Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Little Craft Projects

I've had some little craft projects here and there.

Frame Fix.

I have this adorable picture of my whole family from when I was little. When my parents moved they had an extra framed copy so I got it. The frame is pretty nice and so is the mat. I wanted to put it on my frame wall, but that means it has to have a black element to fit in nicely. However, because the mat has a gold accent I had to keep some of the gold on the frame.

I took the part I didn't want painted, taped it, and sprayed the rest black with a gloss coat. I was pleased with how it came out... except the stupid tape pulled off some of the shiny silver leaf. I did a little bit of patching with metallic acrylic paint, but admittedly did not put a whole-hearted/walleted effort into it.

Baby Card

Then I did a little hand-lettered card for my friend Ashlee's new little man.


Little Man:


Bulletin Board

I am back at school now so I am in the midst of setting up my room. I made some fancy accessories for my bulletin board.

Took some regular clipboards...

Painted some modge podge on the clipboards and quickly stuck on some pretty scrapbook paper.

What fancy office supplies! Just as pretty and so much cheaper than the ones at Target. $1.75 each vs. $4!

Details in Home Improvement

I haven't been posting much on the blog lately because a lot of my projects have been functional, boring projects.

For instance, cutting the bottom 1/4 inch off of my closet door so it opens and closes smoothly. A very successful use of the circular saw, unassisted, by me :+). (Aside: We got a new circular saw--not sure if I mentioned this in an earlier post. We DESPARATELY needed one. The one we were using had a broken guide and the cord was cut, folded, and taped back together. The broken guide made it too heavy for me to move effectively and I would cut everything on an 80 degree angle. Intensely sketchy and dangerous)

Or painting the rusty heating covers for the master bedroom. They've been laying in the garage since May... 

I don't have pictures of them in the room because they're of random lengths. Jeremy needs to show me how they get put back together b/c I'm not sure which goes with which.

I've been working on this necessary project for a while too. The area underneath the door sill was rotting. The initial scraping out of the wood was gross. I wore gloves. Lots of gloves.

Eww slugs!

I cleaned out the space and put several coats of wood hardener to preserve it. Eventually I want to replace the white clapboard siding and legitimately repair the damage underneath, but that is probably far off because that has to be a Jeremy-endorsed and committed project.... which means it has to be totally necessary :-p.

I struggled but finally got the board into the open space an and then screwed it in. I'm probably going to caulk it in and make the seal nice and tight!

I also FINALLY trimmed this bush by the driveway.


Jeremy also cut down the dead boxwood on the edge. It certainly opens up the backyard.

Lots of random home improvement...

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Trashing the Garbage Disposal

I've been holding out on you. I have a lot of projects in the works that just need the finishing touches on them. However, yesterday we discovered a project that needed our immediate attention. Our dishwasher seemed not to be draining. After a bit of vinegar/baking soda and septic-safe drain cleaner we still had a stagnant little puddle. Running some water in the sink revealed that our garbage disposal (which has never worked) was irreparably clogged.

We purchased the materials to install piping almost a year ago, but the task seemed daunting. Luckily, we were prettttty incorrect (hopefully). We had a garbage disposal in the apartment and never used it. This one has been broken practically since the day we moved in. We had no interest in installing a new and expensive unit, hence the piping.

I played the support role in this endeavor. Jeremy did most of the heavy twisting. The worst part was wrestling the disposal from under the sink. The connectors had all rusted and it required a good deal of force. Once we detached it from the sink we turned off all the power in the house and cut the cord. Because it was hard-wired Jeremy had to disconnect the disposal from its junction box in the basement. Don't worry, we took all necessary safety precautions and Jeremy made sure all now-unused wires were properly capped and un-electrified.

Here's the disgusting disconnected disposal:

I did not photograph the clogged part because it really grosses me out.

Here is what became of under our sink. It was a team effort. I was responsible for the plumber's putty around the drain rim. Jeremy did all the PVC (okay... he did a lot more, but I ran for supplies, lights, and fans when it got warm.)

Here is the remarkable thing: This successful drain system was installed in 2 hours and perfect on the first go round. From removing the disposal to running the water in the sink, we did it all without a single trip to Lowe's, curse word, or leak. Amazing.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


In the spirit of the Olympics, I took on a very patriotic project. To be more honest, I've wanted to do this project for a while, but needed a printer. We finally broke down and bought one. At least we got an excellent deal on it! Other than that, I had all the materials.

 I used a blank piece of canvas that I'd gotten on sale a while ago. I started by painting it white.
*But Laura, isn't the canvas already white? Why yes, yes it is... if you don't attempt to freehand draw a map of the United States on it first.*

Learning from my previous attempt, I found a blank map of the US online, flipped it, and printed it BACKWARDS on four pieces of paper, so it'd fit perfectly on the canvas.

I then took tracing paper and outlined the states. After doing that I put the tracing paper face down on the canvas and colored over the lines to transfer the graphite. Ultimately I made some adjustments to Alaska's size. The original map I printed made it a bit too puny to look balanced, so I printed out a separate Alaskan map to trace.

 I also made a plan for the lettering. Extra points if you can see my ridiculous mistake. I labeled all the states without referencing a map, but apparently got so focused that the compass got away from me.

I then painted all of the states. I used 25 colors, so each is used twice. Here's my dining room workstation:

Once all the states were painted I took a white paint pen and filled in all the names.

After a couple coats of paint and letters, Voila!