Archive | April, 2012

DIY Built-In Shelving

29 Apr

Last winter Handy Hubby and I spent 8 weeks tearing out a hallway and closet to make a tiny, useless room into a wonderful playroom.  After the room was built the issue was how and where to store all the toys!  I had wanted four shelves bracketed to the wall for all the games and a tv.  After looking at the shelves and the wall mount brackets, we realized the shelving unit was going to cost over $100 . . . and it only cost us $300 to do the whole room . . . including the floor!

We had a really nice oak book shelf in there already, so I came up with the idea to make built-in shelving using the existing oak shelf and the walls.

We bough two long shelves and Handy Hubby cut them in half to make 4 smaller shelves.  He fasted the short shelves to the wall and the existing bookshelf, creating a built-in shelving system for all the toys, games and books!  And it’s incredibly sturdy as it is screwed into the studs in the walls and the oak shelf!  So even if Little C decides to climb the shelves Godzilla style, those shelves aren’t going anywhere!  Total cost: $10 for the 2 long shelves!  That’s pretty good for a built-in system!

Pardon the mess, but we have a lot of toys and I’d much rather they be on those shelves than all over the floor!  (not the 2 storage cubes on the bottom left side of the photo . . . if you missed the post on how to make those, click here


Bathroom Storage on the Cheap

29 Apr

The only full bath in my house is laid out funny.  There isn’t very much counter space and I have a problem of having too much crap all of the counter.  Handy Hubby will clean the bathroom and put ALL of my stuff in the linen closet and the counter will look spick and span until the next morning when I take EVERYTHING back out and spread it over the counter again.  Sigh . . .it’s a losing battle.

Today I was at Target looking for some decor for a friend’s living room I have been hired to decorate.  (and by “hired” I mean decorate and paint for free because I’m a pushover and because I love decorating!)  I stumbled upon the adorable little fabric baskets for only $4 each on clearance and snatched them right up, knowing instantly what their purpose would be in my bathroom.  I didn’t want them yo be on the counter, because that wouldn’t solve the clutter problem.  Ahhhh . . . .but I could mount them to the wall!

About 5 minutes and 4 screws later we had 2 adorable floating baskets on the wall for all my crap I use in the bathroom!

6 Things You Should NEVER DIY

24 Apr

My friend came running over to my house in a panic this afternoon.  She’d let someone who didn’t know what she was doing bleach her dark hair for her.  She now resembles a cross between Malibu Barbie and a cheetah.  I spent hours fixing her hair for her and it got me thinking about all the things you should NEVER do yourself, or let someone who isn’t a trained professional do for you.  I know all of the following are best left to the experts, not just because they don’t sound like something you should take on, but because if there is something out there you shouldn’t do . . .my friends and I have probably at one time or another tired to do it!

Auto Repairs
A few years and two minivans ago, my breaks needed replacing.  I was driving to work and I literally lost a brake pad in the parking lot!  Handy Hubby swore up and down that he could replace the brakes by himself no problem.  HA!  Two weeks and a lot swearing later I finally convinced him to just take the car to a mechanic, and not some wack job who THINKS they are a mechanic, but a REAL mechanic.  So if you are having car trouble and you aren’t a professional, I highly recommend you consider taking your vehicle to someone that knows what they are doing.

Electrical Work

Handy Hubby, while not great with cars, is awesome at home repairs, remodeling etc.  A few years ago he was hired for a side job to finish an attic room and make it a sewing room.  He did the insulation, drywall, mudding yadda yadda.  He needed to install a few new light fixtures and outlets, which he is totally capable of.  However, once he was in the walls there were live wires LIVE WIRES just hanging out in there!  He couldn’t believe their house hadn’t burned to the ground!  The lady wanted him to fix it, but Handy Hubby said no way and had to halt all of his work until they hired an electrician to come out and fix the faulty wiring.  Apparently, the previous owners of the house had tried to wire the attic themselves.  NEVER I mean NEVER EVER try to do electrical work if you aren’t a skilled electrician.  You could short a circuit, shock yourself, burn down your house . . .just don’t do it.  Period.

Now I’m not saying you cannot put in a new toilet or sink or anything like that.  But when it comes to major plumbing, or anything involving a well or septic tank, you really ought to hire someone.  You don’t want the poop to be in your kitchen every time you flush!  Or your well to go dry, which is really costly to repair.  You end up with some serious issues if you don’t know what you are doing, and reading an E-How doesn’t count!


I once had more extra holes in my body than a block of Swiss cheese.  Some of them I was smart enough to have a professional to poke into my unsuspecting flesh.  Others I was stupid enough to do myself, or have a friend do for me.  Let me tell you, there is nothing worse than the infection or unsightly scar that can (and most likely will) come after a bad piercing.  My ears and belly button are proof that home holes area BAD idea.  Need more proof?  Improper sterilization, or incorrect placement of a needle (or piercing gun) can cause an infection that can honestly kill you.  If your luck isn’t quite that bad, you may just end up with severely damaged cartilage.  Ever seen someone with a droopy ear?  Most likely it didn’t always look that way.  I worked for years a piercer and believe me, if you don’t know what you are doing you are headed down the road to Hurtville.


Similar to my warning about home piercings, home ink in just plain idiotic.  It’s not going to look good, the coloring is going to be bad, and the likelihood of an infection is great.  Aside from that, years from now when you have to look at that botched home ink day in and day out, or pay thousands of dollars to have it removed, you will wish you hadn’t done it.  Home tats are usually the outcome of a few friends and a few too many strong drinks.  Take my ex, for example.  He a bunch of his “super cool” friends got wasted one night and decided to ink each other.  Well now he’s 30 with the word “RYTE” spelled across his stomach and an arrow pointing to the left.  Idiot.  So home ink . . .please for the love of all that is good, DON’T drink and ink!  (just don’t)  Granted there are more than enough bad professional tattoos out there too . . . ever heard of   Check it out, it’s good for a laugh and a lot of perspective!


So your friend says she knows how to perm at home.  Or she watched an online tutorial for weaves and now thinks she’s an expert.  Take it from my friend with the bad dye job, unless you went to school, you have no business holding chemicals to another person’s head.  Ok, the little L’Oreal box dye at home kits are usually safe, as long as you follow the directions and use a color that will actually work with your natural color.  I’ve been blue, purple, black, blond, red and every accidental color in between there.  I’ve fixed my fair share of bad dye jobs and had several of my own.  Don’t pretend to be an expert if you aren’t one.

There you have it folks.  DIY is not for everyone, and it’s not for everything either.

Gotta Give a Shout Out!

21 Apr

This has nothing to do with DIY or crafting or anything like that, but my amazing brother and his wonderful wife started a dog rescue and she just started a blog about her rescue.  I wanted to share it so you all can read her story and why she started the rescue.  Being an animal lover myself, and having be home to rescued pets over the years, including my beautiful pooch Moxie who sleeps with Big A every night, I urge everyone to go out and adopt a shelter dog, cat, rabbit, fish . . . .whatever creature you desire.  They need homes and we need pets in our lives!  Pets have been proven to lower stress levels (although at time they can raid your stress level!) lower blood pressure, increase your life span . . .and lets face it, they bring a warmth and joy to our homes and hearts!  So check out my sister’s blog, check out your local shelter, and help an animal who really needs you!

Moxie says “Adopt doggies like me!  I;’m cute and furry and tons of fun!  Sorry, you cannot have me, but you can find a pet out there who is sweet and loveable just like me!”

What I Cannot Buy, I Will Make

20 Apr

This past September Little C turned 2 (tear, sob, my baby!)and he wanted a Yo Gabba Gabba birthday party.  By that point they really hadn’t come out with much Gabba merchandise.  I didn’t want to do something else, since Gabba was his one and only love and the only tv show he ever watched.  What does a momma do if she cannot find the party supplies she needs to make her child’s birthday wonderful?  She MAKES THEM!  Of course!

Party hats?  Check! 

Super easy to make your own party hats too.  I used old cardboard from soda and cereal boxes, rolled it into a cone shape and stapled it, then trimmed off the excess so that they looked like store bought hats.  I covered them in construction paper and used a glue stick to hold the paper in place.  Then I decorated them so they would look like the characters from Yo Gabba Gabba.  Finally, I taped elastic inside so that they would have a chin strap.

Total cost : $0.  All materials were already in my home!


Decorations? Check!

A little more time consuming than the hats, but totally worth it!  I used poster board from the dollar store to make giant cut outs of all the characters from the show, painted them, and hung them over the gift table.  My personal favorite was Plex!  I used tinfoil for his legs to give it that metal robot look.  We actually still have these cute guys hanging on the wall in our playroom!

I didn’t want a life size cutout of Dj Lance, so I decided to use a popular scene from the beginning of the show where he peeks over his boom box.  I covered a cereal box in tinfoil and decorated it like a boombox, button and speakers.  Then I made a cutout of just Dj Lance’s head and his famous furry hat and glued it to the back of the boombox.  Little C thought that was hysterical!

Total cost for decorations: $5 for posterboard








I may be quite artistic and crafty, but if there is one thing I suck at it decorating cakes!  I try and I try and I just cannot make them like a human decorated them.  In fact, baboons could probably decorate a cake better than I can!  Nevertheless, Little C wanted a Brobee cake, and since I was sure no baker would make me a Brobee cake for less than $40, I had to do it myself.  You don’t want directions to duplicate my cake, so I will just show you the finished product so you can laugh at it for a little while. 

It is green like Brobee, it has little red horns or whatever those are, but that’s about it.  But it tasted pretty darn good!  And I used too much food coloring, so Little C was green for a week afterwards!

Total cost for the weird Brobee-like alien cake:

$6 for cake mix and frosting.  Not bad, wouldn’t pay more than that for a cake that only slightly resembles the character and turns everyone the color of mold for a week!





So total price for a one of a kind theme party?

$11!  Seriously!  $11!  Not including the food we made, but that is groceries so it’s not a big deal.  Parents. I’m telling you that you do not need to spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars on party decor and favors and fancy cakes.  The most important thing is that you are there for your child’s birthday, make them feel special and shower them with love and affection.  And cover them in frosting.



DIY Tile Coasters

19 Apr

Gotta give a shout out to my Pinterest peeps . . .I’m so addicted!  And I cannot take all the credit for this little DIY number because I found the idea on pinterest and had to give it a whirl.  And now I will share it with you!  Aren’t I nice like that?  (har har har)

You can get plain old run of the mill white 4×4 ceramic tiles at Home Depot for less than $0.20 per tile.  I bought 20 of them because . . .well why not, right?  Make up some cute coasters, give them as gifts . . .put away a few for when one gets broken.

So all you need are plain white tiles, spray adhesive, scrapbook paper, felt, and mod podge.

Cut the paper to fit the tile, spray the adhesive onto the tile and put the paper on immediately.  The spray adhesive dries FAST.  Once it has set, I used an exacto knife to trim off any excess.  Turn the tile paper side down and trim off the edges.

You will need 5 coats of mod podge.  Each coat has to dry 15-20 minutes before you can put another coat on.

Once all 5 coats are on and totally dry, glue a square of felt to the bottom.  This is just going to keep the coaster from scratching up your tables.

Little helpful tip for you: I bought several different patterns and types of paper.  The thicker papers work best.  The really thin paper (which my favorite pattern happens to be VERY thin) will bubble as you layer the mod podge.  The thicker paper didn’t bubble at all.

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Critter Couture

17 Apr

Both my kids have a serious stuffed animal hoarding issue.  I mean it’s REALLY bad!  But lately the issue is not so much the hoarding of the animals as it is the arguing over which animal belongs to which kid!  Allen the puppies, kitties, bears, aliens . . . they keep getting them as gifts from people who don’t want them to fight so they get them identical critters.  This causes the “That’s MY bunny!  Moooooom, he’s coloring on MY bunny!”

So today I came up with the answer to the ever popular question in my house “Which on is mine?”  That’s right, ladies and gentlemen . . .Critter Couture!  A VERY simple way to tell tell the identical furry friends apart.  A few scraps of felt, a little hand sewing, and viola!  Our stuffed animals have their very own fashion line!

It helps if you make a little template out of paper or an old cardboard box before you cut the fabric/felt.  I made a top hat and a Santa style hat.  For the top hat

A tall rectangle for the top,a circle for the top of the hat,  a circle slightly wider than the rest

angle for the brim.  Sew the rectangle together at one end, then sew the top on.  Flip inside out (or what will actually right side out) and sew the bottom circle in.  It really works best of you cut the center of the circle out and then sew from the inside so the seam is hidden.

I glued a little ribbon around the base of the hat where it meet the brim too.  So it’s fancy!  Then I flipped the brim upward and actually sewed it to the stuffed animal’s head.  He’s was a very good patient, didn’t make a peep!

For the Santa hat:

A triangle for the main part of the hat and a circle with the center cut out for the edges of the hat.  One little pompom for the top of the hat.

You need to cut more of a rounded “cone shape” than a triangle, or the edges won’t meet up perfectly.  Sew down the edge of the cone, flip inside out (right side out) and sew the circle inside of the cone so that it’s like a little lip around the bottom.  Or to be even easier, use fabric glue and glue the circle to outer edge instead.  Much simpler!  Glue the pompom to the tip, flip the edge up and sew onto the animal’s head as in the first one.  This little guy screamed like a mother!  Wimp.

They turned out so cute I am thinking of opening up a little shop full of teeny tiny accessories for naked stuffed animals!  I must also add that my boys love their “fancy penguins” and want me to make more clothes for some of their animals.  Good grief, what have I started?