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Category Archives: Inspiration

This is where my ideas come from. My finished product is usually quite different from my inspiration, but it always takes a good idea to get the ball rolling.

Why I Suck at Sewing (and that’s OK)


Masterpiece...ugh.

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.

New Year, New Model, New Space.


With a new year, of course, comes a new resolve. Some of these have to do with Space-Lift and others have to do with me, Kristen, the unbelievably flawed human being. I know I am not alone in that I can (semi) objectively look at myself and see things that I’d like to improve.

I’ve always wanted a role model. I know that makes me sound like a 4th grader, but I’m serious. Like every other working parent, I do A LOT. I don’t need a fitness role model, a scholarly role model or even a celebrity “beauty” role mode; I need a “results attainable” role model. I need to see a person…nay, a woman, who is a great parent, holds down a successful full-time career, finds time to workout, has enough self-discipline to eat right, caters to her creative side, is artistic and maybe even musical, maintains a healthy relationship with her significant other, makes her friends feel special and loved, finds time for religion and faith, takes care of chores and can still shower, put on makeup and dress somewhat fashionably. Basically, a real-life embodiment of a Pinterest board (ew, it was hard to say that because it sounds shallow and stupidly superficial. But it’s real. And I don’t think that I am alone in that aspiration, even if its just as hard for others to admit.)

Does that seem like a tall order to you? Because this is insane to me! But it’s what I want. I want to be well-rounded, take care of the people I love and make my heart happy by doing what I love. Do you think I can find a person who has all of these qualities? Absolutely not. There are several woman who embody several of them and I can of course combine them to form a Team of Role Models, but at the end of the day I want to know that it is possible for one woman to have enough energy to become this. Again, I don’t need to be perfect. I’m not trying to learn another language, get my doctorate or become a triathlete. I’m just trying to do what I feel I do already, just a lot better.

My Team of Role Models

1) Sabrina Soto of several HGTV shows

2) Jen Ramos of Made by Girl

3) Mandi of Vintage Revivals

4) Nicole Curtis of Rehab Addict

5) Elsie and Emma of A Beautiful Mess

It should make me feel better that no single woman can achieve what I hope to, but it is also very deflating because it lets me know how hard it actually is. All these woman are untouchably successful in my book, but again, none of them embody what I hope to be someday. This isn’t a flaw on their part in the least; it’s more of a reality check for the “overachiever” within me.

But they inspire me nonetheless.

On to the Resolutions

I have to put my actions where my mouth is, and you of course will be the first to know as I try to take an “always honest” approach. Which leads me to my first resolution;

1) Put more Kristen in Space-Lift. When I read a design blog, I typically go for the projects, yet stay for the people. I’ve come to the realization that maybe I  need to open up and remind everyone that I really am more than just my projects.

2) I need to keep up running. I know this is lame and everyone says it, but it makes every other aspect of my life easier. It tricks my body into thinking I’m working for only 4 hours when it’s really 6…even though my brain knows the truth.

3) Become a business machine. I love to blog, but that’s not where it ends. Eventually I plan to open a furniture store and restoration center, and I need to know what I’m doing. I don’t have an MBA but gosh darn it, lack of qualifications has never stopped me before.

4) Build equity in my house. I’ve been doing this for a while, but I really hope to sell this joint in about five years and make somewhat of a profit. You know I’ll post the projects.

5) Take it easy on myself. I don’t think I came equipped with an off switch. I have a lot of energy and I find it hard to sit down. Yet mental exhaustion takes hold before physical exhaustion and I just become…well..a bitch. This is a word I hate, HATE. I hate it in others and I hate the sound of it. Admitting that I become that horrible thing, makes it a lot easier to sit down before I become a snarling, beastly b-word.

So there you have it.

A new year and a beginning. Am I setting myself up for failure with my lofty aspirations? Probably. But no matter how bad I fail, as long as I keep my 5th resolution, the failure can still be a success.

Another Year Older


On December 30th, 1985, I was born. I know it’s hard to believe, but I am 27. At this point in time, I have no opinions about that number. Turning 23 was hard (if you can believe that nonsense) probably because I was pregnant and my hormones were way off balance, but I also knew that meant I wasn’t really a kid anymore. I was going to HAVE a child, plus I’d graduated college and gotten a corporate job. All my stats said I was no longer a kid or a “hip, wild adult.”

Well, 27 isn’t that jarring. I have no life occurrences that double as reality checks like I did when I was 23, so it’s just another number. I’m old enough to rent a car, too young to be president (because THAT’S gonna happen…) and I’m still shopping around for the right wrinkle cream.

To mark this inglorious occasion, I have compiled a list. These aren’t things that I’ve learned JUST this year, but design/style tidbits that I have collected throughout my life.

27 Things I’m glad I know

1) No matter how hard you wish, flat paint can never be turned glossy.

2) Using a temperamental product in bad conditions allows you to master a great product in perfect conditions.

3) Inlay (not to be confused with overlay): Wood or other materials which are set Inlayinto corresponding carved out recesses often creating a pattern.

4) If what you’re doing seems too easy, then you’re probably doing it wrong.

5) A stud finder will save you time and Spackle.

6) You can never have too many putty knives.

7) Case Piece: Furniture that provides interior space for storage.

8) Do what you want. No single style will be loved by all so it may as well be loved by you.

9) Research. Read. Get the right tools. Work hard. Follow these guidelines and every project/event/situation/goal will turn out better.

10) Safety glasses aren’t for wimps, they’re for people who value their eyes.

11) Read the instructions on every new tool. There are features and functions hidden everywhere.Tuxedo

12) Tuxedo Arms: Slightly flared arms that are the same height as the back.

13) Don’t freak out over paint. It’s the easiest thing to change and has the most impact.

14) Historically a credenza resembled a low dresser and a sideboard resembled a desk, but now the terms are practically interchangeable. A buffet, however, is always on wheels.

15) Take care of your tools.Diamond

16) Diamond Tufting: An arrangement of tufting buttons to yield a diamond shaped pattern on the back of an upholstered piece.

17) Even if it is freezing outside, open a window and get air flowing when using chemicals.

18) Fluorescent lighting- light created by stimulating radiation. Incandescent lighting- light created as a result of being heated. LED- (light emitting diode) Photons released due to electrons recombining with electron holes in the diode. Moral? Light by heat is always more romantic than light by science.

19) Nothing, new or old, will ever beat a piece of solid wood furniture. Veneers are overrated.

20) Mistints are not to be ignored. Your wallet will love you for it.

21) Less is more. And by that I mean Less Stuff is More Space. Err on the side of leg room.

22) Hang curtains above the window frame and avoid borders; the walls magically grow taller.Fiddle me this...!

23) Fiddleback: A chair back whose splat looks like a violin.

24) For furniture where wood meets wood, adhering felt pads are worth the $2 and 3 minutes.

25) Gateleg Table: A table that has drop leaves supported by a leg which swings outGateleg like a gate.

26) If you’re messing with wires, when in doubt, shut off power to the whole house. If you can’t find the right switch then there’s no other choice. If you can’t finish the job before the milk spoils and the ice cream melts then you should’ve called an electrician in the first place.

27) Remain open to new ideas and techniques. Nothing is worse than realizing you have ignored amazing concepts for no good reason.

Lauren’s Breakfast Nook


I finished the five piece project! See all of the photos HERE!

Woodland Nursery


Amber is having a baby, Hooray! She wanted to take her soon-to-be-son’s nursery from classic (which is nice) to woodland (which is adorable!) She decided a cute cartoon tree was the way to do it, and I couldn’t agree more. Click here to see how to go from blank wall to happy in the woods!

Start

Love them!

Caught in the Net


One of the pieces my aunt gave me was an adorable French Sofa Table reproduction.

A bit dusty..I say it’s a reproduction because I don’t believe it’s an antique. It was originally finished wood, but my aunt painted it black (and I don’t think she’d do that to an antique, but then again she might.)

No bottoms, ooooh lalaI removed the bottom tier of the table and primed it white. I wasn’t sure what color to go with so it sat around for a few days. By the time I had enough energy to tackle the labor and second round of brainstormning… well… I actually DIDN’T have enough energy for the brainstorming part. I wasted all my energy on the labor part and painted this little guy yellow. Ugh, I really don’t know what I was thinking. And not just normal yellow, Macaroni yellow–the yellow of your nightmares.

Not ProudAfter that minor debacle I decided to chill out on my nonsense and go to the paint isle of my friendly hardware store. Why? BECAUSE A WILD PAINT BENDER ALWAYS SOLVES EVERYTHING!!!! I woke up 3 days later…

Seriously though, I bought about $35 worth of paint, and in spray paint dollars that like $200. So, me and my 40 cans of spray paint sat around staring at each other until I just decided that I needed to be logical. A) I didn’t want anything light because I needed to maintain some weight in the room, so adios pastels. B) I wanted it to shine, so satin finishes were out. C) I love Krylon’s colors but I hate their paint consistency and watered down application with a bloody passion, so I stuck to off-brands to avoid Krylon’s mess-in-a-can and 1980’s chemistry that they are still making products with today. Finally, I arrived at good ol’ Navy Blue Gloss, F yeah!

Lookin' Good.I then painted the bottom tier pastel purple because a girl has gotta have a little pastel in her life, even if it’s not Easter. Plus, I knew the dark blue would calm it down so it wouldn’t look like a My Little Ponies party on the lower half.

BottomAfter the paint dried I covered it with Minwax WipeOn Poly Gloss. I have decided that I really can’t apply it with anything but a brush, and since it runs my bristle brushes through the wringer, I just use the cheap black sponge brushes that you can buy 6 for $1. All the rags that I try to apply the poly with always stick too much, and no matter how lint or fuzz free it seems, I always have fuzzies sticking to my piece, which leaves a gnarly mess to try to clean up. So I use my cheap-0 sponge brush and throw it away when I’m done because I am apparently wasteful and lazy, but the E.P.A. isn’t at my door so life is good.

My aunt had supplied me with the two cut glass pieces for the top of the table, but the bottom tier had nothing to fit inside. And instead of running ALL THE WAY to Harmon Glass which is like a million (less than two, actually) miles up the road, I decided to just wing it. Winging it led me to cheap rope. I super love when a cheap idea gets even cheaper!

I decided to weave the second tier instead of putting glass in it, sweet! However, my first attempt was less than fantastic.

Zig-ZagThe main problem with this is that it looks like an A.D.D. ape on acid did this. Ok Ok, that’s a bit harsh, but I will admit that the first time around I was trying to keep the rope in one piece. And I shouldn’t say “trying” because I did keep the rope in one piece. I was like seriously OCD about just bending it around staples and screws until finally I didn’t have enough rope to do straight lines and I had to zig-zag the bottom just to finish it. Classy.

Such a weirdo.I just wanted to add a real quick note (commenting on the below photo) whoever decided to package rope and yarn in that figure 8 pattern with the rope/yard belt in the middle is an inconsiderate S.O.B. I have wasted so much of my life untangling new packages of rope/yarn that I probably could have gotten a graduate degree in the collective hours I have spent. …but anyway…

JerksSo because I thought my first attempt at a bottom tier net looked like it was done by a blind spider on steroids, I took it apart and did it again. THIS TIME though, this time I took a tip from my screens and weaved cut pieces of rope through each other. The only thing I had to be cognizant of was to make sure that I left a good amount of slack in the long ropes because the more ropes you add to the weave, obviously the tighter it becomes…and it really sneaks up on you as it’s popping out of the staple when you’re only two weaves away from being finished. (That happened on my zig-zag attempt, not my second screen-grid attempt, but it still applies.)

Weave

Fancy

Come closerI trimmed the long edges and flipped this guy back over because as much as I loved it, I had grown to hate it. But then I saw it, and as much as I’d grown to hate it, I loved it again.

I like itI’ll admit that the spacing isn’t perfect and it’s a little on the wavy side, but it is so much freakin’ better than my zig-zags that it makes me feel like Picasso.

HiIf I’m going to be realistic, I’ll tell you that I know I will have useless stuff like birthday cards and princess books sitting on here. I know Kyle will put his autographed baseballs on here by somehow insisting that the blue on top means “Detroit Tigers.” Yes, it will have dirty plates, cup rings and fingerprints on the glass…

Future

But for right now, it’s perfect.

Art Vanity


My daughter just turned three on June 22, so I am currently in Florida, woohoo! Tropical Depression Debby isn’t going to put a damper on my fun! It will, however, put a damper on long blog posts. For the rest of the week (after THIS post) all my posts will be short and sweet, in a series called “An End to my Odds,” which basically is the random small stuff around the house that I have Space-Lifted but never posted.

So without further ado, here is my vanity update in images. Enjoy!

This is how the vanity began. It's super cute, but a bit on the small side.

This is how the vanity began. It’s super cute, but a bit on the small side.

This is how the vanity began. It's super cute, but a bit on the small side.

Here it is with the batwings out.

I disassembled all of the moving parts and primed the whole thing.

I disassembled all of the moving parts and primed the whole thing.

Then I painted it a really ugly “Navajo White” and accented it by painting the stool light blue and (under the advisement of a friend) covered it with orange fabric.

As you can see this was an ugly mistake. I couldn't even find pictures of the vanity, so I must have known it wouldn't stay Navajo White for very long. As a side note: Never take advice when it comes to style (especially if you already have a plan in your head) because you know what you're doing and you shouldn't ever second guess yourself...unless it's for safety reasons....in that case, wear a helmet.

As you can see this was an ugly mistake. I couldn’t even find pictures of the vanity, so I must have known it wouldn’t stay Navajo White for very long. As a side note: Never take advice when it comes to style (especially if you already have a plan in your head) because you know what you’re doing and you shouldn’t ever second guess yourself…unless it’s for safety reasons….in that case, wear a helmet.

I had to do a little drawer repair as well. The Navajo White crackled and there were some pretty jacked up holes I had to fix with wood filler.

I had to do a little drawer repair as well. The Navajo White crackled and there were some pretty jacked up holes I had to fix with wood filler.

Next came Round 2. I disassembled the item again and spray painted it green and pink.

Next came Round 2. I disassembled the item again and spray painted it green and pink.

I used chalk board paint in the middle section of the table. I tried to pull the dividers up and realized that the dividers pulled up all of the fabric.

I used chalk board paint in the middle section of the table. I tried to pull the dividers up and realized that the dividers pulled up all of the fabric.

But I used that to my advantage and filled it in with fabric.

But I used that to my advantage and filled it in with fabric.

This is how it turned out. Because it is Olivia's art vanity, I let her paint the mirror herself. It may not coordinate with the rest of piece, but it's just perfect.

This is how it turned out. Because it is Olivia’s art vanity, I let her paint the mirror herself. It may not coordinate with the rest of the piece, but it’s just perfect to her.

I even screwed on a clip (that use to be attached to my work batch...hooray for free junk!) so she can display her pictures. That's right, this puppy is not just for chalk!

I even screwed on a clip (that use to be attached to my work badge…hooray for free junk!) so she can display her pictures. That’s right, this puppy is not just for chalk!

Happy Birthday

Maybe I didn’t get her a new doll or a sweet game for her birthday, but this gift was made with so much more love than anything I could ever buy!

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