Category Archives: D.I.Y.

Pine Barncaster Build part 1

Moving 1500 miles cross country has proved tough for CT and myself, what with leaving family and friends, starting new jobs, and learning to live in a place that seems to be trying to kill you for several months out of the year.

So….guess what….I chose to reward myself with a new guitar building project! As of late, I have been fascinated with the recent revival of pinewood guitar bodies. Bill Kirchen (think “Hot Rod Lincoln”) recently posted an interview on YouTube, showing off his pine telecaster built by Carmine Street Guitars in New York. The sound and look absolutely killed me. Carmine Street actually builds these guitars out of 200 year old pine lumber, reclaimed from New York city buildings. I certainly can’t think of a better way to recycle.

When I hit Ebay looking for a body, it became clear to me that I needed to make a choice- do I get a piece of perfectly figured wood, or find something with more personality? I decided to go with a body filled with knots, worm holes and discoloration. A Barncaster.

Barncaster body front

So I picked this body up off Ebay from a very reputable builder. When it arrived, I was nearly speechless. Painfully cool. The colors are simply unbelievable. If you hold it up to the light, the corners glow amber from the un-cured sap.

Barncaster body side

Check out the blue/green coloring, and the details of the fibers.

Barncaster colors

The spot that you see is an almost translucent, hard sap

This spot is almost pure sap!

This spot is almost pure sap!

The character continues on the back of the guitar. Notice the rear-loading cavity.

Barncaster back

This guitar is absolutely gorgeous to me. I am a true believer that it’s our imperfections and limitations that make us unique and interesting, and that same thing can be said for guitars, or really anything we choose to create. Follow me unto the desert and join me in the worship of cactus as we await the spaceships.

For the past few days, I have been sanding this sucker down, starting with 220 grit, and ending up with 400 grit for finishing. I even bought a can of compressed air to blow the sanding dust out of all the cracks and worm holes.

Stay tuned for part 2, where I struggle with what stain to use, and make my first attempt at a nitrocellulose lacquer spray-finish!


All by herself . . .

Since moving down to Phoenix and “retiring” (the nice way of saying I’m still unemployed), I have a lot of by myself time while JT is at work.  I’ve filled a lot of it with dog walking, grocery shopping, cooking, baking and helping my MIL find a place to live (we did it, she moved in last night).

I’ve noticed thought that when I’m at home all day, I’ll think up projects and plan them for the weekend and/or evenings when JT is around.  Finally the other day I had a realization that I could do it myself.  And so I did.  (Probably also spurred on by the fact that I had just read “Miss Harper Can Do It” by Jane Berentson, another way to fill some time and keep that brain working.)

I’ve already mentioned that our new house feels mansion-like compared to the small footprint of our brick bungalow in St. Louis.  For instance we now have a Master Bath.  A bathroom that is the master of all others.  I have my own sink and my own little nook for make-up-ing and other things women in their 30s do in the bathroom.  I had been looking for some artwork or a storage piece for that wall when an idea suddenly flashed into my head – I had just what I needed in the garage.


So, voila – a once empty wall now displays all my junk jewelry with the help of an old curtain rod from our STL master bedroom (we took down these wimpier rods when we hung the new curtains.)

There’s no earth-shattering invention here – I’m pretty sure this method for hanging necklaces has already been done and pinned many-a-time to Pinterest.  I just got a kick out of using something I had and getting out the handheld drill for a girl power moment.


I hung all the necklaces without clasps on the end and kept all the other in the middle so I can unfasten them to take them off the rod if needed for actual wearing but I’m thinking if this method gets too tangled, I might grab some of the Grundtal hooks at Ikea and hang each necklace on its own hook.  Oh, the thrill of being able to “grab” something at Ikea without a five-hour drive is still novel to me!  Cheers – CT

You don’t need to huff the spray paint to be addicted to it . . . sad but true.

Awhile back, we picked up the “Crosby” floor lamp from World Market.  This is one of the few larger dollar purchases I have made from a big box retailer apart from our occasional long-haul treks to Ikea.  We tend to scour the local thrifts, junk malls and Craigslist for our treasures.  But we were in need of light in that corner and a table and this just sort of happened one day.

Once we started to live with Crosby for a while, we realized he was a chameleon.  And not so much in a good way.  We love the color of our accent wall (SW Urbane Bronze) but putting the black metal Crosby’s little frame up against it just made him disappear.


Since Crosby wasn’t a priceless fancy-designer label or other sort of “don’t paint me” treasure, I went ahead and decided to paint him.  It was either him or the wall and if I did the wall then I’d have to do the fireplace again and . . . you can see how I ended up picking the lamp.  I had some muted matte gold spray paint left over from my Pinterest-inspired art and so I tackled Crosby with that.


And . . . it was better.  But still meh.  This picture is a broad daylight view that we rarely get to enjoy, being chained to desks at our offices from 8-to-5 like most corporate drones.  In the evenings he still kind of faded away against the wall.   I wanted something a little punchier.  So I got a brassier, bolder hue at Lowe’s and sprayed poor old Crosby down again.


Finally a win!  Now Crosby ties in nicely with our brass arc lamp from the auction last year (I had threatened to paint the arc lamp black but since it was vintage it got spared.) As an added plus, I’m starting to feel on trend (or dragging slightly behind it as usual) with all the gold/brass accents popping up in blog land everywhere.  And in a few years when blue/white/grey/purple/whatever is the new brass, I’ll just spray him down again.  Nothing to it.

Also, since I’m sharing this view over and over again of the Baumritter “Man Chair”  I’m adding some pictures of the tags on the underside of the ottoman.  The internet connect me with a reader, Elliott, who was looking to see if the ottoman was intended to come with the chair.  Our chair itself has no markings on it — I got pretty up close and personal with it when we did the straps and cleaned it off with the Restore-a-Finish so I’m 100% certain of that.  What tipped me off that this was a Baumritter was actually the tags on the ottoman, like so:



The Adjusto Lounge or Style # 1617-1 Lounge.  Hope this helps Elliott!  I’d love to see any images of your Baumritter lounger — ours needs an upholstery makeover pretty badly.

Next up – some more Style Cure updates!  Cheers – CT

Who’s Schmoopy?

A while back we started calling my sister and her then-fiance “Schmoopy”.  Why?  Well because they were.  Googly-eyed and smoochy, they were so disgustingly in love that the only appropriate descriptor was “Schmoopy”.  And it stuck – somehow it became their pet nickname for each other.  As the Matron of Honor (do I sound old or what!) I gave a toast for my sister where I wished her a lifetime of Schmooopy-ness.  And I think they’ll do it!


(Another wedding picture I snagged off Facebook.  The Schmoopies are Smiths.)

As a shower gift, I made a little something for the Schmoopies.


With my handy computer and a little Photoshop action, I used an 11×17 size paper to create some diner-style paper placemats.  There’s a cute little print shop near us in South City called the Ink Spot.  I used them for the placemats, the bachelorette invites and also for the wedding programs (fans) and guest book cards I designed.  They’re super close by and I can upload the files online and call them and work through all my issues.  And when I went in to pick up my stuff, I fell in love with the decor.

Ink Spot

Above are some pictures I furtively snapped with my phone while picking up the placemats.  Call me a design snob, but I totally prefer to give my business to a place that gets my aesthetic.  MCM daybed with cute pillows and molded fiberglass chairs?  Sold.  I’ve got no skin in this game, I just thought I’d pass along a great local source for any STL people needing a printer out there.


Sister asked about framing one so I think she likes it.  And I still have the file so if Schmoopys’ Kitchen Cafe ever runs out of placemats, we can reprint some more.  Now that the wedding craze has passed I think I should whip some up for Living Analog as well.  We just need a handy slogan .  . . .

Back with a banging backdrop!

Hey everyone!  The wedding of 2013 (my sister’s!) was last Saturday and I’M BACK!!!!!

So, I teased you guys a little while ago that I was trying to make this:


And . . . I did!  But in purple and green (of course):


Yep, the only picture I could find (thanks to my cousin’s husband via Facebook.)  Since there were two photographers following our every move, I didn’t break out a camera once.  Hopefully I will have some better pictures I can share with the interwebs once my sister gets back from her honeymoon (Cozumel!) and meets with the photog. (Also, the backdrop was pretty tall but that’s my youngest cousin back there who is also the tallest person I know.  So I think it looks a little smaller in the pictures than it really is.  And those are a bunch (not all!) of my cousins and of course my sister in the other purple dress.  Aren’t we a handsome bunch!)

So here’s how it went down, with bad iPhone pictures for illustration.

1.  We picked out five different fabrics – one dark green, one light green, one dark purple, another light purple and a final one in solid purple.  I cut them down to various widths ranging from 30″ wide down to 12″.


2. Spray with fabric stiffener (I used 3 bottles total of Alene’s Stiffen Quick to make all these).  Spray again and again.  Then iron into zig zags and glue closed after throwing a few stitches in the very middle to hold it all together.  (I went back to Alene and used her fabric glue pen – super fast and quick).


3. Repeat over and over. I think I ended up with ten fabric fans and one didn’t make it onto the final product (good to have some back-up, just-in-case stuff).


4. Sweet talk husband into making you the world’s largest easel.  Paint the easel white.  Staple gun fabric to it.  Staple gun pieces of metal hanger to it and sew your fabric fan to it so it will stand up straight.  Spray everything down with the rest of your fabric stiffener and pray for a miracle.


4. Make easel legs easily dissassemble-able (we used threaded screws and nuts) for transport.  Rip the rest of the fabric into long ribbon strips.  Bring extra everything – thread, glue, stiffen spray, double stick tape, staple gun and cross all your fingers that the dang thing will stay together at least as long as the ceremony.

5. Sister gets married.  Backdrop stays together.  Everyone is happy!


(This picture is from before the ceremony at a little park nearby.)

So that’s what I got.  Everything went off without a hitch – except for the intended one! (thanks Jess for the joke)  I’m so happy for my sister and also so jealous she is on vacation right now!  What’s been going on with you guys?  I feel like I was gone forever!!!  I have some more wedding fun stuff to share and then it’s off to the races with some house projects.  Cheers – CT

*Tutorial* Quick & Easy Tissue Paper Pouf

Hey everyone. . . I’m slowly emerging from under the rock that was my huge deadline at work.  Between working long days and still attempting to stay health-fully nourished and rested, I am afraid much has fallen by the wayside.  I am not one of “those people” who can do a lot, e.g. thrive while they’re super-busy.  I go into survival mode.  Them’s the breaks.

What’s been going on with you?  Last weekend was my sister’s first bridal shower which is very exciting and also very crazy — the wedding is now around 40 days away and I have a lot to get done!  So why not detour into a quick tutorial, right?

Well, it’s wedding related.  I had wrapped up one gift already with some cute green chevron paper (from Target) and purple ribbon only to realize I was out of purple ribbon for the second gift.  That was not happening on my watch!  So with minutes to spare until my ride arrived, I grabbed some tissue paper (only thing I had in purple) and went free-form with it.


#1 – Cut your tissue paper into as close to the same size rectangles as you can get and stack together.  I probably did about 3″ x 5″ or so.  If you cut your pieces really small it might not work as well.  If you cut them really large, you’ll have to do a lot of “fluffing” later to get any fullness . . . .


#2 – Gently fold/crease in half and staple.

#3 – Cut equal-ish strips out of each side of your creased and stapled tissue paper stack.


#4 – Fluff, crinkle and pop your way into a tissue paper pouf.  Use double stick tape or a loop of tape to attach to your package and you’re ready to go!


See how well it all “goes” with her invites?  Purple – check.  Green – check.  Chevron – double check.  This is nothing super fancy folks but it does give a present a little extra “pop” I think.  (Also wrapping it in electric green, burn-your-eyeballs-until-you-can’t-see helps as well).

And I took the chevron theme forward onto the invite I made for another wedding-related party — the  bachelorette party!!


The theme is Cinco de Mayo and I can’t wait.  Ten bonus points if you can properly identify the movie quote on back (Disclaimer: you can’t play this game if you are either a) my sister or b) my mother).  Here it is bigger for you:

“There’s a difference between like and love.  Because I like my Skechers but I love my Prada backpack.”

“But I love my Skechers.”

“That’s because you don’t have a Prada backpack.”

We’re headed up to Iowa this weekend for another shower.  More to follow!

Another one about homemade art

One more post about artist canvases.  I’m not a painter.  I never had any formal training in painting.  I did have to take one drawing class in college and it was miserable.  I hated the critique days and having to put my deformed and pathetic sketches up next to my classmates beautifully rendered images.  But sometimes you need artwork for your house and you’re cash-strapped and you resort to painting it yourself.

Let me rewind for a minute.  A few months back I picked up a little canvas at the local St. Vincent de Paul thrift shop.  I searched high and low for the original images but to no avail — when I bought it, the canvas had a lavender background with white flowers painted on it.  It looked like something I would have presented in college had I been required to take a painting class (a little amateur-ish to say the least).  I felt a little bad when I jesso-ed over the canvas until I remembered it had been consigned over to St. Vincent de Paul.

Part two of this long-winded and potentially underwhelming story has to do with the brassy arc lamp I picked up at the auction at Vandeventer Vintage.  I was considering giving it a new coat of (spray) paint, maybe in black to help it fit in with the living room a little better.  (Read more of my angst here when we brought home a second lamp).  I decided instead of painting this great vintage gem, I would bring in more brassy/gold goodness to make it feel at home.

Back to the painting.  First I jesso-ed it, then I applied a few coats of a gold spray paint I had on hand.  I found a cool example image on Pinterest that had large blocks of color and used that as my starting point.  At first I had taped the canvas off with some 1″ painters tape we had around the house but the proportions felt weird so I “had to” order some washi tape from Etsy.


The washi tape didn’t perfectly keep the paint inside its boundaries so I had to do a little touch-up once I removed it.   I took over the tulip table and spent a couple of days mixing up paint colors like a mad scientist.  I used the kitchen blue color, the living room accent wall (SW Urbane Bronze) in its full hue and also lightened a few shades with white and a few new colors.  JT requested “light red” and I told him he just asked for pink.  However I was able to mix up a nice red-orange that seemed to satisfy his request.


The brassy/gold undercoat plus the paint colors from around the house really work to tie things all together in the living room.


Also, white fingernails!  Because Easter was last Sunday, I  feel like we’re in the clear  for white shoe season and I celebrated by putting one of my favorite colors on my nails.  Yesterday (Friday) was one of the first days it really, really felt like spring around here and everyone fled the office for City Garden at lunch.  I had lunch at Lulu’s, an all-vegan food truck (so good!) and took in the sights.  I know I talk about the Flaming Lips a lot, but this sculpture struck me as being very Wayne Coyne-esque.


On to the weekend everyone!  I’m taking Cameron to an adoption event today at the Kirkwood Wal-Mart from 11am to 1pm.  Stop by and say hi to the old guy!  Cheers – CT

Living Analog @ Lansdowne Life!

Hey everyone!  I know it has been quiet over here . . .  .


But I actually put together a guest post (a tutorial!) over at Lansdowne Life while Erin is out spending time with her new baby girl.


Check it out here.

(In a weird twist of fate, one of my Stitch and Bitch girls Erin is also at home with her new baby girl!  Welcome to the world Lily and Etta.  Thanks to having such creative mamas, I think you’re going to have a pretty beautiful world to live in.)

I recently added a new sidebar of all the STL area bloggers I’m reading.  We’re a small but mighty group.  If there are any others you would recommend, send them my way (the more design, DIY, or MCM-based the better).  Be sure to click around and maybe you’ll find some more blogs to add to your daily reads.

And (random transition) . . . . I put in an order for some more Flor carpet tiles . . . area rugs and runners to come.  Here’s what we ordered:


Where do you think it’s going!  I can’t wait (but it might not arrive until Monday so I will have to wait!)  Cheers – CT

Spastic and Sporadic

Things have been a bit spastic and sporadic over here at Living Analog.  I have about 500 projects half started and zero finished.  We’re getting ready for our “Sweetheart’s Dinner” (AKA Valentine’s Dinner Party) and I’ve been really been looking for ways to amp this up and squeeze some juicy blog content out of it.  So that led to more projects . . .

So what have I done (besides whining and bellyaching)?  Well Pinterest is the devil and sidetracked me with some recipes: baked cinnamon apple chips and homemade cheese-its that I just had to try:


The apple chips were eat-them-right-now-and-then-make-more good.  The DIY cheese-its were a little meh.  I think I left the dough in the fridge too long and need to roll them thinner.  It was good enough to give it a second try — plus it’s nice to make these and know what four ingredients are in them versus the chemical smorgasbord you buy at the store.  Off my soapbox now . . .  are you on Pinterest? I’m mildly addicted and sometimes majorly annoyed.  I’ll pin something and later go to click-through to the original source and . . . nothing.  Or spam.  Right now my policy is to only repin items — Pinterest is still a gray area for makers and artisans — do they want their items pinned for all to attempt a duplicate?  Maybe not.  So by only repinning, I’m sort of off the hook when it comes to the point of putting someone else’s item on Pinterest without their permission.  The exception to that is items for sale — I totally have a pin board with a crazy expensive purse that I want.  I figure if an item is available for internet retail, they only benefit by having it on Pinterest. . . .


That’s me, if you want to meet up over there.  I should figure out how to put a linky-thing up for that.  I probably also need to start watermarking my photos but that’s for another day . . . no time, too many projects!

Oh yeah . . .another Pinterest project . . .


(Pardon the bad iPhone picture).  This is my plan to tie in the arc lamp and all its brassy goodness.  Add some more gold/brass!  This is a thrift store canvas I picked up for a few dollars and have spray painted metallic.  Next step paint like this cool pin:


{Image via this blog}

Now that I look at my version versus their version, I think I am going to retape.  I like how this canvas has one major vanishing point . . . back to the drawing board . .  . and onto other projects . . .

Here’s something for the dinner party:


I found this little cookie cutter at World Market and it will make little shortbread cookies that sit on the edge of a coffee cup.  And I just got new coffee cups that nest into a little serving tray from my mom for Christmas so I know that will be getting used. . . next?


Here’s my view from bed last night.  A little progress on the art wall . . .

A project with less progress is the pile ‘o paperwork I dug out of the hall closet for filing, shredding and other such pain in the ass handling.  I need to get this sucker finished.


So that is a random wrap-up of the random goings-on at the Living Analog abode.  It’s all kinds of spastic and sporadic . . . I’ve got project A.D.D – hopping from one to the next back to another . . .

Speaking of spastic and sporadic, or maybe just neurotic . . . does anyone else sort their M&Ms by color or is that just me . . .


Yep, officially into crazy.  Back to the races, I mean projects . . .I mean work.  Cheers – CT

Super Bowling.

What did you during the “Big Game”?  Watch the commercials and cheer for the Murder Birds?  JT and I decided to build some shelves! (This is the normal activity during sporting events, right?)  I set the plan in motion by picking out a bunch of lumber and once we dragged it home, it seemed best to just go ahead and put it together right away since otherwise it would be still junking up the music room.


We got the plans/idea from Ana White (originally found via Young House Love), carpenter extraordinaire and we used the living room as our workshop.


The dogs cowered in front of the TV while we worked.


We’re not really a sports house, so we sawed and glued, clamped and drilled during the game and paused for the commercials.  I almost couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the familiar curly grey locks of Wayne Coyne early on in the broadcast.  See the commercial on YouTube here. 


{Image via Google Images from here}

I immediately imagined the hipster revolt to follow.  “The Flaming Lips sold out!” they will cry.  Here’s my take: with the sad state of current music being marketed like lunch lady slop to the masses, if the Flaming Lips go quote unquote “mainstream”, isn’t that a good thing?  Wouldn’t this signal a return to good taste – to true artistic expression and not contrived trite designed to sell records?  And while, by definition, the Lips did “sell out” by allowing their song to be used in a commercial that is selling a car, this clip is pure Flaming Lips.  Robots, confetti, inflatable hamster-wheel balls, galactic travelers . . . methinks the Lips had complete artistic control if not a huge say in this video.

I listen to Pandora at work occasionally and they have a really well-written bio of the Flaming Lips — my favorite part is the beginning: “Even within the eclectic world of alternative rock, few bands were so brave, so frequently brilliant, and so deliciously weird as the Flaming Lips.”  {Jason Ankeny, Rovi}  So even though we didn’t have a team in the “Big Game” race, I still feel like we won.

(And more pictures when we get these shelves sanded, primed, painted and hung.   We originally got enough lumber to make three but one of the 1x4s was  so warped that we didn’t end up fabricating the third shelf.  These ledges are destined for the new music “listening station” I’m creating in the living room.

Cheers – CT