Friday, June 28, 2013

Proud Crafter Moment: DIY Memo Board

So I finally finished a project I had been sitting on for a while (I could start pretty much every blog post with this sentence), and the end result is something I'm pretty dang proud of, ifIdosaysomyself.  I've been inspired by a project I've seen all over various blogs and Pinterest, kind of like this, this and this. I have always thought it was a swell project, so I decided to try my hand at making one. 

I started with the above materials - an empty wood frame, spray paint, fabric, and jute twine. I already had all of these materials on hand, collected at thrift stores or craft stores over time. Just so happened they all could be happily married into this one awesome project. 

I started by simply spray painting the frame white.  Then I cut a bunch of short pieces of the twine and used hot glue to attach them to the back of the frame.  I opted for a random, crissed-crossed pattern, as opposed to having them all go straight across at even intervals. 

I was then left with this. Which would have been just fine as it is, and I did originally think this would be my end point. That was until I found the super cheap scrap of yummy yellow and white chevron fabric. So I simply stapled the fabric to the back of the frame and voila. 

Here is what I ended up with!

Added some mini clothespins, clipped on some pictures, hung it on the wall, and boom! Done!

Here it is taking residence on our ever-developing frame wall that I finally got started on recently.  More on that later when it's a little more filled in.  

So I mentioned that I was able to use random thrifted and crafty materials I had collected, but I'll break down how much this puppy technically cost me:

Frame: $2 (thrift store find)
Jute twine: $2.50 (thrift store find - and will last many, many projects beyond this one)
Fabric: $2 (scrap on clearance at Hobby Lobby. Quick tip: ALWAYS check the clearance fabric section at your local craft store. It's where they stash fabric that has been mis-cut or cut and returned, and it's a great way to snag severely discounted fabric scraps that are super useful for random projects such as this one!)
Mini-clothespins: $3 (available at most craft stores)
TOTAL: $9.50 (And I will be able to use the remainders of everything above except the frame itself for future projects)
(Oh, and most people already own things like paint or hot glue, but if you didn't, that might add an additional $10-$15.)

So there it is. I rarely toot my own horn when it comes to home improvement or crafty endeavors, as the title of this here blog indicates very clearly, but this is one project I am pretty dang proud of. I had a little inspiration, yes, but from there it was all my own creative juices that went into this. And I'm even prouder to say I got 'er done with a whopping ZERO, count 'em, ZERO oopsies. Booyeah! Crafting win! 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Nuestro Sala: Antes y Despúes

I'm riding high on the wave of having finally gotten around to sharing before and after shots of our kitchen, so I'm back with the same shebang for our living room. I only have this one before shot (that I didn't think to take until after we'd taped off the room and started sampling color options):

And here are some afters from various angles:

 (You can see that I took these before I added the new art pieces I talked about here - when it comes to taking house pictures, I've learned to strike while the iron is hot clean, and get some shots that do not feature the typical cluttered mess that is our house. So I don't always have the most super up to date photos, seeing as how our house is typically spic-and-span only every so often. Usually this occurs when we have people over - people who we don't know quite well enough to be honest about the mess we usually live in with. That was an unnecessarily long explanation of why these pictures are a little old. Thanks for hanging in there). 

So there you have it. Really all we've done in here is paint, paint, paint and add furniture and art. Someday we'd love to change the configuration of the furniture in here (I'm thinking a larger, L-shaped couch option that leaves the left side of the room as seen in the picture above more open (sometimes walking around that chair gets a little irritating).  But anywhos, that's where we're at for now! 

Nuestro Cocina: Antes y Despúes

Can you tell I've been practicing my Spanish lately? Anyway, I finally wanted to share before and after pictures of our kitchen, because as I've mentioned previously, I have yet to go back and document some of the very first projects we tackled, pre-blog, our kitchen being one of them.  Without further ado: 

I don't have a "before" from the following angles, but here's a couple other "afters" for you, nonetheless.

Close up of our sweet hardware.

 So there you have it! Basically all we did was give most everything a major face lift - it's all the exact same materials, just with some paint slapped on it. We painted the walls, backsplash and trim, and used the Cabinet Transformation Kit from Rust-Oleum to change the color of the cabinets.  We added hardware and some art, as well as the green cabinet (that you can read more about here).

We have lots of other things we'd like to do in the kitchen someday, such as replacing the countertops (they are old, stained laminate), the sink (stained, scratched porcelain), and the appliances (old, white, and old). Oh, and our "if we won the lottery" ideas for this kitchen involve the possibility of knocking down walls and opening up the floor plan a bit, to create more of an open, "great room" feel throughout the first floor of the house, and maybe shifting things around, adding more cabinetry and counter space. But for now, this mini-facelift at least made us love the aesthetics of our kitchen while we wait to save up for major upgrades. (Oh and if you are interested in reading more about the various pops of red you see in the "after" shots and how that random color accent came to be, you can do there here and here).

So there you have it, finally.  Y'all have at this point seen many "afters" via posts about other little projects, but this is the first I've shared of the "befores," so hopefully you can appreciate how far our kitchen has come!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Adventure Awaits!

Our living room recently received an upgrade, in the form of some new art. I found a couple of prints on Etsy that I loved, from Andrea Lauren's store Paper-Sparrow (I highly recommend checking out her shop - she has tons of super cute prints! I'm still eyeing the "Bear's Bouree" print, so I might need to make that one mine at some point as well. Who doesn't love a banjo-playing, suspender-wearing bear?! I mean really). So anyways, two prints in particular caught my eye big time, so I made them ours and decided they belonged in our living room.  We had been living with just a simple wrought iron piece on the wall in there, so it was nice to add a little somethin' somethin'.

There's a before shot for y'all (which reminds me, yet again, I have yet to show the full on before-after pics of the living room! I'll get around to that someday...)

And, with our new additions!

Some close up shots for ya, to really see the beauty of the prints (sorry about the glare in the second one!) I love that they fill in that wall a little bit more, and the colors in both prints just so happen to coordinate PERFECTLY with the colors in the living room/kitchen (I don't have a shot that shows this, but the blue mountains are almost the exact color of the kitchen/living room accent wall - and the pops of red in the print on the right add to the ever developing red theme we have started, and that I have mentioned here, here, and here).  Not to mention, we love the sentiment and they fit in with our outdoor-loving-selves very nicely.

As far as how I framed them, that was a minor adventure. These prints are a very unique size, at 11x17, and I quickly learned that this is not a standard size for frames to come in. I really didn't want to have to shell out big bucks for custom frames, but luckily my typically uncreative brain had an outside-the-box moment and I found a solution! The frames you see were actually marketed as being meant for three 3x5 pictures.  Well I luckily was able to break the boundaries of frame marketing and realized that these were just the right size for my new prints! The only thing making them "meant" for 3x5 photos were three small stock photos shoved in there. Take those out, it's just one big frame. And perfect that there was no backing or anything, so I didn't have to worry about a mat or anything.  Oh, and while the size of the frames was perfect, they actually started out black, so I showered them in some Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint and kaplow! They now coordinate perfectly.

So there you have it. Our living room is slowly becoming more swell every day.

OOPS COUNT: One big oops, and may we take this opportunity to have a moment of silence for one of the original frames I bought that committed suicide by swan-diving off the wall when no one was home, resulting in fatal injuries. Which leads us to..

Lesson Learned: Sticking and re-sticking adhesive strips in order to ensure that a frame is in the right location will definitely compromise the stickiness of said adhesive strips, and will lead to your frame falling into a clinical depression and eventually taking it's own life. Measure twice, stick once.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Soap, Soap, Baby

So every once in a while I try to look at my blog from an objective outsider's perspective... Based on my last post, wow. Homeownership sure does seem pretty lame sometimes. I mean, I wrote an entire post about organizing cleaning supplies, hello. Oh well, I guess if you're gonna own in you've gotta just own it! (Get it?!) At least I haven't lost my razor-sharp wit along the way.

Anywhos, I recently checked off another small project off the 'ol to-do list. I had seen many different versions of "mason-jar soap dispensers" all over Pinterest, and I decided to try my hand at one. 


It was a ridiculously easy project, actually. I used a salsa jar (sans label) we had used to, you know, eat salsa out of, and started by poking lots of holes in the center of the lid with a tiny screwdriver. Once there were enough tiny holes, I merged them to make one big hole, just big enough for the pump to fit through. I spray painted the lid a navy blue, and left the pump au naturale (I heard that painting the pump is not the best idea because the paint inevitably scratches off as you pump). I also left the jar naked for now, as you can see, but might paint that down the line as well. 

So there you have it! I recommend this project to anyone who tends to D-I-Fail, as it was super easy and kind of idiot proof. AND, if you have a jar, a hand soap pump, and paint (which is actually completely optional), this project can be 100% free! Who doesn't like free?! I plan to make another for our main floor bath room whenever we get around to re-doing that sucker. In the meantime, I've become a jar hoarder. Oh well, there are worse things I could hoard. Until next time, y'all!

Operation Goodnight Kitchen Clutter

So, thanks to some ready-to-install helpful organization items from The Depot of Home, one area of our kitchen over the past few months has gone from messy cluttered nightmare to streamlined, organization unicorn heaven.  See, under our kitchen sink we have two false drawer fronts and a cabinet.  As with 99% of the American families, we use this under-the-sink-cabinet as a catch-all for various cleaning items (and two- yes, two- fire extinguishing options. Next time you see me ask me about the time I almost burned down our apartment with a tea kettle.)

Up until Operation GKC got underway, this cabinet was just a mess - stuff strewn about, shoved in the cabinet and fishing anything out was a nightmare of digging things out from under other things and causing a cascading avalanche of cleaning supplies as a result. (I apologize I did not snag photographic evidence of this natural disaster before the relief efforts began). So I purchased two ready to install slide out drawers meant to solve such problems as ours, and voila:

Kitchen Clutter Problem #2, the solution to which you got a sneak peek of in the above photos, was located about twelve inches north, at our sink (our ugly, scratched, stained, needs-to-be-replaced-yesterday sink). We like to have a little dish-soap dispensing scrubby brush on hand for when we hand-wash dishes, and it always ended up getting plopped on the edge of the sink. Not only was it not pleasant to have to look at it all the time, but it meant the edges of the sink were perpetually wet and soapy, and the thing rarely stayed put, so it was constantly sliding into the sink and getting in the way.  So I got a handy dandy tip-out-tray kit for the false drawer front and voila, yet again!

The false drawer front now tips out on hinges, and has a little tray to keep our little scrubby brush hidden and out of the way. Glorious!

While all I had to do was install these pre-invented solutions, I am still proud that I was, in fact, able to install these items without fail, and all by myself at that! It has helped tremendously in making this part of our kitchen feel organized and clean all the time. Hooray!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Duct Tape to the Rescue!

Duct tape truly has infinite uses, as evidenced by our latest mini-update in our never-ending bathroom redecoration. See, our master bath came with a medicine cabinet all up in the wall. No complaints at first, and we really like the hidden storage for all of our various forms of medicine. But when we painted and the space became a grey/white utopia, we hit a snag. See, the medicine cabinet is a lovely off-white/yellowy-beige color that just did not jive with all of the white & cool tones of the new bathroom. I pondered for a while what to do - paint it? (It's glossy, slick plastic so paint probably wouldn't stick very well) Buy a new medicine cabinet? (They are upwards of $100-200 so that wasn't so appealing) Just deal with it as is? (My OCD matchy-matchy color tendencies would have gone nutters over it eventually) As you've probably guessed by now, I ended up using white duct tape to cover up the beige frame. I just carefully taped around the edges, trying to be as neat as possible, and boom! White medicine cabinet. Like most things in our house, if you look closely, it's quite clearly duct tape and maybe not the neatest job in the world, but our house is not meant for the nearsighted. It solved the problem of the eyesore beige cabinet sufficiently for me (and I think this truly was a just-for-me project, as 2 days later Phil has yet to even notice anything is different.) See below for a before/after shot. Hopefully you can see the difference alright.

Cheers to one more thing crossed off the list! We are crawling towards the finish line on our bathroom/bedroom "remodel." Fingers crossed we are done by he end of summer?!