Faux Card Catalog Bookcase

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I love libraries and can get lost in one (willingly) for hours.  There was a great feeling to thumb through a card catalog to see if they had the book you wanted to read and after finding it’s location, you’d set out on the ultimate journey– to find the book.  As libraries converted to digital card catalogs, a few savvy buyers snatched up the card catalog relics. As much as I love them, I hated their non-existent practicality.  I don’t need a piece of furniture with 30 small drawers, I need a real drawer with space to hold something wider than a CD case.  Then I stumbled on one a person converted and told Greg we could do that. Sure, he didn’t have as much faith as I did but just look at the Before/After– I think we nailed it. faux card catalog DIYThree and a half months after the chest of drawers entered our home, we finally finished converting it to a bookcase with faux card catalog front and it’s love– just look at those drawer fronts (hardware by D.Lawless Hardware).  I wanted a piece of fun furniture for my new office and something that wasn’t just a bookcase from Target.  Our completed bookcase added personality and life into the room, along with a sense of whimsy.  It reminded me of endless hours at the library and getting lost in a book. faux card catalog bookcase-6 Sure, my office isn’t anywhere near done but I have this lovely piece of furniture to highlight one of my favorite things from this year– the watercolor of my Grandmom’s house from The Art of Michelle.  No matter what, this bookcase is a sign of progress in one of our slowest moving projects ever. faux card catalog bookcase-8 We found the ideal piece of furniture at Impact Thrift when we went for a different office furniture related purchase.  Walking around, we stumbled upon this dresser for the whopping price of $60.  Both of us loved the rounded edging but then Greg opened the bottom drawer to reveal a hidden cedar chest.

Ahhh, cedar chest!!

Ahhh, cedar chest!!

We knew we had to have it since you can’t find furniture like this anymore.  One coupon later, the chest was ours for $45.  Add $35 in hardware, $30 in paint, another $25 in wood and you have an amazing custom piece of furniture.  Now you can do it too and I’ll tell you how.

What You Will Need

Dresser Miter saw Brass Knobs
Clamps Nail gun Cup pull label holders
Circular saw Wood glue Primer
Crow bar Wood filler Paint
Rubber Mallet 4″ lattice strips Fabric
Caulk 1/4″ plywood Batting
Sander 1/2″ half round trim Foam Core

1. Find a dresser which meets your desired dimensions.  When picking a dresser, look at the drawers and determine how the height/length will work for your faux card catalog front. For example– do you want more square drawers fronts with fewer pulls or do you want it similar to mine with a more traditional size card catalog front. faux card catalog DIY 2. Buy your dresser.  We loved this chest due to the trim going around it and how the bottom drawer was a mini cedar chest. 3. We wanted to turn the top into a bookcase, to do that we removed the top two drawers.  If you don’t want to turn it into a bookcase, skip this step.  To remove the support systems, we used the crow bar to gently ease everything out.  You don’t want to go all Wreck-It Ralph on the chest because you want to maintain the integrity of the piece. faux card catalog DIY 4. Once you are finished, you will have a structure that looks like this. Wood fill and sand any holes in the bookcase area.  Repeat the wood fill/sanding any scrapes/dents/dings in the outside of the piece. faux card catalog bookcase-4 Side note: Ignore the completed drawers, my instructions differ from how we completed it.  If it wasn’t the middle of winter when starting it, we would have followed it this way. 5. As you can see from the above picture, we need to do two things– extend the bookcase ledge to meet the edge of the drawer and to create a flat surface for the shelf base. 6. We installed a piece of lumber (trimmed to fit length and width).  Cut and nail in place. faux card catalog bookcase-2 7. Then we measure the inside base to cut our piece of 1/4″ plywood.  We had extra plywood from the bathroom refresh and cut it using the circular saw. Nail in place. faux card catalog bookcase-18faux card catalog bookcase-3 8. Add trim to hide the edges of the plywood and lumber.  We wanted to add decorative trim to match the trim on the chest, so we measured the depth needed for the trim when cutting out the piece of lumber and plywood.  We nailed the trim after installing the plywood. 9. Wood fill/sand again! 10. It to start on the drawers– decided your faux drawer size.  To determine the size, I played around with paper I had and it helped me visualize what each front would look like. 11. Remove all hardware. 12. Wood fill/sand the holes. faux card catalog bookcase-22 13. Cut your faux fronts and one extra.  We used 4″ lattice which meant we just needed to cut it with the miter saw to the desired length.  The extra one will act as a template when you install the hardware.  Don’t skip it because it will save you time. faux card catalog DIY 14. After you cut the fronts, you will need to sand down the corners and edges to give it a worn look.  As you can see from the picture below, the sanded piece (bottom) looks much nicer and more finished than the raw edge (top). faux card catalog bookcase-9 faux card catalog bookcase-19 15. If you’re like me and completely excited about the project, you’ll want to see what the drawer will look like with the fronts and hardware– play around with it.  Ahhh it’s love already. faux card catalog DIY 16. Not going to lie or sugar coat it, gluing the fronts was our least favorite party of the entire project. To start draw a line down the center and find the drawer’s center point. faux card catalog bookcase-11 17. To keep everything even and straight, we propped the drawer sideways on the island.  We clamped a yard stick down the center to ensure even spacing between the “drawers”.  Then we determined the distance we wanted each “drawer”- the width of two paint stirrers.  After we determined all of this (using math to find the extra space all around and divide it evenlyish), we started gluing. 18. Apply a small amount of glue and use a level to verify straightness.  Clamp in place.  The whole reason the drawer is up like this is because we used Ms. Level on each “drawer”. faux card catalog bookcase-12 19. Over the course of several days, glue/clamp all the “drawers”. 20. Realize that you picked a very complicated project. 21. Drink a few beers and avoid the project. 22. Prime everything (two coats)!  We used BIN primer due to other bloggers loving it– be aware, it’s very runny. faux card catalog bookcase-13 23. Start painting.  We used Benjamin Moore Advance paint which is highly durable and meant for cabinets.  The only downside to the paint besides costs is the 16 hour wait time between coats. faux card catalog DIY24. Question bloggers after first coat due to it not looking good. 25. Apply the second coat.  Still question the bloggers and google the paint. 26. Apply third coat and be overly happy with how it looks.  Dance to Pharrell Williams because your happy. 27. Remember the template piece you cut in step 13?  Well, go find it because it’s time to apply hardware.  Place the hardware on the template and mark where you need to drill.  Drill your holes. faux card catalog bookcase-14 28. Mark holes on each “drawer” and start drilling. faux card catalog bookcase-15 29. Screw in your hardware.  We thought this would be a quick afternoon project– three hours later, we were still at it. faux card catalog bookcase-17 30. Time for the bookcase backing. Measure the back of the bookcase and deduct a quarter inch from the length and width. 31. Cut the foam core to that size 32. Wrap in batting and staple gun down.  Test it in the bookcase to ensure the fit. faux card catalog DIY 33. Wrap it in fabric and staple it down. faux card catalog DIY 34. Insert backing, add the drawers. faux card catalog bookcase-20 35. Sit back and realize you nailed it like the Bellas at Finals.

MIAMM: Browned Butter Cookies

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Raise your hand if you like cookies?  Good, now quickly put it down in case someone walks past and is wondering why your hand is raised.

With Easter happening on Sunday and all the Easter candy going on sale Monday morning, this is the ideal recipe for the marked down pastel M&M.  If you’re anything like me, they will be calling to you from CVS as you walk past the seasonal aisle.  If you pick them up, this year you don’t have to feel guilty because you can turn them into these giant, delicious cookies . . . . for you and your coworkers (if you need the excuse as to why you’re buying so many bags of M&Ms.)

Browned Butter Kitchen Sink Cookie recipe

I call this recipe Browned Butter Kitchen Sink Cookies because I went through my pantry and added what felt like everything but the kitchen sink–Pretzel M&Ms, dark chocolate chips, and honey roasted peanut.  What I love about this recipe is you can combine all the leftover Easter candy for this recipe (ok, maybe not the jelly beans) but chop up a few peanut butter eggs or malted milk balls and play around.  The cookies turn out large and in charge with a soft center and even distribution of goodies.

Browned Butter Kitchen Sink Cookies (adapted from That Skinny Chick Can Bake)


  • 14 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup M&M (any type you choose– I used the pretzel M&Ms)
  • 1/2 honey roasted peanuts
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

1. Melt 10 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan over medium high heat.  Then continue to cook a few more minutes until golden brown in color with a nutty smell.  Stir the butter occasionally.  Please note, there will be little particles in the butter from the browning process.

browned butter cookies

2. Transfer the butter to mixing bowl and add the remaining four tablespoons of butter.  Stir until everything is melted together.  It helps to model your apron for your dog and husband to help pass the time.

browned butter cookies recipe

Note the DIY sweaty band. Also note, I look horrid because we just got back from lifting at the gym.

3. Then add the ingredients in the following order (mixing after each one): sugar, vanilla, egg/yolk, baking soda/salt, flour.

4. Try not to trip over the dog who heard, “Cookies” and made herself at home.

browned butter cookie recipe

You said cookies.

5. Finally add all the good stuff– 1/2 cup M&Ms, peanuts, dark chocolate chips, and mix.

browned butter cookie recipe

6. As you can see, I made these into big cookies– scoop about a 1/4 of a cup of cookie dough onto a cookie sheet (greased, lined, silpat, you get the idea).

7. Take the remaining M&Ms and push into the cookies to make them look even prettier.

8. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-14 minutes.

9. Enjoy.

Just look at all the goodness packed into these cookies.

Just look at all the goodness packed into these cookies.








Project Excitement!


Ever complete a project and all you want to do is share it? Well, that is precisely how I feel about the project we completed last night.

Greg and I have been slowly transforming this old chest of drawers into a bookcase since February. We never take this long for a project but due to weather and life, some weekends it took a backseat.

So instead of a Five on Friday, I wanted to provide you with a glimpse of our newest project (before and after). Hopefully, I can give you a project how-to and a styled picture of our new bookcase on Wednesday.




Greg and I have been make a huge amount if progress on a few projects (meaning that several will be completed this weekend)! My Monday our new curtains will be hung, the dresser makeover will be complete, and new art will be hung . . . Or at least, this is our plan. Here’s a small sneak peak of our current projects.


MIAMM: Coconut Dream Pie

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When I moved in with Greg, I had two rules—

  • I’ll do the laundry if he cleaned the bathrooms.
  • We divide up the week for cooking dinner.

We did great adhering to the dividing the cooking but suddenly stopped succeeding at it, mostly because Greg isn’t allowed to go to the grocery store alone due to his tendency to purchase more junk food than a 13 year old boy.

Side note: To be fair, he washes and dries the dishes when I cook.

With grad school complete, I decided it’s time to ease him back into cooking by making us dessert—a coconut custard pie.  Now I call this recipe Coconut Dream Pie because it’s so easy for your husband to make, it must be a dream.  If you can use a blender, you can make this pie.

coconut dream pie recipe

With a little chocolate shaved over it.

Heck, you can even have your little ones helps make this dessert.  Once it’s baked, no one will ever guess how easy it was to make.  Please feel free to tell them you slaved over it for hours.  The pie is surprisingly light for a custard pie and it forms three distinct layers which makes it even more interesting.

Hope you enjoy it!

Coconut Dream Pie (adapted from Jo Cooks)


  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup shredded coconut (sweetened)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup flour
  • 8 tbsp of butter (cold or room temperature)
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg

1. Place everything into the blender.

coconut dream pie recipe

2. Blend until smooth.

coconut dream pie recipe

3. Pour into a pie dish.

coconut dream pie recipe

4. Bake for 45-60 minutes at 350 degrees.

5. Enjoy!

coconut dream pie recipe

MIAMM: Lavender Shortbread Cookies

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Let me state, this is not an early April Fool’s Joke.  We truly made cookies with lavender.

After last week’s chicks, I’ve been in a spring cookie mode– pinning recipes like a mad woman.  Today’s recipe had been pinned months ago and wasn’t even supposed to happen today but I stumbled upon an Herbalist in Reading Terminal Market on Saturday and knew we had to have Lavender Shortbread Cookies.

You’ll have to trust me on this one, these cookies are delightful!.  Light and refreshing and making you swoon for the Spring to arrive faster.

lavender shortbread cookie recipe

I know these cookies are not for everyone but if you feel adventurous, head to Whole Foods for dried lavender and welcome the Spring with lavender shortbread cookies.  Greg seemed very dubious of these cookies as I made them but once we pulled them out of the oven, he couldn’t get enough.

Lovely Lavender Shortbread Cookies 


  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons dried lavender
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 sticks of butter (room temperature)

1. Soften butter to room temperature.

2. Pulse sugar and lavender in food processor about 30 seconds.

lavendar cookie recipe

Side note: You can purchase dried lavender at Whole Foods or on Amazon.  I found it at an herbalist store in Philadelphia.

3. Cream the butter and sugar in mixer.

lavendar cookie recipe

4. Add the flour.

lavendar cookie recipe

5. Once you have the dough formed. Shape into your desired form (you can put in a loaf pan to make square/rectangular shaped cookies).  I rolled it into a tube shape.  Whatever shape you create, wrap your dough in plastic wrap!

6. Place in the fridge for at least an hour.

7. Slice your cookies at ¼ thick.

lavendar cookie recipe

8. Optional- add lavender to the cookie tops.

lavendar cookie recipe-6

9. Try not tripping over your dog.

lavendar cookie recipe-7

10. Bake for 18-20 minutes at 300 degrees.

lavendar cookie recipe-8

11. Enjoy!

lavendar cookie recipe-10