Make an Adorable Mummy Doll

mummy-dollThe mummy is my favorite of your classic movie monsters, because it isn’t plastered all over the place like you Frank’s and Drac’s. I love the underdog. But he’s also the one most frequently rendered in a way that grosses me out. My Halloween taste has a real sweet spot between too cute to live and too gross to die. So I had to make my own version of a mummy, who was exactly cute enough, and wouldn’t gross anyone anywhere.


step-1For the shape of the body, you just need two pieces of a gingerbread man. You can draw him or use an image from the internet, but I got my shape by folding the fabric in half and then just drawing one side of him, to make a perfectly symmetrical little man. Whatever method you choose, just cut two pieces. The fabric you use can be just about any kind at all, just in a color that will work for a mummy. I had this fabric leftover from my bedroom makeover, and I thought it looked sufficiently corpse-like.


step-2Sew the two pieces together leaving a 1/2″ seam allowance. Leave a portion of the outline open so you can turn it inside out and stuff it.


step-3To make sure the opening is strong enough to stand up to turning inside out and stuffing, it helps to reinforce each side with a few back and forth stitches.


step-4Turn your little man right side out and stuff him. I like to stuff on the full side, but I made sure to keep the part where his legs turn into hips a little on the soft side. That way I can sit him easily in my Halloween displays.


step-5You’ll need a whole lot of bandages to properly dress this dude. Tear strips out of a gauzy material by ripping it with the grain of the fabric.


step-6Sew one end of your strip onto the doll with a little running stitch and then keep wrapping, covering up as much of the doll as you want to. I ended up covering more than I would have liked, but I got very picky about getting the head covered. Same with the crotch and butt. I couldn’t stand to let those hang out. Which means my mummy ended up fully dressed. I probably didn’t need to overthink it so much.


step-7As you go around the head it can be tricky to get things to lay right. Just stitch down any edges that try and pop up, and stitch the ends of you wraps in place too.


step-8A mummy needs a face, and you can do that in any number of ways. I stitched a couple of french knots and a little mouth, but you could use markers to draw one on or even just glue googly eyes in place.


mummy-doll-in-actionI always love a little handsewing project and this is a great one. Especially for kids or anyone just learning how to sew. Any mistakes you make just become part of the look, since mummies are supposed to look decrepit and threadworn. They’re not mistakes, they are style choices!



Make a Funny Halloween Sign

tombstone-plaqueEvery time I look at this sign I giggle. I am a hard core lover of puns and wordplay and this sign delights me to no end. But I have to admit, I got the initial idea from another sign I saw in a home decor store. It was one of those stores where everything is made to look a little distressed, edges are sanded, brown paint sponged on the outside of things to make them look older, birdcages everywhere, and lots of those little balls covered in moss or beans. I’m not knocking it, I was shopping there after all, I’m painting a picture. There are a lot of stores like that out there. And if you’ve ever been in a store like that you might have had the same experience I did. I saw a wood block. Just a block of wood. Painted black with the edges sanded, and a version of this phrase that wasn’t as funny painted on it. I didn’t know what I was more disappointed by, that the decoration was so uninspired, or that they hadn’t workshopped the saying so that they didn’t step on their joke. I had to solve both of those problems and make myself something adorable in the process.


step-1I found this tombstone shaped sign at my craft store in the seasonal section with all the raw wood shapes. If your’s doesn’t carry this exact item, it’s a simple shape to cut out of wood and the border is totally unnecessary. You could make this with any plaque you like, but I love how the tombstone shape adds to the humor. I used black spray paint as a first coat but acrylic paint will work just the same. The center will stay black but the back and edges I wanted to look more like stone.


step-2To make that happen, sponge some gray acrylic paint on top of the black. I like to use a few different colors of gray to give it some depth and really good mottling.


step-3To get a really good stone look, finish by flecking some white paint on top by running your thumb over paint covered toothbrush bristles, or using a paintbrush and flicking your wrist quickly to make the droplets fly. I wouldn’t recommend doing this next to anything that can’t afford to get painted, though.


step-4With your paint job done it’s time to add the letters. This can be as simple as using some vinyl letters, or stickers, or handpainting it. There are a million ways these days to get some letters on your plaque. I used my computer to find the fonts that I liked together and to get the sizing right, and then cut them out of vinyl.


step-5Arrange your words however you decide to do it, and stick them in place. I found that the vinyl lettering was having a hard time sticking to the glossy finish of the spray paint I used, so I used glue to get them stuck instead of just the vinyl itself.


step-6You know me, I can’t ever miss a chance for glitter. I brushed some glue on the front of the vinyl letters while I had it out, and sprinkled glitter over the top. Shake off the excess and then repeat until you get all your words covered. I even added an orange border by running a line of glue where the border meets the center of the sign and then sprinkling orange glitter on top.


halloween-plaqueEven when it’s not Halloween I call my guys my handsome devils, and I take great pride in following in the witchy footsteps of so many women who wouldn’t be controlled, so this sign just could not be more appropriate for us. Maybe instead of putting it away at the end of the season I’ll hang it in my bedroom.



Halloween Countdown Calendar – in FELT!

felt-countdown-calendarI’m beginning to realize that looking forward to great things is a big part of my coping strategy. I am obsessed with advent calendars, countdown calendars, paper chains, and all manner of beautiful craft projects that help me mark time until something fun happens. I’ve done it since I was a kid and I’m only picking up steam. But my very favorite countdowns are hard to find. I love the ones that aren’t just a door to open with candy inside, or just a number to display, I love the ones that create a decoration. The ones with little ornaments behind the doors, or in the pockets, something that gets fuller and fancier the closer you get to the fun. And since they’re so hard to find, I had to make one myself. I love those felt boards you use as a kid, and felt is so much fun to hand stitch, I knew there was only one way for me to go.


step-1For the backing and the bottom I used a piece of orange flannel that measured 22″ wide by 37″ long. I wanted my backing to match my front piece, so I just had it wrap around to the front. But you could use any fabric you want for the backing piece, and it doesn’t have to be flannel or felt. You could even make your bottom front piece different than your backing piece. I just did it this way because I loved this fabric and got a great deal on it. The blue top part does need to be felt because that’s where everything will be sticking. That’s the “felt board” part of this calendar. Mine measures 22″ wide and 13″ tall. Sew the top piece to the front bottom piece, right sides together, and give it a gentle press, then lay it out lining up with the back piece.


step-2You’ll need a whole bunch of numbers and the squares that will become pockets. I used an orange felt so that I could hand stitch the felt numbers on top and those beautiful fibers would just nestle up together and look gorgeous. You need 30 pockets cut to 2 1/2″ x 1 3/4″. To cut the numbers I used a font I liked as a template and cut out carefully. Stitch all those numbers on to the pockets until you have them all numbered.


step-3In this picture I still had a lot of hand stitching to do, but I wanted to show you how they would fit on the bottom piece once they were all laid out. Six across and five down.


step-4Once all my pockets were numbered I was ready to sew them in place. I really wanted to make my pockets neat and straight, so I used a ruler and a chalk wheel to draw a grid. I laid out my pockets so that they were 5/8″ apart in the vertical columns, and 3/4″ apart in the horizontal rows, and drew those chalk grid lines to those measurements. That way I could pin the pockets in place without fear of them shifting around on me. I just kept them lined up to the chalk line as I sewed. This method also let me sew the pockets on all at once. I could chain stitch down each row, pausing my stitching in the gaps between, but then continuing down to the next pocket until I had one side of the whole row sewn. It was so much easier to work a whole column, then a whole row, then a whole column, etc, at a time then trying to sew each precious pocket down all at once.  Remember to reinforce your pockets at the opening by doing a couple stitches, then a couple in reverse, and then finishing that side. These will be tugged on lots by little hands, so they need some help to not pop off.


step-5Now we need to decorate our felt board. As always I turned to a google image search and found myself a witches cauldron, but I thought it looked too much like a pot of gold. So I freehanded some bubbling potion and some pumpkins to fit the theme. The faces are just drawn on with sharpie. I cut out some more letters too and hand stitched all of this in place to take full advantage of how great felt is.


step-6I added a layer of batting – actually an extra piece of extra thick felt in this case – between the layers and added a binding to finish all those edges. If you need a little binding instruction, you can find that here.


step-7To hang it, just sew on a couple of rings. I had these in my beading pile, but you can find some in the notions aisle of your fabric store too.


step-8We’re not finished until we have all those little goodies to fill the pockets, and eventually our witches cauldron as the month wears on. I cut a bunch of candy shapes out of different colors of felt, jellybeans and gumdrops, squares with pinked edges for candy bars, round pieces with triangles on the side for wrapped candies, and cut two pieces for each candy. On one of the pieces I sewed on a teeny tiny piece of velcro – the hook side only – sewed three edges together, stuffed with a teeny tiny bit of stuffing, and sewed the last side closed.


step-930 pieces of candy takes a while to sew, but I think it’s worth it. I love how it looks with all those candies peeking out of the pockets…


step-10And I’ll love it even more as all those candies fill up the cauldron and show how close we are to the big day. Atti is so excited for Halloween this year, and this countdown calendar is a great way for him to celebrate that excitement every day. Even if he has a mom too strict to ever let him eat 30 pieces of candy.



Bedroom Makeover Reveal!

dsc_0001Here it is in all it’s glory. My long discussed, long awaited, final bedroom makeover reveal. I finished many of these projects a while ago, so sharp eyed instagram followers might even recognize some of these changes, but it took me a very long time to get all the tutorials and videos done and ready to share. 2016 has been a YEAR. But honestly, so were 2015 and 2014. I’m on quite a roll. But now I get this lovely oasis to spend my time in, and since I’ve been spending a lot of time convalescing lately, it couldn’t get better.


dsc_0005Bear got a new dresser to replace the one that was a casualty of too many moves, I got a reading nook with my cozy no binding blanket, and on the wall is a grouping of some art collages I made. I made those without intending to share as a tutorial, so I’ll give a close up of those on another day.


dsc_0009My midcentury Craigslist dresser got a desperately needed facelift. The drawers needed new supports to keep from sagging in to each other, the body got a couple coats of bright white, and the arc detail was brought out with a little gold. That arc pattern became an accidental motif through the room and I love it. And of course new laundry hampers that are now kitty scratch proof. On the wall are a collection of photos and art prints, and in the corner is my Quilled Heart artwork.


dsc_0028This is my side of the bed, complete with some of my sick person supplies. Even in my glamour shots I can’t help but keep it real. Here the Hanging Lamp shines down on my Bookshelf Bedside Table and Tulle Lampshade.

dsc_0033When I was a little girl I thought having a vanity table was the most glamorous thing in the whole wide world. I keep my makeup in the bathroom so I use this table for frequently worn jewelry and lotions. I keep coconut oil in the candy dish and in the soap dispenser I keep some fragrant lotions. I never remember to put lotion on until I’m in bed, so keeping it here means I actually use it.


dsc_0035Under my bedside table I keep a basket full of Atti books. I love that he loves books so much, I just don’t want him to mess up mine. This keeps him busy when he wants to be near me and I am needing to rest or get myself dressed. She-Ra likes to use it as a perch. You can also see my lovely Mosaic Medicine Box instead of a pile of pill bottles.






dsc_0066Bear’s bedside, as clean as it will ever be. But at least with his Manly Trinket Box it has a chance.




dsc_0064And of course the big centerpiece of the room, my bed. Upholstered Bed Frame and Wingback Headboard, Custom bedskirt, Suit Sham Pillows, Cable Knit Pillows, Blinged Out Rhinestone Pillows, and a couple of cats. With some Spirograph inspired String Art Medallions up above.

The quilt is a to scale replica I designed of Piet Mondrian’s Composition: Light Color Planes with Grey Contours, but I can’t share that in a tutorial, I’d have to draft a pattern for sale. Maybe I’ll get to that if 2017 will leave me alone! In the meantime, I’ll be hiding under my covers and enjoying the view of my beautiful bedroom.


Decorate your walls with Quilled Art

abundant-heart-quilled-artOne of the most popular projects I’ve ever done is my quilled snowflake Christmas Ornament. It’s been in magazines, it’s been stolen and put in magazine’s under someone else’s name, I’ve taught classes on it a million times, it is the little project that could. And one of the reasons it’s so enduring is because it looks so incredibly detailed and intricate. That’s why I adore quilling the way I do. With a few simple twists of paper you develop something that blows people’s minds with all those tiny layers. They never need to know how easy it really is. All you need to know how to do is twist paper up into a circle.



Quilling paper. You can buy it precut in kits like this, or trim paper yourself to be 1/8″ or 1/4″. I like to vary the thickness for different effects.
Quilling tools. I love this kit, but you can also buy a quilling tool alone.
Picture frame. I love to use an open shadowbox type like this one so there’s plenty of room for the 3D style of quilling.
Watercolor paper. Any thick paper will do, you just need something to take up space.


step-2This is the whole secret to quillling right here: Slide the paper into the notch of the quilling tool, then slide the tool to the very end of the paper.


step-3Keep twirling all the way to the end of the paper strip. The length of the strip is what will determine the size of the piece you’re making. If you want to keep your circle tight, carefully lift it off the tool and glue the edge down while holding the circle tight.


step-4To make the loose circle, drop the rolled up circle on your table and let it unfurl.


step-5Add some glue to the end of the strip and gently touch it to the rest of your circle. If you can make the loose circle and the tight circle, you can make every shape there is.


step-6Pinch one end to make a teardrop shape.


step-7aCombine the tear drop shape in different sizes to make a series of flowers. The center stamen can be a tight circle, or a loose circle, or a series of tight circles. The possibilities are literally endless. Just glue your shapes to each other wherever they touch, being careful to only use a small amount of glue. Messy glue will make your whole flower look messy.


step-7bEvery way you pinch your circles can make a flower as long as you make enough to be petals. This flower is made up of six loose circles pinched into triangle shapes, glued to one loose circle.


step-7cThese are diamond shapes surrounding and glued to tight circles, and to each other wherever they touch. These you just make by pinching one end to make a teardrop, and then pinch the other end to make the diamond.


step-8Prepare your frame. Cut a heart out of watercolor paper and use a piece of double sided tape to stick it to the center.


step-9Arrange your flowers around the heart, carefully gluing them in place.


step-10Since I was going for solid coverage, I painted the parts I wanted covered with glue, including the sides, and then placed the finished flowers into the glue. Fit the flowers in together as tight as you can, like a puzzle. Extra pieces of tight circles are great to fill in little gaps.


abundant-heartWhen you have your flowers glued in position, remove the watercolor paper to reveal a leftover heart space.



Since I first shared pictures of this project on my social media outlets, I’ve gotten tons and tons of inquiries about selling it. I love that compliment, but I usually chuckle to myself. If only people realizing how easy and satisfying this is! Well now you know, and you can take all the compliments over your creative genius too.


Decorate your walls with modern string art

string-art-wall-medallionsString Art is a trend that has been around for a minute now, and while I normally avoid trends with every part of me, I’m still totally loving these string art medallions. I get so snobby about paper straws and mason jars, but it’s a hazard of the crafty job. I’m looking at this stuff at least a year before it hits stores, so by the time it’s hit the zeitgeist I’m sick to death of it. But not this one. I think it’s the Spirograph look I came up with. I spent so many hours playing with a Spirograph during my kid years, putting these on my wall is like a grown up nod to a kid craft I loved so much.


suppliesSupplies are simple. A wooden circle, tiny nails, and some kind of thread. I used this elastic cord because I love the look of it and because I find having a little bit of stretch makes it really easy to work with while still getting things nice and taut.


step-1Paint your plaque your desired color, including the edges. I have been using Rit Pearl Gray Dye throughout a lot of my projects, which is how I got things like the hanging lamp and the corners of my bedskirts to match. I added that same dye to some pearl acrylic paint to tie it in to the other projects. The dye is great for this because I don’t have to have a matchy matchy bedroom. A little more dye here and a little less there keeps it interesting while all still looking related.


step-2Add a picture hanger if necessary, which it was for me. I used glue to make sure that the nails wouldn’t pop out the front side.


step-3Tap in your nails around the edge of the circle, spacing them out evenly. The number of nails you use will affect the look of your pattern, so you could wing it and have fun discovering like I did, or plan something out. Either way make sure you keep them close to the edge while still leaving enough room so you don’t pop through the side. Since these nails are so itsy bitsy, I found it helpful to use a pair of jewelry pliers to get them started as I hammered until they were deep enough in to stand up on their own, and then I could hammer the rest of the way without endangering my fingers.


step-4Tie one end of your cord around one of your nails. Leave yourself a couple of inches at first, you can always trim it up and glue your knot later, and you don’t want that to come undone while you’re tugging the thread around all the nails. It is such a bummer when a knot comes undone halfway through a project and you haven’t left yourself enough to retie it. Don’t let that be you!


step-5Stretch the cord across the circle and wrap it around another nail. Bring it back to the first side and wrap around a different nail. Or the same one. Or wherever you want. The point is to experiment and see what amazing shapes you can come up with.


step-6Once you see a pattern emerging you could lean in to that and repeat it. See what happens if you skip four nails every time. Or skip two and then cross the circle. Or zig zag from one side to the other. The possibilities are literally endless.


step-7When you are happy with your pattern, tie off the other end. I liked the look of finishing where I started, but that’s by no means a requirement. Experimentation, remember? If you end where you began you could tie both ends together to add another layer of stability. Add a dab of glue to the top of the knot, then, when dry, trim the ends close.


string-artMy go to wall decor style is with lots of groupings, and this project was made for it. I did a bunch in silver, a bunch in gold, and then mounted them all together above my bed and I think the effect is just gorgeous. Sharp and clean and geometric, I’m still obsessed with them. And if I’m obsessed with something by the time you can buy a kit for it at Michael’s, that’s when you know it’s a win.



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.



  • 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.



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.


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.


Make a 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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.



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.