Tag Archives: diy

Sometimes DIY Just Isn’t Worth It – IKEA Hack

18 Jun

In a world where originality is so highly desired but so difficult to come across, DIY projects are taking over. They’ve become the new norm. Thank you, Pinterest. Everyone seems to be racing to make the coolest, most innovative DIY item around and can’t wait to see how many likes and repins they get on Pinterest. These projects can be enjoyable and make things easier or cheaper. But DIY projects can also be rigorous, expensive and time-consuming. After choosing the DIY path for a recent project, I’ve learned to always consider whether DIY is worth it.

DIY

A few months ago when Vince and I moved into our new apartment, we took a shopping trip to IKEA for some affordable upgrades. A bookshelf, some bathroom storage and a cutting board. Boom! Nice and easy. Unlike many, we survived the inevitable arguments and disagreements that occur between couples while in IKEA. What is it about that place?

We found a pretty cool looking and perfect-sized bookshelf – Gorm by Ikea – for just $30 but the wood was fresh out of the chopper – it wasn’t sanded, stained or finished in any way. It didn’t come in a box – just slabs of wood tied together with zip ties. We figured, “No big deal, we’ll just finish it ourselves!”

“It’ll be fun!” we thought.

Wrong. Oh so wrong.

We thought we were saving money by purchasing a $30 shelf that we’d finish on our own. Some of the other bookshelves at IKEA were $100 so the one we chose seemed like a total steal. Right?

After the purchase of all the necessities to make the shelf user-friendly, we began second guessing our decision. Here’s what we needed:

  • 2 sanding blocks: $2.28 each
  • 1-quart Rustoleum Stain (the second-cheapest option): $8.48
  • 4 staining brushes (again, the cheapest ones they had): $0.99 x2 for small brushes, $1.48 x2 for large brushes
  • 1-quart Rustoleum Polyurethane: $12.06
  • 2 paint stirrers: $0.49 each

Materials

A total of $31.02 in supplies, before tax. Now, this seemingly inexpensive furniture project wasn’t looking like such a steal for this young couple.  The bookshelf was now $61.02 – before the start of what ended up being a time-consuming, inconvenient and labor-intensive project.

Our apartment does not offer a ton of room for activities. The lack of work space meant the entire project had to be done on our 4.5×12-ish balcony that isn’t exactly fit for 10 slabs of wood, a bunch of supplies and two tall people.

 

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First it was the sanding. Sanding, sanding, sanding for days. It took two evenings to sand all the pieces by hand. Next, it was time for the stain. We chose a darker stain, American Walnut, which meant that any mistakes or missed spots beamed like the North Star. Mistakes weren’t really an option. The staining and drying took three days. There was a lot of waiting and flipping the wood and waiting some more. Some rainy days over the course of the project eliminated the opportunity to work some more on the shelf. Inclement weather meant hauling all the supplies into our already cramped apartment and allowing the foul odors of the chemicals to fill our living space.

Wood Shelves

After letting the stain cure for more than 24 hours, it was time for the polyurethane. Since the polyurethane is clear, we didn’t have to be quite so gentle. However, it had to be equally coated, or else there would be shiny spots or dull spots. Like the stain, the polyurethane needed numerous coats and hours of drying time in between. After some more bad weather pushed the project back, we were able to finish the polyurethane and let that sit for 24 hours before use.

Often, we found ourselves dreaming of the day when it would be put together and out of mind. The day seemed like it would never come.

Building

Building

Finally, all the steps to the project were complete and it was time to put this damn thing together. Ten pieces of wood, 30 screws and some other pieces was all it took to turn misery into bliss…and the extra storage we badly needed in the kitchen. Although the total cost of the bookshelf – materials included – may have been only $60-$70, the amount of labor, stress and back-aches that came along with it wasn’t worth the work.

Admittedly, I absolutely LOVE the outcome. Though sometimes, DIY just isn’t worth it. That extra $30 would have meant a fast, odor-free assembly and having the storage we desperately needed.

Kitchen Storage

So, when debating whether DIY is the right route for you, its important to consider all things.

1. Most importantly, do you have the space?

2. Do you have the time?

3. Do you WANT to do the project?

4. Will you cherish the product?

5. Is it cheaper than simply buying the product?

6. Will you still be sane afterward?

7. Will it be FUN for you?

The last thing you want to do is begin to resent your project. This could result in a poorly finished product and an incredibly long blog post complaining about how difficult DIY can be 😉

In my case, it was a bonding and learning experience for the both of us. But I vow to never, ever sand, stain and finish a piece of furniture again until I have time and a work space!

Do you have a DIY horror story? When have you opted for or against DIY? Let’s talk about how un-crafty we are in the comments! 😉

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Romantic Gift Idea for Him – On a Budget

16 Feb

If you’re looking to get your guy something thoughtful and romantic without breaking the bank, try this budget-friendly and personal gift idea for him!

 Here’s how everything turned out:

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This picture, personally designed by me, lists the latitude and longitude coordinates of where we first met along with the title of our song. It is both easy and romantic without being too sappy.  Get your personalized printable!

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I used two mason jars we had laying around and Valentine’s Day themed ziploc bags from Dollar Tree for a quick and easy DIY Valentine’s Day gift. I bought the white frame from Target‘s Room Essentials collection for $13.99. The matted frame makes it look more elegant.

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Cupcake holders make for an easy and inexpensive decoration for the mason jar lids.

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I had a personalized engraved keychain made by JewelryEveryday on Etsy. She had excellent customer service and it was delivered very quickly if you’re on a time crunch.

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For a small fee, I was able to get both sides engraved.  With shipping, the keychain totaled $25.95.

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Here’s how the frame looks with our yellow and grey bedroom theme. With a little more wall decor and perhaps a headboard, it will look much better.

DIY Valentine’s Day: 14 Days of Valentines

23 Jan

One of the biggest consumerist holidays is quickly approaching: Valentine’s Day! Despite the societal pressure to spend tons of money on big extravagant gifts and romantic gestures, Valentine’s Day is a lovely holiday. Sure we should be showing each other this love year-round but the fact of the matter is, we don’t! Things get in the way and unfortunately some relationships get put on the back burner. So, it is what it is. Plus, Valentine’s Day comes at such a dreary time of the year – dead of winter – and its a great emotional boost to get you through those last few weeks of cold.

Since I am taking a vacation to Florida in March, we’ve decided to go cheap on Valentine’s Day. Well that doesn’t sound romantic at all! You’d be surprised, actually. Pinterest really came to my rescue when searching for DIY Valentine’s Day gifts. Good news – they’re all edible! Here’s my list of favorites and suggestions:

1. Hooked on you!

♥ Fill a mason jar with gummy worms to look like bait♥ -Thanks The Dating Divas!

2. Will you “chews” to be my valentine?

♥Use a pack or piece of gum♥ -Thanks It Happened Like This!

3. You light up my life!

♥With a candle, a new lighter, birthday candles, or a flashlight♥ Great valentine for anyone! Thanks Real Simple!

4. I love you to pieces!

♥Jar of Reese’s Pieces♥ This would be an adorable gift from daughter to father. – Thanks The Frugal Girls!

5. We just fit.

♥Puzzle pieces♥ Cute gift idea for a couple who have been dating long-term. – Thanks Real Simple!

6. You’re my main squeeze!

♥Bottle of orange juice♥ Give this unique valentine to your best friend. Thanks See Vanessa Craft!

7. We’re a perfect match!

♥Pack of matches♥ Could work for best friends, sisters, or a couple! Thanks Real Simple!

8. You’re the king/queen of my heart.

♥King/queen from a deck of cards♥ Perfect diy valentine card for a husband or wife. – Thanks Real Simple!

9. You’re one in a million!

♥Jar full of a colored candy with one candy of another color♥ Use M&M’s, bubblegum balls, skittles, anything! -Thanks Knocked Up and Abroad!

10. You’re a great catch!

♥Gift bag of Goldfish♥ Easy diy valentine for classmates or close friends. – Thanks Rock Paper Cricut!

11. You’re so juicy! (or) Love Juice

♥Bottle of water with crystal light packet♥ Clever diy valentine for a boyfriend. – Thanks At Second Street!

12. You make me hot. (or) You’re a hot tamale.

♥Gift bag of hot tamales♥ -Thanks Poofy Cheeks!

13. Don’t ever change.

♥Bag of candy change from the dollar store or fake change or real change♥ Could be a meaningful valentine from son to mother. – Thanks Jacolyn Murphy!

14. Blow me a kiss!

♥Bag of bubble gum balls and hershey kisses♥ Cute father-to-daughter diy valentine. – Thanks The Frugal Girls!

The great thing about most of these valentine’s is they don’t always have to be for a significant other. They can be used for father-to-daughters valentine’s or friend-to-friend. Have fun!

25 Ways to Make Him Smile

23 Nov

Smile

1. Make and serve hot cocoa in bed

2. Dust off that old crockpot and make some spicy chili for Sunday football

3. Earn the key to his heart with seasonal baked goods

4. Sleep in together and stay cozy and comfy all day

5. Dress up as one of Santa’s elves

6. Buy him a pair fan gear flannel pajama pants

7. Turn up the heat and host your own hot yoga sesh…couple’s version

8. Make your own pizza together

9. Surprise him with seasonal flavor to his morning coffee

10. Hop in the car and take a night drive to who knows where

11. Take him to a basketball game

12. Dress up as Mrs. Claus

13. Challenge him to a game of Scrabble…winner gets a massage

14. Take him on a bar crawl to test local craft beers

15. Tell him a corny Christmas joke

16. Go window shopping for his dream man cave

17. Camp out in the living room for a night and tell stories by the candlelight

18. Order Chinese and watch holiday movies all day and night

19. Dress up as a reindeer

20. Satisfy both parties by hanging a sports fan holiday wreath

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21. Throw on your coats and go for a hike

22. Make a personalized coupon book filled with his favorite freebies

23. Text him something scandalous while at a family party

24. Kiss him on the cheek for no reason

25. Tell him you wouldn’t give up this Christmas with him for the world

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