Ashley Cook

Tag: DIY (page 1 of 2)

Look Mom! I made a spoon!

Photos from my class at the Station North Tool Library last night. The basic premise is you take a block of wood and carve our a spoon using the bandsaw, chisel, and a lot of sanding. Top it off with some mineral oil and you have a pretty spoon (or more of a spatula spoon).


My outline drawn on my block of mahogany

Side profile

Side profile

My spoon!

My spoon!



Fall Festive Door Hanger

I keep seeing cute pots and front doors on my runs around the neighborhood. While I like the idea of a wreath, I have yet to see any that I would like to have on my door. The other night while searching the world of Pinterest I ran across this cute sunflower door hanger that was once for sale on Etsy but now only another image on the internet.

This is a great opportunity to try my hand at doing something crafty for a change. My chance came with a sale at Michael’s which is convenently down the street. I took this photo as my inspiration and gathered the tools I thought I’d need.


I already had the large wire cutters in the basement (yes they’re overkill, but it’s what I had). I picked up fake sunflowers, small red flowers, the stems of fall colored beads, burlap ribbon, and the floral wire at Michael’s. It must have been my lucky day in the ribbon isle, as I was looking at various types of burlap ribbon I noticed this roll over in the clearance bin, meaning it only cost me $1.

All pieces in hand I set about constructing the door hanger. I would set the pieces as I thought looked good and then wrapped the parts with the floral wire to keep it in place. To keep the beads on the string in the correct locations I hot glued them to the back of the flowers. I also followed bow tutorial (with the help of the hot glue gun again) to make the bow.

Ta da!


All and all I’m pleased with the way this turned out. And while it was pretty simple, this one is going to stay on the door until we’re well into the fall, or at least until I get inspiration for another door decor item. Perhaps something like this come Halloween:

My Office is the details

I figure it is time for another project! A few months ago in an attempt to tame my paper stack, I broke down and grabbed a filing cabinet a neighbor was giving away (yay facebook groups!). It has been incredibly helpful but it is an eyesore in the room considering what I have in mind for my final office design. Not to mention I can’t bring myself to actually work in my office as it currently stands. Last weekend I was fed up with looking at my drab khaki 2-drawer filing cabinet. It was time for an upgrade!

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During my trip to Cuba a few years back I picked up a fabulous hand painted film poster. It has been traveling with me for a while and when I moved in, I knew it was the perfect inspiration piece for the office. Gold, orange, and red tones are going to be the focus of this space, with deeper toned wood accents. That is the vision.


The Ugly Khaki before

Back to the filing cabinet. This is a cheap older cabinet but it gets the job done and was free. I can’t really ask for anything more. I’d read a bit online to learn some tips and ticks for painting filing cabinets. It seems like something a lot of people have done. What I picked up, plus my previous spray paint experience made this job fairly simple.

  1. Disassemble cabinet: take out the drawers, take off all hardware.
  2. Painters tape and newspaper: wrap the drawer slides, key hole, and other details I didn’t want paint to get on.
  3. Check the weather: wait for a sunny, less humid day
  4. Take paint precautions: lay drop cloth on my backyard (I don’t need red outlines permanently on my cement)
  5. Prep the surface: lightly sand each pieces with a high grit sanding block and wipe with a clean dry cloth
  6. Paint!: Apply thin even coats of paint, repeating a second time once the first is fully dry
  7. Repeat the same for the hardware (although I didn’t sand them).
  8. Admire your handiwork!

The final product


My golden trashcan

My golden trashcan

Photos in this room are difficult. Fixing the lighting in here is moving up on my to do list.

I choose a burgundy for the cabinet and went with gold on the hardware. It turned out fantastic! I couldn’t be happier. I event went back inside and grabbed the trashcan that sits next to the cabinet and sprayed it gold to match the hardware.

One step down to making my office a place I actually want to work!

The greening continued

It feels like this was a really long winter. The cold has been keeping me inside for the most part meaning my greening of the house has continued.

As an attempt to create more plants without shelling out the $$ (since I assume some of them won’t live very long) I’ve been interested in the idea of taking cuttings. Essentially taking a small branch from a mature plant and turning it into it’s own plant which 1. saves money and 2. makes small plants. Since I don’t have a lot of open counter/shelf space right now smaller plants are better (plus they’ll have more room to grow).

And then, it was as if the community was reading my mind. I noticed an event at Baltimore’s Neighborhood Grow Center all about Maximizing Your Growth through Plant Propagation. Perfect!

I attended the event which turned out to be a small group. It was perfect for swapping of stories, tips, techniques, and also taking cuttings from the plants the presenter brought to take home with us. She also created a short write up of the workshop!

Thus far the cuttings from the workshop haven’t completely died on me but only time will tell if they’ve taken root. In the mean time I’ve also gotten a hold of cuttings from some succulents that I have hopes of adding to the office.


The Carpet is Gone!

A few weeks back my Aunt, Uncle, and Mom came to visit me in Baltimore. Like their last visit we ate and drank our way through the city, but also tackled a HUGE item on my house to-do list. This time it was the carpet. The house was remodeled in 1970’s-1980’s and per the style at the time the whole house was the recipient of blue high-low carpet throughout. If you remember my family’s last visit, I came home from work one day and found a section of the carpet gone and a beautiful wood staircase in its place. This time the rest of the house was up for grabs. To ignore the carpet I’d previously invested in rugs for each room of the house, leaving very little of the carpet showing. Removing the furniture and these rugs I was reminded of the state of my carpet. And of the stain a friend affectionately called the body stain…. And apparently I loved the old carpet so much that I didn’t take hardly any  (good) photos of it.


Downstairs with carpet

Better picture of downstairs carpet

Better picture of downstairs carpet

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