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Knit Animal - A Bunny?

What:  Pom-pom handed knit bunny with googley eyes.

Or is it?!

Where:  The Odd Small Room – Part Linen Closet, Part Library.

What is it really:  A cup, or shot, cosy.

*D says it really hides a candle, but I found no evidence to support this.

Bunny Cosy Uncapped

Either way, it gives me the creeps and is now in the garage sale pile.  Although, due to hurricanes, anniversaries and other obligations, we basically missed garage sale season this year.

So what do you think this is?  Any takers?

Bunny Cup?

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As you learned in Part 1, this was a totally fun project – but one will filled with frustrating lessons.

Frustration #4 – not having a detailed guide for the second half of the project.

Merriment Design’s Tutorial was amazingly detailed and thorough, so I was nervous to finish this up on my own.

The instructions had left me with a finished bottom half and a finished top half.  It was up to me, the novice, to figure out how to attach the two pieces.

Apron Bottom Pieces

I started by laying out the pieces for the bottom of the apron:  Pleated Apron bottom, 2 ties, and the Apron Waist band.

I rationalized that the ties should be attached next, so as to be covered by Apron Waistband.

Positioning Waistband Ties

Attach Waistband Ties

Position Waistband Ties on top of Pleated Apron panel so that the two ties meet in the middle of the panel.  As you will see on my old-school ruler, that was about 6″ in.

Pin both Waistband Ties in place and sew.

Attaching Waistband Ties

Make and attach Apron Waistband.  Warning – Mistake Ahead
What I did:

Take the 5″ x 14″ Apron waistband piece, lay on top of Pleated Apron Bottom with the right side facing down.  Position the Apron Waistband with a raw edge touching bottoms of sewn Waistband ties.

Attaching Apron Waistband

What the Next Step Should Have Been:

Take the Apron waistband: 5” x 14” and make Side Seams.  Fold and press 1/2 inch, and then fold over again to create seam.  Sew closed.  Repeat on other side.

How did I realize that I had omitted a step?

Apron Waistband - Wrong

By folding the Apron Waistband back to cover the Waistband Ties, the beautiful Trim/Underside is unwrapped.

As see in this picture, though, the sides of my Apron Waistband were raw.  Not good.

Instead of realizing my mistake here, I went a little insane and kept going.  And even made a bigger mistake, to correct my silly error.

Error on the Waistband

Really.  I thought the next step should have been – Butcher your Apron Waistband down to size, in order to cover Waistband Ties.

I blame the lack of Part 2 – and the heat wave.  Frustrating Lesson #5.

So, for those of you looking to try this at home – make sure to always seam your edges!

Which would look like this:

Seaming Edges

Which would have created a nice, edged Apron Waistband like this:

Correct Waistband

Luckily, I caught my mistake at all – and was able to correct for the second one.

Seamed or not, fold the Waistband over the Ties, ironed flat, and then folded again to create a nice cover.

Back of folded Waistband

To Finish Apron Waistband

Finish the Waistband by sewing the double folded waistband piece to the back of the apron.

Mostly Finished Apron Bottom

At this point, one apron was finished for my daredevil Second niece.

For the other apron, it was now time to attach the top panel with the bottom panel.

Apron Top Panel

After referencing the finished picture of the Apron on Merriment Design, I decided to attach the Top Panel to the back side of the Apron Waistband fold.

This is where it gets even more confusing.

I positioned everything like below:

Positioning Top Panel

To Attach Top Panel to Apron Waistband

Sew front piece of Apron Waistband to front of Pleated Apron Panel.  Fold waistband over ties and iron a nice seam.

With the unattached back piece of the Apron Waistband free, lay the Top Apron Panel on top of Apron Waistband with raw edges touching.  Right side of Top Panel should be face down here.

Pin Top Apron Panel to the Apron Waistband.  Get your sewing machine on.

Sewing Top Panel to Waistband

In this process of sewing the top panel to the waistband, you should also be sewing the waistband to the bottom panel of the Pleated Apron Panel.

I took as many pictures as possible during this process, as it was super confusing to me and I wanted to document for myself and any other apron seamstresses.

Sewing Waistband to Bottom Panel

Fold that baby back over and you are done!  Trim any excess strings, re-iron if necessary – and that’s it!

Two Aprons

I won’t even pretend that making these for my nieces hasn’t also inspired me to make one for myself.

The challenge was set after *D and I visited the Woodberry Kitchen in Baltimore, MD for our anniversary dinner.  Almost every tattooed, hipster waitress there sported a homemade, kitschy apron.  And if it wasn’t home made, it was store bought – And you could tell there was some sort of clique factor brewing there.

So yes – I am making one for myself now as well.  Or two.

One may be a toile print.

Let me preface this post by saying that high school me would certainly not approve this post.

Having a wonderfully sturdy sewing machine and occasional access to cast-off remnants of designer fabric has definitely promoted my crafty side.  Who better to benefit from my crafting than my adorable nieces?

So when I was given a scrap piece of Thibaut’s Denmark cotton fabric in Aqua, I knew I wanted to do something for the girls.  My sister had mentioned that her first daughter, who loves to bake, was recently complaining that she did not have an everyday apron.  It should be noted here that my niece is 3.5 years old, but definitely an old soul.  So, being the indulgent aunt, I went for it.

After scouring the interweb, I found this tutorial: Child’s Pleated Apron Tutorial on MerrimentDesign.com.

Child's Pleated Apron - from MerrimentDesign.com

Adorable right?

One major problem, though.  Only Part 1 was posted!  So I started off with a nice guide and then went rogue.  Here’s what happened.

First you wash the fabric, so that it doesn’t shrink and get all wonky when it’s actually used.

Rumpled Denmark

I promised full disclosure on this blog, so take this as a lesson (which I later learned somewhere on Young House Love, as I am obsessed with that blog).
When washing fabric, be sure to remove fabric from dryer right away.  The longer you let it sit in there, the harder it will be to iron.  You know, like regular clothes.  But, as *D will surely attest, I’m not that into ironing.

First frustrating lesson of this totally worthwhile project.

But picture me ironing all that fabric during a heat wave – without air conditioning.

Step by Step From Merriment Design (Since I could never describe it so well):
Supplies:

  • Main fabric
  • Contrasting fabric
  • Fusible interfacing
  • Thread
  • Rotary cutter, ruler and gridded self-healing rotary mat
  • Sewing machine

Cut the pieces and mark the pleats
Cut out the apron pieces using a rotary cutter, ruler and rotary mat:

Main fabric
Apron top: 8” wide x 11.5” tall
Apron bottom panel: 26” wide x 11.5” tall

Contrasting fabric
Neckties (cut 2): 4” x 20”
Apron trim: 2.5” x 25”
Apron waistband: 5” x 14”
Waistband ties (cut 2): 5” x 20”

Fusible interfacing
Apron waistband: 5” x 14”

Then mark the following measurements across the top of the panel starting from the left.
2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10, 14, 16, 17, 19, 20, 22

Apron panel

I must reiterate again here that I am new to sewing, blogging and photography.  I didn’t cut the fabric exactly straight, but it  looked good enough to me.

A Pile of Apron Pieces

More instructions from Merriment Design:
Make side seams on apron panel and trim

On the bottom apron panel: Fold the right side under ½ inch and press the fabric, wrong sides together. Turn ½ inch again and press. Sew the seam close to the edge. Repeat on the left side.

Attach the apron trim to the apron panel
On the apron trim: Fold the top long side of the apron trim ½ inch with wrong sides together and press. Fold both short sides of the apron trim ½ inch with wrong sides together and press.

Put the right side of the apron trim onto the wrong side of the apron panel, lining up the raw edges on the bottom. Pin the trim in place. Sew ½ inch seam to attach the apron trim to the apron panel.

Press the apron trim so it touches the front of the apron. Turn the apron over so the right side of the apron panel is facing up. Pin the apron trim onto the panel. Stitch the apron trim onto the apron panel by stitching ¼ inch near the edge. So it ends up that the apron trim is on the 100% on the front of the panel.

Attaching Apron Trim

As this picture proves, I followed Merriment Design’s quite closely.

You will also notice in this picture that I decided to use the same fabric for the trim, but just reversed.  While this does look cute, this was another mistake of mine.  Call it the second frustrating lesson of the project.

Apron Edge Trimmed

Notice anything about this?  Yup, those are pins.  Remember when I said pining is for suckers?  I take it back.

While the fabric looks great reversed – white, but with a hint of the design – it is already quite thick.  Adding layers of the same thick fabric, especially when the layers are seamed, creates a lot of problems.  And by problems, I mean several snapped needles.

Old & New Needles

After a visit to my local, independently owned sewing shop, I began the project again with heavy duty leather needles.  The ones on the left are from *D’s mom’s craft drawer, with the new purchase on the right.

After attaching the trim to the bottom of the apron, the fun begins.

More directions from Merriment:
Make and sew the pleats

Make 3 pleats on each side by matching up the first two marks with right sides together. Fold the pleat toward the center of the apron and pin in place. Repeat this step until you have 3 pleats on each side.

Press the pleats and sew a 3/8” stitch across the top of the raw edge to hold the pleats in place.

Photo from Merriment Design to further detail this process.

Child's Pleated Apron from Merriment Design - Pleats

This step was no joke.  For someone who’s barely sewn prior to this project, it really took me a long time to figure this one out.  So it was a great feeling when I finally did.  Which may have been a day or two later, since I walked away frustrated.  #3, if you’re counting.

Pleats!

But don’t they look great?!  I had decided early on that I would attempt two aprons, one for each niece.  As the second child in my own family, I remember how lame it was to not receive the same cool gifts as my older sister.  My second niece is a bit rambunctious like I was, so I decided to play it safe and only make the bottom part of the apron.  No neckties for that daredevil.

So for only one of the aprons, I followed the additional details below:

From Merriment Designs:
Make the top panel

Fold the right side ½” inches in towards the wrong side and press. Turn it ½” again, press and sew. Repeat on the left side. Fold the top side in towards the wrong side and press. Turn it again ½” again, press and sew. The bottom edge should still be raw.

Top Panel of Apron

See all those seams?  I definitely broke a bunch of needles on this step as well.  While this will definitely be a durable apron, selecting a cotton/linen blend may have been a little much.

From Merriment Design:
Make and attach the neck ties

Fold the neck ties in half and press, wrong sides together. Open. Fold the long sides into the center, wrong sides together, and press. Fold in half and sew ¼” around the neck tie, creating a 1” wide finished tie. Repeat for the other neck tie.

Photo from Merriment Design:

Child's Pleated Apron - Ties - from MerrimentDesign.com

This was a great lesson, to be used for many other sewing projects.

Apron Ties

For those keeping up, this equals 4 ties for Niece #1’s apron and only 2 for Niece #2.

From Merriment Design:
Pin the tie onto the top panel by placing it ½” from the sides and 1” from the top. Sew a square with two Xs in the middle to secure the ties onto the apron top.
Descriptive photos from Merriment Design:

Child's Pleated Apron - Ties- from MerrimentDesign.com

This is where the directions end.  I googled until my fingers hurt, but could not find Part 2!  So like I said on top – I went rogue.  Stay tuned for Part 2!

Also – the Feminist in me needs a footnote here.  No, I do not think little girls need to be raised to be happy home makers.  My niece happens to like cooking and tea parties, so this was one of the best things I could have made for her.

I also don’t think that enjoying sewing, crafting, aprons or cooking makes you any less of a rockstar female.  Though I am keeping this blog mostly anonymous, I can assure you readers that this was written by a somewhat tattooed career girl – jamming out to the Detroit Cobras while cutting patterns.  So there.

 

Basement

 

Sorry for the radio silence the past two weeks.  Hurricane Irene shook up my plans the last few weeks, so bear with me as I get back into the swing of this blogging thing.

*D and I were without power for three days and our basement definitely flooded.  We are very fortunate, though, as we know many other friends and family who are still reeling from the hurricane and the subsequent flooding.

This picture of our basement was taken over a month ago.  I was standing in the creepy “dry” room next to the sump pump, looking into the main room.
Thankfully, *D had just finished clearing out the basement and ripping up that nasty green flooring material the week before the storm hit.

 

Stay tuned for regular posting!

TV Tray

One of the advantages of our house situation is that we already have a lot of furniture to work with.
One of the disadvantages of our house situation is that we have a lot of old, weathered furniture to deal with.

I know I shouldn’t complain, and for the most part – I love what we have to work with, but then there are some items that are just too difficult to love.  Enter the 1970s? TV Trays.  One is currently hiding in the basement, which was fine with me.  For years though, *D has insisted on keeping this TV tray on our beautiful front porch.

TV Tray Close Up Glory

The legs are old and super rusted.  The top, while well-made and sturdy, has suffered years of being left outside year round.  It has also seen its fair share of parties over the past few decades, so overall the poor TV tray is looking a bit beat up and stained.

Enter my friend Rustoleum.

Rustoleum Painter's Touch Ultra Cover

I was actually shocked with how quickly *D agreed to let me spray paint his beloved TV trays.  While planning for this, I kept envisioning these relics updated in a deep Navy blue.

So I sprayed the TV tray down with the hose in the backyard.  Then, I scoured it with my trusty metal wire brush.  And then I spray painted the hell out of it.

TV Tray - Mid Update

Full Disclosure/Lesson Learned:
Wear a stupid face mask.  I did not, and suffered for it.
And by suffered, I was dizzy on and off all afternoon – and the underside of my nose looked like I spent the day snorting Smurfs.  Not a great look, I’m told.

I left the middle part mostly untouched, as the plan was to utilize scraps of performance vinyl wallcovering to finish the tray part.

This was tricky, as the indented part of the tray was not a clear shape.  So, I just eye-balled it when I did the cutting.  Not the most accurate, but for a TV tray on my porch used to hold *D’s ashtray – I wasn’t worried.

3M Spray Adhesive

I used 3M Super 77 Spray Adhesive to attach the wallcovering scrap to the table, because I had some left over from wedding crafts last year.

I am mostly satisfied with the 3M spray, but the edges are coming up a bit.  I blame the weather as well, and have mostly solved this with frequent applications of CrazyGlue.

As my initial TV tray project progressed, I went a little crazy.  Maybe it was the fumes I was inhaling?

In my spray paint insanity, I remembered this sweet garage score, and turned my little TV tray project into a whole porch overhaul.

I blame the fumes.

Two Tier Wooden Side Table

This mid-century side table was found in our garage.  Made from a cheaper sort of wood, *D and I debated whether or not to save this when it was unearthed from the garage.

We decided to keep it, if only just for this season.  We entertain a lot – especially during the summer months – so an extra surface was nice to add.  Since we were/are not sure if we are going to keep any of these items post-Renovation, we did everything the cheap and easy way.

Just like with the TV tray, I sprayed down the table, let it dry in the sun, and hit it with my wire brush.

These projects, and this blog, are definitely an exploration in learning from mistakes.  When I worked on the TV tray, I spray painted first and then cut the vinyl.

Not wanting to chip or mess up the paint on the side table, this time I decided to measure the vinyl first.

So I cut the vinyl down loosely to cover the bottom of the table, and then fine-tuned the cuts with my scissor and ‘vintage’ box cutter.

Measuring White Vinyl wallcovering

See that smudge?   No worries about that!  This performance vinyl wallcovering is fully scrubbable.

Think I’m crazy for picking white?  It was the only scrap I had, and seriously this stuff is durable.

Cutting Edges with Vintage Box Cutter

At this point, *D checked in to see how I was doing and to observe my techniques…

After cutting the pieces perfectly to size, and putting them aside, I spray painted the whole table with the same Rustoleum Navy. Again, I left the tops clear where I was planning to lay the vinyl.

Painted Side Table

After covering the table and the pieces of vinyl with spray adhesive, I very carefully slid the pieces into place.

It was at this point that *D saw some issues with my technique.  Again, everything is a learning process.

Finished Side Table

Don’t you just love the contrast of the navy and white?!

Inner Shot of Side Table

After the second completed piece, I really started to lose my mind.

I hauled the tables up to the porch and was instantly proud of my work.

But then I looked at the coffee table that we had found and spray painted two years ago – and suddenly it looked really sad.

White Coffee Table

To the backyard!  I only had one, mostly full can of spray paint on hand so this piece was just touched up a bit.

Laying the Vinyl

At first, I was going to reign myself in and merely spray paint the table.  But then I saw these other vinyl wallcovering scraps in my hoarding bin, and started experimenting.

I waited a bit to show *D, but at this point my insanity had caught on.  He paused his yard work and started experimenting with me.

This is how we learned yet another lesson:
It is actually better/easier/more exact to spray adhesive the pieces onto the piece uncut first.  THEN, you should go back with the box cutter and cut exact edges.

Finished Coffee Table

Isn’t it beautiful?  I especially love the coffee table, as that was a total collaboration between *D and I.  Newlywed bliss, remember?

So together, we carried the coffee table to the porch to join its other painted buddies.  Including the wicker chairs I discussed here.

And after all that hard work, sanding and painting out in the sun, what could be more refreshing than to perch here with a special order British shelter magazine, my *D, and a cocktail?

Nothing!

Porch Shot

Another reason we love suburbia.

Cordial Set

What:  Yet another decanter!  This time, with 3 matching cordial glasses

Where:  You guessed it – the basement!

I wish this picture came out better – but given the setting, I guess I should be happy.

This set is actually adorable.  The cordial decanter is quite sturdy, but the companion glasses are so sweet and delicate.  I assume that is why we only found 3 in this set.

Keep or Sell –
*D is still trying to argue that decanters are not our “thing.”  I think evidence points to the contrary.

Window between Basement & Powder Room

Situated under the stairs seen here, there is a window placed in between the door to the basement (left) and a full bathroom.  On the first floor.  This little nook is in the vicinity of the main entrance of the house and the living room.

I have no idea why a full bath was placed here – on the first floor – but we have decided to redesign this space to only be a powder room.

But – in the spirit of full disclosure, in an anonymous way –  here are pics of the bathroom as it stands now.

Sink & Bowl

This is the view you are greeted with when you walk into the bathroom.

Also – you may notice that these pictures are severely cropped.  Being that this bathroom is in an awkward spot on the first floor – I almost never set foot in it.  So, this has become the “bachelor” bathroom and is not in the best shape.

On the right hand side is a narrow shower and standing area.

1st Floor Shower

This space would be much suited as just a powder room and then pad that extra shower area into the kitchen behind it, or something else.  We have not begun the actual floor plans, so this is still to be determined.

This shot below was taken while standing right outside of the shower, looking towards the door.
Again, I apologize for the odd crops/lousy perspective – but some things don’t need to be shared.

Inner Bathroom Window

Now, you may be wondering about the walls.  Yes, the entire room is wood paneling.  And if you are wondering if it’s real – let me clear that up for you.

No.

This entire room is paneled with that fake wood product – which is not the most water friendly.

To say that our house is a true, shanty Irish shrine to wood paneling is clearly an understatement.

So even though the renovation is still six or seven months away, I’ve been keeping myself busy by dreaming about how this powder room will look when we are finished with it.

Here comes the inspiration!  Check out my Powder Room Mood Board, made on MyDeco.com.

Obviously there’s a lot going on here.  Let me explain.

The whole room has been inspired by a wallpaper that may or may not exist.  It’s a Thibaut print from the 1920s, found by a studious home furnishings editor with an enviable collection of vintage Interior magazines.  With my persuasive ways, I’ve been trying to encourage the art director at Thibaut to rerelease this print.  Here’s hoping this happens, as it has shaped the entire room design.

Nothing would make me happier than to have a powder room fully papered with old school Navy inspired tattoos.

Along with the sailors and mermaids and American flags, we’re taking this room in a full nautical/marine direction.

Enter Mister Sea Horse.

Mr. Sea Horse

Do you even need to ask where we found this?  Basement.

We have a bronze faucet set in the second floor bathroom now – which will be relocated to live here on a very rustic vanity.

Above said vanity, we are starting our hunt for the perfect Port Hole Mirrror – you know, to keep the nautical/marine theme going.  Too much?  Or just right.

For the window, we will need to get new, dark shutters – you know, to mind our privacy from our neighbors.  But to really lay the marine theme on thick – I am thinking of tackling my first window valence.  I have some nautical fabric in red on yellow – very similar to the image below.

Nautical Red and Yellow Thibaut Pattern

I’ve never upholstered anything – but I plan on DIYing this.  Crazy?  Possibly.

And then – even though I had already considered the room ‘finished’ as far as the design goes – I stumbled across this DIY Rope Shelf tutorial.

I found this link first on the Craftzine Blog, posted by Jessie from the blog Imperfectly Polished, on the CSI Project.

Imperfectlypolished Rope Shelf

Is that not perfect?!

We are not exactly sure how the room will be set up, so exact orientation of everything is still to be determined.  Wherever we put this – whether above the toilet or on a separate wall – you can guarantee that we will be tackling this DIY this as well.

Oh, and remember Mr Peg Leg?  *D thinks we should shove a metal rod in the wooden shaft of the leg and make this a toilet paper holder.

I cannot wait to share after pictures of what may turn out to be the funniest powder room ever.