Friday, November 26, 2010

Bedside table "slip-covers"

When we moved to our new house, my mom donated to us her old bedside tables since we didn't have any.  This is what they look like.... sad face...there's a matching one on the other side of the bed.I didn't leave them like that...I had a grey sheet tossed over each one which really wasn't much better.

After browsing through some new fun blogs, I came across a tutorial  from Ana White showing how to make a gorgeous, knife-pleated slip cover for a parson's chair.  I repeat....gorgeous.  And then it hit me,

I could make gorgeous little knife-pleated slip covers for my night tables!

Now as you may know...I have this habit of dreaming beautiful things...starting beautiful things....and then finding them semi-finished in the back of the closet three years later.   Not this project! I was determined to get'er done...and get'er done I did!

I had been eye'ing up this beautiful black idon'tknowwhat material at Fabricland on the upholstery/tabling/drapery shelf.  Low and behold, it was on sale when I came to get it! Wooooo sale!

A bunch of math, pinning, cutting and sewing later....this is how my first one turned out! Isn't she beautiful?! I gave the legs a lovely coat of silver spray paint to give them some class too!

EDIT: This picture is way better than the one I had up! Now you can actually see all my beautiful knife pleats!

 Here's a close up so you can see the gorgous material and the pleats I so carefully measured eye-balled....

Here's how I did it: (I didn't take too many pictures of the process 'cause the lighting in my house is lame so you'll just have to imagine as we go)

This was the most complicated part - getting it all planned out.  Bear with me and feel free to ask if my directions make no sense!

1.  Measure the diameter of the tabletop and add 1 inch (1/2 inch seam allowance on either side)
2.  Measure the circumference of the tabletop and add 1 inch for seam allowances
3.  Measure how long you want the skirt of your cover to be, including pleat.
  • Decide how long you want the pleated section to be and subtract that from the total length of skirt.
4.  Take the length of skirt without pleat and add 1 inch for seam allowances
5.  Take the length of pleat and double it - add 1 inch for seam allowances

For example: My table stands 25 inches high.  The length of my finished skirt with pleat is 9 inches.  The finished pleat is 3 inches and the finished skirt is 6 inches. Therefore, my unfinished skirt measured 7 inches with seam allowance and my unfinished pleat also measured 7 inches with allowances (you fold this piece in half).

Once you've got all your measurements:

1.  Cut out a circle using the diameter of the tabletop plus 1 inch.
2.  Cut a long rectangle for the skirt.  The long edge should equal the measurement calculated in point 2 above (diameter multiplied by 3.14).  The short edge will be the length of skirt in point 4.
3.  For the knife pleat pieces, double the circumference length and add a foot or so (piece it together if need be...the seams won't show).  The length  should be twice your finished length plus 1 inch for seam allowances.

Mark all your pieces so you don't mistake skirt pieces for pleat pieces!

To make the pleat:

I referred to an awesome tutorial by Pink and Polka Dot on how to make knife pleats.  She lays it out really clearly.  I will emphasize one thing though. Do not underestimate the length of material you need. You will definitely need twice as much plus a foot.  I eyeballed my pleats as she did...I'm not that picky..or patient. 

To make the cover:

1. Pin your finished pleat to the skirt piece, right sides together and sew.
2. Iron seams up.
3. Match and pin the ends of your skirt/pleat together, right sides together and sew.  You should now have a complete circle.
4. Take your tabletop circle and pin to your skirting, right sides together. Use lots of pins and do an inch or so at a time keeping the edges lined up (this is not an exact science..) 
5. Sew!
6.  Put your finished cover on the table to make sure everything looks good.
7.  Fix it if it doesn't!
8.  Iron the seam down toward the skirt (use the narrow end of your ironing board for this)
9.  Put your pretty new table cover on and admire!!! (I ironed it again while it was on)

mmm buttonCatch As Catch Can

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Rustic Christmas Wall Art

Here's a project I saw made on CityLine the other day.  I'm trying not to buy any Christmas decorations this being I come.

First I used my hubbies circular saw. Seriously people. This is a big step for me.

Ok, so I used his saw to square up a piece of particle board we had kickin around in the basement...gave it a quick coat of Zinsser Bulls-eye Primer....followed by a couple coats of some shiny silver spray paint...just 'cause that's what I have.  Silver and flat black. That is all.

Next step.  Draw a Christmassy picture on your board....or...for those less artistically inclined - print out an outline.

Place your diagram on your board and hammer finishing nails along the outline of your picture.  You can get all sorts of nice finishing nails according to what colors you want in your diagram (or you can use plain ol' ones and color them with markers!)

 I found you want to space the nails about an inch apart.  On straight lines you can set them further and on areas with lots of curves you want them closer together.

When you've got all your nails hammered in, take some twine or yarn and outline the diagram.  Tie a loose end around one nail and start winding the yarn around each consecutive nail (hope that makes sense!)  Check the diagram if it doesn't.  Just do enough yarn to ensure you've put enough nails in.  If you don't have enough, your picture will look put in more nails!  Next, take your yarn back off and tear off the paper (if you've used a print out).  Redo your yarn outline.  You can leave just the outline or fill it in by randomly going back and forth across the middle as I have done.

The olive branch on mine looked messy and shapeless so I used a green permanent marker to color the nail heads and twine so you can tell what it is!

I love the way it turned out but I'm really thinking it needs a frame of some sort....something to make it stand out against our wall color.  I think I'm going to make another one too...maybe a taller Christmas tree one?  On CityLine, the lady used a board 2 ft by 4 ft and made a landscape with snow drifts and a tree!

mmm button

Monday, November 22, 2010

ANOTHER Silhouette giveaway!

Ok seriously - Sarah at Thrifty Decor Chick is doing ANOTHER Silhouette Craft Cutter  giveaway.  HOW LUCKY ARE WE? 

You can get all the info for entering here ANNNND if you have no idea what a Silhouette machine should really check out their website.  It's the coolest thing since sliced bread!!!

Make it Happen Monday

I'm switchin it up from the usual Menu-plan Monday this week.  I'm feeling like I need the incentive to actually accomplish something this week.  I spent all of last week recouperating from our holiday in Mexico.  Isn't it strange how you almost need a holiday from the holiday?  I was so exhausted all week!
Anyway, on to the good stuff.  Havin a get'er done day with Ammie at Domestically Obsessed!

For Today:
  • make bread and buns
  • make coffee plans with two girls from our youth group and a lovely lady that I just want to sit and learn from! She doesn't understand why I want to spend time with an "old fart" like her!
  • put up a few more Christmas decorations
This afternoon I'm booked from 3:30 - 9 with two piano lessons, dinner with good friends and then bible study!

For the Week:
  • sew table covers for my bedside tables
  • create some Christmas artwork that I saw on CityLine
  • stuff rags in all the registers on our main floor to keep the cold air from the basement in the basement
  • buy wedding present for a wedding on Saturday!
  • buy baby shower present for shower on Tuesday
  • make appy's for said baby shower
  • plan meals and baking for our family Christmas (we're celebrating over New Years since we're spending Christmas day with my husbands family)
  • bake muffins for our youth coffee cart ministry
  • find some tougher Christmas piano music for one of my students

I'm sure there's more but that's a pretty good start!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Get'er Done Project 1 - Junk Drawer

Now that the snow is starting to fly and I can't spend my free time reading on a beach (bummer!) .... I've decided to (wo)man up and tackle some inside projects that have been dying for attention ....for days...months...a year (eek).

First up. The Junk Drawer....dun dun dunnnnnnn. Everyone has one...well everyone except my mother who is perfectly organized in every way.  I take after my dad.....

This was our junk drawer.

 To tackle this project I visited my very favorite dollar store and picked up some little baskets - 4 for $1.25...can't go wrong!  I use these EVERYWHERE.

Then, I took out the drawer and emptied it on to the kitchen table...well I emptied it in an organized fashion...

Among all the pens, permanent/dry-erase markers and random office supplies there was also:

- 10 "D" batteries
- 5 "AA" batteries
- 2 "AAA" batteries
- 1 "C?" battery
**** it is unknown whether any of these batteries are still useable****

- 3 packages sweet pea flower seeds
- 6 pads of post-it notes
- Scratch remover for CD's
- a piece of hardware for the kitchen faucet
- needle nose pliers (so that's where they've been all this time)
- two rusty xacto knives
- 3 lighters
- some metal clip ...that metal thing in the middle that is shaped like an 8
- misc. screws, nails and picture holders

Unfortunately I did not find the household scissors we have been missing for at least two months. Lord knows where those are....I sure don't.

Now, thanks to my trusty dollar store baskets this is our new and improved junk drawer! Everything has home - pens and pencils on the left, dry-erase and highlighters on the right, our huge collection of permanent markers on the bottom and smaller office supplies in the middle.  Yay! My blood pressure drops a few points just looking at it!

What projects have you been putting off?

Catch As Catch Can

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Back to the great ...gray....North

We just got back from a wonderful week-long trip to the Mayan Riviera (Mexico) with our best friends!!! 

We flew in at 2 am and stayed up to watch the sun rise over the ocean.  There may have been alcohol involved.....
 I was created to live on a beach.  For serious. I would be perfectly content to live the rest of my life in a bathing suit beside the pool and a large library of books at my disposal.

Stop talking to me ...can't you see I'm busy??!!

Next to reading beside the pool, my other favorite thing to do is nap in a hammock!  There's nothing like waking up to a warm breeze and a canopy of shady palm trees.  Do palm trees grow in Canada???

Unfortunately some people actually need entertainment so I was a good sport and tried to be as social as possible :) Go me.

Biking at Xel-Ha

 We stayed at the beautiful Grand Sunset Princess which was 45 minutes South of Cancun.  They had a different fancy restaurant to eat in every day of the week!

I ordered the Red Snapper...and they served me the ENTIRE FISH!

All the restaurants were "work-place casual" dress code so I got to see my hubby "dressed up" almost every evening.  It doesn't happen very often people.  

The rooms were gorgeous with a King sized bed, a HUGE tufted leather headboard and a flat screen TV. It was everything I ever dreamed it would be.

The bathroom of my dreams!

A pic of me and my favorite person

I heard it snowed here in Kamloops while we were gone. There was definitely snow on the Coquihalla highway as we drove home from Vancouver yesterday. As for me, I will bide my time 'til summer comes back.....probably sitting at the computer looking at my Mexico pictures and dreaming of the beach.

Monday, November 1, 2010

My new vacuum!

This post is for Ammie over at Domestically Obsessed.  She did a great post about useless purchasing - wants vs.needs so I told her about our lastest....impulse buy (those words leave an icky taste in my mouth).

It's a vacuum.


It's called the FilterQueen Majestic 360...and boy does it a good way!  This lady called and asked if she could do a demo at our house, and I obliged.  I never until this day give in to these demos....I just let them come over and do their thing 'cause I know it helps them make money...and everyone needs to make money somehow!

Anywho, she pulled out this cute little vacuum and stuck an attachment on that allows us to see what gets sucked up and what goes through the filter and would be sent flying back into the air by our normal vacuum.

So. gross. to see that even though my vacuum catches a much dust and skin cells gets blown right back into the air I breathe through the vacuum's exhaust vent. I know this is true 'cause why does my upright vacuum always seem to end up dustier than the floor I'm cleaning?

The next gross thing she showed us was a picture of a dust mite.  Gag. Double gag.  She described how they realllllly like bedding 'cause it's warm and cozy in there.  Then she took her little vacuum to our bed(!!!) pulled back the sheet and mattress cover and vacuumed the mattress.

Ok, for the record, I'm not the hugest neat freak in the world, but yes I do wash my bedding regularly.  Do you know what that vacuum sucked out of the mattress?  A ton of dead white skin cells.......and black stuff...which are dead dust mites and their POOP. Here's some additional info that you probably don't want to know!

Then she did a test with my old (which is only 4 years old) upright vacuum and the one she brought. She went over a spot with mine 52 times. Then she went over another spot with hers 15 times.  Then she changed the filter and went over my spot again with her vacuum.  It STILL pulled up sand and lint.  Now I usually only vacuum over the house once...probably passing over some spots twice on the way through.  52 times is like vacuuming once a week for a vacuum is just brushing dirt back under the rug!
This cute little vacuum of hers also has this little filter pad over the exhaust which you can spray a little fragrence on.  Seriously, my whole house smells like cucumber melon right now! No more burnt dust smell from my old vacuum. Yech.

Also,  no more hauling around a big cumbersome, heavy upright. I hated the way I had to lug the whole machine around, smashing it into the baseboards, lugging it up and down the stairs. Boo.

It's the same size as my hubby's cowboy boots!

This little baby is small! It rolls like a charm and the hose is 8 ft long....that means I can vacuum my entire living room without moving the machine.  If necessary, I can just give it a tug and it rolls just where I need it to.

Here's the catch.  It's cost. You probably saw that one coming.  And you're right.  It costs A FORTUNE. (Message me if you reeeeallly wanna know how much it cost),  Unfortunately, after watching this demo I couldn't DREAM of using my gross, cumbersome, nasty upright.

Impulse buy...(bleh).  The even grosser part is that we have to leave part of the balance on the credit card we worked so hard to pay off!! Laaaaame.  The moral of this story is that sometimes even the most seasoned buy-only-what-you-need frugalista makes mistakes :(

.......but my house smells like cucumber melon when I vacuum!

Menu-plan Monday

This week I'm keepin' it extra simple because we are preparing for VACATION!!!!  Soooo excited! We're flying to the Mayan Riviera on Friday afternoon for a whole week of lounging on the beach! I don't want to buy too many groceries so I don't have anything left to rot in the fridge while we're gone!

Monday - Herb - coated Cod with brown rice and steamed sweet potato.  Cruise over to last week's menu for the recipe.  I was supposed to make it on Saturday but we were busy all day and I just grabbed something out of the freezer.....I think.

Tuesday - Steak with whipped cauliflower (see last Wednesday for cauliflower ideas) and a green vegetable (whatever is on sale and looks tasty!)

Here's my go-to steak marinade:

1 cup     low-sodium soya sauce
3 Tbsp   white vinegar
1 Tbsp    olive oil
Squeezed garlic to taste (we like lots!)
1/2 tsp   black pepper

You can add other spices to this, as inspired.  I often add red chili pepper flakes.

Wednesday -  Taco wraps and a green salad. 

We had lots of leftover taco beast (not beef!) from our bible study date night last week.  Throw it in a tortilla wrap, add lettuce tomato, cheese, salsa and sour cream and dinner is served!

Thursday - Dinner at a friends house! She's also giving me a mani/pedi so my hands and feet are beach-ready! Soooo excited!

Friday - we leave first thing in the morning to drive to Vancouver to catch our flight!

Here's how I keep my menu plan.  I used colored markers on some printer paper, then slipped it into a sheet protector.  Now I write out my plan with a water-soluble marker and wipe off when next Monday rolls around!  I keep it in the front of my Control Center binder which stays in the kitchen at all times.

I forgot to update our Thursday dinner plans for a night out!
The D's and N's remind me what shift my hubby is working this shift we don't eat dinner 'til he gets home at 7:30pm and night shift I have to have him fed and out of the house by 6:15pm.  It's never a good night when I forget what shift he's on and dinner isn't ready on time!

Where do you keep your menu plan??