Friday, February 22, 2013

DIY Home: Fireplace Mantle Shelf

Have I mentioned yet that I love my new apartment and its fireplace? I didn't, however, love the fact that there wasn't a mantle shelf above it. Girl's gotta have a place to put all her fancy art (well, once I get some...)!

To make matters worse, it's not only an awkward length that apparently no pre-made shelfs would fit, but there also weren't any studs in the wall to hang it from anyways. So, I just had to make one.
Super tall ceilings + no shelf + no art = boooooring!

SO much better!

What you need:
Wood board
Shelf brackets
Studfinder (if no studs, get screws specifically for drywall installation)
Stain and/or varnish

What you do:
1) Measure your fireplace width, then add a few inches on either side. I only added 5, so that it would end right over the brackets on either end, and not extend beyond the edges.

2) Determine how deep you want your shelf to be. Keep in mind that if your fireplace is relatively small  like mine, you don't want a huge shelf to totally overwhelm it.

3) Pick out the type of wood you want, and get it cut down to size (yay Home Depot!). I chose Aspen since I liked how light it was and I knew I wouldn't be applying a stain.

4) Since most freshly cut pieces of wood look something like this...

...lightly sand your new shelf. Stain and varnish if desired (I didn't since it's so darn cold outside and you DO NOT want to have all those fumes inside).
Oops, kind of over-sanded that corner... but at least no splinters!

5) Install your brackets, ensuring they're level and that you're drilling into studs. While this isn't super important for small pictures, screwing into a stud is essential for any heavy/load-bearing wall items like shelves.

6) Place your board on top of the brackets and attach using small screws. These are really just to keep the shelf from sliding off the brackets, so don't need to be super duper heavy duty.
Pro-tip: don't completely tighten each screw one at a time. Partially screw them all in, then go around and tighten them all gradually.

7) Place art and DIYed match bottles (look, I made another one!) and a giant calendar on your new shelf. It's obviously a bit bare right now, but hey, art will definitely be DIYed in the near future!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Beauty Tips: Lipstick

I am NOT a lipstick kind of girl. It makes me so sad because lipstick looks so unbelievably fabulous on other girls/women, but it looks like a cruel joke on me. Which sucks especially bad in the month of love and red and hearts and sparkles... So my beauty goal this spring is to conquer (or at least not cower in fear from) lipstick!

From my research thus far, here's a few of my favorite lip DIYs and tutorials:

A guide to lipstick shades from Liz at Cotton & Curls

How to prep your lips for the perfect lipstick from Stephanie at Henry Happened

Another Henry Happened favorite, this time a great list of lipstick tutorials and colors

An awesome red lips tutorial video

And of course, I have to give a shout-out to one of my old college friends, who just started a beauty Tumblr. She is not one to shy away from drama (she is an actress after all), so her lipstick choices are always spot-on.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

DIY: Valentine's Dreamcatcher

I've always felt a weird aversion to theme-y DIYs. They always look so cute in pictures, but so horribly  cheesy in my living room. So I tend to avoid them like the plague.

Buuuuut with all of these sparkly things leftover from projects past, I couldn't help myself. Especially since it would make for such a horrible pun about catching the man of my dreams for Valentine's... But I'll try to restrain myself....

What you need:
Embroidery thread or yarn
Rhinestones and beads
Embroidery hoop

What you do:
1) Tie thread around the edges of the embroidery hoop at random.

2) String some beads or rhinestones along some of the threads. I had rhinestones that had two holes, so I used two threads to suspend a couple, and then let a couple hang down. You could also tie knots on either side of the bead to keep them in place.

3) Wrap some thread around the embroidery hoop if desired.

4) Glue all the loose ends to the back of the hoop.

5) Hang up! Hint: Oh look, a preview of an upcoming apartment decor post :)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

DIY Home Inspiration: Wall Decals

My apartment has 20 foot ceilings in the living room, so I've been looking for a giant piece of art to put above my mantle to fill all that space. Unfortunately, art pieces that big are slightly outside my budget. Okay, so what about wall decals?

I've always thought wall decals were a little tacky. Most are flowers, butterflies, or "inspirational quotes" with the words "live, laugh, love" somehow incorporated. Booooooring.

And then came Blik. I'm going to thrift a giant cheap frame, take everything out of it, hang the frame above my mantle, slap one of these (surprisingly affordable) beauties inside it, and I've got myself a statement piece of art.

Or how about using these bad boys as a headboard or mirror frame? So. In. Love.

For all the old school video game geeks out there (woohoo!) they also have huuuuge Super Mario BrosPacmanAsteroids, and Space Invader wall decals. Still don't see anything you'd like? That's alright, cause you can just DESIGN YOUR OWN.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

DIY: Matchstick Bottle

You know those times when the name you come up with for something is not nearly as awesome as the thing itself is? Yeah, this is another one of those times. I've been going through matches like crazy recently since I moved into my new fireplaced apartment, and their box isn't exactly display-worthy. So I made a matchstick bottle with a built-in strike surface.

What you need:
Matches and their box
Any ol' bottle (I actually used a soap dispenser I found for cheap at Target)
A cap or cork of some sort

What you do:
1) Cut the striking bit off the matchbox.

2) Glue it onto the bottom of the bottle, being careful not to get glue on the actual striking surface.

3) Once dry, fill the bottle with matches.

4) Top it off with the cork and you're good to go! I can't wait to DIY a mantle above my fireplace so this guy will have a real home (currently living on my new-to-me entertainment center). It's in the works!