Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A little of this and a little of that

I know, I've been quiet lately.   But it's not for lack of working on things!  I'm not ready to show off anything quite yet, but here are a few sneak peeks!

They're completely unrelated, so don't even try piecing them together!  

Oh yeah, and I'm dealing with carpal tunnel.  Bigggg pouty face.  Luckily I just have to wear these wrist braces for a month straight, and make serious adjustments to my work station.  No surgery!

What are you working on these days?  Do you have half a million projects-in-progress like I do?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Picture Ledge Tutorial

I'm pretty sure every DIY'er in the world has been making picture ledges lately, and now I know why!  They're easy and awesome!

We have a 12' wall above the sofa in our living room that was just begging for some love.  That said, we don't have the budget to get a single piece of art big enough for the space.  Plus I love to change my mind all the time.

The perfect solution was a large picture ledge.  The frames and stuff just sit on it, so I can move them around as I please without creating any new holes in the walls.

Of course nobody sells a six-foot picture ledge, and of course I would have DIY'ed it anyways, so that's what we did!

I wanted to use IKEA Ribba frames for the photos, and some of them are almost 2" deep, so the shelf needed enough depth to be able to layer the frames.  Rather than the standard 4" depth for picture ledges, I made these 6" deep.  To be honest, they could stand to be even deeper!

  • 1 x 6 board, cut six feet long, minus the "1 inch" width of the 1x2
  • 1 x 4 board, cut six feet long
  • 1 x 2 board, cut six feet long, plus two small pieces cut to be equal to the width of the 1x6

After cutting everything the right length, we put wood glue on every place two pieces of wood would touch, clamped everything together, and nailed it together with finishing nails.  As my Civil Engineer Dad would say, "if in doubt, build it stout!".

Along the "build it stout"  line of thought - that's exactly what the two short pieces of 1 x 2 are for.  Since all the weight of the shelf is cantilevered out from the wall, having those additional pieces to provide support make the shelf much stronger.  IKEA, Pottery Barn, and many tutorials leave that part out, and I think that's a big mistake!

Once it was dry, we used leftover white trim paint to paint it.  Tommy did all the painting, but he's not a fully-trained DIY blogger yet, so no photos!

To hang it on the wall, we located and marked all the studs that would be behind the shelf.  We made the same marks on the shelf, and drilled pilot holes.  Then we screwed the shelf directly into the studs using 3" screws.  All of this was kind of a pain, and I think it would have been easier to just use drywall anchors.

We weren't convinced it would be strong enough to hold all those frames (and we were having visions on it collapsing on us during a tense moment of House of Cards), so we piled it up with heavy innocuous stuff to test it out.  Like Tommy's shoes.  Yes, I'm weird.

It held, so the frames went up!

I can't wait to finish our wedding album so I can add it to the space!

In all, this was a pretty easy project.  We were scared about how much weight the shelf would hold, but so far we've been happy.  I don't remember exactly how much the wood cost, but I would guess under $20.  We probably spent a total of three hours working on it, but a lot of that was problem solving and waiting for stuff to dry.  I already did some of that for you, so yours should go even faster! 

You might also be interested in these posts:
Living Room Curtains
Living Room Paint
Scrappy Pillows
Living Room Sofa

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Kitchen Update: Shelving

When we first bought our house, there were these funny little glass shelves in our kitchen.  Mostly they collected junk and dust, and because they were glass I was scared to put my cookbooks on them.  I also broke one during the home inspection.  Whoops!

These just don't say "pile books on me"

To make this area more functional, we decided to put in sturdier shelving.

We kept the adjustable sides and corresponding brackets, and simply cut pieces to length.  What we ended up using for the MDF was a closet shelf.  At $13 each, and no paint necessary, cutting a shelf seemed like a wonderful idea.

To keep the MDF from splintering, we wrapped the cut line in tape.  It helped some, but there was still some splintering.  No biggie though - with all my cookbooks loaded on you wouldn't be able to see the cut edges anyways!

Tommy loves helping on projects where he gets to use power tools!

We slipped the new shelves in and loaded them up!

Now the little space is much more functional, and I have my cookbooks within easy reach.

I was a little worried about the sunlight from the windows ruining the color on the covers, and then I decided not to care about it.  The insides are the best part anyways!

All in all, this project was $26 - just the cost of the two shelves we cut up.  Everything else we already had!  The five cuts were crazy easy.  Definitely a project I would do again!

Kitchen Storage Love!

You might also be interested in these posts:
Granola Bar Word Art
Kitchen Blinds
Painting the Kitchen
Binder Cookbook

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Hexie Eye Spy Quilt for Penelope

I just finished up another eye-spy quilt, this time for little Miss Penelope!  She was born in June, but I got a little behind, and then I decided to deliver it in person, so you're seeing it a little late.  Sorry!

This one came out sooo cute!  I found the fabric during my spring trip to the Los Angeles Fashion District, at this great shop called Michael Levine's.  I can't remember if they're all from the same line, but the birds are from the Hello Birds line by Riley Blake and came in several color ways, and also in flannel, which I chose for the back.  The stripes and dots were super adorable and matched perfectly.  I went with turquoise for the triangles to add another pop of color.

Every hexagon (quilters call them "hexies") is cut from a different fabric, and I chose this set especially for Penelope.  There's South Carolina where she was born, cats and dogs for her pets, her parents alma maters, etc. etc. 

Pretty soon, she can spend lots of tummy time on this quilt, but later she can snuggle in it, learn to count and match, and make up stories about the pictures.

I made one for her older sister two years ago, and actually had it when I finished this one because I was mending a small tear.  I love how they kind of coordinate!  Looking closer, they even have a few of the same images!

It was really special getting to make this quilt for Penelope.  While I was sewing, I kept thinking about her and her family, and sending them my best wishes!  Welcome Penelope, and Happy Birth Day!

Interested in making one of these yourself?  I offer a kit on my Etsy page that can get you started without having to buy and cut 100 different hexagons!

Monday, July 8, 2013

1st Anniversary + Cool Wedding Gift Idea

Tommy and I celebrated our first anniversary over the weekend!  My goodness, a year went by fast!  We had a great couple of days, much of them spent remembering how much fun our wedding was and how happy we are to be married to each other!

Friday night we kicked off our celebration with fancy champagne and year-old wedding cake (which was actually pretty tasty still!) on our deck.

Then we headed out to a swanky restaurant, which gave me a great excuse to wear my now-blue wedding reception dress!  The restaurant is just across the lake from our house, and our neighbors knew we were there, so they lit off a few leftover fireworks for us!  Sooo romantic!

Saturday we went for a bike ride, then to the Nationals game, where we saw our first dance song performed live by Thompson Square!  After the game we explored the new Yards Park near the Nats stadium in Navy Yard.  Wow, has that place changed!  If you're looking for something new and different to do in DC, I highly recommend taking a picnic over there. 

Sunday we did lots of house chores, but finished the weekend off with our very first grilled pizza (in the rain, whoops), and a very special bottle of wine.

Is this not the coolest wedding gift?!?  Our friends gifted us 12 bottles of Anniversary Wine, one each for years 1-10, another for year 15, and a another for year 20!  To top the cool factor, it was also incredibly delicious.  I can't wait to try it over the years as it matures.

We got out our Little Black Journal of Wineand refreshed ourselves on how to evaluate a wine.

Then we applied our new skills to our Anniversary wine, and made sure to take careful notes.  In the future, we can compare it as it matures!

Such a fun, local, special weekend with the love of my life!