Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Sneak Peak

It might seem like I haven't been crafting lately, as I was recently accused, but this is just not true!! I have just been so busy crafting that I haven't had time to blog. I spent a majority of the weekend working on my dress. Its looking good, I think. It has approached a nice middle ground where it will be OK to wear outside of my apartment, but I won't be fooling anyone into thinking it is store bought. But I'm OK with that-- if I wanted it to look store bought I would have bought it in a store, not spent time making it.
The picture above is the fabric I have been using-- its a nice royal blue with white...spots on it. I liked it because it is silky, and not a plain color. I wear a lot of plain colors in general, so I wanted to make something different.
Making the dress has been fun, and aggravating. I started by making the dress out of muslin. Muslin is a pretty cheap way to practice making and tweaking a garment. I made the muslin dress basically just because I am very new to sewing, and even newer to my machine. I wanted to get a handle on the sewing machine before I started risking my pretty, expensive fabric. I am very greatful that I did the muslin one, because I did learn about using my machine, and also about constructing this particular dress. The pattern comes with 2 options- sleeveless or without sleeves. Originally I wanted to make the one with sleeves, and while making the muslin sleeves was ok, the collar was a mess and connecting the collar to the dress to the sleeves could have been a struggle. So my real dress is sleeveless.
I will write more about this, and (reveal the pattern!) tomorrow while I am supposed to be working.


There is a running theme in my apartment: empty walls. I have combated this problem in two cool ways (I THINK!) in my kitchen.
Given that I like to bake, and I like interesting shaped cake pans, I decided to solve two problems at once with my collection of these pans. The first problem is the empty wall, and the second problem is my limited cabinet space. So with a mere 4 nails, and $0 I had some new wall decorations!
The two bundt pans-- large one on the top left and bundt shaped muffin tin on the bottom right, are from the Salvation Army!!, while the red pan is from a lawn sale. I'm not calling the red pan a cake pan, because the woman that sold it to me told me she wasn't sure. I can't imagine what else it could be used for--peanut gallery, what is your guess? It looks like a three-tiered cake, all from one pan. Maybe this is the secret to making awesome tiered cakess--make fake tiers. I don't imagine I will ever use it to make a cake, because it is a HUGE pan. It would probably take a double batch of cake to fill properly. To be honest, I can't remember where I got the small muffin pan, although from the brand I know it is from either Michaels or Target. I can't even remember WHY I bought this particular pan, although it produced some excellent cupcakes (ahem, muffins).

When I was in the dorm in college, I wanted a plate to use that could be microwaved without melting. I found a really nice Isaac Mizrahi plate at Target, with a large, pink flower centered on it. I have had that plate ever since, sitting in my cabinet. Often I use it as a platter, sometimes I just take it out to admire. But it inspired my pink-flowered-plate-collection-wall. In addition to the Isaac plate, I had a plate from the set that my roommates and I used in college. These plates also feature pink, flowers, and pink flowers. One trip to a local favorite discount housewares store and I had three more plates for the collection! I think they make an excellent addition to my kitchen, and its another practical storage solution. I am fully planning on pulling them down to use as serving plates the next time I have people over for food. My only hesitation about this type of decoration is that I have been told by a friend that collecting plates is essentially an incurable disease, and I will never be able to escape the desire to buy plates to go in my 'collection.' I can just see myself in 40 years, sitting at a kitchen table with stacks and stacks of pink, flowered and pink flowered plates. Ahh! Moderation is key, it seems. What's worse, the crazy plate lady or the crazy cat lady?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Finished!! Well, mostly.

I have essentially finished the armoire! I need to do some touch up painting, which I'm planning to do in a week or so, but today I spray painted the hinges (worked awesomely...), put the doors back on, and then put the DVD player and TV back in its place! I made the decision to not put the black tray back in, because it was nearly as heavy as the tv itself, and causing the shelf to sag. When the shelf sagged, the bottom door wouldn't close. Without the tray, it works beautifully.
I am not 100% on the handles-- I can't decide if they match the style of the armoire or not (I guess this whole project has been about "changing" the style). I am going to leave them for a week or so to see if I get used to them, or am still thinking about changing them.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Armoire Progress

I made quite a bit of progress on the armoire this weekend between roller coaster rides at Cedar point.
After finding that the Ace Hardware doesn't carry the type of hinge that I needed, I took a second trip to the Home Depot hoping for better luck. Nope. Turns out this hinge is exceedingly strange and none of the people I talked to at the Home Depot had ever seen one of this shape. So, I have a plan b, which is to spray paint the current hinges silver. I found a chrome silver spray paint which I bought but have yet to try it out.
The offending hinge.

I decided that I wanted to paint the inside of the armoire a bright color, for a little surprise when you open the doors. I found an awesome color in the "Oops Section" at Home Depot, and got a whole gallon for only $5.

No, mom, I didn't paint on the carpet.
This is basically the furniture version of a mullet. I am very excited. Hopefully she will be done by tomorrow.

Bathroom edits

I've done some decorating in my bathroom. I liked this set of circular mirrors from Target, but I was having a hard time swallowing the price tag. Before I found those tiny mirrors that I used on the pillows, I stumbled upon circular mirrors at one of my favorite stores (Michaels). Not only did they have many different sizes--from less than an inch in diameter to nearly a foot in diameter. I was able to buy several more mirrors than the number included in the set at Target for less than half the price. I was extremely pleased with myself. I put them up almost immediately, and even followed by the decorate-with-odd-numbers rule. I really like their positioning in my bathroom, I put them on the largest empty wall. They also make it easier for me to see the back of my head while looking in my vanity mirror. :D
I needed more storage in the bathroom, and was interested in using the wall space next to the door for it. I found a kit for this shelving unit for a very reasonable price, and brought it home. It came unpainted and unassembled, so I primed and painted it white, and then assembled. Turns out I don't own a level, which made it hard to make the shelves straight, as you can see from the top shelf. Ahh! The glass jars hold my cotton balls and q-tips (and up there they're not at risk of being knocked off by a kitteh) and the basket has combs and brushes. The basket is the same as the one on the back of my toilet which holds my makeup. I looked at white baskets, but couldn't find one that lived up to my standards.
I chose to paint the shelf white because the cabinet in the bathroom is white, although the white shelf on white wall is a little borring. It might end up getting repainted a different color.


A couple months ago I decided I needed to put something on the empty, empty walls of my bedroom. I wanted something to go with the colors in my room already, so I went looking around for art with brown, turquoise and blue. I was unable to find anything affordable and agreeable, so I decided to MAKE something instead. Despite my apparent craftiness (?), I'm not really that artistic. I like to measure things and use straight edges and what not. So this was a challenge.
I found some canvas at Michaels, and picked out paint in the colors I wanted. I scouted some paintings online for inspiration, and then had at it. So anyway, enough blabbing. Here is the painting I did.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Baby

I decided after my go at making pillows that I would like to get a sewing machine and learn to use it. Well, it didn't take long for my luck to set in and for my to find an awesome sewing machine second hand. I paid $5 for this 1960's Singer 237. It is very heavy, not a shred made of plastic, and purrs like a kitten.
After some trouble getting it sewing, I tried a different spool of thread and the bobbin threaded immediately. Within you know, 12 hours of owning the machine I had already had several projects in mind, which will eventually make it on to this blog. It took a couple days for me to get a hang of the different stitch and tension settings, but I am doing well now.
The only problem I see with the machine right now is actually the case. Its original, and awesome in that sense, but its also old. I am trying to think of good ways to improve the case--everything from bringing it to a repair shop hoping they can replace it or something, to pulling the wallpaper like stuff off it and recovering it with contact paper. I am going to have to consult someone with more insight about this.
Also, you can see the desk it is sitting on...it is on my list of things to update over the summer. Painting or straining is the most reasonable option unless someone has a better idea.
What an awesome find!

My Favorite Blogs/Sites

I want to share some of my favorite decorating/crafting blogs. I read many different blogs sporadically.
1. Casa sugar- www.casasugar.com-
Casa sugar is about most things related to having a place to live. Celebrity houses are sometimes featured, sales on furniture and other home goods are posted, along with do it yourself projects, and record of other people's projects. It is updated many times a day, and also often links to other good blogs. This was the first home decorating type blog that I read.

2. www.realsimple.com Real Simple-
Yes, Real Simple is a magazine, but they also have a website that I quite like. Its a bit more about organizing and cleaning than other things I read, but it definitely has inspired some of my projects.

3. www.apartmenttherapy.com Apartment Therapy-
This site is about apartment living. There are different sites for different major cities, although I tend to just look at them all. The city specific blogs are good if you live in that particular city, as they might alert you to sales and new locations for furniture and decorating goods. Theres often DIY projects on this site as well, and photo tours of some damn awesome apartments around the country. This website is great insiriation for arranging and decorating small spaces.

Well, I'm going to stop there for now. Don't worry, there are more that I will post in the future.


In the Fall I got a new cover for my comforter, brown. I also decided I wanted new sheets, and so I got a contrasting blue color. The blue is lovely, and only more lovely when with brown. However, when my bed is made there are no traces of the blue. So, I decided I needed to take an idea from Olivia Palmero's mirrored pillows. (http://www.jaysonhomeandgarden.com/product.php?productid=3520)
I set out to get what I needed--pillow filling (Ikea), fabric to match the current sheets, little mirrors to attach to pillows(Michaels)..
I found the pillow form at Ikea, and then decided to use pillow cases in the same color as the sheets on the bed to make these smaller pillows. This saved me some time sewing, right? So why not. I sewed the pillow form into the cut-down Target pillow cases, and sewed by hand the last side.
Then I worked to attach the small mirrors to the pillows. I was unable to come up with a good way of sewing them on, and ultimately tried a hot glue gun. This would have worked fine, if the pillows were never touched or used after the mirrors were hot glued on. The next thing I found was liquid stitch. I don't know much about liquid stitch, but it looks like glue, and is holding my mirrors on perfectly.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Kitty Jungle Gym

After seeing this project on several different blogs and websites, I decided it was time for me to do it. These shelves are for my cats, Franklin and Ellie, to climb on. As indoor cats they are often getting themselves into trouble, and I thought this might keep that desire at bay.
The shelves and brackets are from Ikea, and I got wall anchors and screws at the local Ace Hardware. I only purchased two shelves, one wider one (bottom and top shelf) and a narrower one ( middle and not up yet...) and had them cut to approximately 1/3 and 2/3 original size. The good thing about the brackets these shelves use is that a rough edge doesn't know and consequently doesn't really need to be sanded.
These shelves are pretty heavy, and getting them up on the wall was a fun project. The top shelf, especially, was fun. After a couple hours of planning the heights and positioning, drilling holes, putting up the brackets and shelves, and probably some cursing, they are done!
Franklin quite likes that top shelf, as you can see. He thinks he is king of the apartment or something.

In Progress

I found this armoire at the local Salvation Army. I think it has a lot of potential, and I had been back several times to look at it when its price was lowered from $90 to $60. I decided that was my cue to buy it, which I did last Saturday. I got it home on Tuesday with the help of a friend and her pickup truck, which was very nice. I want to paint it and replace the hardware, to begin with, and possibly replace the legs.
After work tonight I made a trip to the Home Depot to get some supplies--sand paper, wood filler, a putty knife, hinges, knobs and pulls. When I got home I pulled the doors and drawer front off, took off the hardware and hinges, and put a first coat of wood filler on. I also sanded and primed the top of the armoire. I will be spending more time on this tomorrow night and Saturday!

Older projects

I am going to use this blog to record the progress on various projects I do around my apartment and kitchen. First I have a couple older projects, the first being re-painting a little table that my grandmother brought to me in October. It was brown wood, dirty and with water stains. I decided to make it match my living room better with some paint.
I first had a black mixed, and did not like the results. As you can see, it doesn't look black as compared to the black wire structure on it.

So I went back to the store and asked for a shiny black, and then repainted it. I was not disappointed with the results.

I am quite happy with the results. This was probably my first real project for my apartment.
More to come.