Sunday, April 20, 2014

Beach Towel Tote Bag

My first commissioned job!  My sister's coworker saw someone with a beach towel tote bag, and instantly wanted one herself.  My sister said something along the lines of, "I think my sister could make that."

Have I ever made a tote bag before?  No.  I have made a few draw string bags, so I took that idea for boxing out the bottom, making a duplicate out of lining fabric, and basting the two together.  Then I cut out two wide strips from the towel, sewed them together, and sewed one side of that to the bag (matching right sides).  Next I made the handles out of the same lining fabric and attached them to the top strips, folded the strips over, and slip-stitched to the inside of the bag.  Voila!  Not bad for throwing it together in one night/morning.  Turned out really cute.

I also inserted a tag while slip-stitching.  I love-love-love my sewing machine, thanks mommy for the best Christmas present ever!  It can sew character stitches!  So I sewed my "business" name FOUND FRILLS onto a scrap piece of fabric, with a contrasting overcasting stitch around the edges (purple fabric and orange thread, love that color combination, I always have).  It came out crooked and wonky, being the first time I ever used the character stitching, but oh well I think it still looked cute.

I should have taken more pictures, I'm really bad about that.  Need to get into the hang of it.  I always make fun of Chris for always taking pictures, but sometimes that's a good thing.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Kitchen update: paint still peeling!

In my last update about my kitchen remodel, I had chipped off as much old paint as I could from the backsplash areas and a ceiling beam.  I left it at that for a few weeks until yesterday when I looked up at the ceiling beam and saw more paint peeling!  I realized that I could not simply keep chipping off paint and spackling because if I do and paint over it, obviously more old paint will chip underneath and it would look horrible.

Option 1: strip off all of the paint, then paint over with the new paint.

I have too much of a creative mind for option 1!  I kept rolling things over in my mind...

Option 2: Cover the whole beam in new wallpaper that flatters the color and style I'm going with.

How cohesive could that really look though?

A third option hit me like a wrecking ball of creative genius!

Option 3: Cover the whole beam in three wood planks, making it look like a solid wood beam.

I immediately fell in love with the picture in my mind and felt the other options completely inferior.  I shared this idea with my mom and sister.  My mom liked the wallpaper idea, my sister suggested a vinyl, faux wood covering.  Right now I prefer real wood, but my next step needs to be scouting the hardware store to physically see my options and go from there.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Slow start on kitchen makeover

Hey there, been awhile! Still working this seasonal job... I really like where I am but the work is pretty dull most of the time.  I am hoping a permanent position will open up somewhere here, there is a glimmer of possibility with some reorganization that is taking place, preparing for a bunch of people retiring soon.  I have not had the willpower to look elsewhere for a permanent job, I probably won't until I become part-time in the fall.  With that said, I have also lacked the willpower to do home improvement work.  I had been doing some things during the weekends, but summer weekends often get filled up with other events, so what I am trying to say here is: not much has gotten done on the house, ok!

What I have managed to do is get a start on the kitchen. Yes, my husband and I had a prior agreement that the bathroom would be the first project, but you know what? He never started on the bathroom, and I managed to get started on the kitchen first, so there! It happened like this... I was off work for Independance Day and was bored, so I got curious about how easily/difficult the wallpaper would come off in the kitchen.  To my astonishment and utter glee, all it took was a little picking with a fingernail at a corner seam of a panel and whoosh! came peeling off the entire panel in one pull! Another couple hours of that process and the walls were bare, save behind the stove.  Unfortunately, this revealed some gloomy paint chipping underneath.  The ceiling beam and the backsplash are the culprits that need some heavy-handed correction.  After repeating a spackle-and-sanding process that kept leaving more paint chipping, my motivation waned.  I chipped off as much paint as I figured I needed to, which ended up being most of the backsplash and very large spots on the ceiling beam.  Now I need to push myself to finish spackling and sanding it all, and hope no more paint chips.  Hopefully it won't take as long as waiting for a snowy day, because with this drought a rainy day is most unlikely!

After the walls are finally all smooth and whole, the plan is to paint a light green. Following projects for the kitchen include:
- Painting cabinets white and installing knobs
- Installing a mosaic tile backsplash, using those easy/cheap sheets of them
- Painting the light fixtures (applying my "found frills" blog theme here)
- Possibly painting a faux granite on the countertops (Rustoleum Transformations)
- Changing out window treatments, would like to get bamboo blinds or something similar
- Covering the chairs in cloth (again with "found frills" philosophy)

It's a lot of work for sure, but it's a hobby and I can't wait to see my visualization come to life!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Bathroom makeover - decisions!

Wallpaper, we meet again!  The bathroom and the kitchen are the two rooms in the house with the old, femine, peeling wallpaper and it all needs to go!  The plan with this room is the blue theme, again for my husband like the bedroom, per our agreement.  He wants an underwater theme.  The first step is to take the wallpaper off and paint the room a light blue, keeping the white door trim.  That is my only definite plan so far, everything else is still in decision mode. 

My husband and I are going on vacation to his favorite destination, Virginia Beach, at the end of May (we are SO excited, it will be our first real vacation together!).  We plan to collect some things to bring back for the bathroom, so that will be fun.  Oh how the creative wheels will turn!

The bathroom has a problem: the drywall on the ceiling over the shower is peeling, and I am praying there is no mold growing.  I want to put pretty blue glass tile over it to help protect from mold, but I have no experience with that kind of handyman work, will have to borrow an elder family member for help and advice.  Right now I like this tile from Home Depot, "Merola Tile Spectrum" mosaic glass tile
(pulls in the green theme of the house well):

I would also like to replace the mirror/medicine cabinet and lighting fixtures, they are very outdated and have some rust showing.  Not sure if I want to get another mirror with a medicine cabinet or find/make something to go next to the mirror, maybe in the corner.

I think with all these decisions I still have to make I will work on the kitchen next, then the bathroom.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Bedroom makeover - almost complete

(Almost?) finished!  I finally got the lyrics art piece completed.  There are some bubbles in the paper but for how much frustration I've gone through with these things I think I will live with them. And as for the headboard, I decided to use screws (crossing fingers it will hold up!)

[Picture coming soon - updated bedroom]

I have had these model ships since my childhood and was fascinated by them from reading Brian Jacques' Redwall series and wanted to collect them.  I have two. I think they would be a nice addition to the blue themed bedroom.  I have a couple small shelves I am thinking of painting white to put the ships on.  First I need to figure out where to place them in the room.

There are too many neutral colors in this room, I need a pop of color somewhere.  I found this idea, I think from Better Homes and Gardens, of covering the box spring in a fitted sheet to add color to a bedroom.  I think I will start with that.  But what color?  My other favorite color is purple, but yellow would look neat with the color scheme. Oh what to do!  I will try out both colors somehow and see what I like best.

*Life update: Still doing this temporary assignment.  I have come to the realization that they will just keep giving me random office duties and never end my assignment.  This was not supposed to last longer than a month and now it has been two months.  Time to move on.  I sent an e-mail to the agency saying they need to start sending me on interviews, hopefully they can find me a temp-to-hire position in accounting, I have been wanting to try that out as a career.  As for my own job search, I have an interview today with a lawnmower retailer for administrative assisting.  Not sure how well it will use my Bachelor degree education though...

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Kitchen makeover - plans and procrastination

Wallpaper! From the wrong decade! Has to go (reminds me of a dentist office).  Especially for selling the home, I think it will be a good selling point to have clean walls.  And what color to paint them?  Green of course!  My childhood bedroom (once I kicked my sisters out of it and it was truly mine) was a light, natural shade of green, a color that absolutely calms and soothes me.  I want to wash the kitchen in it.  After I accomplish this great task, I will then consider painting the cabinets white and putting in knob fixtures to break up the white.  I am also thinking of a cream color instead of white...thoughts?  I am leaving the floor as is, I do not want to spend the money on it.  I think the color of the floor and countertops should be taken into consideration when choosing a paint color for the cabinets.

The table and chairs I currently have are hand-me-down from my grandmother.  It is a nice size, shape, and I like the cushioned rolly chairs.  It is also old with dog chew marks on the legs.  I am thinking of covering the fabric in a new fabric with a modern pattern, not sure how well that can be accomplished though, will have to do some exploration in the future.

For my new found love of roman shades I was thinking about it for the kitchen, but I do not want to overdo it with fabric, I think instead I will replace the blinds with wooden or bamboo ones, I have always liked those.  I think I will paint first and make all other design decisions around that.

I am anxious about removing the wallpaper.  It is old and peeling and needs to go, but I have never done it before and I do not want to screw it up.  What I need to do is decide on a day to set aside to tackle it and just do it.  Maybe this weekend?  We will see...

Living Room makeover - work in progress

I know I said I hated white walls, but I also do not want to paint the whole house!  The living room needed updating but I decided to keep the white walls and add color in other ways.  Again, the first thing to go were the curtains.  They are a solid color, and a color I do not care for at all.  They also take up a ton of wall space, making the room feel smaller than it should. They also made it impossible to see the entire window, which I would prefer to see. 

My favorite color is green and I love flowers and nature so I went those themes when I went fabric shopping.  I looked on the websites of stores in my area and found either patterns I did not like or patterns that I loved that were too expensive.  So I searched for fabric websites that had a lot of variety with good prices and found a great website,  They have $5 shipping on any amount of fabric!  After days of searching and excruciating decision making, I finally chose a pattern that was fun, had hints of green, blue, and browns that reflected the theme of the whole house that I was going for, and it made me feel plunged into nature again (have I told you how much I hate city living?). 

I loved the way the roman shades worked out in the bedroom so much that I thought it would be a brilliant thing to do with the smaller windows in the living room.  It would open up so much space and would not weigh the room down in so much fabric and pattern.  Hint: when working with heavier drapery fabric, load up the glue on the top bar of the blinds! 

I was originally going to double up the fabric on the larger window with a sheer fabric underneath because I like to have light shining through but still have privacy (with houses a stone's throw away) but when I finished the roman shades the fabric proved to let in just enough light that I was very pleased with it and exchanged my double curtain rod for a single rod (and saved some money I might add!).

I really despise WalMart, but with my nothing-budget I could not afford to be picky, so I chose a really pretty rod that had a design that complimented the fabric pattern well.  It was also one of the longest rods I could find: I wanted to cover as much of the wall as I could with fabric, almost in the spirit of an accent wall.  I learned from my years of studying magazines and TV shows that a curtain placed closed to the ceiling will make the ceiling appear higher.  With the rod stretching all the way across the wall I would be able to pull the curtains back enough to see the entire window.

[Picture coming soon - close up of rod end]

I would like to have wood floors with a very pretty area rug in the living room.  I am very curious to see what is beneath the carpet, but then I think about my ten month old puppy sliding around on the wood floor chasing toys and cats, so I think I will live with the carpet for now.

Next on my list for the living room is a piece of art to go above the couch.  What is there currently is part of the decor from my great aunt, and again is not my style, from the metal frame to the French city landscape.  I almost got a pair of antique Audubon Society pictures at the flea market, one of a pair of cardinals and the other a pair of blue jays, but I did not want to pay the price she wanted for them (darn my cheapness!).

I have an idea to make something out of facial tissue boxes.  I may seem silly to you, but some of the store brands I have been buying have really pretty patterns and I have been wanting to do something creative with them.  I was thinking bookmarks, or greeting cards, but then I thought of a piece of art in the form of a grid collage, inspired by this Pinterest piece.  I have started cutting out three inch squares from boxes I have and setting them aside.  Once I have enough I would like to glue them to a piece of foam board and hang it on the wall.  If I do not find anything better to hang above the couch, then this tissue collage will be it.  I think it is a neat idea, but I think it will take me quite a long time to go through that many tissue boxes and cut out all of those squares... we will see what I can do with this.

My dog has been shedding a lot.  I thought a microfiber couch would be easy to clean, but the hair just loves to cling to it.  When my husband and I went couch shopping I had very specific criteria of the color.  Basically it went: brown is dull, white would show dirt, and green is my favorite color.  But I have to cover the couch because it collects so much dog hair, I could not see the green anyway!  So I found this lovely green king-sized sheet that covers the couch wonderfully and stays in place, and can be removed easily when company comes over.

The coffee table has to go.  It is old fashioned and not at all in a good way.  I cannot make DIY updates to it because it belonged to my husband's late grandmother and apparently she would haunt us if anything happened to it (I never met her but I would like to know what her attachment really was to the furniture, because I am pretty sure it is her family that attaches it to her more than she was ever attached to the furniture, do you know what I mean?).  I am having trouble deciding with what to replace it with though.  It needs to have a solid surface because it is often used for meals.  I do not want it to be too heavy and large that it takes up too much of the room and makes the room feel small and cramped.  I have been thinking storage ottoman(s), but those can be expensive new.  Any suggestions?

[Picture coming soon - close up on coffee table]

The latest addition that was made to the living room was bringing back a love seat that has been stored in the basement since we got the green couch.  I call it Basil's couch because I wanted her to be able to get on it to see out the windows while my husband and I were out working.  It is just as heavy in floral pattern as the new curtains are, so to avoid a jungle taking over the living room I covered the couch in a solid blue sheet, keeping with the green/blue theme of the house.

So there is my living room, a work in progress.  I am still working as a temp for this assignment that is going on longer than anticipated, and I am still going to job interviews now and then.  I hope I will find the job that makes me happy, the job that I was meant for.  Just wish I knew what that was!

[Picture of current living room]