Archive for the ‘In the Sewing Room’ Category

Happy Friday!  I am so thankful for the weekend!

I haven’t showed off the last few things I did in little A’s room.  I didn’t get a chance to finish it all before he made his grand entrance, and since then, blog time has not exactly been plentiful.  For very good, wonderful reasons!

This is the wall above his crib.  You can read how I did the letters here.

The walls I covered in fabric since we aren’t supposed to paint. You can read about that process here.

And then there is the crib.  Here I showed you how I touched up some scratches on it.

We were storing a bookshelf for a friend, and at the last minute they decided they didn’t want it any more.  So, even though there isn’t a lot of room for it, it had to live somewhere. I decided to use it as a place to display pictures, store books, and toys, etc.  At the top I have some figurines.

Don’t you love how we stuck to a specific theme?  Ha!  The room is sort of half Toy Story, half Super-Heroes, with just a splash off StarWars thrown in here and there.  Definitely all BOY!  And I love it!

At the bottom of the bookcase are some cloth bins to use as toy storage.  I found the bins at the dollar store, belive it or not!

They are definitely not the highest quality, but they work just fine, and they were the prefect size!

I made the curtains and valance.  I showed you how that came about here and here.

Sorry for the bad picture…


These are the walls above the changing table and the rocker.

I used wall decals (from Target) and frames (from Family Dollar) to put together the Toy Story frames.  I removed the backing to the frames as well as the glass, and then spray painted the frames navy blue.  (The cheap, Walmart brand spray paint) Then I stuck the decals onto the glass and that was that!

Aaaand, here is the lovely changing table. Thrilling, I know.  But, I wanted to show the baskets I found – perfect fit and great for the diapers and all that extra stuff .

Also, that white pad on top of the table is actually supposed to go in the crib to keep the sheets from getting all drooly, but I use it on here.  So much easier to pull that off and wash it than change the actual pad cover.  🙂  Plus, I can stick it in any load of laundry without worrying about the terry cloth stuff getting fuzz on the rest of the load. It dries faster too. 🙂

I had a heavy glass jar that I’m using to store the ever-elusive pacifiers.  It seems to be helping so far at least!

This lamp was from Target (a baby shower registry gift – yay!) and so is the clock.  J actually found the clock and I was thrilled with it! Isn’t it the cutest? Oh, and those white stars on the lamp are glow-in-the-dark.  Sweet!

The best thing about this room was the fact that I spent very little money on it.  All of the furniture was either given to us or we already had, and most of the rest was either a shower gift or bought with gift cards!  Whoop-whoop!

So, there you have it, the finished (for now) room.  You know how it goes.  I think I’m done until some random, “brilliant” idea enters my head and off I go again!

At least now I have other concerns that keep me from spending too much time tearing apart the house.  🙂

Hope you enjoyed the tour!


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OK!  So, here we go!

With the roman shade all finished up, it was simply a matter of making some very simple curtain panels to dress it up a bit… and yes, in the end I decided to make a valance as well.  But both were so simple it only took about an hour and a half to make them start to finish.  I like the easy stuff!

So, I told you that I picked up a twin sheet from Wal Mart, right?  I also mentioned that those sheets are pretty thin, so if you’re planning to have only panels, you might want to double them or line them with something else… so the convenience and “cheapness” of using a sheet does have its cons.   However, for my purpose, it was perfect.

I cut the sheet exactly in half long ways.  That gave me two equally sized pieces of fabric.  (The window is not large, so it was plenty, but for a larger window you might need two sheets if you like to be able to pull them across and close them.)  I hemmed the cut side, and there I had two curtain panels!  I used the top part of the sheet that already has that nice, wide hem, as the casing for the curtain rod.

However, I didn’t want just plain blue, so I used some of the left over fabric from the shade, and added it to the bottom 12 inches or so of the panels I just made. I simply pinned the fabric across the bottom of the panels, folded and hemmed the edges of the fabric around the  existing hem on the panels, and sewed in place.

Ya think I should iron those babies?
I also added a solid stripe of green grossgrain ribbon to offset the two pieces of fabric.
Since I didn’t have green thread, I improvised, and used my glue gun again for the ribbon.  🙂 
I know, I know!  I’m not the most dedicated seamstress when it comes to things that don’t show.  Sorry!
I really like how the extra fabric at the bottom adds just a bit of weight so the panels hang a little nicer than they would have otherwise.
For the valance, I went as simple as I knew how.  No seamed corners, no fancy shape, no gathering or ruffles. This was a simple, flat valance.  (Heaven forbid I offend the poor boy once he gets to be 2 years old and he finds ruffles and ribbon are sissy!)
I decided how far down I wanted the valance to hang and added 4 inches allowance for the top casing, 2 inches for the bottom hem, and 1 inch for each side hem.  (I determined how wide to make the valance by measuring the already installed curtain rod) I pinned all the hems and the casing in place and sewed them all at the same time.

Then, just like I did with the panels, I glued a stripe of green grossgrain ribbon across the front (over the stitching).

How do you like all my floor shots?  Ha!  I don’t have a “craft area” really, so I just do things wherever I can find the space: kitchen table, coffee table, floor… wherever!!

I slid everything on to the curtain rods, and presto – all done!

Again, sorry for the bad pictures… I never realized how hard it would be to get a good picture of a window during the day with the sun blazing in… and in this picture, the pattern definitely looks like gingham or some kind of checked stuff… but its not! 🙂

Oh, by the way, I did install a double curtain rod (investment of about $3 at Walmart) so I could have the valance.  Otherwise, it wouldn’t have worked.

So, all in all, the whole curtain and shade project cost me roughly $25- $28, including that double curtain rod!   I’d say that’s pretty good considering the fact that buying a single panel can cost that much!

So, there you have it.  The easiest version of curtains and valance I can possibly think of!

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So, now that my little guy’s walls were all done, it was time to work on the windows.  Boy, oh, boy.  It took me forever to figure out what I wanted to do.  I mean, I had been thinking about it since before I started on the walls, and it still took another week or so of brainstorming, scrolling through Pinterest, and looking through websites and google images.  Yeah. I’m THAT indecisive.

I wanted something that wasn’t fussy, but I liked the idea of having a layer or two… or maybe some kind of textured fabric?

Finally I decided I wanted some type of roman shade and maybe contrasting panels

over that.  Why the double layer?  Well, I figured there will probably be times when I want that room dark during the day… so layers seemed the way to go.

I found a few tutorials on-line, but none that I particularly liked.  Although, I did get a few ideas that I thought might work if I modified them a bit.

I decided to work on the roman shade first.  I knew I wanted a pattern for the shade and a solid for the panels.   So, I went to the fabric store in search of inspiration.  Once again, I searched high and low for the colors I wanted and came up empty.  What’s going on?  Aren’t these colors pretty basic?  Not like they’re seasonal or anything, right?  Or am I wrong?

Well, finally, as I rummaged through the clearance rack, I found a bolt of blue and green material!  Yay!  I was a little skeptical of the pattern at first.  Definitely not little kiddie or cute, or anything like that.  But as I stood in line waiting my turn at the counter it sort of grew on me.  Besides, I didn’t seem to have any other options. 🙂

I bought enough of the fabric to make my roman shade and extra so I could add some to the panels or make a valance with what was left over.

By the time I was walking out of the fabric store, I knew what I would do for the panels:  $5 navy blue flat sheet from Wally World!  Perfect!  So, I stopped there on my way home.  Normally, I wouldn’t go with cheapo sheets for a dark curtain, because they’re thin and don’t look all that great.  I mean, you sort of get what you pay for, you know.  But since the panels are really just for looks except for when I will pull them over the lowered roman shade, they don’t have to be all that thick.

Alright, so all that to lead up to my very, very simple version/adaptation of a Roman Shade:

Our house has some fairly nice, sturdy shades on the windows, so I left them up.  Basically, my idea was to make a flat panel that fit exactly inside the window, on top of the existing shade.  Then, at specific intervals, the fabric would be attached to one of the slats, causing my fabric shade to go up and down along with the original blinds.  Does that make sense?

First, I measured, cut, and hemmed my fabric to the dimensions of the window, adding about 4 extra inches at the bottom.

I basically ended up a rectangular baby-doll blanket looking piece of fabric.  (The picture above is before I hemmed everything, but you can sort of see the points where it is attached to the blind behind it.)  I used paper clips to attach it to the blinds.  I tried a few different variations of intervals, but in the end I decided on the following:  I clipped it to the very top slat, counted down five, attached it again, counted down six from there, attached again, counted down 7, etc. until I reached the bottom of the window.

It is important to increase the length of each section.  Otherwise, when you pull up your shade, you’ll end up with all the folds in one spot, all piled atop each other.  Also, be sure you increase by the same amount each time, or the folds will not be equal in size.  (For example, I increased each section by one slat.)

Once all the clips were in place, I pulled the shade up and down a few times to make sure my idea actually worked.  🙂

My fabric is pretty stiff, so it didn’t fold perfectly right away, but I left it pulled up for a few hours and then tried again.  By then the material was “used to” folding at certain spots, so it worked nicely.

Next, I took the fabric off the window, but was carefull to leave the paperclips in place on the fabric.  That way I knew exactly where the fabric was supposed to attach to the blind.

Using some 1/8 inch elastic I had, I made little loops and sewed them on to the back of the panel, exactly where the paper clips were.  Before cutting it, I took the elastic over to the window and measured a piece that would fit snugly around a single slat leaving a little extra length at the end so it could be sewn onto the fabric.

Using that first piece, I simply cut the rest of the elastic into 9 more pieces of the same length.

I attached the loops of elastic with a zig-sag stitch, going over the elastic about three times to make sure it was good and secure.

I didn’t mind that it showed on the front because the pattern hides it so well.  Besides, the panels would cover the sides of the shade anyway.  If you wanted to keep the stitching from showing on the front, I would suggest sewing the loops on by hand.  Might take a little more time, but definitely not hard to do.

Once those were sewn on, I attached the whole thing to the blind and plugged in my glue gun.  Since the blinds are all metal and plastic, I knew I could put a few dabs of glue here and there without causing any permanent damage.  I glued the top hem of the fabric to the top of the blind so that it would hold its shape instead of sagging in the middle.

The strings that move the slats will pull on the fabric some, but as long as you don’t get glue on them there shouldn’t be any complications.

Next, I moved to the first slat that had elastic loops attached, and put a dab of glue in the center of the slat, adhering the material at that one point.  I did the same with each slat that had an elastic loop.  Adding that little dab of glue helps to keep the middle of the fabric straight across when you pull it up instead of sagging and making a droopy fold.

At the very end, I folded the fabric under the bottom piece of the blind, and glued it all the way across.

Ta-da!  All done!

As you can see, even though this is a thick material, you can still see some sunlight filtering through.  I don’t mind it, but it would be easy to add a lining with a dark cotton material if it becomes a problem.

I hope I didn’t make this sound more complicated than it really is.

Whatever the case, this was really the easiest way I could think of to make a roman shade that actually goes up and down instead of being rolled or tied up.

Next, I’ll show you how I made the panels!

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Well, its been sooo long since I wrote a post, I feel a bit sheepish… Yes, I have been absent for a long time, but there are reasons upon reasons.  I’m sad that I missed all the fun Fall and Christmas decor season stuff.  Hopefully next year!

One of them being, (drum roll, please) a baby is on the way!!  Ta-da!!

And well, he’s coming pretty soon too.  In about sixish weeks to be more accurate. 🙂  I know, major over-due news, but hey, that’s how I roll.  So, of course, with that being a major part of our lives the last several months, things have been getting busier and crazier… but now that I’m getting too large to zip around quickly, things are slowing down just a bit by sheer necessity.  So – that means that I might get in a post or two before this little guy arrives!  Oh, how I would love to get back into this on a regular basis!

Of cousre, as you can guess, a lot of my “extra” (ha!) time has been focused on baby stuff: specifically working on the Little Bud’s room.  I’m excited to share some of my ideas.  Several of them have turned out quite nicely in spite of their being so incredibly crazy.  You’ll see!  One in particular was a bit unnerving at first, but I finished and it looks good, and it looks like its going to hold up!  Yay for new ideas that work!

So, before I start in on all those juicy posts, I’ll give you a sneek peak at a few things:

Anyone see a color scheme here?  Ha!

The hardest part will be deciding which project to post first!  Although, I must admit, the photos of a lot of these are pretty sad.  Mostly because I’ve been working on things in the evenings, and you know how night pictures turn out when you’re in a room with non-professional lighting!  I’m hoping you’ll give me a break though, and then once its all put together and the room looks the way it should, maybe I can get a good daylight picture for you!

Another little “project” I’ve been working on is my diet.  Diet?  While pregnant?  Oh, yes!  The joy of it all!  I’ve got this lovely thing called gestational diabetes which makes eating so much more boring… and restricted… and mean… its communist, I tell you!  So, planning lunches, dinners, snacks, etc has also added a bit to my days.  Having to count carbs and proteins, learning to literally MEASURE my servings.  Oh, well!  I’m praying things will return to their normal state once Little Bud arrives.  So, if you happen to have experience in this sort of thing and have any good ideas for delicious snacks, etc, please just let me know.  I’ve been branching out and eating things I never tried before, and so far I’ve done well, ( I even worked in a decaf Starbucks drink the other day and stayed perfectly on track!) but new ideas are always welcome!

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I know, I know, its been ages… well, at least one age, I’m pretty sure.  I won’t get into the whys and how comes that I have been gone for so long.  Suffice it to say that it has been a busy and eventful summer!   I’m so ready to get back into this blog.  I might not be able to post as frequently as I did before.  (Well, before I disappeared for the summer.)

I haven’t had the time to do an overwhelming amount of crafting or anything like that.  Don’t get me wrong, I had ideas.  Tons of ideas.  BUT ideas don’t make things happen.  Time and energy go a long way in the “make it happen” department.  Those two things never seemed to coincide at all the past few months.  However, in spite of that, I did manage to take care of a few things… most of them weren’t all that blog-worthy.  You know, the kind of things that need to be done.  Have to be done.  Have been waiting for MONTHS to be done.  And then you get them done and you feel great about it, and realize… uh, that wasn’t such a big deal.  This is the kind of thing everyone does on a regular basis.  The kind of thing I should be doing on a regular basis.  The kind of thing I would be a bit embarrassed to proclaim to the entire world that I finally got around to doing!  Things like cleaning out the closet, throwing away old magazines, de-cluttering the top of the dresser.  Yes, we’re one of those couples to tend to leave everything on our dresser.  That isn’t something I’m proud of, but its true!

Anyway, yeah.  So, I got that “have to do” stuff done.  I still have more to do, but it’ll get done eventually, right?  Right! Of course!  Oh, and I did get a few fun things in edgewise. 

I made Star Wars pancakes.  These were a hit.  Those dark spots are blueberries and chocolate chips.  Or maybe the dark side finally got to Yoda… who knows.

I made a pillowcase for the hubs.  He’s a superhero fan.  Big time.  So, when I saw this flannel in the scrap bin at JoAnnes, I knew it could be put to good use in some way.  It ended up as a pillowcase!  Hubs is constantly throwing pillows on the floor when he watches TV, so this is his specific TV floor time pillow.  I gave it to him as a surprise, and his response was.  “Oh, that sewing machine was the best investment I ever made!”  Haha!  Well, glad he liked it!

Also, I made a quick update to our room.  As I have mentioned before, we rent.  We love our little house, but we can’t paint.  That means lots of boring white walls.  Such as here:

I was trying hard to figure out some way of adding a bit more color, and had this crazy idea… tell me what you think:

No, I didn’t knock windows in the wall.  Goodness.  We can’t paint the walls, much less smash holes in them.  So, I improvised and pretended we had windows on that wall.  I had the idea in my head for weeks, but was determined not to spend much $ on this.  So, after a while, my waiting paid off.  I found curtain rods on clearance for $3 each, and curtains (which magically matched our comforter though they look much darker in this picture) for $5 each.  I figured $16 wasn’t such a bad price for such a drastic change.  When I told the hubs my idea he looked at me like I had lost my mind.  So, I shooed him out to the TV, shut the door, and didn’t let him see until I was done.  I think the effect of my fake windows surprised him.  In a good way. 

I did my toes for our July 4th celebration.  This was quite the momentous occasion.  I’d never attempted to do the little flower before.  I was thinking about trying to make a firework, but quickly decided a flower would be more on the beginner level.

AND I made a swim suit cover-up thingy for my cutie little niece.  I made it from a towel, and it was so much fun!

So, there some of my quickie projects this summer.  What do you think?  Especially of the curtain thing.  I’m really curious to see what others thinks about it.  Was it a mistake?  A good idea?  Does it make the room look too dark? Like it?

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Do you ever go through you stuff and think “why do I have this?”   Yeah…. that has been happening to me a LOT lately!  I’m going through this “just throw it all away” phase.  My hubby is a little nervous I think. =) 

Anyway, I found these monogrammed linen hand towels in our closet. 

Someone gave them to us when we got married, and we just haven’t used them.  I like them, but they’re just a little too fancy for our bathroom.  Ours is pretty small, and we only keep the essentials in there.  So, decorative hand towels just don’t make the cut.  I wondered what I should do with the towels.  I liked them, but they probably won’t be used at all while we live in this house, and frankly, I don’t know how long that will be.  So, I decided I had two options: get rid of them, or use them for something other than hand towels.  I figured I would try option #2 and if that didn’t work out, then I would go with option #1. 

I decided to make them into pillows!  Yeah, I probably have too many pillows in our house.  Probably don’t need any more on our bed either, but I’ve got to say, I love a bed with plenty of comfy pillows.

Since all the edges were finished already, I decided I would sew on the right side of the fabric instead of the usual method of sewing on the wrong side and then turning the pillow right side out.  I wanted to have a bit of an edge to the pillow. 

I folded the towel in half, pinning it together along the edges, and then sewed the two layers together over the original hem stitching.  

 On the first one, I left one corner open so I could stuff the poly fill into it.  On the second one, I left one end open.  The second method seemed to work best.

(Would you look at that!!!  I actually painted my nails this week!  Such a rare occurence… good thing I have it recorded!)  Once I had the pillow stuffed how I wanted, I scrunched all the filling as far in as possible.  Using a few straight pins, I sort of clamped the fabric around the scrunched filling. 

 This allowed me to finish sewing the last seam with my sewing machine instead of by hand.  Not that it would have taken long to do it by hand, but I was feeling lazy. Once the last seam was done, I removed all the pins.  I poked and prodded and massaged the filling back into place, and that was it! 

I think it took about 20 minutes to finish both pillows, and I love how they turned out!  I just realized that I never made any changes to the actual towel, so if later on if we decide we would like to have monogrammed towels, (admittedly, that is rather unlikely)  all I have to do is rip out those stiches, and its back to its original form!   (I can’t figure out why they look like they’re two different colors in this last picture, but I wanted to show you how they looked together.)

So, what monogrammed pieces do you have stored in your closet?  Don’t see yourself using them as they are?   Think outside the box – how can you put them to use?

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Anyone out there have a hand-me-down sofa?  We do!  The family who gave it to me had it for many years, and when I moved out on my own, they happened to be getting new furniture.  I was very thankful for a free sofa and small recliner!  I’ve had it for about four years now, and if it was worn when it was given to me, its definitely starting to show its age! 

Before I got married, I simply didn’t have the money to get a slipcover, so I just lived with it.   After my husband and I got married, we decided we didn’t want to spend hundreds on new furniture, but something needed to be done about the couch for the sake of visitors.  We had also started having to pick little threads off our clothes every time we sat on the couch!  Haha!

So I decided to go with the slipcover route.  I was a little bit anxious… I’ve heard horror stories about slipcovers.  So, I looked, and looked and looked.  Maybe I’m just cheap, but do you know how expensive slipcovers are?   Some are up to $175!  Hmm, the whole reason for going with the slipcover was so we wouldn’t have to spend a lot!  To me, $175 is a lot.  So, I, in my stubborn way, I made a decision  Alright, fine.  I’ll just wait you out!  You have to go on sale one day!  So, I waited, and waited and waited!  I was so sick of waiting and so sick of pulling little threads off my clothes… and then, one day, I saw a little advertisement in a Kohl’s sales catalog.  $40%-60% off select sofa covers.  Score!!!  I had a %40 off coupon too!  Yeah!  Off I went, as soon as I could, and made a beeline for the back of the store.  There were two, but I had no idea which one to get.  They also had one for a recliner!  Glory!   So, what did I do?  I got all three!  Yep!  I decided I’d get both sofa covers and the recliner cover and just see what worked.  I tried the first one and it was an absolute failure.  It didn’t even sort of fit.  So, without any confidence whatsoever, I tried the other one.  BINGO!  It worked!  The seat cushion cover didn’t quite fit, but with a little tuck on the ends, it looked pretty good!

 The other one I was able to return – the only thing they asked was if there was a defect.  I told the girl, there was nothing wrong with it – it just didn’t fit.  She smiled, said “No problem!” and gave me back my money!  Now, wasn’t that nice of her!  (There are a few stores – I’m thinking of one that has a red target emblazoned on its products – that are extremely frustrating to work with when it comes to returning items.)

The recliner I wasn’t as happy about, but it was better than the original faded emerald green. 

I bought a queen size sheet from TJ Maxx,  sewed up a few slipcovers for the pillows, and used those to pull the room together.  For a quick tutorial on how to make these pillow covers, click here.  They are so easy!

In the end, I spent about $90 for it all: two slipcovers and six pillows.  I’d say that’s pretty good!  No to mention, the room looks SO much better now!

We’ve had these microfiber slipcovers for over a year now, and we are very pleased with them.  They’ve been through the wash without any problems, and I only have to re-tuck about once a week, which is incredible, since it gets used so much.

Moral of the story: take your time, be patient, and be willing to experiment!  Eventually you’ll find something that works, and the time you spend looking you can be saving the $$ to make the purchase without it being a problem!

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