Monday, September 9, 2013

I painted a wall!

After more than two years of ignoring my blog, I'm back with some new projects! My husband and I recently moved into a new apartment in a new city and I'm working on updating the place with our own personal touch.

Unlike our last apartment, which was a fairly new building that needed little to no cosmetic work, our new place is a much older building that has a lot of character but also needs a bit more attention. One of the worst spots was this blank wall in the dining room.

It's hard to tell in this picture, but at some point in the past, the wall was fake wood paneling. The paint over the wood paneling was peeling and thin in some spots, allowing the darker color underneath to show through. It's hard to tell in the pictures, but you can see some of it here.

The room desperately needed color, even with  the curtains and table runner, so I decided to try my hand at painting an accent wall! After sorting through various colors, I decided on Benjamin Moore Brookline Beige. I had the color matched at Lowes using Valspar no VOC paint. (This saved me a lot of money, especially since I am painting in a rental and will probably have to paint the wall back when we move.)

Here's another shot of the wall right before I painted it. You can see some more of the marks and scratches in the wall.

I was pleasantly surprised at how quick and relatively painless the painting process was. Here's the wall after the first coat.

After the second coat had dried I was really pleased with the wall! This picture is probably the closest to the actual color. I really like how the darker color really makes the baseboard pop and look so much brighter too.

I still plan to put some art up on the wall, but I'm very pleased with the progress. I feel like the room looks much more polished and put together now and no more peeling paint!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

How to Re-Upholster an Old Chair

My office chair was a little old and worn out looking.  Not a very nice chair, it's a leftover from my college days:

It doesn't look that bad from far away, but the fabric was really old and yucky:

 So, I decided to re-upholster the chair with some really cute fabric I found from tonic living.  First, I had to disassemble the chair and remove the old fabric.  This turned out to be much more involved than I had originally thought.

I thought the fabric would just rip off, but it definitely did not!  I cut most of it off, and then used a flat-head screwdriver and pliers to get the staples and the rest of the fabric off.

The foam was still in pretty good shape, so I left it as is and just replaced the fabric.

I added a layer of quilt batting underneath the fabric and stapled both to the back with a staple gun.

After doing this to both the top and bottom pieces, I reattached both to the original frame.  I think the finished piece turned out pretty nice!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Sewing Machine

I'm getting a new sewing machine soon (yay!) and doing some research on the best types to get.  I just need a basic machine- I'm not planning on using the machine for quilting or machine embroidery.

So far, I've looked at:

 The Brother XL-2600I.  I like that it has a one step buttonhole and from what I can find, it has good reviews.  It's pretty cheap, but I'm also worried that many reviewers are claiming that it doesn't handle heavy fabrics very well.

This is the Brother CS6000i.  From what I've read, this looks like a good machine.  It has more features and stitches, and it's an electronic machine, rather than a mechanical machine (the first machine I listed is a mechanical machine).  While it looks like a better machine, it is also almost twice the price...
 This is the Kenmore conventional sewing machine.  It looks great, and very affordable, except that it has a bad reputation for bobbin jams.

The Singer 3321 talent looks like another affordable machine with the features that I would need.  I could not find as many online reviews for this machine, so I don't know as much about the pros and cons.

Do you use any of these machines, or know of a great basic machine?  I'd love to hear your reccomendations!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Flower Pillow

This is a project I've been working on forever.  I hope to get it done this summer, but who knows.  I've been having so much fun working on it I'm not sure that I want to finish it!  I was inspired by a pattern in The New Crewel by Katherine Shaughnessy.  (It's a great book!)

 I took a pattern from her book, expanded it and changed the colors to match an afghan that my grandmother made:

Here's what I have so far.  I plan to make this into a throw pillow when I finally finish the flowers.


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Summer Projects

Welcome to Handmade Summers!  I'm so excited for my favorite season- summer!  I'm already compiling a rather ambitious list of projects I want to start/finish this summer.  Who knows how many will actually get done.

One project I am hopefully going to finish this summer is a T-shirt quilt.  I've had a stack of T-shirts set aside for months for this very purpose. 

I really like this design featured over at apartment therapy.

Or maybe something more like this from design sponge:

I'm planning on using actual t-shirts, not men's shirts like this quilt did, but I like the idea of alternating the shirt with solid color squares. 

Any suggestions?  This will be my first adventure into the world of quilting!  (If making a t-shirt quilt counts as quilting!)