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Monday, April 25, 2011

Guest Bedroom Decrapification

So, today I had a rare day off/ home alone day- so decided to tackle a project which had been nagging on my mind for far too long.  Listen closely if you have any "dumping ground" in your home- whether it be an entire room (like me) or even a drawer or closet.  I am embarrassed of the "before" pictures. (Mind you, in the before pictures, I actually dumped out some boxes on top of the bed since I was prepared to organize and purge my heart out.) This spare room for us has very rarely served as a functional guest room, but more commonly is known as the "catch all" or "half finished project graveyard." When it has served as a functional guestroom, it's because I moved all of the junk down into the basement, and I am tired of moving this mess around. I use it to keep all of my craft items, items I mean to give away/ get rid of, and those that just haven't found a home yet.  I have been reading many blogs lately by women who keep fabulous, chic, vintage, eclectic and "upcycled" homes which have encouraged me to tackle this project without spending a dime.  (Usually I convince myself that if I go buy more stuff that it will be easier to keep the things I already have.  Is anyone with me here- it sounds crazy when I actually put it on paper.)  I love buying organizational items, boxes, bins, baskets, space bags and any other contraption which makes me feel like life would magically be so organized once that item is in my home.  Then I realized I was drowning in these such things, and still had a mess.  (grrr)  So it was time to roll up my sleeves, and get dirty. 
Here's some before & after photos of my work today:
Look how good my intentions were!  There are boxes waiting to go to Goodwill!  There are items I posted online to sell & get rid of! 

A little more inviting, right?  I dusted, swept, washed the bedding... and my personal favorite, ORGANIZED.

Then, there was my craft closet...

Wow, Inspiring, right?
My ribbon collection was one thing I always felt like I had to buy an organizer for- but today, not a dime, remember!?  I went online and got some great free ideas with items I already had- I used ribbon to display my ribbon, and clothespins to hold my bows onto another ribbon, shown here:
So, in about 8 hours, I feel pretty good about checking this task off the list.  (I have a few minor details which need to be completed, such as putting random pics into albums, etc.)
The key for me with keeping it clean is not moving things back in there.  I packaged up my wedding dress to be sent off for cleaning / preservation.  I have already called the ARC to come pick up my giveaway items so they don't sit around in my way until I shove them back into the guest room. Things that have a home elsewhere in the house have already made their way back. 
And, last but not least...
Betty has approved this room for visitors!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Sew Simple? Somebody lied to me! (Kitchen Makeover Part II/ Complete!)

Hello my fellow crafters- and wannabe crafters!  This project began well beyond my area of expertise- might I even say, in wannabe status? But it ended up a great lesson in patience and desire to enhance my sewing skills even further.  I began with my sewing machine (Necchi 4757) which was one of the sweetest gifts I've ever received (was a wedding gift) from two of my fabulous girlfriends.  Mom gave me my great-grandmother's sewing box with all of the beginning essentials for Christmas and then I bought this "Sew Simple" book.  (Ha!)  All are pictured above as my "getting started supplies."  The next step, and my personal fav was to pick out fabric.  I didn't have anything too specific in mind... but set out to find a white, black and maybe yellow fabric for the kitchen curtains I was determined to make.

Here's me at the fabric store with the fabric I ultimately chose.

I know, it doesn't look very black or yellow, does it?  Once at the fabric store, I felt like black and white would be too "matchy matchy" with the rest of the kitchen, so went with something that would accent and flow instead of be uniform.  But that's just how I roll. What about you- do you prefer "matchy matchy" or a flow?  For instance- I am an event planner by day and my own wedding had a "collection" of blues, browns and bright greens- while other brides whom I work with often prefer that every detail of their wedding be the same shade of "David's Bridal Eggplant" or "Brushed Nickle Silver." 

THANK GOODNESS for ironing seams, pins, and really good fabric scissors!

This is my final panel in progress!  (Needle don't break now!)  I have four windows in the kitchen which needed to be covered- so with two panels each- I sewed a total of 8 panels.  (And am now proud to call myself a straight-hem pro!- Just don't ask me to sew on a curve!)

Mom brought over some Ric Rac on one of her 5 trips up to my house to help me when I wanted to throw the whole project away... I've used some here as tiebacks...
(Also, note how close the neighbor's house is next door- we needed the option of privacy... coffee in your skivvies at 5am anyone?)

I also saw in a book called "Farm Chicks" that they lined open air pantry shelves such as ours with Ric Rack.  I affixed it with those craft dots that you use for scrap booking.

A close-up of the Ric Rac shelves.

Also- I'm very excited to show you the bakers rack seen here.  Originally I had posted that we were going to refinish one- but my Mom found this one on super ultra clearance at Pier 1 Imports, so she spoiled us and surprised me with it one day.  Also- See the curtains back there?

Here's over the sink.  At first I was concerned about the greens clashing- but I think it works since the kitchen has that "Vintage Chic" feel.  Generally, my decor style is not country- but there is something to be said about cooking bacon on a Saturday morning in a kitchen that feels like Grandma's.  (And my Grandma Eastman's kitchen is eclectic and vintage as they come!)

The newly white cabinets with the black hardware, the Baker's Rack, the curtains, the hand-painted spice rack, it's officially DONE!  (For now.)

And of course, the most important part of the project...
Betty has approved this kitchen for use. 

*A note about sewing*
  I am really looking forward to some new projects.  I have decided about 1 project a month would be manageable and keep me learning at a steady pace.  If you too are a novice sewer, I have the following advice:
1.  Befriend your manual!  I despise few things more than reading instructions/manuals, but it's necessary and you won't become "one with your machine" without using it.

2.  Keep everything together and neatly organized to easily start, resume and put away projects.

3.  Sew often- even my Mom and Grandmother had both forgotten the fundamentals since so many years had passed since they'd used a machine.

4.  Take accurate measurements- and then consider whether your fabric has a direction- specific pattern or not.  Luckily- my measurements worked even though I didn't take this into account... (Ie; up & down, side to side, etc.)

5.  Have fun!  And if it stops being fun, walk away and resume later!  I'm a "finished product" kind of gal- I like to sit down, do, and be finished! But I have learned with a sewing project, you often have to walk away and come back later.  If you get rushed or frustrated, needles break and bobbins go crazy.  Breathe.

Thanks for following me on this project- it basically consumed my 5 day staycation- but it's done!