Yo, Dummy! Shoulda DIY’d it! – Home Dec Mag rip off ideas

So we magically got a copy of the march issue of ‘House Beautiful’ today and for once I decided to flip through it instead of sending it straight to recycling.
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Though there were a lot of pretty things, there were also a TON of things too easy to DIY rather than drop hundreds of dollars on.
Take this clever mail catch-all by Goodwin + Goodwin.
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The description in the lower right tells it all. And it IS super cute for that command center corner of the kitchen… But at $95 it feels steep to me. You could craft your own, similar version using poster board for a few dollars. Ok, it won’t hold up for forever like a metal one would, but will you still really be that in love with a big red envelope on your wall in a few years anyway? I know my need for a refreshed space would far out weigh the durability requirement!

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This lamp, oh my this lamp! It costs nearly $500!!! Stop. Go to goodwill and get yourself a ginger jar lamp for maybe a whole $5. Then stop at your local craft store (remember the 40% off coupon) and buy a can of white primer spray paint, plus some fun primary colors in acrylic paint and a glossy clear sealant. Go crazy on the lamp. Rub and buff some gold on the brim. Voila! You’d have an identical lamp for no more than $20.
Maybe someday i’ll be the lucky bum peddling over-priced lamps to fools, but for now i’ll just make my own.

Find any dumb decor lately?

~ Beth

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DIY Travel Jewelry Box from an Old iPod Packaging

If you’ve ever purchased an apple device of any kind at the Apple store, you’re likely familiar with the joy of ‘unboxing’ — the simple act of getting to open your brand new device.  Apple takes care not only to design beautiful products, but even puts detail into their packaging too, making that first time taking the lid off even more fun.

ipod touch box becomes jewelry box acrylic jewelry box DIY wasi tape at BandBBuildALife.com

This little old box is going to be cleaned up and turned into a handy travel-sized jewelry case with a little help from wasi tape and patience.

ipod touch box becomes jewelry box acrylic jewelry box DIY washi tape at BandBBuildALife.com

First step, before you can wash it, is to get rid of all the decals, labels, and inner packaging.  When you’ve removed the inner cardboard packaging, you’ll be left with 3 clear plastic acrylic pieces – the lid, the inner plate that the ipod was strapped to, and the bottom that contained your earbuds and cord.

ipod touch box becomes jewelry box acrylic jewelry box DIY wasi tape at BandBBuildALife.com

Once you’ve cleaned it up, grab a pair of scissors and the middle plate piece.  Though it wasn’t too hard to remove the plate from the box when first opening your iPod, that’s because the ipod itself was still strapped to it.  Without the iPod to pull on, the inner tray is very hard to remove.  To remedy this, use a pair of scissors to trip one of the corners off the plate.

Turn an ipod touch box into a handy jewelry box acrylic travel jewelry box DIY wasi tape at BandBBuildALife.com

Take your time to avoid cracking the plastic.  You may need to take a few passes at it.  Depending on your scissors, you may also have to use a nail file to smooth any rough edges you’ve created, but when you finish you should have something close to this.

Turn an ipod touch box into a handy jewelry box acrylic travel jewelry box DIY wasi tape at BandBBuildALife.com

While we’re looking at this close-up, see those lines lengthwise down the plate?  That’s where the plastic was belted through the plate to hold the iPod in place.  Those grooves are going to come in handy in a few steps.

Turn an ipod touch box into a handy jewelry box acrylic travel jewelry box DIY washi tape at BandBBuildALife.com

This step and the step after you could technically skip, but they make the box much more fun I think.  Pick out a fun paper to lay in the bottom of the box and trace it out.  I chose a scrapbook sheet of frosting as jewelry is kind of like people-frosting, and well, it looked fun.  I recommend picking a pattern that’s not too busy as it will make it harder to easily see your jewelry at a quick glance.

Once you’ve traced and cut out your paper, set it into your box.  You can use tape or glue to make it permanent.  Whatever floats your boat.

Turn an ipod touch box into a handy jewelry box acrylic travel jewelry box DIY wasi tape at BandBBuildALife.com

So now we have the middle plate (left), the bottom tray (center) and the lid.  Now, to add a little more flair, we break out the washi tape!

Turn an ipod touch box into a handy jewelry box acrylic travel jewelry box DIY washi tape at BandBBuildALife.com

I carefully wrapped the outsides of the box in a single layer of washi tape.Turn an ipod touch box into a handy jewelry box acrylic travel jewelry box DIY washi tape at BandBBuildALife.com Turn an ipod touch box into a handy jewelry box acrylic travel jewelry box DIY washi tape at BandBBuildALife.com

I picked a fun gold striped washi tape that added juuuuust a little bit of a gilded edge without being too flashy or glittery.

Turn an ipod touch box into a handy jewelry box acrylic travel jewelry box DIY washi tape at BandBBuildALife.com I also added a stripe down the length of one side of the inner tray piece too.  By adding a stripe here, you’ll add depth to the box when it’s assembled.  And, well, washi tape is just fun to use!

Turn an ipod touch box into a handy jewelry box acrylic travel jewelry box DIY washi tape at BandBBuildALife.com

While we’re taking a look at the inner plate, here’s why we cut the corner off.  when you place the plate into the bottom piece, it becomes really hard to remove.  With the new hole in place, you can easily pluck the plate out of the box.

Turn an ipod touch box into a handy jewelry box acrylic travel jewelry box DIY washi tape at BandBBuildALife.comSo here’s what we have all assembled.  The bottom has the tape wrapped around it with the frosting paper set into the floor of the box, the inner tray has the vertical washi tape which helps to show the difference in space between the bottom and the plate.  And of course the lid on top to hold everything together.

Now all we have to do is load it up with the jewelry we plan to travel with!

Turn an ipod touch box into a handy jewelry box acrylic travel jewelry box DIY washi tape at BandBBuildALife.com

For earrings, push the pins through the grooves and secure in place with the earring backs.  You can even feed small-chained necklaces through the grooves to keep them from tangling.  Then, in the bottom (pictured here in the middle) place your bracelets and other pieces that wont fit with the grooves above.

Turn an ipod touch box into a handy jewelry box acrylic travel jewelry box DIY washi tape at BandBBuildALife.comOnce you’ve picked out your travel wardrobe of jewelry and placed them in, simply close it all up and away you go!

Turn an ipod touch box into a handy jewelry box acrylic travel jewelry box DIY washi tape at BandBBuildALife.com

Now I have a handy little pocket-sized jewelry box to easily stow in my purse or suitcase for wherever I’m headed.

Have you re-purposed any apple devices or packaging?

~ Beth

Turn an ipod touch box into a handy jewelry box acrylic travel jewelry box DIY washi tape at BandBBuildALife.com

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FEED THE WALLS ~ Or, Finally Hanging Stuff

Yes, that’s right — we’ve achieved a goal!  We hung things on the wall!

antique mirror thrifting score beer poster yuengling yeungling poster at BandBBuildALife.com

Ok, technically, these were hung before thanksgiving.  …..yes, we’re that behind in blogland.  Oops!  The frame on the right is a framed print we got when touring the Yuengling Brewery a few summers ago.  It’s lived in a tube since then, until this black frame went on clearance at Target for about $5.

antique mirror thrifting score at BandBBuildALife.com

This mirror is my favorite of the two.  When Bill and I were moving the last of my things out of DC, this mirror was there, technically hung in another room but not really being used.  I was allowed to take it and knew exactly where it would live, right above our dining table.  It adds a really classy vibe to the corner.  You’ll have to take my word for it for now though until we can get a good sunny day to show it off right.

So, there ya have it, one goal crossed off!

~ Beth

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Recycle Your Green Onions

I had heard it somewhere that if you save the root end of your green onions – aka chives – that you could re-grow fresh stalks. So I gave it a shot.

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So it’s really simple. Take your chives…

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Chop as you need for your dish, but leave about an inch of the stalk above your root end.

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Then drop them, root end first (duh) into a shallow dish of water. Keep them in indirect sunlight and don’t let them dry out. In a few days you’ll start to see fresh stalks!

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Yup, that’s it. Easy peasy!

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Home Show-Offs ~ Inexpensive Art

About a month ago Pittsburgh hosted the annual home show.  Ordinarily, as we aren’t technically home-owners (renters unite!) we usually skip it, but we managed to get our hands on some free tickets and figured, why not?

We slip in late morning, and one of the first things we encounter is a lady with a wet canvas she’s carrying out before her like a precious artifact — all the while she was pointing down the way behind her and rambling about painting stuff.  Skeptics that we are, we decide to investigate, and found Wine and Canvas.

wine and canvas party painting painting at bar at BandBBuildALife.com

There are a few variations out there on the same concept, but basically you drink wine and paint.  They do it at bars and lounges, or you can host your own party.  Whatever floats your boat.  And they show you some basic techniques and you get to go home with your own custom artwork.

wine and canvas party painting painting at bar at BandBBuildALife.com wine and canvas party painting painting at bar at BandBBuildALife.comNow, this was a public event, so there wasn’t any wine for us this time, but I could absolutely see myself with a few friends, a glass of wine and enjoying the chance to get the creative juices flowing.  Like a classier version of a ladies craft night.  (Or, at least one that doesn’t involve any glue guns!)  There’s just something about holding a palette in one hand that feels classy!

wine and canvas party painting painting at bar at BandBBuildALife.com

When we were done, we each had a very different image of a sunflowers in a sunny field.

wine and canvas party painting painting at bar at BandBBuildALife.com

Neither of us would claim to be prodigies, but to be honest I really liked how they both came out.  I’m thinking some sort of gallery wall may be in our future.  I think the greens and blues would look nice with our bedroom colors.

wine and canvas party painting painting at bar at BandBBuildALife.com

Not sure how to hang these though.  Anyone hang canvas lately?  Should we get them framed or just hang them raw?  If raw, should I paint the edges?  Solid color or try to match the painting?  TOO MANY OPTIONS.  Hopefully we’ll actually get them hung though!

~ Beth

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Expedit Bookshelf Additions

The holidays were good to us!  The winter weather gave us a break to make travel across Pennsylvania easy, and even gave us the chance to visit New York City to see the lights too.

Beth & Bill in New York City at BandBBuildALife.com

And when we finally made our return trip to Pittsburgh, the car was loaded down with goodies from family and friends!  A good amount of which has found a new home on our bookcase.

awesome customized pint glasses for christmas at BandBBuildALife.com

Theeeeese beauties were given to Bill from my Sister and her hubby and Bill & I immediately agreed that they’d have to find their way into the bar column of our expedit bookcase. awesome customized pint glasses for christmas at BandBBuildALife.comawesome customized pint glasses for christmas at BandBBuildALife.comIt wasn’t until after we brought them home and washed them all that a little card from Red Envelope fell out, so if you’d like your own set, check them out there.  But if you know a Beer Lover out there who’s hard to shop for, these puppies would be a great gift!  The detailing on them just make them look so LEGIT.  We’ll just have to open a bar someday. :)

101 Sangrias book we added to expedit bookshelf style at BandBBuildALife.com

While on the topic of alcohol, we also added another book to the bar as well.  This orange hued volume 101 Sangrias and Pitcher Drinks by Kim Haasarud..

101 Sangrias book we added to expedit bookshelf style at BandBBuildALife.comI came across a handful of her recipes online through pinterest and decided it would be worth having her book on hand.  Now just to wait for summer to fill our pretty glass pitcher with some fruity delights from these pages!

ampersand bottle opener AND bottle opener from Fred on BandBBuildALife.com

The final new trinket for the bar was this handy Ampersand bottle opener, Fred and Friends and Another Bottle Opener.

ampersand bottle opener AND bottle opener from Fred on BandBBuildALife.com

This was what happened the first time I tried to use it.  Honorable mention goes to the remote and my cell phone for also getting hit by the foamy wave of beer that came forward after the bottle tipped while I tried to open it with this thing.

Here’s the thing though.  Blue Moon is a twist off.   So, totally USER ERROR on my part.  (UH DUH.)  It later worked just fine on a regular pop top, and it’s my new favorite bar gadget.  AND I love it.

Finally, we did add more BOOKS to the expedit.

my entire amazon wishlist of books at BandBBuildALife.com

Through the generosity of both Bill’s and my own family, I essentially received everything on my amazon wishlist, including this handy library.

divergent, S, Insurgent, Beautiful Ruins, The Dinner, books at BandBBuildALife.com

I finally got the DIY Blogger favorite, Design*Sponge at Home!  I’ve petted the pages weirdly already, but have generally paced myself.

Not pictured here?  The Dinner by Herman Koch, as I was reading it at the time and forgot to add it back to the stack.  A weird read that really was a page turner.  I can’t say I liked the characters – any of them – by the end, but not because they weren’t well-developed.  It’s worth the read, especially if you need a break from utopian teen novels.  (Hunger Games and Divergent, whaaaat?)

I’m halfway through Allegiant and it’s killing me.  Partly because I hate the style it’s written in — the back and forth is wildly distracting to me — and partly because I know I’m nearing the end.  No bueno.

I can’t wait to read Gone Girl, and S or any of them really!  I just have to keep deciding between sleep and onnnneee more page!  (But, sleep is so wonderful!)

The others in the collection were all fun looking reads I paged through over the past year at various bookstores and snapped a photo of the cover.  Then I periodically go through my photos and add to my Amazon list.

Well, I’m off to start reading another book.  Have you found any good reads lately?

~ Beth

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Resolutions New and Old ~ 2014

So last year we shared a recap of some things we wanted to make happen around here.  Some of those things happened…. annnnd some of those didn’t.  Here’s a quick recap.

  1. Feed Our Walls — that is, actually hang some art on our mostly naked walls!2013 Goals - Hang more Art! @ BandBBuildALife.com
  2. Continue to make the Tiny Kitchen in Pittsburgh more efficient of space.
  3. Create a better desk/workspace, ideally something that would be fit for two.
  4. Create a more functional entryway.
  5. Build our lives TOGETHER in the SAME STATE.pitt-dc-map

It was a short list, but certainly hefty.  A challenge to relocate my life 4 hours away?  Fortunately, though there was some hardship involved, the stars aligned and in July I officially moved to Pittsburgh, and by the first week of August I was starting the awesome job I have now.   ….though if you’ve been paying attention, the volume of posts occurring here decreased in conjunction with the change.  It seems finding a job that I actually get to flex my creative muscles once in a while besides just drone along like a cog in a machine has been using more of my pent up creativity than I expected.  But I’ll get to that in this year’s goals…

# 2 – Make the kitchen more efficient.

ikea knobo kitchen counter @ bandbbuildalife.com

our kitchen wing, a fold-out cutting board!

Though there isn’t much space to work with, well, there isn’t much space to work in either!  Before we added this wall-mounted cutting board counter surface, we were limited to that tiny leaf in-front of the microwave and the dinner-plate wide space between the fridge and the sink.  That space cuts it for making a drink and nothing more.  This leaf more than doubled our work-surface!  And it surely came in handy when we made our first Thanksgiving Dinner together this past fall!

#4 Create an Entryway.

ikea inspired coat rack @ BandBBuildALife.comThough the initial desire to create an entry area was to organize shoes, in reality my motives were to get the coats out of the hall closet so that I could take it over for my belongings.  But in the end we have a sharp looking coat and cubby organizer, AND I have my own(ish) closet.

As for the Desk plan….. welllll.  We did buy an old table to build into a desk.  Buuut we just haven’t gotten around to that yet.

And finally,  that crazy wall-monster photo above?  Yeah, we weren’t so good about hanging art.  Though I did re-do the bedroom a bit and made this piece for Bill for Valentine’s….

adding pop color green to our bedroom @ BandBBuildALife,comAnd I did finally get around to popping a few little pieces collected over time to balance our Intercom Artwork

last minute project hanging ampersand at BandBBuildALife.comSo, I suppose you could cross that one off the list then.

As for 2014′s Goals…

  1. Continue feeding the walls!  The dining nook still lacks vertical character, and we have a big open space above the TV that could use some variety too.  And of course the wall beside our bed as featured in the comical image above.
  2. Actually BLOG.  Let’s set a goal of at least 1 post a week.  Work, like I mentioned above, has left me both with less physical time to complete projects, but also a bit less energy for them.  But that’s no excuse for neglect!
  3. Create a balance between workspace and dressing space.  I’m the ‘pull out a few things to plan an outfit’ type, which requires some pile-space for my process.  That space tends to be the desk, which creates some friction between Bill and I.  But I don’t really have anywhere IN the closet to do that, so I’ll need to create some sort of surface solution in there.
  4. Desk.  Yup, it’s going back on the list.  In conjunction with the surface solution in the closet.
  5. Share more of our travels.  I love the crafty stuff, I really do, but we have such fun on our adventures, and especially our National Parks trips, it would be nice to get back into that.

So there’s a little snapshot of what will hopefully be instore in 2014.

What goals have you set for yourself?

~ Beth

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