A big, huge overdue update

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First things first; I believe an apology is in order.  I’m so sorry that I have been absent from Crafty Cobras for so long! A few things have happened since the last post.

I got a new job. I am working in retirement services now. Thankfully I’m still able to do children’s theatre and able to continue to do community theatre projects around Jacksonville. It was a big change and preparing for the job took a long time.

I got in a car accident, and a friend got into a near fatal car accident. In September of last year I was in a car accident that totaled my car. It was scary, and it was as I was on my way to my final dress rehearsal for Young Frankenstein. Thankfully the only thing that was hurt in that accident was my car. Cars are replaceable humans are not. A few days into the run of Young Frankenstein the woman playing Inga got into a horrible car accident and was in the hospital for many weeks. One of our performances became a benefit for her and we sent love and gifts to her as much as possible. I am happy to say now that she has made a fantastic recovery and we will be in Les Mis together this summer!

I’ve gone on quite a few fantastic vacations these past few months. Disney World, cruises, and staycations galore.

My brother got married! My brother and his lovely lady were married on the Carnival Fascination on January 25th of this year. The wedding was lovely and we got to go on a cruise afterward!

Now probably the biggest piece of information for this update would be the fact that I’M ENGAGED! John proposed to me on December 21st of 2013! It was one of the most magical days of my life, but more on that later.

I just finished a run of a play called Dirty Blonde, by Claudia Sheer and I play Jo and Mae West! It was an absolute blast and I got to use some of my crafty cobra tips when painting the floor for the set.  As well as make some really adorable opening night present!

This past weekend has marked the beginning of wedding planning, and restyling my nieces room! I’ll have photos of that soon! Image

I am so excited to be back blogging and I can’t wait to share a lot of new crafts with you!

The Change Up

Making your home customizable for the seasons.

I can’t ever make up my mind about what I want my house to look like, so having the ability to change things often is something I need.

Here are a few ways that I can have signature style that changes all the time!

1) Invest in picture rails. I have a lot of picture rails up in my living room and bedroom so I can swap out artwork. I even have dedicated artwork for Christmas versus, between holidays. They are a much better alternative to putting a ton of holes in your wall as well.

2) Clothes pins aren’t just for clothes anymore. I have a lot of instagram prints in my home and I hang them on lines of yarn and twine from tiny clothespins. I can change them often and I like to make it customizable for when people come over!

3) Take a leap and add chalkboard paint to a wall or a chalkboard. This is infinitely customizable. I’m so excited about the holidays and getting to add art for each one.

4) Throw pillows for all your moods, throw pillows are a fun way to add a pop of color or a funky print to a space. Don’t be afraid to swap out for seasons, or just because!

What ways do you customize your home? Do you have any fun holiday décor?

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Get it Together Closet

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So when we were moving from a small studio to a two bedroom we were faced with a lot more space than we were used to. So we didn’t bother throwing things out when packing. We were only moving down the street and we just wanted to get it done. Everything went into boxes and when it came to unpacking, I quickly figured out that we were going to have a junk closet. We didn’t even unpack a lot of the boxes. We just threw them into the closest.  Then when we couldn’t cram anything else in there we started putting excess into John’s closet.

Fast forward to now. When we got the apartment, I elected to take the hallway closet. It had a lot of shelving and a decent amount of hanging space and I thought I could really make it work.

Well, blog friends I have a lot of clothes and shoes. Soon that hallway closet wasn’t enough. My closet would be full and I had laundry baskets full of clean clothes with no place to go. So I asked John very nicely if we could switch closets (his is a little bigger), but he asked me where all the extra junk that we were storing in his closet was going to go. The hallway closet would be the perfect size for all his clothes, but would not accommodate the extra stuff that just accumulates in my apartment.

It was time. I moved to organize and consolidate the junk closet.

Now I’m new to blogging and I didn’t realize how post-worthy this little adventure was until I was finished so I don’t have before pictures of the closet.

The first thing we needed to tackle in the closet situation was the fact that there was no light. Well, there was a light but it was unreachable. When my last neighbors took their doors they also took the pull strings for a bunch of the lights in the place too. So kind.

So we eventually after much consideration, moved the pull cord from the bedroom into the closet, and I made a new pull cord for the bedroom from some heavy duty thin rope.

Then I saw what we were working with.

A bunch of junk.

We started to make piles.

Things to keep. Things to sell. Things to return to their owners. Things to throw out.

Spoiler Alert: we didn’t keep a lot.

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The things I learned from this:

Take the time when you’re moving to really evaluate what you need and don’t need. To some extent we all hoard things.  Don’t be afraid to throw things out. And if you have multiples of things like say 20 Ethernet cords figure out how many is appropriate to keep, discard the broken ones and give the others away.

I was shocked at how many things I ‘borrowed’ from my mom or John’s mom that we never used. Exercise equipment, vacuums (neither of the two we borrowed worked for our space), routers, etc.
We gave it all back. It was taking up precious space.  And we weren’t using it.

Consolidating is your friend. I was able to get Christmas down to 2 boxes and a tree box.

Throwing stuff away feels good.  I didn’t feel bad about it like I did when we were moving. I hadn’t looked at these things in 8 months.

We can actually sell some of these things. John has welders tools that he’s never going to use again, but he can sell them used to someone else who is taking a welding class in Jax.

We were so inspired we got everything out of John’s closet that wasn’t clothes AND organized our tool cabinet and hallway medicine/towel cabinet.

So that brings me to our project for next weekend.

Ikea and I will meet again. Hopefully this time I won’t sit crying in the sofa section like last time… (I told you that place is overwhelming)

We are going to get some RAST dressers and give em the ole IKEA hack.  The dressers will be the last piece before I transfer closets. I should then FINALLY have space for everything and John will get a new set of drawers too.

I’m so excited to share the whole process with you. Sorry if this post was too long about organizing but I’m just so excited to have found space in my apartment for things.

Quick Tips: Keeping the Couch in Line

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John and I are gearing up for another big project this weekend, so this week is dedicated to sharing little tidbits about our apartment.

One of the final things left for our apartment is area rugs and curtains. I’m sort of kicking myself because I didn’t take advantage of a HUGE sale at rugsusa.com . It was an awesome sale, I missed out. I’m a little sad about it, but I’ll keep waiting and watching for another sale.

Well that being said we do not have a rug in our living room, and we got some new couches in December.

My life slowly became pushing the couch back where it belonged. After sitting on it, it would inevitably be too far back or tilted at an angle and it was getting SO frustrating. I was starting to get worried about our floors, they weren’t in the best shape when we moved in and I wanted to keep them as nice as possible.

I started researching options on google and amazon. The dura-grip non-slip pads were something like 20 dollars and it was a lot considering I was planning on getting a rug eventually anyway.

Enter my obsession with dollar store crafts and organizers.

So in the kitchen section I found these gripper pads.

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And you know what? They come in packs of 4 for a dollar and they look just like the things I saw on google and amazon for way more money.

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And the best part? They work AMAZING. The couch hasn’t moved an inch. They work so well that when John and I tried to slide the couch out of the way for the wall project we couldn’t! We had to pick it up and move the gripper pads out of the way so we could move it more easily.

Success! This is such a great option. They also sell full liner sheets like this for cabinets and I am definitely thinking about using those as a rug pad when we finally take the plunge and get an area rug.

 

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Let’s Build a Wall Part 3: A Nice Frame to Hang on.

This post is brought to you by the letter B, for Boyfriend.

John wrote the steps in this section;

Steps for a Great Set of Doors

1.     First step is to figure out what size you want your doors to be, height, length and width.

2.     Draw a blueprint of the door.  Even though it is simple, this step always helps me.  Important: Do NOT forget to account for the width of the wood when drawing out your frame, and measure your masonite so you can assure that you are building it appropriately.  Hardware stores materials are typically a bit bigger than they quote on the signs, so you can make a couple of cuts and still get what you are looking for, so ensure the materials you are buying match your desired dimensions.

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3.     Lay out all the wood and start putting it all together.  Use wood glue and the appropriate sized screws or staples, depending on your wood length.  We used 2” x 2” wood (which is actally 1 1/2” x 1 1/2”), so 3” drywall screws worked out great.  Try to build it as square as possible.

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4.     It should be relatively stable, but don’t worry if it does not feel overly secure at this time.

5.     Apply a layer of glue to the top and lay down the smooth masonite, so  you won’t have to look at ugly framing on the backside.

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6.     Attach using screws/staples, which shouldn’t be terribly big, as the masonite will only be  1/8” -1/4” inch at its thickest.  Important: make sure your door is square.  The masonite is really what is going to hold this together.  Pro tip: when making sure the door is square, start on either the top or the bottom first, and then work your way to the sides.  It’s much easier to move your frame to make the door square when you have the length working in your favor.

7.     Have your amazing girlfriend distress the brick masonite to make it look super realistic.

8.     Install the brick masonite on the other side of the frame, taking care to make sure that the bricks will line up as you like it.

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9.     Install the hardware; the D-rings on the top (3-4 per door, depending on width), the casters on the bottom (2 per door), and any handles that you’re looking for.

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10.  Insert pipe into D-rings, install elbows and flanges.

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11.  Screw flanges into wall.

12.  Enjoy!

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Isn’t he great!? He did the big stuff on this project. I got to do the brick! But it was a team effort and it paid off!

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Let’s Build a Wall Part 2: Another Brick in the Wall

So I was a little overjoyed when I found out that Lowe’s sold brick Masonite textured sheets at 25 bucks a pop.

The only problem with these is that they look a little like this:

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And I wanted my brick to look a little more like this:

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So I spent much of my Saturday distressing some brick

Here are the things you’re going to need:

  1. –          Faux Brick Masonite
  2. –          White paint
  3. –          Black Paint
  4. –          Brown Paint
  5. –          A textured dollar store sponge
  6. –          A spray bottle
  7. –          Warm Water
  8. –          A tiny drop of vinegar
  9. –          Paper towels.
  10. –          Foam brushes
  11. –          Small paint brush
  12. –          Paper plates for mixing

 

I wanted the bricks to look like they had that the worn white cement in between so I set out outlining the bricks in an off-white/brown/grey mix that I concocted carefully by just adding and mixing on a paper plate. Then I applied it to the gaps between the bricks with a foam brush and sometimes a small paint brush.

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I didn’t mind if some lines were bigger than others because it looks way more natural and less processed that way. I let that dry, which didn’t take long in a very air conditioned apartment.

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Then I went on to making the bricks look old.

Listen, there are a lot of tutorials on this out there… And I’ve watched/read a lot of them. But most of the processI learned from scenic painting so I encourage you to look at all the ways before you try this yourself.  Most of the tutorials I found made the bricks look too white. I bought red brick panels because I still wanted some red brick to show through. But some enjoy the white washed brick approach so try em all!

Because I had our brick sheets cut down to 3×8 rather than 4 x 8 I had some pieces to try a few techniques out on before moving on to the main pieces for the door.

The first technique I tried was with a make your own spray paint mixture in a dollar store travel spray bottle.  And then apply it by spraying and moving it around with a plastic bag. It looked ok, but it just wasn’t natural enough.

Then I picked up the same mixture I used for the cement in between the bricks and used the foam brush to put on a lot in one place. Then I grabbed the sponge and a spray bottle and put warm water plus a drop of vinegar. I sprayed the water on my paint mixture and used the sponge to move it pretty far across the bricks. If I wanted more brick to show I’d use a paper towel to wipe excess paint away and show more red brick. I left some areas untouched and some with a lot of white.

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Also I used my hands. Don’t be afraid to get messy!

 

I’m pretty pleased with the result.

Hope this was helpful!

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Let’s Build a Wall: A Living Room Reveal

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So as promised I worked on a rather large project this weekend.  When I was touring my apartment, there was a pair of French doors that were in the opening between the living room and the den. I liked the possibilities we had with those. Well, when I moved in last November the doors were not there. It turns out the people that were living there moved to my landlord’s building next door with the same layout and took the doors with them. So I had a big two door sized opening. That was all well and good, but when we started watching movies in the morning on the weekend the glare on the TV was intense.

And thus a project was born.

Here’s a photo of the doors that went missing:
Living Room Before[2]

And this is what that wall has looked like for the last 8 months:

K&J at home[2]

Initially for this project I had a lot of ideas and simple fixes. We’ve been in the apartment long enough that we knew we needed to be able to use that space if we wanted, but block out the sun when we wanted a dark movie atmosphere as well.

I thought about just getting a tension rod and a set of curtains, but I did that in my apartment in college and the curtains would often get wrinkled, or stay closed for long periods of time and I didn’t think it fit our space.

I also thought about using a room divider screen. The problem is those can get expensive and most of them weren’t tall enough. I liked a few but I also felt like I didn’t know where I could store it when we weren’t using the divider.

And of course I thought about just recreating the door look all together. But the cheapest doors that would look appropriate in the space were $140.00 each. I understand now why my neighbors held onto theirs.

So for a while I was at a standstill, I knew I wanted a way to cover up the opening, but also leave it open. Then I started seeing all these sliding barn door tutorials popping up online.

Add that to my love for loft apartments with exposed brick walls and you then have the inspiration I needed.

I’m going to make a sliding brick wall.

Yep it sounds crazy. And after the amount of work John and I put into it, it is crazy.

Now I was inspired by the many bloggers I’ve seen who have made that faithful trip to Lowe’s to buy sheets of faux brick Masonite. And I like them did the exact same thing.

But I am an equal opportunity home improvement store shopper so we also went to Home Depot for a number of finishing touches.

Now I’m going to show you what this looks like. And if you want to endeavor in this project it is going to be in a few parts because there is a lot going on:  distressing brick,building a frame and hanging a sliding barn door.

This isn’t the thriftiest project I’ve done either. The price for the 2 sheets of brick Masonite, and the regular Masonite cost about 80 dollars. Plus the amount it cost for the other materials was about another 80 so we are looking at a $160 dollar sliding wall project. But if you compare that to the very large price tag on the sliding barn door kit : http://www.amazon.com/NW-Artisan-Hardware-NW-1-Sliding/dp/B00A2BZRZK $230.00 I feel like I saved a little. Plus that track is only 6 feet and mine is 10. And I got to make it brick. So there.

The wall closed, before furniture.

The wall closed, before furniture.

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Next up how to distress faux brick. (the Crafty Cobra way)

And this project called attention to how empty those walls are! I’ll be filling those up with art soon!

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