Tuesday, April 29, 2014

April Favorites!

Monthly favorites are my favorite!  I love seeing things that people have enjoyed throughout the month so I'm showing you the items I've been diggin' this month!  Woot Woot!

1.  Franco Sarto Flats:  I got the red pair from Nordstroms and the D'Orsay flats from Marshalls.  I've never tried Franco Sarto shoes, but these are definitely comfortable enough for work and play.  For the red pair, I had to get a 6 WIDE due to my bunionettes (TMI? sorry), but the blue pair fit comfortably in the regular width.  I would highly recommend trying these shoes on before purchasing them online, unless you don't mind mailing in returns.

2.  Painted Mason Jars:  I found about 20 mason jars in the attic of my garage (left from the original owners of the house) and decided to paint a few to add some color to my living room. I love the bright colors and the fact that they were $FREE!  I did a little research and dated these jars back to the 1930-1960's.  Knowing that they have probably been sitting in the garage for the past 40+ years makes them feel even more cool!  Weird.  I know.

3.  Craftsman power drill:  I love this baby!  I really do.  My power drill has different attachments for different uses.  My boyfriend got me the drill for Christmas one year and recently got me the sanding attachment when I mentioned I wanted to refinish/paint some furniture.  This drill has been with me throughout all the home improvement projects I've tackled so far and it's still going strong.  I really love him!  <--I meant the drill, but yes, I love my boyfriend too.

4.  Metallic Sharpies: Why didn't I discover these sooner?  I knew metallic Sharpies existed, but I never bought them because I never knew what I would need them for.  Well, during my recent side table makeover I was rub-n-buffing the metal pulls to a gold color, but there were small spots that my fingers couldn't squeeze into.  The gold Sharpie came to my rescue and turned the brassy nobs into sassy gold nobs. I'm also using these markers for a hallway wall art project and the gold and bronze colors are just perfect!

5.  Komelon Self-Lock Tape Measure:  I've never had a real, heavy-duty tape measure before.  I've always had those dinky ones that come free with those simple, pre-filled toolkits you find in a grocery store or discount store.  As you can tell by the name, this tape measure self-locks!  As in, you pull the measuring tape out and it doesn't retract until you push the button at the top.  (I hope this isn't a standard feature of tape measures or I'd be very embarrassed. HAHA!  None of my smaller ones have this feature, which is why I'm so impressed!)  The numbers are also huge for my horrible eyes, the tape measure doesn't bend when its extended more than 4 feet, and it's a bright green!  What more can you ask for from a tape measure?

6.  Foam applicators:  I've only used foam applicators to apply large amounts of paint onto canvas for art projects.  When I was thinking about applying a protective finish for my furniture makeover, I was hesitant to use a paint brush because I didn't want any brush strokes.  While walking through the paint aisle at Home Depot, I came across a pack of foam applicators right next to the brushes.  In my mind, foam applicators don't have bristles, so...it won't leave brush marks right?  Right!  I used these foam applicators to apply the Minwax Polycrylic and there were no brush marks!  Yay!

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Sunday, April 27, 2014

How to Paint Furniture: My Side Table Makeover!

I am so grateful to my friend, Ben, and his family for giving me the furniture they no longer needed/wanted in their home.  They recently remodeled their living area and the old furniture they had no longer matched their current decor.  As a result, I was able to get a hutch and side table for $FREE!  I am so thankful to have such nice and thoughtful friends!

This beautiful piece is actually a buffet that I am using as a side table.  Although the cherry finish is beautiful, there were a few scuffs at the base and top of the piece so I decided to paint it.  I know there are many furniture painting tutorials online, but let me put in my 2 cents!

1.  Start by cleaning your piece of furniture the best that you can.  If there are little sticky patches, use a product like Goo Gone to completely remove any residue and then clean with wipes or any type of all-purpose cleaner to remove any grease, dust, dirt.

2.  Remove any "shine" from the piece of furniture so that the primer and paint will "stick".  You can do so by using a chemical de-glosser or just sanding the piece.  I sanded.  Sanding is especially important if you have imperfections on the piece like this:

If you have any imperfections, use sandpaper with a low number grit (coarser) to even out the surface and then use sandpaper with a higher number grit (more fine) to smooth out the surface.

3.  Tape off any places on the piece where paint may land on to protect areas that you don't want to paint.

4.  From what I've read on the blogs, everyone uses a stain blocking primer for stained-wood pieces like mine, so I did.  I used KILZ Premium primer, but I also read that Zinser is a good one too.  The primer helps the paint stick, helps block out the darker wood color, and prevents any stain on the wood from affecting your paint finish.  

5.  I also used Floetrol, which is a paint additive, to keep my paint from drying as quickly as it normally would.  This helps to decrease the appearance of brush strokes and gives me more time to work with my piece.  

6.  Make sure you paint thin layers.  Thick layers will make your final layers of paint look goopy and un-even. If you do end up with any thick layers, let the paint completely dry and sand with a high grit sandpaper.

7.  Remove all hardware and hinges.  I would also remove the drawers if possible.  I couldn't remove my drawers so they often times got in the way when I was trying to paint the areas between them.  I was also worried that I would somehow paint my drawers shut by not removing them, but they didn't.. thank goodness!

8.  Spacing out a project like this through the span of a few days would be ideal.  You want to let your paint completely dry before painting on another coat.  You also want to give yourself time to step away from the piece and give yourself a break so that you aren't rushing through the project towards the end because you have the "I just want to be done with this" feeling.

9.  Use Minwax Polycrylic or any other protective finish if you will be using the piece regularly.  I only recommend Minwas Polycrylic because the blog-o-sphere has said that it doesn't yellow furniture and mine hasn't yellow-ed.  Remember to let your protective finish dry and cure.  Which means leaving it alone for a few days or maybe even a week?

10.   Have fun!  This is YOUR piece and you're putting a lot of work into it.  Who cares if it's not super perfect.  All that matters is that you love it!

This piece took me about a week to finish.  After applying the protective finish, I let my side table sit in my living room (untouched) for 4 days before I started putting ANYTHING on it.  

These are some of the awesome blogs I visited for inspiration and directions:
  1. LiveLoveDIY
  2. Young House Love
  3. DIY on the Cheap
  4. The Frugal Girl
  5. In My Own Style
Happy painting!

Linked to:  DIY Show Off
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Thursday, April 24, 2014

What's Your Approach?

One room at a time or all rooms at the same time?

When it comes to putting my home together, I've been attacking all my rooms at the same time and I'm slowly becoming more and more overwhelmed.  Really.  If you guys could see my "to-do" list for each space in my home, including the hallway, you'd be overwhelmed too!

One of the main reasons why I probably have been working on so many rooms at the same time is that I am easily distracted by fun and easy projects.  For example, isn't it more fun to stencil a wall than to sort through years and years of paper work?  Isn't it more fun to makeover a side table than to organize boxes and boxes of makeup?  Isn't more fun to do anything other than finally, really unpack the last of the moving boxes? (yes, I moved in last September..sshhh...) See what I mean?  It's soo hard to focus!

As a result of all of my decorating distractions, I have a half bath that still looks like this:

Stenciled wall and new light fixture?  Check.  Toilet, medicine cabinet, and sink? MIA.

Trying to attack all spaces of my home at the same time isn't working.  I end up with unused areas of my home because they aren't done and I feel like I'm wasting valuable square footage by having all these project supplies sitting in different areas of my home.  Although I love working on my home and putting it together, it starts to feel overwhelming when I realize I have a half bath I've never used because there is no toilet or sink.  Or I have a dining area I don't use because it looks bleh.

So, I'm changing my approach.  Or at least I'm going to try.  I'm going to try to focus on one space at a time.  This way, I can really get a room done, done and then move on to the next.  Also, I think the one room at a time approach would theoretically help my bank account too?  I don't think I'd spend as much money buying furniture or DIY supplies for random projects around the house as much because I have a goal of which space I will finish first. I hope.

My posts will also (hopefully) become less sporadic because I can actually take pictures of projects that I finish.  It's hard to take pictures of a stenciled restroom wall when there is no toilet or sink and there's a gaping hole where the toilet paper holder should be.  I know everyone reading this has put a home together, so I know I'm not alone.  What was your approach and how did you do it?

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Saturday, April 12, 2014

I'm Floored by Flor

My living room has been rug-free for a few months now.  Why?

Yeah...My sweet pitbull-mix puppy didn't know the difference between the rug and his rope-toy and chewed off the corner.  So, I've been rug-free in the living room for a few months. Up until last night, that is!

I took advantage of a 25%-off sale Flor was having on their carpet tiles and decided to take the leap and try out their product.  Flor tiles are modular, low-pile carpet tiles that can easily be cleaned (rinsed) and each tile can be replaced without ruining the rest of the carpet.  This is the best solution for a house with 4-5 dogs where accidents rarely, but do, happen.

I picked the "Lasting Grateness" pattern in a teal color and I love it!  The teal really brightens up my living room and adds some pizzazz, which is a nice change from the bare floors I've had. I thought I would regret not getting the rug in a gray or navy color, but I think the bright rug is a perfect contrast to the dark sectional and light-gray walls.  I set my tiles in a parkay-like pattern and installed them all while watching an episode of Grey's Anatomy.  

My dogs love the rug too!

Since I've only had the rug for about 12 hours, I cannot speak about the longevity of the tiles.  If the rug is as durable as it already seems, I definitely want to get a black and white striped pattern for my office!  I'll be testing this baby out for a few months and I'll give you guys an update on how it's held up.  This rug was definitely an investment, but I would rather spend some $$ on a rug that I can easily clean than spend $100-200 to replace an entire rug each time my dogs tear it up.

The "before" picture is what my living room looked like they day I got my keys!
What do you guys think of carpet tiles? 
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Sunday, April 6, 2014

Essential Tools for Home Improvement Projects

DIY home improvement projects can be really big or really small.  Regardless of the complexity of the project, these are some of the tools that I have found to be essential for any home owner or avid DIY-er.  

Of course, these are not the only tools I need, but they are definitely my most used tools.  If you are planning on tackling some home improvement projects I highly recommend having these items in your toolbox.  You won't regret it!  So, tell me.  What are your essential tools?
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