Beach House Linens Blog

Fidgeting Kids!

Fidget Boxes and Fidget Spinners.  Kids need movement and so often they want more than the allotted time on the playground or on the basketball court at break!    But do you need to buy a plastic spinny thing or can you set them to the fun task of finding all the pieces and fidget into making them themselves!

My son saw some posts and made these after digging through his giant basket of pieces and parts!

Lego Fidget Spinners

Check out the video to see how they work!  https://youtu.be/Iz69OFxGMXA

Lego Fidget Spinner  Lego Fidget Cube

Let us know what you think!

 

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Posted by Customer Service on 16 May, 2017 Lego Fidget Cube, Lego Fidget Spinner | 0 comments | Read more →

Dorm Life centers around your Bed, get bedding you love

dorm Life, choose your Twin and XL Twin Comforters here

It's here.  Time to prepare for Dorm Life.(or even Camp Life!)  The first and most important thing you need is your bedding.  In the Dorm, your bed is your couch, your chair, your study spot, your all-important nap spot, your kitchen table, and (at some point past your high school curfew) your actual sleep spot!  In a room often shared with someone else; your bed not only shows your style, it gives you 3120 square inches of me-space. 

Now what size?  Hopefully the Dorm gurus have let you know whether you have a regular Twin or an XL Twin.  A standard twin bed measures 39" wide by 75" long.  An XL (Extra Long) Twin measures 39" wide by 80" long.  And those 5" make a huge difference especially for your guy freshman.  So if your bed is an XL Twin you must have Twin XL sheets so the bottom sheet will fit on the mattress.  Most any Twin comforter will do because you don't have to tuck it in, but having one slightly longer is nice.  We give you all the measurements with anything we show online so you can make good choices.


College XL Twin comforters and sheets

College Life Comforters and Sheets

College Life Comforters and Sheets

What else?  O my, you will definitely want a mattress pad.  I am sure the person before you was A-Mazing but hey, let's start as fresh as possible.  We suggest a waterproof mattress pad because if you do use the bed for a kitchen table, you might just spill your soda when you are reaching for another cold slice of pizza.  A waterproof pad is a lovely barrier on top and from bottom, if you know what I mean...

Shams and pillows are lovely to have too in a dorm.  Sitting on the floor, need a pillow, or three.  Trying to read a jumbo textbook in bed, or situate your tablet to not have glare, pillows. Best friend from high school visiting the school?  Must have pillows.

  • Twin Mattress: 39"x75"
  • XL Twin Mattress: 39"x80"

Check out our College Shop here.  Thanks for visiting us at Beach House Linens!

Posted by Customer Service on 18 May, 2016 Camp Beds, Graduate Gifts, Twin XL Bedding | 1 comment | Read more →

It's CSA Time again! Community Supported Agriculture

Yippee!  It's CSA time again, time for our local organic farm to box me up whatever is most fresh and surprise me!  We buy direct with a local farm and they meet their customers every week with a box of fresh vegetables.  Putnam Family Farms also is a supplier for the famous Chef and the Farmer restaurant in Kinston, NC.  They have even invited us in the CSA out to the farm so we can learn about how they grow food organically, how much work is involved in skipping chemical products when growing food and let us pick strawberries before anyone else!

I picked up my first box yesterday.  I know Sundays are meal prep day for many busy folks but when the food comes on Monday, food prep day is Monday!  Here is a look at what we found in our box.

Putnam Family Farm CSA Box, supplier to Chef and the Farmer, Vivian Howard

Included: Ginormous Cabbage, Amazing Cauliflower, Hot House Tomatoes(it is May!), Zucchini, Romaine Lettuce.  Ok, pictures just don't do this cabbage justice.  I was told that checking them at picking time, every cabbage was over 9 lbs!  The cauliflower is huge and so fresh, it came with the 3 foot leaves still wrapped gingerly around.  Leaving the produce in tact(leaves) and unwashed means that it is naturally protected and will last longer. 

I am not a chef, not even close but here's what I did with my goodies this week with minimal additions from the pantry.

Putnam Family Farm CSA Box recipes: Boiled Cabbage  Putnam Family Farm CSA Box recipes, Mustard and Tomato Slaw

 First off Boiled Cabbage and Mustard Tomato Slaw, Yum!

Putnam Family Farm CSA Box recipes, Southern Sauteed Zucchini  Putnam Family Farm CSA Box recipes, Southern Sauteed Zucchini

Then Southern Sauteed Zucchini and Curry Spiced Cauliflower

 

Salad Jars made up from CSA produce Box 

Then a start on salad jars with the Romaine Lettuce and Tomatoes.  And then the Strawberries, what to do with them?  Well, the kids ate them up and I had to fight for some of my own!  Dinner was yummy, lunch was yummy today and there's more to munch on all week.  And, there is still a quarter of a giant cabbage and half the romaine!

Putnam Family Farm CSA Box recipes: Cabbage

Links to recipes

Boiled Cabbage: http://divascancook.com/southern-cabbage-recipe/

Mustard and Tomato Slaw: Cut cabbage, even mix of yellow mustard and mayonnaise, sprinkling of celery seed and chopped tomatoes.  Raw

Sauteed Zucchini:  Melt butter in pan, toss chopped onion for a couple of minutes on medium, add sliced zucchini, salt and pepper to taste.  Saute for 8-10 minutes until as cooked as you like.

Curry Roasted Cauliflower: Mix 3 Tablespoons olive oil with tablespoon of powered curry, salt and pepper and a teapoon of cumin.  Add to  chopped cauliflower, sliced carrots and fozen peas.  Roast at 400 for 30 minutes, turning at least once.  The edges of the cauliflower might blacken up, and that's good and yummy!

Salad Jars:  Dressing in bottom, carrots, celery next lettuce and maters on top.

Can't wait til next week... oh wait, we still have lots and lots to eat this week!  Go find your local Community Supported Agriculture CSA Box and enjoy the freshest produce around while directly supporting your farmers!

 

Posted by Customer Service on 10 May, 2016 CSA, Recipes, Whole foods | 0 comments | Read more →

Tips for getting Clean using your Front Loading Washer

You love the sleek look of your washer and you've happily enjoyed its quiet running for weeks now.  Ahhhh.  But wait, there are a few things that are not coming out as clean and maybe, dare I say, funky?  Like my husband's workout shirt and my kids' socks - whewie!

Let's fix all that with some simple steps.

1.  Workout shirts are now touted as holding up to a sweaty workout and not weighing you down like a wet cotton shirt.  But then you go to wash it in your water-saving washing machine and it doesn't come out clean, and then seems to get worse after each workout and wash. 

And this is why:  the shirt is not even getting wet in the low-water wash.  The polyester or other synthetic fibers that make the shirt workout-worthy actually repel water.  You can easily fix this in two ways.  First soak all funky clothes, the ones that have been washed but are on the verge of mildew or are already mildewed, in the sink with warm water and vinegar.  Notice how hard it is to get the items to be WET!  The fibers repel the water and so you have to work to get them wet.  Now it starts to make sense why the machine is having trouble.  Look at how the water just beads up on the synthetic fibers!  It only got wet when I squeezed it with a full sink of water.

Image of exercise clothes in water

Next, wash all such items on your highest water setting on your washing machine.  I know, you are trying to save water, but if you end up tossing nasty clothes or rewashing trying to get the funk out, changing one cycle ends up saving water.  Mine has a "comforter" setting which is the one that adds the most water to the cycle.  This allows all the items to actually get wet and then washed in the front loader.   Add vinegar to your wash occasionally or as needed to get rid of any funky smells just not in the same wash as bleach, they react.  The vinegar washes out, the clean clothes will smell fresh, not like vinegar.

2.  Clean your washing machine.  Stores sell washing machine cleaners but honestly I cannot stand the smell they leave so I simply wash on hot with bleach and maybe some cleaning cloths that are a bonus to be extra clean.

3.  Leave the door open every night.  This is a problem at my house, I forget.  The washing machine door is next to the garage door and someone shuts it, that one time I remember.  But try.  When I have washed the last load of the day, I take a cloth and dry the door and the rubber gasket.  Then, any water that still drips from the gasket evaporates quickly and both the gasket and the inside of the washer dry out.  Dry=Clean(er).  The funky smells don't get a chance to grow in a dry washing machine. 

Did you forget to leave the door open for so long that your rubber gasket is nasty looking and maybe should be replaced?  And it makes you want to close the door even more!?  You can fix that too.  Soak a cloth with a 50-50 mix of bleach and water, wear gloves as bleach will eat through your skin!  Take the cloth and tuck it into the rubber gasket in the front of the washer and let it soak.  Tuck as many as you need to cover the mildewed/black/whatever and try to shut the door to clean the door as well.  After half an hour or so, scrub out the gasket and it is starting to look fresh!  Soak cloths again and tuck them in and repeat until your rubber seal is looking nice.  Be sure to get the top where the water comes in.  After a couple of hand cleanings, run the washer with bleach, dry everything after the cycle and leave the door open.  You will be amazed at the difference.  Keep leaving the door open, drying out the rubber gasket and it will get cleaner.  You may need to repeat the process if yours has gotten really bad but in my experience, it is clean enough now that I don't need to think about replacing a $300 washing machine part!

4.  I use a washing powder that I mix up about once a month, and I have blogged about it here.  This detergent is just right, leaving clothes clean and fresh without a lot of chemicals, smells or money.  I do add vinegar to loads about half the time and I wash cotton sheets on hot about once a month with a splash of bleach. 

Simple is better most of the time, these tips are very simple and you can incorporate them today!

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Posted by Customer Service on 04 May, 2016 1 comment | Read more →

A Beginning Guide to Ordering Custom-Made Items

You've found it!  The perfect fabric!  Now what? Splish Splash fabric by the yard

  Splish Splash Coverlet Splish Splash pillows  Splish Splash coordinate stripe valance

Here it is made up as a coverlet, but you need a bedspread.  Here it is again but not in the style pillow you need.  I love the two fabrics but the one I love is not the one made up into valances.  Help!

Custom Valances in our Splish Splash fabric

Our customer service team can help you get the right size pillow, make a valance in the other fabric and more. Email us the fabrics you like from our Fabric by the Yard section and a brief description of what you need.  We can send out swatches and quote prices for finished items in the fabrics shown online.  We can even help you measure, asking for specific measurements to ensure we create the item how you need it.  We choose many items for our store and website and have them made up as stocked items.  It is just as easy for us to have the workroom make your bedspread larger than standard for a tall bed, or choose the coordinate fabric for the valance (as shown above with this navy with white piping sofa).  So the sky is the limit once you find that perfect fabric! 

Note:  We are often asked about having something custom made in a fabric from our quilt collections and unfortunately our quilts are mostly imported finished; therefore, there is not open yardage available to make other items than those already listed with the quilt collection.  But if you have a question, always ask us.  Perhaps we have just the right coordinate to finish your room off just right!

Posted by Customer Service on 19 February, 2016 Beachy Fabrics, Custom Products, Fabric by the Yard | 2 comments | Read more →

A Gift for a Friend - Homemade Laundry Soap

Homemade Laundry Detergent 

It's nice to get a homemade gift that you can enjoy without having to workout!  No reason every homemade gift should be chocolate.  Make yourself some Laundry Soap and make extra to give away.   And so this gift of a pretty package and Laundry Soap is one of my Favs.  I cannot take all the credit, Christine, the Blogger at Great Oak Circle, posted this article with the recipe and tips (link here).  As for the gift, the jar (link here) is the most expensive thing and she can re-use that for anything once she washes a bunch of laundry!  I have been using this as our Laundry Detergent/Soap for at least two years and I just love it. 

Simple, clean, does what it is supposed to and it relatively inexpensive. Finely grating the Fels-Naptha soap is the most difficult thing but I need more muscles anyway.  Works fine in my front-loading washing machine. 

  Other tips: For my boys' really stinky soccer and workout clothes I often add some vinegar to both the washing and fabric softener cycles and they come out extra fresh.  The vinegar rinses right out and does not leave an after-smell.  Vinegar is also just the ticket to help with mildewed towels, like when your kid forgets and leaves them in a pile all wet on the floor.  Hot water, vinegar and viola.  I have heard that you should not mix vinegar and bleach, so I go with that.  Sometimes I add bleach to my white sheet load and wash on hot but only once a month or so and just enough, I don't like to be overwhelmed with a bleach smell.

Now you have it, a great gift idea that your friend won't have to workout after using, except to create some stinky laundry to wash up!

Pallet Project-Update a Counter for a Fun and Lively Fresh Look

 Pallet project, updating a desk

Sometimes you look around and think "why do I still have this piece of whatever?"  I mean it is useful with its just-right counter height, shelves for keeping stuff... but it is so plain, old and unattractive.

So, time to reference the Pinterest Pins I've been racking up and see what strikes me.  And tada!  I found a wall covered in random pallet boards that I just love.  Lucky for me, this piece had good bones and what it needed was a makeover and some pallets to play with.  Following I will give you a guided tour of this pallet project, I hope it is the first of many... it was so much fun!

Prep List:

  • Counter or Desk with solid sides
  • 2-3 Pallets, sawzall, hammer
  • Paints, stains, lacquer(optional), paint brushes, tape
  • Sander with course and fine paper
  • Saw and a nail gun (thankful my friend had both I could borrow, had to have a saw and the nail gun made it fast and finished.)
  • Usual safety equipment, glasses and/or gloves

First I spent a weekend afternoon with a sawzall (reciprocating saw) cutting apart my pallets.  I had been saving them for what my fella thought was FOREVER but I knew eventually I would want to make something awesome.  I laid them flat and ran the blade under the top boards cutting through the nails all the way down one side of the pallet.  Then I did the other end of the same boards and then carefully worked through the middle nails.  Having both ends cut meant the boards could twist slightly and I could get in there to cut through those last ones.  Why cut them off?  Perhaps newer pallets could be pried apart and the nails removed but these boards would have split.  Also, some had been nail-gunned together so there was not really a nail head to pry out and cutting though was just cleaner.  And some boards with the nails in them added to the random and recycled look I was going for.  I did this for the boards on two pallets, top and bottom.  The three boards that held the pallets together had so many random nails that I was afraid to use them(and cut them with the saw later) so I threw those away.

Even with only those two pallets I had a variety of types of wood and sizes, both in width of boards and thickness.  And that's what this project needed, variety.  I spent the next afternoon sanding each board.  I checked each board for nails that needed attention, some needed to be hammered in, some pulled out to be safe with the sander(and my eyeballs).  I sanded the nail side down to "pretty" with a course paper and then hit the back and sides to clean them up. I wanted this to be funky, but still clean and these are recycled for sure!

I chose two similar paint colors in aqua and got them two for one at Lowe's (thank you!) and I already had some white paint.  So 3 colors in paint. 

I also wanted some weathered looking boards mixed in the collage so I made up some Oxidizing Wood Stain with a steel wool pad and vinegar in a jar.  Leave overnight, officially.  But not for a couple of weeks, then the steel wool is disintegrated and a mess.  I had some left over from my Table Refinished project in the last blog but it had been too long.  So just make some more, so easy.  If last minute(like my redo) wait at least an hour...

 painted boards for pallet project at Beach House Linens

The next weekend I painted random size and texture boards with my white and 2 aqua colors. I painted the top, ends and short sides.  Then sanded so the grain showed.  For some I needed the course sandpaper and then would finish with the finer paper.  I painted the short sides because when pieced together on the furniture some of that would show because all the boards are so irregular.  It was an extra step that I was glad I had taken when it came to putting it all together later.

I also stained some with the oxidizing stain that I made up and then I left some of the interesting plain ones just sanded plain for a lighter natural color.

I now had boards that were

  • White
  • Aqua
  • Darker Aqua
  • Stained darker with oxidizer
  • Variety simply sanded in natural colors
Random pallet pieces spaced out

As I finished sanding boards, I spaced them on the ground to get an idea of what boards were the same width.  Then I tried to assort them - to get an idea of mixing boards for a visual effect that worked for me.  The widest boards I used on the bottom, both for visual weight on the finished counter and also in case I needed to rip any to fit when I got to the bottom.  When I got these boards down, I measured them and discovered they were very close to the height of my counter and I was tickled!

 painted boards for pallet project at Beach House Linens Finally I get to use the giant saw my friends let me borrow, and the nail gun.  After a lesson and some measuring tips, I was off!  Simply put, I sawed off the ends since they weren't square and just started nailing them up!  First board top left in light aqua, sawed off left end past the nails.  Left a little overhang so the front was the most finished side(the shorter sides' boards tuck in to the overhang) and nailed up.  Second stained board on top right, I held up and penciled the length, cut, nailed up. Third board second left in natural, help up, eyeballed random length, cut and nailed.  4th board-dark aqua, held up, penciled length to match board above and cut, nailed up.  And so on.  When I got close to the bottom, I stood up the wider boards to get an idea of where I was headed.  So close! 
 side to pallet project-cover counter

For the sides of the counter, the same steps apply.  Assort, cut, nail up.  The boards tucked in to the front boards and were cut to finish flush with the front of the cabinet.  Here the photo shows the first 4 rows finished and the bottom rows planned out.  Unfortunately I had to take a break here and go cut apart another pallet, look how close I got with 2 pallets, basically 1 board off.  Since I had to get the sawzall out again I just cut apart another whole pallet, I'll be ready to go for the next project!

When it was all done, the gap at the bottom was so small I bought some 1/2" quarter round, painted it white and although almost hidden by the larger boards on the bottom, if you were really short (or checking my work), it looked finished.

Once the three sides of the counter were pallet-ed I needed to think about the top.  The laminate top had to go but this was a project on a budget.  I decided to go with a hardwood glued board that was thick but nicer quality than your average plywood.  They cut it for me at Lowe's and I painted it with the paints from the project.  I wanted a weathered look but also clean so I painted white with an aqua border.  I actually painted the border first and white on top.  Sanded down to the wood and to the border so it showed but looked more used.  A couple of coats of lacquer with fine sanding in between and all done!

 Table top to pallet counter project

Above you can see the aqua border taped out and painted. Boy do I love that step of removing the tape and seeing the straight lines!  Then you see the top after it was painted white, sanded and lacquered.  It is rough looking but actually so smooth and lovely.

Below are two larger shots of the counter.  The left image shows the top still painted white, it has not been sanded down to the natural wood, nor can you really see the aqua border underneath.  And bottom right, the finished counter in our shop with a slightly weathered table top and plenty of room.  The counter is fun and fresh and makes the whole space lively.  With the glare from the lights on the lacquered top it is hard to see the border but it is just there, a hint of order to the chaos of the whole project.

almost done, pallet counter re-do All finished, pallet counter refurbished!
So, some numbers.  Counter measures 48" wide by 36" tall, and it is 20" deep(already had counter). It took two pallets plus a couple of boards to cover.  Pallets were free, you can ask around and find them.  Or I have heard you can buy them already broken down at some hardware stores.  Paint $20, board for top $50.  $12 for brackets not shown, for the overhang on the shelf side of the counter.  Made the top larger than the original at 30x60" so there was a 8" overhang on the working side of the counter.  And thanks to friends (a big Thank you and some salsa!)  the tools we didn't have were free.   Any questions or comments, please post below, we love to hear from you.
Posted by Customer Service on 05 December, 2015 Pallet Desk, Pallet Makeover, Refinish Furniture | 2 comments | Read more →

How we updated well-loved tables with a new fresh facelift and a dye-job in a driftwood-like coloration

For years my kids have loved these two tables but it's time for them to have a new purpose and also, a new fresh look.  Both tables have endured years of cups leaving water rings, arts and crafts with crayons and tape and more.  So for their new look we started with some extra rough sandpaper and our sander and got to work!

Here is the BEFORE:

So, wow, my kids really enjoyed these 2 tables!  But thankfully they were wood tops and all I  had to do was sand and sand and sand and sand...

Ah, look how that smaller table is so shiny and new compared to the larger table in the set.  Just sanded with course sandpaper on the 8-hole circle sander, then medium then fine. 

Phew, much better, starting point for both.  Man, they look so amazing, maybe  I should leave them as is!

But, I have decided to do an antiqued finish with an oxidizing wood stain made from a solution of vinger and steel wool.  Simple to make, just drop a steel wool cleaning pad in a jar with vineger, even apple cider vinegar(leave in the jar for an hour to 24 hours).  Together, they form a chemical reaction that once applied to wood, reacts to give the wood an aged look.  Here are photos that show the application over a period of time.  Note the larger one compared to the smaller table:

 

Was so interesting watching the color change in the wood, you can see the change in the smaller table compared to the larger table.  After some sanding and lacquer, each table turned out amazing.  So happy with them!

So, get out your sander.  Start spinning off the years of use: glass condensation rings, kids taping stuff to your table and coloring on the table, etc.  Sand them off, paint or stain how you please and give your furniture new life!

Posted by Customer Service on 28 November, 2015 Old into New, Refinish Tables | 0 comments | Read more →

Create a Swimming Mermaid Tail with your own Fabric Design!

 How to design a Swimming Mermaid Tail, from fabric design to sewing it up!

My daughter recently celebrated a birthday and asked for one thing - a Mermaid Tail that she could swim with in the pool.  And she has loved it, LOVED IT!  Pools are tough on stretchy fabrics though and standing on the pool bottom proves tough on even the best cared-for tail.  Pool bottoms are painted to be rough to keep you from slipping, so just standing on the floor rubs up the fabric of the tail.  So, the original is awesome but we wanted to sew up our own from start to finish and have our backup tail ready(for half the price).  Let's see what we'll do.

  1. Get the mono-fin
  2. Design, upload fabric design to Spoonflower.com, and order 1 yard (for a child)
  3. Measure fin and mermaid
  4. Cut (your own designed fabric!) according to measurements, two identical pieces
  5. Put fabric right-side to right-side and sew with serger machine or use the elastic stitch on regular machine. Polyester threads since tail will be wet often.
  6. Insert the Mono-fin so your Mermaid can try it on!
  7. Sew in elastic for waistband
  8. Ta da!  Go swim, always with adult supervision

Difficulty:  Easy plus.  Let's leave it at that for now and explain the plus at the end...

Step 1: You need a mono-fin.  Just like swim fins but the feet are together, as you would imagine for a mermaid.  Check them out at Swim Outlet.com, click here.  This fin slips inside our Mermaid Tail and provides the mermaid kick for the wearer, and quite the workout too! Monofin needed to swim like a mermaid

Step 2:  Design fabric!  Spoonflower is an amazing company that lets you design your own fabric by uploading your design and then printing on the type of fabric you choose. You can also choose from gazillions of other patterns from other Spoonflower artists.  For this project we will be using their Sport Lycra Fabric which is stretchy like a bathing suit material. And at 56" wide, 1 yard will be enough fabric.  It cost us $28 plus $6 shipping, we received a discount for creating our own design.  We designed a rainbow scales pattern colored with pastels.  To check color, we did order a swatch.  Shown right is our drawing before upload and our swatch.

Also shown is a drawing of the direction of the pattern.  We chose to make scales so they needed to repeat like stripes running up and down(not across) so that we can cut the 2 mermaid pieces as drawn.  Direction of fabric is sometimes very confusing, hopefully these simple drawings help you see fabric like you would see it on a roll at the fabric store.  To change direction simply rotate this image before uploading.  Same image just sideways. This allows you to just buy one yard since this type of fabric at Spoonflower is 56" wide.  For a link to our fabric on Spoonflower.com, click here.  Spoonflower has many tutorials on how to have repeating patterns, we have some notes next for this "almost a stripe" pattern.  Note: most of the scales we found on Spoonflower run the perpendicular direction so not ideal for 1 yard of fabric for a tail but many are much more professional than our drawing(but that's half the fun!).

  Two scales patterns we drew and the printed fabric swatch for each.Swatches from our design printed on fabric at Spoonflower

 

notes for making your own mermaid tail

An attempt to draw out the direction of the scales so they will be correct for your yard of fabric.  From selvage to selvage, this stretchy fabric is 56".  One yard=36" will be enough to cut out front and back of mermaid tail. 

Notes on drawing the pattern for an easy repeat.  Spoonflower has some great tutorials but here is a quick couple of photos to help you draw scales with an easy repeat.  Something your mermaid can handle...

how to draw for a horizontal repeat when making a mermaid tail how to draw for a horizontal repeat when making a mermaid tail how to draw for a horizontal repeat when making a mermaid tail how to draw for a horizontal repeat when making a mermaid tail how to draw for a horizontal repeat when making a mermaid tail

We wrapped a card stock paper around itself and taped from the inside, so the tape is not in the way of our drawing.  Then using a paper towel roll to color on/put pressure on(you don't want to fold the sides) we started our scales across the end of one side to the other side.  Don't forget to add whatever color is at the top to the bottom so the repeat also works vertically(check second photo).  Now the pattern matches horizontally and we can unroll and connect the scales across the middle.  We used pastels so then we smudged the color in each scale.  Bottom photo shows the work in progress.  Scan it or photograph it very straight and crop tight on left, crop right at edge of paper and your scales should match!  Or be very close to matching, closer than mine, we had to do a lot of configuring because we weren't this smart first time around!  After you upload to Spoonflower you can tell Spoonflower how to repeat and it will happen automatically.  they have some editing tools there too, but this hopefully will be a good start.

 

Step 3:  Measurements and cutting.  So, first we traced around the tail.  Usually in sewing you trace and add an inch for seam allowance.  But since we are using a stretch fabric and we want the tail to fit snugly, we are going to cut right on the line and stretch the finished tail over the mono-fin. (the fin measurements cover the feet and are shown as 16x12" in the sketch right.

To measure the foot to waist tube of the tail, stand up your future mermaid and measure heel to waist.  My mermaid was 30". Again, so tail fits tightly I am laying out the pattern at just 26" so it will stretch up on her when finished.  This includes the 1" for the elastic waistband.  Keep in mind you can always make it a bit longer and roll down the waist with the elastic, or cut it off after your mermaid tries it on to see how far it stretches up on her(or your little merman, he can have one too!)

I also measured her around the waist to know what the waist end of the tube needs to be.  She has a 21" waist(ah to be young), so I will make the top of the pattern 11", including the seam allowance, so when finished the waist with elastic will be about 20".

 

Simple sketch of our final dimensions of our mermaid tail for about a size 6-7 kids.

mermaid tail design to plan fabric needs

In the sketch above the length from tip of fin to waist will be 38", 12" for fin + 26" for heel to waist, for our mermaid.  The fabric is 56" wide so we have plenty of room in width.  The fin is 16" wide so with two cuttings(front and back) we have 32" to cut out of a yard or 26", viola one yard does the trick.

 Two weeks later...the fabric is here!  We had a pixel problem with our repeat and Spoonflower emailed us to ask if we wanted to correct so they could reprint.  And we took them up on the offer.  Our repeat is not perfect but it is really hard to tell with all those scales.  But a pixel line would have shown as white, so really happy that our finished fabric did not have that! 

Step 4: Cut (your own designed fabric!) according to measurements, two identical pieces.

cut out pattern for monofin so you can cut out fabric for mermaid tail

We first cut out the outline of the fin on paper for our pattern.

layout pattern for mermaid tail mark waist measurement for mermaid tail draw seam line for mermaid tail

Fold the cut out fin in half as above, in the center of the fin.  Fold the fabric in half longways. Above, the white is the backside of the fabric and we folded over just enough scales to fit our fin.  Lay the fold of the fin on the fold of the fabric and then you can make one cut and get a symmetrical piece.  Like cutting out Valentine's Hearts.  Pins help you keep your place when outlining and cutting.

Next we measured to 26", our magic number as measured earlier and marked with our fabric pen. We marked it at the fold.  From there we went out 5.5"(half the waist measurement).   And in the third photo shows us connecting the base of the tail(in cut out paper) to the waist mark at 26"/5.5". 

 copy mermaid pattern for second cut out for mermaid tail  mermaid pattern for mermaid tai two finished pieces for mermaid tail, ready to sew!

Once we had one tail cut out, we made another long fold in the fabric(fold to fold, first photo), traced the first cutout(first, second photo) and got a duplicate fabric tail piece(third photo opened up).

Step 5: Put fabric right-side to right-side and sew with serger machine or use the elastic stitch on regular machine. Polyester threads since tail will be wet often.

 

Now the Fun Part!  We tested our serger settings(first photo) to make sure they were good for this fabric. We put the two pieces right side to right side(second photo) and then we sewed all around the tail, except the waist(finished, third photo).

Step 6: Insert the Mono-fin so your Mermaid can try it on!

  

Almost there!  Once the long seam is sewn all the way around the tail, we turned it right-side-out (first photo) and slipped the mono-fin into place(second photo).  To get the fin in you need to roll it up, stretch the fabric and gently work it in place.  Then of course my mermaid had to try it on!

Step 7: Sew in elastic for waistband

 sew elastic for mermaid tail waist sew elastic for mermaid tail waist sew elastic for mermaid tail waist sew elastic for mermaid tail waist

The waist was easy since the whole tail is stretchy, the waist is already just about the right size. We cut the elastic 21" and sewed a zig zag stitch on the regular machine, then cut off the extra(first photo). I made it slightly smaller than the inside of the mermaid tail waist.  Then turned off the knife on the serger and serged the elastic to the wrong side of the waist, stretching if necessary for it to fit uniformly(photo 2).  Fold over the elastic(photo 3) and sew a zig zag or other stretchy stitch.  I stitched right over the serged stitches on the inside and stretched a little as I sewed to keep it stretchy when finished(photo 4).

Finishewd Mermaid Tail, ready to go swimming!

  Mermaid Tail for swimming

Viola!  The finished Mermaid Tail!  My mermaid has not had a chance to swim in this one yet, but we will update the blog post with her review of the fabric in the water (and my sewing skills).  Also, see Disclaimer 3

In the beginning of this article I wrote "Difficulty was Easy Plus".  Tracing, measuring, cutting and sewing one seam and the elastic is very simple and easy by most standards.  We were done with day 2 in less than 2 hours.   Which is why I wanted to make another tail!  But here's the Plus:  You need to get that monofin and no one sells it locally(to us) so that takes a bit of time.  To create fabric takes at least a week to print and ship, after you submit your design.  Just designing the fabric and getting the repeat right too, an afternoon.  So the prep takes a lot more than the actual sewing.  Easy Plus (a lot of prep).

Disclaimer:  Your mermaid really does need to know how to swim to use this tail in the water.  It does get heavy with water and they cannot easily get out of the whole tail quickly like they could with just separate fins. Mermaids must always swim with adult supervision.

Disclaimer 2:  Having just one makes for a jealous pool!  You might as well make two and share!

Disclaimer 3:  Also remember you will probably need to make one for your American Girl Doll...

 

If something is not clear or you need other help, please ask us!   We love happy comments too! 

Posted by Customer Service on 28 September, 2015 1 comment | Read more →

Let's talk about color: matching Quilts with Paint and why White Balance is important (especially shopping online!).

When you already have a room in a color you like and the walls are still looking great, who wants to paint it all over again?  Talking with a customer last night who had three quilts in her basket but couldn't decide which one would go with her existing wall color, I asked her for the paint name and said I would do some personal shopping for her. I mean, that is what we do around here!

Today I stopped at Lowe's Home Improvement Store and picked up her paint color; American Tradition color 5004-1B Lyndhurst Celedon Green.  During our phone conversation she referred to the walls as aqua several times, so when I was told the color name I was unsure. Would it be green as named or would aqua be a better description?  Picking it out in the store and giving a first impression, I saw green - as named.  Color is relative to light, though, and even what other colors are in proximity so now I was curious about her quilt choices.

Next I pulled out her three choices shown next: Meridian Waters, Fiesta Key, (St Augustine, third, is our addition), and Sealife Aqua.  I photographed them for our Instagram account so I could let her see each choice with the paint swatch.  But look at what I got on the first set of photos taken with a tablet:

 

Can you see the color difference in the paint swatches?  The first almost makes the greenish swatches look brown. None of the 4 photos show even the paint swatch as the same color, so how was this helpful?  Each photo taken in the same spot with the same light source and direction.  For ease of uploading to Instagram, I took the photos with a tablet which actually takes great photos but is not able to set the white balance.  These would not do!  So I pulled out the big gun (Canon), set the white balance to custom with a White Balance card and photographed them all again.  Check out the difference:

Getting the White Balance correct made the colors correct and so gives us a better comparison for our customer.  When we photograph our products for the webstore we are this careful because when you are shopping from home, the actual color is really important.  You will see many photos for most of our products in the online catalog and some will be taken at difference points in time and therefore with different light sources and white balance.  But in a direct comparison, only the same white balance will do!

There are several points to take away from this experiment.  First, light and subject can alter how color appears.  The initial photos were different because the tablet perceived the proximal colors differently. Humans will also perceive color differently based on the colors near each other.  Even when you are shopping in a store with product in hand, you can get it home and the colors seem to have shifted.  Did they change on the way home?  No, it is simply the perceived color in your room with your paint, windows, lights and other accessories versus the store.  We have a 30 day return policy because you really do have to see something in your home with your stuff, whether shopping online or in person.

Second, you really want to shop with a store who can show you multiple images of a product.  Because each one is important to your understanding of the color and construction of the item.  We try to show the whole quilt, the reverse, the accessories, the stitching-everything.  Beach House Linens usually has the manufacturer's professional photo of a collection but then we also show in-depth and closer images that you can really see.  And we pay special attention to the color balance so you can feel confident about the images you see. 

In the final analysis, does this mean it will match when you get home?  Unfortunately, not always.  The color balance in your home may be different than the photos you are comparing, or your monitor may be off slightly which will certainly affect color. But if ever a customer says the colors online appear differently than in person, we check and update immediately.  And for the thousands of photos we have up, we rarely have that as a issue.  (yay!)  Our reviews though are above average and we expect to keep impressing shoppers with our products and service! 

Need help with color, ask us!  Here is a look at what we posted to Instagram for this customer and our personal shopper suggestion:

 

 

Ready for more information on white balance for your own photos?  Here are three links to professionals talking about White Balance:

Your basic Canon tutorial.
An article showing the different white balance options already on your camera(even most point and shoot).
And lastly , here is a nice YouTube video with an example photographing lavender(who doesn't love lavender!).  Great video explanation of white balance during the shooting process and even in post-production.

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