Saturday, November 29, 2008

Yes, You Can! Or at least I can attempt.

So for any of you that read my blog (and I'm not really thinking there are many) you may notice that I decide to do things rather impulsively. Now, whether or not that is directly related to my status of baby baker or not is completely irrelevant, because I probably do the same stuff un-pregnant but I don't realize it because I've been pregnant for the majority of the past 7 years. Some experts might call this "nesting" which I think is a crappy term because don't birds usually have nests before they mate? I mean, if it was me, and I was flying around looking for that special someone to crack an egg with, I'd expect him to have a fully furnished nest and definitely not be still under his mothers wing, know what I mean? But then again I digress.

So, here's a little inspiration for you gal's out there. The story of my sink. I had a really crappy stainless steel sink that was about 4" deep on each side. I could barely soak a cup. Seriously, why do they sell these? It was definitely not a good thing for someone with 6-7 people to wash up after. I LOATHED this sink for the 2 years we've been living here. While on a trip to Lowe's we spotted a fiberglass white sink 90% off. Yes ninety, that's not a typo. Regular price on this sink was $178.99 and we got it for $17.89 minus the 10% military discount and plus 7% sales tax so it was still $17. Fabu for me!!! I have a faucet that's nice and tall not the crappy little hump of a faucet that lost the caps to the hot/cold valves and the sprayer was possessed and only wanted to work when it wanted to.

Last week I went to work. Now mind you, I'm 35 weeks pregnant, and this baby isn't a tiny little lump, he's practically a full grown newborn in my gut. So imagine if you can, a hugely pregnant woman with 3 kids running around dismantling and installing a sink and faucet and you'll get an idea of what went on at my house for 2 days. I actually did really great, I think...

I at least started off buying a book on plumbing. Yes, I know this is a profession and not a hobby but it was have a book that spelled it out for stupid people or wing it. (No bird pun intended). I gathered up all my hubby's plumbing supplies, mainly anything labeled "PVC" or "plumber's" or looked like something that would be used to work a plumb and set out. Taking out the old sink was easy as it wasn't actually stuck to the counter top since we just replaced it a few months ago and knew we didn't want the old sink permanently adhered. I shut off the water and disconnected the pipes, drains, valves etc. Pulled the old sink out and set it on the curb for the scrap metal guys (it was gone before daylight). The new sink weighs less than an 18 month old so it was easy to put in with one person. I got all the new sink hard ware and assembled it with some tiny set backs. The underneath plumbing was a little tricksy.

About Wednesday, I decided that it was time to call in an expert. The sink part is great. I even went and bought a new drain and reinstalled the garbage disposal. Where my "oopses" (yes, plural) were was in the cold water installation, the valve in the handle fell out and ended up in about 4 pieces that I apparently didn't get back together so the cold water and hot water valves don't work the same way and it drips a little from the faucet. And when it came to getting the new plumbing together underneath I just couldn't get it to not leak. So, my neighbor game me the handy man's number and he came out and for $65 fixed all the plumbing underneath which wwas still a whole lot cheaper than buying the sink new anyway. '

Now I have a lovely sink big enough to wash a baby! My parting words to you fair ladies is, if you don't try you never know! I realized when a good time to call in someone to finish the job but now I can say "I did it!" or at least "I attempted it!" which is just as great a feeling.

If I had the foresight to photo the old sink I would have, but you'll just have to make due with the photo of the new sink and the lovely plumbing job my handyman did underneath.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

How to make a French memo Board

I'm nesting so I'm doing all these great and crazy projects while being a whopping 8 + months pregnant. But I am being really productive and I want to share! I was also really upset when the kids bent up the first post cards from Daddy and needed a way to keep the things he sends to them while he's deployed nice for later.

This time I've made a couple of French Memo Boards.
1. because I'm cheap and didn't want to ante up the $15-30 a piece
2. because I had the materials on hand already
3. because my life isn't full enough, I like to pop in projects

Before and After

I made the first one at about 9 at night which is almost an hour past my bedtime (seriously). I also don't like to measure and I didn't make sure I had enough materials to do the silly thing in the first place. Which means I was tired and I ended up being short on ribbon and this project lasted longer than it should have. Thirty minutes and you should be done. If it takes longer than that you may need professional crafting help.

Step one.
Get a bulletin board with a wooden frame. I found mine both matching sizes at a thrift store for $2.49 each (yippee!) and it doesn't matter the condition their in really as long as the frame and the cork are relatively still one piece and sturdy. You might even have an old bulletin board around you could use.

Step two.
Gather the rest of your supplies and make sure you have enough before you start. The boards I made are approx 2x3' so here's my supply list based on that.
  • 1 yard of outer fabric (I used less but it's nice to be over just in case)
  • Enough batting to cover the front and all sides to the back
  • 5-6 yards of ribbon
  • 20 buttons (give or take)
  • Staple gun
  • hot glue gun
  • Bulletin board with wooden frame

I am fortunate enough to have an electric staple gun (insert manly sounds here) so this project was pretty easy but a non-electric will work just fine. Make sure you have lots of staples and glue.

Step three.
Lay your fabric face down. Lay the batting on top of this and then the cork board on that. Trim the fabric and batting so it is long enough to cover the sides to the back of the board. Start stapling the fabric and batting to the wooden frame of the cork board like this. Make sure you pull and smooth the front side as you staple or you'll end up with a bulge or wrinkle.

Step four.
Cut the corners as shown and fold over and tuck in to make a neat corner. Staple the hell out of it.

Step five.Now it's time to staple the ribbon on. start at the back and angle it so there's not a bulge and staple it to the back of the board as shown. Pull it across and do the same on the opposite side of the board. I didn't measure intervals between ribbon but if you did it might come out nicer. You could also do this up and down but I like the diagonal placement. Go all the way around the board so you have rows of ribbon that overlap.

Step Six.
Staple every place the ribbons meet on the front of the board.

Step Seven.
Take your buttons and hot glue the backside and stick these on the staples you have on the front of the board to hide the staples. This also gives it a more "pillowy" look and secures the ribbon for when you put cards and photos and junk up on it.

Boys room:

Girls room:
Step Eight!
You're done! Your board can be free standing or if you want you can staple some ribbon on the top like a picture hanger or attach real picture hanger hardware to the back or just drill the darn thing straight into the wall. You can finish the back too if you want to give it as a gift by hot gluing a piece of fabric on the back. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Handpainted Tea Party Table on a budget

My girls are girly-girls. Even my 18 month-old is shoe obsessed and hair bow oriented. I don't know where they get it from really. Probably my hubby's side, as I rarely make any effort with my appearance and my daughters tell me they can't wear what I pick out because it's "not fashion enough". So, when deciding to get my girls a small table for their room for tea parties and what-nots I just knew a plain white table just wouldn't do.

I was absolutely horrified at the prices of these tables! A small table and 2 chairs, just plain white or stained wood, was running around $90!! I didn't even pay that much for my dining room tables from IKEA. And don't even get me started about the prices of hand painted or custom sets. I knew my mission: create a solid wood table and chair set for my girls, my self. Luckily, I found a plain wood, unfinished table at Michales Crafts. Regular price of the table was $35, again a bit steep for me considering what it'll be used for, and the fact it still needed chairs. Sunday Michales came out with 50% off coupons which they do ever so often, and I was able to pick up the table for $17.50.

The fact that I dabble in lots of different arts actually worked out well for me this time. I had 2 cans of white primer spray paint on hand and lots of craft paints and even a bottle of non-toxic varnish, plus lots of brushes. So I set off spraying the entire table white which took a lot longer than I thought.

For the top of the table I wanted a unique design that accented the colors of the room and some of the patterns. Their room is no Pottery Barn picture; lots of different clearance items thrown together that are pretty much all pastel. I started off with sketching the table top on a 1/4" scale on white paper. I looked at what they had in the room and went with something similar. I also decided to stay away from painting the rest of the table with colors to keep some of my sanity.

Here's the diagram I thought up.

The hardest part was drawing the 2" squares around the perimeter even. The table top was 20" x 29" but with beveled edge which shaved off a little on the actual measurements. So, some are 1/4" larger or smaller to make up the difference.

Next was hand drawing the scale design to the table top. I did this with pencil but next time would figure out something else to use because on the lighter color paints the pencil markings show through.
Then on to painting!

Day one. This is as far as I've gotten but remember this was also with about 2 hrs of priming time, layout design and hand drawing the top image.

And the finished table top. I still have to get the table put together and put it in the room but this is it varnished and set to dry. It's not perfect but it's from me to my girls. I hope I've inspired you to grab your craft store by the balls and refuse to pay high prices for quality stuff and maybe try something you've never thought you could do.