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Monthly Archives: January 2012

Sandy Drawers

Here’s the deal; I can’t work on something for 4 hours today and then not blog about it. I JUST CAN’T! I don’t want to weaken the effect of the “Grand Reveal” of the finished product, but I’m willing to risk it in order to have my own miniature cathartic moment. Don’t worry, most of this will be in photos.

This is how the drawers looked when the platform bed was assembled in their bedroom.

The drawers are in a slight sate of disrepair. Yes, the holes in the front are from where handles use to be. And no, I did not remove the handles, they apparently were gone when Missy got the bed from a family member. But obviously, that is the tip of the iceberg.

So then I started Sanding.

This is a drawer after "Sanding: Round 1." As you can see there is definitely some old color left and the handle holes have wood filler spilling out of them.

This is another drawer after "Sanding: Round 2." There's much less of the previous pigment and the wood filler has been sanded flush to the wood.

And here are their brothers and sisters. Four have gone through "Sanding: Rounds 1 and 2," while the other two have only gone through "Sanding: Round 1."

The Sanding Plan

Round 1: Get the bulk pigment and stain off.

Round 2: Sand the scrappy stuff that was missed in Round 1.

Round 3: Hand sand the stubborn colored spots.

Round 4: Sand the rough spots in the fiberboard.

Round 5: Start Sanding: Rounds 1 to 3 on the rest of the platform.

And it’ll be grand!

Tray Chic

Purple TrayThe best way to stay organized is open storage! (That’s right, I was so bold as to use the word best.) Compartmentalized, open storage (as shown above) is even better than best (bester?) Regardless of the words I decide to create in order to articulate my love affair with open storage, the point is that it totally rocks my world and I want it to rock yours too. So, let’s make a tray!

Necessary Supplies

Tray. Mod-Podge. Fabric. Paint. Primer. Paintbrush. Scissors.

Optional Supplies

Tape measure. Plexiglass. Scotch Guard.


NakedStep 1: Get a tray. Easy enough right? Mine was conveniently given to my daughter as packaging for maracas and castanets (thanks Grandma). Because I flat out stole mine, I had little choice regarding the material. But wood, metal or plastic are all viable options.

Note: If you are using a metal or plastic tray and you don’t plan to paint them, then skip steps 2 and 3.

Step 2: Sand out the rough spots to avoid future splinters (if necessary), measure your tray dimensions and prime.

Just purpleStep 3: Once the primer is dry, paint your tray your desired color. I only had to use one coat, but two may  be necessary if your wood has several grooves or chips.

Step 4: As your paint dries, find your fabric and cut it to the previously determined dimensions.

Note: This is the part where I cheated. The fabric I used was a fitted sheet that lost it’s mate. Because it was a sheet, the pattern was huge and super far apart so cutting a 14″ x 11″ rectangle wouldn’t do the pattern justice. I ended-up cutting squares of various sizes to overlap each other and give added visual interest. It worked for me, but it has a hippie-artsy look that isn’t as chic as a flat surface.

Step 5: Coat the floor of the tray with Mod-Podge from end-to-end and cover with fabric.

Fabric Lined

Step 6: This is where other preferences come in. As soon as my fabric was down and smooth, I Mod-Podged right over the fabric. It coats and waterproofs, but also gives it a course texture that is perfect for my style, but not as chic as other. Another option is to place your fitted plexiglass over the top of the material once it dries. It will look very clean and chic, but that also means you have to buy and cut plexiglass which requires more time, energy and money than I am willing to devote. The final option is to spray the top of your fabric with Scotch Guard. Scotch Guard will protect the fabric without having to cover it with a visual hindrance.

Step 7: Put it into play!

Load it up with necessities on a sick day...

Load it up with necessities on a sick day…

Or keep it in play all week long as the entryway catch-all.

Or keep it in play all week long as the entryway catch-all.

More Reasons to Love Vodka

Many people over the age of 21 enjoy the taste of vodka in a good cocktail. And many people under 21 do not enjoy the taste of vodka straight from a shot glass as they try to forget the final exam that determines their fate (of was that just me?) Regardless, vodka is not just for consumption anymore! Here are a few handy, new uses for vodka.

Vodka’s New Tricks

1) Windows: If you have gnarly streaks and smudges on windows or mirrors but no chemical cleaner in sight, just dilute vodka with water (about 50/50). Spray it on and wipe it down with a lint free cloth. 

2) Fixtures: Soak a soft cloth in vodka and then wipe it over fixtures to destroy soap scum and hard-water spots. See? It just goes to show you that vodka can loosen-up anything…or anyone.

3) Screws: If you pinch pennies like me, then you aren’t above reusing screws. To spruce-up rusted screws, just let them soak in a cup of vodka for a few hours. Once you remove them, the rust will be broken-up enough to wipe them clean.

4) Flowers: Keep flowers longer by mixing a few drops of vodka with a teaspoon of sugar to hinder the production of ethylene, which causes flowers to wilt.

5) Upholstery: To remove grass, ink, some food and other ugly stains, dip a cloth in vodka and rub it on fabric to help with the stubborn spots.

6) Mold and Mildew: Spritz vodka onto tile and grout and let it sit for up to 30 minutes. Then scrub with a grout brush or an old toothbrush and rinse thoroughly.

7) Odors: Spray the inside of boots with undiluted vodka and simply let dry. For clothing, you can lightly spray that same undiluted vodka on clothes to help remove musty smells. Just make sure you hang-dry them in a well-vented area or else everyone at work will start to think that 5 o’clock is coming early for you.

Although vodka can be pricier than an individual cleaning supply, it enables you to skip buying Windex, Febreze, Stain Sicks or Tilex, which will save money in the long run. And not to mention, once you’re done with your chores, vodka has it’s own built in reward system! So drink up, you cleaning machine, you.

No Sew Curtains!

Necessary Supplies

Fabric. No sew hem roll (hem tape)-preferably heavy-duty. Clothes Iron. Yard stick.


Step 1: Heat your iron to the setting appropriate to the fabric you are using.

Step 2: Measure your window (or eyeball it) and mark the back of the fabric for how long it must be. Then place your fabric on a table and cut it about 2″ longer than what is necessary for length (so if you wanted it 33″ long then make it 35″.) Once you have the length cut, fold the fabric in half to create a crease down the middle. Then open the fabric and cut it down that crease for what will form the left and right panel.

Step 3: Lay the fabric out on a table with the back of the fabric facing up. Take the yard stick (if necessary) to draw lines near the edges so you will be making straight hems. Once you have drawn the lines, take a piece of hem tape and cut it to fit one edge (for the really long sides, I used two pieces of tape end to end, just so it was easier to keep straight.) Then place the tape on the fabric (and flush with the yard stick line) with the coarse/gluey side down and the shiny side up.

Step 4: Place your iron on the hem tape and let it sit for 2 seconds. Repeat this on the tape until all of it has been pressed to the fabric. Then let it sit until it’s cool to the touch.

Step 5: Peal the paper back up from the glue. All you should see is the clear, shiny adhesive strip. Then fold the side over to make the hem. Once you have it folded, set the iron on the hem for 8 seconds (or for thick fabrics, 10 seconds.) Lift and repeat until the whole hem is folded over and secured.

Step 6: Repeat this on the other 3 sides (I know, easier typed than done.) Once all panels are complete you can clip the panels to the curtain rings. And voila! It takes longer than buying curtains, but it’s usually much cheaper. Plus, you’re not stuck with the patterns that the store has to offer.

I did also create the curtains above for the bathroom that is adjacent to the playroom/family room. I don’t have any pictures of making them because I was just messing around and experimenting. I only did a couple things differently.


1) I first adhered the hem tape to the bottom/back of the peachy-dyed material. Then I made sure the colorful fabric was straight and stuck the front side of it to the tape and finished with the iron for 8 seconds. Once it was cool I hemmed all of the sides as though it were one large piece of fabric.

2) Once all sides were hemmed, I cut the fabric down the middle (using the crease method) to form the left and right panels. Then I hemmed the 2 last sides.

3) At that point, if I were to hold the curtains up to the light you would be able to see through them. This is typically no problem, but because I had one panel sticking to the back of the other you could see where they overlapped. So I was forced to then cut another piece of fabric and use the hem tape to adhere a decorative strip to the front. It adds a little color flare, and no one would ever know it was to mask something less attractive.

All that and you didn’t even need to pick up a needle!

DIY Lifestyle

When you pick this lifestyle, you also pick all the chaos that comes with it. I know most people don’t think of DIY as a lifestyle, but that’s because most people see DIY as a means to an end. The difference is that I don’t just say to broken items “how can I fix this?” I say that to fully functional items, too.

As I was saying about the chaos…there’s a lot of it. Sometimes I feel obscenely scattered. I will start something, get halfway through and need to wait for it to dry; which is coincidentally just enough time for me to start another project. Before I know it, I have a ladder in my living room, drill bits all over my kitchen table and my daughter is wrapping herself up in batting from an unfinished reupholstering project.

However there does come a point in time when you finally have to check yourself before you wreck yourself (or your house, your relationship, your financial stability, etc.) I live by The Rule of Four. Four seasons, four leaves on a lucky clover, four Beatles; all good things right? Not too many, but enough. So, once I have four half-finished projects littering my house, I STOP what I am doing, drop every notion of starting something new and get all four done! Assuming there is no reason for the delay, such as inclement weather (no one wants you moving a couch in the snow) or you’re waiting for your next paycheck to buy supplies (yes, that’s a reality that we all have to contend with) then there is no good reason that all four projects can’t get done now.

As of 8:00 a.m. on 1/24/12, these were my half-finished burdens.

No Sew Curtains.

Uninstalled Light Fixtures.

Half-painted, sorta thought-out Fern Stand.

Neglected Wicker Blinds.





















The really obnoxious thing about some of these is that they are really small projects. None should take more than 2.5 hours to finish. Which is why (to stay true to my commitment to myself and to avoid allowing my family to live in hoarder-level chaos) I am well on my way to having zero unfinished projects.

As of 10:30 p.m. on 1/24/12, this was my progress.

No Sew Curtains Finished! Details (and way better pictures) to follow.

And the light fixture is finally installed!














As I mentioned, these projects weren’t exactly hard or terribly time consuming, so I don’t quite feel like a champion. BUT I do feel a little less useless than I did at 8:00 a.m., and that’s something to blog about!

Feeling Pretty Grout-chy

It seems as though whenever I’m slightly at a loss for what project to post SOMETHING in my house decides to mock my moment of calm by giving me hours of unrest. Just when I start to feel at ease in a specific room and get lulled into a feeling of reassurance that it will not betray me, it betrays me. 90% of the issues stem from the sellers and the handymen that they hired. I do not believe a 70-year-old man laid the tile in his own kitchen. Therefore, I also do not believe his wife advised him to use the most permeable grout in the history of man and then skip the sealant.

I recently got a new, apartment size dishwasher and “we’re” (Kyle) still getting use to the amount of soap to use. As a result, there have been about four overflows (I’m not talking catastrophic amounts of water– 5 or 6 ounces at maximum.) Well, on the last episode of “Can’t Load the Dishwasher” which aired tonight, the main character (me) starting bitching to the co-star about how the overflows need to end because the water can seep under the cabinet and rot out the wood if it keeps happening. Not two minutes following that riveting monologue, she steps foot on a tile that starts sloshing around and making a cartoony suction cup noise. The censors were all over this episode so I edited it down to a 30 second narrative.

Please Enjoy.


The Tutor

My rubber mallet, where do I even begin? Well, for starters, I will let you know why I call it “The Tutor.”

When I think of a tutor, I think of someone (or something, in this case) guiding you into the right direction firmly, but without totally destroying you. Maybe I’m a little generous with my definition, due to the fact that I was a tutor throughout college. Others may feel that a better definition is a heartless someone (or something) that pushes you to your breaking point, but has a gentle facade to soften the blow and tricks any onlooker into thinking that the end goal was achieved without trauma. Honestly, both are pretty accurate.

I bought The Tutor on a whim. It cost a dollar at one of my many discount stores and who could pass that up? I am a huge believer in weighing your cost benefit, and The Tutor has been well worth that lonely dollar. I have used it for everything from jamming anchors into the wall, to thumping on paint can lids, to pounding out dents in a metal filing cabinet.

My only regret? Not having more students to put a hurtin’ on tutor.

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