Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Craft-Along: Letters and Numbers

The theme for this month's craft-along is Letters and Numbers.

My project, a house number, didn't turn out quite right. The textured spray paint is more glitter than texture. The frame looks too large, and wind causes it to bang against the house.

Ah, well, such things happen! Not every project comes out right the first time. I might make some changes and try to salvage the project, or I might just start over. Either way, I'll have something to post in a few days.

If you're participating, look for my post on February 26 or 27 and add your link!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Working on the Workroom

My house has a small, rather awkward room which I refer to as my workroom. It holds my tools and craft supplies, and I use it for messy projects such as sanding or painting to keep the mess out of the main living space. Other than painting the walls, laying a sheet of cheap vinyl over the subfloor, and hanging a pegboard, I had not done much to the room. But recently I turned my attention to this long-neglected room, and its upgrades are now almost complete.

I repurposed some kitchen cabinets into storage for paints and supplies, and I sewed patchwork curtains.

I repainted the battered table and added another pegboard for my craft supplies.

Last weekend, I made the most dramatic change of all - replacing the flooring. The sheet of white vinyl had long passed its expiration date. I replaced it with Allure TrafficMaster vinyl plank flooring in a dark "Ironwood," the same as in my bathroom.

I also added a nifty little gadget to help address the lighting issue. The bedrooms in my house do not have overhead light fixtures. Instead, they each have a switch which controls one electrical outlet. The workroom didn’t even have this. (I assume it originally had a switch, but this was sacrificed when the previous homeowner took space from the room to create the laundry closet.) Lighting consisted of a couple of lamps plugged into a power strip. I had to walk across the dark room to flip the switch on the power strip to turn on the lamps.

But a new gadget has come to the rescue! I purchased a switch which plugs into an electrical outlet and is controlled by remote control.
from Amazon

I plugged a pair of hanging lamps into the switch, then used a small piece of hook-and-loop tape to put the remote control on the wall next to the door. Now I can push the button on the remote and turn on the lights right from the doorway. Hooray!
pair of hanging lamps
remote control just inside the doorway

Just two projects remain - installing baseboards and organizing the tools and supplies back into the closet - and the workroom will be done!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Craft Along with GIY: Letters and Numbers

It's February 1 and time for a new craft-along! During February, I will be working on a craft project for the monthly theme. Around February 26, I will post my completed project. You can share a link to your completed project on that post, or at any time during the month on this post. On February 28, I will compile the links on the Craft Along with GIY page.

To participate:
1.  Add the Craft Along with GIY icon to your post. Link the icon to this page:

2.  On either this theme announcement post or my completed project post, leave a comment with a link to your project. If you're not a blogger, you can link to your webpage, Instagram, or anywhere else readers can see it. (Please link directly to the project page.)

The theme for February is Letters and Numbers. You can interpret this broadly:
  • Embroider a monogram
  • Paint or decorate a wood initial
  • Create labels for boxes, drawers, etc.
  • Make jewelry with a name or initials
  • Draw or create art of an important date, such as a birthday or anniversary
  • Decoupage or decorate a notebook or journal
  • Sew an A-line skirt - I did say "broadly" ;) 

Or any other project that fits the theme. Creativity is encouraged!

I will be making a house number.

If you're finishing up a January Pets theme project, it's not too late to post it. Just add your link here.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Craft Along with GIY: Pets

The theme for the first Craft Along with GIY is Pets. For my project, I turned a pair of secondhand end tables into dog beds.

Both my small dogs love a cozy spot to snuggle into. The Chihuahua mix loves cozy little nooks so much, I named her Nook. :) When I saw how much she adores the enclosed bed I made from a repurposed kitchen cabinet (now known as Nook's nook), I wanted to make something similar to put in the living room. I also needed end tables in that room, so the clear solution was to find a couple of the cabinet-style end tables and make them dual purpose.

It's far less clear what to call the end result. It's not just a bed; it's enclosed. By shape, it's more like a dog crate or dog house, but a crate usually has a door that closes and a house is generally outside. From Nook's point of view, the whatever-it's-called has two important characteristics: it's soft and it's enclosed. Maybe I should call it a cozy box.

Anyway... Moving on to the project details!

I found the perfect cabinet-style end tables at a thrift store.

I began with a coat of primer. I used Zinsser latex primer which I'd had tinted grey. Straight from the can, this primer is quite thick and dries SUPER fast. I added a heavy dose of Floetrol, which makes the primer dry more slowly, providing more work time, and greatly reduces brush marks.

Next, a coat of paint. I used Behr latex paint in "Black" with Floetrol mixed in.

At this point, I could have just taken off the doors and considered the project complete. But I wanted the tables to have an opening on a long side, so I'd need to cut doorways. I thought picture frames would provide ready-made decorative trim. I found a pair of frames for $4 at a thrift store.

Using my chop saw, I cut the bottom off each frame.

I placed the three-sided frame on the side of the table and traced lines along the inside of the frame. These lines would guide me as I cut out the doorway.

These are the tools I used to make the doorways: a jigsaw, a drill with a spade bit, and an oscillating tool with a saw blade.

Before cutting, I placed masking tape along the lines. The tape helps prevent splintering or damage from the jigsaw.

Using the spade bit, I drilled a hole at each inside corner of the soon-to-be doorway. Then I put the jigsaw blade down into the holes and sawed along the masking tape to cut out the doorway.

I used the saw blade on the oscillating tool to finish each cut at the bottom and clean up around the corners.

With the doorway cut, the ugly brown inside of the table could now be seen. Rather than struggle with painting or papering inside the confines of the table, I decided to make a panel that I could simply slide into place. I measured the inside back wall of the table and then marked out those measurements onto a piece of foamboard.

I cut the foamboard to size.

I covered one side of the foamboard with adhesive shelf paper, folding the paper around to the back.

Then I simply opened the table door and slid in the panel. It was a snug fit and stayed in place by itself.

Next, I attached the frame around the doorway using construction adhesive. Then I gave everything a final coat of black paint.

To make a cushion, I cut a piece of foam to fit inside the table. Then I made a cover by cutting and stitching a standard pillowcase down to size.

In went the cushion and a piece of fleece. And both dogs went in immediately. :D

To share your Craft Along with GIY project, leave a comment with a link to your project.
(More details on how to participate here.)

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Craft Along with GIY: How to Participate


Hello, everyone! I am so looking forward to the first Craft Along with GIY post! :) The theme for January is Pets.

Here are the details on how to participate:
1.  Add the Craft Along with GIY icon to your blog post. Link the icon to this page:

2.  On my completed project post, leave a comment with a link to your project. If you're not a blogger, you can link to your webpage, Instagram, or anywhere else readers can see it. (Please link directly to the project, not to your home page.)

And here is the timeline:
Tomorrow, January 29, I will post my completed project. You can leave your comments and links on that post.

Late on January 31, I will compile the links on the new Craft Along with GIY page.

Now I'd better get busy finishing up my project. It's almost done!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Dressing Room on a Budget

The room I'm currently focusing on is my workroom (where I hung the patchwork curtains). I just have one project left to complete the room, and then it's on to the next - my walk-in closet. In a case of fortuitous timing, Arhaus contacted me to see if I wanted to write a post about what I'd have in my dream dressing room.

Though I certainly like to dream big on occasion, I can't help looking at things from a practical perspective. And with GIY’s emphasis on thrifty décor and DIY projects, it makes sense to post about creating a nice dressing room on a reasonable budget.

So what does one need for a nice dressing room/area? I think the basic requirements are storage, lighting, and a mirror.

If you include hairstyling as part of dressing, you may also need an electrical outlet for hair dryer and/or styling tools. Many people dry and style their hair in the bathroom; however, that’s not a good option for me because my bathroom is tiny, has no counter space, and has only one electrical outlet in a horribly inconvenient place. Trying to do my hair there would be a challenge. I set up a hair (and makeup) area in the spare bedroom instead.

Thus, I actually have two dressing rooms/areas: one for clothes and one for hair and makeup. Both areas have been/are being set up on a low budget.

For hair and makeup, a chest of drawers functions as both work surface and storage. I chose a chest of drawers because I’m tall, and the height is more convenient than a dresser or table. The chest was a secondhand find that I painted.

I use a large glass cutting board to protect the top of the chest. It withstands the heat from my curling and straightening irons.

My hair accessories fit nicely into the drawers, organized into some inexpensive bins/drawer dividers I found at Jo-Ann and Big Lots.

The mirror was purchased for 90% off because it was damaged - the bottom fleur-de-lis was slightly bent. But it's made of metal, so all I had to do was bend it back. So I got a perfectly good, new $60 mirror for $6. :) I planned to paint it black (of course), but I found that I liked the bronze color when it was paired with the wallpaper and faux tin ceiling in the room.

Light is provided by two tall lamps on either side of the chest of drawers. Though they function well, they are rather plain. I want to replace them with nicer, more decorative lamps. I've picked out a few candidates (shown below). I like the one on the left, but I'm not sure if the 3-light style would work well. I'll probably go with the one in the middle; it's a dark bronze finish that matches the mirror.

For clothes, I am fortunate to have a walk-in closet that is large enough to function as a dressing room. (Mirror is covered to avoid flash reflection.) It's a bit incongruous in my small house but was certainly a selling point for me!

It has two long bars which provide plenty of space for hanging clothes. Good thing, too, because my sewing habit hobby has generated many space-hogging fluffy skirts. ;)

I added an IKEA chest of drawers for tights, leggings, and the like. It's one of the few items I purchased at retail, but of course, IKEA is very reasonably priced. It provides three enormous drawers while still being short enough to sit under the hanging clothes. It’s plain white; I think I will add some decals as I did with my bathroom vanity.

For shoes and boots, I have stacking shelves. I got the brown one (which coincidentally matches the flooring) as a leftover after an office move. I got the white ones free as well – they were being placed on the curb by a neighbor as I happened to walk by. "Hi, neighbor! Do you mind if I take your trash home with me?" :D (They're pristine and really should have been donated, not thrown out... but as I'm a frequent thrift shopper, I might have ended up with them either way.)

For storing and organizing smaller items such as fabric refresher and lint roller, I use baskets from the dollar store. I also have an awesome coffin-shaped box that a coworker gave me. His children had received it at Halloween; after they ate the cookies/goodies, he brought me the box. :D

The standing mirror is from a thrift shop. It fits perfectly at the end of the closet, but it needs some GIYing. I’ll at least paint the frame black.

Light is provided by the least glamorous light fixture one could have – a socket with a bare bulb. The plastic shade which clips directly on the bulb reduces the glare but does little to improve the aesthetic.

I will definitely be replacing the light fixture. I’d love a black crystal chandelier to match the one in my bedroom, but it would hang down too low. I’ll need to get a semi-flushmount fixture instead. I haven't seen many at thrift stores, so I'll likely have to wade through the enormous variety of retail options (some shown below). I like the drum shade on the top left, but the fabric is beige, which would make the light too warm for my taste. The fixture on the top right is what I have in my dining room.

The finish up the décor in the closet, I want to replace the plain black rug with a patterned rug. A few years ago, I struggled to find an oriental type rug that wasn't beige. But gray is now in style, and I was happy to find several options in black and gray. :D

I appreciate Arhaus providing the inspiration to write about this topic. It gave me a good reason to try some project planning “out loud” instead of planning everything in my head and then later posting the final result.

Are you interested in mood board/idea type posts where I write about what I'm considering and show what I might do (and welcome feedback, as always)? Or do you prefer to simply see the completed project?