DIY Floating Nightstands

DIY floating nightstand shelf
turn a cabinet door into a nightstand
turn a cabinet door into a nightstand
turn a cabinet door into a nightstand
turn a cabinet door into a nightstand

Our bedroom is pretty small, like 12 x 12 small, so I thought we might free up some space by replacing our nightstands with wall mounted shelves. We could have purchased ready made shelves or a piece of plywood, but where’s the fun in that?  Instead, I bought a pair of old cabinet doors from the ReStore and up-cycled them into floating nightstands, which was less expensive and way more fun!
Supplies:
Salvaged cabinet doors – mine were $5 each from the ReStore
Orbital Sander
60 and 120 grit sandpaper
1/8th inch dowel
Apoxy
Flush cut saw
Wood stain
Polyacrylic top coat spray
“L” brackets x 4 – I spray painted mine black
Carriage blots and nuts – I sprayed those black too
Drill, drill bit and forstner drill bit
Screws, drywall anchors and washers (for shimming)
First, I removed the existing stain using our orbital sander and 60 grit sandpaper, followed by 120 grit for a smooth finish. Next, Jesse helped me fill in the old hardware holes. To do this, we made the holes slightly larger with a drill bit and then hammered in a piece of dowel with a blob of apoxy. Once it was the apoxy was dry, Jesse used a flush cut saw to smooth it out. Next, he used a f orstner drill bit to make holes for the carriage bolts (similar to the bathtub tray).
I sanded the doors one more time with 120 grit sandpaper and removed all the dust by wiping them them with a slightly dampened cloth. Then, I applied two coats of dark walnut stain (the same can we used for the bathtub tray) followed by a clear coat of polyacrylic spray twenty four hours later.
Here’s how the doors looked after staining. Note! I should have stained the inside of the holes, too because otherwise a teeny bit of plain wood would show around the bolt heads. By the time I figured that out, I had already poly’d the doors so I filled in the holes with a wood stain pen, which worked fine.

Once everything was dry, we added  “L” brackets to the underside of the doors, then used screws and drywall anchors to secure it to the wall. The brackets weren’t totally straight, so we used a couple of washers as shims between the wall and bracket to make the shelf straight and stable.
DIY floating nightstand shelf

DIY floating nightstand shelf
DIY floating nightstand shelf

I’m so diggin’ how these floating nightstands turned out! I love how they free up space on either side of our bed both physically and visually, plus they’re really pretty. Adding these shelves was the last step in our bedroom spruce up and I can’t wait to share the rest of the room later this week!

How to Overdye a Quilt

I’ve been obsessing over the idea of dyeing old linens. I love to hunt for vintage goodies, and I can tell you thrift stores across America are packed with old blankets, sheets, table cloths and napkins. I know…ewww…cooties! It grosses me out too. But many of these linens are still very much usable, they’ve simply fallen out of fashion or are faded. To avoid bringing home nasty pests, all you need to do is throw your item in a plastic bag and tie it up tight. When you get home, remove it from the bag and put it straight into the washer for a long, hot wash with detergent and non-chlorine bleach, then dry it on high. If the item is delicate, you can also have it dry-cleaned. Both methods should kill just about any germs or bugs that may be lurking. So, now that we are over the ick factor, let’s talk about my experiment with over-dyeing a thrifted quilt!

how to overdye a quilt
how to overdye a quilt - before

A couple weeks back, I started looking on eBay for quilts and it turns out most of the decent options seem to go for $60 and up, plus shipping. Fair enough for a handmade piece, but too high for a science experiment that could result in a jacked up quilt. With eBay out, I started keeping my eyes peeled at thrift stores and pretty quickly came across a mass produced, full size quilt. It doesn’t have the coolest pattern and the back and stitching are synthetic (we’ll get to that problem later), but for ten bucks I figured I could experiment out without having too much remorse if it didn’t work out.
As soon as I found the quilt, I started researching how to dye it. The fist thing I discovered was that natural fibers work best for dyeing. The back of my quilt and the stitching are synthetic, which meant the dye would take, but not very well. Darn it! The second thing I learned is that you need really hot water for the dye to work best and that’s why a lot of smaller items are dyed on the stove top. The third important thing I noted, is that fabric dye will likely stain a bathtub. So, knowing that I needed really hot water and a large tub, I decided to put a plastic storage bin in our basement shower and fill it with hot water. Before we get to that, here is a list of supplies to gather.

Supplies:
Quilt or blanket – natural fibers like 100 percent cotton will work best!
Rubber gloves
Large Storage Bin
Paddle or something to stir with
Liquid measuring cup
Vinegar
Dish soap
Rit dye – 1 bottle for each pound of fabric, more for deep colors
Old towels – two or three
Lots of hot water – about three gallons for each pound of fabric

how to overdye a quilt
how to overdye a quilt
diy overdyed quilt using Rit dye

A little disclaimer: One attempt at dyeing clearly doesn’t make me an expert, I highly recommend reading up at Rit Studio before you start! Also, please, please don’t try this if you live in a drought stricken area, this project requires so much water that I’ve vowed to take two minute showers for at least a week to make up for it!

First, I washed all the germs out of the quilt with hot water and detergent. Then, I washed it with hot water and Rit color remover. The remover faded the quilt colors a bit and made the fabric ready for the dye bath. I think it was supposed to fade it more, but it was probably operator error. Next, I prepared the dye bath in my storage tub placed in the shower. I feel squirmy about sharing our unfinished basement shower, it’s gross. However, I will say, it came in handy for this project because I didn’t need to worry about staining the area. When we finish the shower surround and floor, I’m wondering if we can use a material that won’t stain, like steel or something (?)

Next, I mixed up the dye bath. Jesse helped me hook up a hose to the shower head so I could add about fifteen gallons of hot water to the plastic tub. Then I added three bottles of dye, a squirt of dish soap and two cups of vinegar. The Rit Studio instructions say to use one cup of vinegar, but I wasn’t sure if that meant one cup per pound of fabric or one cup no matter what, so I used two. I should send them and email and ask for clarification. I set the timer on my phone for thirty minutes and started swishing and stirring the fabric using a dowel with a rounded end. According to what I read, you need to move the item around constantly for even dyeing. After a few minutes though, I was sweating and wanted to refill my wine, so I took a two minute break, which didn’t seem to hurt anything. After a few more minutes, I noticed the rod might be damaging the fabric, so I took another break, ditched the rod, and used my gloved hands to move the fabric around.

After thirty minutes were up, I started rinsing out the dye with warm water. At first, I tried rinsing the the quilt in the plastic tub, but that was awkward, so I piled it on the floor of the shower and started using my feet to press out the water and dye. I also feel squirmy about sharing my chubby nubby toes, but at least they’re painted, I guess! I continued spraying the quilt with hot water while I made baby steps all over, picking up the quilt and turning it about. After about twenty minutes, I’d had enough and decided to let the washing machine do the work. I ran the dyed quilt through a rinse cycle, followed by a wash cycle with an old towel (to absorb any stray dye), followed by a second rinse cycle. Like I said, this project requires a lot of water. After it was thoroughly rinsed, I dried the quilt with another old towel and then hung it up on the laundry line for a bit. The dye remover smells kinda funky, so hanging the quilt up in the fresh air and sunshine helped to remove any remaining odors.

how to overdye a quilt

diy overdyed quilt
overdyed quilt before and after

Overall, I’d say this was a pretty successful first attempt at over-dyeing; I think I could take on a vintage quilt if I find one for the right price! Living in Nebraska, we can always use extra blankets in the winter, so this over-dyed quilt will work great. Plus, it will be handy for picnics in the summer and for wrapping up cozy around the fire pit in the fall. Have you ever tried dyeing fabric? How did it turn out? Do you have any lessons to share? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

A New Name!

Ta-Da!  We’ve re-named the blog! I was never a huge fan of “Fifty Two Weekends of DIY” because it was just too complicated, but I needed somewhere to start, so it stuck. Jesse and I like “Urban Acreage” because we live on a huge, HUGE lot in the middle of the city and spend tons of time maintaining the yard and house. Our ultimate vision is to add raised garden beds and a chicken coop, and possibly a tiny house for an Air BNB. Over the next few days I’ll be swapping out my social handles and re-directing to a new URL, http://www.urbanacreage.com. I’m super excited for this change; it’s fresh, clean and describes our corner of the blogoshpere to a “T.” I hope you’ll stick around and share in our adventures!

Easy DIY Bathtub Tray

I’m hosting a craft night at the ReStore in a couple weeks and I think I came up with a project that will be fun and useful! It was kinda tricky because while many DIY projects are easy-ish, they require a lot of time between steps. After poking around on the interwebs, I decided to try a mash-up of several bathtub trays I’ve seen; paring it down to make the project simple and quick so we can finish it in one evening. The event is on July 16th from six to eight and I’ve been told there will be wine! I hope you’ll join us, click here to sign up! If you can’t make it to the ReStore, I’ve put together a little tutorial on the bathtub tray we’ll be making.
diy salvaged bathtub tray
First, I measured the edge-to-edge width of our bathtub, which is a pretty standard thirty one inches. Then I hit up the ReStore where I found a piece of wood and a pair of ah-mazing brass handles. Seriously, if you need hardware, try the ReStore first! They have a meeeellion drawer pulls, handles and knobs to choose from and the prices are so affordable; I think I paid three dollars for everything and a friendly staff member even cut the board for me!

Continue reading “Easy DIY Bathtub Tray”

Working on Curb Appeal: The Front Porch

Hey friends! I am so excited to share our porch makeover today. For years, we had this strange paint palette and dated metal scroll work going on. Not to mention the boring white front door. Finally, last year we had the house painted, which was a huge, improvement. A whole year went by and last weekend Jesse and I cranked out a few more updates.

budget front porch makeover

Here’s what the house looked like before we had it painted last summer.

Here’s how the font porch looks today. Boom! The difference is blowin’ my mind! When I pull up in front of the house I’m like, “Oh, what a cute little front porch. Wait. That’s our front porch!” Aside from having the house painted last year, we did this whole makeover in about two days and AND spent just over $200! I mean, sure, updating a ranch home can be a snap if you have an architect and a big budget, but two hundred bucks? I think we did pretty good here. 
budget front porch makeover
First, I set to work painting the front screen door. We thought about taking the door off completely, but going bare just wasn’t right for us. We like having the option to leave the door open and catch a breeze. We also thought about replacing it, which we will down the road, but I’m guessing that will cost a couple hundred bucks. More if it’s a custom size. So, I picked up a can of black semi-gloss Rustoleum and got to work. I prepped the door by removing the screens and giving it a good cleaning. The girls were very confused about the missing door screens.

budget front porch makeover
screen door painted with Rustoleum

The front door was a hunter green that I didn’t care for, so used the same can of Rustoleum to paint that black as well. I also replaced the screen door hardware. It’s not the fanciest, but it looks better and was simple to install, I even managed to do it without Jesse’s help. I just followed the enclosed instructions and luckily the parts all lined up with the existing holes. The only tools I needed were a screwdriver, measuring tape and bolt cutters.

I wanted to replace the bistro set with a bench so I decided to use this vintage glider we had on our back deck. Isn’t that orange lovely? I went through a “Tangerine Tango” phase. I used the same can of black semi-gloss Rustoleum to paint the glider, too. One can goes a long way, folks!

old gilder painted with rustoleum
budget front porch makeover


We also added a couple hanging ferns I found on clearance at Lowe’s. I ditched the plastic store hangers and used this simple technique to fashion new hangers from rope.

hiding dated front porch scrollwork
My favorite improvement, though are the boxes Jesse built around the dated metal scroll work. The new pseudo columns were inexpensive (about $60 worth of plywood) and just completely freshen the look of our house. 
hiding dated front porch scrollwork
I got up early on Sunday to prime and paint the columns. The bugs were terrible all weekend, so I set up a defense barrier with citronella candles and spray. Those dang mosquitoes love me though, and my legs are all chewed up and itchy today. Womp womp. 
budget front porch makeover
Budget Breakdown and Resources:
Wood Boxes – Plywood, glue, paint, $70
Door and Glider Paint – Rustoleum Semi Gloss, Black, $10
Plants – $30
Welcome Mat – Target, $20
Planters – Home Goods, $60
Paint Brushes, hardware, miscellaneous – $20
Toss Pillows – already owned, made covers using a shower curtain from Target, $15
Gilder – already owned (free from my Mother in Law a few years ago!)
Rope for hanging planters – already owned
Total makeover = $225

Pretty Small Closet

My closet was driving me bonkers. Putting away laundry usually went like this: Fold everything neatly, avoid putting it away, give in a day or two later, roll eyes, mutter, curse, cram laundry into closet, repeat once a week. Space wasn’t really the problem; I’m not a super fashiony person, so I can deal with a small closet.The main frustrations were a pair of sliding doors (which fell off their track at least once a month, sometimes onto my toes!) and the lack of usable storage. The closet had a rod and narrow shelf right at eye level, so I couldn’t effectively store anything above or below. 
ideas for organizing a pretty small closet
We are still chipping away at our basement overhaul, so I wanted to come up with a way to spruce up the closet without roping Jesse into a big distracting project. I also wanted to spend little or no money, which I did by re-purposing a few things we already owned.   
First, I took the doors off the tracks and stashed them in the basement. I figure if we ever sell the house, the new owners might want to put the doors back on. Then I cleared everything out, setting aside a basket of clothing and shoes for the Goodwill. We moved the closet rod and shelf up high, and mudded over the old mounting spots. This took maybe ten bucks worth of materials and about an hour for Jesse to do, he works fast!
I painted the closet gray to match the rest of the bedroom, then added my grandmother’s mid-century dresser (here’s how we used it a few years ago). The dresser adds quite a bit of storage plus counter space for baubles and accessories. The fresh white paint looks great with the style of dresser and brightens up the space.
dresser in closet
dresser in closet
oven rack for storing scarves
ideas for organizing a pretty small closet



I set a previously owned mirror (West Elm) on top of the dresser to reflect light and give it a boutique-y feel. For handbag storage, we added two big hooks to the left inside wall (again, previously owned). On the right, my scarves are all layered up on an old oven rack ($1 at ReStore) that I spray painted black and hung from a double hook.
For the closet curtains, I spray painted a rod and rings black and hung them as high as possible above the closet opening. Then, similar to the entry way closet, I turned a queen sized sheet into custom curtain panels. When I put everything back into the closet, I put several more items into the Goodwill basket and arranged everything by color. I’ve never tried arranging by color and at first I thought it was silly, but I’ve been maintaining it for a few weeks now and I love it!

I’m loving my pretty small closet! Taking the doors off made our little bedroom feel more open and makes it so much easier to find stuff. I also love the boutique-y feel that the dresser and accessories give it. The space is way more functional now and holds almost everything; I have a bin of bulky sweaters and a bin of winter boots stashed in the basement. And the best part is that now I’m not constantly cursing like a weirdo while putting away laundry!

Kickin’ Brass with Habitat ReStore

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Habitat for Humanity ReStore is one of my favorite places to find project materials, they sell new and salvaged building supplies with the proceeds benefiting local Habitat for Humanity home construction. I always feel good about buying from ReStore because it’s a way to support the Habitat mission while also keeping materials out of the landfill and saving on cost – it’s a win-win-win!

dated fixtures from the ReStore revamped with spraypaint
Image Source: Habitat For Humanity Omaha ReStore
A couple months back, Tracie from Habitat reached out to me about collaborating on some posts. We decided to meet for coffee and immediately hit it off; she’s crafty, I’m crafty, ’nuff said! Eventually, we got onto the subject of the light fixtures available at ReStore. I’ve purchased and re-vamped several over the years, including the fixtures in our dining room and bedroom. So, the ReStore has a ton of slightly dated fixtures that just need a crafty touch and we thought it might be fun to paint a bunch of them as a way to show their potential and spark customers’ imaginations. 

Last Sunday, we met up with a group of volunteers and “Kicked Brass” for a few hours. It was a lot of work, but our volunteers were such fun go-getters! We assembled and dusted fixtures, hung them up, (Shout out to Negil and Patrick for cleverly rigging wires!) and went to town with spray paint.

using spraypaint to update light fixtures from the ReStore
using spraypaint to update light fixtures from the ReStore

updating brass light fixtures from the ReStore

Don’t those fixtures look fab?! I think the red is my favorite! There are still several available at both Omaha locations and a bunch of colors to choose from. Stop by and scoop one up! I had so much fun with this project, and I really can’t say enough good things about the folks at Habitat. I also wanted to let everyone know that I volunteered to teach a craft night at the ReStore later this summer. I don’t have the date pinned down yet, but I’ll share the details on Facebook as soon as I know. I’m really looking forward to it and I hope if you live in the area you’ll come out and join us! 

Fort De Soto Park, Florida

Fort De Soto Park Beach
Fort De Soto Park Beach

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I haven’t posted in almost a month, yikes! We had an fantastic time in Florida, but I didn’t realize a vacation would mean a pause in projects for the week leading up to and the week following it. Next time (is it too early to start planning our next vacation?!), I want to avoid a big gap by having at least one pre-scheduled post. I’m chomping at the bit to finish a project or two, but I also can’t stop reminiscing about our vacation…sigh!

We spent most of the week enjoying Disney World, but we also had a “Beach Day” at Fort De Soto Park, which was the highlight of our trip, hands down. The park is located two hours southwest of Disney, near Saint Petersburg. It’s very quiet and family friendly (it’s a dry park, so that probably helps a lot), admission is only five dollars per car and parking is free. They also have neat mid-century concession buildings picnic shelters, and showers.We set up camp at The North Beach, renting an umbrella and two chairs for twenty dollars from a friendly park employee. The white sand beach and clear, nearly-still water was so beautiful! I took about million photos.

Fort De Soto Park Beach
Fort De Soto Park Beach

For lunch, we enjoyed hot dogs, fries and snow cones at the concession stand. They also sell a few beach necessities like t-shirts and sunscreen; I bought a plastic bucket and shovel for the kids to use for sand castle building. Around two, the water started to get a little choppy and we’d had our fill of sunshine, so we packed up and headed out, arriving back at our hotel just in time for Happy Hour.

This was B’s first trip to the beach and we can’t wait to go back! Have you visited Fort De Soto or another family friendly beach nearby?

DIY Travel Pillow, Plus a Pillow Cubes Giveaway!

tutorial: easy DIY travel pillow

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(This post is sponsored by Pillow Cubes)
We are getting so psyched for our Disney World vacation! Jesse and I have been working on stressful projects at our jobs, so it will be nice to relax for a few days. And yes, the way we do Disney is relaxing – it’s all about planning ahead, starting with the travel!
When Pillow Cubes sent me a sample insert for review, I thought a travel pillow for B would be a good way to put the product to use. Have you heard of Pillow Cubes? They sell all kinds of pillows in bulk packages, which helps cut down on shipping cost. And, AND they are made in America! Pillow Cubes is a great resource if you need a bunch of pillows for a project. I’ve been slowly switching our toss pillows from poly to down. I’m almost finished, but if I had known about Pillow Cubes a couple months ago I probably would have bought a case and called it good.

The folks at Pillow Cubes also giving away 12 x 16 sample pillow of choice to one lucky reader, so be sure to enter the giveaway at the bottom of the post.

Supplies for travel pillow:
12 x 16 pillow
1/2 yard of fabric (mine is super soft stuff from JoAnn)
Package of orange elastic (also from JoAnn)

tutorial: easy DIY travel pillow
tutorial: easy DIY travel pillow
tutorial: easy DIY travel pillow
tutorial: easy DIY travel pillow
tutorial: easy DIY travel pillow
tutorial: easy DIY travel pillow

Start by cutting two 13 x 17 pieces of fabric and pinning them right sides together. Sew three sides, leaving one of the short sides open.
On the side that’s not sewn, fold over and press and pin the edge, then sew.
Next, cut a piece of orange elastic (about 9 inches) fold it half and pin the ends to the inside of the pillow along the hem. Use a few tack stitches to hold in in place. These stitches don’t have to look good, you will remove them at the end.

Turn the pillow case right side out and smoosh the pillow down inside it. Then close up the ends using two rows of pins. The second row helps make space for your sewing machine foot, otherwise you’ll be fighting the bulk of the pillow.

Sew along the edge, removing pins as you go. Then trim all the treads, remove the tack stitches and fluff up the pillow filling. Now snuggle up and enjoy your soft and cozy travel pillow!

Overall, I’m really happy with my Pillow Cubes insert, it’s soft, fluffy and well made. Their online checkout was simple and the pillow arrived within a couple business days, easy peasy! If I made another travel pillow, I’d probably go for the down rather than the poly since down tends to compress better, but that was on me since my first idea was to make an outdoor pillow (poly is better for outdoor use) but changed course mid-stream. I hope you stick around and enter the giveaway, if you win, go for the down! 😉

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How to Make a Tufted Headboard

A couple years ago, before I started blogging, Jesse made a wall mounted plywood headboard for our bedroom. Originally, I covered the headboard with a yellow and white damask, which looked lovely. But, of course, I got the itch to swap the color and I also wanted to give it a more finished look using tufts. Like most of our projects, we eeked out the headboard makeover a few minutes at a time until it was finished, so it took about a week. A bit of a time investment, but it was inexpensive, looks fab and now I know how to tuft! 
How to Tuft a Headboard, Turquoise Tufted Headboard

The plywood headboard mounts to the wall using a french cleat, which means angled strips of wood attached to the headboard and wall fit together kinda like puzzle pieces. Unfortunately, I don’t have photos of the process, so this post is mainly about how to tuft a completed headboard. However, Jesse sketched out detailed plans for me to post in case you want to give it a go. If you have a question about the construction, please shoot me an email and we’ll do our best to answer it!

Supplies for Upholstering and Tufting:
how to tuft a headboard
How to Tuft a Headboard, Turquoise Tufted Headboard

measuring tape, pencil
drill with 1/8th in. drill bit
quilt batting (about 4 yards)
upholstery fabric (I used a curtain panel from Target)
staple gun
10 mm Staples
upholstered buttons
backer buttons
longish sewing needles with large eyes
waxed button thread
scissors

First, Jesse took the headboard off the wall and removed all the staples from the original upholstery job (meanwhile, B and I built a marvelous fort under the dining table). Jesse measured and marked out three rows of tufting holes. All of them are 6 and 7/8ths inches apart, drilled with a 1/8th inch drill bit.
Once the holes were drilled, I used a staple gun with 10 mm staples to upholster the headboard with a double layer of quilt batting and a curtain panel. I stapled on the batting first, then the curtain panel, pulling everything snug, but not super tight. Then I flipped over the headboard and used a steamy iron to smooth out the fabric.

How to Tuft a Headboard, Turquoise Tufted Headboard
Sewing the tufts was fairly simple once I figured out the technique, the crumby part was making all of the upholstered buttons. Since I was using a heavy-ish curtain panel, a craft button maker wouldn’t work. Fortunately, I found a good tutorial that explained how to sew little covers for each button. It was crazy tedious, and my fabric kept unraveling so I also had to treat each circle with Fray Check before sewing it around the button. Fun stuff.  On the bright side, I had an excuse to sit and re-watch a few episodes of Mad Men (brushin’ up for the finale!). 
How to Tuft a Headboard, Turquoise Tufted Headboard
About the tufting technique. I’m not a professional and I’ve never tufted anything before, this is just what worked for me and it was pretty simple. If you’ve never tried tufting, I hope you give it a shot! Now that I know how to do it, I want to tuft everything! Plus, I have a bunch of waxed thread leftover so, obviously, I need to buy a sofa or something to use the rest on!
How to Tuft a Headboard
The directions on the waxed thread started by girth hitching the button shaft but that would have been impossible since there was so much fabric junk around the holes. My solution was to thread a sewing needle with waxed thread and poke it through. Then I pulled the thread almost all the way through the other side, leaving a tail which I double knotted. The wax on the thread is really grippy, so it made the knot nice and tight.  
How to Tuft a Headboard
Next, I poked the threaded needle through one of the tuft holes and pulled it through on the other side, drawing the upholstered button close to the headboard. I could kinda feel the holes through the fabric and batting on the front, but it was tricky, so figured out that if I poked a sewing needle part way through from the back it worked as a sort of marker. 
How to Tuft a Headboard, Backer Buttons

On the back side, I snipped the threads so I could add a backer button. Then I pulled the threads tight and double knotted them. It was a little slow going because the wax from the thread kept gunking up the eye of my sewing needle. When I do another tufting project, I’ll definitely try to find needles with larger eyes.

Here are a few pics of the finished product. Normally, there is a mountain of pillows on the bed, but I left them off so you could see the entire headboard.

How to tuft a headboard, teal tufted headboard
diy teal upholstered headboard

I’m lovin’ this headboard, I think teal / turquoise is officially my favorite color. I use it everywhere in the house and last week I counted six shirts in my closet that were the same shade! Funny how that works. 
Lastly, just for funsies, Roxy Dog enjoying the freshly made bed 🙂