Category Archives: Crafts

Nightstand Makeover

So this isn’t quite as exciting as my last post (how can you top Jeopardy!?), but it’s made a big difference in how our bedroom looks. I finally got around to painting Robby’s nightstand!

Pretty black nightstand!

Another shot of the finished product.

Here’s a reminder of how our bedroom furniture used to look (from this post on creating an upholstered headboard):

Before shot with mis-matched furniture.

We found my nightstand (on the left) on Craigslist a few years back.

My Craigslist find. Lucy's crate used to be next to it, but her snoring got to be too much so we moved her out into the hallway. Sorry, puppy!

The seller only had one, and since Robby’s current nightstand is nice solid wood I decided that I would paint his black to match…I just never got around to it until last month!

I had seen this tutorial a few times on Pinterest, and was impressed with the results. So I decided to follow the directions exactly, even though it meant dragging Robby to 2 different paint stores to find the right wood enamel. :)

Close-up of the finish.

I didn’t get quite as smooth a finish as the original painter, but I still think it turned out pretty well. And with the addition of new brushed-chrome knobs, our nightstands finally (almost) match!

I think this side of the room is finally finished! Next up: painting the dresser and getting a new mirror...

Sayonara, 2011; Hello, 2012!

First, can I just brag about the fact that it was 75° today in Pasadena?! I love that. :) Robby and I started our New Year’s Day at church, and then we spent the afternoon kicking around Manhattan Beach. Tomorrow morning, we’re planning on walking 3 blocks down to Colorado Blvd. to catch the Rose Parade before heading back to work on Tuesday…sigh.

New Year’s always makes me reflective, and 2011 gave me a lot to reflect on. In a lot of ways, it was a hard year. I had some medical struggles (including surgery); we learned that it will be extremely difficult (if not impossible) for us to have biological children; we lost a dear friend much too young; Robby and I had far too many stressful work projects; and I took on the burden of returning to school while working full-time. When I think about those things, I’m tempted to say “good riddance” to a bad year!

We did have quite a few good times mixed in there, though. Highlights from 2011 include our epic kitchen remodel; the birth of our adorable new nephew Hudson; two great trips to the Hollywood Bowl; a birthday weekend at Disneyland; getting an article published in a journal; surviving an epic windstorm in Pasadena; receiving a new iPhone 4S for Christmas; getting to preview a Rose Parade float; and taking several great trips:

  • Our anniversary trip to Santa Barbara
  • My work trip to Philadelphia and Washington, DC (Robby came with me)
  • Our trip to Orlando and Miami (in an attempt to witness the penultimate shuttle launch, which was unfortunately scrubbed 2 hours beforehand)
  • My work trip to Dayton, Ohio (Robby wasn’t able to come with me)
  • Robby’s trip to Orlando, where he was able to fulfill his lifelong dream by watching the last-ever shuttle launch!
  • A trip to Atlanta for Robby’s cousin’s wedding and then on to Panama City Beach for a week with Robby’s family
  • Our Thanksgiving trip to Knoxville, Gatlinburg, and Birmingham

I have mixed feelings about 2011. Mostly, I’m just happy to have reached the end of it with a wonderful husband by my side, and I’m hopeful that 2012 will be a good year for us. Heck, 2012 already has two things going for it–we’re planning a trip to Italy and England in the spring, and I’ll finish my MBA in June! I’m already counting down the days (literally–see the sidebar over there on the right??) until I have more time to knit, bake, decorate, and plan our next remodeling project–maybe overhauling our 80s-style bathrooms? :)

I hope that 2012 is filled with blessings for you (and us)! I’ll leave you with this huge photo-retrospective of some of our 2011 highlights:

Weekend Project: Upholstered Headboard

Last Saturday, Robby and I finally got around to a project that I’ve been wanting to do for ages: an upholstered headboard for our bed!

Upholstered headboard, before installation.

We followed the instruction on our friend Jen’s blog, using a piece of scrap wood and a velvet curtain panel. The hardest part of the whole project was sewing on the buttons–three of them broke because the thread was pulled too tightly, so I had to go in and rip them all out to adjust the tension.

In the end, though, I love the result and I’m so happy we did it! You can read the complete instructions on Jen’s blog, but here are some pictures of the steps we took:

After cutting the board to the right size (60" wide by 24" high for a queen-sized bed), we measured and pre-drilled holes for sewing on the buttons.

Next, we used spray adhesive to attach 2" thick foam.

The next step was stapling on a double layer of quilt batting.

Next, we stapled the curtain panel on top of the batting, then used an upholstery needle to sew on the buttons. We used staples to hold the thread in place on the back of the headboard.

Finally, we mounted the headboard to the wall using a tool called a French cleat. Please ignore my dirty project clothes...

Here’s the final product, with the bed freshly made:

Pretty headboard!

You might notice some other changes to the room, too. I’ve been slowly re-decorating both our bedroom and the guest bedroom, and I’m about 80% done.

Here’s what the master bedroom looked like 2 years ago when I moved in after we got married:

Bedroom before.

And here’s the room today:

Bedroom, almost completely redecorated.

Obviously, we painted the walls. :) We used a color called Nimbus Cloud, from the Martha Stewart line at Home Depot. We also got a new nightstand for my side of the bed, and I made some custom DIY “art” (I used my computer and printer to create some words and letters, and then put them in some cheap black frames).

There are still a few things I’d like to do, like stain the dresser and other nightstand black to match the new one, get a new mirror to put over the dresser, and maybe get a bench like this one to put at the end of the bed. Oh, and eventually we have plans for a major master bathroom remodel…but for now, I’m loving the changes we’ve made to the bedroom! It’s becoming my favorite room in the house. :)

Knitted Christmas Stockings

This project is actually a year in the making…

Last December, Martha Stewart Living magazine ran a feature on Christmas crafts that included instructions for these Sequined Mohair Stockings:

Pretty, right?

The pattern seemed pretty easy, so I decided to make these last year. The first obstacle I ran into was cost–the yarn that Martha suggested using would have set me back about $150 for 3 stockings (one for Robby, one for me, and one for Lucy). Yikes.

I ended up substituting some cheaper sequined and mohair yarns that I found on a Turkish website (which generated a “possible fraud” call from the Visa folks… :)), but I think the gauge was different. It ended up being really difficult to work with, too, and I gave up the project in frustration a week before Christmas.

My half-knitted, half-knotted stocking lay forgotten in my craft basket for months, until I came across it again about 6 weeks ago. I decided to give it another try, ripped out last year’s stitches, and started over. I added in a third strand of off-white worsted weight yarn to increase bulk, and things went well until it was time to finish the heel. Then, the directions were wrong, and I mis-calculated in trying to fix them. I ended up decreasing too quickly, leaving an ugly mess:

Stocking #1, with an ugly heel. :(

I then looked for another stocking pattern, thinking that perhaps it would be easier to work with. I ended up going with another Martha Stewart pattern. This one had a more complicated heel, but I think it turned out much better than the first one. Again, I think my gauge was off, which resulted in an odd-looking leg, but this ended up being the best of the 3 stockings that I made:

Stocking #2.

For my third and final stocking, I decided to combine the leg pattern from stocking #1 with the heel/toe decreasing pattern from stocking #2. I’m not sure that was a good decision, because the end result was a little weird. The heel looked ok, but the toe was too bulky:

Stocking #3. Sigh...

I’m glad I only needed to make 3 stockings, because I was pretty sick of the whole thing by the time I was done. I’m not really happy with the way the stockings turned out, either. I imagine someday I’ll try again, adapting the pattern to correct the gauge, and maybe springing for the expensive yarn that Martha recommended.

But right now I can’t even fathom trying to start over. I’ve got a whole slew of new projects I’d rather be working on!