Did some work today on Kwik Sew 3672 pattern, only to discover that I chose a poor fabric mate for it. It happens. It’s annoying, but I’m not devastated. To be honest, I’m not sure that it was realistic for me during exercise anyway, but it might have been ok for sleeping in or lounging in the evening. Basically the fabric felt icky on my skin, it was too lightweight, and too stretchy for the pattern. I might try again someday, but I don’t have anything suitable and I’m trying to minimize my new fabric purchases since we’re hiring contractors to replace our windows and siding* (yay!!!!) instead of doing it ourselves. Because of that, it’s going to be a bit lean and I’ll need to focus on making do with what I already have. And believe me, I have plenty, I just need to focus on it instead of checking out the new and shiny. ๐Ÿ˜‰

*This is the first time we’ve let someone else come in and do a whole project. The DIYer/control freak in me is probably going to struggle a bit. But I’m mostly just excited about our house looking nicer and being able to open the windows easily! ๐Ÿ™‚

Ugh! Why do I torture myself so?

Today I did a kettlebell workout for the first time in…well, let’s just not go there, shall we? Anyway, as I was doing it, I realized that I was gonna have to do some shopping. My several-year-old worn-through-a-pregnancy sports bra just wasn’t up to the job. My muscles weren’t the only things a bit sore after that. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

Believe it or not, that wasn’t the torture–the torture was the visit to Old Navy afterwards. The options around here for sports bras is kind of limited, and so is my budget, so I thought I’d check them out and maybe pick up a couple of nicer-than-I-have-now t-shirts while I was at it. <–Stupidest. Idea. Ever. Ok, well, maybe not quite as stupid as this:

Image found via Google

But still, it was pretty close. Partly because I *never* find anything there that I like, but mostly because the quality is exceptionally bad. Seriously, I tried on a sweater thingy and I could literally see my bra through it!! Yes, yes, light colored stripes, dark colored bra, yadda yadda, but still–it’s a freaking sweater. And don’t even get me started on the weirdly square shoulder points that were on everything I tried (and no it wasn’t from hangers–they were all folded). How do people wear that stuff and think it’s acceptable? If you’re looking for 1980’s power-suit-turned-sweater-like-shirt (and it didn’t even have shoulder pads–it simply defied gravity!) Old Navy’s gotcha covered. I will say that I was *thisclose* to buying a K-State tee from there because it was cute, but when I tried it on I realized that I’d constantly be pulling on it–I can’t put my finger on it, but something was off enough to have it twisting up and over my chest in the 30 seconds I was wearing it. Plus it was $22…I’m not going to pay extra for the privilege of pulling my shirt down all the time.

Someday I’m going to have to learn…I just am too picky to buy clothes anymore. Or at least not clothes that are in my current budget. So I guess I’m either going to have to “cheat” at a different store, or my sewing productivity is going to have to undergo a massive increase.

And in case you were wondering, I never did end up buying a sports bra….

Where oh where did my little tub go?

It seems that we’ve lost a few really random things in our move. So far we’ve been unable to locate:

  • An entire cosmetic bag–I had a decent amount of makeup and now it’s lost in the ether.
  • My hairdryer and curling irons. As you can probably guess, whether I like it or not, I officially don’t have a beauty routine…
  • The container that stows away all of my plastic grocery bags that we use to line the diaper pail. This sucks, probably worse than the first two things. Those buggers are kind of expensive.
  • My “sewing essentials” tub. This had my marking devices, seam rippers, buttonhole/eyelet chisels, fray check, one of those expensive Gingher seam razor blade things, and a few other bits ‘n bobs that are kind of crucial to sewing. Not only that, but they’re going to be kind of expensive to replace. ๐Ÿ˜ฅ

I know that there’s always stuff lost in a move, but we’ve never lost this kind (or this much!) of stuff before.

In other news, the sewing room is nearly unpacked, organized, and ready to go. I’ve got a mess with the patterns, but we bought a “new” (ok, I’m pretty sure it’s older than I am) filing cabinet with like 5 drawers for the business, and I’m claiming the bottom drawer for the house stuff that’s currently residing in the lower drawer of my sewing room filing cabinet. So then I’ll have a second drawer in my little two drawer sewing room cabinet for the rest of my patterns. Yay! ๐Ÿ™‚ If I fill that one up, there’s going to have to be a purge, because I want organization this time around.

Speaking of organization, does anyone have any good tips for storing the tracings they do of pattern pieces? That’s the one thing that my old sewing room seemed to be inundated with–bits of tissue paper pattern pieces that swirled around, got stepped on, wedged under the door, ripped on the ironing board, etc. It takes a lot of time to trace all those off, so I’d like a good way to store them that keeps them intact, but doesn’t require a lot of space/plastic baggies/etc. I think I’m going to do a better job of throwing the ones that didn’t work away though–I used to keep them to retrace smaller pieces on, but it just makes a mess…


Gratuitous sewing room photo/sneak peek.

Gratuitous sewing room photo/sneak peek.

Back in the sewing saddle!

Hooray! I finally got to sit down and fire up my sewing machine!

I made up one of these headbands for #SewRedOctober. Technically, I made it yesterday, but didn’t feel it warranted a post of its own. Especially since it doesn’t “fit”…I mean, it fits my head, but my hair isn’t long enough, so the back looks really ugly and sticky-outy when I wear it. I also think I’d shave down the sides a bit if I were to do it again–the resulting headband is too wide for my child-sized head. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Today has been another sewing day! I did some repair work on a pair of maternity shorts I had borrowed from a neighbor–the waistband was sewn on poorly by the manufacturer, so some of the stitching was barely on the waistband….needless to say, I pulled them on a couple of times and noticed that the waistband wasn’t completely stitched down anymore. Not a big deal, except that if I’d have paid for them, I’d have been a bit pissed given the cost of maternity clothes!

I’m also working on a couple of pillowcases for our “leg pillows”. I’ve been a hardcore side sleeper my whole life, but didn’t discover “leg pillows” until I was newly married. We ended up with pillows because my hubby started stealing mine. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Sadly, we don’t own a single set of sheets that has 4 pillowcases, so I decided finally to replace the old nasty ones I got from Goodwill with a couple of newer, prettier ones. I used the measurements and such from this tutorial, and the burrito method from this tutorial. Next time I would just use the one from the Seasoned Homemaker, because the measurements have you end up with the same size of pillow case, it’s just that she didn’t provide finished measurements and Film In the Fridge did. (They both end up being about 20″x29″, if you’re in need of that info.)

In other sewing news, I am plotting a quilt. I know, I know. I’m eating my words over here. Really though, if you saw the sad state of my current bedding (and my budget), you’d completely understand why I broke my vow of “never again”. All I need right now is one 2 yard piece of white with a minimalist black or grey print to be the lattice pieces (I really liked a black/white version of Michael Miller’s “Pristine Paisley, but haven’t been able to find enough yardage. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ ). My inspiration was this quilt, which I figured even I couldn’t screw up. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I was hoping to have someone else actually do the quilting, but when I found it out would be somewhere in the ballpark of $110 to sew some straight lines in the ditch, I figured I could tough it out. I’ll post more pictures and such Sunday when I’ve for sure got my pillowcases finished and photographed so that I can take pics (and upload them) all at once.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Finished. Hotovรฝ. Complevit.

Yes, that’s finished in English, Czech, and Latin. Saying it only 3 times does not fully encompass my relief and joy at having the spare bathroom remodel completed. Well, I guess we have to hook up the toilet, but NBD. The actual remodel/facelift/whatever you want to call it is done. In case you’re curious, here’s what we did.

  • Primed and painted the ceiling (Color: Premixed “Bright White” Paint+Primer from DoItBest)
  • Primed and painted the walls (Color: Winter Storm from Ace Hardware)
  • Primed and painted the tile backsplash (Color: Premixed “Bright White” Paint+Primer from DoItBest)
  • Primed, painted, and clear-coated the countertop. (Color: Ming Vase from Ace Hardware)
  • Painted the cabinets (Color: Premixed “Bright White” Paint+Primer from DoItBest)
  • Changed the cabinet hardware (I bought these knobs at a “garage sale” that our local DoItBest did during the city wide garage sale, so I got about 20 knobs for $1!! I got another bag of somewhere around 40 handles/knobs in a pewter color too–it was a lot of digging through ugly brass, but who can complain when you get enough hardware to do my entire kitchen, laundry room, hallway “linen drawers”, and spare bathroom for $2?!)
  • New sink (not the actual sink I bought, but similar in price/style)
  • New faucet
  • New lights
  • New mirror (mine is the 24×24 version that I got on clearance from there.)
  • New towel ring and toilet paper holder
  • New flooring
  • New baseboard (mine came from a local DoItBest, so different brand and MUCH cheaper, I think mine cost like $25 for the base and the glue to put it up.)
  • A couple of new towels and a new trashcan

Originally, it was just going to get a new coat of paint, but I think that the rest of the stuff was worth it even though it tripled the cost of the project (I spent a bit over $600 total). They say that paint is an inexpensive way to change up the look in your house, but honestly, it’s not that cheap. In fact, paint and painting supplies were at least 1/3 of my total expenses on this cramped bathroom!! I also bought that expensive paint+primer stuff in the white for the ceiling, tile, and cabinets, and I can honestly say NEVER AGAIN. It was gloppy going on (IMO), and for being gloppy/thick, it didn’t cover nearly as well as I felt it should. Especially on the cabinets–it took 3 coats to get good coverage, and if I wasn’t so ready to just be done already, I’d have done a 4th coat, because it really could have used it. So yeah, don’t waste your money on that stuff–just buy the Killz primer and a can of your regular paint, it’s cheaper, easier to apply, and covers better.

The only think in there we didn’t bother to try tackling was the Shower of Plastication (in case you’re wondering, the plastic came down when we got the shower upstairs working). I flat didn’t have the cash to do anything with it, and it’s about going to take a professional to fix it anyway because of a couple of small (but CRUCIAL) details–like the location and style of the drain.

Anyway, enough words, let’s see the before/after pics, right? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Before: (Click to embiggen)

After: (Click to embiggen)

So now, after being so good about finishing this project before starting to sew anything, I’m going to clean the extra crap out of my sewing room (a catchall area for bathroom remodeling supplies/trash) and sew something fun! I’m not set on anything yet, but I’m thinking a couple of pairs of undies and view E of this hat to match my coat from last year (which–so far–still fits.)

Bathroom remodel 99% and stalled

Note: All the pictures are in a slideshow, hopefully it won’t load too slowly. It’s really worth the wait though, if you are even remotely interested in how to completely transform a bathroom on a small budget (~$3,000).

You’ve probably forgotten that we were actually even doing this, but there was a bathroom remodel going on here. Even though it’s got a couple little finishing touches that aren’t complete, I’m going to post the pictures and call itย “done” for here anyway. The only things we have left are to stain some shims for our window trim (the trim itself is actually stained/urethaned and ready to go up), and also cut and paint a door and the little trim piece for under the sink.ย A smidgen of caulk around the vanity, and it’s completely done. ๐Ÿ™‚ But, you know how it goes… get to where it’s usable again and you just kind of lose interest and stall out. I’m actually planning to do the caulking this evening though, so that will be one less thing to worry about finishing.

Before I do the pictures, I just kind of wanted to list the things that we did to this bathroom, so you can get the full scope of this project–it definitely wasn’t for the faint of heart!

  • We pulled out an old cast iron tub that weighed a ton….maybe not literally, but it sure seemed like it.
  • We pulled down every inch of the drywall that was on the walls (we did leave the ceiling though, but I suspect it might have been easier in the long run to actually take that out too).
  • Patched in some new subfloor in strategic areas (read: under the toilet and tub area).
  • Put in a very thick underlayment (to match up to the rest of our floors).
  • Installed new vinyl flooring. (I love my new floor, it looks pretty, and it feels AWESOME under your feet–seriously. For as thick as it is, it isn’t as cushion-y as I’d expected though.)
  • Installed the new drywall and shower system. (The shower system was a retrofit kit for an alcove that originally held a bathtub–it had walls and a base that fit our opening pretty decent. We did have to shim out an entire wall, which is why we don’t have our window trim on just yet).
  • New lighting fixtures. Seriously more awesome than the old ones. And as a bonus, we moved our bathroom fan when we replaced it, and it has a light too–right above the shower! Seriously, that’s pretty awesome, no more shadowy showers!
  • New paint on the old vanity/cabinets. (IMO, this alone is what really makes this bathroom “pop”).
  • New hardware for the vanity and we re-used the old mirror and also some old towel bars/tp roller. The mirror was original to the bathroom and in great condition, and the towel bars were some we had bought back when we had a rental that didn’t have any towel bars–I liked them and didn’t want to leave them when we moved out. Since they were mine (no reimbursement), we kept them which worked out perfect for this project.
  • New faucet.
  • New vanity top–isn’t it absolutely gorgeous?! The sink is moulded into the vanity, so no pesky areas for gunk to get into.
  • We re-used the old toilet….it’s from the 60’s, but it still worked, so we put new seals/gaskets in it and stuck ‘er down.
  • New paint on the walls in a pretty shade of blue that really goes nicely with the color of the cabinets.
  • New cabinet hardware–I’m well aware that it’s just plain cheapo hardware from big Blue, but I really like how it looks, especiallyย  now that it’s on.
  • New trim in the stain that mostly closely matched what was already in there. I wanted a darker color, but every piece of trim in the house is a more blonde color and I’m not really motivated to cut/stain new trim for every inch of the house. So, I decided to embrace it.

I think that pretty much sums it up. By re-using some of the things we already had (toilet, mirror, etc.) we saved a pretty good-sized chunk of change, though I’m thinking that it would have been smarter to go ahead and buy a set of shower doors, it’s really hard to keep the curtain in the shower now. Hopefully that’ll get easier as we get used to not having a full tub to hold it in. Anyway, enough blathering! On to the pictures! ๐Ÿ™‚

Whatcha think? Way better right?


Our bathroom remodel is undergoing its metamorphosis, and right now I’d say it’s at the “chrysalis” stage. The one where you are making progress, but it’s not real obvious yet. We started the drywall last night, but only got three small panels up in the shower alcove before it got late. So anyway, I thought I might show a bit of the progress so that you guys can kind of see what’s going on. I’m going to save the actual “before” pictures though, because I want them to be a surprise contrast to the “after” pictures. Well, I might give a little teaser picture….just for fun. ๐Ÿ™‚

This light fixture must have been saved from a defunct hospital or something. It's so hideously....institutional.

Ok, so that was the light (one of two) we took out. You get a double bonus because you can see just a smidgen of the fugly plastic tile there in the picture too. Yeah. So….

Anyway, here’s a couple of pictures of the progress for your viewing pleasure.

Surprise! Guess that's why they had two lights before...?

Pretty new underlayment, ready for vinyl. Red lines mark location of joists.

Our new shower!

The original plan was to install the shower ourselves, however, the timing would have been awkward and inconvenient. Besides, after seeing the guy fiddle with the installation of it, I’m kind of glad we left it up to someone else. I might not say that when the bill comes though. The back of the shower had to be shimmed in, so our drywall on that wall will be shimmed as well. It’s a small wall, so putting up the shims wasn’t too bad, but I wouldn’t want to do it on a large one.

Like I said, progress is being made, but lately it’s been mostly the stuff that doesn’t really feel like an accomplishment. Things like wiring, replacing the bathroom fan, dry-fitting the vanity, stripping the finish off the cabinets, that sort of thing. They are important, but don’t offer that feeling of instant gratification like getting the shower in or hanging the drywall.

Things that tick me off Thursday

Today my peeve is the cost of a sewing machine. I don’t know if I mentioned this, but I priced a few new ones a while back when I was thinking about getting rid of my 2038 for something that would handle my jeans and stuff a bit better. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that I could spend more buying a not-quite-top-of-the-line sewing machine than we’re going to spend gutting and remodeling our bathroom*. Can someone please tell me how that’s possible?! Hell, we’re going to spend less on that remodel than what they wanted for a low-end Bernina (that somehow butchered a buttonhole even worse than my Pfaff)! Criminy!

Someone tell me this; how on Earth does one justify buying a new machine, especially a Bernina-flavored one? I know there are people out there with those outrageously overpriced hunks of technology that do the embroidery with a single needle and I just can’t wrap my brain around it. I think I need to lay down. In the meantime, I guess I’ll stick with my Pfaff for a while longer.

* And before you think it, no we’re not using subpar materials or taking shortcuts on the remodel–we plan to use it when it’s done, and we’re going to do it right. I’m actually planning to do a post on it soon. ๐Ÿ™‚

Things that tick me off Thursday: Dilemmas!

As in, more than one. Dilemma #1 and the main reason for this post? Technology. My laptop (the main computer) is being difficult. Mainly, the battery and it’s charger are refusing to work together. It’s kind of a lengthy explanation, but the gist is that I have to jump through hoops to use this thing. So much for technology making life easier. ๐Ÿ™„ So, now I’m trying to decide if I want to replace it with a tablet (original idea that we’re kind of leaning away from now), a netbook (a possibility), or just a smallish low end laptop. I’ve have stared at specs I don’t fully understand until my eyes have crossed. I’m still no closer to a solution. I think the tablet would be nice, but they’re pretty limited without buying a crapload of accessories for them that drive up the final cost significantly. I mean it’s $150 for the keyboard for the Transformer Prime, and an extra $70 for the one for the iPad 2. By the time you buy a case, you’re looking at ~$700, and I could buy a pretty nice laptop for that, that can do more than a tablet anyway. So yeah….

My other dilemma? Which of these to go with for a cute shirtdress:

Here’s the poll.

Things that tick me off Thursday

(This was supposed to go out yesterday, sorry about that!)
Why is it that when you aren’t shopping for something, it’s everywhere? And then as soon as you decide you are ready to shop for said item you can’t find anything suitable at all? So far this year, I’ve struggled to find:

  • a hoodie for Halloween (but they’re everywhere now!) ๐Ÿ™„
  • a boys’ dress shirt (still working on this actually–perhaps boys are meant to be naked and shoeless until they hit their teens?) ๐Ÿ˜ก ๐Ÿ™„
  • a bolero(?)/shawl/shoulder-warmer-thingy

This post was actually inspired by the last. I went through tons of mall stores today looking for the perfect thing to go with my new dress that I’m finally going to get to wear Saturday (no worries, I’ll get pics!) but just couldn’t find anything that I thought would work. Well……..that’s not entirely true. There was one that I found at Dillard’s, it was perfect, gorgeous, fit like a dream, aaaaaaaaaaaaaaand was ridiculously overpriced. Actually, I found two at Dillard’s, but I didn’t even try the one that was $125 on….no sense in putting myself through the disappointment. I wouldn’t have tried the first one on either if I had been in my right mind and looked at the price tag first. Lesson learned. Maybe I should just stop going into that store….I’m always finding stuff I want in there, and then being disappointed when my debit card starts sniveling. And there is little worse than a sniveling debit card.

So anyway, I found one at Kohl’s that I thought might work, so I bought it so that I could try it with the dress. It’s awful. It isn’t even stylish enough for my grandmother–well, OK, maybe my maternal grandmother, but I don’t even think she would wear it. Plus, I went to all that trouble to make all those darts and tucks, and this thing covered up all my hard work. So, I imagine I’ll be suffering a bit for fashion…..but at least I’m going to look damn good while I’m at it. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Besides, shivering burns calories, right? ๐Ÿ˜‰