Wednesday, December 28, 2016

2016 Top 10 Builds (with free plans)

Every year I scroll back through the build category on this little old blog of mine and pick out the top projects, the ones I loved building and the ones that had the most reader love.

top 10 builds for 2016

In no specific order I present my top 10 builds from 2016:

1. Replica Vintage Shelving

diy replica vintage shelving free plans

Struck by a beautiful vintage piece posted by Miss Mustard Seed Marian on her Instagram feed we collaborated and I made a replica with free plans here.

diy vanity desk free plans

A desk for my girls with lots and lots of drawers and fun hardware pulls.  Get the plans here and I will be posting another version of this desk with larger drawers on the bottom soon.

diy recycling and storage tower

Making use of vertical space with this recycling and storage tower.  A link to the plans and more details are posted here.

diy modular sofa and ottoman free plans

This sofa and ottoman build uses hardware connectors for a strong and secure frame that's also easy to assemble.  Build to fit your cushions and space, free plans are here.

diy sink vanity free plans

Part of my Master Bathroom renovation, I found this wall mounted sink curbside and knew I wanted it in the bathroom however I also wanted and needed counterspace, storage and a way to conceal the pipes.  The free plans are here and easy to adjust to your needs.

diy 16 drawer dresser free plans

Drawers, drawers and more drawers!  I love having a spot to store all the craft papers and little bits.  This would also be great for socks and undies, hair accessories, etc.  Free plans here.

diy entryway bench free plans

A very simple bench that makes a great addition to an entry, dining room or anywhere you need extra seating.  Free plans are posted here along with more photos.

diy small dining room sideboard

A small sideboard for those of us with small spaces to decorate.  Small but mighty purposeful with three drawers for linen storage and plenty of counterspace.  Plans here using standard lumber.

diy outdoor cabana lounge

A big fun build for outdoors, last summer I made this outdoor cabana lounge structure.  I teamed up with Ana White on this beast to make free plans available.

diy cedar fence picket planter free plans

Planters can get pricey especially tall big ones but not when you DIY!  I built this cedar fence picket planter for about $10 and you can too with free plans here.

I hope you've had a productive building year too, it's fun to look back at all the things we've made, produced and accomplished over the year.  Stay with me for 2017, I have high hopes it will only get better!


Friday, December 23, 2016

DIY Tabletop Ice Cream Parlor

Happy Friday before Christmas and yes there is still time to make gifts!  Today Ana White and I are sharing this tabletop ice cream parlor that takes about 30 minutes to build.

diy tabletop ice cream parlor

I made the ice cream cones from precut wood shapes from the craft store, easy peasy and you have the cutest gift for that ice cream lover on your list!

handbuilt holiday gift plans

It's been so much fun bringing you all the Handbuilt Holiday gift plans this year.  Today is the last post for the 2016 series and I'm always a bit sad because I truly love making and sharing the plans for all these amazing projects.

handbuilt holiday gift plans

Ana White and I collaborate on each and every project to make the plans available to all our readers and we are very proud of all the gift ideas we have put out over the past three years.

Today is no exception and it's also a simple build that can be made using scrap 1x4 wood pieces.

diy tabletop ice cream parlor

Drill a few holes for the awning posts and ice cream cones and you are good to go.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Kids Toolbox Workshop

When you love building and making things like I do you tend to want to share that passion with anyone who is interested.  I recently had the chance to teach a kids toolbox workshop for our school Christmas Fair and I thought I'd share the details with you! 

kids toolbox workshop

The organizers of the Christmas Fair asked if I could put together a 'Santa's Workshop' whereby the kids could build and make something to give as a gift or keep for themselves.  We used The Home Depot wooden toolbox kit for our project and the kids got busy hammering and painting.

santa's workshop kids build and paint a toolbox

I placed this sandwich board style sign out front along with a sample of the toolbox to entice kids to join us in Santa's Workshop.

The actual assembly of the wooden toolbox does require adult assistance but once it was ready the kids absolutely loved painting their toolboxes:

kids workshop toolbox

kids workshop wooden toolbox kit

Each attendee received the wooden toobox kit and I provided the hammers to borrow.

Santa's workshop build and paint a toolbox

We set up the workshop in a classroom adajcent to the cafeteria where all the kids games were located.  I painted this large sign above on kraft paper to help promote the workshop and guide attendees to the right spot.

kids workshop kits at The Home Depot

There are many options for kids workshop kits in addition to the toolbox:

Friday, December 16, 2016

DIY Kids Play Cash Register

Happy Friday and one week to go until Christmas!  It's Week 11 of the Handbuilt Holiday series and Ana White and I are bringing you a wood kids play cash register.

diy wood kids play cash register

Simply the cutest little thing and functional too!  My kids proceeded to ask me "What is a charge card?"  Am I that ancient?  I swear they used to be called charge cards back in the day.  

Anyhow if you missed any of the previous weeks gift builds be sure to see them all here.

We have 11 new gift builds up so far this year plus the 3 previous years so you are bound to find something perfect to build for that little someone.

diy wood kids play cash register

Ana designed this cash register with a hinged top perfect for storing all those coins, credit cards and other kid collectible weird stuff. 

DIY Holiday Tablescape Tour

It's a Christmas morning table today with a touch of gingerbread.

christmas morning table with gingerbread placecards

Hello to all you readers coming from Stacy Risenmany's tablescape with beautiful greenery!  Eight diy bloggers are sharing their holiday tables in a blog tour and you'll want to stop by each one for amazing inspiration and diy projects.

holiday tablescape tour diy bloggers

I went simple this year and somewhere along October decided that I needed more gingerbread men in my decorations so why not place cards?  The stained scrap plywood looks almost like gingerbread I could eat it!

diy gingerbread placecards

We've never had Christmas morning breakfast in the Living Room but this year will be different.  It's the most cozy room in our home, it wraps around you like a cabin with the cedar shutters and fireplace so it's the perfect spot for cinnamon rolls, eggs and bacon.

christmas tablescape living room

Thursday, December 15, 2016

DIY Gift Card Holder & Virtual Party

Friends we are inching closer to the holidays and I have the perfect gift for those remaining people on your list, how about a gift card and a diy gift card holder?

diy wood gift card holder

This gift card holder is part of a virtual party with 15 diy bloggers all presenting their own creative diy gift card holders for The Home Depot gift cards.

I made this simple wood gift card holder using two lath screws to hold the gift card in place.  A piece of scrap wood makes a nice frame for any of the plastic gift card options:

diy wood gift card holder

So many designs to choose from!  All of the gift cards are reloadable and available as a digital (eGift) version as well.  Visit to
learn more about The Home Depot gift cards.

diy wood gift card holder

I designed this gift card holder as an easy way to present your gift card using items you just might have on hand.  It's simple and functional and could be used any time.  Gift cards are great for friends, family, wedding gifts, house warming, etc., truly any time of the year.

The Home Depot gift card options

Once your gift card arrives or if you purchased a gift card at The Home Depot store then you're ready to make the gift card holder.

Below are step by step instructions, including a materials list, to make your own wood gift card holer:


diy gift card holder construction

Step 1: Cut a piece of 1x4 scrap wood to 5 1/2" long.  Sand edges smooth.

diy gift card holder stained

Step 2: Apply stain onto wood.  Let dry.

diy gift card holder construction

Step 3: Place gift card in center of wood and mark each edge at the middle point.

diy gift card holder construction

Step 4: Use a drill to insert 1/2" lath screw into wood.  Lath screws are self tapping so no need to predrill.  One screw on each short side of the gift card will do.

diy gift card holder construction

Once both screws are in place the gift card will be held firmly to the wood.

brown masking paper and electrical tape gift wrapping

To wrap the gift card I used brown masking paper and colored electrical tape.

electrical tape gift bows

To make the tape into a bow cut two pieces at equal length.  Stick those two pieces together leaving a 1/4" at either end of 'sticky' side exposed.  Taking those two exposed sticky ends you can make a loop and stick the ends together.  Repeat this process to make many loops.

brown paper gift wrapping and electrical tape gift bows

Wrap up the gift card holder using the brown paper and secure with electrical tape then apply the bow and your gift is ready!

Be sure to stop by a see all the creative and inspiring diy gift card holder projects from my fellow bloggers:
diy wood gift card holder

Disclaimer: The Home Depot partners with bloggers such as me for special projects.  I have received compensation for my time.  The Home Depot believes that consumers and bloggers are to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. The Home Depot’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.

Friday, December 9, 2016

DIY Ipad Retro TV

It's Friday and time for another Handbuilt Holiday gift plan and today is an ipad retro TV made from scrap wood.  Oh my stars it's the cutest thing you've ever seen!

diy ipad retro tv

Ana White and I work together to bring you a new holiday gift plan every Friday.  Ana made the plans super simple for this retro tv that serves as an ipad holder so you can watch the show without having to lean or prop up the ipad.

handbuilt holiday gift plans

We've been busy these past 9 weeks building all the fun gifts and toys.  Typically as we get closer to Christmas the builds get smaller and more simple so you still have time to make a great gift for that special someone.

handbuilt holiday gift builds 2016

To see all the previous builds from this year and the past years click here.

Back to today's project which I guarantee can be built in 30 minutes:

diy ipad holder retro tv

Ana designed the plans using standard stock lumber so search your scrap pile for this one.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Holiday Cards Made Easy

Does anyone else have a love / hate relationship with holiday cards?  I love to receive them and I do love giving them but I hate the actual process.  I teamed up with again this year and I'm making holiday cards easy today.

Minted merry triptych personalized holiday card

All I have to do is add the stamp, stuff and seal the envelope, how easy is that?  I selected the Merry Triptych design this year plus free recipient addressing and added the preprinted return address.  All Minted holiday cards are available with matching custom stamps, envelope designs and FREE recipient addressing.

Nothing is more time consuming than hand writing the recipients addresses.  Take advantage of Minted's free concierge address book service and send your addresses in any format and they will build your Minted Address Book.  Bonus it will be ready and waiting for next year too! 

Minted find it fast feature

Perhaps the second most time consuming item next to hand writing the addresses is actually picking out your holiday card.  If you're like me then you only have one or two optional photos to use in the holiday card so to make your selection process super easy use the Find It Fast button.  

After narrowing down your filters by number of photos, orientation and format, click on the Find It Fast button and upload your photo.  The site will automatically populate every card style with your photo so you can immediately see the look.  Presto!  That speeds up your selection process drastically.

Minted holiday photo cards

Minted is a design marketplace of independent artists from around the globe.  You are supporting that community of independent artists who have produced some beautiful cards in keeping with this year's top trends.  Real foil-pressed holiday cards in gold, silver and rose gold, graphic black and white, botancial wreaths, midnight blues and photo letterpress holiday cards featuring the luxurious look and feel of letterpress paired with unique inks and vibrant colors are all top trends for 2016.

Minted merry triptych personalized holiday card

There's still plenty of time to get your holiday card order in before the holidays, order by 12/12 to guarantee 12/20 delivery.  I'll be over here enjoying some egg nog, stamping and stuffing my envelopes, doing holiday cards the easy way.

Disclaimer:  I have partnered with Minted to bring you this post.  I have received product and / or compensation however all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Friday, December 2, 2016

DIY Play Tea Cart

Friends if only my kids were little again!  We have the absolute sweetest diy play tea cart for this week's Handbuilt Holiday gift plan:

diy kids play tea cart

Run and gather the minimal supplies to make this right now!  As promised Ana White and I share one new gift build plan every Friday through Christmas and today does not disappoint.  To see all the previous weeks projects click here.

handbuilt holiday gift build plans

I mean seriously how can you not want or need one of these adorable tea carts?  I'm thinking we might just need an adult size too.

diy kids play tea cart