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Posts from the ‘DIY’ Category

A Year of Living Thriftily?

So I have this idea and I’m not sure I can do it. But I’d really like to try.

Here it is: What if, for an entire year, I didn’t buy anything?

Ha ha ha ha ha!

Okay so that’s not exactly what I mean. What I’d like to attempt is to not buy anything at a retail store. By “anything” I mean clothes, furniture, household accessories… things that can be bought second hand.

I think I might be up to the challenge.

As a start, today I went to the BTS Thrift Boutique in Culver City. The only thing I was really looking for was a 20 x 16 frame for a painting I got for $1 at another thrift store. I didn’t find a frame, but I did get a set of four demitasse cups ($12) and a pretty decorative bowl ($2).

Realty Fine Porcelain Demitasse Cups

Espresso, anyone?

I’ve been wanting to get some espresso cups for awhile. I’ve got a maker, but nothing to put the finished espresso in. Hostess fail!

Here’s the bowl:

Love the color of the flowers!

Love the color of the flowers!

I just thought it was pretty.

So the parameters of the challenge would be I can only buy most items second hand. That includes furniture, clothing, home decor accessories, gifts, etc. An exemption can be made for items needed for DIY projects, but that needs to be pretty limited–I can buy supplies, but the bulk of the project should come from second hand items or items I already have on hand.

Items like underwear, sportswear, running shoes, and electronics are also exempted. Other things might also be, I just can’t think of them at the moment. But don’t worry, I plan to keep this as real as possible.

Where can I buy? Craigslist, thrift stores, garage sales, flea markets, Etsy vintage, private parties, consignment shops… anything second hand.

The purpose of this challenge is to be more mindful of my purchases and where they come from. I don’t like the idea that people are making cheap garments that I buy at Old Navy or Target for obscenely low wages. I need to consume less and more thoughtfully.

I also need to spend less money!

Can I do this?

Espresso cup

Ahhhhh…

I’m not sure. But it might be fun to try.

Make Cork Garden Markers

The other day I was looking at my DIY board on Pinterest and realized I’ve pinned some really cool projects. I’d like to tackle one each week, but I’m not sure I have time to commit fully to that. Nevertheless, I present this week’s project: make cork garden markers.

Picture of an oregano garden marker

Possibly the easiest project ever.

Pics of what you need to make cork garden markers

You’ll need: Bamboo skewers, corks, and a sharpie.

Write "Grapes" on cork with sharpie

Write the name of your plant on the cork with the sharpie. I kind of wish I would’ve used more decorative lettering but maybe I’ll do that next season.

push cork into skewer

Push the cork into the pointed end of the skewer. I was surprised at how secure it was–I was thinking I’d have to glue it in place but no.

finished marker

Here’s your finished garden marker!

grapes garden marker

Push your finished marker into the soil in front of your plant and voila! You are done.

Here’s another one:

Chives garden marker

As simple as they are, they look so much better than the plastic markers that come in plants or the seed packets. It adds a rustic touch to the garden that I love. This is one project I’m glad I completed because let’s face it, it’s just too easy not to.

Building a Redwood Planter Raised Bed 8×3′

After we got rid of the hot tub we were left with an 8 foot square gravel patch bordered in the ground with 2×6 pressure treated lumber. The idea has always been to use the area for one or more raised beds, and so we immediately set to work. Here’s what we ended up with, a nice solid redwood planter:

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Make a Mid Century Stool

I never thought it would be easy to make a mid century stool, but I was wrong. I got the idea from this post on Salvage Love.

Chair and stool

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Get Your Project On: Young House Love’s New Book

The other day, one of my favorite blogs, Young House Love, posted something that made me very happy. Their new book, titled Young House Love: 243 Ways to Paint, Craft, Update & Show Your Home Some Love, is officially available for pre-order!

You can hear the whole story from them right here.

In my other life, I’m a crime fiction writer trying to get my first novel published. The process for publishing fiction is different than for non-fiction, but hearing about John & Sherry’s journey in getting this book done rang some familiar bells for me:

It’s so funny because we distinctly remember every single phase: signing on with an agent well before Clara was born, writing an 100 page proposal in 2010, pitching it to publishers and picking the right one for the job right after moving in 2011, turning our proposal into a complete book outline and then a complete manuscript right around New Year’s, shooting for three straight weeks in our house back in February of this year, and then refining and proofing and proofing some more, and finally – finally! – sending this baby off to be printed.

One thing is certain, the world of publishing is not what you’d describe as a high-speed bullet train. It’s more like a horse-drawn carriage. Read more

Window Shopping at VivaTerra

The other day I got a catalog for a store I’d never heard of before called VivaTerra. This morning I made myself a tall iced coffee and sat down to do some window shopping at VivaTerra.

The first thing that caught my eye was this chair and ottoman:

Bruges Chair and Ottoman

Image borrowed from VivaTerra.com

This is the Bruges Chair and Ottoman. At a sale price of $829 and $349 it’s a bit splurgy (actually many of Viva Terra’s items are splurgy) but if it fits into your budget I really like the shape of it. Kind of like an Eames Lounge on vacation in Tahiti.

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Kitchen Fire Extinguisher

Most fires in the home start in the kitchen. So I decided we probably should have a fire extinguisher in there. I found they make them specifically for kitchens, and I ended up getting the Kidde FX10K Kitchen Fire Extinguisher. It’s incredibly cheap for the peace of mind it offers, just around $22.

Kidde Kitchen Fire Extinguisher

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T-Shirt to Tank Top

I recently joined a gym. It was time.

To celebrate my new gym membership, I decided to make a few tank tops out of big, boxy t-shirts using this tutorial I found on Pinterest. I made one a while ago and love it–it gives me some coverage but isn’t as frumpy as a big ol’ t-shirt.

Behold the original tee:

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Building a Farmhouse Table in the Parsons Style

Note: This Farmhouse Table post was originally posted on Mick’s blog in August 2011.

We just moved into a new house with a nice sized back yard, and our tiny little patio furniture was not going to cut it. I’d already been infected with the building bug that gets many people when they get their first real house, so I was more that happy to take on the task of building a table.

Since I had very little experience of woodworking (except for an O-Level, about 30 years ago), I started out making a few smaller pieces, a framed gate, some planters and then a large workbench for the garage. Along the way I acquired several tools (and built a small table for one of them), and eventually felt ready to build the table.

Designing a Farmhouse Table

I’m a big believer in function over form. I’m also tall, so I don’t like trestles getting in the way of my legs, so I decided (in collaboration with Holly), to make a table with legs at the corners. I also wanted it to be eight feet long, and very sturdy. This is how it ended up:

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Giant Fork & Spoon

Updated post from February 2012.

Over Christmas, I convinced my grandma to give me these:

Fork_spoon_brown

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