Thursday, February 27, 2014

St. Patrick's Day Decor on the Cheap!

There are some amazing machines out there that allow you to make all sorts of fun stuff with paper, vinyl, and even fabric.  But I have yet to be able to justify fitting them into my budget.

So...using basic computer software to make letters and pictures on obscure objects is possible while not spending too much money.

All you need is : a printer, colored ink for that printer, some clip art from Microsoft word and time to sit down to cut in minute detail (sure, it takes a lot more time than those awesome slightly coveted products referred to above, but sometimes it's nice to sit down and cut things out, right?).    

Yes, these are just mini-7up bottles from you're regular grocery store.  After enjoying the contents, I just soaked them until the paper was ready to come off and let them dry.  Then attached the letters and clip art with tape.  (I was thinking I'd come back to them shortly after applying the tape, but these babies have held up for two years now - so maybe someday I'll Mod-podge them onto the bottles but for now the tape is working great!)

You can see the bubble from the tape on this "Y" but I wasn't going for perfect, just fast, easy, and fun!
Shamrock from Clip Art in windows.

Wondering about those cute paper shamrocks?  Check out how to make them at sugarbeecrafts.  She has tons of fantastic ideas and creative ways to decorate! 

The white strip is Styrofoam that came with a recent house project.  I covered it (above) with some green and off-white fabric that I found at a garage sale.

The wreath is just one from the dollar store wrapped in an old ripped sheet (which I used for my son's Halloween costume last year).  The smaller, green shamrock "wreath" is actually a garland, also from the dollar store, that I never unraveled.  It's not perfect either, but it was quick and easy to make and I love anything green and white!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Computer Desk using a thrifted wooden filing cabinet

Our house had a tiny little nook that didn't quite have a purpose.  It was at one time our son's room, a place for an armoire, we thought it could be an extra bedroom, but we finally decided to make it into a small office.

After searching for the perfect office/computer desk with lots of paper storage, etc., and not finding anything to fit in such a small space, we decided that we had better build it ourselves.  So I perused Craigslist and found a wooden filing cabinet. 

It had a beautiful light wood color and brass handles and label holders.  Nice, but just not me.  So, I used Glisser Sander Deglosser and some leftover white paint for the cabinet itself and oil-rubbed bronze spray paint for the brass fixings.

We placed the filing drawer against the wall (that was part of our built-in-partially see-through bookcase (to utilize the big window that had previously been hiding behind the wall in our basement stairwell)). Then added a little shelf for the CPU and made a very skinny top for the printer, monitor, speakers and any other items that the top of a computer desk holds.

To build the desk:

We actually intended to use one piece of wood for the desk with no seams to make it as strong as possible.  Unfortunately, we cut it wrong and had to add the small skinny portion instead.  But with some wood putty, a good sanding, and two small support brackets underneath, the skinny portion worked well after all. 

Then I caulked, sanded some more, and primed the piece.  

In the picture below, the keyboard is on top of the desk.  However, my father had a pull-out keyboard tray that he wasn't using anymore.  It was, of course, I spray painted it white.  Screwed it into the bottom of the desk and it worked perfectly!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

More with dresser drawers before and after

Remember this dresser with the annoying drawers from this post, here?  

 It looked nice, but the bottom two drawers were just that, "two drawers".  I initially thought they were four drawers!  But the two drawers were so bulky they were awful for everyday use.

So I made this instead:

But as annoying those drawers were, in a dresser, I couldn't throw them out.  There are so many ideas for use-of-drawers on Pinterest, and I got the idea from there: I made the drawers into under-bed storage.

 I like them soooo much better than the plastic storage containers we had because I could just spray paint them to match the other paint colors in each room and because the casters really allow them to move in and out from under the bed so easily!

This red one sits under my son's bed holding his Hero Factory Legos.

While this one is in the Master bedroom with my extra sweaters (at least, it's holding sweaters for the winter). 

The casters cost about $12 for all 8 of them.  The knobs I got from Ikea.  Even though we don't have one near us, they are such a great deal, whenever I'm near an Ikea, I head in and grab some knobs...just in case I need them in the future.

*These particular drawers are already pretty tall and with the casters they wouldn't fit under my son's standard metal bed frame easily.  I bought partial risers for his bed and now he has more storage and clean up a cinch!*

Thursday, February 6, 2014

On Cleaning Chrome and Some Upholstery Tips

My grandparents have a couple of different Cosco stools.  Every night when we visit, my Grandpa sits on the one in the kitchen and serves us ice cream - yes, every night!  Awesome, right?!  With so many fun and happy memories, I've been on the search for a Cosco stool just like his.  It turns out that those ones from the 50s and 60s are pretty pricey (probably because they are so sturdy and versatile) so I was excited when I found the newer model at a garage sale for around $10...and it's still sturdy and versatile. 

* Some of the steps do not have pictures - my apologies*

As you can see, the seat was a ripped, ugly, dirty, off-white vinyl.   That was an easy fix (and I'll show you how in a moment); the issue for me was the chrome back and legs!  I was uncertain how to fix them.

First we'll talk about the seat cushion itself.

Pick the fabric you like best.

 The seat deck (not pictured) had metal tabs that hooked into the seat frame.  I unbent each one with a kitchen butter knife and carefully pulled the vinyl off the foam. 

Next, I took a Sharpie and traced the vinyl (I always use the previous material for a pattern because it has fit "perfectly" for years already and it's less work than throwing it out and making your own).
Cut out the new fabric.

Then I found some spray glue and sprayed the seat foam, let it sit for about 5 minutes and then applied the new fabric.  (I'd recommend doing this outside or somewhere with lots and lots of paper to cover anything you love - like kitchen tables or couches, etc.)  The spray glue worked great for the top of the seat deck, but normally, on an upholstery project, I would staple the fabric to the seat deck.  Obviously with a metal frame that isn't possible, so I used a glue gun. 

Now, on to the chrome:

I did some research and found that 91% alcohol and some aluminum foil will shine that chrome up nicely.  Luckily, I actually had some 91% rubbing alcohol in my house - but you can get it at just about any retail store. 

A picture of the yucky chrome - this one had about three different colors of paint and lots of black smudges on it. 

Finished and ready to work in my kitchen. 

A friend of mine was getting rid of this Cosco stool because the bottom of it was pretty thin and it was old and in the way.  So, I finished it in the same was as above and gave it to another friend who needed one for her kids to help in the kitchen.

The bottom is still very thin and  not sturdy enough to stand on.  I'll figure out how to fix a thin piece of plastic on a chair or other object made to hold weight and share the results in a future blog.