Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Murphy Desk FTW

I'm'a make this a quickie since I'm in a mad dash to make a place for a certain baby who's due to arrive in a mere five weeks.  (!!!, right??)

So since said baby shall require room and board, I had to move all my supplies of a crafty nature to the "bonus" room, which now functions as a craft room, office, music room, exercise room, lounge area, playroom, and casino.  (Hint: only one of these is a lie.)

The solution?  Murphy desk that son'bih!

I got the plans from Ryobi Nation, snagged some pine from my new lumber source, and the usual festivities ensued: measuring, measuring again, sawing, sanding, gluing, pocket hole jointing, hinging, swearing, priming, painting, clear coating, hardware-ing, wedging, mounting, and then filling up with my sexy-sexy art supplies.

What's that?  You wanted a closer look at that organization porn?  I'm happy to oblige.

And of course, it wouldn't be Murphy if it didn't fold up nice and compact.  I went with a chalkboard on the front face and Christian took it for its maiden chalky voyage.   (And you know that means I had to erase something mildly inappropriate before snapping the picture.)

Overall, this project is rated approximately 8 swearwords and most definitely worth the effort.  If someone would just come and do the dumb painting for me, we'd be in the 4 swears realm.  Now come join me for some spatially efficient crafty time  :)

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Drawers to Fill the Void

So you know that gaping void in your life?  Don't worry, I won't be waxing existential.  I'm just talking about the top shelf of our dresser.  We bought this a few years ago as a "media center" or something, so the top shelf was intentionally left blank to put, I dunno, VCRs or something in there.  And since we don't allow ourselves to have TV in the bedroom (don't worry, we're not being pretentious, it's because the temptation to become a slothful, unrecognizable thing would be too great), there the gaping holes remained for those several years.

Here's a purposefully crappy depiction:  (And yes, that's a pile of pigs on the top. Did you want to talk about it?  And yup, those are some dead flowers I thought added to the voidy ambience.)

And here's one where I briefly caught a half-naked baby sighting:

Anywhos, I first looked into just buying some baskets or non-tacky totes.  But one:  baskets are butt-expensive it turns out; two:  I couldn't find any with the proper dimensions that would adequately utilize the space (must. not. waste. space.); and three:  wicker makes me a little uncomfortable.  (I want you to think about it until you think so, too.)

So I decided to build les boxes with scrap material.  And I learned some things.  Namely, if bugs wig you out, you shouldn't dig through a mound of wood that's been in the garage for over a year.

BUT, after several moments of entomological horror, a sprinkle of bad words, some measuring, some sawing, some re-measuring and re-sawing, some wishing I had a table saw to cut the time involved by 75%, voila--I had the boxes.

I then mod podged some scrapbook paper (I know, right? Who would have pegged me to ever own scrapbook paper) to the faces, hot glued some felt to the bottom so as not to scratch up the void, and attached some delectable little glass knobs to the fronts.  And blessed day, they fit perfectly.  (PS-Christian did some hardcore manning by cutting down the knob bolts for me.  I don't do Dremel sparks. But I also didn't want to go to the store for shorter bolts.  Go, man-Christian.)

So all in all, these bad boys cost me $3.56 for the knobs and a few frustration bucks.  I'm giving this project a For The Win rating.  

(Oh and also, no judgy-judgy on the dresser-top decor.  That's step two for room beautification.  I'll get rid of those dead flowers when I'm good and ready.)

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Crate of the Union

So we've been storing Jack's toys in an old diaper box.  And as classy as that is, I figured it was time to upgrade to an actual toy box.  The solution, I thought?  Crate!  Can't go wrong with crates.  No one ever goes wrong with a crate.  In fact, people evidently love crates so much, they're naming their kids Crayton.  (How I wish that were made up...)

And nothing went wrong per se, I just (AS USUAL) significantly underestimated the time and effort involved.  The real culprit was the crappy 1x3 furring strips I always buy because they're cheap.  I realized as I was making it, that since little, white, doughy hands were going to be groping around in there, I better make sure they wouldn't get skewered by the massive-angry slivers so popular in this type of wood.

Here you can see those doughy hands:  
(Aren't they just the cutest dough hands, unmarred by raging skewers of rogue wood?)

Anywho, an incredible amount of sanding ensued, which turned the project into a several day deal.  Some measuring, cutting, staining, gluing, nailing, and polyurethane-ing happened. Et voila. Le crate.  He seems to be pretty happy about it.

Until he realized, while tooching, that he can't quite reach the bottom of the box.  My bad.

So on this one, my verdict is probably to just buy the $12 crate from Walmart, even though it doesn't look as schnazzy and isn't the right size you probably need.  This one cost me about $5 in materials, but all sanding and little savings margin make Sam a dull girl.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Behind-the-Door Bookshelf Bonanza for $8

You may be asking yourself why I call everything a bonanza, and I would counter with, why aren't you calling everything a bonanza?  Don't be so hard on bonanzas; they can help you out with an alliteration in a pinch.

So I decided I wanted a place for Jack's books where he could no longer maim the ones in any kind of decent shape.  And stealing from the archives of the internets yet again, I made these delectable bookshelves behind his door.  (See how the books out of toddler reach have not been taped together 80 times?  Thems books ain't fer readin', just lookin' at.)

And the beauty is that I only used two furring strips, totaling $4.  I was going to use another set of strips for the lips of the shelves, but do you recognize that tongue and groovy groove?  I found a most satisfying use for some of our leftover hardwood flooring, and I think the groove adds a nice l'il detail to an otherwise drab bookshelf lip (Oh, you know how drab bookshelf lips can be).

So after cutting the wood to size, painting everything white, and locating our studs, I pulled out the ol' measuring tape and calculator, determined the most efficient spacing of said shelves, and went to work attaching them to the walls.  But here's the thing.  My beautiful internets led me astray.  I was led to believe that I could drill a screw right down the skinny face of the 1x3s, right into the wall with a 3" screw.  ...  But no.  Nnnope, bad idea.  Just not enough screw to securely hold onto the stud.  So, sad and dejected, I came to accept that I would need to secure the shelves with ugly L brackets ( an extra $4 :/ ), should a certain baby choose to hang off said shelves or overzealously return a book.

Sssssigh, so you can see them here, spaced to hit the studs.  Kind of awkward, I know; but not as awkward as what's in that poop silo.  Anywho, after securing the strips to the wall, I glued and nail-gunned the hardwood lip pieces to the face, filled up the holes with caulking in hopes of avoiding paint touch ups, discovered it looked crappy and would need paint anyway, painted them, et voila!  Les livres du bebe.

I think they're kind of awesome, as I'm psycho-obsessed with utilizing every cubic inch of home space without looking junky.  So instead of books littered throughout the room or piled up on the nightstand, now they're shelved in a space I wasn't using for anything but hide and seek.  As Larry David would say, "prettyyyy...pretty good."

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

$20 Giant Wall Art (for those who can't otherwise decorate an empty wall)

I stole this idea from the internets, good ol' cyberspace.  Since I honestly have no idea what to do with a big empty wall, I figured you can't go wrong with a big-A canvas.

I found a fabric shower curtain I liked for $12, and then picked up four $2 furring strips.  I then made a critical error measuring in that I didn't give myself quite enough slack to comfortably pull the curtain around the wood.  Sigh, just give yourself a good two inches on all sides.  I got greedy and wanted the biggest possible canvas.  Not my greatest idea.

And then, of course, the handy Kreg pocket hole jig makes yet another blog appearance in joining the frame together.  And another error:  buying the crappiest, cheapest wood available.  Sigh again.  Probably worth ponying up the cash for wood that won't split if you breathe on it funny.

Anywho, once the frame was made, Chris and I carefully stretched the curtain over the wood as tightly as possible and stapled that sucker on there from behind with oodles of staples.

It could have been so much more perfect if I had just given myself a little more slack, but most people with normal brains probably won't know or care.

And here's one with a baby in it for a sense of scale.  And apparently some multi-vitamins I didn't notice.

In the end, I'm pretty darn happy with it.  It's like waking up in the freaking jungle, man.  :D

Monday, June 1, 2015

From the Chokey to a Place You Want to Be: The Bathroom Remodel

Shazam!  Who doesn't like before and after shots of home improvements?  Sociopaths, that's who.  So months and months ago, we broke ground for our much-overdo guest bathroom remodel.  Because really, it was getting silly to have plain, decor-less, brown rooms throughout a house you've lived in for years.

Here are some before-shots to give you an idea of what I'm talking about:

Nails that poked guests uncomfortably in the eyes :(

Sad little pedestal sink with mismatching soaps and construction-grade mirror :(

Tacky brown linoleum :(

Derelict lonely toilet :( (ok, not derelict)

Poor, empty walls that feel like an awkward silence :( 

Unfinished transition from overtly sexy hardwood :(

Sad bathroom is sad.  

SO, enough sad emoji, we thought, and went to work pulling up the baseboards and linoleum.  Turned out this is what was underneath.  Yes, yamahama, it's fright night.  And yes, there were several jokes about the poop hole beneath the toilet.  We're only human.   

As gung-ho as I am about home improvement projects, my enthusiasm stops at toilet removal, so good ol' trusty Christian manhandled the porcelain throne and sink out to the garage.  Gross.

And thus began an era in my life known as Tiling, Part II: The Reckoning.

See, the thing about tiling is that you think the difficulty of the job correlates to the size of the space.  Not so, my friends.  Not so.  This seemingly surmountable 3' by 8' little room proved to be a hearty beast of flooring vexation and turmoil.  And I could get into the woes of using mosaic tiles vs larger, conventional ones, but let's just not.  To heal, I just need to move on.  Suffice it to say that after   much splintered ceramic, many bruised hands (damn you, tile nippers), some tense moments involving mortar beginning to set around misaligned tiles, and some sheer grouting joy, it is done.  And that's all I have to say about that.

So eventually, work resumed on the rest of the bathroom.  Using 1x3 furring strips and 26-cent lattice strips, I nailed up some faux-wainscotting for suh-ooper cheap.  Cuz if you want anything while relieving yourself, it's the class that wainscoting brings to a modern living space.

And since the wainscoting added so much class, it made the ceiling look bare, so up went some crown moulding.  And a note about that, don't do it right after you reinstall the baseboards because you'll get all cocky and think you don't need to re-watch a tutorial about what angle to cut them.  Hint:  it's not 45 degrees like what totally makes sense.  Sigh...several day setback.  But dang if that don't look purdy transitioning the gray walls to the white ceiling.  (Side note: is it just me or is painting a way bigger deal than you always think it's going to be?  Not a fan of that portion.)

And then for my favorite part.  I got some fancy-pants moulding, painted it white, glazed it, cut it at 45 degree angles, used my trusty Kreg pocket hole jig to screw it together, and then popped that sucker on the mirror with oodles of mounting tape.

Schnaaaaazy, right?  I'll probably give the same treatment to our other mirrors but with cheapo 1x4s.

And then came the ch-ch-ch-transition piece.  Two things about this.  One, I suck at hand-nailing.  Two, I suck at paying attention to where I'm stepping in bare feet when twisted nails are poking out of an old transition piece.  Anywho, a quick stop for a tetanus booster, and I was ready to move on to the decor! (I wish I were kidding... When I lifted my foot up in horror, the whole piece of wood was  nailed to my foot.  Needless to say, loony toons screaming ensued.)

So here's the thing about me and decor.  I'm in waaay over my head.  I blame Pinterest for having so many amazing and doable ideas that they all just get stuck in the door at once, and I lay paralyzed about how to proceed.  Hence the several months involved in this remodel.  So eventually I went for the fool-proof, evenly-spaced pictures.

I used the amaze-balls Silhouette to help me make each of the three canvases.  And what's better in a bathroom than a pretentious french sign with a double-meaning about keeping your hands clean?

And then I drew a koi fish, scanned that fish into the computer, cut that fish out in vinyl to use as a template to allow me to make a, say what, ombre fish?

I got these ugly gold frames at the dollar store, painted them the same white as the mirror frame, glazed them as well, and then BAM.  Coordinating frames for $3.

And for some finishing touches, I did the same treatment to this sexy toilet box.  Perhaps too matchy matchy.  But regardless, sexy toilet box is sexy.  (ps--there's extra toilet paper in there.  I didn't want taboo, shameful toilet paper just out in the open like we're, what? A bunch of hillbillies?)

And for the piece de resistance, yeah.  It's what you think.  I tied a ribbon around the garbage can.  I was hoping it would discourage guests from actually putting garbage in there (i.e., because you don't put trash in something with a ribbon around it), but I was sadly mistaken.  Maybe if I put trinkets at the bottom... No, no, you're right.  Too much.

And oh yes, this incroyable pottery was made by none other than my super-cool mum.  She's cool like that.  I may have stolen some of them when she was in a drunken haze of pain medication after a jogging accident.  As you do.

Anywho, that completed Project Chokey.  Now to tackle the giant blank wall in the living room.  You know.. the first thing everyone sees when they walk in.  Oh, home decor, how you elude me.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

$10 Bathroom Cabinet, Say What?

So there I was, brainstorming ideas for Christian's twenty-whatever'th birthday present (who's really counting after 21; I'm not really sure how old I am either without some maths), when I remembered how his bathroom of tiny proportions supports little to no counter space for his manly accouterments. And what better solution than a rustic bathroom cabinet made with love, care, and only mild swearing from his dear wifey?

I didn't have a plan for this one; I was mostly winging it and measuring in finger to elbow lengths (hence the 1-2 swear words), but I think it ended up resembling a bathroom cabinet.  And what's that, you ask?  A herringbone pattern???  Why, yes.  I've been obsessed with herringbone lately, so I thought I'd give it a try with some 30 cent lattice strips that I cut down to little 4" chunks (sorry for the endless miter sawing, neighbors).

And of course, the coolest part is that it cost $9.68 for everything.  Just a 1x4, a 1x3, 4 lattice strips, scrap plywood, some pocket screws, that sexy door pull, a magnetic closure, and little baby hinges (that I painted black because they were that gross chromey brass color.  Does anyone even not puke when they see that finish?).

I wanted to surprise him by having it fully installed in said bathroom when he got home from work.  But you know, I quickly learned a profound and valuable life lesson:  It's impossible to install a bathroom cabinet by yourself.  And let that be a lesson to you, kids.  

ps-As you can see, with some help from pop-in-law, it did finally find its home above the toilet.

Monday, January 12, 2015

I run, therefore I hate it.

And here you thought my couple-month-long blog hiatus meant I wasn't makin' stuff.  Thought I was just distracting you and glazing over the absence with insane miniature bread creations, didn't you?  Don't you feel silly as I present to you: Stuffs I Done Made Over the Last Couple of Months (In Addition to Etsy Orders, Of Course).

So I drew sis-in-law-Liz for Chrimmat and since she's a big fan of running, I pulled out my bff (the Silhouette) and made her a tile sign (recognize that tile??), the sentiment with which I personally cannot identify.  Mad respect for folks who run and actually enjoy it.  I run a lot, so I'd love to feel that way.  But nope.  Wanna die every second that shiz is happening.

And since I was on a vinyl-on-tile kick, I made another wee tile sign with my very favorite quote of all time (made famous by MaryAnne Loveless and the old hymn book).  The sentiment is: quit worrying about everything, dummy.

And then I also made Liz this sign out of, yes, antiqued, aka old, wood planks.

Oh and THEN, as I was brainstorming xmas present ideas for my cute little niece, I came across this doll bed plan (from  And remember how I obsessively made miniature baked goods that one time and then shared it on the internets?  And remember how once I start a project, I get mildly obsessive about it?  Well the doll bed preceded those notorious baked goods, so this was probably the catalyst for that particular insanity (and more insanity to come, in all likelihood).  We don't have to talk about just how many hours were poured into this, but suffice it to say, it's embarrassing.  But if you're squeeing every hour or so at your baby lace throw pillows and other various miniature goodness, I think it's ok, right?  I'm pretty sure that's the rule.

The checker at Home Depot asked what I was using the wood for and I said, "A miniature bed." And SHE gave ME a weird look.  Can't a grown woman make a doll bed without being interrogated?

And then I realized you can't have a farm-style doll bed without a mattress and pillows and quilt.  What kind of comfort that does offer to inanimate play things?  And here's where I got in deep.  I pulled out the ol' sewing machine that -I'd never used before- I was mildly inexperienced with, studied the manual on how to use a sewing machine, looked up some tutorials, and after embarrassingly long time... I give you a crappy phone picture of [in my opinion and if I do say so myself] a totes adorbs doll bed!

And then I was like, "Oh, yeah, I'm completely sewing illiterate, but I'm'a tuft this sucker."  And thus, it was en-tufted.

I think the sewing is passable (just not up close).  Turns out sewing isn't the spawn-of-Satan activity I always thought it was (thanks, home ec).

And then the real exciting news happened: I got a dehydrator, so I've been sucking moisture from anything that will hold still long enough.  I'm like an Aquaman villain up in here.

So these sweet potato chips were amazing and allow you to feel all kinds of pretentious that you're eating such a healthy chip.
And then fruit leather, what????

You can come have some.  It's kind of amazeballs.