2015 is finally here! Okay, well maybe it has been here for a whole month already… and maybe it has been more than a little while since I have sewn anything or posted on here! But… it is a brand new year, we have a brand new puppy (Winifred Rose), and there are so many new and exciting sewing projects in the works! But first, it is time for new years resolutions: to clean out the closets!
This idea has been playing around in the back of my mind since the holiday break (as it does every year). This feeling was intensified during the New Year’s Resolutions phase and the fact that “excess” was the topic at our family’s local church service, with the mantra: “Excess isn’t success – it’s supply for those in need”. What a beautiful reminder.
So, in honor of the New Year, the mantra “Excess isn’t success…”, and the upcoming Kids Clothes Week theme “Upcycled”, our family will be cleaning out the closets and giving to those in need as well as upcycling a few pieces into something new and wonderful.
This weekend we will be selecting the pieces that will become something new. I already have a few things in mind… I’m thinking skirts, t-shirts, and a dog sweater or two! (Winnie counts for Kid’s Clothes Week, right?).
When we decided as a family to adopt rabbits into our life, the first and foremost decision we had to make was: indoors or outdoors? In the house or in a rabbit hutch? There seems to be a philosophical debate on whether or not rabbits are indoor or outdoor animals.
There are numerous websites dedicated to the philosophy of “house rabbits” detailing the reasons why indoor environments are vital to the well being of bunnies. Many of these reasons are related to social interaction, harsh outdoor climates, and an increased lifespan in the home. The philosophy of house rabbits tends to be very adamant that keeping a pet rabbit indoors is the best possible outcome for both the pet and the pet owner.
The other side of the debate tends to agree with all the positive aspects of indoor habitats, yet recognizes that rabbits are rabbits and, if properly cared for, can live a happy life outdoors in a rabbit hutch.
After careful debate, we decided that we would keep our rabbits outside – with the resolve to play with them outside every day. However, we wanted to make sure that they had ample space and excellent accomodations, so we recruited my father to design and build a DIY Rabbit Hutch: what we now refer to as the “Rabbit Mansion”.
DIY Rabbit Hutch
My dad’s philosophy is “use what you have”. In the case of the DIY Rabbit Hutch, we used wood left over from our newly assembled fence, hinges from old cabinet doors, and scrap wood from various projects for the top addition flooring and stair case. The DIY Rabbit Hutch is built in two pieces: the top piece fitting on the bottom piece like a lid to a pot.
Needless to say, the kids were thrilled with the new addition! The rabbits were too! For more woodworking projects by my dad, please see our “Tufted Headboard Tutorial” or visit his website, Masterwork.
A DIY Rabbit Hutch Blueprint Printable PDF is here! Visit our products page for more information!
Earlier this year, the kids and I succumbed to yet another pinterest phenomenon: Sidewalk Chalk Photography. In the heat of a Texas June day, we decided to make chalk paint, paint the driveway in the likeness of the Dallas skyline, and make one of the most adorable Father’s Day cards ever!
4-5 cups Cornstarch
Food Coloring (we used gel)
4-5 Cups of water
To make: Mix roughly 1 cup cornstarch to 1 cup water with 10-12 drops of food coloring (or until the desired color). We had no problem washing away the color when we were finished. However, we used Tempura Paint in black for the outline, and that took about 2 weeks to fully disappear.
4-5 Large Sponge Paintbrushes
We only had a few hours to create the chalk surprise, so unfortunately we had to deal with the sun and very hot concrete. I made the outline of the Dallas Skyline and the kids painted it in with the freshly made chalk paint and sponge brushes. The kids lasted about 30 minutes (which is 20 minutes longer than I thought) and I continued on. After while in the sun, I decided that to leave some of the buildings empty was artistically pleasing. It had absolutely nothing to do with the fact I was drenched from had to toe and ready to call it a day. It was an artistic choice :)
We were ready to pose for the photoshoot! All I needed to do was position the ladder in the alleyway in order to get to a perspective where the driveway was flat. I never was able to find this position, but it was close enough!
Posing the children was the most enjoyable part of the whole event. The kids loved coming up with silly poses and trying them out. However, we had to wait until 5:00 to get the shots as the concrete was so hot! Which gave us only 30 minutes before dad arrived. We quickly added stars and a moon to create the look of night and took photos in 30 second bursts! Oh the joys of a Texas summer. Hot enough to fry an egg! In the end, with a little photo editing to darken the photos and some text from a beloved book, we had a magical gift to give a wonderful father.
Tufted headboards are a little girls dream, and in my case maybe an even bigger dream to make one. When I saw the Eliza Tufted Headboard from Pottery Barn, I knew that I must have one for Cadence. But with a price tag near $1,000, I turned toward my inner creativity (and my father!) to make one from scratch. I had never made furniture or reupholstered anything before, but I knew with the countless tutorials on pinterest that we could succeed. My favorite tutorial came from The Idea Room. While I knew I wanted a deeper tuft than the one shown, I loved the step by step instructions, not only for the tufting, but the headboard frame as well.
Originally, a tufted headboard was all we were going to attempt. However, once I involved my dad, we got a whole entire bed frame! As I was not the one to make the bed frame, I cannot explain in detail how it was done. However, I can show step by step how the headboard was constructed as well as do over points along the way. Note: While the bed frame was made and prepped by my loving father, I had the pleasure of painting the bed which ended up with 3 coats of paint! My husband, of course, occupied the children during this process.
Piece of MDF board cut to your specifications
2 – 3 inch foam (we found ours at JoAnn’s)
Drill and 3/8 inch Drill Bit
Quilt Batting (Joanne’s)
Pillow / Doll Stuffing (Joanne’s)
Waxed Thread (JoAnn’s)
Button Making Kit with enough buttons for your project (JoAnn’s)
Material for the tufted headboard
2 sawhorses or 2 tables
Staple Gun and Staples
Make the frame. Follow the instructions from The Idea Room and cut the MDF board to your own specifications. We opted for a squared off look to offset how girly the tufted headboard is. Decide how many tufts you would like and how far apart you want them. Decide between square and diamond tufts We chose square to match the square frame. Mark where each button will be and drill holes all the way through the MDF headboard with a drill and drill bit We used a 3/8 inch drill bit. Our headboard is 39×28, we have 4 rows of 5 totaling 20 buttons spaced 7 inches apart horizontally and 6 inches vertically.
Line up the foam (which may be more than one piece depending on the size of your headboard) with he MDF board. With a pen, mark through the holes onto the foam. Cut holes in the foam about the same size as the buttons with a pair of scissors or a knife. Once the holes are made, line up the foam and the MDF and glue together with the spray glue. This will ensure that it does not move!
I found that to get the perfect tufted look it was best to add balls of fluff in the middle of each tuft. I carefully added the quilt batting on top, adjusting the balls of fluff accordingly.
Now is a good time to make the cloth covered buttons. I ended up having to hand sew mine on as the fabric was so thick- taking me about 2 hours! In the beginning, we tried following the instructions of sewing the buttons to the headboard to make the tufts, but they kept breaking. Eventually we ended up sewing smaller, shirt sized buttons on with the waxed thread and upholstery needle to make the tufts, and then sewing the decorative buttons on afterwards.
Step 5 – shaping the tufts, was by far the hardest part. My dad ended up helping more than he thought he would as it needed so much strength! We placed the foam topped headboard on two sawhorses so that we could get underneath. After gently smoothing and softening, we pulled the button into the foam hole with the upholstery needle, and wax thread. My dad, being the strength, pulled the wax thread underneath the headboard until I told him the depression was sufficient (and eventually, evenly depressed with the others – as this is no easy feat) and he would then staple the excess thread to the headboard in a W pattern. Surprisingly, the quality of the tufts was not determined by the depth. In fact, we barely pulled the buttons into the foam. The extra fluff and quilt batting is what made the tufts look full and round. The 20 tufts took about 3 hours to make, but it was worth every minute!
After the tufting, assembling the headboard was a breeze! After a little more smoothing and softening around the edges, we trimmed the excess fabric and stapled it to the back. The headboard was complete! All we had left was to assemble the rest of the bed and marvel at our masterpiece.