Tag: Paint

Budget-Friendly DIY Monster Book of Monsters from Harry Potter

My oldest daughter and I were super excited to do a Harry Potter themed birthday party for her 11th birthday. As I started on the plans, I knew I wanted a Monster Book of Monsters to be apart of it. From there, it was only a matter of finding the supplies and finding time.

“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” Albus

Materials:

  • Wooden Box
  • Fur
  • Eye Balls
  • Clay
  • Paint and Brushes
  • Craft Glue
  • Hot glue and glue gun
  • Scissors
  • Paper and Printer
  • Mod Podge

Ready, Set, Go

I found a perfect wooden flip lid box at Michaels. I’m not sure if they still have this one, so here’s a different wooden book box that is currently available there.

monster book

I used light brown, red, and white clay for the fangs, teeth, tongue, and gums. First, the teeth were constructed into points. After flattening the red into a strip, I positioned the teeth to lie on the red strip. I layered the back with another red strip before pushing the red down around the teeth to show the ‘root’. The only thing you need to be careful of is not touching the white after touching the red. The picture shows that I did a bit of that. The fangs were super easy. Roll them to be smaller on one end and then curve them and presto!

Monster Book teeth

After baking the clay parts, it’s time to kick them up a notch with some paint to add dimension. I painted a bit of dark red and black onto the gums and tongue. Yellowish-brown served to give the teeth a gnarled look. Next, I painted the box with tan and dark brown to give it the look of pages as well as I could. Given that much of it is covered, I didn’t feel like I needed to give it much attention.

monster book pages

Monster Book Fur Cover

For the cover, I used two fur pieces I happened to find on clearance at Michaels. Crafting doesn’t get much easier than this step. Here it comes; glue the fur to the wood. Then….wait for it to dry. After that, I trimmed the length of the fur, because it was definitely too much. I also cut the perimeter into points and extra shagginess. 

 Those Eyes are Looking at You

Now onto the eyes. I also got the eyeballs at Michaels, but you’re not likely to find them in a store if it’s not around Halloween. I honestly wasn’t sure what to do with creating the eye mount. I thought about using oven-bake clay but was afraid it would melt the eyes. I went with a mountain of hot glue instead. After I piled it up, I painted it brown. I didn’t have enough red eyes, so I also painted the irises red. 

Monster book eyes

The book label was created in Microsoft Word and printed on computer paper. I trimmed the fur shorter in the spots where I was going to put the label before gluing the labels down. I put Mod Podge on the label to stiffen the paper. 

From there, it was just a matter of gluing on the fangs, teeth and tongue. I used hot glue initially, which worked just fine. Over time, the fangs have gotten knocked off a few times, so I’ve recently used super glue to get them to hold. As my girls would say, this DIY Monster Book of Monsters is easy peezy lemon squeezy. 

Spot light monster book of Monsters
Monster Book and wands
Finished Monster Book

If you’re looking for other Harry Potter crafts, try some apothecary bottles for Potions class.

Spooky Tree Test Tube Holder for a Unique Apothecary

Troll boogers! Snail Slime! Dragon’s Blood! These are three of the Halloween test tubes I’ve for years as part of my Halloween Apothecary. They have been without a stand for years. This month I decided I was going to finally make a science-esk one out of wood. I was still hesitant because it felt too mundane. In the age of Pinterest, it feels pretty darn difficult to come up with something different. Sometimes, I feel stunted by thinking I can’t come up with anything unique. After some contemplation during a drive, I decided to make a spooky tree with curved limbs. Here’s the quick and easy rundown on this spooky tree test tube holder for any are looking to stray from the normal.

Materials: 

  • Wire
  • Wire Cutters
  • Clay
  • Paint
  • Airbrush (if you’ve got it)

For a reason I can’t remember, I’ve had two spools of this wire for years. I’ve used it for several random occasions on other craft ideas. It’s really what inspired me to craft this tree and provide stability. 

All my three daughters all being in fall sports. Sometimes, crafting boils down to finding a way to build in time around events on our schedule. My eldest had a fastpitch doubleheader an hour away from home. I took along my materials to get started on this quick Halloween decor. While the team warmed up for an hour, I worked on my tree in the parking lot.


Building the Base

 

First, I cut 6 wires of similar lengths. Then, I twisted two wires together to start forming the trunk. I added one each additional wire by twisting it around the base and leaving the ‘root’ for the stand and free limbs at the top. I finished it off by twisting two additional wires around the trunk to form curved limbs the would serve to hold the test tubes. Literally, a 10-minute step.

 

Clay for the Tree Test Tube Holder

I had already been making air-dry clay for another project, so I could easily use it for this project. I found this easy DIY air dry recipe from Kitchen Table Classroom to make porcelain clay. It was simple to make from ingredients in the kitchen but admittedly was not as good for what I needed the clay to do. I only used it for the base. I tried another porcelain clay recipe from Natural Earth Paint using only three cheap ingredients; cornstarch, baking soda, and water. This clay was a bit better but still quite loose/limp. 

 

I pressed the clay around all the metal limbs as best I could, adding free-standing clay limbs as I went. Molding the clay for this was unfortunately an example of one of those times when crafting can cause me more stress than alleviating it. I’ll just leave it at being highly perturbed by the difficulties of trying to get the limp clay to stay put. If I were to do it again, I would buy polymer clay from Michaels.  After letting it dry for a day, I started airbrushing.

Airbrushing Zen

 

 

While I completed the many layers of airbrushing in shades of brown, I was mentally focused on the stress I had been feeling around politics and the impending elections. I felt consumed by the emotions generated by the garbage being shared by people I was connected with on Facebook, some of them being relatives. As I slowly watched the paint spray out of the airbrush, I was contemplating how I could make positive steps to shifting others’ views in a positive way. We’ve been doing a fair bit of personal bias assessment as work, so it’s been fully present in my mind to assess if I’m being objective in my views. In fully trying to understand my own thoughts and feelings and contemplate the perspective of others, I couldn’t come to grips with the lies and delusions others allow themselves to believe.

 

Public service announcement on Political Stress

 

To sum it all up, I was feeling oppressive levels of stress around these unending thoughts. After doing a quick Google, I found quite a lot of references to political/election stress syndrome. Even thinking about it now makes my chest tighten. I quite liked this description I found.

Under stress, the Toddler brain (emotional, all-or-nothing, “Mine! No!”) hijacks the Adult brain, impairing its ability to take other perspectives, weigh evidence, see nuance, plan for the future, and create value and meaning. The Toddler brain is highly susceptible to emotional contagion; toddlers take on whatever negative emotions are around them, as any parent who has been tense or irritable near one can attest…

Part of my election stress disorder may be due to the fact that I’m vastly overworked. … Political campaigns set the web of emotion ablaze with negativity.

Psychology Today

If this resonates with you, there are a variety of things to try to combat the feelings. I’ve chosen to focus on the things I can control, to find my Zen in crafting, and to stay away from the offending sources. Although, over the last week I’ve also been immersed in a sea of stressful work deadlines, the political stress remains at bay. 

Back to this Test Tube Holder

I finished it off with a dark brown touch up around bends in the limbs and the roots. I put it with the rest of my Halloween apothecary set up and called it a day. If you are looking for another easy craft to take your mind to another level, try out these apothecary bottles! Happy haunting to you and yours!

How to Make the Best Halloween Apothecary Jars

A few years ago, I couldn’t wait to start a collection of Halloween apothecary jars to add to my holiday decor. I started off with collecting regular food jars and random Goodwill finds to change into new and creepy decor. It doesn’t take much more than some simple materials to really get started.

Halloween Apothecary Jar Ideas

Materials:

  • Coffee Filters
  • Printer and Printer Paper
  • Clay
  • String
  • Paint
  • Mod Podge
  • Glue gun and Glue sticks
  • Food items: egg shells, Cantaloupe rind
  • Store bought creepy crawlers
  • Corks
  • Sandpaper
  • Saw

For this Ear of Troll I used the rind of some eaten cantaloupe. I gave it a week to dry out in the garage before closing it into the jar. I used a blank label in Word to type in the name. Mod podge was my go-to glue for all of these labels to get them to stick and to give it a coating for longevity. For this jar, in particular, used coffee filters served as the lid covering with string and craft glue decorating the jar curve.

Free label sites I used:

Spooky Apothecary Labels from Brooklyn Limestone

Free Halloween Bottle Labels from Holidappy 

Apothecary jar Labels from Halloween Forum

Rattle Snake Eggs

Similar techniques were used for these Rattle Snake Eggs Halloween Apothecary jar. The eggs were from a friend with chickens laying eggs in a variety of shades. Using a needle, I poked holes in both ends with one end being slightly larger to allow for the egg innards to be expelled. It’s also a lot easier to break up the yolk using the needle poked repeatedly through the holes. Once all that was done successfully without breaking the egg, I blew into the smaller hole to force the contents out the larger hole. Then I was ready to eat some scrambled eggs! I also gave the eggs a day to dry out a little more before coating them in Mod Podge.

 

Jellyfish Stingers

The same techniques are applied here for the outside. For the jellyfish stingers, I used hot glue on a baking pan. When it was cool, I was able to peel it off and stick it in the jar. 

Store bought creepy crawlers are center stage in this jars: Worms, mice and cockroaches anyone?

 

Clay Creations

 

Next up, for these three Halloween Apothecary jars, I used baking clay for the unicorn horn and bat wins and model magic for the fingers. I quite enjoy crafting clay creations. For the horn, I first rolled two equal ropes of clay. Then I twisted them together and rolled them on the counter to get a narrower pointed end. Presto! A lovely unicorn horn. I didn’t finish it off with glitter but it could definitely be a nice add.

 

 

Model magic is really easy to shape but doesn’t hold fine details like a real clay does. I used press on nails to give the real nail effect here. These lady fingers were complete with some painted on blood. You could really go grotesque with this if you want!

Pill Bottle Makeovers

 

These 5 bottles were all crafted from empty pill bottles. I used a saw to cut the tops off before sanding the smooth surface. The next step was to draw the label and image with hot glue. I used matte/satin paint in grays, browns, and black to paint all the bottles. Then, I glued on labels and string. 

 

Two Minute Snake Skin

For this lovely Halloween Apothecary jar of Snake Skin, I painted the jar with a few different colors of cheap acrylic paint that matched with the coloring of the label. (The color of the label being the result of a malfunctioning printer. The Lord knows the amount of angst that printer caused me at the end of its life.)   Generally for painting all the lids, I sanded them first to ensure the paint would adhere.

The actual innards of the jar were a combination of plastic wrap and hot glue. I cut a rectangle of the plastic wrap and laid it over the foil to protect the counters. From there, I glued a snake skin-esk pattern onto the plastic wrap. I noticed that as the glue got hotter, the plastic wrap shrunk more, which I was not so much a fan of seeing happen. If I were to do this again, I would do a portion, then unplug the glue gun for a 15 second cooling. Then repeat until finished. 

I got the free label for this jar from: 

Halloween Apothecary with 9 FREE potion bottle labels

 

 

I hope you gathered some of your favorite ideas for crafting some of your very own Halloween Apothecary Jars. If you’re looking more spooky Halloween decor, check out my Spooky Halloween Book Covers.

20 Brilliant Ideas for Decorating with Wooden Crates

Wooden Crates have been riding the decor trend for a few years now. I fell in love with them years ago after moving into my new house and looking for ideas to decorate the new space. The wooden crates stood out as an affordable and interesting way to get creative with home decor. After running through a good many pins over time, I’ve collected those which seem to be more unique and a few of the ones I’ve done myself. If you’re a DIYer like me, you like to try to do everything yourself and need some inspiration to get your own creative juices flowing. I hope this list helps with generating some of your own home decor ideas!

1. Hanging Closet Storage

This hanging closet storage by Table and Hearth has a such a cute look to it.

What a cool way to use vertical space! Hanging closet storage crates

2. Shelving

I’ve seen quite a lot of crates used for shelves, but this one adds a unique twist with the board used for anchoring. Check it out at Family Handyman.

easy wooden crate shelf project

3. Modular Shelving Unit

It might be the pretty yarn display that pulled me in, but I love this shelving unit concept by Make & Do Crew. Look it up here DIY Yarn Storage Shelves Using Wooden Crates – Video Tutorial

This yarn storage changed my life! Use wooden crates to build an easy shelf to organize your yarn, craft room or books. Perfect for knitters, crocheters and weavers!

4. Sliding Drawer Crate Cabinet

Try your hand at adding some hardware with this crate cabinet with sliding drawers by Virginia Sweet Pea.

DIY Crate Storage Cabinet


5. Locker Cubbies

Jaime Costiglio’s locker cubbies are a great combination of simplicity and creativity to create a unique wooden crate structure. 


6. DIY Crate Lockers

This next idea is so fun! A simple addition of hinges and doors and it’s a whole new look. Get the info from Little House of Four on these DIY Crate Lockers.

How to build DIY lockers


7. Coffee Table

There are quite a few crate coffee table ideas out there. This one stood out to me as being more creative in addition to being rustically appealing. Get the info at Pallets: Pallet Furniture Ideas. 

pallet and crate coffee table


8. Shutter and Crate Sofa Table

Follow Bless this nest‘s lead and throw in a long shutter with the wooden crates for this oh so cute sofa table.


9. Cushioned Stools

When I saw this awesome simple yet adorable idea, I was bummed I hadn’t ever considered it before. An easy storage seating idea for your little ones. Get the details at The Biggest Much.


10. Dog Bowl Stand

This isn’t your typical buy a crate and rework it project but has all the appeal of the crate look. If your looking for a DIY project for your pooch, check it out at Ana White.


11. Train Planter

11. There are quite a few planter crate ideas out there. I choose this one for its creative concept. Definitely not something everyone has room or desire to do, but it’s certainly appealing to see. Head over to DIY Wood Crate Train Planter Tutorial for the details.

DIY Wood Crate Train Planter Tutorial

12. Dog Bed

The little sleeping pomeranian kind of steals the show in this picture. If you’re able to look beyond that cuteness you’ll definitely appreciate the simple and appealing dog bed concept crafted from a store-bought wooden crate. If you want the details, check it out here Little Things.

DIY crate dog bed

13. Bed Platform

I’ve been looking at ideas for bed frames for my daughter and came across this interesting crate bed platform by Moved to Create. 

M2CBedDone


14. Desk

With virtual school in full swing, you can’t go wrong throwing together a desk like this one. Take a better look here Apple Crate Desk.

Apple Crate Desk


15. Closet Shelves

I had overbought crates when I was doing some building, so I decided to repurpose them in a simple fashion in our small pantry closet. I just stacked them up and they were ready for use. 


16. Square Coffee Table

When I was trying to figure out what to do for a coffee table in our new living room, I scoured Pinterest for ideas. I loved the look of this coffee table and went about making it. I also did a matching side table. 


17. Stuffed Animal Storage

The coffee table ended up being much too small for the space. I opted to disassemble it to remake it into a much needed stuffed animal storage shelving system. These days it doesn’t house so many stuffed animals. Check it out in the new teen space.


18. Laundry Room Storage

I’m looking to spruce up my small laundry room. I saw this cute idea on the Home Depot blog for laundry storage space. As a side note, I might go ahead and decorate my washer and dryer with some electrical tape to get this appealing look.

Easy and Inexpensive Laundry Room Makeover

19. Fruit Crate

If your like me and looking to wanting to switch out your fruit bowl, go no further. The Wood Grain Cottage can show you how to craft your own fruit crate.

DIY Stackable Fruit Crates I The Wood Grain Cottage

20. Nightstand

Check out Plaid for this simple nightstand with a pop of color and pattern.

Kid's Nightstand

I hope you found some ideas to fit some of your home decor needs. Thanks for checking out the list!

11 Sensational Repurposed Old Windows

Ladies craft night anyone?! Awhile back, I was really into hosting crafting nights. I’d already done some painting parties, so I decided to shift gears into a window upcycling party. I found a stock of old windows for a $20 steal and sent out the invite. The windows were very dirty and very chippy, requiring a good bit of elbow grease. I did all the cleanup before to make it easy. For the event, the guests were informed that I would be providing the paint and paintbrushes but if they wanted anything special, they would have to bring it for themselves. With that, we were ready to relieve our stress by letting our creativity shine through some repurposed old windows.

That party was one of the motivations for putting this list together for you all. Since that party, I’ve had the leftover windows sitting in wait in my garage. I’ve included those generally quick and easy projects below.

11 ideas to give a whirl for repurposed old windows:

1. Bakery Stand Window:

This bakery stand was one of my more recent projects. Click on the pic to see the whole project. My girls were in love with the end results.

 

2. Shabby Chic Display (from my Paint party)

“Every Dream begins with a Wish”

 

3. Shelf and Picture Holder 

My 6-year-old was very excited about getting a desk in her room for Christmas. When I asked if she wanted a window shelf above it, she was all about it. She picked the color and I added shelf brackets. The little ballerinas were a cheap find from Michaels to fit with her ballerina themed room. It was such an easy project.

4. Mantle Decor from Walnut and Vine

5. Mirrored Window by Finding Home Farms

Bathroom Decorating Ideas, Towel Rack and Shelf

This is a tutorial on a footboard towel rack. I love every bit of the total look from antique clocks to pink bottles. Super Cute.

6.  Altered Window Frame by Little Birdie Secrets 

7. Command Center by Dwelling in Happiness

SONY DSC

8. Window Box Cabinet by My Repurposed Life

how to make a repurposed window cabinet MyRepurposedLife

9. Window Planter by Prodigal Pieces

Upcycled Window Planter for Backyard Fence Decor by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #diy #home #homedecor #garden

10. DIY Mini Greenhouse by HgTV

I’m completely smitten with this adorable upcycle. 

Upcycled Window Greenhouse

The Finale

11. Bathroom Storage Window and Shutters

Last but not least. This was my latest project to spruce up my girls’ sad-looking bathroom. The window started out as a single pane old window without the crossbars. After an accidental slip causing the pane to break, I decided to go with a Plan B. Plan B included constructing my own crossbars with a router and making pull out metal mesh earring holders. I include a tutorial on constructing those on one of my picture frame posts.  It was definitely a win-win situation; I got a larger window and a set of shutters out of my garage stockpile and created a quick organizer for all the bows, headbands,  earrings, and misc items. My girls thought it was a hit!

  

Pop-out Earring Holders: 

Shutter Headband Holder:

To say it simply, my 6-year-old has A LOT of headbands. The shutter pull bar was a perfect way to hold them in place.

Towel Hooks:

The builders of our new home put one long bar towel holder up in this bathroom, which sufficed for the last 5 years. I was tired of not having a place to hang multiple towels separately, so I’m really happy about the added options the double hooks provide.

The very sad looking before photo: a ribbon frame bow holder and an owl earring holder.

End of the countdown on 11 sensational ways to repurpose your old windows

I hope you enjoyed the ideas and that’s it inspired you to create some of your own!

Stunning Picture Frame Upgrade Ideas for Your Home

As I was rooting through some of the remaining boxes of stuff from our old house, I came across a few items that inspired me to do a little crafting. I found childhood picture frames in need of a facelift to get with the times and with my current decor. It was a very simple project aside from deciding what I was going to do and it’s definitely a project anyone could handle. I hope my picture frame makeovers inspire you to have a little fun with some of your own frames and you can decide on a direction to take! From drab to fab frames in no time flat.

My supplies included:

  • Craft Paint and/or Spray paint
  • Paintbrushes (a wider one for the frame and a thin one for details)
  • Sandpaper (depending on the look you are going for)
  • Scrapbook paper
  • Glue or double-sided tape
  • Razor or scissors or paper cutter
  • That’s it!
picture frame before
The Before: classic 80’s/90’s gold opening border mat and a stained oak frame.

To keep the glass clean of paint, you should definitely start off by taking the glass out and painting everything separately. I painted the frame with inexpensive craft paint from Michaels. There’s a Michaels 1.3 miles away from me, so I tend to get everything I need there.

picture frame paint

I painted a full coat, so I couldn’t see any of the wood underneath. Then since I was going for a shabby chic look, I took a piece of sandpaper and lightly rubbed randomly around some edges.

I took the mat out to paint it with cheap chalkboard paint from Michaels. It didn’t seem necessary to better paint since it wasn’t going to be used for writing. I used wax paper to paint on to save my kitchen counters.

Accents make the mat

After the paint dried, I used a thin brush to paint some white accents around the photo openings. Feel free to let your creativity come out here! When everything was dry, I put it all back together so it was ready for some pictures of loved ones. It doesn’t get much easier than that.

A close up of some of the sanded parts.

picture frame complete
A refinished frame in half an hour (or so)

Frame 2

Before

For my second frame, I took the same concept with the frame. I painted it with a coat of paint and sanded it in a few areas. Instead of painting the mat, I tore vintage 12 x 12 scrapbook paper into pieces and glued the pieces onto the mat. I didn’t worry about cutting the paper around the ovals while gluing. After the glue was dry, I flipped it over so the back was faceup. I used a razor to cut the paper overhang around the oval and voila, another finished frame refresh.

After (aka Drab to Fab Frame )

The last frame I redid was a metal gold frame. I took the glass out of each frame and sprayed a few layers of rose spray paint. For those who haven’t had much experience with a spray can, it’s best to do multiple thin layers rather than soaking it with a thick layer that is likely to drip.

Picture Frame 3

I had printed 4×6 photos which ended up being too small for the openings. Probably a good idea to measure before you print, but as it turns out, I liked the end look better than if the picture filled the frame. I decided to make due by taping the photos to a white cardstock paper and adding a border from scrapbook paper.

I used my paper cutter to ensure I cut straight lines. There’s a range of paper cutters you can get. Mine, in particular, was pretty inexpensive and is two-sided for different types of blades. If you should not happen to have a paper cutter, a ruler to draw a straight line and scissors will do just fine.

I used the sliding blade to cut the scrapbook paper for the border.

I used double-sided tape to adhere the photo and paper to the white back paper.

The double-sided tape dispenser is shown here. I, unfortunately, found it difficult to use.

I happened upon some paper flowers at, you guessed it, Michaels, that felt like the perfect touch to add to this frameset.

Drab to fab picture frame

Final Product with my three girls to showcase it! I did a quick photoshoot in my bedroom with the girls to get this together.

Frame 4

These two oval frames came from my grandmother’s basement unused for years. It took me a bit to decide what to do with them. I ended up being inspired by some shabby chic hooks from Michaels. White spray paint, some 1/4″ board wood cut to size and scrapbooked paper gave the finished look.

That’s a wrap on these quick and easy revamps to take them from drab to fab frames. If you are anything like me, you likely already have all the materials. While you’re watching your favorite show tonight, go ahead and let your creativity out.

And if you’re looking for more ideas on how to use those frames, check out Framed Earring Holder

Easy Storage Bench Refinish from Drab to Fabulously Feathered

 

Sometimes when we grow tired of furniture, we decide to replace it with something new. Why not save the money by giving the piece a new look? For this storage bench, it wasn’t at all that I’d rather buy a new one, it was more, “I’m going to give it a more sophisticated look so my husband accepts it being in the hallway” scenario. My daughter no longer wanted it in her small room, so I decided the bench and the toys it stored might be a fit for the empty space in our upper landing. And thus starts the story of this storage bench refinish. 

Bench Refinish First Steps

In all of my other refinishing posts thus far (Stenciled Coffee Table and Revamping a Bookcase) I’ve made it a point to reinforce sanding the surface before painting. I’ve also noted it’s not on my list of favorite things to do. With that being that case, I opted to grab this deglosser off the shelf during a shopping trip at Lowe’s. I figured if it saved me 30 minutes of sanding, it was worth the $8.

Basic instructions include putting the deglosser on a clean cloth and rubbing in a circular motion over all glossy surfaces. If you like easy, this is it. This bench definitely had a glossy surface despite all the years of use, which would definitely have been a paint chipping risk if I didn’t do something to it. I liked that using the deglosser didn’t involve full paint removal or scraping. Definitely a thumbs down if trying to work in an arm workout (those who sand know what I mean) but a thumbs up for the mental state. Yet to tell is how effective it will be for keeping the paint in place.

Refinishing Paint Choice of the Day

In a few of my other refinishing projects, I’ve noted my choice for paints that fit a tight budget. This time, with some birthday money burning a hole in my pocket, I opted to get one of my favorite paints: Fusion Mineral Paint. Since all the stores within acceptable driving distance had closed, I decided to place an order with Vintique Finishes. I picked out two of the available colors and a new brush (brushes sadly don’t tend to last long with me) and was giddy with anticipation for the package arrival. 

You can really see how thick the paint is here. I did two coats which is recommended for durability.

Gold had to go, so a few sprays of spray paint gave them a new look.

Quick Shopping Trip

I don’t normally shop for fabric online because it’s hard to get a feel for scale. Not knowing what I wanted to get for the bench pad, I decided to do it this time as it seemed much easier to look at the little squares of options. This ended up being a wise choice. I found this feathered home decor fabric at Joann’s that ended up matching perfectly with the Sacred Sage fusion paint. After placing my order, I picked it up the next day before swinging by Hobby Lobby on a stencil search. I found two options as seen below. One was a silkscreen stencil, which I hadn’t tried before.

Sewing Time

I admittedly wing my sewing projects since I’m not an expert sewer. Contemplation is the name of the game. I tend contemplate the best method to go at it for a bit and then push myself to start. Doing a box cut would be easier to do to have all the seams on the corner, but I just didn’t feel like doing all that cutting and sewing if I could achieve it by keeping the material completely intact. Here’s a video by Peg Baker on how to achieve the box cut pattern. I bought a 22-inch invisible zipper (that’s the longest they had in stock) and went to work. Given that the zipper wouldn’t haven’t been long enough for the back, I decided to put it on the end. This was a bit trickier than if I’d have gone with the long back seam.

It’s always important to pin the zipper securely in place.
My Greater Swiss Mountain dog, Skye, was really enjoying the soft cushion.

Bench Refinish Stencil Mania

Silk Screen Stencils

Like I said, I hadn’t used silkscreen stencils. I wasn’t even sure what the difference would be between them and traditional stencils. After seeing what made them unique, I’m in love.

The magic of this is their sticker-like quality. Stick them in place and use a fair amount of paint applied with a sponge brush. No tap tap tapping needed here. I loved that fact alone.



My daughters watched intently while I worked on my project. All the while telling me I use stencils for too many things. It’s not far from the truth. I have come to use stencils in many of my projects as a preferred way to add a unique flair. I suppose I’ll refrain from stencils on my next refinish to avoid becoming a one-trick pony. Anyway, I initially did 5 feathers.  After sleeping on thinking it was a bit blah, I decided to go for a feather frenzy. I was glad I did by the end.

Final touch

I had thought I was finished but just wasn’t quite as happy with the transformation. The bottom portion was missing something but I was afraid of adding another explosion of feathers there. I opted to give it a faux cut out look by painting rectangles.

Out came the squares, painters tape, and measuring tape. I used the width of the small square for tracing to make my life easy. I did a bit of math to ensure the rectangles would be spaced equally apart and from the outside edge. Then I used some Lamp White fusion paint I had leftover from another project. After peeling off the paint, I called it a complete.

The Before and After

What do you think? My youngest preferred the white and was a bit upset by the change. My 10-year-old on the other hand felt it was an awesome transformation. To each her own I suppose when it comes to refinishing. I hope you enjoyed this storage bench refinish and it gave you some ideas for your own projects. If you’re looking for more, take a look at Furniture Refinishing

Super Simple Succulent Decor Ideas for a Struggling Plant Mom

You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy succulents! And that is pretty much the same thing.

-Unknown

This quote pretty accurately describes my feelings about succulents and other plants. In doing some research, I found this article on the 11 Ways Plants Enhance Your Mental and Emotional Health from Psychology Today. Take a look at #7; Higher levels of creativity! Who doesn’t love succulents and cacti? This article on the Top 8 House Plants to Help with Mental Health explains why those plants in particular help with your mental health. During these uncertain times, it’s definitely necessary to do what you can to keep stress and anxiety at bay. With that being said, who’s ready to put together some succulent decor?!

Time to Run through Three Ideas

Simplicity at it’s Best

Cacti Succulent Decor

This simple set up comes by the way of Lowe’s gardening center, Michaels’ rocks, pots from a failed potting present and Target. The rocks were my attempt at creating a more prosperous environment for hen and chicks after many deaths. It sadly failed just like those before it. At some point, I will figure out how to keep them alive, but for now, I decided I’d be best to stick with simpler cacti for a bit. This bluish-gray platter was on clearance at Target and a perfect fit for these pots. So far, I’ve been able to keep these cacti alive by spritzing them with water I spray these cacti with a spray bottle once a week. The flowers have stuck around for months, so I’m at last doing something right. 

Long Lasting Succulent Decor

When my daughter said she wanted to have succulent decor in her ‘new’ room, I pushed for the fake variety for her. I initially found some individual stems at Big Lots months before, but we needed more than what I’d gotten. We went on a little mother-daughter shopping trip to Michaels. My oldest is talented in a great many ways but doesn’t typically go the crafting route with me as my other two girls do. It was a nice time to get away and pick out some items for her to put together. She picked out the extra succulents, the glass container, and the sand color. 

All that was needed was to throw the sand into the glass and arrange the succulents as she liked. I enjoy the look of this angled bowl combined with the varying heights of the succulents. In order to achieve that, we had to cut the thick stems with wire cutters to make it all work together. You can see it in her renewed room here…

Easy Square Plant Hanger

A little woodworking never hurt anybody…. Just kidding, it definitely could if you’re not careful. This square hanger is super simple and involves a wee bit of woodworking.

Materials:

  • 1″ x 3″ x 6″ pine
  • Wood Glue
  • Paint or stain
  • Hook
  • Small planter hanger
  • A Plant
  • Nail Gun
  • Saw (I used this arm saw, but any variety of saws could cut the 4 pieces of wood.)

There are only a few steps for this project.

#1 Cut the wood to size. Two 10 inch long pieces and two 8 1/2 inch pieces.

#2 Put wood glue on the ends of the top and bottom pieces.

#3 Use a nail gun to nail the top and bottom in place.

#4 Stain/paint it

15 minutes and you could be finished with all four steps

I found this wood tint and plant holder (seen below) at an A.C. Moore going out of business sale. Those items inspired me to make this rustic wood holder. I hadn’t used ‘wood tint’ before this, so figured I’d give it a go. Even after using it, I’m wasn’t quite sure what the difference was between it and stain, because they seemed mostly the same to me. Given that, I did a quick internet search. I found a post from Repurpose and Upcycle that provides an awesome explanation of the two and when to use one over the other. The wood tint seemed to provide good initial coverage based on this first experience. It also dried quickly, which keeps for the quick and easy strategy here.

I found these river rocks at Lowe’s as well. Simple is the name of the game. Put the plant in and spoon the rocks in around it. Then, it’s ready to put the hook into the ceiling of the square. It’s best to pre-drill a hole for the hook but it can also just be screwed in without it. The rope that came with the glass globe was too long, so I used some twine I had on hand. I also preferred the look of the twine, so it was a win-win.

Final Succulent Decor

And that’s it! I hope you enjoyed the simplicity of these ideas. Two of them can be found in my daughter’s newly made-over bedroom. To read more, click here…

Don’t forget that plants help with stress reduction, so go ahead and place them in areas where you tend to feel a little more stressed. I guess that’s why I love keeping them in my office.

Teen Bedroom Design with Simple Painted Focal Wall and Succulents

Right after my 12-year old’s birthday, she started on about re-doing her owl themed bedroom. It was painted light blue and had owl paintings and owl curtains. After 4 years, she had finally outgrown it. I still felt as though I’d only just finished decorating our ‘new’ house. Her room was one of the first I tackled after the builders fixed the nail pops a year after we moved into the brand new house. It was definitely time for an update for her. If you’re looking for some ideas for your own preteen or teen, you’d better follow along!

Before

For the previous owl theme, I had painted three pictures for her. She had porcelain dolls from my childhood collection on the wall shelves and a wire cage hanging in the corner with a stuffed owl. This child’s theme was no longer suitable for an almost teen.

Teen Bedroom Must Haves

So when my oldest said she wanted to update her room, I couldn’t blame her. It’d really been just about the same as the pictures above for the last 4 years. For her new room, she said she wanted it to be gray and white, to have succulents and LED lights. She wanted simplicity. It was right up my alley since gray was in other parts of the house and I’m definitely a succulent lover. It’s really too bad that I’m also a succulent killer. Anyway…

I saw photos of this main geometric wall feature and really liked it. My preteen was on board with it, so she chose her colors with some guidance. We went with three Sherwin Williams colors:

Feather bedspread from the previous theme.

We used flat paint because that’s all that was available in the quart sizes of super paint. I don’t tend to like doing flat paint because it’s harder to clean. I like eggshell or satin for bedrooms. That being said, I will definitely give it to this flat paint for how smooth and even it goes on the wall. That is the benefit of flat paint. For this wall feature, I used painters tape to create the sections. You can really put them wherever you want. I painted the pink section first. Then while it was drying, I started on the other walls. I moved the tape from the outside of the pink area to the inside of the pink area to start on the dark gray section. It took me about half a day to paint her entire room with two coats.

Teen’s Ultimate Must Have

Her ‘must-have’ was a string of LED lights. She couldn’t wait for me to put them up on the wall with her and ended up putting them up by herself. Unfortunately, it ended up being slightly crooked and wobbly because of it. She loves them regardless and tends to use those LED lights rather than her ceiling light. If you’re looking for a sure-fire win with your teen, I’d say this is it.

Curtains for the Teen Bedroom

I’m generally floored with how expensive curtains can be, so I tend to do quite a bit of looking before buying. We looked at Target, HomeGoods, Walmart, and Boscov’s (all local options) for something to match that wouldn’t break my wallet right after all the Christmas purchases. We came up empty. I ended up being at Big Lots on 20% off day and found thick white curtains that would match the room and weren’t so sheer people on the street below would be able to see through. It was a huge win in my book. I like the large grommet look as well.

Other Small Teen Additions

She moved her earrings from her Hello Kitty holder to my DIY framed earring holder. Be sure to check out my easy tutorial!

She hung her Fuji Instant photos on a string of clip lights. Then I re-positioned her previous wall decor around it. All hung courtesy of Command Hooks.

She emptied a large bookcase filled with books in order to free up this space. I questioned where she would put everything, but she made it happen. It was a blond composite bookcase as tall as the windows that we’d gotten from my sister. The shelves were sagging a bit from the weight of years of books. I ended up cutting in half to make a lemonade and bakery stand for my two other daughters. It was a win for them all.
All those books came to fill the shelves of this inset bookcase I did for her. I’d wanted to do this for 5 years and finally made it a priority. We were both over the moon with the result.

Desk Update

We used the leftover Rosy outlook and Dustblu to paint her purple desk. My preteen used the roller for the top of the desk because it was faster. This sadly ended up being a mistake because it now has a bumpy surface. You can see my gray and white striped hallway through the doorway, click the link for my run through on how to get the look.
“Yuck!” is how I feel about this finish. She says she doesn’t care, but she has to put a hard surface under her paper to be able to write neatly. I’m pretty sure I will sand it down at some point and fix the issue.
She (and I) would love to paint these dressers white or get a different set. They were mine as a kid and still have a pristine finish. I love a good refinish project as you can probably tell from this blog.
Every teen needs a mirror to check out their outfit. This is her Command hooks closet door. Truly, this post could be sponsored by Command hooks with how much I love them. The mirror is held up by them, the purses and hats are hanging on the command hooks, the light strings are hung with the special light ones. We painted the trim of this cheap mirror with acrylic paint.

Succulents

My daughter is a girl after my own heart. I love succulents and buying them. Most often, I seem to be throwing my money away because I couldn’t keep a hen and chick succulent alive to save my life. So for this pretty set up, we went fake. 

A another hint of succulents from Michaels when they were on sale. This octagon shelf was a mommy daughter project. I really liked how it all came together.

Completed Teen Bedroom Makeover

So that rounds out what we did to bring her kid’s room up to teen room standards. Even as I write that, I’m stunned that I’m old enough to be a mom to an almost teen. She’s still pestering for a full-size bed and new dressers and I’m still generating ideas on how to make the bed. My parents made several unique beds for us, so I know I could do it. I’ll have to make it an incentive to get her to control her teenage attitude. Ha. I don’t know that even that would work.

The new bed set that is big enough for a future full size bed.

And that’s all she wrote…literally….I’m done. I hope you got some ideas out of it for your own teen’s room! 

Antique Hutch Refinish For an Outstanding Shabby Chic Focal Point

In a random search of the Facebook marketplace, I found this antique kitchen piece for less than $50. I LOVED IT! I find it truly exciting to find these kinds of things, even when I don’t need anything for my own house. Have you found any antique steals yourself?!  This kitchen hutch (as I deemed it) was located near my sister’s house, so after confirming she could pick it up for me, I snatched it up. Then, she lovingly dropped it off at my house for me. I was ready to take on this antique hutch refinish job. 

To do’s for this project:

  • Painting the wood 
  • Buy wood and new drawer handles
  • Cutting new shelves
  • Staining the shelves and the top
  • Cleaning the rust off the metal drawer bin
  • Replacing the metal 
  • Fixing the broken wood

Expenses

  • Annie Sloan paint: $12 for 4 oz
  • Fusion Paint: ~$22 for 16.9 fl oz
  • Pine board $16
  • 5 drawer handles, $15 
  • Metal sheet, $22
  • Wood Filler $7
  • Drawer/shelf liner (bought for a previous dresser refinish)
  • Time…priceless

Total $84

After having used Fusion paint on several projects, I wanted to give Annie Sloan paint a try with this project to be able to compare the two. I had found an Annie Sloan paint seller nearby at an antique barn sale, so I had gotten a 4 oz bottle of teal (named Provence and number B8100620). The bottle says “Absolutely anyone can use my paint. It’s easy.”

Normally, I’d say you need to sand or strip the wood before painting, but with this one, it wasn’t necessary. I had to fix a few pieces of wood that were loose or broken before painting. After those fixes, I did a single coat of teal on the back and a double coat of white fusion paint on everything else. This was likely the easiest paint refinish I’ve done to date. The single coat of teal was enough coverage to give it more of a rustic look. Of the 4 oz canister I bought, there was about a quarter of it left. I’d say that’s pretty good coverage for that small amount. It also went on smoothly without any brush marks. It was definitely a positive to have an easier paint job for this project given the other tasks needed. Annie Sloan got a thumbs up from me.

A Little Bit of Metal Work

With the top and the legs painted, it was time to start on the metal bins. I’d been told they were used to store flour, but I really couldn’t find any information on the internet to verify that. I would guess they were used to store onions and potatoes but that’s purely based on what I think would make sense to put in there. 

One of the bins was only slightly rusted, but the other side had a hole in it from all the rust. In order to fix this, it was easiest to replace it altogether. I bought a sheet of aluminum from Home Depot to cut to size. In order to get the old metal off, I had to remove the nails holding it in place. It took me quite a bit to push myself to start this task because I thought it was going to be quite difficult. Procrastination really gets me on some projects. It ended up being easier than I had thought, which was fantastic! Be warned that sometimes our fears end up falling flat. 

A little motivation for you…

“Take time to deliberate; but when the time for action arrives, stop thinking and go in.”

Napoleon Bonaparte

“If you put off everything until you are sure of it, you will never get anything done.”

Norman Vincent Peale

“The greatest amount of wasted time is the time not getting started.”

Dawson Trotman

Adding a friend to the mix

While I was working on the bins, my friend was working on her own dresser refinish with me in my garage. It was cold in there! I was helping her learn the refinishing ropes. Having a buddy definitely makes a project much more socially fun. 

Clean metal bins

Although part of what I love about crafting and woodworking is the solitary nature of it, sometimes it’s really nice to have company. You can still get lost in your own thoughts and mentally working through your own problems, but you also have the opportunity to get feedback on those thoughts. Normally, I do have social engagement even in my garage solitude due to the constant need for ‘mom’. For example, while trying to write this post, I’ve been interrupted no less than a million times from the three kids and husband. 

Anyway, back to business…

I placed the new sheet in place and then nailed it into place with some 1/2 in nails. After it was set in place, I pressed the edge down over the wood and used a hammer to flatten it as flush as possible against the wood. It was complete after that!

Rust, Rust, and more Rust

I used this same tool I had used to cut the metal. It had several different tips and this bristle brush was FANTASTIC at scrubbing off the rust. Since I hadn’t done anything like this before, I was really impressed with how well it worked.

Wood Fixes and Staining

This antique hutch refinish was well on it’s way to being complete. I ended up buying some pine to cut into two shelves because the hutch hadn’t come with all the shelves. The hutch had a removable cutting board that was in need of repair. I used wood filler to fill in the gaps. I did one round of it, let it dry, and then did another layer. If you put too thick of a layer on, it doesn’t seem to dry as well as it should. I’ve learned this from personal experience. I’m glad to fail to help you stay on a successful track on your journey. (Definitely not happy when it happens, but after the moment passes, I can be.)

Shelves cut, stained and ready for placement.

After the wood filler dried, I sanded it and the top smooth to be ready for staining. I employed the services of my oldest to help with applying the dark stain. I used the same stain as for my Paddle Platter

Look at how much she appears to love helping with this…Not at all. After the stain, came the three coats of polyurethane to protect the surface from frequent use. 

Antique Hutch Refinish Final Product

And after all that work and time, it was finally finished and ready for staging. If I had the space, I would love to keep it. Sadly, I don’t, so this beauty is ready for a new owner. 

Hard to see in this photo but there was nice detail on the top border.

I hope you enjoyed the run down of this antique hutch refinish and find it inspiring as you start on your own journey. Happy crafting!

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