Making a dog bed cushion

I think I finally completed the last of my tasks to make my dining and sitting room renovations complete! That task was to make a new cushion for my dog’s awesome window bed (which I made myself). Since I made the bed, she (and the cats) have been sleeping on an old dog bed that I made in our other house. It is a fleece cover with two bed pillows inside, covered by a layer of eggshell foam. It does the job, but the cover is the wrong color now and it has a large indent in the center from use. I bought new gray fleece and nice thick green foam from Joann Fabrics quite some time ago. I kinda can’t believe I waited this long, as it took me less than an hour to make her the new cushion. What a bad dog parent I am.

I bought one section of green foam that was the thickest they had, when it was on sale for 50% off. To make the bed thicker, I also bought two chair cushions that were about the right size. The thick foam wasn’t the right size to fit in the dog bed, so I had to cut it to size. It was so thick I had to cut the top half first and then the bottom half with my scissors.

Measuring the foam to fit:

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Molly lays on her old cushion watching me:

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After cutting the foam to size, I basically sewed a large pillow case. I wasn’t too concerned with dimensions, just that it needed to be large enough to fit.

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After sewing the fleece, I wrestled it over the foam and installed it in the dog bed. Here you can see the nice new cushion next to the old sad one:

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And Molly agreed to model for me. She’s the cutest!

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Making a rustic industrial free-standing corner shelf set

Sometime soon I’m going to share the details of our sitting room and dining room renovation, but for now I’m going to share the set of corner shelves I built. I call them rustic industrial because I left the wood in it’s raw state and I used black metal pipes spray painted oil rubbed bronze as support for the shelves, in the same style as the rustic industrial dog bed I built for my favorite pup. I wanted a set of corner shelves more substantial then the set I had for many years, about 5 feet tall with 5 small shelves in a light oak color. After I sketched out my idea for the new shelves, it took me about a month to find enough time to finish the job.

I used 12″ wide pine boards. I cut 6 sections of one foot and two feet long each so that I could attach the sections together to make corner shelves. This isn’t where I actually cut the boards, but I did use that table saw. I just thought you might enjoy my dog photobombing my picture, like she always does.

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In order to attach the metal pipe to the side of the shelf, I used a 1″ x 2″ pine board to support the shelf. To attach the support board to the shelf, I used a counter sink bit to drill through both boards.

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Counter sink bits:

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Close up of the countersunk screw. Before I stained the wood, I used wood filler to fill the hole.

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After I attached the support board to all of the shelf pieces, it was time to attach the one foot and two foot boards together, but first I had to plan the supports for the bottom shelf so that all of the brackets would fit. I spray painted the hardware with oil rubbed bronze.

 

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To attach the one foot and two foot sections together, I used wood glue and a clamp before putting the screws into the brackets.

 

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After the shelves were assembled, I stained them with TimberSoy Walnut stain and then finished them with quick drying polyurethane. While being watched by my dog.

 

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Attaching supports to the bottom shelf (6″ black metal pipes and floor flanges):

 

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Try to ignore our very messy workbench in the background of this next picture. I assembled the shelf layer by layer, making sure that the shelves were level and that the brackets were attached in relatively the same place. it wasn’t the easiest task. The back corner was supported by threaded rods screwed into something called “ceiling flanges” that were all spray painted with oil rubbed bronze. I used some super glue to lock the threaded rods to the flanges so that they were all the same length. You can see the side supports which are 72″ black metal pipes spray painted oil rubbed bronze.

 

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A close up of the bracket used in the back corner of the shelf for extra support:

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After the shelves were assembled, I put them in the dining room corner. And then took many photos of them for you to enjoy and to see how they fit in with the other furniture. I haven’t full accessorized the shelves yet.

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I took a photo of the dog bed next to the new curtains so you could compare them to the corner shelves and of course the dog chose to lay in her bed at that moment. She’s the best photo bomber 🙂

 

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A quick & easy holiday gift – felt coasters

A very short post to show you one of the gifts I made for my family this Christmas – felt coasters. I came across a blog post about geometric coasters by Ciera Design on Pinterest that inspired me. However, cutting all of the individual hexagons she uses became overwhelming right away so I created my own larger designs.

I used my paper cutter to cut 4″ x  4″ squares out of a stiff felt fabric. I then created paper patterns that I traced with marker onto the softer contrasting felt pieces so that I could cut them out by hand. I used a fabric glue to glue down the contrasting pieces on the stiff coaster bottom.  Below you can see a sampling of the coasters I made. I created 6 sets in all. Still have to make myself a set!

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Sprucin’ up the back porch

The before picture of the porch.

The before picture of the porch.

We’ve got a really nice back porch at our new house and it even came with a pre-installed porch swing. The porch swing was nice but a bit drab so I decided to spruce it up a bit.

Close up of the drabness.

Close up of the drabness.

I found some yellow Valspar spray paint at Lowe’s that I felt was the perfect shade. At first I bought two cans of primer + paint in one. Once I removed the porch swing from the chains I decided it should be scrubbed because it seemed dirty.

Cleaning the swing.

Cleaning the swing.

I used a hose, a bucket and a scrub brush. I don’t know what was on that swing but it was more than just grime. It must have had some sort of coating on it at some point because it seemed fibrous. It was a pain and didn’t even come all of the way off. After the swing dried in the sun for a number of hours I began the spray paint. The cans of primer + paint were just absorbed by that thing and I was left with a vaguely yellowish swing. I then got two more cans of spray paint, also Valspar, but this time for outdoor projects. Once I used those up, I was satisfied that the swing was yellow enough. My husband isn’t sure about my color choice, but I like it. It even matches the fun outdoor pillows I picked up a few months back. The project wasn’t as quick as I imagined in my mind, but still well worth it.

See! So much better!

See! So much better!

Pet-proofing the Christmas tree and decorating the tree stand

Ok, so there’s really no such thing as pet-proofing a Christmas tree, but at least I can keep it from being knocked down. Our fake Christmas tree is short, only about 5 feet tall, so years ago we made a 4′ x 4′ platform about 18 inches tall to raise the bottom of the tree so that the entire tree can be seen from outside the window. After our dog and a foster dog collaborated to knock the tree off the platform one year, we quickly anchored the base of the tree to the platform using some large U shaped bolts. So now each year before we assemble the tree and put down the tree skirt, we tighten the U bolts around the three legs of the tree stand to make sure that nothing will happen to the tree laden with our precious ornaments.

This year we broke out the tree stand in our new house and I realized that the cloth covering I sewed for the stand years back no longer worked. It was designed to go on the stand when only 2 sides of the stand could be seen. Now, you can see 3 sides of the stand. I took a quick trip to Joann fabrics to pick up some white eco-fi felt to cover the stand and some decorative garland accents to make it less plain. I then cut the felt to have enough to cover the entire 4′ x 4′ top of the stand, with a bit of overlap on each side (more on the side that no one can see, since I didn’t cover that with a “skirt”). I cut rectangles of felt to hang from the top of the stand to the floor, with a bit of extra so that I could fold it over at the top. I fastened the tree stand skirts with my staple gun and then added the garland to each side, also fastening with the staple gun. We then cut the felt on the tree stand where the U bolts went though and proceeded to fasten the tree and decorate it. Now if only I could keep the cats from getting their fur all over my nice new white felt….

Overall view of the tree, tree stand, and white felt and garland used to decorate the stand.

Overall view of the tree, tree stand, and white felt and garland used to decorate the stand.

Close up view of the tree stand. You can see how the felt is simply folded over at the top and secured with a staple gun. The bottom of the felt is already wavy from cats crawling under the stand. It's amazing how difficult it is to avoid having pets in my pictures at home.

Close up view of the tree stand. You can see how the felt is simply folded over at the top and secured with a staple gun. The bottom of the felt is already wavy from cats crawling under the stand. It’s amazing how difficult it is to avoid having pets in my pictures at home.

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My new foot stool

I was wandering through Joann Fabrics not too long ago with an extra 40% off coupon in my pocket when a short little wooden foot stool caught my eye. Ever since moving into the new house, I’ve wanted something to help me reach the top shelves in the pantry without having to drag out our folding step stool. I quickly brought the foot stool home with me and got to work finishing it.

Raw wood foot stool from Joann Fabrics.

From previous painting projects, I have a ton of paint samples in a variety of colors. I decided to use those samples to paint my stool. I wanted to make it two colors, so I painted a stripe down the top of the stool in yellow, and the side supports underneath. After two coats dried, I taped over those parts so that I could paint the rest of the stool green.

Yellow paint is under the blue tape.

Getting ready to paint the top.

After two coats of green were complete, the stool was ready! I had to give it extra drying time because of the humidity here – the paint felt tacky for a while but eventually the tackiness went away. I added stick-on rubber pads to the feet to keep the stool from leaving scraped off paint on the floor.

Finished product.

Finished product, side view.

The stool lives in our pantry, ready to spring into action and help me reach items on the top shelves.

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Introducing… my craft room!

Ok, so the title is a little misleading. It’s really OUR craft and computer room and we had a similar room in our previous house. The exciting news  today is that after a few months in our new house, the craft room is finally unpacked and ready for use! And it is huge… it has all of the furniture from the last house, plus our old couch bed (and room to spare).

We had a long delay with unpacking the room because of our cats. We decided that we needed to protect our raw wood Ikea Ivar shelving units from their fur. Since the shelves were unfinished, cat fur stuck to them and was impossible to get off. So we took the time to sand all 25 shelves and two cabinet doors and apply three coats of Minwax fast drying polyurethane. It took awhile.

When we first installed our Ivar units in the previous house, we need to have some amount of hidden storage for office and craft supplies and all those other things that would look silly just left out somewhere. To create hidden storage, we have some galvanized metal doors and wood cabinet doors. However, Ivar does not come with anything to enclose the sides of the unit, so when we installed the doors I knew I needed something to cover the sides so people couldn’t see the messes we were hiding.

The tall thin shelving unit, mostly dedicated to crafts.

The shorter shelving unit, mostly dedicated to books and office supplies.

At that time, I decided to use plain canvas cloth and print it with sponge stamps I made myself. It was a good idea, but I’ve not been entirely happy with the execution.

Side of the cabinet with hand printed canvas.

Side of the office supply cabinet.

Since we were taking the time to upgrade the shelves with polyurethane, I decided to also upgrade the fabric. After a misguided decision to try to make my own chevron pattern fabric starting from canvas again, I quickly realized I could buy chevron home decor fabric on Etsy. A few days later, it arrived in the mail.

Chartreuse home decor chevron fabric.

I then started the somewhat frustrating process of prying all of the staples out of the shelf supports. I tend to get a little staple gun crazy sometimes. After taking out the old fabric, I used it as a template to cut a piece of the chevron fabric. To keep the fabric from unraveling and so that I didn’t have to do any sewing, I used pinking shears to cut the fabric. I stapled the fabric to the sides, the bottom shelf (so nothing can fall out) and any wood supports that happened to be positioned at the top or bottom of the fabric.

The inside of the shelf after stapling the new fabric

My arm sure is sore now after prying out staples and then maneuvering the staple gun over my head. I’m pretty short so some of these shelves were hard to reach.

The new fabric makes the craft room stylish.

The other stylish shelf unit.

A view of both shelves.

Someday we’ll get around to personalizing this room… painting the walls, hanging decorations, adding curtains or a valance, replacing the tiny little white fan… and so on.