Craz-tastic Adventures

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Laundry Room Reno (from 2013/2014)

When looking through my blog it occurred to me that I never showed any of the Laundry Room renovation that we did starting the summer of 2013! I can't believe it- shame on me.

When we first moved in there was a top-loading washer and dryer set left for us in the laundry room. When they died we bought high efficiency front-loaders. As you can see in the BEFORE pictures, that left us with a little conundrum as the front loading dryer door was not able to open all the way due to the most awkwardly placed (and quite useless) sink. So for several years we put up with the small opening portal to our dryer.
Stupid shower!

We also hated the fact that there was a shower that never got used in the room. Why??? There aren't any bedrooms on the first floor, and unless you worked a job that you felt you needed to take a shower the second you walked through the door, there was no use for it. So we had better plans for that space.

And to top that off, the shelves above the machines were helpful, as they housed lots of things (cleaning products, etc), but they were unsightly and messy.

Where the sink was

Our hallway outside of the laundry room. CHAOS!

So, we knew we needed to make a change. And so I started on the hunt for nice tiling to be used in the room, and in the summer of 2013 I was ready to start the project.

The shower was in the left hand corner
Took out the shower, the wall that divided the shower from the machines, the stupid tiny sink, and then we tiled the floor. We hired a plumber to close off the plumbing to the sink and move all that plumbing over to where the shower was (which now has a big laundry sink). Then we patched up the walls where the sink was and the shower as well as the ceiling where the shower wall connected. We had to texturize those areas and then painted it all.
The shower was in the left hand corner

The tile flooring!
What the bottom cabinet doors looked like before
Next, we moved the washer and dryer back in. I measured the area that was to the left of the machines and built a cabinet out of birch veneered 3/4 inch plywood. Eric painted the insides of the home-made cabinet and the insides of the pre-bought cabinets that hang above the sink. We first started painting these cabinets a firey orange, which would have worked out okay, but it was latex and peeled off (STUPID US!) So we bought this nice powder colored blue spray paint that sticks super well. We bought the cabinets from the Habitat Restore. We used the uppers as-is and the bottom cabinets we only used the doors. Those doors used to be much bigger so we table-sawed them down to fit as they do. I think they look SO nice.

Cabinet install
Once the bottom cabinet was finished we put the doors on. I thought it would be great if we used some of the legs I had sitting around from a previous restoration project so I cut all 4 down to make sure the cabinet was at the same height as the washer and dryer. Once that was done I checked with Pinterest for an idea on how to make a countertop. I first thought a butcher-block top would be great, but then I saw that you can use wood planked flooring. So I cut and glued wood flooring to a thin sheet of plywood, then I stained the wood, and then caulked between the planks. Once that was done a painter that we met at Menards told us about a product called Ceramathane, which is kind of like shellac and kind of like polyurithane. We picked up a medium sized can of that and put one several layers over the caulk. Then I bought the sink at the Restore and we cut the hole for the sink, and plumbed it in. All along I had been making a taller shelving unit that I ended up attaching to the countertop so we can put our laundry baskets there. Lastly, we put up a dowel between the upper cabinets and the shelving unit, so we can hang items that need to be ironed. Oh, and somewhere in there we bought, stained and installed new trim around the flooring/walls.

In the end, I'm SO impressed with our work. I'd never built a cabinet before, nor had I tiled, or even patched large chunks of dry wall! But we did it, and I have no regrets. This project has given me so much inspiration and confidence to move on to any room I choose and make a big positive change. I'm not planning on moving fast, but I feel good about whatever might be ahead of me!

The Start of an Alpaca Fleece/Wool Yarn Rug

I found a rug on Pinterest that I thought was super cool. It's made of chunky fiber and it was simply knitted with big honkin' needles.

Pinterest Inspriation from
The roving
I didn't know where to start as I've never seen fiber made into yarn of this large gauge, but I thought I'd ask around. One of the firefighters I work with is an Alpaca enthusiast, and she's also a knitter. She said she could sell me some of her lower-grade fleece for a nice price, which I instantly took her up on (I mean, really, I don't need super soft/perfect quality fleece for a rug!) Of course what she sold me was a little dirty so I had to go through it and pick out all the pieces of hay, etc, but otherwise, it's the softest most beautiful fiber EVER! 

The wool yarn
The start of the project!
I sent it on to get processed into roving (per her suggestion). Unfortunately it took the fiber mill almost 4 months to get it washed and processed, but I've now got it back. So last weekend I bought size 25 cable knitting needles and last night I got started. I'm using 2 strands of chunkier cream-colored soft wool yarn and a strand of the roving. I wasn't sure how many stitches I should first cast on so I started with 22. We'll see if that's enough. If not, I can make two rugs and then just join them together. Regardless, the rug is looking incredible, though it is probably more suited for something like a blanket! It's SO soft. But anyway, it will be perfect for a rug, too. I plan to put it in the baby's room to help muffle some of the sound we have in there now that we don't have carpet in the room. I know I'll need to put one of those sticky mats underneath it or else we'll be surfing on it. But other than that,  think it will work beautifully. I guess I am still curious how I will make it so that it doesn't "shed" the fleece, since it's not woven or spun, it's just simply roving. I wonder if walking on it a lot will eventually matte it down. I will have to ask my firefighter friend to see if she has any suggestions. Also, I might need to figure it out sooner than later because my little kitty took a liking to the material and she started licking it last night! So, instead of clogging her guts with this expensive fiber I'd rather it stay in rug-form and serve an actual purpose!

Stay tuned, there's more to come!

Friday, April 03, 2015

Kitchen Shelves

Finished product
So this is my last post updating on our all our recent projects (which apparently happened to be MANY!) When we moved in there was a nasty microwave (think 80's style) to the right of the sink, and next to it was a small cupboard for glasses. We've always thought that cabinet was stupid because we had a built-in microwave above the stove! So we put our toaster oven in there and our hot thermos/coffee mugs. But it always looked misplaced and dirty. Eric had the great idea of putting up floating shelves there. So one day he ripped them down and we made plans to make the shelves. We used 1/2 inch plywood on the tops and bottoms and random sized (clearance priced) 1/2 inch oak boards for the sides. We mitered the edges of the outsides and glued / used brad staples to connect them. During the day, when I was at work Eric had his brother come up to the house and they hung them. Don't they look so fabulous?!

NOTE: Just last week we replaced the non-working dishwasher, so the towel underneath no longer resides there!
(Side note, my mom might need some explaining on these as she asked us when we were going to make the cabinet doors for shelves... I hope no one else is thinking that same thing?!)

The Dresser re-do

Probably 2 weeks into knowing I was pregnant I found a killer deal on a great little nursery set for baby on Craigslist. It was $300 for the crib (which becomes a toddler bed), the small dresser and a changing table. I got it home and it sat in the garage for awhile because Eric was sure we needed to redo the floors in that room before we set up camp for our new baby girl. So we waited...and waited. In the meantime I knew I was going to try to match my current 5 drawer dresser to the rest of the bedroom set because there is no way I can live without having that extra storage space (it holds my barn clothes, my workout clothes and my non-work stuff!)

Scratched to top of dresser
Side View
Now that that issue was settled, I emptied the contents, took it to the garage (and yes, by this time the garage was FILLED with projects) and I sanded it down real good (it had decades of scratches on it. It used to be my mother's when she was a kid).

After that, I stained it a real dark wood and had Eric paint he handles (we used spray paint, which I'm not supposed to use when pregnant). So after several coats of poly it was ready, and it matches quite nicely. (The runner is on there because I plan to put a fish tank on it and I don't want to ruin the wood that I just worked so hard on!)

Well, after that was done, we pulled the trigger on getting the new floors in the baby's room. So we bought the laminate floors (Eric can't stand carpet!) and we ripped it all out and installed it. It didn't take too long, and the floors were on mega-clearance at Menards so we felt good about that. It wasn't long (maybe 2 weeks total?) before we decided to rip out the carpet in our bedroom and do that room, too. It looks great!

Our temporary bedroom!
But, as you can imagine, we had to sleep somewhere while our work was in progress, so we moved our bed to the baby's room. Look how "cozy" this was! It was uncomfortable, but the cats LOVED it! (Typical, right?) Anyway, now we have both rooms finished and we're ready for a new beginning with baby!

Another pic of our Temporary bedroom, between the small dresser and the crib
Anyway, now that floor is done in baby's room, and the quilt (which I posted about earlier) I've got the room virtually ready for baby (minus the glider/rocker/recliner chair). Here is a nice picture of the crib now that it's all ready, which shows the floors. I promise, the crib looks nicer than it does in this picture! But really, it won't be too cute until a wee little baby is in there!

My Terrarium FINALLY exists!

For years now I've wanted a terrarium and Eric has never been on board. Well, I finally took matters into my own hands.

While at the Habitat Restore I found this amazingly ugly chandelier. Why would I be excited about an ugly chandelier? Well, it had potential as a terrarium, of course! So yes, it was hideous as a light fixture but perfect for another purpose. So I bought it, only to find it was 1/2 off the price, so I paid a whopping $5!!! I took it home and it sat in my garage forever, waiting for my magic touch. Last fall I removed the lamp part and caulked in a metal bottom in hopes of sealing the area to keep in moisture and stop drainage. Then I let it sit for the winter in the garage again. About a month ago I brought it in, I caulked the seams on the bottom rung and then bought the clay rocks and small plants (the small plants were bought at Bruce Company in Middleton for about $3.99 each. I used 3 bags of the clay rocks, which were $2.99 each. We had the small amount of potting soil already on hand). Eric designed the "landscape" in there as I know my talent is NOT in plant design. (Plus, he does this for a living, so why wouldn't he be better at it than I?). Anyway, we put water in and despite my caulking jobs, it leaked. Oh well. It's not awful, it's slight, so I'll deal with it. We just put a small capture plate underneath to make sure it didn't ruin anything.

Anyway, it's been successful for close to a month now (if not a full month) and I think it's safe to say it will continue to thrive. A few winters back we made a really great terrarium for a friend as a gift and the plants died very quickly. We've now learned that you need to use unsoftened water (or distilled water). So now that we know that integral piece of information, I'm confident that we've set ourselves up for success!


The kitchen island needs love

So the title of this post is "The Kitchen Island Needs Love", and by Love I mean, it needs to be destroyed and a new one needs to be made to take it's place!! There is a Jenaire stovetop on here that we've never used and it just gets extra dirty and collects "stuff". Since baby is coming soon (it's now April 3rd and baby is due May 28th) I figured it was time to get this project wrapped up so we don't have to think about it when we're busy with other things.

So here is the ugly CURRENT island. I hate it. When we first moved in I cut out an area where there was cabinet storage and I made room for a small beer fridge for Eric. That worked out well for awhile, but we're short on storage. So I decided to make my own plan.

Here is my plan in progress. We still have to install the second sliding drawer above the other sliding drawer (both found at Habitat Restore for $5 each!). Then I need to make the cabinet doors to go in front of that area. Eventually we'll have to figure out what color to paint (or stain) the island, and possibly put either wainscotting or shiplap on the front of it (the flat side, which is where the bar stools will go). And then lastly, we need to get a countertop for it. That's been the biggest thorn in our side so far, is figuring out what to do about the countertop because it needs to match the rest of the house plus the coloring of the other countertops in our kitchen, which happen to be RED. (That might sound awful, but I actually really love the red!)

This is the end (the end facing the front door) which is a bookshelf for all of our cookbooks that currently reside on our kitchen countertops and take up space. Underneath, on the very bottom of this, there should still be ample room for the cat's food, which I'm also pretty psyched about because we can still keep it out of the way, and perhaps less noticeable than it currently is.

Anyway, future posts will include the final product. Hopefully we'll get this sucker done SOON!

Friday, January 09, 2015

The Purple Quilt!

I'm having a baby! And since it is hard for me to sit still and just wait, I decided to start a project.

A few years back I got wrapped up in a chain mail thing where people sent each other fat squares in the color purple. I kind of got hosed on the deal because only one friend sent me squares. So every time I was at Jo-Ann's and they had nice purple scrap on sale, I would buy it. It ended up that I had lots of nice purple fabrics waiting for a quilt design.

Ever since I've been on Pinterest I have kept my eyes out for interesting quilt patterns for when I was ready to make my purple quilt.

So despite my knowing the baby's gender, I decided it was time to make the quilt. So I found the quilt design I wanted to imitate(I didn't look for a pattern, I just figured I'd be able to mimic it on my own), and even though I had several really good contenders, I settled on this one from I LOVE IT!

So here's the progress as my purple quilt went on... I had a quilter friend help me with the long-arm part (isn't it beautiful?!?!) and then I  took it home and bound it.

So here's the finished product!

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

The Fabulous Sun Room Chair

I'm so impressed with this chair. I had bought it awhile back and had been slowly working on it. I totally revamped this one. First I stripped it down, meaning, I took off the fabric, the underlying springs and webbing, etc. and even stripped off the dark varnish/stain/paint(?) from the wood. I replaced the varnish/stain/paint(?) with a few coats of tung oil, which really brought out the beauty of the wood. Then I rewebbed the frame. Then I put a thick cushion on it (which needed me to scour the middle where the chair bent from back to seat). Then I was on a mission to find the best fabric. Of course I could never find THE fabric to use, so I now have several bolts of really upholstery fabric in the sewing room waiting for a new project to begin so they can be used. Finally I found the fabric that fit the chair best. And from there, the rest is history. I'm SO impressed with the way it turned out. Not only am I proud of the fact that it is really pretty but I'm also really proud that there really aren't any areas of it that I'm embarrased by or not perfectly happy with. AND...Mr. Fabrics can be happy now because it's another unfinished project that is now FINISHED!

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Another one done- CHECK!

I'm a little on the obsessed side with finishing these old projects and getting them heck out of the house. So here's one that I started as a demo project back when I taught the reupholstery class at Joann Fabrics- eons ago. Apparently my new kitty has been enjoying herself on this chair in the basement (I can tell because it's covered in grey fur!) while I walk past it at least once a week when I go in the basement. So I decided it's high time I finish the trim on this bad-boy and put 'er up for sale. So here she is. She's got chocolate brown micro-fiber on the seat and the outside of the chair and the back is upholstered in a pretty gold-toned jacquard. I thought this was a fun project because it used to be very "farm housey" because the wooden frame is very rustic-like, so I wanted to class it up a bit by putting more luxurious looking fabric on it. I think it turned out nicely! Now I just need someone else to think that same thing and buy it from me so it's no longer clogging up my basement!

Upclose photo of the jacquard

Saturday, March 30, 2013

(Hopefully) saying goodbye to a pretty little girl

I've had this telephone chair on my TO DO list for way too long. Last year I finished it but I was too lazy to post it up for sale. I thought about placing it at a consignment shop (which is still possible if it doesn't sell on Craigslist) but I thought I could get more money if I sold it outright. We'll see. She's really pretty, and I wish I had a use for her. My original vision was to have her in a foyer as a place to sit and take your shoes off, but it just doesn't work in this house. Here she is:

So, now it's up to the Craigslist Gods to get her out of the garage and into a nice home that will appreciate her.

Another posting on Craigslist is my first reupholstery project from college (the bottom chair/ottoman shown). I just don't have a need for it anymore (BOO!) My hope is that someone will have a good use and love it's uniqueness as much as I do/did.

So goodbye Creations, I hope you have a great new life!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Our Version of the Catio

Ever since our little Hemingway died (in March), our Becker cat has been ruling the house. He whines and moans all the time because he wants to go outside, but it's not safe for him to do so. So, we made a little Catio (aka Cat Patio). I picked up some stray wood from my parents, Eric had a leftover roll of cage wire, used a shelf that came from the old condo, posts from Home Depot and a roof made of siding ($5) and a wood/glass cabinet door ($10) from the Habitat Restore. All in all, the whole project cost about $40. I've since cut the roof to fit better and screwed it on as well as braiding several yards of baler twine and wrapped it around one of the wooden posts. This way he can claw at it to his little heart's content! Overall, he's been pretty happy with it, but he has a lot of settling in to do. Just the other day we put him in there while we were doing yard work. He was eating the grass and genuinly enjoying his time outdoors when Eric retracted his measuring tape which made a loud noise. Poor baby Becker got so scared that he looked like he was going to climb the walls! So I opened his Catio door and out he jumped and ran onto the deck and back into the house. Poor baby Becker! Anyway, here is the almost finished version, with Kitty inside. What a cutie, huh?!