I finally finished and hung my new shelf! Yay! I had some little shelves up in this space next to my fireplace, but the look was just not what I wanted. So, I moved them and made a new shelf inspired by the many bloggers that made these Ballard Designs knock-off shelves. This link goes to a superb tutorial by Traci at Beneath My Heart blog. I did everything almost exactly as she did, only I used liquid nails to glue everything together instead of real nails. I went as cheap as possible and here's how mine came out for less than $20:
Of course, I forgot to take pictures along the way, but here is the explanation. I got two shelf brackets from Ikea. They were less than $5 each. Then I got a board at home depot, just a cheap pine board that was 10" wide, and they cut it for me into two 2 ft. long pieces. (I was going to make 2 shelves, but one is all that fits here. I'll save the other for later.)
Then I bought a length of moulding and since this was pre-birthday, I went across the street and used my neighbor's miter saw to cut it down to go around the edge of the board for a nice finished look. I glued the trim on a piece at a time to give each piece time to really set and stick on. (I waited a day or two between each piece.)
Then, I glued the shelf onto the brackets with liquid nails.
Next I painted the shelf with some paint and a brush I had. This experience confirms my love for spray paint, I tell ya. I would much have rather sprayed it, but I didn't have any on hand. From a distance it looks good anyway, so I'm over it. :)
I know this was under $20, but since I bought each piece of it over several months I can't remember exactly how much it cost. I would guess it was even under $15. I love it soooo much! Let's hear it for DIY!