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Category: DIY

how things are holding up: vol 1

I’m always super interested when my favorite blogs do posts on how things are holding up. Over the years I’ve recommended lots of products or DIY tutorials, but this is the first time I’m circling back to check in on how some of those things have done over time. I’m very good at giving inanimate objects thoughts/feelings, so I feel borderline bad about springing this pop quiz on them. They didn’t know they’d be tested!!

IKEA Nockeby Sectional in Tenö dark gray: C

You may remember that we bought this sofa on Craigslist the day we moved into our current apartment. It was seven months old at the time that we bought it, so that’s something to consider. That means that at this moment, the couch is just over two years old. And we use it all…the…time. Working from home means I end up here a lot, we are those people that let the dog on the couch, and we don’t have a dining room so this is where we eat. (I know that last part probably horrifies a lot of people. Sawry!)

So, yah, it’s kinda been through the ringer. The primary irritation is that the slipcover is starting to show quite a bit of wear. Some of this is due to Finn and his nails, but some of it is pilling along the corners of the cushions from everyday use. It’s starting to bug me enough that I’m thinking about replacing the slipcover, but between how expensive that is AND having to take apart the entire couch…it seems easier to just get a new couch. The cushions are still in pretty decent shape, though, so it’s a good candidate for re-slipcovering. 

Bottom line: Definitely very happy with what we paid for it and how much we have gotten out of it. Wish it had been a different slipcover so that we could get even more years out of it. 

Midcentury Modern Credenza: A

cheerful black gallery wall

I am so mother-loving happy with this thing. It is rock solid. We recently drilled a hole in the back so that we could wire some speakers through it, and even the particle board in the back is way stronger than we expected. (Translation: it was way harder than we thought it would be to drill that hole, but very worth it!) It’s an amazing piece, and I continue to be really happy with the purchase price, which was at least half of what I’ve seen for comparable credenzas around town. 

One reason it was less expensive is that a lot of the surface is laminate instead of wood. I was worried this would bother me, but the laminate is such high quality that you really don’t notice. Good thing to note if you’re looking for a credenza, but don’t want to shell out lotsa doll-hairs!

Bottom line: Getchu one of these.

Living Room Rug: A

west elm craigslisted indigo rug

Um, I am also so freaking happy with this thing. I scored this 8′ x 10′ West Elm indigo beauty on Craigslist for like 10% of what I would have paid in the store. It has a little water damage on one corner that is hardly visible, and we hide that corner under the couch. It is THE perfect rug if you have a large, rowdy dog with black hair. This thing can’t look dirty if it tries. I just vacuum it every few weeks as it does shed a little bit. 

Bottom line: You need a big-ass indigo rug in your life, especially if you’ve got a dog or other dirt-creating creatures in your life. Unfortunately this isn’t made by West Elm anymore, but here’s a similar one.

Patio Rug: D

I mean. It currently has a huge gaping hole in the middle of it from being worn down. I’d give it an F, but here’s the thing: 1) it’s on an uncovered patio, so it gets rained on AND it sits out in the scorching Texas sun, and 2) It’s less than $20. I’m okay with needing to replace it. 

Bottom line: Get one if you’re okay with replacing it. This one isn’t available online, but I’ve seen it in the store. I also like this one.

Fiddle Leaf Fig: B

I feel like this is really just a grade…for myself? This is my first FLF child. The one I get to make all my mistakes on. Like leaving it in a too-small pot for too long, moving it around a bunch, putting it in a corner that didn’t get any sun, over-watering, under-watering…I’ve done it all. I feel like I got very lucky and got a resilient fiddle leaf fig. I finally got smart and moved it to a bigger pot, stuck it in a spot that gets consistent bright light, and stopped watering it so much, and it’s sprouted seven new leaves since making those changes!

Bottom line: Get one if you’re willing to invest some time/effort in keeping it alive. And get one that isn’t $150 (I found mine for $40 at a local nursery.)

Recovered Headboard: A

DO THIS! It was the easiest, most impactful thing I’ve done in our bedroom and the lowest cost. Someday we’ll have a legit bed (not just a headboard and a bed frame), but I’m kind of weird about investing in furniture until we own a home, so this has been a really awesome temporary solution for us. And it’s held up so well. It is still pulled super tight and held its shape perfectly. 

Bottom line: If you think you can’t do this, you’re so wrong, and you can do it, and you should do it. 

Linen Duvet: B

The navy linen duvet was, como se dice, “A great frigging call?” The darker color definitely helps me stay sane  — I wash it probably only every 4 weeks or so. Finn hasn’t made any snags in it with his nails, the color hasn’t faded, and it is super soft (and gets softer with every wash.) It’s also a really good weight if you happen to live in a sweltering area like Austin that not only gets really hot, but also humid! It’s like the sisterhood of the traveling duvets — it keeps us warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Magic.

One thing that kind of bugs is that it can get a little stretched out if it hasn’t been washed in a while, but washing and drying it tightens it back up again. 

Bottom line: I like this thing. 

So, this thing got kinda long. I guess that’s what happens when you’re out with the flu and haven’t blogged in a week. All of the words!! I feel like there are more things I could check in on, but I’ll stop here for now…is there anything you’re curious about?

 

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no flocking way: an easy and cheap way to flock an artificial tree

Time it took to flock this tree: 20 minutes. Time it took me to title this post due to the plethora of “flocking” puns: twelve hours. I wasn’t planning on posting this week, but I got so excited that this flocking “technique” (quotes because you’ll see that it’s so easy, it can hardly be called a technique) worked that I wanted to post before you guys decorate your trees!

easy way to flock a tree

(Finn is way more excited about Christmas than he looks. The reality is we were losing a football game that we should have been winning as I was taking these pictures, which meant we were stressed, which meant Finn was stressed. It’s tough to be a Longhorn fan this year, even if you’re a dog.)

Some backstory: last year, we got a white tree that I love. It’s pretty petite and I realized that it would look really great in our study this year. I grew up with a traditional green tree — sometimes real, sometimes artificial, and always lovingly decorated with an eclectic mix of ornaments. I thought it’d be nice to get a slightly larger green tree this year to feed my nostalgic Christmastime craving. 

I didn’t want to spend much. I’ll say it’s because we’re in a rental and I didn’t want to invest in our “forever” tree, but it could also be that I’m cheap. Or a mix of the two. Either way, I started out on a hunt for a pre-lit artificial tree that was 6′ tall, well-reviewed, and inexpensive. I ended up finding the perfect one at Target, and it’s now on sale for $20 less than I paid because the Christmas Shopping Gods like to punish me for planning in advance. (Find it here.) I’m really happy with the tree and definitely recommend it if you’re in the market.

how to flock an artificial tree

Howevuh. Sometimes I can’t leave well enough alone and decided I wanted to try to flock the tree. I read up on some flocking tutorials and was like LOL ain’t nobody got time for that. I thought I’d give the ole “can of fake snow” a try on one side of the tree, thinking if it looked awful I could just put that side in the corner. But it DIDN’T look awful and it was so flocking easy. 

Note: This is really more of a dusting of snow than the thick, layered look of a “real” flocked tree. For that look, you should probably do it the hard way. But if you want a quick way to add some interest to your very standard artificial tree, this is for you. 

What You’ll Need

  • Artificial tree (This may work on real trees? Not sure since I haven’t tested it.)
  • Can of snow spray (I used this one.)
  • Drop cloth
  • Finger strength

snow flocking spray

How To Flock an Artificial Tree with Snow Spray

  1. Make sure the tree is unplugged. (Idk, seems smart.)
  2. Put the tree outside or on a drop cloth inside to protect the surfaces you don’t want to get sprayed with snow.
  3. If your tree is dusty, wipe off dust with a dry cloth. 
  4. Shake can of snow spray vigorously. 
  5. Spray the tree, directing the nozzle downwards on the tree branches as if it were real snow falling on the tree. 
  6. For a natural look, only spray the outside branches (that would actually be dusted with snow if it were snowing outside.)
  7. Repeat as necessary for your desired level of snow appearance. I did two coats, which looks like a light dusting of snow. This only took about 1/3 of the can. 
  8. With a warm, damp towel, gently wipe the snow from the bulbs. Probably not totally necessary, I just wanted the bulbs to stand out more. 
  9. Let dry for at least 4 hours. I left mine overnight just to be safe.
  10. Enjoy your semi-permanent dusting of snow. I don’t think this will last year after year, but would be easy to replicate each year with 20 minutes and a can of fake snow.

cheap and easy way to flock an artificial tree

Woo! Basically like we live in a quaint Colorado mountain town that just got its first snowfall of the season and not the tropical climate of Austin, Texas that we actually live in. I’m so excited to get the tree trimmed and all of our decorations up, but promised myself (and Matt) that we wouldn’t decorate until after Thanksgiving.

cheap-and-easy-way-to-flock-an-artificial-tree-1

flocked-artificial-tree

Love how the white snow helps the tree pop off the black wall, too. Thoughts? Anyone else into flocked trees this year? If you don’t feel like going the DIY route, Chris Loves Julia posted a great roundup of pre-flocked trees that you can find here. Also, can I get a slow clap for how much restraint I showed on the “flocking” puns? I only count two. 

the cheap and easy way to flock an artificial christmas tree
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cop to it: how to make a copper wall grid inspiration board

Nothing like an easy weekend DIY to make us feel like we can do things. This project is great if you want to feel accomplished, save some doll-hairs, and have an excuse to cut things out of magazines like we did when we were nine. (Remember when covering your WHOLE wall with magazine clippings was cool? “I can still smell the old perfume samples…” she said, in her best elderly Rose from Titanic voice.) 

When I was looking at ideas for updating our study, I knew I wanted an inspiration board. As I combed through Pinterest, copper wire wall grids caught my eye. I loved the juxtaposition of the clean grid lines with the chaos of the clipped photos, textiles, etc. I set out to see if I could find an affordable one that also fit the size I wanted. The closest I came was this one, but it was still a bit smaller than I was hoping. So I sourced some options to make my own, and realized I could make one for less than half the cost of the one I found. And YOU CAN TOO! (Ugh, sorry, I’m listening to Rihanna and feeling AMPED.)

how to make a copper wire wall grid inspirationboard

What You’ll Need

I’ve linked below to these sources on Amazon, if you’re like me and prefer your DIYs hand-delivered to your door. 

how to make a copper wire wall grid inspirationboard

How To Make a Copper Wire Wall Grid

  1. Arrange your grids and make sure they are all facing the same direction. (There’s a “front” and “back” that may not be easily distinguishable, but I guarantee as soon as you figure out that they aren’t all facing the same direction when your project is complete that it will make your eye twitch, and we don’t want that.)
  2. Once you have them arranged how you’d like, use a zip tie to secure them in place. You can see where I placed mine below.
  3. After the zip ties are secured, spray paint the whole dang thing. Give one side a good coat, wait for it to dry completely, then flip it over and give the other side an even coat as well.  

how to make a copper wire wall grid inspirationboard

Voila! You have done it. Man. You are awesome. Way to do the things! Now, you can reward yourself with magazine clipping/pinning up time. To get into the spirit of things, apply some Dr. Pepper chapstick or very thick, frosted, scented lip gloss. Wanna really go wild? Spritz some Tommy Girl into the air and walk through it. 

how to make a copper wire wall grid inspiration board

CASUAL GIF DEBUT, NBD. When better to drop my first gif than a post where I make like six other 90s references? 

Anyway. Obviously the bare wire grid wall needed some zhuzhing. First I added larger clippings, then medium-sized, then the smaller ones. I tried to keep it varied with photos, colors, text-based stuff, and personal touches, but girlfriend is not about to tell you how to put together your inspiration board. It’s yours. Make it look how you want. Also, I used two binder clips on the top of a cork tile as a way to hang the tile off of two S-hooks. I liked having a spot where I can pin up more temporary stuff, and I just liked how it looked.

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how-to-make-a-copper-gridwall-inspiration-board-8

Who is as surprised as I am that only two pictures of Finn made it onto the board? Don’t worry, the rest are on the fridge.

Hope you all have an awesome weekend doing things that make you feel inspired and accomplished. Even if that involves taking a trip to Claire’s at the mall because you’re wondering if glitter eyeshadow and karma beads are still a thing.

Wait, is Claire’s still a thing?

Are malls still a thing?

Being 29 is strange. 

diy-copper-wall-grid-inspiration-board

 

How to make a DIY copper grid wall inspiration board
How to make a DIY copper grid wall inspiration board
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