Home Remodel- The Living Room

Since the kitchen is so lovely now, we’ve moved on to other projects already. No rest for us! The living room was a bland off-white color and we really wanted to warm it up with some paint. We chose this great beigeish- grey color to compliment the sofa I recovered (more on that later.)

Here is the living room before. Note the wonderful green carpet.

Here is the room after the paint and after we removed the carpet. There was beautiful hardwood underneath but we had to sweep and vacuum about 10 times to see it underneath the disintegrated carpet pad. It was a dusty mess for days! You can still see a fine layer of dust there.

I got some great curtains at Homegoods and a mirror for the mantle at Target to finish off the room. The room is not “done” because we’d like to add some more accessories and maybe a new chair to really finish it off, but it’s usable and a lot cozier than before. The half finished sofa pictured is a project for another post coming up soon.

In addition to all the work we’ve been doing, we’ve had an electrician in rewiring all the nob and tube and grounding all the outlets. It’s really starting to feel like home. 

A simple job of painting and carpet removal was a nice change in pace after the chaos of the kitchen. More renovations are to come!

Kitchen Renovation- The Final Reveal

Let’s see, what’s happened since I last wrote? The floor arrived. We added a sub floor, installed the tile, and grouted it. The cabinet doors were finished, hardware put on, and they were installed. Paint was touched up, lights were put in. Baseboards were put down. Roller shades added to the windows. The kitchen is done and we love it so much. 

The final product! It’s hard to imagine what it looked like before. It now feels so big and functional. 

Some before and afters just to remind you how much we’ve changed:

The floors we chose were a vinyl tile (because we didn’t want to deal with the time/cost of a new sub floor) from home depot, and it’s groutable so it doesn’t feel like a “fake” floor. 

Here are links to my previous posts about the process of this renovation.

Post 1, Post 2, Post 3, and Post 4

Overall, it took about three weeks to complete, minus the down time in between. We did most of the work on evenings and weekends. We couldn’t work more than a few days in a row because we would have lost our sanity, so there were a few break days in between. 

We are so proud of ourselves. We are proud we could do most of the work our selves, we are proud we could do it on a budget, and we are so happy to have a new space.

We have several more renovations left in this house. This was probably the hardest one. So look forward to those!

Kitchen Renovation- Days 7, 8, and 9

A lot happened with the kitchen this past week

The tile went in and got grouted. The drywall went up on the ceiling and got mudded. New appliances were installed. Things were put into cabinets. Bake rack was bought up and stuff was put on it. It’s finally starting to feel like a real kitchen again. We were even able to cook for the first time in about 2 weeks (Sorry to burst your bubble, but this project is not happening in consecutive days in a row. Aaron works full time, I work part time and I’m in school full time. We’ve had some evenings off in between renovation madness.)

Here are some pictures of our beautiful progress!


New appliances!


Bake rack for some needed storage.


Ceiling looks bright again! Need to touch up my paint job, but that’ll be fairly easy.


Aaron hard at work grouting tile!



New back splash!


Our first meal in the new kitchen! Salmon, noodles, and veggies. Yum!

A few issues arouse this week. 1. The old cabinet doors no longer work. The only kind of hinges that will work with them are the ugly ones that were originally on them. 


They kinda look like this. Since we want a more updated look, we’re paying our handyman friend to make up all new doors, which is going to cost more than we budgeted and it’s going to take another week or so.


But we can use these pretty hinges instead :)

2. The floor was back-ordered and won’t get here until next week. It’s really pretty and I can’t wait to show it off. 

So after all that progress, we’re kind of at a standstill for a while. I’m just glad we’re able to use the kitchen again.

We still have little things that need done too. Installing new lighting fixtures, getting baseboards cut and in place after the floor is done, and touching up all the paint. They won’t take much time, but they really help in making the space feel done. 

Until next time!


Kitchen Renovation- Days 4, 5, and 6

Day 4 was all about priming the cabinets and drywall mudding the backsplash for tile prep




The ugly fridge and oven are also no more!

Day 5 and 6 I was off and Aaron went to work, so I got the cabinets and the walls painted! Talk about productivity!


The dining room got taken over by the doors


I love the grey/blue color we got for the walls!


As you can see, the ceiling still looks awful. We decided to re-drywall it because we did not feel like scraping wallpaper glue while upside down. Yes, there was wallpaper on the ceiling too. It was a plain, creme colored wallpaper, but it still needed to come down.


Here’s a sneak peek at the counter top and the hardware we picked :)

Kitchen Renovation- Days 2 and 3

You want to know the easiest way to remove wallpaper glue? Trick question, there isn’t one. The only way to remove wallpaper glue is warm water, fabric softner, a scraper, too many hours, elbow grease, and tears. So that was day two of our kitchen demo. Wallpaper glue and sadness.


Glueless wall, post primer.

Day 3 went much better! I had to go to work, but Aaron had the day off.


He and a handyman friend of ours removed the ugly laminate counter and installed this great butcher block we got from IKEA (hiding under the paper.) It was in the “As Is” section for a great price and it was the right size! It just needed a hole for the sink cut out.

They also knocked out all the tile backsplash and put up new drywall so we could add a new backsplash.

When I got home we primed over the walls that we so lovingly scraped and we removed the cabinet doors and sanded the cabinets down . Yay for great progress!

Kitchen Remodel - Day 1

Well I had the most romantic Valentine’s day possible. My boyfriend recently came into acquisition of a house and it needs a lot of work. So we spent the most romantic day of the year in yucky clothes, demoing a kitchen. We even had a candle lit Pizza dinner (without the candles.)





This was what it looked like before. As you can see, the lovely, peeling wallpaper from the 1970’s really needed to go and the cracking laminate floors are just an added bonus.

This is what it looked like at the end of the day. 3 layers of wallpaper glue. 3 LAYERS PEOPLE! We were able to pull down 2 layers of it in giant strips, but this last one is going to need scraped. 

Seriously though, we had a really fun day and it was much better than being all mushy gushy at some fancy restaurant. I voluntarily spent my Valentine’s Day this way and I’m glad I did. We have a lot of work ahead of us but I’m excited to make this a really nice space. The goal at the end of this reno is to have a nice kitchen on a budget, which means doing most of the work ourselves, and not go crazy in the process. Also, this is the biggest project in the whole house to tackle, so that’s why we’re starting it first.

My coat is basically done, I just need to add the buttons/ button holes! I will have a post about it soon, I promise. This kitchen just kind of took over a little :)

Coat Sew Along- The Lining

This week my focus was on my coat lining and getting my interlining sewn in.

The lining by itself was pretty easy. I just followed the pattern pieces.

Sewing the interlining in was a little tricky. I had to trim most of my pieces to fit within the lining. Then I just sewed them to each piece, while making sure my seam was poking through (to eliminate bulk.)

It got a little tricky with all the bulk and fabric, and the Thinsulate competing with the lining seams caused my fabric to pucker a little bit.

This is what it looks like, front and back, all sewn together.

In retrospect, I would have sewn my interlining to each piece of lining THEN sewed the lining together, while still leaving some room for seams without the bulk. It would have eliminated a lot of tricky and sloppy looking seams. Since this will all be inside the coat, I don’t care quite that much.

Next week I put it all together! 

Coat Sew Along- The interlining

Ah interlining! A thing I knew nothing about until I researched coat making and started this process. I found the Thinsulate interlining I chose to use for this project was super easy to work with. It cut out easily, it sewed easily, it was overall fantastic. Looking at it while I cut it out I thought “Maybe I should double layer this?” I’m glad I didn’t, because once I sewed it into my lining (A post coming next week) it was super warm and a little bulkier than expected (but not too bulky.)

For my interlining and lining, I used pattern B from my pattern, because it seemed a little unnecessary to do all those pleats on all layers. It will still helped hold the shape of the coat without too much bulk and weight. Bulk is apparently the word of the day.

I ordered 3 yards of Thinsulate interlining and only used about 1.5. If I wanted to, I could make a whole other coat (I do not want to.)

Again, I found it for a great price over at Vouge Fabrics.

Next week is a bit of a doozy. Cutting and sewing the lining, then sewing interlining into the lining was a bit of work. See you then!

Coat Sew Along- The wool

Oof. This was a lot more tedious than I expected. Between cutting it out and sewing all the details, it took me about 1 hour each day for about 10 days. Cutting it all out took forever. Pleating and tacking took sooooo long. Here are some progress pics

So much fabric

It was a little bit long at first…

So, the only thing left to do is attach the collar (which is that odd bunch of fabric sitting on the top), iron it, remove the tacks and buttons/button holes which I won’t be doing until after the lining and interlining is all in.

Woof. This was probably the hardest part though and it should be all smooth sailing and take relatively little time from this point on.

Orange and Pink Dress

Another project I neglected to write about in 2013!


I purchased this fabric back in August and didn’t start sewing it until November. Oops!


This project was inspired by the “Spring has Sprung” dress I saw on Modcloth about a year ago. Of course, when I finally decided to purchase this dress, it was sold out.

When I saw this fabric at Joann’s, I knew I could pull this dress off fairly easily and the result would be similar enough to the Modcloth dress. Instead of a cotton neck strap, I turned to Etsy for the black appliques, which I hand stitched on carefully. Beneath the dress is a white cotton lining, complete with ruffle skirt, to give it even more fullness.

Unfortunately, I made the body of this dress back in the beginning of November, when I was about 10 pounds heavier. When I finally got around to sewing the lace on and finishing it, it was rather large on me and taking it in was not a task I was feeling up to. It looks pretty good on me with a belt, but my mother has kind of stolen it away from me and is wearing it herself.

Oh well! I’m still very happy with the result.

More coat sew along happenings on Tuesday!


Coat Sew Along- Cutting the test

I usually don’t do a muslin tests before my projects, but I really want this one to turn out nicely, so I will be doing a test. I had this red cotton left over from a project I did in middle school. I just want to test the fit of the bodice and the shape of the skirt, so I will not be including sleeves and such things.

I started by cutting the bodice of my pattern out, pinning it and cutting it out. I chose to go up a size with my pattern because the wool be on top of several layers.

Then I cut out a few rectangles for the skirt. I pleated, pinned, and tacked to get the shape I wanted.

Then I sewed the bodice and skirt together.


I concluded a few things

  1. The bodice was too long. I want the seam where the bodice and skirt meet to sit higher on my waist, therefore I will have to adjust my pattern.
  2. The skirt needs to be cut a more of angle to give it more fullness.
  3. The length of the back skirt piece was good. The front pieces were too short only because I didn’t have enough cotton.
  4. The skirt needs to be cut wider to allow for the number of pleats I want. It didn’t quite meet up with the bodice in the front.
  5. I know where I want my pockets to go.
  6. Overall, the coat needs to be a little smaller. Even with the bulk underneath, it was still rather larger on me.


As you can see, I made notes directly on the cotton. I took  it apart and will be using it in addition to my pattern to cut out my wool and linings.

Next week we cut the wool!

Red plaid shirt

I’ve been wanting a red plaid shirt for about a year now, but I could not find anything in any store I liked. I vowed to never do a button up shirt again after making Aaron’s because it was so much work (even though it turned out great) and I was determined to buy one instead of make one. Of course, I was on my weekly trip to Joanns and found the perfect fabric. I knew I had to make myself one and put in all that work again. 


I’ll admit, I cut corners. I barely ironed this thing, where as with Aaron’s I was so meticulous with ironing ever piece and every seam. I didn’t double stitch for “that look.” I was sparse with my button holes, due to laziness. Oops. 

I modified a pattern that was just “meh” and didn’t make it as fitted as I like, but I still love how it turned out. I’ve been wearing it open over T-Shirts almost like a sweater more than anything. 


Here I am on Christmas wearing it over a “Stashing Through the Snow” shirt with a mustache on it. No idea why I was so unamuesd with my mother’s picture taking, but my face is something else.


Coat Sew Along- Materials and Inspiration


Many of these supplies can be bought at your local craft/fabric store. I got many of my supplies at Joann Fabrics, however if you’re looking for something more unique as far as color and prints go, they may not be your best bet.

For this project, you will need

- A pattern. I choose pattern A from the Burda Young 7458 pattern, however I will be modifying it a bit to add a skirt to the bottom. I chose it because I liked the look of the collar and front and knew adding a skirt would be fairly easy.

- Outer fabric. This is the part of the coat you will see the most. I’m using the beautiful red wool pictured above. I have about 5 yards for mine because I want the skirt part to be fuller and because I wanted extra in case I mess up. Joann Fabrics doesn’t have much of a selection beyond plain, muted colors in their wool, so this is where you may want to branch out.  If you’re following a pattern exactly, use that to determine how much outer fabric you need.  Wool and tweed are great if you are making a nice warm coat like me. If you want something lighter, you have a little more of a selection when it comes to fabric type.  I’d recommend fleece for something medium weight.

- Lining. Choose a fabric that is smooth and will glide easily so that your coat is easy to take off and put on. Because my coat is a plain color outside, I chose something a little more fun on the inside. I love coats with fun linings because you only see it sometimes. My fabric is the animal print above, a satiny polyester blend, purchased from Joanns.

- Interlining. This is not the same as lining or interfacing. Interlining is what keeps your warmth inside the coat and the cold stuff out, between the wool and lining. If you are making a lighter coat you can skip this step or go with one of the lighter options below. Types of interlining you can include: basic quilting batting, cotton flannel, or fleece are good for lighter coats; where as wool interlining, thinsulate, and primaloft are great for warmer coats. (these are the only types I’ve researched, but if you have other suggestions let me know.) 

I chose to go with the thinsulate. Joanns only had lambswool, to be used mostly for quilting. I purchased my thinsulate through Vouge Fabrics here. I only purchased 3 yards because obviously the interlining will not be as full as the outer skirt. You can chose to interline just the bodice of your coat, or the bodice and the sleeves.

- Cotton/muslin (optional.) because I am not following an exact pattern and because my fabric was very expensive, I will be making a “rough draft” of the coat before I cut up my beautiful wool. I have some leftover cotton laying around from an old school project and it’s almost the exact shade of my coat so I will really get a good idea of how it will look.  If you feel confident that you will cut and sew correctly the first time, then by all means skip this. But I will be overly cautious.

- Thread. Duh.

- Buttons and any other trimmings you want. I contemplated putting piping on this coat, but it was an added cost and I couldn’t decide on a coordinating color, so I chose to skip it. You will most likely need buttons or snaps of some sort. Any other types of trimmings you’d like to add as well. I have some leftover lace that I may add to the lining for fun, but we’ll see.

I think that’s all for now! If I’m missing anything let me know.

 I’ve also created a Pinterest inspiration board so you can see where I got some ideas for this design. 

Can’t wait to start my cotton test for next week!


J Crew Inspired Vest

I love J. Crew. I am a poor college student. You can see how this is a problem.


I saw this beautiful vest all over Pinterest, really wanted it, and eventually found out it was from none other than J. Crew. I checked their website and it was gone. “Oh well, must have been a few season ago.” I thought. Time passed and I kind of forgot about it. I went outlet shopping with my boyfriend one day and low and behold, there in the J. Crew factory store was this beautiful vest, at 40% off. I walked up to it and was very disappointed to discover that it was not the grey herringbone wool it appeared to be on the internet, but rather a synthetic, almost lining material with herringbone printed on it. It was also still like $80, even with the 40% off. 

"Nope. No way. Not spending that kinda money on this." I thought.

But after seeing it in person, I couldn’t get it out of my head. So I made it.


I purchased some great grey wool from Amazon, got some lining from Joann’s, and pulled up some spare quilting batting my mother had (no one in my family quilts nor has ever quilted. I have no idea where this came from.)

I modified the bodice of a shirt pattern and cut out the pieces based on that. I then measured and marked with chalked where I wanted my quilting lines to go. Quilting it was not as hard as I thought, putting it all together was.

I’m not used to working with that bulky of a fabric and I have a lot of sloppy seams.

In order to contain the fluff inside the seams, I finished them with double sided biased tape.

Attaching the biased tape and the zipper was my biggest problem. The biased tape just did not want to fold or catch on that much fabric and the zipper somehow got put in crookedly. I’m gonna blame the bulk on that one too. 

In places where the biased tape didn’t catch, instead of seam ripping and redoing, I just used some fabric glue to keep it together. 

Overall, I’m really happy with it. It was my first time working on any type of project like this and although the fit is wonky, the quilting is a little uneven and the bias is sloppy, it turned out well. Fairly easy and a much cheaper option. Probably cost me $40.

First post in the coat sew along coming at you tomorrow! 


Coat sew along

It’s finally here! I am all caught up on projects and I’m ready to start my biggest one yet! For my next trick, I’m going to attempt to make an elegant, warm, wool, winter coat. For all my loverly followers, I’m going to be doing a coat sew along as I go. Basically, I’m going to blog every detail about this, each step I take, so maybe you can try it along with me and we can learn together. I’ve never taken on some thing this large before and I’m excited to learn along with you. My plan is to post each step I complete every Tuesday from now until it’s done. If you choose to sew along with me, great! If not, the posts will all be up around Februrary 28 and you can check them all out and go at your own pace. I recommend you follow this sew along only if you have experience sewing. This is going to be a challenge, but if you’re a beginner and really want to try, then join us. I’m excited.

I’ll be making my first post next week all about materials!

Here is the complete list of scheduled posts.

1. Materials and preparation, my inspiration for this project (Scheduled for 1/21/2014)

2. Cutting out a test (Scheduled for 1/28/2014)

3. Cutting out and sewing the wool (Scheduled for 2/4/2014)

5. Interlining (Scheduled for 2/11/2014)

6. Lining (Scheduled for 2/18/2014)

7. Putting it all together, finishes and the final result (Scheduled for 2/25/2014)

In case you’re not excited enough, here is a coat sew along that happened a few years ago. I used this site for inspiration in my planning, though it is a little hard to navigate. 

Just to note, I am not a professional seamstress in any way. I’m just a college girl who is basically self taught and loves to sew and learn new things. I’m doing this sew along as a way for me to document my process and for those who are interested in coat sewing to use as “grain of sand advice” and to learn along with me. I am going to mess up. I am going to forget to include information. I am going to do things “the wrong way.” I am okay with this. 

That being said, if you are interested in this sew along, shoot me a message. I’ll make a running list post of who’s in so we can click each others blogs for help, advice, and inspiration (and for accountability.) If you care to post about it, tag it with “QOTC coat sew along” if not just enjoy the posts and send me a picture when you finish!

If you’re magically finding this post some time in the future, shoot me a message too of anything I forgot to mention in my posts OR if you did the sew along and have an image to submit! 

The first post, all about materials, is coming at you Tuesday 

I’m excited!