Category Archives: D.I.Y.

Stitch ‘n Bitch, Round 2

You guys, I am vying for the title of most worthless photographer-blogger.  I’m horrible.  I get all awkward about photographing all of life’s little moments.  I furtively snap horrible pictures when I hope people aren’t looking.  I make bizarre Vanna White hand motions when the camera is turned on me.  I come from a non-photogenic family.  We tried so many family portrait sessions that would have maybe 1.5-2 good pictures.  So I apologize for any and all awkward, bizarre and/or missing pictures on this blog.  I continue to try to overcome this shortcoming with wordiness so as not to shortchange any of my very precious readers.  I like to think I do have more of an advantage there, having one won a fifth grade extemporaneous essay contest.  (I still have the thesaurus/prize to prove it!)  Thesaurus in hand, let me tell you a story about Stitch ‘n Bitch #2.  As in, the fun day when my design-school friends come over, we drink sangria and complain about our jobs while working on some sort of project.  It’s amazing and the best therapy a designer can ever get.

My intended project was this dress:

I love the pattern and it was only $15 from Marshalls.  However, although I do wear dresses quite a bit, it wasn’t working for me and I had never worn it.  It’s been hanging out in my closet for a while now, waiting for a new life as a blouse.  Then my brilliant designer friends convinced me to add elastic to the bottom . . . .which I did not have on hand  . . . . cue “wah wah wah” noise.  No real project from me.  I did finally zig-zag stitch serge around the edge of my Mother’s Day tablecloth though . . . (so now I can wash it, yippee).

Miss K brough wine glasses and chalkboard paint and got to work for an upcoming event (that is a SURPRISE, so if you know what event I may be referring to, lips ZIPPERED!)  With a chalkboard pen, guests will be able to write their name and/or wine type on the foot of their wine glass.  It looks like it will take another coat to get these finished up and maybe she will update us with some photos of them finished and/or in use!

Miss E also was thinking of wine, but wine for hoosiers (and not the Indiana variety).  One part glass candlestick, one part  Mason jar combined with some glass adhesive and voila — wine for the country part of your heart!

Besides the Hooseois  (imagine Hoosier + Bourgeois) wine glasses, Miss E had also found the recipe to creat a mercury glass effect on anything glass or ceramic and old and ugly from Goodwill.  That’s awesome because we all know there are tons of things that have uglied out, waiting for a new life at Goodwill.

There’s a tutorial here (and a bunch more all over the interwebs).  Basically it involves misting a solution of vinegar and water onto your object, letting it bead up and then applying a “Mirror Glass” spray paint.  The linked tutorial is a little simpler as you don’t have to paint the inside of the object.  Miss E started out with some more mason jars . ..

And also hit some Goodwill once-floral lamps.  I can’t wait until she send me the after pictures of those with some awesome shades!

Since I didn’t really have a project to speak of, Miss E handed over the looking glass spray paint and I did some work of a vase of my own I had hoarded in the basement.  Cue the weird Vanna hand here:

I’ll definitely have to do an update post on this as I need to finish off the vase and I need after pictures from the other Stitch ‘n Bitchers.  I did a little hunting around St. Louis to find some more of the Krylon looking glass spray paint and found it at Wal-Mart for $8.50 and the Kirkwood Hobby Lobby for $13.  It’s smaller than a regular can of spray paint but still fit my handy-dandy spray handle.  I might just give the mercury glass treatment to everything glass or ceramic that I can get my hands on!

Also Miss K brought a new plant for my plant collection . . . he needs a name!  Or maybe it could be my first lady-plant.

Miss E made the world’s most awesome sangria and shared the recipe with me.  Because I love you, I’m sharing it with you.  White Strawberry-Lemon Sangria.  Something to savor in this summer heat.  Cheers – CT

Backyard zen, here I come

Hey everybody!  We’ve been traveling down south – Clarksdale, Mississippi then Tunica then MEMPHIS on a musical mecca of sorts but we’re back to reality now.   Along with traveling, we also used our vacation time to do some work on and about the house.  So even though we’re back to a 40 hour work week, I’m dreaming of some backyard zen.

Remember a while ago when I posted this dream/inspiration image (that I still can’t find the source for, damn you internet)?  Here it is to refresh your memory.


I started out with this spot when we tilled up the backyard:

And now it’s looking something like this:

The table is haphazardly placed and may not stay there ($10 Craigslist score, I’m thinking it will also meet the spray paint fate that gets everything else here), but there’s some (admittedly slow) progress there.  Let’s rewind.  I started out with 4 of the orange work buckets from Home Depot.  I think they were about 3 bucks a pop.  Next I attacked them with my trusty blue spray paint. (Yes I may have a (blue) spray paint addiction.)

I added in some bricks in the bottom and cemented in poles with eye hooks screwed into the top.  This will be a future canopy holder so I measured out two rods at seven foot and two rods at 6 foot so the canopy will slope a little and not hold water.

Since the raised bed area has been our garden in previous years but is being converted to the zen spot, we didn’t want to lose all our food growing capabilities.  The canopy post buckets became the garden instead.   Before I filled the magical little blue buckets with dirt and plants, I drilled four holes around the bucket right above the concrete line so water can drain out.  (And yes, I’m actually getting pretty proficient with the drill.  That is one power tool even a lefty can use!)

Instant (small) garden.  We have tomatoes in one, hot and mild peppers in another, zucchini in a third and the fourth has beans and some salad mix.  Which should, fingers crossed, yield enough vegetables for two vegetable-eating adults.

So . . . now I only have a few more (hundred) little things to do before the zen spot is complete — mulch over the raised bed, get a canopy/canvas, maybe stain the poles and then install some twinkle lights and get a crap-load of citronella to keep us safe from the swarm of bugs that has descended on STL this summer.

More updates to come, Memphis and the Green Shag Market sale!  Of course I couldn’t miss it!  But since the house is full to the gills, I actually refrained from buying furniture (mostly) and instead picked up many other miscellaneous things.  You know I love to tease!

Transmute is the new tweak

You guys, I was getting really sick of the word “tweak.”  We use it at work ALL THE TIME because as designers, nothing is ever quite right and we’re always searching for those little adjustments (tweaks) to get a project further along.  I’ve been using that word a lot here on the blog as well to describe all the little adjustments I am continually and perpetually making to our home. 

So, more little adjustments . . . remember way back in January when I started this sisal crochet wonder?  Probably not because that was above 4 months ago.

At  any rate, I finished up the sisal crochet to make a little pot snuggie for the ZZ plant, George.  Or Zappa.  We call him different things.

Before George/Zappa was just hanging out in a standard issue green pot  and once we brought Hans and Wenger, the new chairs, home, he now has a floor light (can uplight from cb2) behind him to light the easel from below since we took off the clip light that used to be above. 

And now he has a fancy new coat.  I “dipped” the bottom in black paint to help it stand off the wood floor.  The sisal made it a little hard to get the color in there evenly but overall I am happy with how it turned out.  The whole skein of sisal was $13 at Home Depot and I didn’t even use half of it . . .  so maybe more (dipped) pots are in my future?  Maybe I’ll finish another in 5 months . . .

In other plant adjustments, the plant we originally put in the Bullet Planter was sad.

So sad that I didn’t even take a picture of it before I took it out.  (Not to fear, I put him in a little blue ceramic pot and I’m going to take him to work for some healing time.  Is that the dog equivalent of going to live on the farm?)  But picture it with about four and a half leaves thanks to Sophie Machete Tail.

Yep, that one.

But she also does an angelic face, so it’s hard to be so mad at her.  And also the reason she is usually wielding her machete tail is because we’re home and she’s so happy to see us . . . so she’s forgiven.

But we had to replant the Bullet with something that could survive the Sophie. A succulent garden planter at Home Depot caught my eye because it had a nice variety and was a good scale to survive the tail.

And, because all the plants seem to have names, I named them Larry, Curly (the little “curly” guy in front), Moe and Shemp.

Any more tweaks?  I mean adjustments?  Don’t worry, if there are, I’ll be back with all the details.  Have a great rest of the week, everyone.  We’re almost to a long weekend.  There’s a lot of plans and a little renovation going on . . .

Tweaking, redux.

My meddling in the kitchen was not done with yesterday’s post, it instead continued over to the fridge.  Oh lovely fridge, we inherited you with this house and you work.  You cool our food and freeze our ice so I have no reason to kick you to the curb just yet.  But you’re kind of boring, no offense.

None taken, I’m sure.  So to spice up Miss Fridge, I took a sheet of butcher paper and trimmed it a few inches smaller than the big bare side of the fridge.   I thought about getting all crazy and doing something with chalkboard paint but this seemed like a less permanent solution . .  .and I could always move on to the chalkboard if I ever got bored with the butcher paper.

So *ta da* – fridge tweaked:

(Pardon the extra-large case of beer, it was JT’s birthday and we celebrated with chicken, waffles and the Mick Jagger finale of Saturday Night Live.  The Bud Light blue does seem to match the kitchen though . . .)

I sprung for some heavy-duty magnets on Amazon and mixed in some others I had purchased at Ikea.

Some baker’s twine holds a pen in place and with the butcher paper you can just scribble your heart’s desire on there – phone messages, obscenities, you name it.  Right now we just have a few useful phone numbers.  Double stick tape holds up a few classic fortune cookie fortunes for posterity.   I also outlined the knives so they always have a place to go back to.  . . .

The other knives just have one magnet but I got nervous and used two on the big guy.  We’ve had them up for two weeks and it’s been a great solution since we demoed out the larger Ikea knife rack in favor of some artwork over the microwave.  

That reminds me,  I’m not sure if I ever really showed you guys the artwork over the microwave . . . I just printed out some song lyrics that seemed kitchen appropriate and added them to my Ikea frame (which was white upon purchase but became black thanks to my spray paint addiction.)

Can you spot Tiny Elvis in our kitchen?  I think we may have Elvis in every room in our house . . . . so, kitchen finally tweaked?  Not yet.  I’ve still got to get to the back door which Shenanigan firmly kicks every morning to demand to be let out FASTER and then I also want to tackle some storage in the base cabinets and pantry . . . but that’s for later.  More tweaking to come, just not in the kitchen.  Cheers – CT

Dip It?

When the blogger’s away . . . . she’s working on more projects so she can have something to blog about?

Or she’s having a melt-down about her job/future/creative career path and can’t get to the computer?

Take your pick . . .

At any rate, this blogger is back with a question – should I dip it?

Let me clarify — there seems to be a growing trend of furniture/decorative items that are partially painted/dipped.  Case in point, these gorgeous chairs I first saw on Desire to Inspire —


Now I have 4 matching chairs being hoarded in my basement and I’m thinking they might look a lot better getting this “dipped” treatment . .

What do you think?

The last of our Green Shag goodies . . .

As promised, one of our other “picks” from Green Shag market is guitar-related:

Amongst JT’s dizzying array of guitars, can you pick out the new (old) stand?    The previous stand was a little tech-y and JT was always having to pack it up to take with him to gigs.  Now this new sculptural beauty can stay put in the music room (although the back leg does fold in for transport).

Better yet, it can also hold acoustic guitars which the old stand couldn’t handle.

(Not pictured with an acoustic guitar though — for the most part his Gibson lives in its case with its humidifier . . . )

We also found a bundle of old teacher’s aids posters.  They were all 18×24 or larger and really affordably priced for larger scale artwork.

There was a spot in the music room needing some art.  There are actually a lot of spots in our house needing some art, but let’s start with this spot.  For most of our time in this house, we were displaying our diplomas here:

But college graduation is fast becoming a memory and I need the frames for some artwork in the KITCHEN so down them came.

I didn’t have a large frame for our new poster and wasn’t really willing to spend any amount of $ on it.  I had some mat board down in the basement so I measured out the interior opening I would need, brushed on a few coats of black acrylic craft paint and jerry-rigged together a hanging mechanism out of some painter’s tape and a piece of leather cord.

Ta da, artwork!  (Or back of artwork, at any rate . . . )

The back says this “Specimens of original 19th-century American wood type.  From American Wood Type by Rob Roy Kelly.  Copyright 1969 by Litton Educational Publishing Inc.  Courtesy of Rob Roy Kelly and Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, New York.    Then it goes on to detail educational facts about typography and the interplay of negative and positive shapes.  That’s a lot of words to retype.  We’re more worried about what it looks like in the music room, right?

And I like that it’s music related (ish?)  Can anyone else see the word “Hum” or is this just one of those Magic Seeing Eye posters with a different label on the back . . .  The blue walls seem to color shift a little in each picture I take in there . . . just like the KITCHEN!   Pictures of that next post!

Kitchen Tile, I Love You

Our emptied out kitchen was bizarre and no matter how much the floor was cleaned, it still looked dirty.

Yes, I still need to put artwork in that Ikea frame . . .

Thanks to all the grooves imprinted into this linoleum tile, it was a major dirt catcher.  And a house with two dogs does not need any dirt catchers.  Plus there was some charming other features like this hole to nowhere:

The water line and gas line come up through a separate hole so this is a head-scratcher as to its purpose.  Direct “telephone” line to the work bench below?  Dunno.  We filled it in with an old champagne cork.  You can also see how the previous owners didn’t undercut the jams and instead left more dirt catchers there.  Lovely.

What is lovely?  A sight for now-sore eyes? (Sorry about that gross pic.)   The kitchen at around 10pm last night.  New, gorgeous 12×12 tile in a nice warm grey.

JT and his dad worked hard all day and I came home to a half tiled kitchen.  Fast forward to 10pm and it was pretty much all wrapped up.  The elder Mr. T is at our house right now (the benefits of retirement) finishing up the pantry floor and a few other things.  I’m so lucky to have such a handy and helpful father-in-law (and husband too).  My boys take good care of me. 

So, we’ll be grouting come Friday! I’ll be back with more pictures, don’t you worry.  This is the biggest project we have tackled on the house to date and it will be such a MAJOR improvement.