Painting outdoor lights (the easiest way yet!)

Most of the houses on our street started out with the same gross exterior lights: dull white lantern-style sconces with a flat finish — like maybe they had been primed, for some weird reason.

The dull white lights don’t do justice to anyone’s home, regardless of the colour of their siding, so I originally decided to paint mine four years ago.

Longtime readers may recall when I taped off the glass sections, taped garbage bags over the surrounding siding and used a can of black spray paint on our yucky white porch lights (as well as the lights over our back deck).

The spray paint worked pretty well, except that the wind kept blowing my garbage bags around and I ended up getting black overspray on our beige siding. Oops. I was able to scrub off some of it, but there are still black-specled areas there — almost four years later.

The paint on the lights did hold up nicely, and it’s only been in the last year that I’ve noticed the old white finish finally showing through in some areas. Ick.

I was bracing myself to spray-paint the lights again, but then something occurred to me while I was painting our front door.

What if I used a brush dipped in regular paint, instead of using spray-paint? Hmmm.

Continue reading in my weekly DIY column, My Handmade Home …

DIY sensory compression sheet

It kept popping up in my Facebook newsfeed: a video of a kid pinned to bed via a very tight, stretchy sheet. It was strange, but of course I knew immediately my son would be ALL. OVER. IT.

DIY sensory compression bedsheet {Heather's Handmade Life}

They’re called “compression sheets” or “sensory sheets,” and basically they’re designed to a person into their bed so they feel cozy and secure — hence calming them down, making it easier to sleep, etc.

I knew I wasn’t going to buy one, though.

I was going to make one! (Of course I was!)

I started by changing my son’s fitted sheet with a fresh one — I mean, why not, right? — and wrapping a large piece of stretchy jersey fabric (from my fabric stash) over it.

Then I flipped the whole thing over.

DIY sensory compression bedsheet {Heather's Handmade Life}

I pulled the sides together to meet, and realized it was going to be way too loose. This thing needed to be tight, or there was really no point.

I trimmed the fabric until I could barely yank the two sides together in the middle.

DIY sensory compression bedsheet {Heather's Handmade Life}

(Then I added a couple of wonder clips to each side, only so I’d know which ends to sew together once I’d dragged the giant piece of fabric down to the basement.)

I ran a quick seam straight down the middle with my serger. (You could use a regular sewing machine for this — just pick a stretch stitch, or a zigzag.)

It didn’t matter which sides were facing each other because the seam would end up hidden under the mattress.

DIY sensory compression bedsheet {Heather's Handmade Life}

I brought the “sheet” back upstairs — it was really just a giant grey tube — and wrestled it over the mattress.

(Our son decided he wanted the stripes showing, but I could have easily flipped it right-side-out if he wanted the plain grey backing to show. It’s reversible with zero effort — woohoo!)

DIY sensory compression bedsheet {Heather's Handmade Life}

It fit the bed perfectly!

DIY sensory compression bedsheet {Heather's Handmade Life}

I kind of wanted to crawl under it myself at this point. So soft.

DIY sensory compression bedsheet {Heather's Handmade Life}

Our son wriggled himself under it right away (but refused to be in any photos) and then our daughter squirmed her way under, too. They loved it!

DIY sensory compression bedsheet {Heather's Handmade Life}
DIY sensory compression bedsheet {Heather's Handmade Life}
She wants one for her loft bed, but I’m debating whether or not it’s a good idea to be pinned to your bed when it’s like six feet in the air.

Our son eagerly snuggled under his new compression sheet that night and declared it a winner.

DIY sensory compression bedsheet {Heather's Handmade Life}

SEWING NERD MUSING: Because the fabric I picked out of my stash was a REALLY soft, extra-stretchy jersey, the sheet is tight but not *as* tight as it could be. If I was actually buying new fabric for this, I’d pick something with less stretchy — like a thick ponte, maybe?

Let me know if you end up making your own compression sheet!

(I actually want to make one for myself. I think it would be really comfy.)


DIY sensory compression bedsheet {Heather's Handmade Life}

DIYing while on vacation

Our family recently spent eight sunny days in southern Ontario, visiting my dad and stepmom. While it was a vacation away from my writing, I apparently couldn’t last eight days without getting paint all over myself.

I hadn’t planned on DIYing on vacation, but my stepmom said she wanted my opinion about buying a new coffee table and end tables for their family room.

She mentioned maybe getting some build-it-yourself ones from a certain popular big-box store, and I squawked in protest.

Their current tables were solid oak with glass panels, and all three pieces were in great condition. They’d had them since I was six, and they were secondhand finds back then — making the tables at least 30, but probably closer to 40 years old.

Since my stepmom was sick of them and wanted a change, I insisted we could paint the tables to modernize them. She was on board right away, but we knew the challenge would be convincing my dad to take a chance on a little paint.

“Dad, we have a proposition,” I started diplomatically, later that day. “What would you say if we could get a brand-new coffee table and two end tables for the family room … all for the low price of about $27?”

“Ah, sure. Where are they?”

“Right here!” I gestured grandly to the tables. “We’d paint these ones!”

Continue reading in my weekly DIY column, My Handmade Home …

Continue reading in my weekly DIY column, My Handmade Home …