DIY Fireplace Makeover with a Floating Beam Mantle and Real Stone

Hello and welcome back to our home reno story. I’m so excited to show you what we have been working on! We have finally finished ALL of our fireplace projects; ripping out the existing wood and tile, raising it, continuing it up to the ceiling, making a faux floating beam mantle, placing stone and grouting, grouting, grouting. We now have a completely finished fireplace we are proud of.

Check out this side by side of what it use to be and what it looks like today!

So it all began with the original fireplace that came with the house, floor level in a sunken living room.

I don’t even recognize this fireplace anymore after all the time I’ve spend on it.

We basically started from scratch…

We planned on raising the sunken floor and raising the fireplace not only to the new floor level, but above it so we could have a hearth that someone could sit on if they wanted to.

After raising it, we built up the floor.

So far, here was our progress. We also took out some half walls to open up the space.

The window trim was painted white to lighten up the space and make it feel more airy.

Then the fireplace was continued up to the ceiling, look at all those nails!

A scratch coat was applied in preparation for stone later.

We decided between a few samples of stone. We ended up not choosing either of these. I was looking for a natural stone that wasn’t square, with grey tones and big and small pieces for interest.

Next, we finished our wood floors.

And got some furniture…

And hung curtains…

And the fireplace sat like that for a long time.

Finally, we added a mantle.

And then it was Christmas.

Then in January, we picked out our stone and a hearth.

We opted out of paying $100 for delivery, so we ended up having to make a few trips to get everything home. In hindsight, paying for delivery probably would have been the smart idea. Next time, right?

As soon as the boxes of stone made it home, I laid some out by the fireplace to get an idea of what it would all look like.

We glued the hearth down first.

And then we started bringing in boxes of stone.

We measured and taped off a section of the fireplace to start on so we could lay the stone out on the floor first to make sure it fit together. This part was like putting a giant, heavy puzzle together. But it was exciting when you could find pieces that fit together.

Although we got a lot of pieces to fit great, some just didn’t work or there wasn’t a piece small enough, so all the parts that went over the tape line got cut.

Much better!

After that, we decided to wash all the stones in this layout before putting them up on the wall. They all were very dusty.

We filled the tile saw basin with water and used a nylon brush to give each rock a quick dunk and scrub.

Then it was time to put the stone up!

We started right above the hearth, and built up. This process took a lot longer than I was picturing. Applying mortar on the back of each stone was an art that had to be learned by trial and error, since we had no prior experience, as well as sticking the stone to the fireplace. You’d think they would just stick, but it was more complicated than that.

Gravity also made this difficult, so we got creative with stone spacers.

Once we got to this part, we built a wood support to hold up the stones so they wouldn’t slide off and would stay lined up.

Now we completed the section we laid out on the floor, with the exception of 3 tiny stones on the left side that didn’t quite fit and would need to be cut. It’s hard to copy the spacing on the ground once you are placing stone on the fireplace, but for the most part things lined up pretty well.

Next, we decided to trace out the upper part of the fireplace on the ground so we could puzzle together stone first. This time, we used a wood outline so we would keep the stone inside it. We traced out where the circle mirror would hang, since it would hang there after the stone was up and need a nail to hang on.

We started from the top and bottom at the same time and ended up meeting in the middle. We tried to space out the larger, more colorful, and interesting stones so it looked uniform.

We ended up needing to cut a few to fit better, then we washed these stones. Washing them really brought out different colors and was easy to do on the floor. I could imagine the mess it would make if you tried to wash it all on the wall.

All washed and ready to place!

We next removed our spacers from the part that was done.

And began to place stone starting from where we left off.

We worked across in rows so we wouldn’t mess up the stone placement.

This didn’t always work, though, because the rows weren’t even and we needed to cut a few stones to fit better.

At this point, we mixed up one bucket of mortar a night and once Louisa was down for the night, we placed stone until the bucket ran out.

I put mortar on each rock, handed it up to Brian, and he placed it and added spacers to hold it.

We would get a couple rows done a night. Some of the large stones took a while to place, so I laid out the last part of the fireplace – below the hearth – and started placing stones instead of waiting.

We must have measured really well, because everything lined up in the end.

Once all the stone was placed, we began grouting the same way, one bucket a night until we finished. Grouting was also much more work than I thought it would be. It was very tedious. The grout had to be just the right consistency. If it was too thick, it wouldn’t come out of the grout bag and just fall apart, but if it was too thin, it would run right out and splatter everywhere. At the right consistency, it would get squeezed into a crack with some effort, have to be smoothed onto both sides to touch the stones, then left to dry a bit before you could really smooth it out well.

FINALLY we were DONE!!! We couldn’t wait to get our living room back in order. I joked about how I forgot what our rug even looked like since it had been rolled up for so long.

What do you think? It definitely took a long time and a lot of effort, but I think it was worth it.

We still have many project to go on our house, but the main floor it really close to completion. The major things left are the stair banister (paint it or replace it?) and the kitchen lighting (take out old track lighting, put in new can lights and a few island pendants). We would also like to put a fan in the middle of the space, finish a few paint projects, like the underside of the cabinets, and get a better faucet you can wash big pans under.

Anyway, that’s all for now. I hope you enjoyed our fireplace makeover!

DIY Faux Beam Floating Mantle

Hello! I had some questions about how we made our mantle after my last post on our home reno update, so I thought the easiest way to explain would be showing you exactly how we did it. So here is how we made our faux beam floating mantle.

Supplies needed:

  • Wood: see notes for dimensions and quantities
  • Clamps
  • Wood glue
  • Table saw
  • Miter saw
  • Drill
  • Screws
  • Sandpaper
  • Stain and Poly
  • Rags or brushes to apply stain/poly

NOTES:

  • Start by measuring the length you’d like your mantle and the depth. Our fireplace is 6 ft wide, so we decided our mantle length was 5 ft, width was 7.5 inches. You’ll need enough wood for the length/width x 3, for each of the exposed sides of the beam, PLUS a bit for each end cap.
  • We used three 8ft 2 x 8s – we used plain old construction lumbar. You’ll end up with some scrap but you’ll need some of it for your caps.
  • You will also need wood for the inside of your beam to help space it when you build it and also so you can mount it onto the wall without any noticeable support. We used two 8 ft 2x 6s and cut them down to size later.
  • You’ll be cutting the 2 x 8s at 45 degree angles so the joining seams are in the corners and looks seamless when finished – like a real beam!

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. To start, rip boards down using table saw if needed.
  2. For 2 long boards: cut 45 degree miter cuts on three of the four 2 inch sides of your mantle’s top (one long, 2 short sides cut), leave one of the long sides squared as this side will go against the fireplace.
  3. For the last long board: cut 45 degree miter cuts on ALL of the four 2 inch sides
  4. For your end caps, cut three of the four 2 inch sides at 45 degree angles – this way, all seams land on edges and are barely noticeable.
  5. The cleat and inner support board will be the same size and are left rectangular – cut these to the length and width of the front mantle board’s inner dimensions – the smaller side that the 45 degree angles point to.
  6. Assemble all pieces following pictures below (the end caps are left off so you can see the inner workings ) – glue and clamp all joining edges but DO NOT glue the cleat in place- just use it for support for now. NOTE: the picture skews the bottom of each side piece, they are actually flat with the bottom cleat, not angled down.
  7. The end caps can now be glued and clamped.
  8. Once the faux beam is together – sand, stain and poly it before you hang it. We sanded the hard angles so they were a bit rounded like a worn beam.
  9. Screw the cleat in place on fireplace

12. Place the hollow beam over the cleat and secure in place with screws angled through the top of the beam into the cleat towards the wall so you cannot see them from the front.

And that’s it! I hope this explains it well. Please let me know if you have any questions by commenting below or sending me an email at birdskeptnorth@gmail.com.

Next up is installing the hearth and stone! Keep your eye out for our full fireplace makeover soon.

Home Renovation Story – December 2017 Update

Hello and welcome back! December has flown by and brought about many new projects. It’s hard to believe it’s already 2018! Louisa, our daughter, is now 6 months old and crawls, is starting to sit up on her own, makes screeching noises a lot, and refuses to nap longer than 40 minutes if we are lucky. My days are filled with caring for her, as I work from home, and my short amounts of free time are usually spent cleaning and organizing, so I apologize I haven’t been posting regularly. However, I finally put together pictures our recent projects that will bring you up to date on our home renovations.

We hung new curtain rods on each side of the fireplace. I sewed 1 1/2 curtain panels together so they would be the right length – almost 12 ft!

Our entryway also got new curtains. This time, I found one curtain panel I liked, and cut it in half the long way, creating 2 panels – it saves money and is the perfect amount of curtain for long, skinny windows.

Our new dining chairs were ordered and arrived! We ended up getting 6 matching metal chairs and 2 complimentary upholstered chairs for the ends of the table. We also got rugs for the dining room, library, and living room.

We also replaced our outdated light fixtures. Here was before – a white ceiling fan…

Now we have this…

And we also hung curtains in the sun room/dining room.

One night, we were hanging out in the kitchen and started talking about how weird it was that the microwave was positioned so low, covering the view of the back of the stove when you stood next to it. Wouldn’t it look better if it was level with the cabinets? The stove would function much better if you could actually use the back burners and SEE them, right? So, next thing you know, we were breaking out the power tools and setting things right.

Here is our kitchen the day we bought the house.

Here it was recently, before we adjusted the microwave height.

We began by removing the upper cabinet doors, since those would no longer be useful – we planned on making an open shelf above the microwave.

Then we removed the microwave.

Next, we prepared to cut the bottom of the above cabinet out, to the measurements of the new microwave height. We covered the stove with plastic to minimize the mess.

After rebuilding the shelf bottom, we rehung the microwave and here are the results. Much more functional than before! We plan on painting out the now open shelf to match the rest of the cabinets.

We finally got around to starting the kitchen back-splash. I’d been set on a simple subway tile for forever – white with a dark grey grout. Firstly, because it’s classic in color and shape and secondly because it’s about the cheapest you can go with tile. We shopped around a bit for the right tile – everywhere has it, but it has it’s slight differences. We found a range of prices from $0.50 a tile to $0.18 and slight color variations – warm to cool whites. We ended up going with the cheapest option (from Home Depot, not pictured) because it was a neutral white that matched our cabinets and trim.

The kitchen came with a small, black back-splash that matched the counters, so we started by ripping that out. This made the space between the counters and upper cabinets look much bigger.

We couldn’t find any bull nose tiles that ran horizontally, so we used a metal tile edging instead on the ends and outer corners.

We started with a small section, Brian measured and cut the tiles while I laid them.

We decided to tile around the kitchen window as well.

Behind the stove, we used metal edging to neatly contain the tiles above. Moving the stove was funny because you could see the original cabinet finish hiding!

We worked on the tiling a few separate days and once we were done, we started grouting. This was my least favorite project by far. Grouting is frustrating. We found a colored grout that was premixed and contained sealer, so it would be a one step process at least. We also ended up piping in the grout, like piping frosting on a cake, which made it less messy and was less wasteful than spreading it on top of everything first before sponging off. It’s now completely grouted, but we still need to caulk, so I’ll post finished photos in the next update.

Next, we figured out the fireplace mantle. We brought back a leftover beam from a recent family cabin rebuild, but it wasn’t the length we were looking for:

So, we decided to make a faux beam.

We stained it to match our dining table. It was hung with essentially a large french cleat.

I think it turned out awesome. I love the large knots and character it has.

After taking down Christmas decor, I decorated the mantle with a mirror I bought forever ago and a couple vases. It made a huge difference – it draws the eye up and adds visual height to the room instead of skipping over the boring cement-looking backdrop that the fireplace was.

We also picked out stone! It should arrive within the next week, so watch out for that whole process on the blog soon.

We still need to order a hearth, but have this bluestone picked out with a polished finish and chipped edges.

I’ve also rearranged the furniture and I’m the most satisfied with this layout. I can’t wait to see what transformation the stone will give this room!

(day we bought the house)

(now)

We also bought and hung 2 more chandeliers.  One for the entryway…

(before)

(during)

(after)

And one for the library..

(before)

(during)

(after)

I’m currently in the process of rearranging the shelves, but I’m afraid we’ll need hundreds more books to achieve the look I’d prefer.

A few other projects we did:

Our entry closet got new hooks.

Planning began for new can lights and pendants above the kitchen.

Random home decor was purchased and placed throughout our home. I plan on posting a complete before and after of each room once the main floor is complete.

So, what is left on the main floor?

– stone on fireplace

-hang a gallery wall by library

-recover library chair

-kitchen ceiling lighting

-stair banister – paint or replace

-paint shelf above microwave / under cabinets

-I’m sure I’m forgetting a few more things…

Anyway, thank you for following along. I will continue to update this blog as we finish more projects! If you have any questions, please ask! You can always email me at birdskeptnorth@gmail.com.

Hope you’re having a happy new year!

 

 

Louisa at 5 Months Old

I can’t believe it’s already December! We have been busy with a rolly-polly 5 month old – she can now roll BOTH ways. When she is on her belly she can push WAY up into a nice upward dog yoga pose and then she will bring her face into the ground and put her butt way up in the air and be on her tippy toes. She is very close to crawling and wants to constantly be moving and grabbing anything she can get her little hands on.

I have great news: Louisa spent her first night alone in her crib (she has been co-sleeping this whole time) and only woke up once to eat at 4:00 am. I am impressed. All day yesterday I was very consistent on her naps. I now have a routine before each nap to let her know it’s time to sleep. It starts about 2 hours after she last woke up when you can tell she’s getting tired again. I make sure she has a clean diaper and then put her into a wearable sleep blanket. Then I read her a short book and give her a lovey to hold on to. Then I close the curtains and make the room dark and turn on a noise machine. She needs to be rocked just a little until she is very relaxed. Then the hardest part is transferring her into her crib while keeping her relaxed. It seems like the slightest motion gets her all worked up and she will go from relaxed to wide awake. Once she is in her crib, I try to make her hold onto her lovey instead of my hand. She likes to bury her face into it and hold on tight. After a bit, she finally falls asleep. I hope this routine will help her sleep completely on her own and for longer amounts of time in the future. Right now her naps last 25 – 50 minutes if I’m lucky. For now, it’s a small victory to have a short amount of free time each day.

I’m hoping these naps become consistent so I can write weekly blog posts. I’m in the process of putting together our latest up-to-date home renovation post, so keep an eye out for that. Thanks for following along. I hope you are having a happy holiday season!

The Final Nursery Reveal: A Gender Neutral Woodland Nursery That Brings The Minnesota Great Outdoors Inside

Hello and welcome back. It’s been a busy month with never ending projects, plenty of guests and plans, and a baby in need of constant attention. It’s hard to keep up with a schedule I’m use to; everything takes a lot longer to do now that I have a tiny human to take care of. But, FINALLY, I can reveal Louisa’s nursery that we have been working on for so long.

This room started out as your basic bedroom. We began by removing the accordion closet doors and the wire closet system, removed the baseboards (to be painted) and patched holes in the walls. Then we painted the trim white.

The biggest change in this room was the mural wall. We painted the surrounding walls Light French Grey by Sherwin Williams. The mural wall was left with it’s yellow-white paint, which would be the perfect color to start the mural with. Here is the big, blank wall before.

For the mural, I used an inexpensive wall paint from Lowes. I used white, dark sage green, and a dark teal-blue and mixed them accordingly.

Other tools I used:

  • Spindle painting brush – for the trunks of the trees
  • Large flat brush – for big limbs
  • Small angled brush – for smaller limbs
  • Container with lid – for mixing paint – I used the same one for all colors.

I started by mixing a tiny bit of the green with a lot of white to make a very washed out green. This layer would be mostly covered in the end, but the lightness would make trees look like they were in the distance with mist. I began with basic tree shapes, starting with the trunks and then building out with limbs. I also built up the first layer of shrubs and bushes on the bottom.

Once that was dry, I mixed up a darker green by adding more green to my light green. I repeated tree shapes and bushes on top of the first layer. See how it pushes back the first light trees and makes them almost disappear into the mist?

For the third layer, I mixed in dark blue to my green mix to get a dark, but not black, color. I repeated similar shapes on top of the previous layers, these trees were the closest, so they had bigger trunks and more defined brush.

After 3 layers, I was happy with the results.

Then, we added the furniture. The crib was Brian’s when he was a baby. It is wooden – painted out white. Here it was before:

I used the same technique as I did with the trim – 2 coats of Zinsser oil based primer (no sanding) and 1 coat of Sherwin Williams Pro Classic Enamel. I used a tiny brush around hardware instead of removing it.

Then I rolled out the rest.

The dresser and changing table were also Brian’s. There is a previous post on how I refinished them.

I painted an old paddle to match the room’s color scheme.

The paddle banner can be found in my Etsy shop: www.etsy.com/shop/birdskeptnorth

I designed the changing pad fabric (and the pillow fabric), which can be found in my Spoonflower shop: https://www.spoonflower.com/profiles/kelly_korver

My dad and husband installed a new closet system. Eventually, there will be baskets for the shelf.

The bookcase was a project Brian and I worked on a few years back for our apartment.

So, there it is! It was a lot of work, but it finally came together in the end. What do you think?

Day 32 + of Home Renovations: Making the Big Move

Welcome back, and thank you for following along patiently. I will now bring you up to speed on our home’s progress.

Two weeks before our final move into our new house, we arrived back at our house just for a short visit. We were surprised by a beautiful display of wildflowers in our yard.

Aren’t they pretty!?

We spent the day furniture shopping for a couch and some chairs for our formal living room, as well as a headboard/bed frame for our master bedroom. Here is what we picked out:

We loved the style of this couch – the simple lines and general shape of it – and were able to pick from different fabrics, so we chose it in a dark, rich blue.

For our accent chairs, we came across this beauty and so we ordered two exactly as pictured.

The couch came with two accent pillows, so after a long time picking and choosing through a bunch of options we landed on these:

On the left is the blue of the couch, the middle is the accent chairs, and the right is the throw pillows.

We also picked out a headboard/bed frame for our king bed. We went with a simple, wood design with clean lines that would match our existing bedroom furniture.

After that, we stopped to pick up lumbar and supplies to finish the library shelves, as well as a few other things. Here is what a typical trip to the store looks like for us!

We picked up a curtain rod so we could hang up curtains on our front door windows.

We also got new vent covers to replace the old, dingy ones that no longer went with our style or color scheme.

Brian worked on the library shelves a little more before heading back to our apartment for the week.

The next weekend, the weekend before our final move, we were back again and ready to accomplish as much as possible. My mom was along to watch baby, so I was planning on painting the whole weekend.

Brian wanted to finish the library, so he picked up right where he left off. I snapped a photo every now and then so we could see the progress. Here are the rest of the photos of the library up until it was completed and decorated. (We finished it about a week after moving in.)

Originally, the plan was to paint the shelves white with a contrasting blue background. I kept thinking about this and seeing the shelves built now next to the white kitchen, I thought the white might be overpowering. I suggested we paint the entire library the blue we already had painted on the wall behind it. This way, it would recede and wouldn’t overpower the viewer, especially next to the kitchen. We used Sherwin Williams Denim wall paint and clear coated it with polycrylic.

It’s hard to see the shelves with the bright window, so I edited a photo of it so you can view it better. I couldn’t wait until it was completely done to fill it!

Brian finished the top with crown molding painted blue, as well as trim pieces for the sides and white baseboards on bottom.

The weekend before, I also painted the nursery complete with a mural wall, but I’d like to save that as a surprise for once the nursery is totally finished. We still need to figure out how to put the crib together without it’s original hardware, hang a closet rod up, and decorate it.

Now it’s finally moving weekend! It went pretty smoothly, except that we unexpectedly had to drive to a town 45 minutes away to pick up our U-haul the night before. Brian’s family helped us load up, drive to our new house, and unpack. Over the next week, I strapped baby into the front pack and unpacked the majority of the boxes, organized, and cleaned.

It’s already September now, and the first weekend we decided to stick around our house and work on more projects. While furniture shopping earlier, we browsed dining tables but we couldn’t find any that fit the long, narrow sun room turned dining room. So, of course, I found one on Pinterest that I loved and asked Brian if he could make one like it. We decided on making an 8 ft table, since the room it was going in had plenty of space.

We picked a mid-tone stain for the top, and a black stain for the base. I’m happy we did, because it really brought out all the beautiful grain lines.

That weekend, we also went light fixture browsing for future options since eventually we would be replacing all the dated fixtures we had.

We found an awesome fan, too, for the main floor. Right now there isn’t a fan on the high ceiling, but there is a perfect place for it.

We looked at interesting options for the library. We both liked this one.

Since then, we’ve worked on small, tedious projects like changing out all the old, off-yellow electrical plates with new, white ones, cleaning up, touch up paint, organizing, etc.

So now here is what our main floor looks like:

We have also taken time to explore nearby parks and have found some nice hiking and walking spots.

We still have a lot of projects planned, and items on our “to buy in the future” list, like dining chairs, end tables, lamps, the list goes on, so stay tuned for more updates soon. As soon as we finished the nursery, I will post photos and write all about it, so keep an eye out for that as well.

Until next time…

Day 30 – 31 of Home Renovations

Welcome back to our home renovation story. I’m still getting caught up on posts, and hopefully will be up to date soon! We traveled back to our house with Louisa for the first time (she was only 18 days old!) and worked a bit more on renovations. This was the first time I’d seen last month’s work in person, so it was pretty neat to see it coming together. Here is what got worked on this time:

We arrived in the evening and spent it cleaning – it really needed it!

It looked so much better now!

The next day, Brian and his friend worked on the library shelves. Here is some of the progression:

I spent most of the time tending to baby, so all I did this time was vacuum the floors very thoroughly, but look how good they look now! Also, I got one more window in the sun room painted completely, yay!

We still had about a month before we moved permanently, and were planning at least one more weekend of work here before that. More to come soon!

 

Day 20 – 29 of Home Renovations

Welcome back to our home reno story! I’m a little behind on the updates because of our latest addition to the family, our brand new baby girl! Louisa Rae was born 6 days early on June 27th.

The whole month of June was spent with me in our apartment in Marshall, waiting patiently for baby to arrive, while Brian took a couple trips to our new house. The goal was to get as much done as possible before baby and before we finally move in August.

Here is what got worked on in the span of about 9 days over the month of June:

The walls in the main room began to get painted! For our tall walls, scaffolding came in handy.

The majority of the walls on this main floor will be Light French Grey by Sherwin Williams. The only other wall color will be a dark blue color behind the built in library shelves.

Our new hardwood floor was started. It is hand-scraped hickory in a nice medium tone.

The previous homeowners purchased two new windows to replace on the north side of the house, but never actually replaced them, so those are now installed and look awesome.

The accent wall behind where the library shelves will eventually be got a coat of paint. The color is Denim by Sherwin Williams. The shelves will be painted white, so this will be a nice contrast when it’s complete.

More flooring was installed during a few different visits to the house.

Our fireplace was prepared for stone and the hearth was built up.

Now we just have to pick out which stone we like. We are both thinking #2 with neutral grey tones.

And my favorite part, the before and after photos! First is the fireplace: how it looked on the day we purchased the house, and what it looks like now. Second is the sun room, which now just needs a final coat of enamel on the window trim and it’s ALL DONE, well I guess it needs the baseboards back on and new vent covers, but still, so close!

Final Notes/Updates:

  • A few ants have been seen inside. We may need to call in an exterminator.
  • Our raspberry and blueberry bushes are now producing fruit! Next year, we will hopefully have time to weed the garden and plant some veggies, too.
  • Just a tiny section of flooring is left to do in front of the stairs.
  • Lots of painting still needs to be done.
  • One of the next things that we should think about is window coverings. The old coverings had a ton of cords and were a yellow-white, so putting them back up isn’t the best option. Sheer curtains may be the solution for now.
  • The next time we go back to our new house, it will be baby’s first time at the house she will grow up in!

Until next time…

DIY Contoured Changing Pad Cover – A Tutorial

Hey guys! As you may know, I’m 9 months pregnant and still in design phase mode for our nursery. My husband and I bought a house and will be moving a few hours away from where we currently live in an apartment. Our place now has no room for a nursery, but that’s ok since we are planning on having baby sleep in a bassinet attached to our bed for the first few months anyway. So, I’m still dreaming up the perfect nursery for when we move.

At our baby shower, we received a nice changing pad – the kind that is contoured and made to fit on top of a changing table. I didn’t register for a cover at the time since I had no idea what colors or designs would work with our future nursery. Plus, I enjoy making things, and sewing for baby was a must. I decided to start with a basic project – making a cover for the changing pad.

Supplies needed:

  1. Changing pad
  2. Measuring tape
  3. Paper to make a pattern piece on
  4. Marker
  5. Fabric sheers (or bonus if you have a rotary cutter, straight edge, and cutting mat)
  6. Fabric – (1 yard – but this depends on your changing pad size) I used Modern Jersey from Spoonflower in one of my original designs, which you can find here: https://www.spoonflower.com/fabric/5819181-mudcloth-3-inverted-by-kelly_korver
  7. Sewing machine with needle for knit fabrics
  8. Thread
  9. Pins
  10. Elastic – I used 1/2 inch braided elastic, but any kind would work

First, measure your changing pad length and width. Length is the longest part, just along the top (since we will be adding contoured side pieces) and width is from one sides bottom edge, all along the middle to the other side’s bottom edge.

For the length, add seam allowances on both sides. I added 1/2 inch seam allowances – mine was 31 inches + 1 inch = 32 inches. For width, add 3 inches on each side for the cover to fit around the pad. Mine measured 26 inches + 6 inches = 32 inches.  This final measurement (32 in. x 32 in.) will be what you need to cut out.

I didn’t make a pattern piece on paper for this large square because it was so big and a simple shape that isn’t hard to cut out.

Next, I held the changing pad on its side and traced out the curvy edge exactly onto paper. To this, I added 1/2 seam allowances on the top and sides and 3 inches to the bottom. Then, I cut out the pattern piece to make it easy to trace onto the fabric. You will need to cut 2 of these from your fabric.

If you have directional fabric like me, make sure to turn the pattern piece the opposite way when cutting out the second piece.

Now it’s time to sew. Set your machine up with a needle made for knit fabrics and choose a stitch that will stretch when you pull on it. I used #3.

Start by lining up your pieces, good sides together. (You could pin this part, but I like to avoid pinning when I can.)

Below are a few diagrams of the whole process that hopefully help make it more clear. Keep reading below diagrams for instructions, but refer back to them as you go.

 

Start at the corner and sew until you get 1/2 inch before the curve starts.

Stop you needle here, but keep it down in the fabric. Lift the foot and turn the top piece of fabric to keep the edge lined up with the bottom piece.

Here is mid-turn.

And then lower the foot and keep sewing. Once you get to the other curve, do the same thing.

Your two pieces should now look like this. Repeat for the other side.

Now, lay your sewn pieces on top of your pad. They should fit the top well and hang down on the bottom.

Flip the pad over and start at one corner. Grab the fabric and pull it up. Place a pin right where the pad ends. Then, fold the corner over itself and pin again.

Here is what your corner will look line. The pins are where a seam will be. Pin all your corners, carefully remove the cover from the pad, and sew each corner from pin to pin at 45 degrees. I flipped one corner at a time, right sides of fabric together, and repinned before sewing. I just realized I could have put the cover onto the pad with the good side of the fabric down instead of up, which would have made this part so much faster.

After sewing each corner, cut off the excess, leaving about 1/2 inch of fabric. Since this is knit fabric, it will not fray, so you don’t have to finish it.

Here are all 4 corners sewn and trimmed.

The last part is to put elastic around the bottom edge. You could do this a number of ways, but I decided to put it around the entire bottom, like a fitted sheet. I used elastic that I had already, but feel free to use a different kind if you already have some, too.

To sew the elastic, I used a zigzag stitch and made it as wide as I could.

I started on one of the long sides of the cover. Place the good side of the fabric to the sewing table, the elastic as far in as it’s wide – about 1/2 in, and fold over the excess to conceal the elastic.

As you stitch, stretch the elastic slightly for the sides and stretch it as much as you can for the corners.

Once you get back to where you started, you are done!

Here is my finished cover from the bottom.

And here it is from the top!

I ended up making a second cover, too.

And matching pillowcases for the nursery! (I used the same fabric design in Minky for these.)

 

I can’t wait to see these changing covers on the changing pad on our actual changing table, which is at our new house. The setup we have now is temporary. If you missed it, I already re-finished our hand-me-down changing table and wrote all about it in a previous post. Really, I just can’t wait to have an actual nursery and space just for baby.

Let me know if you have any questions about this tutorial. I’d love to see the covers you make!

Day 14 – 19 of Home Renovations

Welcome back to our home renovation story. If you’ve been following along, you may have thought it would be a while until I posted more about our progress, but surprise! These next few days of work at our house were unplanned and came about because Brian was out of town for work. He was able to travel to the cities for meetings, and because I was still about a month away from my due date I decided to meet up with him and get more done on our house.

The first night we arrived, on day 14 of renovations, we were pleasantly surprised by all of our perennial landscaping filling in. Look at all of the flowers and colors! When we purchased this house, none of this was visible, so it was a nice surprise and smelled wonderful.

Also, in the time we had been away, we hired a dry-waller and had all of the walls that we previously tore apart filled in. It was nice to come back to progress.

That night, the kitchen island got all of its handles, which we matched with the handles in the rest of the kitchen.

I really wanted to get one room completely done (painted) this time, and since the nursery window needed replacing, the master bedroom was where we were sleeping, and the bathrooms and entire downstairs wasn’t even in the running, the upstairs craft room seemed like a good place to start.

So, the next morning, the craft room got prepped for painting. The closet was the worst in terms of imperfections in the wall, like big dents and scratches. It also looked like some kind of shelving was removed at some point, but big holes were left, so they were filled and sanded.

If you are still counting, this is day 15 of renovations. The trim in the craft room was primed, and the changing table got a makeover, which I tell you all about in a separate post. Also, the last kitchen cabinet door was finished – we had forgotten about it in our garage this whole time. Before we figured out we could use Zinsser primer over finished wood, we tried to strip the finish off of this single door, and left it in the garage because the stripping agent smelled very chemically, oops!

On day 16, the final kitchen cabinet door was FINALLY installed.

FINALLY we can check this project off our list – kitchen cabinets are complete!

Here is how they looked before with their big, chunky hardware. Now the room is so much brighter and modern. We ended up using 2 coats of Zinsser cover stain oil based primer and 2 coats of Sherwin Williams Pro Classic Enamel in Extra White. I love the results!

Here is the kitchen from the sun room. All of the cabinets to the left of the fridge will be our pantry, I can’t wait to have so much space!

Day 17 brought even more changes. The island got a thick plywood top so the final island counter would match the height of the existing counter tops.

The island counter was going to be installed soon, so we wanted it to be all ready to go.

The craft room trim got a fresh coat of enamel, finishing off the trim completely.

We didn’t bother to tape off the walls from the trim, because they would be painted anyway after the trim was done.

On day 18, the main floor windows got taped off and primed. This took basically all day. Windows have so many faucets to them, it’s hard to paint fast when you can only use a brush. The baseboards for this floor, which we removed long ago and already primed, also got their final coat of enamel.

On day 19, once the enamel was dry in the craft room, the tape was removed from the glass and here are the results. I’m happy with how bright and new the window now looks.

We also put the door back on the closet. This was the door we “updated” with trim pieces and painted to look like a more expensive door, rather than the flat, cheap core door it was. I think it turned out well.

I missed taking photos of the walls being painted, but they were done this day. After they were dry, the closet shelves were reinstalled.

These shelves also got a light sanding and coat of enamel because you could see the wood through the thin layer of paint that was previously on them. They were already here when we bought the house, they just needed a little love.

This room is now completely painted! Here is a before and after, what a difference.

We used Sherwin Williams Extra White for the trim, and Agreeable Grey for the walls. The grey is a light, warm grey that looks modern with the white trim.

Remember the old kitchen island? It got a makeover as well, and now will be used as storage in the craft room. Once we move here, the sewing table I have now, which is basically butcher block on top of spindle legs, will be refashioned on top of this base cabinet.

The most exciting part of this day, however, had to be the brand new island counted getting installed.

We went with a quartz counter from Cambria in a design called “Britannica”. Quartz never needs sealing or polishing, and this design added interest and elegance to our kitchen. It ties in perfectly with the white cabinets and the (eventually) painted grey walls.

I love the flowing veins of warm and dark grey and the movement they create.

Here is our kitchen before and after.

The last project we finished was the interior doors on the main level. They were an off-white with yellow undertones and looked a bit off with newly painted pure white trim, so they got a coat of fresh white enamel as well.

This included the back door as well as the garage door.

Here is the garage door before and after with fresh paint. It’s a subtle difference, but I think it was worth it. Little details add up in the big picture.

All in all, it was a good run of a few more days of work. Now, I will not be traveling until after baby arrives, so it may be awhile before I post more updates on our house, but Brian might plan a few weekends in between now and then to squeeze some more projects in.

Some final notes:

-We decided to leave the stair banister for now instead of priming and painting it. Eventually we’d like to replace it with a more modern metal and wire rail, and painting it, with all it’s spindles, will take a lot of time that we don’t have right now.

-The crib got completely painted at some point this weekend, but some crucial hardware was missing, so it isn’t assembled yet. I will have a post on the crib later when it is finished.

-For upstairs, we are going to go with curtains to replace the dated and chunky window fixtures. We’d like to go with custom blinds that you can move up and down without cords, but we can’t afford those right now. Since our windows are pretty standard size, pre-made curtains will work fine.

-We have been seeing some ants inside and have placed ant bait around so hopefully that solves the problem. Hopefully these ants are getting in just from having the windows open with no screens.

Thank you for following along! Until next time…