Laura Gunn Studio

Monday, January 29, 2007

Irresistible Invitations

I just wanted to show off these darling invitations my friend Patti made. She used fusible webbing between 2 layers of fabric to make it like paper. Soooo cute. Thought someone else might benefit from her genius.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Friday Frenzy

Have I told you all about my Friday project group. Every Friday we get together and do a project at someone's house. There are 4 of us. (That's Shannon, Michelle, and Colette above.) We take turns doing something we can't face alone, can't get our husbands to do, or just sounds like fun. Let's see, we've cleaned out Michelle's basement, and mine. We've painted Shannon's cabinets, Colette's nursery, and my hallway. We've scrapbooked and cleaned and today we sewed. Probably the funnest Friday yet.

Colette is getting ready for Baby #5! That's right. She is such a super-mom, she'll do great. But baby needs a nest so we got to work. I think each of us learned something. I learned how to make a fitted crib sheet and border a quilt with a "lip." I'll try to give more details on that later. I know Michelle learned the magic of ripping fabric along the grain. (ahhh, is there a lovelier sound?) We slip covered a pillow with an old dish towel that Collete's grandma-in-law had embroidered (see above). We made a crib skirt, Curtains, and almost finished the quilt top. What a day!

Colette wanted a "crazy quilt" so we used a simple technique my sister showed me. I'll give you the process and measurements we used and maybe you'll be inspired.
  • cut 12 ten inch squares using at least 6 different fabrics
  • put squares in 2 stacks of 6, with no 2 fabrics the same in each stack
  • cut a random diagonal slice across each stack (I like each stack to be a bit different)
  • now that the stack is sliced in half, take the top fabric on one half and put it on the bottom of each stack, as shown in the top right photo.
  • sew the halves together (fabrics not matched).
  • press each newly sewn square (warning: your pieces won't match up exactly and your square will start to look unsquare. That's fine)
  • restack into the 2 stacks and slice across the other direction, as shown in the bottom right photo. (Ignore the extra piecing on those squares. My girls got a bit crazy.)
  • again, take the top fabric on one half and place it at the bottom of the stack. Sew halves together and press.
  • cut an 8 X 8 inch square out of paper. Use this as a pattern to resquare each square, as shown in the top left photo.
  • now sew'em together (3 squares by 4 squares)

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Orange Calla Lily

I'm really pleased with this one. I finally signed and glazed it today and thought I'd post it. Believe it or not, calla lilies really do come in this color. I say that because sometimes I make up my own flowers.

I have replenished my painting stock enough to take them down to a boutique or gallery. I just want to make prints of them before I let them go. It's such a final thing to sell a painting. I already regret not getting better photos of some of the ones I've sold. So, first things first.

I finally faced my giant pile-o-papers today. It's never fun, but I do feel a great sense of relief when I'm done. For a reward Lily and I had BATs (Bacon, avocado, and tomato sandwiches) on sour dough. Have you discovered this ready to serve bacon? 25 seconds in the microwave. I think it is positively evil for bacon to be that easy for me to eat. Bad bad bad.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Puppies and Flowers

In case I haven't told you, I am putting Gunn Junior in with Lily. Lily has a super girly flower theme and baby will have a puppy theme. The trick is tying it all together. There's a little nook to put the crib in. The common theme is orange and brown.

Yesterday I did these flower appliques out of the same fabric I covered my chair in. I thought I'd share my favorite technique for appliqueing simple shapes. Old news to some I'm sure.

  • While cutting out each shape (example: petal) cut it's mirror image by cutting 2 on folded fabric.
  • Sew front side of shape to front side of mirror image.
  • Sew all the way around, leaving no opening. How the heck will I turn it, you ask:
  • Cut a slit in the back. (see photo above) This won't show when you applique it on.

Ahh no folding under raw edges as I stitch it on. And look at my monster stitches. Fast and fun.

I decorated the middle with yo yos. Of course the best place to find instructions for that is Heather's yo yo tutorial.

So I've been getting some comments from spammers. Yuck! I changed my settings so comments come to my email first and then I can catch the nasty pests before they reach my blog. Does anyone know how I can erase the ones already there with blogger. I just can't figure it out.

P.S. Becki is such a good sport. She did her 6 weird things and commented on my blog without ever pointing out that I spelled her name wrong. Typical me.

I need to run. We're doing a little quilt making at the church. The quilts will be donated to hospitals, etc. And I'm supposedly in charge. Ha. Pics to come.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Scotty-Dog Delirium

Thank you Jenny B. Harris for an absolutely flawless pattern. This Scotty-Dog pattern is so simple and so sweet. I put a little mint box filled with beads inside mine so it will rattle for baby. Then I carried it around the house for 2 days dreaming of my little one shaking it around. Ridiculous, I know, but I took the obsession even further with this ode to scotty-dog throw pillow. Won't that be sweet in my nursery with that Heather Ross Dog fabric.

I am so relieved to be feeling well again. After 5 months of nausea and 2 months of IVF hormones, just feeling normal is the nicest thing in the world. I think I'm driving my husband crazy with all my projects and my insistence that the nursery must be ready NOW! He is so sweet to pretend to be interested in my fabric choices and lengthy descriptions of my plans.

I've decide to forget about all other home improvements and focus on the nursery. I have this nagging fear that I will crash any day and not have the baby's nest ready in time. And as we all know, it is very important to newborns that their room is completely color coordinated and stylish. They get very fussy otherwise.

So, along with the scotty-dog stuff I also slip covered my nursing chair with this brown floral "bed spread" from Urban outfitters ($27!). You may already know about my love for their inexpensive linens. My living room curtains and studio curtains are both made from Urban Outfitters linens.

Bla bla bla. I'm so chatty today. I wish all this nesting energy helped with the house cleaning and bills. Uh-oh, I think I feel my nausea returning.

Monday, January 22, 2007


I've been tagged, by Beth! Well, alright Beth, I'll play. But only because your illustrations are so dang cute.

I am supposed to share 6 weird things about me and then tag 6 other people who will do the same. Okay, Ginni, Becky, Leanne, Caroline, and Soie-belle you can either live with a cloud of guilt or pass the guilt on to someone else. Where will this madness end??!!

  • I used to play trumpet in a ska band
  • I like catsup on my tacos (only if they're greasy ground beef tacos like my mom use to make. Mmmmmm)
  • I love to sing along to "Up Town Girl." When my husband accompanies me on the guitar I'm sure I have achieved nirvana.
  • I am paralyzed by trivia games. (Once I said that the Eiffel Tower was in Italy)
  • I love really tragic books about exotic places. (Examples: Wild Swans, Stolen Lives, Cry the Beloved Country)
  • I hate white walls and am manic about color. This I attribute to my crazy mom.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Welcome Guests

I can't believe I have a guest room. That'll last as long as we can handle having Lily and the baby together. She's thrilled about it now, but I suspect that won't last forever.

When Carrie was staying with us we painted the room her favorite color, lavender. I was planning on changing it when she left, because I wanted to put some funky bright colors in there. Then I threw this vintage quilt top over the bed and realized I can do the funky bright colors with the lavender. Now I can't imagine any other color on the walls.

The quilt top was gift from my mom from 10 or 15 years ago. When she gave it to me we patched it up a bit and put a border on it, but never made it into a quilt (though it has acted as a curtain and a table cloth). It is finally in it's proper place. I basically made a giant pillow case out of it and slipped it over a down bed spread. The bed skirt is just some lavender and gold fabric I had ruffled around an old sheet.

I love old linens. I have boxes full of them, many of them stained or torn. So I'm always looking for ways to display them. Here I used a curtain rod above the bed to hang a few (Cheap art.) I also have a table runner attached to the rocking chair with some ribbon. Heather thought that one up when she came to visit this summer.

So bring on the visits! The guest bathroom is next.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

A Nursery for a Son of a Gunn

I am so excited about these fabrics. I've been stewing over what to do for my wee one's nursery colors. I'm putting him in a little nook in Lily's room. Her room is pink and orange and the nook is already orange. My sister Rachel pointed out this great website for fabric: And I was inspired.

The first 2 are from Amy Butler's Belle. The next 2 are my very own Heather Bailey's Free Spirit. The Last 2 are Heather Ross' Lightening bugs. Yum Yum Yummy. I think I want to do the crib skirt out of the pups and the bumper out of the stripe. And a crazy quilt out of a bit of everything. Lucky me, I already have the Fresh Cut prints and the Belle dots. Now to get my hands on the rest. Does anybody know of a good quilt shop in St Louis?

Our power was out for a day and 2 nights. We made a little adventure out of it for a few hours. We made a fire in the fireplace, threw a mattress on the living room fire, roasted marshmallows, and even considered toughing it out for the night. Luckily, the cold didn't completely numb our senses and we took up a friend's offer to crash at their house. Boy were we glad we did. We enjoyed serious comfort food (Chicken and noodles over mashed potatoes), entertainment from their adorable kids, great late night conversation, and a feast for our eyes in their beautiful 150 year old mansion. It's almost enough to make you want the power to go off. Despite the fun we were thrilled to find our power had turned back on when we got home. Saint Louis is crazy with power outages.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

After: Lets Warm Things Up

When Dave left to drive Carrie back home I wanted to surprise him with a complete basement makeover. I had 5 days and around $150. Until now, we've really avoided hanging out in the basement. It has just felt dirty, old, and cold (see the before pics below). So I went to battle. Here's some of the stuff I did:

  • Painted the room a nice warm yellow. (This also cleaned things up a lot)
  • Bought this Salmon throw at Walmart ($25)
  • Covered 2 large throw pillows with gold and salmon fabric I already had
  • Slip covered some storage stuff. (see below)
  • Got a nice shaggy gold rug at Walmart ($69) . The indoor/outdoor carpet really needed this.
  • Replaced the ugly ivy curtains with plain sheer white. (I wanted a lot of light to come through.)
  • Covered the opened doorways with canvas. (bye bye ugly storage.)
  • Spray painted an ugly brass floor lamp with silver and got a new lamp shade.
  • Painted out all the ugly red. (see below)
  • Hung a few paintings. Notice Lily's painting above the red stool. A side note: Lily worked on that for months. Every time I would paint she added to her canvas.
  • rearranged the furniture to open the room up more.

Well, that's most of what I did. I got a lot of help from friends, Collette, Michelle, and Shannon. (THANK YOU!!) Not bad for 4 days of work. Was Dave surprised? Shocked! I got him at the airport at 2AM. Gag! When we got home I casually said, "Will you lock up in the basement. I forgot to." This was a totally natural thing to say as I am completely paranoid about doors being unlocked at night. He went down stairs. "WHAT THE HECK! What have you been up too?" He was thrilled. It just makes our home feel so much more homey.

After: The Power of Paint

I just love painting walls and furniture. It is so cheap and makes everything feel clean and new. A nice color on the walls makes your furniture, art work, everything look nicer. My friend Nikkol got me painting without tape. (Practice, practice girls. You can do it too.) And that has made it even faster and funner.

I wanted to share a trick I found in "Do It Yourself" magazine. I was worried that these shiny red shelves (see below) were painted with oil based paint. "Do It Yourself" said to test this you soak a cotton ball in ammonia and tape it to the painted surface for an hour. If it cracks it's water-based. Hallelujah, it cracked.

After: Toy Storage

I wanted to have room that was comfy and casual, but not junky. I wanted the toys accessible, but not out. I also had a limited budget. So I slip covered a giant utility shelf, that I already had, with canvas. The side and back are completely covered. The front has 2 flaps. You may notice the red ribbons on each size. That was to make up for my imperfect measuring. This took about 4 yards of 60" wide canvas.

Next I slip covered 2 plastic storage bins I had. The covers are basically giant sacks with elastic on the rim. Really simple to make. Now they contain dress up and blankets. It took about 3 yards of 60" wide canvas for the 2 combined

Between these 2 projects and the 2 doors I made canvas curtains for (I wanted to cover my unsightly storage and laundry rooms) I used about 11 yards of canvas. With my 40% off coupon at Joann's it wasn't such a bad deal.

The Basement: Before

Look at these beauties. These photos are actually from before we owned the house. But we certainly hadn't improved on it until last week. Notice the ruffley ivy curtains and shiny red shelves. The shelves looked much worse in person. I think a teenager must have painted them. There were drips everywhere, and they needed several more coats.

Road Trip

Dave's sister Carrie has been staying with us for the past 6 month. She's a great cook, a sweet friend, and a wonderful aunt, so it was great to have her. But she got a job offer in WA state and was homesick (that's where all the Gunns are.) So She and Dave left St Louis last week and charged out there with 2 cats and all her possessions. 3 days later they made it safe and sound, but not without some adventures on the way.

They hit a crazy storm in Wyoming where it was sunny out, but snowing horizontally from the wind. They saw trees and even grass coated in ice. I thought these pics of the grass were amazing.

Meanwhile I was cleaning like a mad women (that nesting energy has finally kicked in and I'm rarely sick lately.) I can't say I loved Carrie's cats as much as I love her. (She's very forgiving of this.) I am on a hunt for cat hair. Boy howdy, that stuff gets into EVERYTHING.

My biggest nesting project was cleaning and painting the basement to surprise Dave on his return. Pics to come shortly.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Super Woman

Lily has been running all over the house with a quilt cape declaring "Super Woman!" She also made a fort where only super heros are allowed. (She let me know that did not include me.) This picture was the result of the mornings activities. She tells me it is Super Woman flying over Seattle. I love it!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

From Table Cloth to Curtains

So I got this table cloth for $10 at Urban Out-fitters. My mom and I got 2 window valances and a curtain for my work table out of it. We had such a good time making them. I love sewing projects where you don't have to do much measuring. We just ripped that bad boy up and made each valance as wide as the table cloth. We only had one snare with a valance that was super crooked (if the grain isn't straight, ripping isn't the best method.) But we fudged it and made it work. It was so nice to have my mom here to do projects with. She says next time we work on her studio. I hope that's not too far away.