Monday, October 5, 2015

Helping a friend with blog design

Recently one of my good friends told me she wanted to start a new blog. She had previously had a couple other blogs, but was ready to start a new one with a new topic. She knew I had some basic (and trust's very basic, but it works) knowledge of blog design through so she asked if I could help her set up the new blog. 

I was thrilled to help her, but warned her I wasn't that good and it wouldn't be too fancy. She was ok with that, so I eagerly agreed.

Her blog theme was her bucket list. She created a list of 100 dreams she would like to accomplish. The design for the blog would include the things on her list and she wanted a vintage feel. (I was happy she said this because of course that's right up my alley!)

I was a little out of practice, and didn't have a ton of time so my first design to get her started was this:

The background is a stock image from Blogger; but I liked the look. The header was a Googled image using random keywords that went with her theme.
It worked...but wasn't anything I was too proud of. I don't know the blog rules about using other people's images on your blog, but I didn't like the idea. I wanted to create a custom header that really spoke to who she was and what her dreams were. I was however, inspired by that image.
(Not too mention I couldn't get the size right and that was making me lose my mind!!)

So I began to gather things that worked with her theme. I laid it out on my kitchen table because I loved the wooden background. 

I loved how it was coming together but it felt a little plain or bare. I decided to re-read her first post to remind myself of all the things on her list and see what I could muster up that spoke to her various dreams and goals.

After finding more items and taking a ton of pictures from all sorts of angles (including standing on my swiveling stool for the best view...and fearing for my safety) I captured this view. I was pretty happy with what I achieved! The only thing I wasn't happy about is that I do not have a fancy camera so my iPhone was going to have to suffice.

After using to edit the size I uploaded the new header. I was thrilled to see how it looked! It even filled up the width just right! Now I am a little more proud to say I helped with her blog design. 
Now that it's on it's way, and she's made her first post, I'd urge you all to go visit her blog!

She is a great writer and I always look forward to reading her posts, I think you will too! Be sure to subscribe by email so you don't miss any of her adventures as she completes her list!

Here's a breakdown of some of the things on her list and how we represented them.
Read her list to understand just how they pertain to her dreams!

I hope you enjoyed seeing how I created her new blog header. I'm by no means an expert, so don't judge me too harshly! :)

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Friday, September 18, 2015

Laundry Room: Reclaimed Wood Countertop

Recently my brother gave me a stack of wood the came from a house in Lafayette Square (in St. Louis) from 1875. One side of the wood was covered in several coats of paint (probably lead...put oh well!). The other side was a beautiful stained rough sawn wood. 

We trimmed it down and cleaned up the edges so it would all fit together nicely.

We laid all the wood on a sheet of 3/4" plywood so it would be sturdy.

The previous stain color of the wood was great, it just needed sprucing up. I used Howard's Restore-A-Finish to give the wood a deep luster and bring out the detail in the wood. 

I finished it with 3 coats of matte polyurethane to protect the surface.

To attach it to the wall we used 1 x 2's and screwed them along the wall into the studs. 
The wood counter top sits on top of the 1 x 2's. 

It's so wonderful to have a solid surface over the washer and dryer! No more socks and undies falling in between the them, or the washing machine vibrating things right onto the floor! The counter turned out just like I wanted it to!! 

There's still many more things I need to do to finish the laundry room, but this was definitely the biggest project. 

Next up I plan to change out the light fixture, do something around the window, and add corrugated metal wainscoting along one wall! 

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Saturday, August 15, 2015

Back to work: Farmhouse Table - STL Edition

Hello there! 
Have I neglected you all long enough? I admit I had the winter blues. Then I just got tired of blogging! I had to take a break and forget about uploading all my pics and sharing them with you. Now I'm feeling ready to get back into things, so here goes! 

As we were settling into our new house my project its was growing. We had completed the hutch for our dining which you can read about here. Now we needed a table to match.

We had made farmhouse table in the past, so we knew what we liked and had some ideas to change this time. We started our shopping list with these table legs from Osborne Wood. These legs are a tad pricey but they are to die for! 

We also had to find the right chairs. That is what took the longest! We were being soooo picky on the chairs! They had to be just right! I think we ended up finding them on Craigslist (big surprise!) for about $80 for 6 chairs. Score!

One chair was missing a finial but we wouldn't let that stop us. We chopped the handle off an antique cookie cutting and used that to balance it out.

We made a "Dexter" room to set the chairs and legs in so I could use our paint sprayer to paint them all quickly and smoothly! After 2 coats of paint we used 1 coat of matte polyurethane to protect them from dirty hands! 

After that we started putting the table top together. We used 7 2x6's that were 9 ft long with the bread board ends. Times like these I'm thankful my husband has far too many clamps!!

We attached the painted side boards with the keg jig.

Then we lined the legs up to figure out the bracket positioning.

Because of the small size of the corner bracket we had to add 2x4 spacers.

Carrying this table top outside the basement around the house into the dining room was quite a challenge! I think I almost killed myself... but we made it at were thrilled to be setting it up.

I'm now ready to host dinner parties, family gatherings and holidays! You're all welcome anytime! :)

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Friday, January 16, 2015

How I got a free Keurig 2.0, and what I think about it...

You may or may not have heard of Influenster... 
Influenster is a community of tastemakers, social media hotshots, and educated consumers who live to give opinions of products and experiences. In Influenster Nation, influence is currency.
 In November I got an email from Influenster asking me to fill out a survey. The survey included some questions about coffee makers such as Keurig. I thought to myself "maybe I'll get some free k-cups".

A few weeks later I got an email from Influenster, and to be honest I didn't really read it. I left it in my inbox for 1-2 weeks. Finally I decided to read it and I had to read it 3 times...

Your Keurig 2.0 is on it's way!

Um, excuse me? What did you say?!  
I was excited!!
A couple of days later this arrived...

Which of course contained this...

We were also sent a k-cups holder which was awesome!

My first week or two I was thrilled as can be! A free Keurig 2.0, what could be better?!
The convenience and ease of making coffee was really nice. The coffee was delicious! 
 The digital screen gives it a nice updated look. There are options to make a 4, 6, 8, or 10 oz cup of coffee.
Just one question... Why can't I make a 12 oz cup for my to-go mug?

 My first complaint was after my brother bought me some k-cups for my new Keurig. It was a less expensive brand, but clearly stated it was compatible with the Keurig. (It wasn't) See the message below that showed up.

This was the box...

Hmmm, ok no big deal. I'll just make sure I buy kcups that work...right?
(At closer look the Keurig box stated it only work with Keurig brand cups. It's there way of making even more money)

There's a few hacks out there to bypass this. Here's one YouTube video that explains some.

After about 2 weeks of having my Keurig I started having 2 issues. First the water start barely dribbling out. It was reaaaaaaally slow!! Second, I started getting coffee grounds in my coffee. One morning grounds were actually spit out at me!

1. I thought maybe this was because I like to fill my to - go mug so I brew 8 oz, lift up the handle slightly and put it back down so I can brew 4-6 more oz. Maybe I shouldn't do that? Though every one I know with an original Keurig does that and has no issues. 
2. Some friends suggested it needed cleaned with a vinegar cycle, but I'd only had it for 2 weeks.
3. Maybe I had a defective model. 

I took my Keurig to the store and exchanged it for the same one.

A week started happening all over again!!
Here's some pictures of what my k-cups looked like after using it just once.

This top is oddly split open.

This one looks like the top has been melted!

At this point I don't want to use it, I won't be buying more k-cups, and I'm really happy I didn't spend money out of my pocket to buy this.

Maybe other Keurig models are better, or maybe I've just had 2 defective models, but I am just not impressed! I'd suggest going with the original Keurig if you want one. I've never had any problems with that one.

Disclaimer: I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.
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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Farmhouse Hutch Makeover

Hi there! I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
I took a little time off during the holidays to relax and spend time with family and friends. 

While "relaxing" I worked on a few projects around the house. My biggest project was to re-finish this hutch for my dining room!
(Found on Craigslist for $100)

Here's some before pics as we brought it into our basement.

We didn't have the air compressor and sprayer ready yet so I painted this baby all by hand! It wasn't very fun, let me tell you that!

A sneak peek comparison...
 Bringing it up piece by piece...

Ta da!!!!

For the paint I used my favorite off-white, Careless Whisper by Valspar. It's got a hint of gray and it's a lovely tone.

For the stain I used Dark Walnut & Weathered Grey to give it a slightly aged look. 
I finished the stain with 2 coats of polyacrylic in a matte finish.

The hardware is all original and I didn't paint them or anything. The aged bronze finish was perfect as is!

I replaced the glass with chicken wire, because of course I needed the chicken wire in my house as much as possible! :)

We are loving the addition to our dining room!
I hope you enjoyed seeing our big recent project! Come back to see more in the next few weeks!

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