Well, since I never got a My Size Barbie...

...I thought I'd make some My Size Subway Art instead. Do you think Mattel will go for it? Do you think Mattel knows why this type of "art" is called "subway art"? Do you know why this type of "art" is called "subway art"? Please enlighten me if you do. :)

Sort of like this almost-ottoman that Rick built, our new wall decor is the same size as me. Here's proof:

I probably could've taken off my fluorescent slippers for this photo.

Unlike My Size Barbie, though, these 5' tall panels don't come with their own personal hair extensions and painted-on panties.

Bor-ing. Or less creepy? You decide.

They actually began their lives as dingy 7' bi-fold doors that I found abandoned in the basement, which, incidentally, is also where I would abandon my My Size Barbie, if I had one.

Rick cut the doors down to 5' and painted them white (with oil-based primer first since those bi-folds absorb water-based paint in a not-so-pretty way) while I used Sure Cuts a Lot (the best program EVER if you have a Cricut) to type, design, and cut out the words for the panels in mostly black adhesive vinyl. Two of the words are in yellow, which is the color I am attempting to make the accent for our living room.

After all of the words were cut out, Rick helped me transfer the words to the panels using appropriately named transfer tape. It took some effort to make sure everything was lined up and not crooked, because even though we measured and marked where we wanted the words to be, the stickiness of the materials made this part a little tricky.

But in the end, we figured it out.

What the...?! How'd that get in there?!

This is really just more proof that it is completely and utterly necessary for your well-being to stash such an item deep in the dark basement.

I was certainly an avid Barbie lover in my day, but I was never lucky(?) enough to have a giant one. Or one that had been beheaded and glued to a plastic pedestal. How about you?

Weekend Bloggy Reading



I've always wanted a big plywood box!

Look at what I came home to today:

Poor Rick. :( As it turns out, he had a spat with the drill while creating this, which I also came home to:

What you're seeing is the skeleton for our brand new ottoman, complete with storage room for all kinds of things. I think Rick was bitten by the construction bug after building the desk for our office. And this storage ottoman seemed like the logical next step, since I had searched, to no avail, for an inexpensive coffee table long enough to accommodate our 9' couch but narrow enough to not take over the whole room. I will now demonstrate how roomy it is:

There is really room for several more kittens; right, Rick? ;)

Since the ottoman is 5' long and 22" deep, I can almost fit in it laying down (yes, I am a short-o, being a mere 5' 2" tall). And, of course, I'm certain that I'll be spending lots of time poring over magazines in it while wondering what is stabbing me in the rear end. (Rick: "Oh, there's this one nail...")

If you were wondering about our real plans for this beast as opposed to our staged photo shoot plans, they consist of this: a trip to Joann fabrics, several yards of light-colored fabric to break up all of the blue/gray that seems to be usurping the room, and some upholstery tools.

But hold up. I just said usurp. Why did I just say usurp? What, am I studying for the SATs again?

Anyway, before I can get to that upholstery, I need to go buy some Hello Kitty Band-Aids. Rick says they will usurp his pain make his boo-boo feel alllllllll better. 

I think if you average "usurp" and "Hello Kitty" you get normal. At least, I'll keep telling myself that.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Easter! :)


DIY Desk: Rick's Tutorial (As told by his wife).

 I have good news and bad news. Which would you like first?

Well, since there is no feasible way for you to choose (sorry; hope I didn't crush any hopes and dreams), I will give you the good news first. The good news is that Rick has officially progressed past "First, you" for his desk tutorial. The bad news is, he has elected me to finish writing it. However, he would like you all to know that he is sitting by my side while I write this entire tutorial to ensure that I don't give you directions that, when followed, will result in you building something that looks like this:

(I teased Rick here for only ever having built a birdhouse. This jocularity served merely to deflect your attention from my own meager background in construction, which is limited to a bridge I made in 8th grade technology out of toothpicks.)

So, without further ado:

Rick's Desk-Building Skillzzzzz 
{As told by his loving but admittedly clueless wife.}


Step 1: Figure out that the desk you already own is a pretty simple design that anyone with at least a background in toothpick bridges could make. The problem? It's too small for two people and the room it's to be used in.

Step 2: Gather materials to model after aforementioned inspiring desk. Our grand total for this custom 60"W x 18" D desk was $40. However, we're not actually sure what it would have cost to build this with all store-purchased lumber, because, with the exception of the legs ($32 for 4) and the drawer glides ($8 for 2 sets), Rick made it entirely out of wood we found around the house. This weird shelf in the closet became the top of the desk:

...and these shelves became the back and the sides (there were two in the room):

...pieces of an old particle board TV stand became the drawer bottoms, and wood we found in the basement became the other parts. The moral of this step is that you can basically tweak what you are about to see to fit your size and budget needs. And always look around you for what you can reuse!

Step 3: On the underside of the wood for the top, draw an outline of where the legs and sides will go. Pre-drill the holes for the legs.

The outer lines are there because we wanted a lip around the entire desk perimeter, like our prototype.
Leg with handy dandy screw already embedded. Go Lowes!

Step 4: Screw legs into place by hand until snug. Drill front underside rim into place.

Step 5: Attach sides and back. Rick did this using this Kreg Jig (which, in case you were wondering, as I was, is not a dance done by people named Craig). Kreg makes pre-drilled holes that are at an angle, so that the screws are hidden from the inside as opposed to being visibly screwed in from the outside.He's quite a guy.

This is the hole that Kreg leaves behind when he is done Jigging.

At this point, your basic frame is complete.

It's drawer time!

Disclaimer: Unless you're Bob Villa or have a lot of experience building and installing drawers, this part may take umpteen hours longer than the first part. Do not attempt it during commercial breaks of Modern Family. You WILL NOT make it back in time to see Gloria give Jay the baby "cheeses."

Step 1: Decide what size you want your drawers to be, and how many you want. We elected for two equally sized drawers: one that is a drop-down keyboard tray, and the other that is for storage. We wanted two chairs to fit at the desk, but one chair needed to be for the designated "computer" side of the desk; therefore; three drawers, like the original desk we were modeling this after, wouldn't have worked.

Step 2: Measure from the inside of the front left leg to the inside of the front right leg. Subtract the width of the divider(s) that will be separating the drawers. This remaining number is the number of inches you have to devote strictly to drawer space.

Step 3: Attach drawer divider(s) and drawer rest, again using the Kreg Jig.

 Step 4: Cut out your drawer fronts to fit in the holes created above by the drawer divider(s) and drawer rest. We subtracted 1/4" of space from the overall height and width to allow room for the drawers to move in and out easily.

Step 5: Build the rest of the drawers and install the drawer glides. The drop-down drawer simply requires you to hinge the drawer front about one inch in on the drawer bottom.

As you can see in the next picture, the bottom of the drawer should be a slightly lesser width than the drawer front to accommodate AND conceal the side-mount drawer glides.

The storage drawer is just a simple rectangle (Rick used the clamp to keep the drawer front where he wanted it while screwing it to the rest of the drawer):

 Step 6: Ask yourself if you really just built a desk. Say YES.

Painted and ready to go, but still missing handles. Soon...

This concludes  
Rick's Desk-Building Skillzzzzz 
{As told by his loving but admittedly clueless wife.}

*          *          *

So. Phew. This post definitely takes the prize for the longest post ever on this little blog. Congratulations if you made it to the end! And please, please, please ask questions if you are wondering anything about this process that we failed to mention--I will make sure Rick answers them. ;)

What's your proudest carpentry project to date? Toothpick bridge? Birdhouse? Something way cooler? Let's hear it! :)


Our office is progressing!

One coat of primer + 3 coats of eggshell paint + a custom built desk + freshly painted trim + a chair makeover + new fabric, an old pillow, and a sewing machine =

I think when Gingerbread wakes up in the morning she thinks to herself, "How many photos can I sneak into today?"

The finish on those chairs, which is grossly reminiscent of raw beef, used to look like this:

You can see a full picture of the "before" here.
{Not that I often reminisce about raw beef.}

The room as a whole used to look like this:

And now it looks like this:

Basically, at no point over this past weekend did Rick and I look at each other while twiddling our thumbs and say, "Gee, what shall we do today?" Even Gingerbread was busy!

OK, so maybe she was mostly just busy being in my way. I love her anyway.

Rick's putting together a step-by-step on building the desk, which will appear as soon as he has gotten past "First, you".


That's it so far.

I think he has some mad skillz for getting that much done, seeing as how the rest of our office kept him busy all weekend. And you didn't just hallucinate; I did, in fact, just say "mad skillz." You were probably thrown off by the single 'z', right? How's this, better? "Mad skillzzzzz, doe." What do you think? From now on, should every post have a little 9th grade speak? That would be epic, right?


Rick's First Official Carpentry Project

OK, so maybe it's not completely fair to say that it's his first carpentry project; after all, he did make a birdhouse or two in middle school. In my opinion, though, this particular project that he has been slaving over for the past few evenings gets an A+ with a report card comment of "Is a pleasure to have in class." (That's the only comment I ever got on my report card. Probably because I didn't ever speak.)

When I say that Rick has been slaving, I mean that not even the greasy smell of Gorton's beer battered fish fillets being baked could lure him out of the basement. (Weird, right?) Take a look at the thing he chose over the dinner I slaved over all day for 5 minutes:

In my completely unbiased opinion, it's so not even in the same category as birdhouses. Good thing, too, because we've got enough birdhouses around here to last us quite a while.

(From this distance, it appears as those some of those birdhouses are wearing bras. 
Which is more than can be said for that boob light on the ceiling.)

You might have also noticed that our office is sporting a new wall color. Here's the closest-to-reality picture of Behr's Poppyseed (it's a really deep blue):

Hooray for room progress!

I'm now off to sort through the 42 pictures I took of this desk-building process (okay, 41; one of them was of the cat) so that my post about how this desk was born has room for something other than images. Admittedly, I might have gone a little overboard with the camera, but hey, it was my husband's first real carpentry project, so it really ranks right up there with his first lost tooth, prom day, our wedding...how could I not document every second? :)


Ever wonder what to do with old love letters?

I'm not talking about the "like" notes that got shoved in your locker by a hallway boyfriend who only recently stopped playing with Power Rangers and may still have had a lingering cootie or two clinging to him. (I've never had to wonder too long about what to do with those, as they were generally disposed of quite quickly via methods that involved either extra sharp scissors, the toilet, or lots of ketchup and a garbage bag.)

No, I'm talking about the letters that my ever-romantic husband (then boyfriend, then fiance) wrote to me during our separated-by-college years. I happened upon them in the bottom of a box a few weeks ago (where else do love letters go to be forgotten?) and decided I wanted to do something with them.

The gaps above our windows created by our extra high curtains seemed to be the right spot for some sweet nothings, so I bought five 4"x6" frames at the Dollar Tree, spray painted them white (I'll spare you the scintillating pictures of those steps), then layered in Rick's letters and a number that is special to us.

62,808 is obviously the number of hints I had to drop before Mr. Shy Boy finally asked me to his prom. Er--I mean, it's obviously our wedding day: June 28, 2008.

Here's a voyeuristic close-up:

This is the only time you'll get this intimate with Rick's sentimental writing unless you come and stand on our couch. Or use super binoculars to peer through a nearby window. But that would be kind of creepy, wouldn't it?

Besides, you might not like what you see. Buahaha.

In all seriousness, Rick was my high school sweetheart, my college sweetheart, and now my forever sweetheart. Hanging his letters that, to some, might just seem old-fashioned and corny, is just one small way to honor the fact that he has always been a perfect gentleman to me, and I love him for that.

Speaking of Rick, he's down in the basement right now, as we speak, getting sawdust all over himself (if he'd let me take a picture I'd show you--he has these really cute cotton ball earplugs in and everything) so we can have a new custom desk made almost entirely out of wood we found around the house. See what I mean? Handy, thrifty, and a gentleman. He's perfect for me. :)

Weekend Bloggy Reading

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