Wednesday, February 26, 2014

DIY Wooden Crate Coffee Table

Finally! The long-awaited wooden crate coffee table! I have been working on this project on the weekends since November. I planned to give this to my friend Caroline for her birthday/housewarming/Christmas gift. A little late..but finally complete! 

  • plain wooden crates (Michael's)
  • stain (Minwax English chestnut)
  • stain applicator (Applicator & More Lambswool Stain Applicator)
  • spray polyurethane (Minwax)
  • screws
  • four wheels
  • big piece of wood
[step 1 - staining]

I started out with four of these plain wooden crates from Michael's. I bought each one separately so I could use a 40% off coupon each time. I think they came to about $8 each. Next I spent some time sanding the crates to get them smooth and stain-ready.  

[lambswool applicator]

Once the crates were nice and smooth, I got to staining. When we were at Home Depot picking out stain/supplies, Paul pointed out this lambswool stain applicator and suggested I get it. I was stubborn at first and said "why on earth do I need this"? I was just planning to use a foam brush or a paint brush - something I had on hand. I'm SO glad I bought this, because for $6, it was the best part of this project. I used it to apply stain to all the surfaces and just touched up the edges with a foam brush. It was incredibly easy for my first staining attempt. 

[first coat]

I ended up applying three thin coats of stain to get the color I was looking for. 

[three coats]

Next up: polyurethane. I had no clue what to do next or how to apply polyurethane. Luckily, my dad recommended a spray polyurethane. I don't know how hard regular polyurethane is, but I will always use the spray. It was super easy, quick, and very even.

[spray polyurethane]

Here I am spraying my shine on. Please excuse my terrible shoe/pant/sock combination, I was wearing nice boots but didn't want to get any stain or spray on them. Hence - duck feet and frog squat...just kidding, I don't know if there is any excuse for that squat.

[done staining!]

Once I finished sanding/staining/polyurethaning, I had to figure out how to put all of these together. This project was Pinterest inspired but I couldn't find a good tutorial anywhere. I ended up doing my own thing. I did know that I needed a base (to hold the four crates together) and a small square to make a shelf (for the open space in the middle). 

[big piece of wood]

I went to Home Depot and bought a large piece of plywood (enough for the base and the shelf). Unfortunately, I didn't account for the fact that this may not fit in my car...and it didn't. 

[raise the roof]

So, with two pieces of twine (really Clare and Paul?), we strapped that guy on the roof of my car, got on the beltway, and started our journey home. After about 90 seconds at 65 mph, we realized that this was not a good idea - the board was shaking and it was really windy. All I could see was the board going through the windshield behind us and glass everywhere. We quickly got off the next exit and took the long way home, crisis averted. 

[made it - no broken windshields]

We got the wood home where I cut the wood to size into two pieces. This was also my first time using a circular saw and I had no idea how to do it. I didn't realize how dangerous it was until after I finished cutting when I was researching how to use it. I know, backwards thinking there. I then stained the base and the middle piece and then it was ready to be assembled.

And then the crates and the wood sat in my parents house for weeks. Literally. (Thanks parents). I was putting off the assembly 1. because I didn't know how to do it and 2. because it was so darn cold/snowy outside! I finally put it together this past weekend when it was 60 degrees and sunny. That ended up being much more of a production than I anticipated.

[pulling out my extra long screws]

I was really impatient to get this coffee table finished and that caused a feewww problems. 

I screwed the base into the bottom of the crates. Good right? No... I only stained one side of the base (the side that you would be able to see through the crates). But I screwed it on backwards (unstained side up) - woops. 

Then, I flipped that guy over, positioned the wheels, and started screwing. Yikes. First of all, the screws were too long so they went through the crates  AND the heads of the screws were not wide enough. The wheels popped right off, even though the screws stayed in the wood. Soo, all of my frustration and hard work had to come out. 

[oh yeah I stripped the screws too]

After about two hours of this, it was time for some wine. This is Pinot and Paint right?

The next day we finally finished off the table - new screws that didn't go through the wood and the base facing the right way. HOORAY! Here are some pictures:

And that's it! By far my hardest/most time consuming DIY project. But I am very happy with the results!! I have considered not giving it as a gift and keeping it for myself.... #scrooge Just kidding - next in the works is a coffee table for myself! It's an IKEA hack that will involve cutting, distressing, staining, and more! 

One last picture of my table...

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Past Few Weeks in Photos

I'm baa-aackk! After a few weeks of not blogging, I'm back! With several finished projects to share and a few on the horizon. It's been a pretty busy few weeks but here's what's been going on:

[moon shoes]

When was the last time you saw a pair of these? We went to the world's largest thrift store (I'm pretty sure). Despite the fact that I walked out empty handed, the trip was well worth it because I got to bounce around in these. 

[so bouncy I'm blurry]

[super bowl cupcakes]

We had some people over for the Super Bowl (literally weeks ago). I made WAY too much food: two quiche, cupcakes, pizza crescent rolls, chicken bites, carnitas pork, and caprese skewers. My friends brought meatballs, wings, guacamole, bratwurst and more. We had a ton of food and were eating leftovers for days. I was proud of my pretty themed cupcakes and pizza crescent rolls though.

[pizza crescent rolls] 

I didn't take any pictures while I made these but they were incredibly easy. I got a few packages of crescent rolls and separated the dough. I put 4 pieces of pepperoni and half a mozzarella cheese stick and rolled it right up. I stuck them in the oven and they came out golden and delicious. Coupled with a jar of pizza sauce, and it was almost better than the real thing. 

[joined a gym]

I also joined a new gym! I got rid of my memberships at a yoga studio, Sport & Health, and vowed off my old cycling studio. I joined Equinox to get all three (and hopefully more) in one place. It's been an adventure so far - they have tons of new classes and I've been sore for two weeks straight. While I may not row away on a lifeboat, I am hoping to get some arms like the ad above. #equinoxmademedoit


It snowed. And snowed. And snowed. I felt like we were going to be snowed in forever. Luckily, this friendly neighbor in the John Deere plowed us out. 

[cinnamon buns]

While we were stuck inside, we ate a lot. Yumm cinnamon buns.

[kale fail]

I also tried and failed to make kale for the first time. I sauteed it with garlic and olive oil and some lemon juice. I added a bit of salt and pepper also. I did NOT care for it. I don't know if it was user error or just a taste I haven't developed yet. Does anyone have any good suggestions for cooking kale? I don't think I will be trying my "recipe" again any time soon. 

[fish kiss]


And now - a sneak peak of my projects coming up later this week:

[word art]

[finished coffee table]

[ikea rast hack] 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Last Week in Photos

This past weekend was so cold and I was also quite lazy. Not too much got done in the way of DIY. While I finish up a few projects, here are some photos of the past week.

[post-sunday-mimosa fun]

[i have glasses on my head but don't call me glasseshead]

[open house]

[FINALLY got a flu shot - bet you're happy mom]

[re-organized my bookshelf - big improvement over the chaos]

And my FAVORITE thing I got this week....

[measuring hedgies from anthropologie]

[i'm obsessed with them]


[glasses - it's amazing what I can see now]

Until next time! Projects to be put up soon! 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

To Quiche or Not to Quiche

That is not even a question.

Recently, I've been had a bit of a hankering for...okay, obsession with eggs. I can't get enough of them, my cholesterol must be through the roof. Got an egg? You got a meal. I can do the normal variations - scrambled, fried, poached, omelettes, etc. I have always loved quiche and decided to try my hand at making one.


I used a combination of recipes and tips and came up with this guy. I wasn't that adventurous though - I did use a pre-made crust. Maybe my next quiche adventure will involve something more homemade. Anyway, I started with a refrigerated Pillsbury pie crust. Due to lack of quiche/pie plate, I used a round oven-safe dish. It actually worked quite well.

[cheater crust]

I lined the dish with my impostor crust and baked for 10 minutes at 425 degrees. I did NOT press the edges of the crust against the dish enough - or maybe I just needed a ridged pie/quiche plate. As you can see here, when I took the crust out of the oven, it had folded down a bit. I just pushed it back up (and took a little taste) which seemed to work fine. 

As the crust was in the oven, I mixed my ingredients:
  • sauteed green onions
  • lightly sauteed spinach
  • 4 eggs
  • about 2 1/2 cups of shredded pepper jack and parmesan romano 
  • about a cup of whole milk 
  • 5 slices of cooked bacon - chopped 

And now for the hardest part, waiting. I turned the oven down to 350 degrees and baked my quiche for 50 minutes. I must say I was a bit nervous about not having a quiche/pie plate but was reassured when it came out looking like this...

[look at those edges]

It was delicious! Cheesy, eggy, spinachy, and great bits of bacon. And the green onions. I loved it.

[almost gone]

I must say, I can't wait to make my next quiche. My wonderful mother has given me an old quiche plate and I can't wait to try that out. More quiche please! 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Last Week in Photos

It's been another busy week but lots of projects...and half completed projects. Here's a bit of what's been going on as well as a sneak peek of some things to come! 

[curry a la paulus]

Last week we went to Target to stock up on some staples - namely, Paul's favorite curry. Perhaps with enough persuasion, I can get him to be my very first guest blogger and describe the process seen here. The curry was on clearance last week so we kind of binge bought...13 jars to be exact. 

PS. Paul is discovering the joy of the mini spatulas here. 

Dear Target, we love this curry! Please don't discontinue it. 

[my first quiche]

[buffalo wings-mmmm]
recipe to come! 


[ikea trip]

I finally made the trek out to College Park to hit up IKEA. I've been wanting a white Lack shelf to put over the sofa for a few months. Pictures to come once it is properly decorated! 

[board too big to fit in my car]

Last year when I bought my Rogue, I thought a small SUV would be a sufficient sized car for a five foot tall person. I did not factor in the lumber I would be buying! I bought this piece of wood to use as the base for my ongoing coffee table project but it did not fit in my car!! We ended up haphazardly tying it to my roof with some twine. After about 2 minutes on the beltway and visions of the shattered windshields behind us, we pulled off the beltway to the side roads. 

[spray polyurethane]

Apparently I like to crouch like a frog when working. I have multiple pictures of myself in this position...

Note: Please disregard my choice of shoes/socks. I didn't want to get spray paint on my boots and these were the only shoes I had at my parents house.

[window frame makeover]

Sneak peek of my newest mirror! 

[coming together!!]

[my beautiful sister]

As I was looking for old books to read in my sister's bookcase, I stumbled on a bunch of pictures of her younger self. This is one of my all time favorites. Brownie batter all over those cheeks.

[valet parking at the grocery]

I think this is a new low of laziness. 

It's been a big week - lots of work done and much more to do. Coming soon: window mirror, the long-awaited coffee table, recipes, and more!