Sunday, January 29, 2012

Trivet Trouble - Take 2

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After last weekend's Trouble with Trivets , I still had many corks left in my "Big Box o' Corks."  I also had more space in my drawer where I keep my oven mitts, pot holders and trivets.  Did you know that Corks + Space = More Trivets?  I personally think this equation may be one of Pythagoras lost theorems.

This time construction went much quicker since there was no cork cutting since I wanted a trivet with more surface area.  Why?  While the trivet I made last week is fab looking and I love how it turned out, the reality is that it can't hold larger pots or pans. Square pans are a bit wobbly on it due to its rounded shape and what if I made a batch of brownies or a pan of enchiladas? I wasn't sure this small(ish) trivet would be able to handle them.

So my plan was to lay the corks on their sides in a basket weave pattern and hot glue them to the felt backer and to each other. I love it when a plan comes together.

The first trivet is 4 sets of corks wide by 4 sets of corks tall (approximately 7" x 7"). You will need 32 corks for this layout.  This size is perfect for those 8x8/9x9 pans.

The second is 4 sets by 8 sets (approximately 7" x 14"). You will need 64 corks for this layout. This size is great for the 9x11/10x13 pans.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

To Do This Weekend - 1/28-29: Updated

This weekend's To Dos are about tying up loose ends and an eviction. 

About the eviction, we have a critter, most likely a squirrel in our attic.

FoxSquirrel Source

We have heard the sound of rolling acorns in the ceiling above our bed the last couple of nights.  Definitely not the sound you want to hear late at night.  So we need to scare/remove our unwanted tenant from of the attic, find out where its access point is and then cover it up so we won't continue laying in bed listening to the rolling acorns.  Hopefully the critter is a loner and is all alone up there. (Keeping fingers crossed)

We will then move onto some loose ends in the powder room and foyer. 

Weekend To Dos

  • Evict critter from attic (UPDATE: The eviction is on hold.  It snowed all weekend so we weren't able to get the hole patched up.  So we are hoping that the weather will be nicer next weekend.)
  • Finish trim install in powder room
  • Paint trim in powder room
  • Install trim and baseboards in foyer
  • Paint trim and baseboards in foyer
  • Make elevated food/water bowl stand for Willow
  • Take photos for Sunday post
  • Finish sewing projects for Valentine's Day
  • Nap with the dog
  • Menu plan for week
Wish us luck that the eviction goes quickly and quietly so we can get on with the other items on our list.

I will keep you posted on how things go.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Trouble with (cork) Trivets

OK, I am showing my nerdy side since the title of this post makes me think of the original Star Trek and their “Trouble with Tribbles.”  I love that episode and found this photo on Wikepedia.
Interestingly, the cork trivet I made this weekend, is a similar color to Kirk’s Tribbles, and the ribbon matches Kirk’s tunic.  Coincidence?  I think not! (OK, it is a total coincidence.)

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The first cork trivet I made was inspired by the various cork trivets on Pinterest.  Many of those were secured by metal hose clamps or embroidery hoops. I didn’t have either of those in my stash so figured I needed to figure something else out using what I had.  Armed with my box of corks, a hot glue gun, some felt and a ribbon, I figured I had the beginning of a great trivet.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

To Dos This Weekend–1/21-22


Another busy weekend here at Casa Claiming.  Winter is here in full force with single degree temps and negative wind chills. Right now it looks beautiful out with clear blue skies but it is so so so cold out.  That seems to be the way it goes in winter, blue skies = freezing temps.  All that just means we need to concentrate on the inside of the house.  Time is a wasting so I better get cracking on my list.

On this list for the weekend

1.  Laundry
2.  Cleaning bathrooms
3.  Doggy Day Spa for Willow (bath, ear cleaning, nail trimming, tooth brushing)
4.  Deal with paperwork in office and kitchen
5.  Shopping (Grocery, Garden Store, Bank)
6.  Shoveling at our house and my parent house
7.  Take photos of latest tutorial project
8.  Finish writing tutorial project post
9.  Go to the theater on Sunday afternoon
10.  Get haircut
11.  Go through some more boxes from my childhood stuff
12.  Work on living room update 
13.  Get some wood for a fire this evening
14.  Floors


15.  Color hair (I am back to being a red head!)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Winter is Finally Here!

This past weekend we finally got some snow that actually stuck around for more than a day.  This hasn’t been our usual Michigan winter.  We have had 50+ degree days in December, thunderstorms in January. All in all very very strange winter.

It snowed for three days and we had no wind.  A totally unusual occurrence here in the north.  Usually snow is accompanied by wind and lots of it. Think blowing drifts and the wind chill in the single digits. But that wasn’t the case so I headed out to the backyard with Willow to take a few photos (she doesn’t really like the cold, even with her red jacket).

I think this one of a tree in the backyard looks like lace, woven by Mother Nature.

There were a few berries on one shrub and I can only imagine that the one of the many birds who live in our backyard will find them soon and have a winter snack. And that is about an inch of snow on those branches. The snow was so light and fluffy.

One of my plant hangers is waiting for spring.

The snow was so light, it didn’t settle but stacked up, like little snowflake building blocks, that you could see through.

These beautiful pictures almost make me like winter…almost.

I know that we have at least 2-3 months more of winter so I am spending some quality time flipping through my growing stack of seed catalogs. Makes spring seem a bit closer.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Pinterest, How I Love Thee for Helping Me Find a Use for Unused Stuff

I am a later-comer to the Pinterest Party, having only joined a couple of months ago.  But, in that time, I have quickly become hooked and have definitley joined the ranks of the converted.  (Long Live Pinterest!!)

I think I will need to live to 100+ to visit all the places, make all the crafts, prepare all the recipes, create all the jewelry, plant all the gardens, etc. that I have pinned, plan to pin and want to pin. 

Sometimes, I think to myself there is no way I can even begin to work on any one of the myriad of ideas pinned to my "For Free Time - DIY Crafts" board, mainly because I don't always have alot of that thing called "free time."  I don't even have as many things pinned as some of the folks I follow.  The other problem is that besides the time investment, many projects also involve a financial investment into tools or materials that I either don't have on hand or have enough of to make the project.

However, the flip side is that when I am sorting out a cabinet, or closet, and come across items that remind me of something I have seen on Pinterest, I become totally inspired. 

This project is no exception. I found this image on Pinterest from
I just knew that with minimal outlay, I could create something similar. Since I already had candlesticks and vases/jars in my living room cupboard.

My only expense was the E600 glue, which I know will come in handy for other projects down the road. The vases are leftovers from my wedding. The jar is from IKEA. The candlesticks are from who knows where (I have had them for at least 10 years). All these items have been packed away, unused, for the last 2+ years. 

But that is about to change with just a bit of glue after I ran everything through the dishwasher to make sure they were sparkly clean.
Then I set up my workspace at the dining room table (with Willow supervising), gathered my materials and tools and got to work.

Step 1:  Gather all your tools and materials
  • E600 glue
  • Vases/Jars
  • Candlesticks
  • Small Level
  • Toothpicks (I like the flat ones since you can use them to "scoop" up the glue)
  • Paper plate
  • Tape (if needed)
Step 2: Decide which vases/jars go with which candlesticks
     Since all my candlesticks are the same, for me this was the quickest step.

Step 3:  Put dollop of glue on the paper plate
     Size depends on how many pieces you have to glue. 
I have read several reviews on the glue that have said that trying to use it straight from the tube can result in a big mess and a cap that won't come off the next time you want to use it.

Step 4:  Applying the glue
     Using a toothpick gather up some glue and apply to the top of the candlestick.

This is probably the most tedious part of the who process.

Step 5: Placing the candlestick to the vase
     Place the vase upside down on your workspace.
     Gently place the glue end of the candlestick on the bottom of the vase.

Step 6: Making sure things are straight
     With your level, check to make sure things are straight.
This may not be as much of an issue if your vase/jar has a flat bottom, but if it has a curve, this step will ensure that your vase/jar won't look wonky once things are all dried.

If your vase/jar has a particularly curved bottom, you may need to use a couple of pieces of tape to keep the candlestick in the level position to dry.
Step 7: Move the glued piece(s) to somewhere safe so it can dry without being bumped.
     I places a couple of books on top to make sure things things got good adhesion.
     E600 glue needs 48-72 hours to fully cure.
Step 8:  Filling
     Once the glue has cured, remove tape (if necessary) turn it over and fill with whatever fits your decor.
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Cost of the Project:
$  0.00    Candlestick holders
    0.00    Vases from my wedding
    5.00    Tube of E600 glue
$  5.00    TOTAL COST

Linking to
A Round Tuit (84), The Girl Creative, Mad in Crafts, Craft-O-Maniac, Skip to my Lou, Hope Studios, Tip Junkie, Sugar Bee Crafts , Homework, Northern Cottage, Confessions of a Stay At Home Mom, Not Just a Housewife, Type A, Passionately Artistic, Blue Cricket Design,

Saturday, January 14, 2012

To Do This Weekend–11/14-15

It is Saturday Morning and that means it is time to plan our weekend.  It is cold and snowy outside, so we will have to fight the urge to hunker down under the blankets, curled up with Willow and watch movies.  That isn’t really an option since we have lots to do.

  1. Shoveling
  2. Take photos of the snow.  There hasn’t been any wind so it is gorgeous outside.
  3. Put plastic on the drafty family room window
  4. Cleaning
  5. Laundry
  6. Organize the pantry
  7. Final photos for a tutorial post on making apothecary jars
  8. Finish apothecary jar post and schedule
  9. Take photos for baking posts

  10.  Make it through all the posts in Google Reader
  1. Shoveling
  2. Grocery shopping
  3. Finish laundry
  4. Finish cleaning
  5. Get hair cut - Moving this to next weekend
  6. Figure out next DIY post Working on something with wine corks
  7. Menu Plan for next week

  8. Make baked potato soup
Let’s see how many we actually get crossed off.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

New Art in the Hall

While our bedroom hallways are still a work in progress, I couldn't stop myself from hanging some artwork.  It makes is seem a bit less construction zone-ish since it will be a while until we start back to work in this area.  I like art that come with a history and these two are no exception.

The first piece is a favorite of Hubs.  It is one that he has had f.o.r.e.v.e.r. According to his mom, it was purchased for $12 from a pizza parlor in California that showcased art student's paintings.  Since the early 80s it has moved from place to place to place with him and/or her. I thought this part of  hallway would be perfect for it since it is rather large, and the reality is that there isn't really any other place in our home where a giant screaming eagle would fit seamlessly into the d├ęcor.

WillowEagleToo bad Willow seems unimpressed by the giant eagle swooping down on her.

The second piece is traditional Chinese peony painting I received for Christmas last year from my mom. A number of years ago I was fortunate to travel with my parents to China.  In addition to seeing the numerous cultural sites, we were able to see a number of skilled Chinese artisans. Their works included paintings, cloisonne, jade carving and pottery. 

During one demonstration, a talented artist painted this in about 5 minutes and, upon its completion, presented it to my mother. (I think he was enamored with her blond hair and blue eyes.) Painted on thin rice paper, it was so delicate that Mom wasn't quite sure what to do with it.  So it was carefully rolled it up and stored it away for safe keeping. Over the years, the "safe place" was forgotten so it was just found again last year, ending up as my Christmas present.

I just love the little bee looking for the blossoms.

Now it is the out from the dark, has been framed and is prominently displayed in our home. (please disregard our lack of baseboards and door trim. Installing them is on "The List.")

Do you have any favorite art hanging in your home?  Does it have it's own history?

Home Goals 2012

The Nesting Place  is having her second annual home goals linky party beginning today.

I missed it last year and, even if I did post, my list would not have had much, if anything, checked off due to our new roof (More on that issue here).  But this year, I have high hopes and actual plans for projects.  Yay! 

Being a bit Type A, I know that if I actually write stuff down, it has a better chance of taking place.  Why?  Because I like to cross thing off with my bright red "crossing things off the list" marker.  (Yes, I have a special pen just for crossing stuff off my lists.)

So after some thought and walking through the house looking at the long list of want-to-dos, here is my list for 2012 with some major and not so major projects.

Indoor Projects
1.  Master Bedroom
  • Tear out pink carpet and replace it with carbonized vertical bamboo flooring (which is already purchased and in the basement)
  • Paint (colors picked out Farrow & Ball Brassica and Behr Plus Mineral)
  • Replace door trim and baseboard to match rest of the house
  • Find dresser(s) and nightstands on Craiglist or at thrift stores
  • Prep and paint the lamps I got at a garage sale last year

2.  Rip out and install new flooring in the hall bathroom
This is what we found when one of the bath tiles came up when we were ripping out the hallway carpet. 
Who uses thinset to stick down vinyl tile?  Apparently the previous owners of our home.

3.  Living Room
 This is what our fireplace wall currently looks disaster!
    Finish stripping fireplace and repaint white (the woods don't match.  Boo!)
    Paint all woodwork white
    Install marble tile to fireplace surround
    Rework shelves in the cabinets
    Install lights in the cabinets

4.  Install baseboards and trim in the hallways, foyer and living room.

5.  Set up crafting/sewing area in the downstairs guest room. 
     Possible thanks to the gift of a fabulously large desk with hutch from my parents.

5.  Create dedicated exercise area in basement with small TV.

6.  Replace fixtures/lighting in the master and hall bathrooms

7.  Finish the wall repair in the hallway.

8.  Install curtains and shelving to create a "linen closet" of sorts in the back hallway

9.  Install new lighting in the hallways

Outdoor Projects
1.  Replace/repair small deck off kitchen and add stairs to garden

2.  Expand the garden by adding more garden boxes

3.  Build a potting bench

4.  Build a strawberry tower
5.  Install fencing around the garden to keep out the critters

6.  Hire someone to take down several large trees

7.  Finish steps from garage to garden
8.  Clean up/rework the "natural areas" in the backyard
  • Remove several plants that we have learned can be poisonous for our dog     
  • Cut down some dying/sickly trees for more light
  • Possibly plant some Columnar apple trees, if I can talk Hubs into it

Furniture projects
1 and only 1 goal:  Finish repainting/restaining/etc. my "project" pieces. 
I currently have waiting for my attention
  • 4 nightstands/endtables
  • 1 dresser
  • 1 bar cart
  • 3 lamps (not including 1 lamp shade redo)
  • 1 chair
  • 1 cedar chest
  • 2 buffets
According to Hubs, I am not allowed to buy/bring anything else into the basement before these are finished and put into whatever spots in the house I have planned for them.  So I better get cracking so I can start looking for stuff for the master bedroom.

I plan on updating quarterly on my progress on any/all of these goals.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Just Call Me Scrappy!! (or how to turn a pile of bamboo flooring scraps into rolling plant stands)

Scrappy. That is how I have described myself to more than one person. I meant to allude to the fact I would be a good person to have your back in a fight (even though I have never ever been in a fight) but turns out it means something else entirely.

You see, when we finish with any project we always have a box/pile/bag of scraps. I have a hard time parting with those scraps because I think to myself "I just know I will be able to find a use for that in the future." This reasoning is why we have several boxes/piles/bags of wood, bamboo flooring, tile and/or slate in the workshop. Along with the scraps, there is also Hubs' hope that I don't turn into a hoarder with my "I will be able to use that in the future" talk."

After Thanksgiving, when I was in the basement looking for some wrapping paper, I had a brainstorm. I could turn scraps from our bamboo flooring install (look for a post on that sometime soon) into some plant stands since I was tired of seeing my non-winter-hardy plants looking pitiful and sad just haphazardly arranged in front of our west facing sliders.

First up, hit the internet to figure out what type of wheel would work best. I ended up getting my plate mount ball casters from Rockler. They were about $11 for a set of 4. I went with casters like this because 1) the wheels are rubber so no damage to the brand new floors 2) all 4 wheels will swivel, making it easy to move these around 3) I thought the color of the brass complimented the caramel color of the floor and 4) I couldn't find anything similar for cheaper in my area.

Once they arrived, I headed down to our workshop to play with our power tools. With winter upon us, the table saw and miter saw have been moved from the unheated garage to the warm basement. This is where the "magic" happens."

Step 1: Gather all your tools.  You will need
  • tape measure
  • marker or pencil to mark cut lines
  • straight edge
  • a saw (I used both a table saw and a miter saw)
  • safety glasses
  • screwdriver
  • drill with drill bit to make pilot holes for the screws
  • wood screws (18 per plant stand) - whatever length will go through 1.5 pieces of your flooring (I used 1")
  • Stain to match your flooring/wood
  • 4 plate mount casters
  • extra/scrap flooring 
  • clamps
  • orbital sander
Step 2:  Determine the size of your plant stand and make your cuts for the top
  • I made two of my plant stands square. 
  • To figure out the size, I placed 3 pieces together to get my length. 
  • I then used that to get the length of each piece, cutting them to size. (in my case it was approx 11 3/4"). 
  • Finally, I cut the tongue off 1 piece, the groove off another piece, keeping the center piece intact. 
  • I didn't get all of the tongue and groove off so sanded the edged to smooth them out.  If the opposite edge is clean and smooth, the sanding doesn't have to be perfect since it can point to the inside.

Step 3: Make the cuts for the bottom pieces.

  • You will need 2 cross pieces for the bottom of the plant stand.  These are the pieces that the casters will be screwed into.
  • The length will equal that of the 3 pieces together (again in my case, it was approximately 11 3/4").
  • The width of this piece will depend on the size of the caster plate since the wood should be at least 1/4" wider to cut down in the possibility of splitting.
Step 4: Clamp, drill and screw

  • Line up your pieces for one side, clamping the 3 pieces across and then clamping the whole thing to the table. (the photo above shows what I mean)
  • Mark screw holes for casters and drill pilot holes.  Secure casters with screws.
  • Drill pilot hole for single screw to secure center piece and secure with screw.
  • Repeat on the other side.

    If you don't don't clamp the three top pieces together, you risk having a gap.  How do I know?  I found out the hard way on my first go.  See the arrow, it is pointing to a visible gap between two of the pieces.  Notice how you can't see any gap between the other two pieces.

Step 5:
  • Stain the unfinished edges, if you like. I chose not too.
  • Let dry 24 hours.
You now have custom plant stand that coordinates with your flooring and used up scraps that might otherwise go into the landfill or molder in your basement.        

Cost for 3 plant stands
$ 0.00     Bamboo scraps
   0.00     1" wood screws (leftover from another project)

  33.00     3 sets of plate mounted ball casters
$33.00     TOTAL*

*While this may not be our most cost effective project due to the cost of the casters, I like that these coordinate with our flooring and they use up some of the leftover scraps.

The first stand I made took the longest, about 45 minutes, since I was still working out the process.  The last one I made took me less than 30 minutes from rummaging through the scrap box to putting a plant on it.

If you make some of your own "reclaimed" plant stands, I would love to see them and highlight them in a later post.
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Linked up to 
Creating My Way to Success "A Round Tuit"
Making the World Cuter 
DIY Home Sweet Home 
Skip to my Lou
A Bowl Full of Lemons
Sugar Bee Crafts


Monday, January 2, 2012

Back in the Saddle Again...


 With 2012 having already begun, it is time to get back in the saddle when it comes to blogging.  We had quite a hiccup to our plans for fixing up the house this last spring when we found out we needed to spend our current reno budget, along with next year's budget, on a new roof.  Turns out a total tear off on a ranch house can be quite expensive, especially with a wonky roof line and valleys needing extra work.  It was enough to make both my head and chest ache when we got the first quote.  However, it all worked out in the end and we now have a fabulous, leak free, 40 year shingled roof. 

While we are so happy with the new roof, what it really meant was all of our other projects, like finishing the living room, installing new trim and baseboards, along with starting a number of other projects, like the master bedroom, had to be put on hold. It also meant that my DIY/craft project budget also got cut waaaay back. 
So the summer and fall were spent in the garden and not working on the house. 

But with the holidays over, we have started to rebuild our reno budget and are getting ready to tackle a number of projects.  Plus I have about a million things pinned in Pinterest that I want to try to make.  So join us as we jump back in the reno saddle...