Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Happy Halloween!

This is my entry (okay so its really the Legal Department entry) for the office pumpkin carving contest.
 I have a great job!
I really love pumpkin carving but hate the part where you have to clean out the inside of the pumpkin.  This year I decided to forgo the guts cleaning part and that worked pretty well. Wish I could say the same thing for the black paint that I used. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

It's Been a While..

I've been neglecting my sad little blog recently but it's not because I haven't been doing anything! 

I've actually tackled quite a few projects recently.  Since my last post I have:
 Recovered my headboard
 Made new pillows for my bed
 Made a rectangular wooden side table for my entry area
 Made a nice little tailored skirt for said table
 Hosted a baby shower. 

Hosting this baby shower involved:
 Embroidering pennants with the baby's name on them
 Hemming fabric to make a table cloth and table runner
 Growing wheat grass in metal containers (which is super quick and easy BTW)
 Making bunting
 Making a million cupcakes
 Throwing half a million cupcakes away
 Making a dessert stand

Blue cabanna striped tablecloth is made from Ikea fabric.  Pennants were embroidered on my sewing machine. 
The DIY dessert stand was made from MDF, a square dowel and some 1/4" trim.  The metal containers are from Ikea and I grew the wheat grass from wheat berries that I got at the local health food store.
 The baby shower was a lot of fun and most of the things that I made were pretty cute.  Unfortunately, I did a terrible job of taking pictures. 

Pennants and wheat grass.
 Atleast you know I haven't just been sitting on the couch watching soaps. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

DIY: How to Make a Colander

1.  Heat one stove eye on high for approximately two minutes or the amount of time it takes to make stove top pop corn.

2.  Turn off stove. 

3.  Place plastic bowl on top of stove eye.

Place bowl here. 

4.  Remove bowl.  Your new colander is ready for use!

DIY Colander

Friday, July 13, 2012

Future Projects

I'm super excited for my future projects!  

I'm going to (attempt to) make a bench out of a headboard! 

Unless you've been living under a rock and are completely deprived of Pinterest and all home decor blogs, you've probably already seen a million benches made from headboards so this announcement is probably less exciting for you than it is for me. 

This project is particularly exciting because I'll be making it for Work BFF's Mother.  Someone actually trusts me to turn a family heirloom into a piece of furniture! 

This bench from Twice Lovely is one of my favorite examples head board benches.
Don't expect mine to look anything like that for two reasons:
1) I have no idea what the headboard that I'll be using looks like, and
2) I have no idea how to actually build a bench from a headbord.

Okay, so its not really an heirloom. That would be too much pressure.  Work BFF assures me that this isn't an heirloom and has been taking up space in a barn or some other location where you store your less than cherished items.  So her mother probably won't cry and/or forbid Work BFF from associating with me if I mess this up. 

That's reassuring.  I'd miss her if that happened. 

I'm also redoing my headboard and pillows and everything else that's red and black in my bedroom.  I got a new rug a few months ago and that has (obviously) necessitated a complete decor redo of my entire condo.  Luckily my condo is just basically one big room so redoing everything shouldn't be too hard.  

Bye-bye blah black and white bedroom!

Of course at the rate I'm going I'll be finished with the redo just about the time that blue ikat rugs become the avocado green applicances of the world.

Oh well.  

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


After completing the ottoman, I decided that I should do a "simple" project that would just take a few hours.  I'm pretty impatient so I appreciate any sort of instant gratification project. So I decided to make some pillows.  I sew and make pillows all the time so didn't think I'd have any problems. 

Now, an entire month after I started, this is all that I have accomplished:

Pillows I made for my work BFF.
 It was the least I could do after I hijacked her on the way home from a meeting and
forced her to go with me to one of my favorite fabric stores. 

Okay, well there are two of them, but that's all.  I'm always amazed how "simple projects" turn into month long affairs.  This was one of those projects where nothing went right.  I swear that I must have defective thread.  

The pillows look okay from the front.  Just don't turn them around (luckily this is the internet so you can't). 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

How to Make an Ottoman

Overview: You'll upholster a piece of plywood and attach it to a wood base made of 1x4s and wood legs to make this ottoman. 


- 1 - 36" x 36" square of 3/4" plywood - you can adjust your sizes to make a larger or smaller ottoman 
- 1 - 12" x 34" x 3/4" plywood
- 4 - 36" x 36" x 1" wood
- 4 - wood legs - available in limited styles at Home Depot or Lowes - I used 9" legs from Van Dyke's Restorers
- wood stain or paint
- 1 - 36" x 36" x 4" piece of foam
- high loft batting
- 2 yards of fabric
- 13 buttons with shanks covered in your fabric
- waxed upholstery thread - you can find this at Hobby Lobby or Hancock Fabrics
-  288" welting/cord covered in your fabric

- Drill/Driver
- Saw
- 1 1/2" wood screws
- 8 - 3" wood screws
- Upholstery Needles
- Heavy Duty Staple Gun and Staples


1.  Paint or stain your legs

Unfinished Legs
2.  Cut a piece of 3/4" plywood into a 36" square.  You will attach foam and batting to the top of this piece.  You can make your ottoman smaller or larger, just be sure to adjust all your measurements accordingly. 

3.  Cut two 36" long 1 x 4s pieces.  Then cut two  (approximately) 34" long 1x4 pieces so that you can form a 36" square.  Did you know that a 1x4 isn't really one inch by four inches?  That's the nominal length.  The actual length is less.  To determine the exact length you need, measure the width of each of the 36" pieces you just cut.  Add the two widths together then subtract that from 36" to determine the length you need.

4.  Screw the four pieces you just cut to form a square (see picture below)

5.  Cut a 4x4 into four approximately 4" inch tall pieces.  Again, 4" dimension is the nominal length.  You'll need to cut it to match the height of the 1x4s you used to create your square. 

6.  Attach the 4x4 pieces to the corners of the square with 3" wood screws making sure that the top of the 4x4 is flush with the top of the wood square (see picture below)

36" square frame with 4x4 enforced corner

7.  Cut a 12" wide piece of plywood to fit flush inside the square.  Use wood screws to attach this piece to the top of the frame.  Make sure the top of this piece is flush with the top of the square frame (see picture below).

8.  Attach legs.  My legs had tenons so I had to drill holes for the tenons into the 4 x 4 side pieces.  I then applied wood glue to the holes and attached the legs.  The holes for the tenons should be tight.   Most of the legs available at Home Depot or Lowes were attached by screwing the legs into a metal plate.  If you have this kind of leg you'll need to attach the plate to the bottom of the 4 x 4 side pieces and then screw the legs into the plate.

Drilling holes for tenons.  You're not really supposed to use a power drill for this sort of thing,
but I used one because that's all I had.  My legs are pretty firmly attached to the frame.
9.  Drill holes in the 36" plywood square for tufts.  I used 13 buttons.  You can use more or less.  I drilled the holes in a diamond pattern (see drawing above). You can use a diamond pattern or square pattern. Its just a matter of preference. 

10.  Cover the 36" plywood square with 4" thick foam.  I could only find foam that was 24" wide so I had to piece the foam together to make a 36" square.

4" thick foam pieced together to make a 36" square

11.  Cover the foam with batting and staple the batting to the back of the wood.  See picture below

Batting stapled to the back of the 36" plywood square.

12.  Cover your buttons with fabric. I initially used a button covering kit from the fabric store but I found that it didn't really work very well with the fabric that I was using.  I ended up just cutting fabric that was slightly larger than the button and sewing it on the back of the button.  Make sure not to cover the button shank.

13.  Upholster your ottoman!   There are lots of tutorials on the internet that describe this process so I won't detail the process.  I would suggest you just look through these tutorials and see what works best for you.  I don't think that DIY tufting is an exact science so it may take some trial and error to achieve the look you're going for.  I definitely did a lot of erring.    This tutorial form Censational Girl  is pretty similiar to the process I followed.  A couple of hints and suggestions though:
 - Double thread your buttons with waxed upholstery thread.  You don't want to risk your thread breaking. 
 - Many bloggers recommend that you cut holes in the batting and foam to achieve a deep tuft but I didn't   
- If you do not cut holes in the batting and foam for each tuft, it really helps to have someone to help push down on each button while you'll the thread through and staple it tightly from the bottom
- If you do not have someone to push down on the button, you can use my (patent-pending) method of turning the ottoman top bottom side up on top of a small bottle or shot glass on the floor so that the button is resting on the top of the shot glass/bottle.  Then you can kneel on the back of the ottoman to put pressure on the button and leave your hands free to pull and staple.

14.  Cover your welting/cording in fabric.  Here's a great tutorial from Curbly  on how to cover your cording.  To cover the cording/welting I cut four 37" inch long pieces.  I sewed these (with a 1/2" seam allowance) end to end to create a loop.  Then I used the fabric loop to cover the welting.  I did this so that the seams in the welting would line up at the corners of the ottoman.   

15. Cover the sides of the frame with fabric.  Staple the fabric on the inside of the frame so that no staples show on the outside of the frame.

Fabric covering bottom of ottoman frame

16.  Staple the flat edge of the welting to the bottom edge of the upholstered top. 
Welt stapled to bottom of upholstered top
Close up of welting

17.  Screw the upholstered top to the frame.  To do this, place the upholstered top on the floor bottom side up.  Place the frame on top making sure that your welting is even along the outside edge.  Use wood screws to screw the plywood cross piece of the frame to the plywood upholstered top. 

Upholstered top screwed onto the wood frame. 
Yes, the bottom of this ottoman is a hot mess.
If you want really professional results, you'll cover this fabric decking.

18.  Turn over your ottoman, pat yourself on the back, and put your feet up!

Put feet here!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Pinterest Challenge: So I made an Ottoman

So it’s been a while since my last update but that’s because I’ve been busy devoting all my free time to making this d*** ottoman. Unfortunately, I haven’t had any progress to report along the way.  Ergo, it’s been a while since my last update.     
DIY Ottoman

Close-up of the stained legs

Now, about this ottoman.  I wanted an ottoman because there are tons of gorgeous rooms with these ottomans and I am very susceptible to marketing. Oh and they're pretty practical because you can use them as a coffee table or use them to put your feet up.

I had pinned several of these same beautiful ottomans on Pinterest.    Then it occurred to me that making an ottoman would be a perfect Pinterest Challenge!  If you're not familiar, the Pinterest Challenge is hosted by Bloggers Sherry at Young House Love, Katie at BowerPower, Michelle at Ten June, and Kate at Centsational Girl.   The idea is that you actually make something that's inspired by one of your pins then you can share your creation with the blog world. 

Via House Beautiful

Via Decor Pad

I decided to make an ottoman for a two reasons.  First, I am delusional and always think I can make things. 
Show me a dress you like and I promise you the first thought that will go through my head is “Oh, I could make that.” 
 I mean if a bunch of mice can make a wedding dress, then surely I can make my own clothes too.  

Second, I thought, surely it would be less expensive to make one. 
This ottman from Williams Sonoma is $1200

Of course it never even occured to me that I might be unable to make an ottoman.  It also never occured to me to think that the ottoman that I made could be less wonderful than the $1200 version from Williams Sonoma.  Like I said, delusional. 

Since I was exptecting Williams Sonoma, I'm a little disappointed with the results, but that happens with basically every project that I do. 

I also learned a few important lessons that I'll share with you: 

1)    If it were easy to make tufted ottomans, Williams Sonoma would be unable able to sell them (for $1,200) and would go out of business.  This is why Williams Sonoma is still in business

2)  Fishing line does not make a good substitute for waxed upholstery thread. 

3)  You can stain wood legs even if they are not "stain grade" but Bob Vila wouldn't recommend it. 

4)   It really hurts if you hit yourself in the nose with a half-sheet of plywood.   

5)  To get a deep tuft, try balancing your tufted ottoman topside down on a glass bottle while kneeling on top of the ottoman.  This leaves your hands free to pull and staple and will yield either a deep tuft or a broken bottle. 

6)  Making an ottoman can be surprisingly expensive.

7)  Target sells this ottoman for $300. 

    Now after reading all that if you'd still like to make your own ottoman, here's the link to my instructions!  Good luck!

Monday, April 23, 2012

First World Problems: Buying a Sofa is Harder than I Thought

I just sold all my worldly belongings on Craigslist! 
Bye rug, couch, loveseat, coffee table and end tables.
I've enjoyed or time together but feel as though we've grown apart style-wise
Okay, well not everything, just my rug, coffee table, side tables, couch and loveseat.

But when you have to sit on your hardwood floors to watch TV, it can seem like you have no worldly belongings. 

Clearly a first world problem problem I know.

My sad furniture-less living room. 
Ignore the half finished ottoman I am attempting to build.

I was so excited to buy a new sofa, but it turns out that buying a sofa is a bit harder than I expected.  Particularly because I need this thing NOW and can't wait to have one made.  I know, another first world problem. 

I found one at Havertys that I loved because it was pretty. 

My first choice sofa, the Celine from Havertys

But BF keeps trying to get me to be all practical and consider how I actually use my sofa.  GAH.  What a joykill.  Normally I would just ignore his input and get what I want, practicality be damned, but I'm actually giving his opinion some weight since he was in the furniture business for a while.

That and the fact that I don't want to listen to him tell me "I told you so" when my pretty sofa turns out to be the most awful, ugly, uncomfortable piece of furniture ever. 

So I've now considered and eliminated all options at Havertys, Ethan Allen, Basset and Restoration Hardware (obviously because I can't afford anything there).

Now I'm considering this one from Intaglia.  Its the perfect size and I like the color.

Now if I can just have to get the BF's approval. 

Retro Sofa from Intaglia.  If you've never been there, I highly recommend them.
 Prices are reasonable and the salespeople are super friendly.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Small Appliance Repair: If it wasn't broken before, it certainly is now

My sad little broken vacuum.  It served me well for ten years.  RIP Dirt Devil.

If my vacuum wasn't broken the minute it sucked up that sock, it certainly is now that I've attempted to fix it.

Monday, April 2, 2012

More Dumpster Diving

I've previously shared some of the things I've found in or by my dumpster.   

Once again I'm just amazed at the things that people throw away. When I took out the trash Saturday I found two perfectly good Ikea ÄPPLARÖ Armchairs  by my dumpster. 

Dumpster Chairs
These are currently retailing for $59 each.  I know $59 isn't a lot of money, but I also know a lot people would love to have these chairs.

Just add some cushions, plants, and a two  million dollar home in the background and
your dumpster chairs will look fabulous!

I rescused these chairs and they are currently living on my boyfriend's deck. 

Charlsie, I'm really going to need that sanitizing wand that you promised because I'm going to make sure I take out the trash more often.

Friday, March 30, 2012


 Black and White Color Scheme
I've had a black and white color scheme for a while.  Of course no room is ever really complete so I've got a million ideas in the works - like a adding a pelmet to cover up the sagging metal curtain rod, recovering the faded pillows, and finding something (that is attractive) to go on the coffee table.

More of my black and white color scheme. 

But what I've most wanted to complete my living room is a new rug.  

Okay, actually what I've really, really, really, really, REALLY WANTED to complete my living room is a new sofa, like the Celine Sofa from Haverty's , but that just isn't in my budget at the moment. 

I've been dreaming about a new rug forever.  The one I have is a cheap black and white scroll pattern and I'm just tired of it.

Better shot of the offending rug (and the offending couch and loveseat)  

I've considered getting the Olin Rug from Crate and Barrel

Crate & Barrel's Olin Rug

And I've thought of getting a black and white zig-zag rug - a knock off of the Madeline Weinrib Version

I also considered the West Elm version of the Zig Zag

West Elm Zig Zag Rug

Then I considered getting the Ikea Rand Rug.

I'm not sure if this is the Ikea version or the pricer rug that inspired the Ikea rug. 

Then yesterday I was in Ballard's Backroom and found the most perfect rug. 

It was made of hand tufted wool,  unlike my current polypropolene black and white monstrosity. 

Even better, it was on sale!

They were practically giving it away. 

I just had to have it. 

So I bought it!

Looks great, right? 

Just what you would have picked for the space, right? 

And totally matches everything I already own.  Well, except for the drapes, the lampshades the pillows and the accessories... 

If you need me I'll be making drapes and recovering pillows and lampshades for the forseeable future.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Before and After: Slipcovered Dumpster Chair

A few weeks ago I told you about how I found this chair in the dumpster. 

I was just amazed that someone would throw away a perfectly good chair.

So I rescused it from the dumpster and its just been in my hall clashing with my black and white color scheme for months.  Don't you think if you were rescued from the streets and taken in to a nice warm home, you would be grateful and try a little harder to fit in?   Not so with my dumpster chair.

So I finally gave up on the idea that the chair would fix itself and decided to make a slipcover for it. 

I just didn't want to deal with sanding and painting it.

It was a pain to make.

The End. 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Pinterest Challenge: DIY Metal Side Table

My DIY Side Table made from a sheet of aluminum.
I recently ran across the Pinterest Challenge at YoungHouseLove.  The idea is that you actually attempt to make something that you've pinned on PinterestThe Pinterest Challenge is actually hosted by YoungouseLove along with three other blogs:  BowerPower, Ana-White and House of Earnest
I joined Pinterest a few weeks ago but I haven't pinned too much.  I've been too busy making frames and lamps and wracking my brain for other ideas to entertain you on this blog.  But the Pinterest Challenge inspired me. 

Here are my inspirational pins or more accurately my aspirational pictures:

So I went to Lowes and got a sheet of aluminum, and some wood veneer. 

 Cloverleaf Aluminum Sheet by M-D Building Products

 Red Oak Wood Veneer from Home Depot

I used that along with a board that was leftover from a previous project to make this side table. 

DIY Metal Side Table - Version 1

It was a pretty simple process. I used my jigsaw to cut two circles from my wood board. I spray-painted the boards with silver spray paint then stapled the metal panel to the wood boards.  I also painted the wood veneer then glued it over the staples to form a nice edge. 

Table Making Supplies - wood circle (I've already painted silver at this point), stapler, wood glue, wood veneer, spray paint and wood screws.

I used a jigsaw to cut out two circles from this board to create the table top and bottom.

Stapling the aluminum sheet to the wood circle.  I stapled the aluminum sheet all
the way around the wood circle.  Then I used a wood screw to further secure the
ends of the aluminum sheet.  You could probably get by without the screws. 

Applying the painted wood veneer

Then, after all that, I decided that I didn't really love my new side table. 

Then I remembered this tray table that I had

A few hours and one can of red spray paint later and I had a red side table. 
New side table - for some reason this pattern does not photograph very well.

Table is the perfect height to drop things on as you walk in the door. 

Now after all that, I'm not sure about the red.  I like it but I don't love it.

I think the only solution is to go buy this
MD Products Union Jack Aluminum Sheet
and try again.