Friday, December 2, 2016

Reclaimed Wood Ornaments & Homemade Stencils

I'm gearing up for another craft fair for this weekend and wanted to add a little Christmas color to my booth as well as a few "smalls."  These reclaimed wood ornaments were fairly easy to make. I honestly can't remember if these are from fence board or pallet planks or a combo of the two . Just dug out pieces from my scrap wood heap, washed and sanded them, then eyeballed the cuts into no particular size.

I used acrylic white paint for the base and a metallic acrylic in red for the candy cane stripes. Sealed with Mod Podge.

Homemade Stencils: 


1. Printed off a candy cane pattern from the internet.
2. Securely tape the print out over the cardboard.
3. Slice along the pattern, essentially gives you two stencils, one of paper and one on the cardboard. The paper may tear a bit if your knife is dull.

I don't anticipate using this stencil often so the fact that it is made of cardboard won't matter too much. I have made stencils from cereal boxes in the past and have yet to have one fall apart on me, but these are always minimally used stencils.

Lampshade Styrene:

The nativity and reindeer though are sliced into an old lampshade found in a "treasure hunt," it had a small hole punched into one side but the rest was usable real estate.

1. Print out design onto paper.
2. On these stencils I cut the pattern out of the paper first with the exacto knife so I have a paper stencil.
3. Then, traced the stencil design onto the styrene with a sharpie.
4. Cut along the sharpie line with the exacto knife.

I recommend using a very sharp exacto knife for this approach. The lampshade styrene is very thick and took f.o.r.e.v.e.r to cut through, but now I have durable, long-lasting stencils that I know I will use for other projects. A plus to using the styrene stencil over a cardboard stencil is that you don't have to wait for it to dry before stenciling more pieces. I'm more cautious with my cereal box stencils so the paint doesn't saturate and cause tears.

I just love the knots and hole in this piece. So much character.  And that rusty coil hanger! ~love~

For a more subdued and rustic look I layered a couple reds and added twine. See the coil hangers on top? Taken from a rusty crib mattress, just perfect for this project!

This one is a hybrid between the two designs that I'm keeping for myself.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Around the World Mid-Century Dresser Makeover

Third time's a charm as the saying goes. This freebie dresser has sure taught me some lessons!

Sanding and Staining Fail
My first lesson was all about sanding and staining gone awry. Someone introduced me to furniture stripper after the fact and now I have a great love affair with the ease of citristrip. I LOATHE sanding and the mess it makes and appreciate the amount of sanding that is reduced by first using a stripping agent.

Another lesson I've learned is that furniture can be categorized by types reflecting design trends. Call me oblivious, but I had NO IDEA!!! It just never occurred to me to look at the shape of the piece before deciding on the makeover. This dresser is clearly mid-century but I thought I could just give it a farmhouse look. Mid-Century Farmhouse Dresser????  After peeling the painters tape from the grain sack stripes I could tell that it just didn't look right but was at a loss for why. This nagging confusion persisted for a couple of years until I took the time to focus on the shapes and designs of dressers. Then it it hit me that this dresser makeover was like a grandma wearing an Elsa nightgown. The generations of dresser and paint design did not mix well, for this piece it wasn't complementary.

Took a bit of head scratching before an idea came for yet another makeover. When I had my booth I'd had great success with navy painted furniture. A few times my husband almost snatched a piece before it went off to the booth, but he always restrained himself. He loves blue and since this is his dresser, navy blue it is.

This world map is from Hobby Lobby and blends the paint better than I'd hoped, like they were made for each other.

This poster board was pretty thick, thicker than I'm used to working with when using Mod Podge. An exacto knife was used along the edges for a very close cut-to-fit.

In a previous post I'd suggested coating the top of all paper with Mod Podge prior to using a sealant. Given that this paper is more sturdy than old book pages I contemplated skipping that step, but given that I only had the one poster and was unwilling to purchase another in case the sealant ruined the coloring, I played it safe and added Mod Podge on top.

I lightened this pic so you can see that one of the pulls was left off. It was purely decorative on the larger middle drawer and since it served no function I chose not to block the top of Africa. Given the dark colors, its not readily noticeable.

 Above his dresser hangs a burlap covered cork board. An avid runner he recently began hanging onto his bibs after races. Now they have somewhere other than the bathroom shelf for display.

She's still dancing on little white feet and I can't decide if they should stay white or go for the same brown as the hardware. 


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Fall Entry Way Facelift

my favorite picture of the bunch, so pretty
Summer is going out kicking and screaming. Last weekend we took our kids to the pumpkin patch in  80degree heat...and of course I didn't bring sunscreen, we brought jackets. After an hour our family wilted and we left in search of ice cold sodas. The persistent warm days make it hard to get into the "fall mood," this includes trading in summery decor for falls muted tones. 

But, a request for a DIY post on frugal redecorating and/or renovating for a #FallFacelift project motivated me to think of oranges, reds, and yellows. 

For the #FallFacelift, I chose to give our entry way a makeover. 

1. Add More Storage

I believe our town home entry layout was designed for a childless man with a sum total of three pairs of shoes because there is a pittance of space dedicated to "mudroom" storage needs. Especially for a family of five. 

If adding more footage or shifting walls to create additional storage was an option, I'd use the Cash Flow & Net Worth Calculator to create a budget. Renovating is out of reach at this address. Fortunately, our budget for storage looks like this: 

Free cubby + free fence boards = free storage. 

One of the pros of closing my booth is the plethora of items I get to stage around my home, like this cubby. 

This was a basic boring white cubby found discarded on the side of the road. Reclaimed fence boards were sanded and nailed onto the back and all four sides of the cubby. This allows for a uniform look whether it sits vertically or horizontally.  

used as
vertical shelves in booth
  Tipped over, its now the perfect shoe and small bag storage. The top is   fair game for decor or as a dumping ground for books, bags, and toys. 

photo taken from front door way

2. Let Friendly Smiles and Kind Words Greet You at the Door

Most of these items are thrifty shopping finds: garage sales, thrift stores, bargain box retailers. 

"Welcome home, I missed you!"
The hedgehog was a full price impulse buy. He was too cute to pass up!  

3. Add a Personalized Touch

This varies from person to person, a family photo, an heirloom or favorite object, or something handmade. For me, its handmade, especially as my kids grow older and assist on projects. Making happy memories. :)

To the left, Dollar Store leaves were sown onto an orange ribbon. One of my boys "helped" use the sewing machine with anxious guidance on my part, and both boys took turns selecting the order of the leaves.

Above, homemade tin can pumpkins add variations of orange.

4. Bring the Outside In 

Four years ago, I toasted a bunch of acorns for a small scale vignette, a seriously small scale vignette. I was a little green in terms of decorating and crafting. It was fun to go back and read my old post on a Dried Acorn Arrangement and see how far I've come in prettifying a space.

This jar of acorns hasn't seen much action the past couple of fall seasons so it was time to give it a face lift of its own. 

I clearly value painting acorns over painting my nails.
Is there a hashtag for expired manicures? 
One of the steps in creating the dried acorns the first time was to seal them to preserve the color. For four years these acorns were sealed up tight, and once that lid was screwed off, the odor of spray sealant permeated my work space. I don't think these acorns are going to fade anytime soon! Pe-yew! 

The empty acorn "hats" were painted in a metallic brown. The "heads" (they look like a head with a hat, right?) were painted in my current favorite acrylic color: Tuscan Teal, but their "hats" were left natural for color variation.  

They look so pretty displayed on these layered leaf plates. Which brings me to my last step:

5. Vary the Colors

Personally, I'm not a fan of monochromatic spaces. They look clean and sharp, but to me they appear uninspiring, boring even. I've mentioned already where I added color variation (the tin can pumpkins, the painted acorns). Some people follow the 60-30-10 color rule for interior decorating but I try to avoid math whenever possible. My use of color ratios is whim based. 

I do, however, like to employ complementary colors and used the below color wheel as a loose guideline. 

Now to train the kids to toss their shoes into their designated cubby instead of heaping them onto the closet floor! 


Sunday, October 9, 2016

Small Bench Makeovers

Good news, bad news. Good news, I am going to keep creating in some capacity. Bad news, I am closing my booth down after 11 months. It was time to cut my losses financially, I usually made rent and a tidbit leftover, but not enough to warrant the amount of time that was poured into making projects. And I found myself moving towards a more flea market/upscale yard sale look just to attract customers. If I didn't have three littles at home and had more time (and sleep), I would keep plugging away until I found the "formula" for success in my area. 

First craft fair booth. My spot was UH-MAZING and worth
the extra money for the premium location.
I can always go back when life shifts gears. Until then I plan on participating in craft fairs as a vendor and explore selling online. My first craft fair was two weeks ago and was successful. Made back the money I put into it and then some. I've already signed up for another craft fair closer to Christmas. For now, this outlet allows me to continue my hobby-turned-income.

Far too often I make things I end up wanting to keep. Which one
of these would you keep? Read on to find out which one I kept.
My favorite little corner of the booth was occupied by these cute little benches. The chair bottom was an illegal dump find that I forgot to get a picture of before the makeover. Both benches are painted with the same homemade chalk-paint but only the backless chair was heavily distressed. 

   I totally love this chair-turned-plantstand. So much so that I priced it a little high to discourage buyers (not the best sales technique I'll admit, but perfect for redecorating ones home). Its sitting outside my front steps now with the same plant perched on top. The frost has crept in the past few nights and the plant is looking rather frazzled so I'll have to find some other cute things to occupy it this winter. 

 These "free leaves" signs have been a popular item for me this fall and a terrific use of scrap wood.

The picture boards are repurposed fence board and I've only sold one in teal (see the top left corner of this picture). I think they are priced too high. Even in my other booth I was only able to sell these for $10-$12 depending on the size. Currently they are $15.

This bench went thru quite the transformation. It was a hand-me down of a hand-me down, a garage sale reject just waiting for some TLC. Sturdy and solid it was very dated. My youngest was a bit sad when I painted over the bunnies, he thought they were cute. I like the light gray with the dark gray grain sack stripes. The bench looks better lighter.

A during photo, pre sealant, in my messy basement/craft room.

So far this piece hasn't sold either. Its sitting in my old booth, where everything is marked down, until Tuesday, my last day. Hopefully it'll find a buyer at the next craft sale. It'll probably need a new price tag. ~fingers crossed~

Happy Fall Ya-all!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Rusty Coil Creations

My kids can groan, whine, and cross their arms in silent protest (my personal favorite because its QUIET), but this momma is gonna treasure hunt on trash day. Money doesn't grow on trees children, but with some elbow grease and imagination you can make money pop out of a garbage can. Life lesson my little monkey brain babies.

While on such a "life lesson" trip I found a perfectly rusty and intact crib mattress leaned up next to a trash can. MINE! Perfect rusty goodness that I promptly disassembled, oh how it hurt my hands, and set out right away to create items for my booth.

 I thought these would be a bit more popular but I overestimated the zeal an average person has for rusty coils. Apparently not everyone appreciates these; their loss, my gain.

This wreath was inspired by Becky at

 I have no clue what this mess of wire and coils is. It was found near a dumpster. I do love the rusty coil pieces. They were a perfect addition to a coil "wind chime," it doesn't make any noise, but it sure is cute. 

Some simple tea light lanterns. The coiled length used as a hanger is from the same mattress. So far I haven't tossed out any part of the mattress, all the pieces seem usable. My favorite kind of trash to treasure! 

This tree branch was stained in special walnut which looked great when it was in my backyard in full sunlight. Inside the booth is looks too dark. Maybe painting it turquoise to add more color? Even after adding the leaf garland it still seems too dark. I was hoping for something more bold and eye catching. 

And last but not least: 

A simple garland made from Dollar Store leaves, twine, and coils. 

That's it so far. I have another wreath in the works and several more ideas brewing in my mind.