Garage Update

It’s been a while since I told you what’s going on in the garage, hasn’t it?

For those of you who don’t remember, Corey and I are currently in the process of giving our garage a major overhaul and turning it into a media room/craft room/general room of awesomeness. We’ve never used it for parking our cars (most people in our neighborhood don’t, strangely enough), and my sister did it in her house and we love the functionality of it. So, that’s been going on for a few weeks now.

Last time I talked about it, it was looking slightly more like a room, but still pretty crazy.

We’ve made a ton of progress since then, even though it feels like we’re moving at a snail’s pace. Here’s what it looks like as of this weekend:

It actually looks like a room now, right?

As you can see, the paint job isn’t finished (the back wall still needs another coat and we plan on doing a stencil accent on the wall to the left), and the room is still a wreck…but it looks like a room!

Let’s back up a little, though, and talk about how we got here. This isn’t going to be a full tutorial on how to build a wall in your garage because, quite frankly, I only have a very vague understanding of how Corey made it happen and my tutorial would suck. So I’ll give you the quickie version and if you actually need help on doing something like this, I’m sure there are many smarter bloggers than me out there who can help you out.

So, we started off with a garage that looked like….a garage.

First thing we had to do was clear it out as much as possible and get rid of all the (disgusting, falling apart) built-in shelves that were in there.

Then, we had to deal with the garage door rails. Obviously we won’t be using the garage door anymore, but we weren’t willing to spend the money on completely taking down and framing in the garage door (plus that’s awful for resale – this renovation could easily be converted back into a garage someday when we sell!). So, Corey simply took down the motor for the garage door and cut off the rails right behind where the wall would be. The door is still supported (it’s very tightly attached to the wall on both sides of the door), and garage door rails aren’t horribly expensive for us to replace down the line if we ever decide to convert it back.

Then, once that was all taken care of, it was time to build the frame! Like I said, I know nothing about what exactly goes into this, but here’s what it looks like:

It was starting to feel slightly more like an actual room at this point, but we still had a long way to go. We had an electrician come out and add some outlets to the wall so we could plug in our AC unit and various other things, and then it was time to hang the drywall!

The next step involved taping, floating, and texturing. All things I stayed very far away from while Corey was working on, so I have minimal photos. But here’s what it looked like once all was said and done:

It’s a wall! It’s kind of hard to believe we actually did this ourselves – so proud of us! The hole on the left is for the window unit we installed in the room to make sure it stays nice and cool (we have the garage door slightly propped open on the bottom to help vent) and the one on the right is for a door so we can access that little area if needed.

That finally all got taken care of over the last few weeks, and by this weekend it was ready for priming and painting. So, I spent the majority of my weekend in the garage painting my life away, and I’m almost (ALMOST!) done. Oh, and Corey installed the window unit and the door – so now it REALLY looks like a room!

So what comes next? We need to finish the paint job (obviously), then we plan on painting the floors. We had played around with the idea of carpet, but we realized that painting the floors would be a fraction of the cost, so we’re going to try it out and see how we like it. We may decide to go with something else down the line, but for now painting the concrete will make the room functional (and, I’m hoping, pretty). Once that’s taken care of, we can start the fun stuff like bringing in rugs and furniture, changing out the light fixtures, and adding a big set of curtains to hide the ugly water heater and purifier (which would be why that whole corner has been left unpainted).

We’ve got a long way to go but I really feel like it’s finally starting to come together (at least kind of), and I can maybe see the beginnings of a light at the end of the tunnel!

Plus, I don’t know what could possibly be more motivation to get this room done than having two giant rugs sitting in my living room just waiting for it, and a ton of crap that will end up back in there (or at our local Goodwill) once the renovation is done sitting in my dining room. I want my house back! 

Anyone else working on some big projects lately?

Because I’m Short…

I don’t know if you know this, but I’m a shorty. 5′ 4″ to be exact. I don’t mind being short – I married a nice tall guy who can reach the top shelf on the cabinets for me, and I can wear super high heels without feeling like a giant. No big deal.

But, um, there’s a slight issue in our closet.

I keep my boots on the top shelf on my side of the closet, and there is no way I can actually reach the shelf without jumping. And even then, I usually miss.

So, when I want to wear a pair of boots, I have to have Corey come and get them for me, and I have to ask him to put them up when I’m done. I hate to bother him every time, though, so usually the bottom of my closet looks like this:

Something needed to be done about this. So, I asked Corey to build me a step stool for the closet.

Just to be clear, I asked him to do this back when the weather was actually conducive to wearing boots. It’s just taken him, uh, a while to get it done. But that’s okay. I still love him.

He used a plan from Ana White’s book (it’s also online, you can see it here) to build me this cute little guy. I gave him a few quick coats of blue paint and added a fun pink detail. The stenciling is far from perfect (in fact, it’s very, very imperfect), but I don’t mind…I’m the only one who’ll really ever be looking at it! I like the fun little pattern on it, and it makes the stool feel a little more special.

And now?

I can reach! And the bottom of my closet is looking a lot less messy (though it could clearly stand to be vacuumed).

Anyone else vertically challenged? Let’s commiserate…like, am I the only one who has to jump (or climb on the counter, or stretch reeeeeeally far) to reach the top shelf of my cabinets? So annoying!

Impossible Things

The story behind this project actually started back in week four of CWTS. Corey and I were working on our oh-so-beloved reading room, and we wanted some DIY artwork to hang on the wall behind the chair. You know, the space that’s actually empty in our final photos?

Well, we had a grand plan and even almost finished it during the competition, but decided to nix it at the last second because we already had so much going on in the bookcases and we didn’t want the end result to be too busy. But we were super excited about the idea, so we decided to go ahead and finish it up once the contest was over. And I’m oh so glad we did.

When we were brainstorming ideas for art in the reading room, we knew we wanted something book-related. And, we also knew that if it was going to be related to a specific book, it had to be Alice in Wonderland. It’s my favorite book of all time (I have four copies!) and is probably the most quotable book in the history of ever.

We found a large frame in the As-Is section of Ikea and figured it would be perfect for the project, so we snatched it up.

I decided to sacrifice one of my copies of Alice for this project – we were going to buy a new copy, but I figured three copies of the book is just as good as four so I tearfully let one go.

Just kidding, I didn’t cry.

But I wanted to.

But, if I’m going to be honest here, I have to admit that I’ve already replaced this copy with a new on from Anthropologie. So I’m back up to four and all is right with the world. It’s an addiction.

For the background of the project, I took a razor blade to the book to carefully cut out pages that I thought looked interesting – I tried to go for a good balance of pages with illustrations, chapter intros, and full-text pages. Then I just used some spray adhesive to create a collage of book pages on the back of the frame.

Once that was done, we were about 90% finished with the project (seriously, this one’s a no-brainer). I asked my awesome and oh-so-helpful sister to help me out cutting out the quote we chose with her Cricut. I have one, but I’m still a little scared of it and it takes me about three hours to cut anything outside of the basics in the cartridge, so I figured it was much more efficient to be a baby and ask for her help.

Luckily, she’s nothing if not amazing, so she put something together for me (in like, 5 minutes because she’s a Cricut rock star) and cut it out on plain black scrapbook paper.

And then all I had to do was pull out my trusty glue stick and toss it on!

I told you it was easy.

I got extra lazy with this project and rather than taking the time to measure everything out and make sure it was perfectly spaced, I kind of just eyeballed it. I used an open folder to make sure my line was at least semi-straight, and I slapped the letters on.

I figure if anyone notices that it’s not perfect, I can remind them that it’s a quote from the book that practically invented whimsy, so maybe I did it on purpose!

But it looks pretty dang straight to me.

I’m so obsessed with how this turned out, and I’m head over heels in love with the quote. I love that we were able to pull something from my favorite book in the world, and I love how nicely it fits into the reading room.

Basically, it’s perfect.

What’s your favorite book in the world? Anyone else tossing together some book-related art lately? Or buying four copies of the same book?

…yeah, it’s probably just me on that one.

 

 

Tree Stump Side Table

Also known as one of the easiest projects ever in the history of this blog.

SERIOUSLY.

I’m as surprised as you are.

Remember this guy?

Well, I’m here today with a quick explanation of how we did it. This is one of those projects we had really been wanting to do for a while (we’ve had the stump sitting in our garage for close to a year!), but I was kind of intimidated by the sheer magnitude of it, so we put it off.

But we knew week four of Creating With the Stars was the perfect time to bust out the big guns, and we needed a side table for our reading room. So we decided to hop right in and do it.

The first step to a project like this is probably the most difficult part – find a stump.

We happened to have one left over from when my dad chopped down a tree for us last Father’s Day. Once you’ve got it, it needs to dry out. This is the part that may take a while…

For us, this part was already done – our stump had been sitting in the garage for about 10 months, so it was definitely dried. But, I’ve heard you should let it sit for several weeks or months, or basically as long as you can stand to make sure it’s good and dried out. You wouldn’t want any bugs crawling around, would you?

Since ours was already dry, we started off with peeling off the bark. All it took was a little bit of patience and a chisel.

Then it’s time to sand. Corey started off with 80-grit sandpaper to get the really rough parts off, then moved to 180-grit, and finished it off with 320-grit. This helped us get a super smooth finish and ensured that we won’t get any splinters. This thing is as smooth as any store-bought wood table, so the extra sanding was definitely worth it!

Once it was all sanded, all that was left to do was seal it. SERIOUSLY. We’re already almost done. If you want a color other than the natural wood, it would be very easy to stain as well, but we loved the light look and didn’t want to lose it. All we did was apply three coats of polycrylic with a foam brush (we sanded a little by hand between each coat to make sure we didn’t have any bubbles), and after letting it dry overnight we were DONE.

I’m telling you, this project is embarrassingly easy. And can you believe how gorgeous it is? I’m so in love with this table and I think it’s the perfect size. It’s great for holding a drink or a book while reading, and it doesn’t take up a lot of space in this incredibly tiny room.

And, um, yeah. That’s all there is to it!

Anyone else scared of a project that turned out to be incredibly simple?

Lamps.com Blogger Challenge

I have a pretty exciting project to share with you guys today. I’m so excited about it, in fact, that I’m going to just jump to the chase and share a photo of the finished product to get you interested.

You interested yet? You know what’s even more exciting than this project? The fact that it’s part of Lamps.com’s Blogger Challenge – which means that it’s a competition! I know you all love a good competition, right? And what’s even more exciting than that? You could end up with two chances at winning $100 to Lamps.com just by participating in the voting! We’ll get to that in a minute, though – first, let me explain what’s going on.

I was asked to participate in the Lamps.com Blogger Challenge – for this challenge, they sent each of the participating bloggers a plain white lampshade and told us to go for it.

I’m awful at coming up with ideas for these sorts of things, so my brilliant sister helped me brainstorm, and she gave me the idea to do a lampshade inspired by this gorgeous fish scale art that is all over Pinterest.

(Via Kara Paslay Designs)

I (of course) loved the idea, and I knew it would be perfect for the challenge. And, lucky enough, it was also incredibly easy to execute. Y’all know I love me some DIY instructions, so if you’re interested in making a scalloped lampshade of your own, read on.

You’ll need:

12 sheets of 12X12 white scrapbook paper
Gold spray paint
Gold ribbon
A circle paper punch (mine was 3.5″ in diameter)
Glue
A lampshade (duh!)

On the paper – I probably could have found gold metallic spray paint, but I didn’t see any at my Hobby Lobby and it was super easy and quick to spray paint it. I used 12 sheets for my lampshade, you may need more or less depending on what size lampshade you use.

I sprayed the scrapbook paper with the gold spray paint – I was shocked by how quickly it dried and how nicely the spray paint worked with the paper. Apparently you really can spray paint absolutely anything. I let it all dry for about 30 minutes before working with it – that’s all it took! I ended up using two different brands of spray paint on the paper – every brand has a slightly different tint, and that ended up creating a bit more dimension in the finished product – I sprinkled in some of the lighter gold circles with the darker, more bronze ones. I think it was definitely worth the extra effort of using two different colors!

Once my paper was all painted and dried, I used the paper punch to cut out a ton of circles. Like I said, I used 12, 12X12 pieces of scrapbook paper and got 9 circles out of each page.

Then? You get to gluing! This part was tedious, but incredibly easy. I overlapped my circles by about half an inch, but most of the ones I’ve seen online did not overlap them – it’s really just a matter of what look you prefer. I started at the bottom and did one row at a time, just eyeballing the placement until the whole thing was full. I also alternated which way the circles were overlapping on each row, to keep it from being too uniform and “perfect” – if you want a more uniform look, though, make sure you overlap the same way every time.

Then, I cut off the excess paper that hung over the top of the shade…

And attached my shimmery gold ribbon to the top to clean it up. Originally, I had planned on also trimming down and adding a border to the bottom of the shade, but I ended up liking the look so I left it as-is.

We hadn’t originally planned on actually using the lampshade in our home when I was first issued the challenge – we weren’t desperate for a new lamp anywhere, and I hadn’t really intended to try to make something that would fit into our home. But this? I love it way too much not to display it! So we grabbed a new lamp from Target and it now has a home right behind our couch in the living room. I love it because our living room needed some more gold tones in it to complement our gold Ikea bookcase, so it works well.

And, seriously, it’s just a cute lampshade.

Oh, and since you’ve gotta see what it looks like when it’s all lit up –

I’m in love!

So, now comes the part where I ask you to vote for me.

I’m not one to beg and beg for votes, so I won’t do that – but I will tell you that if you vote, you’re automatically entered for a chance to win a $100 gift card to Lamps.com. And if enough of you vote and we actually win this thing? I’ll also get a $100 gift card to Lamps.com to give away here on the blog!

So, technically, if you vote and we win, you’ll have two chances at $100, so I think that’s a pretty good incentive, no? All you’ve gotta do is go to Lamps.com and vote for your favorite lampshade – and just like that you’ve got an entry for the gift card!