Saturday, January 28, 2012

::DIY:: Chalkboard Sign

::You'll Need ::
Clear photo frames :: Dollar Store
Can of Chalkboard Paint :: Home Depot

I already had both of these items, so I'm pricing this project as FREE!  
I made 3 of these in different sizes to use at the shop.  Perfect for rotating retail items.
It only takes one coat of spray paint to have reuseable signs!  
Yet another wonderful thing about chalkboard paint.

Friday, January 27, 2012

::DIY:: Felt/Burlap Laptop Sleeve

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I have a small obsession with laptop cases.  It's one of my "go-to" things to search for on Etsy.   There are so many awesome ones out there, but I can't bring myself to spend $50 on yet ANOTHER laptop case {not to mention wanting to avoid the comments from Chris...}.  So, I finally came to the conclusion that I needed to make one for myself.

As I started dreaming up my design, I realized that it could be REALLY easy.  I also realized that I should share this with you so you don't have to pay top dollar for a laptop sleeve when you can make your own super-cute, SUPER-easy sleeve for $20 or less {depending on your fabric collection}!  

Now, I'm NOT a seamstress, but I can sew a straight line.  So, if you can sew at least that much then... let's do this!

So, here's what you'll need for a 13" laptop sleeve...
:: 1 - 13" laptop ::
:: 1 yard - burlap ::
:: 1 yard - cotton {flower} fabric ::
:: 1.5 yards - felt ::
:: sewing machine ::
:: 1 pack - embroidery thread ::
:: thick gauge sewing needle ::
:: 1 - large button ::
:: 1 - large hair rubber band ::
:: fabric glue ::  

:: Step 1 - Cut Cotton/Burlap ::
- Cut cotton fabric & burlap - 35" long x 19" wide.
- Glue the cotton to the burlap with fabric glue.

:: Step 2 - Sew Fabric ::
- Sew together the cotton & burlap using a zig zag stitch.
- Sew straight along the long side {35"} 1" from the outside.

:: Step 3 - Attach Button/Rubber Band::
- Sew the button on the burlap side 2" from top edge using the embroidery thread.
- Fold fabric over to the shape of the laptop sleeve {like an envelope}.
- Position the rubber band on the burlap where it will be tight, but not too tight.
- Sew the rubber band to the fabric using embroidery thread.

:: Step 4 - Cut Felt Into 5 Pieces ::
- Cut 1 piece - 23" x 15".
- Cut 4 pieces - 21" x 14.5".
- Use fabric glue to spray each piece together finishing with the largest piece on top. 
{this picture doesn't have all largest piece yet}
- If you can find 1/2" thick felt {or thicker}, skip this step & just use that.  I'm piling these up because there are no local stores around that carry thicker felt.  Plus, this was less expensive!

:: Step 5 - Combine Fabric ::
- Lay out cotton/burlap with cotton fabric facing up.
- Spray fabric with glue.
- Place pile of felt on cotton/burlap with edges flush on the bottom & largest piece of felt facing up.
-This should leave 8" of cotton showing on the top.
- Smooth out all of the fabric.
- Place computer on top of the felt.
- Fold felt over the computer from the bottom & adjust.
- Check to make sure the button placement is correct.

:: Step 6 - Stitch Closed ::
-Keep the computer inside the folded fabric to stitch closed.  This will help to keep the sleeve taut & give you a guideline.
- Using embroidery thread & needle, start at the bottom left corner of the fold.
- Stitch using an X pattern.  This will ensure the fabric is secure. 
- Stitch through the cotton/burlap & larger piece of felt on the sides.  This secures the fabric sides closed.  {below - left}
- Remove computer from sleeve.
- Stitch the lip of opening of the sleeve.
- Stitch along the edges of the flap.
-That's it!

:: Step 7 - The End ::
- Just add the laptop and...

Any feedback you'd give would be greatly appreciated!  Please let me know if you have questions or if something is confusing.  I'm still new at the tutorials.  Thanks.  Hope you enjoy!


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Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Plug Trick (& sneak peek @ the couch!)

Quick Post...
So, you're getting two in one today.  You get a sneak peek of the completed couch redesign & a fun, easy trick to plug your computer into your coffee table!  

 I will post about the couch later, but wanted to show you a sneaky peek at it because we are so excited it's FINALLY done!  So, here's the table.  It's finished & we've added baskets for storage.  I don't know about you, but we do all of our computer work while sitting on the couch.  Before we redesigned the living room, our couch was against a wall & we had no problems plugging in.  However, when we moved the couch off of the wall we encountered the "floating cord" problem.  So, here's our solution...

We ran an extension cord from the wall, under the red rug & under the coffee table. 

Then, we plugged the computer plug into the extension cord & hid the cord inside the grey basket.  

We thought about cutting a hole in bottom of the felt basket & running the cord through to make the cord invisible, but since we move the coffee table around so much, we figured it would take away the mobility.  We don't mind seeing the little white computer cord.  Also, we keep the computers in this basket so they aren't dropped off the coffee table by some little fingers.  So, far so good!

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 I know this isn't rocket science, but I thought it was a really great solution to our problem.   Just wanted to share in case anyone else needed the tip!  It's the little things...

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Bedroom ReDesign

Trading Handsome for Pretty
We have lived in our home now for 6.5 years & this is NOT our first redesign.  However, it is by FAR our favorite.  Even though we really liked our bedroom, we needed an update.  
We originally were inspired for our old room by a picture I found in a "Domino" magazine {it's a SHAME they stopped making that mag, it was my FAVE!}.  We liked it because it felt masculine, handsome, & cozy.  Chris thought it was the kind of room you should smoke cigars in {of course that never happened}.  I kind of felt like it was something my husband needed after living in a house with 4 ladies!  
However, it's been green for 4 years now.  When I mentioned redesigning our bedroom he was all in {what a guy}!  I warned him that I was thinking "light & airy & pretty" & he said, "Sounds good!".  The man is not hard to please.  Here is our old bedroom... the BEFORE!

........  Before ........
 We removed the bed frame & used pictures as a "headboard".  We chose pictures from our post-college trip to Europe.  It's a time in our lives that always reminds us of a time {long ago} when it was just the two of us.  Ahh, to be young again. ;)  To save space in our small bedroom we used wall mounted shelving units as bedside tables.  We hid box-spring by covering it with fabric.

My favorite part of the original "inspiration pic" was an olive-colored blanket.  I loved it so much we decided to use it as the wall color.  I'm going to look through my back-issues of "Domino" for the picture so you can see what I inspired this room.

This is one of my favorite pieces of furniture in the house.  We found this dresser at Goodwill 4 years ago.  It was part of a children's set of dressers & the drawer fronts were a bright blue.  We decided that "crayon blue" wasn't part of our design so we covered the drawers with fabric (I'll be adding a tutorial for that soon).  The mirror was found at Good Finds & we painted the frame black.

 This is not a great picture of the Lucite handles on this dresser.  There will be a better pic later in the "after" photos.  The clear Lucite handles were the deciding factor in purchasing this dresser.  SO cute.

.......... After .........

Wow. I have to say, this is not only a big transformation, it's kind-of my dream bedroom.   The wall color was the biggest job, but I'm telling you, the best invention for DIYer's since the staple gun is the paint+primer.  It's more expensive, but we were able to cover the dark olive green with this white/grey in TWO coats with NO primer!  WHAT?!  The color is "Reflecting Pool" from Behr @ HomeDepot.  It was an easy choice as we (I) love all things grey & it will never have to be changed again (my promise to Chris as this is our 3rd color change in 6 years).  It's hard to see the paint color in these pics, but it's a VERY light grey.  It's almost white.  Just grey enough, though, that you can tell the difference between the walls & crown molding.  Plus, here's a tip straight from Mr. Mojock... buy the first gallon as paint+primer, but the second gallon can just be regular paint.  It'll save you a good $10.  Smart man!

So, here are the deets - 

Paint :: HomeDepot :: $50
Headboard :: RePurposed French Door :: FREE
Bedding Set :: HomeGoods :: $50
Side Tables :: TomatoLand Produce :: FREE 
Lamps :: Target :: On Clearance for $10 each
Curtain Rods :: Target :: $17
Curtain Fabric :: JoAnns :: $35
Picture Frames :: RePurposed :: spray paint :: $3

Here is the finished headboard.  We are THRILLED with it!  We were looking for a headboard that would let light in since we were putting the bed in front of the window {ex. light & airy}.  We went to HomeDepot & decided on a picket fence piece.  We bought it & got in the car. Then, I remembered an idea I had a while ago about using an old French door we removed from the entrance to our Florida Room.  We immediately returned the fencing & saved ourselves $45!  We had all the materials for the headboard construction so it was totally FREE!   I'll have a tutorial for the headboard soon!

Closeup of the headboard.  Look at all that beautiful diffused light!

My freebie tip for this project...  Your local produce stand will GIVE you produce/orange crates!  You could spend up to $45 for one of these puppies at home stores.  These are the perfect size for our room.  It doesn't take up much of a footprint & adds so much texture & visual interest! Plus, it quadrupled the night stand storage in our room.

Everything on this wall {except the curtains & rod} were already in the room.  We painted the picture frames a pea green color {Eden - Rustoleum, HomeDepot} to match a color in the bedspread.  We also changed the color of the floor lamp from black to white.  Spray paint is a beautiful thing!  I do want to find a new shade for the floor lamp, but was willing to wait 'til I found something I loved.  We love the look of a "gallery wall" & I especially love that you don't have to line everything up perfectly! 

Here is our "sitting area".  I've always wanted one.  The little monkey is the base for a glass top table that Chris has had since college.  I think someone gave it to him as a joke, but he's always kept it.  His ONLY request when redesigning this room was not to paint the monkey.  I really wanted to paint it all white, but his strong opinion was "I'd rather not".  Yes, that's a strong opinion for Chris!  Anyway, this area makes me want to sit & read.  And I don't even LIKE to read! ;)

Tony loves this room too.  He loves to sleep on the pillows in the warm sun.  His only complaint is that the bed is now 6" higher & it's getting harder for this old man to jump that high!  We're contemplating stairs of some kind, but for now he seems happy getting the exercise & showing-off  how high white dogs can jump.

Ok.  This makes my stomach flip for joy.  I have a new obsession with burlap so it was an easy choice for recovering the dresser drawers.   The Lucite handles are more visible in this design so we love it even more.  We repainted the mirror white {from black} & repainted the lamp the same pea green as the picture frames {in the previous pic}.

 Are these Lucite handles the best or what?!  Stay tuned for the "how to" on the dresser drawers.  It's not hard.  You basically just wrap them like a present, glue, & staple.  Words cannot express my love for this piece.

It's funny.  I can't make up my mind about which part of this room I love the most!  Each time I see something I say, "Oh, that's my favorite part", but then I turn & see something else.  
These shelving units were our old side tables.  We painted them white & turned them sideways to make a space for us to display our favorite things.  Before, we had things on the dresser & side tables, but little fingers would always pick them up & move/break them.  It's nice to know that these will stay put!  We even have room to add new pieces!  
We found the bench at Good Finds for $20.  I originally thought we'd put it at the end of the bed, but this was the better fit.  We are going to add hooks under the shelving to hang things that end up on the floor like pajamas & such.

 Chris & I are super proud of this room & especially  proud of the fact that we started & finished it in TWO days.  We weren't messin' around.  We had all the pieces {well, most of them} we just had to put in the work & it was TOTALLY worth it!  

Now, time for a nap...yeah, right.

Have a question or comment?  Please comment below!

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Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Mobile Coffee Table

It's coffee table time!   As I've said before, we've been looking for the right coffee table for a while now.  We needed it to be narrow & long, but not too long.  We wanted it to be a natural wood of some kind because the wood texture will balance out the more modern pieces we have.  Also, I wanted it to be easy to move {the "table" we had before was really a trunk with furniture sliders to keep from scratching the floor}. 
Lucky for us, on our shopping trip to "Good Finds" we found THE BEST find!  We saw potential in this little puppy as soon as we laid eyes on it, but it needed a little redesign.  It's good, but it wasn't PERFECT.  However, with a little imagination it wouldn't take much to make it just what we wanted.  Plus, at $20 how could we say no?!

I'm love with the latest trend of tables designed with casters instead of feet.  I love the look {industrial}.  I love the mobility {necessary in our house as the coffee table needs to move for dance parties & not scratch the wood floors}.  I love the different use of materials {usually casters are paired with wooden tables}.  So, it was a no brainer to add some casters to this bad boy.  
Then, we got to thinking that we'd love to have some storage under the table.  The only problem was, with the casters how would we store the baskets underneath?  The table would move, but the baskets would stay stationary.  The solution: add a bottom shelf to the table!  Ah Ha!  Super easy.  Here's how we did it {in 25 minutes!}...

Step 1 - Find the right table
This is the table as we purchased it.  Super cute.  Just the right size.  Made of light wood {I'm guessing oak} with two cut outs on top layered with woven wicker.  On the ends of the table are pieces of honey-colored leather stretched across the legs & held in place by a metal tack {*added bonus* - the leather covered the sharp corner of the table so there's one less place to lose a tooth!}.  I loved this feature & it's what made this a definite "must have".  
I love honey-brown leather.  It reminds me of my old softball glove...


Step 2 - The tools
Here's what we needed...
1. Drill {had it}
2. Drill bits {had them}
3. Screws {had them}
4. Casters {$14.36} 
5. Wood for shelf {used MDF - 4.80} 
6. Fabric to cover shelf {$6.00}
7. Fabric Glue {had it} 
8. Staple gun & Staples, not pictured {had them} 
9. The table {$20}
Grand Total - $45.16


Step 3 - Prep it!
First thing you should ALWAYS do when finding a vintage/older piece of furniture is check it out & make sure there isn't any damage.  Do this BEFORE you buy the piece, of course.  When you get it home tighten the screws & add a little wood glue to any parts that are loose.  If necessary, add a few extra screws to the parts that are super wobbly.


Step 4 - The shelf
One of the best tips I could ever give you is to have your wood precut at the store!  If you are using wood you already had, then it's not an option, but if you need to buy new materials always pre-measure & have the dudes at Home Depot cut it for you! 
Once the wood was the right size we wrapped it in burlap.  I chose this fabric because I wanted something that would compliment the natural top to the table.  I thought about painting it, but I knew that it would look mismatched.  Instead, choosing another natural fabric made it all feel like it's part of the same design.  
The first thing we did was spray the wood with fabric glue, then wrapped it like a present.

Step 5 - The Staple Gun
I have to admit.  The staple gun is by far my most used tool.  In a perfect world, I would buy an air compressor/gun.  But, to be honest the hand-propelled staple gun is way more portable & it helps to define my Popeye-sized forearms.  Plus, it's way quieter & c'mon... you know these projects usually happen when the kids are in bed.  
So, after wrapping & smoothing the fabric we flipped it over & stapled the seams.  The trick to covering with fabric is to start at the middle of the side you're working on, add a staple, then move to the corners, then between the middle & the corners, & so on.  This helps to keep everything even & tight.  At the corners you need to fold over & staple right next to the edge.  Remember to pull tight, but not too tight because it will make the fabric stretch & look uneven.

The final product.  This was the underside, obviously...

Step 6 - Positioning, Pre-Drilling, Screwing
With three small, insane people running around we have to make everything very sturdy!  So, this was probably the most important step. 

First, we flipped the table over & aligned the shelf where it should be on the legs.  
Then, we pre-drilled holes through both the MDF shelf & the wooden leg.  Pre-drilling is important for a few reasons. One - MDF is hard to screw into, two - it insures alignment for the screws, & three Chris insists on pre-drilling everything ;).  Next, we screwed a 1.5" screw through both the shelf & the leg to lock it in place.  

After the shelf was secure to the legs it was time for the casters.  This was as easy as placing it, pre-drilling, & screwing.  We decided to screw the casters into the legs as well as the shelf.  However, the caster base was wider than the leg of the table.  So, we screwed two of the four screws in the shelf/leg with 1.5" screws & we used 1/2" screws to secure the other side of the caster to only the MDF shelf.  It was plenty sturdy.  Nothing's going to break this thing.  Not even Cameron's head!


The Final Product
Here it is!  I really love this table & how easy it was to redesign. We made it exactly what we want & need which is design rule #1 for me.  Now, we just add a few baskets {you're gonna LOVE what we put in one of them in a later post}...
And Voila.  The perfect, portable coffee table.

 {Closeup of the leg, shelf, & caster.}