DIY THURSDAY: BEFORES AND AFTERS…

Well, I somehow managed to get sick for the second time in one month. Tis the season, I suppose, but I fully blame the overly-crowded DC metro on this one!

With my head a bit fuzzy and my nose feeling as though it’s about to burst, I decided to forgo the planned DIY project for this week. I was resolved to post something equally entertaining, however, and was wracking my brain on what it could possibly be when my Aha! moment hit.

Who doesn’t love before and after pictures?!

I’ve lived in my home for just under 2 years now, and while the progression has been slow going, it’s still a world of a difference from what it was before we moved in. So without further ado…

LIVING ROOM: (repainted in Valspar Chalk Green)

Living Room Before

Living Room 2012 - AFTER

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(You can find the tutorial on the wall gallery here.)

DINING ROOM: (repainted in Valspar Oatmeal)

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(DIY shelving tutorial here.)

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(Architectural décor tutorial here.)

HALLWAY: (repainted in Valspar Oatmeal)

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(Barn door coat rack tutorial here.)

Needless to say, it’s still a work in progress, but I can’t deny that I’m happy with the progression! Next up: the kitchen and the library!

What do you think? Do you have any befores and afters you would like to share? If so, feel free to send them my way and I will share a few in Next Thursday’s post!

SHARING THE LOVE…CONTINUED.

Hi all! Unfortunately, I must make this quick as I need to start my drive into DC any minute now! I’m off to visit friends and cheer on others at the Marine Corp Marathon on Sunday (run, Maffy, RUN!).

To continue sharing the love…I recently came across a few DIY projects that should keep you busy over the weekend and hopefully add a little holiday cheer to your home.

1. First, if you haven’t yet started your Fall décor, this classically simple wreath would be an adorable addition to your front porch:

Found via The Charm of Home. Don’t you just love that burlap ribbon?

If you’d like to add a Thanksgiving twist to the wreath, consider adding faux fruit, such as pears and grapes, instead.

2. This oversized moss letter via Dear Lillie is fabulous! You may have seen similar oversized letters via Pottery Barn – for $79 (not including shipping & handling). Well, Jennifer over at Dear Lilly offers a complete oversized moss letter tutorial…and on a miniscule budget!

3. Speaking of oversized letters, this monogrammed wall hanging would be such a sweet and personal touch to a wall gallery. Tonya over at Love of Family and Home offers her own tutorial.

4. And lastly, these newsprint page candles via The Shabby Creek Cottage would be such a charming touch to any mantle!

pottery barn knock off candle

You can also consider using vintage sheet music….particularly if you enter my giveaway and win! Yep…

TWO lucky winners will receive a large stack of vintage sheet music for your crafting pleasure. All you have to do is follow me via Facebook, Twitter, or email (or all of the above), and leave a comment on this post each time you do so. I will select two winners at random.

This giveaway will close on 10/28/12 at 11:59 EST. Winners will be announced on Monday!

For more vintage sheet music inspiration, go here.

Have a great weekend ya’ll!

IT’S ALL ABOUT YOU…AND THE CHICKENS

First, I want to say THANK YOU to all my wonderful readers out there! It amazes and delights me that my words don’t fall on deaf ears. You are all my inspiration and I feel honored and incredibly lucky that my blog can inspire you in return. And please, never hesitate to get in touch! Questions, comments, thoughts, opinions…I want to hear them all and I promise to reply in turn. Thank you again and I look forward to hearing from each and every one of you.

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I hope everyone had a chance to enjoy this beautiful weekend! I, myself, spent the majority of it outdoors….repainting a side of my house that was beginning to look a bit weathered. Oh, the joys of home ownership!

While painting, my mind was able to wander a bit, and I began thinking about all the other home improvement projects I wanted to do over the next year to really make my mark on this house. I want to redo a huge chunk of the kitchen – repaint and add bead board to the walls, build a butcher block counter/cabinet space, and purchase a bigger, better fridge, amongst a few other things. I want to plant French lavender along the entirety of the exterior side of the fence. I want to build a studio shed in my backyard for me to escape to, work in, and feel inspired by…

But there is one thing that I wanted to do from the very moment we moved into this house, and that is build a chicken coop! If you happen to read my About Me page, you’ll quickly realize that I’m a city girl at heart. But I’ve taken to the country quite well and nothing says country like a bunch of clucking chickens. As soon as I realized that the county allowed these adorable creatures, I was sold.

And this Spring, I will have my chicken coop (take note Mr. Carpenter!). So in preparation, I thought I’d do a little research and find some inspiration…

adorable!

chicken coop supreme

cutest chicken coop

Coop1

I absolutely love Heather Bullard’s chicken coop, which she and her husband designed and built themselves, but I have a slightly different (albeit very vague) idea in mind and this doesn’t quite fit it. If this is a design that works for you, however, you can purchase plans here!

via The fancy farm Girl

Now this is more like it! I have a small shed that could possibly be converted into a miniature version of this. I love how she took care to hang a chandelier and insert vintage pieces to really personalize the space. It’s a rare thing that someone would put in so much effort into making the interior of a coop look so inviting. It’s a space that even I wouldn’t mind nesting in!

Do you have chickens of your own? What do you think the pros and cons of owning chickens are? I’d love to hear your stories and see photos – feel free to send them my way!

DIY THURSDAY: OLD COAT RACK = ARCHITECTURAL DECOR

I’m a huge fan of those old, chippy, and occasionally rotten wooden architectural pieces. In fact, I’d like to have far more of them in my home. Unfortunately, it just so happens that they often come with a hefty price tag, or they are so rotten that they simply fall apart in my hand! So until I stumble upon those pieces that speak to me – without instantly crumbling into dust – I have to settle with what I have or simply create something similar…

Aha! Some of you may remember the barn door turned coat rack I put up in place of this piece:

Old Coat rack

Well, today I finally decided to do something with it. A few swipes of paint and a dab of dark wax would transform this piece into the perfect architectural décor for my French door frame. So off to work I went…

Coat Rack Before

First, and quite obviously, I needed to remove the hardware, so I grabbed a Phillips-head screw driver, removed all the screws, pulled off the hooks, and put them to the side for use on another project.

Coat Rack During

I then sanded down the holes a bit and filled each one with wood-filler. After allowing the filler to quickly dry, I lightly sanded again, wiped down the entire piece with a damp cloth, and began painting in…you guessed it, Annie Sloan’s Old White!

Coat Rack During 2

With two light coats of chalk paint, I gave it time to fully dry, and then once again lightly sanded the piece down, distressing at the corners and along the edges.  After wiping it free of dust, I began waxing the entire piece with Annie Sloan’s clear wax. Once the clear wax was buffed, I then began applying dark wax, making sure I really worked it into all of the nicks and grooves:

Coat Rack Waxed

With the dark wax, I tend to work in smaller sections – this piece was small enough for me wax on half the piece with dark wax, and then wax off with clear wax before the dark wax fully dried. I then repeated the process on other half. This process removes the majority of the dark wax, leaving behind a light stain on the majority of the piece, and a darker, almost dirty-like stain in the nicks and grooves. The final product looked like this:

Coat Rack Complete Macro

It took me a while to hang it above the French doors – I really could have used a second pair of hands! But after struggling with it a bit this morning, I finally managed to get it in place, and fairly straight too!

Coat rack Completed Hung

It’s a little more brown than I would typically paint, but I think it mirrors (pun intended) this piece directly across from it quite nicely:

Mirror in Dining Room

What do you think? Do you have miscellaneous items laying around that, with a little TLC, can be transformed into architectural décor? Time to start rummaging around in your garage!

LINKED TO:

Furniture Feature FridaysMade in a DayKatie's Nesting Spotshabby creek cottage

DIY THURSDAY: MILK PAINTED DESK.

I’ve been waiting with bated breath for Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint to arrive (via Red Posie) and the big moment finally arrived yesterday afternoon. It was a bit like Christmas morning opening the box and a shiver of excitement came over me as I peered down at my powdered paint. I couldn’t wait to use it!

Unfortunately, it was already late in the day and since I was only 85% recovered from the bug I had caught earlier in the week, I decided to give it one more day….but come this morning, I popped out of bed and went straight to work (well, after a cup o’ joe or two, of course).

Now, I’ve been saving a particular piece for this paint – a piece small enough to finish quickly and cheap enough that if I screwed it up, I wouldn’t be heartbroken.

Student Desk Unfinished

A cute little student desk!

I’m embarrassed to say, but this piece has actually been sitting in my kitchen – sort of as a kitchen island – for almost a year while I’ve been (very patiently) waiting to repaint and lightly renovate the walls and pantry. Hey, desperate times call for desperate measures! Needless to say, when I got wind of the MMS line of paint, this was the first piece that came to mind.

So, with the powdered form of milk paint in hand, I happily began the  transformation.

Before I get into the details of the project, however, I must give you a pre-painting tip that is particularly useful if you’ve never used milk paint before: I would highly, HIGHLY recommend watching the MMS milk paint tutorials! In my excitement to use the milk paint, I decided to forgo this and immediately regretted this decision when mixing the paint. Frankly, I had no idea what it was supposed to look like, what consistency it was supposed to be, etc. It is very different than your typical latex, acrylic, or chalk paint!

With this said, I added just a little more water that I should have and ended up with what I like to call “skim” milk paint rather than what should have been “whole” milk paint. Hence, when applying the paint, it was a bit runny.

I went with it, nevertheless, and after sanding the top of the desk to its original grain (which took a heck of a lot of sanding!), I painted the base with the first coat of my runny milk paint in Ironstone

Student Desk Half Finished

You can’t quite tell from the above picture, but when the milk paint begins to dry, you can see areas in which the paint doesn’t fully adhere and actually begins to chip. If this is an affect you’d rather avoid then make sure you mix the bonding agent in with the paint mixture! I happen to love the chippy affect, so I left the mixture as is.

I allowed the paint to dry for approximately 30 minutes then took a putty knife to very lightly remove the chipping pieces. I then added a second coat of milk paint and repeated the process. Once I achieve my desired “chippy” look, I added one coat of MMS clear wax to seal the paint and give the piece a nice, natural sheen. Finally, I brushed on a coat of Danish Oil in medium walnut…Student Desk Almost Complete

One coat of Danish Oil down, which you can see is still a little wet.

…allowed it to dry for 30 minutes before applying a second coat, and voila! After allowing the second coat to dry for another 15 minutes and wiping the whole piece down with a cloth, it looked like this:

Student Desk Finished

Student Desk Finished 2

Did I mention that we’ll be repainting soon?! As you can see, it’s much needed!

Student Desk Macro

I actually love how it turned out (I’m still working on my photography so the piece looks a bit better in person…) and particularly love the chippiness of it, but it’s definitely important to be aware of how milk paint works before applying it! What do you think?

LINKED TO:

homeworkPhotobucketFurniture Feature Fridays

DIY THURSDAY: THE PERFECT LITTLE SEWING TABLE THAT ISN’T USED FOR SEWING….

I’ve confessed on multiple occasions that I simply cannot sew. I haven’t tried that hard, really, but it’s something that I tend to avoid for no reason at all, other than the fact that I think I’ll be bad at it. I don’t even know why I think I’ll be bad at it – it’s just one of those weird, quirky feelings that I get. Do you ever feel that way?

Anyhow, I came across this hideously adorable sewing table at a price that I couldn’t refuse, quickly snatched it up, and immediately began sanding down the dreadful mahogany stain job and the goopy, glossy overabundance of polyurethane…

Sewing Table Unfinished

No, this table would definitely not be used for sewing, but I did have an idea brewing in my head, inspired by a furniture piece I had seen via Miss Mustard Seed’s Pinterest board: (apparently originating from www.fadedplains.com)

Perfect for sewing table I'm working on - could look good as bedroom night stand?

So I sanded, and sanded, and sanded some more, filling in a few holes and repairing a few cracks along the way, and then finally began painting the drawers with my beloved Annie Sloan chalk paint in “Old White.” After a couple coats of white, I began hand distressing with 180-grit sandpaper, and then sealed the painted portion with Annie Sloan’s clear wax.

For the top, I stained it with a mixture of Minwax stain, which admittedly, I haven’t quite completed yet  – I still need to get to my desired color. Once I have actually gotten to the desired color, I will seal the stained top with a very light layer of polyurethane.

Here’s the current state it’s in…

Sewing Table

Sewing Table Close

I’d actually like to darken the stain just a little, and as mentioned, I still need to give it a nice sheen with the polyurethane, but I think it turned out pretty cute! I’m also in the process of finding that perfect vintage table lamp, similar to the one in the inspirational photo but with just a little more patina.

The shelving you see above the sewing table are actually sewing drawers that I found for $7. I simply tacked in a couple D-rings on the backside of each drawer and viola! Quick and easy shelving.

ps…don’t you just HATE the enormous headboard that seems to overwhelm the picture above? I’m still trying to convince my husband that paint is the answer to this eye-sore. Yes, I think a little bit of paint and a plush down comforter would do the trick nicely….(perhaps a few reader comments expressing the same will help me convince the man to let me take a paint brush to it!).

LINKED TO:
shabby creek cottagePhotobucketKatie's Nesting Spot

Furniture Feature FridaysMade in a Day

DIY THURSDAY: MIRROR, MIRROR, ON THE WALL…

Call me vein, but I love mirrors. They can add light and depth to any room; they can be an architectural element, an intricate detail, or a bold surprise. So when I come across large, framed mirrors on my pickin’ trips (for a good price, of course), I immediately snatch them up.

Take this guy, for example…

Gold Mirror

I came across this mirror while at a junk store out in Richmond, VA, and I couldn’t resist the amazing detail – but the color was this gaudy, spray-painted gold that hid those intricate details. So in my typical DIY fashion, I broke out my paint brush, a can of Old White Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, some sandpaper, and Annie Sloan’s clear AND dark wax.

When working with details like this, the dark wax works wonders – truly! It gives the piece that aged, antique look while really making every little detail pop with that perfect patina.

So after painting the piece entirely white (two coats), I hand distressed it with 180-grit sandpaper, waxed the piece first with the clear wax, buffed it, and then added the dark wax (*unless you want to attempt to use the dark wax as a stain, ALWAYS wax the piece with clear or natural wax before using the dark wax). When using dark wax, you really want to get it deep into the grooves and details – don’t be shy!

Gold Mirror Waxed

Typically, it’s best to work in sections, dark wax on, clear wax off, allowing the dark wax to stay in the nicks and grooves, but waxing/buffing the majority off with the clear wax, leaving only a tinted patina behind. See how the details really begin to pop?!

After rubbing in the dark wax, and buffing off with the clear wax, I ended up with this…

Large Mirror Styled

Large Mirror Macro

Not too shabby, eh?

Any mirror can be painted, and with just a little TLC, you can change the whole dynamic of a room. A few more examples:

Tuscan Mirror

BEFORE: I’m just starting to paint the piece in Annie Sloan’s Paris Grey.

Tuscan Mirror After

AFTER: Hand distressed and with a hint of Annie Sloan’s Duck Egg

Tuscan Mirror Macro

Or, here’s something that has no intricate details at all, but still turned out pretty awesome…

Large Mirror

Unfortunately, I don’t have a true “BEFORE” picture – this is the mirror painted in Annie Sloan’s Paris Grey.

Reclaimed Bookshelf copy

AFTER: hand-distressed, dry-brushed with Old White, and dark waxed.

Large Mirror Macro

What do you think – do you have a mirror needing a bit of an update? If so, I’d love to see before and after pictures!

Linked to:

Furniture Feature Fridays

DIY THURSDAY: CHECKERS ANYONE?

Happy Thursday my dear friends! I just finished a fun little something this afternoon that I’m anxious to show off…

Checker Table Unfinished

(Don’t worry – this is the before picture!)

I picked up this table months ago and as I tend to do, left it neglected in a far corner of the house until I felt the creative motivation to actually do something with it. I finally felt the motivation yesterday, and with a very vague idea in mind, went to work.

It’s difficult to tell the exact size of the table from the picture above, but it’s actually quite odd – too small to be an end table and too big and bulky to be a plant stand or miscellaneous corner table….what in the world was I to do with it?

The line detail on the top of the table gave me the idea to transform this awkward little thing into a checker board table. Without a color scheme in mind, I started off by painting the entire piece in white – my go-to color when I’m at a loss and without a strategy. I suppose it just gives me that blank canvas I need to get the creative juices (hopefully) flowing!

Once the piece was nice and white, I measured the top, calculated the measurements so my checker board would be evenly centered (3” from each edge), and then created a 12×12 square in the center, marking each individual square at 1.5”. I then taped away using Frog Tape – my first time using this particular brand and it really does work far better than the usual blue painter’s tape. I highly recommend!

Checker Table Taped

Once the piece was taped to my liking, I decided to paint one set of squares in Annie Sloan’s “Louis Blue” while leaving the other set white, which also meant that I would have to repaint the current white border in a contrasting color…

So with a bit more taping, re-taping, and more than a few disgruntled moments, I finished painting all of the squares to my liking and created a custom light grey for the border, which I also used to paint the rest of the table.

After a bit of distressing and detailing, I’m actually happy with the finished product!

Checker Table

Checker Table 2

The perfect little game table. Now I just need to find (or make) complementing checker pieces! Any ideas?
LINKED TO:

Furniture Feature Fridays

FEATURED PARTIES AND A HUNK OF JUNK TRANSFORMATION

Hello my friends! I’ve been a bit absent the last few days due to some recent travel, but I’m back with a couple of goodies up my sleeve!

First, I want to thank Kim from Made In A Day and Katie from Katie’s Nesting Spot for featuring my barn door to coat rack creation!

Barn Door Complete

I would highly recommend checking out their blogs for some fun and quirky craft ideas – and if you have any fun and quirky crafts of your own, you should definitely link up to their weekly “linky parties.” Thanks Kim and Katie – I look forward to seeing many more amazing ideas and inspiration!

Made in a DayPhotobucket

Next, since I missed last Thursday’s DIY post, I wanted to show you a little something I was working on while in DC…

Now, I definitely had a great time visiting with friends and family, but there was an underlying bittersweetness to the trip that was difficult to shake off – a dear friend of mine is moving to Boston in just a few days and I was specifically there to see her off with a few more good memories before she totes herself 400 miles uptown.

A few days prior to my arrival, this dear friend asked if I’d be willing to paint a small bookshelf that came her way via her grandfather – one of the few furniture pieces that will be moving with her – and of course, how could I possibly say no? So with hand sander and paint cans in tow, I drove up a couple of days early to get to work.

Let’s just quickly say, the piece wasn’t in the best of shape…

MAF Bookshelf Original

Eek!

…but it was small and compact and, thanks to the electric sander I brought with me, fairly easy to sand down. With a little bit of wood filler, a can of Annie Sloan Old White, a few strands of Frog Tape, a custom mixed pop of color, and A LOT of love, I transformed this hunk of junk into something with a little more personality:

MAF Bookshelf Finished

MAF Bookshelf Finished Macro

Perfectly fitting for my friend, I think – a solid foundation with a punch of color and quirkiness. Hopefully she agrees!

Lastly, don’t forget to send in your “Pets on Furniture” pictures for a chance to win a care package courtesy of moi (that would be me), Simon (my cat), and Mattie (my pup). The winner will be featured in tomorrow’s post.

Cheers!

DIY THURSDAY: BARN DOOR TO COAT RACK

I have a strange obsession with old, barn doors, and while I’m typically able to refrain from purchasing them only due to the lack of storage in my home, my heart does a quick pitter patter every. single. time. I see one.

At the Luckett’s Antique Fair out in Leesburg this last Spring (which was amazing, by the way!), however, I came across a door I simply couldn’t resist. It was weathered grey deliciousness…

Barn Door As is

I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do with it, but I just had to have it, and have it I did. I lugged it home in complete bliss only to stuff it into a corner and have it sit for the next three months…until yesterday.

On a side note, another thing I can’t resist is a good coat or blazer. And this, my friends, is something that I can make room for. While some women have a thing for shoes – yeah, I’ve got a thing for coats. There’s no such thing as too many.

With that said, the only “coat closet” we have is either my own closet (which is now full…) and until recently, a fairly dinky coat rack we had hanging in the hallway:

Coat Rack Original

Something had to give, and I wasn’t about to give up my coat collection.

This is where my Aha! moment comes in – the barn door! Why not turn the barn door into a larger, less cluttered coat rack? So after a quick trip to Lowes, I happily began working on my project.

Items needed:

Hardware for Barn Door

  1. D-Ring Hangers to hang the door
  2. Hooks to hang coats on
  3. Drywall screws/anchors (that hold a good chunk of weight!)
  4. Screwdriver
  5. Drill
  6. Measuring Tape
  7. Leveler
  8. Pencil
  9. and of course, the barn door!

After removing most of the old, rusted hardware from the back side of the door, I screwed in two D-Rings approximately 6” from each end. On the front side, I then spaced the hooks approximately 9” apart from each other (give or take, I mostly eyeballed it) and screwed them right in with screws included in the package. Easy as pie!

Barn Door Hooks

(Beer sometimes helps in the DIY process…)

Unfortunately, leveling the door on the wall wasn’t quite as easy and for this I needed an extra pair of hands (aka The Husband). After eyeballing and marking with a pencil the height we wanted the door on the wall, we went to work measuring and leveling…

First, we measured the full length of the door so we could center it appropriately on the wall. We then measured between the D-rings so we knew where to place the screws to actually hang the door. Then, with a leveler, a couple of stools (aka dining room chairs), and a pencil, we began marking a few points on the wall – and then measured and re-measured (and argued just a little..) to confirm those points. Finally, we drilled the holes at are our measured two points, popped in the drywall anchors and screws, and hung the door. Voila! It was amazingly sturdy and straight.

Barn Door Hung

Barn Door Complete

I think it adds a nice bit of character to the wall, and the space looks much less cluttered! (we’ll see how long it actually stays that way…)

What do you think?

As for the previous coat rack:

Old Coat rack

I plan on removing the hooks, filling in all the holes with wood filler, repainting, and if all goes well, this will be hung as architectural décor above the French doors in my dining room – pictures of this to be revealed soon!

LINKING TO:

Katie's Nesting SpotFurniture Feature Fridaysshabby creek cottage