Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Brag Post: DIY Small Footprint Kids Bookcase

Today's DIY focus is more of a brag than a tutorial.

Our kids love books. LOVE them. Because of this, every birthday and holiday they get books as presents. This is all wonderful and awesome. Except for one small thing: 

They pile up everywhere! There are bookshelves in their room, and piles of their books were overwhelming the bookcases in our living room. Sadly, every time they would go to grab a book there is would be an avalanche of board books crashing down.

We needed a solution. But with our limited floor space, it needed to be something with a really slim footprint. After doing a lot of research I found this plan by Ana White. If you haven't heard of her, she is a carpentry genius who graciously shares her plans with us mere mortals.

Using her bookshelf blueprints we were able to create an awesome bookcase that allows the kids to see all the books they have, take them down without danger, and still takes up less space than a traditional bookcase. Win!

We did make a few changes to her plans. Instead of making the bookshelf 3" deep, we made it 4". A lot of books to store people. Every inch counts.

We also chose to use leftover baseboard for the fronts of the shelves, versus plywood. A: I like the look of it over plywood. B: I am a big fan of using leftover materials. Call me cheap resourceful.

To attach the baseboard to the front, we used wood glue along the bottom and clamped it down.  Then we used our finish nail gun and added a few nails along the bottom and on the sides.


Lovin' my chevron paint job? There are lots of complex mathematical formulas out there for creating a perfectly designed chevron. As the design is going to be covered 99% of the time by books, I decided to just wing it. 

First I painted the back section of the bookcase with white paint. Once that was dry, I cut out a small triangle and used is as a rough guide for marking my chevrons with masking tape. Then I painted the entire thing in a lovely shade of blue. Once dried, I slowly removed my tape. Voila!

The chevrons are  little lopsided, but this is a children's bookcase. I'll just pretend it adds character.

And there you have it!  All in all it cost us around $20, and holds 60 books! Trust us, we counted.

The kids love it!

Have you built something that is both functional and awesome for your family? Share it with us on our Facebook page!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

DIY Thanksgiving Throw Pillows

It's almost Thanksgiving! Do you have your meal plans ready? Or, if you are not cooking this year, have you prepared your liver for wine?

We are really in the festive spirit here. But as I was going through my holiday boxes, I found a sad lacking of Thanksgiving stuff. My DIY Thanksgiving table runner was looking to be it. 

Since we are hosting this year, I really wanted our home to have reminders of Thanksgiving all over. So I took matters into my own hands, and started with these easy, adorable, and festive pillows!


Blank pillow case or slip cover in a thinner fabric (I made my own slip covers to fit my existing sofa pillows.)
Fabric paint
Small paint brushes in various sizes
Wax paper
A good movie to watch while you paint (I went with Jingle All the Way)

Start by creating your design. Make sure you size it to match the blank pillow cover you have. 

You are welcome to use our design! Just right click the image, then save it to your computer. All I ask is you give credit to us here at This inSane House.

When you have the design just as you want it, change your printer to "poster" setting. This will print the picture out on several pages maintaining the original size. 

Once it is printed, just tape it together. Trim any excess along the edges. You need to make it narrow enough to slip inside your pillow.

Slide your design into your pillow case. This is why you needed a thinner material. Now you can clearly see the design through the fabric, and it is time to start tracing!

Once you have traced your design, remove the paper and place wax paper inside your pillow. This will keep the paint from bleeding through onto the back of the pillow.

Let the painting commence!

I used two smaller brushes to paint the design on. Because I chose swirly-fancy-shmancy cursive font, it did take a while to make it perfect. Luckily I had a good movie on to keep me occupied. Side note: don't you just love requisitioning your kids stuff for your own purposes? Thanks kiddos for the use of your Sesame Street table!

Once you have finished painting, let it dry overnight before removing the wax paper. Easy peasy!

I was so happy with how it turned out, I decided to make another.

Happy crafting!!  Love the pillows but don't have the time to make them yourself, order them from our etsy shop!

Monday, November 11, 2013

I'm Embarrassed to Admit it, but I've Lost Something...

My mind!! Admit it, that's what you expected.

Truth? I am really embarrassed to write this post. Other than Trent, I haven't told anyone exactly what it is that I have lost. I didn't want to perceived as "that woman". The one who is always talking to people about what she lost. But after much encouragement and peer pressure from my husband (I HATE peer pressure!) here we go.

I have lost an Abby:

20 dozen eggs:

or about 4 gallons of water:
image source
Well, maybe not all of those things. I am happy to say our Abby is still safe and sound with us, and there is still water and a dozen eggs in the fridge. But I certainly did lose something..

As of today I have lost 32 lbs. It's crazy to me that I can say that.

I made the decision to get fit when I saw this photo in June.

This photo was sad for me. Here I was, giving my husband a last hug before he defied death by jumping out of an airplane, and all I could see was how awkward and unhealthy I looked. During this time I was eating like crap and feeling terrible. I had no energy to play with my kids, I was embarrassed by every photo of me, and even my chubby pants were tight. I felt like I was slipping away to be replaced my someone who was unhappy.

I started changing slowly. First, I began doing Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred.

I had started this before after having Abby, but never finished it. It is really friendly to beginners. A short 30 minutes a day left me sore and breathless, but it wasn't overwhelming. I loved that I could work out and shower all within nap time. At first it was so hard for me that I used soup cans for weights, but by the end I was up to 5 lb weights.

I felt so proud of myself for finishing! A few weeks into the shred, I started watching my calorie intake. I downloaded the calorie counting app My Fitness Pal. It is really easy to use, and it was remarkable just how much I had been shoving in my face mindlessly consuming.

After the first 30 days I had lost 14 lbs and 11". Wow.

Next up was Jillian Michael's Ripped in 30. This was harder for me, and I did not enjoy it the way I did the Shred. But I pushed through, and felt like I gained a lot of endurance.

At the end of Ripped in 30 I had lost another 6lbs and 5". Moving in the right direction!

By this point I was really getting interested in running, so I switched my focus(and limited amount of time) to running. After a month of focusing on running I had dropped another 5lbs and 3".

The last 7lbs I have lost through a combination of running and strength training.

I am really proud of my slow and steady losses. There have been many days where I go crazy and enjoy every little food craving (Halloween and my anniversary) or skip a work out, but the difference is I don't let that define me. Having too much cake one day is no longer an excuse to have too much cake everyday.

While I would like to lose another 10lbs, my main focus now is training for my Spartan Run in January and my half marathon in February.

It feels kinds cool to be able to describe myself as a runner, a weight lifter, and as a person in training for something. I am liking the kind of person I am now. I love having the energy to chase my kids around the park and up the monkey bars. And I am so happy to be a strong, capable, daring woman again.

Sunday, November 10, 2013


For our third anniversary, we decided to throw out our customary dinner and a movie and played like kids!  

My mom came over to watch the kids, and with some hugs and kisses for the kiddos, we were off!  We started the night with some competitive golfing at Boomers!

I started by swinging for the fences. 

But ended up in the rough.

Megan couldn't have been happier about my "strategery."

So I switched to small-ball.

We had a blast with the miniature golf.  And after 18 grueling holes, my score keeping put her up by at least 10 points!  Although, there may have been some generous smudges to the score card.

After the golfing, we went to the batting cages, something Megan had never done before!

Do I stand like this?  Well, I like your smile!  

She got some great hits in after we worked on her stance, and felt some amazing fulfillment from crushing the ball long!

Why don't I do this more often!  It's been forever since picking up a bat, and it always feels incredible!

Next we went inside for some air hockey!

After a long fought battle, and several little kids waiting impatiently, I emerged victorious!

Before leaving Boomers, we found a photo booth to makeout get our picture taken. We have a long history with photo booths, and not all of it is good. We usually get 2-3 amazing photos, and one that is impressively awful.  This time didn't disappoint!

Next we went to K1 Speed, a local indoor go karting placing. While we waited in line for our race, I learned a new trick on the pool table.

Our race came up and it was a blast! These were serious go karts, and if you were not careful you could end up flipping around a corner.

For dinner, we visited one of our old stomping grounds; Hennessey's Tavern. Nothing like comfort food and beer to wrap up a fun day of competition  celebration.

After some food and delicious booze, we ordered some bread pudding for dessert.  Megan's bread pudding is way better, but with our booze fuddled brains it was enjoyable.

From the pub, we stumbled to our hotel nearby to sleep off the alcohol.  It was an amazing night with my lovely wife.  It's always wonderful to recharge your batteries.  To get back to our relationship's roots, before the kids, house, and projects. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

DIY Burlap Thanksgiving Table Runner

We are in turkey month! I love November. A whole month to refocus on being thankful for the blessings in my life. Including turkey.

Over the next few weeks I will be sharing special DIY Thanksgiving projects for your table and home.

Today we will start with this beautifully simple and easily customized burlap table runner!

The first step was creating my design. I wanted to keep things simple this year, with a focus on what Thanksgiving is about: Giving Thanks. The fall leaves seemed like the perfect fit with the burlap.

I have a huge crush on burlap this Fall. It is easy to work with and very forgiving.

I started by measuring my table length and then adding 1.5 feet, so it would dangle over the sides. For the width I have read suggestions for either 1/3 the width of the table or 14". Because I had designed my graphic to fit on a standard 8.5 x 11" paper, I chose to make my runner 11" wide.  This made it just over 1/3 of my table width.

Burlap can have frayed, uneven edges if you don't cut it right. I found this awesome tip a while back and it has provided the perfect burlap cuts every time.

Start by marking your measurements on the burlap. I just used my paper as a guide.

Next, make a small cut. Find a strand of the burlap on the inside of your cut and carefully begin to pull on it.

You can seen that removing this strand gives you a perfect line for you to cut along.

Carefully cut your burlap along the line you created when you removed the string.

Look at how neat your edges will be! To prevent any future fraying, I recommend sealing the edges with fray check.

Once you have your burlap cut to size, it is time to trace on your design.

Because of the perforations in burlap, you can easily see your design when it rests under the burlap.

To trace my design, I used permanent markers in colors matching my design. This way if I wanted to paint in the words or leaves it would all match the original colors.

I started with the words then it was on to the leaf.

At this point I changed my mind about painting the design. I really liked the simplistic nature the permanent marker gave it. However, this could easily be customized with paint, glitter, or ribbon.

Looking good, but maybe too simple. It needed a little bit more. Out came an orange and a yellow permanent marker.

 Much better. And our resident Gabe-bot approved!

Quick and fairly painless, it is the perfect runner for our Thanksgiving table. Next I will share a similar technique to make custom Thanksgiving throw pillow covers. We will also be sharing a fun tutorial for a gobble turkey sign!

As promised, here is a free printable! Simply right click the image to save your computer, then print away!

Have fun crafting! And if you make this, please share it with us! Leave a comment here or on our Facebook page!

If you don't have time to craft your own, you can purchase one from our Etsy shop here!