Music Side Table

>> 10.27.2015

For about six months now I've been handling social media for a local store called Pickers Paradise. The name alone makes you want to go, doesn't it? Pickers is part of a larger business called Reliable Estate Services LLC. They are an estate liquidation company, and when a loved one is dying or has died, they come in and clear out the home and clean it up so that the family can focus on spending their last days with their loved one and/or not have to worry about the home while they are grieving. Picker's Paradise is the store front where they sell all the furniture and household items obtained from the clean-outs they do. It's a really cool place, a lot like a thrift store, but not quite.

Attached to Picker's Paradise is a cool little store called Finders Keepers by Monica.  Monica is an awesome and talented interior designer and her shop is full of beautiful new and vintage items. Her favorite thing is refinishing furniture and she is insanely good at it. In fact, when people come to me wanting me to refinish a piece for them, I refer them to her. I can't handle the pressure of refinishing something for someone, but she is a pro at it.

For the past month now I've also been helping them with pricing and tagging the new merchandise that comes in, which is my own kind of paradise! Since I'm in the store more often I get to see all the new stuff that comes in, and my mind is always working on how I could fix up this piece, or put this with that to make something new. It's a great way to keep my creativity flowing!

A couple of weeks ago this small side table came into the store, and around the same time one of the owners mentioned that they had gotten in a bunch of old piano sheet music. So I decided to put the two together and turn this boring little guy into a fun music table.

All photos in this post courtesy of my lame iPhone camera. 

Monica at Finder's Keepers sells a great brand of chalk paint called Country Chic, so naturally I wanted to use it for this project. With chalk paint, you CAN paint on a wood surface without sanding or priming. But I decided to sand it down so that the paint really had something to hold onto.

After I sanded it was time to paint. I chose a dark gray called Rocky Mountain, which I love! I did two coats of paint, with about a 30 minute dry time between coats.

After the paint was dry I took mod podge and painted a thick layer onto the area where I wanted to put the sheet music. I then laid the music on and coated over the paper with mod podge.

After it was completely dry, I did a layer of polyurethane over the entire piece for durability. And after I took the pictures, I decided to distress the finish a little, which turned out awesome. But since I don't have a picture of that you'll have to go into the store and check it out!

It's for sale at Picker's Paradise for $35. Go check it out and find an inspiration piece for you to work on as well!


Restoring a Cedar Chest - Part 2 and Reveal

>> 10.16.2015

I posted part one of this restoration a month ago and now I'm finally getting around to posting part two! When we left off I had sanded the entire piece down and was waiting on the veneer to be delivered. I also needed to glue down two corners of the top where the veneer had separated from the board underneath.

With some Elmer's wood glue and a thin water color brush I carefully lifted the veneer and put a layer of glue between the particle board and veneer.  I then clamped the corners down and in about an hour the glue was dry enough to remove the clamps. Wood glue is pretty great stuff. So are clamps.

Next I took my two inch veneer strips, cut them to the proper length, and then cut them in half horizontally to make 1" strips . Why I didn't take pictures of these next two steps, I don't know. Maaaaybe because I took the top off its hinges and took it into our very un-photographable master closet to iron on veneer. And you really don't want to see that.

But honestly, I was very nervous about putting on the veneer, but it really was so easy. Follow the directions on the packaging and you're good to go.

Once it was ironed on I took an x-acto knife and trimmed up the parts that were a little wider than the top. This stuff is super easy to cut.

Here's what it looked like after adding the veneer. Don't worry about the color difference. It all evens out in the end.

I had a "make it work" moment however. When inspecting the piece I didn't notice that the edge of veneer on the front top was loose. It was too brittle to try and glue-on, but when I tried to take the entire strip of veneer off completely, it wouldn't budge. Just that one little part. So I removed it and luckily there was a piece of solid wood in front, unlike the sides which was ugly particle board.

So I sanded it down as best I could and hoped that it would blend well when I stained it, and it did. 

I did one final sanding and wipe-down of the piece, and completely cleaned the work area in preparation for staining. Then with a soft rag I rubbed on one coat of Varathane Early American stain. I had to work fast because it was a hot, dry day and the stain dries fast, so I didn't get pics of that process either. Basically I'm bad at remembering to take pictures when I get caught up in a project.

I did get a shot of me applying the poly though! I used this great new stuff called Varathane Triple Thick. I LOVE this stuff. 

Don't you love the heart in the wood grain? It's a happy cedar chest. 

Here's the finished product! 

And a very impressive before and after, if I do say so myself.

I'm not sure we are going to keep it in the master bedroom. Although it's nice to have for storage and it's a really pretty piece, I think it's a little too large for the room. What do you think?


DIY Wood Bud Vases

>> 10.12.2015

I love the simplicity of my fall table, but I recently discovered BloomNation, an online marketplace that supports local florists, and was so inspired by the many interesting and creative flower arrangements on their site that I wanted to find a way to incorporate flowers into my own fall tablescape.

Everyone loves a beautiful flower centerpiece, but when it's time to eat, it just doesn't make sense to keep them on the table. We always move them off so we can see each other when we eat, and... because we have kids. Enough said. So I thought it would be fun to create little individual vases so that we could keep the flowers on the table and enjoy them throughout the meal.

To begin, I bought a $2 furring strip from Lowes and measured and carefully taped every 3.5". I then used a hacksaw and followed the tape lines to make my cuts so that I didn't go wonky. 

I then sanded down the pieces of wood and drilled holes about 2 inches deep. 

 I wanted to paint the bottom of the wood a metallic copper, so to get a clean line, I taped the bottom portion, and then another tape line right above that. I then removed the bottom piece of tape to reveal the area where I wanted to paint, and moved that up to the top of the wood to protect it from overspray.

Next I sprayed two coats of Copper Krylon Foil Metallic Spray Paint and let it dry completely. 

I then bought a bunch of daisy mums and added one or two to each bud vase. 

My kids love these vases, and along with the copper name tags I tied onto our glasses, er, mason jars, it creates a personalized space for every person at the table. 

BloomNation supports local florists by showcasing their unique bouquets in an online marketplace. They are a refreshing change from the standard and sometimes unoriginal selection of your typical flower delivery services. Go check them out!


Front Porch Lovin'

>> 10.06.2015

We have a large front porch and sadly it never get's any love. Most of the year it is a blank space, so I thought I'd spruce it up for fall, but try to keep the costs low. 

I bought three pumpkins ($3, $4 & $6 ea.) and three bunches of mums ($5 ea.) at Walmart. I bought a new doormat for $6, a cool galvanized tub at Ross for $8, (crazy cheap prices for both!) and I checked out Salvation Army and found a cool basket for $3.  I used a white metal pot I already owned as well as my antique milk jug from my Dad's ranch, and I hung my felt flower wreath that I made two years ago, because I still really love it, dangit. Lastly, I bought two stems of grass from Hobby Lobby for $15 to put in the basket and milk jug to create some height, and that was it! In all I spent around $60.

I secretly love driving by my house and looking at the front porch. It makes it feel so homey and festive! Is it strange that I am stalking my own front porch?


to BUY or DIY?

>> 10.05.2015

Have you seen this cool tray at Target by Nate Berkus? I love it like crazy. But it's $35. 

So the other day I was at a thrift store and found this octagonal wood tray and thought it would fun to try and copy the Berkus tray. 

First I covered it in Citristrip to get all the previous stain off. 

Then I sanded it down to get all the excess stain off. Well, most of it anyway!

Then I stained it with Early American stain by Varathane. In hindsight I wish I would have gone lighter to begin with. I didn't worry about staining the base because I was going to paint it silver.

 I then went about cutting and fitting strips of iron-on veneer 2" banding that I had leftover from a restoration project I was working on.

 It was kind of a pain because the strips were bendy.

In the original, between the wood slats are are strips of pewter or another silver-ish metal. 

I didn't have the means or inclination to try that, so instead I taped the edges of the tray and wrapped up the rest and sprayed it with Rustoleum metallic silver spray paint. 

 Because the silver was really blue and fake looking and I wanted it to be more pewter, I added a bit of stain to the top to make it look more like the original.

Then I went about ironing on the veneer strips. My iron was a tad too big to fit into the octagonal shape, so it was a precarious job, but I made it work. 

 Lastly, I added a coat of Varathane Triple Thick polyurethane and it was complete!

Because I had all the supplies on-hand except for the tray, this project only cost me $7. Pretty great, right?

However, let's say you don't have a $7 tray, or veneer strips, three types of stain, silver spray paint, or sealer. Would it be worth it to DIY, or easier to buy?  

Well here's the break down: 

The veneer was $8 on Amazon
Stain runs you $5.50 ea. x 3 if you want a variation of color
I even found you a potential tray on ebay for $12.  

Add all that together and it equals $54! So definitely in this case, it's waaaaay better to buy, not DIY. 

BUT if you happen to have these supplies already, or you can beg, borrow or steal all the things you need, then I would consider this a project worth trying! It's always fun to stretch yourself, try something creative, and be able to say, "I did that!"  


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