Archive | January, 2013

What is a Giraffe Bench?

25 Jan

I work with a great fun group of people who are always gracious about listening to me blather on about what projects I’m working on. Awhile back, my co-worker, Kelly, commented that she felt bad because my projects always turn out well and sometimes hers don’t. Au contraire, my friend! I then told her about this project, and it made her feel better.

What’s a giraffe bench? This is a giraffe bench – aka, project fail. After all, this blog is about the successes and failures of my DIY projects. Last fall, I had the fantastic idea to make a bench for the end of the bed of one of our guest bedrooms. I found the perfect piece of scrap wood in our garage, bought some unfinished legs from Menards, and some thick foam and batting from JoAnn Fabrics. That’s all I would need for the perfect little bench! I’m so smart sometimes…that was what I thought when I started the project, anyway. ūüôā

It was simple really. I just cut the foam to size and added it to the top of the wood.


Then, I added the batting to smooth everything out, and stapled it to the bottom of the board.


I found some fabric also at JoAnn’s and stapled it to the bottom like I did¬†the¬†batting.


I¬†covered up the rough edges with another piece of fabric,¬†just¬†to make things look nice and finished. Plans? I didn’t need no stinking plans. This was going great!


To make sure that the bench was nice and sturdy, I¬†added these metal plate thingies to screw the legs into. I don’t know what they’re called, but I did know that I was super smart for thinking of this.



Last step! I screwed in the legs that I had stained dark walnut. Eeee! (that’s how excited I was to turn the bench over and see my final product)


…and here it is. When my husband walked in to see it, he laughed. I immediately cracked up as well and said, “It looks like a giraffe!” It looked like it was going to topple over at any moment.


Maia is very unsure of it. She’s thinking, “It’s so far down!”


It is seriously tall¬†– so tall that I can barely even sit on it. Not only that, but it wasn’t anywhere near sturdy like I had expected! Don’t be fooled by my smile. This project was a fail with a capital F! There was no way I was going to¬†let anyone sit on this bench.


Poor little giraffe bench…we have gotten many good laughs at its expense. Luckily, I had not invested much time or money into it, and I’ve already disassembled the whole thing.

The main lesson learned? Test out things Рlegs, in this case Рbefore you go to the effort of staining and varnishing them. I clearly bought legs that were suited for a table, not a bench, and it never crossed my mind to test them out before the very end. Doh!

That’s my only project fail. Kidding! I’m totally kidding. How could I forget my¬†awesome idea for a wall-mounted jewelry box. It’s neither mounted on the wall, nor holding any jewelry. ūüôā

I’d love to hear from you…what’s your “giraffe bench”?


At the End of My Rope – My Jaunt with Jute

17 Jan

I have a confession to make. All of my projects, as¬†you will soon realize, are not big, grand room repaints, furniture redos, or bathroom renovations. I do have a full time job, outside-of-work extra-curricular activities like Civic Chorus and city league volleyball, and just general stuff like going to Zumba, kickboxing, etc. However, my “projects,” as we call them in¬†our house, are my hobby. I make time for them because I love to create things! But I often¬†only have time for little, crafty things. They may not be as exciting, but they’re still fun…like this one…

Ahhh, jute. I lurve this twine-like string. Wikipedia defines it as “a long, soft, shiny vegetable fiber that can be spun into coarse, strong threads.” Wikipedia – so smart! I call it my good friend that can make even the most underwhelming piece of¬†would-be garbage¬†into a brand-new, lovely d√©cor item! I bought my jute at Hobby Lobby awhile back because I saw on Pinterest the most awesome beer bottles-turned-vases made with – what else? – jute. I had the perfect shelves¬†to put these bottles on, so I bought my a roll of jute for about five bucks or so, instructed my husband to save¬†three beer bottles, and made these! IMG_0748 Cute, right? I added some fake magnolias (I think) and they now¬†live in one of our spare bedrooms. They were super-easy – all you need is a glue gun to work with jute. The problem? I couldn’t stop…

I found an unused vase and made it into this for our guest bedroom: IMG_0752 This was a bigger vase, and I already had these bamboo sticks that I threw in. Instant d√©cor! But it doesn’t stop there…I was becoming addicted to covering things with jute. Nothing was safe anymore…

I made the following mirror from two pieces of cardboard cut in a circle and glued together¬†for thickness. I just¬†glued a¬†small mirror that I bought from Hobby Lobby for another project and never used (it was only¬†a couple bucks) and added jute from there.IMG_0749See? That’s the back (made from a¬†Shutterfly box):¬†IMG_0750 I marveled at my creativity! “Look at how it ties in with the jute beer bottles,” I thought. IMG_0751 But did I stop there? Nope. No I did not. My logic was, if¬†a little bit of jute is good, more must be better. Plus, I still had jute left, so heck…might as well find something else to wrap. Our newly finished hallway outside our newly finished bathroom was looking so¬†empty… IMG_0746 I figured, “Hey – this jute-covered item is on an entirely different floor than the other ones, so one more won’t hurt…” What finally broke my addiction? Was it willpower? Was it the realization that if I kept covering things with jute, our house would start looking ridiculous? No. I’m just almost out of jute. IMG_0756 It’s all for the best…otherwise we’d probably¬†end up having¬†jute-covered cats. Anyway, you probably have some old, unused vases or empty beer or wine bottles of your own. You, too, can have your own jute addiction! Just get your jute, hot glue gun and item to cover, plop yourself in front of the TV and go to town! Here are a few tips that I’ve learned:

1. Find something you wouldn’t mind covering – it doesn’t matter if it’s a bold color. You shouldn’t see the color underneath because your jute should be nice and dense.IMG_0504

2. Start at the skinny end of your item. Trust me on this one. It’s much easier to go from the thin end to the wide end, because the jute tends to slip down if you start from the wide end. I went back at the end to cover the inside of the neck so people can’t see the purple.IMG_0505

3. You’ll need more glue at the beginning, but once you start getting to the wider part, you’ll need less. Just keep winding. IMG_0506

I hope this inspired some of you to think outside the box when it comes to items you might otherwise throw away, donate or stuff away in a cupboard, unused. I’d love to hear from you. Have you covered anything with jute? Do you have any other ideas for things to cover? I’m all ears…

Sigh. An addict is never truly cured.