Sawhorse Standing Desk

I’m constantly searching “workspaces” on Pinterest and pinning to my space board. Two things I found in common with almost every space I love: plants and standing desks. The idea of standing up while writing, doing projects, and working on homework really appealed to me. Plus, I love how standing desks look and the amount of work space most of them provide.

Determined to make my own standing desk, I set off to a couple of my go-to project places: Lowe’s and Habitat for Humanity Restore.

Here’s what I bought:

  • Old wood door- Habitat for Humanity, $1 (dollar door section) Side note: At first, I was concerned about the hole in the door where the doorknob used to be, but my sister pointed out that it’ll be perfect for my laptop cord to go through!  
  • Five 2×4 pieces- Lowe’s, $8
  • Sawhorse Brackets- Lowe’s, $7
  • Wood Finish in English Chestnut- Lowe’s, $4
  • Liquid Nails, $3

The height of the wood depends on your height (first 4 pieces) and the length of your door or desk top (fifth piece). Everyone is always friendly and patient at Lowe’s and will cut the wood for you for free.

I told the man that helped me that I wanted the “legs” of my desk to be standing height. We held the wood up and I put my hands where I would rest them on a desk or laptop. The fifth piece of wood should be length of your desktop (or door) minus about 4 inches. I was able to buy a scrap piece of wood for the fifth piece for only 75 cents!

Once I had all of my supplies, the desk went together in 4 simple steps:

1. Paint the top and sides of the door and stain all 5 wood pieces

2. With liquid nails, glue the fifth piece of wood (the one different than the other four) to the bottom of the door *let dry for 1-2 days*

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3. Slide the other four pieces of wood into the two sawhorse clamps (they’ll fit perfectly, but might take an extra oomph)

4. Attach the sawhorses to the piece of wood on the bottom of the door

My last step was to to find a stool on Craigslist for $5 and paint it white to match the door. This project started off completely as an experiment, but I am so happy with how it turned out!

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‘Create’ Nail and Wood Art

It turns out that crafts and winter have not been friends this year. However, the closer it gets to spring, the more inspired I feel! The inspiration for this project came from Anna Maria Island, Florida, where I spent spring break with my family. I saw a similar piece with the word “LOVE” and immediately started planning how I’d recreate it (for less than its 200 dollar retail price.) Here’s what I used:

  • One piece of wood (size depends on the length of the word and size of the font)
  • About 150 medium sized nails
  • Small hammer
  • Paper and a pencil for tracing

The wood is from Home Depot. For projects like this one, I always ask someone working if they have scrap wood. About 50% of the time I get lucky and they have some! This piece was 75% off and ended up being about a dollar. They’ll even cut it for free. The nails were about 4 dollars for 200.

The first step is to cut out the letters you need. The easiest way to do this is to print them out, but if you’re like me and don’t have a printer, you can trace letters from your computer screen with parchment paper and a thin market. I suggest using a typeface with as many straight lines as possible. In my trial run, I used a script typeface and it was harder to read and harder to follow the lines.

Once you’ve cut out the letters, lightly trace them onto your wood with pencil.

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Now you’re ready to start hammering! I suggest finding a very flat surface. The sturdier your wood board, the easier it is to get the nails to stay. My last tip is to be patient (something I am terrible at!) The project took me about two hours and I ended up hammering many of the nails twice. Depending on the kind of wood you choose, some nails might loosen as you hammer others.

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I’m really happy with my final product that now lives on my bookshelf! It cost me about 5 dollars to recreate the piece I saw for 200. It will remind me every day to continue to create and be inspired.

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Happy crafting!

-Kat

Boot socks

Socks are one of about three exceptions of things that can not be purchased at thrift stores. Since I tend to wear thick boot socks almost every day, I’ve had quite a few people ask me where I buy them. I usually answer, “They’re mens work socks from Costco.” But, the good news is, I now have a much more awkward answer: “Oh…well, they’re not really socks.”

No more expensive boot socks for me (or you!) Here’s a three step tutorial for the cozy winter look that can be re-worn and is way cheaper.

1. Buy a cheap, ugly sweater from a thrift store. (Mine was a Gap wool sweater for $1 that’s too itchy to wear, but is perfect for this tutorial.)

2. Cut the last 8-10 inches off of both sleeves.

3. Tuck your new “socks” into your boots with the cuff of the sleeves up.

Sweater to Scarf

It’s been almost 2 months since I’ve posted, but since my last post Kat and I have settled into our little house and are loving it. When we’re not working, going to class, volunteering, and running around campus it’s nice to come home to a cozy house and it is worth all of the crafting and thrifting this summer!

One of my biggest fall and winter obsessions are infinity scarves- I wear them every day. I decided it’s time to start experimenting with making my own since I wear them so often! Turns out, this will absolutely be my easiest tutorial yet.

1. Thrift an old sweater (mine was 99 cents from VOA in Lansing)

2. Cut a straight line right under the arms

3. Wrap once or twice around your neck for your brand new infinity scarf!

I suggest getting a soft, extra large sweater.

There are other alternatives to the tutorial, depending on the size and look you’re looking for. Another option is to cut off the top and sides of the sweater and then stitch the sides back up. However, if you don’t have a sewing machine, you can take the easier route.

Happy coming of winter!

-Kat

Clothes Pin Picture Frame

I’m really excited about this tutorial because it’s about as thrifty as it gets. I bought a big wood frame at an estate sale this summer for 50 cents. It’s generally pretty easy to find open picture frames without glass or art for very cheap, which is ideal for this tutorial!

Last weekend at a garage sale, I found a Polaroid camera WITH FILM for $1. Any camera for $1 is a great find, but because Polaroid film goes for $75-$100 (per 30 pictures), this was a true gem. The same day, I took a long walk around MSU’s campus and took photos of all of Kat and my favorite places.


To finish the project, I hot glued one piece of twine to either side of the frame and hung the photos with clothespins. The winners for our top three favorite places: Beaumont tour, Snyder-Phillips Hall, and Wanderer’s Teahouse.

The Thrifty College House

After a summer of decorating, crafting, and planning, the thrifty college house is complete. The goal was to transform an average, run down college house into somewhere where my best friend and I can study, relax, and escape from our crazy schedules. Without spending more than $35 on a single piece, we turned our boring little house into a cute, eclectic home that we love and can’t wait to share with our friends. Most importantly, we now have our own little niche where we can learn, grow, be inspired, and finish our last couple of years as Spartans.

Chalkboard, DIY $3

We decided to use the chalkboard as a calendar for upcoming concerts we are planning on going to.

Table and Chairs, Kat’s Grandma

White Mugs, Thrifted $ .85

Lamp, Ikea $10

End table, Backyard tree stump

Couch, Thrifted $35

Map Wall Art, DIY

Loveseat, Craigslist (free)

“Best Day Ever” Pillow, DIY

Wood Crate, Estate Sale $ .50

Yellow Mug, Thrifted $1

Bookshelf, Estate Sale $20

Big Wood Frame, Estate Sale $1

Painted Antlers, (Thanks, Dad!)

Green Chair, From family friend (free)

for the love of yellow!

I never was a kid that had a favorite color. I’d go as far as saying I was the lame one that said, “I like them all.” But now that I’m almost 20, I am proud to say that my favorite color is yellow. I may even have a little obsession. Yellow shoes, sandals, rain coat, winter coat, nail polish, rugs, towels, wall, and picture frames. When Ace Hardware had another special for a free pint of paint, of course I chose yellow!

I’ve been looking for a chair to go with my painted desk. When I found a little rocking chair at a garage sale for $5, the lady who sold it to me said, “Wait, really, you’re going to buy that?”, but I knew it had potential! As for the little night stand, it was a hand-me-down from my cottage and I adore its crooked legs and tiny drawer.

Since my bedroom in my new house won’t have a yellow wall, I’ll settle for a couple of yellow furniture accents. And so, for the love of the color of sunshine, banana milkshakes, and lemon drops, here are my new creations:

      

burlap lampshade

I love Pottery Barn’s burlap lampshade, but not for $49 (that’s on sale!) In my best attempt to recreate the lampshade, I started off with an old lampshade and 1/2 off burlap for $2 a yard.

I cut the burlap to fit around the shade and added 1-2 inches to each side for folding over. I used hot glue to attach the edges and then to fold the ends inside the lampshade. I decided to do two layers, but that might not be necessary for a plain colored lampshade. For the seam, I added a separate strip of fabric over the two layers and glued the edges to the inside of the shade. I added a ribbon that will match our bookshelf, and saved about $47!

    

my day at the artisan market

Saturday night I received my acceptance letter into the Fulton Street Artisan Market. I ripped open the envelope and was SO excited, then I immediately got to finishing all of my crafts I’ve been putting off! I’ve been to the market a couple of times this year and it was amazing to be a part of it this weekend.

My (first) favorite part was setting up the display of all of my stuff. I practiced on the kitchen table the night before. I also loved the people watching, and when people smiled at the quotes on my pillow or told me that they reminded them of their family. But, my favorite part by far was the culture and people at the Artisans Market. The two ladies on either side of me made gave me crafting advice and shared stories throughout the day. The older couple two tables down (who, when they are not knitted stuffed animals, are performing as santa and the easter bunny) stopped by often and insisted that they, “Still don’t know what we want to be when we grow up.” They even made a special stuffed animal for my sister and brought it to our house later in the day.

I met Theresa from The Old White House, who gave me so much insight and is the kindest lady. It made my day when she gave me her lavender laundry soap and fabric softener for my new house. It smells amazing! Make sure to check out her blog.

What a great day, and an amazing community to be welcomed into.

     

Repurposed Wood Pallets

Wood pallet projects seem to be the new trend on Pinterest- and when a friend offered me some for free, I couldn’t resist! My first project was a table. Let me warn you, this was a project of improvisation and “Dad’s not home so no power tools”. With that being said, my supplies included:

  • One wood pallet
  • Wood blocks for legs (1.29 x 2 at Lowe’s)
  • Stain
  • Sand Paper
  • Liquid nails (wood glue or gorilla glue should work too)
  • Bungee cords (Hey, it did the trick!)

I started off by sanding down the pallet to avoid slivers. Next, I turned it upside down and glued the legs on with liquid nails, one by one, securing them with bungee cords. Obviously, clamps would be more ideal, but I couldn’t find any.

   

Next, let it dry. The liquid nails probably should dry for 24 hours, but I lasted about 5. The longer the better! When the table was dry enough, I turned it over and finished it off by staining it with maple stain that I found in the garage. Even with limited supplies and tools, I’m excited about how the table turned out!

After the construction of my (somewhat awkward) table, I still hadn’t had enough of wood pallets. I was, however, ready for a simpler project. I looked at the next pallet, turned it around, leaned it against the wall, and eventually decided, “This is going to be a bookshelf.”

I recently found a distressed painting tutorial I’ve been wanting to try out (sorry I can’t remember the link!) and so I used that for my new bookshelf. Simply clean the wood, sand, paint on color, dry, paint over with another color, dry, stain, and wipe off. The key is to paint very lightly leaving traces of wood.

After the paint was dry, I stenciled on “Read More Books”, painted the letters, and added books!

After spending some quality time with my wood pallets, I see what all the hype is about! In a lot of ways, using pallets is like starting mid-craft. Happy crafting, friends :)

Decoupaged End Table

This project was definitely an experiment, but I’m happy with how it turned out! I found two books of old Peanut comics at a garage sale for FREE and I decided they would be perfect for decoupaging adventures.

I started with an old, ugly, orange end table that my family was getting rid of. I used my homemade modge podge (1/2 elmer’s glue, 1/2 water) and painted pieces of the book pages on to the table. The last step is to finish it with polyurethane or finishing spray.

   

I think that I ended up with a unique, fun table. I also want to try using old word searches or magazine pages!

Map Wall Art

With only one month until Kat and I move into our house, I’m starting to cross projects off of my to-do list. I recently saw this picture on pinterest, but I was disappointed that there was no tutorial. After unsuccessfully looking around for one, I figured I should just make my own:

Supplies:

  • 3-4 pieces of barn wood (I found 4 pieces at my cottage)
  • Modge podge (Make your own! 1/2 elmer’s glue, 1/2 water, shake)
  • Medium sized paint brush
  • Map poster (I bought mine here for $5 with shipping!)

    

The first step is to cut the map into strips the size of the boards. One reason I bought such a cheap map is because it killed me a little having to cut it up.

Next, pick one of your boards and apply a coat of modge podge right onto the wood. Lay your piece of map on the board and add another layer on top. After you’ve added a layer on top, use your hands to push out any air bubbles. You can also use the paint brush, but I found it wasn’t as effective as hands. The last optional step is to rip the edges. The edges look more natural if they are ripped when the paper is wet from the modge podge. There’s no specific way to do this, it depends how distressed you want it to come out.

Repeat the steps with each board, let dry, and that’s it! The final product has a nice matte finish and the map appears to be printed on to the wood boards. I plan to hang this in our living room using command strips.

Studded Ballet Flats

I officially became obsessed with these studded ballet flats on Etsy by HaroldandJane. I wear slippers everywhere (including to run errands and drive) and these were by far the coolest slippers I’ve seen. However, I couldn’t splurge and pay $40. Determined to make my own, I found the same exact leather Capezio pink ballet slippers on Ebay for $5.99! I already had the studs; they were $1.67 at Hobby Lobby for about 30.

    

The most difficult (and only) step is nailing holes into the slippers. Because they’re made out of leather, it’s impossible to just push the studs through. I placed a piece of cardboard under the fabric and nailed the holes for the studs. I used the actual stud to make indents so I knew where exactly to nail the holes. After the holes are nailed, just push the studs through and bend the prongs on the inside.

For less than $7, I made studded ballet flats that are almost identical to the $40 pair on Etsy! I can’t wait to wear these around my new house. And probably everywhere else, too.

Ampersand Pillow

Ready for the world’s easiest DIY? You’ve probably seen the minimalist ampersand or other symbol pillows around. As a writer (and crafter) I love them and decided to try to make one myself. Here’s how:

1. Print out the ampersand (&) symbol

2. Pin it to your fabric (I used muslin, which is only $1.99/yd)

3. Trace and fill with a fabric marker

4. Stitch up your pillow!

Now I have a new pillow addition! Click here for the quote pillow tutorial.

Coat/Purse Hanger!

I was inspired by this tutorial of how to make your own coat hanger. I love the idea of using mix matched knobs, plus they are a lot easier to find if you’re not set on having them matching. I found three knobs and a pull at the Grand Rapids Habitat for Humanity Restore. This is a great store if you’re looking for something really specific (like a door or knobs!) All together, the knobs and pull cost under $2; compared to a hardware store where they cost anywhere from $2-$10 a piece! The piece of wood was found under the desk at my cottage- the more beat up the better!

Supplies:

  • knobs/pulls
  • piece of barn or drift wood
  • screw driver
  • sand paper, paint (optional)

After you have your supplies, the coat hanger is really simple to make. Just drill holes where you want the knobs, screw them in, and you’re done! The tutorial I found didn’t use a pull, but I found that mine is perfect to hang an umbrella. I beat up the wood a little more with some sand paper and a hammer and you could paint it too. For $2 I have a cute little coat hanger for the doorway of my new house!