Tuesday, September 29, 2015

How My Faucet Affects My Day

Hey everyone!

I'm sure by now we all know that in the months leading up to October, LadyGoats is obsessing over Halloween. You'll get your post on that! However, today, I want to share with you why my coffee tastes better.

Before we begin, though, I have to legally tell you that I was provided with a free faucet in exchange for my feedback. No, they're not bribing me. If I hated it, I'd tell you. All of the opinions given are my own, nobody told me what to say.

So here's what I have to say..


If you follow me on Instagram, you've seen that I recently installed a new faucet and that I was going to live with it for a while before letting you know what I think.

And I think I love it.

This is the Pfister Clarify with Xtract. Pfister and GE partnered to create a faucet with a built-in filter, so you're getting filtered water straight from your faucet. Yeah, yeah... that's pretty cool, but you can get the same thing by adding another line, drilling another hole in your sink and adding an under-cabinet filtration system. Except you don't have to.

This is a big deal for ME because, while we have filtered water in the fridge, it takes forrrr evvvv errrr to fill up a cup. It was getting to a point where Mr. Goats suggested that we get a 5-gal water dispenser. I'm sorry, but no.

Needless to say, when Pfister asked if I would like to review this project, I may have screamed "OMG YESSS I NEED THIS IN MY LIIIIIIFE!!!" at the computer. Twice.

Since we'd recently installed a faucet, Mr. Goats and I were pretty comfortable with the procedure. The extra steps are to install the filtration system, which is covered in the manual and very easy to follow.

In fact, the only thing I had a problem with was the built-in baseplate seal. The baseplate comes with what's called the Pforever seal, but it wasn't able to cover all three of the holes on my sink.

It seems like a truly great idea, but it was just too narrow at the ends, and there was no way we could maneuver it to completely cover all of the holes.

But it was a simple fix.

I ran and got some coffee... and some silicone... and ran a bead around the baseplate making it water tight.

You guys, the mess.... it's real life.

Anyhow, the faucet is installed, and we now use filtered water to make coffee (Seriously you guys, it's AMAZING!!), tea, and in cooking. I thought it would be nice to have this just to stop Mr. Goats from buying a water dispenser, but... It seriously makes my coffee taste better!!

To compare, I think it tastes better than the fridge filter, but not life-shatteringly better. The girls don't even notice a difference.

Long story short, I love it.

How's your water filtration system? Do you argue over the beauty-over-function of a water dispenser, or have you surrendered?

Monday, August 10, 2015

Updated DIY Ender Dragon Costume - Articulating wings

You guys, this Ender Dragon costume has been a huge hit on my blog for a while, but it's been even bigger in this house. The Big Kid is still obsessed, but she asked me if I could make better wings.

I think she just wanted wings that sat on her back and didn't restrict her arm movement, but we can't go for just... better...

We do AWESOME over here!!

She'd asked for these wings about 10 days before Phoenix ComiCon, so we didn't have a whole lotta time to research/prepare/make them, and I definitely made some mistakes that I'll share so you *don't* make them (I mean, if you happen to be making a pair of Ender Dragon Articulating wings...), but all-in-all, it's safe to say that these wings exceeded her expectations.

The "skeleton" of the wings is made from a 2x4 that I ripped into 1/4" strips, but you can use 1/4" plywood, balsa wood, or laminate flooring (this isn't as random as it seems yet... look below).

Whatever you use, you'll need strips that are 1 1/2" x 1/4". The wings are attached to some scrap laminate flooring from Baby Goats' closet makeover which is hinged together to allow her to "flap" her wings (or, really, have the ability to move on more than one plane).

You'll need

  • 2 - 8' strips of 1/4" ply ripped at 1 1/2"
  • 2 - 1/4" ply at 4"x8" (approx)
  • 2 hinges
  • 26* - 3/4" bolts with coordinating washers/nuts (I bought this 100-ct pack)
  • something to use as straps (I used backpack straps), 
  • about 2 yards of structured black fabric (you don't want "flowy" for fraying fabric - trust me)
  • silver ribbon
  • string (I used 2 black shoe laces)
*I used 2 to the the shoe lace arm bands, so you might add 2 if you want to do this.

Note: I'm not sure how much ribbon since I messed up many times and had to go buy more a couple of times. I would buy 6 yards of 2" thick ribbon and probably 10 yards of 1" (give or take... if you can only find 3/4" ribbon, use that). But... I would probably have to go back and buy more, knowing me.

Cut List:

  • 4 @ 14 3/4"
  • 2 @ 12"
  • 2 @ 24"
  • 2 @ 19 3/4"

Here's my sketch of the measurements (Mr. Goats did most of the skeleton twiddling until we got to this point).  Refer to the image above for layout (you want to pre-drill the holes for the string - those go on the bottom 14 3/4" board, close to where it meets the 19 3/4" board).

Any time you see boards that are parallel, the holes for the bolts are drilled 4" apart. Mr. Goats got the general idea for how to do this here, but we dumbed it down so that we mere mortals could figure it out with time to "upholster" it? Is it upholstering..? I'm getting distracted....

To get it on her back, I cut the straps off of an old backpack and punched a tiny hole through the top and bottom, then bolted it to the flooring. To make sure the fabric didn't tear, I added super glue where the bolt went through the fabric and used washers on both sides of the fabric so that the weight was somewhat distributed.

To deal with the fabric, I really, truly did not have this easy. This is still not perfect, but here's the final outcome of my wing.

Here's how I got there. First, I cut the two yards of fabric into two one yard pieces (I believe my fabric was 54"W). Then I folded the yard in half, hot dog style, and came up with the general shape.

The pattern was eyeballed, but I decided that I wanted the "scallops" to go all the way to the bottom of the fabric (uhh, the bigger, the better... RIGHT?!).

With the fabric still folded in half, I cut out the shape of the wings and tucked my fully extended wing frame inside. Here are the following steps (it seemed easier to put it on one image than to try to show you the confusing, individual images). Remember, the front and back of the wings are to be decorated (the ribbon is really all that applies to this).

When that was done, I HOT GLUED the 2" ribbon the the top of the wing, where the top board goes. When I tried to attach it to the entire top of the wing, it drooped and looked t.e.r.r.i.b.l.e. when the wings weren't fully extended, so I decided to veer from the actual ender dragon wing there. Also, the top of the wing frame was poking through my fabric, so I made a "relief" cut, giving room for the board to push out without ripping the fabric. I think if you have a sturdier fabric, you might not need that. I used hot glue to attach the wing to the frame. It was only needed at one point as it's mostly held in place by the top board sitting in the sleeve, but after you get yours on, you'll be able to figure out the best place to glue it if you need to.


See the string poking out? Thread that into the predrilled hole and tie it, then cut a slit from the bottom of the wing (so the fabric doesn't bunch when the arms are raised) and tie a loop for your arms to go through.

Some words of advice:

As much as you think wire will make this look awesome/stiff when extended, IT'S A BAD IDEA!! The wire bends and doesn't un-bend easily, leaving a warped wing.

You can hot glue the ribbons down the bottom of the wing, but it doesn't look good. Take the time to sew them... you'll be glad you did!

You may have to tuck in the fabric and tack it in place using either hot glue or a needle and thread to get it to sit the way you want. The extra 10(ish) minutes of fiddling with it will make a huge difference.

This isn't really heavy, but the Big Kid did have to take a couple of breaks from it at ComiCon.


Take a lint roller with you.

Update: Here's a picture of her with her wings down. This was the only one I'd gotten because... well, why would she want to take a picture with these awesome wings down..!? ;-)

They got compact enough for her to walk through crows, and fortunately she was able to grab them and wrap them around her if she needed to squeeze through tight spaces (doorways).

Monday, August 3, 2015

DIY Modern Take on a Traditional Planter

Hello, and welcome to my humble abode!

Okay, I am never going to have a magazine-worthy entryway. I accept that! But as I was editing Back to School pictures of the girls (I always take a picture of them in front of the door), I was noticing how terribly terrible the screen door was looking.

The metal was starting to rust, the color was dirty-looking, and... really, it was dirty! So I took the screen off and spray painted it a nice crisp white.

What. A. Difference!

After that was freshly painted, everything else started looking dingy and old and gross (we all know how that goes, right?!), so I decided that I'd build a quick planter to brighten up the doorway, and I plan on making/buying a new, bright doormat (anyone have any leads on a big, amazing doormat that's not $100?).

I love that this looks like a traditional, tapered planter from the front, but it has this modern-esque vibe in that it's not a 4-way taper. The front and back are angled, but the sides are all the same 6". It's visually weighty without taking up too much space in my nonexistent entryway.  And the best part? I built it from scraps from the BBQ Island - so it was FREE!

Even the paint - if the color looks familiar, it's because it's the same paint I used on these

If you want to build one, you'll need 3 6" cedar fence pickets (the dog-eared ones) and a 1x2. This should be under $10 bucks.

Cut List:

2 - 1x6 Cedar @ 15 1/2 long side with a 10-degree miter on both ends, not parallel
2 - 1x6 Cedar @ 13 1/2 long side with a 10-degree miter on both ends, not parallel
2 - 1x6 Cedar @ 11 1/2 long side with a 10-degree miter on both ends, not parallel
2 - 1x6 Cedar @ 9 1/2 long side with a 10-degree miter on both ends, not parallel
8 - 1x6 Cedar @ 6" (or depth of your choice, but that may change shopping list)
4 - 1x2 @ 20"

If that seems complicated, here's really all you're doing.

Super simple. After you've made all of your cuts, measure the thickness of your cedar fence pickets (I eyeballed it, and it didn't work out perfectly, so I recommend measuring) and, laying your wood out, screw the 1x2s into the front and back as shown below. My fence pickets were 5/8 (but I measured a 1/2" in, which is why there's a gap on mine).

The 1x2s are what are holding everything in place, so use an exterior-grade glue and screws (I used 1") so this doesn't fall apart on you in no time.

I don't have a picture of this step (because I'm not great with SketchUp - this was hard to draw up for me!), but you'll just screw the 6" pieces from the outside into the 1x2s. I started at the bottom and worked to the top so that, if the boards were a different width, the planter would still sit level on the ground.

To stop the soil from falling though the bottom, I set a scrap piece of cedar inside (it was about 6 1/2" long) and it sits snugly in place.

After adding some landscaping fabric and filling it with soil/clearance succulents, it brings a brightness to my front door that hasn't been there in over 5 years.

(If you're wondering why the inside is white, I know that cedar is rot-resistant, but the pine 1x2s aren't, so I sealed them with a couple layers of FlexSeal hoping that might slow the deterioration process by creating a barrier from where most of the moisture would come from - inside.)

I think I love it. And am hoping that I don't manage to kill the plants!! How are you with plants/planters?

Friday, July 17, 2015

New DIY Plans - The Shelby Bench

Happy Weekend everyone! I've been sitting on the plans that I drew up for the Shelby bench (from my Bench Building Workshop) for a few months. Got an email asking if I wouldn't mind sharing them, so let's get to that!!

We're covering the bench on the right, today.

This bench was requested by my lovely, talented friend, Shelby! It was the quickest and easiest (those two don't always go hand-in-hand) bench of the bunch, and it was cheap!

Totally a bonus.

Here's what we based the bench plan on.

And this is what Shelby made!

(We obviously hadn't included the rods/hardware at this point)

And here are the plans so that you can make your own!

48" W x 13 1/2"D x 17 1/2"H

Shopping List

  • 2 - 2 x 6 x 8'
  • 1- 2 x 4 x 8'
  • 1 - 2 x 2 x 4' (optional)*
  • 2 1/2" pocket hole screws
  • 1 1/2" screws
  • wood glue

Cut List

  • 2 - 2x6 @ 17 1/2" (legs)
  • 2 - 2x4 @ 17 1/2" (legs)
  • 2 - 2x6 @ 16" (legs)
  • 1 - 2x6 @ 45" (top)
  • 1 - 2x6 @ 48" (top)
  • 1 - 2x4 @ 45" (top)
  • 2 - 2x2 @ 13 1/2"* cut to fit

* I ripped a 2x2 at 45-degrees to get two inconspicuous corner brackets for this, but we didn't end up using them because the bench was solid enough without it. They're included in the plan, but you may be able to get away without them if you don't have a table saw to rip it, or don't want to use the 2x2 at all.

Step 1

Using pocket hole screws, built two sides as shown above (note, the smaller measurement should read 16", not 15"). They will need to mirror each other. Pre-drill pocket holes in the center board facing upward to attach the top, later.

Step 2 

Using pocket hole screws, build the top as shown above. Be sure to add pocket holes to the ends of the shorter edge pieces to attach the legs to, later.

Step 3

Attach the legs to the top using the pocket holes that were previously drilled.

Step 4

Cut bracing to fit and attach using glue and 1 1/2" screws into the sides and top of the bench.

I've uploaded plans to my 3D warehouse page for you to download. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Big Kid's Solar Oven

Hi Everyone! I have an extra-special guest here today! My eldest (lovingly referred to as "The Big Kid" on my blog) made her own solar oven and is here to tell you about it! Let me preface this with a little back story... She had asked me to make her a solar oven last week, and I tried to do it without researching how they work... Let's just say it wasn't my greatest project. So the Big Kid went and researched it, and made her own. Here she is to tell you all about it!


two boxes
black paper
plastic wrap
aluminum foil

Hi. My mom's making me do this so I can get some cookie dough. You need to start with two boxes. One needs to fit inside the other.

 Cut a hole in the smallest box

Now then you put black paper in the bottom of the smallest box. I used glue and scissors to cut because the black paper didn't fit in there.

I put the plastic wrap on the top of the smallest one with tape. Maybe glue I forgot.

Yeah I think it's glue. (Mom correction - it was actually tape)

The bottom of the biggest box has glue on it and then I put the smallest box in the middle.

And then I wrapped newspaper around it so it keeps it insulated.

Then I put aluminum foil on the top of the box with tape. Maybe glue, I forgot that one as well. (Mom correction - she used glue *and* tape. She glued the aluminum foil to the bottom of the lid, wrapped it around the sides, and taped the edges of the foil to the top of the lid)

That is the finished result. Now we're going to cook in it. Make cookies in it! Make pizza in it!


Isn't she charming? For the record, I went and fixed a couple punctuation errors. Otherwise, that was all her (proud momma moment!). 

I'd say that I should start a blog for her, but I had to bribe her with cookie dough to get her to agree to do this... So I guess I have to go make some cookie dough now..!

Happy Thursday!

Monday, July 6, 2015

DIY Slipper Chair Slipcover Without a Template

Raise your hand if upholstering freaks you out!!!


Me too.

Who would've ever thought that fabric and staples would be scarier than circular saws and 2x4s? And then if you have to use a sewing machine??!! No frickin' way!!!

But sometimes you just HAVE to upholster.

Like when you build a slipper chair for the sake of building a slipper chair (click here for plans), and then you don't document the upholstering process, so you build a toddler slipper chair. 

The toddler slipper chair (click here for more on that or click here for plans) was built solely to document the upholstering process, but then I had to reupholster my Target slipper chairs (thanks to cats & kids - click here for more info).

And of course, if you want an upholstered bed... you have to upholster it!

Then if you decide to build an upholstered swoop chair (I've got some more info on this for a future post, if you're interested!)... it really seems like it never ends.

Alas, cats and kids have struck again, so my already-reupholstered-Target-slipper chairs were in dire need of some more reupholstering.

This time I had some criteria that I wanted the outcome to meet. First, I wanted these to be slipcovers so that I could remove them to launder them (and if we're going away overnight, so the cats don't decide that they're scratching posts!). Secondly, the slipcovers had to fit snugly, because I don't like loose-fitting slipcovers. Finally, they had to be done without a pattern, because I have issues transferring patterns onto paper and then onto fabric, and THEN sewing them.

This is what I came up with!

And, as is the case of nearly all of my upholstering projects, let's cue in some clearance curtains from Target.

The first thing most people do is wash their fabric... but I didn't do that. You probably should. I draped the fabric over the chair, making sure that there was enough on each side of the chair and the front and back for the slipcover. An 84" panel will cover an Avington slipper chair from Target.

note: all of the sewing/pinning/working will be done on the "wrong" side of the fabric

Then I pinned and sewed the front corners (is this looking familiar? This is how I started both of my previous slipper chair upholstering tutorials!).

When the front corners are sewn, it's easy to pull the fabric to the back of the chair nice and taut. Then I smoothed it back the seat and down the sides and pinned it in place. From my experience, it's easier to work on one side of the chair at a time.

The pins should be where the seat connects to the back of the chair. This is important to do, because the scariest part is coming up next.

You have to cut the fabric. I cut the fabric to almost the top of the seat, but after having done this four times (two sides of two chairs) I can say that it can either reach the seat or be below the seat.. Precision isn't required. Give yourself about 1/4" past the part where the seat and the back meet for seam allowance when you sew.

After you've gone past the point of no return, drape the fabric up the top of the chair and pull taut back the sides (tuck the "bunched" fabric into the seam of the chair if there is any. That's where it'll go when you're finished with the slipcover, anyway).

I liked pinning it in place so that I didn't have to worry about the fabric shifting as I pulled and tightened everything.

Now, the fabric draping over the top and the fabric that you pulled toward the back need to be pinned together so that you have a seam that goes from the top, down the back of the chair. The fabric may bunch a tad at the top of this seam, but it will look fine after it's sewn and turned inside out.

Sew along the pins down the back.

When you reach the end of the shorter piece of fabric, you'll realize that there's plenty of fabric remaining on the back. I pinned the middle of the back to the back of the chair, pulled the fabric on the side I was working on, and cut a slit about where the shorter piece of fabric ended (hopefully this picture helps clarify what I'm trying to say).

What you're going to do is use this fabric to "fill" in the square you made after making your first cut. Pin it to the top of the back and to the side and sew it.

This picture's from the other side of the chair, so don't worry if everything seems backwards. 

Here's a picture of it sewn and the excess fabric trimmed (I trimmed the excess at the front of the chair at this point, too) to show what it's supposed to look like.

If you do what I did and leave an accidental hole where those two seams meet, it's easily fixed when you reinforce the seams (or you could go back and do it before moving on.. I didn't).

And that's really all it is! Just do the same thing to the other side, making sure you pull everything taut as you pin/sew!

After that's all finished and all excess fabric is trimmed, you can turn the slipcover inside out and try it on the chair. If there are any adjustments to be made, now's the time to do it..!

Now it's time to think about the hem. Go back and reinforce all of the seams and sew a hem (reinforcing it, as well!). You can create a ruffle hem (just don't ask me how!), a straight hem, or steal the velcro off of the removable bottom cover-thingy and sew that onto the bottom of your slipcover so you can velcro it in place and have a nice, well-fitting slipcover.

I used velcro, but even after doing two chairs, never really got it right. My suggestion is to loosely put the velcro in place, pull the fabric over it and pin it. Then it should line up perfectly.

And now, if you need to wash your slipcover...

Just make sure that you follow the care instructions on the fabric (or curtain packaging, if you used one!).

Now the only thing to do is to see how long this one lasts.