Category Archives: Carpentry

Handmade Holiday 2015: Tiny Tot Tool Bench How-To

tiny-tot-tool-bench

Are you ready for a fun, easy, affordable project that will blow your kids (and parents, and friends) away?! Well, today I have one for you! This Tiny Tot Tool Bench is the perfect gift for that little one in your life, and it won’t cost you an arm and a leg to make it. For about $25 in supplies, you can craft a handmade, solid wood tool-a-palooza for the toddler in your life.

tiny-tot-tool-bench-tools

Every part is hand made, down to the tiny tools! And all you need is a jigsaw. The bench has 12 holes for practicing fine motor skills, and a little shelf that is fun for the little organizer.

tiny-tot-tool-bench-shelf

Seriously, what is cuter than teeny weenie little tools? The saw even has little teeth!

tiny-tot-tool-bench-saw

The screwdriver fits inside the grooves to twist the screws.

tiny-tot-tool-bench-screwdriver

The wrench is perfectly sized for the square pegs.

tiny-tot-tool-bench-wrench

And the hammer is light yet sturdy enough for lots of heavy banging.

tiny-tot-tool-bench-hammer

 

Even though this is a Christmas gift for my one year old, I wanted to make sure it was sized appropriately. I measured a pair of her pants to get the height, but wanted to double check before I wrote up plans. So during one of those midnight “I have to wake up and play right NOW!” sessions (I know you know what I mean!) I let Caroline take a whirl on the bench. She had a BLAST! I was thrilled to see how much she loved it. It is the perfect height. She can reach the tools up top to grab them easily, and bend down to put things on the shelf. I was a little unsure of my decision to leave the screws as flat dowels, but it was a good call. At 15 months she wouldn’t be able to do the screwing motion. Right now she had so much fun just putting the tools and screws into the different holes. She was awake for TWO HOURS! before I could convince her to go back to bed. She was just having too much fun playing!

tiny-tot-tool-bench-test

The height of the table hits right at her hips, which leaves some room to grow. My three year old also had fun playing with the parts while I was building it, so this could be a great toy to last a few years. And much much cuter than those plastic ones from the store!

tiny-tot-tool-bench-play

 

With one month until Christmas, it’s time to get building! Let’s go!

Supplies:

DIY Wood Couch Sleeves from Scraps: A How-To

couch sleeve organizer

I think anyone with small children or a home full of animals can attest that furniture always pays the price. My poor couch has seen much better days. We adopted a second kitten this summer, and he likes to hop up on the couch by the armrest. Which meant tiny little tears in the “pleather”. For some reason it was like a magnet for my baby, who ended up tearing off huge chunks of the fabric all over the armrest. It’s so patchy now, and looks horrible.

 

couch-sleeve-snack

To hide the damage as well as prevent more, I decided to try out using up some wood scraps from the Chunky X Dining Table and make a wood sleeve to fit over the armrest. I’ve seen these go for upwards of 70 dollars, but this one was free, and can be built for about $25 with new lumber. I decided to make mine with “pockets” to corral remotes, wipes, coasters, and my e-reader. It’s so handy to have that all available now! Plus it’s a great spot for a snack and a drink. The good thing is that it’s already prevented further damage, so perhaps I can keep up the illusion that the couch is mostly undamaged. Just don’t look at the cushions. Like, at all. Thanks 😉

These supplies are based on my couch arm dimensions, which is roughly 11″ wide. If you have a thinner arm, replace the 1×12 with a thinner board, like a 1×10 or 1×8, or even smaller. If you have a 1×8 or below for the main components, be sure to also size down the 1×8 outer board that makes up the “pocket” portion of the sleeve.

Supplies:

Chunky X Base Table: A How-To

chunky x table tutorial

There’s something about 4×4 lumber that makes furniture look amazing. Maybe it’s the sturdiness, maybe it’s the shape. Whatever it is, I love it! A friend of mine recently asked me to build her a new dining table, and I was happy to oblige. She liked the X-Base Pedestal table I built my sister, but wanted a rectangular shape with a heftier top. So I edited the plans a bit to make two straight bases with a stretcher, and used some posts around planked 1×12’s for a beautiful, solid table. It’s certainly heavy enough to last a lifetime!

chunky-x-table-base

The base uses the same measurements from Ana’s plan. I decided to use 2×6’s for the top and bottom to make it even more sturdy looking.

chunky-table-hardware

Another nice change this time was splurging on pretty hardware. I used 5″ lag bolts instead of screws, and it really does lend the table a professional feel.

chunky-table-top

The top was quick and easy to put together. I just have three 1×12’s planked together with kreg pocket holes, and used the same pocket holes to attach the posts. Then a few more carriage bolts on the sides help keep the posts together.

chunky-x-table-and-bench

This is such a gorgeous set, and may be one I have to re-create for my own dining room! I was happy to build for a friend, and love that it will have a good life in its new home.

You may want to construct the table top and the legs, then move the table into place before connecting the legs to the top. This table will be large and heavy.

Here is the tutorial to build your own Chunky X Base Table:

Lumber:

  • 3 – 2x6x8′
  • 5 – 4x4x8′
  • 3 – 1x12x8′
  • 1 – 2x4x8′
  • 2 – 1x3x8′

Hardware:

  • 44 – 1/4″ x 5″ lag bolts
  • Box of 1 ¼” pocket screws
  • Box of 2½” wood screws (to assemble bases)
  • Wood glue

Tools:

  • Drill
  • Miter Saw
  • Kreg Jig
  • Drill Bits

Cut List:

  • 4 – 2×6 @ 30″ cut at a 30 degree angle (top and bottom of table leg bases)
  • 2 – 2×6 @ 30″ cut at normal 90 degrees (spacers for on top of table leg bases)
  • 4 – 2×6 @ 6″ cut at a 45 degree angle (feet)
  • 8 – 4×4 @ 13″ cut at a 45 degree angle (cross bracing for the X shape)
  • 2 – 4×4 @ 21 ¼” (center upright support of the table legs)
  • 3 – 1×12 @73″ (table top)
  • 3 – 1×3 @ 34.5″(cut this after your 1×12’s are attached to be sure of measurement)
  • 2 – 4×4 @ 80″ (long border pieces for table top)
  • 2 – 4×4 @ 34.5″ (cut this after your 1×12’s are attached to be sure of measurement)
  • 1 – 4×4 @ 61″ (stretcher to connect table legs. Cut after legs and table top are built later in instructions).

Instructions:

Important Note: I highly recommend pre-drilling all holes before driving lag bolts or screws. Choose drill bits that are slightly smaller than your screws and lag bolts. This will prevent the wood from splitting.

Lay the 1×12’s on a flat surface.

Connect three  1” x 12” x 73” with several pocket screws as roughly shown below.

Add additional pocket screws along the perimeter of this table top surface for connecting to the 4×4 border lumber. Similar to the photo above (but with only three planks.)

Cut two 4×4’s to the same width as your 1×12’s now that they are joined. The measurement should be close to 34 ½”. Cut your three 1×3 cross pieces to the same width.

Drive two carriage bolts through the corners of the 4″ x 4″ x 80″ lumber into the two 4x4s you just cut. Then secure the three 1×3 cross pieces (using wood glue and/or the 1 ¼” screws) you just cut to the underside of the 1″ x 12″ boards. Space them evenly for the best support, but leave space on the outer edges of your table top for connecting the legs later.

Note: These following photos show assembly of the bench legs, not the table sides. The sides of the table are build similar to these bench legs. The construction is the same, but the main difference is the bench legs are 17¼” tall and the table legs will be are 28 ¼” tall. You’ll also note that the lumber on the benches are made of 2×4’s instead of 4×4’s and 2×6’s.

Use four 2 ½” wood screws driven through the 2″ x 6″ x 30″ top and bottom pieces to connect to the 4″ x 4″ x 21 ¼” upright support.

Attach the 4″ x 4″ x 13″ angled pieces to the top and bottom 2″ x 6″s and the upright supports using lag bolts (two into the top and bottom of each 4″ x 4″ angled into the 2″ x 6″ pieces.)

Attach the 2″ x 6″ x 6″ feet to the bottom of the table legs with four 2 ½” wood screws on each foot.

Repeat for the other table legs. Your table legs should look like this:

Use2 ½” wood screws to attach the 2×6 @ 30″ spacers to the underside of the table top where the legs will eventually attach. (This will elevate the table top so you can see all of the table leg as shown when the table top is secured.)

Measure the inside dimension of the table top from one spacer to the other. Cut the last 4×4 to this length (should be approximately 62″.) Attach the two table legs to the 4″ x 4″ x 62″ stretcher and two lag bolts through each leg and into the stretcher as shown below.

Add the table top and secure the legs to the spacers with 2 ½” wood screws through each leg top into the spacer.

And your table is built!

Time to build the legs. I apologize that Brooke didn’t write the leg post. To build the benches, you can suffer through measuring the pieces to try to fit them together. Or you could build Shanty 2 Chic’s X farmhouse benches which are in the same style.

 

Scrap Pile Presents for a Zero Waste Birthday

pig and deer critter chairs

 

Both of my girls have a birthday at harvest season, and I had such a great time making presents for them this year. To challenge myself even further, I decided to focus on using materials I already had to make really fun, useful gifts. One of the basic “rules” of Zero Waste is to eliminate not only packaging, but to minimize your consumption of plastics and other mass produced toys and items. Basically, try to focus more on your needs, and look for fewer, quality possessions that focus on ethical and ecological production methods. So, that meant staying out of the toy aisles with their factory produced junk, and hand making gifts. For Caroline, who turns one this week, I decided to fill out our Critter Chair set and make her two animal stools: a little deer and a piggy. I looooove the deer! I was a bit worried the antlers would either be too insubstantial to provide a backrest, or look too clunky to be believable antlers. I’m so glad I was wrong! The look very cute, and I think they could even be bulked up a bit at the base and center to make moose antlers. If you’re interested in building your own, I have a tutorial for them here.

 

Greta rag dolls

 

For the second half of her presents from mama, I made her four of these precious Greta dolls. I purchased the pattern as a digital pdf on Etsy from Retromama. She also has a Hans pattern that I bought as well, for gifts later on. Plus like six other patterns I’ve bookmarked, you need to check out her shop! Anyway, the only materials I needed to buy were felt for the hair and shoes, and a skin-toned cotton. I chose felt that was eco-friendly and made in America, and surprisingly found at WalMart of all places. I decided to try out the “old-school” method of filling these rag dolls with, well, rags. And it really did work! Two of these dolls were filled with leftover PolyFill, and two with fabric scraps. Can you tell which? I bet it will surprise you! I decided that from now on I’ll only use scraps to fill the dolls, as they felt much more durable than their puffy counterparts. It’s a great feeling to watch my once-huge scrap stash diminish down to almost nothing, as well as help out other sewers shrink their stashes! I made four of these dolls, each inspired by a different season. The Autumn doll uses scraps from the baby sling I made and carry Caroline around in since birth.

 

play food donuts

 

Charlie, however, got a lot of play food! I made these donuts by cutting circles out of a scrap fence picket with my jigsaw. I used a belt sander to get them smooth and to make the edges look more handcrafted. Then I painted them with some soy-based craft paints found at Hobby Lobby. They are so stinkin’ cute!

 

play-petit-fours

 

I also used up some pieces of 2×2 leftover from other projects to make petit fours, which are a big hit around here. Apparently cake is popular with toddlers, who knew?

 

play-breakfast

 

One of our favorite things to do together is to make pancakes on Sundays, so I whipped up a little breakfast kit at the last minute. Using som old 1/4″ ply, I cut circles for pancakes and then irregular circular shapes for syrup and fried eggs. The syrup and pancakes have iron-on velcro so they can detach.

 

play-roast-chicken

 

This roast chicken set is possibly my favorite of all the play food! I found something similar online, and used a piece of 2×6 for the center and freehanded the shape, cutting with my jigsaw. Then scrap 1×4’s became the wings and drumsticks. A little more iron-on velcro and voila! A wooden play roasted chicken to practice cutting.

 

play-pup-tent

 

Lastly, daddy decided to whip up a quick pup-tent using scrap wood and Ana White’s simple plans. We had these Mexican blankets sitting around in my parents’ storage area, doing basically nothing. Wouldn’t you know, they’re the perfect fit! We stapled them on, and once again had a no-cost, no-purchase gift that my little girls love.

 

And that finishes up the round up of this year’s Presentpalooza! We spent (almost) nothing but time and sweat to make thoughtful, adorable presents for our 3 year old and 1 year old. It required more thought and planning than simply popping into the store and plopping down a few bucks, but I’m so glad we did. I think they’ll enjoy these gifts for years to come, and it’s so amazing to hear Charlie tell her friends “Mommy and Daddy made me this!” with excitement. It just doesn’t get any better than that.

 

 



Saving Alaska with Ana White on HGTV

saving alaska logo

Have you heard the news? Ana White, homemaker extraordinaire, has a new show on HGTV! It premiered last week with two pilot episodes. I finally got a chance to head over to my mom’s house to watch the recorded shows (we cut the cable cord 18 months ago, so I’ve been sadly lacking in HGTV). I can tell you without a doubt, it was AMAZING! I loved it. It’s probably my favorite new show on tv. I had the great pleasure of meeting Ana on her book tour a couple of years ago, and can say that she truly is that genuine and enjoyable in person. It’s been so much fun to work with her on plans for the past few years, as well as build the ones she’s worked on with others!

 

But the best part? I love how involved her family is with the show. As a mom of a toddler and baby myself, it’s incredibly refrishing, if not jaw-droppingly inspiring, to see her wear her son in a baby carrier and tote him around on the job site. It’s such a strong message for women, to not only see a woman working with power tools and building amazing furniture and rooms, but to also see a mom doing all these things with young children in tow. I just loved that! It goes to show that the work/life balance can truly exist for the modern woman. Even one wielding a hammer!

saving-alaska-screencapture

 

So if you’re looking for a great new show to watch, tune in to Saving Alaska. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they network picks up a full season and more episodes will be aired soon!

 

*This is not a sponsored post. Simply one mom’s enthusiastic recommendation for some quality entertainment!*





 

 

Toddler Animal Stool Painting Ideas

Welcome to new readers from Domino Magazine! I feel ridiculously honored to be featured in their article today with the “big dogs” in the DIY blogging world. I’m still pinching myself. Anyway, back to business.

Remember these DIY Toddler Animal Stools I built last year?

animal-toddler-stools

 

I’ve had a flurry of “orders” from friends requesting their own, and have had so much fun coming up with new ways to paint them. This little raccoon for a birthday party is probably my favorite.diy toddler raccoon chair

 

Followed by this tiny tiger, for another birthday.

 

tiger-chair

 

 

A puppy for Charlie’s Christmas present.

 

puppy-chair

 

A pony (or donkey?) for a friend’s little girl.

horse-chair

 

And a frog for a boy.

frog-chair

 

Admittedly my cow needs a little work. I’m working on some horn ideas.

cow-chair

These stools are amazing little gifts. Less than $5 in lumber, and a few hours time to build, sand and paint and you have a unique gift sure to impress!

 

 



Floating Cedar Nightstand

diy floating cedar nightstand

 

Hi everyone! Hope you all had a wonderful holiday and New Year! I kept myself busy working on a few projects, and now have a chance to share one with you. It’s been just over a year since we closed on our home, and we’ve done so much to it already. I’m trying my best to finish up my to-do list of house projects so I can finally call it “done” and take some after photos and post about the entire process. As if I didn’t have enough on the list already, I had to go and add another thing by building this “nightstand”. The last time I showed you my master bedroom, it looked like this:

master-bedroom-vanity

 

It was pretty, but as I started adding more and more rustic, reclaimed pieces, it looked too pretty. Once I hung a few rusty reclaimed mirrors (with a post to come!) it sealed the deal. I wanted something different by the bed.

 

cedar-floating-nightstand

 

A quick tour of the barn showed me these two cedar 4×8 pieces, which I attached together with a few straight brackets and hung on the wall using galvanized pipes. Here’s the quick and dirty:

Supplies:

Cedar Play Teepee: A How-To

cedar play teepee killer b designs

With only a few days left until Christmas, we finished up our biggest present just in time! I knew for a while that I wanted to build a playhouse for my girls, but I wasn’t sure exactly what it should be. At first it was a traditional playhouse, then I decided on a teepee. But, what kind? I thought cloth wouldn’t be durable enough. So I set out to research how to build it out of wood. All I found were finished images, no tutorials. A little brainstorming with my husband led us to this design.

cedar-play-teepee-tall

 

For a durable, sturdy outdoor structure I chose cedar. I’m not a fan of treated wood, especially when there are little ones involved. This was simple enough to construct with cedar 4×4’s, 2×4’s, 2×2’s and fence pickets. Things you can find at your local hardware store or lumber yard.

cedar-play-teepee-play

 

So, how big is it? I wanted it to be large enough to feel spacious and real for the kids, and something an adult can stand in too. The entrance is just tall enough that all you have to do is duck your head a bit to get inside.

cedar-play-teepee-inside

 

I even made a little fire ring with some rocks and firewood. Dad’s teaching Charlie how you warm your hands by the fire 🙂

cedar-play-teepee-back

 

You may be wondering, why the slats? While the structure itself is very solid and heavy, we do get some heavy winds here in Central Texas. These will allow the gusts to blow through without providing a solid wall of resistance. Hopefully this will keep it from toppling over during a bad storm.

cedar-play-teepee-inside-top

 

We also left gaps at the top for even more circulation, and to hopefully prevent too many wasps from nesting in here. Also, you know, stargazing!

cedar-play-teepee-setting

 

I placed it in Charlie’s play area, by the dry creek bed we made with leftover rock from our house siding. It was an area that washed out during heavy rains, so instead of battling the moving mulch we just covered up the bald spots with rock. I love the setting it gives. A little teepee by the creek.

Anyway, enough babbling. Are you ready to learn how to build one of your own? Here we go!

*disclaimer* I am not a professional builder. I am a novice. A mom with some tools and ideas. This is not a guaranteed plan. This is just me sharing how I built something for my family, in hopes it can inspire you to do your own. So if you see any flaws, please share. And build at your own risk.

 

Supplies:

Toddler Sized Animal Stools: A How-To

Fox and Bunny Toddler Animal Stools

 

Are you ready for a crazy adorable, super cute project today? I hope so! Last week I saw an image online that inspired me to make some sweet little stools for Charlie. They’re just her size, and just so darn cute. And again, the best part? They’re made from REAL wood! Scrap wood! The kind you have hanging around your garage so you can build these little suckers for free. But, if you don’t have wood just lounging around your home like I do, you can easily make two stools for less than $10 and 30 minutes. Including painting.

animal-toddler-stools

 

I didn’t include a pattern, because the charm is in the imperfections. The “template” for this project is so that you can customize it any way you like. I chose to make a bunny and a fox, but you could easily use those round ears for a dog, the pointed ones for a cat, maybe even get a little crazy and try out some antlers for a deer? Or rounder ones for a squirrel. Or bear. You get the picture. Change up the shape of the ears and get decorative with the paint and you’ve got an endless array of possibilities ahead of you!

 

animal stools

As you can see, you’ll need to keep the ears large (each about

Modern End Play Table and Stools: A How-To

modern end play table and stools

 

I love building. I love being able to express my creativity in a functional way. The best part is when I can combine multiple functions into one piece of furniture. And this one? This one is amazing in its simplicity.

 

sofa-play-table-and-stools

 

We recently needed to pass on the trundle daybed that my parents loaned us to my sister, and decided that a sleeper sofa was a better option for our office/guest/play room. The added space left me the perfect spot to build a little table. One that’s great to set a drink or a snack. And while my style tends to be very rustic and primitive, this time I really wanted a clean, modern look to match the lines of the sofa.

end-play-table-and-stools

 

Not only is it lovely, it’s so easy to build! That’s the best kind, right? Well, what if it also has another function? Like a spot for my little misses to have tea parties and serve up delectables from their play kitchen nearby?

 

play-end-table-and-stools

 

And not only that, but the stools would be a great height for growing kids, but still sturdy and big enough for mamas and daddies too?

kid-end-play-table

 

Yup. This table takes the cake. Oh, and did I mention you can build it for less than $50? True story. It’s always a bonus when an affordable project looks like a million bucks. So, how easy is this to build? Try 15 minutes and a few basic tools. Here’s what I did:

Supplies:
– 1/2 sheet 3/4″ birch PureBond plywood, cut into 15.5″ strips
– 3 sets of L brackets (to add stability)
– 1 1/4″ screws
– edge banding (optional)

Cut List:
– 1 @ 34″ (table top)
– 2 @ 17″ (table sides)
– 2 @ 12″ (stool tops)
– 4 @ 12″ x 7 3/4″ (stool sides)

 

Assemble the table by drilling pocket holes into one end of each table leg, attach to table top with pocket hole screws and glue. Repeat for stool legs into stool tops. Add L brackets into each corner for added stability and to reduce wobble. That’s it! You’re done. Sand and finish as desired.

end-table-progress

 

It’s always amazing for me to see a simple stack of cut lumber made over into something beautiful and functional. And what parent doesn’t love a piece of multi-functional furniture? Plus one that’s kid-friendly and not garishly bright or plastic? Plus, the PureBond is formaldehyde free (try finding that in the mountain of pressed-“wood” junk at the big box stores), sustainably harvested and made from hard woods. That’s the kind of materials I want around my kids! And that’s why I love building for myself 🙂

charlie-play-table

 

And have I mentioned a few (dozen) times how gorgeous PureBond looks stained?

play-table-top

 

play-table-stool

 

I believe lustrous would be the right word.

I was able to use the leftover strips from my Schoolhouse Desk Bases, but one sheet of plywood would be enough to make two tables. You can even increase the height of both table and stools if your couch arms are taller than mine. My total cost for supplies (factoring in the half sheet of plywood, edge banding, stain, sealer and brackets) was just under $50. Not bad for a perfectly-sized and styled dual-purpose table! Not bad at all.

modern-play-table

 

 



Knocked Off: Schoolhouse Desk Bases with D Lawless Hardware

schoolhouse-desk-wall-unit

Hey guys! Now that I’ve settled more into new parenthood of two (little Caroline arrived late September to join big sister Charlie) I’ve been filling in those rare double nap times with some building. One thing in particular? Updating our desk bases! See, I started out with these vintage end tables:

 

end-table-desk

 

I really liked the look, and that I found a fun and unusual way to repurpose these vintage tables. The problem? Well, they weren’t as functional as I would like. I couldn’t store things below the two tables on the ends, and there were cords tangled up behind the center table. Plus, the protruding bases actually acted as a nice little ladder for Charlie to climb up and onto the desk. Which meant a terrified mama and some broken containers. As you can also see, it was tough to clean beneath them because of those lower supports. So, as sad as I was, it was time to replace them with something else. And as soon as I saw the Schoolhouse Desk collection from Ana that Jamie of That’s My Letter built, I knew it was the one!

 

schoolhouse-base-construction

Putting the tables together was a lot of fun and really quick. I had two sheets of 3/4″ birch

Knocked Off: Tall Rustic Secretary

rustic tall secretary

My laundry room may hold the record for most changes in a year. The last time I talked about it, it looked like this:

laundry-shelf-side

I had just finished my pedestals and built a quickie shelf to stash my laundry soaps and hide the litterbox. We had our chest freezer shoved into the space left over. Not the worst setup ever, but not really the best either. Then at the September market I found this beauty:

chicken nesting box shelves

An old chicken nesting box. I decided to use it as decorative shelving. Originally I wanted some nice cabinets up here, but it would be pretty useless as I couldn’t reach anything in them without a ladder. And I’d still have to climb over the washer and dryer. So, I had my husband hang them up on the wall using a 2×6 as a cleat. He drilled it into the studs, then drilled the box onto the lumber so I could have it flush to the wall. I would have done it myself but he was a bit leery of me lifting over 50 pounds while full term pregnant. I guess I had to agree!

 

rustic-glam-laundry

 

Once I had the box up there, I didn’t really like the freezer and shelf. In fact, I wanted a nice old Hoosier hutch, but we are pretty tight on our budget at the end of the year. So, what to do? Raid the barn! My dad had a 20 foot 2×12 and a few three foot 2×12 scraps, so I decided to use them to make a rustic reclaimed version of this Ana White Secretary.

3154832481_1376594939

 

While I really love this clean, painted version, I didn’t have the thinner lumber and trim available. But I’m still a big fan of my sturdy and free secretary!

rustic tall secretary

I even had to add a nod to the loose chicken theme we had going on with the nesting box by bringing my metal rooster in from the front porch.

secretary-decor

 

The top isn’t too different from the original design. The thicker lumber mimics the look of the trim on the original.

secretary-shelves

Those mail slots are already really handy. I’m not very organized with my mail, so it’s nice to have a way to divide up what needs to be paid, what needs to be filed, catalogs, and what needs to be recycled. It also gives me a place to display our photo albums without Charlie getting into them and throwing them around. Which is one of her favorite things.

secretary-door-closed

 

I made the door out of two old fence pickets (the same ones I used on my fireplace) and planked two of them together. The handle is one I had purchased for our barn door at our old house to use on the interior but couldn’t because of the placement near the wall. Do you see the hinges at the bottom? I didn’t have any euro ones available so I found a couple of small hinges that matched in my dad’s hinge bucket (seriously, he keeps everything!) and attached it to the 3/4″ edge of the wood and the shelf. It lets it flip open fully.

secretary-door-open

Here is where I hide the cat food, candle wax, and laundry detergent. I plan to add a latch to keep little hands out because she has already discovered the fun bottles.

secretary-curtain

Instead of making doors for the bottom, I added in an extra shelf and hid it all with a curtain. Why?

secretary-curtain-open

To hide that pesky litterbox! Our cat has no problem sneaking by and doing her business. In fact, I think she kind of enjoys the thrill of pushing it aside. She likes to hide in there and jump out at me when I’m doing the laundry. Cats are weird.

laundry-freezer

Now our freezer sits on the opposite wall, sad and lonely. I’m not sure if I’ll do anything over here in the near future or not. Depending on our homesteading ambitions we may upgrade to a full size freezer instead of the smaller chest freezer. We’ve nearly filled it up already with two deer and stored breastmilk. How’s that for a combination?! Oh, and I also took the door off to make room for the freezer. I think eventually I’ll either add a sliding door or leave it open. Not sure yet. And to child-proof my incredibly heavy secretary (which I built and moved into place all by my lonesome, I’m proud to add) I’m adding a six inch L bracket that will screw into the top of the piece and into a wall stud with 2″ screws. It won’t be going anywhere!

So there you have it. My third update on a room in the house we moved into only 10 months ago. I clearly have a problem with indecisiveness!

 



Barn Wood Accent Wall for the Fireplace

Rustic Wood and Stone Fireplace

 

What is it when one area of your home is seeing improvement that makes you feel the urge to spruce up everything else? With our landscaping already looking so fabulous, I was staring at the plain drywall on the upper half of the fireplace dreaming of something better.

fireplace-before

 

See what I mean? Just kind of bland. Plus I hated those outlets with a passion. Why would you stick the phone jack right there? Or perhaps place the plug on the side of the wall instead of front and center? I don’t know. As my mom would say, “A man designed this.” Or just somebody not nearly as nitpicky as she is 😉 When I woke up Friday and saw the rain pouring down, I was bummed out that it meant we wouldn’t have landscaping work done that day. We’d only made it to the dirt spreading phase and were supposed to see gravel, mulch and plants. Instead of pouting, I got to work! I had a wild hair to try the barn wood look.

Caroline’s Closet Organization for $50

caroline-closet-after

 

One of the very last projects we needed to complete before baby Caroline comes (I’m full term today! Yay!) was to build her closet organizers. I had been putting it off for far too long, and with a $50 Home Depot gift card burning a hole in my pocket I knew it was time to get planning. At first I had wanted to do the exact same setup as Charlie’s closet:

san-bernard-charlie5

 

Two rods with a long shelf above and slim shelves on the sides. We’d have to do it in stages as the lumber for Charlie’s closet cost more than $50. Then I started browsing Pinterest and saw this closet from Around the Farmhouse Table

16mo-1

 

Perfect! So I cleared out the closet, and this is what we had to work with:

caroline-closet-before

 

The small issue was the angle in the corner. Great for interest, but that meant our shelves couldn’t be wider than a 1×10 board.

caroline-closet-corner

 

After unloading the closet, I broke out the tape and started configuring and taking measurements. Oh, and my helper decided to sort through some baby supplies.

charlie-disorganizes

 

Here’s what we decided on for supplies:

San Bernard Pantry: Cedar and Vintage

kitchen-plan

 

A comment recently reminded me that I’ve never shared the pantry portion of our kitchen! When I posted about our Hand Built Vintage Country Kitchen, I left out the pantry as we hadn’t started on it yet. For an idea of the floorplan (we reversed ours, but the layout is the same) we have a large walk-in pantry situated between our range and the dining table. Let’s get started with the fantastic door, shall we?
pantry-door

 

I found this old screen door at the Wimberley Market Days and fell in love. It was a bit shorter and wider than the pantry opening, so I made some alterations to make it fit. To fill in the space at the top I created a Faux Transom Window with cedar, plexiglass and painted hot glue. I was loath to cut down the door in any way, so instead of hanging it inside the opening with a traditional jamb, we simply used three gate hinges to install it.

pantry-hinge

 

For the closure, I used a catch most often seen in bathroom stalls. I installed it upright to fit on the edge of the door. It’s not necessary, it just allows me to “lock” the door so my toddler can’t sneak in and throw stuff around.

pantry-lock

 

I had a problem with the hinge tension, the door would stay open instead of flush to the trim. Oddly my dad had this screen door closing hardware in his shop, so I gratefully appropriated it and had Jacob climb the ladder to install it. I like that it makes that traditional screen door creak when it opens, and luckily it doesn’t crash closed.

pantry-close

 

Now let’s take a look inside! To the left of the entry I had some wall space and decided to whip up a spice rack and foil-holder a la Shanty 2 Chic.

Flip Top Storage Coffee Table: A How-To

upholstered-storage-coffee-table

 

I think it’s pretty obvious by now that I don’t keep to a blogging schedule. I post when I get a project finished or have something interesting to share. So wouldn’t you know that after a week of not posting I finally have a really exciting plan to show you, and there’s a 24 hour internet outage in my area! Ah, well. It will be just as good today. Anyway, on to the point. A couple of weeks ago my husband told me he really needed a recliner in our living room. In fact, he’d been pushing for one for some time now. I didn’t really see the point, our couch has a chaise! But then he reminded me of all those nights he rocked Charlie to sleep when she was a newborn and that very soon we’ll have another little one to soothe. So I relented. My parents had a very nice, worn-in leather rocking recliner they weren’t using anymore, and generously gave it to us. I tied it in to the room by adding a 9×12 jute rug I scored for a song at the PB/West Elm outlet ($170 for this huge, natural fiber rug!) and it greatly increased the size of the space in front of the couch. I decided it was time to add a coffee table.

flip-top-storage-coffee-tableI had some pretty specific requirements for this table. I adored our Apothecary Trundle Table I built last year, but when Charlie was learning to walk and get on and off the couch she bumped her head countless times. Which meant requirement #1 was a soft, cushioned top. Check. Next, Charlie is now really into blocks and trains. So I needed a table with a solid surface for play. Solution? Make the top flip over!

flip-top-storage-coffee-table-play-surface

 

Play surface? Check! Now where to stash all those toys?

flip-top-storage-coffee-table-storage

 

Inside the table of course! And of course, if you don’t have young children in your house but still like the storage and the flip top, you can always just leave the flat surface for drinks and snacks.

flip-top-storage-coffee-table-hard-surface

 

This table is so much more affordable and durable than anything you can buy. Made from PureBond plywood (you know the kind that’s formaldehyde free and sustainably harvested in the USA?) and cedar or pine 1×2’s, this is solid wood construction. Plus it only cost $100! That’s a steal compared to furniture store prices. I picked up my plywood at Home Depot, and the very patient associate not only made all 10 cuts for me, he did it with absolute precision. I love getting plywood cut in-store since their panel saw gives accurate, straight cuts and the pieces are small enough to load into my SUV. So are you ready to see how to build your own? Here we go!

Continue reading

Laundry Shelf Unit from Stud 2×4’s

laundry-shelf-unit

 

The last laundry project I posted left an awkward gap between the washer/dryer and the freezer with a hideous litterbox in full view.

laundry-room-progress

 

We have a long-term goal for the laundry room, but for now I needed something there to hide that litterbox and give me a bit of storage for soaps and scentsy waxes.

laundry-shelf

 

 

In an effort to save money and use what I had on hand, this entire small shelf unit is built out of old 2×4 studs. I put together a quick tutorial in case you’re looking for something similar, and it would actually be a very pretty unit with nicer (and straighter) boards as well as some stain.

Continue reading

Simple 5 Room Dollhouse for $25 : A How-To

simple-5-room-dollhouse

 

Wow, is it Friday already? This week flew by. I’ve been on a light posting schedule lately (even more than usual) since I’ve had a few minor complications with this pregnancy and have been told to take it easy for a few weeks. That’s no easy feat with a busy toddler and a serious case of nesting! So I decided to keep it simple and do a few smaller projects. Today I have a cute and super simple dollhouse I made for Charlie’s second birthday this month. It turned out super cute, and I’m really excited to share it!

dollhouse-kitchen

 

It all started with the Peg People. I wanted to make a dollhouse that would fit these small peg people I painted to look like our family. Here I am (M is for Mama) in the kitchen, apparently only washing invisible dishes because we’re low on kitchen furniture at the moment.

dollhouse-diningCharlie and her Dad are hanging out in the dining room, probably starving from lack of food. I had so much fun painting our little people.

dollhouse-bedroom

 

Baby Caroline (in a purple onesie) is hanging out in bed. I left her hair and eyes unpainted and the doll unsealed until we know what she’ll look like once she gets here in October.

dollhouse-bathroom

 

Each room features luxurious solid wood flooring (thanks to some stain on the pine boards), painted walls (leftover house paint) and an accent wallpapered wall (raided from my mom’s scrapbook paper stash). Over time I may try to get fancier and add some paper windows or little paintings. But for my super happy almost-two-year-old, this dollhouse is the best toy ever.

dollhouse-loft

 

I even cut up little rugs she can move from room to room from scrapbook paper. These two people are supposed to be my mom and dad, though my dad is wearing a cap, not a weird gray headband. The ball cap idea didn’t translate so well.

charlie-dollhouse

 

The supplies are minimal and the price is just right! All you need are two 1×8 boards, an optional 1/4 sheet of 1/4″ plywood and whatever you want to decorate it with, be it paint, or paper, or stain. I’ve even used diluted RIT dye for a non-toxic finish. The build took an hour from start to finish, so if you have your own little one’s birthday coming up, or are prepping for Christmas, this is a great project to tackle! Here’s the tutorial:

Continue reading