Thursday, August 8, 2013

The British Invasion (of the mind)

Has anyone else been jonesing for a British fix lately? I've never been much of an Anglo-phile, all those reserved, proper personalities and men with no chins. (No, thank you, Mr. Darcy, I have a previous engagement with Dr. Jones.)

But lately I find myself yearning for tea time, bonnets and an afternoon of catching up on Downton Abbey.

Maybe it's the desire for everything in my life to be neat and tidy, in its proper place ala Mary Poppins. Or maybe it's finding out our next little one is going to be a girl that's brought out some hidden part of me that loves foofy skirts and bows.

Maybe I'm still reeling from the Royal Baby.

Whatever the reason, I finally gave in yesterday to both my desire for organization and my yearning for something British.

So, while Grayson napped, I fixed myself a giant mug of tea (a beaker? Is that right Hyacinth?), put on Love Actually (apparently I was also in the Christmas spirit), and got my craft on.

After spiffy-ing  up our closets this weekend I was seriously excited to put everything back in its own labeled, color-coded bin. (Ha! I can dream, right?) Alright, really I just wanted bins that, in a flurry of "people will be here any minute" I could chuck things in and it would still look nice.

But, here's the thing about bins, they're expensive! At least, in the style and size I was looking for. A 6" x 12" basket seemed to average around $15 a pop. And I wanted many, many baskets!

How, oh, how to solve my terrible problem?

(Sorry, I was having a Wuthering Heights moment.)

Joseph had brought home several small-ish cardboard boxes from work the other day and I thought, "I bet I can cover those in some pretty fabric and they'd work just fine." And I figured free boxes and fabric that I already had = not a lot to lose.

This is what I started with:

So attractive, right? Well, I mean, great bone structure.

Aaaand this is what it looked like after I cut it in half with a box cutter:

I liked that, by cutting this one in half, I could get two matching boxes, but you could cut just the top off for a deeper storage space (for books or DVDs) or turn it on its side for a wider, shallower bin.

Then I just took some extra cotton fabric we had lying around, roughly cut out a piece for each side of the box and the bottom (with some over hang to cover the seams) and, using good old Elmer's Glue, glued the pieces to the box. 

I chose to attach the smaller ends first, then the longer sides (with the edges folded under to hide my raggedy cutting) and then the bottom (again folding the edges under).

As I went along I also used a hot glue gun every so often to more securely attach the fabric. (I liked starting with Elmer's Glue, though, because it's more forgiving if you want to reposition the fabric.)

Waiting and Weighting...


Or maybe more like "Eh, not bad..."

If I do another one I will probably go out and pick up some felt for the inside. It's easy to cut, doesn't fray and it's pretty durable. As it was yesterday I only had bits and pieces of fabric to work with (and I wanted to keep this free. I always feel like I'm impressing Joseph more if I can say, "See what I just threw together today? Oh, it was nothing. And, also, it was free. Oh, what's that? You want to take me out for a fancy dinner and then buy me flowers and a puppy? Oh, well, if you really want to...")
So I ended up using some purple corduroy for the bottom and then just some gray card stock for the sides. I figured since I wasn't planning on storing anything damp inside the paper would be fine.

So, when Joseph got home the floor still looked like this:

There was no dinner. And the table was covered in fabric scraps and empty tea cups. But there was a happy wife to greet him. (Which may have been a side effect of all the caffeine in that tea...or maybe the residual sappy- ness from my British movie fix. But, for blog purposes, I'll credit the satisfaction of making this basket.)

And here's how it looks in our linen closet (it holds my hair dryer and flat irons):

This is what's on deck for today:

Hello, Target basket. Hope you like silver....

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