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Because Of The King + For The King

July 19, 2011   //  Posted in: Decor, DIY   //  By: Emily   //  12 responses

Backtrack to 2009 to me finding Cody gnawing on the guest room Urban Outfitters comforter. He left a sweet not-so-little and not-so-reparable hole in it, although I have to admit that maybe (and by maybe, I mean definitely) I was the one who originally screwed up the blanket to begin with by putting it through the washer and dryer instead of dry cleaning like the product tag instructed me to. That’s why the filling you see is wadded up like a used tissue and not fluffy like normal exposed quilt fill.

His fault or not, Cody still looks guilty two years later, right?

Cody, still looking guilty.

Aside from being tattered and full of holes, I still loved the fabric, which is why I hadn’t tossed the whole thing out yet. Or maybe because my hoarder tendencies were kicking in.

No signs of distress on the other side.

Fortunately, I think he chewed in the best possible spot, only destroying the corner of the inset section on the top of the quilt. I found this to be when I chopped apart the blanket to salvage the fabrics and figure out what I could make with the remaining materials.

Guess where he chewed.

The back panel of the quilt was that soft, lightweight cotton that I drool over routinely at Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters. It was in reasonably good condition still, and despite being washed roughly in the machine, it wasn’t pilled at all.

Sheer panel from the quilt.Because there was a 12″ trim that went all the way around the quilt in a more colorful fabric (bring on the pinks and oranges!), I also had salvaged as much of that as I could – it’s shown in the next photo. At this point, I decided that I might have enough fabric for a much-desired pouf or, if I could make it large enough, a nice-but-totally-not-masculine-for-my-masculine-dog dog bed. (Did you read that right?)

I was leaning towards the latter because the boy had been really good lately. And he’s been working his way up to a big-boy bed after spending a year napping on two layers of towel. Without chewing them. Atta boy.

Because of the hole in the large flowered piece of material I showed you earlier, I was limited to a diameter that maxed out at 36″, so I taped together a few pieces of newspaper and cut a perfectly round template using a DIY’ed protractor with a pen and a piece of wire that formed an 18″ radius.

Extra strips of salvaged quilt fabric, and a 36" circle template made from newspaper.

With the round pieces of larger fabric cut into 36″ circles, it was easy to see how large this bed was going to be.

Big, round template yields big, round dog bed.

By measuring with a string around the entire circle, I learned of the true circumference, which translated to me knowing how long the piping for the top and bottom of the bed needed to be. (I know there’s a math equation for this, but you don’t really expect me to remember it, right?)

I sewed the piping myself (not made of traditional or DIY’ed bias tape like any seamstress would recommend); my strategy was to make a simple sleeve sewn shut lengthwise, looking a bit like a piece of sausage casing. The sausage-sized casing itself was then stuffed with (wait for it) old cut up t-shirts. That’s right, I sewed it right into place. The two sausage pipes (if I can call them that) were then sewn along the length of the more colorful fabric strips evenly and and in parallel form to become the center band of the dog bed slip cover that provides height to the whole thing. Yes, rolled out completely it extended the the length of the living room.

Long strips of piping stuffed with t-shirts and sewn to the circumference of the bed.There weren’t many photos between the piping step and the finished piece step because I was madly attached to the sewing machine with a whole lot of dog bed jammed in my lap. There was nothing complicated about the whole ordeal, just a lot to hold onto and not a lot to be seen. The slip cover was sewn inside out as I carefully attached both 36″ round pieces to the piping strips, sewing in a circle. Once it was almost completely sewn together, I flipped it so that the exposed piping and colorful fabrics were on the outside, and I finished off the bed by stuffing it by hand.

I did use an old foam dog bed as the core means for filling, although it was smaller, thinner, and rectangular than the slip cover I had (and too small for Cody to use by itself) so I included extra rolled up and spread out bath towels and old beach towels to pad and round out the whole bed. Sneak peek inside?

Inside the dog bed.

I swear, the best part of it is that it’s almost entirely machine washable (only part that wouldn’t be is the foam cushion). And because I want to be able to wash it easily, I’m planning to button shut the opening in the side (just making sure he doesn’t try and eat it after a few more days).

Although, having been entirely made of recycled materials, it’s his to destroy and damage; if it lasts a year, that’ll be amazing. Every material used was free to me.

He sure looks comfy in this photo, and has been sleeping on it intermittently, for the record. It’s the kind of bed that you can just melt into.

Happy boy.

If it lasts 2 weeks, at least I didn’t drop $100 on a nice one from L.L. Bean. Know what I’m sayin’?



Blocks, Colors, Stripes, Oh My, Oh My

July 18, 2011   //  Posted in: Decor, Stairwell   //  By: Emily   //  2 responses

Something hasn’t been right in the stairwell since I painted the steps.

I sat at the base of the stairs looking upwards for awhile Friday evening trying to place my angst. I was also feeling sick, and being under the weather like that sometimes make me second-guess and over-analyze my home improvement decisions. What I was seeing was nothing but overwhelming:

Gallery unhappiness.

Believe it or not, I think I was smack-dab-in-the-middle of making the situation worse. Sure, the flowers were pretty, and I had swapped and added a few frames to the wall on the right, but I was also busy-busy-busy extending the gallery up the stairwell to the wall beside the second set of stairs. That gallery was nearing completion and reveal done. I hung this new frame that displays the baby starfish from this mid-century garage sale mounted on a paint chip:

New garage sale frame displaying a starfish mounted on a paint chip.

Sick-headed, the stairwell made me feel like I was swimming in color and pattern. The original gallery colors brought in my favorite laughing and energetic oranges (you can read about my love for those paints here and here), but the stair stripes were muted shades of gold and gray, and never incorporated the more vibrant colors that were already at home in the space. It also didn’t help that the art itself wasn’t muted, so it was a boxy-bright-art/dark gold wall/muted staircase mess, which was enough to make me lay down on the couch, obsess over my color problem, and watch 7 episodes of The New Adventures Of Old Christine (of which I only have 10 more to go in the series, booyah). Patterns, squares, colors, patterns, colors, squares, ahhhh, it was becoming one of those nightmares you’re transported into when you’re on NiteQuil.

A few thoughts/solutions ran through my head during that time, like… maybe I should paint the stairs? Or the wall? Or both?

The interim solution that I decided upon during the episode where Barb gets detained as an illegal alien was to remove all of the art. No bringing up the paint rollers out of frustration, no going to Home Depot to buy the first color I saw for the stairs, no breaking all of the frames and putting them out for this morning’s trash. Dramatic much? I’m really not. Sick brain, baby. I thought up every plausible solution, but removing the frames seemed least drastic and easiest to do.

Without the art, I immediately got that gut-wrenching feeling that you get when you’re packing up your house/apartment/room to move on to a new pad. You know that feeling, I know you do. The staircase also looked barren and lonely and… wide.

Gallery gone.

What’s next? I still don’t know, but it’s going to require more paint, and if something goes back up on the stairwell wall it needs to let the stairs steal the show. I’ll find a new place for the art, and at that point I can show you some of the new framed projects I’ve been working on.

P.S. Feelin’ better, by the way. Sick brain was just Friday. The weekend was fabulous, and I hope yours was too.


Five Years Of Jade

July 16, 2011   //  Posted in: Casual Celebrations, Gardening   //  By: Emily   //  2 responses

We’re about to get out and have summer fun with family all day, and I hope you do too, but first, just a quick little note on this fine, fine, Saturday. I woke up reminiscing about something special: My move to Rochester, which happened 5-years ago today.

Here I am with my sister (affectionally referred to as) Anniepants outside of my first apartment. She’s done cool things in the last 5 years too, like graduating high school, college, and going on to become a real-stinkin’-life cowgirl. You can read her blog too if you want.

Anniepants + I, first day in Rochester 2006.

My 5-year-iverssary also means that I started my first career-driven job 5 years ago tomorrow. Wowzers.

And totaled my Dad’s car 5 years ago from Tuesday. That’s a story for another day on another blog.

Anyways, I moved out of my parents home near Buffalo, NY and into my first post-college apartment on July 16th, 2006. It was 90-degrees, and the house beside the Memorial Art Gallery was un-air-conditioned, and nothing but gross and shady… as you’d expect all slumlord-owned last-minute-sublets to be. You see, I moved here quick-as-a-whip for my first real job that needed me to start pronto (the same gig that I left two months ago), so when it came to housing, I had to take what I could find. Luckily, I transitioned easily and I’m still friends with the girl who graciously took me in.

I also still have some of the random goodies I acquired in the short 1.5 months that I lived there. A dresser (that I rehabbed + really need to rehab once more), a floor lamp (that still stands in my living room), and a sweet little Jade plant that was in much need of a home.

I even found a photo of the Jade, circa February 2007, at which time I had been caring for the plant for nearly 6 months.

Baby Jade, circa February 2007.

Aside from ambitiously-achieved advances and changes in living situations, this little plant is the best literal measure of my Rochester life. So, I made it a growth chart in documentation of its advancement.

Jade's growth chart.

When I installed the open shelving in the kitchen last December, the plant in its white IKEA pot was short enough to fit underneath the shelves, which is how I so easily recall its recent growth spurt, if you call 2″ over 7 months a spurt. The new branch was a surprise growth from last spring. So cute, I just want to pinch it’s rubbery little leaves.

I do wonder how tall it’ll grow and whether or not it will widen out at any point. I’d like to see it grow to be 3 feet wide by 3 feet tall, and I’m putting no limits on it’s abilities (just like the friends and coworkers who took me under their wing 5 years ago), so maybe I’ll really get to observe it in that state… by the time I’m 70.

Happy Saturday.