DIY projects for the home.

Do I Know You? On Funerals and Cake Fails

Dear Kids,

I’ve been MIA on the blog-front lately. Apologies. I just got back from my aunt’s funeral in Portland. It was beautiful.


My Mom and I cleaned out her room and set aside some things for loved ones. I selected a stuffed elephant for Kitten and a policeman nesting doll for Buddy. For myself, well I was most taken with the photos.


My grandparents with their first born. Such sweet, naive kids...


My grandfather (the only one not looking at the camera) and his 5 brothers


My beautiful grandmother


The kids! Neighbors and siblings at play. I'm related to a handful of them.

Anyhow, enough of the sentimental. Let’s get to the embarrassing stuff, shall we?

So, it was Buddy’s birthday recently. There was much rejoicing and much cake.

There were cupcakes at school, icecream cake at Chuck E. Cheese, and cake for your actual party. Yikes! (We like to stretch out our birthdays around here)

For your party I decided I would make your cake myself. I have friends with these skills. Friends who actually make money with their cake skills. Surely I can apply icing to a cake, right? Mothers have been doing so for years!

I should have hired one of my friends.


It's a Starwars cake. Light side & dark side, get it?

Apparently I cannot apply icing to cake. Cake hates me.

Here’s the cake I made under extreme supervision for Kitten’s 5th bday:


Beautiful, right? And back to Buddy’s 5th bday cake:


It's a Starwars cake. Light side & dark side, get it?

It looks like I took an egg beater to it.  Maliciously. [Sigh]

Thankfully, I was able to consult with one of those aforementioned cake-savy friends and redeem myself:


You see that? That, my friends, is 3 cans of blue icing. It was, I’m told, delicious. I don’t care, as long as he liked it:


And he did ūüôā


Papa performs


Bounce house BEFORE cake. No vomiting, please.


Birthday spoils: stormtrooper masks and pool noodle light sabers

Homemade Starwars birthday party. Nailed it! ūüėČ

Categories: Crafts, DIY, Kids | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Mother of Invention

Dear Buddy,

Having never been or raised a boy before, I was surprised by a few of the…mechanics of male toileting. Namely the devil that is that large gap in between the toilet bowl and the seat.

Buddy, you can now sit or stand as you choose, but it is sometimes necessary for a boy to sit. On these occasions, when you pee it shoots straight through the aforementioned gap and covers the unlucky bathroom floor with a veritable lake of urine.

I seriously thought the toilet bowl had sprung a giant leak the first time I witnessed this. I just stood there screaming, “what’s happening?? How is this happening??” Until¬†your father¬†walked up, nodded and said, “yup, that’ll happen.”

What?? Ew!!

There is obviously a large flaw in toilet design that has gone unchecked since the invention of the toilet seat. Since necessity is the mother of invention, I give you…the pee guard toilet retrofit:



It’s stupid simple (like all my DIY). It is a piece of plastic cut from a milk jug and super glued to the inside of the seat. It is low enough not to scratch sensitive bums and does not interfere with uppy-downy seat action. It’s brilliant and it totally works! Woo hoo for not having to sop up anymore pee!

UPDATE: Ya, that lasted less than 48 hours. Buddy pulled it off while standing to pee and the¬†guard was just hanging there, apparently begging to be played with. My husband took a stab at the situation¬†and simply pulled off the front two cushion thingys on the bottom of the seat, which effectively eliminated the gap. It totally works…for¬†a whole week now. Touch√©, male counterpart…you win this round…

Categories: Buddy, DIY, Kids | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments

The Family That Destructs Together…

Dear kids,

There’s an old saying, “The family that destructs together, stays together.”


…I’m pretty sure that’s how that goes…

Categories: DIY, Kids | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Fun with Houses – Door Vents

Door Vents

The last two houses we have lived in there has been central air throughout but only one large return vent outside of the bedrooms. This means at night with the doors closed that the bedrooms have absolutely no circulation. They are hot in the winter and cold in the summer – which sounds good, but really isn’t. It just means constant finagling of the thermostat at Oh God:30 in the morning.

So, we decided what we needed was holes in our doors. I decided that I would reclaim my inner handy-woman and tackle this project. Enter, the power tools:

I am woman, hear me drill.

I am woman, hear me drill.

I bought some standard vent covers, but had to mutilate them so I could fit two back to back on either side of the door.



Next, I simply cut an appropriately sized hole and screwed the vents in place. Viola! Vented bedrooms for proper circulation.


Categories: DIY | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

Chalk Holder

Chalk Holder

A long time ago a received a kitchen chalkboard as a gift from my aunt in the Northwest. It’s awesome and looks great in every kitchen I’ve hung it in. It’s also incredibly useful.

Unfortunately, there’s no where to store the chalk it requires. We used to store it on the counter where it would roll around and get crushed. Then we tried to keep it in a baggie hanging from the loop at top, but it was difficult to get the chalk out. And then, I did this:


It’s a drawer pull! I flipped it upside-down, drilled some small holes in the chalkboard and viola! Chalk holder! Convenience for under a buck ūüôā

Categories: DIY | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

Chair Upholstery, Or @$#! Upholstery Tacks

Chair Upholstery

A chair came with our house:

The Chair

The Chair

…I was not a fan, but¬†I did see that it had potential. Plus, it was a free chair, so who cared if I destroyed it, right?

I pulled off all the old upholstery tacks. Son of a biscuit, those things suck!! Once the chair was denuded, I spray-painted it with white on all the wood parts.

Next, I stapled on my fabric where I could. Turned out there were quite a few places where I couldn’t. Apparently fancy, professional upholstery people have a few more tricks up their sleeves than I did, like tacking strips, webbing stretchers, metal loopy things from hell, and other diabolical-looking things that probably would have helped a whole hell of a lot.

Regardless, I persevered. When I didn’t have the appropriate material or tool I used upholstery tacks. I used a LOT of upholstery tacks.

Holy Upholstery Tacks, Batman!

There is possibly more metal than fabric…

Just in case you had forgotten: Upholstery tacks SUCK. They are the gremlins of the furniture industry. ‘You want me where? Right where you’re hammering me in? How about I double over one inch to the left of there? Oh, silly you. No, you won’t be able to remove me either. Because I am better than you and I hate you.’

&^%$ Upholstery Tacks!!

&^%$ Upholstery Tacks!!

I swear to God, I bought 40 packs of those damn things. I emptied two Home Depots of their stock. It was nuts. Here is what they look like when they behave:

I'm pretty sure that bag on the floor is filled completely with bent upholstery tacks.

I’m pretty sure that bag on the floor is filled completely with bent upholstery tacks.

Amazingly, I actually finished the chair. It lives in the basement…looking unassuming and unapologetic.

Never Again.

Never Again.


If you liked this post, you might also like: Box Spring Upholstery!

Categories: Crafts, DIY | Tags: , , , | 6 Comments

Door Mat Over Air Vent

Door Mat Over Air Vent

My husband got this great wide doormat for in front of our patio door. Awesome! The problem was that we had an air vent right in front of the door.

Solution: I carefully cut an ‘X’ over the open¬†vent, feeling for the corners. I pushed the corners in to the hole, then pushed the cover back on. Perfecto! And it looks great!

wpid-20130831_191149.jpg   wpid-20130831_191200.jpg    wpid-20130831_191240.jpg

Categories: DIY | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

Box Spring Upholstery

Box Spring Upholstery

Kitten has a full-sized mattress. She probably thinks this is because she is a princess, but really it was because we already owned it and were too cheap to buy another mattress.

Initially we put it directly on the floor so that she wouldn’t have far to fall if she rolled off. We kept it on the floor because it makes one heck of a trampoline and why on earth would I ruin that for the kids??

So, Kitten has a large mattress in the middle of her room. We dressed it up with a DIY headboard made with plywood,¬†egg-crate¬†and a ‘Kmart-special’ comforter. The box spring, however, remained an eye sore.

Recently I tackled that ugly box spring. Here is the before:

Holy grandmother's couch, Batman!

Holy grandmother’s couch, Batman!

You can even see a bit of the awesome headboard to the left there.

I used some nice green fabric I had laying around that used to be Kitten’s curtains in her room before the move. I stapled it to the wood on the bottom of the box spring:

Who doesn't love a good staple gun??

Who doesn’t love a good staple gun??

I went to staple it on the top and discovered…there’s no wood on the top! D’oh. So, I made do with some gaffer’s tape (love that stuff):

Fine, so it ain't winning any beauty contests...

Fine, so it ain’t winning any beauty contests…

In the end I was super happy with the results. Kitten’s bed now looks ‘put together’ instead of ‘haphazard’:


It’s not Vogue-worthy, but it’s definitely kid-chic.

It cost me nothing and it took less than 30 minutes. Win!


If you liked this post, you may also like: Chair Upholstery, or @$#! Upholstery Tacks!

Categories: Crafts, DIY, Kids | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments

Mosquito Trap Fail

Mosquito Trap Fail

Saw this all over Pinterest and couldn’t wait to try it. I tried it over three days; topping of the yeast, wrapping it in newspaper, the whole nine yards. It got one mosquito. One! Total fail. I was so disappointed!

Has anyone had this work for them? I’d love to know if I was doing something wrong.



If you like this post, you may also like: Mosquito Repellent Win!

Categories: DIY | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

Frosted Glass Windows

Frosted Glass Windows

We moved in to a new house which means a whole new house in need of window treatments of some kind. I, being the slacker that I am, immediately sought the path of least work. For the bathrooms, I didn’t want to put in curtains or blinds – they are labor intensive and, honestly, they block out too much light. I love natural light in a bathroom.

Frequently windows put in a bathroom are already frosted. Ours were not. So, on one of our many – many – trips to the hardware store recently, I picked up a can of frosted glass spray paint. I put ‘Press and Seal’ food wrap around the window to protect the window frame and the top window. I sprayed copious amounts of the stuff back and forth on the glass – don’t be afraid to over apply!! Then, we got the heck out of the house for an hour or so.¬†It is extremely fumy.

Viola! Privacy and natural light all at the same time. Perfection.




Categories: DIY | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

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