Sunday, May 30, 2010

Another pallet project and a question

I've been a lazy blogger. And I've been thinking. Since my crafting is somewhat cyclical I stress myself out in the slower times because I'm not posting as much as I "should", that is according to the schedule I set for myself. I think I'm just going to give myself some more slack in those slow times and just show off the pretty stuff  I manage to finish, when I finish it. I hope that's ok with you cool readers :)

I imagine that my posts will still come about a week or two apart because there's really no time at all where I don't do ANY projects, I'm constantly busy working on one thing or another. But I may be working on three projects at the same time and none of them are finished in time for the next post. Or a project that is almost finished may be waiting for someone to watch the kids so I can do the finishing touch in peace and quiet (those of you with kids may know that not all crafting can be done with kids around. Sometimes I feel like my two kids with their four little hands turn into an octopus and these hands just keep turning up out of nowhere to fiddle with all my stuff, all it takes is turning my back on them for a second and they're playing with the glue gun/screw driver/paint/needles and otherwise turning me into a nervous wreck). Or I'm just waiting on the plain old budgetary boundaries to be a little more flexible.

I also have a question for you. Once in a while I'll throw together a thrift store garment alteration, make some jewelry or some little nick-nacky something to give as a present to someone - would you be interested in seeing pics of those items too even though they have nothing to do with my overall "make my house pretty" theme of this blog? Because I do some of that stuff too even though I don't consider it as "important" to show off, mainly because I'm just winging it :) But it could still make for an interesting post. So please let me know in the comments or by email if you guys would be interested in seeing that stuff as well, otherwise I'll just stick to the "house fancy" stuff :)

Now to the pallet. My source of pallets seems to have dried up so this might be the last pallet project for a while. This time I was in need of a planter that was long and narrow but higher than the standard window box planter. After eyeing my last intact pallet for a while I decided that it could probably work.

The back first and this is the front. I decided to just cut it in half down the middle horizontally and in order to do that I had to remove the middle back board (already removed in the top pic).
And then I simply stuck the two halves together, backsides facing. I did this by just nailing the two leftover pieces of that one removed backer board to the ends of the planter. You can see it in this pic.

As you can see it's all pretty rough cut and unpolished. I didn't even use my sander this time around. It's a planter, no-one's going to care one bit if it's rough.

I tried it in it's intended spot, just outside the front door behind the screen door. Fits perfectly in the space! (The reason why that's a cause for celebration is that no actual measuring took place during this project - I'm a big fan of eyeballing it, or maybe it's just plain laziness...?)

But the plain wood tone won't work in this space. The front door is going to be red when I get around to it and all the accessories are going to be black and red. I had no black or red paint on hand sooo.. I ended up using some dark reddish-brown stain. It may not be the absolute best color here but it'll work for now. No pics of the staining, sorry :)

And I also needed a liner for the planter since it's full of holes and I don't want more water eating the wood than what the rain provides. Lucky for me our inflatable guest bed had just died (technically only the pump died but both the pump and the mattress sort of need to work for the concept to fly) and I decided to reuse the mattress for the liner. No pics here either but I basically cut off the top and the bottom of the mattress, put one inside of the other, stuffed the whole thing down the planter, folded the raw edges under and stapled them to the side of the planter. Oh, and I also cut drainage holes in the innermost layer of mattress and made the outermost layer slightly deeper to hold the overflow water. At least that's the idea, I haven't actually tried it out yet to see if it works :)

This was taken just before the stapling bonanza started.

And here's the after. As you can see I molded the liner around the planter walls as well as I could to give me as much room for dirt as possible. The gray "ruffle" you see in there are the walls of the mattress' air chambers that I had to cut open for this to work. They won't be visible once the dirt is in.

So my next problem was that I could still see the blue liner through the slats of the planter and blue just doesn't go with the color theme here. Since I was lazy while building the planter I decided to not go through the trouble of covering all the slat holes with wood and instead use some rope I had on hand. I got this idea from another blog out there but I don't know which one anymore (can you tell that I'm following waaaay too many blogs?) No pics of this step either but I hot glued rope horizontally in all the little gaps between the slats (and only on the front because I ran out of rope and no-one's going to see the back anyway).

So this is the end result! Pretty cool looking for a pallet, in my opinion.

These are my wild helpers and as far as they're concerned this is what you do with a storm door...

Another after. For the record this cost me $0 since I had all supplies on hand and only a few hours of hard work in my scorching "workshop" (the backyard). So all in all not bad, huh? :)

Now all it needs is some dirt and some shade tolerant plants. I have some in mind and will give you updates as I make progress on our front porch. Have a wonderful holiday!

Ps. I'm linking to
The Shabby Chic Cottage
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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Outdoor chandelier

So I've been wanting a chandelier on our patio for a few months but didn't find what I had in mind on any of my thrift store rounds. I wanted one of those brassy 8-12 arm ones that you can find pretty much anywhere, only they were all too expensive. I finally found one the other week for $15 and it was perfect!

Still think $15 is a little much but it's a two-tier, 12 arm one so it's not that bad. Once again I have no true before pic so I'll yap a little more before I show you - please bear with me :)

I had originally planned on spray painting it white but then a couple of weeks ago I stumbled upon a very inspiring pic on one of the blogs I follow of a rope-wrapped chandelier and so liked the look that I decided to wrap mine in twine. If I had actually saved my inspiration pic to my computer or at least remembered which blog I saw it on I would have been able to show it to you - but I have not been able to locate it despite looking like crazy (if anybody knows where I saw it please let me know).

Anyway. Before I started working on my chandelier I took it apart, removed all the wiring (no pic of that part either) and put it back together again. These chandeliers are put together with so many tiny little parts and I thought I was being organized and all but when it was back together again I discovered that I had a few extra parts (!). At this point I didn't feel like taking it apart again and trying to figure out where they went. And the chandelier seemed sturdy and looked good so I pretended like nothing had happened :)

I used about two balls of Dollar Tree twine for all the wrapping and here's what the chandelier looked like when it was half wrapped :)

Your standard brassy chandelier as you can see. It looked like my inspiration chandelier had the rope wrapped on using glue of some kind to hold it in place. I didn't want to use glue, it seemed like an extra step and with my twine being much thinner it didn't make sense to me. So I loosely followed the macrame directions in this video to enclose all the arms in twine, pushing the finished macrame down on the arm so it would cover completely. I also made sure the knots were all facing up on the arm.

The wrapping wasn't hard, just time consuming. I just cut off a workable length of twine and wrapped away, leaving the ends loose at this point. When I had to use more than one length of twine per arm I just knotted the two loose ends together, it's supposed to be a little rustic. But in the end you won't really notice because the twine is thin and the knotted ends just blend into the over all texture.
I also hot glued any loose ends down when I was all done as well as reinforced the knotted together ends with hot glue. And then I hung it above our picnic table on the patio.

After talking it over with my dear husband I decided to only wrap the arms to let the other parts add a little sparkle now but also weather eventually to add more of the rustic feel.

If you're a candle person you can just remove the "candles" on the chandelier and put real candles there. I'm not really much of a candle person and this chandelier is mostly here to provide ambience  without necessarily fulfilling any practical purpose so I decided to go for fake candles :)

Again, I loosely followed the directions here. Loosely is the word :) Since my PVC was only slightly thicker than the original "candles" I only plugged up the hole at the top with hot glue while sticking a length of floss in the middle and then trailing the hot glue down the sides. Painted them with outdoor paint, no primer because I was feeling lazy. Colored the floss black with a Sharpie and stuck the new candles up there. Here's the finished result.

And this is what it looks like from inside our dining room (bad pic, I know...)

Oh, and don't worry about the red being out of place. It is now but when it's all done out there it'll be part of a mostly off white color scheme with red accents. I'll put up drop cloth curtains out there and the patio floor will be painted white eventually. It'll look a lot more polished when it's all done, I promise :)

I'm sooo happy with my chandelier, it gives me a feel for what the patio will be like when I get it all done. Pretty, sophisticated, practical and cozy. I can't wait!!

Here's the run down: $15 for the chandelier, $2 for the twine, $1 for the outdoor paint = $18 for a great outdoor chandelier (I had all other supplies on hand). Isn't that a great deal?!

Ps. Linking to
Someday Crafts twine party
Funky Junk
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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Kitchen boost

This project has been in the works for months and months. In the works in this case means that it's been an idea begging to be turned into a project, barely got started and then sat half done for months and months :) I finally made myself finish it.

And you're going to laugh at me when I show you what it is, maybe I've actually gone off the deep end this time :) It involves cereal boxes on my kitchen cabinets. Yup, you heard me. At least cereal and kitchens sort of go together, no?

So, can you spot the cereal boxes?

No? They're right there, right under your nose.

See the backer board of the handle? Yup, that's made out of cereal boxes.

So here's the story. Our kitchen came with nicely painted white cabinets with these nice but very standard oil rubbed bronze colored handles on all cabinets and drawers. I just thought they looked a little puny and maybe not as old-worldish as I would have liked. There were also imprints of previous handles in the paint that I wanted to cover up without having to go through the tedious job of repainting the cabinets.

Since we go through a lot of cereal and in this case oatmeal I decided to use what I already had on hand (free is just the bestest of the best as far as prices go).

I cut out the larger panels of the box and paired them up. Lightly sanded the glossy side of the panels, gooped on some Elmer's glue and stuck them together (glossy sides together), then let them dry under something heavy to try to keep it as flat as possible.
I then took this label I found at The Graphics Fairy and played around with it in Photoshop. I simplified it and changed the colors, then printed out as many as I would need for my project and Elmer's glued them to my cereal box sandwiches like so.

Next I cut them out. I did a test run with my exacto knife and it was a complete pain because you need to use a lot of force to cut through this paper sandwich. So I used my kitchen shears instead :) Which was the main reason why I simplified the design, to make them easier to cut out.

It's a little hard to see in this pic but after they were cut out they were all slightly bent and did not lay flat against the surface. It turned out to be a no-problem-at-all-thing since the handle held them in just fine when they were mounted.

Now, I needed to disguise the fact that this was just paper. I got myself a can of oil rubbed bronze spray paint and sprayed away. I had printed these labels in dark colors so I wouldn't have to use a ton of paint to cover them well. Here they are drying away after being sprayed.

I used one of my handles to estimate where I needed to put the holes for the screws and then I "drilled" holes with my exacto knife. If you're not into eyeballing it I recommend actually measuring this part, I didn't get it exactly right so some of the backer plates don't lay flat against the cabinets. It doesn't bother me all that much but it's something to consider if you're very particular :)

And then I had to remove and replace every single handle in my kitchen. There's 17 of them so it's not all that bad I guess but it was tedious. Here's a before shot (of my uncleaned and cluttered kitchen).

And the afters again.

It's a small detail but it adds a certain something to the feel of the kitchen, it's more distinguished. And so I like it :) And the only thing I payed for was the can of spray paint. The paint makes them wipeable as well, we all know cabinets can get yucky. I'm not a kitchen goddess so I spend as little time in there as I can get away with and I don't expect these backer boards to get soaked with water or anything like that. Some splatters here and there they should be able to take.

Do you like?

Ps. Linking to
The Thrifty Home
Someday Crafts 

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