Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Boxed Corner Quilt for my T@G Teardrop

 I went to Barnes and Noble this morning, but arrived before it opened.  With a 20-minute wait ahead of me I decided to drive over to Savers, a nearby thrift store.  I wasn't looking for anything in particular, so I just cruised my typical rabbit trail - picture frames, books, dishes, and linens.

I came upon a queen-sized quilt I thought would work well in our new teardrop camper.
It was in good shape and the price was right!  $6 for a queen-size, cotton quilt!  I'd been wanting to try modifying a quilt with boxed-end corners for the camper to ease in bed making, and this one looked promising.

We love our tear-drop camper, but being a neat-freak I did not like seeing the bedding all bunched up.

The camper is tiny, it's basically a bed on wheels, and in order to make the bed, one must crawl atop the mattress in order to tuck the linens under the mattress and align the bedding whilst perched atop the very cover one is attempting to manipulate.  I would attempt to tuck it in and smooth it out, but it was time consuming and I had trouble getting things lined up correctly.  Too much tucked in on one side would make the whole cover crooked and wrinkled. It just always looked so messy despite having wrestled with it for a significant period of time.

After a good, hot wash...

and tumble dry...

The thrift-store quilt was ready for the modifications.

measured the width and thickness of our camper's mattress.  70 inches wide and..

about 8 inches thick. 

I then measured the width of the new-found queen quilt...84 inches.
I was not interested in the length of the mattress, nor the quilt, as it would not affect the boxed corner modification.

I subtracted the mattress width measure, 70, from the quilt width, 84.  That left 14 inches for overhang on the sides, 7 inches for each side. Perfect!  This would ensure the top of the mattress would be covered completely with enough overhang on each side.
The 7 inch overhang measure was very important.  It determined how much fabric needed to be used in creating the boxed corners and ensuring a nice tight fit. 7 inches
overhang on the side, and 7 on the bottom.

folded the bottom quilt corner diagonally aligning the quilt side to the quilt bottom.

I then lined up my straight edge to the point on the diagonal that measured 7 inches.  This was the amount determined earlier that could be used for the boxed corners.

I drew a guideline...

sewed a straight line of stitches through my guideline...

repeating this procedure to the other side's bottom corner...

creating boxed corners!  Note that nothing was cut off.  I simply folded the triangle excess inside the box corner.  This will allow me to undo the modification if I ever choose to do so simply by removing the stitches.

  Now that the simple corner modification was finished it was time to try it out.  I started by slipping the quilt boxed corners over the bottom corners of the camper mattress,

Tucking in the bottom edge of the quilt,

pulling the quilt up while smoothing out the wrinkles,

 tucking in the excess quilt sides,

and VIOLA! The fitted quilt was nice, neat, and tidy!
A perfect fit!
The boxed corners secure the bottom of the quilt in place.  Because the corners are measured they not only ensure a snug fit, but also keep the quilt lined up properly and evenly.

I realize I lucked out here with the quilt width measuring exactly what I needed.  So what happens if your quilt is too wide? 

Once I knew how well the boxed ends worked out, I modified my original camping quilt.  I had purchased a king size quilt because out mattress was king size.  It was way too wide for my liking. It was about 100 inches wide!  Because I had such success with the first quilt, I was confident and had no hesitation in cutting this one down to 86" wide.

 I made a simple double fold seam binding with some coordinating fabric to bind the now raw edge of the quilt after cutting off the excess.  I boxed the corners as described above, but just changed the measures to 8" as I now had 8" of fabric hanging over each of the two sides of the mattress.  The slightly deeper 8" box ends worked great.

When I posted this modification on a tear-drop camper enthusiasts' social media group, many folks were concerned that their toes would be squished down at the bottom where the quilt was tucked in so tightly.  This hasn't been a problem.  Only the bottom corners stay tucked in, the sides of the quilt are un-tucked and my toes are free!

All photographs taken by Paulette Rodriguez.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Wagon Coffee Table

My husband's not always a fan of the "treasures" I bring home from my junking outings.
If he sees things sitting around not being used purposefully, he begins to badger me about getting rid of them  The other day he asked if I had plans for the rusted and slightly beat-up wagon that's been sitting on the back patio for the last couple of years.

I said, "Well, yes, Dear. This little red wagon is a classic. Why, it can be used for SO many things!"
"Like what?" he replied.
"'s great for lugging loads of know, like hauling plants from the car to the backyard, or carrying all our picnic stuff from the car to a...a picnic know, like loads of stuff."
"So when was the last time you used it?" he asked.
"That's what I thought," he said.

Knowing that my little, Radio Flyer wagon was now on my husband's purge-radar, I needed to find a use for it, and quickly!
As I mentioned before, the wagon had been parked on the back porch for quite some time, and I was having trouble thinking of any other place it could go and how I get more use out of it. I grabbed a cool glass of iced tea and headed out to the back porch. I set my tea down on the plant stand near my wicker chair and then parked the wagon in front of me, hoping it would inspire genius. I sat down in my chair, picked up my glass of tea, put my feet up on the wagon's edge, and pondered.
It took me longer than I care to admit that the perfect idea was right in front of me, quite literally right under my feet - a little, red wagon coffee table!


I dug around in the scrap wood pile and found a 2" x 6" from which I could build a table top frame.  I cut two lengths...

and two ends to create a basic rectangle base for a table. I attached the pieces together using wood glue and screws.

I added another short piece in the center for additional support. 

Next I added three 1" x 6" lengths cut slightly longer than the length of the wagon to create the table top, again attaching the pieces with wood screws.

The table frame fits snugly inside the wagon but...

 can easily be lifted right back out.
So now we have a great, little coffee table; AND the little, red wagon can still be used for its intended haul stuff!

No longer threatened to be discarded, the double-duty wagon has become an integral part of our back porch seating area. 

so much depends 

a little red 

worn and 

once again

Inspired by The Red Wheelbarrow by William Carlos Williams

All photos taken by Paulette Rodriguez.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Dishware Garden Blooms

Finding colorful blooms that can take the extreme Texas heat without requiring a great deal of attention and frequent watering can often be difficult.
Thankfully there's a fun and simple DIY solution - 
Dishware Blooms!

Made from discarded, mismatched plates and glassware, these colorful plate flowers are incredibly easy to create and can make a huge impact on any garden or yard space!

To begin you'll need a variety of dishes and/or glassware in varying sizes. Dinner plates, salad or dessert plates, ash trays, small bowls, and votive candle holders can readily be found in most thrift and charity shops.

Select 3 to 4 pieces that nest well and compliment each other.

To attach the glassware pieces to one another, I use E6000, a strong multi-purpose glue that is clear.
This product is very easy to use and can be purchased at most craft and hardware stores.

 Be sure to wash and dry your glassware completely. Set down your chosen base piece, or bottom layer, on a flat work surface.

Next squeeze a liberal amount of E6000 glue to the bottom of the plate next in your selected stack.
Place it in the center of the base plate. Repeat the process with any other layers you've selected.
Set the stacked plates in a safe place to dry.  Allow at least 72 hours for the glue to dry completely.

As the stack of dishware is drying, I like to set a heavy can or jar on top to help get a tight bond between the layers.


While your dishware blooms are drying, prepare the spoon attachment and conduit stem. Use about a 2 1/2 foot piece of 1/2" conduit for the stem.  I usually buy a 5-foot length and just cut it in half using a pipe cutter.

A table or soup spoon is used to attach the garden plate flower to its stem. Because the spoon slides right into the pipe it is removable during harsh weather.
Be certain you select a spoon whose handle will slip into this 1/2" opening.

Pound the bowl of the spoon flat with hammer. To aid in this process I use the anvil part of our shop vice.

Next, put an s bend just under the bowl of the flattened spoon.

After your dishware bloom has dried at least 24 hours you can glue on the spoon attachment. Keep in mind that the stacked dishware is not completely dry, so handle it carefully.
Apply a liberal amount of glue to the back of the flattened spoon...

and glue it to the back of your base plate using the E6000.

I put a somewhat heavy can or jar on top of the spoon just to make certain there is pressure to help aid adhesion.

After at least 72 hours of drying time, your plate bloom should be ready to "plant."
Once you've determined where you wish to put your bloom, stake the conduit pipe stem in the ground using a hammer if necessary.

Slide the spoon handle attachment into the conduit pipe, and you're all done!

Plant a single bloom as a colorful, garden focal point...

or several in a cluster or grouping.

Don't be afraid to mix different patterns and colors!

Try different layering options to create a variety of color and shape.

Create simple country flowers...

or elegant china blooms.

Whatever your style or taste, consider "planting" some of these lovely blossoms to give your garden a touch of whimsy and a pop of color! 

All photographs taken by Paulette Rodriguez.