July 2, 2013

Reupholstering a Thrift Store Find

Check out this beauty!
I picked it up while checking out a new thrift store in town and it just HAD to come home with me. I think it will be pretty sweet in the office. Well, once I sand it, paint it, and reupholster it! Stay tuned!

June 27, 2013

Craft Room Redo, Step One

The craft room is that one room in our house where everything goes when it doesn't have a home. The door remains shut 99% of the time because there is always so much random stuff  many wonderful projects on the floor and the tables. I decided that giving the craft room a face-lift would be invigorating. It might even encourage met to keep the door open once in a while, and keep me from making it the house dumping ground.

I thought I had a nice *before* picture for you, but I seem to be terrible about taking those. Just went through my entire iPhoto collection... and you know what? I haven't really taken any pictures of the rooms in our new house (and we have lived here for two years!) I am sure I will find one around here somewhere... Anywho...

The to-do list looked a little like this:

1. Purge the stash of random things that "might be a fun project one day"
2. Empty and organize closet (also full of "potential" projects)
3. Paint bookcases
4. Paint cabinet
5. Make curtains
6. Make art piece for wall

So, I began the purge. It felt SO good.

I used the tried-and-true technique of laundry baskets labeled:

  • Recycle
  • Trash
  • Donate
  • Move Elsewhere
It went much faster than I anticipated. It helped that J-Boy was napping- so I had a deadline. That and Lady GaGa. She makes every project go faster! It even felt good to let go of some of those "projects" because it meant that I was making room for *new* projects!

Total count:
  • Three bags to the recycling bin
  • Two for donation
  • One to the trash
  • Two baskets full of things for other rooms in our house (how did THAT get in here?).

Then, it was time to tackle the bookcases. My new design included simple white bookcases. Like these:

But at $155 a piece, I didn't really want to invest in new bookcases. Plus, I had purchased pine ones from a friend who was closing her craft shop a few years ago. They are great shelves- tall, not too deep, lightweight but sturdy. They have lived in my craft room for years, but I never did anything to them... until now! Off to the paint store!

I really didn't want to use an oil based primer, but since they were sealed and knotty (and I didn't want to sand three bookcases and fifteen shelves- the boy only naps once a day!) I went with Zinsser primer.

This stuff sticks to almost anything and gives you a nice primed surface to paint. Even though it is an oil-based primer, you can paint it with latex once it is nice and dry. I warn you, though, it is stinky! Be sure to paint in a well-ventilated space! I tried to paint these in the craft room, but it was not enough ventilation! Eventually I moved the whole operation to the garage, and I even wore a mask that I usually wear for spray painting because I started getting a little woozy!

Check out the sun fading on these bad boys!
I gave the bookcases two coats of primer to be sure the knots were nice and covered. I also primed the shelves twice. Bookcases are sneaky pieces to paint. At only 7'x3' you would think they would paint up quickly, until you remember your 5th grade math class and how fast surface area calculations can grow... and grow... and grow. So, a whole lotta square feet of priming later (and one accidental painting mark on the garage floor-sorry honey!) they were ready for paint!

After one coat of primer.
After two coats of primer. 
Doh! Don't rush...
 This is where the two coats of primer really paid off. I had a very smooth and happy surface to work with. I ended up using a foam roller for these so that the finished product was as smooth as possible. This would have been a great project for a paint sprayer, but I don't have one of those yet :)

The cases and shelves went white, but I wanted the back to really "pop" off the walls. So I went with a bright raspberry paint (Behr, Strawberry Daiquiri) for the backboard. Even though the backboard is particle board and it tore a little when I pried it off the back, it was worth removing it to paint. Trying to paint it while attached would have meant a lot of tape and more patience than I was willing to commit to such a project.


The whole operation.
Paint. Paint. Paint. Paint. Done!
After drying in the garage for a few days, I moved them back into the craft room. I was anxious to put everything back on them right away, but I knew that the longer curing time they had, the better. Finally, it was time to add all of my supplies back on to the shelves. 

Ta-da! Progress has been made!
So now the to-do list looks like this:

1. Purge the stash of random things that "might be a fun project one day"
2. Empty and organize closet (also full of "potential" projects)
3. Paint bookcases
4. Paint cabinet
5. Make curtains
6. Make art piece for wall

What do you think? What have you been working on in your space?  Looks like I have my work cut out for me on my next projects!

Eliminate the Drawer Dump!

Ah, bedtime! The time when you try to wrangle over-tired, cranky children into pajamas with clean teeth, just-one-more-drink-of-water, and a story that hopefully isn't written by Dr. Seuss (I love that man, but I just can't handle those rhymes that go on and one and on at bedtime!!) 

My son, in his budding independence, loves to pick out his own pajamas. Great! One less decision for Mama! The problem is that this is the pajama drawer:
The Pajama Drawer BEFORE 
Does this look familiar to you? Do you know what havoc a four or five year old can have on a drawer like this? Searching for *just* the right pair of pajamas (which I know don't exist, it is just the LAST pair to make it out of the drawer while standing on the pile of discarded pjs) is a recipe for exhaustion, for sure!!

One day while putting away laundry, I had an epiphany. Now apparently other moms have had this epiphany before me, but no one bothered to let me in on the secret. I, however, beg you to try it if you haven't figured this one out yet. It will change your life. Okay, it won't. But I bet it will make pajama finding easier!

The simple solution? Turn all the clothes on their end. Yep, just "file" those sweet jammies upright. Now little eyes can see the patterns and there is no more need for digging! Yay!!

It really is the little things, people. 

The Pajama Drawer: Filed!

June 21, 2013

Summer is here!!

Well, Hello, Summer!

It is true, this summer I am planning on gettin' my craft back on and blogging a little bit about it. My first projects will be part of the Pinterest Challenge. Pinterest is a dangerous worm hole and I am determined to not let it suck me in to never let go. Instead, I actually want to do a few of the hundred projects that I have pinned.

First up, a wall map for the playroom/media room. Perhaps something like this...

Or this... a little less vintage.

I like the cutout quality of this one...

 And this is a sweet idea...
What is your vote? Do you have a map at your house? I like to believe that it would be a learning tool for J-Boy as well, but maybe that is just the teacher in me!

December 11, 2011

Chevron Chair

I have this darling chair that was handed down to me from my parents. It is wood, it has a diamond shaped seat, and was made in Missouri. Umm... I know I have a few "before" pictures of it... but I can't seem to find any. Sorry!

Unfortunately, one of the legs is broken a bit and I know that it should never hold the weight of a person again. It really is a useless piece of furniture, it being a chair you can't sit in... But it is too adorable to get rid of... but it also doesn't really *go* anywhere in our house.

Rather than getting rid of it, I decided to paint it. GASP. I know there are wood finish die-hards who say to never paint beautiful wood... but this was the one way that I was going to be willing to keep it... so. there.

I thought that the best place for this darling beauty would be for the master bedroom in front of a glass front curio cabinet. All the (wood) furniture in the master bedroom is black and the textiles are sea blue and white. Beachy without being beach-cottagy if you know what I mean (is cottagy even a word? No? Oh well.)

SO I decided to paint the chair white with a blue chevron pattern on the seat. I began by taping down a pattern of parallel tape strips.

Then, I grabbed a craft knife/razor blade and *very* carefully cut away at half of the tape to reveal a chevron pattern. I wanted to be careful to not marr the white paint with razor cuts, but also keep the integrity of the tape (Frog tape worked great for this!)

It was a bit like an optical illusion, so I did mark the chevron with a pen to help me cut the right rows!

Once all the trimming was done, I was left with this:

Then came the paint. I used a Martha Stewart latex paint aptly called Sea Glass.

I also added a single chevron to the back rail. In hindsight I should have left it white.

The finished product:

It is adorable. I love the chevron pattern and I am proud of the technique.

The only thing? I don't like it in my bedroom. It just doesn't go. Too cute or something... Not sure. It has moved into my craft room and now I don't know what to do with it. It doesn't really go in there either. So, repaint it? Sand it down and stain it? What to do!?

UPDATE: This adorable chair found a home in my craft room after the re-org. I'll post about it soon!

November 11, 2011


So, I went back to work in September. Apparently it has consumed my life.

No, not really, it just seems that every spare minute that I have while not at work is filled with other fun stuff. My "free time" is still around, but I have to be very selective about what I choose to do with it. I am still squeezing in projects here and there- though clearly not at the speed that I can keep up with over the summer!

I find myself doing "mini-projects." Like when I realized that Little Man was not going to wake up at his usual 5:45AM and I had a few minutes on my hands. What to do? Maybe write a list. Except, this is where the paper is found:

Hmm.. guess I could clean the junk drawer.

Much better!

So this is life during the school year. Squeeze things in. Isn't that the truth for us all!?

I also played around with my Silhouette. I have to admit that I have a HUGE list of want-to-do's for this crafty craft tool...

My first project: A laundry jar

It was my first attempt at using vinyl. I have to say that I was pretty darn pleased with myself! If I were to do it again I would have made the font a bit smaller, but I love the red and teal together!

I feel strongly that your "first" attempt at anything is worth keeping. Even if it is a bit wonky. Such good memories!

Our current "BIG" project is redecorating Little Man's room. One night, when we went to check on him after bedtime, we found him all squished up in his toddler bed. It was clear that although he is only 3 1/2, it was time for a big boy bed! So, out came the convertible bed directions again and presto-chango- Little Man is now in a full-sized bed!

I love it because there is enough room for me to crawl in next to him for snuggling and story time! I also love that we have given his room a more finished decor. When we first moved in I slapped some wall stickers up and called it a *room of transition*... but it bothered me that it didn't feel really pulled together.

And it still isn't fully pulled together- but almost! I am working on collecting the last few precious pieces before I give you the full reveal. Stay tuned! I promise I will try to post a few more times this month ;)

August 27, 2011

Back to School!

Back-to-school time is upon us. In our house, our son isn't old enough for elementary school, but since I am a teacher, it is a special time for me! I have the privilege of working during the school year and having the summers off- and I love the leisurely time that the summer brings. However, each August, the butterflies sneak in and I begin to get excited about school starting again!

This year, I was inspired by some cute back-to-school displays over on Pinterest. So, I decided to create a little arrangement for the kitchen.
I picked out the large scissors from my craft room, a dictionary, and a few books. The little hedgehog just seemed to join the party!
 On the other side, I used my FAVORITE pencils (Ticonderoga) to create a back-to-school vase.

 The book covers were plain paper that I had saved from a shopping trip. It's just the paper that the shop wraps breakables in. I flattened it out, folded it around a book for size, and then used a light blue and red pen to create the "paper" effect. I used my best "teacher writing" to inscribe the cover.
 Before I know it, I will be coming home and collapsing on the couch from a long and exhilarating day of teaching. This little display sure gets me in the mood!