Author Archives: Jane

6-Foot Long DIY Hairpin Leg Desk

Wide Hairpin Leg Desk Title Image

This weekend I finished building a 6-foot modern hairpin leg desk for my office, and I have some tips on how to build it and prevent sagging across the long table top. This isn’t an official tutorial because there are so many good ones out there already.

The desk turned out great, and the long design gives me plenty of space to spread out my papers when I’m working.

If you’re interested in the construction details of the desk, read on. If not, just enjoy the photos!

My Trick for Preventing Sagging:

To prevent the 6-foot length of the desk top from sagging, I put a leg in the middle, by the back. I also framed the underside of the desk top to add a little more strength and stability, sort of like a torsion box. A torsion box is built like a grid of tiny squares to keep large flat surfaces from sagging or warping. It’s what Ikea uses in a lot of their furniture! It’s really cool, so if you’re interested in woodworking, read more about it here.

Modern Hairpin Leg Desk DIY Sag Support

Building the frame:

I used 2” x 2” boards and my Kreg Pocket Hole Jig and wood glue to build the frame that would bet attached to the underside of the desk.

Hairpin Leg Desk Frame Pocket Hole

After the frame was built I attached it to the underside of the desk using the Kreg. If you don’t have a pocket hole jig, you could just screw everything together from the outside.

*The Kreg Jig works on boards up to 1 ¾” in width, so I had to improvise to make it work. I could (and should) have used thinner boards.

I designed the frame to fit right inside the table legs, so it’s about 3 inches in from the edge. I didn’t want the frame starting at the edges of the desk top because I wanted the desk to have clean, simple lines – like a simple board on legs.

Hairpin Leg Desk Leg Detail


The desk top is a ¾” birch veneer plywood. I trimmed the edges of the plywood with Band-It wood veneer edging. It’s so easy to use – you iron it on, and if your placement is off, you can reheat it with the iron and try again.

I sanded the table lightly because the top is only a thin layer of veneer. I sanded the edges more heavily to even out where the top of the edge trim met the table top and bottom. The result is an almost flawless look of real wood edges.

Hairpin Leg Desk Edge Trim on Plywood

Finally, I stained and sealed the table using my process of wood conditioner, then stain, then polyurethane sealant (done outside because of fumes). You can read all about my wood finishing process here.

Don’t skip the step of sanding in between coats of poly sealant. I used extra-fine grit sandpaper, and the result is a sleek, smooth surface.

Hairpin Leg Desk Wide DIY No Sagging

Now that I finally have a nice, big workspace, the next step in the office is underway. I’m making my own wooden shelves to hack the Elfa wall unit behind the desk, just like I did in the nursery.

Looking for good building tutorials? My favorite resources are Ana White, Sawdust Girl, Pretty Handy Girl , Fine Woodworking, and Popular Woodworking.

How To Clean Pet Accidents From Carpets (So they’re really gone)

If you’re a pet owner, it’s important to know how to treat urine stains and odors in your carpets. From house training a new puppy to dealing with an aging dog with a weakening bladder, accidents will happen at some point.How To Clean Pet Accidents From Carpets

If the accidents aren’t cleaned correctly, however, you run the risk of repeat accidents and/or really smelly carpet that eventually has to be replaced.

A lot of “pet stain and odor removers” mask the scent of the stain rather than treat the source and remove it for good, so it’s important to know the difference. While I’m a huge fan of baking soda and vinegar as cheap cleaners, these are not the best solution for treating pet messes. The good cleaners are more expensive, but they’re still a lot cheaper than a new carpet – or an apartment security deposit.

Here’s what you’re looking for in a dog or cat urine cleaner:

  • An enzyme-based cleaner, not a soapy detergent cleaner
  • No perfumes, scents, dyes, brightening agents
  • One specifically for cat urine if you have a cat
  • A big jug, not a spray bottle

An enzyme cleaner actually works by eating away at the urine, removing it rather than masking it. I repeat: Do not buy a cleaner with scents or perfumes. By adding them to the carpet you risk coating the stain and locking the smell in so that the enzymes can’t go to work.

From foster puppies to a spiteful cat who peed on furniture when depressed, I’ve had hundreds of chances to test different enzyme cleaners.

The best cleaners out there are:

  • Nature’s Miracle
  • Simple Solution Pet Stain & Odor Remover

The carpet cleaning companies such as Bissell have cleaning solutions as well, but we didn’t get good results with them.

When Amber had her accidents in the house I’d like to think we perfected the art of removing urine stains and odors from carpets.

  1. Soak up as much of the accident as you can using rags or paper towels.
  2. To get more urine out of the deeper layers we use a steam vac. If you have a steam vac, load it with some cold water and vacuum the area of the accident, rinsing the area and extracting as much liquid as possible.
  3. Soak the area with enzyme cleaner. Really soak it. A spray over the area is not enough.   Even though the solution is expensive, you’re wasting your money if you don’t use enough cleaner to soak through the carpet and reach all of the urine.
  4. Work the cleaner into the carpet. I’ll be honest, I use my fingers to just smoosh the liquid around and make sure it covers evenly and really gets into the fibers.
  5. Let sit for 15 minutes and then blot dry thoroughly with more rags, or use the steam vac (no water added) to extract it better.
  6. Repeat after 48 hours if you don’t think you got it all the first time.
  7. Be patient. The enzyme cleaner can take several days to work completely and finish drying out, so the smell may linger during that time.

That’s how we tackle pet accident cleanup in our house. I hope it helps!

PS: If your house trained or litter-box-trained pet is suddenly having accidents, have them checked by the vet. A UTI or other medical issue could be to blame, as we found with Amber the Poodle.

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DIY In Progress: Modern Hairpin Leg Desk

It’s been a while since I shared a good DIY building project on this blog, but that’s about to change!  Home projects are progressing more slowly with a little human around, but I’m slowly tackling them when time permits.

I’m currently completing my new office corner in the basement, which I shared the plans for here.  The walls are painted, thanks to one very good nap, the shelves are painted and curing, and the desk is in progress.  And that’s what I want to share today!

Modern Hairpin Leg Desk in Progress

It may look like a simple plywood board with metal hairpin legs attached, but a lot of time and thought and . . . well, worry went into the construction of it.  Underneath the 6-foot-long simple workspace I had to frame out a supporting structure to prevent sag in the middle.

Modern Hairpin Leg Desk DIY Sag Support

I finally finished it yesterday, and now all that is left is sanding, staining and sealing.  I’m hopeful my new desk will be in use by the end of the week.  On the 4th of July I gave the farmhouse desk I’d built to my sister-in-law and I’m now working on a very small, very messy old Ikea table.

I just thought you might like to see what I’ve been up to!  In related news, the Little Sapling got very excited watching woodworking videos with me!

7 Inspiring Podcasts for Indie Business Owners & Future Entrepreneurs

I love to listen to inspiring podcasts while I work in the Janery studio. Designing new products and patterns is exciting, but production sewing is repetitive.   I used to watch TV shows and movies, but I have found that they can be distracting, and they aren’t that inspiring – except for the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi.

7 Inspiring Podcasts for Indie Biz Owners Aspiring Entrepreneurs

Once I switched to podcasts I became much more efficient in the studio, learning and being inspired even when I was tired and just wanted to go to bed. Over the last year I’ve found a good collection of inspiring podcasts for creative business owners – or aspiring entrepreneurs.  Here are my 7 favorite inspiring podcasts for indie biz owners and inspiring entrepreneurs:

Being Boss –Kathleen Shannon runs a killer branding company, and she and her podcasting partner Emily are rocking this. I started this last week and I am hooked! I recommend starting at the beginning and listening in order.

Brilliant Business Moms – A podcast about business, run by entrepreneur moms? Sign me up! You don’t have to be a mom, though, to appreciate the topics covered. Favorite episodes include interviews with my friend Katie Clemons from Gadanke (episode 33) and discussions on Kickstarter / an ethical clothing line with Hayley Morgan of Wildly Co. (episode 35)

Elise Gets Crafty – Elise and her podcast are what got me hooked on podcasts while I work. I’m pretty sure that everyone in the handmade business arena is already listening to Elise’s podcast, but it needs to be listed. She’s hosted a variety of guests and hers is the podcast that keeps me extra inspired when I’m working.

From Scratch – Interviews with people from all industries who grew companies “from scratch.” Some have interested me more than others, but it’s interesting to learn from people outside the “indie biz” niche. Favorite episodes include one with the founder of Etsy (episode 4), and the inventor of the Coravin wine preserver, (episode 10).

Thriving Launch – This is new to me, but I could have used this several years ago! I can’t recommend favorite episodes yet, because I’ve only heard the first few, but I think it’s worth a shot.

The Sarah R. Bagley Podcast – My friend and neighbor Sarah tackles the issue of perfectionism in her podcast about living a B+ life. She hosts a wide variety of guests; some of my favorite business-related ones are Kyla Roma (episodes 18 and 62) and Michelle Ward (episode 55).

UnPodcast – I’ve been a fan of Scott Stratten’s ever since he spoke about marketing at the first Blissdom conference I attended. His no BS approach and humor rocks my world as he reminds us that sincerity and common sense are the keys to good social media marketing.

If you have other favorites, I hope you’ll share in the comments!