Not Your Average Bookshelf

It’s a week of Spare room updates! Yesterday we debuted the big map and you got to meet my grandpa (!!)… win win, huh? Today, I’m going to do my best to give you the low down on how we made the bookshelf in the spare. Remember it from way back when?
after spare

Yep, that’s the one. Here’s a better shot:watermark bookshelves

Funny thing is, it didn’t always look like this. Actually, this is the combination of three different bookshelves cut, copied, and pasted together in a combination that best works for this room. This was a good lesson for us in using what we had and not being afraid to adapt something old to make something new. You can see in the picture above that we used two shorter bookshelves for the base and flipped a taller bookshelf on its side for the top. They weren’t always this sparkly white, though. This is what we started with:new house 016Very cute, Mitch. We actually got these shelves from the Habitat Restore (for pennies!) and they were originally office-esque, super sturdy bookshelves. Heavy is not an accurate enough word to describe how hefty these babies are. There were choice words while trying to get them up the stairs… that’s all I’m sayin. Anyway, they got a crisp white makeover:Bookshelf Evolution

…and then we had to figure out what to do with them. Originally, we thought it could be cool to have floor to ceiling bookshelves. However, once we stacked a short on top of a long (we originally had two of each, so we could create two ceiling-height shelves) we realized how overwhelming it would be in the small house 050 It was towering and immense, but not in a good way. Soooo, back to the drawing board. We tried these shelves everywhere in this house. In our room, downstairs in the family room (before we landed on the fireplace); we just couldn’t figure out a good spot for them. Until we abandoned the traditional bookshelf “stance”. It took us some time, but we originally figured out that we could still achieve (a more manageable version of) the “tall library” look if we pushed the two smaller shelves together and set the taller one on top, but wall 056

So try to imagine the top shelf (in the picture above) without the smaller, horizontal dividers. Originally, when we flipped the shelf it just looked like long columns of empty space, so we added some inserts to create smaller cubbies. All it took was measuring the depth and width of each shelf and cutting some plywood to size.Shelf Inserts

From there, we just jammed them into the existing shelf spaces. Yes, jammed- that’s as technical as the installation process got. We realized that they were such a tight fit that we didn’t need any other reinforcements. Maybe someday down the line we’ll add glue and screws, but this seems to be working just fine for now. I mean, it’s been a year and there have been no book casualties, so I think we might be in the house 171

So the next time you’re in the market for a bookshelf or a “built in” system of some sort, don’t write off the pieces you might already have! Just a few pieces of cut plywood turned this into a spot for books and some of our most treasured nic-nacks. I’m still working on finding the key to styling the top ledge of the entire thing- it seems a little awkward with the few bigger things I just threw up there “for the time being” (*cough* a full year now). gallery wall 056

The good news is that now you can look forward to a future post, entitled “I’ve Figured Out the Top of the Bookshelves and This Is What It Looks Like!”. In other words, stay tuned for the styling portion of this project. For now though, have a happy Wednesday! Go read a good book! That’s what I’m in the mood for… give me a thunderstorm or blizzard and a book any day and I’m a happy camper. It’s the little things.

Oh, the fun!


How To: Summery Yarn Wreath

Remember the last wreath on our door?Spring Wreath

Well, it was nice while it lasted, but I got bored of it. So, now we’ve got something new going on out there…Wreath 012This wreath was super easy (and fun!) to make and because there are probably a million tutorials out there on how to make something similar, I’ll give you the simple FOUR WORD how-to. With any luck, this will take you 4 minutes to read and you can spend the rest of your day dreaming of what color yarn you’ll use for your own. So, here we go:GatherGATHER your supplies. I used a 16″ foam wreath, three colors of yarn, and a hot glue gun. Oh yeah, and some scissors. GlueGLUE as you go and once you finish a color.WrapWRAP your yarn tightly around the wreath. Choose whatever patterns and stripe sizes you want!Wreath 006And wrap, and wrap, and wrap…Wreath 007HANG that baby on your door!HangOh, and how about a BONUS: I grabbed the “T” we used from our last wreath and re-purposed it to add some interest to this one. Easy peasy (you can find letters at any craft store- I got mine from Michaels).Wreath 012I know it’s kind of summery, but I could eat pumpkin things all year round, so mixing seasons doesn’t send me into a tailspin. Within reason, though- I don’t do Christmas music in October. I mean, can we let Halloween and Thanksgiving breathe a little for cryin’ out loud? Ok, coming off my soapbox…

Although it’s kind of an ode to summer, I think the colors play nicely with autumn-y themes as well. Can’t wait to get a pumpkin out there and officially welcome in the fall.summery wreathGo team Autumnal!

How To: Dry Erase Calendar

Time to wrap up this week’s worth of Back to School stuff- ministry style! Want to see what we were up to? Click here to see the post about B2S care packages, here to see a Youth Room makeover, and here to see how we communicate with parents and students throughout the year. Today, we’re rounding things out with a fun DIY project that anyone can do. Remember our “In the Know” center from yesterday?youth room 083My favorite part of that command center is the life-size calendar that we created to display all sorts of happenings for each month. This project was sort of on a whim and turned out to be one of the coolest additions to the space. I love it because anyone can put something like this to use- teachers, parents, college students, even kids for their bedrooms. Let me be up front by saying that I did not come up with the idea (I saw it first on the Home Depot website when I was reading about the RustOleum Dry Erase kit from yesterday’s post). However, the picture I saw did not come with instructions, so that part I made up on my own and figured I’d share just in case someone else would ever want to do something similar.How To- Make a Dry Erase Calendar (2)Supplies Needed:

  • Background paint color
  • Roller for regular paint
  • RustOleum Dry Erase Paint Kit (we used some that was leftover from a larger project we were doing- you definitely won’t use anywhere near a full can for this project)
  • Foam roller for DE paint
  • Painters’ tape (I recommend something that you really trust to make CRISP lines!)
  • Tape measure
  • Level

Step 1: You’ll need to create a colorful background (it doesn’t have to be a bright color- it can just be the color of your walls like the picture on the website). Because our walls are white, I had to create a darker backdrop so that the dry erase squares would be visible. Note to anyone who can’t paint directly onto the walls: You can still do this project! Simply get a sheet of thin plywood, cut to size, create calendar on that, and attach it to your wall. youth room 049I taped off a 30″x30″ square and used some leftover teal paint from our Spare Bedroom as the base color.youth room 050Step 2: Using painters tape, create a grid for your calendar. I used the picture from the HD website as my guide and made up my own measurements.

youth room 052Helpful Hint: Use the width of your painters’ tape to your advantage! For my 30″x30″ square, I decided on 7 rows and 7 columns of boxes (with the top not divided to allow space for writing the month), each 3″ wide and high. The outside border is 1.5″ (I just used the width of the tape I had) and the inside “dividers” are 1″ (again, just using the width of a different roll of tape). This step is more tedious than hard. My advice: USE THAT LEVEL! Not all of our boxes ended up being perfect, but they’re close enough for me.

youth room 051

Step 3: Cover the entire surface with Dry Erase paint. I did at least 3-4 coats because I wanted to make sure that you wouldn’t be able to see the teal behind it. youth room 053The HD website recommends putting a coat of primer first when covering darker surfaces, but for such a small space (and lack of time), I just added a few extra coats of DE and that seemed to do the trick.youth room 054Step 4: Remove the tape right after the last coat goes on. This will prevent peeling paint, as opposed to removing after the paint is already dried. Side Note: Predictably, this is the most exciting part so soak it up!

youth room 055Step 5: Let it dry and cure (the instructions say for three days) before writing on the DE surfaces. Even thought it’s hard to wait, at least you have something pretty to look at!

youth room 068We debated going over some of the less-than-crisp edges with a small paint brush, but decided that it wasn’t worth the time (maybe sometime in the future I’ll tackle it) and you really couldn’t tell unless you’re up close and staring.

youth room 056Step 6: Go ahead and add your dates…youth room 069…and other calendar “fillings”!

youth room 070And you’re done! How fun is that? I can’t wait to be able to have a space that is so large to visually represent what’s coming up in our calendar year- here’s to hoping that it’s a helpful tool for both our students and our leaders! If nothing else, it looks cool and draws you over to take a closer look and maybe even sign up for a trip or event!

youth room 084Well, that about wraps it up for today- and the week! Thanks for hanging out with us… have a great weekend! Oh, and HAPPY BACK TO SCHOOL!