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Posts Tagged ‘freecycling’

Life’s a (day)bed of retro

Have you ever bitten off more than you can chew? Without even realising…? This is one of those times for me. And I made it work, but if I knew then what I know now…there were so many other ways I woulda coulda shoulda done this.

Hard fought and hard won…but #victory nonetheless.

You may, or may not, recall I was on a mission to restore a teak daybed I freecycled way back when. It’s (cough ) been on my houseolutions list since…(cough) 2015 and counting (cough).  And I DID make progress, DIY Dad and I did repair it (fixing the damage that I essentially caused, but enough about that).

The only thing it needed was a mattress (which was never going to be a standard size, because nothing I turn my hands to ends up being a m*therf*cking standard size) and then a cover for the aforesaid mattress.

And this is where my newfound machine sewing skills come in. Clearly: I would take the bespoke-sized daybed mattress and make a bespoke-sized daybed mattress cover for it.

And I would make a bespoke mattress cover with 3mm thick, heavy duty upholstery fabric that DIY Dad and I selected from Spotlight. That was my first mistake. Not shopping with DIY Dad, not shopping at Spotlight. OH NO: it was choosing 3mm thick heavy duty linen-look upholstery fabric with fleece on the back side to make the aforesaid bespoke mattress cover.

Why was that a mistake? Where do I START?

It turns out it is REALLY difficult to mark lines and measurements out when you have chosen 3mm thick heavy duty linen-look upholstery fabric with fleece on the back side. I ended up using my supply of Crayola crayons, because the polite, reserved dress-making crayons just.couldn’t.cut.it. SO: there’s that.

And then, there’s the fact that I was maneuvering an almost 2m long unwieldy piece of foam to get measurements. As a novice sewanista, I was too scared to cut to measure so I decided I actually needed measurements from the 2m long piece of foam (which was also about 0.9m wide and about 0.17m thick). That was my second mistake. Ugh.

My third mistake: deciding the beautiful daybed needed a mattress cover with piping on it. And it really did need a mattress cover with piping on it…it’s just: if you are going to make a mattress cover with piping on it, then you don’t choose 3mm thick fabric to do so with.

Piping in the process of happening…

You really don’t choose 3mm thick fabric. Because it’s fine while you make the piping, and while you start assembling the non-piped pieces. It is – however – NOT fine when you start sewing the fabric to the piping to another piece of piping.

That’s when you are dealing with at least 12mm of fabric…that’s when there’s a problem. That’s 12mm of fabric that will break your needles, causing you to buy heavy duty needles (which you didn’t even know existed before that). 12mm of fabric that will break the thread you are using, causing you to buy upholstery thread (where you didn’t even know there was such a sort of thread before that).

It was a steep learning curve, all-righty.

And…then:

  1. there’s the learning curve about not sewing all the sides together and then sewing those sides to the larger top and bottom of the mattress cover (don’t do it: your sides are not the most accurate measure of the mattress cover side, the top and the bottom are.)
  2. there’s the learning curve about keeping track of what side needs to be sewn to which (otherwise you will satisfyingly sew, and then unpick when you realise you’ve sewn half your mattress cover inside out because keeping track of what goes where in such a large-scale project is…challenging).

At this point: I am just about to sew the opening sides in the wrong places, with two twists in them…and I will unpick them the next day while cursing. Cursing ALOT.

And then…there’s the learning curve that piping is irresistible to cats. So you may need some spare to keep them entertained and off your actual piping:

No you are NOT helping.

And then…there’s the learning curve of sewing 2 pieces of piping together, with the actual piping inside. The thickness and diameter ended up being too large for the sewing machine and needles to bear. That meant some Young Einstein-like levels of invention to solve a problem I had backed into without actually realising.

Finally it was done:

Quality Assurance by The Ginger Menace

I thought it would take 3 days of my 5 day holiday…it took 5 days. I went back to work for a break from it. The daybed and cover are currently located in my studio. We haven’t transported it to DIY Dad’s beach house yet, maybe in 2018…?

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You may (or may not) recall the daybed I freecycled in 2012. While it was in immaculate condition when I freecycled it, leaving it in the garage with the mattress on top of it was…a massive mistake.

The mattress got damp, and the top layer of plywood on the base warped and got mouldy. Even after treatment with Eucalyptus oil, the daybed needed restoration.

I ditched the mattress (but I did keep and clean the cover because it was RAD), but finding another one that matched the actual size of the daybed was challenging: it’s about 10cm longer than a normal single mattress, and about 10 thinner too.

So the restoration needed two parts:

  1. Rip out the plywood and replace it
  2. Purchase a king single foam mattress, which is cut down to the size required and then sew a cover for it (way in the future, as I don’t currently have a working sewing machine in the house)

I ripped off the plywood top in December, as part of my activities over my Christmas holidays:

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Mostly before photo: Just after I’d torn the first strip off, and remembered I wanted a before pic

That took an hour or so, and made a lot of mess because the plywood sits in little niches so you couldn’t take it off in one piece easily.

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After photo, but before I’d cleaned up the mess.

I then went on a hunt to find plywood that was about 3.6mm thick (you read that right 0.36cm) and that I could cut into the shape required (there are little notches at each corner, so it’s not just a standard rectangle).

I started by finding somewhere online where I could get it cut to order, cost $180. And then I asked DIY Dad if this is something we could do together after my sister (and new niece) had visited in February, and after I had been to Canberra in March (bridesmaid duties).

We were on track to do the plywood purchasing and cutting in April…then DIY Dad fell off a ladder and broke his ankle while I was away in Canberra.

After a long recovery, and allowing time for DIY Dad to catch up on all the DIY things he’d wanted to do prior to falling off a ladder and breaking his ankle, we were in the position to look at when we could restore the Daybed in August.

The first thing that DIY Dad did was check my measures (Which I had annotated using InDesign, so we weren’t referring to confusing hand written notes):

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So much easier to pick up and put down a project over the course of 10 months when you have really clear and neat notes and measurements

I am pleased to announce that our measures only differed by 0.03cm on one side (and it’s the one I could have gotten away with because there were no niches on the lengths).

We bought the plywood in August and I stored it in my spare room until we could tee up a day when we were both free to cut it down.

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DIY Dad mugging for the camera

We cut the plywood down in September using my stone table as our cutting base (we measured and were very careful about positioning the plywood and cutter to  ensure at no point were we going to cut the table):

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DIY Dad in his preferred place: doing the DIY and using the sharp implement, me in mine: supervising

We used a stanley knife to cut the plywood, and the DIY Dad used a tennant saw to cut the notches (he really wanted to use a saw at some point, why deny him that joy?):

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DIY Dad cutting one of the last divots out of the plywood

We manouvred the plywood into the niches, and use a mallet to reattach the bed together (it’s held together by wooden dowels that I loosened to get the original plywood out):

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Fancy Mallet Photograph

Then DIY Dad applied 2 coats of varnish, and then 1 coat of a marine varnish (if anyone sleeps on the daybed, we don’t want the plywood to warp again as a result of the mattress getting condensation in it): house-1083

I still have to sand with wet and dry then apply the last layer of marine varnish, but I managed to catch a horror cold – it came on the day after we cut the plywood – so it will be another weekend or so before I apply that final coat.

Once that’s all done, it’s off to Clark Rubber to get a foam king single mattress cut down to size AND sew a new cover (at that point: working sewing machine will also need to be in place). Then – finally – the daybed will make a treck up to its new home in DIY Dad’s beach house.

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Although the daybed has to be moved back into the studio, the housemates are getting in some srs nap time while it’s in the living room.

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Proving that occasionally, the housemates can share


While the daybed is out in the lounge, I don’t have to fight so hard for space on the sofa
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Super cute when sleeping, super grumpy when woken


They are not normally this cooperative or sharing…
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Some of us are still sleeping, some of us are trying to wake up

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Progress has been made on the great Laundry Storage Crisis as well as the Too Small Fridge Front!

First up, I popped into Ikea and nabbed a Lerberg shelving system (hello crossing something off the New Year’s Houseolutions 2013 list). At the moment it’s doubling as my plastic bag storage zone, plus storing a heap of stuff I am in the middle of using for DIY or stuff that I can’t put out in the garage because it’s damp and leaks:

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Shelving, rather than a indiscriminate pile of junk that made it difficult to mop and vacuum. YAY!

Once I have done something about the garage and/or finished some of the projects I have got going, the contents of the shelves will be more house-like, and less DIY-like. Either way, progress has been made and order is being restored to the Laundry!

The Ermagerd Lerberg purchase was brought about by an amazing bit of freecycling thanks to DIY Dad (runs in the family, clearly). DIY Dad was offered a bar fridge sized freezer which he took, then realised that he didn’t have much use for it. He offered it to me and I took it up, as the freezer in my small fridge is…somewhat constraining.

It’s now installed in the laundry, which meant a rejig of the layout and items on the racks above it…leading to the Lerberg purchase moving up on my list of things to do:

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Laundry, with drying rack capabilities activated and freezer newly filled with discount roasts, dumplings and steam buns.

Speaking of rearranging things, I love that post-rearrangement Eureka moment that happens a couple of days/weeks down the track when you realise the rearrangement allows you to do something else completely rad!

In my case, when I first re-arranged the laundry, I had the garment steamer to the left of the door, sitting in front of the vacuum cleaner. So that side of the room looked a little bitsy and messy…plus I kept on knocking it when I walked passed with stuff in my arms. Then I remembered that the steamer has a telescoping pole, so there was nothing to stop me reducing the height of the pole and popping it on top of the bench space newly created by the bar fridge freezer – GENIUS!

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While I was checking off things I achieved in my 2012 Houseolutions, I realised there were a couple of things I hadn’t told you about and a couple of people I hadn’t thanked or acknowledged for their help achieving some of my goals 😮

So here goes one acknowledgement on the topic of FREECYCLED Retro Pots!!!!! In the middle of the year, The Coffee Fairy found and helped me freecycle two extremely large and very retro concrete planters:

Sanded, planted but not yet painted

Sanded, planted but not yet painted

Being as they were so big, I actually had to drive around with them in my little hatchback for a couple of days until The Amazant Monsieur H came over to help me unload them. Going around corners was fun.

I sanded them, but haven’t painted them yet. The lime tree and the blood orange tree got planted into them as soon as I was done, because they were getting rootbound in their pots.

When I do get it together to get some proper concrete paint, they will be painted…grey. No surprises there, really.

p.s. I just did a search in grey to find I have mentioned it in 21 posts so far…clearly I like grey.

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Nature, and home ownership, abhores a vaccuum.

Hello good looking

Hello good looking

So when you let go of something permanently loan your living room couch to a friend in need, clearly you need a new one to take its place.

Luckily I  had another couch already waiting in the wings. The G-Plan has (re)landed in the living room:

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You look familiar, have I seen you somewhere before?

Yes that glorious turquoise and green atomic beauty that the Rule-Britannias convinced me to free-cycle. That one that has been hiding its glory in my office. It really does change the tone of the living room, from subdued to…a POP of colour in your face.

It still took a while for the more skittish housemates to welcome it:

Hai, you're new!

Hai, you’re new!

But they came to accept it into the fold:

Tail curl says maaaaine.

Tail curl says maaaaine.

And now it is their new favourite couch:

Touch my couch, feel my claws.

Touch my couch, feel my claws.

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Watercressplosion

I planted the other pot of watercress gone wild into another planter given to me by the Rule-Britannias:

Pretty

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