Mug Holder, Coffee Bar & Lunch Sign

Hi, I'm so glad you've come to visit!  Sit back, relax and have a cup of coffee (or maybe a glass of sweet iced tea) and I'll show you how I made an easy mug holder and Lunch sign to hang over our coffee bar:

When browsing through Instagram, I came across Christina's ( justalittlesparkle_ ) feed showing us her pretty coffee station, and I was inspired to do a makeover to our coffee area!  

My simple mug holder was put together quickly using a 37" X 3-1/2" pallet wood board from my stash in the garage, along with a couple of packages of black robe hooks, and fourteen 3/4-inch screws from our local Home Depot.

  • Measure the area you want to hang your mug holder.  
  • If you purchase lumber, I'd buy a 1" X 4" common pine board, in a 4-foot length. (If you need it cut down, the friendly folks at Home Depot will usually do that for you in a jiffy. Just nicely ask someone in the Lumber Department.)
  • Sand your board smooth.  Paint, stain or distress your wood the way you want it to look. I used all three techniques to get the patina I wanted.

  • Measure out the spacing for your robe hooks (which will now become mug hooks). Mine are spaced about 5-inches apart, and I decided to offset them for visual interest and so the mugs would hang correctly.
  • Attach the hooks to the board with screws.  If your screws are a different color than the hooks, you can dip a pencil eraser into some black craft paint, and dot the paint on over the screw heads. Let dry.

  • Find and mark the studs in your wall where you will be mounting the mug holder. 
  • Using 2-inch screws, and a level, screw directly from the front of the board into the studs. A screw near each end and one near the middle of the board should do it. **Hint: studs are normally spaced 16-inches on center, so every 16 inches there should be another stud.
Under the mug rack, I placed a microwave cart that I hadn't been using, and arranged my Keurig, coffee canisters, and tea supplies along with a small cake stand from Target's One Spot (now called Bullseye's Playground).  On that, I placed our Polish Pottery sugar bowl, and a canister with sweetener packets in it.  My blue Ball jar lamp found it's new home on the cart as well!  The cart has a drawer and shelves for storage, so it made a perfect place for storing tea bags, extra coffee, and hot chocolate packets.

Lastly, I started hunting World Market for their Lunch sign, which looks very similar to their Pie sign that Christina used. They have stopped selling the lunch sign....sad.  Of course, I just decided to do a DIY version, and make it my own:
  • Looking through my closets, I found a nice sized frame (with 8" X 10" glass in it) that had an interesting distressed look.  I toned down some of the black, by dry-brushing on gray and white craft paint.  Since I wanted the wall to show through, I had to nail some small finishing nails into the back of the frame to hold the glass in without a backing.
  • Next, I opened a Word document to figure out the placement and wording that I wanted to use, and printed it out. This helped so much when I applied the cut-out vinyl letters!
  • Using my Cricut with the Chip Decor cartridge font, I cut out the letters; I placed the print-out of the wording under the glass, and carefully placed the letters onto the front of the glass. That was a sanity-saver, for sure.
  • Finally, I attached 2 small eye-screws to the top edges of the frame, and wire to hang it. 
The Lunch sign looks great over the coffee mug rack, and helped to complete the entire vignette.  At some future time, I'd like to add a shelf to the top of the mug rack, but for now I'm in love with it!

Now that you have seen what I was able to create with a little inspiration, I hope that you are inspired to make your own special mug holder, coffee station and sign, too!

Kitchen Makeover | Inspiring Others

Sometimes it's just the small things.... Being a blogger, I normally don't get a lot of feedback from folks that may have been inspired by my posts, but recently Mike and Jan M. of Andover, Minnesota sent me an email that put a huge smile on my face!

Here is an edited excerpt from the email:

"About a year ago we were looking for ideas for our tiny, 1977 kitchen. Dark, heavily-grained wood cabinets with a "tic-tac-toe" pattern routed in them, with avocado green countertops and backsplash. And that gross old cabinet hardware that looks like it should be in a dingy castle. We were stuck and couldn’t start, until we had a plan.  Our floor tiles were cheap, and chipped if you dropped a fork.  We had dropped a lot of forks! We had a mess. We didn’t want to do anything until we knew what to do about the cabinets, but we couldn’t afford new ones, couldn’t afford to have them resurfaced, couldn’t afford to paint the bases and put on new doors.  

THEN I saw Juju’s blog, with the link to Aimee’s and oh my!  The wheels started turning!  We started in April and finished in November.

We wanted to thank you both– we love our kitchen and still don’t feel like it is our kitchen – we had lived with the old one for 23 years, just stuck and not able to figure out a solution.   

Thanks again for sharing your creativity!  We always say people like us with no original thoughts would be lost without creative people like you! ha ha ha! It's true! 
Here are some pictures –  Mike & Jan M. Andover, Minnesota"

photo credit: Mike & Jan M.
photo credit: Mike & Jan M.
photo credit: Mike & Jan M.
photo credit: Mike & Jan M.
If you need to update your old cabinets, this is proof that YOU CAN DIY IT!
Special thanks to Aimee Lane at It's Overflowing for the original blog posts and tutorial that I followed. Please be sure and visit her blog and show her some love.

Thank you, Mike and Jan for sharing your sweet words and the wonderful photos of your "new" kitchen!

DIY Bench from Free Pallets

This post has been a long time coming! (A laptop with no working hard drive makes it hard to keep up.)

Recently, I've been enjoying making furniture items out of free pallets. U
nlike the lumber you would buy at a home improvement store, pallet boards are not always straight, so you have to be willing to have something rustic and “Perfectly Imperfect”.

A few months ago, I took an inventory of the pallets and pallet wood boards stored in the garage.  Since we gave our entry chair to our daughter-in-love for her birthday, I decided that we needed a bench in the entry hall.  Someplace to sit to take your shoes off, tie the grandkids' shoelaces, or for Hubs’ motorcycle helmet when he comes home from work.

Here's how I made our DIY Bench from Free Pallets:

Starting with a half pallet, (dimensions 44-inches long by 17-inches wide), I removed two of the boards on the underside and inserted them in the wide gaps in the top, using screws.
Next, I used some pallet wood boards to make a skirting around the pallet, cutting 2 short boards for the short ends, and 2 long boards for the sides. (Remember to account for the overlap on the boards.)
Hubs helped me flip the top over, and I cut four 2X4” legs from some leftover lumber . We attached these to the inside of the skirting using screws.  We turned it over and brought it inside to see how it looked:
To me, the legs looked a bit odd, and since I still had plenty of pallet boards, I attached skirting around the legs the same as I did for the skirting around the top; then I set about trying to add a shelf.
The shelf wasn’t as easy…I cut boards all the same length, and lined them up onto the top edge of the bottom skirting, but we had to notch some boards around the legs to get them to fit.  Notice how some of the boards are warped a little, and not uniform widths or thickness?  That's because the wood came from different pallets, and I didn't feel like ripping them down to the same size, so I used them as-is.  Again, rustic and perfectly imperfect!
If I had known I was going to add the shelf, I would not have put the legs on in that manner. I probably would have made legs the same as I had on my Pallet Console Table. (see photo ↓)  That’s how it goes when there's no written plan, and when working with pallets!
When thinking about building this bench, I wanted it to be sturdy and not wobble at all, so I used screws (and a little wood glue, too) for attaching everything together.  You could tap-dance on this bench! I sanded it down pretty well, since I didn’t want the grandkids getting any splinters when they come to visit. To finish it off, I used a white wash paint on it, something I had been wanting to try for a while now. (recipe at the bottom of the page!)  I’m so happy with how it turned out!

If you decide to try your hand at building a bench from free pallets, I hope some of what I've shown you will help you on your project.  Be sure to let me know how your bench turns out!  You can leave me comments below, or email me by clicking on the Contact tab at the top of the page.

Add a Real Bra to a Swimsuit - Tutorial

This summer started out with me spending almost 6 weeks away from home; I was lending a hand to our daughter in beautiful Colorado, and I also took not one, but two quick trips up to North Idaho to see family!  I put about 6500 miles on my car from May 16th to July 1st! Whew!

Upon returning home to Central Texas, and the 100+ degree temps, Hubs and I made a plan to go to the neighborhood swimming pool every evening that we possibly could.  This has been working out really great for the both of us, because we can cool off, and get in some exercise as well! 
But then, there’s my swimsuit....ugh!

I’ve been wearing the same swimsuit for about 7 years now; although it’s still in pretty good shape, I bought one 2 summers ago…and found out that it “did nothing for my figure”.  Now y’all know, I’m not a swimsuit model by any stretch of the imagination, but I do want things to stay in the right places when I’m out in public!  And so, the new suit stayed in my closet, worn only once or twice.
Instead, I took one of my bras and sewed it right into my then 5-year old suit, and it worked out really great.  The shape and straps matched up perfectly, and I've worn it with more confidence since then.

Yesterday, I tried to see if I could do the same with my other swimsuit, however, it didn’t match up very well.  Then, it dawned on me that I had a black, strapless bra that I very rarely wear, so I tried it on under the suit, and it looked like it would work out well!

Here’s how to add a real bra to a swimsuit:

1. Try on the bra under your swimsuit first, and see if the shape of the swim top hides the bra. That’s the only way you’ll know if this has a possibility of working.
**NOTE:  You might not want to do this with a brand-new swimsuit. Those things can be SO expensive!  However, if you want to try it anyway, follow step 1 BEFORE you purchase a new suit.  Yep, right there in the store’s changing room!  Just wear the bra that you plan on “sacrificing” for the swimsuit.  Having a friend or mom or grown-up daughter in the changing room can be helpful if you can’t see the back very well.

Now for the tutorial:

2. Turn the swimsuit inside-out.

3. Place the front of the bra facing the inside of the suit, and start pinning it into place around the curve of the top.  (see photo )  My strapless bra followed the curve almost perfectly; my regular bra would have shown because it was shaped differently than the curve of the suit.

4. Continue pinning the top of the bra band (the part that goes around your torso) to the top edge of the suit, as far as it looks good. In other words, if the back slopes down, you might need to stop pinning and leave that part loose. Just hook it up in the back as you normally would. (see photo ) In my case, the bra itself will fit much more snugly than the swimsuit does, so I’m leaving it loose in the back, not sewn-in. The suit will cover this area, so nothing will show.

5. Use matching thread, and the zigzag stitch & zigzag foot, on your sewing machine.  This is important because swimsuit materials are usually stretchy, and you will need the stitches to stretch without breaking. **Read your instruction manual if you need to know how to set your dials, etc. for zigzag stitch.  On my machine, I have to set the stitch width dial as well as the stitch length dial. I almost always try an inch or two of sewing on some scrap material, so that I know that the tensions are set correctly, and the stitch width is what I want.

6. Never “run over” your pins as you sew! You’ll end up with broken sewing machine needles; not good.

Normally, the pins would be on the garment with the ball of the pin on the right, like you see on that light pink pin.  
I had to pin this differently to keep the black bra from creeping out over the slippery swimsuit fabric.

As you begin to slowly stitch forward, push your back-stitch button, to lock the stitching, so it won’t unravel. Only a few back-stitches are needed.  Continue to carefully zigzag-stitch forward; again back-stitching at the end to secure the stitches. (If you have “boning” in your swimsuit or bra, don’t sew over this because you could break your sewing machine needle.)

7. When you are finished sewing, turn the swimsuit right-side out, and check for any places you might have caught material in where it shouldn’t be stitched. (Correct those areas using a seam ripper to remove the unwanted stitches, and re-stitch carefully.)

8. Try on your suit for fit!

What I didn't show you: this swimsuit also had a "skirt", which I disliked.  Since its a one-piece, it also has the pantie area, so I just carefully cut the skirt off.  It now looks great when worn with my black swim shorts (from my other 2-piece swimsuit).

If you've read this far, and wanted to see a photo of me wearing the swimsuit...well, you're out of luck there.  I'm too shy in front of a camera, much less wearing a swimsuit! 

If you have a swimsuit that needs a little more lift, I hope you'll try using my tutorial to guide you along when you add a real bra to your swimsuit!

Questions and (kind) comments are always read and appreciated!