Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Bright Transformation

After 3 and a half years of not seeing eye-to-eye, Stephen and I finally caught up on the same page and made a big, unimportant purchase: we bought a new TV.  To some of you, this is no big deal....however, to me, this was HUGE!  That story, however, is for another day and another time...continuing on...
The reason I tell you about the new TV is because it called for a new place to set it up.  Our old TV used to sit to the right of our fireplace:

Here's the problem with this set-up: it was definitely NOT conducive to watching television while sitting on the couch.  Something had to give, especially now that we have a new television.  Some of you may be thinking, "Hang that television above the mantel!" but I just couldn't bring myself to do it...I really love being able to decorate the mantel during the different seasons, and after this summer, when I used a Pinterest inspiration to update the mantel, I really didn't want to mount a television in that decoration space.  Originally, I thought we could put the new TV to the left of the fireplace, but then Stephen pointed out that it would cover up a lot of our bookshelves...that's when the brainstorming occurred.  

After seeing a friend turn a dresser into a TV stand, and then seeing them all over Pinterest, I decided that I was now on the lookout for a dresser to transform myself (with the help of my dad and his tools, that is).  I didn't need just any dresser, I needed a small enough dresser to put in the nook to next to our french doors (where the chair is):

This nook is directly across from the sofa and provides a wonderful viewing area to watch the television from both the couch and the love seat.  And so the dresser hunt began.  I literally checked Craigslist daily for about 4 months before I hit, what I believed, to be the jackpot.  I picked up this little lady, who just happened to be the exact right size (40") and came with a mirror (which was repurposed for another area of our home - that's to come later) for $50.  Here she is:

My original plan was to only remove the top drawer to use as a shelf for cable/dvd player and utilize the bottom two.  The only problem with this plan, was that when I got home, the drawers turned out to not be in as good of shape as I had previously thought...not to mention the whole thing was looking a little sad as I removed drawers:

Once I realized the condition of the drawers, I decided to only use the bottom drawer and to improvise with baskets where the second drawer originally was.  Here was the plan: remove the warped cardboard that separated each drawer and replace it where the first and second drawer had been with thick MDF that could act as a shelf.  I would then prime and paint the piece and call it a day...unfortunately it took a little bit longer than I had hoped, but nonetheless, the project is complete and I couldn't be happier!

I went to Home Depot and had 3/4" MDF cut to match the length and width of the bottom where the first and second drawers originally sat.  My dad helped me cut the small corners on these boards so that they fit perfectly inside the dresser.  He also helped me by attaching side supports on each side of the inside of the dresser so that the MDF had something to sit on all the way around it.  In order to get the boards in, we had to take the back and the top off the dresser - she looked a bit decapitated for awhile!  I filled in the hardware holes on the bottom drawer, because I only needed 2 holes (instead of the 4) for the new pulls.  
I followed Centsational Girl's advice and went with the Zinsser oil-base cover stain/primer, because the top of the dresser was a laminate.  I bought a cheap paint brush for the primer and then tossed it when I was finished to avoid the messy clean up.  I primed the pants off the dresser, and the new shelves, painted them and then put the drawers into place.  I put the bottom shelf into place and polyurethaned it before I put down the top shelf.  Once both the shelves had been polyed, I reattached the top and the front decorative pieces and then polyurethaned the entire dresser.  I decided to paint it "Yukon Gold" by Olympic to match my Ikea Hemnes Linen Cabinet (in case they ever ended up in the same room). 1 quart of paint was more than enough.
My dad then cut 4 holes into the back for cords to go through. The bottom drawer had to be reinforced and fixed, as it was falling apart.  My dad cut a thin piece of flat wood and added it to the bottom, inside of the drawer.  He also reinforced the sides and back by attaching thin pieces of wood with nails to the inside of the drawer.  Lastly, he put L-shaped brackets on either side of the drawers to hold it together.  You'd never know the drawer was in bad condition, unless you pulled it all the way out! 
The pulls I got at Home Depot for a couple bucks each, and the baskets are the perfect size and were purchased at Lowes.  When it's all said and done, I believe we spent a little more than $100 on this new TV stand and it fits and looks perfect in its new home:

Isn't she a beaut?!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

My First Quilt

Hello Blogland!  I've sure missed you!  This week I am enjoying time off of school.  When our district put together our calendar this year, they added a week at the end of February for make-up snow day in case we needed them.  Thankfully, we've only had 1 snow day, so school was in session on Monday, and it's out the remainder of the week.  PRAISE GOD FROM WHOM ALL BLESSINGS FLOW!  This week couldn't have come at a better time!

I figured I could get caught up on a million and one projects I've done and have wanted to share with you!  The first one is a quilt I made this past very first quilt!  It definitely won't be my last!!!  A dear friend emailed me and asked me if I'd be willing to make a quilt for her little man.  I had always wanted to try my hand at quilting (especially because one of my besties is a master quilter), but never had a good reason to.  Thankfully this dear friend is also a very flexible person and was so easy to please!  I used a variation of different ideas, mainly following this idea of a quilt without a binding.  The main blog that I went to for sewing (and emotional) support was Diary of a Quilter - using her quilting tutorial.  Let me tell you, if you can sew a straight line, then you can make a quilt.  It's as simple as that!

First things first, the fabric had to be chosen.  She wanted something brightly colored that was gender neutral so it could be used for her little man and then again if some little ladies were in her future.  She settled for "Half Moon Modern" by Moda.  A charm pack (42 5" squares) was purchased:

Unlike the quilt without a binding tutorial, she did want a fabric border on the front of the quilt around the squares, and so we settled upon the grey small dots from the "Half Moon Modern" collection:

For the back, she chose the larger grey dots to compliment the front:

The other supplies needed was batting to go on the inside of the quilt, and coordinating thread - I just used a white thread.  For the batting, I purchased "warm and natural cotton batting - crib size" from Joanns.  After all the fabric was in and the batting was purchased, I was ready to get started.  

Please forgive my picture quality...I used my phone and I have none taken with a real camera...
The first step was to figure out the pattern/sequence of the charm squares.  With the help of my sister and mom, I finally decided upon this:

The key here was to make sure that none of the small dot grey was on the outside because I didn't want it to blend in with the border I was going to put around it. 
Once I settled upon the sequence, I made rows by placing the squares right sides together and sewing a 1/4" seam.  Once all my rows were made, I pieced them together one by one and connected them.  After all the squares had been pieced together, I used Diary of a Quilter's quick method for adding borders.  I pieced them together with the sewn together squares, and voila!  I had what was looking an awful lot like a quilt!

I was now ready to sew my batting to the back of this piece.  I cut my batting the size of this piece of fabric and then safety-pinned the pants off it!  After safety pinning it, I chose 3 vertical seams and "stitched in the ditch" (sewed along these seams) to attach this front piece to the batting.  Once the batting was in place, I cut the piece of my back fabric the same size as the front piece:

Now I was ready to get jiggy wit it (na na na na na na na).  I pinned the back piece of fabric to the front piece of fabric right sides facing each other.  I then proceeded to stitch all the way around the edges of the 2 pieces a little less than 1/4" in. I left a small opening so that I could turn the fabric pieces right side out, and then I stitched the opening close by stitching all the way around the edges of the right side turned pieces.  Once I was finished with that, it was time to "quilt" the pieces.  You can get all fancy with this step, but I stuck to the basics.  I decided to "stitch in the ditch" throughout the entire quilt.  Here's what the 'beaut looked like when I was done:

The front

The back

I don't think I've ever been as proud of a finished sewing product as I was of this project.  I was smiling from ear to ear and was all over the internet looking for my next charm pack to make my new quilt!  Unfortunately I haven't made another one since this one, but I definitely look forward to trying my hand at it again, something REALLY soon!  What about you?  Have you every quilted?  If not, what's holding you back???