Thursday, October 9, 2014

It Does Exist!

I know at least a couple followers were excited when I posted (over a year ago) that I was going to try building a really large entertainment center all by myself... I posted some updates on facebook about picking up wood, building, staining, etc... I talked here about showing it off.... but I never, you know, actually did that.

Well guess what, it does exist. It also remains my single greatest building achievement and makes me get all proud mama feeling every. single. time. I. look. at. it.  To the point that I'll walk into the room, and I'll say "I LOVE YOU SO MUCH" and my husband doesn't even look up or acknowledge me because he thinks I'm talking to the entertainment center... AND I AM YOU GUYS, I TOTALLY AM!

No really. I LOVE IT! I can't freaking believe I made and I LOVE IT.

I can't remember the listed price when it was live on Pottery Barn, but I believe it was just under $4,000 for the entertainment center this one was based on... and mine is built using PureBond plywood & I built it a big deeper than the plans (from Ana White)... so I feel like I got even more for my money... oh did I mention I spent around $350 only to build this? You can't even get a good sized Ikea entertainment center for near that you guys... anyone afraid to pick up a power tool needs to get over that fear!  Building is empowering, amazing, and saves you a ton of money!

Things started pretty much the same as last time... you can't build without lumber!

I again used my Kreg Jig to put everything together after cutting to size. I started with the center section & hutch.  I've been really lucky here having a really open bright kitchen to build in... I'll miss that when we move.... but I won't miss that gloss pink/white tile and dirty grout! 
no time at all and you have the basic shape coming together
add a face frame
and look at that... it's starting to look like furniture. My little helper approved!
repeat process for the hutch
and start staining, and staining, and staining... I love General Finishes Java Gel but it is a long process.
Next up the 4 side pieces
and more staining! Cats love helping too.
WOOHOO we're getting somewhere now!

Finally.. TADA! (ok not really, I still have to install the latches to keep the doors closed and my drawers aren't actually working drawers yet... but whatever, close enough! Yes, I will be personally moving this to the new house myself!

I realize these photos suck, we're 4 days away from closing and I just can't find it in me to so much as clean up the 1/2 eaten toast my daughter left sitting out or move any of the clutter... so you get some real life / non staged shots... it's also really hard to get the color of the java gel stain to show correctly, it's such a gorgeous deep rich dark brown, it can look black in photos but is obviously deep brown in real life :) 

I can't wait to get the new house painted and install my new floors so I can bring this furniture to it's new home! We have a perfect wall for it, and a fireplace too! I'm a little excited if you can't tell <wink>

Thursday, October 2, 2014

So... over a year ago....

I have just under two weeks until our anticipated closing WOOHOO so I thought before I dive into the new projects I'd finally show you the ones I blabbed about over a year ago...

So about a year ago this past summer was when I really started getting comfortable with my power tools, and decided to tackle my first on my own projects. Honestly it was a crazy summer... I decided to build a huge entertainment center for our living room and a large custom sized full loft bed for my older daughter... and we happened to end up fostering a litter of 5 kittens who needed to be bottle fed (the year before if you remember I spent my whole summer hand feeding an abandoned baby bird.. I snuck past this last summer without any baby anythings, I think the universe finally got my "enough already" memo LOL) a collective AWWW please. Their mother was tossed out, barely older than a kitten herself, and wasn't producing enough milk for them. They also all had eye infections & colds, so yes, besides bottles I had to give them meds too.

They grew quickly though! 

Isn't she so adorable you can't stand it? I couldn't either ;) 
So between bottle feedings, homeschooling, general mothering & all the usual day to day stuff I raised those little kittens along with my 2 daughters help and got those two projects done. The first I'll show you is my daughter's loft bed. 

At our last house her room was crazy big, bigger than the master actually at around 12.5' x 24' so she had plenty of room for everything. This house her room is around 10'x12'... yeah.... not as much room and she was tripping over her stuff not to mention her previously beloved princess bed was a bit outgrown. We decided on a loft bed to free up the floor space (and because come on, loft beds are pretty stinking cool when you're a tween!) but she wasn't comfortable with a ladder... so I pieced together several different plans from Ana White's site and then modified the heck out of them to perfectly fit in her space and give her a platform that would hold her new tv and double as stage to use to get in/out, a desk for under it, and some extra support so that my husband and/or I could get up there with her too (seriously this thing could hold an elephant you guys, it's crazy strong).

The best part of this as a first solo build was that it was pretty straight forward, pretty cheap (almost all 2x4's and 2x6's), easy to cut (just a miter saw needed for 99%) and I didn't need any help getting the lumber, dragging it in, or building it. Making it a total DIY project!

We had a few trips to Home Depot that looked like this:

Then I got to cutting, measuring, assembling, and painting. I used my Kreg Jig for the entire build, it is the single greatest tool EVER. Seriously, I couldn't have built anything I've made so far without it. LOVE LOVE LOVE! 

I had to bring the sections into the room for the final assembly since it would be far too big to fit through the door, you can see her old bed under it here, which was passed on to one VERY excited little sister. 

Starting to build the platform

I used some scrap plywood & 1x4's to build the floor of the platform

This is about as clean as the room ever gets with a 10 1/2 yr old girl... but you can see the finished bed/desk/platforms we also added some curtains so that she has a little "super secret hiding spot" under the taller section of the platform... she loves snuggling up with the cats under there to read.

Remember those little kittens? 
These two in particular? 

yeah... they stayed :)  This is Inky & Java just after their 1st birthday this past summer <3

Now, someone find my building notes so I can remember how to disassemble this giant bed to move it to the new house! 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Big Changes Coming My Way!

Alright, it's only been 8 months since I last posted... and yes I considered just killing off the blog multiple times since obviously I wasn't very committed to rambling aimlessly or crafting this past year. However I have something happening in about 3wks that will likely change that. You see, after over 3 1/2yrs of renting a house, and running out of room for any big DIY projects, and simply collecting "someday" pins on Pinterest I'm going to be able to use my power tools, the things I've learned, and all those pins because we are BUYING OUR OWN HOUSE AGAIN!!!!!
That right there is going to use up every spare second of my spare time for the foreseeable future! I have SO MANY plans once we get the keys that I'm driving my poor friends crazy non-stop talking about them, so in an effort to save some friendships I decided I needed a place to talk about my plans, share photos, frustrations, seek advice, and generally keep a record of all the chaos I start up with our new home! 

We're moving in about a month after we close, to give me time for a "few little projects", which currently include (as the major things) priming & repainting every single room, including the big finished basement... so only around 3,500 sq ft total. Tearing out all the flooring on the first floor (which is around 1,200 sq ft of carpet, ceramic tile, and the ugliest builder grade oak you've even seen) and replacing it with a dark laminate wood floor (and while I have removed carpet before, I've never torn out wood or tile... am I crazy???), let's see... oh and staining all the builder oak cabinets with General Finishes Java Gel (my favorite gel stain of all time, and what I use on any furniture I build).... hmm.... tiling the 1/2 bathroom floor, replacing the backsplash, and replacing the fireplace tile hearth & surround (no I've never tiled anything before either). There is also the idea in my head that I might be able to build a new entry closet in front of the current one, thus allowing me to open up a wall in the kitchen to what is currently the entry closet and make it into a walk in pantry but I might talk to a contractor friend about that one ;) 

We won't even get into my plans once we actually move in... but they may include converting the front formal living room into a combo home office/lesson room/craft room with wall to wall built ins and a huge work table in the middle of the room, adding french doors, and I didn't even mention the upstairs or basement yet did I? I hope you like DIY because Chaos -n- Crafts is becoming Chaos -n- Construction! 

I hope you'll join me as I "Pinterest My House" in these upcoming months!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Fox Said... Happy Birthday!

Just a quick post. Today is my husband's 39th birthday... he and the girls have been cracking each other up with the whole "what does the fox say" thing for a few weeks now (yes we avoided it as long as possible) so when I saw the adorable What Does The Fox Say collection from Lettering Delights I knew I had dust off my Cameo to use it to make his birthday card.
 I wanted to keep it pretty quick and easy, but wanted a bit of texture so I opted to layer the background (birch tree background is a Silhouette store file) on dark gray ac cardstock and then just did a pop dotted PNC for my fox & speech bubble using textured white cardstock. I love how crisp and cute it turned out! PNC remains my #1 favorite thing about the Cameo!
I wanted to have a bit of fun with the inside as well so I used a birthday cake from Miss Kates Cuttables and another of LD's fox images to PNC a pop up for the inside. 

Wishing my "foxy" hubby the very best year yet! Happy Birthday honey!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Faux Pyrography aka woodburning

Well... yeah... that whole "post more often" thing I had planned hasn't actually happened, I'll blame my anal planning as the main reason. See I really wanted to go from the toybox to the full sized loft bed and then slide into my entertainment center build because, well... the entertainment center is so freaking amazing that not a day goes by that I don't look at it and say "holy crap, that's amazing and I built that" but I feel like I need to post in order... and my daughter still hasn't even had her room clean enough for me to take photos of the bed I made her, and let's be honest here... she's an almost 10yr old girl, it's never going to be clean. So... I'm going to semi clean it tomorrow and get that post up this weekend. Until then I was playing around in my basement craft room (when I should have been cleaning) and had a little idea... that actually turned out cute & is super easy.
I love pyrography, I'm utterly amazed at some of the details and designs I've seen online. I actually picked up one of the $30 kits (with my coupon of course) from Michaels last year, but I've only messed around with it a couple times since it turns out a super crazy hot burning tool and a nosey "what'cha doing mama" toddler don't mix well. Needless to say it's shelved for awhile.

So I had some scrap wood laying around, and had been doing some stamping... and my little brain had a rare moment of clarity and I thought... stamp in brown on that wood, and was thrilled that it sort of looked like it was burned on.

Tutorial is super easy.
1. get some wood, you can use scraps you have laying around, you could pick up some at the craft store or home center, you could buy some wood tags (I bought the classic tag shaped ones on Amazon here: wooden tags) and found the other shapes at my local craft store.
2. get some brown ink, I'm using Ranger's Archival in Coffee
3. find a stamp you like
4. stamp on the wood
done... well I suppose you could seal it with some clear spray, I'll be testing it with resin later this week.

See, no rocket science here but it is super cute and really does give a similar look to wood burning w/no risk of burnt fingers or homes :)

I've also been super busy playing around with epoxy resin for the past month or so, I'll do a post soon to show you things I've been trying and working on... I might even try selling a few pieces so check for that too!

As always, thanks for reading!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

woodworking adventures part 1, overcoming the fear.

This is a tad embarrassing, mostly because I finished this veggie bin stacking toy box this past spring and I'm only now getting around to posting about it. I look back on this project now and almost laugh at my fear of my own power tools, only because I've done so much more than this fairly simple build since then... but baby steps have gotten me to where I am now, so step along with me ;)

It was about a year ago that I became slightly interested totally obsessed with woodworking and learning how to build things, it started off "small" with a scroll saw (which I still haven't really learned to use, oh the irony in that) and quickly escalated to me discovering Ana White's site and wanting to build everything I find plans for... which meant my crafty woodworking aspirations turned into great big build plan aspirations and that meant I needed more tools. So I ordered more tools... a miter saw, router, kreg jig, and the biggest bad boy... a table saw. One slight issue. I was TERRIFIED of these new tools. A few google searches on tool safety will lead you to staring and lots of experienced builders who had accidents resulting in lost fingers, multiple fingers, bruised body parts, even severed arteries and death. Um.. I wanted to build stuff, not die. So I left those tools in their boxes and remember writing my best friend worried that I wasted a ton of money because I was too afraid to use my tools. They stayed in their boxes for a couple months while I read up on building, found some amazing women builders to follow and watched A LOT of safety videos.

I then tried out my miter saw, the rush was crazy... sounds silly but it was so empowering to use that tool and cut some simple wood. I LOVED IT and was hooked. I did a few small projects (that I might some day get around to posting... framing mirrors, etc).

However the first project I really wanted to build was a much needed toy bin for our livingroom/entrance... and that required not only using the tablesaw, but doing angled cuts. I was NOT up for that. Luckily my dad was visiting from CA and has experience building, so my plan was to have him help me.... which still turned into me being too afraid to use the table saw, so I simply watched him. He cut all the lumber for this piece for me. I then used my kreg jig (best tool EVER) to put it all together, my miter saw (who I was no longer afraid of by this point) to trim it out, and my beloved General Finishes Java Gel to stain. I highly recommend if you're new to building that you find someone to watch first, observing how my tool would work without actually being the one to work it at first really helped me learn to respect it, and not fear it.

So this piece of furniture (and it really is, it's not a junky fiberboard box that will collapse, it's made with 3/4" Purebond and is so sturdy I could easily sit up there with my kids) is a collaboration from myself and my dad... and we LOVE it!

I don't have plans for this since we sort of winged it looking at my inspiration from Land of Nod (which for the record would have cost me over $400 not even counting shipping, I assure you I didn't spend anywhere near that price to build this, mine was under $100 and customized to fit my space)

prior to staining, you can see the pocket holes that hold this together. I opted to make it all one piece instead of stacking 2, saved me a piece of wood not having to have a separate bottom/top like 2 pieces would have required too.
 Java Gel is AWESOME! You just rub it on with an old sock!
my little impatient helper, she wanted to fill it up as soon as it was built!
 1st coat on, I ended up using 2 coats of the Java and then 2 of the clear satin sealer
 All filled up in it's spot! Not only does it store a ton of toys, but it's easy to see and find them now!
 There are no words to express how great it feels looking at this everyday, knowing that I saved a ton of money, made a lasting piece of furniture, and learned to overcome my fears of building!

Next time I'll show you my first solo project, I made my 9yr old a full sized loft bed with platform! 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Personalized Shower Gifts

First off... it's been about 2 months since I posted, I figured that was about enough time for most of you to totally forget I even existed, so you'll be totally thrilled to "re-find" me :) If I posted all the time you'd just become bored, and so I do this for you really... I'm thoughtful like that!

I also have SO MUCH stuff to share, eventually. But really... not only did I make a stacking veggie bin style toy chest, I also made this totally awesome (if I do say so myself) full sized loft bed with huge play platform for my oldest daughter, and then an approx. 8' x 8' entertainment center which totally freaking rocks (and I do say so myself, I LOVE it) so I'm going to get off my butt and get those all photographed and posted soon, really, well... probably.

Anyways... my photos today aren't great since I snapped them quickly before we ran out the door (it didn't occur to me to make a gift bag until about 1/2 an hour before we had to leave, opps) but I think you'll get the idea.

My favorite BIL (I'm safe saying that, I don't think any of DH's family reads my blog and if they do then it's likely only said BIL and his future wife so I'm safe either way LOL) is getting married next spring to a super sweet (girl/woman/lady sheesh I'm so bad at this... um... we'll just refer to her as future SIL). They live in NYC in a small apartment, and simply don't need a lot of stuff... so I wanted to give what anyone in their position would want, money. However I wanted to do it in a cute way, and include a couple little more personal touches. I saw this idea first on Pinterest and I couldn't decide if it was so cheesy that it was cute, or so cheesy that it was just cheesy but decided that with a few changes I could make it super cute.
Get it, showering her with love & good fortune? The examples I saw online were using boring umbrellas and just hanging money, I found out her favorite color and found this adorable umbrella, then I learned how to fold cash into hearts by following these directions: which I found way easier then even the vidoes I tried following along with, best tip is to use really crisp bills. You'll also want to hang your hearts securely (I used clips from Ikea & tried them on with Twisted Teal Trendy Twine which was so cute with the umbrella color... you need it) and keep your strings short, otherwise they will tangle when you close/open the umbrella. Mine was a button open one that REALLY opened forcefully so it was important to make sure the money hearts were really secure.

I realized I wanted a cute personalized gift bag and came to the rescue, I used the gift bag from their Acorn Autumn Kit and it was so easy and perfect that I might never buy another gift bag, besides being huge but only using 3 sheets of apper, it even folds up for storage (plus the 3d acorn in this kit is one of my all time favorites)! The flower is from the silhouette online store. 
One of my personalized gifts is a wedding countdown block set. I used a 2x2 cut to size, painted dark brown and distressed with some sand paper, and then simply cut my text out of vinyl. The other side of the bottom block says "our anniversary" so that they can continue to use it past the wedding. I bought this great burlap ribbon at M's earlier this year and cut it thinner to wrap the blocks up. 

I also got this idea from online and thought it was super cute, so I made my future SIL a personalized (her name is on the other side) cup and filled it with her favorite candy, sour gummies.

Lastly, I had to make a card. I CASEd this one and changed up the colors. the umbrella top is pop-dotted and I added stickles to some of the hearts and also pop-dotted them... the card was too cute to hide in an envelope so I made one using a sheet of acetate and sealed it shut with some washi & a custom sticker I made. 

I wish my BIL & future SIL a lifetime of happiness and can't wait for their wedding in the spring (my girls get to be flower girls and are over the moon happy about that) Only 30 more weeks away, crap I better start exercising now!