Monday, 25 February 2013

The Foyer Hooks Are Up

The aforementioned hooks from a local antiques store have been installed, and I'm digging the outcome quite a bit. A mirror or artwork would finish things off nicely, I think.

(Please look beyond my filthy/stained carpet. Scientist husband won't let me tear it up ... Yet.)

Friday, 22 February 2013

Foyer Storage. Just Can't Get Enough.

Yeeeeeeah, I hate foyers, overall. The word "foyer" is pretentious, too. Usually, these spaces are cluttered, wet, sandy places that cause panic when a group walks in the front door. That group is usually my family, and the pandemonium is every day. The coats and boots all end up in various places where they don't belong. In this house, the entrance is right at the bottom of the main stairs - whoever designed this house was clearly an idiot. Just saying.

Last year (maybe two years ago), I followed Sherry's example from Young House Love and purchased two RETUR recycling bins from IKEA to use as shoe storage. Best. Idea. Ever. They are easy to keep clean and have a streamlined look that doesn't overload this already super tiny space.
Stoooooorage! This puppy holds a lot. The top one is actually filled with winter mitts/hats right now. And hey, toes!

Best dog ever, keeping it real.

We do have a coat closet, but no one really likes to use it because you have to take your shoes off and walk a few feet before you reach it. So, coats usually end up on the stairs or anywhere else that isn't a hanger in the closet. It's weird. I can't fight it, nor explain it, so I decided to install some coat storage closer to the door. Scientist husband was against this idea, so I've been stewing over this for a few months. But screw it, I'm doing it anyway.

We have a few rental places in town, which is great because we have lots of building odds and ends in the basement. For one particular office space, we had used beadboard wallpaper under the chair rails and still have quite a bit leftover. Since our house already has real wood beadboard in the foyer, I thought this could be put to good use.

I did buy a few pieces of casing to trim off the wallpaper and some quarter round to finish the existing baseboard.

The before.

The in-between. 

I have my eye on this robin's egg blue wooden board with cast iron hooks at a local antiques store. I'm thinking it'll help finish off this project and we can actually hang coats when we first come in. Woot!

Signs That You Are, Indeed, Turning Into Your Mother

It was inevitable, I'm sure. The time has come. I'm turning into my mother, with an unhealthy dose of my father.

Here are the signs that you may be doing the same:

  1. Organizing and/or relocating your utensil drawer is exciting. The rest of the family is pissed because they keep opening the newly appointed dish towel drawer when they need a fork.
  2. Baseboard cleanliness becomes an actual concept. 
  3. When you rant at your kids, your brain is so tired that you mess up your words. The kids giggle. You lose. Walk away and drink wine.
  4. Mascara is applied roughly once per week. Twice, if you have an doctor/car/school appointment. God forbid the real world know what lurks beneath the makeup.
  5. You start slamming cabinet doors, tossing books, and lobbing toys into their place to show your disapproval of the house's messiness. No one notices the reason behind it - you just look insane.
  6. The kids start asking why you look mad when you're not even mad.
  7. Your joints hurt and you're still under 30.
  8. Coffee is the answer to everything before 11AM. 
  9. Wine is the answer to everything after 5PM (4PM on weekends).
  10. You start finding new ways to use everything. Pre-Pinterest, this is what moms always did, we just didn't see the genius until that magical website came along. 
So, thanks, Mom. You're rad. A little insane and borderline alcoholic, but so am I. 

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Diaper Clutch from Scratch

There are about a bazillion tutorials for diaper clutches floating around the Internet. I originally tried this one by Jennifer Kramer, but it didn't turn out so well. After modifying the instructions and the pattern size, I made a clutch that fit my things - and my style - perfectly.

Before I post the tutorial, I want to reiterate that I am an absolute beginner in the world of sewing. My machine jams a lot, I swear from time to time, my lines are wonky, and I frequently end up with stiff shoulders from being super tense. Sounds fun, no? :) My point is, beginners should start simple as to not get frustrated. But there is also a lot of room for personalization and size tweaking for most patterns and tutorials. Just experiment. You win some, you lose some.

The obviously awesome part about making small and simple projects is that you can use up fabric scraps. This particular fabric was first used a few years ago when I overhauled a thrift store side chair (no post about that - it was pre-blog). The second, dark blue fabric is a denim remnant from when I hemmed my jeans. Don't throw out scraps - ever. Ha!

Right. So, here's what you need if you want to make one yourself:
  1. Main fabric 12 x 10" 
  2. Contrasting (or the same, which is what I used) fabric 11 x 3"
  3. Main fabric 10 x 5.5"
  4. Main fabric 10 x 5.5" *This will be amended later on in the instructions. But, it's optional.
  5. Choice of fastener. I used Velcro and more denim scraps.
  • Leave only 1/4" seam allowance for all sewing on this project. 
Super "accurately scaled" diagram of pieces needed.
So the easiest way to proceed is to iron/pin the raw edges of certain pieces and sew: all sides of #2, one long size of #3 and #4. If you're choosing to make an opening for the wipes container dispenser (the dotted lines), then cut and hem the raw edges of that opening, too.

Once all your raw edges are sewn, place #2 in the center of the wrong side of #1 (biggest, unaltered piece of fabric). Sew in place.

See where I'm pointing? Your Velcro should be under there.
(You'll be able to see a tiny amount peeking out!)
Flip over #1 so that you are now looking at the right side of the fabric. If are are using a Velcro fastener, now is the time to place it between #1 and #3. Pin #3 and #4 (right side down) in place.You shouldn't be able to see the fastener at this point - it will be hidden under #3!  Sew along all four edges. I ran a few lines back and worth across the fastener edge to make sure it would stay put.

Turn your project right side out. Fold over the top and bottom (raw) edges of the center and sew. At this point, you'll want to insert your wipes container and diapers. Close your clutch and figure out where you'll want the other piece of Velcro fastener; it should end up just about where your wipes container opening is. Sew your Velcro in place and you're done!


More Free, Personalized Art

I love my dog. She's the bomb. I love most things Greyhound, especially art. Aaaand, I really dig silhouettes. My dining room is no stranger to some homemade silhouettes of other things (namely, my son's head and a pig's head), so I figured that my dog should have one as well.

Silhouettes hanging out in the dining room.

Somewhere on the Internet, I discovered that Farrow & Ball sends out free samples (up to three samples, anyway) of their wallpapers. Naturally, I couldn't pass that up, so I ordered a few. They're awesome and I thought they'd come in handy for something crafty. Today, the opportunity presented itself!

Greyhound silhouette art - cheap, easy, and supa cute.

It's as easy as cutting out a Googled shape and gluing it to a background piece of paper. By using a frame we already had, this piece cost absolutely nada. I like free. You?