Category Archives: Craftiness is better than learnedness

I made a thing.

If I DIY something and don’t blog about it, did it really happen?

Related: I turned to the power of chalk paint once again, and now the beat up old rocking chair on the porch looks brand-spankin’ new.


I’m not here today to talk about chalk paint again though, oh no. This time it’s all about the humble nightstand. Now that both sides of our bed are accessible, we wanted to have a pair of nightstands instead of just the one I use. I couldn’t just go out and but one to match mine, because it came from the seasonal clearance section at Target several years ago. Trying to find another one, or even something that coordinated well, came up with nothing. Shopping for a pair that I liked, could afford, and worked with the lower height of our bed also didn’t work out well. Solution: make ’em myself.

A couple weeks ago I grabbed one of the Home Depot gift cards we received for Christmas and bought a pair of crates, two sets of casters, and a quart of Minwax PolyShades in Honey Satin. The rest is pretty self-explanatory. I gave the crates a quick sanding, two coats of stain (left to dry overnight between coats), and attached the casters to the side-turned-bottom.




finished table is finished

This weekend I finally wrapped up Project Dining Table. Well, the top could use a little touching up, but in the meantime it’s done.

I’ve already posted about using chalk paint on the chairs and table base. I stained the seats a lovely chocolately brown several weeks ago, and finally finished the top on Sunday. All the stained bits received a coat or two of polyurethane as well. Unfortunately I did all the work on the table top in the basement, and thanks to the poor lighting down there I failed to notice a few uneven spots. So there may be some light sanding and re-staining in the future. Not the end of the world.

The whole living/dining space feels a lot cozier now that this table is there. The two other chairs are functioning elsewhere in the house, and the leaf will live in the basement until it’s needed.

photo taken in early morning light

photo taken in early morning light

photo taken at night with as many lights on as possible

photo taken on a cell phone at night with as many lights on as possible. ha

little weekend bits & bobs

At a record-breaking 72 degrees, Saturday was the perfect day for yard work. I pulled up as many vines and weeds as I could (it was mostly vines, effing Virginia Creeper) from one of the no-longer-flowery flower beds until our yard waste bin was full. If only we had two! Once that was done, I only had inside projects on my list for the rest of the weekend:

  • Finally hung our full-length mirror in the bedroom
  • Cleaned ALL the mirrors
  • Washed our bedding & the rest of the laundry
  • Hemmed the curtains on the porch
  • Made a couple handkerchiefs with this amazing fabric
  • Did a bit more sanding on the table and chairs (this project is going to take 100 years because sanding is boring and I barely do enough at one time to notice)
  • Painted the shelf in the laundry space

Now, lemme tell you about this last one. It’s the dumbest thing, but I love it. Someone at some point built these simple, sort of sad shelves between the washer and dryer.


They serve a purpose but looked gross as hell.


Meanwhile, someone who had rented this house once upon a time decided to paint one of the bedrooms bubble gum pink. It was painted over after she moved out, but about half a gallon of paint remained (one of many cans we inherited upon purchase). I got the idea in my head a while back to dig out that pink paint and snazz up the laundry shelves.


I half-assed this job for sure. It’s also 100% ridiculous but it makes me laugh. Maybe I’ll pick up a pink rug to match, plus I have some cute laundry art to frame for the unused top shelf. I can pretend we have a real laundry room instead of just a corner of the crumbly old basement.

Oh, here’s a fun thing: I discovered a small leak in one of our water supply lines. Tra-la, how great. Fortunately Darren worked for a plumber for a hot second, so he came over and fixed it for a reasonable price.

chalk paint is magical

We have a table! The dining set that formerly lived in Kyle and Jenna’s house now lives in ours. There was just one catch: Jenna had begin the process of re-painting it, and I would have to finish the job. Thankfully she still had all her supplies, and I was pleased to discover that my very first furniture DIY would be made much easier with chalk paint.

Jenna’s plan: the table top and chair seats would be stained dark, the chair legs/backs and table base would be painted with yellow chalk paint. Distressing optional. She had stripped and sanded the seats of 4 of the 6 chairs, and two chairs were at various stages of being painted. Upon take-over, I immediately painted the table’s base and followed up with clear wax. Eventually I moved on to the chairs.


The magic of chalk paint is not having to sand off all the old finish, you can just paint right over it. Such a time saver. I’ll have four of the six chairs fully painted and waxed before the party tomorrow night, probably. Progress! Although I doubt I’ll have time to get the seats stained. Meanwhile, I haven’t even started on the table top, and two chairs plus the table’s leaf are sitting in the basement with Citristrip residue that still needs to be removed. Oh well! It’ll all get finished eventually, but at least we’ll have somewhere for people to sit tomorrow.

I already have chalk-painting plans for our dinged up old rocking chair, as well as the $13 TV stand I found at Goodwill last weekend. All in due time.

a cozy sweater for cold days

During one of this winter’s extra-cold days, I decided it was time to crochet something warm. I poked around Ravelry for a while, and decided this tunic was the one. It wasn’t terribly difficult, although I did have to start over after having made a lot of progress because I realized it wasn’t going to fit. I also lost inexplicably lost count of my stitches while working on the front, so it’s a little narrower than the back… fortunately you can’t tell.

I’m pretty satisfied with how it turned out. I took a risk with the sleeves, not knowing how the style would look on me, but at the end of the day I was just looking for something cozy that I could wear in my cold, cold apartment (when it’s -30 outside, nothing keeps this place truly warm), and that’s what I achieved.

This post is late-coming. I finished the sweater over a month ago, but I have yet to take any pictures. I’ll edit this post to add them once they exist.

ETA: Here are some pictures, finally. The quality is not great, which is the norm for photos taken in my apartment.

Goofy pose #1

Goofy pose #1

Goofy pose #2. The back does lay normally, I assure you.

Goofy pose #2. The back does lay normally, I assure you.

“imagine a scarf as an unlimited canvas.”

One of the things on my 30 by 30 list is “learn how to knit.” Thanks to Kate’s unused copy of The Knitter’s Handbook and several sets of needles, I have succeeded. Or, I know the basics anyway, well enough to make Darren a new scarf. Ribbed for maximum knit-purl experience.


You know what I don’t like about knitting? Blocking. I had to pin this scarf to the hallway floor and shoo the pets away while I steamed it. It was worth the effort though, obviously, because it’s a nice scarf in the end. I should probably make one for myself, because I definitely need MOAR SCARVES.

Now that I’ve managed this simple guy, I’ll have to find time this winter to learn more complicated patterns. Knit things for everyone! One day there will be sweaters. One day.

early inheritance

My grandma is moving in with her sister at the end of the month, which means she has a lot of stuff she no longer has room for. When she came up for the wedding she brought me and Kyle each a box of assorted things. It’s mostly dishes, actually, so now I have an absurd amount of beautiful dinnerware and no room for it but in Rubbermaid tubs in our storage closet. This particular set is blue and white Currier & Ives china. I didn’t go through all of it, but it’s in decent shape as far as I can tell. Just a few chips here and there. The box also included a random Homer Laughlin “Virginia Rose” platter. They’re the same company that makes Fiestaware, so that’s cool.


Some of the C&I pieces and the HL platter.

She also gave me a set of pots, which have replaced our chipping Teflon ones, and some silverware. This means we have a proper silverware set now. Our other set, which she also gave us, was perfectly good but the numbers were all wonky. We had four forks (seriously), eleven teaspoons, five knives, and I don’t know how many table spoons. Now we have a proper eight of each – even salad forks! – and they’re vintage and pretty.


Kitchen things are my favorite. Obviously grandma knows me well; actually I’m pretty sure I get that particular interest from her. She taught me how to bake and that was that.

Ugh, we need a bigger place and a china hutch, clearly. Somebody buy me this.