Sunday, January 22, 2012

The room is finished!!!

Oliver's room is finally done (technically, it's been done for a while, I've only now just posted it) if only he'll sleep it in...

It's been a trying experience but it was worth it.  I learned that oil based paint is messy, it's impossible to paint a straight line, and always protect things you don't want painted because even if you're painting on the other side of the room, paint will get on something you don't want it to.

Enjoy the pictures!!!

The road (aka the giant black stripe on the wall) is magnetic and chalkboard.  All that's left to do is to hang the pictures on the wall.  Most of his toys are currently in his room but I'm not taking pictures of that.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Rail Road Crossing Sign

More decor for Oliver's room......yay!!!

His room did start out as a Thomas the Train AND Lightning McQueen room before turning into a race car room. Before it evolved into Cars, I had decided to make a rail road crossing sign.  At first I thought to buy one....a real one, but someone pointed out they were heavy and they were not cheap.  After a while, I figured I would just make one. I already had black and white paint, so why not.

We ended up with this:

I'm pretty proud of it.  I painted the letters free hand.  In hind sight, I should have used a template or vinyl stickers but it turned out okay.  Oliver says he loves it and that's all that really matters.  The hardest part was finding a way to connect the two boards (it's made out of 2 pre cut 24" poplar pine boards from home depot). 

Wes and I stared at the wall of screws at home depot until we found 1/2" wood screws.....took them home, charged up the drill, didn't work.  The boards wouldn't stay together and I ended up pushing too hard on the drill and punched a hole in the back of one board with the phillips head bit.  I ending up going back to home depot 2 weeks later and got screws that came with a hex nut so that they locked into place because the wood screws kept slipping out.

After getting the nuts on the back, the screw still stuck out some so I just grabbed a tool out of the garage that looked like it could cut screws (I have know idea what it's called but it looks like mean pliers) and just hacked off the end of the screw.

And now we have a hand made railroad sign.

Total Cost:
$.98 for screws and nuts
$1.75 x2 for24" wood planks
Paint was on hand
Total Time:
I honestly don't know but it was way too long. But it was worth it to see Oliver's face.

Can Stars

Another Pinterest project:

Make stars from a can of soda.

Soda can
Cardboard/Cutting Mat
Mechanical Pencil (or other pointy object that's not too sharp ex: a nail)
Sand Paper

The idea came from this website.  I like stars.  I don't think too many people know that about me.  When I saw these, I thought they were neat.  I pictured a christmas tree covered in them or just random decorations around the house.  You could possibly attach them to decorative picture frames or make hanging decorations out of them.

This website has really good instructions so I will not delve into detail here (I'm lazy, I know).

The steps are pretty simple.  Get a clean can, cut it up so that you have a big area to work with (cut off the top and bottom).  Tape it to some cardboard so that it doesn't roll up on you, printed side down. Print out a template from here and tape it down on the silver side on the can. Trace over it with your pencil/pointy object.  Cut it out CAREFULLY. It is sharp and can poke you.  I did get a metal splinter, not fun (sad face). Trace over the big lines on the silver side and the short lines on the printed side. Then shape the star.  You can poke a hole in one end to make an ornament.

(1 finished, 1 uncomplete)

I sanded down the edges a little bit so that it wasn't that sharp.  I also sanded down the creases because it gives the star a 'distressed' look. 

There's a number of things you could do with these.  You could spray paint them.  You could spray paint them and then distress them. You could use steel wool to take off the print and end up with a brushed silver look.

Total cost: 1 coke (or in this case, A&W) can $3.99/12 = $.34
All other materials on hand.

Time: 20 minutes for two stars (not including the time it took to drink the soda)

I'm really curious to see how one would turn out using a monster energy can or something big like that.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Washer and Ribbon Necklace

I'm usually not a big jewelry wearer but when I saw this, I automatically loved it.  I got the idea from someone on pinterest who got this idea from this website.

I'm not going to go into detailed instructions because the website referenced above does a very good job.  However, I did tweak it a little bit.

5/8" ribbon (same on both sides)  I used a satin-ish ribbon.  The original instructions called for 2 meters.  I don't think I used that much but better safe than sorry.  And I would recommend placing the first washer further down the ribbon than 6 or 8 inches.  Maybe more like 12 inches because tying it can be tricky, especially for bow challenged people like myself.

Washers in 3 different sizes (I used 2 different kinds of 1/4" and 5/16" washers.  For some reason the washers Home Depot sells in the bins are different sizes from the washers they sell in the orange multi pack bags.  I don't know why, but they are.) I used 4 1/4" from the bag, 12 loose 1/4", and 7 5/16" loose washers. The original instructions call for washers that are a bit larger but the larger you go, the heavier the necklace.  I didn't want it too heavy, so I went with the smaller washers.


Total Time: about 30-45 minutes depending on your patience
Total Cost:
Ribbon - $3.99 at michaels(with 40% off coupon make that $2.40)
Washers: $1.32 for the loose 1/4", $.84 for the loose 5/16", and $.98 for the bag of 1/4" ones (and I still have 8 left over because I only used 4, but most were too inferior to use for this project because they were rough or not cut properly)

Total = $5.54. Not bad.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Duck Tape Light Switch Plate

When we moved in, I asked Oliver what kind of room he would want and if he wanted me to paint it.  Cars 2 was his favorite thing and the moment, along with Thomas the Train, and he decided he wanted a Thomas and Lightning McQueen room.  That quickly evolved into a race car room.  We went all out and got the Disney paint from Home Depot and I decided, in my infinite wisdom (note the sarcasm), to handpaint a checkerboard race flag border.  Why I decided to hand paint it, I don't know.  I vaguely remember Wes trying to talk me out of it but my mind was made up.

So after painting this checkerboard flag, after about 20 hours of work, I decided the light switch covers were too plain.  There were the cheap plain white ones and I wanted something different.  I toyed with the idea of using fabric or paper and modge podge (I think that's what it's called).  I even scouted Cars themed covers but they were $10 + and I didn't want to spend that much on a stupid light switch cover.

But wait, I have duck tape.  Lots of duck tape.  I went crazy a while back with duck tape roses and bought every single color and pattern of duck tape the Duck Tape brand makes (well, almost every color but not quite).  Digging through the Michaels bag from black friday, there it was, checkerboard duck tape.  Not even 10 minutes later, we have this:

It's pretty simple.


Flathead screwdriver
Duck tape (in your chosen color)
Exacto Knife
Cardboard/cutting mat

1. Unscrew the plate from the wall. Be careful when dealing with anything to do with electricity.  Speaking from experience, you can get shocked from unscrewing a light switch cover.  Hey now, I know what you're thinking but I didn't know any better.  No one has ever explained to me how a light switch works.  Who would of thought those screws on the side of the switch were hot, because I sure didn't.  A slight jolt later and I will never touch them again.  Now I know how they work.  I could even install one for you. With a motion sensor.  On a 3-way switch. (Thank you, Wes)

2. Place the cover on your cutting surface. 

3. Measure out your tape. I used the cover as a reference but you could use a ruler I guess.

4. Proceed to cover the plate in the duck tape.  Be careful to avoid trapping air under the tape.  Also, if you're using a patterned tape like me, match up the pattern.  Depending on the size of the plate, you'll use 2 or more pieces of tape.

5.  When you get to the edges of your plate, make a cut with your exacto knife in the corner of the tape.  I made a cut parallel to the edge of the plate.  Then tuck the sides under and smooth the tape down.

6.  Make sure the plate is face down and on the cutting surface.  Make an "x" shape with your knife.  Fold the sides unders and make sure they stick to the back of the plate.  Turn the plate over and poke a hold for the screw.  It doesn't have to be cut out in a circle, just a hold so the screw can go through.

7. And, voila!  You have a custom light switch plate.
Total time: Less than 10 minutes
Total cost: $0 (I already had all of the materials, but in case you were wondering, a roll of patterned duck tape usually runs less than $4.  They sell it at Michael's and you can use a 40% off coupon.)

Did you know Michaels and Hobby Lobby will use a coupon off of your phone?  They don't need you to print one out anymore.  Neat-o.

And, no. I did not get this idea from (I do get a lot of ideas from them though).  I came up with this all on my own.  I'm sure somebody else out there in cyberspace has posted a blog about it and probably patented it, or sells them on ebay but oh well.  I did this, I claim this idea, it's mine and you're not taking it away from me.

Ahhh, the first post.

Welcome to my blog page.  Was that cliche? 

I created this blog in order to share with everyone all of the neat things my family and I create.  I would love to take all of the credit but Wes, my husband, and Oliver, our 3 year old, do help out a bunch.  And let's face it, I don't do well with power tools.  That's what Wes is for. 

We just bought a house in September of 2011 and I'm bursting with ideas on how to decorate it but we're on a tight budget.  That's where all the DIY stuff comes into play.  My goal for this blog is to share our projects by posting a step by step on how we completed it and a cost breakdown while including stories of our life.

So beware, the craftiness is coming out because I can no longer contain it.