Thursday, January 22, 2015

Sweet A's new dresser makeover

Sweet baby A needed a new dresser desperately. We have had the same old tired dresser/changetable since L was a baby and it's just not enough space for a girl and it's just not our style anymore.

I came across this beautiful dresser on kijiji one day at a steal of a deal. I LOVE this french provincial style!!

It's so beautiful and detailed and SOLID - no way will this fall apart any time soon!

I had taken a Plaster Paint (like chalk paint) class at a store called Real Deals before Christmas and decided to use Plaster Paint for the job.

I painted 2 coats of the Plaster Paint called "Ivory Lace". I had a few spots where the wood was still slightly showing through, but I left that in for some character. I also used a small brush for painting as plaster paint dries very fast and you have to work in small sections. 

Tip:    If you want the paint to be a bit thinner, pour some into a jar and add a touch of water to it! It will spread a little easier and stretch the paint can a bit further too.

This paint is AWESOME to work with!! I am in love with how easy it is! All I did to prep was wipe everything down and sand down a chipped rough spot... I didn't have to sand down the dresser OR remove any of the varnish. Do you know how much time that takes? Plaster Paint can cover it all!    It does go on almost like a primer paint finish - it's a matte finish and a bit rough to the touch. You have to "seal" the paint with wax (instead of a varnish) and then it turns into a beautiful smooth and somewhat glossy finish (depending how much you buff it).

The Plaster Paint company also sells its own clear wax which you can tint with any color yourself to get the exact color you want (or just leave clear), but I still had some of my "Natural" Minwax Finishing Paste wax leftover from a previous job, so I wanted to test that out first.  I was worried that the Natural paste wax would be too yellow for my dresser, but with just one coat, it gave it a nice aged look to the white.

 Here in my sample board, you can see the original white paint color in the middle. The dark coats on the left and far left are variations of the Minwax "Natural" and "Dark" wax mixed together... I thought it was too dark.

The lightest coat to the right of the middle original color is one coat of the Minwax "Natural" color and the far right is 2 coats...  I chose the lightest one for my project.


My sweet helper - cheering me on with smiles and toothless chatter

I decided not to do any distressing to the dresser (as the color was just too pretty to ruin haha) and using a small brush, I "painted" on the wax. After letting it dry a bit to the touch, I used a soft cloth (rag from an old tshirt) and buffed the wax to a slight shine. It looks beautiful!!

Check out these original beautiful drawer pulls! I am in love with this elegant style and will leave them just as they are.

Project complete!

Has anyone else used Plaster Paint or some sort of chalk paint for a furniture remodel? I'd love to see your photos - link in the comments!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Desk makeover!

Since baby number 3 arrived this spring, I feel like I am finally able to work on some projects! I can't tell you how much I missed working on a project... I've been on pinterest like crazy lately getting some great ideas and there just aren't enough hours in the day to do them all (in between school drop off/pick up and nap times etc!).

So this desk made it's way into our possession recently. Our neighbors had it in their crawl space and wanted to get rid of it. 

It's actually not a bad looking desk... but the top was scratched like crazy and there were some nice pen gouges in it as well. 

I started off with stripping the finish off of the desk and giving it a good sanding all over to smooth out the scratches. 

I painted primer on all the drawer faces and and the bottom of the desk but left the top of it to be stained. You can see on the pic below a bit of white on the top of the desk... that's baking soda... I tried to remove some of the pen mark from the deep gouge on the desk. It sort of worked, but since I was staining it anyways, I figured it would cover it up in the end. 

I used Saman's Water-based Wood Stain in "American Walnut."  I probably did about 4 coats of stain to get the dark rich color I wanted. (the desk pic below was taken before the last coat of stain before the varnish coat) I got to say that I LOVE staining furniture. I love how each coat looks so different and I kept wondering when I should stop! But in the end I wanted a richer dark wood for the contrast between the top and bottom of the desk. 

For the drawers and bottom of the desk, I used Benjamin Moore's "Cloud White."  I generally liked the color, but I might try something else next time as it wasn't as creamy as I wanted. 

NOTE: do not put a cell phone in your shirt pocket and then lean over the paint tray... My cell phone fell out of my pocket INTO the full tray of paint and got COVERED in white paint! Thankfully - though I have no idea how - it still works! I can still jam the charger into the phone and somehow it still charges! :)

After 2 coats of paint, I used sandpaper to distress the white paint on the drawer faces and corners etc. 

 After I finished with the distressing, I put a table spoon or so of the Minwax finishing paste in "Natural" into a piece of cheesecloth and made it into a ball and rubbed the wax over all the white of the desk. Then after letting it sit for a few minutes (maybe 5 or 10?) to start to dry, using a different piece of cheesecloth, i buffed the wax to a nice shine. This gave the white paint a nice clearish coat to start. 

Then I mixed another ball of Natural and the Dark finishing paste in the cheesecloth and rubbed that over the white. I left some light streaks as well to give it a rubbed on antique look. I LOVE how it changed the look of the white! Then I buffed that as well so it gives it an overall shine.

I used Rustoleum's black spray paint in "Canyon Black" in a Satin finish to give the handles a slight sheen. I didn't want it to be too glossy for the finished look. 

Then to finish off the stained top of the desk, I used Saman Oil Based Varnish in a semi gloss.  I did 3 coats in all since this desk will be "kid friendly" and I wanted to preserve the top as much as possible haha. 

  Here is the finished product!  Just letting it dry in the garage for 24 hours before bringing it inside the house. 

And here's the Before and After photo!

Friday, August 16, 2013

the zoo!

my brother Wes has been in town and we have all been having a great time with him! here are a few pics of our zoo day today! we took our lovely neighbors and their sweet dayhome (nanny?) with us. such a great time!

 Leo was hatched... this was his egg shell... 

 fun with the girls

 me and the boys

 my favorite part of the day was the butterfly garden. it was sooo beautiful!!

 leo found a caterpillar and loved holding him...
i was so worried there would be squishing going on, but the kids were so gentle..

 Wyatt decided to try a lick of ice cream for the first time in who knows how long! i was so shocked!! after one lick he was hooked and helped me eat my cup of ice cream :)

it was so good that leo closed his eyes every time he licked... too funny :)

One other thing has been happening in our house while Uncle Wes is visiting is we have been putting him and his carpentry skills to work!
I wanted to reno our back door area... we had these narrow shelves back there that we didn't need anymore since we made our new pantry  a while back... so I've been looking at Pinterest lately and starting pinning mudroom ideas for shelving etc. I decided to rip out those unfunctional shelves and got Wes to make me a bench with show storage, some shelves etc. I am SOOOO excited! We still have a lot of work ahead of us yet... the install is almost done, but we still need to caulk and paint and add the coat hooks etc... 

Here's a sneak peak!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Kidterview #1

I have wanted to do this for ages! Finally (already past Wyatt's bedtime) I decided to just get it done already... I got the idea here and here. Both fun blogs with two totally different kidterview questions. I used a bit of both. the results are interesting for sure... not sure if Leo's truly reflects his personality... but it was true at that moment I guess. I might pick a more receptive time to ask questions next time... (instead of pausing his tv show and making him listen to me haha)..

Kidterview #1

Leo – almost 5 (1.5 months away!)
Wyatt – 2.5 yrs old

What’s your favorite food?
L: all the foods    (when pushed, he said pizza)
W: my fish (crackers)

What’s your favorite tv show?
 L: Special Agent OSO
W: Mickey Mouse Clubhouse
Favorite color?
 L: red, green, blue and orange

W: orange 

What is the meaning of life?
L: I don't know!
W: ......

What do you want to be when you grow up?
L:  Umm I wanna be a fireman and a police officer (this answer comes the day after a policeman and a firetruck visited his daycare...)
W: I wanna be a badguy (imagine him saying it super fast all one word. this kid is obsessed with badguys right now...)

What brings you the most happiness?
L: sumking makes me happy is ... all of it
W: um um um leo tells me sumking .... waterbottle outside

What are you afraid of?
L:  I’m afraid of everything
W: ladybugs   (this means all bugs, flies, ants you name it! he calls mosquitoes ladybug flies too! "mommy mommy, ladybug fly ladybug fly!!")

What is the funniest word?
L: goo goo monsterhead
W: I batman and I bad guy
What is the hardest/easiest thing to do?
L: playdough(hardest) and make soft playdough (easiest)
What is the best/worst thing in the world?
 L: all of the parts (best)    I’m afraid of bad guys (worst)

What makes you mad?
L: Wyatt hit me
W: I’m mad and I’m happy and I’m mad!
If you had all the money in the world, what would you do with it?
 L: I would buy a rocket

If you had one wish, what would you wish for?
L:  I want to be a grown up
W:  I wish my happy

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


i didn't know if i should post or not about this... privacy and safety are important to me... but i thought it should be said that we are adjusting to some changes right now in our family life. 

life for the next little while will be stressful and busy for our family. not to worry, there is nothing wrong, nothing at all... but we are adjusting to a change that will affect us for a little while. 

needless to say there isn't much time for any extras... i am itching to sew something or even have the energy to want to sew something... or even just have the energy to do everything! 

thankfully this change isn't permanent... just for a little while. and then who knows? life might throw another curveball and things are changing again... i guess nothing is ever really normal.... but i can't wait to return to my little piece of it. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

new pantry!

i love doing little projects around the house... i get that from my dad.... though i think i'm more artsy than he is, there is definitely something satisfying in doing it yourself and building something with your hands!

so colin and i decided we needed to make our back door mud room closet more functional.

i wish i had a true before picture to share. the closet had 3 deep and wide shelves. we would lose things on the top shelf because it was so deep and no stool would help. it also had a bar in front of the shelves for jackets. it's a decent sized closet for sure, but just not functional at all.

we decided we wanted to make a pantry. i started googling "how to's" on shelving and figuring out the best way to build it. We didn't want to buy those melamine standard shelves with the ugly brackets. I wanted to build it from scratch and i wanted to paint them.

so colin went right to work emptying out the closet 
and removing the hardware. 

we hired our electrician friend to come and install a light for us. finally we can SEE in that closet, it's amazing the difference it makes!

he also added an electrical outlet on this same wall near the floor.

this past summer we added hooks at the back door...
we use these much more than we ever used the hangars in the closet...

although this spot became a dumping ground for all those jackets/ski pants/mitts etc we had to relocate from the back door area we were working in.. wyatt found a fun little nest to read books in... it was so darn cute.

first off, we had to mud and sand all the walls. we painted a creamy white color on the non-shelf walls and then wall papered the shelf walls. 

wallpaper was relatively easy to do... and since we knew the wallpaper would be more of a background look behind the shelves and not the main focus, we were more relaxed about it if we made a mistake.  

biggest tip though - make sure you buy the EXACT same wallpaper rolls if you have to buy more than one roll! double check the barcode or whatever you can! we have a feeling that we were sold very similar but slightly different rolls and we got into some trouble matching in some places. it worked out fine for us and no one will ever notice the slight mistakes, but that might not be the case for you! 

Finished wallpaper!

Then it was time to install the shelves. 

We had 5 shelves on each wall. the back wall was 42" long and the side was 48" long (but minus 12" since we had it go only to the edge of the back wall shelf) . 
We ended up going with a knotty pine wood as we were told that would be the best in strength. The shelves were also just under 12" deep. 

First we installed the 1x2's along the wall where we wanted the shelves to go. Colin used a stud finder to make sure all the screws were going into studs. We did about 15" in between shelves. We could have done them closer together, but we wanted to make sure things like cereal boxes and other tall items had a spot and I wanted the shelves evenly spaced apart. 

this picture shows the shelves in place but not bolted together.. and i also primed the shelves ahead of time while colin worked on the 1x2's. 

i also primed and painted the 1x2's separately after they were installed... made it easier for taping each section as i didn't want to leave the tape on longer than necessary. 

after each paint application, i removed the tape right away. the wallpaper and tape i used said it should be fine and the tape wouldn't remove any of the color, but on a test spot, it did actually remove some of the color... so better safe than sorry!! especially after all that work installing the darn stuff!

so here are the shelves all primed and put together. you can see that we used 2 small mending plates on each shelf to bolt the two shelves together so they wouldn't move around on us as well as for extra support. 

 then colin measured and cut a 2x2 piece for in between each shelf section. this 2x2 is the corner support for the shelf that is attached by a mending plate.

i think he nailed it in from the top on each section, but i can't remember... i do know that he measured pretty accurately and those pieces weren't going anywhere even without nails... so it's up to you what you end up doing.

bit now it looks like one solid piece - especially now that it's all painted!

  of course now i have to go out and buy some actual organizing baskets or trays... but i can fit everything i want and more in this pantry! It's amazing how much space we saved designing this - i was able to take stuff out of my other cramped kitchen cupboard and put it in here instead and it still doesn't look over loaded!

if i ever get around to that part of the pantry, i will post a picture... but for now, i am LOVING my beautiful, somewhat organized, very functional pantry!!

Monday, February 25, 2013

a couple of funnies..

i thought this was a good one... i'm sure my husband can attest to this sometimes haha..

and this one is my all time favorite ecard...

this is so so so true!!

although lately i feel like i have too many things going on and i have started forgetting things myself... or more like i don't have the energy to explain that "the crackers are on the second from the bottom shelf on the right hand side in the kitchen pantry" ... nope... sometimes i just say "i don't know" with a sigh and see if he figures it out himself!  life is about the simple pleasures sometimes...