Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Dyed Vintage Doily Table Runner

On a recent trip to my visit my folks, my mom pulled out a big bag of doilies. They were yellowed and all had coffee or tea stains, but the loving hands of my grandmothers had made most of them, so my mom couldn't throw them out. She asked if I would like to try to repurpose them. 

You bet I would! I have seen some beautiful repurposed doily creations by crafters and decorators around the blogosphere: added to clothing, pillows, and pieced into table runners. 

Here in the greater Seattle area where I live, we have had one of the rainiest winters on record. I saw an article yesterday that said Seattle has had 3 sunny days since the start of October. THREE. So I shouldn't be surprised that I have been aching to brighten up my house with all the spring colors I can get my hands on. I have even considered painting my dining table white.  

So, naturally, I decided to make a bright, spring table runner with the doilies. I will walk you through the steps of how you can make one for yourself, and give ideas of where to purchase what you need--even the doilies if you don't have heirlooms from your grandmothers. 



Dyes/Dye Kits

These kits are so nice because they come with squirt bottles and gloves. I actually used some of these neon colors on my project, I just didn't leave them to "process" for as long as suggested so the colors would be more pastel.
Find this and other kits here.

Large trays/cookie sheets

Protective Gloves

Squirt bottles/ Mixing bottles

Mix your dyes in squirt bottles according to package directions. If some of your doilies are made of synthetic fibers, add a little vinegar to your dye for color sustainability. 

Lay out your doilies on trays. Large ones can be folded in half to fit.  I recommend taking everything outside. It was raining throughout this project, but I didn't let it stop me!


One color at a time, slowly squirt the dye on layers of the doily designs. This part was super exciting for me. I loved how the color contrasts really made the beautiful designs of my grandmothers' handiwork come to life!
Don't worry about the colors bleeding into each other. That should happen. It will soften up the look of the final product. 

Gently squeeze out excess dye from each doily and place them in individual baggies.  Let them sit for 4-8 hours (depending on how bold you want your colors). 

This was an exciting load of laundry to remove from the dryer!

Remove the doilies from the bags straight into your washing machine. Wash with a little detergent and cold water on a gentle cycle. I threw a couple of old towels in with mine as "padding" for the roughness of the machine's agitator.  Tumble dry on low.  Remove and iron. I used spray starch to stiffen mine up a bit. 


Lay out your doilies and decide how you want to arrange them for your table runner. I ended up not using 2 of mine. They may become pillows in the future. 

Pin and Sew
If you look closely, you can see my straight pins holding together the pieces. 

Use a ziz-zag stitch in coordinating thread to sew the pieces together. It will be virtually invisible in the finished product.  I ironed it one more time after sewing. 

My little dining room feels much more ready for Spring! I smile every time I look in at the happy color and think of my sweet grandmothers and the time they spent making beauty for their homes. I am so grateful these special pieces of art were preserved.

Monday, February 6, 2017

50th Anniversary Party

50 years of marriage. FIFTY. If that's not worth celebrating, I don't know what is.

My dear in-laws celebrated their big 5-0 last year, and I was able to help put together their party. 
I will share some of the ways we made their day memorable through the decorations, food and gifts that honored this amazing couple.

Decorations & Gifts:

These balloons were a big hit. My in-laws had never seen anything like them, and I was so glad I had gone to the trouble of packing them in the car for the drive!  I found mine at a local party store, but you can also find them HERE. Most grocery stores will fill them with helium for a small fee.

Two of the decorations doubled as gifts for the couple. 

One was a bunch of 4x6 pictures I had printed at Costco. I found pictures from when they were newlyweds all the way up until recent ones with their grandkids.  
When I printed them, I chose to have a white border around so they had a more finished look. 
Then I bought jute twine and some miniature clothespins and we displayed their picture memories all around the room. They absolutely LOVED this simple but meaningful display. In fact, they took them home still on the twine and hung them in their own home.

The other decor/gift was a memory poster I bought on Etsy. This party doubled as my father-in-law's 80th birthday, so I bought one board commemorating his birthyear, and one commemorating the year they were married.  You will receive a digital download of the design, then you can get them printed wherever you choose. I used Costco's 16x20 poster board. It is super durable and reasonably priced.

I bought the "50 Years Ago" design from Digital Board. 
I bought the "80 Years ago" birth year design from Little Mountain Top. 

These, as well, were taken home with my in-laws and displayed in their home. 

The refreshments were simple, but just right. 
We asked in advance what each of their favorite cakes were (carrot, chocolate, and lemon pound were all listed), so we had some of each. 

Additionally, I bought several "old fashioned" candies and displayed them in mason jars.  Here are some of the candies, along with links to where you can find them:
I used chalkboard labels on each of the mason jars. I love that chalkboard decorations are so prevalent, and they fit with an "old fashioned" theme!

Though the party was simple (by their request), it was filled with love and memories from their many happy years together. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Bowerbird Shift Pattern Review

I tested this cowl neck dress or top pattern back in October.  It is a lovely design, with a flowy feel, a flattering tie-waist, and pockets (even on the shirt version!). 

Lindsey from Sew To Grow is the designer. I have tested a few of her other patterns (The Bondi Top, The Noosa Shift), and once again, I was impressed.  Lindsey is thorough in her instructions, so that even a novice sewist could handle this construction. 

I made the dress first, and liked it so much that I decided to make a top as well.  Every time I wear this dress, I receive compliments on it. 

Did I say how much I love that it has pockets??

I used a light rayon print for this dress.  I found similar here and here

For the Bowerbird shirt, I used a synthetic grey knit (similar here).  When I make another dress or top, I will use a knit again. I really love the way the cowl neck naturally falls with the knit fabric. 

To purchase this pattern, go here:


Thursday, January 5, 2017

Chalkboard Ideas for Every Season

A LONG while back one of my sisters requested that I do a blog post with ideas for chalkboard designs and messages.  Over the past 3 years, I have been snapping pictures of the chalkboards I have in my home each time I change the design, with a plan to one day share them.  

Now that I have an good number to share, I am finally fulfilling my sister's request. 

I made my chalkboards from thrift store pictures and chalkboard paint a few years ago, but they can be found just about anywhere. I have a small board in the kitchen (similar here), a larger one in my dining room (similar here); and I also use a tall, skinny one as a menu board. 

I have tried out the chalk markers that your can buy nowadays. This one writes beautifully, but if you plan to change your board very often, I recommend classic crayola school chalk. It is dirt cheap, and is super easy to wipe off and change often.

Be sure to pin or bookmark this post, because I will continue to add photos to it as I add new designs in the coming months and years!
This was from this past Christmas. My talented 13-year-old son drew the Santa. 

 I kept this one up for several months. Here in rainy WA, I need a reminder of all the bright spots in my life!

 Newsies. I hope you are singing and dancing now.

 Valentines Day. Or just because.

A little reminder for each of us as we leave the house each day. 

I did this one for a bridal shower and wedding reception. 

In the kitchen.


I love layering my chalkboards in with my other decorations. 

More kitchen fun.

I did this for the first week of the art class I teach.

Another Christmas design.