Friday, April 30, 2010

How I Stain

It's so rewarding to have projects in my home that I've "created" and it's even more rewarding when someone wants to know how I did it!

While this isn't a complete tutorial, I will do my best to describe the process I used for my buffet and for my stair railing.

I've only done one other staining project and that was about 7 years ago and it was a hand-me-down table and chairs. I used stain stripper and it took FOREVER.

Tip #1: Buy a small sander.

I spent about $60 bucks on my Bosch sander and it was the best $60 bucks I ever spent. (aside from the money I paid for epidurals with both my kids). Added bonus - men love power tools. You may receive unexpected help.

I have no method of what sandpaper grit I used. Start out with the heavy stuff and work your way to medium and light. Sanding anything creates dust. Lots of dust. The buffet was sanded in the garage. The stair rails were not removed.

If you're working in the garage, an air compressor comes in handy to blow saw dust off your piece. Our air compressor is obnoxious. But they sell small pancake compressors.

Sanding indoors is a mess. So keep your Shop Vac handy and use a mask. I'd also send the children to grandma's.

The stair rails took longer because of all the small crevices. If you're going to stain, you need to get down to raw wood. Stain stripper can help - just be sure to purchase something environmentally friendly. The fumes on that stuff can be extremely strong and probably not good for you.

After sanding and cleaning up your dusty mess wipe down with a rag and warm water. Use something that won't leave lint. Be sure to let it dry completely.

Next comes the fun part - staining!

Tip #2: Wear gloves & really old nasty clothes.

Oil based stains are a bear to remove from hands. And don't come out of clothes. I used to have just one t-shirt that I called my project shirt. Now, I can't find a t-shirt without paint on it.

I started out using old rags to wipe the stain on. I didn't like that method. So, I switched to a paint brush. I actually had 2 brushes - a medium sized and then a tiny one to get close to edges and in crevices. I'm very anal - actually, I'll use the word precise instead.

I learned not to just dunk my brushes in the stain. Just dip lightly and brush on. Otherwise, you get streaks and stuff. If you do get too much in one spot, just rub with one of those old rags.

I used 2 coats of stain. I also threw the brushes away. I didn't know how to get them cleaned. Truth be known - I'm lazy.

Next, polyurethane

This is the most time intensive part.

1. Brush on.
2. Let Dry.
3. Lightly Sand.
4. Wipe down with warm water.
5. Let dry.

Repeat steps 1-5 until insanity sets in. I believe my buffet took about 7 coats. Stair rails - 2.
Both projects took many days to complete. So you might be wondering, "Jenn, how many paint brushes did you go through?"

Tip #3: You can store your used paint brushes in a plastic bag and in the freezer! Just thaw them out about an hour prior to re-starting your project.

Come to think of it...mine are still in there.

What should I start next?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Curtains from a Duvet

The curtains in my family room are thick and heavy. Perfect for fall and winter. But its Spring now and I needed a quick and cheap makeover.

These curtains from Anthropology are light, feminine and airy. If I had my own little cottage with no men around, I'd hang these.

Oh, and if I was wealthy. But neither are true.

So, I found this Duvet cover at TJ Max for $49.99. Still a bit costly but I knew I could get 2 panels from it.

Here are my curtains before.

And after!



I used two white pillow cases and added to the bottom for added length and texture. I dig ruffles but my family room does not. So, I somewhat pleated them instead.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Landscapers for Hire

Kids love dirt. I'm pretty sure it's a fact.

I had no energy left for the front yard this weekend. Enter: children with too much energy.

Wait, is that a worm???? EEEWWWWWW

Say Cheese! "Wait mom, let me put a weed on the shovel."

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Tax Return 2010: New Patio

Our new home thankfully has a three-car garage. We've been using the 3rd bay as storage for our bubbly tub for almost a year now.

When we received our tax return, we did what every hard-working, red-blooded American did. We put it in savings. We spent every last penny. Not only did we build a massive concrete patio, we also got the hot tub out of the garage!

We had outdoor furniture everywhere: cramped onto our 10x10 concrete slab, in the grass, in the garden and even some in the garage. Now, everything has a home and Drew has his garage back.





And a few more afters:

Friday, April 23, 2010

Art from Books

One of the more frugal ways to showcase art in your home at a fraction of the cost is from books. Obviously, you won't have large poster sized art but you will receive multiple smaller pieces.

I adore old school letterpress prints. Hatch Show Print rocks my world. But their prints come with a price tag.

So I took the book and found various frames and started cutting.

This one is my favorite spread. It says "freaks" - and you'll notice my lovely assistant's foot.

I had a large space on the wall of my stairs that needed to be filled. So I filled it.

Note to self: buy new light for the stairs. Sheesh its dark.

I did have to spray paint one of my frames. Unfortunately, I only had gloss paint. I need to redo. However, if you know me, it will most likely stay just as it is above for many many months.

I'm sharing this post with: Finding Fabulous, Fingerprints on the Frige, Funky Junk Interiors

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Lamp Redo Number 2

3 free lamps. 2 down, 1 to go. Here is lamp #1, AKA Monkey Lamp, in case you forgot.

I did not name lamp number 2 - suggestions?

If you look closely, you can see the layer of dust. Upon washing it revealed a stunning beige with black speckles.

Primed and painted black with a new lampshade.

I do like.

I'm linking this post to: My Backyard Eden, Life in the Pitts

Monday, April 19, 2010

Sophie's Bed

My husband's aunt gave us this bed a few months ago. Gave, as in we did not pay her for it. Hand me down furniture (free) is my favorite kind.

I don't remember why I only took a picture of the back?

Maybe it was because of this logo. I tried to do some research on Garver Furniture Company but came up short. It appears this company was only around for a few years and then changed its name. With my luck, it's probably an uber expensive antique and I completely ruined its value by painting it.

I love these rosettes.

And I love black spray paint.

No really, it's a beautiful bed, I swear! There's just one small problem. Or large?

The size of the bed is an x-long twin - of course it is! :(

The picture stinks, the room stinks and last night, my baby girl slept on the mattress on the floor.

Update to come...

I prepared this project for Decorating Obsessed's Paint Challenge.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Lamp Redo Number 1

We had a garage sale last weekend and my mother in law brought over 3 lamps along with some other stuff to sell. They weren't easy on the eyes and had their fair share of dust. I offered her cash but she resisted and gave them to me - for free! Can't beat that deal.

We'll start with the lamp I cleverly named, "The Monkey Lamp".

You know you love him.

I primed and painted him Ivy Leaf green and expected to rub some dark stain on top. But I didn't need to! Gotta love that.

Is it just me, or did his smile get bigger? You'd be smiling too if you were holding a pineapple.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

At West End

So yesterday I received a mini-catalog in the mail. I don't know about you but as much as I enjoy shopping online, I get a little giddy when catalogs arrive in my mailbox. There's something tangible and invigorating when thumbing through the pages of Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware or even Williams-Sonoma. They take me to fantasy land.

Ever heard of At West End? Well, I hadn't. So I wonder how they got my name and address? It was specifically addressed to "Jenn (my last name which shall remain anonymous)" - Most mail I receive comes to "Jennifer (my last name)". So when I see "Jenn" - It feels like they know me.

And I have decided that I am just fine with At West End being personable.

Take the object below for example. I don't smoke, but a fine cigar right now sounds quite lovely. Yes, please.

I've always loved frogs, not the real ones. And I do love wine, the real kind - This makes me heart smile.

Now this is a fun concept. Not sure I'd purchase real artichokes but it sure is pretty. Maybe some oranges or grapefruits. Or what about stryrofoam balls covered in twine or moss?

And who could resist these cute widdle birdies?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Transformer Shirt for a Girl

I'm too cheap to buy my girl new she wear's Mason's old clothes.

Cute shirt right? I think this was actually an undershirt.

But now it's sweeter. Well, almost. Pictures weren't on the top of her priority list.
Space Chimps as the backdrop.

Fabric Tie.

Elastic on the inside.

Spiderman is next.

I'm sharing this post with: Sew Much Ado, 733, Delicious Ambiguity, My Backyard Eden

Sunday, April 11, 2010

I'm a Gardener?

Maybe "Gardener" is too ambitious. How about seed sprouter? But that's the first step. And I have seeds that have sprouted! And it only took a week.

Hopefully in the next 45-60 days, I will have pictures of Okra and Carrots to share.
Fingers crossed!