The Bathroom Reno Reveal

wideshot2A few weeks ago I found myself with nothing particular to do on a Friday night, and decided like any biological busy-body to start sanding my knotty pine cabinet in the upstairs bathroom. It’s been  YEARS (all 3 that we’ve lived here) that I’ve wanted to redo the bath, and after so long of not being able to take it on, I decided I’d just ease myself into it, and do a little here and there. Super reasonable of me actually, and that’s why I thought sanding a bit on a Friday night was a good start. Well, 4 hours later I found myself knee deep in a full scale reno. I sanded down the cabinet, ripped out the wainscoting (also knotty pine), and took out the horrible horrible toilet (a crappy used one we temporarily installed a couple years ago when the other was clogged beyond repair). For that impulsive reason I don’t have a good before shot, although I do have a video I shot months and months before. kneedeepsplitBefore I go on I’ll tell you that budget was top priority in this project. My husband was almost certain he was going to lose his job (he didn’t in the end), and was looking for work elsewhere (he just started a new job up north in SLC this week). So the idea was to make it look as good as I could, spending as little as I could, and that means this isn’t my dream bath. I would have done many things differently if I’d have had more cashflow, but because it’s a possibility that we’ll be moving in the next little while, I knew that now was not the time to pull out all the stops. So I decided to keep the sink and shower chrome bath fixtures, the bath and surround, the corian grey countertop, the knotty pine cabinet, the grey tile flooring, and the wood framed mirror. None of those things were my favorite, but they were all in good shape and I was hoping that with the changes I planned they’d bloom like wallflowers (I was right). The things that HAD TO GO were the knotty pine wainscoting, the scroll-y light fixture, the awful toilet, the eroded sink, the strip of slate tile in the bath surround and all the janky accessories (toilet paper holder, towel rack etc.)

What I did: after I ripped off the wainscoting, I had to repair the damaged plaster walls underneath.  I patched up the holes and then sanded down all the glue and joint compound, and then textured and painted them with my favorite grey (Martha Stewart Wetstone Grey).  Also I cut, installed and painted some basic baseboards. Don’t have a great after shot of those, sorry.

file-nov-08-4-31-01-pmHands down the biggest before and after moment is the cabinet. After filling all the knots and then triple sealing/priming them with a heavy duty sealer/primer, I painted it white and swapped out the very rustic hardware with these cute little marble pulls that I got for a song at 50% off. It looks so much better!


knobsLet’s see, then I ripped off the grey corian backsplash and replaced it with nice white subway tile (so pretty and cheap and it gave some needed visual space between the mirror and counter). Lastly Allan helped install the sink and toilet, as well as a new light fixture.

file-nov-08-4-36-48-pmlightfixtureThe last thing I did was paint the strip of slate tile in the bath surround. The before was a rustic textured slate that ranged in color from greys to orangey browns. Besides not really jiving with the design direction I was taking, a couple of the tiles were actually starting to erode a bit so that when you cleaned them they actually bled their respective colors a little. So the plan was to both seal and give them a face lift. I ended up using an epoxy paint kit, which is kind of a lot of prep work, but hopefully will hold up well. The stencil I came up with has a sort of Moroccan/south western vibe, and I think looks pretty classic. I used my Silhouette cutter to cut a bunch of stencils from contact paper, and then after a basecoat of grey (I added acrylic black and brown to the white) I stenciled the design in white.


tile-surround And then it was just a few choice accessories and styling.. I bought a little shelf and the towel hook and rack from UO, and everything else I just had around the house.

youstink(Don’t think the appropriateness of the title of that book in a bathroom was lost on me…#punintended)

wideshot2All in all the project rang in at just under $500, which I’m really happy with. Infinitely better. And it’s done! The project that’s been hanging over my head for years is DONE, and that feels awesome. Going to really enjoy it for the time that we’re here!

The mattress makeover // DIY chaise lounge

When trying to pull this space together, my biggest obstacle and first priority was getting some good seating. I really sort of obsessed about the problem, actually–for weeks I searched on ksl and even bought a chair that I had to turn around and sell. In the past we’ve just had chairs–an arm chair, a computer chair, and sewing chair. But since we we’re ALL always in here, there was never enough seating, and only one coveted spot that was really comfy. There was always a battle about who got the arm chair (ALWAYS ME.)

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But it’s not a big space, I would say just a very average bedroom size, and although I really did try to fit a couch or even a chair-and-a-half in there, there just wasn’t space–especially because we’d have to shove it in the corner, making it look really imbalanced. I went through a LOT of ideas, but when I saw these floor cushions at UO, I finally was like YESssss.. followed immediately with NOOOooooo, cause I knew we couldn’t spring $600+ for the set up. It took me about a hot little minute to decide I could make it myself, and even improve on the design. So after some homework I changed the design a bit–and it ended up being a sort of hybrid between the UO floor cushions and the anthropologie daybed mattresses.

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When I told my sister and couple friends about the plan, I think the general response was, girl you cray-cray. I felt pretty nuts too, but like a day later I found a very clean king-sized 12″ memory foam mattress for sale on KSL for a $100 bucks, and I just sort went forward without overthinking it. Most of you will probably shutter when I say I bought a second hand mattress, and I get it. It’s risky business. But I wasn’t afraid to walk away, and when I saw how clean and near-new it was, I felt fine about it. Don’t judge, folks. I followed my heart. There’s a whole hilarious story about how I stuffed that bad boy in the back of my van (it involved three adults jumping to throw our whole body weight on one side while the guy who sold it to me (a cop in full uniform), used a brilliant jerry-rigged pulley system to fold it in half).

Anyway, I’m about to give you the sorriest excuse for a DIY tutorial there ever was with the crappiest photos, but it’ll be enough for those of you crazies out there who look at this and say, I wanna do that.

After bringing home your newly acquired used mattress, you let it sit in your living room for about a week so your kids and all their friends can go nuts bouncing off the ceiling day in and day out. Do this only as long as it stays novel and cool, because geez, you don’t want to become THAT person with a mattress in your living room, you’re better than that.


When you’ve psyched yourself out enough to cut into this beast, bust out your bread knife and reciprocating saw, (or electric bread knife) and dig in. I first cut the mattress in half essentially, and then cut down the end so the main bed dimensions ended up 37″X 6′. Before cutting I used a sharpie and a yard stick to mark my cutting lines on both sides of the mattress, which made it easier to cut. I found it easiest to slice through the top with reciprocating saw, flip, slice through the bottom, and then cut through the remaining middle strip with a bread knife cause you can stick your hand in deeper than the saw.


The back cushions measure approximately 9″X36″ on top, and 11″X36″ on bottom. The back side against the wall goes straight down, and the side against your back slopes outward from top to bottom. If you’re sitting on the chaise length-wise with your legs stretched out, the cushion on your side undercuts on the end that meets the back cushion so that it slopes INward from top to bottom so it fits perfectly into the back cushion. That probably sounds like a bunch of mumbo jumbo, but read it a couple of times and then email me with questions if you’re still scratching your head. I actually used scissors to help smooth out some rough cutting on the back cushions, but it doesn’t have to be perfect, your upholstery will smooth out a lot. Cutting the whole thing took about 2 hours.


To upholster this bad boy, I chose some pretty canvas fabric (premier prints in plantation blue from, but when it arrive I realized it had too much white in it and I ended up dying it green and then more green and then yellow. I like the color a lot now, but don’t do that to yourself. If I were to do this again I don’t think I’d choose canvas, it’s just not up to the beating of family life. Polyester really can’t be beat as far as that goes, it’s just really hard to find prints like this, so…you know. There’s a pay off.


To upholster it, I cut out pieces that were exactly the same dimensions of the mattress and cushions, knowing that when I sewed it together it would fit snugly because of what the seam allowances detract. Here’s how I did the back cushions, I essentially draped them. Once I sewed them all up leaving one edge open I pulled them on and hand stitched them shut like I was making a big pillow.


Here you can see what everything looked like once I sewed the covers on.


The piping detail was done by pinching the edges (getting at least about 3/4″ of foam as well), and sewing through the edge (again, about 3/4″ in) with a running stitch on EVERY edge of the mattress and cushion. I used very sturdy nylon string, which is important cause you have to pull very tight to create the piped look. So it’s not truly piping at all, rather like faux piping. Definitely the most time consuming part, but not bad–I did it in an evening I believe.


I have no photos of me adding the tufting detail to the backs of the cushions, but I used a 12″ upholstery needle, and it was a huge pain. Worth it, I think, but kinda tricky, I really needed a longer needle. I didn’t use buttons or anything, just about centimeter long stitches on either side pulled tight.

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I added a bolster pillow later with a bit of leftover fabric, and it’s a nice touch that adds a lot of comfort.

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We love this thing so much! It’s just…well it’s just the best. The memory foam is actually super comfy, and we’ve all taken a happy nap on this sucker. If we’re watching a movie on the computer we can fit 3 or 4, and we usually take that side cushion off and put it against my work table to create a comfy seat for someone on the floor. It’s so functional for the space, it’s comfortable, and it’s pretty. And IT WASN’T THAT HARD, seriously. Took me about 3 or 4 days, and I enjoyed every part of the process, which is saying something. When it was over, I honest-to-goodness was like I wanna make another one (and I probably will).  One of my favorite DIY’s I’ve ever done, hands down. So there you go! If you’re feeling brave or desperate or just a little fearless, you should try it!

home // my studio space

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I worked my fingees to the bone in this room, practically every where you look is a massive DIY project. The pride and joy of course, is the chaise lounge I made like a crazy lady. Funnest DIY I’ve ever done, but more on that later. Hanging out right above the lounger is another DIY, a wooden dowel  wall grid thingy that I use to put some of my art and recent textile painting projects. Of all the projects I did, this is probably the least practical because of where it’s hanging. It’s been knocked off a couple times and it always annoys me, but I of course it’s my own fault. But it’s so pretty…. I’ll give you the deets on that later too.

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Moving on to the wall organizer. Another crazy DIY, I mean I’m outta control. This thing was a bear, a royal annoyance. I almost didn’t finish it, all the minute cutting and glueing, ughgh.  but oh I’m so glad I muscled through, cause I looooove it. It turned out so much cooler than what I was picturing in my head, a rare diy anomaly! I used a thin oak veneer (I think it was labeled craft wood?), and it’s all glued together, not a nail in the whole thing. Luckily it’s proved perfectly sturdy, and really really functional–it keeps all those art supplies away from Tiny’s destructive reach.

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Ok, the old work table. This sucker has been a work horse for us, probably the single most used functional piece in our house. I bought it maybe 6-7 years ago at an elementary school surplus sale (it was backpack storage I think?) and for most of that time it’s been kinda unsightly. For the studio update, I busted out my FAVORITE NEW TOOL, my finish max paint sprayer. It was actually the first time I used it, and it made a project I’d been dreading for 7 years a total breeze. I LOVE MY PAINT SPRAYER. After I painted it white I slapped on some wooden legs that have casters on them, so I can actually wheel this mammoth around, although fully loaded, it’s still very heavy. I also added a sheet of finished birch plywood on top, which I love as a photo background. In addition to a cut table and work surface (my cutting mat fits perfectly on top), this mother holds SO MUCH STORAGE–the cubbies are on both sides. It’s the perfect size for the room, but truth be told, whenever we move next and hopefully have a bigger space, I’ll probably say goodbye to this old staple and replace it with the biggest table I can find, hashtag neverenoughspace hashtag victim. 

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(Ahh, the hieroglyph project. Go check out my instagram if you missed it.)


My closet. Not very cute, not super organized. Holds a ton of essential crap.

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This peg board was actually the very first thing I set up when we moved in three years, so it’s been around. So functional, peg board for the win!

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The sewing desk. I had to go with the tiniest desk I could here, there wasn’t room for anything else. In the past this would have worked for me cause I can’t fit my sewing machine and serger on it at the same time, but since I’m doing very little sewing these days, it’s not a bother to switch machines. The beautiful circle storage shelf is my FAVE, and it holds a surprisingly huge amount of my paint (I reinforced it by screwing in some heavy duty L brackets into studs under the middle shelf). Art supplies are just so pretty by themselves, this shelf really helps them shine.

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Wa wa waaaaa, the other side of the room. Nothing super special here, this is Allan’s side obviously. Best thing about this side of the room are the images from Allan’s master thesis (heat images of friction stir welding). I’ve always really loved them, like abstract art but with all that sentimental meaning. I really should have not been lazy and gotten a better shot of them, I just couldn’t be bothered to take out the glass to avoid the reflecting light, my bad.

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The view from the door, you can see my hand painted curtains here. Other things worth mentioning, the worlds’s COMFIEST chrome chairs I scored off KSL, and the beautiful moon paintings by Havoc Hendricks. Also, that girl is DEF not supposed to be drinking tea at the computer….


Well that’s it! Coming soon, a bare bones tutorial on the chaise lounge and wall grid, hopefully in the next couple weeks, hashtag nopromises. This room makes me so happy now! There’s still several things I would love to do to like PERFECTLY optimize the space, but I mean, I gotta call it at some point. Especially when the bathroom across the hall is in desperate need of some love….

Print, Paint, Sew // A Quilt for Jo

IMG_9040Print, Paint, Sew. My new mantra in life, and maybe the title of my new book (jk, but now that I’ve said it I think I need to make it happen). This quilt was the first time I thought to marry my two favorite art mediums together, and I’ve been on a roll since (my entire #100daysofhieroglyph project is based on this idea, see my instagram if you have no idea what I’m talking about).



DIY Tutorial // Textile Painting

madmim-textile-painting_16Do you believe in love-at-first-art-medium? The first time I textile painted I think I just burst out laughing, cause it was so fun and satisfying and just BEST THING EVER, that I was like, oh yeah, this. THIS is what I want to be doing. It’s one of those art forms that is so delightful that you start dreaming about doing it again before you even finish your first attempt–like a first date so awesome, you text them as they walk back to their car from your doorstep. Besides being totally hot right now, textile painting is all at once romantic, bold, graphic and playful in style, and like I’ve said, completely cathartic creatively. If you follow me on Instagram (which you should!), then you’ll see it’s kinda taken front and center in my creative journey, and after you give it a go you’ll know why. I feel kinda like a gushing lover. Let’s get down to the nitty gritty.madmim-textile-painting_13Tools and Materials


Brushes: Round brushes—various sizes, flat brushes—various sizes, bristle brushes, applicator bottles/pipettes,  and your fingers for flicking. (These chinese wash brushes also look amazing!)

Paints: Dye-na-flow by Jacquard is my absolute fave, it’s the perfect consistency, and comes in a ton of beautiful colors. Jacquard textile colors and Dr Ph Martin’s craft inks work pretty well too, although I watered them down as they are still a little thick for this application.  I haven’t tried this, but I’m assuming that you could also use concentrated fabric dyes with success if you mixed a slurry really well.

Fabrics: If you’ve ever used watercolors, then imagine the different ways the paint acts on smooth vs. porous papers. It’s the same with fabrics. The paint will spread more quickly and widely over smooth tight weaves, resulting in a very wet, blurry effect. Looser, more textured weaves will absorb the paint more, and result in a dryer, more controlled stroke.  From smooth and tight to loose and textured: silk, quilting cotton, rayon, cotton canvas, linen/linen blends, raw silk, velvet. Below you can see the variation in stroke just based on the fabric–first the textured linen on the left is concise and dry-looking, and the Kona cotton on the right looks wet and blurred.  The samples with painted flowers show the difference between a delicate crepe de chine and a fuzzy velvet; the weave and texture will really affect the look you end up with.

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Prep and Set-up

You’ll want to find a flat surface much larger than the fabric you’re working with, so if you have a table—great. If not, try setting up on the floor. I like to paint on a cheap water-proof vinyl tablecloth, as it prevents bleed through. Make sure you have lots of water and paper towels for rinsing and drying brushes. Practice your design on a scrap-piece (of the same pre-washed fabric you plan to use!) to get a feel for saturation and effect before you go for the glory!

Techniques and Ideas to Try

Wet vs Dry: just like fabric absorbency and weave will alter the look of your stroke, so will the wetness/dryness of the fabric. Wet fabric will spread the paint creating a soft and beautiful watercolor-like look, whereas on dry fabric, the paint will sit more on the surface and result in a  more bold, concise and textured stroke.  Play around with this by using a spray bottle to mist or saturate your fabrics before painting; both wet and dry techniques work well depending on what look you want, and can be fun to combine.


Splatter: let all your 90’s dreams loose, and go crazy. Try using a paintbrush or your fingers to flick. Splattering on wet fabric will result in an almost marbled look, and dry will give the classic spattered-look. Try layering both for a very organic effect.


Speed/Saturation: This one is just common sense, but it bears mentioning. The faster you move, the less time your paint has to seep in; so faster movement will give a less saturated and more defined stroke, and a slow, measured stroke will give a heavily saturated, spread out effect, especially at the first touch down of a loaded brush on your fabric. This is especially important to note when painting stripes, I always touch down with the lightest possible touch, almost skidding across the surface at first.


Create thick and thin strokes with a wide flat brush by using both the skinny and wide edge.


Pattern: keep it simple. Try just playing around with basic brush strokes to create layers and texture. Simple shapes, when painted, will be 10X cooler than normal. Try doodling on the fabric, filling in all negative space for an amazing all-over design. Don’t overthink this! Just give yourself a simple parameter (say, “triangles”), and come up with a simple take that will give you an overall WOW effect.

Examples and Ideas to Try:madmim-textile-painting_10

Finalizing your Fabric

To make your gorgeous painted design permanent, allow to cure for a couple of days and then heat-set thoroughly with a dry iron on the hottest setting appropriate for your fabric. Then allow to cure again for a week or so, and at that point you should be good and can wash normally.


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Go nuts my peeps! Whatever you make, think of it as art—as hand painted ANYTHING will be a statement piece. I know you’ll love it if you give it a try, and tag my on Instagram if you do! 

Blue Apron, Cloth Napkins & Proper Manners

One time when I was 23, my mother-in-law asked me to set the table and I had to whip out my phone on the sly to google ‘how to set a table’. I love food and eating with family, but growing up the fourth out of nine brazen kids, it was more about spearing as much as we possibly could on our forks than the proper place to set them.  Even though over the years I’ve taken great pride in the fact that we DO eat together every night, and that there IS something to eat on that dang table, I’ve never made it too far past the super casual manners of my youth, hashtag raceforthefood.

I remember a few years back a good friend and I were sewing together, and she was working on cloth napkins for her family and I was like SAY WHA? People use those at home?? And with curiousity, I decided I’d go home and just see if were fancy enough to handle that level of civility. I cut up some cheap muslin I had on hand, zipped around the squares with a smart little coral rolled hem, and boom. It upped our dinner game immediately to like a 3 out of 5! Not only did my kids love it, but it kinda changed the way I ate too, slower and more mindfully. Three years later and they’re still helping us wipe our mouths and feel proper.

Along with manners, I’m always working on cooking side of things as well. Cooking is really not my thang thang; I mean I don’t mind it once I get going, but I would rather do pretty much anything else in the world besides start dinner.  And I absolutely dread grocery shopping and meal planning and honestly resent the time it takes me do those things. But I value so much the quality family time that I grit my teeth and do it. Every. Single. Night. And I go through lots of phases. Sometimes I’m out there like a culinary MacGyver, searching pinterest and library cook books for delicious healthy meals, and other times it’s weeks of grilled cheese and Costco staples. When Blue Apron reached out to me I was really interested in giving their meal planning and prep services a try, because anything that cuts those two steps out of my life sounds amazing to me.madmim_food_blueapron_1


Tiny Art // Book Corner Frame DIY

mad_mim_tiny art_book corner frames_10Have you ever gone back to a place you used to work and nonchalantly mentioned to the current young employee that you used to work there as well, and they’re like cool. And you’re like yeah, cool. And you kinda get the feeling that they secretly aren’t buying it cause you’re just too old to have actually worked at a hip establishment like this. That happened to me once when I was at Coldstone Creamery; I told the fresh faced youth that I had once worked there, and she looked at me like in what lifetime, Grandma? 

I also kinda feel like that trying to blog around here. I click the New Post button and my Dashboard is like, whoa wait. Really? Reealllly? And I’m like I can blog if I want to, Dash. 

But anyway, I have this cool little DIY that I think is so great I want to send it out there to bump around the cosmic web and maybe end up on someone’s pin board. OR ON THEIR WALL (they’re REAL wall, people).

You know how I have a thing for tiny art, but sometimes it can be hard to frame. The tiny frame market is sparse, and in the past I’ve gotten creative when thinking of ways to frame tiny art. This easy DIY is cheap and easy, and is my fave way to frame those small pieces of awesomeness in a pretty way.  It is capable of making that important ticket stub or pretty postage stamp feel all grown up and legit and like they deserve a place in your gallery wall.

To do this you need a couple of things that are cheap and worth investing in.

  • glass cutter
  • Metal Book Corners, also called scrapbooking corners, photo corners, menu corners and like half a dozen other things. People really need to come a consensus on this point.
  • glass from unused or broken frames
  • needle nose pliers, protective gloves, ruler, marker

Grab you reject glass and with a dry erase marker (or any marker really) mark off the dimensions of your frame. Your going to have to cut across the entire length of the glass, so keep that in mind.

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Then after you dig up your garden gloves for safety (cause GLASS) place a quilter’s ruler where you want the cut, and starting at the VERY edge, carefully and firmly run the glass cutter along your marked line. It really should be called a glass scorer, cause that’s all it’s doing. Scoring the glass. The trickiest part are the very beginning and very ends–you want to go a little gingerly there, but make sure to score right to the ends.
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Now for the fun part. Place your score line right on top of a hard edge, gently push the overhanging edge down, and POP.  The glass will snap right at the score line. Big time thrill.mad_mim_tiny art_book corner frames_05

Repeat for the other side. If I want to float something in the glass, I’ll cut a matching pane, so that I can sandwich the art between two pieces of glass.  It’s important to note that in order to do that the glass must be very thin so the book corners can fit around the two pieces; you can find thin glass in some frames, but I don’t know what else to tell you about where to find it. What I usually do is cut a piece of white cardstock and thin chip board to match the glass, and sandwich the art in this order: glass, art, white cardstock, and chipboard.

mad_mim_tiny art_book corner frames_06Once you have everything sandwiched, add the gold corners one at a time; use some needle nose pliers to gingerly pinch the corners around the art. Kaboom. Beautiful, cheap and easy.
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And then go nuts. I use this technique all the time, here are a few pieces from around the house that I’ve framed this way. 
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In other news, baby Girl is doing great, she’s just the best. Finally getting into the rhythm of four kids, and so I felt like it was time to shake things up. I’m planning on opening up an online shop! I have officially tripped over the line between hobbiest and artist (self declared of course), and I’m going to start selling some of my original hand printed art prints and anything else I want. Oh and of course the Boho Baby Blanket for a limited time! (don’t know what I’m talking about? See my instagram!) In addition to opening a shop, my hubs is working on helping with a site redesign, so look for that in the next month, cool cool cool. AND, I’m also going to sell at my very first handmade fair, the Beehive Bazaar December 3-5 at the Startup Building! (111 W 600 S Provo). I’m pretty pumped, come and see me if you’re in the area!!

A Birth Story and other plans

mad_mim_tootsie's birthstory_15Buckle up for some high quality baby spam! It’s been two and half months since my sweet little baby girl was born, and I’m finally turning my mind to the blog and sharing her story here.  It’s a wonderful story;  a juicy guts and glory no-details-spared type of tale.  I had a home birth, which I’m well aware people are generally passionately either for or against–so before I dive into the juicy details I want to quickly say that I love natural childbirth and all that jazz, but I’m not someone who thinks it’s for everyone. I think birth is one of those incredibly personal decisions that each woman will know exactly what’s right for her, and I think that’s how it should be. The most important thing in child birth is to feel confident and safe in your surroundings and in your body, and for some women that’s in her home with a  midwife but for others it’s in a hospital with and epidural. No judgment here about which was is the right way to do it. So here’s my experience as I wrote it a week post-partum, eat your heart out.

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The Little Tub Chair Reupholster

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Here she is! My adorable little tub chair that I’ve spent the last week or two getting boatloads of contractions on behalf of.  I have been on a veritable nesting rampage these last couple months, tackling massive jobs that apparently I couldn’t tackle until I was massively with child, there must be some magical hormones at play. For fun I’ll tell you that right  now I’m currently working on getting a guestroom put together for my sister who is going to spend a little while post-baby with me (that includes clearing out and relocating lots of art/sewing supplies, painting a dresser, building a night table, making a bedspread, and then finding/making the necessary accessories like lamps, mirrors, plants, art etc). No biggy. And that was just today! SO I’m trying to say that I really didn’t need another project on my hands.

But when I stumbled upon this little tub chair selling for a song on KSL (like Craigslist), I knew that whether I liked it or not, re-upholstery was on my horizon. I was actually looking for a chair for my livingroom, but ended up deciding this one is perfect for our office/studio space because we just needed something cozy in there for relaxed crafting and programming (hers and his) pastimes. (I ended up getting a pair of chairs for the livingroom, so that settled it–this little tub chair was destined to become the favorite family chair for the favorite family room (we spend a LOT of time in there). Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

When I picked this little gem up she was in pretty crappy condition. The kinda-cute peach floral/swan fabric was incredibly shabby and coming undone in several places like the back (where the frame was completely showing through the fabric–no foam or support back there), and when you sat down you’d sink so far it was nearly impossible for me and my 8 month pregnant booty to hoist myself out. I couldn’t sit in it cause it grossed me out, but my family took to it immediately despite my efforts to constantly have a blanket draped over it. Gross.

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THE WORST part of re-upholstery–BY FAR–is removing the upholstery. It’s just so gross, with decades of dust and grime flying up and in your face and contaminating the air. And it’s super labor intensive, pulling out all the thousands of staples. This time around I wised-up and purchased this little baby to help remove staples, and it made all the difference in the world. Best $13 bucks I ever spent. But after pulling off that sea of peachy floral grossness, I wasn’t exactly thrilled to discover ANOTHER older and grosser layer of upholstery underneath—they had just re-upholstered right over the top of that sucker. Now at this point I was practically convulsing with disgust (ask my husband, he was getting pretty annoyed at my hysterics), but I just muscled through it and had it all stripped off in an evening. Yuck yuck gross nasty bleh. Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

Down to her knickers, the foam and cotton wadding underneath were super gross too–but surprisingly not in as bad of shape as you’d think. There’s NO WAY I was going to reuse any of it, I knew it would just prevent me from ever sitting my keister down on it though, so I had to pony up to buying new foam and batting which isn’t cheap. The back also had nothing to support the upholstery, which is why the frame was showing through. I ended up finding all my high density foam and cotton wadding from Russell’s Upholstery shop in Provo, where the most adorable old men you can imagine sold me it at a very fair price by the yard. They also gave me some good tips on how to tackle this beast, it totally made me want to ask them if I can apprentice there, but then I remembered that upholstery is so much work and so so gross and I’ll never do it for anyone else but me. Selfish but true.

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Here she is naked and exposing those bare bones.  Everything was solid structurally, but the seat webbing was incredibly stretched out and sagging. I re stretched it, but used the same material; hopefully that won’t come back to haunt me. This is the point in re-upholstering that I start to believe that I could actually build furniture from scratch, because it’s just a wood frame! It seems amazing that this will become my cozy chair!

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Here she is with her new underwear, I could finally stop convulsing!

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And here I stretched the back piece over the cotton wadding. It’s three pieces seamed together, I had to resew the seams several times to get that sleek fit, the curve of the chair made it kind tricky.

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And then the seat and front foam and upholstery. This was the trickiest part and the part I’m least happy with. It would be impossible to explain how that front seam was done, but it was very thick, two layers of upholstery, a burlap bumper piece and two layers of 1″ foam, and I really needed longer staples to make it smooth. The bumpiness of that seam where the seat curves into the front bumper really bugs me and I was about to take it apart and start again, but I decided that it wasn’t worth the effort since it’s covered up by the seat cushion. Still bugs me, but I’ve moved on.

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This was how the back was, it had nothing to structure the fabric over that frame. I decided to first layer a sheet tight over it, and then my 1/2″ foam, which as you can see, I had to do some clever seaming to get a smooth fit.

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Then for the fun part where I added piping and the three-paneled back piece, it was so fun and satisfying to make it look so sleek. The original chair didn’t have the piping, but I love the crispness and structure it adds.

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Worked extra hard to get the front seaming to match the back seaming. Nailed it.

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Almost there!Processed with VSCOcamThen I just took apart the cushion covers and used them as a pattern to create new ones. I even reused the zippers cause I’m thrifty like that.

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And finally, I slapped on some mid century legs that I found on Home Depot for a great price (I stained them and spray painted the silver finish gold). In the end my family veto’d the legs because they were all enamored with those easy-to-move caster wheels, and loved to be able to just push the chair around the room according to needs. So now the chair is back to the casters, but I took photos with the legs, just cause they’re so perty. In the end I spent just under $150 for everything: the chair/fabric/foam/buttons/thread etc which I think is great for getting a comfy chair I love.Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

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When people ask me if re-upholstery is hard I always say that skill wise, it’s very doable. It’s just taking apart a puzzle and putting it back together. The sewing skills are very basic, and really there’s nothing that’s too complicated. But it is a TON of work. And as I’ve been clear about, it’s super gross. But once you get past the gross part, it’s incredibly fun and rewarding to put it back together with your pretty new fabric and see the new piece of furniture take life.  If you’ve always wanted to try re-upholstering, I highly recommend just heading to your library and checking out as many books as you can find to get a feel for the tools and process. You can also try youtube of course, but I love the thoroughness and organization of a book, myself. I am planning on buying this book because it looks like a great reference book I’d love to have. mim's-little-tub-chair1

I am feeling very tired and very very pregnant (36 weeks!) and uncomfortable (oh the back pain!!), and am starting to be consumed with thoughts about this little girl and our changing family and preparing myself for it. I’m really excited, although I’ve definitely run the gambit with my emotions this pregnancy. If you follow me on Instagram you’ll know that our 3 and half year old Tiny started having seizures in January, and that really threw me for a loop emotionally, I was having so much doubt and insecurity about being able to handle a newborn AND a special needs daughter who was having a SUPER difficult time on her seizure meds in addition to just still being a baby in so many ways. But gratefully (and I mean that in the most sincere, poignant way I can possibly say), she hasn’t had any seizures for a long while and our neurologist okayed her going off the meds for now at least. I’ve been using Frankincense oil on her religiously (supposed to have anti-seizing effects), which I’m not sure is the reason for her not having more seizures, but on the off chance it is I’ll keep using it.  And a couple months ago I had this sweet moment where I was watching my kids and was filled with all that motherly-love and joy and had this sweet thought that this new little girl would bring with her every bit as much joy and love that my other children have, and I can’t even imagine how good it will be–it’s impossible to imagine before they come and bring it all with them. So I’m excited. And keeping busy with every last home project and can squeeze in before she comes!

Leather Tablet Sleeve

mad_mim_leather_tablet sleeve_03If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I’ve been working on an upholstery project for the last week. It’s a little tub chair, and I finished it yesterday!! I am sort of thrilled with how it turned out, so as soon as I mount some new legs I’ll snap some pictures and share it her. This morning though, I was inexplicably motivated to share another leather DIY that I did with my leather hide store leather.

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I did this over the holidays (my husband’s birthday is right after Christmas), and it was one of those satisfying gifts that he needed really bad but didn’t even know it. I had seen him just shove his tablet in our diaper bag when going places, and then get all nervous that it would get damaged (entirely possible). He was also always finagling creative ways to prop it up on our counter when doing dishes or helping me cook or whatever. That man needed a tablet sleeve real bad.

So I searched online, and I’m not ashamed to say this is a straight up knock off of one that I found (which I’m embarrassed to report I can’t find again). It was awesome, and like $250 bucks. Mine is not perfect–a little homemade looking really–but it’s completely functional and that’s what matters. Allan put that sucker to use immediately, and hasn’t stopped since. Very gratifying.

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I basically just measured the heck out of his tablet and then made the pattern to fit, being careful to leave openings where buttons and speakers etc. were. I used leather, felt and really stiff cardboard, and it props up two different ways. Now we can watch Last Night This Week while cleaning the kitchen!

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Anyway, that’s it. I’ll be back pretty soon to share that tub chair!

DIY Picture Ledge Coat Rack // Woodworking


As you know, this past year we bought our first home. I’m just gonna say, that being a homeowners has been EVERY BIT as amazing as I’ve been dreaming of over the past 8 years. I always looked forward to the day that we’d have our own home and could paint it, DIY it, and do WHATEVER we wanted to it, it became this ultimate fantasy for me, so good that it felt like a fairytale that would never actually happen. Until it did. And it’s been amazing, we love our little house. And I freaking love making this place our home, and this year has been stupendously fun doing project after project, attacking one space at a time, slowly pulling it all together. Our biggest challenge was furniture of course, we had so little when we moved in. And actually I take it back it hasn’t been all fun in the sun, there’s been a lot of heartache mixed in–because especially in the beginning it was so crappy trying to make this place a home without any furniture and without any money. BUT, little by little over the past year, with absolute diligence scouring KSL and Craiglist, and with a few choice new purchases, we’re getting closer.  mad_mim_handbuilding_picture_ledge_coat_rack_01

One of the little design problems I’ve been grappling with this past year is our side entrance, which is really our main entrance–for us and most of our family and friends.  It goes directly into the kitchen and stairs to our basement, with a sidestep into our living room. The problem is that there is no entryway at all, and although I make my kids and husbands truck their coats and bags into our hall closet, guests never had a place to put their stuff, and it would just pile up there on the floor by the door.  No bueno.

The obvious solution was a coat rack, but I resisted for a long time because I HATED the idea of a coat rack in our living room.  There really isn’t space there for any piece of storage furniture, and I didn’t want it to feel cramped or heavy there anyway. It wasn’t until the December issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine that I spotted a peg board coat rack that they had just set pictures on top of, so it functioned as a little art moment and a coat rack. BING! Pretty and functional.  Subtle and open feeling. The design in the magazine was completely impractical for family life, the pictures just balanced on top of the pegs and would undoubtedly get knocked off every time someone took off a coat, but I loved the idea and decided to design my own version.


This was MY project from start to finish. I designed it, bought the wood, built it, painted it, and mounted it (okay, Allan helped me mount it). I painted out the bottom coat rack part the same color as our wall paint (Martha Stewart Wetstone Grey), and then painted bright white just the front portion of the picture ledge for some subtle contrast.  The beautiful hook hardware was a bit of a splurge, I paid about $30 bucks for 4. The wood was from the Home Depot, and I’m pretty sure it was around $10. I used the 1/2″ X 3″ X 3′ and 1/2″ X 1.5″ X 3′ precut poplar boards, and then had them cut a 3/4″ X 4″ poplar board down to 3′ to match. To build it I just used wood glue, nails and clamps. Nothing fancy there.

Finally I styled it with some art and choice tchotchkes and it’s now one of my favorite moments in the house. (That old guitar dude on that little Mate I brought home from Argentina years ago was just waiting for the day I would realize his true destiny was housing a tiny cactus). mad_mim_handbuilding_picture_ledge_coat_rack_04


So, I’m gonna call this one as a win. When guests come over we have somewhere for them stash coats and bags, and it the area still looks pretty and intentional.  You better believe I still make my kids and hub truck their crap to the closet, not gonna let them clutter it up all the time.  This is one of the many nesting projects I’ve attacked with a vengeance that can only be attributed to the mysterious burst of energy one gets in the last couple months of pregnancy.  More projects to come! What about you, have you solved any  little design problems that you wanna tell me about? I’d love to hear, I could talk interior design til the cows come home.

Like Moths to a Light Collection and Diangular Filaments Art Prints

mad mim_handprinting_like moths to a light collection_3So last time I told you that I’d been doing a little designing and was exploring using my designs for art. Entering the design challenges at Minted has been so good for me! The next challenge after the fabric challenge was an art print challenge, a collaboration with West Elm, and even though at first I wasn’t even considering entering, my wheels started turning over how I could see what I do as art. Up til now I’ve always just seen what I do as like crafting, or as just part of my sewing or other craft endeavors.  So anyway, all these ideas started coming to me, and I had so much fun materializing this little narrative collection of art using my moths stamps (oh yeah, here are some moth stamps I carved). I did several others, all using some of my hand carved blocks as a base.  I really don’t think I ever would have started thinking this way if it weren’t for the challenge, but it’s really shifted how I see myself and what I can do with what I love to do, you know?  I’m really…excited. Excited about working on something that I love, and excited about stretching myself creatively.  As for the minted challenge, I really don’t have ANY expectations because there are about a BAZILLION entries, and so so many are so so good. BUT regardless, I’ve really enjoyed this experience. If you want to see everything I submitted and vote for me, here is my profile.

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This one is called Diangular Filaments, and I love it. More abstract and graphic, and I see it in gold foil.  And shoot! I just realized I had the picture upside down! It looks way better right side up. mad mim_handprinting_like moths to a light collection_4

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This serpent/dna block was inspired after reading a book last week, The Cosmic Serpent by Jeremy Narby. So interesting, really blew my mind at parts.

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And then there’s my beehive You’re-the-Bees-Knees block too, so go check them all out.

ALSO. I’m 31+ weeks pregnant this week! You would not believe how many home projects I’ve been doing, I am in HYPER nesting mode. And I am supremely uncomfortable, I think I’ve forgotten how miserable it gets towards the end, because I’m like, could I have possibly done this before??