Curbly Bookworm: DIY Ideas, Projects and Tips for Every Room

by DIY Maven

 

Curbly Bookworm: DIY Ideas, Projects and Tips for Every Room

The new title from Better Homes and Gardens, DIY Ideas, Projects and Tips for Every Room (Wiley, 264 pages) is so jam-packed with amazing photos, tips and projects, I’m not sure where to begin. Seriously. When I first opened the book I immediately suffered from inspiration overload. My problem was trying to take it all in at once. Not good. Better would have been to approach this incredible wealth of information 

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Curbly Bookworm: "Recycled Home" by Rebecca Proctor

by DIY Maven

Curbly Bookworm: "Recycled Home" by Rebecca Proctor

From blankets to bowls to wallpaper to teepees (yes, teepees), Rebecca Proctor's new book single-handily revises "make do and mend"  to "make do and recycle." Entitled, RECYCLED HOME, Transforming Your Home Using Salvaged Materials, the book has something for every skill level who has a penchant for re-use. Divided into seven sections (Living, Sleeping, Bathing Dining Utility, Kids and Outdoors), the 50 featured projects are complete with concise directions and full-color pictures. Here's a project that caught my, an Upcycled Chair Seat, as I have a chair that is in need of a new woven seat (plus, I love the dangly bits):

created at: 08/27/2012

Although the chair seat is on my to-do list, there was one project that we had to make and immediately. That is the Scrap-Wood Bathtub Caddy. The arrival of Rebecca's books was serendipitous as I had been looking for bathtub caddies just the day before. (No kidding!) The chrome versions clock in at around 100 to 150 bucks, a price that put me off the idea. Then came the book. I knew exactly what scrap wood we were going to use too. Some leftover ipe from a prior Curbly project. Here's what Rebecca's Scrap-Wood Bathtub Caddy looks like, but to see mine (which we made for a standard tub) and to get the instructions on HOW TO BUILD ONE YOURSELF check back in a few hours (the post is coming!):

created at: 08/22/2012

Ms. Proctor's book, RECYCLED HOME, Transform Your Home Using Salvaged Materials, will be available in September 2012 and can be pre-ordered at Laurence King for $19.95 or at Amazon for $13.97, where it's currently available for free super saver shipping. 

 

 

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How to: Make a Modern, Minimalist Bird Feeder

by DIY Maven

How to: Make a Modern, Minimalist Bird Feeder

As soon as I spotting this bird feeder in Fern Richardson's beautiful, new book Small-Space Container Gardens, I immediately had to ask her publisher, Timber Press, if I could share it with my fellow Curbliers. Okay, yeah, it's a bird feeder and Fern's book is about small space gardening, but she does devote an entire chapter on attracting birds, bees and butterflies to tiny gardens. So there. Now, on to the tutorial!"The simple, clean lines of this square bird feeder make a classy contrast to all the vibrant, wildlife-friendly plants. A paint job inspired by artist Piet Mondrian’s black and primary color palette would add another level to the minimalist theme. Regardless of how pleasing the end results are to the human eye, remember that birds will only show their enthusiasm when the feeder is stocked with delectable seed."

 Supplies

  • 4 (1-foot) lengths 1 x 2 wood
  • 4 (1-1/2-inch) galvanized screws
  • Linseed oil
  • Multi-surface heavy duty glue, such as Gorilla Glue
  • Small ceramic pot without a drainage hole
  • 1 hook bolt
  • Birdseed

 Method

1. Screw the 4 pieces of 1 x 2 wood together to make a square frame.

2. Seal the wood with linseed oil.

3. Run a bead of glue around the bottom inner edge of the ceramic pot. Place the pot in the center of the bottom of the frame and wiggle gently to make sure there is good contact between the glue, the pot, and the wood frame. Allow the glue to completely harden before proceeding.

4. Screw the hook bolt into the top of the frame, directly above the pot. Add birdseed to the ceramic pot and hang the feeder outside. Enjoy watching birds discover your feeder!

To see more great projects like this one, pick up a copy of Fern's book Small-Space Container Gardens at Amazon for about $14. 

created at: 04/23/2012
 

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Bookworm: The Beginner's Guide to Growing Heirloom Vegetables

by DIY Maven

Bookworm: The Beginner's Guide to Growing Heirloom Vegetables

Don't let the title of Marie Iannotti's new title from Timber Press fool you. Her guide for growing all that is heirloom is perfect for the beginner and the experienced gardener alike. However, if you are a beginner to this variety of vegetables, you might wonder just what an heirloom vegetable is. According to Ms. Iannotti, there are three requirements that must be fulfilled

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Bookworm: Handmade Garden Projects + BONUS Cocktail Table How-to!

by DIY Maven

Bookworm: Handmade Garden Projects + BONUS Cocktail Table How-to!

Lorene Edwards Forkner’s book Handmade Garden Projects is filled with  step-by-step instructions for over two dozen projects that will keep you busy for this growing season and beyond. Featherweight planters (made of peat and cement), vinyl wall flowers (made of LPs), a vintage-y outdoor chandelier (made of wire edging), a pergola (made of plumbing pipes) and much more, there’s something for every garden and every DIYer. You can snag it right now at Amazon for about $14.

 With the permission of Ms. Forkner’s publisher, Timber Press, we’re pleased as punch to share two original projects from Handmade Garden Projects. The first is this Gabion-Style Cocktail Table. 

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10 Minute Makeover with Murals Your Way

by DIY Maven

10 Minute Makeover with Murals Your Way

Wall murals have come a long way since the 1970s. Back then they were basically flimsy sheets of wall paper applied with glue. Flash forward to the 20 double digits. Now we can find them made of heavy-duty vinyl with peel & stick repostionable backings like those from Murals Your Way. 

First, let's take care of a little business. Murals Your Way has a HUGE collection of murals from which to choose. They have countless pre-made images you can customize

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Curbly Bookworm: DIY Furniture: A Step-by-Step Guide

by DIY Maven

Curbly Bookworm: DIY Furniture: A Step-by-Step Guide

Don't let the unassuming title or cover of industrial designer and artist Christopher Stuart's new book, DIY Furniture: A Step-by-Step Guide fool you. The work is filled with some of the most interesting DIY furniture I've ever seen--and I've seen a lot. Chris collected 30 projects from the best designer-makers out there and put them into the collection that includes projects for every room in your home, and they're all constructed of supplies...

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First Impressions: Milwaukee 12amp Sawzall Reciprocating Saw

by Bruno Bornsztein

First Impressions: Milwaukee 12amp Sawzall Reciprocating Saw
Ok, so I know I'm late to the game getting a reciprocating saw, and if you already own one or know everything about them, mosey along. But Alicia's been getting after me to get rid of these ugly metal pipe laundry line posts in our back yard, and today I finally decided to do it. 

Now, for any job there are lots of tools that will work, and usually one or two that are perfect for the task. In this case, I decided on getting a reciprocating saw...

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Test Lab: Work Sharp 3000 Tool Sharpener Review

by Chris Gardner

Test Lab: Work Sharp 3000 Tool Sharpener Review

After hanging out in the DIY scene for a few years, I've realized something: a lot of creative projects are simply involve cutting or shaping raw materials and then putting them back together again. Of course, there are "from the ground up" projects, like painting or crochet, but sewing, cooking, woodworking, paper crafting, and many more require means to break down materials like wood, fabric, or vegetables into specific shapes before putting them back together in the way you want.

created at: 11/09/2011
And that, friends, requires sharp tools. Any time you use a blade, you break down the edge, twisting the metal out, dulling it and making it less useful. Even cutting regular paper with scissors. 
created at: 11/09/2011
But here's the thing - not only are sharp blades more effective, they're actually safer. So, having sharp tools, like scissors, kitchen knives, carving tools, saw blades, chisels, and paper cutters allows you to work faster, and cut yourself less. 

Enter the Work Sharp 3000.

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Curbly Bookworm: Crazy for Cake Pops

by DIY Maven

Curbly Bookworm: Crazy for Cake Pops

Imagine this: On the eve of your 29th birthday you lose your job. What do you do? Well, if you're Molly Bakes you stay up until one in the morning baking and frosting 30 cupcakes for your friends. That evening proved pivotal for Molly, as it was the beginning of a love affair for baking and a new career.

Soon thereafter, she began selling cupcakes in Brick Lane Market in London's East side. It was then she came to another turning point. She discovered

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Our Porch Floor Makeover: A Wagner EZ Tilt Paint Sprayer Review

by Bruno Bornsztein

Our Porch Floor Makeover: A Wagner EZ Tilt Paint Sprayer Review

A couple of weeks ago, the people at Wagner (they're based in nearby Plymouth, MN) sent me one of their new EZ Tilt Spray Painters (if you're looking for one, you can buy it here on Amaazon) to try out. We had been planning on re-painting our porch floor, so we decided to put it to the test and get a minor project out of the way at the same time. Read on to see how it went.

The Wagner EZ Tilt paint sprayer
   

Paint sprayers break down into two categories; cup-fed and hose-fed. The hose-fed sprayers are more expensive, and the gun connects to a hose, which pulls paint from a remote source. The cup sprayers have a little cup that attaches to the sprayer body, and the paint goes in there. They're cheaper, and somewhat more maneuverable since you're not tethered by a hose. The downside is, the cup is small, so you have to refill more often.

The EZ tilt sprayer (I had the EZ Tilt Plus) has a flexible suction tube that sits in the 1-quart-capactiy paint cup and turns with gravity so it's always submerged in the paint. That means you can spray at any angle (in our case, vertical was especially nice) without having paint splatter (splatter happens in other cup-sprayers when the nozzle is partially out of the paint). 

The EZ Tilt makes it possible to spray at any angle.

(We started by clearing the porch off and hosing it down; the amount of black grime streaming off of things was tremendous)

Cleaning the porch off

I bet our neighbors just love us (Hi Matt! Hi Sally!):

All our porch stuff; off the porch.

Preparation:

You're going to be shooting atomized paint particles around, and they're not likely to stay exactly where you tell them to, so preparing the work area is really important. This isn't like brushing or rolling, where, if you mis-paint, you can always just go back and touch something up. If your paint spray drifts over onto something you don't intend to paint, the whole thing will have an impercebtible tinge of paint on it. I used plastic to cover the stucco of the home's exterior wall, and paper on the porch wainscoting:

Prepping the work area.

DON'T DO THIS! I actually had another 100 feet of plastic just sitting there, waiting for me, but I opted for the paper instead (on the right side). Mistake! More on that later.

Spraying:

In practice, I found the EZ Tilt really easy and fast to use. I haven't used other sprayers before, so I can't really compare, but the EZ Tilt gave me a nice, even coat, great coverage, and little overspray. I practiced for about 5 minutes on a piece of sheetrock, and was able to get the hang of it right away. As advertised, it had no problem spraying while pointed straight down at the floor. It did, however, splatter a little bit when the paint cup got close to empty (I assume more sprayers will do that). So you have to keep an eye on your paint level and refill before you get to the bottom.

Spraying is extremely fast; I did one coat on our porch floor (about 8x30 feet) in under five minutes. Of course, that speed is offset by the extra preparation you need to do to use a paint sprayer. I spent at least a half hour taping and putting up plastic on the walls. Don't even think about using one of these indoors; it would work fine, but just wouldn't be worth the trouble.

Clean up:

To clean the Wagner EZ Title up, you basically take the whole thing apart, piece by piece, and flush everything with water. The instructions make this look very scary and time-consuming, and the first time, it was. But after you've done it once, it's actually pretty easy, and not nearly as cringe inducing as you'd expect. One my second time cleaning the sprayer, I'd guess I spent about the same amount of time that I would have spent cleaning up paint brushes, rollers and pans. 

Tips:

This is not really specific to the EZ Tilt, but more to spraying in general: cover EVERYTHING you don't want painted with plastic. I made the mistake of skimping on the plastic in a few spots (using just painter's paper instead), and ended up with faint paint spray on the walls. I take full responsibility; it's a paint sprayer - even the tiny amount of breeze will blow neary-invisible poofs of paint around, and you probably won't notice them on the walls until you take the protective paper/tape/plastic down. Seriously; plastic is cheap, go crazy with it.

Another tip: paint on a calm (not breezy) day. Duh.

Finally: don't spray at night, or when your grouchy two-year-old is napping. This thing is pretty loud.

Bottom Line:

The EZ Tilt is a well-designed, well-built paint sprayer that really does spray at any angle. It's compact, easy to clean up, and reasonably affordable (starting at $129 on Amazon). If you're doing a small, detail job, stick to your brushes and rollers, but if you're doing a larger outdoor job (like a porch, deck, or exterior wall/fence), I'd definitely recommend it. You'll save time and get a smoother finish.

(PS - I'd show you an 'after' photo, but frankly, it looks about the same as the 'before' photo ... a gray, painted floor. I could go out a take a picture, but I think you'll have more fun imagining it. Put some unicorns in there for me!)

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Curbly Original
How To: Scherenschnitte with X-ACTO

by DIY Maven

How To: Scherenschnitte with X-ACTO

A few weeks back the folks at X-ACTO offered to send over a few of their items for me to review. My first thought was, "What could I possibly have to say about X-ACTO that my fellow Curbliers don't already know?" My next thought was, "Since I've never actually owned an X-ACTO, I can't really answer that question." I know, I know! How has a chronic DIYer never bought an X-ACTO?! Because such purchases occur to me when I'm at the checkout. You know, where they sell the knock offs for a buck or two. And, honestly, I figured one craft

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Test Lab: Bondera TileMatSet

by DIY Maven

Test Lab: Bondera TileMatSet

created at: 04/06/2011

Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to play with a new tiling product called Bondera TileMatSet. Simply put, Bondera is pressure sensitive sticky back on a roll that eliminates the need for mastic and thin set when tiling walls, countertops or splash-backs. It's billed as VOC free, mess free, and it allows immediate grouting after tile installation. Sounds too good to be true, right? I thought so too. I mean, it's sticky back tape for goodness sake! How's that going to hold heavy tile??

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