Another quick post

What do you expect? It's the weekend. Here's a quick before and after of a folding chair makeover.

We occasionally need extra seating for guests so I picked up a couple of folding chairs from the thrift store.

$20 for the lot

I ordered the fabric from Mary Jo's Cloth Store for about $10. Unfortunately, I don't see the red color on the site anymore. A little google searching led me to the manufacturer's website here. It's from the Ginkgo line.

I could only find Plum. Link here.

A little paint and a staple gun to the seat:


Now we have custom seating for guests! They've already come in handy. We had some friends over for dinner and they brought more friends. We didn't mind at all because, with extra chairs, we could accommodate the surprise visitors. Bring it on! The more the merrier!

We keep them stored in the Man Closet, which I featured here. The Man Closet is located in between the living room and dining room, so it's right in the middle of where we entertain. I screwed a red hook into the wall to keep them upright.

Easy to grab but out of the way.
Hope you have a great weekend!


Tiered Stand

Here's quick post about a quick project!

I made this tiered stand following this tutorial on Heidi's blog. Her site has a lot of other great ideas for inexpensive updates for the home. Check it out! It's so easy! I followed her tutorial to the letter.

Heidi's stand, seen here.

During one of my usual Goodwill stops, I found a candlestick that could be unscrewed. I simply spray painted the candlestick white and added a glass knob to the top (found at World Market for $2.) I went for white so that I could mix and match the holder with other plates.

The candlestick after a few coats of paint.

I found melamine plates at Target for a couple of bucks of pop. They have tons of styles and are constantly adding new ones. I drilled a hole in the center of each plate, slowly and carefully so as not to split the plate. This was a very tedious process because my drill battery was dying. Learn from my time wasting mistake and charge your tools! O wait, you do? Good for you; you're smarter than me!

After the paint dried, I stuck the plates along the center rod (heh, yes I'm twelve), and put it all together.

Viola! A reason/place for dessert!

Budget Breakdown:
  • Candlestick - $2
  • Glass knob - $2
  • Paint - on hand
  • Plates - $5 for two
Grand total = $9

I love that I can get other colors or patterns for cheap, so it's a really versatile piece. It's also great for the storage impaired because you can take it apart to store it away. I can't wait to use it for my next party! Or just to showcase something yummy.

What about you? Made any simple and cheap entertaining ware lately? Ever made a project that gave you an excuse to make dessert?


Organizing Cards

A recent tweaking of my office closet (post coming soon) led to another project, as it always seems to do. I decided to re-evaluate my greeting card storage. Originally I had everything stored in this box.

From the Container Store

This system worked well but it took up a lot of valuable space. The world of blogging has inspired new hobbies for me so I needed all the space I could get for supplies and projects. I've seen various systems to organize cards in files. During my closet purging, I found one of these that wasn't being used.

Also from the Container Store. Mine's in blue though.

I simply sorted my greeting cards by genre and labeled the sections in the file folder. Then I organized the cards in the proper file.

I love the new system! Before, my cards were all mixed together in a pile. Now, I can easily grab the card for the right occasion. It also helps me see when I'm low on a particular type of card so I can replenish my stock. I like to always have a few birthday and thank you cards on hand. Plus, this takes up way less space in my office.

See? Less space and more organized. Love!


The Man Closet

We have a closet under our stairs I have dubbed the man closet. It stores our tools, electronics, Husband's shoes and laundry, winter coats, and a few other miscellaneous items. Man stuff. It can also become a catch all which can get messy.

The view walking in, not too bad.

 Around the corner . . .

Since most of this stuff belongs to Husband, I couldn't just toss it out. I pretty much just rearranged items to fit better. I was able to find new homes for a few things to clear up some space. I also got a new-to-me tool bag to help store our tools more effectively.

I admit that I'm one of those people who sees a pile of clutter and just continues to pile. I would see junk on the closet floor and wouldn't bother to put my tools away. That's why I'm so OCD about keeping the house clean and organized. Order keeps me in order.

Here's the closet after about 20 minutes of work.

Hey look! A floor!

That's a little better. It's still a bit more crowded than I would prefer but we can access everything and I've labeled all of the containers so there's no digging required. Here's hoping we can keep it like this!

Crap. It was worth a try.

Have you ever spent some time organizing only to have clutter creep back in shortly after? Do you have a man closet?

$1 Lightscoop

I need better pictures for my blog. I just haven't been satisfied with the lighting in my photographs. I've been working on a House Tour, taking pictures of all the spaces in my home, but the lighting was just off. I'm not a big fan of flash. It's a necessary evil. I'm aware that photography means "painting with light" but I've always preferred natural light and shadows. I used to tape a few layers of wax paper to the flash of my point and shoot cameras to soften the glare. It looked ghetto but it worked well.

I knew a lightscoop would be the perfect solution, especially when I photograph a room.

A little search on Amazon turned up this:
Found here.

$30 isn't a bad price but I'm cheap frugal. Actually, most photographers I know can be that way. You spend hundreds to thousands of dollars on a camera and lens so you have no pennies left for the little things. I've seen photographers with white paper bags over $300 flashes. This works also, by the way.

A little more searching and I found some great DIY versions for much less here.

Just some cardboard and foil!

It's a deodorant cap!

Scroll to the bottom of the page with this link to see the original post.

Even though the deodorant cap and foil version could be done for free, I wondered how secure and sturdy they would be. The mirror seemed the most durable option but even the poster admitted that you had to stabilize the mirror. I couldn't see myself trying to balance the mirror as well as angle a shot. Too much work for a lazy photographer, such as myself.

I got a light bulb moment while brushing my hair. My little travel brush was portable, durable, had a mirror, and had a "handle" I could cut to fit snugly around my flash. Best of all, these brushes are in plentiful supply at Wal-mart or Target for $1, in the travel toiletries section.

I got mine from Target!

Here's what you'll need to transform a purse necessity into a camera bag necessity:

  • Round travel brush with mirror
  • Scissors
  • Craft razor
  • White and/or chrome spray paint (We'll get to this later.)

First, I popped out a few of the bristles with the craft razor.

Step One

Then, using my craft razor, I cut out a section of the brush. You might need the scissors to clip off the end. 

Step Two, like so.

I ended up taking out the entire rubber part because it was a bit too tight on the flash (JLYV). Luckily, it was a perfect fit with the entire rubber/brush part gone. I have a Nikon D70S, in case you were wondering. I think the size of the flash is pretty standard on DSLRs but I still recommend only cutting out a little at a time to be sure.

You'll need the scissors for this part.

I was afraid the neon magenta would bounce the light with a tinge of color, i.e. give all of my photos a nice pink hue. Not cool, bro. I couldn't find a white one so I knew I would have to improvise.

Just as I thought. Magenta photo.

I taped off the mirror section and painted the entire contraption with some glossy white spray paint I had on hand. I used the white as a primer for my chrome color. I realize this may be overkill with two colors but I wanted to make sure there would be no hint of magenta in my pictures. See above photo if there is any doubt as to how bad my photos would look in blush and bashful. Even though glossy white would work well enough, I thought a few good coats of chrome would give me that much more of a reflective surface to bounce light. 

FYI, I did all of the painting after the cutting process to avoid damaging the paint. Also, paint the ENTIRE brush. Front and back, so you don't risk bouncing light off the original color.

I recommend white/chrome for brightening your photos of objects or rooms. However, if you do a lot of portrait shots, you could paint it a creamy shade to warm up skin tones. Since I will be using this mainly for non-people related pictures, I chose bright chrome. I may do another one in cream later on down the road.

There's tiny bit of magenta around the sides but it doesn't show in pictures. I think.

As previously mentioned in this post, I live in a frustratingly humid climate. About halfway though painting my lightscoop, it rained (just a bit) and the humidity moved from average to DEFCON super frizzy hair. Coulda used the brush part at that point. It caused the unsightly wrinkles you see in the final product. If this were a piece of furniture or decor that would be on display, I would have cursed loudly sanded and painted again on a better day. However, this is a tool and will not be featured in anymore photos. I don't want to sweat the small stuff. Progress not perfection is my mantra.

Once it was completely dry, I popped it onto my camera to triple check fitting and test my new lightscoop. Here are some with and without shots to show you the results:

With the lightscoop.

Without the lightscoop.

What a difference a hair brush makes! Since the paint was on hand, this new piece of equipment only cost me a dollar and a little time! Totally worth it. You have to play around with the angle of the lightscoop a bit to get it right but it's no worse than normal bracketing.

Have you ever tried to make your own "camera equipment"? Have you ever had to rig something for photos? Do tell!
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