Posts tagged ‘Projects’

May 17, 2011

Easy Update: Vase Lamp

by Cait

Does anyone remember back in September/October when Robert and I made this lamp during our mini guest room redo for a guest post at Kara’s blog? And I said “I’ll show you how we made it!” and never did? Yeah… sorry about that. How about a super-belated tutorial?

The whole thing was so embarrassingly easy that I really should have posted it back in the fall. Now you’ll all be cursing the fact that I didn’t post it back then so you could snag the same Target vase. The plus side is that I’ve seen cute vases in the same shape at HomeGoods.

At first I wanted to use a cork, but really? Who makes 4-5 inch corks? So while wandering around the plumbing section we found this push-in drain cover/strainer (which looks blue because of its protective cover). We also picked up a light socket, and a cord (we could have just gotten a lamp kit, but it was actually cheaper to get it this way).

To make our lamp, we just cut the other socket off the end of the wire (if you use a lamp kid you can skip that part), slipped the freshly cut end through the middle of the drain, attached it to the new socket and epoxied the socket to the drain cover. Then we just slipped the drain cover into the vase. We didn’t drill a hole for the cord because I wasn’t sure if I’d want to disassemble the whole thing later and actually use the vase as a vase, so I just ran the wire down the back once everything was together.

Easy, right?

March 17, 2011

Easy Update: Mason Jar Storage

by Cait

The photo colors in this post should be all better now.  Here’s hoping!

After seeing Liz Marie’s project feature on Re-Nest, I decided to make this mason jar storage rack to hold jewelry and hair accessories in our master bedroom.

Seen on re-nest, originally from Liz Marie

For my mason jar rack, I used a pallet board that we had laying in the backyard (long story), which was conveniently cut to the right length and mostly sanded (again, long story).  After a quick sand to take care of any rough edges, Robert blew any dirt off with compressed air.  Then we gathered pipe clamps from Lowe’s and mason jars that my grandparents used to use for canning.  We measured where we wanted the clamps to attach to the board and drilled pilot holes.

Then we opened the pipe clamps up, used a punch to make drilling easier, and drilled the holes for where the screws will go.


Then we took everything inside and leveled in on the wall in the bedroom.


From here we attached the outside clamps first, using screws long enough to both hold the clamp to the board as well as hold the board to the wall.


We then added the other two clamps and put the jars in place (Robert needed me to help hold the jars, so I couldn’t take any pictures of that step).


Since we already had the wood, the only thing we had to buy was pipe clamps.  Gotta love a simple, one evening, $4 project project!

November 30, 2010

Bedded Down, Part 2

by Cait

Way back in September I started a post on how we made the frame for the guest bed, and then because I felt the need to wait for the guest post to go up before revealing the room, I moved on to other things and never finished it.  Whoops.  This is the very belated second half of that. Pleasedon’thateme.

When we last left off we had just made the frame, which we then brought in from the shed and wrapped in three layers of batting.

We cut the batting into strips, and at first we started attaching one layer at a time, but because we were using a pneumatic staple gun we found that we were able to do all three layers at the same time.

We then cut our blue-grey fabric into strips, stretched it over the batting and stapled it into place.  Since we were inspired by this bed by Daniel, we knew that it was best to start with the fabric on the footboard so that we didn’t end up with weird, asymmetrical seams that would bother me to no end.  I think our corners were a bit easier to wrap since there wasn’t a leg in place to wrap around, although we did end up going back and trimming around the triangles where the legs attached so it was less bulky.

For our corners we turned the raw edge of the side pieces under and stapled the bejesus out of them.  I know.  Such a detailed and technical explanation.  You’re welcome.

Robert attached the legs through some manly process, probably involving sorcery with a couple of nails and/or staples and then we began to reassemble the bed frame.  Which is when we realized that our frame had a bracket for attaching a headboard that needed to be removed (it’s entirely possible that despite our careful measuring the addition of batting and fabric made things a little too close).  Whoops.

After some fun with a die grinder we reassembled the bed for real.

Once we put the mattress back on top of the box spring we pulled the fitted sheet down over the top of the box spring (this was possible because the sheets were meant for a mattress up to 18 inches deep) and then tucked the flat sheet into the frame.

This bed has pretty much become Dots’ favorite place in the house when we don’t have company.

September 30, 2010

Small Reveal

by Cait

We’re (finally) back with the reveal of the mystery project we mentioned here.

We made a lamp for the guest room using a vase and a lampshade from Target.

Has anyone else ever made a lamp out of something unconventional?  (Although I suppose comparatively speaking a vase isn’t that unconventional.)

Also, the full reveal of our guest room is coming soon, so check back for those details!

September 26, 2010

Bedded Down

by Cait

Yesterday evening after I got home from work, we ran a few errands and retrieved some Jo-Ann coupons from Emiley (thanks again for that!) and then Robert and I started working on the bed frame for the guest room.  We bought four 1″ x 8″ x 8′ boards, four  6″ Queen Anne legs and a pneumatic stapler (we like overkill) from Lowe’s.  Since our frame was going to be a faux frame that fit around the existing metal frame (at least to start with) we took two of the boards and marked how long they needed to be in order to fit around the basic metal frame rather than measuring the boards to roughly 60″ and 80″ like the standard queen sized bed frame.  We decided to lay the boards out in the following (not to scale) arrangement  with triangular pieces in the corners to stabilize and provide a place to attach the Queen Anne legs.

We used the brad nailer we bought for the pallet project to attach the boards together and add the corner pieces, and then Robert added a few staples from the top.

We used one of our many hammers (this one actually came free with purchase of our compressor and brad nailer) to hold the triangles in place while we nailed them so that the two inch brads didn’t go into our fingers.

We also elevated the triangle and nailer a bit with some scrap wood.

Later today (technically) we’ll drill holes in the triangles to screw the legs into, and wrap the frame with batting and fabric.

Also, is anyone surprised that after my meltdown we went with something other than the grey wool?

Being that we are (currently) a teeny, tiny blog we were not paid by Bostitch to use or mention their products (but if anyone from Bostitch happens up on our blog- we really like our 6 gallon compressor, brad nailer and stapler!)

August 26, 2010

Budget Kitchen Redo

by Cait

A quick rundown of the “make it work” redo for our kitchen, which was about 15 kinds of scary when we first bought our house last September.


We were not loving the cheap appliances, plastic blinds, cheap faucet, cabinet hardware or contractor beige walls.  Also with counter space at a premium we needed to come up with a way to keep our microwave off the counter.  So we started by painting the walls a light green color (twice actually, once with leftover Valspar Cool Reflection from the bedroom, which was sort of a disaster because in the different lighting it was far too minty, and finally with Valspar Sea Mist Green), changing out the cabinet hardware, and got a faucet as a gift from my parents.


Then while leafing through Better Homes & Gardens Kitchen Idea File in the bargain section at Barnes and Noble we got the idea for this.

moving back in

Then we wanted a light over the sink, which actually took far more effort than it really needed to, because we didn’t discover Glo Stix right away.

kitchen light

After that we scored a cast iron sink on Craigslist for $60, which I neglected to add a picture of, and finally, we upgraded our appliances for stainless, thanks to the Sears Outlet and my parents, who gifted us the stove they bought for the house we were house sitting.


Cost Breakdown:
Paint – $24.47
Hardware – $58.81
Faucet – Gift
Sink – $60
Microwave Shelf – $24
Light – $22.37
Rug – $19.99
Dishwasher – $728
Stove – Gift

Total – $937.64

August 19, 2010

I Love It When Projects Find Me

by Cait

Last night on a trip to Target I ran headlong into our next project.

Can you guess what it is? (Or what it will be?)

I also ran headlong into an end table that matches coordinates with the coffee table my grandfather’s friend made, but I don’t have sixty bucks to spend on an end table.  Especially not after my BFF Target didn’t have what I went in for, so I have to order it online.  And go to Lowes to get some blur and some more blur (Myhtbusters anyone?) to finish up the above project.  And maybe some drywall to help me convince my lovely hubby that we so need to start on the fireplace soon.  Do you think drywall will fit in a Beetle?

August 14, 2010

Bed Time

by Cait

I mentioned before that not all of the Our House section is completely up to date.  We change things around a lot.  In this instance, I’m specifically talking about our bedroom.

Master Bedroom

Robert had this cherry sleigh bed when we first started living together, and although it went well with the hand me down dresser from my grandparents, the headboard and footboard took up about 14 inches of space in our petite bedroom that we didn’t want to give up. Cue my sister moving, needing a new bed frame to go with her queen sized mattress, and loving our too-big bed frame – the perfect excuse reason to shop for a new bed!

The Claudia Bed from Pottery Barn

I fell hard for this bed from Pottery Barn (and the bedding is amazing, too!) but not so much for the price tag.  $649?  Oof!

Enter the Hilsdale Dexter Bed, found on one of the many Cymax store websites for somewhere around $279 with free shipping.  While we wouldn’t recommend anyone out there buy a frame from the same place, though, as ours arrived a lot later than it said it would, and we read several bad reviews online while nervously awaiting our bed.

The frame only came in this bronze-y brown finish, but we like the styling of it better than the white or cream colored ones we saw (a lot of which cost more, anyhow), so once the frame arrived we sprayed it antique white with Valspar Porcelain spray paint, and clear coated it, just in case.

We lived with the finials that came with the frame for a while, and brainstormed which glass doorknobs to use to cap the project off.

Tea House Doorknob from Anthropologie

In the end, we splurged on these beauties from Anthropologie, and because of the difference in diameter we used freeze plugs from Advance Auto Parts (sprayed to match the bed) instead of the roses that came with the knobs.  (But not to worry, those pretty pieces will be used in an upcoming project!)  We also decided to use allen cap machine screws that were laying around in the shed rather than the spindle for the knob because they fit the existing hole in the bedpost better.  So with the holes drilled in the freeze plugs and a coat of spray paint and clear coat or two we were ready to assemble everything.

Cost Breakdown:
Frame: $279
Paint and Clear Coat: $18
Knobs: $76
Freeze Plugs: $2.90

Total: $375.90, which is about $273 less than the what we would have paid from Pottery Barn.

What do you think?  Did we do a good job with our Pottery Barn knock-off?  Have you painted a bed frame before?  And if you did it with spray paint, was your finger numb for a couple days afterward, too?  We’d love to hear about the bed related projects you’ve tackled!

And I’ll be back with “After” pictures of the hutch just as soon as the last coat of paint dries, so stay tuned for that!

August 4, 2010

Seeing the Light

by Cait

Ever wonder what’s behind your medicine cabinet?

medicine cabinet renoWhy, that would be some of  the electrical wiring for our kitchen!

Ok, let me back up.  The medicine cabinet in this bathroom was the standard 1950’s three-section, recessed mirrored style (that I forgot to take true before picture of, sorry!), that wasn’t fitting with the mood we wanted for the guest bathroom.  Since there is a large, upright linen closet almost directly behind the former medicine cabinet, we decided the medicine cabinet wasn’t necessary.  So we ripped it out.  We were just going to remove the mirrored doors, maybe the shelves and then drywall over it, but the former homeowner who converted the carport into the 4th bedroom didn’t do such a swell job, so we went down the the studs.  The above picture is after we did that and then added some pieces of 2×4 to screw the drywall into, because I was THAT great at remembering to take pictures of things before starting.

patched holeSorry this is blurry, I think the combination of manual focus and low light was my downfall.

So then we measured the hole and added a piece of drywall to fit the hole, because originally we were just going to remove the old light fixture and replace it when the new one, but when we were taking down the old fixture the painted over wall paper (I know, gasp! But it had been painted over SEVERAL times, so it was easier to just add another layer rather than go through the nightmare that is wallpaper removal.) started ripping so we just pulled that section of drywall down to start over.  After that, all we had to do was spackle. A lot.

need to spackleOi.

more spackleSeriously. Oi. This could have been avoided if we hadn’t had the last minute drywall removal.

need to sandThat is a lot of spackle.

after sandingAnd a lot of sanding.

The sanding was made easier with our new Ryobi cordless sander, since he hand sanded the drywall patch in the hallway and it took forever.  After all that sanding we painted, used a hole saw to cut an area so we could reach the wires exactly where we wanted the light fixture to go (we had used wire nuts on the ends and turned off the power, so Robert wasn’t reaching for live wires), and put in screws for hanging out mirror.

finally finished
Finally done! Robert is excited!

August 3, 2010

Counter Attack

by Cait

Our kitchen is small.  Small and u-shaped.  Thankfully for us, some former homeowners had built an addition so that the tiny eat in kitchen had slightly more counter space and a weird shaped spot in the cabinets left by moving the fridge further to the right and adding a pantry.  Unfortunately we had pretty much filled up the extra space with a microwave and a toaster oven.

microwave situation beforeAlso unfortunately I didn’t take a better before picture, but as you can see, this wasn’t working.
And it was probably a fire hazard (thankfully we didn’t use the toaster oven much).

We saw a microwave shelf built to hold a counter top microwave in the Better Homes & Gardens Kitchen Idea File book that we got from the bargain book section of Barnes&Noble and decided to build one.  We went to Lowe’s with a loose plan & some measurements and left with a 1×12 board we’d had cut to fit to save time, threaded rod, nuts and washers to construct the shelf.  Robert was excited because he was going to get to use his new Ryobi reciprocating saw to cut the threaded rod.  Sorry, I forgot to take picture of the power tool action, I was busy being distracted by Robert’s ripply muscles holding the threaded rod for Robert.

First we lightly sanded and primed the board.  Then we measured to see where the rods would need to go through the bottom of the cabinet above in order to still go through the board and marked. Then we drilled holes in the board and the cabinet, cut the threaded rod fourths (because we weren’t sure how low we wanted the shelf) and test fit everything.

test fitHere you can see that we needed to take everything back apart and cut a little more off the threaded rod.

Note: before you cut your rods to the right length you’ll want to make sure that everything level and then mark where to cut.

Then after that, we actually stopped for a while, because it was raining and we couldn’t put the white coat on the board.  When it was dry enough to paint without asphyxiating ourselves by painting in the shed, we just unscrewed the nuts holding the board up and took the board out to paint.  We also painted the washers that went on the top side of the board to make them blend in a little better.

almost doneHey lookie there, a shelf!

Then the only thing left to do after that was to check again to make sure it’s level, and move the microwave onto the shelf and clean up.  And then maybe celebrate by making some microwave popcorn.

moving back in

I should add that we were able to make this work because our microwave is light. If your microwave is heavier you may need to use thicker, stronger rods, or attach it to the cabinet above somehow other than with nuts and washers.