Ninety Nine Pennies Well Spent

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A while back I found this small dresser at a thrift shop for 99 cents. It was marked down from $10. To be honest, I didn’t believe the price tag at first.  I took the tag off the dresser and took it to an employee to make sure I was seeing it right. I was assured it was 99 cents.

I saw the water damage on the top (see below) and I’m pretty sure it was marked down because nobody wanted to deal with it. But still, it was a solid wood piece with dovetail joints and sturdy construction. I couldn’t pass it up!

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So what? I’m not afraid. I sanded the dresser down and started planning what I’d do with it. Hubby needs a nightstand. He’s currently using a small night stand that went with his bachelor dresser that I transformed for O’s room. It does the job but is a bit small and disproportionate to our new, much taller bed. I noticed that the shape of the drawer details mimicked the design on my curbside rescue dresser. Perhaps they could coordinate in our master bedroom?

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Usually I am anxious to change hardware on pieces like this but I thought the current hardware was unique and interesting so I opted to keep it. Along the way I updated the drawer handles with a coat of bronze spray paint.

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After a coat of Kilz water based primer I started on the base coat. I didn’t doctor up the water damage… I was a little impatient and had no clue what to do to make that mess disappear. I hoped a few heavy coats of paint would camouflage it enough for it to be forgotten. Remember, I was looking to make this dresser coordinate with the larger one I had refinished for the master so I chose the same paint combination. Behr Ashes and high gloss withe trim paint for the details and top. Here is a look at in progress.

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The drawers also got a coat of primer and 2 coats of the gray. I freehanded white detail around the ridges and in some archectual grooves on the chest.

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I should add that all these coats of paint happened over a couple of weeks. You know, when I had time and energy to spare.

The breakdown:

99 cents and a good eye at St. Vincent dePaul

2 pennies found inside when dismantling for paint prep

I already owned primer, paint and supplies

So the total comes to 97 cents. Kids, you can’t even buy a Frosty for that these days.

I’m happy with finished product and I think Hubby is too. It has a much more fresh vibe and doesn’t seem so dark and heavy. Dare I say it might have a little bit of a retro revival feel?

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After a little closet spring cleaning and some accessorizing I will be sure to reveal a final shot of this little dude in his new home.

Monogram Canvas Tutorial

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As promised, I have created a little tutorial post about the monogrammed canvas I recently hung in O’s room. Its no secret that I love almost anything monogrammed but this is my first go on making my own.

I like the look of a square canvas so I started with a 24″x24″ square gallery wrapped canvas and painted it with a sample container of beige I had from a friend who had given me samples after deciding on an exterior paint color- jackpot. I have at least 5 Sherwin Williams test quarts of greys, tans and whites.

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I waited a few hours for it to dry well before doing the next steps. Next I traced a large bowl for the circle shape in the middle. Its hard to see in this picture but I just eyeballed the middle and traced. This is where the monogram will go. Then I taped off stripes for the background. I had considered chevron but went with stripes after realizing chevron would be more precise, time consuming and a little more visually busy than I’d like.I didn’t measure the stripes- just too impatient today I guess. Then I gave the stripes 2 coats of a paper bag brown acrylic craft paint… painting around my faint circle mark.

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After the brown dried I peeled the painter’s tape back. Inevitably the paint had bled in a few spots under the tape. Canvas is an uneven surface so I had kind of expected that to happen. I touched up the spots and got to work mixing the pink for the monogram. I used the creamy beige paint from the base coat and a liquid red acrylic craft paint to make the pink so it wouldn’t be bright pink and would instead be a softer almost mauve color. I freehand painted the circle according to my tracing lines and where I had stopped painting the stripes.

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Then I started on the lettering. I highly recommend doodling around with your monogram a ton before deciding the style you want and putting brush to canvas. I had originally really liked the script look but after a bunch of failed attempts on paper plates I knew I just didn’t have it in me. I also realized that we tend to like cleaner lines and more modern designs around here so straight typeface was more our style anyway. Now don’t hate me but I didn’t trace this… I just went for it freehand with the brush. Sometimes I work best under pressure. I started in the middle with O’s last initial and went from there. I had a few smudges as I went but I just touched up afterward with the beige again.

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After an afternoon of painting I had this cute monogram!

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We hung it centered above her bed. We were sure to hang it high enough that she can’t reach it. We also used 3M Command Strips instead of a nail. That way it can’t swing or bump off of the nail. The strips say that 2 should do for a piece this size and weight. I used four- one on each corner. It’s not going anywhere. I have massive faith in the 3M Command Strips. We hung everything in our plaster walled apartment with them. Nothing ever fell off the wall and they were easy to rearrange and came off clean when it was time to move out (5 years later).

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Hex of a Good Time

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Obviously it has been busy around here. I try to post weekly at the minimum but summer is proving to be a busy beast. I have done quite a few projects, its just that getting to post them is harder than expected. Any who… this might be my first outdoor project since the teal front door reveal. We’ve been hard at work giving our house a little curb appeal (on our little budget). We’ve learned that sometimes a little elbow grease can go further than a few bucks. This project is a great example.

It all started with my love of this rug.

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The catch? It is $345. I also love this one. Too bad it was on sale for $749. No thanks. One day when my children outgrown spilling things and we graduate from plastic patio furniture then perhaps I will spend a car payment (or two!) on an outdoor rug. But for now DIY is way more realistic for the budget. I did a similar project last year for a whopping $10. After the weather, birds and sun did it in, my lovely hubby secretly tossed it in the trash. And then I nearly cried. This year we begin again.

I bought a large 6’x9′ canvas drop cloth at Home Depot for $8. They come in a variety of dimensions and most are under $10! I chose the size because I knew we had the 6 chairs to put around it and the arrangement worked nicely last year. Then I doodled a few geometric patterns on cardboard until I found one I liked (and even labeled it so). I chose this hexagon shape for other reasons too. I figured filling straight lines with paint mind be easier especially because it had to be done repeatedly. I also really enjoyed the honeycomb design it makes once its repeated. After making the design template shapes, I added little tabs on each side so it would be easy to line up with fellow hexagons as it was traced. Then I cut that bad boy out and got to work.

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I had leftover fabric paint from other projects so that determined the colors which happen to match the chairs well. Only happy accidents around here, people! Molly traced and I painted. We laid the canvas on a tarp as we worked on each section so that we didn’t have paint bleeding through on the deck (Which will be refinished soon. I hope.). And we got some sun. Two birds with one stone!

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Here is a look at how it came together as we went. And then something hilarious happened: we ran out of paint. Oh yes, that was soooo funny. So guess what? We went ombre. I had pink and purple of the same paint. So now we went from blue to purple to magenta. Another happy accident. I actually love the way it looks.

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So here is a look at the finished project. a sweet honeycomb rug for $8. And it goes nicely with the blue chairs. Those windows back there are old flea market finds. I’d love to hang them on the fence one day but I just can’t commit. Just the other day I was day dreaming about one being in place of artwork over our headboard in the master bedroom. Now if I can just make that nasty nineties red stain disappear.

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I spend at least one night a week out here. Sometimes we enjoy a drink or dessert after O goes to sleep or we get out her baby pool and let her splash around while hubby grills. Next: fire pit, flowers and a party. You’re all invited!

Half Bath Redo (part 1)- Paint

For months I have been plotting revenge on our teeny tiny cave of a half bath. It is the only room in the house I haven’t painted (except the kitchen… more on that another day).

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I’ve been putting this project off for a few reasons. The first is time. I never have a span of time long enough to knock it all out. The second is that choosing a color proved to be a huge hurtle. Hubby pulled the “I don’t care. Surprise me.” card… I was torn over “Zen” green left over from the guest room or the soft “Glass Slipper” left over from the master bedroom. Anything but that brown paper bag color that haunts this entire place. Third issue: this tiny room is riddled with problems. Although it has all new fixtures as well as new tile and vanity, the walls are poorly mudded (result of s speedy/sloppy drywall job by previous owner… like most of his paint jobs around here. If I ever see him in Home Depot so help me…). And with the poorly treated walls comes gapped trim work. It is still only the store primer white- you can see the nails in it and they aren’t flush with the walls. Nobody took the time to paint it. I’ll likely be caulking around the entire baseboard trim, filling the nail holes and painting all the trim soon. Also, This bathroom sits under the ventilation soffit that divides the lower level of the house. The soffit is a foot deep and brings the ceiling to a whopping 7 feet above you. Now you see how tiny this thing is… from side to side AND top to bottom. The last problem and biggest challenge is that the vanity sits a convenient 3.5 inches from its adjoining wall. You can kind of see in the photo below. Just enough room for my hand… but not a roller.

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As for color, I went with the Glass Slipper by Benjamin Moore left over from the master bedroom. It really brightened up the dull walls and feels much fresher and cleaner. Bonus: this project had no cost. There is still quite a bit to do to accessorize but for now I’ve tossed the quote canvas on the main wall and added a basket on the toilet.

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The plant already lived on the top of the tank, but I placed it in a basket, added a box of tissues, some monogrammed hand towels and a roll of toilet paper. You know, just in case. This is the only accessible counter space in the bathroom therefore it is the only place for tissues etc to go. I’ve been playing with the idea of a wall shelf or two above the toilet but the basket is doing the job for now. The vanity and mirror both have minimal storage for soaps and such though.

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Everything feels lighter and brighter. Hubby and I were both pleasantly surprised. Interestingly enough, the lighter color in a satin finish actually disguises the imperfect walls. I think the white of the sink looks cleaner and newer too.

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Amazing what a coat of paint can do. Next: wall art (boy do I have a surprise up my sleeve on that one), potential storage and hospitality items.

Curbside Rescue

Remember a while back when I rescued this baby from the curb a few blocks from my house in a snow storm? She was so sad and in need of lots of love.

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Well I’ve had some time (finally) to sand, prime and paint it. Because of weather (Cincinnati has beautiful spring days followed by crazy rain and then a cold fall-like day) I decided to do this project in the garage. That also allowed me to take my time (I’m sure Hubby loves that). But one afternoon I sanded it and scrubbed it down. Then next I had time for some primer. I don’t think I started painting until the next week. At least the coats of paint had plenty of dry time. So this is how my garage looked for a while. My car doesn’t fit in the garage so I didn’t mind. Well it fits, but once its in I can’t get out of the car… unless I climbed out a window or something. Its snug… so the garage is sort of my studio instead. Oh, and Hubby parks on the other side.

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We discussed where we want this to go and decided it will be most useful and fit best in our still-in-progress master bedroom. Hubby and I both liked the older style, lines and detail of the wood work. We chose the gray from the family room/foyer (Ashes by Behr) and crisp whit trim paint. We already had both so the only thing we will have to buy is hardware. I’ll put that on my list.

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Hopefully, it will be moved up to our room this weekend after we add hardware. But not bad for a dumpster dive/curbside rescue if I do say so myself!

Chocolate Covered Dreams

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Behold: our chocolate bedroom. When we bought the house this was the color on the walls. I remember looking at the house and both Hubby and I cringed when we saw this. Chocolate is a lovely color… but with only 2 windows limited space, it makes this room very cave like. Above is the view from the hall door.

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Here is the view from my side of the bed. The TV is a new addition. We are working on hiding the cords. The door in the middle of the wall goes to the bathroom. The dresser is an old yard sale find and is just a placeholder until we find a larger, nicer dresser.

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Oh yes, and the windows. Most of the windows in our house came with these upholstered window cornices. They were no doubt a suggestion from a stager to give the house a more polished look. But for us, they blocked the top 10 inched of the window and only added to the cave effect. Nothing a little pent up aggression can’t fix! I took this bad boy down in less than a minute.

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On one of our numerous trips to the hardware store, Hubby and I collected tons of blue swatches. We started off looking for a deep slate blue. We ended up bring home a bunch of denim blues. Once we taped them in the wall we realized that a deep blue would do the same thing as the chocolate brown. We went back to the drawing board and looked for lighter and more crisp colors. You’ll see our choice in a minute…

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I had a week off work so I saved the painting for then. I knew it would take multiple coats. I prepped the room by patching the walls, removing the cornices, sanding the patchwork, vacuuming the dust from the base boards and wiping them down. I don’t believe in taping when I paint so I skipped that step. I have a steady hand and plenty of patience.

We chose Benjamin Moore “Glass Slipper” paint and primer in one in eggshell finish. Its a super soft subtle blue. Sometimes it looks like cream, or gray depending on the lighting and time of day. I even see a slight green tint sometimes. Way more soothing to me than chocolate brown.

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Look at the contrast! The first coat when on beautifully! I did two coats because the brown was still coming through and the blue looks that more crisp with another coat.

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Mid paint mess. After painting the walls, I realized how dingy the trim was. I happened to have a little trim paint already so I did a quick coat on all the trim while Baby O napped.

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Look what a little elbow grease and paint can do! It feels so much bigger and fresh!

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Our new mattress arrived and its a good 6 inches taller than our old set. I think I may have to finagle a new or taller headboard. Next: White linens and bedding, choose an accent color, nightstand makeovers, new headboard or redo the old one, wall art and a secret wall treatment! This will all happen over the course of a few months as we have time, money and find exactly what we want.

Likey? What amazing transformations have you made with a simple coat of paint?

Recycled Halloween Decor

I’m always up for a little recycled project… Especially if it employs glass jars in yet another way. I had a few large salsa and pasta sauce containers I had washed out and saved because I knew I would find a use for then one day. Hubby hates this … They sat on the window sill for weeks.

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{supplies: jars, painter’s tape, scissors}

All I did was cut shapes out of the tape for a jack-o-lantern, ghost, Frankenstein, and the word “boo!”. I placed them on the jars accordingly so I had a design on one side of the jar. I didn’t want my designs to wrap very far around.

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Then I painted the jars with a thin layer of acrylic paint I already had in my craft collection. The key is THIN…. if its too thick the paint will peel off with the tape. This happened to me in a few spots.

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After it dried for a few hours, I peeled the tape off and I had these beauties.

I may put candles or glow sticks in them for going on the porch or our rock wall on Halloween. For now they will be cute as a centerpiece or decorating a bookshelf. Recycled, free (i already had all of my supplies) and reusable… unlike an actual pumpkin.

Earning My Stripes

I’d like to introduce you to our new living room arrangement. This room is our most used room, despite being television free (on purpose!). We entertain in here, play with Baby O and relax in here.

First of all, please excuse my poor photography. The room is wide and it is difficult to get a picture of everything. There are two chairs against the striped wall, although you can only see one. The corner of the room has a bin of toys and the boppy lives there too. I’m looking for a better system to store those things.

STRIPES: The stripes have been around for a while and I LOVE THEM. I did it while Hubby was out of town for work. He hated the idea but loves the result! Typical. As my mother says, it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than it is for permission. Anyway, that wall was a nasty burgundy when we bought the house. JUST that wall. The rest was a paper bag tan… all in flat paint (WHHHHYYY!). It acted as a black whole and sucked all the light and helped make the room feel super cramped. The stripes freshen it up, emphasize the length of the room, enhance the height of the wall and contrasts just right with the surrounding gray walls. Colors are both Behr paint and primer in one, eggshell finish (for durability and light reflection). Gray: Ashes, Cream: Roman Plaster.

FURNITURE: The couch (Ikea Ektorp but looks soooo Pottery Barn) used to be against that wall and the chairs floated wherever for a while. I put the couch under the window for two reasons: it keeps the dogs from standing the the sill and barking and it is a better use of space. Also, the couch has other tailored slip covers available for a quick and inexpensive change whenever we feel like it. The chairs (Ikea Tullsta) went on the striped wall for more contrast and to open up the floor space. This layout definitely opened up the room and allows for more floor space as well as a better traffic flow. We’ve been using tons of floor space since Baby O can sit up, roll, scoot and such.  Also, the wall opposite the striped wall is only a half wall that overlooks the landing/foyer. I didn’t want anything there since Baby O will likely learn to climb soon. That wall is home to a toy bin and a Jumparoo. As you can imagine, they are cramping our style but I’m trying to minimize that effect. The wall opposite the couch is open to the dining area which is currently needing some love. I’m thinking about a fantastic rust colored rug. Don’t tell hubby yet. The coffee table and end table are yard sale finds. Ok, well a friend had them in her pile to sell and I saw them in her dining room and jumped in to buy them before the yard sale. But the coffee table has drawers, rounded corners and a solid build. Baby friendly and stylish! I bought them both together for $65! I’m sure they were out of my price range originally.

ACCENTS: All pillows (blue ikat and bronze ripple- but I can’t find it online) and the chenille throw are from Target. The subtle zebra curtains are as well. Who says you can’t mix patterns? Just do it in moderation and with balance.

NEXT: Hanging pictures. I have a huge pile and it’s going to take an entire weekend to look at the arrangement options. I’d like to add hints of that peacock blue from the pillows elsewhere. Better lighting is also on my list.