8.14.2015

Coffee Table Refinish

I got this coffee table for $25 off of Craigslist!  It had a lot of wear on the edges and water damage spots on the top but I loved the look of it and had to get it.  We've had it for 3 months and I finally dragged it outside to work on.





Here she's all sanded and primed ready for paint!

 HERE'S THE PROCESS:
Sand all surfaces
Prime
1st coat of paint
Sand with 220 grit
2nd coat of paint
Sanded & Distressed with 220 grit
1st coat of Ceramithane Clear Coat
Sanded with 550 grit
2nd coat of Ceramithane Clear Coat


It took me probably 7 hours to complete over 2 days and lots of messes to clean up... but the end result is worth it!

Cost: I already had everything but probably $25 for the products.

Let's hope the kids don't draw all over the top with their markers anytime soon or gouge it with scissors (that's wishful thinking)...

7.15.2015

Downloadable Door Hangers

I had to come up with a solution to the neighborhood kids knocking on my door while I've been trying to take a nap.  It has happened dozens of times with my most recent pregnancy where I would nap on the couch while my kids would watch a show sitting around me.  I'd be deadly tired all day and finally have a moment for a nap, about to dose off and there's pounding on my door.  Seriously the most frustrating thing!

Now I have a newborn and have even less chances of taking a nap with FOUR kids at home!

I made a door hanger to put on our front door... it's simple and easy to understand for the neighborhood kids with a "YES! We can Play" side and "Shhh... We Are Sleeping - DO NOT DISTURB" side.

I thought I'd share these door hangers for anyone else needing them!  I printed mine off at FedEx Kinko's (online with store pick-up) on glossy card-stock for $1.50 each, cut around the edges (except the middle where the 2 sides meet) and doorknob opening, folded in half and laminated.  It's easy to flip from one side to the other as needed! 

Download the "boy" version HERE.

 Download the "girl" version HERE.

Download the "baby" version HERE.
(good to put on baby's door for older siblings)

ENJOY!

Tutorial for Sewing Baby Blanket with Satin Binding

I love satin-edged baby blankets and so have all my kids!  You know what I DON'T like?  The pre-packaged satin binding you buy and sew on with a zigzag stitch - it never looks very good and trying to make the corners look perfectly mitered is a challenge even for an experienced seamstress.  And I didn't even mention that unsightly seam that connects both ends of the binding (just not good)!

I decided to try something new... I'm not sure what you would call it but it doesn't have any eye-catching seams (in a bad way) and it has a professional touch.  It involves sewing with your machine as well as hand-stitching.


You know what's awesome?  I got a large king-sized plush blanket from Costco for $15 and cut it into 6 pieces.  That's 6 soft baby blankets for $2.50/each plus about $2.50/each worth of satin material = $5/each!


SATIN-EDGED BABY BLANKET SEWING INSTRUCTIONS

Materials Needed:
1-1/2 yard plush fabric (at least 54" wide)
3/4 yard satin fabric (at least 54" wide)
Thread to match satin fabric

"Tools" Needed:
Sewing Machine
Scissors, Pins, Etc.
Hand Sewing Needle

-----

Cut Your Fabric:
Cut your plush fabric into a 52 x 52" square.
Cut your satin fabric into FOUR 6" x 54" strips.

Prepare Your Binding:
Fold binding strips in half across the length with wrong sides together.


Iron strips flat with a warm iron.

Sew Your Binding:
Center and pin your binding strips over your plush fabric on 2 opposing sides.  You want the raw edges of your satin strips about 1/4" away from the edge of your plush fabric.  Stitch along the raw edge of your binding with a 1/2" seam.

Turn your fabric over and flip the binding to the other side.  Line up the folded edge of your binding right along the stitches you created in the previous step.  Pin binding in place across the entire edge.


Center and pin your last binding strips on the other ends.  Notice these strips will be sewn on the reverse side of your plush fabric than how you sewed your first strips. Also, your first strips are only being held down with pins so make sure as you sew the other strips over them that their folded edges are lined up with the stitch line from the previous step.


Sew these last strips on just how you did with the first two, but fold over the excess edge of fabric over to the back side...


...so it looks like this.


Cut off the excess fabric from the first set of strips you sewed on so it is flush with the blanket fabric.

 Turn the blanket over and pull up the binding like this.


Fold the binding over and match up to your stitches just like you did with the first set.  Take extra care to ensure your corner looks nice and matches up perfectly with the edge.  Pin entire length in place.

Hand-Sew Your Binding:
You will be doing a slip-stitch to sew down the free edges of your binding.  Do your first 2 sides of binding (so you can hide your start and finish points inside the corners of the binding that overlaps)...


...like this.

 For your corners on your last binding strips you'll make your slip-stitch run up the edge...


 ...then continue around your binding...


...and back down to the corner.  For finishing off you can see in the picture I do a few loops at the corner to "tie-off" then I run my needle through the binding and out a few inches past where I finished stitching.. then I can clip my threads where they come out and there won't be any loose ends hanging off ready to unravel.
FINISHED!!

6.11.2015

DIY Wooden Baby Pillow Rocker Bassinet Lounger

Preparing for our baby has been fun!  I put a few ideas together and came up with a wooden rocker frame that has a large-contoured pillow for baby to relax in during the day in our living room.

I realize this project isn't for everyone as it involves both sewing AND woodworking but I thought it would be nice to share how I did it anyways!

DISCLAIMER: You are responsible for the safety of your baby while in rocker.  There are no safety harnesses.  Recommended to stop using once baby can sit-up or roll over.

There are 3 parts to this post:
Part 1 - Building the Wood Rocker Frame
Part 2 - Attach Adjuster Strap (for recline positions)
Part 3 - Sewing the Contoured Pillow


BABY PILLOW ROCKER INSTRUCTIONS

-----

-Part 1- 
FOR WOOD ROCKER FRAME:

Approximate Dimensions: 25"-deep by 17"-wide by 12"-tall

Materials Needed:
4x1x8' Furring Strip***
3x1x8' Furring Strip***
2x1x8' Furring Strip***
32 1-1/4" Kreg Pocket Hole Screws
16 Pine Pocket Hole Plugs (Optional) 
Wood Finishing Products of your Choice
Template for Rockers + Placement Guides (Click Here to Download)

***PLEASE NOTE: If you aren't familiar with buying lumber, the said dimensions of a board are actually different than the real measurements.  If you buy a common 2x4, the actual dimensions are 1-1/2" x 3-1/2".  It's weird, I know!  When I say 1x4 furring strip, the actual measurement is 3/4" x 3-1/2".  A 1x2 furring strip is actually 3/4" x 1-1/2".  The said length is always the actual measurement, so when you see 1x4x8', the board at the store will measure 3/4" x 3-1/2" x 8'(feet)

Tools Needed:
Kreg Pocket Hole Jig (or joining method of your choice)
Kreg Clamps
Drill & Pocket Hole Drill Bit
Miter Saw
Jigsaw or Band Saw
Orbital Sander
Measuring Tape
Pencil
Safety Glasses

Cut List:
 REMEMBER: The said dimensions of a board are always smaller, but the said length is exact.  So 1X4 @ 25" is actually your 3/4" x 3-1/2" board and you cut it to 25".

  2 - 1x4 @ 25" (for rockers)
2 - 1x4 @ 11" (side stretchers)
4 - 1x3 @ 8" (side arms)
4 - 1x2 @ 15" (center crossbars)

General Instructions:
I advise you to read through entire plan before beginning. Take precautions to build safely.  Always use straight boards. Work on a flat-level surface. Ask for help if you need it and have FUN!

Print out template for rockers and piece all 6 pages together.  Make sure print scaling is at 100% or set to "no page scaling".  Cut out.

Cut board pieces out using the "cut list" above.  For the rockers, use template pattern to cut out shape using jigsaw or band saw.  I used clamps to clamp both rockers together and sand curved edge nice and smooth (you want both pieces to match so it rocks smooth); test out how they rock on a flat surface and sand more if needed.

I clamped the 4 side arms together and rounded off the corners on one of the small ends (the other end stays flat for attaching to rockers).

Use your Kreg Jig to drill pocket holes.  See diagram below for pocket hole placement.
 

Sand all surfaces and corners smooth.  Layout your boards to make sure everything looks right before assembly.  The side stretchers sit 1-1/4" above the rockers.

 Use your Kreg clamps to clamp boards to a strong-flat surface.   Screw side stretchers to side arms with your 1-1/4" screws.

 Make sure your side piece is centered over rockers and screw into place.

 Use wood glue and pocket hole plugs to cover holes.

 This is what your pieces look like so far.

 Use your orbital sander to sand plugs flush with boards.
 Cut out around red dotted lines of your printed template for crossbar placement.  Place template over your sidepieces (whatever side you want on the inside) and mark around each rectangle for crossbars and over cross-hairs for screw placement.  TIP: You want your sides to be a mirror-image of each other so flip your template over for the second side.

Use a Kreg clamp to clamp center crossbars over your marks on your first side.  Screw all 4 crossbars to one side then onto the second side piece.

 Finish your wood how you wish.  I used General Finishes stain and Ceramithane protective coat.

-----

-Part 2-
FOR RECLINING ADJUSTER STRAP:
-pictured above-

Materials Needed:
2 Washers - 1"-diameter with 1/8"-hole
2 Pan Head Screws - Size 8 x 1/2"
1"-wide Nylon Webbing - 2 13"-pieces
2 1"-wide D-Rings

Tools Needed:
Drill and Drill Bits
Stove or Lighter (for Finishing Webbing Ends)
Large Nail (for Making Screw Hole in Webbing) - Optional

Lightly burn ends of webbing with fire to keep from unraveling.

 On first strap, place both d-rings over one end and overlap webbing 1-1/2"; stitch a rectangle around overlap to secure in place.  On second strap, fold one end over with a 3/4" overlap; stitch end down.
 On both straps, fold over remaining end down 1" and poke a large-hot nail through the center of the overlap to create a hole for screw (simultaneously melts opening to avoid unraveling).

 Pre-drill hole in wood frame over "screw placement" mark you made during the building process.  Place screws through washers and "pre-drill" through webbing hole.

Screw straps in place and secure straps together withe free end through d-rings.

-----
 

-Part 3-
FOR CONTOURED PILLOW:
-pictured above-

Materials Needed:
2/3 Yard (54"-wide) Minky Fabric
Large Bag of Stuffing (or 2 Regular-Sized Pillows)
Matching Thread
10 Small Pony Beads (for securing puckers)
Heavy-Duty Matching Thread (for securing puckers)

 Tools Needed:
Sewing Machine
Long Hand Sewing Needle
Washable Fabric Marker


Lay your minky fabric out flat; fold in-half (hamburger style) so selvage ends are together; cut down the center.  You should now have 2 rectangles that measure 24" x 29".  To create the curved corners, use a large dish plate or other large circular object; match up with raw edges of fabric and trace curve.  Cut curve.  TIP: to save time, keep your fabric together from cutting center so you can cut corners of both layers at the same time.

To mark fabric for puckers, follow diagram above to mark over red cross-hairs with your washable fabric marker on the right-side of fabric.

With right sides together (and marks matching), pin fabric pieces together and sew around entire pillow casing with a 1/2" seam, leaving a 4"-wide opening on one of the long-straight sides.

Turn pillow casing right-side out and stuff with stuffing (either packaged or from other pillows) until it is full and firm enough to cradle baby well.

Sew opening closed by hand with a blind stitch.

Create puckers by looping your heavy-duty thread from each front mark to corresponding mark on the back-side using an extra long sewing needle.  Add a pony bead on each side to keep thread from pulling through fabric.  Looping around each bead about 4 times and pull tight each time to create a nice-deep pucker.

Your pillow should look like this when you're done!

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 Place pillow in rocker so the centered-pucker is on the end where the adjuster strap is (where baby's head goes).