Weekend Finds aka Things that will be keeping me busy this Week

I went shopping on Saturday, and came home with a few things to keep me busy working on home projects this week.

This first one wont keep me busy, it just makes me happy.

I was kind of concerned that I wouldnt find a bathmat to go with my shower curtain after I passed on these two at Home Goods when I was in Phoenix.

I get panicky about spending money, and at $20 and $15 respectively, these kind of triggered my cheap ass to have a panic attack, so I left them on the shelf. Luckily a trip to Big Lots landed me this $7 bathmat that matches my shower curtain perfectly if I do say so myself.

bathmat and shower curtain

Now all I need to do is find some complementary towels and a few accessories (and clean and organize the space) and it will be perfect. Im still considering those Nate Berkus towels, btw, Im just hoping that I can catch them on sale. Again spending money makes me anxious.

Also found at big lots, this pillow. This $3 dollar pillow. Do you know how much throw pillow inserts cost? Well, theyre almost always more than $3 dollars. Do you know how easy it is to turn a standard sized pillow into a throw pillow insert? Super easy, and Ill be showing you how later this week.

pillow in progress

a sneak peek of the pillow in progress.

starfish drawer pull

Starfish drawer pulls to replace the boring ones that we have (Hobby Lobby  $2.50 each/ 50% off sale) . I had to get 2 regular stars, because we needed 12 knobs, and they only had 10 of these. Somebodies underwear drawer is going to be star spangled instead of nautical .

Chair foam

The biggest and bestest finds of the weekend were probably these two 4x22x22 foam squares. Ive had this wooden chair frame for over two years, and have always avoided buying foam for it because its so expensive. But I finally found foam for a decent price this weekend. Hobby Lobby (its the only craft store we have) normally sells them for $16.99, but they were on sale for 30% off and the cashier let me use my 40% off coupon instead of the sale price for one of them.  $22 for both not too bad. Im waiting on another 40% off coupon or a sale to buy the fabric. I also need to study every tutorial I can find on making box cushions, because I have a feeling there will be a significant amount of  cursing, throwing things, and maybe even some tears involved. I also need to go buy an electric bread knife to cut these things down to size.

That wood frame needs some lovin too, which may be another post in itself.

Now that you know what Im up to this week, what projects do you have in the works? Also, if you know how, can you come make two box cushion covers for me?

 

 

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Tiny Dining Room vs. Big Dining Table

If you recall from my very first post, I posted the layout of our house, and I made a few notes on it about the dining room.

floor planIt only made sense for the dining room to be connected to the kitchen, rather than out in the carpeted living/dining room. Unfortunately, as you can see, the dimensions of the dining room are already pretty small, but its made even smaller by that breakfast bar (that is way too tall to be an actual breakfast bar) jutting out into it. This is our current set up.

our dining room now

Our dining set is a bit on the big side (48 wide 30 tall, and those chairs are pretty bulky), and thats without the extra leaf and 2 additional chairs. We did discover that with this configuration it is possible for 4 people to somewhat comfortably eat a meal together, but Im not a fan of the way it looks, and I dont like that the person sitting on the far side of the table closest to the wall is kind of trapped there, until the person sitting next to them gets up. Well be keeping this dining set regardless of whether or not we continue to use it in this house. Its too nice, and we got it at too good of a price for me to be willing to part with it. I have a few ideas for what we could do.

As far as keeping the table and chairs, we could just remove one chair so theres a little more room. Its typically just the two of us, and we usually eat dinner on the couch anyway, but I would like to be able to have people over for dinner sometimes. We could move the table out into the giant living room/office when we want to be able to seat more people, but the thought of having to do that really annoys me for some reason.

Now, if we opted to put the whole thing in storage and start over fresh I have a few ideas and because I cant stand the thought of buying a crappier, smaller dining set for more than we paid for this one, most of my ideas are at least partially DIY.

Im going to go ahead and backtrack now. When I said that the idea of pulling the table into the living room annoys me, I only meant if its normally residing in out dining room. If we had a more suitable table for our dinging room, I wouldnt mind pulling the big one out for dinner parties or holidays. Is that weird?

At this point I think everybody already knows that Im more than a little bit in love with hair pin legs. So it should come as no surprise that Im a big fan of these two tables.

hair pin round table

Kate, of For Me, For you, made this round dining table with a premade table top, some stain and 4 hairpin legs. I can do that! Too bad I cant also score those sweet chairs on craigslist. [instructions] She also made a desk using hairpin legs, which I think might also make a really nice dining table.

square hairpin table

Same idea, different shape. This one was made by web designer Ashli Nixon. She also made (and by made I mean painted) that striped rug. Check out her website for more details.

pipe table

Ive also considered doing pipe legs like Mark of marybicycles. Obviously I would do this on a smaller scale, probably a square table instead of rectangular, but its the same basic idea. [instructions]

Other than that, the only thing Ive come across that seems doable is readymade unfinished furniture. Like this. And I havent even started thinking about chairs yet

What do you think? How do I make my tiny dining room both functional and stylish?

 

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DIY coffee table inspiration

I am determined to DIY rather than buy a coffee table for our living room. I dont really like anything that Im seeing in stores (style or price), and honestly I think it would be much more fun to build my own. We dont have a proper wood shop or anything, but I think weve got enough tools for what I have in mind. These are the current contenders:

wire coffee table

This is by far the easiest option. Id replace the acrylic sheets with a custom cut piece of glass or wood, and maybe make it longer by adding another V shaped base. [instructions]

hairpin coffee table

Next up is a pretty easy option as well. Take a nice piece of wood and slap some hairpin legs on it. So simple and so perfect. [instructions]

herringbone hairpin coffee table

If I wanted to get a bit fancier, I could do a herringbone pattern for the table top. Oh how I love me some herringbone though Im not entirely sure that I have the tools and/or skills to pull it off. [instructions]

cb2 herringbone coffee table

I could also do something like this. Same table top idea, different legs. This one is actually from CB2, but I think I could make it as long as I could get the  herringbone top figured out. Legs like that cant be too hard to come by or make, right?

The next two are IKEA hacks. Ill be close to an IKEA next month, so I could conceivably pick up any needed parts.

lerberg leg coffee table

Easy option this one is just a board mounted on some Lerberg trestles.  [source]

concrete coffee table

Finally, and this one may currently be my favorite, is a concrete topped coffee table. Ive never made a mold for or poured concrete before, but my best friend has, so hopefully she could talk me through it if we decide on this one. The base is an IKEA Klubbo. [instructions]

I probably wont get around to starting on this for at least another month, so I may end up finding even more options by then, but whats your favorite of the ones that Im currently considering?

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The Sofa Saga Part 2 (how to replace karlstad legs)

As I mentioned in The Sofa Saga Part 1, I wasnt loving those legs. They looked cheap and IKEA-y.

bulky ikea legs

Altering or replacing karlstad legs for a sleeker, sexier, less IKEA look is by no means an original idea.  It’s been done here, here, here, here, here, and here, and probably by hundreds of other people. There are even companies that make better looking replacements for IKEA legs such as Pretty Pegs, and Uncle Bobs Workshop. The latter makes replacement legs specifically for the Karlstad, and I would have seriously considered them if we didnt need 8. 8 x $9+ = too much for me to spend in addition to already buying the damn couch. Luckily Lowes offers cheaper options. We found these for less than $3 each.

unstained new leg

The other supplies we needed included mounting plates (less than $2.00 each). There was a choice between flat and angled, we choose flat (or as it says straight)

top plate

Stain love me some golden pecan (I think this little jar was about $7, and we barely made a dent in it)

supplies not pictured: a brush made for stain ($5?), clean cloths (free), masking tape (cheap), and a cardboard box (free). Howard Feed-n-Wax is optional, but I already had some lying around, so I figured, why not?

Step 1: Make sure that your replacement legs are roughly the same size as the originals.

side by side legs

Step 2: Tape over the metal part of the leg. I did the blue ones thats why theyre so much prettier.

taped legs

Step 3: Stab the screw end of the leg into a cardboard box so that its standing up straight-ish.

legs stuck in box

Step 4: Apply stain according to manufacturers instructions. I think we may have actually failed at that because Im pretty sure we were supposed to be going with the grain, but it all worked out so who cares?

Step 5: Wait desired amount of time, and then wipe off excess stain. Our container said to wait anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes depending on desired color. We waited 5.

wiping stain

Step 6: Wait again, follow manufacturer instructions. Ours said to wait at least 8 hours for stain to dry.

(Optional) Step 7: Apply wax/polish/some type of sealant. With the Howards, you soak a clean cloth in the wax, wipe it on, wait 20 minutes, and then buffer it off. Easy peasy, and it smells like oranges.

howard feed n wax

Step 8: Remove the cushions and flip your couch over. Make a cushion fort if you feel so inclined. Because our sectional is such a beast, we ended up separating it into its three sections to make it more manageable.pillow fort

Step 9: Remove original legs. Just use the same tool you used to screw them in.

removing old legs

Step 10: Remove plastic mounting plate. We used a flat head screw driver, and it was really easy. In these pictures my husband is working from the bottom, but I found it easier to work from the corner with the hole in it. There are no staples up there, so the screwdriver just slides right in.

removing plastic top plate

TA-DA!

Step 11: Attach metal mounting plates with given screws. My husband did all of these, but I believe he tried to line the middle up over the original screw hole.

mounted top plate

Step 12: Screw in much better looking legs

screwed in new leg

Step 13: Flip that thing back over, reassemble if necessary, throw the cushions back on, and admire your new and improved couch.

couch with sexy new legs

before and after leg comparison

Side note: We can keep the dogs off the couch, but we apparently cant keep the dog hair off the couch. Dog hair dominates our lives!

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The Sofa Saga Part 1

We tossed our old couch before we PCSd back in June, because to put it nicely, the thing was a piece of shit. We bought it new for about $300, which probably tells you about how well made it was. We got a good 2 years use out of it, but by the time we said buh-bye it was covered in stains, and one of the springs had popped and would poke you in the butt whenever you sat down.

Once we finally arrived at our new duty station (almost 7 months after we departed our old one), my first house related priority was to find a new couch. I had a price range in mind (originally $700, but I bumped it up to $1000), and a general idea of what I wanted (large sectional, not overstuffed, preferably with a mid century modern vibe, and that would actually fit where we needed it), but I was having a really difficult time finding something that met all of those criteria. Mostly because sectionals are freaking expensive! There was one that I knew I liked, the Karlstad from IKEA, but were about 8 hours from the nearest IKEA, so that didnt seem like a viable option.

karlstad stock image

But then something funny happened, I spent a month using an air mattress as living room furniture, and my search for a suitable sofa continued to disappoint, so I began to reconsider the Karlstad. We could drive to Denver or Dallas, but wed have to factor in not only the cost of the couch, but also the cost of gas for a not very fuel efficient truck, plus a nights stay in a hotel. That or wed have to suck it up and pay $350 for shipping. After a little mathing, we decided that a voyage to the great Swedish super store was going to cost us just as much money, and way more effort than just ordering it online. So we did. We paid $350 for shipping. I have never paid that much for shipping before, and I probably never will again. But to be totally honest, even with shipping costs, this sofa was a great deal. I do have some complaints to make about IKEAs shipping department (but not the delivery guys, they were great), but Ill save that rant for another day.

Our IKEA delivery finally arrived on Feb 26th (after ordering it on the 6th but I said I wasnt going to get into that). It arrived about 10 minutes after my husband left for work. I promised him that I wouldnt try to assemble it without him because 1. Ive had a recent streak of bad luck when it comes to assembling and or not breaking things, and 2. Im tiny and clumsy and would most likely end up in the emergency room. But I only promised that I wouldnt assemble it I didnt say anything about unpacking and roughly arranging it. This is what our place looked like when he got home for lunch that day. (I recovered everything in plastic to keep the dogs away). Once he headed back to work, I took a very long nap, because couch unpacking is apparently quite exhausting.

karlstad not yet put together

When he got home from work that night we assembled the couch. There are no assembly pictures because, well, I was kind of too busy assembling.  I did however get pictures of the finished project the following day.

karlstad constructed

(Yes thats the mindy project on TV.)

anyother view of our new couch

I LOVE this couch. Its the perfect size, and its surprisingly comfortable. The only thing Im not in love with are those cheapo looking IKEA legs, but as of this writing weve already taken care of that. We stole the ideas of many a genius IKEA hacker, and swapped out those blocky legs for something a little more sexy. Details to come in The Sofa Saga Part 2

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