Because you can't have enough shelf space..

You really can't.

After building the 'closet office' with generous shelving we continued to have this bookshelf-this terribly cheap bookshelf, that was overflowing with even more books that I just knew I had to do something with.

We had a nice open area above our couch that I'd done a piece of art for, but something was still missing-it wasn't cozy enough for me. So, a trip to Lowes later, I sat on top of a drop cloth (that took up my entire tiny little living room) staining 15 feet of shelving and trim!

This is what I ended up with~

When putting up shelves like this allow a bracket every two to three feet depending on the weight your planning on placing on it, and always, always, always use heavy duty anchors and drill straight into studs whenever possible.

after placing the main shelf wood I used a piece of 2 inch trim (2x1x?) to create a 'lip' on the top part of the shelf. In other words the visible shelf was flush with the trim but if you were to try and pull a book straight out you'd be stopped by 1'' of border on the top.

The reason I did this was to run a rope light ($10.00) across the lip so it would be hidden (unless of course your stick your face up there like I did to get this picture) This was definitely the wow factor-it gave my shelf a very professional look and of course created an amazing ambiance in the room when the lights where dimmed!

Lastly, I added two sets of these Amazing string lights. 

As I sat on my couch the weekend before this project talking with Justin about where we could put another set of shelves, I got the picture in my head of some fun lanterns hanging down from the shelf over the couch and I was in love...now to find those lanterns I saw in my head...oof. Not an easy task.

Why I didn't go straight to World Market, I don't know, but I wasn't the least bit shocked when I saw that they were the ones who had exactly what I wanted! These lights are amazing and the pictures speak for themselves. They're casual and whimsical enough to invite people to feel relaxed in your space, but intricate and unique enough that they give off a sense of class and sophistication...they're exactly what I was looking for and they completed the project so beautifully! 

What do you guys think?!
Here's the link to the wooden string lights for anyone who's interested! 

Happy Crafting, fellow Crafters!


Pallet DVD Display

<< squeaky wheel sounds approaching, the sound of feet shuffling, grunt, plop...>>

That was me. Jumping on the pallet wagon.

For my first pallet project I made a Wall-haning DVD display for our living room, and love how it turned out!

Look how beauty-full!!!

Okay so wouldn't you know, with ALL of the outrageous ways to join the pallet parade, a DVD shelf-until now-was not yet one of them. I looked EVERYWHERE for a DIY or 'how to' and they're all just normal shelves-granted you could stack your DVD's into them front facing, but that's not at all what I had in mind. So, I got to work with really no clue of what I was doing...

The space I wanted this was a tall and skinny wall-space so I chose to cut the pallet in half (though you could do this with a full pallet and store twice as many DVD's). I did this by hand, because all I have is a little hand saw...let me just recommend, if you have the means of getting your hands on an electric cutter of some type-do it. 

This is what my discard pile looked like-I was not expecting that the wood would be so fragile and would split so much while I was removing the nails and cutting the pallet-I definitely got a worn pallet (for the look) and this could have something to do with it-just keep that in mind as you go into the project!

Now turn from the wood pile and lookie here-this is what I was left with-an eternity later!

Now I went and measured the height of a dvd and moved the wood slats accordingly-again this was a delicate process because I didn't want these pieces of wood to split since they were a part of the final piece. On this standard pallet there's enough room for 3 shelves with about a 4 inch discrepancy-I actually ended up liking this because it adds some off-beat character to the shelf and is perfect for sticking decorative leaves in (see top pic)!

Hang your pallet on the wall using the slats on the backside of the pallet and do this with EXTREME care...those suckers are heavy...Use a stud-finder to locate a stud and to anchor the bulk of your weight to AND use wall anchors in the surrounding areas where you drill into drywall.

So, what do you think!? This is one of my favorite little pieces in our living room. It adds to the organic feel our house carries and really feels like a piece of practical art to me-which is what I'm all about!

The best part, was that this all cost me nothing! Nothing!! I'm all about free and functional decor, how about you?


D.I.Y Closet office

The Closet office. The best thing in small-space home organization since the first time an inocent shoe box was repurposed and covered in scrapbook paper.

Part 1
~The Shelves themselves~

We're going to go all the way back to Step 1 when I was walking into our new apartment about two months ago. I sat on the floor, slumped against the wall quietly-but the grinding of gears in my head made the room all but silent.

I began sketching over photos creating some sort of solid idea of what I was thinking, and here it is! Our living room has closet sized nook, presumably for the TV, but it was too great of a space to stuff a screen with-so I decided to stuff it with books!

After getting a generous sized board for the desk, three boards for shelves, numerous 2x2 beams for wall supports, and 3x1's for accent I stained them all with Dark Walnut and then once dried, coated them with a semi-glosh finish.

Using a stud-finder mark the walls with a pencil where each stud is on the other side-this is CRUCIAL, hanging shelves in drywall alone without any beam support can result in your beautiful work collapsing and leaving pretty decent sized holes in your walls (which is never good). Using a stud-finder will ensure that you screw into the studs on the other side of the wall and that you are mounting the shelves to them, and not sheetrock.

The idea, is that we're going to screw the 2x2's into the walls and set the boards onto as shelves. Mark the stud spots on your support beam by holding the beam up the the wall and transferring the measurments. Also don't just assume that because the first and second stud are a 1 foot and 4 inches apart, that the rest will be spaced the same! The first thing you'll need to do is drill pilot holes into your beams at the spots you've marked as well as a few spots in between-use a bit thats just slightly smaller than your screws. Drilling a pilot hole will help the screws to go through easier and prevent the wood from splitting. 

We're going to use 3.5 inch screws for a couple of reasons, 2 inches of that will be in your support beam, and 1/2 inch of that will be in sheetrock, which will leave a solid inch in your stud behind the wall to support your shelf.

The best thing that I've found is to screw the center first and it will secure it to the wall, then set the level onto it and push the sides up and down until level and then screw the rest in accordingly.  As I said in the preceding step, feel free to drill extra holes in where there aren't studs, too. The more supports the better but of course, I can't stress enough, make certain that you have stud mounting as your main support!

For the adjacent wall measure from the floor up as to ensure that they are even, use a level placed across each (shown above) to ensure that the implied surface area will be level. 

This is what your space should look like -Please ignore my doubled 2x2's (you'll see them a few more times) I mis-measured by an inch and needed to make up for it in the supports-you shouldn't need to do this MEASURE TWICE, CUT ONCE!

screw your supports on the sides and back the same way NOTE: I didn't do them on the back, but rather added a single support in the middle of each one a bit later to prevent bowing in the wood. I do recommend repeating the exact process I walked you through above for the top three shelves.

As you can see, you'll then simply set the shelves onto of the supports you've made one by one :)

Once placed-use your 3x1's and nail them to the front of your shelves-because these will have no weight on them directly, they don't need to be nailed in over and over again, so just one nail in each of your original supports on the far left and right will work great!

Why 3x1? 1 because it doesn't need to be any thicker than this. 3, because the shelf board is one inch thick, and the support beams are 2 inches thick; this way every side and angle will be neat and even. If the shelf board you get is 2 inches then get a 4x1 (etc..etc)

As you can see on the right side of the image above the view from underneath is clean, and dark walnut delicious!

Part 2

So. I'm obsessed with exposed brick. The soft industrial touch is one of my favorite elements of design, and what better way to indulge then some warm textured brick wallpaper! This is the specific design that I found and loved-It took me forever to track down...Needless to say I'm a tad bit particular, once I found this I jumped on it! It has the perfect ratio of reds and browns, as well as a touch of distress without being too over the top.

Because we're in an apartment I decided not to paste the paper to the wall-so I whipped out a crafting staple gun and got to it!

After we got it all up, we trimmed the edges and used repositional adhesive  to secure any unruly edges :)

Finally (this part is optional, though I'd personally recommend it), use a 2 inch core drill bit to drill a nice hole in the far back center or corner of your desk, this will serve as a place for your cords to fee through so you don't have them hanging all over the place!

The finished result~ I could not be happier with how it turned out!

Under the desk there is also more storage to take advantage of, I created a simple crate filing system that sits nicely underneath and we've kept the left side free with plans of putting a doggie bed there soon when we're able to get a puppy!

The All-important before and after shot :)

Thanks for reading, and happy building!!


Starbucks Black Tea Lemonade

So. This summer I've become entirely obsessed with Starbucks' Black iced tea lemonade. Thanks to a generously loaded gift card I received, I've been able to fund this ridiculous habit; even so I knew such a simple concoction could easily be done at home!

After a few tries, this is the winner! There are quite a few different black tea variants and after some research and taste testing I'm here to save you the effort and inform you that Starbucks uses Orange pekoe and pekoe cut black tea (believe it or not, this will make a difference-not a big one if you don't mind, but if you're going for as close as possible, this will be your pick)

• Boil 5 cups of water on the stove & then remove from heat
Stir in 1/2 cup of sugar
• Drop in 2 family sized (shown above) tea bags or 3 regular tea bags and let seep for 2-3 minutes 
• Pour a 12oz can can of frozen lemonade into your pitcher 
• add 5 cups of cold water 
• Combine the two and chill in the fridge 

update 11/4/12: I've made this about once a week and have found that the frozen lemonades pulp causes some yucky filming in the tea when it's consumed over a period longer than a day or so- I started using powdered country time lemonade and it works PERFECTLY!

The breakdown
$1.98 for 1 Package of 24 family sized tea bags=12 pitchers
>> $1.98÷12=.17
$1.24 for 12 oz frozen lemonade
>> 1.24 + .17 = $1.41 (per pitcher)
$1.41 per pitcher ÷ 8 servings = $0.17 per serving

The verdict? I've had this drink almost once a day for the last week (yes, the shame is palpable...before you judge the coupon queen remember I have a gift card!!), the point? It tastes exactly the same! The black tea gives it just enough kick to help you past that 3 o'clock hurdle, and since it is a water based drink it's wonderfully refreshing!
enjoy friends, happy savings!


Decorative Otterbox Case

So I'm standing at my local electronics store in the phone case aisle and I find myself conflicted. With the OtterBox in one hand, and an adorable but flimsy little plastic thing in the other I'm debating over form or function, decorative or durable...and I decided I wanted both, heres how!

I chose an OtterBox Commuter case-This will stand your average wear and tear (drops, etc.) but doesn't have the defense of your defender series. So, do keep that in mind!

I decided I wanted a white base, and not being able to find one I used a simple coat of primer

Using a stencil and a craft knife I cut out zig-zags and placed them over the phone with the goal of making chevron stripes-stick and pull up the tape from a piece of fabric to dull down the adhesive just a bit

Carefully position them over the phone exactly as you want the pattern to show on your finished phone case, make sure to curl over onto the edges!

I decided to go with a sunflower yellow and then I just spray painted the case! Afterwords I used a light grey and hand painted around the logo preview space. Carefully remove your tape decals and, ta da!

Last thing you should do is spray a clear enamel over the outside to finish it off. This will not only give it a nice shine, but will seal it with a hard plastic-like coating. Give it a good 24-48 hours to try and then, Enjoy!!


Cardboard Boxes and Faith, Part 2

If you didn't read Part 1 of this blog, click here (otherwise this one may make very little sense). Unlike many of my blogs this one is a little more 'to the point' and a little less 'fluffy writing' so please forgive me if you feel like you've been called into a conference room to be debreifed!

I'm a planner. I have cheklists, agendas, reminders, and multiple calenders that help me keep track of my day to day life. I'm a planner. Life, however, isn't always as considerate as a planner would like…and so begins this post.

Déjà vu anyone? 

The only way I even know how to begin this blog is to thank you all for your fervent prayers over our little family and constant and uplifting support through all of the insanity the last couple of months!

So as you know (or now know since you've caught up with part one, right?), Our plans were taking us to Florida to pursue a lead in the Fort Myers area, since it was the most promising to date. As I'm sure you've guessed-plans have changed. Again. 

Timeline: 6 Months ago Justin and I stumbled upon a Christian boarding school in Longview, Texas called "Heartlight Ministries" and absolutely fell in love with their facilities. We sat drooling over our keyboards as we dug deeper and deeper into their website, their mission statement, their goals, and the overall approach of their ministry. A résumé  was out the next day, with high hopes of getting a callback.  Simply (and quickly) said, they absolutely loved Justin but had no room to hire another counselor onto their staff. So with frowny-faces we moved on and continued our search, trusting that the Lord had a job for us and that His faithfulness would not come up short.

Timeline: 3 Weeks ago I posted Part 1 of this blog (The 'We're moving to Florida' announcenent)

Timeline: 1.5 Weeks ago Heartlight emailed Justin personally with a job opening, and before we even had time to discuss and respond they called his cell to inform him (enthusiastically) that they'd love for him to come out for another interview. As you can imagine we were initially flooded with the "seriously…now…?" feeling. But as we learned more and more about the job, the benefits, the hours and the sallary, it slowly morphed from an untimely blessing into an absolute answer to prayer.

Timeline: Tuesday May 29th Justin was flown out to Longview, Texas to visit Heartlight Ministries again and have an interview early Wednesday Morning.

Timeline: Wednesday May, 30th Justin was offered a Full-time counseling position with Heartlight Ministries. He'll be on sallary-from his first day-we'll receive medical, vision, and dental insurance, He'll have a 401k so we can begin putting away for our retirement, as well as additional perks that come along with this position.

Justin and I sat down to decide (prior to his second interview) whether or not we wanted this job-that way he could either chose to simply forfeit the second interview, or accept on the spot if they were to offer it to him. Objectively there was no question, the job in Florida was only part-time (and only after 6 months of interning) and had no benefits-but of course we'd be close to family. It was an incredibly emotional decision, speficically for me, but after a lot of prayer, pros/cons lists, and discussion, we landed upon the decision that this job would be the absolute best choice for us. 

To say the least (as I'm trying to get this out to you all ASAP since Florida is 3 hours ahead of us right now) we are absolutely ecstatic and so incredibly grateful for the Lord's provision. We're reminded again the value of Faith and trusting that God's timing and will are not always that of our own, but are so beautifully placed regardless of our own agendas. 

I'm planning on writing another post (part 3) taking you on a bit more indepth trip through our spiritual journey in all of this and share with you the things the Lord has graciously taught me in this whole ordeal! Thank you so much for being patient! (and thank you in advance for ignorning the undoubltably overwhelming amount of gramatical and spelling errors in this blog, as I'm getting this out just moments before dinner and not even stopping to proof!!)

Here is the link to the website for Heartlight Ministries, hopefully you can take a moment to visit and be as blessed by it as we have been: Heartlight Ministries

Will be back with part 3 soon!

~The Robinsons


Cardboard Boxes and Faith, Part 1

I'm a planner. I have cheklists, agendas, reminders, and multiple calenders that help me keep track of my day to day life. I'm a planner. Life, however, isn't always as considerate as a planner would like…and so begins this post.

New years eve we rang in 2012 with champagne and stamps; printing resumes, refining cover letters, stuffing and sealing document envelopes and preparing for the next chapter to come. Justin and I, as a couple, desire the Lord's leading so deeply and prayed consistantly for not only open doors, but closed doors as well. In the months following the "resume sendout" the subtle sound of clicking latches filled the air as we saw doors gently closing from each coast and began to see doors open where we currently are. After hours of discussion and prayer we decided, months ago, that we'd be staying in Fort worth. 

The last week of April rolls around and we're living within the usual 'tenative stability' that any student does. I was working full-time as a nanny for a family here in fort worth, and Justin was going to school full-time and counseling part-time with a promising lead outside of town for after graduation. We were two weeks away from Graduation, we had a plan, and we were content.

In the same week the promising job lead for Justin fell through, and the application for the apartment we were planning on moving into was denied. Days later due to a severely nonnegotialble moral issue, I had to very unnexpectedly quit my job. Because of the specific circumstances an additional two weeks was not an option as it would continue to keep me in, to say the least, an unfortunate situation. So suddenly we were left unemployed, three weeks away from our deadline to move out, and with no promising leads anywhere for either of us. As we rubbed our noses trying to dull the sting of a door slamming directly in our face, the worry was heavy and discouragement was even heavier.

To make an incredibly long and detailed story  short(er), God is so good. By His grace Justin and I were able to put our heads together and come up with a plan…we didn't know where we were going, but we knew we were going somewhere, and we know in order to be lead by the Lord, we had to start walking.

On Paul, Silas, and Timothy's journey in Acts they set out together to go preach the gospel of Jesus and were guided along as they went. A lot of the time when I remember this story I visualize a game of pong…A consistantly moving ball that is blocked and bounced in a different direction over and over again.  After being kept by the Spirit from preaching the gospel in Asia the three came up to Mysia and attmepted to go into Bithynia, but again the Holy Spirit denied them. So they passed by and went down to Troas when Paul received the Macedonian call which lead to the realization that God had called them to preach the gospel in Macedonia. There is such a valuble lesson to be learned here! These three didn't just sit, passionately twiddling their thumbs and waiting for a deep booming voice to tell them they were to go to Macedonia-they went! They began walking and seizing each opportunity and were not discouraged when the Lord's hand softly came down to turn them around-like a ball bouncing across the screen one way until guided another.  

Justin and I knew we needed to start walking in order for doors to close and to be 'bounced' in another direction…so we began packing, with no plan-only a stack of cardboard boxes, and Faith.

By God's sweet, sweet, provision a door has opened in Southwest Florida near where I grew up with a time constraint that will allow us a month between graduation and his first day there. The new plan is that Justin and I will be flying out to southern California on Monday May, 14th to visit family and friends and simply unwind for almost an entire month. After this we will come back to Fort worth to gather our things from a storage unit, load them into a moving truck, and head down to Southwest Florida.

We're so grateful for all of your prayers and want to assure our close friends that we haven't been keeping anyone in the dark-all these changes are as sudden to us as they are to you! They were not, however, sudden to God and we're praising the Lord every day for a Savior who is never surprised.


Homemade Cleaning!

Don't get me wrong, I never had anything against homemade cleaners...but for some reason I always just thought I wouldn't be saving enough to make up for my trouble. Boy was I wrong.

Here are five of my favorite homemade cleaners, their recipes, and printable labels for when you make your own!

WARNING: Feel free to tweak recipes (I know I do!) But don't ever MIX ammonia and bleach! The fumes can be extremely hazardous to your health!

Note: These are all written for 24oz Bottles, Divide or Double (etc.) as needed

Blessing 'in a Bottle

12 oz. of White Vinegar
12 oz. of Dawn Dish soap
1 tsp. of Laundry Detergent

also known as "kitchen Magic" This stuff will get through anything, make your sink and shower shine like new, and save you when just about nothing else works. The laundry detergent is optional-I add it simply to cover some of the vinegar smell!

Window Cleaner

1 oz. of White Ammonia
4 oz. of Rubbing Alcohol
1 drop of Laundry Detergent
Fill remaining space with Water
 This is streak free, just like we like it. You can add a few drops of blue food coloring if you want it to resemble windex more (since it's mostly WATER), but there's truly no need~I've actually found I like this more than windex!

Air & Fabric Freshener

1 oz. of Scented Fabric Softener
2 Tbs. Baking Soda
Fill remaining space with Water
This is a 'fake febreze' recipe that I love! It has the fabric softener for scent (which you can buy in so many more cents than fabreze!) and the baking soda for odor elimination. The coloring will come from whatever hue your softener contains. Again, most of this is JUST WATER, amazing how much we're spending for a few ounces of cleaner and a bottle full of water, huh?

Bleach Cleaner

2 oz of Bleach
1 tsp. Laundry detergent
Fill the remaining space with Water
Because everyone needs a bleach cleaner!

The Cure-All

5 oz. of Rubbing Alcohol
3 oz. of White Vinegar
1 tsp. of Laundry Detergent
1 tsp. of White Ammonia 
2 drops of Essential Oil
Fill the remaining space with Water
This is kind of my "Multi-purpose, Multi-surface" Cleaner. I've added Essential oils to the recipe which make it smell nice and threw in a few drops of food coloring to separate it from the two other clear cleaners. I go through this probably the most out of any of them (as most of us do with our multi-purpose cleaners). Again, again, again-I'm so amazed with how much of this is water!!

Use Avery shipping labels to stick directly onto spray bottle: Template 5163

Everyone Please Read!! Update January 2013: 
Alrighty everyone, listen up! I've gotten literally over 100 emails, comments, and messages about where I purchased these bottles so I'm going to put it in one place here, lol!

The process of finding cute bottles was not easy, but the way I ended up doing it could not be any more convenient! I looked online for spray bottles around 25-30oz and there's lots of them, but you have to buy them in bulk, if you chose to pay a 'small order' fee, it often ends up at almost $7 a bottle a the least! I wasn't willing to sacrifice the sleek bottle look (because I hate the retail industrial cleaning bottles you can buy at the store) so what I ended up doing was simply going to target and getting 6 method cleaners when they were on price cut (which totaled less than 10 dollars). I then used a few empty milk jugs to store the cleaner from five of them and have since used this jug to refill the one cleaner over the last year. I removed the labels from the remaining empty bottles and used them for my home made cleaners. 

Short answer: Go to the store and find a bottle you like, buy six of them, empty five, and use those :) Some of you want these bottles specifically so I'd advise going to target, and pick up any of their 28 oz 'method' cleaners.

Happy cleaning!

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Nothin' a little paint can't fix

My husband mercilessly teases me as we drive by our complex's dumpster or we pass a pile of precariously stacked rejects on the side of the road when my eyebrows raise and my head turns clear around as I examine the potential treasures. Every once in a while, I'll find something I'm genuinely excited about, so lets get to work!

This was originally purposed as an entertainment center base, the TV sat on top with room on either side for displaying items. Provided underneath is a nice spot for consoles and hidden storage on either side. My hope was to make this into a bench to place against a lonely part of our wall and provide casual seating in our itty bitty living area!
It was a nice wood that, all things considered, was in reasonable shape but the first thing I noticed about this was the intricate detailing on the cabinet doors and around the border.

Unfortunately, intricate detail means intricate dust placement! All that white on the left is dust buildup from who knows how long...so I got a thin cleaning cloth, a toothpick, pledge, popped in a movie and got to work.

Once dusting was all finished, I lightly sanded some spots and then I broke out the paintbrushes and learned that intricate detail not only meant intricate dusting, but intricate painting!! At this point it had been hours, but I was so excited at how it was coming along that I didn't mind!! I went for black for a few different reasons-1. the wood grain I found it in matched nothing in our house 2. Most of our accent pieces are black and 3. Giving an older piece with antique cutouts a fresh coat of paint can bring it a whole new look-I was so happy with the sleek look the black gave it, while still preserving its character!

Part 2: The Cushion

After measuring and determining how much fabric I would need, I pressed creases into the fabric in three x's and got to work pinning them!

After doing a double hem on all of them I decided to add a black accent stitch to pull the cushion and the bench together visually.

Using button molds and black fabric, I got to work cutting and making matching fabric buttons to place in the center of each X that I'd just stitched into the cushion cover

Also, with the developing plan of making black pillows to throw on top, I made a few buttons out of the tan fabric to have ready for me.

After a lot of sewing the cushion was made and stuffed! On went the black buttons!!

Adding pillows to the top wasn't at all in my original plan, but once seeing the cushion without them the space didn't feel as inviting as I was hoping for. So using the black fabric (Same exact fabric, different color), I threw together two small throw pillows for accent and coupled them with a statement pillow to pull the color scheme of the room and the black & tan bench all together.

I love the open section in the middle for displaying little things and then the closed cabinets-because who in the word doesn't like pretty storage?!

Could this have easily been done without going through the trouble of painting it? Of course. But there's just something about a fresh coat of paint that completely revives an old piece of furniture and gives it a whole new look, check it out!!

So here's the finished product, I'm so incredibly happy with it and it's quite seriously one of my most prized DIY's!