DIY PROJECT: PLANT STAND SCORES NEW PAINT

Like a moron, I had forgotten to take a “before” picture of a simple plant stand I had found at a local consignment store. Even though I have no plans to use it as an actual plant stand, the simple design, the price ($7), and the possibilities persuaded me to buy it. After tightening the screws on the legs (an easy fix), I decided the wood stained plant stand needed to match everything else in my house.

Because the stand was laminate, I covered it with a white spray-on primer and left it to dry for a few hours, which was probably longer than necessary. I was actually surprised how quickly I painted the plant stand despite all the curves and nooks. Two days was all I needed to cover it with two to three coats. After letting the stand dry outside for a few days, I loved the smooth feel when I ran my fingers over it so I opted not to use a top coat.

At first I had no idea how I was going to use the stand, but then a brilliant idea (brilliant might be an overstatement) hit me. A mail stand next to the door leading into the garage! Charlie usually checks the mail when he comes home from work, and after rifling through it, he can leave everything on the stand for me. Brilliant!

DIY PROJECT: STEP UP AND DINE IN

With some plywood and some 2×4, Charlie built a new feeding stand for Clara and Riley because Riley, the troublemaker, likes to push the dish off the current stand and spill the food all over the floor. Before giving the cats their new gift, I needed to paint it. Using some leftover paint I found in the basement from the previous homeowners, I primed the feeding stand and an old step stool my dad built when I was younger.

I didn’t have my phone with me when I primed the feeding stand and the step stool, and I thought, “Oh, I have plenty of time to take photos. I’ll do it later.” Instead of taking pictures, I dove right into the brown paint because I’m a moron. For proof that I actually primed both items, I snapped a shot of the area in the backyard where I painted. I figured the lawnmower would take care of the painted grass. I was wrong.

Once the feeding stand and the step stool had been primed with the old paint (one coat because I don’t really know any better), I started painting both items a rich brown to match the other decor (bookcases, couch, etc.) in the house. I used a smaller paint brush because I felt I had more control and I could take my time. My reasoning probably doesn’t make any sense to anyone else, but I feel rushed when using a bigger brush.

Nothing fancy — just a simple step stool my dad built a long time ago and moved it from house to house. I nabbed it when he cleaned out his last house. I probably could add a monogram or something cute, but my project list is way too long right now. A fresh coat of paint definitely made the step stool look nicer and made me happier.

The feeding stand was a few brush strokes away from being complete when Charlie added some trim to the top because Riley likes to either push or tip the slow-eating food dish over the edge for easier access to the food. Charlie believes the trim will keep the food dish in place despite Riley’s attempts to knock it the ground. Time will tell who will win this battle.

Just a few paint coats away from moving the feeding stand from the back porch to the living room, where Miss Clara and Riley can jump up on and whine for food. My little troublemakers definitely have been testing the boundaries, believing the new environment means the kitchen table and new kitchen counter are no longer off limits to them. They are so wrong.

Ta-da! Beautiful! Absolutely beautiful! The new feeding stand fits perfectly between the kitchen and the living room and the top shelf seems big enough for both cats to eat peacefully. We stuck plastic cutting boards underneath the dishes because the cats paw out a kernel of food and eat it off a flat surface. As long as their feeding schedule was not disrupted, Clara and Riley adjusted quickly to the new feeding stand. Yay!

SPOTLIGHT: CANVAS AND CHARDONNAY

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Painting Supplies

When I visited Minnesota about a month ago, I had the chance to catch up with a friend at paint and drink class at Canvas and Chardonnay. Pretty dandelion or multi-colored elephant profile were my two choices, and I picked the easier design — the dandelion. I spent $40 — $35 for the class and $5 for a glass of wine.

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I had so much fun that night! I caught up with my friend and met new creative artists. Although the design was simple, I still made plenty of mistakes (which I expertly covered or fixed). Painting the entire canvas with sparkly brown was the first step — a step even I can’t mess up. When the paint dried, I swept teal paint over half the canvas.

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The edges near the center of the canvas were designed to be ragged, and for extra dimension, I streaked the area with a little bit of white. Side note: how awesome is the Harry Potter painting in the background? If I was a huge Harry Potter fan I would try to replicate it on my own. As much as I like the cherry blossom tree painting next to the Harry Potter canvas, I don’t think I could successfully paint that on my own.

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Once teal paint was dry, I swept a sparkly bronze color over the half of the canvas and created similar jagged edges near the center. Because I’m a perfectionist, I touched up the jagged edges once or twice. The head of the dandelions were created using the non-pointed end of a pen (I should have used a pencil because it’s more flat).

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If I’m honest, I’m not super crazy about the dandelion heads — they look sloppy and weird. Once I have the courage, I will probably retouch them with a pencil at home. I was probably the only student who didn’t drag the stems all the way to the bottom because my stem-painting skills aren’t the greatest. I might retouch the stems too — maybe. I like the painting — just not in love with it.

REFASHION UPDATE: THE FINISHED KIMONO

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Fun party favors and supplies @ Beau-coup.com

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With a little more black bias tape, I decided to cover the rest of the raw edges because the process was more simple. A rolled hem is usually an easy method with normal fabric (flannel, cotton, etc.), but the scarf was gauzy-ish, thin, and unstable. A ton of swear words and my thin impatience would definitely be involved if I attempted the rolled hem. To avoid the frustration and curse words, bias tape was the best solution. I’m happy I took the route because the solid color breaks up the pattern. I love it!

REFASHION: THE KIMONO BANDWAGON

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So, this is me jumping on the kimono top bandwagon. Lately, I have been wearing dresses with lightweight cardigans because the weather has been a little cooler. What happens when the sun starts shining brightly and I still prefer to have a simple cover-up? I don’t want to be the idiot wearing a cardigan during the summer. So what’s a girl to do? Create a kimono top out of a $2 scarf found at my local consignment store.

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I’m not quite sure how to explain my process with words — so, I created a pretty graphic. I hope the graphic is easy to understand. I basically wanted to keep as much of the original scarf hem, keeping my hemming to a minimum (I’m lazy like that — or genius).

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As soon as I made my cuts and sewed the side seams, I tried on my almost-completed kimono top. Hello, my new love, except … the kimono is way too long for me. Poop! What was supposed to be a simple refashion turned into a little more work. If the kimono wasn’t super long, I just needed to hem the center cut and neckline and the refashion would be complete and I would be twirling around in it. In reality, I need to drastically shorten the kimono and hem all the new raw edges. Argh!

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So, I threw the kimono top of my dress form, Delphine, and chopped off a fair amount of scarf fabric. With the kimono at my preferred length, I found some old black bias tape to run around the bottom hem. I kind of figured the bias tape would add a tiny bit of weight to the kimono, and the tape kind of broke up the pattern. Now, I’m at a crossroads — should I add more black bias tape around the neckline and opening or complete a simple rolled hem? I’m so torn! Suggestions would be highly appreciated! Thanks!

REFASHION: THE BIG GREY STRIPE

“I, Jennifer Elliott at jenniferelliott14.com, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’16. I endeavour to wear at least three refashioned items per week and refashion five new garments in May 2016.”

Holy poop! How in the world am I in the middle of May already?!? The simple part of my Me-May-May 2016 pledge has been wearing refashioned clothes every day this month because most my sweatpants, shorts, and jeans have been altered or refashioned in some way. The more difficult part of the pledge has been refashioning five new items during the month. I have attempted a few refashions here and there but most turned out disastrous unless I can count all the new “screen printed” shirts (the book snake, the cat outline, etc.).

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Between doing a few loads of laundry and trying a new pull-apart dinner roll recipe, I sat down and quickly sewed a simple shirt refashion. I took a cute purple shirt that was a little too small and made a straight cut about an inch below the armpits. I had an old grey tank top with a stain on it, cut a wide band out, and inserted it into the shirt. The stretchiness of the grey tank removed the snugness of the shirt and made it way more comfortable and cute. One refashion down four more to go — am I sure I can’t count the newly painted T-shirts?

DIY PROJECT: SIMPLE BABY BLANKETS

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One of my favorite fabric stores is closing, which not only makes me sad but pushes me to visit every few weeks to hunt down bargains. During a recent visit, I found adorable multi-colored dotted fleece marked down and thought the pattern would make a perfect baby blanket for all my pregnant friends.

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Online Sewing Class

For two of the blankets, I simply sewed the fleeces pieces together (right sides together), left a small gap, pulled the fleece through the gap, and sewed a cute border around the fleece. The blanket is simple but yet really cute. I really love the soft colors and dots.

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For the third blanket, I used a flannel remnant in my stash and decided to use it with the dotted fleece. Easy peasy. I trimmed the flannel and fleece pieces to the same size and followed the same steps from the two previous blankets. I’m happy how well all three baby blankets turned out. So happy.

REFASHION 7: MY FIRST CIRCLE SKIRT

With a ton of shirts in my refashion bin, I need to really work on whittling down that number. So, I pulled four different blue shirts and cut them into pieces to form a circle. Once the pieces were cut, I simply sewed them together, creating a beautiful circle, and added 2-inch black elastic to the waistband. Easy peasy.

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What I did:

  • found four different blue shirts that complemented each other
  • cut the shirts into angled strips
  • trimmed the waist area
  • added 2-inch black elastic
  • twirled around in the skirt longer than necessary

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REFASHION 6: A SWEATER SKIRT TO FINALLY LOVE

I was in the process of trying to save the grey cowl sweater by turning it into a better sweater, but I made some minor errors. Oops. When I removed the cowl from the sweater, I didn’t like the new neckline and couldn’t figure out how to save it. Instead of putting a little more effort into the save, I decided to turn the sweater into a sweater skirt.

Years ago when I first started refashioning, I destroyed a good number of my husband’s old sweaters trying to refashion a skirt. Needless to say, I failed over and over and over until I ran out of old sweaters. About a year ago, I successfully refashioned a sweater into a skirt, but then I decided the skirt was terrible.

After throwing the green sweater skirt back into my refashion bin, I no longer had sweater skirt. Anyway, all I needed was black elastic and about 30 minutes to turn a sweater into a skirt. I’m pretty happy with the results, and I can’t wait to wear it! Yay!

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What I did:

  • removed the cowl neck
  • realized I didn’t like the new neckline
  • could not figure out a quick fix to the neckline
  • decided to turn the sweater into a skirt
  • snipped off the body of the sweater from armpit to armpit
  • added 3-inch black elastic to the waistband