Craigslist Secret

Friday, October 17, 2014

 I saw this gorgeous mid century modern buffet on Craigslist a couple of weeks ago but it was WAY out of my price range. So how is it sitting so pretty in my garage/soon-to-be-workroom you may ask? Let me share my little Craigslist secret technique with you. 

Are you ready? K. 

I politely asked for it.

That's it. When I see something I really like that I can't afford I send the seller an email that says something like, "I really love the buffet you are selling on craigslist but I am on a very tight budget. If you decide you can sell it for $ insert price you want to pay, I hope you'll email or call me.

The seller of my new buffet boyfriend had it listed for a couple of weeks but it didn't sell so they called me yesterday and asked if I still wanted it. AND I DID! 

I really think the key to this technique is being very polite and honest. I'm not trying to lowball or insult the seller, I'm assuming that they may reach a point where they just want something gone and if they do I hope they'll call me. 

Now, how should I make-over this bad boy? Love this orange!
Great idea to spruce up retro furniture, wondering of it would look good in a different color.
And this white!
Before and After White and Walnut Mid Century Dresser

Or green! Green is my favorite color.
But this is probably my most favorite.  A great way to get a pop of color on furniture without painting over all the beautiful wood.

I'm kind of in love. I wish I could get after it right now instead of cleaning...but we are having a tiny Halloween pumpkin carving soiree at our home on Sunday so I need to make things shine you know.

Have a great weekend! Good luck with your next craigslist treasure!

Ghosts in a Jar

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Do you ever just sort of peruse the interwebs jumping from link to link looking at all of the amazing and creative things people are up to? I don't even know how I ended up at the blog where I saw the Ghosts in a Jar tutorial but since I had just acquired these giant mason jars from a friend it felt like fate bringing us together for a little Halloween hot (glue) romance. Thank you, Linda from Mason Jar Crafts Love; I don't know you, but what we had is beautiful...or creepy, I guess, 'cause it's for Halloween.

I pretty much followed her tutorial, using a piece of floral foam glued into my lid and sticking a twig in it. The ghosts are styrofoam balls from the dollar store covered in unfolded gauze pads from my first aid kit. I had a leftover crow from my Halloween trees so I decided to glue him on top with moss glued around his feet. And since everything benefits from glitter I sparkled up a tag for him to hold in his beak.

His Halloween message?  Well, quoth the Raven Nevermore, of course.

How to Wallpaper Stair Risers

Monday, October 13, 2014

I've been blogging here at blogspot since 2010 and somehow blogger did some fancy maths and figured out what my "most popular" posts have been. They are over there in the sidebar. It says that my post titled Wallpapered Stair Risers that I wrote in 2012 is the second most popular post. Which makes me feel SO GUILTY! You guys, that post doesn't even tell how to wallpaper stair risers! I didn't even wallpaper my stair risers until last week. Two years later. That post is a big fat lie!

I eventually did get around to doing it though and I am super loving the results! It took me forever (obviously) to settle on a wallpaper pattern, plus I was unsure how the wallpaper would hold up to foot traffic on the stairs. The varathane that we used on our painted kitchen floor has held up so well that I finally felt confident enough to go for it.  

And to make up for my decorating deception, unintentional though it was, I am going to show step by step how I did it. Buckle up, this is going to be SO EXCITING!

Begin with cleaning your stairs really well to get off all the dust and, in our case, dog hair. I used a mixture of simple green and water in a spray bottle. I really like simple green for cleaning before any furniture redo because it is a fantastic degreaser.

 My house is old and there were slight variations in the size of my risers so as annoying as this step is, it's pretty important.

 Wallpaper is meant to be hung in strips, but most stair risers are wider than a roll of wallpaper so choose one with a pattern that you like when it is horizontal.

In this photo "work surface" is a euphemism for the top of my stairs. It is a pain crawling up and down the stairs so many times and I didn't want to run back and forth to the table too, so I just taped down some paper bags on the landing at the top of my stairs and did all my glue application there. 
My wallpaper came pre-pasted, which means you're supposed to dip it in water to activate the paste. That sounded awfully messy so I was happy when I found this adhesive that said you could use it on pre-pasted paper instead of the water method.
Next, smooth the strip onto the riser.

There were a couple of strips that I put on and realized I had measured completely wrong, like I was measuring using only my sense of smell...the paste is damp long enough that I just peeled the strip back and used my scissors to trim it right there.

I let the risers dry overnight to make sure the paste was completely set, then I brushed on two coats of my beloved varathane using an old paint brush.
It dries pretty quickly but we still avoided using the stairs for 8 hours just to be sure.

 And there you have it. Here are the before and after. I love the way this tiny detail makes going up the stairs so much prettier. If you have any questions about how this went down please ask; I owe you.

I linked up at Miss Mustard Seed

Open Letter to Teenagers With ADD/ADHD

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Maybe you have a teenager who is close to you who has ADD/ADHD? And maybe you want to help them...perhaps impart some of your wisdom gleaned from years of dealing with it yourself? It could be that your significant other has it too, and you've seen doctors and read books and researched articles and, I don't know, learned some things?

It could be my imagination, but maybe you've tried to talk to said teenager about steps they could take to make their life easier? But it sort of seems like they aren't listening to you...when they roll their eyes and look at their phone and loll their head back like listening to you is killing them slowly?

I mean, it could be just me. And if it is, I want to get something off my chest. It's just three things. Three things that if said indeterminate teenager did, their lives would surely be better. Obviously these are not all the things. I am not covering medication, for example, on account of I never finished med school. Or started it for that matter.

So I'm writing a letter and sending it out there into the universe and if you want to share it with the teenager in your life you have my blessing and well wishes.

Dear Teenager with ADD/ADHD,

You probably already know some of the things you should do to make your life dealing with ADD/ADHD better. But maybe the books, and lectures, and tips seem overwhelming. I mean, if you knew how to manage a calendar and organize all your assignments you wouldn't have ADD/ADHD, right?

So I'm not saying you shouldn't pay attention to all those things, but if you feel overwhelmed with where or how to start, here is a list of the three things that in my vast but not medical experience can be REALLY helpful. It's just three. You can do this.

1. Accept that having ADD/ADHD is not an excuse for anything. Sure, some things are genuinely harder for you because of your ADD/ADHD, but everyone has something that makes their life hard. Remember there are worse things, losing loved ones, being homeless, living in a war zone, not having enough to eat, etc. You know there are worse stories than yours. Also, even though you sometimes get down on yourself, deep down you have to recognize how awesome you are. The other side of ADD/ADHD is often creativity, empathy, intelligence, and innovation. Own that incredible part of yourself too! No pity parties.

2. You gots to take care of yourself. Exercising everyday helps increase attention and improve mood. It's imperative for people with ADD/ADHD. You also need to eat breakfast. And not just any breakfast, a breakfast with more protein than carbs. So choose eggs, or a protein bar or shake, or oatmeal, or cottage cheese, or toast with peanut butter. Add some fruit and you are good to go.

3. There are all kinds of techniques for improving your focus and task organization. I'm just going to give you one golden nugget here that really will make your life better. At the beginning of the day think for a minute about the things you're supposed to do today. Now jot them down. Good. Now the scary part. Look into your heart and ask yourself which ONE of those things you hate the most. That's the thing that is number one on your list. It might be the only thing. Do not pass go nor collect $200 until that thing is done! Every time you find yourself starting to wander off to check on something else you think you should do remind yourself that Numero Uno has to be done before you can move on. If you do this for a few days, or even better, a few weeks, you'll find your days getting happier and happier. Promise.

And that is it my friend. I know you are going to have an amazing  life. You're going to figure out the best ways to channel your unique strengths and cope with your challenges. Be kind and talk nice to yourself on the playground that is your brain. And try those three things. Really. It'll help.

May the Force be with You,

Make an Adorable Tiny Crocheted Pincushion

Monday, October 6, 2014

I was playing on Pinterest (fondly known by Marc as Pin Interest) the other day and stumbled on some sweet little crocheted pincushions. And I wanted some. Maybe lots? I love cute little things.

Unfortunately, the directions were all in Dutch. I think. Actually I don't know what language it was for sure. All I knew was that it was on like Donkey Kong. I would have to use my wits and cunning to figure it out. Okay, like, it's a square, but still, I did figure it that's cool.

 I can't actually teach you how to crochet since I just learned from my Grandma when I was a little girl plus I'm a lefty and yarn things go wonky when I try to teach people, but if you already know or can teach yourself from watching youtube, then I can tell you how to make these little cuties. They are super easy and a little addictive.

I didn't follow a pattern, and I don't know how to write one...I guess leave a comment if you have a question about anything.

First, chain 15 for your length and then chain 3 more to be your first double crochet.

Next, double crochet 15 times and then turn your row counter clockwise to start the next row. Chain three to be your first double crochet of the next row and then double crochet 14 more back the other way.

Keep it up until you have a rectangle that is about 6 inches long. Tie off your yarn and cut it leaving a short tail.

Fold the rectangle in half, right sides out (if you can tell what the right side is, they both looked the same to me)and crochet the edges together using a simple chain stitch. This will give you even stitches to attach your scallop edge to.

Stop when you have 3 1/2 of the edges closed and stuff your little muffin with polyfill. Get it nice and plump and then finish stitching the whole thing closed.

To add the ruffle or scallop edge you're going to pick a corner as a starting place. Do a double crochet and then two more double crochets into the same hole so all three are in the same stitch. 

Then do a slip stitch into the same loop. And chain two. Skip the next two loops or spaces and then do three double crochets into the third space. Repeat the process.

I think this is hard to explain but I just found a really nice video on youtube for you to watch. This isn't exactly how I did it, but her scallop looks lovely and it's much easier to look and learn.

And there you have it! Sweet little pincushions to share with your friends. Ellie was watching me make them and asked to take one to school to use in her sewing class-I felt validated. 

Painting a Dresser with Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint-part deux

Thursday, October 2, 2014

I left you yesterday with a half baked dresser makeover. That was because I am blogging in real time and I had to hurry up and finish today so I could show you (and me) how it turned out.
I love it!

 Here she is again before her makeover.
So, to the nitty gritty, I left you with a dresser with three coats of milk paint. I let it dry overnight and rushed down to the garage, I mean MY WORKSHOP (i'm trying to claim it) this morning excited to see some chippy goodness. It's supposed to just happen like magic. Unfortunately there was a lot of crackling, but very little chipping. In hindsight I think that the layer of shellac  made the paint stick a little too well...but I'm pretty sure I needed it to prevent bleed through so... it is what it is. 

Some of the MMSMP tutorials suggest running a spackle knife over the paint to help it flake off so I decided to try that, and what do you know? Some places did start to come off! I was hoping that a lot of the wood would show through so I was pretty rigorous in my application of pressure. Some areas gave up the paint really easily, mostly on the corners and edges, and some areas weren't having any of that nonsense.

When I had off all the paint that was going to come peacefully I gave the whole thing a good sand leaving it looking like this.
You can see how there is a part on the top where the thin wood veneer had broken off and the layer of wood beneath it was warping. I carefully considered all the options for attempting a repair, glue,clamps, patch and sanding and finally settled on plopping a doily over it that my Grandma had crocheted. Someday I'd like to try selling some of the furniture I paint, but since this piece if for me I decided camouflage would be easier better than a repair.

The final step was to apply a layer of tongue oil over the whole piece. Here is a photo of my tools with the tongue oil that I bought at the hardware store.
The oil was super easy to apply, just rub in on and in with an old t-shirt and let it cure overnight. The oil seals and protects the wood and it also adds a tiny bit of sheen and deepens the color of the paint. I'm so happy with how it came out, perfect for the guest room, ah workout room, um office...that one extra little room is a bit schizophrenic.
I bought new knobs at Hobby Lobby.
It's possible I got a bit carried away playing dresser stylist.
Some bunny likes this dresser ;-)
P.S. It would make me so happy if you would leave a comment here on my blog. Even if it's to say you hate chippy furniture.

I linked up at Miss Mustard Seed

Painting a Dresser with Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint- part un

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

I am usually a chalk paint girl but I've been wanting to try milk paint for a long time, I just couldn't find any stockists in our area. Then when I was in Utah visiting Maddie we stopped at a little shop to buy some chalk paint for her dresser makeover...and they had bags of Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint!

There was much excitement and exclaiming over all the lovely colors but as I had no furniture project in mind, and was spending all my money on the lovely children, it didn't seem practical to purchase at that time. So we bought the chalk paint and went home.

Where I agonized and obsessed about it all night and then went back and bought a bag the next day.

Once I got home I had my eye out for the perfect practice piece and when this little antique dresser showed up on Craigslist I pounced.
Here she is in my garage, er, workroom
 I am a complete sucker for any furniture on casters. Love. Plus, get a look at these little keyholes on each drawer. More love!

Those are the good parts. You can also sort of see that the wood has a really weird rough finish on it. My best guess is that somebody stained it and then sprayed some kind of polyurethane on it that beaded up all over like this. When you touch it there is a feel like sandpaper.

At this point I probably should have sanded the whole thing down to try and smooth out that finish, but I'm always trying to see what is the least amount of work I can do and still end up with something I like so I didn't. Bad Shelley. I did wipe the whole thing down with a damp cloth and noticed that a lot of the dark brown finish was coming off. To keep that from bleeding through the milk paint I sprayed the whole thing with a coat of Zinsser Shellac. I read somewhere online about using it to help milk paint stick without using a bonding agent and to prevent bleed through. 
The shellac only takes about 30 minutes to dry so while it was doing its thing I went ahead and mixed the milk paint. Of course I had spent days preparing myself for this momentous and important occasion by memorizing all the tips for MMSMP on the website. You can see them here. There is lots of good information, but the main message is that milk paint is unpredictable in how it will stick and or crackle and flake on a piece of furniture and that, my friends, is part of the charm. Maybe the main part of the charm? I don't really know, I've only done one dresser.

Anywho...I mixed one part paint and one part water and set a timer on my phone to mix that paint with a wire whisk for three minutes. 

The paint had a much thinner consistency than any other paint I've worked with which the directions said to expect. The color was gorgeous! So I started slapping that stuff on. As expected, the first coat didn't cover well but I forged on and continued painting.
Here we are after the first coat.
And the drawers. I was careful to not get paint on the bity keyholes since I wanted the metal to contrast with the paint.

By the time I finished all of the drawers the body of the dresser was dry enough for me to put on the second coat. Then I decided to do a very quick and dirty third coat. As the paint was drying some parts began to crackle but I didn't see any flaking. I really wanted flaking. So I decided to leave it alone overnight and see where we were after the paint was well and truly dry.

And that is where I leave you friends, mostly because I don't have the rest of the pictures uploaded and I still need to wax. I pinky promise to post the last steps and final reveal tomorrow.


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