Monthly Archives: February 2011

From Amateur to Professional: My Office Makeover

Once upon a time – a long, long time ago – I shared the TV spot on my office makeover.  My brilliant friend Ryan helped me take my office from dated and dismal to stylish and sophisticated.  It’s time to bring you up to speed.

I inherited this new office about the same time we were planning our makeover.  This picture below is the blank office space and the furniture I had to use.  It was literally a blank slate – white walls and all.   My friend Ryan is the one working diligently and my sweet Doug is the one posing in the background.  Never one to miss the opportunity for a Kodak moment, that one.

We didn’t have a budget for new furniture even though it clearly needed a pick-me-up.  The space desperately needed character but we couldn’t paint the walls.  And let’s be honest, I didn’t have a huge budget.

But do not fear!  Ryan is one skilled designer (and a very generous friend).  Below are the after pictures:

I’ll be sharing how we painted the furniture, gave it new hardware, and created a chalkboard focal point.

Oh, when I saw “we” I mean “Ryan.”  I just did as I was told. And Doug brought his muscles.

I’ll show how Ryan dressed up this everyday bookshelf.

I’ll show you how we reinvigorated this lamp from the thrift store.

I’ll show a trick I learned from the Curator of the Utah State Capitol on how to keep these canvas prints and other artwork level day in and day out.

Didn’t he do great? Stay tuned for the play by play!

There’s more of this office makeover! Click here to see my bookshelf redesign, here to see how to update an old lamp, here to see how we painted the desk and gave it new hardware, and here to see it debut on ABC 4.)

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Filed under DIY, home decor

No Sew Burlap Runner: Giddy Up!

I’m gearing up for a cowboy themed birthday party (yee-haw!) and threw together this burlap runner without sewing, embroidering, or stitch witchery.  This runner (or a tablecloth) would be great for fall festivities, too!

First, cut the general size you want the runner.

I’ve cut the top edge but it is not pretty.  (No matter how many times I cut fabric in my sewing class I still can’t cut straight.)

Second, find a fiber that runs the full length of the edge.  It should be about three or four fibers in.  Give it a little tug, like I’ve done below.

Next, work that fiber out of the full length of the fabric so that it creates a clear line that you’ll follow to keep the edge straight.

Working from the outermost fiber inward toward your guideline, fray away each of the fibers.

When the outside edges are peeled away, you’ll have a straight line!  Just cut the frayed edges to about the same length and you’ve done it!

Who thinks burlap is too itchy?

Also, who can give me some pointers on taking photos at night? Flash or no flash?  As a late-night blogger, natural light simply is not an option.

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No. 25: Sew Something with a Sewing Machine

My 25th goal on my 30 Before 30 list was to sew something with a sewing machine.  To help me accomplish this goal, one that I had failed in the past, I enrolled in an online sewing course via Whipstitch Fabrics, which is based in Atlanta, Georgia.  Deborah, our instructor, teaches us via video or photo tutorials a skill or a project every day for six weeks.  We’re on the fourth week so far and I’ve sewn a handful of projects – even if some of them did not turn out exactly perfect.

One of our first projects was a lined tote bag.  I sewed two (!!!) because I was so proud of myself.  My first was a University of Utah print (go Utes!) that looks just fine from one side.

However, if you look at the other side you’ll see that I sewed the print upside down.  Ooopsie!  Lesson learned.

I made a second tote bag to practice again.  Everything looks just fine, eh?

Not so fast! Take a gander at those straps – one is at least twice the width of the other.  This will still take some practice to remedy.

Our most recent project was designed to help us learn to sew curves.  It is an eye mask that was supposed to turn out like this:

Image courtesy of Whipstitch Fabrics.

I’m not so good at sewing curves, as you can see below.  My eye mask blends right into the straps.  Nuts.

This one I’m going to practice again tonight.

We also made a drawstring tote bag.  Mine turned out pretty good, except that I miscalculated the measurements a bit so the base of the bag is far too small for the length of fabric above it.

We’ll see if I can keep up with the last two weeks because each week is increasingly challenging.  I have skipped one project entirely – it required us to create our own continuous bias tape and use it in a project.  I tried to make bias tape twice to no avail and I even bought some bias tape just to get through the project.  Unfortunately, the tape I bought was too narrow for the project so I just skipped the whole thing.

Raise your hand if you despise bias tape!

Update: I’ve also finished an apron!

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Filed under 30 Before 30

DIY Felt Valentine

Following this simple tutorial from The Crafting Chicks, I made these cute little Valentines for the ladies at my office.

I slipped a little note and some chocolates inside.

Who knew felt could be so fun?

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Impromptu Office Redesign: I Need a Nap!

My apologies for my recent awol.  In addition to daily sewing classes (!!!), I was swept up in an impromptu office redesign with my friend, and ABC4 contributor, Ryan Taylor.  It was a whirlwind of DIY projects and shopping extravaganzas that consumed my life for several days.  I’ll walk you through all of the amazing things I learned from Ryan and how to accomplish what we did!

For a preview of the huge transformation,  check out the finished clip on Good Things Utah! See it here!

Big thanks to Ryan! Stay tuned.

Click here for the full redesign.

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Valentine’s Day Gifts for Him

Romance is in the air and it’s time to sprinkle your love one with tokens of your affection, be them naughty or nice.    Below are some ideas for the men in your life!

There are oodles of shaving products out there but I like this product from Etsy seller Sweet Petula.  (Disclaimer: I’ve never tried it but I like the name “Mr. Mustachio”.) What better way to say “let’s cuddle” than to say “shave that shaggy hair off your face.”

Available here.

Try programming this scrolling LED belt buckle before he opens it so the message tells him exactly how you want to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

Available here.

Have you been saving big for his gift this year? Look no further than what every man wants: Beer on wheels.

Available here.

Is your man musically inclined?  Tell him he rocks your world with this engraved guitar pick.

Available here.


Tell him of your affections in a practical way with this “I’m Nuts About You” key chain.

Available here.

Appeal to the romance of the season and his love of the television (and chocolate) with this “You Turn Me On” chocolate remote control.

Available here.

Encourage him to be a Trojan man (pun intended) with this clever beanie.

Available here.

How do you celebrate Valentine’s Day?


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Create a Super Centerpiece for Your Super Bowl Party

For the most part, I am overly ecstatic that football season is over.  It seems like there has been a football game every day since August!  I, for one, have had it with MNF and Sundays wasted away.

I do, however, like to party.  (Especially if it’s celebrating the end of football!) And if I were throwing a Super Bowl party, I would create a miniature football field just like the one I originally created for my nephew’s sports party.

This project was easy and inexpensive.  I bought the football-shaped chip bowl and the itty-bitty football at the dollar store.  I then bought a small piece of sod and cut it to size.  I created the field goals out of skewer sticks and hot glue.  With a little paint, this cute diorama was a huge hit!

Who’s partying this Sunday?

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