Saturday, June 20, 2009

Tie-Dyeing the Bookcases

Now that my older daughter is on summer vacation (though she still has homework to do), she has a bit more available time. It's time to do some rearranging in her room to make it easier for her to store and find all her stuff going forward.

Bookcases with Glass Doors and a Little Inspiration

We bought her two Billy 79.5-inch tall, 31.5-inch wide bookcases, along with two pairs of coordinating half-height (37.75-inch high) Billy Morebo glass/aluminum doors. IKEA mentions on its website, and displays in the showroom, that these can be easily personalized by adding wrapping paper, fabric, stickers, etc. between the glass and the backing insert of the door. Just that little hint, and off we go!

My daughter loves blues and greens, and her room is already decorated in those. She's excited about getting her glass doors done in blue-and-green tie-dye to match the rest of her room. Guess who had some influence on the color scheme when I tie-dyed the couch?

A while back I got a bunch of IKEA's Sova twin-sized flat sheets (cheap, 100% cotton, and they dye beautifully). Note that the Sova line has since been replaced by the Dvala line, which is still all cotton but a little more expensive. The Slumra line (now the cheapest line) is unsuitable because it is 52% polyester and won't dye well.

I folded a sheet in eighths (which turns out to be the perfect size, just a bit bigger than the door inserts), then tied it in a pattern and dyed it. After dyeing, I cut off half the sheet since we didn't need it. We hemmed it, and now my daughter can use it as a drape for her loft bed or whatever.

I cut out four matching pieces the size of the inserts plus 1.25 inches extra all around.

Here I laid one of the inserts on top of the corresponding fabric piece.

We're using the leftover strips (about 4-6 inches wide) to make scrunchies for hair.

We attached the fabric to the inserts with Scotch tape. We don't care if the back of the door looks a little messy, and the tape just has to hold well enough for us to install the inserts into the glass doors.

We installed the inserts into the glass doors and installed them according to the instructions. Once we got everything put together, it looked like framed posters of some wild graphic art.

That's the extra half sheet draped over a curtain rod on the right side of the picture. Here's how it looks with the doors open:

My daughter kept running around it singing "It's so pretty!" Well worth the cost and effort just for its looks. Now if only it helps her keep her room clean!

More Gratuitous Dog Pictures

Lacey knows when it's time to join the photo shoot. Here she's sitting on the wrapped inserts.

She's even brought her own props!

Who can resist that pose?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Look! It's a Quilt!

If Abercrombie and Fitch were to sell quilts, this would be it. It's ratty and frayed. It has the dusky patina of ground-in dirt. It's irregular and uneven. Maybe it's not ripped up enough to meet those trendy A&F standards, but one has to draw the line somewhere.

The jeans circle quilt is done. Well, at least for now. Until I decide to do more stuff to it. But for now, done. Oddly, having it finished seems pretty anticlimactic. It's probably because I don't really have a place or a use for it, since I really just did it for the challenge of it. It took me so long to make (just over a year of on-again, off-again work), and so much physical effort, that I feel I have to hang onto it until I find the right place for it.

The Stats

The "Quilt from Hell", as I'd taken to calling it, has 221 jeans circles (from roughly 30 pairs of recycled adult jeans) and 221 ~5-inch squares cut from a tie-dyed recycled sheet (as well as 442 squares of polyester batting). It weighs 8 pounds according to my scale, but it feels like more.

I had made it up into three long sections, and then put the three sections together. That was one of the reasons making the quilt was so difficult; I had to physically muscle those huge and heavy sections around and through my regular home sewing machine (a Husqvarna Viking Emerald 118). In hindsight, I would have made nine smaller sections and put those together at the end.

It's Unique

The quilt is definitely unique. Besides the randomness of the recycled jeans circles in various shades, which are then laid out in a specific design, I also had the tie-dyed sheet. I had dyed it in a chevron pattern, then cut it all up and rearranged all the pieces. Someone I know wonders why people would take perfectly good fabric, cut it up, and sew it back together again. I just tell her to think of it as making paint from minerals and then smearing it on canvas--it's art. And in this case, it's taking something that isn't perfectly good (the worn out jeans) and putting them to good use.

Extra Special Style

My quilt has something that no Abercrombie and Fitch quilt would have: dog hair incorporated into its deepest recesses. Lacey thinks that's just perfect.

P.S.: I've managed to achieve my New Year's resolution! This may be a first!