Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Ribbon storage

I've got a friend with a habit. A ribbon habit. She makes gorgeous hair bows and diaper cakes over at Little Nena Designs, but her stash was taking over.

She saw this ribbon storage unit from Nicole Heady and asked if I could help her to make one of her own. 
The stash has been tamed.

We had quite trip to Home Depot with three hungry little girls in tow. It took a second trip on my own to locate the correct type of crown molding. After an hour of arguing with the guys there that it did indeed exist, I found what I was looking for and got the only piece in the whole store.

Empty shelves, crying out for ribbons
After that, the assembly was very straightforward. If you tackle this project for yourself, I'd recommend either just gluing and clamping the molding to the shelf edges, or predrilling the nail holes with a 1/16 bit. I split one piece trying to bang in the finish nails, which is why the unit only has 5 shelves instead of 6.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

End Table Dog Kennel

A little dog recently waggled his way into our lives. He's got some anxiety issues from his previous home, but he's the sweetest guy I could wish for. It seemed fitting to make him a comfy safe place to stay when we are out, but storebought crates are so unsightly.

New safe place.

When I saw this plan on Ana White's site, I knew that with some modification it would be perfect for him. Her kennel was much too large, both for my space and for the dog, so I cut it down to approximate the dimensions of the end table by the sofa. The overall finished size is about 22" tall, 24" wide, and 27" deep.

The crate before adding the top.
I spent a bit of time figuring out the new dimensions and drawing them out on paper. For the rails, I had some modling strips on hand, so I used those for the vertical sections to add a bit of visual interest. I also thought that the side panels could use some jazzing up, so I wrapped the 1/4 inch ply with some fabric fat quarters that I'd found for 99c. They'd been sitting in a drawer just waiting for the right project. I used my trusty staple gun to attach the fabric. I could have gone with Modge Podge, but wanted the option to change out if I changed my mind/decor. I used the leftover paint from my shoe bench and coffee table to tie it together with the rest of the room.

"Why can't I just sleep on the sofa while you're out? I'll be good. Promise."
I opted to forgo putting a bottom on it. We will be moving  again (twice) in the next few weeks, so I wanted to make it easy to disassemble. The sides and top are attached with small corner brackets on the inside. It stacks together in 5 flat pieces. He's got a fleecy pad in the bottom and his toys in there to make it cozy. He still doesn't love being crated, but is getting better with it each day.

Quick custom wall frame

I took a photo of a place that is special to me and had it enlarged, but was having trouble finding a suitable frame for it. I got tired of it being stuck to the wall with BluTak so, I made a frame. This was one of those projects that went from idea to completion in the span of an evening.

This is a really simple little thing that you can knock together in less than an hour, and it's really cheap. The photo or poster is held in place by strong magnets. I picked these up at Home Depot for about $1.69 for 12. All of the other materials were already on hand.

For mine, I used scrap 1x2 furring strips. Simply measure the dimensions of your poster, and use a hand mitre saw to cut four pieces with the ends at 45 degree angles; the angles should open away from each other on each piece of wood - each of your side pieces will make a trapezoid shape, not a parallelogram. The length of the wood on the short side of each parallelogram should correspond to the the size of your opening.
Cutting the 45 angles with my little mitre box.

My photo is 20" x 30". Here's where I went wrong and had to dismantle the whole thing: I made the inside of the frame 20" x 30". The problem is that then there was no overlap. Now, this didn't twig until I went to attach the poster, so then I had to cut my lovely joints apart and make my angled cuts all over again.

To assemble the frame, just apply some wood glue to the edges and a finish nail at each corner. My wood was quite tough, so I had to pre-drill my holes with a 1/16 bit. I used some Gorilla glue to attach a magnet to each corner. I put a piece of newspaper between my magnet and my clamp while the glue dried, just to make sure that I didn't accidentally glue the clamp to the frame - that stuff will hold anything.

While the glue dried, I put scraps in each corner to make sure that it stayed square in case it got bumped. I'm clumsy. 
I liked the unfinished look of the wood with the photo, but the frame would also look great stained or painted. My scraps were two colors, so I did one color for the sides and the other for the top and bottom. For hanging, I had one of those picture hanging sets languishing in a drawer. You know the ones that never have enough of the right pieces to hang things, so you end up with a random assortment of eye hooks and no nails. I screwed two of the eye hooks into the top of the frame and  strung some wire from the kit through them. You could also attach the wire along the back to keep it out of sight, but I wanted a more industrial look for this frame.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Pallet Entry Bench with Shoe Storage

After tripping over shoes in our tiny entry for the umpteenth time, I decided to make use of the pallet stash leftover from my headboard. After looking around for inspiration on Pinterest and the web, nothing seemed to meet my needs. So, I figured out the dimensions that I wanted the bench to be and got to work designing my own.

The bottom compartment needed to be the right size to accomodate the fabric bins I'd spotted at Target, and for the height to be right for big and little people to sit on while putting on their shoes. The other consideration was to make sure that it didn't interfere with the door opening. The middle shelf is useful for handbags and the dog leash. Somehow, I calculated the height of the bottom shelf about 1/4 inch too low for the bins to slide comfortably, but some little rectangular felt furniture pads (also from Target) sorted it right out, and now I can slide the bench out to sweep without scratching the tile.

The entire thing is made from pallet wood, with the exception of the scrap 2x2's used to support the middle shelf. I used deck screws for the assmbly.  After sanding, the leftover paint from the coffee table came in handy. Since everything was leftovers, the entire cost of the bench was only the cost of the bins and feet - under $20! Our entry stays nice and tidy now.

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Call me Handy Smurf

This post could also have been titled, "I should really know better than to do stupid shit like this, and I know you are much smarter..."

Last week I rescued a cane patio set from beside the dumpster. It came in installments. One day, a loveseat appeared, and after I scavenged that, a few days later 2 chairs and a table were in its place. The table was in bad shape, and I do have some dumpster diving standards, so I left it. Besides, I already have my awesome palm stump table.

Here's where the stupid part comes in. I picked up some spray paint from Home Depot. Not wanting to accidentally spray my patio, I decided to go out on the communal grass patch behind the house to do it. I put down plastic sheeting and weighted the edges down with scrap lumber to stop it blowing in the wind.

Wait. What's that you say? If it's windy enough for the drop cloth to be blowing around, then maybe it's too windy to paint?

Well, why the hell didn't you speak up sooner?

I went for a navy on the chairs and a turquoise on the bench to pick up the colors on the palm table. Naturally, I didn't buy enough cans and will have to make another run to HD tomorrow. When I finished, I carried on working on another project and then video chatted with the other Junk Jedi. It was only then that I realized that I looked like a damned smurf. It's no wonder my paint didn't go as far as I'd hoped. There was a fine dusting all over me. My face, my arms, my ears, and even a blue tan line where my flip flops were.

Later on while in the shower, a thought occurred to me. I was performing a thorough scrub with my Yardley of London soap, raw sugar, and an old cloth (now blue) when I realized that tomorrow I have to finish the second coat.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Pallet Headboard

This headboard for my storage bed was made from a pallet and some stud scraps that I scavenged from a trash pile on a construction site. The wood was perfectly fine, but had a number of nails that had been badly driven. It took more time to prise them out than it did to build the thing. Deconstructing the pallets took hours. Some of those nails are really stubborn. For the worst ones, I just cut them off flush with the support beams using my Dremel tool.

I didn't use a pattern for the headboard, but probably should have. I let the lengths of available wood dictate the dimensions. I knew how wide my bed was, and estimated how high it would need to be when I got a mattress. The height of my studs worked out pretty well for the uprights. The horizontal parts of the frame are the supports from my pallet. I just laid the whole thing out on the ground and made my cuts. The bottom of the headboard is hidden behind the bed, so I didn't bother tidying up the lengths of the pallet boards- I just used them as they were.

When I laid it all out, it seemed like a good idea, but the assembly fell apart when I stood it up. F@ck.

So, I had to reconfigure the construction of the whole thing. I eventually settled on making a frame using pocket holes, then attaching the pallet boards to the back using wood glue and finish nails. My pocket holes were constructed using one of the little $20 Kreg mini pocket jigs. The top shelf was attached to the frame with wood glue and some decking screws. I filled all the holes with wood filler before sanding and painting.

Like the mattress before it, there was some swearing as I hauled it up the stairs by myself. My kuckles were a little bloodied, but the walls remained intact. As for attaching it to the bed, I considered putting it on brackets attached to the back of the bed to make it higher. In the end, I decided not to mess with it, and just wedged the sucker in behind the bed and rammed the bed against the wall. It's sturdy and doesn't budge, no matter what happens. Win!

Since I scored the lamps (that miraculously match my throw and shams) at Goodwill for $8 apiece, I'm all good in the lighting department. However, the shelf on the headboard would make a nice place to mount some reading lamps.

Probably the prettiest pallet I've ever seen.
Awaiting paint.

One coat of paint to go.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Get Thee to Bed

Look at all that glorious storage that I'm not using yet. But I can, and that's what's important.

This is the story of a long-awaited good night's sleep. For the first nearly three months of living in Florida, my daughter and I were kindly put up by some friends while we accumulated enough capital to get a car, some basic necessities, and find a place to rent. We snuggled up together in a double bed each night. As lovely as that was, sleeping with a 6-year-old is very similar to cuddling a bag of writhing snakes with elbows that often talks at 2am.

Midget wants to help. Note patient Home Depot guy ripping my boards.
After we moved into our own space, I spent the next 2 months on a single mattress on the floor, dreaming of a proper bed. I eventually built this lovely queen storage bed and pallet headboard, but slept with the single (twin) mattress on top. I finally saved up enough money for an Ikea run to get a queen mattress for the bed, and now it's perfect. I smile each time I walk into my room, and look forward to curling up with a book in bed each night. I'm now considering making some felt bins for underneath to add a little pop of color. Building drawers is another option.

The bed is based on the Queen Storage Bed over at Ana White's site. The bed is an awesome concept, and is essentially made of three seperate benches with supports in the middle.

Even though the plans make it quite inexpensive, I opted to use OSB for the backs and bottoms of the cubbies to save extra cash. I spent an evening redrawing all of the plans to get the most cuts out of the sheets. I went with plywood for the tops and visible ends of the benches so it looked better. Even including paint and screws, I think this baby came in at just over $200. Eat that, West Elm.

It's not as cute with the single mattress on it, but look at all those cubbies!
The bed was simple to make. It would have been simpler if my arms were 4 feet longer or if I'd had another pair of hands to help me hold stuff in place, but I got there in the end. There was a very patient guy at Home Depot that thought I was a little crazy when I showed him my cut plans for the sheets, but he spent about 45 minutes cutting them for me. 

After I put the benches and supports together, I primed and painted it. I opted for white for a bit of a clean sanctuary vibe.Then I enlisted the help of a big strong friend to get the pieces up the stairs. Man, those suckers are heavy. I should have asked him to stay while I screwed the support frame to the middle, but I opted to do it by myself. Cue much swearing. Months later, there was more colorful language as I dragged the mattress up the stairs by myself and got it stuck going around the landing. There was a lot of celebration when I finally got it on the bed. Midget and I did a little dance and high-fived each other for being tough, resourceful  chicks who can move things that weigh almost as much as they do. After that, I was so ready to crawl onto the new mattress but had to wait until I'd showered and got out the fresh sheets. It was so worth it.

All this talk about my bed has made me want to go spend some quality time with it. I'll talk about the pallet headboard in a future post.