Wednesday, April 29, 2015

nightstands are difficult and bedroom update

I've been slowly but surely finishing up my bedroom since the great diy bed project of last month and one of the final things remaining was some sort of bedside table. I don't know why but bedside tables, or nightstands, seem to be a very difficult thing to manage. The height and scale need to be perfect, and they tend to be awful or crazy expensive so for a while I just had a stack of books there and called it a day. With lights mounted on the wall I don't have a need for a table with tons of space, mostly just a place to put my book, my glasses, maybe a glass of water. 

I was trying out this little side table that has been in my living room for years (seen here) for a bit and it seemed to be a good scale so I just updated the top a bit. I used my favorite marble contact paper and covered the top. It took maybe 15 minutes and from a distance it looks convincing, though really I don't need it to look like real marble, just to be light and not a huge draw to the eye, since I feel like the bed is the real star of the space.

And with that finished I was motivated to make my bed and take some quick pictures. I've added art and made some new pillows as well since and they are really helping to make the space feel more finished. The photo is a blueprint of a photo I got from my uncle of my mother when she was in the circus. I like how looking at the whole room I can see that a bunch of elephants have made their way in and then see the place from which my love of elephants comes from. The pillows are just a sweet little calico I have a bolt of, I actually liked how quite and washed out it looked on the wrong side so I made them inside out. 

I also moved the diy Moroccan wedding blanket (tutorial here) on the wall next to my bed. My roommate has been dogsitting a bunch and Ruby has been a  bit too interested in it so it was moved from the couch. Turns out I love the way it looks on the wall so for now that's where it's going to stay. Of course I can't say the space is done, when is anything every really done, but it certainly seems done for now, and I continue to be very happy to go to sleep and then wake up rested here each day. So it seems like it's working out pretty well.

Monday, April 27, 2015

quick fixes- record cabinet

A few months ago my roomate was redoing his bedroom and dragged a low cabinet out into the hallway. He said it was not the right scale and I asked him what he was going to do with it. Already I had some ideas himself and as it turned out he was intending to just leave it on the curb I snatched it up. I traded it in for the tall fabric covered consol that was in the far corner of the living room, and it turned out it was exactly the right size to hold records. So it's been hanging out for about two months now, and while it is great functionally, it stores a bunch of games too and also makes a nice surface for some of my bigger plants, and I find that I play the records much more now that I can actually see them, it definitely wasn't winning in the looks department. it was square a dark and boring. 
I considered painting it briefly but no particular color sprung to mind. And then I thought, what if I covered it with something? So I pulled out some marble contact paper I had on hand and wrapped the top and sides of the piece, as well as covering the front and already I like it so much more. I am still considering extending the contact paper into the shelves but for now I am enjoying the contrast. The whole thing took about twenty minutes and just one roll of contact paper so it proved to be an exceedingly simple fix.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

April party details

Just a quick update about some of the little extras from the April party earlier this week.
First, I made up a quick invitation for the shower party, just a drawing of some umbrellas inspired by the tablecloth fabric, which I scanned and printed up on heavy cardstock and cut down to postcard size. I really like postcards in general (maybe cause I enjoy being nosy about mail) and as invitations it seems easier plus less cost towards stamps. Easy to just do a two sided print with info on the back or even just hand write out a simple what where when plus the address. 
Then there was the seed packet favors. I just sewed the packets out of basic construction paper and then fastened them with a clothespin. The seeds were a mix of wildflowers from the hardware store's nursery department which I mixed up and divided among the packets. 
And finally the umbrellas. I used this tutorial and then modified it by layering the blue circle on top of the white doily for some texture. I think if these were actually to go in drinks they might be a bit oversize but for table decorations they were pretty great, they could also easily be stuck in a cake for a cute topper.

Monday, April 20, 2015

April showers party

Somehow this month seems to be getting away from me. I swear it was just the first day of spring, just March, just beginning of the year and yet now it's almost the end of April???!? How this happened continues to baffle me. But regardless, I was due for another little party setup.
This month I decided to take inspiration from the classic phrase "April showers bring May flowers" and do a really straightforward 'shower' theme. Could by baby, could be wedding, could just be some sort of rain dance for California. 
The table was set with pretty basic dishes, I didn't want to get too busy since the fabric (which I just happened to have in my stash from an old fabric) was just so perfect and the little storm cloud I set up on the wall was a lot as well. I used white dishes and some blue rimmed salad plates, added in some copper mugs with cute stripey straws to break up all the white and then added some various sized pom poms to the middle of the table to add some interest. 

I was thinking about the whole rain leading to flowers thing and decided to make some pretty seed packets for favors. I just sewed some little envelopes out of dark green construction paper, filled them with wildflower seeds and added some decorative paper and a mini clothespin. I also made the paper umbrellas on each plate, using a small doily, blue paper and a cocktail skewer. They were actually super quick and I think I will now have to make custom drink umbrellas for all my parties.
The wall decoration was very straightforward too. I made the raindrops from construction paper covered with crepe paper fringe (though they could have just as easily been solid paper I felt like the added texture was fun) hung from fishing line, and the 'cloud' was a bunch of white balloons with I attached to the wall with washi tape.

As far as how the budget broke down I again was mostly pulling from my stash for fabric, paper and dishes, but I had to pick up a few things.

wildflower seeds............................................5.00
white balloons................................................3.00
paper straws...................................................5.00

I also have some more details about the making of the umbrellas and the favors as well as some little invitations I made that go with the theme.

Now if only I could get it to rain here for real............

Monday, April 13, 2015

new lights diy

In addition to the diy bed I made, I also came up with some new lights. I have had the sweet and simple twig and exposed bulb lights for years now and they served me well, but I felt like it was time for something a bit more polished to go with my more grown up bed situation.
I had a whole different plan originally, and then when I was at Ikea to pick up some additional storage furniture (more on that later- why did the have to go and change the most popular piece they make so it now no longer matches???) I spotted the elusive Ranarp lamps which have been sold out everywhere. They had all of the iterations of this beautiful light, the floor, task, hanging and this clip on wall sconce which I grabbed two of without another thought. I also picked up two frack mirrors and hoped that what I had in my head could actually be made into a reality.
It was actually a pretty simple process. I took apart the lamp and removed the actual cord and light from the more industrial shop looking clamp style wall mount. Then I augmented the hardware a bit so that it would screw onto the accordion arm from the frack mirror. You can see below what it looked like when I was testing out the parts and deciding how I wanted the light to be oriented. 

Then I took it apart, taped off the switch and plug on the light fixture, and took it all up to my roof to apply several careful coats of gold spray paint. 
Next it was just a matter of putting them back together and attaching them to the wall once the bed was finished. There was a little debate about how far to the edge of the wall I wanted them to be placed, but a few weeks of living with them this seems to be perfect. 
They ended up costing about $25 each to make these, not including the spray paint which of course I already had on hand. However seeing as I was planning on sourcing the cloth covered wire and all the lamp parts separately, I think it would have ended up being much pricier if I had made something similar from scratch so I am very thankful that I happened to go through Ikea at a time that these pretty lamps were available. Now I just wish I had somewhere to put the floor version so that I had an excuse to get one of those too.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

How to upholster a bed....aka how I made a new bed (with some help!)

In January I decided it was time for a new mattress.
It turns out that this (seemingly) simple thought was the 'if you give a mouse a cookie' of decorating. Because I figured if I was getting a new mattress I might as well upgrade from a double to a queen, and if I was getting a queen sized mattress, I would need a new frame and then it all snowballed from there.
So I've spent a few months doing bed frame research. I've never really shopped for furniture before so it was a very new experience. In all my research I came to two conclusions. First, that I didn't want a bed with storage under it. This would be a first for me-my beds have always had drawers underneath. Second, I only liked beds that were way way out of my price range.
It turned out I was most drawn to upholstered frames, but the ones that were a bit more modern and simple and less tufted and nailhead-y. Then this amazing diy upholstered bed I had seen, and pinned and admired, made with an Ikea frame so I looked at that again. I sent it to my papa (master carpenter and my go to expert in all things house and furniture) and asked if he thought it would be a plausible thing for me ( aka us) to do, and he said yes.
However I didn't like the frames I was seeing so again I went to my papa and asked if he could make a super simple frame that would be covered entirely in upholstery (except the legs) and again he said yes. So I did a bunch of measurements and he made a frame, and then I did more measurements and went to the fabric store. I got batting and muslin and after much debate I chose a beautiful midnight blue velvet (I feel like no one who knows me is surprised this is what I picked)


Upholstery day arrived and we disassembled my old bed and brought up the new frame and the headboard. At this point my original plan changed to include a layer of foam on the headboard. Luckily my old double sized foam mattress pad was the perfect size for my new tall queen sized headboard. Using the headboard as a template, we marked the foam to the right size (see charming picture above) and then cut it down with fabric scissors.


Next we covered the foam in a single layer each of batting and muslin, and began stapling them down on the back of the headboard. We started in the middle on each of the four sides and then worked our way out sort of like wrapping a canvas. One of us would hold the fabric tight and the other would staple. I've heard that one of the fancy compressed air staplers are really nice for a project like this (saves the hands from blisters etc) but we were just using a regular hand stapler and it worked fine. We tried to make all the corners pretty neat, but we also figured that everything would be covered by the final layer of the velvet, so we weren't too concerned with the appearance of the back of the headboard, just with making sure the front and edges were uniformly tight and smooth.

You can see in the picture below that we had to get a little creative working around the three brace pieces at the bottom that would later be used to attach the headboard to the frame. We cut the muslin on either side of the brace to fit around it and stapled it tight. Again because this part was going to be covered by velvet, and would be on the back and not showing, we weren't too worried about how it looked.

Then we flipped the headboard around and took a look. We went back and added more staples where we thought it could be a bit tighter to be more even, and then we moved the headboard off to the side. I think it was really nice to do the muslin layer on the headboard first as we could really figure out what worked and refine our methods.


Here you can see the utter chaos that was my room with all the parts of my old bed (a captains bed with giant drawers) stacked on one side to make room for the upholstering, and poor Peggy the dress form looking on with disdain.

After we got the headboard covered with muslin we moved on to the frame itself. Since there was no foam on the sides we decided to do two layers of batting and one layer of muslin. We cut the batting down into long strips that were three inches wider than the side of the bed (so as to wrap around the sides and foot of the bed) and then we ripped the muslin down so that it was an inch wider than the batting (so that there would be no raw batting hanging out). We went around and did a quick staple of the batting just to hold in in place, and then went back over with the muslin first on the top of the frame, and then we flipped it over so that the legs were all up in the air, and pulled the muslin tight and stapled it all down from the bottom. Again we started in the middle of each side and worked our way to the corners. For the corners, we found that cutting out a triangle of excess batting and muslin and then folding them sort of like wrapping a package we were able to get a pretty clean corner so that it was padded but still sharp and corner-y.

You can see above a finished corner above, and below, the frame with the batting and muslin layer complete.
With the first step done, and a bit more confident in our upholstery teamwork abilities, it was time to break out the velvet. First we laid out the fabric to see where the grain was (velvet has a grain or nap to it and I wanted to make sure that it was going the same direction across the whole frame) We marked and cut the large piece for the headboard and set it aside. We decided that we would do the two sides of the bed first, and then the foot of the bed last. We ripped the velvet down into three strips the same width as the muslin and we started stapling. We did both sides of the bed with the frame up, then we flipped it over and finished the bottom. Like with the muslin layer we started in the middle and worked our way out. And because of the muslin layer, the velvet went on smooth and easy. We didn't have to pull on it very much before stapling because the muslin was already tight as a drum and provided a perfect clean base layer for the velvet to go over. It also meant any lumps from the batting were already smoothed out.

After we had stapled all the velvet on the two sides and the foot of the bed, we went back over and checked to make sure everything was smooth and all the staples were holding. We had to switch to longer staples in the corners because there were so many folded layers of batting, muslin and velvet, and we actually went back with a hammer as well to make sure they were really going all the way through the layers.

Then we flipped the bed back over and fit all the slats in. The slats were cut from a sheet of birch plywood and went across the width of the bed. We screwed them into the both sides and the middle support bar as we went so that it would all be extra sturdy. Then we lifted the frame up and leaned it against the wall to get it out of the way so that we would have room to do the final layer of velvet on the headboard.

The velvet on the headboard was done just like the frame of the bed, And just like the frame, the muslin provided a clean base which made adding the velvet super easy. We went slowly and made sure everything was tight and even, and all the corners were clean and looked perfect from the front, but was pretty quick to finish. Here too we stuck with out method of stapling first in the middle of each side, and then working our way towards the corners evenly. We finished the corners sort of like you would fold hospital style sheet corners, which made a crisp edge and a nice looking corner when viewed from the front. We checked from the front as we worked to make sure we didn't need to add any staples, and we went over all the corners to make sure everything was holding through all the layers.


Then it was just a matter of screwing the headboard to the back of the bed frame, vacuuming up all manner of velvet bits and batting fluff and sawdust, laying down the rug pad and rug (it would have been a lot harder to do this after the mattress was on and the bed was all made up) and then adding the mattress and making the bed.



There's still a bit to do for the bedroom to be finished (some sort of bedside table, artwork, sorting out what I want the bedding to be like) and I am actually more of a loose duvet kind of bed maker, but for the sake of seeing all of the beautiful frame I tucked everything in all tight. And that's about it.

Now for the time and cost breakdown. My papa made the frame so I'm including the cost of his materials here, but I do feel like this could be done to any wood frame bed with slats, even something from Ikea, and it's pretty easy to have a piece of plywood cut down at Home Depot or Lowes for a headboard. The batting, muslin and gorgeous velvet were all from Fabric Outlet in the mission and I can't recommend them high enough, in fact I never go anywhere else for fabric. I got six yards each of batting, muslin and velvet however I had a bunch leftover. I probably could have gotten away with five yards, or five and a quarter but I wanted to make sure that I had plenty of extra so I rounded up. The foam for the headboard was a 'memory foam mattress pad' that I bought for cheap on Amazon. I imagine I could have used a twin size an it would have been wide enough, however I happened to have this double size one from my old bed and just cut it down to fit. We used approximately one box of staples and it took the two of us under five hours (including a break for tacos) to do the whole thing so we were able to complete it in one day.

frame............................................... $130
batting .............................................$14


Actually we did this a few weeks ago and I wanted to spend a bit of time with it first to make sure it had all worked out. You know, just in case the bottom fell out of the middle of the bed, or all the fabric fell off or something equally drastic. Over the last two weeks I have been sleeping better than I have in years, and I have to think it's due mostly to a more comfortable sleeping situation.
Oh also the mattress was from Tuft & Needle, they ship a made in the USA mattress to your door, and you take it out of the box and watch it expand when you remove the plastic. It's lots of fun (like a deflating inner tube or something but in reverse) and very comfortable. I got it partly because they have a generous return policy but I have no intention of returning now because it has turned out to be great mattress and I am very happy I tried it out.
So that's about it. If you have any questions I would love to answer them. I tried to be as clear as possible here but honestly I feel like it sounds more intimidating and or confusing written out than it is in person. In person, it's just like wrapping some odd shaped packages. I will say that I think it's much easier to do with two people than one, though I'm sure that it's totally doable working solo. It made for a great joint project. I also have to say that I am eternally grateful to the most handy papa ever for helping me make my dream bed a total reality. I think this project is even more special to me because I got to collaborate with him to create something one of a kind.
And now, time for a nap!