Project DIY: Dresser

This week, after trolling Craigslist for a while, I found a $50 antique dresser for sale. I snapped up the dresser and THE SAME DAY sold my old armoire for $75, which was a nice piece of furniture but was also a hand-me-down and just wasn’t my style. So here’s some photos of the dresser. Consider these the “before” shots. I’m planning to sand the dresser, re-stain it a different color, and also line the drawers with some nice paper (using Mod Podge like the last post). My goal is to make it something I will like for a while, but also something I can pass on to my kiddo once my husband and I can actually shell out the clams to buy a matching bedroom set (oh, some day!). So it has to be something I like, but also something not too feminine. The only thing I dislike about the dresser is the diamond accents on the sides. Unfortunately them suckers are GLUED on like that sort of thing is never going out of style. So I need to figure out how to pop them off without ruining the veneer. Any suggestions anybody?

But enough yakking. Here’s the “before” dresser. Stayed tuned for the “after”!

My favorite part of the dresser so far is being able to put by jewelry box and some nice decorative things on top. Couldn’t do that very easily with my armoire because it was so tall.

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Brightening my morning, or, fancy labeling of coffee canisters so I don’t drink caffeinated coffee on accident and consequently our son is awake for hours

That might be the world’s longest blog title. Breastfeeding moms out there, I’m sure you understand.

Anyway, this was a quick little project I did to make sure my husband and I don’t confuse our different coffees since the beans are kept in identical canisters. I drink decaf, both because I’m breastfeeding and also because caffeine does weird things to me that don’t bear mentioning on this blog. My husband, the lucky b@stard, drinks caffeinated like a normal person. I suppose the perk for me is that when I absolutely need some caffeine, it actually works!

First I chose two fun papers I had in my stash for the lid tops. I meant for the purple one to go on my canister and the yellow on my husband’s so we could associate the sunny yellow lid with caffeine and the moody, purple lid with decaf, but it turns out the canister lids are not interchangeable between the jars. So until we both run out of coffee and can swap the jars, it’s the opposite for now: my decaf has the yellow lid and Shawn’s the purple.

I traced the circles with a coffee mug. Then I used Mod Podge, which is glorious stuff, to affix the paper circles to the jars. I painted the Mod Podge on the lid, not the paper, with a foam brush (which I quickly rinsed well so I can use it again) After affixing the paper to the lids, I painted over the top of the paper, too, so that if the lids get splashed (they reside near the sink), it won’t ruin the paper. I won’t be scrubbing the lids in the sink any time soon, but at least I can wipe them down and not worry about ruining the paper.

And here’s the finished product!

This was a five-minute project, but it was worth it! It’s the little things in life, you know.

Going to the Sun (and some waterfalls)

Over Labor Day weekend, we took a little trip over to the east side of Glacier National Park. We don’t get over there too often because it’s about four hours round trip. We made the impromptu decision to get over to the east side, though, and it was a great boondoggle. The east side sure is lovely! We hiked to St. Mary Falls, a glacier-fed waterfall (you can tell it’s glacier-fed because of the turquoise water, which looks like something you’d see in the Caribbean). And then we drove over the Going-to-the-Sun Road close to sundown. The long shadows thrown up by the arched backs of the mountains painted the park in a beautiful light.

Here’s my boys at St. Mary Falls. Jonathan was pretty into watching the waterfall. This was a good hike for us. It ended up being about three miles round-trip, which is about six miles too short for Shawn and I, but a good length for our little Peanut. Next summer we’re planning to do some longer hikes with him.

St. Mary Falls sure is beautiful. For a waaaaay better photo, check this out.

We didn’t quite make it to Virginia Falls, but we did spend a nice fifteen minutes hanging out on the rocks on an unnamed cascade along Virginia Creek.

After the hike, we drove home over the Going-to-the-Sun Road (we’d taken Marias Pass on the way to the east side). Here’s the view from almost on top of Logan Pass, looking east.

Recent projects: Pear bib

My son needed a new bib. Why? He only had one! It’s a blue and yellow cloth bib that says “Li’l Swede” on it and I wore it when I was a baby. He did have another bib, a plastic camouflage one that a relative gave us, but the plastic/velcro was irritating the back of Jonathan’s neck so we’re trying to use that bib only when traveling (it’s much easier to clean than the cloth bibs). Just like when I made my own makeup bag, I decided that instead of buying something, it would be much more fun to make something myself. An embroidery book I have, Embroidery Companion by Alicia Paulson, had a pattern and design.

I bought just a little blue gingham, which I tried to buy it at the local quilt store, but apparently most places don’t carry gingham anymore. Too old-fashioned. So I had to go to the dreaded Joann’s instead. I avoid Joann’s as much as I can because the fabric that store carries is low quality and because there are never enough people working there so if you need any assistance at all, such as having fabric cut, it takes forever to track some harried employee down. Anyway, I bought blue and red gingham and some pre-quilted cotton fabric for backing. I feel more confident about the gingham from Joann’s because gingham by its definition is woven instead of printed, making it hold up better.

I’m planning to embroider an ear of corn on the red gingham (for our little Cornhusker fan! Go Big Red!), which I’ll be making up myself. But to get started I used the pattern in the book for a pear.

It was a quick cross stitch project. It only took me three days of working on it here and there. Putting the bib together was a cinch and took about 45 minutes. I simply sewed the embroidered gingham square to the pre-quilted cotton, cut out the bib shape, then sewed bias tape around the entire thing. Easy!

And here’s my cutie boy modeling his new bib:

I had so much fun working on this bib, after I complete the ear of corn bib, I’m planning to make a few for friends who are having babies. Aren’t quick little projects like this fun? What are you working on right now?

Recent projects: Crib bumpers

I recently completed a couple of projects I’ve been meaning to do for a while now. I made bumpers for Jonathan’s crib, and also a bib (which I will share in the next post).

I decided to make the bumpers myself after reading this blog post and doing some research on what nice bumpers were likely to cost. For about a quarter of what I would pay to purchase the bumpers, I made my own. They’re not that great, but they’re better than nothing! And we needed something, because our son has a penchant for sticking his feet through the bars of his crib (and consequently his fat little legs get stuck and then he screams bloody murder), and he also scoots around in his sleep so much he kept banging his head against the bars of the crib. Waking up in the middle of the night to a screaming baby is not OK at this point.

I used some fabric I already had on hand (my fabric stockpile has gotten a bit out of hand, and I’m trying to use what I have before buying more… though I did buy gingham for the bib, but more on that in my next post), but picked up some navy blue piping for decoration, navy blue ribbon for the ties, and foam for stiff padding.

After the tedious measuring and fabric cutting stage (every project I do, I swear I hate measuring and cutting just a little bit more), I pinned together the fabric, piping and ribbon. I placed the ribbon at even intervals so there are ties on the ends and in the middle. I did, of course, run out of ribbon at the end, so I have one bumper with five ties on the top and one with four ties, but my baby sure isn’t going to notice something like that. It’s important if you’re making something like this yourself that the ribbon lays INSIDE the fabric, as shown below, as you pin, not the outside, or you’ll end up with the ribbon on the wrong side of the fabric. Though maybe I’m the only person who has to think that sort of thing through. I also use the same color pin (green in this case) to denote where the ribbon was so I sewed extra carefully in those spots. Anybody else give themselves visual clues like that?

I sewed the top (with the piping) and the two sides before inserting the foam and sewing the foam in. I probably should have used buttons instead so I could remove the foam to wash the bumper fabric, but I decided to live on the wild side (a.k.a. I didn’t want to learn how to sew buttons this time around) and sew the foam in. Down the road I’ll inevitably have to wash the bumpers and when I do I’ll plan to wash them on a cold, gentle setting. And keep my fingers crossed. I left about an inch on all sides of the fabric to account not only for seams but also for the width of the foam.

Here are the finished bumpers on Jonathan’s crib:

You can see the top of the crib bumper is actually a pale blue. The one on the bottom matches it. I didn’t have enough of either the pale blue or striped fabric to complete all four bumpers, but I thought the two fabrics went well together and the navy ties and piping help them match. Also, I think these bumpers are neutral enough for a baby girl’s crib in the future (no, I am not prego).

I’m happy to report our days of stuck feet and bumped heads are over. Our little peanut seems to sleeping better at night. Mission accomplished!