Grown up organization

Now that I have a grown up job I have to deal with 401k's and medical benefits and blah blah blah. Its all very overwhelming and confusing. On top of that I have grad school to attend to. Because of this my desk has become a huge stack of nicely sorted papers concerning all my grownup decisions. I needed a storage bin to get them out of the way (and out of my eyesight...). Last week during a trip to Goodwill I found this gem:
 Now I did not like the colors, but I did like the price!
 And it came fully loaded with files!
 I had some leftover fabric from another project and cut it to the size of the top of the container.
 I used a hot glue gun to attach the fabric to the lid. I folded over the sides like wrapping a present.
 Tada! I am organized! Now you can all stop losing sleep over my unorganized life :)

Crate Shelving

 Once the office got painted I moved over all of the 'office' related junk into the room. This room would function as a craft room and study room. I wanted to organize my crafting material so it would be easy to get to. I bought some crates on Craigslist a few weeks ago, dusted them off and brought them up to function as crafting storage.

 Here is the (newly painted) wall to house the shelving right next to my desk and awesome chair that my little sister found at a garage sale last spring. At first I defiantly wanted to recover it...but the pattern is growing on me....thoughts?!
 I organized the shelving to how I wanted it to look and located the studs in the wall. The crates were pretty heavy so they needed to be connected to a stud.
 We connected the crates with these L shaped connectors my father had laying around.
 Here it is! I love the weathered look and imperfections in the crates. Great shelving unit for $30!

Lo(n)g Time Coming

 As the following pictures indicate, this project started around April and just ended in October. I needed a side table in my bedroom for zero dollars. I came home one Sunday and my father was chopping down a tree. I grabbed a sled and rolled a log up the hill (not as easy as I am making it sound.)
Once we got it up the hill we needed to strip the bark. You want to make sure the log sits out for awhile (months) to dry out. Also make sure there are no little friends living in the log :)
 We stripped the bark off the log and rolled it the rest of the way up the hill into our garage, where it sat all summer...
Once we stripped it I sanded the bejesus out of it for about four weeks. I used about 40 different kinds of sanders, if you are curious about this step... ask my father.

 My dad took the chain saw on one side to work. I wanted to cut a section out for a few reasons. One, this thing was heavyyyyyyy...and two, I wanted a little ledge for my phone to charge on. I also might sew something into the side so my iPad can slip into it. But that's a project for future Jenn.
 I added leg raisers from Ikea, but later took them off. The log was tall enough without them once I placed it into my room. I stained the log dark to hide some imperfections in the wood. I also added a 'plastic' coating to protect the finish and add shine. Here is the final product in action!

Vase Update

 I stop at Goodwill about once a week for little projects, inspiration and super cheap material. I found a few vases for .99 the other day but wanted to add some color to them. I used some of the left over sample paint from the office, poured it into the vase and swirled it around. This works much better than a paint brush since it doesn't leave any brush marks.

This is a great way to add color and modernize old outdated glassware. I have also seen people spray paint the outside which I hear works just as well. I decided on paint because I wanted to keep the exterior glass to keep the shine.

And then there was color!

The longer I stay living with my parents has a direct correlation with the amount of space I take up. I started with a bedroom and have recently added an office (and perhaps some garage space...). This office was my sisters old bedroom before she moved to Arizona (but will finally be returning in the spring...perfect timing to renovate her!). When we moved into our house she painted the room gold. About 6 months ago we moved some things around in the room and my mom wanted to touch up the paint...which had been sitting around for about 8 years. So, that didn't work and the room needed a paint job. Here are some samples we tried: 

 We decided we didn't like any color we sampled and pulled the plug on a swatch we kept going back to. Here is the finished product:

Trip to Boston

Everyone knows the term 'stop to smell the flowers'....but does anyone really do that these days? Well, you really should, because they smell really good. I was recently in Boston for school and we took a trip to an arboretum that a Harvard professor started. He was doing a study to prove that the climate in Asia mimicked the one in America and that plants and trees over there could survive over here. I'm pretty sure he was right judging by what I saw. We had the whole morning to wonder around the arboretum to take pictures and sketch. We took some samples (don't tell anyone!) back to the classroom 6th grade style to look at them through a microscope. Plants are so crazy! Anyways, enough of that, here are some images from our trip.

Succulent! to make beer!
After a bike ride one day we went to an ice cream shop. I got the Toto pop shown above. They made it using a spoon as a stick (if it falls apart you have a spoon to eat it!) and a plastic bag and twine. Oh and the flavor was Mocha...yum!

Happy (belated) 4th of July!

This year for the 4th of July I went up to boyfriends cabin for the weekend. I wanted to bring a little treat to share and saw a photo of these beautiful chocolate covered strawberries with a little 4th of July theme added to them. All it takes are Strawberries, White chocolate, and blue sprinkles....and guys, if I can do it, anyone can.

They were just as yummy as they look! Also, be sure to eat them within 48 hours, the juices start to blend everything together :)

My Public Service Announcement

You know those moments, days, conversations which make you realize that you are in the right field? That confirm your passion and revitalize your cause. Well, this week that happened for me. My beautiful aunt, and godmother, was diagnosed with Mesothelioma Lung cancer; which is caused by Asbestos.
As I began my undergraduate degree in Architecture we learned about common materials used in practice. I took a Life Cycle Analysis course which went over (from extraction to disposal) the life of products. My group chose a sustainable product, while many others chose common products such as laundry detergent. We found in gathering the materials for this report was much easier than that of 'non-green' products. We also were able to completely recycle and reuse our products while many others had remaining toxins.


That made the wheels in my noggin turn, wondering why we didn't always use these more sustainable products. Now, I understand that cost is the ever present under-lying issue in this argument. But lets take a look at the larger picture: Indoor Air Quality. We spend an obscene amount of time indoors, whether at work or at home. You know, we are inside while we are sleeping, sniffing air and all. So why, oh why, create a space made from harmful toxins? Drywall, Plaster, Vinyl Flooring, Caulk, Pipe Insulation and popcorn ceilings ALL have Chrysotile, which account for 95% of Asbestos found in buildings. With little exposure this is fine, but breathing it in for 5+ years while you are sleeping, not so fine.

Houses built before the 1989 Ban and Phase Out of Asbestos need to be tested. Although removal of these products can be expensive, the long term health risk factors out weigh this immensely. According to the EPA  "the costs of initial treatment [of Lung cancer] ($26,042) during the first three months, and then incur nine months’ worth of maintenance care costs (0.75 × $11,325 = $8,494) during the remainder of the year. The total cost incurred during the first year by those therefore $26,042 + $8,493 = $34,535."

As for the cost of removing the Asbestos: "If your home has asbestos in the ceilings, floors, walls, roof, and pipes your asbestos removal cost for a complete job could be as high as $20,000 or more. However, this is an extreme case when asbestos is found everywhere. The typical asbestos removal cost for a 2,000 square foot home will usually be about $2,000 to $4,000 because the hazardous material can either be contained instead of removed, or will only be present in a few areas" (asbestos). If 'green' products are out of your price range, there are a multitude of 'sortof green' or 'this is better than what you currently have' kind of products.

If you are someone wondering if you have Asbestos in your house, or have further questions go here. Get a contractor out for a free estimate, or purchase a $30 kit to test it yourself. If you decide to test it yourself make sure you place the test strip in the most used space in your basement away from any furnace supply or return area. Keep your self, and your family healthy by improving your Indoor Air Quality today. This is a Public Service Announcement sponsored by Jenn by Design.


Life lately has been quite busy. I had the great idea to start some side projects in the middle of summer. I have been working with the company EcoSmarte on a redesign of their building. They are located off of 494 and hwy 77. They will be putting an addition onto their building and wanted some ideas on how the store front should look. I took the plans of their addition and played with a few looks, here is the final rendering I sent out:
The turquoise colors will be metal sheets, the brown awnings will be a dark wood and the lower portion will be a light stone. This rendering was done using Google Sketchup and Kerkythea. 

For the crafty

So by now, if you have been a reader, you probably know that I enjoy a good craft. Life has been crazy lately, as all summers are, so my list of crafts has exceeded a single side lined piece of paper (which I keep in my work desk for safe keeping!). Since I haven't had time to share the makings of these future crafts, I thought I'd share a few inspirational pieces I have come across, along with some tricks of the trade I've been learning...

It was a bittersweet moment when I saw this. A while back I was a nanny for two years, and if you have ever been one you know that crafts are crucial to making the day pass. I carried in my car a crate of craft supplies, one item in here was a HUGE bag of amazing buttons. The current location of this bag is unknown to me, but once I find it, this belt is mine!

Super cute for a centerpiece, would also look nice horizontally with a few candles on one log!
Caulk so your rugs don't slip!

Hot vinegar to paintbrushes takes off old paint and makes them good as new!

I wonder how long the apples would stay?

Boyfriend thinks this will ruin your shoes, I beg to differ and intend on proving him wrong!

I love the thick frame, and towel/coat rack idea!

Must drink more vino.

Cute and inexpensive centerpiece

Eucalyptus in the shower to relieve sinuses!

I will be doing this someday. I will.

Anyone know how these pictures look? Debating if its worth it to try?
 That's all for now! All of the photos from here are pinned to my DIY board on Pinterest if you are curious on learning more!