Saturday, March 31, 2012

Cloth - Quick Project - Bunnies and Bunting

Did you know Easter is next week?  I have no idea how that happened and no one consulted me. 

I am ashamed to say that until a few days ago I still had up all of my St. Patty's day decorations.  I knew there was a reason why I never put up St. Patrick's day decs before.  There is no time between Valentine's Day and Easter! 

With visitor's coming for the weekend I had to get my keester in gear, take the leprechaun legs down, and get some bunnies up. 

Project #1: Spring Bunting

No big whoop here.  Fabric + Ribbon = Bunting

Project #2: Spring pictures for my frame gallery in the reading nook.

Project #3: Fabric Bunnies

Instructions for these super cute bunnies along with a pattern can be found from  The Long Thread for Etsy.

As you can see I ended up leaving the faces off of mine.  I was going for a bit more primitive feel.  I may end up putting faces on later...I can't decide.  They were originally designed to be used as bowling pins for a children's game but the weighted bottoms (I used beans instead of rice) make for nice stand-up decorations.

They came together really quick with low frustration which is a great quality in a last minute craft project.

Project Ranking:
Difficulty- Easy
Frustration - Low
Make-ability - 100% worth it

You won't be able to make just know bunnies...if you make one you will end up with a bunch of them in the end.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Wood - Update - Laundry Room Remodel

According to the husband I am delusional with a weak grasp of reality.

I went into last weekend with the assumption that the laundry room cabinets would be completed by Sunday night.  I am not a complete head-in-the-clouds so I didn’t think they would all be painted…but I did think they would be completely assembled.

So when the husband came in from the garage on Sunday night stating that he had gotten further than he anticipated on the cabinets I assumed that he had started sanding to get ready for painting.

Apparently not.

From project to project I tend to forget that it takes time for things to glue and set.  Gluing ready should hurry up as it is non-exciting bummer step.  I like flashy steps that are quick and progress is right up front and on display.

However it is hard to get furniture that doesn't fall apart without some of the more boring steps.

So what did the husband accomplish last weekend?

The 2 outside cabinent pieces are put together with the face frames.  No cabinent doors yet. 

In the husband's eyes total cabinent domination.  For the wife...I really wanted to paint everything this week.

Patience is not my strong suit.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wood & Cloth - Ramblings - Life with Dogs

We had a close call with our supervisory craft pug last week.  You might remember Sophie from our past posts.  She is often photo-bombing our projects.

Last week however she just wasn’t herself.  She is a hard one to read because let’s face it she is just a little bit weird.  She shakes and whimpers and sits oddly.  All of those things of course add to her charm.

So when she was shaking uncontrollably last week I didn’t really think too much of it.  However after she stopped following me around the house everywhere, I got worried and took her into the vet. 

Apparently the poor little pup had a very severe infection of the uterine lining which was causing her to go septic.  We caught it just in time as they scheduled her for emergency surgery a few hours later. 

I’m not exactly sure when I became so attached to this dog.  We have only had her 5 months.  She has a stupid tongue that gets slobber everywhere.  I can’t walk around the house without tripping over her.  She breathes way too loud…and she has absolutely stolen my heart.

Sophie is the first rescue dog for both the husband and me.  I grew up with dogs but they were either there before I was born or came from someone around town that had puppies.  The Sophie experience has changed how we will adopt dogs in the future.  I honestly cannot recommend adoption enough, especially the adoption of a slightly older dog.  Those dogs have wanted for love and have felt abandonment and in Sophie’s case abusive physical pain.  You can change that for them and in return they will change your life.  They will also get underfoot as they tend to be a bit clingy…but don’t focus on that....

It was hard to leave Sophie at the vet for her surgery but I was happy that we were in the situation that we could afford the cost as she would not have made it through the night.  Thankfully the surgery went really well and we were even able pick her up later that night. 

Fully recovered from her ordeal Sophie was back in action this weekend as we continued to work on the laundry room cabinets.  She even felt good enough to get tangled up in the string the husband was using to draw out the curve for the upper cabinets. 

If you are considering a dog (or cat) please check out your local animal shelters.  They have tons of amazing animals just waiting to find a forever home. 
You never know you may find a craft pug of your very own!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Wood-Project Update-Laundry Room Remodel

Finally some progress was made on the laundry room remodel.

We got to get this thing done as spring is on the way.  Soon there will be gardening to do, bikes to ride, and pugs to walk. 

The husband took to the wood shop (aka the garage) this past weekend and got a good start on the cabinets.

This project he actually didn't spend too much time drawing out all of the plans.  He sketched out a few things and then started letting the saw dust fly.  I am hoping I don't hear a bunch of cursing coming from outside when he realizes that he didn't have a measurement correct.....I am hoping.

After going back a forth on what material to use we settled on plain old particle board for the interiors.  We chose particle board for a few reasons.
  1.  We wanted to do this project fairly cheap as it is the laundry room! 
  2. The husband was a bit concerned about the overall weight of the cabinets if they were made out of hardwood plywood.  I plan on loading these bad boys up with heavy stuff like laundry detergent, large bottles of cleaning stuff, and gold bouillon bricks.  Okay maybe not gold bricks but some pretty heavy stuff.
  3. I wanted something I could paint or maybe even do some crazy contact paper type lining.  No need for nice wood when you are just going to cover it up.

The of all of the shelving and cabinet pieces will have hardwood face frames so you won't see any of the ugly particle board edges.

The cabinets consist of 3 parts.

The middle piece that is shown above and below will have one enclose shelf, 3 openings for baskets, and then the top of the shelf will be open to the ceiling.  I wanted to be able to put tall decor on top of the middle piece. 

The right and left pieces will be the ones with the doors (no picture as they are not put together yet).  They will each have an upper shelf that will feature a slightly curved molding across the top.  The top of the side pieces will actually be higher than the top of the middle piece.  These 2 pieces will be where the real storage takes place as you can hid a bunch of sins behind a cabinet door.

The husband also wanted to give the project a bit of depth so the side pieces will stick out a bit further from the wall than the middle piece.

I have to say designing the cabinets was pretty fun.  I can't wait to see how they look once they are finished.

Also I may or may not have purchased wallpaper this weekend. 

Black and white stripes no biggy.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Wood & Cloth-Archive-Craft Room

I need a redo.

Last week was not a great one for Wood & Cloth.  Especially for Cloth.  I was so looking forward to last weekend as we had some really warm spring temperatures and abundant sun shine....or so the husband tells me.  I spent the entire weekend in bed with a stupid stomach bug.  I haven't been so wiped out in a long time.  All of my plans had to be put aside as I couldn't even sit upright for more than a few minutes without having to lay back down.  I guess if you are going to be sick over a weekend it is nice if that weekend has one less hour.  I usually bemoan the loss of my hour going to daylight savings time but this year I didn't even miss it...good riddance.

The hits kept coming as the week started.  I had to peal myself out of bed on Monday morning as I had something scheduled at work that I couldn't miss.  In my other non-blog-non-Cloth I-work-hard-for-my-money life I had to fire an employee.  It is always a really hard decision and one aspect of my job that I will probably never be able to do without getting myself worked up.  I often worry that the firing will be the beginning of a downhill slide for the person that will end up with them homeless on the streets.  I don't want to be the cause of that.  I do pull myself back and realize that everyone is responsible for their actions and if the work is not up to par a change needs to be made.

So I went to work still ill, took care of business, went home and crawled back into bed for the rest of the day.

Time for a redo.

While I can't redo last week I can bust open the Wood & Cloth project archive and show the craft room redo we did.  While the bulk of the remodel took place a couple of years ago we have been adding furniture over the years and I recently redid all of my fabric and notion storage just a few weeks ago.

The craft room was one of the first rooms we remodeled in the new house.  I always wanted a room to be able to spread out all of my projects but not have to pick them up every day if I didn't want to.  It is nice being able to hide craft-explosion with a closed door.

Phase 1

I wanted the craft room to have a bit of a country feel with some bright cheery colors.  We put put bead board and a chair rail and painted the room a fun yellow.  The yellow is a story in itself...and why I always buy paint testers now.  The original yellow in the room is now referred to in our house as "retina searing yellow." 

The husband also framed in the window adding to the country feel.

The craft table is one of the first pieces of furniture the husband made for the new house.  It is extra long so that I can lay out a bunch of fabric or crafts and still have room for my laptop and sewing machine.  We actually found the table legs at an antique store.  I almost didn't want to sand them down because they had so much character but in the end I knew I wanted a red table so the old paint and history had to go.

Phase 2

The next big project was a window seat and cabinet/shelf tower furniture set.  This was a really fun project.  Wood got to make the furniture and I got to sew my first box cover and learn how to make pillow cording!  While I did have visions of spending numerous hours sitting at the window reading it is typically occupied by pugs.  I will confess that the husband and I have found that it is a good vantage point for spying on the neighbors.  (Don't act like you don't do it too!)

Phase 3

For the longest time the shelves sat bare except for a few random in process projects here and there.  Oh and of course the TV!  The husband in a move of shear genius got the wife a TV for Christmas one year.  It was a well played move designed to cut down on the complaints about NFL Sunday ticket and the fact the wife wanted to be able to watch Lifetime movies during her Sunday crafting. 


I finally got around to organizing my fabric and putting to use a few things I had been picking up over the years at garage and antique sales.

The craft room has come a long way from the beginning.  It is truly a room I enjoy spending time in. 

Now I just need to get another project going so I can put last week behind me even if I can't redo it!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Wood - Quick Project - Repurposed Bathroom Vanity Router Table

It is a complete buzz-kill when you are super excited about a new project only to realize that you don’t have all of the tools necessary to even get started.  Missing a key item or plan can not only completely derail your project but also your enthusiasm. 
With visions of black and yellow chevron dancing through my head I figured we would be able to start the laundry room remodel ASAP.  Unfortunately the husband informed me that neither of the 2 router tables he had would be able to handle the large router bit needed to make the cabinetry portion of the laundry room project. 


Most people would probably just go buy a router table at this point.  The husband found that option unacceptable.  Apparently we are both gluttons for punishment and both get frustrated when items that can most likely be made cheaply are overpriced at the store.  So instead of shelling out 100 bucks for a router table the husband build one for 17 dollars.

Inspiration usually hits at odd times…like when you are watching an episode of Criminal Minds and the killer ("unsub" for all you Criminal Minds junkies) has just finished chopping someone up into tiny pieces.  I am not sure what synaptic connection was made in the husbands mind but apparently watching the carnage unfold on the screen made him realize that he could build a router table out of an old bathroom vanity.  Don’t waste your time trying to figure that one out.   The human mind is crazy and the male mind doesn’t think in any logical manner that I have been able to decipher.
I digress... 

If you are looking for an used home item and have a local Habitat for Humanity ReStore we highly recommend you check it out.  They have a ton of items in relatively good condition for great prices.  Plus the money goes to a good cause.  Win, win.

We ended up finding the perfect piece for only 5 dollars.  When we asked the employee how much they were charging he tried to convince us that we didn’t want the beat-up old thing.  “It doesn’t have a door.”  “The top is missing.” “It is ugly.”  He actually seemed torn asking us for a whole five dollars.  One man’s garbage is another man’s router table...and as a bonus it had a small drawer for router bit storage.

As all routers and accessories are different this is not really a tutorial just a general description of the steps the husband took to make his 17 dollar masterpiece.

Project Ranking
Difficulty –Moderate
Frustration –Low
Makeability – 100% Worth It

Step 1: Cut board to desired size for the top of the router table.  The husband used an MDF board.

Step 2: Measure and cut opening for router as well as holes for anchoring and installing the router fence and guard. (Necessary for keeping all of the husbands fingers intact!)
Step 3: Mount the router guard on the top of the router table.
Step 4: Mount the router housing upside down underneath the table top inside the cabinet.

Step 5: In order to make the router easy to use it was necessary to install a switch for the power controls.  If you are familiar with routers you will know that if you are using your router unattached to a table (by holding it in your hands) you have to depress the triggers on the handles to engage the power.  So if you now have it mounted inside your cabinet you will not be able to depress the power triggers.  The husband used a power switch from one of his old router tables and rigged up the handles to always be in the “on” position.   This way the power is controlled through the power switch and not on the handles themselves.  The wife was pretty impressed with his thinking on this one.  She was also concerned that this may lead to additional finger cutting off opportunities….  After seeing the final setup it seems safe but as a disclaimer Wood and Cloth have no idea if this project will lead to your fingers getting cutoff so if you choose to do it and cut off your fingers it is your own fault for following instructions you found online from people that have no qualifications for giving instructions on how to modify fast moving sharp objects.

Step 6:  Finally the husband routed out a guide for a miter gauge. I had originally called this a wood pusher but apparently that wasn't the technical term. 

All in all a great cheap project and we are now one step closer to starting the laundry room redo!  Time to order some wallpaper.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Wood & Cloth - Project - Tree Silhouette Wall Art Panels

Is there a medical term for individuals that have a severe phobia to hanging things on the wall? 

Large Art Placement Aversion? 

Whatever the term, I have it.  I don't have an issue with the actual act of hanging things on the wall but when it comes to picking out wall art.....shear panic!  I have always liked blank spaces on walls and feel a bit claustrophobic when every spare inch of wall in a house has something hanging on it.  I also feel like large wall decorations are such a commitment...and you have to put holes in the wall!  The husband makes frequent, futile attempts to remind me that holes can be filled and walls can always be repainted.  Unfortunately I now have an almost paralyzing mental block when it comes to making the commitment on a wall art project or purchase.

So it is big day for Wood & Cloth when we hang something new on the walls...yippee!

We teased this project awhile back and it is finally done!  While the actual project didn't take too much time finding a project the wife could actually envision on the wall...took about 2 years.   

We actually stumbled upon this project in the Lowe's Creative Project magazine that we get in the mail.  If you don't currently get the mailer I suggest you sign-up for it on the Lowe's website it is free and has a surprising amount of interesting projects.

This is the original project picture and the instruction link back to Lowes.
Tree wall art
I liked the concept but knew I needed something bigger and the colors were not going to work for our stairway landing wall.  So we tweaked the plans a bit and the final project is something I found easy to hang on the wall.

Project Ranking
Difficult - Moderate
*Depending on your final size you may need access to some sort of saw.
Frustration - Medium
*I spent a long time laying down the tape for the tree patterns.  If your project is smaller and you don't second guess yourself all of the time like I did trying to get things perfect this may not be frustrating at all!
Makeability- 100% Worth It
*Even with some mild frustration this project was worth it.  We ended up with a large high quality piece of wall art that even I am glad is hanging on the wall.

NOTE: Lowe's lists out materials on their website.  The materials listed below are specific for the piece we made.

Oak Plywood  (Each panel is 14 x 36 inches)
*The Lowes version used Birch.  We liked the Oak grain a bit better.  You want to be careful when you select your wood.  If you are planning on hanging large pieces on the wall you will want to make sure that your board is flat.  We pulled out a few different pieces before we found one that we liked.  It is also important that you get a fairly thick piece.  Ours was 3/4 inches.  If you get something really thin it will just warp when you stain/paint it. 

Wood Stain
*Golden Oak from Minwax.  As you will note below we tried out a bunch of stain/paint combinations.  At this point I think we pretty much own the entire collection of Minwax stains so I thought we should try them all out.

*Dark color is Valencia Moss in Satin from Valspar.
*Lighter color is Dry Earth in Satin from Valspar.
*I cannot overstate how much I love the paint testers.  Whenever we do a paint project we try out a few options.  I would say that 80% of the time we end up going with a color that was not our first choice at the store.  Paint truly does look different in your then you have a bunch of extra colors to use for various projects later on.

Paint tape (skinny and wide sizes)

As the instructions are posted on the Lowes site no need to go into them again.  However here are a few tips we picked up along the way.

Tip 1:  Don't over think things.  I was completely paralyzed at the beginning thinking that I needed to do a practice placement of my tape strips or at least draw out a rough design layout.  Just start putting some tape down.  The tape comes off pretty easy so you can pull it off and redo if you don't like the look of things.

Tip 2: Don't let your tape stay on your panels too long.  I ended up doing 2 coats of paint for each of the panels so by the time I let the first one and then the second one dry the tape was on the panels about 12 hours.  I did find that in some places it was a bit hard to remove.  At the same time I don't think you want to rush to get the tape off as you won't get the nice lines if you try to take the tape off while the paint is still wet.  It makes a mess (don't ask how I know...)

Like all things I end up hanging on the wall I instantly hated how the panels looked.  Did I mention I have a problem? 

It took me awhile but now as I walk past the stairs and see them hanging on the wall I have to admit they look much better than the blank wall.  For me that is saying a lot. 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Cloth-Quick Project-Ruffled Rainbow Pillow

While the husband was away playing tennis this past week I decided to spend the night with Roy G. Biv.


I needed a splash of St. Patty's day color and cheer upstairs in the reading nook so a fun scrappy rainbow pillow seemed to fit the bill.

Project Ranking
Difficultly - Moderate
Frustration - Low
Makeability - 100% Worth It!

Rainbow Fabrics
*I used broadcloth but if you don't want it to fray so much you may want to use a bulkier type fabric like a good quality quilt cotton.
*To make the pattern as written below you will need 1 1/2 inch wide strips by 42 inch long for each of the colors you choose.  If you get 1/8 of a yard of each you will have extra material.
Backing Fabric (main body of the pillow)
*The pillow is 17 inches x 20 inches.  You will need 2 pieces of that size.
Quilt Batting (Optional)
*I used a very light weight linen fabric so I added a piece of batting to each linen panel.  When stuffing with Polyfill for pillows I have found adding the batting makes the pillow look less lumpy in the end.
Threads of various colors

Step 1: Cut your backing and batting fabrics (if desired).  You will need 2 of each at 17 x 20 inches.

Step 2: Cut your rainbow strips.  Each color will be 42 inches long x 1 1/2 inches.

Step 3: Prepare your rainbow fabric strips for gathering.  I use the 2 string method for making gathers.  If you have never gathered before it really is quite easy. 
First you will need to put your sewing machine on the longest stitch setting you have available.  Position your fabric strip the long way under your sewing foot (you will sew the 42 inches) and sew long straight stitches at a 5/8 inch seam.  Clip your strings.  Flip your strip around and sew another long straight stitch 5/8 on the other side as shown below.  Repeat for all colors.
NOTE:  A couple of tips when sewing the gathering stitch guides.  You do not need to sew using matching thread as you will be removing these threads later so any color will work.  As you will need something to hang onto when doing the gathering you will want to leave about 5 inches of length on each of your threads.  Also be sure NOT to put in a setting stitch or backstitch as you need to be able to pull the gathering stitch guides out later on.

Step 4: Find the middle of each of your sewed color strips.  Pinch the middle with your finger and gently pull both of your looser thread, typically the bobbin threads, so the fabric bunches up as seen below.  Bunch up the other side so the entire strip is bunchy (is that a word, is it spelled right?)

Step 5: Take one of your backing pieces.  You will be marking 3 dots. 
First mark is at 10 inches (on the 20 inch side) and 3 1/2 inches from the top.  This mark will be where you place the middle of the red strip.
Second mark is 2 inches from the right side and 4 inches from the bottom.  This is where the right side of the red strip of the rainbow will start.
Third mark is 2 inches from the left side and 4 inches from the bottom.  This is where the left side of the red strip of the rainbow will end.

Step 6: Pin the middle of the red strip at the mark you made.  Gently spread out your ruffles so that the ends of your strip hit the other 2 marks you made.  Pin the strip in a semi-circle pattern.  The red strip needs to go the furthest so you will need to adjust your ruffles so that you have enough length.  If you pull out too many of your gathers no problem.  You can always scrunch it back up again.

Step 7: Make sure your sewing machine is set back to your normal stitch length (back from the long stitch you used while making the gathering stitches). Sew down the middle of the 2 gathering stitches using a coordinating color of thread.  You will want to set these stitches as they are not coming back out.  Do NOT pull out the gathering stitches yet.

Step 8: Using the gathering stitch as a guide pin your next strip ~5/8 inch from each other.  Sew and pin each color.
NOTE:  You will end up with some extra length on each of your remaining color strips. You will only want to sew down your strips to the same point as your red strip.  You will cut of the extra later. 

Step 9: Gently pull out your guide stitches by pulling the at the bobbin threads.  I will say this was a bit tricky because of the curves in the strips.  When in doubt whip out your seam ripper.

Step 10: Cut off the bottoms of your strips so they are all the same length.

Step 11: Pin your batting (if using) to the back of each of the backing pieces (one will have your rainbow on it).
Step 12: Pin your backing pieces right sides together and stitch using ~5/8 seam allowance.  Make sure you leave yourself at least 4-5 inches of opening to turn your pillow out.  Clip any excess seam and clip your corners.

Step 13: Turn out your pillow and poke out your corners using a bamboo stick.

Step 14: Stuff to desired fluffiness with Polyfill and sew your opening closed.

Now all you need is a pot of gold!