May 20, 2019

My New Favorite Hobby

Ever since I built the island in my kitchen, I've been a little obsessed with making things out of wood. It's a hobby I never even imagined I'd fall into, but I absolutely love it! It's so cool to be able to turn a pile of wood (mostly scraps) into a piece of furniture or something else that's useful.

Yesterday, I finished one of my favorite projects so far... I made Noah a bed frame. When Jerry and I were in a time crunch to make over the boys' bedrooms while they were away for a week, I'd planned to buy Noah a new bed frame (his was very old and very overdue for a replacement).

Noah's bed before

However, we ran out of time. I went to a couple of stores looking for one, but didn't see one that I liked. Last week, I was looking on Amazon for one, and I couldn't believe how expensive they were. Now that I know a little about woodworking, I knew that I could make one for a small fraction of the cost of buying one.

I liked the idea of making Noah a daybed, because he likes to sit on his bed as if it's a couch--doing his homework, watching TV, working on his computer, etc. I've always kind of thought of daybeds as being girly (I had one when I was a teen), but a quick search online showed that they could be boyish, too.

I found some plans by Ana White, and I thought they would be perfect. I printed off the plans and purchased the wood from Lowe's. The materials only cost $140, and I knew this bed was going to be super good quality (assuming I didn't screw it up, haha).

Buying the materials from Lowe's

Wood cut and ready to piece together

(The beer bottle in the photo was from Jerry! I'm still doing great without drinking--139 days now)

Putting together the headboard and the sides was really easy, but I noticed that the plans ended there. The plans I'd printed were a modification to a different set of plans for a storage bed. I'd seen this in the instructions, but I didn't realize that I'd need to actually print and follow both sets of plans.

Kreg Jig for pocketholes

putting the headboard together

So, I had to improvise. I still had leftover scraps from the other projects I've done, and I used that to finish it up with a nice, solid frame. I painted it with the leftover paint from my closet shelves (which I'll write about below), then I put his old bunkie board and mattress on top.

After caulking the frame

After painting

I LOVE how it turned out! It's simple, not too girly, and a very solid, quality piece of furniture. And I made it with my own two hands! The total time spent on this project was only about six hours. The priming and painting took the longest. Now we just need to get (or make!) some cool pillows.

Noah's bed after

Not as exciting are a couple of other projects I did recently...

I mentioned that I gutted my bedroom closet (which is a mirror image of my pantry; when choosing the layout of our house/trailer, there was a "sunroom" between my bedroom and the kitchen. I had no use for a sunroom, so I had the builders split it down the middle and make half of it a walk-in pantry and the other half a walk-in closet. One of the best decisions I've ever made! haha).

Here is a picture from before. Everything was crammed in there. (This picture was from before we got new carpet, however).

bedroom closet before makeover

Jerry scraped the ceiling texture off for me, because of my carpal tunnel (the ceiling part is what makes the carpal tunnel flare up the most). He even tried his hand at the taping and mudding for the drywall seams. He realized how difficult it was and decided to leave it up to me from now on ;)

Anyway, I painted the closet a slightly off-white ("spare white" by Sherwin Williams), the same color that I used for the trim in the house. I didn't want to go with a darker color because I wasn't thrilled with how dark the pantry seemed to be after painting it blue. I also decided to paint the shelves white, because we'd have lots of gray and black baskets/containers on the shelves.

I didn't use a plan for these shelves, but I did read a lot about building sturdy shelves before I made the plans for these. I built the shelves closer together than the previous ones (with varying heights) so that I could fit an extra shelf in there. I also made them a little deeper so that we could fold things like jeans in thirds instead of fourths to reduce the height of the piles (and therefore fitting more in the pile and saving space).

You guys... when everything was said and done, we were able to fit ALL of our clothes in the closet, INCLUDING the clothes that we'd had in the dresser! A couple of years ago, I adopted Marie Kondo's method of folding and storing clothes so they are standing up in bins. I leave out the bulky things like sweatshirts, though, and just stack them. So, now we can get rid of our dresser and have more space in the bedroom. The dresser is really nice, so I think I'll sell it on Facebook Marketplace.

Anyway, here is what it looks like now. The only thing left to do is put in molding along the floor. That will have to wait until we either buy a trim nailer or charge the batteries for Brian's (the charger isn't here).

bedroom closet after

Finally, I made a shelf for the TV in Jerry's and my bedroom. We had the TV on the dresser, but since we are getting rid of the dresser, we needed a new spot for the TV. For this, I used this plan from Pretty Handy Girl. I made it 40 inches long instead of 48, just because we didn't need it any bigger. Also, I definitely wasn't comfortable about whether it would be sturdy enough without having supports underneath it, so I added those when I was done.

TV shelf made from scraps

This was unbelievably difficult to paint! I would highly recommend painting before assembling. Again, I used leftover paint from the shelving in the closet. This isn't anything fancy, but it's the perfect size for our TV, DVD player (I have no idea why we still have one, because we never use it) and a few little baskets for remote controls and such.

Now, I'm constantly thinking of other things I can build! Jerry and I don't have a headboard on our bed, which drives me crazy, so I may make one of those. I'd also like to build some shelves for the laundry room, but that is going to have to wait until we are ready to completely make over that room this summer.

It's kind of funny how my Amazon wishlist is growing and it's full of tools, hahaha. I would really like a table saw next. I've been watching Facebook Marketplace, but so far, I haven't had luck finding what I want. I'll just have to set aside my allowance for a few months. I never thought I'd be saving up for a table saw! It cracks me up.

Anyway, I am loving this new hobby of mine, and it feels so nice to accomplish things that have nothing to do with weight loss or running or anything like that!

May 14, 2019

Transformation Tuesday #1

I posted a couple of weeks ago about a new series I'd like to start doing on my blog, and I'm excited to share this first post!

Transformation Tuesday is not about weight loss (although it can be). Rather, I love the idea of sharing transformations of all kinds--refashioned clothing, room makeovers, new haircuts, pets before and after rescue, etc. No transformation is too small or insignificant! I love seeing before and after photos of things, and I know others do as well.

So, let me show them off! I'll include how to do so at the bottom of this post. But first, for this week...

Before and after of our amazing rescue pup, Lizzie, on the day we got her and her one-year-gotcha-day anniversary!

- Amanda, Wisconsin, crazy dog mom

My 65-pound weight loss transformation!

- Mandy, Ohio, total badass (Okay, Mandy didn't include the badass part, but seeing these photos, I just had to add it!)

Before and after painting kitchen cabinets and changing out the backsplash and light fixture.

-Melissa, Michigan, amateur home renovator

Aren't these stunning?! I love love love seeing transformation pictures. To keep doing the series, I need you to share pics of your own transformations, so please keep them coming! Here's how to send them:

1) Email one "before" photo and one "after" photo, of anything you'd like, to: transformations (at) runsforcookies (dot) com.

Please keep the photos separate rather than collaging them, and refrain from using filters or Photoshop on the photos. I feel like everything is filtered these days, and filters tend to invalidate the "wow" factor. If necessary, I may crop or resize the photos simply to fit uniformly into the post, but I will try to keep them as original as possible. Also, if there is someone in the photo, just make sure it's cool with them that I share it here.

2) You may include a link to your personal blog or social media page if you'd like (no business or promotional pages--this will be at my discretion). Include a one-sentence description (I'm sure the photos will explain themselves for the most part). For each submission, I'll include:

-Brief description of the transformation

-First Name, Location, Few words of who you are (i.e. "New DIY'er" or "Cat Lover", etc). If you want me to leave out name/location, just let me know.

3) I will post whenever I get enough submissions to do so--it could be one week or it could be several. I'll send you an email to let you know beforehand, though.

Thanks for sharing!

May 12, 2019

Current Moods, Habits, and Just Life in General

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there!

I am alive and well. I know I've been posting so sporadically--and rarely--that it may seem like something is wrong. But it's just the opposite! I've been living life and feeling content lately. I think "content" is a key word. I haven't been hypomanic or depressed, and my anxiety is pretty low. It's so nice!

As I've written about lately, I've been really working on being peaceful and happy with who I am right at this moment and not who I "dream" of being. My weight is hovering at 160-165, and has been for a while now. I haven't been counting calories or even actively trying to eat "intuitively". I've just been trying not to think about it at all, and I like having some space cleared inside my head to think of other, more important, things.

My main form of exercise has been walking, which I'm actually really enjoying. Joey loves the extra walks, too ;) I'm not following a plan, but I would like to start following the walking plan that I wrote recently. Not for a very particular reason, but I do like to follow some sort of plan because I always feel best when I have a schedule (for nearly everything, really). I like to see what's happening each day beforehand.

Anyways, I (obviously) haven't been spending much time online at all, and I have enjoyed the break from social media, blogging, even surfing the web (is that phrase even used anymore?). Instead, I've been reading on my new Kindle Paperwhite, and I love it! I've missed getting into books. Also, all of the DIY projects.

I would like to start writing more regularly, and now that I'm nearly done with all the DIY projects in my house, I'll have more free time to do so. I just recently did my bedroom closet, although it was nothing exciting.

I did the usual removing texture from the ceiling, taping and mudding the seams, painting. Then I removed all of the wire shelves and built wood shelves, much like I did in the pantry. I made the shelves deeper and the height between shelves closer together so that I could fit an extra shelf, and it's given me so much more room!

Today was a fantastic Mother's Day. I had no idea that the kids were going to give me gifts! They told Jerry that they wanted to get me something, and they picked out the gifts themselves. Eli got me a bird feeder. There is a very bold squirrel in the backyard that comes right up to my door for nuts every day. He's so cute! I named him Tuck, and the cats alert me when he shows up. I hand him almonds, walnuts, or peanuts on the back deck.

Anyway, there is a blue jay that has been stealing the nuts that I leave out for the squirrel. (Noah took this amazing picture of it recently.) But the blue jay takes the nuts immediately after I set them out, and I can see him watching me from the tree in the backyard, ready to swoop down. So, that is why Eli chose a bird feeder. We are going to hang it in the backyard and hope that the blue jay leaves the nuts alone.

Noah got me a new protective case for my computer. My old one was broken and has been for a long time. I just never got around to buying a new one, even though it had been on my Amazon Wish List ever since the other one broke. He also got me some Burt's Bees lip balm, because I go through it like crazy--I keep some in my car, my purse, my nightstand, the living room, all over.

And then Jerry even got me a gift--a case for my Kindle. He saw that when I take it places, I would put it in a Ziplock bag and then place that inside of a cloth zippered pouch (definitely not an ideal way to take my Kindle with me). I LOVE the case he picked out!

It's so crazy that today is the 14th Mother's Day that I've been a mom. My kids have gotten so big! They're bigger than I am now.

This picture was on Easter morning. It was so funny--the kids said they had been talking to each other for weeks, wondering whether or not they would get Easter baskets this year. They thought maybe they were too old or something, but they didn't want sound spoiled by asking me if they would get one. So they were very excited on Easter morning when they got their baskets ;)

Noah is in driver's training right now and will start training on the road next weekend. I cannot believe that my child is old enough to drive! And Eli is literally the sweetest kid I've ever known. He's an old soul and I can't even describe how big his heart is.

I'm a lucky mom :)

April 29, 2019

Transformation Tuesday - A New Series Introduction

(That picture is supposed to be us looking shocked, haha)

As I've been posting so many home remodel before and after photos lately, my mom gave me an idea for my blog, and I think it would be really fun to do!

I know that Transformation Tuesday is popular on Instagram, and usually refers to weight loss. While my blog did start as a weight loss blog in 2011, as you may have noticed, it's evolved into more of a lifestyle blog. I write about the weight issues, sure, but also mental health/illness, running (more as a coach instead of a runner now!), budgeting (like when we paid off our debt), and most recently, DIY projects.

When it comes to a "transformation", there are TONS of things that it could apply to. And my mom suggested that I accept before and after transformation photos from readers--about anything at all.I love this idea!

Here are a few examples of transformations:

A before and after of a new haircut
Bedroom makeover
New countertops or paint on the walls
Painted or stained furniture
Cleaning out a closet (as an organizer, these photos are like porn for me)
Before and after of addiction vs clean and/or sober (I love these!)
Before and after weight loss pictures
Your rescue pet's before and after photos (these are my favorite!)

So, I'd like to try this idea out and see if there is any interest. Some guidelines to submit photos for Transformation Tuesday:

1) Email one "before" photo and one "after" photo, of anything you'd like, to: transformations (at) runsforcookies (dot) com.

Please keep the photos separate rather than collaging them, and don't use filters or Photoshop on the photos. I feel like everything is filtered these days, and filters tend to invalidate the "wow" factor. Finally, please don't add words to the photos--I'd like to keep the photos uniform, so I may end up adding things like, "table and chair before" and "table and chairs after" to the photos; or I may just leave them as-is. Not sure yet.

2) You may include a link to your personal blog or social media page if you'd like (no business or promotional pages--this will be at my discretion). Include a very brief description (examples on my photos below). I'm sure the photos will explain themselves for the most part. As shown in my examples, I'll include:
Brief description of the transformation
First Name, Location, Few words of who you are (if you want me to leave out name/location, just let me know)

3) If there is someone in the photo, just make sure it's cool with them that I share it here.

4) Depending on the amount of submissions I receive, I may end up having to save some for the following week(s). I will eventually post all of them, but I'd like to limit each post to 6-8 or so.

5) If necessary, I may crop or resize the photos simply to fit uniformly into the post, but I will try to keep them as original as possible.

So, I went through some photos on my computer and found several different examples of transformations. Here are mine:

Before installing new carpet in my bedroom and after. It looks so much better!
-Katie, Michigan, new DIY'er for home projects

bedroom carpet before

bedroom carpet after

Before and after knitting my new nephew a baby blanket!
-Katie, Michigan, hobby knitter and crocheter

skeins of yarn

baby blanket

Before and after dying my son Eli's hair blue. He was thrilled!
-Katie, Michigan, "cool mom"

blonde hair

blue hair

The day we chose Joey at the animal shelter and after he spent some time with his new forever family. Please, people, ADOPT--don't shop! He's been amazing for my family.
-Katie, Michigan, advocate for animal rescue and adoption

shelter dog before

shelter dog after adoption

My nephew Luke, before and after ;)
-Katie, Michigan, happy auntie

ultrasound photo of Luke

Luke as a newborn

Before attempting a personal record at the Muskrat Run 5K... and after. Winning second female overall!
-Katie, Michigan, former runner (current walker)

Before running the 5K

After running the 5K

Teaching Eli to cook a stir-fry; from chopping veggies to a yummy chicken stir-fry with spicy sauce.
-Katie, Michigan, stay-at-home mom

Chopping carrots

chicken stir-fry with rice

Before and after telling Joey he's a "good boy"!
-Katie, Michigan, dog mom to a lab/chow mix named after Joey Tribbiani

Joey before being told he's a good boy

Joey after being told he's a good boy

Before and after my "little" brother ran his first ULTRAMARATHON!
-Katie, Michigan, super proud sister to an amazing Army veteran

Nathan pre-race photo for ultramarathon

Nathan after finishing ultramarathon

The canvas before and after my dad painted this picture for my house. He self-taught by watching Bob Ross!
-Katie, Michigan, proud daughter of the next Bob Ross

blank canvas

Dad's painting of lighthouse

Before and after of the 1,000 piece puzzle I used to keep my hands busy and stop snacking!
-Katie, Michigan, going through a hypomanic puzzle phase

1,000 piece puzzle before

1,000 piece puzzle after

The Asian Pear tree my mom bought me that looked like a stick. Five years later, there still isn't any fruit, so I hope it's the correct tree! Haha.
-Katie, Michigan, born without a green thumb

Asian Pear tree before

Asian Pear tree five years later

Before and after painting my bedroom furniture--bed headboard and footboard, dresser, and two nightstands. Here is the nightstand.
-Katie, Michigan, new DIY'er

nightstand before painting

nightstand after painting

I love seeing things like these! So please please be creative, and no matter how silly your own transformation may seem, send me photos! Again, check the guidelines at the top of the post and send the photos to transformations (at) runsforcookies (dot) com.

I can't wait to see what you come up with!

Also, what are your thoughts? Is this something that you all would be interested in seeing once a week? I happen to love transformation photos, and I think this will be awesome. I just need people to participate ;) Remember, no transformation is too small/insignificant!

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