Suction Cup Window Bird Feeder

I saw the plans for this bird feeder on Ana White.  Seriously, if you haven’t seen the free building plans on her website, go check them out now.  Her site is where I found the plans for my Farmhouse Table.

So I saw THIS bird feeder and knew that I had to make it.  What an easy gift for my parents (who happen to love feeding birds, squirrels, or anything else that tries to access the feeders).

Click THIS LINK to see the supplies you’re going to need.

What to do:

1. Cut your wood.  Drill a hole in the main piece near a corner and use your jigsaw (they’re cheap if you need to buy one, and awesome) to cut out the interior hole.  Then lightly sand the edges to make everything smooth.

2. Use wood glue to assemble your bird feeder.

3. I waited for the glue to dry, then I used a few finishing nails to secure the pieces– just to make sure nothing was going to come apart in the weather.  Two on the backside to attach the base, one (or two) on the roof, and one on each side of the bottom bird-feeder part.

4. Use your drill to make some holes for your suction cups on the back.  I didn’t have a drill bit that was quite big enough for my suction cups, so I got creative and drilled down and a little sideways to make it work.

5. I used a cheap foam brush to apply a walnut stain from Minwax.

6. Then I used Thompson’s Water Seal spray.  It looked just like this, but in a spray can (although I found it in the store next to the rest of the sealers, not in the spray paint section.

7. Let it dry completely.  Then I used Liquid Nails to attach the suction cups to the back.  Make sure that they’re in there good and tight, then let the glue cure (8+ hours).

Then you’re done!  Just push the feeder up against a window and fill it with bird seeds.

*Be careful when you pull the feeder off the window.  Try to reach around and disengage the suction cups before you pull– otherwise you could pull the suction cups out from the bird feeder.  Yeah, that happened to me.

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Plastic Bag Holder

Okay, if you’re anything like me, you hate throwing plastic bags away (but you’re terrible at bringing your reusable bags to the grocery store!)  My collection of plastic bags was getting out of hand and I knew there had to be a cute solution to it.

So, I perused Pinterest (per usual) until I found an inspiration.

Check out Martha Stewart’s version— she’s so creative.  And, this is super cheap.  In fact, you might be able to make it from all things you already have.  Who doesn’t love “F-R-E-E”?!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • old dishtowel (I liked all mine, so I just bought a $1 from Goodwill)
  • strip of elastic
  • safety pin
  • sewing machine (super easy straight stitching only!)
  • a piece of fabric to make a hanger with (about 2×8″)

Here’s what to do:

1. Lay out your dishtowel with the nice side facing down.  Take one of the short ends of the dishtowel and fold it over– just enough to make a small pocket hole for the elastic. You can get all fancy and pin it first, or you can be lazy like me and just eyeball it while you’re sewing.

2. Attach the elastic to the safety pin and use the safety pin to thread the elastic through the pocket hole.  Once you get it all the way through, secure both ends of the elastic together on the safety pin until the end.

3.  You’re folding the dishtowel in half (long ways) now.  Just make sure that the wrong sides are facing out.  Sew another seam (following the seam lines) along the length of the towel.

4. Now, take the piece of fabric you’re going to hang your plastic bag holder with and fold it in half length-wise.  Sew a simple seam.  Then turn the hanger inside out so the rough ends of the fabric are inside the hanger.

5. With the plastic bag holder still inside out, sew one end of the hanger to one side of the top, and then the other side of the hanger to the other side of the top.

6. Tie a knot in the elastic.  You want a big enough hole to pull a bag out of, but not so big one will fall out on its own.  Hide any excess elastic by stuffing it in the pocket holes.

7. Now turn it right side out and you’re all done!

I got 35 bags in mine– and really, who needs more than 35 bags at any one time?  Feel free to toss the rest of your plastic bag stash without guilt!

DIY Earring Holder

This is a really fun (and useful!) craft that I whipped up a while ago– I just forgot to share it on here!

I hated having all my earrings mixed up in a box.  Trying to find a match and having to untangle a ball of earrings was never fun.  I saw a picture of something similar, so I gave it a try.  Who knew it would be this easy.

What you need:

  • Frame
  • chicken wire (You can buy this at any hardware store. Choose the width of the wire that works best for you; I liked my slots small enough that I could get many pairs of earrings on, but big enough that I didn’t have to remove the plastic backings on each pair to put them on the grate.)
  • Wire clippers
  • Work gloves
  • Hot glue gun

What to do:

1. Remove the glass from the frame and discard.  To discard broken glass (or panes) put it in a cardboard box, tape it up, and write glass all over the box before dumping it in the trash.

2. Turn the frame over and lay the chicken wire over the back opening to figure out what size you’ll need it to be.  Cut out.  The wire is really sharp, so wear gloves while cutting/handling it.

3. Lay the wire down where the glass used to be and hot glue it to the back of the frame.

Voilá!  Now just hang it on the wall.  It’s a fun way to show off your earrings, keep them untangled, and optimize your work space.

Here is the dresser in my closet with all my jewelry and makeup.  Who knew getting ready in the mornings could be so fun.

Today I’m linking up to Pretty Handy Girl’s DIY Talent Parade Link Party.  Check it out HERE.

Rewiring a lamp

I found a cheap lamp at Goodwill last weekend and spray painted it a fun color.  Then I plugged it in and realized that it didn’t work.

**sigh**

Thankfully it was cheap, but since I’d already put a fair amount of effort into painting it, I decided to just buy a rewiring kit from Home Depot and fix it.

Here’s what you need:

  • Lamp wiring kit (my shade doesn’t use a harp, so I didn’t buy the kit with one)
  • Wire cutters
  • Phillips screwdriver

Here’s what to do:

1. Take out the light bulb (if any) and unplug from the wall.

2. Unscrew the socket from the top of the lamp.  You may need to remove the on/off switch to do this.

3. Use your wire cutters to cut the wire next to the bottom of the socket.

4. If you think it’s going to be difficult to thread the wire through the lamp, do this:

  • Cut the wire at the base (near the plug) as well as under the socket.
  • Use electrical tape to tape the new wire to the old wire (near base)
  • Thread the wire through by pulling the old wire through the top of the lamp.

5. If it’s not difficult to wire by hand, just thread it through with your hands.

  • Mine also included making a knot inside the fixture so there was less chance of the cord being pulled from the socket.

6. Thread the base of the socket through the wires.

7. Secure the base socket to the lamp by screwing it on tightly.

8. Tie an underwriters knot:

  • Loop one side of the wire around.

 

  • Loop the other side of the wire around.

 

  • Thread one end of the wire through the opposite side’s loop.

 

  • Thread the other end of the wire through the opposite side’s loop.

 

  • Pull tight.

9. Pull the cord so the underwriters knot sits at the bottom of the base socket.

10. Identify the hot (smooth cord) and neutral (ribbed cord) in the wires and grab the inside socket.

11. Read the instructions that came with your socket, but mine connected the neutral to the silver and the hot to the gold.

12. Wrap the exposed wiring (not the white insulation part) around the screw and then tighten.

13. Put the inside socket covering back on.

14. Push all the wiring down into the base socket and push the inside socket/cover into it until it feels secure or clicks.

15. Put your light bulb & shade back on and plug in your light!

This is such an easy and quick (less than 15 minute) project.

Have you been wiring anything lately?  Or buying things from Goodwill without trying them out first?

Replacing Individual Tiles

Or, what I like to call, “Goodbye Ugly Fish!”

So my house has this stall shower upstairs with white 3×3″ tiles– they’ve got a little texture to them and aren’t bright white.  But, the most disturbing part of the shower were the five random fish tiles.  Okay, I understand that people like to accent their shower with painted tiles, but the fish just weren’t doing it for me.  In fact, they felt juvenile and haphazard at best.  I’ve wanted them gone from the moment I moved in, but I didn’t realize until this week how easy that could actually be.

Here’s what you need:

  • Replacement tiles (I got lucky and found mine at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore)
  • Grout saw
  • Chisel & hammer
  • Thinset
  • Grout (I used Custom Building Products) **
  • Rubber spackle knife or a grout float
  • Large sponge

**You’ll need to look at your current grout to figure out if you needed sanded or unsanded grout.  If your grout lines are about 1/8″ or more thick, you probably want sanded grout– it holds up better thicker grout lines.  If you just look at your current grout you will most likely be able to see tiny sand particles in the finish.  I used sanded in my shower, but I used unsanded in my kitchen– all depends on the grout thickness.

Here’s what you do:

1. Lay down a towel to catch debris and to keep debris from going down the drain.

2. Use the grout saw to remove the grout from around the tile(s) you want to remove.  Use a back and forth sawing motion and be prepared for a lot of grout dust.  Get as much grout out as you can.  This will make it easier to remove the tiles whole, but it also separates the tile you want to remove from the tiles you want to keep– which is handy when you have to start chiseling tiles out.  You don’t want to break unnecessary tiles!

3. Use the chisel and hammer to pry the old tile out.  If you remove most of the grout (and your adhesion was like mine), most of your tiles will pop right out.  If not, then just chisel out piece by piece.

4. Use the chisel to get the tile area clear.  Scrape all the remaining grout & thinset away from the wall hole.

5. Wipe off the area with a dry rag.

6. Use a vacuum to clear out the area of dust and debris.

7. Mix your thinset (I cheated and reused some already-mixed adhesive that I had bought for my subway tile backsplash project because I was only replacing a few tiles, but the pros recommend that you use thinset over adhesive or mastic in a “wet” environment like a shower.)

8. “Back butter” your tile and set it in the hole.  Press firmly to get a good hold.  Slide the tile a bit until you have it aligned just right.  You can use spacers to keep the spacing, or you can use painters tape to hold the tile in the correct place.  I used neither and it worked out just fine.

9. Let the shower dry for AT LEAST 12 hours to give your adhesive time to dry.

10. Mix your grout (Finding a matching grout color was the hardest part of this project.  I didn’t take advantage of this, but I’ve been told that at Lowes you can get a grout chart to take home with you to make matching grout much simpler.  I just ended up buying two different colors of grout and using the one that was closest).  You want the texture to be like thick pancake batter or peanut butter.  I didn’t measure, just put some grout powder in the bucket and slowly added cold water until it was the consistency I wanted. Then give the grout 5-10 minutes before you start actually applying it.

11. Use the spackle knife or grout float to get the grout in around the tiles.  Hold the bucket with the mixed grout underneath the tiles to catch any falling grout– this will make clean up that much easier.

12. Give it 10 minutes to start to set.  Then, use the sponge to wash the excess grout away.  Be sure that your sponge is only slightly damp, you don’t want to get the grout too wet.

13. Give the grout two hours to completely set and then you can use cheesecloth or your sponge to buff the haze off.

SO much better!

Cleaning your bathroom fan (with a light)

It was starting to take an unusually-long time to de-fog the bathroom in the mornings after my shower, and when I looked up at the fan vent, all I saw was dust and grime.  Time to clean it out.  Had I known it was going to be this easy I probably would have done it a long time ago.

Here’s what I used:

  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Shop vac (with a brush attachment)
  • dry rag

Here’s how to clean it.

1. Turn off the power.  Safety first.  Make sure that the power is off.

2. If you have a simple fan (without a light), you should be able to pull down lightly, squeeze some pins on the side, and pull the grate off.  If you fixture (like mine) has a light, you’ll need to pull the light cover down first (mine was plastic, but when the sides were squeezed together it popped right off.

3. Remove the light

4. Remove the grating and then look for screws and remove the piece that holds (and powers) the light.  It is likely plugged in (along with the fan)– carefully unplug and remove.

5. Unplug the fan as well.

6. Use the shop vac to clean all the dust and other gross-ness off everything you can see.

7. I was unable to get my fan out of the ceiling, so I used a toothbrush to clean the fan blades and everything else I could see.  This resulted in a dust shower all over the floor, but boy was it exhilarating to get all the crud out of the fan.

8. Once you’re done cleaning everything (plastic grating or plastic light covers can be soaked or rinsed in warm soapy water), plug the fan and light back in the way it was before.

9. Attach the grating and the piece that holds the light back into the ceiling with the screws

10.  Put the light back in.

11. Pop the light cover back in.

12. Turn on the power and test it.

I’ve listened to the difference, and my fan seems to be operating a lot smoother– not to mention my light is a ton brighter after cleaning out the light cover.

What Spring Cleaning projects have you been working on lately?

My Weekend Projects

It was a busy weekend for me, and while I don’t usually post everything I’m up to here on my blog (and reserve it instead for DIY tutorials), I thought I’d share some of the smaller weekend projects I was up to.  Just for kicks and giggles.

First off, I’m contemplating some serious landscaping changes in my front and backyard.  Consider this “Part 1” of 8,000,000 in my landscaping saga.  But, to liven up the walk to my front door (and to work on creating some symmetry, I planted some cheap-o baby boxwoods from Home Depot.  They’re almost too cute to handle.  Plus, digging out the weeds and planting something in that blank spot really changed the look of my front walk.

Also, while at Goodwill I found a great lamp and vase on sale.  Perfect pieces to take home and spray paint.  They make fantastic pops of color in the room.  I was too lazy to go back to the store to get spray paint primer, so I didn’t use any– it didn’t seem to make a difference.  Light, even, multiple coats is the key.

I’ve been looking for some glass canisters to set on my awesome new faux granite countertops, so I was ecstatic to find some. Also, while I was at Home Depot I finally picked up some succulents.  They make great greenery here and there.  Coupled with my new glass canisters they look amazing.  And dog food/treats have never looked quite so fancy before.  It’s a big step up from an old peanuts container I’ve been using for the last year and a half.

And my last project was tackling a room of my house to caulk.  On my list of quick, cheap transformations, caulk comes in #2 (Paint is #1)  Unfortunately it’s not quite a beauty shot, but it’s a small thing that I notice every day.  Of course I only had the energy to do the baseboards, door casements, and windows in one room before I completely ran out of steam.  Oh-well, one room at a time!

Sealing grout & tile

When I finished my subway tile backsplash, I sealed the tile so that food and other grime would easily wipe off and not stain my brand-new white grout.  The process was so easy that I decided I wanted to seal the grout & tile in my upstairs shower.  Of course, to do so meant that I needed to deep clean the shower to prep it– something that I put off for a long time.

If you’re sealing newly-laid tile, you can go ahead and just seal it.  If you’re sealing existing tile, make sure you clean it first.  Otherwise you’re just going to seal in the grout stains.

Here’s what you need:

  • Grout & tile sealer (I bought THIS at Home Depot, jut make sure you buy a sealer for the appropriate kind of tile– mine was porcelain tile)
  • Large sponge (I just reused my tiling grout sponge)

What to do:

1. Deep clean your tile.  I ended up using: 1 tablespoon TSP (Trisodium Phosphate, you can buy this at any home improvement store) and 1 gallon hot water.  I used a non-scratching scrubbing pad I bought at Walmart and scrubbed each and every tile.  Soap scum is gross.

2. Deep clean your grout.  Use a 3 to 1 mixture of baking soda to bleach and scrub the grout with an old toothbrush or grout scrubber.

3. Rinse and wipe down everything.

4. Towel dry and let it air dry for a couple of hours.

5. Pour some grout sealer on your sponge and run down and across each grout line.  Work in sections.  When you’ve covered every line, rub the sealer over all the tiles too.  To see that the sealer got into the grout, you should notice the grout turn a littler darker– like it’s wet.

6. Wait 5-15 minutes (depending on your sealer– read the label!) and repeat.

7. Dry-wipe the tiles and give it 24-48 hours to cure.

There isn’t really a dramatic before & after, but the process of sealing should really help.  Remember that tiles requires cleaning, and after enough cleanings the sealer is going to break down.  I believe they recommend that you apply sealer every 6 months.

Have you been working on any bathroom projects lately?

DIY Spice Rack

After finishing my kitchen remodel and cleaning/organizing my kitchen cabinets, I was left with the most frustrating cabinet of them all.  The spice cupboard.  Regardless of how I arranged things, I could never find the spice I needed.  In fact, during this project I realized that I had at least 6 doubles and 3 containers of cinnamon!  Something had to be done.  Here is what I started with:

I looked online, I looked in stores, and then I got really frustrated.  Most of the spice racks are meant for 12″ (or bigger) cupboards– and if that’s your situation, you’re in luck, there are lots of options out there for you.  But, if you’re like me and have only 10″, then your options are basically non-existent.

So, like any good DIY person, I devised a system that I could build and that would suit my needs.

Here’s what I used:

  • Wood (I think they’re 2×2’s, which means they’re really 1.5×1.5’s)
  • Wood glue
  • Primer (because I used scrap wood)
  • Paint (because I used scrap wood)
  • Saw

And here’s what I did:

1. I measured the width and height of the cabinet (10″ wide and about 10″ high)

2. I used my measurements to figure out how many “2×2″ boards I could stack (1.5+1.5+1.5+1.5+ spice container = little less than 10”)

3. I cut my 2×2’s 10″ long (I used 10, 10″ 2×2’s for this.  4, 3, 2, 1)

4. I lightly sanded my 2×2’s to get rid of really sharp edges or really rough spots– nothing more than 150 grit sandpaper.

5. I then realized that my 2×2’s were not quite wide enough for my spice containers!

So, because I didn’t want to spend any money on this project, I raided my wood pile and found a 1×12″ board and measured the height of my stack of 4, stack of 3, stack of 2, and 1 and then cut corresponding 1×12″ pieces.  Like this:

6. I glued the 2×2 blocks together (4, 3, 2, 1)

7. I glued the 1×12 pieces to the corresponding blocks.

8. I did NOT glue block stacks together!  If I had done this, I wouldn’t have been able to maneuver the blocks into the cabinet (tight space!), so I left them separate and just placed them in the cabinet separate.

9. I primed the stacks.

10. Painted the stacks.

11.  Places the stacks in the cabinet and filled them up.

It’s such an improvement over what I had!  It’s not perfect looking, but now I can see what I have (or what I need) without having to dig through and look at every single container!  And the best part was that I had all the supplies at home, so it was FREE!

How do you organize your spice rack?  Did you DIY something?  I’d love to know.

I’m linking up with A Thoughtful Place’s Oranizing Link Party HERE.