Category: DIY Projects
I recently saw some metal barn quilt squares for sale and would have brought them straight home, but the price tag made me pause. When driving through farm country, looking at the barns, each with their own square, always makes me smile. I would love to add some to our chicken coops, but first I had to try it out on a small scale. It turns out, this classic pattern is very easy to make with just a few materials and an hour or two.
The pattern is just lines and angles split into 4. By making a grid of 4×4 you can easily draw this pattern out. I have made a handy little reference for you in just 4 steps:
For my square, I used a piece of 3/4″ lumber 12″x12″. This makes it easy to draw out the pattern using markings horizontally and vertically at 3″, 6″, and 9″.
The frame is just 4 pieces of 2×2 (2 of each cut to 12″ and 15″). You don’t need to add a frame, but if you have a finish nailer or pocket hole jig, it is very simple. Once you have your square and frame, add pocket holes to the square with one on each side (but don’t screw together yet).
This will allow you to easily attach the frame one you are finished painting. Remove the square from the frame and paint or stain the frame as you would like. Next, you can paint the square the lightest of the colors you have chosen. In this case, I chose yellow. Allow to dry.
Next, begin marking the square with the pattern you prefer. I used a pencil to show the pattern, but chalk may work better so that it doesn’t show on the completed project. If you chose to use pencil, make sure the darker paint covers the lines.
Begin painting with your second color choice. I began by using painters tape, but it was actually easier to use a straight edged foam brush. This way, you don’t have to worry about paint leaking under tape and you don’t have to wait for wet spots to dry before moving on.
Once the paint is dry, you can simply attach the frame using your pocket hole screws. If you don’t have a pocket hole jig, you can attach the frame using finishing nails. Just fill the nail holes and touch up the paint. It is as simple as that!
I chose to display it on our new DIY coat rack. Eventually though, I think this will get a twin (maybe with a different pattern) and get hung up in Micah’s nursery. We are planning on adding a bit of a farm theme to his room and this would fit in perfectly.
If you haven’t seen it yet, be sure to check out the kid’s new playroom! After a weekend of hard work, we are so excited to see the final project. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more!
We are lucky to have an abundance of space in this house. Between living in a low cost of living area and getting our house at a great discount (it was a foreclosure) we have the budget to slowly make the house exactly how we’d like it. We have a good amount of living room space downstairs, but the toys always seem to be the center of it. We have added some toy storage and try to keep up with the messiness, but it was really time for a separate play space.
We have 2 rooms above the garage that are just used for storage and weren’t even counted in our square footage with our listing. It has a bit of a strange set up. Both rooms are connected in-line and you have to go through part of the upstairs bath to get to them. When we toured the house we had no idea what we were going to do with the space and it slowly became storage. The rooms have drywall and flooring, but were never cared for the way the rest of the house was. One of these rooms has become Micah’s nursery and the room on the end has become the playroom.
On Saturday morning we started to tackle this project. We emptied out the brown and green room and Ryan worked on removing the baseboard trim and pulling up the carpet. We took a trip to town and purchased new laminate flooring and a few accessories. Believe it or not, this makeover only cost about $450 and we will be getting $75 back in rebates. That’s a great deal for gaining about 300 square feet. That square footage adds a little bit for everyone. The room includes a seating area, a toy area, a teepee, an art spot, play kitchen, and music stage.
We love our laminate flooring in the living room. We originally wanted to put that in the playroom, but the price tag was just too much. The laminate flooring we chose for this room was only $.89 per square foot (Maple Leaf Lamisol, Northland Collection). While it may not be the toughest and most durable flooring choice available, the floor in this room is going to take a beating and will likely need to be replaced when the kids are grown anyways. The flooring seems to be more durable than some cheap laminate and the color will likely hide scratches well. We hope that area rugs will protect most of it and we will replace if necessary years down the road. We could not justify spending $2+ a foot just to have the kids scratch it over the next few years. The store we bought the flooring from had a promotion for free foam underlayment with a laminate flooring purchase, so we will be getting that amount refunded. We also purchased an area rug, paint and accessories, wall decals, and some other decor items.
Let’s talk paint. It is beautiful. I want to paint my entire house this color (Dutch Boy Frosted Silver)! It is a great grey color with just a hint of blue. The white trim makes the color pop and the room looks fresh and clean. I love painting and the change that comes with just a little bit of work. It is an easy DIY job that can change the entire look of a room.
We decorated the room in a woodland theme. The pillows were already covered from our lumberjack brunch and the rest of the decor came from Hobby Lobby. The table and chair set came from a garage sale for $20. With just a little bit of paint it has become a whimsical toadstool table. It fits right in with the decor and was such a fun project. I will definitely share more details of these projects soon, so stay tuned!
Meanwhile, we will be relaxing and enjoying our new playroom! The best part is that there is a space for everyone, including the adults. Micah and Harrison are already loving on it. Make sure you are following along on Instagram, where you can get a sneak peek of projects in our stories! More to come soon!
This weekend we celebrated my brother’s beautiful wife-to-be at her bridal shower. The couple had registered online for a set of end tables similar to a coffee table I built a couple of weeks ago. I knew there was a matching end table plan and decided it would be extra special to have solid wood tables built by hand. The plan came from Ana White and is called Rustic X End Table.
After looking over the plans, I decided to make the table just a tad smaller. By making the tables 27″x24″ the materials can be cut with less scraps. I recommend checking out the plan on Ana-White.com, but for reference the plan requires the following lumber for 2 tables at the smaller dimensions:
4 – 2×4 @ 8 feet long
1 – 1×12 @ 3 feet long
4 – 2×2 @ 8 feet long
3 – 2×6 @ 8 feet long
You will also need 2 1/2″ and 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws, wood glue, and corner bracket hardware if desired. In our area the lumber cost $60.
The cut list for each table:
8 – 2X4 @ 22 1/2″
4 – 2X2 @ 13″
2 – 1X12 @ 13″
2 – 2X2 @ 26 1/2″ at 50 degrees, Long point to short point
4 – 2×2 @ 13 1/4″ Long point to short point with 50 degree and 10 degree angles
5 – 2×6 @ 24″
In order to keep the X feature without changing the angles and measurements, I only changed the width of the table. The overall result is a rectangular table, rather than a square. The X is the hardest part, but I found it easier to hold the 2×2 up to the table and mark the measurements instead of measuring point to point. They all fit perfectly that way. All of the directions and diagrams can be found at www.ana-white.com/2012/08/plans/rustic-x-end-table
After purchasing the lumber, I wondered if there was a way I could monogram the tables for the couple to make it more personalized. I have a wood burner from when I was younger and decided to give it a try (on a spare piece of wood of course). It has been a while, but it was easier than I remember. Both tables have the monogram on the front corner, on opposite sides.
I am so happy that the engraving turned out well! With the stain I put on the top (Minwax Red Mahogany 225) it turns out to be subtle, but the subtle details are what makes these tables so beautiful.
The corner bracket hardware were a last minute addition. I purchased some 4 packs of L brackets and some spray paint. Totaling less than $15, it was worth every penny.
If you poke the screws into a piece of cardboard, you can paint everything all at once. Then the screw heads will match the brackets perfectly.
Of course, I had a helper for priming and painting. I used a fast dry primer and Dutch Boy paint in Antique White. It is the same color of the dresser I just refinished and our farmhouse bed.
Overall, I could not be happier with the results. Now I think I have to make myself a set, because I am in love. The tables themselves only took about 3 hours each to build. The primer, paint, stain, and poly are what take the most time. Between the lumber, hardware, and pocket hole screws I purchased, the project only cost $100, but would be more if you also needed to purchase primer, paint, stain, and other painting supplies. We keep those on hand in bulk, so it is hard to predict how much extra you should budget, but I would guess about $25-$30 in supplies. If you have a miter saw and a kreg jig, you can make these too!
I have a great, easy, and cheap project to share with you today! We desperately needed a coat rack by our front door, and if I knew it would be this easy, I would have built it a long time ago. With just $12 of hardware and some scrap wood, this project can be put together in less than an hour. Even if you need to purchase the wood, you are still saving in comparison to the pre-assembled coat racks you can purchase at the store. Most of the coat racks wide enough for this space that we saw ranged from $30-$50.
Our front door opens right into our dining and living room. While I love walking into a nice open floor plan, we don’t have an entry closet. This results in a mess of coats and bags hanging on the dining room chairs. We don’t have much room for coat or shoe storage, but a simple coat rack behind the door was just what we needed.
The materials for this project are simple.
- 36″ 1×4
- 36″ 1×6
- Coat Hooks
- Small Metal Brackets
- Hanging Hardware
- 1 1/4″ Screws
I am a big fan of using a Kreg Jig for these types of projects. The secure and sturdy bond created with a pocket hole gives me confidence that the shelf can hold a good deal of weight. The down side to this approach is the small holes on the top of the shelf if you put the 1×4 in front of the 1×6. In our case, you won’t see them once the rack is hung on the wall, but if it bothers you a few screws will do just fine.
Once assembled (our brackets fit best with the 1×6 behind the 1×4) it really only needs a light sanding and a coat of stain or paint. I used a fast dry primer first to hide the knot holes, but depending on how distressed you want it to look, you could settle with just a coat or 2 of paint. Then attach the brackets and hooks. With 5 hooks, they should be centered every 6 inches.
Ryan helped measure for the location of the studs in the wall and attached keyhole hangers. If you don’t know where your studs are, I highly recommend using drywall anchors. There’s really no reason to have a coat rack and shelf if you can’t put some weight on it!
With a little bit of seasonal decor, this is my new favorite part of the house. It is beautiful, functional, and affordable. That checks everything off of my must-have list. It fits in our small entry perfectly.
The hardware on this is from Hobby Lobby. It is so elegant and the hooks come in many different colors. I will link all of the Hobby Lobby goodies below, including that metal tree, because I know you want it (and it’s on sale!):
This year Harrison has started preschool at home. We don’t have a 3 year old program here, but Harrison is so excited to start school (mostly because he thinks the school bus will take him to Disney World, but that’s a whole different issue). We have been working from a workbook, reading, and doing a little bit of crafting. Today we decided to go on a search outside for some colorful leaves to make fall wreaths. These are such an easy project anyone can do it, and Micah helped too!
We collected leaves of all different colors, shapes and sizes. This is the perfect time of year to collect, because the leaves are about 50% changed at this point. If you don’t have colorful leaves in your area or it is past that time of year, you can buy colorful leaves at your local craft store.
*If you want your wreath to last for quite some time, you should press your leaves to dry for several days once they are collected.*
Once the leaves were collected, we headed back inside. The best part – this craft only takes 2 other materials, a paper plate and some glue. We cut the center out of the plate to make a ring and started to glue down the leaves.
That’s all there is to it! Put as many or as few leaves on the ring as you would like, set it out to dry, and find a place to display your work! Harrison is just 3 and was able to do this project completely on his own. Micah, who is 18 months, needed a little help. He liked collecting leaves and placing them on the plate, but I helped him finish it off.
What kinds of crafts have you been up to this fall? I look forward to seeing them!
I picked up a dresser a couple of weeks ago at an estate sale and couldn’t wait to get it painted and put into our master bedroom! We haven’t had a dresser in our room before and it has added much needed storage. Last year we put Micah’s crib and rocker in the master to keep him close, especially because he had acid reflux and would often wake up coughing or gagging. Keeping him close was a blessing, but now he is doing well in his own room and we have a bit of space back.
We currently have an antique white farmhouse bed and end tables. We also have a small fireplace and mantel. The room is a light lilac color (husband approved) with a darker purple accent behind the bed. The pine dresser definitely didn’t match the room, but it was a steal at $50. I already had paint to match the bed, so after $10 in primer and sanding pads, we were ready to go.
Of course, I couldn’t have gotten the job done without my helpers. Harrison helped take the hardware off, sand the drawers, and even helped with paint. Micah helped me give the dresser a good cleaning after sanding. They might slow the job down a little, but they love to help and I would never turn that down!
The key to a good coat of paint is a good primer, especially when you are trying to hide dark spots or knots. After a light sanding and coat of Zinnser 1, 2, 3 primer/sealer, I used dutch boy self priming paint in Antique White. This is my favorite shade of white and is currently the color of our kitchen, as well as several pieces of furniture.
My original plan was to replace the hardware. The bronze hardware made the pine dresser look dated. I looked online and in stores for new hardware, but everything I liked was in the $5 range, which would double the investment in this dresser. I decided to try spray painting with some paint I had on hand.
I actually love this hardware in this color more than any of the expensive options I looked at. It seems very elegant with a new coat of paint. This is also the first time I used this krylon spray paint, and it is love.
To finish off the project, I made a little trip to Hobby Lobby. I haven’t had a place to put my Precious Moments and didn’t find much online for ideas. I know they aren’t as popular now as they once were, but each one has a special place in my heart and I want to display them. I found some nice grey crates that contrast nicely and they could actually be hung up on the wall if we decide to go that route.
I really like how the master bedroom is coming together. We have slowly been adding to the room to make it our own and with 2 crazy boys, we look forward to bedtime now more than ever. I will be doing a little update on the rest of the room soon, so stay tuned!
Beep, beep, beep!
One of Harrison’s favorite books is “Little Blue Truck”. It is a really great children’s book with a good lesson. “Now I see a lot depends on a helping hand from a few good friends.” Harrison was pretty excited to take a trip with his dad to pick up a real life little blue truck.
It has been a dream of mine for a while now to have a vintage truck. Ryan found this 1964 Ford F100 on Craigslist for a great deal. Of course, the truck was a great price, mostly because it isn’t currently running. Ryan is confident he can fix the engine issues (the previous owner says it was just an issue with the clutch). He really didn’t want to get a truck that needed body work, and this one is really great.
This F100 has a long bed and a custom cab, with chrome trim. It’s beautiful. It has an 8 cylinder 292 Y-block engine with a 4 speed manual transmission. <— I don’t know what most of that means, but I’ve been told it’s important. I hope to learn more about trucks and engines as Ryan and I tackle this project together.
It is going to be a bit of an adventure to get this thing running and put back together. Ryan joked that since we didn’t have enough going on we needed a project. For now, it is safely tucked away in the garage. Once Ryan gets it running I will have to learn to drive a manual. I’m also going to need a pig, sheep, cow, horse, goat, and big green toad to help me out when I get stuck in the mud.
We have a lot of half finished projects going on around here and not much time to do them. We are big believers in watching the market for quite some time, finding a deal, and setting it aside for a bit if we have to. We have gotten great deals on cars, our camper, boat, and houses by patiently waiting for the right thing to come along. I hope we will have an update on this beauty soon though, because I can’t wait to take it for a ride. Thanks for reading and check back soon!
I have been busy, busy getting our garden put in this year and I am excited to share with you! Our first summer in this house (2015) I had a 4’x4′ raised bed garden and some tomato plants in pots on the deck. Last year, I doubled my garden bed space by adding 2 4’x2′ garden beds. Needless to say, we didn’t have all that much success with that small amount of space.
This year I decided to step it up and put in my “forever garden.” I added 2 large raised beds. One is 27’x3′ split into 4 sections. The other is 13’x4′ split into 2 sections. We went from a total of 32 square feet to 165 square feet! We also added an 8’x8′ green house and have several pots of tomatoes and herbs. It is still a work on progress, but I am happy with how far it has come.
We have planted green beans, zucchini, pumpkins, sweet peppers, green peppers, carrots, cucumbers, broccoli, rhubarb, asparagus, tomatoes, chives, basil, oregano, dill, marjoram, and parsley.
So what’s next? I bought a great metal arbor and a really cool bamboo gate that will be installed soon. I am also planning on laying down landscape fabric and mulch between the boxes. The greenhouse will eventually get a brick floor and some built in shelves. It may take a while to finish the project list, but everything is functional as it is and our plants are doing great so far.
Over the last 48 hours we have received almost 5 inches of rain. We were lucky to not have any storm damage and the garden seems to be loving the extra water. I am excited to see what the garden will yield this year. I am definitely not a professional, but I learn a little more each year. If nothing else, it sure is pretty and Harrison loves it! He is becoming a little gardener and even has his own wildflower garden.
We have a busy summer, but we love our little homestead so much. We love to see the apple trees and blackberry bushes blooming with flowers. We love collecting the eggs every day, especially the beautiful blue ones! The roses and wildflowers are blooming. We are really, really lucky to raise our boys here. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
First of all, I want to send a big thank you to everyone who attended our Lumberjack brunch! I love throwing birthday parties for my kids. Getting everyone together and celebrating the two best things that have ever happened to me sounds just about perfect. Besides, I’m a bit of a Pinterest addict and love to fill my evenings with projects when I have the time. While this party wasn’t exactly Pinterest worthy, I would love to share some of the fun things we had.
Lucky for us, Hobby Lobby has a whole section of lumberjack party supplies. If you know Ryan and I, you will understand that we are kind of lumberjack people. I majored in Forestry, we live in the country, plaid is a staple in our wardrobes, and Ryan has the lumberjack beard. We pretty much didn’t have any choice but to have a big ol’ brunch with plaid on every surface. I still had some birch disks and lanterns from our wedding center pieces, and they fit right in.
I made some simple envelop pillow covers in some “Bearly Beaver” fabrics I found on Fabric.com. Micah has some cloth diapers made in this fabric and it was too cute not to use it at the party. I have a bunch of mismatched pillows that I’ve been meaning to made seasonal covers for and I think these will look great in the fall/winter next year. You can see them in our family picture.
I made a progression banner of Micah’s monthly pictures, which hung above our drink station (complete with paper birch straws from Amazon). All it took was a little bit of card stock, pictures, and some plaid ribbon.
We had all of the good brunch foods, including pancakes, french toast, farm fresh eggs, bacon, sausage, homemade maple syrup, fruit, juice, coffee, mimosas, and beer. What could be better? We bought some great red chaffing dishes from Party City that fit the theme perfectly and labeled the food with some plaid card stock.
Oh, and several posts on Pinterest got me interested in s’more mix, a tasty treat of marshmallows, chocolate chips, and golden grahams. I highly recommend it.
Like I mentioned before, Hobby Lobby had an assortment of lumberjack decorations and party supplies.
We finished the day with a lumberjack cake and some cupcakes with ax toppers, also from Hobby Lobby.
The boys had a great time and I hope our guests did too! Ryan and I enjoyed having everyone here. Now we have to think up a theme for next year! As any parent knows, the months go by fast and it will be here before we know it. As always, thanks for reading and check back soon for more fun!
This spring we decided to venture into making homemade maple syrup. The good news is, as long as you have access to a maple tree, it is a really simple process! The boiling can be quite time consuming (more on that later), but the final product is worth every minute of it. We started by getting a starter kit from Tap My Trees with a great book with all of the information you need. I’ll give you a little summary.
First, you need some basic equipment to get started. This part is actually very simple and affordable. For collection you will need:
- A Tap: We purchased our taps from Tap My Trees. Most taps are created about the same, but I have only used these. We loved them.
- A Hammer: To tap in your taps
- A Drill: Taps can come in different sizes, so make sure you have a drill bit that matches the proper size for the tap.
- A Collection Bucket: You can buy buckets made specifically for maple sap or you can make your own from a milk jug or other food safe container. We used both plastic and metal buckets from Tap My Trees. We loved the classic sound of the metal buckets, but we liked the cheaper price of the plastic buckets. You really can’t go wrong!
- A Lid: Debris will get into your collection buckets if you don’t have some kind of lid.
- A 5 Gallon Bucket for Storage: When you collect your sap you will need a large, food safe bucket for storage. You can keep sap in these buckets refrigerated or packed with snow for up to a week. This is great news if you only have a few taps and want to wait until you have a substantial amount to boil. Remember, it take 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup!
- Cheesecloth: It is best to run your sap through cheesecloth before putting it in your storage bucket to remove any large pieces of debris that may change the flavor of your sap.
Once you have these few simple pieces of equipment, you are ready to get started.
This can definitely be a family event. We took the boys out in the sled and tapped our trees. It doesn’t take long (unless you have a lot of taps). We only had 6 taps this year.
Putting out your taps is as simple as drilling a hole about 2 inches into a maple tree at chest height at a slight upward angle. Insert the tap with a few gentle taps of a hammer, not too hard. Hang your bucket and you are good to go. If the temperature is right, you may see sap flow immediately. The sap flows the best when it is in the 40’s (F) during the day and freezing at night. The freeze-thaw pattern is what causes a pressure change in the tree. This can mean that syrup season can last a week or 6 weeks. It all depends on the weather.
Once we had about 6-8 gallons we started the boiling process. This is the long and slightly more difficult process. Assuming you do not have an evaporator you will need:
- A Candy Thermometer: Water boils at 212 Degrees F at most elevations. You can test your boiling point with a candy thermometer. Maple syrup boils at 7 degrees above water.
- A Stainless Steal Pan: We used 2 different pans for each stage. We used a large buffet pan on our gas grill and a stock pot in our kitchen to finish the syrup.
- A Fuel or Fire Source: You can find all sorts of DIY evaporator plans online, many of which use the buffet pans. We did not have the time or firewood to make our own evaporator. Instead, we just used our gas grill.
- Filter Paper: Once you are done boiling your sap you will need to filter it before it is put into the final container.
- Canning Jars: Boil your jars and put the syrup in hot to properly can them.
We started boiling sap on the grill. This process took a lot of propane and I would not recommend it for a large amount of sap, but for 8 gallons or so a day on the grill will work just fine. Keep the lid cracked so the steam can escape. Remember, your goal is to get rid of as much water as quickly as possible. When you add more sap to the already boiling pan, you need to preheat the sap first. This will help you maintain the boil.
Once the sap is down to about a gallon, transfer the remaining “almost syrup” to a stock pot and finish indoors. This will give you better control over the temperature. Some people use a hydrometer to measure the sugar content, but for a small operation a candy thermometer works just as well and can clip right onto a pot of sap.
As the sap cooks down it will take on an amber color. Sap collected early in the year will remain an amber color and sap from later in the spring will appear darker. As long as the thickness and taste is to your liking, can it and enjoy it!
Everyone should try making maple syrups at least once. At the very least, it will make you appreciate what really goes into making it and you will appreciate your local syrup so much more. We made a gallon of it and will definitely have a larger operation going next year. Maybe I can even talk Ryan into a $2000 evaporator…? Anyways, stay tuned for more homesteading adventures. Thanks for reading!