Friday, July 20, 2012

Rescued Chair Night Stand

My mom's been spending the night more often since she started visiting my chiropractor in town, and she's blind.  Or rather, she doesn't know exactly where everything is in my house, and stumbles around a bit in the dark when she spends the night.  I keep my house pretty dark at night, because I can't fall asleep if there's basically any light anywhere.  So I decided that the guest room needed a nightstand and a lamp. 

I went to my parents' house a few weeks ago, and on my way, I noticed that their neighbors had thrown out a perfectly good kitchen chair.  Ok, so the legs were broken, and it was kind of beat up, but other than that it was just fine.  So I ripped the legs off (by hand) and painted it green. 

I went a thriftin' and found a very cheap hideous wooden lamp.

This got a coat of yellow paint and a hand me down shade. 
To mount the chair, I got some brackets and attached them to the wall. 

Then it was just a matter of adding a light bulb, setting the chair on the brackets and screwing it in!  Sounds easy right?  The hardest part was screwing from underneath without letting the chair fall on my head.

There ya go Mom.  Now all it needs is an alarm clock.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Bedside Table Reboot

Most of my furniture is a hand-me-down.  When I run through the list of furniture in my house, I can only think of three pieces I bought new.  Everything else is either a garage/estate sale find, a dumpster dive save, or mined from my parents or my grandparents houses, like my bedside table.
I'm sad.  Paint me Handy Mandy!
So the other day when I lifted the table, and the top came off, I decided it was time to do something about my sad, water stained, broken down bedside table. I wanted a two tone look, instead of a solidly painted piece, because the table is solid maple, and the wood underneath is beautiful. So I removed the hardware, sanded the easily accessible sides, draw front, shelf and tabletop. I decided to paint the uprights, mostly because I was too lazy to sand them down.  I glued the table top back together as it had come into three pieces, and waited.

The uprights I painted purple, I stained the exposed wood with a light color for a nice contrast, and replaced the hideous shelf paper with something a little more girly. 

Pretty wood grain!

Then I took a canning lid, and VERY CAREFULLY sanded the entire thing going in one direction the whole time.  This was to get the words that were printed off the top, and even up the surface afterwards.  It also makes it ever so slightly more shiny.  I drilled a hole in the middle of the lid and the drawer, and applied my newly acquired hardware.  (I got my hardware at Bart's Barn, my favorite store!)

All done!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Bike inner-tube shelves

In my wanderings on the interwebz, I came across a going green contest, where people were upcycling this that and the other.  One of the entries was a man who had made shelves out of two furniture feet and some bike inner tubes.
The heck you say?

Well I thought that was kind of groovy, so I set out to replicate it.  I was thinking it might be a perfect way to store the excess DVDs that were stacked atop my DVD shelving unit.  I didn't have any furniture feet, so I had to make something that would work.  Bart's barn provided a large thick dowel that started out it's life as a closet bar, and a piece of particle board.  Total cost, $1.75.  I cut the dowel into 8 inch lengths and the particle board into 5 inch squares. I marked the middle of both, drilled holes, and screwed one to the other.

I used inch and three quarters deck screws for this so they wouldn't come apart.

And then everything got painted fire engine red.
*insert siren noises here*

The inner tubes I acquired by going to my local bike repair shop and asking for any punctured tubes they were going to be throwing away.  I figured they probably had some fancy recycling program to turn them into shoes for starving children in third world countries or those rubber fall zones at playgrounds, but lucky for me, shipping them costs too much to make anyone want to recycle them, and I got myself several handfuls.

So I found two tubes the same size, and saved the rest for another project. I mounted one of my bright red brackets, and then hung the tubes on it.  I hooked the other bracket to the tubes and stretched it as far as I could and marked the spot on the wall.  Then I unhooked the tubes, screwed the second bracket into place, stretched the tubes between them, and loaded it up with my excessive DVD collection.

I'm kind of impressed this worked at all actually.

I may have to tweak the placement of the brackets a bit, because those tubes are a lot more stretchy than I assumed.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Reclaimed cabinet door shelves

Casita Amanda, as it has come to be known, is very small.  930 square feet is plenty for one fabulous do-it-yourselfer and her furry sidekick.

But a small house from the 1960's does pose some very serious storage issues at times.  I spend a lot of time looking around my house and thinking, "I know there's more room here than I'm taking advantage of. Where can I put more storage?"So when I decided that my tiny powder room off the master bedroom needed more space to store things, shelves were in order.

For the actual shelves, I haunted my local Habitat for Humanity Restore, aka Bart's Barn, until I saw a cabinet door that had been sliced in half.  It was dark and glossy and too wide, so I took a trip to my dad's table saw to cut it down to size, and my mom diligently sanded away the finish so that it would take the paint.  Thanks mom and dad. I like it because it's got a lip on it, so my round things like lipstick won't roll away.
Pfft! Like I ever wear lipstick. That's a laugh. 

I applied two generous coats of white paint, also procured at Bart's Barn, which I didn't know was oil based at the time. Pro tip - if you're covered in oil based paint half an hour before you're supposed to be at a dinner party, regular old canola oil will dissolve that stuff right off your skin.  And it leaves your hands nice and soft.

I inherited the shelf brackets from the previous owner.  She had them close to the ceiling, and they were covered in dust and gunk. I used the pine shelves elsewhere in a closet, but I kept the brackets, knowing that they'd make throwing up some shelves pretty simple one day.  One coat of fuchsia paint later, and they're ready to attach to the back of the shelves.

I held the shelves in place and leveled them, and then marked the holes with a pencil so I'd know where to drill.  I drilled pilot holes and inserted molly bolts into them.

They're called ribbed plastic anchors on the package, but I've always called them molly bolts so molly bolts they are.  Use a hammer to gently coerce the bolts into the holes.  Don't hit too hard or you'll bend or break the plastic.  You always want to use these if you're screwing anything of any weight into dry wall.

Then I used screws to attach the brackets to the wall.  I was able to use my power drill to screw the bottom screws into place, but the top ones were in an awkward position due to the bracket's shape, so I did those by hand.

And TA-DA!  Storage!

A quick aside.  I love to shop at Bart's Barn, because not only do they have all kinds of neato reclaimed everything, not only is it generally much cheaper than anyplace you'd buy it new, not only are the staff friendly and helpful, but every time I shop there I'm donating money to an organization that gives people the dignity of owning their own home, of building wealth and getting out of poverty, of saying I live here, as opposed to I stay there. And that, well that means something.