DIY Mid-Century Style Beer Crate Side Table

Every once in a while one of my (many) project failures turns into an unexpected success.

I originally started out staining a smaller wooden crate in which I received some cheese I won (I know, I’m the luckiest girl alive) to make into a side table. All was going well until I tried to attach the hairpin legs that I ordered and found that their bases were too wide to even fit onto the box itself. Since all of my messier projects are done at my parents’, I scavenged around to find something else I could attach the legs to.

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I remembered an old wooden Pabst Blue Ribbon crate that used to hold firewood at our house and dug it out of the garage. After dumping out the wood scraps and cleaning the dust off, it was the exact style I was looking for, right down to the “Blue Ribbon” stamp on the side and the circular bottle marks worn onto it—and, more importantly, the perfect size for attaching the hairpin legs!

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I gave the crate a cleaning and a couple of coats of stain. After shaving down the length of the screws so they wouldn’t poke through onto what would become the bottom shelf (another perk of doing projects at home since I don’t exactly have a sawzall in my apartment—thanks, Dad!), the legs attached easily and I had a new-old table! 

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I absolutely love how this table turned out. From the size to the color to the beer theme, it was the perfect thing to use (and much better than the one I originally intended on using).

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It fits right into my apartment and is the perfect scale for a small space. I wasn’t sure what I would use it for, but it’s been working great to hold photo albums and assorted tchotchkes I want to display (like my antique mitochondria slide, duh).

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DIY Christmas Ornaments

Well darned if I didn’t get into the holiday spirit this year! Or, more likely, looking at my sad, tiny fake tree with 5 ornaments on it was so depressing that I had to do something about it. Instead of retrieving the thousands of ornaments stashed away at my parents’ house waiting for me, I figured I’d make some more to add to the pile.

I found some patterns and ideas on Pinterest, naturally (they’re all pinned on my DIY board).

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Know anyone with two tiny hands and an even tinier head?

These tiny mittens (pattern here) and hat (steps here) just turned out so cute! And the best part was that they were so fast and easy to make (as opposed to some of my year-long adult-sized projects). The mittens probably took an hour each and the hat was even faster. These were also ideal for using up scraps of leftover yarn—I didn’t have to buy anything.

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Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree, how fake are your branches.

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This one came within an inch of running out of yarn. DRAMA.

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P.S. There’s a piece of toilet paper tube under there.

I had been on the hunt at Goodwill for a Scrabble set with the original wooden letters for so long that once I finally found one, I forgot what I wanted it for. So I’ve had a bag of the letters sitting around for a couple of years, and I finally put them to good use!

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Guess which one is my favorite.

These were super easy to make. I just hot glued the letters together and glued a piece of ribbon to the back. Again, a project where I didn’t have to buy anything—hooray! The only thing I don’t love is that the hot glue can look a little goopy in between the letters, so I think if I made them again, I’d use wood glue.

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Snow day vibes.

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Be careful who you give this to. You don’t want people to think you’re calling them fat.

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It had to be done.

Merry Christmas & happy holidays (sung to the tune of the ‘N Sync song, of course)!

Cape Town, USA

Dear capes, have I told you lately that I love you? The best part about capes, other than their inherent awesomeness, is that they are worn during the best season of the year—fall! In this state, there are basically two days of the year when it’s not too hot or too cold to wear a cape and now that I have sewn a second one, I never have to wear the same one twice in a calendar year. #blessed

Based on this imperial evidence proving that capes are the best, I decided I had to have the cape Kate Middleton has from Zara. Of course, it’s long sold out so I sewed my own repliKate (repliCape?).

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Kate’s Cape from Zara

I used Burda Young pattern #7313 for the cape, as seen below.

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Burda Pattern #7313. Please note this is a “young” pattern, confirming that I am still young myself.

I couldn’t find the perfect fabric with a large plaid or check like the Zara cape so I settled on this small, brown tweed plaid. It was in the suiting section so it’s a thin but warm fabric, which is ideal. I was excited to find the leather buckle for the top of the cape—I think it looks almost exactly like the original!

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The before picture, just in case it turned out like garbage, I could still always remember the pretty fabric and the hope of what could have been.

I ran into a couple hiccups along the way. Mainly, I think the pattern called for a fleece fabric or something that didn’t fray when it was cut. When I made the front slits in the cape, there were no instructions to finish the edges. So after a few phone calls to Mom, I improvised by adding dark brown bias tape to the edges of the slits, which I ended up loving because of the contrast and interest it added. I also overlapped the top edges by a few inches when I sewed on the buckle, instead of having the edges just meet when buckled, so it stayed more closed and warm. I’m practical over everything.

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The only thing I can’t figure out about this cape is how to hold my arms non-awkwardly.

The cape only took a few hours and two nights to finish, and I was ready for a fall photo shoot! I even ate a big lunch so I could repliKate the baby bump Kate sported with her cape. Anything for authenticity.

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If you think this is awkward, you should see the outtakes.

It was surprisingly hard to find a pattern for this simple cape so I would love to see any others people have found! Capes forever!

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Chilling by a tree. Told you it was perfect for fall.

A Kate Middleton-Inspired Knit Shawl

I’m a bit of a Kate Middleton fan, but I hide it really well by trying to dress like her always and writing for a Kate Middleton style fan blog in my free time (it’s actually really good and you should read What Would Kate Do? every single day!). For my most recent blog post, I decided to combine interests and knit myself a replica item of Kate’s (or repliKate, as we in the know call it): a knit green shawl she was photographed wearing to the grocery store a couple of years ago.

PIC BRUCE ADAMS / COPY SCHLESINGER - 5.5.11 NEWLY MARRIED DUCHESS OF CAMBRIDGE KATE MIDDLETON WITH SHOPPING AT THE MENAI BRIDGE BRANCH OF WAITROSE SUPERMARKET, ANGLESEY.

Via Bruce Adams, Daily Mail

The clincher? I found this replica pattern of the exact shawl by Cat Wong on Ravelry!

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Via Cat Wong, Ravelry

It started super easy and I was like, oh yeah girl, you’ve got this. Cruisin’ USA, right? But since triangles start small at one point and then get larger towards the opposite side, each consecutive row took longer to knit. (I realize this is an obvious fact, but it really took me by surprise, so if I can help one person, this PSA is worth it.) But after some late nights and sore arms (don’t laugh), I finished it!

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Overall, the pattern was pretty easy to follow (just a little time-consuming) and turned out really great. There are a few different pattern options for the ruffle. As opposed to Kate’s, with ruffles on all three edges, I toned it down and just added the ruffles on two edges of the shawl.

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I’m also a fan of how this can be worn as a shawl or a scarf or a wrap. The possibilities are endless if endless equals three possibilities!

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Please give me a haircut someone.

Men’s Knit Gray Scarf

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Little does he know, Mark’s modeling career is just getting started.

Call me the commissioner of the league because yo girl got another commish. This time, the item requested was a men’s scarf (which actually may still be usable in May in the Midwest). I picked a simple but interestingly patterned men’s scarf in dark gray (because men can’t wear colorful colors, duh). While the pattern itself was simple enough, the small needles and smallish-sized yarn meant it took a really long time to knit.

Despite that, it turned out pretty great! I think this may be one of my least flawed pieces to date. Usually some sort of mistake sneaks its way in (just don’t look too close). Farewell dear scarf, you’re off to a new home, which is fine by me because I never want to see the same 10 rows I knit a thousand times again.

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St. Patrick’s Day Beer Coozies

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A trio of St. Paddy’s Day coozies (and just in the nick of time).

You didn’t think I’d let my second favorite holiday pass without a theme project, did you? Well, I might in the future because these were a lot harder than they seemed. There’s not one of these that I didn’t have to restart at least once. I should probably be hiding that fact but, hey, I’ve had a couple of beers so let’s get real with each other.

First of all, I could not find a pattern for exactly what I wanted. You’d think there would be lots of other people with Venn diagrams of interests where knitting and beer overlapped, but I guess not. For the bottle coozie, I based it off of this pattern, adding in the stripes. This one worked out pretty well but I had to restart it after I realized that using the amount of stitches it said to cast on, it was gigantic (more like wine bottle size). I adjusted it from 56 stitches to 34.

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Bottle coozie in Irish colors.

The next coozie turned out pretty well, at least compared to the first one. I adjusted the same pattern for the size of the can by measuring and multiplying stitches per inch. Stay in school, kids. Algebra is real life. Turns out checking gauge is actually a pretty good idea! Note for the future.

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The Irish flag coozie.

This next one was what I intended to do all along and had to work my way up to. While I knit the others in the round, I could not figure out how to get the intarsia clover pattern in there at the same time and ended up starting over. I knit it flat and then sewed it together up the seam. It turned out being much taller than I intended and also don’t look at the lower right leaf. I don’t know what happened there. I’m not even sure if this counts as a beer coozie. Any idea what else it could be? Whiskey bottle coozie? Arm band? Garbage?

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The fancy one. Hey, I tried.

I would say I’ll be making this next year but after these projects…maybe I’ll just stick to drinking beer. Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone! Cheers!

My First Commission!

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It fits!

I just had to share my very first commissioned knitting project! If that hat looks familiar, it’s because it’s the same as the one I recently knit for myself in tan and pink. My friend saw it and requested one in gray (with specific instructions to include “NO PINK”). I used thick, chunky yarns like I did for the first one but in light and dark gray.

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Gray on gray on gray.

One thing I’ve always been unsure about, if I ever did sell any of my stuff, was how much to charge. I wanted to make it affordable and give a deal to people I know, but, at the same time, make it worth it for myself, considering all the time these projects take. I found this blog post which gives an actual formula for calculating what to charge for a project that I found helpful. Basically…

  • Cost of supplies + $10 per hour = Price A
  • Cost of supplies x 3 = Price B

Then calculate the average of A & B, and compare it to the market price of the item. The price I got with this formula was pretty close to what I had seen on etsy for similar items.

Hope you’re enjoying your hat, Brie!