Kitchen table makeover

I picked this diamond in the rough up at my local Goodwill and it took FOREVER for me to finish…Slow and steady wins the race right? It was not cute to begin with: Image

Ew, right? Very dirty, plaid fabric and painted, sticky brown top! But it wasn’t hopeless! I wanted to the two tone look with white chairs/base and a dark beautiful wood on top. So I got to work! I sanded the top and it turned out to be a really cool grain that would show a lot of beauty once it was stained! But I’ve got to come clean…sanding isn’t all candy canes and lollipops…it’s hard, and messy, and difficult. Enter: Annie Sloan! Image

A water based chalk paint that dries in hours (seriously!) and has very low fumes…like so low that I painted INSIDE my house. It’s a thick paint that is sold in quarts…you’d think it isn’t enough but it is…it goes for miles. It does leave brush strokes but you can combat that if you want a really clean look by using a roller brush. But here’s the best part: NO SANDING!!!! You just brush right over your furniture. I’m not kidding. These chairs were glazed and shiny and so off white but in a bad way. After one coat of Annie, they were a bright white and fresh and clean. I could breathe again!


Trash bags worked great for this…. IMG_2528IMG_2529 Turning the table upside down to do the base is the easiest….word of advice: do the top last so you don’t have to worry about messing it up at this part

After a couple hours, the paint was dry….Annie sells waxes that I highly recommend using…it seals in the paint. If you want to sand or distress, you sand AFTER you wax. And a little wax goes a LONG way…too much wax is bad. bad. bad. Just trust me and don’t do it. Pretend you’re putting it into your hair…it should be VERY little. You can always add more.   After that, it was on to the top! Sanding the paint off to start off was truly the hardest part. Staining is best thought of in layers… The pre-stain is helpful for a lot of projects and I definitely used it here….It goes on very wet and makes the wood look conditioned and brighter. Pre-stain helps the wood get ready for the stain and go on evenly. I would definitely recommend it. Then lightly sand. Always sand in between your layers and coats. Always….that’s what gives it the nice smooth finish and not the sticky, cheap finish!!! It’s important! Then the stain…I love stains. They’re beautiful. I used Min wax (oil based) and really liked it. The grain on this top has so much character and staining it only adds to the effect. I decided to a stencil on my table so that went on before the pre-stain to make sure it was “locked in” and protected. I stenciled, sanded lightly, pre-stained, sanded, stained, sanded, went over stencil, sanded, stained, and sanded again. To finish: a gorgeous couple layers of wipe on poly in a matte finish. Glossy wasn’t the look I was going for and this matte finish was wonderful. Velvety smooth. IMG_0420IMG_0422   This is just your run of the mill black acrylic paint. I wanted a really thin brush so I ended up using cake decorating brushes and they worked great!

IMG_0423IMG_0424IMG_0550The finished product:

IMG_0882IMG_1087You can see a few “flecks” of unstained areas on the table that I probably could have sanded out…but I decided I like it! It’s such a smooth table and so much better than the sticky mess that was on there before!

Want a tutorial on how I recovered the chairs? Here you go

So….the real question: How has it held up?

Well….they’re still white! The Annie Sloan chalk does get a little dirty but nothing that gets under my skin….I haven’t even completely finished waxing them yet and they still look great. I just love the two tone look of the table and am so glad I did it! The top has held up great and I love to run my finger along the smooth top and not feel anything sticky….unless of course I served pancakes for breakfast!


DIY Built in Bookshelves

I’m baaaaack! I have been such a procrastinator with this post….It entails a lot of pictures that took me awhile to find since I took them at varied times….but no excuses! This is the mother of all DIY projects…at least in my books. It’s scary, somewhat easy & a bit confusing! Intrigued?


One thing we loved about our house is the big open, airy feel it gives with two story ceilings and combined rooms. However, it presents a challenge to fill these huge walls with something that does it justice!

I saw on Centsational Girl and a couple other blogs the idea of using Ikea Billy Bookcases to use as the starting ground for built ins…and they’re brilliant. Put together, secure, add molding…waalah! And that waalah turned into few months. Not that any step was very hard…it just took some figuring out.

Hope on my DIY magic carpet and I’ll take you on a tour.

The before:


Notice the bookshelf waiting to be put in place and the farmhouse table….that’s how long ago this was if you’ve read my other posts!

We measured our wall and figured out that we could fit 5 bookshelves across the space with a little room in between each. But then I decided if I ever wanted to have a TV, I needed to plan accordingly! So, the built in became an entertainment system to my husband’s delight!

We got:

2 half height billys

2 half width billys

2 15 inch depth regular heigh billys

and 4 height extensions (2 half width, 2 full)


To make it secure, we screwed all the shelves together in inconspicuous places (inside front near where the holes for the pegs are).


The bookshelves are not all the same depth so we put the 15inch depth ones flush to the wall and then lined them up according to those. We actually didn’t have to remove the back bottom molding because Ikea is brilliant and added a cutout in the back of the shelves! Thank you, Ikea!

You can see we started to add half doors too….they of course didn’t have enough so that set us back months!

Next, we started to add the bells and whistles. We went to Home Depot and Lowe’s to look at our options and compare prices. After a million trips back and forth over weeks, we slowly started to make progress!

First up: Beadboard wallpaper in the middle…I needed to fill in the empty space!Image

A little peek at the process:

Just wet and paste…and clean up the awful goop of mess that comes with it! No, seriously…I’m warning youImage


You can check out my beadboard wallpaper tutorial here

Then came the molding. I’ll be honest…we had a little trouble with that. We’re still working on the finishing touches but our problem was that the crown molding just wasn’t working for our space. So, we decided to cheat. We cut chair molding and glued and nailed them flat rather than angled like you would actual crown molding. This makes it a bit hard at the corners where you need to make right angles but it works.


As you can see, we had to add some extra boards and molding, to fill in the gaps and make the piece cohesive


Next, came the molding in the middle to “crown” the whole piece…we took some chair molding and cut it at a 45 degree angle to make it appear like a crown molding piece…but it’s just glued flat onto the wall!

To make each bookshelf blend together, we just cut lattice to end where the doors would be placed. This really made the shelves start to come together and look like one piece…crazy what a little nailglue and some finishing nails can do!

For the big gaps on the ends of the shelves closest to the walls, we took a big piece of molding and screwed them straight into the bookshelves. So they’re actually attached to the shelves but not to the walls. We had to remove some of the bottom molding on the walls with a dremel so that there was a little nook for the molding to fit in…


Is it contractor perfect? No. Could it be? Probably close. We are still tweaking it and working on little pieces but the naked eye really doesn’t see it. We have a few additions we want to add to hide the tv cables but are waiting until we know exactly what cords are going to be there…

The verdict? We love it. It was definitely worth it!


Faux Board & Batten tutorial


This is one of my favorite projects because it is simple, fast and very effective!
Board and batten on walls adds so much depth to a house and it doesn’t jump out at you like bright red walls… When you’re done, the wall looks so much better but also blends in like it was just made to be there
Take a look around your place and look at different walls that might work. Don’t be afraid to do an accent wall… Or a whole room! Throw the rule book out on this one too…. There are a ton of ways to do this
My walls seem uneven (we call it the adobe house) so we tend to use flexible, thin pieces of wood when doing our board and batten to work with the walls


Baseboards-( look at what you already have… We took a piece of lattice and put it above our existing boards to create a thin ledge to put the batten on top of… Whatever batten you decide to use, try to stick with that thickness for the base )

Batten- we used thin lattice that was pre primed- definitely worth the extra money!

Top board- could be chair rail, casing, etc… Look at the back to see if it would lay flat enough (that’s the key)

Finishing nails

Nail glue

Caulk – this makes the look come together…. Very important!

Paint -go with semi gloss- we did satin and it was fine for a primer but the semi seals in the look!

Here’s the moves:

1. Start with the baseboards… If you want to add some depth, do it now

Use nail glue and finishing nails to secure the boards to the wall
Measure and mark a couple times before cutting… Some magical thing happens when you only measure once and come back with a short board… Always seems to happen



2. Add the top board
Pick a height for the top and measure from the baseboard up across the whole wall to ensure it’s even
Nail and glue in place
usually halfway or higher works well… Halfway makes the room look taller

3. Measure between the baseboard and top board to get the cut size for your batten (the thin lattice pieces)
I spaced these out at 2 feet… To experiment, cut a few and tape them up first to figure out what space looks best



4. Glue and nail in place

5. Start caulking! Be generous and fill all holes… This is the most important step to ensure a professional looking wall!
here’s a great tip: The best tool I found to clean up the caulk and smooth it in place at the same time was…. Drum roll please!……baby wipes!




As you can see, it cleans up nicely!

6. After caulk is dry (usually two hours) paint!!! This is the most exciting part because you get to see your hard work come alive!


Did I mention this is pretty inexpensive too? It is so worth it and very easy once you do one wall and learn the basics!!! Don’t be afraid… Give it a go!

DIY photo travertine coasters

Well the holidays are wrapping up and life is getting a little less hectic! Isn’t that interesting… How we can make ourselves so busy for certain months based on a celebration of a baby in a manger… To give ourselves presents
Don’t get me wrong… I love gift giving and the beauty of family around wintertime… I just can’t believe how easy it is to get swept away in shopping, planning, pictures, decorating, etc… Phew!

Here’s a little something I made for my family members that I really enjoyed and will hopefully last a long time!
Travertine photo coasters!


There’s a few ways to go about this and many tutorials surrounding it
I tried the tissue paper… The printer kept eating it up no matter what I did so I resorted to plain old printer paper
You do get a little smearing with the mod podge but it adds some character in my opinion

So let’s get started!

What you need:
-travertine coasters (4×4 inches) from Home Depot – they’re usually in the tile or stone section used for baths and backslashes and come in packs of 9 for under $4
The sales clerk accuse tally tried to charge me 4 bucks per tile… Eek!

-mod podge- I used glossy

-mod podge clear acrylic spray

-paintbrush or sponge brush

-cork or felt pieces with stick on backs

The moves:

1.Start with a clean tile… These are porous tiles with lots of grooves and character to them… I picked that cause I like it but feel free to use regular floor tiles
Print out a picture… Do this by opening the picture in a Word document and then formatting it until one side is 4 inches
Place over your picture and cut the picture to size…




2. Mod podge the top of the tile then place picture over it and mod podge that… Work in light layers
Paper plates work great for this!

Make sure to press the picture into the grooves and flatten it out




3. Sand the sides of the pic until you get your desired look… Sand the top edges too if you want more of a vintage look

4. Do another coat of mod podge

5. Do two coats of mod podge acrylic spray.., waiting 15 minutes between each
This stuff is potent!

6. Add your backs when dry and you’re done!



Glitter mod podge canvas art

I’m excited about this post… It’s such a fun one! Sorry in advance for some of the blurry pics… Would you believe I actually have a photography website? How embarrassing….

Take a look:


The best part about it? Glitter mod podge!!!
I was buying the supplies and the store clerk said she was so happy someone was finally buying the glitter mod podge… what?! This is like the best invention ever! How is it not flying off the shelf?! okay… Back to reality

-Blank canvases. I found this pack of 7 at Michael’s and got them for a great price on sale
-matte mod podge
-glitter mod podge- (or use just glitter or just matte)
-scrapbook paper
-paint brush

As noted above, you can use just one mod podge. I used matte so I didn’t waste too much of the glitter… It’s like cookie butter for crafters!
I wouldn’t recommend glossy mod podge unless you’re going for a super shiny look… Glossy is great for other crafts like coasters but not so much for this

Here are the moves:

1. Google your silhouette choice… Under “images” I googled “cinderella silhouette”

2. If you’re free handing, I recommend chalk or something you can wipe away… Make sure to test it out! My paper was already glittery so I was working with a less porous surface that wiped well.

don’t worry if you can’t free hand! Copy and paste the image into a word document and enlarge it to the size you want… Print it out and use as a template!
Draw out the figure and cut with sharp scissors


3. Once you’re happy with it, place it on the blank canvas and play around with where you like it best

4. Use the matte mod podge to brush the canvas and back of the cut out






5. Now break out the glitter mod podge and cover the whole canvas… It doesn’t take much!



6. Use your fingers to smooth the paper down and press out any excess mod podge… Then smooth again with brush

Keep an eye on it as it dries and continue to press it down where needed

7. Hang and then look at it a million times cause its soooo pretty!!!


Recovering a chair

Want an easy project that can liven up the room in an hour?
Recover your chairs!
I got a table and chairs from goodwill ages ago and am just finishing up the work in progress… Today I started recovering them
This is what I started with:


So I got to work.

Here’s the moves:

1. Inspect your chair… Find where the screws are to loosen them and remove the seat from the chair

2. Turn the seat over and look at what you’ve got
In my case, I used a small flat head screwdriver to pry the staples out and pliers when needed for the little boogers that wanted to stay in their home


3. Remove the fabric… This one was yucky… And glued to the wood. But I just used my handy dandy pliers to peel it off with some force



4. If your foam underneath is in good condition there’s no need to replace it… Position your seat and cushion underneath your fabric to figure out how you want it to look


let us take a break and talk material for a minute.
I had a brilliant idea at first and ordered oilcloth to cover the chairs thinking it would be great and waterproof… But then I researched a bit more and found that oilcloth has a lot of bad chemicals in it which is a no no on my list
Plus, it sticks to your skin like leather in a car on a hot summer day!
Alternative? Laminated cotton! More choices, softer, less sheen and waterproof! Score!

5. Wrap material around seat making sure to really stretch it and work around the corners by pulling and folding till it looks right! Be patient!

6. Want my secret to securing the laminated cotton?
Drum roll please…….

Duck tape! So nice! Those pesky staples just don’t pull enough for me! Duck tape works wonders! You can even cover it with some extra lining and staple over it just in case your great aunt Sarah decides to peek under the chair and inspect 😉



7. Screw the seat back into the chair and bam! You’re done!

Wanna see the finished product?


SO much better!

Shutter magazine holder


Super simple and fast!

I had some extra shutters (I know everyone says that in these tutorials and usually I never have these random things just lying around conveniently!) so I decided to put them to use!

Here’s the moves:
1. They were actually hinged together so I just unscrewed them and took the hinges off


2. To make the magazine holder, you take every other board out of the shutter so you can drape the magazine over each.
Get to know your shutter a bit by bending the board and figuring out how it might come out. I tried the power drill at first but then decided a good beating with a flat head screw driver would break it in half and then I could just pop the ends out of their holes



3. Decide if you’re going to decorate it by painting, stenciling, etc
I was too impatient and decided to do this later (another tutorial maybe?!)

4. Hang on the wall… I used two nails right under the top part but I think I’m actually going to nail or screw these into the wall once I’m done painting them

Optional: skip taking the boards out altogether and use as a letter holder! A great To-do board!


5. Take a credit card and smooth down from top to bottom
Them smooth from side to side
Concentrate on getting any air pockets out and frequently take steps back to observe the paper and find any sections you may have missed


Ruler Growth Chart

The beginning of endless pinterest projects started with this beauty. A growth chart that looks like a ruler? And for less than a trip through the drive through with family members shouting every item they can find? Done. Had to do it…now! Problem #1: It was 2am.

Problem #2 I was a little scared. I mean, working with wood and stain? I don’t know what I’m doing and cutting wood or darkening it is intimidating…but I was determined!

And you know what? It wasn’t that hard…

Here’s the moves:

1. Get a piece of thin plywood. First trip to the hardware store? Walk in like you own the place (if that’s your style) and head on over to the plywood section. Seriously though, you can ask…they’re used to us first-timers and you can ask an employee for almost any random thing and they can tell you what aisle it’s in.

2. Cut the wood. If you braved asking an employee for help, you might as well ask them where you can get the wood cut in the store. They can cut down the wood so you can at least handle it a little better loading it into the car. The size you’ll need for this project is based on your preference:

width: 1-2 feet

length: 6-7 feet

3. Don’t forget to grab a paint brush, some wood stain, a permanent marker (if you don’t have one) and some velcro command strips for hanging

4. Once you’ve got your wood cut to the desired length, stain it. You don’t need to do both sides and it doesn’t need to be perfect. Grab that brush and experiment. Make sure you have a rag near by…wiping up excess stain helps even out the color and makes the process a little easier.

5. Once the board is dry, grab a tape measurer and tape it to the board length wise. Here’s the tricky part… you want to leave room for where you’ll hang the board. If you have baseboards or want to the board not touching the ground, then I’d recommend start the tape measurer at 6 inches on the board. So the first mark on the board would be at 6 inches. Make sense?

6. Using a pencil, mark each line on the board. I marked every 6 inches with a longer line so I could make sure I knew where I was on the board when it came time for drawing the numbers.

7. Decide the length you want for each line. I did the longest lines for every 6 inches, and shorter lines for 3rd line in each foot and then the rest of the marks were the shortest.

8. Draw your numbers! Either freehand or print out the numbers in a font you like and trace them onto the board. Century font or something like that works well!

9. Go over everything in permanent marker

10. Ready to hang. Follow the instructions on the command strip and attach to the board. Remember to hang the board on the wall in the right spot up from the ground. In my case, the bottom of the board needed to be 6 inches up from the ground. Two people are recommended for this part!

Rustic Farmhouse Table: Part 1

I was in the market for a dining room table…and what I had my heart set on was a rustic look backed with gorgeous fabric dining chairs….which meant, I was in the market for a long time. These tables are expensive!
Then one day on the lovely Pinterest DIY section (is there any other section?) I found this beauty
I could hardly contain my excitement as I printed the instructions out and skipped along to tell my husband about our afternoon project….
Well, it’s been about two months now and we aren’t done yet. Life gets in the way… But the table is coming along beautifully!

We started out by cutting the wood according to the cut list provided
Let me paint you a picture:
We have limited tools… And me being cheap was able to convince my husband we could use what we have. My sweet man, bless him, went along with it. So, we used his truck bed as a table for the wood while I sit(this is not a joke) on the wood to hold it in place. Can you imagine what the neighbors thought? Yeah, we’re cool like that.
word of advice: we started with pretreated wood… We learned later that this is very bad wood… To cut, to breathe, to touch. Honestly, it shouldn’t be sold in stores.
So we did the safe thing… And started over

After the cut list was done, we sanded down the angles and parts and assembled the legs (aren’t they great?!)
We used screws but using nail glue in addition to screws is recommended

I sanded the legs once they were put together so I wouldn’t have to do it later

Next came the beams that attached to each ends of the legs… And the gorgeous diagonal supports that made me gasp when I first saw the table!

After that, I sanded the assembled table base and got to work on ebonizing the wood. I wanted a natural way to stain and was looking for a weather gray finish.
The two step process:
1. Boil about 10 tea bags in a pot and let steep for a coupe of hours and brush on wood
I was so excited cause I had some old tea from London… London tea stained table… Sounds lovely
This process preps the wood by increasing the tannins needed to react with the next step

2. After the wood is dry use a vinegar and steel wool solution… Seriously simple… Take a Glass jar with lid (mason jar or spaghetti jar) and add a piece of steel wool (0000 type) and fill the jar with white vinegar. Let it sit a few days and then brush it on the tea stained wood. The wood will darken immediately and continue to darken for days

The effect was definitely what I’d been going for but then I changed my mind… And sanded it down which gave it a really cool two toned effect

I decided to go with minwax oil stain in provincial and did a prestain conditioner on the wood and two coats of stain with a light sanding in between
For you impatient ones out there… Don’t skip the sanding process… This really makes all the difference in the end product and raises the grain each time

Now our table awaits its top. We originally bought the wrong size width for the top but took the wood back (home depot is good about that)
be careful when selecting wood, especially for the top. Lay the pieces next to eachother on a flat surface and try to fit them like a puzzle so there are minimal gaps… You can sand but only so much

Now as we approach fall, I’m ready to kick this into high gear!

to be continued…