Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Framed Jewelry Organizer

At last, I have a finished project to share!  Not that I haven't been doing things and making stuff, but for some reason I just haven't taken the time to stage and photograph anything for a while.
This little jewelry organizer project has been long overdue.  After we moved, my earrings were stored in a tiny little pouch, jumbled and mixed up and exasperating to sort through to find the pair I wanted.
My necklaces had been laid out and then rolled up in a pillow case for transportation, but then what?  Previously they were all hung on pushpins stuck into the wall just inside my closet.  It worked fine, but that whole "out of sight, out of mind" saying definitely applied.  I hardly EVER wore them, so I was determined to display them somehow.
This organizer is nothing new, and certainly not anything earth shattering.  Just browse Pinterest for about 3 seconds and I'll bet you find a dozen just like it.  But let me tell you, it's been a long time since I've appreciated an afternoon project so much!

I started with some inexpensive whitewood boards and bought myself a miter box and back saw for $15 for the set.  The wire mesh is sold in a roll in the gardening section and costs under $10.  Originally I'd wanted to use that pretty metal sheeting with a clover pattern punched in it (I think it's used to cover radiators) but at almost $30 for one sheet you know THAT ain't happening.

I measured and began cutting my boards with my miter box, but that back saw was just too slow and labor intensive.  So I made a few passes with it to give myself a good start on the cut, then finished with my jig saw.  MUCH easier.

My cuts weren't perfect, but for a first time project using mitered cuts, it was fine.  I glued them together with Gorilla Glue and later nailed them at the corners with some brad nails for extra strength.

After painting and distressing I stapled the mesh to the back on the diagonal because I wanted diamond shapes instead of squares.  Because I'm weird.  ((And P.S.-- WEAR GLOVES!  That junk is sharp!))

Finally I added these pretty metal bin pulls (upside down!) that I got on Decor Steals for a couple of bucks apiece. They're just what I needed to keep my post earrings and hoops and extra backs nearby. Maybe someday I'll even make labels for them! ;)

There are lots of imperfections and things I would do differently if I did this project again, but that doesn't make me any less happy with the outcome.  It turned out like I wanted it to and I love it.  Mistakes and all.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Halloween witch lawn ornament from Martha!

I couldn't help myself.  I had to make a new Halloween decoration this year.  If you'd like to check out some of my past Halloween projects and decorations, click on the Halloween label to the right!
I've had my eye on this larger-than-life witch lawn ornament from Martha for a few years, and this was the year that I finally made her!
Martha gives great instructions, but I'll quickly walk you through what I did.
I started with an 4'x8' sheet of chipboard then free-handed the witch design on one sign with a Sharpie marker.  (You can print out the template from the link above if you want, then tape it to your board and just cut through the paper.  BUT it's 35 pages long and I just don't have that kind of printer ink!) 
Carefully cut out your design with a jig saw.

 Next I rolled on a couple of coats of black paint.  I used interior latex because that's what I had on hand, but if I had the option I'd buy exterior, just to make sure she lasts as long as possible.
 Because the chipboard was super textured I had to go back with a cruddy old paint brush to force the paint into the crevices.  Be sure you also paint around the edges really well!

You're also going to need to buy a 6' length of galvanized pipe, 3 straps that will fit over your pipe, 6 short screws to attach the straps to the witch, a screw hook, an old lantern and an old broom.

Using a small sledge hammer, bang your pipe into the ground at least a foot, or until it's sturdy enough to hold up your witch.  Strap the witch to the pipe...
 ...and an old broom to the back of her front hand...
 ...then screw your hook into her back hand.
 I bought an inexpensive outdoor ground light fixture, a flood light bulb and a reeeeeally long outdoor extension cord. If you can get your hands on an automatic timer that you can plug this into as well, that would be great. I wrapped the plugs in a plastic bag and duct tape, just to make sure they don't get wet.
I think her lantern is too small and the broom looks stupid, but that's okay.  Maybe I'll upgrade her next year.
 You can set up your ground light behind her for a back lit effect, but I found that lighting her from the front was pretty dramatic!

Oh, I'm so glad I finally made this!  I've gotten so many comments on her!

Go ahead, bust out your jig saw.  This is a Halloween decoration your neighborhood will be sure to notice!  ;)

Friday, October 5, 2012

Before and After: Bookcase

Friday AT LAST!  I don't know about you, but for me this week has dragged.  Maybe it had something to do with my thinking that yesterday was Friday for half the day.  Don't you hate when that happens?? 

Anyway, I've been puttering around the house trying REALLY hard to get it put together.  Most of the boxes are now unpacked or put away somewhere, we all have bedrooms that, while not really decorated much, are functional.  The kitchen is working, as is the bathroom, living room and family room.  My problem areas that remain are the pantry/laundry/craft/mud room and the dining room.

I'll get there.  Eventually.  But my motivation to get things done has abandoned me.  Stinkin' motivation. 

There are plenty of things that I should do around here, but occasionally I feel the need to do something unnecessary instead.  When I can't handle the thought of tackling yet another pile of our crap and trying to figure out where it should go, I do something entirely different.  Like paint the walls of my daughter's room or make over her dresser or hang curtains in the living room.  It gives me a sense of accomplishment, provides visual proof that I did indeed DO SOMETHING that day, and gets me away from the tedious task of sorting and putting stuff away for just a little longer.

Here's one of those little unnecessary projects from a few weeks ago.

When we moved here to Michigan from California, I got rid of quite a bit of stuff, including a couple of bookcases.  So when we got here that left me with, you guessed it, no bookcases!  We already had a pretty big list of things we'd need to buy, so instead of looking for a new one I dragged this grubby but sturdy one out of the garage and attacked it with my paint brush.  (Not sure why this one came with us, but I'm glad it did!)

I rolled on two coats of white paint and primer and intentionally ignored the back.

Instead of paint I applied some pretty contact paper to the back sections.  Pretty, huh?

I'd purchased two rolls of this contact paper at Marshall's a while ago, and it seems like every time I go they have several cute patterns to choose from.  Next time you're in there check out the stationary aisle.  (I think that's where I found it.) 

Projects like this that can be completed in a day or less are so gratifying, wouldn't you agree?

Now I really have no excuse to continue avoiding another project that's been hanging over me-- putting away the kids' books.  Ugh.  But at least they'll have a cute place to go if the motivation ever strikes!  :)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

My painted lamp (a Diddle Dumpling first!)

Have you ever spotted something in a thrift store, be it an item of clothing, accessory, decor item or piece of furniture and thought, "Hm.  Not bad.  But it could be BETTER!"  That's what this lamp had me thinking. 
Gourd table lamps seem to be all the rage lately, and while I didn't feel a burning desire to hunt down and purchase a gourd-shaped lamp of my very own, when I came upon this nice big one with its $3 price tag, I just couldn't pass it up. 

It's not that I disliked the ivory color.  Ivory is safe, and in the right space it would have been lovely.  But knowing where I wanted to put this lamp, the color felt boring to me.  And I definitely wasn't loving the brassy accents.   Besides, I've been dying to try painting a lamp for the longest time!

So I cleaned it off real good, covered the parts that I wanted the paint to stay off of with plastic bags and painter's tape...

...and got to priming!  I had to FORCE myself to be patient on this step.  When I'm working on furniture, normally I apply one somewhat heavy coat of primer, covering everything pretty well and then call it good.  But with this super glossy lamp I decided to go slow and applied 3 light coats of primer, allowing each coat to dry for about half an hour before applying the next.

Next came the color- a happy, glossy yellow from Krylon called "Bright Idea"- that I picked up at Wal-Mart.  Again, I tried to be patient and applied about 2 1/2 coats before I felt like it was good and covered.
I had kind of a hard time photographing the end result, so I apologize.  I topped the lamp with a nice big drum shade that I got at Target on clearance a while back.  The proportion was perfect for this bottom-heavy lamp. 

But then I noticed that my sweet shade had sustained a few bruises in our move that are painfully apparent when the light is on.  Between the seam on one side and the dents that seem to be spread out all the way around the shade, I can't just turn the unsightly part to the back.  Grr.

Can't see 'em when I use my flash, though!  Ha!

I can't stand the dents in the shade.  I'm scheming how I can camouflage those somehow.  In the meantime, though, I'm enjoying my happy new lamp.

Friday, September 7, 2012

More thrifty finds!

Hey, thanks for stopping back by!  I have some more thrifty fun stuff to share with ya today. 
First, I wanted to show you where I've been putting a lot of my little pretties. 
The house we're renting has a galley style kitchen with cabinets that go all the way to the ceiling.  At some point someone took the doors off the upper cabinets and lined them with some dark green (and wrinkly) contact paper.
The second thing I did when we got into this house (after scrubbing my fingers raw trying to get the rust stains off the bottom of the tub- ugh!) was tear out that contact paper.  I bought a roll of beadboard wallpaper from Lowe's and used it to cover up the layers of old wallpaper and moldy, crumbling plaster underneath the contact paper.

A coat of white paint all over the inside of the cabinets made them look fresh and pretty again.  Suddenly I had the perfect place to display some of my favorite things.
 On with the treasures!  I couldn't resist this rusty old enamel bucket, especially with that little blue stripe on the rim.  I think I may hang this galvanized metal envelope next to the front door for ingoing and outgoing mail.

Why does it look like camouflage?

These old cutting boards were too charming to pass up.

I'm not sure what this is made of, but underneath the words "hand forged" are stamped into the metal.

Pretty cool.

This linen lumbar pillow needs a little soak to brighten it back up, but I loved the embroidery and the hand-stitched rope trim.

I found another weird little acrylic accent lamp that was much heavier than the other ones.  This one has an actual stone base, though it doesn't stand up straight.  I think I can just tighten the nut that's underneath the felt on the bottom and that should do the trick.

More white serving dishes.  The oblong one on the left is ironstone and the big one on the right is just pretty.

The owners of this house left this cute hutch in the kitchen for more storage.  I gave it a fresh coat of white paint then just started stuffing it with my junk as I unpacked it. 
I shifted things and moved stuff from the hutch to the cabinets and vice versa, until eventually things settled and ended up looking pretty cute.

Okay, back to the thrifty goodness.  I'm not sure, but this might just be one of the cutest afghans I've ever seen.  Huh?  Huh?  It looks brand-spankin'-new, too.

I can't get over this cool wooden toboggan.  The pad is in rough shape, so I'll have to do something about that.  But it's pretty dang cute anyway.
See those two wooden boxes in the crappy photo below?

They're gonna end up looking something like this one, (from waaay back when).

Or maybe something like this one from last Christmas.

Check out this gorgeous gal.  Can't wait to freshen her up.

This sweet little nightstand was a steal and now lives next to my husband's side of the bed.  It definitely needs a facelift, too.  Don't worry, that'll be happening soon.

And just for fun, here's my bedside "table".  Love it!

Remember that big fat lamp from the last post?  Well, I finished it up and will have a tiny "before and after" on that one coming up.  Have a great weekend!!