Saturday, February 23, 2013

DIY wooden sign

The finished family sign
Snowed in today, so I figured I would post something I made this past spring before I was married. I LOVE those custom vinyl decal family signs. I just don't love the price ($300 for a wooden sign.. you're kidding me, right?) At the time, we were saving for the wedding, so I decided to make my own.

1. I used a large piece of 1" thick wood sheet bought from Home Depot. I had them cut it to the size I wanted for the sign, and kept the rest for another project.
Untreated wood 

2. I stained the light colored wood with a dark brown stain on the front and back.
After stain: LOVE this look, and could be used for so many things. When I remodeled my husband's man cave, I used this same board staining process, and hung a huge chunk of wood like this onto the wall, then ran LED lights at the bottom, hidden by the TV. The different LED colors onto the dark hardwood give a very masculine look and really help to create ambiance in that small room.

3. Once the stain dried, although I loved the look of the wood, I needed it to be a bit darker. I had some grey paint kicking around from when we painted the bedroom, and decided to rub some of that into the wood to darken it up a bit. I'm not exactly sure what this did, or how it did it, but it helped to give the sign a distressed, darker look. 
4. While all of that was drying and curing, I hopped on the computer in Microsoft Word, and created my sign. I used many fonts from 1001 free fonts  (, to customize the look, and give some character to my sign. This was the funnest part by far. I recalled things my husband and I did on our first date, places of significance to us, our nicknames for each other, things we loved, our last name, and our wedding date. This part made step 7 worth it.
Finished computer file image

5. Once I was satisfied, I sent my husband out to Kinko's with my design on a flash drive, and the size I needed it.
6. He returned with a printing the size I needed for the sign, and I set to work taping up the sign for the most tedious thing known to man.
7. I ran large strips of overlapping painters tape along the entire board, then taped the print out on top of it. My theory here, was that I would use an exact-o knife, and cut out each letter of each word. I settled in for a LONG night of cutting, finger cramps, and "why am I doing this again??" I traced over each part of each letter, then removed the white paper and green painters tape to reveal the dark wood underneath.
8. After 2 days of cutting out the lettering, I was ready for paint. I painted over the entire green area with bright white paint, let that dry, and applied 2 more coats. This gave me the raised lettering look I was going for.
9. After being 100% certain the entire thing had dried, I very carefully peeled off the painters tape, careful not to peel any of the lettering away.
10. I then used a very fine sanding block, and sanded areas of the painting to give it more of a distressed look.
11. Finally, I bought a picture hanging bracket kit from Home Depot, that included the nails and brackets to hang my board. I installed that, and slapped that bad boy up on my living room wall. 

Although it was a very tedious project, the entire thing only cost about $10, considering I already had the stain, paint, sanders block, and tape.

And the end result:

Friday, February 8, 2013

Recipe for this snow day: Spatzle

One of my fondest memories growing up was my Grandmother making Spatzle on cold, rainy days.  They are the German version of noodles, and they are doughy, yummy goodness. The funny thing is, as an adult I make these and call them my 'lazy noodles', because all you have to do is mix up the ingredients and drop them into boiling water. This recipe is for basic spatzle, and once cooked can be served with pasta, gravy, butter and fresh herbs, or just thrown straight into a soup. Today, I'm cooking chicken spatzle soup with carrots, cabbage, onion, and the leftover rotisserie chicken we had last night- mixed with some olive oil, butter, Herbs de Provence, and Thyme. Simple, easy, and perfect for a cold winter day.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3 eggs lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk 
Sift the flour, salt and nutmeg together. Pour eggs and milk into the flour mixture and mix well for about 2-3 minutes.Add more flour if needed to keep the dough sticky. Bring 4-5 cups of water to a rolling boil. Transfer the dough mixture onto a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, cut small sections of the dough and allow the dough to drop off the knife into the boiling water. You can use large knife cuttings, or smaller, depending on the size of noodle you want. I generally use long, thin knife cuttings, so the noodles turn out thinner. (You can also push the dough through a colander to obtain a more uniform noodle if you'd like). Once you've repeated this process with your dough, stir the cooking noodles with a slotted wooden spoon and allow to cook for 6-8 minutes.

Transfer noodles into butter, sauce, soup, or however you want to prepare them. They are yummy with butter, fresh Parmesan cheese, and a little fresh herbs (Fresh rosemary or Thyme from the garden when I can), or Herbs de Provence.


DIY Anthro/Pottery Barn knockoff ruffled curtains.. coming this weekend!

This week marks the start of the nursery planning. I have about 5 weeks left in my second trimester, and plan on using them to my advantage! I've been scouring Pinterest for the past few months for my ideal nursery, and although I'm seeing absolutely gorgeous designs, I'm not really seeing anything that fits what I see in my head (common problem), or would fit in my budget (Is zero a budget?). I would like to have a Beatrix Potter theme with soft, neutral colors. I know I'm going to have to shell out for a rocking chair/glider, and an area rug, so everything else is going to need to come in as cheap as possible. 

 I started thinking about window coverings for our currently undecorated "guest bedroom" (really, it's just a bed, ironing board, and a chair. I'd call it more of where the dogs decide to pass out if we mistakenly leave the door open, or the room where we iron). Of course, my first response was to go to Anthropologie, Pottery Barn, and Etsy for inspiration. Although there are some GORGEOUS window coverings on all of those sites, I just can't spend $300 on drapes. Even if I could, I still wouldn't. However.. I fell in LOVE with this:
This amazing shower curtain is from Etsy, and can be found here: Etsy Shower curtain Ombre. I love the ruffles, the ombre coloring, just everything about it. So, in true Cassandra fashion, I went rummaging through the fabric I have in my craft closet and came up with: An old white duvet with a stain on it in King Size (we have a queen size bed), a cream set of old sheets, and a linen window panel that I cut the bottom half off of for another project. I have my ombre colors, I have my fabric, I have an IDEA of how to do this, and potentially the sewing skills to scrape by. I think I'm going to pop by Walmart and pick up 2 super cheap cream colored sheets to tack the ruffles onto, and start cutting the strips to sew on this evening.

Nevertheless, this project is happening this weekend. Let the sewing and swearing commence!