Posts Tagged With: diy

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

Candle Making Like a Freaking Pioneer Woman!

My mother’s church had a big ‘ol box of used candles they weren’t going to keep after their candle-light Christmas service:

A solid 8" deep of free wax, my friends.

A solid 8″ deep of free wax, my friends.

So, Mom came on over and we decided to cover my kitchen in wax make candles.

Having never done this before we decided to do a lot of research and come at this project with good instructions, proper materials, and end product goals.

Ya, no. We threw a handful of candles in a pot and winged it.

Hang on to your butter churns, people! We're crafting old school.

Hang on to your butter churns, people! We’re crafting old school.

Tip #1: We thought we had to cut up the candles or at least take out the wicks before throwing them in to the pot – Nope! They melt just fine whole and the wicks will float around in there and wait patiently for you to fish them out whenever you darn well feel like it. Seriously – wax is so freaking forgiving.

Tip #2: You really don’t need to have the heat up that high. Wax will melt if you just¬† stare at it too long. Put that burner on low and let it mellow. You’ll have a pool of wax in minutes.

I had two mason jars. Well…technically I had two jars of five year-old fruit stand preserves. But, very quickly I had two empty mason jars. I also had a handful of metal cookie cutters.

We put the cookie cutters on some wax paper and poured a little test wax in to one.

Mistake #1: If the path of wax is not impeded by some sort of barrier, it will go wherever it darn well pleases.

Next, we tried putting the cookie cutters on some wax paper on a cookie sheet with edges.

Mistake #2: If you do not create some sort of seal around the cookie cutter you will simply have a cookie sheet full of wax.

Next, Mom had the brilliant idea to wrap the bottom and sides of the cookie cutters in foil, creating a mold for the wax. We kept them in the cookie sheet, which turned out to be wise because one of the foil molds sprung a small leak at one point. Lesson: Contain! Contain! Contain!

We got smart!

We got smart! Foil, baby!

We poured the wax into the molds in stages. I don’t think this is necessary if you are doing all one color, but we broke out all my kids broken crayons and started having fun ūüôā

We didn’t want to color a whole pot of wax, so we put a little of the white/clear wax in a mason jar, added a crayon or two, and nuked the concoction in the microwave for a few seconds (remember, wax doesn’t take much to melt).

Viola! Colored Wax!

Viola! Colored Wax!

This reminds me of Mistake #3: Apparently you can’t color wax with food coloring.

Food coloring sinks in wax - who knew?

Food coloring sinks in wax – who knew?

When the wax was dry we nervously attempted extraction. We could have left them in the cookie cutters and they would have made adorable little gifts (after you burn the homemade candle you have a cookie cutter – sweet!). However, I use these things and I wanted them back.

We weren’t sure if the candles would come out of the cutters. If they did come out, we weren’t sure what condition they would be in. Would they just fall apart? Would we damage the cookie cutters?

Tip #3: To remove the candles, simply pull at the sides of the cutter a little to break the seal from the wax. Push from the firmest side of the candle (since we did ours in layers, the bottom was much firmer and cooler than the top). With a little wiggling and gentle pushing, it should shimmy its way out of the cutter in great shape.

Out it comes!

Out it comes!

That was it! Suddenly we were the proud owners of homemade candles. So ridiculously easy! (Minus those mistakes…)

We had a bit of wax leftover so I decided to try my hand at dipped candles (hypnotically enjoyable) and a mason jar candle (straight forward and kinda boring).

I am a freaking pioneer woman now!

I am a freaking pioneer woman now!

But, honestly, we were super proud of the cookie cutter candles.

Suitable for gifting!

Suitable for gifting!

Layers - Oooo!

Layers – Oooo!

One more thing…Mistake #4: Don’t trip while holding a mason jar full of wax and spill it all over the kitchen floor. That’s a real bummer.



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

Dear Kids – Saturday Night’s Alright for…


…tearing up your kitchen! What else would you do with a Saturday night? There was sledge hammering!

Categories: Kids | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

Fun with Kids – Milk Jug Lanterns

Milk Jug Lanterns

My husband was saving milk jugs because he wanted to do something cool with them for Halloween. In short order we had an impressive collection of milk jugs. I decided I would steal one or two for a quick project with Kitten.

We drew jack-o-lantern faces on one each and then I filled them with water and dropped in a glow stick (dollar bins at Target!). Instant lantern! They glow so well in the dark!

We took them in to Buddy’s bedroom where it was really dark (thank you, black out curtains!). He happened to be napping at the time, but it was time for him to wake up anyhow. What fun to wake up to creepy glowing orbs in your room while your mother and sister cackle with glee…right?



I’m thinking of making a bunch of these and lighting the pathway to our house with them on Halloween night! Safety and fun – woo hoo!

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

Fun with Kids – Hug Blanket

Hug Blanket

For my mother’s birthday we made her this ‘hug blanket’. We traced the hands of her four grandchildren (If we had the ten she wanted we’d never have fit them all!) on some leftover curtain fabric and attached iron-on adhesive.


Side bar: I absolutely love iron-on adhesive! I recommend keeping some around at all times for spur-of-the-moment crafting.

We then laid the hand prints¬†out in ‘open arms’ formation from smallest grandchild to largest. We added a few hearts because, why not?


Now, whenever Mimi needs a hug from her grandkids, she can just wrap herself up in her hug blanket. This is also a cute way to remember how little they all once were. Hopefully she’ll have this memento for years to come.


Categories: Crafts, Kids | Tags: , , , , | 4 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

Fun with Kids – Playdoh Garlands

Playdoh Garlands

This was 100% Kitten’s idea. She was playing with Playdoh with Mimi while¬†her daddy and I¬†were out on a date night. She cut out a bunch of stars and then started stamping the letters of everyone’s names on them. Then she started making holes in the tops, so that she could string them. Genius!


A proud product of Kitten!

I bought a couple of shoe laces and strung them for her. I attached Kitten’s and Buddy’s to their bedroom doors. Mimi got to take hers home and ‘Mom’ and ‘Dad’ are hanging on our bedroom door handle.


Great idea, Kitten!

Categories: Crafts, Kids | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Fun with Kids – A Tale of Two Cities

A Tale of Two Cities Shadow Box

My mother is a woman of two cities; one in Oregon and one in Virginia. She was born and raised in Oregon, then moved across the country for work where she met and married my father, raising two daughters in Virginia.

Home is where your heart is, and for my mother¬†her heart is¬†in two places. I know it is difficult for her to have her siblings, nieces, nephews, and¬†friends¬†in Oregon and her children, grandchildren, and friends in Virginia. If life were perfect, we’d all live happily together in Oregon!

So, for her birthday, I made her this shadow box which finally brings her two homes closer together:


I downloaded a United States Map from online and used the ‘Paint’ program on my computer to make identical heart shapes for a cutting guide. I used foam stickers to elevate the hearts from the background a bit. I hole-punched the sides of the hearts and tied them together with a very thin ribbon. Viola!

Categories: Crafts, Kids | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

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