Monday, July 1, 2013

Framed Fabric

So I have been reading The View Along the Way for a couple months now.  I actually had a few things pinned from that blog and after reading those few posts, I was hooked! Kelly is a Southern, Christian lady with an awesome sense of humor and a penchant for decorating on the cheap-what is there not to love?!  So she and 9 other bloggers have been doing this whole Summer Ditto DIY Challenge thing.  And it seemed fun, but the last couple of challenges have seemed silly for me to do because I had no need for those things in my home.  Then, July's challenge came-framed fabric.  And this one? I've got this on in the bag! In fact, I did this one so well, I did it months ago!!!

Here's the thing, I have a lot of fabric on the walls at my house.  None of my walls are painted, yet.  It's the first house we've lived in since we were married that we'd be allowed to paint and I'm very excited to do it, but we have had some other, more pressing renos to do first.  Here's some examples of my fabric "art":

This is in my craft room.  I made it for  my college dorm-black and white toile-and am now using it in my craft room which is black and white with splashes of red and is very French country.
It was a plain corkboard.  First I spray painted the frame and push pins.  Then I covered the cork in fabric-I just stretched and stapled it to the front.   Then I stretched the ribbons and stapled them to the front.  Then I hot glued the trim to cover all the staples around the edges. Finally, I used the push pins to secure the ribbon at every cross and have been using it for about 8 years!

This is cheating  a little, but it's a cross stitch a friend made for me.  She had it framed and gave it to me as a wedding shower gift.

Not exactly framed, but Momma made this.  It's Styrofoam covered  in a cream quilted fabric and cris-crossed with  green, gold, and brown ribbons of various textures, colors, widths, etc.  It goes with the greens and browns in my bedroom.
My dining room table is an inherited antique.  It only has 5 chairs.  So, I put a bench against the wall and use it as the "chair" on one short side of my table.  To make it look more intentional and chair-like, I hung this "back."  Originally, I made these and two others that were blue and white checkered and hung them above my table, which was pushed against the wall at the time.  They are just empty fabric bolts (like the ones fabric is wrapped around at the store) covered in some batting and the fabric.  I "fussy cut" the fabric so there would be at least most of a scene featured on each one.  Then I cut batting about the right size.  I stapled the batting first and then I stapled the fabric.  Then, so they could be hung, I used picture wire and a series of staples to make a hanging wire.  The hardest part of the entire project was figuring out how to make the staples hold the picture wire.  Even so, it could not have taken me more than a couple hours.
This is the top of my dresser.  It makes me happy.  I use a pitcher and bowl that is white with a green design to hold my necklaces.  There's a pink depression glass bowl that holds my bracelets.  And a maroon basket-thingy that holds pendents.  Above, is a garage sale mirror that cost something like $25, a green cross my mom made in pottery class, two crosses made from broken transferware china (one pinkish and one green), and my earring holder.  The earring holder was actually a gift but I have since made a few as gifts.  Basically, you stretch hole-y fabric on a frame, staple it to the back, and hang the earrings through the holes.  This fabric is a green, blue, and pink floral print.  I've always used a solid color. 

Close up of the earring hanger. Usually I have a couple more pairs of hoops on there and it's pretty full.  Here's  tip from me to you if you have one of these: Hang earrings with backs near the bottom and sides so they are easy to get off and use the top and middle for hoops and fishhook backed earrings!
It is impossible to get a good picture of my hallway!  It's too narrow to take good pictures of anything on the walls, but this may be my favorite wall arrangement in my house.  The white "window" is from a boutique called "Sisters." I got a gift certificate to there as a wedding shower gift and this was one of the purchases.  Next to it, is an old frame we found in this house when we moved it.  In the frame is a piece of an old quilt that was falling apart.  My mom cut the salvageable pieces from the quilt and we have used them for a few things.  The frame was really hard to staple into, so we ended up hot gluing the fabric.  Below the "window" is a frame my husband made out of salvaged wood.  I honestly have no idea why he made it, it must not have been for something specific because it was just laying around.  So I stretched a rectangle doily (I love the word "doily!") behind it, stapled carefully to so the staples went through the holes and not through the doily, added a hanger, and hung it on the wall!  The red thing is a door knocker from Kirkland's. Originally, it  had an amber door knob but 1) I didn't like the color and 2) the amber part was glued on and falling off, so I unbolted it and bolted on an antique door knob instead! The white rectangle is our thermostat. :) The circle is cream colored burlap stretched in an embroidery hoop.  It's hung by a twine loop and has twine tying the keys to the burlap.  The keys we bought at Lowes, hoping they'd work on our antique doors, but either 1)they are the two most popular keys and ours uses the third most popular, or (the more likely) 2)our door's locks are stuck from age and we need to take them apart and clean them for it to work.  (We will take off the hardware to strip years and years and layers and layers of paint off the doors and clean the hardware before putting it back on...eventually!)
But here is, at least in my opinion, the best framed fabric in my house.  It's on the long wall in my hallway so it is truly impossible to photograph well, but here are several pictures trying to show you what it's like:

The right side.

The left side and middle.

An attempt to use panorama to get it all in.  Besides the odd distortion, it kinda worked.

From the middle bedroom.

Also from the middle bedroom.

Most of the wall-from the bathroom.
Even though it photographs terribly, I have gotten more compliments on this wall in my house than anything else!  And, personally, I love it! It was fun and easy, but not quick.  First, I have to tell you that when we saw the house before we moved in, there was a giant "built in" wall of cabinets here.  It had been there for awhile, as evidenced by the paint lines-someone painted the house white (by which I mean all walls, ceilings, trims, doors, cabinets, etc. are all the same blindingly semi-gloss white-I know we need to paint but there have been more pressing issues!) and didn't move the cabinet.  So you can now see the paint lines because we moved the cabinet.  It was way too big for the hall-the doors couldn't even open all the way and it took up like a third of the hall's width.  There couldn't be a real door to the middle bedroom so it was this weird 70s vinyl slide thing (like in churches to divide up the fellowship hall, also, there still isn't a door ON the doorframe, but we do HAVE one...) It was dark and sucked the light and life out of the hall.  It didn't make sens because there is actually a closet in the bathroom and what really needed storage was the kitchen.  So we moved it to the utility room and it's our "pantry."  This left me with a fairly large wall space and this was my really cheap and fun way to fill it!

First, while I was at JoAnn's eight hours away from my current house, I laid out a bunch of embroidery hoops on the floor in the middle of the aisle until I had a shape I liked.  With coupons, etc. I seem to remember all of them costing right at $20-total.

Second, I was given a bunch of fabric by a friend who was cleaning out the samples at an interior design store.  Basically I got a whole bunch of expensive fabric, but only little pieces of each.  (Oh, and my mom gave me a bunch of doilies that trip.  I used one for the other wall hanging above, several for my dining room table runner, one for this project, and have a couple left over. I also got some from a garage sale somewhere in that mix.)

Third, I combined the two!

Just kidding.

Third, when I got home, I got some old, nasty, kinda creepy, yellowed Christmas paper out of the throwaway pile (we cleaned out the storeroom attached to our house).  I used painter's tape to cover the entire part of the wall I wanted to use to make the arrangement.  I ended up having two strips of wallpaper covering the wall from living room doorjamb to the corner by the middle room.  There really was no scientific reasoning for starting where I did vertically.  But I measured 12" down from the crown molding and made sure the top of my paper was 12" from the crown molding all the way across.  Here, I drew a picture for you:
Notice how everything but the floor is blindingly white?! :)
Fourth, I carefully took my newly made wall template down and taped it to the floor in my living room-the only place big enough to have the template all spread out.

Fifth, I put my embroidery hoops on the template in various arrangements, trying to figure out what the heck I'd done in the store that I liked so much.  Take a picture in the store next time!!!  Anyways, I decided I'd like the arrangement better with a few squares thrown in, so I got the old blue and white checkered fabric covered fabric bolts that I hadn't hung on the wall in this house and added them to the mix.  Then, I got a little framed doily Momma had given me and a reclaimed wood square my husband had made (from the same wood as the frame from above, I don't know what he was experimenting with or for but it worked out well for me!) and threw them in, too.  Suddenly, it all came together!  I ended up with a left over smallish hoop (that got used in the wall vignette above, also) but I loved the shape I had going on.  It was symmetrical without being too formal, it was big and wide, and perfect!  I had covered the whole expanse of all with my template paper, so I knew if I was sure to center my design on the floor, it'd be centered on the wall.  I used rulers, levels, measuring tapes, etc. until I was sure the design was exactly centered.

Sixth, I took a picture (standing on the couch) of the design and then started tracing the shapes on the paper.  I labeled each shape with a number and then discreetly wrote the number on the inside of each hoop (where fabric would later cover.)

Seventh, I took my template back to the wall and hung it back up 12 inches from the crown molding.  I had taken great care to center the design on the paper, so when hanging it back up to cover the wall entirely, things were centered. To make sure things stayed exact when I took the template down, I wanted to hang the hoops empty first.  I wanted them empty so I could put the nail in the wall through the hoop.  So, I held each hoop up to its corresponding, numbered place on the wall and, when the hoop perfectly covered its spot on the template, I hammered a nail in to hold it there.  Its important to remember that since the hoops are circles, they will center themselves on any nail, so be precise with the nails.  This is why I wanted to put the nails in before I put fabric in the hoops.  I wanted to see what I was doing, rather than fight with the fabric.  Does this make sense?

Eight, I chose fabrics to hoop (and cover the rectangles).  I chose colors I used throughout my house but was about how I chose them.  I guess I mean to say I went with things that made sense but that I liked. I laid the fabric out on different hoops until fabrics near each other made sense and it all kinda...flowed.  I also had to be sure that the samples fit into the hoops I meant for them to go in.  The rectangles got covered with the only samples big enough to cover them, but the colors still worked.

Ninth, I kinda got chicken.  I loved the design but I could't commit to the fabrics.  So I hooped the fabrics but didn't cut them to size and kinda tucked the fabric around the rectangles.  Part of me just thought it was too eclectic to work.   But a couple friends and my mom loved it, so I took the plunge!  I made sure the design was just how I wanted it in the hoop and used pinking shears to cut the fabric.  (Actually, I seem to remember my mom doing this...)  I stapled the fabric to the rectangles over the old batting and fabric.  The doily was already framed and the square got no fabric.  We were careful to only take down one or two hoops at a time so we would put them back exactly where they'd been.

Tenth, I did some slight adjusting.  You can see in this picture below that there is a thermostat on the wall:
Also, you can see my finger...
When the house was built, it had a swamp cooler and two gas, floor heaters.  The thermostat that is a white rectangle in the other hall pictures is one we installed to replace an old circle one.  It controls the A/C/Heater unit that cools and heats the whole house.  But the two floor registers are still there.  In the living room, we took out the round thermostat entirely and the grate is covered by the couch and trunk .  In the hall, the grate is covered by a runner and the electrical wires are capped and in the wall, but I thought the thermostat was really cool so we left it hanging on the wall. I'd seen the round ones in old houses before, but the rectangle one was new to me and really cool.  So, when I'd made my template, I'd cut around it with an exacto knife so that I'd be sure my design was around it.  In my original design, the square and doily were switched, but it just seemed to crowd the thermostat too much so I swapped them out.  Now, you have this:

Yeah, that section of wall to the left that you think is that color because of a trick of light or the camera?  It's actually a different white.  There's no less than 3 shades of white on this one wall.  I told you it was bad!  And yes, that blue-based blinding white that's not a trick of the light on the left? That's the color that is EVERYWHERE!

A really cool design on wall in serious need of some paint and photographed by an inept photographer on a phone camera with no room to back away because it is a hallway!

Whew, that was long and involved and would have been so much better with real pictures instead of drawing and lots of words and better pictures when there actually were some!