, I would say,

"in a heart beat, most definitely yes."
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