Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Granny Squares

Granny Squares are definitely among my favorite ways to crochet! 

This is a recent project that combined some scraps and some random yarns to make a colorful lap afghan.

After making two randomly-colored rounds on each, I gave them a little consistency with a third round in an ombre turquoise. 

I used black for the background, partly because it looks classy, and partly because I had a lot of black yarn. I added a simple edging in a bumpy, bulky black yarn, and it was the perfect use for it!

Monday, June 6, 2022

Backstitching

I love the difference that a little backstitching can make on a cross-stitch project!
 Here's the before:

And here's the after:
This makes 14 letters complete in this project.

Saturday, May 28, 2022

A Picture ... It could be worth a thousand words ...

Most of my favorite blogs post interesting content daily, or at least a few times a week.

When I write for my own blog, I tend to want to write long, wordy posts with tons of great pictures. 😀 But my all-or-nothing side gets in the way, and if I don't have time for a long, wordy, picture-y blog post, then I post nothing at all.

So, in the spirit of sharing fun stuff, encouraging creativity, and recording some of my projects, I'm going to try to create more frequent just-a-photo posts.

Here's a start:
My current cross -stitch project. It's been decades in the making, but this year, I'm actually making progress!

Monday, August 30, 2021

Succulents

My latest plant obsession: succulents. 

I'm forever intrigued by the variety, and I'm easily sucked in by the adorable, tiny $2 baby-plants-in-pots that I see at the store. I have to buy them and bring them home and re-pot them into arrangements.


Every now and then, I find a giant plant on clearance; sometimes I discover a variety I haven't seen before.


Always, the possibilities are endless!


I put this arrangement together, and it's enjoying the outdoors; I love that it's blooming!


I recently found out that some herbs (such as rosemary, sage, thyme) like to be in pots with succulents, since they have similar sun and water needs. What luck -- I happen to have some rosemary, sage, and thyme! Must try!


I pretty much have no idea what I'm doing with these, but I'm having a lot of fun anyway, and, for the most part, they're not dying, so -- something's working!

Thursday, August 26, 2021

How I Painted My Metal Front Door

Three years ago, I painted my metal front door. Since I'm so satisfied with the results, even all this time later, I'm blogging about it. My usual blog topics are a lot more centered around fiber-crafts, but in the spirit of sharing creative ideas, this one's pretty practical.

Affiliate links disclaimer: Just so you know, I'm including some product links in this post which are affiliate links. That means that if you happen to click on and buy something I recommend (or if you happen to buy other stuff at that site after clicking on my link), then I may receive a small commission at no cost to you. I'm recommending these products because I've used them and love them, and I can honestly recommend them.

When I wanted to paint my front door, I couldn't find any tutorials or DIY explanations online that related to my kind of front door. So, when I worked on the project, I took pictures, hoping to blog about it some day. And then I waited a while, so I could give honest suggestions, knowing that it had worked AND lasted. 

My metal front door had a wood-grain-look finish on it, and the finish was slowly bubbling up and flaking off. This door had been facing the unrelenting afternoon sun for nearly two decades, so I wasn't surprised. But I was disturbed to find that little chunks of wood-look would disappear and would reveal the dark, shiny metal of the door. 

When I wanted to start the project, I did what any modern DIY-er does: searched the internet. For some reason, on this topic the internet was surprisingly unhelpful. Nobody seemed to be talking about what to do about repairing textured finishes.

Since I didn't find any online how-to help for my exact project, I pieced together the useful ideas I found, and I just gave it a try. I'm sharing my project here, in case anyone else is looking for advice on how to paint a metal front door.

Here's another close-up of the "before" look on one of the panels of the door. The finish layer was bubbling, cracking, and flaking off. Even when I tried to touch-up paint the bare spots, there was an obvious texture problem.


I wanted to find a way get the door back to looking good, but I didn't have a way to repair or replace the wood-grain finish. The white stuff felt like it was a thin layer of brittle vinyl or plastic, so when it flaked off, not only did it show the dark metal beneath, but it also left a void in the door's texture.

I started by scraping the flaking finish. I used a basic putty knife for most of the work. I didn't use any chemical remover solutions, because the plain scraper was pretty effective.


Some of the finish flaked off immediately; some of it required more work. At the very edges, sections of the finish wouldn't come off at all, so I just sanded those spots as smooth as possible.


Here's what the door looked like after I scraped off what I could and after I sanded the very edges a little smoother. Here's the mostly-scraped upper part of the door:


Afterward, I moved on to putting primer on the door. 

This Zinsser 1-2-3 primer is my favorite. It's an indoor-outdoor primer that works on a variety of surfaces, including metal. It's also water-based, which makes cleanup easier. Here's a photo link:
 

And in case the text-link is easier, here's the link to the Amazon product page: 1 gal Zinsser 02001 White Zinsser, Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Water-Based Stain Blocking Primer/Sealer Pack of 1

Just for the record, my favorite drop cloths for jobs like this are cheap shower curtains, the kind you can buy for a dollar or two at your favorite dollar store or one-stop-shopping store.


I decided not to remove the doorknobs or hinges or anything, mostly because I needed the front door to be functional during the several days that I was working on the door. So, I taped around the doorknobs and hinges with painter's tape and just tried to be careful. 

I found that multiple coats of primer is a good idea, and that's what I recommend on a project like this: at least two coats of primer. The first coat of primer tends to look a little thin on bare metal, and on any dark surface, you need good coverage; giving it a second coat of primer provides the needed additional protection and coverage. Even if you have to paint on three coats of primer to get good coverage, it's worth it, especially since primer is usually cheaper than paint.


I just decided to use a regular paintbrush, not a roller or a foam brush. I tried to keep my brushstrokes going up-and-down on the long panel parts of the door, and I tried to keep my brushstrokes going side to side on the top, middle, and bottom "crosspieces" of the door. Even with the primer, I paid attention to keeping the brushstrokes neat, since the brushstrokes provide a bit of texture that might be visible.


Even though the internet DIY-ers didn't seem to have advice for my specific type of front door finish, it did seem like everybody had a favorite kind of paint. This is the one everybody kept talking about: Glidden Door & Trim paint. 

I bought a quart, and I got it from Walmart. (I don't have a handy link for this one, but I'm pretty sure Walmart still carries this.) Since I was only painting the outside-side of one door, one quart was way more than plenty. Again, it's a latex paint, so, easy clean-up, and I got the one that's high-gloss.

Word to the wise: if you're using this on an exterior door, double-check to make sure that the paint you buy says "exterior" or "interior/exterior" ... because I was surprised to find that interior-only door and trim paints look almost the same.



I was really happy with the very glossy, shiny finish of the paint, and I put on two or three coats of this paint. Obviously, this project spanned multiple days to allow dry-time between coats, but it was so worth it to get the front door looking so shiny and new.


So, if you happen to have a metal front door with a flaking finish, I hope you'll be encouraged that you can paint it and get it looking amazing again. 

I've been so pleased that this door has held up for three solid years, even facing the unrelenting afternoon sunshine. And after all this time, I've only found one single tiny chip in the paint, and that was easily fixed with a dot of the same paint.


Interestingly, the inside-facing side of the door has the same wood-look finish. But, not being exposed to the weather, it wasn't worn or damaged at all. So I left the inside-facing side of the door alone and didn't do anything to it.

Later on -- this year, in fact, I decided to paint our house number on the door. I had bought a can of the same Glidden paint in high-gloss black for another project. (The other project was that I painted my mailbox ... maybe I'll blog about that one of these days.) 

So it was the perfect thing to use to paint numbers on the door. (If I were to use another brand or kind of paint, I would worry about the two kinds of paint interacting badly with each other. The matching paint in another color was the perfect thing.)

So, now you know. I painted my metal front door. Even though it had a textured finish that was worn out. I love the new look, and I've been really happy with the results. 

Monday, August 23, 2021

Yarn Crochet ... With a Purpose

Over the years, I've done a lot of crocheting ... everything from fine-thread doilies to worsted-yarn afghans. I'm pretty sure my first real crochet projects were made from granny squares, which explains why I can almost crochet granny squares with my eyes closed! 

 ProsperityStuff Crochet: Blue-White Granny Square ProsperityStuff Crochet: Brown-Green-Blue Granny Square

ProsperityStuff Crochet: Black & Colorful Granny Square

For a few years, I didn't crochet much at all. For a while, during my craft-y time, if I wasn't quilting, I was probably knitting socks. But that changed and my love for crochet was re-ignited when I had the chance to join a group of ladies at my Church to crochet things to donate to mission projects. 

ProsperityStuff Crochet: Bright Orange Hat ProsperityStuff Crochet: Gray-Variegated Hat

Joining in on the group's projects reminded me how much I love crochet, and how satisfying it is! The group projects mostly involve simple hats, small afghans, and baby gifts. 

ProsperityStuff Crochet: Brown-Rainbow-Striped Hat ProsperityStuff Crochet: Beige-Variegated Seaman's Cap

We donate hats by the hundreds to be given in the winter to workers on cruise ships and barges at our nearest major seaport. The hat-gifts are part of a bigger ministry that provides various services to these workers who arrive at the port from around the world and are soon on their way again. The hats are super simple to make, since they're designed to be the kind of thing a person could wear under their regular rain-gear/uniform. It's a simple gift, but might bring a little warmth, colorfulness, and cheer to a stranger. 

ProsperityStuff Crochet: Orange-Striped Seaman's Hat ProsperityStuff Crochet: Beige-Blue-Striped Hat

Our group is making small afghans which we donate in a variety of ways, including disaster relief projects, nursing home gifts, and things like that. I've had fun making small afghans to test out new patterns, to use up scrap yarn, and to create a finished product in almost no time. And giving it to a great cause makes the process even better!

ProsperityStuff Crochet: Pink Houndstooth Afghan ProsperityStuff Crochet: Brown-Fall Circle Granny Afghan

ProsperityStuff Crochet: Green-Fall Granny Stripe Afghan

For the past few years, our group has partnered with a local organization that provides baby gifts for young families in our community. Cute baby "cocoons" with matching baby hats has been the project our group makes for this organization, and they're fun to make and really adorable.

ProsperityStuff Crochet: Pastel Baby Cocoon ProsperityStuff Crochet: Pale Green Baby Cocoon

ProsperityStuff Crochet: Blue Baby Cocoon

Although it's not an official group project, some of the ladies in the group have also made and donated baby blankets to send to a ministry in Haiti that's supported by local friends. I've enjoyed the chance to crochet some cute things with baby yarn, knowing that some cozy crochet might just remind some moms and babies that they are loved. 

ProsperityStuff Crochet: Blue-White Granny Stripe Afghan ProsperityStuff Crochet: Pink-White Baby Afghan

ProsperityStuff Crochet: Pastel-Green Baby Afghan ProsperityStuff Crochet: Blue Wave Baby Afghan

I think making things and giving them away -- even to strangers -- is a wonderful way to put our talents to good use. I love to hear about the community projects that other crafters are working on, so I thought I'd share a few of mine on my blog, too.

ProsperityStuff Crochet: Pink-White Circle Granny Afghan

Friday, July 23, 2021

Kaleidoscopes and Mitered Corners

Quilts Revisited ~ So, I've realized that in my quilty blog, there are a ton of projects I've forgotten to blog about. Hence, I'll be posting occasionally in my "Quilts Revisited" series -- projects I'm revisiting because I didn't give them their moment on the blog when I finished them.

Many moons ago, I made a bunch of beautiful kaleidoscope blocks, some of which went into a finished quilt in 2013. The "extra" kaleidoscope blocks just sat waiting for something to do. 


Almost three years ago, the opportunity came to make those extra kaleidoscopes into something new.


I also tried some mitered-corner blocks around the same time, and I brainstormed whether I could use the kaleidoscopes and mitered-corners together ...


After giving it some thought, I decided to put the two together into a reversible quilt. 


Because, after all, I've got so many projects in my head, and it seems like there's not time to make them all!


 And, why have a boring quilt-back if you don't have to? Am I right? I tried a little custom quilting in the borders, which is always fun.



The rest is just my favorite random-meandering free-motion quilting, done on my domestic sewing machine. 


The quilt became a gift to bring a little warmth and cheer to a friend who's had a tough couple of years with health problems and hospitalizations. I guess if I could send a hug through the mail, it would look a lot like a quilt!


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