Tag: diy

DIY Clutch from a Placemat

diy clutch from a placemat

I’ve been wanting to make a diaper clutch for a while. I have one that is a diaper clutch + changing mat all in one, but it’s kind of bulky. I just wanted something a little more compact that I could throw in my purse. This clutch is perfect. It’s cute enough to use as a little purse on its own too. I can just slip my wallet inside and carry it along with a diaper and a pack of wipes when I’m out with the baby.

I got this awesome idea from Nalles House. She takes a placemat, folds it, and sews up the fold to create a 5-minute clutch, perfect for toting diapers and other stuff. I decided to make mine a little shorter, and to add a strap, so it ends up taking a little bit longer, but it’s still pretty simple.

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I grabbed a blue and green ikat placemat from Target. It was nice and stiff, and I love the pattern for a clutch. Here’s the how-to!

I wanted my clutch to be a little shorter so it would hold diapers/wipes more snugly. So, cut off about an inch on each side (lengthwise).

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Use one of the extra strips to make a strap for the clutch. Cut off both ends; then fold the raw edges under and iron them, like so:

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Fold the strip closed so that the folded edges are flush. Then top-stitch with the sewing machine:

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With the layers of interfacing that are already sewn into the placemat, you now have yourself a nice sturdy strap:

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Now you need to close up both sides of your placemat proper (since we cut off the sides). Turn it inside out so the wrong sides are out:

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Sew along each side (leaving about 1/4 inch seam allowance). Remember to leave about a 3-inch gap at one corner so that you can turn the placemat back right-side-out!

right side out placemat

Turn the placemat right-side-out and iron it flat. Tuck the raw edges of the gap under and iron them flat so they lie flush with the sewn edge.

Decide how deep you want your pocket to be and fold your placemat accordingly.

IMPORTANT! Make sure the 3-inch gap is in the front corner of your clutch (see picture below):

folded clutch

The placement of your gap is important because that is where we will insert the strap. The ends of the strap will sit inside the top layer of the placemat, so the raw ends can’t be seen on the inside of the clutch.

Sew from the top corner, down across the gap, the straps, and the rest of the edge of the clutch. You’re sewing through multiple layers, and your machine may not like this. I recommend going very slowly, and you may need to manually turn the wheel of the machine to make the needle go through smoothly. Backstitch across the straps for added security, then continue sewing down the rest of that edge. Backstitch and trim your ends.

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Now start at the opposite diagonal corner (beginning at the fold), and stitch along the remaining open edge. Continue topstitching all around the rest of the top flap, ending at the place where you stitched in the strap. Backstitch and trim off your thread.

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Note: While you’re sewing you may want to backstitch along any areas where there will be tension.

Now, you’re pretty much done! You should have something that looks like this!

(I hand-stitched in a hook-and-loop closure. I didn’t want to sew right through the fabric so I just used a whip-stitch to sew it into place. Please, please, please don’t make fun of my hand-sewing. It’s a good thing my marital prospects…and future…don’t depend on my sewing skills…)

diy diaper clutch

Voila!

diy clutch from placemat

You could, of course, have made this from your own fabric instead of from a placemat. However, I liked how the placemat was already the right size, and came with all the interfacing and lining fabric so I didn’t have to buy those and cut them to size. My sewing skills are pretty much limited to sewing a (more or less) straight line, so this was a quick and easy project for me!

Hand-wash your clutch and DO NOT tumble dry! I find that these placemats shrink abominably and get all wrinkly when you machine dry them!

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This makes a perfectly sized diaper clutch, but you could also use it as a mini purse, or to store toiletries or other little things in! Do you like?

 

DIY Gilded Picture Frame

diy gilded picture frame

Thrift stores are a great place to pick up picture frames. Even if they’re a bit beat-up, they can often be restored or re-invented with just a bit of paint. I found this wooden frame last year and it has been sitting around for a while:

thrift store frame

I wasn’t a huge fan of the generic print, but the frame was wood and was a nice shape, and the matting was also in decent shape. So I decided to reinvent it with a bit of paint.

painting a picture frame

I picked up a jar of Martha Stewart Metallic Paint in Vintage Gold at Home Depot. It was only $6 and it’s a pretty big jar (10 oz) so I should be able to use it for lots of projects. The description says it is an “all-purpose finish for walls, furniture, and accent pieces”, so I thought it would hold up better than a simple craft paint.

I didn’t bother to sand, just wiped the frame down and painted the gold paint on with a sponge brush. I decided to leave part of the frame bare just for a fun twist. After I let the first coat dry (about an hour), I brushed on a second coat, which seemed to give it the coverage it needed.

diy gilded picture frame

(Sorry about the lack of process pics. I got caught up in it and forgot.)

I didn’t have any art that I felt would fit the style of the frame, so I just made my own art using some colored Sharpie markers on watercolor paper and added a few gold accents.

Modern gilded picture frame diy

Right now, my little DIY gilded picture frame is hanging out on a little chest of drawers that is tucked under the spiral staircase in the family room. It was kind of a dead space so I thought I’d fill it up with something useful.

Have you updated an old picture frame lately?

Sharing over at Thrifty Decor Chick!

DIY Behind-the-Sofa Table

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Chris’ latest woodworking project is done and is now adding a ton more warmth and charm into our living room!

This one was a fast one, thank goodness. No more 4-month-long projects like the family room reno please, at least for a while. This DIY console table (or sofa table, or what have you…) only took Chris a few weeknights to knock out. I think it looks great AND adds a ton of function.

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Chris and I were browsing around at West Elm a while ago and noticed all of the “rustic” furniture that is sooooo trendy right now. You know, the recycled “pallet” furniture look. Chris remarked that he thought building some of those rustic-looking furniture pieces wouldn’t be difficult, so I challenged him to do it!

We actually had a goodly amount of “reclaimed” wood (a.k.a. scrap wood taken out of the house during renovations) and an L-shaped sofa table seemed like just the right project for it. We had been wanting something behind the L-shaped sofa in the living for a while. The sofa was looking kind of tiny all smooshed in the corner of the room and we wanted something to help float it out off the walls.

Before:

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Now:

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The reclaimed wood is all battered and scraped, which is definitely in keeping with this trendy industrial-rustic look.

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Structurally, it’s an incredibly simple piece. We knew it would mostly be hidden behind the sofa so we didn’t bother to finish off the inner sides:

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Here’s what the legs look like in case that helps. The legs were just scrap 2×4’s screwed together and the top/exposed sides are three 1×4’s screwed side by side. The 1×4’s were pretty old and brittle so we had a bit of splitting but nothing too bad.

diy console table

Then we gave it a light sanding with coarse-grit sandpaper just to remove any splinters. It’s definitely pretty bare-bones on the interior.

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But the parts that show look great! The L-shape makes it so unique and perfect for our space.

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You can’t really see it until you get close. But it’s a great place to set a drink and warms up those cool gray walls a TON.

I’m still figuring out how to decorate it. The budget is pretty tight around here so I’m not really looking to buy a ton of new accessories, so I’ll be rummaging through what I have in the house. I did add some of my DIY napkin pillows for a nice pop of color.

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IMPORTANT UPDATE! We have now created plans that will will help you to build this project. Better angles, more info, and measurements! Go take a look at the plans for the DIY sofa table!

Sofa Table

I can’t decide whether we should have built it out longer so it reaches the other side of the window. What do you think? Is this a project you would tackle?

If you like this project, check out our DIY Dining Table too!

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Sharing over at Not Just a HousewifeThe Shabby Nest, SavvySouthernStyle!

 

How to Stretch An Oil Painting

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We’ve got a nice splash of color on one side of the couch with this gorgeous oil painting we brought home from our trip to Hong Kong.

Guess how much we paid for it? I won’t give it away (those vendors need to make a profit) but I will say that it was less than $100. Yes, you have to bargain. But if you’re ever in Hong Kong and stop by Ladies’ Market or the Stanley Market you’ll find hundreds of beautiful oil paintings. Often they are copies done by art students so the skill level will vary, but shop around and you might find something awesome.

We brought it home rolled up in a tube and when I got a quote to have the oil painting professionally stretched and framed, it came to a couple hundred buckeroonies. I wasn’t about to plunk down that much cash when the painting didn’t even cost that much to begin with, so I got good ol’ hubby to help me stretch and wrap it ourselves.

You can buy frames but we decided to make our own out of leftover 1x boards.

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The first step is to measure the dimensions of your painting to determine how big your frame will be. Remember to minus the thickness of the wood on each side to account for the edges of the painting that wrap around the frame. Because our painting is quite large, we added braces to the corners.

Professional frames are beveled in on the inner edge of the frame to prevent the shadow of the frame from showing through the painting. We didn’t worry about this.

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Once your frame is done, you’re ready to start stretching.

Lay your canvas painting-side-down on a piece of cardboard or drop cloth, and lay your frame over it.

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Using a staple gun, put a staple in one long side (making sure the painting is aligned) and stretching the canvas gently, put a staple on the opposing side of the frame. Repeat with short sides.

Remember, the canvas was already stretched once before, so don’t pull too hard! Be gentle.

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While stretching the canvas gently (just like upholstering a headboard), add staples to each side, moving outward toward the corners. It’s important that you move from the center of each side toward the outer corners to smooth out any ripples. Keep rotating sides to make sure the tension is even.

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The corners can be a little tricky. Create a little gusset, just like when you’re wrapping a gift.

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Fold over one side and staple down.

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Then fold the other side down as tight as you can and staple. Do that for all 4 corners.

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Check out that gorgeous edge.

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Voila! You’ve just gallery wrapped your own oil painting!

For now, this baby is sitting on an antique table (story of that later) next to the couch. We’re planning to hang it on the wall above the table with a couple of other pieces of art. When we get around to it. You know how it is =).

Guest Room Progress

Even though the guest room is, like most of the rooms in our casa, still a work in progress, it’s fun to see how far it has come since the day we got the keys.

The room is just a 10×9 foot box, and it seemed even smaller because of the unfinished pine wainscoting that lined the room.

The wainscoting was pretty old, and it had several pieces of trim and molding missing.  It also had a lot of paint and plaster splotches that had absorbed into the unfinished wood.  After briefly considering either a) removing the wainscoting all together and replastering the walls or b) staining the wood a darker color, we decided it would be easiest to simply paint all of the wood semi-gloss white.

I know some people think it’s a crime to paint wood, but c’mon.  These pine boards were in pretty bad shape, and it would have been next to impossible to find matching pine to replace the missing pieces of trim (the pine was at least 20 years old and had aged to a different color than new wood).  The splashes of paint and plaster would have been awful to scrub/sand off.  And under the window, an entire row of boards needed to be replaced in order to bring the wainscoting up to the level of the windowframe:

Painting all of the wainscoting white made it so much easier to cut new boards to frame the window, router new pieces of trim, and open up the small space so it looked a LOT more spacious.  Here’s the after:

The top part of the window was replastered, and new boards were cut for the bottom.  Chris and his dad routered new trim for the windowframe, and new trim to finish off other parts of the room, using leftover pieces of pine that had been salvaged from other parts of the house.  The plastered walls got a new coat of creamy paint.

We moved our bed and our cheap RAST chests from IKEA (refinished in IKEA red stain) into the room, and are sleeping in this room for the time being until the master bedroom is done.  But do you see how the white wainscoting looks fresher, cleaner, and more Anne-of-Green-Gables-y?

The bohemian tab curtains were sewed by me from discount fabric I bought over a year ago at $1 a yard — they’re the first curtains I’ve ever made and I’m pretty impressed that they look decent.  Although next time, I might not bother with tabs but buy clip-on curtain rings instead.

We took the old folding doors off the closet and repainted them, but we haven’t reattached them yet.  The inside of the closet was lined with unfinished pine boards too, that had collected a LOT of dust and dirt over the years.  We cleaned and painted the closet walls white to make the closet feel fresh and clean, but stained the boards on the floor with Minwax Special Walnut and finished them off with a coat of polyurethane.  The closet floor doesn’t match the oak laminate we put in the room, but it actually looks really good in person.  In fact, this closet may be one of my favorite parts of the house right now.

Having the dirty laundry basket in the corner of the closet has been AWESOME!  Chris actually puts his dirty laundry into it now!  Who knew all it took was strategic hamper placement?

There are still a few pieces of trim missing and we need to get some T-pieces to fill in the gaps between the different kinds of flooring, but this room is definitely livable now.

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