Friday, February 24, 2012

Drawer Tower Cart Revamped {Part 1}




There's a very big part of me that strives to be organized, but it has to be pretty at the same time. First of all, that means having SPACE, and in a teeny tiny apartment, that can be hard to come by. The desk I got from my home when I moved out of my parents' was an old desk we were no longer using. I do really like this desk and it's shape (it's a corner desk, as you'll see below), but it's got zero storage space. :(

So I bought a 3 drawer cart at Zellers! And it's been great to store all my office supplies.


This one is from Target, but it's similar to the one I got. source

BUT, it's so ugly! I mean, just look at it, sitting there in our living room/office.



No privacy. You can just see the entire (messy) contents. And I got tired of it. Seeing the contents that is, took me a while longer to actually get tired of seeing the mess inside and organize the interior hehe. Mostly because I needed more craft storage space. (Note, this picture was taken in December...)

Alright, I'll show you exactly what it looks like in our living room (well my office portion of it). Just know that it's a work in progress. A BIG work in progress...



I want to build some shelving where indicated. I feel I still don't have enough storage space (will I ever?!), and I'm running out of floor space. So walls it is! Dunno when I'll actually get those shelves...

I got the idea to put something on the front of the drawers from this post from Organizing Made Fun (it's the 4th picture, fyi). I really had one of those "Why didn't I think of that" moments.

So off I went to find some pretty scrapbook paper, because I had none. I found this pad at DeSerres (they also have this line at Wal-Mart), and it was just the color scheme I wanted to go towards for my office space!




Materials and tools you'll need:
~ drawer tower cart, or see-through plastic drawers of some kind (there are even mini ones at the dollar store!)
~ pretty scrapbook paper
~ scissors
~ double-stick tape


It took 10 minutes to set up. Just measure and cut. They were already the right width at 12 inches, but I had to cut the height. Then I used the leftover for the mini drawers I have on top. I'm glad they are double-sided and I could use the other side instead of repeating the same paper, or using an other sheet. It really made a world of difference!





Bottom portion:



Top portion:



For the little drawers I had to cut some more since there's a cavity where the handle is:



Yes, those are little yogourt cups I have to organize small office supplies. I dunno about you, but my heart breaks a little every time I throw out one of those, which is why most of the time I get the big containers and aliquot into smaller portions. I plan on doing something a little nicer with them, one day... you know, when I decide I've had enough of looking at these uglies ;) Like I did with the outside of the drawers.

I used double-sided tape on the 4 corners to keep it in place since the drawers are a little curved. Double-sded tape ensures that you can easily change it out later if you move the cart to an other room, too ;)

More close-ups so you can see the pretty paper :)









So, what do you think? Was it worth it? If you're not convinced, here's a before and after:




I'm not done with this project quite yet. I still want to make some sort of slipcover, because you can still see everything from the sides. Of course you could just put paper in the sides, too, but I want to hide the plastic and indents, as well as add a bit of texture.



That is on my to-do list this weekend. Along with a bazillion other things. But it's at the TOP of the list, so there is a chance I will get it done lol
UPDATE: Got the fabric all cut-up and ready to sew! This will be my first sewing project with my own sewing machine, yay!
UPDATE 2: I'm done, check it out here!




I also invite you to read my post on hotlinking, I think it's very important for everyone to be aware of this.

Thanks for stopping by!



I party at these parties. If you would like to invite me to your linky party, please do so on my linkies page, thank you!


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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Hotlinking: What It Is And How To Avoid It



Just a warning, this post is gonna be wordy (don't worry, I'll add pictures ;) ), and more serious than anything I've ever posted, but I think it's very important that everyone is aware of this. I'll try and make it as concise as possible (that is hard for me :S).

Why am I writing this post? Because this is what my blog looked like if you happened upon it last Friday evening/ Saturday morning:

click to enlarge all photos with Lightbox (finally figured out how it works!)


Alright, now that I have your attention, I'll start from the beginning.

I've been blogging for 6 months now. I started not really knowing what I was doing. Sure I understood what a blog was, how to write a post, the basics. I also learned HTML several years ago when I opened my LiveJournal, so I felt I knew what I was doing. I didn't read a how to start your own blog, I just did it and knew I'd learn along the way.

Well a big learning experience came my way on Friday.

I went to link up to a linky party and when I went to choose the image and crop it, I couldn't see any of them. Instead I saw the photobucket image saying my bandwidth had exceeded. I quickly went to my blog and was greated with what I showed you earlier (at least my header and background are hosted on a different sire, or else it would've been totally image-less).





Naturally, I freaked out. This meant anyone coming to see my blog would not be able to view my content, and they'd get annoyed (I imagine) and leave right away. For a little blog like me who's trying to get off the ground, every new visitor is gold to me.

After a little digging, I saw that a particular picture was responsible for the problem. Remember my Magnetic Pin Dish? It's being featured a lot. More than I could ever dream possible, and I AM incredibly grateful.



But the problem came when these blogs copy pasted my image source to put it directly on their blog. That is hotlinking, and it's stealing bandwidth. I'm not trying to accuse anyone, no one would know they are doing this wrong unless they were told (I learned about it on LiveJournal). So I'm telling you.

Here's the definition off of wiki:
Hot-linking is a term used on the Internet. Hot-linking is when someone uses a link to an image that is saved on another website instead of saving a copy of the image on the website that the picture will be shown on. For example, instead of saving picture.gif and loading it on to their own website, the person uses a link to the picture as http://website.com/picture.gif. Hot-linking uses the bandwidth of the person who owns the website where the picture is stored. This costs that person money.


This happens because I host my images (or save my images) with a free Photobucket account. I get 10GB of bandwidth per month. Everytime my photos load on your or my computer, that is bandwidth being used. 10GB is plenty for me and my now 39 followers viewing my website (or so I thought, more on that later). But when someone copy pastes my image to their website, and they have 4000+ followers, then all the people viewing THEIR blog (and hence MY photo) are making my bandwidth go up. And then exceed it and then my images are no longer viewable.

How do you go around that, and fix it? Well, it might take you a little more time when you do a featured post, but you should save the picture to your computer, and upload it yourself to wherever you host your own images (be it blogger or flickr or picasa or photobucket or wherever). You can also upload directly to your host site (it's called upload from web; see below for Photobucket). For picasa web albums, you need to go to the picasa site (as opposed to uploading directly in the post editor) and when you click upload from computer, you can paste the image url from the other website. This will then re-upload it and give it a new url, and you won't be taking someone else's bandwidth.



It's the right thing to do, just like giving proper credit for someone else's image. And will prevent this from happening to anyone else who is just starting out and is not sure what they are doing; I'm sure you all remember when you started to get featured and how proud you were, now imagine how discouraging it would be for this to happen.

I've since come to realize I could be doing things more efficiently as well. I've learned that blogger/picasa web albums hosts pictures with unlimited bandwidth and 1GB of free storage. Sure that isn't much, but any picture smaller than 2048x2048 pixels don't count towards that limit. I dunno about you, but my pictures are all smaller than that, so I don't even think I'll have to get paid storage, and this will fix my problem. Only thing is, they don't have subfolders so organizing your pictures is next to impossible. Just saying, I like being organized!

I'm rather surprised that this is a common occurance in blogland. Like I said, I've known about hotlinking for a while so have been careful not to do it. It also makes me reevaluate how I'm handling my blog (and anyway, my blog is getting more traffic now so I don't think I would've been able to stay with Photobucket for very much longer with the free account, so this was bound to happen). But anyway, you still shouldn't do it. You should host all the images on your blog yourself, it's the proper thing to do.

After a bit of digging, I found this article from 2010 at CROQzine talking about how to use other bloggers' photos on your blog, and do not hotlink is the first thing that comes up, so it's not just me saying this.

Thank you for hearing me out.

Thanks to Ginger @ Ginger Snap Craft who is helping spreading the word.

Also found that Addicted 2 Decorating did a post all about this, too, because it also happened to her.






I party at these partiesIf you would like to invite me to your linky party, please do so on my linkies page, thank you!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day and a Valentine's Vase



I still have a bit of a vendetta against V-Day and my bf and I don't celebrate it much. We have 365 other days this year (being leap year) to show each other we care, and that's good enough for us :)

Anyway, I also didn't feel the need to decorate much up until a few weeks ago, when finally all the Vday posts around blogland got to me. So I went to the Dollarama and bought a few things. (I already posted this pic to my Facebook, but since I got a total of 1 follower, I think you haven't seen it lol; like my Facebook page for more sneak peaks!)



Out of that stash, I managed to make the almost pre-made garland, and an other vase. Haven't gotten to painting those wooden signs yet. But then again I was still doing some Christmas crafts last week, so I think I'm gonna get these done this year still lol



After making my previous turquoise vase, I got an itch to try and make it work with a different vase shape, and then I got an idea to make one for Valentine's. And of course it couldn't be as simple as just painting it pink or red...



What I wanted was to make it two or three toned, and have a heart in the center. So basically I wanted to cover a patch the shape of a heart, paint the vase, remove the patch then repaint an other color.



Silly me thought using painters tape would work.



I diluted the paint, in the end non-diluted paint is hard to swish around.



I crossed my fingers that it would work.





Needless to say, it didn't. Oh boy it didn't. After wishing I had a Silhouette to make me a proper vinyl shape that would stick, I just painted the whole thing pink.

And it dried perfectly! The problem with the other one WAS the taper in the vase. This one, with its bigger opening, dried perfectly! Hooray, my idea (simplified) did work.




(It cracked at the bottom, but it's ok no one can see, and that tells you it's finished drying.)

So here's my Valentine's vase in the end:



Yeah, I know it's just a pink vase... Eventually I will put a tree branch in it and hang some hearts from it, like next year because I'm too late now.

Now, I got a lot of comments from my previous vase wondering if it would hold up to water. Though I really didn't want to try adding water to the turquoise vase, I was willing to with this one. I figured if it screwed it up I could just start over.

And screw it up it did. The water made the paint bubble and peel off. BUT, that means I get to start over! With a different idea; or well same idea, different execution. I'm thinking of using contact paper instead to make the stencil, hope that will stick better and not let the paint under. We will see. The other option would be to stamp the heart instead, but that would be no fun, right?

Also...



I know I'm a day late, but we had problems with our internet yesterday and the post just didn't happen. Hope you don't mind ;)



I bought myself this miniature rosebush, not necessarily for V-Day but since it's when they have them in stock... I remember several years ago my dad had bought me and my mom one each for Valentine's Day, and from then on I always said I don't want a guy to get me a bouquet of flowers, a whole plant is much better, lasts longer;) Needless to say, I don't think that plant lived the year, but this time will be different. It's easier for me to take care of several plants than just one.

Thanks for reading!



I party at these parties. If you would like to invite me to your linky party, please do so on my linkies page, thank you!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Painted Vase: Fail and rescue



Today's story is that of a vase that just wanted to be painted, but in the end, the task was not that simple.

Seriously, this project lasted a month and a half for something that should have taken 5 minutes and then a couple of days to let dry.

I was inspired by the Jar-o-Lanterns from Martha Stewart I saw at Halloween. Just add some diluted paint to a mason jar, move it around, pour out excess and let dry. Easy peasy.

I wanted a glass vase that would bring some colour into our bedroom, and I thought I could apply this technique to make a one of a kind vase that would match. I like how, when painted from the inside, there is no painting flaw, and it's nice and glossy.

Here is the finished product, but let me tell you it wasn't as easy as I thought it would be! You'll see...



I found the vase that would do the job at Dollarama.



Supplies:
~ vase, Dollarama, 2$
~ paint, DeSerres, 2$

Total: 4$

(Side note: this made me realize how tiny craft paint bottles are at the craft store compared to the Dollar Store ones! and double the price, too)

So the instructions were to mix in a bit of water with the paint to make a tad runnier so it would coat more easily. So that's what I did.



Tip: Less is more! lol Add a little at a time, test, add a little more, test. Mine was too runny, even though I thought I didn't add much. If you don't add water, then it will go on thick and take longer to dry out, but water is not essential.




I proceeded to coat the interior of the vase, pour out excess, and let dry overnight. Anybody see where this is going? Because never did I think this would happen:




Instead of drying, the paint just ran down the sides. The top portion was fine. It seems like bellow the part where the vase tapers, the air circulation is poor, or non existent, and it doesn't dry.

So I just thought, ok it'll eventually dry, I might have to recoat a fews times, but it'll stick eventually. So that's what I did.


(You can see above how it's suppose to look vs how it ran down)

I lost count of how many times I recoated the walls of the vase. Ugh. I started maybe a week before leaving for Christmas at my parents'. I would recoat sometimes twice a day. Still it wasn't done. I was planning on making a few to give as gifts, but since my test was still unfinished, I opted out of that one.

I gave up then, just left it there for the week we were gone. When we came back, the paint was still just was runny as before I left it!! But I was seeing that it was sticking some.

So I continued and persisted. Lying it on it's side to see if there would be better air flow this way. Tried drying it with a hairdryer. Almost at the end of January did I deem it finished and I could consider it rescued and done.



My bedroom is painted dark purple. Previous tenants had it like that and we didn't paint over, I like it. I'm trying to get teal accessories/decorations in, I love the purple/teal combo! Our furniture is white/pale, so it brings in some brightness.



So at first this failed, but through sheer persistence I managed to rescue it, and I like the final product. But this is warning for anyone who has the same idea, do not get a vase that tapers or has a narrow opening, it will not dry! There is still some wet paint at the bottom of my vase, I dunno if I'll ever be able to put something in it, unless I don't mind it getting some paint on it.

I really wanted to tried this again, but with a different vase shape, and I got an idea for a Valentine's vase, so stay tuned!

EDIT: I did an other vase with a bigger opening (Pink Valentine's Vase), and it dry perfectly. Some people were curious if it would hold up to water, so I put a bit of water in it overnight. It's bubbling the paint and lifting so do not put water in it!!!! Maybe if it were sprayed with a sealer after it could hold up to water though, just a thought.

Thanks for reading!



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I party at these parties.If you would like to invite me to your linky party, please do so on my linkies page, thank you!

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