Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Goodwill Bench Makeover

When I first laid eyes on this bad boy at the Goodwill, I immediately knew what I wanted to do with it. I snapped this picture and sent it to Cait (from My Old Kentucky House) to make sure I wasn't crazy. She liked the idea as well, so I grabbed it up and took it home for $8.50.

The thing was pretty wobbly and ugly.

The surface of the table top had definitely seen better days, but that didn't matter for my project. I was going to make it into a padded bench!

I started out by unscrewing the table top from the base, and then tightening the bolts that held the legs to the base. That solved all the wobbly issues.

Then I took it outside, gave it a quick sanding and spray painted it a nice glossy white. Thunder was rumbling, so I had to make this step a quick one.

Fortunately, the storm held off until I was done.

While the base was drying more thoroughly under the cover of the carport, I flipped over my detached table top and marked locations for 6 evenly spaced holes, then drilled straight though. These would be used later for tufting the cushion.

I purchased three 2" thick foam cushions because it was MUCH less expensive than buying one long piece. Also, these 18" squares were exactly the same width as my table. Score.

The table was not as long as the three foam pieces, however, so I marked and cut off the excess of the last piece with scissors. I used spray adhesive to attach the foam to the top of the table.

I laid out my fabric and batting, wrong side up and flipped my table and foam over on top of it.

After doing some adjusting to ensure the pattern was straight in relation to the top, I cut off the excess fabric.

I pulled the fabric nice and tight, folded the raw edge under and shot in a few staples on each side. Once everything was secure, I turned it over to make sure the pattern was indeed straight and that my fabric was nice and tight.

After ensuring everything was hunky dory, I flipped the table upside down again and put in staples every few inches, pulling the fabric tight as I went.

For the corners, I just folded them like I would if I were wrapping a present.

I intentionally left enough excess fabric so that the stapled edge would be inside the edges of the table base. This way, it would not be visible, unless you were laying directly under the bench. This did mean that the holes for reattaching the base were covered, so I made sure to mark where they were as I stapled.

Nice and smooth! Now comes the part where, I admit, I had no idea what I was doing. I had a basic idea of how tufting worked and I watched a YouTube video of someone doing it. It didn't make it any easier that I had no needles that were long enough to fit all the way through the cushion.

I threaded my button onto a length of embroidery thread, then threaded both ends through the eye of the needle. I found that a bamboo skewer fit nicely though my pre-dilled holes, so I inserted it through the back and pushed it through until I could feel it through the fabric. I use that point to help me find where to push in the needle. From there, I smooshed down the cushion with one hand and poked around with the needle until I found the hole, then pulled it through. It was quite time consuming at first, but it started going much faster as I went.

Once I got the thread pulled through, I rolled up an extra piece of batting and placed it over top the hole. Then I pulled my thread tight and tied a single knot around the batting. Flipping the table over, I made sure the tuft was as deep as I wanted and of a similar depth as the others.

Then I tied two more knots so it was nice and secure and trimmed off the excess thread.

Ta da! It was actually working!

Repeat six times, or however many tufts you want in your cushion.

Then it was just a matter of reattaching the base. You can see here what I meant by not being able to see the stapled edge of the fabric. I lined up the holes on the hardware with the previously marked spots on my fabric and screwed everything back the same way I took it out.

I'm quite pleased with the final result.

I'm not sure where it will finally end up, perhaps in the basement, when it is finished.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Herbs in a Basket

When we recently went through the boxes in the attic, I came across this wire hanging basket. It was left behind by a previous tenant when I moved into an apartment and I took it with me when I moved out. I found some inspiration on Pinterest and decided to make it into an herb planter.

I used landscape fabric to line the baskets so the dirt wouldn't just fall through the holes. I cut a large square of it and stuck it in each basket.

Then I took on of the herb pots I purchased and set it into the fabric lined basket. I filled around it with potting soil, and then cut off the excess landscape fabric.

And voila.

Now I have fresh herbs right outside the door whenever I need them.

Not to mention I think they snazz up the porch quite nicely!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Bathroom closet re-do

First of all, I'd like to apologize in advance for the not so stellar pictures in this post. It's not easy to take beautiful pictures of a tiny closet in a tiny bathroom that receives almost no natural light.

That is the bathroom closet I have lived with for the past 3 years.

Fake brick wallpapered shelves and all. Ripping it all out and replacing it with new shelves has been on my list for quite some time, and I finally got around to doing it this week.

Before I started on the shelving, however, there was a giant hole to contend with.

 When David replaced the water lines with a PEX system a few months ago he had to cut a hole in the wall of the closet to access the shower lines there. We purchased an access panel to avoid having to do that again, but some patch work needed to be done. I did this in the same way as in the guest room.

Much better.

Then I could get to clearing everything out. You can really see the delicious adhesive vinyl in this picture. Mmmm...

Which meant the bathroom looked like this.

Then I got my trusty hammer and ripped all those bad boys out. It was extremely satisfying.

When I pulled out one of the upper shelves, these counter top samples fell. The one the left is "pearl" and the one on the right is "ray gray." Apparently they've been there since David moved in 4 years ago and no one ever saw them because they were on such a high shelf.

Once everything was out, much spackling was needed.

Followed by a fresh coat of paint. I decided to use the same color as is in the rest of the bathroom. So much better already!

Next I measured and cut 1x2" boards to act as my shelf supports, then painted them in a white semi-gloss to match the rest of the trim in the house. I only painted two sides (the front and bottom) because the other sides would not be visible. My shelves would be L shaped so I needed supports for all 4 walls.

Then I used a finish nailer and a level to attach them to the wall. This is when the nail gun got jammed and David had to spend an hour completely disassembling it. Thus concluded my first day's work.

Three days later, which was the next time I was able to do any work on the closet, I finished hanging the supports.

I realized that the ends of wood are visible, so I had to go back and paint those once they were on the wall. I also spackled the nail holes.

I hunted around Ikea last time I was there to find an economical solution for the shelving and came up empty handed until I was browsing through the As-Is section and found white 30" x 10" shelves in bundles of 5 for $3. Yes, five shelf pieces for $3. I did some quick (or not so quick) math and then happily took two bundles home.

I measured and cut them all and then stuck them on the supports to make sure they fit. Turns out, they didn't because the wall has a big lump in it. I re-measured and re-cut and was back on track again.

My initial plan to join the shelves involved cutting a dowel rod into small pieces.

Then drilling holes in the ends of two boards to be joined and using the dowels to connect them.

That plan did not work. Despite using a couple different methods to line up the holes (toothpaste, holding them together and making a mark) the boards never lined up quite right and didn't support much weight without bowing.

So that plan was abandoned and I went to Lowe's and got these metal brackets instead. I placed them on the bottom of the lower two shelves, and the top of the upper two shelves so they would not be visible unless you were floating by the ceiling or sitting on the floor. While installing these, I learned that the material my shelves were made of is not easy to drill into. I got 6 of them done before I was on the verge of throwing the drill through the window and/or sitting in the closet floor crying so I let David take over while I moodily browsed Pinterest.

Once that was done, I caulked the seams where the different pieces of shelving met each other, then all that was left was putting it all back.

I got some white metal  bins at Garden Ridge for $5 a piece to help organize the mess in an attractive way. I wanted to add a chalkboard label to the front so I made some chalkboard paint using this method. Then I used contact paper to make a stencil and painted it on.

You can't see the stencil because it's the same color as the bin, but I promise it's there.

When I wrote on it with chalk after it dried, the chalk pulled the paint off the metal instead of writing on it, so it didn't really work, but the result was still (somewhat) the same, so for now I am keeping it as is.

And that was that!

I am so thrilled with it. I may or may not start smiling like a crazy person when I open the door now.

And the best part? Thanks to my awesome shelving find, the entire project cost under $30!

With this improvement, the bathroom is - dare I say it? - just about finished! Down the road we would like to refinish the bathtub and remove some of the tiled-in towel bars, etc. One day we will get to it!