Project Remnant Redo’s Muse

room

office, oasis, studio, space, with cat

This week’s WordPress photo challenge is “Muse.” My muse is most often Grayzie the cat, sleeping there in the chair. I take more pictures of him than anything else, mostly because he’s so darn a-muse-ing. But hey, as far as muses go, this recent redo to my sewing room/home office has provided lots of creative inspiration.

I don’t have a “before” pic to show you, and if I did I might not post it because I don’t want to see it later as a Hoarder’s Worst Nightmare …

But it is a remnant redo project, too. My old desk, which was attached to the armoire there on the right, stretched to the corner then right-angled in an L shape along the back wall. That window on the right wall was almost completely blocked by the back of the desk, which had a shelf unit for CD’s, storage of all sorts. On top of the desk shelf were stacks of books, and baskets on top, which went almost all the way to the top of the window.

Proponents of feng shui might say that you should never have your desk facing the back of the room, you should have it situated so that when you are seated at your desk, you can see the door when someone comes in. But notice, there is a sunburst mirror on the wall, so that when I’m seated at the desk I can check the mirror and see if someone is sneaking up on me through the doorway. Plus, I can open the blinds and see the beautiful neighborhood while I’m working, which gives me a new sense of expansion, as if I’m part of the outside world as well as operating inside my cave of creativity. The best of both worlds…

The desk had a nice faux-granite top that was hard and sturdy. But the rest of it was particle-board with a paper-thin veneer on top, and when I moved it here, it didn’t survive the trip very well. Many of the bolts that held it together got jostled and ripped out chunks of particle board, so DH had to rig it with many shims and clamps and such. I actually worked at the desk for over a year, with a big pipe-clamp stretched across my keyboard from the window to the end of the armoire. If I ever had to open the armoire to retrieve something, my keyboard tray would fall to the floor with a loud, agonizing crash.

What I added:

3 filing cabinets

shelf even with top of armoire, moved plastic file boxes to this shelf

a new store-bought keyboard tray (hasn’t been installed yet)

new plastic chair mat

new ink for printer that has been spewing out documents in shades of pink lately

3 shelves and brackets on back wall (some of the brackets we already had)

white spray-painted cans on lower back shelf (cans were former Christmas gifts of popcorn or cookies or butter-rum life-savers)

corner shelf DH put together from desk remnants and spray-painted white

a new Clear Sounds phone DH got me from FTRI

 

In some ways it’s like a kindergarten classroom*, with “stations” for each activity: sewing, cutting, serging, embroidery, quilting, drawing, painting, photography, jewelry-making, knitting, other crafts, writing, the volunteer work that I do, genealogy, processing mail.

*This thought is distilled from my memories of a couple of organizational books by Julie Morganstern.

There’s a bookcase over to the right of the armoire, now filled about half and half with fabric and books. Why have books stacked up all over when they could be in the bookcase where they belong?

Grayzie loves the new redo. He has plenty of serene new surfaces to lie down on, and when he gets bored he can jump up to the serger table and mangle all the thread paths for a fun activity. And how quick can my hand travel across the room to his furry neck? J/K, he’s my muse.

A Little Wooden Reno-redo

DH tackled an item that’s been on his “honey-do” list for a while, part of our Arts and Crafts bathroom renovation.

We got a new shower door, put up some wainscoting and painted the upper walls gray to sort-of match the formica cabinet and the fixtures. It used to be lavender and blue, with a sailing sort of a theme. We figured since lots of other parts of the house are Craftsman-style, we’d gravitate toward that decor for the guest bathroom as well.

Here’s the ugly mirror with its peeling-from-the-underside edges:

bathroom mirror

ugly-edge mirror

DH had the brilliant idea of assembling a frame to go around the mirror and hide that shabby peeling edge.

framed mirror

the framed mirror

He used a pine-cone tile [one we’d bought a long time ago, thinking to use for something, but nothing came up until now] for a center piece for the upper frame. He added ebony plugs at the corners of the frame pieces.

framed mirror

in this b&w view, can you see the ebony plugs in the upper right corner?

He added a cloud lift to each upper corner:

cloud lift

cloud lift

cloud lift

right corner cloud lift

It wasn’t truly a simple project, because the wood he used was very spring-y so it was hard to glue the frame in place; the middle would bow up while the ends were being pushed down and vice versa. He tried several types of epoxy and Tite-bond II. Clamps wouldn’t fit in this scenario. We spent some quality time together in meaningful conversation while mashing the frame onto the glass with our out-stretched palms until the 5-minute set-up time was accomplished. He had to cut, sand, and varnish the wood, then he added the ebony plugs, and cut, sanded, varnished, and added the cloud lifts, so that was a lot of embellishing to the simple frame. Once completed, though, the frame added a whole new level of style to the room.

bathroom mirror

Unframed mirror before (note the ring-tailed varmint, Grayzie, in the background)

Postscript:

The idea that he had installed some cloud lifts to the frame, with nothing for them to lift, weighed heavily on DH’s conscience. He had to add an additional feature to the frame –two ledges or small shelves or lengths of frame just above the cloud lifts so  the lifts didn’t look just stuck on, they would be performing their function of lifting. I think it looks even better. And he feels better about the whole project.

framed mirror

completed mirror frame

Vivid

Vivid

Vivid

Weekly photo challenge theme is “vivid” –see more vivid photos here.

Today is the A J Jacobs family (which includes you and me and everyone else) Global Family Reunion in NYC and other satellite party locations. Check it out and meet some of our mutual cousins! It features fun, education, and is a benefit for Alzheimer’s Research.

Little Bits of Fabric

Fabric remnants are ideal for making outfits for little people. They’re small, they’re less expensive, and you can find really cute ones in the remnant bin. Like these:

fabric remnants

cute remnants

The pattern presented itself in May 2015 Burdastyle UK.

Burdastyle baby clothes

Little Burda Clothes

I decided to experiment with the more ordinary remnants before taking on the premium Frozen item, the fabric roll on the far right in the first image. Good thing, too, because I discovered that I’d traced the pattern a bit wrong. The dress and top are the same pattern piece with two different lengths and sleeves. Sometimes it’s hard to see the tracing lines on the Burda pattern sheets, because they’re all mixed in with about a hundred other pattern lines. And you have to add seam and hem allowances to every cutting line.

Burma baby clothes

top and shorts

This is my take on the top and shorts. I used small rickrack for top sleeve and hem trim, rather than the stretch lace trim called for. For the waist and leg bands, I used Dritz fold-over elastic from JoAnn’s, rather than rib-knit called for in the pattern.

Burma baby clothes

Burda dress and shorts

The pocket trim on the dress called for elastic ribbon. What the? Never heard of it. But I had a little strip of teal piping in the “oddments” baggie, so I used that. I think the big giant pocket on the front of the dress looks kind of cyclopic, but maybe it will be fun for a toddler. For these pants, I did use the rib-knit, as I just happened to have a remnant of matching white in the stash. The waistband is a casing of rib-knit fabric stuffed with 1-inch wide elastic. The leg bands are just rib-knit with no elastic inside. And since both of these remnants have similar colors, I combined  them in the reversible bucket hat.

Burma baby hat

reversible hat

Oh by the way, you might want to get in on this opportunity to win a Janome serger from Burda. all you have to do is enter a fitting tip in the comments on their contest page. You might need to have an account with them and sign in to it, to do this…

She Didn’t Let Me Down

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

Thanks to all the military relatives and friends who have sacrificed so much for us in America. We can enjoy cookouts, water parks, watching old movies, going to the fro-yo place this four-day weekend, thanks to them. My heart goes out to the people in other countries right now who are dealing with misery and want.

My parents were both in the Army, and my grandfather and brother were in the Navy. One of my sons went into the Army, and has served in Korea, Afghanistan and Iraq. I’m grateful for the mindfulness of the military those associations have brought me. I seem to be enjoying a prosperous time right now, but I don’t want to forget the wars waged, the losses, the changes.

This weekend, Ancestry.com is offering free access if you want to search their military records for records of your ancestors. And if you haven’t set up a pedigree chart so far, you can do so with a free account on familysearch.org. Family Search is getting better and more public records are added all the time. I promise you, researching your ancestors is a fun and addictive hobby!

I decided to do a little sewing, and chose this Burdastyle wrap dress from their March 2015 UK issue.

wrap dress

Cotton sateen wrap dress from Burdastyle March 2015

The level of difficulty was greater than what I’ve been used to, but I tried to rise to the occasion! First, I had to trace the pattern, and it had all sorts of weird pieces. Waistband pieces, facings, slashes, pleats. Interfacing. For notions, I needed 2 snaps and a button. I looked all over and finally found exactly 2 large-enough snaps in the zipper drawer.

snaps

two snaps left in the stash

Would you believe this pack of snaps went for 50 cents? Once again, my grandmother didn’t let me down. She has been gone since 1995, but I am still benefitting from the thrifty cache of notions and sewing paraphernalia in her old teak sewing desk.

Have a great weekend!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Broken

broken foot

Nothing major, it’s just a little bitty piece of bone in there somewhere that was broken

 

For more “Broken” check the challenge here.

An Easy Little Remnant Quilt

Of all kinds of quilting, I like the easy ones the best. You might not win the prize at the county fair for making one, but little quilts can be memorable, and provide hours of comfy relaxation.

I had this patchwork remnant from JoAnn’s in the stash for a long time. Whenever I see a patchwork remnant, I get it, because it represents added work, and therefore value. So the retail price of this sort of pieced-together fabric is about $25 per yard. Half-price as a remnant, the finished product makes it look like you did a lot of measuring and ironing and seam-clipping, but we know the truth. And if the truth doesn’t set you free, at least it gives you a reduced price for using a remnant.

lap quilt

lap quilt

I used a plain piece of flannel as a near-match in color. And I happened to have a small bit of batting in the stash that was pretty close to the exact size (ended up trimming off about an inch, what are the odds of that?) I chose to “channel-quilt” the top, backing, and batting sandwich. Why? By channel-quilting, I mean I stitched in the ditch from the top one way, so that I traced the patchwork squares by either their tops and bottoms, or their sides, not both, to outline rows rather than squares. I figured if I tried to outline all the individual squares there was more possibility for puckers. As it was, I only had to rip out a few feet of stitching and re-do it, and that’s a pretty good result for me.

I had one package of brown quilt binding in the stash, but I knew that wouldn’t be enough. So when I went to the store to get another one, I saw this luscious chocolate brown satin blanket binding, and I splurged for that. At $7.49 per 4.75 yard package (of course, I applied a 40 or 50% off coupon to that), it’s not cheap but one whole package was exactly enough. What are the odds?

I was thinking it would make a nice baby gift, but it seems to have a more sophisticated look to it. And I also messed up a bit on sewing down the corners of the binding, and added several rows of visible brown stitching at that corner (which would horrify my mom, no doubt) where it shouldn’t have had to be seen if I’d placed the entire binding on correctly to begin with. So I reasoned, not good enough for a gift, but good enough for us. The cats like it.

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