Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Landing Pad

One of the things I have been seeing a lot lately on Pinterest are Command Centers.  (My husband thinks the name is hilarious, I think it brings to his mind some Star Trek episode, he's geeky like that.) 

I like the idea of the command center, especially with 2 kids in school full time this year. I have the bulletin board near the front door. (Seen in this post.) And there are handy built in shelves right below it where I've put a basket for hats, sunglasses, gloves (we use those a lot in Arizona, let me tell you!) and various other little bits and pieces that get left in the backpacks and pockets. As well as some wire "in boxes" for the homework, artwork and other papers that come home daily from school. But, with all of that there is no more space on the wall or next to the shelf.

And I'm left without the really important thing that is most critical to me. A place for the lunchboxes, backpacks, water bottles, coats and shoes to go that is not blocking any door or walkway! A special place to drop all the stuff when the kids come home from school.

So, I built what I call the Landing Pad. You know, the place where all your stuff lands as soon as you walk in the door. And, seriously, who has more stuff than the kids?

I didn't do a step by step tutorial with photos for this one, because it's really simple to put together. Basically, you're making a rectangular box. I did have some fun with Google SketchUp and made a plan drawing for the cubby.

My dimensions are 32 inches long, 18 inches tall, and 12 inches deep (the plan says 12 5/32, but I chose to keep my numbers simple and just use 12 inches.) So, I bought a piece of 1X12 lumber that was 10 feet long to make the whole thing. 

My cut list was as follows:
2 pieces @ 32" long for the top and bottom
2 pieces @ 18" tall for the outer sides
1 piece @ 16 1/2" tall for the center
I did all my cutting with a chop saw and a radial arm saw.

When assembling, I put the two outer sides onto the bottom using glue and wood screws. I would highly recommend drilling pilot holes in your wood before you add the screws as the wood can split very easily.  Once the sides are on, add the top piece, again using glue and screws and pre-drilling your holes. And easy as that, you have made a rectangle. Next, mark the center on the top and bottom pieces and add the center board. I put glue on both edges of the board, then slid it into place. It should fit snugly, but not so tight you have to force it in place. If you have any excess glue, just wipe it off with a damp towel. I used a brad nailer to secure the center board since it makes much smaller holes than screws. And then, just for fun I added some simple molding around the front edges.

And then it's ready for paint! I painted mine a light turquoise blue that I got for free on one of Ace Hardware's free quart of paint Saturdays a few weeks ago. Then, I added a reddish-brown glaze on top, brushing on, then wiping most of it off, to give it an antiqued look. (It also "pre-dirties it, so the rest of the dirt will just blend in.)

The top is part of a bi-fold closet door that I bought at our local used building material store. I cut the door in half (I have a project in mind for the other half), painted it and added hooks to the front and hanging hardware to the back.

And there it is! The Landing Pad. This is one of those things that was so simple, I wonder what took me so long. The kids took to it immediately, so they come home, hang up their stuff, put their shoes in the cubby, and everything is right there when they need it. Like that red button on the top that my daughter is taking to school tomorrow to add to the color wheel her class made. Perfection!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

My "New" Shelf

About a month ago I bought a shelf for my craft room at my favorite consignment sale. It's the perfect size, shape and after looking at the price, it took me exactly 5 seconds to decide to buy it. The only thing that I didn't love was the color. Clearly it was meant for a little girl's bedroom or playroom, because it was a lovely shade of bubblegum pink.

VERY pink, I'm sure you'll agree. So, I decided to paint it. I've never been big on painted furniture, but there really was no other option here, it was either pink or paint! I knew I wanted a light, neutral color and I lucked into a quart of paint with primer that was on the "wrong color" shelf at the hardware store. (I swear, the mis-tinted paint shelf is my new favorite scavenging ground!) The color is perfect, a light grey that goes great with some fabric I chose to cover the back panels with.

Now, after I pulled the back cardboard pieces off the shelf, I had intended to use a sprayer to paint it.  I didn't want brush strokes on the shelf, and it's way faster. Here is the shelf and sprayer, all set up to be painted--

And then I had a setback. The paint sprayer was WAY too powerful for my little 3 gallon air tank. I think I pulled the trigger on the sprayer for maybe a minute before the tank was out of air. GRRRRR! But the shelf was out, the paint was open, and I was determined to finish it that day! So, I ended up using a small roller on the majority of it, and a foam brush for the corners which worked out great!

While I was waiting for the shelf to dry, I got out my trusty old spray adhesive and went to work on the cardboard backs. I found this great chevron fabric with the same light grey and some nice pops of color. I cut out squares about an inch bigger than my cardboard, sprayed both the fabric and the cardboard with the adhesive, then smoothed the fabric on.

I decided not to make the fabric match on each square, but you could easily cut out your fabric so each block is the same. Next, because I live in Arizona, where it is particularly dusty, I coated the front of the fabric covered boards with some Mod Podge, so the shelf will be easier to wipe down.

I just did one coat and then let them dry. Once the shelf and the backs were dry, I got out my stapler and stapled them back into place.

And when it was all finished, I was just in love! I swear, I am never happier than when a project comes out exactly the way I pictured it! Then I brought it in the room and yep, it fit right where I thought it would, even more exciting! 

It is a little taller than the window, but that doesn't really bother me. I just love the way it turned out! I was almost sad that I had to put baskets and things in the cubbies and cover up the cute fabric. But, I need a place to put my stuff, so I'll get over it! I'm thinking I might be a convert to painted furniture. I do see more in my future, that's for sure! Guess I'll have to keep trolling the hardware store for mis-tinted paint.  

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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Fitted Tablecloth

I have a small, old, well-loved wooden kid's table in my dining room. I'm not sure how long it's been a part of my family, I think it was one of my mother's garage sale finds back when my siblings were younger. The early 80's maybe? Is it vintage yet?

Anyway, my mom sent it to me when my son was around a year old along with 2 wooden school chairs that I know are antiques. The chairs came from the attic of an old schoolhouse that was being torn down and renovated. I love the way they look, worn in some spots, scratched, but still very sturdy.

The table top has seen better days though, it's really stained and there's a big worn spot almost dead center that could use some sanding. But I already have a line of furniture waiting for new paint, so I really wanted a quick and easy fix.

So, I was really excited when I stumbled upon a tutorial for a fitted tablecloth on Craftiness is Not Optional. (I love her blog!) It seemed like the perfect solution. I followed the tutorial as written, it's super easy. The only thing that I did differently was that I used laminated cotton instead of oilcloth, because it's what I had on hand. This lovely fabric remnant was yet another thrifty find at SAS Fabrics and turned out to be the perfect size to make the tablecloth.

Oilcloth would last longer, and if I decide to do a bigger one for our dining room table, where the larger arts and crafts happen, I would definitely use that instead. This table is so small though, that the laminated cotton works fine. I'm really pleased with how it turned out, and it did give the table a makeover in less than an hour.  And it is so much easier to wipe down! I can't ask for much more than that.

Here's the funny thing, now that it's on the table, the kids are being extra careful not to get it dirty. Ha! I wonder how long that's going to last?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Fabric Covered Bulletin Board

I'm starting to rearrange and reorganize my craft/sewing room this month. It's a big task for such a small room, and not as cut and dried as I thought it would be when I started.

I actually didn't mean to do this. I bought 2 new pieces of furniture from a consignment sale a few weeks ago, and silly me, I thought I'd just move some things over and they'd fit right in.

That never really works, does it?

So, now I'm in the process of a major overhaul to the sewing room. I'll be posting finished projects as I go along, starting with this one.

One of the things that I pulled off the wall to make room for the new armoire is my bulletin board. It's a nice big one, but since one of my plans is to put in a lot of shelves, it simply won't fit and be usable in the room anymore. So, I decided to swap the it with the one we have near the front door, which is much smaller.

I wanted to give it a little freshening up, so I decided to cover the cork with fabric. Here's one of those times that I'm glad I buy random fabric, because I found just the thing in my stash.

I had this cute owl fabric remnant that's a light canvas, and just wide enough to cover the board. Love it when that happens!

Most of the tutorials for covering cork boards involved taking the cork out of the frame, but I couldn't do that with this one without taking the entire frame apart, and I didn't want to do that. So, I decided to go with and old favorite---spray adhesive.

I sprayed the entire cork board front with the spray adhesive, let it get tacky, then laid the fabric down on top, with the edges overlapping the frame.  Then, just using my hands, I smoothed out the wrinkles in the fabric, working from the right to the left side.

My bulletin board was old and well used, so there were little bumps where the cork was worn, but I wasn't really worried about that, I just flattened out the fabric, keeping it as even and straight as possible.

Next I took a sharp mat knife and trimmed all the extra fabric away from the inside of the frame.

I probably could have stopped right there and called it done, but I wanted to make sure the edges were really secure, so I got out my trusty glue gun and glued some trim around the edges.

Once the trim was done, it was ready to hang. I took the smaller bulletin board down, and hung this one in it's place near the front door.

How cute! The size works so much better in this area, and it will be great for school forms, coupons, reminders, anything that I want to remember to grab before walking out the door. Already started, in fact---

This was a really simple and quick project, it only took me about 45 minutes total. And since I already had all the materials on hand, it was free. I will definitely be doing this with the smaller one that will be going into my craft room. Hopefully I'll get lucky again and the perfect fabric will already be in my stash! I'll keep you posted!

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