Monday, April 30, 2012


The square detail in the back of the plant ledge is finished, and all I can say is, "it's the little things"....

When we bid adieu on Friday, I left you with this..

Well the finishing wasn't very difficult. I told you all that Alex had my back, but... my caulk gun broke. So I just filled the seams with some drywall compound.

The container on the compound said that it's sandable, but the instructions said to try to avoid sanding, if possible, because of the dust. I really didn't want to stir dust about the house for the kiddos to inhale (or for me to procrastinate cleaning), so I kept the putty knife clean as I went, and tried my best to smooth all areas as I went. When that wasn't possible, I took a damp cloth over the bumps and smoothed 'em out. The instructions also said to wait 24 hours for the compound to dry.


It may have gotten 24 minutes...

Hey, it had to be primed! And I'm not patient!

So prime, I did. While munchin' on tortilla chips, apparently...

I gotta admit, I was thinking that this looked way better before I took the compound and primer to it. And I was really nervous about painting it, because that decides whether this is going to look good or not.

But I'm sooo diggin' it!

After I finished the painting, Mr. Goats said, "it almost needs something"... and I kinda agreed. So I went to Lowe's and got a 12' rope light.

For now, I'm really loving the subtle texture it's adding to my once so-very-ignored plant ledge. If I later decide that it's too subtle, and that I want it to pop, I've still got some of the 1/2 tinted paint from the stripes in the play room that I can paint the inside of the squares with. Or heck, why not some lime green? Who knows?!

Any squares added to your life this weekend?

Friday, April 27, 2012

To Be [squared], Or Not to Be [squared]

Sorry, that's so not the question...

It's "to be," final answer.

Y'all remember this?

Based on this?

That trim work above the fireplace gets me so excited, and I knew I needed to do that on my plant ledge when I saw it. I am finding that decorating plant ledges is just annoying, and I can't seem to find any inspiration that's my style. However, I felt this was a good jumping off point!

So I drew up a to-scale diagram, using the dimensions of the plant ledge in SketchUp.

This was done using off-the-shelf board sizes to keep things simple, but instead of buying a ton of board$ that add up fa$t, I got a sheet of 1/2" particle board ($12) ripped down at Lowe's, and got to work!

And ran into a huge problem immediately.

Of course.

None of the corners on that wall were square.. And I want to do a square design on the wall.


Not to be deterred (for long), I knew very well that Alex had my back...

Have I ever told you guys what my step-dad told me about a year ago? He has a ton of carpenter's phrases (being that he's a carpenter), and one totally resonated with me.

"Caulk and paint make a carpenter what he ain't"

Uh. Yes.

Except that it's "she".

Anyhow, the bottom right corner was so far off-square that I couldn't think of a way of getting a board in there that would work with the rest of the design (seriously! scroll back up! do you SEE that?!). Luckily, from the ground, you can't see the bottom board at all, so I just omitted it and cut the vertical dividers a tad longer. Woo hoo, laziness! Uh... Wait... Improvisation! That's a better way of putting it.

Up went the inaugural boards! Yes, that was plural. The plant ledge is 133 inches long.

And this whole design took a crap ton of measuring.

I think my square is my new B.F.F., too...

This was where I got kinda stuck. My original design was based only on a 2D surface, with no other obstacles. Having this high on the back wall of the plant ledge totally had me questioning myself! Since you can't see the bottom board, would it still look centered if I placed the square right in the middle? Or would I have to move it up to have it look balanced?

After about an hour of debate, asking Mr. Goats (who had no suggestions), and more stand-still, I finally asked my neighbor to come give me advice. She was even nice enough to hold the square up for me to visualize it's placement, and we decided that it looked best centered. Even though you can't see the bottom, you still KNOW that it's in the middle (and putting it higher just looked dumb).

After that was settled, this came along very quickly.

The ladder's still up because there's still more work to do.

Looks like I'll be caulking and painting this weekend. Hope yours is looking a little more eventful!

(see the finished project here)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Build Me Up, Bookcase... cup...

So... it started with these....

I had mostly taken everything off before I snapped the photo, but these bookshelves were what were in the play room before I replaced them with these.

So yes, there were two of those old, sideways shelves that I got from Target for $16 each. They actually worked just fine, until we moved and the back of that one fell off. That one got moved to the garage, I nailed a board to the back to keep it upright and square, and threw gardening stuff, my leaf blower, and random junk that accumulates in garages on it. The other one got moved into my closet and overloaded with clothes, never to be seen again..

Or, so I thought.

Ya see, the master closet had no organizational system. Everything had to be hung up. And we don't have a dresser (I know, you're probably wondering why I haven't built one... but I have a huge list of things that need to be built, and there are so many more important things to do first). Needless to say, it was a mess.

So I took everything out, and tried to figure some way to organize.

The rod on the bottom left was never used, and that seemed to be a collecting place for extra blankets, so that seemed the ideal place to start. I tried to move the book shelf that was in my closet over, but it was about 2 inches taller than the built-in shelf.

So the shelf had to go!

I took the support brackets off and cut the caulk around the perimeter. Then wriggled the shelf loose! Same process with the boards that were underneath it and the trim on the bottom.

Then I shoved the bookshelves into place, and nailed them to the walls.

(yes, only one has a back... and I was too lazy to take the back off the other one)

I had the option to paint the shelves before I put 'em in, or after, and I chose to wait. I could paint the shelves while Baby Goats was sleeping, but I couldn't do all this banging/nailing during her nap... So I chose to use the time Mr. Goats was home to do all the loud stuff. It did make my job harder, though!

Anyhow, after those were put in, I had to cut the trim to fit the new openings, nailed and caulked it.

Almost done!

Man, this was quick!

Actually, it was! This whole process took a little over an hour, and I did my usual procrastinating.

I debated building shelves between the two bookcases, but decided against it. We do still want to have somewhere to shove stuff, and if we don't use that space, I can always put some in later. So, all that was left to do was paint! Well, after sanding the heck out of them... then priming... and having some issues with my original paint color (if you follow me on Facebook, you got to hear about my paint issues).

I can't tell you how difficult it was to get pictures inside this closet! The smallest lens I have is a 28mm, and that wasn't even small enough to cut it!

Anyhow, I painted all of the built-in shelving that was existing in the closet, too, and hope to eventually paint the walls. The blue I used may look familiar, it's the same beautiful color my dining room wall was. Gosh, that's sexy... LOVE this color!

Of course, you really can't tell in an underexposed picture with a flash :-p

But you get the point ;-)

So, the next time you see some unbelievably cheap bookcases, don't turn your nose up to them!

They may just end up saving your closet!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Throw Some Pillows on Me, oooh, in the Name of LOVE!

Like my li'l Def Leppard influenced title? They're a little before my time, but mmmm, I love me some Joe Elliot. Since I'm not gonna go on about Def Leppard (and how much I LOVED their Crossroads with Taylor Swift!), let me show you my new addition to my living room!

After making my first pillows/pillow covers for the slipper chairs, I realized that throw pillows really DO add something to a room! Who'd have known that every. single. designer. was right?

I'd pointed out that I was using pillows from my window seat in my living room, but that was only to test if it would be worth the effort of having throw pillows. I totally underestimated my family, and figured that the pillows would be abused, thrown on the floor, and just left messy! They all did a great job keeping the pillows on the sofa (not necessarily neatly, but they weren't all over the living room!). So I figured it was time to give it a "go" and make some pillow covers!

The fabric that I'd used is from the Waverly Modern Essentials collection. The left one is called Pom Pon Play in Spa,  and the right one is Button Blooms in Spa. I first fell in love with the Pom Pon fabric when I saw it used here as chair upholstery fabric (seriously, look at the comments!), but it's always been sold out online! Finally, it was in stock AND on sale!

I bought both at JoAnn's, when all Waverly fabric was 50% off, and they had an additional 15% off your entire purchase coupon. Altogether, I got 1 1/4 yards of fabric for $14. I haven't seen a pre-made cover that I like even CLOSE to $14, let alone two! And I'm especially loving how the colors play with everything in the room!

Ooh! And my coffee table looks messy because I've been "testing" again! This time, it's to see if baby Goats can leave stuff alone! I have a few photo books that I've gotten for free from Shutterfly, and I really want them out so that people can see 'em when they come over, but I wanted to make sure they'd be safe. So I put a couple out that weren't too sentimental, and, surprisingly AGAIN, things were left mostly alone!

She loves looking at all of the pictures, but she'll bring the books to me so that I can flip through them! YAY! I just need a tray to put them in, so that it looks a bit more organized! Any suggestions on that?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


When I built the shed, I knew that I would have to build something to put my miter saw on so that I could easily pull it out of the shed (it's 80lbs... I'm sorry, but I just can't deal with that). I googled "miter saw table," and some seriously awesome options came up (try it for yourself! After you finish reading this, of course!), and I think I threw every. single. option. at Ana White, asking her to help a girl out (have I told you guys how annoying I can be when I'm indecisive? It's probably not something you want to experience first-hand). Then Ana responded with this perfectly simple cart... and I was astonished. Of course, right?! Because she always knows the easiest way to do something, and still have it be perfect!

And the plan she came up with resulted in this

Did the heavens part, and did you get a beaming face? Because this is perfect.

If you have a miter saw, you KNOW how hard it is to cut a short piece off of a long board. This table holds the boards at the height of your miter saw base, so that you can cut whatever length you want without having to squeeze the board down, make sure it stays flush to the fence and at the right measurement. You know exactly what I'm talking about, don't you?!

But I do want to mention that this build wasn't all grins and giggles.

I used 2x2s for cleats, and then used the type of caster wheel that you screw into the board (not the one with the plate that you screw through), and that really affected the integrity of the cleat. Mr. Goats helped me put my saw onto the table, and the board snapped (breaking the brake on the caster wheel!). The cleat on the other side got a pretty hefty crack in it, too. SO! If you want to build this, beef up your support if you want to use the screw-in casters. I'm sure it'd be fine if you use the ones with the plates...

Now... I want to talk about glue... I've been using the red Titebond glue since my second-ever woodworking project. LOVED the stuff. I ran out the other day, and decided to use Gorilla Wood Glue for whatever reason. Now, I've successfully taken glued boards apart before using either a chisel or screw driver + rubber mallet... but it was almost impossible to get the wood apart when I used Gorilla glue! The board split before the glued joint came apart. So I am now a convert!

I'm also loving the hinges used for the drop-leaves on this table! I used the ones called for in the plans, and they make putting the table away really simple, and are super-duper sturdy!

Here, it's tucked nicely in my "shop" with plenty of room to spare.

Here it is pulled out, nicely holding my drill, bits, circular saw and scraps (the caddy next to it is my Ayana Caddy - plans from Ry at The Design Confidential - and it holds my nails, screws, sanding discs, face mask, and tons of tools I use frequently - that thing's gotten around!).

I can use it as an assembly table!

And, in case you were wondering, the hinges'll hold... a LOT.

They even hold a Gina (awkward!).

With this, I'm almost completely moved into my new workspace! There are going to be some more storage options (utilizing door space!) and I'll have to rig up some lighting and a few outlets! Are we excited?! (uh, YEAH!)

Make sure you check out the plans on Ana's site here!

Monday, April 9, 2012


No, this isn't a post about how to be cheap. Just a post to say that I AM!

Ok, that's not really the point... so let's just get to that!

Have you ever heard of Mothology? No, it's not the study of moths (they claim they're the science of style!)... I hadn't heard of Mothology before a couple weeks ago, when an awesome lady came over and acquainted me with their site, specifically their Vintage Inspired Hotel Key Rack

The key rack sells for $62, which really isn't bad, since something similar from Anthro or Pottery Barn would be much more expensive (I only assume this, since I haven't seen anything similar from Anthropologie or PB)..


That's $62!

For some 1x4s and some hardware!

So let's make one for a lot le$$!

I had a huge scrap pile, so I was able to get my 1x4s from there. If you don't have scraps, you'll need:

2 - 1 x 4 x 8 (about $6, total)
1 - 1 x 2 x 8 (under $1)
25 of my DIY label holders ($2)
25 hooks ($4)

nails, glue, kreg jig, screws & finishing supplies, too!

First off, cut five 1x4s to 22". If you're picky about grain/knots, figure out your layout, and then pre-drill your pocket holes.

You can't see 'em, but on the bottoms of the boards, there are 2 pocket holes facing the opposite direction. I drilled ones in the middle in case the boards needed 'em, but didn't end up using 'em. Apply glue to the sides...

Then clamp 'em down and screw 'em together! I used a long board to keep the plank even, but you can use anything long, flat and sturdy. When you're creating a plank, it won't turn out right if you don't clamp all of the boards down.

Now you're going to add the trim. Cut two 1x2s with both ends at a 45 degree bevel, not parallel - the distance from the shortest corners will be 22". Now do the same thing for the short boards, but this time, measure the width of your plank. Mine was 17 17/32. The 1x4s will vary in width, so be sure to use your measurements! Oh, and measure twice, cut once! Unlike me! (I cut my first short board too short! eek!)

Glue and nail 'em on.

Now it's time to sand and stain. I created a stain with some steel wool, apple cider vinegar and a few rusty nails.

I had a glove on my right hand, and definitely suggest that you wear gloves, too!

The steel wool/acv/nail solution actually created this awesome color, but I'd asked about steel wool concoctions on my Facebook page, and was referred to lil' blue boo's page, where I found her lazy susan tute. She used tea bags to "warm up" the steel wool finish.

Before the tea bags (I put extra steel wool/vinegar in all the crevices to help with the "aged" look)

After the tea bags...

The tea really, really sped up the oxidation process of the steel wool/vinegar solution. I don't think it warmed it up (I think the rusty nails in the solution did that!), and I probably wouldn't use it anymore... but hey! I'm more than fine with the results, and, what's best about it is that I didn't have to stay away from the kids when I did this! No crazy chemicals to worry about!

While your boards are drying, go ahead and make yourself 25 of these DIY Label Holders, but don't make a long "handle" on the bottom. Shorten it and fold it up, so it can hold labels! Then put some glue on 'em...

I just eyeballed it, but you can create a spacer to evenly space your label holders. Then screw in your hooks.

I bought zinc eye hooks and Mr. Goats cut off the "top" of the eye with some top-cutters. He was also able to get it cut with the metal-cutting thingy on pliers (is there an actual term for that?). This may have been the "hard way," but I couldn't find packs of regular hooks in sets of 25 in zinc. They had them in brass, but then I'd have had to buy spray paint, which added to my cheap-o budget.

Anyhow, after this, I took some really cool depth-of-field shots

And then realized that I'm a total geek, and need to stop...

Anyhow, when the glue dries, pick your favorite picture hanging method, and throw this on a wall!

(see my board that was cut too short? I'll just go with the "character" excuse ;-))

I'm really torn on where to hang this (no where I put it will allow for good photos, so it's hanging in the Big Kid's room for these!), but I'm sure you guys'll see it when I figure it out!

I was able to pull this one off for about $7 (had to buy the hooks and steel wool), but this could easily be an under $20 project for you!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Love Me a Blue Wall

After we knocked down the wall between the living and dining room, I had to say "goodbye" to my first blue-wall-love to create a more uniform look. Since then, I've been itching to paint another wall, and have had paint swatches on the wall behind my sofa for months.

When ACE was giving their free quart samples, I picked up two more colors that still weren't quite right. 

On the far left, bottom, we have Benjamin Moore's "Whipple Blue," and to the right of that is ACE's "Dusty Jeans". That crummy cell phone picture doesn't really do them justice (they're not as bad as it looks, I mean), but they just weren't right for my house. As I was staring at them, I kinda imagined that if I mixed them together, they'd look a little like the Serene Stream (bottom right, but NOT the big one) that I've been diggin'. So I mixed a small batch, and the result is the top left color. Not as vibrant as the Serene Stream, but not bad... 

Mr. Goats wasn't completely sold on Serene Stream, but he did point to my concocted color as a possibility! So I decided I'd mix both quarts together and paint the wall. If I hated it, oh well! It was free, and I could paint my beloved Serene Stream over it!

But I totally love it!

This picture's more accurate in depicting the color. It's reading lighter in the photos, but I don't want to say that it's dark. Just more saturated than I could get in picture. 

And these pictures make me happy, because the room's starting to come together, like in my crappy mock-up.

Granted, I don't have the beautiful Wal Mart pillows (you actually might remember these from my window seat, which I planned - and still plan to - recover!)

And then this prompted another crappy mock-up! This time, I added something to my to-do list...

I really don't know what I'm going to do, photo arrangement-wise, but I didn't put the light out of laziness. Not because I don't plan on it, anymore!

Take a look atop my plant ledge, though. Let me explain what that crappiness is... I can't figure out what the heck to do up there, and all I really DO know is that I need to put lighting there. When I was thinking about what lighting to do, I thought, "Do I put it in front of the decorations, point it straight up, or towards the back wall?" which brought on this really cool idea to add some texture to the back of the wall up there. 

A little Pinterest search led me to this

And I am in love. So I figured I'd add that (or a similar) design up there, and paint that area the Revere Pewter that's on the adjoining wall. 

Man, I think I need to type up the to-do list, so I don't forget!

- Add texture to wall behind plant ledge
- Add lighting to plant ledge
- Paint plant ledge Revere Pewter (existing living room color)
- Figure out picture frames/arrangement to make collage wall
- Lighting for collage wall
- Paint left wall of the hallway Revere Pewter (still haven't done that)
- Figure out accessories for plant ledge
- Maybe add shelves to the right side of the wall (??)
- Convince Mr. Goats that we need a new rug (this is SO a long shot!)

Whew, it didn't seem like there was so much when it was all in my head!

Are you doing anything exciting to your living room? Please share!

UPDATE: Here's my finished plant ledge

Which can be seen in my full living room transformation post here