Tag Archives: diy

DIY Tray

Recently I made two somewhat small changes in our living room, but that I think made a big difference in how the room feels. One was that I re-did our gallery wall. I’ll be blogging about that next week because it’s not quite done. Today I wanted to write about a tray I made for the coffee table and how I re-organized the table.

I was pretty neutral about our table and living room space, until I ran across this pin on Pinterest:

fccc3bd1af51261f4c556cc7fad6b790I LOVE everything about this living area. So cozy, comforting, and welcoming. I don’t think ours will ever look like this, simply because of color scheme differences and because I HATEĀ  the un-functionality and cluttered look of throw pillows. But, I used it as a template for changing the look of my coffee table.

I decided to do a DIY tray. I went to Hobby Lobby without a firm idea and came out with supplies to stain some planks and make a hardwood floor looking tray bottom.

IMG_5600I bought an unfinished tray, several packages of small planks, stain, paint, and a varnish. I am in love with this paint color and this stain and have used them on some other projects.

IMG_5603Americana Sea Glass acrylic paint and Americana Walnut gel stain. A-mazing.

I sanded and painted the tray, then it was time to do the planks. I placed them in the tray to see how they would fit and I ended up having to cut some down to size. Then I stained them.

Some of the planks before staining

Some of the planks before staining

I did two coats of stain to make them darker.

After one coat, waiting to dry so the second coat can be applied.

Drying after one coat, waiting to dry so the second coat can be applied.

Once the planks were stained and dried I put a coat of varnish on them and then glued them onto the tray using wood glue. The next day I varnished the entire tray and called it done! I am so happy with how it turned out.

2014-03-31 (18) coffee table redo

2014-03-31 (7) coffee table redo

So, since I had a new tray, I needed to add other new things to my coffee table! This is how our coffee table has looked for two years:

2014-03-31 (1) coffee table redo

Definitely not bad, but not exciting. Years ago I bought that spinning remote holder and painted it. It has served us well, but it has a college-y feel. It’s time for it to go. It was also time for the tractor magazines to not be front and center.

I chose four things to put on the tray:

  • The teal candle shown above. I was given it a couple years ago and I love it so much! I’ve only burned it a few times because I can’t bear to see it go away.
  • Coasters
  • The remote control
  • I purchased a mason jar and a burlap flower to put it in

The table felt very empty with just the tray, so I searched on Etsy and found a fabulous runner that coordinates so well with my gallery wall (you’ll see it next week!). I purchased it from The Littlest Bean Boutique. She was wonderful and custom made a length for me.

2014-03-31 (15) coffee table redo

2014-03-31 (17) coffee table redoI love the feel it gives the room and it makes me smile so much. Just so different than what we had before. Much cleaner and not as clutter-y. (And no worries. all those tractor magazines are still there, just not on the top of the table anymore).




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Duggar Family Laundry Soap


I’ve never really been into DIY cleaners, etc. It just seemed a bit unnecessary to me. But now that we’re all more aware of the chemicals in our cleaners, and the cost!, I thought I would give DIY laundry soap a try. I LOVE the Duggars and so I wanted to go with their recipe. I found the recipe and did a lot of other research to make sure it worked well and such. Everything I found was really positive, so I decided to try it!

They make a liquid version that ends up being 10 GALLONS of soap. I was excited because that would last us for well over a year. There are only three ingredients and the process seemed easy enough. I had seen on some blogs people complaining about how hard it was to make, but it took me less than 30 minutes, and that included clean up. After combining everything in your 5 gallon bucket, you’re supposed to wait overnight and let it gel.

Stirring the liquid after combining all the ingredients. Feeling hopeful!

Stirring the liquid after combining all the ingredients. Feeling hopeful!

Mine never gelled. I checked it every day for almost two weeks and every time the soap was separated from the water. I looked online to see if anyone else had had this issue. They did and recommended adding more Borax. I did. I stirred it really well. Still wouldn’t set.

It's not gelling.

It’s not gelling.

I’m really baffled. I have no idea what went wrong. The process is so simple, there really isn’t anything to mess up. I thought about trying again but didn’t want to waste more ingredients, so I just decided to make the powdered version. This one doesn’t make as much (I’ve read about 40 loads), so it isn’t as cost effective. But it’s still cheaper than store-bought (I’m assuming. It takes way too much math to figure that out and I haven’t attempted to do it yet).

photo 1

Duggar Powdered Laundry Detergent (for top loading machines only)

  • 1 Fels-Naptha soap bar (You can also use Ivory which is a whole lot easier to find!)
  • 1 cup Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
  • 1/2 cup Borax
  1. The goal is to get the soap into powder form. The recipe suggests grating it or putting it in a food processor. I wasn’t successful at this so mine was kinda chunky. I think it’s working anyway.
  2. Once the soap is powder-y mix the three ingredients together.
  3. Use 1 Tbsp. for a light load and 2 Tbsp. for heavy load. Yields about 3 cups of soap (approx. 40 loads).

We’ve used this three times so far and it seems to be cleaning well. It doesn’t have the “fresh” scent that store-bought does and I kind of miss that. But I think it’s worth it.

My cost breakdown:

  • Borax: $3.38
  • Arm & Hammer: $3.24
  • Ivory soap (3 bars): $1.24

So $7.86 total and can make multiple batches before having to buy more ingredients. Definitely a money-saver!

Update- April 17: My first batch lasted for 25 loads (which was about five weeks for us). I think part of why it wasn’t 40 like the recipe said is because my husband’s work clothes tend to get pretty dirty so I use more. I made another batch today and am going to keep track again of how many loads it does. Want to make sure this is saving us money!

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