Shelf Re-Do, Step Three – DIY Magazine / Project Notes Storage

Whilst browsing Pinterest one day after work I saw a lady who makes all kinds of storage stuff out of cereal boxes…I can’t find the pin now, I think I just looked at her blog without pinning. Oops. Here is the project that I remember best and decided to do myself. Cereal boxes into magazine storage containers.

Who doesn’t have cereal boxes in their home? All you have to do is measure and mark where five inches is on one side, use a ruler to draw a line up to the other corner and then cut along the lines. It’s that easy.

Yeah, I still eat like a five-year-old, don’t judge. Those marshmallows are delicious.

Simply cover the cut boxes with the paper of your choice. I decided to continue the brown paper theme I had going on the rest of my shelf and only have the pretty paper at the end that folk will see. I’m too cheap to have magazines coming to my house, but this is a great way for me to keep the notes and sketches I have for various projects organized.


Refurbishing a Desk on the Cheap

Every house has it, the dreaded ugly piece of furniture. (Sometimes this horrific fiend has an entire family of ugly friends clogging up your space.) And like me you walk past it and sigh. You know you should do something about it…but who has the money to replace it or time to deal with it? Then one day your brain snaps and the ugly must be dealt with, but how you ask? Super Cheap I reply.  Behold the ugly desk.  This dark beast labored under my computer and piles of crap in a darkly painted entryway with no windows, relentlessly sucking out what little light managed to peek into that corner. (Whose bright idea was the dark brown paint anyway?…Oh wait, mine…moving on.) Due to drying times this project will require a weekend to accomplish.originalSomething must be done, so I took stock of what I had – you can see it there sitting on top of the desk. Three pretty pieces of paper and some Mod Podge…I’m totally prepared. My plan was to cover the drawer pulls with the gold paper and use what I could of the tiny amount of cranberry paisley paper that was super pretty and super scarce. Off to the store I go with a sample of these two papers. Turns out no paint matches both so I buy a perfect match for the background color of the paisley paper…Salmon.

Newsflash: Salmon is Benjamin Moore code speak for shocking band aid pink. You have been warned.after first coat
I determined very quickly that my new giant, band aid pink desk is not in fact an improvement over the previous incarnation. Think, think, think. New plan. Go under the sink and pull out more of the light brown paint from when we first moved in and I was painting the apartment. Using a giftcard to maintain an equal distance from the edge of the desk I tape off a square with painter’s tape and make a brown square.

Hint: for clean lines paint a quick edge inside the tape with the background color and let dry for a few minutes before moving onto the next color.
While watching TV that night I used scissors and an exacto knife to cut out the swirly flowery pattern on one of the pretty papers that I liked. After letting the paint dry over night I traced the edge of the square with a gold paint pen I had left over from an old project. (You can’t tell much but it’s nice up close.) Then I played with the best arrangements of the design for a while and put a thin layer of Mod Podge under the paper and a thicker layer on top to decoupage it to the desk. Let this dry completely, a few hours should do it. I would hit it with another layer of glue to help protect the image.
drawer details
I also decided to paint the front of the drawers brown (there was still WAY too much pink going on.) the only thing I left pink was the handles which I Mod Podged little strips of the paisley paper onto. It still looked a bit unfinished so I hot glued some mint green buttons on top of the whole shebang after the top and drawers of the desk got a quick coat of Minwax. (Along with everything else in the house I have been avoiding sealing for the past three years.) The fumes…Oh the fumes…

finished deskHere it is, my brand new desk ready to handle all of my crafting needs in style, all for the whopping sum of $15 dollars and I still have a TON of Salmon paint left, you know…should you be dying to paint something in your home the color of band aids.

Full list of supplies for non-crafting, non-packrats. Keep in mind this grew out of what I had on hand.  If you don’t have something improvise. I never would have come up with so many pretty things if the pink hadn’t been so unexpectedly ugly.

  • Mod Podge (or Elmers Glue)
  • Foam Brush
  • Paint
  • Paint Brush
  • Painter’s tape
  • Gold Paint pen
  • Decorative Paper
  • Exacto knife
  • Minwax sealant
  • Buttons
  • Hotglue Gun

Introducing Mr. Ted E. Bear (Also known as Frankenstien’s Monster)


Introducing the cutest thing I have EVER made…as long as no one looks too closely. 😉 That’s right, I did it – I crocheted a teddy bear, booyah!

It wasn’t even that hard.  I simply added on to the things I have been learning.  I knew how to make a ball from the Ducky…this is just a series of ball variations.  Total cost $3, I used green and brown Sugar and Cream Cotton yard, a scrap of red and black acrylic yarn, Poly-fil and a G sized crochet needle.


  • Ball increasing steadily over a total of eight rows then holding steady for three or four rows then decreasing steadily for 8 rows. Stuffed with Poly-fil and closed.
  • Muzzle, made a small half ball and then sewed a triangle nose with black yarn, stuffed with Poly-fil and sewed to head.
  • Ears – chain 5 together to make a circle and then double crocheted 6 times into the center of the circle to make the shape and sewed it onto the head.


  • Increased steadily over nine rows and then held steady until the bear was as tall as I wanted him to be.  (Color change at the bottom of the shirt and two rows before the top) Decreased until I had 5 rows left and stopped.  Stuffed body and sewed onto head. (I wanted the neck to be a little thicker – not just two balls sewn together.)
  • As I did a REALLY bad job of sewing his face on straight the bottom of the head was WAY off to the side and I had to hide this fact…so…he got a cute scarf.  See everything can be covered!
  • Scarf – single chain as long as I wanted the scarf to be and then I went back down the row with a double crochet
  • Sew scarf to body to cover all ugliness 🙂

Arms and Legs – My personal hell

  • I hate crocheting tiny things – that’s just me…I almost sent him as a stump, but I sucked it up and did the right thing.
  • Arms, Tiny Ball – Two rows of double stitching in each loop and then one row of decreasing then hold steady for length I wanted. (Color change at wrist.) Pinched the ends together before sewing to bear, they can flap up and down now.
  • Legs, (I admit Andrea made the little feet) She made a small chain and then looped back down the chain to make an oval instead of a circle…and now I know how to do something new…neat! Left the ends open and sewed to bear flat – the legs don’t move much so the bear can sit.
  • Stuff and sew limbs on.  Pretend to self they are even remotely even in size or placement…not true, but if I say it enough maybe it will make it true…)

Stand back and look at finished product…Oh My Gosh! That is adorable!  As long as we never tell the receiving child how much cussing went into it…Nothing but love baby, nothing but love 🙂dsc02225

We did it, we took the plunge. I now run a Female, Veteran owned Small Business.

From now on all posts will be uploaded at Go Places, Baby!

My family and I could not be more excited to start bringing you the very best products that we can.

Thank you to everyone that visits and supports us!

Phone Case in Under an Hour (and only $1.25)

A simple request was made, “Nik, I need to be able to put my phone in my pocket without it getting scratched.  Can you make me something?” (Because dear readers, I don’t know if you have looked at the price of phone cases these days…not awesome.  Unless these things wake you up every morning with a hug and the encouraging words, “You’re good enough, you’re smart enough, and gosh-darn it people like you” they are NOT worth the money!)  So I thought and two options came to mind.

  1. Crochet a long rectangle and seam it down both sides because, sweetie, you know you’re not very clever at crocheting…but that would be loose and I think I would have to make some sort of draw string or tie, bleh
  2. Learn how to make a snug form fitting pocket for the phone…Agghhh…no way I am advanced enough to make something actually fit an object (note lack of hats being made around here.)

But I went to my Monday night knitting group and my crocheting buddy returned from a long absence and politely informed me that although lazy was good and seaming was a good way to go…the other option was not hard.  It would be just like a granny square, and I knew how to do those, so I could do this.

Turns out this was REALY easy.  I only had to frog it once, and that was right at the beginning.  Total amount of time spent, 2 episodes of X-files (with a break for food), total cost $1.25…now that’s my idea of a good investment in a phone case!

Little Green Phone Monster:

  1. G Crochet hook and Sugar and Cream cotton yarn (little wool felt scraps for the eyes)
  2. Single chain just over half the width of the phone. (This step is why I frogged the first project, my starting chain was too long.  I didn’t take into account how much the bottom would grow when I started doing the increasing rows.)
  3. Turn the corner like a granny square (two stitches in one loop, single chain, two stitches in one loop)
  4. Single stitch back the length of the starting chain
  5. Turn next corner as you did in #3
  6. Single stitch down the other side of the starting chain
  7. I did this for a total of two increasing rows to make the rectangle base for the phone cover – Once I could set the phone end on the rectangle I stopped increasing at the corners (no more double stitches in one loop) and just did single stitches all the way around until it was tall enough to cover the phone.
  8. I still had ten minutes of X-Files left so I decided to give the cover a face, Ta-da…phone monster! (I was originally thinking Frankenstein, but I didn’t feel like making bolts for his neck.)

Thanks to for posting this on a list of 25 neat-o projects to make for March (I’m #24)

We did it, we took the plunge. I now run a Female, Veteran owned Small Business.

From now on all posts will be uploaded at Go Places, Baby!

My family and I could not be more excited to start bringing you the very best products that we can.

Thank you to everyone that visits and supports us!

Fast Easy Crochet Baby Gift


I didn’t feel like making yet another knitted baby blanket and as I had determined that this was going to be the year I taught myself how to crochet something other than the monster blanket that I first started working on years ago (and will be working on until the day I die) so I came up with this cutie pie as a solution to the latest bun in a friend’s oven.

This is my first time ever doing a granny square.  I LOVE IT! So fast!  I can see now why my mom makes all of our blankets out of this stitch even though toes poke through.  I also made my first ball…not so awesome.  The technique itself wasn’t hard but I had awful yarn.  I was accustomed to purchasing yarn with knitting in mind not crocheting.  Word to the wise – make sure your yarn has very clear, even edges if you are going to attempt a ball.  This bad boy took years off of my life. (Damn soft glittery nubbles…)

Here is a good tutorial for granny squares.

Here is a good tutorial for making balls.

I knew the square was going to be the body and the ball was going to be a head but I thought at first I was making a little bear until I looked at it again and went “Duh Nikki, yellow is for ducks.”  Then a friend clapped and said webbed feet and it was all over.

You’re going to think I am daft but here was my first plan for the bill. I was going to start with a long row, decreasing each row until I had a triangle then immediately begin increasing until I had a matching triangle connected to the other side by the tip.  THEN I was going to fold this over and sew the to sides together.  As I was planning this rocket science a friend in my knitting group managed not to roll her eyes as she politely suggested that I make a square and fold it in half…ummm, yeah, why don’ t I just do that.

So I made three squares, a larger one for the bill and two littler ones for the webbed feet.  I folded the mouth in half and sewed in in place on the then deflated head and sewed the feet on at an angle.  I tried to give him a smile…but it sort of just looks like he has to poo.  Oh well.  Two little black yarn eyes later and all he needed was some stuffing and his head sewn on.

I have never stuffed a baby toy before and a girl who has apparently done this several times suggested that I put all the the poly-fil inside pantyhose in the ball so little baby fingers don’t pinch it out through holes.  I have to say – great idea!  So now the head is stuffed and sewn on and my little constipated duckling is on his way to a new home.  I hope he makes a little baby happy.  Goodbye little quaky!

We did it, we took the plunge. I now run a Female, Veteran owned Small Business.

From now on all posts will be uploaded at Go Places, Baby!

My family and I could not be more excited to start bringing you the very best products that we can.

Thank you to everyone that visits and supports us!

The Beast is Revealed…The squeamish should look away.

I have one New Year’s resolution, just one.  Finish this blanket before I die.

For those I you who have not read every post or don’t know me, you may not be know that I was not completely aware of how crochet worked when I picked up my first project ever.  Did I use a pattern?  No, no, that would have made too much sense for a newbie.  For some reason in my mind the initial row was going to shrink as I added stitches.  Let me give you a big clue – it does not.

My mother made all of us an afghan when we left home for college.  A beautiful tradition, and a blanket I treasure…and never use.  She made it using an octagon granny square pattern and my toes poke through.  So Nikki put her thinkin’ cap on and said “I can do this.  I’ll just make a blanket with no holes.  And while I’m at it, I’ll make a blanket for giant people so James and I will never have to fight over whose feet get covered while watching TV.  Brilliant!  They’ll throw me parades.  Martha Stewart will feature me on her show…why has no one every thought to crochet a giant blanket with no holes before?!”

Ah, I know why, Behold – the Beast.

giant blanket Read the rest of this entry »

Beautiful Basket Weave Knitting Stitch for Beginners

Scarf in progressThis is a knitting project for beginners, but everyone will think you have years of experience.  There are four things you need to be able to do at this point: cast-on, knit, purl, and count up to eight.  If you can do these four things follow me. I assume at this point you are very tired of knitting in a straight line but cables are still a little scary, or like me you jumped right in to cables because you had no clue what they were and therefore had no reason to be afraid 🙂  and now you want something with a little less thinking involved.  This pattern is perfect.  After a few repeats you get the feel for it and don’t really have to look down at the instructions much at all.  I like a wool blend for this because it shows the patten in a very clean way. Cast on a multiple of of 8 stitches, plus 10 additional stitches. Pattern Written out in Full:

  • Row 1- Knit 4, (Purl 2, Knit 6…repeat) Purl 2, Knit 4
  • Row 2 – Purl 4, (Knit 2, Purl 6…repeat) Knit 2, Purl 4
  • Row 3 – Knit 4, (Purl 2, Knit 6…repeat) Purl 2, Knit 4
  • Row 4- Knit
  • Row 5- Knit 8 (Purl 2, Knit 6…repeat) Purl 2, Knit 8
  • Row 6 – Purl 8 (Knit 2, Purl 6…repeat) Knit 2, Purl 8
  • Row 7 – Knit 8 (Purl 2, Knit 6…repeat) Purl 2, Knit 8
  • Row 8 – Knit

detailRepeat rows 1-8.  Notice that rows 5-7 have longer end stitches by 8, so you will have to do one less repeat set in the middle part then you do in row 1-3. Before I start a pattern I tend to do one row of regular knitting or purling after casting on.  I think it makes it easier to start the pattern on this rather than right on the cast-on stitches, and you can’t really see that tiny row in the finished product. There are several different kinds of row counters out there, but I like the free standing clicker kind pictured.  I just think it is easier to use, and therefore I remember to use it more often. Enjoy your new fancy scarf and don’t forget to brag that you made it! Oh! and good news Whip up has accepted my tutorial for making a jean skirt and has posted it.  Neat-o.  Yea for acceptance! I have another super easy beginner’s project if you are interested, check out knitting a neck sock.

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holiday-chickWhen the calendar roles over I am going to switch from teaching myself knitting to teaching myself to crochet.  (Well something other than the monster crochet blanket that I bring every week to my knitting group, seriously I am going to have to show you guys this thing. Talk about the hubris of the uninformed, my first project ever was a doozie.)  So I have been doing a little bit of Internet research lately on what I might want to start out with to build up my skills.  I really like this site.

We did it, we took the plunge. I now run a Female, Veteran owned Small Business.

From now on all posts will be uploaded at Go Places, Baby!

My family and I could not be more excited to start bringing you the very best products that we can.

Thank you to everyone that visits and supports us!