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Tag Archives: Homemade

Re-Post Lamppost


So I’ve gone and done it again! Something was just irking me about my new tension rod lamp (or as I like to call it, my lamppost.)

Ohh My

I had updated it and put it in my bedroom. Everything felt right initially, but then it all started to feel wrong. We never used it because it was in the corner, it started to feel too garish for my decor, and eventually I felt it was a bulky eyesore.

YES! I changed my mind in an epic way! But I felt it was such a shame to attempt to salvage a piece and then never use it; that was exactly what was happening. PLUS it wasn’t as stable as it should have been. I had to rig it because my bedroom ceiling is shorter than the lamp can handle; I’d taken pieces out and put them back in backward and upside down to try to force a fit. It just all could have been better.

So, once again, I hauled that poor piece of metal and glass outside for a coat of SILVER PAINT!

Quite honestly….that’s all I did. I just reassembled the lamp correctly, painted it, coated with a clear, spray finish and then put it in the constantly-annoying dark corner in my living room. The silver paint is so bright that it brightens up the space even when it’s turned off, see?

Silver

But really, it’s most fantastic once it’s turned on.

Even with only one light on, the reflective pole and bevelled glass globes multiplies the light and spreads it further than you can imagine.

Lamp On

For the most part, I’m the only one with an outspoken opinion about my projects. So when I turned the lamp to show Kyle and he said “Oooh Cool.” (Yes, that is his excited voice.) I knew that I had really fixed the dark corner and created something that didn’t make him scratch his head.

I just love when function and form finally connect.

Blushing Chair


If you’ve paid any attention to the ticker to the right, you may have noticed that I have a whopping 2 days until the vendor sale. Which is convenient because I have a whopping pieces finished, and no, that isn’t an understatement. I signed up for the sale with the intention that I will be selling services more than actual items, but I didn’t plan to go THIS empty handed. You see, I planned to finish one chair and one other bigger piece today, so I would at least have four pieces to bring to exemplify my work. Well, the bees had other plans for me.

There was a freakin’ barrage of bees milling about my garage like they pay the mortgage. I didn’t sign-up to defeat the bee militia and I sure wasn’t going to allow Olivia to roam through what has now become their promised land, so I settled to run in and out of the house spray painting and waiting all day. No, seriously. I wish I was kidding.

Either way, this is what THE ONLY ITEM that I got finished looked like when I started this adventure.

Originally it started black with white microfiber seats, but you KNOW I couldn’t ever settle for a simple black and white. So I painted the black pine green (honestly, I only chose it because my mom had some leftover and I didn’t want to buy more). This was before I learned that investing a BIT of money in your furniture will save you from a) hating it and b) refinishing it every few months, which gets tiresome. Then I reupholstered it in stripes that went with the decor that the landlords found necessary to paint my rented kitchen. I knew it was temporary so it was really a half-hearted attempt to doll it up. I didn’t even remove the original fabric, see?

So obviously the white did make a brief cameo in my old kitchen, but it doesn’t take long for white to get painted and spilled upon. Whether it was from mistreatment or the sheer boredom, I found it necessary to cover the white with stripes, and now the stripes are replaced with a really neat dark blue and white pattern. Plus I added vinyl (4 gages thinner than I used in Danielle’s Chairs, and I had it right the first time with hers. My gage 4 is too thin because it’s so easy to stretch out of shape like a plastic shopping bag.) Even with thin vinyl, it is still way better than no vinyl at all!

This time is quite different than the last time I made my chair a bit more “me;” I picked my own paint color (I like to call it “Blush.”) and even tore the old fabric off of the seat! This is how you know college is over: Not everything you own/use is someone else’s hand-me-downs and you actually care about how your harebrained schemes turn out.

And this is how mine turned out!

Let Me Stand Next to Your Fire


Just a real quick pick-me-up for drab fireplace gear! At very least you should have a poker and a grabber (no, those are definitely not technical terms), but they don’t always look so fun or chic. In fact, most of the time they look like this…

Not quit the utensils you imagine in those Nora Roberts novels where a sophisticated, yet ruggedly manly college professor entertains a beautiful, wayward traveler while he tends to his fire at his summer cabin where he hopes to commune with nature and write a few chapters in his book filled with deep thoughts and soulful feelings. Boy, I really get sidetracked don’t I?

In order to make my metal gear a bit more “Ooh La La,” I decided to unscrew the handles and toss a little primer and spray paint in their direction. I know that not all utensils are made with removable handles (though many are) you can still tape off the stems to isolate the area you’d like to paint.

Once the paint has dried you can spray a little clear sealer on just for the sake of it. I don’t foresee myself using these too rigorously in the near future, but I sprayed mine juuuuuuust in case I decide to start getting cozy near a fire on a bear skin rug.

I hate to wrap this up so abruptly, but this is truly a quick, simple project that livens up your tools without stealing your focus by it’s garishness.

Just bright enough to work.

The Mother of Invention


My mom has always had antiques of some kind in our house growing up. She never seemed to have any strong attachment to them so she never had any qualms about using them as though they were everyday items. Antique tables and chairs were used as though they were just as sturdy and new as the ones made within the last 10 years. Maybe that’s why I don’t hesitate to semi-destroy them in order to put them back together. I’m not afraid I’m going to ruin something sacred, I always know it’s only a piece of furniture.

Like this 1920′s, wrought iron, ice cream parlor chair. As you can see, I usually get my cart before the horse, so the demolition began on the seat before I remembered to take the before picture. Regardless, you get the overall idea; the seat was made of thin wood and painted the same green as the rest of it. By design it can never really be boring, but I like to shake things up.

I started by taking it apart by twisting the nuts and removing the screws. This wasn’t super hard, but it was pretty violent. I didn’t realize the iron was so rigid that as soon as I undid the screws the iron swung back and happened to hit Kyle in the leg (Jeeze, why was he standing there anyway?) It didn’t do much damage to him, but it was right at Olivia’s face level so if it was her standing there then she probably would’ve lost some teeth..but I’m getting off track here.

Once it was apart I decided that I didn’t want to put a chair back together, I wanted to create a stool. It’s too high for a step stool, but just right for a foot stool or even a bonus chair when more seating is needed. So working with just the bottom parts, I soaked the old nuts, bolts and brackets in apple cider vinegar to remove rust and spray painted the wrought iron yellow.

Then the issues began. You see, I have limited tools and I really, really needed  a band saw to create a seat. I couldn’t find a wooden 14″ circle at any store that would work for it. I had even already picked the fabric and made a gosh darn cushion! But at the end of the day, you got to face the reality of a situation and change your plans accordingly. As Plato said “Necessity is the mother of invention.” And I needed to make this work.

I took a trip to the hardware store and looked for something to make this work. And wouldn’t you know, everything was either 8″, 10″ or 12″. Not surprisingly, those are standard size for pipes and ducts. But then I went to JoAnn Fabric and scoured the shelves for something, ANYTHING! And I happened to stumble upon a mirror that I almost passed up. I had played with the idea of a mirror, but I wanted a stool damn it! I didn’t want to be “That girl over there selling all the tables.” But I’d rather be that than “The girl over there with nothing to sell.” So I bought the mirror and committed.

But what about my pretty fabric? Never you fear, I worked it in. I simply Mod-Podged the fabric to the outside of the screws and tucked back the excess fabric. I also sealed the chair with Mod-Podge, because it’s water proof and basically the best pseudo-liquid ever invented. Now the screws resemble fabric covered buttons.

Lastly, I put the little guy together. If you recall the wrought iron was super rigid, so it was hard to put it together as it was standing upright like a table. I had to flip it over and set the table legs onto the table top instead of vice-versa. I had to muscle the crap out of it, but I finally got the iron in place and screwed together. And this is what happened…

This little table would be adorable inside as a colorful plant stand or even a bold bedside table. BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE! Because it is made of wrought iron and waterproofed with Mod-Podge (even the fabric on the button/bolts got a good coating) it would also work as a cute poolside or porch table. I dare you to tell me this wouldn’t brighten up your lanai! Plus, with it being outside, the bright colors may not be as alarming as some may perceive them indoors.

I am basically over the moon for this item. I have always felt that my unique quirks (like button bolts or an 80′s table top mixed with a 20′s design) is what drives my style. And maybe it isn’t always my brain child that causes these fun idiosyncrasies, but for me..

Necessity is the Mother of Design.

Entryway Peace


I finished my third piece for my vendor sale (that takes place in 6 days) and to follow suit with the second piece that I finished I decided not to sell it. I know, I know, what the heck am I going to sell?! Well that’s a good question. I love this new item, but I feel like it is too taste specific (my taste) and I don’t want to lug the big beluga in and out of the truck (possibly damaging it), just to have to load it back into it again. So this will just be a before and after photo at my booth, along with other before and after photos.

AND SPEAKING OF BEFORE AND AFTER PHOTOS….

This is what the “before” looked like.

It was in pretty decent shape; sturdy, solid and generally well made. Aside from the decorative moulding that once lined the top (indicated by the LACK of yellow paint) that fell off on it’s own, I really thought this whole item was salvageable. I had even diluted myself into thinking that I didn’t need to sand it. How nice would life be if I just painted over it and I could pat myself on the back? It would be super nice, but it’s also a super freakin’ daydream because the paint was crackling in a not so pretty way, even though the yellow was not crackle paint.

 

So I busted off (quite literally) the back of the unit and sanded the shelves and outside. I didn’t sand it down to bare wood, but enough to give me enough warm fuzzies and high hopes that my paint wouldn’t crackle too.

 

Then came the process that, oddly enough, took the longest; I had to choose the paint colors. I initially had the idea to do an ombre technique, but as I stared at the 12 paint cans in various shades and sizes I realized that none of my colors would allow for it. I had yellows and blues that could pass for a gradual shade progression, but I wasn’t in love with any of them. So I sat in my entryway with my paint surrounding me and mixed, matched, stared, contrasted, pored and thought. Finally I came up with a desirable palette.

Pretty nice right?

 

 

Then I decided that the piece on it’s own was pretty boring, so I had to spice it up a bit. I bought some long thin planks that were made to use on a lathe and decided to cut them to fit the width and used wood glue to adhere them to the board that I had pulled off the back. The unfinished wood (which gives a fun, casual, beach vibe) not only creates visual interest, but it also helps camouflage how badly I had beaten the backing when I was trying to remove it.

Once the glue dried, I painted the wood plank backing a very pale green, the outside of the piece grey, and the inside shelving an ambiguous light blue/slight green/vaguely grey color. Then I smoothed on 2 coats of rubbing polyurethane.

I put the hinged door back on the bottom, screwed in a new knob and added two white hooks to the side for coats, purses, scarves…you get the idea.

And this is the after!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I really love these calm but vibrant colors because they look so different depending on the angle and intensity of the light. However, there are a couple of things that are really taking away from the overall beauty of this piece in the pictures. One is that these were taken while the polyurethane was still wet so it looks a little streaky in photos, but now that it is dry it has all evened out. And the other issues are that my wallpaper is a pattern Laura Ingalls Wilder would love, my light switch face plates are practically medieval and my dingy linoleum looks like it has been through a stampede. Aside from all of that, my piece is the perfect start to what I hope will become a cottage chic entryway.

 

Table of Glass!


I’ve finally finished another piece! I know it seems like it has taken forever, but the issue lies more with me starting 3 pieces and then making gradual progress on them all (I don’t recommend this in the least, but I blame it on my self-diagnosed A.D.D.)

My table made a transformation that I never really anticipated. I love it, my mother isn’t a fan, and Kyle hates the fact that the resin treatment I used has ruined our carpet. But I live in Michigan, which means projects can only be done outdoors about five months of the year (at best!) and sometimes that leads to resin trickling into the carpet and sticking to it like 44-year-old chewing gum… but I digress. Either way, onto the main attraction!

Before!

Kyle’s mom gave us this table over a year ago when we needed it in our rental. Honestly, we had outgrown it’s sharp edges and garish color, but I knew I could make it something awesome. So I disassembled the two layers and chiseled off the top layer of veneer to give me more even tops to play with. The I sanded the tops and legs.

I sanded the legs smooth and filled the cracks with wood filler. Once the filler dried I sanded the legs again and painted them grey. Next, the table tops got a boat load of attention. I painted those with the same grey, filled the holes on the top with pieces of clothesline (anything could have worked, just to block the resin treatment from dripping into the holes) and taped off the sides with a mixture of bathtub caulking strip (I know it sounds a little “makeshift” at best, but I had extra laying around and it worked well), painter’s tape and electrical tape. The outcome looked like a Frankenstein monstrosity, but it was necessary prep for the resin.


I used this resin and glass paint to get the desired affect. I followed the directions on the box (I would like to say that I followed them to the letter, but I know I didn’t stir long enough.) Regardless, once I mixed it I used white glass paint and dumped it into the mixture before I dumped it on the tabletops. The resin pours like honey so I had to spread it out with a sponge brush to make sure all areas of the wood were covered. Once the white resin had settled, I shook up my design by plopping lilac glass paint on top of the wet resin and just smeared it around haphazardly. I didn’t have a real plan, but luckily this was the type of project where a plan was not 100% necessary. Once it dried I was left with what looked like two slabs of psychedelic marble.

Then it was just a matter of sanding the edges where the resin hardened into odd shapes and jagged edges. I also sanded the sides where the resin had dripped down the sides and landed on the felt. …Which is where my ruined carpet comes in. You see, I put down felt to catch the spills, but I didn’t expect the spills to be so large that it would soak through the felt and harden to the floor. Well, my dear friend, it did. And it looks something like this.

Ick, I know, this is no good for my home decor (and for about 45 minutes it was really bad for my relationship) but damnit, sometimes risks have to be taken and mistakes have to get made! (And you didn’t even need to find those words of wisdom on Pinterest.)

My last order of business was to paint the sides of the table tops, varnish them and then varnish the table legs that I had previously painted. Finally, after all of that nonsense and messing about, I was able to put the legs back on and plop the small table back onto the big table. And this is how it turned out!

I would like to call this an overall win. It’s just like that old wedding saying “I’m not losing a carpet, I’m gaining a table.” Kyle on the other hand, may not find my logic so witty. Once again, wish me luck!

Danielle’s World


I just finished recovering my good friend Danielle’s six chairs. Her daycare really did a number on them, but I was able to take them from this….

 

to this. See how it happened here!

 

 

 

Silence Is Painful


I realize that updates have been few and far between. I would love to tell you that it’s for some fancy reason like I am traveling looking for ideas, or scouring the local flea markets for new, cost effective materials, but that’s not the case. (OK that’s a lie, I am always doing both, but I only “travel” within a 40 mile radius.) But the REAL reason I haven’t been keeping up on what I’m putting down (catchy right? I should write songs for Tweens) is because my hands look as though they have been pecked by angry pigeons and typing hurts a little more than it use to. Oh, it’s a long tale, but pictures always help.

It all started with this table. Kyle’s mom had given it to him and I’ve never been a huge fan, but I thought I could make it lovely. It’s just that darn veneer over the top of the wood hurt my sensibilities like an arrow to my right (or left) eye. But what better way to get it off than to use a crowbar and chip away at it with a putty knife?

I was off to a good start, but my luck soon ran out. The chipped edges were easy, but the wood that was attached in the middle was SO stubborn that even my box cutter couldn’t peel away more than millimeters at a time. It would get things started, then I would hammer the putty knife into the crevice until it would slide, skid or jam and cause my hand to scrape, knick or straight up slam into the table. Needless to say, progress isn’t pretty.

And if you can believe it, this was taken before the worst of it happened. You see, after this picture I lulled myself into thinking that putting on thin cotton gloves would actually protect my hands somehow whenever they slid full speed into the table. Yeah, not so much. It was so ridiculous that I literally cleaned blood drops off the floor. I would analyze this whole situation as 60% determination, 30% gradual frustration, 10% thickheadedness.

 

I don’t want to give away any surprises (or get up from the couch to take photos) so I’m not going to post any of what the table looks like now without the veneers. But there is one more picture that I would like to share of the final message the table had for me…

Is it just me, or is my table flipping me off?

 

 

A Platform Fit for a Queen


Missy’s platform bed is finally complete! Check out how I got to the After from the Before here!

The bed was the equivalent to using a brown, paper grocery sack as a suitcase; it just barely did the job and it looked haggard in the process.

 

Now it's safe to call it designer luggage!

Tea Cart Mission: Accomplished


At this point, I don’t know how many miss-steps my 1930′s (I was under the impression that it was from the 60′s, but not it’s much older) tea cart makeover took. First I disassembled and spray painted it green, but then I accidentally chipped off all the paint with a drafting pencil that was too pointy and peeled off the paint with my tape that was too sticky (which I was only using to make straight lines, not to ruin my life). So I repainted it blue and hand stenciled and painted my simple art deco design. I filled in most of the stencils and then I reassembled it, realized I’d done that incorrectly and disassembled again, stared at it for a good 25 minutes, the assembled correctly. …Then I had to put the handle back on, which is spring loaded (yeah, high tech cart of the 30′s) and it took a minute for me to figure it out. You know, let me just tell you the tale in pictures, I think we’re all too exhausted (or is that just me?) to do anything but flip through channels…yeah that’s real talk.

This is how it started.

Not so fantastic, right?

I disassembled and dug out the old caster rod holders...those took me about 90 minutes, uuugh.

I spray painted and used tape to start making my stencil lines. Obviously, it wasn't going super well.

As I pulled off the tape to arrange it, the paint started to chip and life wasn't so happy.

So them I repainted it blue.

I took off the sides and finished them, but the cart was coming slowly.

I stenciled on a design I had made and cut out of card stock (actually it was a 2011 calendar cover, just so you don't think I wasted money on thick paper). I hand painted inside the lines...that's right, the stencil was just for tracing, the painting was all hand done. I then put on the new casters.

Finally I just had to fill in the rest of the designs, finish with gloss rub on polyurethane and attach the previously finished sides and hardware.

And as you can see, the sides are level when they are open and look waaaaay better than when I started.

I'm so glad it's done.

So done.

It wasn’t all sunshine and lollipops, I did have difficulty with the moving parts and the spring on the retracting handle. Check out My First Take and My Second Take.

One piece down, only three more to go before the sale!

Revisiting the Pantry


If you recall, the week after I moved into the new house I turned

 this          into             this.

Well somewhere along the lines it turn from that cute little space with a dainty amount of groceries, into

this disorganized monster. Also, some of the shelf liner was starting to peel up and I was not about to let that go on any longer.   I ripped down the top 3 shelves (the only ones peeling), pulled off the liner and painted them grey. Yeah, I showed them who’s boss! Then I grabbed a good ol’ fashion piece of scrapbook paper, the ugliest pair of scissors I own and cut little rectangles for labels.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I decided that the best way to label the shelves was by meals just because I rarely mingle meals (pancakes are always at breakfast and spaghetti is always at dinner…creative, right?) but it may not be that simple for you. Maybe it’s better for you to do it by boxes, cans, jars. Or oldest to newest if you’re always throwing out moldy bread or potatoes that have somehow grown arms. Either way, decide what works for you and make it happen.

I polyurethaned my shelves and adhered my labels with gloss Mod-Podge (did you really expect me to use some other type of glue? I’m pretty loyal to my adhesives.) And this is what happened…

 

 

In case you were curious, this was one of my biggest motivators…

 

We kept buying the same dang things because we weren’t able to see that we already had them. That’s pure insanity! Seriously, who needs 2 canisters of bread crumbs? And God knows all my neighbors can come borrow baking soda whenever they’d like, in fact… this is an open invitation, no need to RSVP for baking soda rations.

Who’s Got the Button?


The answer to the question that my title poses is– EVERYONE!

Who doesn’t have at least a couple buttons laying around? You know, the ones that come in the little baggy with your new shirts that you think you may need and never use? But your paranoia keeps you from tossing them out. Then all of the sudden you realize that you have buttons for clothing that you’ve already donated to Goodwill, but still it’s probably a pretty cool button so you hang onto it to use in a craft (or whatever).

Regardless of how you got the buttons, I have some solutions that will finally give their life purpose (dramatic much?).

Option 1

Decorate! In all likelihood, you probably have very few buttons that actually match each other. So you may as well go crazy and sew them (or glue them, it’ll be our secret that you didn’t sew 40 buttons to a curtain) in no particular order like it’s a button frat party. Look at that big, orange button, stumbling way out there. And that little, lonely, yellow button toward the top, she’s probably looking for her friend’s cell phone. These buttons are so wasted…

Option 2

Sew them to dish cloths. We aren’t trying to make them prettier, we’re trying to make them more effective. Even if you have a dishwasher, sometimes there are stubborn pieces left behind (can I get an Amen from the Oatmeal section?). Rewashing is a pain, but if you just run it under water and do a 2 second scrub with a dishrag and it’s picky button friend, the problem is solved.

Option 3

Add them to pillows!

Picture taken from Pieces of You, Ethical Homeware.

There are several patterns/reasons to sew these to cushions. If you have some matching, you can sew them down tightly to add a little tuft effect. Or you can just make up your own fun little design, there are no rules! We’re freakin’ lawless!

Option 4

Put them in a vase like an art school kid. Typically I kind of rag on ideas that are kitschy just for the sake of being kitschy. But when this is executed with a bit of color discretion it can be really adorable without leaving guests cocking their heads and smiling through their teeth. Not that everyone that comes to your house is judging you, but why give your mother-in-law one more thing to raise her eyebrows about?

Option 5

I stole this idea from the Amalfi Coast.

Get crafty with pillowcases. Sew a button to the inside of the open flap on a pillowcase and create a button hole on the opposite flap. And viola! No more re-stuffing your pillow into the case in the middle of the awesome beach dream with the sexy guy from that one commercial…or ya know, whatever other good dream you may be having.

Pattern of Design


Right now I am running in high gear to get pieces ready for the vendor sale on March 24th. The problem with this is that my best design ideas involve patterns, which take 90 years to translate to furniture. If you recall Rob’s bookcase, there was only a hint of pattern on the sides and that took 4 collective days to pull off. Regardless, I’m sticking to my guns! I intended to create furniture that I would want in my house and I won’t accept anything less.

Just to get the synapses fired up in my sleepy noggin, I’ve narrowed down a few pattern styles that have their pros and (of course) cons that I just have to explore in writing. And what better way to brainstorm and be completely free than to publish my meanderings for all to see? Well, NOT publishing them would make me seem less like an ambivalent babbler, but that’s no fun for anyone.

Hollywood Regency

I’m a little in love with Hollywood Regency inspired patterns. They’re made of simple geometric shapes and usually use only 2 colors. The pattern shows up in rugs and fabric, but it’s mainly built into the structure of furniture (because it uses such simple shapes) and not typically painted on. BUT I am a rule breaker, and I’ve already started painting this style on a tea cart. What?!? A 30′s style design on an item from the 60′s?! It’s pure mayhem!

Mod

Even though these patterns typically use shapes, it varies greatly from Hollywood Regency. Mod patterns typically are more complex shapes with several contrasting colors. Not only are these patterns too complex to build into furniture, but one of their most obvious characteristics is their color, which can’t exactly be built into furniture either. Typically Mod patterns are found on fabrics, wallpaper or any item that can be screen printed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Damask

I love love love Damask. It consists of huge complex shapes (usually floralesque ::made that word up::) with only 2 (but occasionally 3) colors. It’s super bold and too intricate to freehand onto an item. If I were to put this pattern on a piece, my best bet would be to buy fabric with this pattern and adhere it to the item. It is of course possible to use a stencil, which is what would be necessary if I was super insistent on painting it directly on the item…and I can get pretty insistent.

Stencil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Art Nouveau

This usually consists of intertwined flowers and weaving vines (also called arabesque). It usually has a few colors that are fairly muted. I love this style because it’s like “classic hippie.” It’s not overtly “nature lover,” but it gives a nod in that direction. Many times you will see Nouveau style as a frame around a picture of a woman. In any case, this is a stylized version of natural elements like flowers, leaves, vines and even animals. Also, a great feature to this design is that is has no obvious pattern repeat, so if you were to try to freehand this (God help me) then any little error would go basically unnoticed because it isn’t suppose to be perfectly symmetrical.

 

 

 

 

 

I’m not sure at this point if I have helped or hurt myself. So many ideas (that take ages to complete) and so little time.

Wish me luck!

Chic Mirror Image


I previously posted about a blank spot above my fireplace mantel. Well, I finally figured out what to do! It’s quick, easy and cheap to the max.

Start with a regular picture frame (thrift store finds are preferred.) Fit a mirror into the frame and lock it into place the way you would a picture. If you have a mirror but it’s the wrong shape or size, any glass place (like Harmon Auto Glass) will cut it for you for next to nothing.

Once you have your mirror in place take it out again. I know it seems like I am jerking you around here, but didn’t you want to make sure the mirror fit the frame BEFORE you did any more work? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Then paint the mirror any color you want. I saw a hot pink one in the store recently so my heart was set on pink for weeks. Once the painting was done and dried I sprayed it with a clear protective coat of finishing spray. My paint was actually only a semi-gloss so it looked a little on the dull side, but the spray changed it to a high gloss, beaming machine.

Last but not least, put it into place. Mine will eventually get nailed to the wall, but I finished my mirror at about 1 a.m. this morning and I was not in the mood for a roused toddler.

I can’t wait to get this dolled-up beauty onto the wall and give my self a pat on the back for being cheap and easy…wait, that didn’t sound right at all.

Vinegar Stinks, but It Sure Beats Rust


After I signed up for a Vendor Sale in Richland, MI for March 24th, I decided I need to get my act together to bring pieces to showcase (of course I get my act together AFTER I sign up, God knows I couldn’t have been proactive and started succeeding ahead of schedule.) So now it’s crunch time. I’m taking apart my furniture to restyle/restore, but I like to keep the original pieces intact. For the next few weeks I will come up with random ways to make something old and gross look (or at least seem) new again. They may not be pretty, and they may smell like 4 week old salad from a Chinese Buffet, but  anything worth having always takes sacrifice…except winning the Lotto, that would be worth having.

I filled a cup with apple cider vinegar and dropped in my rusty junk.

 

 

 

After 2 hours of soaking they were looking pretty good.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And back into the soup for another 4 hours.

After soaking I rinsed under water and scrubbed a bit with a scouring pad. And ba-dah bing! They're looking pretty damn good.

Treasure Chest


My daughter has a lot of stuff, I’m just going to say it. She is the first grandchild on both sides and she is a sweet, little doll face. Everyone wants to buy her something and I now have a whole room devoted to her toys. I’m to the point where I need to start getting creative with storage because only so many open bins look good until it starts resembling a preschool classroom. But again, creative is my middle name…along with cheap and gutsy (I have a lot of middle names.)

It all starts with an empty shoebox with an attached lid.

I then coated each side with Matte Mod-Podge, applying fabric to each side between coats.

Side by side I glued and wrapped it like a gift and coated the top of the fabric with glossy Mod-Podge...but that wasn't enough for me.

I hot glued around the inner sides and placed strips of felt around the edge. My logic was that with SO MANY TOYS in this house, there is no way the box would be closed very often, so I needed to make the box look good even if the lid was propped open.

It's all kinds of cute and adorable when everything fits into place.

And even as boxes tumble out the top, it still looks like that was all part of the plan. And you know what? This time it actually was.

Now all I have to do is figure out how to make my kitchen trash look this endearingly disheveled when it’s toppling over

…maybe next week.

Far-Fetched Yarn


I wanted to make a nice little decoration for my mantel. Nothing huge or gaudy, but something with a punch of color. I was using something I saw online as inspiration…

Inspiration

 

Mine didn’t turn out quite so beautifully. I think my problem was that the letters I chose had angled sides, whereas every other one that I saw had blunt edges.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hot glued a line at the bottom of a letter, stuck the yarn to it and just started wrapping. It at least started off well…

 

But it turned bad pretty quickly. At the end of it all my 3 letters went from good to moderately good to “Oh my God, did your toddler make that?”

Good

 

 

 

 

 

Moderately good

 

 

 

 

 

Oh, well that's special.

But I’m not one to split hairs with my crafty decor, so I just went with it and started gluing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’re curious; K=Kristen or Kyle. V=VanLoon (my last name) H=Higgs (Kyle’s last name)

As you may have already deduced, I’m not a stickler for details when it comes to things in my house, so my project is up and beaming on my mantel. If I was going to remake this I would try to make it messier from the get-go, just so all of my imperfections wouldn’t stand out so badly. Also, I would choose letters without odd angles; it’s no coincidence that the H looks great while the V and the poor, poor K look like I had been drinking.

The yarn and letters cost a total of $12, so it’s not only interesting and cute, but cheap. And who doesn’t love that?

 

 

Rob’s Bookcase


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rob’s Bookcase is finished! Check out the details here.

Fun in the Details


Sometimes a little extra pizzazz is all it takes to brighten your day. It’s like that saying, “Life is in the details.” Anyone can drink a bottle of pop, but using a straw is much more fun.  And slipping on sandals is commonplace, but bright toenails make everyone smile.

Following that same logic; Everyone carries a set of keys, but carrying a sparkly set  is just a little sweeter.

Necessary Supplies

Key. Mod-Podge. Glitter. Paint brush.

Note: I got this idea from a Pinterest post. I followed the instructions on there (which I don’t 100% recommend) so I don’t have as many corresponding pictures as I’d like.

Step 1: Dip your paint brush in Mod-Podge and spread it over the area of the key that you would like to sparkle. Glitter will stick very easily so a thin layer is best; plus you can always add more later.

Step 2: Sprinkle the glitter onto the key and shake away the excess. Allow the key to dry for 25 minutes.

Step 3: Flip over the key and repeat steps 1 and 2.

Note: This is the point when I realized I only had enough blue embossing glitter for 1.5 sides of the key. Embossing glitter isn’t necessary, but it’s just what I had wanted to use. Either way, I had to repeat steps 1, 2 and 3 using regular, green glitter. So if you’d like a two-tone key like mine, just repeat steps 1 through 3 right on top of each other.

Step 4: Apply a thin top layer of Mod-Podge to keep the glitter from flaking off. Again, let it dry for 25 minutes then flip and apply to the other side.

Step 5: Once the last second side dries, slip your key on a ring. Don’t be alarmed if your glitter seems to peel up a bit as the ring presses against it. I was able to press mine back down and it was good as new.

Good as new, yet better than ever!

Fortune Valentines


When it comes to Valentine’s Day it can be hard to come up with gifts that aren’t completely juvenile, but still bear some nostalgic weight. You don’t want to seem trite; you don’t want to knock off a jewelry commercial; you don’t want to spend the entire contents of your bank account. Nothing says “I love you like I did when we were young” more than a homemade gift with a grown-up twist.

Necessary Supplies

Paper of any kind. String or clothesline. Pen/pencil. Scissors.

Optional supplies

Stickers. Glitter. Markers. Anything you’d like to decorate your hearts.

Step 1: Take a square piece of paper. I chose to use tissue paper, but that is just what I had handy. Scrapbook paper, computer paper or even paper towels would all work just fine. Then, (if you so desire) you can drawn a design or make kiss marks all over it with your sexy, red hot lipstick. Personally I had my daughter scribble on a couple of the pages, just so she could be represented in the gift.

Step 2: Follow the how-to video to create paper hearts. (I would set aside a decent amount of time to do this. It’s no coincidence that I posted this project 10 days before V-day.) But once you get the hang of it, it’s easy peasey. Then decorate the hearts with the bonus materials of your choosing like glitter or stickers. My style permitted paper and Olivia’s doodlings to suffice for me, but if you need to glam it up then by all means do it!

Just a couple examples of my "fortunes."

Step 3: Once all of your hearts are completed, it’s time to make the fortunes! I just cut out pieces of printer paper in roughly the same size as fortune cookie fortunes. I wrote on mine (but you could just as easily type these out in M.S. Word, print and cut) all of the reasons I love my guy. Obviously, that’s not the only option. You could write your hopes for your future, all the dirty things you want to do together (oh yeah, I went there), your favorite memories together, whatever you’d like. If you have kids, you could assign each of them a heart to decorate and write something regarding their Dad/Step Mom/Grandpa–whoever the banner is intended.

Step 4: Slide your heart onto the string by running it under the main flap.

Step 5: Tuck your fortunes into the back pocket of the hearts.

Step 6: String those puppies up and watch your loved one feel, well…loved!

And just to clarify…

This what the back should look like.

This is what the front looks like.

Your sweetheart will love the banner, and will love to read all of your wonderful fortunes even more!

Rockin’ Stockin’s


As I previously mentioned, my boss nominated me to make holiday stockings for our section of 13. I drafted another co-worker to bang out these hastily-made, ill-planned, yet surprisingly well-executed burdens. I can’t say that all of them are worthy of public viewing. In all reality, some of them aren’t even fit for private viewing, but once it was 11:30 p.m. and I had glitter covering 400 square feet of my house, I was to the point of just scribbling names in black Sharpie on the front of them and calling it a day.

But some are decent enough for this “semi-public” viewing.

Michigan State vs. U of M stocking.

Alice in Wonderland stocking.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

U of M stocking detail.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Philadelphia Eagles stocking detail.

 

 

 

 

World of Warcraft stocking.

 

 

 

Springtime stocking. (I don't do winter.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hanging around the staircase like the Brady Bunch.

 

We tried to incorporate people’s personality (hopefully that’s obvious) into these stockings. Honestly, they were thrown together in a total of about 5 hours, so they are a bit scattered. But if you only have a family of 4 or 5, these are an easy weekend project that can really knock your stockings off!

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