Tag Archives: home

Armoire Makeover for Sewing & Fabric Organization

17 Feb

My super-Craigslist-finder sister found these awesome (and kinda ugly) armoires for $40.  In Hawai’i, we don’t have very many options when it comes to furniture.  Pressed board furniture does not do well here.  Solid wood furniture is preferred, but it costs a FORTUNE!  It’s often cheaper to buy quality furniture on the mainland and ship it here via ship cargo.  The best furniture finds are usually at Costco.  But, you’re limited to the type and it’s only seasonal.

Anyway, this piece is solid wood.  It’s very sturdy and all the drawers glide easily.  PLUS, it has the adjustable shelf clip thingys (I’m sure there’s a name for this) already installed.  Often times armoires aren’t outfitted for shelves on top.  And…with the push of a lever, the drawers all lock.  Perfect for little two year old hands and seven year old fabric lovers…who sometimes forget to ask before cutting up fabric.I broke up the hubby’s work day and told him that he needed to leave and pick it up within an hour and a half…nowhere near his office.  He was less than pleased (to put it nicely :)).  I was very happy!!!  He couldn’t park in his office building because it wouldn’t fit in the parking garage, so he parked at his mom’s apartment building and walked back to work.  All this in his “office attire.”  Thank you!In the beginning, I went after it with OIL BASED paint.  YIKES!!!!  Who knew it was so awful to work with?  I hated it.  I couldn’t stand the lines.  Now I know why everything grand-dad painted had those paint lines through them.  He was a painter.  I always thought he just used really good thick paint that left lines because it was so “quality” thick.  On top of that, I wasn’t even sure it would dry this month!  So, although I was very grateful for my dad’s free paint….I ended up stripping it all off the next day.  You can see here that I also attached paintable wallpaper to the doors and created a border with wood strips.  The wood strips were leftover toe kick boards from my kitchen remodel.  I just cut them on my table saw.This is how she looked inside before.And these are her insides after.  I used wrapping paper and Mod Podge.  I know it’s kinda wrinkly…but I wasn’t too worried about it because once everything’s in, it won’t show.  I had the same attitude with painting MANY coats on the shelves.  I just needed it to be “generally” white.

I drilled new holes on the drawers so that I could add knobs.  The knobs were brushed nickel, so I had to paint them.  I also removed the hinges to spray them black.Now, it’s not organized yet.  I just wanted to see if I could fit everything that I was hoping to inside.  I’m so excited!  Everything fits!  Anyone free to help me organize all my fabric into something that’s functional and pretty to look at????  All my favorite fabrics are in the drawers.  Did you notice that “keyboard drawer” and how it fits all of my sewing machine “stuff” perfectly?  I should probably screw a board on to the back of it so things won’t go falling off.In a nutshell, here’s how it went down.This was so fun.  I LOVE IT so much!!!  Now, to clean the house that was very neglected during this project. *sigh*


Birthday Stockings for Christmas

29 Oct

Back in 2010, my sister asked me to make her Christmas stockings for her birthday.  In April of 2010, I said, “of course!”  After all, Christmas was a very long time away.  I ought to be able to fit it into even a very busy schedule.  Well, a very not-fun pregnancy, a house flood, a major remodel and lots of other fun stuff later, she is finally getting them in time for Christmas 2011.  This is the sister with the daughter who received the “Two Year Quilt,” I posted about here.  So, at least she kind of knows how I work.  She did get a bonus though since I took so long.  Had I done it back in 2010, I would have only sewn four stockings.I loosely used the pattern, “Merry” by Camille Roskelley of Thimble Blossoms.  I bought the pattern last year HOPING, but KNOWING I probably wouldn’t get around to it considering I wasn’t even living in my home last Christmas.  I LOVE this pattern.  I’m a pretty good rule follower, but not so good about following instructions.  (This makes perfect sense to me by the way.)  I usually get the gist and think I have a more efficient way of doing it.  I didn’t even read through the whole pattern.  I did though, use the template…which is really what it’s all about.  When I make my family stockings (soon I hope), I will follow the pattern carefully as I will be doing the other designs.

I quilted each one differently.  This one is just a simple meandering.I was really nervous about the stripes on these next two, but I ended up loving it.  It’s the first time I’ve ever quilted lines because I always thought it would be boring.  I will definitely be doing this more often.I did loops here. And finally swirly circles here.  Don’t look too close.  I just quilted it with the batting on the back and it causes a bit too much friction against the machine.My sister chose this uber fabulous Riley Blake Christmas fabric.  I love it. I’m hoping my sister takes much cuter pictures once they are hung.

Leaf Printing

27 Sep

I think most of us have done leaf printing at some point in our lives.  Well, I ran across these tonight and wanted to post them.  This is from my daughter’s class last year.Look at all the pretty colors.  I talked about how they mix their own colors in this post.  This would be great for wrapping paper.
Wouldn’t this be a beautiful in a big frame hanging on a wall?

Finalizing The Homeschooling Space

16 Sep

For a kindergartener, the morning routine is often times the “meat” that gets the day going.  I’ve been so anxious for the Math Calendar to arrive so that we could finish up the homeschooling space since it will be the most important thing on the wall and we have to build everything around it.It was delivered yesterday (even though USPS said it was still in California and hadn’t moved since Aug 31…gotta love tracking!).  I think I was more excited than my student.  Although he was really excited.  So, we broke it out this morning and he put it together.  A few moments of screaming and tears as his lil’ sis was trying to get into all the pockets and the cards.Once he got it opened, I knew it wasn’t going to fit on the door I had planned for it.  What was I thinking????  So, I placed it here first. As you can see, it doesn’t fit great.  I was trying to keep it accessible to my kindergartener, but out of reach for the little tornado.  Although my place is rarely clean, it looked extra bad here because we had already started moving things around before I thought to take a “before” pic.It looked too cluttered, so I rearranged everything to make it work.  Here’s what we ended up with.I moved the high things to the other wall so that he could reach the pockets he needed to.  I’ll have to bring the white board down for him every day, but that’s fine.  He’ll probably end up wanting to just use a stool or something anyway.  The Step 2 Desk"" was an impulse Costco purchase.  The intention is to keep the little girl off the desk of the little boy and to give her stuff to do while he’s doing his stuff.  So far, it’s starting to work.

The best part about this whole space-moving thing.  My sewing machine has a home!!!!  Before we remodeled (one day I’ll post about the process), I had an entire sewing room/craft room/office.  Complete with lots of desk and counter spaces and storage.   We made a lot of changes to the new space and I lost my room…for now anyway.  Whether it’s in this house or another, I will get it back!  Sorry, I digress.  My sewing space is now sitting on one of our kids’ desks (which was being used as a stand for the dollhouse).  I haven’t sewed on it yet, but I anticipate that it  might be easier because the table will be a bit lower and it might be easier for quilting.  At least that’s my theory.  We’ll see.  Back to the homeschool/toys everywhere space.So, there you have it.  For now anyway.  By the way, I know that the “I love you alphabet” on the left side of the blue cubbies is way off centered.  It’s really there to hide a large red Sharpie mark from my tornado girl.I’ll have to find something to balance that space out.  Any ideas???

New Blue “Numbered Cubbies” With Labels Instead

27 Aug

As I mentioned in another post, I am working on a new space in our home.  In that post, I talked about making labels.  It was to go on these new blue cubbies.   Inspired by the “numbered cubbies” over at Ana White, I loosely followed this tutorial.  I say “loosely” because I didn’t use her dimensions or plans, but “my design” is really, “her design” which was inspired by Pottery Barn.  I needed mine to be specifically sized for the space and for the components that would be housed in here.  So, I just used 36″ pieces.  I used 3/4″ lumber for the back and bottom because I knew that’s where I needed the strength, but I used a 1/2″ board for the front piece to keep the shelf as lightweight as possible.  I used my Oh-So-Wonderful Kreg Jig to make pocket holes to attach the side pieces to the base.  I had to make the pocket holes on the bottom going both ways.  One side to attach the front boards and the opposite direction to attach the back.  I’m sure I did more than I needed, but I tend to overdo any of the “supports.”  I think it’s an illness I got from my dad and my brother.Here are the front and back boards attached to the bottom.
Now, for the dividers, I used my awesome sister’s miter saw to cut the pieces. I just used the first piece as the guide for the next and it went really quick.Then, I cut the angles on each of the dividers. See how perfect it looks?It turns out, I was using the shorter bottom board as my guide.  So, it wasn’t so perfect after all.  Darn it.When I actually mounted them onto the correct piece, you will see that the front board is actually taller than the bottom of the angled cut because I used the wrong board as the guide.  It bugged me really bad at first, but I’m over it and I think that I’m the only one that really notices.  Well, and now you.  Don’t judge please 🙂  I really love them. 
Here’s a little tip.  For cleaning a saw, I always use a brush.  To help me go quicker and deeper, I used a hair dryer and the brush.  It helped me get the dust out of almost every nook and cranny.
The inspiration cubbies are numbered, but I needed more function, so I did labels.  As it turned out, I ended up doing something completely different on the labels than I planned.  I really wanted to use wood.  Plus, cutting up those other labels would just be a pain.  I do think they’re fun to look at though.  I didn’t want to saw anything this time, so I just grabbed a strip of balsa wood for $3.00.  It’s so soft that I cut it with scissors.I think it would’ve been a cleaner cut with a good exacto knife.  I just cut them to the size I wanted and painted them black. 
When I was at the store, the very artsy looking guy that was helping me told me that I should use a silver paint pen instead of a white one.  He said that it has more contrast on the black.  I said okay, but I also bought the white because I doubted.  I did this little test to see which stood out best.The artsy-fartsy guy was right.  He was probably thinking “stupid lady…don’t believe me…spend another three bucks.”  The white words in the picture above are actually two coats of the white.  I remember using those paint pens as a child.  My mom always used them and they were always running.  Sometimes the tips would fall out.  After the first few words I realized they had improved the pen over the years.  Well, half way through, the tip fell out and paint was coming out everywhere.  Thankfully, I grabbed a silver Sharpie for a buck.  Turns out, I should’ve only bought that Sharpie and saved myself from those still imperfect paint pens.  Betcha can’t tell which ones I wrote with the Sharpie.I decided to mount the labels with magnets (how nifty!) so that we could switch them around when we needed to.  I had the “keeper of the shelves” mount the magnets.
Tip: It can be hard to make the labels line up because the magnets “jump” when they’re not lined up with their magnetic parts and “land” away from where you wanted it by about 1/4″.  Just mount the magnet to the shelf, then attach the opposite side.  Next, add the glue to the back of the top magnet and mount the label in exactly the place that you want it.  In this pic, the magnet isn’t centered on the label, but rather it’s in the spot that will “magnetize” perfectly while still being lined up with the other labels on the shelf.

One more thing.  I really like the “distressed look,” but I’m a little burned out by the “painted then sanded” to make it look distressed look.  Maybe I see it so often that it looks faux.  I had originally painted these brown, but they didn’t look fun.  It looked too matchy with the room and I wanted it to look “kindergarten.”  Last night, after I already mounted it onto the wall, I mixed some blue paint (blue with cream) and painted it again.  I’m really glad that the brown was underneath because it helped me to achieve the look I wanted.  There are a couple of things I did to give it the distressed look that I liked.  For starters, I mixed new paint every time I ran out.  Make that four times.  So each time I mixed it, the shade was a little different and adding variety.  If I was short on paint, I just made sure to evenly disperse it throughout the cubbies.  Then, with each new color mix, I’d cover the areas I missed.  To give it that distressed look without sanding it down, I did two things.  First, I didn’t cover it perfectly.  I left a few tiny streaks and edges unpainted.  Then, I went with a damp cloth while the paint was still wet and I wiped off a few spots here and there so that the brown would show through and it would look aged.It came out better than I anticipated.  It was very scary for me to go with this bright blue (I’m usually pretty neutral), but I’m glad I did and I love it!  I can’t wait till all the supplies I’ve ordered arrive and the cubbies will be filled!

Organization Office Labels

21 Aug

I’m working on a new “station” in our home.  I have lots of things to post about it as it progresses.  Tonight, I was working on new labels to help keep us organized.  At first, I was just planning on making one standard label for each item.  But then I got carried away.  This is what I came up with.You can print this to laminate them or turn them in to stickers.  I plan on mod-podging them onto pieces of wood.  If you like them, hopefully I did it right and you can download a printable pdf file by using the link at the bottom.  Wish me luck on this new space!

To download a pdf file of the office labels, click here.

Inexpensive Spoons That Are Not BENDY!

5 Aug

When I was cooking dinner, I left my cheap Wal Mart spoon sitting against the hot pot and it looks like it should’ve melted, but it didn’t. Then I was reminded of a time when I first bought these cheap FOUR FOR A DOLLAR spoons.  I bought them to use as part of the party favors for my daughter’s baking themed birthday party. We baked a bazillion cookies and in the process of taking pans in and out of the oven, I must’ve left the spoon on one of the pans.  Anyway, it made it through the entire “bake” and came out with NO BURNS!  My sister and I both expected to pick up a soft BENDY spoon, but it was perfect!  They are really hard too.  So when you’re stirring a dense dough or a big pot of anything, the spoon moves where you move it.  See all the spoons we used that day! It’s not BENDY.  So, at four for a buck, I highly recommend these super inexpensive spoons.  They’d be great to accessorize gifts for Christmas or kitchen themed wedding showers too.  And the best part, if you’re trying to be more diligent about doing  your part to not purchase items made in China, if you do pick these up, your buck stays IN THE USA BABY!

p.s.  The clip from Friends where Pheobe introduces the word, “bendy” is one of my favorites, but keep in mind, it’s not exactly G-rated.