Our DIY Entryway Bench

Since we moved into our apartment about 7 months ago we’ve been trying to make it our own, well as much as you can with a rental.  We’ve added some little touches in almost all the rooms but one area that had been completely untouched was our entryway.  These are some pictures from the day we moved in:

This is our living room and you can see the entry way through the French Doors.  It is a small landing with doors that lead off into the office, a guest bedroom, and the living room.

Here is a better view of the space.  And it has practically remained unchanged since I took this picture.  Well I finally decided that since this is the first thing that greets people when they walk into our house it was time to liven it up and make it more welcoming.

First I had to decide what I wanted and the look that I was going for.  I knew I wanted some sort of bench and I went on the hunt.  I found this bench on L.L. Bean and I really loved the piece in ivory.  But the price tag….$299!  Yikes, I’m not a fan of that.  We can do better.

A few days later my husband came home with the back of his truck full of some throw-away pieces.  The top of one table, a top of another table with a set of legs detached, and some random two by fours.  They were headed for the trash so Sam scooped them up and this pile was soon to be our new entryway bench.

This isn’t going to be much of a tutorial since the tutorial would consist of “see what you can find for free and then make something out of it.” but I will show you a step by step of our process.  Mostly Sam’s process because he’s the one with the power tools.

He began by cutting down the rectangular table top to be the size we needed for the top of our bench.  He then removed the frame from the bottom of the round table.  Because the bench is longer and skinnier, he had to cut and tweak the frame a little bit to get it to fit, and then he screwed it onto the new bench top.

Then the top got a nice rounded edge to finish it off.

The legs from the round table got a trim and were attached to the newly formed bench top.  Poor Sam, his workshop consists of the tailgate in our driveway.

The only piece of wood we bought for this project was a piece of plywood for $20.  We ended up only using half of the plywood and I’ve already got projects in mind for the rest of it.  Sam cut the plywood to fit in the sides, bottom, back, and middle shelves.

A few pieces of trim on the front and the sides was all it needed to finish off the assembly process.  A very good sanding to get it all smooth and we were ready to paint!

The paint colors I chose were Frost & Porpoise, both from Behr.

While we are talking about paint colors now might be a good time to mention the look I’m going for in our entryway.  I want it to be very subtle nautical.  I LOVE the nautical look but I don’t want it to be huge in your face, over the top cheesy.  I’m looking for a much more simple, modern approach to the style.

So paint.  We brought the bench inside and set up a drop cloth to cover the wood floors.  And then began painting.  This is the bench after the first coat of white.

We put two coats of white (and three on the top) and let it completely dry over night.  Once the paint was dry we began marking out stripes on the top.  I decided I wanted wide gray stripes with the white stripes in between to be a little bit smaller.  They gray stripes are 3″ wide and the white 2″.  The Scotch Blue Painter’s Tape worked great by the way.

The lighting in this picture is really off so the color of the paint looks kind of funny but the gray only needed one coat to create the stripes.  We let the paint dry just a little before removing the tape.

And lookie here! Perfect stripes.

Put in place in the entryway and it is absolutely perfect!  I’m in LOVE with it.

This basket from HomeGoods fits just right in the little cubby and will be a great place to store gloves and scarves during the winter.  The colors and texture, and the cute little knobs fit in with my subtle nautical theme.

I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.  For a pile of scrap wood, $20 worth of plywood, and $15 in paint I’d say we came up pretty nice.  Especially considering the $264 we saved by building it ourselves!

September Visiting Teaching- LDS

It is September!  YAY!  We are now into my favorite part of the year.  I am so excited for fall and winter to arrive.  With the new season comes a new month with a new visiting teaching message.  September’s message is called Special Needs and Service Rendered.  The following quote is another one I really liked from the message but didn’t have room for on the handout:  President Spencer W. Kimball taught, “It is vital that we serve each other in the kingdom.” Yet he recognized that not all service need be heroic. “So often, our acts of service consist of simple encouragement or of giving help with mundane tasks,” he said, “but what glorious consequences can flow … from small but deliberate deeds!”

You can download the handout to print or take to the ladies you visit.

This week is all about gift ideas inspired by questions from YOU!

In this economy anytime someone lands a new job it is a reason to celebrate!  And Kayla was very proud of her boyfriend for landing a great job and wanted to show him some extra congratulations.

The few items pictured above are only a very small sampling of items you can include in your own gift basket.  Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • – Desk Accessories if they will be at a desk
  • – New computer bag
  • – Planner
  • – Watch
  • – New tie or scarf
  • – Fancy pen
  • – Water bottle
  • – Lunch box
  • – Hand sanitizer
  • – Headache medicine
  • – Energy bars or granola bars
  • – Lint Roller
  • – Mints or Gum
  • – Monogrammed Stationary
  • – Photo Frame
  • – Business card holder
  • – Audio books to listen to while driving to and from work

And a printable tag:

Download the PDF

Flying the Coop

This week is all about gift ideas inspired by questions from YOU!

The next gift idea inspired by one of my readers comes from Sarah who sounds like one of the best co-workers ever.  One of the ladies in her office is about to become an empty nester and she wanted to create a gift basket for her.  So thoughtful, right?  She already had some great ideas in mind and we brainstormed to come up with the Empty Nester Gift Basket.

Empty Nest Gift BasketThis gift should be a mix of humorous and thoughtful items.  I hear experiencing the empty nest syndrome can be pretty emotional but this is sure to help ease the transition if only in a little way.  If you want to put together a similar gift basket here are some ideas:

  • – A box of tissues
  • – Magazine subscription (traveling, gardening, golfing, cooking)
  • – Funny Movie (to keep them laughing)
  • – Book (now that they have the time to read)
  • – Gift Card to a restaurant or movie (also because they have more time and money)
  • – For a woman bath salts or lotions
  • – If you know their hobbies anything that relates to them

Here is the tag to include with the gift:

Download the PDF

Football Kickoff Kit

This week I will be doing something a little different and sharing gift ideas that were inspired by you, my readers.  I receive a lot of emails from people asking for gift ideas for all kinds of situations and people and some of the ideas we put together are so great that I have to pass them along!

Today we start with Trina who was in desperate need of some fresh ideas for her fiancee.  She is already a pro in the homemade gift department but after years of creative gifts she needed some help.  She told me a little bit about her fiancee and the idea I put together for her was a Football Kickoff Kit.  With football season fast approaching this is the perfect gift for your guy who loves the sport.  It doesn’t have to be for a birthday or anniversary even, this is just a fun “because I was thinking about you and love you” kind of gift.

This basket can be a mixture of items for staying in and watching the game or heading out to catch the action in person.  Here are some ideas of what to include:

  • -Cooler to hold everything
  • -Favorite team t-shirt or hat
  • -Gloves
  • -Foam finger
  • -Mini football
  • -Thermos
  • -Snacks
  • -Tickets to a game
  • -Also right now our local dollar tree has football plates, napkins, and cups.  They would be great to serve chicken wings and pretzel bites on during your football fun.

I made a pretty generic tag so this can be used for birthdays, anniversaries, father’s day, or whatever.  There is a space to write your message on the bottom if you’d like or you can just trim it off.

Download the PDF

When putting together your basket try to keep all the items and tissue paper in the colors of your favorite team.  It will pull it all together.  And now because we are talking football and their first game is coming up on Thursday I just have to say it… Rise and Shout!  Go Cougars!

A Smile Changes Everything

Today instead of a cute craft or gift idea I want to talk about something that is truly important and meaningful…the work being done by Operation Smile.

Operation Smile is  “an international children’s medical charity that heals children’s smiles, forever changing their lives.”  They provide operations to children who have been born with cleft palets and lips and would not otherwise be able to afford the operation.  In doing some research on Operation Smile I learned a few things about cleft lips and palets.  Besides being a facial deformity many of the children cannot smile or talk, and one in ten will die before they reach their first birthday because they cannot eat or drink properly.  And here is the kicker, a 45 minute surgery for about $240 is all it takes to change these children’s lives.  That’s it.  In the last 30 years over 200,000 of these life saving surgeries has been performed for free through this wonderful organization.  If you have 5 minutes grab a tissue and watch this amazing story of one of the children helped by Operation Smile.  (You will probably have to click through to see the video if you are reading this in an email.)

So now that you have dried your eyes you may be wondering what YOU could do to help.  Well I have a suggestion that is practical and easy.  I know A LOT of my readers have children in college because I received a ton of emails asking for gift ideas for college students and I know a lot of my readers are currently in college because you’ve been asking for ideas on a student budget.  So for all you college-minded people let me introduce you to Campus Book Rentals.  Man I wish I had known about them when I was still in school! Right now I have a stack of textbooks that I will never use again but cost me hundreds of dollars just sitting in our office.  It is ridiculous!  Well the genius idea behind Campus Book Rentals is that you rent a book for the semester you need it and then you can send it right back.  And it is SO much cheaper than anything you could find at your college bookstore.  And the really cool part?  A portion of every single book rental gets donated to Operation Smile.  You save some money and do something great all at once.

Right now I have one younger brother in college, two brothers-in-law, and two sisters-in-law also in college.  They were pretty excited about this when I told them so I thought it might be something worth passing along to everyone else.  So consider making this your good deed for the day!