Sunday, June 25, 2017

Oh, Behave!!!

The ease with which the fabric adhered onto the cornices was not repeated when it came to getting them to behave in the Pretty Pleat. The Stiffen Quick had no apparent effect at all on this rayon/spandex stuff (although it worked beautifully on the cotton samples), so I had to pull out the Big Guns! In Elizabeth's tutorial, she first dampened her cotton material, then further infused it with gel glue. I was astonished that in all of my supply drawers, I had no gel glue except for a partial 2oz bottle of actual fabric glue. I didn't want to chance not having enough, so I went with Sheila's method of watered down Tacky Glue. I thought I'd better wet my material first too, to better help the adhesive mixture distribute more evenly.

After the first coat had dried overnight, it still seemed a little unruly, so I added another coating of the water/glue mixture - a little more concentrated with glue this time. Sheila had wished me luck getting it out of the pleater, so after it had again dried overnight, I began the process of slowly peeling it away from the rubber form. She was right - it was a little tricky. This time, it was permanently molded in pleat form, yet still pliable enough to manipulate.

I needed enough material for two large and one small window, and luckily I had just enough to divide it into into six pleats each for the wider window panels, and three each for the smaller window. I stuck a metal ruler vertically into the grove of the pleat and used it's edge to run my Xacto knife along (to varying success) to separate them. I cleaned up the edges as best I could with small fabric scissors.

Once cut apart, the panels wanted to twist a bit. I was able to shape them fairly successfully without the pleats coming out, so that was a positive step forward.

I used hot glue to attach them to the cornices, and that helped to further stabilize the tops.

The bottoms, though - another story! I ended up having to attach them at the window sill and baseboard with another bead of hot glue.

And finally, they behaved! Please also notice the new trim around the door's window insert and the hinges. I am hating that crooked raised door panel so that's getting covered with some sort of panel, soon. It's funny what photos vs the naked eye reveals.

I like 'em, I think they work well for the vibe and color scheme, and from now on I will only ever use cotton or silk! The Pretty Pleat itself was a dream to use and to clean, so this was a smart investment that I am sure will pay off in lots of future projects.

So what's next? I have the frames picked out and an arrangement settled upon, artwork, mats and backs cut, and will begin the painting and gilding process on all the little pot metal frames.

And in other exciting developments, I received a fantastic open sketchbook with original artwork by Nancy Enge, along with some wonderful kits to make journals and office supplies. These will be a fun day project when I need a little break from major mini construction!

Hope you all have some fun things on the horizon, and that you'll share every challenge and triumph!

Now behave! :O)


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Cornice Progress

Now that I have the cornice moldings painted and installed, I really like them. So much better than the original trim I had on the window tops. I learned how to use on hand supplies, just 1/8" basswood and chair rail trim, to really dress up the frames. If I'm smart, I'll make molds of the fancy resin pieces and have them on hand for future projects.

I like the lower profile and finer detail of the decorative resin piece I used on the dining room cornice, but I only had one. I still like the ones in the living room, just not as much.

I assembled the cornices using the arched front pieces I made on the Cricut, then added structure pieces on the top and sides using 1/2" x 1/8" pine scraps that I had on hand. I painted them with the Americana Blue Mist, the darker of the two shades in the color scheme since it was a closer match to the almost see through fabric.

The fabric is nice and lightweight, so it was fairly easy to mold onto the cornice forms using only Quick Grab Tacky glue. I really like the texture and wish I could get my hands on more of this fabric in different colors!

You can see that the color is a nice complement to the wall color, and is an almost perfect match to the darker door color. I like the way you can see the decorative moldings under the arch, so I'll most likely just have straight panels hanging down on either side.

I have the test pieces iron hemmed, pleated and sprayed. I'll pull them out when dry and see if the Stiffen Quick seems like it will do the job (from Brae's tutorial). If not, I'll try additional test pieces with Elizabeth's damp fabric/gel glue tutorial, or Sheila's watered down white glue method. One thing I noticed on my test fabric is that I'll need to have careful measurements overall and carefully calculate the hem into them. I ended up with a longer pleat on the end of the right fabric because it was too short for another pleat. I imagine this would look bad if it happened to my "real" fabric.

Also, I was watching a movie called The Queen. I noticed that all of the white moldings appeared to have some sort of gilding or highlighting and it looked amazing. Not so stark, and the detail showed up better. I found a couple photos online. What do you think? Should I give it a try? Maybe just a bit of chalk pastels brushed on would make a difference.

Anyway, off to bed to dream about the panels. Hopefully, I'll have some show and tell to share in the next few days!

Sleep tight,


Monday, June 19, 2017

Redeux or Re-Do?

And I had such plans to make noticeable progress...

But instead I am in a bit of a do over...

It started out promising... Just add a couple thin strips to the window trim to make them appear that they open out. Then add pulls and viola - something done. Got the brass handles and door knobs coated with gilders paste to make them look more gold than brass. Did the same with the dining room chandelier and fireplace sconces. Liked it. The that's when the setback happened...

While I'm here, I thought - better start figuring out the window treatments. Some luck there, as a random piece of clearance fabric that I bought ages ago seems to blend nicely with the color scheme. Had previously made up a cornice with decorative molding for over the door to add some oomph. Thought "why not do something similar for the windows"? You know - turn them into cornices for the drapes to tuck behind. I have some nice resin pieces left over from the ceiling decorations.

Great idea, until I made the mock up. Should they be painted white or fabric covered? The white looked too stark. If I covered them with fabric, the molding pieces would look silly just sitting on top. So, all progress stopped which was just as well since I was out of ideas. Then that night, while laying there with a migraine and unable to sleep, it came to me. White decorative cornices over the windows as part of the trim, then arched, fabric covered cornices as the drapery treatments. You'd be able to see the good stuff under the window treatments, reference the arches everywhere in the build and it would make it more interesting. That idea had to sit there and marinate as my attention was focused on Father's Day activities.

Note how far it protrudes.

As I was testing different mock ups I realized that the trims I'd added to the tops of the windows stuck out too far and would interfere with the way the drapes draped. At least this was an easy re-do - they came right off with only a little encouragement.

I haven't had occasion to play with the Cricut in several months, but I knew this was my opportunity. I made mock ups for all three windows with card stock, printed and gave them a test fit. Once I made a couple adjustments, I printed again on chipboard.

The arches themselves will be covered with a little batting and the same material as the drapes which will hang down between the decorative cornices and the arched cornices. Now I just need to learn how to use the pleater. On some scrap fabric first.

I also cut the new piece of "glass" for the front door and got the interior handle attached. The decorative glass came in the same eBay lot as the door but was a little too tall and narrow. I am hoping that a couple more syringe applications of tacky glue in the cracks will be enough to make it appear like glazing and not look weird. If so, I'll have to cut some trim pieces to cover it up.

Hopefully the window covering part goes well and does not require any more do-overs. Then I can turn my attention to getting the ceiling on. That will surely feel like progress!

Have a great first week of summer, everyone!