DIY Felt Coasters

Most days I come home, mildly exhausted, wanting only to lie on the couch, snuggle the doggie, and eventually fall asleep – all the while already being so tired by the thought of doing it again tomorrow. On good days, I might have enough energy to make dinner. On great days, I may even do the dishes after. Lately, I have been a bit better about it and my husband has been excited to have me cooking again, although he has been less than thrilled (I can imagine, he really isn’t a complainer) that I continue to Bring It On Down 2 Veganvillenoms, noms.

That is all beside the point. What I am getting at here is that I am a very sleepy person. A sleepy person who likes to give herself enough responsibilities that she has no choice but to keep chugging through the day. While my free time is few and far between, most of the time, if I do find myself with an unclaimed second or the rare occasion where one or a few of my responsibilities are able to relax a bit, I am all too good about giving into the temptation of doing absolutely nothing. But as one recent evening will stand to prove, when I do utilize and embrace those free moments to cross something off my long list of would-be-nice-to-dos, I feel like a spandex-wearing, makeup-rocking, Bowie-esque, rock star.

It was just a week or two ago that I sat down one night to make not only my canvas bag and my leather coin/wallet, but ALSO some fun felt coasters. I have tried to spread out sharing these easy DIYs for two reasons:

1. Let’s be honest, blogging is super fun but it is still something I hate to do half-assed. And while all of my posts are far from perfect, they still take some time. Extra time that isn’t naturally part of the schedule. Honest truth, because I love you.

2. I want this spectacular evening to motivate me as long as it can to keep up the extra effort; to milk that progress and let it fuel even more Ziggy Stardust moments.

Today I am sharing some quick, easy felt coasters I made and how I made them, but (again, with the honesty) it really is more for me than you. I hope this last of three easy DIY posts will continue to serve as a reminder that while sleep is nice, as long as I am still getting enough of it and I can fit it in, doing some projects like this, really makes me a happy lady.

+++ If this isn’t motivation enough Sweet Thing blogger, Jessie’s totally beautiful home, which she has only been in for THREE MONTHS, will hopefully make me feel guilty enough about my slow progress to provide me with the swift kick in the rear that I need to get some shiz done.

DIY FELT COASTERS

Supplies

Felt

Foam Sheet with one adhesive side

Scissors

Round template of some kind – I used a candle

Pen

Needle and embroidery thread

Drink to place on coaster (for testing and enjoying success)

Starting with the foam sheet, I took a candle and a pen and traced around the candle to create a circle which I could lightly see on the sheet. I repeated this process six times because given my candle/circle template size, this is how many coasters I could make from one sheet.

After I had traced the circles, I cut them out. Then removing their backing to expose the adhesive side, I arranged them one-by-on on the felt with at least 1” of breathing room between them.

Next I cut around the foam circles on the felt, leaving a little excess over the edges – about a ¼” around the entire circumference. And voila, felt coasters.

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I went on to add a little extra detail because, like many, I am digging crosses these days. I grabbed some embroidery thread, pulled back the felt slightly and with only two straight stitches, I had a simplified version of the shape.

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I especially like them against our burl coffee table. Army green with bright blood orange-red is a happy combo – what colors are you making your coasters?

Felt Coasters2 by Settling Sideways

Felt Coasters by Settling Sidewaysv2

Here is even more cross-love:

Apothecary Soap Dish by Izola

Apothecary Soap Dish by Izola, PHOTOS by IZOLA

Sam and Anne's Bedroom from Apartment Therapy Feature

Beautiful Bedroom from Sam & Anne’s Cozy Modern Blend House Tour as featured on Apartment Therapy featuring Piawallen Blanket, PHOTOS by APARTMENT THERAPY

Vinyl Wall Sticker Decal from Urban Walls

Vinyl Wall Sticker Decal Art – Plus Sign by Urban Walls, PHOTOS by URBAN WALLS

Cross Box Outlet Cover by Door Sixteen

Cross Box Cord Cover by Door Sixteen, PHOTOS by DOOR SIXTEEN

Medicine Cabinet Cross Project by Door Sixteen

Medicine Cabinet Cross Project by Door Sixteen, PHOTOS by DOOR SIXTEEN

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DIY Card and Phone Case

One of my favorite things about finally having (a very small amount of) free time these days is spontaneous DIY projects. I think I was sitting down to write a thank you note for someone, which was something that was actually on my to-do list, when I noticed that I had a little left over suede from a recent project. Naturally, loving the excuse to procrastinate, I started working on something new. The piece I had was a large rectangle, so I rounded off one of the shorter ends, folded it in thirds, stitched up the two sides, flipped it inside out and called it a day. Then I think I got back to that thank you note. Yay for productivity!

Post thank you note, I realized the flap wasn’t wanting to stay closed much so I cut two slits where the flap overlapped with the inside of the pouch, threaded a few thin pieces of suede through the two holes, and the end. I carry a pretty big bag so this little ‘wallet’ is just the right size to hold my important cards, ID and phone, which is really nice when I want to go somewhere and not worry about my large bag getting in the way. I just snatch this up and party on.

Doesn’t get much easier than that.

wallet1 wallet2

Now I just need to mail that thank you note. Life, why you so hard sometimes?

DIY Canvas Triangle Bag

Happy Wednesday lovey dovies.

As I mentioned a couple days ago, my life just finally calmed down a bit after being pretty nutso there for a while, so needless to say, it has been quite some time since I was able to get any fun projects done. I figured for getting back into it, I may want to do something small and simple – not put too much stress on the situation.

I also mentioned earlier this week that I am trying to be a bit healthier (physically, mentally, etc.), and with that, I have started taking lunch and snacks into work (sorry Chiptole, I ❤ Teriyaki, Havana, and others). But in doing so, I wasn’t overly excited by any of the typical lunch bags you see out there. So in an effort to create something a bit more unique yet simple, I figured I’d start with a $1.50 canvas bag. To spruce it up a bit I pulled out my painters tape and some black fabric paint I had left over from a school project.

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And a few minutes later, boom! Triangle bag. I am kinda in love with it. It is so easy, very graphic and was SO cheap that even if something spills in it or a handle breaks or any other traumatic event occurs, it can be redone in just minutes.

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What are your favorite quick DIYs? I am feeling really addicted to the instant gratification they provide; in fact, right after I made this bag I  quickly started a second project that was just about on par with the simplicity of this one and will be on the blog later this week.

DIY: iPhone Case

The rumors are true – I finally got an iPhone. And I doubt my world will ever be the same. Social media has now officially taken over my life. I am in love with Twitter and Instagram, in addition to the platforms I was already a part of pre-iPhone. I want to read everything anyone has ever said, ever, and view every single filtered image in existence! But, since I know that I am joining this whole smart phone/social media world a bit late, I will leave it at that.

Naturally when I was waiting for my iPhone to arrive, I spend countless hours combing the internet for the world’s best cover. I discovered two things: iPhone accessories, in general, are pretty obscenely expensive for what they are, and I WANT THEM ALL. I found myself with a rotating list of 20 favorites that I just couldn’t minimize.

One day, after spending way too much time on the internet again looking for the phone cover of my dreams, I came home and snuggled with my adorable and loving puppy to ease my woos. Then I Instagram-ed 10 or so photos of her, a few of which I have included below:

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Jenny image

 Then I had an idea.

Jenny is a beauty and would be so perdy on an iPhone cover, how about I attempt something myself? Great idea! (In theory..)

Sometimes when I make a plan for a project in which I won’t be following someone else’s tutorial, I take the intelligent route and do ton of research and planning – like when I did my duvet cover. Then there are times when I get incredibly impatient and just jump in, feet first, into the frigid and sharp-pebble infested waters, and due to my slow reaction time I sit there long enough to freeze off my toenails and cut up my delicate foot-pads, eventually running out crying to my dear doggie, who doesn’t exactly feel sorry for me since after all, this was my fault.

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And pour vous, today, you all are the lucky recipients of a tutorial riddled with lots of “to dos,” and possibly more “do nots.” Please learn from my mistakes and make your very own:

BOMB-ASS iPHONE COVER

Supplies

–          Blank or unwanted iPhone cover (do not buy the “bestcase” from Best Case and Accessories, Inc, it is extremely over priced for what you get and if you go with the white version, it will stain immediately, such as when you are trying to put it onto your new, fancy iPhone – yay brown smudges! Also, I might be dirty.) Here is a cheap, sufficient case: clear case from Amazon. 

–          Spray paint in the color of your choice (may be omitted if you would like the case background to remain as is)

–          Rubbing alcohol

–          Dish soap

–          White vinegar

–          Construction paper

–          Exacto knife

–          Cutting board

–          Glue sticks

–          Toothpicks (optional)

–          Mod Podge

–          Sponge brush

–          Acrylic sealer

Step 1 – Clean off your blank cover to prep for spray painting. And just like that, fresh out of the gate, we are onto our first do not:

DO NOT – just use dish soap to clean off the case if it is possible there is a film on the case. What will happen is that once you spray paint, the paint will crackle and not adhere to the surface. This will then cause you to cry over the sink as you try to get all the black paint off the sink itself, your hands, and naturally the phone case for a do-over.

DO – take some rubbing alcohol on a cotton swab and run it over your case to see if any film comes off. If it does, use a greater amount of your solution with some paper towels to get that entire filminess off prior to moving on.

Now you should be safe to clean off your case with some soap and water. I also took a cotton ball with a little white vinegar on it to try and get off any nasty spots/smudges. Let your case dry completely before spray painting.

Cleaning the case

Step 2 – Using an old shoebox or your scrap paper of choice to prep for spray painting. Because I wanted to get all the edges and the back of my case, I used two rolls of doggie bags to hold my case off the ground slightly. Anything small with a few inches of height will work. Spray the case in a back and forth motion, adding new coats as necessary. I did about three coats with 20 minutes in between. Allow to dry for several hours or overnight, or while you are working on the artwork for your case.

Spray painting

Step 3 – As I mentioned, I chose to do a photo of Jenny, but any image would really work here as long as it will fit on the back of the case. Remember the more detailed the photo, the more teeny tiny pieces you will be dealing with. I would say this image of Jenny was pretty detailed and therefore took quite a while to cut out and glue together – if you want a faster result go with a more simplified image. This is the photo I chose for my case:

Starting Image

Once I printed the image, having it scaled to the size I wanted for my case, I traced the lines that would separate my color layers, like so:

Tracing image

Another, DO NOT: Don’t pick a complicated image and assume it will only take you one American Horror Story episode. If you don’t want to spend the majority of the afternoon on this step, again, pick a simple image.

Step 4 – Start with the most prominent or base color of your image and cut out the entire outline. From this we will layer on the other colors, gluing as we go.

Cutting out part two

Step 5 – Just work up from there. I generally cut all pieces needed in one color before moving onto the next. I also found it easiest to first cut out the color pieces from the original image and then use them as a template to cut from the actual color paper. I used toothpicks to help with getting glue on the small pieces and transferring them to the master. Make sure your image is all glued down as you go, rather than just placing the paper bits on top of each other. This will keep them steadily in place as you continue onto the next step.

Cutting out part three

Step 6 – Once all the cutting and gluing of your image has been completed, place these pieces on your previously spray painted cover. I used a small amount of glue just in the center of my piece to try and keep my image in place before I “sealed” it. Carefully paint a thin layer of Mod Podge over the entire case. Repeat this step once or twice until you have a solid good layer of clear, dried Mod Podge. Ensure the case has fully dried before moving onto the next step.

DO NOT: Paint a thick layer. And definitely don’t paint on a thick layer with a small paint brush. Not only will this take much longer to dry, you will end up with pretty significant brush strokes in your dried glue.

DO: Use a sponge brush. They are generally about 99 cents at the hardware or craft store and work much, much better for this sort of project. The Mod Podge might not go one 1000% perfectly, and that is ok, but it will be much better than the regular bristled paintbrush.

Before Mod Podge

Right before mod podge

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Step 7 – Using 220 grit wet/dry sandpaper, wet sand your case to smooth out any imperfections, bumps, or textures in your Mod Podge layer.

DO NOT: Use water to wet-sand your case. Mod Podge is water based so this will make your case tacky again and mess with the overall layer. This image documents my mistake:

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DO: Use oil, such as olive oil, for the wet sanding process.

Step 8 – Use extra fine steel wool to polish your case (if desired.)

Step 9 – Mod Podge should be mostly waterproof, but it isn’t completely. It is always best to add an acrylic sealer to any Mod Podge project once completed. I used an old can I had of Acrylic spray sealer that I used to use in my drawing classes. This worked great and even gave my case an added glossy look. I would recommend using a spray sealer as it is much easier to have it go on smoothly. Let dry in a well ventilated location (that spray sealer is stinky stuff.)

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And you are done! I don’t have any photos of my phone in the case because my actual camera is temporarily broken and I am stuck with only Instagram or my camera phone in the immediate time-frame, but you get the idea.

Overall, I do love the case. I am stupid-proud of it and I keep showing it to my friends (often thinking something like, “oh, Suzie hasn’t seen this yet!” Only for Suzie to respond, “yeah, that’s cool, you have already showed that to me a few times” – AKA “stop fishing for compliments, you crazed dog loving loser who spent all day on a silly iPhone case. You and your dog are dead to me.” Sometimes I wish **Suzie wasn’t such a bitch.)

** I have no friend named Suzie, and everyone has been nothing but nice to me about my silly case and I love them all forever for that. Sorry for saying “bitch,” by the way.

It did take a long time, but I think that would have been greatly minimized if I had done a bit of pre-planning and had less screw ups. Is it perfect? Absolutely not, it has some bumps and slightly odd textures that can be noticed under bright light, but I do think if I ever did a round two, it would be pretty stinking close to perfection. In other words, I learned a lot from this go-round and think if you avoid the ‘do nots’ you should end up with pretty great results. I believe in you!

And… since that lovey, dovey red and pink holiday is around the corner, and there are so many people who are a part of a(n) (annoying) couple (myself included) I thought I would throw out an idea/variation for a Valentine’s Day gift – which would be a lot less time consuming then a Jenny cover:

Valentines

I hope someone out there does try this someday and that they (you, perhaps) have better luck with it having read through this trial and error. Maybe even for this V-day – if you need a last minute gift idea for your significant other, your crush, your best friend, your not-so-best-friend that you know is getting you something and you have to therefore get something for, or for yourself, if you are single or if you just want to celebrate how awesome you are.

After all, I am quite jealous of the magnitude of your awesomeness.

Have an extraordinarily sexy (like Rihanna at the Grammys – say whaaa?) week. Hugs for all.

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P.S. I can’t stop watching these incredibly adorable videos . Check them out, you will undoubtedly keel over due to cuteness. (Olive Us didn’t sponsor this post, I just stumbled upon them and I am now addicted.)

a little less PURPLE, a little more DESK

So, my computer was all like “Yo, Ryann, I am feeling like I am really ready to commit and settle down in one location, the life of a drifting laptop is getting a bit old.”

To which I naturally responded, “I hear ya, let me see what I can do, because I’m just that nice.”

I had thought of making a pipe shelving unit/desk, a la, The Brick House, but let’s be honest, I was too lazy. Instead we went with a much more simple DIY:

IKEA VIKA ALEX storage unit, white $50

IKEA LAGAN kitchen countertop 1″ x 25″ x 49″, beech $39

IKEA EKBY VIKTOR shelf 29″, white $6 (2)

IKEA EKBY STODIS shelf brackets, black $.50 (4)

Home Depot heavy-duty shelving brackets in white, $9 ea (2)

Screws, long and short

Screwdriver

Total Cost: $121

The challenge was the limited amount of space for the “office” in our apartment. In our previous place we had a whole second bedroom, but even there we never had a proper setup. With my classes I have been very excited to have my own space, a devoted area to do homework, and a much better spot to focus on my work rather than the couch or in the bed.

We needed something small for the very awkward, approximately 4′ deep space off the bedroom by the closet. Here is a before photo (please note again the purple):

First I painted over that yucky purple, which was the last of it – paint me a happy lady.

Secondly, I put together the storage unit. I am really happy with it and seems very sturdy. I also like that it is finished on the back, so there isn’t a bad angle for it to be seen from.

From here Alex and I went on a super duper fun wild goose chase – turns out Alex and I haven’t really ever bought any wood or been to a lumber yard — it also turns out a 1″ x 2′ x 4′ piece of wood isn’t something too easy to come by, at least in the South Bay. Everything is planks or thin pressed wood sheets. Maybe this is something most people know, but we didn’t and it was slightly embarrassing asking some workers who clearly thought this was common knowledge, that no, they didn’t have anything like that. So since we had already bought and put together the storage unit and had our plan, we didn’t want to back out and still wanted to find a way to make this work. As you can see from the supplies list above, we did find a solution, and while the dimensions were not perfect, I actually love it more than I thought. The IKEA countertop is great, it has a nice thickness and seems like good quality wood. I lightly sanded the countertop, cleaned it off with Murphy’s Soap and gave it some Teak Oil love and it came out looking perdy.

Once we had everything we needed, the rest was very easy. We put the storage unit up against the wall, marked the height and screwed in the heavy-duty L-brackets. Once the brackets were in the wall, we balanced the countertop on them and the storage unit, ensured that the placement was straight, and used small screws to attach the brackets to the countertop from underneath.

After then hanging a couple shelves, our make-shift office was turning out to be a nice little computer nook. It isn’t fully styled yet, but I am loving it so far. So is my computer. And Jenny. She is very pleased to be my fuzzy foot rest under this nice desk-cave we have seemingly built for her.

All we need now is to be on the lookout for a sweet office chair.

Waterproofing

Alright people, look alive — this one is exciting.

My Problem:  No dining room.  No outdoor furniture.  Small outdoor “patio.”  Left over dining table and chairs from previous apartment, which was much bigger (but also less glamourous – and if you know me, I basically ooze glamour.)

My Solution:  Waterproof that shiz!

Well if there ever was going to be a simple tutorial this is it…

SUPPLIES – Murphy’s Soap, Wilco’s Teak Oil, sandpaper, paper towels, rags, Waterproofing Finish, and item to be waterproofed

Step (1) sand any trouble spots–  I started with a cheap, plain wooden IKEA table that had been bumped and bruised a bit over the years, so I only sanded those  spots that needed a little love.  ONLY SAND IN THE DIRECTION OF THE GRAIN.  YES, I AM YELLING, and NO, I WONT STOP UNTIL YOU UNDERSTAND THE SEVERITY OF THIS STATEMENT.

Step (2) clean —  I used Murphy’s Oil Soap, because it is the best, but feel free to use a lesser soap if you like being less awesome.  Try to get any little wood dust from the sanding and make it a fresh base for our next steps.

Step (3) rub oil all over it —  I used Wilco’s Teak Oil, which you need to be very careful with, but looks super duper beautiful.  Basic rule is to obviously follow the directions on whatever oil treatment you use, but here I simply took a rag covered in the oil and rubbed it on pretty generously.  Allow for this to sit for about ten minutes then rub off any access.  Depending on how much came off, consider doing a second coat.  The chairs only really wanted to drink up one coat and the table was a bit more thirsty and took two.  Generally, when you rub off the excess, if you have a lot come off, you were probably generous enough with the first coat and don’t need a second.  Naturally, the reverse is true, if you don’t have much rub off go ahead and do a second coat and repeat until your furniture appears to not be soaking up much more.

Step (4) waterproof — once your furniture feels dry and your excess oil has been rubbed off, use a waterproofing sealant to lock in all that hard work and beauty.  Be careful when purchasing a waterproofing finish, as most are tinted, for the look I wanted I selected a transparent solution because I wanted the color of the table to remain unchanged.  I used Behr’s transparent waterproof stain.  Mostly because I haven’t had horrible luck with Behr and it was the smallest available can.  It worked great and am very happy with how it turned out.

Unfortunately I didn’t take before pictures, mostly because I thought it would look the same, but afterwords I was kicking myself because the oil step really made the table shine and just look yummy.

Here are some after photos – yay!  Now come over, we will eat dinner, outside, whilst watching the sun set over the ocean!  Sorry to be such a snooty-puss about my view, but I still can’t get over it.  Too bad that Jenny’s legs are too short for her to see the view, she has no idea why we moved into this little box.

 

In other news, last week, about a couple weeks in, at 3 AM in the morning Alex and I were woken up by what sounded like raccoons fighting.  We run to the door, look outside, and there, in the pond right outside our door, were three soaking wet real-life RACCOONS…. FIGHTING.  It was pretty fascinating, but very loud so Alex told them to “get outtahar!”

In other, other news, I have primed the bedroom and living room and bought my paint.  Only took me about a month to prime, at this rate all the projects I have planned for the place will take me approximately seven years.  I suppose that highlights one pro about the apartment being barely bigger than 500 sq ft… at least there is only potential for about 500 sq ft of projects.

More photos and posts to come, lovelies.

FEELING TUFT-Y

Tutorial time you sexy minxes!

I recently spent months looking through local Craigslist ads for a couch, and after checking out a couple, we finally found a really nice, black, leather sofa with a chaise.  When we got it there were a couple of buttons missing off the tufts, which I assumed would be an easy item to repair.  This was a fair assumption (go me!):

Replacing buttons on tufted furniture/adding tufts to furniture cushions

Materials:

Long embroidary neeedle

Buttons

Back buttons

An episode of Mad Men

Directions:

1.  Start your episode of Mad Men.

2.  Measure out 9 forearm lengths of your thread.  Line up the two ends of the thread and the fold in the end of the thread.   This should make a length with four strings of thread.  Thread the needle with the four strings.  Loop it through and tie the eight strings together at the end.  This eight strings will allow for a tight hold between the top button and bottom button.

3.  Pull the thread so that the needle is near the tied end of your thread.  Hook the button at the opposite end of the thread.  Pull your needle through the cushion from the top of the cushion to the back, being careful to try to keep perpendicular to the cushion to make for a straight line for the thread.

4.  Once pulled through tightly attach the back button.  Cut the thread near the needle and take the two sections of four strings.  Loop one over and through the other to make a simple knot.  Pull as tightly as you can and repeat.  Loop one set of the strings around the back button five times and repeat the knot process.

5.  From there you can trim the excess length in the strings and boom, your tufted.

If you are adding tufts where it was previously tuft-less, you have a ton of options – tufting patterns are pretty much endless.  And by endless I mean there are, like, at least three options:

Simply mark the underside of your cushion with a fabric pencil where you would like the tufts to go and follow the steps above.  If you are reupholstering a piece entirely, the fabric component complicates things a bit and it might be a little while before I climb that mountain.. sorry if I am disappointing anyone that was looking for that level of tuft-y magic..

In other news.. HOLY GLEE FINALE, Batman!  Way to totally make my little heart smile and reaffirm my love for Finn.  (In a strictly show/character sort of way.  No offense Mr. Hudson, but my husband is way hotter and 18 is a little young for me.)

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