decorating · home repairs · house · rennovation · rennovations

Sewing room update

Painting trim (if you wish to do it correctly!) takes quite a long time.  If taking trim from bare wood, I use 2 full coats of primer (I like Zisser Coverstain) and 2 full coats of paint (I like Behr ultra premium in semi-gloss).  I sand between each coat, and fill all nicks and holes with a good filler (not the cheap DAP stuff) between coats of primer, and caulk between coats of paint.  In the past week I’ve done all that, and now the room is ready for real paint this weekend.  It went from this:

Windows before

to this:


the trim in this room was in pretty awful shape – I replaced half of it because whole pieces were missing (the people before us had dogs, and they shredded the trim.)  The windows need to be replaced, but that’s not in the budget right now.  The trim on this floor was originally painted when the house was built, but in the 80s (when everyone wanted natural trim) someone stripped it, and never bothered to finish the wood.  Wood is never the same after paint is stripped anyway, and after 30 years of weather exposure, it was especially bad (not to mention it wasn’t stain grade to start with!)

Anyway, I’m very happy – and now I’m picking paint!  I want a pale blue green, sort of a tiffany blue:

This color is scuba green by Benjamin Moore with just a little more white added.  It looks a little strange on the wall, since the purple reflects on it, but it looks great when painted on a swatch or poster board in the room, so I think it’s good!  I may end up just getting the next lighter shade on the card.

It’s important for me to choose a lighter color because I sew at night a lot.  With dark walls, there isn’t enough light in the room.

Speaking of light, I’m replacing this awful ceiling fan:

Old ceiling fan

I hate this thing.  It only takes one light bulb (max 60 watts) so it isn’t useful, and I think the design on the blades looks like evil sheepdogs.

I ordered this replacement from


I figure, if you can’t have a chandelier in you sewing room, then where can you?  It takes 4 bulbs, which should be an upgrade.  I have ott lights for ironing and cutting anyway.

I’m still considering my project table options.  I like the idea of using the expedit cubes, but I’m thinking building my own might be better – then I can have the size and height that I want!  For now, I will probably bring my foldable table down and use it while I try to decide on my options.

So, I haven’t done any sewing, but I’ve made great progress on my new space – I am so excited!



crafts · rennovation · Sewing

Holiday weekend update

I hope you all had a great holiday weekend –   We’ve had a very eventful time!  First of all, we’ve been painting and tiling in our laundry closet, preparing for a new washer and dryer on Wednesday.  I’ve been suffering with a truly awful model from the 70s, so I am very excited!

I did manage to make it out to the memorial day sales and Joann and Hancock’s.  I picked up a few Simplicity and Vogue patterns that I’ve been waiting to go on sale, and I got this pretty charmeuse fabric to make a blouse.  I think it will go nicely with my yellow Beignet skirt.

I mostly resisted the online memorial days sales, but I did order two gorgeous cotton satin prints from Elliot Bermann.

The pink roses will become a sheath dress (I am thinking of Vogue 1137) and the one on the right (which is from JCrew) I am going to save for fall… I am thinking of something with a full skirt and 3/4 length sleeves, like Vogue 8615.

I also was able to work up a muslin of Simplicity 2497.  The sizing on this one is really strange – I looked at the finished measurements, and decided on a 6 in the bodice, 10 in the waist, and 8 for the skirt.  Here is the first result, minus the neck ruffles (excuse the mess… the big mirror hangs on the door of the laundry room, so you get to see our painting debris!

A few things:  the neckline is quite low, but I think I am going to leave it.  I don’t want the ruffles too close to my face, and for a formal dress I don’t mind a low neck.  The bodice is too big – I need it to be 2-3 inches smaller.  I’ll go down to the 4, and perhaps take slightly deeper side seams.  The shoulders will be better in the size 4 too.   The waistband could be a little smaller, again by about 2 inches.  The skirt is fine, though it could perhaps be slightly smaller in the back.  I also plan to shorten the skirt by about 3 inches.  Luckily, with no darts etc this dress is very easy to alter. Here I am with the waist and bodice clipped:

Much better I think!  I know the style is supposed to be blousy, but the proportions don’t work on me with that much ease.  I think with a smaller top and the ruffles it will be super cute!  I’ll go ahead and do another muslin of the top only, since I need to remove so much ease, and when I’m satisfied I will cut my fabric.  This is the fabric I am using, which is actually a synthetic shantung – not usually my thing, but the color is pretty.

Oh, and I forgot the other bit of excitement in our holiday!

You may know that we live in an old Victorian neighborhood.  It’s a mixed bag, with extensively renovated mansions sitting next to converted apartments that haven’t seen paint in decades, and we love it!  One of the main reasons we were probably able to afford our house, which was larger and nicer than we thought we could get, was because there was a particularly nasty example of the latter type of building a few doors down.  It was abandoned, and the city was very slow to figure out who owned it so they could auction the property.  Well, they finally did, and work started on the house in January.  We were very excited first, as the house had been a constant source of worry.  It quickly became apparent that the new owners had no clue what they were getting into, and they proceeded to gut the house (including many of the exterior walls) and then left it sitting that way.  Last week it started to develop a noticeable list.  We contacted the city and our alderman, to no avail – it seemed it would have to actually fall down before anyone would do anything.  And last night?  It did.  We heard a terrible crashing noise that went on forever.  I turned to my husband and said “the house fell down” and immediately called 911.  Luckily, no one in the surrounding buildings was injured, and we have one house between us and the collapsed house (our neighbors were not home.)  It makes me so sad to see that beautiful, once proud Victorian home, destroyed by years of benign and a few months of willful neglect.  I am involved with the local historic preservation organizations, and this is why!

It’s back to work tomorrow for a shortened week – I am looking forward to June!

crafts · knitting · Life · rennovation

Oh, my aching back!

We had a really busy weekend around here.  On Saturday we drove up to Cincinnati for Marc’s cousin’s wedding.  I thought it was a really nice wedding, very classy.  Here we are, one of the rare times that we’re both dressed up at the same time.

On Sunday I covered some extra church services to make up for missing Saturday, and then I spent the rest of my day repairing the house.  It’s currently 85 degrees outside, and we don’t have central air here.  We do have several window units, but one of them totally died last summer, so off we went to buy a new one.  When we got it home we decided to put the new, larger unit in the living room and put the old on in the bedroom.  Unfortunately, when we took the unit out, this is what we found.

When we moved in last summer the air conditioners were already in place.  I knew that sometime last summer that unit had leaked and damaged some paint, but I didn’t realize that it apparently it was an ongoing problem left for us by the last owners.  So I thought “No big deal, I’ll just sand it down and repaint.”  Unfortunately, once I got started I realized that the paint on the baseboard was damaged also.  And when I took it off?  I found this:

Lovely mold, right?  I think it was only mildew caused by moisture… or at least that’s what I’m hoping.  So I scraped and scraped, and finally repainted, leaving this:

It’s not the greatest paint job, but to be honest I just wanted it covered.  The sill is clearly rotten and needs to be replaced.  And this window is behind the stairwell door, which is frequently open, so it won’t be seen much.  You see how jacked up that wall is?  Nearly all our walls are like that… the joys of 90 year old plaster I suppose.  I also enjoy the old electrical outlet there that has been painted over lots.  I really think the walls are held together with spackle. We painted the whole house last June, and already I can see cracks reappearing through the paint.

Not to complain though… I love this place, and I do love the plaster walls (we never hear our neighbors!)

Oh yes, and actual knitting content!  I have finished all except the left front of my dollar and a half cardigan.

It still looks a bit big to me, but I’m reserving judgment.  I’m still loving the pattern and yarn!