Thursday, January 30, 2014

Clunky Toy Storage

Do you have large toys and no place to put them?  Sometimes if you are lucky you can find pieces of furniture around your house that will accommodate storage.  Because as we all know, children’s toys can quickly take over all our living spaces.

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I had bought this console table a couple years ago off craigslist.  It was originally purchased to go into our hallway for mail/paper storage.

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It got moved around a couple of times, until it went into the family room to help store toys.  The functionality of the piece was great, but with a really fake veneer/laminate wood look, it wasn’t the best looking piece.

So I thought I could easily paint it in a couple of days and give it a whole new look.  This process started in the beginning of November.  My first mistake was to use the wrong primer.  So after a days work of two coats of primer, I had to scrap everything off and then do a little research on how to paint laminate.

I followed this tutorial from Centsational Girl. and used the oil based primer, which worked great but had a high fume smell.  That meant I had to move the piece into the basement, which also meant I could easily forget about it, hence how it took months to finish.  Then I painted on a custom color I mixed from paint we already owned, followed by a couple of coats of water based polycrylic, because I knew this piece was going to get beat up by the kid’s toys.  And while this easily could have taken a couple days, I dragged it over the course of 3 months. 

Lastly I wanted to update the black legs and drawer pulls, so I brushed on some antique brass acrylic paint I had laying around the house.  I actually dabbed the paint on using my kids Crayola brushes which I stole from them once I figured out they made great brushes to do little craft projects with.

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After all my hard work.

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I really like how it turned out.  Up close you can really see the stamped antique bronze look of the legs.

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I love baskets for small toys, but large toys need a home too.  And the big open bottom shelf of this console is the perfect place for them.

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I was trying to quickly organize the toys for pictures before the destructor showed interest.  He made it over to his new toy area and wanted his picture taken.

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Then he informed me he really wanted his car rug put into the space.  So we did a little more rearranging and got to this.

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Here is how this little toy area looks incorporated between the family room and kitchen.

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Notice my other started but nowhere near finished project.  Yes only one chair has a slipcover finished, I have three more to finish up in the near future.  That is going to be my number one sewing priority…after I finish a couple of other projects of course.

Monday, January 27, 2014

How I wore it

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Well folks, this is how I decided to wear my tulle skirt to the Holiday party.  I am sad to report I did not get any pictures of my husband and I dressed up for the event.

I have never before gotten so many compliments on anything I have worn.  I got stopped by strangers to tell me they loved the skirt.  Although I will warn you it was only liked by the females.  The guys were a different story.

When I came down the stairs my husband looked at my outfit and said “Well you are going to stand out!”  And another gentlemen at the party jokingly asked where the other half of my wedding dress was?  So the guys definitely didn’t get it.

My son said I looked pretty, and then wanted to wear his sisters tutu costume so he could be pretty too.  To the horror of his father of course!

It definitely stood out among the crowd and I urge you to make one or buy one if you are on the fence.  Although a bit of caution – the tulle is extremely full of static.  Every time I stood next to someone to talk to them, my layers of tulle would drift up and stick to them.  I was constantly forcing my skirt to go down and stay put.  I have heard that spraying hairspray will help with the static electricity, but I didn’t do it before I left and didn’t have any on me there. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

On Trend Friday–Tulle Skirts

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This weekend we have my husband’s work holiday party.  When I was trying to come up with something to wear, I kept seeing these pictures of tulle skirts everywhere.  I thought it was a really easy and inexpensive skirt that would work great for a holiday party, so I jumped on board with the idea.

My first mistake was that I ordered the fabric online to include the amount of yardage before I fully read through any of the tutorials.  I had just assumed I would make a gathered waist and I would have plenty of yardage.  I had also envisioned doing a chiffon layer with lots of tulle underneath.  I got 3 yards of tulle and 3 yards of chiffon.  I’ll give you a hint…...it was not enough.

Once I got the fabric and was prepared to sew it together I finally looked at few tutorials like this one from Cotton & Curls.

Once I saw all the tutorials were for circle skirts, which helps keep the bulk down around your waist, I quickly noticed I did not have near enough fabric.  In fact once I did the math I realized I had to run to the store and get 12 more yards of tulle.  I also realized I was not going to be able to overlay the chiffon and instead it would go under the layers of tulle.

I was going to have to sew my tulle together, since the length of skirt I had chosen did not lend itself to the easier cutting version.  I thought I would try out transparent thread, so that you wouldn’t be able to see that the tulle was sewn together.  After an hour of fighting with the transparent thread and only accomplishing one seam, I decided the stubborn thread wasn’t worth it, and just used ivory to match the tulle.  If you get up really close you can see the thread, but most people will never notice it.

Except I haven’t even begun to tell you about the hardest part of making the tulle skirt.  Cutting 15 yards of tulle.  A huge nightmare.  I mean huge nightmare.  All I can say is if you take on this type of a skirt, be prepared to pin the tulle together and have a very luge cutting surface to lay it all out on.  Or maybe find out exactly the yardage you need for each skirt layer.  I had a total of 6 layers for my skirt, 4 tulle, 1 chiffon, and 1 lining.  In my instance I needed 4 yards for each layer.  I should have had the fabric store cut my tulle pieces into 4 yard increments.  Then I could have just cut each layer out of that.  Instead I was trying to stack up multiple layers of tulle that were all attached together and not laying flat.  Like I said, a huge nightmare.  (If anyone else did the math, yes you would see in the end I had some funky layers underneath that were not exactly cut out of 4 yards.  Again do the math and find out how much you need before you order/buy the fabric).

Also find out the exact length you want before you cut out the fabric.  Because my cutting was going so horrible, I left everything long so I would hopefully not mess anything up.  In the end, I kept cutting and cutting, sewing and sewing to get all my hems in the correct location after I had attached the skirt to the waistband.  And the whole while, upset with myself for not cutting it out correctly the first time.

So what did we learn?

1.  Find a tutorial you want to follow and get everything measured out for your body size and skirt length, then figure out how much fabric you will need to accomplish this.

2.  Find out how to correctly use transparent thread on your sewing machine, or just skip it and use a matching color – no one will notice.

3.  Get your fabric cut into sizes that correctly correspond to each skirt layer.  Cut each layer individually and to the correct length.

4.  Assemble and sew your skirt according to your tutorial of choice.

5.  Go out and celebrate in your new party ready skirt!

Speaking of number 5 – what to pair with my new skirt with is my currently dilemma.  I ended up having quite a few choices to pull from.

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Somebody please help me decide!  I know the middle two choices in each row are out….but I really can’t decide between the rest.

And realize that in these shoes, I will also be sitting a lot of the night.  I have a huge love/hate relationship with high heels!

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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Getting Closer

I have my small office housed in our bedroom’s sitting room.  I have been slowly making it over and trying to make it more functional.  My office inspiration was this picture.

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Although to be honest, in my profession we have a lot of books and we use a lot of paper.  So my office will always look busier than this one, but the other month we got a little closer to my inspiration when we finally added a chandelier to the room.

I really like the beaded chandeliers, but they can be a little pricey.  I happened to have an extra chandelier laying around.  This one to be exact.

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We took it out of the dining room when we replaced it with our craigslist find during our dinning room remodel.  I was super excited to find out that I could twist the arms of the chandelier up, and once I covered it with a coat of Antique Bronze spray paint…it now looks like this.

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I still think I might be able to add some beading at some point, but for now it makes a huge improvement to the lighting in my little office.

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By the Way – that picture is actually pretty clean for my office to look.  I did mention I swim in paperwork!  I also apparently don’t believe in staging my photos, what you see is what you get.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Subtle Changes

Sometimes you do something and although you like the intention, you just are not crazy about the results.

That was my dilemma in my family room.  I had painted the backs of the bookcases a bright peacock blue.  I liked the blue, but it just seemed a little too bold. 

Let’s review the whole bookcase change.

When we first moved into the house everything was dark paneling.  We painted the walls and at that time I painted the backs of the bookcases white.

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It was still too dark, so I decided to paint all of the bookcases white.

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That ended up looking too boring for me, and I picked out the peacock blue shade to add a pop of color.

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As I mentioned, I liked the idea, but every time I looked at that blue….it just seemed like too much.  So one day on a whim, I took that bright blue leftover paint and I added a bunch of leftover gray paint to it.  I mixed it up until I came up with a little more subdued blue.

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In a picture you probably wouldn’t even guess I had repainted it.  But it definitely makes a difference for me, I think the new blue is 100 times better.

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What do you think?

Monday, January 13, 2014

Goals for 2014

Hello Everyone.

I took a short break from blogging to give myself a chance to relax after everyone went back to school.  I also took a break from sewing/crafting/home improvements in general.  It was nice not to have to think about what needed to be done next or what I needed to try in squeeze in any free time I had.

But in reality I do enjoy blogging and I definitely enjoy working on the projects, so they are not going away.

I haven’t done my New Year’s resolution post yet.  I have been thinking about it quite a bit.  In fact right as the year was ending our family did a lot of thinking about the direction we each wanted to take in life/work/home etc.  I think we have finally made some decisions.

2014 Goal – Stress less over things I can not control.

In general I want to stress less.  A while ago my husband and I took a look at all the things we juggle in life and tried to prioritize them.  I then took our two lists and melded them into one, so we could try and readjust our lives focusing on what was most important first.  To be honest we really didn’t change anything about our lives at that point.

Our most important goal was taking care of our kids and along those same lines each other.  Last year one of my resolutions was for us to go on more dates and spend more time together.  We actually did a fairly good job integrating that into our lives.  We definitely don’t have a weekly date night, but we did manage to get out together at least once or twice a month and we still took a few vacations minus the kids.

We need to continue to go on more dates and stay connected with each other.  We also need to take the time to put away all the things we feel we need to get done and spend our full attention on our children.  I find that so difficult to do.

The other big priority on our list was eating healthy and working out.  We are not consistent with this one at all.  I finally vowed that this would become a huge priority and focus for myself.  Last November I started working out in the morning if both kids were in school.  I put this “task” before starting my part time job and before blogging or doing any sort of projects.  I always stray a little when the kids are sick, or I am sick myself.  But I have actually begun to enjoy this time I take for myself.

Goal 2014 – to start cutting out the processed foods in our life.

I can admit we won’t be removing everything.  Our life is too busy and full of unpredictable moments, some quick and easy processed food will stick around.  But we plan to make big strides to have more fruits, vegetables, and home made meals from scratch.  This will take a lot more time on my part, so again some other things are going to have to take a back seat in order to accomplish this.

As far as the goals for blogging and projects.  I need to make a considered effort to focus on things that will actually get used or worn.

Goal 2014 – make the time I spend on projects worth it.

Here is the majority of my closet, minus dresses, dress slacks, anything in my dressers, jeans, etc.  Okay so now I am beginning to think I own way too much clothing.  Especially for the fact that I work from home and can wear what ever comfortable clothing I would like.

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Here are the majority of the items of clothing I have made or modified.

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What I learned by taking a look at all the things I have made and of those things what I actually wear is that….if it doesn’t pair with jeans or leggings, it won’t get much wear.  I have made quite a few pairs of skirts and they have not been worn at all.  I have made dressy items for going out, and well, we just don’t go out enough.

Also if I don’t take the time to make sure it fits correctly, I will not end up wearing it.  Another big mistake, trying to make something out of a fabric I don’t like just because I bought it (usually bought online and it’s not what I expected).  In the end I waste all my time, I didn’t like the fabric, I won’t like the garment made out of it!

Last year one of my goals was to not buy clothing.  Instead to modify what I already had or to make clothes out of scratch.  I did make/modify quite a few things.  But I bought things too.  I didn’t think I had bought that much until I hung it all together in my closet.  And to be honest there are a few things in my dressers I didn’t get out for the photo.

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Since I already mentioned I think I have too many things, and I need to focus on things that will definitely get worn, I will again be trying not to buy anything new this year.

As far as the things I make for my kids.  I have found that if it’s everyday comfy wear, the kids get a lot of use out of it.  There are a few things I have made them, that have sat in their closet unworn, just like my own.

Goal 2014 – take better pictures, go for quality blog posts.

This goal for me means, taking the time to make sure I get good pictures.  If I have to have less blog posts so that the ones I do publish look better, than that is what needs to happen.  I have great Ideas and then in the end, I cut most of it out because I just want to get the thing done and uploaded.  Or I settle for bad pictures, bad locations, bad lighting, just to have a picture to accompany the post.

I think that about wraps up my goals for the new year.