Monday, April 23, 2012

I"ll Be Back!

You might have noticed that I've been absent a whole lot lately.  I wish I could report that I've been traveling somewhere exotic or busily engaged in a life changing new hobby.

The truth is that I've been trying to rebuild the design business after our recent move to a new city.  Being a small business owner means that every time we move I need to find new clients, trades and sources.

For any of you who blog you know how time consuming it can be.  I love that it's forced me to do all the small and large projects that I might otherwise take months or years to finish up.  I don't love that I am devoting hours each day to this non-paying pursuit while I should be focussed on my paying business. 

I have decided to take a couple of weeks to get things moving and leave the blog on the back burner.  I will be back mid May and hope to report that things are under control and I'm only a short time away from fortune and fame.

In the meantime, head over to Interior Groupie for our first Blogger Book Club book review.  Heather is reviewing The Paris Wife and everyone is welcome to chime in.

If you missed out on this book, get to the book store and pick up next month's read.  We will be reviewing "When God Was a Rabbit" by Sarah Winman on June 4 right here.

See you all soon!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Book of Jonas - A Book Review

"What is it like to lose everything?" asked the man, the stranger who was there to help.
And Younis fixed him with his pale gren eyes and said, "What is it like not to?"
Looking for something to do this weekend?  I highly recommend this beautiful page turner.

When we meet the protagonist, Jonas, he is a 15-year-old orphan of war from an unnamed Muslim country.  He has been relocated to America through the humanitarian efforts of a relief organization.  Adjusting to the new way of life is difficult enough but Jonas is additionally suffering the loss of everything he has ever known...his family, his friends and his home.  The biggest obstacle standing in the way of Jonas' happiness and recovery are the memories of the life he left behind.  Unwilling to remember his difficult past he lies, denies and  spirals into a addiction and depression.

Jonas is introduced to Rose, grieving mother of missing US soldier Christopher Henderson.  Christopher was last seen in the small village that was formerly Jonas' home.  Rose is hopeful that Jonas holds the answer to the disappearance of her son. Dau is masterful in illustrating for the reader exactly how different the path of suffering can be through his sad and moving portrayal of these two victims.

Stephen Dau's debut novel is a can't-put-down story told in a sparse but incredibly moving and insightful way. The story moves along quickly by flipping between characters and locations.  Dau's insight into the devastating effects of war from the perspective of both the victims and the  aggressor is startling.  

Sadly, this book reads quickly and in no time it's back on the shelf but the book will stay with you long after you've finished it.

Join the discussion or learn a bit more by heading over to the BlogHer Book Club.

Disclaimer - I was compensated for my review by BlogHer, but the opinions expressed in this review are my own. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

DIY Headboard

It's finally finished.  The headboard I have talked about making forEVER for my daughter's room.

This would definitely fall into the 1 day or less category if you have the whole day to work.

1.  Tape some paper to your wall above the bed and draw out the shape of the headboard.  It's a better idea to only draw one side, fold your paper in half and cut.  This will ensure both sides match.

2. Lay the paper cutout on your plywood and trace the shape.
TIP - have the lumber store cut your plywood to the width and height you need.  This will save you time and it means you only need to cut out the decorative shape.
Tip #2 - Check to see if your lumber store sells off cuts.  These are the leftover pieces that were previously cut for someone else.  I found a piece that was close in size to what I needed and it cost $13 compred to $40 for the entire sheet of plywood. 
3. Use a jig saw and cut along your pencil marks.

4. Lay your foam on the floor and then lay the plywood on top of that.  Using a sharpie, trace around the plywood.  Cut.

Tip - Foam at the fabric store can be pricey.  I bought a roll of camping foam for $20.  It comes in 1", 2", 3" and 4".  I used the 2".
5. Attach foam to plywood with spray adhesive.

6. Lay batting on the floor and then lay plywood on top and cut around the batting leaving enough extra to staple to the back.

7. Do the same thing with the fabric.  If you're using a shape rather than a rectangle for the headboard there will be lots of stapling, adjusting and restapling.  Be patient and don't be afraid to pull the staples out and readjust.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

DIY Designer Tote

As promised in yesterday's post, here are the directions for making your own little diaper tote or just a little carry all if you're not into diapers.  I don't own an e-reader yet but I imagine it's probably something you could tuck in here.

I used a very thick fabric that has the same pattern on both sides so I didn't need to line it.  If you use a thinner fabric you might want to add lining for durability.

1. Cut all your pieces of fabric.  These are my dimensions...
2 @ 8.5" x 9.5"
2 @ 8.5" x 5"
1 @ 2" x 16"

2. Hem the top edges of the front and back.  Pin the accent fabric to right side of front and back and sew.

3. To make the strap fold your long piece of fabric in half with right sides together.  Sew along the sides but leave an opening in the bottom. Flip it right side out.  I needed to use a chop stick for this because the fabric is so thick.  Tuck the raw edges of the unfinished end inside and sew a seam across.  

Trim edges so it's not too bulky when you flip right side out.  Sew finished strap to the inside of the back piece.

4.  Sew velcro to the strap and the front of tote.

5.  Pin and sew ribbon or trim to top and bottom of each piece of accent fabric.
There was a last minute change in trim colour after discovering I didn't have any thread to match the light blue.

6.  Place the 2 finished pieces together, right side facing in.  Sew a 1/2" hem along the bottom and both sides.

7.  To make a box corner, hold one corner and squeeze sides together.  Sew a hem across it 1" from the corner.  Snip the edges for a nice neat corner.

Now go forth and be stylish!

The Shabby Nest

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Virtual Baby Shower

It never ceases to amaze me what you can accomplish online.  Today is a first for me.  I am participating in a virtual baby shower for Kelly and Andy from View Along The Way and their baby girl who will make her world debut in less than 2 weeks.

If you're like me and have never heard of such a thing, head over to the host blog, His & Hers where you'll find links to all the participants.  Like any baby shower there will be food, drinks, sweets and gifts.

My contribution to the shower is a gift for Kelly.  She's a super styling lady and every new mom deserves a little decadence, even if it is in the form of a diaper tote. Celerie Kemble's Bedazzle fabric seemed like the perfect choice so I pulled out the sewing machine and set to work.

This could be a perfect stand in for those days when a few diapers and wipes are all you need.

 Or carrying little stuffies.

Or maybe it's one of THOSE days.  We wouldn't hold it against you Kelly.

Wishing you all the best Kelly, Andy, Weston and baby girl.  I'm sending you all big, virtual hugs and can't wait to see photos of the little muffin once she makes her appearance.  Now go on over to His & Hers and see what other lovely things were brought to the shower.

For those of you who are interested in learning how to make your own little tote check back tomorrow when I'll post the instructions.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Mom Cave - Part 2

I am continuing my journey towards sanity by creating my own little Mom Cave where nobody can step past the invisible perimeters.  If you missed Part 1 go quickly and catch up.
Being a designer means my life is full of fabric samples, paint chips and torn out magazines pages.  Usually they land in the kitchen or dining area and usually they are treated like placemats, surfaces for hot plates or worse.  My solution is a fabric covered bulletin board.

The board was previously used in my son's room but he didn't want it anymore and it was begging for a makeover.

I started by giving it 2 coats of black gloss spray paint.
TIP - If you are using light coloured fabric, cover the cork before spray painting so the paint doesn't show through.
I used some leftover Koto fabric which you might recall was an obsession of mine last year when I declared my love for Alexander Henry (the manufacturer).  Spray glue would work but I was out so hot glue stepped in.  I ironed the fabric and smoothed it out so there were no wrinkles.  I pinned it in place and glued it around all the edges.

I added a very thin trim just to finish it off.
I wanted to show you the finished product hanging in its new habitat but there is very little natural light in this room so I need to work on my photography skills a bit more:(
BTW, for anyone who loves Chiang Mai but can't stomach the price tag on it, get a look at this .

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