Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Make it work. Upholstered bed.

The last time I checked in I was blowing off some steam about some roman shades I was making. When I started the project they were going to be plain roman shades.   I ended up with juuuuuust enough fabric.  Sewing a pocket for a wooden dowel was not something I wanted to deal with.  As a result, I decided mid project to make them relaxed roman shades.

I should have taken a minute and re-evaluated the situation.  I had put off starting these for a long time because making roman shades is...a bunch of straight lines and ironing.  Add pinning to that list if you include a blackout shade.   So...so...so boring. When I finally got the urge to start I didn't want to stop.  I wanted to get it over with.  As a result, I ended up with a variation of balloon roman shades.  When they are done right they are awesome.  Unfortunately, mine were obviously would-be-plain-roman-shades-trying-to-become-relaxed-roman-shades-but-ended-up-mostly-balloon-roman-shades....mostly.  I thought I could live with it because....they weren't terrible.  But something wasn't right.

Two of the three shades.

The third and largest shade.

Mom And Me Brainstorming Session Commence.
We both agreed they were fine.  There were some missed opportunities in finishing them to look...right.  I am really trying to graduate from crafty/amatuer hour to polished in the things I create.  All that work I put into them and.....and they looked DIY.  Kind of cool but kind of...unpolished.

Mom and I spent some time brainstorming some ways to fix the issues we found with them.  If we had found a brilliant fix I would have been all for it. Unfortunately, nothing felt right or excited me.


I swear we both had the same idea at the same moment.  "Upholster the bed in that fabric."  (You were thinking that too, weren't you??)  I had planned to upholster the bed from the get go.  I was going to do it white with black trim which I knew was a terrible idea with a two year old sleeping in it but I had convinced myself that mine would magically remain white.

This is the bed I have in Whit's room:

It screams, "Make me pretty!", right?
After my mom confirmed we had enough fabric I tore those shades down and started ripping the seams.  I had them taken apart in no time flat.  Then Sean and I worked together to cut the headboard shape out of Luan.  He screwed the Luan to the bedframe. He included support pieces along the curve and along the bottom.  Being only 1/4" thick, Luan is flimsy!


Support Pieces

After we had that done my mom came over with her arms full of upholstery tools and materials.  Check out the size of this spool of welt!

Sean took the kids to school and we got started around 8 am.  We took a short lunch and were back to work.  When our planned delayed naptime came around we were on a roll so I let Whit skip her nap. We got that thing DONE at 5!
Whitney checking out our progress.

I love it.  It uses the floral pattern in a great way.  I learned some upholstery tips today and actually contributed instead of just learning. Best of all....it looks polished!  My mom is a pro so it has nothing to do with me but still...it's polished!

Whit got to watch us put it together and so she feels like it is extra special.  She loves it which makes me love it more.  B is already planning how we can make his "bed more handsome".

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Mid-project RANT/lessons learned.

What kind of home decorating project would require a rant, you ask?  Roman Shades. Roman freaking shades.  They don't sound very intimidating or tedious.  They sound fun and easy....an easy way to incorporate a textile into your room.  Shoot me.  There are levels of difficulty.  I enjoy a challenge so I have stepped it up each time.  This time...my third Roman Shade...I decided to attempt a professional level. I have learned a few lessons...maybe they will help you with your making a roman shade...or life...

My first attempt.  Went smoothly despite excruciating experience of sewing on each ring.

1.  PIN IT!  Pin it as much as you possibly can. I am working with a blackout shade and man is that a slippery mother.  I didn't know until I struggled through basting the fabric and liner together....then...after complaining to my mom about hand sewing the rings onto the back she recommended using the ribbon with rings pre-sewn on.  I am usually skeptical of short cuts but if she recommended it, I thought, "Why not?!"  Why not?  b/c that stuff slips all over the place on the blackout shade.  I bruised my nail trying to hold it in place and almost sewed through my finger a few times.  I was so angry after the first of three shades that I punched my desk after cursing more than I care to own up to.  Some of which was overheard by B..oops.  A 12 hour breather followed by some more advice from my experienced mother prepared me to tackle the second shade.  (those holes pins leave in the liner will decrease after ironing.)

2.  Use a zipper foot.  So much easier.

My second attempt at Roman Shades were my first with blackout shades and not even worth photographing...
3.  Take a break if you are frustrated.  I pushed through to the end of my first one but I probably should have stopped just short of punching my desk.  After a good nights' sleep the second shade was a much calmer experience.

4.  Maybe next time.  They may not look professional this time, but I am getting closer!

There you have it.  I will be back with official pictures of the project...unless it looks like crap.  One more (giant) shade to go!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Creation and Celebration

There hasn't been a lot to blog about.  I used to blog to keep my mom up to date on my creative ventures while I lived 1000+ miles away.  Now that I see her all the time I feel a little silly saying LOOK WHAT I DID to the few of you who still read my blog.  Perhaps if I created tutorials things would be different.  Today I have something close.  I finally have a project that feels pretty much all me (rather than a combination of DIY tutorials I found online) and doable by others...plus I SCORED today at Goodwill and I need to celebrate it.  My husband did a great job of acting excited for me...he gave me a verbal high five if ever there was one...but I know in his heart he really doesn't understand the fantastic-ness of a great deal on fabric.

First, my project.  My good friend Priscilla works hard to support my creative addiction and love for made gifts.  I love her so much for it.  For my birthday last year she showed up with a few made gifts AND.....a large bag full of leather goods that she thrifted.  I mean....good friend, right?  I have had those leather goods in the back of my mind ever since, just waiting for inspiration to strike.  I almost made some leather bracelets but I couldn't come up with anything cool enough worth making....that's pretty much all I had come up with until yesterday afternoon!  I saw this bag years ago and loved it:


I used the tutorial to make the tote but in a solid color (best beach bag ever).  For whatever reason, yesterday I got this image of a bag with that fabric and saddle colored leather.  I went to my bag o' leather from Priscilla and found this purse:

Snip snip snip....

I cut the leather bottom pieces of the tote from the body of the bag (each 5.5 x 12 inches).  The straps were long strap of purse cut in half.  I sewed the finished edges of the strap to the outside of the tote and the raw edges to the inside of the tote.  Each side of the tote has a finished edge and a raw edge.  I cut two 11x13 inch pieces of the striped Ikea fabric.  I then cut each of those in half and set them about .5 inches off and sewed them back together.  Once I sewed the fabric pieces to the leather I assembled it just like a typical tote.  It includes a liner.

It didn't take too long and I love it.  if I had a bigger purse to cut up I would have made the bag a little wider but otherwise it is great.  This morning Whitney (my 2 year old) saw it and wouldn't let it go.  She took it to school with her.  My girl.

On to the SCORE.

I went to a fabric store in Valdosta about two months ago and found almost all the fabric I am going to use in Whit's room.  All I knew going in there was was pink and mint.  I didn't have much of a clue beyond that.  Brady's room, however, has been planned since before we had our house but I haven't actually bought any of the fabric for it!  This is my pinterest board dedicated to B.  This picture pretty much sums it up minus the blonde girl:


Most of the plaids I have found are too expensive or not exactly what I want.

My mom is cleaning house and donating a ton of fabric to Goodwill.  I ended up taking a load for her.  When I go in to Goodwill I scan the furniture, home goods, and art.  Anything made of fabric overwhelms me in thrift stores.  A sea of red t shirts not organized by size...?!! I shut down.  Today I checked the fabric section.  Much more digestible.  I'm glad I did!!!!

Just finding those three in one go would have been a jackpot.  Each piece is of considerable yardage. Jackpot. Guess how much they were?  Guess.  $5.  Total.  $5!!!!!!  JACKPOT!

If it wasn't annoying to have music on web pages I would insert Celebration by Cool and the Gang right here.

This is the plaid I was most definitely going to include in B's room.  It was the inspiration for everything I plan to do in there.  Boom.

This plaid is my second favorite plaid and was probably going to be included somehow.  This is a loose woven fabric...tons of it.

This is just a bonus.  How could I not?  I think it is fleece.  It is thick and soft.

Now I must get started.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Getting the ball rolling.

Creativity does not spring eternal for me.  You know?  It's more like a car battery...if I let is sit unused for too long it won't start.  It needs a jump.  Creating things is my best source of relief.  It is really disappointing when my battery is dead and I realllllly need to drive that car.

Analogy over.

After giving into my exhaustion for the past few...months....and just vegging on the couch after kid bedtime, I decided it was time to figure out how to jump start my creativity.  For the past month I have tried to do something creative every day..no matter how little or mindless the creation.  I hoped that no matter what I was creating that it would help get me inspired and ready to take on some of the bigger projects around my house...especially the ones I have been tripping over for months...or to use some of the supplies I have been...collecting.  It's a fine line between having supplies for specific projects and just having a collection.

My daily projects have included tutorials I had pinned for later, craft time with my kids, sketching in my journal, watching tutorials about new techniques, and finally and most recently projects for my house (hallelujah!).

Just this week I finished painting some wrought iron furniture for Whit that has been taking up tons of floor space in my work area....for months and months and months.

Yesterday Sean gave me a few hours to focus on some jewelry.  As luck would have it I was completely blank.  100% uninspired.  Such a bummer.  I ended up making a leather tassel which I have seen on a few DIY blogs.  That opened the door to getting a few things done.

The point is that this has been one of the best ways I have found to get my creativity flowing.  It has also relieved me of the guilt/pressure I have felt over being uninspired when I have those precious moments of silence.

Need a good therapist?  I have a long list of DIY projects that you can borrow.  She is the best around.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Creative update.

Oh blog...I miss you.  We have been getting settled in here in GA.  It has been slow going in the creativity department.  Lately, though, I have started flexing those muscles again.  Here are some creative projects I have been able to complete.... Yay for having time to complete some things... I plan to blog more details about some of these but here is a quick run down.

Whit turned two.  This picture, taken just at the beginning of setting the food out, shows the table runner I made.  I made everything from the star stencil used for the design to sewing the ric rac on.  Complicated stuff? No.  Very fun and mindless...YES!

This isn't exactly creative but man is it beautiful and inspiring.  I took a little birthday trip...mine...not Whit's....to Atlanta to meet up with my college BFF.  This temple is the Baps Shri Swaminarayan Mandir located just outside Atlanta....of all places!  It is incredible.  It is made entirely of intricately carved white stone...inside and out.  I am so glad we made the last minute decision to check it out.  It is located next to a Walgreens and across the street from a Publix.  Totally fits in.

Polymer clay beads.  This was the most fun craft I have done with my kids.  I like this stuff because it is gluten free and we can bake it and keep our creations forever....unlike Play Doh which stinks, has gluten, and we can't keep our awesome creations.  

The clay craft all began when B lost one of his favorite cars.  For some reason clay and this car came up together and B requested I make him a clay version.  I did.  When it came out of the oven he sadly realized that it wasn't going to bake itself into the actual toy.  Many tears followed.  

Dubbed the "Car Wash" by B.  It is a glorified sprinkler that we made to get the kids to stay outside.  They aren't fully used to this heat yet.  The car wash has really helped.

I painted our dining room chairs.  The best story I have from this project is I dunked my pony tail in the can of paint.  I got it out of my hair but the smell stayed in my nose for days.

This picture doesn't really do much for the project and who knows why that plaid tin is in the picture...toddlers.  I had some of these cheap cubes from Ikea.  The covers they came with were black but got bleached by the sun pretty quickly.  I have wanted to make new covers for a while...I am ashamed to say 2ish years...but haven't been inspired enough by any fabric to do it....until now.  They are wild but they look great under the sofa table.  You'll see.

I made some jewelry!  A wrap bracelet..

The one on the right... 

I played with a hammer and some wire.

More hammer and wire.  I was really just playing around one night.  At first I hated how the hearts turned out but I wear the bottom one with a few other stackable bracelets almost every day.

Pearl and gold wire chain and stone pendant.  I was going to put this up in Etsy...While I tried it on to show my mom, Whit got a funny look on her face and proceded to throw up...all over me...and the necklace.  Now the necklace is all mine.

Green pearl and gold chain with stone beads.

My first solo upholstery project.  Don't mind the styling. (styling..ha)  I bought those chairs at an auction for about 10 each and they are worth a few hundred!  I was the only bidder.  Can't beat that.

And finally, I painted my chandelier purple.  There are those dining chairs pre-paint.

And that's what I have been up to!  See you sooner rather than later! Blogging muscles..officially flexed.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Gardening. Cooler than I thought.

I have learned a few things about my husband since we moved to Georgia.  Things I might never have known had we stuck it out in Boston.  For instance, Sean loves to cut wood.  Chop?  He chopped up a huge, old magnolia tree from my parents' yard.  He did it for fun.  I look forward to sewing or painting or making jewelry.  Seans just wants to chop wood.


Sean is really interested in gardening. It is all he reads about and all he wants to talk about.  Everywhere we go he observes the plants.  This works out well because I want to "garden" but my method is trial and error. It's much better when someone involved is really informed and knows how it should be done.  We will probably waste much less money with Sean running the show.  I'm not ashamed to admit my contribution is hard labor and picking the prettiest flowers.

One of the big Azalea bushes in our yard.
Why am I telling you about my husband?  Well, we are in the process of planting a vegetable garden and I have learned something pretty incredible.  In the past, when I wanted to plant flowers in my city-yard (patch of grass) I would go to Home Depot or Lowe's and buy some flowers without much thought.  When our vegetable garden was just a thought we went to a local nursery called NeSmith's where they told us that they don't carry anything that won't grow in this area.  Lowe's and Home Depot will carry plants that are popular even if they don't do particularly well in your area.  Good to know but not the incredible thing.

Old Timey Plant Sale
Then this weekend we went to an "old timey plant sale" at Birdsong Nature Center (which was a cool new discovery as well).  I didn't think much about what "old timey" might mean.  When we got there we found out that all the plants were donated from gardens in the area.  I am pretty sure most of the plants had been propagated because they were really young looking.  It was amazing to talk to the people who had donated the plants.  Plants with stories?  Seriously.  Like antique plants.  How amazing is that?  Really amazing.  We went with the intention of just checking it out but how could we leave empty handed?  We talked to this woman with a really incredible butterfly garden and ended up buying some plants that came from her garden. We also bought some rose bushes, herbs, and a few flowers. 

I learned that many of the bugs important to the health of your garden will only thrive when they can eat plants native to the region. Pretty important little bit of information.  Healthy bugs = healthy poop = healthy plants.

Our spoils from the Plant Sale and NeSmith's
While we were talking to the rose guy we found out that there is a nursery in Tallahassee called Native Nursery  that specializes in.....native plants.  Very simply, they grow plants from plants found in local gardens...like antique pickers.  I. Never. Knew. This. Existed.  This makes gardening infinitely cooler in my opinion.

So here is our veggie garden in its infancy.  Here goes nothing...

Regarding the title.  I know community gardening is pretty hipster-y.  It was the last time I had contact with hipsters anyway.  Well, if you aren't on this already hipsters...get on it.  

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Chandelier makeover.

This is nearly a completely unoriginal idea.  I wish I could claim some part of this is at least "inspired by..."...but it's pretty much a total copy cat project.  When I saw Jenny's post on LGN about spray painting her chandelier I had never seen or thought about painting a chandelier.

Chandeliers cost too much at their cheapest for me to buy one that I don't love.  The chandeliers that I love would require some saving and there are many things I would rather spend money on right now.  I had resolved to just live with our current chandelier and look at it as little as possible.  It was a metal multi color rub something something...I would never shop for this look so I don't have a clue what to call it.  I didn't get a before picture...oops.  You can see the bottom of it below.  It had small, off-white lamp shades over each bulb which I removed pretty soon after we moved in.

Whit and Uncle Ryan opening presents.

Also, the hardware in the kitchen is silver:

Oh and the sconces in the family room (seen behind Whit and Uncle Ryan) are brass.  WHAT!?  I don't know how this kind of thing happens.  It bugs me all day.

Ok so.  The light.

I love when you get an idea and know it's the right thing.  I could have so much more done if I didn't spend so much time wavering back and forth between ideas.  The second I read about painting a chandelier I knew exactly what I was going to do.  No wavering.

Here is the wall paper in our kitchen:

I am still surprised that I like it as much as I do.  I like the colors.  I hardly love any of the colors on their own.  I do, however, love how my furniture works with the colors.  There is an incredible flow happening in my house.  I have had flow in small doses in the past but never like this. (Finally!) My crazy bright chairs (here and here) and weird pink chest feel like they have a place in the real world...not just my world.

Incase you are wondering about the flow:  The overall feel of the wall paper is pink which is what works with my dresser and chairs.  Greens and blues are happening in the dining room and formal living room.

I knew immediately that my chandelier would be purple.  Purple things have been working their way into my kitchen accessories over the past two years but I haven't fully committed.  I have a love/hate relationship with purple.  It's one of those colors I like but can't wear or live in...you know?  I love the purple in the wall paper, though...a gray lavender.  Purple but not PURPLE.  Also, purple starts sounding terrible when you say it too much.  Purple.

Purple tray.

Purple canister.

After cleaning it and taping the electrical parts, I hung the chandelier from a tree branch and primed.

It looked so cool in the tree I was tempted to leave it.  Not really, but the juxtaposition was entertaining.

I used Krylon's Gum Drop.  I was afraid with a light color and all the pink happening already that I would get this pastel "ice cream" feeling.  I don't expect that to make sense but that is the name of my fear.  It's like when you go into an ice cream shop and the whole place smells like sugar.  By the time you get to the counter you don't even want ice cream b/c the smell was enough...it doesn't sound like a bad feeling..but it is.  It's just too much sweetness.

It turns out that feeling didn't happen.   Every time I see it I smile...literally.  

That's it.  Purple chandelier.  Even Sean loves it. I phrase it like that because he was less than excited when I told him my plans.  His first question was how much will it cost to replace it?  
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