DIY PROJECT: POP OF COLOR FOR MAGAZINE RACK

I picked up this lovely wooden magazine rack for $3 at the local Salvation Army, hoping it would serve as a temporary end table next to my side of the reclining couch. The rack was in good shape, with the knobby end pieces needing to be tightened and the bottom shelf piece needing glue or nails to keep from sliding back and forth. When Charlie inspected my new purchase, he kindly offered to attach a piece of leftover wood to the bottom shelf for stabilization. I love my husband so much.

As soon as Charlie cut and nailed the extra piece of wood to the bottom of the magazine rack, I started priming it with some leftover yellow paint from the kitchen paint project. I was searching for ideas and inspiration on Pinterest about repainting the magazine rack when I briefly glanced at a picture tutorial of adding stickers to the side and painting over them for a textured look. Hmmmmm. I can do that!

Luckily, a packet of heart stickers were just lying around the kitchen counter because I hadn’t found a place for them in my completely unorganized workroom. Eight hearts in the package. Four hearts to each side. I think these stickers were meant for this project! Having the hearts simply run down the side was a simple but pretty design, and I didn’t waste time with a ruler — I just eyeballed the space between the hearts.

I’m really not looking for pure perfection with the sticker placement or my paint job for that matter. As long as the paint drips aren’t too big or outrageous, I’m totally cool with small imperfections. I found myself itching to work on the project during the evenings, which meant sitting in the basement with the box fan. Fortunately, the cats had no desire to help or bother me so I was safe for a few days.

I think I have a magazine rack addiction. After having lunch with a friend and her adorable 1-year-old kid a few weeks after picking up the first magazine rack, we ended up at the Salvation Army store and I nabbed TWO more wooden racks! The darker colored one was $3 — and I would’ve been cool with paying that — but it had a 50% off sticker. No internal debate was necessary. And I didn’t need to talk myself into buying the second rack for the full price of $3.

Was yellow too babyish? Too bright? Charlie suggested placing one of the magazine racks next to the couch and looking at it among the surrounding. My husband is a smart man. I followed his suggestion when the magazine rack was dry enough to handle, and I was pleasantly surprised how much I like the pop of yellow in the sea of rich brown decor. Satisfied yellow was the correct color choice, I continued to paint two of the three racks.

For now the first newly painted magazine rack sits beside my side of the couch and holds my laptop until I can find end tables that meet my high expectations. I’m really happy that I stuck with yellow because it pops next to the brown couch and matches the curtains. The rack is perfect for housing my laptop instead of leaving it on the couch’s armrest. One yellow magazine rack down two more to go.

The second wooden magazine rack was in good shape but it was a little rough around the edges — literally. Maybe whoever made it was aiming for a rustic look because some areas definitely needed sandpaper. After sanding some areas here and there, I simply gave the second magazine rack a few coats of yellow paint over the course of a few days. Now, it sits in one of the bathrooms holding extra rolls of toilet paper. And the third and final magazine rack? Well, that one deserves its own post. Stay tuned.

DIY PROJECT: TEES FOR THE FAMILY

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What’s a girl to do when dog sitting for a few days? Track down her dad’s DVDs of NCIS and work on projects and refashions. First project focused on creating T-shirts for a family canoe trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. With the stash of clearance T-shirts I have been collecting, I used freezer paper to create an outline of Minnesota, painted the state, and drew a cute little heart in the Boundary Waters area.

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I didn’t want to worry about color coordinating all the shirts and just picked out the appropriate sizes in my T-shirt collection. After painting Minnesota on the shirt, I used a set of plastic letter stencils to paint BWCA 2015. For some reason, the yellow paint didn’t stand out well on the darker shirts. At first the stencils produced wonderfully crisp letter, but eventually, the stencils sort of wore down after many uses.

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I like using stencils when I’m working on more than two T-shirts because I don’t want to spend too much time with freezer paper. Cutting the letters out, keeping the small bits, and ironing the paper in place. Stencils are just much easier to work with, but plastic and paper stencils wear down after awhile. I either continue to invest in plastic and paper stencils or find something more durable.

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When I spent an afternoon with my niece and nephews creating the sandpaper-crayon art, one nephew was missing from the fun. So I created an “I’m fine” T-shirt for me, using leftover sandpaper for the words. I basically just scribbled on the sandpaper with different crayon colors and used a stencil to trace and cut out the words “I’m fine.” The last easy step was creating a blood splatter on the side of the shirt.

REFASHION: MORE FUN WITH FREEZER PAPER

What I’ve learned so far from working with freezer paper: cutting out big shapes is much much much easier than cutting out dumb letters. Even when the letters are bumped up in font size and bolded for maximum coverage, carefully cutting out letters with an exacto knife is hard. I haven’t given up on the letter art just yet.

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During a recent weekend between shoving Skittles in my mouth and watching the Twilight (Rifftrax version) movie marathon, I completed four shirts to hang back in my closet. Yay! I took an oversized navy blue shirt, made it more fitted, and painted the state of Wisconsin on it. Once the white paint dried after a few coats, I painted a small red heart near my previous residence.

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Well, I thought the heart was near La Crosse, Wis., until Charlie looked at the shirt and shook his head. Apparently, I should have painted the heart a little bit higher on the map. Boooooo! I have no sense of direction. I heart La Crosse, but the shirt kind of indicates I love Fennimore or Lancaster, Wis., instead. This teaches me to not look at a map. Pooh.

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After watching Jurassic Park — not Jurassic World — I decided I wanted a cute dinosaur shirt. I found a super cute baby dinosaur picture on the interweb and cut the shape out of freezer paper. I took an oversized red shirt, made it more fitted, and painted the baby dinosaur on the front. Charlie said the baby dinosaur looked more like a turtle — I disagreed. Am I right?

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On my third shirt, I made it a tad bigger and painted a cute baby narwhal on it. I really want to use the freezer paper method to write: Dear Noah, we could have sworn you said the ark wasn’t leaving until 5 p.m. Sincerely, Unicorns. But I haven’t mastered the letter yet and I couldn’t find a unicorn photo I liked. So, I went with the next best thing: a cute baby narwhal.

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For my last shirt, I made it a tad bigger, painted the words “I’m fine,” and created a blood splatter on the side. Think about any action movie, and the main character defeating all the bad guys in a battered and bloodied shirt. The shirt is an homage to all my favorite action heroes who don’t let a little blood stop them. Thanks, Pinterest, for the inspiration!