Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!

This week I worked outside of my usual comfort zone in a few ways:

1.) I worked in the garage when it was like 5000 degrees outside- talk about NOT comfortable.

2.) I decided to take a few pieces that I had gotten for really cheap/free and experiment with different paints, new, bold colors and some stencils that I’ve had but never used. 

Here are the pieces I had to work with:

A mirror that was out on the curb on trash day (aka FREE!)-

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And an end table that I got at a yard sale for $5:

 

 

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Here are the results:

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A black and red end table/night stand. It’s outside of my usual color pallet (as devoted Clemson Tigers we would never have black and red in our house… *shutter*) and I tried something cute I saw on another blog, Sunflower Hugs – painting a “surprise” stencil inside the drawer for a little added fun. The stencil turned out awful! haha. One big blob! So I think I’m going to try to decoupage some old book pages over it. I’ll let you know how it goes! 

I also added some salvaged, Italian pulls that I got from Sustainable Warehouse for 50 cents a piece!

 

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And the mirror (I should have cleaned the glass better before taking pics… woops! Laziness wins out again.)

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I painted it black, then painted a thin coat of white over that. Then, I took a big stencil and placed it randomly all over the frame and spray painted it black. I’m not crazy about it, but Ben thought it was awesome which made me feel good. I can put it up on Craigslist and anything I sell it for would be profit since the mirror was free. lol. (I also grabbed an old hardcover suitcase that was sitting with it. I’m thinking of adding legs and spray painting it a funky color. But more on that later!)

So lesson learned- don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone, play around and experiment with new things! There isn’t anything that a sander or a coat of paint can’t undo!! In the words of Ms. Frizzle- Take chances, make mistakes, get messy! 🙂

Let me know what risks you’ve been taking lately!

This weekend I also picked up a new dining room set with drool-worthy carved back spindle chairs and a darling pedestal table off of Craigslist (Thanks for the great deal, Don!). It needs a little work so be on the lookout for that post! I also got an end table from Goodwill for $8 that was such an easy pick that I almost feel bad selling it for a profit. Here she is:

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After further inspection I could tell that someone was almost finished stripping an original dark finish and gave up THIS CLOSE to being finished! I think what was left looks gorgeous, the remnants of the dark varnish just look like an antique finish.

It had a little rough spot on one corner where it looked like a furry friend got a little too curious, but I smoothed out the chew marks with a sander and it looks good enough, just a little “character” mark.

It also had one or two water rings on the top, but two seconds with the sander and a little polish- voila! Beautiful wood restored.

And obviously it didn’t have drawer pulls. I happened to have a few I picked up from Habitat for Humanity for a buck, so no problem there!!

Here she is after like FIVE MINUTES of work:

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Well, I’m off to spend this rainy Sunday evening watching a movie with my loves, Ben and Cleopatra. Y’all have a great week!

 

PS: Be on the lookout for a few exciting posts including your invitation to a PARTY… 😉

Finally! Finally! Finally! Big Announcement!!

Well after months of waiting, we finally have an announcement to make!

We are adding a new little Greco to the family!!

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Meet our little girl, Cleopatra! 🙂

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She is a sweet, loving and just all around PRECIOUS 3 year old Greyhound who is newly retired from her racing career. We adopted her from the local rescue group, Greyhound Pets of America-Charleston. Thanks to everyone who played a part in making our home her forever home. We were truly rescued by a Greyhound. I didn’t know I could love something so much so fast. She got her nails clipped today and it made me cry. I am clearly not ready for parenthood…

Anyway…. more info and pictures and Cleo cuteness coming soon… 🙂

Antique Wax Finish WITHOUT the Antique Wax Price!

This week and last week I really went into major finish project mode. I had so many things crowding my garage that it got really hard to work in there. I needed these things finished and OUT for sanity’s sake. My husband stepped in and really helped me speed up the process in the final push for these projects. (Poor guy was probably a little more motivated to help than usual considering one of the pieces that was stuck in the garage was his dresser.)

I also learned a new trick last week (with the help of some fabulous girls who work in the paint department at my local Home Depot)- how to get that dark, antique wax finish that I LOVE without the price that I don’t love so much. I know a lot of people are die hard fans of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and Furniture Wax- and I can see why- she makes some great products in gorgeous colors, but a.) I can’t buy it locally and b.) I can’t afford it.

So here is my cheater knock-off method- use Penetrol (less than $10 @ HD) to dilute your favorite shade of Minwax stain and use it like a glaze. (You can use any oil-based stain or paint, but I like Minwax and I know it works.)

Using a regular kitchen sponge, I wiped the mixture into the lines and spaces that I wanted to darken up a little bit and then a few seconds later, rubbed it in and wiped off the excess with a clean sponge. I didn’t use a specific Penetrol-stain ratio and I didn’t always wait the same amount of time- just play around with it (start at the back or in not so visible area) and see what you like. I do know that you don’t need to use much stain at all and you don’t need to let it sit very long either before wiping (less than a minute- I would say).

Here are some before and afters of pieces that I used this technique on:

My $20 thrift store dresser (I wiped the antiquing solution horizontally across the dresser drawers.):

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Ben’s Craigslist french provincial dresser (again used the solution horizontally across the drawers): 

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Desk from auction: (I used the antiquing solution to darken up the wood that is showing through in distressed areas.) *THIS PIECE IS FOR SALE HERE*

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Octagon table from auction (I used this in the indents, those little circles and across the top-tutorial on how to do the typography on top coming soon!):

*THIS PIECE IS FOR SALE HERE*

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Let me know what you think, if you have any questions or know of any other good methods for an antique finish!! 🙂 

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Bird Bath, Throw Pillows & Decor Steals

You know those deal-of-the-day email lists that started off awesome but now seem to be a dime a dozen and full of junk?! No Groupon, I do not need a sound amplifying earbud. No LivingSocial, I do not want your bargain botox deal. You get the picture…

We all have lots of JUNK coming to our inbox, but I did find one deal a day email list that you just might LOVE.

It’s called Decor Steals. Their buyers have great style and they send out one vintage/shabby chic decor deal a day. Their prices definitely beat a lot of retail stores, but if you are a thrift-er/flea market shopper they are obviously going to be more expensive. It’s kind of perfect if you love the vintage or shabby style, but don’t thrive on “the hunt” aka digging through junk at Goodwill, yard sales, etc.

So far I have bought a bird feeder and 2 throw pillows. Check them out:

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Aren’t they adorable? Go to decorsteals.com and sign up if you want to get their daily deals!

Don’t forget to comment and let us know YOUR favorite bargain/decor resources! Don’t keep secrets, share the wealth, people! 🙂

Fun Mail Day!!

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Don’t you love mail days when you get something besides bills and junk?! Ben ordered me this book for my birthday and the handles are for a desk I’ve been working on. The handles are from TippysQuaintCottage – a fabulous little shop on Bonanza.com and she is from SC! Go find her! 🙂

Gimme that booty!

… Pirate’s booty, that is. I have a new kind-of-vintage-pirate-esque place to stash my booty… or in our case, an amazingly comfortable old pillow and comforter that we use to snuggle up on the couch.

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Honestly, it’s not going to stay styled like that. I pulled those little doodads off of another bookcase just for picture taking. Like I said, this was made to house a blanket that we use every day. So putting pretty things on top of the lid just isn’t that practical/functional for us. But it’s easy to dress up if you are having company, or decorate if you use it as a little side table- as long as you don’t need to access what’s inside on a regular basis. But, for us blanket storage was the name of the game, see:

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Forgive the messy interior upholstery, but I really didn’t care too much about the inside’s aesthetic appeal and I was reallyyy ready to be done with this project and have it in the house. (Not to mention get the heck out of the 100000 degree heat of my garage. Seriously yall, Charleston is HOT.)

So here is what I did:

1.) Bought an old trunk at a flea market (a STEAL for $7.50!)

2.) Cleaned that sucker up- it had spider webs, old radio station stickers and just general nastiness. (When cleaning out old furniture, get nice and cozy with the attachments to your vacuum. They are your new BFFs.)

3.) Painted the inside of the trunk. (Optional, but it was stained up and ugly and we wanted as much of a barrier as possible between our blanket and the old wood that was inside this trunk.)

4.) Bought an old end table with a warped, awful, water damaged particle board top for $1 at a yard sale. The wooden legs were DEFINITELY worth the $1.

5.) Unscrewed the legs from the old table.

6.) Attached the legs to the bottom of the trunk, lined up with each corner. I used 3 #12 screws  (Home Depot) for each leg- those things are seriously heavy duty. (I wish I could say I used more of a calculated scientific approach with this but really I just screwed them on until they didn’t wiggle *too much* anymore.)

7.) Primed then, painted the legs Behr Stealth Jet (flat finish), let them dry and then rubbed on some Behr Broadway (also flat finish) to give them a little more dimension and darken them up a bit.

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7.) While they were drying, Ben helped staple some vinyl material inside the trunk to cover up the old plywood. (I didn’t want the old plywood touching my blanket… splinters, invisible oldness, just yuck.) This turned out… interesting, kind of randomly, crookedly pieced together and overly stapled. So I stapled over it with some black fabric I had some extra of lying around. Still not a beautiful upholstery job, but no one is going to see it and it serves its protect-the-blanket-purpose.

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8.) Distressed the legs with my B&D mouse sander and… viola! The treasure chest is booty ready!

Let me know what other ways you would use a cool, old trunk!!

A Masculine Desk Makeover

A few weeks ago I showed you the before and after of this desk:

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This desk went upstairs into the office and quickly became “my desk”. Some people think it’s a little weird to have 2 separate desks, but that way my husband and I can both work at the same time and he doesn’t have to deal with my craft supplies everywhere and I don’t have to deal with all his notes, lists and paper clutter.

So while I got this beautiful, new (to us) desk he was stuck with this little black, wobbly, writing table that I bought from WalMart yearsss ago… and a black metal folding chair. Poor guy. So I went into action and quickly found this thrift store desk that was in desperate need of a makeover. I got this guy for $18.99! (It had a production date stamped on the bottom of the middle drawer, which I always love finding- September 1945. And I know it was destined for Ben – the mad/math scientist- because someone had worked out math problems in pencil inside the drawers… weird, but fun!)

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(The guys at the thrift store DID NOT think it was going to fit into the back of my Toyota… but Cherry- that’s my car- can fit a surprising amount of junk in her trunk. If anyone is in the market for a new car, after 2 years I am still completely obsessed with my Matrix. Just a random side note.)

So this desk was scratched up, dated and I think it had been left outside or something? It was caked with a green pollen-y substance- gross! My husband really liked the natural wood accent on my desk, so I was really hoping to do natural wood drawer fronts on his- but this green stuff was just not coming off. So I had to improvise. Here is the before and after (yay!)- then I will tell you what I did to achieve this look (oh, and ignore the fact that I took these in the garage.):

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Ben, my husband, is like the #1 fan of all of my furniture makeovers and decorating ideas, but the only thing he was worried about is that they do tend to be a little on the feminine side. So I tried really hard to make this a man-friendly piece (but still look good in our office). I showed this to a friend while we were all out at dinner and the first thing she said was “Oh, how masculine!” and I was like “YESSSSSS! Mission accomplished!”- Thanks Rachael!

So here is what I did:

1.) Take out all the drawers.

2.) Unscrew all the handles. (Keep them and the screws in a safe place- lost screws are the worst!)

3.) CLEAN IT OUT! Seriously, I vacuumed it inside and out, top and bottom, and then wiped it down with a rag and cleaner. You NEVER KNOW what these things have had in them. (old Goldfish crackers, pennies, chewing gum, SPIDERS, BED BUGS AND TERMITES… OH MY!) Seriously, inspect and clean, people!

4.) Prime the whole thing with a “sticks to all surfaces” primer. I like this stuff ($20 at WalMart- lasts forever):

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5.) I usually let it sit overnight and come back the next day, but it does dry pretty quickly.

6.) I painted the whole desk Behr, Blackbird- I think. :\ (Tip 1: Don’t throw away your color samples. Tip 2: I have wasted too much time and paint on cheap WalMart “economy” brushes. I try to spend as little money as possible- but I seriously recommend a little better brushes. What you spend in brushes, you will save in time, paint, sanity and quality.)

But you all probably knew how to do all that. Which brings me to the drawer fronts:

7.) I was going for a faux leather-y look. It didn’t turn out so leather-y but it looked good nonetheless. I painted the drawer fronts a caramel type color (again, don’t throw away your color samples) and let it dry. (Note: Last time I had a real problem with drawers sticking after I painted them, so this time I took the time to tape off all the drawer edges so I didn’t get any paint/primer on the sides. It helped cut back on the sticking a little. ) Some people use a glaze for these kind of effects but that was too expensive for me!

8.) I used a balled up plastic grocery bag to layer on a darker brown color. (This was Glidden- Leather Brown.) I would just ball up the bag and put it a little paint on the wrinkliest parts and then lightly dab until I liked the level of coverage. Note: My hands got REALLY messy, so wear gloves if that’s not your thing.

9.) I distressed it all up with my B&D mouse sander.

10.) Protect it all with some polyurethane. (Note: Most poly is shinier than I like. If I only need light protection I use Rustoleum’s matte finish spray. The top of this needed something heavier, though.)

11.) Put the handles back on.

12.) Enjoy!

Note about the paint: Take advantage of the stores that offer the little sample sizes. I go to Home Depot and get their Behr samples. (I always use a flat finish.) I have never needed a quart or gallon for one furniture piece. This desk took 2 samples of blue (just under $3/each), 1 sample of caramel color of 1 sample of Leather Brown. That’s $12 in samples instead of like $40 in quarts. Even though it’s a Behr sample, they can color match any brand of paint. It’s a really great little deal.

So, what do you think? How do you give a makeover piece a masculine flair, without it looking too much like a college frat house hand-me-down?