Category Archives: DIY

Awesome things I found — kid’s edition

I can’t believe it, but as I’m typing this post I’m thousands of miles away from my home and my babies! They are well taken care of, but oh how I miss them so! And because I’m thinking about my children so very much, I thought it was appropriate to share with you some amazing web finds for the kiddos!

Check out this homemade play dough recipe from kidsactivitiesblog.com And made with only two ingredients!

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This is one of those, “why didn’t I think of that” moments. Thank you notes for the little ones to color! These cards are available on Etsy for purchase or as you can probably figure, make your own!

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Tastykitchen.com has a fabulous all-natural recipe for goldfish crackers!

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And because we all need a little laugh every now and then… (photo links to source)

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Lots of love,
Mary

Caspian Blue

Today was a fun day! Movies. Forts. Snuggles. Baking. Blogging. More Snuggles. And all the in-between. Sometimes a mom’s life is a whirlwind. I couldn’t tell you what all I did today… but it was a lot! I did take a few moments to snap some photos of a project I did for baby Jude’s room – A painted dresser/changing table. This was my very first experiment with High-Gloss paint!

I introduce, Caspian:
Caspian, blue dresser. Vintage HenredonCaspian is a Vintage Henredon Dresser that I picked up for a steal at one of my local thrift spots! The quality of this piece is remarkable and it was in excellent shape, save some deep scratches on the top of the dresser.
Caspian, blue dresser. Vintage HenredonThis piece is one of the few things I’ve painted where the original wood is so beautiful. <Don’t shoot me!> Trust me, I had a very hard time deciding. To paint… or not to paint, That is always the question. Once I decided that it was going into Jude’s room, I had my heart set on a bright teal high-gloss finish! There will be others to show restraint with.
Caspian, blue dresser. Vintage HenredonThe color is “Intense Teal” by Behr. I chose their Hi-Gloss Enamel for a super durable shiny finish. To help it adhere, I began with a coat of Glidden Gripper Grey. Gripper is an amazing primer that will literally stick to anything without flaking…even glass!
Caspian, blue dresser. Vintage HenredonThe choice to paint the hardware was an afterthought but really completes the look. Although this piece has a classical style, the paint has really transformed the look to more of a sleek modern or transitional feel. Perfect for my baby boy!
Corbinbluedresser4Photo bombed by a little cutie in the corner! My baby Gabby likes to be in front of the camera. (I wish you could see the smile on my face because this little one melts my heart to pieces!)

Sidenote: Nope, I’m not ignoring the fact that this dresser is standing in front of an AMAZING wood wall that I haven’t told you about yet! Thought I’d give you a little sneak peek. Truth is, it isn’t finished yet. I’m a little stumped on how to finish the wood. So maybe you guys can help a girl out!

Should I…
A. Keep the natural unfinished wood look?
B. Use Teak oil for a natural slightly darker finish?
C. Finish with a honey toned stain (Which would coordinate with the crib)?

Lots of love,
Mary

Victoria – My first upholstery project

When you think about upholstery, it sounds very overwhelming. Like something that you should leave to the pros, right? Well, if you know me, I’ll try anything! And upholstery is no exception — although this little chair did sit in my home for about a year before I mustered up the courage to tackle it.

Meet Victoria:
#upholstery, #vintagechair, #becauseiliketodecorate, #chic, #pink

This job was a part of a custom design project that I was blessed to be able to do. Hoping to show you the entire room soon!

The first step to upholstery is to remove the old fabric. It’s helpful to pickup some upholstery tools from your local craft store to assist with removal of staples, etc. The best tip I can give you is to take lots of photos as you are taking apart the chair. That way you know how everything is supposed to go back together once you’re ready to staple on your new fabric.
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Once everything is removed, this is your opportunity to paint or refinish the base of your chair. I chose a custom-mixed bright pink, distressed it, and finished it off with Annie Sloan Dark Wax. The dark wax really helped bring out the detail and beauty of the frame.

When you’re ready to put your chair back together, trace and cut your new fabric from the old fabric pieces and start putting each piece back the same way it came off. You will need a heavy-duty staple gun and a pair of strong, steady hands! Each piece will need to be stapled first at the top, then bottom, then each side — pulling the fabric snug as you staple around to make sure it fits evenly.

Once the fabric is complete, you’ll need to cover all those staples with something. If you choose nailheads, use a rubber mallet (also found at your local craft store). This takes some practice and I would say was the hardest part of the project! Another option is to hot glue fabric piping or trim.

If you take it slow, it’s not as hard as it looks. Victoria is a vintage beauty and she’s just perfect! Now that I’ve gotten my feet wet (so to speak), I’m anxious to try something a little harder next time.

Lots of love,
Mary

Linked up here:
http://bebetsy.com
http://www.dukesandduchesses.com

Furniture Feature Fridays

Kitchen Makeover 1.3 – Backsplash

My friends, I owe you a long-overdue tutorial on the backsplash install as a part of my kitchen makeover. This project was my very first attempt at DIY tiling and I was a bit nervous to experiment in the kitchen, of all places. Tile isn’t exactly something that’s easy to fix if you make a mistake.

I chose a small subway-patterned glass tile in a sea blue color. I love a good deal, so I was ecstatic when I saw this beautiful tile on clearance at my local Home Depot a couple years ago (yes, it’s been sitting in my garage this whole time).

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I am IN LOVE with glass tile! The way the light bounces off the backsplash now brings me so much joy! It’s like jewelry for your kitchen — a little bling!

So the question is… How did I do it? Well, as I said, I was a bit nervous to experiment and do my first tiling job in the kitchen so I took the easy way out and used a fab product called SimpleMat Tile Setting Mat.

It’s basically a “sticker” of sorts that you use in place of mixing thin set. Super easy and no mess! It is quite a bit more expensive than thin set, but still way cheaper than hiring a pro! The instructions on the back are easy to follow and dummy-proof. Trust me! *wink*

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After setting the tile in place, I used a grout that came pre-mixed in a tub. You’ll push the grout into the tile spaces with a tool called a float, wipe off the excess, and wait until the next day for the grout to dry before polishing the surface. Step-by-step directions are included with both the tile setting mat as well as the pre-mixed grout, which makes this project way easy for an eager DIY enthusiast!

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My biggest tip for this project: make sure you wipe all your edges clean before letting the grout dry. There are a couple spots where I wish I would have been more of a perfectionist. Other than that, I love love love the results and would totally do it again in a heartbeat!

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Check out all the posts in the Kitchen Makeover series!

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Lots of love,
Mary

Kitchen Makeover 1.2 – Painting the Cabinets

Well Hello there! Let me say a belated Merry Christmas to you and Happy New Year! I’m feeling so much better now and almost out of the woods. Still ridiculously tired… but that comes with the pregnancy territory.

Continuing with my Kitchen Makeover series, I have a few more tips and lessons learned to share with you regarding the cabinet painting process. To view the first two posts of this series click, 1. Kitchen Reveal, and, 2. Kitchen Makeover 1.1.
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Using a Paint Sprayer:
Click here for a link to the spray gun that I purchased by recommendation of the employees at my local hardware store. They said it was the best one they had on the lower end scale and considering that I’m not a professional house painter and only need the gun for my home DIY projects, I was told that I didn’t need anything more heavy duty than this. You’ll need to practice on cardboard or scrap wood before going for your cabinets. It takes a little bit to get used to the gun and make the right adjustments. The only downside that I found to this sprayer was that it needed to be cleaned out very frequently or the paint starts to clump a little bit. Not sure if this is a common problem with other sprayers, but it’s an issue that I ran into. Other than that, it did a fine job.

Caulking:
One of the most important tips that I will give you for this project is to CAULK YOUR SEAMS/CRACKS! It seems like such a little thing to mention, but I’m telling you it makes such a huge difference. Caulking properly will give your cabinets the finished and more high-end look opposed to a cheep job. After you paint that first coat, you will notice every seem and crack will start to show. I would recommend that you get a paintable, kitchen/bath caulk and fill every seem, including where the cabinet meets the wall.

Hardware:
Sometimes just adding hardware alone can update your kitchen to a more polished complete look. And you don’t have to spend a lot to get the WOW factor! I found my hardware at Ikea (link here) for a fraction of the cost that I would have spend at my local hardware store. Even if price wasn’t an option, I think the look of the Ikea hardware was the best choice. Since I was working with existing cabinetry that didn’t reflect the modern styling that I prefer, I chose a very contemporary long and squared-off hardware handle. This added a modern effect and enabled me to almost camouflage the traditional shape of the cabinets. The stainless steel on the hardware complemented the existing appliances and the contemporary backsplash.kitchenreveal4

In my last post of this series, you may remember my little rant about the irritating “paint dust” that comes with the use of a spray gun. Since that post, a more experienced friend of mine told me a tip to solve that problem. It sounds like common sense to me now, but sometimes we need be told the answers! Basically, tape your clear plastic drop cloth to the ceiling and drape down to create a “wall” border around your work area… thus no paint dust escaping to the rest of your home. Why didn’t I think of that? Genius I tell you!

Now that my cabinets are painted, I absolutely love them and I’m so so happy that I did it… despite all the hard work! Your wondering now if you should tackle this project yourself or hire a professional? I guess it depends on who you are. I am not a perfectionist, so this was a “good enough” result for me. The finish is smooth and it looks good both from a distance and close-up. But if you start to really look and inspect the paint job, you will find imperfections (which is okay for me). If your a type-A personality, you may want to hire a professional. I seriously got to the point where I just wanted it done and didn’t want to spend another dime on paint. Next up in this series, I’ll be sharing the details of backsplash installation!

Check out all the posts in the Kitchen Makeover series!

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Lots of love,
Mary

Kitchen Makeover 1.1 – Painting the Cabinets

This is kind of a funny story… you see I had thought that this was going to be a Saturday project. Bahahahahahahhahaha! Yeah, a few weeks ago I wasn’t laughing so much, more like crying! Just being honest with ya’ll! But am I glad that I did it? YES! If your thinking of painting your kitchen cabinets, just know that it is a big job. There are so many different tutorials out there and so many different ways to do it, as well as actual professionals like http://masterpaintersfl.com willing to perform the work properly while you sip iced tea, how do you know where to start? Well, I’m going to share my experience with you complete with all the mistakes and successes. Feel free to comment or email me if you have any specific questions that haven’t been covered.

Last week I revealed my before and after photos of the complete kitchen makeover. To read the entire article and view additional photos, click here.

Before:
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After:
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After viewing and considering many online tutorials, I decided to use one that I found on Pinterest detailing instructions from a professional cabinet maker. This tutorial was posted by allthingsthrifty.com. Click on the below photo for the Pinterest link which links back to the specific cabinet tutorial.

Source: allthingsthrifty.com via Mary – on Pinterest

This tutorial is very detailed and extremely helpful! Things you should know that I didn’t expect:

1. The paint that is suggested (pre-catalyzed lacquer) was not easy to find. At least in my area, none of the local hardware stored carried this product. I had to drive 30+min to one of the larger Dunn-Edwards Paint Supply stores to find it. And be prepared because it is expensive – about $75 per gallon for the tinted lacquer and about $50 per gallon for the clear lacquer!

2. Prep-work takes longer than the actual painting process! I kind of knew this going in, but wasn’t expecting how much longer the prep-work would actually take. Remember, I thought this was going to be done in just one Saturday? Well, two days into the project, I was finally done with all the prep-work and ready to paint.

3. I totally underestimated the size of my kitchen. In addition to what’s pictured in my before/after photos, there is also a desk nook space and double sided butlers nook in the kitchen hallway area. Also, I decided to paint under the island the same white color in addition to all the interiors of the cabinets. Lets just say I went through way way too many gallons of paint. That was unexpected in both the budget and time spent category.

4. When using a paint sprayer, be prepared for the “paint dust” that gets EVERYWHERE! I was not ready for this. The kitchen area was well taped off and drop cloths covered every exposed area of the floor. Sounds good right? Nope! When painting, even with all the windows open, dust covered every exposed inch of the downstairs level of our home. This meant that I had to deep clean everything after the project was complete. And since this project took way longer than expected, it was a bit of an inconvenience during that period, to say the least. Not to worry, this “dust” doesn’t stick like paint — it’s just a little irritating.

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So why did I choose this process over all the other tutorials out there? Well, I wanted to do it right! There probably are quicker ways to paint your cabinets, but I was going for the professional look. I’ve seen painted cabinets where you can tell that someone picked up a brush and painted them themselves, but I didn’t want my cabinets to look cheap or hand-done. Also, since I was going for a modern clean styling, it made the process a bit more difficult because it had to look “perfect”. Normally, when I paint vintage furniture pieces, I work with the imperfections and bring out the beauty of each piece with distressing techniques, etc. This was totally different in that the style I was going for did not allow for distressing so the imperfections had to be hidden and not revealed. Does that make sense? If you want more of the shabby or antiqued look on your kitchen cabinets, the process should be a lot easier than whats detailed here and you may be able to get away with a different/less-expensive paint to achieve the look you desire.

This post is getting to be a bit long and I don’t want to overwhelm you. I’ll share more tips with you on another day. I understand that I’ve been sharing a lot of the “negatives” with you thus far and I absolutely don’t want to discourage you from this process, but rather inform you so that you know what your getting into and can be more prepared than I was. I will leave you with this: I LOVE MY KITCHEN! And yes, I would do it again!

Check out all the posts in the Kitchen Makeover series!

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Lots of love,
Mary

DIY Custom Rustic Signage

This past summer, I was given the honor of preparing a very special surprise gift for my Auntie Margie during her wedding vow renewal ceremony! Auntie Margie is so very special to me! She has been battling stage four breast cancer and is the picture of the Lord’s strength and grace throughout this trial in her life. She is such an example to me! You could imagine my excitement when the church asked me to prepare a special gift using one of her favorite passages “I will bless the Lord at all times, His praise shall continually be in my mouth” Psalm 34:1

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I used 8″ wide lightweight boards from the hardware store and mounted them on 1’x4′ horizontal boards. Using a wood stain that I had on hand, each board was stained, waxed, and accented with watered down blue & green paints to create subtle color and texture.
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The lettering design was created in Adobe Illustrator, printed, traced, and hand painted with a fine brush. Warning: This takes a very long time! If I had the tools, I would create a stencil and speed the process up quite a bit. But it was totally worth it for this project and I’d do it again in a heartbeat! :)Psalm34.1.4

I love the final result so much, that I totally want to make one for my own home! I keep checking craigslist for a vinyl cutter at a good price… the search continues.Psalm34.1.2

It looks just fabulous on her mantle! And don’t you just love her Christmas decor?
Lots of love,
Mary