Category Archives: DIY

Where Fiscally Responsible Meets Hair Dye

A couple of months back, I went to the hair school in town to get some highlights put in my hair. It was summer and it was killing me to not be blonde.

Because, for those of you who know me well, my hair is very seasonal. And it had been the same color SINCE I MOVED HERE. Which was like 8 months ago. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much of my natural hair color. And it’s nice. I’m proud of the medium-ish brown tone that I have naturally, I really am. But when it’s June. There’d better be a sun kissed looked to this hair.

But here’s the thing. To maintain that natural looking hair glow… it’s just plain downright expensive. And what nonprofit working girl has that kind of money?

Not this one.

And then I heard about the hair school in town. A magical place where you could get highlights for $35. Did you think you read that wrong? No. You don’t have to go back over it. I said $35. Because, IT REALLY IS THAT CHEAP.

And they really were pretty good. But, something to consider about $35 highlights… They just don’t look like $110 highlights. And since it’s a really nice beginner student doing your hair… it takes about four hours. Which, is just a lot of a Saturday.

And the can’t-stand-bad-roots-or-lack-of-consistency-in-color-and-stripe-pattern type A part of me was dying. So I invited a few friends over, made a trip to Sally’s and took matters into my own hands.

May I introduce, my new favorite thing in the world?

It just LOOKS like fun... doesn't it?!

It just LOOKS like fun… doesn’t it?!

For $20 I now own: a pair of reusable gloves, a mixing bowl, a paint-brush-thing-a-ma-jig, hair clips, a two use bottle of developer and a box of INTENSE medium brown.

Which means, anytime I want to color my hair, your hair, random friends hair… it’s going to cost me like $6. Which is freaking sweet. And I’ll need a friend. Because this really isn’t something you should try alone friends.

And that’s where I’d like to introduce you to my fabulous stylist: Emily Gray. Yes, I appreciate that normally people get a funny little nickname. But this girl has a blog. Where she tells you her name. And YOU SHOULD ALL BE READING IT. Cause the girl is funny. And because of that Emily Gray she will be.

Not only does this legit lady have a funny blog, a DIY husband, two crazy dogs and a baby on the way… But she’s got mad skills when it comes to dying hair.

Things got mixed:

IT LOOKS JUST LIKE AT THE SALON!!!

IT LOOKS JUST LIKE AT THE SALON!!!

Things got applied:

Adios amiga. And by 'amiga' - I just simply mean blonde hair.

Adios amiga. And by ‘amiga’ – I just simply mean blonde hair.

Seriously, how professional does that amazing lady look?! Gloves. Brush. The whole nine yards:

It's my blog. Of course there's going to be a cheesy picture. People, it's just how I roll.

It’s my blog. Of course there’s going to be a cheesy picture. People, it’s just how I roll.

And then it was DARK brown:

Extra cheese for the after shot.

Extra cheese for the after shot.

Okay… it’s maybe a tad bit darker than originally intended. In fact, some may say it’s BLACK. But hey, maybe we just try something a little crazier and darker for fall this year. Life’s an adventure right? At some point, I’ll probably stop scaring myself every time I look in the mirror…

And for $20, 15 minutes of application, 30 minutes of process time and a serious shampoo (in your very own shower!) – you end up with a whole new hair color! That’s just darn impressive to me.

So thank you to the lovely talented beautiful Emily Gray (I know, I know, last link… I promise!) for my amazing new do. Girl didn’t miss a piece. Everything is one color. She’s a professional. Who knows… maybe I can get her to attempt highlights next time… I mean really… what could possibly go wrong…?!

Bring on the fall, my hair is officially ready!

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When pure practicality meets crafting…

The 4th of July has the ability to bring on a whole world of joy.

Star-spangled fun left and right. Flags, fireworks, BBQ’s, friends…

And the American Flag.

EVERYWHERE.

Good Lord I love that flag. Stars. Stripes. Happiness.

So you’d better believe I geeked out when I realized that stores were selling flag shorts. I needed those for my forth of July outfit (yes, you need a forth of July outfit, HELLO, ex-sorority girl here). They were practically a necessity.

Then I realized, that one pair of shorts, to be worn for 8 hours (or less?)… one time a year… is maybe not worth the money spent on them. You know, fiscally responsible Betsy knows better. Plus, I’ve got zero closet space and I’d just be committing to throwing something else out.

Sigh.

But what if I already had something I didn’t love… or um, that maybe had a hole in them… that I could just modify and wear?

  1. I wouldn’t have to buy a whole new pair of shorts. Saving money for the win!
  2. It wouldn’t take up any new space.
  3. It would be totally appropriate fitting for a small hole to be in pants you wear once a year.
  4. It would fulfill my dream of dressing to the nines for the forth.

And so after a Google search for a star shape (that I could cut out as a stencil) and a quick phone call to my craft master friend Niki (I mean, everyone needs someone they can call with questions like “If I was going to paint on my jeans… what kind of paint would I need?!)… I headed to Hobby Lobby. I used a 40% off coupon. And for less than $5 I had red and white acrylic paint!

Keeping in mind that you’ll need two days to complete this task so that your paint can dry overnight and then you can flip them and do the other side… here’s what I ended up with!

The front…

Started with star stencils and a pen and then just painted them in! The stripes were totally free handed!

Started with star stencils and a pen and then just painted them in! The stripes were totally free handed!

And the back…

I'd seen just the pockets done in my pinterest search and thought that was a genius and cute idea... not to mention a heck of a time saver!

I’d seen just the pockets done in my pinterest search and thought that was a genius and cute idea… not to mention a heck of a time saver!

I could not be more proud of these shorts.

They were perfect!

They were highly complimented!

And almost no one noticed the gaping hole on the leg.

I’d call that $5 well spent.

Happy birthday America!

 

THE MIRACLE OF SPRAY PAINT

I used to look at ugly old beat up furniture, wrinkle my nose and think “who would want that?!”

Now I look at old furniture and think “what could I do with that!?”

It’s a subtle change, I’m not really sure when it happened. But I’m oh-so-grateful it did. Because when you realize your new place has no linen closet… and you’ve finally got room for a desk – it’s time to thrift shop.

I mean, my first inclination was to run to the Pottery Barn website and drool over this amazing little vanity desk…

I mean, come on.

I mean, come on.

And it would only set me back a cool $499 and tax. Cough, sputter, choke.

Yeah, that’s no longer happening.

So thrift shopping I went and I ended up with both a fully functional (and FUN!) desk, an armoire type piece and a vision.

All that was included in the vision was some spray paint and a piece of glass.

So after enlisting the help of my friends with a truck (although I had high hopes, the armorie was just too big to fit in my small SUV) who could also help me get the pieces in my back yard, I was ready to sand and spray!

One note: when I sprayed all of the furniture in my bedroom, I had used Rust-oleum Primer/Paint and it was amazing. This time I tried another brand first and was more than disappointed. So if you’re painting anything – I’d absolutely advise the Rust-oleum brand of spray paint. It mentions on the bottle it has two times the coverage (which is completely true), it’s only $.10 more than the other brand AND the push nozzle is so-much-better. Which sounds ridiculous, but if you’re about to go through 6 bottles… your finger gets tired and you run the risk of putting your fat finger in front of the spray stream. Trust me. One can of primer for the first layer. Then as much as it takes for full coverage on the rest of it.

And this is what a few hours of work and a whole lot of spraying accomplished:

It's amazing what a can... or 8... of spray paint will do.

It’s amazing what a can… or 8… of spray paint will do.

Shiny white pracitcally new furniture.

Oh – and the top of the desk, I experimented with chalkboard paint. Thanks to the lovely Water Boy for the suggestion. I’m in love with how it turned out.

Isn't that just adorable?

Isn’t that just adorable?

And since I know you’re thinking “I’m sure with all of those extra supplies – you probably could have bought that amazing and incredible Pottery Barn desk” I’ll let you in on a little secret – I did all of this for practically a quarter of the cost of that fancy little desk.

Cost Breakdown:

  • Desk: $20
  • Armoire: $30
  • White Spray Paint: $30 (including the bad decision kind)
  • Chalkboard Paint: $4
  • Glass Piece: $50

Total spent: $134. Now, I appreciate that I didn’t need the glass. Or the chalkboard paint. Or really probably even the white paint… but that adds a lot of fun and character and it looks great with my already white book case that’ll also be sitting in that room!

Once I get everything moved back in the house tonight, I’ll be able to organize the back room a little bit – and I Can. Not. Wait. for things to have a “place” that they belong to.

The goal is to have everything in a place it belongs in by Friday. Go ahead and say a prayer for me!

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I CAN SEW!

Here’s the thing about moving:

It’s expensive and it requires a ridiculous amount of work.

But the great news is, once you get settled and into your routine, there’s a complete repression of those moving memories. Because every time I’m getting ready to move… I’m giddy excited. And then you start packing. And keep packing. And find a moving van. And forward your mail. And move the boxes. And unloaded the boxes. And change your utilities. And find a trash service. And buy curtains…

Sigh.

All of that whining aside – I have EXCELLENT news:

I am OUT of the apartment. And into the most wonderful little home! A home!

Yay!

So my evenings of late have been spent unloading boxes of junk (also, when did I accumulate so much stuff?), getting curtains and organizing.

And learning to sew.

That’s right. I said it.

This girl can now use a sewing machine – without breaking anything. Or losing any fingers.

I was inspired as my cute little house has the ugliest sink the bathroom. Maybe ever. It’s basically a basin sitting on top of plywood. That’s been painted white. And after looking at it and cringing, I thought… “I bet I could make something for that…”

Yes. I thought that.

And then I turned to Pinterest, where I found this picture:

Doesn't this look like the cutest little cottage bathroom sink?!

Doesn’t this look like the cutest little cottage bathroom sink?!

And in my brain I was like – “no really, I can make that… I just need a sewing machine and some Velcro.” So I emailed my amazing friend Emily (because she’s crafty and awesome) and asked if: 1) she had a sewing machine and 2) if I could borrow it after she gives me a mini lesson on how to use the sucker.

The crazy lady agreed.

Also, she’s insanely smart and brought pins.

So, I cut a white sheet that I already had (and don’t use because it was like $5 from Walmart and itchy) in half (length wise) and folded pleats into it and secured those with pins.

Oh... you can't see the pleats because of the cheese oozing out? Sorry. I was so excited.

Oh… you can’t see the pleats because of the cheese oozing out? Sorry. I was so excited.

And then I just sewed it. It really was that easy.

Then I cut one inch pieces of adhesive Velcro – put one side on the sink… one side on the fabric (it just stayed – I thought I was going to have to sew it on!) … and BAM! ugliest sink of all times covered right up!

Yes. I do have the girliest bathroom of all times. I think it hides the poop brown overtones... Also - ignore the "stuff" everywhere. Did I mention I just moved?!

Yes. I do have the girliest bathroom of all times. I think it hides the poop brown overtones… Also – ignore the “stuff” everywhere. Did I mention I just moved?!

Let’s just say – It’s come a long way from where we started:

Don't judge all of the tubs, I came from a bathroom with LOTS of storage to a bathroom with NO storage. Don't worry, it's all organized now!

Don’t judge all of the tubs, I came from a bathroom with LOTS of storage to a bathroom with NO storage. Don’t worry, it’s all organized now!

I still need to hem it.. and sew the two pieces together…

Because as soon as Emily left me unsupervised left, I broke the sewing machine. As in, there’s no more thread in the needle and I don’t know how to get it back in…

So maybe saying “I know how to sew” is a bit strong.

But if someone else does all of the setup work, I can absolutely just push the fabric through the machine. So, you know, whatever you’d call that.

The rest of the week/weekend will be filled with fun other home projects – so stay tuned for:

  • Hunting down and painting a desk
  • Organizing my office
  • Putting together a bedroom

And then when it’s “all together” I promise to put up photos for a mini house tour!

Yay moving!

DIY – Making My Map!

I dream of being a DIY house blogger. Please tell me you’re all reading Young House Love. They are amazing. Incredible. I adore them.

My catch? I’m really not very DIY myself. I love the idea – but in the past I haven’t had the time or the patience to start a project and finish.

With the exception of my map.

Photography is maybe not my thing. Also I live in the bat cave. Just know, this is huge and looks awesome in real life!

Photography is maybe not my thing. Also I live in the bat cave. Just know, this is huge and looks awesome in real life!

My beautiful, incredible, amazing map. And honestly, I think the reason I ever finished is that I told the guy I liked that I was doing it – and he kept asking about it – and I HAD to finish it. You know, to show him I’m awesome. Looks like it worked out for me… even though now he knows me better than that. But that’s another story!

It began with the thought that I needed at least one piece of artwork in my house. As I had none. No judging. And I love those maps with pins in them that show you everywhere you’ve been. I love to travel. But here’s the thing. I didn’t want an ugly map. I wanted a cute map. With buttons. Surely I could buy one… right? And so the great map search of 2011 began… and failed. Until I stumbled across the amazing A Girl’s Eye View blog. Scroll down a bit – because this girl MADE HER OWN. With scrapbook paper of her choosing. It was adorable. And I wanted it. Enough to be crazy and try it myself.

And just think – making it myself would save me money – right?

Silly Betsy.

But I didn’t want a dinky little map. I wanted a MASSIVE map. So I started by purchasing a massive map – a children’s toy foam puzzle map. Thank you Amazon Prime. You’ve saved me once again. And I picked a variety of shades of red (I’m a red girl – I can’t help it – I blame the Huskers) in scrapbook paper. 7 different papers – and then looked at the map and strategically picked with state would be in which paper. To make sure it was nice and spread out and all meshed well together. And then I started tracing. Keeping in mind that this is a children’s puzzle – my state lines may not have ended up the best. And don’t always fit together when I attempted to free hand around the puzzle parts.

What I really really really want you to know is, as the blogger suggested, YOU SHOULD LABEL THE STATES ON THE BACK. Why? Because although you think you’re the bees knees and you have all of your states down… you’re not that smart. Jumble those suckers up and how do you know what’s Colorado and what’s Wyoming? Not to mention – that although when you look at a map – you might be able to name all of the states – having to actually piece them together is incredibly difficult. Trust me. Especially when they don’t really fit. Which – don’t let it get you down – it’s part of the overall beauty of the finished art!

Luckily my mom had an extra-large massive canvas lying around (lucky me) so I painted that sucker – and then being super crafty, I tacked some linen fabric onto it (stick with the paint – the fabric collects hair and that’s just gross). Then I laid out the states and started to modge podge over them.

Heads up. You’re going to want to hot glue the middle of the states down before modge podging, so they stay in place. Because nothing makes you want to cry quite like getting all of the states in place and then disrupting them all with a sticky paint brush. Nothing. Okay, the legs of the table going out in the process and dumping the whole thing on the ground is a bit depressing too. Maybe don’t use a folding table either.

The buttons. Oh how I adore the buttons!

The buttons. Oh how I adore the buttons!

After getting everything STUCK DOWN (it may take you a few attempts, don’t let it depress you) I took out a hot glue gun and a real map and started gluing buttons to the places I’ve been. I had some gold buttons, some wooden buttons, some red ones – all of different shapes and sizes. Half the fun is getting to go through your button pile and find the right one for each state!

This map has been an INCREDIBLE conversation piece. People love to look at the buttons of where you’ve been, talk about their own traveling adventures and it absolutely accomplished it’s purpose of having SOMETHING on my walls. What it didn’t do – was come super inexpensively. The amount of time, the cost of bags of buttons, scrapbook paper, modge podge, fabric, brushes, hot glue and a glue gun… probably would have been easier to buy something from Gordmans. But – then there wouldn’t be the pride nor would it be half the conversation piece it turned into being.

DIY Project for the win.

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Cat Cabinet – Before and After

Remember this old thing?

Good bones people. It's all about good bones.

Good bones people. It’s all about good bones.

Well looky look how it all turned out:

Try your best to ignore the terribly ugly linoleum and cheap carpet. Focus on those amazing knobs... and that beautiful color...

Try your best to ignore the ugly linoleum and cheap carpet. Focus on those amazing knobs… and that beautiful color…

The best news? It was WAY under the $90 I would have spent on Amazon for the already manufactured one. Here’s my breakdown:

  • New piece of furniture $20 (thank you ReStore)
  • Spray paint (with primer) $10
  • Knobs (I know, I had the wood ones, but absolutely couldn’t say no to these) $8

$38. And it’s beautiful. An absolute and complete win! Now all we need is a hole in the side and we’ve got ourselves the most beautiful and over-the-top cat litter box of all times.

And no worries friends – my apartment has FINALLY lost the smell of spray paint. Nothing like having your windows wide open when it’s 8 degrees outside. Lesson learned. Now who needs something else done? I’m just itching for a new project…

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