Friday, December 26, 2014

A Very Ukulele Christmas

Another Christmas gift post!

This time the gifts were for Brad. He had a very ukulele Christmas this year and I knew that between the one he was getting from his parents for Christmas, the one he was getting for the girls, and the one he already had, we were about to have a situation. The ukuleles needed a home in the house.



I found that the tool hooks at hardware stores are a great size for hanging ukes, guitars, etc. With leftover wood from my parents' shoe cabinet, I was able to make an awesome ukulele hanger!

I predrilled holes and screwed in the tool hooks. I spaced them about 11 inches apart - since ukuleles aren't very big, this left plenty of space in between each so that they won't bang together.

I stained these with Varathane's Kona stain, hit the edges with my Ryobi Corner Cat, and then polyed (did I make that verb up?) the whole thing with Triple Thick Poly by Varathane (I love that stuff!) I LOVE the way the finish turned out.



Next I wanted something for his song books and folders. I made a simple magazine rack using 1x2s and a piece of decorative moulding. A simple "U" glued and screwed and then the moulding glued and nailed - ta da! The cross piece doesn't need to be anything substantial, though it can be - just depends on the look you're going for and how sturdy it needs to be.  Another piece of 1x2 would also work, but I was going for a thinner piece for a lower profile look. I applied the same finish on this as I did on the uke hanger, of course!


Where in your home could you use a simple magazine rack? So easy to build and so versatile - you could even make it half as wide and use it next to the bed for a bedtime book!

Hanging these was super simple - while I was building them, I predrilled and countersunk holes so it was just a matter of choosing the position, making sure everything was level, and screwing straight through the front. Fortunately, I was able to get the uke hanger into two studs! That thing's not going anywhere!



Brad was so happy with the gifts :) - he loves having everything handy but put away. And ME TOO - no one likes clutter, and I especially love when everything has a home. :)



***Edited to add - These hangers are now available for purchase in my Etsy shop!








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Thursday, December 25, 2014

Space-saving Shoe Cabinet

Finally I can post about the project I've been working on lately - it was a Christmas gift, so I couldn't broadcast the pictures and ruin the surprise!

My mom asked me to build a shoe shelf for by her back door... but on legs to keep the shoes out of reach of her puppy. I didn't like the way that looked in my head, so I suggested something that would close instead of something on legs. She was up for whatever, gave me the measurement limits and chose a color... and I was free to decide the rest.

I looked around on ana-white.com and immediately found plans for a cool shoe cabinet that fit the bill! I love that it is only about 6" wide and sits flush against the wall. I also love that it provides a flat surface on top for decorations, mail, keys, whatever! It's so narrow that it wouldn't be in the way, even in an entryway as small as mine! (As evidenced here - I set it up at our house before we headed out to take it to NY and was tempted to keep it! It even matches my living room!)



I altered the plans to make it 36" wide instead of 48" to fit her space, and was ready to get to work! Once I got the frame and drawers built, I realized I might be in over my head - figuring out how to drill the holes for the dowels and make everything fit was confusing me... I stalled out but spent the time painting the pieces, since I figured the drawers and inside of the frame would be difficult to paint once it was together.


Avoidance is only a temporary fix, though, and eventually I had to deal with the fact that I didn't really know what I was doing for the next step. So I spent time re-reading the plans and comments on the website. I didn't find anyone else having too much trouble with the dowels, so I thought maybe I was just making it harder than it needed to be (no.....) and decided to just give it a try. I won't lie and say I was successful right away. I actually screwed up, slammed the garage door, and stewed overnight one night - I was sure I had screwed it up beyond repair. But in the fresher light of day, in the mostly dark garage, I was able to fix it and finally had working tilting drawers!


Mom measured her baseboards and I added legs to the front of the cabinet tall enough to clear them. Without legs on the back and with a cleat inside to attach the cabinet to the wall, the whole cabinet sits flush against the wall, assuming the wall is straight. LOVE this feature! Luckily for me, the legs were 3.5" tall, which is the width of a 2x4 which meant I could support the back with a piece of scrap once the legs were on. Now it could stand up in the garage while I worked on the last details. Love when things work out.


Speaking of things working out, I started on a project for Brad while I was waiting for the wood filler to dry (so much wood filler...) and saw this - here's the back of the shoe cabinet, the miter saw table, and the workbench  Apparently this is just how tall I build stuff now...



A couple of straps on the backs of the drawers (to keep them from opening too far), a couple of handles, cabinet locks, and touch-up paint, and I was (finally) done!





That is, until I got to NY and had to adjust the cabinet locks and touch up the paint. My family had a great time teasing me about obsessing so much about tiny details, but HELLO. The blog is called Obsessive Constructive for a reason... why are we surprised?!

Here it is installed! They're happy with the look, dad's happy with the low-profile against the wall, and I'm happy it's finally done. It was a challenge to build, but since it was my first build with moving parts, I'm proud to have been able to eventually make it work!


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Friday, December 12, 2014

Feature Friday - Woven Angels

It's Feature Friday again!

Today I'm featuring the lovely and talented Janet, a.k.a. The Basket Fairy!

Her weaving skills are so impressive and she has made many baskets for friends and family (including me! YAY!) and has been known to show up in markets and craft fairs with her lovely baskets for sale! She's so talented - I mean LOOK at these baskets!


Amazing.

If you're interested in trying your hand at weaving baskets, Janet says the baskets are made from reed, which she dyes by hand, then figures out dimensions and patterns. She gets her materials and patterns online. Good resources are V.I. Reed and Cane and basketweaving.com.

She sticks mostly to crafting for pleasure these days and was kind enough to share her super adorable woven angels with us for today, just in time for Christmas crafting!  (and she even made my job super easy by creating images with each step right there for me! ha!)

Check out these sweet angels!









Ohmygoodness, so cute! Don't you love them?!

Thanks for letting me feature your great work, Janet! Love you!


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Friday, December 5, 2014

Felt Christmas Tree

Did you know that felt sticks to felt?!

I learned this little tidbit only about 4 years ago and decided to test it out by making this Christmas tree for my girls to play with during the Christmas season. We have used it each year since and it still works great!


To do it, I just bought a large piece of felt from Joanns, folded it in half (because symmetry is unnaturally important to me!) and cut out a Christmas tree shape.


Next, I cut out random ornament shapes from different colored felt and decorated them with different glitter glues and acrylic paints. I pinned a brown paper lunch bag (after folding a cuff to make it more stable) to the bottom to look like a tree trunk. This gives the kids a place to store the ornaments they're not using!




They love decorating and redecorating the tree throughout the month and it was actually my 7 year old that was most excited to put it back up this year!

Tip: I figured out this year that the ornaments stick better if the tree shape isn't pulled super tight.

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Feature Friday - Burlap Monogram Flag

FEATURE FRIDAY #1!!!

I'm so honored and excited that my lovely and talented friend Julia agreed to be spotlighted in my first Feature Friday!! She has such great style and is way craftier than she gives herself credit for!

Check out her No-Sew Burlap Monogram Flag!


She tells me that she cut the burlap, folded the edges over and "hemmed" with hot glue. (We share a deep love of the hot glue gun!)

For the pretty "R", she just found a font she liked on Microsoft Word and printed it out the size she needed! Then she traced it from behind with a Sharpie and colored it in on the front with a paint marker! GENIUS!

More hot glue for the cute bow, more hot glue to attach a dowel to the top for shape, and done!

Look how pretty it looks hanging outside!




LOVE IT! And LOVE HER!

Oh, and she made that great wreath on her front door too. You know, no big deal. Not crafty at all, see?! Ahem. ;)

Thanks for sharing, Julia!


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Thursday, December 4, 2014

Christmas Card Frame

Well, HI!

It feels like it's been so long - I've been working on a lot of fun little (and big) projects, but they're for Christmas gifts, so I haven't been able to blog about them yet! But I just finished a fun Christmas Card Frame hanger thingy that I just have to show you!


This Christmas card frame is made with just 1x2s and chicken wire! I spent less than $10 on the whole thing and still have half of the chicken wire left for another project!

I started by cutting the 1x2s to make a 2' by 4' frame. Since the 1x2s are actually only about 1.5" wide, I cut the short sides to 21' long.


I used my new corner clamp to hold the pieces in place and then drilled and screws the pieces together right through from the outside edge. I considered using pocket holes or making mitered corners for a cleaner finish, but decided to just keep this fast and easy and drilled right through! Sometimes done is better than perfect!


Once I had all four corners glued and screwed, I used wood filler to cover the screws and fill the cracks between the pieces. Because I used the super cheap, unfinished 1x2s, the edges are a little rounded, so the wood filler makes for a more smooth joint.


Once that dried, I sanded the whole thing and then painted it with a little sample size color I picked up a while ago in the oops section at Home Depot - for fifty cents!!! I love the oops section.


And ohmygoodness that color! I need to find a whole lot more things to paint with this because I think I'm in LOVE!

Once that was dry, I cut the chicken wire to length (it was already 2' wide, so I was set that way - that's actually why I decided to make my frame 2' wide... keeping it simple!) and used my heavy-duty stapler to connect the wire around the backside of the frame, doing my best to keep it straight and even along the way.


The cut edges of the chicken wire left a lot of sharp wires and I would surely end up cutting my hands (and scraping the wall!) so I decided to use hot glue to attach strips of felt to cover the edges.


Then all that was left was to decorate it a bit - I used some leftover ribbon to make a hot glue bow, similar to the ones I made on my cork wreaths.


To hang it on the wall, I just used two nails and slipped the frame over them. Easy, sturdy, and won't leave a big mark after Christmas!


I can't wait to see this with cheery Christmas cards attached!




What do you do to display your Christmas cards? Maybe you can build one of these! (or I could make one for you!)

Happy creating!

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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Feature Friday - Coming Soon!

I have some very talented friends and blog readers - you know you're one of them! I would love to start featuring projects by you wonderful, creative people each Friday on the blog!

So if you have a craft, paint, or building project you are proud of, please send me some pictures and a little blurb about what you did and you may find your creativity featured on a Friday!


You can leave a comment here, email me at the link above, or message me on Facebook - let's see those projects!
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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Save your corks!

I have a strict rule about decorating for Christmas - we absolutely must wait until after Thanksgiving. Granted, we break open the storage boxes first thing Friday morning, but still...

Of course, there need to be exceptions to the rules... and creating Christmas crafts is sometimes one of those exceptions. Crafting can take time and if we want to use the crafts as decorations or gifts, well, we have to start early! :)

One of my favorite crafts from last year was this wine cork wreath.


I made it as a last-minute hostess gift for a Christmas party I was heading to, and I loved it so much I had to make another for myself!

We tend to save our corks thinking that someday we'll do something fun with them - I certainly went through quite a few making these wreaths!

But, now it's another year later, we have amassed a lot more corks (ahem), and I started making wreaths tonight!

If you want to make your own, here's how I did it!

I picked up these simple wreath forms at Michaels. I hit up the artificial flowers section to find the berries and grabbed some ribbon on my way out.


I grabbed some corks, my hot glue gun, and I was off!


I try to use corks that are about the same length and try to vary wineries as I go around (which sounds easier than it is - we drink the same wine over and over! Time to branch out!)

I attached some ribbon, faked my way through some bow tying, and voilà!



So many color combination possibilities! (I'm planning to make one with white berries and red ribbon next!) And it would be especially nice to collect corks from special occasions over the year to use for the wreath!

Then again, sometimes it's also nice to just do something and be done and not worry too much about making it as special as possible - good enough is good enough!

Have fun! And if you want a wreath like this but don't want to make your own, let me know! I now have a couple of extras - maybe we can work out a deal! ;)




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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Finally some progress!

Whew, after weeks of stops and starts, I finally made some major headway on the garage today!

When I last posted about the garage, I was as far as painting the soon-to-be-storage area. After that, I started emptying the shelves in the back of the garage in the hopes of reusing as much wood as possible. The progress then grinded to a halt as I found the (very old) remnants of a mouse's dum dum lollypop feast. Oh, gross.

So, shop vac acquired, shelves removed, poop removed, and lollypop sticks disposed of.



Then finally a few shelves built in the old workspace.



Better.

I stocked the shelves with what was in my way, just for now.

And then finally, today was a big day of progress.

I removed the shelf supports from the back wall of the garage and was happy to find that the mouse party didn't involve eating into the wall. I painted the back wall - with a much more drab gray than I had intended, but the bright saw tables will help the drabness. :)

I finished the table saw stand. And painted it, of course.


Then I stared at everything a lot. I was trying to decide exactly what I wanted to be able to store where, as far as the workshop space goes. Eventually I figured out that an old Ikea shelf that has been being stored in the garage for 2 and a half years would work perfectly on the back wall! It was in our kitchen before we moved and I just never found the right place for it in this house. I'm so glad I didn't get rid of it!



Once that was up, I needed to do something about all of the paint cans on the floor. I have a (not so) slight "oops section" paint addiction. That's another story for another time, but have you ever played in the oops section at Home Depot?! It's so fun... Anyway, I found our old "C" cabinet that we've been holding onto through 2 houses now and it works great for all my sample size paints. ($.50 each for the "oops" at my Home Depot!) An old shoe shelf worked perfectly for the quarts ($2 for "oops" - I mean, seriously) and for now I just stacked the larger cans. Now I just need to figure something out for my spray paint...



Once all of this was up and out of the way, I was able to put away a lot of the stuff that was hanging out in the middle of the garage. So proud of this progress today! I can actually get to everything I need to be able to build stuff and we're so close to having space to get the cars back in!



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