Little oak side table....

I am so bummed. I really wanted to share my little laundry room door project I mentioned last week. The only thing holding me up is the glass. I called and the glass came in, but it was wrong. DANG IT!!!

So today I am just going to share a simple little table. 

One of the reasons I needed a flea market space was because I was always finding cool little pieces at my apartments. I would haul home a table or dresser or chair and give it a cute little make over...and then give it away! 

I don't mind giving things away to friends and family...but after awhile I did have to come to terms with the fact that I was spending money (not to mention a lot of time) on these little the "rehab to resell" became a necessity. That, and I tend to haul home A LOT of little goodies from auctions and as I have said before, if I didn't have the flea market outlet (and wasn't a tad OCD) I could easily become a hoarder.

I love auctions...and I love restoring furniture. What can I say! 

Anywho, I found this little solid oak table in an apartment. It was super sturdy and had already been stripped so it really just needed a little TLC.

I did scrub the top with my acetone/lacquer thinner mixture just to clean it up a bit. Then I stained the top with a walnut stain and applied 3 coats of tung oil finish. After that cured well, I taped and papered off the top and gave the bottom a KSTP treatment. (For those who are new, that is Kilz/sand/tack cloth/paint. I used my current favorite Valspar teal color. 

New life for an old, abandoned table destined for the dumpster. Now it is a perfect little side table for the living room or even a bedside table.

Looking back at all the projects I have shared, it is easy to see that I still struggle with painting EVERYTHING....seems I almost always try to preserve a little "natural wood" if I can. Personally, I think the paint "updates" the piece and the stained wood gives it warmth.  I am working on a desk and a fireplace surround right now and both have stained tops and painted bases....guess that's just my thang! 

Hopefully the RIGHT glass will come in this week and I can share my door next week! I can't's going to be awesome!!!

In the meantime, pull your least favorite piece of furniture into the garage or yard and give it a little KSTP're gonna love it! 

Bedside table makeover....

I spent several days this week projecting on a few pieces I picked up at auctions, as well as a little project here at the house.

I can't wait to share the home project...but I will have to. Even veteran DIYers flub every blue moon! In this case, I neglected to get a quote and delivery time frame on a "simple" piece of glass. Let's just say one should not fall in love with something if they have no idea how much it REALLY cost. I should know better...but by the time I called and got an estimate, it was too late. The vision was set and the damage was done!

I will have to wait until next week to share this AWESOME project....and in the meantime I will have to live with a big hole in my utility room door...stay tuned! (no it is not a doggy door!)

So this week I will share one of the little projects I managed to get done. I usually wait until I have 3-4 pieces to work on before I drag out the stripper and paint! Normally it is easier but it is just soooo hot! Working all day in the garage can really be draining!

Last week I bought these two little bedside tables at an auction.

Dark, dated and the drawers were a little wonky. But overall they were in pretty sound shape. 

The drawers were an easy fix...the metal glides were a tad bent so I took a pair of pliers and straightened them out...perfect. 

Usually I paint the tops of these pieces, but this time I decided to try stripping them...what harm could be done? Sure enough, the old poly finish just melted off (using this process!) leaving a beautiful wood veneer top perfect for a little walnut stain and tung oil finish.

I painted the existing brass hardware with a gold metallic paint. I gave the drawers a little KSTP treatment with a pretty "teal" spray paint, chalk painted the cabinets and distressed them a bit before sealing with a spray poly.

Cute as a bug's ear!!!!

These little tables fit perfectly in my commitment to stay "small." They still take a little time and energy, but they are MUCH easier to move around than the bigger pieces! 

And this is just ANOTHER example of how you can take a dark, dated, wonky piece of furniture and give it new life!!!

It is time to scale down!!!!

I have made some hard decisions regarding the direction of my "rehab for resale" projecting. For years I have tackled anything and everything...large buffets and china hutches and major upholstery projects Pieces like this that I didn't even take decent pictures of and share!

I made little chalkboards out of the doors!!! 

These pieces are big and bulky and take a lot of time and muscle.

Upholstery pieces (like this precious barrel chair) take a lot of time and material. On major upholstery projects, I barely get my money back on the materials, let alone my time. (If the cost of having something reupholstered knocks your breath out, try it sometime!)

And while I love doing what I do, I can't keep GIVING things away when I have so much time and money invested! (Ask my neighbors...if they say they love something, I usually give it to them!)

So...the big decision. From now on I am only going to do "smaller" pieces...little tables, wooden chairs, a few stools here and there...maybe a few dressers and such. And of course my first love, mid century pieces...big or small! 

This table was a tad neighbor bought it at a garage sale and wanted to know if I wanted to tackle it!

I love the old mahogany furniture and I love pieces that allow me to preserve some of the natural wood and still update with a little paint. 

I removed the sides of the top that fold down and filled the screw holes with toothpicks and wood glue so the screws would reset tight. I STRONGLY suggest you do this EVERY time you remove old screws (it is also a great tip if you have a door hinge screw that is loose or stripped!) Takes very little time and will save you a thousand frustrations!

I stripped the top with 1/2 acetone and 1/2 lacquer thinner (see a full tutorial here!) and then applied 3 coats of tung oil finish. No stain...that is mahogany it all it's naked glory! Just breath-taking!!!

I cleaned the base with ammonia and water and then mixed up a batch of "plaster paint" with a "sample" paint from my den makeover. A little distressing and then sealed with spray poly.

This table is perfect for a small space but can easily be expanded if you need a bigger table!

Again, not really "my style" but the color is all the rage right now....evident by the fact that it didn't last a week. And while it was a "hot mess" when I got it, I loved bringing it back to life. It was a very enjoyable piece to work on! 

And THAT is why I do what I do. "Finding the treasures" lurking under years of neglect and abuse. 

It really is what I love to do! So I will continue to do what I love to do but I am going to FORCE myself to stick with the smaller pieces that allow me to enjoy my work without breaking my back! 

We'll see how long this lasts!!!

Since I have posted a recipe in a while, I thought I would share a new roast recipe that is. to. die. for! Check it out here!

HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!! And one little project!

I have been working so hard at the apartments the last few weeks, I decided to stay home and stay out of the heat today...HA!!! I started "projecting" before 8 this morning and was ready to pass out by the time I knocked off for the day! 

I got a lot done and even managed to finish a few little projects. I thought I would share one little table that really turned out well. 

This is a prime example of an old dated piece of furniture that just needed a little love and attention! It is SUPER heavy and well constructed...worth the time and effort to give it a new life!

I was pretty certain the stain and finish had been sprayed on together. Honestly, that makes it super easy to strip because all I did was coat the top with Citristrip, scraped off the majority of the old stain/finish with a putty knife, and then scrubbed it with the 1/2 acetone 1/2 lacquer thinner mixture (you can see a full tutorial here)....cleaned right up!!! 

I restained the top with a walnut stain, popped the little brass plates off and gave the base a KSTP treatment....beautiful!!

I thought about leaving the brass plates off or maybe even painting them. But honestly, I like them...they are different and I always love "different." 

I've said it time and again...sometimes all a piece of furniture needs is a little facelift! Don't we all after a few!

I finished several other projects...another table, a butcher block pig (too stinking cute!), a shelf thingy...a lot to share in the next few weeks!!! And still a lot to work on!!! My life would be so much easier if I had a big air conditioned shop!

HAPPY 4th of July!!!!

Sometimes I think the 4th of July is a little like Christmas...we get so caught up in the celebration, we forget the REAL meaning of the holiday!

This weekend most of us will spend time with our families and friends. We will grill, watch fireworks, head out to the ball park, go to a rodeo, or cruise the lakes! 

Please take a minute to think about the REASON you can spend time with your loved ones, grill burgers and hot dogs you bought at the market, watch fireworks, take in a ball game, enjoy a rodeo or head out to the lake.

Because over 200 years ago the birth of this nation, and those who have defended this great country over the last two centuries, gave us those freedoms! 

I am somewhat envious of all the wonderful 4th of July decor in the blogosphere. So beautiful. I do very little to decorate for this holiday but I did decide to add a few little pops of red, white and blue here and there! 

This arrangement had some beautiful little white flowers but they haven't faired well with the drier weather and my neglect! 

I always try to have something "holidayish" by the front door!

I hesitate to even share my pillows. Long story short, I found a cloth flag while cleaning out an apartment. I didn't want to just toss it in the dumpster so I brought it home and washed it.

I use to have a flag hanger on my front column...unfortunately, the USC flag I use to fly was very heavy and every time it was windy, the metal holder would break. I think I replaced it 3 times before I finally gave up. I no longer have a flag holder.

So...what to do, what to do. I "Googled" whether it was appropriate to cut up an American flag. I know the proper way to dispose of a flag is to cut it up and burn it, but I wasn't wanting to actually dispose of it...I wanted to use it.

There is a lot of debate out the end, I decided that my intent is to show patriotism with respect for the flag. This is not a room where we "lounge" this time of the year and this is the only piece of furniture in the house where the animals are not allowed. So they will get little, if any, use. 

...I made flag pillows. I already had the down forms so it was just a matter of making the covers.

I know I will get some criticism for "destroying" an American flag. If my Grandmother were still alive, she would probably thrash me (career military wife!) But in all honesty, I believe I have taken a perfectly good flag and "repurposed" it, with the greatest respect, to give it new life and honor. 

Enjoy your holiday weekend. Please be safe and don't forget to take a minute to remember WHY we are celebrating this day! 

June 2015...and MORE chairs!

June 2015 will go down as an eventual month for me. 

For the first time in 34 years, I have no minor children. Katie turned 18 this week and it is official...ALL my children are old enough to vote, be drafted and be sentenced to an adult correctional facility.

We finally had to put our wonderful lab, Ginger, to sleep. She was 13. It was time but that didn't make it any easier. This is the second precious pet we have lost this year. Heart breaking.

Ginger and Cleo....Christmas 2014

And for the first time in years I really felt the sting of Father's Day. My dad has been gone for 20 years but this year was, for some reason, tougher than normal. He died exactly one week before Father's Day so this time of the year is always kind of a "double whammy."

Then there is the accidental "new member" of the family....and may explain some weird typos in my posts. 

I keep a trailer at my apartments for abandoned furniture. A mama cat set up household in the furniture with her 4 babies. A few weeks ago, we THOUGHT we made sure all the kitties were off the trailer before we took it to the dump....only to find two of them still on the trailer when we got there. I managed to grab one and throw it in the truck, but the other ran under the truck. We spent 30 minutes crawling around on the nasty red clay/garbage ground trying to get that stupid kitten, only to have it bolt. Gone. I was heart broken. But to make matters worse, I could not find the other kitten ANYWHERE in my truck. Both Matt and Katie helped me darn near dismantle the interior of the was not there. I left the windows down the entire day and even put out some food just in case. 

THREE VERY HOT DAYS LATER I went to the truck in the evening...and there was that silly kitten sitting on the back of the seat. It had been in a hot truck, with no food or water, for THREE DAYS! I couldn't believe it survived and neither could the vet.

Soooooo....we have a new "miracle kitty." And being the softy that I am, I can't bring myself to take it to the shelter. Especially with all the guilt I feel for losing her sibling and in spite of my puffy, itchy eyes.

Yes, she is a she. About 8 weeks, according  to the vet, but if that is the case, she is a tiny kitty.

Cleo thinks it is hers and tries desperately to carry it around in her mouth...which means the poor kitten is constantly soaked in dog slobber. It is pathetic, but she tolerates it for some reason. And typing on the computer is like a game to her...hence the typos. She's a funny kitty! 

We haven't named her yet...I keep hoping someone will want her and take her so I will quit itching and sneezing. Why bother...if the three other cats haven't killed me by now, this little half pint won't either! I like Mimi...Katie does not. Mitchell suggested Kitty, but we have a Ms. Kitty because she was another "rescue" that was only suppose to be here until I had time to take her to the shelter...around 9 years ago. So he suggested Little maybe "Litty."

ANYWHO!!!!! When I am having "emotional turmoil" my tolerance for some things is darn near nil. So when I went up to my booth last week, I was annoyed by a few things that have been sitting in there for MONTHS...specifically two chairs. So I threw them in the back of the truck, brought them home and gave them a quick makeover! 

The first is a little folding chair I chalk painted eons ago...I had two and sold one, but this one has hung around far too long. I gave it a little KSTP (Kilz/sand/tack/paint) treatment with white spray paint...then I covered the seat with some leftover fabric from this chair makeover!

The other is a walnut mid-century chair. It is really difficult for me to paint over walnut...but the chair has been in my booth for months as is, and if I am going to sell it, I have to give it a little "pow treatment." Again, a KSTP treatment and new upholstery...someone is going to love it!

I know I make these little chair makeovers sound easy. And usually they are! Chairs are one of the easiest pieces of furniture to "update"...especially ones that just need a little paint and fabric on the seat.

But OCCASIONALLY I bring home a real kicker. One I KNOW is going to take a LOT of time and attention! This chair is a prime example!

I is a HOT MESS!!! I have NO doubt that several people at the auction where thinking "What the heck?" (Including Brian...but again, I think he now trusts my judgment!) But I was so excited I couldn't stand it! 

I was pretty sure, from a quick inspection on a broken piece (that was there, thank God!), that it was most likely mahogany. At this point, after just a tiny bit of research, I THINK it is a Victorian Eastlake arm chair. But I honestly don't know because so far I haven't found anything just like it...only similar. Castors on the front legs and not on the back and hand carvings and stamps on the wood.

And of course the BILLIONS of little nails that were used for the upholstery! ALL of which had to be removed!

I knew the finish was masking some beautiful wood so I couldn't wait to start stripping it! In this picture you can see where I applied the stripper (used in this tutorial) on the left....

Here is the "before" and "after" of the side...

The intricate carvings require some real work, but as I have said before, the very best tool for stripping old finish out of carvings and corners is a good ole' toothbrush! I still have a lot of stripping and scrubbing to do but after two afternoons, I have all 100,398,365,003 nails out and a tiny bit of the frame stripped! 

The fabric is in such bad shape, I honestly don't know what it is...and I wonder if it didn't originally have another fabric on it since there are SOOO many nail holes. Many of the Victorian chairs I have seen have a velvet fabric....what to do, what to do!

My point...not all chairs are easy...some require a little more time and attention. I am going to take my time with this one and there is a good chance I won't sell it. At least not until the next little treasure comes along!

A few simple chair makeovers!

I usually have several chairs piled in my garage waiting on a makeover. The reason they get "piled" is because most require, at the very least, a smidge of sewing. My LEAST favorite thing to do! (Okay, root canals are pretty bad, but at least they give you drugs!) I usually wait until I have 2-3 projects that need sewing before I drag out the sewing table and get it all done at once! 

Right now I still have two of the mid century dining chairs waiting to be sewing needed, but they are small and tend to get pushed aside...time and again.

And honestly, I had intended to refinish these and keep them but that plan didn't work out so I refinished and sold two of them! 

I have a mid century lounge chair I desperately want to refinish and reupholstery, but I bought it to keep so I have no doubt the selection of an appropriate upholstery will take months!

I did manage to get two chairs finished over the last few weeks.

The first is a simple little maple chair I picked up at Salvation Army.

A "tired and tattered" little thing to say the least. 

I decided to go simple...a little chalk paint and distress on the frame (followed by a coat of poly to seal it) and drop cloth for the seat. This is the first time I have used gimp for trim, but it turned out nice. I just hot glued it over the gathered skirt. 

I didn't even bother to make a back cushion...I like the look of the wood slats!

This cain chair was a tad more complex. Naturally I completely forgot to take a "before" picture until I had already started deconstructing it! But I have no doubt you have run across them in thrift stores and garage sales...a dime a dozen and pretty much what they are worth in their current state! The real gem is finding one with all the caning in tact!

I really was at a loss as to what to do with this chair...until my daughter suggested I do it in blue and gold! Actually, she suggested teal, but I found this blue and white material I really loved! She was right about the is all the "rage" right now and becoming very popular!

After removing the seat and all the upholstery, I primed the entire chair with Kilz, sanded and wiped it down with tack cloth. Then I sprayed it with white spray paint! After that had cured well, I taped off the legs and sprayed them with metallic gold spray paint. I wasn't sure whether I wanted to keep the tufting on the back but I sprayed the buttons and reused them. They didn't really turn out "gold" like I had hoped...more a "brownish" color, but honestly, close enough. I used metallic gold bias tape to make the piping and the double welting (Here is a tutorial on making piping out of bias tape!) A simple little process, but again, it does require hauling out the sewing machine (ick!) 

Again, I could provide a step by step tutorial on "reupholstering" these simple little chairs, but there are dozens of tutorials on line (including video tutorials) that are ten times better than anything I can do. And every chair is different, so find a tutorial that makes sense to you AND has a chair similar to what you have! This is the very first chair I ever tackled. Knowing what I know now, I can do better. I can honestly say that I learn something new every time I tackle a project like this and regardless of the little imperfections here and there, they always end up WAY better than what I started with!

I tend to be a tad on the OCD side when it comes to projects...but I have learned that nothing is ever going to be perfect! And again, as my very wise Daddy use to say "You'll never notice it on a passing train!"

Which reminds me...Happy Father's Day Daddy! It has been twenty years (this month), but some days it seems like we just talked yesterday. I wish you were here to see all the things I have learned to do. All because you taught me that working with my hands (and my head) and making something out of nothing really can be rewarding! I know you would be proud! Thank you.... and I miss you! 

Happy Father's Day to all the great men out there who are blessed with kiddos!!! Be the man you want your son to be and be the man you want your daughter to marry ;) 

Another mid-century dresser makeover...

If you have followed along for any amount of time, you know I have a "thing" for mid-century furniture...and walnut. 

I just love the clean lines of the pieces and how sturdy they are. You can not buy furniture today that is as durable and sturdy as many of these 50-60 year old pieces. Well, I guess you can, but you will pay a pretty penny for them! 

And walnut? Well, in my opinion, there isn't a more beautiful wood grain out there. 

A few months ago I featured a beautiful mid-century dresser I refinished and put in "Mitchell's room."  I knew it was a tad big for the room, but I just could not resist.

As strange luck would have it, I was cruising Craigslist and found the matching chest. It just so happens that the people who owned the flea market where I originally purchased the dresser were selling the matching chest. Wow. What are the odds!

I actually ended up paying a tad more for the chest than I did the dresser...and it was in a little rougher shape structurally. 

One of the big "boo-boos" on this piece was some pretty substantial chipping on the veneer of the top drawer corners....

Several of the drawers had missing or broken bottom "glides" and one had been VERY poorly repaired! (Hence, THIS rant!) And one of the legs was a little whomper-jomped. (Technical term for loose and wobbly)

I can not stress enough how important it is to make proper repairs. People, wood glue and clamps are your friend! I could do a tutorial a day on properly repairing furniture, but truth be told, there are a billion outstanding tutorials online for every imaginable repair. No, DO NOT use nails to secure dislocated dove joints. No, do not use silicone to try to put a drawer back together. No, do not put sheetrock screws in the leg of a dresser that originally had a bolt and clamp. If you don't know how to properly fix it, GOOGLE IT! (or email me...I love telling people what to do!) Seriously, it isn't hard to repair furniture, but if you do it wrong, I promise it won't last...and all the paint and refinishing you did to make the piece "pretty" will be a waste of time! 

So, the first thing I had to do was repair and rebuild a few drawer glides. Then I had to fix the leg which required removing the old bolt, filling the hole with wood and glue and then replacing the bolt. Then I had to figure out what to do with the chipped drawer fronts.

Since I had refinished the drawers on the dresser, I really wanted to refinish this piece to match. Since there is really no good way to "rebuild" veneer and then stain it to match, I decided to remove the damage by creating a little "radius" on the corners. Probably not the best thing to do on a style known for it's clean, straight lines. I contemplated just cutting the corners at a 45 degree angle...but naaaaaa. 

My goal was to improve the aesthetics a  tad and also prevent further damage to the veneer in the future. 

I used a paint can to draw a "radius" on the corner....

...then I used my mouse sander with 220 grit paper to carefully sand away the damage and round the corners. This is what I call "sculpting" a piece and it takes time and patience. When sanding, always start with a very smooth grade of sand paper (220-330) and only use a rougher grit if it is absolutely necessary. And ALWAYS sand with the grain!

Other than the chipping, the veneer was in pretty go shape and still intact. If I had used a rougher grit, I risked chipping or damaging the veneer further.

When it was all said and done, it turned out pretty well. 

After making all the repairs, I stripped the top, drawers and legs using 1/2 acetone and 1/2 lacquer thinner and steel wool. I knew I wanted to paint the "cabinet" like I did the dresser, so I taped and papered off everything that was going to be left "natural" and sprayed it will Kilz, sanded smooth, wiped it down with a tack cloth, and sprayed it with my favorite spray paint. 

The top, drawer fronts and legs were left natural. I didn't apply a stain because I love the look and color of walnut with nothing but clear oil. 

I used the same process I use on all stained or natural wood. First I hit it with 0000 steel wool (always WITH the grain) just to smooth it a bit. Then I applied 3-4 coats of Formby's tung oil finish, rubbing it with 0000 steel wool and a tack cloth between each coat. 

In all honestly, I really do not need two large dressers in this room. It is just the "guest room" now. But I really can't part with either of these pieces! They are just too beautiful! 

Don't turn your nose up at old pieces that need a little time and attention. In the end, if you do it right, they will be well worth it!

Tripod table!

Wow, this week really snuck up on me. As I mentioned before, the work at my apartments comes in massive waves! And the past month has been a kicker! I have spent the last two days tearing out a bathroom floor and scrubbing cigarette ashes out of a refrigerator. Seriously. Don't ask because trust me, some stuff you just wouldn't believe!

Anywho, several months ago I ALMOST tossed a couple of old tripods I found in a box of stuff from an auction, but thought I might find a good way to repurpose them in the future. Sure enough Cristina at Remodelando la Casa shared a precious tripod table she made. BINGO! See, inspiration can be found every where and her inspiration was exactly what I needed!

I will be honest...Cristina made a circle top for her little table. I tried. I don't know if it is my age or too much coffee, but I could not cut out a perfect circle for the life of me. I had an octagon piece of glass that was the perfect size so I used it as a template and cut MDF tops with my chop saw set at a 45 degree angle.

I used MDF because I decided to do a little decoupage on the tops, and honestly, I had it on hand.

After cutting out the tops, I sanded the MDF smooth, hit it with Kilz, sanded again and then painted it all black. 

I was fortunate that my tripods had "flat" tops after removing some of the bolts and knobs. I was able to drill holes in the flat surface and use liquid nail and screws to attach the tripod to the table top.

I have another tripod similar to Cristina's that I will have to use a bolt and flange like she did. Her tutorial is awesome and much more indepth than mine! (I'm a baaaad blogger!)

My first little decoupage craft project wasn't too terribly hard because the tile I used was relatively small but I did have a few issues with the paper wanting to "wrinkle" and the bubbles were a little difficult to manage.

Let me just say, the bigger the project, the more difficult it is to manage.

I made two tables. I used one of Matt's old aviation sectionals for the first table.

It didn't go too badly, although I did learn that it is best to coat the board with the Modge Podge, place the map, then flip it over and trim the edges with a VERY sharp razor. Then I used a 4" foam roller so I wouldn't have brush strokes to coat the top of the map with more MP. Then I carefully lifted one half of the map, recoated the top of the board with more MP and then smoothed out the map. Then I did the other side. Then I applied another heavy coat of MP with the roller. That seemed to be the only way to get rid of all the wrinkles and bubbles. 

I wanted to use a world map I had on hand for the other table. That was NOT happening. The paper wrinkled really badly and when I went to lift it to smooth it out, it literally shredded. I end up scraping the whole mess off with a putty knife.

What to do...what to do?

When I was up at Midtown working on my booth I noticed Debbie had used old sheet music to decorate a wall. She was kind enough to give me an entire book of sheet music! Awesomeness!

I used four pages and randomly overlapped them. Same method...but this time I had to coat beneath each piece as I laid it on the top. I still had to work out a few bubbles but found that sometimes it is easier to poke a tiny little hole in the middle of the bubble and work out the air with my finger. 

The sheets were a little "stark" for my taste so I soaked them in coffee water for a bit to darken them ...just a little trick to give new copies an aged look!


Easily little project. One suggestion I would make is to spray the top with poly after the MP dries to give it a little more protection. I did this with my coasters and they have held up very well!

You got a little peek of my flowers in the picture of the table. So I will share my front flower pots while they are at their peak. We have had several weeks of amazing rain and cool temperatures. Right now, they look amazing...August might be another story!

For the past few years I have been collecting and planting in pots. This year I even when a step further and bought the "premixed" flower pots with mature plants. I still love gardening but every year it seems I have to do more and more to do less and less. 

Paint...the easiest way to update a piece!

When I first started this site I posted every day. Seriously. Every. Single. Day. 

That's okay when you are trying to catch up on 30 years of DIY projects...but after awhile it gets a tad tiresome. For a time I posted twice a week...very doable and since I usually have 2-3 projects a week in the pipeline, I always have something to share. 

But life has gotten pretty busy around here the last few months. Katie's senior year (and all the hoopla that goes with that!) and then she and Matt's graduations....

Matt graduated from the UofA with his master's degree and a week later Katie graduated from high school with "highest honors."  Precious....

And of course the apartments...seems the work around there hits in tidal waves...not just "waves" but darn near tsunamis. So the last few months I only found time to post about once a week...which means the projects have been piling up in my "blog files." 

Right now I have hutch tops-turned-display cabinets, an antique dresser, a mid century dresser, an antique table, a side table, two chairs and much more...all piled up in the garage, finished and ready to share!

Today I thought I would share a few projects to show that a little bit of time and paint can completely change the look of a piece. I've shared similar projects in the past (tons to be exact...just cruise around this site!) but time and again I see people posting on several blog sites questions about "what can I do to make this better"..."help"..."blah, blah, blah.... bitch, bitch." 

Dude. Seriously. Go buy a stinking can of paint! It really isn't hard to take a simple, "blah" piece of furniture and turn it into something worth having in your home.

Take this table for example....

...I see little tables like this at thrift stores and auctions for next to nothing. Or maybe your parents or grandparents gave you one when you started furnishing your own home. Solid little tables...usually in mahogany or walnut or even oak. (I have a similar one in my den that I painted and feature here.)

Let's be honest...not real appealing. I think this one sat in my booth for MONTH before I brought it home and gave it a bright chalk paint/distress treatment (My recipe for "chalk/plaster paint"... 2 1/2 TBS of Plaster of Paris, 1 1/2 TBS of water, mixed well then add 1 cup of latex paint)

I stuck it back in my booth and it only lasted a couple of days. Notice I didn't even invest in new hardware...I spray painted the existing handle with off-white paint!

This antique oak buffet was pretty "dated" as well. Again, something you might inherit from a family member or find in a thrift store or on Craigslist for not a lot of money!

(I took the picture after I had removed the mirror in the top piece)

Some people like the antique wood look and these pieces can be beautifully restored if you use this process. 

I chose to restore the top since it was solid wood and paint and distress the rest of it....

I changed out the hardware...again, it only lasted a few days.

And another....

Sorry for the picture camera!

This empire dresser was, as you can see, a hot mess. Literally falling apart but nothing a little glue and clamps couldn't fix right up. 

Which reminds me...I was working on another dresser this week. Seriously people...dove tail joints were not nailed FOR A REASON!!! So don't try to fix them with nails. And silicone is NOT don't try to fix loose joints with silicone. My point, if you are going to fix something, fix it RIGHT. I spent over an hour just "undoing" someone else's "fix." If you don't know how to fix it right, GOOGLE IT! My daddy didn't teach me everything I needed to know about DIYing...but he did teach me to use my head and use available resources to find out how to do it RIGHT. And he didn't even have the internet!!!

Okay, rant over. So after some "rebuilding" and repairs on this dresser, I chalk painted and distressed it (again, Google'll get around 1,170,000 results on chalk or plaster paint...I'm not kidding...I googled it and that is how many results I got)

The piece had nifty wood knobs...several were missing so I used a few from the buffet. I decided to give them a little facelift so I primed them and sprayed them with light blue spray paint. 

I think it lasted a week!

And lastly, a mirror. I have featured a number of mirrors on here. IMO, they are one of the easiest things to update. This wood mirror had some interesting and intricate carvings but it was a bit dated and dark!

I decided to forgo my usual "boring off white" and give it a little pop of color.

For the time being, it is hanging behind the front door in what little "entry way" I have. Not sure I actually love it there but that is where it is...for now....

My point...stop looking at your dated, drab furniture and growling at it. Find some inspiration and roll up your sleeves.

Don't turn your nose up at those "dated" pieces your mom and grandmother want to give you...take them...again, find some inspiration and give them a simple facelift. There are countless super awesome ideas out there for every kind of project!

There are also unlimited tutorials out there on how to repair, paint, refinish, decoupage...if you can imagine it, a tutorial is out there to tell you how to do it! 

Organizing the junk drawer with dividers! Easy little project!

When I am trying to force myself to NOT start a big project, I find myself doing little projects. 

My kitchen. I have a severe case of "Pinterest Envy" and I am trying desperately to avoid taking on a major project!

Little has changed in the last 16 years in my kitchen. I installed granite. I cut down the large pantry so it is only 12" deep rather than the hulking 24" deep, installed a different window and added under counter lighting (seriously, you HAVE to have it!) And of course there was the addition of the den which allowed for the addition of a bar!

Truth is, I loved the color of my cabinet stain 17 years ago and I still love it today. It is called "paprika cherry" and it really is a little more timeless than "honey oak" or "pickled" cabinets. 

What do I WANT to do to this kitchen?

I WANT to pop up the cabinets flanking the stove and add 2 open shelves beneath them...maybe even make the upper cabinet on the left open shelving for displaying dishes. Maybe add cabinets all the way to the ceiling. I use to decorate on top of the cabinets but honestly, I got tired of having to crawl up there and clean everything several times a now, not so much!

New appliances? Oh yeah...have to have new appliances...a counter-depth refrigerator...maybe the new "slate" stainless. (Un)fortunately all the appliances work perfectly!

I was thinking about removing the cabinets on each side and above the refrigerator and installing open shelving. I bought some awesome walnut "coffins" just for this purpose. Coffins you ask? Yep...actually the wood lids from antique sewing machines. I am in the process of refinishing them now and I can't wait to share them!!!

And then of course, paint! Paint the upper cabinets and stain the lowers a darker color. Add some stainless hardware!

But I am at that point in life where I don't want to do projects just for the sake of doing a project. I made a few changes in my den recently, but honestly, that was because I really needed new flooring in that room. Eventually I want to install the same flooring in my living room and that will be another major undertaking. 

So while I would love to give the entire kitchen a "Pinterest makeover," I am working reeeeeal hard to be happy and grateful for what I have!

This is one of those "need vs. want" conversations I have with myself on many occasions!

Last week I decided to do something I have wanted (and honestly needed) to do for years...add drawer dividers and get my kitchen drawers a little more organized.

Everybody should have a junk is just one of those necessities. If you have one and feel guilty about it, don't. Honestly, I am a fairly "organized" person and even I have a junk drawer.

Seriously, were else would you keep pencils, sharpies, utility knives, glue, zip ties, birthday candles, picture hangers and Lord knows what else.

I have tried to keep this drawer fairly organized...and several times a year I dump it out and clean it up a bit. The little plastic "organizers" are nice, but truthfully, they are a bit tacky! And since they don't fit the drawers perfectly, there is always that odd, wasted space on the sides!

So I decided to take on a simple little project to organize a few drawers in my kitchen. Three, to be exact. The two "utensil" drawers, and of course the junk drawer.

To do this, I first emptied each drawer and went through all the "stuff" that was in each drawer. Seriously, do I really need FOUR ice cream scoops or three sets of stainless measuring spoons. Um, no. And why am I keeping the turkey seasoning injector when one comes with the seasoning we buy every year! My point....this is the perfect time to do some serious purging. 

Get rid of stuff you honestly don't use or need! Now, don't do what I did several months ago during one of my "purging" sessions....when I went to open a bottle of wine recently I found that I didn't have a cork screw. Why? Because I had 3 and I guess I got rid of ALL of them.

Take some time to really think about what you NEED and honestly use! 

Also, quick tip...while I am not a huge fan of having "stuff" on my counters, I do have a crock where I keep all my spatulas, serving spoons, wooden spoons, etc. in. This frees up a TON of drawer space...worth the investment (a whole $1 at an auction) and a little real estate on the counter! More importantly, the utensils are at my finger tips when I am cooking!

Adding dividers to your drawers is really not hard. 

After emptying them and purging what I don't NEED, I put everything in the drawer to see how it would all fit. Then I marked where I wanted to put dividers to create "sections" with a pencil on the bottom of the drawer. Then I measured and drew it out on a piece of paper. Basically, I just measured the INSIDE of the drawer and then measured out where each of the dividers would go. 

For example, in this drawer... 

....small utensils that would get lost in my crock...paring knives, mixers, ONE ice cream scoop, biscuit and pizza cutters, etc. I knew I only needed two little dividers so my knives, beaters and basting brushes wouldn't get lost in the clutter. It is still a tiny bit cluttered, but the stuff I use every day are at my finger tips!!!

For the dividers I used 1/4" x 3" (actually 2 1/2") oak boards. You can find it at most home improvement stores. Since the inside of my drawers are a natural color, I just sprayed each board with polyurethane to seal stain needed!

For this drawer I cut two pieces the exact width of the inside of the drawer with my chop saw. I applied A GOOD wood glue (that dries clear!) to the edges along the bottom and sides, then just slipped them into place. You may want to clamp them to hold them in place until the glue sets up. There is no need to nail. When the glue is dry, they are not going any where...besides, if you tried to hit a 1/4" wide piece of wood with a nail, you will probably fail and find yourself seriously frustrated (trust me on this one!) 

The other two drawers were a little bit more challenging only because I have more dividers and I wanted to make sure the longer items had a place. Again, empty the drawer, purge and then lay out everything where you think you might want it. Mark the drawer with a pencil where you want the dividers, measure, and draw it out on a piece of paper so you know how long each board needs to be.

I know a lot of people hang their measuring cups and spoons on the inside of their cabinet doors. Nifty idea, but honestly, I don't want mine banging around every time I open the cabinet, they are at my baking finger tips without the noise or knocking them off the door every time I take something out of the cabinet! 

Now it was time for the dreaded "junk drawer." So much "junk." But honestly, MOST of the stuff is stuff I need from time to time. Unfortunately, it gets so "unorganized" that I can rarely find what I need or what I know I have! 

THAT is one of the benefits of staying organized...being able to find what you know you have so you don't have to go out and buy it again!

I did the same thing with the junk drawer that I did with the others...I emptied it out, purged the stuff I don't need (seriously, do you really need a dried up sharpie or empty bottles of glue!) and then laid everything out in the drawer and marked where I wanted the dividers. I measured and drew it out on a piece of paper, and then cut the wood dividers to fit.

I glued the edges of each divider....

....and slipped them into place. Again, you may want to "clamp" then....or just set something with a little bit of weight on top of a can of veggies. But if you cut them to fit, they should stay in place until the glue dries!

DO NOT get in hurry to fill the drawers back up....let the glue dry overnight!!! If you mess with it too soon, the glue will not have time to dry and the dividers will pop out of place...then you will have to scrape the half dried glue off and start over (again, trust me!) 

Since this was a bigger drawer with lots of smaller pieces, I put in the longer pieces first, let those dry, then went back and put in a few smaller pieces to create small "cubbies".....

Everything has a place...and there is even a little room to spare just incase I need to add something in the future!!! (Like maybe another 30 or 40 pencils or highlighters)

The most important thing is it is all organized and finding an emory board, glue stick or the magnifying glass will no longer be a twenty minute ordeal! 

I will no longer have to dig through the drawer to find things I use almost every day like my mixing beaters or a paring knife!

Truthfully, I was amazed by several things...first, there was a LOT of stuff in each of those drawers that just did not need to be there (except the cork screw that I will now have to buy!) Purging is important!!! 

Second, getting everything organized and easy to find is a real time saver and when you factor in the fact that you don't have to go out and buy something you know you have but can't find, it is worth the few dollars and little bit of time you will spend on this simple project!

I thought seriously about doing my makeup drawer and my silverware drawer. But honestly, I think I will stick with the plastic dividers in those for now. Those drawers need to be "cleaned" more often and I think the plastic dividers are easier to clean!

Not sure if this is enough to keep me from ripping down cabinets and breaking out the paint, but it is a simple project that may pacify my need for "change" until this urge passes!