New Entertainment Center

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I had a small village of components living around my television in the family room.  DVR, DVD, Playstation, Xbox, Large Speakers, small speakers, DVDs, Video Game & Controllers.  Sound familiar?

I spent quite of bit of time searching for the perfect piece of furniture (either to replicate or purchase).  Guess what?  It didn't exist.  Apparently, you need to purchase a four foot length console for the massive televisions and all the equipment and just make do.  Some of the "larger" sized units were around $500 and still not what I needed and made of MDF.  Yes, some of them have the huge wall towers to go over the television.  However, I have tons of windows and didn't like the look of a wall of stuff.

Here is my solution.  Unfortunately, this photo was take with the iphone last night when it was dark, so you will need to check back with the plans and the "good" photos soon.  This will give you an idea of what is coming.

I know this picture is horrible.  I will hurry and add a better one this week.

This one is a bit better, but still with the iphone

For comparison purposes, this is a 46" television (which the hubby claims is now too small - Ha!).

Top row holds the DVD, DVR, Playstation & Xbox
Center row holds the smaller front speaker and has room for decor.
Center bottom houses the large speaker (hidden) and four rows of DVDs.
The two end spots are to hole large wicker baskets to hold video games and equipment. 

No more clutter!

Here is what I had before.  Looks kind of wimpy compared to the new one.

Here are a couple of the build:  I used Purebond plywood

I am so pleased with how it turned out.  I will share plans for anyone needing ideas for their own build.  Also, I will have more projects starting soon for the family room (adding wall planks and building a new coffee table to hide more DVDs).  I'm beginning to think I have too many DVDs and need to get rid of some.

Karen :)

New Project in Progress

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Did you miss me?  I didn't fall off the face of the earth.  I spent the last month or more dealing with horrible headaches and doctor visits.  Anyway, long story short...I'm not dying.  After all the tests, the doctor couldn't figure out what was wrong.  I decided to go to a chiropractor before moving on to the neurologist.  And guess what?  Five minutes after seeing the chiropractor I felt A-MAZ-ING.  He said I had these huge knots in my neck and shoulders which connect to the muscles in my head (either stress or poor posture, probably both in my case).  Obviously, the doctor didn't test for knots, so he missed it.  

Anyway, I'm so glad you are still with me after my absence.  And now I'm back to doing what I love - building!

Here is the project I am now working on for the family room.  It is an entertainment center.

Below is the current console table I am using for an entertainment center.  The bad thing about furniture placement in most of my house is the number of windows.  This wall (only wall in the family room besides the bay window wall) has two large windows, so to find something perfect was impossible.  I needed a space for a DVD player, X-box, PS3, and cable, plus the huge speakers and DVDs.  As you can see, it didn't all fit.  The new piece will have room to grow.

If you read the previous post about the changes to the family room, you know I'm trying to get away from the brown/beige/blah look.

Even with trying to get away from boring brown, I still bought the Minwax Coffee stain (below).  And then thinking about the grey console table I built for behind the couch (two photos down), I also bought the Minwax Charcoal Grey stain.  Now I need to use a couple of sample pieces and figure out how I'm going to stain it.  The Purebond plywood looks a bit too pretty to cover up with paint.  

Hopefully, I will have a color selected today or tomorrow and be able to show you.

Stay tuned,
Karen :) 

DIY Console Desk (Door Top)

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On a mini makeover of my family room, I really needed a larger desk for the kids for homework and laptops.  The old desk only sat one, so in order to remove some fighting over the spot I built a larger table.  This table can seat 3 children if they behave and stay in their area.  I would only recommend 2.  Hahaha!

If you remember back to the time I made the vanity base, I stated I had left over cedar 4"x4" that I would use for a later project. 

Here is that later project and how I used it.

I grabbed 4 2"x4", 1 1"x4" and a hollow core door (24"x80").  Since I already had the 4"x4" posts, this project only cost about $30.  However, if you don't want to use 4"x4" pieces you can use 2"x4" doubled (like the inspiration project from Ana White).

Here is the cut list:

Below is how the 2 2"x4" pieces stack with the 1"x4".  The bottom 2"x4" is a straight cut, the one on top is mitered on the ends at 45 degrees and the top 1"x4" is cut to length for the inside miter cut.

To put together, screw and nail the 1"x4" to the 4"x4" on both ends and work your way out until you have the last 2"x4" in place.  I used 2 screws on each board and rotated the spots to sink into the piece below.  I also added nailed to mine to add strength.

Here is how the finished leg looks.

Then you will need to cut a center support to attach the two legs.  I used the Kreg to screw into the legs from the center support.

And to add to the support, I included "L" brackets on the legs (top and bottom).  It may be over kill, but necessary for my kids.

I used a mixture of products to finish the look.  I wanted weathered and rustic, but not brown.  I love how the finish turned out.

Here is a better look at the finish.

This is the coolest design for legs for a desktop.  I love how it turned out.

Next up for the mini-makeover is a new entertainment center.

Stay tuned!  If you aren't following on Facebook, Email, Pinterest, or Twitter - Please join me!!

Karen :)

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Cozy Additions to the Family Room

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Comfy, cozy additions to the family room.

New homemade furry and knitted pillows with the Ikea Pillow and throw.

Photo Bomber - Max the Morkie

Well, I jumped into the family room(taking a break from finishing the half bath-no judgments please) to do a few things to make the room more inviting during the summer while we lounged inside watching movies and avoiding the heat.

Last week, I posted on Facebook that I found a new rug on for a steal at $148 for an 8x11.  I jumped on it even though I wasn't a huge fan of the chevon pattern.  My goal was to add a bit more color and this did not have brown or beige, so it was actually perfect.

It was to replace the jute rug (below) that my family hated.  If you notice in this picture, the theme of the room was The World of Blah Beige and Brown.

Last night I made two new pillow covers for the sectional.  One furry, one knitted.

I found the furry fabric on ebay and I used a soft baby chenille yarn for the knitted one.

Here is the furry one, which Max the Morkie actually hates.  He barked at it for the first five minutes it was on the couch.  Maybe it reminded him of his father or he thought it was his competition.

Here is the knitted one.  It would be much easier to make with a sweater from Goodwill, but I couldn't find one I liked with soft material.

Here are two thoughts for a new ceiling fan, both from Lowes - Allen Roth.  I think the second one is more casual, which is a better fit for my house.

I swapped out the dark brown curtains with the ones from the front living room.  Free!  And I am loving how light and bright the room looks with the change.  Here are a few before and after with the lighter curtains.  The room actually looks much bigger now.

I need to reupholster the ottoman, but I will be repainting the walls and covering the popcorn ceiling too!  (Last room with popcorn on this level)

I plan to do a bit of work in the half bath to finish it up this weekend.  I just hate the small finishing touches that seem so tedious, don't you?

See you soon!  Karen :)

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Back Home from Vacation

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As I mentioned in a few previous posts, my family and I spent some time at the beach this month.  The weather was perfect the entire trip - we were very lucky.  I constantly had my Kindle in my hand and read over ten books when I wasn't swimming and hiding from the sunball in the sky.  We used three or four bottles of SPF 50 & 80 and happy to report no major sunburns.  I can't say I'm happy it's over, but I was glad I missed TS Debby by a good 12 hours. 

Side note tip for taking your iphone or kindle to the pool or beach - use the snack size ziploc bags for your phone and a larger size bag for your kindle.  You won't have to worry about dripping water onto the screens or the sea spray/sand from the ocean.  It worked perfectly for me.

Now that I'm back and trying to get back in the swing of things with the blog, I thought I'd share some of my vacation pics.

Instead of just posting about it, I'd thought I'd add a feature on the blog to highlight anytime I have a fun picture to share with you. <insert drum roll here>

I added Instagram picture feeds!

In the picture below, you will notice I added the "Quaint Cottage" instagram feed on the top right of the blog page.  The Quaint Cottage instagram usually just focuses on all things to do with projects or adventures at the hardware store.  So, if it wasn't worthy of an entire blog post (because I don't normally just post things just for a single picture), you can find it here.

I also added my personal Instagram feed for anyone who wants to take a peek into my NON-blog world.  Again, I usually don't post things on the blog in reference to my own life or family just for the fact I started this blog as one to catalog my DIY projects. 
Although my life is one major DIY project all by itself if you ask me. 

Now that I've officially announced my return from vacation, I guess I need to get hopping on finishing some of my projects in the half bath and start a new mess in a new room.

I missed y'all!

Is anyone heading out on their vacation soon or just return? 
Did you chose to go to the beach or pick something else?

More to come soon.  Stay tuned.


Half bath Bookshelf - Installed

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Last week I posted on facebook and twitter a picture of the bookshelf I was working on to install in the half bath.  Part of the post was just me whining about painint it because I do that.

Well, I broke down and bought a paint gun....and I didn't use it!!  What?!

I read the directions and it said to use when temperatures were between 45-90 degrees.  Working in the garage, the temps get much hotter than 90 degrees when the regular temperature is 90, so I didn't use it.

After I started priming this piece, I realized I didn't have enough anyway.  As you will see in the bottom photo, I made it about seven feet up and ran out.

So now in addition to finishing the priming and caulking, I need to paint it.  But, with the help of the hubby I was able to squeeze this huge thing into the small half bath and install it.  Then I added a little cubbie up top to give it more of a built in look.

I just threw some goodies on the shelf for now to see how it would work.

Almost finished with the room.

Have a great week!


Stacked Baseboards

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As I try to waste time this morning to avoid going in the garage to build the bookcase for the half bath, I'd thought I'd answer one of the emails I received from a reader.

I've lived in this house for over ten years.  According to my master plan when I moved in, I should have completely been finished with all my remodel projects by now....finished the basement and possibly have an in-ground pool.  However, when I tend to remodel over and over until I think I've got it right things take a bit longer than I plan.  The only thing I have going for me is my overwhelming need to keep the structure as classic as I can.

By classic, I'm referring to the oak wood floors, trims & molding, windows, doors, etc.  The "structure" things you shouldn't really need to change when you remodel a room around a new comforter you purchase.  Classic white trim and oak wood floors (in my eyes and heart) will always be in style.

A reader spotted these baseboards in a photo of an end table I did last year.

Hallway to family room from front door

When I started installing the 2000+/- square feet of wood floors about three or four years into living here, I was sitting on the couch with a Pottery Barn catalog on my lap.  I don't have it anymore or I'd show you the picture of the inspiration.  While flipping through it I saw one of their beautiful pieces of furniture, but that isn't what caught my eye.  It was the stacked baseboard behind it.  I had to have sat there for an hour trying to figure out how to recreate those same baseboards.  But the thing that kept halting me was the fact their baseboards looked like a 1x12 board routed with beautiful grooves to create a piece of art.

Then, I set down the catalog and headed to my hardware store for therapy (Yes, I like to hang out in the lumber section to clear my head.  Some girls shoe shop, I buy lumber.  Don't judge).  I started picking up pieces of trim molding and inspecting them.  I brought home about five different pieces and began to create.


But, when the dust settled, this is what I ended up doing.

1 - Top piece 1 1/4" Picture molding
2 - Middle piece 1" framed rope molding
3 - 5" baseboard (which I'm certain you could create with two separate pieces)

Unfortunately, it was BB (before blog) so I don't remember item numbers, prices, etc.  But, if you have read this blog before you know I'm all about creating something special on a very thrifty budget.  I wouldn't have bought the high end $5 a linear foot stuff.  When I win the lottery (because I will someday, I just know it) I will probably still have the same need to recreate things on a budget I will just have way more time to do it.

I measured 11.5" up from the floor (same as a 1x12" piece of lumber) marked around the room with my tape measure and level and installed the picture molding.  Then I marked 8" up and repeated the process with the framed rope pieces.  Then I installed the baseboards.  I don't think it matters if you start at the top or the bottom.

Then, caulk, prime and paint.  I do remember the day I painted mine I had the Cardinal v Brewer game on in the background.  It was hard to pay attention to cutting in with the distraction.

Front Living Room

I still have some requests to see the kitchen (which was also a total gut before the blog).  I haven't forgotten.

Have a great day!!!


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Food DIY - Fruit Roll Ups

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Do you (or your kids) love those really sweet fruit roll up treats?  Do you feel like you need a trip to the dentist immediately after eating one?  I do!  That's why we only buy them from the store once or twice a year.  I'd rather the kids (and myself) eat "junk food" that isn't going to rot the teeth. 

I'm not saying this because I'm a strict, health-food type of person.  Don't get me wrong.  I'm the biggest fan of salty chips and buttered popcorn on the planet, possibly the universe.  But...if I can substitute healthy options into my diet without upsetting the mindset I'm still having a yummy snack, it's a win-win.

After I posted about the new dehydrator I purchased and the turkey jerky snacks I made, I started to make a list of other goodies I wanted to try. 

We have a road trip coming up in a few weeks from Saint Louis to Destin and back.  If you are like me on a road trip, it means anything you find at a gas station or fast food stop along the highway is fair game in your diet.  It's vacation right?  But, I'd love to have healthy snacks for us to have on hand in the car. 

In addition to the jerky, apple chips and banana chips, tonight I'm testing out fruit roll ups.  They are also referred to as "Fruit Leathers" online.  So if you are hunting recipes, keep that in mind.

The formula seems to be pretty simple -
liquid fruit (apple sauce) + fruit of your favorite flavor + sweetner/flavor

Some of the recipes I found say to just use apple sauce and flavored syrup or juice.  But, if I'm making them why not make the fruit mixture and use all natural ingredients?

With me so far?

List of items I used -

6-7 Granny Smith Apples
1/2-1 cup of sugar (or sugar substitute)
1 quart Fresh Strawberries
3 Tablespoons Orange Juice
Parchment Paper (Cling Wrap could work too)

4 Qt Sauce Pan
Rubber Spatula
Knife, Cutting Board

Here is how I made my roll ups.

6-7 granny smith apples, peeled and chopped, mixed in a sauce pan with a half cup of sugar and a splash of OJ.  I let them begin to simmer as I chopped a quart of fresh strawberries.  I added those to the simmering apples and more sugar until I reached the desired flavor.  On mine I actually tried half regular sugar and half Splenda to help reduce calories.  I tried to make an apple pie once with Splenda and no sugar and it turned out dry, so I didn't go full Splenda on this for that reason.

Once the fruits have become mushy and they begin to break easily, turn off stove and tranfser a few cups at a time into a blender.  Puree and pour through a strainer (if you are using pulpy or seeded fruits) into a large bowl. 

When you have strained the entire batch (it should be the thickness of a smoothie, just not runny), prepare parchment paper rectangles with a lip around all four edges.  Pay special attention to the corners to avoid any spills if you overfill.  Ladle enough of your strained puree into the paper structures to coat the bottom about 1/8".  Remember, the dehydrator will reduce the content so try to keep them even to make them look consistent.

Set in the dehydrator on the "Fruit" setting.  On mine (750watt) the setting was about 135F/57C.  Depending on the strength of your dehydrator, you should have a finished fruit snack in about 3-5 hours.  I usually check them every hour.

Enjoy!  Next week I'm planning on testing granola bars.  Yummy!!

Have a great weekend everyone.

Karen :)

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The day after updates:
On a couple of the sheets, it was thicker than a regular roll up so it did take longer than the original 3-5 hours (more like 10-12).  The picture below shows how thick that piece was (about twice the thickness of normal).

Be warned.  As a kid, I probably won't have liked them if I saw the real bits of strawberry fruit in the roll up (like below).  If you or your kids are picky, you can try a better strainer.  However, those little strawberry bits didn't change the texture of the snack (even on the ones that were the appropriate thickness), just the fact you could see it was made with real fruit.  I know some kids may consider this a deal breaker. 

Roll the paper, cut into strips and put into baggies.  Use a sharp knife, press down on the line and just push through the whole roll.  Obviously, we had to test a few while packaging.  I would say a batch this size would have made about 30-36 roll ups if I would have keep them a consistent thickness.  Oh well.  I'm not opposed to eating my mistakes.