Tuesday, November 18, 2008

My Needlework Bed!

I know that sounds weird, but that's kind of what my latest project looks like, lol! First, though, some history. For probably 20 years now I've kept a big tote bag filled with felt and embroidery stuff that I can take with me when I'm sitting with someone in the hospital, or in the car when we're on a road trip for something to do. I just get bored to death if I don't have something for my hands to do!

Then, I got this neat little fiberboard tray a while back when I ordered some Prima flowers from QVC. It's really cute, about 11"x14"x3" deep, with cutout handles. A few weeks ago when we headed out for a Sunday afternoon road trip, I grabbed my bag so I'd have something to do, and went looking for something to put in my lap to catch buttons or needles if I dropped them. Well, I came upon this raw, unfinished tray and took it along. That was the best thing! I just loved having something to lay my scissors and project on if I needed to get out of the car, and I could use buttons, beads, etc. and not worry about spilling them all over the car.

That got me thinking about how I could make it better, and sometimes I just have to give things time to 'marinate' in my brain before I come up with a solution. I also knew I didn't want to go buy any 'stuff' because money is tight and I've got tons of 'stuff' that might work just as well, so this gave me time to get what I would need gathered together. Here's my solution, I call it my needlework bed!


  1. sanded the tray
  2. painted it with white satin spray paint as a primer and let that dry
  3. painted it a couple of coats inside and out with white indoor/outdoor gloss enamel paint and letting it dry completely in beween
  4. while the coats were drying, work on the 'liner'
  5. I used an old piece of 1/2 inch thick foam core board, cut slightly smaller than the inside of the tray
  6. I didn't have any quilt batting, but I had some old black fleece that I cut to size and wrapped it around the foam core board, pulling tight and stapling as I went
  7. next I took a piece of black and white gingham fabric (oops, guess I won't get that tote bag made any time soon!) and did the same with that, pulling it tight as I went
  8. Lastly I used some clear vinyl and wrapped it tightly around the gingham and stapled it with 1/2 inch staples. (Gotta love that electric staple gun!) So, I had the bottom of my tray, but I wasn't finished! I wanted a pin cushion that I could stick needles, safety pins, quilters pins, etc. into as I was working on a project. Sometimes I'll have several colors of embroidery floss on one project, and I hate having to dig every time I want to change.
  9. I took a piece of the gingham, measured it to fit along one end of the tray, sewed it together on 2 sides (using the fold for the other side), turned it right side out and filled it fairly tightly with poly-fill. Once that was done I turned the end under and stitched it on the sewing machine. I did NOT cover the pin cushion in vinyl, lol!
  10. Once the tray was completely dry, I took another piece of the black fleece and cut it to size and glued it to the bottom (underside) of the tray so it will sit comfy in my lap if I've got on shorts or want to sit on a table.
  11. I put the finished liner into the tray, used some self adhesive velcro dots to attach the pin cushion to the vinyl, and I was done. Here are a couple more pictures.

I just love how it turned out, and am looking forward to using it. I can hold it in my lap whether I'm sitting in a car, in my bed, on my sofa, or in the camper, and it'll keep everything I need right at hand.

Thanks for looking folks, and have a great day!!!


Ladybug in TN said...

You are too smart.
My Brother really liked his birthday card and remarked about how nice it was.

Anonymous said...

Very clever! And it DOES look like a little bed! I bet this will work great, and keep everything together. You did a fantastic job! Love your bag idea the other day too. Those grocery store "green" bags are great, I love them, and they really hold alot. Plus, they're pretty cheap, some you can get for like $1. Sounds like you're all set for your trip. -Tish