Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Project Calendar Notebook

Hello!  We are in the middle of another week and heading towards the end of another month.  I swear - the time just goes by so fast!

I don't know about you, but I'm a list maker.  I love to make lists and feel good when I can cross something off of it.  But, the most important thing is that lists remind me of what I need to do or buy.  Because my memory majorly sucks!  I have a "house book" that has all my lists of projects to do and also includes measurements of rooms and different things for the house, lists of paints or supplies I've used.  Anything house-related goes in the book!  Last year, when I started getting serious about getting projects done, I needed a better way to make sure I actually got them done.  The lists were working well as a reminder of what needed to be done, but the problem was managing my time to get the projects done.  So, I got the idea to print out a calendar by month and in each day's box, I would write down things I wanted or needed to get done for the day.  I tried it out and it works so well for me.  I've been using this process ever since!  I didn't really have a place for my project calendar - I would just slip the piece of paper into my house book or paperclip it to the front, but I ended up accumulating a bunch of papers in the last year.  So, I decided to turn them into a notebook and will be doing this for each year.  Here is a quick tutorial on how to make one for yourself.

 Supplies needed:
*Scrapbook paper
*Print-outs of calendar by month (of course, you can always do this by week or even by day, but it will just be a thicker notebook.  Monthly seems to work just fine for me)

1)  Print out the calendar by month for a total of 12 pages.  I just opened up the iCal on my Macbook and printed it out by the month view (you could also do it by day or week).  Fold each paper in half. 

 2)  Take your cardboard and just hold it up against the paper and make a mark where you want to cut (you'll need enough to cover the paper).  Then cut the cardboard to size - you will need 2 pieces (one for the front & one for the back).  I happened to have a large-ish Shutterfly envelope which was a thin piece of cardboard and made it the exact size of the folded piece of paper.

 3)  Adhere the first month to the first piece of cardboard.  Remember - since you folded the month in half, you will only be gluing half of the piece of paper to the cardboard.  This will form the front cover of your booklet.

4)  You will then need to adhere the months to each other.   You will take the backside of the other half of the month and adhere it to the backside of the first half of the other month.  What's that?   It doesn't make sense?  Example:  After you have adhered the backside of the 1st half of January to the cardboard, adhere the backside of the 2nd half of January to the backside of the 1st half of February.  Then adhere the backside of the 2nd half of February to the backside of the 1st half of March and so on.  Hmmm...maybe the picture below will help.
Wow, that was kind of hard to describe in words.  :)

5)  Once you've connected all the months together, adhere the last half of December to the other piece of cardboard to make the back cover.
You'll then be able to open up all the pages just like a book!

6)  Take some scrapbook paper and cut enough to cover the front & back covers of the book.  You can really get creative and do anything you want here.  I kept it pretty simple.  I just cut the scrapbook paper to fit the exact size of the cover and glued it on.  I then took a plain piece of colored paper and used decorative scissors to cut out a label and just hand wrote on it.  Since I had 2 notebooks I was making, I used scraps from the opposite book and glued them on the edges to make a binding and hide the folded part of the papers. 

Ta da!  A cute little project calendar book to keep track of what projects/crafts (big or small) I need to do each day.

Sometimes I write things down ahead of time, but most of the time, I just write things down the day before - it just depends on what I'm in the mood for or how much I get done in that day.  The boxes are kind of small, but you can fit several things in one box if needed.  I don't always get everything done and if I don't, it's ok - I can just move it to another day.  What I love about this is that it allows me to manage my time efficiently.  Some projects will need to be done in more than one day - I can break down the project in parts and assign them to different days and still feel accomplished even if I don't finish a project all in one day because I get to cross them off when done!  Ha!  Also, if I have a project that needs to be done by a certain day, I can assign particular days ahead of time to make sure it gets done by the deadline.

Thanks for taking a look - hope this helps with your list of projects too!

Linking up to:
Our Thrifty Ideas Tutorial Tuesday link party

How To Nest For Less' Just a Party With My Peeps link party

The DIY Dreamer From Dream to Reality link party

The NY Melrose Family's Whimsy Wednesdays link party

Live Laugh Rowe's Live Laugh Linky link party

Creatively Living's Tell it to Me Tuesday link party

Homework's Inspiration Board link party

It's Overflowing's Overflowing With Creativity link party

Thanks for stopping by!
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Monday, April 23, 2012

Fixing a Gate

I know this won't be the most thrilling post, but lately I've been getting more of the "boring" stuff done than the cute, crafty/diy stuff.  I have a wooden gate that goes from my front yard to the side yard and it just doesn't open anymore.  It was very hard to open to begin with and just completely got stuck over time.

As you can see in the picture below, the boards completely touch the walkway and even one board was hanging for dear life.  It turns out that several boards were loose, but first on the agenda was to trim those babies down to allow for clearance.

So, I broke out my brand spankin' new Porter Cable multi-tool.  Thanks dad & Liz for the Christmas gift!!!  I had been talking with my dad about these handy-dandy tools and they completely surprised me with it.  I didn't have a specific project in mind, but they are good for so many uses, I knew that I would be able to use it for lots of things in the future.  Finally, I figured out what to use it for!  (By the way, I really like how easy it is to change the tool tips on this brand.  All you have to do is press on a lever, slide the tool tip in, release the lever and it locks in place - easy!).
Ok, I will admit - I'm not really sure if this is the correct tool for this project, but it worked very well for me.  It took some elbow grease, but it worked perfectly. the picture below, I am pushing my hardest on the gate and it would only open this much.  (I don't know why, but my arm looks weird here - it looks like I don't have a wrist, but I do!!)

So, I just started working away - one board at a time.  You can see below, the boards on the right have been trimmed and how much of a difference it makes compared to the boards on the left.  I actually had to do the whole thing twice.  The first round, I didn't trim enough - it would only open just enough for me to squeeze through.  So, I made another round of trimming up the boards and it opens almost all the way now.

I was starting to run out of time, but I think I need to trim up one or two more boards on the right just a teensy bit more and it will open with no problems.  Yeah, it's not perfect, but it's hard to cut through the boards while squatting on the ground and not really being able to see how it's coming along.  There was a lot of laying on my belly going on to really get an idea of how much clearance I was making.  The most important thing is now I can open the gate!! 

I also hammered in the loose boards for now, but I think I will need to go back and use some screws to really keep them in place - this fence is old!  So, now that the gate opens, I have discovered that the fence attached to it (which connects to the neighbor's fence) is loose and leaning forward.  I can see where the nails have come out of the boards, so I'll have to fix that also (I'll most likely have to do this from my neighbor's back yard, but hoping to figure out a way to do it from my back yard.  My neighbor is really old and I don't like to bother her). 

I'm so glad that the hard part of getting the gate to open is done and now I'll have easier access to my side yard.   Another thing checked off my list!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

What up, 'G? Another Cork Monogram

Hello again - we're almost to the end of another week.  Yes!  I'm ready for some rest after having a long and busy weekend.  I am seriously lacking in my posting these days.  Between working on a semi-big project (painting the fireplace) and April being a big birthday month for family and friends (we're talking 10+ people including myself), I haven't really gotten much else done.

I wanted to stop in and share another cork monogram that I made earlier this week.  A couple of weeks ago, I posted this tutorial on how to make a cork monogram.  It was so simple to do.  So, I decided to make one as a gift for my friend's belated birthday (another April birthday!).  It was actually more difficult to do than the "F" I made, since the "G" has a good curve to it, but I think it came out pretty well if I do say so myself.

I followed the same process as in the tutorial for the "F" - I just laid out all the corks in an arrangement I liked and one-by-one glued them together.  It was a bit harder on the curves because I couldn't keep the corks exactly as I had laid them out, but it was close enough.

I also wasn't able to make it so that it sat flat on its bottom, so you can see how it tilts to the left a bit.  I was kind of bummed about that, but a hanger can be attached to the back so it can be hung up on a wall instead.

Thanks for stopping by to take a look!  In addition to few quick projects, I'm hoping to start painting my interior doors this weekend.  They are an off-white/cream/dingy color and have never been painted in the 2 1/2 years that I've owned the house, so they are long overdue for an update!

Linked up to:
How to Nest For Less' Just a Party with my Peeps link party

Creatively Living's Tell it to me Tuesday link party

The NY Melrose Family's Whimsy Wednesdays link party

Live Laugh Rowe's Live Laugh linky party

The 36th Avenue's link party

It's Overflowing's Overflowing with Creativity link party

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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Fireplace Makeover: Phase 2

Well, hello there!  I'm currently enjoying a 5-day weekend.  I'm liking this much better than working a 5- day work week!  Most of my long weekend is already jammed-packed, but I'm hoping that I have at least one day to get a few projects done.

I've been sporadic with my posting because I was working on a semi-big project.  About a year ago, I started thinking about painting my brick fireplace.  It was a big decision because once you paint brick, you can't go back if you change your mind.  I had found a lot of pictures and blogs that had beautiful white painted brick fireplaces, so I finally decided to take the plunge, but knew this would happen in phases. 

Phase 1 involved getting rid of the brassy accents as documented here.  Great start!  It already started to look better.

Phase 2 involved painting all of the brick and mortar white and has now been completed.  I thought it was going to be a quick, "done in a weekend" project, but it took me a bit longer.  Here is what I started with.

The brick was crumbly and very dirty (you can see on the hearth in front of the glass doors how dirty it is).  It's also very hard to dust it and keep it clean.

As a temporary solution to keeping all the cords and cables at bay, I re-used a cable hider that came with the house.  It runs down the side of the fireplace.  Even though you can see it, it tends to blend in well with the wall.  Plus, there is an Ikea Expedit shelf unit that sits next to it, so it helps to hide it.

I took the cable hider off (it was screwed into the wall, not the brick itself).  Then I used the brush that came with my dust pan and brushed off all the brick and in between all the crevices.  Wow!  There was a lot of dirt that came out - pretty gross!  After that, I vacuumed all the dirt and then gave the entire a thing a once over with the vacuum brush.  I then took a damp rag and wiped it all down.   I taped up everything and was good to get started.

I bought Zinsser Cover Stain primer so I could prime the brick first.  I made sure that it would be good to use on brick/mansonry.  I ended up using a 1" cheapo brush and also a mini-roller.  The small brush helped to get into all the crevices where the mortar is at.  This is why it took me a long time to get the fireplace painted - I had to hand paint a lot of instead of being able to use the mini-roller.  I spent a lot of time laying on my belly trying to make sure I got in all the little crevices.  I also had to make sure to paint on the underside of the brick also.  What a pain (literally)!

I figured that if I primed it really well, then once I got to painting, it would make it go faster.  My theory was right (thank goodness!).  I gave it 2 coats of primer to be on the safe side.
Here is a picture with just the 2 coats of primer on it.  It's already looking much, much better.

After the 2 coats of primer, I painted it with Behr's Ultra Pure White (satin) off-the-shelf paint.  I was able to use the mini-roller on the majority of the brick, but still had to hand paint over the mortar.  But, since I gave a good coating of primer, this whole process went by quickly.

**Side note**  I also bought this really neat paint can lid at Walmart.  It has a pour spout that you can push down so you can stack your paint cans when storing them.  I figured since I wouldn't be using the whole can of paint on the fireplace and would be using it again soon (another project from my big "to do" list), this was perfect.
In the pictures below, you can see where I started painting the white over the primer and what a difference that alone made.

The fireplace got 2 coats of white paint and then Phase 2 was all done.

Until I can figure out a better way of corralling those cables & cords, I will be putting the cable hider back in it's same place.  Now that that fireplace is a bright white color, the cable hider looks dingy in it's off-white color.  I'll be giving it the same paint job so it blends in easier.

Phase 3 involves building a simple wood mantel, but for now I'm really, really happy with how it came out.  It has really brightened up the room so much more.  Thanks for stopping by and taking a look!

***Update:  I usually set a basket of firewood/logs and other decorative items on the hearth and wanted my new paint job to be protected.  I asked the wonderful duo at Young House Love for some advice about this because I've heard that some polys will turn white paint yellow-ish.  Sherry was so great to respond - she suggested a light coat of Polycrylic, which I just so happened to already have on hand!  I went ahead and brushed on a light coat of Minwax's Polycrylic to give it that extra bit of protection.  Cross your fingers that it works!

Linked up to:
Ask Anna's Weekend Warrior link party

Creatively Living's Tell It To Me Tuesday link party

Home Stories A to Z Tutorials & Tips link party

How to Nest for Less' Just a Party with my Peeps link party

House of Hepworth's Hookin Up With HOH link party

The 36th Avenue's Party Time link party

Live Laugh Rowe's Live Laugh Linky link party

Delightful Order's Delightfully Inspiring Thursday link party

Tatertots & Jello Weekend Wrap-Up link party

Thanks for stopping by!
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I've Been Featured!

In the last 2 weeks, my blog has been featured twice!  Awesome!  Pop on over to both blogs to see my features and check out their wonderful blogs...

Homework's Inspiration Board link party spotlight  featured my Coral Pillows.

Happy Go Lucky's Thursdays Top Ten featured my Cork Monogram.