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 One of the projects that has made the biggest impact is turning a boring and outdated dining room light fixture into a dramatic centerpiece.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:
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:
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
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?
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.
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.
This is an old project that came to mind as I was working on the chandelier. Buying nice, large lamps can get very expensive, but a big statement lamp makes a huge difference in a room. Or rather, a small lamp can look absolutely wimpy on a bedside table.
_ Continue reading
I like to have a place for all my things. Until today, I had not yet made a place for all the magazines I’m keeping around. I’m not a big magazine collector – but I do want to have a neat, organized location to store just a couple months worth (basically long enough for me to try all the recipes and read all the articles). I’ve always loved the vertical rod-and-slot system of storing newspapers at the library. The papers rested over a rod, then slide into a slot against the wall. It’s so space-efficient and tidy.
I had been turning this idea over in my head for a couple weeks when, on a walk with Kim, I stumbled upon a clearing full of fallen tree branches. Nice, relatively straight, plenty that were not too broken nor dry nor rotten. That’s where I got the inspiration for this organic-library hybrid magazine rack. I made mine fairly basic, but it would be easy to spray paint the twigs black first, or use a bolder colored twine to make it more interesting. You can also make it as long as you need – I’d love to see one going from the top of the door all the way to the floor!
- Fallen branches – look for fairly straight ones, strong enough to hold a magazine without bending. Also avoid branches with black rot, a lot of worm holes, or any visible bug colonies living inside 🙂
- Twine – I used 48 lb 3-ply jute, found in the jewelry section of a craft store. You’ll need about 4′ for each rod.
- Small Hand Saw – borrow one from a friend, neighbor, or parent
- Fine sand paper
- Collect as many branches as you desire, plus a few extra (in case some break, or turn out to be rotted)
- Use the saw to cut the branches down to size (about 18″)
- Cut 4 pieces of twine – 2 for each side. For my 13-rod rack, I needed each piece to be about 12′.
- Take 2 pieces of twine, hold together and fold in half. Wrap the end around your top rod, and tie a basic knot.
- Tie another knot, then split the bunch into 2 and 2, sliding the next piece in between.
- Repeat the double knotting, splitting, and knotting again until you get to the end of one side.
- Wrap the ends around the last piece a few times, and tie the ends together securely.
- Repeat for other side, sliding the branches as you go to keep them centered. You want to make sure there’s at least an inch of stick outside the knot, so it doesn’t fall out of place.
- To hang, insert nails through the top knot (under the first rod). Hammer in place. Make sure that the nails are in deep enough to keep it secure, even when tugging.
- Hang your magazines on the rack by splitting the pages in half and lying it over one rod, then tucking the front section behind the next rod.
- Do be warned that kitties think sticks and string are super fun.