Projects

diy play kitchen

Well I did it.  I built a play kitchen out nothing more than a (carefully selected)  pile of wood.   And I needed to wait to write about it because there would very likely be an expletive  between “diy” and “play kitchen” in the title otherwise.

Those of you who know me, know that this was the bane of my existence last December.  It owned me.   It tortured me.   It consumed me.

It had to.  I had proclaimed to the world that this was Abby’s “big” Christmas gift and therefore all other gifts were centered around it.  Seriously.  Grandparents were buying pots and pans.  Aunties were buying play food.  The kitchen had to be done by Christmas.

And that my friends,  is the last time I will ever put that sort of pressure on myself.   Every night after dinner I would go out to the garage and work.  Cutting, sawing, screwing, drilling, kreg jigging, gluing, sanding.  Sanding.  Sanding.  Sanding.  Sanding.  Priming.  Painting.  Caulking.  Painting.  Did I mention sanding?

Let’s just say it took a lot of time.

But do you know what took just as much time?  If not even more?

Stalking Home Resource for the perfect faucet (then cleaning said faucet), scouring the dollar store for a sink that would fit, searching on Amazon for cheap 10.5” handle bars to use for a towel rack and oven door.  Researching how to cut Plexiglas so it doesn’t break (hint, have the hardware store do it for you!  Duh).  Strolling the aisles of the hardware store for matching oven knobs.  Googling for cheap “stove burner” ideas.    Tracking lost orders from Amazon with my oh-so-special purchases (yes that happened.  And no it never arrived).  Oh.  And sewing.  Don’t forget the sewing….which requires picking out fabric.  Something I am notoriously and painstakingly indecisive about.

Looking back I would say this project wasn’t that difficult and I probably would have enjoyed it so much more without the added pressure of a deadline.  I mean build a couple of boxes and attach some hardware right?  But for some reason it was nearly the death of me.  I blame the perfectionist in me.  I blame the stress of the Holidays.  I blame Pinterest.  All of them tried to take me down.  Tried to make me think I couldn’t do it.

But I did.

And it’s kiiiiiiind of awesome.

This thing is solid.   I did a mighty fine job if I do say so myself.  And praise the baby Jesus:  Abby likes it too.

So let’s just get on with it eh?  Because I’m starting to think maybe I didn’t wait long enough to write about this.

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Oh little kitchen.  How you look so unassuming.

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The answer to your question, is “yes.”  Yes the oven has a light.  Yes those stove knobs turn.  Yes that’s stellar attention to detail with the charcoal colored oven inside.  Yes that’s a real faucet.

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Because everyone needs a shelf for their tea set and baby bottles.

Oh, you don’t keep your baguette in the cupboard?  Weird.  Clearly you should.

I wish I could tell you that I documented this whole process for you.  But this was back when the last post I had written was in September.  And seriously, I had no extra time to document anything.  Both of these pictures were taken with my phone after I was so excited for “coming so far.”

HA!  Hindsight is 20/20.  And often hilarious.

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Like here, when I’m sure I was thinking “well look at me! One down, one to go. Easy Peasy!”

 

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Or here, when I was like “In the home stretch now!” hahahahaha! You wish.

 

Luckily….Abby seriously loves it.  She plays with it everyday.  When I’m at the (real) kitchen sink, she runs to her sink and does dishes.   She puts things in the oven, turns the knob, and bends down to check on them (I kind of die), she insists on using the drying towels on her kitchen after we wash her hands.  Her and dad “make stew” all the time.  She cooks an egg in the morning and brings it to me.

It was all worth it. 

Every cuss word.  Every late night.  Every stress-induces glass of wine.  Running my arse all over this damn town.  The violent illness that followed 3 hours after I deemed it “done.”

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Yep.  Totally worth it (heart melting).

So, I know when I was building this I was searching high and low for ideas and helpful hints.  And if you’ve come here looking for detailed instructions I’m sorry.  However, here’s my source list.

  • Kitchen Plans – Ana White
  • Wood – Home Depot (they were pennies different from Lowe’s)  Total was probably around $80.
  • Paint – Valspar Schoolboy Blue.  Oven paint was leftover test-pot grey I had on hand.
  • Sink – freakishly small “brownie pan” from the Dollar Store
  • Faucet – $3.00 local Home Resource find (score)
  • Towel bar – Style Selections 12.5” Brushed Satin Nickel Bar Cabinet Pull,  Lowe’s  $7.53
  • Tension rod for curtain – Room Essentials Tension Rod, Target  $3.99
  • Curtain – handmade.  Sorry, not sure of the exact fabric, but I found it all at JoAnn.
  • Hand Towel – handmade.  Used a cloth diaper (bought at Target) and just sewed some extra fabric on the end to spice it up.
  • Oven knobs –  Lux Burner Knobs, Ace Hardware  $23.99
  • Oven pull – Style Selections 7.5” Brushed Satin Nickel Bar Cabinet Pull , Lowe’s  $5.37
  • Plexiglass – cut-to-size at Ace Hardware $1.70
  • Hooks (for oven mitts) – Threshold Satin Nickel, Target  $5.99
  • Oven rack – donated from my personal collection
  • Stove burners – JoAnns.  They’re the painted backside of a wooden soccer ball disk thingy.

I hope that helps at least one person who is in the process of making their own #%)(@#% play kitchen.  I kid, I kid.

Kind of.

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xoxo,

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diy fall wreath

I’ve loved fall before the advent of pumpkin lattes, the tall-boot trend and the  desire to add pumpkin to everything I stuff in my face.

These things have just deepened my love for fall.

In addition to these fall must-haves, I’ve discovered that I need a new fall wreath every year.  Not want.  NEED.

You may remember last year when I fell in love with this guy:

 this might be the winner for fall wreaths...love it.

My heart still skips a beat when I see this.  I love everything about it.

Problem was (and still is), is that it’s made out of cornstalk tops (yes, that’s the technical term).  And lots of them.  I don’t have access to cornstalk tops…so last year I settled for my second favorite wreath, the Nonna wreath from JDC:

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I still love the Nonna, and she’s proudly hanging in our living room again.  But I couldn’t get ‘ol cornstalk-top out of my head, so in an effort to deter myself from poaching a farmer’s field after midnight, I went back to Pinterest  to find an alternative option.

Autumn Wreath   Hand Crafted Fall Wreath   Front Door Wreath For Fall  Natural Wreath   Dried Wreath  Autumn Decor on Etsy, $70.00
Rustic burlap wreath.... Want to make one for our front door with some fall flowers added to it.
Love this front door decor for fall... especially the wheat wreath w/ burlap bow... simple but warm and welcoming
Burlap Fall Wreath for Front Door or Wall | WeHaveWreaths - Housewares on ArtFire  www.facebook.com/CraftCreationsbyJen Twig Wreath. For the front door for Fall.

I liked all of these options (especially the upper-right one)…but then I found this one:

StoneGable: RAFFIA WREATH TUTORIAL....I am for sure making this for the fall!!!

And I knew it was The One.  I mean, it was big, crazy, and disheveled…just like the cornstalk-top one.  Plus, it’s made of raffia, which is easily-accessible.  Unlike cornstalk-tops.

I’m not doing a tutorial here because the one at Stone Gable is great.  I will say a couple of things though:

  • I didn’t bother with hot glue.  Mostly because I bought the full-size sticks instead of the mini-sticks and I was too annoyed to wait until I had time to exchange them.
  • It’s a very messy project.  Don’t do it on your couch while watching America’s Next Top Model.  At least….I hear that you shouldn’t do that….it’s not like I watch that show.
  • The tutorial only instructed you to do 1 row of raffia around the wreath.  I did three.  I like it big.  But because of this, it took a little over 2 hours to do.  Not exactly a speedy process.
  • I can’t find those damn bleached oak leaves for the life of me (ok, I went to one store).   So mine doesn’t have them.  I wish it did though…

So…here she is in all her big, crazy glory:

(oh, and yes.  I did paint my front door black.  Thanks for asking!)

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It’s surprising to me that I like this unruly thing….but oh how I do.  The only thing that could make it better is the bleached oak leaves.  I suppose I could check out more than one a few more stores.  Or I could just strut around in my tall boots with a pumpkin latte eating pumpkin everything.

Yes.  That sounds like a better idea.

What about you?  Do you like clean-cut wreaths or crazy messy ones like this?  Have you made any this fall that I need to see?

P.S.  Did you know that if you subscribe to my blog, or “Like” twsst on Facebook, you’ll know there’s a new post up before everyone else?   You can do either from the right hand column!

let there be color

I’ve been in desperate need of a project.  Something quick and easy that could be worked on in the evenings.  Something that would scratch my project itch. 

Because, ya know…I haven’t really done anything DIY since a certain little pumpkin came around.   

Which was fine….

Until it wasn’t fine. 

Projects are an outlet for me.  They keep me busy, inspire me to want to do more, give me a creative outlet, and give me a sense of accomplishment.  And frankly I just like doing them.

It’d been over six months since I tackled something big.  Something more than just a burp cloth, ruffled flower, or quick roman shade. 

I looked around my house and my eyes landed on our rusty, scratched, dirty patio table.

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Yep, this thing could use a little TLC.

I bought this table 6 or 7 years ago thinking it would be great for a summer or two.  You know, until I bought real, grown-up patio furniture. 

Yet here she sits. 

And since grown-up furntiture really isn’t in our budget anymore, the least I could do was give her a facelift.  AND, since I don’t have the luxury of  (aka, time) being indecisive about things anymore, I decided I wanted this table BOLD.  Something super fun, happy and springy.  

Surprising, right?  Given my neutral tendencies.

Brace yourself.  Things are about to get cuh-ray-zee up in here.

….

….

building suspense….

….

more suspense…

….

…wait for it….

….

BAM!

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Eek!  Isn’t it awesome!?  I mean, it’s a little out there, but what the heck?  It’s just what I wanted:  bright, bold and fun. 

And bonus, I finally got to introduce some ikat into my repertoire.  Probably just in time for it to go out of style.  Sigh. 

In case you’re wondering, it’s Richloom Solarium Outdoor Sumter Ikat Sky.

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It’s a breath of fresh air to get some color around here.  

As for the degree of difficulty – I’d give it a one on a scale of one to ten.   It just took me three nights to get ‘er done.  The first night I recovered the seat cushions by simply unscrewing the seat bottoms and covering the existing grey cushion.  Which was super easy and fun.  Who doesn’t love to use a staple gun?   The second night I disassembled the table, washed everything up and gave it a few good solid coats of spray paint.  Then I ran out of spray paint.   So the third day I bought two more cans and finished with a final coat that night.  Easy peasy.   I used the Valspar Outdoor paint which is awesome because you don’t have to do a primer or a top coat.    Score.

Here’s the cost breakdown.

  • 2 yrds of Richloom Solarium Outdoor Sumter Ikat Sky ($8.98 ea):  $17.96 – which ended up only being $14.36 after googling around for a 20% off coupon.
  • 5 cans of Valspar Outdoor spray paint in peacock blue ($4.98 ea) :  $24.90. 

TOTAL:  $39.26

Not too shabby for a complete update.   Honestly, it made me wonder why the heck didn’t I give this thing a facelift years ago.    We’ve still got a long way to go on our patio itself (I didn’t even put flowers back there this year….whoops), but our bright new table has given me renewed interest in working on a few things out there.

And to be honest again…I’m sliiiiiiightly worried I’ll be over the turquoise someday (like, maybe next spring??).   Luckily I know it’s not that big of a project to tackle and it’s easy to switch up.   So if I find myself longing for neutrals again (and who are we kidding; it’s just a matter of time), all it will take is 2 nights and 5 more cans of spray paint.

So for now, my project itch is satisfied.  But I do have quite a few others up my sleeve that hopefully I’ll be starting on soon!   I mean, it is nearly hunting season….I’ve got to come up with a few things to keep me occupied. 

What say you?  Do you like the bold choice of color?  Do you think I’ll be sick of it next summer?

from tablecloth to crib skirt

What what? 

A tablecloth turned into a crib skirt you say?  No.  Impossible!  It’s too crazy!

Or is it

Couldn’t it be that a tablecloth is just a big piece of fabric waiting to be concocted into something fabulous?

And if you’re like me and you can’t stand the thought of paying $50, $100, or more for a crib bedding set…you learn to cut corners.  Or…”take inspiration where you find it.”  (Booyah!  Remember when I said I was going to start saying that?!?!). 

To be honest, this project was primarily fueled by the fact that the one and only bedding set I fell in love with was $500.    That’s right. 

Five.

Hundred.

Dollareenies.  (The Jerk anyone?  Anyone?) 

Apparently I have impeccable taste:

It was the bedding set that all other sets would thereby be judged against.  And never come close to.   

So knowing I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night after paying five. hundred. dollars for a bedding set, I kinda put the search on hold for a while and turned my attention elsewhere. 

Then I ran across these guys at Target which served as my color inspiration.  Remember?

Well not too long after that, I got a text from my sister asking if I’d seen the matching tablecloth/napkins in that set:

Why no, no I hadn’t.   I immediately secured 1 tablecloth and 1 (set of 4) napkins. 

Some of you may recognize the napkins from this project.

And the tablecloth?   Well, it’s now our totally-functional-and-adorable-yet-affordable crib skirt.  Here’s how it all went down.

First:  buy your husbands favorite beer and ask him to pretty please help you put the crib together. 

Second:    paint the crib drawer because the current “amber” color doesn’t match the espresso wood you have elsewhere in the room.

Third:  smack yourself for being so Type A.

Fourth:  measure the width/height of the desired skirt and add 2 inches for a seam allowance.  For example, I wanted the front panel of my skirt to be 10″x49″ when all was said and done.  So I cut my fabric piece to 12″x51″. 

Fifth:  Repeat for each side section.

Sixth:  Iron a 1/2 hem on all sides of each skirt piece.

Seventh:  Sew your recently ironed hems. 

Eighth:  Sew each panel together so you have one loooooooong crib skirt.

Ninth:  Iron on small velcro pieces every 4-5 inches.

Tenth:  Secure to the mattress frame using the velcro pieces. 

 

Lastly:  sit back and admire your handy-work that saved you four hundred and eighty dollareenies. 

Not too shabby for $20, eh? 

Hmm.  Do my pictures look super grainy to you??   I’m not too pleased with them myself…I think my ‘ol point-and-shoot is finally rebelling against me and my blogging.   It obviously isn’t because I take bad pictures.

So what do you think?  (no, I’m not asking if you think I take bad pictures!)

Can you understand why I fell for that $500 bedding in the first place?  It’s to die for, right?!  But my conscience and my wallet are thanking me for cutting corners and settling for something that will work just as well.  Not only did it save me a bundle, I actually really really like it!

Now let this be a lesson to ya’ll…napkin, tablecloth or curtain…things aren’t always what they seem! 

Oilo Modern Berries Crib Set pic found here.  Sigh.

Painted Dresser

Happy Halloween!

I should probably be posting something Halloweenie today…but I just couldn’t wait to share the nursery dresser with all of you!  So that’s what you get.  Hope all of you have a spooktacular Halloween!

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When I started thinking about the nursery, I knew we’d need some sort of dresser and I was determined to find an older one that I could give a little TLC.    Not only to save some money, but because I’m weird and like doing that sort of thing.  So I literally started scouring Craigslist when I was about 10 weeks pregnant.   It took a lot longer than I thought to find something that I liked, or one that the seller wasn’t being completely insane about their asking price. 

I finally found a dresser that was solid wood, good construction and in need of a little lovin’.  The price was a bit more than I wanted to spend on something I was going to have to put work into…but I ended up liking it so much that the $100 seemed worth it.  Especially given how long it took me to find this one!  If I remember correctly (which it’s quite possible I don’t…pregnancy brain is REAL) I was about 18 or 20 weeks along when I finally found it.  

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It’s not often you find furniture these days with any character.  I love the curved legs and detail on the top two drawers.   It was perfect. 

Not to mention that it’s solid wood (another rarity it seems) and had good construction.  Like dove-tailed joints:

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My plan is to use this dresser as the changing table for the first few years.   I personally don’t see any reason to buy a “changing table” when you can simply put a changing pad on top of a dresser and then remove it when you’re done.   Right?  Right!

The process I used for refinishing this piece was pretty straightforward; I relied on one of Kate’s tutorials over at Centsational Girl.  This girl can work some magic with a paintbrush!  Check out her Project Gallery if you have some time!  You’re sure to be inspired. 

Based on Kate’s suggestions, here was my arsenal:

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I started with about 20 minutes of light sanding.  Since I planned on painting (and not staining) sanding isn’t of upmost importance.  But it’s still good to give it a once-over and clean up any dings or remove varnishes.

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Next comes the wood filler.  This stuff is great for filling in any significant scratches, blemishes or old hardware holes.

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Next up?  Primer.  Easy schmeasy.   I’m going to be honest, I kinda forgot to take many pictures at this point.    Please refer to pregnancy brain comment above.   So if you’re looking for a full tutorial, I highly recommend Kate’s link I included above.  She’s the real expert here anyways.

After one coat of primer, four coats of paint (yes, you read that right.  FOUR coats), and two coats of  semi-gloss top coat we were in business.   I just had to wait for the current furniture to sell so I could move it up to the nursery – which as you know happened last weekend. 

That was my queue to put the finishing touches on the dresser:  drawer liners and new hardware.

Here she is in her happy new home!

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The drawer-liners are simply a roll of gift wrap (found a Michaels) cut to fit and then secured with double-sided tape.    I found the yellow knobs at Anthropology (I couldn’t stomach buying enough for the whole dresser at $8 a pop!) so the silver pulls are from Home Depot. 

I love the crisp white and how it really shows off the character of the dresser.    Once we bring in the white crib I think the room will really start to look a bit more cohesive.  And of course once I start adding more pops of that yellow (er, saffron) color around it will make those knobs seem a little more intentional.

I’m sure some of you are wondering about cost.  I mean, the goal of DIY-ing something on your own is typically to save some mula, right?   Well, to be honest, I’ve been a little scared to add it all up.    Since I didn’t have any of the supplies onhand I had to buy everything (like paint, primer, floetrol, etc.).  And then there’s the hardware, etc. 

My best guess is that I came in right under $200.  Which I suppose isn’t bad considering that (1) that’s still cheaper than some of the already-finished dressers I was originally looking at, (2) it’s a one of a kind piece, (3)  it’s solid wood unlike most of the veneer-finished dressers today and (4) it was made with love.  Can you really go wrong there?

I didn’t think so. 

I’m just thankful I did all of this work before showing too much because I’m not sure I could maneuver around as well these days!   Oh, and don’t worry pops – I was wearing a mask the whole time and bought the no-VOC paint.  Safety first.

So there you have it.  Again, I apologize for the lack of photos during painting….but that’s pretty self-explanatory anyways.  

There’s still lots to accomplish on the nursery to-do list but it’s nice to see progress being made.  I actually took on the Pinterest Challenge this weekend and made a mobile…so stay tuned for that reveal on Wednesday!

Oh, and aren’t ya’ll proud of me for not painting it black?!

Nursery Update

I’ve slowly but surely been making progress in the nursery, so I thought I’d take some time to show you what’s new!

Here’s a reminder of what the guest room looked like before:

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I have been trying to sell the white wicker furniture on Craigslist for quite awhile – maybe a month and a half.  Finally this past week someone purchased it for their own guest room.  I was so happy to see it go to someone who appreciated it and was going to use the whole set.   I admit it was slightly bittersweet because I’d had that set since I was in High school.   But as soon as I remember why it’s leaving I can usually move past the sentimental part of it.  

They just picked up the furniture this weekend and it feels so good to be working with a blank slate.    I didn’t waste any time getting started…

Remember this fabric I bought at IKEA?

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It’s now the curtains in our nursery.  Instead of hemming each panel I simply used Heat ‘n Bond hem tape (discovered over at Young House Love, here).  I found it so easy to use and it saved me having to sew each panel. 

The double-set of windows already had a curtain rod in place, so I just needed to purchase some curtain rings to clip the panels to.    I had decided against making a rod pocket in the panels because (1) it would be easier just to clip the finished panels and (2) it seemed safer.  You know, in case a toddler pulls on them one day!  I’d rather have the curtain panel fall down than the entire curtain rod.   Look at me, already thinking like a parent.

The two smaller windows just needed a small rod installed and I split a pack of curtain rings between the two of them. 

Oh, I guess I haven’t mentioned that I had also purchased new bedding at IKEA.  We’ve decided to leave the bed in the room for now, so it needed an update from the purple duvet cover. 

Here’s what she looks like after the bedding swap, curtain install and furniture removal:

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I’ll be removing everything on the wall next since I imagine the crib will go where the old dresser was (right below the current floating shelf).  I’m just guessing that we won’t want a floating shelf above the crib….ha ha.   So that will come down and I’ll probably try to make some sort of mobile or picture gallery on the wall. 

You may notice that the curtains look slightly different on the smaller windows.  That’s because I was able to split one fabric panel between the two windows.  I simply cut it down the middle so I could use it for both.   That also means I have 2.5 extra feet of this fabric, but I figure it will come in handy somewhere down the line.  And I like of like how the panels are a little abstract now. 

Here’s a shot of the curtains closed, just to see what I mean about splitting it in half:

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I’m feeling good about the progress.  There’s still a lot to do but it feels good to have the old furniture gone and ready to move onto the next phase. 

Here’s some of the projects still on my to-do list:

  • Order crib
  • Sew crib skirt (I’ve already picked out the fabric)
  • Move in the dresser (Surprise!  I’ve already purchased and refinished the dresser.  Just need to move it up!  Stay tuned for that reveal).
  • Hang pictures on the wall (I also purchased a bunch of white frames at IKEA for a gallery wall).
  • Make a mobile
  • Keep an eye out for a rug (just a nice-t0-have)
  • Think about purchasing a glider (I’m still undecided on this one)
  • Add throw pillows to the bed and sew covers to incorporate some of the saffron and blue tones here.
  • Sew a baby blanket (again, fabric already purchased, just need to make it!)
  • Organize the closet and dresser

That should keep me busy for the next three months, right?  Luckily I have ideas for most of the bullet points so it’s just a matter of finding the time to actually work on it all. 

I’m looking forward to pulling it all together and especially bringing in some of the yellow and blue tones I talked about here.  I think right now I’ve got a good grey/white base going on, so it’s just a matter of adding in some pops of color!

What do you think so far?  I know it’s not looking very “babyish” but I’m guessing the crib will help with that.   And I guess my whole vision isn’t very babyish with the decor anyway…but that’s ok.  Our baby is going to be very hip.  Ha.