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.

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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!

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Filed under At home