one part travel, one part home, one part DIY, one place to create

Archive for June, 2011

map art

At the top of my list of strange obsessions: maps and globes. And anything with a map on it or outlines of maps or outlines of the continents. This weekend I hung some floating shelves in the guest bedroom and had the urge to put my new jigsaw to use again to make some DIY art. Since I’m becoming a hoarder, I had quite a few random pieces of plywood and wood left over from other projects – which meant this could turn into a totally awesome and totally free project. Now that’s my kind of project. And when I thought it couldn’t get any better, I had the idea to make a map.

So the day started out with a little of this:

Which turned into this:

You guessed it – I used the jigsaw to make wooden blocks of each continent. It’s still a work in progress, but for now I’m loving the designs from the wood grain and just had to share a sneak peak.


dressing up dresser

I finally finished dressing up the old dresser I bought on Craigslist last year. Last Fall I was in a hurry to finish the guest bedroom since Candelyn was moving in for a few months. I had everything a bedroom needs except one key element: a dresser. I had given myself I pretty tight budget for finishing the room and that included furniture, so I was pretty set on finding an old dresser for cheap and giving it new life. I finally found this old guy for $20. He was hand built sometime around the 1940’s and just the perfect size for the room. I was so excited about getting this project started that I forgot to take a before picture with all of the drawers actually in their spaces.

The same week I picked it up I went ahead and spent a Saturday sanding him down to remove that dark mahogany stain. My plan was to paint him white and give it the distressed “shabby chic” look. After a weekend of getting to know a few different sanding tools the old dresser moved into the workshop awaiting his new look. And then I got busy and before I knew it 8 months had gone by and the old guy was still sitting outside in the workshop.

Last weekend I had a Saturday with no plans and decided I was finally going to make this happen. I backed my car out of the carport, set up the work table there in the shade, grabbed some paint from my collection of half-used quarts and gallons, turned on Pandora, put on my tool belt and I was ready to go! Ok, I don’t actually have a tool belt but it just felt right saying it. Now that I think about it, that’d be a really useful accessory.

I had already used wood putty to fill in the not-so-attractive triangle design carved into each drawer and bought some cool embossed wood pieces to add in place of the triangles for a nice added detail. Using wood glue, clamps, and of course a measuring tape, I attached one of the embossed pieces to each of the three drawers and the “faux drawer.” It may look a little crazy in the picture below, but once I throw on some paint then it’ll all come together!

I primed everything (the primer dried pretty quickly) then added one coat of a golden yellow. I added this yellow underneath to help create the distressed look when I would later sand down some of the edges. The next coat was a basic white eggshell paint and then it was time to let everything dry for a while. I got out my sanding block and sanded some of the edges to reveal the golden yellow underneath and even let some of the wood show a bit. I had some scented floral drawer liner left over from when I re-did the kitchen cabinents and it turned out to be just enough to line each of the three drawers with scented goodness. I was pretty happy with my work and decided it was time to move the dresser into its new room.

After getting it arranged and adding all the drawers back in, I realized the embossed wood piece on the “faux drawer” on top was slightly off center from the other three. I also didn’t like how the first drawer showed too much dark space from the broken top left corner. Across the back of it there was about 3/4″ of space where the top wasn’t completely flush with the back. I think this was because at some point there was a mirror or some other backing attached to it. I decided I would spend the following day creating a “backsplash” to add into the gap in the back and fix the few other issues I mentioned.

Operation “dressing up dresser” day 2 started with a trip to Lowe’s [OK it was Sunday so it actually started out with a great morning spend at Mosaic Church and then the trip to Lowes]. I loaded up my cart with a new handheld jigsaw, an 8ft. long 0.75 x 4 piece of pine, and I couldn’t pass up a great deal on a cool light fixture that I have plans for in the laundry room (on sale from $50 down to $12!). I set up my work space again in the carport and familiarized myself with my new jigsaw! I designed a backsplash, cut it out, glued it, screwed it into place, and painted it. Then I removed the off-center embossed piece, re-attached it, repainted it, cut a sliver of wood to glue onto the broken drawer corner and moved the old guy back inside.

In the days following I did a little more work to the drawer corner – this involved filling in the seams with wood putty, sanding, and repeated until it looked pretty cohesive. Check out the first picture below compared to the one two pictures above to see the difference in the corner of the top drawer. I got 4 more glass knobs from Hobby Lobby [I already had 2 that I planned to use as knobs on my closet doors, but who knows when I’ll ever actually finish those!]. And then I stepped back, patted myself on the back, and smiled at my “new” old dresser. Oh, and took a few pictures. Of course.

I’ve still got plans to make something to hang on the wall above the dresser, but this will do for now.

Day 10 – Monday, February 28th, 2011 – ICELAND

Today was a tough morning waking up because neither one of us felt good and there were no bacon, eggs, and pancakes to look forward to. We headed downstairs to the lobby of the Metropolitan, forced ourselves to have some breakfast and coffee even though we weren’t that hungry and made some sandwiches to pack for lunch. We waited around for the tour that we booked the night before to come pick us up, hoping that they did actually show. The weather was a nice mix of rain and snow with a big dose of cold. But knowing we were about to explore the beauty of Iceland and the Golden Circle made the cough, cold, and sketchy sandwiches fade into the background.

A van full of strangers showed up at the Metropolitan to pick us up and we disregarded all lessons on not getting into vans with strangers. The van took us to a tour bus and then began our whirlwind of a day tour with lots of waterfalls, geysirs, volanic landscape, snow, rain, sleet, hail, and even some sunshine. The tour guide told us the first thing to know about Iceland was that the weather can change in a heartbeat. They have a saying – “don’t like the weather? just wait 5 minutes and it’ll change!” And boy did we experience that!

The first stop on the tour was Kerio volcano crater. Ok, actually it was our second stop. The first stop was a pit stop at some tourist trap with souvenirs, snacks, and bathrooms – so that doesn’t count. We only stopped for about 2 minutes to get off the bus and take pictures of the water-filled crater because it was sleeting so hard. Oh and nearly everyone in the tour group was not cool because they were not into staying at places for a while to take pictures. Nia and I were the last ones back on the bus after every stop. Surprise? I’ve never been one for history, so I won’t be able to give you any details really about any of the things we saw. But you’re probably thankful for that because I already write too much.

Next up was Faxi waterfall. It was pretty cool and medium sized. Once again, we stayed long enough to take a few pics and leave. In between driving to all of the sights we saw some awesome landscape and crazy weather. Luckily Nia and I grabbed the front row seat of the bus to get the best photos and befriend the driver and our tour guide.

Next on the agenda was Geysir and Strokkur. Geysir is the geysir that all other geysirs got their name from! Unfortunately, it doesn’t erupt very often now since people threw too many stones in it. Another geysir nearby is Strokkur – and we got to see it erupt 3 times while standing there! Now we had frozen hands and soaking wet clothes, but it was worth it. There was a tourist shop here where we stopped to have lunch – the sandwiches and snacks we had packed from breakfast at the hotel.

The part of the Golden Circle I had been most excited about is Gullfoss (means “golden waterfall”). And it definitely lived up to my expectations! Although pouring snow the whole time, we got some awesome photos and even hiked down right to the edge of the falls. Hiking back up to the top was a little difficult since my cold made it hard to breath deeply without painfully coughing. I will have to go back to Iceland one day in the summer time to see all of these amazing things surrounded by green grass instead of snow.

Onward we went, our next stop was Þingvellir National Park. Alot of cool stuff here, most notably where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates meet and are slowly shifting. The land has sunk down between the two plates where they have shifted. We started on the Eurasian side, hiking through the sunken center and up the North American plate – which was like a huge cliff when looking at it from the other side. It was pretty awesome. Of course Nia and I held up the back of the group, way behind everyone, taking lots of pictures.

We made the mistake of wearing jeans today. And you know once jeans get wet then they stay wet and cold all day. At least I had some good boots on so my feet stayed dry and warm but Nia on the other hand was not so lucky. Today was probably the main reason why she got so sick. Once we got back to the Metropolitan we dressed in some warm, dry clothes and rested. There was a cute little grocery store down the street, Petursbud, that we checked out and got some food for supper. The snacks included Skyr, some kind of special yogurt made in Iceland. I wanted to go out but didn’t think I should go alone without Nia, so instead we just went to bed early to rest up for the next day’s adventures.