DIY: ikea hack work table + a studio tour

Gratitude board in the kitchenFor the past 2+ years I had been working all of my etsy business in our dining room due to a flood in our basement. About half way through realizing that it was going to take us a while to get the basement back in working order, we took a trip to Ikea and I purchased some expedits in order to get myself a little more organized. I knew that eventually when I was able to move back downstairs I would use these as the basis for my work table. Fast forward to a few months ago and the basement was finally pretty much complete and I was able to start moving back in (hear the angels sing!). building a work table

My original hope was to line these shelves up next to each other, put them up on casters and then lay an unfinished door on the top for a large workspace. We researched a bunch of different options for casters and ended up buying some locally at a small hardware store in town. We opted for a size a little larger than we probably needed to give it some good heft and also because in all honestly the basement might very well flood again and I wanted everything elevated off the floor.

building a work tableBecause we went with a larger caster and because of the height of the 2×4 that we used to attach them to the base of the shelves, we ended up not being able to use the door as a work surface. All of that together made the table too high with the door on top. My handyman husband pre drilled holes in the base of the shelves to attach the 2×4 to. building a work table

Screwed the 2×4 to the shelves – basically pulling them together and then attached the casters to the 2×4.

UntitledWe talked through a lot of different options in order to make a larger workspace on top, instead of just using the dimensions of the two shelves, but honestly I’ve been working for the past couple of months just on top of the shelves and it’s been working just fine. I laid out my cutting mats and got busy. Untitled

I can’t even begin to express what a joy it has been to be back down in my own space. To be able to lay out all my projects and not have to clean them all off the table so we can eat dinner has been amazing for my cluttered brain. I’ve even been able to teach a few classes in this space and it’s been amazing.


My kids also have their own art space. This is still a work in progress as we try to figure out the best way to set it all up. I got this drawer cabinet from my neighbor who was tossing it out of his garage. It sat in our basement for almost a year while I tried to figure out what to do with it. I finally decided to paint it and use it as storage for markers, paint, crayons and other art stuff. I am hoping to add some labels and also figure out a way to display art that they are working on up on the wall. And I’ve got to figure out some good storage for all the papers and coloring books piled up on top!

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The loot

This weekend we took a quick trip to Nashville to hit up the flea market, Textile Fabric and visit with my brother and sister-in-law.

Here’s the loot from the flea market. A host of vintage linens. The handkerchiefs and table runner I plan to embroider on, the napkins are for us as we attempt to move away from paper products and the ric rack was just a fun find. All for $7!!




Here’s the loot from Textile Fabric’s bi-annual sale. I really didn’t come away with as much as I normally do, but with a daughter who doesn’t really care for momma’s sewn clothes anymore I pretty much just bought for me this trip. The Anna Maria Horner velveteen was by far the splurge at $33 a yard!! This bi-annual sale is the time to pick it up! I’ve had it in mind for a few years to make a coat out of if I have the nerve to cut it. I don’t know who did the knit, but it feels divine and I’m not sure what I’ll do with it. I have a couple of ideas running through my head. The corduroy is Timeless Treasures and I’m thinking of doing a layered skirt with it. We shall see. All this for $80 isn’t a bad deal at all.


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Martha of the Month {February}


This month’s project (thank goodness for Leap Year!) is from Martha’s Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric. It is a Girl’s Shirt dress from an upcycled men’s dress shirt.

Martha of the Month: Feb '12

The first thing I had to do was find a shirt. After moving less than 2 years ago and various runs to Goodwill, the husband had  zero dumpy shirts I could use. I probably could have raided my dad’s closet, but opted to hit Habitat. After digging a little I found this purple-ish shirt that met the chick’s approval.

Martha of the Month Feb'12

The next thing I had to do was print, cut out and tape the pattern. Whew. This one was a doozy. I think it was more daunting to cut out the pattern than put it all together.

Martha of the Month Feb '12

This is a pretty simple project and leaves gobs of options for you. I decided to make my own bias trim, versus hitting up my stash (which was low) or heading to the store (it’s kind of stormy-gloomy here) so I scrounged around in my scrap bins and found this flowery trim. The directions were very easy to follow and probably my only complaint was that the directions for making the little tie on the neck were pretty vague. At least enough for me to say “the heck with it” and left that part off.

Martha of the Month Feb '12

I think it turned out pretty well, but I’m thinking it looks (and feels) more like a great summer nightgown than a dress.

Either way, it was a simple and fun 2 hour project.

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family room: WIP

One of my home goals for 2012 was to redecorate our family room. Today I started painting and I was a little hesitant with the color choice at first, but once it was on the walls I was in love. I forget how dramatically something as simple as a paint color can totally transform a room.

Here is a peek at the half of the room that isn’t done: your before picture:

family room before

Yellow rag rolled/sponge painted walls. I’ve loved this room for the windows since we first walked into this house, but I’ve hated these yellow walls ever since too. I’m so happy to finally be on our way to making our own stamp on this house!


Here is a sneak peek at how the other half looks now:

family room sneak peek



And a few projects in the works after the painting is finished:

1. To repaint this lamp. We’ve had it since we were first married, can’t seem to let go of it and it finally dawned on me that with a little bit of spray paint it might just work in this room!

lamp before


2. To recover these ottomans. They were a fantastic clearance bargain at Home Goods and while I didn’t love the fabric, I didn’t hate it enough to pass it up. I knew I could easily make a slipcover for them if I decided they weren’t going to work. So the plan is to slipcover them 🙂

ottoman before


3. And last, we found a huge set of this solid maple furniture on craiglist this weekend. It was almost exactly what I was looking for and we got the entire set (a small couch, 2 rocking chairs and 1 chair) for $60!! Granted I have to buy some more foam for cushions, but I do have a good bit of fabric yardage in my stash to cover at least one rocking chair and one chair. This whole set won’t fit in our family room. I’m sure we’ll end up putting the couch down in our basement and the other rocker needs some good TLC so I doubt we’ll find a home for it for a while!

chair 1 before


Here’s a peek at the fabric coming soon! I’m covering the ottomons in the fabric on the far left and the chair cushions will be covered in the blue. The middle one will probably end up going in the kitchen as I’ve only got a yard of it.

fabric for downstairs

I’m so excited seeing this room finally coming together!

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pillowcase skirt

Desperate for a little creativity to finally spark in my life lately (I think I’ve had a sewer’s version of writer’s block) I finally hit a home run today…and it took less than 30 minutes and only cost me $1.00!

pillowcase skirt materials

I bought this pair of pillowcases this past weekend at our local Habitat store (along with a $3 pair of awesome jeans and a great $3 sweater, but that’s another story). I didn’t know what I was going to do with these cases, but thought they were pretty and so soft. This morning inspiration hit and I decided to try my hand at a double layered skirt.

pillowcase skirt

I found this tiny ric rac in my stash from a bunch that my mom had given me a while back. You know it’s old when the price tag says 40 cents! I decided to trim out the top with a couple lines of ric rac and decided to leave the bottom layer plain. All I did was lay out the cases to the length of the layers I wanted and then measured from the bottom layer the length of the skirt and cut off the top part of the case. Then I serged the two tops together, made a casing, inserted some elastic and voila!

pillowcase skirt

I love it! And the chick does too (which makes a momma happy!)

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