Saturday, May 31, 2014

DIY Front Porch Planter With Gold Dipped Legs

Hello!  I hope everyone is having a good day.  Things around here have been pretty crazy.  It was the last week of school for my preschooler (Kindergarten here we come) and this coming week is the last week for my elementary school kids.  My oldest is starting middle school, then I'll have a third grader, my oldest daughter is starting Kindergarten and my baby is starting preschool. This new school year will bring a lot of changes for us.  It will be the first time I won't have any of my own kids at home with me full time.  I am still babysitting, so I'm not throwing a party or anything, but even's surreal.  I've been super busy making teacher's gifts and attending end of school parties and events like graduations...*tear*.  I have actually had this planter, that I've mentioned a few times, finished for a little while.  I'm completely in love with how it turned out.

 Here she is!  Drumroll pleeeaaaase....

Here is my supply list:

3 8ft lengths of 2x2s
3 to 4 8ft lengths of 1x4s
4 cedar fence pickets
outdoor paint or stain 
nail gun and compressor
Measuring tape 
Miter saw (or circular saw) 
Gold spray paint for the legs

I started by cutting the wood on my miter saw.  In the picture below, you see enough pieces for two planters.  I made two of them at once.  One for either side of my front door.  
For one planter, you need to cut 4 2x2s to 30 inches long.  These are each of your legs.   You can customize how long the legs are on yours, or how tall you want it to be.  This is just what I did.  Then you need 8 1x4s cut to 15 inches long.  These will make up your basic frame. 

I used an envelope as my marker and marked off the same distance down from the top on all four legs.  I wanted to have a little bit of the side sticking up above the top edge, just because I like the way it looks.  

I used my nail gun and nailed in through the side of the 2x2 into the end of the 1x4 at the marked spot, so they would both be equidistant from the top.  Check for level and make sure all of your angles are square. 

I measured down 14.5 inches on each piece and added a second 1x4 in the same way with my nailer.
Let me tell really want a right angle clamp.  It was a pain trying to get these nailed together while keeping it all square.  My technique (without a fancy clamp) is always to shoot in one nail so it's held together, but can still wiggle around....then get it in the right place, and then add another nail to secure it....and then add in 15 more nails because I always over do it with the nails.  Make two of these "frames."  (or four if you are making two planters like you see below).  Also, make sure you check for square on each right angle, but also check by making sure the measurements from one corner to the opposite diagonal corner match each other on each side.  That way you know you have a perfect square.  

Now add two more 1x4s to each side in the same manner as before.  

It was major over-kill with the nails.  

Use the 1x4s to connect the two square pieces you made at both the top and bottom.  Make sure you check for square again. 

You will get a piece that looks like this.  Now, at this point mine was a bit wobbly.  It's because we used nails and not screws.  If you want this thing to be super crazy sturdy, use screws...but screws take a lot of effort and I'm building a planter, not a playground for my children to play I used nails!  I did, however sure it up a lot on the inside, so it is in fact very'll see below...

Next I cut my cedar fence planks.  These are cut at 20 inches long.  I did three for each side of my box. You really could just go for a solid plywood for this part.  I think it would be a little more streamline, but these babies were less than a dollar for one long plank, and I was going for inexpensive.  

Laying them out, so you can see how they fit.  

I held the plank underneath the 1x4 (which is what I'm nailing into in this picture) and secured it in place behind the 1x4 on the inside of the box.  

One side done.  

I continued around until all sides were done.  

Looks kind of pretty already....but won't hold any dirt like this...

Here's a problem to deal with....your nails will be waaay too long, so they will be sticking out all over the place on the inside.  To keep myself from becoming impaled,  I just went through and bent them all flat with a hammer.  When I finished the entire thing, I went ahead and removed the ones you could see by bending it back and forth until they snapped with some needle nose pliers.....but there was no point in doing that for all of them, especially not the ones way down on the bottom that you'll never see.  

Here is where we sure it up.  Hold up a 2x2 against the inside corner of your planter and measure to fit the length from the top to the bottom.  Go cut four equal pieces.  

nail it in from the front on both sides.  I nailed it through the top and bottom 1x4s and also all along the cedar planks on both sides as well.  

Repeat for all four sides.  This makes it much more sturdy. 

Now you want to add something for your plants to sit on.  I went ahead and made mine very shallow.  I knew that I was going to put some small flowers in here, so I didn't make it very deep.  I do have plans, however, to put some shrubs in here in the future, so when I do that, I'll add a lower tier, so I can have the option of switching depths.  

Measure the gap between 2x2s and cut a piece of scrap wood to fit.  I had some 1x2s laying around, so I used those.  Nail it in from the front.  

Go all the way around, making sure it is the same distance from the top all the way around.  

Next I used some leftovers from my cedar fence pickets to make slats to go across for the plants to sit on.  You want it to be slats and not a solid piece of wood, so that water can get through easily. 

Next we have to cover up the gaps on the sides.  I cut more pieces of 1x4 into 14.5 lengths (measure the distance on your piece).  I needed 8 pieces.  

This was a little tricky.  The 1x4s just barely covered the gap, so I had to nail them in at an angle (outward angle...the picture is misleading...looks like I'm going inward.  I was pretending to nail, since I was holding a camera in my hand)  and I had to stay at the very edge. have to bend all of the nails that poked through down with a hammer.    

And she's done!  Now she just needs some make up and a pretty dress ;) 

I sanded it down all over first and then I gave it a quick coat of Color Place outdoor white paint in a gloss finish before doing any repairing of holes or anything.  I always throw on a coat of paint first.  I tend to skip the priming step unless I really really need to, because who wants to buy another material if you don't have to.  I always start out with a coat of paint because paint will actually cover a lot of the little tiny nail holes and things.  It really does save me some time when I do paint first.  

I filled all of my holes with this Dry Dex wood filler.  It is for indoor or outdoor use and I love how it goes on pink and dries white.  Super useful for those of us who are impatient and want things to dry as fast as possible.  (and yes, I used a butter knife...I have no excuse, I have putty knives....I'm just slack)

Next I used regular latex caulk along all of the cracks and then I sanded it all down again and added a second coat of paint.  

The final thing, which I took pictures of, but have since LOST (boo!) was painting the ends of the legs gold.  This was a last second decision, so in hind-sight, I would have spray painted the tips of the legs gold first, then taped off the edge of the gold while I was painting it white....if you do this project, do it that way.  What I ended up doing was putting the entire thing upside down into a contractor garbage bag and taping off one leg at a time with garbage bag protecting all of the rest of it and spraying it that way.  It was a ridiculous mess...but it worked.  I would just totally recommend doing it the other way, though....way easier.  

Here she is....All finished!  

To plant the flowers, I stapled several layers of newspaper on top of the slats and then filled with dirt.  The newspaper will probably only last about as long as these flowers, and we'll most likely replace it with gardening fabric, but it worked in a pinch.  The water drains through very you can see in the picture above.  

The price breakdown is as follows: 
3 2x2s = $3
4 1x4s = $4
4 cedar fence pickets 1.50
paint, spackle, sandpaper, caulk, nail gun, nails, gold spraypaint = already owned
Total spent = 8.50 (boo-ya!)

I also got a great deal on the flowers I paid 9 bucks for all of it!  I'd say it was totally worth all of the work for a gorgeous planter with flowers for under 20 bucks!  It makes me so happy just walking up to my front porch now.  I'm ready for summer now.  

This is the first step of a complete front porch makeover, so stay tuned for that coming up!  


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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Grilled Peanut Butter and Jelly in Coconut Oil

Hey!  How is everyone today?  I am doing well.  We tagged along with my five year old's field trip today to the local splash pad and we got a fair amount of sun.  It feels really good to be slightly sun kissed.  It makes me feel like I've had a full and fun day :)

Today I'm going to share with you something that will blow your mind!  Well, maybe a little.  Some of you may have heard of this, but I had never.  I have a good friend who spent some time living in China.  I overheard her asking her daughter what she wanted for lunch one day while we were on the phone.  One of the options she gave her daughter was a "grilled pb&J" ....and I was all, whaaa? really? grilled? ...that's so weird... She said that it is served that way in restaurants in China, and it is really really good.  I was skeptical at first.  I'm not a big PB&J gal. I mean, it's ok if I need nourishment and that's all I've got, but I'd much rather have something else.  I decided to give it a shot one day, and let me tell's fantastic!  I was absolutely surprised.  I never expected the flavor of something to change so drastically, but it did.  It was like I was eating a fancy pastry of some sort. The peanut butter and Jelly both get ooey and gooey and the flavors meld so much better than if it were cold.  I also think the coconut oil made a huge difference.  Everything tastes better cooked in coconut oil!

  Here's what you do....if you can't figure this out on your own....

You start off with a plain old PB&J.  I made mine with whole wheat bread.  

Heat some coconut oil in your pan on medium heat.  You want to make sure you get the unrefined kind vs the refined.  The unrefined has the good coconut smell and is more flavorful.  

grill it up!  I usually have to add some more coconut oil once I flip the sandwich.  The bread soaks up the oil, so when you flip it there's no more left.  

This is basically cooking a PB&J like you would a grilled cheese sandwich, but with coconut oil instead of butter.  

um, yeah....I totally made two.  You probably will too....I warned you.  

  I got 99.99 percent of my planters done over the weekend.  I just have to fill some holes and add another coat of paint, so I will finally have that finished for you guys to see with my next post!  
Have a lovely day!

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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Today is Just an Ordinary Day

Hey there!  So, I'm just going to write a personal post today....just about what I'm thinking and feeling at this moment.  I had hoped to get my planters done, and share those with you. That is why I haven't posted at all this week, because that was what I was planning on posting about next. it is raining and I have been working on them outside and well, dang it...I have just had NO free time.  I always forget how nuts the end of the school year is.  We haven't had a free evening with both of us home all week.   In order for me to work on any building project, I need to have my husband home, so that my children will be supervised.  He works weird hours too.  I have tried having the 11 year old watch them, but it usually doesn't end well.

 I am beginning to feel the pressure of always having to have an amazing post to share, every couple of days with an original awesome new idea.  Now don't get me wrong, I have TONS of ideas in the line up and they are all amazing in my book....But having them completed, photographed and blogged about in a short amount of time, one after another after another is TOUGH.  I have just got to make myself accept that I am ONE PERSON.  I need to not run faster than I am able. I always get so excited and caught up in the possibility of a project, envisioning every step I need to take and then the final result, that I always imagine that things are less difficult and less time consuming than they really are.   Supermom I am not (seriously, I do not know how some of you ladies do it) and my four kids and also the one that I babysit (yeah that makes FIVE) are more important than meeting a self imposed blog deadline.   So, if that means just sharing what is on my mind today, instead of a new amazing DIY adventure, then that is going to be just fine.  What's so funny is that I have read blogs for years now, and inevitably everybody will have a post where they say something similar to what I have just said.  I have seen it so many times, and I have always, don't stress girl, this is your blog and nobody is expecting anything from you.  I, as a reader, was never put off if someone didn't meet their normal posting schedule or whathaveyou.  Now that I'm writing one, I get it...boy do I get it... But I'm going to be the first one to tell myself not to feel like that.  You guys shouldn't either!  This is my little corner of the internet and I get to choose to write about what makes me happy.  And DIY projects make me SO happy.  Like over the moon, hopping up and down with little girly giggles HAPPY.  I seriously LOVE them....but I'm afraid that if I try to force myself to churn them out like I'm on a production line, I'm going to lose the happiness that it gives me, and then what am I doing all of this for?  I just have to find my groove.

That being said, I'm going to share with you what we had for lunch today....because it was awesome!  I made these German pancakes from Pretty Providence.  I found it on Pinterest this morning and they were really good....and so super easy.  I ran out of syrup, so we used honey and powdered sugar.  Mmmmm.  Now, I feel like I need a nap....but it was worth it.  I'm wishing I had taken a picture....I guess I could take a shot of the empty

Here are some throwback Thursday shots for ya!

My boys....they were so little.  They are 11 and 8 now...tear...

My hubby and I on a trip to Colorado in 2007

You guys have a great day!  

Friday, May 9, 2014

Upcycle a Too Small Dress in 5 Minutes

 Good morning!  How is everyone today?  I am a grumpy mood...but I won't let that stop me!  Do you ever just wake up on the wrong side of the bed.  There's no reason for it at all.  I blame hormones.

 Anyways, now that I've discussed hormones with you all (check that off the list)....I'm going to show you a quick quick little project that really comes in handy for extending the life of your little girl's clothes.  I had intended to be showing you my new planters today, but life happens, and they are only half done.  They are up next though!  

I have done this several of times, with all types of dresses.  Some kinds of dresses involve a little bit of sewing, but this was NO SEW.  Easy peasy. 

 My girls have a few of these cheapo sun dresses that are shirred on top and then have ruffles on the bottom.  I can't remember where we got this one from, but we've all seen them.  This dress was a 3T.  I have one little girl that is in a size 4/5 and another that is in a size 6.  I made this one to fit my little girl who wears a size 6 (you know we love hand me downs).  

The first thing I did was just cut of the top and left myself a few inches above the skirt to make a waist band with.  

Because it is shirred (ruffled with stretchy thread), you can't sew a hem into it.  If you did, it would no longer be stretchy.  I guess you could sew it with the stretchy thread like you do when you shirr it....but that's too much to go through for this little project.  I just turned it inside out and then cut closely along one of the little lines of shirring that you can see below.  

All I did after that was add fray chek to it so it wouldn't fray.  
At this point you have a skirt already....but in my situation, the shirring wasn't quite elasticy (is that a word) enough to really keep it on my daughter's would start to fall after a few minutes.  My solution was to add some ribbon.  I cut two long pieces of polka dot ribbon.  
Here's where it gets ghetto.  I told you, no sew and five minutes...I literally just safety pinned the ribbon to the side seams on the inside of the dress.  Now, I will probably go back and sew those on at least, but I just didn't feel like getting out the sewing machine today....remember, grumpy mood today....  Now you could just take a needle and thread to it really quickly as well.  You can use my mother-in-law's trick to make a fast fat knot that I posted about here.

Then I just cut two teensy tiny slits at about a third of the way over from each side on the front of the skirt.  I mean don't want to see the rough-ness of a hole in the front of the skirt.  You want the pressure from the ribbon coming through the hole to make it look finished and keep it from fraying.  Thread the ribbon through the tiny holes like so....

And then all you have to do is tie the bow to fit! 

A super cute skirt! 

She really got into the modeling thing.  

Oh, and make sure you put the fray check on the ends of your ribbon too.  

You can do this with most kinds of little girl's dresses.  If it doesn't have a stretchy top, then usually I will cut it and hem it at the top. I will either add elastic under the hem or I will make a closure in the back with a button  and an extra flap of fabric from the top of the dress that I cut off.  It's just a really easy way to extend the life of your kid's clothes.  They grow out of them so fast!  

Have a great day everyone!  


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