Raised Garden DIY

Want to know what we’ve been up to?
It’s getting hot where we are so I’ve been inspired to start a vegetable garden before summer hits.
Something about having a put together backyard to enjoy….
We’ve got an interesting flower bed (well dirt bed) in our patio that’s an L-shape. Besides my dream idea of a built in BBQ, I decided a raised garden bed would be a good alternative.
I looked at doing stone for the walls but it is so expensive… And who knows if I can even garden?!
Cinder blocks were an option too but I just don’t like the look… Or cutting anything hard like that.
So, after lots of research, I decided on rot resistant cedar to make the walls.
Here’s the beginning:

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It’s fast and easy to work with… It’s the details that have been a challenge …

Stay tuned for updates!

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!

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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?

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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:

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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)

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

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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

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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.

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

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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…

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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!

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