Tag Archives: DIY

Hammer time

I’m typing this tonight¬†because I probably won’t be able to lift my arms tomorrow, after today’s experience volunteering alongside a few co-workers at Habitat for Humanity. I hammered, caulked, measured, drilled and even got to use a router to cut some window openings. It was hard work, but our crew ended up completing six of the wall frames.


It’s pretty incredible to think that a family will make some of their most treasured memories in a home that I helped to build. When we did our remodel, the contractors framed out the space, so it was interesting to acquire a new skill. Now I’m itching to work on another length of our fence and then frame out a little play house for Emmett! I bet we could even find a sweet working window in the Habitat ReStore.

This was actually my second workshop-y thing I did this week. Friday night, Joe and I decided we would do a quick craft together, inspired by a frame idea I saw on Going Home to Roost. We already had the materials on hand and had been struggling to find a more traditional frame to fit the oddly-shaped buffalo print Joe picked up for $3 at his work prop sale.


Gotta love a project that costs nothing, takes about an hour (including drying time) and makes a big impact. I also love that we made this while drinking Moscow Mules and used drying time as an excuse to tidy our nightmare of a basement.

Between this little project and my Habitat time, I feel like building stuff this summer.¬†Andrea turned me on to Ana White, an Alaskan mom who apparently posts amazing DIY woodworking plans. I’ve got big plans for you, miter saw.

Leave a comment

Filed under At home, House projects, Side projects

As seen on…

It appears that a bunch of little side projects I’ve been working on recently all debuted in the world, so I thought I would share them with you!

First off, if you pick up the latest issue of Do It Yourself Magazine (Spring 2012), there’s something I made on page 60! (The guy at the Walgreen’s checkout did not share my excitement.)

I occasionally write for this magazine (which is edited by one of my favorite ladies), but I’ve never made anything for it before. The pressure was on when I got a white canvas delivered to me and was basically told to, well, paint anything! Mine is #8. Not the coolest, but it doesn’t look totally lame, so it was neat to see everything come together.

I feel like it’s so easy to spend time thinking about crafting and adding to my stash hoarding supplies, but I forget to carve out time to just get lost in a project instead of hurriedly making a gift or just not crafting at all. The clock hands are reused from a 25-cent garage sale clock I poked through the canvas (batteries taped to back) and the circle outline is slices made out of paint chips.

Then last week, I had the Juice magazine cover story, “Home Sweet Warehouse,” for the first time as a freelancer.

It felt so good to write in the Juice “voice” again, but I will admit that the night before my stories come out, I get wicked nervous. I had to get up in the middle of the night and just play on the computer because I couldn’t sleep! It’s nerve-wracking because it’s so easy to see the reaction to those pieces online, and I actually see most of these people on a regular basis. I’m glad so many readers seemed to have liked it.

And today, Danny Heggen posted my entry (#10) in his “31 Tips for DSM in 2012” series. It’s about introducing people.

Re-reading it, I’m a little worried that it comes off like I’m saying you have to introduce people otherwise they’ll be lame, which I didn’t really mean. I mean there are a lot of cool people doing interesting things, and I sometimes assume they already know each other, which isn’t necessarily the case. Also, making friends as an adult takes some guts. So don’t be afraid to go out on a limb and connect people, in case something constructive could come from it!

I met up with my amazingly talented friend Amy, and the lovely Jillian (a mostly online acquaintance) for coffee this evening after work. Going into a friend date can be even scarier than a romantic date, but it was a nice chat and it might turn into a progressive dinner sometime! Leave it to me to find more people to cook for me.


Filed under I love Des Moines

Mailbox makeover

I’ve let household DIY projects slack off for months (OK, a few years) and the weekend I’m supposed to be studying for a final, I decide that the best procrastination is the kind that results in a prettier mailbox. (What’s more motivating than a marketing exam?! Hooray for small projects to separate me and my study guide.)

We’re not huge fans of all of the gold/brass hardware in our home, but those kinds of details haven’t been on the top of the priority list. This weekend when we were at Ace getting parts to repair a leaky faucet and new dimmer-compatible lightbulbs (who knew you couldn’t just use regular ones?) to take care of the seriously annoying buzz that our dining room and bathroom dimmer switches were emitting, I got to daydreaming about mailboxes that weren’t all sad and scratched and rusty, like ours:

Cue some sort of sad silent film music.

And then I remembered how all those thrifty genius house bloggers/ home improvement DIY experts are always extolling the virtues of a good ole can of spray paint. And why YES, I had a can of leftover red paint right in the basement!

(Oh, Pinterest, I’ve tried to avoid becoming obsessed with you for awhile now, but I give up.)

I washed off sad “before” mailbox and set it up inside a FLOR tile box, which I’m glad I saved because it was perfect as a spray paint station in the basement. I actually think having this vertical caused some of the dripping, so I laid it flat for the later coats.

I tried to conjure up all of the spray painting tips I could remember (spray in a sweeping motion that extends past the piece you’re spraying, opt for multiple thinner coats) but I think I got too close/thick with my coats and ended up with some drippiness problems. I was able to get enough layers on to kind of mask the mistakes and I think, overall, this little mailbox makes a much happier first impression as one approaches the door. Don’t you?

I also made some little decoupage clothespins with a little Christmas wrapping paper and scrapbook paper slivers so that our outgoing mail looks cheerful, too. (Ephemera used to sell these and helping make them was probably the one thing I ever accomplished as their wannabe stationery store intern.)

Speaking of stationery and awesomeness, I have to give a shoutout to my other dear friends who are nobly working to revive the art of the written word:

A few cool photographers about town collaborated for “I Dreamt I was a Postcard,” and put together a line of postcards that have neither pigs nor corn on them. Check ’em out.

And the lovely Laura Palmer is growing her own hand-drawn postcard empire, XO-LP. Cuteness!

Leave a comment

Filed under At home