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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.

Shutter Console Table

17 Jun

So, what do you do with a $5 thrift store shutter? Build a fun entry table! Ever since I saw this image on HGTV’s website from the talented Layla Palmer of The Lettered Cottage, I’ve had shutter tables on the brain.

Source and Tutorial Here

Isn’t it amazing? For my own version, I wanted it to look more rustic and less cottage. Here were my supplies:

1 $5 thrift store shutter (which I’m now kind of pissed about, because I’ve passed by a trash pile twice with at least 4 FREE shutters!! Argh!), 4 table legs salvaged from a curbside find (the top of the table was a horrible formica-like material, so I just kept the legs) and some leftover barnwood from our cooler project.

To keep my costs at the $5 mark, I chose to assemble my table with my Kreg jig and some extra screws instead of buying fancy table leg hardware and hinges like the tutorial features. I also didn’t realize this until after I’d put my frame together, but the top of the legs were tapered, so it gives my table legs a splayed look. I really like it! It was definitely a happy accident. Though it’s looking a little rough in it’s unfinished state, check out the rustic goodness that this table is once it has a few coats of pretty white paint.

It’s the perfect entry table! I had originally intended to build this strictly to try my hand at Craigslist selling, but the Husbane and I liked it so much we decided to keep it. This is the perfect spot to keep his work boots, as well as our box of dog toys and my shopping tote. It’s also going to be a great catchall for the hubs. He likes to empty his pockets by the door when he gets home from work, and now we have a much better-looking option to hold all his crap.

I tried rummaging around to find a basket or container to hold his stuff, then was struck with this idea. Why not an upturned straw cowboy hat? It’s cute, right? Perfect for his wallet, keys and knife. It’s large enough to keep what he really needs there, yet small enough to discourage it from becoming filled with tons of crap like his current “shit-catcher” is. Seriously. That thing is holding no less than 5 pairs of gloves, 16 random papers, and a bunch of random trash. It’s horrible.

Not too shabby for five bucks, eh? We’ll have an entry table for the new place, and it looks rustic and cute and us. The perfect balance of our two styles. And isn’t that what marriage and design is all about?

Outdoor Tiled Table: A How-To

9 Jun

Whew! It’s finished. This 3-day marathon build definitely tried my limits as a third-trimester giant preggo. The hubs and I built a fabulous, sturdy, solid tiled table that we can use for outdoor dining. The best part was that all the tile was reclaimed. The square tiles are from my parents’ old outdoor kitchen which was replaced with a concrete top, and the larger darker tiles were some that I scored for free at our local Habitat for Humanity. Total cost on this project was $70, but thanks to a $50 Lowe’s gift card that I snagged with my credit card rewards points, it only set us back $20. For those of you looking to build your own, I’d say that $70 would be a good cost estimate. I made a bad judgement call to use the adhesive/grout premixed stuff, and needed a ton more than I assumed. So save yourself $35 and buy the separate adhesive and grout that you mix yourself and perhaps buy some tile if you can’t find any remnants.

Alrighty then! If you’re looking to build your own table, here’s what you’ll need.

• 2 – 4×4’s @ 6 feet treated/cedar posts ($12)
• 3 – 1×2’s @ 8 feet ($3)
• 3 – 2×4’s @ 8 feet ($6)
• 1 sheet 1/2 inch plywood ($15)
• Paint or stain
• Sandpaper
• Caulk
• tile, about 18 square feet (remnants are easy to find and piece together)
• adhesive and grout (don’t be like me unless you want to spend the big bucks. Buy grout you mix up yourself!)

Step 1: Determine your table size

We wanted a 6-seater, so we used our Farmhouse Table dimensions as a reference. I laid out the tiles I had onto our current table to figure out if I needed to make any adjustments. We chose to make the table 72 inches long and 38 inches wide. Use your own tile stash to decide how large you want your table to be. This project would also be great for a bar-height square table, or even a mosaic café table.

Step 2: Cut your plywood

We used a circular saw to make the cut, but you can also try your hand at a table saw too. I had to play photographer because at this point my belly is much too large to handle a lot of bending over and holding things up! You can use a large level and some clamps as a saw guide, if you’re worried about getting the cut perfectly straight.

Step 3: Lay out your pattern and make any necessary adjustments

After laying out our initial pattern, we decided to throw in some contrasting tile to add a bit of interest. Luckily fate loved us, because they happened to be in perfect ratio to the ones we already had. Sometimes it’s happy accidents that take your project from good to great. We had to cut down one of our long, thin pieces to make two short filler pieces for the two ends, but that was it. Our pattern was set!

Step 4: Cut the lumber for your frame

Cut your legs to your desired height. For us, that was 30 inches tall. For our 2×4 aprons, we cut 2 at 34 inches for our short size, and 2 at 65 inches for our long sides. Save the rest of your 2×4’s until you’re done with the initial assembly, then cut your interior supports to fit inside. I find it’s always best for us to measure each spot first before we cut it, because sometimes things aren’t perfectly square and the dimensions vary an eighth of an inch or so.

Step 5: Assemble the frame

Screw your 2×4’s together, and with the table “upside down” attach your legs, checking for square. We used 3 inch screws for this, just to make sure things stay sturdy. You never know when an impromptu bars session will be in order.

See? Super sturdy. Ain’t goin’ nowhere! At this point, use the remaining 2×4’s and drill in two cross supports for the plywood. If you want to throw in more for extra measure, feel free.

Step 6: Attach the plywood

We went a little crazy with the screws here (1 1/2 inch screws, to be precise) and drove them into the posts, frame and supports with abandon. Since they’ll be covered in tiles anyway, feel free to go a little nuts!

Step 7: Spread your adhesive and start laying tiles

Follow the instructions on your adhesive of choice, which is normally to spread a thin layer at a 45 degree angle, and make sure you have some grooves for the tiles to adhere to. We don’t have a fancy tile-laying trowel, so we used a large putty knife. We smeared it on about halfway, laid tile, then did the other half. Since this is a large table, we didn’t want anything drying out too quickly. Let your adhesive set according to your brand’s directions (ours needed 24 hours).

Step 8: Grout!

Got your tiles laid out all pretty? Is your adhesive fully set? Well, then, it’s time to grout! And I won’t give too many tips on this, since I majorly sucked at it. Packing it in was all fine and dandy, getting it off the tiles? Not so much. It was kind of a disaster. So, I’m blaming the 2-in-1 product I used, naturally. If I had normal grout, this would have been great! Right?? Anyway, follow the instructions on your grout, which are most likely to smear it into your lines at a 45 degree angle, and wipe off the excess with a damp sponge. Wipe, wipe, wipe! Because if it dries on there it is a pain in the buttocks to get it off. Trust me. I’ve been there.

Step 9: Cut and attach trim

To keep the sides from looking all messy, we decided to use 1×2’s for trim. If you’re deciding to stain, I would cut and sand and stain the trim before installing it. Since I was painting, I did the cutting and sanding, then we installed it with glue and nails.

Step 10: Paint!

This one’s pretty easy. I taped off the tile and grout to make sure I didn’t get any paint on them, and then painted two coats of Behr’s satin Harvest Brown to the trim, frame and legs. I plan to add a few coats of poly to give it some added moisture protection as well.

Step 11: Caulk

So, you’ve got your trim on and painted, now it’s time to fill in that last gap around the edges. We used a caulk gun and a credit card to give a smooth edge and fill in the gap between tile and trim. Wipe off the excess before it dries, or else you’ll be like me using a razor to scrape off the excess the next day. And then you have to touch up the paint, and that’s a mess too. So, do yourself a favor and clean as you go!

And…Done! That’s it! You now have a beautifully tiled table. You may want to seal it to keep your grout and tiles from getting dingy, but I’m going to hold off until after I’m done gestating. We really love our rustic, reclaimed tile table. It took 3 days because of all the curing time, but it was well worth it. $70 is still a lot cheaper than any 6 foot tiled table you’ll find out on the market, and you get to completely customize it to your taste and decor!


A Hand-Built Home: Kitchen, Living Room & Bathroom

7 Jun

I’m in the middle of about a dozen different projects right now, and it really irks me to post progress photos. So I’m going to take this opportunity and finish up my hand-built home series. Since I only have a handful of pieces left, I’m going to lump together what’s left.

Farmhouse Vanity:

Built With: Husbane. Our very first from-scratch project.
Cost: $110. $60 for the vanity, $50 for both sinks. The faucets were generously donated by my plumber father-in-law. We learned a bit about sanding and staining with this one, and we learned it the hard way. Follow the link to get all the details on how to create your own vessel sinks from every-day bowls.

Kitchen Island:

Built With: Husbane
Cost: $15. We had plywood leftover from our vanity project, and only had to purchase some 2×2’s, 1×2 furring strips, and a 1×4. If you’d like to build one of these yourself, follow the plans I submitted to

Simple Quilt Rack Console:

Built With: just me! Plus, this was the first thing I built purely of my own design. I think later I may add some 1×2 trim around the edges to make it look a bit more finished.
Cost: $30. I used some scrap wood from our Farmhouse Table legs to make these legs, a dowel rod, and a couple of nice 1×10’s.

Apothecary Cabinet:

Built With: mostly myself. The hubs helped rip a few MDF boards, but I tackled this one mainly on my own. And with strep throat. Now that’s dedication!
Cost: $40. All the MDF was free, but I had to buy the boards for the top and trim, screws, paint and hardware. Confession: I despise this MDF. It’s hardly the good stuff, it’s all bumpy and crumbly and horrible! The plan is to sell it for $40 at a garage sale this weekend to recoup our costs and build something a bit different for the new house.


Cost: Free! My dad is a huge thrifter, and already has an amazing vintage jukebox of his own. So when he came across this one he decided to give us a call. It doesn’t work quite yet, but we’re getting there. I just like the look of it, even though it still needs a really thorough cleaning.

Vintage Side Table:

Cost: Free! This was a grandma original. I love the look of it so much, and our adorable retro-looking radio looks perfect on it. I don’t even feel the urge to refinish it, which is pretty rare for me.

So what’s the damage for the rest of the house? Total: $195

Let’s sum it all up:

Master Bedroom: $158
Office/Guest/Nursery: $200
Dining Room: $285
Kitchen/Living/Bathroom: $195

House Grand Total: $838. For well under a thousand bucks, we’ve made 2 beds, 2 benches, a changing table, a desk, 3 shelves, 2 bookcases, a kennel, 2 nightstands, a closet organizer, a step-stool, a rocker makeover, a dining table, a kitchen island, a quilt rack, and a media cabinet.

Whew! That’s quite a list! We’ve been busy bees. That doesn’t even include things we’ve built as gifts or for friends. Gotta keep those saws sharp!

A Hand-built Home: Dining Room

6 Jun

So I’ve covered our master bedroom and nursery, now it’s time to see how much our dining room cost us to furnish. I’ll kick things off with one of the best things the hubs and I have built together.

Farmhouse Table:

Built with: Husbane
Cost: $120. We splurged on poplar legs and 1 inch boards, which are twice as expensive as their two inch counterparts. The reason the top looks so fantastic? Well, that’s my happy mistake. I was super stubborn when my husband told me how to apply gel stain, and refused to take his advice. I left it on way too long, which left it goopy and sticky and horrible. Oh, did it look bad. So, six hours of sanding later, I finally got it all back to smooth, bare wood. Which made it look sculpted and really hand crafted once I put the stain on correctly. Win! Kind of.

Rustic Bench:

Built With: Husbane
Cost: $15. We had some plywood leftover from our bathroom vanity project (well, a lot really) and used a portion to create this rustic bench. I stained the top to match the table, then painted the legs white. It’s my favorite seat in the house. I let my boxer climb up and sit next to me while I eat lunch so I don’t get so lonely. She does a great job antiquing the piece with her claws ;) And don’t worry, she doesn’t eat at the table with me. I’m not that crazy!

IKEA Lack knock off Bookcases:

Built with: A coworker in 2008
Cost: $80 for both. I built these for my apartment when I lived in Dallas. I still love them, and boy how I miss my swingin’ single digs. There’s one time in your life when you can get away with chic purple couches, and that’s when you’re a single working gal. Now I’m all married and stuck with our comfy rustic leather-and-suede couch. But at least I got to keep my bookcases! You can see their placement in my dining room before-and-after.

Chairs and Highchair:

Done With: Husbane. I didn’t build these, but we did repaint them.
Cost: $70. $12.50 per chair, and $20 for the highchair. I’m really happy with that price, as everything is still quite sturdy, and looks great with a fresh bright coat of white gloss paint!

Antique Buffet:

You can spot this piece in the right side of the after photo. It belonged to the Husbane’s grandmother, and originally served as a sewing table. I really love the shape, and am working up the guts to refinish it. I can’t decide if I want to paint it a punchy color or just restain and gloss in a darker shade. It was free, but it’s certainly an heirloom, so I don’t want to muck it up!

Dining Room Total: $285. Considering most people pay twice that for just the table and chairs, I’m really satisfied! This probably won’t be the exact setup of furniture in our new place, but like my nursery I want to finish up this series before we move to our new home next month.

To recap:

Master bedroom total: $158
Nursery total: $200

Running total: $643. For three fully furnished rooms! I’ll have to break it all down at the end and see what our entire house cost. I haven’t run the figures yet, but I’m thinking it’ll be under $1000. We’ll see!

A Hand-Built Home: Nursery/Office/Guestroom

19 May

As you can tell by the title, our second bedroom plays a lot of roles. What started out as a guest room slash office needed to morph into a third category when we found out last November that we were expecting a wee one come summer. As money has been tight for us newlyweds, we’ve had to get creative when it came to furnishing the room. So, we built things. Lots of things. And refinished a few hand-me-down pieces on the cheap. So starting from the top, here’s our big, heavy daybed.

A Simple Daybed

Built With: Little SIL Julie.
Cost: $60. We were gifted more salvaged lumber from my dad, and while it helped keep costs down, it definitely wasn’t the greatest for this piece. I think I need to give it a bit more of a rustic look, rather than trying to make it look slick and polished when it will never achieve that.

$10 Gallery Ledges

Built With: Me, myself and I! One of my first projects to do alone. I still love them.
Cost: $30. So it really was $10 for each ledge! They’re 4′ long, so waaaaay cheaper than the Pottery Barn ones.

Parson’s Tower Desk

Built With: Me (again!) By this point I was getting more confident in my building abilities. I had to have the hubs help me out a bit with ripping down the mdf, but other than that this was all me. And it was the first time I used our Kreg Jig! Fun stuff.
Cost: $20. I already had the MDF gifted from a friend, so I only had to buy a few 2×2’s, and those run pretty cheap. Plus, the glass top was also free as it was leftover from the previous desk, and the fabric was made from remnants of my DIY duvet cover you see on the daybed.

Changing Table

Built With: Bestie E. It was her first build, and I think we did a really good job together!
Cost: $15. Again, the shelves were made with MDF I had on hand, so I only had to buy a few 1×2 and 1×3 furring strips. I already had the paint and cording too. What can I say? I like being thrifty.

Fun and Funky Side Table

Built With: Just me again.
Cost: $15. One 4′ 1×12 and a 50% off tray from Hobby Lobby did the trick. I used fabric scraps and splurged on some Oops paint from Lowe’s that really matched the coral-red shade from my fabric.

Vintage Step Stool

Built With: me
Cost: $15. Love this little stool. The plan is to take it to my baby shower and have everybody sign it so when Charlie gets older it can have some sentimental value.

Vintage TV storage:

Made With: The Husbane.
Cost: Free! I’m including this because even though it’s not “hand-built”, we did a lot of work on it without buying a new piece. We painted his grandma’s old tv in a fun bright lime, then painted the inside blue, added a shelf and a chalkboard door on the front. The dial still works too, which is fun. It’s been great storage for a lot of my craft supplies and some of the baby things we’ve already been given. It’s actually quite roomy, and also serves as a great tv stand!


Made With: myself
Cost: $45. Again, this wasn’t a build (I can do lots of simple looking pieces, but nothing quite so fancy as a turned-arm rocking chair) but I did have to rip off all the old fabric and take it apart to give it a whole new look. Rocker’s are big-ticket items for nurseries, so $45 for one is a total steal. Plus I got to customize it entirely to our decor. I’m so happy that not only do we get a cheap, comfy, cute piece, but that it’s the same rocker that not only my husband was rocked in, but his mother as well. That’s a lot of history, and we get to keep that tradition alive.

So what’s the damage on this giant lot of furniture?

Grand Total: $200. That’s right, folks. For less than the price of a Walmart crib, we have an entire room of furniture. That’s pretty flippin’ sweet. And since we scored our crib at a resale shop for $85, we’re still under $300 for the whole shebang. Now that’s something I can be proud of!

To keep the tally running, here’s the cost of our master bedroom, the other room in this post series.Master Bedroom Total: $158

So our current cost is $358 for the house. I’ve got one last (great)room to cover,  and it’ll be exciting to know just how much we spent on furnishing our home!

Fun and Funky Side Table

28 Apr

I’ve really been kicking my butt into gear on this nursery/office/guest room, and while I’d love to blame my nesting instinct, I’m pretty sure it’s more my obsessive nature about projects. I’m not one to ever drag things out, I like to get it done as quickly as humanly possible, much to my husband’s chagrin. So, to complete my little rocking/feeding nook next to the daybed, I built a cute, fun end table. I knew that I’d need a place to set a lamp, keep a phone charger, and perhaps set down an empty bottle or drink for me or the hubs while we snuggle the little one. Instead of another square-ish furniture piece (which the room is full of between my desk/daybed/changing table/crib) I wanted something with curving lines. Something like this.

And for all you peeps who appreciate bloggers who keep it real, I’ll share with you the wide angle version of this shot…

Who needs to clean for the perfect shot, just scoot stuff over and crop it out!

Since my stool only called for about 4 feet of a 1×12, I decided to splurge with the extra six bucks to upgrade to an 8 footer. I cut two 24 inch pieces, and had my husband measure and cut out a slit in the middle of each, just about 12 inches up on the boards. This way, when you slide them together into each other (like a puzzle) they fit together in perfect square, completely eliminating the need for a bunch of screws and holes to fill. Cool huh? All those projects in 3D design weren’t wasted on me in college! Haha. I then free-handed the shape on one side of a board, cut it out with my jigsaw (the Dremel just couldn’t cut it, literally, that sucker went all over the place!) and then traced that pattern to the remaining 3 sides. So I got this curvalicious shape for the base.

The top is where things get really fun. I wanted a simple table top from Lowe’s, but the smallest size they had was an 18 inch diameter, and that was way too big. So I got creative, and snagged this metal tray in the garden section of Hobby Lobby for $5 because garden was 50% off. Score! It was green with white dots, which may have been perfect, but next to the green and white dotted chair, it looked redundant. Plus, the greens didn’t really match, so it just looked weird. So I sprayed it with white paint to prime it, then painted it with the coral-ish red from the stool. I used my drill press to drill 4 holes into the bottom where the base would line up to create a sturdy top.

I really wanted to pull in some more fabrics from the room, so with my trusty Mod Podge I added some more Joel Dewberry fabric. Word to the wise, I didn’t paint the whole top part of the tray red, just the edges and some overlap from that. I thought the fabric would be opaque, but it’s not. You can totally see the red paint below it. Bummer. It does add to the shabby-chic vibe though, so it’s not a total loss. And I can always just cut another circle and pop it on top, to hopefully make it a little less see-through. For now, I’ve got a good soft lamp for lighting, a magnetic coaster (which is totally awesome, by the way, because it sticks to the table!) and a pretty bird. I’d like to add a charging station to dock my phone to as well. Other than that, I’m sure it will get loaded down with pacifiers and bottles and all sorts of other baby stuff.

It’s so much fun to be designing and building my own pieces! I really need to start doing more of that. As much as I love building Ana White plans, I really want to branch out and start creating more of my own work. Someday, this may make a fun side-gig. For now, it’s just a cheap way to get exactly what I want in my spaces!

Knocked Off: Vintage Step Stool

28 Apr

When I posted about my chair makeover, a great reader (holla at ya Jacque!) suggested a step stool for the foot of the chair to aid in rocking. I thought this was a fabulous idea, and instead of buying something cheap from a big box store (and after searching consignments and craigslist with no luck) I decided to build this amazing Vintage Step Stool from Ana White for a cool 15 dollars.

I used my Dremel Trio tool to do the cutouts, and it worked really well for this project. My table saw helped to make all the angled cuts. Somehow I messed up my measurements, and needed to use some scrap 1×12 to make the bottom shelf, as I made it about 3/4 inches too long for my 1×8. Whoops! Oh well. I’m not a machine, so nothing I build is going to be perfect.

The look I was going for was weathered shabby-chic, so I put on a thin base coat of white gloss, painted on some crackle medium (this time I followed the directions, so it actually crackled!) and followed it up with a watered-down, thin coat of the perfect shade of red from the Oops! paint section at Lowe’s. Gotta love that! I sanded the edges so the white would show through, and then buffed out a few places on the tops too. It’s the perfect height for my chair, plus it helps me reach the top of my closet much easier so I can access my craft supplies again. Down the road it’ll also be good for little Charlie to use at the sink to brush her teeth and wash her hands. See? Foresight! I love multi-purpose pieces. This is why you’ll never see a melon-baller in my kitchen ;)

Here’s how it fits in my new little rocking nook. I forsee a lot of snuggling in this chair, and rocking with that stool. You can also snatch a sneak peek at the little end table I built too, but that’s for tomorrow!

Knocked Off: Lydia Baby Bed

22 Apr

My photog friend Suzy of TriCoast Photography (who shot my boudoir pics) sent me a link to an Etsy shop selling stunning photography props. Gorgeous, antiqued baby beds perfect for taking newborn shots or even a little girl’s doll bed.


Does it look familiar to anybody else? It’s modeled after the fabulous Lydia Bed from Ana-White!

Queen Size Lydia Bed from Ana-White

Amazing, yes? I sure think so! The little doll-size version is also really cute. Since it’s not an exact copy of an Ana plan, the Etsy seller is all-clear to be selling doll beds inspired by this beautiful creation. And since Suzy asked me for one, I was super excited to try my hand at miniaturizing it too!

Isn’t it cute?? I love it! I only had to buy one 8 foot 2×2, four finials for about 60 cents each and some $5 trim for the detailing. I used some spare MDF for the side rails, headboard and footboard, and the decorative end pieces. I’m not really thrilled with this MDF, it seems like every time I use it I’m underwhelmed. It works for the piece since I gave it a really weathered, rustic finish. I think it’ll be great for photographs! Including my own little one this August.

The finishing was definitely an experiment. I painted a base coat of a light tan, then tried a crackle medium. Sadly it was way too humid for it to dry, so it didn’t work. At all. I topped it with a coat of white paint, and should have thinned it with water. After it dried (sans-crackle) I tried another coat of white, this time thinned with water. Then I sanded the edges so the brown would show through. The finials look the best, I think.

See the weathered, antique look? It helps the bumpiness of the MDF blend in with the rest of the piece. If I ever build another one (as a gift, because I’m still not quite confident enough to sell my work yet) I’ll use plywood. Dimensions-wise, I decided on a “mattress” size of 20 inches long and 16 inches wide. I picked up some two inch foam at Hobby Lobby that was 22×22, and with my 40% off coupon about five bucks. I made a slipcover with cast-off t-shirts, with a pocket on the bottom so you can pull it out and wash it if you need to. With all the newborns TriCoast photographs, I’m sure there are going to be accidents here and there!

So there you have it. A teeny Lydia bed for a mere $20. I can’t wait to do more experimenting with my building!

Wanna Build Like Me?

26 Mar

One of the coolest features on Ana White’s new website is the ability to post brag posts and plans. It’s really fun to see what others are building, and how much it cost them to do it. Another bonus is that you can submit your own plans for things that you built that aren’t from the site. So far, I’ve submitted three of my originals. If you’re interested in tackling any of my projects, you can click on over to and take a look! *Fun Fact: none of my plans cost more than $30 to build. So why wait?


Simple Kitchen Island: $25

IKEA- inspired Lack shelves: $30 each

Modern Quilt Rack: $30


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