Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Christmas Gifts - Gift Tags

Homemade Christmas Gifts

  Since we called the blog Creations By ASH, Andrew reminded me that the 'S' part of the team should write some posts too!  I know it's January, but I couldn't very well post the homemade Christmas presents until after everyone had got them, so I'm posting them all now!

  I made a bunch of different presents, so be sure to check out the posts for my other projects!

Gift Tags

  I love to wrap gifts, to me it’s all about the presentation! There is something fun about gifting a well wrapped gift.  Johanna had pinned this web site and it was all about using initials as gift tags, the lady is pretty creative. I didn't have a book to cut up or the time to do something super elaborate, so instead I raided my scrap-booking supplies. I used scraps of paper leftover from other projects and a bunch of stickers I had -  I always seem to have random letter stickers left over from this or that scrapbook page, and this was an awesome way to use them up!

  I cut the scraps of paper into different size squares or rectangles, punched a hole in the top, strung a piece of jute (same stuff I used on the Sock Snowmen) through it, and picked out a initial sticker that matched my paper tag.

  Simple and easy gift tags for my presents! They actually made a pretty cute Christmas tree ornament, too – my mother in law loves to save things like that as memories!

Christmas Gifts - No-Sew Pillow Cover

Homemade Christmas Gifts

  Since we called the blog Creations By ASH, Andrew reminded me that the 'S' part of the team should write some posts too!  I know it's January, but I couldn't very well post the homemade Christmas presents until after everyone had got them, so I'm posting them all now!

  I made a bunch of different presents, so be sure to check out the posts for my other projects!

No-Sew Pillow Cover

  Since Andrew was building Johanna a bed and pallet headboard to put in her room for Christmas, I wanted to make a gift to go along with it!  Johanna is a sweetie, always baby sitting for us if we want to go out, or taking family pictures for us. I had saved this pillow idea to use in my living room in the near future, but the last time I was in Johanna’s room I started thinking that it needed some orange accents, and that a throw pillow would do nicely.

  So, Perrin and I went off to Joann’s to find the right orange fabric! We ended up finding some nice choices in the fall fabrics for 60% off. I picked out my two favorites, then held them in front of Perrin and let him choose! Call me brave, but it worked for me.

  The blog said the fabric needed to be three times as wide as the pillow and twice as tall as the pillow. I decided to do a 16 inch by 16 inch pillow, so I had the fabric cut to 48 inches long. Honestly I wished I had gotten two more inches - it would have made it easier to tie.

  I picked out a soft pillow form at Joann’s to use but I now think this would have worked best with a stiffer throw pillow (which is probably why I had such a hard time tying it.)

  I just estimated cutting the “twice as tall” part, laid it out and folded it up, then folded the ends like you would wrap a gift and tied it.

  I used to safety pin to secure the knot it place.

  And there it was - a beautiful orange throw pillow!

Christmas Gifts - Photo Magnets

Homemade Christmas Gifts

  Since we called the blog Creations By ASH, Andrew reminded me that the 'S' part of the team should write some posts too!  I know it's January, but I couldn't very well post the homemade Christmas presents until after everyone had got them, so I'm posting them all now!

  I made a bunch of different presents, so be sure to check out the posts for my other projects!

Photo Magnets

  This might just be my favorite gift I made this year!  I also made a few just for us, which is a good thing because I forgot to take pictures of the others before I wrapped them up and gave them away :)

  I had been looking on Pinterest for Christmas ideas and came across the idea for photo pendants on this blog  I don't see most of the people in my family actually wearing "photo pendants", so I decided to try making magnets instead.

  All the supplies for this gift were brought from an Etsy shop, Candy Tiles Studio.   This shop was awesome to work with, even going so far as to allow me to buy extra magnets to match the lot size of the tiles.  My package came quickly, too, which is always a bonus. 

  Andrew sized and printed the pictures for me on a sheet of regular white card stock.  I used the medium tiles, so each picture was as close to a square as possible, measuring 1.28" on the widest side.  Then I cut out the picture (I just used scissors but I’m sure a paper cutter would work too) and glued it to the tile using  the Diamond Glaze I bought at the Etsy shop.

  My first couple of magnets looked streaky when they were done, almost like you could see the brush marks in the Diamond Glaze.  After a little bit of experimenting, I found if you dipped your paint brush into water first and then the Diamond Glaze it eliminated the streaking.  I was using a cheap dollar-store paint brush, so maybe a higher quality one wouldn't need that?

  Once the glaze had dried, I just attached the magnets to the back of the tile with hot glue.

  And just like that you have a simple and cute gift for those you love. I made these for my sister in laws using pictures of their children, my mom and mother in law with pictures of their grandson, and my grandparents of their great grandson.  I even made a few magnets for Andrew’s sister, who is working at a clinic in Aibai, Papua New Guinea for a year.

  My favorite response to the magnets was in a thank-you card from my grandmother: “I have the cute picture of Perrin on my frig – he’s very polite, never says ‘don’t eat that, it’ll make you fat.”  I hope it brings smiles to their faces each time they look at them; I know it does when I look at mine.

Tiles – I bought the medium square ones, but you can use any size.
Small paint brush
Cup for water and small paper plate for glue 
Hot glue gun (or super glue)

Christmas Gifts - Homemade Moose Munch

Homemade Christmas Gifts

  Since we called the blog Creations By ASH, Andrew reminded me that the 'S' part of the team should write some posts too!  I know it's January, but I couldn't very well post the homemade Christmas presents until after everyone had got them, so I'm posting them all now!

  I made a bunch of different presents, so be sure to check out the posts for my other projects!

Homemade Moose Munch

  I don’t know about you but I really like Moose Munch from Harry and David.  It’s yummy stuff and makes a nice gift, but unfortunately, it's not cheap!  I started wondering about whether I could make some myself for Christmas presents, so I began to look for a recipe on Pinterest.  I found a blog with a great recipe!   

  I didn’t take pictures while making the Moose Much (sorry), since it was quite a crazy night.  It was just me and the baby when I decided to try my hand at this recipe, and it was one disaster after another!  First my microwave decided to die and I only had half my pop corn popped, so I changed my plans and started to make Chocolate Caramel Covered Pretzel Bark.  Halfway through that, my microwave resurrected itself, so I ended up working on both projects at once.  I wound up using the caramel recipe from the pretzel bark for the moose munch, the recipe was easier.
  Side Note on the Chocolate Caramel Covered Pretzel Bark - the only thing I did differently than her blog was to melt the chocolate in the microwave and spread it on.  I thought it looked "prettier" that way. 

  Back to the Moose Munch…. I followed Leah Belle's blog for the rest of the Moose Munch, making two different kinds - Milk Chocolate with Almonds, and White Chocolate with Cranberries. Both were yummy!

  Then came’s the dilemma of “how” to give the Moose Munch as a gift.  Wrapping a present is just as important as making it!  I came up with the idea (no help from Pinterest here!) to use yogurt containers.  They are a nice size and shape, and the yogurt brand I buy (Chobani) comes in a container with a clear lid so  you could see the moose munch through it.  

  At first I was going to wrap them in Christmas paper, but I realized the labels peeled off very easily. Unfortunately, they left a few spots were the label glue had been. I didn't really want to take the time to scrape that off, so I hot glued some strategically placed ribbon on the top and bottom covering it up. I also tried a bow on one, but the lid didn't fit quite right with it so I didn't do it to the rest.

  I had some label stickers and I just wrote the flavor on the label and stuck it to the top (it didn't stick well to the side).

  Simple as …… well, Moose Munch!  The recipe I followed filled up five tubs of Moose Munch, and only cost me $5.00!  I guess they make a lot of money off those little bags of Moose Munch!

Christmas Gifts - Sock Snowmen

Homemade Christmas Gifts

  Since we called the blog Creations By ASH, Andrew reminded me that the 'S' part of the team should write some posts too!  I know it's January, but I couldn't very well post the homemade Christmas presents until after everyone had got them, so I'm posting them all now!

  I made a bunch of different presents, so be sure to check out the posts for my other projects!

Sock Snowmen

 I found these (actually, all of these gifts) on Pinterest (got to love that place) and saved them away until the holiday season.  This particular project project was inspired by ThenSheMade.   That post has blow-by-blow directions (it doesn't get much easier), so just check out her blog for how to make them - I won't reinvent the wheel by giving the full instructions, but will mention two things I learned while making them:

1.)  I found the socks were hard to fill with rice, so I cut down a paper towel tube, put one end into the sock, then poured the rice from a flexible paper cup.

2.)   I made a huge mess the first time, so for my second "snowman" I put a 9x13 pan under it as I was filling him – it kept what rice I did spill contained (with an 8 month old who is learning to crawl I didn't need rice to worry about.)

* Tube Socks – I got them at Target for $1.50 (you get two snowmen out of a pair).
* Ankle Socks – I found these at Target too, ranging from .25 to .45 cents.  They were all purples and neon colors, not my favorite but I made them work. Target also sells sets of six socks that have the same color scheme but are all slightly different - those worked out nicely, the ones I picked out were grey, pink and white.
* Rice – I got a 20 pound bag at Market Basket, I made 9 snowmen out of that bag.  I think that was $10.00 for the bag.
* Jute –  I got a huge spool from Michael's for $10, but didn't use the whole thing.  
* Buttons – I had a bucket from another craft project, and also got some from my awesome sister-in-law Johanna, so I didn't have to buy these. She also had some of the cute snowflake, flowers, hearts etc .buttons I used to accessorize the snowmen.
* Toothpicks - “ThenSheMade” used kabob skewers for the noses, but in November I just couldn't find any, so I resorted to toothpicks – they just stuck right into the snowman’s face (ouch). Honestly I think the kabobs would work better.
* Hot glue gun, scissors and rubber bands

All together, each snowman cost me about $3 to make, not bad for a homemade gift!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Pallet Headboard & Bed Frame - Part Two

Part Two of a three-part series (Go To Part OnePart Three)

This post is all about the pallet headboard itself.  This was a lot of fun for me, since almost all of my materials were free, so I could play around a lot with this.  Like most of my projects, I read up on other people's adventures before starting my own ... I found useful information here and here about using pallets as part of a project.

Before I could do anything else, I needed to find the raw materials!  I had one pallet left over from when I moved into the house, and found all the rest on the side of the road.  Keep an eye out on the free section of your local Craigslist (e.g., nh.craigslist.org/zip) too, since businesses will often post these up.

Once I had the pallets brought back into the house and unloaded from my roof racks, I had to break them down.  I put a metal-cutting blade on my ancient Sawzall.

I then cut down the edge of the pallet, between the top board and the sides.

Once all the boards were out, I used a nail punch (and then just an old nail) to knock out the nail heads from the pieces so that they wouldn't destroy my saw blades

The edges of the boards were definitely not square, and I was using pieces from four different pallets, so I set up my table saw to rip them down to size.  The wide boards were cut to 4 1/2", and the thinner boards were cut to 3".  I ran through with the fence set just thin enough to shave the edge off, then set the fence to the final width for the second passes.
I definitely should have built a straight-line rip jig first, but didn't - it will be here for the next project, I promise.

Since I was using so many different pallets, the wood was all different thicknesses.  I ran them through a planer I borrowed (and sincerely miss now that I gave it back) until it was all 1/2" thick.  I don't mind some roughness / mismatch in the final product, but did want it to be a relatively smooth front.

Once everything was the same width and thickness, I was ready to start working on the headboard.  I laid it out piece-by-piece on the frame, making sure that the pallets fit closely together.  Not much to see here, but I tried to avoid any real pattern with the light and dark wood.

Once I was satisfied with the layout, I used a brad nailgun and some 1" nails to fasten them to the vertical slats.  I had to put some 3/4" strips along the very edge of the posts (set 1/2" back like the slats) to support them on the ends.

I had set aside most of my thicker boards, and I trimmed them down enough to completely frame in the 4x4 posts and run across the top front of the frame.

I put three layers of boards on the top of the headboard, with the first flush with the top facing piece and the second overhanging it by 1/2".  I cheated for the top board, since I didn't have any pallet pieces long enough to cover the whole thing.  So I used another piece of 5/4 stock, overhanging the second piece by another 3/4".  I like how it turned out, even if it's not a pallet exactly - it was free at a moving sale!!  I used lots of clamps for this one, so there wouldn't be any gaps.

And when it was all ready, we tied a pretty bow on it and waited for Christmas day!  Johanna loved the bed, and is eagerly waiting for me to finish off the stain and polyurethane coats - which will be the subject of Part Three!

Here is how it all turned out!

She picked out a stain color on Christmas, so part three will cover the staining process and final assembly.

See Part One
See Part Three

Tool List:
Table Saw
Belt Sander
Air Compressor
Brad Gun
Sawzall (w/ Metal-Cutting Blade)

Material List:
Four pallets!
1" brad nails
150-grit sandpaper

Idea sites:
Tommy & Ellie
Tommy & Ellie (again)

Pallet Headboard & Bed Frame - Part One

Part One of a three-part series (Go To Part Two, Part Three)

This project doesn't quite take the top spot (that still belongs to the Farmhouse Table), but it has it's own reason to be special.  Unlike the table (and the Sawhorse Desk currently being finished), this is a design I had to come up by myself, though I definitely drew ideas from a number of sources (I'll include links below).

While browsing through the always excellent site TommyAndEllie.com, I ran into this post about a pallet headboard he had built.  Samantha immediately thought of Johanna, since she has said that pallet projects are cool.

Building the headboard out of pallets became my first requirement for the project, but almost as important was the need to build it using knock-down joinery, so that it can be disassembled and moved.

I started with how to join the rails to the head and foot boards.  I've been reading back issues of Woodsmith magazine for the last few months, and though it would be fun to try a mortise and tenon joint (an easier methodology might be to just use bed rail fasteners).  With a mortise (shallow hole) cut into the posts, and a tenon (slight protrusion) shaped on the end of the rail, the piece would lock together and provide good vertical and lateral support for the rails, preventing them from dropping and twisting.

Cutting the tenons looked easy; after the notching I did for the table, I knew I could trim excess from the rails using my table saw.  The mortises, though, required a little more work.

For consistency, I decided to build a mortise jig to use with my router, constructed out of some scrap plywood and 2x4s.  The underside of the jig has three pieces of wood, with the two side pieces placed 3.5" apart and a third piece placed to hold the end of the stock.

A piece of 3.5" stock (I used 2x4s to set all this up, but it works just as well with 4x4 posts) gets placed between these stop blocks.

The top side of the jig has four pieces of plywood screwed down to provide guide bumpers for my router. I cut an opening in the plywood, then marked the position of the mortise on my scrap piece, and used those markings to get the plywood bumpers positioned.  Measurements got me close, but there was some trial and error involved - use scrap 2x4s until you have it right.  Remember that your router base may not be perfectly square, so you need to be sure the router is always set in the same way.

Once it was set, I was able to use my plunge router to take successively deeper and deeper cuts, until the mortise reached a depth of 1".

When the scrap pieces were perfect, I drew up my plans for the bed frame.  After exhaustive research and much careful consideration, I decided that my two headboard posts needed to be 51" high because that was the size of a leftover piece of scrap I had.  I cut the stock to match (note: I cut this a little long and then trimmed it to the right length so the cuts would be square).
I also cut two posts for my footboard out of 4x4 leftovers.  I figured the distance I wanted from the floor to the rail bottom (8"), the size of the rail itself (~7.25"), and how far above the rail the post should extend (1"), and cut the footboard posts 16.25" tall.  I then routed the mortises into all four posts.

With the posts complete, I began assembling the head and foot boards.  This would be a queen bed, so I needed to fit a width of 60".  My headboard needed two 2x4s at the top and bottom of the frame, with vertical 1x3s providing support for the pallet pieces.  I cut two 59" 2x4s, and five 32.5" 1x3s, and drilled pocket holes using my Kreg Jig (since these boards won't be visible).  I attached the 2x4s to the posts, then put in the vertical pieces.  Both the vertical and horizontal supports were set exactly 1/2" back from the front edge of the posts, so the pallet pieces would be flush with the front edge of the posts.

One mistake I made - I attached the vertical supports from the back, so the pocket holes angled toward the front of the headboard.  I had to re-do it from the front, since the screws were so close to the front edge of the 2x4 that bumping them caused a couple to rip out.

That finished the skeleton of the headboard.  The footboard was even easier; I cut a 59" piece of 2x8 and set it up between the footboard posts, with exactly 8" between the bottom of the post and the lowest edge of the foot rail.

I used pocket holes and screws to connect the foot rail to the foot posts.

Headboard done, footboard ready, and only the rails are left.

2x8 stock gave me a nice amount of strength.  I cut them a little large (a queen mattress is 80" long, so I cut my rails 83" long) to give space for a 3/4" tenon on each end and room to slide the mattress in.

To cut the tenon, I set the fence on my table saw to 3/4" away from the farthest edge of the blade, with the saw 1/2" up from the table.  I then made repeated passes on both sides of the rail until the tenon cheeks were formed.

Once the longer sides were cut, I raised the blade slightly to make the cut on the 'top' and 'bottom' of the tenon.  This should be customized to whatever length you routed earlier - I used scrap pieces until I had a perfect fit with my mortises, and only then started cutting into the rails.  Start with the blade a little lower than you need, so you can sneak up on the final width.

I now had a square (well, ractangular) peg and a round hole.  Oops.  My tools failed me here; I had planned to chisel the mortise square, but didn't have one small enough to fit the hole.  I changed tacks and rounded off the tenon to fit my oval mortise.

I used a 1/2" roundover bit on my router to waste away as much as I could, then used a hand saw and sandpaper to fit the rest into the hole.


Once I had a snug fit, I added a long supporting piece to the rail.  I had some nice 5/4 (a true 1") stock from somewhere, so I ripped it to a width of 1" and attached it flush to the bottom of the rail to provide a rest for the slats.

Using our spare bed as a reference, I added more pieces on top of this to create hollow pockets where the bed slats would rest.  It's kinda hard to tell from the picture, but you can see a scrap 2x4 acting as a spacer where the slat will be, then a piece in the middle, then another scrap piece.  I used 12" pieces on each end, with 10" pieces filling up the spaces in the middle. To make sure these match, the rails need to mirror each other - lay them out next to each other with either the bottom or the top edges touching (NOT bottom edge to top edge). Lay the first (12") piece on each of them, attach it, then start using scrap pieces and the 10" strips to position the next rails.

Last of all, I needed to somehow pin the rails to the posts.  The mortise and tenon provide great lateral and vertical support, but nothing horizontally.

I sketched out a plan for this one night, then read a Woodsmith article the next day showing the exact same methodology.  The basic idea is to drill a hole through the post and into the end of the rail, then drill an access point on the inside of the rail big enough to thread a nut onto the end of a bolt.

With the rails securely placed in the posts (I used my 10' bar clamps to squeeze it tightly), I drilled a 3/8" hole through the post and into the rail.  I was able to use the bit that came with my Kreg Jig for this, and drilled two holes for each end of the rail.  I think one would have done just as well.

When the hole was done, I took the rails out and began working on the access point.  To prevent the two holes from weakening the rail, I used 5" and 6" bolts, with the 6" bolt on top.

Measuring back 2 1/2" from the edge of the rail (1 1/2" for the lower), I drilled a shallow hole using a 1" diameter paddle bit.  I went slowly, since the last thing I wanted to do was punch too deeply; stop when the point of the bit breaks through the 3/8" hole you already drilled.

Using a regular drill bit, I cleaned out and deepened the back edge of the hole

Use a chisel to square off and deepen the hole enough to insert a square nut and tighten the bolt through.  Make sure your shaft is deep enough to allow the bolt to tighten fully.

I also drilled into the post using the 1" paddle bit deeply enough that the bolt head and a washer are completely underneath the surface.  That way clothes and such won't catch against the bolt heads when the bed is assembled.

Pretty close to my diagram!

That's quite long enough for Part One!  I'll put up details next on finding, disassembling, preparing, and attaching the pallet pieces to the headboard.

See Part Two
See Part Three

Tool list:
Table Saw
Plunge Router
Miter Saw
1" straight router bit
Kreg Jig
Chisel (1/2")
1" paddle bit
1/2" drill bit
10' pipe clamps

3 - 2x8x96
3 - 1x3x96
2 - 4x4x96
2 - 2x4x96
~50 1 1/2" screws

Idea sites:
Ana-White again