DIY: Intagram Art and Magnet Fun!

Let me start by saying that I miss DIY posts and hope to do a lot more in the future. This past weekend it was cold and rainy here in Connecticut, so instead of exploring New Haven I stayed in and did some art projects. I just moved into my apartment this month… well really this past weekend. I’m now fully in the apartment, but it’s missing that personal flair that I’m used to. For Christmas my sister got about 10 of my instagram photos printed for me by Printstagram. They are 4″x4″, great quality on thick card stock and it got me thinking… ART PROJECT TIME!

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Here’s a look at my dining room above. The console/bar table and dining room table are BMeyer Studio originals fyi (contact me if you want to buy them!). You can see it’s gorgeous, but lacking in personality. As the note tells you in the photo, Ill be making a very large painting to go on the biggest bare wall. That’s coming up next week.

In the meantime, Im focusing on another wall in the room:

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I decided to make a display of all the photos I took on my northern road trip (LA to Portland along the coast, then Portland to LA inland through the National Parks). It’s a great timeline and reminder of such a fun beautiful trip. Plus, the pretty colors add a nice artistic, fun art piece to the room.

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Printstagram  sells 24, 4″x4″ prints for $12, which is a great deal! I ordered 2 sets made, which gave me 36 photos for this art project, and left me with 12 extra images of friends, which I turned into magnets (see later in the post).

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I decided to make my grid 6 rows by 6 columns. I found scrap string and some nails, so all I had to purchase were these tiny clothes pins from Michaels to hang the photos from the string.

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It took some math to figure out where to place the nails in order for everything to be centered on the wall and hang evenly. Trust me, do the math and have it be right. If you eye-ball it (as I often do), you’ll regret it when one row is uneven.

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Photos don’t do it justice, as in person it really lightens up the room. It gives the room a fun pop of color, and even the sag of the string gives the room a playful feeling. Plus the photos tell a story and mean something to me.

***BONUS DIY!***

With the 12 left over instagram photos I decided to buy a cheap magnet roll from Home Depot and turn the photos into magnets.

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This was super easy, cost practically nothing and now I can see photos of my friends every time I’m in the kitchen.

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When I was moving my stuff out of my parents house and into the new apartment, I came across a box of old photos from my grandma’s house. I noticed small Photobooth photos of my grandparents taken when they were dating. They had a light, thin metal frame and were also perfect to turn into magnets.

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They look so great on the fridge and are actually getting seen, as opposed to being boxed up in the basement. Aren’t they adorable?

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Happy July 4th, 2014 Weekend!

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Are you one of the lucky people already on vacation? Or Are you half-daying it today? Lucky! I’m going to sneak away from LA for a couple days. Last year friends rented a house on Manhattan Beach and it was such a fun staycation. This year we are doing the same thing but in a new (surprise) location. Follow me on instagram to see my real-time photos and see if you can guess where I am!

I’ll be back to my old tricks on Sunday… in fact I have 2 wood bedside tables in the works. Now it’s time to make the drawers! Oh and I’ll be in Africa in 2.5 weeks?! Still so much to do…

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On The Chopping Block

In lue of a Font Friday post or a Weekend Guide, I’m sharing a piece I’ve been working on every morning for the past week. I don’t recommend using power tools earlier than 7am due to sleepiness levels, but sometimes it’s the best way to start the day!

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To start this project, I began with lots of different types of scrap wood. Always save your scarp wood, as cutting boards don’t require much wood and it’s a great way to save the scrap from ending up in a landfill. After planning the wood, cutting down and cleaning it up a bit I was able to play with the color/grain variations and create the design I wanted. For this project I wanted it to look like controlled-randomness. With the dark and light pieces mixed among each other.

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After a lot of very speedy gluing (it dries so fast!) I clamped the wood (in a level way) and then wiped the access glue. Because this will be used for food preparation, I used a special waterproof glue meant to withstand the food and washing of it after. You don’t want gaps where bacteria can get trapped and make you sick over time.

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After the glue dries (allow several hours) it’s ready to be planned and sanded down to perfection. It’s starting to look like a board now!

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This was my first time routering the edge of wood. I’ll admit, I was so sure I was going to ruin it, so I practiced a lot on some scrap wood. Thankfully burn marks and errors can be pretty easily sanded away afterword.

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Here it is above, with a smooth edge and sanded to perfection. No more burn marks, just gorgeous wood. Once the dust is wiped/blown away, it’s time for oil!

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Look at the difference the oil makes! The goal with the oil is to get the wood fully saturated, because if it’s full of oil it won’t absorb any food bacteria. It really brings out the colors of the piece too and it’s super fun to apply. You can see from the reflection above, I put a lot of oil on which is good. Keep reapplying the oil every 2 hours until it’s no longer absorbing the oil (because it’s reached its saturation point), wipe away the excess oil and you’re done!

Kitchen Storage Unit

A friend recently came to me and said, “Help, we need more counter space and storage in our kitchen” (I’m paraphrasing, as he is far more eloquent). As you probably know, I love any chance to build and use my miter saw.

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The first step is drawing out plans and elevations. To get a sense of materials, assembly and all of our options. Since I’m a cheap-o and cost is an important factor in the design, I like to generate my materials list as I go and also divided into sections. This way I can easily say “If I want and extra shelf, it’ll cost me an extra $30” or “designing the table top this way is $10, but this other cooler way is only $5 more”. I take this list when I go to the hardware store and helps me effectively get all the lumber. This list also helps me generate a cut list. I cut list is as it sounds, a list of all the pieces of wood I need to make the table. If you follow your (accurate) cut list, you can cut the pieces and then assemble.

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How much wood do you think it takes to make a table? Answer: a lot of wood. See above. It’s good to get an extra piece of each size of wood because you never know what issues might come up. These were each only a dollar or two, and having the extra pieces is really helpful and gives you more options while you’re building.

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Once materials were purchased, I began by assembling the butcher-block style table top using nails and glue and then clamping it together. Since I knew this would be a slow process with drying time, I started with this first and then took time between gluing to work on measuring and cutting the other pieces.

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Eventually, after lots of measuring, cutting, and screwing down wood, I got to take stock of all the pieces above. Since I knew I’d be transporting this in my car, I had to take that into account while planing my dimensions and assembly. I figured I could lay these elements flat in my car and then assemble them on-site at my friends house, but I wanted to make it so I had to do the least amount of work at his house.

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The next step is sanding and staining all the elements. Above is the base of the table top. You can see how dark the stain is against the raw wood. While staining I find it best to lay it on thick, wait a few minutes and then wipe away to desired results. It’s also best to do this not in direct sunlight. You don’t want the stain to dry while you’re waiting for it to seep into the wood, since it’s staining and not painting the wood. Once it’s full stained and wiped down, then it’s good to put it in the sun to speed up drying time.

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Look at what a difference the dark stain makes. It became so elegant looking. After more sanding, it was time for the clear coat to protect against moisture (which will keep the table from rotting if it gets wet). I used a luster finish of a clear coat polyurethane. I had used this on other projects and it makes the wood look so finished and smooth.

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Doesn’t it look so nice? I did two coats of the polyurethane to really protect it. It also helps soften the rough spots and fill in gaps. I did this with the two shelves, 4 legs and base frame of the table top.

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Now back to the table top itself. I let the butcher block style top stay clamped for the week while I waited for the next weekend to finish the project. Once the top felt solid, it was time for heavy duty sanding. The more sanding the better, as it will smooth and even out the wood. Mine wasn’t perfectly level, but I think that’s part of it’s charm. It’s also going in the kitchen of an apartment for three guys so the rougher and more manlier, the better.

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The next step is to stain! Like a typical butcher block, they wanted to go with a lighter stain than the rest of the table to make it stand out. Once it was stained and sanded again I did the same two coats of the luster polyurethane and let it dry. Install time!! I drove the elements to my friends house for assembly. It was tricky doing it in their house, but with their help we made it work. I find a good trick is to only screw it in loosely until you feel everything’s at a 90 degree angle and at the right height. Then go back and add more screws and tighten the original screws. It’s very hard making things level and perfect, so take your time with this.

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Isn’t it pretty? I’m really happy with how it came out.

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Here it is “dressed” as we say in show business.

If you are interested in a table like this, or you want to commission me for a custom original piece, contact me! I love this type of project and look forward to more. I’m actually working on my blog shop, where you can place orders and even purchase art you’ve seen made here on the blog 🙂 I can’t wait to share it with you!

Sunday Afternoon

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I’m very hopeful this next week I’ll be back on track and also updating you on all the posts I’ve been wanting to write. This weekend has been all about relaxing and getting back in the zone for my new project starting Monday. And also focusing myself on future Bethany. I recently watched The Secret on Netflix and yes, I’m hooked. I consider myself a pretty positive person, but this is all about focusing on what you want, asking the universe for it, and believing you’ll get it. Now I totally understand the doubters but isn’t life better when you’re focused on the good in life? Part of The Secret is visualizing what you want by making a vision board. My next step is to make this board and I’ve been constantly thinking about what I want. It’s a fun exercise and I recommend it.

I also took this Sunday to do a little Beach Yoga with Brad and work on some art projects (photo above in-process) while trying to say low-stress and getting ready to start my new job tomorrow. Oh and I also finished this lovely necklace holder for my friend Tamar. When my Blog Shop is launched, this will be one of the items. You like?

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Garage Makeover: Framed Pegboard

There have been MANY ongoing projects around the Life Absorbed household, so my goal for Memorial Day weekend was to finally cross several projects off my list. First on the list was finalizing my garage, and a big part of that was finishing my pegboard and color choices. To catch up to speed check out these other garage projects: Garage Makeover, Garage Makeover Update, and Garage Makeover: Lighting.

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There’s nothing like starting off the day by drinking coffee out in my studio/garage. With the garage door open, it’s like sitting out on a patio. Also, RISD represent!

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Time to tackle my pegboard! It came in white sheets that I cut to fit my work space. I also had to cut a spot for the electrical outlet (as it’s the only one in the garage and the source of all my power).

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I decided to go with a a paint I already own (saving moola), Valspar Tranquility in a satin finish (Lowes), see below. You can see above, the color looks nice.

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Look at my awesome lighting fixture next to my painted pegboard! Now I just need want a frame around my pegboard… to keep it fun and girly.

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I picked out this chair rail moulding from Home Depot. It has detail without getting too big and costly (the more detail the pricier).

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Thanks to my miter saw I was able to cut it exactly.

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Now it’s time to paint it gold! That’s my mantra. At work when I tell people about my projects, it’s often followed by “let me guess… you painted it gold!”

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Since my pegboard is in two pieces, first I needed to mount the pegboard and then mount the moulding.

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Doesn’t it look nice? Especially with my fancy (but super cheap and easy to make) light fixtures!

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Here’s the thing… I’m not satisfied with my color choices. While the pale blue is a nice color, it’s just not me. If you follow me on instgram or facebook, then you know what I ended up doing. But sometimes you need to make some mistakes to learn a lesson about yourself.

Up next: How did I change my pegboard? What did I decide to do with it? Find out tomorrow!

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

Happy Memorial Day everybody! I hope you’re all out bbq’ing, beaching-it-up, and getting ready to also celebrate Arrested Development season 4 coming out on Netflix at midnight tonight.

After an awesome session of Beach Yoga with Brad in Santa Monica this morning, I couldn’t resist stopping into Salvation Army where they are currently having a 50% off everything sale. I found this awesome mirror:

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I promised myself I wouldn’t stop in there, as I’ve decided to use this weekend as a tying up loose ends/ planting the garden/ cleaning the house but… thankfully this is a quick DIY upgrade. This $5 mirror is going from this:

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To this:

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I love it already! I love a quick diy upgrade!