Tag Archives: Etsy

Fridays at Home: Tree Branch Coat Rack

3rd January 2014

So my brother and his fiance both came in for Christmas, and I wanted to give them a different sort of present. Even though they are both dapper dressers, there are only so many scarves a guy can wear. I remembered that a couple of years ago, my brother posted this image on his Pinterest page:


At the time, the rack was available on Etsy, but the price was well over $200, and I just couldn’t swing it. This year, when I went to have a look, the product was no longer available, and a quick search of Cantilever and Press didn’t leave me much hope for finding this product in my price range. There were a couple of mimics on Etsy, but unfortunately, they were just nowhere near the original. Now I’m not advocating ripping off someone’s ideas, and I certainly wouldn’t do this to profit from it, but I was dead set on making this as Matt and Christopher’s Christmas present. When my neighbor put out a really clean pallet the week after Thanksgiving, I decided I was all in. The boyfriend helped pry off the boards I would need, but the rest of the project was all me.

First, I knocked out the stubborn wood nails and sanded down the pieces I planned to use. Then I eyeballed the original image and the space next to my front door to get an idea for size – 2 feet by 6 inches, if you’re curious. I measured (Measure twice! Cut once!), made my marks and began sawing. Yes, with a hand saw. Not that tough once you get into it.


When I finished, I made sure my edges weren’t too warped to work with and sanded some more before putting a very light coat of Minwax Special Walnut on, then sanding again. I didn’t want a super dark stain, but I did want the frame to look aged.


Putting the frame together was the toughest part. If I ever do this again, I’d likely use wood glue first, but after a lot of stop and starts and a few obscenities thrown in, I went to the expert, aka my neighbor across the street. He has every tool known to man, so I brought my project over and asked for help. He handed over a Riyobi impact drill, one I definitely want. That sucker has some power. I drilled starter holes, two at each joint, then drilled my screws in. Some people build frames with nails, but since this is intended to bear weight, I used screws.

You can see below that I already cut my branches. Big mistake. Even though I measured twice, once the box was actually together, there was a slight deviation in the measurement. More on that in a minute.


I had collected branches for a few weeks, attempting to dry them out and make sure they were bug free. Then I just used my large clippers to make a clean cut along my measurements, though this sounds easier than it is, as they are not straight. Therefore, you have to measure carefully to get the angles right. Sometimes it worked beautifully, sometimes not. The trick for the “rack” part of this is finding branches that have additional branches sturdy enough to bear weight as well. Plus, placing the branches inside the box is tricky. You want the “hook” to stick out enough to be useful, but you also want to make sure it’s inside the box enough to, again, be sturdy. Here, I’m just playing with placement:


I drilled starter holes and screwed these branches in for durability and strength. It’s tricky, but you can eyeball pretty easily. For the additional “filler” branches, I just used nails.


Unfortunately, as you can see below, some of the nails were visible once I’d started. Cue Angry Jenn. If I’m going to make something, I want it to look professional, especially if it’s a gift. And those nails were glaring at me. So I went back to Home Depot to look at trim. But the beauty of this project is its raw nature. Box it up too much, and it’s just not the same. So I called my aunt who is a true artist when it comes to woodworking, and we brainstormed. But when I got home, I remembered…I had moss. Lots of it. So I pulled out some moss and my glue gun and went to town covering the places where the nails showed.


And bingo. No nails show. It still looks natural, and to be honest, the moss is barely noticeable. Win, win.


Once I finished, I sprayed four coats of Minwax Fast-Drying Polyurathane to seal the wood. I really doused the branches themselves as I had sanded the “hooks” and wanted to make sure they were as sturdy as possible.


Last, I added two hangers on the back and wiped everything down before hunting for a box big enough to house my gift.


In the end, I was really pleased with the way it turned out, and it was so worth it to see the shock on my brother’s face when he realized I had made this myself. I absolutely love giving gifts, but giving someone a gift you’ve made that they’ve wanted is just a fantastic feeling. I hope they enjoy it for years to come.

Did you make any gifts for Christmas this year? This was so fun, I’m already trying to figure out what other gifts I can make.

P.S. Minwax in no way asked or paid for me to mention their products, I was just really pleased with the cost and quality of both the stain and poly.

Fridays at Home: Button Birthday Party!

6th July 2012

Hello! Welcome back to Fridays at Home, where I talk about crafts/design/pretty houses that make me gush. ๐Ÿ™‚

This week I’m sharing a little about my mom. My mom is the queen of DIY. First as a stay-at-home mom and later as a teacher, she had to be crafty and frugal to make a nice home and classroom. She sews and embroiders and made many of my clothes growing up. She has a group of friends with whom she sews and crafts, and for each friend’s birthday, they have a themed birthday party. This past month, my mom threw a birthday party for one of her dear friends, and because her friend loves to sew, she decided on a button theme. The results were so cute, I had to share. Plus, it’s a great example of how the Internet can help you put together an event that anyone could be proud of without spending a ton of money.

First up, the gifts. My mom found this bracelet made with vintage buttons on Etsy.

Then she decided to make an initial from buttons with her friend’s sewing room colors and frame it:

The table setting, though, was my absolute favorite part. She found these vintage button cards online at Etsy. She printed and cut them and sewed on buttons. She then glued these to place cards.

She also made these sweet button sugar cookies. She found the recipe online here.

Here’s another shot of the tray of cookies. So cute! The “milk” bottles are actually Starbuck drinks. She said it was absolute torture, but she bought these and drank them up to have these cute bottles. They’re really cute, and she’s saving them for future parties she has (or I have). She used twine in that same green-gray-blue color to tie on paper doilies with little paper buttons in the center. I love these straws and actually used similar ones for a baby shower I gave in October.

Another shot of the vintage button cards along with birthday noisemakers she sets out for birthdays.

She also filled a glass vase with buttons as a centerpiece.

The last (and my favorite part) were these party favors she made. She used pale blue berry baskets (found here) and filled them with a vintage button card, candy buttons (recipe and the bag tops found online here), and a couple of the sugar cookies. SO so cute.

Another shot.

Everyone had a great time and loved the theme, and I just had to share and brag on my creative momma. I think it’s so neat that she and her friends celebrate birthdays with so much fanfare. And why not?

Happy Friday, and I hope you enjoy it, whether you spend it at home or not. ๐Ÿ™‚

And since I’m sharing, I’m opening up Fridays at Home for you guys, too. If you have something you think would work for Fridays at Home, email me at thepickygirlblog@gmail.com. I’d love to highlight your creativity or a space you’ve transformed. OR (as many of you have commented on these posts) you might need help with a space. Send me a pic, and I can make recommendations!

Fridays at Home: Map It Out

17th February 2012

The first time I flew anywhere, I was 23 years old and going to Italy. Alone. My mother was incredibly nervous but also brave because I had such little exposure to the world. The day my flight was to leave, the weather was horrible, and the flight was delayed many times. When it was finally time to board, it was really hard for me to step over that 2-inch gap between the airport and the plane. I found my seat, and a sweet little woman told me how many times she’d flown and how safe it was. As soon as the plane prepared for takeoff, she made the sign of the cross rapidly about four times. Though I am sure I have forgotten many of the details of that trip, parts of it are as fresh as if I had gone yesterday, and it’s a period in my life that I will always, always cherish.

So today I’m romanticizing a bit, dreaming of far-off lands, airports, Italian men, coast, and foreign languages. One of my Pinterest boards is dedicated to maps and globes because if I could, I’d fill my home with both. Maps and globes make me feel like that young girl – adventurous, nervous, anticipatory, thrilled, and free.This first room is what I’d like to call “The Jennifer Room.” It’s so me. The mixture of different elements and textures seems incredibly comfortable but also ready for company. [Click on any of the links for the source sites.]

I cannot find a source for this image though. I found it on Facebook, and the map on the wall and that globe next to the chair instantly called my name. Can I please ask you to stare at that globe on the floor? Thank you. Because if you ever see it, please buy it, and I will pay you back. We’ll work out a payment plan or something. Though I’m not a fan of the white chair on the left, I could live in this room and this room only – just add my bookshelves.

This map is from Urban Outfitters, and though I’m not in love with the colors, I love the idea. Each gold region is scratch off, so you can record places you’ve been.

These are cabinet knobs from Etsy, and I assure you, if I had the extra dough lying around, these would be spiffying up a piece of furniture as we speak. They’d also make great hooks on a piece of wood for by the front or back door. Marvellous.

Better Homes & Gardens featured this on a DIY for bargain decor. I love it. And speaking of cutting globes in half, there are these great lights…

These look like they came straight from a 60s or 70s school room, and they’re pretty simple to make. All you need is a light kit and one globe.

There’s also this fabulous chandelier made from bits of maps from Etsy. The colors are just gorgeous, and I can imagine it lit up and glowing.

A British retailer sells these lampshades made from a map. It manages to look classic and modern at the same time, and since I’m not an interior decorator, I have no idea what you call that, but I can tell you I’m considering doing this for a lamp in my dining room/reading room.

I cannot find the image source for this, but what a great way to turn a plain chair into something special. A bit of modge podge is all this would take.

From Elle Decor, this last image shows how a little bit of obsession can really pay off with a collection. Instead of dissipating the collection and spreading it around, the shelf full of globes and the map in the background are really strong anchors for the room.

Though my own space isn’t nearly what these are, I have managed to incorporate a globe and a couple maps into my house, and I’d love to deck it out even more. I’ll let you know when I need map and globe addicts anonymous…. ๐Ÿ™‚

I hope you all have a fantastic Friday, hopefully at home. Does anyone have any fantastic weekend plans?


Fridays at Home

21st October 2011


One of the most frequent questions I have about items in my home is: Where did you get that? More often than not, the answer is Marshall’s/HomeGoods or my local vintage shops. In fact, my dad will occasionally ask, and my mom will immediately answer for him… Marshall’s.

But when it comes to art, that’s a bit of a trickier question. I don’t like art from Kirkland’s or Marshall’s. In fact, I would argue that much of that is just decor and not art at all. Where do I get my art? I pull it from magazines or use cool postcards I’ve received or even make my own botanical prints (I’ll show you one of these days).

And then there’s Etsy.

Ah, Etsy. For those in the know, Etsy is a perfect way to lose hours of your day. In fact, I steer clear unless I already know of a vendor whose work I really love, and today just so happens to be the lucky day I share. Now keep in mind, this stuff is my taste, but a lot would make really cute presents as well since the holidays are coming along.

First up is Early Bird Ink. I’m not even sure how I stumbled across this site, but I know I fell in love. I love the graphics, and I love the colors (you can choose colors and backgrounds). I bought one to commemorate my first home, but these would also be great for a housewarming present or anniversary gift.

And here’s mine:

I really love it and can’t wait to get it in the frame and on the wall. Plus, the prices are really great. My print was $22.

Next up is Janet Hill Studio. Janet Hill is a painter and sometimes sells original work in her Etsy store. Mostly, though, she has high quality giclee prints. Her work is very colorful and reminiscent of earlier generations.

The English Major

The Goldfish and the Butterfly

Saturday Morning at Pemberley Flat

Then there’s Elizabeth St., whose shop I’m only slightly enamored. Ok, that’s a lie. Elizabeth St. uses maps in new and different ways, and I’m a little in love with this.

Matte Stephens offers prints of original gouache paintings. These are so quirky and remind me of a book I had as a child, though for the life of me, I can’t figure out which one. They are fun and really beautiful.

Canal Street, New Orleans

Greenwhich Village

Adventurer's Club

So… it’s your turn. Have any favorite Etsy shops? Spill the beans.