Sunday, November 30, 2014

The other side of oilcloth...

I get asked about the back of oilcloth often, so I thought I'd give you a close up look at the hard wearing fabric. The back of oilcloth is impregnated with a cotton mesh or scrim, this gives oilcloth it's edge over flimsy flannel backed vinyl. The scrim gives oilcloth strength, because of this cotton mesh oilcloth can hold a stitch where the other can not.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Chalk Cloth Banner!

A week ago I bought a few magazines that I haven't subscribed to in years. I stopped getting the magazines long ago cuz they made me feel bad. I hardly had time to read them let alone put the content to good use. But, all that has changed!! Now that I only have my little specialty fabric shop to work on I have time to be crafty again.
Photo Credit: Martha Stewart Living Banner-Style Menu
So I took my magazines, a cup of hot chocolate, and got to reading. I started with Martha Stewart Living's November Issue and BAM!! I was struck with an inspiration. The butcher paper banner menu needed to be made out of chalk cloth!! Right?

The next day I got stitching. I decided to use my Simple Bunting tutorial -- which is really easy version of my Country Living Oilcloth Fair Flags --as a jumping off point. 

Photo Credit: Be Crafty and Recipe for Crazy
As I got about half way through with my banner I realized how silly I am. The inspiration for this project really comes from the super cute Leslie Zellers. She and Amanda (also very cute!) had just done this project at the Be Crafty Workshop in Nebraska the week before. DUH!!
Photo Credit: Be Crafty and Recipe for Crazy
Leslie's version is much simpler and requires no sewing. I suggest doing what you have time for.

For my version you need the following stuff:
  • 1/2 yard of Chalkcloth (TM)
  • 24" dowel round that is 1/4" in Diameter
  • Thread
  • Wide ruler, cutting mat and cutter
  • Chalk or chalk pen
  • Assorted string, ribbons, lace and pom pom trim to bling it out.
1. Fold your Chalkcloth (TM) in half lengthwise and lay it out on your table so the folded side is nearest you. Then use pattern weights to keep the chalk cloth from curling up on you.

2. Hand press a crease a fold into the Chalkcloth (TM) by running your hands up and down the fold a few times. You can use a few clothes pens to keep it secure if need be.

June Suggests: Straight pins can leave holes in chalk cloth so I suggest using these pinning methods instead.
3. True up the right hand corners and the edge of your Chalkcloth (TM) using a large/wide ruler, cutting mat and rotary cutter. I like to use the grid markings on my mat to create a true line to start from. Line up your fold along the 1” line on your mat. Then place the ruler perpendicular to the 1” line. Make sure that your folded fabric doesn’t shift. Holding the ruler firmly in place cut a straight line cutting off about a quarter of an inch, or whatever it takes to get it even and true. Use a few binder clips to "pin" your side securely.

4. Now, flip your fabric upside down and repeat the last step on the other side of the fold. Cutting off just enough to true up the edge making the corners square and the edges even.
5. Find the center of your trued up chalk cloth and measure up 5", then use a pencil to make a small dot at this point. Fold up the Chalkcloth (TM) in half width wise, making sure not to hand press or make a deep crease. You will not want a fold line down the center of your banner. Place it on the cutting mat and with your ruler and cutter create an angled cut. Lay your ruler so it's going from the bottom banner (at the side) to the pencil dot in the center. This will create your notched banner.
6. At your sewing machine, sew a 1" casing along the top folded edge of your banner. This is where you will slid in your dowel rod. Then sew the sides and the bottom of your banner using a 1/4" seam allowance, making sure not to close up your casing at the top.

7. Now comes the fun part! I added a bit of glue and gold glitter to my dowel rod. You might notice that my dowel is not really a dowel rod but really a bamboo garden stake. I'm a big fan of using what I have, so when I didn't have a dowel long enough I grabbed the stake our of our shed instead. Sometimes you just have to make do, just to get things done. Now add a string and whatever bits of ribbon and trim you have in your scrap box to make is pretty! I used some of the pom pom trim that we sell in the shop. 

8. Chalk Art! For this project snagged a free Santa image of the old internet and dropped it into Illustrator and typed in my favorite Christmas saying. Not into Santa? That's cool, you could totally use some fun Hanukkah clip art instead. After I got the image looking just right I printed it out, it filled up an entire 8 1/2" x 11" page but it still wasn't big enough, so I enlarged it 200%. I took Emily Jeffords advise that she shared on the Indie Craft Parade blog. Basically, I ran a bunch of regular chalk on the back of the paper and transferred it on to the Chalkcloth banner. Then I used a chalk pen marker to enhance the image.

For my Thanksgiving banner I used chalk and drew out my bird free-hand. Then I used a chalk marker to fill out my sketch.

Chalk markers can be found at your local art and craft shop. Check back soon I hope to have more in stock soon.

See my blog post To cure, or not to cure, that is the question so you can see how to care for your Chalkcloth (TM)!

I hope you all have a fantastic holiday season!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Shop Small!!

Image Credit: Gulush Threads

If you know me at all you know that I'm totally obsessed with Instagram! Today I was tagged by @curlywillowco when she reposted @gulushthreads photo and feelings about shopping at big box stores around Thanksgiving. Her message really resonated with me. Help you favorite small businesses and Shop Small as much as possible this holiday season. 

Please click over and repost/regram her message and share the love! While your there follow me, The Modern June, so I can follow you too. 


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

To cure, or not to cure, that is the question!

To cure, or not to cure, that is the question. For years I've been telling you all to cure their Chalkcloth (TM), but I don't always do it myself. Why, you ask?  Well, for one, I like the solid black nature of the unused Chalkcloth (TM). Especially when I use a chalk pen marker (found at your local craft shops and in the party section of Target). When I use a chalk pen I'm not going to erase it too often. I only use a chalk pen when I'm doing a menu on one of my chalk cloth runners or placemats. Or, for my super cute project tutorial I have planned for tomorrow.
My favorite chalk marker!
Some chalk pens can leave a ghost line behind, so I normally cure the Chalkcloth (TM) after I use a pen for a project. So, I'll use it black the first time, use a damp cloth to get the pen off and then I'll cure the chalk cloth. After that I'll use regular chalk or the pen again. Test your pen on a hidden bit of chalk cloth to test is first. Let it dry and see if it clean off nicely before use.
The curing process!
To cure your new Chalkcloth (TM) simply lay a piece of chalk on its side on the chalk cloth surface and rub all over, side to side, then wipe clean. I like to us a barely damp cloth to do the clean up. Now, do this one more time, rubbing your chalk up and down this time. Wipe it clean one last time and the Chalkcloth (TM) is now ready for use. 
Chalk can get sharp so rotate your chalk as you work.
Now, you need to know that the chalk will become sharp as you rub it up and down the cloth. These sharp edges will scratch the surface of your material or project. This is normal and there just isn't any way around it. You are turning fabric into a chalk board, which is by nature, a dusty and scratchy surface that is slate gray.
Before and after!

OK, what if you choose not to never cure your Chalkcloth (TM)? Well, in that case you'll see  cover ghost lines that are left behind by the chalk pens and regular chalk. Meaning, you'll be able to see what you wrote the last time and the time before that. Eventually, it will be come scratched up when you use chalk cloth and it will become grey as you wipe it clean. Every time I've tried to keep a chalk cloth item black, I've ended up caving in and curing the surface. It just looks better in the end, all slate grey and dusty!
To care for your Chalkcloth (TM) just use a damp cloth or sponge to wipe down your projects when you're done. Chalk will build up on your towel so rinse and repeat until your happy with the result. The more chalk dust you get off the blacker your Chalkcloth (TM) will be.
Ghost lines and smearing are normal if you don't give your chalk cloth a good cleaning every once and a while. For example this is my homeschool chalkboard that I made back in 2009! As you can see this has gotten a lot of use with U. S. History lately. When all else fails and you have too many ghost lines like I do, just do the curing process all over again! 

So grab some Chalkcloth (TM), some chalk and have a blast! Click here for a ton of tutorials and tips for Chalkcloth (TM).

Thursday, November 13, 2014

I spy laminated cotton: Apartment Therapy

Check out this super cute before and after project that Ashley Poskin did for Apartment Therapy! She tricked out an old card table with some spray paint and a square of laminated cotton. Staple projects are my favorite! All you need is an old piece of furniture, a staple gun loaded with 1/4" staples and some oilcloth or laminated cotton. Bam, in just 30 minutes you have a transformed piece of furniture. Ashley used the Robert Kaufman Slicker fabric with lady bugs. Love!

Laminates are softer and are easier when working with a round table top. Laminated cotton holds up just as well as oilcloth, so don't be afraid to use this fabric. If a laminate print work better for your decor go for it. It will hold up to wear and tear of everyday use. Check out this blog post to learn more about the two fabrics. What is great is that both fabrics are water resistant and wipe down super easy.

Wouldn't this be the cutest kids table for Thanksgiving?

Now head on over and see how she did it here at Apartment Therapy.