7.30.2012

I’ll have a Nightstand and Lamp Revamp, with a side of Cooties.

At any given point throughout my life, I may have told you that all of the following things had cooties:

  • boys.
  • mattresses found on the side of the road.
  • the mangy evil cat that keeps scrounging through our garbage can.
  • the color red.

But obviously I have changed my mind about some of those things, with the exception of the mattresses and the gross cat, lest you think I adore all curbside finds and all felines. That’s a negative. Anyway, I’ve continued being insane making red the accent color in our bedroom (following the gallery wall and the knobs on my desk makeover) with our new nightstand lamp.

lamp makeover

You can probably predict what I’m going to say next: I got the lamp from a thrift store, it was $7, I spray painted it with Krylon metallic, gave it a new shade, blah blah blah, you-can-tell-this-story-in-your-sleep-Erin-please-just-buy-a-new-lamp-for-once-in-your-life. (No.)

lamp makeover

The shade was just a plain white drum shade from Target that I attached some red grosgrain ribbon to using spray adhesive.

lamp makeover 3

But I bet you can’t predict what I’m going to say next regarding our nightstand.

Or maybe you can, because maybe you are a part-time wizard and you have a crystal ball in your basement, or maybe you have a paper fortune teller lying around from the time you thought boys had cooties.

You see, you might be able to tell that our nightstand was once a cabinet that, um, I got off the curb (so much for being unpredictable with this one)…BUT can you guess what the top was made of?

turn an old cabinet and tv tray into a nightstand

I’ll give you three choices:

  1. wood from the hardware store
  2. silk from the nests of cooties
  3. the top of an old TV tray table

If you guessed cootie silk, you are right wrong…

use an old cabinet and tv table top to make a nightstand

…unless cooties are often recruited to make TV tray tables. Because that’s what it is: the top of a TV tray table that was left in our old apartment. When I realized that it fit the top of the cabinet perfectly, it was a lightbulb moment. There may or may not have been fireworks and streamers and Shania Twain singing “From This Moment On.”

lamp makeover 5

Our bedroom is finally coming together, because I’m finally in the stage where the little stuff is getting added, like pretty flowers.

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Believe it or not, the corner with the nightstand is the same corner that the arrow is pointing to in the photo below. Yikes.

major bedroom makeover

And for another yikes, if you’re wondering what our nightstand used to look like, take a peek inside our new nightstand…

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…and now picture all of that on a nightstand. Seriously, nightstands without storage are useless. I need a place for my tissues and lotion and lighters. Doesn’t everyone?

Are there any colors that you used to think had cooties? Who wishes we’d kept the birdhouses and fence? All wizards in the audience, can you tell me what I am going to make for dinner tonight? Thanks.

P.S. Random Acts of Craftiness is becoming bigger by the minute. And I am getting more excited by the minute. Go here if you don’t know what I’m talking about and want more information…I’m hoping to have more details solidified by the end of this week!

***Linking up to Tater Tots & Jello, My Girlish Whims & Domestically Speaking!***

7.27.2012

Operation Take the “Fur” Out of “Furniture”

Let’s face it: when you are a cat or dog owner and it is warm outside, every surface that those animals sit on and touch collects gobs and gobs of fur. Your cat sidles along your leg and you are now wearing a whole new cat on your pants. You can’t find your bed because it is buried in fur. You lay down on the couch and arise looking like this:

chewbacca

…which would not be a bad thing if we lived on Endor and Wookiees ruled the land and there was racism against humans, or if you were in a hairy chest contest.*

*I have never entered a hairy chest contest.

We have a couple chairs in particular that have succumbed to the evil that is constant cat fur. I was not pleased with the toll it was taking on this chair in our bedroom.

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You see, our cats use that chair more often than we do. And we don’t use it that often because the cats are using it. (It’s a vicious cycle.)

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We left a blanket on it for a while, but it looked sort of frumpy and the fur destroyed the blanket. It did make for some pretty cozy sleeping…if it’s cozy to sleep upside down with your arms in the air.

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Drastic times call for drastic measures, so I did something drastic: I went to Joann’s. And I bought a yard of some blue suede-ish velour-ish (suelour?) fabric on the clearance shelf for $2/yard. And I brought that home and cut it into two pieces slightly smaller than the seat of our abused chair, then hemmed them with iron-on tape.

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And now the fur is collected by a cheap, washable and, if necessary, replaceable pad of sorts.

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I can also vacuum the protective pads off eight times a day without worrying about wearing away the fabric, an opportunity I have naturally taken full advantage of. See?

protect furniture form pet fur

In an ideal world, the fabric would be the same as the chair upholstery. But in an ideal world, fur would not fall off and fabric would be free. So there’s that.

protect furniture form pet fur3

The next furniture to rescue is Zoe’s favorite first-story bed: one of our living room chairs.

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These types of bizarre sleeping positions are totally normal around here. You should see the way Rick sleeps. Actually, no you shouldn’t. That would be weird. (Hi Rick.)

Does your furniture get suffocated by pet fur? Who wants to come vacuum off our chair pad eight times a day? I will feed you occasionally.


P.S. I announced the two giveaway winners and a discount offer good for 15% off at Pretty Prints (now through Sunday!) over here. Go check it out!

P.P.S. There are now 16 bloggers participating in the Random Acts of Craftiness challenge, which I shared yesterday! Want to make it 17? Go here for details!

P.P.P.S. (I feel like I’m in 4th grade writing a note) Apologies for the identity crisis that my blog keeps undergoing. I think I’ve finally settled on a look I can live with.


7.26.2012

Random Acts of Craftiness Challenge: Are you in?

What happens when you breed crafting with blogging and random household items and brain exercises? You get the Random Acts of Craftiness Challenge, obviously.

random acts button2

…whiiiiich might be as mutated and genetically deformed as one might expect a quatro-breeding experiment to be; however, sometimes the bizarre is the most fun. And while I am not usually a proponent of genetic super-mutations that cause things like four pinky toes and hairy tongues, I do like fun. And, friends, you can get in on the genetically-bizarre fun, too. (I’m sure you’ve always dreamed of being part of something like that, no?)

Here’s how it will work:

1. Receive the challenge. Beginning in September, you will receive an item challenge at the beginning of the month. Twelve months, twelve items. These items will not be the once-random-but-now-seen-everywhere blogland fodder, like paint chips. Rather, these items will not yet have been widely acknowledged as potential craft items, like chain, or dice, or toothbrushes, for example. (Are you scared yet?)

2. Share your project. On the last Friday of each month, you will share the project that you made using the item.  The only rule is that whatever you come up with can’t be a direct copy of something that has already been done, or at least as far as you are aware. There is obviously nothing wrong with amazing ideas that other people have had, but this challenge is about trying NEW things and stretching ourselves to look at everyday products more creatively. Don’t worry: I am choosing items accordingly so that there is less potential for your brain to be stifled by the “already done.” I know how that goes.

3. Celebrate with the other participants. I’ll have a preset list of participating links that you can copy into the end of your own post so that guests can hop from one creation to the next, and so can you.

4. Repeat! If you dare. ;)

toothbrush craft

You might be sitting there thinking:

1. But Erin, what if I fail or my project turns out less than stellar? No problem. You don’t need to worry about achieving perfection each month. Honestly, sometimes fails make the best stories. We can all laugh together! (Still scared? Please read this post about why you CAN and SHOULD do this.)

2. But Erin, I know there will be a couple months when I’ll be too busy to participate. Again, no problem. As long as you’re in for the majority, we’ll let you stick around. ;)

3. But Erin, I’m shy or new to your blog and you don’t know who I am. Say it with me: no problem! I’d love for this to be an opportunity to get to know some other bloggers a little better, so if you're thinking you’d like to join in, please don’t be bashful. (coughcraftylurkersahem) I promise I don’t bite, and, to my knowledge, neither do the other bloggers who have already said they’re in.

4. But Erin, that mention of hairy tongues totally grossed me out. My apologies.

random acts button weird 2

To join in (hooray!) or if you have any questions like whether or not toothbrushes are actually going to be making an appearance in this challenge: Email me at emuff25@gmail.com OR use the contact tab above OR leave a comment below, as long as your email address is linked to your comment somehow so I can respond and keep you in the loop.

I can’t wait to get started! :)

UPDATE: Due to the unexpected level of interest, the whole “sign up” and “we’ll keep everyone in an email loop” is no longer manageable. That’s GOOD, though! From now on, information will just be disseminated via my blog. And you can still join in on the fun—just keep an eye out for more information! The post with the juicy details will go live on Monday, 8/6!

7.25.2012

Yard Sales: The Reason I Pay Full Price For, Well, Mainly Nothing

25:1. That is the approximate ratio of new to secondhand things in our house. I came to this number by the highly scientific method of sitting here at the computer and thinking for .03 seconds. Like I said, scientific. But science isn’t always totally foolproof, right? Take Marie Curie for example.

Seriously, secondhand stuff makes up the majority of my house. I don’t pay full price for much of anything, and don’t buy much of anything brand new. Thrift stores are okay (the ones around here can have ridiculously high prices), but yard sales..they are the fudge to my brownies. The ice to my cream. They are, to me, what radium was to Marie Curie. Until it killed her.

Because really, where else can you get 10 clear (they really aren’t blue), cut glass plates for just $2 total?

why secondhand is better

Where else can you get all four of these lights for just $13 total?

why secondhand is better4

Where else can you get these two ornate picture frames for $6 total?

why secondhand is better3

Where else can you get 6 regular, non-ornate but still perfectly acceptable picture frames for $2 total? (Side note: I will not pay more than $.25 for a plain, wooden small picture frame and generally not more than $1 for a large one. Why? Because I know I can find them for that cheap somewhere else, if not at that particular yard sale. Thrift store frame prices are generally too high for me. I might be a dying breed.)

why secondhand is better5

Where else can you get a globe on a stick for $4?

why secondhand is better2

Where else can you get a brassy scale for $3?

why secondhand is better6

Where else can you get two fancy bathroom fixtures for $1.25 total (and from two separate yard sales, nonetheless)?

why secondhand is better7

Where else can you get a photo of a guy and his beloved fastened to a plastic plate and a wooden paddle?

why secondhand is better8You know you want to pin that.

If you enthusiastically chanted “Nowhere but a yard sale, of course!” because I tricked you with that whole repetitive question and answer thing, sorry. Not this time. Because that plate gem was free, from a trash can next to a yard sale. I can’t decide if it was tossed because the relationship ended badly or the concept of screwing a picture to a plastic plate and then a wooden paddle ended badly. But I have big plans for that wooden paddle. Big plans. Okay, just plans.

Do you buy mostly new, or mostly used? What are your price limits for typical yard sale fare like picture frames? Who is going to run out and plaster a photo of themselves on a plastic plate?

Don’t forget: the Pretty Prints digital print giveaway ends tonight at midnight! There will be two winners!

P.S. As you might have noticed, I just became part of the BlogHer publishing network. Rick just emailed me to say there was a floating ad on my blog when he loaded the page. I fiddled with some settings and hope it’s fixed, but if you see a floating ad yourself, please please please let me know—I opted out of those because they are, well, annoying. How can you see pictures of picture plate paddle art when there is an ad hanging out there?

7.23.2012

Giveaway: Pretty Prints Shop!

Congratulations to Maury and Trina for winning this giveaway! Everyone else can stop by Pretty Prints between now and Sunday 7/29 and take 15% off their order—just convo Cristina before you buy anything to let her know that you’ll be taking advantage of the His & Hers discount!


Guess what, blog friends? It’s Monday, but it’s also time for a giveaway! Cristina of Pretty Prints is generously offering one digital print from her Etsy shop for two lucky winners! Here are some of the adorable digital prints you could win:

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il_570xN.332047023

il_fullxfull.350917052

il_570xN.358017770_nn0u

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…and lots more! I honestly can’t decide which one I would pick!

HOW TO WIN ONE DIGITAL PRINT FROM PRETTY PRINTS:

REQUIRED: Visit Pretty Prints on Etsy. Leave a comment here saying which print is your favorite.

OPTIONAL: For up to three extra entries:

-Be a reader of this blog, and leave a comment saying so. This doesn’t mean I’m asking you to sign up now just so you can enter this giveaway and I get more followers. I am obviously most interested in giving things to my fabulous readers, because whether you have made yourself known or not, I appreciate you. So if you are awesome and are already a reader and you want an extra entry, you can have one. :)

-“Like” Pretty Prints on Facebook (brand new!) and leave a comment here saying that you did that.

-Share this giveaway on Facebook and leave a comment here saying that you did that.

That’s it! The giveaway closes at midnight on Wednesday, July 25th, and the two winners will be chosen via random.org on Thursday and announced on Friday. There will be a discount offered for all non-winners, so be sure to check back on Friday!

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Happy Monday, friends! :)

7.20.2012

How I Inadvertently Saved $173 on a Tray

I’m here to tell you about a racket that I recently discovered. It’s called Overpriced Nonsense. It’s called What Is this World Coming To. You see, I recently spray painted this hexagon tray, purchased on Marshall’s clearance for $2, a glossy white and put it on my new desk/vanity.

tray makeover 5

jonathan adler knock off tray

I then happened to spot practically the same exact tray being sold by Jonathan Adler for $175.

jonathan adler tray knock off

Say what? Who spends $175 on a tray? Even if it IS “made in Vietnam using traditional, artisanal techniques, where each piece is coated in 12 layers of lacquer, and then every coat is allowed to dry for 48 hours and water-sanded before the next coat is applied”?

Vietnameeseewhoeywatersandedwhatty?

My parents had an exchange student from Vietnam. That’s probably close enough.

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Don’t get me wrong; I’m sure the $175 tray is nicer than mine. But is it really $173 better than mine? Mine has bugs encased in the finish, people. (It’s the next trend in design, I promise you. Come spring, Jonathan Adler will be selling microscopic lacquer-coated bugs for a mere $245. On sale. You heard it here, folks.) Really, nothing adds character like the lumpy corpses of pesky insects who refuse to land on any of the other billion square feet in the universe.

tray makeover3

And I’m not sure mine can live up to this standard: someone at Jonathan Adler described the $175 tray as “crack cocaine for the eyes.” I’ve been staring at mine for days and haven’t yet been inspired to scratch my skin off OR hack up black phlegm. Yet another shortcoming.

tray makeover2

But despite these obvious flaws, and the general lack of 12 layers of artisanal lacquer, I’m happy with my $2 + spray paint tray.

tray makeover

And if you aren’t privy to the water-sanding artisanal methods of crafting, the winning team for ensuring a no-chip finish on non-porous surfaces (like my plastic tray) is as follows:

no-chip spray paint finish on non-porous surfacesThe frosted glass coat gives the surface some texture that the next layer can cling to, which is generally missing on non-porous surfaces like plastic, glass, and metal. The second layer can be any spray paint (I actually used regular Krylon for the tray), but the paint + primer gets extra credit. Clear enamel gives the whole surface polish and protection.

jonathan adler knock off tray

Would you spend $175 on a tray? If you say yes, we can still be friends. And you can feel free to take me shopping anytime. ;)

P.S. My for-photo-purposes tray d├ęcor seems to have a wintery theme. That wasn’t intentional. And if anyone was wondering, the framed photo is of me as a toddler with my daddy. :)

***Linking up to Too Much Time On My Hands and Tater Tots & Jello!***

7.18.2012

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Deliciousness

WARNING: There’s a very good chance that you will gain weight simply by reading this post. Proceed with caution and a full stomach. And maybe a shake weight or two.

Rick’s birthday was last week, and he loves peanut butter and chocolate like I love cats. Except I don’t usually eat cats. Keeping this in mind, I asked him if he wanted chocolate peanut butter cookie dough cupcakes for his birthday dessert. He said yes. So I made them, following this recipe from Gimme Some Oven that I found on Pinterest.

I didn’t take pictures of my own cupcakes. They weren’t this pretty, anyway.

The best part was the eggless peanut butter cookie dough “frosting.” You’ll just have to trust me when I say that it tastes way better than it looks based on my food photog skillz.

DSC_0889Note to self: use this dough at the next baby shower where they want to play the guess-what-delicacy-is-in-the-diaper game.

We had a whole bunch of the dough leftover, so I decided to freeze it into tiny dough balls so that we could make our own peanut butter cookie dough ice cream. Because I love chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, and, really, why hasn’t anyone invented peanut butter cookie dough ice cream? Maybe I will market it and make millions. I need to work on how my peanut butter dough balls look, though, because nobody wants to eat things that look like turds. Except me, obviously. But that goes without saying.

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Yum, turds.

Are you a chocolate-peanut butter fan? What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream? Who wants me to market my peanut butter turd dough ice cream?

7.16.2012

This is a post about a desk.

I tell my students not to begin with sentences like “This essay is going to be about the mating habits of salamanders” or “In my essay, I am going to tell you about the mating habits of salamanders.” I also encourage them to write about things other than the mating habits of salamanders. But it’s summer, and I feel like disobeying my own guidelines, so I’ll begin this post by saying that this post is going to be about a desk. Or does it really count as beginning if you already began with details about the guidelines you are breaking?

Anyway.

This is a post about a desk. Specially, this desk:

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This desk that used to look like this:

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First to go was the crappy polyurethane finish. Said crappy finish was compliments of my first foray into polyurethane, two summers ago, that did not end well. I basically went slap happy with the Minwax and ended up with a piece of furniture that looked like it had lost a battle with a Vaseline-wielding tree. So when we moved into our house last April, the desk was banished to the Land of Furniture Rejects…until a couple weeks ago, when I realized that it would make the perfect bedroom vanity to house my Girl Stuff. (You know, headbands, earrings, pins. Not bras. Too bad. I do love to discuss bras on this blog.)

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My goal for this makeover was to use only supplies that I already had, so after the gross finish was gone, I gave it a coat of tinted primer followed by three coats of Behr’s Seal Gray (primer and paint were both leftover from our former living room). The drawers got white spray paint inside and out. I spray painted the original knobs in glossy Krylon red and then gave them a coat of Rustoleum clear gloss protective finish so they will hopefully withstand frequent use.

desk knob spray paint makeover

I lined the drawers with red scrapbook paper. There were seams, which really isn’t a big deal because hello it’s a drawer and the seam would be covered by my Girl Supplies, but I was feeling OCD and punched out little circles to make a design where the seam was. So when you come visit me, feel free to open my vanity’s drawers. You will not see any seams.

lining drawers with scrapbook paper

The final coat is a mix of spray-on glossy protective finish (on the base and drawers) and Minwax wipe-on polyurethane for the top. The jury is still out on the wipe-on poly, but I have a feeling I may be writing a love story about it one day. It will be called This Is About My Love Affair With Wipe-On Polyurethane.

desk makeover

deskmakeover

And not that this room is actually ready for a full “before and after” but I sometimes have to remind myself that this is what that corner looked like when we moved in.

bedrm desk cornerYou can read other details about the bedroom evolution here.

What did you get done this weekend? Who wants to be my student? Who wants to come help me keep my new desk/vanity clean so that it doesn’t collect every unwanted item in the house?

***Linking this up to Primitive & Proper, the DIY Project Parade & My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia!***

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