My father-in-law is a collector, or more accurately a connoisseur, of wise sayings. One of his favorites is “Choices and Consequences”. His boys may not have appreciated it so much growing up, but they have grown to see it’s wisdom and now use it with their own children.
One of his other sayings …
“Now we’re cooking with gas!”
And I must say I’ve never been so excited to use that little gem as I was yesterday.
See, this was the scene out my front window last week
The guys from the gas company came out to run a gas line to our house. It’s the logical thing to do before we add drywall in the basement and it becomes a much bigger ordeal.
As a side note, sometimes adding a gas line means the water line will get clipped and then you’ll have to go out for dinner because everyone knows that cooking dinner without water is nigh impossible.
And this was our new conversation piece in the middle of the family and dining room. As a conversation piece, let’s just say it worked!
Then just yesterday afternoon while the guys were at home and I was running an errand with our oldest we got this text …
With a home full of teens and tewnty somethings, everyone is getting in on the fun. And this Mama is thinking I might have a few more sous chefs in the kitchen in the days ahead!
Someone please tell me that I am not the only woman in the history of ever who seems to believe that a shelf should be able to hold whatever weight could possibly be piled on top of it. Surely I’m not the only one in search of sturdy storage solutions.
Surely I’m not the only one who would load books, aka. weights, up to the ceiling simply because there was space to do so.
Surely if carpenters didn’t want me to put that much weight on the shelf then they would have made it smaller.
Surely at least one other person has had the pleasure of hearing a closet shelf come crashing down in another room because someone overloaded it.
Please tell me I’m not alone in this!
A few weeks ago I posted a slightly terrifying picture of our basement storage closet. That sent me directly into a whole reflective journey about navigating our cluttered paths in life, quite possibly due to the weight of items crammed onto the shelves in that closet.
You’ll be happy to know that the shelves are not almost completely tidied, and bearing the appropriate amount of weight for their construction. I was even able to clear space for our camping gear which has been in the garage up to this point, but that’s another post.
Today I want to share the shelving wall that my hubby and I constructed a few years ago. It consists of cantilevered shelves that my dad, the degreed and experienced mechanical engineer, helped us design.
The necessary design elements for us on this project were…
.. seriously sturdy *see pretty much everything above this for the why on this one
.. relatively quick to put together because our to do list is entirely too long
Y’all these were just the ticket and unlike any I had seen after perusing Pinterest for several hours.
We knew would not be dry walling the inside of this closet, so we were able to use the studs and construct cantilevered shelves. That saved a good bit of money, a little space and lots of time. On top of that it seems kind of cool to have anything cantilevered because “cantilevered” is a quality word that just doesn’t get near enough exposure!
We used 1/2″ plywood to cut both the shelves and braces. We made them deep enough to hold an 18 gallon plastic tote. Once we chalked the lines to make sure our shelves were going to be level it was a matter of screwing in all those braces. Steve came up with a specific pattern of five screws per brace when attaching them to the stud to give them the strongest design possible, and our engineer-on-call approved of the plan. Thanks Dad!
There were lots of braces, but we worked together and tried to pretend it was a really creative date. Neither one of us really bought the date thing, but we did get some quality time together and it’s always more fun to do projects together.
Once all the braces were in we screwed the plywood shelf onto the braces and then added the front piece. The fronts are actually more like a skirt than a piece of trim and serve two purposes. They keep me from smacking myself on the corner of the brace when I’m working in the closet and they provid a great place for chalkboard paint. And you should know by now that if I can add chalkboard anything to an organizational project I will in a heartbeat.
I cut pieces of chalkboard contact paper and used modge podge to glue them to the end of each tote, the contact paper didn’t want to stick on it’s own. I love being able to label a box with it’s contents, and change those around as needed by simply wiping off the chalk and updating the contents. The shelves are also generally labeled with a chalk marker as to which section has winter clothes or Christmas decorations of household items.
It’s so easy to go grab whatever I need now, because I can find it and I don’t have to stack and unstack multiple boxes for just one item.
Where could you use some shelving storage in your home? Maybe you could suggest your own date night with some plywood and chalkboard paint too!
I want to let you in on a little secret I discovered when it comes to real life gardening. Most of us love Pinterest for all sorts of inspiration, and photo filters for the way that can make a picture almost as awesome as if you were there. But, there’s nothing that can replace real life.
Spring weather makes most of us itch to plant flowers and spruce up our outdoor spaces. Instead of the usual Pinterest search, might I suggest simply grabbing your camera and taking a stroll. In your own community. With real live plants and flowers and people who are generally more than happy to share why their Iris are so vibrant or their roses are climbing so well.
If you can arrange a mid-morning stroll after a late night storm you’ll find the most beautiful hue making everything a bit magical, from the layers of green to the vibrant flowers and architectural details that draw you into their charm.
Gates and Secret Gardens
Arched wooden gate
Layers of Green
And the best combination brings all of these together in a seemingly effortless space that draws us in and makes us want to stay a while.
At the end of just 15 minutes, you’ll have all the inspiration and information you need to plan your own outdoor spaces. And you may even strike up a conversation with a few new people along the way. Because what’s the point of a beautiful garden if it can’t be enjoyed by as many people as possible?
A freshly upholstered chair calls for new pillows, aka. chair bling, kind of like a little black dress calls for just the right accessories. Granted the lines on a piece of furniture hold their own sort of beauty, but the accessories? Well the accessories can make all the difference!
Claire has had a plan in mind for her chair and this space that is her room for a few years now. She started by painting the walls a light-medium grey with a white and turquoise chevron accent wall. She added a chippy mustard colored antique door as a headboard and a thrifted roll top desk that we still need to refinish. She is just as addicted to fur as I am, so her bedspread is a black fur and she picked up some white fur, grey chevron and a red damask print to make a few pillows.
The grey chevron pillows will be made in a basic envelope style, my favorite quick pillow style. You can find sewing tutorials for envelope pillows here and here. They are a great beginner project with lots of possibilities for embellishing.
If you don’t have a lot of extra fabric or if you’re working with fur or a higher quality fabric, then a zippered pillow is a better option. Don’t let the word zipper scare you away. It does take a few extra steps and time, but it really is not too complicated. And the beauty of learning on a fur pillow is that that fur can cover any “less than perfect” spots in your construction.
Zippered Pillow Supplies
Zippered Pillow COnstruction
Cut 2 pieces of fabric the exact dimesions of your finished pillow. This ensures that your pillow will look full as opposed to slightly anemic. Ours is 22″ x 22″.
With an invisible zipper, the first step is to iron the teeth flat. Unzip your zipper all the way and lay it face down on your ironing board. With an iron set at medium and the steam option turned off, iron each side of the zipper tape until the teeth are laying flat instead of curling up. This allows you to stitch as close as possible to the zipper teeth, making the zipper invisible.
Your pillow will look best if the zipper does not extend all the way to the corner. If your zipper is longer than needed, it’s best to shorten it at the bottom of the zipper. Do this by stitching parallel to the zipper teeth at 4″ less than your side measurement. I go back and forth over that line until there are about 4 – 6 rows of stitching, creating a new zipper stop. You can then trim away the extra leaving about 1″ of zipper beyond your new stitching line.
The next step is to line your zipper tape up with the edge of your pillow fabric, right sides together. We brought our zipper in about 1/4″ just to allow a little wiggle room for stitching. Using the zipper foot on your sewing machine, stitch with the needle as close to the zipper teeth as possible. You will either need to move the needle to the left or right of your zipper foot, or switch your zipper foot to the left or right of your needle, depending on which type of zipper foot your machine uses.
After you have stitched the first side of your zipper, pin the second side to the second fabric square, again lining up the zipper tape with the fabric edge and keeping the right sides together. Stitch this side just as you did the first one.
If you didn’t get your zipper shortened earlier, say because you were simply too tired to remember this after a fun prom weekend with friends and cross country conditioning after school …. Then you can just stitch INSIDE of the zipper seams about 2″ on each end of the zipper at the corners of your pillow and your pillow should survive just fine. And next time you can hope that your mom, the one who really forgot, will remember to tell you about this step. Maybe!
Once you have stitched the ends of the zippered side of your pillow, pin the other three sides of your pillow, lining up the edges with the right sides together. Stitch the other three edges with a 1/2″ seam.
It is easiest to begin by closing the zipper and stitching the side closest to the top of the zipper. After you have stitched that edge of the pillow, unzip the zipper and continue stitching the other two sides. It’s so much easier to do this when one side of the pillow is open as opposed to when the entire thing is stitched up and you have to try to unzip it from the “inside”. Yeah, I’ve done that, multiple times.
Trim the edges and cut a triangle off each corner, being sure not to snip the stitching line. Your pillow is ready to turn right side out and insert your pillow form.
And that’s it! A zippered pillow cover does require a few extra steps, but I’ve included lots of extra tips along the way. Once you try it, you’ll see just how easy it is to stitch up some pillow covers and add a little bling to your chairs… Or your floors, if you have children and your pillows always seem to end up on the floor. No worries, “Just put ’em the wash; they’ll be grand.” And it’s always worth it to have the kids and their friends around the house, right!
About a year ago, Claire and I picked up the Frog Prince of chairsfrom a random furniture collection in the back of the ReStore. It was a little scary and some thought we were crazy, but we’re okay with that. And besides, Claire had been saving some money for a cozy over sized arm chair and the good bones and free tag on this one made it perfect.
It would work, with a bit of attention, that is. Like new fabric, and padding and pretty much anything but those fabric covered legs.
And you know what? She was right! Just see for yourself …
The hardest part of upholstering may be the time investment. It’s a lot like writing a paper, or blog post for that matter. Once you have an idea and get it together, there’s the editing. And then more editing, and just one more edit for good measure. There’s a good lot of editing in upholstering.
Upholstery editing looks a little like this …
I would HIGHLY recommend taking lots of pictures and notes during the deconstruction process, especially where different fabrics or “steps” overlap. That way if your weekend project takes ten months to complete, you can remind yourself of how it came apart and put it back together correctly. Ask me how I know…
Most pieces are assembled in a similar order, but pictures allow you to put your piece back together by moving backwards through the steps you took in deconstruction.
Depending on the condition of your piece, consider replacing adding extra foam, quilt batting and cushions as needed. And then the reupholstering begins …
And then you get to add a few special upholstery notions.
On this project I ended up hand stitching the bottom straight section of the arm front. It is straight, though the pinning looks a bit crooked here. I am still perfecting my technique on these different tools, but each project turns out a bit better than the last. So, hey, we’re making progress right?
Claire also decided to go with different feet for her chair.
So this happy little countdown popped up in my text messages this morning…
I can pretty much count on an update every few days between now and then too. Let’s just say, anticipating is one of this girl’s spiritual gifts. And yes, I do realize that it really isn’t a spiritual gift, it’s just that she takes it as seriously as one.
With that little text and a follow-up phone call, it’s official … our oldest girl and her husband are moving home. Technically, it’s home to her and “new home” to him. We never could have imagined such a thing a few short years ago. But here we are!
I find myself doing some ADD waffling between blogging and home purging and pinning inspiring ideas for finishing the basement and “hey, I haven’t checked IG for awhile” and… You feel my pain, right? I just know you do!
Today is a good day to reign in all the random thoughts and settle on a priority list for the next 38 1/2 days. In the meantime, Here are a few of the inspiring things I’ve been pondering lately …
If you are not familiar with her blog, then you simply must check out all the awesome DIY projects she has done.
And we could use some of the money we save to buy some awesome rugs to cozy up the space. Let’s just go with that logic, m’kay?
As I’m perusing basement options, this handy little checklist from Jessica at Jersha & Dup shows up to help make the house purging a little more systematic. I’m using the KonMari method, modified to fit our needs and beliefs.
But, before the purging I probably need to do a little more pinterest research, right? Ah yes, some cool ideas for an open shelving kitchenette wall …
I’m almost always up for a chalkboard wall. The possibilities with them are so limitless and fun!
Aaaaaand then a new IG picture appears about the upcoming Haven Conference in Atlanta that I can hardly wait to attend.
If you’re interested in home blogging, then check out their blog and maybe I’ll see you there too!
In the meantime, I’ll be combing the internet for more inspiration, or blogging, or remodeling the basement, or just cleaning it out or ….
What fun it has been to see comments on social media about Mrs. Doris and her “small gift of kindness” to me. It quickly became quite obvious to me how many have been touched by her. What a blessing!
Monday’s post closed with a promise to share a quick project to show kindness to a hostess. So let’s just get to these hanging kitchen towels, shall we?
Most of us have seen hanging kitchen towels with a crocheted top and button to secure them to the oven door handle. I remember my Mommaw having them when we would make cookie dough in her kitchen as kids. Not that we needed the oven, because she let us eat the cookie dough raw. Yes, this was years ago before the fear of raw eggs. And she was just cool like that!
Though I have sewn for years, crocheting is one of the skills I have nowhere near mastered. I pretty much only know one stitch and most of the time my girls have to help me get started on that. So, this version involves no crochet and only about three rows of stitching.
Technically the supplies you see above will be enough for two hanging towels. The towels were about $5 from our local Trader Joe’s and you can get more information about them here. The hot pads were just under $3 at Wal-Mart.
The first step is to fold the towel in half (a hamburger fold, which means bringing the two shorter ends together) with the wrong sides together.
Use a basting stitch (the longest one on your machine) and leave a 6″ tail at the beginning and end of each row of stitching without a forward and reverse stitch.
To gather the towel, securely hold the two ends of the thread on one side of the fabric and pull the fabric along those threads, gathering as you go. Once you towel is gathered to match the width of your hot pad, stabilize it by wrapping the threads at both ends around a straight pin in a figure 8 pattern.
Place your gathered towel on the hot pad, right sides together and lining up the stitching line on the towel with the center line on the hot pad.
You can now remove the basting stitches on the towel.
That’s it! It took me approximately 47 minutes to make two of these. That included removing two basting threads that insisted on being individually picked out stitch by stitch AND taking about 34 pictures, so 8 would turn out for this post.
The possibilities for towel and hot pad combinations are endless. With their low price tag, quick construction and the possibilities of personalizing them to a specific decor or occasion, they make great gifts. I’m thinking I need to check out clearance on Easter / spring towels to use as hostess gifts next year.
In the meantime, these little guys are looking quite at home in our kitchen. I’m secretly hoping they encourage us to keep the counters a little tidier throughout the day. I’ll let you know how that one turns out.
It’s a running joke around here that I’m one of those who struggles to keep both kids and plants alive at the same time. It’s not a snide sort of comment, in fact I think I was the first one to actually make light of it. For the most part, I’ve chosen to focus on the kids, though some dinners would attest to a bit of neglect. Even on those nights, the family rarely complains, they just roll with it and life goes on. The plants aren’t quite so forgiving.
For some reason I decided that this morning was a good time to tend to the house plants I’ve been neglecting these past few weeks. They seem to be less forgiving than the family and quietly dry up and wilt.
That’s when it hit me that in sharing Monday’s post with the DIY chalkboard bunting, I completely forgot to include the baby bunting! I could chalk that oversight up to all sorts of things, but that’s another post altogether.
So remember near the end of the bunting when you cut the triangle out of the bottom of each fabric piece to make the forked flag style? We’ll don’t pitch the triangle.
You can fold it on one end and cut another triangle out of the other end to make a mini-forked pennant. The wonder under will make it a sturdy little flag and then all you have to do is turn under about 3/8″ at the top and stitch close to the raw edge of the fold.
Since the bunting I did was originally for a birthday party, we simply threaded some twine through the casing (made in the previous step) and strung several flags between two skewers to make toppers for the birthday girl’s cheesecakes.
And then we licked wiped off the extra cheesecake and stuck them in one of the house plants. It makes for a festive little touch. And it can even draw the eye away from the shriveled up plants that need to be replaced. Not really, but a girl can dream!
It’s always fun to find an unexpected way to use leftovers, especially when they create a little surprise pop of color and festiveness. So where else would you use a strand of these little guys?
It’s been one of those for us this past week. As a dear friend Jack Purcell always said, “I’ve had a long month this week.”
Steve and I headed for Florida a little over a week ago. Just the two of us. Sounds awesome, right? It was. But things aren’t always as they seem.
We spent most of our week less than 15 minutes from the ocean and we didn’t even get our toes wet with saltwater. Not even once, y’all! That’s just wrong in my book!
We did however get to see several friends and family. And we had some good Cuban food, and fresh seafood and an Asian feast. And a paint fight or two. My sister-in-law started the first one, And that oldest daughter of ours started the second one. Honest, they did!
Five years ago when we moved from the beach to the bluegrass, we had been living in the same little house where we raised our kids for 15 years. We had replaced just about everything – roof, windows, flooring, woodwork, kitchen, baths, we even added a few rooms and a pergola.
And the housing market had recently tanked in our area. I mean, seriously tanked. Like, it wasn’t even worth a thousand dollars more than we had originally paid. We had put too much equity into it at that point to sell – sweat, time and otherwise. So we rented it out, and it was great.
And now, for a variety of reasons, including a greatly improved market, it’s time to sell. But first … We had a bit of fixing to do.
And some planting.
And painting what we affectionately started calling, “The house of beige”
And gazing at the flowers.
And more flowers.
There are still new counter tops, a bit of flooring and tile work and an updated front door in the works, but we did get a lot done. With the help of a small army of family, friends and teens needing to raise money for mission trips.
In the meantime, we’ll enjoy the pics and the way the burst of curb appeal color seems to help ease aching muscles.
And, as much as I love snow and winter, I think this past week has put me in the mood for spring. Besides, since last week was the equivalent of a month, that puts us squarely in the midst of spring. And when we arrived home yesterday, it appeared that our blue hyacinths quite agreed.
By the way, if you ever find yourself in need of latex paint then might I suggest the Habitat for Humanity paint recycling program. We have used it in our home and several rental homes and have been beyond pleased with the quality and color selection. And there’s no way to beat a price of $35 for a 5 gallon bucket! Here’s a little blurb on the program at our local ReStore.
I pretty much want all the down pillows. My husband has adjusted. Maybe.
After almost 25 years of marriage, our wedding shower towel sets have been replaced, along with sheets, and dishes and …. our down pillows have actually held up. So, if you’re looking for the root of my down pillow obsession, that’s it, right there. The fact that they stand the test of time.
Problem is, buying them brand new is out of our budget. Especially when you’re talking about bed pillows and throw pillows and curling-up-on-the-couch-and-watching-a movie-body-pillows ….
Hence my favorite source for down pillows – Thrift shops.
I check for them every time I go to a thrift shop. And then I purchase pretty much every one I find.
It’s not about the outside. It’s what’s inside that counts. Just like your Mama told ya!
So, I always grab the pillows with the good guts, bring them home and toss them in the wash to rid them of anything we really don’t want to welcome into our home. You can find more detailed washing instructions here.
This afternoon, several of those became a set of king size pillows for our girl and her hubby.
If you want to join my pillow obsession, here’s another pretty straightforward sewing project.
Basic pillow sizes are as follows:
King size – 20″ x 36″
Queen size – 20″ x 30″
Twin / standard size – 20″ x 26″
European – 20″ x 20″
The most important step, other than making sure your pillow has been cleaned, is to use a good quality pillow ticking. The best kind I’ve found is the classic navy and white striped, heavy weight and tightly woven ticking. I used some not so good stuff a few years ago, and we’ve been picking stray down feathers off our clothes ever since. I even plucked one off the dog’s face last week.
Cut your ticking the size of the pillow you are making, being sure to add an inch to each measurement. If you’re making a 20″ square pillow, cut two 21″ squares of ticking. Using a 1/2″ seam, place your ticking pieces right sides together and stitch around three sides, leaving one short side open. Trim the seams, clip the corners and flip it right side out.
Now comes the fun part. Cut open the old pillows and stuff them into the bottom of your new pillow before carefully flipping them and emptying all the feathers into your new pillow. Be prepared to video the family pets as they try to catch the feathers that will end up fluttering around the room. Once your pillow is filled to your liking, push the feathers to the bottom, fold in 1/2″ on the open edge and pin. Machine stitch the open side close to the edge, being careful not to stitch over the feathers because sometimes they can snap your needle. Lesson learned.
And now for the clean-up. Yeah, have fun with that!
It actually won’t take near as long as you might think. And while you’re cleaning up, think about the time and money you’re saving not having to replace flat, lumpy tired batting pillows every few years. Trust me, it will help you get past the feeling that you’ve witnessed a feather factory mishap.
Now that you’ve made a down pillow, you can whip up some simple envelope pillow covers like these here and here.