Okay okay, I know I’ve been a major blog slacker. We did so many many projects in 2012 and I just didn’t have the time or gumption to get them posted. I’m feeling bloggy this week so I am going to hopefully do a bunch of quick updates so you can see what we did and a little about how we did it.
If this is the first time you’ve stumbled upon my blog, Mr. Project, my husband builds all our cabinets/furniture/built-ins. I dream it up, and he makes it happen,and somewhere during the process we work through all the design issues together and come up with a final product thats even better than my vision.
Okay back to the Mantle… this house was old, old and ugly when we got our hands on it. This is what the family room looked like before (brace yourselves):
We took out the old stove, and painted the brick charcoal gray, and thats how it was for a solid year. You can read a little bit more about that on my Mantle Plans post.
Mr. Project and I went through a lot of design ideas with this one. Should we build the fireplace surround out of the wall more? What about book-cases up to the ceiling? Doors or drawers or just shelves? etc etc. After a lot of discussions, we came up with this vision:
Once we had dimensions down, Mr. Project started the build (in our garage shop):
In the mean time we hired a contractor to come and chip out the mantle brick and the footer brick (took about an hour or so):
We decided to leave the existing brick (it was in great shape) to add depth instead of chipping it out and then having to build out the depth with steel studs and cement board.
Our tile guy came and installed cement board everywhere the tile would be and sealed off all the old brick with some sort of mortar stuff. Note the blue tape where we finalized the measurements/placement on the mantle beam. There’s nothing like actually seeing a representation of what you’re making to help with crucial decisions.
Mr. Project installed the cabinets and shelves:
Then he built the mantle, legs, and details.
Here you can see the elevation:
And then we had it painted:
Once it was painted we had to wait a few weeks for the tile to come in. We ordered a small 3/8″ stacked mosaic tile made of a natural stone… I am totally pulling a blank on the material – maybe lavastone??? I’ll come back and update when I remember.
We liked this because it wasn’t your run of the mill brick, rock, or large tile. On the floor we had larger tiles of the same material flush-mounted.
A closeup of the mantle details:
Here it is all finished:
And finally with books & decorations I gathered mostly from around the house:
Never underestimate the potential of an old drab fireplace! Or as Mr. Project always says “There is always a fix”
I think we spent about $1400 on this re-do that includes, wood, tile, paint & labor.
*The ever-knowlegable Mr. Project just informed me that in this instance
mantle is spelled mantel. So now we all know :p
We finished our DIY kitchen more than a year ago, but I really haven’t done a “final kitchen” post. So I snapped a few shots, ran them through Instagram for fun and here ya go! I really love this space, and I especially love seeing photos because then I remember how awesome it looks.
Click HERE for more pics of our kitchen and lots of process pics.
And if you don’t want to go through the trouble, looking at the BEFORE picture might intrigue you:
I’ve been slowly plugging away at organizing and re-organizing our kitchen. I recently showed you my spice jar drawer:
And I figured it was time to tackle the pantry. We have a large cabinet pantry – you can see it here on the far left next to the fridge:
Here’s what it looks like with the door open (this was after I reorganized it):
And here’s the top drawer (there are two and they are massive):
This photo was obviously taken after the organization :p I love this drawer because it fits full-sized cereal boxes, and keeps all the bread items accessible and off the counter tops.
In my organizing I came across this drawer that we’ve been using to store TONS of used jam jars and salsa jars. I couldn’t part with them because they were glass and so pretty, but I was about ready to because we have tons of them. Some I’ve been using to hold misc pantry items like small amount of left-over pasta, raisins, chocolate chips, tea bags, stevia packets etc. And a bunch were just empty.
I organized that drawer in the pantry and filled most of the empty ones and cleaned it up and it looked like this:
Which is pretty good, but I wasn’t in love with all that red gingham, and it’s hard to tell what is inside of them from above. So I thought about making some sort of label to put on the lids, but that seemed like a lot of work especially if the contents do end up changing. So then, I wondered if I could spray-paint the lids with some of my handy-dandy chalkboard paint, and then just write on the lids what each one contained.
I consulted with Mr. Project who was confident that the lids would take the paint, and then I filled up a make-shift paint booth (cardboard box) with lids and painted.
The painting went well and stuck okay. No problems getting them to take the paint (though make sure they are all clean and free of grease). They can scratch though with a sharp nail or object. You could prime or sand before the spray paint to avoid this, or possibly paint, write your contents, and then clear-coat. But then you wont be able to change what the lid says… which could be fine depending on your storage system. I just painted them and am okay with any scratching here or there – these odds & ends don’t get too much every-day use, so I don’t think they’ll show wear too quickly. And since this is a repurpose project it doesn’t need to last forever. I also recommend using a chalk marker if you don’t want your lids to smudge.
After seeing my horrible chalk-handwriting, Mr. Project volunteered to write the labels for me:
And there you have it, a much more chic drawer of pantry odds & ends. And best part is it was all using stuff that I already had. Yay for free projects!
Firstly let me just apologize for not being around. I gave birth to my second son Leo on the 30th of October, and getting back into the swing of things with a toddler and a newborn is much more difficult than I realized. I think we are finally hitting our stride though and I feel like I’m figuring it all out, at least for the moment. I still need to compile some photos and tell my birth story for my family’s record, so that will be coming soon. But for now I just wanted to get a quick Merry Christmas posted (so you know I’m still around) along with a freebie.
As a designer, I like having complete flexibility with my tools including my die-cutting machine. I had been using a Cricut Expression in conjunction with the SCAL software in order to be able to cut any shape that I designed or downloaded, but I was never completely happy with the whole “work-around” for the Cricut (and their lawsuits towards 3rd party vendors), and so I finally caved and bought a beautiful new Silhouette Cameo which has an amazing free software suite that suits my needs perfectly especially in conjunction with my Adobe Illustrator software. My first project was this christmas banner and 3-d trees. The Cameo was so easy to set up with my MacBook Air laptop and everything just worked so smooth and seamless that I could hardly believe that I didn’t have any issues.
The paper I used is the All is Bright collection by Rhonna Farrer from My Minds Eye. I love how the patterns and colors are more subtly Christmas, which is just what I wanted for my decorations. I also wanted glitter letters and brainstormed several ways to get glitter letters on the flags. What I ended up doing was buying this double-sided adhesive paper - Grafix 9-Inch-by-12-Inch Archival Double Tack – you can also try the Silhouette Double-Sided Adhesive Paper. And I cut out “MERRY” from the Peony Pro Font and then attached the die-cut double-tack to the flags and pealed back the cover paper and poured glitter on it. It turned out perfectly and was pretty easy (the hardest part was getting the hang of peeling the adhesive paper backing.
I just love how the whole thing turned out, simple and elegant.
I also wanted to create some 3D trees out of paper. These are great because they stand up and only require one 12×12 sheet of paper to create.
To make one tree, you cut out 3 tree shapes, score them down the middle (I use this awesome Martha Stewart Scoring Board ) and adhere the wrong sides to each other to create a 3-d standing tree.
This is a super quick and easy way to decorate a small space or party table.
And lucky you, I’m giving away the cut files for the trees. Click the image below to download the ZIP file. The ZIP file contains a .SVG file, a .DXF (for the silhouette), and a .JPG file for those of you without a cutter.
Enjoy making some trees and have a wonderful holiday season!
I’ll be home with my family snuggling this little guy: