Re-organizing for a better workflow…

This is my sewing room.

Yah.  I know.  It’s an unorganized, untidy mess.  And it is affecting not only how I feel about being in the room, but also about how I actually work when I’ve gathered up the gumption to start sewing.

That has GOT to stop.

In the effort to rework this room so that it is more easily kept clean and tidy, I’ve made a few changes.

Firstly, the large white armoire that holds my belly dance costumes?  I moved it to our bedroom (which desperately needs doing!).  This cleared up a lot visual space and actually made more room for future storage pieces.

Next, I moved all of my fabric to plastic tubs and piles in the hallway.

That freed up the shelves so I could remove them.   Of course, this meant I had brand new holes in the walls that have to fill and touch up.  No photos of this, since I know you’ve all seen patched walls!)

I moved my corner desk to the opposite side of the room.  Instead of pushing the “L” into the corner, I moved it so one of the legs jutted out into the room.  The space under the window is perfect for my ironing board.  From my new desk position, I face the doorway instead of a wall – so the room feels more spacious, even though it isn’t!

I took the time to paint a very old bulletin board and even older bookcase.  My grandfather made this bookcase for me about 35 years ago.  It started out as white, then was a light pink, then a beige….  But this is my room and I wanted a pop of color.  I think he’d be pleased!

Opposite to the bookcase is my shelf system.  The shelves are covered in a snakeskin vinyl print that’s easy to wipe down, and smooth enough that even the most delicate fabric won’t catch.  I installed these by mounting the brackets on two slender lengths of board.  This way, there are only 4 screws per unit in the wall instead of 12 per side!  The board backing also helps distribute the weight of the fabric over a larger surface, which helps with my brittle walls.

The shelves are above my cutting table.  To the left of the cutting table are two rather pink plastic storage units.  These units were holding the majority of my patterns (many which are pdf files), but I’m going to be using them for only the patterns that I have tried and like.  The untried patterns are now sitting on top of the cutting table, waiting patiently!

In the corner, I’ve got two wall mounted mirrors flanking a mirrored door.  This is a perfect place to store Edith as well as get a view of myself from more than one angle.  Helpful when fitting a pattern!

Right below the window, I have my ironing board.  It’s convenient here, since it’s a case of “sew a seam, press a seam”.

Getting the bones of the room this far actually took most of the weekend.  On Monday night, I decided to move the desk about 2 feet…  and broke it (don’t ask…  there was bruising and swearing, as well as a bit of blood involved.)

I spent Monday evening trying to put it back together again, but the connector units were absolutely useless by this point.  On Tuesday I picked up some corner brackets, some metal plate connectors and some longer screws.  It took several hours on Tuesday, but I managed to put it together again.  The Ogre had to help me with putting the hutch on top of the desk, but I managed to do the rest on my own.

Even with all of this, the hardest part hadn’t even started!  It’s difficult for me to just fold and sort my fabric, when all I really want to do is fondle it!  However, I was disciplined – tough, even!  I only succumbed to tempation a time or two!

That’s the story of the improved sewing studio.  Clean and neat and with a better workflow and storage.

Now I have to try to keep it that way!

I’d really love to see your comments on the projects I do and the ideas I have.  I learn more from critiques than praise, but, honestly, I adore praise (and who doesn’t?).

Thanks for stopping by.\


An Empty Guest Room Reveal

I had BARELY gotten the guest room in order when my Mom came to visit.  She’s spending the weekend with my sister before heading back home to Dad, so the room is empty and ready for photos.

You know what?  I’d gladly skip the photos and still have her here.  Really.  After all, what use is a pretty room if it doesn’t have anyone to enjoy it?

That’s where sharing with you comes in!  I hope you like it as much as she did.  Mind you, I didn’t manage to get photos of the really cute little basket of toiletries or the two new copies of her favorite books, so you’ll just have to imagine those!

When you first open the door, you’re greeted with a doorless closet.  It was the perfect size to slide in the dresser with mirror.  There’s even room on each side of the dresser to hang a few articles of clothing from the rod.  As you can tell, I haven’t staged much yet… but I’m working on it!

The dresser is topped with cut-outs from plastic overlays I purchased at the Dollarama and painted with Benjamin Moore’s Turquoise Powder.  I glued them in place, but haven’t yet gotten a sealer on there!

Here’s a shot of what you see when looking into the mirror from the doorway.  The window treatment is simply lace mesh curtains with a roller blind.  Simple, light and airy – but the roller blind does allow the room to be sufficiently dark at night time.  (There is a stop light just a quarter block outside of this window, and the light can be distracting!)

The mirror was a Salvation Army find.  I removed the mirror from the ornate resin frame it had been in and beaded the  edge with a peyote stitch.  I used plastic pearls and turquise sequins to create a “frame”, then hung it centered with the dresser.  Here’s a closer shot of the trim.

If you turn your head slightly, while still standing in the doorway, you’ll see the rattan chair I found curbside!  I just had to do a few repairs, then paint it white for it to be perfect here.

The hanging lamp came from a local yard sale and, after I painted over the turned oak beads on it, it fit in perfectly!  It’s a hit of color that isn’t found ANYWHERE else in the house and casts such a nice warm glow when lit.

I hung the Keep Calm sign higher than I normally would for placement beside a chair, but I’m planning on putting a table in here and didn’t want the sign to be obstructed!

If you stand with your back to the chair, you get to see the Chinese Silk Embroidery artwork that my friend, Laura, gave me.  It’s PERFECT here!  I didn’t do a thing to it other than hang it.

Now that we’ve come through the “foyer” of the room, let’s have a look at the rest, shall we?

The lamp bases also came from the local yard sale.  They were originally black wrought iron that a previous owner had painted white.  A few coats of red and I was very happy with them!  Simple white shades from the Salvation Army finish them off.  The little red dish is perfect for putting your jewelery in or for setting down a glass of water.

The ornamental frame I removed from the oval mirror became the basis to the “Thompson 1987” artwork I made.  With the white, yellow and turquoise, it has exactly the cottagey feel I like for this room.

I used the overlays on the night stand I refurbished as well.  This time, though, I placed them on the front of the piece.  It was a bit challenging to work around the handles, so I ended up simply painting in a portion of the design to keep it relatively seamless.

I made the headboard and the table topper out of fabric my friend Roxane downsized.  The bed skirt fabric came from the same source!

Another oval!  This mirror came from Laura, and didn’t need a thing.  It brings a nice touch of wood to the room.  The oval table was made by my grandfather about 40 years ago.  I’ll be re-doing the top of it, and you’ll get to see more of it then!

This framed English cottage print was given to me by a friend several years ago.  It seems to have found it’s home.

With your back to the framed print and the window, this is your view.

Now you’ve had the grand tour!  I hope you enjoyed it.

There are still some projects to be done in this room.  I’m working on a cushion for the chair, and I definitely need some decorative pillows for the bed.  The dresser and night stand both need sealer.  My grandfather’s table needs a bit of work and I definitely need to figure out how to decorate that closet shelf!

Nonetheless, it was pretty and ready for my Mom.  I really like this room.  It’s sunny and feminine, but not so girly that a male guest will cringe.  In fact, when the Ogre is working bizarre shifts, I may even find myself sleeping here – and it won’t be a hardship at all!

If you have any suggestions for the closet shelf, I’d love to hear them!  That really has me stumped.

Sharing this here…

UndertheTableandDreamingBecolorful DIY Show Off
52 Mantels In The Old Road

I’d really love to see your comments on the projects I do and the ideas I have.  I learn more from critiques than praise, but, honestly, I adore praise (and who doesn’t?).

Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday’s Success!

I’m going to get to into the meat of this particular post, but I’d first like to notify you that I’m thinking about moving to a five day a week posting schedule for the summer.  Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday are looking like they might be the winning days, but I’m not sure yet.  If you have any input, please feel free to post a comment! I’d love to know what you feel about this.


Before I even poured my coffee, I had the first coat of paint on the inside of the night table for the guest room.  Those of you who know me in real life will understand how desperate I am to get this room done!  Working on it sans coffee!  Wow.

While I waited for the first coat to dry, I scooted to the kitchen, poured my coffee, took my first sip, fed the cat and then boogied outside to water my garden.  I’ve been neglectful of it, and I’m afraid it shows.  My poppies, which were showing so very much potential, seem to have all disappeared.  I’ll know better next time!

Then it was down to the basement to work on some of the other projects.  Like painting these plastic overlay pieces.  These started out life as square overlays from Dollarama.  I trimmed them down and cut them into quarters on the diagonal.

And sew the hem to the box-pleated bed skirt.

All of this while doing laundry, watching movies and chatting with the Ogre.  Multi-tasking at it’s finest!

With the overlays dry and the last stitch done on the hem, it was time to take all of my toys upstairs and really get to work!

It was also time for another cup of coffee!  ‘Cause our house runs on love and strong cups of coffee.  For real!

Coffee in hand,  I went back upstairs and added DIY bed risers to the frame for the double bed.  They are nothing more than 2″ X 2″  X 6″ with a large screw set into the center to join to the foot of the frame.

I moved on to covering the headboard I had built out of leftovers.  There are lots of tutorials out there on how to do this, so I won’t bother to show you the fifty-zillion staples right now.

Once the headboard was completed, I attached it to the bed frame and set up the box spring.

Next up was my possibly most disliked household chore!  I broke out my iron and spent far too much time running it over the bed skirt.  Am I the only one who detests ironing?  I know it’s needful, but really…

The room’s really starting to come together!  There’s a lot to still be completed, but these are smaller projects.  It’s so nice to have the big things done!

I hope you’re having a great weekend and being as productive (or not!) as you want to be!

I’d really love to see your comments on the projects I do and the ideas I have.  I learn more from critiques than praise, but, honestly, I adore praise (and who doesn’t?).

Thanks for stopping by.

Thrift Store Find – With Ombre!

Last week, I went hunting for a basket for the guest room.  I wanted something that could be carried, so I could fill it with toiletries and our guests could carry it to the bath and back without having to juggle things.

I found this for $2.99.  A little worse for the wear, but the perfect shape and size!

A few coats of Stone White later…

It was OK, but I wasn’t loving it.

Then I remembered all of the ombre paint I had mixed up for the Keep Calm sign!

Darkest color.

Second color…

Third color…


Closeup of the ombre…

Now, I’m loving it!  I think it needs something on the handle.  And, of course, toiletries!  But it will do what I wanted it to, and it’s kind of cute!


I’d really love to see your comments on the projects I do and the ideas I have.  I learn more from critiques than praise, but, honestly, I adore praise (and who doesn’t?).

Thanks for stopping by.

Guest Room Update

Before I get into the tutorials, I have to share something wonderful! My “Keep Calm…” art was featured at the All Stars Block Party! How amazingly cool is that???

Simply Done Wright

OK. Now that I’ve shared that, it’s time to move on!

I’ve been working furiously on getting the guest room done before my Mom comes on June 22nd.  While I know she doesn’t care WHAT the room looks like, it’s in my heart to make it the most comfortable, welcoming room I can for her.

The room started off like this…

Excuse the quality of the photos.  I’m not quite sure what happened there!

That’s a bright blue paired with a paler view on oposing walls.  The previous tenants had used this room as a playroom for their three children, and had built in a fair amount of shelving, as the spackle spots would indicate.

I filled all the holes, then used two coats of primer to get all of the surfaces back to white.  From there, I use Benjamin Moore’s Light Yellow on the walls and Stone white on the trim.  It makes a nice, sunny space that feels like summer.

I’m currently painting the furniture that will live in this room and working on the bed skirt and headboard. Once I’m done with those, there’s a cushion and a few pillows that will need to be made out of the lovely blue and white brocade my friend Roxane gifted me.

I was lucky enough to find the PERFECT chair for this room on the curb.  I’ve finished painting it, and it’s now waiting for a seat cushion.  This is what it looked like when it came home with me.

I have finished up a few pieces of artwork for this room.  I’ve posted about the “Keep Calm…” piece here, but I haven’t shown you the second piece I made for the room.  This one ties in all of the room’s main colors- the yellow, white and blue.

There’s more, of course, but that would take away from the final reveal!  (And we don’t want that, do we?)

I’d really love to see your comments on the projects I do and the ideas I have.  I learn more from critiques than praise, but, honestly, I adore praise (and who doesn’t?).

Thanks for stopping by.

My Mommy’s Coming to Visit!

In three short weeks, my Mom will be here for a 10 day visit.  This may not seem momentous to anyone but my sister and I.  But Mom lives on PEI, and my sister Carolyn and I live here in Ottawa, ON.

We do speak by phone, but visits are few and far between.  We either have the time to visit OR the money to do so.  Sometimes, though, the stars align and it all falls into place!

This time, it’s due to my youngest sister.  She’s a military wife and her husband is away for a few weeks at the end of June.  She’s packing up her little girls, popping them and my Mom into her car and heading out to spend time with her in-laws in Montreal.  Fortunately, Montreal is only a short trip from here!  I’ll go and pick up Mom, visit with my sister and the littles (and her lovely in-laws!) for the day, then drive quickly away with my Mom stashed in my truck!  [About 10 days later, I’ll reverse the process and I won’t be nearly as excited then 😦 ]


I’m so thankful that I’ve managed to get the living room (except for trim at the ceiling) done.  The first floor is definitely Mom-ready.

The second floor, however, not so very much at all, at all!

I’ve got to get an actual guest room completed.  Not that Mom would mind, I know.  She’s coming to see my sister and I, not my house.  But she’s done so very much for me and loved me through my absolute worst times that I want to have a pretty, restful haven for her here.  After all, she’s “ditching” Dad for the duration and is going to need some benefits tossed her way!

Here’s what the room looked like when I thought to take a few photos.  I’m not quite sure WHAT I did wrong with my camera, so I’m going to ask you to forgive the poor quality.

Last weekend was a rainy weekend, which always throws me off my game.  However, I did manage to finish the “Stay Calm and Sleep In” artwork on Saturday and get the second (and third) coat of spackle on the areas that needed it.  I also moved the mattress and box spring into the storage bedroom (which will one day be my craft room/studio space!)

Sunday was designated as sanding, priming and painting day.  I wet sand spackle, just to cut down on the amount of dust in tee air, and that goes fairly quickly.  Then, I taped off the floor.  I didn’t bother taping off the ceiling as the primer really doesn’t show against the ceiling paint.  It does mean I have to be very careful cutting in when I’m using color, but I find that easier than trying to tape off popcorn ceilings!

With the tape in place, I primed.  This room, like all of the other painted rooms in this house, had been done in two colors.  There were two very pale blue walls and two bright pastel blue walls.  Two coats of primer covered enough that I could move on.

With the walls primed, I quit for the day and moved on to a hot, hot bath.  It’s amazing how much paint I can get on myself!

There’s still a lot to be done!  The yellow paint for the walls, the white on the trim will be done during the week, I hope!  I’ve got a dresser and night table to paint, lamps to re-do, an upholstered headboard and pleated bedskirt to finish, curtains and a blind to hang… and the list continues.

But it’s for my Mom.  And she is soooooo very worth every bit of it!

I’d really love to see your comments on the projects I do and the ideas I have.  I learn more from critiques than praise, but, honestly, I adore praise (and who doesn’t?).

Thanks for stopping by.

Keep Calm and…

Simply Done Wright

Well, almost anything, really.  There are posters and other art pieces out there that replace the traditional “Carry On”  with everything from “Princess On” to “Rock On”.  And they’ve been very, very trendy over the last few years.  So much so, that they’re getting a bit stale to a lot of decorators.

That being said, I like the “Keep Calm” sentiment.  My daughter had the original sentiment in her hallway for quite some time and it always made me smile.  It’s a sentiment I believe in.  So, trendy or not, I had to do something with it in our home.

A somewhat newer, but old in its roots, trend is ombre – the shading of color from light to dark.  I enjoy that as well.

I chose to create a piece for our guest room that actually combines both the “old” trend and the new.

I chose the phrase “Keep Calm and Sleep In”.  It is for our guest room, after all – and encouraging sloth in your guests is one of the first rules of a hostess!

I don’t have a Silhouette, so I chose to do this in stencil form using alternative methods.   First, I printed out the phrase and crown on 8 X 11.5″ paper, then enlarged it to the size I wanted.  I’m doing a 20″ X 30″ piece, and letters that were 3.25″ were just about right.

I found the center of each line and marked it.  That way, the entire saying will be centered side to side.  It also gave me an easy to match up line to tape my papers together.

With this accomplished, and the piece checked against the base (foam core covered with velvet and painted red), it was time to start turning my paper into a stencil.  (I’ll post more about creating a reusable painter’s tape stencil at another time.)

I centered the stencil to the base and made sure that all of the edges were firmly in place.

With this done, it was time to work on the colors.

I’m not good eyeballing color – the Ogre has a MUCH better eye than I do.  But I do know math and I’m not afraid to use it!

To mix my colors, I broke it down into a 20% change for each line.  The top (crown) was 100% Stone White from Benjamin Moore.  Each of the following lines used 20% less white until I the bottom line – which was Turquoise Powder from Benjamin Moore, straight out of the can.

Since I didn’t need a lot of paint in each color (even with multiple layers), I used a tablespoon as a base measure.   Line one was solid white.  Line two used 4 parts white to 1 part blue.  Line three used 3 parts white to 2 blue.  Line four used 2 parts white to 3 parts blue.  Line five used 1 part white to 4 parts blue and line six was solid blue.

The percentage of gradient is based on the number of colors wanted MINUS one.  I had 6 lines.  6 minus 1 equals 5.  100% divided by 5 equals 20.  If you needed five colors, the gradient would be 25% or 4 parts in total.  (5-1=4 .. 100/4 = 25).  For 7 colors, you’d get a fraction of 16.6%.

If you are planning this and need the math done, just email me.  I’d be happy to do a breakdown for you!

With my gradients and mixing plan established, I mixed the colors in larger quantities than I needed for this project.  Instead of using jars, I decided to put the paint in Ziploc bags.  This way, the paint will stay fresh for any other projects I do for this room!

I labeled my bags 1-4, with 1 having the largest amount of white and 4 having the least.  If I had to step away from the project, I wouldn’t have to do any guess work – I could just pick out the right bag and paint away!

When I had the ombre treatment complete, I pulled the stencil off and filled in where needed.

I didn’t burnish the tape down enough in a spot or two.  But a few minutes later, I had a completed base!

Before I added the finishing touches, I turned the piece over to make a hanger.  Because this piece is very lightweight, I just used a scrap piece of plastic that I had laying around and Gorilla Glued it to the back.  Then, I layered a strip of fabric over the lower portion of the plastic to further strengthen it.

When the glue dried, I covered the back with two pieces of kraft paper, butting them together where I bent the plastic to jut out slightly.

Time for the final embellishments!  What’s a crown without jewels?  I have a selection of hot fix crystals that I use in my belly dance costuming.  I have no idea where my heat set tool is currently hiding, since I haven’t actually unpacked my studio fully, so I cheated and used my hot glue gun!

Ready to be hung in the guest room and encourage the sloth that guests really are welcome to experience!

And there you have it.  An “old” trend married with a new trend.  If I only could have figured out how to throw chevrons in there, too!

 I’m sharing here


Chic on a Shoestring Decorating

DIY Show Off



I’d really love to see your comments on the projects I do and the ideas I have.  I learn more from critiques than praise, but, honestly, I adore praise (and who doesn’t?).

Thanks for stopping by.