Monday, August 29, 2011

Tiny Basement Window, Revisited

Several months ago, I tackled the problem of the window in the basement.  You may recall I started with this tiny egress window:

I put clear contact paper on the window to diffuse the late afternoon light that angled into the room and to offer some privacy.  I wanted to visually lengthen the window with curtains and to break the expanse of the long wall.  I found some exterior shutters at ReStore.  Although it wasn't what I had in mind, it worked for the interim.

While Mr. Tallgrass was dumpster diving for this chest of drawers, he noticed some pretty good looking plantation shutters at the curb as well so he tossed them in the car for me.  I did a happy dance in my car when I opened the garage doors and found them sitting in my bay.  It was just what I had been looking for!

I'm linking up...
Between Naps on the Porch

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Battle of the Bands

My husband rescued this little chest of drawers from the curb on trash day.  What a guy!

Each drawer had old heavy metal band names carved into it, such as AC/DC, Metallica and Slayer.

And the veneer was damaged on the bottom.

It received a through cleaning (there were a lot of Hersey Kisses flags inside the drawers).  Then I glued the veneer, using binder clips and heavy objects to hold it in place while the glue dried.

Next, a little wood putty and a lot of sanding!  I thought about new drawer pulls, but in the end, I decided clean up the existing pulls with Howards Restore-a-Finish.

My craft room doesn't have much for drawer space, so I'm so excited to re-organize.

No more signs of adolescent angst!  Isn't it cute now?

I'm linking up...

Monday, August 15, 2011

Dog Basket Make-over

Today, I thought I would start with the after shot:

Our dog has been a part of our "family" for over 14 years.  Her trusty dog bed is probably as old as she is, and it looked like this:

The basket is in good shape, but I was tired of the novelty fabric and the elderly canine joints could use a little more padding.

I planned to re-use the old stuffing, so I ran the old cushion through the laundry.  Then I sliced into that nasty 1990s hunter green paw print fabric.

Disgusting!  At least it's sort of clean.  I removed the foam bits by the handful and put them in a large bag to reuse later.

After all the filler had been removed, I flattened the fabric the best that I could to make a pattern for the new fabric.  I traced around the old fabric onto the backside of a sheet of holiday wrapping paper.

I'll need a seam allowance, so when I cut out the pattern, I cut about 1/2 inch OUTSIDE the line I drew.

Hmm...the oval I cut wasn't even.  I folded it into quarters.

Then, I folded a fresh sheet of wrapping paper into quarters as well and traced the first template onto the new sheet of paper, following the widest points of my first template.  (Are you still with me?)

Much better!  Now I'm ready to pin the final template onto the fabric I selected.  Actually, it's a curtain panel!  I found at a thrift store and since there was just one panel, I scored it for just a few dollars.  It's 100% cotton twill, so it's a good weight without too much bulk.  As with anything I get secondhand, I prewashed it before I started, plus later when I need to wash the finished bed, I can do so without shrinkage.

I folded the panel in half, right sides together, then pinned the pattern to it so I only had to make one cut.  Remove the template and pin the two pieces of fabric together.

Using a 1/4 inch seam allowance, stitch around the edge, leaving a 12 inch opening one one side.  Turn right side out and finger press the seams.

I wanted the new dog bed to be lofty like the old one used to be, so I made six evenly spaced marks with a disappearing marking pencil.

Using DNC embroidery floss, make a single small stitch at each of the marks.

Remove the needle and tie the ends using a surgeon's knot. 

Clip the excess floss near the knot.  After all six knots have been made, carefully refill the cushion with the foam bits.  I had a little leftover foam from my ottoman project, so I cut it into small pieces and added it to the new cushion as well.

Sew the opening closed and give it the new cushion a 20 minute spin on the fluff cycle in the dryer to distribute the foam.  Throw away that nasty novelty print fabric!

A practical yet classic dog bed, updated for less than four dollars.  Pooch is now ready for a good night of sleep.

I'm linking up...

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

No Paint Required

I was cruising down a busy street that runs through Prairie Village, a bedroom community in suburban Kansas City.  Prairie Village...isn't that a great name for a Kansas town?

Actually, it was a carefully planned community, started in 1941 and developed by the same person who designed Kansas City's famous County Club Plaza.

Anyway, since it residential community developed 60 years ago, almost all the major roads that run through this town are lined with houses.  And one of them was having a BIG garage sale, and the yard was filled with furniture.

My mind raced.  No parking on the main road.  It's HOT.  I'd have to park on a side street a block away and walk to the sale.  It's a sunny, humid 97 degree afternoon.  And I had just spent the last three dollars I had in my wallet at ReStore.  Where was the nearest ATM machine?

No worries.  It was worth the sweaty effort.  The selection was great and the prices were fantastic.

I hauled away this darling table.  It was grubby and the top was cracked, but I couldn't pass it up.  I simply love the sides and the book storage it offers.

I thought about painting it while I was washing the layers of filth.  But look at this cracked and chippy paint.

I'm going to leave it alone, for now.  The crack on the top is a drag, but I had just the thing to cover it.

I found two of these trays at two different thrift stores this winter, so I suspect they must have been part of a gift set at a big box store.  I can never pass up a tray, even if I don't know what I'm going to do with it yet.

I gave it a quick coat of black craft paint, but the bottom was a slightly lumpy, probably from dampness.  I cut out a piece of textured wallpaper and glued it to the bottom.  I thought about painting the paper too, but in the end, I decided I liked the contrast.

The small scale of this table fits in well in the tiny hearth room.

I've worked on this room for about seven months, but other than a few minor touches, I'm ready to call this room complete.

You can see the before and after of the chairs here.

Do you love a good before and after that involves spray paint?  Read how I decorated the mantel here and here.

Monday, August 1, 2011

A Piping Primer

Making piping is easy and adds a great finishing touch to upholstery projects.

Measure the amount of piping and fabric you'll need and add four to six inches.  You'll need to cut long strips of fabric on the bias.  The width will depend on the size of the piping.  For the piping I selected, I cut strips two and a half inches wide.  This gives me about a one inch allowance when the piping is placed inside the strip.  Stitch the strips together.

(Psst...I didn't cut on the bias.  But you should.  It's the correct way to make piping.)

Using a zipper foot, stitch close to the piping folded inside the fabric.  If your sewing machine has a side-to-side needle adjustment, you may need to move the needle a little to the left to get the stitch snug against the piping.

Attach the piping to body of the ottoman, stapling along the seam of the piping and leaving about two inches loose on each end of the piping.  You may find that you need to cut little notches in the fabric  when you reach the corners so the piping will lay flat, but don't snip through the stitching.

Mark where the two ends of the piping overlap.

Carefully rip the seam on one end of the piping to expose the cord inside.  Snip the excess cord so it evenly meets the other end.  Only cut the piping!  Don't cut the fabric.

Fold the loose flap of fabric, leaving about three-quarters of an inch to hang over the end of the piping you just trimmed.  Tuck the opposite end of the cording inside and tack into place. 

That's all there is to it!  If you can draw a straight line, cut a straight line and sew a straight line, you can build and trim your own ottoman.