Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Bar Work Day 1

Since before we put an offer in on our house we had plans to make a bar between our kitchen and living room. We have enough dining space for the two of us, but this part of the wall was just screaming for a makeover. T.J. and I originally had very different ideas of what we wanted, but in the end, a combination of the two won out. Plans have been in the works for months, and during our time off for winter break, they have finally had time to be realized.

Here is what we were working with before:

We started with a trip to Menard's for wood and wood stain. We decided a dark wood stain would look best for this countertop/bar. Especially because I am slowly getting rid of anything else wood in the house by painting over it with white. I do think this one piece will look beautiful wood, and will really stand out amongst all the color and white.

Before I stained the wood, I watched this quick video on YouTube and referred to this blog post on Young House Love to educate myself on staining techniques. I always like to check more than one "how-to" and pick the techniques I like best. For example, I decided to use a foam brush like in the YouTube video instead of a regular brush in the blog post.

T.J. headed up all the woodworking on this project... but I managed to snap a few pictures along the way. He first used his Kreg Jig to attach the two boards together. Then he cut them to size to fit our opening. We just used a crow bar to pry the old piece of wood off the half wall - it was interesting to find out what was under there. Nothing surprising I guess, just new to me!

 To deal with the issue of the wood molding under the old piece of wood on the wall, I painted it white (2 coats of primer, 2 coats of white semi-gloss), and on the side we needed to install brackets on, T.J. cut the molding so the brackets would fit. 

T.J. got sanding, then used his router to round both the top and bottom edges of the bar wood - but left the two short ends untouched.

Finally, it was time for me to come in with my new knowledge about staining wood. This part was pretty exciting honestly. I mixed the stain well, donned a stylish blue glove, and spread it on with my foam brush. Wait the recommended amount of time (about 30 min) then wipe off the excess stain. I admittedly forgot about it on the bottom side of the bar and left it there for an hour - so I left the stain on the top on for an hour too for uniformity. No harm done.

 (with the stain still on it - pre-wipe)

(darkness after I wiped the excess stain off)

And there you have it - day one of the bar work. All that in ONE DAY. It is nearly done! Day two work will be coming soon in a subsequent post. Until then - thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sneak Peak

What T.J. and I have been up to all weekend...

I am so excited to share the rest when we are done! May be a few more days still... this is a pretty slow process, but we are making headway!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Button Art

I made a variety of different button art projects for people for Christmas. The first one I made was for my niece Ava... I was inspired by the sparkle fabric I repurposed from a tote bag I had. (also seen in Wednesdays post as part of my Gallery Wall!)

I made an S for my niece Shelby, and an S for my sister in-law Sophie.

Finally, I made a big W for my brother and sister in-law "William and Wendy". This one took some tweaking before I liked it. I first just laid out the W and thought it was too boring - so I added brown borders to the canvas using painters tape and careful measuring.

Clearly I am obsessed with button art. Check out some of my other button art projects like The Tree of Life, Button H, Button Wreath, and Monogram Pillows.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Gallery Wall

This post has been a long long time coming. The Gallery Wall was semi-finished back at Thanksgiving, and honestly still isn't done now. But it is close enough. So here goes.

I picked a big blank wall in the living room to create the Gallery Wall on. I consulted a few different sources on how to go about planning and hanging all the frames. Young House Love has a good description. In the end I did the time consuming, cut out newspapers the same size as your frames, method. It worked very well. Much better than if I had tried to hang them with my usual method - which is stick a nail in the wall and hope it is in the right spot. But first, I had to collect all these frames. I only bought three of them brand new, the rest I already had or my sister scored from left over rummage sale items. Only 5 of them were originally white. The rest I spray painted over the course of a few days. See this post about how to spray paint frames.

(one of the rummage sale beauties before I removed
the art and spray painted the frame white). 

Here is the newspaper layout up on the wall - I actually have trimmed down a few since then, this layout was a little overwhelming.

The best part about the newspaper process is that you don't even have to move the newspaper cutouts to put your nail in the wall - just rip the newspaper away around it.

Here is the play by play of what I included:

This awesome "H" is just a print out from the website Daily Drop Cap - if you have never been, you need to go check it out now! Amazing art. Also, pictures T.J. and I took with his dad's fancy camera this summer in Mackinaw and here in our own back yard. 

In the upper left corner is a "pencil" drawing of our house. I just selected a picture of our home and selected "Pencil Sketch" in Picasa - viola, interesting art. Then we have our two fur babies on my sister's boat and a family picture sans-Lexi in Mackinaw. 

Here we have another picture of T.J. and I in Mackinaw (are you seeing a theme here? We love the place!) - and a key to another of our favorite places... Our graduation picture - we even got to walk at the same time. Finally, the big picture is of a good chunk of my family ice skating on my sister's lake in Michigan.

Here is the wedding picture collection - couldn't leave those out! On the left, our rehearsal, and on the right my favorite wedding picture + pictures with all the kiddos in our lives. 

The watery picture was taken in South Carolina (near Charleston) at a golf course where T.J. briefly worked. Tubing at my sisters lake.

Here is another graduation picture (without the silly black gowns) and our engagement picture. The empty frame below it I intended to hot glue a clip to, so I can switch out the picture easily.

This beauty I made out of an old sequin bag and a beautiful card my sister sent me. It is a candelabra and says "shine". 

Side View

Monday, January 23, 2012

Valentines Day Pillow

I have been wanting to make some quick and easy Valentine's Day projects and the other day I stumbled upon just the right inspiration. I get daily emails from Etsy that are filled with promos and products made or found by Etsy sellers... it is like a wealth of inspiration daily. The pillow that inspired me was in one of those emails, but of course I had to make it my own... a little more pink for me please! Valentines Day is one of my favorite holidays because pink and glitter are everywhere, and I am truly in my element!

First I cut out heart shapes from hot pink felt. I just folded the felt in half and free-handed the shapes (years of making Valentines has honed this skill I guess). I started with a few medium sized hearts and added a few as I saw fit.

I used a piece of white almost denim-like fabric I already owned from Walmart to make the pillow . I didn't even measure how big I made it... I just cut out a rectangle. Then I pinned on my heart shapes after laying them out in an eye pleasing pattern.

Next I threaded my machine with matching pink thread, then sewed right down the middle of each heart. This part wasn't too hard... just aim and hope for the best. I switched back to white thread and sewed around the pillow (after putting right sides together) leaving an opening to stuff it.

It got pretty wrinkled when I right sided it out, but I think that was just because of the type of fabric. I ironed it a little, then stuffed it with fiber fill. Last step: whip stitching the hole closed.

I love the way the hearts can stick up a little to add texture and interest to the pillow.

And here is how the beauty looks on my bed. Perfect match!

This post is linked to Sew Woodsy and  Southern Lovely.
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