Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Handling in the Towel

For my birthday and Christmas, my mom will sometimes buy me cute hand towels for the kitchen.  Every once in a while she'll pick up a holiday-themed one with a homemade handle from a craft fair.  I like these ones because they button/snap/velcro and will stay hooked to a handle and won't drop to the floor.  My cousin's wife pinned this cute idea on Pinterest which was linked to this pattern.  I printed out this pattern and went to work on my first handle for a towel.  

The instructions were pretty easy to follow, but I made (and will make) a few changes to it as I went (go) along.  The hardest part for me was doing the button hole.  I don't have a button setting on my sewing machine, so I did the best I could.  I think next time I'll hand sew a snap button, or just stitch some velcro on both sides.  I will also make the "handle" part of the pattern a little bit wider.  Here it goes:

  • Sewing machine (unless you're real good at sewing)
  • Measuring tape
  • Scissors
  • Seam ripper (for mistakes - I had lots of- I'm still learning to use my machine)
  • Hand towel (fold in half and cut down the middle to make 2 hanging towels)
  • Fabric for your hanging part (6 separate pieces of 7" by 12" fabric)
  • Thread
  • 2 Buttons (or snaps or velcro)
  • Pattern
  • Card stock or paper to trace the pattern on to

I can't take credit for the pattern or the steps, so I'll just briefly share what I did.  I started to put up our St. Patrick's Day decorations when I came across this towel.  I figured it would be a good time to try out the pattern, so I cut the towel in half and found some old fabric lying around in my fabric box.

After I traced and cut, I had to layer 3 of the pieces.  The first piece goes right-side up, the other two are right-side down.  They are layered this way because you will sew them, then flip it right-side out.  

Make sure to pin the pieces together so that they stay in place as you sew.  Sew a 1/4 inch hem around all sides - just not the bottom.

Then I tucked the towel into the bottom.  First, I sewed the towel/handle about 1 inch from the bottom of the handle.  Then I put a little less than 1/4 inch hem around the sides.  Then I added a final 1/4 inch hem at the bottom of the handle just to be secure.

Now, putting the hems was hard for me because the towel + handle was very thick.  I had to rip out many hems because the thread kept gathering underneath the backside of the towel.  I finally changed the setting for the one hem.  If you notice, there are two different hems when sewing the towel to the hanger.

Then, the button hole came.  I folded the loop part down to see where the button would go. Then I cut a slit. Around the slit, I tried to sew it together.  It's not pretty, but it works.  Like I said earlier, I might just sew a snap button on the next time I make one.

I'm extremely happy and proud of the final product.  I've already lined my mom up for the other half of the towel.  

How do you hang up your towels? Stuff them in the drawers? On the drawer pulls? Oven?

Now you can Do It Yourself Too !


Saturday, February 18, 2012

Scrap the Clutter

Ok- so I've been slacking on the scrapbooking lately.  Third grade has been a lot of work!  Since I haven't had much time to scrap, my scrapbook/craft area has turned into a "Let's pile stuff here" area.  

Kerry and I bought the LACK floating shelves from IKEA in the summer.  I like the shelves, but they aren't very sturdy, so I didn't put much on them...until last week when we bought 4 EKBY STODIS brackets at $.50 a pop !

I did a little rearranging of my table and scrapbook storage boxes and voila ! Organized scrapbook/craft area !

I made these curtains a couple of years ago as a
cute way to hide some of my craft materials.

Now you can Do It Yourself Too !


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Come File Away

When Kerry started his Masters this fall, he wanted needed some bigger desk space.  We were still using his small, old college desk from IKEA.  He wanted something big, dark, and bulky with a file cabinet and I wanted something big, light, and simple.  We searched and searched but couldn't come to an agreement on anything.

Then I found this DIY desk:

And this one:

He was as equally excited for this idea as I was. So, we did some research and came up with an idea for the desk.  His dad would help us to build the top and a shelf for one end and we would purchase an IKEA VIKA ALEXA drawer unit in white and a VIKA CURRY leg in white.

So Kerry and his dad went to Lowe's and got a big panel of wood.  His dad used all his sweet saws to cut it down to 24 inches by 72 inches.  He added a 1/2 inch trim to it and stained it a nice, dark brown.  He used the left over wood to build a small bookshelf to support one of the ends.  I painted the shelf white.  Here is the final product:

We share the desk, sometimes at the same time.  I'll use the Mac and Kerry will hook up his work laptop to the monitor. He's working and studying, I'm Pinteresting and checking up on my favorite blogs, all while rocking out to Styx - or something like that ;)

Anyway, back to the filing drawer part.  Kerry wanted some quick access to filing drawers as part of his requirements for a desk.  The VIKA ALEX didn't have that, but we had a plan to fix that.  First, when Kerry put the drawer together (back in November) he left out the bottom of the fourth drawer.  We had plans to combine the bottom two to make one big filing drawer.  For the filing part, we were thinking of buying some sort of filing insert for the drawer, but couldn't find any.  So, I used my work desk as an inspiration and went to Lowe's in search of some hardware for my idea.

Tools Needed:
  • Drill
  • Screwdriver
Materials Needed:
  • 4 Stanley Corner 3/4 " x 1/2" braces (screws included) 
  • 1 steel rod that was 3 feet long and the diameter of  3/16" (Lowe's workers were kind enough to hack saw it for me to the right length of the width of the drawers, which is 11 1/2 inches).
  • Mending Braces size 2" x 1/2" (screws included- but I needed to find shorter screws as to not go through the drawer.

Filing System:
Step 1: Drill a hole to start the screw.  Make sure to measure where the brace will go, that will allow the file folders to move.  
Step 2: Screw in the first Corner Brace. Be careful not to split the wood near the edge.
Step 3: 2 people are needed for this step to hold the rod and other brace.  Put in the rod, then drill and screw in the second brace. 
Step 4: Start over from Step 1 to complete the other side.  

Combining Drawers:
Step 1: Take one mending brace and measure/place/mark where it needs to go.
Step 2: Drill smalls hole for the screws.
Step 3: Screw in the screws with the mending brace.
Step 4: Repeat for other side. 

Now both drawers are connected when we pull it out. So excited for our new filing drawer !  It's the little things...

How do you store your files? In a cute basket? Drawers? Accordion folder?

Now you can Do It Yourself Too !


Saturday, February 4, 2012

A Tisket. A Tasket. A Wall Full of Baskets

Soo...after my new found obsession with Pinterest started, I came across this wonderful idea for small bathroom storage.

Our upstairs "guest" bathroom doesn't have a lot of storage space, our sink is narrow with little cabinet space, and I'm not very in to the shelf/cabinet over the toilet idea.  So I was thrilled when I saw this picture.  I love baskets because they are a versatile way to store anything and they look good doing it. 

I was also excited because the current towel bar over the toilet was not centered, which really bothered me, so now I had an excuse to take it down.  

For the project:

Tools Needed:
  • Screw Driver
  • Drill
  • Putty knife (if needed)
  • Paint roller (if needed)
  • Paint tray (if needed)
  • Level
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
Materials Needed: 
  • Towel Bars
  • Baskets
  • Something to attach baskets to bar - I used craft ribbon
  • Spackling (if needed)
  • Sand paper (if needed)
  • Self-adhesive drywall joint tape (if needed)
  • Primer and Paint (if needed)
You might find some of these steps unnecessary if you don't have to remove an existing towel bar.  So skip to Step 5 and just hang the new ones!

Step 1: 
Remove old towel bar.  Some bars just have a small hex screw underneath the part that attaches to the wall.  Just unscrew those with a hex wrench and pull off.  Others, like mine, have to be twisted and pulled until it just comes off. You might even need a crowbar if its stubborn. Be ready to patch!

This was the old towel bar after I took part of it out. I forgot to take a before picture, so this is the best image for "before." Notice how its not annoying.

Step 2:
Once the bar is removed, patch up any holes with spackling.  If the hole is bigger than a dime and looks fairly deep, you will need to patch it with the drywall joint tape before spackling. To do this, cut a piece of the joint tape that will cover and overlap the hole.  Then use the putty knife to cover with spackling.  Don't just cover the hole.  Cover around it as well.  Make sure not to leave excessive clumps of spackling.  You will be sanding it, so it doesn't need to be perfectly smooth, but clumps would be bad.


I got spackling that went on the wall pink and turned white once it was dry. Awesome! 

Step 3: Once the spackling is dried, sand it down to make it smooth.  You should be able to run your hand over it and not feel a seam where the spackling meets the paint.

Step 4: Once sanded and smooth, its time to prime and paint. 

Not too bad for my first time patching and painting !

Step 5: Now the fun part !  Once the paint is dry, your wall is ready to hang a towel bar.  I wanted a simple towel bar, so I went to Lowe's to see my options.  I came back with two of these babies:

I bought them at $28.50 each.  Kerry did some researching and said that the price was a fairly good deal for new ones, so I went with them. 

Just follow the instructions that came with the towel bar.  Some are different than others, but you'll basically be drilling some holes, screwing in the mounting hardware, then attaching the bar to the hardware.  Use the measuring tape and pencil to mark where the mounting hardware needs to go.  I also used the measuring tape to make sure it was centered. Make sure to use a level to ensure that the bar is level - I didn't for the first bar and it is slightly tilting up...oops!

Step 6: Once the bars are up, cut some ribbon (or whatever you are using to attach your baskets to the bar).  Loop the ribbon through the baskets (I got my baskets at K-Mart).  Then tie the ribbon around the bar.  This part was tricky since the basket was a little heavy, but it worked!  

Here's the final product ! I looove it !  Since it serves as a guest bathroom, I put some toiletries in one basket in case someone forgot something (Target dollar sections are great !)  Then in the other are wash cloths and hand towels. I left the top two empty... for now.

This was my first modification to the bathroom. It was fun to do and pretty easy!

So what are your ideas for using wall space as small space storage?

Now you can Do It Yourself Too !


Thursday, February 2, 2012

I've Got the Hang of It!

So everyone who knows me, knows my love of pictures and photography.  I love looking at, scrapbooking, and taking photos (and I strive to take better ones - someday I'll be there).  But until then, I will still enjoy all the ones that I take as well as my family's and friends' photos.  

In the new house I have two photo walls that are a work-in-progress: One on the middle floor living room (brown frames)  and one at the top of the third floor steps (white frames-which will eventually spill over into the stairway).  After searching for the best way to hang up numerous pictures, I found some tips and started to hang. 

Tip 1: Typically, frames that are the same color or type are visually appealing.  Too many colors or shapes can be distracting, so the best combo would probably be to keep the frames the same color and use different shapes/designs (or same shapes works too).  You don't want to use different colors, even with same shapes...but it is your house - make it your own! 

Tip 2: To make the wall visually pleasing, pick a focal point - either an invisible horizontal or vertical line that the frames will follow. I chose horizontal.  When you don't have either, it might look messy and imbalanced. 

Step 1: Lay out your framed photos on the floor, bed, table, or some big area where you can figure out how you want to arrange them. Play around with the display, looking to see which frames go best next to each other.  I probably changed the arrangement at least six times before deciding which one to go with.

Step 2: Take newspaper, wrapping paper, or any big paper and trace each frame on it.  Cut it out.  Take painter's tape and tape the cut-outs on the wall to see what your display will look like.  I kept an inch of space around each frame to keep a balanced look.

Step 3: Before hanging the photos, I used a staple gun and stapled some picture hanging wire to the backs to use instead of the typical hooks on the back.  You can use the regular hooks if you want though.  Measure from the bottom of the hook or top of the wire (pull it up and tight as it would be when it is hung)  to the top of the frame.  Go to your paper cut outs, take off the tape on one side and fold the paper over in half to find the middle.  Unfold it and retape. Then measure  from the top of the paper at the crease to whatever length you measured at the beginning of this step. Mark that spot on the paper with a marker or pencil.

Step 4: Hammer in the nail on the spot you just marked. Hang the picture over the paper cut-out.  Adjust if necessary. If that is a good spot, take off the frame, pull/tear off the paper and stick the frame back up.  Repeat for other frames.  
The way the wall looked 6-30-11 when this was done.
Picture wall on 2-2-12

Updated, but still a work-in-progress, picture wall - notice I kept the horizontal line as I added more frames.

Hope this is helpful!  Again, this was done pre-blog, so sorry for the lack of step-by-step photos. 

What are your most favorite framed pieces?  Your child's artwork? Wedding photos? Map of where you first met?

Now you Can Do It Yourself Too !