Saturday, June 29, 2013

DIY Pallet Dog Gate

My boyfriend and I acquired two dogs a few months ago from a family member who passed away.  We LOVE them, but quickly discovered that if they get anywhere near an open door, they will RUN!  Also, anytime they get out of sight in the house, they try to mark their territory.  So we decided that we needed a gate to keep them in a more confined area of the house but still have more freedom than being stuck in their kennel all the time.  (Also we're lucky enough to have a fenced-in backyard so they get to run free every time they're outside.)  So, with all the awesome pallet projects out there, we figured we could make a dog gate out of a pallet.  It's pretty easy, as long as you have some basic carpentry skills and tools.  Here's what we did:

Get a couple pallets.  I think we used three total.

Pull them apart with a claw hammer or crow bar or similar.

Tie up your puppies while you're working so they don't escape.
(Apologies for the huge mess in the basement.)
 The next few steps seem to be lost - I'm not good at photo-documenting everything.  Anyway, the next part is the carpentry.  Measure the space where you want your gate to fit and build a frame for your fence/gate that will fit.  Measure twice, cut once!  Always.  You'll probably make that out of the frame part of the pallet, not the actual pallet boards.  You'll probably want to make a spot for hinges and a swinging door - be sure to leave enough clearance for it to actually swing open (we learned this the hard way).  You'll also have to make sure you have a way to attach your gate to whatever wall/surface you're using.  We made some braces to go over the two corners of the walls where it would be attached.  After you have your frame made, cut your pickets out of the pallet boards.  Sand them lightly to smooth them out, but not too much if you want to keep the rustic look.  Now, back to the pictures:

Paint your pickets in whatever colors you'd like!  We used some extra paint
from when we painted the walls of the house.  I used a dry brush technique
and only put on one light coat for the shabby-chic look.

Put your frame in place (see the bracket I was talking about on the left side?).
Then attach your pickets however you'd like.
We also used some cheap upholstery fabric from the thrift store on the sides
and bottom to try to avoid scratching the floor.

Attach all of your pickets and a latch to keep the door closed!
You can do pickets on just one side or both - this picture shows only one
side done but we added pickets to the other side later.

Your puppies will still love you, even from behind their new gate.
The dogs are much easier to contain with the gate, and they still have quite a bit of freedom.  And we have a stylin' gate, rather than just using a plain baby gate or something.  Pallet love + puppy love!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Spring Fashion Pinspiration

Hi friends, it seems I haven't been blogging again!  I think part of the problem is that I'm not sure what I want this blog to be about.  I have a weird desire to be a fashion blogger (as noted by my multiple posts on clothes and fashion, including this one), but I really don't have the photography skills and equipment to pull that off.  I want to be a DIY/tutorial-creating blogger (as seen in many of my other posts) but I get irritated if I have to explain/photograph every step of a project.  It seems to ruin my creative process a lot of the time!  I also want to promote my and others' Etsy shops (as I have), but I don't want my blog to become a huge advertisement.  Soooo... I'm still trying to figure out what I would most enjoy sharing, and what people would most enjoy reading.  Today, I'm sharing an inspiration outfit from Pinterest, and how I recreated it!  I'm weirdly proud of this outfit because so many parts of it are trendy (mint, skinnies, stripes, neon) and I've never been confident with pulling off trends.  But this outfit I love.

Inspiration: Pinterest
The link leads to a blog in another language, so I'm not sure where her pieces are from.
Mine were all purchased on sale:
Mint jeans: JC Penney (a.n.a. brand) (current clearance for $14)
Striped tank: LOFT (clearance for $10)
Cardigan: JC Penney (clearance for $4)
Along with the rest of the bloggy/Etsy world, I've become obsessed with the color mint.  And stripes.  I think that's why I love this outfit so much.  And the pop of bright pink is fun too.  Also, I wore this with black heels, but it could also easily go with flats.  In the inspiration photo, she's wearing nude heels. 

View my pinterest style page for more inspiration outfits!  And wish me luck with finding a clearer direction for my blog!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Book Cover Chandelier (Revisited)

Oops, I've gotten behind on my blogging schedule again!  I just wanted to share that I have finally found a home for my book cover chandelier, which I first wrote about here.  It is happily installed and functional in my little corner nook in my bedroom!

DIY love!  And if you are interested in making anything out of Reader's Digest Condensed Books (they have the prettiest covers!), check out my pinterest board dedicated solely to that topic: Reader's Digest Condensed Book LOVE!  So many ideas for using those sweet books!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Skirt to dress refashion!

I've been reading up on refashioning clothes lately - I'm especially loving this blog: ReFashionista!  She takes the most horrible thrift store clothes and makes them into gorgeous, trendy outfits!  I happened to get a sewing machine for Christmas and I finally got it set up - I've done a little sewing before, but usually with intense guidance from a skilled sewer - now I'm learning to do it on my own!  So anyway, here's a piece that Jillian (the ReFashionista) did that inspired my own!

Inspiration HERE!
Here's the skirt that I started out with:

Seeing what it might look like as a dress:
Not bad, but a little longish and loose up top.
(I wore my tank top underneath for coverage.)
What I did next:
To be honest, I didn't initially plan to have it be a halter top.  First, I took it in a little bit in hopes that it would fit me as a strapless dress.  That helped.  (Although the pattern in the back looks kinda wonky where I took it in.)  Then I folded the dress and made a diagonal cut to make the "high-low" style I was after.  I hemmed that, which proved a little difficult for me.  (Remember, I'm not an experienced sewer.  Also, I didn't have any pins on hand.  Just don't look at the final hem closely.)  Then I decided that I wasn't comfortable with the strapless part - it just wasn't staying as snugly as I'd like.  So I took the scraps that I cut off the bottom, pieced together a halter strap, and sewed in on (just like in the inspiration piece).  Below is the result!
Sweet summer dress!
Ironically, as I type this, I'm home from work due to a snow day (our roads are literally closed, no travel permitted, not common here in Minnesota), so it'll be awhile before I get to wear this in public.  Also, as you can see, I managed to get a picture that I took with my phone properly rotated!  HOORAY!  I rotated it in picmonkey and that seemed to stick, unlike when I rotated it with my computer's software.  And below is my first picmonkey collage:

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Winter/Spring Fashion Finds!

So, as I've mentioned before, I tried StitchFix a couple times, here and here.  It was really fun to have someone else pick out items for me and have them delivered to my door!  However, I've kinda decided (at least for now) that StitchFix isn't for me.  The prices are just a little too high for me, especially for trendy items that I don't see myself wearing for years and years.  I decided that shopping the sales at my usual stores is a better bet.  Here's what I've found over the past few months!

JC Penney scores - Three sweaters for $19 total. LOVE!  Dress, pants, tank, and belt for $48 total.  (30% off coupon code and free shipping helped!)
Target clearance section - most of these items were 70% off - three tops and a skirt for $26 total.
Here's some quick math before I show you how I styled the pieces - $93 for all eleven pieces!  That's about half what I would pay for five pieces in a StitchFix.  And most of them will carry me through the end of winter and into spring.  Win/win.
Here's the OldNavy dress how I've been wearing it for winter.  (Still available here but only in black.)  I'm wearing the OldNavy tank underneath for a little more coverage.  (The dress does have a slip/liner included but it's a little low-cut.)  Leggings/jeggings and boots.  Oh, and the OldNavy belt too.  It was a little shapeless otherwise.  I sized down per the reviews and it fits just right.
Side view - longer in the back.
Here's how I plan to wear it this spring, whenever that arrives - rolled up sleeves and sandals.
As I was changing into the OldNavy jeans (a few colors/sizes still available here), I wondered if the dress would work as a shirt if I tucked it in - kinda like it!
Here's how I've been wearing them this winter - cozy tops and tall boots.
Here's one of the JCPenney sweaters (similar style here) - styled cozy and comfy!
Dressed it up a little bit for the office.
Here's how I styled the other JCPenney cardigan for the office.  (I wore a striped sleeveless top that I got on clearance at LOFT underneath!)  I wore this on Valentine's Day - still professional with a touch a bright pink!
Here's the white cardigan with the same outfit.  I actually bought this at full-price ($15 - available here) because I wanted to have a basic white cardigan on hand.  (p.s. I had a $10 off coupon for JCPenney and the other two sweaters were $7 each, so that's what took my total price down so low.)
I love having a cardigan to go with a sleeveless dress in the summer!
I love the pink and grey cardigan with this strapless dress for spring.
Rockin' the Target skirt and top for spring.  These are two items that I probably wouldn't have normally purchased, but was able to get them for a good price (less than $10 each) so I decided to give them a try.  I wore the OldNavy tank under the colorful top.
I tried adding the Target sweater, a belt, tights, and boots for a winter look, but I'm not crazy about it.  A little too much going on in one outfit.
Here's a more appropriate way to wear the sweater.  I love the colors in the stripes - some of my favorites so it'll go with a lot of my tees and tanks - easy to grab when I don't know how warm/cold it's going to be.
Dressing it up just a little bit with the OldNavy belt and heels.
That's it for my recent fashion finds!  I think going this route is the best for me.  I think my favorite shopping place is - I like to search by what's on clearance, add my favorites to my cart, and then wait for a 30% off coupon code to come out.  As long as your order is over $50, you get free shipping, and you can send back anything you don't want for free! 

Which look did you like the best?  Where do you shop for bargain fashion finds?

Saturday, March 9, 2013

To-Do List

Hello!  I realized that it's been a week since my curtain rod post and I'm trying to stick to my plan to post at least once a week.  I had originally planned to get a fashion post done in time, but I didn't get it together.  I'm still hoping to post it tomorrow, but I thought I'd throw in a quick post now to stay on track.

I bought a book awhile ago called To-Do List by Sasha Cagen.  It's kind of a coffee table book - a book of all kinds of lists submitted by different people, usually with short narratives describing the list further, why it was written, etc.  It's actually a really interesting book, but I usually just pick it up and read a few lists and put it back down, but I spent over an hour flipping through it today.

Then I was motivated to make my own list.  Mine was a list of goals, or things to accomplish.  I separated into a bunch of areas of my life, such as: relationship, friends, work, family, health, hobbies, financial, etc.  Each category has about three or four goals under it - twelve categories in all!  That's a lot of goals, and I'm not saying I'll be able to complete all of them, but it definitely helps me organize my thoughts on focus on what my true goals are.

What kind of goals would you put on your list?

Saturday, March 2, 2013

DIY Curtain Rods: Complete!

We finally got our curtain rods finished and hung last night - LOVE them!

The after - real curtains on real curtain rods!
Here are the steps along the way:

Scrounge up some old tension rods from a closet and hang ratty blankets
as curtains in your new bedroom.  Live this way for a few months.
Buy some curtains you like on sale.  Thread them onto the tension rods.
A step up from the blankies in the windows but still not there yet.

Find a curtain rod you like and get inspired - read my post here.

Do a google search and realize you can use electrical conduit for curtain rods.
Awesome blog post about it here.
We got a 10-foot length of 3/4" conduit for just over $3.00
Cut your conduit to the size that you need.  Wear your safety googles!
If you don't have a saw, talk nicely to them at the store - they might do it for you!
Find some rad curtain rod brackets at your local thrift store.
.79 for a set of four - just what I needed.
actually too small and I had to sand them down.
If you can't find any thrift brackets, read this blog post
again to find out what cheap hardware to buy.
Pick out something to use as finials at the ends of your curtain rods.
I found these rail collars on sale for $2.49 each.
You could use drawer knobs, decorative balls, etc.
Spray everything with your oil rubbed bronze spray paint, about $7.00.
Or any spray paint of your choosing - you won't use the whole can!
Ignore the mess in the background.

Next, install! You'll need a piece of dowel or scrap of wood to attach your
finials to the ends of the curtain rod. We used some plywood,
cut down to fit snugly inside the rod and the end of the finial.
(See the plywood pieces on the bottom left.)
Enjoy your new curtain rods that look quite similar to the inspiration!
Curtain rod love - and for about half the price - $21.00 vs. $42.00.
And that's for two curtain rods - one for each window in the bedroom.
This way, we were also able to pick the paint color we painted AND
pick a heftier rod to go along with the large grommets on the curtains.
And that is the end of my DIY curtain rod story!  If you're doing this yourself, I'd love to see your results and/or answer any questions.

Now if only I can figure out how to rotate my photos.  Seriously.  I feel like a 4-year-old would be able to answer this, but I can't get it to work.  I take a picture on my iphone and it appears on my computer photo stream via the icloud.  I open up the photos to look at them and rotate them as needed and save.  They are rotated correctly on the computer screen!  Then when I upload them to the blog, they're not rotated!  And I can't figure out a way to rotate within Blogger.  Anyone who can help me solve this problem will be my life hero.