Friday, October 28, 2011

Battling it out

I've been arguing with myself for the past 24 hours. Yesterday's post was so generic and LAZY, and I've been regretting it all day. I mean, how am I going to have a blog where I share all of my DIY stuff without saying HOW I DIY'd it?! And there's a little piece of the post where I KIND OF described what I did, but it was NOT very descriptive and.. When I re read it, I think I sound like a boring douche that didn't want to take the time to share my process. 

So, while I can't go through EVERY detail, since some of it was just dumb luck, I'm going to go just a tad more into how I did it. And maybe this will clear my conscience a little.

To start, I built the two bottom boxes. I still had absolutely NO idea where I was going with this, what I wanted it to look like.. OR any plans for ANYTHING, really.

 The whole thing was done with this little helper screaming and getting in my way cheering me on the whole time.

Then I went to Lowe's and had them cut a board of 1/4" OSB to the size of my panels (they're 16" wide x OhCrapIDon'tRemember  about 25" tall). While I was there, I also picked up some insulating foam to try to create a faux rock facade. This was actually my friend's idea, because I could not think of anything that I could make fake rocks from that would be lightweight and able to be spray painted. THANKS, MEG!!!!!

I ended up using 2 cans of this stuff.

When you sprayed this to make the shape of the rocks, you could TOTALLY see the spray path you took. Like... ALL of the lines were visible.

Rocks don't have these perfectly spaced swirls, so I grabbed a bottle of water, chugged it, and used the top of it to dab over the lines.. to make more of a rocky texture.

Whiles those dried, I went out back and threw together two more boxes, longer and thinner than the others.

Actually, I think I did one, got bored, and went back into the garage to put the OSB on the bottom boxes... I THINK... because... why else would there only be one in that picture?


By this time, i had formed a picture as to what I was wanting, and I knew that I wanted some "ledges" on the top of the bottom boxes made out of wood, and... at THAT time.. I wanted them to overhang.

I was planning on using 1x4s (left over from the sandbox) and 1x2s to create the ledge. But after I saw it with the 1x4s, laziness set it, it looked fine, so I just left it like that.

In case you couldn't tell, I had spray painted the "rocks" and the OSB by now :-p

I used a few different techniques to try to make the rocks look good, but I really don't think any of them worked. So, like I said before, I'll work on them next year. My plan is to spray paint  the entire base a cream color (to simulate grout) and THEN paint the rocks a brownish gray. The brownish/gray on the gray just makes them look very BLAH. At least they look good when it's dark!!! HA!

Obviously I stained the top columns and the "ledges" - no photos. I was thinking I'd end up painting them, so I wasn't banking on the stain lookin' good.

Procrastination took over, and I really dreaded drilling over a hundred holes for christmas lights... so that took a few more days! I did one a few days ago, got high from the poly, and really didn't think I'd get the motivation to doing the second one. 

Then, I either had to clean my house or drill the holes... So guess which one I chose!

After both of the columns were finished, and it actually looked like it might come together well, I actually had a ton of motivation! So I drew out the shape for a cemetery sign, cut it out and spray painted it (yes, seriously, I actually did THREE things without stopping!).

The next day (after the paint dried) I figured out the letter sizing/spacing and drew everything out for the sign. I even painted it... And failed to notice that I'd misspelled the most important word.

MAN I'm awesome!

From there, I put it all together, managed to take a crappy picture to send to my sister,

 and then a storm came and blew it down...

Ohhhhhh JOY! :-D

Lucky for me, I'd had the forethought to realize that the pieces needed to be secured together, I just hadn't DONE it yet. So I didn't have to do anything but shove the lights back in and put everything back up.

To secure it, I glued a couple of 2x3s to the top of the base, and screwed through the frame of the top pieces into the 2x3s. It's amazing what  screw or two can do ;-)

Anyhow, I had to run out there to take the above photo, so I figured I might as well show ya what else I've done.

Added a hanging skull ($8 from Party City - I think he's SO COOL!) and threw a black urn that I had near my front door in front of the crappy fake rocks on the right side (those were seriously the worst ones, and they're RIGHT UP FRONT! EEK!)

Anyhow, there ya have it!


Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Cemetery Entrance - come on in!

After much chatter about this darned project on Facebook, I am thrilled to finally be able to show it to you!

As you can see, the walkway to my front door is quite closed off and the door is tucked away. Normally I don't like this, but it leaves an amazing place for a cemetery, and the curve in the walkway makes for an amazing place for a cemetery entrance. For Halloween, this is an amazing layout.

When I started this, I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do. This was all very unplanned, and there were MANY changes made. I started documenting the process, but I think it's much better if we don't go into that... I think there are about 60 photos, and 2/3 are of things that aren't on the final product. But I had a lot of criteria that needed to be met for these.. They needed to be able to be disassembled, lightweight, tall enough for my husband to walk through, less than 20" wide (to fit into the attic), and STURDY!

Just to give a general overview, I basically made four boxes out of 1x2s. Two tall, thin boxes, and two short, wider boxes. I used 1/4" OSB to cover the bottom box, and spray painted them gray. The "rocks" on the bases will be worked on next year (I'm pretty much "over it" right now, and don't have the patience to touch them up), but they're made with spray insulation foam. I bought a can of a stone texture spray paint, but... they need much more than that. When I pull this out next year, I'm sure I'll update you on what I decide to do.

The top boxes were covered with 1/8" ply, and I drilled alllllll of those holes for the orange lights. If you're wondering what took me so long... YOU think about drilling over 100 holes and shoving lights through them, and tell me that you're still motivated :-p

Obviously, if I have lights going inside a column, I'm going to need to be able to access them. To do that, I only covered 3 sides of the top columns, and left the fourth open.

The open sides are placed on sides that won't be visible, but to conceal them even more, I placed "creepy cloth" over them. Now I have easy access to the lights (in case some get pushed in, or a light goes out or whatnot).

My AWESOME misspelling (that I'm too lazy to change - maybe I'll have motivation to do it next year...

I also scratched some messages into these trimmings to greet my guests, prior to staining...

All that's left to do is get some additional lighting so people will be able to see my effort! And while we're here, why don't we take a quick visit at the graveyard..?

Just a few shots, though... I've got a few things to "tweak" before I show the whole thing...

So what do you think? Are you a Halloween decorator, or more of a Christmas decorator?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

2 beds, 3 days

This post isn't going to be very interesting to those that follow me on Facebook, since I've already mentioned/shown it, but our Fall break was spent at my sister's house in Vegas, building beds!

And these are the fruits of our labor!

(I say "we" a lot, and when I do, I'm referring mostly to my step-dad and myself... even though my sister did help... I guess I subconsciously don't want to give her credit? :-p)

My sister decided that she wanted us to build a Hailey Storage Bed from Ana White's site, and, while she was at work, my step-dad and I (and 4 kids) took a trip to Lowe's! We made some modifications to the original plans while we were there, and I'm SO GLAD I had someone to run ideas through for once. 

My sister wanted to stain, not paint the beds, so we knew we had to get plywood. After checking prices on 3/4" ply, we decided to go with 1/2", which was a third of the cost. Now I want to note that 1/2" ply is more than strong enough, and if the plan you're building from resembles this one (with supports every 17" or so), it's more than fine to get 1/2". Especially if the price difference is that substantial! We ended up getting two full sheets and having the first ripped down to 11 3/4" strips, and the second ripped to the width of the head/footboards. The extra half sheet will end up being a lifesaver in the end :-) We also got extra 1x2s to trim out the dividers in the middle. It was really my personal preference.. I think it looks unfinished without trim.

After taking a quick glance through the plan, we realized that we don't have enough sides/dividers for a second "box," so here's the first time the extra ply helped us. We just cut a few more dividers and finished making the rest of the cuts. My step-dad did most of the cutting, because I was nervous (and REALLY intimidated working with him! LOL!)

OOH! I have to share this...

The WRONG WAY to rip a 2 x 4!!! If anyone can do it, it's my step-dad... but i was scared for someone's life.. Not quite sure who's, though..

This was our set-up. I bet my sister's neighbors LOVED us.

After we'd finished building the first bed, my sister decided that she wanted us to do a second. Here's the second time the extra 1/2 sheet of ply came in handy! We had enough scraps to build an identical head/foot board! We just took another trip to Lowe's to grab two 1x6s for siderails, and some OSB to lay the mattress on (pictured above). I'm sure there were a few other things.. but there can't have been many.

I don't have the total for both beds, but I estimate that it came in at about $130. I'll update when I hear back from my sister.

Here's a refresher, admire with me! :-)

Do you have someone you can go to if you have any questions when building ANYTHING? Have you taken on a few large projects in a very short period lately? How'd that work for ya?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Apartment-sized sand box

I finally got the sand box "in place" (that's quoted, because it doesn't have a set place yet... but it's put somewhere!), filled with sand, and photos!

The only problem is... I can't get the kid far enough away from it to take photos of it without her!

Here's how it all went down...

I opened the lid, and she jumped on the opportunity to go play (still in her pajamas... it was only 9am here... and that's still an acceptable time to be in your jammies, right?)

Then she got in and started kicking sand around...

She got out to get a toy, so I quickly closed the sand box, to try to get a photo of it.

That... didn't turn out well....


She got back in and gave me the lamest fake-smile EVER...

Ok, it still makes me annoyingly happy... but whatever.


I needed a modified version of the sandbox since the backyard is still being rid of it's rocks. There wasn't really a spot that I could put it in where it wouldn't be in the way at any point, so it needed to be transportable. To do that, I modified the plans that I'd drawn up to make a 2' x 2' sand box and lined it with a blue IKEA bag (the ones you can buy for like... 58 cents). Hopefully now, the kid can just go out back to play (instead of grunting that she wants to go to the park), so I can continue my lazy streak. Ahhhh... one can dream :-)

Anyhow, If you're in an apartment, and only have those teensy balconies (I was right there with ya not too long ago!), this is the perfect size for that!

Is it still warm enough for sand boxes where you live?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Hat's off to a how-to!

I am always in desperate need of cute hair accessories for my girls. The older one can't keep her hair orderly if her life depended on it, and the younger one has so little hair (that looks like a mullet if it's not "done") that we just NEED to do something with it.

While visiting my sister this past week, I realized just how much we're lacking in the cute hair accessory department.

So I made a few tiny top hats!!

To make your own, you'll need:

* The template (below)
* cardboard (cereal box works - construction paper and poster board do, too)
* hot glue gun
* scissors
* fabric glue (optional, but it cleans up the edges well)
* about a square foot of fabric

First, print out the template.

click to view larger

Select "scale to fit media" in your printing options.

Cut out the template, and fold the long piece at the dotted line.

Roll the template into a cylinder, placing the straight edge over the dotted line. Cut any excess and make any adjustments at this time. 

After the hat's the shape you want, flatten it out and trace the template onto your cardboard (I used a cereal box)

 Cut out the shapes, and fold the long piece as shown above.

The smaller circle will become the top of the hat. Test fit it into the wider part of the cylinder. You may need to trim it a tad to get it to fit.

Remove the top and cut fabric to wrap around the cylinder. Hot glue one end, and wrap it around, hot gluing the other end.

Squeeze some hot glue into the cylinder, and tuck the fabric in. Continue all the way around, and then do the same on the other side.

Cut enough fabric to cover the top of the hat. Squeeze a bead of hot glue around the perimeter and fold the fabric onto it.

it should look like this (but hopefully neater ;-)) when you're finished.

Place hot glue inside the top of the cylinder (the wider part) and press the top into it. 

Trace the larger circle onto a piece of fabric and cut it out. Cut a piece of fabric larger than the larger circle, as well.

I smeared hot glue along most of the circle, thinly. Then I pressed the circle onto the larger piece of fabric (reserve the circle you traced/cut for later).

As with the top of the hat, glue and fold the fabric around the circle. This time I made sure to be a little more neat, since this part will be visible.

Thinly apply hot glue onto the other side of the hat, and press the circle fabric into place. I squeezed fabric glue along the edge and pressed it, creating a neat edge.

Apply fabric glue or hot glue to the base of the hat, and press onto the large circle. Make sure it's centered.

You can glue head bands, hair ties or gator clips to these. I wouldn't recommend using bobby pins or any type of clip that you have to press to close, as it'll bend the hat and come off quickly.

This is what your final product should look like! You can adorn it more with ribbon, feathers, buttons, flowers... The possibilities are... well, not endless, but there are a lot of 'em! :-)

These can be used as photography props (newborns in top hats? YES, PLEASE!), halloween costumes, bridal accessories, or... just to make your kids look cute..!

Please, link back to my tutorial if you do this! I'd LOVE to see! 

(I'm linking this up to Sew Dang Cute's craft alongside the stars here)

NOTE: This template/tutorial is for personal use only. Not to be produced for sale. If you wish to sell items using this tutorial, please contact me for written permission.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Covered sand box plans - POSTED!

Can I whine a little bit to y'all?


I've had two weeks of birthday parties, family visits, road trips, big building projects, zoo trips and more birthday parties.

Tomorrow, I can RELAX! And I fully intend to. So I wanted to post these plans before I simmer down for the evening, so I don't feel guilty ANY LONGER for making you wait!

inspiration photo

However, you're going to have to wait for pictures of my finished product. But you'll still love me, right? :-)

Head over here to see the plans.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Another check off the ol' to-do list!

Before I move on with this post... I should mention that (in regards to yesterday's post).... Sandboxes need sand. Who'da thunk? SO we're not posting about absolutely awesome sand boxes today! At least... until some sand is bought :-p

So what could've been checked off, you ask?

hint: you can see part of it in this photo from last week.


I'm still not completely sold on the top fabric, but it was the best I could find at Hobby Lobby (to go to another fabric store was out of the question at the time). However, I love the polka dots as an accent! So those make it a little better. Anyhow, this seat cushion looks totally hand-made (and sadly so! LOL!) but... that's ok! Because it's apparently not going to escape injury.

Baby Goats already attacked it with a marker (that luckily matches other colors really well, so it's not TOTALLY noticeable!).

The whole thing was done with fabric glue and pins (hence the handmade look :-p), but I've tried to rip/tear it and was totally unsuccessful. So I'm guessing it'll withstand the kid's assaults. At least until I can find a better fabric :-)

Now I just need to find/make some adorable throw pillows! I napped on this seat yesterday and can totally vouch for it's comfort :-)

*Make seat cushion  
*Build table   in progress
*Build additional seats
*Buy accent pillows
*Paint room