New Skills

8 Aug


I’m working on building a custom sized picture frame today, and it’s definitely been a learning process! Though I’m totally digging how it’s turning out. It’s also my first time with decorative paint finishes, and that’s looking pretty snazzy too. I should be all finished up in just a couple of hours, and will have to publish a “learn from my mistakes” tutorial! Can’t wait to see the finished product!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Let’s Get Personal: The Abusive Relationship, part three

3 Jul

With all this happy going on in my life right now (great marriage! first house! baby!) I think it’s time to finally close the final chapter of what came before. This is the hardest post to write, mainly because I still haven’t quite healed from all that madness. There are scars that will probably always grow with me, and I’ll never quite shake. But you know what? That’s ok. Healing is a process, and as issues arise, I’ll deal with them as they come. And if this is your first time hearing about this stuff, you can catch up with Part 1 and Part 2.
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New Digs

1 Jul

Whew! Is it really already July?! What a whirlwind of a week. Or really a year! We closed on our first home on Monday, and started the whole moving process. Tuesday I thought we had been re-connected with cable and internet, but Comcast had a “mysterious, rare” technical issue that cut off my services for most of Wednesday and Thursday and I had to fight to get them turned back on. Needless to say, we’ll be shopping for a new provider asap. Coupled with some preterm contractions I started having on Wednesday that required a not-so-quick hospital visit and some fun shots to stop this baby up, it’s been a bit busy around here! No worries, mama and baby are 100% fine, and ready to cook this kiddo for a few more weeks. So now I’m camped out on the couch, and finally ready to share some pics of our new digs! Let’s hit it from the top.

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Hacked Off

29 Jun

They say that imitation is the purest form of flattery, right? So why is it that I get so riled up when someone blatantly steals my work? It’s one thing to be inspired, it’s another to unabashedly steal my photos and call my work yours. Case in point: I recently received a pingback on my blog from a sweet bridal website talking about alternative guestbook ideas. My bench was mentioned, cited, linked to, and wonderfully mentioned. All the proper internet etiquette was observed. However, when I reached the bottom of the post, I saw another link to an Etsy shop. “Cool!” I thought. “Someone is selling guestbook benches on Etsy! I bet they look fabulous.” Cue my surprise when I clicked over and saw this:

Uh, whaaa?? That’s MY bench, in MY house! And I am NOT this seller! Holy crap, I’ve been hacked! Through my powers of deduction by observing other listings in her shop, it seems she steals photos from brag posts on Ana-White.com. So not cool. Why it’s great and dandy to pull inspiration, it is still considered infringement to swipe photos without permission and not cite the original source. There’s no sourcing here. People who shop her Etsy store think these are hers. And this isn’t the only image. Check it out.

Uh, yeah. That’s my husband and me on our wedding day. Creepy. I’m so not ok with this. And what’s worse is that her vinyl is not only a complete knock off of my layout, but a poorly made one.

Yuck. So, what do you do when you’re confronted with a situation like this? You bust out your scary emailing skills!! I immediately flagged the listing, and provided the link to my images hosted on Weddingbee to the Etsy moderators. Then I emailed a very stern message to the seller, telling her that I expected these images to be removed before the next morning, or I would be contacting the Weddingbee legal team to order a cease and desist of these images (and yes, the ‘bee totally has a scary legal team to stop the pirating of images and content, which happens a lot. My boudoir pics totally ended up on some creepy German porn site alongside Kim Kardashian. How weird is that??) I gave her a bit of a stern lecture on the proper use and sourcing of images. She promptly emailed me back that she had removed the images, and gave me this bit of “advice”.

“May I suggest adding a water mark to all the photos on your site(s) so that these issues does not happen again.” Um, excuse me?! How about you not STEAL other people’s images and pass them off as your own! I do watermark my photos, but not on Weddingbee. You’re not supposed to promote your personal blog, because you’re part of a collaboration of bloggers on a main website. Oooh, that got me fired up all over again. I let her know that this practice was illegal, and if she wanted to “inspire” people she needed to create the products her vinyls are featured on herself. Besides, my bench isn’t even a vinyl, it’s something I transferred with carbon and filled in with a paint pen. It won’t look remotely like a vinyl. Sigh. I get just as angry for all those other poor posters on Ana’s site who just want to provide a little inspiration for fellow builders, and are now victims of theft. Oh, but on the bright side, Etsy did move quickly on the infringement and deactivated her listings. Thanks, Etsy team!

We Be Movin’

27 Jun

It’s 10:40 pm, and we’re unwinding on the couch watching Just Go With It after a long day of packing. In less than 12 hours, we’ll have signed the papers on our very first house! Eek! I’m so excited. Though we’ll have a long, looooong day of moving ahead of us, I can’t wait for it to get here. It’s such a big step in our lives. Posting may be a little light over the next couple of days as we get settled in to our new place, but I’ll try to post some photos soon! It all depends on how quickly Comcast can get our internet hooked up. Last time we moved it took nearly a week. So wish us luck!! Can’t wait to see you all on the other side!

Garden Shower Invitation Designs

25 Jun

I recently completed a commission to design a bridal shower invitation with a pink and aqua garden theme. Sadly to say the client didn’t end up having time to get them printed, so these lovely invitations that I’m so proud of didn’t get used. So to breathe them a new life, I’m going to post the five mockups I designed, and whichever is voted the favorite is the one I will make into a free, editable download! Let’s check ‘em out:

Soft Henna:

Modern Damask:

Geometric Floral:

Chandelier Script:

Background Lace:

So which one would you love to see as a digital download? Vote below, and if you have color preferences, let me know in the comments!

How It All Began

23 Jun

One of the most common questions I’m asked is, “How did you get into this whole building thing?” Some people assume I’ve been doing it for a while. Most people think I grew up helping my dad, which really makes me laugh. My dad is a total man’s man, and has a ton of useful skills (including woodworking, mechanics, shooting weapons, and tons more), but was a pure business man while I was growing up. We lived up in Massachusetts, and he traveled a lot for business. Mostly we just played kickball and went on hikes and stuff. Once we moved to Texas and he retired, he got more into the whole carpentry phase of his life and built a whole bunch of stuff and generally tinkered on everything. Yet all through high school and college, I just did the art thing, with some sewing and crafts thrown in.

I started with a brief flirtation with the concept of building my own furniture when I built these two IKEA inspired bookcases for my first single-gal apartment in Dallas. I planned them out, priced the lumber, and enlisted a friend to help me build them. They’re not perfect, but I still adore them. It was my first project, and I planned it all out from start to finish. And trust me, the boys that entered my dating scene were quickly intimidated by my new-found skill set. I started making all sorts of things on my own. It was a time of rebirth for me, after leaving a horribly abusive relationship and rediscovering who I was and what I could do.

It wasn’t until just over a year ago that I stumbled across Ana White’s website, which at the time was called Knock Off Wood (hence all my blog titles that start with Knocked Off: Carpentry Project Here!) I was living in an apartment in Waco with my newly minted husband, and was gearing up for a move to Lake Jackson after his graduation from school. I had this horribly flimsy Walmart platform bed that was at the end of its life. After I read a post on a favorite blog mentioning my now hero, I checked out the projects on Knock Off Wood. “Hmmm,” I thought, “I think I can do that!” The plans on the website are so easy to follow. You have a shopping list, a cut list, and then step-by-step instructions on how to put it all together. So, I found the perfect plans for the queen-sized Farmhouse Bed, and went to visit my parents. Print-out in hand, I showed my dad what I had in mind. He was totally on board, and said he even thought he had all the lumber we needed in his barn. And he did! We spent a Sunday afternoon shopping his barn, and then loaded it all up to drive over to his shop to do all the cutting.

Here’s the best part. I then loaded every single cut piece of lumber into my Honda Civic and drove it back to Waco. Yes, people. I didn’t even have an SUV, I had an economy size 4-door sedan. And I fit all that lumber in it! As soon as I got home, I was raring to go. Unfortunately, the Husbane was not. He was grumpy, and moaning about trying to put a bed together in an apartment. So I huffily said “Screw You!” and went on my merry way. Okay, that’s a total lie. I actually cried and shamed him with my words into helping me, because he was ruining this exciting new prospect with his bad attitude. Feeling like a horrible person, he apologized and took me to McCoy’s to get all the screws and hardware we needed to put this behemoth together. We put the headboard together as a team, and once I learned just how to use a power drill (it really was my first time ever!) I put the footboard together all by myself. I was so proud! Then we put on the side boards, figured out the rails and slats, and pushed the last screw in the next day. For just $16, a lot of free barnwood, and gallons of sweat and tears, we had our very first hand made bed. And I couldn’t be prouder.

After that, I caught the bug. I couldn’t be stopped! I devoured Ana’s plans, and just kept on building. Over the past year, I’ve developed more skills, and invested in more tools. I’m the one who bought our drill press, and chop saw, the Kreg Jig and grinder, not my husband. Now I’m no longer limited to following plans exactly, but modifying them or coming up with my own designs. It’s totally empowering to be able to say “I built that” and have people look at me like I’m nuts. Or to roam the aisles of Lowe’s at 8 months pregnant while picking out straight lumber.

So, I’m living proof that there’s no reason for you not to try. I was one girl, building a bed in a tiny apartment with nothing but a cordless drill to her name. The kind folks at Lowes or Home Depot (or your crafty dad, mom, cousin or friend) can make all the cuts for you if you just supply them the list. Then you can go home and get to work, no matter where you’re living! You don’t have to have a fancy shed full of tools, or a garage workshop. All you need are your two hands and the desire to build something yourself.

8 Months

22 Jun

I’ve totally blown up this past month! I am now officially, 100%, undeniably pregnant. People no longer ask me if I’m pregnant, they ask me when I’m due. That’s a pretty big change, since even last month, I was getting comments on how small I was still looking. Well, no more. I’m now gigantic. Putting on pants is a challenge, let alone tying my shoes.

The little munchkin is also moving like crazy now. I can feel her pushing, and can touch her little hands and feet. It’s so cool, and so creepy all at the same time. She kicks my ribs, and my bladder, and other random parts I’ve never had the agony of feeling kicked before. Kidneys, maybe?? I also finally took the glucose/diabetes test, and luckily I passed with flying colors, which seems like a miracle to me. I’m not eating completely horribly, but neither is my diet ideal. Unless you consider pop tarts, bagel bites, and ice cream sandwiches healthy. I promise I’m drinking lots of water and eating my vitamins though! So please don’t call the Pregnancy Police on me.

I’ve already let my hormones get the better of me whenever someone makes a comment about the baby “feeling what I’m feeling” or women who can’t get pregnant because “they worry about it too much”. Yeah. Hormones are no joke, man. And to be honest with you, I kind of like this ballsier, more aggressive version of myself. I don’t take any crap from anyone anymore. And I’ve noticed better results, too. I think I may try to keep a little of this new-found confidence after the baby is outside of me too. I’m sure my husband will be thrilled. Yeah, right.

I’m also having a really good time wearing tight, stripey clothing to show off this massive bump. People have been really great so far. I get a lot of doors held for me, offers to load groceries in my car, and nobody even randomly touches the belly. It’s awesome. Let’s hope it holds out til the end, which I hope is slightly sooner than 8 more weeks. If she comes a smidget early, that will be alright with me. We move to our new house on Monday, and so long as we can get the nursery in a mostly finished state before she debuts I’ll be happy. In the meantime, I’ll just try to keep as comfortable as I can despite the back pain, heartburn, and need to pee every five minutes!

From Chair to Garden Planter: A How-To

21 Jun

You may have seen my chair planter make its debut in my Design Throwdown post (and if you haven’t, go vote!) So, how do you take a chair from run-down curbside find,

Before:

To lovely aqua fabulousness?

After:

Read More to find out how!
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Design Throwdown!

21 Jun

If any of you are Weddingbee followers, perhaps you’ve heard of Mrs. Froyo. Her wedding was absolutely gorgeous, and her new home decor blog lives up to her beautiful high standards. Over on her blog Minted Life, she hosts a regular contest for DIYers, a Design Throwdown! And today, I’m the lucky challenger!! We decided on a dining chair makeover, and ended up with two completely different looks. So, are you ready for a throwdown?? Let’s go!

Team 1: Kelsey and Sean
Budget:
Chair-
$10 from a garage sale
Paint -
$6
Fabric-
$5 from Joann’s with a coupon
Staples-
already had
Sand paper-
already had
Total: $21

Team 2: Brooke
Budget:
Chair:
free, found curbside
Mason jars & Cans: free, leftover from wedding
Pot: free, came from Grandma’s garden
Pipe clamps: already owned
Paint/Spackle/Weather Stripping: already owned
Plants: $50. I totally splurged because I’ve wanted a succulent garden for ages now, and I had so many plants that I just had to have!
Total:
$50


Vote for your favorite before Thursday at 8 pm!  And, if you want to participate in a throwdown, email the lovely Kelsey over at Minted Life at kelsey@mintedlife.com. So vote, vote, vote!!

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