Friday, April 24, 2015

Good Idea Friday - Preventing Buttons From Falling Off

Long story short, I have an AMAZING coat I love that my dear husband hunted down from one of my pinterest pins (take note: pinterest is a great way to find the perfect gift for someone! He's always poking around my pinterest boards for gift ideas). But despite how much I love it, I don't love the fact that the freaking metal buttons are always falling off. They cut the string, any string, that I've used to sew them on. To the point that I need to sew them back on at least once a week.

The coat in question - by a company called Just Add Sugar

So I started looking at ways of fixing this problem. I originally thought maybe buying new buttons, but I like the buttons on the coat. So, dental floss? Ehh.. it's white and might be visible from the dark coat and black buttons.

Then I stumbled across this sewing forum post, and gave the hook and eye method a try. Weeks later, the buttons are still on the coat, even after a long camping trip to the Olympic forest that involved a lot of running around and hiking.

What you need is some hook and eye findings, like these:

You just need the "eye" portion, that on the right
This will only work on buttons with shanks, vs buttons with the typical 2 or 4 holes. Loop the eye portion through the shank (I had to use pliers to undo one end, threaded it through, and reclosed it) then simply sew the eye bit onto the coat, not the button.


Hopefully this helps out anyone else with the problem of buttons popping off. I know there are other solutions out there (sanding the shank down, using waxed thread or dental floss, etc) but this one is so simple and lasting I had to share.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

DIY Sugar Wax Hair Remover

"Finally a Working Homemade Hair Removal Solution!" 

This is one of those ideas I debated on blogging about, but after asking fans over on our facebook page if they wanted more "it works but it's...ehhhh" posts, I decided to go ahead and share.

Sugar Wax. A long-time touted hair remover, and something you can easily make in your own kitchen. With a few simple ingredients you can be on your way to being hairless for a fraction of the cost of waxing kits you buy in the store. Right?

It's not that simple. I decided to test this out myself after reading a lot of mixed reviews on it. I found this YouTube video and decided to spend an evening testing it out.

The first batch didn't turn out. Neither did the second. Or the third. I told myself one more try, and then I was going to give up. Well wouldn't you know it, fourth time's a charm I guess, because this time to turned out like the video suggested it would.

So how well does it wax? Not as harshly as the store bought wax I normally use. Which was nice. I tested it out on my eyebrows, upper lip, and arm. It wasn't as easy to control, so my brows didn't turn out as cleanly as I like them, but the upper lip was nice (and it didn't make me break out, which most waxing does when I do my upper lip) I did have to apply and remove it many, many times to get most of the hair, unlike the one time application I do with other waxes. I have dark thick body hair though, so my fair haired followers might not have to apply it as much as I did.

I wrapped the leftovers in plastic wrap, and then went back a bit later to try it again. Unfortunately, it stuck something awful to the bag, and despite briefly microwaving it and trying to warm it with hot water, I could not get it off the plastic wrap. What I did manage to pull had changed in texture and consistency and was pretty much useless.

Personally, I'm sticking to commercial waxes (this is the one I normally use). At the end of the day, this was such a hassle, a mess, and countless hours in frustration that I just can't get into it. Does it work? If you can manage to get it the right consistency, yeah. But is it worth all the hassle? For me, the answer is no.

So has any of our fans tried this before? What were your results like?

Monday, April 20, 2015

Glow Lanterns for Pools with Balloons and Glow Sticks

"Fill a balloon with a glow stick, then inflate! Makes a cool pool lantern!" 

If there is one thing I've learned, it's to be very skeptical of any "glow in the dark" project you find on pinterest. From plant pots to stepping stones, its usually not going to be anything like the image promises.

This is another case of such a project. Fill a balloon with a glowstick, inflate, and have a quick easy beautiful floating lantern, great for late night pool parties and such.

Unfortunately once again that's NOT what this is an image of. Its of an actual product called The Flat Ball Light. At over $200 a pop, that's not quite the easy thrifty item most people are looking for for their home parties.

So what DOES the DIY version look like? Over at the blog Life in the Wylde West, she tested the pin out herself. The results?

Glow Stick Balloons | Life in the Wylde West

Yeah, not impressive. At all. You're better off buying actual LED pool lights (there are cheaper options out there besides the $200 flat lights) but as long as you know what you're getting yourself into, your kids might still get a bit of a kick out the project.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Good Idea Friday - Plywood Floors

We've spent the past year overhauling our attic into a bedroom. Our house, built in 1909, has amazing hardwood floors in most rooms and we were trying to figure out how we could install new flooring--on a budget--that wouldn't clash too terribly with the original flooring. After spending countless searches on pinterest trying to come up with a solution within our budget, I came across this blog post from the infamous Centsational Girl about plywood floors.

Now, I was skeptical. Really skeptical. But after crunching the numbers we realized with $80 worth of plywood, we could install flooring not just in the new bedroom, but also in the hallway leading out to the upstairs landing, So we decided to give it a try. If it didn't work out we weren't out that much money, and hey, nothing a couple area rugs couldn't cover right?

We went about it slightly different that the above post, we had the hardware store cut the wood for us, in the same width as our hardwood floors, and in various lengths. Stores generally charge for this, but for us this was still better than trying to use our extremely old and fairly scary table saw.

First to go down was the sub floor chipboard, screwed to the floor joists, then plastic foam sheeting designed to go under flooring. We laid out the planks, lined them up to our liking, and nailed them down using a brad nailer. Once in position, we used dark caulk to fill in any gaps. This is a great trick, by the way, for hard wood floors; plaster, putty, and glue-sawdust mixture tends to dry and can crack apart and/or pop out over time. Silicone caulk on the other hand, does not. You can find it in various different colors too, so get one that matches the stain you plan to use. (I got the idea from a great friend who also blogs about home remodeling and projects - Us Versus The House

After the caulk set we sanded, gently. Plywood is thin sheets of wood glued together, sand too hard or deeply and it gets funky looking, as some colored inner layers will start to show. Just be careful when sanding. We then applied 3 coats of a dark brown stain (Jacobean by Minwax), the same we used on the original floors, and then finished the whole floors with 3 coats of water based polyurethane.

And the final product! 

There's a few things we would have done differently with our flooring though: don't skimp on the wood. We went with a thinner (cheaper) 1/4" plywood, where as the original blog post suggests 1/2", and though it was fine for the room it's in, in a much higher traffic area we would really recommend going with thicker plywood. It LOOKS great, and nearly matches the original wood floors for us, but the sound is off. I know that sounds silly, but it actually sounds more like a laminate flooring instead of actual wood.

All in all I'm extremely pleased with the floors, and for the price (roughly $160 for all the supplies), you really couldn't get a cheaper flooring option than this. This might SOUND like a large undertaking, and something out of the reach of most people, but it really was one of the easiest projects I've done. To summarize, you basically get plywood, cut into planks, lay down subfloor and subfloor sheets, nail planks down. sand, stain, poly. Done. Something like this could easily be done in a week or less (have to let that stain and polyurethane dry!) and is a great floor option for anyone looking for something new on a tight budget. 

Oh, and because I just can't NOT post before and after photos of the attic turned bedroom, here you go if your curious. It was originally lined with wood planks and covered with newspaper from 1918. We KNOW wood plank rooms are en vogue on pinterest, but if you saw the amount of dust and heaven knows what else that fell along with the planks.. you wouldn't want that in your bedroom. Ever.

Before Remodel

After Remodel