The bathroom makeover saga continues. I left off, here, where I shared the simple updates we did–art, accessories, and some updates with paint. The main thing left on our list was to find fabric that I could use to make an extra-long shower curtain. The shower curtain needed to be roughly 72×86 inches, so larger than normal widths of fabric. The only other option that I could think of was to find a flat sheet I liked to make it out of.

A trip or two to TJ Maxx gave us a few options. I couldn’t decide in the store, so we bought a few, brought them home to see them in the space, then returned the two we didn’t use.

three curtain options 3 brighter1

The gray/teal/green patterned one was actually a duvet cover, then we had the blue/white patterned one, and the gray one on top. They were all pretty solid options, but in the end we went with the gray one:

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That one beat out the others for a few reasons. I wanted this small room to stay pretty simple. My ideal curtain would have had a subtle pattern on it, but the simple patterned sheet set we found was light blue and it clashed with the mint blue ceiling we have in here. The more highly patterned grey/teal/green one I liked, but it was the most expensive, was a duvet cover, so it would have been a little added work to make into a shower curtain, and I was worried that it was just a little too busy for the space. The gray one, however, was simple, a great color that went well with the existing patterned hand towel, gray plant pot in the shower, and gave a nice neutral backdrop for the bright colored painting/accessories. As if those reasons weren’t enough, it was actually only a flat sheet (instead of a sheet set, where we were buying a fitted sheet and pillowcases as well that we didn’t need) and it was on clearance for $15:

curtain package brighter1

It was a super easy project to turn it into a shower curtain. I only had to trim a few inches off one side, sew that seam back up, then I cut the band off the top of the sheet, hemmed that, and sewed buttonholes to line up with the holes along the top of our shower curtain liner. Finished it up in one short afternoon.

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Even though the sheet made a thinner shower curtain than most ones you buy, I haven’t had any problems with it since we also have a liner on the inside.

curtain sink side brighter1

Showering is so much nicer now! When we only had the liner up, the air would blow the liner onto you while you were in the shower. Now, with the outside curtain up too, that doesn’t happen.

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curtain look into bathroom brighter1

Perhaps down the line, we’ll get a patterned rug to go in here to break  up all the solid areas of color, but for now, I’m happy with our little bathroom makeover and how little we’ve spent on it!

I hope you all had wonderful holidays! I definitely have been busy the past few weeks! Visiting with family, taking my nieces to get pictures taken with Santa, shopping with my sisters for Christmas presents, baking cookies with my mom (these are my favorite holiday cookies!), celebrating Hanukkah and remembering our Savior’s Jewish roots, celebrating Christmas and remembering the night of our dear Savior’s birth, giving gifts, relaxing and wedding planning as well!

A while ago, I stumbled across this picture on the internet and decided that I wanted to start crocheting a blanket like this one over my Christmas break:

My friend, Tonya, and I used to knit and crochet all the time in middle school. We made tons of scarves and baby blankets, but I hadn’t ever made a large blanket like this. Luckily, my mom is super crafty and knows how to do all kinds of sewing things, so she refreshed my memory on my crochet stitches and read the pattern for me and showed me how to do it. It is really easy once you get the hang of it!

I ended up going to Walmart the day before Christmas Eve and bought 18 colors of yarn to work with. I seriously left the store with three huge bags full of yarn. ($50 worth!) I ended up wrapping them up for a Christmas present to me from my parents (they usually have us pick out things we want, wrap them and open them on Christmas) and then on Christmas Eve when we opened gifts, I looked like this:

My mom and I both started working on it that night and have been crocheting constantly for the past few days and have a pretty much finished blanket already!

We made lots and lots of circles before we started connecting them together.

We also tried to make sure that no two circles were alike so we spent a lot of time comparing the ones we were working on with the ones already done. We tried to make sure that we made the same number of centers out of each color and the same with the middle rows and outsides so that all colors would be well represented in the end.

It was harder than you would think to try to determine what circles to put next to each other to balance out the blanket!

We aren’t completely done, I still want to add a few more rows to make it a little bigger, and I have to go back in and thread in the tails of yarn, but so far we have this: (it is roughly 3×5 feet)

I think this blanket would also be really pretty made a little smaller for a baby blanket. It would also be pretty in a different color scheme as well.

I love the way the colors look together and I love the shapes. They look like little flowers. I also love the little star design that is made in the connecting corners between the colors (in the white part).

These are the colors of yarn that I used. The large white one on top is the connecting color. As you can see, the blanket is in the background, so this is how much yarn I had leftover after making a blanket this big. I still plan on making it bigger, so in the end I’ll use more of each kind than shown here, but you could easily make more than one blanket out of the yarn  bought for this project. I bought two of the super jumbo white one on top and we used all of one and a little bit of the one pictured here.

To make it, I used these directions, with a size H crochet needle. That blog also shows pictures that might be helpful if you haven’t crocheted much before. To sum up her words, this is pretty much how you do it:

ch chainst = stitch, ss = slip stitchdc = double crochet.

Start: make 5 ch, join with ss into a ring.

1st round: 4ch (=1dc,1ch), 1dc + 1ch 11 times. Join with ss in 3rd ch. 12 dc.

2nd round: Start in one of the ch spaces. 3 ch (= 1dc), 1dc, 1ch, *2dc, 1ch* in the remaining ch spaces. Join with ss in 3rd ch. 12 groups of 2 dc.

3rd round: Start in one of the ch spaces. 3 ch (= 1dc), 2dc in ch space, 1ch, *3dc, 1ch* in the remaining ch spaces. Join with ss in 3rd ch. 12 groups of 3 dc.

4th round: Start in one of the ch spaces. 4ch (= 1 tr), 1tr, 3ch, 2tr, (=1st corner), *1ch, (2dc,1ch,2dc) in next ch space, 1ch, (2dc,1ch,2dc) in next ch space, 1ch, (2tr, 3ch, 2tr) (=2nd corner)**, repeat * to ** 2 times, 1ch, (2dc, 1ch, 2dc) inthe next two ch spaces, 1ch. Join with ss to 4th ch.

I used the assembly line method so I made a lot of circles before I started the 4th round and then joined them like this:

Start in a corner. Crochet 2tr, 1ch,next ch through the corner of the other square, 1ch, 2tr. (The first corner is done). Side: 1ch,(2dc, 1ch through 1ch on other square, 2dc), 1ch (2dc, 1ch through 1ch on other square, 2dc), 1ch. Next corner (where you will join square to the square to the right and the one above): 2tr, 1ch, 1ch through corner of square to the right, 1 ch through corner of the square above, 2 tr. Do the next side as the first. In the next corner you crochet 1 ch through the corner of the square above. Finish the round as in pattern.

Final Border:  One row of dc first. On dc in every dc and one dc in every ch space. 5 dc in the corners. One row of sc in every dc of last round. make one extra sc in the corners. One row of loops: Start with one sc, chain 4, skip two sc on last round – all the way round.

Here, is some more info on the lady’s blanket who wrote the directions above and more info on what the final border looks like. She calls her blanket, “Flowers in the Snow.”

Happy Crocheting! :)

P.S. My mom and I were both crocheting pretty fast the whole time, have previous experience crocheting, and we seriously worked on it all day long and late into the night almost every day over the past few days, so unless you have unlimited amounts of time to give to it all at once, I wouldn’t expect to finish yours so quickly! I thought it would take me months to do when I first decided to do it. I can’t believe we got so much done already! :)

*****UPDATE*****

See the blanket completely done in this post, here

Can you believe it? I broke out my sewing machine again.

It seems like with most sewing projects that I’ve done before, I always get frustrated with the complications to the project that once its over, I don’t want near a sewing machine for a long time. Even though I’ve made some pretty cool things before and I’m usually always happy with the final results of the project. But it was the complete opposite reaction this time. I was so happy with how well my Drop Cloth Drapes went, that I went looking around the house for other things I could sew. (without coming up with a huge sewing project, because I have lots of other things I need to get done around here before school starts on Monday)

So, that’s where this shirt comes in:

I bought this shirt while shopping with my sisters in Nashville the weekend I ordered my wedding dress. It was sort of an impulse buy. It was at the end of the day and the little girls were tired and hungry and we were in a hurry to get out of the mall. I tried it on and I was in the middle of trying to decide if I should get it or not, and since I was rushing around, I just threw it in with the other stuff I was getting and went ahead and bought it. I do really like the softness and flowy-ness of the fabric and I really like the little pink elephants all over it. (My Mamaw loved elephants and they remind me of her.)

However, what I don’t like about it, is the fact that it is so big and open. It isn’t fitted at all. Some people really like that style, but it is a style that I don’t think looks very good on me. I have a rather large bust for my figure and if I wear clothes that aren’t fitted, then I just look as fat as my bust everywhere. Underneath all that unfitted-ness I do actually have a small waist. I think that clothes look better on me if they accentuate that fact. Plus, being so big it was also looking a little too nightgown-y for my tastes.

I thought it would look better more like this:

So, I figured what better small sewing project to tackle than this. You might think that the first picture above didn’t look so bad. Well, I do admit, it actually photographed a lot better than it looked in person. In reality, it looked about three times too big everywhere but in the sleeves. You can see how big it looks laying flat on my desk:

It looks big enough, that well, an elephant should be able to fit in it. However, I didn’t feel the need to cut down the size, I simply wanted it to make it look a little more flattering in the front. So what did I do?

I commissioned the help of this little guy:

A piece of light pink ribbon from my sewing stash. Just the right length for what I needed it to do. I cut it in two equal pieces, snipped off the ends and fray-checked them.

Then I looked in the mirror to see where I wanted the ribbons to go in the side seams to pull the front of the shirt a little tighter and put pins in to mark that spot.

Then I took it off, turned it inside out and measured down to see how far down my pins were and made sure both sides were down equal amounts.

Then I used my seam ripper to rip a small hole in my seam where I wanted my ties to go.

Next, I pinned my ribbon in, sewed across it several times and did the same to the other side. I trimmed off all my threads and then for safe measure, used a little fray check across the seam to make sure my shirt fabric didn’t fray in that spot. I turned it right side out again and I was done! Yay for 5 minute sewing fixes!

Here is my completed shirt.

It fits so much better. (Sorry for the crappy pictures–I was too lazy to get out the tripod and camera remote to use my DSLR) No more hiding underneath a huge shirt! I like the way the back looks even better though:

I love the little pink bow and all the soft, ruffly creases. So pretty and a thousand times better than before. :)

We’ve been in our apartment for three months now and we decided it was about time that we got to work making our living room feel a little more cozy and relaxing. School starts in just a few days and we will most certainly need that relaxing space to retreat to after a long, stressful school day/week. Before this past week, our living room hadn’t changed much at all from the last time that I posted about it, when we got our couch, here. Then when we came home from our trip back to our hometown, we brought back with us our newly recovered couch pillows, here. That little change must have stirred something inside us to complete some more updates.

We started with more seating. Our living room is much bigger than we remembered it was when we picked out our couch last spring. (we picked it out before we even moved into the apartment–so we were just going on our memory from the original walk through of the house) We like our couch, but it is the only seating we had in there. If we invited friends over for movie nights or anything, we didn’t have anywhere for them to sit. I mean, even just Drew and I on the couch together watching a movie was a little cramped. We originally thought about getting a chair or two, but after searching several times over the summer for different chairs, we couldn’t find anything that we thought would go well with our couch. After thinking it over, we decided that our living room was big enough that we might as well just get the matching love-seat to our couch. So that is what we did.

However, we soon realized that in order for both the couch and the love-seat to work in the space, we would have to do a little rearranging. Because they were a little too close and cramped in the space that they were currently in.

Not to mention that we needed to get some organization going on the other part of the living room anyway:

So we did a little switcheroo and ended up with a layout that we liked a whole lot better anyway.

Did you notice that our love-seat came with even more of those ugly diamond weave throw pillows that I very much dislike?

We ended up moving the TV underneath the windows and Drew did a better job of organizing all the electronics this time. We obviously also need a bigger and more efficient TV cabinet to hold all those things in. Instead of that $10 white cabinet that I got at a flea market last summer and intended to sand and re-paint and use to hold art supplies last year. Obviously that never happened. But moving on.

Since the night was still young, we decided to take a little shopping trip to see if we could find a new light for the space (instead of the one in the top photo covered in hanging Mardi Gras beads from Drew’s old apartment) and a curtain rod long enough to stretch over all three windows. The ones above are what we ended up with–both from Lowe’s. We also ended up with two of these:

Two 6×9 foot canvas drop cloths. I’d heard of people making curtains out of drop cloths before and it had been on my list of projects to try in our apartment for a while. I hadn’t quite gotten the inspiration to complete the project until we starting switching things around in the living room. Does that ever happen to you too? One little change and you are inspired to change everything? Anyway, for the living room, I wanted 4 curtain panels to go in between each of the three windows, so I figured this would be the best room to try these out in since each drop cloth was only $12.85. Four curtain panels for our huge windows at only $25–I’m in!

I popped those guys in the washer and dryer and ended up with these nice little beauties.

Since I needed 4 panels, it worked out where all I would have to do is cut each drop cloth in half. I found the best way to do this was just to lay each of them out in the floor, measure out the middle, and cut right down the line.

Although, while doing this, I did realize that my drop cloths were only 69 inches wide on the shorter side instead of the 72 inches that they should have been. I didn’t measure them before I washed them, but since this fabric was made for painting/technical uses and not intended for making things out of, I’d imagine that it was not pre-washed or pre-shrunk. So by washing, my cloths shrunk a few inches. If you decide to make your own drop cloth drapes, definitely make sure that you wash your fabric before you start. (Honestly, a good rule of thumb is to wash any fabric before using it to make anything. That way you never have to worry about shrinkage issues after putting in all your time and hard work.)

I also didn’t realize until after washing my drop cloths, that they had seams right down the middle of the 9 ft length. :( If I hadn’t already washed them and gotten excited about making my drapes, I would have probably returned them and not made them, since no one really wants a big ugly seam right through the middle of all their curtains. Especially such a wonky seam as this one. (the two pieces that they had sewn together were slightly different sizes–hence one is relatively flat here and the other is super gathered.) However, I decided to continue on and see how they would turn out in the end.

Since one of my drop cloths was a little wonky, I did have to do a little trimming to the sides of the top half to get it to line up a little more evenly. During this process, I ended up cutting off all the outside edge hems that came on the drop cloths, so that all my sides would have even and matching seams. This obviously made more work for myself, but in the end, I’m confident that it made them look better.

Before this post, you didn’t expect to be seeing this did you? Especially since sewing something was on my 20 Before Twenty list all year and I never got around to it. Even though this is my first sewing project on this sewing machine and the first one that I’ve completed in a while, sewing isn’t new to me. My mom is an amazing seamstress and I grew up sewing various things. I used to sew much more when I was younger. However, this is my first sewing project that I attempted 100% on my own. (I’ve made many things by myself before, but my mom was always close by to check to make sure I was doing it right. Or more-so to tell me I was doing it wrong and how I should be doing it instead. This time around she was a little more than 630 miles away.)

So I was more than surprised to find that I didn’t run into a single problem the entire time I was working on these curtains. (It seems like with sewing there is always some problem or another.) That was, after I figured out how to get the tension to work, since for some reason it was messed up, even though the knob was on the correct number and after I figured out how to get it to wind the bobbin correctly. The above site was a very welcome one. That was like my fourth bobbin winding attempt. (My mom’s sewing machine that I always used winds them much differently.)

I ended up with a huge pile of thread on the floor from the previous three bobbin winding attempts that I had to unwind. :( But after I got that problem solved, the rest was smooth sailing. :)

Although, I think I spent more time ironing and pressing seams that I did actually sewing. But any good seamstress can tell you that the secret to good sewing is in the ironing. It keeps everything neat and in place and ensures that your stitches are exactly where they need to be and not messed up from wrinkles. In the end, it also makes your product look much more professional since everything lays nice and flat. Plus, if you do it well enough, you don’t have to pin everything. And I for one, would much rather iron than mess with pinning everything.

So I ironed over each seam for the sides of my panels, sewed them down, ironed them over again and then sewed them again. (If you wanted you could double over the seams the first time and iron them, then just stitch them once for the same effect, but since my material was thick and I wanted to make sure to avoid any potential problems, I just stuck to my routine.) Since this fabric is thicker than most normal fabrics, I would suggest using a slightly longer stitch length. I used a 3 on my machine and that worked out well.

That way I ended up with nice, neat inside seams with no raw edges.

And equally crisp and clean outside edges.

Then I repeated the process 7 more times for each side of my four panels.

Once I got to this point, I was a very happy lady. It took quite a while to get all the sides of my 4 panels completed with all the constant ironing. Not to mention that August is the hottest month of the year in New Orleans and the iron was heating up my house like nobody’s business.

Then I pressed over 3 and 1/2 inches to sew to create the tube to slide the curtain rod inside. This end I left raw because I didn’t cut the edges off the 6 ft section of my drop cloths and the ends were already sewn up where they wouldn’t fray. Also because my this point, I was tired and didn’t want the extra work. Plus, it was going to be on the backside of the very top of the curtains where no one could see. I went with just a tube for the curtain tops because 1. it was easier and I was tired and 2. because I wanted a little more of a subtle gathered effect that this provides. If you are doing this you could also make tabs for the tops, you could make back tab curtains if you didn’t want the tabs to show, or if you want to, you could just get rings with clips on them for your curtain rod and just clip them up (I love these clipped up ones from Young House Love).

Once I finished the top hem, I got my first look at what they would look like hanging. It was kind-of love at first sight.

While I had it up there, I also pinned up the bottom to see how far up I needed to hem them. It ended up being just about 8 inches, which was right above our tall baseboards, so I didn’t cut the bottom off and just hemmed them the way that I did the top. If you are feeling really fancy, you can try a blind hem, to make the seam across the bottom less noticeable, but it is really more work than it is worth. No one is going to be paying that much attention to the seam on the bottom of your curtains.

Let’s get to the finished product already. Once I finished all the top and bottom hems on the other three panels and got them up there (and ended up moving the curtain rod supports and tightening them), this is what I was left with:

LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. They make the room look 1000 times more polished, cozy and make it feel bigger.

I absolutely love the soft, billowy, subtle gathers in them. Even though they are made of thick fabric, the light does still shine through them somewhat, which I think is really pretty. I didn’t make them to block sunlight–I just made them to look pretty.

I also think the color and texture is perfect as well.

I think the strong verticals of the drapery panels are the perfect balance to the repeated horizontal lines of the wooden blinds. Plus I like the mixture of textures and the mixture of soft and hard lines.

They are a lot more distinct at nighttime when the light isn’t shining through them. It is easier here to see the contrast with the blinds as well. In the end, each of my panels ended up being about 32 inches wide. I didn’t intend for them to close, I just want them to add interest to the gaps between the windows, however, I think they are actually wide enough that if they were all pulled out flat, they would actually cover the windows. Since we have blinds, there really isn’t any reason to do that though.

Although, as you can see here, the seam that I mentioned before that went through the middle of the drop cloths is pretty noticeable right down the middle of each curtain panel. :( I would prefer that they not have those seams, but right now I love them enough not to care. It is more noticeable when the light is shining through them, but other than that it isn’t too bad. Most people aren’t going to inspect them close enough to notice or care. Plus as inexpensive as they were, I can’t really complain.

We were so impressed by how our living room was starting to look, that we even hopped right in the car to search for a new TV stand to make the living room look even nicer.

We looked at different furniture stores, but in the end liked this one from Target the best. Plus it was a little less expensive and on sale. It is so much better in both appearance and functionality.

Sorry for all the different lighting in all the pictures. I took them at various times during the day. This one shows the morning light coming through the windows.

Eventually I also might put something behind the glass on the TV cabinet doors to hide the DVDs and electronic equipment in there. Maybe fabric? It is a little too much black all in that area.

Even though we have another couch and bigger furniture in our living room, it somehow feels bigger. Maybe because we are using all the space better now? It most definitely feels more cozy, comfortable and relaxing. :)

View in from the foyer. We definitely need to add art on the walls next. :) Eventually, we also plan to find end tables for the ends of the couch, add another small lamp on the opposite side of the room as the current lamp, and possibly upgrade our tiny table to a coffee table or tufted ottoman that fits the scale of the room better. But we’ll get to those eventually.

For now, we are enjoying the progress we’ve made on it so far. :)

Since I pulled a muscle in my lower back when I was home the other week, I’ve been trying my best to sit up straight and to take breaks from working on the computer (Since I tend to slouch over when I’ve been working on the computer for a while). I’m on the computer a lot– reading blogs, blogging, working on design work or websites for our business, checking e-mails and when school starts I will be on it even more for papers and school work. As much as I love being on the computer, it definitely is nice to take breaks to do other things. Since I only have two more weeks before fall semester starts, I decided to try my best to spend the next two weeks doing something that I enjoy and that I never have time for during the school year.

It was perfect timing when I ran across this August stitch-along on an embroidery blog. (see week 1 & week 2 & the flickr group) I really like hand sewing and I think it is a mindless and relaxing thing to do. (Plus it is easy to sit and sew while watching television, chatting with a friend, etc…) I really like the freestyle type project that they have going on this month, so I decided to jump in and stitch along.

This project is basically to just grab a piece of fabric that you want to embellish and some coordinating thread colors and follow the pattern of the fabric with your embroidery. Pretty simple and mindless.

I chose this green fabric with a basic cream floral pattern. It is some leftover fabric that I had in my fabric stash that I had used for a project and didn’t have any plans to use for anything else. I think it is pretty, but I thought some colored embroidery might spruce it up a little.

Here are my thread colors. I think they will be pretty accents to the petals on the flowers on the fabric.

If you’ve never hand sewn before or don’t know how, no worries! It is never too late to learn! You should join me on my August stitch along. Just grab a small piece of fabric, some embroidery thread in coordinating colors, a needle, scissors, and an embroidery hoop. That’s all you need!

I’m using a 5 inch embroidery hoop, but any will work. Just stretch your fabric in there and you are ready to roll.

Start with a simple back stitch around the outlines of your fabric design and then use other stitches from there for more embellishment.

If you don’t know any stitches or even where to start, here are some embroidery tips/tutorials from the blog, Wild Olivestrands, sewing, stabbing and starting, running and back stitch, stem and split stitches, chain and detached chain stitch, fill stitches part 1, fill stitches part 2.

I only worked on mine for a little bit last night while Drew was watching the first Saints pre-season football game and I got more done than I expected to. I can’t wait to see how it turns out. I like projects like this that you can make up as you go. :)

Join me on the August stitch-along! I’d love to see what pretty things you create!

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