Category Archives: DIY

I’m Back! And how to turn $10 into a custom light fixture

So I took a few months off of blogging. Creativity ebbs and flows – and the last couple months were more about getting along and less about craft projects and trying new recipes. We’re now in a new apartment – one that is bigger and in a great neighborhood, but has taken a little more elbow grease than the one before. I love a challenge, though! I had to pick my priorities, it’s a rental so changing EVERYTHING is out of the question. There’s a lot I will be blogging about in the coming months – how we painted the whole place for under $40, a massive kitchen update, and much more. One of the projects that has made the biggest impact is turning a boring and outdated dining room light fixture into a dramatic centerpiece. So here is the story of how I turned this:

Into this:

for $10!

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DIY: Recycled Cashmere Teddy Bears

Gift cycles tend to come in waves. You have graduation season, the wedding seasons, and then a few years later… babies. As we prepare for our upcoming trip to Denmark, we had several new births to celebrate. I wanted a gift that was sweet and personal, affordable but also a little luxurious. This craft was a great solution. Meet the teddies:

blueteddyclose teddiestogether

Sewing these little buddies requires moderate sewing skills, but the pattern is easy – if you’ve sewn any clothing, slipcovers, or pillows before I bet you’ll be fine. Most of the supplies can be purchased at any fabric or craft store – the cashmere can easily be found on Ebay, or in local thrift and discount stores (especially towards the end of winter). Continue reading

Making Yogurt

Stop grimacing! It’s not gross, I swear, and it’s not going to give you food poisoning. Making yogurt isn’t some special highly-complicated process best left to the pros, it is a simple food that any one of you can make at home. Why make it at home? It is cost-effective. A gallon of homemade yogurt costs you just what a gallon of milk does. Compared to cheap yogurt, this is at least  4 times cheaper, and compared to more expensive organic or Greek-style yogurt, it is just a fraction of the cost. It’s also much healthier – store bought yogurts often contain artificial sweeteners and flavors, high fructose corn-syrup, preservatives, and animal-based gelatin. It is also much better tasting – it has the delightful tartness of yogurt, without the sourness so prevalent in store-bought brands. It is the perfect companion to a big bowl of muesli in the morning, with a little drizzle of honey on top. Here is the summarized recipe, click below for the full details

yogurt in bowl

-Boil milk
-Cool milk to slightly warmer than body temp
-Whisk in a little existing yogurt
-Put in glass jars
-Keep warm in blankets for 8 hours
-Refrigerate for 5 hours

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Crafting an Outdoor Oasis

patioOne of my favorite summer rituals is enjoying a chilled drink on a shaded patio, watching the setting sun coax the sky through its series of SweetTart colors. One of the many benefits of our new apartment is the patio – it has a lovely view of the hills, kept private by some strategically placed trees. Additionally, the bedroom is now large enough to store the bikes, which means the patio can be a place to relax instead of a place to store “stuff”. This weekend we put together the final touches – hung the curbside chandelier, installed a “bar” (which is really a 6′ shelf from Home Depot attached with a couple of brackets), and took care of the little mosquito problem with the ingenious Off PowerPad Lantern.

Then an impromtu visit to a garage sale landed us with these impulse buys:

pepper plant

tomato plant

While we’re pretty excited to be growing what appears to be a plentiful pepper crop and… well… two decent tomatoes, we also really have no idea what exactly it is that we’re growing. Are any of you readers gardeners? Could you help me identify these varieties? The peppers are a light yellow, turning purple in areas, with small white blossoms. The tomatoes, well I suppose I don’t care too much about the variety, but I would welcome any advice as to how to get the plant to produce more fruit, I have one large tomato, one smallish one, and one flower bud that seems to have a tiny baby tomato coming out – but the few other buds just have some dried strings coming out of the middle, no fruit.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

DIY Litterbox vs. Booda Dome

So several weeks ago, I informed you all of my great attempt at a DIY litter box. It seemed so practical and affordable! I had great hopes for how my top entry box would nearly eliminate litter scatter. Here is my update and final decision, which box won out?

booda-dome vs     litterbox

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Refinishing an Antique Table

A few years back, I was lucky enough to stumble upon an incredible Craigslist deal – an antique mahogany drop leaf table with four matching chairs for under $100. Unfortunately, when I got the table home I realized it had more problems than the original owner had revealed. While the style was exactly what I wanted, the table top finish was in terrible shape. The original high-gloss shellac finish was now sticky, soft white puffy spots appeared at the presence of any condensation, and it was sentenced to life under a table cloth due to these problems. But the wood was beautiful, and I missed showing off the shapely legs. Here is how I restored the tabletop in under 4 hours and $50.





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DIY: Customize Store-Bought Slipcovers

I am not an expert seamstress, by any means. I can almost sew a straight line (almost), and this is enough to get me through most small projects. But the new kitty has really made a mess of our seagrass dining chairs, and they were in dire need of slipcovers, and my almost-straight-line-sewing prowess really wasn’t enough to get me through making custom slipcovers. The problem is, I really hate the look of poorly fitting covers. Here’s how I turned some generic store-bought slipcovers into semi-custom creations, with little more than a a few straight lines and some hot glue.

Before:                                                    After:
chair-before chair-after

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