Open for Business

Before I dive into this blog entry, I wanted to say sorry for spamming all of my readers who get emails anytime I post something — I’m sure you truly enjoyed reading the one and only word in the post: “Shop.” Riveting, huh? You’d think after four years of using WordPress I’d know how to publish a page versus a post. In reality, it’s amazing it’s taken me this long to spam you! Anyway, my bad. It’s not my goal to send you random emails.

Maybe “Shop” was a great teaser for this post, since my exciting news is that my Etsy shop is open for business! Woohoo!!!

A-Smith-of-All-Trades_Etsy-Shop

Right now, I’ve got my nursery prints for sale, along with my popular Do What You Love print (I’ve already sold my first one of these — ahhhhhhh!). I’ll be adding the Adventures of Remmy the Dog prints up there shortly. And, of course, if you’ve seen a design on my blog over the years that you want to see in my shop, comment or send me an email!

A huge thank you to my sister Allie (a fabulously talented artist in Chicago), my friend Beth (who blogs about her fitness journey on BoltingButterfly.com) and blogger Charlotte (over at Monno Design) who all gave me great advice and feedback when it came to the right way to open up shop. They really gave me the push I needed. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while now, and I finally made it happen!

OK, end of my Etsy store plug. I promise I won’t flood my blog with shameless self promotion, but I’m super excited to share this news :)


Do any of my readers have shops of their own? If you do, comment and share your shop link and what you sell! I’d love to see the fabulous things you all are doing.!! I love perusing Etsy and looking at all of the amazing things people have to offer. There are some insanely creative and talented people out there.

Happy Tuesday!

DIY Poplar Trestle Desk

A couple of months ago I wrote about starting up my Etsy shop. I got great feedback on my designs, and even better advice for opening up a shop. I was inspired to buy myself a large format printer so I can start designing and selling prints on Etsy! Woo!

So I bought my printer, then quickly realized I have no place to set it up. As our office was set up, there was a desk for Brian, then a reading nook for me. I made the (surprisingly hard) decision to sell my comfy red chair and ottoman to make room and fund a desk.

Reading Nook

I had so many ideas when it came to building the desk — so much so that I acted too quickly on one of them.

Let’s start with the top:

At first I wanted to get a butcher block countertop from either Restore or Ikea. My coworker and friend Carrie talked me out of that, encouraging me to instead build the top myself. She let me borrow her Kreg Jig so I could join two pieces of wood to make one nice top.

Once I scrapped the butcher block idea, I went to Home Depot to select wood for the project. I’d used pine before on my console table, so I knew how soft of a wood pine is. Not my best bet for a desk top. I had two additional selections: Poplar and Oak. Oak would have been the best choice, but at $12/foot, so not affordable. I opted to buy 12 feet (cut into two 6-foot pieces) of poplar at $5.XX (can’t remember exactly) per linear foot. Sidenote: Thank goodness for the Home Depot employee and a fellow customer who helped me make the decision to go with poplar. I was heading down a whole other route and they steered me clear or that disaster.

I got the poplar home and broke out the Kreg Jig — take your time and make sure you measure correctly, then have at it. It is a super easy tool to use and I loved it. It’s on my wishlist :) For those who don’t know, the Kreg Jig is a tool that allows you to drill angled pocket holes into wood. For the top, I drilled pocket hole into both pieces of poplar for extra strength. (I swear I took a photo of this, but I cannot find itanywhere. Le sigh.) I clamped the two boards together, then screwed them together using Kreg screws.

Poplar_Unjoined

I ended up with a top for my desk that was sturdy, but needed a lot of sanding. I cut down the ends so the boars were even, then got to work sanding. You can see in the photo in the middle of the two boards where one board was a little bowed compared to the other. I spent hours sanding away to make the whole top flat.

Desk_temporary set up

I finally got the top sanded so the seam was flush. Then I stained it a mixture of black and walnut. I only left the stain on for about 30 seconds because I didn’t want a dark finish on the desk. After that dried, I did three coats of poly.

Check out this color and wood grain. Yowza!

stain

Now for the legs:

Ideally, my desk would have four hairpin legs. And in reality, I’m not convinced I won’t eventually splurge and buy them. Brian hates them, and they are pricey — so that was enough for me to avoid them for now.

I thought instead of hairpin legs I’d buy cabinets for the base of the desk, so I hunted and hunted and found two 30-inch cabinets from Restore. Ugh, best of intentions. They were the right height, but the depth so did not work. I quickly realized this and promptly abandoned ship. Anyone want two old, crappy cabinets that have been rained on a few times? No? Yeah, me either.

Base Cabinet

I cut my losses with that idea pretty quickly, moving on to plan b: Ikea trestle legs.

Desk_temporary set up

You can see in this image the legs I bought from Ikea. $10 each, $20 total. Not too bad. The downside: They are a little shorter than I’d like, the middle leg kinda gets in the way, they don’t screw into the desk and the color.

Well, I fixed the color pretty quickly, and tried to fix the screwing in issue:

Legs_Before and AFter

Gold legs! Oww owwwww! And some freshly drilled holes in the top bar. For some reason, I still couldn’t get a screw to stay in the poplar from that angle, so they are only screwed in with one screw… total. Haha oh well!

Ready for the reveal?

Desk_Sideview

Check out that pretty desk!

Desk_New1

If you look to the right, you’ll notice a smaller side table with my printer on it! Originally, I thought I’d have the printer on the desk. But it takes up a ton a room (26-inches wide). Plus, with the legs not screwed in I’m wary of having the expensive printer on it (not that I think the desk is about to fall apart). Now I can set up my printer and my shop :)

OK, one more view of the desk:

Desk_Side

You can see my turtle print I got at graduation and my Maryland quilt. Go Terps! It’s basically like I’m still on campus when I’m working from home. Except my view from home is sweeter.

I also took my office invasion as an opportunity to purge items from our closet and refresh our bookshelves. Hello, rainbow books :)

ShelfThere’s a special place in heaven for husbands who let their wives organize their bookshelves by color. And yes, my Harry Potter books get their own spot on the bottom shelf. Duh.

Indoor Window Box

IT’S APRIL FOOLS! No jokes in today’s blog posts (promise!), but big jokes at work today. I had the pleasure of creating an April Fools poster and web story to hopefully give our students a chuckle or two. We had such a fun time brainstorming ideas and I was tickled to design and write a joke-riddled poster and story. It’s not often we get to be super funny at the business school, so this was quite the treat for me.

Do you play any pranks on April Fools? When I was younger I remember my dad calling me to tell me he had just seen an elephant run by his office at work. I totally bought it! A few years ago, my officemate (now one of my best friends and a great craft night buddy) decided to tape the receiver of my phone down. I’m dense and couldn’t figure out why my phone wouldn’t answer when people called me. She had to tell me because one of our colleagues kept calling and I kept accidentally hanging up on her. Whoops. I am very easy to prank.

So who knows how many times I will publicly demonstrate my gullibility today. Too many for sure.

Anywho, I had some fabulous thrift store luck recently that enabled me to do a quirky floral project for my bay window. We’ll call it an indoor window box.

Window Box

I have been holding onto this teak box for a while, wanting to do a floral project with it. I couldn’t decide what to do though. I thought of doing glass jars with flowers, but mason jars were too wide. So I prowled thrift stores and found a bunch of pretty white vases to fill the box.

The funny thing was the vases I found were all from different thrift stores. They must be a standard florist vase because of how common they are:

Vases

You can see one is more opaque than the others. Meh, perfection is overrated.

The vases fit perfectly in my indoor window box, so I happily skipped off to Michaels with a birthday gift card from my god momma to buy paper flowers for the project.

I came away with these beauties:

Paper Flowers

All that was left to do was put all of the items together. Not that hard, huh?

Indoor Window Box_1

I think if I stumble upon one more vase I’ll snatch it up and add it to the box. There’s definitely room for one more. Couldn’t hurt, right?

Indoor Window Box_2

My indoor window box looks really great in the bay window. It fills the space nicely without blocking the view. Plus, I am really digging the pink, wood and white combo! Looks pretty sweet with the gray and mint combo I’ve got going on in the living room.

Happy April Fools! … do people say that?