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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Race 12: March 20 - Germantown Half Marathon in Memphis

With Lady after the Germantown Half Marathon

I forgot to write about this race and race 13. So much has been going on in our lives that it
just slipped my mind.

My hubby eating Memphis barbecue the night before the race

This was a fun race for me. My husband, our dog, and I camped out at a state park in the Memphis area the night before. It was a beautiful place to camp, and I was thrilled that my husband could be there for this race.

The race start - aren't the trees beautiful?!

The race was a modified out-and-back course. It ran through a neighborhood, where the residents sat outside in their yards to cheer us on. This makes any race better! There was even a little girl dressed up in a princess costume cheering us on. :-)

Like most races, I ran with complete strangers who quickly became friends. There's something about traveling over 13 miles together on foot that just brings people together! Only at the final stretch did we breakaway from each other to finish.

At the final stretch -- we all broke away and finished at our own speed.

At the end of the race, my husband and dog ran beside me as I finished. I love how supportive my husband is! After I cooled down a bit and ate some bananas, we went downtown to eat brunch at a restaurant with a dog-friendly patio. We then strolled around downtown, and walked to the park at the riverfront. Lovely!

The three of us after the race.

A DIY upholstered ottoman

Our new ottoman. Ignore the mess in the background--we are still unpacking!

As I’ve stated before, I’ve been making a lot of furniture and d├ęcor for our new house. One of the things I really wanted was a storage ottoman for the living room. I wanted a replacement for our coffee table after I turned it into a bench (more on that later). But when I searched for an ottoman, I couldn’t find one I like for a price that I thought was reasonable. So, I decided to make it myself.

Here are the steps I took when making our new ottoman. This is not a tutorial per

se, but just a list of the steps I took to make our ottoman.

Step 1: Look online for inspiration pieces.

I scoured the internet for inspiration ottomans. I looked at all of my regular sites: West Elm, Z Gallerie, Crate & Barrel, Jonathan Adler, and Pottery Barn. I then searched through all of the ottomans at Finding the perfect inspiration was hard, but I finally found one that I loved.

This is the inspiration piece--from

Step 2: Put the inspiration picture on

I had to put the picture of the inspiration on my Future DIY board. This kept me accountable—I couldn’t procrastinate too long knowing it was posted for all to see. Granted, it sat on my DIY board for over 5 weeks... It might still be sitting on that board if it hadn't been for the Pinterest challenge hosted by Young House Love, Bower Power, Ana White, and House of Earnest. Even though I'm not sure it really qualifies for the challenge (does it count if I pinned it myself?), this challenge still lit a fire under my rear, so to speak. It got me building and blogging.

Step 3: Decide on the size

I used the measurements of the inspiration piece as a starting point. But since I had specific items that I wanted stored (e.g., my husband’s RockBand accessories), I put the items in a pile and measured them. Using the sizes of the items to be stored, I found my minimum measurements. I then added 2 inches to both the length and width so I could be certain that there would be ample storage.

Step 4: Build a box

Building an ottoman really isn’t too hard. Basically, you build an open box using your measurements. I used 3/4" plywood to create my box and lid. It’s pretty logical and self-explanatory. I cut the plywood to measure and used kreg screws and lots of glue to hold all of it together.

Step 5: Build a lid

If you don’t care about the height of the lid, I suggest just using a flat lid that rests on top of the box portion. This is the easiest way. And, since I like to complicate things, this is not the way I chose to do our ottoman. I chose to have a tall lid that is 4 inches high. This means I had to cut 4 extra pieces of plywood. But I love the way it looks, and think the added effort was worth it. If you plan on tufting the lid, drill your holes now.

Step 6: Add the legs before you upholster

I just used scrap 2x2 pieces as legs. Since I was planning on lining the inside of the ottoman, I just screwed the legs to the box from the inside. Easy, peasy.

Step 7: Upholster

Upholstering the ottoman required quite a bit of sewing. I used a separate piece of fabric for each surface, and stitched them together using my sewing machine. For the lid, I used some single welt cording that I made by cutting the fabric on the bias and sewing it around some cord. (Because I’m cheap, I re-used the free cording that Lowe’s gives you to tie your trunk shut.)

The body of the ottoman after upholstering, before lining.

Step 8: Tuft

I used a button maker to make covered 7/8” cover buttons. Using these buttons and heavy duty upholstery thread, I tufted 8 spots on the top of the ottoman lid. This step isn’t necessary, but it definitely makes the piece look a bit more professional and a bit less DIY.

A view from the top -- it shows some of the tufting.

I love the end result. It wasn’t very expensive, and it houses my husband’s belongings perfectly!

Here’s the breakdown of the costs:
3/4” plywood (I used purebond, so it was a bit pricey) $41.00
2x2 legs – they were made from scrap $ 0.00
Spray paint for legs – leftover from another project $ 0.00
Fabric – 2 yards on sale at Hancocks $18.00
Buttons $3.00
Approximate total $62.00