Category: DIY

My First Strip Quilt!

I must be a sucker for punishment or something. We’re immersed in a gut bathroom reno, and our next child is due in less than 2 months which we have made NO preparations for, and somehow I decided I was going to attempt my very first quilt for my 2-year-old daughter. Luckily it turned out all right…

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I might even go so far as to say, it turned out much better than my expectations. (By the way, please don’t pay any attention to my very dusty floor. I’d like to blame my daughter’s chalkboard, which is right outside of the frame, but really, I’ve just been lax on vacuuming that corner.)

I spent a lot of time on Pinterest looking at simple quilts and decided that simple straight strips of fabric would be the easiest, quickest, and most forgiving for my less-than-stellar sewing skills. (To be precise, I literally have to look up how to wind a bobbin every time I use the sewing machine.)

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All of the fabrics are scraps/remnants that I’ve picked up over the last couple years at Joanns. I always check their remnant pile for cute fabrics, which are always 50% off, and turned out just perfect for this project. The quilt back is an old fitted sheet that no longer fits any of the beds we own now.

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I made this quilt approx 40″ by 55″ so that even when Brownie outgrows it she’ll still be able to use it as a throw blanket to snuggle with. I bound it with store-bought bias tape, because after putting together the quilt top I was in no mood to cut and make my own bias tape (although it might have been cuter). The store-bought stuff is great! The filling is polyester, because I already had a piece of polyester batting in my stash, though next time (if there IS a next time) I’ll try cotton.

I quilted it “in the ditch” aka along the seams. Straight line quilting seemed the easiest to handle for me.

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There are far better tutorials than I could provide out on the Net (by people who actually know how to use their sewing machines), so I’ll just link to a few of them here.

How to sew a strip quilt top

How to baste and quilt your strip quilt

How to bind your finished quilt

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I feel that after sewing this quilt I have a much better idea of how to work my sewing machine. Next time I might attempt…dum dum dum…square blocks!

What do you think? Is quilting something you would attempt? Do you get intimidated by sewing in a straight line like I do?

Sharing at Thrifty Decor Chick, Tiny Sidekick, Remodelaholic!

Dollhouse Time (Part 1)!

Sorry for the months-long radio silence, folks! I’m expecting my second baby and the morning sickness hit early and lasted for a long time. Then, I was just tired and unmotivated to do any new projects. Finally, in the 2nd trimester, I’m feeling back to my old self (albeit a bit less limber) and back to tackling new projects!

Baby Brownie isn’t a baby anymore! She’s a beautiful 2.5-year old who talks a mile a minute and whose mind is filled with creative and original thoughts! This is such a great time, guys. She is always pretending to mix up Jello in her play kitchen, or talking to her stuffed animals, or dancing to her own singing. Imagination is starting to be a big part of her play, and to help her along, her loving parents decided to make her a dollhouse.

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After many weeks of Pinning, I decided to model our dollhouse after the one at Young House Love. I liked how simple and unfussy it was but still so cute. We did change the dimensions somewhat — our dollhouse is 10 inches deep instead of 8, and the pitch of the roof is steeper. We also tried to keep it to a 1:12 scale so the ceilings are a standard 8 feet (I mean 8 inches), so it wouldn’t get too ginormous.

I thought it would take longer to get Chris on board with the plan, but the idea catalyzed last Saturday when we saw some cute wooden dollhouses at a local toy store. Then later that same day, we were at Home Depot and saw these 4 foot long, 1×10″ boards for sale for $1.50 each! That’s right! The wood for this whole dollhouse cost $4.50!

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Then it was just a matter of measuring, cutting, gluing, and nailing. An easy peasy project for my handyman =p.

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We added doorways just for fun.

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I briefly debated leaving it pine, because it was really a lovely color, but thought better of it. The bare wood will get stained, discolored, and darken over time. Better to paint it all white.

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That’s where it is right now. We are going to add a back wall so the furniture has something to sit against (and um…wallpaper!), and I’m going to paint the roof and exterior.

Chris says really, the dollhouse is for me. It’s true that at this point I’m more excited about it than Brownie is…

DIY Covered Sandbox

This will be more of a “look what we did” post rather than a how-to. I just dug up these pictures from several weeks ago and sorta went, “oh yeah, we did that too!”. But if you’re thinking of making a sandbox for your child, maybe this will give you some ideas.

DIY Covered Sandbox

(Since Baby Brownie isn’t really a baby anymore, I’m just going to call her Brownie from now on.)

So, Brownie likes dirt (doesn’t your 2-year-old too?). And our yard has a lot of it. We’ve been in the midst of installing irrigation and other landscaping projects for a while, so there are literally big piles of dirt all over the yard. So to indulge her love for playing in the dirt, while at the same time keeping her clothes a LITTLE cleaner, we decided to build her a sandbox.

I’ve heard horror stories about sandboxes and cat poop though, so it had to be a covered one!

(Please ignore the neon green pool. We had a little algae overgrowth that we took care of right after we took this pic!)

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We started by digging up the area we were going to make the sandbox in. There used to be a fence here with a cinder-block footing, so we were able to use some of the concrete footing as 2 of the walls of the sandbox. For the other two walls, Chris put in some 4×4 footings in the corners and nailed on a couple of 2×6 redwood planks. Then, he used redwood fence pickets and cut them down to size to make the edge framing and the lid. He lined the hole with a weed-resistant barrier before filling it with playground sand.

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As you can see, the lid is super simple — just a row of fence pickets held together by a couple of stringers. We sanded down the redwood (which is quite splintery) quite a bit and then sealed it with our homemade Danish oil mixture (1:1:1 Oil-based poly, mineral spirits, and boiled linseed oil).

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The below pictures were taken about a month later, so you can see the red color of the wood has faded quite a bit.

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When the lid is open, we secure it to the metal fence behind it using this little loop, to prevent Brownie from pulling it down on herself.

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When it’s closed it’s just a little pad that looks like a mini-deck. I threw some mulch around it but I’m working on some ideas to pretty-up the dirt all around it. Probably some plants on the right side, and maybe some stepping stones in front.

I’m not gonna lie…Brownie still likes to play in the piles of dirt. Maybe a little less now?

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DIY Striped Upholstered Headboard

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Yay! I’m excited to be typing out this post today. I have been thinking about and dreaming about making this headboard for months, but it kept getting put on the backburner until finally we made it happen last week!

Check out the before…

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And after!

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The fresh gray stripes make the bed look more sophisticated and elegant but still fun (which is very important). I had to take off the floral print pillow shams though, as they were competing a little too much visually with the stripes. It was just a little too much to take in! So I’m planning to switch out the bedding for neutral colored bedding, but maybe with a little more texture to contrast with the stripes.

And the headboard was actually pretty easy to do. I love that this really trendy look is so easy to DIY, making it approachable for most of us.

First you cut a sheet of plywood the size of your headboard. We wanted a thicker, more substantial headboard, so we framed the back of the plywood out with 2×3’s.

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Then we cut out our foam to fit (not pictured) and secured it with hot glue. We actually cannibalized an old foam mattress for our foam. However, because the foam was thicker (about 1.75″), it was quite heavy and didn’t stick to the plywood that well. We didn’t want to use spray adhesive because it is quite high in VOCs, and we didn’t want to be breathing it in. We later solved the problem of the slightly loose foam by doing some simple button tufting.

After sticking the foam on, we wrapped the whole thing with polyester batting and then the fabric.

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I used 3 yards of Premier Prints Canopy Stripe Twill Storm. I wanted a vertical stripe though, instead of horizontal, so I cut the fabric in half and sewed it together right in the middle with a seam along one of the stripes. You can’t even tell it’s there =).

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We used a staple gun (and when our staple gun gave out, a hammer stapler), and tapped in any loose staples with a hammer.

This is how I folded the corners:

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I wrapped the extra folded fabric on the inside first and stapled that down…

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Then I folded the fabric right along the corner for a nice square corner.

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At this point we added some simple button tufting using a button kit from Joanns, an upholstery needle, and waxed button thread (or upholstery thread). I didn’t take pictures of this step but here’s a great tutorial. We put in just 10 buttons, and they worked great for keeping the foam tight and secure. The extra tightness also helped smooth out some of the wrinkles that I couldn’t iron out.

I’m really happy with the finished product! It makes me feel like I’m waking up in a hotel every day.

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I also feel like it is true to my personal style, which also makes me happy. It’s fresh, contemporary, and unfussy, but still elegant… Or at least I like to think so, ha!

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As for how it’s attached, it is hung on the wall with brackets but is also sitting on the bed frame behind the mattress.

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For some reason, the stripes remind me of Montreal. Kind of French-Canadian chic…=)!

Now for the bedding… I’m thinking of just going with a neutral taupe. I realize I love color way too much…and it’s best for me to add it in small doses with accessories rather than the big pieces. I think a taupe duvet cover will be a nice canvas for printed pillows, throws, etc… What do you think?

Sharing at MissMustardSeed, TatertotsandJelloRemodelaholic, SavvySouthernStyle, TheBlissfulBee!

Spraypainted Navy Lamps

This week has been kind of exciting. Lots of thinking, researching, and discussing my professional future. Nothing has been decided for sure yet, but I’m starting to be ready for a new challenge and I’m getting pretty excited thinking about it.

Anyway, there was a little more progress on the bedroom makeover.

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I DIY-ed a couple of glossy navy blue lamps to bring a little more navy to this space. As you may recall, it looked like this after I added some Greek Key trim to the curtains:

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The current bedside lamps were a little small in scale and were getting a bit lost next to our king-size bed and generously-sized nightstands.

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So I decided to make over a couple of trophy lamps that I had picked up from the Habitat Restore a while back. They were $5 each, new, and I’m pretty sure they were overstocked from Walmart.

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There was nothing wrong with the oil-rubbed bronze finish but I wanted something less traditional and more fun in our bedroom.

I taped off the light sockets and cords and gave the lamps several light coats of navy blue spray paint.

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Then I let the lamps cure in the garage for 2 weeks to ensure that the major part of the off-gassing occurred before we brought the lamps into our room.

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I am really really happy with how they turned out. I think this is one of my favorite spray paint projects to date. It helps that I’m getting better at spraying lightly and evenly and I’ve learned not to spray paint on a windy day =).

The glossy navy finish actually makes these cheap lamps look way more expensive.

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The lampshades are just $10 shades from IKEA but I’m thinking of adding some ribbon trim to the edges.

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The new lamps are more appropriate in scale to the room (please ignore the crooked duvet!).

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before after lamp

From run-of-the-mill to glossy and glam =). What do you think?

Sharing at Tinysidekick, TheBlissfulBee!

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