Saturday, December 28, 2013

Kitchen/Living Room addition a.k.a. Canning Jar wall storage

When we bought this house, we really liked that it was so open; the kitchen and living room were basically one room.  Among other things, i.e. - outdated and dark cabinets, many walls painted mint green and Pepto Bismol pink, after living in our house for a while, we discovered a few other things:
  1. When anyone sat on the couch, they would usually find themselves sliding right into the kitchen.
  2. As we ate any meals at the kitchen table, crumbs would inevitably find their way under the couch - only to be discovered weeks, if not months later in disastrous states
  3. And most importantly, we found that without a wall between the kitchen and living room, our ceiling was sagging a little.  The wall down the center of the house is, in our case, a load bearing wall.  
Luckily, my architect father-in-law came up with a fantastic plan that would still allow us to have the openness but would give support to the ceiling, keep crumbs from the kitchen out of the living room (more or less) and would keep the couch from meandering into the kitchen: A Half-Wall

My husband, father-in-law, brother and myself all spent time on this project.  We bought two wooden pillars from our home-improvement store, wood enough for shelving, Sheetroc for the one side of the wall, and lots of caulk and paint.  We borrowed a router from my brother-in-law.

After assembling the wall, which I wanted for additional kitchen storage, I had family hunt for antique canning jars (this was before they came out with the remake of the pretty blue ones).

Here's the kitchen side of the finished project:

Now I can keep all sorts of things in the jars.  I have coins, marbles, legumes, baking goods, candy from Santa....the possibilities are endless.  I LOVE it!

The living room side:

No more couch sliding, crumb spreading, kitchen/living spaces in this house.  Yay!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

A Very Merry Christmas Frame Wreath

Anyone can make this simple and fast Christmas decoration just by using an old frame, some burlap, Christmas ornaments, string and a computer!  

Last year on Pinterest I was intrigued by the amount of door decorations that were actually picture frames.  I also LOVE burlap, so after perusing my basement for the right wooden frame and promptly painting it white, I stapled some burlap into the frame.

Luckily at I also found some beautiful vintage Christmas baubles when someone was getting rid of them at church.  They were strung with some green taffeta string, and also stapled onto the frame as well.

Next, I cut out little triangles from scrapbook paper and put sticker letters on the triangles spelling out "Have a very merry Christmas" (but you could just type it out in a word document and put it through your printer too).

I then took the string and strung it through each triangle and then "sewed" it through the burlap.

All finished!  It was easy and fast and it was made with stuff that I had just hanging around the house.  I LOVE my Christmas Frame Wreath, and bet you could make one too!

Thursday, November 28, 2013


Today is Thanksgiving and I'm enjoying time with family and later with friends so this won't an in depth tutorial. 

 Last year I made an autumn wreath.  When I put it up this year my son mentioned that it was "not really thanksgiving-ish".

I thought of all the different ways I could make it reminiscent of  gratitude: some scrap pieces of wood in the garage with "give thanks" stenciled on it, then attached to the wreath; using some of the burlap which is used to hang the wreath to make a banner;  but in the end, for time purposes and laziness, I decided that I'd type the word "thankful" on some tan card-stock, print it off, cut it into triangles and sew the triangles together with my sewing machine - yes, even on paper!

So, here is the finished product: 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Easy Remake of an Entry Table

I've needed another table in my entryway, but the space is narrow and pretty small.  Luckily, I found the three-drawer table at the Habitat Restore for $40. This is waaay more than I usually spend, but when comparing it to the prices I was finding at "real" stores, it was a bargain!  But red cherry wood is just not my favorite - so paint again, in my favorite sea green/blue color.

I still needed more storage and discovered that the little table (found in someone's garbage pile) fit under it.

Steps I took:
Found tables at Habitat Restore and in a garbage pile
Used sanding de-glosser on both tables; this was especially essential on the small tiered table underneath.  It was a little weathered on the top and very old, unless I wanted to sand it clear to the wood or completely take off the varnish, I saved myself lots of time and work because I used the de-glosser. 

Sprayed with white primer

Spray painted with Krylon, Catalina Mist (I think it's my favorite color right now)

Done! No protective top coat because the spray paint stands up pretty well against every day use - including my husbands keys that get dropped there every day.

This is an easy and fast project!  I finished it in just a few hours.

Here's how it looked for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and January/Winter:

Monday, November 18, 2013

Just an observation about using homemade laundry detergent in place of dishwasher detergent

We've been out of dishwasher detergent since Friday night.  I had hopes of going to Costco and getting their huge container of my favorite brand, but Friday was too busy and Saturday slipped away quickly too.  Sunday, because it's the Sabbath and my family likes to support the idea that it is a day of rest, was not an option for purchasing any either.  And of course, I couldn't waste my money on a small box of dishwasher soap at my local grocery store!  At least that's the crazy talk I'd been giving myself.

Come Sunday morning, with lots and lots of dirty dishes piled up and the wish that I didn't have to wash them by hand, I think "Hmm, there's lots of dishwasher soaps on Pinterest, I'll just find one and mix it real quick and try it out."  Unfortunately I seemed to be missing one ingredient out of every recipe that was on there!

I was just about to give up hope that I may need to just live with the dirty dishes, plan better next time, and buy the detergent Monday, when I remembered that I had just made a lot of laundry soap.

AND I remember that homemade laundry detergent has many of the same ingredients as homemade dishwasher detergent.

Of course they aren't exactly the same - in fact there are only three ingredients that are similar in most of the recipes I'd found: borax, super washing soda, and baking soda; but could I use it in a pinch?  Well, I was certainly going to give it a try.

Here's what I did and how it turned out:

I grabbed about two tablespoons of  laundry detergent

sifted the Castille soap out of it

placed it in both allotted portions of the dishwasher

put in around 1/8 tsp. citric acid (leftover from canning my tomatoes this summer)
 added my JetDry (I've tried vinegar in a pinch too and it works - ok) but I figured I really needed this in case I didn't get all of the Castille soap out and it left a residue.

then for good measure, I put in just one drop of Dawn dish soap (going against anything I'd ever heard about putting dish soap in your dishwasher - I had day visions of the dishwasher spewing suds all over my kitchen floor).
Here's a picture of my dishes:
See how there is a residue on some of the measuring spoons.   Those were the ones I measured the soap with, but there was still a little bit of chalkiness on some of the glass. 

After two loads, here's my opinion:  Sifted laundry soap works in a pinch!  But truthfully, it's probably best to actually make your own dishwasher detergent or just go buy some; leave the laundry detergent separate! 

Please tell me I'm not the only one who stalls about going to buy things at the grocery store because I can get a better deal somewhere else - even if it means taking drastic measures later!  I seem to be doing this more and more lately.
Have you ever waited so long to buy something that you have to "make do" with something else around your house?

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Cast Iron Cookbook Stand

Last year, I saw a brightly colored cast iron cookbook stand at Target.  I so wanted to get it but my budget wouldn't let me, so imagine my excitement when I found this one (below) for $4.00 at my local thrift store! 

Of course I wanted it "brightly colored" like the one I'd seen at the store, so I primed it with 2xs Rustoleum Spray paint (it's my favorite so far) and then painted it to coordinate with colors in my kitchen (again with the 2xs Rustoleum).

I LOVE how easy it was, how inexpensive and that I get to use it often!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

charging station from the thrift store

We've reached the point where there are so many electronic devises crowding the counter top, that I decided it was time for some kind of charging station.  The mess of cords and trying to find where we had charged our devices the last time was getting annoying and sometimes wasting time (looking for the right cord).

I perused Pinterest and found lots of great ideas, but shortly afterward found this beauty (see below) at my local Salvation Army.

It was already made for me, just waiting for the colors that would fit my home.  So, here's how I changed it:

First, I unscrewed the hinged part to take off the three compartmentalized slanted portion.

 Then, I took off all the black felt.

Spray painted the entire thing. The primer turned it pink.
Then I chose some fun fabric that would match the colors in my kitchen and mod-podged them onto the wood.  It liked to come up at the seams but since there were hinges and I couldn't just glue the fabric into place against the wooden sides, I found some craft sticks, sprayed them to match the rest, and glued them onto the compartmentalized portion.

Then I re-attached the hinges and voila! Ready to be used.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Fun idea for jewelry storage

Last May, I visited my home town and found that a craft fair called Sun Fest was in full swing.  I loved walking around the booths to see the different ideas that creative people come up with.  Unfortunately, everyone's browsing was cut short by a tornado warning, but not before I came upon a jewelry maker.  Her style was very unique in that she used old silverware to make earrings, bracelets, necklaces and other things.

At this point in my life I don't think I could do that sort of thing and will probably just purchase from her, BUT her display racks were AMAZING and such a fun idea for displaying jewelry!

So, I came home and finally found something at a road-side fresh produce stand of all places that would work to imitate this woman's idea of a jewelry display.  As you see (below) it is only a candle holder with china dishes on it.  The china is from my own cabinet, but if I were keeping this indefinitely or selling it, I would peruse the thrift stores for the perfect china plates to fit on each candle holder.

The silverware jewelry looked nicer, but the possibilities are endless with this idea, right?!

Friday, September 27, 2013

An Ugly Roadside Dresser Turned a Lovely Pink Ombre

 A friend of mine needed a dresser for her daughter, so when I found this ugly one in someone's garbage pile, I snatched it up.  It was missing the drawers on the bottom but I thought it could still be functional anyway.  This turned out to be a nightmare dresser!  Some found on the side of the road are gems, this one....well, it is well made but each drawer fit only in it's particular spot, the previous owner had painted over the dark stain so most of that was peeling.

Sometimes I sand my project to prep them for primer and sometimes I use a sanding de-glosser. If I had used the sanding de-glosser on this one, it would have saved me days, DAYS, of work!  

It was all peeling white with black underneath to start with.

Grrrr. The sanding made the finish on the drawers uneven, so I had to revert to scraping off layers of paint and stain.

Cleaning out the inside.

Finally, the four days of peeling paint and stain off the drawer fronts is over and primer is applied.
Another friend had just painted her daughter's room pink and let me use some of her paint since the friend who needed this dresser was hoping for hot pink.
I decided to join the whole ombre movement and just used my kids' red poster paint to tint the light pink to four different colors.
If the dresser had of allowed for the drawer to move to other slots, I would have put the top drawers on the bottom.  But I actually like this - maybe even better than what it could have looked like.  The baskets are from the Dollar Tree. They were red, but I painted them hot pink.  If the family doesn't like the baskets, I thought the bottom could have been used for shoes.  I wonder what other uses there could be for that bottom section....hmmm.

In the end I conquered the dresser!  And it really turned out nicely. But next time, I hope to be a little more observant about what is under any peeling paint.  If it's something oil-based, I'll probably just do a light sanding to get the peeling paint off, and finish of with sanding de-glosser.  It would save days of work!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Hanging Earring Organizer (to match the Thrifty & Conveneient Necklace Holder)

Remember this necklace holder?  Well, after getting my necklaces organized, I felt like I needed a place for my earrings.  There are many great ideas all over Pinterest (i.e.- this cute and well done one).  I liked using vintage printer drawers to store those tiny accessories...but who has the money for a printer drawer?
  So I took off to search my trusty thrift store and found the next best thing; remember the trinket holders from the 80s and 90s that hung on walls and collected dust on all your little knick-knacks?  you know, with tiny animals and stuff from trips? Yeah, those.

Here's what I like about them: they already have devices on the back making them ready to hang on a wall, they are a little smaller than your average printer drawer and they are more likely to be in a person's budget.  I got my first one for $1.  But after finishing one, I realized that I needed another to hold all my earrings; so I found the other one at a garage sale for a quarter!

The expense is in the eye-hooks (about $7 for all three packs that I bought), the paper to allow it to match my necklace organizer (still was only about $1), and the paint (except I used leftover spray paint from other projects - so that was really no cost.  Making both earring organizers a little under $10!

So, here's what I did:
1. Found the trinket holder.  (I actually found them about a year apart so it turned out that one is slightly smaller than the other and they are a slightly different color of white - but you can't tell too much when they're hanging on my wall.)  
2. Spray painted the holder.  I also spray painted the eye hooks but I must have forgotten to take a picture of them - whoops!  They do great with primer and then to match my necklace holder and my beachy theme, I painted them oil-rubbed bronze and plain white.

3. Next I matched a drill bit to the size of the screw part of the eye-hook and drilled really slowly (so the bit wouldn't go through to the other side since the wood was only 1/4 in thick)

4. Then, Modge Podge was used to place craft paper into each section desired. (no picture here either - sorry)

5. Let it dry, screw the eye-hooks into place and with the wall hanging thingys that are already there, hang on the wall. 

(yup, I have lots of silver and blue)