a leg to stand on

My sewing table has seen better days. It wasn’t expensive in the first place (due to the use of lots of coupons and discounts) and we’ve moved it many more times than is probably reasonable. But one of the casters has had issues since, I think, the first time we moved it – the casing on the caster snapped (cheap plastic) and though we glued it every time it rebroke, it finally gave up the ghost when we moved into our home last year. I had some random pieces of craft board stuffed under there until recently when I finally decided that it was leaning too far to that side and needed a better solution. We haven’t done very many DIY projects involving wood at this house yet, so we don’t have a lot around in the way of scraps. K found one lone piece down in the Harley Room and used that to construct a foot of sorts.

Caster fix

It also has felt on the bottom so we don’t scratch the wood floors, and a few scraps of a paint stirrer to bring it up to the correct height. It’s not pretty, but it works! My table is now level again and I’m not in fear of things sliding or rolling off the edge.

Eventually, of course, I’d like to find a solution with storage so I don’t have all these bins of yarn shoved under and around the table. I trip on them on an almost daily basis! Ridiculous! Ideally, I’d find a vintage piece that was big enough for my needs (I’d like to keep my cutting mat from this table, which means the surface needs to be about 60″ x 36″) but that seems like a pipe dream. Plus we don’t have any way to transport such a piece of furniture home from a yard or estate sale or wherever I might ostensibly find it, and we would need it to fit up the stairs, which might be a challenge with a heavy old piece. I found this dresser on the IKEA website – if I put two of them back to back (and secured them together), it would work! But sadly the website lists it as not in stock at any of the stores in our vicinity (Michigan and Illinois) – I’ve been checking back periodically over the last few months, but so far no luck. We’ll see what we find – in the meantime, though, I’m delighted to have a sturdy table with a level surface again! Big thanks go to K for putting it together for me.


most-used Blythe item

Of all the Blythe stuff I have collected, there is one item (or set of items, really) that I use more than anything else. It’s not a very interesting looking thing but it’s so useful!


These are stands that I use to prop up Blythe when I’m taking photos of her. They were originally designed to be candle holders, sold by IKEA (no longer available, I think – they were called NASVIS). They had little cups on the tops that would hold a candlestick, but I snapped those off (and sanded down the ends to be sure there weren’t any snaggy bits). They were also originally black, but K painted them white for me.

I have a few mats and rugs that I have snipped tiny slits into so I can slide the stand through and the base will be hidden underneath. One is a welcome mat that I have used in a ton of photos like this one:

Blythe Swap: Love Birds

The stands were still black at the time that photo was taken, but they do hide nicely behind Blythe for the most part. I like these better than stock Blythe stands for photographs because they don’t interfere with her outfit at the waist. They’re also a bit heavier than a stock stand, so they stay in place a little better. Blythe is definitely still capable of falling over when using these stands, but I can usually prop her up pretty well without her moving.

What is your favorite Blythe item?



I finally hemmed the curtains for the dining room window, and I’m quite pleased with how they look.

dining room curtains

They’re definitely very neutral, but I think that’s working for me.

dining room curtains

I had them hanging out in the guest room prior to hemming them, and they actually looked quite good in there, too.

dining room curtains

I did a wide hem on the bottom to mimic that at the top, and I think it gives a nice finished look.


hallway and entryway OR goodbye, carpet!

Late last week, I got a wild hair while K was at work one day and pulled up the carpet in the hallway. We were planning to do this anyway, but I just couldn’t wait until he was home and figured, why not?


It came up pretty easily, as it had in other areas of the house. I was happy to see that the hardwoods are in pretty good shape here, too (again, as they are in other areas of the house). There are some paint splatters that we can scrape up with a putty knife, though we’ll put a runner rug in the hallway so they wouldn’t be visible anyway. We weren’t sure where the hardwood border with the vinyl? flooring would be, and it’s at an interesting place. Luckily the border is in good shape, and we’ll likely want to put a threshold between the hardwood and the new tile anyway.


You can kind of see in this photo that the kitchen floor is slightly higher than the vinyl. There appears to be a layer of self-adhesive tile, a layer of sheet vinyl flooring, and a layer of subfloor on top of the original subfloor. Interesting!


This shows where I left off on the day that K was at work – I was not about to try moving the TV and all of the components by myself.


He arrived home when I was just about finished, and helped me with the last bits. I called my friend Susan who works in carpet cleaning in Sarasota and asked her for some tips, in a nutshell she told me what to avoid. The most useful bit of advice was: when you think you’ve pulled up all the carpet tacks and staples, run over the floor with a dry Swiffer. You’ll be able to feel any lingering bits that are sticking up so you can then get rid of them. Also, it picks up a lot of the dust/dirt/eww that is left even after shop-vac-ing.

entryway carpet removed

Then on Sunday, we tackled the last bit of carpet. It’s almost gone!

entryway carpet removed

And it’s gone! Hooray! The space feels a lot more open and cohesive now, even without the new tile being down yet. There were, of course, a few spots that needed patching to make an even surface for us to lay down the new tile, so that has to dry before we move on. All in all, I’m really pleased with how this has gone.

So now we need to decide about a runner and doormats. I’d like to put matching doormats throughout the house so that things will tie together, and might as well match the runner as well.

Hessum runner and doormat photo mosaiced20c14656cc716bcb359b4566af30351a2770f7_zpsaaa74120.jpgFirst we have the HESSUM from IKEA. The two images are not to scale – the runner is on the left and the doormat on the right.

Mayan Sunset Rug photo ScreenShot2013-03-03at23435PM_zpseffd614d.png

Then we have the Mayan Sunset from JCP. It looks pretty much the same in both shapes. My thoughts so far: the HESSUM is neutral and according to reviews is really durable. The Mayan Sunset magically ties in colors from the two bedrooms and the library. The IKEA rugs are slightly less expensive than the JCP ones, but only by a few dollars. Thoughts?



Thanks to all who offered suggestions and ideas for the dining room light fixture. I did a little intarwebs research and decided that I wanted a semi-flush drum fixture. Luckily IKEA happened to have one that was perfect! So the other night after dinner we took down the fan fixture and put this one up. It was pretty quick and easy!

dining room light fixture

I really like the way this looks. It’s big enough to be appropriate for the room, but not so overpowering like the fan was.

dining room light fixture

This fixture uses three LED bulbs, which provide a nice warm light.

dining room light fixture

And it’s super bright compared to before! Granted, two of the four bulbs on the fan fixture were burned out and we hadn’t bothered to replace them, but still, this one is so much better. I also really like the way the round shape works with our round dining room table, especially since there are so many sharp angles in the space. I also got some new curtains, but I’m going to wait until we’re done putting up trim and other things like that before I hang and hem them.


let’s be shelfish

As I mentioned last week, we recently relocated the herbs and spices to a new location in the pantry, using an IKEA picture ledge in lieu of a spice rack. The trade for that was relocating our storage containers to the cupboard above the stove. This works out well in both cases, since we used to knock the plastic storage containers off the shelf into the recycle bin by accident approximately once every ten minutes.

After we moved the spices, we had a lovely, empty cupboard. But I wanted to be able to store more things, so I wanted a shelf. I did not, however, want to spend a lot of money or have to paint something and wait for it to dry, and then have it be a slightly different shade of white (since these cupboards were painted a long time ago, and not by us). So while I was at IKEA getting the spice rack, I picked up a spare shelf in the As-Is department. It was too big in both dimensions, but I figured we could cut it to size and use the scraps as supports.

new shelf in the cupboard above the stove

We measured.

new shelf in the cupboard above the stove

K ended up deciding to use some spare trim that we had around (and already painted) for the side supports.

new shelf in the cupboard above the stove

We also put a support in on the back of that front divider beam, and did use a scrap of the shelf for that. Ta-da!

new shelf in the cupboard above the stove

And here we have all the storage containers organized and happy. I’m in the process of weeding out the plastic containers and replacing them with glass, but glass containers are pricey so it’s not going to be done right away.

new shelf in the cupboard above the stove

I’m quite pleased with how this project turned out! I’m especially happy that we only paid $2.99 for the shelf, and cutting and installing it only took maybe twenty minutes.


spice hack

Since I have been cooking more often, we have been acquiring more herbs and spices. We used to keep them on a two-tier lazy susan in the cupboard above the stove, but it was losing structural integrity and the cupboard was getting too small for our collection. Also I think that having them over the vent hood is maybe not the ideal location for things of that nature.

I had previously installed one IKEA RIBBA Picture Ledge in our linen closet as a shelf for my nail polish collection, so I ran to IKEA and picked up a couple more RIBBAS. RIBBAE?

Here you can see that I added another for more polishes and other sundries in the linen closet:

IKEA Ribba picture ledge - nail polish storage

I love how easy to see my polishes are with this setup! I haven’t been painting my nails that often lately, but usually I am better about doing it during the winter (I’m less prone to killing my manicure when it’s not gardening season).

And then added one in the pantry, to give us a second ledge for herbs and spices:

IKEA Ribba picture ledge - now a spice rack

I put all the salts and peppers on it. Sheesh, we have a lot of salts and peppers! I may install another on the wall to the right, so that the sweet spices can have their own separate shelf. I do realize that IKEA sells a dedicated spice rack, but I prefer the styling of this item.


Maker Faire

I’ve been slacking on posts because we’ve been on vacation all week, but here, finally, is an update on Maker Faire Detroit.

It was awesome! Lisa and I went over on Friday to scope it out and set up the basics for our table (essentially the tablecloths). I was quite pleased with how well my plan came together. The purple and black color scheme I set up was striking and you could easily read the bunting from a distance. Goals achieved!

Team Librarian at Maker Faire Detroit 2011

We were in a great location – we couldn’t have found better! We were adjacent to several other crafty-type tables, and to the Needle Arts Zone, where volunteers taught faire-goers to knit and crochet. We were also right next to my favorite THF exhibit, the Dymaxion House!

Team Librarian at Maker Faire Detroit 2011

Saturday morning we got up early and got our wares set up right on time. In addition to our goods, about eight other members of Team Librarian sent us items so we had a great selection.

Here’s Jen of MimiBoo, me, Steve from DPL (teens from DPL made earrings that we sold at the table – how cool!), and Lisa.

Team Librarian at Maker Faire Detroit 2011

I was really happy with how my displays turned out. I got a couple of metal flower pots from IKEA, along with some drapery clip hooks, and that worked quite well for my gnome and puppet kits. I also got a spool rack which did well at displaying my gnomes and finger puppets. Just about everything about the weekend came together ridiculously smoothly – it was just awesome.

Team Librarian at Maker Faire Detroit 2011

Our booth did quite well in sales, too! Lisa and I are currently hatching plans for future shows at which Team Librarian could represent.

More photos at Flickr.


delayed drywall

We’ve been meaning to get a couple of small drywall projects done for ages but kept putting them off. Finally we called our drywall guy and he came this weekend to get a start on both projects.

First, the lovely “hole in floor” that resulted from having our tankless hot water heater properly vented last year. All I can really say about that is THANK JEBUS nothing terrible happened for the four years it was improperly vented. So here it is before – the way it has been for the past year (how has it been a year?! Time really does fly.):

be careful of hole in floor

And here it is now, after our guy built a box for it and started the drywall:

first stage: boxing in the venting

The plan here is to add a built-in buffet that will (a) hide the existence of this box and (b) give us a better place for the microwave, breadmaker, and the other stuff that doesn’t really fit in the kitchen proper (all of which currently lives on an IKEA cart that usually sits below the window).

first stage: boxing in the venting

In addition to that project, we also had a spot on the opposite side of the chimney (which forms the left side corner where the box above is) where a small leak had ruined the drywall. We patched it very temporarily but now it’ll finally be really finished.

drywall repair stage one

There had clearly been issues with this corner over the years (hopefully finally fixed last spring, *knock on wood*), and our guy has been doing a great job fixing all the weird little stuff as he goes along.

drywall repair stage one

Baby steps, but we’re getting there! And then we can take down that horrible railing. It is so out of style that I always want to refer to it as a wagon wheel coffee table. We’ll also rip up the ugly blue carpet. I don’t know what flooring we want in there yet. What goes best in a dining room?


guest room bedding quest

We’ve been trying to figure out what we want to do for bedding in the newly redone guest room (which is actually not quite done yet). Previously we had a mild green duvet cover over an old comforter that K had before we got together. It’s okay, but it’s one of the flattest comforters I’ve ever seen and to me, it’s not as rich as I’d prefer. Anyway, we’re not thrilled with the light green color, so we’re going to replace the comforter. The existing sheets are off-white and light tan, which should go well with whatever else we choose. So far these are the contenders:

1. Micro suede comforter:

microsuedePROS: warm, easily cleaned, pretty neutral texture-wise
CONS: possibly too warm for all year ’round, not super interesting

2. Down comforter with quilted square pattern:

down comforterPROS: warm, pleasing texture/pattern without being too busy
CONS: possibly too warm for all year ’round, possibly an allergen for some guests?

3. Satin-y comforter with circles pattern:

Wyldwood with circles

PROS: interesting pattern, comes with extra pillows, ridiculously inexpensive
CONS: too much pattern?

4. IKEA Karit:

IKEA Karit

PROS: reversible (added flexibility)
CONS: too simple, possibly cheap-looking?

So, if it were up to you, which would you pick? What kind of bedding do you prefer? Or have you seen something else better?