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Tutorial for Sewing a Zipper Pocket

Monday, June 27, 2016
In this tutorial I will show you how to put in a zipper pocket.  They can be put in practically anything you want but because the backside isn't very beautiful I'd suggest having a lining or putting the zipper in the lining itself.

 Here I used the zipper on the outside of my stroller organizer to hold things I didn't want people to be able to grab easily (strangers or my own kids).

 I added a zipper to the lining of my diaper bag...

...and to my shoulder bag.

For these zippers you need to add them BEFORE you construct your item because you will be flipping your material from back to front and you will need to turn it around in your machine easily.

SUPPLIES NEEDED:
-Zipper the size of your desired opening (or slightly longer)
-Pocket lining material
-Cardstock (cereal box would work)
-Gluestick
-Ruler
-Fabric marker
-Xacto knife
-Small scissors

 Mark a line on the wrong side of your fabric piece where you want the zipper of your pocket to be centered.

 A ruler and an Xacto knife are recommended for this next step.  Create a 'zipper stay' by cutting a rectangle from your cardstock with an opening slightly larger (about 1/16-inch) than the width of your zipper teeth and the length you want your zipper to show.  You'll want about a 1/4-inch border of card stock around your opening.

Generously glue one side of your zipper stay with your glue stick.

 Stick you zipper stay down, centered over the line you made on the wrong side of your fabric.

 It's easiest to use small sharp scissors for this step. Cut down the center of your zipper stay leaving 3/8-inch on each end uncut.

 Cut right into the corners, creating a triangle on the ends.

 Rub glue over the fabric in the center of the window on your zipper stay (it's okay to get it on the cardstock as well).

 Press your fabric over the zipper stay until it sticks - you may need to wait a minute for the glue to become tacky.

 When you turn your fabric over to the right side it should look like this - a perfect window for your zipper with crisp corners!

 You'll want to cut your pocket lining double the depth you want plus about 1-inch for seams.  You'll want your width 2-inches wider than what you want your finished pocket to be.  You can see in the picture my zipper is a few inches longer than what my pocket will be - that's okay!

Lay your zipper (teeth up) over the right side of your pocket lining, matching edges with the top edge of your fabric.  TIP: if you care which side your zipper pull is on when your zipper is closed, you'll be sewing it on the OPPOSITE side from where you want it.  For example, in the above picture my zipper pull is on the right-hand side, but when my pocket is finished it will be on the left-hand side.

 Sew across the top edge of your fabric and zipper.  You don't need your seem right up against the teeth of the zipper - maybe 1/4-inch away.  Make sure to backstitch!

 Now you'll fold your fabric in-half with right-sides together and your other zipper edge matching up with the other side of your fabric.

 Pin your sides in place.  In case it's hard to tell, the fold in the lining is on the opposite side of the zipper.

 Sew both sides closed with a 1/2-inch seam.  Sew just up to the edge of the zipper NOT over.  Make sure to backstitch (nobody likes pockets that come unstitched)!

 Fold down the open top edge and pin to keep out of your sewing area for the next few steps.

 Center the teeth of your zipper in the opening of your zipper stay.  Here, you'll have the wrong side of your fabric piece (with zipper stay) against the wrong side of your pocket lining.

 Pin pocket lining in place on the top side to keep from moving around.

 Using your zipper foot attachment, adjust your needle so it hits about 1/16-inch onto your fabric (and zipper stay) while the edge of your foot is riding along the edge of the zipper teeth.  You will only be sewing along the bottom-long edge of your zipper, starting at the corner (backstitch).  Sew along the entire edge, and when you get to the corner where you need to turn place your needle down into your fabric so it won't adjust.

 With your needle down, bring up your presser foot, unpin the flap of fabric underneath and fold it up so it's laying under the zipper.  You'll need to carefully pull your sewing machine's needle up to get the fabric fully under the zipper at this point. 

  Now you can carefully place your pressure foot down.  Are you still breathing?  The hard part is over!  TIP: you'll need to un-zip your zipper a few inches now.

 Continue across the short end and along the top edge.  See how my zipper is open so my pressure foot doesn't have to try and maneuver around the zipper pull (creating a wavy line)?  Once you get about 1-1/2-inches away front the end you can put your machine's needle down, lift up your pressure foot and zip the zipper up all the way so you can continue sewing.

 When you get the the last short end you can backstitch and finish!

This is what the backside looks like.  If the ends of your zipper are considerably longer than this you may want to trim them - otherwise keep them as is!

I hope that was easy and I explained well enough!

Interested in learning how to make a curvy-welt pocket?  It's fun!  Click here.

Staples Wax - I hope I like it!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016
If you know me - sometimes I go a little overboard and buy things in bulk (to save money in the long run).

 Look what just got dropped off at my doorstep!  A HUGE container of wax!  Part of me wonders how long it will take me to use this whole thing (probably 10 years!?) and another part wonders how much I'll even like it!

Many people use wax OVER another finish to buff to a shine and as an extra barrier, but I'm going to see how I like it just by itself.

I started looking into waxes because I haven't found a furniture finish I'm completely happy with.  I really don't like brushing finishes on because it's tedious and you get a lot of drips if you aren't careful.  Although spraying finishes on is fast and easy I drag my feet when it comes to getting the sprayer out and setting it up (and cleanup isn't fun).

Wax isn't a long-lasting finish (you need to re-apply as needed) and it won't protect from water (so it isn't always ideal) but who knows, I just might like it!  

I researched several waxes but it always came back to Staples Clear Wax (AKA "bowling alley wax") for me.

Along with the clear I got a smaller size in dark brown.

In my wood shop class last year I was really struggling to push some rough Ash lumber through the jointer. My fingers couldn't get a good grip on the wood with all the force I was using to push it through; once I rubbed some wax on the table/fence it went through like butter!  It also protects your machinery tops from rust!

UPDATE: June 28th, 2016
 This is what the clear wax looks like.  It has a smell to it - not overpowering but you may want to open some windows.

I rubbed it over the table I just refinished to protect it from my lovely kids.  It was easy to wipe on, dry and buff out.  It gave my table a really silky feel which I love with a bit more shine.  It makes clean-up a breeze since it's messes don't stick!

How to Make Your Own Magnolia Wreath from Scratch!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Magnolia wreaths are so pretty, don't you think?
I love how big and bold they are yet so simple and classy!

In this tutorial I will show you how I made this wreath for around $8!
(I used vines and leaves from my own yard)

Pedestal Table Refinished - It's Easy!


I found a great deal on a pedestal table for $20 at a Thrift Shop!!  Um... YES, I will take that!!

See how easy it is to fix up a wooden piece of furniture and learn from my mistake below as what not to do!

How to Re-Wire a Chandelier and Switch out Light Fixtures

In this post I show you how to do a total re-wire of a chandelier AND how to hang it.
*If you only want to know how to switch out light fixtures scroll to the bottom!*

 I found this chandelier at Habitat for Humanity for $20 that I couldn't pass up.

WHY do I blog about my projects!?

Sunday, June 19, 2016
Just yesterday I started thinking about all the backlog of projects I have waiting to be posted about.   I got to thinking, "why do I take time to post about my projects when I hardly have time to paint my fingernails or fold the laundry.. or even think clearly!?"   "What's my drive???"   Searching for an answer it took me all the way back to my pre-teen years.  I can recall the feeling I'd get upon receiving a compliment after completing a project on my mom's sewing machine.  I needed those compliments -badly!  It was almost as if I needed to prove my worth by the things I could do... because just me wasn't enough (or so I thought).  Along with the feelings of pride and accomplishment I felt inside, the recognition from others was a driving force when it came to creating.

Fast forward 15+ years and I have a totally different mind frame.  I've gained so much over the years by trying new things.  Feeling the gratification of creating something is beyond what I can express.  In my younger years the gratification I got was more from what others would say, now I don't need others' opinions to buoy me up like I did before.  Taking something that was once unwanted/tossed aside and bringing it back to life/adding it to my home is a big thing for me - it's a constant reminder of how to treat people (judge less - you never know what someone has been through and spending a little TLC 'time, love & attention' can uncover the beauty of what neglect and carelessness hides)!

What I've learned over the years is that I've sold myself short too many times.  I'm capable. I'm independent (almost to a fault).   I've learned that I'm a risk taker; I'm willing to take the chance of loosing a finger to cut a piece of wood, or get shocked each time I do something with electrical wires.  I'm not willing to live in fear and let it hold me back from trying new things (that isn't to say I'm not nervous when I try new things); If you could have seen me the first time I used a serger you may have laughed - the cutting blade and all the cones of thread were so intimidating!  You should have seen me the first time I chopped off the wires from my first Singer sewing machines' motor - I was terrified that I was going to screw up and render the motor useless.  My hands were shaking so bad I don't know how I ever soldered new wires on and I remember holding my breath so long I about passed out!  I remember using a jointer for the first time in my wood shop class and being terrified my fingers were going to slip into the cutting blades and turn to mush.  What if I let fear guide my actions?  I wouldn't have learned how to do a lot of things, but more importantly, I wouldn't have found confidence in myself.

The fear of not doing something perfect hasn't been a battle for me but I know it is for others and that's why I LOVE to teach people!  I love seeing their face change once they're able to do something they never thought they could do.   I want people to feel the accomplishment I feel after making something - that's why I take time to share my how-to posts because I know everyone is capable of doing anything if they just try!

People tell me all the time how they're jealous of what I can do.  I don't really like people saying they're jealous -- I guess because the only thing they can really be jealous of is that I took the risk of trying.  You'll never overcome your fear of saws, soldering irons, electrical wires, sewing machinery or (insert your own words here) until you try.  I think even more than overcoming the fear or trying something physical is overcoming the fear of failure.  I've made so many mistakes it's crazy - I've cut myself so many times and have had to unpick countless amounts of stitches it's ridiculous!  I've spent countless hours doing research on new ways of doing things and have had many sleepless nights stewing over solutions to how to do something I was stumped on.  I've spent thousands of dollars on supplies and machinery.  When I think of a Concert Pianist there's no way I'm going to be jealous of how beautifully they can play because there's no way I would ever practice the many hours a day they do to get as good as they are.  Don't get me wrong, I'm envious of a lot of things, particularly people who can sing in-tune, people who enjoy making dinner or are well organized or people who are effortlessly happy and spunky... BUT I want people to think about the road it takes to get somewhere - everyone starts at the beginning.

My blog isn't well-known and I have hardly any subscribers but that's not my motivation.  Nothing makes me happier than to know I've encouraged or inspired someone to try something new!...  It makes all the picture-taking, editing, cropping, diagram-drawing, layouts and missed sleep worth it!

I blog because I genuinely want people to see what THEY can do, be inspired to do it and have courage to try (because of my awesome how-to's).  Remember nobody is perfect from the start and accept failure as a way to learn.  You never know what you're good at or what you love until you... TRY! :)


(My boys!)

How to Re-Wire a Lamp

Thursday, June 2, 2016
 I can't tell you how much I love thrifting!  Finding something unwanted and fixing it up to something pretty is one of the best feelings!

This post is to help you see how easy it is to re-wire a lamp and fix it up a little!

Why re-wire?  Most lamps I see at the thrift store have ugly-flimpsy-old brown cords that are unsightly.  I like having clear cords so they don't stand out when they're plugged into a wall!

 I stopped at Habitat for Humanity a few days ago with my kids and saw this lamp sitting on the floor.  It actually caught my eye because it was so ugly.  After looking at it I noticed how interesting the glass bottom was and that got me thinking about what it would take to fix it up.  I stood there switching lamp shades on it to see if I could find one that would make it look better.  After 10 minutes trying to decide if I should get it I finally took it up to the front desk.  I was actually embarrassed to have it in my cart!

 I ended up switching lamp shades from the original (one of the workers said I could).

 Here's a close-up of those lovely flowers!

 It felt so good to pull the flowers out (and all the dead flies too)!

TIP: All lamps are different and disassembly/assembly will be slightly different for each one.  I recommend taking pictures as you pull your lamp apart so you know how to put it back together.

Make sure your lamp is unplugged before disassembling the light socket!  Take the light bulb out, unscrew any bolts that are tightening the socket at the lamp base (mine was inside the neck of the glass bottom), slide off cover that goes around the socket (not pictured), pull down the bottom cover of socket to expose wires.

 Unscrew wires from socket.  Now your wires are free to pull out and throw away!

 I gave the base a much needed bubble bath!

 I gathered the pieces I wanted to spray paint.  TIP: inside the socket cover is a cardboard sheath for insulating (pictured below)... pull that out so you don't spray paint it.

 Put the cardboard sheeth back in when paint is dry!

 Here are the pieces ready to be assembled.  I got my new clear lamp wire from Amazon for about $6!

Push wire through lamp base and center of threaded rod.  Attach any hardware that was on bottom of rod before you took it apart.  Mine had a bolt and large washer.

 The threaded rode goes through to the base of the lamp for the socket to attach.  Before the socket goes on you'll want the bracket for the harp and then the base where the light socket sits.

 The packaging for the cord said to make an underwriter's knot (interestingly enough, this is the same knot you do for sewing machine motor's)!


(image from familyhandyman.com)
Which wire do you connect to which screw?  The diagram above is very helpful.  Basically you'll notice there are some ribs in the rubber coating on one of the wires - this is your neutral wire and it screws onto the silver screw.  Your other wire is the 'hot' wire and goes on the golden screw.  To read more about neutral and hot wires (and why they're important) you'll find a great explanation, here.

 You want your wires going around the screw from the left to the right so when you tighten the screws it won't make your wires slip off.  Tighten the knot on the wires against the socket and push socket into base.  Slide socket cover on.

 Attach harp and find a lovely shade that will compliment your lamp base!  I was lucky enough to have been given one many months ago and had it sitting in our front room!

 Pretty awesome for a $15 lamp and only $6 put into it!

 I love the plump-y curves!





Interested in re-wiring a chandelier or learning how to hang it from the ceiling?  Click here.

UPDATE:  I found a new lamp base to fix up shortly after doing this post and thought I could show how this one is different - maybe one of these resembles one you're working on better than the other! :)



Bottom view

 This cord was in rough shape - see those exposed wires?

 Pieces off and will need a good scrubbing to prepare for paint!

 The wood was dry and splitting on the ends so I cut some from the top and bottom - especially the uneccesary hole on the top.  I drilled new holes in the bottom for the cord to pass through.

 I sanded the old finish off and gave it flat edges with my sander to break up the roundness.

 I did a coat of Gel Stain and sanded lightly.

I used the same rag from staining and dipped it very lightly in latex paint and wiped on very quickly.  I used a spray Polycrylic to finish off the base.

Ready for a new finish of paint!

 Pieces ready for assembly!

 I started my new wires in...

 ... had to guide them down through the center...

 ... up through the rode and out.

 At this point I realized that little nut underneath the harp should be hammered down into the wood so the harp would be more stabilized by resting against the flat base.  I didn't want to pull my wires all the way out so I used a socket to go around the threaded rod but still rest around the nut and hammered it down.  Tighten the screw on socket base.




I still haven't found a shade that works with this base - but I'm glad to give it new life!

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