Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

Earlier this summer, I bought a mirror with a wood frame for $5 at an outdoor flea market.

Originally, I was going to repurpose it as a tray for our coffee table. However, I had a vision of one of my boys breaking it complete with glass flying everywhere.

Let’s see now…shards of glass + children = not a good idea.

On to plan B, which is to paint and hang in the office.

Here is what it looked like before:

I wanted it to coordinate with the reddish-orange tufted chair I scored at a church rummage sale. I didn’t bother going to a paint store to try to match it exactly. A $1 tube of craft paint in Light Red Oxide did the trick.

A lovely example of my precision painting technique.

And one of my essential painting tools:

I let it dry for a couple of days so it could fully cure and then distressed it with some coarse-60 grit sandpaper…

and then I hung it in my office:

I think it ties in nicely with the red-orange chair and the bird art on the other side of the room.

OK, so a professional photographer I’m not. Trust me, they are a much closer match in real life!

Now about that curtain…

Published in: on September 19, 2011 at 1:23 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The Big Reveal: The Armoire

Here is possibly the world’s worst before picture:

It may not look too bad, but trust me, it was. This piece is solid cherry, but had been given a very bad pale yellow paint job, which was why it was given to me. And when I say bad, I mean, the brush strokes were against the grain of the wood.

Yeah, I know.

In my mind, I pictured one of those old, chippy, handmade-looking cabinets in a bright color – the ones that were showing more than a couple of decades worth of wear and tear.

I’m kind of crushing on green right now so I went with Valspar’s Woodlawn Promised Land. It’s a historic color (which I love), but it was also a saturated green that wasn’t too warm or too cool. Just perfect for my new-to-me office.

Next came the work…a light sanding + two coats of green paint + taking out my aggressions a bit of distressing with a palm sander (thanks J and P for letting me borrow yours!) + a dark walnut stain brushed on then rubbed off with a rag gave it the look I was going for.

And here she is after:

I couldn’t be happier with my new old-looking cabinet.

To take the whole rustic thing even further, I opted for simple knotted twine handles, rather than knobs.

They would be really easy to switch out with some crystal knobs if I decide to change my mind later.

So this is what’s big and green and living in my office/mom cave now. It fits in nicely with some of the other things I’ve been working on for the space, such as the gallery wall, little blue side table, orange chair and bird artwork.

It’s turning out to be quite the colorful space, I tell ya! Such a departure from my normal “hi, my name is Kim and my favorite colors are gray, brown, black and white” kind of girl.

Stay tuned to see how it all comes together.

I’m linking this up to Frugal Friday at the Shabby Nest and Furniture Feature Friday at Miss Mustard Seed.

Published in: on September 8, 2011 at 10:04 pm  Comments (12)  
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Dresser Makeover, Take 5

I spied this dresser at Goodwill (shocker) in Battle Creek about three years ago for $9.99. Yes, you read that right. Only ten bucks.

She’s a beauty, I know. (At least she will be).

A good portion of the original veneer on one of the drawers was missing as were two of the original casters, but other than that she was in great shape. Solid wood, all the drawers work, original hardware, dovetail joints, oh yeah. She even came with a cool curvy mirror.

I’ve had several ideas on how to redo this dresser. Five to be exact:

  • Take 1:  Re-veneer the drawer front. A roll of veneer was $20, not including the stain to match. Next.
  • Take 2:  Fill in the missing veneer with woodfiller and paint it. Note to self: woodfiller works great on small areas, not large ones. Moving right along.
  • Take 3:  Decoupage it with wrapping paper. Nope. I couldn’t get the paper to smooth out for anything so I tore it all off before it dried. Next.

I should mention that at this point, I was very tempted to roll it out to the curb on its antique casters. But I’m not going to let the dresser beat me. Oh no.

  • Take 4:  What about wallpaper? I couldn’t find one that I liked for cheap enough. Plus, I envisioned my boys running around the store grabbing rolls of wallpaper and using them as swords while I fruitlessly tried to look through a 15-inch thick book of discontinued wallpaper samples. Next.
  • Take 5:  My last ditch effort was to cover up the badly chipped wood veneer with a coat of paint and a stencil.

About three years and five tries later, she’s finally finished.

The stenciling part was actually the easiest of all the options (except for painting all one color) and I do love how it FINALLY turned out.

So the moral of the story is this, if you find a $10 dresser that has some bad veneer, but is in otherwise good shape, consider buying it. If you can’t spruce it up, you didn’t lose much. At the very least, you’ll keep it out of a landfill and maybe even find a less noble use for it somewhere in your house.

Just aim to get it finished in less than three years 😉

I linked this post up to Miss Mustard Seed’s Furniture Feature Friday and WhisperWood Cottage’s Authentic Style Series featuring Miss Mustard Seed.

Published in: on July 5, 2011 at 10:34 am  Comments (3)  
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Stylish Storage

Do you remember this little cabinet that was in my old closet-turned-office?

Well, I painted it.

I couldn’t help it. The dark wood finish which I normally love wasn’t working in my new office. It was originally a spice cabinet that my mom ordered from the Spiegel catalog a couple of decades ago. Now it holds my office supplies.

Here is the after:

I didn’t use spray paint this time. (I tried it first, but it streaked). So, I brushed on two thin coats of satin finish black paint (no primer). And then I distressed it with – what else – 100 grit sandpaper.

I loved the original knob so it stayed.

Then I had some fun accessorizing the top.

The blue glass canning jar was $1 at Goodwill. The book it is sitting on was from the free cart at our church. The wooden model was originally from IKEA, but I bought it at a neighborhood garage sale for $1. My kids have played with him/her/it so much that the foot keeps falling off!

The little ball with the number “1” on it was in the dollar bin at Michael’s. It’s special to me because every time I see it, I think of this little couplet:

only one life, ’twill soon be past; only what’s done for Christ will last

Life is so very short. We need to make each and every moment count. That’s something I need to be reminded of on a daily basis.

Oh, and if anyone is wondering, the flowers in the canning jar come from my very overgrown wiegala. It’s a beautiful flowering shrub that is striking in a landscape. It’s also super hearty which is a must in my book!

Published in: on June 22, 2011 at 5:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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The little blue table that could

I went to an estate sale a couple of weeks ago. I didn’t mean to go so late in the day, but I couldn’t get there until the last forty-five minutes of the sale.

Turns out, that is a GREAT time to go because they’d rather wheel and deal on what’s left than haul everything away.

On the way out, I spied a little side table. It was sturdy, but in bad shape. The price was $12.50.

The sellers saw me looking at it and offered it to me for $5. Sold.

A bit of sanding and three coats of  light blue/aqua paint later and here she is, ready for my mom cave:

All I did was take the bright blue paint sample I used on my little dresser and mixed it with a lot of white paint until I got the shade I wanted. After it was dry, I distressed it with some more 100 grit sandpaper.

I love how the little table turned out. (I don’t know why the camera thinks the table is white, but trust me, in real life it is definitely aqua).

Stay tuned. I’ll reveal the gallery wall I finished this weekend and show you the $5 light fixture I spruced up with a coat of spray paint.

I love how it’s all coming together – and for not a lot of money.

I linked this post up to the Nester’s Best Yard Sale Finds EVER linky party and WhisperWood Cottage’s Authentic Style Series featuring Miss Mustard Seed.

Published in: on June 13, 2011 at 10:33 am  Comments (6)  
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Vintage-Inspired Laundry Sign

I really like my laundry room…

but that big space at the top really bothered me. It just needed a little somethin’.

So I thought I’d try to make a vintage-inspired sign…and I did!

It really wasn’t that hard to do. Here’s how:

Gather your supplies

Grab a cart and head to the lumber department of your local Home Depot. Walk confidently like you know what you’re doing:)

Look for a 1 x 12 board (translated 1″ thick, 12″ wide). In our town, it was on the bottom shelf for $6.36. Mine was four-feet long.

Put it in your cart. (Or, hobble around the store trying to balance carrying a four-foot long 1×12 along with a quart of paint and other painting supplies, plus a very large bag that your husband happens to call a “suitcase” slung over your shoulder).

Not that I did that or anything.

Paint the wood

Cover your work area (in this case my dining room table) with newspapers.

Grab three can goods.

Yes, you read that right.

Spread them out and set your wood on top of them and paint away. I used chalkboard paint.

While the paint dries…

Work  on the lettering

Since this was for my laundry room, I was uber-creative and chose the word, “Laundry”. Impressive, I know. I used Baskerville Old Face font, sized 499, because MS Word wouldn’t let me go any bigger. Then I just taped the letters together.

Transferring the lettering onto the wood is the coolest trick.

Take your pencil and trace the outline of each letter on the back side.

Flip it over and center your lettering on your wood. You may want to tape the ends of your paper to your wood just so they stay in place.

Then, take your pencil and trace your letters again on the right side.

Obviously, you don’t even need a steady hand for this project!

When you are done tracing all of the letters, you’ll be left with a faint outline of your letters on your wood.

It’s hard to see, but it’s an “L”. Pretty neat trick, eh?

Fill in with chalk

I filled in my letters with chalk so if I want it to say something else in the future, all I need to do is erase it and start again. If you want something more permanent, you can take a small paint brush and paint each letter.

You could either leave the outline or fill it in. I chose to fill it in.

Hang it up

Hanging it wasn’t that hard either. I bought some of these:

I used three to hang them: one in the middle and one on each of the ends. My sweet husband used drywall screws to hang it on the wall for me.


Ahhh…much better!

I linked this up to Frugal Friday at The Shabby Nest and

Published in: on April 5, 2011 at 9:07 pm  Leave a Comment  
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My Favorite Paint Colors

I’m a neutral girl at heart. In fact, my favorite color is brown. Yes, brown. I love every shade from the palest beige to the deepest chocolate brown.

Don’t get me wrong…I like other colors, too. Like gray. And black. White is nice, too. Oh, and don’t get me started on taupe!

Do you see a pattern here?

These colors are just so soothing and restful to me. That’s what I want our home to be, which is why I’m so drawn to them.

Pony Tail by Valspar

This is a warm tan without too much yellow in it. Although it is soothing, it’s not boring. Note that it appears darker in person than it does in the photo above because of the light streaming in the window.

I’ve used it in our living room, kitchen, laundry room, school/play room and hallway to the basement. I guess you could say I like it a little bit:)

Oyster Shell by Valspar

This color is on one wall of our dining room (with the large picture), part of the kitchen and our downstairs bathroom.  I love this color because it is deep and calming all at the same time. Depending on the time of day, the color can look either brown or deep green.

Hopsack by Ralph Lauren

This is a wonderful taupey-gray color. It looks great everywhere and in all types of light.  So many people ask me about it. It’s just one of those can’t-go-wrong-colors. Home Depot doesn’t carry Ralph Lauren paints anymore, but can custom mix it for you with Behr paint.

Dry Earth by Valspar

This is a great green-khaki color. (Can you tell I get almost all of my paint from Lowe’s?) It’s a brighter green, but still very neutral. I paired it with navy blue and accents of orange for a fun and kid-friendly space.

Rhino by Behr

I painted our basement family room this cool blue. This is also one of those can’t miss colors that looks great in all types of light. This color makes it feel less like a basement and more like a real room.

Oil Rubbed Bronze Spray Paint by Rustoleum

This stuff rocks. It turned a lamp from this

to this

What a transformation for a $5 can of spray paint (with plenty leftover for future projects)!

I’m linking up to Nester’s Favorite Paint Colors linky party.

Published in: on February 4, 2011 at 8:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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The Chalkboard Wall

I admit I’ve been in love with chalkboards for quite some time now. They are both nostalgic and practical, which is probably why.

I have two chalkboards already in my house – one we use for our homeschool lessons and on the other we write a Bible verse that as a family we’re trying to commit to memory.

The problem is that they are both too small (or maybe I just write too big). Hmmmm. What’s a girl to do?

So I had a thought. Too bad I couldn’t paint an entire wall with chalkboard paint….Wait a minute! Why couldn’t I?

And so I did. I painted the entire wall in our back entryway with chalkboard paint. I’m pretty confident when taking on a painting project, but I have to admit that I hesitated right before I started to apply BLACK paint to my wall.

Guess what? I LOVE it! And so do our boys. In fact, within minutes of “seasoning” my chalkboard wall (more on that in a moment), my boys grabbed a piece of chalk and drew on every available inch of it so I guess that means it’s staying.

Chalkboard paint is relatively easy to use. I bought it at our local Walmart for $9. A little goes a long way, so remember that you can use it for more than one project.

Follow these steps to create a chalkboard in your house – however big or small you choose.

  • As with any other time you paint, make sure you have a good base to start from, i.e., it should be clean and smooth.
  • Lightly sand the surface to give the paint something to cling to.
  • Stir paint really well.
  • Apply the first coat in a well-ventilated area.
  • Wait six hours and apply one more coat.

Tip: Instead of completely cleaning up only to get everything back out a few hours later, I wrap my brush in good ‘ol plastic wrap and my roller in a plastic bag with the air squeezed out. For the tray, I just dump the excess paint back into the can and put the lid on so it doesn’t dry out. Moving on…

  • Let it cure for 24 hours.
  • You must “season” the surface before you can write on it. To do this, just rub the entire surface with a piece of chalk held sideways.
  • Erase and enjoy your new chalkboard.

For more complete instructions, be sure to read the directions on the back of the can.

Tip: To clean your new chalkboard, you can use a felt eraser or a wet paper towel. To get it really clean (like when you were in fifth grade and could immediately tell that the janitors cleaned the chalkboards over school break), use some WD-40. Yes, you read that right. Just wipe it onto a dishcloth and throw it in the washer with the next load of towels.

Now all you have to do is pick up a piece of chalk when you want to write yourself a reminder, remember a favorite quote or keep your kids occupied while you are talking on the phone.

Published in: on November 1, 2010 at 3:29 am  Comments (2)  
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