It’s Not All Mary Poppins

DIY Ikea-Hack Bench and Blind

A while ago I told you all how Busy, Busy I was with the Project That Got Away, and promised you pictures. Though it may seem that I totally forgot, and lord knows that’s entirely possible, I didn’t! No, it’s just that I have a really crappy camera, and it’s very difficult to take pictures of a window with a really crappy camera.

So, these aren’t great pictures — in fact, that first one is awful — but they’re the best my poor little camera can do.

1. Bench with new cushion and bolsters. Blind made from old (green) curtains and using strip of leftover bench fabric for a bit of visual interest, but not too much matchy-matchy. (Sorry for the visual distractions: That weird white spiral in the centre is the string for the ceiling fan. If I’d realized it was going to POP into the picture like that, I’d have flipped it up out of the way. Oh, well. The red ribbon and ball in the centre of the blind is a glass ornament my brother gave me for Christmas a year or two back, and MUCH prettier in real life than it is in this picture.)

I opted to use the curtain hardware (rod and rings) for the blind. Sure simplified things, and if I ever make these things again, I may just see if IKEA still makes them!

Also: my living room is NOT this sickly shade of grey-green, the light from the ceiling fan is warm, not pallid, and I sure do wish I’d straightened the right edge of the blind, which was caught on one of the loops that hang from the middle of the blind. We can safely agree that a) my camera is crap and b) my staging could be much better. A photographer I ain’t.

But I can sew!

I also opted not to put a dowel through the lower edge, which means that when it’s folded up, that edge droops between the loops. I’m fine with this. If you wanted a straight edge, you’d have to make a casing for the dowel. I’ve done that with different blinds. It would be nice to say I deliberately looked for a softer, less rigid look, but really, I just couldn’t be bothered. I put the accent strip of fabric on both sides of the blind so it would look the same when folded.

At the very lower right, you can see another loop. That’s the rightmost loop of the second row of four loops, enabling the blind to be raised to a second, higher level. Here, the blind comes to the bar in the centre of the window.

(The loops are hooked onto four S-hooks which I suspended on ribbons tied to the curtain rod.)

And here, it’s raised to its highest position. (For reference, compare the placement of the glass ball. The ball hasn’t moved, only the blind.) And oh, look! For the entirely gratuitous Cute Factor, a small dog is enjoying the bolster.

Simple, effective, and (yay!) pretty inexpensive. I’m pleased.

June 6, 2012 Posted by | crafts | , , | 1 Comment

Busy, busy

Sorry I’ve been awol this week. I have a project on the go which is eating into blogging time. Remember the bench that I covered?

Well, it worked for a couple of weeks, but I have dogs, you see. Two of them. Dogs who swim in the river pretty nearly daily. Dogs, who, despite my best rinsing-off efforts in the drive, track a lot of much into the house.

Dogs who really, really like that new bench.

Within a couple of weeks, it was clear that the cover would have to be washed two or three times a week to stay tolerable. Two or three times! Not only is that too much work, but the fabric wasn’t going to last more than a year with all that hard usage. It was a pretty sturdy cotton, but not up to that.


Off to the fabric store. I had in mind to get oilcloth or laminated cotton, so it could be wiped down, but that stuff is … plastic, really. Fine for tablecloths and bibs, but not so fine for sitting on, particularly not in shorts. Ouch.

Then I discovered this lovely sturdy fabric, designed for use on patio furniture. PERFECT! So I bought a length, recovered the bench cushion, and it looks really, really sharp. AND, it wipes clean with a damp cloth. PERFECT! AND, it feels like fabric, not plastic, when you sit on it. PERFECT!!

AND, now that the bench is permanently under the window, the curtains, which brush the floor, are nearly impossible to draw, and hang in big messy piles on the bench when you do manage to drag them together.

Not so perfect.

The solution, however, was obvious: take the curtains down, measure and cut a bit, then rehang them as blinds!!!

So. Busy, me. Busy, busy, busy. Just not so busy blogging. And yes, there will be pictures!!

May 23, 2012 Posted by | crafts | , , , | 3 Comments

From Shelf to Seating

Our old couch had had it. It was old, and it was grubby. Not that those two things would have provided sufficient motivation to turf it without the advent of Daisy, who viewed the wooden armrests and the World’s Best Chew-Toys. She could lie on the couch, see, rest her face on the padded part, and gnaw to her puppy’s heart’s content. Convenient, no?

Despite my diligent conscientious consistent careful oh, all right! half-assed and distracted attention, the arms looked like day-old toothpicks. Even relaxed me knew that thing had come to the end of its useful life.

Too bad we have NO money to replace a couch. Lordy, those things are expensive.

However. What we do have is the biggest honkin’ IKEA in Canada (possibly in the known universe) right here in Ottawa! And Ikea sells these lovely shelving units for a mere $69.99!!!

I have foam cushions. (Well, actually, I have foam sleeping mats, but I also have cots, and I like the cots better. The foam mats were expendable, perfect for this project!) I have fabric. (I sew. I have A Stash.) I have duct tape. (Why? Because EVERY project needs duct tape!) So, with a little time and ingenuity, I could create:

Bench seating!! Half-finished, that is. The tots like it. (That’s Grace, gazing out the window.)

I sawed the foam mats to fit using a bread knife. (No special saws required. That tip came from my father-in-law, who was an upholsterer before he retired.) Stuck the bits together with spray-on adhesive and reinforced it with the duct tape. Made a cover for it from material left over from the blinds on the window at the other end of the room. The underside is not fully covered, so the cover is held on by three strips of elastic which run from side to side. (I knew I was going to have to be able to remove it to wash. Oh, and I didn’t have enough fabric to cover it entirely.)

It slid around a lot, so I bought a couple of metres of that rubbery stuff you put in cutlery drawers to stop things from sliding around. It helps a lot, but I’m not done yet. Next up: half a dozen round drawer pulls, three along each long edge of the bench, and then some elastic loops on the cushion. Put the loop around the knob, and, with the non-stick underlay, I think that sucker will stay in place!

The dogs like it, too.

Next, I am using more of the foam to make and cover a cushion which I’ll affix directly to the wall under the window, running the length of the bench. Toss on a few soft bolsters, and, ta-dah! Funky, functional, sturdy seating! I’ve already had that cover off the cushion to wash, so I know it comes on and off easily, and the fabric cleans up well.

Fun, huh?

April 27, 2012 Posted by | crafts, random and odd | , , | 4 Comments