A few more stars opened up

It started here and continued here. I give you just a few more kindnesses from the Advent Calendar bounty before we move on.

Ongoing joys -  kindnesses to give throughout the year.

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A little java joy.

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And this below, good practice always…

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For this one, I made my way to the Norton Simon and The Huntington – yep, a twofer. Love them both!

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I did not catch anyone hopping and scotching, but I like to think people did. I would have. :O)

Hopscotch

And finally…

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Sharing the love

I must tell you about a few of the treasures from my Advent Calendar (which I will do in my next few posts). I loved it. If you will recall, for each day from December 1 through 25, I had to give a small gift, often something with no financial cost, but something that took my time and effort. These were kindnesses from Life’s Little Instruction Book, One Good Deed a Day, and my own heart.

all the stars removed for sharing kindness

all the brown stars removed for sharing kindnesses

A few of my offerings…

pulled from a star, what a wonderful idea

pulled from a star, what a wonderful idea

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When I hear the bells and see the red the kettle, I always think, “I get to drop something in there!”

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Sometimes the gift was a little something for me…

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And this one…this was one of my absolute faves. I went into a store and put a bill each in two coat pockets. I love this idea. I love thinking of someone putting his or her hand in the pocket and pulling out some unexpected cash!

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What about you, any ideas for small but sweet gifts to give?

Because what is more beautiful than the sea?

Emily Dickenson once wrote:

I never saw the moor,
I never saw the sea:
Yet know I how the heather looks,
And what a wave must be.
I never spoke with God,
Nor visited in heaven;
Yet certain am I of the spot
As if the chart were given.

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When I would recite that, it was unfathomable to me that someone should have never smelled the salty, briny air of a coastline or not have heard the rush and crash of waves upon the shore.

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I am completely enamored with the ocean and her offerings. I am simply grateful to live close to these waters.

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~ A day at El Matador Beach this past December.

Advent Calendar

Every year I have this ambition to create an Advent calendar, and I have held onto this magazine since the early nineties to help inspire me.

"Weihnachten" = "Christmas" in German

“Weihnachten” = “Christmas” in German

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But almost every year for the last two decades, Thanksgiving whooshes by and it skids into December. The Advent calendar does not happen. I must confess, I’ve only ever made one Advent calendar  - until now, that is! I JUST MADE MY SECOND ONE!  Woohoo! I got super motivated from this post at Apartment Therapy. After seeing those amazing ideas, I determined to dig into my craft stash and come up with something.

EXCEPT – I don’t have little ones who can open up each day on the calendar and find a treat. What to do? Hmmm… I thinked about it. And like a light bulb flashing, the idea danced before me. I would fill my days with gifts to give to others. I gathered up ideas from Life’s Little Instruction Book, One Good Deed a Day and culled a few from my own heart. The gifts are just simple things - like giving someone a compliment, buying a coworker a latte or giving balloons to a stranger.

I typed out what I would give to others, printed those ideas and grabbed my cardstock, packaging paper and thread.

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I made star shapes in PowerPoint and printed and cut them out. I then used them as templates to trace stars on the card stock and packaging paper.

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Once I had cut out 50 stars from the packaging paper, I began matching up pairs and sewed them together by hand. But before the last few stitches on each one, I stuffed in the gift idea for that day along with a cotton ball (to give it some dimension).

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I gathered my stars together…

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and placed them on this brilliant blue poster board I scored at Blick. The plan was to attach a thread to each brown star and hang it from the edge of the poster. The yellow stars would be glued onto the poster itself.

Note: I just taped the thread to the back of the poster.

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After I attached the stars, I needed to frame them. I grabbed some more cardstock and with my blade, free handed some strips for the edges.

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Something was still missing …it needed some bling. Beads or sparkle? Sparkle! I sprayed the glitter all over the calendar.

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I numbered my stars and hung my calendar.

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True confessions:  I did not finish the calendar until December 7. :D I opened 7 stars last night and one this morning (lots of things for me to do today :). I couldn’t help smiling when I saw these precious little gifts I was going to give out.

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P.S. Sorry about the glare on the calendar. Here it is minus 8 days and less glare. :O)

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A place to rest your feet

As you may recall, I went fabric foraging in the textile district a few weeks ago. I was in search of new fabric for my foot rests. It was time to remove the old and get on with the new.  The current fabric was hard to say goodbye to…but I never did find that bright red, modern sofa of my hearts desire.  I was so certain that I would find a bright red sofa that when I was roaming the textile district last spring, I saw this print and snapped it up! And away I did re-cover my footrests. But alas, I did not find my red sofa.  Okay, okay, I did find it on Knoll.com and it was quite swoon-worthy but the price was faint-worthy as well! :D I ended up with a dark gray sofa – and a savvy move to buy it, indeed – works very well with dark cat hair.

a moment of silence as we say good bye to this stunner

a moment of silence as we say good bye to this stunner

I’m going to walk you through the making of the foot rest as a  “how to.” I first built these foot rests several years ago using plywood and repurposing sofa cushions. They work great – for foot rests. Sit on them and you sink right down to the base. But for holding the feet – perfect!

They’re to easy make.  You don’t even have to do the sawing – the hardware store can do that for you.  I will give my measurements, but really, the measurements are up to you. Since the sofa seat cushions were already  the perfect size, I went with that.  These instructions will be based on that, so you may need to vary things. This is what I used for each one:

Picture list

For tools and utensils, you will need a measuring tape, scissors, staple gun, handsaw, miter box (optional) and a hammer (if you use nails) or a drill (if you use screws).  Btw, those are industrial staples – not office staples ;o)  In this tutorial, I will be using a drill and screws. If you are using a hammer and nails, everywhere I insert drill and screws you will just go ahead and use your hammer and nails.

And of course you need upholstery fabric!

MEASURE THE WOOD

For me, as I said, the width and length of the plywood was determined by the already available cushions.  The height of the foot rests was determined by this outrageously awesome, bright orange Ikea sofa I had scored at Salvation Army when I first made these. But to determine the height of the foot rest legs, I had to do some math.

1. First, I measured from the floor to the top of the sofa seat.
2. I then measured the height of my cushion and added that to the thickness of the plywood.
3. Lastly, I subtracted the cushion-plywood sum from the sofa seat height.

If your head is spinning and you’re thinking about one train going 50 mph heading to Topeka and another train going 35 mph….juuust take a look at the picture below.

Cushion and plywood

Once you have your measurements, write them down and bring them to the lumberyard/hardware store. Here was what I needed for one foot rest (I made 3):

1 piece of plywood:  23 1/4″ by 23 3/4″
Note:  I had the plywood cut 1/4 inch less than the cushion for the length and width to avoid it sticking out from under.  Not sure it helped. ;o)
4 – 2X4′s, each:  8 1/4″
2 – 1X3′s, each:  17 1/2″
2 – 1X3′s, each:  16 1/2″
Note:  You will only need to predetermine the 1X3′s length if you want the lumberyard to cut it for you. I cut mine at home using my hand saw and miter box.

Sand and smooth all your wood pieces.

ASSEMBLE THE BASE

Okay, once you get your plywood home, you need to determine where the legs are going to go. Measure 3 1/2″ from the outside in and create the dotted line square you see below.  You will be fitting each 2X4 into a corner of the inside square.  You can also saw off 3/4″ off the corners now (just be sure the plywood is on a sturdy surface that can withstand the saw) or after you attach the legs and it is elevated. (I did this to avoid painful sharp corners. So far it’s worked. :O).

Set parameters

With the plywood flat, take the wood glue and glue each leg to its place and let it dry overnight.

Place 2x4s

The next day, turn it upright and drill the wood screws through the plywood into the legs. (I used two screws for each leg.)

Top view of base with legs attached underneath

Top view of base with legs attached underneath

With legs attached, you could stop the carpentry, but for myself I wanted a little more support to keep the legs steady. I chose to attach 1X3′s just below the base. I also liked the look this detail would give. See below:

Measure  the legs from end to end on one side and then the opposite side. Take those measurements (16 1/2″) and create two 1X3′s of that length. Saw away using your miter box to keep the ends straight.
Measure side brace 2

Use two wood screws on each side of the 1X3.

Brace

Once you have put those two 1X3′s on opposite sides of each other, turn the foot rest around to measure the other two sides. This time, your measurements are going to include not just the legs, but the ends of the braces already attached.  Cut two 1X3′s, each a length of 17 1/2″ and attach them just under the base.

Measure 2nd brace set 2

MEASURE YOUR FABRIC

With the support attached all around, time to measure and attach the fabric.  Measure starting at 2″ in under the base on one side and pull the measuring tape up and over the cushion to 2″ under the base on the other side. Do this for both the length and the width of your foot rest as it is slightly rectangular. Add an inch to the length and width to allow for folding the edge under to create a hem.  Measure and cut your fabric.

Measure fabric

Once you lay your lovely fabric on the cushion, it is going to hang very nicely over the edges – except at the corners.  There it will gather in a nice dramatic fold of excess.
What you need to do is pull the corner under the base 2 inches and hold that point with a pinch of your fingers. (I know, very scientific.)  Mark the pinch point and cut at a slight angle upwards about 4 inches on each side of the corner. If you don’t cut the excess, it will gather in a big, awkward wad – not fun to staple.

Fix corner with dotted lines

STAPLE YOUR FABRIC

When attaching the fabric, keep your foot rest upright and apply a staple to the middle on each side. This is so you can keep an eye on the placement of your fabric – if it has a pattern.  Turn it over and staple the sides.
Note:  When pressing the staple gun against the base of the upright footrest, be sure to put pressure on the top of the footrest so the staple goes in properly. 

Now for the tricky part: the corners. For the corners, turn the foot rest right side up. Even though you have already cut off the excess corner length, you will still have bulk falling over the cushion.  Take the excess bulk and push it back and in on both sides of the corner.

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Once you have the excess folded back to your liking, staple the last bit of corner overhang under the base and voila!

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As you can see, I folded the fabric edge under itself about half an inch so the scraggly edges did not show.

The underside

The underside

 

Now all you have to do is safely and properly stow away your tools (as always :O) and you are done.

TADA!
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Foot rest 2

I like the look of unfinished wood, but you can paint or stain yours.  You can also buy pre-cut and detailed legs at the hardware store. They have a lovely design and with this particular pattern, I think  they would look nice – so I might change things up a bit at a later date. :O) They also work great as coffee tables. I have a large round tray that I place on them when I am serving something to drink.

End Notes:

Be sure to practice safety and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines when working with the tools and utensils listed above.

Here is a miter box, if you are unfamiliar. They are the handiest things. Place a 2X4 or anything smaller in it and you can saw an angled or a straight edge. Btw, use the miter box on a work table, concrete floor, or place a piece of plywood under it. The image below is just to show you what it looks like. If you used your miter box on a floor like the picture below, you run the risk of accidentally sawing into your floor!

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The other thing I need to mention is to make sure you get the right length of staples. For this project, I used ones I had on hand  (in the picture below) and I can see that I need to get longer staples. I need to replace the ones I have in the corners of the footrest, where the fabric is folded over and bulky. Also note, it is better to use staples with the beveled edge as opposed to the straight edge; I find they go in more easily. Lastly, be sure to buy the right series # of staples for your staple gun. Your staple gun should say what #’s it uses.

Staples

To market, to market

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That old saying, “the early bird gets the worm,” – woo-ee, definitely true about parking at the Rose Bowl Flea Market. I think the entire San Gabriel Valley was there this past Sunday.  I did not get there until 11:40 am, so I ended up parking about a 20 minute walk from the entrance. Next time I go, I will fur sure be getting there earlier. And not just because of the parking, but because I found a GREAT find, only to discover it had a SOLD sign. The early bird got that worm too! ;o)

Anyway, I went in search of something that I could use as a makeshift hearth for my faux fireplace. I also needed wooden frames for the pictures I am going to paint and hang above my fireplace. I did not find anything for the hearth and although I did find wooden frames, they were not quite what I was looking for.

But there was lots of other cool stuff to feast upon. I wended my way through a labyrinth of stalls that held all kinds of wonders. Here are few pics from my excursion.

This first thing to catch my eye were these lovely textiles by Pacific & Rose.

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Quite a bit of millinery was to be had.

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Distressed furniture? Of course! :O)

Distressed furniture

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On a large side lot, there were racks and racks of clothes and rows of rows of shoes.

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So you as you can imagine, everything was there – all the usual stuff to be had at a flea market: milk glass, circa 70′s coffee mugs, dolls, LPs, trunks, jewelry, woodwork, crafts, plants…SO MUCH STUFF! And there amongst it all I found this, the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree of table lamps. Or maybe it just needs to be in the right setting or maybe it just needs a new lampshade…I dunno.  Is it one of those, “it’s so 70s, it’s in” pieces? What do you think?

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Downtown LA (DTLA) – Textile District

If there is one thing about me you must know, I love the Garment District and all the other attending “districts” in DTLA.  I’ve loved it since I first visited it in the 90′s – before DTLA began this big whoop-dee-do revitalization.  :O) What do I love about it?  The diversity. The scroll work on the old skyscrapers and their fire escape ladders. The merchandise. That ubiquitous smell of onions and hotdogs that permeates the streets (although I have never had one). And well, I love city. And DTLA is city!

I especially love the Textile District and since I am reupholstering my foot rests, I made my way down there last Saturday. AND since I was going to DTLA, I figured I could make a side trip and get some of Homegirl Cafe‘s amazing coffee. Only, I did more than get coffee. I saw the server passing by with this sandwich of stacked vegies and I could NOT resist it.  Turned out it was the grilled vegie and cheese made outrageously delicious with a jalapeno pesto!Image

Okay, after my outrageously delicious sandwich, I made my way downtown and caught the Redline to Pershing Square.

Pershing Square

From there, I made my way to Eighth Street, headed through the Jewelry District, and then through the Fashion District until I made it to what I consider my Textile District starting point: 8th and Maple.

8th and Maple

Then I began to browse. I knew I was after upholstery fabric, but I had to look at all the other goodies too.  The textile district, as you can guess, is shop after shop of fabrics, laces, ribbons, beads, etc. Just Dreamy.

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Okay, now some fabrics (don’t worry, we’ll get down to business soon).

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SPARKLE!

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I’ve reupholstered a couple sofas and then some with fabric from this place.

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I go inside…

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Ah, Gorgeous, gorgeous reds. This I loved! If I had a different color scheme in my living room, if I had gotten a nice, blue sofa, this would have been a no brainer!

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This bird pattern was another contender. Of course when I saw the price tag ($125!!!! per yard), well, let’s just say it became a de-contender.  What I would really love to do with this fabric is reupholster a chair and as it is, I don’t need to be taking that on (I gots to focus). Still these birds are just exquisite…*sigh*

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And then I saw these foxes. All I can say is, fortunately, my sewing machine went to that place where all sewing machines go to die. Otherwise, I would have bought this little fox fabric with the intention of “doing something with it.” I just love this little guy. But yeah, that’s just what I need, another project! :D

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Okay, so let’s get down to the contenders. It came down to Exhibit A and Exhibit B (Exhibit B being the Paris motif since it is sliced in there with another).

Exhibit A

Exhibit A

Exhibit B

Exhibit B

And the winner was? I choose Exhibit B because it was laminated fabric. All I could think was, “Wow, it would be so easy to wipe cat hairs off this!” But I think I will go back and get the other one too at some point and make a couple pillows from it .

Okay, you’ll bee seeing the footrest soon.

Have you ever been to the textile district?

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