Monday, February 7, 2011

Bathroom Redo-Part 1

I'm going to give my bathroom a face-lift. Want to follow along?

I started to call this The Crack Shack Bathroom Makeover, but that's a little extreme. My house isn't THAT bad. It is however, a double-wide trailer from the '70s so making this room into a silk purse ain't going to be easy.

Here is the grand tour:
Wall facing you as you first walk in:

I think I've mentioned before that we are renters and that my landlady loooves those stick-on borders. Each room has a different theme. And look! This room has a matching valance. yay

And yes, that's a random patch of wood-grain contact paper on the wall. I think someone had the idea to put that around the room with some trim to look like faux wainscoting and that's as far as they made it.

Sink area/vanity:
That medicine cabinet/mirror combo has got to go. When you slide open the flimsy little cupboard, Hello Kitty band-aids and Pepto start flying out at you.

A better look at the cabinet:

It used to have wood-grain contact paper on the drawers (and only the drawers, but not the door ??) and that was the first thing to go.

The other first step was the ceiling. The metal part of the light fixtures used to be brass. They got a shot of white spray paint along with the fan cover. And I painted the dingy ceiling with white paint.

Next step: tearing down the wallpaper (which is the driving force behind this project, it was peeling off in huge chunks) and it's going to be nasty.

I'll be tracking the budget too.
Tally so far: $0 (I already had the white paint and spray paint)

My New Baby

If you're expecting pictures of a precious newborn, you may be excused now. If a serger can make your heart go pitter-pat, read on.

Isn't she lovely?
Its an older model: Singer Ultralock 14U234

I found this on Craigslist for $30! It turned out not to be such a great deal when I found that the cord sent home with me was the wrong one. I sent the seller an email hoping that it was just a simple mix-up. Nope.
I did find a used cord at a shop so I'm out a little more, but still a good deal.
If you've acquired one of these too, the owner's manual is available for free download here.

So. Now armed with the proper cord and the manual I sat down to play. Aaargh! With the tension set to the manufacturer's recommendations it looked great on the front but all wonky and loopy on the back. All of my tinkering with the dials just made it wonkier.

A few Googles later I found a random comment in a post about someone having trouble with the tension on their identical machine. This saint recommended the following combination for the tension dials:

Success! It works fantastic. Now what should I sew?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Baby Quilt

Before the Christmas crafting began in earnest I made a baby quilt for my new niece. I found the pictures of it lurking on the computer and realized I had forgotten to share it. Here is my version of this quilt found on Moda Bake Shop. I left out the words and chose colors that are a little less...well, just less. If you're a fan of vibrant colors, be sure to check the link to see photos of the original. Mine is also quite a bit smaller than the pattern, both in over-all size and the size of the blocks and applique. I made the hexagons starting with a 5 inch square. I can post the mini-sized applique pieces I used if anyone is interested in making a baby version like this one.

I used comfy, fuzzy fabric for the back. You can see that it's tied, so I guess it's not technically a quilt. But it's nice and warm for a December baby. With pretty appliqued flowers

And polka dots

I hope they like it.

Birthday Dress

Baby's Birthday dress made of chilly-weather corduroy. The color is lovely but a bit plain on its own. So I made a yoke with some pleats underneath and a bit of embroidery. Here it is holding still:

My attempt at embroidery:

Aaand here it is modeled and blurry:

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


We found the movie Lilo & Stitch at the thrift store and Buggy promptly became obsessed. She likes to dance along with the hula parts of the movie, so I found a Hula for Kids DVD and had the grand idea that I would make a grass skirt to go along as a Christmas gift. Ha!

It was going great, I even made spanky pants to go underneath because I knew she would insist on wearing it when people came to visit:

Then when the waistband was in, it was all but done and I was patting myself on the back, I cut the tulle into strips to resemble grass. And that's how I ended up with this hot mess:


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Advent Calendar

We've never had an Advent Calendar in our home until last year when someone gave the family one as a gift. About the same time I saw this post on Ikat Bag for the calendar she made with her kiddos. And I've had the idea stuck in my head since then.
Here is our attempt at it:

We made our trees the same and decorated them with a bag of 'spangles'. Even the baby got in on the fun, her trees are the ones that look like they are leaking sap.
Then I hot-glued the trees to a piece of foam core from the Dollar Store and topped it off with a sprinkle of fake snow.

I try to find ways to include the true meaning of Christmas as we make our own traditions. So I wrote the Christmas story out, as it might make sense to a 5 year old, on 24 pieces of paper and tucked them up inside. Of course, there is also chocolate, little ornaments, and small toys in there as well.
Our trees do not have stars on them, but they do have a very important feature. See the little holes in the top? I wanted to include little slips of paper with fun things to do like getting our tree, baking cookies, etc; but I worried that we would pop the tree open and the surprise inside wouldn't be feasible with the schedule (or lack thereof) for the day. And I would be stuck with either disappointed little girls or trying to MAKE everybody have fun in a hurry. Yay, how festive.
So when inspiration strikes, I can just roll a piece of paper with the surprise and stick it in the hole.

And you thought I was just a sloppy tree maker. Oh no, there is a method to the madness. Well, plus I'm sloppy.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Wreath Making 101

There has been some interest in how I make a wreath (OK, one person but that's a biggie for this blog). So I made another wreath to give as a gift and took some pictures to share with you.

Here is what you'll need:

An old wire hanger, florists wire, wire cutters and a pair of garden clippers. This hanger happened to be wrapped in some sort of green coating so all the better. Snip off the hook and bend the wire into a circle. It doesn't have to be perfect, the greenery will hide any wonky parts. Snip off the excess wire and twist the ends to join:

Clip sections from your greenery and make a little bunch, like so:

(Keep in mind that mistletoe is toxic if you are using it for your wreath, so it should be kept away from little helpers and hung up high)

Place the bunch along the wreath frame and wrap it a few times along the length of the stems with florists wire. If you are not dexterity-challenged like me, you can leave the wire on the spool and wind it around the frame; I find it easier to work with 12-inch sections of wire. Make a new bunch of greenery and lay it along the frame so it is covering the stem ends of the previous bunch and keep wrapping with the wire as you go:

Working around the frame and covering the wire on the previous bunch as you go:

(Yes, that's blood on my finger. I thought about GIMP-ing it out, but I'm all about keeping it real. I should probably add a band-aid to the list of things you'll need)
Until you are back where you started. Then tuck the ends of the last bunch up under the first to hide the last of the wire. Snip off any greenery that is hanging out and messing up your circle-y shape:

The back:

For larger projects that carry a bit more weight, I have a little different method. That ugly thing on the left is a "real" wreath frame like you might find on a wreath that you've purchased. I mocked up an example of a frame that I've made in the past using heavy wire that I scavenged off something. That's what you see on the right, just two circles wired together at intervals with a lighter gauge wire. It can be made standard-sized for your door or ginormous for a space like over your garage doors.

Again, clip sections of greenery until you have a nice full bunch. Cut a 5-inch section of florists wire and form it into a hook:

Put the loop of the hook over the ends of the greenery:

Give it a couple twists to secure and lay the bunch along the frame. Use the ends of the florists wire to attach it to the frame:

Keep making bunches and layering them on the frame as in the previous example. Tucking in sprigs of different evergreens or random berries looks lovely too:

Keep going until you get all the way around (I didn't have enough fir, the neighbor ran me off his property) and clip the stray ends to clean it up. Wrap it with pretty ribbon, tie on a bow or just hang as is.
Any questions?