Upcycled Candle Holders/Coffee Sack Project #4

What to do with a rainy day, especially when little man is still hanging out, apparently quite comfy in the belly…

A while ago I’d stuffed some taper stubs into some empty wine bottles and decorated my empty side table with them.  I liked the look, but this week decided it could be a bit more… coordinated, or something. Plus this gave me an excuse to play with coffee sack scraps and jute twine (if you’ve just popped in, jute twine is my duck tape, I do all sorts of things with it like make laundry room utensils look cool hanging from command hooks and hang canvases with it and so forth).

Not to much “how to” here… ingredients were burlap scraps, muslin scraps, empty wine bottles, jute twine and ribbon. Oh, and the candles of course.  I hot-glued the twine and burlap into place, burning myself only once. Note: when hot-gluing fabric and twine, don’t use your fingers to press it into the glue, the glue comes right through and burns you 😛 Learn from my mistakes, dear reader, do what I say, not what I do!

I whittled the end of the candles with a sharp knife to make them fit securely in the tops of the wine bottles.

And the decoration around the burlap is just muslin scraps that I shredded the edges of with my fingers before layering with ribbon and tying in place.

Perfect project to fight the strange dark that came over us about 5 pm with the storm!

In other news Mama Raby, a faithful reader, totally made my day today when UPS delivered me these cute wet bags off my Amazon registry.  Thanks, Mama Raby! You rock 😉


Coffee Sack Project #3

For several months now I’ve been propping myself up with several odd pillows to keep my back straight as if I don’t, it hurts. But for several months these same odd pillows have been bothering me because they are 1) a nice fat down pillow in an allergy cover in boring white, comfy, but not pretty and 2) two blue floral pillows I bought for my office back when I worked in an office in an attempt to add a little feminine pop to the boring arm chairs that came with said office. I like the covers, but they don’t go with my living room.

So when I found these coffee sacks the other day, one of my top priorities was to make pillow covers with some of them, and so today I did. I also ripped off a vintage grain sack look a la Pottery Barn with some white cotton canvas fabric I had and a hack inspired by Miss Mustard Seed and simply painted the colored stripes, which worked better for me anyway because I was able to use regular wall paint that matches our house and color scheme, and I could pick the width of the stripes.

To pull this off, I have a couple of recommendations.

First, on sewing coffee sacks or any sort of burlap woven material.  It makes a ruddy mess. You end up covered in fibers and fuzz after you cut it.  So stitch it together and then zig-zag stitch over every rough edge on the inside of your seams or you’ll be shedding bits of it every time you need to remove it to wash it.  Make sure when you zig-zag that you catch a full set of fibers parallel to  your seam in order to stop the unraveling.  You’ll be able to tell you did this by pulling any loose fibers after you sew.  They should stop, and you can just trim them off.

Second, on painting fabric.  I decided to paint this pillow cover after I sewed it so the stripes would line up perfectly.  To do this, I pinned a trash bag inside it, under the area to be painted so the paint wouldn’t bleed through from one side to the other.

Third, also on painting the fabric, make sure there’s no ripples when you tape. I just used regular masking tape, an inch apart for the wide stripe and a quarter inch for the narrow ones with the distance between the stripes being the width of the tape.  If you tape over a ripple or fold of any size, your paint will bleed.

For this project, I used regular latex wall paint.  It might fade some in the wash, but after it dries, it should be pretty well stuck on there.  (well, I say regular, it was left-over low VOC eggshell paint from Eli’s room, so good quality stuff there).

And, voila! mixed in with some covers I got on clearance at Pottery Barn a few years ago, I now have cool and coordinated pillows for the living room.

Now, if only I could actually leave my couch like this, but my dogs would get all over the pillows 😛

Coffee Sack Project #2

In the bunch of 5 coffee sacks that I picked up the other day was this lovely one with a woven bright turquoise stripe that was completely intact (not slashed!), so I simply cut off the stitches on the sides to open it up, and then hemmed it.  Note: I managed to hem it upside down… what happened was I looked at one end, and didn’t realize that the top of the bag was hemmed to the outside, and wanting to leave the original top, I hemmed the sides the same direction and didn’t notice till I’d had thoroughly stitched both sides. Twice. So the hem is up. I kind of like it. But if you prefer your hem down, look to see which side is which 😉 You’ve been duly warned.