Saturday, September 21, 2013

Coffee Table to Tufted Ottoman

My living room was in desperate need of a foot rest, and I bought this coffee table at Salvation Army, thinking it would do the trick. My plan was to paint it and make it darling. It ended up being to big for the space, and it just didn't work. 
 So what do I do? Chop it up of course! Despite only having a baby 2 weeks prior, I had to take advantage of my mom (aka construction buddy) being in town.

First up: cutting the table down to the length I wanted for the ottoman.
 I cut the side panels a few inches in to make room for the legs, to match the other side. We then moved the side panel and the cross braces down from the part we cut off:

 After some hammering, some nails, glue and a few Dang its! the legs are attached.
 The table has an overhang (like all tables usually do), and I wanted it flush with the legs, so there I cut about an inch from each side.
 To prep for the tufting, I drilled holes where I wanted the tufts to go. The bit you see in the picture ended up being too small, so we had to go back with a much larger bit so we could get the needle through more easily.
 Sanding down all the rough edges:
 Once the foam is installed, the ottoman would be too tall for a comfortable foot rest, so we chopped the legs down. This part made me sad, because we had to cut my favorite part of the leg.

 We did 2 coats each of primer and paint, then followed up with a stain that we rubbed on and wiped off. I didn't have any poly, so I sprayed it with a clear sealer I had on hand.
 My lovely mom making the covered buttons for the tufting. You can see the foam in the back, we used 4 inch, though if I did it again I might have used 5 inch for more cushion.

 I didn't get a picture of this part, but we spray glued the foam to the top of the table and covered the whole thing in batting.

This is the beginning of the tufting. I used the technique used by Jenny, from The Little Green Notebook, on her tutorial for her tufted headboard.
 Backside of the table with the strings stapled. The needle I used was an upholstery needle that was longer than my hand. Scary stuff, yo.
 Once the tufting was done, all that was needed to do was stretch the fabric around the back and staple it. We made sure to create folds from the buttons around to the bottom so that there weren't wrinkles in the fabric.
 The corner folds were super tricky, and being the kind daughter I am, left those to my mom.
We finished it up with a nice nailhead trim. I think this was the hardest part for me. The wood was hard, and the nails were not the highest quality. 

 I LOVE how good they look with my favoritest chairs. They go perfectly.
 Let me tell you, I use this all the time now. It is the perfect height for resting your feet. Joe and I will place it just like the picture and we can both use it while watching a movie.

Definitely my favorite project so far.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Busy Bags

A friend of mine asked if I wanted to be a part of a busy bag swap, and I was all over that! We ended up having 6 people, and we each are doing 3 busy bags, for a total of 18 bags. I'm so excited to see what else I get.

My bags are pretty simple, I tried to keep it that way for my 2 year old but still be interesting to a 3 and 4 year old. 

The first bag has popsicle stick puzzles. I just used the sample pictures from my computer and glued them to colored popsicle sticks I found at Joann's.
 For the second bag, I cut shapes out of craft foam and punched holes all the way around. Not quite as sturdy as the classic lacing cards, but they still work nonetheless. And a shoestring for lacing, which is quite important because you want the stiff, plastic end so it goes through each hole easily.
 Last but not least, an "I Spy" bottle. I found a bunch of small items around my house and at Joann's and Walmart and put them in clean water bottles filled with rice. It makes it easier if you put half the rice in, then the small items, and fill 3/4 with rice. You want to make sure your items will fit through the mouth of the bottle, I had to cut one apart after the dice I bought got stuck. Interestingly, our Yatzee dice fit just fine, so I stole them... I photographed all the items and labeled them before putting them in the bottle. I printed the photograph and laminated it.
I can't wait to see the other bags I am getting, it will be nice to have something other than books and cars to entertain the babies when we are out and about.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Toy Storage and Bookshelves

My little man's toys were getting out of control, and I needed a better solution than a laundry hamper to dump everything in. I love the IKEA Trofast storage system, but didn't like the price tag. I found this tutorial on Ana-white and knew I could pull it off.

I bought the actual bins from Ikea, because I figured at least those were inexpensive (I paid $50 for all of them).
 I thought I would save money by getting the lower grade plywood, but the time I spent filling and sanding would have been worth the extra money for a nicer finish. I don't have a router, so I had a friend of mine cut the grooves for me. He actually used a radial arm saw to keep the lines perfectly straight.
 All in all, I am extremely happy with the result and my little guy had a great time helping me organize his toys!
As I am looking at these pictures, I realized I never posted about the book storage! I found the instructions on (amazing site!). They were super easy to put together, and work much better than stacking the books on a shelf where they inevitably were knocked to the floor.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Snack Jars

For Valentine's day this year, I wanted to do something on the cheap, but still fun and personal. I came up with the idea to make snack jars for Joe to keep on his desk at work. He is blessed with great genes and can eat anytime, anywhere and not gain a pound. I'm pretty sure he still within 5 pounds of his weight from when we got married!

I found these glass canisters at Target. I saw them and knew they would work perfect.
 Since I had three, I thought "YUM" would be charming to etch on the canisters. I printed out the letters in the size and font I wanted and cut them out. Now here is the tricky part (and I have no pictures!) I put the letter on the sticky side of contact paper, so that when I adhered the contact paper to the canister, the letter would be facing the correct way.

Then I used an Exacto knife to cut around the letter, thus creating my own stencil...I have to get creative when I don't own a silhouette. Someday. I then covered the exposed glass with etching cream and let it set for 5 minutes.
 Then rinse off the etching cream and check to see if there are any areas that didn't etch completely. Do those areas over again. I find that if I don't put a thick enough layer of cream on the glass, the etch looks spotty.
 Remove the contact paper, and voila! you have some super cute canisters that any husband would be proud of.
 Joe may or may not have put them on top of his filing cabinet so all his colleagues could see them when they walked past... gosh I love that man.
 Each time a snack runs out, I just buy him a different treat to put in it to keep snacks interesting.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Blessing dress

In my sewing, I have purposely avoided clothing, because I didn't want to deal with difficult patterns and frankly, I was scared! No longer, I say! I wanted to make a blessing dress for our new little addition, and when I saw this cherry blossom organza I was done for. I knew I had to make a dress.

The pattern I used was actually one for a simple cotton dress, though I used a lightweight satin and organza. I layered the organza over it all because I liked the way it looked better than the satin on its own.

 I figured I could work on it little by little, but I should have known better. I cut out the pieces and 12 hours later I had a dress. So much for spreading out the enjoyment!

 Isn't that embroidery delicious? I kept everything else simple so it could take center stage on the dress.

I still have to make booties and a headband, but I am so happy with how it turned out.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Carseat cover

Since we found out we are having a baby girl, I knew the carseat we used the first time around was not going to work. The fabric was blue with brown accents. Cute, but not what I wanted for my girl!

I got my original idea for it from,  you guessed it: Make it and Love it! She really is so talented. I won't even begin to do a tutorial, since on my end there was a lot of ripping seams and fudging pieces together and such that Ashley's tutorial does more justice. Having used the old cover as a template made the job a whole lot easier, and so I am glad I did it.

I wanted the fabric I picked to be somewhat neutral, in the case our next one is a boy. So I picked colors/patterns that would work for both. But let me tell you, I LOVE these prints. I found them all at
 So darling, isn't it? I can just imagine a little tiny baby snuggled up in this already.
 Like Ashley at Make it and Love it, I wanted to reuse as much of the original carseat as possible. If you notice, the edging as well as the brown panels in the canopy are the same as the original. This made my job a lot easier and saved me several hours of work.
The deconstruction of the seat took about as much time as the construction, about 13-14 hours in all for both, but I would do it again in a heartbeat. I think my husband would not be happy if I were to do it for myself, so if any of you want it done and don't need your carseat for a few weeks....

lets chat. :)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Homemade vanilla wafers

 Over in this house, our little guy LOVES vanilla wafers. With all his heart.

I did my little google search, and found this recipe.  The best part, no high fructose corn syrup found in most sweet things nowadays!

So the question is... homemade or store bought, which is better?
  • 16 Tbs. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 Tbs. vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
We start with combining the butter, sugar and salt in the mixing bowl. Make sure the butter is at room temp, it blends much more easily.

Mix on medium speed until creamy.
Reduce the speed to low, the add egg yolks and vanilla and beat until blended. Then add the flour until a smooth dough is formed.
Drop the dough out on the counter and divide into 4 equal portions.
Roll the dough into logs. The original recipe calls for 7 inches and 1 1/2 inches around, but we like the mini version, so I rolled them out longer making them about 3/4-1 inch around.
Next, roll them up in plastic and refrigerate for 2 hours. This step is very important so the dough will keep its shape when cut.

When you are ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Unwrap one of the logs and, with a sharp knife, cut it into slices about 1/4" thick. Place on baking sheet.
Bake only 1 sheet at a time, just until bottoms start to turn a golden color. The original recipe calls for 12 to 15 minutes. Mine come out perfect just under 12 minutes. All 4 logs made about 3 baking sheets worth of wafers. So maybe a 4 day supply in my house.

Now, when they are done, you don't want to let them cool without loosening them up from the pan. Otherwise they will stick, and then crumble when you try to scrape them off. The trick I use is immediately after coming out of the oven, I use a spatula to carefully push the cookie. I don't try to get under it, but dislodge it from the cookie pan. Then I just leave them there to cool all the way.

So what did we think?
Definitely a hit!  

Homemade wins! They came out almost like a shortbread cookie, and very good. A great mix in for ice cream or yogurt. Perfect size for little fingers and mouths, plus no worry about processed/unhealthy ingredients. It gives me peace of mind knowing exactly what is going into the belly of my little guy. And another item I don't have to buy. Just ingredients I already have in my pantry.