Posts Tagged ‘DIY Inspiration’

As part of our 2011 To-Do List, we plan on remodeling the entryway. I’ve been busy day dreaming the stairwell part of it, and have been working on stripping paint off the newel post and handrail. For a while I was obsessed with Farrow and Ball wallpapers, but the minimum order is way too much paper for our entryway, and it’s too expensive to justify with all the remodeling we’re doing on the house. However, just the other day I realized I could paint on a stencil that looks like fancy wallpaper. I could even use a metallic paint that resembles some of the wallpapers I liked from F&B.

Check out the inspiration pictures:

from Isabella & Max Rooms:

I’m going to be using this stencil but NOT these directions (this lady drew the stencil on the wall and then painted every line herself): http://jonesdesigncompany.com/decorate/painted-wallpaper-a-tutorial/

and I’m kind of going to follow these directions (won’t be using spray adhesive on the wall): http://www.allthingsthrifty.com/2010/03/tutorial-making-stencil.html

and these directions: http://www.whitewallco.com (click then go to “Print Instructions”)

I’ll post my own tutorial someday when I get to this stage of the project – we have a lot of spackling and cleaning of the walls to do, not to mention choosing a paint color and a stencil color. 🙂 I’m thinking we’ll go with a medium blue (maybe flat?) and a shimmery-silvery-white stencil color.


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On Black Friday a friend of mine and I stopped by Pier 1 Imports. There, I fell in love with a pillow that featured a huge felt flower covering the front. I wanted it except it was like $50 (or something higher than $12, which is like my limit for pillows, haha).

from Pier 1 Imports website

So I decided to make my own, one that will match our decor better and I can look back on and say, “I did that!” I did a search to see if others have had the same idea, and of course they had. I followed this tutorial: Petal Pillow Tutorial on Cluck Cluck Sew

Gather supplies:

  • 1/2 yard of fabric for the pillow
  • 1/2 yard of felt – get nice stuff on a bolt, not the crafting squares and not the stuff that is thin and looks like it may pull apart at a moment’s notice.
  • something to trace on – cardboard or cardstock works
  • something to make circles with – I used glasses, one with a diameter of 3 1/2 inches and one with a diameter of 2 1/2 inches
  • scissors, thread, sewing machine (although I suppose you could hot glue the petals down…)

This yellow felt is so dreamy and smooth! I got the felt and fabric from Pacific Fabrics. The fabric is Fandango by Kate Spain.

Draw your circles using glasses or something round!

Using your template, cut out felt. I cut out 4 circles at a time by folding the felt and pinning the template to them. My cat helped (she was laying on the felt and was very annoyed when I took it away to cut circles).

I cut out 30 large circles and 20 small circles. In the end, this was too many.

Cut the circles in half. I just folded two at a time and cut.

Ta-Da!!! Now I had 60 big petals and 40 small petals.

The next thing to do is cut your fabric that the flower will go on – I cut mine to 18 inches square.

(no photo!)

At this point, I decided to prepare the other pieces of fabric for the back side. This way I could just sew on the petals and then piece the entire pillow together. But when it came time to cut the fabric for the back of the pillow, the tutorial lost me. I have never made a pillow before and I couldn’t figure out why I had to cut a square for the front and two strangely-sized rectangles for the back. Then I realized that the two rectangles will overlap on the back and create an opening where you can stuff your pillow. AH-HA! 🙂

The directions say to finish the short edges, but you should finish one of the 18 inch lengths on each of the two rectangles. I figured this out after finishing the short edges and pondering why the pillow wasn’t going to fit together.

Finally, with everything prepped, you can work on the flower! First, draw a circle on the top side of your fabric – I used the lid to a pot. Make sure to leave about 5 inches on all sides of your circle.

Now it’s time to sew. Lay one of the big petals on your drawn-on circle, and sew it down. I stopped about 1/4 inch short of sewing the whole petal down, and then laid the next one down to overlap the first one. I continued this around the circle.

The next row I moved the petal down about 1/4 inch and again went around the circle. I am a perfectionist and paid a lot of attention to how the petals were laying in relation to one another, and getting each petal just right. At this point, the cat was really annoyed that there was no fabric to lay on.

On the 4th row, I started using the bunching technique to give the flower more volume. I bunched every single petal from here on out. All I did was make a little fold in the center of the flat edge that kind of looked like a ‘Z’, to increase the thickness of the petal and add some dimension.

When the remaining fabric exposed in the enter was just less than 4 inches in diameter, I switched to the small half circles. I bunched all of these, too. It became very difficult for the last 2-3 rows because I was sewing round and round in tight circles, but I was very patient and bunched the felt just so.

At this point I ended up stitching each petal down completely, and then backing up to give myself more room to scrunch up the next petal.

For the last row or two, I used a different bunching technique to make the petals smaller and increase the volume. (I have it upside down in this photo – you want that folded flat piece to be on the bottom)

Finally at the very end I cut a circle about the size of a quarter from my left over felt and stitched it in the center to cover the edges of the last row of petals. Ta-Da!!!!

Now it was time to put the whole thing together. I laid my flower facing up, and then laid down one of my rectangles facing down aligned with the left side of the pillow, so the two right sides were together, and some of the pillow was still exposed.

Next, I laid down the other rectangle in the same way, but aligned with the right side of the pillow to cover the exposed pillow.

See all the layers?

Then I pinned the whole thing together, and stitched around all the edges. I turned it inside out, and voila! A beautiful flower pillow. Of course by this time it was pretty dark out, so I had to use the flash.

Without the flash:

Detail shot:

Now, I am not a sewing expert, but the tutorial said this would take 30 minutes, and it took me the better part of 5 hours! I took lots of breaks to take pictures, eat lunch, read and re-read the directions, try to figure out why I’d sewn the wrong seams, make sure I had enough fabric, struggle with perfectionism with the petals, but still. It was way more than 30 minutes. Maybe there was 45 minutes of sewing petals. I’d say altogether the pillow itself likely took me 2.5-3 hours.

Finally, I was left with quite a bit of petals: 19 large and 14 small. I have a little bit of the orange fabric left, so I might make another flower to put on the remaining fabric and make something out of that. We’ll see.

We’ve been having some weird weather in the northwest over the past month – massive amounts of snow and ice, then days and days of pouring rain and warm weather, and lately thunderstorms and wind. So I haven’t gotten a chance to take photos of our exterior Christmas lights yet. And then today I discovered one of our huge ornaments outside fell off the side of the porch where it was hanging, but someone must have noticed it and brought it back, because it was at the bottom of our front porch stairs! It’s a little beat up but not too bad! Next year I plan on spray painting them anyways 🙂

Also, I purchased a pattern for this quilt and I hope to embark on making my first quilt after the new year. Until them I plan on spending quite a bit of time contemplating fabric choices. Stay tuned.

image from Quilt Taffy

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Two weeks ago, we decided to replace the toilet in the only working bathroom because of our upcoming 120th birthday party for the house (more on that later). It very quickly turned into a bathroom remodel as we tore up the linoleum, got rid of the vanity, and took apart walls in the shower. Most of the work was finished in the first few days, but the devil is in the details, right? Caulking and painting and gluing the tub surround and adding a bit of paint here or there, painting the trim, cutting the trim, installing the trim, it just all takes time. But I’m happy to say we’re finished, and just in time for the party, which was on Saturday! Everyone loved the bathroom and I’m so happy that we were able to show off a finished project – I think it has so much more impact than something partway done.

Without further ado, before and after:







We still need to get a cabinet instead of that shelf, I’m thinking something with a few deep drawers and then a little door?

In retrospect we wouldn’t choose a floor with a square pattern – the room is not square at all (which was fun when putting up trim and the picture rail), and the floor vent is not square in the floor, either, and the pattern highlights this problem. But, what can you do?!




It’s so bright and wonderful in here now!




the ad is a Bare Escentuals “how to” from 1986 that we found in the old vanity, along with unopened eye liner and eye shadow from the 70s and 80s. The tiles are Mexican, purchased from Old Town in San Diego, and the chips of plates we found under the house.




and it all started with wanting a new toilet…

Hope you enjoyed!

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First off, as I’m getting used to writing a blog I am finding that I think the key to writing good, to the point posts with helpful or inspirational photos is to write in advance. This is not to say I’ve started such a thing yet, but I think I may be leaning that way.

At any rate, since we are remodeling our entire house, design has to be cheap. That’s why I love thrift stores. This weekend I picked up 5 new art pieces, a vase, a golden peacock (it’s awesome), and a brass miniature rocking horse.

I can’t decide if I want to paint it or leave it gold. The gold is not too shiny anymore, so I’m leaning towards spray paint.

typewriter desk, frames and brass rocking horse from goodwill/value village

A few weeks ago I was drooling over Farrow & Ball wallpapers, and noticed that you can send away for 5 free samples, with free shipping! heck yea! I got two different colors from the Peony collection and two colors from the Vermicelli collection (I should have gotten another sample from the Ranelagh collection but it didn’t come). They are absolutely even more beautiful in person. I have no idea what they go for per roll, but I decided I would be able to use these samples, which measure about 8×12, as art by framing them. Now I just need to find the perfectly cheap matching frames.

the metallic finishes remind me of some of the wallpapers we uncovered throughout the house:

(a hole cut out from when we had the new electrical woven throughout the house)

Another cheap design idea is DIY. There seems to be a trend in the home renovation blogging world of DIY string hanging light fixtures. My friends and I decided to try our hand at it. I made a crochet string ball, Meghan made a black yarn ball, and Hannah made a hemp ball. Aside from not exactly knowing how to attach the electrical parts to the balls, the only other problem is that you can see little webs of glue between some of the criss-crossing paths of string. For a total of about $30 (mine was more expensive because I used electrical cord that can be hardwired to the ceiling), it’s a steal of a light fixture and really unique!

We experienced a minor obstacle in the fixture-hanging: Kitty, who thought the ladder was a new cat tree.

okay…..ready to see the light fixture?! it’s blue!

YAY! (also check out the windows in the background. There are two of them, and each window of little squares took me 2 hours to paint….and I still have to paint the rest and then do a second coat!)

Next time I should have an update of the bathroom remodel. We are working on all the finishing details, which takes SO much time. Lots and lots of meticulous work to chaulk and to paint and let things dry, etc. They don’t show that on the home renovation shows. 🙂 I wish there were “last-detail work fairies” that came in and did all that boring but essential work.

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