DIY IKEA Knockoff Sewing Table

Shortly after we bought our house, we finished our basement to use as a play/sewing/guest space.  When my parents moved to Florida, I inherited an office desk that I've been using as my sewing table for almost 10 years.  At first, when I only had 1 sewing machine, it was great.  But I've slowly acquired more machines, each with it's own job.  I have a serger and a standalone coverhem machine now, and though it's not ideal, I've been making it work on my office desk.  So recently I decided it's time for a new desk!
The biggest issue I have with my current setup is that I often have go back and forth between all 3 machines and the knee space of the office desk doesn't allow me to do that effectively.  I end up having the slide one machine out of the way in order to use one of the others.
I'm also not in love with the colors we chose all those years ago.  We have a walkout basement, so we get some light from the slider, but it's still a little dark.  We liked the sort of coffee shop look of the yellow and maroon color scheme, but I'm not sure how well it works in brightening up the space.
 A few quick changes made a big difference.  I painted the maroon wall a lighter gray color.

I was planning on buying a new chair when I had the aha moment that I could simply remove the arms on my current chair and recover the seat and back.  The back ended up being a little more tricky and I ultimately had to use nails to get the back piece back on.
 The biggest and most fun change is the desk.  I had my eye on a kind of build your own desk at IKEA.  But I was dragging my feet on getting there.  The 2 limitations for me are the size of my vehicle and the fact that the closest IKEA is at least a 3 hour drive round trip.  I'm and IKEA lover, but I was also concerned with how lightweight the IKEA table might be.  I didn't want to drive all the way there only to end up with a table that shook a lot.  

After a few trips back and forth to Home Depot, I realized I could build essentially the same desk and not have to make the drive!  Here's what I did.


 My husband predrilled holes for me to screw in the top plates, in 2 corners of each top.  Then, I simply screwed the legs into the top plates.  Easy peasy!

The next part took a bit of troubleshooting. I found this set of drawers on the clearance shelf at Michael's but it wasn't the right height.  I went back to Home Depot and was able to grab a piece of melamine from the as is bin for $2 and have someone cut it for me.  The first guy I asked wouldn't do it, so I asked someone else.  Pays to be persistent
To make it a bit more stable, I screwed the bottom base into the drawer frame from the inside. The one downside of the Home Depot melamine tops is that the edges come unfinished.  To finish the edges, you have to iron on a special finishing tape.  I was a little nervous about doing it, but it ended up being pretty easy.

The last little touch I added to my tables is a cord hole.  Because my old desk had a larger depth, I had to keep the cords for the foot pedals in front.  These table are only 23inches deep, which means with a well placed cord hole, I can have all the cords under the desk.
 I bought an attachment for our drill and my wonderful husband drilled the holes for me.  I was warned at the store that you need to hold tightly on the drill when you first start because there would be a lot of torque.  That scared me, but my husband had no trouble.
 I am so so so happy with my new table.  It totally fits my needs and was really easy and affordable to make!  I can't believe I didn't do this sooner.
I'd love to hear if you decide to make one too.


Drawer Organizing Jars DIY

It's been quiet on the blog here lately for a couple of reasons.  One, after what felt like an endless winter, spring is finally here and we are making up for lost time.  Once the snow finally melted, we have been outside all the time.  Also, Spring sports started a little later because of the snowy fields, so we now have soccer games and baton competitions to fill our schedule.
I've also been working on a fairly big project....a new sewing table for me!  I am very lucky to have a dedicated sewing area in our finished basement.  Maybe it was because the winter was so cold and long, but one day I decided it was time for a spruce up.  My space was started to feel dark and I was getting fed up with squeezing my 3 machines on one not so well designed desk.
My new desk and space is pretty much done and I'm excited to share how I made this table with parts from Home Depot.  It's kind of an IKEA knockoff, but about $50 less than what it would cost there.  It wasn't so much about the cost, but more about the durability and the travel time.  The 2 closest IKEA stores are just about 2 hours away for me.  Don't get me wrong, I'm an IKEA lover through and through, I just didn't feel like I'd have the time to make the trip. 

More details on the table coming soon.  In the meantime, here's a quick and easy project I made while transitioning my space.  I recently redesigned my Zaaberry CHILDREN  clothing labels and needed some way of storing them in my new drawers which are much shorter than my old ones.
These 4oz Ball jars are the perfect size and cost about $5 for 4 jars.
 I took the jars apart,
 measured the diameter of the circle top piece,
and drew 4 circles in Powerpoint.  I added the text for my labels and printed them on yellow paper.  I glued them into the ring top, then glued the the center circle to the bottom.  I would recommend making your circles a little larger than the center circle piece.  I ended up getting some glue leaking over the side since my circles were a little bit on the small side. 
 Oh well, not perfect.  But they do the job and look nice in my new drawers.
 Come back soon to hear about how I built my new sewing table.


From Sap to Syrup

Spring is off to quite a slow start here in Massachusetts. With near record snowfall for our part of the state, we are all ready for the change of season.  Slowly but surely, the days are getting warmer.  With the nights still below freezing, it's the time of year the maple sap starts flowing.  Some friends of ours have been collecting maple sap and making syrup for a while now and this year we decided to give it a try.
 My husband is an arborist, so it wasn't hard for him to identify a few sugar maples in our small patch of woods.  We started out with one tap and bucket.
The kids have been so excited to check the bucket every day after school so we figured we might as well just tap all the trees we can.  We only have 3 sugar maples so we improvised 2 more buckets and this time bought some cheaper metal taps.  The plastic tap, bucket and lid were a bit more expensive than we were expecting.
 This container that my husband rigged up with twine works especially well since it's got a spigot at the bottom and it's clear so it's easy to check.
We boiled our first batch down most of the way over an open fire, then finished it off in the house on the stove.  We started with about 1.5 gallons of sap and ended with about 3/4 of a cup of delicious, amber, maple syrup.  The ratio of sap to syrup is about 42:1. 
It's been so much fun doing this with the kids.  We've got quite a bit more sap to boil and have been learning all sorts of fun facts along the way.  We were expecting the color to be darker, but apparently the lighter color is considered Grade A and is typically more expensive.  I've read that the color is dependent on the tree and the weather and tends to darken as the season progresses.  I'm so curious to see what our next batch looks like.  No matter what the color is, everything tastes better when it's from your own backyard.