Friday, January 30, 2015

Toy Organizer Repurposed Into Fabric Sling Book Rack

This is a post about a fabric sling book rack.  However, instead of posting pictures of the thing and leaving it at that, I am feeling chatty today and have decided you really need to hear the backstory and all of the minute details I would feel compelled to share with you if you happened to be so unfortunate as to enter my home and ask about my newest sewing creation.
Consider yourself warned.
(Here's your cue to pan down to the end, but you didn't hear that from me. *wink*)
Let the rambling commence!
There was a problem in my son's room.  Instead of a bookcase, he had a crate.  A bookcrate, if you will.
I know what you are thinking!  Smart woman. Classy.
Oh, he had a shelf in his room on which we could have kept books but I'm no dummy the fourth time around.  That floor shelf was much too conducive to strewing.  Crating is -- you must admit! -- easier on the tired parent than managing the repetitious book liberation of two small children. 
Still.  We ain't in college anymore Toto.
I've been making an effort to turn his room into a more personal space and though the bookcrate's days were numbered, I couldn't find a solution that didn't involved climb-able wall shelves.  Then I saw this puppy:
Smartphone at Toys R Us for the win!
Mobile.  Attractive. Why didn't I think of this?  I could definitely get behind the idea of using a standing bookrack, however, I could not get behind the $39.99 price tag.  I started taking stock of ways I could hack one for less when it occurred to me that our old toy sorter had a similar dowel-rod construction:
Pic taken the month my son turned one and a good example of why I wouldn't be putting any of those Pinterest spice-rack-turned-book-racks  (what handy ladders!) on our walls. Also why my husband forbid me to use my Ribba picture ledges from Ikea.
Truth be told, these organizers cost entirely too much to be buying new and transforming into a book rack.  I got mine years ago for $20 at Aldi and it's been out of use since my latest playroom reorganization so I had no qualms with repurposing it.
FYI, the bins are great and we use them elsewhere, but there's something terrifying about all dozen of them grouped together on the racks according to the original design.  Do you know how long it takes a zealous bin dumper to empty that thing?  Not nearly as long as it takes me to direct the picking up of everything (four million objects at least) that it used to contain!  Anywho-ha, where was I?
The toy organizer was out of use until this week.
When it got a new lease on life.
Da. da. da!

Custom fabric sling bookrack, at your service!
I know.  The world is now a more beautiful place.
Currently there are board books in the top, Golden Book sized books in the middle, and everything else in the bottom.
The plane fabric is by Ann Kelle (Ready, Set, Go Organic - "Planes in Sky"), something I picked up a couple of years ago.  I think I once bought a pack of identical bandaids from Target.
The yellow is a Riley Blake print (Medium Dots in Yellow).
I think the blue fabric was a 1.25 yard piece and I didn't have enough to line with it.  Hence the yellow.
 The top two "racks" hang from the top two sets of rods and the bottom one hangs from the third set and wraps around the bottom two rods.
And no, I have no idea how it was made ;).  You're on your own with this one!  It wasn't hard, per se, it just took some trial and error to work with the amount of fabric I had on hand and to get the slings to be at the right height.
Oh, and maybe I should have mentioned before, I cut down the rack to about twenty inches wide and the fabric is removable if you disassemble one side.
It's been in the room for a couple of days and thus far the baby loses interest after throwing out only three or four books.
In other news, that stool finally got a slipcover.
It's denim now.
The underside:
Two pieces of elastic keep it on.
Same fabric as the bed cover and pizza party bag and there was barely enough!  Can you believe these sad scraps represent the last little bit of it?
My stash is clean out of denim!
In other, other news, do you remember those pink curtains?  I thought I should update that the way I made the tabs didn't really work.
They started out looking like this:
But before too long, they preferred to do this:
The loops were too loose and to fix them, I put in another row of stitching below the rod.
Much better.
Phew.  End post.  Thanks for reading and have a great day!

Monday, January 26, 2015

"Evie" in Wire Art!


When I was in the process of opening my Etsy shop many moons ago, I "met" a lovely lady from Australia (Tasmania, no less!) named Jane who makes enchanting fabric and wire art. She heard of the birth of my little Evie and sent a sweet rendering of her name which I have been wanting to share with you guys.
Isn't it delightful?  "Evie" in Jane's own handwriting.
Her choice of fabric couldn't have been more perfect because I immediately wanted to display it with a precious pic of my sleeping babe.  (It only took how many months to actually do it?)
While brainstorming on ways to mount both picture and name, I discovered today that weaving embroidery floss through burlap is my new favorite pastime!  Why didn't I think to scatter a few thread flowers around the border?
Do try embroidering burlap when you get the chance!
And see what Jane is up to at her Planet Joy facebook page and Etsy shop :o).  I love, love, love her happy ribbon wreaths.

Thank you Jane!
p.s.  My sleeping babe today:
Also known as "Queen Sticky Hair."

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Slipcovering! Part II

Sheeeeee's done!

Part I, if you missed it.

I prefer her photos in black and white.

So sleek.  So classy.  So...not brick red!  Improvement?  Yes.

The before and after:

I seem to have forgotten to take the exact same "after" pic as the "before" but I think you get the idea.

Turns out I didn't have to hit the fabric store for serger thread and was able to finish up the finishing sooner than I had anticipated.  (Plus, I told myself that I couldn't start painting the basement until I polished off the chair and I really want to start painting the basement. :o)

My poor serger.  It hasn't been in use for a while and here's how I found it...

I don't deserve to have nice things!

No fear, it cleaned up nicely -- which is good because it had a lot of work to do.

Pro tip:  The key to re-threading a serger is confidence.  They can smell fear. 
There were all sorts of options for putting the slit in the skirt for the recliner arm, but I ended up just doing this.

The fabric shows through and a flap is probably needed behind.  Or maybe I'll safety pin a piece of fabric there and call it good.

More angles of everything:

The original footrest skirt I made oh-so-long-ago is too short, but I can live with it.

In case you were wondering, this was the audience while I took pictures:
She's been so pleasant since she decided she can run on half hour naps.

Anyway, that's about it.  Oh, except that I put ties at the back of the seat cushion cover. 
I was happy to find an anchoring solution as that was the only part of the slipcover that had me worried.  Hopefully all of the pieces stay in place because reaching into the recesses of this recliner is terrifying.  You're apt to lose a finger.
She's not perfect, but we like her!
I'm on the hunt for a cute decorative throw pillow.  Maybe pink velvet.
Here's my next chair that needs slipcovering:
Ain't she a beaut????
The little kids like to pull off the cushions and turn it into a mini-trampoline.  It gets a lot of hard use but I don't want to spend much money on it so I'm having a hard time deciding what type of fabric to use.  Duck cloth is a popular choice for slipcovers and at $7-$8 per yard (for 60" width), it's certainly the most economical option when you need 8 yards, but I was hoping for a light gray fabric and I can't seem to find light gray duck cloth.  Medium gray sure.  Light gray?  Not so much!  Also, for stain hiding purposes, a patterned fabric would be preferable, even if it is tone-on-tone or part of the weave.
I thought I found something I wanted but it didn't work out.
The fabric search continues.  Any suggestions?

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Slipcovering! Part I

You know what they say.

"A poorly slipcovered recliner in the hand is worth two in the bush."

Or something like that.

Despite the challenges of sewing with little people in the house (click to the end of the last post and you'll see what I mean), suddenly I am into slipcovering in a big way friends.  Big.

I'm gonna slipcover EVERYTHING.  Okay, so maybe not everything, but *at least* two things and we don't have a lot of furniture which means -- most of the things!

Why? Well recently I had to swap out the back couch cushions in my living room and replace them with some mismatched cushions from a hand-me-down couch we had in the basement (ironically, those cushions weren't even original to that couch!).  After ten years, five moves, four kids, and a run-in or two with a bottle of Desitin, our living room couch was in rough shape to begin with.  Add some old floral cushions and yikes.  Not good!  I pulled out a hand-me-down cream slipcover (thanks Ang!) and put in on the couch and...kind of liked it.  The original cushions didn't fill it out right so it never quite worked in the past, but with the "new" cushions?  What an improvement!  A breath of fresh air in our cold-weather house arrest.

Where could I get more of this fresh air?

Sew slipcovers.  Yes, yes, yes.

Upon surveying the house for ideas of what to cover-up with fabric next, it occurred to me that I have been suppressing a certain venture I made into slipcovering about seven years ago.  Believe it or not, I had once tried to do this chair:

Lazyboy recliner bequeathed to us by my in-laws.

I got a very good start on it too.  And then I went into labor with my firstborn about twelve hours later and that was the end of that.

However, since then I have carted along all of the stuff to cover it in the hopes that one day I would be inspired to start anew.

Yesterday was that day!!! 

This is what I had to work with when I began again:


 The back comes off, in case you can't figure out the perspective in those pics!

Anyway, what was left to do was cover the removable back, figure out the logistics of finishing the seat portion, and make the skirting.

I finished everything but the skirting!

I know, I know -- my living room carpet kills me too!  New flooring definitely has priority over new furniture at this point.

FYI, the fabric is a lightly brushed cotton twill fabric from Calico Corners.
Very soft and much better in person.

Did I mention I have no living idea what I am doing?

In this next pic, I had finished the top and was trying to figure out how to do the back of the seat:

 I don't know if this was the best solution, but after looking at the bottom portion of the chair --

 I decided keep the arm portions detached from the seat cover -- but attached to each other.  Like this:

A recliner bolero.

I should interrupt this part of the recap to inform you that during one point of the construction process, I took a break to give my littler two kiddos a bath.  After the bath, my son (that's him, pictured above) ran out of the bathroom stark naked, climbed upon the chair, and tinkled on it!

Cuz, seriously, this is my life.

Moving on.

Here's the current state of things:

 I have a plan to slit the side skirt for the handle.

Another couple of hours to skirt and do the handle and maybe even serge (if I make it to the store for serger thread), and it should be done. *fingers crossed*
Stay tuned for Part II!

Why have I been afraid to do this for all of these years?  Am I the only one intimidated by sewing for furniture?

p.s. I have supplies for another chair in transit.  :o)