Friday, January 13, 2017

Word of the Year: Finish

The irony of this picture is that it hangs below a project that needs re-gluing...the flower fell off almost two weeks ago. The electrical tape was a desperate fix ( wrapping Christmas presents bled us dry of scotch tape). I'll fix it, after I buy glue sticks...out of those, too. For now, lets just say I'm exploring irony in art form. 

The previous two years my Word of the Year was "respond," which I didn't blog about at all. It was a personal growth focus and was worth the two years of learning to read situations and people better, and by no means am I fluent yet, but I've made improvements and am all the better for it. 

If you follow my blog, you'll remember a year ago I opened a booth to sell flipped furniture and crafty things only to close it ten months later (responding to the small sales and the lack of time in my busy life as a mom of three littles). It was a worthwhile experience but has left a wake of finished and unfinished projects. I've purged so much that the local craft resale store (Who Gives A Scrap) loves me and my seemingly endless donations. The guy at the Restore though didn't share my vision for the pieces I donated. He clearly couldn't see the potential of a legless chair! haha Its a good sign of "trashure" when the Restore refuses to accept the donation. 

So, my goal for this year is to FINISH projects or finish their presence in my basement by donating them. Let me show you the skeletons in my closet. What's behind curtain number one??? 

I can just barely squeeze into this space between the step stool and the trashcan that butts up against the dryer. You can see the finished projects that are posted for sale in local online groups. 

I love this chair buried under my husband's army gear. I'm looking forward to refinishing it and putting it in the living room. 

So.much.stuff! You can't even see what's behind all this junk...just more junk. 

The floor space is so crowded that I couldn't get around to the other side to see what lurks there. Instead, I held my arms up and hoped for a clear shot.  

A few house projects to finish include fixing the mantel. The original tile was smashed thru to access the electrical wiring when we installed the sconces. We were going to fix it...that was seven years ago. The white triangles cover the holes sawed thru to get to the wires. Functionally finished. 

I started painting our stair handrails and banisters two and a half years ago. That's how long this blue painters tape has been there! All the wood was washed with TSP twice, holes filled with wood filler, sanded, and given two coats of primer. Just need the final paint color. It seemed like a simple project but banisters are a deceptively bigger project. So much surface area...there are four sides to each banister. Very deceptive. 

I suppose I should stop blogging and get started on one of the above pictures. ~sigh~ Or I might distract myself with a totally different project, another chair that needs recovering and repainting, not to be confused with the chair pictured in this blog. No wonder I have so many projects on my to-do list. Focus, woman, focus! haha

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Shaggy Dog Footstool & a Twice Made-Over Stool

This ugly, dated, bland, shaggy foot stool was snatched from the curb on garbage day. Under all that shag, which was also lined with tassels (removed prior to photo), were sturdy blonde wood legs in excellent condition. The whole stool is sturdy, just seriously dated.

It reminded me of a very shaggy dog. What do you think? Distant cousins maybe?
 Komondor dog source  &  Puli dog source

1. Used brute force and needle nose pliers to remove the shaggy "decoration." 

2. The legs were sprayed black and sealed with a polyurethane spray. 

3. I simply recovered the top cushion with this black and white duck cloth remnant piece, securing with a staple gun. 

Other than dry time for the paint and sealant, this was a quick transformation. It looks so so so much better than before!  

I have no before pictures for this stool...and I honestly don't remember where it came from. Originally I had it covered with a ladybug print to sit next to my ladybug chair. The chair was repainted black to match the stool. I thought they were cute. Neither sold. 
After closing my booth I kept the chair and remade the stool using the same remnant fabric for the shaggy dog stool. I think they look nice together...but I've been wrong on these matchy-matchy mismatched seats before. 

Left to right: tv trays (for size reference), twice made over stool, & shaggy dog foot stool

Here they are tucked into the corner of my craft fair booth. It was in a gym, hence the ugly flooring and poor lighting. 

Question: Would you purchase matchy-matchy 
mismatched stools for your home? 

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Year in Review 2016

2017 was a slow blogging  year for me due to the opening and closing of my booth. Maintaining inventory was more work than I anticipated and not having a dedicated work space complicated things. Where do I make dinner when the counter top is covered in small crafting parts with drying glue or paint? Where do my kids play when their play room is literally covered in dresser guts and other pending furniture projects? It was an experience for sure!

Anyways, despite the minimal blogging and linky partying, a few things managed to gain triple digit views.

More or less in order, here they are:

1. Reclaimed Wood Stars

 2. Blue Furniture

3. Cigar Box Checkers

4. Faux Fireplace  & more here

5. Bottle Cap Flowers

6. Door Table/Shelf

Here are a few of my favorites that didn't quite make the most-viewed list:

Map Topped Nightstand
I really really wanted to keep this piece for myself and secretly hoped it wouldn't sell but this beauty flew out the booth door fast! I've looked for more of this fabric, it was a remnant piece from ???? I forget, so I can recreate the look. So far no luck, but I'll keep looking.

Made this for my husband...I kinda wanna switch dressers with him! 
and lastly: 

This one, the broken chair bottom, I did keep all for myself. :) The bench itself sold. I'll be keeping my eye out for more broken chair bottoms, especially after seeing this idea from ML Furniture Designs.

Out with the old...and into my stash for a new makeover! Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Starbucks Lid Garland

A simple DIY gift for the coffee enthusiast in your life. 

The hardest part of creating this project was drinking all the Starbucks...sigh...the things we do for projects, right? HAha! IT WAS THE BEST PART! Especially after I realized that I needed two more matching lids and had to drink more delicious coffee to get them. Awww bummer (sarcastic font), that I had previously bought two packs without checking to see that they had matching lids.

Burlap Garland from Target $3
E-6000 & weights OR
One could try a hot glue gun...I just didn't have any on hand.
More Ribbon for garnishment 
Patience...that glue takes its sweet time

I chose not to use all the ribbon in the package, it conflicted with the envisioned color scheme. Instead I grabbed a couple rolls from my stash and played around with it until happy. 

Its Christmas-y enough for the season but not so much so that it can't be displayed after. Still works through Valentine's Day. 

Excuse the blurry pictures below, had the coffee shakes. :)

I have a few leftover lids in mismatched colors, maybe a set of ornaments?

Featured Here

Friday, December 2, 2016

Reclaimed Wood Ornaments & Homemade Stencils

I'm gearing up for another craft fair for this weekend and wanted to add a little Christmas color to my booth as well as a few "smalls."  These reclaimed wood ornaments were fairly easy to make. I honestly can't remember if these are from fence board or pallet planks or a combo of the two . Just dug out pieces from my scrap wood heap, washed and sanded them, then eyeballed the cuts into no particular size.

I used acrylic white paint for the base and a metallic acrylic in red for the candy cane stripes. Sealed with Mod Podge.

Homemade Stencils: 


1. Printed off a candy cane pattern from the internet.
2. Securely tape the print out over the cardboard.
3. Slice along the pattern, essentially gives you two stencils, one of paper and one on the cardboard. The paper may tear a bit if your knife is dull.

I don't anticipate using this stencil often so the fact that it is made of cardboard won't matter too much. I have made stencils from cereal boxes in the past and have yet to have one fall apart on me, but these are always minimally used stencils.

Lampshade Styrene:

The nativity and reindeer though are sliced into an old lampshade found in a "treasure hunt," it had a small hole punched into one side but the rest was usable real estate.

1. Print out design onto paper.
2. On these stencils I cut the pattern out of the paper first with the exacto knife so I have a paper stencil.
3. Then, traced the stencil design onto the styrene with a sharpie.
4. Cut along the sharpie line with the exacto knife.

I recommend using a very sharp exacto knife for this approach. The lampshade styrene is very thick and took f.o.r.e.v.e.r to cut through, but now I have durable, long-lasting stencils that I know I will use for other projects. A plus to using the styrene stencil over a cardboard stencil is that you don't have to wait for it to dry before stenciling more pieces. I'm more cautious with my cereal box stencils so the paint doesn't saturate and cause tears.

I just love the knots and hole in this piece. So much character.  And that rusty coil hanger! ~love~

For a more subdued and rustic look I layered a couple reds and added twine. See the coil hangers on top? Taken from a rusty crib mattress, just perfect for this project!

This one is a hybrid between the two designs that I'm keeping for myself.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Around the World Mid-Century Dresser Makeover

Third time's a charm as the saying goes. This freebie dresser has sure taught me some lessons!

Sanding and Staining Fail
My first lesson was all about sanding and staining gone awry. Someone introduced me to furniture stripper after the fact and now I have a great love affair with the ease of citristrip. I LOATHE sanding and the mess it makes and appreciate the amount of sanding that is reduced by first using a stripping agent.

Another lesson I've learned is that furniture can be categorized by types reflecting design trends. Call me oblivious, but I had NO IDEA!!! It just never occurred to me to look at the shape of the piece before deciding on the makeover. This dresser is clearly mid-century but I thought I could just give it a farmhouse look. Mid-Century Farmhouse Dresser????  After peeling the painters tape from the grain sack stripes I could tell that it just didn't look right but was at a loss for why. This nagging confusion persisted for a couple of years until I took the time to focus on the shapes and designs of dressers. Then it it hit me that this dresser makeover was like a grandma wearing an Elsa nightgown. The generations of dresser and paint design did not mix well, for this piece it wasn't complementary.

Took a bit of head scratching before an idea came for yet another makeover. When I had my booth I'd had great success with navy painted furniture. A few times my husband almost snatched a piece before it went off to the booth, but he always restrained himself. He loves blue and since this is his dresser, navy blue it is.

This world map is from Hobby Lobby and blends the paint better than I'd hoped, like they were made for each other.

This poster board was pretty thick, thicker than I'm used to working with when using Mod Podge. An exacto knife was used along the edges for a very close cut-to-fit.

In a previous post I'd suggested coating the top of all paper with Mod Podge prior to using a sealant. Given that this paper is more sturdy than old book pages I contemplated skipping that step, but given that I only had the one poster and was unwilling to purchase another in case the sealant ruined the coloring, I played it safe and added Mod Podge on top.

I lightened this pic so you can see that one of the pulls was left off. It was purely decorative on the larger middle drawer and since it served no function I chose not to block the top of Africa. Given the dark colors, its not readily noticeable.

 Above his dresser hangs a burlap covered cork board. An avid runner he recently began hanging onto his bibs after races. Now they have somewhere other than the bathroom shelf for display.

She's still dancing on little white feet and I can't decide if they should stay white or go for the same brown as the hardware. 


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Fall Entry Way Facelift

my favorite picture of the bunch, so pretty
Summer is going out kicking and screaming. Last weekend we took our kids to the pumpkin patch in  80degree heat...and of course I didn't bring sunscreen, we brought jackets. After an hour our family wilted and we left in search of ice cold sodas. The persistent warm days make it hard to get into the "fall mood," this includes trading in summery decor for falls muted tones. 

But, a request for a DIY post on frugal redecorating and/or renovating for a #FallFacelift project motivated me to think of oranges, reds, and yellows. 

For the #FallFacelift, I chose to give our entry way a makeover. 

1. Add More Storage

I believe our town home entry layout was designed for a childless man with a sum total of three pairs of shoes because there is a pittance of space dedicated to "mudroom" storage needs. Especially for a family of five. 

If adding more footage or shifting walls to create additional storage was an option, I'd use the Cash Flow & Net Worth Calculator to create a budget. Renovating is out of reach at this address. Fortunately, our budget for storage looks like this: 

Free cubby + free fence boards = free storage. 

One of the pros of closing my booth is the plethora of items I get to stage around my home, like this cubby. 

This was a basic boring white cubby found discarded on the side of the road. Reclaimed fence boards were sanded and nailed onto the back and all four sides of the cubby. This allows for a uniform look whether it sits vertically or horizontally.  

used as
vertical shelves in booth
  Tipped over, its now the perfect shoe and small bag storage. The top is   fair game for decor or as a dumping ground for books, bags, and toys. 

photo taken from front door way

2. Let Friendly Smiles and Kind Words Greet You at the Door

Most of these items are thrifty shopping finds: garage sales, thrift stores, bargain box retailers. 

"Welcome home, I missed you!"
The hedgehog was a full price impulse buy. He was too cute to pass up!  

3. Add a Personalized Touch

This varies from person to person, a family photo, an heirloom or favorite object, or something handmade. For me, its handmade, especially as my kids grow older and assist on projects. Making happy memories. :)

To the left, Dollar Store leaves were sown onto an orange ribbon. One of my boys "helped" use the sewing machine with anxious guidance on my part, and both boys took turns selecting the order of the leaves.

Above, homemade tin can pumpkins add variations of orange.

4. Bring the Outside In 

Four years ago, I toasted a bunch of acorns for a small scale vignette, a seriously small scale vignette. I was a little green in terms of decorating and crafting. It was fun to go back and read my old post on a Dried Acorn Arrangement and see how far I've come in prettifying a space.

This jar of acorns hasn't seen much action the past couple of fall seasons so it was time to give it a face lift of its own. 

I clearly value painting acorns over painting my nails.
Is there a hashtag for expired manicures? 
One of the steps in creating the dried acorns the first time was to seal them to preserve the color. For four years these acorns were sealed up tight, and once that lid was screwed off, the odor of spray sealant permeated my work space. I don't think these acorns are going to fade anytime soon! Pe-yew! 

The empty acorn "hats" were painted in a metallic brown. The "heads" (they look like a head with a hat, right?) were painted in my current favorite acrylic color: Tuscan Teal, but their "hats" were left natural for color variation.  

They look so pretty displayed on these layered leaf plates. Which brings me to my last step:

5. Vary the Colors

Personally, I'm not a fan of monochromatic spaces. They look clean and sharp, but to me they appear uninspiring, boring even. I've mentioned already where I added color variation (the tin can pumpkins, the painted acorns). Some people follow the 60-30-10 color rule for interior decorating but I try to avoid math whenever possible. My use of color ratios is whim based. 

I do, however, like to employ complementary colors and used the below color wheel as a loose guideline. 

Now to train the kids to toss their shoes into their designated cubby instead of heaping them onto the closet floor!