Friday, July 29, 2011

Basement Reveal!!!

Today I'm sharing photos of our basement that we did a mini-makeover of during the last few weeks. Our challenge was to fix up the room using $100 worth of paint and a bunch of hand-me-down furnishings.

Now before I share any pics, let's review the main objective: to create a space that did not make my skin crawl, pose imminent danger to my child, or result in an intervention-style reality t.v. program.

So, if you're here looking for decorating and design ideas, sorry. The goal for this project was simply to create a not-horrible spacce.

I am here to report: mission accomplished.

Here's the before:

And the after!

The t.v. corner. Before...

And after...

Shelves were built by my father-in-law and are from his old office. The baskets hold crafting supplies.

Office area. Before...


Stairwell. Before...


Here's some pictures we took after we cleaned out the room.

And some more after pictures...

Good overall view of the room. We used two scraps of carpet and padding from my grandparents' old family room on the floor. The seam is very visible. We're thinking of adding an area rug to cover up the worst of it, or maybe just running duct tape or something across it to keep drooly fingers away. Ideas?

This is my side of the room. Exercise bike (which I've actually been using!), and craft table for all my projects.

Barbie doll house my dad built for me when I was eight. I've used it as a bookcase for many years, but now I'm thinking it could be a doll house for Miss V. She loves Angelina Ballerina and I saw some vintage ones on ebay that would be the right scale for this house. I'm thinking this might be Angelina's cottage in another year or two.


Fabric makes me happy! Top four are from Amy Butler, fifth one down is from Joann's, and the one on the bottom is an Angelina Ballerina print. I showed it to Miss V to see if she recognized her favorite character and she was so excited! Hopefully she's gonna love fabric like Mama does.

World's oldest jar of Mod Podge. You can bet it doesn't cost $11.88 anymore! There may or may not be a tragic story involving this jar of Mod Podge and the carpet in my childhood bedroom.... Sorry Mom and Dad!

Mason Jar full of foam brushes. I need to find more uses for all my mason jars.

The paint is from Benjamin Moore. It's their Aura line of paint. It is seriously the best paint ever!

Everything else in the room was either something we already had, or was a hand-me-down passed to us from friends and family. We truly have bought nothing for this room. 

What do you think? Isn't it amazing what paint can do?

That's all the info I can think to share at the moment. If you have any questions, ask away and I'll try to answer them in the comments.

The Shabby Nest

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Leftover Transformation = Yum!

One of my favorite things to make (and my husband's favorite things to eat) in the summertime is Bruscetta Salad. Remember that salad that Panera had a few years ago? Well, I make my own version which we really enjoy.

It's just chopped tomatoes, fresh basil, and fresh mozzarella, with a balsamic dressing mixed in. I like to serve it with a crusty piece of Italian bread.

I made some Sunday evening, and somehow we got busy with other things and didn't finish the leftovers. By last night, the cheese was getting a little mushy from the dressing, and I knew we weren't going to want it soon.

I decided to experiment.

First, I took some odds and ends of pasta we had languishing in the cupboard.

Boiled it up to a nice al dente...

I then drained off the water, sprayed a casserole dish with cooking spray, and tossed my pasta right in. I think I had around 2 1/2 cups of cooked pasta.

Then I took the leftover Bruscetta Salad and mixed it right in. Next, I took some grated parmesan and sprinkled it on top. I used quite a bit. Maybe 1/2 a cup.

Then I decided that maybe it would be better to mix the parmesan into the rest of the pasta mixture.

I always like breadcrumbs on top of my macaroni and cheese, so I figured that might be a good idea on this casserole as well.

Once I had everything put together, I baked it in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.

The top part was kind of dry, so next time I would definitely bake it with a piece of foil covering the top to keep the moisture in.

Still, it was pretty good.

It turned out as kind of a lighter version of macaroni and cheese but with a fancier Italian twist.

Very tasty, and also easy, since most of the ingredients were already a part of the Bruscetta I had made before.

Sneak Peak

I promised a sneak peak of our basement remodel, so here it is.

Aren't you just wild with anticipation?

I'll post the full room reveal on Friday, so stay tuned!

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Giveaway!

Just thought I'd post quick to let you all know about a giveaway I'm doing over at Agape Love Designs.

Hop on over there, for a chance to win this fabric flower from my etsy shop.

It can be made as a headband or a brooch.

This flower is made of soft pink t-shirt fabric and is accented with two black felt leaves.

It's one of the largest flowers I make and would normally cost $8.50, plus shipping.

But you can win it for free (plus free shipping!) by checking out Agape Love Designs and following the steps to enter.

Since I haven't won anything since that yellow teddy bear in Kindergarten, I'm pretty amused by the idea that something I made is now an item in a giveaway, and could end someone else's non-winning-things streak. I'd love if it was one of you!

Updated Pics of the Living Room, Weekend Stuff, and a Basement Before

The other day, I got the furniture re-arranging bug, and decided to move things around in my living room. Here's the result:

The white club chair had been where the rocker is now, and while I loved how it looked against the sofa, the other end of the room was looking a bit we-really-need-to-buy-more-furniture-ish. Which is something we aren't planning to do just at present. So, the white chair was moved to the other corner.

I love how cozy this corner of the living room now looks! The end table was a recent freebie from a friend of my parents. It's amazing how once people know you will accept almost any piece of used furniture, the freebies just start flying! It's actually a night stand, and while a little low-sitting, I love how it has a drawer. The drawer is officially the husband drawer, and when his clutter is collecting, I simple stuff it all in there. Then, when he can no longer close it, he sorts through things. It's proven to be a beautiful system. The basket underneath is from IKEA and holds baby toys. The ottoman was made by my dad and upholstered by me to match the stripey pillow.

Here's some more views of the couch arrangement.

I was having company over, so the house was uber-clean.

A joyous, albeit temporary situation.

And here's the other corner of the room. Looking decidedly un-Pottery Barn-ish.

Don't you love our t.v.? It's every man's dream, right? My parents refer to it as the world's smallest television, but we really don't mind it. I mean, of course, my husband would not object to a huge flatscreen, but this one does the job. Widescreen movies can be a bit small, and you can't really read the subtitles, but what does that matter?

Speaking of livin' the dream, we splurged and got a pool! Yes! A pool, right here at Vintage Violet Cottage. And when you've got a new pool, you have to have a pool party!

It's a baby pool! You didn't seriously think we splurged on a real pool with all the renovations we have to do around here?

Miss V loves her new pool, and so do her parents. Since Pennsylvania temps are currently reaching record highs, we decided yesterday was a good time for a family pool party, just us three.

We blew bubbles for the first time too.

We had such a fun evening! Proof that you don't have to live large, to have a lot of fun.

Now to seamlessly segway to a different topic...

Want to see my basement?

AHHHHHHHHH!!!!! Don't call Hoarders! Please!

I die. Seriously, I really thought for a while before posting this. But I don't want to portray a perfect home when that is certainly not the case. This is what happens when a badly done 70's basement remodel goes oh so wrong. We laid a scrap of carpet and padding on the floor when we moved in and started adding hand-me-down furniture, thinking we could ignore the ugly and get some use out of the space until we could get around to remodeling it. But then, the junk crept in, banished from upstairs by a thousand household projects that required just getting things "temporarily" out of the way.

This room was seriously compromising my mental health. I felt stressed just knowing this mess was down here.

And yes, it's true. Each of our mothers slept down here when visiting. Apparently they love us a lot.

Or else have really low standards.

This basement mess was driving me crazy, but there are 100 other projects around here that require our time and funds. A basement reno was just not in the budget. Fourth of July weekend, my whining and complaining reached epic proportions, so we decided to see what some serious cleaning and $100 worth of paint could do. I'll be posting the full reveal on Friday, and may toss in a few teaser pics during the week. So check back to see the big reveal!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Simple Pillow Cover Tutorial

Isn't this little throw pillow adorable? I got it on clearance at Tar-jay a few months ago. Unfortunately, when I got it home, I realized it really clashed with my living room decor. Then Mr. Vintage Violet said he didn't like it. :( And since he usually goes sweetly along with anything decorating related that I want to do (and it really didn't match the room), I decided it was time for a change!

Time for a pillow cover!

This is a really simple project and is perfect for the beginning sewer. It probably took me an hour start to finish.

First, you need to measure the dimensions of your pillow.

This one was 20 inches long...

By 12 inches... short? Hmmm... Not sure how to word that correctly.

Now take your fabric that you've already washed and dried. I bought this 100% cotton linen-ish looking stuff for $2.50 a yard at Wally world. To cut a straight line, I like to fold the fabric over a few times and cut through several layers at once. The shorter the line I have to cut, the better the odds that I will actually cut it straight.

Since my pillow is 12 inches on the short side, I decided to cut that side of my fabric at 13 inches, that way I would have 1/2 inch on each side for my seam allowance.

Then I cut the ends off the other ends of my piece of fabric. I ended up with a big square about 13 inches by 28 inches. Then I cut that piece in half.

Now we have two pieces of fabric that are 13 inches by 14 inches. These two pieces will become the back of our pillow.

Next, cut another piece of fabric that is 13 inches short and 21 inches long (20 inches to fit the pillow plus 1/2 inch on each side for the seam allowance). If you are making a different sized pillow, just measure the dimensions of your pillow and add an inch to each measurement.

The two smaller pieces on the right are going to overlap to make the back of our pillow the same length as the front. But first, we have a few more steps.

Take one of the smaller pieces and fold over the edge about 1/2 inch on the short side (for me, this was the side that is 13" long). Iron your fold in place. My fabric doesn't have a right or wrong side, but if yours does, you want to fold your fabric so that the wrong sides are "kissing."

Next, take some hem tape, and cut a piece to fit inside your fold.

Place the hem tape inside the fold.

See how we're sort of making a fabric, hem tape, fabric sandwich?

 Now, just iron your fold again with the hem tape between the two layers of fabric.

We've now created a hem, without any sewing! Repeat these steps with your other short piece of fabric.

Now take your large, unhemmed rectangle of fabric and, with right sides kissing, lay one of the short hemmed pieces on top. Then hemmed side should face towards the center of the pillow. Like this...

Next, take the other short hemmed piece, and lay it on the other end of your fabric rectangle, with hemmed edge facing towards the center. Your two hemmed pieces should now be overlapping in the center of the pillow. Like this...


Now, throw some pins around the edges.

 Now you need to sew around the edges. Set your sewing machine to a straight stitch of medium length. Sew all the way around the edges of your pillow cover, 1/2 inch from the edges.

When you've finished sewing, take your scissors and clip the corners of your pillow on a diagonal, very close to your seam. This allows the corners of your pillow cover to not be bunchy when you turn it right side out.

When you turn your pillow right side out, the corners will probably not turn all the way out.

(Argh! Don't know why this picture won't turn sideways! Hopefully I can fix that later. Anyway...) Take one of your pins and dig it into the corner of fabric, picking the fabric out into a point, so that none of the corner is buried inside the pillow cover. Now, iron your pillow cover so that all the seams are nice and flat.


Start shoving that pillow in there! You might need to use a little muscle.

All done! Love it!

Here's how it looks in the back.

I took a few pictures of my new pillow. It just looks good everywhere!

I made the red and white striped pillow using the same technique as for this one.

This is such a simple project. Have you ever made pillow covers?

I'm linking this project to The Shabby Chic Cottage's Transformation Thursday!

The Shabby Nest