Tag Archives: DIY Projects

To Clutch or Not To Clutch

Recently the Babydoll and I had an evening at the ballet (my mother also joined us). She has been taking ballet for about 4 years and since we have gotten her into a decent school she is improving and learning more. Her love of dance (not just ballet, but all types – I have to find a hiphop class now) is steadily growing along with her excitement about performing.

So the performance that we attended was hosted by the Indianapolis City Ballet and was titled “An Evening With The Stars”. There were performances from Primas and Primes from all over the world. It was an awesome event and it had my Babydoll fired up and ready to begin her new semester of classes (she is moving up to a new class this year.) and my mother and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

Of course when you are going out for the evening to a performing arts event (opera, ballet, symphony) you always need to dress accordingly. This was our first time attending anything during the warmer months of the year and it took us a little time to think of the perfect outfit. The weather was a little on the cool side (the high was only in the mid-70’s and the evening promised to be much cooler) but not cool enough to require a jacket. You wanted to wear something nice, but unfortunately a lot of the times people in my city underdress for these occasions, so we didn’t want to overdress. I settled for all black – dress slacks and a blouse with shoes and a clutch to match. The thing was….I didn’t necessarily have a understated clutch. I have clutches for fancy events, but not a plain one.

I had been looking for some clutches but just didn’t find anything that spoke to me or anything I was willing to pay the amount of money they were asking for it.  These are wonderful…

bibi faux crodile 

or this beauty

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and who doesn’t love Jimmy Choo

Jimmy Choo

I’d even settle for a convertible clutch that I could also use a one of my regular bags.

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But I was finding these in my budget.  So I got to thinking….and decided I could make a clutch.

I went to my best source for information – Google – started researching how to make a clutch. I found many resourceful sites – the most popular was turning a placemat into a clutch. I loved the idea and the simplicity of it, but was unable to find a placemat that appealed to me. I decided to take a trip to my favorite fabric store (Joann’s) and see what inspired me. Once I told Babydoll what I was going to do she declared that she wanted a clutch too. Do you see why she is a babydoll? I keep getting to dress her up. We walked around the store until we found something that spoke to us – there was actually several things that spoke to us, but we had to contain ourselves – and made our purchases.

I have to say that making the clutches was not an easy task. Mine was easy but I didn’t add the closures because I didn’t buy any because I thought I was going to use a zipper, which I put in the Babydolls clutch and it was totally hair-pulling worthy. This is the partially finished clutch for myself I still need to add the snaps.  You have to excuse the blurriness of the photos, I was rushing to take the pics because it was close to time to get ready.

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the inside lining…I had to keep it funky…

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I have a pair of shoes that match perfectly so I pulled them out.

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I also made a headband for my Babydoll that matched her dress and shoes.

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The time and effort that I spent making the bags wasn’t really that bad. I spent about three hours total and a lot of that was just trying to get that stupid zipper in (they really do confound me.). But I will tell you what it has done to me…I now know that I can make a clutch. The possibilities are endless. Clutches for every occasion. I still love my big throw everything into them bags, but now I can have a clutch for grown up nights when I don’t want to carry much. Or a clutch for when we are going to a fair and I just need something to hold lipstick, id and a couple of dollars. I’m thinking clutches as Christmas gifts to my girls (if any of you are reading this act surprised when you receive it). Why just stop at a clutch, I need a new laptop bag and I haven’t found anything that “pop’s my panties”. I feel a new project coming on. Joann’s here I come.

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Office Reupholstery

I’ve recently been spending a lot of time working on completing my office.  I With the move, I got a 10 x 12 room to decorate and use for my own purposes.  I had furnishings –  my desk, craft table, and reading chair.  I knew I wanted a book case to hold some of the books that I refuse to get rid of and for future reading material and a table for my sewing machine.  The rest of the décor I had/have no idea about.  I‘m getting things as I see them or find that I have a need for it. 

One of the things that has been bugging me has been my desk chair.  I had been using the chair that my neighbor had put out at the curb on trash day a couple of years ago that I refinished and my husband had reupholstered.  The problem with it was that it is dark brown and gold.  A great color when I had a dark brown desk, but it didn’t go with the current colors I was working with – black, gray and shades of blue.  The other issue was the style of chair.  I had many style loves – ones that I had seen in magazines, online, etc.   I finally decided on a Parson chair (I definitively decided this last week).  The problem was I wasn’t finding what I wanted in color or texture.  I figured I may have to find something and do some work on it to get it where I wanted it.  On a whim I stopped at the Goodwill on my  home from work and Eureka!…there was a chair for $7.  There were two actually but one was not so sturdy so she stayed in the store and I took the strong boy home with me.  (Excuse the clutter of my office, I was going for a before picture, not a cover shot.)

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I didn’t want to have another unfinished project in my home for a long amount of time so I resolved myself to get the job done on my Monday off.  I spent 3 hours in JoAnn’s looking for the perfect fabric.  I came out with fabric for my desk chair and my reading chair that really needs to work (I’ll talk about that in a later post.).  I had spent the previous day researching the best way to reupholster a Parson chair and after several videos and tutorials felt pretty confident that I could get-r-done in a day. 

Because I have recently become addicted to Houzz.com where I had “liked” a two-toned office chair; I had decided to cover my chair in two fabric patterns. 

The first thing I did was remove all of the pieces.  It took over two hours to remove staples and fabric – most of this time was spent on removing the staples.  OMG, there were a lot of staples.

After I got all of the pieces off, I took the pieces and used them as a pattern to cut out the replacement pieces.

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Next I took some batting that I already had in my supply closet and placed over the cushion of the seat.

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Then it was time to put her back together.  I took the fabric for the seat and placed it on the seat and fished it through the back cushion  to the back of the chair and start stapling.

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I did the same for the front part of the back of the chair.  I had to put slits at the bottom so that I could slide it through the hole and allow me to wrap around the sides without a lot of puckering.

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I made sure that everything was positioned correctly and began stapling from the top of the chair back to ensure that I had enough fabric up top and to make sure that the pleating was the neatest.

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Then I stapled around the bottom. 

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Because I wanted the chair to be two-toned, the back of the chair turned out to be a little more difficult.  I didn’t want staples to be seen on the back and I wasn’t going to be putting any trim work to camouflage staples.  Once I had the fabric positioned how I wanted it (with a ironed ~1-inch hem), I stapled the top in the hemline and then brought the draped fabric over it.  Unfortunately I was in deep thinking mode working out the logistics and forgot to take pictures during this process.  Then I slowly made my way down one side of the back with my staple gun.  For the second side and bottom, I pulled out my trusty glue gun and hot glued it.  To finish I made a skirt of my fabric but made the front piece of the skirt to match the back of the chair, this was put on using the recycled cardboard strip pieces from the underside of the chair .  I had two yards of trim to use where the top part of the chair and the skirt connected.  There was a slight oops with that.  Tell me if you notice what it is in the comments and I’ll confirm for you. Winking smile 

All in all I’m extremely excited about the way it turned out and I will be fixing that oops a.s.a.p.  I know have the chair for my desk.

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Again folks, don’t judge the clutter.  I was so happy to be done with this project, that I didn’t think about proper photo staging.  You will get a cleaner view when I do the big reveal of the office later. 

What do ya’ think?

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What’s a Chifferobe? Part I

I’ve been looking for a dresser for the Baby Doll’s room since before we moved.  I didn’t know what I was looking for, I just knew that I would know when I saw it.  I wasn’t being picky either – I looked in the new and thrift stores for this piece, I just couldn’t find it.

Last week, my man was out of town on business and my thrift store partner (my mother) called on my day off and said “I’ll meet you at the Goodwill Outlet if you have the time today.”  If I have the time?  Really people…if I didn’t have the time, I was going to make the time.  Imagine our disappointment to find that there was nothing worth getting at our FAVORITE thrift hangout.  Sad smile  A lightbulb when off in mom’s head and she said let’s hit the Salvation Army  next.  I was so glad we didn’t give up.

We walked in and saw some really great stuff, but horror of horrors they were asking regular store prices for it.  We started raising a stink and soon ended up talking to the manager on duty, Raymond.  While my mother continued to explain to Raymond the reasons why most people come to thrift stores (because they are looking for a great deal and can’t afford to spend regular department store prices and not because they were on the hunt for a diamond like us), I headed to the back of the store to see what I could see.  I found a headboard and a really neat table that had some potential to go in the entry-way.  I had mother bring Raymond back and we began negotiating.  I had made a deal both pieces for $30.  I still had some more searching to do, I was feeling dresser lucky when I spotted this dresser that had some great potential but was hidden between to entertainment centers.  As I tried to navigate my way in between the entertainment centers my mothers exclaims loudly, “Oh My God…It’s a chifferobe!  I had one of these when I was growing up”  My navigation halted and I went back to see what the excitement was all about.  At the same time a gentleman starts heading over to her as well.  There was no price tag, so we began calling for Raymond again.  No answer….Mother went to find him and the gentleman hung around behind me, I guess in hopes that I would walk away.  Not going to happen buddy.  And I told him as much.  We negotiated a new deal for the chifferobe only for $37.50.  I acted disappointed but was truly on cloud nine.  I was seeing the transformation in my head.  It was the one.

My Baby Doll was not impressed, she actually said, “It’s ugly”. Oh yea of little faith. Have I every left her with ugly?

When I told some people about my find, they asked “What’s a chifferobe?” Most thought it was an armoire. Nope, negatory, unh unh.  An armoire has two doors and drawers on the bottom. They are most often used to house tv’s and maybe some extras. A chifferobe has a dresser side and a tall cabinet side for hanging clothes.

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(This is a picture of the before…If you look through the pass-thru on the right, you can see a little of my ugly kitchen cabinets…who picks brass door pulls in the year 20-anything?)

I’m thinking high gloss black, diamond-like knobs, purple felt-lined drawers, and some type of fabric or wallpaper for the inside of the wardrobe portion.  I’ll post the transformation next time.

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A Place To Rest My Feet

Well I finally got it finished!  A place to rest my wearies.  A place to put up the dogs.  A place to chillaxe.  A place to rest my feet.  I finally finished my ottoman.

I started working on my ottoman a couple of weeks ago, but finally finished it on Sunday.  What took me so long to finish something so simple you may ask?  Well I’ll tell ya.  It started with me deciding to make a complicated fabric pattern for the top of the ottoman from extra fabric that I had around.  It involved my sewing pieces together that were cut into a particular pattern.  I was doing pretty good until my children,

aka my Baby Doll

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and miz Sasha Fierce

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started harassing me and each other (in my craft room/office-no less…I mean really, no respect for the zen that is in my space).  So I stopped sewing, ushered everyone out, and closed the door.  Two weeks later, my intricate pattern still was not finished and I still had no place to rest my feet.

Last weekend while shopping at Hobby Lobby for the Baby Dolls knobs and such to complete her chifferobe (I will post about this soon..trust me it is a winner), I decided to head over to the fabric department to see what I can see.  I found this beautiful fabric on the clearance rack for $3/yard.  I bought a yard.  Sunday I went into my room with the staple gun in hand and got-her done.  I really love the pattern on the fabric, it’s reminiscent of the scrolls that are on my desk and the colors really tie-in to the craft table.

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Now I have a place to rest my feet when I take a seat in my comfy chair and read.

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I just have to find a way to keep people out and the peace in.

Of course now that I have my snazzy ottoman, I now feel the need to recover the chair in something equally fab.  I’ll keep my eyes open for the fabric that makes my heart sing.

Do you think it’s too tall?

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I debated cutting the legs down some, but the jigsaw has been “misplaced” during the move.

Lonnita   

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Time to DIY

Now that we’ve finally found and moved into a house that we love, everything is unpacked (for the most part), the old house is just about ready to lease out, and the weather is finally coming around to something more conducive to working outdoors; so what does this mean for me?  It’s time to start some DIYing projects.

With us acquiring a bigger home (more rooms, larger rooms), and the fact that we decided that some of our old furniture did not make the cut for the new home; there were a few items that we are working on replacing.  Unfortunately for me, my husband is not a big fan of refinishing furniture or seeing the diamond in the rough that I am.  He loves to see the diamond after it has gone through the process.  Me…I like to dig for the diamond and process it.  Do you see my dilemma?  I have been a good wife and went along with the purchase of a lot of new things that I KNOW in my heart of hearts that we could have found and with a little bit of work made something awesome.  Don’t get me wrong, I love buying new…it’s just that I’ve found that a lot of the newer items aren’t as well made as some of the older pieces.

What have I been doing to appease the DIY monster in me?  I’ve been working on my office and the Baby doll’s room.  My Baby doll wants her room to be in black, purple & white zebra print – with hints of pinks and LOTS of bling.  She has very specific ideas about what she needs to have in her room and it is up to me to execute her vision.  Did I mention she’s 7?  As I add to her room and make new and inventive ways to add bling and BLACK to a 7 year olds room.

As for my office/craft room…I’m taking it slow.  I’m purchasing a lot of accessories.  But one day while I was sitting in my chair reading, my knees started to hurt.  I have bad knees, trying everything I can to avoid knee replacement before I turn 55; so if something hurts my knees I must pay attention.  I need an ottoman.  After careful reflection I came up with the thought of transforming a small table into an ottoman.  After a stop at one of my local thrift stores I came home with a small table that is currently being transformed.

But I must show you a finished project. Smile  I create a menu for the family EVERY week.  I usually post it on the frig for the family to look at so that they won’t have to ask me, “What’s for dinner?”  I really wanted a big chalk board, but had been unable to find something that would work for me.  I then started the search for a huge frame that I could make into a chalk board.  No go.  I did have a piece of MDF left over from making my Baby doll’s craft table just sitting in my laundry room.  Smooth surface, right size…I’m going for it.  I bought my chalkboard spray paint and got to spraying.  002

I bought some blue acrylic paint (my kitchen will eventually be in shades of blue) and lettering stencils

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and nearly two hours later this is what I ended with.

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Now I just have to hang it….oh yeah and get some chalk.  BTW, you may be wondering why the bottom has a shortened (and offset) “F” & “S”….well usually we eat “whatever” on those days.  I’m either working late into the evening/night or we’re eating out (regardless of how much I plan meals and I plan meals for every Saturday).

So tell me, are you doing any DIY projects?  I’d love to hear all about them.

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Photography 001

I don’t know if you remember, but I got this great camera for Christmas…

It’s a Nikon D3000.  There are tons of better cameras out there, but this was my first foray into DSLR world and the end to my life as a point&shoot girl.  As you guys have seen I’ve been taking pictures left and right and they haven’t all been the best.  I was extremely grateful when I discovered photo editing sites/software that wasn’t Adobe Photoshop (too complicated for my life…I’m a working mother who is trying to build a second business I don’t have time for Adobe) because I could correct some of the mistakes that I made while using the Auto and Manual settings (also trying to figure out when or when not to use flash).  Plus I’m taking pictures of the desserts I make so that they can be added to my website, I want good pictures without having to pay a food stylist for them (I’m a small business after all). 

I have often felt like I never really had enough time to post because I always  inevitably had to do picture editing and then blogging became SOOOO much more than typing my thoughts and sharing projects with everyone.  I wanted to be able to take pictures that I could use with minimal to no editing that were fabulous enough to hold you guys interested (and maybe be impressed :)).  I also wanted to be able to use the A and S settings that I saw on my camera but didn’t know what they really stood for.  I began scouring the internet for information and blogs that would give me some photography tips.  I found some good information out there and also talked with other people I know that are into photography.  My family vacation was fast approaching, so what better time to try out all of the new techniques I’ve leaned? 

Some of my pictures came out not so good…

I believe I had the shutter speed to high for these photosThis was a good photo but could have been great if I had of had on the flash.

 and then some turned out pretty good…

I can’t even begin to tell you how this happened…but WOW, I’m really proud of myself.

 

At this point I don’t feel like I can classify myself as a Photography 101 student …I’m still in the remedial class, hence the title Photography 001.  So I really would like to get feedback from you guys.  I need tips, comments and whatever you’ve got to help me become a better photographer.  As I improve and learn things I will pass them on.  Thanks a bunch…and don’t forget to send me your comments.

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