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Why I Suck at Sewing (and that’s OK)


I recently had a dog move in with me (don’t worry, she pays rent) and I thought I could make her a cute little hobo bed. So I took scraps of cloth and decided to basically fabric glue this piece of monstrosity together with a bit of stitching toward the end for structure.

Well, let me be the first to say “Bahahahaha” and “Bahahahaha.”

Honestly, I’ve never put on airs about my sewing. I can do the minimal hand stitching for reupholstering, but aside from that, me and a lobster have equal sewing capacities. I even have a sweet sewing machine but the bobbin and tension totally harsh my mellow.

Soooooo what’s the point of this post? As much as I love good, old fashion, self-depricating humor, there really is a purpose. You see, this post is coming hot on the heels of a conversation I had with a friend. She was feeling down about nothing specific. Not just the “winter icks,” but the “I-look-around-me-and-see-that-everyone-seems-to-be-making-it-work-with-ease-and-here-I-am-just-waiting-for-improvement-itis.” It’s something we all feel occasionally. You’re genuinely happy for someone else’s luck/success/what have you, but at the same time you wonder, “how do they do it?” or “what are they doing differently than me?”

The answer I have found is pretty simple- nothing. I devote my spare time to woodworking, running, home improvement, my band, furniture nonsense and messing up my life with power tools. It isn’t fair for me to turn around and expect to be great at sewing when it isn’t even remotely on my to-do list. Nor are cooking, bowling, dancing, golfing (I could go on forever.) Do I sacrifice for my hobbies? Again, my to-do list is not extensive. I rarely bowl, go dancing, buy gourmet food etc. It’s just a matter of picking my battles, even though they are always with myself.

No matter what we have/don’t have or where we excel/fail, at the end of the day everyone is tired, everyone tried, everyone is waiting for the next day to be a little better and we’ve all sacrificed something in order to be what we are (good or bad.)

When it comes down to it, it’s always good to see the potential in yourself but keep in mind the value of all that you are. Where would we be if Eric Clapton decided to try his Slowhand (get it?) at body-building? Or dry cleaning? Or macrame? All that he has done is not overshadowed by all that he chose not to do.

So, it’s OK, go ahead and suck at something.


Ahhh the 70’s; the memorable era of carpeted walls, brass fixtures and oversized, yellow spotted lamps.



Yeah, that’s real. 

Since, in my opinion, a lamp is just a bulb on a long cord that is run through a hollowed-out vase (in layman’s terms) I decided there was no harm in loosening a few wing nuts and pulling the old girl apart.





In this instance there is a hollow, threaded rod inserted through the middle because this behemoth of a lamp weighs more than a small child and comes in three separate pieces.

This is where the spray paint enters the scene.

I taped off the cord and socket (because even though the lamp unscrewed, the parts were inseparable) primed with spray primer, then did what I do best…make bad decisions quickly with my eyes closed.

Well Look ye' Here

My decision making process went something like this.

“I like blue. What is better than blue? Three different blues!!” The end.

Come here often, lovely?


The spray primer was a good, sticky base for the spray paint so I didn’t use spray sealant on top. PLUS, in my experience, most glossy spray paints tend to turn a bit matte when coated with a sealant (even if it seems like a glossy sealant) so I avoid it whenever possible.

OK, maybe the 70’s didn’t always have the greatest concept of space or regard for complimentary colors, but in theory, a massive, speckled lamp sounds stunning to just about everyone, right?…Yeah, I didn’t think so.






Face Forward


Dan’s Tables

I received a call about some laminate end tables that needed a little jazzing-up!

RawI scrubbed them down with soap, water and eventually a bit of Windex. I also pried off the ancient pen holder that was stuck to the side with what could only be a mix of cement and a curse. I decided to skip the primer because I felt like living on the edge (my middle name is Danger, in case you didn’t know.) I removed the hardware and scuffed the laminate a bit with sandpaper, mixed my colors and got my paint on!

Dan had originally wanted these to be burnt orange with red on the inside. But as I do with ALL of my customers that I know well, I changed the plan a bit. I thought the burnt orange would be a bit too dark so I mixed a dark peach color. As for the red, well I hoped he likes pink. Dark red seemed too bold so I mixed a light salmon and prayed…and prayed…and hoped…cried a little…and prayed some more.

I used an average of three coats of polyurethane over the paint just to ensure that the paint was going to stay put. I say “an average of three coats” because the tops got at least four coats (perhaps even five) while the sides got about two and the inside only one. The reason for the inconsistency in the number of coats is that, well you see, I was attacked….by bugs. Gnats and mosquitoes were flying kamikaze missions into my wet poly! Many times I would pick off a bug, scratch the paint and need to reapply both paint and poly.

ALSO there was one night, one tragic, tragic night when I didn’t pay attention to the humidity in the air, the odd direction of the wind or, ya know, the local weather channel. I left the tables out under an overhang (thank God, at least) to dry, which ended up having the opposite affect considering we had an Amazon-like monsoon that same evening. I sort of flipped. I had to peel 1/3 of the paint off and layer paint fairly meticulously in order to make it appear as though it doesn’t have four coats of chipped paint. Ay-yiy-freakin’-yiy!

Buuuuuuuut… all worked out.


And even better news? Boys totally like pink.

Feline Domesti-brass

Since me and my boyfriend of three years broke up I’ve had to do a bit of shuffling in my household dynamic, which includes getting a roommate! I didn’t want to just tuck her and all of her stuff away to her room, so we have hung her items and brought out her nicknacks so she feels at home.

But it’s really easy to see the flaws in your “stuff” once you bring them to a new environment…

Case in point; the brass kitty.

CatIt’s by no means ugly, but in your own apartment it’s easy to get use to how your old items looks– dirt and tarnish included. As a surprise I decided to shine-up this cute little family heirloom of Lisa’s.

How to Clean Icky Brass

Ew1. First I took drenched a cotton ball in regular white vinegar and scrubbed. I was seriously amazed at how much surface gunk the vinegar removed.

2. Next I lightly (SUPER DUPER LIGHTLY) scrubbed the brass with 000 steel wool. I wouldn’t recommend this for brass that is already fairly shinny because if there isn’t any dirt to scrub off then it just ends up scratching the brass. However, if yours is as worn as this cat then you’re safe to scrub, just do it mindfully.

3. This step is also controversial because in some cases it can mess up your brass. I soaked the cat in OxiClean for 5 minutes. OxiClean gets out stains but there is also the whole “rust factor.”


Just make sure not to leave your item in the solution too long and dry it thoroughly when you bring it out.

Brasso!4. The final step is to polish with a specialized cleaner. I used Brasso, but Grecian Gold works well also.

And the results?


OMG Now I just want to clean everything!!!

Storage Bench Snack

This little beauty was dropped off at my house at random, and it sure needed some love.

The back corners were pretty damaged because, what dog doesn’t love a good wooden snack?

I was able to rebuild one corner with wood filler and some sanding…

Wood Filler



The other side was SOOOO rough that I decided to just cut the whole thing off. I really like the metal accent bars, so to maintain continuity I cut the other side apart, glued on legs and screwed it back where it use to be.

All apart

I had to sand down the sides where I cut because they were a little choppy. Then I stained all the light wood and wood filler. Finally I used glossy polyurethane to make it shine shine shine.

Sandy Sand Sand


Once the wood parts were finished it was time to move on to the bench. I took off the old upholstery and put down new cotton and fabric. I didn’t have any thick padding on hand so I literally pieced together pieces of batting (because I am way to cheap and lazy to go to the store.)


And the results…





Good thing cats don’t chew on wood… do they?

O.A.’s Bookcase

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