Doors, Doorhangers and Paint, Oh My!

How’s everyone doing out there?

I am not ashamed to say I had a rough summer. Between the pandemic, and a kid who’s still in the school system, I managed to fall while taking pictures. Hard. On my knee, but did a number on the ankle too.

Wound up in the ER, and x-rays were fine, but still healing. On top of that, I have the usual “You know, at your age…” health issues. But hard as I tried, I was not able to avoid going to a doctor until coronavirus is eradicated….as I had hoped. Who am I kidding?

So layer on top of that all the societal and natural disaster issues we’re facing and I made a decision:

TO PAINT MY FRONT DOOR CORAL.

Why? That’s a good question. I was all set to go with teal. And then I randomly saw a pic online of a coral front door. And I couldn’t get it out of my head. You need to know that my front door is a very dark, forest green. It has been that way for 18 years.

But it suddenly became my obsession. A primal scream, I think. I NEED A CORAL FRONT DOOR.

Since then I have discovered, to my surprise, that a front door that faces south should indeed be red or orange according to feng shui principles. Who knew. (Not me.) So, apparently, I did the right thing.

I used some paint called DecoArt. Find it here.

It was not my favorite. It went on kind of gloppy and was a semi-gloss. I’m generally a satin girl. And please note, that while I was doing this I was NEVER sure it was going to work. My only thought was that if I ruined the front door, we needed a new one anyway.

The first coat was pretty hideous. It was a lot of work just to get that far, and needed several hours to dry. I had to keep going back and smooth over places that wanted to drip. At this point, I was really torn. Give up now and paint it black? Or forge ahead and see where I end up. Anyone in their right mind would have hired a professional to salvage what they could.

I went for it.

Two more coats later.

My husband strolled by while I was in the process. “You’re making the front door pink?”

“IT’S NOT PINK, IT’S CORAL!”

He and my teenage son exchanged glances and backed away. They don’t really care.

But at least here’s where I get to the sewing part. Now I needed something to put on the door.

I have some black Kraft-tex, and so anyone who’s read this blog in the past, knows I love my Kraft-tex. I wanted a round doorhanger, but one that I could update seasonally. Or just when I got tired of it.

If you don’t know, cutting a perfect, professional-looking circle is hard. Really hard. So I use a rotary circle cutter from Olfa.

But the tool has a maximum circle size of about 8.5 inches. Not nearly as big as I wanted it.

So I approached my husband with the tool, and I told him what I wanted to do. He has a mill and a 3D printer. I wondered if he could help me find a way to get bigger circles.

He sniffed around the tool for a bit, while I went off to make dinner. An hour later he handed me an extender. Then he attached it.

He simply fitted it to the device, added a screw and bolt to hold it together and, like magic, I can now make circles about twice the size. It was amazing! And it worked perfectly. My new circle was somewhere near 18 ” acorss, almost the entire length of the Kraft-tex paper.

Now I just stitched my embroidery out and attached it with a single stitch to the the circle. I made slots so that I could switch out the seasonal part at any time.

I finished it up with a ribbon and hung it with a flourish.

I have no idea how anyone else is coping. I hope you are doing well.

I highly recommend doing something you’ve been afraid to do. (Let’s not get reckless here, I’m talking about painting a door, or a room, or yikes! a dresser.)

I didn’t know I needed this color in my life. Nor do I know how long I will want it. But it showed up at the right time for me.

Color heals.

I hope.

Valentine’s Day Kraft-Tex Project

I make ridiculous projects for my husband every Valentine’s Day. Some are useful, some are decorative, some silly and some just for fun. You can see some past projects:

My Practical Valentine, Buttoned Up Valentine, Valentine’s Day — Then and Now

This year, since I have Kraft-Tex in abundance, I made another small project for him combining machine embroidery and a really simple bag design. Seriously, it doesn’t get any simpler than this. Here’s a link to the video from Mr. Domestic.

A couple of things:

  1. I used a zipper foot when sewing in the zipper. I think this is just personal preference. I like to see where I’m headed and I thought it was just easier.
  2. Here’s a link to the Valentine’s Day machine embroidery design that I used.
  3. Two layers of cutaway, with the Stabilstick cutaway on top were almost enough. As you can see in the following picture, I still had a problem because the design had so many stitches it perforated the Kraft-Tex. It was no big deal because it was only in one area, and I stitched over it, and all was fine.
  4. The reason this occurred is because I did not have the Kraft-Tex fit the hoop so it was hanging over the side and pulling just enough to rip the fabric.

I cut out the design in a rounded square and stitched the whole thing down onto one side of the bag.

After that, I just followed the directions in the video. Other than the embroidery design, seriously, it took minutes.

In the video, Mr. Domestic uses pre-washed Kraft-Tex, and I used unwashed. I want to try using the pre-washed at some point.

I do want to point out that Kraft-Tex is biodegradable, but doesn’t fall apart in the wash. In the ground, it detriorates after two weeks. Compare that to 100% cotton fabric, which may take around 5 months, and synthetic textiles including polyester, spandex, nylon, and rayon may take between 20 to 200 years to fully biodegrade*. Kraft-Tex is OEKO-TEX certified, which is standard in the textile industry in that the end product is certified to be non-toxic. It also holds an FSC accreditation (Forest Stewardship Council) Essentially, this means that the product is regulated to be using forestry resources responsibly as defined by the highest industry standards.

So that explains one of the reasons I try to use Kraft-Tex when I can. I wish I could make clothes out of it, but that’s for the chemists and engineers to figure out how to make it just a bit softer.

* I got this info from a website called Edge Expo. It is targeted to sustainable fashion.

The Joy of Choosing to Ignore the Mass Market

Have you ever spent hours on Pinterest? Wandered through quaint little shops in a seaside village or a charming midwestern town?

I’ve spent some time in local shops and in large home decor stores. I’ve browsed online and been to craft shows and art shows.

And I’m discouraged.

I am missing originality and I am as much a consumer as everyone else. Where are all the original thinkers? Where are the creatives out there doing what’s never been done? Am I just missing it? How can I go from an exurb of Chicago to a small town in Wisconsin, and find basically the exact same products?

I loved the inspirational script messages at one time, but to be honest, aren’t they getting old? If one more piece of wood or vinyl sticky for my wall tells me to “choose joy” I’m going to scream. (What does that mean anyway? Choose joy. Instead of eating chocolate? Instead of crying? Instead of reading the newspaper? Instead of choosing to make a change? Instead of choosing to work out?)

I even have a little houseplant pot that bears the message “grow.” The plant is suffering. And I think it’s because the pressure is too great and the obvious command on its outer shell is intimidating and off-putting.

I might also be watering it too much.

Nevertheless, it serves as a reminder that these constant, script-y, positive messages are numbing us to the reality around us.

If you are INSPIRED to paint the face of a cow in purples, oranges and teals, bless your heart and the artwork will be beautiful. But if you are purchasing the same one that’s shown in a chain of stores across the country, because…umm…”farmhouse”, well, what’s the point?

And I say this with love in my heart for all things farm. I’m descended from farmers.

But anyone who thinks that farmhouse style begins and ends with anything but manure and straw and hay is kidding themselves. And the farmhouse I knew was cramped. We didn’t have a whole lot of decorative items. Most of them were practical. You needed a broom nearby to chase the bats that flew in at night. You needed a vacuum cleaner to get at the flies that swarmed the window sills in the summertime. You needed plenty of logs in the basement to keep the house heated all winter. You needed hooks and pegs for jackets and boots and fishing poles. When I was out in the barn no one ever had to tell me to “choose joy.”

Joy showed up uninvited. So did laughter and tears and hugs.

This week, let’s all go out and find something original to do. Something one-of-a-kind.

That’s the beauty of sewing. We can make things that no one else has made, and make memories that no one else has experienced.

Let’s be more authentic. And let’s ditch the mass market.

Kraft-Tex Update

As you know, I have a lot of fun with Kraft-Tex products.

In a prior blog post, I talked about using embroidery for yard flags or signs.

This time, I decided to try a little acrylic paint on it and see how it holds up in weather. The previous sign that I did has been out in rainstorms, thunder, wind and more, and looks just as nice as it did the day I put it out there.

To be honest, I’m a little shocked that it held up so well.

So this time, I pulled out my acrylics and painted up a patriotic floral for the Fourth of July. I have not added any finishing, like Mod Podge or varnish of any kind.

For the record, I asked Kraft-Tex for more information about their product. It is recyclable, and therefore biodegradable, but doesn’t fall apart in the rain. It is OEKO-TEX certified, which is standard in the textile industry in that the end product is certified to be non-toxic. It also holds an FSC accreditation (Forest Stewardship Council) Essentially, this means that the product is regulated to be using forestry resources responsibly as defined by the highest industry standards.

I’ll be getting back to my wool and quilting momentarily. But for now, I’m having a great time with outdoor decorating and garden crafts…using my sewing machine.

Kraft-Tex in the Garden

kraft-tex for the garden. learn to use Kraft-Tex for lots of fun projects. Edgestitch.

If you’ve followed this blog at all, you know that I have a lot of fun with Kraft-Tex, a paper/fabric that can be washed, doesn’t fray, and needs no finishing.

Here’s a link to a couple other of my blog posts on Kraft-Tex.

This time, since I am into garden season, I thought I’d try something slightly different by adding a garden flag made from Kraft-Tex. Now, I know that it has been a truly rainy season in my area, so I though it would be interesting to find out how the flag holds up during rain. I know it can be washed and dried without any issues, and I already tested the ribbon I’m using for color-fastness. So I’m not really worried about the rain.

I promise to show you what it looks like after a few weeks. We’ll all find out!

The embroidery showed up really well on white, and then I placed it on the grey or charcoal color. I find that Kraft-Tex holds up well with lots of embroidery…upwards of 20,000 stitches..as long as I use the right stabilizers. I find it best to use a medium weight cutaway, with a layer of Stabilstick cutaway on top of that — 2 layers of cutaway in total.

Then I cut out the pieces and used a bit of scrapbook tape to hold them in position while I stitched them down onto a larger piece of Kraft-Tex.

These designs can be purchased at emblibrary.com.

After assembling the flag, I added some velcro to the top, along with a fold so that it hangs nicely on the iron bar. A bone folder works great to give a nice solid crease. And the velcro makes it easy on-off. I’m thinking that I could make a number or these through the seasons…Fourth of July next.

Finally, I’m playing around with placement outside. I don’t have my annuals set up out there yet, so it’s a bit early. In the meantime, this is easy and gratifying stitching to get done for any season.