Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Grain Sack Image Tutorial

I will do my best to explain this.  I taught myself based on information I found at different blogs and websites, including The Graphics Fairy.

You will need Citrasolv, which is a natural cleaner and degreaser concentrate.  *Edited to add:  There are several different cleaning products under the Citrasolv brand.  This process requires the cleaner and degreaser concentrate.* I couldn't find this locally.  I checked the manufacturer's website and it was listed as being carried at Harris Teeter and Whole Foods in my area.  The manager at Harris Teeter told me they had no record of ever carrying it.  Pam checked at Whole Foods and had the same experience.  I finally ordered this through Amazon.  I ordered the 16 ounce size.  This goes a very long way.  To do the grain sack image I only used an amount to half -way saturate a cotton ball.  If you are only using this for personal projects, the 8ounce size should be more than enough. 

Next, you will need your image.  If it is an object without any text, you do not need to use a mirrored or flipped image.  From what I read when I was trying to figure out how to do this myself, images printed on ink jet printers or copiers will not work.  You need a copier or printer that uses the toner cartridges.  I used a laser jet printer and the prints have worked great.  I've read that some people have tried making their copies at Kinko's or local businesses that offer this service, with mixed results.  I would think that a professional copy business such as Kinko's could tell you if they have a toner based printer.  I would suggest you only pay for one or two copies and see if they work before investing any more money.

I've gotten so many wonderful images, that are copyright free, from The Graphics Fairy.  Occasionally she will include a link to an image that is already flipped, such as the image I used on this project.  If you scroll down on her post, you will see a second image that has been flipped.  When I use her images, I double click on the image and it opens in a new window, in its true size.  I then right click and select "copy" and then paste it into a word document.  This way you  can adjust the size after you have pasted it, by clicking on the image until a box outline appears.  Drag the lines of the box in or out, depending if you want it larger or smaller.  This is also where I mirror or flip the image.  On my computer, if I click on edit, or photo editor (depending on the year of the software), an icon similar to a triangle appears in the tool bar and if you hold your cursor over it, it will give you the option to flip or rotate horizontally or vertically.  I would suggest saving the image to a file after you have it in the form you want, to make for easier printing if you decide to use the image again.

This image worked well because the wheat/grain is a mixture of light and dark areas.  I've found that an image with a large dark area doesn't transfer well with this method.  It comes out spotty and  uneven looking.

Someone asked about using an image they already have.  I am about the most unsavvy tech person around.  Many of you are probably so far ahead of me on this whole printing and mirror image thing.  And,  there are much more advanced computers and programs out there, so that may make a difference.  If I were going to try to use an image I already had in a hard copy, I would try scanning it and then printing it.  If it has text, I guess your ability to flip it would depend on the software you are using.  For example, I cannot flip or mirror text from a word document I have created.  I had hoped to be able to put together wonderful phrases, choosing the font and style I wanted, and then mirror/flip the image for printing.  According to the little "help" button in Word, this can't be done.  However, when I paste an image into a word document, I can flip the entire image.

So, now you have your Citrasolv and your image.  Time for the fabric.  We first started using this technique on 100% Cotton flour sack dish towels.  I've since used it on ticking fabric, and the drop cloths.  I always pre-wash and dry my fabric, so that any shrinking will not affect the image.  I also iron the fabric well just before transferring the image, so any little wrinkles won't interfere.  And, I always "test" the process first on a scrap of fabric if it is a fabric I have not used before.  Oh yes, I always put newspaper down first under my work area.  You want to make sure the area is smooth or it can interfere when  you are rubbing the image on to your fabric.

You want to tape your image, face down on your fabric, making sure it is positioned exactly as you want it.  I just use some masking tape on the corners of my page.  I also cut off the word "grains" on this particular transfer and used the rest of the image to suit the project I have in mind for this.

Put some of the Citrasolve on a cotton ball, and then gently dab it on the back side of your image until the image becomes visible through the paper.  It is also a good idea to kind of hold the paper in place (although it is taped) with one hand while dabbing with the other, just to make sure it doesn't slip any.  There is no need to saturate the paper.  Just dab enough until the image shows through.

You can see that I missed a couple of letters here, but I went back and dabbed over them before rubbing with my spoon.

Now you will need to rub down the image with the back side of a large spoon.  Again, I hold the paper down with one hand, and rub the spoon firmly in short back and forth motions with my other hand.  I start on one corner and work my way across, making sure I've covered every bit of the image.  I rub it a few times before moving on to another area.  When you are finished, carefully lift up the edge of your paper and remove. 

The beauty of this is, if you are creating a "vintage" project, if you miss a spot here and there, it just adds to the time worn character that makes vintage things so wonderful. It doesn't need to be perfect.

Next you want to heat set the image.  I just hold a hot iron down for several seconds, a section at a time,  until the image has been covered.  I do this on the front and back of the fabric.

 Now you have a beautiful piece of fabric to use on your project!

Monday, January 24, 2011

My New Ride

Okay, so my salt and pepper shakers my be the only thing riding around in this truck.  And eggs.  I was so excited to get my little truck that I had it deliver some eggs to my other blog.

I first saw this vintage style goodie at a blog by Donna at Funky Junk Interiors .  It was love at first sight.  But not just for me.  Several people were wanting to know where she found it, which happened to be Costco.  I don't think it was recently and I don't have a Costco membership.  So, I resorted to the Internet.  This is a Ford F100 die cast model truck at 1:24 scale.  It is about 7 inches long.  About the only part that doesn't move is the tail gate, so my new salt and pepper shakers wouldn't fit.  Fortunately I had this pair, which are the small kind used for multiple placements on a table.  With shipping this truck was around $21.  A larger scale model was available (1:18 I think), but I couldn't bring myself to pay around $40 for a toy truck.  And, this size fits nicely on my kitchen table.

How many pictures can one possibly take of a toy truck? Quite a few. If one is me.


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Faux Grain Sack Slip Cover

 I made this slipcover using drop cloth fabric that had been washed and dried first.  I found this fabulous and wonderful French grain design at The Graphics Fairy .

I measured and cut the fabric for the top of the bench, then transferred the design on to the fabric.  Then I cut and pinned each of the side pieces, and the cording, onto the top piece before sewing it all together.

I personally have had trouble finding vintage grain sacks.  I've  found some on line, but they have been a little too pricey for my budget.  I've run across a couple in antique stores or at the flea market, but they were either too stained, or too pricey.  I love the reproduction grain sack look using the drop cloth fabric.  The texture is wonderful, strong, and similar to that of authentic grain sacks.

I love it when an idea spontaneously comes together. I bought this old piano bench at The Willow's Nest in November.  It looked pretty rough.

My first idea was to add planks to the top and paint, then distress the whole thing.  However, that would require me getting some help (power saws make me very nervous), or making a trip to Home Depot and having some wood cut (this would require money that I really didn't want to spend).  After seeing various slipcovers on a number of blogs, and recently finding the wonderful French grain image, this project suddenly came together in my head.  Especially since I always have drop cloth fabric ready to use.   Since the black finish matched my other furniture, and it was already naturally distressed, I thought it be best to leave the black base as is.  After a good cleaning, that is.

This was a project I was able to complete in a couple of hours, and didn't have to make any trips for supplies.  This makes it all the more enjoyable!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Latest ...

We went to The Willow's Nest today to take this beautiful dressing table/mirror set.  We also added  a few more things and worked on our displays.  This is the fun part for us.  Seeing all of our efforts come together to make a complete picture. 

Here is what our booth looked like when we were finished:

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Quick Lampshade Makeover

Our booth at the Willow's Nest is located in the  front corner of the  oh-so-cute cottage.  As such, it doesn't have the best lighting and gets a little dark in the afternoons.  We wanted to add some lighting that blended with the style of our merchandise.  I had this lamp in my guest room and it was never used.  The sculpted design was gold, so I gave the whole thing a quick cover of flat  black paint.  For the shade, I wanted to try an idea that had been floating around in my head for awhile.  I've seen a similar project using ribbon. I turned to one of my favorite fabrics, the good old cotton canvas drop cloth.  I tore strips about an inch or so wide and wrapped the shade top to bottom.  I stitched the ends in place with a needle and thread, and made up a quick little flower which I attached to the shade with a button in the middle, using a couple of stitches.   This was very quick and only took me about 30 minutes.  Next time I make one, I will stitch the strips of fabric together using my sewing machine, end on top of end for a flat seam. This will make for only one starting and one stopping point. The one I made today is only for lighting purposes and will not be for sale, so I was going for the fast method.  But, I really like the results.  So much so that I hate to take it to the store.  I guess I will have to be on the lookout for more lamps, so this one can come back home soon.

Thanks for stopping by our little blog!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Aw Shucks...

That's Southern  for "We're Flattered".   Tara at  ShabbyInSuburbia has given our blog its first award!  Thank you Tara!  We just really appreciate you all checking us out.  We will be posting pictures and details on  more projects in the near future.  Pam and I each have a pile of furniture in our garages just waiting for a makeover.  And, I went as far as to buy a gallon of creamy white paint last week with the intention of transforming some of my own furniture.   I'm just trying to decide which piece to tackle first!  I really want to lighten things up in my house.  We are going to work on our booth at The Willow's Nest this weekend and will be taking a vintage dressing table.  We thought things would be slowing down after the holidays, but we've had quite a few sales lately and need to re-stock.   Selling some merchandise sure gets the creative juices flowing!

Oh yes.  Seems like Tara's award means we need to reveal some things about ourselves.  We'll follow up with that a little later!

Thanks for stopping by!  If you haven't checked out Tara's blog, hop on over here.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Meet Clara

And Bertie

And Otis

We spent some time this weekend working on owl projects.  The actual pillows are made from all new materials.  Clara is  made from reclaimed vintage fabrics and buttons.  Bertie is made from reclaimed vintage and new fabrics, with vintage button eyes.  It's hard to see in the pictures, but they are top stitched (by machine) onto the cotton pillow fabric.  We will be working on some more of these to add to our shop and to Etsy.

We are excited about 2011.  As I've mentioned previously, everything we did in 2010 was spontaneous and with little planning.  December found us working on custom orders and struggling to keep up; and, with countless ideas floating around in our heads that never made it out.  However, our goal for 2011 is to have a plan and stick to it!  That plan will hopefully include another weekend at the Nashville Flea Market in the spring.  The fate of the Nashville Flea Market was in the hands of local government throughout last year, but it appears everything has been resolved for now and the flea market will continue at its original location.  One of the best parts of our new venture has been meeting all the friendly and fun people.  That was the best part of the Nashville Flea Market for us! 

Thanks for your interest in our blog and our little business!