Category Archives: DIY

Make It Work: Custom Open Kitchen Storage for Under $100

Happy Friday everyone! I have been meaning to post this project for a while, but the last two weeks have probably been the busiest weeks of the year! No only do I have the usual school (especially chairing styles… it is heating up! More on that later when I get my head above water), work, and life stuff to worry about, but I have also had about 40 string art orders to manage and complete from the catalog launch! Since they take me 1-2 hours each to do (plus three days of painting in prep), that is a lot of “extra” time to find in my week! I just kept reminding myself of sending out that invoice… :)  Needless to say, I have finished the rush and am now back to the usual flow of orders, so I may be around more often.

I am finally getting my act together enough to share our first “Make It Work” project! Sadly, this project was completed almost a month ago, but better late than never, right?!

Like I explained, we don’t have much time or money to invest, but we NEED to find a way to make this apartment work better for us. When we asked ourselves, what’s the first thing we would change, the answer was the kitchen. I have mentioned our major lack of storage before and even proposed a cool counter-height table to add more counter space. However, what we really need is storage space, since we continuously acquire new kitchen appliances, devices and ingredients. Since we typically use the kitchen table to do out prep work, the counter space seemed less urgent.

So after a bunch of research for complete solutions under $100 (shelving is expensive! But this was the one place in the house were we were willing to spend a little dough on storage), I ended back at good old faithful: Ikea. I walked out with many shelving pieces in hand to make better use of this area of the kitchen:


Five minutes later (SERIOUSLY – the Ivar system is INSANELY easy to assemble. No tools necessary except for the back support brace!), we had a full wall of open shelving in the kitchen!KitchenShelves_WM

I am OBSESSED with it. Not only can we add $4-6 shelves whenever we feel like it, I also love that we were able to customize it so that my school stuff fits right underneath. Oh, and also Bo’s little eating area! :)KitchenShelves2_WM

Thankfully, we already had most of our food and chiles in these jars, so I only had to buy two extra! But like the shelving system, buying more jars as we need them is very inexpensive going forward.GlassJars

One of my favorite parts of the new shelves is the visibility of all of our spices. They used to be on a shelf I could barely reach, let alone see, so I hardly ever got creative. Now we have easy access and (seriously) our food has been better than ever this month!SpiceJars

Thanks to Design Camp, I also had a World Market gift card (woo!) for $10, so I decided to buy this awesome vintage oil container to keep our oil fresh (it likes the dark!) and a new spice shaker for our chipotle powder.OliveOildTin

Also, thanks to all of the new space, we were able to display our new Nebraska shot glasses that we got on our recent trip, as well as a book of my family recipes that my brother gave me one Christmas.NebraskaGlasses

It may seem like a silly thing to be excited about, but I can tell you that it has made an amazing difference in our lives! I already feel a thousand times better in the apartment and love the way it has complemented our cooking process. After a month of living with it, I wouldn’t change a thing, except that I need to find a new place for our “Life Is Good” letters.

I know I have been putting the blog as a low priority, but I really appreciate you sticking with me and riding out this busy time! I will be spending the next hour catching up on other people’s blogs… I MISS YOU GUYS!

I hope everyone has an awesome weekend. We had some lovely guests last weekend (and had a blast!), but we are looking forward to having an Erika & Walker (& Bo) weekend to just relax and spend time together after these busy few weeks!

DIY Heart-Shaped Concrete Planter

As promised, I want to explain in a bit more detail how I made the DIY heart-shaped concrete succulent planter for Walker’s Valentine’s Day gift. While I could have easily gone to the hardware and craft stores for all of the supplies for the project, I chose to simplify my life and buy a “Cast Your Own” planter kit from NativeCast for $10 that included the exact supplies I needed (and the concrete is “green!”).

Photo Source:

Photo Source:


If you decide to go find the supplies yourself, you will need to find a small bag of concrete mix (good luck on this one… concrete mix is usually sold in large bags of 50 lbs. or more! Keep your eyes peeled for a smaller “patching” kit) and a cardboard mold (craft stores sell cardboard craft boxes like the one pictured above in many shapes/sizes). Thankfully, my kit included just the right amount of concrete mix for my little planter so I didn’t have to hunt it down.HeartPlanter2

Start by wetting the cardboard box mold to ensure that you will be able separate the mold from the concrete after it dries. Then, following the instructions on your concrete mix packaging, add the appropriate amount of water to the mix so that you get a pliable paste.HeartPlanter3 HeartPlanter4

My kit came with a little wooden spreading tool but you can use a disposable spoon or something similar to spread the concrete along the inside of the cardboard mold, adding a drop or two of water to the mix if it becomes too dry.HeartPlanter5

Once all of the concrete has been spread out in the mold, use the spoon to smooth out all of the edges and make a small hole at the bottom for drainage. Set aside your project so that the concrete can dry according to the directions (mine took 12 hours but I left it for 24 hours to be sure).HeartPlanter6

Once the concrete has dried, tear or cut the cardboard mold away from the concrete. If any of the cardboard sticks, use a wet cloth to soak away the remaining pieces.HeartPlanter8 HeartPlanter7

Your planter is done! How easy was that!? I added soil and succulents to my heart-shaped planter before giving it to my valentine. I love the rustic look and the handmade feel of the concrete planter. We may have to order a few more kits and make a bunch of these for our backyard! :)HeartPlanter9_new HeartPlanter10HeartPlanter2 HeartPlanter1

**I was in no way compensated for this post by NativeCast… I just think their product is awesome! :)**

Valentine’s Gift Idea: 214 Things I Love About You!

Happy Friday everyone! I hope you all have a great weekend planned. Before I dive into today’s post, I want to bother you one last time and say that today is the last day that you can vote for your favorite blogs on the Apartment Therapy Homies. If you like what you read, we would SO SO SO appreciate it if you took 10 seconds to vote for Our Cozy Cubbyhole so we can attract some new readers. Thank you SO much for your support!!

Valentine’s Day is officially less than a week away and I have talked to a lot of people that are still trying to decide on a cute little gift for their significant others. Well you are in luck because I have an idea that will work for a boy or  girl, is very inexpensive, and is oh-so-thoughtful! Although this was originally a gift that I made for Walker for our anniversary this year, the gift can absolutely work for V Day.

I strated off by carrying around a little piece of paper for several days, constantly jotting down little things I love about my man. Some were sentimental and mushy, some were funny and light-hearted, some were not family-friendly, and others fell somewhere in between. I decided to compile a list of 200 things since it was our two year anniversary but you could do 214 things in honor of 2/14! Once the list was all set, I bought a really beautiful Moleskine pocket sketchbook from Barnes & Noble that had really nice sturdy pages and a classy look.


I originally planned on decorating the outside but then I realized that this was a gift for a dude and he wouldn’t necessarily care about (or care for) an overly-decorated book. So I decided to keep it plain on the outside so it could be stored anywhere without attracting too much attention. After all, this is kind of a private thing and Walker is a private guy.  In fact, I had to promise I wouldn’t post too many examples of the stuff I wrote in his book on this blog post! ;)

Anyway, once I decided that the front would remain undecorated, I used the inside of the front cover to introduce the concept: Two Years and Two Hundred Things I Love About You. Like I mentioned before, 214 may be a better number to use for Valentine’s Day (and you could do something fun to mimic the slash between the 2 and the 1 like the date! Get creative!).

Since I promised Walker I wouldn’t post too mant examples, I limited it to two pictures. But you get the idea of how I decorated each page. Again, I kept it simple and not to girly/decorative because it was more Walker’s style this way (but feel free to go nuts with yours!). I used a bunch of stamps (including the cork heart stamp I made for last V Day), some silly drawings, and some awesome SMASH tape that had phrases like “Love it!” and “Like this a lot!”ThingsILoveAboutYou3 ThingsILoveAboutYou4 ThingsILoveAboutYou5

This entire project cost me less than $16 ($14 for the sketchbook and a couple bucks for the tape) but packs a huge punch of LOVE! ;)

Cheap, super thoughtful, and very personal… you can’t find a better combination than that for a Valentine’s Day gift! So get to it… happy crafting!