Sewing room update

Painting trim (if you wish to do it correctly!) takes quite a long time.  If taking trim from bare wood, I use 2 full coats of primer (I like Zisser Coverstain) and 2 full coats of paint (I like Behr ultra premium in semi-gloss).  I sand between each coat, and fill all nicks and holes with a good filler (not the cheap DAP stuff) between coats of primer, and caulk between coats of paint.  In the past week I’ve done all that, and now the room is ready for real paint this weekend.  It went from this:

Windows before

to this:

Untitled

the trim in this room was in pretty awful shape – I replaced half of it because whole pieces were missing (the people before us had dogs, and they shredded the trim.)  The windows need to be replaced, but that’s not in the budget right now.  The trim on this floor was originally painted when the house was built, but in the 80s (when everyone wanted natural trim) someone stripped it, and never bothered to finish the wood.  Wood is never the same after paint is stripped anyway, and after 30 years of weather exposure, it was especially bad (not to mention it wasn’t stain grade to start with!)

Anyway, I’m very happy – and now I’m picking paint!  I want a pale blue green, sort of a tiffany blue:
Untitled

This color is scuba green by Benjamin Moore with just a little more white added.  It looks a little strange on the wall, since the purple reflects on it, but it looks great when painted on a swatch or poster board in the room, so I think it’s good!  I may end up just getting the next lighter shade on the card.

It’s important for me to choose a lighter color because I sew at night a lot.  With dark walls, there isn’t enough light in the room.

Speaking of light, I’m replacing this awful ceiling fan:

Old ceiling fan

I hate this thing.  It only takes one light bulb (max 60 watts) so it isn’t useful, and I think the design on the blades looks like evil sheepdogs.

I ordered this replacement from overstock.com:

chandelier

I figure, if you can’t have a chandelier in you sewing room, then where can you?  It takes 4 bulbs, which should be an upgrade.  I have ott lights for ironing and cutting anyway.

I’m still considering my project table options.  I like the idea of using the expedit cubes, but I’m thinking building my own might be better – then I can have the size and height that I want!  For now, I will probably bring my foldable table down and use it while I try to decide on my options.

So, I haven’t done any sewing, but I’ve made great progress on my new space – I am so excited!

 

 

What I did on my winter break: bathroom repaint

Thanks for the advice on my pattern – the consensus seemed to be no contrasting panel, so I’m trying the high neckline without contrast.  I can always cut a contrasting panel if I change my mind!  I started it last night, and so far (knock on wood!) it’s going well.

Our bathroom has long been a work in progress.  When we moved in it was apparent that the previous owners had cared about having a nice shower, and not much else, thus this sink and light fixture:

The light fixture was homemade, probably from the remnants of the homemade trim:
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Yes, that is a 2×4, glued to a quarter round and a piece of tiny trim.  They also didn’t believe in priming, as you can see from the bubbled and peeling paint.  I repainted it (using primer this time!) and it’s better.   It’s still not great, because it’s very hard to clean in the gap, but I don’t have the cash at the moment for what I wanted (tile or wainscotting.)

Here is the color it was most recently:

The entire bathroom, including the door and door trim was painted pale flat yellow when we moved in.  I painted the door white, and the rest a pale blue (Martha Stewart for Valspar, discontinued.)  I never loved the paint color – it looked ok in sunlight, but dingy at night, and it didn’t match the purplish undertones in the stone shower.  It also developed steam marks almost immediately – the kind where it looks like the walls are weeping.  They were impossible to wash off, so I knew I needed to repaint in a paint specifically for bathrooms.

Here is the result:
New bathroom
This color is Iron Mountain from Benjamin Moore, the same color I used in my hallway.  I like Iron Mountain because it’s somewhere several colors at once – both an almost charcoal, a taupe brown, and a plum.  It’s also nice and dark, which I like better than bright colors for a bathroom.  I used Aura Bath and Spa paint, which is supposed to keep off some of the weeping (steam marks on the walls) that I had with the cheaper paint.  We will see – I’ve banished all towels from the bathroom and plan to shower with the door open from now on.  We don’t have an exhaust fan, and with this being a second floor (out of 3) bathroom, we can’t really install one.  I thought of having one installed out the wall, but I want to see if I can solve the problem another way first.  I’ll try opening the window as well after a shower – that’s the reason why it’s up to code, because if you have a bathroom you aren’t required to have a fan.

I bought new rugs:
Picture 877

All the bathroom rugs now seem to be made of memory foam, and I don’t like them.  We had a set of those, and they were impossible to keep clean and nice looking.  These rugs are nice and soft, and without a rubber backing they can go through the wash.
I need something for the walls, so the room isn’t finished, but I feel much better about it now.  On to the sewing room!  I managed to pawn the bed off on one of my friends, so now I can get started.

Guest room to sewing room?

Welcome to 2013, you guys!  I spent the rest of my break working on my bathroom and relaxing.  The new semester starts tomorrow, so it’s back to work.  I had, all things considered, a pretty great holiday.

As always, when I have time to think I have time to plan, and I came up with a new scheme:

I’m seriously considering turning my guest room into a sewing room.  We have lived here 4 years and had overnight guests only a handful of times.  To be totally honest, I don’t enjoy entertaining overnight.  I’m introverted, and my house is my refuge – having people stay with me makes me super nervous (I feel like a jerk saying that, but I feel the same way when staying in someone else’s house myself – give me a hotel room any day!)  We can get a nice air mattress for when it’s needed.  My family and friends live in town (except my best friend, but she’s allergic to my cats and can’t stay!) and Marc’s family generally only do day visits.

My current sewing room is on the 3rd floor, which isn’t ideal.   Right now it’s so cold that I really can’t stand to sew, and in the summer it gets pretty hot.   It shares with my exercise equipment and my husband’s Lego collection, so it’s always cluttered.  I can’t control my husband’s clutter (and really, it’s his hobby, why should he have to?) but I do find that being in a messy room makes me stressed out and not at all creative.

I can take over the bedroom entirely, so long as I don’t mind giving up a closet (I don’t!)  I can’t make it dual purpose because it’s not big enough – the bed takes up a good portion of the room.  It’s not super big – roughly 10 feet x 12 feet.  I’ll leave my fabric storage upstairs, so I only need room for my machines, ironing board, and cutting table.  I have a Sullivan’s cutting table, and I might buy the ironing cover for it – that way I only need one surface for both!

Here is the room when we moved in:

Guest room when we moved in

And here it is currently (not this bright in real life!)
Guest room now

 

I’ll change the wall color – not sure to what yet!

So here is my question: would anyone like to share their sewing rooms with me?  I’m especially interested in seeing what you can do with a small room, but anything is good.  I need some inspiration, and I’m not averse to buying new storage or furniture (we have an IKEA in driving distance.)  I have a nice sewing desk (from Ikea) and a cutting table  – one of the ones that folds up to a smaller size easily.  I have another sewing desk with my Singer which I would like to place in the room, as I don’t have space for it upstairs.  It still needs refinishing, which isn’t happening until the thaw – it’s living in my dining room right now!

 

Curtains for me!

Today was not the best of days.  I had an audition, which never fails to freak me out.  I don’t get stage fright, and I love to perform, it’s the being judged (a necessary part of an audition!) that never fails get to me.  Whenever someone comments on the arrogance of actors and musicians I usually say: A. You’re right and B: Seriously, it’s a coping mechanism.  It’s like a life full of never ending job interviews.

But eh… I’ll live.  To cheer myself up I went to my new favorite restaurant (Tom and Chee – an entire restaurant of grilled cheese sandwiches!)  Afterwards I was happy to find that my linen fabric samples had arrived:

I ordered these samples from fabrics-store.com.  They specialize in linen and they send free swatches on request.  The price was great for the quality.  I decided on plain linen for the large curtain in my living room, but I needed to pick a color.  I decided on the middle color above, which is called simply “natural.”  The other shades are (right to left) aluminum, bleached, natural, krista, and mix natural.  All swatches are the IL019 medium weight linen.  I’d consider the weight to be comprable to Kauffamn Essex linen.  It’s not heavy, but I think it will drape nicely for me (I am lining my curtains anyway!)  I had to order 8 yards to get the fullness I prefer (2x the width of the window).  You can see why I was trying to keep costs down!

I also ordered fabric from fabric.com to make simple tie top cafe curtains for my hall.

 

The pattern I’m using I found at Make it Love it (you can see their finished curtains in the photo  above).  The fabrics are by Michael Miller.  I love those charcoal and pink dala horses, called Wooden Horses,  to death!  They will be the main curtain, and the top/ties will be made of the wood block print behind, also by Michael miller.  I’m going to fully line these curtains.  Thank you for all the advice – I decided that I agreed making the long curtains from quilting cotton might not work, but it’s perfect for a small hallway window!

I’m starting to put the living room back together – I have a rug!

Leon the cat, as you can see, is helping to break it in by shedding furiously.  This is a flat woven cotton rug from Ikea.  I  am planning to paint a design on this rug using fabric medium – I like the white, but it’s not practical around him.  I still don’t have anything else in the room, but I’m working on it!  This project has been intensive, but I’m so much happier already that it’s worth the stress.

 

 

I have a green wall!

Yes I do:

I love this color (Cabana green by Benjamin Moore).  It’s pretty both in the daytime and at night, and it’s bright without being fluorescent.    I also chose the color for the other walls:

It’s Revere Pewter, also by Benjamin Moore.  As you can probably tell from the difference in the green, it’s actually a little cooler than it appears above.  I decided to go with a grey-ish beige (greige!) because the cool silver wasn’t working with my brown sofa, but it’s not as yellow as my other choice (above, which looks good here, but looks dirty on the wall).  This gray has a slightly green base, and looks different in different lights.  It’s pretty light and neutral, which is different for me.

I’m not painting the doors or stairwell until after an audition I have in 2 weeks, because while I can handle regular (low voc) paint fine, the oil primer I prefer on the woodwork is a bit much, and I’d rather not be ill.  In the meantime, I’m going to work on other projects – choosing the fabrics for the pillows and curtains I’m sewing, and changing other fixtures.

Last year we replaced the chandelier in our dining room.  The old one was not to my taste at all:

I really don’t like brass.  I replaced it with a chrome and white fixture that goes well with the cobalt paint, but I kept this one around for a redo.  It used to have really awful frosted glass shades with weird raised images of fruit on them, but I got rid of those – they weren’t working for me at all.  I was resigned to buying clip on shades when I found these at Goodwill for $4:

They aren’t setting the world on fire or anything, but they fit.  I’m thinking of using a faux mercury glass technique (here) on the outside of the glass, but I’ll wait until the fixture goes up this weekend.

In the meantime, I’m painting the chandelier itself:

Plain black gloss paint.  Here is what I use to paint metal:

I apply the liquid sandpaper with the gloves on.  This is important for metal because I think it’s hard to sand enough, especially if you have shiny brass.  You really want to knock the shine off!  I did three thin coats of the paint and then two lacquer.  I didn’t prime, but I would prime anything that is going to be handled at all with spray Killz.

I also have replacements for the other two fixtures – a flushmount for the hall to replace the awful bare bulb we’ve been living with, and a track for the stairs.

I don’t use the ceiling lights at all, but my husband does.  Hopefully with all those new lights (vs the three single bulbs we have now) it might actually be bright enough to see.  I’m keeping part of this old lamp:

My Mom gave me this lamp.  I like the interesting tree shaped base.  What I don’t like?  This:

I know, some people love these lamps.  I find that when you live in a victorian, people think you really need tiffany lamps.  I have five of them for some reason, and they just aren’t my thing.  This one isn’t fancy, so I won’t feel bad putting the shade in our yardsale and replacing the shade on the base.  We picked up a new shade last weekend here:

My husband wants to make it clear that he’s riding that cart like a crazy person.  Of course, I was taking pictures of him doing it, so that makes me just as crazy!  Where are we? That bright yellow wall can mean only mean this:

IKEA opened a store in Cincinnati a few years ago, and I’m not over the novelty yet.  I know, those of you in really big cities (or Europe) are over it, but trust me… before this there were no inexpensive places with good design.  I like to thrift, but there are some things you need to buy new.  My budget for this makeover is really low, so I knew a trip to IKEA was in order.

I picked up a plain cotton area rug (Erslev)in a large size to paint, a new floor lamp,  the track lighting, and a few odds and ends.    Oh, and I bought their panel curtain system to use as a fourth wall in front of the stairs – I want the living room to feel more like a room!  I thought their curtain choices were cheap though, so I bought the hardware and decided to make my own.

Tomorrow I’ll post about the actual sewing I’m about to do.  I have new curtains, pillows, room divider panels, and an area rug to paint.    Yes, still a lot, but I’m really pleased with how the room is shaping up – maybe I’ll finally have a living room I enjoy spending time in!

Drowning in a sea of fabric

I’ve spent the past week sorting and reorganizing my sewing room (ie the entire 3rd floor of my house,) with the idea of turning half of it into a workout space (I don’t use all the space now, it mostly holds boxes!)  Right now I’m in the “looking worse before it gets better” phase (see below)

The big chest that you see in the back there is currently blocking off about an 8’x8′ area of usable space.  The trunk was my husband’s in childhood, but I have no nostalgia about possessions… we have nowhere to put it, and no use for it, so it has to go!  I have yet to get my big pattern chest in this room, partially because of the trunk issue, so I’m hoping to get it up there this week!  Needless to say, there is no sewing… but I am finding patterns and fabric that I forgot I even had!  I’ve been compiling a folder of fall inspiration, which I will show you soon.  I can’t wait until my space actually looks inviting again – I hate clutter!

I also thought I would show a few recent fun thrifting/ yard sale finds with you.  I’ve been trying to get up earlier, so I’ve actually made it to a few more sales this season.

I got this adorable homemade sheep cross stitch at one of those yardsales.  The lady I bought it from said it no longer suited her decor, but I love it on my bedroom mantle (along with a globe that’s so old it still shows “French West Africa” as a country!)

I’ve been searching for a fall purse, and I think this is the one.  I bought it at Goodwill.  It’s not fancy, but it is unused (still with tags) and has a great leopard print lining.  I think this might have been one of those bags they give you with a large cosmetic purchase.  I’m happy with it!

And saving the best for last…

Oh yes… you know you are jealous of my STTNG clock!  I haven’t decided yet where to put it… it’s important to find just the right place, you know?  I’m thinking it will end up in the sewing room, so that Commander Riker can inspire me!

 

Christmas trees and red dresses

I am not really one to decorate for the holidays.  We don’t generally host any holiday gatherings, and to be honest I’m pretty scroogey about the whole season (too many years of working for churches… this year I am only doing one Christmas service, for a friend who lives in Cincinnati.)  This year we are holding a small party, so I’ve actually had to dig out my christmas things.  Fortunately, my Mom loves Christmas, but gets tired of things, so we have tons of decorations from her.  We don’t have a large Christmas tree (and nowhere to put one,) so I put up two small ones instead:

The first tree is in the dining room.  Note the Lego Death Start ornament in the front!  And why yes, that is a hot pink christmas tree with hot pink lights.  It’s actually sitting on the piano (the piano is closed, and I almost never open it all the way.  It’s covered with a blanket to stop any scratches.)

Yes, it’s kind of tacky, but if you can’t be tacky at Christmas, when can you? That’s my piano studio, and I know my students will appreciate the kitschy tree!  And those are indeed little disco balls gathered around the base.    Since we live in a Victorian house, people often gift me those “Victorian Christmas” style things.  It’s not my style at all, too stuffy and the colors are too somber.  It’s definitely an ongoing challenge to decorate this house – the woodwork tends to dominate everything, and I have to be careful not to go too modern (I love modern furniture, but it looks wrong here… the scale is too small.)  I just aim to let my personality show through, even if that is sometimes pretty loud.  It works for me!

To go along with the holiday theme, I’m making a red dress using Vogue 8685.

I’m using a red ponte knit that I bought at Mood.  To be honest, it’s a bit more of a cherry red than I prefer – I look best in very blue toned reds, which don’t clash with my hair.  This one isn’t too bad though, and it will be nice for Christmas!  The pattern has a lot of pieces due to the yoke, but it doesn’t look very hard to make.  I’ve got it cut and ready to sew this week (in between the frantic house cleaning – I will have lots of people who have never seen my house, and I like to preserve the illusion that I’m very good at dusting!)