Sunday, December 30, 2012

Operation Pantry Remodel: Phase 2

Hope you all enjoyed your holidays! It was my first year ever with just the two (three) of us. I missed my family but it was nice to be our own family too. 

Here's our one and only holiday photo (in case you missed it on instagram or facebook):

Susie was a good girl and dressed up for the occasion.

Now that the holidays are over, it's that time again...

Yep, we've jumped right back in to our pantry remodel!

Let's go back to where we left off last time:

I came up with a plan, purchased a few boxes and glass jars, and was ready for the next step.

During this month-long hiatus, I was still stuck on what to do with the very top shelf. Should I add more boxes/baskets? Keep everything out in the open? Nothing was really working for me.

And then.... last week... out of nowhere, it hit me.

Ditch the top shelf altogether and get a medicine cabinet. This made perfect sense for so many reasons:

1) I could utilize the otherwise wasted vertical space up to the ceiling
2) Concealed storage without having to pull down an entire basket to grab one thing
3) Items inside would be lined up in a single row, easy to find and sort
4) The shelf below this will have tall jars which I can now easily lift out without a shelf above in the way (the cabinet is only 7" deep)
5) The bottom nook makes a perfect spice rack, which I hadn't yet figured out a solution for.

This cabinet from Lowe's (Estate by RSI) just happened to be the exact width of my pantry and the most inexpensive model I could find. Plus it was white so I wouldn't have to repaint. It was meant to be.

With my dilemma solved, I had new motivation and excitement to get the ball rolling.

I went to Lowe's to find my shelves, and found this 24"x72" ready to paint board for $31. It was perfect because it was the exact width of my pantry, and when cut into 4 pieces, it was also the exact depth I needed (18"):

Here's a closer look:

4 shelves for $32, not bad.

I'm only using 3 shelves, so it's good to have an extra just in case I need it later on. Or for other projects.

I also picked up some 1x2" primed MDF pieces (you can see them on the left in the photo above). These will be my shelf supports—more on that in the next post.

Lowe's had my cabinet in stock so I picked that up also:

I'll be swapping out the stock knobs for cute ones from Hobby Lobby.

After removing the useless bifold door, it was time to clean out the pantry:

Then it was shelf demo time.

I was left with some nasty anchor holes...

The whole thing was basically just a mess from lazy construction practices... so I took some time (but not too much) to patch and sand everything down.

Then, it was time for paint!

I decided to use the leftover paint from our sunroom ceiling—Valspar's Tropical Mist.

Here's a mid painting shot, via instagram:

Once the walls were dry, I added a fresh coat of white to the baseboards:

And finally, Brad installed a couple recessed lights this morning:

They're a little off center because there's some piping in the attic in the way. But the bulb direction is adjustable and you can't see them unless you're on the ground, so no big deal.

We put them on the same circuit as the rest of the kitchen lighting, and they are dimmable as well.

Here's the pantry as it stands now:

It looks *way* lighter in these photos than it does in real life... I hate this lens. Anyone want a Canon 10-22? Bleh.

Here we go... I just ran into the kitchen and took this from my iphone. It's grainy, but realistic:

See... it's very blue in there. A little jarring but it will come together once everything is installed and in place.

Before I jump into phase 3 (the not so fun part of shelf installation), I'll share what I've been scheming for the fun part: fabric.

Luckily, Brad agreed to let me leave the bifold off and hang a curtain. Since then, I've been keeping an eye out at every fabric/home improvement store I've stepped into, hoping to fall in love with something.

Here's my vision: mostly aqua and (gasp, a new color!) yellow. Something floral or organic or graphic (but not too bold). Seems like there would be tons out there, right? Nope. Or maybe I'm just too picky.

I spent entirely way too much time searching the world for "the one", and never really found it. There were countless close calls, so eventually I had to settle for the best option.

Here were the final contenders (all via Etsy):

Which one is your favorite?

Can you guess which I finally settled on?





I *almost* pulled the trigger on the bottom left, but decided the colors weren't exactly right.

So McKenzie Bohemia in Aqua by Dena Designs it is.

I purchased it here and it came to $22.22 shipped for 2.5 yards. I'll use stitch witchery to make it into a curtain, and of course document that whole process later.

Hopefully it will be yellow enough in person—but if it isn't, I have other plans to add a splash of yellow. And I'm pretty excited about that project.

Cross your fingers for me that all goes well and we have shelves and a cabinet installed next week!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

O Christmas Tree

True story: we've never had a Christmas tree. (we as in, Brad and I alone). This is largely due to the fact that we've always traveled to see my family during that time and it wasn't worth the effort.

This year I put a stop to that. It will be our first time with just the two of us on Christmas, and it just wouldn't feel the same without a tree.

My friend had one in her attic that she wasn't using so I happily accepted and began scheming all the different ornaments and garlands and decorations I'd fill it with.

Well, turns out the tree was about 1/3 the size I was visualizing, so I had to scale down my plans a bit.

The tree is little but it's cute, and it's ours. Our very first tree:

For the ornaments, I made a bunch of yarn poms one night. The little ones went on my mantel tree and the big ones I saved for this tree.

I had pinned several more DIY ornaments to make, but the poms filled the tree pretty well, and I just couldn't find the time. So those will be reserved for next year.

To fill in the tree some, I picked up 30 feet of burlap ribbon (50% off at Hobby Lobby) and draped it like so:

It helped it look a little less Charlie Brown-ish.

For the tree topper, what else is more fitting in our house than a starfish?

I grabbed a smaller one I had lying around, applied some hot glue to the back and twisted a paperclip to secure it.

I wanted to give the small tree some height, so I propped it up on a wicker ottoman from Ikea:

And finally, the tree skirt.

After seeing them everywhere on Pinterest, I decided to go with a no-sew ruffle skirt. But first I needed a base. I found a 41" generic felt skirt at the Dollar Tree (for, you guessed it, $1):

Then I headed to Hobby Lobby to pick up some burlap (the same material that I used on the Merry garland on my mantel)

Sadly... they only had 1.25 yards left. Yikes. I took a chance and bought it anyway, because this was yesterday afternoon and I was determined to finish the project that night. I also bought some plain white fabric in case I needed a plan B and had to alternate rows with burlap/white ruffles. I really wanted it to be all burlap though.

I ended up with about 5.25" for the width of each strip (which meant no fabric was wasted)

After cutting everything out and doing a quick test fit, I realized that I was short. Which meant I had to go easy on the ruffle volume, and make them more of a pleat.

Because I had no room for mistakes, I measured and marked my rows on the felt (5 rows total):

I figured this would take a while, but it actually went by super fast. And easy. Here's the first row completed after just a few minutes:

And the finished product:

So there you go... something a little different than your standard ruffle skirt.

Here's the daytime/lights off look:

And with the lights on, different times of day/night:

I have no idea what's up with all the green dots. They are not there in person, it's a weird lens reflection thing. Any smart camera people out there?

And there you have it!  Next year I'll step it up a notch and get an adult sized tree, but I really do love this one and the way it transforms our home into a warm & Christmasey happy place.

I'm not sure if I'll be back before the holidays are over—I've been blessed with 15 hour work days this month—so if you don't hear from me, I hope everyone has a wonderful rest of December! And you can always follow me on instagram @jennasuedesign, cause I'm always on there :)

Happy Holidays!

This post is linked up to DIY Showoff!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Giveway Time!

Dropping in this morning with some giveaway news!

I've teamed up with one of my favorite bloggers, Jen from IHeart Organizing, to bring you an exclusive Jenna Sue Design Giveaway for $50 shop credit. Just in time for Christmas!

Details and entry form over at her blog. Good luck!


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Easy DIY Christmas Mantel

I'm baaaack!

These past few weeks have been pretty crazy. I spent a week back home for Thanksgiving, and business has been non-stop (can't complain there!). I've also been battling a sore throat/incessant cough for 3 weeks... and that is getting old. Needless to say, there hasn't been much house related activities since the last post.

However, I made sure to carve out time to do some Christmas crafting and our mantel was the first order of business.

Here was the fall setup:

And now, as of yesterday, here is the holiday look:

Everything was DIY'ed/repurposed, so let's go through them all, shall we?

I made these cute little snowflake/yarm pom poms as Christmas tree ornaments and decided to add a few smaller ones to the mantel branches.

I don't have photos of this process, but it's quite easy. You just need yarn and scissors. There's a bunch of tutorials floating around, I like this one.

Next is this wood and fabric peace sign:

This shape may look familiar to you:

Yes, it is the back side of my thankful sign!

I knew I wanted another wordy sign for the holiday mantel, and I loved my little wood banner, so I decided I'd flip it and repurpose the backside to say something else. Now I can use it for all my fall/winter holidays... I think it's pretty much the best idea I've ever came up with in life.

I love this tutorial because it's easy and cheap and there's so many possibilities.

I first bought 1/2 yard of some fun turquoise and beige chevron fabric at Hobby Lobby (came to around $2, and I have plenty extra to use for other projects down the road).

I applied a layer of modge podge onto the wood, and smoothed the fabric over it.

After letting it dry/set for a few minutes, I flipped it over and grabbed my Xacto knife.

I've never cut fabric with a knife before so I wasn't sure how well it was going to work, but luckily, it cut like butter.

All done!

For the lettering, I wasn't sold on trying to paint/draw directly on the fabric, and I wanted something a little more dimensional. After no luck finding the right sized wooden letters in the style I wanted, I decided to pick up a sheet of white foam (for 89 cents at HL) and cut it out myself.

After measuring the sign, I printed out the word PEACE in the font of my choice (I used Gotham Black) and taped the paper over my foam.

Then it was just a matter of carefully cutting out each letter:

Once they were cut, I lined them up on my sign and used painter's tape as my guide so they would be straight:

Then I applied modge podge to the back with a paintbrush, and voila! $3 Peace sign.

Now for the rest of the mantel...

First, the trees.

After gathering inspiration on Pinterest, I settled on these three designs (there are so many things you can make into a tree... I can make a different one every year for the rest of my life)

Unfortunately, I have no photos of the process because a) two of the trees were made during a craft night with friends, and no cameras were present, and b) I had step by step photos of the pinecone tree, but forgot they were on my SD card when I deleted everything by accident.... oops.

I'll try to recreate the process in words.

For the cone bases, I used large sheets of cardstock weight paper, rolled them into a cone, taped it so it was secure, and cut the bottom so it would sit flat. The paper tree and pinecone tree bases are both made this way.

For the paper tree, I used an old book of hymns and cut out a bunch of leaf shapes in varying sizes (small, medium, large). Before applying the leaves, I wrapped the entire cone with the hymn sheets and hot glued them (so you wouldn't see any paper underneath the gaps). Starting from the bottom and the largest leaves, I glued each one individually and worked my way across, alternating each row. Easy peasy.

For the felt tree, I can't take the credit. I found it on Pinterest and fell in love. I already had the foam cone so it was perfect. Tutorial here.

The pine cone tree was a last minute decision. I had a bag of crushed seashells that I originally wanted to use, but it did not turn out as I had anticipated.

For plan B, my friend had a bunch of pine cones she had collected and wasn't using, so she let me cut them up for this project. I first spray painted my paper cone dark brown to camouflage any of the gaps. After carefully trimming each pinecone piece off, I organized them into piles by size (small, medium, large). Then I sat in front of the TV and individually glued each one down in a row, using the larger pieces at the bottom and smaller ones at the top (same process as the leaf tree). One and a half episodes of Chelsea Lately later, and it was good to go.

For another Christmas/wintery touch, I placed a 5x7 of my Deer silhouette print with a charcoal gray wood grain into an Ikea frame.

PS... if you follow my facebook or are on my mailing list you know this already, but I'm offering $8 off this print (in any size, background and color) until Christmas with the code REINDEER at checkout.

That would make the print shown above just $5! Christmas score.

Finally, we have this new banner that I whipped up yesterday afternoon:

Materials needed for this:

-Canvas fabric (1/2 yard is plenty)
-Paper (thick is better)
-Spray adhesive
-Inkjet printer
-Xacto knife (or scissors and a steady hand)
-Twine, string or rope
-Hot glue

After deciding on a slogan I wanted to use and picking up my materials, I determined the size I wanted for the flags: 4.25" x  5.5" (half of a letter sized sheet of paper—you'll see why).

I found this tutorial on pinterest and was intrigued, because if it worked as well looked like it did, this would open up a whole new world of decorating possibilities.

So I found a stiff piece of paper, applied a coating of spray adhesive, and smoothed out my canvas material:

It instantly bonded and didn't need to dry. I then used a ruler and Xacto knife to trim the fabric to the paper size:

This worked just as well as my Peace sign.

The paper I chose ended up being too thick to feed through the printer (it wasn't even really paper, more like extra thick card stock), so I went though the process again using regular thick letter sized paper and it worked like a charm.

To simplify things, I designed it so that two flags would fit perfectly onto one sheet.

Then, using a template I had designed, I cut each sheet in half and notched out my little flag shape at the bottom:

Once each flag was trimmed, I simply pulled the fabric off the back and it was perfectly free of any glue or residue. Like nothing had even happened. Amazing.

After each flag was completed, I lined them up and spaced them out to fit the mantel. Then I laid my twine across them, folded the top over and secured with hot glue.

Both the Peace sign and Merry banner were completed over a few hours yesterday afternoon, for under a few bucks each. These are my favorite types of projects!

I still have Christmas tree I'm finishing up, so that will be coming next. I didn't forget about the pantry either... I just need to make it through the crazy holiday season before I tackle anything that large :)

I'm off to prepare this delicious pumpkin dessert for a dinner party tonight. Have a very Merry first week of December.... until next time!

Linking up to the DIY Showoff!