Thursday, August 8, 2013

Upgrade your entryway for under $20 and 30 minutes

When we moved into our house, the front door looked like this:

The previous owners had old sheers over the windows and then about two feet of plexiglass nailed on top of them. The only explanation I have is that they must have had little dogs that scratched at the sheers. The thing they didn't think about was the 1 inch gap between the plexiglass and the wall to collect years of dust, dirt and bugs. Eww...

This was one of the first things I took down in the house. Putting up new curtains was a really quick, inexpensive project that provided a lot of impact.

What you'll need:

• Curtain rod ($4.99 at Ross)
• Canvas drop cloth ($8 at Big Lots)
• Curtain Rod Clips ($6.29 at Target)
• Heat & Bond (Optional if you want to hem the raw edges. I actually haven't gotten to this yet... oops)

The directions are simple. Cut drop cloth in half, hem if your little heart desires, hang curtain rod, attach curtain clips to curtains, and viola. You have yourself a lovely new entryway.

Wall color: Valspar in Aspen Gray
Umbrella vase: Korean garden shop
Rug: Ross

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Sunday, July 28, 2013

J's Vintage Airplane Rocker

When I was pregnant with J, I found this cute little airplane rocker on Craigslist for $10! I bought it with the intention of doing something with it but never got around to it. Two years later, I stumbled across a wood piece someone painted in Miss Mustard Seed's "Tricycle" milk paint on Pinterest and fell in love! I've never used milk paint before and thought this would be the perfect piece to test it out on. Miss Mustard Seed did not disappoint!

What you'll need:

• Miss Mustard Seed milk paint in "Tricycle"
• Solo cup to mix water and paint in
• Paint brush
• Rustoleum wood stain in "Dark Walnut"
• Miss Mustard Seed Furniture Wax
• Cheesecloth

I did not want a thick layer of paint on this rocker. I love to see the grain of the wood so I diluted the mixture about 1 part paint to 3 parts water. I tested it out on the bottom of the rocker until I got the consistency I wanted.

It was really simple to apply. Just brush on like any other paint. Once it was dry, I applied a thin layer of her furniture wax and lightly buffed with the cheesecloth. I love the luster it gives the finish.

I don't care for heavily distressed finishes, so I just lightly sanded the edges after waxing to give it a more vintage feel.

For the bottom I just used plain old Rustoleum to stain it. I see now that there are some milk paint stains available which I would love to try it out!

Pretty simple afternoon project!
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Thursday, July 25, 2013

DIY Bathroom Mirror Makeover

Every time my husband leaves town, I tend pick a project to keep me busy and attempt to tackle it while he's away. I was wasting some time on Pinterest, like usual, and saw this seemingly simple tutorial on updating your builder grade mirrors by adding moulding on the "Full of Great Ideas" blog . The link to her tutorial is here. With my list of supplies, I headed to Lowe's and was beyond lucky to have an extremely helpful man assist me while I was trying to gather all the supplies I needed. I showed him the photo of what I was trying to do and he started pulling boards and trim, laying them out so I could decide what combination I liked best. I gave him my mirror dimensions and he cut ALL the boards for me—SCORE! He even made sure I had the right type of mirror adhesive. This is the first time I've ever gone to the hardware store with a project in mind, and not had the person helping me look at me like I was a crazy lady. He said his wife uses Pinterest—he gets it. 

This is what you'll need:

• 1" x 3.5" MDF board
• 1" x 6" MDF board
• Quarter round trim
• Decorative moulding of your choice
• Wood glue (Gorilla Glue)
• Mirror Adhesive & Caulking Gun (Loctite PL 520 Mirror Adhesive)
• Wood Caulking (DAP Alex Fast Dry in White)
• Clamps
• Level 

Once I had all the board measurements figured out, I brought them home and laid them out on the floor. Here is a guide:

Start by wood gluing your quarter round on top of your 1 x 3.5, and also to your 1 x 6. Use painters tape to secure the two pieces and form a tight bond while they're drying. Use wood glue sparingly. It expands, so you don't want a mess leaking out the edges. 

Do the same with your decorative moulding. I had to use clamps to hold mine together because it kept wanting to slide off the top.  Here is a close up to explain a little better...  

Bad photo, but you get the idea. I also kicked my moulding up about a 1/2" to make the top of the mirror a hair taller.

Some of the trim pieces taped together after gluing. I was doing two mirrors at once which is why there is an extra piece.

Once your trim pieces are dry, starting from the bottom, apply mirror adhesive generously to the back of your base piece. Press onto mirror and use your level to make sure it's even. You can apply directly over the mirror brackets. I used the backsplash as a guide and them made little adjustments with the level. Next, apply the side pieces using the level and walls as your guide. Finally, attach the top piece and you're done! I went back and sealed all the joints with some wood caulk just to finish it out. 

I love it! I was so happy with the way it turned out, that I did two more of our bathrooms! The cost for each mirror was approximately $30 with wood to spare. It's amazing how a little paint and some trim can totally transform a room!

Paint: Valspar Woodlawn Colonial Gray
Towel: World Market
Hardware: Rustoleum Oil Rubbed Bronze Spray paint
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Friday, April 5, 2013

Victorian Parlor Chair Makeover

A good friend of mine, who I met at our first assignment and is now at the same base as us for our forth assignment, has gotten me hooked on going to these Saturday night antique auctions. They happen once a month and I can honestly say, I genuinely look forward to auction weekend. Oh, how Saturday nights have changed...

Some might find them boring, but if anything, the people watching and down home cooking is worth the trip. Who can say no to homestyle chicken and rice, crockpot chili or Georgia BBQ? Not to mention grandma's carrot cake.

Sometimes going to these makes me wish I was more educated on antiques. Some of the little trinkets that go for hundreds of dollars leave me scratching my head. What is someone really going to do with that? Lucky for me, a lot of the pieces of furniture I like, others seem to have little interest in. Like this Victorian era parlor chair. Maybe I have bad taste, because I was literally the only one who bid on it.

I brought this chair home for $40. I debated back and forth on whether or not I wanted to reupholster the chair or not. The upholstery was in nearly perfect condition except for some staining due to age. Ultimately, I decided I couldn't trash the original fabric. However, I did paint it.

What you'll need:

  • Chalkpaint OR sample can of paint mixed with 1.5 - 2T unsanded grout (I used a Valspar sample in Notre Dame)

  • Another sample of latex satin paint for fabric (I used Valspar in Lucy Blue)

  • Spray bottle full of water, ready for refills

  • Paint brush and rag to blend into fabric

  • Fabric medium (equal to the amount of paint that you use)

  • 2 packages of white upholstery trim (8-10 yards)

  • Furniture wax

First, I pulled up all the old trim and trashed it—It was gross. Next, I started by painting the wood with the chalkpaint. Looking back, since I decided not to distress the wood, I wish I would have primed it first with a Zinsser product and then painted it. Since the upholstery painting requires a lot of water, in a few places the paint started to come up. It's fixable, just something to think about.

After the paint was dry, I followed Hyphen Interiors tutorial for painting upholstery. I skipped the acrylic layer she suggests and applied a third coat of the latex/fabric medium blend instead. It worked perfectly and covered all the old stains and discolorations in the fabric. I wanted to keep the fabric color as close to the original as possible—just freshen it up a little and create a more uniform color.

I could find any trim that was a close match so after my last coat on the upholstery, I took the remaining latex/fabric medium mixture and diluted it with a little more water. I submerged my white trim in it, squeezed off the excess, and then hung to dry.

When it was dry, I hot glued the trim into place and then finished the wood with some furniture wax. I think she turned out pretty cute! Here is the before and after:

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Thursday, April 4, 2013

DIY Traffic Letters

My almost two year old is currently obsessed with all things cars, trucks, planes and trains and his room has become a hodge podge of all of the above. While my husband was out of town, I tackled (or should I say started) a ridiculous number of projects I had found on Pinterest. One of those being, the infamous gutter bookshelves. I did not take any photos for a tutorial. 1.) I had no idea what I was doing how they would turn out, and 2.) I was too busy simultaneously wrangling a toddler, propping one side of the bookshelf up with a stack of board books, hoisting the other side up with my knee, working a power drill in one hand and a level in the other. Let's just say, this is really a project for two people. However, it can be done!

Anyways, I wanted some letters to hang above the shelves. I was inspired by some framed traffic letter art I had seen, but decided it was something I could make myself.

What you'll need:

  • Craft letters
  • Craft paint
  • Paintbrush
  • 8.5 x 11 sheet of shipping label paper (I used Avery)
  • Paper cutter
  • Miniature cars
  • Mod Podge (or make your own using equal parts water and glue)

Start by painting your letters with your color of choice. I started with black, but then decided it was too harsh looking for a toddler's room. I mixed my own grey with these:

Cut your shipping label paper in 1/4" strips. When you're done, snip them into 1" pieces. You could probably use regular paper for this, I just liked the fact that I had a little more control with the adhesive backed paper.


Now you're ready to stick the lines on. Start in the middle of the letters and space your stickers however you like. On corners, I overlapped two 1" pieces to get really crisp angles. At this point, I thought I was done, until the corners of the paper started peeling up. To be on the safe side, mod podge over the entire letters (or make your own like I did) to seal the edges. 

I found these teeny tiny "Spinball Racers" at Toys R' Us for $5 a package. They were the perfect size and came in cute styles. There are race cars, police cars and firetrucks just to name a few.

I started feeling a little guilty for wanting to glue these on to the letters because J was having so much fun rolling them along the "roads". That is, until I picked up teeny tiny cars about 20 times in less than 10 minutes. Yeah, these really aren't for toddlers...

Hot glue your cars on and you're done! I adhered these to the wall with medium, velcro command strips and they worked perfectly. I'm really happy how these turned out and J loves looking at his "chuck" letters.

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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

I would be lying if I said the past year went by fast or that it was easy. This past year was one of my most trying to date. When I look back, sometimes I wonder how I kept putting one foot in front of the other, day after day. But that's what us military wives are really good at. We are great at picking up the pieces when our husbands leave and keeping things running smoothly while they are away.

For those that don't know me, I am a graphic design graduate, a DIY lover, a wedding invitation guru, a wannabe runner, a mother, and a military wife.

Almost two years ago we were blessed with an amazing little guy, J. Five months after he was born, my husband was given a one year unaccompanied assignment to South Korea. In other terms, we couldn't go with him.

In the past year we have had our ups and downs. Living in two separate countries can put a serious strain on a family, but it also makes you truly value the time you have together.

In our three and a half years of marriage, we have moved from the Midwest to the desert, traveled throughout the South Pacific, lived in dorm rooms, hotel rooms, friends homes, family members homes, rental homes, and eventually landed ourselves deep in the soggy South. After over a year of living out of suitcases and boxes, flying halfway across the world to visit my husband with an infant in tow, we finally have a place to call home, together.

For the first time in our marriage we will be in the same home for nearly three years. THREE years!! We recently bought a home in Georgia with lots of southern charm, but in need of a little TLC. As a military family, we don't have the luxury of tackling our list of DIY projects throughout the course of years or even purchasing furniture specific for a certain home. My goal for this blog is to create simple, easy projects and repurpose household items that you may already have to work in any space. There is no reason not to make your house a home wherever that may be!

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