Make your own rose from Beauty and the Beast

 

Recently, my niece and I saw the new live-action Beauty and the Beast. We, of course, loved it!! For her 10th birthday, I really wanted to get her a rose under a bell jar, like in the movie. I searched for some, but there are none being mass-produced or sold by any retailer. The only ones I found were on Etsy, and, while beautiful, they were a bit more expensive than I was hoping for. As usually happens when I discover things that are too expensive, I thought to myself “I could totally do that!” And, so can you!

 

 

Supplies

  • Large Cloche/Bell Jar with wood base – $15. I found mine at Michael’s. It was $30, but I had a half-off coupon from the Michael’s app
  • Small wood balls or spools to add some height to the jar – $3.16. I set the jar on a few different options before choosing my favorite. You’ll want something tall enough to hide the battery pack under the jar. The ones I found were 79 cents apiece.
  • Fake Rose – $5. Make sure it is a size that looks good under the jar. Michael’s had a gorgeous large fake rose, but it was too big. I ended up going with a slightly less gorgeous (but still pretty) one from JoAnn’s that fit better.
  • Fake Rose Petals – $1. Rather than buying another $5 fake flower to tear apart for petals, I picked up one from Dollar Tree. The flower itself wasn’t nice at all, but since I was just pulling petals off, it worked perfect! You can also find fake rose petals in the wedding section of most craft stores, but, again, why pay the extra money?
  • Battery-powered LED string lights – $0. These, I already owned. (I have a few of them actually.) Make sure you get the LED lights on a wire string so they are easy to bend – and, as LED’s, they will not get too hot. You can find these in craft stores, or on Amazon for cheap, like under $10. For a bit more, you can get them with a remote control too. 6 feet is plenty long enough for this purpose.
  • Floral Tape – $1.50. Just basic green floral tape
  • Wood stain, paint brush – $0. I used a dark stain that I had left over from a previous project, as the base of the jar was already stained, and the wood spools were unstained. I prefer a foam brush for applying stain.
  • Spray or brush-on polyurethane to finish the wood – $0. I already had a satin spray on-hand, but glossy is a good option too!

My Project Total: $25.66

Tools

  • Wire cutter to cut the fake rose down to size.
  • Latex Gloves. Stain is awful to try to get off your hands!
  • Super glue, or other fast-acting adhesive. This is for gluing the lights in place around the rose petals. I found super glue did discolor the fake rose a bit, but I’m not sure any glue would behave any differently. If you have other options, go for it. I’d avoid hot glue for this purpose, however, as the petals are very thin and you’ll burn yourself. As it was, I got my fingers stuck with the super glue a few times.
  • Acetone, or other solvent. To un-stick your fingers after using the super glue! And to remove stain from your hands/arms/face (depending on how aggressive you are with your staining!)
  • E6000 or wood glue. This is to attach the spools to the base. Neither are fast-acting adhesives, so be sure to give yourself some time for the glue to cure.
  • Hot glue gun. To glue the rose petals and lights in place on the base of the jar.
  • Handheld drill with drill bits. Best to have a few drill bits that are around the same size as the diameter of the fake rose. More below
  • Scissors to clean up the edges of the fake rose and petals.

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DIY Sink #1: Build your own custom pedestal sink

(I know, it sounds daunting, but I promise, you can do this!)

beforeWP_20140125_004The one bathroom in my house is very small – 5 feet by 8 feet small. The previous owners had put in a small vanity and sink to allow for more storage. But the bulky thing took up way too much space and made the bathroom seem even more cramped. I knew the bathroom needed to be updated, and I needed a smaller sink.

I looked at pedestal sinks first. While they are much more compact, they do not afford for any storage space. While wandering a couple of local bathroom showrooms, I discovered console sinks. While the footprint is a bit larger than a pedestal sink, the open legs make it feel more open, and many have an open shelf underneath that allows for storage. Of course, I was finding that console sinks are a little pricey. And, as often happens, I found myself thinking, “I could make that!” And so I did!

Finding the perfect sink basin
1385692_10151923711769255_1111050535_nI love used building supply stores. In Seattle, we’re lucky enough to have a few of them. Among all the cool old light fixtures and vintage décor, there always seem to be a large number of sinks and bathroom supplies there. I knew I needed just the basin, and that it needed to have a flat bottom. I also measured the area I wanted to install it in so I knew the widest the sink could be.

I hit the jackpot at my favorite second-hand building store – Earthwise in South Seattle. There was a beautiful sink basin that was missing it’s pedestal, and so was on sale for $35. Flat bottom, perfect size, I was in love!

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Create your own Oscar gift bag!

Aviary Photo_130691367743670724This year’s Oscars has again made the news for the extravagant gift bags, boasting $168,000 of giveaways. Gifts include an $800 candy buffet, a “glamping” vacation, makeup, furniture, liposuction and even a vibrator! While the rest of us will likely never be given a prize quite so grandiose, you can put together your own glamorous gift bag for far less than $168k – even less than $5 – with inexpensive, and even FREE items that will make your friends feel extravagant too! 

The gift bags I made were actually made for my Singles Awareness Day Party – a Valentine’s Day alternative for my wonderful single girlfriends (and one married gal whose husband was ecstatic to get out of V-day responsibilities). But you can create these for your next Oscar party, bridal shower, baby shower, or any other gathering. These gifts turned out better than I could have ever hoped for! Here’s how I did it:

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Easy, adorable, no-sew re-upholstered footstool

beforeafterUpholstery is one of those DIY projects that can be really easy or really tough! I’ve done a couple chairs (one here), one with help from an upholstery class. I have a recliner I’d love to reupholster, but I am definitely not experienced enough to attempt it. However, there are some very simple upholstery projects that require no more than a staple gun, glue gun and some scissors – these include most dining room chairs, benches and footstools. These are the upholstery projects I – and you – can do!

Awhile back, I picked up this ugly footstool at a thrift shop for $5. I was drawn to it because the lid opens to reveal storage – reminded me of a mini piano bench. And the stool itself was in great shape – the wood was not scratched, the hinges worked perfectly, and it really seemed like it had never been used. (Probably because it was ugly!)

I had some leftover faux fur from a cape and muffs I had made for a friend’s wedding. I knew the fur would be perfect for this little bench that was just screaming for a girly makeover.

DSCF0505Materials

  • Faux fur or other fabric – enough to cover with a couple inches overhang on each side to staple down
  • Fleece
  • Padding (I used the existing padding – it was still in good shape)
  • Staple Gun
  • Screwdriver
  • Glue gun
  • Sample-size paints from the home improvement store
  • Primer
  • Paint brushes – small brush, larger brush and sponge brush for ombre legs

Step One: Prep
Remove the hinges and all fabric from the lid. Determine if the padding from the lid is in good enough condition to reuse. Clean the wood with TSP or similar cleaner. Sand wood with fine grit sandpaper to scuff up any stain or paint.

DSCF0516Step Two: Primer
Primer is key, especially if there was an existing finish on the bench. I had plenty of leftover primer from other projects. You can also use a paint/primer combo – but if you do, I recommend a little heavier sanding first to get through the existing finish. Coat the body, legs, and inside the storage area with primer. Odds are, the legs of the bench unscrew like mine did. I unscrewed them to apply the primer and paint to the body and then loosely screwed the legs back in to paint and primer those also. This keeps primer and pain from gunking up around the tops of the legs.

WP_20140317_010Step Three: Paint
Again, I had some leftover white paint from other projects. For the pink, I went to Lowes and got a $3 sample paint in a darker pink. My bench had a groove running along the bottom edge. This was perfect for me to paint pink. If you don’t have any such details, you can always use painters tape to create a stripe. Or just keep it solid.

For the legs, I wanted to do an ombre pink, starting darker at the bottom of the legs, moving lighter as I went up. I used a couple paper plates to mix the dark pink with the white to blend three shades of pink. Starting with the lightest shade, I painted the entire leg. When that dried, I started a third of the way down or so with the medium pink paint and a sponge brush, blending in the medium pink. Then, after that dried, I sponged on the dark pink. It turned out as good as I had hoped.

DSCF0575Step Four: Cover with fabric
Cut out the fabric you’re using to cover the top of the bench. Make sure you leave enough overhang on each side to fold over and staple down. If you are using faux fur as I did, there is a definite trick to cutting the fur without making a huge mess. DO NOT USE SCISSORS! Use a razor blade or knife to the back of the fur to cut just the backing. (see here for more instruction). Once you’ve cut to size, put the padding between the lid and the cover. Wrap the cover fabric around and staple down to the lid. I found, with the fur, that I did have to trim the fur a little shorter to have the staples stick better. Also, with thicker fabric, you may need to trim out the corners for them to lay a little flatter.

Step Five: Finish
To make the inside of the lid a little more appealing, I covered the center with white fleece. I trimmed the fur so that the fleece laid flatter, and then used a glue gun to attach it to the underside of the lid. Then, screwed the hinges back on and DONE!

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Reviving that plain old knife block

WP_001213Ok, so maybe the appearance of your knife block isn’t the biggest concern you have. It wasn’t mine either. But, after renovating the kitchen, having that ugly lump of wood on my beautiful new countertops was just a bummer. I’ve been wanting to experiment with chalkboard paint, and decided this was the perfect way to try it out!

What you need

A wooden knife block. If you don’t have one already, every thrift shop in the country has a few on hand. Pick one that matches the knives you have – or pick knives to fit the block!
Primer
Chalkboard paint – preferably spray paint
Chalk

 

Instructions

First, thoroughly clean the knife block. If you have TSP, this is best, as it will remove any grease stains. Let it dry.

WP_001215If your knife block has a magnet in the back for extra knives (mine did), you should cover the magnet with masking or painter’s tape.

Coat the block with the primer. If you’re using a spray primer, I would put two to three coats on. If you’re brushing it on, one coat should be sufficient. Follow the instructions to ensure sufficient dry time.

 

WP_001218Once your primer is dry, spray on the chalkboard paint! I do recommend the spray just because knife blocks are such odd surfaces, with all the holes. The spray will just coat easier. But feel free to brush it on also.

With a spray, you’ll need to do 3-4 coats. It is always best to do very thin coats with the spray, as it can easily drip or run down the sides.

Let the paint dry completely. Remove the tape, if you used it. Decorate the sides with chalk, put the knives back in and voila! A fun update to your kitchen counter!

 

 

(Oh, and yes, I did write “Caution! Sharp!” on the knife block. I need reminders like those!)

The best way to store Christmas lights

WP_001096I love Christmas decorations!  So the first week of January is always sad for me – it’s when I have to take down the tree and the Christmas decorations. This year, I discovered an infinitely easier way to store Christmas lights.

Every year, we all have this same issue – all the Christmas lights are in a big tangled mess. It takes forever to untangle. And you know some don’t work, but you have to get them untangled to figure out which string is having the issues. Well, there is an easier way – and it’s cheap!

 

WP_001098WP_001099First, take a cardboard poster tube. It should be relatively stiff cardboard – a paper towel roll might work, but may also be too flimsy. A one and a half to two inch diameter poster tube is perfect. Note: for a 100-light string, you will need about a one-foot length of tube. Cut a 2-inch slice into each end of the tube. Slide the female end of the string (the side with the outlet holes) into the sliced opening. Tuck the end into the tube.

Start wrapping the light string around the tube. Keep the light bulbs sticking out away from the tube, rather than tucking them under the string. Continue wrapping around the tube, keeping the string pretty tight together.

When you’re done, tuck the female end of the string into the slice you cut on the other end of the tube. Repeat with all your lights. These tubes are easy to stick into a storage box and store until next year. And, even better, when you pull them out of storage next year, all you need to do is pull the plug out from the tube and plug it in to the wall to see if the lights are all still working. No untangling needed!

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Handmade cake plate

IMG_3409One of my favorite sites put out this great book with so many DIY projects. One of my favorite projects is a DIY cake plate. This is an easy project that allows for so much personalization. And the primary pieces required can be found inexpensively at your local thrift store!

Supplies needed:

Plates – dinner plate size is best, or fancy china
Glass candlesticks
Clear epoxy
Goo Gone

 

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My Kitchen Renovation–First Weekend

DSCF0284bSince the day I moved into my house 3 1/2 years ago, I’ve been dying to update the kitchen. I hate the laminate counters, with the fake wood look. I hate having a stovetop taking up a massive amount of counter space, with the tiniest oven known to man in the cabinet across the kitchen. While I like the solid oak cabinets, the color is dated and the hardware is dreadful.

After debating a few configurations, I settled on the least destructive. But, before I could do anything, I needed to find a 24” range oven. Standard size is 30”, but I have a small kitchen, and in order to keep the drawers I definitely wanted to keep, I settled for 24”. Anything’s larger than the old one anyway! Once I found one, hardly used, for $300 on Craig’s List, it was ready to start the kitchen renovation!

Here are my tasks (at a high level):

  1. Cut out the existing cabinet and remove the cooktop
  2. Wire up a new outlet.
  3. Insert the 24” Range in it’s place
  4. Build up the piece on the left side, against the wall, to support a thin countertop
  5. Refinish the cabinets with white paint 
  6. Put on fabulous new hardware
  7. Get new countertops installed
  8. Paint the walls a cheery yellow
  9. Install a tile backsplash – subway tile with green accent
  10. Build new cabinets or open shelving above the new range, to include the range hood

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Summer BBQs–Festive decorations for your parties!

IMG_3802Summer is finally upon us! Which means it is time for summer BBQs with friends! In Seattle, summer doesn’t really begin until the 4th of July, which is truly a perfect excuse for a party! Here are some fun, easy, and INEXPENSIVE ways to create festive decorations for your holiday party table.

One day, while home sick from work, I was watching the Nate Berkus show and was inspired by an episode on thrifting. He had a segment with a fantastic blogger, Mr. Kate, who created a beautiful holiday table with all thrift store finds. With a little bargain hunting and couple cans of spray paint, you can do the same.

Do a little shopping

Mr. Kate went into the thrift store imagining beyond just what she was seeing. Sure, that ceramic eagle figurine w/ the muted pastel colors and the weird eyes looks pretty creepy now, but spray painted white, it’s a great accent for a 4th of July table. Those slightly rusty metal bowls have great lines, and with a couple coats of navy blue and a cloth napkin liner, they could be the perfect bowl for your buns. And, at 30 cents a piece, you can spray paint the handles of thrift store silverware for a fun look. Whatever you can’t find at the thrift store, you can supplement at the dollar store. I found plates and napkins at the Dollar Tree – they fit in perfectly!

Here are my finds: Continue reading

My chair is finally done!

IMG_2315beforeIMG_2314before2

About a year ago, I found an ugly, waterlogged chair on the side of the road. It was pouring down rain, and the chair was gross. But, I loved the structure of it, so I took it home with me, determined to refinish it. Finally, a year later, it is done! And I am so happy with it!

The deconstruction of the chair took me nearly as long as putting it back together. After letting it dry out, I tore off all the fabric. Under that was layers of old batting and a sort of nylon/plastic netting. I’m sure it has a formal name, but I don’t know what it is. Then came the staples. Hundreds and hundreds of staples to pull out. I didn’t get all of them, but I pulled out as many as I could.

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