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

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:

      

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 :)

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!

DIY Picture Holder

I’ve made a lot of the picture frame/earring holder/picture holders for presents, but I wanted to make a big one to hang on the wall. I like the idea of these because you can change the pictures and add whatever you want! I got this wood frame at a garage sale for 6 dollars last year, painted it blue, and made it into a picture collage. It was time for new pictures and a new look though.

Supplies:

  • old picture frame
  • paint
  • eye screws
  • wire
  • sand paper

I added another coat of paint (really light yellow) and then distressed it with sand paper. I’ve never distressed with two colors, but I like the blue underneath. Next, I added the wire which is the easiest part. I screwed eye screws right into the frame (four total) and then wrapped the wire around. I bought the wire in the jewelry section at Michaels.

Hang pictures or printed quotes with clothes pins, and change them whenever you want! I can’t wait to hang this on the wall at my new house soon, but for now it’ll sit on my desk next to my newly painted antlers (thanks Dad)!

Chalkboard Mirror

I’ve been looking for an old, wooden mirror to transform into a chalkboard for the house next year, and I finally found one this weekend! The mirror was only 3 dollars at a garage sale. I decided on a grey/green paint from the basement and already had by chalkboard paint. The project took four easy steps and about 2 hours (including paint drying!)

1. Prime the mirror with spray paint primer, let dry.

2. Add two coats of chalkboard paint.

3. Paint the wood, let dry.

4. Use sand paper to add an old, distressed look.

That’s it!

This is a simple DIY project and a great way to add a cute little (or big) accent to your house .

Chevron Painted Table

I’m loving the new chevron stripe trend, and I was excited to give it a try today! I began with an old sewing machine cabinet from my Grandma’s attic, painted it white, and then started the fairly easy chevron process. I first printed out a pattern; I used this one, but you can use whatever size you want or draw your one. Next, I used painting tape and taped the pattern right on to my table like this:

I wasn’t too worried about making the lines perfect, but perfect is definitely doable! I painted the areas outside of the tape, waited for it to dry, slowly removed the tape, and wa-la chevron!!

I finished off by priming and then painting the drawer pull turquoise. Because the table was given to me for free and I used left over paint, the project ended up being very inexpensive (less than 5 dollars!) Here is the before and after:

Thrifty Thursday!

To celebrate Emma’s birthday today, we visited all of our favorite Grand Rapids Thrift Shops. We started with Plato’s Closet and then headed to lunch at Marie Catrib’s. Emma and I both ordered the chicken cranberry sandwich- delicious! The little restaurant  is friendly and adorable.

After lunch; Found, Lamb, Minty Keen, One Girl’s Treasure, MoDiv, and Imagination Creations. All of the [locally owned] shops are in about a 10 minute radius and the perfect combination of vintage, clothing, and crafts.

We finished the day with coffee from West Coast Coffee, and bought our Moms a little treat for Mother’s Day. After being away at school for 9 months, today reminded me how much I love my city as it continues to grow and impress!

Simple Pleasures on a Rainy Day

It was a dreary, rainy day in Michigan. And so, my fall back pick-me-up was to go thrifting and antiquing with one of my best friends, Emma. We spent a lot of the day running through the rain to our favorite little antique shops. But, by the end of the day, we were cheerfully skipping through the rain with our new vintage floral umbrellas.

We spotted them in the Salvation Army Warehouse on Division Ave. in Grand Rapids. They had no price tags and so we asked a couple of sales associates for the price. After waiting for fifteen minutes and making a game out of guessing their price (our guess was $15!), we were pleasantly surprised that they were only $1.99! I couldn’t help by buy one for me and one for Kat. The dreary, rainy Monday was instantly turned around!

First Day of Summer

My first day of summer started off at 9am with a big cup of coffee and a burst of inspiration. It’s free paint and couch day! It also marks the first day of my thrifting adventures to furnish and decorate my new house in the Fall.  It has become a hobby of mine this year to browse craigslist and imagine what furniture I would buy, refurbish, or even pick up for free. When I saw the little gem below, I emailed the contact right away. Come to find out, this couch was located at a church not far from my house. I fell in love with the pattern and cute home-y structure. The pastor at the church agreed to hold it for me until I came back from school- today! My new friend Pastor Michael and his little helper loaded my CRV with my free couch and I was off.

Next stop was Ace Hardware for free paint day! I will admit, I thought it might be too good to be true. But, I put my doubts behind me and printed the coupon from Ace Hardware’s Facebook page. I walked in, and ten minutes later walked out with a free quart of paint that will perfectly compliment my new couch.

So, here’s to the weekend, a new blog, adventure, and Summer!