Wednesday, February 29, 2012

What to do with your Costco boxes

I'm a Costco shopper.  Their big, bulk items are perfect for this average size family.  As the kids have gotten older, their appetites have gotten larger.  Go figure!  Costco is my solution.  I visit, browse,  and shop there once a week.  Yes, every week.  We go through milk, bread, and eggs rather quickly, and their organic produce is always priced better than most stores.  Each week I go and show them my membership card and take that oversized shopping basket down the wharehouse aisles.  I stick to a strict grocery budget so with my list in hand, I can get my items within 30 minutes (unless I'm browsing) and well under $100.   It's not the only grocery store I visit, so I try to make this trip quickly with the least amount of the wallet.  The longer I roam, the more likely I will see something I all of a sudden a new blouse, or gourmet salad dressing, or a new sink.  You can find it all at Costco.  Got to love it.

When it's time to check out, your items get put into boxes.  I have tons of boxes I've recycled from costco, but the other day, I decided to use my milk boxes for my kids' snow gloves and hats.  I put the boxes in my laundry room and they now have a place where their snow things go after some outside play time. 

I love all the basket and bins I see all over Target and Michaels, but I just can never bring myself to buy them at those prices.  As my ugly milk boxes did their jobs holding my kids things, I sat and stared at them trying to come up with a way of making them look like a real basket. Then I had a light bulb moment.  First, look at what I did.

Do you like?  Nod, yes, with me!

So this little project was super, duper easy.  I love the rustic basket look and was thinking about how to achieve that look on the boxes.  I thought about using twine or jute twine but as I saw their skinny little strings, I realized it would take me F-O-R-E-V-E-R to cover my box.  Then while at Walmart to pick up a few things for our kids Valentines Day gifts , my husband and I strolled over to the hardware section to evaluate using rope for my project.  As soon as I saw it, the evaluation was over.  So for $5, I made myself a nice heavy duty thinga ma-jig.

So here's the "How To" so you can do too!

Get yourself any size box you want to cover and cut the top folds off!  Bye, Bye. 

Get yourself some rope.  My rope came from Walmart for $5.  It's called Sisal Rope (100ft x 1/4in.).  Get the fattest looking string you can find.  You'll thank me later. When you get it home, open up the package and unravel it.  It will be a lot easier to work with like this.

Now take your box and hot glue the rope to the box for the first turn.  Then glue the rope to each other for a few more turns around the box to secure the rope.

  After using the hot glue gun for a few turns, I started rounding the rope by hand around the box.  It stays perfectly.  Be careful though.  The rope is not "finished" so it can be rough on your hands.  When I got to the end of the rope, I hot glued that last layer to the box again.

If you like the natural look, you're just about done.  You can always cut you box to size or add a linen piece on the inside to get that "store bought" look.  I prefer the darker color baskets, so I decided to spray paint the rope.  My "go to" final project phase always seem to be spray paint.  Why not? I always have it on hand and this time I used Espresso by Rust-Oleum. (one of my fave colors lately!)

Here it is with one coat of spray paint.  I ended up spraying 2 coats to get it all even, but for my next box/basket I'll be covering the box with a brown paper bag first.  This will save me some spray paint for future use.  I also suggest gluing a brown bag first to the box if you want the "natural" basket look.  The letters on the box won't come through that way

So since I don't sew much ever, I thought I'd try a pillow case for the inside linen.  Yes! a standard size pillowcase is what I used and it fit perfectly.   These pillow cases weren't in use any more since we got rid of our queen size bed.  Ironically, we still have all the bedding for a bed we no longer have.  That's how we do things sometimes.  I just threw the whole thing in there and let the "lace" fall over.  That's not really my style so I folded the top and tucked the lace edges underneath and came up with the clean lines.

Love it!  The box/basket is heavy duty and will be hanging out with us for a while.  You can bet I'll be doing a few more of these for the laundry room and the living room and bathrooms (you get it, right)!

I have lots and lots of ideas for boxes and what you can do with them. Stop by and see what I come up with for Lewisville.


Linking up to these fine blogs!
Finding Fabulous                        A bowl full of lemons                  The Shabby Creek Cottage                Too Much Time on my Hands          The Project Queen
Family Ever After                      Nifty Thrifty Things
Savvy Southern Style                Keeping it Simple
A Place called Home 
Flamingo Toes
Somewhat Simple

Friday, February 24, 2012

PB inspired Armoire

There are moments in my life that I will forever cherish,  days that I will remember as special and unforgettable.  My wedding, the birth of my children, days I visit Pottery wait, what???

Pottery Barn. Pottery Barn.  The words alone are music to my ears, thus I repeat myself.  Oh, Pottery Barn, this home schooling mama, domestic engineer, budget savvy girl loves you, but you're killing me.  I walk into your lovely showroom and fall in love with everything.  E-VER-REE THING.  And I do find our "Opposites Attract" relationship just as ironic as you meant it to be.  How is it that a city girl such as myself can love anything that has "barn" in it?  Or better yet, how does your high end, somewhat overpriced (mmhmm-you know) products draw me, a "shop the sales" kind of girl. But I have relented.  You win.  I want it all.   Just wrap it up and put it in my pretend dream home. 

Andover Cabinet - Weathered Walnut finish

                                                 Andover Cabinet-weathered walnut finish

We just moved from California were it seemed Pottery Barn stores didn't exist in my area except online.  Now, I have several around me.  I LOVE it.  LOVE it,  and I hate it.  We have what you might call a love/hate relationship.  I Love going into the store.  I hate leaving with nothing purchased.  What's a girl to do?

Their rustic, organic look mixed in with timeless, luxurious pieces is beautiful.  So pleasing to my eye.  So pleasing to my heart.  Unfortunately, not so pleasing to my wallet.  Pottery Barn does inspire me, though.  Whenever I visit, online or in store, I leave thinking, "I can do that".  I can stack books that way or chunk candles together with a mirror behind them.  Yes, yes, I can do this.  Then I get brave.  Perhaps a little to brave.  I think I can buy an armoire or buffet table and make it look "Pottery Barn-ish".    I mean all you need is an old piece of furniture, paint or stain, and some sandpaper. All things I am plenty stocked with.  So, I will work to make a piece of furniture I love from a piece of furniture I have. 

Benchwright Buffet
                                                               Benchwright Buffet
Here's what I started with. I didn't have any before pictures of the actual piece of furniture I "potterybarned," but here is a similar armoire of what mine looked like.  Knotty pine furniture is a log cabin.  We bought our armoire from a thrift store about 3 years ago.  Ironically, this piece was being sold at a thrift store too.  I guess there's not a high demand for these kinds of pieces.

My armoire doesn't have the curved top, and the bottom of my doors were cut out for glass inserts.  We had to measure and have glass cut to fit into the doors.  The piece sat in our living room for years housing our big box t.v.  Now that we've moved, updated to a flat screen, and need storage furniture in our bedroom, I decided to update this little beauty.  Here's my LL (Lewisville Love) original.

Remember that black paint I used here for the nightstand, well I had plenty of it to finish this armoire.  I didn't sand before painting this piece. It was already pretty rustic and I didn't even primer it.  I just slapped on the paint. I don't usually go for the shabby chic look, but after one coat of paint, the natural wood came through a bit so we decided to go for it.  Although a large piece, I used a paint brush, like below, not  a roller.

I painted a second coat then lightly sanded the edges with 100 grit sand paper. 

When it got up to our bedroom after paint, sanding, and a coat of polyurethane, it looked like this.

I needed new knobs and still had to put the glass into the doors.  Knobs are easy.  Shop, purchase, screw in.
Love these "old world" knobs from Home Depot.  Now what to do with thse bottom doors????  I didn't just want to throw the glass back into the bottom doors.  The armoire would be housing things we didn't want to be seen in the open like Mr. Lewisville's vintage receiver, our dvd player, clothes, you know- things.  So, I decided to frost the glass.

I used Rust-Oleum's frosted glass in spray form.  I've never frosted glass before so I expected it to act just like spray paint.  I shook, sprayed, and....nothing. I shook and sprayed again and nothing??? So I decided to read the directions.  It always helps to read directions before use.

I found out you have to wait 10 minutes to see the results.  Oh!  Wait to see the results.  So I waited and they came out beautifully.

It was done at this point, but then I realized I forgot to buy knobs for the bottom doors.  Arrrrgh.  I still haven't gone back to Home Depot to get two more, but  I'll get there soon.

So before

                                                                    and after

Not bad for a knock-off.  I paid $40 for the armoire 3 years ago, $40 for the glass 3 years ago, $16 for 4 knobs, and $5 for frost spray.  I already had the paint from other projects.  So for a little over $100 and some time in my garage, I got a nice PB inspired armoire.

And by the way, I went ahead and picked up a buffet table and a small console table I'll be re-making PB style.  Stay tuned.


Linking up to these fine blogs!

HookingupwithHoHBeyond The Picket Fence


Furniture Feature Fridays

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Art de Lewisville

Today, I'll be talking about art!  But first things first.  Breakfast.

I make a hot breakfast for the Lewisville kids about 3-4 times a week.  Remember, we home school so there's no rush to get out of the house.  They love crepes (the french pancakes), baked oatmeal with peaches and cream -minus the peaches, and of course our Sunday morning favorite right after church, french toast, hash browns, and bacon. The other days, the kids have to slave away making their own bowl of cereal.  No, I don't feel guilty.

Cereal goes pretty fast in Lewisville.  Not only do the kids have it for breakfast a few times a week, but it has happened on a few occasions when the kids and hubby have gone to bed that mom will sneak a bowl for a late night snack. Come on, I know I'm not alone.  And, no, I'm not talking about the "healthy" cereal we buy because we're parents who are getting older and needing to eat healthy.  We tell ourselves we love granola and tasteless flakes that are hard as rocks.  Blah, blah, blah.  Though I like granola, during those late night snack sessions, my reach goes beyond the heart healthy brands and moves ever so slightly to pick up what I'm craving- Frosted Flakes and Cocoa Pebbles, or any version of sugar and milk I happen to have in my pantry.  So satisfying and now late at night as I'm typing this post, I suddenly have a hankering for a bowl of joy, I mean cereal.

But I will refrain and get to the reason for this post that has a very long introduction.  Cereal and Art?  How do the two go together?  Like this:

I made this sunburst using, yes, you guessed it-Cereal boxes!  Thank you General Mills and whoever the people are that make hot glue sticks and glue guns.  I love all the sunburst mirrors that have become so popular these days.  They are beautiful pieces of art work, but starting at $200 and hitting all the way up to several thousand, I said several THOU$AND......breathe, there is just no way I'll be spending my (husband's) hard earned money on something like this.  We opt to pay for other luxury items like food and shelter.  But to deny oneself of beauty and art is a difficult hardship we no longer have to endure.  Well, unless you don't eat cereal, then you're out of luck.

Pinned Image

Starburst Mirror
Crate and Barrel

These mirrors are pretty and would add delight to any room, but my job as the chief purchasing officer of Lewisville ironically requires me to make as few purchases as possible.  Do you see my conundrum here?  So when I saw all the starburst people were making with wood dowels and those sticks you use to mix paint, I knew it would only be a matter of time.  And it was.  I saw this blog post by Stephanie Lynn and realized the decorating fairies were calling me and ordering me to copy it.  Ok, maybe that was just in my head, but since I had all the materials (cereal box and glue) I figured it was a sure sign to start creating.  Just go with me on this. 
Dahlia Mirror
Dahlia sunburst by Crate and Barrel
If you follow Stephanie Lynn's directions, you'll come up with a beautiful Dahlia "like" mirror from Crate and Barrel.  I made the sunburst and it turned out great.  Suffice it to say, give me a little hot glue gun, and I become the Martha Stewart of cereal boxes.  Part of me likes to be "original" and "one of a kind' so I decided to venture out on my own and make my version.  Copy if you'd like.  There's nothing new under the sun. (Hehe. Get it?)  It's late.  Work with me.

To make your own sunburst mirror start by cutting up a cereal box.  A paper cutter would be wonderful here, but if you're like me, good old fashion scissors and a ruler it is.  Yeah for old for the extra time it takes to cut light cardboard. Measure 1/4 inch apart and cut into strips.

I'm warning you. This takes a bit of time, so if you know someone with a paper cutter, become their best friend.
  I used three different shapes for my sunburst.  I'll call them the long diamond, the short diamond, and the tear drop. 

Long diamond on top
Short diamond on the bottom

To make each diamond, start by folding your strips in half at the center.

Fold each half of your strip to the center like in picture 2 above then glue the center and opposite end to make the long diamond.  Picture 3 below shows the two ends glued to make long diamond shape.  Add glue to every fold (where the glue gun is pictured) to make the short diamond.

To make the tear drop, just fold in half and puff out the strip while holding the two ends.  Don't fold creases; just puff out the strip.  It will look like this.

Cut out a round disk to start attaching your diamonds to with hot glue.  I used a small plate to make a template. I placed and measured everything first, then glued.

To start, I attached a short diamond then long diamond around the disk.  Glue each piece to the back of the disk then to each other. 

Make more long diamonds but don't glue the open ends this time.  Instead, glue the open ends onto each peak of both short and long diamonds. This is your 2nd layer of diamonds.
Let your creativity take over at any time, but if you want to continue to follow along, add short diamonds in between the newly added 2nd layer of long diamonds.  It will look like the picture below. I tried, oh how I tried, to make things look symmetrical.

At this point, when I thought I was done, I asked Mr. Lewisville what he thought of my project.  He said, "I like it.  Nice snow flake".   SNOWFLAKE! SNOWFLAKE!!!!  Arghhhh.  Out comes the glue gun again.  I added more long diamonds to each peak again, but to the highest peak like above, I added a teardrop.

I should have added all tear drops at this point, but I had strips of long diamond shaped cereal boxes all over my kitchen that I just wanted to use up with out having to make more.  If you are going to make this, use tear drops on your third layer.  Finally, glue all the peaks/diamonds together.

Here's a picture when its all done.
To hang, I made another disk slightly smaller than the one in the center.  I cut a big hole in the middle of the disk by folding it in half and cutting a half moon shape.  Then, I just glued that to the back.  It looked like this.
Finally, I spray painted it with grey primer first, then used a metallic silver spraypaint.  I may change the colors later. I may not.

I added a 7inch round mirror I picked up at Michael's for a few bucks (50% off).  I glued it to the front disk with a product called Liquid Nails.  I'm sure you can use hot glue, but since I was placing this above our bed, I didn't want to take a chance of it falling and hitting one of us (me, I'm sure it would have been me) in the head in the middle of the night.
I love projects you can do over a weekend.  Get your glue guns out, eat your cereal, and have fun.  By the way, did you notice in the first pictures I don't have a headboard.  Oh, you know that will be changing soon too!