Category: DIY Projects


Harrison’s Nursery Reveal


We have been in the new house for 3 months today and we are finally getting settled.  It takes a long time to get things in order and organized, get things hung up on the walls, etc.  Most of you will recall Harrison’s nursery in our first house was bright yellow with a woodland animals theme.  Before Harrison was born, we didn’t know if we were having a boy or a girl. Once we moved, we were able to give him a more masculine nursery.

Baby Boy Nursery

I painted an orange stripe on the wall and hung his name up too.  Most of the furniture came from his old nursery including the recliner I made a slipcover for when I was 8 months pregnant.  The newest addition is this teal teepee I bought from Amazon for an early birthday present.  Harrison climbed right in and loved it!  He has a really neat reading nook now.

Reading Nook

We kept the woodland animal theme for the most part and hung up the same things he had in his old nursery, including the bird house night light.

Baby Boy Nursery Reveal

I also kept the rug and curtains from his first room.  I made those no-sew curtains and you can see the tutorial here.

Orange and Blue Nursery

I’m sure the room isn’t complete yet.  I always seem to find more projects, but for now he is all set.  In this house Harrison has more than twice the space he had in his first room.  Kids have a lot of stuff, so it is filling up fast!  Luckily, he also has a walk in closet to store all of this extra clothes and toys.  We are blessed with a lot of space in this house!

I have more updates on our exterior projects coming soon!  We have installed a railing on the back deck and it looks great! Check back soon for more updates and as always, thanks for reading!

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Go Green, Save Green!


Going Green to Save Green

Happy Earth Day! I’m proud to say that this year Ryan and I have made a lot of changes to decease our environmental impact. Once we decided to cloth diaper we realized how much of the rest of our lives seem disposable.  Everything around us is individually packaged or made to be thrown out after one use.  While we still have a long way to go, I would love to share with you some of the ways we are not only going green, but how we are saving money doing it as well.

1. Cloth Diapering: I will start here since this motivated us to make the switch.  A disposable diaper takes about 500 years to decompose in a landfill.  The EPA reports that 20 billion diapers or 3.5 million tons of diaper waste is dumped in landfills each year. By switching to cloth diapers, you can save over $2,000 per child and another $500 if you choose cloth wipes as well. They are also adorably cute. See more details here.

Flip Diaper Cover

 

Cloth Diaper

 

2.  Unpaper Towels: This has been a big money saver for us. We received several white dishcloths as a present. Now we grab those whenever we would normally use paper towels.  We have not bought paper towels yet this year.  We do keep some on hand for pet messes, but we are lucky that those are pretty rare.  The initial cost of switching to cloth is minimal and it can be washed with your regular laundry.

3. Cloth Napkins: Similar to paper towels, you can invest in some cheap cloth napkins and save bundles on buying paper.  It seems much nicer to use cloth anyways and it looks great when you set the table.

4. Reusable Grocery Bags: I received these for Christmas and it has saved so many plastic bags from making it into a landfill.  We keep them in our car so that we have them when we make a last minute trip to the store.  I have these grocery bags and these produce bags.  Our grocery store also gives you $.05 for every bag you bring in, which is a nice bonus too. The initial cost of these bags is very reasonable.

5. Reusable Sandwich Bags: Ryan travels for work and takes a lunch with him.  We have switched to reusable sandwich and snack bags. These are food safe and come in many prints and colors.  You can purchase them here.  I can’t remember the last time I bought ziplock bags! Nicki’s Diapers often adds these to your order for free, so we have only purchased a few ourselves.

Reusable Sandwich Bags

6. Compost: Depending on if you pay for garbage pick up, composting can save you a ton of money. We feed most of our vegetable scraps to the chickens, but you can compost so many things! The EPA estimates that Americans  create 14 million tons of food waste each year. 4% is composted.  Check out this page for more info and a great explanation of what can be composted.

7. Gardening: You can save so much money by growing your own food.  Even if you are limited on yard space, you can start a container garden! If you can’t garden in your space, be sure to check out your local farmers market.  When you buy local produce or grow your own you are saving the earth by reducing pollution caused by transportation.  Don’t buy your produce from Mexico, buy it from your neighbor!

Starting Seeds

8. Keep Chickens: It’s no secret that I love chickens.  We raise them for eggs and meat each year.  After the initial start up cost, it is relatively inexpensive to keep chickens and they keep us in eggs and meat.  The meat birds are only a 6-8 week commitment and feed us all year long.  Chickens do not require a lot of space or time.  If you have ever considered keeping chickens, take the plunge this year!  You won’t regret it.

Whoopi

9. Reduce Weekly Waste: Americans make more than 200 million tons of garbage each year according to the EPA. We have decided to challenge ourselves to see how much we can reduce our waste.  When shopping, choose items that are not individually packaged. It is so easy to buy the yogurt that comes individually packaged, but how is it any difference than the tub?  The larger container is often cheaper and creates less waste.

10. Don’t Buy Bottled Water: This is a big problem for me.  In the past we have always bought things in bottles and cans.  We recycle, but it would be much better to buy larger containers and drink from the faucet instead.  I hope this will be our biggest change this year!

I hope this has inspired you to take the plunge and make a change this year!  Happy Earth Day!

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Spring Cleanup


House Exterior Spring 2015

We are finally starting to see a bit of Spring in Wisconsin.  Yesterday it was even in the 60s.  We spent quite a bit of time outside yesterday assessing what needed to get done.  Because our house was a foreclosure, a lot of the yard work was neglected for a while.  The house has gorgeous landscaping, but it is full of leaves from fall of last year.  It is really fun to see what plants and flowers will come up this spring.  There is also the issue of the Christmas lights on the house.  They all need to come down, but some of them are quite a ways up there!

House Exterior Back Spring Flowers

We also have an issue with gravel in the lawn.  When they plowed out the driveway when the house was for sale, they didn’t know where the driveway stopped, which resulted in piles of gravel in our lawn and on the sidewalk.

Gravel in Yard

The previous owners didn’t use the entire backyard.  They kept one part of it mowed and let the rest of it grow.  A lot of it is overgrown at the moment.  This wouldn’t be a big problem if we didn’t have rambunctious dogs that would be full of ticks in no time and a chicken coop we needed to build in that space.

Back Yard Spring 2015

Our biggest project will be putting a railing on the back deck.  It is definitely not safe for Harrison at the moment, but it will be nice when it has vinyl railing to match the rest of the house.  We have the railing purchased and just need to install it when we find a free moment.

Back Deck Spring 2015 Back Deck without Railing

I am very thankful that this yard doesn’t look like our first house when we moved in.  We had much more work to do when we closed on that house.  I will never forget the piles of dirty diapers we dug out of that yard…yuck!

Speaking of our first house, many people have asked what we are going to do with it.  At the moment we are working on it on the weekends and trying to get as much trim done as possible.  We are really hoping to list it for sale in June.  We love that house and put in a lot of work, so it is hard to think about letting it go, but I hope we can find a family that can really love and appreciate the work we put in. I hope to update with some pictures once the weather gets nicer and the lawn greens up a bit.  As always, thanks for reading!

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DIY Christmas Ornaments


DIY Ornament

 

This year while celebrating Christmas in July with family, we bought a package of DIY ornaments on Amazon (like these).  They split in half so you can put anything you want inside.  We stopped at Hobby Lobby and got all sorts of Christmas themed items to put inside.  Everyone at the reunion was able to make anything they wanted.  Let it Snow Ornament DIY Tree Ornament

At Hobby Lobby they also had bigger ornaments with wide tops on them that you can put ribbon or smaller items into.  I love this Merry Christmas ribbon.

DIY Ribbon Ornament

After seeing the idea on Pinterest, I wanted to make one with Harrison’s hat from the hospital and hospital bracelet.  I couldn’t track down the original blog/author, but I love the idea.DIY Baby Ornament

 

So this year our tree has many new additions.  What would you put inside your fillable ornament?

Thanks for reading!

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Fireplace Before and After


Fireplace Before and After

 

When we bought this house, our favorite thing about it was the fireplace mantel that had seen better days.  We started out by giving removing the mantel and stripping the many layers of paint off.

Then we stained it to match the other furniture and wood floors in our house.

But the most notable difference is the tile and DIY hearth we added.

The fireplace didn’t have any kind of hearth or floor tile when we started, but we thought it would bring a bit of character to this beautiful fireplace.  We started by building a box our of 2x4s and plywood.Hearth Base

We followed the tile instructions to install larger tile on the top with a bullnose tile around the edges. Hearth Tile InstallationHearth Surface Tile

We added a smaller mosaic tile around the base that would match the rest of the tile.  We have been living with this hearth installed but an unfinished mantel for over a year!Hearth Installation

Yesterday was finally the day to add the rest of the tile around our fireplace insert.Fireplace Tile Installation

Luckily, we were able to tuck the tile behind the mantel because it doesn’t sit directly against the wall, except on the outside edges.  We will be adding a bit of trim to make up the difference once we finish sealing and grouting the mosaic tile.

We did have to cut the tiles around the insert.  We used a standard score and break tile cutter that we bought for around $20.  You don’t need anything too fancy for this small of a job.Cutting Glass Tile

I am so incredibly happy with how this fireplace has turned out so far.  We still need to grout the tiles and add some small trim, but it is so much better to look at in the meantime.  Fireplace After

We were also able to get a bit of crown molding installed this week, so an update will come soon on that.  Thanks for reading!

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DIY Nursery Closet Dividers


We have a small closet in our nursery that we will be storing our baby clothes.  In order to organize the clothes by size, I made up some cheap and easy closet dividers.

Nursery Closet Dividers

 

I used some Martha Stewart scrapbook paper, circle cutting tool, and cardboard.  Using the cutting tool, I cut a 4″ circle with a 1.5″ circle inside.  Then I cut a wedge large enough to fit over our closet rod.

Closet Divider

 

I attached light blue scrapbook paper and added woodland animals on top.

Woodland Nursery Closet

 

Cutting out the animals was the most time consuming, but I think they look great and it was worth the time.

Woodland Nursery Closet Dividers

 

Nursery Closet

 

Once we find out if we have a girl or boy, we can fill the closet with even more cute clothes!  Hopefully baby decides to make an appearance soon, because there is a lot of cool stuff waiting for him/her!  I hope I have news soon.  Thanks for reading!

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Gender Neutral Nursery Reveal


Gender Neutral Nursery Reveal

Today I put the finishing touches on the nursery, and I am so excited to share the final pictures.  (You will notice that we still do not have trim in this room.  It was part of the plan to get trim and new ceiling tiles put up before baby arrives, but I’m not sure that it will get done on time.  At least it matches the rest of the house, which doesn’t have trim anywhere at the moment!)

This room is full of DIY projects, but first and foremost, the recliner!  I spent less than $30 on the drop clothes and piping for this recliner and saved about $500 compared to buying new!  The recliner came from my Grandma’s cottage and is very comfortable.

Recliner Slipcover

 

This slipcover took about 20 hours of work to finish.  I am self-taught when it comes to sewing and I got most of my advice from YouTube.  This was my first time doing piping or any kind of slipcover.  I don’t know what I would have done without THIS VIDEO and THIS BLOG for ideas.  (I will also be writing a separate post about this slipcover next week.)

The pillow on the recliner came with our couch, but was a strange red color.  I used some fabric from JoAnn’s and made an envelope pillow cover from THIS TUTORIAL.

The other project that took a lot of time was the mobile.  Baby Mobile

I followed THIS TUTORIAL.  It took a ton of time and patience.  I love how it turned out, but I can’t say I would do it again.  So much knot tying!

If you follow The Design Eye on Facebook, you have already seen this shelving unit, but we made a few changes.

Nursery Reveal

 

I added chevron fabric to the back of the shelves and ran a wire for the birdhouse nightlight.  We are really happy with how the decal and birdhouse turned out!

We decided not to buy a changing table, but use a dresser instead.  Nursery Changing Station

We are going to be using cloth diapers, so we needed the extra storage space.  I made a liner for a basket we already had (with the same fabric as the envelope pillow cover) and attached the basket to the wall.  That basket holds all of our cloth diaper accessories and cloth wipes.  Under the basket is our wet bag where dirty diapers will go until we have enough to run a load of laundry (likely every other day).

We are planning on using prefold and fitted cloth diapers for the newborn stage.

Fitted and Prefold Cloth Diapers

 

We also have some One-Size pocket diapers ready to go.  I’m sure we will be getting more once we know if we need pink or blue!

Pocket Diapers

 

Now all we need is a baby to put them on!

We also did some other DIY projects in this room that I have already written about, including curtains and a crib skirt.  We are very proud of this room and anxiously waiting to see if a boy or girl will be using it!  We will be hanging their name above the crib as soon as we know.

Thanks for reading!

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DIY Adjustable Crib Skirt


With less than 5 weeks left until my due date, we have been scrambling to get things done on the nursery.  We are almost there and will update with final pictures soon.  This weekend I worked on making a crib skirt. I picked up some woodland themed fabric from JoAnns a while back, but we didn’t get the crib put together until a week ago.

Nursery Fabrics

 

I wanted to make a skirt that would be adjustable when we lower the mattress as baby gets bigger.  After a bit of research, I decided it would be easiest to make 3 panels and attach ribbon to tie to the crib springs.  I made the panels with hem tape, but you could easily sew the panels if you prefer.  I cut 12″ pieces of ribbon and sewed them onto the panels.  I used 5 ribbons on the front panel and 3 ribbons on each side.

Crib Skirt Ribbon

 

The panels should be made to the size of the crib at the highest mattress setting.  My front panel was 52″x15″ and my side panels were 28″x15″.  This gave me a little bit of wiggle room for overlapping and tucking under the mattress.

Crib Skirt Attachment

 

 

When you decide to lower the mattress, the ribbons can be adjusted to tie to any of the supports on the mattress spring.

DIY Adjustable Crib Skirt

 

The whole project only took me a little over an hour, and most of that was cutting the fabric to size.

DIY Crib Skirt

 

We have the Delta Bentley crib.  It was fairly easy to put together and came in great condition.  We are really happy with it so far.

DIY Crib Skirt - The Design Eye

 

For more information on the products in our nursery, check out my Pinterest board.  Once we have the nursery completed I will be sure to update!  Thanks for reading!

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Easy DIY Roman Shade


Easy DIY Roman Shade

Lately I have been seeing roman shades in a lot of design articles.  I wanted to attempt one for our kitchen door to increase the privacy if we want it (especially because the kitchen door is right outside the bathroom door).  This is a short tutorial to DIY a roman shade for a door.

You will need about 3 yards of fabric (which left enough for a cafe curtain on our kitchen window), seam tape, fabric glue, and a cheap set of blinds.

Start by making your fabric the right size to fit the blinds.  I measured the blinds, then added 4 inches to the dimensions.  This allowed and inch and a half for the seams on each side and a bit of overhang left over.

Use the seam tape (or sew) the edges of the fabric to create a large rectangle.

DIY Roman Shade Seam Tape

DIY Roman Shade Seam

 

Next, lay out the blinds on top of the fabric.  The front of the blinds should face the fabric.

DIY Roman Shade Layout

 

It is easiest to glue the top  edge of the blinds down at this point.  The glue will be applied to the edge with the pull cord and laid on top of the fabric.

DIY Roman Shade Glue DIY Roman Shade Top

 

In order to remove the extra slats, you will need to cut the smaller cord that holds them together.  Do not cut the thick pull cord.

DIY Roman Shade Cord

 

Remove the plugs at the bottom of the blinds and untie the pull cord.

DIY Roman Shade Bottom

 

You can now remove the bottom and extra slats.  I placed my slats about 8 inches apart, which left 8 plus my top and bottom.

DIY Roman Shade Spacing

 

Glue each slat down with fabric tape an equal distance apart.  You can choose any number of slats and the distance based on the look you want to achieve.

Once the slats are glued, you need to put the bottom piece back on and tie a new knot to hold it in place.  Then replace the plastic plugs.

DIY Roman Shade Bottom Cord

 

Lastly, the fabric needs to be glued to the bottom piece.  Just apply the fabric glue and wrap the fabric around.

DIY Roman Shade Fabric Bottom

 

Let the glue dry overnight and then hang your curtain following the instructions that came with the blinds.

DIY Roman Shade for a Door

 

That’s all that it takes!  Cutting the fabric to size was the longest part of this project, but it was pretty simple overall.  You can also use this on any window blind by adjusting the number of slats.

Thanks for reading!

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Easy DIY Nest Box


Easy DIY Nest Box

 

Our little chickies have been laying eggs like crazy!  I was told not to expect much this winter because the days are short, and hens typically don’t lay as much in the winter.  Well, our hens didn’t get the message.  Today 11 of our 15 hens laid eggs.  That’s nearly 7 dozen a week if it keeps up!  Eggs

We have just been using 5 gallon buckets laid on their side as nest boxes.  We didn’t have the materials to make the nice ones we wanted right away and the buckets were working great when we only had 4-5 hens laying.  I think since they are being awfully kind in their egg production, we could probably make them some nice boxes.

I will start by listing my cutting list for each pair of boxes for anyone interested in making their own.  It should only take one sheet of plywood (although I’m not entirely sure, because we used scraps of other projects for this).

  • 1  –  15″x30″    (Base)
  • 1  –  17″x30″    (Back)
  • 1  –  16″x30″    (Top)
  • 3  –  15″x17″    (Sides)

I wanted the top to be on an angle, so I cut the 15″x17″ rectangles to only reach 13″ in the front and 17″ in the back.  The top can still be hinged at that angle.

Nest Box Plywood

 

You can pocket-hole drill these pieces together, but we just used some nice self-tapping screws.  The pocket-hole would be stronger, but our birds don’t weigh enough for it to matter.  We attached the back to the base and added the dividers.   Pretty simple.Nest Box In Progress

 

We want the bedding to stay in the boxes, so we cut a scrap piece (about 2″ tall) to fit into each box.Nest Box Building

Lastly, we just needed to put the top on.  We attached the top with 1.5″ hinges.Nest Box Hinges

 

Now the box is ready for installation.DIY Nest Box

In order for the hinges to work properly, we needed to add spacers to our studs in the coop.Nest Box Spacer

Then we just attached the boxes to the wall under the window.  We have a total of 4 boxes, so each unit fits under each of the two windows.  You should have one box for every 4 chickens. Nest Box Installed

 

It took us about 45 minutes to build each unit.  I plan on putting laminate flooring on the top to discourage roosting on the boxes.  I also plan on adding curtains to the front of the boxes.  There are a lot of benefits to adding curtains (outlined well at http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2012/03/nest-box-curtains-more-than-fashion.html)

I will give the hens a little time to adjust to the boxes before I hide them away behind curtains.  Now maybe we can get the other 4 hens to lay (not that we need more eggs)!  Thanks for reading!

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