Puppy Pillows

So, I have to start off by clarifying the term puppies. I call all dogs puppies regardless of its age, whether it is 3 months or 3 years or 13 years. When we delivered these to Wayside Waifs, the kennel section of the place was closed, but I asked if there was any way to sneak in and see the “puppies” and the woman we chatted with said that they didn’t have any puppies. I had to explain to her the same thing I just wrote; ‘puppies’ just mean dogs, young and old.

So you know that I have been on an active quest to get my garage to a point where I can actually store a vehicle in it. Novel concept, I must admit. Well, after much work and quite a few projects completed, I am successful!

img_3866This is the larger side of the garage and you can see my little SUV is safely snuggled in. There are still a couple of projects that still need attention, but this is relatively clear for me!img_3865This is the smaller side of the garage and my little sports car tucked in for the winter. You can see the wonderfully organized shelves that The Kid put up to replace all those mismatched shelving units. So neat and organized!

img_3880The next step was to clear out the attic closet space so that I could clear more of the space in the guest room and I figured out a way for The Kid to store most of his collection of military uniforms.

Now that his closet is cleared, we’re going to frame the floor of the attic space behind his closet. I’ve been referring to it as the ‘Cave’, and we should get about ten feet by fourteen feet of room (at least 6 feet high). It’ll be perfect for whatever he wants to do with it, I think storage but who knows.

In clearing out the attic closet, I had to do something with the bed pillows that I “collected”. Whenever I replace bed pillows in my household, I can never bring myself to throw out the old pillows, so I don’t! Actually completing a project using them is the step back from edge of being a hoarder!

So instead of throwing them away, I create covers for them and donate them as dog beds. This time, I was able to use some of the upholstery samples that I picked up a while back from CraigsList. Its a simple design and I use Velcro to close it.

So, I will just cut to the end project photos:img_3867I was going to try and make a few bed quilts using the upholstery sample books, but many of them (and of course, the ones I seem to like the most) are not machine-washable… which is a neccesity. img_3873The shades of black and white is my favorite (this is four regular sized pillows). img_3872I saw this pattern in the latest copy of one of my quilting magazines and did spend some time creating the patterns using denim. Here I thought I’d make one and then reverse the colors. Kind of interesting though and it made for almost the perfect size for the pillows. They’re stuffed in there pretty tight. But I am hoping some little dog can beat down the perfect little spot to snuggle.img_3871My plan was to use this as a backing material for one pillow, but I had more than enough and it was just happy and cheerful, so I went for it.img_3870Leftover upholstery fabric in black complimented this set of fabrics.img_3869Tried to do as many different colors as I could. And use up more of the samples.img_3868I had all of these oranges sewn into a nice little patchwork, and with a little rework, was able to make two orange beds. I keep stumbling over fabric that I had tucked away that was perfect for the backings on these two. I tell myself that this is why I hang onto ‘stuff’, because someday I will have a use for it! (I did throw out a bit and gave away quite a bit more in this recent spate of organizing, however.)

The Kid and I drove out and delivered them yesterday. Hoping to see the ‘puppies’ but the place was closed to the public and apparently ‘quiet hour’ for the dogs as well. Oh well, it will just give us an excuse to go again another day.

julie

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Some progress this weekend, but mostly about organization. You ever have those ‘little things’ on your ToDo list that never seem to get done and drive you crazy?

First, some major cleanup and organizing of the furniture projects. Since there is one really big project that is this close to being done but has to wait on one final piece, I wanted to get it out of harm’s way (and my foyer)… so the project of the day on Saturday was to get the garages organized. The weather was gorgeous! I think it was about the only way to get The Kid out there to help!

Anyway, we took everything out of the garages and put it on the driveway. In the middle of all of it, we had a couple stop by thinking we were having a garage sale! I suppose from the fact that I use those plastic tables for everything. (Its the only way to work if your knees are unable to bend!) They were supposed to come back and take two dressers that I had identified for a CraigsList giveaway, but alas, they never returned. It actually might be okay, as I found a project that I had printed out some time ago to do, but never did. The larger of the two dressers might be perfect for this!

The garages were swept and vacuumed and all counters were dusted to remove sawdust. I find that if I don’t do this periodically, it starts to gnaw on my nerves and I don’t want to be in the garage. About 4 to 6 times a years seems to do the trick. I am an organizing freak, but not TOO much! I’ve collected old rugs from CraigsList to lay down on the garage floors. I like the feel of them and they help cut down on noise and keep the garage warmer in the winter. Since they are ‘throwaways’, it doesn’t matter what spills and I have a shop vac that can almost sucks the color out of the rugs. I like to be able to work in bare feet or run out to the garage for a minute without having to put my shoes on.

Then everything went back into the garages in a nice and orderly way. The smaller garage now holds the ‘finished’ projects and we pared down the ToDo projects to a workable amount. And my foyer is (mostly) clear! When I actually got things all done, I realized that I really don’t have many projects left to do, which is great, as 1) winter weather is just around the corner and 2) I am probably going to be going to work soon. 😦

That only left the deck. I don’t know how much of this blog you’ve read, but I compost on the back deck (just off the kitchen). It started with one simple barrel and has since moved to four! I get the most beautiful black dirt out of it and I keep all that stuff out of the garbage. When you pay for garbage and recycling, composting really cuts down the bill!

I replant tree saplings that I find in the yard to the bins on the deck for later transplant to the yard. My dream one day is to have the back yard completely lined with trees such that you can’t even see the neighbors. Its a many year project, but it is coming along nicely.

My tomatoes that I’ve been growing in containers, have finally(!) been producing tomatoes! The only thing is the tomatoes are all different sizes, but taste very sweet. I think what I did wrong was plant too late in the season. I am hoping all these tomatoes make it to ripe before the first frost.

The Kid and “my other son” (this is a sweet kid who has been best friends with my son since we moved here 11 years ago… he has spent almost as much time in my house as his, so early on I started calling him my “other son”) moved the large barrels from the deck to the backyard. As the only way off the deck is down some rickety stairs (next spring’s project), I opted to have the boys take them through the house and out the front door, then around to the back. Whew! Stinky!

They then dumped the contents into the former garden. It doesn’t look like much from the picture, but this is the contents of two 55 gallon barrels! And just look at how beautifully black!

IMG_2100Recently, our neighbor was planting trees in his backyard adjacent to ours and I asked if he would auger two holes for trees that we’ve been growing on the deck. I love our neighbors! We don’t know our neighbors all that well, but they always wave and we get visits from their little dog Cody from time to time.

IMG_2990The tree in the foreground is Ashla’s tree – for our puppy dog we lost nearly two years ago. Right after she died, I found this tiny little elm growing in an barren pot near the the area she used to lounge in the front yard. It seemed right that it appeared right after she left us. So, I transferred it to the back deck and thought little more about it. Two years later (almost) it was still growing strong, so it became her tree. In the spring, we plan to add a little bench behind it and some puppy paw print stepping stones and a little plaque with her name. Then we’ll sprinkle her ashes there.

Streeter & AshlaThe Kid And His DogWith the neighbor’s new trees and our two new trees, this will become a beautiful reflecting space. She was a pretty special little dog and my son’s only pet and I know it was hard for him when she died. We are only now starting to think about a new pet and it really is more me than him.

I also, (almost) finished up my “couch” project – what I work on while watching movies. I’ll show you that tomorrow. And then I cleaned up that area. Whew! Sometimes it feels good just to stop, take a break, assess what is going on and clean things up!

So, after all that work this weekend, I kind of feel like I need a break! Ha!

julie

Uh Oh, I Think I’m In Trouble Here

So, when I get frustrated or overwhelmed, I tend to stop creating and start cleaning and organizing. Yesterday was no different. I am a bit overwhelmed in the garage – to the point where I can now not get my car OUT of the garage. Sigh.

Also, my home office was rife with clutter, to the point where I couldn’t hardly get to any of the computers. Much less sit down and try to be productive.

So, out came the organizing bins and with that, the ‘attic closet’ that I store them in had to be organized so that I could get empty ones out and full ones back in. We started there. Pretty much pulled everything out of the ‘attic’ and made quick decisions on what could be kept and re-stored and what could be donated or thrown away.

With much of that done, I had the boxes I needed to work on the office. All the empty boxes that had been collected in my office were sorted by which ones needed to be kept (and organized in a container) the ones that no longer needed were broke down and readied for recycling. That was pretty easy. Carried the containers up to the ‘attic’.

Next came putting everything back into the attic storage (quick definition, the ‘attic storage’ is not actually the attic, but space behind the closet in the guest bedroom. It feels like an ‘attic’ because it is unfinished and cold, but the real attic is a floor up.)

We had a pretty large pile to be donated and that went into the truck for the next trip. The containers all went back in nicely organized by size. But then the brakes were hit!photo 4

Quite a few months ago, I organized the quilt tops that had been finished and awaiting quilting. I sent one large box off to my friend Gloria for quilting and set the other box back into the guest bedroom closet (closet, not the ‘attic storage’). I really had thought that there was only one box left. I really felt like I was making a dent in getting quilts quilted and then bound and completed.

In yesterday’s flurry of organization, more boxes were uncovered. First it was one. I sighed. Then another was uncovered (it began to feel more and more like an excavation). I called The Kid over. We removed more boxes and there was number three and four. Holy cow!

I also took one box and loaded into it all the denim quilts awaiting the discovery of someone who is willing to take them on. I think I broke Gloria’s machine with one of the last denim quilts she quilted. 😦 For this I feel really bad.photo 2

So, I moved all of these boxes into my sewing room. I have to figure out something. And until I do, I cannot – CANNOT – start any more. This is nuts! I also have a large armoire in the guest bedroom which was my baby’s storage in his nursery. It stores TONS of quilts. It is now pretty full. And another dozen or so finished (at least they are finished!!) are sitting on top of the guest bed. I suppose this is where I am grateful that I don’t often have guests!!

I am planphoto 5ning on counting all the unfinished quilts which should allow me to do some math. I am beginning to believe that I could invest in my own long arm machine and would be cheaper in the long run than paying someone else to do it.

Oh, by the way, I did some searching on the internet to find someone to hand quilt my rescued quilt top and I found one woman who priced a queen sized quilt at $15,000. No, there isn’t too many zeroes or any typos. Good grief… if I thought I could get someone to pay me those kinds of numbers, I would totally do it! I can’t imagine! Can you?

I am hesitant to even mention the dozen or more quilts that are already in process… I’ve either cut for blocks or have the blocks and just need to assemble. I am so overwhelmed by all of this that I have decided to go watch a movie and do more cross stitch. Right?!?!

julie

Sewing Room Update: Finally Finished!

2014-10-27 19.52.50Well, I say “finished” but is anything ever really finished?

So, way back I showed you the new cabinet added to my sewing room. Because it came with a plain front – rather than the beadboard finish that is on every other cabinet in the room – I attempted to change the doors on this new cabinet to match.

At first, we tried to use the thin sheets you can get from any hardware or big box store.

First we cut them to size for each panel:

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Then we slathered on the glue, placed the beadboard and then weighted it down with whatever we had in the garage. You can see we used paint cans, a small anvil – even boxes of Diet Coke.

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2014-10-12 13.38.30After leaving it overnight, I came out the next morning to find that the glue hadn’t ‘stuck’ to the door panel, only the beadboard. Back to square one.

I did some investigating and ran across a wallpaper that looked like beadboard. It couldn’t hurt to try, right? I ordered one roll and waited. It finally came and attempt number two was started.

Since I wasn’t using much, I opted for premixed wallpaper paste. Using a four inch roller, I slathered it on heavy.

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Rolled the wallpaper on top and smoothed with my hands. Then using a sharp blade, I cut the piece to size using the edges of the trim.

2014-10-22 18.36.30Wiped up any excess paste…

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…did all three panels the same way…

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And here’s how it looked. Left it to dry overnight and went to sleep with my fingers crossed.

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Here is both doors (three panels):

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Came out the next morning and it looked great! Yay! However, as I kept looking at them, I felt like something wasn’t quite right. The bounding trim was very glossy but the paper had a matte finish. I thought I would just set them up and spray paint them glossy white.

Good idea, except the paper never really dried. It was just sort of sticky. In a room where dust and material fragments and threads would be everywhere, I knew this wouldn’t be good. I opted to spray it with a glossy clear sealant. Now, there was a chance here that this would only make things worse and not resolve the issue. But I figured I could just stick The Kid in the truck and point him in the direction of IKEA and get him to buy replacement doors. It was worth a try.

And it worked! Next morning the stickiness was gone and the doors were all shiny! Next step, installation.

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Doesn’t it look like we bought it that way? I love this idea and may be looking for more ways to use this!

A couple more pics of the new cabinet and some of the other changes as a result:

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Added some more “buttons” and one still not up yet:

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New shelf along the ceiling line… those boxes hold so much! I have completed quilt squares and lots and lots of cut pieces just waiting to be turned into more quilts.

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Had to turn the button board vertical to fit. Had to move some other pieces, like the tack board, to another part of the room. Added some new things as well to the mix, such as this “puzzle box” of sewing attachments made by Singer in the early part of the 20th century.

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Here is where the tack board went. The top is a photo of The Kid when we had just adopted our puppy.

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Here is an older shot of the cabinets along the back wall and turning up to the window. You can sort of make out the beadboard fronts.

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Okay, now that this is done… I need to turn my attention to the third stall of the garage. It is where my sports car needs to be housed during what we expect to be a pretty snowy winter. I need to get the STUFF either done or out of there. I really just want to play in my sewing room… I just bought that new embroidery machine and can’t wait to get started. But first things first.

Julie

Organizing More of the Garage

I find sometimes that if I have too much to do, I tend to find a reason to organize. This weekend, I was frustrated by trying to find the right hardware to finish my sewing room updates and overwhelmed by how much I had to do, I instead opted to tackle organizing the front five cabinets of my garage. I even just jumped on it so quickly that I was nearly completed before I realized that I hadn’t taken any “before” photos. Sigh. Trust me when I say these cabinets were a mess and this really had been a long time in coming.

When we moved into the house over ten years ago, I spent the first year making the house exactly as I wanted it. And that included cabinets from here to Sunday to keep things neat and organized. The garage was no exception. But time takes its toll and before you know it, things are a mess again.

I will just show you the “after” shots. We (me and The Kid) added shelves and additional organizers. Total cost about $200.

DSCN2746These are the existing cabinets… they run across the entire back of the garage. We had them installed by California Closets when we first arrived. There is nothing better than having cabinets with doors, so when everything isn’t perfect you can just hide it from the world!

 

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The first cabinet got the most in the makeover. New organizers for nuts, bolts, screws, nails… all those little pieces of hardware necessary to build, assemble and fix.

DSCN2749Second cabinet… luckily the rags and paint cloths were already in a fairly neat pile in the drawers. The upper cabinet was rearranged, moving most of the nuts and bolts from this cabinet to the next. I re-used some of the old organizers here and left untouched the scoundrel piece that started it all: that little drawer unit in the bottom cabinet.

 

DSCN2751Another cabinet without much updating. The one thing I did do was add additional shelves to all the cabinets… that is the most amazing trick to organizing that I know.

DSCN2752Another trick is to throw out stuff you know you will never use. Or collect what is still useful and donate it to your favorite thrift store or give it away on CraigsList.

DSCN2753This cabinet isn’t my stuff… this is plumbing supplies that belong to the resident plumber. Rather than try to do too much here, I simply removed anything that wasn’t plumbing supplies and added the third shelf. If nothing else, it looks more organized!

Lastly, I did actually do some work on one small project. I have four very large and spindly plants that need to be re-potted and provided with some nutrients and fertilizers. To get started I bought a very large clay pot and saucer and primed them and then painted them red. Once I allow them to “cure”, I will transplant all those plants into that pot. And get healthier, I hope.

DSCN2755But in doing the painting, I realized that I am really in need of “paint booth”. Somewhere that I can always paint, and not worry about the painting floating beyond that space and landing on things that it shouldn’t land on. I learned that lesson a very expensive way, when painting a large project – somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 cans of white spray paint – that a large portion had landed and coated my sports car, also parked on the other half of the garage. It cost me almost $400 to get that taken care of. I am a bit more careful to never have my car in the garage while painting, but it needs to go further than that. A temporary “wall” of cardboard was put up to help, but there needs a more solid way to deal with it.

Soon, I will be undertaking that project. In one short afternoon, I think I have figured out how to use PVC piping and connectors to hang either heavy duty plastic or canvas to form a small paint booth. When not in use, I will simply push the curtains back to opposite corners. I am pretty good when it comes to planning. Cross your fingers that it works like it should.

julie

The Finish Line!

Okay, I can say that this project is done. Well, done enough. I’m about two weeks over schedule, but we persevered and I think its close enough. Its really a project with no end, I will always be adding and subtracting as we work, to make it work best for us. But the basic structure is there now. And in a pinch, we’ll be able to get at least two cars into the garage.

DSCN2605I have some ideas for the other side of this garage… I want to move out some of the “stuff” and then reorganize the trash and lumber barrels along with the standard trash can and recycle tubs. I’m planning on buying a new table saw, as the one we have has a guide that can’t seem to stay tight, subsequently, you can’t cut a straight line. And once we get rid of the existing one, I will have the room on that wall that we need.

DSCN2609Look at that… its a whole empty wall!! That is just too inviting. Ha!

DSCN2599So, there’s a shot of the work counter. We added extra direct lighting on the underside of the shelf. The space above will hold minor stuff that doesn’t get used much, as its not really easily accessed. Lots of room for more tools, too!

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Everything is so nice and clean right now. I love it. But I suspect it won’t last long when we dive head first back into projects.

DSCN2602I actually changed out the shelving on the end, again to take advantage of the height. Scored the cabinets off CraigsList for $15!

DSCN2604Did some organizing and cleaning, like yesterday’s post said, we set out a ton of stuff on the curb yesterday and it was gone in less than an hour!

DSCN2600Another photo of the organization, lots of open space for more stuff. I am really happy with the paint station, I expect to utilize this often. DSCN2608This is the emptiest that I think I’ve ever seen the garage. From the day that the movers backed up to the garage, this space has been cluttered and unorganized. And it is so funny, considering just how much time I spend out there an how much work I’ve done here.

 

DSCN2610Here is a shot of the garage with one car… just a few things have to be moved and a second car could fit easily. Now I will just have to work on the other side! Ha!

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At least I have it narrowed down to a manageable few projects. At least for now. 🙂

Well, now that I feel like I accomplished something, I am going to post this and then going to enjoy the last few hours of weekend. And then its back to work. Some day I am actually going to relax on the weekend. Ha! Who am I kidding? If I don’t have at least three times more to do than I have time, I get worried and start looking for more. OCD or ADD or something.

And speaking of, I haven’t check CraigsList in a few hours…

julie

 

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