Friday, December 27, 2013

Four DIY Project Recaps

I've been a DIY machine lately! I wouldn't consider it nesting considering the need/nature of the projects, but I guess there might be a little in there... what I do when I am too fearful to bring pink into the house just yet. With Benjamin, I called them distraction projects, and I suppose they're back for the final 5 weeks of this pregnancy.

First up:
LEGO Table

I had been planning to make one of these for Benjamin for ages. We decided that we'd gift him with more Duplo and a LEGO table (in addition to other things) for Christmas.

- Black IKEA Lack table for $10
- 1 piece of contact paper or equivalent for road stripes $1
- 1 XL gray baseplate for LEGO $15 on Amazon
- Duck double-sided tape (leftover from another project)
 = $26

1. Assemble table (piece of cake).
2. Measure and cut strips of contact paper for corner and side road pieces (optional: I loved this idea though!) This would be best done on a di-cut or fancy Silhouette machine that I don't have and don't want.
3. Measure and tape down baseplate to the exact center (used double-sided tape because I was warned other epoxies and glues don't work or ruin baseplates by expanding inside the LEGO holes. Double-sided tape seemed like a safer option.
4. Starting with corner contact paper pieces, measure and evenly space apart road strips.

Total time: 30 minutes

Second Project:
Homemade Laundry Detergent

I noticed that our very last bottle of my stockpiled All Free & Clear detergent had only about a month left of washes to the bottle. Instead of waiting until the laundry piled up once the bottle was empty, I decided to jump ahead and get the next stage of detergent ready. I'd been meaning to make some for years now, but I literally had so much laundry detergent thanks to a crazy sale on Seventh Generation and All that I needed to go through the product first before making. I accumulated all the ingredients over time and just needed to get the ball rolling.
With a little help from my friend Renel and the many internet recipes I found, I came up with this recipe, assuming it's not a science because most vary slightly and add/subtract an ingredient or two.

- 1 box Borax
- 1 box Washing Soda
- 1 bar grated Fels Naptha Soap
- 1 bar grated Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap, Lavender Scent
- 3 cups Tide Stain Booster (oxygenated cleaner just like OxiClean-- but I had this on hand and figured I'd use it instead).
- Grater (you can use your food processor, but I bought a very serious grater at a thrift store for about a buck and it grated the soaps super fine!)

I didn't add in any additional smelling crystals/agents because we do like to keep our laundry free & clear due to skin allergies we deal with... but the Tide Stain Booster does add some scent, as does the natural castile soap. Hoping these won't affect us, as they are used in small amounts.

And all I needed was a cute scoop and container! My friend Liz picked up this cute Anchor Hocking glass cookie jar at Walmart when she was there last for under $10. I cannot remember the total cost for the above ingredients as I bought them at random over the course of a year or so, but I can estimate the cost to be about $10 worth of product for 1.5 gallons of detergent. At just 1 1/2 tablespoons each load, that is going to last us a very long time!

Total time: 15 minutes (10 minutes alone to grate the bars of soap and 5 for mixing of ingredients)

Third Project:
Art Frame Display for Benjamin's Room

This is the project I'm most proud of. When I had friends over for a tea party some Saturdays ago, they requested a look at Benjamin's big boy room. We had two walls with hangings already, but the other two walls were bare. One wall was taken care of in minutes by the suggestion of my friend Alli who has a knack for design. But the other wall... they all collaborated at once and suggested I make it a wall to display his art. I loved the idea, but wanted it to be a space we could change out often and easily. I did some Pinterest researching for something along those lines and came up with this idea. I needed 3 cabinet doors of identical size...and cheap. I struggled finding these. I searched Craigslist, Freecycle, Bookoo and everywhere I could think! I even considered using actual picture frames, but even those are not super cheap or sturdy enough for my vision.

I found that cabinet art display idea during naptime on Saturday and as soon as Benjamin woke up, we set out to our local Habitat for Humanity Restore. We were totally disappointed by the stock and prices. It was expensive and they didn't have anything suitable to make this project happen on the cheap.

But I couldn't get this idea out of my mind. I HAD to have those cabinet doors! I discovered another Habitat for Humanity Restore 13 miles away and was about to grab my keys. Until I realized they were only open three days a week, for a total of 24 hours! I waited patiently until Thursday and then we were off. I am so glad we went, because I not only found what I was looking for, but had such a variety that I had trouble deciding! The cabinet doors were $2.50/ea. and I was even able to purchase two drawer fronts (for my 4th project) for $1/ea, two brand new and full-sized bathroom rugs that were an "internet sample" still with tags, a small pint sample can of gray paint for $.50 from Benjamin Moore, and various Velcro pieces and anchor brackets for quarters each. My total was $20! I even considered buying two end tables that I loved, but we really don't need more end tables... but so tempting.
Sweatshirt Gray Benjamin Moore paint sample for only two quarters. Awesome.

No natural light with curtains closed, but we love it! Benjamin proudly looks up and says "B" at the art piece on the right that is hard to see in these photos.

The wall on the right is the "grown up" wall my friend Alli helped design. The double frame had old pictures in it that we needed to replace. We thought a picture of Big Ben & a quote by Ben Franklin were fun additions to the room. For a grand total of $2.36 prints shipped to my door, it completed the wall (to go with his Tootsie Roll Chicago stock & personalized Bears poster).
- 3 cabinet pieces $7.50
- Flat white paint & paint rollers (owned already)...would've used spray paint, but I didn't have any.
- Gray paint sample $.50
- 3 magnetic clips (had in teacher supplies)
- Screwdriver + three small screws
- Hanging materials about $7--ultra secured these to the wall so we spent a bit more

= about $15

Fourth Project:
Chalkboard Frames

I just might be envisioning my kiddos heading off to school and just how cute that will be. When I was picking up the cabinets to be used in the art frame display, I saw a few smaller drawer fronts that were only $1 each. I couldn't pass up the opportunity to make two signs (you know, because I'm hoping to have two kids in school at the same time eventually) for the kiddos to hold on the first and last days of school. I already had the chalkboard paint from a basement chalkboard wall I've envisioned but since aborted mission because we're too lazy and just don't use the space enough to really enjoy that feature.
They're not perfect, but they do the job for the right price. :)
Instead, how about a couple cute frames for just a few bucks of material cost?

- 2 cabinet/drawer fronts $2
- White satin spray paint (owned already)
- Chalkboard paint bought ages ago and used a very small amount of the $10 can
- Paintbrush for Chalkboard paint (owned already)

= $2


Amanda O. said... [Reply to comment]

I absolutely LOVE the LEGO table! My son is 3 and his favorite toys are his LEGO Duplos. I just might have to copycat this one! :-)

Laura Jane said... [Reply to comment]

Good work momma.

I am so lazy, otherwise I'd copy these, too! :)

Caroline said... [Reply to comment]

Love all these but especially the art frame displays... so precious.

Distraction projects were big for me (Finns room and bed being the biggest).

Have you used the detergent yet? How's it smell? I am interested in doing the same but worry I'd screw it up and it wouldn't thoroughly clean my clothes.

Amelia said... [Reply to comment]

I am so jealous. Do you even sleep?! Argh!!

I love all of these!!!

Danielle said... [Reply to comment]

i'll take one lego table--in brown please--along with one big kid wall and one chalkboard frame, please. and throw in a container of homemade detergent. you can have those ready in the next month or so, right? ;)
you rock! :)

AlliFerg said... [Reply to comment]

So many comments.

First, where did you buy the Borax? I have been doing some research and apparently Borax gets rave reviews for getting grease off cabinets.

Second, the frames look SO GREAT. I love how the gray background looks.

Third, until you use the drawers for first day of school, you could get a photo stand at a craft store and use them for menus when you have parties?

Kristi said... [Reply to comment]

Woohoo!! Love the Lego table. I'm sure it will get tons of use. (playdate?) :-)

Let me know what you think of the homemade detergent when you actually use it. I've been thinking of doing that too, but haven't decided to take the plunge.

Art work frames... LOVE!! Can't wait to see all the masterpieces! Also, love the "Big Ben" haha. :-)

So much potential fun with the chalkboard frames (like Alli's idea).

nesting or not, what a sense of accomplishment!