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Quick and Easy Desk Organizer Makeover

I seem to have accumulated (through no fault of my own I assure you) a lot of….stuff.  Bits and pieces – parts of grandiose plans that somehow, before they were fully grandios-ed, got supplanted by a different, even better, grandiose plan.

For instance,  a while ago, I got all excited and purchased a bunch of inexpensive desk/organizers that I thought would make great display pieces.

They didn’t.

I’ve just been shuffling them around and thinking “I need to do something with those….someday…….”

And that day has come!

Well…their day came because this was my thought process on Saturday:

(My inner-monologue can be a bit dramatic.)

Anyway, while I was overjoyed to realize I’d already painted one the fact that it was painted flat black threw me until I remembered this dresser that I’d seen a while ago:

I thought that was such a cool effect.

So I grabbed my Waverly Gloss Black paint and a Folk Art Stencil and got to work:

I still have some kind of a weird block about using stencils.  I never want to do it which makes no sense because it’s pretty simple to do and always seems to work just fine.  This was particularly easy and super-quick.  I just taped the stencil in place and tapped away.

(No, I Totally meant to leave the bottom bright yellow and only half-assed paint that front edge.  Why do you ask?)


The stencil worked perfectly and, I am quite sincere when I tell you the whole thing took about 10 minutes.

And now I have this super-cool desk organizer.

……With a totally intentional bright yellow bottom.

And while I probably should have cleaned up the room a bit more before I snapped the photo.  Other aspects of the picture are pretty good!

And, better yet, my friend Karla came over last night, saw the organizer and said “you could totally give that to me and it would be nice.” So I am!


OK, now what to do with the other ones?

Eh, I have a week.  I’ll wait till next Saturday to figure it out.

Disclaimer: The good folks at Plaid provided me with the stencils and paint used on this project but all opinions are my own and was not compensated in any other way.  The links provided are to the Plaid site and are for informational purposes (ie, I don’t get any money if click on them).


Experimenting with Martha Stewart Milk Glass Paint

Committed to keeping my vow to never be as behind as I was this last Holiday Season I spent the week cranking out coasters to build up my in-stock inventory.  They are everywhere!

But I needed a little break yesterday and I wanted an activity that would help to re-energize my creative side.

Happily I had a new box of goodies from the folks at Plaid (I’m a member of their Plaid Ambassador Program)

First out of the box was some Martha Stewart Milk Glass Paint

I was intrigued!

I didn’t have any immediate need for anything milk-glassy but I did have some of those inexpensive little milk bottles they sell at Michaels.  

So grabbed those and got to work.

The instructions give you a few options for application: Soft bristle brush, foam pouncer or you can just kinda pour it on the glass (gravity!).

I didn’t have a pouncer and the gravity thing caused all my “Wasteful! Messy!!!!” alarms to go off (why I’m concerned about being wasteful with a product I got for free is one of the ongoing quirks of my “deep-pockets-short-arms personality disorder).

So I went with the brush.

The paint is easy to work with but it was pretty clear that it was going to take a couple of coats to get good coverage or  a rich color.

It was bluer than it looks in this photo and it darkened a bit as it dried but a second coat was clearly needed.

After repeating the application using the pink and white paints it occurred to me that my little milk bottles would look good in a little holder so I grabbed some scrap  MDF  (1/4 inch) from the shop, cut it down

(that’s a 2.5″ x 9″ base piece, two 1.25×9″ sides and two 1.25×3″ end pieces)

and assembled it using wood glue and my pin nailer

Now you may want to sit down for the shock that is about to come.

After painting my little box I thought: “this little box will need some graphics!!!!”

I know!  You never saw that coming did you………..

Anyway…… while perusing Pinterest I’d seen some fun, old vintage flower and seed boxes so I put together a graphic to add to the side.

Because I was, as always, in a hurry I used my Lenk tool for the transfer. (If you’re new to these parts you can see a tutorial for it here)

And then it was time for the second coat of the Milk Glass paint and I decided to experiment a bit.

For the blue bottle I used the brush again and while the color got richer the brush marks were pretty evident.  The instructions had told me that this was what would happenbut it also wasn’t quite the look I was hoping for.

So, with no pouncer I had to get over my fears/cheapness and give gravity a shot.

I poured the paint on the inside of the pink bottle and swirled it around.  It was impossible to photograph (sorry) but worked quite well.   However, although the paint, once dry, can be hand-washed it can’t be left submerged or sitting in water so pouring paint on the inside kind of limits the usefulness of the bottle.

So I poured the white paint on the outside of the white bottle.  I wasn’t quite as messy as I’d feared but it also clumped a bit as it dried (and was also impossible to photograph)

But, the results are pretty if not quite what I’d imagined.

The colors are great and I think the technique holds promise (and to be fair, switching application styles in the middle is my fault not the paints’).

Bottom line – I liked it but  I’ll have to play around with it some more and report back.

I was, however, very happy with my box!

Back to the factory!

Disclaimer: I’m a Plaid Ambassador and the good folks at Plaid have provided me with the paint I used in this project.  All opinions expressed are my own (clearly) and I received no other compensation and receive no compensation if you click on any links.

From the Mailbag!

I have to tell you the truth.

I kind of live for comments on the blog.  They really make my day and I love the community that we all have created.

And while I read and appreciate every single comment, there are a few select ones that never fail to leave me somewhat perplexed.

I’m talking about Spam.

It’s not all bad.  The spam bots can sometimes be quite encouraging.

For instance, I really feel like Alfie has my back:

And while Amberly’s passion regarding my “About Me” page is a bit overwhelming I do feel like I’ve really made an impact with her:


I truly look forward to hearing more from Bernie.  Although I fear we’ll need to overcome a small language barrier before our pen-pal relationship can truly flower:

And while I knew my feelings about Bondo were heartfelt,  “ to get more coins in pool” (which, btw, sounds like a useful activity to pursue) seems to really be taking it to the next level:



And then there are these words that every blogger longs to hear:

Isn’t that thoughtful?!!!  I wonder what this person’s social media friends are like?  Are they way into Mod Podge? !!!


Ohhh……well….I guess they have time on their hands……but going forward you’ll understand, I hope, if none of my tutorials require the use of a file or craft knife……

But what really makes life worthwhile is knowing that my blog is growing and reaching new people!

For instance, there is this lovely comment from a “first time visitor.”  I’m so glad I could help them and I look forward to seeing how they use my posts to help others!

But, on further investigation I just feel like my content may not line up with their readerships’ interests:

Again, though – it’s really all about community!

That’s all for today folks.  Keep those cards and letters coming!

I Have Triumphed! (Also Happy Valentines Day)

Vintage Valentines Day GarlandSo everyone says the key to a successful blogging relationship is consistency.

Blog regularly. Post on a set schedule.  Always post on the same day.

……Happy Friday everyone!

OK, when last we met I was experiencing some….let’s call them minor hiccups on my road to sliding-drawer kitchen organization nirvana.

I had this.

I wanted this.

But I was thwarted by measuring (not an unusual thwarting for me), math (also not an unusual thwarting vehicle) and, of course, that old cliche – Evil Drawer Slide Manufacturers!

I kept working but somewhere around the middle of last week the drawer and I decided it would be best to see other people for a while and I focused on some other projects.

I put together some new, Classic Hollywood coaster sets for the good folks at Sweet!

I love these vintage Homes of the Stars graphics and I thought they might be fun for all those TCM lovers (they are also available on Etsy and Amazon)Homes of the Stars Vintage Hollywood Drink Coaster SetOld Hollywood Drink Coaster Set

I also got sidetracked by a random Valentine’s Day project (more on that in a sec)

But, I’m happy to say that the drawer and I worked out our differences and the aforementioned Nirvana is now mine!

Oddly sized spacers were glued and screwed together

20 inch sidemount drawer slides were installed and now……DIY Kitchen Organization Drawer

Pretty!Maximize Kitchen Storage

Who can get to his pasta pot in a heartbeat?

This guy!

Who should probably eat less pasta?

This guy!  (OK, my plan may have a flaw….)Kitchen Storage Solution

(As an extra side-bonus, upon viewing my last blog post my friend and dutiful blog reader Suzanne informed me that my pans were dirty and she was coming over to show me how to clean them.   Which she did!  You’d best believe I Tom Sawyered the crap out of that situation!)

So, in the midst of drawer-wars I realized it was almost Valentines Day and got one of those goofy-but-its-fun-to-do-something-different ideas that I just feel compelled to make for no real justifiable reason.

Why not make some hearts out of scrap wood?

I have all this beadboard that I bought a while ago – before I realized it was too heavy for what I wanted to do with it because, as we know, “advance planning” the Cheltenham Road byword.

So cut out some heart shapes using my scroll saw and painted them in shades of red and pink using Folk Art Milk Paint that Plaid provided me as part of their Ambassador Program.

I liked them but thought they needed a little text so I flipped one over and painted the smooth backside

And after a bit of sanding (for that “distressed heart” look….which, now that I type it sounds like an unfortunate medical condition) I used my Folk Art Stencils  to create a “Be Mine” message.Vintage Valentines Day

To be honest, I wasn’t totally sure what to do with them once I finished (a giant charm bracelet?) so I drilled some holes and strung them together.Vintage Valentines Day Banner

I like how, on the bead board side, the paint stayed in the grooves but sanded off the front leaving some great texture on the face.

So, as I said, a bit of a goofy idea but I had fun making it.Scrap Wood Valentines Day Banner

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some extremely convenient pasta to make!

Kitchen Organization (First Attempt)

I have several alternate titles for this blog post

  • Why did I do that?
  • My house is annoying.
  • Is this really a good use of time?
  • Biting off more than you can chew.  The Danger of Tiny Mouth Syndrome.

As you may have surmised, I have encountered some set-backs on the road to today’s (planned) tutorial.

You see, this was supposed to be a blog post/tutorial wherein I would share my clever idea and show how you too might execute this clever, space saving innovation.

OK – here’s how things have gone down.

Several years ago I remodeled (or rather, had others remodel) my kitchen.  I learned a lot, made some good choices and some bad choices and ended up, in the long run, with a much better kitchen.Before and after Kitchen remodel

One of the “good” decisions was that I wanted drawers rather than base cupboards.Kitchen makeover happiness.  Pull out drawers rather than cupboards

They have been awesome!  One of those “why wasn’t this always the norm?” kinda things.  I highly recommend them.

However, there was one hold out.  Not quite sure what happened but it’s been bugging me for years.  The cabinet next to the fridge is just that, a large, deep, not-very-user-friendly cupboard.

I hate fumbling around trying to get out the frying pan or the pasta pot etc.

Now, I have successfully (in my opinion) designed and made other “pull-out-easy-access-space-saving” projects.

In another cabinet I organized other pans and things.Convenient, space saving pull out drawer for pots and pans

In the Laundry Room Makeover I made a pull out utility wall that I love to this dayEasy, space saving, utility wall for the laundry room

And a roll out shelf for shoes.clutter busting, space saving pull out shoe drawer for mud room

So, I’m down with roll outs.  I work well with drawer glides.  Therefore why not (finally!) make a pull out drawer for that last remaining cabinet?

Why not?

Because life is short.

It should have been easy.  Just, basically, a box attached to glides.

After careful measuring I determined that the best way to get the most out of the space was to use “undermount” rather than side-mount drawer glides.  I would use two of them (for balance and due to the weight of the drawer).  Perfect!


Three (possibly four?) trips to Lowes later I had experienced the following progression of realizations:

  • The Lowes website lies about where things are
  • All manufacturers hate me. My cabinet can accommodate, at most, a 22” undermount drawer glide.  How big do they make them?  Well, they go: 16”, 18”, 20″ and……..  22 5/8ths.  Why!??!!!!  5/8ths?!!!!  What possible purpose could the 5/8ths  serve?  And why don’t people who have 18” drawers need 5/8ths  more to live out their dreams of organization and easy utensil access?*
  • Oh wait! They make 20” ones!  Yay, that will work!
  • Wait. The 20” one doesn’t actually extend any further than the 16” one?  So my drawer would only “extend” about 8 inches outside the cabinet?
  • Oh, and you only have one anyway and it’s in the wrong bin so I had to look through all of the dreaded 22 5/8ths ones come to this realization?  Thanks!

OK, side-mount drawer glides it is.

Which means reducing the size of the drawer….which means it holds a bit less…..

OK, fine, I’ll redesign.  I can find somewhere else for that one lid.  No prob.

Oh, but side-mount also means I need to get past the face frame on the cabinet.

Oh good – the frame depth is some weird, inbetween-actual-numbers number, like 1″ and 15/93rds  to second power or something?  OK, I can figure that out….

Oh, and it’s a different depth on either side?  Well that’s just terrif!  Challenges – so satisfying!

…….Perhaps I need to rethink exactly how annoying it was to dig around to get to the frying pan.

Maybe, rather than a loud, clanging exercise in crouching down, it was a character-building, mini workout that made cooking a growth experience……

Tune in next week when I either, in very small type, admit defeat or, in very large type, crow endlessly over my amazing prowess at overcoming tremendous obstacles  (like returning things to Lowes without a receipt…….I KNOW I have them…..somewhere……)


*rhetorical question  – I’m not looking for answers, I’m ranting.  I’m not proud of this fact but it is, nonetheless, a fact.



My New Must-Have Craft Room Tool

I confess to being a bit of slob when working and one of my vows for this year is to spend a lot less time cleaning up.

So, while I solemnly swear to put things away when I’m done with them and not drag new things out before I’m done with old things – I can’t do all that much about the mess I make when I’m making.

I’ve tried putting various things on the work table to help keep it neat – towels, inexpensive place mats, drop cloths etc. All of them worked fine up to a point but became unusable after a few rounds of Mod Podge drips and glue splots and such.

Then, while poking around at Rockler Woodworking I came across this Silicone Project Mat:

(don’t worry, this isn’t a paid commercial – no one at Rockler slipped me cash to talk about this – I just happened to buy one and think it’s tops).

Now, they aren’t exactly giving them away but the price is OK for something that will last.

It’s generously sized and the perfect solution to my problem.

So, it starts out like this:

And then, after a round of coaster making it looks like this:

But, here is the beauty part.

Once it all dries:

You can just peel off the big chunks:

And rinse away the smaller ones.

I did a quickie rinse for this pic and the results are great:

It rolls up for easy storage and rolls out totally flat again the next time you use it.


I kinda want to cover every surface in my home with one.

Actually, I should probably put one under me when I eat…..

And I have another confession.

It’s still Christmas at my house.

You see I’ve  vowed to NEVER have another holiday season as stressful  as 2017.    I had so many projects and ideas I wanted to get to but didn’t have the time.  So I’m doing them now and stockpiling for December.

This will be great in two ways.  I’ll be much more pleasant to know AND when I post the pictures in December you will no doubt say:

“David, the projects are great and you look YEAR younger!  What’s your secret?”

And I will smile and  lie and tell you it’s all about good genes, an excellent diet and staying hydrated.

Here’s  small preview.

I’ve been working on a hot cocoa sign for next years hot chocolate bar

and Christmas tray that uses some leftover holiday napkins

And a bunch of others  that are coming along nicely.

So you see I HAD to leave my decorations up so that I would be able to photograph the projects.  It has nothing to do with laziness despite what you may have heard!




Vintage Disneyland E Ticket Wall Art Tutorial

Before I get rolling here I just wanted to say thank you all for your wonderful, kind and supportive words about my dad.  It meant the world to my sisters and myself to read what you wrote.  We love sharing out dad’s story and it means so much that it resonates with you (we also showed them with mom who doesn’t do computers or blogs and she loved it!).  Thank you all so much!

OK, there is no smooth segue from that but here we go! – onto Disney and our E Ticket Ride.
Living in Southern California I’m surrounded by folks who are crazy about Disney and its various Lands and Worlds.

I do not actually share this obsession.

In truth I’m a bit bitter toward Disney.

You see, when I was 11 my parent told me we were moving from Ohio to California for my dad’s job.

I was overjoyed!   It was clear this was the first step in my life-long Master Plan!

  • Step 1: move to California.
  • Step 2: Become a Mousketeer!
  • Step 3: Enjoy everlasting fame and unlimited Disneyland access.

My parents had played right into my hand!!!!

The fact that the show was no longer in production and that we were moving to Northern California, several hundred miles from Disney was not made clear to me.

I acknowledge blaming Disney for this is not exactly fair. However, the only other option is to blame my lack of research and questionable grasp of geography and I think we all know that that won’t be happening.

So.  Everlasting bitterness!

Despite my (justified!) feelings I do like to make other people happy and I thought this fun, super easy project would be perfect for the die-hard Disney fan.

If you went to Disneyland prior to 1982 you bought a ticket book to get on the rides.

You can find these vintage books on ebay and I thought it would look cool to have some over-sized versions as wall-art.

It’s pretty straighforward.

I used:

  • Matte Mod Podge (shocking!)
  • 1/2″ MDF panels
  • black paint
  • aaaaand…that’s about it.

After doing a high resolution scan of the tickets I blew them up to 10.5×16.5 and had Staples print them out for me on plain 11×17 paper for about $2 a print (Staples can also do the scanning and blowing up for you if that’s not your scene).

I cut my 1/2″ MDF into 11×17 panels and painted them black.  The painting isn’t strictly necessary – I just wanted to have a nice border around the tickets.

After spreading a good amount of Mod Podge onto the MDF panel

I laid my graphic down smoothing out wrinkles and guaranteeing a good adhesion by using a combo of my hands and a brayer.

A little drying time, a couple of coats of Matte Mod Podge so seal them and they were ready to go.

They can be hung with picture wire and hooks or you can use 3M Command Strips.  With the Command Strips so you don’t have to put a hole in the wall and they are easy to reposition if needed.  Four strips on each panel should to the trick.

I did this with Disney tickets but it would work with pretty much any image you wanted to use: Concert tickets, family letters, etc etc.

As always, let me know if you have any questions and please if you take this idea and run with it send pics!  I love to see what people do!

Disclaimer: The tickets are Trademarked and Copyright protected material which is why I’m not providing downloads of the graphics.  This project is shared for personal use and inspiration only.    


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