diy headboard.

After decorating the bedroom with a handful of photos I’ve taken and a watercolor painting I did, the idea was tossed around to make a large print of another photo to hang above the bed. Instead I decided it would be an even better idea to make a headboard.

I’m psyched with how it turned out!

It was definitely the most costly project I’ve ever tackled, but knowing that some look-alikes at the store cost almost $700, I don’t feel as upset about spending around $150 on supplies.

We measured a couple inches extra on both sides of the bed, and bought a piece of 48″x80″ plywood. This is when I realized how large of a bed this headboard was actually going behind. After drawing up a plan for how far apart to place the buttons, I did a really ugly job of measuring and drawing lines with a red sharpie (Good thing I got to cover this up so there won’t ever be a trace of it on the board itself!). I drilled holes through the points where the buttons would eventually go.

Despite looking through many stores, we never found 2″ foam. Instead I played foam tetris in two layers. I used spray adhesive to attach the layers together as well as attach them to the plywood itself. In retrospect, I’m not sure that this was necessary.

The next step was to attach upholstery batting. I spread it out on the floor and then flipped the board (foam side down) on top. A million bangs of the staple gun later, it was attached.

We purchased a sheet set instead of fabric for the board. Part of this is because it was guaranteed to be large enough, and partially it was so that we had a lot of extra in case things went awry. After trimming the flat sheet to size, it was attached to the board in the same way the batting had been. This would have been a good time for me to grab a partner in crime. My placement was so far from centered, you’d think I had my eyes closed!

Using some of the left over material, I created buttons with a button cover kit. This was much easier than I anticipated, which was a nice surprise.

These buttons were attached to the board by using the holes that had been drilled and an upholstery needle to get through the 2+ inches of headboard. On the back side, I used lots of staples to secure the embroidery thread and hammered all of the staples to make sure they weren’t going anywhere. I forgot to take a picture of this part! But it’s pretty unattractive (a common theme with this project).

Here’s what the headboard looked like before it was attached to 2x4s and slid behind the bed:

I’m sure I could have accomplished all of this in a day, but it was spread out over the course of a week because I wasn’t that determined to get it finished immediately. I definitely plan to do this for other beds in the future; it was a very easy way to customize what’s there. The extra plus to using a sheet set is that we could use the pillowcases to tie everything together.

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swim lessons.

After weeks of making sure he stayed close enough to the edge of the water to ensure he could still stand, Sam finally showed us he could doggy-paddle like a pro!

We had to coax him into the deeper water by throwing a stick. He couldn’t get enough of it after the first lap though, and it was clear he finally understood the “retriever” part of his breed.

He was SO tired when we got home; he snored the entire afternoon! 
I’m psyched to have something new to do with him now that it’s starting to get pretty warm, although I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little worried to bring him anywhere near a lake from now on. He’s never going to be able to just stroll by without getting in! 

japanese gardens.

I went to Anderson Japanese Gardens in Rockford, IL last week. It was a much busier place than I had anticipated! I took some fun pictures and liked being able to see very small parts of another culture for an afternoon. I’m not sure if I’ll ever end up going back; as gardens go, there’s not much change over time in each specific one. I do definitely recommend going to anyone who hasn’t though!

state love art.

I think that pinterest might be the greatest website to ever exist in my life. It’s definitely going to get me through the summer, and maybe better yet is going to help me rediscover my creative side. 
I’ve seen a lot of posts about state art, most of which were links to purchase prints that were already made. They looked simple enough for me to make on my own though, so I thought I’d give it a go. Because I’ve lived in Southeastern Wisconsin my entire life, the variety would have been lacking if I made these for myself. Instead I made them for a friend who’s starting a PhD program at the University of Minnesota in the Fall as decor for her apartment. 
This project was super easy! I printed off maps of all three states large enough that they’d take up the majority of the 8×8 canvas. I used a map instead of an outline so I could put the heart over the correct cities. 

Before doing anything, I painted the canvas white. It would probably be fine without, but I wanted it to be a brighter white than what the canvas was originally. Then I traced around the map (with a heart sticker already placed on the city because I didn’t want pencil lines to show through the paint later).
After that I used a small brush to outline around. I was nervous about the final product at this point because I’ve never used acrylic before, so I spread the outline out farther to thin the paint around the border. 
I then painted two coats on the rest of the canvas (including the edges). I did all of my strokes horizontal. I’m not sure if this would matter in the long run, but I wanted it to look as “professional” as possible. The green and purple ended up much darker than I had originally planned, but it was necessary in order to make everything even after the first coat of paint. 
The last step was to paint the inside of the heart! I could have hand painted the hearts, but I wanted to make sure they were all the same size. I’m also a bit of a perfectionist. I think it would probably add a bit of character to hand paint them all instead, so I may do that if I ever tackle this project again. 
I definitely overestimated how long it would take me to complete this. The longest part was waiting for paint to dry in between layers. 
I’m about halfway through my next project, and can’t wait for the finished product! Coming soon… 

geneva lake part 2.

My friend and I continued our hiking adventure around Geneva Lake yesterday! We started earlier in the morning  because we knew the terrain of the path we had decided to do was going to be much harder than the last time. Even though we had this plan in place, we were still surprised by how much we had to look at our feet instead of what was going on around us!

We walked from Big Foot Beach State Park to Fontana and back the opposite direction. It was a total of 18 miles. The weather was beautiful, and as an added bonus… We met so many fantastic dogs!!!

Loved being able to spend a day walking; the best part is that we’ve done more than 2/3 of the lake. Can’t wait to say we’ve walked around the whole thing so soon!

home improvement: deck stain.

I finally convinced someone that it was a really good idea to take before/after photos of home improvement projects and not just sit and gaze at the finished product. I do support gazing at the finished project after all the photos have been completed though.

We stained the deck last week! This is (sort of) what it looked like before (I say sort of because last summer J painted the railings):

This is what it looks like now:

Still need to stain in between all the boards, but regardless of what’s left I’m still really psyched about spending the next few months eating dinner out here. Happy Summer, folks!