Friday, February 24, 2012

Save a Life ~ Donate Life

Today marks the 1 year anniversary of my brother-in-law Josh, receiving a liver transplant that saved his life.   It would not have been possible without organ donation.  We are so blessed to live in a time with advanced technology - especially in the field of medicine.  There were over 21,000 organ transplants last year.   There are still over 112,600 people still on the waiting list.  

Anyone can register at Donate Life.  If you are already registered with the DMV, you do not need to make a second registration, but you can log in with your drivers license number and check on your registration status.  

I cannot tell you how grateful our family is for organ donation ~ if you sign up, you truly can save a life!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

DIY Office Storage

Who doesn't love a great DIY project?  I was inspired to find some inexpensive yet cute storage for our new office nook.  As I was walking around Target, I saw some green tumblers (2 large for $2 and 4 small for $2) and immediatly scooped them up.  They happended to perfectly match the amazing green storage containers that I could not resist:

Guess what gives a tumbler the perfect pop?  Stickers of course!  I was disappointed with Target's selection and headed over to AC Moore.  I found the perfect $3 sheet of black and white quotes, and grabbed a white paint pen to add dots and lines.

The stickers are great because you can play around with placement, and the paint pen is much more user friendly than the old fashioned acrylic paint and brush.  Once I had everything where I wanted, I secured the edges of the stickers with superglue.  I found that the ends wanted to pop back up, and hot glue was not strong enough.  All you need is a little dab on each side:

And voila!

Love it! Now, tell me, who wouldn't want to personalized storage?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Home Office

These days, we have a lot going on, so it is not uncommon for a "project date night" to turn into a three week ordeal.  I am so in love with this latest project that I had to share it. 

Here is a sneak peak of the final product:

About a three weeks ago at the end of our date night, the nook in our loft looked like this:

We had planned a date night of buying materials, and installing shelves and a desk space for a home office...or home college homework station... because I was so tired of constantly picking up Wesley's homework and school books off of the kitchen table and annoyed at the growing pile on the kitchen island.  Needless to say, our time planning was, well...a little off.  Apparently it takes more like 15 hours to do a project like this....not 3.

We also learned some other valuable lessons along the way.  Like, never again will we use spray paint for such a large amount of wood: 
Not just because it will get on whatever surface you choose to paint your driveway or garage floor, but also because when you install it, in order to do any touch up work you have to use a combination of painters tape and plastic wrap to keep it from getting on your walls.  Very important to be careful with that one, especially when the builder didn't leave you any extra wall paint.  

Other than the time commitment and choice of paint error, this is actually a very easy project.

All you need is:

-paneling for your shelves and desktop (we used 3/4'' pre-fabricated wood panels - 12'' depth for the shelves, 24'' depth for the desktop)
-1 x 2 boards to mount your shelves on
-1 x 3 boards for shelf facing
-4 12'' L brackets to mount your desktop
-tape measure
-paint or stain (Please, don't choose spray paint)
-shoe molding 
-2'' screws
-finish nails
-stud finder (optional, but extremely worth the investment of $15)
-level (laser level is the way to go if you have one!)

We had Lowes cut everything for us...even though we had a saw, we didn't need it! (Well, maybe the miter saw to do the shoe molding, but that was more of a design choice ;) )

Measure your space and take that with you to the hardware store.  Our length was 55.75 inches.  We ended up having all of our shelves, long 1x2 mounts, 1x3 facings, and desktop cut at 55.5 - leaving a 1/4 inch to be able to get the boards in place.  

Next, paint everything!  Don't waste your time painting the sides that you can't see! (And seriously, do not use spray paint for this one!!)

We used the 1 x 2 to mount the shelves.  Since we did 3 shelves (they were roughly 16 inches apart, which was perfect for our order to know how high we wanted each shelf, we chose the highest thing we wanted on our shelf, in our case a textbook, and used that to gauge the shelf spacing), we had 6 pieces cut 11 inches, and 3 pieces cut at 55.5. This allowed each shelf to sit snug on it's mounting frame, without any hangover.  

Wesley screwed the 1 x 2 mounts in with screws into the studs with the stud finder.  Having the stud finder made the process so much easier!  We still found that pre-drilling the holes into the studs where very helpful in ensuring that the mounts rested flush against the wall. Make sure that your mounts are level before you screw them in!!!!  

He then screwed the shelves into the mount, using about 3 screws along the back and 1 screw along the sides, so that they were secure and to prevent it from sliding.  If you were planning to put anything extremely heavy on it, then you will need to use several L brackets, like we did for the desktop.  The L brackets will say on their packaging how much weight each one can hold.

We installed the L brackets for the desktop on the sides, into studs.  We again used the laser level and stud finder to do this.  A good way to measure how far up from the floor to put the desk, we had Wesley sit in the office chair while I held up the desktop.  It was perfect for us when he could roll under, not hit his knees, and comfortably type.

The desktop secures into the L brackets with more screws.  At this point, you can choose to either pull it out from the back wall enough to feed your computer cords through, or push it flush up to the wall and cut out a small whole that the screen will hide, but be able to feed the cords through.  We chose the second option - LOVE IT!  No more cords draping over the sides!  Ask your hardware store if they would be willing to drill this in for you.  We happened to have a VERY large drill bit that Wesley used.  If you want to get one - look for the size bit that the diameter that you want your cord hole to be.  I also like the look of the desktop flush to the wall, with the shoe molding crowning the edges.  Remember with shoe molding, you will need 45 degree cut - so plan for that if you wanted to finish with the molding.  It does give it a very built-in look!

Last, we tacked on the 1 x 3 on the front of the shelves with finishing nails, where the top of the 1 x 3 was flush with the shelf top.

And voila!

So worth the time and effort!!  Project dates really are fun...even if you need to stretch it out a "bit" to finish!  I smile every time I see it.  

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Ok Go!

I have a confession to make... Wesley and I like to watch the Super Bowl, but we like the Super Bowl commercials even more!  There were some pretty funny ones this year.

This was Wesley's favorite:

My favorite was the very last one we saw.  It was a Chevy commercial featuring OK Go! I found out that this group is know for some pretty fantastic one shot music videos on you tube.  They are so brilliant!  Here is the extended edition of the commercial:  

OK Go - Needing/Getting Chevy 

Can you believe they did that in 1 take!  After I saw this, I needed to see more.  This one blew my mind too - they rigged a giant domino effect  course that lasts the entire 4 minute video....

This Too Shall Pass

...seriously...mind blowing!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Bottom of the Jar

Today was one of those days.  One of those days where you just didn't want to get out of bed.  Or think.  Or move.  

I have had a bad cold all week.  Today was the "I can't breathe day."  Let me tell you, it was super fun.  We are also short staffed at work right now.  Talk about feeling like you are at the bottom of the jar. 

Speaking of bottom of the jar.....

Even though I couldn't breathe, and was exhausted, the excitement of trying Bottom of the Jar Nachos mustered up enough energy in me to make them.

Queso Dip

They are too easy and too delicious. Could there be a better use for the last few bites of salsa??

If you happen to have a day like mine, while you eat them you will suddenly forget that you can't breathe and suddenly forget that you are exhausted.  Yes, they are those kind of nachos.

Lesson of the Day: part of enjoying life, is making sure you make the time to do (or eat) something that you love.

Thank you Rachael Ray!  

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