Wednesday, December 27, 2017

A Handmade Christmas

If you know me, my love language for others is gifts.  I love to make/bake things for others.  I remember as a 14 year old wanting to learn to sew so I could start making things for others.

I always try to make something special around Christmas time, and this year was no different.  It actually had quite a few handcrafted things.  There's something special about receiving something that someone spent time and energy creating.  It took forethought, and a lot of time, and that is something that a lot of people don't do nowadays (yes, I just sounded like I was a 60 year old grumpus).

The first thing I started working on was a crocheted blanket for a sweet friend.  My first idea was to crochet her a pizza slice snuggie, sort of like those mermaid tales, but a huge pizza wedge.  Super fun, but after looking at yarn prices for this larger project, it was going to cost around $80 just for the yarn!  Seemed a little steep for me, so I went with a watermelon blanket instead.  The yarn was cheaper, but way less bulky, so it seemed to take FOREVER to crochet up.  I carried around a yarn bag and crocheted every time the kids played on the playground, it was fun for me to finally see it start taking form.  I made it quite wide, and probably should have made it longer but I ran out of gumption (and yarn).  Turned out great as a snuggie blanket on the couch!

My next project for Christmas was a desk re-do for Mallory.  She BEGGED for a desk for her room.  Her room didn't have that much space, so we needed something on the small side.  As luck may have it, we went to a garage sale a few weeks ago, and she had $10 burning a hole in her pocket.  She said that she was going to find a desk for $10 at the garage sale.  I told her, not likely, but she was adamant in finding one.  We pull up to the garage sale, and guess what?  There was a child sized desk right in front of us for $10.  It needed some love, so we agreed that if she bought the desk, I would fix it up for her for Christmas.  I chalk painted it white, changed the hardware and was planning to modpodge fabric on to the top.  Well, the fabric on top turned out to be a horrible idea, so that extra fabric will (eventually) be turned in to a pillow.  The top was painted white to match the rest of the desk.  Mallory loves it, she is such a crafty person and she loves to make things for others as well.  She has already put it to good use and has spent much time sitting at her desk and has made a goal to make bracelets for her whole class at school.

 I had an on-going project in the garage for Greg's mom.  She requested that an old 12-pained door be turned in to a shelf and decorative hangers attached.  Shelf was added, brackets screwed in and was painted a pretty oatmeal-gray color.  Knobs to hang things were added, and it was done!  It actually took me a while to finish this one, as I was queen of procrastination with this project.  Also, no pictures. :(

My last project started a week before Christmas.  I think I am one of those people that works somewhat well under pressure.  So, with most of the other projects done/under control I decided to start a t-shirt quilt for Greg.  I had been meaning to do this for some time with all of the t-shirts collected from our baseball  teams from Germany.  I also used all the VBS shirts we have received the past few years.  This is how we spend our summers: Germany and VBS! I did Greg's quilt differently than any other I had done before.  I did it in large sections to create more of a "quilted" look, and it actually worked up very quickly.  Since I wanted it to be a surprise, I could only work on it while Greg was at work. This might be the only time where it was helpful that he works so much!  I wondered if he knew what his surprise gift was, he was definitely shocked!  It was nice to give him something that he wasn't expecting.  I feel like we are at that age/stage of life where you just get your spouse what they ask for or need.  It gets harder and harder to surprise them with something unexpected, so it was a nice gift to give!

My garage is almost empty of all the projects, I still have one more out there to be completed over Christmas break.  For our 12 year anniversary we upgraded to a king size bed.  We didn't want to rush a headboard purchase, and Greg was sure that I could make one!  Well, I tried to tell him no I don't have time, but when I got the headboard wood for free I gave in.  I still need to buy the fabric to cover it and to repaint the wall in our bedroom, but now that project seems doable since I am on winter break.

Before you think I have it all under control and am queen of projects, let me share my Christmas shortcomings.  We baked cookies for Mallory to sell to raise money for Salvation Army, and by the time Christmas actually came around, I was so burned out that I baked NOTHING for my own family.  I think Santa just got brownies out of the box and some carrots.  I felt bad, because the kids begged for gingerbread men to decorate and I just didn't have the desire to bake anything.  Also, as I was perusing Facebook a day before Christmas Eve everyone was posting about all the yummy meals they were preparing for Christmas Eve, breakfast for Christmas and Christmas dinner.  You know what we had for Christmas dinner?  Leftovers!  Oops!  

It's all about balance, right??  Now that the crafts have slowed down, maybe I can start feeding my family something other than pizza and hot dogs! 😅

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Mid-Century Console Redo

You know that feeling they tell you when you see the perfect house?  A feeling of longing and contentment and potential all wrapped in to one is the best way to describe it.  Well, I don't have that feeling with houses, but more with furniture.  I saw this piece on a For Sale website on Facebook, and I HAD to have it.  I wasn't even looking for anything, it just popped up on my newsfeed almost screaming at me, "Buy me!!"

 Above is the beginning faze.  I loved the look of the piece. It is a large piece, measuring 19"x70".  It had a great amount of storage, which is something we needed.  I decided it would be perfect as a new TV console.  The price was $30, I offered $25 and she accepted! Greg and I picked it up in the rain, dropped it twice because that thing is HEAVY! Nothing was broken, which means it was made well and withstand time.

I hated the top, it was just a piece of particle board and was swollen over a large section.  I decided to take the piece all apart.  I was really worried about this step because my dad would have put 15 screws, 20 staples, and liquid nails on that top.  But thank heavens, it was attached with about 10 screws that easily came out after I found the right square bit.  Drawers came out, door came off and shelves came out.  Now to prep the surface for paint!  I lightly sanded down everything.

I ran in to a few problems sanding.  At some point, they put a thick layer of stain over the already stain and varnish.  It ended gunking up my sander, so I had to scrape off that extra layer with a chisel. It was tedious, especially since the last piece I did was the worst of them all.

Now to start the fun part!  The drawer and door pulls were absolutely huge!  They were matte black, but after closer inspection I noticed they had been painted as well.  I was going to buy something to match the gold capped mid-century legs, but after taking a sander to the handles, it was gold underneath!  I sanded some parts quite hard so it has a "brushed" look which is fine with me. This saved me $$!

After a base coat of Zinsser (which is great by the way), I got to finally pick out a paint color.  I wanted a light shade of gray.  Do you know how many shades of gray there are??  Millions!  All had a different undertone that you don't notice until comparing to other gray samples.  I struggled with this.  After I put the paint on, it has a hint of brown undertone, not what I was going for but ended up going great with the new wood top. 
Paint cost: $20

 The new top!  I bought this pre-cut piece at Lowe's.  I actually had to get it cut down, which left me with an extra piece about 20"x26" which will later be used as a sign...TBD.  I borrowed stain and varnish from my mom.  I only put one coat of stain, but two coats of varnish.  I didn't sand in between coats of varnish: One, because I'm lazy. Two, because it gave it a rough texture that I liked.
Stain and Varnish: FREE
Piece of wood: $40

Now to assemble!  Don't mind the garage mess, three kids will keep a garage a total wreck ;)

Finished product!  So much storage than before!  We have a ton of extra space, and put some games down from a high shelf so the kids have easier access to them.

Shortly after, Greg HAD to have a bigger TV to go with the bigger TV console. Boys.   

Love the pop of gold at the bottom of the legs!  One of the legs had ripped off and been badly repaired previously, but ended up being an easy fix and is sturdy as ever!

Gold handles!! 

Top of the TV Console.  

In the end, I spent a total of $80, not bad I think!  I love the look that it adds to our living room.  It also provides ample storage for the kid's play things.  The ONLY peeve I have is that since we run our modem from the stand, and the stand has taller legs; I can see cords all the way in the back.  All I need to do is get some sticky strips and adhere the power strip to the back of the console and problem solved!

If anyone spies a mid-century desk with storage, let me know!