Monday, September 26, 2011


Just wanted to share these cute baskets I bought today.

I have been looking for a basket for my bicycle and found a decent one at Walmart.  I've noticed a lot of these baskets come with a special mechanism on them to hook it to the bike and I could never figure out if I needed to buy another piece or how in the heck those work.  But, this one I found today had simple little belts that looped from the basket to the handle bars, so it made it really easy to install it on the bike.  I would have preferred if the basket was a darker color, but this is fine.  I may spray paint it later, but that will be very low on my list.

(Please excuse my messy garage - reorganizing the garage is another project on my "to do" list)
I also have been looking for a basket to hang on my hook rack for my super-mini-mudroom - for mail or other items I want to remember to take with me.  It needed to be:  not too big, not too small, not too heavy, have a handle, and a flat back so it would sit flush to the wall.  I've learned that these are hard to find!  But, I did find one today at the Dollar Tree, so it was the perfect price and works for what I need it for.

It fits perfectly on there!  And here it is in action.

Window Seat Cushion

**Update:  for instructions on how to make this cushion, please see my post about how I made my  bench cushion.  Even though the measurements are different, it would be made in the same way.**

Way back over Memorial Day weekend, I took advantage of the sale at Joann's and bought some fabric and foam (that stuff is expensive!) for 50% off.  They were for my master bedroom's window seat and also for a bench I have in my front hallway.

I have been hesitating to make these for a few reasons.  1)  I'm not much of a sewer and sewing a straight line is something that apparently is difficult for me, 2)  Since I'm not much of a sewer, it was going to take a lot of thinking as to how I was going to put this thing together, 3)  How the heck am I going to cut this foam?,  4) It's been super hot and the heat makes me lazy.  Those are some pretty good reasons, right?   But, with the holidays coming up (and for me, they start with Halloween since that is my favorite holiday), I wanted to get some of these projects done so I have time during the holidays for crafts and to just enjoy them.

I didn't take many pictures of all the steps in making this - mostly because I was really concentrating on how in the heck was I going to make this thing and also because I wasn't quite sure if what I was doing was going to work.

First of all, I put the foam onto the window seat and measured where I needed to cut.  I tried using regular scissors, but that barely worked - would have taken me forever.  I decided to try a bread knife and that actually seemed to work.  The only problem with using the knife was that the serrated edges didn't make a clean cut and I also didn't cut very straight (I ended up having to hot glue some of the foam back onto the main cushion I was going to use).  But, it worked - it was a pain, but it worked.  The next step was to lay the fabric over the cushion and cut the fabric so that it would fit the cushion (with some extra for seams and any mistakes).  Then, I pinned the first 2 pieces together by lining up the edges and started sewing.

For the rest of the pieces, I had to measure from the seam that I sewed to the length I needed for each side and pinned at that spot so I would know where to sew.  It was a really pain-in-the-butt process (I'm sure there is an easier way, but this is how I attempted it since I didn't know any better).  Because this fabric has a lot of texture to it and because I would only be using it for when I get dressed or putting on shoes, there shouldn't be a lot of wear & tear on it, so it wouldn't need to be washed.  So, I ended up just leaving the end open so I could stuff the foam in (wow, was that an experience!) and then hand-sewed the end closed. 

It actually turned out pretty well considering this is my first time making something like this!  I'm so glad it's finally done!

Since this was a learning experience and I now know what works and doesn't work, I have a plan for when I make the bench cushion.  I will measure the fabric and cut exactly the amount I need including allowance for the seams - this will eliminate the need for measuring during the pinning & sewing process (that took too much time).   I also bought one of those rotary cutters (I think that's what you call them) & cutting mat so I can make a nice straight cut.  Hopefully the next one will go a lot smoother!

**Update:  It was much cheaper for me to make this myself than ordering a custom cushion.  The fabric was about $23 and the foam was $30.  I got both the fabric and foam on sale for 50% off.   The total cost was $53.  If I had ordered a custom cushion, it would have cost me about $120 - $135.  This is a savings of $67 - $82!  I even have some leftover fabric and foam in case I want to make something else.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

French Door Hinges

Finally, the last couple of weekends, I've been able to get some projects finished.  I had several busy weekends and that along with the horrible heat, I wasn't able to or felt like getting anything accomplished as far as projects go.  But, I finally got 2 projects done that have been on my list for awhile.  I'll put them in 2 separate posts to make it easier to look at.

French door hinges
The hinges on my french doors & sidelites were brass.  The sidelites open and the knobs are also brass.  They really stick out and have been bothering me since I bought this house 2 years ago.

Way back when I first bought my house, I had looked into buying new knobs for the sidelites, but it was too hard to find the exact ones that fit.  Also, I didn't really want to spend the money on replacing the hinges.   I got the idea to spray paint all the hinges and knobs, but had procrastinated because I was worried about taking the doors down because I thought it might be difficult to get them back on by myself.  I talked to my dad about it and he had a great idea - just do one hinge at a time and this way the other 2 hinges will still hold up the door (duh!).  Brilliant!
So, I took one hinge off of each door at a time.

And put the screws into cardboard.

And sprayed away.  I used Rustoleum's Metallic Satin Nickel.
(Don't mind the Ninja Turtle in the background.  He came with the house and I never got rid of him.  He seems to be my project mascot)
This is the paint I already had at home.  It had a bit of a sparkle to it.   It worked out fine, but I would have rather had a non-metallic one in Nickel to eliminate the "sparkle".  They look way better now.

It took about 3 full days to get this done.  I used 1 full day per hinge set because I wanted to make sure that they got lots of drying time (so they wouldn't stick to the doors or to themselves).  It was totally worth it to take the time to do this - that brass doesn't jump out at me anymore.
I didn't do the sidelite knobs yet - not sure why, since I had time.  I'll tackle that next weekend when I have a full day to let them dry.   I did check and they are really easy to take off and on (I thought that they would be more difficult), so it should be easy peasy.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Adventures with an iPhone

I amazed myself last night.  I  did a very daring thing - I changed the battery in my iPhone. You see, my battery in my iPhone was a piece of you-know-what.  I've had the phone for 3 years and it's gotten a ton of use.  It got to the point in which my phone would die after checking my email (very quickly) and going on a couple of apps.  I would get maybe 15-20 minutes of email/app use and it would die on me.  And with no warning.  It would even show almost a full battery and die on me!

I really didn't need a new phone.  Yes, they are very cool and I WANT a new one, but couldn't justify spending $200 just because my battery is dying on my phone.  So, I looked into buying a new battery.  I figured that they might be super expensive, but thought I'd give it a shot.   After googling it, I found this site, Digi Express.  A new battery was only $15.99 and it came with a kit if I wanted to attempt installing the battery myself.  I found a you tube video on how to do it and decided that it didn't look too difficult and it wouldn't hurt to try it because my phone was on it's last leg.  If all else fails, I could just get a new phone - it was worth it to spend a little bit of money in the effort to save a lot of money.

I got the battery a few weeks ago and was scurred to try it.  I had to charge my phone 3 times yesterday and just couldn't take it anymore, so I bit the bullet and just tried it.  It actually wasn't so bad.  I followed the video very closely - often pausing and rewinding it.  To make a long story short, I had a little difficulty with putting the motherboard back in (it wouldn't push in all the way, so I couldn't get the SIM card back in), but I ended up getting it back in correctly and my phone is up and running with a fresh new battery.  My phone didn't even die once today and I made sure to use my email, apps, and play lots of games on phone.

A couple of tips if you want to try this yourself:  1)  Don't be afraid to use a bit of force when re-attaching the "cables" to the motherboard.  This is where I had trouble - I was being a bit too gentle because I was afraid of breaking it and that's why the motherboard wasn't going back in correctly.  I ended up pushing just a bit harder and it worked.  2)   Also, I would suggest you don't touch your camera.  I had found a 2nd tutorial video when I was having a bit of problem with it and it mentions unscrewing the camera and unhooking it (but not unattaching it).  The other video did not state this.  Since I was having problems, I decided to try this with the camera and accidentally unattached it.  I reattached the camera, but now it's not working.  I'm bummed about it, but this was the least of my worries since I use my Canon digital cameras primarily (although, I will be bummed when I need it on shopping trips. Boooooo).  I thought about trying to get the camera to work again, but decided to save that for another time.

So, there you have it.  A couple of my friends were pretty amazed that I tried it on my own.  It's scary messing with electronics - especially when everyone is so dependent on our cel phones, but it was actually pretty easy.  I may get a new phone in the next year though - the new iPhone 5 is supposed to come out soon and I may get tired of not having a camera in my phone.  But,  I'll wait to make sure people are happy with the iPhone 5s and get lots of use out of my battery.

**Update** 12/02/11
I accidentally clicked on the camera on my phone yesterday morning and discovered that the camera is working now!!!!  So stoked!