Guest Bedroom Headboard: Part 3

It’s amazing what can be created in a relatively short span of time with your own two hands.  Little more than a week ago, I had some blue sheets that were the ugly duckling in my guest bedroom.  They just didn’t belong, and I was kicking myself over the purchase, wishing that I had thought better of them before I’d given them their first wash and generally ruined their chance of being returned.  Good bargain or not, I do like for my house to like nice — especially for my out-of-town guests!  My little munchkin turns 1 this week, and that definitely means a house full of guests, and it put my little blue sheets on a serious time table for somehow finding a way to fit in.  Here’s how we came to our finished work.  (I consider it to be art, but I’m a little biased).

Where I left off, I had a nice headboard sitting in my kitchen, just waiting for a little bit of attention.  I really am blessed with a very nice neighbor who came over to help me manhandle the headboard so that I could do my end of the deal:  the upholstering.  If you don’t know your neighbors, call them over for a glass of wine or coffee ahead of time.  You never know when some storm will hit, literally or figuratively, and you’ll be glad that you have a friendly face looking out for you right nearby.  But I digress…

I had briefly mentioned before that I was going to purchase a fabric shower curtain to do my upholstering.  I have a sewing machine, and I actually use it from time to time, but I was concerned that I would have a piece of fabric that wouldn’t be quite the right size, and I didn’t want to have a seam running through the middle of my finished piece.  Also, being on a tight schedule (nothing quite like your in-laws coming to light a fire under you and your project for some serious motivation!), I didn’t want to have to fiddle with all of the time involved for sewing the pieces together.  The only tool I really wanted to use is my handy dandy staple gun.  Thus, I knew that something along the lines of either a shower curtain or a bed sheet would be within my budget and give me plenty of fabric to cover the front of my 62″x39″ headboard and still leave plenty for wrapping around and tacking onto the back.  I ended up with the following shower curtain:

As you can see, it’s listed as 100% polyester — you clearly do not want a cheap plastic shower curtain for this type of job, and you want something that will hold up well not only as part of the headboard, but won’t tear too easily when it has a staple shoved into it.  I got this beauty at Bed Bath & Beyond on sale and with a coupon (oh, how I love my never-ending pile of BBB coupons!) for $24.  I like how it’s more than one type of fabric.  It will make my headboard interesting without the added work of having to sew different fabric types. This is one of the benefits of working with a shower curtain rather than a sheet.  I decided that I would have a bit of the blue trim show at the top so that it gives a bit of a border to the overall design.  For the batting, I found a great big piece of high loft quilter’s batting.  It’s 110″ square, so I decided I would overlap it about 2 1/2 times.  This makes the headboard a little more cushy and provides added thickness at the top (versus down behind the mattress and springs where no one will notice).

I wrapped the batting around the front first and stapled it down.  On the corners, do as my neighbor kept telling me, and “wrap it like a present.” It ensures that you have tighter corners that won’t bunch up too much with all of the extra fabric/material.  I was also careful to not have fabric where my husband would later have to screw on the legs.  We outlined where they would go so that I would better know where not to staple.  In any case, with the batting on, it was time for the shower curtain.  Staple, staple, staple, and here you have it!

I chose to not cut the fabric in the back and to use the extra length to cover some of the wood to prevent it from rubbing too much on the walls.  With a little batting of my eyelashes when my husband came home, I convinced him that we needed to finish the project that night.  I love that man.  So, up the stairs it went.  We waited until we were upstairs to drill on the legs to make it a little easier to navigate the stairwell without pieces sticking out.

Here you see it laying on top of the bed with the legs affixed.  You can also see how I brought the material up in the back to cover some of the wood.  We were at the homestretch!  It may have seemed like an easy sprint, but we found one more hurdle…  We discovered that some of the holes on the legs were not quite lining up with the metal frame.  It happens.  So out came the drill and the vacuum.  My husband added some new holes, and I vacuumed my heart out getting the pieces of wood off the carpet.  Finally, we were able to attach the headboard to the frame with some nuts and bolts, and ta-daaaaa!

My ugly duckling became a beautiful swan!  We are so excited with how it turned out.  It can be kind of hard to compare the before with the after since I made several other changes.  I flipped the comforter to the solid gold side, swapped in some ivory pillow shams and dust ruffle, and added in this cute knotted pillow I found on clearance to go with our nautical theme.  Overall, we’re so happy with how it turned out, and we can’t wait for our guests to enjoy their new suite!

Guest Bedroom Headboard: Part 2

Best laid plans will *always* have a few hiccups.  This is not to say that things will not get done and turn out fabulously, but I find that as long as you go into a task with the attitude that the unexpected might happen and you can overcome obstacles, the whole project will be much less stressful and you’ll be happier in the end.

I generally consider my husband’s free time to be golden.  Even though he’s not on a ship currently, he still works 10-12 hour days.  He’s such a hard worker, he just can’t settle for a half-way job even if these are supposed to be his “easy” years.  Thus, I figured I’d be helpful and get all of our headboard supplies on my own time so he wouldn’t have to fuss with the shopping and would only be tasked with the carpentry side of my project.  If only.

We have a simple metal frame for our queen-sized guest bed.  Our plan is to basically have plywood measuring 62″x39″ with 1×3 boards as a frame. 62″ will make the headboard a smidge wider than the bed so the support structures aren’t as noticeable, and it will make our beautiful new headboard a little more prevalent.  39″ will give us about a half of a foot above the pillows for the headboard to be visible without coming too high that I would otherwise have to rehang a print I have up on the wall.  The 1x3s serve dual purposes.  1) They will provide more of a lip to which I can attach the fabric and batting and 2) my plywood “piece” will actually be cut as two 31″x39″ pieces so that it will fit into my car safely — thus the frame serves a structural purpose as well.  Additionally, there will be an extra 1×3 laying horizontally across the middle of the headboard to which the vertical posts can attach.  The headboard will then both rest on the metal frame and also be bolted to the frame for additional support.  Here’s a schematic of what I had in mind:

If you are really in the know about these things, you will have noticed a slight discrepancy in what I was just typing and this layout here.  Me being the silly wife that I am, I *assumed* that the folks who create wood had a rational reason for calling the boards 1x3s (or 2x4s or whatever the size).  It would have made perfect sense to me that those numbers corresponded with actual units of measure.  NOPE!  Fortunately, it’s not off by too much (about 1/4″-1/2″ difference), and this is one obstacle more easily overcome.   When my husband makes the frame there will just be a few small gaps around the frame, but he’s assured me this will not matter in the long run.  In the future, I will consult the internet on lumber dimensions ahead of time.  Thankfully, there are handy websites like this one:  Lumber Dimensions.  I’m choosing to ignore the fact that the website itself is called “MI Stupid.”   Or maybe I’ll just take comfort in the fact that I’m not the only “stupid” person who has made this assumption about lumber in the past…

If this were the only problem with my lumber purchase, all would have been merry and well, because as my husband noted, the 1×3 error is easily overcome.  No, no.  As I got ready for my husband to be my Carpenter in Chief, I came to the realization that my beautiful plywood pieces were not the 31″x39″ pieces of which I had dreamt.  They were, in fact, 31″x30″.  This does not work for me.  This would make my headboard 9″ shorter than I had imagined, and thus, not visible above the pillows on the bed.  How silly!  Thankfully, a call into a manager at Lowe’s, and we were permitted to return the cut wood to get the proper size.  This error, afterall, was not my fault.  I had the dimensions written down for their employee to cut — he just miscut the wood.  So much for saving my husband’s golden time.  A trip to town was necessitated.  No worries, though, he was compensated with a trip to his favorite coffee shop.  😉

This time around, the wood was cut perfectly, and we also picked up some work gloves.  If you’re doing a project like this, we definitely recommend the work gloves.  Splinters would abound otherwise and would not make for a very happy carpenter.  When we finally got home, my husband set to work sanding all of the pieces (nobody wants splinters in their heads, either, when they are sleeping!), drilling holes through the boards, and screwing the pieces together.

Above, you can see my husband sanding at our “work bench.” It consists of two of my Christmas storage boxes with some tarp laid over it to keep the sawdust out of my decór.  When you move as much as we do, you don’t have room for real work benches, so why not make use of everything else in your garage??  Here’s another one of him finishing up the frame:

Once he finished it all up, we moved it inside for me to work on later with my upholstering.  It might not seem very big, but trust me, it’s HEAVY and bulky to boot.  I probably could have gotten it inside on my own, but it would have been much more of a task for me than my personal handyman.  So, for now, here is how it will sit in my kitchen:

The chairs serve a very important purpose:  they keep my munchkin’s curious fingers away!  Even though it’s been sanded, she is into everything, and I figure it’s better to sacrifice a few chairs for a day than to have her trying her hardest to work some splinters into her tiny fingers.  In the next day, I’ll work on the upholstering with the help of a neighbor.  In the meantime, I can do a happy dance that my headboard is *that* much closer to actually being assembled and beautiful upstairs!

Guest Bedroom Headboard: Part 1

Sometimes, you think you’ve found a great deal, but then one thing leads to another and you have a whole project on your hands.  That’s what happened to my guest bedroom.  The other week, I was in good ole Target and came across some sheets that were on sale.  I was looking for some new sheets for the guest room anyway and was pleased with my find.  The color selection was limited, but I was excited that there was a set in Navy Blue, and the comforter with which the sheets would go has a little stripe of blue.  I thought I had scored the perfect sheets.  Go home.  Wash them.  Throw them on the bed.  End of story.  Not so.

Turns out that the little stripe of blue in my comforter was not as prevalent as I had imagined, and the sheets now stick out like a sore thumb.  Not to worry, though, Pinterest — every homemaker’s best friend — was there to save me.  Right?  I recently came across a post about making your own upholstered headboard.  My husband is on shore duty now, so he has a bit more time on his hands when he’s not working on his Master’s, so as luck would have it, he’s on board with the creation!

Here’s the plan:

  1. Purchase plywood and 1×3 boards cut to size for the headboard/frame
  2. Purchase fabric shower curtain and quilting batting for upholstering
  3. Construct the frame
  4. Attach fabric and batting with staple gun
  5. Attach legs to the headboard
  6. Attach finished headboard to bed frame

Here’s a “Before” picture of our guest bedroom.  I’d like to eventually replace the comforter (I’m not a big fan of how it’s a Full/Queen versus a straight Queen…).  Thankfully, it’s reversible, so the opposite side is a solid gold print and makes choosing coordinating fabric for the headboard much easier.  You can also see the pretty blue sheets peeking out from behind the shams, the little project instigators that they are!

Stay tuned for updates on our progress!

My Anchor, My Home

Dockyard anchor

As a Navy wife and former Army brat, I’ve moved all over the place and have never called a single house “Home” for more than a couple of years at a time.  That said, wherever I have been, it’s always quickly become home through the love that the house is filled with and through all of those special reminders that we carry with us from place to place to make each house officially ours.

Being a Navy family, the anchor has a lot of meaning in our house.  An anchor is security.  An anchor is stability.  An anchor means staying in one place for a little while and not merely just passing through.  That’s what a home is, too.  Security.  Stability.  That special place where you stay, where you don’t just pass through, where you’re stronger because you’re there together as a family.

This blog is going to be about those little touches that I’m using to make my house a home, no matter where we are or how long we are there.  Every house deserves to be a home.  Every home has a house full of memories just waiting to be discovered.  It just takes those special touches to make it My Anchor, My Home.