Monday, April 30, 2012

CrossFit Bulletin Board

A few weeks ago, I started working out at CrossFit Glen Ellyn.  I have nothing but wonderful things to say about the programming, equipment, trainers, members, hours, and location.  But there is one problem. The brand new location is full of empty white walls.  They practically scream "decorate me" (at least to me, anyway). 

After a week or so, I hesitantly offered to provide a solution to the freshly-painted-but-boring-white walls.  I wasn't sure how receptive the male owners would be to my proposal, but (to my surprise), they were very willing to accept my next craft project.

I give you operation bulletin board. I love spray paint and I love fabric. And I really really really love when my two favorite crafting worlds collide in one colorful, easy, and cheap project.

First things first, Reed removed the cork board from the wooden frame.  I looked for bulletin boards at Target & Walmart (both carry 24x36 in boards for around $10), but I ended up finding an old board in my parent's basement that wasn't being used- bonus! Reuse, Reduce, Recycle.

(this is what we call our "spray paint station"...)

After the cork board was removed, I quickly sanded the frame with 200 grit sand paper to roughen up the poly so the primer had something to stick to.  I used Rustoleum's Primer to give the frame a basecoat for its makeover.  The next day I sprayed the frame with Rustoleum's Satin Black Spray Paint.  I applied 2 light even coats to the frame and let her dry for 48 hours. Have I mentioned I love spray paint?

(The black paint looks splotchy here- but I assure you, its a nice even finish on the frame)

Up next was the fabric.  I was browsing one morning and came across this green striped fabric.  I knew flowers, paisley, and polka dots would be a little too feminine for the CrossFit Gym, so stripes seemed like an appropriate choice. And on sale for only $3.49/yd (plus coupon code discounts), I was sold!

While I waited for the paint on the frame to dry, I covered the cork board with the fabric.  I started by cutting a square a few inches bigger than the cork.  Once I had my piece of fabric, I quickly ironed it to remove the wrinkles.

I used our staple gun to staple the fabric to the back of the cork.  Make sure your staples don't go through your cork by testing one (and use a piece of scrap wood under the cork so you don't accidentally staple your table or floor).  We used 3/8 inch staples for this step.

I would recommend using a spray adhesive to adhere the fabric to the cork prior to stapling (one step I forgot on this project, but wish I remembered). This will help any fabric "bubbles" from appearing on the front of your cork board.

As soon as I had the fabric all stapled in, Reed helped me staple the cork to the frame.  We used longer staples (1/2 inch) for this step so they would actually go through the cork board into the wooden frame. 

Covering a cork board is a cheap and easy way to add a pop of color (not to mention, function!) to otherwise boring white walls.  And, as if this project couldn't get better, I have leftover fabric... pillows anyone?

Home sweet home @ CFGE-

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Floor Planner

The floor plan of our house is a little unique.  Neither of us has ever seen a ranch home with the same layout.  That being the case, whenever people come to our house for the first time, they tend to tell us that the rooms aren't located where they had imagined them.  Well, if you've never been to our house, this post is for you.  We have taken care of the guess work for you!

While I was researching how to use Google Sketchup for the desk that I'm working on, (don't worry, my desk follow-up is coming soon) I found out about another great tool for homeowners.  It is a website called  This website allows you to create free floor plans of your home and it is incredibly easy to use.  Whether you are trying to determine if a new couch will fit in your living room or you are planning to put an addition on your house, this tool is a great way help you visualize it. Measuring the location of each window and door is time consuming but once you have the measurements it is really easy to enter them into the software.  

I really wish we had known about this site before we moved in but that's life.  Now when we want to build / buy something new, we won't have to guess whether or not it's going to fit!  So here is a 2-D layout of the main level of our house (I haven't had a chance to do the basement yet).  Hopefully it helps you get your bearings when we are talking about different house projects.  


Thursday, April 19, 2012

We've Been Featured!

A few weeks ago we were contacted by an editor at The Huffington Post asking permission to feature one of our DIY posts on their site - Stylist Home.  Whatttt?!?!?  Permission!?!? 

Of course, we did what every very tiny, very new, very amateur bloggers would do- we googled the editor's name to make sure it was legit (because we absolutely could not believe it). Once it was confirmed that this was for real, we couldn't stop jumping up and down with excitement (okay, maybe that was just Deanne jumping, but Reed was just as thrilled).

We wanted to scream from the rooftop- "YOU DON'T NEED OUR PERMISSION!"..."But O.M.G., it was so nice of you to ask, please please please feature us anytime!"

So allow us to share with you our little huge moment of fame.  Because if there is one thing we never ever expected to happen, this is it... ;)

DIY Idea: What To Do With A Piano Bench? Try This Easy Upholstery Idea

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Now you see it, Now you don't

Two weeks ago we watched an episode of Clean Freaks on HGTV and I was inspired to get organizing around our house (Reed didn't exactly share my enthusiasm).

We I have been meaning to find a solution to the random piles of papers/invites/coupons/recipes/important mail around our kitchen.  We originally had a little wooden clip on our fridge to hold it all, but it wasn't long before it was overflowing and typically found laying on the floor.

Over the last few weeks I saw a few pins on Pinterest ( that would help solve our lack of organization in the kitchen.

Pinterest Inspiration Pins:


[Take Out Menus found here]
[Recipe cork board found here]

We picked up a cork board at Hobby Lobby and some "Post It" plastic sleeves at Staples.  Reed and I sorted through all of the coupons, invites, recipes, and take out menus we had laying around the kitchen and picked a sleeve for each. We decided we would use the cork board for any mail that needs action (bills/RSVPs) as well as any important recipes.

I quickly gave the cork board a makeover by covering it with some scrap fabric (it took 10 min tops).  The discontinued fabric "sample" we found at an Ethan Allen warehouse (which has since closed, tear) for $0.50 and it was the perfect size for this project.  I cut the fabric to size & stapled it to the back of the cork board. Easy, peasy.

Unlike our inspiration Pinterest pins, our largest plastic sleeve and the cork board were too wide to fit on the inside of our cabinet doors.  In an effort to keep the fridge clear, we resorted to optimizing the inside of the basement door for our organization station.  What can I say, we have a thing for organized doors.

Do you have any nifty kitchen organization tips? Please share! We are always looking for easy ways to keep things in order around here :)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

When Life Gives You Lemons...

If you've been reading our blog (or at least browsing the pictures), you've probably come to the conclusion that we have no pets and no babies roaming around.  While this is certainly true (much to the disappointment of our parents), we do spend a lot of time caring for one special little guy.  

For those of you that haven't had the pleasure of meeting him, let us introduce you to Harley, our Meyer Lemon Tree.  Meyer Lemons are a cross between standard lemons and mandarin oranges giving the fruit a sweeter taste and and a rounder shape.

Meet Harley

Born 1-3 years before 4-29-11

I'm not entirely sure where the idea came from, but last spring Deanne started talking about getting a lemon tree.  I let my parents in on her most recent obsession and they ended up getting one for her 26th birthday.  Harley came from; which as you might guess from the name of the website is a pretty good source for lemon trees (actually they also sell lime, orange, lime grapefruit and kumquat trees).  A few days after my parents placed the order, a tall skinny box arrived on our front porch.  We opened it up and out popped our 1 to 3 year old lemon tree. 

One important thing to know about citrus trees is that they won't survive in temperatures below 40 degrees (and they will start to go dormant below 50 degrees).  They also require 8 to 12 hours of sunlight per day.  This is why citrus trees are typically found in Florida and California and not in places like Northern Illinois...  Deanne and I already have enough trouble keeping plants alive so we knew that this was going to be a challenge. 

During the summer months, we have been able to keep Harley outside without any problems.  He loves basking in the sunlight and has made friends with all of the bumblebees in our neighborhood.  The other 9 months of the year are where things get a little interesting.  During the months of April and October Deanne and I are constantly checking the weather forecast.  If the temperatures are expected to dip below 50 degrees at night, Harley gets moved into the garage when the sun goes down and is wheeled back outside before we head to work.

During the winter months, he is even more spoiled.  He sits perched next to the window in our office with a grow light hooked up to a timer.  At 7:00 am his light goes on and at 5:00 pm his light goes off.  We can only imagine what our neighbors must think we have growing under a grow light...haha.

Although it hasn't happened yet, Deanne and I are eagerly awaiting our first lemon harvest.  We have grand visions of using our home grown lemons to make lemon bars and fresh squeezed lemonade (or lemon beer anyone?). Our tree started growing tiny lemons last fall but most of them fell off during the winter.  Harley grew a few more lemons during the winter and those little guys actually seem to be doing well.  From what we've read, lemons take anywhere from 4 to 8 months to ripen so we're keeping our fingers crossed that a few of them will be ready to sample around the 4th of July.  

Even if we don't end up with any lemons, it's been a lot of fun caring for Harley.  He may not be pet or a child, but at least he doesn't make any messes around the house (except when he's shedding his lemons) and we don't have to worry about leaving him home alone for a few days (unless the temperature is approaching 50 degrees).  

(Harley & his big bro)

Keep dreaming buddy.  If you ever get that big, we might need to move because you'll never fit in the house.  

Friday, April 6, 2012

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

He says:

In honor of Opening Week in Major League Baseball, we wanted to give a shout out to some of the baseball themed items in our house, but first we need to back up a few years.  When I lived in my bachelor pad in Milwaukee, it was pretty clear that Deanne didn’t have much control over how I decorated.  My living room had Cardinal’s flags on the walls, baseball ticket stubs hanging in a frame, a hand full of bobbleheads on display, and around Christmas Time - a tree trimmed with baseball cards.

My bedroom was pretty much the same story.  The room was adorned with Cardinals glassware and commemorative 2006 World Series beer bottles.  Better yet, my ever-growing hat collection hung from the walls.  The hats were meticulously organized with the American League on one wall and the National League on another; all hung in order of division standings.  The only exception was that I never hung my cubs hat (yes, I own a cubs hat) above one of my Cardinals hats.  Yeah, I know…My apartment was awesome.

[Excuse the poor quality cropped photos]

It's Christmas time in Milwaukee...

Loving life (and my Cardinal's filled bachelor pad)

She says:

Once we bought our house, I was determined to keep Reed's so-called "commemorative" beer bottles in a box in the basement. ;) Instead of hanging all 8,000 hats on the wall, we tried to take a classier (if you will) approach to incorporating Reed's Cardinals obsession into our decor.  I promised to become a Cardinals fan (and raise our future children as Cardinals fans) during our wedding vows, so it was only appropriate that I took this duty seriously.

Baseballs in a glass container in the family room...

A little framed STL Logo on our wall shelves

Vintage pennant (currently in our office, but I'm in search of a more 
permanent place for this guy)

Cardinals Books on Reed's nightstand


Unfortunately, old habits die hard.
I would be lying if I told you this never happens-

(Apparently Reed really likes keeping commemorative beer in bedrooms...)

I am 100% serious when I say this is what our guest room has looked like all week.  I am not exactly sure what the hats are doing there... I'm going to go out on a limb and assume Reed's having a hard time picking a hat for our first game of the year today in Milwaukee at Miller Park?

If I had a dollar for every time I tripped over this "situation" in the guest room...

I'm pretty convinced Reed also believes that the sole purpose of curtain rod 
finials is to hang cardinal's hats...

As hard as I've tried, I just can't win them all.  Here's to hoping the Cardinals can win a few more than I do ;)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Workin' on a Workspace

A few months ago, Deanne and I were walking through Pottery Barn and of course we couldn't resist walking by the scratch and dent section.  We quickly noticed one piece of a modular desk that was in perfect condition and marked 75% off.  Obviously the problem was that this was the last part they had from a discontinued set.  The saleswoman checked their system for matching parts but the closest store with any pieces remaining was in Philadelphia.

Common sense should have told us to walk away but our IKEA desk was nearing the end of its useful life and our creative minds had already started spinning.  I have been wanting to start building some of my own furniture and  I thought that building the base for a desk would be a good beginner project.  The part that had me stumped was the desk top, but that's where Deanne's creativity kicked in.  She suggested that we buy an old antique door, and cut it to size for the desk top.

Most people would settle with the 75% off sticker but I thought we could do better.  We must have convinced the woman that no one else in their right mind would buy this thing because she agreed to knock off an extra 10% bringing the total price to $65.

Just like all the other projects that we've been planning this spring, the desk was put on hold because of my wrist surgery (If you're a college basketball fan, I have the same injury as North Carolina's Point Guard, Kendall Marshall).  My cast is (supposed to be) coming off this coming Tuesday so barring any setbacks I am hoping to start constructing the rest of the desk soon.  In the mean time, Deanne and I have started searching for possible ideas and we settled on this one below from Pottery Barn.   We both really like the idea of having a desk with a bookshelf on the end.

When I've built things things in the past, I typically just relied on hand drawn sketches (like the one above) or even just relied on hand written dimensions.  While this is perfectly normal, I decided to make plans for this project easier for me (and anyone else) to read.  I had read that some woodworkers like to use Google Sketchup to make their plans so I decided to give that a try.  If you've never used Sketchup, I would highly recommend it.  It is basically a dumbed-down 3-D modeling software that is very easy to use.  A lot of people use it to make a 3-D model of a building or a room but it is also great for things like furniture.  You can download Sketchup for free here.

After searching the internet for some video tutorials, I found the website  This awesome website has everything that you ever need to know about designing furniture in Sketchup.  Once I watched each of the video tutorials , I felt ready to start making the plans for the bookshelf side of the desk.  After an hour or two, here's what I came up with:

With the plans ready to go, I am very eager to start cutting.  I'm still a few weeks away from being able to start this project but it feels great to finally have a plan.  Now we just need to find a cool antique door.