Browsing Category: Projects

Introducing “The Mother”

Howdy Everyone!

Today I’m doing some work on a little doozy of a project that I’ve christened The Mother… why The Mother, you ask?!  Well, because (for me) she’s the mother of all projects!  And when she’s frustrated me, I’ll say something like “Mother!!”  It’s very PG around here so that’s as far as it goes, but you get the idea…Sometimes The Mother can be quite a mother.

I have been thinking about adding in shelves and storage to my dining area for quite some time.  Since I’ve had to give up my space to these kiddos, there is just nowhere to keep my fabric, sewing machine, you know, my grandma stuff anymore.  And it would be awfully nice to be able to display my growing collection of antique blue and white Chinese pottery.

Anytime you’re going to embark on a project like this you know there are several ways to go about it. 1. Hire someone; I did meet with 2 incredibly talented carpenters who would make my storage dreams come true for about 10 grand.  2. Buy pre-made cabinets and have the shelves made or go to a cabinet store; Also, investigated this and I would get close to what I was envisioning for about 4k (not bad at all) or 3. Do it myself, slowly over time, with unfinished cabinets to get exactly what I want; Super labor intensive but I could test out my chops.

Weight the pros and cons carefully, Folks!  This is your home and you don’t want a mess of a project.  DIY is cool, but you never want it to look DIY.  Am I right?!?!

My solution came to me on a trip to the ReStore Habitat for Humanity store.  I saw it.  A heap of cabinets and shelves.  The guys just wanted it out of there, so for $300 and a 16ft UHaul it was all mine.

I didn’t even know what I was buying, but it appeared to be in great shape, 100% wood (no veneer here!), and I liked the molding/trim detail.  Plus it came with a bunch of shelves, which is what I was looking for and I figure (I’m still planning it out) that I can make it work.

My garage today-

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A view from the top so you can see it’s about 6 feet deep!
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Mother! That’s a LOT of cabinets.

 

Close up of door/drawer detail
Close up of door/drawer detail
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My inventory after measuring and inspecting my loot, with a bit of my son’s artwork at the bottom. 12 large pieces in all with a TON of trim, moulding and cabinet tops.

Where can you score something like this??  You’ll need luck, yes, but the ReStore is the place to go.  They get cabinets all the time.  Nothing near you?  Then I would put an add on Craigslist – people love to sell stuff they’re planning on dumping anyway.

So, there you have it.  The mother of all projects that will be my time zapper for the next few months.  I will keep you updated in real time with my progress so that you can be there with me through all the fun steps.  It’s so weird to me when I read a blog and in one day an entire room is completed – Hello!!  We all know it took like a gabillion years to get it done.

That’s the plan, at least.  Cut up some cabinets, patch some holes, use a chemical stripper, sand for weeks, prime, paint, configure, trim it out and put the bling on.  Easy, right?!?

In the meantime…. here’s some inspiration for your shelves out there and kinda what I have in mind.  Ta-Ta!!

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What’s under my hood? And a neat gift idea.

It’s the humpty hump day!  I meant Wednesday, you sickos!!

I’m sure you’re all dying to know what I’m cookin with over here?  What’s under my hood?  Or, in plain ol’ terms, what kind of sewing machine I’ve got?  Well, I upgraded a few months ago to the Brother SE4oo, which is a combo sewing and embroidery machine.

For any of you that have ventured into the world of embroidery, you know those machines are not cheap.  In fact, Damn, Gina!  They are ex-pen-sive!!  I’m talking 2k at the lower end.  Did your jaw just drop?!?

That’s why I ended up with this machine.  It does embroidery on a 4×4 hoop (that’s pretty small) but, it does a pretty good job for a machine that’s in the 300 range.  (Love that movie, btw – We are Sparta!!)

As a father’s day gift for my uncle that literally has everything, I decided I would embroider some stuff.  I figured dish towels are always a necessity.  Snagged these at TJ Maxx for under 10.

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I knew I wanted to do an M monogram, so I marked off the middle with pencil.

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Are you freaking out because I used pencil?!  I only did that because I knew I was going to wash the towels after to remove the stabilizer.  Which brings me to a super duper key part – the stabilizer.  It’s a must.  But who wants some cardboard chunk on the back of their towel?  No one, that’s who.  So get this stuff… it dissolves in water and is very fancy.

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I actually bought this on Overstock.com when I had a coupon and needed to spend a few more bucks to redeem it – so free for me!

Then I carefully sandwiched the fabric in the hoop and made sure the needle lined up with my markings so everything was straight.  (Sounds easy, but take your time on this.)  I used some basic settings… two frames and a letter.  Cute, I think.

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So, is my machine top-o-the-line.  No, not really.  But she does get the job done and since I’ve only embroidered a few things, I’m happy I didn’t shell out the 2k… although, one day, I just might.  Buaaahhhhaaahhhaaa!

PS Look at me Mom, no pencil marks =)

Finished the Couch – or did I?!

TGIM.  Sometimes I’m relieved it’s Monday so I can go into the office and just have a few hours of uninterrupted quiet time…not that it’s quiet in the office, but just for that time, I’m focused.  At home, even when I’m being productive, I’m thinking about the other 10 things I could be doing and the kiddos are adding their own list of Mommy-to-do’s.  You know what I’m talking about, right?!  So after the Father’s Day festivities, yeah, TGIM.

But on with the show!  Here is my couch, sans covers…

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12 cushions and 1 ottoman… doesn’t seem so daunting, until you’re on #5 and there’s still a long way to go.  But totally doable in 10-20 minute increments (which is what I did since if I even touched the sofa, the boys would immediately start doing gymnastic karate moves on it).

From this far back, the cushions look like they’re in fairly good shape… why even cover them?  To you and I, couch means “a place to sit on,” but to the munchkins it’s “where I wipe my hands and boogers, where I set my mashed up banana, where it’s best to test the reliability of a sippy cup.”  For the record they’re not all that reliable.

Please don’t judge me too much (deep breath) but here’s why covers were VERY needed…

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And cleaning ain’t cheap – $350 a go ’round.  I went to downtown LA and ended up buying 10 yards of $2 dollar fabric.  I made the ottoman cover and then lived with it for about 2 weeks.  Washed it, man handled it, changed diapers on it – really tested ‘er out.  That discount fabric held up, so I went back and NOOOOO!!, they only had 20 more yards.  I figured that I would just mix some fabrics; Shouldn’t be too hard to find something fun, right?  I also got 10 yards of flexible vinyl that I put under the fabric to protect the cushions from spills.

My inspiration is something like this… I love, love the way the designer mixed the fabric colors and textures.  Of course, this sofa is cute and small and mine is huge, but it’s inspiration.

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My problem always has been, where to stop.  When I’m buying fabric I always gravitate toward crazy colors and patterns – they’re just so much more fun to buy and sew!!  But for the couch I tried to urge my inner self to go neutral – I tried!

Step one – The actual cushions

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Step 2 – The OutersDSCN1320

Step 3 – Pillows for Sure and A Revamp??

I’m not entirely happy with how the covers are looking.  Ironing and pinning might be the play (but ironing makes me angry), and then the red fabric… well, I’m not sold on it.  Ed says it’s too Morroccan…and he’s not wrong.  Maybe just take off the outers?  Any thoughts Amigos?

I won’t bore you with all the how-to’s but basically I cut the fabric to size + 0.5″ for the seam and pinned it in place to fully match the shape of the cushions and frame.  That way I would be sure the cover would be fitted (since some of the cushions are worn more in one area than another).  I numbered them on the back to keep track of which goes where.  I also added super long zippers, ’cause who wants to tug and pull these puppies on?  Not I!!  I know I’ll be washing them weekly, so the easier the better.  (PS  These have already been washed about 3 times.)  Got the zippers on Amazon for cheapo and they work great!  All said and done, I ended up using about 40 yards of fabric.  Wowee.

There you have it!  The fruits of my labors, I’m talking about the cushions although those boys qualify too!  Didn’t I say they could resist this darn couch?!?!

Hope you get some rest from your weekend today =)