Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Alphabet Blocks

Alphabet blocks can be a unique and customizable gift for a child or Mom-to-be.
I made two sets as gifts, but these could also be a great baby shower activity.
I bought some 2 x 2s from the hardware store.
I started with a jig saw because it's not as scary as the circular,
 then switched to the circular because it was taking way too long.

How not to DIY Alphabet blocks:
Sand the ends after each cut!
I realized this halfway through.
I could sand one end while it was still clamped to something stable,
then only have to sand one side by hand.
For this, I wore leather gloves and used a palm sander while holding each block.

This may cut down on just buzzing off blocks efficiently, but you'll appreciate it down the road.

I measured the blocks to be cut as long as they were wide.
I forgot I'd lose quite a bit of that to saw dust! 

So they're not perfect.
Gives it character.
That's what I'm going with.

After all the blocks were sanded and the corners were rounded,
I got to Mod-Podging.
I cropped those down to size and printed them out.

Apply a thin layer of Mod Podge, lay the paper down, let it dry 20 minutes, then put another coat of Mod Podge on top.  Apply 2 or 3 coats to ensure a good finish.
This took some time but was a good indoor-while-I-watch-TV winter activity.
 
My sister decorated her little girls room in the following colors. 
 
To personalize, I added little images that were relevant to the parents. 
 
I also did one side with all the family's faces.
We have a lot of K names, so it didn't quite work out that K stood for Kristen. 
 
Below are the blocks for my friends new little boy. 
 
I left one side wood on these because it looks neat and lets the parents customize. 



I don't know how to add my template on here for the letter blocks.
I just used a Word document, inserted squares, filled with a color, and added a text box.
Please send me an e-mail if you're interested and I can send you my template where you can print or change colors.

These were a lot of fun to do and kid safe with Mod Podge. 
Little Quincy is already playing with his.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Ski Coat Rack

This winter my husband and I made a hall tree coat rack with vintage skis.
 
How not to DIY this project:
 Don't try doing it alone!
This required at least two people to hold the skis, wood, hooks, screws,
 and drill all at the same time.
It's funny, my hubby doesn't often work on these projects with me,
but when he does, he's so proud of them and wants to keep them.
 
The bucket above helped keep the wood in one level spot as we drilled holes. 
I Love how it turned out, but we were very lucky.
As we held everything together, the skis would shift, twist, and lean.
I'm surprised we got all four legs touching the floor and not wobbling.
I made the cross bracket with two pieces of solid wood with a notch cut halfway up each.
They were a tight fit and the ends needed cut and sanded to fit the angle of the skis.
I also spray painted the heads of the screws to blend in. 
 
These were vintage skis, I don't think they were antique. 
One set had the metal bindings on, the other had blue plastic bindings.
I took those off for aesthetics. 
The top is held together with another piece of wood stained to match. 

Friday, January 22, 2016

50 Shades of Grey Buffet

 I love using furniture as a media center.
With larger TVs, DVRs, and gaming systems,
I think buffets and dressers make the handsomest storage.
The before.

Laminate speckled wood.
Usually, people think the heavier the furniture, it must be solid wood.
 
This beast was HEAVY!
Because is was made of glue and sawdust.
Still solid, just not something you can refinish.

I wasn't loving the handles, but they hid some seams. 

Here's your How Not to DIY tip.
Don't take pictures of furniture as the sun is setting.
Something with the different colors fragmenting in a longer sky.....
leads to 50 shades of grey.




No, I did not re-paint the buffet.
I was just in a rush to take pictures before the sunset.
 
It was tough to portray the true color.
So I resorted to a less attractive setting of inside my garage.

Best thing about chalk paint is the ability to adhere to laminate wood.
I'll SOS it a bit first though... just in case.
 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Maple Leather-Handled Desk

Who knew orange maple could be so beautiful?
I found this desk for a whopping $8. 
It's not really my style, but for that price, I couldn't pass it up.


Instead of getting stripper out, making a mess, then sanding...
I just sanded.
Of course, I did the easy parts that are flat.
 
Out came this beautiful grain! 
 
I decided to paint the curved legs and handles so I wouldn't have to sand in tiny corners. 
Unfortunately, I hate the way the handles turned out.
It made the dresser look like plastic.
 
Instead, I went with my favorite DIY option...
Leather Belt Pulls. 
 
The best belts are Genuine leather, not a sewn together two-sided belt,
and (most importantly) bought at a cheap price of $.50.  
Using Bolts, Nuts, and washers. 
The key thing is to keep all the handles and distance between the holes the same. 
 
I don't normally take out door pictures,
but this desk is a heavy beast
and I'm out of room in my house. 

 
Eventually, we moved it indoors where I want to keep it because I love it.


This desk was made in Mayville, NY, just minutes from my home, in 1936-1945.

I painted the sides in a military grey chalk paint.
And finished the wood and sides with a polycrylic to protect. 
Here's the kicker.
There's always a kicker with my projects.
I never tried sitting at the desk during the whole time I bought and refinished it.
Seem Silly?
 
Well, it's a child's desk.
You can see, from the lack of leg room,
it's not meant for an adult. 
So out of the house it goes.
For sale to another home with children or anorexic adults.