Sunday, July 22, 2012

$5 DIY Key Rack

Well hello there. I'm back... with an actual house project this time! It's small, but it's something.

Remember this catch-all phone charger/keyholder/mail basket we're using in the kitchen?

We haven't exactly been using the "key holder" part. It's alllll the way across the kitchen (all 5 steps) so usually by that time I forget and just leave my keys in my purse. Which becomes a problem when Brad is running around before work at 5am going through every one of my purses trying to find them.

So he suggested a conveniently placed "key holder" station so we both always know where the keys are. And I jumped at the chance for a new project.

Step #1 (as always): Hop on pinterest to see some creative DIY solutions.

I found a few that caught my eye, such as this:



and this,


But I wasn't entirely sold on any of them so I headed to Hobby Lobby to browse the aisles for inspiration.

I ended up walking down each aisle, twice, for at least an hour, until I discovered this guy in the wood section:

Retail price: $4, on sale for $2 (can I just live at Hobby Lobby, please?)

I didn't know what I wanted to do with it yet, but I knew the possibilities were endless. I considered paint, fabric, wrapping paper, rope, seashells, rocks, 3D numbers/words... so many decisions.

Finally I decided to hop on the computer and see if I could come up with a simple design to print out. I ended up with this:

Sweet & simple.

I took it down to Office Max to have it laminated for durability and protection. The lamination cost $2 (for a 12x6" sheet), although I had rewards credit from their ink recycling program so my total: $0.

I decided to paint the wood white for a cleaner look. I sanded down the rough spots and used semigloss white spray paint.

Once it was dry, I test fit a template for cutting out the shape. This was really trial and error. I used an Xacto knife and just kept carving away at the rounded edge until it was a perfect fit.

Once the size was right, I traced it onto the back of the laminate and carefully cut out my shape:

All done:

I picked up 4 white screw-in hooks at Lowe's for $2 (reason #205492 Lowe's > HD: HD only had gold hooks. Lowe's had plenty of nice white and silver ones.)

I measured out the correct spacing and screwed them in by hand:

Finally, it was time to get this bad boy up on the wall.

It had originally come with two eye hooks positioned on the top so they could slide over nails. I wasn't a fan of the visible hardware, so I removed them and decided we could just screw the back right into the wall.

Ignore the oopsies on the top right...

The right screw landed in a stud, so this thing is plenty sturdy, and nice and flat against the wall which I love.

Finally, I applied some double sided tape to the back of my print:

And secured it into place:

And now we have ourselves a key holder station, adjacent to the garage door which we enter from every day.



Let's hope we actually use it like we're supposed to now :)

Cost Breakdown:

Wooden holder: $2
Hooks: $2
Laminate: $2, but $0 for me
Spray Paint: $0 (already had)
Total: $6, spent $4

Anyone else make or buy any key holders lately? I was so tempted to just buy a pre-made one at Hobby Lobby, but DIYing is a lot more fun.

Speaking of which... I picked up a few more things while I was at HL for my newly improved office. I'm not quite done with the project yet, but it will be discussed in the next post. Here's a sneak preview:

One last thing, business related: My huge map poster sale is currently live at!

You have to register to preview and purchase the deals, but there's always really neat items on here so it's totally worth it. My poster sizes never go on sale, so grab em while you can (and tell your friends, too!). The sale ends Tuesday at 8am PST/11am EST. If you are a member, you can view my sale page here (if not, sign up here to view the deal!)

Be back soon with an office update!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Ramblings of a Business Woman...

Hi. Remember me? I know it has been a while... so thanks for hanging in there, loyal Jenna Sue-vians.

It has been brought to my attention that many of you have been waiting on an update, and well, I can't give you a house update. It just does not exist. But if you would like an update on me, read on... (warning: very long and random ramblings ahead)

My recent MIA status can be attributed to the fact that my entire life revolves around this one thing. This thing I have always wanted and worked so hard for. Now that it's a reality, you can be sure I'm grabbing this thing by the horns and taking it as far as it can go.

I know some of you are wishing and struggling to get on the same path, so this rambling may be relevant. (feel free to continue even if it's not.)

I've been working at this business for well over a year now (exclusively for 9 months). I wrote about my journey once before on my last day of being an employee. It's still very surreal and humbling to me, and I hope I never lose that feeling, because I believe that is what fuels you to continue and aim higher.

Jacksonville Magazine, June 2012

Growing up we didn't have a ton of money. This was made apparent by my group of classmates starting in the second grade. I transferred to the "good" elementary school across town, where the kids all lived in fancy two story houses (anyone living in 2 stories was rich, of course), and they wore brand name clothes and had cable television and got to travel and use good shampoo and conditioner (which, to me, was Pantene Pro-V). Instead I was stuck with channels 3, 10, 13 and 48 (I can't believe I still remember them), yard sale clothes and Suave.

Don't get me wrong, I had an amazing childhood and it was full of love and happy memories and simple pleasures (the kind that money can't buy) and I wouldn't trade it for the world. But I never forgot the feeling of wanting more from life, and those deep-seated desires are what push me today. I want to succeed for my family and be able to buy them nice things and make them proud. I also want that private yacht and an island with my name on it in the Maldives, damnit, and I'm gonna do what it takes to get there.

This mentality has given birth to constant upward growth since day 1... and then summer hit. I knew it was coming. Every month cannot be more profitable than the previous forever. So I did what I always do when things get slower... pour myself into every aspect of my work and figure out how to make it better. Create new designs, reach out in social media, add new site content, add more site content, streamline my shipping process, source new/better vendors, organize my finances and finally figure out this sales tax thing (a total nightmare in Florida, btw) and the list goes on.

Custom city map in a Detroit Starbucks

The thing to realize is, for as many things as you think you have figured out, there will always be something new to come along and throw you for a loop. Sometimes they are good changes and sometimes bad--but you have to learn to adapt. You would think that after all this time I would have my system perfected, but no. I still find myself adjusting colors and printer settings to get an exact match, and trying to hunt down unsmashable shipping tubes to protect the prints, and searching for better and more cost effective packaging solutions, and so forth. The quest for perfection never ends (not if you want to grow, at least.)

Print production line, Christmas 2011

I think the hardest thing for me is lack of control. For the most part, I run every aspect of my business and make all the decisions. I know what I need to do and quite honestly don't trust anyone with something this significant to me. Which also means I'm working 100 hours a week because I wear every hat in this business (owner, graphic designer, web designer, advertising, marketing, accounting, customer service, shipping, logistics, delivery driver...). But I love it, because I'm accountable and don't have to stress about anyone else not doing their job (and of course no one is going to work as hard for you as you do for yourself).

30x40" Buenos Aires City Map

But there will always be areas beyond my control such as my printing vendor, postal workers, technology and machines (my nemesis), and sometimes (but rarely) even customers. Lately I've been dealing with these issues moreso than normal, and I'm not gonna lie, it's stressful. I feel like business and life would be perfect if only it were all in my control. There is nothing more frustrating than having to rely on someone/something else that lets you down, especially when it impacts such a crucial part of your life.

Yesterday's PO trip

I had hoped by now we'd be starting a family and buying a larger house to grow into. That hasn't happened yet, and is perhaps the hardest to deal with in the "things I cannot control" category. As much as I love this house and am proud of all the work that went into it... I'm getting the itch to move on again.

I'm not sure how normal this is, but it seems I have a "2 year itch" biologically wired into me. All of my relationships since age 15 have lasted about that long (excluding Brad, thank goodness), we decided to move out of our first house after 2 years, and here we are, approaching our second year in this house and I'm daydreaming about our next house. For whatever reason, I can only deal with routine for so long before I need something big to come along and change up my life.

I have been feeling a little off lately without a house project to work on, and I wonder if it's the lack of a sense of accomplishment, or just the pressure to keep blogging... which I certainly don't want. Business has to come first. The need to remodel my living spaces with always be with me though, which means this blog will probably be around for a while--even though I can't always be updating it with new projects (and instead you'll get a big irrelevant mess of a post like this).

Only time will tell when we sign the papers on our next house, but I'll have to suck it up and stick it out a bit longer because of this little rule that self employed people have to have 2 years of tax returns before their income counts. Sigh. Come on, April 2013!

So, in conclusion, that is where I'm at if you were wondering. And to make this post more relevant, I'm still trying to decide if I want to spend upwards of 5k on a built in closet system or add it to the down payment fund on the next house. What would you do?

If you've made it this far.... you get a free print. Just kidding, but I am having an epic map poster sale starting Saturday 7/21 here. 3 days only, get it while you can!

I promise I'll be back.