Friday, July 22, 2016

DIY - Adult Tree Swing

Adult Tree Swing
Once the idea for an adult tree swing popped into my head it would not go away.  What choice did I have but to build one!?

This is a VERY simple tree swing that was inexpensive to build.  I spent about $30 on lumber, a clamp and paint.  I'll use the clamp on a million other projects so it's probably not fair to include it in the cost of this build.  Without the clamp this project cost $16.  (I already had the rope).

Gather your supplies!
In the spirit of full disclosure, this project is pretty easy, but in some ways was also harder than I expected.   If I had had a dedicated workshop things would have gone more smoothly.  Having to create a work bench on the fly (using my laundry table) made securely clamping the kreg jig and drilling the holes a pain in the neck!

For this project you will need:

2x4 wood planks
kreg jig
electric drill
3/4" paddle bit
8 - 2.5" Wood Screws
2.5" Kreg Screws
Paint (I used spray paint)
Rope (read the weight limit carefully)

I had the hardware store cut my wood to size.  I has 1-2x4 cut into 2- 36" sections.  I had 1-2x3 cut into 1- 36" section and 2 - 9" sections.

Back at home I used the kreg jig to drill pocket holes in the wood

drill pocket holes

I drilled pocket holes along the edges to be joined.  There was no real rhyme or reason for my placement of the holes.

Glue the boards before your screw them together
Wood glue the planks together.

Clamp the boards together
Clamp the planks together.

Screw the boards together

Screw the wood together via the pocket holes.  Leave everything to dry over night.

Paddle bit for rope holes
Using the wood screws, attach the 9" cross braces to either end of the swing.
Drill holes for the rope
Using the paddle drill the holes for the rope.

Sand the swing
Sand the swing until it's nice and smooth, then wipe it down with a clean damp cloth.  Once the wood is dry it's ready to paint.

High Gloss Paint
Apply at least 2 coats of paint to both sides of the swing - I prefer a high gloss paint.

Freshly painted!

Once the paint is dry the swing is ready to hang!!

I had not anticipated how heavy the swing would be.  Because this swing is 3 feet wide, it's VERY heavy!  My rope will support 500 lbs, so it's fine.

Thread the rope through the holes on the swing
Hang the swing from a tree.

I didn't like the rope that was hanging down from the swing so I wrapped the rope around itself. 


Finally - there are ALL KINDS of youtube videos on how to property hang a tree swing.  My version is not fancy AT ALL.  I tossed a weighted rope over a strong branch and hung the swing.  I tied each end of the rope with a bunch of knots so that it would not fall.

Simple Hanging strategy

Totally Happiness!

For more DIY/Home Repair Projects, click HERE!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

DIY - Butcher Block Kitchen Cart

I have a tiny kitchen with not a lot of counter space.  Also - because my kitchen has 3 doorways I've been dying to block one of the doors to cut down on foot traffic when i'm cooking.  This little cart solved both problems!

I did a LOT of research online  and decided to build one of 3 carts.  Here were my options.

Option #1
I love the design of this choice, but I could not find the part to make the cart pictured.

Option #2
This seemed easy enough to build but I needed to complete the project quickly.  

Option #3
This option seems simple and functional and would not take a lot of time to assemble, so it because my choice!

The cart I built was basically an inexpensive rolling cart with a butcher block top.  I found the cart at both Home Depot and Lowes for $19.99.  The weight limit on my cart is 160 lbs which was more than enough for my needs.  There is another version with a limit of 750 lbs for the same price.  

I purchased 1 wooden plank that was 2x10x6.  I had the wood cut into 3-30" pieces.  Next I lined up the planks in the order that I wanted them for my cabinet top.

Using a kreg mini jig I drilled pocket holes in the planks.  I'd never made pocket holes before and I was kind of afraid of the process.  I watched a couple of videos on you tube, read the directions and it was no big deal.

I drilled 3 holes in each plank of wood

Put gorilla wood glue between the planks

Screwed them together.

The completed counter top was slightly bowed and I don't have any clamps that are the proper size.  So I put the completed piece outside and put heavy rocks on top until the glue was completely dry.

While the glue dried I assembled the metal cart.  I had forgotten to get hardware to attach the top so I ran back to the store.

There was no ready made screw or clamp that did exactly what I wanted it to do, so I improvised.  To attach the counter top I used 2 3/32" - 1/8" wire rope clips.  These were in the same aisle as rope.  In the hardware aisle I found screws that would work.

Wire Rope Clip
Disassembled Clip

Upside Down Clip

Installing the clip

Works perfectly!
I used 4 clips to hold the counter top in place.

I filled any cracks in the wood and allowed the filler to dry.

Using a palm sander I sanded the wood until it was VERY smooth and even.  I wanted to lightly stain and seal the wood, so I used a cloth to rub on a little bit of light walnut stain that was left over from another project. 

Staining the wood made the seams much less visible.

Stained Wood

Once stained, I allowed the wood to dry overnight.  Them finished it off with a coat of Howard's Feed and Wax.  It gave the wood an amazing smell and a nice shine.

I LOVE how this project came out.  It took longer than I thought it would (overnight drying time), but all in all i'm very happy with the results.

The original cart was $139.00 on clearance at  My version was about $50.

Everything came from Home Depot:

1-                 Cart                      $19.99
1-2x10x6     Wood                    $ 7.91
1 box            Pocket Screws      $5.88
1 pkg -          Screws                  $1.88
1 pkg -          Wire Rope Clips   $  .97
1 bottle   Howard Feed & Wax  $7.99
1 tube     Wood fill                     $7.99
Total Cost                               $52.61

I already had the following items:  Wood Stain, kreg mini jig

Also, I didn't want or need wheels for this project.  I costs about $20 to add wheels.  Since I didn't need them, I left them off.

Here are a few action shots!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Sewing: PlusSize Refashion

Ok refashion friends, can we have a frank talk about plus size refashioning?  I buy most of my refashion projects at thrift shops.  I LOVE thrift shops but most of the clothes are NOT plus size.  Sometimes they are and that's great, but i'm more likely to find a dress that's too small than I am to find one that's too big.

In my opinion its WAY easier to make a dress smaller than it is to make it bigger.  In this blog post we will learn how I turned a teeny tiny print dress into a cute skirt for myself.

Size petite Small
Lets back up for a minute.  Here is where this dress started.

Starting materials
I found a print that I LOVED in a dress what is WAY too small.  This is a maxi dress size petite small!  I am a size 16/18.  I'm short but not small.  Here's what I did.

Step one:  Find fabric that you like.  Ideally something stretchy.  A dress (or skirt) with pleats works GREAT.  Those pleats mean that after you cut the dress there will be more fabric than you think.

Step two: Before you buy a too small dress you need to figure out if it could potentially fit you.  So, try it on as best you can.

Me squeezed into a too small dress
I squeezed into this dress the best way that I could.  I pulled it over my head and slipped one arm out an arm hole.  As you can tell from this shot there is enough fabric to wrap around my body.

Step Three:  Buy the dress and take it home.  Smart shoppers will know to buy refashion items on sale.  If the refashion doesn't work you're not out too much money.  I purchased this dress for $4.25 at Good Will.

 Now that you own it, cut the dress.  Simply cut off the parts that make it too small.  I've done this before so I know exactly where I need to cut on this style of dress.

Before the Cut

After the Cut

  I basically cut off that teeny tiny bodice, leaving just the skirt.

Step Five:  EXPERIMENT!  I like this fabric a LOT but I need to find a way to wear it that i'm comfortable with.  So - I tried it all different ways!

Look #1 - 
This is the dress with the bodice cut off.  I like the fabric but I'm not a skin tight dress kind of girl.

Just the fabric

 Look #2
This is the dress with a little sweater. 
Dress with a little sweater
Look #3
This is the dress with a wrap top.

Look #3 is my favorite and the way i'm most likely to wear this dress.  This look covers my hips and is appropriate for work.  It's a look that pairs well with heels for flats.  It's comfortable and flattering.

Step Six: Road test the look.  Before I cut this dress off and make is a skirt, i'll wear it to work just like it is.  I need to know how the fabric will behave during my normal work day.  Will it twist or bind?  Will it ride up?  I don't know.  So this outfit will have to go to work one day so that I can see.

Step Seven:  Complete the look.  Once I determined that my new skirt is comfortable, it can be cut into a skirt with added elastic or left as a dress.

Finished Skirt!


*  For a straight (more fitted) skirt use a straight cut dress.

*  For a more flared skirt use an A-line dress.

* Both of the dresses referenced in this blog as made from stretchy lycra fabric.  I LOVE this fabric because it's easy to work with, it's comfortable and packs easily (just wash and wear).

*  I almost always go prefer patterned lycra.  Because lycra clings to the body it can show every figure imperfection.  When the garment has a pattern the imperfections disappear!

For more ReFashion Tips, click HERE!