A Little Bit of Christmas!

I will ALWAYS love Christmas.

I hope.

Are you ready?

DIY Chalkboard Menu Board

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I bought this frame and cut a thin piece of wood to fit the back of it. 

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I spray painted that with chalkboard paint, attached it using velcro dots (because I plan on using it for art later) and wrote out the menu for our cocktail party.

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It's currently hanging in the dining room over the buffet!  

I totally need to practice writing with chalk.  LOL!

The Eating Holidays are Coming!!!!

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It's that time of year again when I want to completely redo everything to get ready for the holidays.  I just get into the thought process that people are coming so I need to be ready.  LOL!  Not like people aren't always visiting year 'round mind you.  Year 'round is okay for what it looks like...but when them SAME people come for the holidays it has to be mo'betta.  Don't ask for a rationale behind this way of thinking because there is none.  Seriously.  None.

But I know you probably feel me and are looking around your dining room to see what you need to do too.  LOL!  Cuz that's how we roll.

This starts with me bringing home this piece.  It was soooooooo heavy and we just loaded that sucker up any way we could.  Just slid it all cross the back of the truck.  We got it home and maneuvered it to the garage where it stayed while I worked on it.  It was a challenge because whenever I needed to move it, I couldn't without The Robinator and his schedule made that hard to be consistent.  But I finally finished it.

I stripped the top layer of the finish off and then lightly sanded it.  Then I put two coats of Minwax weathered grey stain on the top of it.  For the base, I painted it with Dixie Belle's Haint Blue.    It's the loveliest neutral color with just the tiniest bit of blue in it.  So much so that you only see it as blue in perfect lighting conditions.  LOL!  I'm talking blinds closed and ceiling light on.  Any other times it looks white.

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Because I'm going for a rustic farmhouse look in there, I distressed it lightly.  I only did that after we decided to keep it because it was too heavy to take it to my shop.  I mean...this thing is crazy heavy and we're just not built for moving stuff that can't get scratched up.  We're more of the college students you find on Craigslist kinda movers where we just pray for the best and get the worst possible outcome.  Who knew I needed so much additional storage though?  I certainly didn't and now, I have much more.  I have a whole drawer dedicated to linen napkins so I'm not scrambling looking for 8 that match and end up having to use two sets of 4.  *sigh*  And who knew I had enough small placecard holders and napkin rings to fill an entire drawer?  Not me that's for sure!  But I do.  LOL!  So yeah...next thing is to find a rug I can live with, get some cushions made for those two barrel back chairs and some kinda window treatments which don't make the room feel stuffy and I'll be ready for the eating holidays!

DIY Rustic 6ft. Pipe Shelf

Our sofa isn't against the wall and there is a pretty good bit of space between the sofa and the wall so I decided I wanted to put a 6ft. long shelf back there under the mirror I have there currently.  (Totally plan on replacing the mirror soon for something much larger.) I'd posted a pin to Pinterest a long time ago showing a shelf made out of pipe flanges and pipes with wood and finally decided to make one.

So...off to Lowes I go to buy two pipe flanges (1/2"), two 10" pipe nipples (1/2"), two pipe end caps (1/2") and an 8ft. long 2" x 10" board that I had them cut 6ft. off.  

When I got home, I sanded the board and stained it with Minwax Dark Walnut stain.  Robby installed the pipe flanges on the wall using sheetrock anchors and the shelf fit perfectly between the flange and the end cap.  I used a sharpie to color in the head of the screws so it blended with the flanges better.  

I'm only using it for decorative purposes so I wasn't really worried about it being knocked off the pipes.  If this is a concern of yours, ask Mr. Google for solutions as there are plenty.

I like it and I'm going to make a wall of them soon, shorter ones though.  Probably three of them about 3ft. each.

DIY Blanket / Throw Ladder Pottery Barn Inspired

You, like me, probably have a blanket tossed across the back of your sofa or folded over an arm.  I was in Waco, TX at Chip and Joanna Gaines' store and my friend was looking for a blanket ladder.  When I saw the one she was buying, it was cute, but I was honestly thinking to myself...I could make something like that.

So I did.

And you can too!  Promises.

I went to Lowe's and bought two 8ft. long 2" x 2" for $1.98 each and had them cut 5ft. off each one and then cut the remaining pieces in half.  This way, you will leave with two 5ft. pieces and four 18" pieces.

Then...you get a box of self-boring wood screws, some sand paper and wood stain in the color you want.

So...I got home and laid out my pieces.  I wanted to be able to use the last rung so I made the measuring points begin at 6" and then every 12" after that so that there was 18" clearance at the bottom.  

I used a bit of wood glue on the joints because I wanted to make sure they didn't move.

Once you get it all put together, sand it as smooth as possible and then stain apply the stain you chose.  I did some in Minwax Dark Walnut and some in Minwax Golden Oak.  Seems everyone in my family wanted one once they saw mine.  *sigh* I put felt pads at the top of the back of them so they don't scratch the walls.  

I'm thinking about making one for the guest bathroom to put over the toilet to use for towels.  If I do that, I'll seal it with a waterproof clearcoat.  

Cool right?

I'll tell you what else was cool.  When I saw how much these cost on the Pottery Barn website knowing how much it cost me to make my own!  Pottery Barn Blanket Ladder 

Me make stuff.  You can make stuff too!  GO YOU!

Giant Outdoor Wreath

I wanted a gigantic wreath to put on the window in the middle of the top floor but Robby wouldn't let me be great.  He decided that since our ladder didn't reach that far safely...I could only put it where I could reach with him holding the ladder.  For some odd reason, he had a problem with me climbing off the tippy top of the ladder over the rail with a gigantic wreath and, since I couldn't hold the ladder while he climbed off the tippy top of the ladder over the rail with a gigantic wreath...well...you see how this ended.

Humph.

N.E.WAY.

I got a gigantic faux wreath, linked together sets of 3 unbreakable ornaments using green ornament hooks.  Added an outdoor bow and attached it NOT on the FABULOUS window where it would be perfect...but under it.  Safely.  

HUMPH.

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Me likey.  And it didn't cost a lot to make.  Which makes me likey it even moreso.  If only it was on the window...*sigh*

HOW IS YOUR DECORATING COMING?

UPCYCLED! Coat, Hat and Umbrella Stand for Foyer

I found this stand and it was super rickety.  Like...SUPER.  But you know how I feel about real wood so I knew it would be alright.  I took it apart and cleaned it really well and then put it back together solidly minus the rings.  Then...I primed it and spray painted it in antique white.  I painted the rings gold.  

Wanna know how much I paid for it?  $5.  LOL!  Yup...you read that right.  $5.  

GO ME!!!!!!!

How to Make Lovely Ceramic Coasters!

One day last week I was procrastinating.  STORY OF MY LIFE!  I went to sit down and focus with a drink in my hand.  I already had a mug on the only coaster on that table so then I started thinking that I need more coasters.  So, of course, I started online shopping for coasters.  You know...all the normal places, Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel, West Elm, etc.

I saw stuff I liked that was more than I wanted to pay and the stuff that I thought was reasonably priced was just BLAH.

BLAH, I SAY!  BLAH!

So then I decided to make my own.  No...seriously...I picked up my keys and went to get supplies to make my own.

I bought white 4 x 4 tiles for .12 cents each at Lowes, a book of scrapbook paper for $5, some epoxy and some cork squares.

Prep your surface.

1.  Cut scrapbook paper 10cm x 10cm.

2.  Brush tile with Modge Podge.

3.  Put paper on tile.

4.  Let dry for 15 minutes. (A few of them, I did a bit of extra with some paint so I had to let those dry longer.)

5.  Brush tile with another layer of Modge Podge.

6.  Let completely dry overnight.

THE NEXT DAY...

Prep your surface and turn a disposable plastic cup under each tile.

7.  Mix epoxy per directions.  (Don't mix more than a little less than half a cup of each bottle.)

8.  Pour in the center of each tile.

9.  Smooth with a spreader.  I use Bondo spreaders.  

10.  Use a foam brush or a folded index card to make sure the sides coated and there is none under the tile.

11.  Let dry for 24 hours.  (I actually let mine dry longer because I was waiting on the cork adhesive to arrive.)

12.  Add cork squares to bottoms.

13.  Tie something around 2 or 4 of them to give as gifts!  LOL!

So yeah...I think they are gorgeous!  Guess what everyone is getting for Christmas this year?  LOL!  Yup.  Just bought two boxes of 100 tiles for $12.00 per box.  GO ME!  Oh...and I made like 32 more Friday.  Crazy pants.

They are on my Etsy site if you decide to not make any but find you need a few extra coasters around your house too.  I put one on every nightstand and one per chair on or near every table.

Tips:

1.  Line the bottom edges with clear tape that you can pull off when it dries so that the drips don't harden underneath.

2.  If you do get hardened drips, you can sand those off.

3.  Cut all of your paper first with an exacto knife.

4.  Don't let epoxy dry anywhere dust or bugs can light on them.  (Yes...it happened.  Damn daddy long leg mosquito!) 

Depression Protection: Small Vintage Writing Desk Paired With Mirror

I found this small writing desk and thought how nice it would be in a guest bedroom where you don't have a lot of space for a real desk but would like to have something in there for your guests to do some work if they have to.  As I was working on it, I remembered a mirror I bought but didn't use in my mirror gallery.  The mirror was just hanging out in the garage behind some stuff so I pulled it out and coordinated the paint with the desk.  I chose Annie Sloan Duck Egg just to have a pop of color in the space it lands.

I have to say...it is super dooper cute now!

The desk has a small drawer for note cards and pens/pencils and a little pullout shelf in case you need a bit more space.  It's pretty perfect and now I'm wondering, as always, do I take it to my shop or do I put it in one of the guest bedrooms?  Hmmmmmmm...

LOL!

I used Howard Golden Oak Restor-A-Finish followed with Howard Feed-N-Wax on the top, drawer and shelf.  It makes it really pretty.  

I know you're saying to yourself...Monnie is always doing something and to that I say...I have to.  I absolutely, 100%, always have to be doing something and if I can't do what I truly WANT to do (make my own movies), then I guess it's cool having a hobby that can consume major blocks of time so you don't sink too far into yourself and get lost swimming around searching for shit you don't even know how to recognize.  I mean...I know that happens to some people and that it is just the way life goes but I'm pretty happy knowing that all I have to do is DO SOMETHING and I don't get too low in my the spirits.

And I do get low.  Very low.  Shit...how could I not sometimes?  

But only sometimes.  You can't let that mess become a habit.

Go do something okay?  DO.SOMETHING.  And it's perfectly okay if it's something you've never done before.  In fact...that's even better.  Having your brain consumed with a project and moving is a good thing.  When the noise gets to be too loud...go do something.  It is a for real solution.

Make Wood Wall Art Out of Anything Paper With Modge Podge!

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Step 1:  I wanted it to look old so I beat up a piece of wood I had from a shelf that I built with a hammer.

Step 2:  Sand it all over so you don't have splinters.

Step 3:  Stain.

Step 4:  Paint with Modge Podge.

Step 5:  Add paper items.

Step 6.  Let dry for 15 minutes.

Step 7:  Paint over whole thing with Modge Podge.

Step 8:  Cover with a clear satin topcoat for protection.

Step 9:  Let dry overnight.

Step 10:  Add sawtooth hangers to back.

Me likey.  I love how it looks really old.  

Have you ever done a Modge Podge project?  What was it?  

DIY Decorating Around a Flat Screen Television

I've had some stuff I've wanted to frame for a while now but never got around to doing it.  And...I had a super blank wall in the room I like to read in.  I have a television in there that I use to binge watch programs The Robinator doesn't want to watch like "Parenthood" and listen to music.  The room is comfortable and I've been finishing it slowly.  

That blank wall is opposite my mirror gallery and behind the television.  

Have I mentioned that I hate how televisions take up a wall?  Like...there never seems to be anything interesting about the wall the television is in front of.  I've seen where interior designers put a lot of art on the wall behind the television and I kind of liked that.  Then...I thought about other stuff that I like too and decided to make a mixed media wall.

Our friends, Kenny and Booth, have an amazing home.  Not because it's like this grand estate or anything (even though it is), but because everything in it has a story.  Anything your eyes light on has a unique history and story.  Walking through their home with one of them is like a cultural personalized museum tour and I love that everything has a story behind it.  They didn't just roll up to a furniture store and buy a matching living room set.  Every piece is unique and personalized to their personalities and the way they live their life.  They have fascinating art and bits of all sorts of amazing things to look at.  It's like a sensory party that you never want to leave. I could sit in their great room for hours and hours perfectly content.

And that's what I want.  I want spaces and things with personal and unique stories.  This room is the first one that I'm doing that way just to see how well it fairs and I am loving it so far.  I can't wait until I decide on window treatments because that will mean that I am finally finished with it as I've said they will be the last things I do in each room.

Michael's was having a 50% off sale on their wall frames so I picked up some of them for the vintage musical programs and art that I had.  I made a tray at an Annie Sloan paint techniques class I attended, did a canvas using stencils and added two wood pieces that I did myself.

The first one was an address sign with 13700 on it.  All my happiest memories in life so far were made at 13700.  It's where my husband and I first started out as a married couple and where we just grew into who we are.  It's where my family, framily and friends gathered all the time and where I've circled infertility, learned how to be settled and really just grew up.  

The second one is made from handwritten sheet music from a musical in the early 1900s.  "Swing Low," "Were You There?" and "Deep River."  I bought this years ago with the other pieces in Maryland.  

The tray was a fun time and I enjoyed meeting the ladies and learning about different painting techniques. So there is a story behind it too.  The vases were made using dollar store vases and dots and tape to create a design and then spray paint.  

I love the way it has all come together.  It's visually interesting and the television is no longer the focal point of the wall.  I even have room to add more pieces should I ever decide to.  I like that I decided to use the whole wall instead of just up high above the television.  

Antique Victorian Oak Eastlake Spoon Carved Vanity Dresser Chest

This piece?  SWOON!  1800s.  Astonishing.  Look at the finish before I started working on it!  

How amazing is that transformation????????  I only used Howard's Wax-N-Feed once I'd done the repairs and sanded out the insides of the drawers, followed with a quick dry rub of stain.   I used Brasso on the drawer pulls and man...it is soooooooo gorgeous to me!  LOVE.IT!!!!!

Cavalier Cedar Chest - FINISHED!

Remember that cedar chest I bought and bragged about HERE?  

Well, I finally got around to it.  I was scared because it's so awesome and I didn't want to screw it up.  I found out about these AMAZING products and, with some 0000 steel wool and a whole lot of elbow grease after the repairs were done, it looks amazing.  

I tell you what...of all the crap I know how to do and do pretty well, this has got to be my favorite thing to do.  It is just so soothing to put on an audiobook and have at it!

Speaking of audiobooks, have you added the Overdrive app to your phone yet and synced it with your library card?  I'm telling you...it's the best thing ever.  That and Hoopla.  LOVE.THEM!

Oh yeah...the products I used?  

1.  Howard Restore-A-Finish, Cherry:  I applied this with the steel wool.  I just REALLY got into it and it worked so well! 

2.  Howard Wax-N-Feed:  This product is my new favorite thing in the EN.TIRE.WORLD!  All of my stuff will be waxed and fed by this stuff from now on at least once a year!  This stuff is amazing!   

Create a Mirror Gallery with $30 Worth of Vintage Mirrors

I've wanted to do a mirror gallery for a while now.  I considered doing it along the stairs but didn't have all the mirrors I needed when I was ready to do the gallery along the stairs so I used the typical pictures in frames there.

But I still wanted a mirror gallery and decided it would be awesome in my woman cave, which is coming along quite nicely and is the perfect place to read and surf when the other human in our home watches all things sports related.  LOL!

So I've been buying cool and interesting mirrors whenever I saw them.  This entire lot cost me about $30.  

Some needed more fixing than most but most just needed to be painted, details highlighted and then distressed using Annie Sloan Dark Wax.  The large one had a big chunk out of it and it was almost broken in two at the top so I had to glue it and then use some Lightweight Filler to fix the big missing chunk.  I used antique gold paint and dark wax and made the "new chunk" look like the rest of the frame.  GO ME!  That was really cool.  I find that I'm really enjoying fixing stuff that other people wouldn't even try to fix.  Tomorrow I'm fixing a broken leg spindle on a cane seat chair...but hey...another post.  

MOVING ON!

I put some Mod Podge in matte over the paper to give it a more finished look since the paper was faded.  I considered replacing the paper with something else but I liked how it was faded in some spots.

I decided to paint two of the mirrors white which made no sense to anyone but me.  Hell...didn't even make sense to me at the time but I wanted to do it so yeah...that's what I did.

Then...I played around with placement on the floor until I had it like I liked it.  

When I was ready to hang them, I measured from end to end and put the measuring tape down in front of the sofa at the measurement.  Then...I hung the big one first and next...the bottom right one.  I filled out the far right column first and then the middle and worked the rest in.  I only made one change from the layout that Dr. Punkin approved.  Don't tell her I said that though.  She'll get the big head.

So yeah...for $30, I got a pretty cool mirror gallery.  This room is coming along nicely.  Just need to frame some art that I plan on hanging in here and decide on window treatments.  I want another chair or two but only if I can find the exact chairs I want.  I'm crazy about these chairs:

That chair is SO.SICK!  I need two of them.  PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEASE UNIVERSE LET ME ROLL UP ON TWO THAT I CAN REUPHOLSTER TO PERFECTION!

Okay, okay...oh...wait...that's it.  LOL!  

Yall like my mirrors?  Do the white ones throw you off?

How to fix chipped wood or veneer.

If you have nice pieces at your home with chips or broken veneer, you'll be surprised at how easy these things are to fix.  I've always wanted a porch rocker from Cracker Barrel but have never pulled the trigger.  I was at a consignment store and saw one and well...I had to have it. Solid wood?  Check.  And you know how I feel about solid wood.  HOOOOOOOOOTY HOOOOOOO!

I got a really good deal on it because one of the rockers had a chipped end and needed some fixing so hey...I can fix stuff.  LOL!

This stuff is pretty cool in that it brought me back to my childhood when I mixed it up.  It smelled exactly like the stuff my daddy used to use to fix our boat and, I guess that's exactly what it was.  Lightweight Body Filler.  Has that ever happened to you?  A smell takes you back?  It is a weird and cool experience huh?

If you're using this, you'll need one thing for sure, Bondo spreaders.  These are the only things which the hardened body filler won't stick to permanently.  Whatever you mix it with and on/in will be ruined forever so yeah...whip out a paper plate or bowl and a plastic spoon.

After mixing it up, glob it on whatever you're fixing pretty good and then use the spreader to smooth it evenly.  It will dry pretty quickly so please make sure you work fast.  Once it's dry...SAND IT SMOOTH.

Then...well...paint it and make it purdy.  You like purdy don'tcha?  Yeah...you do.  I painted the rocker in Annie Sloan English Yellow with a bit of a stenciled detail in Annie Sloan Pure White.  Yes.  It makes me happy.  :)

Now that I have a rocker...maybe I'll take up knitting.  LOL!  

Refinished and Painted Vintage Windsor Wood Arm Chair

This might be my favorite piece yet.  It is so solid and fun now that it has been restored to awesomesauceness.  Yup.  That's a word.  Look it up.  Didn't find it?  Oh...my bad.  :)

This lil dude was busted and disgusted.  The bottom was broken and there was a ton of just...GRIMEY GRIME on the arms.  Dried on grimey grime.  Just gross.  But...as we've covered before...solid wood can be sanded and cleaned up so well so I repaired it with wood glue, contact cement and wood filler and then got out my palm sander to remove all the grime off it.

Then I painted it but it was just regular and I wanted it to be fun.  This will probably end up in the kids' guest room once I find the perfect size desk so, of course, I wanted it to be neat and indestructible too.  LOL!  I used some of my stencils and did a rustic French numbering stencil on the seat using chalkboard paint but it looked too "new" and I didn't like it.  To combat this I mixed one part paint to two parts water in a wide mouth jug and shook it up really well and then applied to the seat wiping it off almost immediately with blue shop towels for a white washed look.

The feet on it were rusted and non-removable so I taped the legs up and hit them with some gold paint.  To finish it, I sprayed it down well with Minwax polycrylic three times.  Should be good to go.

And now it's so cute...I might not want a kid sitting in it.  Indestructible or not.  So there.  LOL!  

 

Solid Oak Round End Table Refinished in Annie Sloan Country Grey with Stained Top

I'm totally beginning to have a thing for round coffee tables and end tables.  Not plain ones mind you...but some with a bit of oomph.  What is oomph you ask?  Hell if I know...I just know it when I see it.  

When I found this table it had a busted leg.  Totally ew.  Turns out, broken wood pegs are relatively simple to fix though.  You take a drill and drill through the broken peg until the hole is completely cleaned out.  Then?  Add some wood glue and bang in a new wood peg.  You can get a pack of like 10 of them for under $2.  Crazy huh?  When I think of all the things I've encountered with a busted wooden peg and it could have been fixed for like TWENTY CENTS???????  

LAWD... SHAME! SHAME! SHAME!

So...this was pretty basic.  Like...seriously.  When you use Annie Sloan chalk paint you don't have to sand it so I only sanded the top because I wanted to stain it and to stain something...ya gotta remove the current finish so the wood can absorb the Minwax Dark Walnut stain.  There was just no way I was painting over that gorgeous inlaid top.  It was just so neat to me that it was laid in quarters like that.  The beading along the side was a detail I wanted to make pop so after painting the base in Annie Sloan Country Grey (my favorite color it seems)  and under the top, I rubbed dark wax under the top.  As a protectant, I really like General Finishes High Performance Top Coat in satin.  I think I did two coats on the top.  Anything vertical I've learned to use a polyacrylic spray so that's what I did there.  The piece came out so lovely and man is this thing SOLID!  It won't move unless you actually move it.  A simple bump won't sent it sprawling into the wall to make a knick in your paint.  WHOOOOOHOOOOOOOOO!

You'll find that round end tables are pretty versatile for the space you're looking to fill too.  Squares and rectangles are pretty...um...finite.  I guess that's a good way to put it.  If not...pick some words, put them together and VIOLA!  Hopefully you know what I'm trying to say.  LOL!

Refinished Nightstand Between Twin Beds in Kids' Guest Room

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When looking for pieces to refinish, do yourself a favor and choose REAL WOOD pieces only.  Don't get cute and get stuck with some particle board you won't be able to do anything with except paint.  Nothing wrong with painting, of course, but the great thing about real wood is that if you screw up...you can start over.  No problem.  If you don't like it...you can start over.  No problem.  

This piece had something I hate.  A non-working "drawer."  Like...there was a drawer pull on it and a fake line to simulate a drawer but it was just a side.  I was looking for a nightstand to put between the kids' guest bedroom.  It has twin beds and not enough room for two end tables so I needed to be pretty specific with size.  Also...I didn't want it to be too tall.  Initially, I was going to use a bookcase but struggled with lamp placement.  Since it's a guest room, something with a drawer isn't necessary and I've since put a low basket with a liner under it to hold books.  

Still working on the room for now, of course.  I'm planning to do a light colored wall behind the beds and decorate it with stars.  Why?  I like stars.  Duh.  LOL!  Funny because my nephew is currently visiting and he has his own ideas of design and implemented them accordingly.  *sigh*  He's quite proud of his handiwork.  What say you?  Think he has a future in interior decor?

The piece was scratched up like crazy so I removed the hardware on the faux dresser and covered the holes and the lines with wood filler that can be painted.  Then...I sanded the top really well to get as many of the scratches off the top as possible.  

I wanted a "front" so I used contact cement to add a pair of latex appliques to it.  I didn't decide this until I'd already put a coat of paint on it.  Next time, I'll know to make the decision BEFORE I've started.  Will make it a lot easier.  I added a bit of gold Rub N' Buff to the appliques so that they would stand out a bit.  I did the same to the bottom ring on the legs.

I put three coats of General Finishes High Performance top coat on the top to make it virtually indestructible and a dark wax along the base and legs for more of a shiny patina.  

I paid $5 for this table so yeah...even if one of the nephews Hulk smashes another one on top of it...I'm good.  LOL!