Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Home Decorating Challenge: Shopping for Home Décor Fabric

I love fabric and one of my favourite things to do is to go shopping for fabric. When my family and I travel to somewhere new, I am sure to look for a fabric store to see what they may have that is different. In the past few years, I have also been exploring a few online fabric stores and I have spent hours browsing through their web pages. However, I am a touch and feel kind of girl, so I always find myself wanting to see and feel the fabric prior to shopping. I prefer natural fabrics, but have found myself falling head over heel for a few synthetics. I am also in love with vintage prints and I have a growing collection of vintage fabric, mostly cotton sheets and pillowcases that I have found at thrift stores.

About two years ago I discovered Spoonflower and it has taken me way too long to look further into their services. I have visited the site and have looked thorough the wonderful collection of fabric. There is such a combination of styles and graphics that one can get lost in the endless possibilities. I am hoping to use their service to print my original fabric for one of the projects in the home decorating challenge. I have received a sample of their colours and swatches of their fabric, and I really like the weight and feel of the cotton. I am working on my design and I am excited to place an order.

In the lakeside "bedroom community" where I live, the choices for fabric stores are very limited. I use to live in Toronto, and I have to say that I miss the abundance of fabric stores. There are lots of wonderful fabric stores to choose from in Toronto and you can surely get lost in many of them. I try to plan my trips to Toronto and when I do make it there, I am like a little child at a toy store.

I have been shopping at some of these fabric shops with my mother and grandmother since I was a child. I can remember it being one of the most exciting parts of my summer visit from Trinidad. My mom would always stock up on a collection of great Caribbean friendly fabrics in Canada to take back to Trinidad, and have her dressmaker craft something for her. I would also get the chance to pick a few pieces for myself as well.

Here is a list of some of my favourite places to go fabric shopping for home décor and other purposes:
  1. Designer Fabric: I have been shopping at this store for as long as I can remember. There is no way that I can enter this store and not have difficulty leaving. I love every section of this store. Located in the heart of Parkdale just west of Dufferin on Queen. There is two floors of fabric to choose from and countless swatches that you can rent and take home to see what works prior to purchasing. If you visit Designer Fabric, do not forget to browse their trims and other notions.

  2. Eurofab: There is a collection of home décor fabric, trims and other notions. The store is walking distance west of Spadina on Queen Street. Their focus is on high-end imported fabrics for home decorating. Provide them with an idea of what you are looking for and they can assist you in finding what you need for your home decorating project.

  3. Fabricland: I am never disappointed by a trip to Fabricland. They have stores across Canada and there is generally some type of sale event. You can purchase a membership (which I have done); however, I find that I just keep an eye open for their sales and then shop till I drop. Most of the stores I have been to have an ample selection of home décor fabrics and trims. You may also find a selection of ready made drapery and bedding. They also sell Butterick, Simplicity, Vogue, McCalls, New Look and Burda sewing patterns. I have always found most of the staff friendly and willing to help.

  4. King Textile: A friend introduced me to King Textiles about thirteen years ago and I have found some beautiful fabric from this supplier. They are located on Spadina just south of Queen Street and have three floors with thousands of fabric to choose from. Again it is one of those fabric stores that you can spend hours in and if your not carful may walk out with a lot more than what you were looking for.

  5. MacFab Fabrics: I was introduced to MacFab Fabrics many years ago when they were located just west of Shaw Street. They have moved since and are now located east on Queen Street near Broadview. I really like the store location and find it easy to get to and a little less hectic that Queen West. The store carries a beautiful selection of high-end fabrics and has a wonderful selection of trims, buttons and other notions at the back of the store. MacFab Fabrics can also custom make home décor items.

I have discovered a few online fabric shops that I really like. I have placed orders with several of them, but I suggest shopping around, compare prices and look at the cost of shipping:

Hawthorne Threads
Nancy's Notions

If I am looking for vintage fabric I find that the best sources for me are thrift stores, yard sales and antique markets. When I am shopping for vintage fabrics I really want to have an opportunity to see and feel the fabric and to examine the condition of the fabric.

  1. Collect a swatch when possible and place it along with your other decorative elements.
  2. Purchase a little more fabric than you think you will need.
  3. Get fabric from the same bolt where possible.
  4. Give yourself time to shop around and compare your options, you may be surprised at what you may find.
  5. Purchase family friendly fabrics that are easy to clean and wear well.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Vintage Pillowcase Apron

I found this great vintage cotton pillowcase at just .99 cents, and I just had to add it to my vintage fabric collection. There is a hole in the fabric and I had to find a way to mend it so I decided to do an appliqué. I have shared with you the hand embroidered appliqué and the embroidery stitches that I did, so here is the finished apron.

The waistband was made from the same white vintage cotton that I used for the appliqués. I added a bit of interest with a running stitch just along the front.

I like repurposing pillowcases and I really enjoyed this project. An apron is a great gift idea and I think I will be making a few of these this holiday season. There are so many creative ways you can go with an apron project.

Do you have any ideas on how to repurpose a pillowcase?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Home Decorating Challenge: Living Room Hardwood Floor

This is one of those long overdue projects that just had to get done. Earlier this year my husband Don and I purchased hardwood flooring for my sewing studio and we loved it so much that we decided to purchase more of the same flooring for the living room. Both rooms are on the ground floor of the house and they both had some very dated carpeting.

My husband successfully did the studio floor; but between time and the fear of not doing the job just right, we did not want to do the living room ourselves. We were also waiting for our little one to get a little older and to do his worst to the carpeting. The wood was sitting in our kitchen at one period in time and was stored in our front hall closet for most of the year. Our friend James is a professional carpenter and he offered to do the job, and this past week we finally found the time to get it done.

To make the process more manageable, my husband removed the carpet and underlay in sections. I have to say, it was actually very scary to see under the carpet when it was lifted. As a result, I am seriously thinking of putting hardwood on the second floor as well (we will see how that goes). 

My husband and I removed the carpet tack strips and underlay staples, followed by the baseboards. We are going to reuse the baseboards, so we were very carful when we removed them and they were numbered with a pencil to remember were they belong. With the sub floor prepped and cleaned we were excited to get things started.

We chose a 3/4 inch x 3 1/4 inch solid white oak in a beautiful toffee colour. It was a great deal from Home Depot and was one of their "special buy" items. This meant that we had to do a bit of hunting between stores to find the amount of wood we needed. We had to travel to an out of town store to pick up a majority of the boxes, as they were not willing to transfer them to the store that was closest to us. The price of the wood and how stunning it looks makes the hassle well worth it in the end. We even have some wood to spare that we are thinking of using in the home office.

The most time consuming part of the job was cutting the pieces to fit the curves in the room; however, our friend James did an amazing job.

It was difficult to match our oak staircase, so the floors are a bit darker; however, I think it works well together and is a wonderful change from the carpet. With the floor freshly finished, it is time to put our baseboards back on and to work on other elements of the room. We have a beautiful wool rug that we purchased from HomeSense to add to the room, and there will be several other exciting changes.

  1. Buy a little more flooring than what you think you will need
  2. Clear the room as much as possible
  3. Remove old carpeting or flooring down to the bare sub floor
  4. Remove any staples from the carpet underlay and hammer down any upraised nails on the sub floor
  5. Check the condition of your sub floor and address any problems
  6. Clean things up with a broom and/or shop-vac
  7. Note the direction of your joists under the sub floor and install the flooring perpendicular to the joists
  8. Use a chalk line to ensure that your first row is completely straight
  9. Wear hearing and eye protection
  10. Consider having a professional do the job

  • White Oak solid hardwood flooring - Toffee Colour - 3/4 Inch x 3 1/4 Inch random length. Home Depot (similar product), approx. $3.15 per sq. ft.

If you are in the Toronto, Barrie or Muskoka area and you will like to find out more about James' carpentry services, please email me or message me on Facebook.

Home Decorating Challenge - view other projects!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Home Decorating Challenge

I have a new home challenge that I am truly excited about. With the winter months ahead, I could not think of a better way to spend the cold winter days than planning great decorating projects that I can sink my teeth into. So, I have come up with something that I think is super juicy and I hope that you will join me.

Earlier this year I did the "Home Organization Challenge," which has been wonderful, and my family and I have really benefitted from having things better organized. It was also such a treat to have so many of you joining me here on Crafted Spaces and on Facebook and Pinterest. However, at the end of the twelve weeks of decluttering and organizing I really felt like I needed to add some style and personality to each room. Well, I finally have the time and resources to do so and I hope that you will join me for a "Home Decorating Challenge."

Starting today, November 15, 2013 to March 31, 2014, I will be giving each room in my home new life. The challenge will follow a budget, it will be eco-friendly, and done creatively, while utilizing as many items that I already have on hand as possible. With some added elbow grease, I hope to transform each room into stylish but fun spaces that my family and I can enjoy. Along the way, I will share with you the projects I make and resources that I have found. The journey promises to be creative and fun, with a few thrifty finds along the way. I hope that you will be inspired by these projects and will try your own home decorating.

I am not an interior decorator, so I am not planning on delivering any advice as such. I am also not interested in "curating" objects in my home or following the latest trends. I am a designer, artist and maker and my approach to this process is going to be more organic. I prefer to have items that reflect the personalities and history of my family and I will choose colours and textures that make us feel happy and at home. I am hoping that this will be an exercise in how to decorate with items you love for those whom you love. This will be a non-decorators' guide to decorating.

Here is a little inspiration to get you thinking about what you will like to do:

Pinterest Boards
Home Style
DIY Home Decor
Creative Spaces
At Home

I will also share various resources including books and various web links.

Happy decorating!


Home Decorating Challenge: Shopping for Home Décor Fabric
Better Home and Gardens
Style at Home
House Beautiful


Entryway - Fresh Paint
Living Room Hardwood Floor
Gallery Wall {Part 1}
Living Room Gallery Wall
Second Floor Gallery Wall
Pillow Covers
Light Fixtures
DIY Painted Dinning Set
DIY Shower Curtains
Upholstered Bench
Removing Wallpaper
DIY Shelves
DIY Desk
Studio Curtains
Seat Recovering
Laundry Room Curtains
DIY Artwork
Basement (Part I)
Basement (Part II)
Basement (Part III)

* There are more resources and updates to come, so visit us again!

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