Tag Archives: DIY

A DIY Drawstring Beach Bag

For the last few years I have tried to keep my New Year’s Resolutions short, sweet, and practical. One of my goals has been to get better at sewing. One of my best friends, who is a sewing extraordinaire, has been temporarily living in Boston and I’ve been trying to soak in as much knowledge as possible.

(I have tried persuading her to blog about all her amazing creations, but she’s not biting. She posted an awesome tutorial for an Elsa dress from the movie Frozen, and then decided to quit blogging while she was ahead.)

I am learning how to sew from patterns. I am a hacker, make-stuff-up-as-I-go kind of person, so patterns are intimidating. But I have made my first sewing project from a pattern – a beach bag for this summer!

I used Pattern M6338 by McCall’s which I got on sale at JoAnn Fabrics for $1.00.

Choosing fabrics is always the fun part, and I always tend to buy them before I know what I’m going to make. This never bodes well, because how can you know how much to buy before you know what you are making?

A DIY Drawstring Beach Bag - DesignLively

A while ago I purchased the boat fabric, which is the Waverly Sun N Shade Set Sail Atlantic Blue pattern. The stripes (also an outdoor Waverly fabric) were a design from last year, so I can’t share the link. The red interior/handle fabric is was a set of cotton sheets I’ve been storing in my fabric bin to eventually use.

I used the heaviest interfacing I could find at Joann’s, which was a pain in the fingernails to sew (literally), but I like the sturdiness it adds to the bag.

A DIY Drawstring Beach Bag - DesignLively

A DIY Drawstring Beach Bag - DesignLively

There are lots of large pockets inside, and the bag will easily hold two beach towels and all our other beachy-gear.

I usually store everything (beach towels, sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, aloe, etc) in my beach bag all year long, so it’s ready to go at a moment’s notice and there’s nothing forgotten!

A DIY Drawstring Beach Bag - DesignLively  A DIY Drawstring Beach Bag - DesignLively

My next goal is to sew something I can wear – so a robe is next on my list. I already bought my fabric and I am in loooooove. Choosing fabrics is 100x more exciting than the actual sewing part, as evidenced by all my projects on the docket that I’ve bought the material for and have yet to begin!

Do you sew with patterns? Any recommendations for a beginner like me?

Laying the Deck (With Sir Kreg Jig)

Let’s have a round of applause for rising temperatures and the arrival of spring!

We christened the deck with grilled burgers and a delicious dinner – which brings to mind that I haven’t posted on the deck in a while. Last I left of it looked like this:

Laying Down Decking with a Kreg Deck Jig - DesignLively

This project was a big undertaking. Normally, laying down decking can be finished in a weekend. True to form, we decided to choose the most complicated way all for the sake of aesthetics.

Naturally.

We worked for many weekends until, literally, the snowfall stopped us – so there was never a chance to take an “after” picture until now.

Laying Down Decking with a Kreg Deck Jig - DesignLively

This is not a tutorial post – there are way too many steps and I wouldn’t even know where to begin. It all started with the proper tools, as many projects do. We used the Kreg Deck Jig. The tool comes with a DVD on how to use it. Basically, it’s a tool that guides the angle of the drill to create the look of invisible screws.

But let’s go back to the beginning.

Laying Down Decking with a Kreg Deck Jig - DesignLively

The Decking

We purchased Veranda composite decking from Home Depot in Nantucket Gray. Composite decking is more expensive than wood, but more durable, less maintenance (no sealing needed!) and will save money over time.

It should be noted that the color will fade within the first year, so you should make sure you like the color it fades to.

Laying Down Decking with a Kreg Deck Jig - DesignLively

And also be prepared for all your grass in the front yard to die. 😉

The composite boards are heavy. So heavy that you need two people to lift it – otherwise it may crack in the middle due to the weight. Laying Down Decking with a Kreg Deck Jig - DesignLivelyWe put down plywood boards as we worked our way across the deck, as our deck is one story off of the ground. I did not like walking across those rickety boards – that’s for sure.

The Kreg Deck Jig

The Kreg Deck Jig process was time-consuming, but fairly straight-forward once you got the hang of it. As I said before, this is not a tutorial, but merely a brief overview if you are interested in DIYing your deck.

Laying Down Decking with a Kreg Deck Jig - DesignLively

The spacers are very helpful. they show you how far to space the boards for expansion and drainage. But most importantly, they keep the boards parallel  to one another at equal distances. If you start to get crooked, you’ll notice and it’s not a good thing.

The spacers shown above are 1/4″, Kreg also includes 5/16″ for pressure treated wood since it expands more than composite. The kit (as shown above) only comes with 3 red spacers (1/4″ ) and 3 blue spacers. (5/16″). Three spacers won’t get you very far on 16 foot runs, so we bought a dozen extra spacers from Amazon. I highly recommend buying yourself some more spacers.

Laying Down Decking with a Kreg Deck Jig - DesignLively

Here is the handy blue box! Your new best friend! The Kreg Deck Jig.

Centered over every joist, you will pre-drill and drill a screw into each joist, on both sides of the board.

My job was pre-drilling the holes. The drill can be set to a certain depth, so it’s easy and there are no questions asked. If this girl can do it, anyone can. (Although I admit, I was nervous at first. I only made a mistake once!)

Laying Down Decking with a Kreg Deck Jig - DesignLivelyUsing our feet and hands, we pushed the deck board in towards the spacers as well as we could, especially when setting the first several screws in. You’ll want to make sure it’s tight to the spacers to ensure a straight line.

The deck boards took us quite a number of weekends. In all honesty – it took up at least a month of our weekends. But DIYing the deck saved us a pretty penny, and it was actually fun.

Random Recommendations:

  • It’s helpful to have two drills. Since you are constantly pre-drilling and drilling, you having to swap out the bit every time would be painful and slow you down a lot.
  • Use an impact driver as the drill for driving the screw. You will have a lot more control and no stripping of the screws.
  • Buy an extra kreg drill bit and extra driver.

 

Laying Down Decking with a Kreg Deck Jig - DesignLivelyOnce we finished the decking (yahoo!!), we moved on to the railings.

The railings were pretty straightforward. We used the Veranda ArmorGuard Composite Railing in white. The post jacket will slide right over the wooden post.

Next we needed to decide how high we wanted our railing to be. Each town or county may have legal requirements on the height – especially if you are not on ground level like ours is.

Laying Down Decking with a Kreg Deck Jig - DesignLively

There are a number of railing specifications we needed to decide on:

  • How high do we want the handrail?
  • How much taller than the top railing do we want the post cap to sit?
  • How much space do we want between the bottom rail and the decking?

Laying Down Decking with a Kreg Deck Jig - DesignLively

We made our decisions 50% on personal preference, and 50% based on standard measurements provided from a quick Google search. After we measured and marked – on both the wooden post and the post jacket, it was time to slice away!

As always, measure twice, cut once.

Laying Down Decking with a Kreg Deck Jig - DesignLively(Notice our lovely yard from the pipe and excavation adventure we had last fall.)

Laying Down Decking with a Kreg Deck Jig - DesignLivelyNext we attached the lower railings (with brackets) and cut the bottom middle spacer.

The nice part about these railings is that the balusters were pre-cut and spaced, so we only needed to pop the balusters right in! Next we attached the handrail to the post with the brackets.

Laying Down Decking with a Kreg Deck Jig - DesignLivelyWell lookie here, the light is at the end of the tunnel!

Laying Down Decking with a Kreg Deck Jig - DesignLively

We still have a bit of work left to do. All the trim boards (which will be white) need to be attached. And, you may have noticed that we have no back staircase yet!

Laying Down Decking with a Kreg Deck Jig - DesignLively

Soon we will have a concrete based poured (at the base of the patio) and then the structure can be built. Our GC will come back and build the structure, and we will do all the finishing work.

And about that patio….

Well, that’s just another story for another day.

🙂

I’m in the market for some type of deck furniture to store my potted herbs on. What do you keep on your deck?

DIY Tutorial: How to Add Grommets to Curtains

grommots

Now that we are using our family room regularly, window treatments were on the priority list for a few reasons:

1. Did I mention we have 9 windows in this room?
2. Daytime television watching is impossible due to glare
3. With constant sunlight streaming in, the fabric on our couch fading is a concern long term

After hunting around for a while, a regrettable impulse buy at IKEA that left us $60 in the hole, and even searching Joann Fabrics with plans to make our own, we ended up choosing with these punchy geometric Farrah Fretwork drapes in blue from Target.

(The happy ending is that the regrettable curtains are now hanging in our bedroom and look much better there.)

grommots3

I like the clean look of curtains with grommets, and also think they are easier to open and close. Of course, it’s much harder to find curtains with grommets, so I decided to add them myself! It was EASY.

I purchased 4 packs of Dritz Brushed Silver Grommets from Amazon. They are silver colored plastic, very easy to install and look great!

 How to Add Grommets to Curtains

1. First I hemmed the curtains 6 inches shorter. I did this, first, because the grommet instruction requires a 4 inch header. Second, I needed to make them shorter because we didn’t want the curtains touching the baseboard heating system – fire hazard! They look a little silly right now, but one side is hidden by the couch, and the other will be behind our future entertainment console.

2. Next, I measured the width of my curtain. Don’t trust the measurement on the package if you are using store-bought curtains! It’s not always accurate  My curtain was roughly 62″ wide. To know how to space your grommets, divide this number by 16 (because you are adding 8 grommets), which, for me, comes out to 3.9″. (Doubled to 7.8″ between grommets.)

grommets

grommots83. I spent $10 on a measuring square and it made this task very easy. (Even for a typical just-wing-it-and-guess girl like myself.)  Using the tracing circle guide that came with the grommets, I marked out in pencil where the center of each circle should be – 2″ from the top of the curtain, and 3.8″ away from the center of the circle on either side of it. This sounds complicated (and was intimidating at the first go), but worked quite well. ALWAYS measure twice (or three times!) before you cut.

grommots7

4. Next, cut out the circles. I started by snipping into the middle of the circle, and then cutting around the outline.

5. Next, open the grommets. Each grommet comes in two pieces – one has teeth and one does not.

grommots5grommots66. Place the one with teeth on the ground, teeth facing up. Next, place the fabric over the grommet, with center the hole you just cut out with the grommet.

7. Next, place the toothless grommet over the top. You are sandwiching a bit of the fabric between the two pieces. To get the grommets to click together, firmly press down with the palm of your hand until it clicks into place.

grommots48. Repeat – again and again and again! I was able to do all four panels in an afternoon.

 

This is not a curtain installation tutorial. There are about 9,405,937,058 of those on the internet, and they will all tell you to “hang them high and wide” to make your window appear bigger. Unlike most people, we did NOT need to make our windows feel any bigger. We just left a little space between the finial and the wall and tried to replicate it on each side.  We chose chunky Allen & Roth curtain hardware from Lowes.

grommots2 And I’ve officially started dreaming up our TV console we plan to build. This is a Photoshopped version of what I’m thinking of. (You can see our current tiny one we are currently using here).

Have you added grommets to curtains before? Where do you like to shop for curtains? They are tough to find!

DIY Tutorial: $3.00 DIY Padded Camera Strap Sleeve

Step by Step Tutorial: DIY Padded Camera Strap SleeveShutterbug speaking here. I love using my padded camera strap because the extra padding helps prevent the strap from digging into my neck, particularly so on vacation days when I tend to wear the camera all afternoon.

However, my current DIY camera strap had seen better days and it was time for a new one, so I snapped some photos of this process this time around.Step by Step Tutorial: DIY Padded Camera Strap Sleeve

This camera strap cost me about $3.00 to make.

I bought one fat-quarter and a small piece of felt from Joann Fabrics. You should measure your own camera strap – my strap is 17″ wide, and I made mine 7″ tall. The fabric scrap should be about 1″ more on both sides for the hem.Step by Step Tutorial: DIY Padded Camera Strap SleeveHow to make a DIY padded camera strap:

1. Once you’ve cut your pieces, center the felt over the wrong side of the fabric. Fold over the fabric on the short sides and sew a straight line. Do both short sides.

2 and 3. Fold and pin your corners

4. Sew the long sides. Trim off excess fabric.

5. Fold the fabric in half, wrong side out. Lay your strap over it to make sure it’s the right length.

6. Mark a line along the strap, giving yourself extra room to turn it inside out. Sewing along the line.

7 and 8. Fold down extra flaps. This will give you double the neck padding on the backside of your strap.

9. Turn your strap inside out – this may take a while. Go slowly to avoid tearing and seams. I used a long paintbrush to help turn it inside out.

Step by Step Tutorial: DIY Padded Camera Strap SleeveAnd there you have it!

Step by Step Tutorial: DIY Padded Camera Strap SleeveI’d recommend a medium to dark color fabric so maximize the life of the strap. You can add more felt if you need more padding – but it will make it more complicated to turn inside out.

Do you have any favorite camera accessories?