Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Diy Sand and Water Table

Last week we were celebrating the first day of Spring, and I am loving it! The boys are outside ALL the time, which is amazing, but now after a couple weeks of digging in the dirt they are getting bored. Yikes! My hubby and I both agreed they needed more to do on the patio to keep their busy bodies moving! So I started looking on Pinterest, of course, to find some super fun boy activities! I found an awesome DIY sand and water table that would be perfect on our patio. Bonus, ALL boys love sand and water so it was a definite YES to make it, and soon. So, I went to work last week constructing this table and it was soooo easy to make, not pricy either…my type of project! I found the original plans HERE, the official name of this amazing table is the 'Farmhouse Sand and Water Table'. It is a mix between Ana White’s Mom’s Train Table and Farmhouse Table Plans. I l-o-v-e Ana White’s website (you will soon learn this about me). The hubs and I have made many many things from her extensive catalogue of woodworking plans. And every single thing we have made, we love!

What is SO great about this table?
1.     It has shallow bins that slide rite into the frame. Awesome! You can replace the water easily (which I do often).
2.     The bins have lids so you can cover the table when it’s not in use! Perfect for keeping sand clean. Or using one side at a time, if you don’t want to mix sand and water. (This is a wasted effort for us, sand and water + two boys = big sand and water creations)
3.     Since I made it myself, I could customize the height I wanted the table to be. Since the boys are 4 and 5, I needed a slightly taller table than the one in the original plans.

          I made a few adjustments to the original plans, I made the height 23.75” tall instead of 18.75” tall.  Also, VERY important: MEASURE the sizes of the bins you purchase to make sure they will fit into the frame. I had to make my frame slightly bigger than the plans due to different sizes of plastic bins. This will save you lots of trouble when making this project!

I finished the wood with spray paint, SO much easier than trying to paint with a brush in all the little places. I sprayed a coat of primer on first to seal the wood, and then did two coats of Valspar spray paint in high gloss white. I wanted the extra gloss so the water and sand would slide right off the wood, making it last longer for the kiddos.

  And the finished product...
I hope you try this easy and fun project for your house. The kids will     l-o-v-e playing with it all summer long! Fantastic outdoor entertainment for the “littles” in our lives! Have a warm and happy week!


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

DIY Coffee Cart

            Happy St. Patrick’s week everyone! We are having beautiful weather here in sunny CA and the kids and I are loving it! I can send the rowdy boys outside to wreak havoc in the yard instead of my house. Phew. I am always glad when winter comes to an end! Two energetic boys stuck inside four walls for months of winter starts to wear on me right about now! Thank goodness for days in the 70’s and even warmer days to come. I love spring!
            On to our project of the week…a beautiful coffee cart! The inspiration to build this coffee cart came during the holiday season last year. I was looking for a way to host dinner without having all of my serving dishes covering the table, or all the way over on the counter where you can’t reach them during dinner! When I saw this coffee cart on one of my favorite websites, I knew it had to have a place in my kitchen! The full building plans came from the website Shanty-2-Chic and can be found HERE
            I followed the plans just how they were written out, except for altering the measurements a tad. The depth of the cart was supposed to be 23" but I brought it down to a finished depth of 18”. The original dimentions were waaay too wide for my smaller dining/kitchen and stuck too far off the wall. I took all my measurements then started building! It took me an afternoon to put this together! A longer afternoon, but it was worth it, and lots of fun! One of my favorite things about this coffee cart is its ability to roll around. It is built with locking casters on the bottom to allow for movement during dinner, parties, or tea time. And has the added safety of the locking mechanism to keep boys from rolling it around ALL the time! I finished this baby with Rustoleum dark walnut stain, let it dry for an hour, then distressed the edges a bit to give it more character. Lastly, I attached the locking casters to the bottom and drilled holes for the cup hooks. I used 1.5” cup hooks from Lowes to hang my wider handled coffee mugs from Pier One. The handles fit perfectly in the hooks! I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out! Unfortunately I don’t have any photos of the building process, just of the amazing finale…

        This coffee cart can also double as a bar cart! Which is what the original plans were designed for. It can be changed from a bar cart, to coffee, tea, or an extra surface for those extra dinner serving dishes! Gotta love it! Thanks for letting me share and have a wonderful St. Patties Day week! 


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Wreath Week: Easter Blooms

            The final day of Wreath Week is here and the last DIY wreath is probably the easiest! I wanted a wreath I could put up around Easter that wasn’t the usual 'eggs and bunnies', and that still had a ‘Spring’ feel to it. Plus I was limited to the supplies I had since my goal was to not spend any money on this week’s wreaths. I picture pastel colors and lots of blooming flowers when I think of Easter décor, so that’s exactly what I did, a giant, cheery, blooming flower. Let’s jump right into it… All you will need to make this wreath is:

-         Cardstock (regular or construction paper work, but I prefer cardstock)
-         Scissors
-         Glue (I always use hot glue)
-         Cardboard
-         Something to hang the wreath with

Step 1: You’ll need some cardboard, any cardboard, grab a cereal box if that’s what you have! Cut a good sized circle out for your base, it doesn’t have to look good or be perfect- it won’t show at all.

Step 2: Get a stack of paper, about 15 sheets, and cut them into fourths.

Step 3: Roll your pieces of paper into little ‘burritos’- from corner to corner so you have a nice point that sticks out at the ends. Glue your little burrito together, and keep on rolling baby, roll all pieces of paper!
Step 4: Begin gluing your rolled papers onto the cardboard base. Start on the outer edge of the circle and work your way in. Leave small gaps between pieces at first, and fill them in as you go.
*As I got into the center of the flower I cut some of the rolls in half, it definitely helped with the spacing!*
Step 5: Attach your ribbon (or whatever you wish to hang it with) by gluing it onto the back of the cardboard.

          Ta-da!! You have a beautifully large 3D flower that will bring you joy every time you see it on the door! I know everyone has paper and some type of cardboard they can use to make this super simple wreath. You can even make smaller versions, in any color combo, and join them all together!
That’s all for wreath week, thanks for letting me share over the past four days, it was fun to see what I could do with what I had, and I’m happy with the variety I ended up with! Send us your crafty wreath creations, we love new ideas and inspiration! Happy wreath-ing everyone!!



Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Wreath Week: Play Ball!

              It is day 3 of wreath week and this wreath is pretty fun! For those that know us well you know that we are a baseball family, a big time baseball family! My hubby played most of his life and in College, and coached college ball for a few years before we moved. Baseball season is right around the corner, and we’ll be there opening day, Diamond Backs vs. Giants! Go Giants!! It’s Spring Training right now and living in AZ has worked out in our favor since a lot of the Spring Training games aren’t too far from our house. We still love going to the park and playing a little catch when we can, so I knew this wreath was perfect for us.
          Thanks to a very sweet family friend who sent me the idea I checked to see if we had the materials needed and went to work. (Actually I put the hubs to work and asked him to help me get started). All you will need for this wreath is:

o       Baseballs (10-12 of them)
o       A wire hanger (or sturdy enough wire to hold the weight)
o       Ribbon or décor (optional)
o       A drill and drill bit long enough to go through the baseballs

Step 1: Drill a hole through the middle of each baseball, try and make it as straight and centered as you can. Remember to be safe! (A bunch of black stuff will come out of the ball, don’t worry, that’s totally fine)
Step 2: Straighten your wire hanger out and try to get any kinks to lay flat. It won’t be perfect and it doesn’t need to be.

Step 3: Start stringing the baseballs onto the wire. You may have to wiggle a few on with a little pressure. If you are having a hard time then run the drill bit through the hole again, it will clean out anything that may be blocking the wire from going through.
Step 4: Once you have all baseballs on you can bring the two ends of the wire together, it will naturally form the circular shape of the wreath. Twist the ends together, or make a hook with one end and wrap the other wire end around it. I used a pair of pliers to help me so I knew it was secure.
Step 5: This step is optional, you can add décor or ribbon or anything you’d like to customize it. I added a little bit of Jute Twine and a left over red ribbon. (I really wanted to spruce it up and customize it to one of our favorite teams, but because I told myself I wouldn’t spend any money on these wreaths I didn’t have the supplies needed)
          *I wanted the baseballs to looks really warn, so I went outside and literally covered them in dirt and rubbed it in so they were nice and dirty*
          That is all! Hang it up and enjoy! It’s great for baseball season, baseball fans and families with little ones in T-ball! Thank you to my husband for helping me on this one, I know it was very unnatural for him to drill holes through and ‘destroy’ baseballs. Nineteen days and counting until Opening Day! Tomorrow is my last post for wreath week and I have a little something for Easter time to share!



Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Wreath Week: Spring into Spring!

         Wreath Week, day 2! And like I said yesterday, I LOVE this wreath! Again, I gave myself the challenge of not spending any money for the 4 wreaths I made this weekend. I was stumped for a minute on this one, I had an idea of what I wanted to make, but I didn’t have a base to begin with, so I created one.
          Cardboard! Cardboard has been my friend this week and I’ve used it multiple times. I cut a cardboard box we had in our garage and gave myself two pieces to work with. I traced a circle (from a serving bowl) onto the pieces of cardboard and cut them out. I traced a smaller circle in the center of them and cut out a donut hole to create my wreath base. The reason I cut two of these circles is to double them up, you don’t need to have two circles, but I wanted to make the base a little thicker so I hot glued the circles together.
          I knew I would be using left over moss, and I wanted to make the wreath very “earthy” for Spring, so I went with Jute Twine and wrapped the cardboard with a good layer of twine. I had moss and a few faux butterflies left over from a previous project (random I know), so I figured a Spring wreath was the perfect time to use them.
          I simply spread the moss onto the wreath and hot glued it down. Last was arranging the butterflies and gluing them down as well. I tied an extra strand of Jute Twine around the top to hang the wreath with and voilá! The moss and butterflies can be found at any craft store, and you can replace them with anything else you may have that reminds you of Spring. This was sooo easy to make, the most tedious part was wrapping the twine around the cardboard, but I think it was totally worth it. I love my earthy Spring wreath!
          Tomorrow’s wreath is actually pretty cool, even the guys will like it, so check in tomorrow as wreath week continues!


Monday, March 10, 2014

Wreath Week: Lucky Shamrock

           It’s wreath week! Over the weekend I made four, very different, and super simple wreaths. First up… St. Patrick’s Day! It’s coming up, exactly one week from today. I usually like to put a few decorations out for fun occasions, but I honestly didn't have anything for St. Patrick’s Day, so I decided to try and make a little décor piece for our front door. A shamrock is what I came up with, it doesn’t hurt to have a little luck, right!?
          My goal was not to spend any money, $0 on all four wreaths, so I had to use supplies and materials I already had in the house and in my crafting scrap box. I had to get creative, but it worked out! To make the shamrock wreath you’ll need:

         - Cardstock (or construction- but I like that cardstock is sturdier)
                   - Scissors
                   - Glue (I always use hot glue guns)
                   - Something to hang the wreath with

          First I took a few pieces of cardstock paper and cut them into strips- 18 strips that were 2 ½ inches wide. Next you’ll need to divide the paper strips into 3 stacks of 6. Leave one stack of strips alone (it should be 11 inches long). Cut the length of one stack to 9 inches, and the last stack to 7 inches. You’ll have 3 stacks like the picture below shows.
          Start making the shamrock leaves by folding the shortest strips of paper over into a tear drop shape, joining ends and gluing them together.
          Continue by gluing the medium strips on, folding them over and gluing the ends together into a larger tear drop.
          Finish with gluing the longest strip onto the existing two “tear drops”.
          Now that you have 6 individual “petals” you’ll glue two together to form a heart. You have 3 large sections of your shamrock done! Join them together by connecting the ends and gluing them into place.
          Don’t forget the stem! You will cut 3 more strips of paper and adjust the lengths so you have a short, medium and long. Fold them, but this time you’ll fold them into triangle pieces, one over the other and glue. Attach the triangle stem to your shamrock leaves.
          I also took my handy heart punch and cut a few hearts out to put together a mini shamrock for the center. If you don’t have a punch you can use scissors. You don’t have to do this, but I wanted something in the center to cover the area where I connected the leaves and stem.
          Once you have everything glued together you can add your ribbon and hang that baby up! It seems like a lot of steps but it will only take a few minutes to cut, glue and assemble. Best of all its free, I love an easy and inexpensive project, plus I think it would be perfect to make with kids!
          Wreath week continues tomorrow, and I really really love tomorrow’s earthy spring wreath!


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Out with the old, in with the new!

        Out with the old and in with the new! Thanks to my hubby and his AMAZING family, who worked their tails off, we now have beautiful wooden flooring downstairs. Removing the carpet had been number one on our to-do list since we moved into our house a year ago, but of course things came up (like they always do) and it got put on the back burner. The carpet was original to the house and was pretty mated, it also had spots and marks seeping up through it- gross!! I for one am not okay with mystery spots, not only is it ugly and dirty looking, but who knows what was spilled by the previous owners. Thank goodness for my father-in-law and JD’s extremely hard working Nana and Papa. They came to our rescue and drove 12 hours to help us install the new wood flooring.
We had already gone to Lowes a few weeks in advance to look at samples and order the material. We decided on a laminate hardwood by Allen + Roth called Driftwood Oak, I really love the color variation in it. Tip: When ordering flooring you want to leave yourself plenty of time before starting your project. The wood needs to sit in your home for at least a few days before it is installed, you want the material to acclimate to your home’s temperatures and climate. We were told it would take a week for the flooring and transition strips to be delivered to our Lowes location, so we ordered two weeks ahead of time to be safe, one week for delivery and one week to let it settle in our house. The other thing to keep in mind is the underlayment; you’ll want and need something between your floor and foundation. We have a concrete slab foundation, and put a sound and moisture barrier underlayment down first (Which Lowes has in stock, no need to pre order it). It didn’t take long to realize that our concrete foundation wasn’t poured completely level, so the underlayment actually pulled double duty and helped to even out the surface before installing the wood planks.
We chose the laminate flooring for multiple reasons, one being installation; no glue required! The planks have a basic tongue and groove to them, so they slide, snap and lock together piece by piece! Getting the first few pieces started is the toughest part, once you have a few down the rest start snapping into place like giant puzzle pieces. Remember to stagger your planks so the ends don’t line up side by side. Make random cuts in length to starter pieces so the floor’s pattern is "uneven". Speaking of the beginning pieces, the planks bordering the wall shouldn’t bud right up against it, you want a small gap between the floor and wall to account for shifting and expanding… don’t worry, the gap will be completely covered by the baseboards. Baseboards, those are the only things I can honestly say I “helped” with! The men did all of the work, they ripped up the old carpet, cleaned, laid the underlayment and installed all of the flooring, and put the baseboards back up. All I helped with was repainting the baseboards to give them a fresh clean look in a brighter crisper shade of white.
Of course nice newly painted baseboards downstairs led me to wanting the same freshly painted baseboards upstairs, which led to newly painted door frames to match, which led to painting and updating the interior doors, which is a whole story and blog post in itself! I am really excited to share a post about the interior doors, but that will have to wait a bit until I can get them completed! Anyways, the family worked so hard to help us; we really appreciate it and are so grateful! We saved a bunch of money by avoiding installation costs, we learned a lot and loved being taught, and we got to spend time with some of our favorite people. All in all it was a wonderful experience, I wish we had the time and resources to complete our upstairs rooms as well, but their time will come!
I really recommend the laminate wood flooring for anyone who wants or needs a change, it is extremely durable, scratch proof and easy to clean, plus it looks great and is pretty easy to install yourself. Our poor little puppy took a few days to get used to it, he kept slipping and sliding around, it was sad and hysterical at the same time. He has adjusted to them now and has no problems, and I am comforted knowing his paws and nails wont scratch the floors, no matter how crazy he pounces and runs- which is an hourly occurrence. Thank you again to my husbands Dad, Nana and Papa, we love you guys! Here are pictures of your hard work, the before, during and afters!


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