Products of a Butterfly Mind

I know I said I had the dressmaking bug again but I confess I got distracted by another pastime last week.  My neighbour is doing up her house and bought some chalk paint and it inspired me to do a bit of painting, distressing and general messing about of my own.

I blame it on the fact that I am a Gemini. which if you believe in such things, means you are interested in lots of different things and are easily bored or distracted.  It also means I am coming up for yet another birthday which despite me always saying ‘it’s better than the alternative’ , is still slightly depressing

No chalk paint involved here but I was experimenting with transferring graphics and I printed this onto some 100% French linen.  I was using TAP (or transfer artist paper) which was recommended on The Graphics Fairy blog (thanks to her for some of these graphics) but I think, because of the darkish colour of the linen, the transfer edges didn’t go completely transparent so I stitched around the outline to make it look as if it were meant to be there all along.  Then I made a cushion out of it – as you do.

French Typography CushionFlushed with success, I put a graphic on one of my vintage French tea towels.  I can’t decide whether to do some of these to put in my handmade shop or whether people prefer them plain as they are in my vintage shop.  I think maybe I’ll just do a couple and see how they go.

VIntage French Tea TowelI paid 50 cents for this block of wood with a hole drilled through it in the local charity shop – believe me, you are not as surprised as the bloke who works there who probably thought I’d picked it up off the floor somewhere –  just for the purpose of testing the claim that you can use the paper to transfer onto wood.  The wood is very rough so the image looks distressed which is sort of the look I was going for.

Transfer on WoodThen I tried it on a plain bread board which had a much smoother grain and I did it over a layer of chalk paint and then distressed it.  Again, some of the transfer didn’t come off completely but it is supposed to look aged so it worked for this project.

Vintage French BreadboardI wanted to try out paint and graphics on a piece of furniture so I picked up this little table for 4 euros in the same charity shop and set to work to transform it.  I think it had been cobbled together from parts because the central twisted stem was quite lovely smooth wood whereas the base and top were not such good quality and rougher.  The good thing about the Annie Sloan chalk paint is the fact that you don’t have to do any preparation before using the paint – apart from making sure the item is clean and free of loose bits – which is music to my ears as the preparation is the boring and hard bit.  I wondered if it really were true and had my doubts about the smooth wood as there would be no ‘key’ for the paint to hold on to.

chalkpaintProject1aHowever, it did paint over very well.  Below is the table with two coats, the first being ‘Duck Egg Blue’, the second ‘Emile’.

Chalkpaint Project 1b  I did start to distress it a bit but Mr. T. was very distressed himself about the purple colour so I went over it all with ‘Old White’ and then gave it another bit of stress.

Chalkpaint Project 1cI put a graphic in the centre – well, I say centre but I was actually about 2cm too much to the right.  So, a lesson learnt for next time.  I didn’t use transfer paper on this but another  method where you cover your paper or cardstock with a layer of ‘school’ glue which is washable, print your image onto it then put a layer of modge podge (I used Decopatch glue as I am in France) on the wood and press the image down.  After leaving it to dry overnight, you wet the paper and then start to peel or rub it off and voila!  I think this is a good method for anything where it doesn’t matter if the item has a distressed look but I’m not sure I would trust it (or me) enough to do it this way on anything more formal where you want a crisp, sharp image.

Chalkpaint Project Close upThis is a little sleeve board I found whilst on one of my foraging trips.  I love the ornate wooden base.  I might actually leave the original linen on the top but make a loose cover and use it in my workroom.  Don’t worry, I’m not going to chalk paint it even though there are quite a few things around the house I do have my eye on.

Antique Sleeve BoardAnd just to show I haven’t completely abandoned my sewing machine, I was in my workroom the other day and suddenly had the urge to make a nightdress – it just came to me.  I drew round one of my old nighties and made a new one.  This is the toile really but I might be able to wear it.  I have learnt that I need to use a ‘drapier’ cotton or cut it on the bias next time but, apart from that, I was quite pleased.

DSC_0001Haven’t washed it yet, hence the fold line near the bottom but you get the idea.

On a final note which, as so often in my blog, has nothing to do with the rest of the post, my 3 new chickens, Milly, Molly and Isis(!), have started to lay, bless ’em.  I hadn’t even bothered checking the nesting boxes yet as I thought they were still a bit young but, when I did, there they were.

Fresh EggsOf course, they didn’t lay them directly into my Nigella Lawson style beaded bowl – they are not that obliging – but I thought it made a better picture than the inside of a nesting box.  See how thoughtful I am.

Have a good week!

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  1. #1 by Wendz on June 10, 2013 - 09:07

    You’ve done good with the transfers – they all look so lovely. I think they might do very well indeed, in your shop. There is still such a huge market for French shabby chic.

    In love with your sleeve board – what a wonderful buy! (I know that urge, by the way, to slap chalk paint on everything – it’s quite addictive…clever old Annie Sloan. Where would we DIYers be without her…oh yes, still sanding our little hearts out and priming everything laboriously.)

    Nice job on the nightie! Very pretty. As toiles go, I think it’s excellent. Gorgeous fabric – is it a French one?

  2. #2 by tialys on June 10, 2013 - 11:53

    Thanks Wendz. I’ve just embarked on a wormy old cupboard in the duck egg blue colour. I’m thinking I might put sewing themed graphics on the side panels as it is to go into my workroom.
    The sleeve board is gorgeous isn’t it? – and only 3 euros in a depot vente so there are still bargains to be had if you search in the right places. I have to forage where I can at the moment as the vide greniers keep getting rained off.
    The nightie fabric is French actually. There isn’t much choice at decent prices around here but this one is good cotton, from a local shop so no postage which has to be good news as the shipping from the U.S. has gone through the roof.

  3. #3 by Wendz on June 10, 2013 - 12:13

    Tell me about US shipping. I was reading the Etsy forums this morning and blimey are the US sellers moaning about the loss of international sales due to their shipping prices.

    I’ve stopped buying from America – we are so limited anyway with the customs import tax on anything over £18 so what’s the point of shopping abroad. It’s good to support local business though so I don’t mind too much – what I do wish we could get more of here are the Japanese fabrics…..LOVE those.

    Putting sewing themed graphics on your cupboard is a wonderful idea. There’s a local antiques shop nearby us and the owner buys loads of old furniture and then gets a signwriter to paint all sorts of vintage style text and graphics on and he sells them like hotcakes…big demand for your idea is spot on.

  4. #4 by tialys on June 10, 2013 - 12:30

    I bet they are moaning. The international shipping went up by 60% this earlier this year so, unless I get the heads up that a shop is offering a deal on shipping, I don’t bother any more. I expect quite a bit of their business came from abroad as the fabric is so much cheaper there that, when you could get a couple of jelly rolls or a few yards of fabric in a flat rate envelope for 16 or 17USD, it seemed worth it but now I think it’s 24USD eek! I did set up a shipping hub thingy in the U.S. whereby you get a U.S. address and have things sent there – obviously at domestic shipping costs – then they hang on to things for you and ship it in one package. I haven’t used it yet and I’m not convinced how worthwhile it would be for the occasional buyer. It is probably best for people who are buying in supplies, etc. I’m dreading the French putting up their international rates – they haven’t done it for a while – and my shipping looks positively bargain basement compared to the U.S. now and I’d like it to stay that way(fingers crossed).

  5. #5 by lovelucie1 on June 10, 2013 - 13:40

    Wow you have been busy! I’ve never printed onto fabric, I think your printed tea towel is lovely. I could see it becoming quite addicitive so I should probably keep away for now. I have so many things I want to do.
    I’ve recently bought some light reactive paint that I thought I could play with, transferring some fern leaf silhouettes onto fabric for tea towels.
    Pretty nightie. Just what I would wear.
    Has it warmed up down there yet?

  6. #6 by tialys on June 10, 2013 - 14:19

    Oooh, I like the sound of the fern leaf silhouettes – I’ll keep an eye out for them on your blog. Actually, it was your post on nighties that got me thinking about making my own. I rarely like any I see in the shops. As I think I commented on your post, if you don’t want to look like my old Nan, an overgrown teenager or a pole dancer, there’s not much choice.
    And no! It has not warmed up down here yet. We were teased with a couple of hot days the end of last week and then almost constant rain over the weekend. Bleurgh!

  7. #7 by tolmema on June 10, 2013 - 15:50

    You are so creative and talented! I wish I had the space to work with bigger things – I’d love to tinker with leatherworking and mending upholstery for my home. But I suppose I would drive my husband crazy with all the extra stuff I would acquire lol.

  8. #8 by tialys on June 10, 2013 - 20:00

    Thank you – it’s not really true but I will bask in the glory for a few minutes anyway 🙂 I used to do upholstery. The proper stuff with webbing and springs and horsehair and all that palaver. It does take up a lot of room it’s true and there are lots of tools and bits and pieces you need. It is fun though – although quite physically demanding – I’m thinking about when you’re stretching that webbing between struts. Ooer, I sound almost ‘technical’.

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