Tales of my furniture makeovers and great DIY projects...

Friday, December 23, 2011

You would think...

...that I'm addicted to Pinterest.  But, really, I'm not.  I go on very rarely, but when I do, I see like 10 projects that I MUST do.  With Christmas approaching, it's worse.  I've been on the lookout for inexpensive but neat DIY gifts.  And, if it involves wine, it's a winner in my book! 

I found a great project where you just dip wine glass stems into chalkboard paint.  I really think this is my best Pinterest project yet!  I set out to Target to buy my daughter some wine glasses.  How cute would it be for her and her friends to be able to customize their own glass when they are enjoying some (or a lot, le sigh, she's 21!) wine?  So, luckily, I already had the chalkboard paint on hand:

In case you didn't know, they make this in a bunch of different colors.  It's about $15 a quart, not too bad, it goes a long way.  But, since I already had the plain black on hand, and I thought it was nice, I went with it. 

I read a few different tutorials and combined a bunch of them and used my own ideas as well.  Some made it way too hard than it had to be, some didn't work.  All I did was lay out some parchment paper and just dipped the whole stem of the glass into the paint can to avoid any brush strokes. 

I let it drip for a while, then used a paint brush to wipe off the bottom a bit.  I just sat it on the parchment paper.  Then I realized that it was pooling and if it dried that way it would be a mess.  So, I just kept moving them around every few minutes until the paint hardened enough to stop pooling. 

Maybe not the most technical or scientific answer to the problem, but hey, it worked like a charm!  After they dried for a few hours and I knew they wouldn't drip, I turned them upside down so the bottoms could dry also.  In the morning, they were done and voila!  Chalkboard glasses!

This will probably be my go-to gift this year for birthdays and celebrations.  They look great and the chalk erases off easily, just like a regular chalkboard, haha!  Here's a close up:


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Another 80's makeover!

I haven't been posting too much lately because it's Christmastime and I've just been so busy, I haven't been doing much, but I did manage to complete a custom job for someone.  These have been few and far between for me, but they are starting to get more popular.  I like it.  And, although I've been pretty lucky at it, it feels nice to not have that pressure to have to sell something.

She brought me a cute little dresser but it was sooooooooo 80's.  You know what I mean, that 80's orangey wood.  Good quality but not so pretty to look at.  She wanted it for her little girl's room.  And, this really doesn't do it for a sweet little girl, huh?

This was a bit different from most of the pieces I have done in the past.  She just wanted it painted white, but not distressed.  I have to admit, that made me a bit nervous.  It's easy to hide flaws and mistakes by distressing, because a mistake can turn into something pretty.  But, no room for mistakes here!  The first thing I did was get out my trusty Floetrol.  This is a great additive to paint that reduces brush strokes.

You can find it in the paint section of any hardware store.  It does slow down the drying time, but it's worth it. 

Also, as easy as it is to want to slap on some thick coats of paint, the trick to a smooth finish is very thin coats.  I primed this with some Kilz primer, sanded a bit, then used 3 coats of paint.  I sanded just a bit but was afraid that it would take the paint of the edges and didn't want that.  But, I sanded just enough to somooth it out a bit.  Then, I topped it with 2 coats of wax since this was going in a kids room.  She also wanted cute little glass knobs, so on they went...

Closer up of the dresser itself:

I think it looks much better and perfect for a little girl!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Another Pinterest Project

I'm going to say from the beginning, I was SO excited about this.  The Pinterest picture is gorgeous.  I think it would take me a while to master this idea.  But, I did my interpretation of it for Emma's new room.  Here is the inspiration:

I guess I should have had the picture next to me while doing the project.  Mine is WAY different, but based on this. 

I started out with a frame that I already had.  It was already painted a great bright green and distressed.  I had some canvas material that sort of has that grain sack look.  So, I wrapped the material around the glass in order to keep it as tight as I could.  I then attached it back to the frame.  I placed my buttons the way I thought they should go, then hot glued each one on.  I chose a mixture of white, purple and pick buttons to pick up on all the colors of her room.  Here's a close up of the finished job:

(again, from my previous post, I apologize for the crappy pics, my camera is well, a piece of crap!)

Emma loves it and it looks pretty it her room.  I do think I could have perfected it better.  I loved the original look of the canvas/grain sack backing, but now wish I would have put some kind of brighter,  more fun material behind the buttons, especially since it's for a child.  Here is a another view:

I'm going to do this again for someone else.  (I'm not telling who!)  My plan is to paint a hot pink frame, find black/white animal print fabric and use various shades of pink buttons for the letter. 

If you think you like this idea, you should also head over to Primitive and Proper, she just did something similar with small Christmas balls in the shape of a tree!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A room redo during some transitioning...

I promised everyone that my next big project was going to be my living room redo, but of course, in true fashion, I've changed my mind.  And plans.    Most of you know that I have two daughters.  They are 18 YEARS apart.  Yes, I said YEARS.  My two children are like 2 only children.  My oldest daughter is getting ready to graduate college and has no plans on returning home to live.  We have a townhouse, so the bedrooms are not big, especially Emma's.  It's t-i-n-y!  For the past 3 1/2 years, Santina's room basically just sits empty.  She doesn't even come home summers anymore as she stays at school and works.  So, her bigger room sits empty while Emma is shoved in a closet and has NO room to play.  To make matters worse, her furniture was huge.  A big tall full size bed that had been converted from the crib took up 95% of the room, then her dresser and bookshelves took another 4%, leaving hardly any room to walk.  It was pretty, of course, but that's all:

You can see where the door is, she had NO room at all to even sit on the floor. We have been going back and forth about switching her to a twin bed, but a visit to our neighbor's house sealed the deal for me.  Her little girl was not only in the bigger bedroom, but had a twin size bed and she had so much room to sit and play and enjoy the space.  So, my mind got to work.  Sometimes that's dangerous, but not this time.  I had this set still that although generated tons of interest, had no definate buyers.  Just that day, I found a wooden headboard/footboard for sale for $20 that I knew would go perfectly.  Of course, I forgot to before pics, but just imagine this bed a dark, dull wood color.  And, you can imagine the armoire and nighttable an ugly orangey color.  But, all painted and redone the same way makes a GREAT set for a little girl.  Since, they aren't for sale anymore, I'll admit that I paid a mere $15 for that armoire and nighttable.  Yup, thats right, $15.  So, for $35, a can of $5 "oops" paint from Lowes and some furniture wax, my little girl got a new room that she can move around in and enjoy.  She is sooooooo happy with it! 

And, yes, she is almost 4.  And, yes, she STILL loves her little musical toy that you see strapped to the headboard that normally straps on cribs.  And, yes, she will probably take it to college with her!  A different angle:

And a close up of the footboard that details the same chippiness in the armoire and nighttable:

Now, my disclosure:  these pictures suck.  My camera is broken.  I need a new one.  All I have is my phone, it was dark and rainy this morning and I did the best I could.  Blah.

The armoire, although big, doesn't take up a lot of floor space.  It has enough space to house books and toys in the top and her clothes in the bottom 3 drawers. 

As for our transitioning, my older daughter will have the task of helping clean out her room over Christmas break so we can make the switch to the bigger room for even more space!  Now I have to pick out wall colors all over again!  Should I stick with the purple?

And, just in case you forgot how great the inside of that armoire is:

I'll be updating over the holiday's on our progress!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Our Advent Countdown!

Just a quick post to show everyone our Advent Countdown project...

To give credit where credit is due, the idea of just simply using paper came from my friend Kirsten.  I mentioned I was late in getting and Advent Calendar and really wanted Emma to have one.  She suggested just cutting construction paper rings for each day and hand them in Emma's room.  Ta Da!  So, that was my plan.  Then, I went to A.C. Moore and saw this great sparkly cardstock and decided I would just glue squares on a ribbon and hang them up.  Then, I was hanging out at with Cassie at Primitive and Proper and looking at her Advent bunting and got some more great ideas!  She had the wonderful idea of assigning each day a "nice" chore instead of getting candy or a treat.  How refreshing is that?  So, that's exactly what I did!  I started out with just some sheets of paper:

All I did was simply cut them into squares.  I started stressing about making all the squares even, but then realized it didn't matter.  In fact, I think it looks better all mismatched and crooked.  Then, I just cut that single sheet of white cardstock into smaller squares, took a red crayon and drew the numbers.  I originally wanted Emma to do this, but she didn't want to.  This was supposed to be fun, not stressful, so I did the numbers while she happily watched.  I glued them to the green, red and silver paper.  Then, we came up with our good deeds for each day.  Some of the things we came up with were:  give daddy a kiss, hug mommy, tell Grandma you love her, call Nanny and say hi, share a toy with your friend, tell your teacher you like her...Simple things she can understand and do.  I then glued the paper on a red ribbon.  Here's a close up:

All I needed was a place to hang 3 rows of numbers.  Our kitchen eat in area is a bit boring, as one big wall just has two big wrought iron circles hanging on them.  That may change this Spring, but that's all whole other post!  So, we hung them there.  See:

And, the bigger picture:

Hopefully, this will be the beginning of teaching Emma more about giving than receiving.  For now, I think she just thinks it's fun, especially because Calliou has and Advent countdown as well!

And, while I was at A.C. Moore, they had bags of pinecones on sale.  I couldn't resist.  So, I made another wreath.  This time, the cones are smaller and not painted.  It also included dried cinnamon sticks, so the smell is wonderful!

And, my favorite little corner all decorated for Christmas:

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Another Redo--but not mine!

You read the title right, this post isn't about my work.  I belong to a Mom's group through Facebook that has all sorts of subgroups.  One of them is a Buy, Sell, Trade, Free group where the women can sell items, much like Craigslist, except feel a bit safer and another way to get to know each other.  I usually post my furniture redo's there, not because I'm marketing (well, kinda...) but I've gotten a lot of interest in my pieces and for some crazy reason, I LOVE selling them to people who I think enjoy them as much as I do.

At the beginning of the summer this year I scooped up this bench/couch thing at Goodwill.  I had every intention of making this mine, not for resale.  I thought it would give us a great place to sit comfortably on our back patio.  But, again, like most before pictures, it was just kinda dull and ugly.

Beyond the dull and ugly, this was SOLID wood, really heavy.  It sat and sat and sat and sat in my basement.  I had so many projects in line ahead of it and I was really becoming quite overwhelmed.  Every single time I saw it just sitting there it stressed me out.  To add to that, my husband gets very OCD about "stuff", he likes everything clean and neat.  Let's face it, this was a pretty big "stuff" for him to overlook.  So, I decided one day to list it on Mombook.  I wasn't looking to make a profit, just recoop what I had paid, but knew I had to pass it on.   Katrina contacted me right away and drove her boys down to my house and the two of us strapped that thing on the top of her SUV.  Yes, we did, strapped it right to the top.  She was an EXPERT tying it down!  I asked her to please keep me updated on her renovation.

Katrina finished the project and I have to admit, I'm a bit jealous.  I knew this would be pretty when I bought it, but she really did a fantastic job.  This is just another perfect example that with some work (and paint!) you can transform ANYTHING!  Here is a perfect example:

And, here it is all decked out for Christmas:

From what I can tell, Katrina is quite the DIY'er and I can't wait to see some more of her transformations.  I've read she has a few things in the works now!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Finally for us "thick" girls AND a coffee table!

No, I don't mean fat!  I mean thick, as in THICK HAIR.  Those of you who know me, know that I have very thick hair.  Not normal thick, but abnormal thick.  Are you picturing it?  Now triple in your mind what you have pictured and that is my hair.  I go through stylists and elastics faster than anyone.  And, it's curly.  But, not good curly, so usually, my hair is in a pony tail.  Occasionally, I'll muster up the energy to straighten it like I've done the past few weeks, but normally pony tails are my style of choice.  NO gadget, accessory or banana clip has ever fit this head.  Until today.  Me and my sister went to the Maryland Christmas Show at the Frederick Fairgrounds and we stumbled across this guy who swore these pretty clips would fit my hair.  I strutted right up to him determined to prove him wrong, but I was wrong!  So, there was nothing left to do but buy one.  Right?  Just want to show it off:

It's also a plus to support a local husband and wife duo!

But, you don't really care about my hair, I'm sure!  Let's move on...

I bought this table from a lady through Craigslist.  I loved the wood planks that were the top.  But, it wasn't so pretty.  In fact, it was ugly.  And dirty.  And, even though he's been proven wrong time and time again, my husband thought I was crazy.  See:

Do you think I'm crazy?  Here's a closer look at the top:

Peeling paint AND stickers, bonus!  But, it had good bones.  So, I decided I wanted to strip the paint off the top, stain it and paint the body white.  That's just what I did.  In case any of you have forgot, I LOVE this product for stripping:

I don't know if I'm doing it the "right" way, but I just buy a chip brush (super cheap) and spread this on with it.  Let it sit for about an hour and use a scraping tool or wire brush to simply take the paint off.  It really is quite simple BUT super messy.  Through trial and error, I've realized that after you clean the wood off, it really needs to sit and dry for a day or so before sanding it, otherwise you'll just get gooey yucky stuff all over your sanding pad.  After sanding, sanding and sanding, I got this top:  (notice I started staining before I took this pic, but you get the idea!)

I don't know if you can tell from this picture, but there were still flecks of black that I just couldn't get out, they were deep in the wood.  I was a bit upset by this, but by the time I finished staining, you couldn't tell these flecks were black, they just look like divets in the wood, which add to the rustic style of it.  Score!  See how beautiful the top finished:

I painted the body in ASCP Old White, then heavily distressed it.  I also broke down and bought the AS Wax.  I'm glad I did, although about $20 more a can than the Johnson's wax, it doesn't smell.  I do most of my work in the basement and the Johnson's wax stinks up the.whole.house.  I've been banned from using it again, so I was super happy to find that AS doesn't have an odor, well, barely an odor.  I put 2 coats of wax on and it is beautious!  See:

And, of course, once again, I've made my husband eat his words!

Monday, November 21, 2011

A New (Old) Bedroom Set

Well, not a whole one.  But, if you are anything like me these days, you won't like a complete matchy matchy set anyway.  A few common pieces are nice, but having different things makes a room full of character, not like a showroom floor.  Where was I?  Oh yeah, the new (old) bedroom furniture.  It seems these armoires are pretty rare to come across.  Not from my experience, this is the second one like this I've redone, but most people seem suprised to see an armoire with cubbies like this and I guess are used to the ones with big television cutouts.  So, here is the armoire as I found it: (I forgot a before picture of the night table)

Here is the inside:

Seemingly in good shape, huh?  Well, the first of it's problems was it had that orangey hue that makes me gag a little bit.  The rest of it's problems were stuck all over the side in the form of hard mirror-y like thick stickers.  Luckily for me, they peeled of easily.  Whew.  The night table (nightstand?, sidetable?, I never know what to call them) had the remnants of a little girl named Emily.  How do I know that?  Her name was carved in the top.  Again, luckily, it was just a superficial carving and sanding away easily. 

I found this duo at a yard sale.  Not just a regular yard sale mind you.  This was the yard sale of ALL yard sales.  This was the day before Colorfest weekend in Thurmont, the day where THE.WHOLE.ENTIRE.TOWN has a yard sale.  I'm not kidding.  Really.  Anyone from this area will be my witness.  So, I hopped in the ole pick up and headed down to Thurmont.  I think I only got through about 5 blocks before I ran out of time and space.  I found these at my first stop, hence the running out of space quickly.

I used my "oops" paint from Lowes, that is a beautiful creamy white.  I added a touch of the unsanded grout, however, because of the orange hue, I did prime this with a heavy duty primer.  Then, it took just 2 coats of paint after the primer.  I have to say, it sanded great.  Certainly not like the ASCP, but I really wanted a very distressed look and that is what I got pretty easily. I topped both pieces with two coats of wax. Then, I painted the inside a great bright sagey green color to give it some POP!  Sorry I don't know the color, it was also another "oops".  I think I'm addicted to that small section of Lowes.  Hopefully, they won't issue me a stay away order anytime soon for lurking around just waiting for the paint guy to make an error.

Here is the finished job:

And, the pretty night table:

I really just love those crystal/glass like knobs.  I wish some of the other local (or not local) furniture painters/redoers/whateveryoucallit would give me a great hookup for where I can buy these cheaper and in bulk. (pretty please with sugar on top!)

Here is a close up of one of the real chippy spots:

And, the inside POP:

I really wish I was a better photographer.  Sigh.  I see so many of these blogs with these photos of furniture perfectly staged and nothing less than a brilliant shot.  But, honestly, I don't have the time to learn something new.  I'll just do my best, but never will win any awards.  HA!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

An update and a reminder...

We finished our Pinterest wreath!  Well, lets face it, I finished it.  Emma wanted to help, but really all she wanted to do was play with the hot glue gun.  And, since most would frown upon that idea, I finished once she went down for her nap.  Well, when I say "nap" I mean she is in her room.  With the door shut.  But, rest assured, there is NO sleeping going on.  It should be a fun evening in our house.

So, here is what we ended up with:

I really think this is ending up to be my favorite little spot in our house.  Although I still technically have this black dresser for sale, I'm liking it more and more and am positive I'm keeping it.  Someone came to look at it last week and I actually breathed a sigh of relief when she said it was a bit too big for her.  Anyway, she what I mean:

When I first suggested where I wanted to hang this, my husband thought I was a bit crazy to hang it like that, but I like it.  Now that it's there, so does he.  Why must he continually question my abilities?  HA!

This was SO simple to make.  All we did was have a fun afternoon outside last week collecting pine cones.  Then, with spray paint I already had, I just sprayed them in about 2 seconds flat.  I went to AC Moore and for about $3 I got a plain twig wreath.  You know the kind, just looks like a round bunch of sticks.  I arranged them how I wanted and got out the hot glue gun and in another 2 seconds flat they were attached.  I already had the ribbon also, so this whole project cost around $3.50 or so.  I mean, I did use 3 glue sticks!

Oh, my reminder...As I look back at my last post to the 2 pictures that originally inspired me, I realized mine definately looked homemade, whereas the sample pic looks like something you could buy in a high end store.  The differences?  My pinecones weren't purchased, they were found right outside my back door.  And, I had a 3 year old helping me.  Both of which makes this wreath more meaningful.  Also, to me, this is a hobby and I just don't have the time to perfect my skills!  I wish I did and could make a living doing crafts and DIY, but, sigh, I can't.

As a bonus, I had some pine cones left over and made this mini wreath.  Emma says it's hers!

Stay tuned, tomorrow I'll be posting my latest furniture project that (once AGAIN) I want to keep!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

I know, I'm boring!

But, really I'm not!  I made a promise that I would be more attentive to this blog, but I'm finding I just don't have the time.  Just a reminder, in addition to all this crazy furniture painting and finding and rescuing, I actually have a full time Monday--Friday job.  We've been gearing up for a big trial the last few weeks only to have it postponed due to witness issues, so I'm still recovering from that.  Sigh, I'm making myself tired already.  I am working on a FAB new furniture project which should be ready in a few days, I can't wait to show it off!
In the meantime, I've been doing/planning some small holiday projects.  In my quest to learn more about Pinterest, I came across these two pine cone crafts and simply LOVE them:

Here is the other one:

We spent about an hour last weekend gathering pine cones outside, but I still don't think we have enough to do both.  So, my idea is to combine them!  Luckily, for my wallet, I had several bright colored cans of spray paint already.  I am going today to buy the ribbon and glue for the wreath and hopefully will have my final pics in a few days.  Emma is so giddy about this project.  Well, she was yesterday, who knows what today will bring.  But, I suppose that could be a whole other blog, huh?  The rantings and dual personalities of 3 year old girls.  Sigh again.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A donation...

My oldest daughter attends Loyola University Maryland where she has always been involved in campus activities.  Because Loyola is a community service oriented college, many of her activities are community service oriented. 

Although we have had a major disagreement about this one, I can't blame her for wanting to go on a mission trip.  It's very expensive and the school puts on a big auction every year to help pay for this mission trip.  Read more about it here:  Project Mexico Auction

So, although I don't have much money to give, I always have an extra piece (s!) of furniture around, I decided to refinish a table and donate it for auction to help the students on their mission.

In my haste to complete it, I forgot to take a before pic, but I think most of us have seen this style of table some time or another.  It's normally in a dark cherry color with a gaudy drawer pull.  I painted it in my latest fav, ASCP Louis Blue,  heavily distressed it, put on a wax topcoat and topped her off with a pretty glass drawer pull.  

When I posted this on my FB page just to add to my "album" I had some gaga remarks over it, so I'm hoping that it sells for a big fat chunk of change and it helps the Loyola students on their mission!

Monday, November 7, 2011

A space for ME!

I have been wanting and wanting a new desk/office space for a while now.  My old desk, while in good condition, was just one of those prefab Office Depot kinds, you know, there are like a million of them.  At the very least, I've been bugging my husband to take the hutch off because it was just too big.  Well, this weekend, I got my wish!

I found this desk on Craigslist and was able to negotiate a $25 purchase price.  It's a bit smaller than what I wanted, but it's pretty.  So, I caved.  Here is how she looked upon pick up:

I don't know why, but I always go gaga over those kind of drawer pulls. Yeah, I'm a dork.

I couldn't wait to dig in and paint her up.  Choices, choices, choices.  I'm really loving my ASCP Louis Blue, I could paint everything that color.  My husband, notsomuch.  I decided on 3 different looks since I couldn't make up my mind.  I sanded the heck out of the top and restained it a glossy antique walnut.  Then, I painted the base of the desk my own version of Chalk paint.  Homemade receipes are all over blog land.  I chose the latex paint mixed with unsanded grout since, well, that was the easiest to find at Lowe's.  I've used it before and liked it.  But, let me digress a moment...homemade chalk paint, while nice to work with, is no ASCP.  Sorry to those who think it is, maybe I'm doing it wrong, I don't know.  While it's a good alternative, it isn't the same.  It still gets kind of peely when sanding, not as much as regular paint, but still does.  So, I made my own creamy white chalk paint and painted away.  Then, I painted the drawers Louis Blue.  Let me digress a bit again about the chalk paint...darker colors make it worth it, but in my opinion, the lighter whites still take several coats and you really need to prime first.  Darker colors, even a Louis Blue, goes on like a DREAM, you hear me?  A DREAM!  The drawers only took one coat.  That's it.  You see how dark that desk is?  One coat.  So, here she is:

I have to say, that my husband doesn't really like it.  But, you know, I've thought long and hard about it.  The verdict:  I really don't care.  I love it and it's staying.  Maybe I'll change my mind in a year, a few months, or when I come across something a bit bigger.  But, for now, I'm keeping her!  And, again, look at those pulls...

Not to mention, the very chippy distressing.  Something that good ole (and expensive) ASCP offers.  I ended up (because it's all I had in my house and I just.could.not venture out again) spraying the drawer pulls with a flat black spray, then distressing and scuffing them up with sandpaper.  I like it. 

Then I remembered, VOILA!  I had a mirror in my storage room that has been there forever.  It's nice.  It's big.  But, it's gold and brassy.  So, one coat (ONE-you hear me?) of ASCP Louis Blue and it's back in style.  Plus, my sunroom/office area looks twice as big now with the mirror.

Here is my space before:

Here it is after:

I need to find something to cover the computer that is now sitting on the floor.  Perhaps a small white stand or something? Any suggestions? I also need to find a nice (and cheap) vintage chair I can makeover instead of our beastly black leather office chair.

For now I'm happy that I did something for myself.  This winter I'm also going to be redecorating our living room.  Besides the sofa and chair or loveseat (I hate buying those things used...) I will be redoing everything else.  I'm even going to try my skills at pillow and curtain making.  So, stay tuned...