free pantry upgrade

Bwahahaha, I can’t even say that with a straight face. ¬†ūüôā

See, here in blogland the ‘pantry reveal’ has been the recent IT thing. ¬†There are matching containers, fancy labels and stenciled shelving. ¬†Oh my! ¬†(I couldn’t resist.)

But, this is more of a pallet-turned-box type of thing. ¬†Well, it IS a pallet turned box. ¬†Or, let’s say crate … that’s a much more appealing term don’t you think. ¬†So … sorry for the false advertising. ¬†I don’t have a pantry … but we all need a place for our canned goods, right?!

And, since it’s been established that we live in a breadbox, I need to be creative.

I’ve had our pantry type items in the hutch since we moved here. ¬†But once the hutch became the tv stand, that’s been kind of weird.

I know, I know … storage is storage, but still weird all the same.

So, I decided to make a box crate out of a pallet. And it didn’t cost me a penny. ¬†Not many things make me smile more than the word FREE. ¬†ūüôā

Well,¬†dragon berry¬†mojitos make me smile pretty big…but that’s not really¬†relevant here now is it.

So, I didn’t actually take a before picture … but … it was a pallet. ūüėČ ¬†Similar to this one. And I used the same technique to remove the slats, a hammer and pry bar along with some cursing and a blister on my forefinger.

Those last two are totally optional. ¬†ūüôā

I knew where I wanted my crate to go in my kitchen, so I measured my space and cut my slats to size (14 inches long).  Based on the height I wanted, I needed 3 slats per side (one wide one and two narrow ones), so I cut 12 pieces the same length.

I took a little piece of scrap wood (maybe a  1 x 1) I had and cut it so I could use it as the brace to attach each of the sides of my crate together.  The height was measuring about 12 inches so I cut my little brackets, if you will, about 10 inches long.  Just long enough so I could get one screw into each of the three pallet slats on each side of the soon-to-be-crate.

Are you following along with all of the numbers Carol? ¬†ūüėČ
Ok, here’s the thought process … I wanted the front to be only a view of the slats, meaning the front and back slats would overlap the slats on the sides. ¬†So, in the picture above, you see how I lined my brackets up flush with the edge of the slats for the sides of the crate. ¬†I attached the 4 brackets to both ends of the slats for both of the sides. ¬†Then, by lining up the slats for the front (and then back) of the crate, I was able to attach the brackets to the slats creating a bottomless and topless box. ¬†Confused yet?

This pic is of the 2 sides with the brackets attached … ready to be attached to the front and the back sides of the crate.

Why yes, I do work construction on the coffee table. ¬†ūüôā

Which makes now seem like a good time for a few tips:
1. ¬†Don’t do construction on the coffee table unless you’re ok with a sawdusty mess. ¬†ūüôā
2. Drilling pilot holes for your screws (like I did here) is always a time saver … for those interested in saving time and sanity and maybe a little bit of finger flesh.
3.  One might want to wash their pallet with some sort of disinfectant cleaner.
4.  Sanding the slats before working with them, or wearing gloves while handling the slats would probably be a good idea.

But, I’m not one to judge so if you happen to forego any of these tips your crate is still cool with me. ¬†ūüôā

Ok, where were we … once I had all of the sides connected, I added a bottom. ¬†This is probably backwards carpentry, but that’s how I roll.

AND, so I didn’t have to rip down the width of any of the pallet slats, I spaced them so they aren’t wide enough apart for any canned goods to fall through, but not exactly a solid wood bottom. ¬†Like so.

Then I drilled holes on either side of my crate to run some rope through for handles.

And because I didn’t want people peaking at my canned goods (that’s what she said), I added a top by just cutting more pallet slats the length I needed and adding a few pallet slats to the underside to attach them all together. ¬†Like so.

And because I love me some driftwood, I just screwed on a piece that I thought would work as a handle.

After I admired her for a few hours I decided to add some random stenciling. ¬†My new favorite hobby. ¬†ūüôā

I picked a not so random number and then stenciled the word CURACAO along the front. Kind of like it’s a crate of canned goods on its way to Curacao. ¬†Appropriate I’d say.

Thank goodness, because we all know who doesn’t like random stenciling around here. ¬†ūüėČ

I finished her off by hand sanding the whole crate to distress the stenciling and smooth out the finish a bit. ¬†Oh, and just to clarify, all of the nail holes you see on the outside of the crate of from it’s previous life as a pallet. ¬†Building the crate with the brackets on the inside eliminates any new visual nail or screws. ¬†And I really like the rustic look of the open holes from it’s life as a pallet. ¬†Score!

While I was at it, I was inspired to add another driftwood shelf below our jute wrapped rusty pipe pot rack.

I think she makes a good pair with the other driftwood shelf action we have going on in our little kitchen. ¬†Which … I think looks nice and dandy below the other pallet project I’ve done in this space.

And, because this has turned into a mini kitchen tour … here’s my attempt at storing some of our less ugly kitchen things in plain sight.

Seriously, if you want to make your very own pallet crate, it really is easy, feel free to¬†email me¬†for more detail. ¬†I know you can do it … and who doesn’t love FREE, stylish storage?

And another little side note, the only electric tool I used is my drill/screwdriver … no fancy equipment required. ¬†Bonus!

What about you, have you made anything out of a pallet? ¬†Do you store your canned goods in a crate? ¬†Did you spend time with family over the holiday weekend or tear something apart to re-purpose it? ¬†I guess you can figure out what I did. ¬†ūüôā

AND … because I confessed my newest life blog goal here, and clearly I’m a bit delusional, I’m going to be linking up here¬†in addition to¬†here and at: ¬†BNOTP, Home Stories A to Z, Savvy Southern Style, Remodelaholic, Today’s Creative and Addicted 2 Decorating.

End of Year Organization

Does anything say “it’s the end of the year” like a little organization? ¬†I mean, really. Clean slates and new years go together like bread and buttah.

I got my new 2012 daily calendar last week and it just made me giddy. ¬†I’m officially ready to start the new year when I’m prepared to get it all written down in the calendar. (Did I just say that out loud? ¬†Total dork here.)

I also make sure I shave and put away laundry before New England Patriots games start. I just don’t want anything nagging at the back of my mind. ¬†Apparently piles of clothes and scratchy legs are my biggest nags. ¬†Hmmm?

It’s kind of the same for me with the new year. ¬†Who wants a hot mess of¬†disorganization distracting from all of the new possibilities the new year brings? ¬†I sure don’t. ¬†ūüôā

Well, my mini organization actually started when I started this blog in the beginning of November. ¬†It’s so much easier to get things done when things are in order and ready to be gotten done. ¬†But, as I’ve mentioned many a time, we don’t exactly have a lot of space, so I need to maximize what I’ve got and just make it work. ¬†You know?

I can dream of spaces like this:
Like Jen at Tatertots and Jello has.

Or this,
Like Stacy at Not Just a Housewife just created. ¬†Aren’t those wood shelves the best? ¬†She made them from old fence pickets. ¬†I see myself making something like it very soon. ¬†ūüôā

But, what I’ve got is this,

Underwhelming, I know.  Trust me, I KNOW!

But, here’s what I did. ¬†I laid out everything that I had in terms of “craft supplies”. ¬†You know, all of the scraps, paints, adhesives, items I’ve bought in hopes that all the little ideas in my head will actually turn into something, and all of the other randomness you see here.

I picked out a few bins and baskets that I had been using otherwise in the house and decided to make a little “craft station” if you will.
In the larger wire bin I layered different projects in the works.

1) Supplies I have bought for ideas I have.  2 & 3) I took 2 plastic folders that I have been holding onto but knew I would never use as is and cut them in half lengthwise. They fit perfectly in the bin and work great to hold cut up pieces that can easily get lost in a big bin and also keep parts to different projects separated. 4) In the empty space of the bin I put other supplies that are waiting to get crafted.

Here’s a pic of the folders, the blue one before it was cut in half and the green one after being cut. ¬†This is the perfect little filing solution.

Then, in the basket I took a few glass jars I had saved, and didn’t even bother to take the labels off since I’m lazy you can’t see them once they’re in the basket anyway. ¬†These glass jars are perfect for separating little odds and ends, and holding up side down an almost empty bottle of glue.

In the small wire bin I took a few other glass jars and put all of my supplies. ¬†Paint, markers, adhesives, paint brushes,¬†stencils, wire, twine…stuff like that.

I had this old photo box that I picked up a TJMaxx or Marshall’s a long time ago. ¬†It isn’t really my style so I just painted it black and tossed in all the uglies. ¬†Scraps that I may (or may not) use some day but are really just a box o’ ugly as is.
This little basket houses all of my sewing supplies. ¬†Or, no-sewing supplies as the Steam-A-Seam seems to indicate. ¬†ūüôā

And since I am using a bookshelf for my new “craft station” I did still need to also use it for…wait for it…my books. ¬†Here’s what the little organization project ended up looking like.
As for the other items:

  • The Lowe’s 48 cars are included because I heart the Lowe’s 48 NASCAR team.
  • The basket under one of the 48 cars has all of our computer program disks in it.
  • The water color picture is an original piece by a friend of ours.
  • The mirror I would like to redo, so it’s kind of good looking on the bookshelf yet still a project in the works. ¬†Oh so¬†versatile. ¬†ūüėČ
  • A crisp white piece of brain coral and the biggest sea urchin I’ve ever found tossed in just because we always need a little nature.

As a side note you could look at many items in our house and wonder “Is that a decoration or a project in progress?” like the mirror. ¬†Sigh.

Just because, here are a couple of other little organizational things we’ve got goin’ on in here.

A basket my mom gave me that is supposed to be used to put silverware and napkins in for outdoor BBQs attached to the wall with an eye bolt and S hook houses all of our larger utensils.
On this beautious wall we also have a knife magnet Рbrilliant space saving invention Рand another little hook with a small basket for all of our wooden utensils because I clearly like my items separated.  And, if you have not discovered the wonder of the Ove Glove you are totally missing out.  No joke!

And, when we were gathering driftwood for the trees I made here, here and here I found a huge driftwood board so I made her into a shelf.
Even packages of crackers don’t look totally ugly when in a clear glass jar.

But that tile. ¬†Good. ¬†Ness. ¬†I told you here we had it everywhere, even the walls weren’t safe from the ambitious tiler. ¬†:/ ¬†This wall doesn’t look 100% hideous at least because the grout is still white. ¬†Not so true for so many other surfaces.

I just used 2 L brackets to attach the wood to the wall. ¬†I screwed in two little hooks on the under side of the wood to hang the wire domes. ¬†Those guys are totally necessary around here with all the flies. ¬†They multiply like wild fire whenever there’s food around.

And no, I don’t have any labels on the jars. ¬†Even I am smart enough to tell my beans from my pasta and my dog medication from my rice. ¬†For the most part anyway. ¬†ūüėČ

So, with a few simple upgrades I feel organized and ready to ring in the new year. ¬†Reuse a few glass jars,¬†re-purpose¬†a few plastic folders, designate a few key spots for the things I find myself using a lot and spend zero dollars. ¬†Time to cross this project off my list in my new daily planner and get ready for a little New Year’s Eve celebration. ¬†ūüôā

What other items do you have lying around that could be used for creative storage?  I mentioned a couple of our other ideas here, but am always in need of more.

Here’s to a very festive and safe New Year for you all. ¬†See you in 2012!

Monday Matinee – For the Love of LL Bean

Happy Happy Monday! ¬†And Happy Day After Christmas! ¬†I sure do hope everyone got exactly what you were hoping for, large and small. ¬†ūüôā

I’m thinking a lot of people are going to want to spend more time with loved ones this week than online (hoping many of you are on vacation, fingers crossed for you) so I’m going to just do a couple quick posts on some simple storage and organization solutions. ¬†I figure I’d consider this first one part of the Monday Matinee series that I started here. ¬†Uhhh, this is the second one so that constitutes a series, right?!

Next week I’ll be posting about a VERY FUN project I’m working on now. ¬†I will also be traveling to my home state of Maine and hopefully get to see some snow for the first time in THREE years. ¬†IIIIIII’m dreaming … of a whiiiite January. ¬†ūüôā

So, onto my love of all things LL Bean. ¬†I mentioned here that I have a bag o’ bags. ¬†Well, I actually have two.
We got two awesome monogrammed canvas bags with pictures of pups on them from my brother and sister-in-law a few Christmases ago. ¬†I love how they represent our whole little family. ¬†Joel, me, white dog and black dog. ¬†ūüôā ¬†They made the cut when we were packing “only the essentials” for our move to Curacao just over 2 years ago. ¬†If you ask my husband I made all kinds of interesting choices. ¬†Some were mentioned here, here and here. ūüėČ

I was thinking these would make great beach bags, I was also thinking I would be frolicking at the beach quite often, moving to an island and all, right?!? Turns out, when I am at the beach, once in a great while, nothing says “American Tourist” like a¬†monogrammed¬†canvas bag. ¬†For a girl trying to fit into my new country, that wasn’t really the look I was going for. ¬†You know?!?

But, back in our little one bedroom, one bath house we are renting it’s not like I have any a lot of storage space. ¬†Enter my cute bags. ¬†It is relevant to reiterate that I am originally from Maine and beyond the fact that these bags were gifts from family, all things LL Bean remind me of family and make me feel at home. ¬†Wait, was that just a wiff of pine?

This might qualify as a non-project project but I love being able to use all functional items and space we have available to us. ¬†And any way I can get things off the ground is key. Take these bags and place them on the floor, against a wall and they look cluttered and not put away and just a hot mess. ¬†So, I found some empty wall space, I selected groups of items that I want easy access to but I don’t want to actually see everyday. ¬†My canvas bags for shopping¬†(and the beach it turns out!) ,
and my variety of handbags (what can I say, I like to switch it up often).

To hang them I just measured the center of the width of the open space on the wall, held up the bags to eyeball what might look good, drilled a hole (because all of our walls are concrete) and hammered in a nail.

Easy peazy, handy dandy, bag o’ bag storage.
See what I did there? ¬†Put the name of my blog, the space between, in the space between the bags in the pic. ¬†Hence the literally in¬†parenthesis. ¬†Get it? So clever. ¬†ūüėČ

And, obviously, they don’t have to be LL Bean bags. ¬†You could hang any roomy, stylish bags that you don’t use a lot and would look fashionable on your wall. ¬†I had even thought of hanging them in our bedroom with my bathing suits in one and undergarments in the other. ¬†So many options I tell you. ¬†ūüėČ

Since this little house is just that, little, we have gotten pretty creative with some storage ideas. ¬†I think I’ve mentioned we turned construction doors into shelving in a walk in closet we created. ¬†We also took apart a twin sized box spring to make an outdoor shelf to store our beach chairs, snorkel gear and other items that we don’t use often and that will hold up to the outdoor salty air exposure. ¬†We used a metal rod and extra clothes line wire to make a pot rack and a large piece of driftwood to make a shelf in the kitchen. ¬†Oh, and we have our Jeep doors (which we don’t ever need on the Jeep, because it’s always warm and sunny), Wii Fit board, extra bike tires and a pair of roller blades under out couches. Shhhh!

Now, I don’t consider any of these project photo worthy right now, I don’t want to scare you away. ¬†ūüėČ ¬†But it has helped us fit as much as we need into this little space.

I am by no means a clean freak, but I like things neat and tidy. ¬†I think many homes’ ills can be solved with a little storage and organization. ¬†Everything has a home and everything in it’s home. ¬†When everything is in it’s place it just feels clean and neat and oh so livable. ¬†Even if it’s barely bigger than a bread box.

In the new year I have plans to make some sort of probably scrap wood shelves and skirting to create even more usable space up in here. ¬†But I want to hear your ideas. ¬†Short of draping the ceilings in fabric and storing clothes I don’t really wear up there I’ll try pretty much anything. ¬†I’ve thought this idea through, too much work for such a limited amount of things I could store that would be light enough to not totally weigh down the fabric, and not really easy to access.

What about you? ¬†What creative storage ideas do you have? ¬†You know I need ’em.

Just for fun, here is another little Curacao house, I hope the family in it had a wonderful holiday.

I am sharing this idea¬†here, here, here and here. Check ’em out!

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