27 (Hundred) Dresses: Making A Wall Mounted Garment Rack

I very rarely wear jeans or shorts.  Most of the time you will find me in a dress, sometimes a skirt.  Jeans and shorts are convenient because you can just fold them up and stack them away in a drawer, but dresses require hanging, and hanging requires lots of closet space.  Closet space is one thing we don’t have a lot of in the Bentley household.  I grew up with a pretty big closet, and our last two apartments had huge walk-in closets, so moving to our current apartment with the barely-counts-as-a-hole-in-the wall closet space was quite an adjustment for my dresses and I. My clothes started migrating over from the closet to the stairwell and then took up residence on the blinds of our bedroom windows.

This was not acceptable to my needs-to-be-neat personality, so what to do?  Husband to the rescue of course!  Or maybe he just grew tired of my complaining about lack of hanging space…

Anyway, I took to Pinterest for some garment rack inspiration.  We have a second bedroom that doesn’t really get used, so we had enough room to fit a decent sized rack.  Initially I wanted a rack that had wheels, but after looking at pictures and totaling up the price of all the parts, we realized that making a wall-mounted rack would be much less expensive while still getting the job done.

Here are a few of the photos I found to help show Steve what I was picturing.  They are from herehere, and here.

I can’t take credit for much more than the idea of solving our closet problem with a garment rack and finding pictures of pretty ones that I liked.  Steve did all the structure designs and material research, and I basically sat on a crate in the plumbing aisle of Home Depot while he picked out the items he would need to build the thing.  Having a husband is awesome 🙂

Steve started out by lining up the pieces on the floor and then screwing them all together.  He wrapped the end of the bars in plumbers tape before attaching the curvy pieces, but I honestly have no idea why.  Once everything was put together, he used the drill to screw the two round pieces into the wall and waalaa!, a garment rack was born!

It only took about an hour from start to finish, but we both needed a little food fuel and entertainment to get through the construction.  Since Steve was so wonderful for putting the rack together for me, I was tempted to not showcase his movie choice, but I just couldn’t resist.  Bend, and snap!

I begged and begged to paint it all yellow like one of the Pinterest pictures that I saw, but we (ahem, Steve) decided against it since the industrial feel of the exposed pipe wasn’t too shabby to look at anyway.  I did paint the piece that touches the floor yellow just to see what it would look like, but it didn’t impress Steve enough to convince him to paint the whole thing.  I was okay with leaving it as is for now since it’ll be easier to adapt to the decor of our next house.

Socrates and I were of course very useful during this whole process…

I didn’t think I was going to like the wall mounted option as much as a rolling garment rack, but I really actually like it a little better.  It feels like it’s more apart of the room since it’s attached to the wall, and I’m not sure how the rolling wheels would have worked on carpet anyway.  It’s also easy to vacuum under as opposed to having to roll it out of the way to clean.  And all the dresses the were currently residing in plastic bins stored under the bed are now happy to have a place to call home.

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Two Memory Projects: Wedding Idea & Daily Calendar Journal

If you asked me what I did last Friday, you’d probably have to stare awkwardly at me for about ten minutes while I racked my brain to figure out what in the world I was doing a week ago. I admit it, I’m horrible at remembering things, big or small, and that’s part of the reason I started this blog. I can remember big life events pretty well, but when it gets down to the details, I simply just forget (maybe I need to eat more blueberries –aka brain food, or something). Luckily my friends and family are pretty good a remembering things, so they fill me in whenever I need a little extra hint. Lately I’ve been trying to take a few more pictures in an attempt to at least document the memories in a series of images, but I’ve also created a few more memory keepers along the way that I’m going to share with you today.

Wedding Ceremony “Love Letter Box”

Wedding Photos by Fresh Photography

The idea came about when Steve and I were brainstorming about the unity part of our wedding ceremony. We’d seen many weddings where the bride and groom lit a candle or poured sand into a vase to represent “coming together as one,” but we both had a few worries about those ideas. I had nightmares about the wind at our outdoor wedding blowing out the candles mid ceremony or having the vase of sand spill or break while we were out of the house and coming home to find Socrates finishing up a gritty, memory filled meal. After doing a bit of research and finding some unique ideas ranging from tying an actual knot to broom jumping to a salt and water ceremony, we finally stumbled upon an idea of a “love box” and sat down to put our own twist on it.

Here’s how it worked:

Steve and I wrote love letters to each other before the wedding, saying why we were getting married, what we loved about each other, and all that sappy stuff. We had a very talented member of our family make us a beautiful wooden box that was perfectly fitted for a bottle of wine, two wine glasses, and our letters. The box was placed on the altar before the ceremony, and already had the wine and glasses in it. The love letters were residing safely with the maid of honor and best man.

During the ceremony, the minister told everyone about the love letters that we had written to each other and about the wine and glasses that the box held. He explained that if we were ever having trouble in our marriage, before we did anything drastic, we would need to sit down and open the box, pour ourselves a glass of wine and read what we wrote to one another to remind us of why we wanted to marry in the first place. We hope to never have that problem, so he also explained that we will open the box on our 50th wedding anniversary. The thought of opening that box with Steve as a little old married couple in our 70’s is the reason I fell for this idea immediately. As a surprise, our parents also wrote letters to us that they put into the box before the ceremony, so when we do open the box, not only will we have the love letters that we wrote to each other, but we’ll also have the words and memories from our parents letters.

Okay, back to the ceremony – once the minister explained what we were doing, we took the letters we’d written from our MOH/BM and placed them in the box and that’s where the symbolic gesture came into play, just like you get with the unity candle or sand. After everything was in the box, we took a nail and hammer and nailed the box shut – basically sealing the deal :). Being the not-so-handy-girl that I am, it took a while for me to nail my part and after an extended amount of time and giggles from our friends and family, I finally had to have a little help from my almost husband and we eventually got it nailed down.

This part of the ceremony was one of my favorite things about our wedding and it’s nice to know that we have a little piece of our younger selves to look back on when we get all old and wrinkly (but still cute!).

A Lazy Persons Daily Memory Journal

Adapted from Design Sponge

I’ve tried what seems like a dozen times to write in a daily journal to have a keepsake of my thoughts and adventures over the years, but it never fails that after a couple of entries my interest fades and it becomes one of those awkward yet highly amusing things that you find years later while digging through a closet. I love writing about news or food or adventures, but writing about feelings and deep inner thoughts just isn’t my thing (and I generally remember feelings more than actual events anyway). So that’s where this project comes in; pretty much the lazy girl’s version of a daily journal.

I cut up some index cards and used a date stamp to make a card for each day of the year and separated the months with cut pieces of pretty paper I found in my desk drawer. Each day I write a few words (really, like 5-6 words max – hello, easy!) about what I did, things like “had lunch with mom” or “went slacklining with Steve.”  Next year on today’s date, I’ll start on the next line of the same card and write 2013 along with something I do that day. It doesn’t really pay off much in the first couple of years, but once 3-4 years pass, and eventually even 20 years, it will be such a treat to reminisce about what I did on that day however many years ago. It’s an easy project to make and requires 10 seconds at the end of the day to jot something down, so that’s definitely a worthwhile memory saver in my book.

This is also a great gift to give at a wedding or baby shower. I actually put a box together to go along with the Crayon Monogram Frame that I gave to friends of mine and their sweet baby boy. It’s a nice way to document things for babies since they learn and do so much within those first years, and how awesome would it be to be a 16-year old kid filling out your card for the day and looking back to see that on that day 14 years ago you potty’d in the toilet for the first time or something (okay, maybe I’m just weird).

So, those are a couple of ways I try to compensate for my lack of a good memory. What about you, do you have any fun ways of saving your memories?

And one more wedding photo, just for good measure!

B is for Brody: How To Make a Crayon Monogram Frame

While trying to tackle the hugely messy task of organizing pictures on my computer, I came across a few shots of the crayon letter frame that I made a friend of mine for her baby shower.  It’s always hard to personalize a baby or wedding shower gift since the couple normally creates a registry of things that they need, so I was excited when I saw a few ideas on Pinterest that used the crayon monogram as a gift for a teacher.

Inspiration from Disney Family Fun and The 3 Rs Blog:

  

I thought the crayon monogram frame would be perfect for a baby shower gift, and would make a nice personalized addition to the registery items that I’d already bought.  Clothes, blankets, bottles, and toys normally make up the bulk of what you see on the gift table, so I thought having something that they could use to decorate their sweet little baby’s nursery would be quite useful.

It would have been nice if little Brody would have been named Logan or Isaac, because the curves of the “B” really made cutting the crayons a challenge.  I opted to cut the crayons on a slant so that the curves of the B would be crisp (sort of like the first inspiration picture from Disney), but it would certainly be easier to cut them straight across (like the second inspiration picture from The 3Rs Blog) and just space them out to mirror the curves of the letter.

Steve actually helped me a lot on this project, as I get frustrated easily, and once we finally perfected the process for cutting the crayons, the project went much more quickly. Here’s how we did it:

How To Make A Crayon Monogram Frame

(insert picture)

Supplies:

– Letter printed (or drawn) on piece of paper (size depends on size of your frame, we used a thick 8.5 x 11.5 paper)

– Picture frame

– 1-2 boxes of crayons (depends on how particular you are about the color crayons used)

– Super glue (or a glue gun, we just aren’t that fancy)

– Blow dryer

– Serrated knife (we used a bread knife)

Instructions:

1. Print (or draw) your letter on a piece of thick paper.  Make sure the font size you choose fits with the frame you’re using and keep in mind that the size will be different if you’re using a matte in the frame.

2. Arrange crayons over the letter so that you have an idea of how the crayons will line up and how long or short you’ll need to cut your crayons to be proportionate to the frame.  If you’re creating a letter with curves (like B) and want a clean crisp look to the inside of the letter, use a pencil to trace the curves onto the crayons – this will represent where you’ll cut the crayons on a slant.

3. Start with the straight line of your letter.  Cut by scoring each of the crayons, one by one, all the way around with your knife (don’t just try to cut straight down) and then snap in two.  This will give you a clean edge.  Only use this technique with crayons that you are cutting straight across (not on a slant).

4. As you cut, line your crayons up to mirror the printed letter, don’t glue yet!

5. For the curvy parts of the letter, use your pencil marks as a reference on where to cut (this is really tricky – just double and triple check to make sure things line up before cutting).  Using the blow dryer, heat the knife for 20-30 seconds.  Once the knife is hot, cut the crayon in line with the pencil markings, sawing back and forth for a clean and crisp cut.  Line up the crayons as you go to make sure you’re getting a clean and even curve.

6. Once all of your crayons are cut (for our project, that meant about 3 days later!), start gluing the crayons together from the bottom of the letter and work your way up.  I glued mine in three sections – the straight line of the B, the top curve, and the bottom curve.

7. Once your crayons are all glued together (or glued into a couple of sections), coat the back with super glue and transfer to the paper.  Let dry for a few hours before standing the frame up to admire your work!

Creating the crayon letter was definitely a lot more work than I thought it would be, but it’s such a fun project and sentimental gift idea.  I did leave a bit of room at the bottom for Brody’s name, and I actually printed it out on the computer since I can’t write in a straight line to save my life.  Brody’s room was also painted a neutral color with different shades of blue accents, so I painted the frame a dark blue to give it a little extra color and make it pop when hung on the neutral wall.  I really want to make my nephew one for his room, and I even have all the supplies ready to go, it’s just that his name is Jake and those darn curves still haunt my dreams!

This would also be cute to make with buttons, like this one from Spearmint Baby , and would make a great DIY wedding gift.  I’d really like to make one for Steve and I to hang up (of course our last name would have to start with a “B”) and use buttons in a chevron or ombre pattern.

It’s been a while since the shower, and little Brody has now been welcomed into the world.  I’m sure he is enjoying his crayon letter as he naps in his cozy crib.  I’ll leave you with a picture taken by Defining Grace Photography that is sure to be “awwww” inducing, and I’m pretty sure he’s dreaming about all the work his Aunt Stacy (and Uncle Steve) put into his awesome nursery art.