Coffee Table Spruce Up

My husband and I started out with very little, like most newlyweds. We had our clothes, cars from high school, and each other! We were so blessed to end up with my aunt and uncle’s old dining table and chairs and hutch (of which you’ve already heard the story). They also gave us these 2 coffee tables. Here they are in our first little apartment. All those doo-dads on the table are most of the home decor items we received for shower/wedding gifts. 🙂 (The couch and chair were also given to us by generous friends…more on that later.)

random 024After graduation from college, we moved to my husband’s home state of Florida. At that point, I figured the table needed a little makeover. On a warm summer day, I hauled the table out by the pool in the hot sun and slathered on a layer of gray primer first, then painted it glossy black. (I really had no idea what I was doing back then, but you learn as you go, right?) 🙂 It dried- very quickly- complete with bubbles from the sun. But it was usable. And we did use it… for another five years or so. 100_5581Then one day, I ran across this. It kinda looked like our table and I liked it.

First, I measured the top of the table and figured out that I needed 4 4×6’s cut to 52 inches. The guy at Lowes quickly made the cuts for me.

Next, using a rag, I applied one coat of Zar stain. I love the dark, rich color!DSC_4411DSC_4413 DSC_4412Lastly, I put the boards on the tabletop, planning to glue them down later. (Still haven’t glued them…) But it looks great! And it’s easy to dust underneath. 🙂 (For some reason, the wood looks a little reddish in these pictures, but it’s darker in real life.)

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A Little Bit of History

The last couple times I’ve visited my childhood home, I”ve been fascinated by all the treasures there. Growing up surrounded by history, I never even realized that so much of the “junk” in the barn, the shop, the garage were treasures! Now, my sister and I go “treasure hunting” whenever we visit. During one trip, I discovered boxes of old books, letters, and ticket stubs in the barn. My parents were high school sweethearts and my dad was a bit of a sentimental packrat and saved every scrap of paper with a memory attached. I collected many of these artifacts that are now a precious part of my heritage (since my dad went to Heaven eight years ago) and brought them home with me. So, thanks to him, I have a bit of history tucked away for safe keeping.

I suppose there are many different ways to display paper treasures, but I thought it would be fun to try my hand at mod podge.

We had one of those flimsy particle board side tables you can buy at Wal Mart for $10 in our music room. It lived with a round white tablecloth over it that had seen better days, thanks to Milo, the playful cat.IMG_8927DSC_4800The flimsy table was a good candidate for my first mod podge project. If I messed it up, oh well. So I hauled it to the garage and gave it a coat of antique white paint. After it dried, I rubbed on a little Zar stain with a rag.

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Instead of using the original letters, I made copies. Also, some were written on blue or pink paper and I wanted all black and white. I also made copies of some of my favorite sheet music. Using brewed coffee and a sponge brush, I brushed each copy with coffee, then baked it in the oven at 170 for a few minutes to dry. This gave each piece a vintage look. Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures of this process.

Next, on a cookie sheet, I mixed the mod podge with a little water (enough to be able to soak it up with the sponge brush) and began painting each piece. Mod podge is incredibly sticky and when it dries, you end up with a film on your hands. But it is really cool stuff! After I had arranged and placed each piece down on the tabletop, I painted the corners with more mod podge and smoothed them down with the sponge brush. Some of the papers were hanging off the edge, so I trimmed those flush with the edge of the table.

This is the table when it was still wet. You can see how it lightened when it dried.

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If you have an old table (or dresser or trunk or whatever!) that needs to go from drab to fab, this is a fun way to add a little character to the piece.DSC_5030DSC_5029

Burlap Lampshade

There is a little consignment shop in Loveland that I like to visit from time to time. They are very reasonably priced and occasionally you can score a great find. I got these hotel lamps there for $4 each! She probably had a dozen of them. I picked up two, then went back the next day and got 2 more. They were gold and that color green that makes my toes curl a little. Very Marriot-ish, if you know what I mean.

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Although the bases looked a million times better after I spray painted them white, the shades turned out terribly. Especially when the lamp was on, you could see the wrinkly fabric and uneven lines where I had wrapped it around the shade (without properly measuring…). I’ve never been proud of them. That’s why when I came across this, it was obvious what needed to be done.IMG_8128

So I tore off the green and burlap and got busy cutting out circles. Lots and lots and lots of circles. I would admit that this has been one of my more time-consuming, tedious projects of late. But it was worth it.
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I used this ribbon spool as a general size-guide for cutting out the first circle. DSC_4964DSC_4966To find the center of the circle, I bent it in half, then in half again to make a kind of flower. Then I just put a drop of hot glue on the center of the bottom. I tried to space them about an inch apart or so.

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I began with a line down to the bottom, then came back and started going round and round. DSC_4968DSC_4971

Until…DSC_5021DSC_5019DSC_5011Much improved, don’t you think? 🙂IMG_6072

Pallet Sign

There are so many adorable and creative ideas out there for pallet signs!

Our garage was home to several pallets that I had saved from different deliveries for just this purpose. I was planning to make a special sign for my mom and step-dad. Simple and rustic, with an inspiring message.

My husband helped me maneuver the sawz-all to cut the pallet apart. We used the demolition blade and cut right through the nails. There are many ways to deconstruct a pallet, but this worked for us. (I don’t recommend doing this in shorts and bare feet, by the way…) 🙂 Go, Babe!IMG_2783

After the pallet was deconstructed, I nailed 6 horizontal boards to 2 vertical boards.

IMG_2795With a stencil, I traced the words lightly in pencil to make sure there was room for each phrase on each of the boards. Then I got out my paint and small sponge brush.

IMG_2796Some of the words would be a different color, so I left those for last.

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Here’s the finished product. Once again, not perfect, but perfectly imperfect and made with love.  🙂 IMG_2798

Easy Wall Hangings and Throw Pillows

Have you ever been baffled about what to hang on your wall? I have. Out of all the things we’ve collected over the years, things to hang on the wall haven’t been one of them. But I figured I could make something pretty easily.

After doing some research, I learned that canvas or even cardboard could be used as a backing. Then I discovered these ultra-cheap foam insulation panels (they’re about $12 for a pack of 6). What a great idea! They are super light and easy to cut with a box cutter. They are also huge, so if you want a large wall hanging, this would be a cheap way to achieve that.

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Here’s a picture for size perspective. DSC_4996

You can choose whatever material you like to cover them. After you cut the foam to the size you want, cut the fabric slightly larger than the foam so you have some to fold over the back. I used the glue gun to hold it in place. Here’s the fabric I chose.
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I cut two rectangular pieces of foam and one square piece for the center. You could do them all the same, all different, whatever you like.

DSC_5003 DSC_5001Using a stencil and some of my “sample” paint from Lowes, I made the center hanging. It’s not perfect, but I think that’s the beauty of a DIY project. It’s your work, your time, your effort, your creativity. It doesn’t have to be perfect.

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I also decided to make some “new” throw pillows to go with the wall hangings.

It doesn’t matter what the pillows look like because you’re going to cover them. I had a couple old, ratty rusty-red throw pillows in storage so I dug those out. I covered them with the same fabric I used for the wall hangings. The strip of burlap, lace, letters, and buttons just appealed to me at the moment so I threw those on too. 🙂 You can be creative! These pillows aren’t “permanent”, so if you wanted to change them out later, you could. (As you can see, the letters fell off at some point and I unknowingly switched them… I also switched out the square pillow for a little rectangular one when I re-glued them.) It’s really up to you how sturdy you want to make them. I actually pinned the backs originally, then found that it was rather unhandy to be poked in the hand whenever you tried to fluff or move them. So I used the glue gun the second time around. (DIY-ing is really all about trial and error! You learn as you go!) 😉
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Headboard

Sometimes it’s challenging to work around what you have when it isn’t something you’d choose. This was our bedroom in one of our rentals. Our whole bedroom was “blah” to say the least.

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When I finally got to pick the colors for our bedroom, I began to explore the idea of a headboard also. My inspiration came from this. I liked the simplicity of it. It was cheap and something I could do myself!

After purchasing the lumber, I tried to stain it. But after about 3 coats, it still wasn’t the color I wanted. (The board on the left is the original lumber. The one on the right is after 3 coats…) Note to self: *Not all stains are created equal.

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Here are all four boards. 
IMG_2645So I scrapped the stain idea and instead painted the boards black. Would I do it the same way again? Maybe. Had I known about Zar stain back then though, I may have gotten the color I wanted with only 1-2 applications. Here’s a more recent project (more on that later) that I applied 1 coat of Zar and got this rich, pretty color. Did I mention Zar stain is the best?

DSC_4412Mounting the headboard was a 2 person job. My husband helped me be sure the boards were level while we screwed a screw into each end of each board. After we mounted our new headboard, I painted the screw heads black so they weren’t so obvious.

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