Make a Manly Trinket Box

dads-trinket-boxBear and I have been married for 17 years. And over that time the only thing we fight about is how messy the house gets. With my OCD I’d be happiest with everything always put away in its designated place and if nobody ever moved anything. Bear would be happy if he left things wherever he happened to be standing when he stopped using them. Even if that was in the middle of the living room, or the bathroom, or in the middle of our bed. It’s been a journey to try and find the middle ground between us, and for many years I had to settle for “hygienic enough to not get CPS called.” Bless him, no matter how he tries, Bear just doesn’t seem to possess a cleanliness gene. So since I’ve learned that he’s never NOT going to have piles of crap around, I can at least give him places to put those piles of crap that won’t make me crazy.

Even if you don’t have the pile problem that Bear does, you probably have keys and spare change and earbuds to corral. And since handmade gifts for dudes are always so hard to come by, this project solves a lot of problems at once.

 

suppliesSupplies:

  • Wooden Box with a frame on the top
  • Cardstock for the inside of the box (I used this script paper)
  • Cardstock to decorate the inside of the frame
  • Wax Metallic Finish (I used Spanish Copper)
  • Alphabet Stickers
  • Clear Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel
  • Nailheads
  • Chain
  • E-6000 Adhesive

step-1Apply the wax finish to the box by rubbing it in with a shop rag and buffing until absorbed. I loved working with this as an alternative to paint and I ADORE how it looks when it’s done, but this stuff reeks to high heaven and will stain anything it touches until it’s cured. So use gloves, open the windows, and wash your hands when you’re done.

 

step-2Cut the paper to fit each side of the inside of the box and glue it in place. Cut another piece to fit the backside of the inside of the frame.

 

step-3Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Lay out your box and the frame inset piece. Cover both with ultra thick embossing enamel.

 

step-4Heat in a 300 degree oven until melted. Repeat with a second layer if necessary to get the coverage you want. Repeat this process for every side of the inside of the box. Watch it closely because as soon as it melts it will start to drip. Let each side cool before applying the embossing powder on the next side and watch it close again. If the embossing gets away from you and you end up with a pool on one side of the box, a heat gun can help as you keep the enamel melted and spread it around where you want it.

 

step-5The cardstock I used for the inside of the frame had this great texture that could be sanded to reveal the interior color. I took full advantage of that, but you could decorate yours any way you want.

 

step-6I am always looking for an excuse to add nailheads to my paper projects, and making a masculine box is a great one. Push the nailheads through the front of the paper and bend the prongs down on the inside. Make sure you don’t put these too close to the edge or they’ll get in the way of the frame.

 

step-7Use letter stickers to finish the decoration.

 

step-8Insert the decoration into the frame and pour more embossing powder over the top. Bake as before but remember that all your enamel on the inside could melt again too. Position it on the cookie sheet with the box open. Watch it closely and take it out as soon as the powder melts. Since these frames aren’t made to be water tight it might start to leak. That’s another reason you want it to only get hot enough to just melt the powder. It might even help you if you use a heat gun to finish it. Keep adding layers as necessary to get the look you want.

 

step-9Cut the chain to be long enough to fit around the outside of the frame and glue down with the glue. This stuff is pretty dang stinky too, so keep those windows open.

 

trinket-boxWhen I gave this to Bear he was so excited. “You made me a box for my crap! You made me a crap box!!” Everyone loves to be seen and embraced for who they are. And God love him, I love this big lug. Piles of crap and all.

 

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Decorate a Vintage Inspired Lampshade

vintage-inspired-lampshadeEvery room in my house is chock full of midcentury antiques or midcentury replications. I’m obsessed. From the vintage Fire King Peach Luster plates on my wall to the acid green couches I bought directly from their original owner, I am so deeply in love with this period of design that I couldn’t leave it out of my bedroom. Plus I needed a little femininity in this room so I thought a little tulle was exactly what was in order to restore the careful balance of feminine masculinity I’m going for. Lampshades are so much fun to customize. You buy the cheapest thing available and with just the simplest effort you can make it perfectly fit your room.

 

step-1Cut your tulle to be as tall as the shade plus a little extra, and wide enough to fold in half and still give the look you want. Mine measured 18″ tall by 12″ wide. Cut wice as many pieces as you’ll need to go around your shade so that you can double layer each section. The tulle needs a few layers to really show up. Fold the sides in to meet in the middle so that all the raw edges will be in the back.

 

step-2Your lampshade will probably have a binding, so if it does, rip it off. Glue the tulle to the top rim. I used hot glue because it dries super fast and you don’t have to hold anything in place, but that glue will seep right through the tulle so watch your fingers. Keep the glue line as thin as you can so it’s easy to cover up later.

 

step-3Glue each piece overlapping the one next to it to get all the way around. The more you overlap the better as it really adds to the look, but remember to space them out evenly around the shade.

 

step-4Glue the other end of the tulle to the bottom of the shade. If your shade flares out like mine does you’ll have to pull the bottom of the tulle out to get the same overlap look. Just don’t pull it out so much that your raw edges break through to the front. When all your pieces are glued down, trim the edges to be flush or just below the edge of the shade.

 

step-5Pinch each panel around the middle to gather it. Use a coordinating ribbon or thread to bind it in that position.

 

step-6Make sure that when you tie your knots after you’re done binding the panels, you turn it around to the back so you only see a nice smooth decoration. I even used a dot of hot glue to keep it there so the knots couldn’t slide around to the front.

 

step-7Glue a ribbon or bias tape around the top and bottom of the shades to cover up all the cut edges. Fold the end of the bias tape over before gluing to hide that cut edge too.

 

vintage-lampshadeI love how this lamp looks, especially on top of my bookshelf bedside table. The table is so dark gray and clean lines it’s almost industrial, I’m a little obsessed with the contrast. Which is exactly what I’m going for in this room, which is why doing things yourself is just so. much. fun.

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Build a Bedside Bookshelf Table

bookshelf-bedside-tableAll my life I’ve had trouble keeping my books corralled. When I was a kid I used to spend the whole summer moving from one spot in the house to another carrying a large cardboard box full of my library books. These days the books are in piles next to every one of my chairs. You can even usually find one propped open on the bathroom scale waiting for me to need to spend a while on the john. I don’t like to waste a moment.

So obviously with that kind of a habit, my bedside table was drowning in books. Stacked up on each other until they fell over, piled up on the floor until the cats got to them, Atti has grown up playing with books like they were building blocks. The bedside table of my dreams had to be as much bookshelf as bedside table, so I had to build it myself.

 

step-1Pictured here:

The tabletop, which is a piece of 1/2″ plywood cut to 24″ x 24″, with 2″ squares cut out of two corners to fit table legs.
The bookshelf, which is a 5 x 8 cut 24″ long
The leg braces, which are 3 2 x 2’s cut 21″ long
The legs for the bookshelf which are 2 2 x 2’s cut 11 1/2″ long

 

step-2Pictured here:
Pieces for the table apron which are 4 2×4’s cut 21″ long
Front legs which are 2 2×2’s cut 30″ long
Back legs which are 2 2×2’s cut 42″ long

 

step-3I wanted all my screws to be hidden so I drilled each pilot hole with a countersink bit. This drills a wider hole around the smaller pilot hole so the head of your screw can hide down underneath the surface of the wood. You just fill this hole with wood filler and no screws to mar your paint finish.

I used 2 1/2″ screws for most of the assembly, accept for attaching the plywood tabletop where I used 3/4″ screws.

 

step-4Start with the front legs and sandwich one of the apron pieces between them. Drill countersunk pilot hole and attach with 2 1/2″ screw. Attach the other front leg to the other side of the apron piece.

 

step-5Attach the side apron pieces to the front legs, offsetting the screws so they don’t run into each other. Make sure your apron pieces are lined up and check for level as you work. You need the plywood tabletop to lay flush, so the apron pieces have to be even.

 

step-6Line the back legs up so that one end is flush with the front leg and the other side extends beyond the apron pieces by 12″. It’s important to get these pieces positioned right or else your table will wobble and your bookshelf won’t be straight. Measure, check for level, measure again. Then screw into the side apron pieces, and attach the last apron piece in between the two legs.

 

step-7Before you attach the tabletop, you have to attach the legs that will hold up the bookshelf. Lay the bookshelf piece on top and mark where the edge hits. Line the legs up with that edge on one side, the side of the tabletop on the other. Then screw up from the bottom of the tabletop into the legs. This part doesn’t have to be countersunk of course, so be sure and switch your drill bit before you drill right through your tabletop.

 

step-9Check the table legs for level. Here’s where you do any fixing that you need. Sand the aprons that aren’t lining up, sand the legs that you measured funny *ahem* (me), check your bookshelf for level and repeat the process. When you’re happy with how things are laying, attach the tabletop to the apron using the 3/4″ screws. Attach the bookshelf to it’s legs in the same way. Fill in the holes with woodfiller and let it dry.

 

step-8I used the woodfiller around the whole project. It helps make cheap lumber not look so cheap, covers up any sins from your cuts not being perfect, it just gives the whole piece an airbrushing. Sand it all down once it’s dry and blend the woodfiller in to the rest of the surface. Then paint the piece in whatever way you like best. I primed it (because raw wood requires it) and then used a few cans of spray paint to build up the color.

 

bookshelf-tableI love the industrial gray color that came out of my experimenting. It almost looks like one of those old file cabinets to me, which, for this project, in this bedroom, is perfect. Now my books are safe from Atti chomping, from cat barfing, and all I have to do is limit myself to the books that can fit inside this space. Which is already proving to be difficult. My next step is just to start sleeping in the library.

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Make a No Binding Blanket

no-binding-blanket
I am obsessed with snuggly blankets. They are piled on every surface in my home, spread across my lap during every binge watch of the Golden Girls, and fought over with Atti as he tries to claim them for his own. A fuzzy blanket is a prized commodity in my house, which is why I had to make one for my dream bedroom.

While I was at it I tried to solve a mystery that has been plaguing me my entire sewing experience. I knew there had to be a way to make the back of a blanket wrap around to be both the back and the binding. If you’ve never sewed a quilt or baby blanket before, there are basically two ways to finish it so that there are no raw edges to interfere with the snuggling. You can sew two pieces of fabric together and turn it right side out, with all the raw edges inside, or you can put a binding on it to coverup the raw edges after the quilt is finished. Both techniques have their pros and cons, but I find the binding to be too important to the life of the blanket to leave off. That’s the part that rubs up against your chin when you’re sick. It’s the outline to the drawing. But it’s also a lot of extra work. I wanted to create a technique that had the ease of the inside out option, with the benefits of a binding. So I did.

step-1

This technique will work on any sized blanket with any sized fabric. As always, my haphazard measurements are done after the fact. I was working with scraps of fabric I had on hand so I just went with the sizes they came in. If I was measuring for this I’d cut the soft minky fabric to be the size I wanted the finished blanket to be, plus the size I wanted the binding to be. Then the lining fabric I’d cut to be the finished blanket size minus the size of the binding. Just remember to account for seam allowances or your finished size will wide up being an inch smaller on all sides than you meant it to be. So let me do a math problem for you so you can see what I mean. Let’s say we want the finished blanket size to be 50″ x 50″ (which would be a horrible size for a blanket but an easy size for a math problem). And let’s say I want a 4″ binding on each side, and a 1/2″ seam allowance on each side too. That would be 50″ + 4″ + 4″ + 1/2″ +1/2″ = 59″  And then the lining would be 50 – 4 – 4 + 1/2 + 1/2 = 43.

Once you get your fabric cut to the size you want, fold each in half to find the middle point, then lay them right sides together by matching those middle points and pinning them in place. By matching the middles you make sure that all the extra binding fabric is evenly distributed on both sides. Sew the pieces together and repeat for all four sides, making sure to leave a few inches open in the middle of one side so you can turn it right side out.

step-2

It starts to look like a bit of a bunched up mess as you sew each side together, matched up in the middle each time. All that extra fabric that will eventually become the binding can start to look like a nest. Keep the faith, it will all work out.

step-3

You can see the natural miter that starts to take place in the corners. There is totally a point in this project where looking like a mess means you’re doing it right.

step-4

Lay the blanket out on the floor pulling the lining fabric taut and evenly distributing the binding on all four sides.

step-5

Now is when we turn our attention to those corners and make the miters. If you lay the corner out smoothly it will fall into place pretty obviously. Take the time to smooth everything out well to get it to lay right and you’ll see a triangle made up of the leftover fabric from each side.

step-6Use a row of pins to make the diagonal line from the corner of the binding to the corner of the lining fabric. Take it to your machine and sew a line right where those pins were and then cut off all that extra fabric to leave a 1/2″ seam allowance.

 

step-7

With the corners finished, turn the blanket right side out through the inches you left open where the lining meets the backing binding section. Lay it back out flat and then sew a line where the lining meets the backing binding. This will not only close up the part you left open, but provide enough quilting to keep the two pieces from shifting around and keep it as one solid piece.

Quilting and binding will always be my favorite technique, but sometimes the clock just won’t allow it. This technique results in a great looking, great to use, and easy to make blanket. I’ll be using it for every baby shower I go to from now on.

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Make a Mosaic Medicine Box

mosaic-medicine-box

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Blinged Out Rhinestone Pillows

Blinged Out Pillow

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