Monday, June 15, 2015

Gross ReStore Cabinets To the Rescue!

I had mentioned in my dining room table post that I was planning to get a few additional pieces of furniture for the room over time. One piece I really wanted was a buffet to store small appliances and some lesser used dishes, since some of our kitchen cabinets were getting a bit cramped.

I'd been loving this one from Ikea but not so much that price. $400 for something I don't have to have? I'll pass, thanks. I had seen some great tutorials online for making a buffet out of kitchen cabinets, but after pricing that, there really wasn't much savings to be had.

One day last week, my mom and I drove all over town stopping at every antique and used furniture store I know of, with no luck on the buffet front other than this beautiful, perfect specimen. Which was $1,200. Yeah.

I did take home this awesome chair, though. It's way more comfortable than my former office chair and it rolls and swivels!

 The last place we stopped was the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. As I browsed the cabinet aisle, I came across some gross, grey flat front cabinets and angels began to sing. It was just what I wanted and for only $5 each? I could hardly believe my luck. My mom seemed less enthused with my vision as I loaded them onto a cart.

Once I got them home, I got right to work. I used liquid nails and screws to attach each of three cabinets to each other through the sides.

While that was drying, I removed the doors and shelves and wiped everything down. I grabbed a can of flat white spray paint I had left over from my filing cabinet makeover and started spraying the cabinet boxes. I only had one can, which didn't get me very far, so I had to leave the rest until the next day and a trip to Lowe's.

While I was getting additional cans of spray paint, I also picked up three 12" wide, 6' long edge glued pine panels. I went with the edge glued because not only were they cheaper than a board, they were actually 12" wide, whereas a board is more like 11 1/2" inches. Since my cabinets were exactly 12" deep I needed that extra 1/2". I picked up four legs and brackets, as well, and went about my merry way.

I measured my cabinets and cut pieces for the top, bottom and sides.

I applied a coat of Minwax's Dark Walnut stain and while that dried, I continued spray painting my cabinets.

I alternated spray painting and applying stain and polyurethane to the wood to speed up the process a bit. I used my flat paint on the insides of the cabinets, the shelves, and the backs of the doors. For the the door fronts, I used a gloss finish.

You  and everything around you will get covered in overspray.

Once everything was dry that evening, I used liquid nails and attached my pine boards to the outside of the cabinets. I set the bottom board on saw horses and then David and I lifted the cabinets and set them on top of the board. I was a little afraid everything was going to fall apart when it was lifted up, but it held together very solidly. Whew.

I clamped everything tight and used some concrete blocks on the top to flatten out a slightly warped board. I let everything dry for about 24 hours.

The next night, I attached the angle leg brackets to the bottom of the cabinet, then screwed the legs into the brackets.

Then we carried it inside (it is VERY heavy) and reattached the shelves and doors.

It holds a ton of stuff!

I love its cute little legs. In fact, I like it even better than the one I had been eyeballing at Ikea. And for 1/4 of the price! Can't beat that.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

DIY Patio Lazy Susan

Ever since last summer, I have been filled with desire for a lazy susan that was made to go around my patio umbrella. I know I must have seen one at some point, but all my efforts to find one have been fruitless. Perhaps I just dreamed such a magical item.

A while ago, I had pinned this tutorial about making one's own lazy susan. This one lacked a hole in the center for the umbrella pole, so I mentally filed it away. Then, a few weeks ago, I remembered the tutorial and thought to myself, "Self, you can totally modify that thing to make it work for you!" After congratulating myself on a great idea, I got started collecting my parts. I only needed two things, so it didn't take long: a cheap lazy susan and an 18" round wooden tabletop (which I got at Lowe's). Both items together cost about $18.

Here's the pre-made lazy susan I found at Wal-Mart. This one was 2 tiered which I didn't need but it was the cheapest one I could find. I had originally planned to remove the rotating part and attach it to my wooden top, but after further inspection, I realized this wouldn't work and that I would have to cut a hole through the plastic. I had no idea if this would even work. I was fully prepared to have the plastic crack right in two. I measured the umbrella pole to determine what size hole I needed. It was 1 1/2" in diameter. I happened to have a 2 1/4" hole saw already so I decided that would work just fine and got to drilling.

Fortunately, it cut through like butter and didn't even threaten to crack.

One note about the lazy susan: make sure it has a ring for the moving portion. Lots of the ones I saw had a solid circle attached at the center, which will get in the way when you try to cut the hole.

After doing a little victory dance in the driveway, I cut the same size hole in the wooden top, after measuring to find the center. This took a bit more drilling effort since it was so much thicker. To avoid splintering when the bit comes through, keep an eye on the bottom side. When the pilot bit starts to poke through, flip the piece over and finish cutting the hole from the bottom.

After the floor staining color trial, I have quite a selection of stain colors. I started out with ebony, but then decided it needed something to warm it up a bit. I brushed on a coat of jacobean immediately. In the photo above, the left side is ebony/jacobean and right right side is ebony only. After that dried, I applied 3 coats of satin polyurethane to the top and sides. I also applied 2 coats to the bottom, which I didn't stain but wanted to protect in case it comes in contact with water.

After all that was nice and dry, it was time the glue to lazy susan to the wood top. I used a two-part epoxy that I applied to the rim of the lazy susan. I forgot to take a picture of this step because the glue sets in 5 minutes and I was panicking just a little bit. The main thing here is to make sure both of the holes you cut line up perfectly.

I'm quite happy with the results. It matches the color of the table really well, which is what I was going for. And that rotating action is smoooooth...

Now who wants to come over for a cook out so I can take it for a spin? Get it? Har har har...

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Protection for the Tiniest, Most Precious Succulents

When I posted about making a planter for my tiny succulents, I mentioned that I was having trouble keeping the cats from eating them. Placing orange peel around them worked for about a day, but it became pretty clear I was going to have to make some kind of cover for the planter, since a lot of the plants were starting to look rather sad.

I knew it would be pretty much impossible to find something pre-made in the size I needed, so I decided early on that I would make something. I picked up a 28"x30" sheet of plexiglass at Lowe's and started winging it.

I've never really worked with plexiglass before, and it wasn't too terrible. After measuring the planter to determine what size lid I needed, I got to cutting. I used a straight edge and utility knife to score the plexi, then placed it on the edge of a step outside and gave it a sharp hit. Sometimes it broke cleanly and sometimes my score wasn't deep enough and I had to go back with pliers to break off the rest.

Once I got all my pieces cut, it was time for assembly. I attached the two long sides to the top first.

I put together this lovely little set up. I placed the whole thing on that wood circle (for another project to come!) so that I wouldn't get any adhesive on the table. I used the Intel box and the basket to keep each side piece propped up.

I tried using super glue first, which really didn't work at all, so I switched over to clear silicone. I just ran a bead along the entire seam and then smoothed it with my finger.

I let those three pieces dry, then attached the two short sides. I used making tape to hold those pieces in place, then applied the silicone. I flipped it over at this point to finish drying because some silicone had squished out and was trying to stick to the wood.

I let it dry until the next afternoon and then removed the masking tape and placed it on top my planter.

It's definitely not perfect. My silicone application could have been muuuuch cleaner, but it is working very well at keeping the cats out of the plants, which makes me and my tiny, precious succulents very happy!

Monday, June 1, 2015

DIY Copper Tiki Toches

We love our pond in the backyard. What we don't love is the amount of mosquitos that it creates. Last year, we had purchsed some cheap bamboo tiki torches to try to ward off bugs when we were grilling out or otherwise enjoying the back yard. They stayed outside all winter and didn't fare too well. And by "not too well," I mean they completely fell apart.

When I came across this tutorial on Pinterest, I was sold. I loved the modern look, and the durability of copper. We picked up the parts to make two torches, which came to about $50. This is definitely one of those cases where DIY is not cheaper, since, despite what Pinterest seems to think, copper pipe is not cheap! However, I was so in love with the look, as was David, so we decided to spring for it. If these seem to do well, we will probably get parts to make two more.

We followed the directions, with one exception. Our Lowe's didn't have the bushing it called for, so instead of cutting off the end of the air chamber, we left it as is and put the wick directly in it. This saved us about $6 on the two extra pieces we didn't use, though it will make it more difficult to refill the chamber with oil. We also picked up copper caps to cover and protect the wicks when not in use.

Assembling them took all of 2 or 3 minutes each, so this couldn't have been a quicker or easier project.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Go Towards the Light!

The stairs down to the basement have been looking pretty stylish, but it was a bit hard to tell, since there was no light there. David's mom got us the fixture that I had been eyeing from Ikea for Easter. It took us a while to get around to installing it since there was no existing light there. We knew we would have to run wire from the basement all the way to the attic. We had made some preparations during basement finishing to make things a little easier, but it was still going to be difficult. There was a lot of talking on cell phones while David was in the attic and I was in the basement, trying to line up two holes at the top and bottom of a wall cavity.

Once that was done and a hole was cut in the stairwell ceiling from the attic, David had to get on the extension ladder on the stairs and attach the fixture. I busied myself in the living room assembling the branches of the light so that I wouldn't witness that I was sure was his imminent death.

Fortunately, no one fell off any ladders and we were left with a brand new light fixture!

It's so nice to be able to see what's going on when I go up and down the stairs. And the pattern it casts on the walls isn't too shabby either!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Goodwill Stereo Cabinet Makeover

Once upon a time, about 7 years ago, I found a stereo cabinet at the Goodwill for $7.50 and I bought it for David as a birthday gift. It had a radio, 8 track player and turntable, all of which still worked. It mostly lived out in the garage to provide some tunes for the frequent ping pong games that were played there.

Witness the splendor of the house back when it was a bachelor pad.

When David moved into this house, it spent a short time in the living room, then got bumped out the garage again and there it has sat for the last 4 years or so. When the living room turned into a dining room, I decided it once again had a spot inside. The only problem was that it wasn't terribly attractive.  I wanted to remove the chunky trim on the bottom and add some nice mid-century legs. However, when I flipped over the cabinet I found that not only was the trim not removable, there wasn't even a bottom to attach any legs to. Instead, the solution I came up with was to paint it, but what color?

I first tried a seafoam green that I had a free sample pot of. I painted just the panels and planned to leave the outside wood tone. However, this color looked really awful under tungsten lighting.

So then I decided to paint the panels white. This was much more agreeable, but still lacking something. I left it this way for a while, so I could ponder my options. Then Cait gave me the idea of painting the exterior yellow and when she shared her painted lantern project, I knew just what shade of yellow I wanted.

I masked off the white areas with newspaper and got to spraying. But I ran into a slight problem.

The paint wouldn't stick to the fake wood. After some googling, I realized I should have used a primer made for glossy surfaces first.

So I got back on track with a couple coats of oil based primer.

And the paint adhered like a dream. Next up was to swap out that old fabric covering the speakers with something a little fresher and less textured.

I removed the back, along with several screws from the panel that the speakers are attached to. Aaaaand it wouldn't budge. Not even a slight wiggle. I would have had to completely rip the whole thing apart to get at the fabric, so I decided to just live with it.

And live with it, I am.

I love how the yellow fits into the dining room, and I especially love being able to listen to all my records on it.

So there you have it, a make-over 7 years in the making!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Tiniest and Most Precious Succulent Planter

I'd been on the lookout for a table to runner for the dining table, since it was feeling a bit naked with nothing on it. I didn't want anything too busy because there was so much pattern in the rug and chairs. I wasn't finding anything I liked, until I started organizing my fabric in my new filing cabinet. That's when it struck me that I could very easily make my own and I had some fabric that would work perfectly.

I just cut two widths of fabric 18" wide and sewed them together to make one long strip, then hemmed all four sides.

Earlier that day, I had been on the other end of town when I passed by a Goodwill that I've always been able to find good stuff at. I decided to go in, and I'm very glad I did because I found the perfect item for a centerpiece!

This candle holder was only $2.50 and I had big ideas for it. I had been seeing lots of cute planters online with tiny succulents in them. I had been wanting to bring more plant life into my house, so this was the perfect opportunity.

I cut and stained a piece of fence picket (the same one from my camera shelf project) and hot glued the candle holder onto it.

I picked up five 99 cent votive holders from Michaels.

Along with an assortment of the tiniest and most precious little succulents ever from Lowe's.

I love how it turned out.

My cats are big fans of eating plants, so I try to keep greenery out of their reach. I was hopeful since these aren't leafy that they would be left alone. I wasn't so lucky. One of the cats has been munching away and pulling plants out of their pots. I have placed orange peel around the plants which seems to be working for now, but I am considering options of buying/making a plexiglass box of some sort to cover over the whole shebang.

Anyone else have any succulent planters? I'd love to see them!

Update: The cats never did leave the plants alone, so you can see how I made a plexiglass cover for the planter here.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Fabric Filing

Since the introduction of my craft room, I have been on the look out for a small filing cabinet so that I could try out a Pinterest organizing idea for my out of control scrap fabric pile.

Sadly, I did not take a before picture but imagine a precariously, leaning, haphazardly folded pile of fabric on a closet shelf and you'll have the idea.

I had been popping into my neighborhood Goodwill from time to time without much luck, so when I found this little guy I was really jazzed.

It wasn't too beat up and the drawers still opened and closed pretty smoothly. Plus it was only $5.50 so I snatched it up and lugged it to the register.

When I got it home, I roughed up the finish with some sandpaper, then got started painting with a matte finish spray paint in white.

Looking much better already!

Once it was dry, I brought it inside and got started making my stencil to jazz it up a little. I stuck on some vinyl contact paper where my design was going to go.

Then I taped a print out over the vinyl.

Finally, I used an xacto knife to cut through the paper and the vinyl and removed the part that would be painted. While I was at it, I painted the handles, as well.

After that had dried, it was time to get all my fabric organized! I picked up some basic hanging file folders and cut each one in half at the fold, giving me two hanging pieces from each folder.

Then I just draped my cuts of fabric over the folder halves. It looks soooo much better than the crazy pile I did have going on. Now, I can actually see what I have and get to it all without a fabric avalanche, or fabrilanche, if you will.

Plus, it lives right next to my sewing machine for super easy access. I love it!