Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Great Grandma's Chair: Fabric Dyeing Furnature

Using Fabric Dye on a Crush Velour Rocking Arm Chair

This chair is probably the most comfortable chair I will ever own. It rocks, it swivels, and it is very soft fabric. I have no desire to get rid of it. However, it was the most ugly puke green from the 70's ever. This chair, along with the matching puky gold one my parents kept, have been in our family as long as I can remember. My great grandmother passed away when I was very young and I only have a 1 second snapshot memory of her sitting at my grandparents house before a big family dinner. From stories I have learned that she was a great woman.

Since the chair was such a horrible colour my mom fashioned up a temporary covering out of 2 black shag rugs. It was semi-fitted, so it didn't look terrible, but I had to adjust back into place every 2 weeks or so. Eventually the temporary cover became permanent, and some time after that the black shag started to fade and was more of a dark brown.

Considering that I have a bright beachy themed home with light blue, white, and green, the black shag stood out more than I would like. I knew I wanted to do something, but I didn't know what.

Since chalk paint is all the rage, though I had only bad experiences with it, I decided to try it on the bottom of the cushion. As I expected it was VERY crunchy and horrible.

Did I mention that the fabric is crush velour. I think the appeal of the chair is the texture of the fabric.

Here is a close up of the original color. Its just not for me


Fabric furniture

Paint Brush

Spray Bottle

Bleach (optional)


2-3 Packages Fabric dye

Hot water

What I did:

I first bleached the chair. I did this because It was a darker color, and my original plan (though you will later see that didn't pan out) was to have a nice bright blue color. 

Fill a spray bottle with bleach and water and sprayed 2 coats all over the chair. Get in every crack. If you use a very strong mixture consider rinsing with just water to prevent the bleach from eating the fabric.

Once it is dry examine the color. This is the step I missed. Fabric dye mixes with the current color of the fabric. After bleaching, my chair was a goldish color. I used blue dye. Blue and gold make green (the original color). You can see this in the picture below. The bottom half is just bleached and the top half is wet dye (it lightens as it drys). 

Once you have considered what color you want to achieve, and that its possible, mix the dye with water. The instructions say to use a LOT of water. I wanted a strong mixture so I just filled the ice cream bucket with 1/2 a package. I used a paintbrush to apply, because I wanted to really rub it in, but a spray bottle would work as well depending on the texture of the fabric. Let it dry in a warm room. I was in a shop in winter so I left a heat lamp pointing at it. It was dry in 12 hours. 
This is after the first coat. See how much it lightened, and how close to the original color it was. 

I applied 2 more coats; 3 coats in total. 
This is after the second coat

Here is after the final coat.

The fabric is still just as soft as it was when I started! 
I still need to fix up the piping on the arms that have warn down over time, but it could be another 5 years before that becomes a priority. I decided to use a burlap cushion cover to lighten it up a bit. 

I am very happy with the end result. 

You might be wondering what happened to all my friends with white pants or shirts that sat in it. Well I was worried for them, so I left some white rags on in for the first 2 weeks while we used it and there was no color on them at all!

I would highly suggest fabric dye for your projects. Its very low cost, and very great reward!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Cowichan style Baby Toque

Cowichan Style Baby Toque

What You Need:

10mm circular needles

3 Colors of Extra Chunky Yarn
- Could use two color if desired.
-Dark brown, light brown, grey and cream are the traditional colors

Printable pattern below

What I did:

Cast on 36 st 
Follow pattern below
If you want to increase the ribbing. Knit 2 extra rows ribbing and one extra rows between row 4 and 5, and remove row 17.

Friday, October 17, 2014

My Hair cleaning Journey: Natual shampoo

The truth is I hate the name for natural shampoo "no-pooing". Why is it called nopooing. It sounds gross, I don't want to associate my hair with poop! It actually makes me think of rubbing dog poop in my hair.

I used to have dreads(I'm the one with dreads in the picture), and though they were just as clean as most people hair, I washed them once a week, I heard horror stories. I heard of people who actually put poop in their hair to make their dreads. Thats nasty!

I have always been a more shaping hair washer. I have always cringed if I had to wash my hair two days in a row, but I only recently discovered the natural shampoo.

What I did:

What is natural shampoo? Simply a mixture of baking soda and water.
What is natural conditioner? Simply a mixture of vinegar (apple cider is recommended) and water.
Thats it!
This is the blog that got me started

I first started with natural shampoo and kept to my normal conditioner. I have such thin brittle hair that I often leave the hair dresser with split ends. I have heard lots of blogs where people want you to cold turkey just go for a week with no shampoo and things will get better, but I work in an office, and that just not professional! I star by mixing 50% of my current shampoo with 50% of my natural shampoo. Every time I got half empty on the bottle I topped it up with natural shampoo. I guess I now still have microscopic remains of chemical shampoo, but I think I can live with that. I also slowly added more days to my wash-free routine.

I find its helpful when you go camping. I didn't wash my hair for a few days before the camping trip. Then, I wear lots of bandanas headbands, and keep my hair in french braids the rest of the time. If I go swimming the harder water often pulls some of the grease out. If you do want to go cold turkey, camping would be the best time. I know you cant see my hair too well, but this is probably day 6 of no shampoo on a camping trip.

After I got my courage up I started to do the same with my conditioner. I added a bit of vinegar and water to my current conditioner bottle, and slowly as I used it up I made it more and more natural. I now am finally at pure vinegar and water.

The results

In the end I am quite happy with my hair. I find there are days when my hair actually seems to have some volume! I still use dry shampoo (its actually just baby powder) around day 3 or 4, and have to keep my hair up on days 4-7, which is how I prefer it anyhow. My hair smells normal, and looks normal. It feels healthy and I love it!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Whalecome: How to paint perfect letters

I have always thought that Whalecome is the funniest word ever. Since the first time I heard it that is (yes I realize its not a real word). It would not be funny for everyone I guess, just nautical lovers probably. I have wanted to make a pillow that says Whalecome for a long time now and I finally did! In fact. I made 2. One for Joss (the sailboat in other posts) and one for Ca-Sea-Ta (my in-laws other boat).

 You can't deny that is the cutest thing ever!


Pillowcase or other surface


Print-out of picture/writing on any type of printer paper

Sharp Ballpoint Pen




What I did:

I chose to put this stencil onto a pillow case, I have also done a similar project on a piece of fabric to make a type of flag. This can also be done on wood, or many other options. 

First cut out the large area with the scissors. The whale in this picture was easy to cut with scissors, but once I got to the letters is when I had to get creative. They were too skinny for my scissors, and my exacto knife ripped the paper so there was not a straight edge. 

Tape the word onto the fabric where you would like it to be so that it does not move. You might need to cut down the paper to include only the letters.

Use your pen to puncture holes in the paper. Once you are done the full word it should look something like this. 

Take the paper off and underneath should look something like this. The second time I did this project I used way less dots because I realized I did not need so many. Less dots = faster.

Consider taking the tape off slowly incase your pen died or a letter was missed for some reason.

Paint inside the dots. 

Finally use the sponge to paint inside the whale stencil. (I painted the whale first, order does not matter) A sponge will give the best results with the paper because you will be only dabbing the fabric. There is almost no chance that the stencil will run on the edges. 


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A Globe: Holds Everything

I have loved maps and globes for a long time. I always loved pulling out the family atlas book and learning about countries I had never heard of. I also, for reasons unknow, have enjoyed many times looking at country and capital city names and  deciding if I could name my children those name. Is Juba (capital of South Sudan) a girls name or a boys name?
Though I do love to look at all the globes in Chapters and Homesense, I think I prefer the older style. I have one in my house right now (below) that looks like someone finger painted the water. Its all streaky. I love it! Thrift stores is my favorite place to get vintage globes. Plus they are much cheaper for the quality. 
I saw a bowl made from a globe on sale online and I knew I had to re-create it!



Wooden Candle stand (or similar item)

Old Book

Rope/twine/cloth (or similar item)

Scissors/exacto knife

Hot glue + white glue


Screw/screw driver (optional)

What I did:

Cut the globe in half. This is by far the most challenging part of the project. Work at it slowly with a sharp exacto knife of scissors. Have patience.

Once you open it the inside will look like this (below):

I had no idea what I was getting into. Notice the extra thick cardboard that was used to hold the seam together. Don't cut through it if you don't have it. I was able to pull the top off once I worked at it for a while.

You might want to note that I used the bottom half of the globe so that the words are not upside down ;)

Next add your base. Mine was wooden so I chose to screw the globe onto the base. If you don't have wood (or just don't like screws) feel free to glue it. Luckily there is a hole in the bottom of the globe to let you know the exact middle. No complicated measuring required.

Next cover the inside of the globe with pages from a book in collage style. I used the white glue to first hold the pages in place. Once all the glue from the pages is dry add two layers of varnish. You dont want to feel the book pages. Also this will help to make it safe for food (not waterproof though).

Finally wrap rope, twine, or a piece of cloth around the top to cover the raw edge. I felt three rows was enough. You might need to cover less if you had a cleaner opening than I did.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Centre Pieces: Paper Flowers

One of my favorite things about paper flowers is that they never die! You can have them in any color you like, they don't need any water, and you never have to think about refreshing your table when guests come over. So handy!
For my wedding I was not particularly worried about the flowers wilting before the reception started. I decided to have paper flowers for two reasons. First off, when I learned how expensive flowers are I was not willing to spend that much! Also, and more importantly I love making everything by hand, and love the look of paper flowers, how cool is it to know that the Bride made EVERYTHING on the table!


Paper. Heavier than copy paper, but not as heavy as card stock (I used 67lb paper)

Chopsticks (the cheap wooden ones from take-out)

Green Paint

Liquid Glue



What I did:

First, please note, that I based my flowers off This tutorial, but made some changes.

Cut out petals in approximately the same shape as the picture to the right. Cut some smaller, some more oblong, some larger, ect. Each flower will need approximately 10-14 petals. Feel free to fold the paper in half to cut out two at a time.

Next crumple up, and un-crumple all of the petals, so that when they are open again they are wrinkled.
The wrinkles of the petals allows them to look a bit more realistic, less like paper and a bit more like silk. It gives them some texture.

Paint the chopsticks green. Be sure to paint the whole chopstick because the top will likely be showing like in the picture below.

Place a small line of glue at the base (flat side) of one petal. You will be working from the centre of the flower to the outside, so the first petal you choose should be one that you want in the centre. 

Wrap the bottom of the petal(with the glue) around the chopstick(the fat end). depending on what type of flower you are going for will determine what angle you wrap the flower. I wrapped the petal around at about 40 degrees so that it was not too tight looking. 

Glue and wrap two more petals around the chopstick so that the three petals are evenly dispersed around the top of the chopstick forming the centre of the flower. 

Continue adding petals in the "windows" of the previous petals until you are satisfied with the size of your flower. With every subsequent layer increase the angle that you attach petal.

Once you have used up all your petals, or are satisfied with the number of petals stop adding more. Bend the petals out from the centre or at their tops so that they offer a more realistic look.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

The most intense Diet Ever: Why I quit

Just after March 2014 I started to feel sick and I was sure it was from what I was eating. I had heartburn, upset stomachs, and headaches. I started by doing the Wild Rose Cleanse because I had done it before and it helped alot. It did help alot, but did not solve the problem completely this time. I was still having some strange digestion and headaches. Thankfully my husband's work covered Naturopath appointments so I booked an appointment.
Zucchini Fritters - These fritters are unbelievably easy to make, low calorie, and the perfect way to sneak in some veggies!
Huge snack lifesaver because they taste good cold! Sub parmesan for dairy free cheese
First I would like to say that the Naturopath is very expensive and it took 3 appointments before I actually had a diet plan. The third was completely useless. Thank goodness for good benefits!

I also think its important to point out that I have a very high metabolism. If I don't eat every two hours, I will probably have troubles walking because I will be so weak. I don't necessarily have to eat a lot, but simple sugars that come from a granola bar kick in much faster than the sugars in a carrot.
ketchup by fmr
My favorite weekend breakfast is hashbrowns. Katchup makes a huge difference
To shorten a long story a bit, I was on this diet for 2 months. I could not eat gluten, dairy, eggs, sugar, chocolate, coffee, most teas, corn, most meat, nuts, vinegar, any yeast, and a few other random things. Essentially my diet was rice, veggies, potatoes, and fruit (thankfully it was summer so the fruit options were a life saver). It seems like more when you just hear it, but its harder than you think. Rice everyday gets very repetitive.
Mayo is in a lot of recipes I like. 
A hard part for me was baking. I grew up in a mennonite home and my mom baked a lot of very unhealthy desserts. As a result I developed a sweet tooth, and learned to love to bake as well. I have a sister that is very severely celiac, so we learned to substitute for gluten quite well. Dairy is not too hard, as long as you like the taste of either almond or coconut milk. But sugar? Its really quite challenging to bake without sugar. I did learn to substitute for stevia or agave, but not too many recipes worked very well.
Grilled Peaches with Honey & Vanilla Ice Cream
My favorite snack when I needed sweets! Just no ice cream.
Another huge challenge was convenience. First of all there was almost nothing I could eat if I was out. At most restaurants I could eat only fries, which would be great if you love salty food, but I really only like my fries with a big juicy burger. If I was out and just wanted a snack to pull me over until I got home, I had to stop at a grocery store; which is not always the easiest to find (I once walked an hour to find one). I also could not eat at anyones house. Most people don't know how to cook with such limited ingredients. Once I did go to a friends for dinner, but I brought all the food.
Skinny Shrimp Scampi with Zucchini Noodles Recipe
I used this mostly for the Zoodles. No wine, adjust sauce to taste
I found myself spending 3/4 of my free time cooking. Now as I mentioned above I do love to bake, but I really only like to bake when either I have tons of free time, or I am having company over. I would often leave a friends house early because I had to cook a meal for my lunch the next day. If I wanted to go out for the afternoon I would have to cook a meal ahead of time and bring it with me. I couldn't go out after work because I couldn't buy dinner, I had to always go home and make food.
Super easy. I just added some agave to sweeten them up a bit
Always preparing food from scratch might seem like it has benefits such as cost savings, but really gluten free dairy free food is very expensive. I did not find any sauce or dressings that I could eat so everything was prepared from scratch, with tons of alterations.
Gnocchi is easier to make that you think. Just sub for gluten-free flour
I did learn a lot through the process. after a month I finally learned that most foods on the candida diet I can eat (why did the naturopath not tell me that?). I also learned some simple ways to eat healthier such as subbing rice noodles for wheat noodles (no extra effort). I am fairly good at baking gluten free and I don't mind buying margarine over butter, or using coconut milk in my recipes. I can sub honey, agave, or stevia for sugar in pretty much anything except baking; which makes a huge difference in the huge amounts of sauces that my husband loves.
Peach Dumplings
A bit more challenging, but worth it. I used Pillsbury gf pie crust, sparkling water, and honey.
I got re-tested after two months and though a lot of foods cleared, I still could not have gluten, dairy, chocolate, and minimal sugar. So I went home and told my husband I quit. He was happy.

Gluten Free Baja Fish Tacos with Fresh Gluten Free Flour Tortillas
My husband made these for me on my birthday. I used my home made mayo (below) subbed stevia for sugar, and used fetta for the cheese
We decided that a stomach ache once a week was well worth spending an extra hour with friends; not to mention the joy I receive from enjoying chocolate! I am much happier now and have learned to balance my health and quality of life. I am not a slave to the kitchen, but can still cook healthier than I was before. If I start to feel horrible again in 6 months, its not a big deal for me to do a 2 week cleanse. But I will not be a slave to my kitchen.
Honey Salmon in Foil - A no-fuss, super easy salmon dish that's baked in foil for the most tender, most flavorful salmon ever!
This is the best Salmon recipe I'v ever had! It was a 1-2 times a week easy life savor. Sub vinegar for lemon juice
My husband said: "If you die 1 year earlier, at least you enjoyed all the years leading up to it."