Thrifty Bulletin Board

Hello follower bloggers and readers! Today I want to share with you my thrifty bulletin board project!

I’ve had some cork pieces laying around always with the ambition of doing something with them in my dorm, and then when I moved out of there, my apartment, and when I moved out of there, I finally decided to make a bulletin board for my condo.
The Finished ProductThis project cost me around $6. I bought the frame at Goodwill for $4, a bottle of paint from Michaels for $1 with a coupon (which I always search for on my phone while shopping at craft stores), and $1 toward a package of sponge brushes. The rest of the supplies I found laying around my place, such as the cork, finishing nails, and ribbon. (I figured rummaging your own home for supplies could be considered “thrifty”.)

I began the project by removing the glass and lovely print of two tigers. I started painting the frame white to have a base for the light blue. This way the color wouldn’t turn out dingy.

IMG_1128While letting the first coat dry, I recruited help from my fiancé, Matthew, to cut the cork into rectangles to fit into the frame. I didn’t have a large enough piece of cork to make it solid so we made a little design.


Once the first layer of paint dried, I painted a thin layer of blue on top because I wanted a little of the white to peak through.

IMG_1132While that was drying, we glued and nailed the cork to the original cardboard backing. When if came time to reattach the backing now with the cork to the frame, I realized that I don’t have a staple gun to hold it in place. So I used small finishing nails in the four corners and along the sides to keep the backing in place. I then attached the ribbon with some thumb tacks and hung the finished project on the wall with some personal touches!

IMG_1201The whole project simply took one afternoon to complete which gave me a proud sense of accomplishment for the day. Hey it’s the little things in life. And I got to spend the day working on something with Matthew which is always a treat.

Please leave any questions or comments below. We love your feedback and would also like to hear about your projects!

Thanks, Colleen








$2 Coffee Corner

Welcome to our Cafe!! My roommate and I have a real hankering for coffee and we wanted to make a little cafe bar in our living room. With some Pinterest inspo, $2, and some elbow grease, here’s our finished product! IMG_1276When we moved in, this desk was in our condo and our landlady told us to do with it as we pleased. I figured I’d use if for some project but didn’t have time for it at the moment, so it spent a winter on our back deck. IMG_1133Enduring the great outdoors, the desk got a little beat up and suffered water damage. But we figured it just added a “rustic” vibe to it.

I gathered my few supplies at a local thrift store. Which included $1 paint brush and $1 old can of paint (which I ended up getting for free at the register, so we’ll count the other dollar toward gas). We love free!!

IMG_1258 First I removed the top of the desk that was attached with only a few screws, thankfully this some what protected the top surface from compete water damage.

IMG_1134I then removed the drawers and the hardware on them in order to begin painting.

IMG_1259After wiping down all the surfaces with a wet rag, I started layering on the paint. I didn’t bother to sand or prime the surface, I would recommend this for a more finished look. IMG_1261After about three coats of paint the brown no longer peaked through, I let it dry over night and the next day I simply reattached the pulls and brought it inside. With a few finishing touches and a fresh bouquet of flowers, we had a revamped coffee corner and this time it has storage.

Here’s what we were using before (blah):


And here’s our before and after of the new set up:


IMG_1276Thanks for reading! Please leave any comments or questions below!


Barn Wood Porch Swing


This barn wood porch swing was a birthday gift for my mom. Colleen and I worked on this project together.

Once again starting out at my lumber stash. Bench was made out of 4×4’s on each corner with 2×4’s connecting everything.


Each joint is a mortise and tenon, once again no screws or nails were used in this build.


Once all the joints were cut and fitted it was time for the glue-up. Lots of clamps and an extra set of hands were used to get it all locked down before the glue started to dry.


Plywood was installed for the base.


Next, I spent months searching for two matching pullings used in barns. We hung the bench with hemp rope as shown in the picture above.


Then we hung the swing in the patio and colleen finished it off with the perfect touch; sewing all of the pillows. It was a rewarding process getting to work together on a project. We look forward to many more to come

Barn wood Hope Chest


After hours of searching through my stash of barnwood lumber I had picked out the wood for the hope chest that I would be giving my, girlfriend at the time, now fiance.

The next step was to layout all the pieces of the frame to get an idea of the footprint.


I built the base first using 2×4’s. The frame itself is 4 2×4’s cut at 45 degree angles and doweled together. The support pieces in the center were ripped off of 2×4’s as well and then doweled to the outer frame. To glue it all up I used some ratcheting straps and a couple of extra hands.


After the glue up, I ripped the aromatic cedar boards to the correct dimensions and placed the on the supports.


Now that the base was complete I moved on to the frame for the chest. There are two levels of 2×4’s that come the 4×4’s. To achieve this I mortised the 4×4’s on the correct corners and made a tenon on each end of the 2×4’s. The tenons were then cut at 45 degree angles to meet flush inside the 4×4 creating a very strong joint.


After getting the frame just how I wanted, I ripped more of the cedar lumber down to create an inner wall for the chest.


Next I made feet for the chest out of 4×4’s. To accomplish this I made two cuts into the 4×4 to make an “L” shape with a notch in the back. I think cut the curved sections on a band saw.



I installed the outer walls, putting a 2×4 ripped down to 1×2 to act as spacers for the inner and outer walls on the long sections. The ends contain “hidden compartments” with hangers for jewelry. The picture above shows the finish going on before the inner cedar walls are installed for the final time.


I wanted to keep pressure on the inner walls during the glue-up. So, I stole the bottle jack from my pickup (thankfully I didn’t have a flat tire during this).

Next I installed the outer doors after attaching the chest to the base. These are mounted on hinges and supported by brass chains. A magnetic latch releases the doors when depressed. I rounded off the top inside edge of each door to ensure that each opened and closed smoothly. Now for the lid…

The lid has an inner wall of aromatic cedar and outer of barnwoods to match the rest of the chest. The 2×4’s have mortise and tenons, as shown in the photo above, and the cedar boards ripped from the lumber was attached using dowel joints.

I commissioned the carving above out of walnut. This would later be installed on the inside of lid for the chest.

The final glue-up for this project was the top barnwoods panels for the lid. Four pieces make up the outer wall of the lid. Two slender pieces on the outside perpendicular to the longer boards to add a little geometric interest.




And finally to finish it off with the stamp of approval.

This was about a yearlong process. It had it’s trials, but the end result was a unique gift for a very deserving girlfriend (now fiance).



The hope chest in it’s current resting place with the barnwood mirror referenced in a previous blog I had written.

DIY Project Dorm Beautiful

Moving into a standard white walled dorm room is not appealing to me and upon ample exploration on Pinterest I found the idea of creating a burlap headboard to spruce up the place. Along with a few other little details, my roommie and I had the cutest place on the block.


The first day I arrived on campus, I hauled my best friend Callie, to the local Home Depot store to pick up a sheet of insulation sheathing, which is basically styrofoam. Unfortunately, the shortest piece they carried was 8 feet long, making the task of getting it back to my dorm room quite comical since Callie’s car was a few feet shy of that mark. Thankfully we were able to bend it enough to close the trunk of her SUV.

Here’s the link to what we purchased:
insulation sheathing

From this sheet I was able to cut the exact shape headboard I desired with a razor blade. I went with a “Portman” shape, at least that’s what Pinterest tells me. After this, I measured out about how much burlap I would need to cover the insulation sheathing and began to wrap it around the back, securing it with a combination of hot glue, staples, and duct tape.

Warning: this is not pretty. But no one sees the back, right?

After about an hour long struggle of trying to keep all the material in place, I finished off my project with a little bit of shininess. I picked up some nickel furniture nails at my local Ace Hardware Store and superglued each one in place around the outer rim of my headboard.

This was a lengthly task my new roommate, Katrina, happened to find me in the middle of when she arrived to move in. Although surprised at first, she too was onboard for project “dorm beautiful.”

Here’s a picture with all the nails in place:


To dress up the rest of my corner, I added some lace curtains, a poster, canvas paintings, and some photos of my family. The curtains I bought at a thrift store for $4. And I hung them from the ceiling with some Command Strip hooks. I found this poster of Paul Newman at Beverly’s for $3.
After putting it up on the wall, I finished off the edges with a navy blue ribbon to tie it in with my bedding. I found the idea for my whale canvas paintings on… you guessed it, Pinterest. You can also buy them on Etsy, but I painted my own.

Using my iPad, I was able to trace them image and then transfer it onto the canvases. After that, it was only a matter of keeping the paint within the lines. I thought the whale would fit in nicely since we live on the coast.

And wah-la! Here’s a photo of project “Dorm Beautiful”:


Lazy Susan Shoe Rack


I live in a space tight dorm room, where most of my storage is under my lofted bed. While browsing Pinterest, I stumbled upon a link to a lazy susan shoe rack and was inspired. My brother and I put together a blue print plan and went off to Home Depot in search of some materials.

We found pre-fabricated circles (making our job much simpler). We purchased three 23″ circles for shelves and one 17″ circle for a base. We also picked up a 6″ x 10′ board, that I later cut into 4 sections to use as dividers. And most importantly we purchased a Shepherd 6″ lazy susan turnable which I later screwed into the base and the bottom 23″ shelf.

This is an image of what the turnable looks like. It’s $4.49 at Home Depot


After finding a YouTube video on how to find the perfect center of a circle, I screwed in the lazy susan turnable into the base and bottom shelf.

I created the dividers by cutting my 10′ board, with a circular saw, into four equal sections, just short enough to have about a 2″ inset from the edges of the shelves. I then cut into the middle of each of these dividers in order to groove two of them together.
Below is a rough sketch of how I put the dividers together.


Once I had the dividers together, finishing was all a matter of screwing them into the center of the shelves.


My lazy susan shoe rack fits perfectly under my bed, but you could modify it to meet your space needs.

Barn Wood Mirror



This framed mirror is made from 2×4’s from a 100 year old barn. No fancy joinery necessary here. The boards are glued together using pipe clamps and then a plywood board is screwed on the back of the 2×4’s. The mirror is glued into the middle section. The hinges are screwed into the 2×4’s for aesthetics. The barn wood is finished with a water based polyurethane. This is easily a weekend project.