05 Apr

Upcycled Window Well Photo Frame

DIY Window Frame

On a prescription refill trip, I pulled into the hospital parking lot just as a slight drizzle transitioned to steady down pour. In the stall ahead of me sat a full-sized pickup with junk piled up in the truck bed. Peeking out from underneath a door slab I spied the corner of something wooden and white and destined for salvage. Being the law-abiding citizen I am, rather than pick through a stranger’s soggy castoffs I continued in to the pharmacy. On the way out the kid noted that the truck and it’s treasure trove were still there, idling with someone behind the wheel.

I tried not to scare the guy as I snuck up to the driver’s door and rapped on the window. “Are you taking this stuff to the dump?” I asked and with a slight raise of his brow was given the go ahead to grab the big white thingy sticking out of the back. I shook off the rain, threw it in the car, fist pumped the air and headed home to clean up my score.

window well frame

Driving home, I caught myself wondering what else I could have rescued from the back of that truck and silently kicked myself for not digging around a bit more.

This old window well measured 27″ x 27″ and was in great shape. I didn’t even have to paint it after a bit of soapy water clean up. For $12 the folks at Ace Hardware cut some glass to size and I added an inset of left over quarter round before gluing the glass in place. {you’ll see why later}

I picked up a piece of 1/4″ birch (24″ x 24″) plywood to use as a matte / back for the shadowbox frame.

painted back

I was in the garage with the tunes rocking and chugged a few cold ones while channeling my inner graffiti artist. I have no idea how poop brown latex paint gave way to an awesome deep blue hue but I’m taking complete credit for {and never attempting to replicate} this masterpiece.

Now, I’m one of those people who loves to take pictures and has a nice camera at my disposal. I am not, however, the kinda person who actually gets any of the photos printed out or displays them anywhere outside of Facebook. So, I thought it might be a nice touch to have a memento the kid snapped during a recent family vaca out West blown up and showcased on a main living room wall.

hand in hand

You don’t even want to know how many times we had to ‘pose’ to get this just right. Or how long we had to wait for random people, dogs and birds to get the heck out of the frame. But, it was a gorgeous day in the mountains, we were on vacation and in the mood to have a little fun.


BAM! By the way, I love how Dave is always promoting the Golden State. He really should profit in some way or at least get a discount on all the Colorado gear he sports.

Anyhow, after the picture was mounted and the back was jerry-rigged onto the wooden frame (edited to include a photo of aforementioned rigging as requested)… jerry rigged

…I realized I had no clue how to get it on the wall. No amount of ladder-leg maneuvering on the carpeted staircase left me comfortable enough to climb up with this monstrosity in hand. I couldn’t even manage to get up 3 rungs with the cordless drill without freaking out. I have no problems tempting fate when it comes to saw blades and fingertips but something about falling down a flight of stairs gives me pause. Especially when in my mind’s eye I could see the Little Giant tumbling down after and pinning me to the basement door. Screw it, I had to wait til Dave got home.

DIY Window Frame

So, he gets some credit for this DIY gig and I get brownie points for finally letting him assist on a project. I wonder how excited he’ll be about spending an entire weekend hanging up the rest of the wall photo collage I’ve got planned?

28 Mar

Recycled Easter Egg Dye

recycled egg dye

Typically, we celebrate Easter with after-church reservations at our favorite local restaurant. They serve up a wonderfully elaborate buffet complete with all sorts of farm animals fit for sacrificial offerings. Plus, they have my favorite beer on tap.

recycled egg dye

Recycled Egg Dye

Now, when the kid was younger we did the whole basket, fake grass and chocolate bunny thing. I have photos of him holding hands with a neighbor-girl scouting plastic treasures in the yard. Another year, we hunted hidden eggs throughout an old folk’s home. And I vaguely recall stopping along the side of the road to pose the boy on a fuzzy pink bunny’s lap outside a carpet store.  But coloring eggs? Nope, can’t say I remember doing much of that.


That doesn’t mean we didn’t, it just means there were no epic failures or fiery mishaps to register the event in my long-term memory vault. So, it’s actually a good thing. But for the sake of argument let’s assume that when we did, we went the standard colored-tablet-in-vinegar dip method. Because, that’s just how you do Easter eggs right?

Apparently not, according to Pinterest.

Have you seen all the crazy patterns and paintings choking the homepage of that site? Seriously, some people have entirely too much time on their hands. And today, I joined their ranks.

We’ve had a half carton of eggs in the fridge for a while now (expiration date: Nov 2012) and I figured it was time to throw them out. But I decided to test a theory I had first. In my last post, I shared a pocket guide for recycling coffee grounds and alluded to having another tip up my sleeve.

boil eggs in grounds

Yeppers, I boiled my leftover espresso grounds in a pan of water and added a few eggs. The water quickly turned a murky brown and I let the eggs steep for a good 30 minutes before removing the pan to cool.

Of course, I got creative during the wait time and started eyeballing everything in the pantry. Since spaghetti sauce seems to stain everything it in it’s path, I thought it would make a great component in my experiment. I watered down a can of tomato paste, popped in a couple eggs (adorned with vinyl stickers and tied up in mesh) and set the pot on the burner for another half hour.


I’m culinarily-challenged so I can’t tell you why the tomato concoction kept boiling over. I had to continually reduce the heat and could not cover the pan like I did the espresso soup. It made a complete mess of the stovetop and I don’t recommend it for an air freshener fragrance either.

When I removed the eggs from the sauce I was disappointed to see the shells only had a slight peach tinge to them.


I removed the mesh, rinsed and dried off each egg and considered ringing up Tupperware’s corporate office in Florida to pitch a new product idea.

Look. The damn things didn’t stain! (but the paper on the back of the stickers did – go figure)

tomato eggs

By now, the espresso water had cooled so those eggs went in a bowl to chill in the fridge. Since I couldn’t get the stickers peeled off without residual goo, only one of these eggs survived. I soaked it in the java sludge.

At this point, I was feeling a tad bit defeated.

I really wanted to have something pretty to practice taking pictures of. Especially since I found a few great ‘props’ at the thrift store and already prepped them for the grand finale. So I grabbed a yellow onion, peeled the outer skin off and boiled it up with the last three expired eggs. Two of them went in naked but the third I wrapped up in a larger piece of skin then tied it up in some mesh.

recycled_egg_dye And finally, I struck gold. The veins of the onion skin transferred on to the shell which turned a much lighter orange than the other two. The darker brown eggs are from the boiled-in-espresso and the dinosaur egg looking one was the tomato-fail-espresso-rescue victim.

Now, I have another memory to add to the vault. Easter 2013 – the year I spent an entire day crafting beautiful eggs that no one can eat.

Thank you Easter Bunny – bawk bawk!

28 Feb

$5.00 DIY Wall Art


Sometimes I find the hardest rooms to decorate are the ones I never use. I’m not sure what it is – lack of personal connection? Lack of interest? Lack of time? Either way, rooms like my spare bedroom, guest bath and kitchen elude me from a design standpoint.

I paid to have the house painted before we moved in and I swear the contractors took the liberty of overriding my color selections because my office and the guest bath are this odd teal-blue-green color. I have consulted my fan deck and the color does not exist. So, it was sheer luck that the hubs’ bachelor pad shower curtain matched the bathroom walls but do you think I could find decorator accents in a similar shade?

That would be a no.

Since I don’t care about use that room the walls stayed bare for well over a year. Then, I came across a huge piece of art at GoodWill a few weeks back.


This sucker measured 4′ x 4′ and was priced at $3.99. I was surprised no one had scooped it up until I realized one of the brace boards was broken. The colors were great and I was pretty sure somewhere in all those blues/greens was one that would match the bathroom. The original UPC was still in place so I looked it up online and holy buckets! it’s available on Overstock for a crazy, crazy price. For about 3.6 seconds I contemplated a quick fix for resale but the odds of finding another piece to match the bathroom were slim so my greediness had to take a backseat.


I let the boy pick the ones we’d use since it’s {mainly} his bathroom and he feels the need to have an opinion lately. With exception to one, he picked the same ones I did (we’ll chalk the wrong one up to his paternal dna). I squared-up pieces of scrap wood and used white glue to adhere the pieces of canvas. Then I brushed on some Mod Podge to seal the edges.


I wanted more dimension to the wood but didn’t want to stain or paint it. I know that you can restore nicks and scratches on wood with olive oil so I tested it out here. I poured a bit on a cotton ball and rubbed it with the grain. It enhanced the natural grain and didn’t leave a greasy film. {Just another way I misuse kitchen stuffs for DIY purposes!}


After adding some hangers to the backs, I went about utilizing my über scientific method of hanging pictures. You’ll notice the Target ad has been torn into squares the same size as the artwork. I like to tape up and move around demo pieces before committing to holes in the wall. It makes for much less clean up work later. Once I was happy with the composition I pounded nails, ripped off newspaper and hung artwork. TADA!


For some added pizzazz I added silver nailheads in a corner of each piece. Working from top left around to top right it tied the pieces together and played off the other metal accents in the room. (yes, I went back and filled in that scandalous hole left by the clock that used to hang there)


So what do you think? Not bad for under $5 right?


The next time you come across the ‘perfect’ piece for a room but think it won’t work – consider reworking it so that it will.

24 Dec

Stupid Cute Christmas Creations

no sew trees

Tomorrow is Christmas.

Because I’ve run out of time and more so because I usually don’t decorate much for the holidays, I am a huge fan of stupid cute and crazy easy crafts. For some odd reason, this year I’m obsessed with trees. Partly for a blog post but mainly because we are hosting our church small group party later this week, I decided to get in the spirit and do some DIY decorating. I thought a mini-forest in the dining room corner cabinet would be a cute way to display my latest obsession.


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13 Dec

DIY Air Freshener

DIY Air Freshener

This morning I had to get up extra early to clear off the dining room table and move all of the furniture because the flooring guys had to come back (again!) to repair our laminate wood floors. Since my pup has crazy dust mite allergies we had the carpeting (except in the bedrooms) replaced. While the floors were installed a good 5 months ago, something about the squooshiness of the underlayment and our needing to walk from room to room doesn’t jive and the joints between the boards keep failing. This is the second time they’ve been out to rip up and relay the flooring and the main guy swears he’s never seen this happen before. I suppose that makes me special. Let’s just hope what *they* say about the 3rd time is true.

As I was prepping for the contractors I remembered an idea I had a few nights ago during a frequent bout of insomnia. I was laying in bed looking at my very empty scented plug-in nightlight and wondered if I could refill it myself. (The prices of replacement bulbs are steep!) So during my pre-contractor clean-a-thon, I grabbed two empty Bath & Body Works Wallflowers to test my theory. By the way, if you use the nightlight kind be prepared to wipe away some dead bugs from inside the pretty flower part. I wouldn’t recommend washing them since this is the part that connects to the plug and water and electricity don’t mix.

I unscrewed the glass bulbs from the plastic plugger-inner thingy and with a butter knife popped the plastic cap (that holds the filter) off and rinsed the bulb out.


Originally, my thought was to refill them with Febreeze but I didn’t have any on hand so I surveyed my bathroom closet with the assumption that B&BW didn’t reinvent the wheel between body and home spray making.

Since I have an overabundance of Vanilla Bean Noel body spray (hey, it’s my favorite and when your birthday is the day before Christmas you take advantage of those ‘Buy 3 Get 3 Free’ specials – don’t judge me) it was an easy choice to make.


I poured the spray into the glass bulb. Here’s a tip – don’t fill it all the way up or it will overflow when you insert the filter. (Unless the goal is to have your countertops smell perty like mine do now.) Twist the bulb back into the plug-in component and…

TADA! For absolutely no money and very little time you can get your place to stink pretty again!

DIY wall flowers @deeconstruct

About 10 minutes later, both flooring guys commented on something smelling nice. Since I hadn’t showered yet I knew they weren’t talking about me. Success!


And the best part is that free looks as good as it smells!

As they finish up the floors, I’m holed up in my bedroom in a make-shift office (nevermind that I have an actual office…it is in complete disarray) putting the finishing touches on my craft fair goodies.


I feel like a teenager again. All curled up on my bed writing….I just have to keep myself from laying back and napping. Thanks for popping in – now, go refill all of your plug-ins!

10 Dec

‘Tis the {Craft Fair} Season

DIY painted dishes

Is it seriously Monday again already??

These last days of the year are whipping by and I wish I could say I’m lounging around lazily enjoying lattes and foot massages but I most certainly am not. Instead, I am going freakin’ crazy {my fave state of mind btw} preparing for a craft show this weekend.

Back when I schlep’d Tupperware I participated in a few of these but the preparation was so simple: 1. Set up a table. 2. Pull out the plastic. 3. Drink coffee. Now? Yeah, not quite that easy. I sorta forgot that *making* my own products would need to be factored into the planning timetable. Whoops!

Anyhow, I’m running at full steam whipping out uber awesome things. I’m not quite ready to post them but I will give you a few sneak peeks and update later this week with the full reveal. (how’s that for tossing out a meatbone of anticipation ~ I’m learning, I’m learning!)

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05 Nov

DIY Magnet Board

DIY Message Magnet Board

There are {a lot of} times I have absolutely no idea what day it is. I wake up and look over to the hub’s side of the bed just to figure out if it’s a weekday. That works more than half of the time. Knowing which day of the week it is another story.  Apparently, staying up until the wee morning hours amid paint fumes has affected me. Needless to say, I’m not always in a huge hurry to sprint out of bed and start my day.

Unless it’s Thursday.

On this magical day I am out of bed before my French alarm goes off eager to see what goodies were left out overnight. Can you believe it? Every week people put things I will most definitely fall in love with outside for me to take. Free of charge. No conversing, no haggling price, just a complete “here you go Dee!” right there at the curb perfectly positioned to toss into the back of my truck. And so toss I do.

I swear, Thursdays are better than Christmas.

Not too long ago during a mad dash to beat the trash truck I stumbled upon these lovelies patiently waiting for me to take them home. I’m pretty sure my mom once drooled over these exact mirrors at someone’s Home Interiors party. I googled “Home Interiors gold mirror” and found an Ebay auction where these puppies are priced at $60!

While horrendously gaudy in gold, the top mirror was in perfect condition. It’s twin didn’t quite make it so I opted to split them up, give them individual identities and bring them into the new millennium. The original hardware was in tact (including hangers for both directions) and the backing came off easily. Underneath however, I found several multi-legged castaways. Thankfully, none were alive so eviction measures were swift. (Cue the shopvac & grab the sani-wipes.)

Both frames were then treated with a bleach bath followed by light spray primer. The mirror got all dolled up in a *custom* (and by custom I mean let’s pour some of this paint into that can to see what happens) pink color.

This little beauty quickly found a new home in a spunky 3-year old’s new ‘big girl room’ (hooray for online garage sale sites!}. I decided it’s misfit twin find would stay with us.

DIY Message Magnet Board

Grabbing my tin snips and some sheet metal, I set to work making an edgy magnet board for the kitchen. Between the pantry and laundry room, directly across from the fridge is a small wall. I figured this guy would fit in perfectly there.

Some swipes across the surface with a wire brush created texture. A couple of peel ‘n stick magnets added to some leftover back-splash glass and slate tiles finished the ‘bad boy’ look I was going for.

DIY Message Magnet Board

VOILA!  Not too shabby for a Thursday morning curb surfing session huh?