Friday, October 17, 2014

How To Strip Paint Off Furniture The Fun Way!

Did that get your attention?  Good!  Too bad it's a  There is absolutely no fun way to strip paint off furniture.  It was time consuming and hard but very worth the end result.

So...there once was a coffee table that I found on Craigslist.  It was different, unique and a great price ($60)!  It was also way to big and wouldn't fit in my car.  So I asked begged a friend from work to go with me and pick it up, he agreed and I came home with this beauty!

I thought that because it had so much storage it would be perfect for my tiny home and it was!  When I got it I knew that I would be painting it, it was a dingy looking off white with tiny chips missing out of the paint.  So, fast forward 2 years and after much use out of the coffee table chest it was still not painted.  I seriously have far to many projects going on which I love and hate at the same time.  Mark is a trooper for not giving me a hard time about it...but then again he has just as many projects going on outside.  :)

2 weeks ago while sitting in the den with my feet propped up on the table I noticed a bubble in the paint and the kid in me just HAD to mess with it.  It pealed off a little sheet of paint!  What does the kid do?  She keeps pealing off every little chip that she can get her hands on...for around an hour.  I was thinking this is going to be so easy!  All of this paint is just going to come right off.  Then, out of no where all of the fun was gone!  It stopped coming off in sheets and started just chipping in little tiny tiny tiny pieces.  :(  What I had to address the coffee table because were before it had just looked a little..."shabby chic" and now it looked like a mess.


While looking at the wood under the paint I was a little taken with how pretty it looked.  Now...I am a paint EVERYTHING kind of girl.  So the thought of actually taking paint off?  Still kinda blows my mind but I decided that I wanted to strip it down so I could get the full picture of how the wood looked before I decided what I wanted to do with the chest. 

So off to Lowe's I went!  I decided to go with Citristrip Stripper Gel.  It is the only stripper that I found that can be used indoors and I wasn't about to move this beast outside (make sure to pick up gloves while your there).  It was very easy to put on and actually smelled pretty good!  I just used an old paint brush and slopped all over the table.  I think the key to using Citristrip is applying generously.  The places on the table where it was thicker were much easier to scrap off.  After you have applied to all areas put trash bags on to move the process along a little quicker. 


Citristrip recommends leaving the product on from 30 minutes - 24 hours.  I left mine on for around 1 hour and this is what it looked like. 

It was starting to bubble up so I thought I would do a test spot.  The test spot scrapped right off so I thought I was good to go.  MISTAKE.  Really, I think the test spot just had a thick layer of Citristrip on it because once I took all of the trash bags off and really started scrapping everything it wasn't coming off easy.  I decided to get as much off as possible and then go back and do round 2. 

At this point...I was wondering why in the world I thought this would be a good idea and by the look on my husbands face he was wondering the same thing.  Round 2 pretty much did the trick.  Don't get me wrong, it wasn't easy even after the 2nd coat.  So.  Much.  Scraping.
After the 2nd coat all that was left was just to go back and sand it down a little.  It felt a little sticky so I decided to give it 2 days to completely dry out...and give myself a break!  After it was dry and no longer sticky I just sanded it down.  That part was very easy, thanks to my sister letting me borrow her palm sander! 
Love the final product, now I just have to decide if I should paint or stain it?!  Any thoughts???  Was this time consuming?  Yes.  Was it worth it?  Yes! 
What about you, any furniture that is begging to be striped?!  I would love to see your before and after photos!  

Friday, September 5, 2014

Guest Post: Embrace the Useless Fireplace!

Today we are so lucky to have one of my dear friends share a wonderful fireplace makeover with us!  Make sure you show Brandy some love!  She is a very talented DIY girl and I love seeing her before and afters!  Prepare to be amazed!  :)

Hi DIYers!  I was honored when Heather asked if I would guest post on her little corner of the internet!  When I'm not getting my hands dirty, I'm busy dreaming of my next project.  DIY is my idea of a good time and I love a good before & after!  I've spent the last seven years upgrading my 1930 bungalow when time and money allows.  Some projects required me to save all my pennies for a long time.  But this project?  She came in at $300.  Grab a cup of coffee.  This is a long post!
Happy DIY'ing, friends!

Back in 2007, I bought a fixer-upper. On inspection day, the living room looked like this:

Do you see that brick fixture? After we painted the walls and pulled back the carpet to discover original hardwood floors (yippee!), that brick fixture looked like this:
At one point it was connected to an old wood stove.  When the stove was removed, the flue was covered by this interesting piece of... art?... then duct-taped to cover the opening.

For a while, we worked around it.
The cost of turning this into an actual fireplace or demolishing the thing was too high since we would have to replace a section of the foundation, an exterior wall, and the roof.  So we decided to embrace this useless fireplace.
This is the result:

How do you turn that ugly faux-brick eyesore into the thing I can’t stop staring at?

First, convince your husband, Charlie, that this is a good idea even though you can’t find anything online that resembles the rough Photoshop picture you’ve presented.

Build a wood frame using 2x4’s, mdf, and anchor the frame to your concrete hearth.
Build a mold for the concrete bench using 2x4’s, mdf, corner round, and duct tape, if needed. (There are lots of great mold-building tutorials online for concrete benches. We tried to use what we had on hand.)

Ask your friend, Eric, to help because he knows concrete better than anyone you know. Mix the concrete, pour it into the mold, while causing a vibration to get out all the bubbles. I used a small sander on the 2x4’s while Charlie tapped a hammer around the frame to cause the vibration.

Smooth the concrete very well. Make sure it is safe from the rain, and then let it cure for a week.

Once your concrete bench has cured, you can remove the mold and smooth any rough edges. We chiseled a few irregular corners and sanded all the edges.

Bribe Eric to come over again. Take pictures while strong men carry a heavy concrete bench and place it on the wood frame. Use Carnuba wax to protect the concrete.

*Did you notice the photoshop image is hanging on the old mantel? That picture saved my sanity as we worked on this project in our spare time over several weeks. Instead of explaining to every single person who entered our home, (“I know it looks weird now but it will look great! It’s already better than it used to be!”) our “inspiration” was posted for all to see.

Build a new rustic mantel using reclaimed wood. We were able to pick out a few pieces of lovely cedar from Locust Lumber’s discard pile. Total cost was less than $20. Learn from my mistake: Stain and poly your mantel before you apply Airstone. I love the character of the wood.

Now you get to have some fun with Airstone! If you are unfamiliar with this product, check out the
display at your favorite Lowe's. There are lots of great Airstone ideas online, too! This product is very
easy to use and the instructions are simple. A few tips, though:

  • If you need to use more than one box, open all the boxes and mix the colors well.
  • Allow the Airstone to acclimate at least 24 hours.
  • Be sure to lay the stone in a horizontal line. You may be tempted to do all the corners first. Don’t.
The instructions say to only use a hacksaw to cut pieces to size. We found a $3 Miter Masonry blade that worked perfectly. Just be sure to account for the width of the blade when you cut.  This is a fun and fairly easy job. But it is very dusty.

The back corners of the concrete bench flowed beautifully into the stone.

Make sure the dog approves.

I’m thrilled with the end result! In the future, I might dress up the concrete bench with plants or candles. But for now, we like to use it as extra seating for our family game nights. Next project: sew some cute pillows for the bench.

Well now I need a new project to work on!  I just love how Brandy & Charlie made this strange brick fireplace into something so beautiful!  It makes the room look complete!  Great job guys!

Do you have any strange places in your home that need a creative solution?  If so I would love to hear about them and see your before and after pictures! 

Have fun!

Friday, July 18, 2014

From Basket to Light Fixture

As always, this story starts at Goodwill.  I was shopping there one day and came upon this precious little basket.  I picked it up, admired how cute it was and then put it back down and continued to look around.  I found myself looking back at the shelf it was on for another 5 minutes to see if anyone else had picked it up yet.  Then I decided I had to have it.  I may or may not have *almost* knocked people over to get back to it.  Then I took a few pictures of it and sent them to my sister (this is my norm if I cant decide
on a purchase).  :) 

Before (The actual pictures I sent to Ashley from Goodwill)  ;)

The more I looked at it the more I thought it would be so cute hanging up, like as a light fixture.  And what do you know...I needed a new light fixture in my office The Parlor.  I think the basket was $3.99.  So why in the world I stood there trying to decide if I should get it for 10 minutes is beyond me.  Frugalness is a gift God has blessed me with.  :) 

That night when Mark got home I couldn't wait to show him my new light fixture (well soon to be light fixture).  My husband is pretty amazing.  I mean, I bring all sorts of crazy things home for my projects and he always gets roped in at some point...but never complains. 

I decided to take the handle off and drill a hole in the bottom which would soon be the top that the light cord would come through.  I spray painted it white because I thought that would look better in The Parlor.  Then I purchased a white Swag Kit for the light part.  Mark did the electrical but after watching him I'm pretty sure I could do the next one (with his supervision).  It was super easy, it took maybe 5 minutes.  There are lots of videos on YouTube that show you how but be careful if you try it yourself!!! If you are local I can give you the number of certified electricians who are very trustworthy and not expensive.

I really love how it looks!  The shadows on the ceiling are so pretty! 

I just love how this turned out.  I'm now walking around my house trying to decide which rooms need a DIY light fixture in them.  :)  I think my total cost was less than $15.  That includes the basket, spray paint and swag kit.

Do you have any rooms that are needing a new light fixture?  I feel like it completely changed the look of the room!  I would love to see your before and after pictures if you decide to give it a try!

I would love to hear your thoughts on the Basket turned Light Fixture!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

A Cute Coffee Station

I found this cute little decoration at Goodwill for $2.99.  I didn't really have anywhere to use it, I honestly just got it because it had chickens on it.  Chickens are the way to my hubby's heart so I knew he would love it.  I picked it up and just like always it went in the project room for almost a year.  :)  Out of boredom yesterday I just pulled it out and decided to paint it.  I had no clue where I would put I just needed to paint something! 


I decided to paint it with Rust-Oleum Hammered Spray Paint.  Someone gave me this spray paint and I've been wanting to try it.  At this point I still had no clue where I would put it. 

I only used 1 coat!  And love how it turned out!  I just really love the color and the texture.

After I brought it in I looked around to see where I could put it.  I looked over at my little coffee station and thought it would be perfect there!  It holds the jars that have coffee, sugar and spoons.  Makes it look a little more put together!

Please ignore my counter tops and cabinets...our kitchen is a work in progress.  Progress.  Takes.  Time.  AND MONEY.  ;) 

What do you think?  Once again spray paint if my favorite quick fix for anything!  Do you have any neat little finds that you spray painted to change them up a bit?! 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Old Well House Turned Lettuce Garden

We have a old well house in the backyard that no longer works, it's kind of an eyesore.  I had pondered removing the lid and building a large table out of it, but it's really to tall for that.  Mark had the wonderful idea to turn it into our lettuce bed!  He cleaned it out taking out all of the old parts that no longer worked.  After that he filled the whole thing up with dirt and planted different kinds of lettuce in it.  Around the corners where the block was open he put carrot seeds in.  It was a very easy project and works wonderfully for our lettuce!  It keeps it off the ground so the animals cant get to it!  So love that Mark thought of this great DIY project!  I may end up painting the block on the outside, you know I have to paint everything.  ;) 

What about you?  Do you have an old well house that is begging for a new use?  Or a creative way to garden?  I would love to hear about it!  Happy Gardening!