Give a Dog a Bone: Celebrate a New Pup with a Gift Basket

I’m a dog lover, so when a friend tragically lost her dog to an accident, my heart broke for her. When she was ready to adopt another one, we thought it would be a nice gesture to send a basket of dog goodies to celebrate the news and welcome the new pup to the family. But, being the DIY’ers that we are, we weren’t about to buy a generic basket: we created one in the shape of a dog bone to suit the happy occasion!

Just about all the materials we used to make our dog bone basket are either repurposed from items we had on hand (like the scrap of MDF we used for the base and door pulls we made into basket handles) or came from the dollar store. It’s not only unique, but it’s budget friendly too!

There’s still plenty of time to make it before Christmas; it would make a great gift basket for any dog lover on your list!

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I started by drawing out the bone shape on paper. By folding the paper in half and only drawing out half the bone, you’ll get a more even shape once it’s cut out. I taped the paper pattern to a scrap piece of MDF and cut around it with a jigsaw. I rounded the top edges perimeter with sandpaper to smooth the sharp edges and then painted it white.

I marked the holes at 1/2″ increments about ½” in from the edge. Hubs drilled out the holes with a drill press so I could insert wooden dowels into the holes. Using a drill press is a real time saver and each hole can be drilled to the same depth for consistency. The dowels act as the ‘ribs’ of the basket to support the weaving.

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I dabbed one end of each dowel into a bit of glue before inserting them into the holes.

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Once all the dowels were glued, I let it dry 24 hours. Then it’s time to start weaving!

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Our friend’s new dog is tan and black, so I thought I’d match up the colour of the basket by combining the dollar store twine with some black yarn I had leftover from a knitting project.

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Tie a knot and attach the combined twine and yarn to the middle dowel at one end of the bone.

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Begin weaving in and out around the entire shape.

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When I got back to where I started, I continued in the same direction. Note that if you have an odd number of dowels, you’ll be able to keep going around and around.

However, if you end up with an even amount of dowels, you’ll have to double back and turn around when you reach where you started. Have a look at the plant basket below that I made previously to see how to ‘double back’.  You can see that towards the top, I looped around both dowels just to stabilize and hold the corner together.

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Our friend named the new pup Dot, so I added a charm with the letter ‘D’ to the centre of the basket on the front. I opened up the link using two needle nose pliers and then squeezed it closed again around the twine and continued weaving.

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When you’re about an inch from the top of the dowels and you’re back to where you started, bring the end of the twine to the inside of the basket, but don’t cut it off. To finish off the top and create a nice edging, use a thicker piece of rope: fold it in half and loop it around the same dowel.

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Crisscross the rope around the dowels all the way around the perimeter of the bone until you’re back at the beginning again.

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To end the edging, bring both pieces of rope to the inside of the basket. You’ll use the end of the twine to wrap around the rope and finish it off.

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Wrap the twine around the rope ends in a figure eight until it’s the length of the inside wall of the basket.

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Knot the twine and add some hot glue to secure the end to the back of the rope where it won’t be seen. Cut the end of the twine and the rope, then use hot glue to secure the rope to the inside of the basket so it blends in seamlessly. You can glue down the edge of the rope as well as putting a dollop on the base of the basket to keep the ends from lifting.

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To finish off the top of the dowels, I blackened the ends with black marker then glued on some wooden beads.

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The holes in the dollar store beads tend to be very inconsistent so I used my thin needle nose pliers to ream out the holes, making sure they would fit onto each dowel before I glued them in place. If you want to be picky about it, you can use a tiny wire brush to clear any debris from the holes before gluing on the beads.

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I added a dab of hot glue to the underside of a bead and then threaded it onto the dowel, continuing around until all the dowels were capped.

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In the planter basket I showed you above, I incorporated rope handles into that one so it could be lifted. Since this basket is much larger and heavier, I decided to repurpose some door pulls instead. They were originally saved from our old cabinets and were yellow oak with gold metal.

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I painted them up to coordinate with the charm (I painted the oak black, then silver leafed and distressed the metal with more black). Hubs gave them a quick spray coat of varnish in the garage, which we let dry, before I mounted them onto the basket.

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Measure to get both handles evenly positioned on each side the basket, ensuring you don’t cover up the charm on the front! You can insert toothpicks where you want the screws placed. I used some washers on the inside of the basket before feeding the screws through the weave of the basket. Use the toothpicks or thin needle nosed pliers to guide the screws through the weave and position the handles on each side. You’ll need a short screwdriver to attach the screws to the handles as the width is pretty narrow in the centre.

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As a last step, shave off some of the longer sisal strands with scissors to neaten it up.

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The basket is now done and ready to fill with dog treats – and of course a flea and tick collar to protect the pup and keep her safe!

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We inserted a card and then wrapped it all up with some cellophane.

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For one more easy to do gift basket, and other crafty DIY gift ideas, check out the following posts by clicking on the pictures below:
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Collage_First 3 HQ Challenge Projects

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You may not have noticed, but halfway through this project, I went from working on my dining room table to my own craft studio – courtesy of all the hard work hubs put into finishing off our basement! I’m so excited to finally have a dedicated place in the house to repurpose and craft to my heart’s desire. My new studio boasts a focal point made of repurposed kitchen cabinets to hide away my stash! Check out the reveal of my new studio!

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If you enjoyed this project, please pin and post on Facebook! And don’t forget to follow me here on Birdz of a Feather or on Bloglovin’!

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Blow it Out Your Roof: a Guide to Replacing a Bathroom Fan!

They say nothing is certain but death and taxes, but I’d like to add a third: repairs!  Last week alone, three things broke down on us that had to be repaired. When you’re a do-it-your-selfer and a blogger, you have to look on the bright side of things and call that a good week: repairs alone can give you a ton of things to write about!

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This week, I’m sharing a DIY on how to replace a bathroom fan. As (bad) luck would have it, ours stopped working just before the hottest and most humid blast of weather hit us. Poor hubs had to go up into the attic to replace the fan and was just drenched when he was done. Ironically, that was the same morning that our air conditioner broke down, so by the afternoon our house was as hot as the attic! Oh well, I guess our pain is your gain.

I wasn’t sorry to see the old fan go. It was so loud and clunky, I could hear barely hear hubs singing rubber ducky outside the door 🙂

Personally, I would never want to attempt such a dirty, grimy job myself, but hubs is a perfectionist and he likes things done right. For instance, he planned to seal and insulate all the duct work.  When you hire a contractor, they’re in and out so fast that it leaves you wondering if they sealed it up as thoroughly – if at all! Sometimes contractors take shortcuts and don’t even bother to connect the bathroom fan to the roof vent. This is a HUGE problem as mold will grow unless the fan is vented properly through the roof.

To start, hubs removed the old fan so he could find a replacement that would fit without having to cut a bigger hole into our drywall. He taped a plastic bag to the ceiling so he could cover up the hole after removing it (wouldn’t want any critters – or insulation – to fall into the bathroom, would we?).

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Removing the old fan

He also protected all the surfaces in the bathroom by taping plastic to the walls and on the floor to catch any insulation/mess that might drop down when he was working in the attic later.

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Hubs then inspected the condition of the old ducting in the attic. He discovered that the original 4″ pipe attached to the vent was poorly installed and there were a lot of gaps. He also discovered that the builder cut too big a hole into the roof – which further explained the gaps. Here’s what the old duct (and fan) looked like:

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Because of the gaping hole in the roof made by our builder, hubs was going to have to use a 5″ gasket in order to bridge the gaps at the roof vent and then replace our 4″ ductwork with 5″ fittings instead.

Hubs found a specialty fan store that sells to the building industry, but is open to the public. He took the old fan with him. It cost him $75 for a new whisper quiet fan (only 1 sone). Any fan under 1.5 sones is considered to be quiet so keep that in mind when shopping. Another thing to keep in mind is the diameter of the duct connector on the new housing. To maximize performance, try to match your duct diameter to the new fan. As I mentioned, ours was duct was originally 4″ wide but we needed 5″ to span the gap at the roof so hubs decided to buy a duct reducer (installing the 4″ end onto the fan and the 5″ end onto the new ductwork).  There’s nothing wrong with increasing the size of the ductwork, but don’t ever do the opposite or you will restrict the exhaust from the fan!

With respect to performance, a fan’s ability to move air is measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM), so look for a CFM rating that will meet your needs by moving enough air for the size of your bathroom. To determine your CFM rating, use the following formula:

Length x width x height x .13 = the minimum CFM rating

In addition to the fan, hubs purchased a variety of new fittings too.  Get more than you think you need and return what you don’t use; there’s nothing worse than being stuck in the attic and then realizing that you have to run out to buy something you didn’t get!.  All-in, it cost about $125 for the fan and supplies. It would cost you up to a couple hundred dollars more than that to have someone install it for you.

Hubs cut the power to the bathroom so he could connect the wiring safely without risk of electrocution! He suited up in a white Tyvek coverall, like the one pictured below, so he could protect himself and his clothes from the scratchy insulation. He also wore a mask just in case of mice, which almost always reside in the attic.  You need to take the precaution of wearing a mask so you don’t breathe in any toxins.

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Tyvek coverall source: Home Depot

Hubs placed a ladder beneath our attic access (ours is in the bedroom closet) and took all his equipment up with him in a box to keep it all together. This included a drill, screws, screw driver, tin snips, duct fittings, fan, electrical bushing, silver tuck tape, cord etc. He also took a bright light on an extension cord up with him so he could see (the light was run to another electrical power supply that was still working).

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Hubs has previously done work in the attic so he had already placed some runner strips of plywood across the joists so he could walk.  You’ll want to rip down some plywood for this purpose if you don’t already have some in the attic. Once in the attic, he pushed aside all the blown in insulation so he could locate the electrical wiring and hole in the ceiling of our bathroom.

The new fan body was positioned over the hole in the ceiling and then screwed into the joists. A metal strip (shown below) was attached to the back to help secure it further to the joist (they can reduce side to side vibration). Depending on where your hole is positioned between the joists, you may have to install anywhere from one to 4 of these strips.

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Our fan was positioned beside the joist so we only needed one new strip at the back:

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He installed the electrical bushing onto the fan (it protects the wire) and then fed the wire through and connected it.

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Hubs used tuck tape to seal along the edges of the fan, then he then started dry fitting metal ducting, starting with the reducer, until he eventually got it all to line up with the roof vent.

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As you can see below, one of the pieces of ducting is articulated so it can be twisted into just about any position to line the ductwork up with the roof vent.

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Hubs used a 5″ gasket with a seal around it for the connection to the roof vent. This is a much better solution than the straight run with release cuts the builder previously installed because it seals any gaps. He had to use tin snips fit the gasket flush against the joist in order to line it up with the roof vent. Once it fit, he peeled the tape off the gasket and pressed it up onto the underside of the roof.  He pre-drilled and inserted screws all around the gasket.

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When all the ductwork was connected he pre-drilled a hole into each duct joint and installed at least one if not two 8 x 1/2″screws to hold the sections into position.

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Then he wrapped each joint with the silver tuck tape to seal it.

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Before he finished up, hubs turned the power back on to make sure everything was running smoothly. Then he turned the power back off (as a precaution) and went back into the attic to wrap the pipe with insulation and tie it on with cord (he reused the old insulation that was originally there).  He also returned all the blown in insulation to its original position between the joists.

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He brought all his tools back down and then put the ceiling cover over the fan to finish it off. Now the fan purrs like a kitten; bring on the rubber ducky!

For more bathroom renos, check out the following posts: Reclaiming and Maximizing Space in the Bathroom; and

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Powder Room Makeover – Champagne Taste on a Beer Budget

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I’ll have one more bathroom reno in the next few weeks; we just finished updating my Mom’s bathroom!

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Guest Post on My Repurposed Life

Today I’m excited to announce that a brand new craft tutorial I’ve been working on is being featured on My Repurposed Life (MRL); it’s the first time I’m guest posting on another blog! Gail Wilson, the woman behind MRL, has a knack for DIY’ing on the cheap and shows you how to transform thrift store and curb finds. You’ll want to check out some of her projects on MRL.

You may remember the plant basket I designed and created a few weeks ago. Well, I’ve taken it one step further and developed a new basket that I recently gifted to a friend to welcome a new pup into the family (it was a huge hit)!

Here is the link to my featured guest post on My Repurposed LifePlease leave me a comment there to let me know what you thought of my newest project!

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I’ll be back here in the next few weeks with a brand new repurposed skid project we’re working on for hubs’ mancave.

My Repurposed Life

Oh My Goth…. it’s Halloween at the Office!

I LOVE Halloween; it always gets my creative juices flowing! Hubs isn’t crazy about doing big Halloween productions at home, so I get my fill from my home-away-from home: at the office!

For those of you lucky enough to be able to decorate your office spaces at this ghoulish time of year, I have a few ideas! Today, I’m showing you two office spaces I vamped up many a full moon ago.

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The first time I got creative around the office was at the turn of the 21st century when I was in the advertising biz (doesn’t that make me sound impossibly old?). My boss was a notorious chain smoker and I was always ribbing him about quitting. So what’s a devilish girl to do? Immortalize his likeness in a pumpkin with a lit cigarette in his mouth, of course.

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Here’s a pic of the boss holding his pumpkin (which I blanked out because I didn’t want to post his picture without permission). The pumpkin just doesn’t have the same effect in daylight when it – and the cigarette – isn’t lit, but you can see how the carved detail was accomplished!

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Here’s how I did it. I first cleaned out the pumpkin in the traditional manner. I took a real picture of the boss and digitized it into shades of grey, black and white using Photoshop. I attached the template to the pumpkin using tape and then used a pick to prick the outline through the paper into the pumpkin. I removed the paper pattern and saved it for reference, then I cut into the pumpkin skin using wood chisels and various other cutting tools. The white areas were mostly cut out, while I took the orange skin off the grey areas to a shallow depth and then left the black areas untouched. Carving at various depths gives just the right amount of contrast and really makes it come to life when lit.

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Ideally when you light the pumpkin from within, it’s best to use a flashlight. I used a tea light because it was the only thing I had on-hand, but that was a mistake. The heat will start to cook the pumpkin and make all your hard work and effort droop from the heat!

If you’re interested in getting more creative with your pumpkin carving, the site Serious Eats, has two great tutorials. The first one will get you started on carving and shading a pumpkin and the second one shows you how to carve a photograph into a pumpkin, like I did.

To further my Halloween fun, I dressed up as the pumpkin I carved using orange coloured sweats and an ironed-on a picture of my boss on the face of the sweatshirt. To complete the effect, I attached a cigarette in his mouth by wrapping an elastic around the ciggie and fabric from the back. Luckily the boss had a sense of humour!HALL005_bof2.jpg

By 2003, my boss was headhunted away from us and the agency sadly closed its doors a year later after filing for bankruptcy in the U.S. I moved on to a brand new career in another company. However, a few years later, that company too was feeling the pressure of hard economic times. To save money, the CEO decided to close down our cafeteria where all employees had enjoyed  complimentary breakfast and lunch every day.  We were all pretty bummed out about it, but I was happy enough to even have a job after loosing my last one! However, that didn’t prevent me from spoofing the whole situation at Halloween!

Given the ‘graveness’ of the situation, I was able to commander an empty cubicle so I could create my scene. At the entrance was a ‘tombstone’ that read Cafeteria Rest In Peace. I kept the tombstone itself pretty simple. If you’re interested in making your own one-of-a-kind piece,  this tutorial has some great information on how you can do it too. If I was making another tombstone today to decorate my home at Halloween, it would read “Died… from not forwarding that e-mail to 10 other people.”

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At the base of the tombstone I placed some dead roses on top of some dead grass. In the office chair sat a dummy office employee – that I made from wire mesh, pool noodles (with articulated arms and legs) and a hair dressers’ head. I nicknamed her ‘Fembot’ after the Austin Powers character. She was stylishly dressed for the last decade, sporting a company hat and hoodie. I placed a ‘ball and chain’ around her ankle (who doesn’t feel like that at work?) and a ghoulish baby in her lap, because sometimes it just feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day – eh?

Although it doesn’t show well in the picture above, the baby’s head was a skull that lit up,  with a spider residing inside the cavity to up the creepiness factor!

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On the desk itself, sat a lunch tray I managed to ‘borrow’ from the cafeteria before it closed down. The plate was empty – save for an albino mouse scavenging for food where there was none to be found! Spiders were crawling around a rancid mug of coffee and a pile of diapers with a few upside down ‘dead’ ones thrown in for good measure.

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Oh how I love to decorate for Halloween at the office – and poke fun at people and situations! If you decorate your office at Halloween, I’d love to hear all about it in the comments.

If you enjoyed this post, please pin and share on Facebook. And don’t forget to say boo and scary on!

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This Is How We Roll Thursday Party

The Making of a Craft Studio (VI): The Final Reveal!

A few weeks ago was moving day. With the help of hub’s brothers, all the heavy equipment was brought over from my old studio in my Mom’s basement. My craft studio is still not totally unpacked and done, but I couldn’t wait to show you the reveal. Here is what we started with in the basement….

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… and this is what the same vantage point into my new studio is like now! It’s the only expanse in the house that’s long enough to view the paint chip portrait I did of hubs. I think it’s only fitting to be displayed on the drivers side of his beloved beetle!

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Those cabinets with the VW beetle on the face started out life as temporary storage in our old kitchen. We never even got around to putting faces on the drawers! Luckily I saved them when we renovated the kitchen with the intent to repurpose them elsewhere. The transformation has made it my favourite highlight of the work we completed in my craft studio!

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The graphic is a picture of a VW beetle that hubs restored almost 30 years ago. A friend kindly helped us format and mount it on the drawer faces. Now it’s a real showstopper in my studio and amazing storage for my stash; repurposing at its finest!

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Repurposed kitchen cabinets + the old door from our cold storage room repurposed as a counter top make this storage unit a one of a kind piece!

The counter top had humble beginnings. It was also the utmost in upcycling because of its several lives before its final use!  You may remember it as the makeshift work top we fashioned out of sawhorses when we tiled the backsplash in the laundry room. It was originally the hollow core door to our cold room and we really put it through its paces when we renovated the basement. It turned out so well as a counter top that hubs even purchased another hollow core door and cut it down for the desk top right beside the storage cabinets.

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Old door from our cold room got upcycled into a countertop – but not before we used it to tile our laundry room and build the rest of the basement.

Here’s where the door was located in the basement originally. You can’t see it in the picture, but it even had a huge hole knocked into it (which I would assume the kids of the previous owners of the house did). The hole got cut off when we repurposed it.

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My studio is adjacent to our laundry room so there’s overflow from my craft room into that space too.

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Hubs just finished hanging our custom glass doors on the upper cabinets this weekend. It was so exciting to see it finally finished.

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The glass has a beautiful flowing pattern called everglade. It’s the same glass I used to create a new thermopane panel for our front door when we revamped our staircase. We cut the glass ourselves and installed it with a painted backing to match the walls. It’ll give me something pretty to look at when I’m not busy crafting – and hubs is doing the laundry!

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Speaking of pretty things to look at, I decided to display all my threads in a vintage oak glass display cabinet. I still haven’t unpacked all my fabric, so I’ll likely add some of that to the bottom shelf.

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The shelf beside the glass cabinet beautifully displays my collection of old irons and a few other vintage cast iron finds.

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I found the perfect glass jar to store my buttons on top of the glass display cabinet:

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The little card catalogue sitting on top was the very first one I ever owned. I loved it so much that I got a bit carried away and now I have three card catalogues of varying sizes. One of the larger ones is in the sewing room as you see later.

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The picture you see leaning against the wall won’t be there long; I just finished framing it for hubs’ man cave and ‘borrowed’ it, so I’ll have to sub in a different one.  I took the picture in the distillery district several years ago when I was taking a photography course.

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I have about 20 different pictures I’m in the process of framing and will likely rotate them between the man cave and my studio whenever I feel like a change. Here’s how I’ve already changed it:

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Across from the thread cabinet is an old metal sewing machine base hubs and I found on one of our antiquing excursions. Hubs  painted it and I paired it up with an old wooden board (I’m not really sure what it was in its former life, so if anyone knows, please do tell!).

For my last birthday, hubs repainted an old kerosene heater and commissioned a friend to paint a scene from our back garden around the front. I’ll be spending a lot of time in my craft studio during our long winter months, so it’s nice to have a reminder of our back garden to look forward to.

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I have a few old sewing machines to display also. I may mount them on individual shelves right above this on the wall if things aren’t getting too crowded.

Across from the laundry room is where my cutting table is located. The peg board shelf that’s leaning up against the wall was a vintage shelf upcycle project that hubs and I did a few months ago.

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I was planning on hanging the shelf above my serger, but it didn’t work out there because of the hanging pendant light. It’s a shame because now I’ll have to find another place for my upcycled clock that I found for only $1.50 and added my logo to using vinyl film.

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The perfect spot for the clock was on my pegboard shelf, but sadly I have no room to hang the shelf where it will be easy to access!

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We found the shabby chic highboy in the garbage and brought it home. It didn’t have any drawers, however it’ll be great flat storage for works-in-progress. I have a few print press letters and trinkets in the old printer drawer shown on top of it that I’ll eventually fill in as I unpack my things.

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Right beside the highboy I have an area for a desk which is simply the other hollow core door hubs cut down and painted for me (as you saw above). Underneath it, I’ve stored my air compressor.

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I’m still working on a vintage chair for the desk area. I’m also working on a drafting stool that used to belong to my uncle; I’ll use it for the cutting table. So far we’ve stripped the vinyl off the seat and painted the metal a tropical blue:

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I have plans to either upholster the seat in leather or strip off the foam and restore the wood underneath. Either way, I’ll be painting it with my birds of a feather logo (just like I did with the clock).

UPDATE – Nov 2016: The chair makeover is done! Check it out here.

When seated at my cutting table, I can see into the sewing room. I love having the feeling of open space instead of staring at a solid wall.

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The sewing room houses my card catalogue and there’s task lighting in addition to the potlights to light up the sewing and serging stations. The pendants are on a separate switch and are dimmable, but you can never have too much light in a craft studio! I was originally going to install some vintage green pendants but they weren’t wired and buying these RANARP ones from Ikea was the quick solution to getting it done fast. The beauty of it is that I can easily swap out the white shades for the green ones whenever I want to give me a winter/summer option (the shade is just held on by a clasp)!

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The card catalogue is from a local university. I’m so lucky to have it to store my smaller items.

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For larger storage, hubs built me an expanse of Ikea cabinets that runs the full length of the sewing room. If you’re interested in how I planned this storage solution, you can also see all the details of how I designed it specifically for my craft room using Ikea’s Pax Planner. Hubs also built me pocket doors to close off the sewing room which backs onto his man cave.

Above the doors is a vintage street sign we found on one of our antiquing treks while in the U.S. Where it hangs faces north and it just so happens that my MIL grew up on North street so the find was a perfect fit on so many levels – not to mention that it just looks great!

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I’m still undecided about what colour to paint the pocket doors! I’ve narrowed it down to four colours.  The orange is more ‘burnt’  than shown below and the blue is a historic colour with grey undertones. The other option is to paint them white to match the Ikea cabinets or maybe even a soft black, but those might be a bit too neutral for my taste! The colour has to work with the man cave too; any of these colours would work. Let me know which colour you’d choose in the comments section.

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I’ll likely add in a few throw rugs here and there; I might even have one custom made for the sewing room so I can freely roll the chairs around without dinging up the wood floors.

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Well, the craft studio is still a work in progress but Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was my studio! I’m sure there will be some updates down the road as I finalize my storage options and unpack the rest of my things from the move.

At least now I can move my crafting off the dining room table and restore the rest of the house back into a somewhat better state of order!

If you’re interested in how I organized the craft room once all my stuff was moved in, click on the picture below for ideas on organization (or click here). Check out my new craft blog, Birdz of a Feather Craft, while you’re at it too!

Studio Update 187_bof.jpg

Now to finish the man cave, which is also a work in progress, so we can finally sit back and relax a little. The basement has been almost two years-in-the-making in total between the laundry room, craft studio and man cave. Hubs deserves a long break after all the work he’s put into turning it into a finished and usable living space! It’ll be nice to do nothing but sit on the couch in the man cave and eat popcorn this winter (with a little crafting thrown in for good measure).

If you’re interested in reading previous posts in the Making of a Craft Studio series, here they are:

  1. The Making of a Craft Studio– Calling All Crafters: Help Me Decide the Best Layout for my New Studio
  2. The Making of a Craft Studio (II)– Design Your Space Using Ikea’s Pax Planner!
  3. The Making of a Craft Studio (III) – If You Build It, She Will Come!
  4. The Making of a Craft Studio (IV) – Progress Report!

 

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