Airstone

What do you do when it looks like this outside? Some people may get cozy on the couch and have a movie marathon. Others might curl up by the fire with a good book.

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We did a little of this:

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And when it warmed up enough to go outside:

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Then I decided I needed a project. I had seen some airstone inspiration on Pinterest and already knew I wanted to cover my drab island in the kitchen with it. What could be better than faux stone that looks and feels like real stone, but is 75% lighter and much easier to work with?

This is where I was planning to put the airstone. I apologize about the quality. (I think my five-year-old may have taken a couple of these):

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“It’s easy!” everyone said. All you need is a hacksaw to cut it and it goes on like nothing! I was excited! I went to Lowes and bought a couple boxes of the 8 square feet autumn mountain ledge stone and one tube of outdoor adhesive. If you are adhering airstone to wood, you should use the exterior adhesive.

(One little quirk about this DIYer is that I hate measuring… I don’t know if it’s my aversion to math as a whole- thanks to my dry high school math teacher- or just a tiny bit of rebellion, but nevertheless, I really despise measuring. Therefore, I estimate. I do get my tape measure out and attempt a rough estimate. Sometimes my estimations are close, very close. Other times, not so much.) But I figured 2 boxes of 8 square feet would get me more than started. (I ended up needing one more box…)

I began from the floor up and did one panel at a time. I decided to leave the wood seams showing since it would be much easier to do rather than try to cut a ridge in the airstone to fit over it.

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It was fun putting the pieces together like a puzzle. I tried to alternate the 3 colors, mixing and stacking them to look like real stone. I placed a pretty good amount of the adhesive on the backside of each one and just pressed it to the wall. Since my house isn’t perfectly plumb, I ended up using little folded pieces of cardboard to prop certain stones until they dried to ensure they stayed straight and didn’t sag.

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Cutting them with the hacksaw gave me a real workout, but the pieces ended up fitting together quite nicely.

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One note about the adhesive- try not to get it on your floor! There are a few spots on my white linoleum that look like dirt and stay even after I mop. :/ Oops!

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I also decided to do the end of my built-in desk and one end of the cupboard to keep continuity throughout my kitchen. This turned out to be about a week-long project since I worked on it a couple hours each evening, mostly after the kids were in bed.

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So here is the before and after:

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Hutch Makeover

This hutch was given to us soon after we were married. It matched our kitchen table and chairs, but wasn’t particularly my style. For six years, I just kind of ignored it. It was a wonderful place to house all my knickknacks and that’s the only job description it had. It wasn’t there to look pretty or add charm to our house.
When it was given to us, it had chicken wire on the side glass panels. I removed it almost immediately. But other than that, I never really considered the possibility of painting it. Then it hit me. I’d always wanted a black kitchen table, and if my table was going to be black, then the hutch would have to be black too.
Before I painted it, I removed the dated pulls and replaced them with darker, more modern ones.
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Then I tackled my most challenging DIY furniture painting project thus far. I used black satin paint with primer. First I removed all the glass that I could and took the top half off. I maybe should have sanded it, but I didn’t.
This project was quite time-consuming, since I painted all the shelving racks by hand and had to practically climb inside to reach all the corners and undersides. I used a roller on most of the bottom half, just touching up hard-to-reach areas with a brush.
I love how it transformed the look of the hutch from dated and old to modern and chic!
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Hutch Redo
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Barn Door Doggie Gate

Growing up on the ranch, barn doors were a part of my everyday existence. I fed and walked my 4-H pigs twice daily, so opening and closing the barn door was life.

IMG_1016 That’s why when I decided we needed a more permanent doggie gate in the house, (we were using a baby gate) I started searching for the perfect barn door to convert. The baby gate was a hassle to put up and down, plus Callie, our border collie, just hopped right over it. Only Baby, the golden retriever, thought it was unscalable. This time of year, especially with all the spring mud, it is really nice to have a place to keep the dogs after they’ve come in from doing their business outside. Not lovin’ the big muddy doggie footprints across my light colored carpet! 🙂

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I found the barn door at the Peddler’s Mall, one of my favorite antique/junk stores. It still had cow manure and horse hair on it when I brought it home! It must have come straight from the barn! So I took it outside and gave it a good scrubbing with dawn soap and a big brush.
IMG_9831IMG_9975 IMG_9827 I ended up buying new hinges for it since the existing ones were all rusted and bent. In the process of removing the old hinges, the door split down one side, so I had to gorilla glue it, fill it with stainable wood filler and stain the crack. I also painted the handle black.
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I used two 15 inch long boards (free wood from someone who took apart their swing set) to mount the hinges on since it is so heavy. I wanted to make sure it had a good sturdy place to hang. I painted the anchors to match the wall.
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I also added a hook and eye latch to keep it flush with the wall. Otherwise it tends to swing closed on its own.

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Now both muddy-pawed doggies can be contained in a stylish way. I love the finished product… and I completed the whole project myself from start to finish!
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A Peculiar Treasure

Some people call it dumpster-diving. I prefer to call it treasure hunting. I’ve been known over the years to find some treasures in the trash. And you’ll be happy to know that it is perfectly legal! 🙂

I happen to know that Monday afternoon is an excellent time for treasure hunting because that’s when people put their trash at the curb for the trash truck to pick up early the next morning.

Picture this. You’re driving in your car, singing along to the radio and suddenly, you spot a potential treasure. You slam on your brakes, sending the stuff in the back of your car sliding forward, and careen unto the nearest side street or driveway to turn around and get a better look. Sometimes you score a gem. Sometimes (like just the other day when I saw a “perfectly good chair”, but soon realized that it was irreparable) you don’t. These are a few of the treasures I’ve found this way over the years.
In the dumpster area at our apartment complex in California (it was silver before I spray painted it black):
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From our neighborhood in Florida (the tv stand with glass doors intact- it’s amazing what people throw away!):
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On the side of the road in Ohio (I painted it green- imagine that!):

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Recently, I pulled one of my slam-on-the-brakes-find-the-nearest-turn-around stunts for a pile of junk. There were a couple of small animal cages (always handy around our place), and a wooden box that looked vintage, although I wasn’t sure what it was. After I brought it home and cleaned it up a bit, I sent this picture to my mom and sister for their opinion.

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My mom and step-dad’s educated guess was a military shipping crate of some kind. After some deliberation, my sister and I came up with a different conclusion. The place where I found it is just down the hill from an old cemetery. After doing some research, we found that years ago, the caskets were not placed in concrete as they are today and would sometimes migrate. Our guess is that after years of shifting soil and erosion, it made its way to the house at the bottom of the hill. Imagine digging this up in your yard! I had goosebumps when I realized what it was.

After realizing that my treasure was indeed a casket, I deliberated on whether I should keep it or not. After talking to Jonathan, I decided to turn a symbol of death into one of life. After all, the soul is surely departed! Now it’s a flower planter and definitely my most peculiar treasure!

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Bedroom Furniture Update

When Jonathan and I got married, we were like most newlyweds and had very little in the way of furniture. We were finishing up college and living in a little apartment.
We were so blessed though. My aunt and uncle were just getting some new furniture and offered us their old dining room table and chairs, china hutch, and 2 coffee tables. Some other friends gave us a loveseat, oversized chair, and couch. Most all of which we still have to this day! (More to come on these makeovers later) 🙂
One day as I was doing laundry in our community laundry room, a paper pinned to the bulletin board caught my eye. Someone was getting rid of a dresser and 2 bedside tables for FREE! I hastily scribbled down the number and called as soon as I was back at our apartment.
We lived with these for years. Until I realized I could actually paint them! And like them! The thought must have never crossed my mind. (I apologize about the before picture… I purposely cropped them out of most pictures I took of our bedroom because I disliked them so much!)

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Another piece of furniture that we keep in our bedroom is a cedar chest my grandma gave me when I was a teenager. I was excited to someday have it in my home to store keepsakes, but it was also oak-colored and needed an update along with the dresser and side tables.

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Chest redo

First I removed all the hardware and spray painted it glossy black. Then I removed everything from the drawers and took them out. I used a roller and brush to apply two coats of paint- an antique white with primer. After letting it dry overnight, I strategically and lightly sanded the corners and fronts of the legs then applied a dark stain with a rag all over the surface, wiping and smudging as I went. (You really can’t mess it up.) I did the same to the mirror.

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Dresser Redo

I love the result and wish I would’ve taken on the challenge years ago! 🙂

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I found this dresser on Craigslist for $20 soon after we moved into our house and painted it to match. It is amazing how all the cheap/free furniture now looks like a matching set!

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Windows

There is something intriguing about an old window. I like to imagine what little faces may have, at one time, pressed up against the glass, eagerly waiting for their daddy to come home. Or a window that provided a family with their favorite view day after day, overlooking the mountains or perhaps the ocean. I love to find an old thing and turn it into something beautiful for my home! Here are a few ideas for you.

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