[wip] bedroom

before we bought the house
weird purple color and painted-over wallpaper
after stripping
weird purple color and drywall
after one coat of primer & two coats of paint

Adam and I decided that our first project in the new house (!!!) would be the bedroom. One wall featured some lovely painted-over wallpaper, so with the help of two friends, we stripped the wall. That took awhile, but it wasn't too difficult. After moving in with the help of many wonderful friends, we primed and painted the bedroom walls (with the help of those two awesome friends again!) last night. We just finished up the second coat of paint this morning. I'm crossing my fingers that we won't have to do a third coat. 

I just LOVE the gray color. It makes the room so serene. We chose this color ("Urban Sunrise" by Valspar) because we thought it would make the room calming and sleep-inducing. Also did you know that yellow goes into mixing this color? Isn't that strange? I learned that today while buying a second gallon of paint. I'm always amazed how much paint gets used.



dyeing burlap

orange-pink burlap!
After completing my pink burlap lampshade, my darling sister requested a similar lampshade, only in the orange-to-pink color family. Of course, burlap does not come in any such shade, which meant only one thing: it was time to dye some burlap!
I did some quick searching to make sure that burlap will take dye - which it will, since it is 100% jute, a natural fiber - and then stumbled upon Rit's amazing color guide. Seriously. It's amazing. It has a whole section called "Yellow-Orange-Peach". Perfect!
Intentionally I wanted to a color (#79, if you're curious) out of the "Orange" section. My impatient self wasn't willing to drive all the way to Jo-Ann, so I checked out the Rit dyes at my local Wal-Mart. No cherry red or golden yellow - the only two colors I needed. So I whipped out my phone and checked all the orange-pink colors to see if any of them were a) an acceptable shade, and b) used only colors available to me. Luckily, I found #464, which requires scarlet and sunshine orange, two colors that the Wal-Mart carried. So I grabbed the dye, four yards (yes, four - just to be safe) of natural burlap, and a large plastic bucket.
dye bath
Today, in between bouts of furious packing, I dyed the burlap. That was my "fun" activity for the day. I washed the burlap in warm water, and then I set up the dye bath about 12 quarts of hot hot water, and two tablespoons each of the scarlet and sunshine orange liquid dye. I put the damp fabric into the bath and let it sit for about 45 minutes, swirling the water around frequently. I couldn't stir the fabric because there was simply too much and it was too heavy for my stirrer (an old paint stick) to maneuver around. But as far as I can tell, the burlap took the dye evenly. Then I rinsed the burlap out - which was easy, because it held onto the dye so fiercely - and ran it through a cold water cycle in the washing machine before drying it on a normal setting.

And voila:

gorgeous, right?
 I am SO pleased. It's exactly the color I wanted. Burlap sheds normally, but washing and drying it made it superduper fuzzy, though. Just a warning to anyone who tries this. I have no regrets, though - the end product is worth a little extra vacuuming.

I can't wait to make the lampshade. Sadly, that project might have to wait until I'm situated in the new house. And I still need to figure out what lamp base I'm going to use...


gratuitous picture

faceless kitten

[completed] pink burlap lamp

Remember this free lamp that I spray-painted black? Well, I've been on the hunt for the perfect lamp shade for it ever since. I tried numerous shades, found ones that I love (but didn't work with the spider style hardware), and ended up returning them all. I found this one (below) at Lowe's, and decided that I liked the shape but not the color. It's a linen color - pretty (but boring) when the light is off, but very tan when the light is one.

untouched lamp shade
So I did a little googling, and found this (very minimal) tutorial, and was instantly inspired. Gorgeous, right? But I still wasn't eager to have a beige lamp. So I decided to check out the burlap selection in Jo-Ann. And lo and behold, I found pink!

I present to you: my new pink burlap ruffled lamp shade!

recovered lamp shade
 I followed the tutorial's basic concepts, but tweaked the process to suit me better. I cut 2" strips of the one yard length of burlap, folded the strips in half, pressed, and then glued the strips onto the lampshade. I only cut the burlap strips when I reached an edge - pre-cutting them didn't work for me because the length I need depended on how I glued down the strip. I would take the small sections left over to fill in the little nooks and crannies between strips. I didn't make the strips all go in the same direction or wave, which I liked. Although I think it would be pretty even if they were all going in the same wave shape.

lit lamp
 Isn't it pretty? It took few hours, but not as many as you'd think. I did it over the course of one evening and an hour or so the next day. I did burn my fingers on my glue gun, but I think it's worth it!

Sadly, one yard of burlap wasn't quite enough. I will have to get some more and fill in this section soon!

This lamp will soon be gracing my new sewing room in my new house!

thrift store finds

two lamps, a mirror, a glass bowl and a coca-cola crate
 Over the past few days, I've visited a few thrift stores looking for treasures to put in the new house (6 days!). I found the fabulous brass lamp and white oval mirror at Goodwill for $7 and $10 respectively. I am planning to spray-paint the lamp (I'm not a fan of brass). Today I found the milky-glass lamp, coca-cola crate, faux pearl necklace and glass bowl at the local thrift store for a grand total of $15. Love thrifting! I play to spray-paint the gold parts of the milky lamp, but leave the glass as-is. It's so cool! The glass bowl will become a DIY mercury glass project and I think I'll use the coca-cola crate as a catch-all for my spices. I might spray-paint the crate, but not sure.

pretty lamps!
I will also be getting two vintage grenade ammunition crates from a very nice AF wife for like $5 apiece. I am very excited about it, but I won't be getting them until after we move.

Lots of exciting things!


new (unfinished) desk!

my new desk!!

look at those legs!

excuse the poor photos
Quite awhile ago, I requested (on a social media group) that someone make me a console for my new house. I got a response from another military member, who said he could not make me the console due to a limited time frame, but he would be happy to make me something else. So I requested a desk based on these Ana-White plans. And today, he delivered. And it only cost my $90! Which, for a desk this size, is a steal.

I LOVE my new desk. It's huge (22" deep by 72" wide), super sturdy, and I get to finish it in the colors I chose. It is going to make an excellent sewing desk in the new house. I can't wait to finish it and then use it!

color choices
I snapped this picture at my local Lowe's today. These are the colors available for Minwax water-based stain, which is what I want to use to stain the desk. I am thinking about doing one color for the legs and another color for the desk top. What colors do you think I should use?

spray-painted lamp

 I found this lamp in a "for free" pile outside a neighbor's house. I drove past it at first, but something drew me back to it. I adopted it, and decided to transform it into a modern lamp.

So I spray-painted it a satin black.

Now I just need to find the right lamp shade for it!

look at those leaves!

[completed] framed fabric jewelry display

diy framed fabric jewelry holder
 Yesterday, for no apparent reason, I became convinced that I needed to make a jewelry holder/hanger. I spent some time googling DIY tutorials and images, and finally was inspired by this framed cork jewelry organizer. So I went over to my local Wal-Mart to pick up some supplies to make my own!

I easily found a 20x24 frame, some gray faux-suede fabric, and black pushpins, but couldn't find any cork. So I wandered around, and then settled on using two 20"x30" craft foam boards instead. It was a gamble, but it was low investment and it paid off!

Assembly was easy. I took the back and the plastic "glass" off the frame and cut my foam boards down to 24" in length (they were already 20" wide, which was perfect). I taped the foam boards together, and then covered them with the faux-suede fabric. I ended up just taping the fabric to the boards. I'd prefer to staple, but I don't have an industrial stapler yet. And glue was too risky - it's difficult to readjust with glue. And I needed to pull the fabric taut again after I stuck the fabric-covered boards in the frame.

Then I forcibly pushed the frame back on, and taped it down for extra security. The back didn't fit very well because of the thickness of the boards and the fabric, but it worked with a little encouragement.

Then I simply stuck the pushpins through the fabric into the boards, and hung my necklaces off of them. Easy, pretty, and organized.

So a quick recap:

1 20x24 frame - 14.97
2 20x30 foam boards - 3.00
1 yard of faux-suede fabric - 1.00

Total cost: 18.97 for a fabulous (and large) new jewelry organizer!

a sense of scale


[completed] bedroom dresser

Today I finally finally put the finishing touches on my WIP bedroom dresser, which has been a work-in-progress since March. I actually finished painting quite awhile, and even sealed the dresser pretty promptly, but then with school and practicum and weather and waiting for cool Ikea knobs to arrive, I never got around to re-assembling the dresser.

You might notice that those awesome Ikea knobs are not present. I ultimately decided against them for two reasons: 1) the red was too dark to go with the paint colors and the clear didn't stand up to the white, and 2) the knobs were too small to go with the style of the dresser. So I went to Lowe's and bought some inexpensive silver concave knobs instead. I screwed them on, screwed the drawers to the drawer slides, screwed the dresser feet on, and voila! A completed bedroom dresser for the new house. For now it will continue to live in the messy garage, but soon (10 days!) it will be relocated.

In that "after" picture, you might notice the tips of blue drawers from my other WIP dresser project. That set I am abandoning - I made a deal with dear Adam that I would be done with them before we moved, and that has not happened (due to weather, laziness, working, etc). So I am reselling them to some other poor soul, and they will hopefully be gone by tomorrow. That will free up room in my garage for packed boxes!



[wip] giraffe shirt

cutting cute giraffe fabric
featuring a scented sachet as a pattern weight
Today, in between running errands and being super productive, I decided to make another top using the same pattern as my last one. When I learn something new, I like to practice those skills multiple times to solidify the knowledge in my mind. Practice makes... better memories?

Anyhow, isn't this giraffe fabric just the cutest? I'm pairing it with a matching turquoise solid for the yoke.


[completed] first real piece of apparel

isn't it pretty?
On my last day of graduate classes (yay!), I stopped by Jo-Ann's. There happened to be a 50% off classes sale, and I signed up for a class to make Simplicity Pattern 6148. It's a two-part class, with the first two-hour session last Thursday and the second two-hour session this coming Thursday. Well, we spent the first session just cutting fabric (which is legitimately difficult when you are new to patterns). So I decided to try the pattern on my own. 

I bought some inexpensive, colorful fabric at Wal-Mart for a test shirt, and used the same pattern to cut out the pieces. Then I followed the somewhat confusing directions, and assembled the shirt without any issues. Isn't it pretty? I actually wore it the day I made it (Friday). Sorry there are no pictures of it on - I totally forgot that part. But I showed it to my sister on FaceTime, and she has requested that I make one for her now, so it must be cute.

I'm pretty pleased!
love those giant flowers


[completed] "mod garland" quilt

Remember doorway garlands like this?

mod doorway garland example
Well, I made a quilt top inspired by these mod garlands:

The quilt top is made from five fat quarters and a coordinating green solid along with some teal blue solid fabric from my stash. The quilt top measures about 37 x 45, which is significantly smaller than I had anticipated. But it's cute and cheerful!


[completed] "dare to be different" quilt top

A few weeks ago, I stumbled across this quilt online, and I knew I needed to make a similar quilt. So I bought some tone-on-tone white fabric and used five fat quarters from my stash, drafted a quick pattenr and came up with this quilt top.

"dare to be different quilt top"
I love it! I love the message behind the quilt idea, and I love how cheery this quilt turned out. It's perfect for spring (which has (finally) arrived).

I actually made the entire quilt top except for the final borders in a single day. It felt good! My practicum instructor told me I must be on "crack" to churn it out so fast, but I used chain-piecing and the whole thing just flew together.

Now to decide how to quilt it...

[completed] sister's belated birthday present

completed embroidery!

For my older sister's fourth 29th birthday, my younger sister and I decided to collaborate on a present for her using our respective talents for hand embroidery and sewing. The embroidery portion was competed while I was visiting my younger sister in Canada, and was finished in advance of the birthday date. I, however, was nervous about cutting into this precious hand-embroidered fabric, so it took me awhile to gather up the courage and make a pillowcase.
completed pillow (front)
But I (obviously) eventually completed it! I did actually finish it quite awhile ago, but I had to mail it to a far-off location, and it has just now arrived.

completed pillow (back)
Overall, I'm pretty pleased. I used a 18x18 premade pillow form and muslin to finish the pillow. We had decided on a pillowcase with a flange to give the pillowcase a little added interest, so I incorporated a 1" flange.

Hooray for handmade gifts!

another year older...

Sassy and my birthday roses


second i-spy swap fabrics

pretty stacks

all sorted

all 10 fabrics were from my stash!