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Why I Suck at Sewing (and that’s OK)


Masterpiece...ugh.

I recently had a dog move in with me (don’t worry, she pays rent) and I thought I could make her a cute little hobo bed. So I took scraps of cloth and decided to basically fabric glue this piece of monstrosity together with a bit of stitching toward the end for structure.

Well, let me be the first to say “Bahahahaha” and “Bahahahaha.”

Honestly, I’ve never put on airs about my sewing. I can do the minimal hand stitching for reupholstering, but aside from that, me and a lobster have equal sewing capacities. I even have a sweet sewing machine but the bobbin and tension totally harsh my mellow.

Soooooo what’s the point of this post? As much as I love good, old fashion, self-depricating humor, there really is a purpose. You see, this post is coming hot on the heels of a conversation I had with a friend. She was feeling down about nothing specific. Not just the “winter icks,” but the “I-look-around-me-and-see-that-everyone-seems-to-be-making-it-work-with-ease-and-here-I-am-just-waiting-for-improvement-itis.” It’s something we all feel occasionally. You’re genuinely happy for someone else’s luck/success/what have you, but at the same time you wonder, “how do they do it?” or “what are they doing differently than me?”

The answer I have found is pretty simple- nothing. I devote my spare time to woodworking, running, home improvement, my band, furniture nonsense and messing up my life with power tools. It isn’t fair for me to turn around and expect to be great at sewing when it isn’t even remotely on my to-do list. Nor are cooking, bowling, dancing, golfing (I could go on forever.) Do I sacrifice for my hobbies? Again, my to-do list is not extensive. I rarely bowl, go dancing, buy gourmet food etc. It’s just a matter of picking my battles, even though they are always with myself.

No matter what we have/don’t have or where we excel/fail, at the end of the day everyone is tired, everyone tried, everyone is waiting for the next day to be a little better and we’ve all sacrificed something in order to be what we are (good or bad.)

When it comes down to it, it’s always good to see the potential in yourself but keep in mind the value of all that you are. Where would we be if Eric Clapton decided to try his Slowhand (get it?) at body-building? Or dry cleaning? Or macrame? All that he has done is not overshadowed by all that he chose not to do.

So, it’s OK, go ahead and suck at something.

Discom-BULB-ulated


Ahhh the 70’s; the memorable era of carpeted walls, brass fixtures and oversized, yellow spotted lamps.

Spots

 

Yeah, that’s real. 

Since, in my opinion, a lamp is just a bulb on a long cord that is run through a hollowed-out vase (in layman’s terms) I decided there was no harm in loosening a few wing nuts and pulling the old girl apart.

 

 

Rod

 

In this instance there is a hollow, threaded rod inserted through the middle because this behemoth of a lamp weighs more than a small child and comes in three separate pieces.

This is where the spray paint enters the scene.

I taped off the cord and socket (because even though the lamp unscrewed, the parts were inseparable) primed with spray primer, then did what I do best…make bad decisions quickly with my eyes closed.

Well Look ye' Here

My decision making process went something like this.

“I like blue. What is better than blue? Three different blues!!” The end.

Come here often, lovely?

 

The spray primer was a good, sticky base for the spray paint so I didn’t use spray sealant on top. PLUS, in my experience, most glossy spray paints tend to turn a bit matte when coated with a sealant (even if it seems like a glossy sealant) so I avoid it whenever possible.

OK, maybe the 70’s didn’t always have the greatest concept of space or regard for complimentary colors, but in theory, a massive, speckled lamp sounds stunning to just about everyone, right?…Yeah, I didn’t think so.

 

 

 

 

 

Face Forward


resurfacing

Dan’s Tables


I received a call about some laminate end tables that needed a little jazzing-up!

RawI scrubbed them down with soap, water and eventually a bit of Windex. I also pried off the ancient pen holder that was stuck to the side with what could only be a mix of cement and a curse. I decided to skip the primer because I felt like living on the edge (my middle name is Danger, in case you didn’t know.) I removed the hardware and scuffed the laminate a bit with sandpaper, mixed my colors and got my paint on!

Dan had originally wanted these to be burnt orange with red on the inside. But as I do with ALL of my customers that I know well, I changed the plan a bit. I thought the burnt orange would be a bit too dark so I mixed a dark peach color. As for the red, well I hoped he likes pink. Dark red seemed too bold so I mixed a light salmon and prayed…and prayed…and hoped…cried a little…and prayed some more.

I used an average of three coats of polyurethane over the paint just to ensure that the paint was going to stay put. I say “an average of three coats” because the tops got at least four coats (perhaps even five) while the sides got about two and the inside only one. The reason for the inconsistency in the number of coats is that, well you see, I was attacked….by bugs. Gnats and mosquitoes were flying kamikaze missions into my wet poly! Many times I would pick off a bug, scratch the paint and need to reapply both paint and poly.

ALSO there was one night, one tragic, tragic night when I didn’t pay attention to the humidity in the air, the odd direction of the wind or, ya know, the local weather channel. I left the tables out under an overhang (thank God, at least) to dry, which ended up having the opposite affect considering we had an Amazon-like monsoon that same evening. I sort of flipped. I had to peel 1/3 of the paint off and layer paint fairly meticulously in order to make it appear as though it doesn’t have four coats of chipped paint. Ay-yiy-freakin’-yiy!

Buuuuuuuut…..it all worked out.

Donzo!

And even better news? Boys totally like pink.

Feline Domesti-brass


Since me and my boyfriend of three years broke up I’ve had to do a bit of shuffling in my household dynamic, which includes getting a roommate! I didn’t want to just tuck her and all of her stuff away to her room, so we have hung her items and brought out her nicknacks so she feels at home.

But it’s really easy to see the flaws in your “stuff” once you bring them to a new environment…

Case in point; the brass kitty.

CatIt’s by no means ugly, but in your own apartment it’s easy to get use to how your old items looks– dirt and tarnish included. As a surprise I decided to shine-up this cute little family heirloom of Lisa’s.

How to Clean Icky Brass

Ew1. First I took drenched a cotton ball in regular white vinegar and scrubbed. I was seriously amazed at how much surface gunk the vinegar removed.

2. Next I lightly (SUPER DUPER LIGHTLY) scrubbed the brass with 000 steel wool. I wouldn’t recommend this for brass that is already fairly shinny because if there isn’t any dirt to scrub off then it just ends up scratching the brass. However, if yours is as worn as this cat then you’re safe to scrub, just do it mindfully.

3. This step is also controversial because in some cases it can mess up your brass. I soaked the cat in OxiClean for 5 minutes. OxiClean gets out stains but there is also the whole “rust factor.”

OxiClean=Oxygen=Oxidation=Rust

Just make sure not to leave your item in the solution too long and dry it thoroughly when you bring it out.

Brasso!4. The final step is to polish with a specialized cleaner. I used Brasso, but Grecian Gold works well also.

And the results?

After

OMG Now I just want to clean everything!!!

Storage Bench Snack


This little beauty was dropped off at my house at random, and it sure needed some love.

The back corners were pretty damaged because, what dog doesn’t love a good wooden snack?

I was able to rebuild one corner with wood filler and some sanding…

Wood Filler

 

Smoooooth

The other side was SOOOO rough that I decided to just cut the whole thing off. I really like the metal accent bars, so to maintain continuity I cut the other side apart, glued on legs and screwed it back where it use to be.

All apart

I had to sand down the sides where I cut because they were a little choppy. Then I stained all the light wood and wood filler. Finally I used glossy polyurethane to make it shine shine shine.

Sandy Sand Sand

Hmmm...

Once the wood parts were finished it was time to move on to the bench. I took off the old upholstery and put down new cotton and fabric. I didn’t have any thick padding on hand so I literally pieced together pieces of batting (because I am way to cheap and lazy to go to the store.)

Batting

And the results…

 

Done

Done!

Cat

Good thing cats don’t chew on wood… do they?

O.A.’s Bookcase


Thank God–A Bathroom Story


My bathroom is done and it makes me want to drink dance! It’s been the bane of my existence for about five months. A half bath should NOT have taken so long, but I get sidetracked so easily!

No time for talking

on to the pictures!

Before

Before

Before

Before

During

During

During

During

During

During

During

During

During

During

During. Adding a sink.

During. Adding a sink.

During. Finished.

During. Finished.

New Trim. $1 at Habitat for Humanity ReStore!

New Trim. $1 at Habitat for Humanity ReStore!

After

After

After

After

After

After

After

After

After

After

…then I exhaled.

Layered Faux Dry-brush (Say What?)


My favorite painting technique is dry-brushing, hands down. Ever since I was little I loved the idea of painting with virtually no paint. However, I am never satisfied with a tried and true method. Of course, I must reinvent the wheel (then crash the cart, but we haven’t gotten there… yet.) When I “faux dry-brush,” essentially I treat the dry-brushed paint as though it were a faux finish. After I dry-brush, I wait for the paint to dry for 5 minutes, then I wipe across the painted surface with a paper towel just to thin the paint layer and antique the item a tad more (See? Faux finish style, just like I said.) The layering comes when I wipe off paint to reveal other previous painted layers…that’s a pretty simple concept.

Let’s see it applied…

Lovelies...?

I started with these crazy coin-ish type wall hangings which are about 7 inches in diameter. I spray painted them purple (photo not shown because I am not organized…but I digress.)

Once the purple spray paint dried I used steel wool to rub off a bit of the purple on some raised areas to reveal the previous gold color underneath.

Then the dry-brushing began (here’s a super short VIDEO, just for a visual.)

As I previously mentioned, when the dry-brushed layer had set for about 5 minutes (for satin and matte paints), I wiped hard with a paper towel to thin out some areas. The wiping removed the top layer of dark craft paint and allowed the gold and purple to peek through.

I didn’t even bother with a top layer of poly because they are wall hangings and I don’t foresee myself touching them too often.

Bird

chick

The whole point of my layered faux dry-brushing was because I wanted to age my pieces after I spray painted them purple so they’d blend better in my bedroom.

Now they look like just another another old lady bedroom treasure.

Mother’s Day Schmother’s Day


Happy Mother’s Day!!!

Please do not be turned off by my title, mothers are the most important person in a child’s life. We do everything; give life, love, feed, nurture, wash, discipline, color, teach, play, go for days with our hair in messy buns on our heads but ensure that our children are squeaky clean every day for school. We are amazing.

However, I have a four-year-old, which means… I am not getting celebrated on this sacred day. I don’t mean to rain on your parade, you’ve earned it so live it up; gush over macaroni necklaces and flowers picked from the neighbors yard. I’ll get mine eventually 🙂

Now let’s get plumbing…

Pretty right?

As I sluggishly move along on my bathroom update, I think I need to celebrate little victories on the road to completion. Today it is plumbing my sink.

Upon removing my sink I discovered a rusted pipe that broke very easily and water lines with so much build-up that they just had to go.

So essentially, this is the bare bones.

Cuffed

I was able to just twist the broken metal pipe off and replace it with 1 1/2 inch PVC pipe and this nifty cuff. Easy enough. I didn’t replace the water valves because I am cheap and they still work. Also, the plumbing was originally in the wall but was moved to come up from the floor, so I knew that everything was a little less than standard. I just didn’t want to make more problems for myself.

No Room

I bought a vanity and knew I would have to drill a hole for the pipes, but I didn’t realize just how close to the wall the water valves were soooooo a simple hole wasn’t going to be enough.

I literally had to knock out the whole bottom AND take a layer of backing off just so I could fit the back of the vanity between the water lines and the wall.

I also removed the beauty rings from where the pipes meet the floor because it kept making the vanity rock; which is the same reason I chipped up chunks of uneven grout. Trust me, this SOB is sturdier than a 75-year-old Oak.

During

Honestly, the plumbing was easier than reconfiguring the vanity.

The hardest part was cutting through the PVC pipe with a hack saw.

At this point, the plumbing is correct but a pipe must have a crack in it (what next?) so I have caulked as a temporary fix. I will probably be ripping this apart (slightly) one final time to replace the cracked pipe that came with my faucet. Then I will cut some wood to rebuild a half-shelf… but first things first.

What can I say? A mother’s work is never done.

Freehand on Furniture: A Video


Princess Bookcase

If freehand painting a whole mural seems a bit too daunting, start small with furniture. Tips and tricks on my latest video! ENJOY!

Hiring for your Business


When you start a business, retail or service related, there comes a point (hopefully) that your venture becomes so large that you just can’t do it alone. Hiring employees can be daunting because human relations and character evaluation isn’t for everyone. Personally, I am a trusting soul and will probably have a number of missteps when I first start hiring talent. However; getting, keeping and managing good employees is worth your time and effort, and there are a few basic keys to getting started on the right foot.

Finding and Keeping Talented Employees

1) Be genuinely interested. Remember birthdays, childrens’ names and anniversaries. This doesn’t just make the people around you feel special, but it’s a push toward earning their loyalty and their family’s loyalty.  After you send the Mrs. flowers on her anniversary, her allegiance may make her more likely to push her husband out the door on the days he’s considering calling in sick.

2) If you have a labor-intensive business, the scientific approach is key. Find the EXACT way an employee should perform the task and teach them EXACTLY how it should be done. This not only helps you earn money in a shorter period of time, but it keeps up the worker morale. Nothing brings a person down faster than working tirelessly without making headway because their hard work isn’t refined or efficient.

3)  Feel free to delegate tasks to an employee without much instruction (if  is not labor-intensive or allows for creative interpretation,) “Why don’t you and Jen take care of the seating and table settings for the investors’ lunch meeting? $300 budget, practical but somewhat formal.” Something as simple as that would give any worker a sense of pride that you trust their judgement and decisions. PLUS, that’s one less thing you have to worry about and you’re left to prepare for the lunch meeting presentation.

4) Hire motivated people. It is far too arduous for a small business to extrinsically motivate workers. Find people who like to do well because doing a good job satisfies themselves internally. That’s not to say bonuses aren’t a good thing, but they should not be used as an incentive to simply do a job well– that’s what they should be doing in the first place. Look for someone who uses words and phrases like, “self-motivated,” “hardworking,” “provide the best service,” “put forth every effort.” These are big statements that people who always need a push are unlikely use.

5) Pay well. Granted, you don’t want to go broke due to your generosity. But pay more than labor unions suggest (if you aren’t a union shop.) Don’t pay less than what you would like to be paid for doing their job. It is not a good thing to go home at night thinking, “Wow, I sure can’t believe they are willing to do all that for $xx an hour.” Feeling like you’re taking advantage of your workers will always have you checking over your shoulder, waiting for them to quit or steal from you.

6) Deal with crisis calmly. Do not ever let your employees see that you don’t know what to do in an emergency situation because chaos and doubt will soon follow, or worse– they may lose respect for you and question your leadership abilities.

7) Learn your management style and stick with it. Whether you want to be democratic or completely authoritarian, choose a style and commit. People want to know what to expect from their manager on a regular basis. Do NOT let your mood affect how you interact with your employees.

8) Communicate well. Use more than one method of message delivery– maybe mention something at a meeting then follow-up with an email. Try to make it short; you don’t need 5 examples for every touchpoint. Read your audience. If they look bored, then they are truly asleep on the inside– speak quickly so as not to lose their attention.

9) Praise in public and discipline in private. No one wants everyone knowing the mistakes they’ve made, yet we would love for our boss to advertise when we’ve done good work. Be generous with praises, it will make others want to earn them as well. Be gentle with criticism, you don’t want your employees to feel that their efforts are unappreciated or are overshadowed by their errors. Persuade and convince them to do a good job, rarely order or demand top performance. 

10) Just be honest. Be honest in your words and be honest in your actions. If your business needs to eliminate a shift to save money, don’t hide that from your employees or let the rumors get to them first. I guarantee if you tell them that you need to let them go in 2 months, yet you will write them a recommendation so shining that their mothers would wish it were true, then you probably will get that last 2 months of work out of them. If you hide that fact? The rumors will have people quitting within weeks. People know when they are being lied to and they know when they are being cheated. Keeping it real and fair will foster trust and loyalty throughout the company. 

Top 10 Mural Tips!


Hoot

I was recently commissioned to create a nursery mural for a baby boy’s room. I would love to give you a step-by-step guide on creating this, but it’s unlikely you will want this EXACT thing. Besides, creating something from scratch out of just a vague idea in your head is a lot of fun (also a lot of work, time, energy and second guessing.) But if you do decide to venture down the path of painting (as opposed to decals) then here are some hints to help along the way.

10 Mural Tips

1. Expect the process to take 60% longer than the time you have allotted for it. Straight lines are thoughtless and cruel time wasters.

2. Don’t be afraid to mark-up the wall while planning. Sketch with pencil or even tape an outline to help you visualize before your brush hits the wall.

3. Have a huge array of brushes on hand, even if you use just one. Options are the best and you never know when the oddball brush you NEVER USE will be just the thing you need.

4. Prioritize. Figure out your order of operations. I mix most of my colors so I know I have to finish those areas before my paint supply dries up (I do not have nearly good enough luck to mix that same color again.)

5. Mix craft paint with a little bit of white wall paint to get the smooth benefits of wall paint and the color of craft paint. When you are using several colors, paint can get expensive. Craft paint alone (even when it’s made for plaster or drywall) can be hard to apply and take several coats.

6. Use paper plates, newspaper or cardboard as your paint palettes when you need small amounts of several colors— it saves a lot of time at clean-up.

7. Start by painting items smaller/thinner than what you would like. It’s easy to make something bigger, but it’s a real pain to scale down.

8. For large areas of a solid color, don’t be afraid to use a roller.

9. Fill all of the color in on every part and then straighten the edges for the whole mural last. Granted it will take 5 hours to straighten them, but doing it last ensures that you’ve had an up-close look at every detail before you call it quits.

10. Don’t get discouraged when it’s not fun. There is a lot of leg work (and arm work, and back work) to get through before the creative details get added. Just soldier through the boring basics; the fun parts are worth a good foundation.

You can check out more photos of the mural progression on the Space-Lift Facebook page.

Glassless Tables


So HOPEFULLY you saw the cabinet demo video, now it’s time to show the finished product. With the weather being less than hospitable, I’m lucky I had three days to finish these before the freezing rain started…again.

Let’s check out this nonsense!

Bedside Tables

I had so much convincing to do in order for my friend to agree to these tables!

So I couldn't let her down by executing a half-hearted attempt. Seriously, COULD NOT!

So I couldn’t let her down by executing a half-hearted attempt. Seriously, COULD NOT!

First came the spray primer. There was such a thick layer of finish on the tables that I decided that priming instead of sanding was the way to go. Plus, the wood was SOOO dark that I would have had to prime anyway.

First came the spray primer. There was such a thick layer of finish on the tables that I decided that priming instead of sanding was the way to go. Plus, the wood was SOOO dark that I would have had to prime anyway.

After I primed the doors, I realized they just wouldn't do, so I "removed" the centers to replace them with something a little classier.

After I primed the doors, I realized they just wouldn’t do, so I “removed” the centers to replace them with something a little classier.

Next came the all over paint job. Nothing is quite as chic as glossy white, I don't care who you ask.

Next came the all over paint job. Nothing is quite as chic as glossy white, I don’t care who you ask.

Then came the "glass." My friend didn't want to get on her hands and knees every week to clean glass AND I didn't want to cut glass. So I lined a baking pan with petroleum jelly (gobs and gobs for texture) and waited for it to dry. NOTE: Bubbles are best removed by blowing on them with a straw.

Then came the “glass.” My friend didn’t want to get on her hands and knees every week to clean glass AND I didn’t want to cut glass. So I lined a baking pan with petroleum jelly (gobs and gobs for texture) and waited for it to dry. NOTE: Bubbles are best removed by blowing on them with a straw.

I used only one coat of rub on poly, popped the dried resin into the back of the door and glued around the edges with a combination of wood glue and Gorilla glue. Then I attached the hardware.

I used only one coat of rub on poly, popped the dried resin into the back of the door and glued around the edges with a combination of wood glue and Gorilla glue. Then I attached the hardware.

I painted the inside of the cabinets pink and used spray finisher to complete the job. We had discussed painting the inside gray, but I have a tendency to go rogue.

I painted the inside of the cabinets pink and used spray finisher to complete the job. We had discussed painting the inside gray, but I have a tendency to go rogue.

Finally I attached the doors and glued on my fleur de lis ornaments. I decided to make them asymmetrical because it reminded me of a broach...and for some reason that appealed to me.

Finally I attached the doors and glued on my fleur de lis ornaments. I decided to make them asymmetrical because it reminded me of a broach…and for some reason that appealed to me.

This is how my experiment turned out!

This is how my experiment turned out!

Love this little guy!

Love this little guy!

And I love this big guy!

And I love this big guy!

Dramatic sunlight view.

Dramatic sunlight view.

16 Minute Upholstery: A Video


 

 

 
Oooh lala

 

Need a quick step-by-step for a reupholstery job? Or even better, need a quick laugh at my expense? Check out the latest VIDEO!

Art You Can Wear


Close up!

My friend saw this idea with a wood-backed cork board on one of her favorite blogs. However, I am never one to throw money away uselessly so I took a lap around the craft store and decided we can just keep that extra $20 in our pocket.

Step 1: I took a cake board and cut it into my desired shape. Heck, I liked it so much that I did it with TWO cake boards and taped them together! I’m a madwoman, I know.

Good choice, right?

Step 2: I cut batting to fit exactly on top of the shape- no wrapping, just gluing.

Glue it!

Step 3: Once the glue dried I took my fabric and cut it to fit around the edges of the board.

Cut Cut Cut

Step 4: I snipped around each corner to make sure the fabric would spread evenly. I glued the board, folded over the fabric and secured it with a tack.

A tack attack...yeah I said that.

Step 5: I then glued a picture hanger to the back and waited for the mountains of glue to dry.

Oh snap

 

Step 6: I finally pushed decorative gold nails through the cardboard. Since there are two layers of cardboard the nails were able to go in AND stay in, like freaking magic!

Step 7: I just hung the board on the wall and her jewels on the board. Now she not only has a place to store her pretties, she can admire her gems even when she’s not wearing them!

Pretty!

My First Video


YouTube-iPhone-App

I’ve decided to transcend mediums! Check out my very first youtube video! Just CLICK!

Clean Slate Plate


One of the biggest pet peeves about my house is my outlets and light switches. They are one of those tiny details that typically fall through the cracks but are a huge giveaway as to the age of a house. I know my house was built in 1964 (every contractor that insists on ANOTHER lead test is always a reminder) but I don’t need every outlet and fixture screaming “I’m retro and I know it” when I walk into a room. Paint

As you can see, previous owners also took a few liberties with paint (because slopping paint all over your outlet isn’t dangerous at all…that was sarcasm. Please don’t paint your outlets.)

I don’t hate the outlets enough to change the faces (yet) but I don’t exactly want to be reminded of a mess that I didn’t even have the privilege of making.

I found these awesome face plates at the Habitat for Humanity Restore, and I bought about 90 of them (before remembering that only about 50% of my house has 3-prong outlets, but who’s counting?…Obviously not me.)

IMG_3741[1]

See? It covers the sins of the painters that came before! In your case, this is a quick and cheap fix that will allow your mind to worry about more pressing matters, like what to have for dinner, or how your March Madness situation is panning out.

In my instance, not even sweet new face plates can cover all of the sins of previous owners…

..because every outlet in my house is upside-down. Oh But that’s a mess for another day.

Misleading Shades of Gray


I was in the process of dolling up one of my less-than-adorable-but-with-a-little-paint-it-could-be-great thrift store finds. I bought two different silver paints (please don’t ask me why, I’m just a glutton for spray paint.)

This grayish paint that claimed to be metallic. 

Gray

And this paint with a lid so shiny that I’m pretty sure it could guide lost sailors to safety.Shiny

So I started to spray down my porcelain, pagoda-like pavilion and I noticed that even though the lid PROMISED me that I’d be able to see this sparkle from space, it was falling a little flat.

Dull

I’ve used metallic paint before and I’ve used gray paint before, I know what “silver” is suppose to look like. This looks like silver after a long night of drinking and hanging out with a seedy chick named Gil, this is not *Silver*.

I decided to outsmart that deceptive lid and I referred to my drab spray paint with hopes that I was not hallucinating during previous projects and that silver paint really can look silver.

Lo and Behold…

Silver like Whoa

It shines like a new  nickel straight from the U.S. Mint.

This is a 50/50 shot. As you can see the middle portion is still the misleading “metallic” paint, while the roof has a thin coat of what I understood to be “aspiring silver.” I sure was wrong.

Half

Because Michigan is currently experiencing subarctic temperatures it will take this little puppy 8.5 weeks to dry, so I do not have a clear “before and after” yet. I just had to share my personal lesson for the day…

“When in doubt (or even when NOT in doubt), buy more spray paint.”

Thrift Store Finds and Oddities


thrift

Magazine Reload


Mags

Are your DIY magazines (or fashion, beauty and parenting magazines) taking over your life, but you can’t seem to throw them away? HA, well I am right there with you! I can’t seem to part with my DIY mags because they were my Pinterest before the website was around…

Page

It’s too expensive and time consuming to buy laminated sleeves and rip out every page that I love (primarily because it ends up being the whole dang magazine.)

So let’s just skip the rigamarole, cut out the middle man and clean up our offices (and floors and desks and tables and every other surface that is covered by inspirational fodder.)

Necessary Supplies:

1. Drill with 1/4 inch bit

2. Binder

3. Pen

4. Loose leaf paper or laminated sleeve (optional)

Step 1: Draw your holes.

You can take a laminated sleeve or loose leaf paper to trace holes onto your magazine cover. If you don’t have a sleeve you can just close the magazine in the binder rings and squeeze the rings hard to make little impressions, then put dots on the impressions.

Holes

Busy

NOTE: It’s a good idea to start with a magazine that isn’t near and dear to your heart because there is a bit of a learning curve.

Oops

As you can see…my holes are a bit messy on this one.

Step 2: Drill your holes.It's junk now

Place your magazine on a surface that you’re not partial to, because it ends up looking like this ….

 

 

Drilly drill drill

Drill your holes into the circles you have stenciled. Then flip over the magazine and drill into the holes from the other side.

A little guy.

Step 4: Stencil new holes.

Place your magazine with your newly drilled holes on top of the next magazine and use it as a stencil to plot your next drill points. Then create the holes just like you did the first set.

Stencil

Step 5: Install your magazines!

InstallationYou CAN place waxy sticker reinforcers on the front and back covers of the magazines to keep them from tearing, but the thickness of the whole item should prevent any page damage from the rings.  Just slide your magazines into your binder and clip them shut. Depending on your binder size (I used both 1 inch and 2 inch binders), you can fit 2-4 magazines per binder, depending on the magazine thickness.

See?Because I am not a huge fan of labeling everything (I know, I know, that is practically sacrilege in the realm of DIY home organization. Sometimes they are useful, but is it REALLY easier to find a towel on a shelf because the shelf is marked towels? Um, no. Sometimes all it takes is common sense.) I just organized my binders by magazine (Storage with Storage, House Beautiful with House Beautiful, you get it, right?) and of course grouping the randoms in a binder by themselves.

Storage Mag Binder

Randoms

Step 5: Put it all away.

IMG_3134

Neat and Clean One huge factor in my favor is that I have matching binders. This wouldn’t look as streamlined if I used two blue, one lime and one goldenrod, but if you’re not going for the streamlined look (or if you don’t care to go out and buy new binders) then the rainbow is your oyster!

My logic? I’m a color junkie, but I need muted accessories in order for the showcase items to take center stage.

Business 101


Starting a business is kind of a big deal, and there is no such thing as too prepared (especially when your family’s livelihood is at stake and there is no back-up plan.) I decided I can read online until I am blue in the face, but at the end of the day I need to learn REAL BUSINESS STUFF in a REAL CLASSROOM from a REAL TEACHER who has REAL EXPERIENCE. So off to school I went.

To preface, I am a nerd. I graduated with my Bachelor’s in 2008 and have been going back to school ever since for whatever interests me; Computer programming, advanced algebra, drafting–the list goes on. I love knowledge (because I am a pain-in-the-ass know-it-all) so the more I know the more I can help myself and others around me (whether they like it or not!!!:) Going back to school wasn’t a huge deal for me, I do it all the time. But now I’m going back for something more than an interest– THIS WILL AFFECT MY LIFE IN A BIG WAY (so much so that I felt all caps were very necessary for that statement.) I plan to take more than just Business 101 after this semester, but I just needed to get my feet wet. Eventually I will lead into different levels of Accounting, Business Law and side classes that are necessary to get licensed by the state.

I already knew some of what has been covered in class because I work with small businesses at my “real job,” and I also research online. However it was really nice to get concrete information from a man that has owned small business, traded stocks successfully and has headed whole sectors of VERY LARGE corporations. I was able to stop inferring from bits and pieces of information from the internet, which is not nearly enough to start a business.

It’s only the middle of the semester, but here are some tidbits that I would like to share…

The Basics

1. Partnerships and Sole Proprietorships have tax benefits that you will not get with a regular corporation. Even Small Corporations (S-Corp) have some tax benefits that regular corporations (C-Corp) do not. Choose your strategy wisely.

2. When seriously starting a business, enlist the help of two important people: a CPA with experience in your type of business, and an attorney with business law experience. Make sure both of these people are a) people you can work with, b) will return your calls no matter when or where, c) fairly priced, d) trustworthy.

3. When deciding where to open your business, consider the state’s position on Unions (and whether or not it corresponds with your position on Unions) and what kind of business taxes you’d be expected to pay in that state/city.

4. 44% of small business fail due to incompetent management. By this I mean, INCOMPETENT (really day-one stuff.) Not paying suppliers, not having enough insurance, not paying taxes. Just do the right thing and listen to your CPA and attorney.

5. Hire honest, talented people and pay them well. You’ll win their loyalty and they’ll work harder to help you succeed.

6. Advertise in peak seasons when people are likely to buy. Honestly, would you get off the couch to buy a bathing suit in December just because you saw a jazzy commercial? Yeah, me neither.

7. A successful entrepreneur makes good plans, they don’t simply react to problems. When there is a plan in place, you carry it out despite the problems. You can’t create a plan to cater to the problems at hand.

8. Create a record storage policy. Garbage over seven years old can go. Most things over 3 years are unnecessary. Keeping EVERYTHING can create a liability.– Philip-Morris had to pay out millions due to a memo written 30 years ago stating “Well, we all know smoking is bad for you.” Don’t go out of business paying for lawsuits from old emails.

9. Get enough insurance. Seriously. Cover yourself, your employees, your customers, your property, your equipment, your dog, your mother, your mother’s dog and every other known aspect of your life that could be at risk by someone making a dumb decision and blaming it on you.

10. Make people think of your business first when they are in need of services that you offer. Hire college kids for the day to survey random pedestrians to see who knows about your business and what you offer.

11. Make it easy for people to do business with you. If you sell large items, deliver. If you offer a service, make sure your time frames are accurate. Always under promise and over deliver– but don’t lose money in doing so.

If you couldn’t handle all of that, let me simplify….

1. Surround yourself with hardworking, trustworthy, talented people.

2. Choose knowledgeable partners and experienced business “planners.”

3. Plan comprehensively and in great detail.

4. Treat your employees well.

5. Treat your customers well.

6. Spend money to make money with advertising, talent, products, renting a suitable building in a good location (if customers will be visiting) and insurance.

7. Be fair, work hard and do the right thing.

Wallpaper Removal


WPremoval

Business Action


I figured it’s time to get real with you. Not that I’ve been hiding anything, but there have been plans going on in my noggin (and some even on paper) regarding opening a business. What kind of business? Well, that part hasn’t been ironed out yet. Yes, I know that’s a pretty big detail to gloss over, but I’m not opening tomorrow. All I know is I’m smart, love to design, get dirty and work hard. Boom! The world is my oyster.

I decided to include this in my blog because, well, doesn’t it make you mad when you’re blissfully reading a blog and all of the sudden see that there is a store opening or a book coming out? And you sit there thinking, “where the F did this come from?” and “why is this the first I’m hearing of this?” or even “how do I do that too?”  If you love to design and play with furniture, then of course my blog is useful. But what if you want to step it up? What if YOU want to open a legit business– not an Etsy business (I am totally not bashing the validity of Etsy, but it varies greatly from a brick-and-morter, make-my-living, do-or-die business.)

This is by no means a step-by-step guide, this is just what I’ve done and am currently doing to transition from hobby to career. Wish me luck!

(Heat) Gunslinger


I finally busted out my heat gun for the first time after waiting waaaay too long. The snow has really put a damper on my furniture plans, but this little buddy is a great way to keep things trucking (at least a little bit) inside, without making a monster mess. My heat gun has two settings, 700 degrees (-ish) and 1,000 degrees (-ish.) My contractor-friend told me that I would burn my first piece of wood without a doubt, but HA! No burns here… but I’m not finished yet.

I didn’t know how it would pan out, so I grabbed one of these juuuuust in case.

Fire-Be-GoneAs far as my desk goes, it started something like this…

DeskThis thing blisters paint in less time than any chemical stripper I have ever used. Granted, if I burn myself with this I get more than just a couple little blisters (like the chemical stripper) but I will just have to be extra careful because so far it has been totally worth the risk.

Progress?It really is an “aim-and-fire” process. I was a little nervous at first, but this tool as really grown on me.

Point-n-shootWant to know how to use it? Check out this VIDEO!

Trae’s Dresser Renovation!


Check out the full story of Trae’s Dresser makeover HERE!

Before

Before

After

After

 

New Year, New Model, New Space.


With a new year, of course, comes a new resolve. Some of these have to do with Space-Lift and others have to do with me, Kristen, the unbelievably flawed human being. I know I am not alone in that I can (semi) objectively look at myself and see things that I’d like to improve.

I’ve always wanted a role model. I know that makes me sound like a 4th grader, but I’m serious. Like every other working parent, I do A LOT. I don’t need a fitness role model, a scholarly role model or even a celebrity “beauty” role mode; I need a “results attainable” role model. I need to see a person…nay, a woman, who is a great parent, holds down a successful full-time career, finds time to workout, has enough self-discipline to eat right, caters to her creative side, is artistic and maybe even musical, maintains a healthy relationship with her significant other, makes her friends feel special and loved, finds time for religion and faith, takes care of chores and can still shower, put on makeup and dress somewhat fashionably. Basically, a real-life embodiment of a Pinterest board (ew, it was hard to say that because it sounds shallow and stupidly superficial. But it’s real. And I don’t think that I am alone in that aspiration, even if its just as hard for others to admit.)

Does that seem like a tall order to you? Because this is insane to me! But it’s what I want. I want to be well-rounded, take care of the people I love and make my heart happy by doing what I love. Do you think I can find a person who has all of these qualities? Absolutely not. There are several woman who embody several of them and I can of course combine them to form a Team of Role Models, but at the end of the day I want to know that it is possible for one woman to have enough energy to become this. Again, I don’t need to be perfect. I’m not trying to learn another language, get my doctorate or become a triathlete. I’m just trying to do what I feel I do already, just a lot better.

My Team of Role Models

1) Sabrina Soto of several HGTV shows

2) Jen Ramos of Made by Girl

3) Mandi of Vintage Revivals

4) Nicole Curtis of Rehab Addict

5) Elsie and Emma of A Beautiful Mess

It should make me feel better that no single woman can achieve what I hope to, but it is also very deflating because it lets me know how hard it actually is. All these woman are untouchably successful in my book, but again, none of them embody what I hope to be someday. This isn’t a flaw on their part in the least; it’s more of a reality check for the “overachiever” within me.

But they inspire me nonetheless.

On to the Resolutions

I have to put my actions where my mouth is, and you of course will be the first to know as I try to take an “always honest” approach. Which leads me to my first resolution;

1) Put more Kristen in Space-Lift. When I read a design blog, I typically go for the projects, yet stay for the people. I’ve come to the realization that maybe I  need to open up and remind everyone that I really am more than just my projects.

2) I need to keep up running. I know this is lame and everyone says it, but it makes every other aspect of my life easier. It tricks my body into thinking I’m working for only 4 hours when it’s really 6…even though my brain knows the truth.

3) Become a business machine. I love to blog, but that’s not where it ends. Eventually I plan to open a furniture store and restoration center, and I need to know what I’m doing. I don’t have an MBA but gosh darn it, lack of qualifications has never stopped me before.

4) Build equity in my house. I’ve been doing this for a while, but I really hope to sell this joint in about five years and make somewhat of a profit. You know I’ll post the projects.

5) Take it easy on myself. I don’t think I came equipped with an off switch. I have a lot of energy and I find it hard to sit down. Yet mental exhaustion takes hold before physical exhaustion and I just become…well..a bitch. This is a word I hate, HATE. I hate it in others and I hate the sound of it. Admitting that I become that horrible thing, makes it a lot easier to sit down before I become a snarling, beastly b-word.

So there you have it.

A new year and a beginning. Am I setting myself up for failure with my lofty aspirations? Probably. But no matter how bad I fail, as long as I keep my 5th resolution, the failure can still be a success.

Another Year Older


On December 30th, 1985, I was born. I know it’s hard to believe, but I am 27. At this point in time, I have no opinions about that number. Turning 23 was hard (if you can believe that nonsense) probably because I was pregnant and my hormones were way off balance, but I also knew that meant I wasn’t really a kid anymore. I was going to HAVE a child, plus I’d graduated college and gotten a corporate job. All my stats said I was no longer a kid or a “hip, wild adult.”

Well, 27 isn’t that jarring. I have no life occurrences that double as reality checks like I did when I was 23, so it’s just another number. I’m old enough to rent a car, too young to be president (because THAT’S gonna happen…) and I’m still shopping around for the right wrinkle cream.

To mark this inglorious occasion, I have compiled a list. These aren’t things that I’ve learned JUST this year, but design/style tidbits that I have collected throughout my life.

27 Things I’m glad I know

1) No matter how hard you wish, flat paint can never be turned glossy.

2) Using a temperamental product in bad conditions allows you to master a great product in perfect conditions.

3) Inlay (not to be confused with overlay): Wood or other materials which are set Inlayinto corresponding carved out recesses often creating a pattern.

4) If what you’re doing seems too easy, then you’re probably doing it wrong.

5) A stud finder will save you time and Spackle.

6) You can never have too many putty knives.

7) Case Piece: Furniture that provides interior space for storage.

8) Do what you want. No single style will be loved by all so it may as well be loved by you.

9) Research. Read. Get the right tools. Work hard. Follow these guidelines and every project/event/situation/goal will turn out better.

10) Safety glasses aren’t for wimps, they’re for people who value their eyes.

11) Read the instructions on every new tool. There are features and functions hidden everywhere.Tuxedo

12) Tuxedo Arms: Slightly flared arms that are the same height as the back.

13) Don’t freak out over paint. It’s the easiest thing to change and has the most impact.

14) Historically a credenza resembled a low dresser and a sideboard resembled a desk, but now the terms are practically interchangeable. A buffet, however, is always on wheels.

15) Take care of your tools.Diamond

16) Diamond Tufting: An arrangement of tufting buttons to yield a diamond shaped pattern on the back of an upholstered piece.

17) Even if it is freezing outside, open a window and get air flowing when using chemicals.

18) Fluorescent lighting- light created by stimulating radiation. Incandescent lighting- light created as a result of being heated. LED- (light emitting diode) Photons released due to electrons recombining with electron holes in the diode. Moral? Light by heat is always more romantic than light by science.

19) Nothing, new or old, will ever beat a piece of solid wood furniture. Veneers are overrated.

20) Mistints are not to be ignored. Your wallet will love you for it.

21) Less is more. And by that I mean Less Stuff is More Space. Err on the side of leg room.

22) Hang curtains above the window frame and avoid borders; the walls magically grow taller.Fiddle me this...!

23) Fiddleback: A chair back whose splat looks like a violin.

24) For furniture where wood meets wood, adhering felt pads are worth the $2 and 3 minutes.

25) Gateleg Table: A table that has drop leaves supported by a leg which swings outGateleg like a gate.

26) If you’re messing with wires, when in doubt, shut off power to the whole house. If you can’t find the right switch then there’s no other choice. If you can’t finish the job before the milk spoils and the ice cream melts then you should’ve called an electrician in the first place.

27) Remain open to new ideas and techniques. Nothing is worse than realizing you have ignored amazing concepts for no good reason.


Lauren’s Breakfast Nook


I finished the five piece project! See all of the photos HERE!

Headboard from Scratch


 

Check out the step-by-step details

Here!

Woodland Nursery


Amber is having a baby, Hooray! She wanted to take her soon-to-be-son’s nursery from classic (which is nice) to woodland (which is adorable!) She decided a cute cartoon tree was the way to do it, and I couldn’t agree more. Click here to see how to go from blank wall to happy in the woods!

Start

Love them!

Price Check


A friend of mine mentioned today that she would love to totally makeover her bedroom but it just seems that the cost would be too high. And she is right, overhauling a room can be expensive… or not.

I’m able to keep my designs low-budget for three big reasons:

1) I love a relaxed, vintage-cottage vibe. I want to live in a place that feels like you’ve either just got in from a campfire or are about to go sit on the beach. Neither are true as far as location, but I’m gradually getting that affect. I don’t like stuffy, I’m not drawn to sleek and I like shiny in small doses. My relaxed taste allows me to be cheap.

2) I have a giving family. If they are done with an item that is in good condition, they see the value of it and will pass it along. Some will do it for sentimental reasons (like my aunt), others do it because they are sick of it (like my mom), and finally the rare case will need me to store it until they move back to town (my sister). I know not everyone has a family who rotates home decor items like a game of hot potato, but there is always SOME UNIQUE CIRCUMSTANCE of which to advantage. As for me, my family allows me to be cheap.

3) The most important (and obvious) reason that I am able to keep costs low is MY INCOME. That’s not to say that I would buy a $17,000.00 armoire even if I COULD afford it (remember reason #1?) but I have to follow the cash flow. If I have $200 to spend on a desk, then I can’t fall in love (you know, true everlasting love) with one that costs $650…(unless I save, which doesn’t happen.) So, my non-negotiable budget allows me to be cheap.

Here’s a look-see into how all of these reasons come together to make MY bedroom.

Purple Bedside Table Link.

Blue Bedside Table Link.

Purple Tray Link.

Cheap Pillow Link.

Brittney’s Drunk Shelves


I finally finished one of the most frustrating pieces I have done in a very long time. See all the drink inducing details here!

BEFORE

AFTER

Brandi’s Headboard


I finally finished it! Check out the details to my custom masterpiece here!

 

You’ll be the First to Know


Trunk-ated Table


Trunk

I’ve had this gnarly trunk for years. It was about $40 at Marshall’s in 2002, and it’s been through the wringer. It held my books and boardgames when I was in high school and was used as my “floor table” when we took the unnecessary last shots of the night in college. It’s held old photos, shoes and blankets. I finally decided it was time to show it a little attention as a thank you for all of it’s years of service.

Trunk

Right from the start I knew I wanted it to become a table. I unscrewed all of the screws on the trunk and basically left everything that was tacked on.

There was a pretty thick layer of glue coating the whole thing because I decided two years ago to do a half-hearted job of covering it in fabric. I knew it was temporary because the fabric didn’t really thrill me, but I guess no one told the glue that it was only temporary because even though I removed the fabric 10 months ago, the glue was still super tacky and gathered every stray fuzz in a 40 foot radius.

Sanded a HoleI thought sanding the trunk would help remove the glue. And yes, it did clump-up the glue and swirl it around in a mass on the trunk, but it also ate a hole through the cheap vinyl covering. No worries though, “maybe removing EVERYTHING and leaving just a wooden box would be beneficial,” said the optimistic voice in my head, which I always come to hate at the end of a project.

But honestly though, optimistic schizophrenic voices aside, what was I going to do? Call off the whole project because “I done messed up?” (that was the hillbilly voice in my head, she’s a bit more realistic.)

So I soldiered on, leaving ripped pieces of vinyl, tacks and faux leather in my wake, until I was left with a simple, naked wood box. And what does Kristen Van Loon do with a plan, ordinary piece of furniture?

SimpleShe paints it, of course!!!

PaintI chose a soft celery green that I didn’t realize would be SO soft once I put the hardware back on. But you know me, I like to ride it out until I’m crazed with exhaustion and wave the white flag. I decided to keep it going and add some legs… this is where the REAL exhaustion comes in.

LegsI turned it on it’s side because I thought it’d be a pretty sweet TV stand and I could let the trunk open and close to hide the cable box and cords. It’s a stellar concept, but contains several flaws.

1) The legs are too short for the broadness of the front. It’s uneven and stout; it looks like something Humpty Dumpty would use for travel.

2) It’s literally top-heavy. With so little room, the legs must be placed so close together that it barely balances with the trunk when it’s closed, let alone open. Angled top plates would hold the legs at an angle and distribute the weight evenly, but I only had straight ones.

3) The TV that I wanted to put on here has too wide of a base to fit. I figured that could be the case, but if everything else worked out OK then I’d use it for something else… but nothing else went as planned.

On top of those three very logical reasons for scrapping this design, there is one glaringly obvious reason to reconsider the idea– I HATED the huge contrast between the green and the hardware.

So dismantle and reconsider was the name of the next game. I took off the legs and all of the hardware and took a cue from the Kristen of two years ago; I covered it in fabric.

Spray GlueI used the same permanently dangerous glue, but this time around I didn’t have fake leather trim to maneuver around, this was a totally blank box.

MeasuringThis photo to the right is what I like to call “measuring.” I don’t need a fancy measuring tape, I just need to eyeball the basic size and start cutting. I overestimate all the time, but I’d rather waste extra fabric than get too caught up in details that will only slow me down… probably not fantastic advice to follow.

TacksI wrapped the box like a present and cut the corners to avoid the “gift box corner” that you get when ACTUALLY wrapping a present. When the glue wasn’t enough, I used tacks of various sizes to secure the material on the inside.

I broke down and bought new top plates because I decided that an angled leg is much more sturdy for a heavy piece like this AND I thought it gave it a friendlier appearance…. why is it friendlier? I can’t say for sure, but it doesn’t look as stiff and rigid. Less Victorian, more Mid-Century.

I screwed on all of the hardware, the top plates and the legs. I made another new decision; I chose to put the trunk upright because it isn’t as shocking as when it’s on it’s side. Plus I wasn’t going to be able to use it for the reason I initially intended so there was no sense in keeping it sideways.

AfterThe sunny fabric REALLY lightened up the whole piece, and the whole room for that matter.

Back endI was so happy with the outcome that I completely replaced my second-hand side table. You can tell by my “flattering” description of the old table, that I wasn’t exactly heartbroken when I moved it out to the garage.

This is an absolute upgrade!.. Now to replace that couch…

Island in the Sun


When I first moved into my house I liked my kitchen quite a bit. Notice how I didn’t use the word Love nor the present tense? That wasn’t a mistake. It’s not to say I loathe it now, but it just doesn’t have the same appeal, which could be caused by many things. Maybe it’s because:

1) Owning it (as opposed to WANTING it) makes it less alluring.

2) Living in it daily allows me to see all of the flaws that the brief overview missed.

3) Now it’s mine to clean, and that sucks.

Either way, I eventually plan to put down new tile, revamp or replace the cabinets, remove the wallpaper (ugh), get a new stove, replace the counter top and sink. …and those were the items just off the top of my head.

All of the above items require money. Some things require less than others, but it’s money nonetheless. Plus, I know right now I love color! I love color to such an excessive point that I know it can’t be healthy, and even more– it can’t be permanent. WHAT!?! Yes! I said it. I will probably change my mind on how indulgent I choose to be with color as I grow older, AND I guarantee that I won’t even like the same colors. Why would I do anything pricey and permanent when I am introspective enough to know that I will furrow my brow in disapproval 3 years from now? Well, I wouldn’t. So, I opted for a cheaper update….

But enough with the foreplay, let’s get to it!

Kitchen IslandThis is the island in my kitchen. There’s nothing overtly offensive about it, but it’s plain and heavy as heck! Plus, I plan to re-tile the counters and floors, so I may as well get rid of the green tile on this surface as well.

Because the island isn’t connected, you’d think it’d be very convenient to move as needed. Oh no no no, the concept of mobility is just an illusion. I’ve been fearful of ripping up tiles by scooting this weighty block across the floor. So my first order of business was CASTERS! These specific ones hold 90lbs. All four are swivels, two of which have breaks. I put the ones with breaks kitty corner from each other to maximize stability….because I was too cheap to pop for all four swivels with breaks.

CastersI know it’s a little surprising that I have a lot of work in front of me and the first task I choose is something typically left for a finishing detail. But this island is so so heavy that it just had to happen first for the sake of ease.

Next I removed the drawers because some serious demo was about to go down. At first I tried to not make a mess or make much noise because I had a toddler napping. Also, I was trying to be careful because in the back of my head I was praying there would be a beautiful butcher black that someone had tiled over; which is the equivalent to wishing it will rain meatballs because I don’t want to cook dinner. But one can dream right?

Just take it from me, if you want to remove one tile every 40 minutes then go on ahead and be dainty. Once I started making noise and really messing up my kitchen, the tiles flew off (literally) very quickly. Here is the progression.

Start

Better

Betting there

I see the light!

YAY

SadnessWell there you have it. I was able to determine it wasn’t a butcher block, just three pieces of plywood covered in vinyl. But I wasn’t going to let that spoil my party, I had stuff to do.sidesI peeled off the vinyl on the top, sanded the sides of the stack of plywood and wiped down the base with soapy water. Then I grabbed a roller and blithely painted the stand and the sides of the plywood. I used a brush to really get into the nooks and crannies.

WoodI set the pieces of sanded, unfinished oak (which I get on sale at Menard’s for $3 a piece) on top of the painted stand. Something just irked me though… now that the plywood was painted all one color, those darn crannies looked like deep, treacherous ravines, so I had to do a healthy coat of wood fuller and sand the sides AGAIN, and repaint AGAIN. But I can say with honestly that it was worth it because those blue ravines would have gotten under my skin every. single. day.

Filler

MUCH BETTERNext it was time to make some permanent decisions on my clearance oak. I decided that I didn’t want to bust out my miter saw, and since all of the pieces were the same length, I technically didn’t need to. By using wood that was about eight inches longer than the island base, it extended the work area, which was good. However it gave the island much more presence (which isn’t necessarily a good thing in a tiny kitchen) but I do plan to remove my kitchen table in the near future, so I will suffer with a cluttered cook area (haha, like I REALLY cook.)

I placed my boards exactly how I wanted them and just started gluing. I used flooring glue, so I know these boards will be stuck together until time itself ends…or even longer.

Glue

GlugingOnce I had the wood all attached (and the glue dried) I did a thin coat of lacquer on the wood and the blue painted area. I let it dry and did a second coat. Finally I sanded just the wood top (because I am too lazy to sand all the blue, especially when I didn’t think it would make any sort of difference) and applied the last coat of lacquer. That woo is so  smooth now, I could slip-n-slide on it.

Then it was on to the drawers. There really isn’t much to tell. What can I say? Sometimes my processes are so humdrum that I don’t have the heart to lie to you and tell you that it was the best drawer make-freakin’-over of my life!!!! But I’ll always show pictures.

All of the drawersOnce the paint dried,  I sprayed on spray finish because the drawer faces won’t get as much action as the top workspace, so I didn’t think lacquer was necessary. But talk to me in 5 months to see if I regret that decision. I also spray painted and sealed a paper towel rack to screw to the side, but again, that was uneventful.

Then came the handle adventure. Yeah, that’s right, the drawer makeover is dull, but the HANDLES were a spectacular debacle. It’s an odd life I lead, really.

Handle DebacleMy smarty pants self went handle shopping spontaneously without measuring the holes. I knew I didn’t want to fill and drill so I just recalled (incorrectly) that they looked like they may need the 96mm handles. When those didn’t fit I didn’t get into a huff because I knew I should have measured. So I returned them to the store and again, without measuring, exchanged them for new ones. It may seem straight-up stupid that I didn’t measure the second time around because REALLY you should have a 50/50 chance, if it’s not 96mm then it’s 3in. Well, I was dead wrong again, but I didn’t even care anymore. Seriously, I said screw it and used the old handles because I wasn’t about to return them AGAIN. And honestly, I wasn’t horribly unhappy with the old ones, new ones were just a bonus. But now I resent the new ones so much that I think they need to rot slowly in hell.

But aside from condemning inanimate hardware, the makeover went pretty fantastically. I was left with only minor cuts and bruises, and the internal emotional scars will heal with time.

Finished

Towel thing too

Caught in the Net


One of the pieces my aunt gave me was an adorable French Sofa Table reproduction.

A bit dusty..I say it’s a reproduction because I don’t believe it’s an antique. It was originally finished wood, but my aunt painted it black (and I don’t think she’d do that to an antique, but then again she might.)

No bottoms, ooooh lalaI removed the bottom tier of the table and primed it white. I wasn’t sure what color to go with so it sat around for a few days. By the time I had enough energy to tackle the labor and second round of brainstormning… well… I actually DIDN’T have enough energy for the brainstorming part. I wasted all my energy on the labor part and painted this little guy yellow. Ugh, I really don’t know what I was thinking. And not just normal yellow, Macaroni yellow–the yellow of your nightmares.

Not ProudAfter that minor debacle I decided to chill out on my nonsense and go to the paint isle of my friendly hardware store. Why? BECAUSE A WILD PAINT BENDER ALWAYS SOLVES EVERYTHING!!!! I woke up 3 days later…

Seriously though, I bought about $35 worth of paint, and in spray paint dollars that like $200. So, me and my 40 cans of spray paint sat around staring at each other until I just decided that I needed to be logical. A) I didn’t want anything light because I needed to maintain some weight in the room, so adios pastels. B) I wanted it to shine, so satin finishes were out. C) I love Krylon’s colors but I hate their paint consistency and watered down application with a bloody passion, so I stuck to off-brands to avoid Krylon’s mess-in-a-can and 1980’s chemistry that they are still making products with today. Finally, I arrived at good ol’ Navy Blue Gloss, F yeah!

Lookin' Good.I then painted the bottom tier pastel purple because a girl has gotta have a little pastel in her life, even if it’s not Easter. Plus, I knew the dark blue would calm it down so it wouldn’t look like a My Little Ponies party on the lower half.

BottomAfter the paint dried I covered it with Minwax WipeOn Poly Gloss. I have decided that I really can’t apply it with anything but a brush, and since it runs my bristle brushes through the wringer, I just use the cheap black sponge brushes that you can buy 6 for $1. All the rags that I try to apply the poly with always stick too much, and no matter how lint or fuzz free it seems, I always have fuzzies sticking to my piece, which leaves a gnarly mess to try to clean up. So I use my cheap-0 sponge brush and throw it away when I’m done because I am apparently wasteful and lazy, but the E.P.A. isn’t at my door so life is good.

My aunt had supplied me with the two cut glass pieces for the top of the table, but the bottom tier had nothing to fit inside. And instead of running ALL THE WAY to Harmon Glass which is like a million (less than two, actually) miles up the road, I decided to just wing it. Winging it led me to cheap rope. I super love when a cheap idea gets even cheaper!

I decided to weave the second tier instead of putting glass in it, sweet! However, my first attempt was less than fantastic.

Zig-ZagThe main problem with this is that it looks like an A.D.D. ape on acid did this. Ok Ok, that’s a bit harsh, but I will admit that the first time around I was trying to keep the rope in one piece. And I shouldn’t say “trying” because I did keep the rope in one piece. I was like seriously OCD about just bending it around staples and screws until finally I didn’t have enough rope to do straight lines and I had to zig-zag the bottom just to finish it. Classy.

Such a weirdo.I just wanted to add a real quick note (commenting on the below photo) whoever decided to package rope and yarn in that figure 8 pattern with the rope/yard belt in the middle is an inconsiderate S.O.B. I have wasted so much of my life untangling new packages of rope/yarn that I probably could have gotten a graduate degree in the collective hours I have spent. …but anyway…

JerksSo because I thought my first attempt at a bottom tier net looked like it was done by a blind spider on steroids, I took it apart and did it again. THIS TIME though, this time I took a tip from my screens and weaved cut pieces of rope through each other. The only thing I had to be cognizant of was to make sure that I left a good amount of slack in the long ropes because the more ropes you add to the weave, obviously the tighter it becomes…and it really sneaks up on you as it’s popping out of the staple when you’re only two weaves away from being finished. (That happened on my zig-zag attempt, not my second screen-grid attempt, but it still applies.)

Weave

Fancy

Come closerI trimmed the long edges and flipped this guy back over because as much as I loved it, I had grown to hate it. But then I saw it, and as much as I’d grown to hate it, I loved it again.

I like itI’ll admit that the spacing isn’t perfect and it’s a little on the wavy side, but it is so much freakin’ better than my zig-zags that it makes me feel like Picasso.

HiIf I’m going to be realistic, I’ll tell you that I know I will have useless stuff like birthday cards and princess books sitting on here. I know Kyle will put his autographed baseballs on here by somehow insisting that the blue on top means “Detroit Tigers.” Yes, it will have dirty plates, cup rings and fingerprints on the glass…

Future

But for right now, it’s perfect.

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