[completed] patchwork lanyard

I haven't had much time to craft or sew lately, due to (finally!) starting my new job. I've been attending trainings about 2 hours away, so I haven't even been home much!

Yesterday I finally sat down and sewed up a quick project. The lanyard for my keys broke recently, and I've been wanting a replacement. After a bit of Internet searching, I found a quick tutorial. I followed the basic principle outlined in the tutorial, but the process was quite simple.

I had a bunch of 2x3" fabric scraps from cutting fabrics for an I-spy swap awhile back, so I chose nine of the scraps, sewed then together at the short ends, pressed the seams open, folded the long resulting patchwork piece in half and the pressed the edges inward and folded in half again so that I got a narrow long strap with all the raw edges enclosed. I stitched down each side, slid the edges through my hardware and stitched it all together.

Easy and quick! Honestly the longest part of the whole process was the pressing. 

I am very happy with my new key lanyard!


slowly setting up the sewing room

all my precious thread
Organized thread is a good sign - that was a good bit of unpacking/settling in. Now if only I could figure out where/how I want to hang all my pictures and cross-stitch projects!


[completed] sewing desk

finished desk
Yesterday I put on the final coats of Krylon "Classic Gray" paint on the desk legs and put a clear protective coat over the desk top. After those coats dried, Adam and I carefully maneuvered this giant desk (it's six feet long!) into my sewing room. We had to take the door off the hinges to get it into the room, but we managed.

gray legs and white top
(and a curious cat)
This morning, Sassy graciously posed for me (before an unfortunate trip to the veterinary clinic and a bath - it was a rough day for Assassinationcat). The desk looks great against the navy and gray-blue walls and the white top matches the white chair rail.

The white desk top with gray legs were my mother's idea, and I'm very happy with color combination. The desk could have dominated the room if painted a brighter color, and I already have a lot of color in the room thanks to my color wheel dresser.

with my satin nickel chair
The gray of the desk doesn't quite coordinate with my satin nickel chair the way I had anticipated, but the colors don't clash either. I love both of my new pieces of furniture!

the texture of the desk top
Because of the quality of the wood, the desk top is not perfect despite about a million coats of spray Kilz and another million coats of glossy white spray paint. It's smooth to the touch, but you can still see the imperfections in the wood. I actually don't mind the texture - it gives the desk a more rustic feel and a lot of personality. Also, it won't be so noticeable if I somehow damage the table or the paint job.

my pretty model
Look how nicely the colors go together... and check out the glossy sheen on that desk top!

the final and complete package

I'm in love! It was worth all the trouble to have this huge, custom, personalized, one-of-a-kind desk!


[wip] desk progress

Yesterday, after a 25 minute phone call with my mother while I stood in Wal-Mart considering color options, I ended up spray-painting the top of my desk Krylon's basic glossy white. After that dried, Adam and I flipped the desk over and this morning I spray-painted the legs Krylon's "Classic Gray".

I used two full cans, but I need more coats. The can directions say to recoat within one hour or after twenty-four hours, so it looks like I'll be doing some more spray-painting tomorrow morning!

gray and white
I just cannot wait for this project to be done!

[completed] sassycat silhouettes

Remember these previously hideous frames that I spray painted satin nickel a few days ago? Well, I finally decided what I wanted to use them for - silhouettes of Assassionationcat!

 I have made silhouettes before, and the process is pretty easy. I took two photos of Sassy that I liked, made them black and white and printed them out on regular paper.

sassy is so regal
just look at that face!
Then I took a sharpie and drew an outline around her, making sure to capture some of the fluffiness. I cut out the sharpie-d shape (I found this was actually easier to do on the backside of the paper, where the sharpie had bled through), traced it onto blue cardstock, and carefully cut it out again. This method means that you lose some of the details - it's like playing telephone -but it's pretty simple and doesn't involve any fancy image software. 

I cut ovals out of a gray cardstock and glued the blue silhouettes onto the cardstock. These frames don't have any glass, but that doesn't bother me - I just popped the cardstock into the frame and reattached the back. Glass is overrated.

finished frames!
 I love love love the result. The nickel and the blue and the gray complement each other really well. These framed silhouettes are going to look lovely in my sewing room!


[completed] banker chair for the sewing room

before & after!

before (picture posted on craigslist)
I eyed this banker's chair on craigslist for over a week, and I finally went on a (long) driving adventure to collect it. An hour and $25 later, and this baby was mine.

during (picture on our kitchen floor)
I disassembled the chair without any help aside from advice from my mother over Skype. Taking apart the chair involved a lot of manual labor, surprisingly - I had to wrestle the padded sections of the arms off the wooden base, pull the wheels off, etc, and the chair is pretty heavy.

after (picture taken in the sewing room)
 But a few cans of spray-paint, some polka-dotted fabric and some coordinating gray fabric and a lot of patience, and this chair was transformed! I used Krylon's "Satin Nickel" spray-paint for the chair, and covered it in a clear protective coat as well. I found the gray polka-dot fabric at Jo-Ann's for only $2.49 a yard, and found the matching gray used for the arms as a remnant. I made piping out of a package of light gray single fold bias tape to go along the arms. I like the effect of the piping, although it's pretty subtle.

It's decidedly not perfect - there are imperfections in the chair, imperfections in my spray-painting, and the re-upholestery isn't perfect either.

But I LOVE my new chair! And I am so proud of myself for doing it all alone!

And if I ever get bored of how it looks, I can easily change it.

[completed] piping

homemade piping
For a project I am working on for my sewing room, I needed to make some piping. Of course, I couldn't find any in a color that I liked, so I followed this piping tutorial and made my own! I cheated a little and used pre-made single fold bias tape. I bought cording, but it was way too wide and didn't fit inside the bias tape. So I bought some thin, inexpensive yarn, and made do. It was surprisingly easy and quick, and turned out well. Hopefully it will work for my project!


[wip] desk progress

love Kilz
Just now, I primed over the failed stain on my desk. I used Kilz Original Spray Primer, which seemed to work pretty well. It took a can and a half to do one light coat, which means I may have to go buy more!

I like the desk more already. Paint just really is more my taste than stain. Wait until you see what color I decided to paint it!

More to follow...


staining failure

You know how every DIY looks amazing on the internet? Well, today I am sharing a failure instead of a finish.

I decided to stain my new desk Minwax Charcoal Gray. I got excited, bought all the stuff, and started as soon as the weather hit 65F today.

And this was the result:

I followed this tutorial (which also featured Minwax Charcoal Grey stain), and as far as I can tell, I did everything right. Yet the results were awful. The texture of the wood shows through way too strongly, the color is way too dark (and blue, for some unfathomable reason), and the finish is terribly uneven.

As you can see, I didn't even bother finishing staining the legs or underside of the desk. I am going to switch to primer and paint and polycrylic for this project. No more stain for me.

It's frustrating and sad - a waste of time and resources and materials. But I am determined to fix this project (after all, this is a custom desk made just for me!). I just need to be patient and let the stupid stain dry so I can paint over it.

Not all DIY projects go swimmingly. I'm chalking this one up to experience. Adam told me of a great saying his mother used to repeat: "Adults have experience because they've done it wrong once".

So there you go.

yet another project

yet another project
Adam and I snagged this awesome and hideous (but very comfortable) glider chair at a yard sale for $10 this weekend. He promised me a glider ages ago, so I was very happy to find one we liked for such a great price. I like that it is white, but that fabric has to go. I plan to recover the chair cushions, but I have to decide on a fabric first! It's tricky because this chair is in the spare bedroom/future nursery, so I want it to be gender neutral for future children but also appropriate for a guest bedroom until we have a little person.

I plan to use a home decorator weight fabric for the chair cushions so that it will be durable. There are a lot of cute choices out there - I've been browsing fabric.com and have found a bunch of reasonably priced fabrics that I love. Especially this one. Is that wrong?

spray-painting all the things

hideous, right?
after a coat of paint

can you guess what this project is?
Man do I love spray-paint. Especially Krylon's satin nickel.


[completed] sewing room paint job

Yesterday, Adam and I and a friend of his finished painting my sewing room. The lower portion of the walls are the same navy blue that they were originally, and the upper portion of the walls are from a $5 one-gallon mistint of Valspar's "Yachtsman". Adam was concerned that there wouldn't be enough paint, since we used a gallon and a half for our bedroom, but we had plenty. The high-hiding primer from Valspar did such an excellent job that we only need one coat and some second coat touchups of the wall color.

"Yachtsman" turned out to be more blue than I expected (the sample on top of the can looked gray), but it looks great with the navy and the white chair rail. I love it - it's such a calming color.

Today, Adam changed out all the painted-over outlets and light switch for me. The faceplates were nice already, but the outlets themselves needed to go. Thankfully I have a husband who is good with tools!

I also installed new curtain rods (with old curtains) all by myself, and I've started moving furniture and stuff into the room. I really need to stain my new desk and move it in there. That's on the to-do list for tomorrow!


[wip] painting my sewing room

For the past few days, I've been trying to find a time to paint the sewing room in the midst of all the unpacking. This morning, Adam recruited a friend of his to help us prime the Mizzou-colored walls. I decided to keep the navy blue below the chair rail, but repaint the (hideous) yellow-orange color above the rail.
after priming
To cover up that intense color, we used Valspar's high-hiding primer. It was pretty effective, as you can see. As soon as that coat is dried, we'll be painting the walls in a light gray paint that I bought as a mis-tint at Lowe's awhile ago. I love buying mistints - first because I love random things, and secondly because you can get great unexpected colors for cheap!

I can't wait to get this room all nice and repainted! Then I will be able to finally unpack both the sewing room (obviously), and the spare bedroom (where all the sewing room stuff is being stored). I won't be able to start/continue any sewing projects for awhile, though... I still need to stain and prime my new unfinished desk so I'll have a place to work. That project is definitely on the agenda for next week!

I start my new job (yay!) on the 10th of June, so I have about a week left to finish up around the house. Of course I know I won't/can't get everything done before then, but I am certainly going to try!

[completed] wooden knob belt and tie hanger

Yesterday, in the midst of cleaning and unpacking and organizing and hanging curtains, Adam and I completed a little organization project. I had seen wood and knob wall organizers around the internet, and when the over-the-door hook organizer I used in the old house didn't fit on our new (to us) doors, I decided to make a new wall hanging organizer.

Ages ago, I bought a bunch of drawer knobs from Michael's for $0.25 each, with no particular project in mind. This project seemed perfect from them. I bought a 2x3 piece of wood from Lowe's for around $5. I had to buy a fairly deep piece of lumber because the knobs had long screws. Adam drilled holes for me in the piece of wood, and I covered it in a few coats of Valspar's satin nickel spray-paint. After it dried (about an hour), we screwed in the knobs and attached sawtooth hangars to the back. I hung it on the wall, and voila! A new and pretty belt and tie wall organizer!

A quick, inexpensive, functional, and very satisfying project! That is one of the finishing touches on the bedroom - as soon as I hang a few more pictures, I'll share pictures of the room.

check out those star knobs!