Wednesday, February 1, 2012

January's progress on Better Home Challenge

I'm reporting in on the progress I made in January on the Better Home Challenge.  The short answer is 'Not much.'  My main excuse is I've been sick for about 10 days.  Am feeling better, but really didn't feel up to tackling any sewing while I was down.  I did get a couple of things accomplished and will show you now. 
I had mentioned last time that I didn't know what to do with this quilt rack.  I didn't want it in front of the window.  I realized we had a space heater in this spot that could really go anywhere in the room and would be moved out when the weather is warmer.  So the two have now switched places and I'm happy that the quilt rack still has a home in our room.  It is hand made, and I got it in Mt. Vernon, Missouri, which my mother claims as her home town. 

I did get my laundry put away, however, more has crept in and taken its place.  A much smaller amount, but seems a never ending battle. I have also been handwashing.  Have done six sweaters and have two more to go.  This has gotten a laundry basket out of the closet, so did a bit on cleaning out the closet. 

Last post I talked some about the spool night stands.  We spent more than we wanted on the bedroom furniture, so were trying to repurpose something we already had.  Here is a picture of a spool top that we use as a plant stand in the summer. 

The two that are now nightstands were not quite this bad, but they were pretty beat up.  Here is what they look like now.


Hubby cleaned them up, stained them, painted part of them with the wall paint, built and installed the shelf in the middle and added legs to make them tall enough. I want to put a skirt around them to hide all the stuff.  Also need to make something to hold magazines, as the shelves just don't hold them well.  After we installed these, I came across a blog showing lots of ideas using the big spools.  Here, I thought I was being cheap, turns out I'm trendy! 
Finally, a few closeups of some items in the room.  Hubby made me this rack to hold bracelets.  I sort of described what I wanted, he came up with the design and the idea of using bamboo.  He's proud that he used no nails or glue to hold it together and I'm happy that I can get to my bracelets more easily.  Think I have enough?

 He had some more bamboo, and this lamp needed a repair, so he replaced the stand with bamboo, to continue our beachy theme.
This is a little candle holder I got at an estate sale for a quarter.  Love the design and the color.  Made in California. I want to put a shelf up in the room, and this will go on it.

Accomplished one other thing, totally free!  We decided we don't want to put any rugs down, so don't have to buy any. 

I'm linking in with Heather, who started this Better Home Challenge.  She listed the total amount she spent on her room.  I didn't keep track, but other than the furniture, we haven't spent a lot.  Paint, a board for the peg rack....  Already had the pegs, and the fabric I hope to use for the window.  May buy some new blinds and a ceiling fan.  There is still work to be done in here, but am happy with the progress so far. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The 2012 Better Home Challenge

I was told about a blog today that has given me inspiration!  Heather, at  Needles and Pens  has come up with a challenge for this year, to get some of the home improvement, decorating and decluttering projects done that have been hanging around for too long.  She's calling it the Better Home Challenge.  If you want to read all about it, go here.  She's asking us to pick 12 rooms or projects, one for each month.  We will do a blog at the beginning and end of each month, showing our progress.  Here are my 12 rooms -

1) Laundry room/downstairs bathroom
2) Master bathroom
3) Upstairs Hall
4) Upstairs closet (about 5'x20')
5) Sewing room
6) Kitchen
7) Office
8) Living room
9) Basement Family room
10) Basement storage room
11) Basement Laundry/bathroom
12) Other bathrooms (we have 5)

Since I came in to this a little late, and I am already working in there, I made the Master Bedroom number 11, the first number she chose.  Ok, that's cheating a little, but that's just how it's going to be this month.

We started on this project in November.  (Note to self, don't start projects that involve painting a large room at the beginning of the holidays.) I don't have any 'before' pictures, mainly because I never want to see what it looked like before again.  I will now show some 'during' pictures, with notes on what has been done and what needs to be done. I'm calling this my Beachy Retreat room. 

This is our new bed and utility cabinet.  The furniture is from Paula Deen.  I love it, but it aggravates me that I paid extra just because her name is on it.  The utility cabinet has shelves above and drawers below and contains our stereo.  These pieces replace a bed and much larger armoire from the mid '80's.

Here is the bed from the other angle.  You can see that we painted the walls two different colors.  The off white is Soft Pearl, the aqua is Cilantro, both from Sears. Prior to the paint, we had wall paper with pink flowers from 1987.  You'll just have to use your imagination.   

The bay window faces north, so we don't get a lot of bright light in the room.  (Do you like the Fiddle Leaf Fig (Ficus Lyrata)?  He's my favorite house plant.  He came home from hubby's office a few years ago with about 4 leaves, was about to be thrown out.  Amazing what some water and fresh soil can do.  He spends the summer on the front porch.  You can barely see them, but he has Christmas lights right now.)  No changes have been made here yet, other than moving  a large chair that used to be in front of the window.  Did you notice the two bedside tables?  They are made from old rope spools that hubby has had since his Navy days, 40 years ago.  He cleaned them up and painted the tops with the wall paint.  I plan to make a skirt to go around each, to hide our junk.
The alcove is our dormer window .  Previously it contained a pressed board microwave stand with the TV on top.  The stand is gone (yippee) and this is the chair that was formerly by the window.  It has a bark cloth drape thrown over it. 

This area also held a cedar chest and a hat tree/coat rack.  The cedar chest is currently sitting in the hall, waiting to go to a new home, and my hubby made the peg rack to hold items that the tree formerly held. 

Here is the new dresser.  It's my favorite of the three new pieces.  Each sliding door has 3 large drawers behind it.  The middle upper drawer has an electrical connection and I have my laptop in there.  What I don't like is the humongous TV on top of it.  I'm dreaming of a flat screen, but that is going to be in the future. 

This just shows the third corner of the room.  I didn't take a photo of the fourth corner, it has the door to the master bathroom. You can glimpse it in the previous photo.                                                                  

What I still want to accomplish- New bedspread and Window treatments.  Slip cover chair.  Make skirts for nightstands.  Clean out closet.  Put items in drawers that are currently in other rooms.  Put away my laundry off chair!  New lamps and ceiling fan.  Cushion for window seat.  Hang up art.  Touch up paint boo boos. Floor coverings. 

Here are some fabrics that I may use for the bed/skirt/curtains.  Not sure yet.

One dilemma I have is what to do with the quilt stand.  I really like it and don't have a place anywhere else in the house for it.  Will have to keep thinking on this one. 

Hope you have enjoyed the tour of our room.  Am looking forward to what has changed by the end of January.


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Crumby Blocks

Last night and today I spent some time playing with my fabric scraps, sometimes called crumbs.  I've been saving my scraps to make 3 quilts.  I want to make a Scrappy Bargello, a String Quilt and a Crumb Quilt.   Directions for all of these can be found at Bonnie Hunter's website, Quiltville.  I have been having some issues with pain in my hand and wrist.  It doesn't hurt when I sew, but does hurt when I use the rotary cutter or iron.  So thought I would try just sewing things that were already cut.    First, I sewed many of  the precut strips I had for the Bargello. I have a 32 strip set sewn together, and have more to start on a second set.   Then thought I'd try the Crumb blocks.  They do involve pressing and some cutting, but the pressing is just for a brief time and the cutting is only when you need to trim to get a new straight edge. 

I started  with this -
These are scraps from other projects, and some are from a big box of vintage fabric I bought at an estate sale.  Nearly all are smaller than about 1 1/2 "x 6". Larger ones I am saving for the String quilt. 

Along with Bonnie Hunter's Crumb technique, I used ideas I got from another blog, Patchwork Pie.  She calls her method Mile a Minute.  She uses much larger pieces than I have, so I ended up sewing several little pieces together, then using the Mile a Minute ideas. 

I sewed and sewed, until I had these. 

You can see there are a wide variety of shapes and sizes.  After I  got the blocks to this stage, I used my 6 1/2" square ruler to cut the blocks.  By angling the ruler, the blocks become rather wonky.

I have 7 done and have enough fabric for many more.  Many, many more.  Not sure what I will do with these.  I'm thinking machine quilting them, with all the seams, would be like riding in an open Jeep over a rutted dirt road.  Maybe will tie them instead.

One of my New Year's Resolutions is to blog more.  So hope to see you here more often.