Wednesday, April 25, 2012

DIY Dropcloth Bedskirt

So this particular project turned out awesomely if I do say so myself.  For far too many years our bed had been sporting a too short bedskirt so I finally bit the bullet and made one that is much more attractive.  Not only is it good lookin' but it was cheap and easy to do.

I started by buying a 4' x 15' drop cloth from Home Depot for $15.  I soaked it in bleach for a day, washed it, soaked it again, washed it and dried it.  I have to say that I don't think the bleach made a significant difference in the color.  If I use a drop cloth for a future project I may skip the bleaching step.

Next I found an old flat sheet that I used as the decking which is the piece of cloth that goes between the mattress and the boxspring.  A standard queen mattress measures 60" x 80".  I didn't want any of the decking to be exposed so I cut my sheet to 79 inches on the width and I left the top of the sheet alone so I didn't have to hem it and cut at the bottom of the sheet to make the length 59 inches.  

The dropcloth was cut in half lengthwise giving me 2 pieces each 2' x 15'.  I then sewed these pieces together at the end being careful to keep the scraggly edges at the top and the salvaged edge at the bottom.  I did this purposely because I wanted to avoid sewing a hem along the bottom if possible.  This gave me one really long piece that was 2' x 30'.

I wanted my bedskirt to have a gathered full look but I did not want the hassle of putting 30' of dropcloth through the sewing machine more than needed so I cheated.  Normally, you would run the skirt part through your machine with the stitch length as long as possible, pull that thread to make the gathers and then pin the gathered skirt to the decking and then sew them together.  Instead I just pinned the skirt to the decking making my "gathers" as I went.  Technically I think I may have been making pleats but because I had so many and the seam is hidden between the mattress and the box springs it ends up looking like gathers.

You will notice in the picture that I was doing my pinning on top of the mattress.  It was simply the easiest way to have all the fabric laid out flat but up off the floor.  Assuming your headboard is against the wall you only have your skirting on the two long sides and the footboard end.  I started by pinning each top corner then I pinned the middle of the end.  This was done to ensure I had even amounts of fabric on all sides.

You may be curious why there is no bed frame in the picture above.  That is because I decided in the middle of painting the bed frame that it would be silly to have nice new painted bed without a nice new bedskirt too.  So in between coats of paint I was working on the bedskirt.  Anyhoo...back to the how to stuff...

Then you just start making your little "gathers".  You kinda just have to do this by feel and if your pinning gets too close or too far apart you can just unpin and rearrange the fabric.  It gets a little tricky going around the corners and since there was no method to my madness I can only tell you to just use common sense and pin away.

Once you have pinned all the way around you have to sew your seam.  This is not hard but a pain because there is so much fabric and it gets heavy and you have to keep adjusting it to get it all through the machine.  Just take your time and use a heavy duty needle to get through the dropcloth.

Here it is on the box spring.  Notice I did not say it was finished.

I thought I would be finished.  I was all excited.  But then I decided that it had two problems.  It was too long.  I just did not like the way it draped out on the carpet.  Maybe if we had hardwood floors it would be okay but on the carpet it looked bunchy and not good.  Also, I had failed to account for the way the footboard attaches to the siderails.  Because I had not put in a slit for this the fabric just bunched up at the two end corners which meant it did not sit right along the end of the bed.  

So...I took it off the bed and added a hem and the slits on each corner.  These fixes were fairly easy to do.  At both corners I eyeballed where I thought the exact corner line was and cut from the bottom of the dropcloth to the top seam careful to get only within about a 1/2 inch of the seam.  Then I folded under each raw side 1/4 of an inch and stitched.  To fix the length I had taken a very exact one handwidth measurement while the bedskirt was still on the bed and then at my sewing table I pinned the bottom edge up my one handwidth and stitched it in place.  I did not cut off any excess because if we ever get a new bed or mattress I can make it longer again if needed.

Now my bedskirt is finally done.  And it looks lovely.  You cannot tell at all that it is made from a dropcloth.  It looks like a nice heavier linen-like material.  It is very nice because the dropcloth material does not seem to wrinkle easily like a cotton.

Just for fun here's one for you to pin.

~ Gold Shoe Girl ~
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shabby creek cottage

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

This is Why... make a giant chalkboard wall in your kitchen.

 Family portraits.  

I won't disclose the name of the artist but perhaps the obvious care taken to outfit one of the family members in the picture provides a clue.

If you want to see the detailed how to of the chalkboard and the frame click here.

~ Gold Shoe Girl ~

Monday, April 16, 2012

For the Birds

Yep.  Exactly.  It's our new bird feeder.  At first it seemed kinda lame to post about this but then I changed my mind.  I thought other moms might not realize, like I hadn't, what a great  gift this makes for your children.

I bought it for Easter and it was delivered by the Bunny on Easter morning along with a bag of bird food.  We filled it up and out we all went to find a perfect spot to hang it.  After the kids picked a spot we kept an eye out for birds.  

At first we didn't get any takers.  I think it was because of the 3 screaming kids trying to fly their new kites all at the same time but I could be wrong.  Maybe it was the menacing cat in the kitchen window.  Could have been the dog that barks nonstop.  But then a few hours later we spotted a bird on the little perch and then another and then the miracle of all miracles.  The children actually got up off the couch and looked at something other than the tv.

Since then we've had tons of feathered visitors.  The picture above is the feeder after only 6 days - more than half empty.  We've had robins, cardinals, and a few others we can't name yet but we are googling away.

These two have gorgeous red markings when they open up their wings and the ones below almost look like doves or maybe pigeons.

And by the way, it is not easy getting pictures of the darn birds.  Not as bad as getting pictures of the kids but still not easy.

This guy just couldn't wait for us to hang this back up in the tree.  

Anyways,  I just wanted to pass on that a bird feeder is an easy inexpensive gift for kids or people of all ages for that matter.  I was able to pick up the feeder and the bird seed at our local superstore for less than $25.  Not bad.

~ Gold Shoe Girl ~
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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Painting Progress

What a whirlwind the last few days have been!!  My in-laws came to visit, it was my youngest son's 5th birthday, then Easter, and now my oldest just started baseball practices.  And in the midst of all that I decided to get going on the kitchen painting again.

I had become paralyzed by the patio doors.  I didn't like the old dark wood blinds but I didn't have a good alternative for privacy so I just didn't do anything.  Here is how the doors looked with the blinds.  

They were only usable in this extended down but open position or down and fully closed for privacy.  You couldn't pull them up because they were a good 6 inches thick wood all pulled together - it just looked silly and then totally blocked your line of sight outside.

Now that we live so close to our neighbors I was really hesitant to take the blinds off the doors but since the trees started blooming they are providing enough of a cover that I am not feeling so exposed.  So the other day I just had at it and took them off.

It is an unbelievable change.  As soon as they were off I felt like we gained an extra foot of space in the kitchen and there was so much more light coming in the doors.

This next one shows you how the doors look with primer on one side.  In real life the difference is dramatic.  The white trim makes the paint color look so much better.  Against the oak wood the blue looks very bright but against white the blue is much softer and paler looking which is what we wanted.  

So you see how the pictures above are all fuzzy.  It is because I had not yet figured out how to put my camera on the manual setting and had to add a lot of light in editing which makes the pictures less crisp.  Well, because these sucked and I was getting sick of not getting the best pictures possible I think I finally figured out the manual thing - sorta.  At least well enough that the next few pictures actually turned out better.

Here's the entire door frame with the primer coat on it.

I am much happier with these pictures.  They may be a bit overexposed but eventually I will get the hang of it.

So next step is to put the paint over the primer and then move on to the cabinets.  Oh and I have to swap out the doorknob and the hinges on the patio door.  And yes, that is a big gaping hole in our screen door.  My oldest son ran right into it on our first day in the new house last August and we still haven't fixed it.  It's okay - the dog thinks we did it on purpose for her personal use.

~ Gold Shoe Girl ~

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Nicht So Gut

So I took German in high school and nicht so gut is one of the only phrases I remember except Ich habe blaue augen which translates into I have blue eyes.  I thought "not so good" was appropriate title for this post because my little easter egg project didn't turn out so well.

Last week was spring break for the kids here and my daughter was having a case of the "i don't know what to do" so I thought this would be a great solution.  I had admired the egg tattoo project from Country Living and The Graphics Fairy and thought we could do our own version.  

We started out by tapping holes into eggs with a small nail.  When that didn't seem to be working I found a bamboo skewer and used that to puncture the egg.  That worked but it created some ugly looking large holes on both the top and bottom of the eggs.

The positive was that it got the yolks out of there easily and by the time we were done with a dozen eggs my daughter was done being bored which was actually good for me:).

I rinsed the eggs with water and set them aside knowing we would have another bored moment later.  Meanwhile I printed the pdf images from The Graphics Fairy and began cutting out the little critters.  The original project calls for printing the images on tattoo paper, but I figured regular paper and some mod podge would give the same effect.

Sure enough a few days later my daughter needed something else to do so we boiled some water and added it to a bowl with 5 tea bags.  She then proceeded to dip the eggs into our "dye".  This went fairly well until the drying part.  We set them back into the egg carton and we didn't make sure to drain them very well which caused little puddles of tea which caused funny rings and streaks on some of our eggs.  Nicht so gut.

A day later we began to affix the images onto our eggs.  This part went pretty well.  Using a small paint brush we put some mod podge on the egg, put the image on the egg, and then painted more mod podge on top of the image.  There were a few wrinkles as the images tried to wrap around the egg.  I pressed these out as best I could with the handle of the paint brush and then left them to dry.

By the next morning they were all dry and ready for display.  Yep.  I had no idea what to do with these little pretties now.  I had not thought that far ahead so I improvised and threw some spanish moss in a compote and put the best 5 eggs in the moss.  I had to tilt them just so to help hide the holes and the streaks.  

They don't look terrible from a distance up on a shelf but up close they are just did not live up to their potential.

If I were to attempt this again I would buy one of those egg blowing kits off of amazon and I would take more care with the tea staining.  It did give the eggs a really nice color.  I think if you made a dozen or more they would look nice in a wooden bowl or a milk glass dish on a coffee table or such.

Anyone else have a craft fail lately?  I suppose it wasn't a complete fail because it kept my daughter busy so maybe it was a great child occupying activity but just not a decorative keepsake which is just fine around here.

~ Gold Shoe Girl ~
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Beyond The Picket Fence

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A Bed Makeover

Now I will admit that anything would look better after that before shot but I wanted to give you a taste of my reality.  Inevitably there is a pile of half-folded laundry on our bed on any given day.  Usually it gets dumped out first thing in the morning when the kids are in need of something and then it all gets put back in the basket that evening when we go to bed.  Once all the laundry baskets are full I am forced to actually fold the clothes to make room to wash more.  So maybe twice a week the bed gets all made and pretty looking.

Laundry aside, I was tired of the dark cherry wood finish on our bed.  The frame is curved in a sleigh style with open slats for the headboard and footboard.  I decided I really wanted a bed that was either a classic style iron bed or a french antique curved headboard or a white farmhouse style bed.  Of course, none of these can be found on craigslist.  I did manage to find a beautiful antique bed on craigslist, however,  it was only a full sized bed and I ended up putting it in my daughter's room.  See that post here.

In any event, I was in Lowes and made a spur of the moment decision to buy some spray paint and redo our current bed.  I bought one can of primer and one can of antique white spray paint.  This was going to be a 2 day project.  Quick.  Fast.  Done before my husband could put up a fuss.  Well, things did not go my way.

I started out by enlisting my oldest to help me take the mattress and box spring off the frame and then take apart the frame and haul it down to the garage.  He started out by asking me "why do you have to mess with the bed since it looks fine".   Followed by a " dad going to be mad at you" comment.  After assuring him that the bed didn't look fine and that since his dad was out of town for 2 days it wouldn't be a problem we got to work.

Once the frame was down in the garage I spent about an hour giving it a good sand.  Not only did I want the paint to stick but I wanted to soften some of the edges to give it a more time-worn look.

Then I started the priming.  I was able to prime the front and backs of the headboard but I did not have enough primer for the side rails.  I figured it would be okay with just paint especially because I was making a new bed skirt to hide them anyways.

After this dried I started with the paint.  Now I am not usually a spray paint person but I did not feel like painting each of those slats by hand.  Also I was on a self-imposed deadline.  Regular paint takes much longer to dry and I wanted this done quick.  

Well, so much for best laid plans.  After I had used the whole can of spray paint on just the front of the foot board I changed course.  It was not covering like I wanted and I didn't feel like buying 4 or 5 more cans to finish the rest of the bed frame.  So off I went to Sherwin-Williams (with my 30% off coupon) to get a quart of paint.

So fast forward a week of getting a brush in and out of the slats and sanding off drips and waiting for paint to dry and putting on a second and third coat and waiting for paint to dry and finally the bed frame is done.  

I really love the new color which is SW Crisp Linen.  It is a white with a tiny bit of yellow that makes it seem old or antique-like.  I think the new paint makes everything in our bedroom look better.  The wall color doesn't seem as dark to me now and the bed seems lighter and fresher.

The nightstand on the left came with the bed and is still the old cherry finish.  I will be painting that now too.

Do you see the new bed skirt in the bottom corner of this picture?  I will share that soon but it needs a few minor adjustments first.

For those that are curious the lamps are Pottery Barn and the folded quilt and the shams are  also Pottery Barn.  You can view the how to for the Love Pillow here.  The light blue quilt was a gift but I believe it came from Macy's.

Overall, I'm pleased with how the bed turned out even if I did have to paint it by hand.  I think it will keep my new bed wants at bay for another year or so - well, we'll see:).

~ Gold Shoe Girl ~  
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