Design, DIY

Giving Craigslist Furniture a Makeover

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So, as promised, I want to show y’all this dresser I’ve been working on. A couple of months ago, I was browsing the free section of Craigslist and saw 2 matching antique dressers that were put to the curb.
These babies were in really bad shape, but I could see the good bones in them. One was a tall, narrow piece and the other short and wide. They both have an elegant curve in the middle and some of the original (what I thought was) brass hardware.
I rushed across town to get them in the truck. The family was out in the yard & helped us load them. They had many young children, and it looked like they had really put these dressers through the ringer. Many drawer pulls were missing, and the wood had been scratched, burned, drawn on, and ripped apart at the legs. Ouch!
But guess what?! FREE!
Nothing better than free. I didn’t have a place in the house for these lovelies, but I knew someone would want them, so they sat away in the garage until now!
After I showed them to my mother in law, she said she needed some more storage space, so I got to work!

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First, I took all the hardware off and pulled all the drawers out.
Then, I sanded the finish off of all the drawers and lightly sanded the top of the dresser.

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Next I got some Elmer’s stainable wood filler and filled in the places on the legs where some layers had been torn off and there were extreme imperfections. The goal here wasn’t to make it look new, as I planned a distressed look, but just to ensure that no further pieces would be coming off and make the surface a little more even for painting.
After all that dried, I sanded lightly again in the area where filler was used. I then used Murphy’s Oil Soap to clean the whole piece down, removing any dirt or dust from sanding.

Now the fun part!

I painted the outside of the dresser with homemade chalk paint. It’s so easy & cheap to make and use! Walmart carries gallon sized flat latex paint for $10. I mixed about 1 cup of that in Country White with about 1 tablespoon of non-sanded grout. I just eye it, I don’t bother getting paint on measuring spoons. You can buy non-sanded grout for $4 a container at Home Depot.

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Anyway, I painted the dresser in 2 coats of the chalk paint (no priming needed.)
When it was entirely dry, I used my Black & Decker palm sander all over the top, edges, and sides to distress. I wanted this thing to have the charm of something treasured but well used through the years.

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Then, I stained each drawer in Minwax’s Dark Walnut and quickly wiped it off before it got too dark.

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While the stain dried, I picked a few of the original drop-handle drawer pulls that weren’t broken or cracked. They were super tarnished, so I soaked them in a mix of apple cider vinegar, water, and salt for about an hour. After that, the black gross stuff came right off with an old toothbrush.

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When all was dry, it was time to seal. I lightly brushed clear Polyurethane on everything.
While that was drying, I had some minor repairs to do by gluing loose drawer tracks in place with Elmer’s wood glue.

For the final touch, I replaced the missing drawer pulls for all but the top drawer with some drawer pulls that were only about $1.30 a piece at Lowe’s. They came in silver and black. I bought the black ones and spray painted them with Rustoleum in Almond.

Ta-da!

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I think it turned out really beautifully. The rustic, chippy-paint look of the outside mixes well with the rich, deep color of the drawers. The mixed drawers pulls add a touch of character.

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So, what do you think? I love it!

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Easy No-Sew Bedsheet Curtains

Hi everyone!

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Yesterday I just got tired of looking at our dining room curtains. They were too long, too red, and didn’t match the curtains in the adjoining room. Besides, I can’t stand the walls in there, and having curtains that I didn’t like either was just too much.

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Before!

I went to Walmart and saw some sheets that I liked. Bingo!

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What You’ll Need
– Bedsheet
– Scissors
– Iron-on hem tape
-Iron
-Curtain rod clip set (I used two sets for 4 curtains)

I have 4 windows I needed curtains for. Because I like mine short, I got 4 curtains from one queen sized flat sheet. You could use a king size and they would cover the whole window. Or, if you wanted floor length, you could just cut the sheet in half instead of into quarters.

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First, I folded the sheet bottom to top and cut the fold. If you want floor length, then fold it lengthwise and cut.

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Then I folded it again and cut, so the sheet was divided into four sections.

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Lay out your fabric to be hemmed. About half an inch to an inch from the cut edge, iron-on your heat-n-bond hem tape (paper side up). Just place it where you want it and iron it for a couple seconds.

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Peel the paper off.

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Fold the edge over the tape and press down lightly for 6-8 seconds.

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Repeat on both cut edges!

Now, just clip on your curtain rings. I split the packs in two because a whole pack was just too many, and evenly spaced them on the curtain. Voila!

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I made 4 curtains for $18! What do you think? Have fun with this project, and make it your own!

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DIY

Updating Your Old, Gold-Framed Mirrors

Hello everyone!

I always hate throwing things away, even after they’ve long been outdated. I’m also too cheap to buy things I already have. This works out nicely.

I have a lot of old mirrors with unattractive frames, fake gold or plastic black. It’s really easy to sweeten them up with a little paint and add the perfect country chic touch to your home!

You’ll Need
– Painter’s tape
– Black paint
– Lighter colored paint
– Paintbrush

For this mirror, simply lay your mirror somewhere on a drop cloth or some newspaper to keep things from getting too messy.

Cover the mirror along the edges of the frame with painter’s tape.

Paint on your dark layer of paint. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Make it streaky.

Once that dries, paint on your lighter paint color. You are going to dip the tip of your brush in the paint, then wipe off as much excess as possible. Then drag your “dry” brush across the frame.

Doing this makes a light, distressed (streaky) effect. Keep doing this until you have achieved the look you want with as little or as much paint as you want.

You can choose whether or not to add a clear coat, but for me that is overkill.

I hope you like this quick little project! Enjoy!

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Design, DIY

Getting Creative in a Rental Home

Hello my friends, and Happy November!

For those of us who are renting, making a space your own can be difficult. Limitations on what I can change in our home definitely puts a damper on my creative spirit. I have these ideas in my head, picturing how I want a room to look, but just can’t make it happen without tearing up walls, painting, changing faucets and hardware, etc.

For example, I can’t stand the paint in our bathroom (or living room, or dining room). I’m a neutral kind of girl. I have these images of an adorable little rustic chic space, and the coral and yellow walls aren’t doing it for me.

I just decided to work with it and make all of our decor neutral instead. After covering a sinfully hideous window with a DIY curtain (more on that another time), putting up cute little towel hooks, laying down rag rugs, and staining an old wood crate for holding knick knacks, one thing in particular was gnawing at me. Towel bars.

Is it just me? I HATE towel bars! We have two of them! Big ones! Ugh. Maybe it’s just me. But I hate them.

I sat and thought for a while on what to do with them. Googled it. Pinterest’d it (is that a verb now, too? :/). Lots of creative ideas. Not for me. I wanted a cute way to display towels without the run of the mill, slap-it-over-a-bar look.

Lightbulb! I saw some adorable square baskets on sale at Marshall’s. It got the gears going. Picked up the baskets, tossed in some shower curtain hooks, and voila!

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I attached the hooks to the baskets and hung them on the towel bar. I added the fluffy white bath towels and monogrammed fingertip towels that my sweet Mawmaw-in-law gave us. I also use one hook for necklaces!

Much better.
What do you think?
I got my way without ripping those suckers off the wall. Now only to tackle that shower door…

Thanks for reading! See you next time 😉

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DIY

DIY Rustic Initials

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Hello lovely friends!

As you might notice over future posts, our house is a work in progress. I mean, for goodness’ sake, we have a guest room sitting around with nothing but a dresser and a rug in it!

However, there are some things that just can’t wait. The empty white wall behind our bed was one of them. I wanted something unique to us as a couple, that still maintained the rustic vibe I want to give off.

When I spied some white wooden letters in Michael’s, (and had my 25% off entire purchase coupon!) I knew just what I was going to do.
BTW: sign up for Michael’s emails. They give awesome coupons every week!

We had some old wood scraps lying around that I wanted to turn into a sign.  For this project, they don’t have to be the same length. Uneven boards add to the “rustic” quality. Our boards were hideous. We even had to pull old nails from them.

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What You’ll Need
– Scrap wood
– Nails
– Wood stain (I used Minwax’s Special Walnut)
– Paintbrush
-Wooden letters
-Twine
Optional: sandpaper & sanding block
– Burlap, made into a bow
– Hook for hanging

How I did it:

First, I stained all my wood, and sanded my letters in some places to give them a worn quality.

Then, I laid out my boards face down in the order that I wanted.

I went ahead and tied my twine (for hanging) around the top piece of wood, before it was nailed to all the others. Doubling the twine for extra support is a good idea.

With the help of hubby, we put two wood pieces on the back vertically as support and nailed them in. We made ours short enough to support all the pieces but not show on the front. I think it would be lovely to make them longer, so that the supports show and add to the rustic dynamic.

Using a LOT of hot glue, I glued my letters into place.

Once they were dry, I hung my sign on an ugly little hook in the wall and glued my burlap bow to the hook.
If you want you use a big decorative hook, that would be great too, and you could probably glue your bow on before hanging.

Ta-da!
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What do you think?
Stick around for more little projects like this tomorrow!

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DIY

DIY Shabby Chic Nightstands

Hello lovely friends!
As promised, my first DIY instructional! I promise you, not all my projects are this labor intensive. I’m lazy.

When we first moved into the house in Jacksonville, we literally had no furniture. Nothing. My random collection of furniture was all still in Memphis, and we ended up waiting an entire month on a military funded move because some lady in some office screwed up all our paperwork.

I digress. During this time, I learned the ways of the magnificent world of Craigslist. Now, as a disclaimer, I must warn you that their are some strange people on there. Hopefully you have decent enough judgement to weed out the crazies from the good stuff (They want $30 for a broken CD player? Come on!).

I knew I wanted a unique pair of nightstands for our master bedroom, and most certainly was not going to pay $99 a piece to get them. Not even $50. I had every intention of finding two totally different pieces and then painting them to match. Plans change.

After several days of Craigslist browsing, I came upon a matching pair of Ethan Allen nightstands. These little beauties were banged up, scratched, and missing some knobs. Perfect! And the best part? $10 a piece!
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The way the drawers were carved to look like 6 little ones instead of 2 big ones (like a card catalog!) made me want to paint them to emphasize that feature. I wanted them to pop, so instead of painting the whole thing and distressing it, I decided to paint only the drawers and to sand and restain the rest.

What You’ll Need
Thrifty nightstand find (try craigslist.com or your local Goodwill)
Screwdriver for removing/adding knobs
– Sandpaper I used 60 grit and 120 grit
– Sanding block ($4 at Walmart) OR electric sander (as low as $20 at Walmart)
– Wood stain
– Paintbrush
– Latex interior paint
– Polyurethane
– Painter’s tape

Step 1
Take all hardware (knobs) off of the drawers and pull the drawers out.
Mine didn’t have all the knobs. I stored them in a Ziploc bag.

Step 2
Sand the finish away (with the wood grain) This will go very quickly if you use an electric sander, though I took the long way and used a sanding block and 60 grit sandpaper plus a bit of elbow grease. Coarser is fine if necessary.

I wasn’t very concerned with getting every bit of finish off. Quite a bit got left on the legs, actually, but this only adds to the shabby look we are going for!

Step 3
Sand again lightly, using 120 grit. This prepares the wood for staining.

Step 4
Stain the wood.
I used Minwax’s “Special Walnut” and applied using an old paintbrush.

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Please do this outdoors. I learned the hard way that there is no such thing as low fume when it comes to wood staining. You will get a massive headache and possibly worse if it is not properly ventilated. It is very dangerous. My husband had a coach who died from this.

Step 5
Paint your drawers.
Since I wanted to emphasize the drawers’ detail, I waited for the stain to dry then cut painter’s tape into thin strips and placed in between the little boxes. Then I painted them using a satin coral latex interior paint from Walmart and let them dry overnight.

Step 6
Distress.
I used my coarse grit sandpaper to scratch up the paint on the drawers and make them look worn around the edges and knob holes.

Step 7
Spray with a couple coats of Polyurethane. This will seal and protect your project.

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I used Minwax Fast Drying in a spray can.

Step 8
Put your hardware back on!

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Since mine were missing some knobs, I picked up a pack of drawer knobs from Target. They have some adorable ones! I mixed them with the existing knobs.

Ta da!

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Hope you enjoyed my little project!
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s project!

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Welcome!

Hey there!
I’m Lainie, and I’d like to welcome you to my brand new blog. I hope it can be an adventure for us both. Before I go off ranting about all my favorite topics, I’m sure you’d like to know a little bit about the beast behind the madness. So here goes:

I’m from Memphis, Tennessee– born and raised– and I’ve never been to Graceland. I’m told I’m not missing much, though some of you may be entirely offended by that. If so, I apologize.

I just got married in June to the love of my life. He’s pretty great and definitely my soul mate. After a long and
dramatic Nicholas Sparks worthy romance, we have finally made it.
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He’s even nice enough to help me out with some of my wild DIY projects and sit and throw around ideas with me for hours. And he is from a wonderful place in Mississippi that I hope to make our home someday.

Which brings me to my next point:
No, I do not own a homestead. We live in Jacksonville, Florida. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to! It’s my dream, and his too, I think. If you don’t already know, a homestead loosely defined is a home and a piece of land that you grow or farm on. For our purposes, usually when I talk about homesteading it will be with the ultimate goal of going completely off-grid.

We all know that things have gotten a little out-of-control with our government. To say the least. And especially with our economy. I don’t know about you, but for us, times are tough. And being able to make what you want instead of buying it is a skill I can’t afford not to have.
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Of all my research on simple living and going off-grid, hardly any of the answers I have found have been simple enough for someone like me, or, bluntly put, pretty enough. If I am going to take the time to build my own stuff it had better be functional AND attractive.

My goal here is to help others learn how to achieve similar goals in an easy way.
Please give me feedback! Comments & emails always welcome. Have you done any DIY (do-it-yourself) projects lately? Have you seen any DIY’s lately that you would like to try but just seem too difficult?

I am ALL about making things simple and easy. Stay tuned for an instructional on my DIY Shabby Chic Nightstands, one of the first projects I did.

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