Tuesday, August 10

Bulletin Board Makeover

I love this organizer by Pottery Barn, and I think it would be perfect for our office/guest room in the making:

The Bad News? It costs almost $200. So let's just make our own! "Dollar Store Crafts" inspired me to give it a try when they made a similar piece using several small cork boards. (check it out here)

I've had a bulletin board sitting around for awhile and didn't know what to do with it until now. I'm totally bummed, though, because I took before pics this time so you could see the total transformation, but my SD card is messed up and I lost them. Along with all the other pictures I hadn't downloaded yet. Bummer. So just know that is was painted white with red and blue flowers, okay? Got the mental picture? Good. We can continue.


For me, it was important that my board had a wooden frame so I could beef it up a little by adding 1x2's around the edges to create the depth the inspiration piece has. I started by sanding all the paint off the frame, then added my 1x2's. If I did it over again, I would stain the pieces BEFORE I attached them to the frame. But oh well, we learn as we go! I cut out stencils resembling the prints on the inspiration piece, and used black spray paint to paint them on (click here to find the stencils I used, courtesy of Dollar Store Crafts). I used dowel rods as the bars across (they seem a little flimsy, so if I did it again i would probably look for something metal) and used a large drill bit to drill through the frame and slid in the rods. The last thing I did was make a fabric pocket to hang on the board. I think it turned out pretty good, even though I made a few mistakes! :)

And this is it hung above my newly refinished desk, which you can read about here. We still have a lot to do in this room, but it has a nice start and I like where it's headed. :)

And here's one more quick project:

I got a scrabble game for 50 cents at a yard sale and turned the letter tiles into tacks for my board! I put a dot of  E6000 glue on the back of each tile and attached a flat heat tack to each one. Easy and super fun to use!


And there you have it. Rustic Wall Organizer & Scrabble tacks to keep our office space neat and tidy. I can't wait to use it!

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Wednesday, August 4

Pillow Cover Tutorial

These are the pillows I made for my living room before I got the new curtains:

And I still completely love them, but they don't match the colors of the new curtains. Don't worry, they will take center stage in the office/guest room I'm working on. But the living room is going to need something new. I have made several pillows, but I always have two problems with them. 1) Fiber fill is more expensive than I think it should be, and although it's usually cheaper than buying pillows, it still makes me cringe just a little. 2) They always come out lumpy! Which probably means there is some secret to pillow stuffing that I don't know about, so if you have any tips I'd be happy to hear them! :) Fortunately this time around I found a way to avoid both of those problems with these:

These pillows were from the bedding set we got for our wedding. When I changed our bedding, I was planning to get rid of these but I'm glad I never got around to it! I saved some money by using these as pillow forms and just making covers for them, and got the fabric on sale for even more saving. I also don't think they will get lumpy, especially if they haven't by now! Ready for the finished product?


Ta-da! It was so easy to do and I think they turned out really well. 
Want to make your own money-saving pillow covers? Here's how:

1) Start by figuring out the size of fabric you need & cut it out. This is how I figured it: the width is equal to the width of the pillow + 1" for seams. The length is equal to double the width of the pillow + 2" for seams + 3" for over lap. So this is how it worked out for my square pillow it was 17 x 17" so my total width was 17 + 2 (for seams) = 19" total, and my length was 34 (17 doubled) + 2" (for seams) + 3" (overlap) = 39" total. So the fabric I cut was 19 x 39" Hopefully that makes sense.
That was the hard part. :)

 2) Hem one of the shorter sides by folding the edges under 1/2", then 1/2" again and sewing along the fold (shown above). Repeat with the other short end.

 3) Lay your fabric right side up, then fold the short ends in toward the middle (shown above) until they overlap about 3" and the overall length is down to the actual size of your pillow (17" for me).

4) Sew down the two unfinished side with a 1/2" seam allowance (shown above as the right & left sides).

5) And that's it! Just turn you cover right side out. The back will open up to fit your pillow, and the overlap will keep your pillow from peeking out.

And here it is stuffed with a pillow.

And this fuzzy picture shows the red pillow hiding inside.
And there you have it. A cheap & easy way to change up your pillows.

Oh yeah, that's much better.

Sunday, August 1

Changing a Room with Curtains

I think curtains can really make or break a room. They are one of the best ways to incorporate colors & textures that will set the tone for the rest of the room. These are the curtains I put up when we got married:

and they have been great for the last 2 1/2 years, but they just don't give my living room the feeling I want it to have. I want it to feel light and airy and comfortable. Our living room is small and I just felt that these curtains weren't making it feel any bigger. They were too dark and hung too tight to the window (I didn't know better!). So I saved up some dollars and splurged on these beauties at Ikea!

Aaaaahhhhh..... I love them. Light. Fresh. Natural. And with hints of muted color to keep it interesting. You may be thinking, "White curtains with white walls?" I know, I thought the same thing before I bought them. But remember my living room is small, and softer transitions from one surface to another will make it seem less crowded (since your visual line isn't broken up by drastic changes in color). So these are actually working out PERFECTLY.

I mentioned that I splurged on these, but for such an important item like this I want to make sure it's something I love because I know I won't want to shell out cash to replace it any time soon. I was looking into making curtains, being thrifty you know, but once I saw these curtains I couldn't find any fabric that I like as much. AND when I counted the cost of buying enough fabric to make curtains & line them (these are lined) it wouldn't be much cheaper than buying them. That is one of my favorite things about Ikea. Low prices!
I got the rods at Ikea and chose wall brackets that can hold two rods so I can add a layer of sheers later if I want to.

Don't the windows look bigger? And bigger windows make any room feel bigger! The difference is the way I hung them this time. High & wide. These panels are long enough that I could hang them right up at the ceiling. I also extended the rods about 1 1/2 feet past the window on each side so when the curtains are pulled open they cover just past the window frame, leaving most of the window exposed so it feels bigger. And it made such a difference. I also like the look of them hanging straight instead of being tied back like they were before. A little more contemporary, maybe?

I love the way this room feels now! And that's the most important thing. Making it feel like home.