Monday, January 31, 2011

Upholstered Headboard

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I always get antsy in January...all the bad air, cold weather etc... keeps me indoors and I start creating projects inside to keep things interesting. The headboard in my bedroom is great--I used a door that I salvaged from an old junior high that was being torn down. I've always liked it, but after 6 years, I wanted to change it up. I thought about painting it black (I've already got the paint leftover from another project)--but then I saw THIS in Good Housekeeping Magazine:

I decided that this was a look I was interested in. I figured I'd just use the headboard I already had and if I ever decide to go back, I can.

Headboard Before:

Supplies you will need:
Piece of particle board (or MDF) cut to size (1/2 inch particle board is cheap at Home Depot and they will cut it to size for you)
1/2 in foam padding (trust me, thicker is not better...just more difficult to work with)
quilt batting
Spray adhesive
staple gun
Nail tack strips (or individual tacks)
Small hammer

I found my fabric at Home Fabrics here in SLC (7800 S. State St) in the clearance bin for only $2 a yard! Needed 2 yards of 60" wide fabric.

Cut the board to the size you need.
Got the foam at Hobby Lobby (on sale)--but, I wouldn't use the 1" thick again. It was just too thick, so look for 1/2" (I think Hancock Fabrics carries it). Cut the foam to the size of your board. Use the spray adhesive to make the foam stick.
Smooth the batting (super thin, cheap kind I got for $5 at JoAnns) over the foam and staple it on the back (I only used a few staples to keep it in place).
Take your time and get your fabric spread over the batting--make sure that it is straight. I started at the center bottom with one staple and then the top center. I then worked slowly across the bottom from the center out, then the top. I did the sides the same way. You'll have to experiement with how tight to pull. If you pull too tight, you end up with a funny "dent" at the edge of the headboard foam, but if you don't pull tight enough you'll end up with wrinkles.
It looked great without the nailhead trim, but I forged onward.
Take your time with the corners.

I purchased a nailhead trim that you only have to place a tack every 5th nail to secure it (I ordered it online from, with shipping $23 and it got here in 2 days). It is made out of metal (watch can be sharp on the back, I cut my finger and bled on the fabric...drat, but I did get it cleaned up). Even drawing on a straight line to follow didn't make this an easy task. The key is the right hammer (which I didn't have) and going slow. Get a small hammer (like a "lady size" or "kid size") and cover the head with some duct tape so that the metal head doesn't scratch or dent the nailhead trim. Keep the tack straight and gently tap the tack in (no whacking it, you'll just bend the tack and pull it out). I'm still thinking about adding the second row of tacks, but we'll just have to see.

I've also been refurbishing the lamp on the nightstand that I'll showcase later this week. I'm still looking for some new accessories and maybe some new bedding (although my old bedding seems more interesting now that the headboard is "new"). I spent about $50 in supplies, not bad for a new look :)

All in all, I like the headboard, but I'm only about 80% satisfied with the placement of the tacks. So we'll see if I can live with it or if I pull it out and try again.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Leather Belt Wrist Cuff

Pin It I was at a chocolate party a couple weekends ago (don't you just love it when a friend sends you an invite to a party and chocolate is the only thing being served?) Anyway, she was wearing this fun leather cuff that looked a lot like an old belt that had been up-cycled. So I thought I'd give it a try. Finding the old belt was easy (closet), getting the right snaps and embellishment a little more tricky. Turns out that Michael's crafts had the best selection (although Beck Leather goods did have lots, they are pretty far from my house). I tried using snaps and the snap pliers that I already had, but it didn't work because the leather is too thick for the types of snaps you use on fabric. Instead, the ones I got at Michael's have a longer post to accommodate the thicker leather. I learned a new vocabulary term during this process, concho, which is the name for the metal decoration that can either have a screw-on back like mine or a rivet style (you can also buy fancy rivets that have crystals or turquoise or decorative silver).

Find a fun belt (mine conveniently already had holes to put the snap through)

Get a snap setter and anvil kit plus snaps (I used size 24 for the thick leather)-got the kit at Michael's for 7.99 (use your 40% off coupon for an even better deal). I put the 2 pieces that go together in the picture for when you are ready to assemble the snaps.

Place the button (nice side) of the snap upside down on the curved anvil.

Put the leather on the button part of the snap (upside down) and put the piece with the ring on it and set with the setting tool and a hammer. You will need to keep things straight in order for the snap to set correctly.

Duh, I had meant to put the button part of the snap on the other side of the bracelet so that the finished edge of the belt ended up on top, but its ok. Just make sure that before you set the snaps you don't have them both facing the same side, otherwise they won't line up to snap.

The concho has a screw back, so I just threaded it through a hole and used a screwdriver to tighten it up.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Basement Remodel

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You know, when I bought my house 8 years ago, I really, really should have taken pictures of every single room since I knew that I was going to be re-doing all of them (1961 house with some super 1970's updates...then, time capsule until I came along). So, sadly, I do not have a picture of what my basement looked like the first time I saw it: Imagine, basement with 7 foot ceilings, dark brown paneling on 3 of the 4 walls, dark brown doors to closets, original single-pane windows and wait for it...shag carpet in multi-hues of avocado, orange and brown. And as a bonus, a sweet U-shaped built-in that included brown painted cabinets with floor vinyl as the desktop and even better, a seating area with pumpkin orange velour cushions. Yup, I'm pretty sure that this space (along with the avocado green kitchen) is the reason my house sat vacant for 9 months before I came along. The house did get its crazy carpet replaced with el-cheapo cream colored carpet by the seller before I moved in.

So, for a couple years the basement was just a "open door, toss down there and ignore" kind of space. Then I bought new furniture upstairs and thought, hey, its probably time to make the basement part of my living space.

Phase I: This is my first basement remodeling, which wasn't too bad (and I lived with it this way for about 4 years). I primed the dark brown paneling (about 4 coats of Kilz), filled in all the grooves with drywall mud, sanded, sprayed with Orange Spray texture, painted with the $5 mismixed paint from Smith's Marketplace. Really, not a bad re-do for under $50 (I also painted the built in desk cream and slipcovered the orange velour).

Phase II

My brother had lived with me for a little over a year and the basement definately had a "guys room" feel (smell) to it when he left. I had never been a fan of the carpet and I knew I wanted to get more energy efficient windows, and THEN the water heater decided to leak all over the storage room--so I thought, now is the time to change it all.

1. Move out all the furniture (for a room that didn't look like it had much in it, sure had to move lots of stuff)
2. Rip out the old carpet (discover green 1970's floor underneath).
3. Convince neighbor with a truck to drive to Home Depot to pick up the new sliding glass door with you.
4. I found an inspiring picture in a magazine that had board and batten wainscotting which I decided was perfect for my room. I went back and forth about taking out the filled in paneling and replacing it with sheetrock, but after much debating, I decided to leave the paneling. The board and batten is just MDF that I cut into 3 inch strips and the baseboard is 5" MDF pre-primed trim that I got at Lowe's (much less than at HD). My Dad and brother (who just happened to be in town that day) decided to help me out by attaching the boards to the wall. Need a tutorial? House of Smith's has a great one.

5. Caulk, more caulk and then paint, paint, paint. (lower walls: Kilz Shaved Coconut upper walls: Kilz Dusty Road)

6. The built in bench with the old orange cushions got removed to leave me more floor space for fun stuff like yoga or movie watching :)

I took the doors off the built-in desk and glued on 2" poplar trim (from HD) to give it a more interesting profile. New hardware from Smith's Marketplace.

Look at the wall--can you tell that it is really dark brown, grooved paneling? Nope, I didn't think so.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Homemade Hostess Cupcakes

Pin It Have you got a favorite childhood treat that you still love? I do, its the Hostess Cupcake. I never buy them though (hello, it would be me eating the whole box, so I can't bring them home). I was watching Cook's Country on PBS this weekend, and what do you know, they are making homemade Hostess! Score. I have a work lunch tomorrow that I signed up to bring the dessert, so this seemed perfect. I'll admit that I took a shortcut. I made the cupcakes from a box mix, but the rest I followed the recipe. Give it a try! I'll list the stuff you'll need to gather up, but you can find the recipe here.

1 box chocolate cake mix (or if you want to go completely Martha Stewart, make them using the recipe)

1 container marshmallow fluff or cream
3/4 tsp unflavored gelatin
3 T water
4 T butter, room temp
1 tsp vanilla

1/2 c. semi sweet chocolate chips
3 more T of butter

Cut a cone of cake out of the top, then trim the point off the cone so there is a space for filling.
Use a couple of spoons to get the sticky filling into the hole. (keep the tops next to the cupcake they belong to so that getting them put back together is easy)

Spoon the glaze over the cupcakes and let firm up. Use some of the reserved filling to pipe the curly-Q top (I just used a small zipper bag that I cut the tip off instead of a frosting bag).

How to make the filling: soften the gelatin by putting the gelatin and water in a medium size bowl for about 5 min. (you'll be using this bowl to eventually mix in the marshmallow, so make it a good size). Then put the bowl in the microwave for about 30 seconds til the edges of liquid bubble. Mix in the 4 T butter and vanilla. Let cool on the counter for about 5 minutes then mix in the marshmallow until smooth. Refrigerate filling for 30 minutes so that it firms up. Keep about 1/3 c. of the filling aside to use for the decoration.

How to make the glaze: Put the 3 T of butter in a microwave bowl and melt until bubbly. Immediately mix in the chocolate chips and stir until smooth. Spoon it onto the cupcakes. Let cool before decorating the tops.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Harry Potter Knitting Project

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I am a Harry Potter fan/geek (read the books, seen the movies, visited filming sites in England/Scotland, been to the amusement park, own toys and a costume)-so it was no surprise that when I ran across this super cute free knitting pattern for a Harry Potter dishcloth by Insanknitty that I had to give it a try! My knitting skills aren't particularly advanced (mostly due to laziness on my part) so this is a great starter project, you only need to know 2 stiches: knit and purl! One thing to know about the pattern, when she says MB, what she means is "make border" by knitting 4 stiches, which is why she has MB=K4 (duh, I should have figured that out but it took a while). Simple project, great for your Harry Potter afficianado!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Valentine's Subway Art Roundup

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I could have created my own subway art, but why? There are some fun ones already done and ready to download out on the internet. Check out Pinching Your Pennies list of several versions or try Today's Fabulous Finds (I used hers for my January art). Too much fun. I think I'll also give the tissue paper kissing ball project that I found over at to add some extra pizazz to the mantle (it always looks so empty after the Christmas decor comes down).

Friday, January 14, 2011

Baby progress

Pin It A very good friend is expecting her first baby and I wanted to make a quilt. I've done simple pieced quilts before and while they aren't too bad, the strip quilting method makes things much faster. I decided that I wanted a more random/crazy pattern for this quilt.

First, picking the fabric is the hardest part! I went with 6 different coordinating fabrics (about 1/4 yard of each), plus 1.5 yards for the back (I'm making a 45" x 45" square).

Next, I used my rotary cutter (if you don't have one, get one! you won't be sorry) to cut the fabric into strips. I varied the width of the strips from 2-5 inches and then lined them up in an order that I liked. I sewed strips together until I had about a 45 x 45 square.

I forgot to take good pictures of the next step, sorry. But, you pull out the rotary cutter again and cut across the strips so that you end up with one long row of the various squares! (Lots better than cutting out each square and then sewing them all back together).

Next, you take all those nice new strips of square and lay it out on the floor. I decided to put the strips upside down on one row and rightside up on the next.

I do have a set of PVC quilt frames, but for baby quilts, I really prefer this small lap frame (I bought it years ago at House of Fabric and recently found another one at a yard sale). I use quilting safety pins to pin through the quilt top, batting and back so everything stays put. Then I move the lap frame when I need to. This makes the project easy to sit on the couch and work on or take on a road trip or put away. I haven't finished yet, but when I get the binding done I'll take another photo.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Fireplace Redo

Pin It I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE having a gas fireplace! Turn up the thermostat and, poof, instant fire. Makes January just a bit more bearable. Thought I'd share the process with those of you who may be wanting to swap out your 1960's woodburning fireplace.

Before: A giant fireplace that I never used. The brick measured almost 7 feet across.

Taking all the brick down was the easy part. It came off with a pry bar and hammer with no problems...getting rid of it a few bricks at a time in the garbage can took months (sneaking a few into the neighbors cans when it looked like they had space helped).

Built a new surround for the gas fireplace using Wonderboard in preparation for the new tile. Then thanks to Bennion Fireplaces (note: they have since closed their shop) in Salt Lake for the install of the gas insert. If I had liked the brick, this whole project would have taken about an hour...but I didn't, hence the giant construction project.

The original plan was to fill in some of the hearth space with wood floor from pieces salvaged from a neighbor's remodel to create a smaller hearth, BUT when I discovered an overabundance of concrete under the brick, I had to change my plan. Instead I laid new slate-looking black tile over the concrete. I also put the tile up above the fireplace opening leaving them whole, and then cut the decorative wood piece curved, just tricking you into thinking that I cut each of those tiles into nice curved pieces. I also spent a couple weeks patching the holes in the drywall left by the extra-wide brick that I tore out.

My super talented brother Steve came from Idaho Falls to help me create the surround of my dreams (I drew the pictures, and helped hold things up while he used the nail gun). The mantle cost a total of about $60-used a piece of MDF on the side and top, a piece of hardboard and poplar trim for the square pillars on the front and a bit of crown molding across the front. The tiles were about $40. (the gas fireplace and install was quite a splurge, but the pretty parts of the trimout were a bargain). Some sanding, caulking and 3 coats of semi-gloss white paint and I've got a fireplace that is timeless.