Fireplace Surround DIY on a Budget

You may know by now that I have lists of projects I'd like to tackle around the house. Many items fall lower and lower in priority as more pressing needs arise. One of those projects is was the fireplace surround.

Another thing you may know about me is that I have a wood pile. Ok, I have several wood piles, maybe many. I'm a member of my local Buy Nothing Project group as well as Gift Everything, and several social groups where people will often list that they're giving away lumber and I guess I've got a bit of a reputation because I always seem to get tagged in those posts. I do occasionally say no to a pile of lumber but I'm a bit of a sucker for well cared for new project pieces.

That brings me to my latest project which is made mostly out of wood I had in my scrap wood pile. I present to you, my new fireplace surround:

Fireplace - main

Here's where I started on Saturday morning as the kids were watching a bit of Odd Squad:

Fireplace Upgrade DIY on a Budget

Ooooh boy am I ever thrilled with the new look. Let's break it down though.

Fireplace Surround DIY on a Budget

Most of the pieces were primed MDF boards in various widths. The ridged portion of the columns is actually the back side of the door jambs that came with the pantry doors. I also used some of this when I built the fire truck toddler bed (look at the running boards).

I didn't have much of a plan but more just a basic idea of what I wanted to do. Knowing I was working within the confines of my wood pile for the lower half of the build, I just took it one element at a time. All the pieces are glued and nailed, sometimes screwed, into place. The grey is a Behr color called Burnished Pewter and the white is also Behr, called Navajo White. We've used the Navajo White on many walls, the trim throughout the house, the doors (shaking my head, I forgot to blog this upgrade), and even the kitchen cabinets.

The top of the build was where I did spend some money. I purchased a pack of cedar planks for just under $20 at my local home improvement center. They fit together (tongue and groove), smell great, and one pack was just barely more than what I needed.

Fireplace Surround DIY on a Budget

For years, we've tossed our keys on the mantle as we walked in the door. Well, not any more! Now there's a secret key hanging spot behind the TV. I love that our spare keys aren't going to get lost now.

Fireplace Surround DIY on a Budget

I didn't want to buy a new mount for our TV so I built the whole paneled wall behind it but cut the pieces to fit around the mounting hardware.

Fireplace Surround DIY on a Budget

I searched around the house for just the right things to put on our mantle. I found this wine bottle with the cool stopper lid and painted the inside with some "biscuit" craft paint I had on hand. I then clipped some red branches off my favorite bush out front and dropped them in. The label is chalkboard but I haven't figured out what I want to write on it just yet.

I also added 4 books that I think are pretty representative of my little family. The Dangerous Book for Girls, The Dangerous Book for Boys, Rules for my Son, and The Pocket Guide Dangerous Book for Boys. I'm definitely a mom of boys.

Fireplace Surround DIY on a Budget

I found this awhile back tucked in a corner at the craft store. It was on clearance and our last name starts with "S" so I bought it. I brought it home and it didn't fit where I wanted it to go so I stashed it somewhere weird until now. I LOVE it here on the fireplace.

Fireplace Surround DIY on a Budget

For our 10th anniversary in mid January, I had the flu but while my brain was totally foggy, somehow it hit me that we should do a welding class together once I was well enough. I found a fun hobby level class that we took together one Sunday afternoon and we had so much fun. During our practice time, we got our hands on the left over scraps they had set out for us and we just kept welding stuff together. In the end, we made this boat. The boat that won't float. We also made some killer wolf heads out of steel so this wasn't our official take-away but I'd venture to say we were almost more excited about this scrappy little boat than the pre-cut pattern wolf heads.

Fireplace Surround DIY on a Budget

Amelia has been supervising the project from atop her cat climber bookshelf and I think I got the kitty seal of approval.

Thank you for reading,
Julie



Chocolate Peanut Butter Hummus

I have a 5 year old chocolaholic. I can't blame him, I was and still am one as well. I like treating him to chocolate treats but I can't just let him eat candy bars for breakfast so I created this recipe for chocolate peanut butter hummus he can have on his morning toast, drip pretzels into in the afternoon, spread on pancakes for dinner (pancakes are more of a dinner food here, I don't take time to do morning pancakes all that often).

I present to you: Chocolate Peanut Butter Hummus.

It's oil-free, it's vegan, it's tasty, and it's not *super* junky.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Hummus

So here's the recipe:

1 can rinsed black beans
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup PB Fit (peanut butter powder)
1/4-1/2 cup water

Chocolate PB Hummus - 1 (1)

Put everything in a food processor or a quart-sized jar. Start with 1/4 cup of water and add water if necessary. Blend until the beans are smooth.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Hummus

Chocolate Peanut Butter Hummus

Enjoy on pretzels, toast, a spoon, or whatever sounds good to you.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Hummus

Chocolate Peanut Butter Hummus

Thank you for reading,
Julie



Raised Dog Feeder and Kibble Storage

Last April (2016), we set out to adopt a dog. We wanted one that could hike with us, would protect us at our house and while camping, would love us, snuggle with us on the couch, and become the best family dog ever. We were not disappointed!! We found this handsome fellow through AARF here in Seattle. He was pulled out of a shelter in Louisiana by Louisiana Lifeline for K-9s, fostered by a family there, then transported to Seattle to live with us.

Raised Dog Feeder and Kibble Storage


Just look at that face! I took that picture earlier today. He's 1 1/2 years old now but we got him when he was about 9 months old. He was already a big guy but has finally stopped growing by leaps and bounds at around 100lbs. He thinks he's a lap dog. He barks at strangers but knows that delivery trucks and pizza are welcome arrivals. He tried to chew up lots of stuffed animals when he first came to us but seems to have learned that's not a behavior we appreciate.

He's the best darn dog in the whole world.

Being the best darn dog, he deserves the best possible feed station of course. I wanted something that would look good because there's nowhere to feed him except right between the kitchen and dining areas. I also wanted something that would hold his kibble (a 35lb bag) and that wouldn't require any complicated instructions for opening so the kids could easily fill his bowl.

Because I love a good challenge, I also tried to only use scrap wood from the garage. I had several partial pieces of 1/2 inch plywood out there so I drew out my plans based on those scrap pieces.

Raised Dog Feeder and Kibble Storage

It features latches on either side to keep it locked tight.

Raised Dog Feeder and Kibble Storage

I created a cantilever hinge out of scrap wood, bolts, nuts, and washers. The other side of the box has the same two pieces.

Raised Dog Feeder and Kibble Storage

It slides open without having to remove the bowls. They always stay completely level.

Raised Dog Feeder and Kibble Storage

The top part can rest open for easy kibble refills. I built the box to house a plastic storage bin.

Raised Dog Feeder and Kibble Storage

Moe is confused why he got a midday snack. The life of a blogger's dog can be pretty sweet.

Raised Dog Feeder and Kibble Storage

Raised Dog Feeder and Kibble Storage

If you have questions about this build, please feel free to leave a comment here or email me directly. I didn't stop to take a lot of pictures along the way but am hoping that by providing lots of pictures here, you might be able to create your own storage box. If you do, I'd love to see pictures!


Thank you for reading,
Julie



Happy Halloween from The Many Faces of David Bowie

This year we decided our family theme costume would pay tribute to David Bowie. I hand made each of the outfits for my 2 sons, husband, and for me. It took all month (with a lot of ridiculous interruptions ranging from a house appraisal a bad back and many events in between) but in the end, our costumes were as close as I could get to historically accurate considering I was limited to local supplies, mostly coming from the nearby national chain fabric and crafts store. But I did it and am really happy with the results.

Happy Halloween from Build, Sew, Reap

So, to break it down, here are the costumes I made.

The 4 year old:

Happy Halloween from Build, Sew, Reap

The 8 year old:

Happy Halloween from Build, Sew, Reap

BSR Hubby:

Happy Halloween from Build, Sew, Reap

And me:

Happy Halloween from Build, Sew, Reap

The 5th person you see in the picture is my mother in law who joins us each year for our trick or treating (except last year when she was sick) and she does her best to come up with a great costume to fit in with our theme. Feel free to stop by my public album from my personal Facebook page to check out pictures from this and past years.

Thank you for reading,
Julie



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