The Latest and Greatest In Spider-Killing Technology

Like many people, I don’t enjoy spiders. That’s putting it lightly, but I’m trying to be delicate here, and not risk any literate spiders reading of my vendetta and seeking revenge. I don’t enjoy spiders so much that I usually kill any who cross my path. If my handy husband is around, I usually invite him (translation: scream, flail, and run around wildly) to perform this task. When he is not, I’m left with a handful of options.

Bare-handed: not an option, despite what aforementioned handy husband thinks.

Poison: Good, if I’ve got any, and I don’t mind spraying toxic substances all over my carpet, walls, and breathing air.

With a shoe or nearby implement: Getting warmer, but then I have a dead spider stuck to my shoe. Fixing one problem with another problem is not ideal.

Enter: The Ultimate Spider Killer.

Step 1: Wrap a paper towel around a rubber mallet and secure with a rubber band. (A hammer can be substituted, but the large, even surface of a mallet is preferable)

Step 2: Extend your arm and carefully walk to the trashcan, taking great pains to avoid looking at or touching the spider carcass. A quick peek to ensure deadness is ok.

Step 3: Using scissors, cut the rubberband, releasing the soiled papertowel without having had to touch spider parts, dead or living, at any point.

Celebrate!

Step 4: Re-arm your spider killer. Preparation is key.

Hint: These make excellent house-warming gifts for young ladies (or young men who behave like ladies) moving into their first place.

Knock Off Decor

A project I did a few months ago is being featured on Knock Off Decor:

http://knockoffdecor.com/jewelry-display-frames/

If you’re like me and love finding ways to do more with less you will love this site. It houses an ever-growing collection of projects from creative, crafty people who have seen something in stores like Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, and Anthropologie and thought, I can make that.

I’m particularly loving this Anthro-inspired bedspread:¬†http://knockoffdecor.com/rosette-bedding/

Pottery Barn Ain’t Got Nothin’ On Me – DIY Jewelry Display Frames

A few months ago, I spotted some adorable jewelry “frames” on Pottery Barn’s website and determined to make my own DIY version. With a few coats of white paint and a $0.99 package of cup hooks, I transformed an old picture frame into my own version. It’s true: my jewelry frame doesn’t look just like Pottery Barn’s. The frame (originally bought at Hobby Lobby and used for my wedding) is more substantial and I am not a big fan of antique finishes, so this is pure semi-gloss perfection. I added more hooks (for more storage, duh!), and even considered adding a wire across the bottom for hanging earrings. But, at an investment of less than 1 dollar compared to the $49 large version on PotteryBarn.com, it’s hard to complain with the results. I’m not going to even bother posting a tutorial because this is such a basic project. If you have questions, please ask. I’m happy to help!

I have actually had this project finished and on the wall for several weeks now. It blends in great with our bedroom. We have a small space and I used the same white semi-gloss paint that we used on the trim and on my dresser, so everything is very cohesive. The one surprise that came out of this project? I have a LOT fewer necklaces than I thought! Time for another DIY?

Dining Room Art Project – Phase 1

The dining room recently received a bit of “bling”. (I refer to art and accessories that way, at least until a new word upstages bling in popular culture parlance. If this has already happened and I just didn’t notice, please leave me a comment.) The wall space between the new buffet and our storage shelves was bare. The only accessories? The dimmer and the thermostat. This is not exactly what I would consider a showcase. Enter two fun and inexpensive projects! I ordered a vintage map from Jamaica and cut out a simple mat to showcase it in a very simple “gallery style” frame and then made my own art with a photo project featuring our own gorgeous doggie, Rory! Read on for more!

Continue reading

Dining Room Light Fixture – on the cheap

For months I’ve craved a new dining room light fixture. Being renters, there are many little details we try to ignore (like the ugly ceiling fans in nearly every room), knowing it is not practical or cost-effective for us to change them. However, the dining room was the only room in the house with an overhead light fixture that was not a fan. The fixture wasn’t horrible – just very basic and very… high. My artistic soul cringes at things like bad and ineffective lighting, and although this one worked when you flipped the switch, it provided nothing in the vein of mood lighting. Our dining room could never play host to a relaxing dinner, a romantic spot for dessert, a chill environment for cocktails with friends, or even a cozy spot to sit and jot down a grocery list due to its horribly sad little light, perched all the way up on the ceiling. Installing a dimmer helped somewhat, but did not fix the problem. I’ve dreamed about creating a grand fixture, DIYing something truly impressive. My masterpiece would require books on wiring, saws and wood, paint and all manner of lighting supplies. It would be costly, time-consuming, and possibly life threatening to construct.

On Wednesday, I found a simple white drum shade for $12. My dreams ended, but the reality of a better-lit dining room dawned just over the horizon. Paired with a lantern light kit (originally purchased 5 years or so from Pier 1 for around $5), a simple ceiling medallion (Home Depot for $5) and a hook ($.50), we were in business. Continue reading

Doggie DayBed

Rory, the Queen of Cute.

We recently completed a huuuge project on our to-do list – the “industrial chic pallet daybed” I’ve mentioned. The daybed lives in the office, where it plays host to occasional visits from me and frequent lounging from Rory. I have since rechristened this piece of furniture the “doggie daybed”. The daybed itself is awesome – Tyler built it, so of course it would be. The base is made from reclaimed shipping pallets and Tyler took this project a step further, using an extra pallet for scrap wood so he could build extra support for the base. This thing is sturdy. We bought a twin mattress (and a waterproof mattress protector-note the drool spot in the photo between Rory’s paws) for the top.

I ordered a daybed cover from West Elm to bring the whole piece together. That sounds like an awesome idea, except that to my chagrin, West Elm skimped on the construction of said cover, using BUTTONS (buttons?!) on the short end to construct an impossible envelope instead of using a zipper on the long end to make for easy mattress insertion. The mattress WILL NOT FIT in their existing pocket. I measured the case and the mattress and the case has plenty of room to accommodate the mattress (we bought the extra-basic thin mattress, not the gigantic pillow-topped ones that are so popular today). After stewing angrily for a few days over this shoddy piece of workmanship, I took matters into my own hands. After 45 minutes with a seam ripper, the cover is successfully on the bed and looks pretty good- from three sides at least ; ). Much better than the wrinkly sheet in the photo, that’s for sure. Of course, the fabric store was out of 100″ zippers so I have basically sandwich bagged the cover around the mattress for the time being, but this is a start. I’ll post soon with final glamour shots and a how-to.

So Much I Want to Do…

This post is to help me clarify my upcoming home improvement/decorating To-Do List.

Office:
-Fix blasted West Elm daybed cover (rip out seam, fit to mattress, insert zipper)
-Sew pillows (2 bolsters, 2-3 large loungeish pillows)
-(later) rug
-(later) new office chair
-(later) more attractive lighting

Bedroom:
-sort out items that are in bookcase (side table) and store elsewhere, move bookcase to basement
-hang floating shelves for Tyler’s nightstands
-sew bed skirt to match headboard
-sew case for Rory’s dogbed
-make and hang picture frame jewelry storage
-buy boxes for Tyler’s and my odds-and-ends
-buy and implement accessories storage for closet
-order Room and Board slim C-Table (once I sell some more old furniture on Craigslist)

Living Room:
-buy, paint, hang “faux mantel” and hang pictures correspondingly
-organize DVDs – purchase storage boxes?
-redo art on shelves

Dining Room:
-buy, paint, hang mantel/shelf and hang pictures on long wall
-create art for bar cabinet wall (2 pics of Rory and squiggle drawing)
-hang art by door?
-get glass cut for top of bar cabinet
-new light fixture
-storage for Rory’s paw-cleaning supplies by door?

Patio:
-figure out daybeds?
-new top for bar table
-repaint? bar chairs
-clean up, generally
-awning thingy
-move grill and chiminea
-figure out seating for rest of yard
-hang lights : )

Bathroom:
-paint walls
-paint trim
-see where we are after that.

Kitchen:
-paint walls
-paint cabinets (oh lord)
-see where we are after that.

Wow… just… wow. Why do I want to do so many things?!