Tag Archives: DIY

How To Throw A Party And Ruin Your Health

May 13, 2015


This Sunday Austin graduates from med school which means a lot of things that require a lot of lists. Most pressing is the 40+ people coming to my tiny house for a party after the ceremony, including multiple houseguests. So far I have developed a stress pimple (Gary), and a stress stye in my right eye (we call him Sal). My wish for them is to die quickly and leave me alone with my lists.

I don’t know about you, but when a lot people are coming to my home for an event, I like to abide by the following protocol to reduce stress.

Step 1: Plan ahead. Make at least fourteen lists of things you need to do on various days, including a grocery inventory and cleaning schedule. Use a highlighter if necessary.

Step 2: Talk it out. It is important to process every detail of the event as many times as possible with your sister, aunt, and friends at the gym. Make sure to also call your mom to go over the food items as she may take pity on you and make half of them. Include at least four rounds of heavy sighing.

Step 3: Employ your spouse. Asking Austin to do things around the house is one of my very favorite hobbies. However, asking your spouse to do all the things you do not want to do is a delicate process. Use tactics such as bribes, “looking busy,” and again–heavy sighing.

Step 4: Start a project you cannot finish. 3-5 days before your event, it is important to start a project that is impossible to finish. This idea is usually one that is supposed to “improve your environment” and “make things more homey.” Possible ideas include rearranging the furniture, creating a gallery wall, and painting the bathroom. Do as little research as possible.

Step 5: Run unnecessary errands. You need to get groceries for your party so you should probably also stop by Target for a new bra, shower liner (someone may take a shower!), and 20 houseplants. Wait, Target doesn’t carry houseplants. But a dozen local greenhouses do! Spend at least a half hour at each one. Use half of the grocery money on hanging baskets. Call your mom again.

Step 6: Completely panic and finally start the laundry. Oh, 50 people are coming to your home in less than 48 hours? Now would be a good time to do the dishes and start a load of laundry. There is also dusting, vacuuming, bathrooms, and carrying boxes of things you cannot deal with to the attic. You should also clear your phone pictures and make a moving slideshow. This would also be a good time to google “fun adult games.” Put the kids in front of Netflix. Go to bed at 3am.

Step 7: Transform into a gracious host. The last few hours before a party begins can be a bit “strenuous” as the children unpot the houseplants and your spouse keeps mysteriously disappearing to the basement. You may not be your best, soft spoken self–but people will be arriving soon, so it’s important to make the transformation from Disney witch to beautiful princess for the sake of morale. Kiss the children, smile at your husband. You are a beautiful butterfly.

May the odds be in everyone’s favor.



DIY Trivia Night

February 26, 2013

A  few weekends ago, I hosted a trivia night. Three rounds, guys verses girls, with categories ranging from pop culture to geography. It was fun.

Admittedly the preparation for the event took over ten hours of researching and copying down questions, but it was worth it. Hosting parties is one of my love languages.

Once it was over and a few pictures were shared online, I had a bunch of inquires about the setup and realized the night would have been much easier with a little help.

So here’s your help. Supplies, directions, and a free question and answer download. Get your trivia on. You won’t regret it.




  • White board and dry erase markers
  • Index cards
  • Downloaded Q&As
  • Tape
  • Math skills or a designated scorekeeper
  • Stopwatch/smartphone to keep time
  • Prizes for winning team

Set up


  • Write each question and answer on the back an index card.
  • Label each card with the category for easy set up.
  • On the opposite side, write the point value.
  • Separate and organize cards into rounds, placing each round in a labeled envelope for safe keeping.
  • Set up a dry erase board in Jeopardy format with 5 category columns, 5 questions each in ascending order.
  • Use tape.
  • Label categories on white board with dry erase marker.

Directions & Rules


  • Have your guests split into two teams. Optimal group size: 10-16 (5-8 on each team).
  • Two minutes to choose team names.
  • Coin toss for who goes first.
  • Three rounds with five categories each. Each team has one minute to answer their chosen question.
  • Once your team has answered a question, it is the other team’s turn to choose a category and question.
  • You must say “final answer” after your final answer.
  • If the team answering gets the question wrong, the other team has 30 seconds to guess for half the points.
  • For answers that contain a person’s name, you must have two out of three parts of the name if it applies. (Example: Author Louisa May Alcott may be answered Louisa May or Louisa Alcott, etc.)

Question and Answers

2013-02-09 21.25.21

Make up your own or use: Kate’s Trivia Set #1

Click Here To Download

Optional Picture Rounds


 I used this one,  this one, and this one. You can find more here.

Tips & Tricks


  • For prizes, I found a few track and field medals at the thrift store and then made additional medals using vintage buttons and twine. It was my sister’s idea. She’s a genius
  • As the host, it will take time to set up each new round. Use that time to allow the teams to earn extra points by completing picture rounds while you are arranging the new categories and questions. If the group is large (5+), you may want to provide two. In between round two and three, I handed out “Famous Doctors” and “Famous Waynes.” Each correct answer is worth +100. Incorrect answers worth zero (no negative points).
  • Try to remain unbiased (it was hard to not help the women out).
  • In the unlikely event of a tie, give each team a piece of paper, a pen, and 2 minutes to name as many of the 50 states as possible (do not disclose this prior to the tie). Whoever has the most states (or gets them all first) wins.












(Photo contributions by Mo Nolt)

Trivia correction: Great Balls Of Fire was Jerry Lee Lewis, not Elvis.

Two DIY Projects So Easy It’s Embarrassing

June 14, 2012

I am not hip to the DIY vibe. I guess I’m not really hip to any vibe as evidenced by the fact that I didn’t know what YOLO meant until I finally sat down and googled it yesterday (I was disappointed).

There are a few things I’ve managed, however, though I have to admit that most projects (including these) are also thanks to Baby Daddy who loves to stick his nose into my DIY business so it “gets done right.” I’d be annoyed, but then I’d also be sad it’s crooked and stuck together with the wrong paste.

Here are my two projects most asked about as of late.

Polaroid Window Frame

My inspiration for this project stems from my very first pin on my very first day of Pinterest. I saw it and said I MUST DO THIS. A year later, I finally did.

The first thing you need to do for this project is find an old window frame. I found mine at our local antique store for $3.00. Often you’ll see them on the side of the road, free, for trash pick up.

I actually ended up getting two frames. I used the one on the left for this project and I’m still brainstorming what to do for the one on the right.

After you find a frame, you’ll need to break the glass. I was worried about this, but it’s actually really easy. My friend Mo and I did it together with two hammers and an old sheet. Make sure to pick out any excess glass on the edges. I wore garden gloves.

Once you remove the glass, install eye-hooks at equal lengths apart on the inside back of the frame. I chose small, gold ones that are not visible once the frame is hanging and decided on four rows based on the size of the frame. Don’t worry if you don’t know what an eye-hook is. I didn’t either. Just ask a nice man at the hardware store.

Then you will need to find some twine. I found mine in the basement among Austin’s fishing supplies. I’ve also seen it for a few bucks at multiple craft stores, but I probably don’t need to tell you where to find twine.

Tie your twine onto the eye-hooks, stringing across. Don’t knot it too tight. You may need to tighten it later to suit the pictures and space.

Now all you need is pictures and clothespins. In my original pin, the creator used standard sized clothespins. I wanted smaller ones and found them at JoAnne Fabric for less than two dollars for a pack of 24.

For the pictures, I imported photos I’ve taken into Lightroom and used the Aged Photo preset to make them look old. If you don’t have lightroom, you can find tons free filters on websites like PicMonkey.

Once you edit your photos, import them into a Poloroid template (or create your own). I used this one.

Make sure to flatten the image in Photoshop once you are done resizing. Then all you need to do is print your pictures (I used Snapfish penny prints), and you’re done!

I chose to hang five in a row, though I might tone it back to four like the original pinner. I also printed plenty of alternate photos so I can switch them in and out when I get bored with the same ones.

It really is a great way to display pictures, and a nice change from only watching them pop up on my screensaver. If you have trouble using Photoshop or are worried about creating the pictures, feel free to send an email to kate@kbaer.com and I’ll be happy to walk you through it.

Bricks & Boards Bookshelf

After Austin and I got married, we lived in a string of very small apartments with very little money. It was fun.

One of his ideas to juice up the place was to install a series of bookshelves that we so creatively call “bricks and boards.”

Much to our parents’ dismay, we have hauled these materials from apartment to apartment, totaling over five times carrying over 100 bricks up and down stairs and across parking lots. Thanks guys.

There really isn’t much to it, once you’ve found the bricks and boards. We have two different sets, one set for a smaller space (pictured above) and another set for a larger space (pictured below).

Advice from Mr. Fix It:

-Rearrange the bricks until you find a combination that isn’t wobbly.

-Start a little away from the wall at the bottom and work your way towards the wall so it is touching at the top, that way it leans back and won’t fall over.
As you can see from the picture below (from our childless, small apartment days), you can make it any height or length. Very customizable.
It’s no big deal, mostly it’s just a cheap and fairly attractive way to store and display books and photos and other random items. I will say that this bookshelf draws the most comments and attention whenever we have guests, making me proud of our ramshackle accommodations.
Anyway, happy building. You Only Live Once (YOLO).

DIY: Christmas Cards (& Other Embarrassingly Easy Things)

November 14, 2011

I made some Christmas cards this week. Not because of my love of crafting (I only own kitchen scissors) but because of my slight obsession with stationary.

I found the idea on Pinterest (twist!) and then begged my sister-in-law Zoe to help me.


{Click For Source}

She agreed, but only if I took some pictures of her kids. Too bad it was windy, cold, and all of them turned out like this (or worse):

But she agreed to help me anyway, and when all the kids were down for a nap–we began.

Two hours later and I only had five cards, proof that I am craft-challenged. At one point Zoe said, ever so sweetly, “Maybe crafting just isn’t your gift. You’re creative in other ways…”

A nice way of saying girl, you’re done.

So I made five cards which means I will probably just keep them for myself because I am a hoarder.

I’m not going to write out the instructions on how to make these cards because I don’t want to insult your intelligence. The pictures explain it all. And even if they don’t, I’m probably not the best one to ask. I had to have help with the scissors (note the very terrible circles at the end).

Good luck.