Starting 2017 With a Project

I haven’t set my goals for this year. But I made a thing already. Priorities, people.

I saw the pattern for a reversible fleece hat on Pinterest. T has outgrown his winter hats and I have some fleece in my stash.

I followed the tutorial exactly except I used pinking shears to remove the bulk on the inside. Also makes it better on the curves.

Finished! And it’s not even 10 a.m.




I’ve lived in my house for almost two years. I’m still not done “decorating.” Josh and I have a (luckily) similar philosophy: We don’t want to just own stuff for the sake of stuff. So we buy what we want when we find it and not before. But I’m also cheap. That means sometimes I see decor I want, but it’s more than I’m willing to spend.

That’s what happened probably a year a half ago (yes, executing this project took me forever and posting it took me even longer). I received a CB2 catalog in the mail. In it was a great mirror arrangement I fell in love with:

Image courtesy of CB2

So, for the record, that’s six mirrors that are each a two-foot square. Each mirror is $149. Math’s not my strong subject, but even I know that adds up to $894. If I did four instead, $596. Just… no. I do not need to spend so much on something that will fall off my wall and break when the next earthquake hits.

So, I decided to make a similar mirror by myself. I bought a 4’x2′ pine board at Home Depot. I primed and painted it with leftover supplies from painting the house.


Then, I bought mirror tiles online from Cheap Mirror Tiles. Yep, the name’s cheesy, but it’s accurate. They were by far the cheapest supplier of mirror tiles that I found. I calculated how many/what mirrors to order and then they were on their way to meeeeeee!

(To calculate: Find the square inches of your board. Mine was 1152 sq. inches. I calculated the square inches of the tiled mirror sizes and then fit them all together on a diagram and bought a few extra 1″x1″ and 1″x2″ mirrors to make sure everything would fit up. I used 6″x6″, 2″x6″, 3″x3″, 2″x3″, 1″x6″, 4″x5″, 2″x2″, 1″x2″ and 1″x1″. This will be one of the most frustrating parts of this project. Promise.)

I also bought enough 1/2″x1/2″ tiles to go all around the edge, which was a lot of extra expense and I didn’t end up using them because mirrors and board measurements aren’t exact and they wouldn’t fit like I wanted them to. So don’t make that mistake.

So, once all your tiles come in the mail, it’s time to fasten them to your board. I laid out my mirror tiles on top of my board in the arrangement I wanted. I like puzzles, so I didn’t find this frustrating in the least, but I can see how it could be really frustrating for some.


Here’s my arrangement:


Starting at one side, I took the mirrors off the board and put them face down around the sides. (Do this in whatever way makes it so you can keep track of where they will go on the board.) Now it’s time to glue the mirrors on! I used Liquid Nails Mirror Adhesive (it bonds mirrors to woodwork and other surfaces) for that. I squeezed it onto the board (mostly in zigzags, but sometimes in spots to give the mirrors a bit of “lift” off the board). I lined up the mirrors and then pressed firmly down. I recommend starting at the top right corner and gluing down all the mirrors to the bottom right and working in strips that way all the way across the board.


Josh and I devised a system of three hooks and eyes to hang the mirror on the wall. Make sure you find a stud because mirrors are heavy!


The finished product:


Project cost: $77.33 (including taxes and shipping)
Paint & primer: Free
Mirrors (not including unused ones): About $60
Liquid Nails: $7.63
Hooks & eyes: $4.73

It’s definitely NOT a cheap DIY project, but I would have spent $298 to have two of those CB2 mirrors, so a savings of $220.67 is just fiiiiiiiiiiine with me.

*This also does not count toward my 2012 goals because this was done in 2011, months and months ago and I was just slow about hanging it up and taking a picture.

Finally, the makeup board post!

This blog post about how to make a magnetic makeup board has been all over Pinterest, and in my efforts to declutter my “vanity” (aka my desk with a mirror above it), I decided that I must have one.

First, I went to the thrift store a block away and snagged a frame. It was ugly, but that didn’t matter because I was going to spray paint it anyway.

And — surprise! — it was 50% off:

That’s right, $2.26. I popped out the old print and spray painted the frame the same blue that I used for my desk.

While it dried, Chris and I went down the street to the local hardware store in search of a piece of metal and some heavy magnets. The guy at the store recommended cutting a sheet of tin to size, and even tore open a pair of heavy-duty tin snips for us to use so we could cut it down to size there. I asked Chris to cut it for me since I don’t like to do stuff with people breathing over my shoulder, and Hardware Store Guy wasn’t going anywhere.

Out of nowhere, Hardware Store Guy started talking to Chris instead of me about the project, even though I’d been the one to ask him for help, and Chris had no idea about what I was planning to do. HSG then mocked my measuring ability and said something to Chris along the lines of, “Oh, she’ll just change her mind in a little while anyway. You know how women are.” I considered threatening HSG with the tin snips, but then I’d probably be banned from my usually fantastic hardware store, and dammit, I buy my tomato plants there.

Once we got the tin cut and got home, I discovered that it was a bit wonky. Being my father’s daughter, I set to work with adjusting the frame:

However, the frame wasn’t actually wood.

So I had to go back to the hardware store and buy my own tin snips to trim the piece of metal. HSG was nowhere around, thankfully. I came home, and while wearing gloves, very carefully squared up my tin. Finally, it fit.

I broke open my pack of magnets (I got some like these, but the linked ones are a much better deal that the ones I got), and set to work using super glue to adhere them to the back of my makeup. I set everything up and stood back to admire my work.

And then it crashed to the floor — the frame wasn’t strong enough to hold everything. I don’t know about you, but when a project doesn’t work out, I get SO frustrated. Refusing to admit defeat, I went to Hobby Lobby and bought a wide wooden frame, and this time, the tin fit.

Steph gave me this cute ceramic owl hanger, and I decided to use it to hang my hair dryer.

I have a few larger palettes that I haven’t hung because they’re either too bulky or are covered in material that I can’t glue a magnet to. I’ve still cleared up a lot of space, and I’m thinking about adding a shelf for things like my bottles of perfume and my makeup that comes in pumps. I’m also toying with the idea of using cup hooks on the sides and bottoms to hang jewelry, but so far I like the clean look.

What I learned:

1. Don’t buy a crappy frame because you’re being cheap. The board, when completed, will be holding a good amount of weight. Make sure your frame is up to the task. Hobby Lobby always has 40% off coupons, and you can usually find a sale or coupon for Michael’s, etc.
2. Buy a frame with a ledge on the back so that the sheet of tin has a place to rest, and make sure there are clips or a backing so that it can be solidly secured in place.
3. Bring a magnet with you to to test the metal you get (you could just snag a strip of magnets at the store, like I did, since I needed to buy them anyway). And make sure you measure the size you need before you go to the store.
4. Buy large, heavy magnets — you need them to be able to withstand some weight (my foundation jar in particular is heavy).
5. Get heavy-duty tin snips, because you’re probably going to need to make adjustments once you’re home. Mine are  Ace brand, but they’re really sturdy. I’m glad to have them now, but I wasn’t thrilled to have to run back to the hardware store to get them.
6. If the hardware store person is dismissive of you, threaten him/her with your newly acquired tin snips if you think you won’t get kicked out before you can pay for everything.

Painted coffee table

I needed a coffee table in my living room (not to be confused with my family room, where are TV is). I actually needed a lot of furniture for my living room a year ago. I only had a dining room table when we moved in — no chairs! — so this room is coming along nicely.

I turned a friend of mine onto my scavenging ways (“ooo! a table by the side of the road!”) and she’d picked up this one. Then, her husband found a chest/trunk item on the side of the road that they’d decided they liked better for their space and I was on the winning end of that because I got this table.


It had some damage on the top (see below) and some wobbly legs.


I tightened the legs and primed and painted it. I used two cans of Killz spray primer and three cans of the green spray paint. I thought about glazing it, but I’ve decided no for now. If I ultimately decide against glazing for good, I’ll seal this paint job with varnish. (I recommend that for surfaces you’re going to use a lot.)



Ta-da! It goes quite well with my gray loveseat.


*this doesn’t count as a 2012 home project because I finished this in October and just have been lazy about taking a finished shot so I could post it. Sigh. Still five projects to go in 2012!

Friendship headphones

I saw this awesome pin on Pinterest the other day of headphones that had been wrapped like a friendship bracelet. It doesn’t actually link to a tutorial about how to do it, though. It links to a blog post that links to a site about how to do a friendship necklace.

So, I decided I was going to make these awesome headphones because, well, Josh was taking a nap and I didn’t want to clean.

Time: About 3 hours if you’re really slow.

Materials: Two skeins (??) of embroidery floss

I used the floss pictured below because it’s gradient color schemes and I like that. (I also have solids, but meh.)


I started at the plug of my headphones where I just made a simple square knot, which I later covered with clear nail polish so it wouldn’t unravel or fray.


I didn’t take a picture of it, but when I came to the junction wear it splits for the earbuds, I just divide my floss (it’s six strands, so divide into three each). I unwound my second skein of floss and cut it in half. I tied each half to a divided side of my floss. I used a square knot again, but looking back, I think an overhand knot would have been better. Then, I just started knotting the same way up to the earbuds, tied off, trimmed the hanging threads and covered the knots in clear nail polish!



From button down to ruffled tank top

In an effort to spend less money on clothing, I decided to remake (or refashion or upcycle, whatever term you want to use) a button-down women’s shirt I bought at the Goodwill in Bowling Green, Ohio. I love this Goodwill. I’ve been going there for years. I’ve bought random T-shirts, a full set of dishes (which I later found out were worth a lot of money — after I gave them away), records, shoes, purses… some of my favorite clothes in high school came from this Goodwill.

It was years ago that I bought three shirts there. All button downs, all plaid. The others will be making appearances.

(UPDATE: As Tasha points out in the comments, I used this tutorial as inspiration for this refashion.)

Here it was before my seam ripper, scissors and sewing machine got ahold of it:

So, I laid a tank top with a fit I like over the shirt and used tailor’s chalk to mark where to make cuts. Because the back of the tank top is higher than the scoop in the front, I drew half of it, made the cut and then folded it over and used it as a guide to cut the other side of the same:






After trying it on, I realized the neckline wasn’t symmetrical and the sides needed to be ripped out and resewn for a better fit. So, I undid the sides, and folded the shirt so the shoulders touched. This lined up my neckline so I could make it perfect! (If my procedure on this isn’t clear to someone who stumbles across this, just let me know in the comments and I’ll do my best to explain better.)

I marked where to sew the sides by trying on the top in front of a mirror with the wrong side out. I marked where to sew with pins, took the top off and sewed it up.

I decided to put ruffles around the neckline. I cut the material for the ruffle from the sleeves. Plaid was perfect for this because it gives you a natural grid. I sewed a hem on my fabric for the ruffle (below, left). Then, I did a large basting stitch — no backstitching! — and pulled the top thread to create the ruffle.

NOTE: My mom told me that a much easier way to do a long ruffle like this is do zigzag stitch over waxed dental floss. Then you can pull the dental floss to create the ruffle.

I attached the ruffle, sewing it so the right side of your ruffle is against the inside of the shirt. (When you flip the ruffle to the outside, the seam will be under the ruffle.) To keep the ruffle from getting all out of place, I topstitched along the neckline seam to tack the ruffle down. Then I added a second ruffle on the front of the shirt (top stitching the ruffle underneath the other ruffle.

I tried it on thinking it would fit perfect! It didn’t. The armholes were loose, making it just OK. So, remembering a way to dart those types of issues, I added these:






You do this by trying on the shirt inside out and folding and pinning until the gap’s gone. The alteration should be smooth. I found placement a bit challenging with the plaid because it made the pattern hang a bit weird (lines going a bunch of different directions). So I had to play around with that a bit to get it to look good and fit good.

And here’s the final: