Wednesday, December 11, 2013

MacKenzie Childs Replica Wreath

This past week my mom sent me pictures of the wreath that she made with my little sister!  Isn't it gorgeous?  It's a replica of a wreath that is found at MacKenzie Childs, which is a very upscale pottery and home decor company that's actually located just down the road from my parents' house.  The original "Estate Barn Wreath" is going for a whopping $495, while the replica cost less than $75.  

So so so pretty!  Mom said that my sister has a knack for judging what looks good.  A budding artist perhaps?!

All of the assorted floral picks were on sale, and I believe that they used coupons for the beads.  She took pictures of all of the things that they used just in case you want to make one too!

Now for a few detail shots. Mom said that used a basic faux evergreen wreath as the base.  They were able to insert a lot of the picks without glue, but did use a hot glue gun to hold some pieces in place.

Have you made a wreath for the holidays?  How did it turn out?

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Wood Countertops: Part 3

Hey all!  Sorry I've been MIA for a couple of weekslast week was a short week for me due to our celebration of Thanksgiving here in the US.  Although, I actually went to Canada for Thanksgiving--my best friend recently moved to Calgary, Alberta over the summer so I went up there to spend some time with her.  It was a fantastic trip, and I had a lot of fun!  

The only snafu that I had with the entire trip were my flight connections in Toronto (one connection on the way out, and one connection on the way back).  Even though I was supposed to have 1 hr and 20 minutes to make the switch, I only had 35 - 45 minutes each time due to bad weather delays.  I had to clear customs AND security AND make it to the other side of the airport in that short amount of time.  It was pure madness I tell you, and somehow I made to my next flight both times.  Was it luck or skill?!  Probably a little bit of both, but all I can say is THANK GOODNESS for kind people.  Between people giving me directions about where to go and three amazing ladies letting me go ahead of them in the security line--my love for our friendly neighbors to the north was reaffirmed.  Thank you whoever you are!  

But onward!  Two weekends ago we did some exciting things with the kitchen--namely, the husband finished sanding down the counters, and then we applied the bar top coating!  

Apparently when I told you that we had 75 square feet of counter space, I was having a major brain fart because in reality we only have around 32 square feet of counter top (oops!).  This means that at about $4 per square foot for the glazing, this project only cost us around $200 total (that includes the glazing plus some other supplies we needed to apply everything).  

I won't go through the whole process of how we applied everything just yet (come back next week!), but in the mean time look at how pretty it is!  

And you know what the best part is?  Now I can do the back splash!! :) Even though you can't see me, just know that I am doing a happy dance right now.  I mean, I know that the ratty salmon-colored paint is enticing and everything (and after staring at it for about 8 months, it doesn't faze me anymore), but I think that some nice subway tile will really pull everything together.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Easy Christmas Pinwheel Wreath

Hey all!  We're slowly chipping away on the kitchen counters, buuuuut in the mean time...I broke out the Christmas decorations this past weekend!  I say if it's snowing (and it is...right now actually), then Christmas decorations are OK.  Yes, it's OK to be jealous of our snow flurries ;)

My MIL gave us this handmade grapevine wreath over the weekend, so I added some accents to it and put it up on our front door.

It was super easy to do too!  Forgive the poor quality final pictures...I snapped these with my phone one morning as I was walking out the door.  Damn daylight savings prevents me from taking any pictures after work because it's already dark out!

First, I used some white pearly berries from the floral section of a craft store to accent the wreath.  I clipped clusters off and placed them individually using hot glue.  Then, I used some wrapping paper and cut some long skinny strips.  I folded each strip accordion-style, and then created these cute little pinwheels.  I used hot glue again to hold them together, and then attached them to the wreath.  FYI: wrapping paper is from Smock, and it's double-sided!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Wood Countertops: Part 2

Hey!  So I'm back with an update on the kitchen.  We are slooowly chipping away on the counter tops. 

Here's how they look right now.  And for the love of that is good and holy in the world, please ignore all of the dirty dishes!  Usually I stack them down in the sink so that you can't see them, but there were too many this time haha

Last time I talked about the counters, I mentioned that we had cut and laid out wood pieces for the top.  Well, long story short, I ended up changing my mind about the layout of the planks on the peninsula...I decided that instead of having the wood planks run straight into the wall, I wanted to do the 90-degree interwoven pattern that the corner of the kitchen was already doing.  

What can I say?  I like to keep things interesting :)  At this point, we knew that we weren't going to have enough wood from our one box to change up the layout AND finish up the edges, so we went out and bought a 2nd box of wood from Lumber Liquidators.  They were running a sale, so the box came to like, $144 with tax (which was actually cheaper than the first box we bought).  

Gluing the top pieces down was pretty easy.  The husband transferred all of the pieces to the floor so that he could put down some liquid nails on the plywood base.  Then he transferred everything back up to the counter and tapped things tightly together with a rubber mallet.  

 He weighed everything down with some free weights (umm...those suckers are heavy!), and then we waited for everything to cure.

See how all of the edge pieces have 45 degree angles cut in preparation for the sides of the counter?  To do the edges of the counter, the husband took a plank of wood and split it in half the long way.  Then he put a 45 degree angle on one of the long edges and attached it using liquid nails and finishing nails (using our air compressor nail gun) to the counter tops.  

From 10 ft away,our counters look amazing.  Once you get up close and you can see some of the gaps (I've filled in with wood filler) and it doesn't look quiiiite as good.  As a result, the husband has dubbed these "the 10 ft counter tops", but insists that they will look better after we put the finishing touches on them.  Only time will tell!  

Since all of the pre-finished hardwood flooring planks have micro-beveled edges, we wanted to sand everything down to make sure that it looked like a legit wood counter, rather than wood flooring at a counter height.  This meant sanding off the clear coating.  I mistakenly thought that this would be easy peasy and could be accomplished using my small orbital sander.  HA!  Turns out we had to go out and buy a belt sander, and this where 5 sanding belts got us:

The darker areas are spots where the clear coating is still on.  We need to sand all that stuff off before we can actually start sanding the wood to get rid of the beveled edges.

See?  We didn't get very far!  The blotchiness is where the clear coating is still on the counter.  

That's right, we're not even done with this one stretch of counter!  That clear coating is tough stuff!  And now I know why flooring guys recommend pre-finished hardwood floors over ones that you finish in place.  I don't think that my newly refinished hardwood floors would stand up to a belt sander like that.

Once we get things sanded down all nice and smooth, the plan is do several coats of polyurethane, or maybe even the clear epoxy coating like the stuff they use on bar tops.  However, I think that it's going to take a while to get everything sanded.  The house is a dusty mess right now!

Things that I would have done differently (so far):
Yes, I can already tell that I should have done a few things differently, so I'll throw these out there while I'm thinking about it.  

I should have used unfinished wood from the start.  I should have used unfinished red oak, like the stuff that we have on our floors.  Why?  Well, for starters it would have been cheaper.  The unfinished wood doesn't have the rock-hard finish glaze on it already.  Oh, and it doesn't have beveled edges either!  To me, beveled edges are a dead giveaway that you're using hardwood flooring, which is why we're in the middle of a sanding war with our counters. 

I should have looked into the price of the bar-top epoxy before now.  Apparently, it's roughly $4/SF to coat something with this epoxy (aka, it must be made of gold!).  Now, we have roughly 75 SF of counter top to cover, so that's a cool $300 just like that.  Luckily, we're no where near being done sanding, so I don't have to make a decision right NOW, but it's definitely weighing on my mind.  We both like the idea of the epoxy, but the price gives me sticker shock!  

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Easy Strip Quilt for a Baby Girl

Hey guys!  First of all, I am SO SORRY that I've been gone for a full 3 weeks.  I felt pretty crappy for a full 2.5 really sucked up all of my creative juices and turned me into the girl who only wanted to sit on the couch and watch TV.  Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it doesn't make for very good blog content, does it?!

Anyway, one thing that I DID get done was this adorable strip quilt for my sister-in-law's new baby girl.  It was actually pretty easy to make too.  If you can sew in a straight line, then you can make this!

I had SO much fun picking out fabrics for this quilt.  The strip side of the quilt was made up of these three fun fabrics.  The dotted pattern on the yellow fabric is actually silver!  I purchased half a yard of each of the three fabrics for this side of the quilt.  Altogether, that gave me about 1.5 yards of fabric for the front of the quilt, however, some of the width was going to be taken up by sewing all of the strips together (in the seams), so it worked out pretty well!  I think that I had one extra strip of fabric left over that I didn't use.

The backside was a solid navy blue with gold polka dots.  I picked a light pink binding for the edges, which I think matches everything quite nicely :)  I picked up 1.25 yards of the navy fabric, so that the final quilt was about 45" by 45" in size.

First up, I cut the three printed fabrics into random widths and laid them out on the floor to get an idea of how I wanted everything to look:

Then I sewed them all of the strips together until I had a nice big slid piece.

I layered everything on the floor: first the sewn-together strips, then the quilt batting (I got a crib quilt-size piece of batting), then the navy blue backing fabric.

I pinned everything together and quilted along the seams in between the strips.

You can barely make out the quilted lines on the front of the blanket!  I used navy blue thread that blended in with the back of the quilt perfectly.

I ended up using two packages of quilt binding to bind the edges.  I was particularly proud of my very neat and professional looking mitered quilt corners :)

The final quilt was about 45" by 45".  I am so happy and proud at how well it turned out!  This was not a difficult quilt to make, so I'm excited to try making another one sometime soon.

What have you been up to lately?  Any projects in development?!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Wood Countertops: Part 1

Hey all!  So this past weekend we got started on our hardwood countertops.  I mentioned back in January that I had wanted to use hardwood flooring for the counters.  We ended up getting "tobacco road acacia" wood flooring from Lumber Liquidators, which you can see here:

Acacia wood is one of the harder hardwoods and we both really liked the nice color variation that is on the cooler side of the color spectrum.  When we had our hardwood floors refinished over the summer I purposely picked a finish that would complement the acacia wood.

We did some rough measurements back in January and guesstimated that we were going to need about 1 box of flooring, which we got for about $150.  A lot of people hail Lumber Liquidators as the go-to source for hardwood flooring...and yes, it's uber cheap, but check out the length distribution in 1 box:

That's right, the longest pieces are 29.5" long...which is really short if you think about it.  And yes, I measured and sorted the box according to size.  I was curious!

We worked on laying all of the wood pieces out over the weekend.  See how we decided to do the end pattern?

And the corner pattern?

I kind of wish that I had decided to do the same corner pattern on the other side the sink.  Instead I just did running boards right up to the wall.  Unfortunately, I'm not sure if I have enough extra wood to go back and change the pattern :(

We still need to do the little section of counter to the right of the stove, as well as do all of the edges!

And this is all of the wood that we have to do that:

Yep, it's going to be tight!  I might need to break down and buy another box--we shall see!  

I saw this one blog post by on how to build a wood floor countertop by Sandra (she's Sawdust Girl!), which I think laid everything out pretty well, especially on how you could choose to approach the edges.  I think that we are going to do the edges this way:

Right now the hardwood pieces are just sitting on top of the plywood...nothing has been nailed or glued down.  We're still mulling over ideas on how to adhere everything down.  We do want to use wood glue (liquid nails for wood).  We're on the fence about nailing stuff down.  You can't use a normal hammer/nails for wood floor because you're nailing through the side of the wood floor...and since the sides are tongue-and-groove, you need to use a special nailer:

I think that using that nailer through the side of the wood pieces would be difficult, considering that everything would probably shift at least a little bit as you nail them down.  Once a piece of wood is down, it's DOWN, and pulling it up to readjust would essentially ruin that piece.  In Sandra's tutorial on hardwood flooring counters, she nailed directly through the top side wood and filled in the holes with wood filler.  She finished everything with a top coat anyway, so it wasn't noticeable.  I guess that we're debating whether we should go that route too, or risk using glue exclusively on the counters?  Ahhhh...decisions, decisions!

I think that I'm going to have to sand everything down anyway...the micro-beveled edges on each board kind of drive me crazy anyway.  Either that, or we'd have to do a nice thick resin coat on top, similar to a bar top to fill in the micro-bevels.

So that's where we are with things :)  Progress, right?  We'll see what gets done this coming weekend!