A simple "before" and "after"....

A simple and inexpensive makeover.

Before….

After….

A little homemade chalk paint….5 tablespoons of Plaster of Paris and 3 tablespoons of water, mixed well. Add 2 cups of latex paint. Two coats…a little distressing…sealed with polycrylic.

The hardware wasn’t anything special…I primed it with metal primer and hit it with some blue spray paint I had on hand…could have been black, teal, white…whatever…not sure I am loving the navy but it would be easy to change it!

Simple, inexpensive…but oh so much better!

Remember, LIFE IS TOO SHORT TO LIVE WITH UGLY FURNITURE!!! YOU CAN DO IT!

My happy place....

This month has been crazy busy. I started painting the older buildings at my apartment complex…the weather hasn’t been very cooperative so only 1/2 is done. I have had to tear out and replace rotted flooring in an older unit and I have had a few vacancies which is always a lot of work. My daughter graduated from college week before last and everyone came home (I shared that here) and my grandson graduated from high school this past weekend.

Crazy busy!!!

One thing I am eternally grateful for is my yard…it is my happy place and I am so glad I got all the mulch down and the planting done before life got too hectic.

One of my favorite ways to unwind is sit in my backyard and just breathe….

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Not much changes in the front and side yard but since my neighbors murdered their trees, my swing pergola in the front gets too much sun in the afternoon to really enjoy….

…but again, visitors may not see your backyard but they will see the front…so keep it pretty! (I shared the construction of the window planters HERE)

I do have a few moles causing a bit of stress….HERE I talk about what I have learned about moles and how I deal with them (it ain’t pretty!)

But since I now plant all my “tender annuals” in pots, they really do little but annoy me. Truth is they are nature’s little tillers for flower beds and if they didn’t run through the yard to get to the flower beds, I probably wouldn’t give them a second thought.

I am grateful I have the ability to do the work I do…but I am even more grateful I have a place I can go to recharge….

Another new dining room table and the greatest Mother's Day gift....

ANOTHER dining room table…obviously I have a soft spot for chairs and tables. When I saw this pathetic trestle table at a barn auction a few weeks ago, I just knew she had some serious potential….

The top was in pieces and the finish was crud…but oh the potential. And it wasn’t until I got her home that I discovered her little hidden secret…

She has this super nifty fold out “leaf.”

Just too fricking cool!

In spite of the fact that I have been up to my earballs in work at the apartments, I couldn’t wait to start working on her. The first thing I did was strip all the old finish…HERE is the process I used. This is a tried and true process that makes quick work of a daunting task!

After all the old finish was stripped off I had to glue and clamp the table top back together….

I always make my repairs AFTER I strip but before paint or finish…and I always make sure I make all the necessary repairs. No sense in making it pretty if it is just going to fall apart…glue and clamps!!!

The top was solid (vs. veneers) so the pieces were a tad warped…no biggy…I clamped it as well as I could and then I sanded the joints smooth…starting with the finer grit (220) and working my way down to a rougher grit (150) and then back up to a finer grit, before applying a tung oil finish.

Tung oil finish is my “go to” finish for many reasons…it is super easy to apply, it is super durable and it is super easy to reapply when the finish gets scratched or begins to dull!

So, when all was said and done, this little table will now take her place in the dining room….at least for the time being….it is no secret I swap out tables on a regular bases….here are just a few I have featured over the years…

A Duncan Phyfe….I gave it a little makeover HERE before selling it….

An antique trestle I featured here

An oak farmhouse table featured here…..

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The most recent…an antique draw leaf table…

All these tables have one thing in common…they are relatively “compact” but can be expanded to handle Thanksgiving dinner. Basically once a year I need a large table…and these all fit the bill.

The newest little trestle table is compact, expands, and beautiful!

So get ready for a few pictures…..

I just LOVE the new light fixture from Wayfair I featured here….

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I love how it can easily be expanded. No more having to find a place to store leaves or hauling them out for one dinner…just slide open the top and fold out the insert…simple (especially after a little WD40)

One huge problem….I REALLY dislike the Duncan Phyfe chairs with it…they just don’t look right…and sadly I know exactly what chairs I want for it and I have had them and sold them a few times over. The good news is I will eventually find what I want….

Until then I bought this little piano bench at the same auction. Again, pretty cruddy…

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…but I stripped and oiled the top, scrubbed up the brass feeties and painted the base with my new favorite blue…the same one I used on the buffet (here)

Meh….not really “swooning” over it, but it will serve the purpose for now…until I can find the chairs I want or another pathetic little table catches my eye. I wouldn’t take bets on which happens first!

THE GREATEST MOTHER’S DAY GIFT

This year I received the absolute best Mother’s Day gift!!! Another college graduate.

My youngest daughter, Katie, graduated from the University of Arkansas with a degree in Bio-Engineering.

She is beautiful, smart, and talented…and I could not be prouder.

She, as well as her brother Matt (Masters 2015), are fourth generation Arkansas graduates….my great grandmother graduated in 1920, my grandfather graduated in 1943, and I graduated in 1987.

Brian and I are now 5/5….five kids, five college graduates. And the fact that all five were here for Katie’s big day, which happen to be Mother’s Day weekend, made my day extra special!

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Vintage car handle hardware...

I am trying desperately these days to be a bit more “creative” and get out of my “everything white” funk.

I saw a really cute idea on Pinterest….vintage car handles as hardware. Naturally I jumped on Ebay and began searching for vintage car handles. I looked back at my Ebay history…I ordered them in JANUARY!!! Didn’t have anything in the works, just thought is was a cute idea.

Did I save the link to the “inspiration?” Um, no. Did I have a plan in mind as to how to attach them to a drawer front.? Um, no. Did I have a table to even attach them to? Um, no.

Just thought it was a super cute idea.

The first thing I had to do was figure out how to attach the handles to a drawer front…the hole in the backside is not threaded. My original plan was to find a bolt that fit snuggly in the handle hole, then just use JBWeld…love that stuff. The problem with that is it would make it darn near impossible to remove the handles in the future. Not MY problem, but as I have said before, I want buyers to be able to makeover the piece again in the future.

Thought maybe I could JB Weld a light fixture bolt (threaded on both ends) into the handle, then just add a nut and washer…hum….that could work and still allow for removal in the future.

While I was at Lowes scouting bolts one of the nice associates showed me this nifty brass insert thingy….

Because brass is “soft” you can screw this little plug into the hole (using a flat screwdriver), then get a bolt that will fit the inside of the plug…in this case a 5/16 hex bolt. I slipped a washer onto the bolt so that it would sit snuggly against the back of the drawer.

Problem 1 solved.

Problem 2 is finding the perfect little table…fortunately I found a cute little solid wood side table at a garage sale for a few bucks….

Problem 3….as you may have noticed, the handles have a 1” “bump” on the backside which would make it impossible for them to sit flush on the drawer front.

I removed the little wood handles on the drawer fronts and puttied the little holes.

I took a 1 3/8” paddle bit (I couldn’t find my 1 1/4”) and made a hole in the front of the drawer front deep enough for the handle to sit flush. Then I used a 5/16” drill bit to make a hole in the center of that hole for the bolt.

TIP: To make sure you don’t drill your large hole all the way through the drawer front, wrap a piece of blue/masking tape on the paddle bit to indicate the depth you need to drill. (Not pictured)

Now I was able to set the car door handle flush on the front of the drawer and run the bolt (with washer) through the backside and into the little brass plug.

Since I knew the bolt may “loosen” and there is only one bolt holding the hardware in place, I added a dab of construction mastic (liquid nail will do) to the hole just to give the handle some stability.

Before applying the hardware, I primed, sanded, tacked and painted the table a high gloss red (See HERE why I can no longer call it my KSTP process.) The insides of the drawers were a tad cruddy so I primed those as well and painted them black…not necessary but kinda cute!

I found some “L” shaped metal floor trim and decided to add it to the front corners of the little table….installed the new door handle hardware….and presto bingo….

Too stinking cute!!!!

And now that I have figured out all the logistics to turning vintage car handles into hardware, grab a few and have some fun!!!

I have a few of these door handles left…now I just need to find another little table or small dresser!!!!

Craftsman dresser....

I have said it before…”Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” Unfortunately, not every one likes to be “imitated”…or “copied.”

But I have to wonder…why do others post projects on blogs or Pinterest if not to give inspiration…inspire others to “imitate” their creativity.

I have NO problem with others “imitating” my creativity…imitate away! This entire blog is here to inspire you to make your home more beautiful. And if you are looking for inspiration for projects you intend to sell, help yourself….there are A LOT of people out there who couldn’t paint a piece of furniture or hammer a nail if their life depended on it. They need your abilities and creativity and if I can inspire you to create for others…yay me!

I try desperately to give credit where credit is due…if something “inspires” me I try to link back to the site. Unfortunately, I am the world’s worst at seeing something I like, “drag and dropping” the photo into my “inspiration folder” and not actually saving the link. I really do try to go back and find where the photo might be posted, but I can’t always find it! Same with recipes. I’ll see one I like, print it off and then I can’t find the original recipe.

Fortunately, this time I not only have a picture of the inspiration, I also have the link….HERE! (This dude has some mad woodworking skills and his dresser got some heavy duty reconstruction.)

The minute I saw this little dresser/changing table I knew I had to do one.

Fortunately I found a dresser that had perfect wood detailing on each drawer that allowed me to paint the “silver handles” rather than add new detailing. I also didn’t do any “reconstruction” on the piece other than adding bracing and wheels.

You can buy these wheels at Lowes…they just screw on!

Unfortunately, this is where I have to admit AGAIN what a bad blogger I am because I failed AGAIN to take a “before” picture. Suffice it to say, it was just a plain ole’ fake wood grain dresser…perfect for a little makeover!

Other than the wheels, the only other thing added was the “Craftsman” decal…believe it or not you can buy them on Ebay…HERE.

I found a red gloss spray paint that is a perfect match for the “Craftsman red”….the black on the drawer fronts is black lacquer…and of course the silver is just “stainless” paint. I primed the entire piece with primer, sanded well and wiped it down with tack cloth…then paint (KSTP).

Just too stinking cute!

Feel free to be “inspired” and copy away!

Drexel Accolade Makeover...

An entire year…A YEAR!!!! That is how long this Drexel buffet has sat in my dining room in it’s original state because I couldn’t pick a stinking paint color. I may be able to paint and refinish and upholstery…but picking a paint color or fabric is TORTURE!!!!

I LOVE the white lacquer finish on this little side table….

….and I love how the bright brass hardware just POPS on the white lacquer but I really wanted to do something different.

But I could NOT make up my mind. I did a lot of research and most of the painted Accolade pieces are white or black…and honestly I did not want to do black.

Hum….

I found a paint color I am madly in love with!!!! It is actually a Krylon “chalky paint” and I have used it on several pieces and I just LOVE the color…Krylon’s Anvil Gray. While it has “gray” in the name it really is a true deep, rich navy. And it sprays on beautifully!

There was one problem with this paint for this project…it is super flat…like most “chalk” paints. I desperately wanted a “high gloss” finish so I tested a few clear coats over the paint to see if I could find a good gloss. I tried a new product (at least to me), Krylon Triple-thick Crystal Clear Glaze. It SAYS it is a “glass-like coating” and “superior high-gloss finish” and it is as good as advertised.

The finish is super high gloss and exceptionally durable…I am VERY pleased.

So…

I changed up the art in the dining room over a year ago and I still love it. I still love the red fabric I used on the chairs. I love the draw leaf table. If you search “buffet” or “dining room table” on this site you will see few last long around here….but truthfully, I think I am finally loving the “look” of my dining room…so these pieces may actually make it a tad longer.

Again, no secret to cleaning brass….lots of brass cleaner, SOS pads, and elbow grease…but worth every bit of the work!

I have already stocked it with my holiday and seasonal dishes. Pretty with a purpose…my favorite. But as I said, buffets don’t last long around here so we’ll see how it fairs.

I think I have mentioned before that I DO NOT have a green thumb when it comes to indoor plants….so some of you may be shocked by the massive peace lily.

A little side story…we went to an auction…they were selling the plants (yes, they sell EVERYTHING!) Nobody would bid on this big ole’ monster so then they threw in a monster pothos plant…I’m talking HUGE!!!! My youngest daughter has been sprouting “cuttings” for her apartment so I knew she would love the pothos…so I ended up buying them both for ONE DOLLAR!!! No kidding….a dollar for two huge plants. She didn’t want the peace lily so I stuck it in my dining room and other than dump my leftover night time water in it every morning, I pretty much ignore it.

And you know what…it THRIVES. It is growing, it is healthy and it is constantly blooming. Go figure!

Now I want to share a little issue I am having with my beloved Kilz…I had this issue sometime back when I was using white lacquer…so honestly I attributed it to the paint since lacquer tends to be a “hot” finish.

But I had the same issue this time, and I was using plain ole’ spray paint.

I call it “alligatoring.”

I cleaned the pieces, sprayed on the Kilz, sanded smooth, then wiped it down with tack cloth. When I sprayed on the paint, it “alligatored.” Curses!!!

I thought MAYBE the tack cloth left a weird residue, so I sanded the spots smooth after they dried well, reapplied Kilz, sanded and then just wiped it down well with a rag…another coat of paint…same problem, just in different areas. The entire piece alligatored randomly. WTF!!! Temperature…nope…humidity…maybe. But I had the same problem when I painted on a drier day. So who the heck knows. Like I said, I had this problem sometime back on another project.

The Kilz is what is actually crackling…not just the paint. I contacted Kilz and they swear they didn’t mess with the formula and were as stumped as I was.

My solution….well I had to sand the entire piece down, paying close attention to the areas that “alligatored.” After everything was smooth and clean again, I used Bullseye 1-2-3 Primer, let it dry well, sanded, and tacked. Sprayed on the paint and presto-bingo…perfect.

Kilz was kind enough to send me a replacement can of primer. Yippee…somehow I guess that is suppose to make up for two days of grief and cursing.

So now my “KSTP” process will become “BSTP” …eck…not really a good acronym…but I hesitate to use Kilz if it really is the only common denominator in this little disaster. Since no other factors seemed to affect the out come, I can only assume it is the culprit.

Who knows…but from now on I can’t say that Kilz is the be-all end-all of primers when painting furniture.

Sorry guys!

VW Bus chest of drawer makeover....

This, I believe, is my favorite dresser (technically a chest of drawer) makeover!

I first found my “inspiration” here….I knew the minute I saw this I had to do one! All I had to do was find perfect waterfall chest.

I bet I have passed on a few hundred over the years. They aren’t terribly “sturdy” dressers and because of that they tend to be in pretty bad shape after a few decades of use.

Just so happens a friend who owns a vintage store posted one on Facebook market place. It was a tad higher than what I wanted to pay but I wanted it NOW!

Most of the decorative doo-dads on waterfall pieces are painted on but this one had actual carvings…

…which meant I had to fill the carving….curses.

But whatevs….

I usually use the wood filler I pick up at Lowe’s and have always been happy with it but I saw this product on another blog and decided to give it a try…

Meh…It’s okay but I have to order it and price wise it’s not worth it. I think I will just stick to the product I have been using.

Remember when you use wood fillers to “patch” you may have to sand and reapply 2-3 times before you get a smooth repair…patience!

This little project took a lot longer than my normal KSTP project because of all the different paints…each “layer” had to dry before I could paint the next layer.

But the overall process was the same…first, patch and repair, then Kilz, sand and wipe with tack cloth, then paint on the design (KSTP). The white is lacquer and the other paint colors are some latex I had on hand…most of it “custom” mixed.

TOO. STINKING. CUTE!!!!

I used some round knobs I had in my stash and painted them the same color as the drawers. The “window wipers” are stainless pulls.

I wanted to buy an actual VW Bus emblem but they were pretty pricey for a “makeover-for-resale” project so I bought a vinyl decal from HERE and it looks great!

The details were a combination of freehand, taping and a few homemade templates. Seriously, you do not have to be super creative to do something like this…just patient and skip the coffee for a day…lol!

I sure hope Larissa believes “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”

This weekend we are headed to Phoenix so I probably won’t be around next week!

Until next time…

Herringbone dresser top....

I would love to take credit for all my incredibly creative makeovers but truth is I get a lot of inspiration from a lot of sources…Pinterest, other DIY bloggers, and random website.

This time it was my son. He found a really awesome entry bench online and built one for himself!

I shared his entry makeover here.

His girlfriend loved it so much he made her a desk for Christmas!

So when this dresser top turned out super cruddy, I decided to put a herringbone top on it.

The top is a veneer and had some “bubbling.”

I was able to sand the “bubbles” so that the top was smooth, but when I sanded, it took the stain and finish off and the gel stain just wasn’t covering it.

I could have sanded the entire top and removed all the stain and finish…or I could have painted it…. but nah….I kinda wanted an excuse to do something “different.”

Matt was out of town and couldn’t help me so he sent me THIS link…AWESOME tutorial. These girls do a bang up job on the video tutorial…if you love the look, they tell you exactly how to do it!

The top of the dresser hung over the front quite a bit so I decided to use my Kreg rip cut guide to cut down the top a tad.

My daughter got it for me for Christmas and this is the first time I was able to use it…LOVE! I have always used my “yard stick” trick to make straight cuts with my skill saw…this was SOOOO much better!!!

Using the linked tutorial, I started laying out the top. I used white pine 1x4 for the top boards and 1x2 for the edge banding.

Now, this is where I had to deviate a tad from the tutorial. Because I was covering a dresser top and not making a new top that I could flip over to cut down, I had to cut the herringbone boards from the top. If I covered the entire top before the cut, I wasn’t going to be able to “see” the edges of the existing top to know where to make my cut. So I laid all but the corner boards, used my long metal guide to draw my cut marks on all four sides, and then cut those boards first. Then I nailed down the corner pieces, marked them, and cut them.

I used a palm sander to sand all the edges before applying the trim boards around all four sides.

I puttied the holes with wood filler, let that dry, then I sanded the top and sides smooth. Remember, stain will not adhere to glue, so you want to make sure you sand well and remove any glue residue!

After sanding I applied the stain…pine does not take penetrating stain well so I used General Finishes gel stain. There will be tiny gaps between the boards…to get the stain down in between those gaps, I used a small craft brush. I sprayed on a polycrylic finish to seal it!

I had kilzed and sanded the cabinet and the drawer fronts before working on the top. After the stain dried, I painted those a “steel blue.” (Again, don’t ask me the color…it is a mix of blues and black I had on hand!)

I wanted to use the existing hardware but I wasn’t digging the original finish. I primed them with metal primer and painted them flat black…soooo much better and far cheaper than replacing it with new.

Just another “ick” saved from a life of “yuck.”

Again, you don’t have to go all fancy…I could have easily painted the top…but the tutorial on “Shanty-2-Chic” is super easy to follow!

Another MCM dresser makeover!

This is not a dresser…this is a chest of drawers. I think there is often confusion, and I am the world’s worst at referring to a chest of drawers as a dresser.

There is a difference!

But seriously who cares…lol!

Regardless of what you call it, it was A MESS! But oh the potential.

My very first love…MCM pieces. It would take a month of Sundays to link to all the MCM pieces I have refinished…just search MCM or mid century on this site. Truth be told I would have kept every one of them if I didn’t have a fear of being featured on Hoarders. So I find pieces I love, give them a good little makeover and am sincerely happy when someone else gives them a good home.

In spite of all it’s flaws, I loved this piece. It had the normal wear and tear, a seriously cruddy finish, a chipped wood handle (aren’t those wood handles AMAZING!!!!) and what I THOUGHT was some stains around the hardware on the top drawer…turns out it is a beautiful wood inlay. But you couldn’t really tell because the finish was so icky. (The missing knob was in the drawer…yipeee!)

Let’s be honest, we will all have a pretty worn finish after 60 years on this earth!

My first thought was to paint the wood handles an accent color so I could repair the chip. My daughter suggested I just strip them first. So glad I listened to her. I used this process to strip the drawer fronts, handles and legs…the old stain came off the wood handles and revealed a beautiful white wood (oak, teak? Couldn’t tell)….LOVE!!! I sanded the chip down…and you know what, I can live with it….it is obvious it isn’t the way it is suppose to be but HEY…this is a vintage piece and vintage pieces are going to have a few boo-boos!

The drawer fronts and base were stripped and oiled, the cabinet was given a KSTP treatment (Kilz, sand, tack and painted with white high gloss enamel)

(After I took the pictures, I saw the VERY fine over spray on the top drawer…curses…a little mineral spirits cleaned it right off!)

Personally, I love the high contrast of the wood handles and walnut veneer. The Lane Acclaim tables I collect have the same stark contrasting wood detailing when I refinish them…LOVE!

Often vintage pieces would have been stained and finished so all the differing woods and the entire piece had a “uniform” look and the grain detail was toned down a bit. I say LET IT SHINE BABY!!! If you are a “purist” and want vintage pieces to reflect their original state, you probably don’t want to use the processes I use to refinish pieces!

I am all for exposing the grain and the natural color of the wood.

And I am all for bringing the old pieces back to life!

MORE makeovers...

Surprisingly I have MORE makeovers to share. The weather has been fairly cold and dreary but we have had enough warm days here and there to get a little work done. I get kind of lazy during the winter months…when it is cold and dreary I like to curl up and read. When it is warmer, I NEED to be out working…either at the apartments or on projects.

This first dresser makeover is something you could pretty much do inside on a cold day.

The only thing I had to take it outside to do was distress and seal. But honestly you could do both inside.

I use latex paint for my chalk paint recipe (5 tbs. of Plaster of Paris, 3 tbs. of water, mixed well, then add 2 cups of flat latex paint) and that can used inside.

To do a “wet sand” you would use a sponge with a scrubby on one side…something like this…

After the second coat of chalk paint, before it has thoroughly dried, you would take your sponge, wet it (DAMP NOT DRIPPING!) and start “scrubbing” the areas you want to distress…kind of like dry sand distressing. Keep a bucket of water on hand to rinse the sponge periodically. Doing it like that cuts down on the “dust” created when you dry sand, so you can do it inside.

Then I just seal the entire piece by brushing on a polycrylic (or wax if that is your preference.)

Rather than spend the money on all new hardware, I painted the existing hardware. I use a spray primer and spray paint so that needs to be done outside…but truthfully, you could live with the existing hardware until warmer weather…or just replace it.

But all in all, you COULD do this entire project inside…and it is well worth the time when you consider how much better it looks!

This next piece pretty much had to be done outside on warmer days…I wanted a high gloss lacquer finish on the cabinet and that entails spraying. And I wanted to strip the old finish on the drawer fronts and that definitely has to be done outside.!

I removed and labeled each drawer…that is a MUST because the drawers need to go back into their original position…just mark the underside with a pencil.

I removed the old finish on the drawer fronts using THIS process! I know I refer back to this tutorial a lot, but it is the BEST way to remove old finish or paint…it works and on projects like this, it probably only took me about 30 minutes to remove the old finish on these drawer fronts. Once the old finish was removed, I applied three coats of tung oil finish, rubbing with 0000 steel wool and tack cloth between each coat.

I sprayed the “cabinet” with Kilz, sanded and wiped with tack cloth, and then sprayed 3 LIGHT coats of white lacquer (KTSP).

As you can see from the “before” picture, it did not have legs…but it would have originally and there was even places on the underside to screw in the legs. I ordered new legs HERE and stained them to match the oiled drawer fronts.

Each is completely different and each required a different technique…but both were relatively simple and make a huge impact.

AGAIN, I am sharing how easy it is to do this because AGAIN…

LIFE IS TOO SHORT TO LIVE WITH UGLY FURNITURE!